Old City Magazine

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holiday issue three/ 2021 $6.99

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art | culture | people | living | giving

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CONTENTS on the cover








publisher ’s note








biz bites








flash 16 | 22 | 25









ON THE COVER issue #13/2021

The stellar image that graces our cover was captured by Photographer Rudy Arnet

Model: Lucy Frazier IG: @lucyfrazieroffical Pearl Accessories: Donna Moody Gray | globalislandtreasures Stylist: John Henry Edington IG: @johnedington98 Clothes: Fifi’s Fine Resale Apparel Dresser: Heather Frazier IG: heatherfrazier__

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CONTRIBUTORS Tracy Bradley Tracy followed her dreams and moved to the beach! A Georgia peach with a little southern sass. Having successfully devoted a lifetime to parenting two successful young men, is now eager to explore a new home town, Saint Augustine. She enjoys time at the beach, time with family and friends, and thrift shopping with a vengeance. A proud mother, mother-n-law, and grandmother, loving life and others are her passions. oldcitytracy@gmail.com 706.409.3105

Frank Berna Frank has over 35 years of experience in various aspects of photography. He began his career in Pittsburgh, PA as a commercial and fashion photographer, and as the co-publisher of a fashion/lifestyle magazine, Pittsburgh Style. Moving to south Florida 25 years ago, he managed several camera stores on both the east and west coasts. Currently, Frank owns and operates the Photographic Institute of Naples, an organization dedicated to the advancement of photographic education. photoinnaples.com

Derek Boyd Hankerson, M.A. Derek is a 9th generation Floridian whose family is native to St. Johns County. He is an award winning documentary film producer with Two Taills and Hankerson Henry Productions who has produced and co-produced four documentary films on accurate American Florida history. Several of his films have aired on PBS and nationally. Hankerson was the catalyst for the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, National Park Service Underground Railroad Conference, Rails to Trails, Sea Island Loop and East Coast Greenway cycling trails. He too is a faculty member at UNF, historian, avid cyclist and published author. hankersonhenryproductions.com Glo MacDonald A recent transplant to our area from South Florida, Glo has immersed herself into the arts community in St. Augustine, namely as a board member of Romanza and A Classic Theatre. She is an award-winning graphic designer with a career that started in television and continued for many years with her own graphic design firm. Glo recently switched gears to pursue other artistic endeavors which have been on the back burner and dedicating more time to her early passion or photography. Though still a graphic designer, she has turned her professional career towards photo editing and retouching, having done so for many years as part of her design career. glomacphotoarts.com

Please support our advertisers and always remember to dine, shop and support local businesses. Have a safe, healthy and wonderful Holiday Season! Tracy Bradley for advertising 706.409.3105 or oldcitytracy@gmail.com 06 oldcit y.online


Dear Friends, Welcome to the latest issue of Old City Magazine! I have seen so many people that I’ve missed seeing for the past two years and made many new friends all around town. What an exciting holiday season it has been! This issue is jam packed with event coverage, so many faces and places. It’s so wonderful to see everyone out-and-about. I have to say that between the openings, parties, performances, and celebrations, we haven’t scratched the surface! Please send me an email with your suggestions, opinions, story idea, anything that we can do to grow and make the publication even better! Here’s the part where I’ll ask you to become a subscriber. While we do give away issues of the magazine at events, direct mail, select locations, and our advertisers’ businesses, paid subscribers are the most important readers. If you’d like to buy someone 10 fabulous issue, it’s only $28 and I’ll send a lovely holiday card for you to let them know about your gift. You can go to oldcity.online for retail locations and/or link to the digital version. And don’t forget to subscribe to the email blast to keep up with what’s happening. Happy New Year ~ Welcome 2022! Peace and Blessings, Yvette Monell, Publisher

oldcitymagazine@gmail.com staugustinemagazine.com oldcity.online

SAINT AUGUSTINE’S MAGAZINE All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the Publisher. All material is compiled from sources believed to be reliable, published without responsibility for errors or omissions. Old City Magazine™ and the Publishers St Augustine Magazine assume no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or photos. Text copyright © 2021 Photography © 2021 Digital © 2021 Introduction ©




