It’s been a rather dull week of walking. Utilitarian laps around the neighborhood, swinging by the recycling bins, doing double laps around the apartment complex. Tuesday through Thursday I worked eight hour days at a temp job in Boca, a forty minute commute each way. It’s hard to then drive to the beach for a walk, the beach parking situation being what it is here in Boynton.
Monday I was writing a lot. Never at a loss for words and having the ability to seemingly find a story in even the most mundane activities, I had great stories to tell about my exciting weekend in Miami. But now what? How do I follow up on that? But I did start this blog and committed to it for 365 days, so here goes. Let’s see what I’ve got. “Can she pull a story out of thin air?”
Thursday was my Friday this week. Rich and I decided to meet at a happy hour we heard about at The Coffee District in Delray. It’s in Pineapple Grove, an up and coming artist’s neighborhood. We had stopped there for coffee before we left for Miami and couldn’t help but notice the large selection of craft beers, bottled and on tap.
I arrived well before Rich so took a walk along a back alley that felt like I had left the upscale hustle and bustle of downtown Delray Beach miles behind. It was old Florida, 1950’s style motels turned into apartments with overgrown plants, music blasting from open windows, and dogs chained to fences, barking as I passed by. Enticing street art pulled me further into the neighborhood called Artists Alley. I had stumbled upon Jeff Whyman’s Gallery.
The squawking of various birds drew me further down the street to a ramshackle aviary where a lone rooster roamed the parking lot. Tall cages towered above a fence, but I couldn’t really tell what was going on in there. I circled around to the front of the building, discovering I had found a place called Brenda’s Birds. It was five o’clock. The sign said “Public Welcome 10-6”.
I should have gone in and checked it out. Later that evening, while we were talking to the bartenders and some locals back at the Coffee District, I asked about the place, and they told me Brenda ships macaws, cockatoos, parrots, and other exotic birds all over the world. “You should have checked it out,” they told me.
But this is the thing. I am petrified of birds flying at me. When I was young, my brother desperately wanted a dog. My parents were dead set against a dog. My brother persisted, working his way up from fish in an aquarium to parakeets.
The first bird was named Friar. My father was an alumni of Providence College and a huge fan of the P.C. Friars basketball team. He went to all the home games, taking us along sometimes. Grateful for any kind of pet, my brother named the parakeet Friar, after my father’s favorite team.
After closing the doors to our dining room, he would let Friar out of his cage and the little blue and yellow bird would dive bomb through the room, scaring the hell out of me and sending me cowering under the dining room table. Friar flew free for nine months until he slammed into the etched glass door, broke a wing, and lasted only a few days after the accident.
My brother made another pitch for a dog but my parents got another parakeet. This one was named Yaz, after Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox. He only lasted a couple of weeks, arriving at our house already sick. He didn’t eat much and quickly withered away.
My parents finally gave in and we got Dewey, a black lab. My brother gave up on the sports related names and christened the dog after Dewey Bunnell, the lead singer in the band America. My father thought this was a silly name for a dog, so when he registered him with the town, he wrote his name as Admiral Dewey, best known for his victory at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War. But that was something only my father would know. I just this minute looked it up on Wikipedia.
Admiral Dewey remained with my parents long after we had all grown up and moved out of the house and they were heartbroken when he passed away. Sometimes what you don’t want is really what you wanted all along.
So take a walk, get the creative juices flowing. You never know what you might find. Street art, exotic birds, a trip down memory lane. You never know where you might find a story.
And if you’re in Delray, definitely stop by the Coffee District, Brenda’s Birds and Jeff Whyman’s studio.