Larry Cohen’s Regional at Sea Buttons

Larry Cohen’s Regional at Sea

Day 9 Monday December 24, 2012
Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce

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An inveterate early bird, I awoke at 6 a.m. I ported my computer into the living room and worked on the journal for an hour or so. Eventually Chris got up and started rooting around in the kitchen. Chris was an accomplished cook, and he took a lot of pleasure out of preparing food for others.

Before the cooking started I consumed the first course of my breakfast, which consisted of an apple and a slice of fruitcake. Later I sat down at the table with Chris and Sue and ate a couple of sausages. After breakfast I took a nap[1] for about an hour.

Sandy had to go to her job in Stuart and work until about 1:30. She was employed as a secretary to a lawyer whose greatest pleasure in life was reportedly pressing the buzzer that summoned Sandy to come into his office. Even though it was Christmas eve I got the impression that Sandy was actually looking forward to going to work because of the silence occasioned by her boss’s absence.

The Cruz got us up to Fort Pierce to Madeline’s house.

At about 10 a.m. I went for a walk for a little over an hour. I saw the two Sandhill Cranes that hung around on the Tsiartas’s street as well as a family of ibises. Both sets of birds were busily pecking for something in the St. Augustine grass. The biggest hill that I encountered on the entire walk was the crown in the middle of Macedo Blvd. Even people like myself who were raised in Kansas think that Florida is flat.

The weather was nice and warm; I felt quite comfortable in a pair of shorts and the tee shirt depicting the Mayan Calendar that Sue had bought for me on Friday.

Madeline let us help ourselves to her chicken salad and coleslaw.

Knowing that Chris and Sandy had a lot to do to prepare for Christmas, Sue and I decided to drive up to the northwest side of Fort Pierce, the town just north of Port St. Lucie, to visit Madeline Cox, a long-time friend of Sue’s family. In fact, Sue thought of her as an extra aunt. We probably should have stopped for lunch on the way, but we did not see a convenient place.

When we arrived, Madeline offered to fix a lunch for us of chicken salad sandwiches with coleslaw. I rapidly accepted before Sue had a chance to tell her not to go to the trouble. Over lunch we learned that Madeline had met Sue’s father, Art, when as a young man he had ventured up to Maine with Sue’s uncle Chet on a hunting trip. Madeline’s husband, who ran a hardware store in which Art and Chet had dropped in to buy some supplies, for some reason, perhaps pity, brought them home to stay overnight. Madeline met Sue’s mother when she and Art were on their honeymoon in Maine. Thereafter, the two couples exchanged visits on a fairly regular basis.

Sue and Madeline.

I took a few photos in Madeline’s house, but then the camera’s battery ran out of juice. I had the spare batteries with me, but they did not work either. This did not surprise me at all. The original Canon battery had proven to be long-lived and dependable. The aftermarket batteries that I had purchased as back-ups had provided nothing but disappointment.

Sue planned to ride with Chris and Sandy to their church service. Because she was the greeter for the ceremony, Sandy planned on leaving at 5:30. I made sure that we had departed from Madeline’s house with plenty of time to spare. Sue was notorious for being late, and I suspected that Sandy would be nervous about any connections that involved time and Sue.

When we arrived back to the Tsiartas’s house, I located my battery charger in my suitcase and plugged it in to the electrical socket in our bedroom. As I withdrew I bashed my lower left leg on the corner of the iron bed frame. My shin area was in intense pain, and I was convinced that when I rolled up the leg of my pants I would witness blood pouring onto my sock. Not only was my leg dry, however; there was no visible mark of any kind.

Kozmo Johnson.

Some Russian Blue kittens.

At 5:30 Sue left for the church service with Sandy and Chris. Kozmo Johnson and I stayed home and watched TV. The pickings were slim. We settled for two or three lackluster episodes of Pawn Stars that I had already seen. Then Kozmo requested that we tune in to Animal Planet to watch one of his favorite shows, “Too Cute.” The episode that we viewed together featured a Russian Blue kitten named Cosmo, who received a lot of air time because he was much more timid than his litter-mates. Kosmo was disgusted that the people who produced the show gave so much attention to a wimp and could not even spell the Russian kat’s name korrektly.

Chris in his kithcen.

As Chris had instructed me to do, I turned the oven on at 6:30. Kozmo had been dozing in Chris's chair, but at about 6:45 he stood straight up and began sniffing the air. Evidently he could smell the fish cooking.

Sue helped with the salad.

Chris finished the preparation of the Christmas eve supper when he returned, and it was absolutely delicious. The main course was baked Swai, which is an Asian catfish that I had never heard of. It was accompanied by beans, tossed salad with all kinds of things in it, and a homemade fruitcake that was a gift of a friend. All but the last were very tasty.

After supper in response to my query Sandy circumnavigated the public rooms and counted the number of Santa figures on display that were wearing shorts. She did not count the one who was taking a bubble bath, but she still found four of them.

Supper was scrumptious.

I then presented Sue with the Christmas present that I had been carrying around in my backpack since we had left Connecticut, a copy of the Onion’s instructional book entitled, Dancing with Jesus. It featured holographic illustrations of the dance steps that it claimed were based on scriptural references. I was a little afraid that the Tsiartases, who had become pretty religious in recent years, might take offense, but Sandy for one seemed to appreciate it.

I went into the bedroom to see if the charging of my battery was complete. The green light indicating success was visible. I unplugged the charger and retreated to the other side of the room to put it in my suitcase. Again I banged my leg on the bed frame,[2] and again the pain was intense. I examined my leg, and there was still no mark.[3]

I fell asleep shortly after this guy took the stage.

Sandy produced a comedy tape that featured someone who actually had received the gifts of the twelve days of Christmas from her prospective boyfriend. She told us that she had played it once when they went camping in New England, and it broke up all of the people at neighboring campsites.

Then we watched a Jeff Dunham Christmas Special that Sandy had recorded. I liked to watch his work in short bursts, but I did not think that his act was strong enough to carry a show for an hour or longer. Both Sue and I fell asleep during the show.

[1]  Other people may have different metabolisms, but my system definitely functioned best when it got some sleep — it could be as little as ten minutes — after every meal.

[2]  As George W. Bush famously said, “Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.”

[3]  Two weeks later there was still a knot on my lower leg but no visible mark at all.