Turns out about a week is all we need to settle in to Marathon life. Marathon is much more like Rocky Point than we expected—without the constant fear of being shot by drug dealers or kidnapped by federales, of course—which is good and bad. Anyway, we aren’t going anyplace for a while although we might not make it the full 2 months we had planned.
One thing Marathon has by the bushels is iguanas. Big stinking iguanas. They aren’t climbing on Misty Pearl or attacking the boys just yet, but at least we know who to call if we get worried.
Marathon also has cool jellyfish.
We intended to scuba dive while the girls were here but the wind and waves refused to cooperate. Darn it.
New Year’s Eve we drove down to Key West.*
Apparently the billions of Asian tourists who crowded Banff and Jasper when were were in Alberta a few summers back all decided to meet us here as well. We didn’t even bother parking the rental car for the famed sunset at Mallory Square. If we go back, we’ll try to take more pictures.
Mallory and Shannon easily slid into the concept of Looper midnight, which meant we all were asleep well before real midnight. We missed the music, the silly hats, the fireworks, and the anchor drop, although the anchor still was hanging limply the next morning.
Sadly, the girls had to return to their respective colleges. That meant the end of family card games. And the end of hundreds of dog photos in the family text group. And the end of endless sibling conversations that’ll seem funny 20 years from now:
“Your stuff is oozing on my side.”
“No it isn’t. Plus, your underwear is on my side.”
“Yeah, but I loaned you my [insert random item of clothing] and you [never returned it or got it dirty or damaged it].”
“That’s a lie. I never borrowed that. Or I gave it back. Unlike you, who stole my hair tie.”
“I swear I’m going to punch you.”
Before they left, however, we visited the east side of the Everglades.
That meant more gators, including little tiny ones.
We might’ve been tempted to pick one up but (1) it’s highly illegal and (2) the protective mother was lurking nearby.
And she was a big mother.
Anyway, the park has a bunch of different looks. We caught some of them.
On Friday we took Mini Pearl out with the crews from Forever Friday and The Lower Place, gambling that getting to lunch here would be much easier than in Everglades City. The water under the 7-mile Bridge resembled the Columbia River Bar, but we successfully hurdled it on our way to Burdines.
The surprise at Burdines was the restroom made specially for Jo and Meg and Beth and Amy.
We followed up a delicious lunch with a leisurely cruise through the mangroves. That portion of the day was dampened only by Dana’s semi-well-founded belief that Mini Pearl might run out of gas. Forever Friday offered up some spare fuel but Doug timed things out perfectly so that we hit empty just as we pulled into someplace with a pump. That’s some good planning right there, although the always pessimistic Dana calls it luck.
Saturday UPS delivered a big stack of Christmas cards that ordinarily would’ve reached us weeks ago. It’s always fun to get them, so thanks to everyone who tracked us down. We did a New Year’s card that hopefully will be out the door in the next week or so.
Mallory—who’s much more competent and artistic when it comes to videos and such than are we—hooked us up with her documentary of the 2 weeks she and Shannon were with us.
We miss them already but may bring them back down for a long weekend sometime soon. By then the echoes of squabbling should be gone, and we’ll need hundreds more dog photos on our phones.
* But Jimmy Buffett doesn’t live in Key West anymore. CAUTION: Explicit lyrics, courtesy of the great David Allen Coe, who feuded with the son of a son of a sailor over “Divers Do it Deeper,” one of DAC’s dumber songs.