Performing Arts Events

by Renee Unsworth Totally St. Augustine Marketing & Publicity

A Christmas Story at Limelight Theatre

December 3rd through 23rd: Take a trip down memory lane with this Christmas classic. Tickets are $27 for adults, $25 seniors and $22 students. Performances run at 7:30pm Thursdays through Saturdays, with 2pm matinee shows on Sundays. A Christmas Story runs December 2nd through 23rd at Limelight Theatre, 11 Old Mission Ave., St. Augustine. TICKETS: limelight-theatre.org or 904.825.1164

The Lion King Jr. by Murray Middle at The Amp

December 7th: The Lion King Jr. will be on stage Tuesday, December 7th at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre. The field trip show for schools to attend will begin at 10:15am. Please email JoAnn.Nance@stjohns.k12.fl.us to RSVP for your school. More details coming soon about the community show at 6:30pm Tuesday, December 7th. TICKETS: showtix4u.com/event-details/57726

Saint Augustine Concert Band Christmas Concert

December 10th: The Saint Augustine Concert Band will perform at 7:30pm December 10th at Pacetti Bay Middle School, 254 Meadow Lark Lane, St. Augustine, in the World Golf Village area. TICKETS: staugband.org

St. Augustine Community Chorus: We Need A Little Christmas

December 11th & 12th: The St. Augustine Community Chorus will perform We Need a Little Christmas, featuring familiar tunes, some new musical surprises, and The Messiah by the 80+ voice group. The concert will take place at 7:30pm Saturday, December 11th and 2pm Sunday, December 12th in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine. Tickets are $25 for adults, $12 for ages 11-17 and $5 for active military with ID. Children 10 and younger are admitted free. TICKETS: staugustinecommunitychorus.org

Holiday Pops with The Gainesville Orchestra

December 15th: EMMA Concert Association will present the annual Holiday Pops Concert on Wednesday, December 15th with The Gainesville Orchestra performing popular holiday music. Tickets include free parking at the St. Johns County Council on Aging, with a complimentary shuttle to and from the venue. TICKETS: emmaconcerts.com

St. Augustine Orchestra Concerts

December 15th & 16th: The St. Augustine Orchestra is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. Upcoming concerts will take place December 15th & 16th at Lightner Museum. Details at staugustineorchestra.com

The Nutcracker Ballet

December 18th & 19th: The Saint Augustine Ballet presents the 13th Annual Nutcracker — a timeless classic featuring professional ballet dancers and dance students around the area. This holiday favorite will be staged December 18th & 19th, 2021 in Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College. Performances are set for 1:30pm and 7pm Saturday, December 18th; and 2pm Sunday, December 19th. TICKETS: saintaugustineballet.org

First Coast Opera: Verdi’s La Traviata

December 31st & January 2nd: First Coast Opera presents Verdi’s La Traviata on stage December 31st and January 2nd in Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College, 14 Granada Street, in downtown St. Augustine. Featuring one of the most iconic, romantic and tragic scores of all time, Verdi’s masterpiece contrasts spectacular party scenes with tender, intimate moments. This fully-staged show will feature a live orchestra. TICKETS: firstcoastopera.com 08 oldcit y.online


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biz bites




hink locally, buy locally. What does this mean? It means you are spending money in your local community instead of spending your money elsewhere from an owner you will probably never meet. Local business owners are the backbone of communities, and they need our support. You may not realize it, but by shopping at one of our local businesses, you are helping to increase the economic growth in our community. Did you know that over 90% of the business population represents small to medium-sized businesses and creates 1.5 million jobs annually across the United States? [Mohsin 2020] We live in a global world where we can buy anything we want, anywhere we want, through modern technology. But is it always the best option? The truth is that shopping local matters for many reasons. Shopping locally supports our community, creates more jobs, and boosts the local economy. Shopping at a brick-and-mortar store ensures that you’re supporting your neighbors by keeping tax dollars in town for programs such as police protection or road maintenance; it also helps smaller businesses thrive because there is greater competition among other stores, which drives prices down while providing opportunities to buy products from an array of business owners rather than just one big-box retailer who might stock all items desired. Shopping local provides you with the experience of better customer service and immersing yourself in the community. You may find yourself paying a little more at times from a local business, but remember, local business often supports your community in ways you may not even be thinking about. Local business often donates their money, time and resources to the people in our community. Whether it’s supporting our kids or grandkids through a local football team or little league, volunteering at a food bank or animal shelter, or supporting a local event or charity, they are giving back to our community in ways that online retailers aren’t. When you support a local business, you’re supporting your friends and neighbors. These are the folks you see in your grocery store, at community events, or walking your dog. These are the people you sit next to in church, at school functions, and greet when picking up kids from school.

