A Week in Florida

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by Jan Seides
Tuesday 5th January, 2010, 10:41pm

For the last few years, we have spent a week every winter visiting Palm Coast, Florida, visiting family.  Though it begins and ends with a day and a half in the Ford F150, which was not designed for humans to travel comfortably for any distance, the middle part is usually pretty much fun. We visit a bit, and perform a bit, and behave as if we’re not ever getting back in the truck, and then we do, and come home.

On one occasion, I played at a house concert in Ormond Beach, hosted by Chuck and Pat Spano.  I have also played my Yiddish show at Temple Beth Shalom in Palm Coast, and at Temple Beth El in Ormond Beach. Often, I find myself at the Milltop Cafe in St. Augustine, being hosted by Don Oja-Dunaway, a remarkable songwriter and guitarist who holds court on Sunday evenings. This year (2009) I played at South Tampa House Concerts, and met a lot of really lovely people and had a lot of fun.

The night after the Tampa show, I got to share a stage with one of my very favorite people, Doug Spears.

Doug bills himself as Florida’s Native Troubadour, and writes and plays songs about Floridian history. He has one song, Hemingway’s Hurricane, that details the hurricane that hit in the Florida Keys almost 70 years to the day before Katrina. This was back before hurricanes had names. A lot of World War One vets had been sent to work in the Keys, to get them out of Washington, where they were asking awkward questions about veterans’ benefits. They faced the hurricane unprotected, and most of them died — a fact which aroused the ire of Ernest Hemingway, who was also a WW I veteran. I gathered from the 6 o’clock news and the song, not much has been learned since those days. The song plays when you open his web page. I thought I’d have a video of it for you, but it’s too big, says WordPress.

That means you’ll just have to go see him for yourself.

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Category: Music

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