Friday, February 27, 2015

One Night by the Manatee

It was a cool night tonight. Cool by Floridian standards, so perhaps we could say it was akin to an autumn evening. We really want it to be warmer as we’ve had to force ourselves to admit that we have to soon start our journey home. Strangely, walking around, it does feel like autumn: there are leaves on the ground, bare branches above, and the skies have been gloomy and cool all week.

Nonetheless, it’s Friday night! And the baby’s in bed so let’s go!

Bradenton was hosting a concert down by the water tonight [free!] featuring a local band, Wild Root. We like the riverwalk along the Manatee River near downtown – they’ve done a good job developing it with artwork, a skatepark and a small amphitheatre.

Wild Root band take the stage

It was a small crowd but the band did well, playing cover tunes of Joe Cocker to the Chilli Peppers, plus their original songs that were good too. The frontman, Paul Fournier, is a local high school teacher who reminds me a lot of Winnipeg music man Tim Hoover.

After the show we went to a nearby restaurant Pier 22 by the marina. A martini and house-made chocolate banana bread pudding for me, a glass of pinot noir and some sushi for Julie. Gazing out from the heated patio over the river we discuss our upcoming week and what should be on our to-do list as our time in Florida winds down. Julie hatches a crazy idea – what if we fly home via Phoenix like Ryan and Nuala did? Then we could come back to Florida to retrieve the car when the weather is better for a drive home? Constant snowstorms across the mid-west are making us nervous.

We finish up as the Lightning beat the Blackhawks on TV (we chuckle it’s best that our fellow parent Sonny and Rocky didn’t go to the game tonight - they’re Chicago fans - although they would have fit in well with the crowd as it was mostly red sweaters). Julie didn’t think her sushi was good, so she wants to check and see whether the chef is Japanese or Mexican (a joke from 2 years ago in San Diego). Unconfirmed… but the rest of the restaurant looks really nice.

best bathroom story of the week: it’s a small restroom that already has two fellows in it when I walk in. A short, stubby middle-aged guy with a cowboy hat and a beard chatting with a Mexican kid. Cowboy dude sounds a bit intoxicated, “tatered” as they say down here. Says he’s from Calgary. As he walks out, I call out “go Flames!”. He spins around into the door and asks “who said that?” while eyeing the Mexican. With a bit of a smirk he turns to me and asks how I know the Flames. I say I’m from Winnipeg and suddenly I’m his best friend as we squeeze out of the restroom. Do I know Kid Rock? Him and his wife are going on a cruise with him tomorrow, so much fun! It’s the 6th one they’ve been on – that’s all of them, ya know. They’re going with their “loaded” friends who they met down here on Longboat Key who are also from Calgary. His wife comes over and distracts him so that I can meet my wife who’s standing slightly impatiently at the door.

As we see them leave, he climbs into an Infinity SUV, that has Alberta plates. Story checks out!

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