We were immediately transported into a beautiful, warm place of Christmas cheer and tradition as soon as we entered the Perky Pelican Christmas Shoppe. We were drawn into a timeless Christmas wonderland! We were immediately met with Christmas scents, holiday spirit, and a deep sense of tradition. It was so warm and inviting, and as we browsed through the Perky Pelican’s beautiful ornaments and holiday decorations, memories of Christmas pasts floated through our heads. My mother carefully browsed the gorgeous creations before finally stopping at one particular ornament that captured her heart. She gently took the ornament off the shelf and laid her purchases on the counter to be personalized with the family name. The shop owner was so friendly and cheerful (I think she may have been one of Santa’s elves). We shared memories of previous holidays with our families while she personalized my mother’s ornament. As we left this wonderful shop, we were filled with the spirit of Christmas (though it was 90° outside)! Thoughts of the lucky ones who will receive the gifts we bought that day brought a contented smile to our faces as we left the shop. While the visit with my mother has now turned into this beautiful memory, I have no doubt we will return downtown and create more memories on her next visit. This City never disappoints, and it is why so many folks are drawn here. We all know that Saint Augustine is a beautiful place, but the people who live here make it an even more remarkable destination. This holiday season, stop by one of the local shops to find that perfect gift. You won’t be able to find these types of gifts anywhere else. Our business owners put thought into helping you get just what your loved ones want, and it becomes more than buying something off a website – you are treated like family while browsing through the store selections together and in person. Don’t be surprised when you drop by one of our local businesses and the owner shares their story with you, how they were drawn here, and how it was a lifelong dream long ago but is now where life is lived each day. We all know that local businesses are critical to our community, so it makes sense to keep thinking locally and buying locally top of mind as the holiday season approaches. The thing is, our local businesses need us more than ever before and will continue giving back to our

From the moment you arrive in Saint Augustine, it’s clear this is a city with character. From its beautifully preserved architecture to quaint little shops, this city has a lot going for it. The people are friendly and willing to help in any way they can - which makes sense given how close-knit the community is. If you’re looking for an authentic shopping experience, look no further than the charming cobblestone streets of our quaint little town. You will find everything from one-of-a-kind restaurants and cafes run by friends and family to trendy local boutiques, coffee shops, bookstores, and art galleries. As a bonus, many of our local businesses bring unique stories about what brought them here and how they are helping make the dream of conducting their business in this community come true. Locals love to share their experiences with you, so your experience at their business becomes even more meaningful. Now let’s talk about experiences. I remember one particular experience well. My mother visits me in Saint Augustine several times a year, and I always love to see her. The last time she came, she was so excited to visit; it had been so long since her last trip here. My mother loves Saint Augustine; it was our family vacation spot for three decades and holds many special memories. She also loves Christmas, so a shopping trip to the Perky Pelican Christmas Shoppe was in order.

community as long as we support them with our purchases. What’s your favorite local business? I’m sure there must be something special about the particular one you love so much. Tell us more, and we can include it in a future issue. We love to hear from our readers! g

by Shawn Wilson CEO and founder of Biz Advisory Consulting in St. Augustine, Florida, is an entrepreneur who gets to do what she loves every day—making a difference in people’s lives! As a woman of purpose and passion, she is committed to helping other small business owners reach their goals. With over 20 years in sales, marketing, customer service, communications, and business development— seeing others experience success is Shawn’s greatest reward. Would you like to be a part of the next issue? Please send in any business-related questions, challenges, or thoughts to shawn.wilson@bizadvisory.com to answer for all of our readers in our next issue.

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Firm and Faithful Forever!


