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Back Again, Gratefully

We’re back again in Inverness, the best little town: no modifiers needed; people should thank their lucky stars they ended up here. The fourteen hour, very speedy drive along the raceway that is 95 South was time well spent.

Apparently all those other northerners traveling 95 south-bound were just as eager as us to get here, as they zipped along as fast as they could pull their trailers while simultaneously demonstrating impressive feats of braking/accelerating dexterity to thwart any would-be motivated police officers writing tickets. Eighty-five mph instantly becomes 70 but not so obvious as to draw unwanted attention; and 70 rockets right back up to 85 as soon as you’re safely in the cocoon of  the interstate peloton with other cars blocking for you, even if they don’t know it. For the record, this is not to suggest anyone should go faster than the posted speed limit. Hopefully that tepid disclaimer keeps me and this paper out of hot water.

I’m not sure what’s up with Quebec, maybe they’ve unofficially seceded from Canada and/or annexed a section of Florida, but there sure were a lot of Quebecers (Quebecois?) heading south. It seemed like one long Quebec convoy after another, which has enough of a nice ring to it that some perspicacious entrepreneur ought to get the copyright on it for possible book or movie deals. Another business idea: establish an ice hockey franchise in Florida and put a Tim Horton’s in the arena. If someone’s already done that, never mind. Does Citrus County have a tourism office in Quebec?

Speaking of tourism, my only complaint with Citrus County is they’re always trying to get more tourists to visit. More tourists equal more traffic, higher prices, and all the nasty problems connected with too many people. Why risk screwing Inverness up like so many northern cities? Don’t Boston Inverness, not that Boston is a verb or that it is any worse than a lot of other northern cities. For the record my dad went to college in Boston and loved it. He left the city after college and never moved back. 

Riding around on my bike (bicycle that is) doing the return-to-town tasks (notify post office, order Chronicle home delivery, buy milk and cereal, etc) meant I spent more time riding today than in the entire previous eight months. Exercising up north is work but down here it’s fun.

Our neighbors were out (who’s not out when it’s 70+degrees?) and it was great catching up and seeing them again. Don has his cancer behind him and it’s wonderful seeing him looking so much healthier. We have a couple new neighbors and one is a landscaper, which means Pam will be in more of a hurry to get down here as she dreadfully wants a better-looking yard. Steve the antique guy has a new crop of cool old antiques and David’s Bike World tempts me once again with some lightweight Treks that would make the ride down to Ferris’s for a strawberry milk shake a veritable Tour de Withlacoochee. Buster is happiest of all. He gets to run the fenced-in yard again, like the out of control Jack Russell that he is, incessantly barking at any person with the temerity to meander by. He is the king of the castle here and we all live in Buster’s World.

I stopped in the used bookstore downtown, always worth a trip to see what unique and obscure finds you might come across. I came across one of my own books (The Jefferson Hotel: The History of a Richmond Landmark, published by The History Press) which I had donated to the bookstore last year. On the one hand it’s a bad thing that the book is still on the shelf because it means no one bought it, but the good thing is the delight of stumbling upon your own book. Hey look, that’s my book!

I have a new book (Treason in the Rockies) that was just published about two weeks ago, also by The History Press. It’s about an obscure, fascinating World War II event of which you won’t find anyone who knows about it. I’ll eat my hat, as the old expression goes, if you find someone who knows about it. Of course, I’d have to get Checker’s to make me a BLT in the shape of a hat to fulfill this pledge. The New Yorker did a very thorough four-part story about it in 1950 but there’s never been a book about it before now. Someday I’m confident it will be a movie, but I’m just as confident that I won’t make any money on it because researching and writing is my forte, not business or marketing.

Paul Herbert, author of books about a historic hotel and a former dancer in Richmond, Virginia, can be reached at: jeffersonhotelbook@yahoo.com