It's NOT a Dry Heat!


I love reading about history and culture. While I’m down in Florida I have spent some time on the Sunshine State’s Wiki page and it turns out; Florida has plenty of both!

The only major metropolitan city in the United States founded by a woman is Miami, Florida; which was founded by Julia Tuttle in 1875.

Florida is also home to the oldest city in the United States: Saint Augustine! First settled in 1585 when the Spanish explorer Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles landed on what is now Florida’s eastern coast. Saint Augustine still shows off its Spanish heritage in its architecture and expansive array of red clay roofs.

And of course, there’s Disney!

With all the history, culture (and entertainment) why is it that I can’t wait to get the hell out of here?

You’ve heard the expression, “It’s not the heat-it’s the humidity!”? That’s just a sales-pitch from the Florida Board of Tourism!

From June-September, it’s the heat AND the humidity! I didn’t bring enough underwear for this!

You may have noticed I skipped my blog on Thursday last week: I’ve been having trouble writing lately. Since I don’t like to accept responsibility for my foibles, I’ll blame that on my father, Billy.

With good reason!

Over the last three weeks, my father’s health crisis has been all-consuming. The constant din of paint-chatter which normally goes on in my head has been replaced with words of test results, estimates for recovery, calls to family and friends and of course, worry.

Without the calls to paint dealers which are a regular part of my daily life, I feel a little disconnected. Topics for blogs, which normally are in my head by the dozens, have been pushed out to make room for my new concerns. And it’s not just my father’s health which has us worried.

This has been hell on my mother.

The fight which my father continues to put up is nothing less than valiant. When people fight this hard it’s often said about them that they have a lot of heart. It’s interesting that at the time that my father is showing his greatest heart, it’s his real heart that is the problem.

And it’s a problem he will not recover from.

The heart which pushed him through his 81 years of living will soon go still. Or so the doctors tell us. Not strong enough to feed all his organs with their much-needed blood, my father will not be with us much longer.

Perhaps days.

I won’t try to describe the sadness I feel. It would be unfair to ask the words to work that hard.

As a kid, when I worked in my family’s paint store in the Bronx, I was always the runner. Often those runs were down to the corner to get the morning going after we had loaded up the early trucks. His breakfast of choice was scrambled eggs and sausage on a roll-with a reminder to “tell Frankie to add extra butter!” Breakfast came with a tall glass of whole milk and of-course, a package of Salem Lights. I would get him another package later in the day when I ran out for lunch; often two kosher hot dogs, or a salami sandwich.

With a potato pancake!

My father will go down as one of the great eaters in history. That rare combination of a fat-lover with a sweet tooth. Few could keep up with him at a buffet. You’d hate yourself for trying-you’d go home sick and fat.

And pissed, because Billy never gained a pound!

I appreciate those of you who have reached out to me recently. Lots of people sending wishes and prayers to my father from all corners of the paint world. There are still a few people in my business life who know my father from his time in the paint store. But most who have written don’t know him, and now won’t. But your texts and emails hit the spot! No one wants to be alone during their trying times. I’m grateful that I have all of you to help me through this.

Mark