by Shirley D. Jordan



can’t remember the first time I saw them. I was so very young. They were simply always there, a part of my life like my father. They stood like trees – like a forest made of steel. They were strong and proud. Their roots sunk deep into the Texas and Oklahoma soil. Like trees, some were productive, some were not. It all depended upon where they were planted. I should say where they were erected. Oil derricks began dotting the landscape and bringing riches beyond belief to the farmers who owned the land and the developers who held those leases. And it brought a new kind of worker into quiet towns formerly inhabited only by businessmen and landowners. They welcomed the wealth the Oil Boom brought, but the workers themselves with their colorful and unusual lives were not warmly greeted. By age three I was part of this exciting movement heading across the southwest like a sandstorm – setting up tents when housing was unavailable. These workers and their families were given the label Oil Field Trash. That label is now a nearly forgotten term, but not by those who wore it. As the drillers and their crews, called roughnecks, infiltrated the communities, the complexion of the towns changed. As time went by, those with stains of oil upon their skin slowly became an integral part of the population. The term Oil Field Trash was only said in whispers. Those oil derricks were coveted by farmers and rural landowners. Once oil was struck the derricks were replaced by pumps. Oil field pumps resemble old women using a scrub board – up and down and up and down, hour after hour. Those majestic derricks are nearly all gone now except for the few standing ghostlike to attract tourists. An occasional one may also be seen rusting away on a private farm like time itself. Those derricks are now only a precious memory. That memory is recalled each time I pass a windmill farm. Seeing acres of windmills transports me to a time of gushers and young men wearing steel helmets every bit as proudly as the cowboys wore their Stetsons. Those helmets saved many a life as tools were dropped from aloft to the derrick floor. I recently gave my father’s helmet to my grandson. It was well dented, and inside was the phone number 479-J. My mother painted it in nail polish in case my father was injured. Terms like cable tool and rotary are as familiar to me as four on the floor is to an automaker. I lived it! I loved it! There has never been such an era as the Oil Boom. Not even in Camelot was there such a forest as my Forest Made of Steel. g Shirley D. Jordan

Shirley is the middle generation of three generations of writers. Her mother wrote and illustrated children’s stories. Both her children are well published. At age fifteen she had her own column in a city newspaper titled Calling All Kids. Later in life, she was county editor for a large newspaper in Ohio. She’s been fortunate to be published in a variety of magazines. In 2008, she won a national poetry award from The Edward Gorey Foundation. “Once you have ink in your veins you simply must write!” 12 oldcit y.online

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HOLIDAY ARTS MIXER The evening was hosted by St. Johns Cultural Council, St. Augustine Art Association, and Jule’s Art Tours. These groups are dedicated to promoting artistic excellence in the Nation’s Oldest City and know how to throw a party. An unexpected announcement was made that AGOSA (Art Galleries of St. Augustine) will become part of the Art Association. We will being more details and an upcoming issue. staaa.org artgalleriesofstaugustine.com stjohnsculture.com

photos byYvette Monell

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byYvette Monell




ometimes you meet a person and know there’s something special about them. Then there are those opportunities to meet a person who’s truly extraordinary. Tyler Clevenger is one of the extraordinary people. More than his story, Tyler shares his truth. In a coma for a month and a half, having a stroke on the third day of his coma, flatlining four times, and being totally paralyzed for seven days, Tyler had no brainwaves for 14 days straight. “I was in a really, really, really, really, bad skateboard accident.” Tyler breathes in, closes his eyes and starts remembering, “I could never really do many tricks, just carve around the bowls. Throw on my headphones and have a good time, hang out with friends, laugh and joke about everything, enjoy life. I was skateboarding, and my bearings locked up. I hit the ground and cracked the concrete with my forehead.” He opens his eyes with a huge smile on his face. “Mom and dad always said their little kid had a hardhead,” he laughs. Tyler was Life Flighted from Treaty Park on Wildwood Drive February 11, 2017. Born and raised in Saint Augustine, Florida, the story of Tyler’s accident is a familiar one to the community that prayed and followed his progress. Now 24 years old, Tyler reflects on his life-changing experience. “After my accident I always have to think about the positive things instead of the negative things because it took me about six months to walk again. I don’t know what give up means. I am grateful. I think about it all the time, I survived an accident that literally killed me. Literally killed me.” “Always believe, never give up. Always have faith in what you think is right, don’t ever disbelieve. Anything is possible. Even the impossible is possible – I’ve proven that. You never know how strong you really are until you’ve got to be strong enough to live. They called me the miracle boy in the hospital. I had a whole entire hospital literally down on one knee praying for me.” Asked if he had any memory of being dead, Tyler replied, “I’ve always been a believer. I am a great believer. I remember seeing a hand holding me. I was in the hand of God. I’d see the hand holding me and I’d feel comfort, it was beautiful.” “When I was in a coma, my mom and (other) people said with my brain waves, when something was about to go wrong, a light would flicker or brighten up. Things in the room would start twitching. It was a sign from God saying, ‘Help him!’”

