Bon Appetite!

What else can one do on a windy, rainy day then go exploring the lovely town of Dunedin?  After shopping till I dropped, I’ve ended up at the marina, at Bon Appetite. The big, beautiful outdoor bar and deck is deserted.  There is a bartender filling ice buckets. He looks cold.

I step up to the bar. “Is this open?”  I ask.

“Sure is.  Pull up a chair by the heater.” he points to a small infa-red heater hanging from the corner pillar.

“Where is everyone?  It’s a beautiful day!”  I say with a smile.

“Yeah, right, if you’re a penguin or polar bear.”

We strike up some small talk while I sip on a Bloody Mary loaded with enough garnish in it to make a meal Although he confirms this is a pet friendly bar, I don’t want to end up with 3 wet smelly beasts under my feet or in the hotel, so my crew is out in the parking area, all eyes fixed on me through the truck window.

Another bartender arrives, and joins in on the conversation.  We talk about the incredible fog monster thing the other day.  I order an amazing lobster roll plate. I share my story about not being able to find a place to pitch a tent, and driving over to Fort DeSota daily, checking on openings.    As she pulls down an awning to block off some of the rainy wind, the new bartender says she has the answer for me.  Her name is Jenn, she’s sharp, professional, a marketer by trade, and bartending “for now”.  She is 41 years old.  Her husband died a year ago, just after their Honeymoon, and I am in total awe of her strength and fortitude.  We are all getting chilled, but no one wants to be the first to admit this weather sucks and we should all go inside.

Jenn describes their Honeymoon destination with misty eyes, as though she was right there again. They wanted to keep things simple, and went on a camping trip.  Not far from here at all.  Just a little campground that was low key, beautiful white sand beach, peaceful, private, virtually uninhabited, and absolutely wonderful.  No one knows about it. They had an amazing time at that campground.  They walked and biked and relaxed on the beach, made fires at night, looked at the stars, and planned out their future lives together as though they were the only two people left on earth.  And shortly after that he died.  It’s been about a year now.

Heart wrenching.

“But,” she says, while holding back the tears, “but, that campground was totally awesome, and you should check it out. You will love it, too.”  We look up the information on it, and I make a call out there.  They have openings.  I can’t get there before they close today, but for sure I will beat feet to get there first thing in the morning!

I am so excited I can hardly contain myself, yet, my heartstrings have pulled so hard with her story, I’m about to cry.  Such is life.

As we are having this whole discussion, another customer pulls up in a convertible, and sprints through the drizzle onto the deck a couple chairs down from me.  He is apparently a regular, and starts working out arrangements for getting a drink secured.  Then he leans over to me as though we know each other, and starts up a conversation.  What a hoot!  Introducing G.Q., the free spirited, wild and crazy, retired car salesman.  G.Q. is a self-proclaimed transient from California.  He hands me a business card that says;   

‘Here To Help, Today Is Great!’

He heard the whole conversation with Jenn about camping and finding a place, and now he is offering me a parking spot at his condo.  Heck, I can stay in the condo, take a shower, get comfortable, whatever I need, as he will be out to the clubs for the evening and will just come in quietly and sleep on the couch.  I look at Jenn, she is smiling, with an “oh boy, here we go….” look and I can barely contain myself either.  But G.Q is dead serious.  He is insistent.  He is not going to let go of his kind offer.  He really feels responsible to ensure I am taken care of with accommodations.  At his place.  Really.  And he assures me he is harmless.

He really does seem to be sweet.  I do appreciate his kind offer….but, I am rethinking that drive to the campground.  I bet I can make it there in time today.  I have to at least try.  With that, I’m off into the drizzle to hopefully secure a spot to pitch a tent, leaving G.Q. and Jenn behind. 

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