As time has passed, the Keys and Key West in particular have grown in popularity (almost too much for my liking) and are starting to show signs of a standard "port of call" or "tourist trap". Now we hold very tightly to the secret "local" places that we frequent and know on "our" key of Marathon. But, as I enjoy the heck out of this time here every year, it always makes me think of Henry Flagler. For although the history of the Florida Keys is VERY diverse and has threads of geology, horticulture, meteorology, military, political and criminal, to me, I will always remember the story I first heard from my grandfather as we drove down to Key West about how Mr. Flagler built the railroad all the way to Key West. It was his work that almost literally "paved the way" for us to get down to our secret little part of paradise.
So, as I enjoy one of my most favorite and special parts of the world...for more reasons than I can describe...I encourage you to read up on this special little place. Its not like Florida, its not like the Carribbean, its the Conch Republic and it is wonderful in all its conchy, crazy, artistic goodness. Thank you, Mr. Flagler, to me, you will always be the person that made it possible for me to love this part of the world.
I wish you all the happiest of New Years...catch ya in 2009!