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continued previous page “My mom said when I came out of the coma, I was slapping nurses’ butts. It was the codeine, or morphine, whatever it was. She said one time the nurse came in to clean my sheets and I slapped her butt so hard she ran out of the room crying. She said, ‘That’s when I knew you were still my Tyler.’ I started laughing so hard. That nurse walked in one day and I said, ‘Are you the one I slapped on the butt? And she said, ‘Yes, I am. That happens a lot when people come out of their comas.’” “I had a humongous notebook – journal thing – everybody wrote in. It makes me feel so good reading it today. You can do what you wanna do just keep on doing it, don’t change for nobody. Just keep praying. Be strong. Love the people you love. Love people you hate, love them anyway, because they don’t know what’s wrong. The only time I ever use the word hate is, ‘I hate broccoli, I hate pickles.’ “ Tyler’s biggest scar runs from his forehead, over his head, to the back of his neck. He said, “I love talking about it. I’ve had kids come up and asked me questions about it and the parents are like, ‘Don’t ask him questions about it.’ and I say, ‘It’s alright.’ and tell the whole story, I don’t mind I’ll tell it 100 times. No matter how many years it’s been already, I still think about it as if it happened yesterday. It never gets old. I’m alive, I’m breathing, I can move, I can talk!” “One day I saw a four-year-old kid at Treaty Park. His dad was watching him skateboard. I said, ‘Sir, you should have a helmet on your kid.’ He said, ‘Don’t you tell me what to do with my kid.’ I said, ‘Sir, look at that photo.’ Showing him a picture of me in the hospital. He said, ‘Come here son, come here, you should wear a helmet.’ That’s what I try to think about my accident, think of the positives instead of the negatives. The negatives take things back—not move forward. I’d rather be in the future not the past. The past is the past for a reason. I am so sorry mom—for having skateboarded without a helmet. I don’t even want a skateboard in my house.” As for Tyler’s future, “Well, I could, I’m about to be a father. I took a DNA test a couple weeks ago.” “Here’s a cool thing about it – the foster father was sitting behind me! He said, ‘Are you here for Kai?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Dude, you’re his father I can tell you right now! I’m his foster father, he looks just like you.’ My heart started melting so bad. ‘Are you for real?’ I said, ‘Can I see a picture of him?’ He had a picture of him! ‘Look mom, my dimples, my hair, and my eyes when I was that age!’ I’m ready to meet my kid. I already know I’m gonna be a great father because that’s my biggest dream is to have a little boy.” “It sucks that I missed his first walks and all that. I told myself, ‘Tyler, no matter how hard, you’re going to be there for your kid his whole life.” We held this interview before the results of the DNA test were in. Tyler’s son’s name is Kai, which means ocean in Hawaiian. Kai was born when Tyler was in the coma. “My medicine did not help me get through what I got through. Faith in myself did. I’ve come to realize just be patient everything that comes too quick you’ll never appreciate. Perfect is boring. Perfect don’t exist. Nothing on earth is perfect. Missing what I could be and what couldn’t be but then again, I am grateful for what I am today and what I got. But I’m still here.” “I don’t feel hate – I feel love everywhere. I said look at this,” as he points to the scars on his head. “I love talking about it. I flatlined four times. Stroked within the coma. I was angry because I couldn’t walk. The medicine they had me on had my anger up really-high and I broke three hospital beds within a week. I couldn’t get up and I was angry.” So how is Tyler now? “I’m not fully capable of running yet. I’m ready to start doing a lot more. I’m trying to get past the fear of running. He, God, ain’t nowhere near finished with me. When I talk to God, I talk to Him like I’m talking to you right now. I love kids so much. I believe the thing He’s got best for me is parenthood because he knows I’ll be an amazing father.” Tyler sent us photos when he got to meet and be with his son. And he said, “God is just amazing. He’s always there and he helped make my big dream of life come true. When Kia called me dad for the first time I cried.” 18 oldcit y.online


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Engagement photos of Elizabeth Gomez and Jeremy Klipstine Their Wedding is March 19th 2022 at the Oyster Bay Yacht Club, Fernandina Beach, Florida Elizabeth is the daughter of Fifi’s Owner, Lisa Wetteland

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On Saturday, October 9th First Coast Opera launched their new season with their Operatic Feast, an evening of food, drink and music! Close to 100 people gathered to enjoy a program that started with delicious food catered by La Cocina International Restaurant in St. Augustine. As guests enjoyed their meal, they were surprised by strolling performers, who included soprano Lisa Lockhart, soprano Brittany Fouché, mezzo-soprano Regina Torres and baritone John Daugherty. Following dessert, the formal program was launched with an audience singalong of Funiculi, Funicula led by FCO’s Artistic Director Curtis Tucker. The talented stars, accompanied by pianist Yelena Kurdina, then entertained the room with a selection of opera favorites. firstcoastopera.com

photos byYvette Monell

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The San Sebastian Art District is always a great way to spend your day. Shops open until 9pm during 1st Friday Art Walk. All these businesses have free parking available. 1 GALLERY ONE FOURTY FOUR Showcasing the exquisite and well collected work of award winning photographer, Lenny Foster. 144 King St. • 904-466-8305 • galleryonefortyfour.com 2 ARTBOX A mixed experience! Features FINE and FUN Art. Jewelry, painting, parties, workshops and classes. 137 King St. • 904-377-2901 • 904-704-1121 • ArtBox-137.com 3 BUTTERFIELD GARAGE ART GALLERY A leader in the presentation of traditional and contemporary visual arts and fine crafts since 1999. 137 King St. • 904-825-4577 • butterfieldgarage.com 4 WILDHEART BOUTIQUE Fabulous Fashion with an eclectic and mix of unique clothing and accessories. 137 King St. • 904-436-3150 • info@wildheartboutique.com 5 REMBRANDTZ Voted BEST by locals for 25 years. Local original art, stained glass, jewelry, pottery and gifts. 131 King St. • 904-829-0065 • rembrandtz.com 6 ALMA RAMIREZ ART STUDIO Contemporary artist painting and showing work in her studio. Appointments welcomed. 134 Riberia St. #105 • 904-553-7986 • alma@almasgallery.com 7 MARIA REYES JONES The artist paints and exhibits large & colorful art in her studio/gallery. 134 Riberia St. #101 • 407-619-1338 • MariaReyesJones.com 8 BLANTONS Heather & Holly Blanton, twin artists shared working studio. Open by appointment only. 134 Riberia #5 • 904-588-8935 • HeatherBlantonArt@gmail.com


Ancient City Poets




knew him before I knew that he was a poet. He showed up at my job one day. Michael Henry Lee was the new guy in the condo’s maintenance department. I had twelve months seniority over him.

We got to know each other in a general way during lunch breaks. I had just published my poetry anthology of poems written by people during their lunch break. I was working on the sequel to My Time: The Lunch Break Book when Michael started working in the maintenance department. He said that I inspired him. I unlocked a creative passion that had laid dormant since his college years. Michael said I ignited a desire in him to return to writing. I took him on board to be the assistant editor of Employees Only: The Lunch Break Book, and he reprised that role in the third of the series, Heart Pour: The Love Book. More than a dozen years later, Michael Henry Lee is an international award-winning Japanese poetry stylist whose work regularly appears in numerous print and online journals. Now retired, he lives in the Saint Augustine with his wife, a rescue cat, and seventeen bonsai trees. In his poem titled “all things being equal” Michael embraces the genre of free verse to illuminate specific images. This poem is a direct result of his daily practice of Tai chi. The poem is in response to one of the five elemental principals of Tai chi which encourages you to: “Keep your eyes on the horizon, neither focused nor unfocused but relaxed and attentive, without spoiling the picture that unfolds moment by moment before you, to express that state of observation to which you are striving.” g The Ancient City Poets gather on the last Sunday of every month. Present two or three of your polished poems or share some fresh ink from your notebook during Saint Augustine, Florida’s longest-running open mic poetry event. Poetry fans are needed, just as much as poets. In August, the group celebrated their twelve-year anniversary. Invite a friend or two or three to cheer you on. If you would like to share a poem, please show up at 2:30pm on the day of the reading and get your name on the list. There is space on the list for 15 poets at 5 minutes each. At 3pm, the readers will be called to the podium in the order their names appear on the sign-up sheet. Please share your words and embrace the local poetry scene. Please go to www.bodor.org to find out the location of the reading and more info about the group and go to wwww.100TPC.org to find out all about the poetic change events happening all over the world. Chris Bodor

Chris Bodor relocated from New York to Saint Augustine in 2003 after working for ten years in NY City. In August of 2009, Chris started hosting monthly poetry open mic readings on the last Sunday of every month, here in St. Augustine, under the name Ancient City Poets. The name was created by Glenda Bailey-Mershon for a National Poetry Month event in April of 2009 and recently celebrated twelve years. Chris has had his poems, flash fiction, and journalism articles published in local and national publications. His poetry has been translated into French and Polish. bodor.org 24 oldcit y.online

all things being equal poem byMichael Henry Lee

eyes on the horizon focused on nothing specific everything in general the in-betweens the out of the ways gazing eyes half open half closed cause and effect superimposed one upon the other seamless without judgement seeing as the stream sees feeling as the eagle feels the consummate observer drawn neither here nor there neither beset nor besieged an audience of one that declines participation withholds its applause g

f lash



Opening night. The exhibition documents the fragmentary clippings from early-20th century motion picture magazines pasted to the walls of the Alcazar staff quarters by the immigrant staff who lived and worked at the hotel. The crumbling magazine remnants left behind by these forgotten individuals evoke the ephemeral nature of youth, memory and fame. The Lightner Museum, 75 King St, St. Augustine FL 32084 | lightnermuseum.org

photos byYvette Monell

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ho doesn’t love Saint Augustine? The quaint buildings, the fabulous beaches, the historic sites, the people, the charm...aah, the charm! And there’s those wonderfully strong and courageous lions guarding the bridge, ever watchful and protective of everyone who travels from downtown to Anastasia Island.

Who wouldn’t love these lions, “Firm” and “Faithful”? They have resolutely stood guard in their positions through every occasion and every weather event since 1927, except for a 6-year hiatus while the bridge was being refurbished from 2005 until 2011. Once they were returned to their rightful positions of duty, Firm and Faithful have been more cherished than ever by all who love Saint Augustine. While preparing for the opening of ArtBox Gallery in 2019 Lisa Myers had the idea to represent Firm and Faithful in a special way. She and ArtBox partner, Laura O’Neal approached jewelry designer, Donna Moody Gray about the possibility of Donna’s designing and creating jewelry that features the lions. Lisa had seen jewelry in the Virgin Islands that was indicative of that location and wanted to have something similar in Saint Augustine, something that would be available only at ArtBox. Laura and Lisa are the founders of ArtBox Gallery. Donna’s jewelry line, Global Island Treasures, began as a one-time fundraiser for Sparrow’s Wings, her nonprofit organization that helps children in need in Saint Johns County and third world countries.

Donna Moody Gray, Lisa Myers and Laura O’Neal

Donna agreed to partner with ArtBox on the project and began searching for a way to honor the history of Saint Augustine and the specialness of the lions. The three women wanted to also honor the creative appeal of Saint Augustine and the dynamic arts community of the City. Laura photographed the lions and then created a drawing in her unique style and jewelry began to come to life. Donna’s quest was to find a way to create three dimensional, sculptural, wearable jewelry as well as to honor Laura’ s unique artistic rendering. After more than a year of diligent work on the project Firm & Faithful Forever! tm was finally birthed—just in time for the December 2021, First Friday Art Walk. This collection features a sterling silver pendant in two sizes and a woven leather bracelet with the sterling silver lions. The bracelet is available in either tan or black leather. “As a person who lived in the Ponte Vedra area for more than 20-years and now recently relocated to Saint Augustine, I can say that Saint Augustine has truly captured my heart. Our Firm & Faithful Forever! jewelry is a wonderful tribute to our charming little City!”, said Lisa. Who wouldn’t love the unique “Firm & Faithful Forever!” jewelry? Now available at ArtBox Gallery, 137 King Street and special events. Attractive to wear and yes, a wonderful reminder of the Old City we all love so much! g 26 oldcit y.online


A Christmas Tree of Palm by Shirley D. Jordan

The cards all seem to show it cold And snowy with a fireplace bold. There must be sleighs and reindeer, too For Christmas bells to all ring true. But Christmas means the same to me In Northeast Florida, you see, As it does to Northern Folk Who shivering on that morn awoke. I think a star shines just as bright In Tampa’s sky as Boston’s night. And carols all sound just the same If sung in Florida or Maine. The presents lying ‘neath the tree Will surely be as well received If branches are plastic or real. Spruce, fir or palm all have appeal. When glowing with the strings of light They mark our lovely Christmas night. As long as family and friends Are gathered, it does not depend. On weather, temperature or town. As long as loved ones gather round A tree and sing a carol or two Our Christmas dreams will all come true. God Bless! g

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he drought in Northern California has been severe for years and El Nino has proven to be a factor primarily since the 90s. Those who deny climate change existing only need to look at California. Winemakers try to adapt seasonally to the changes.

The vines...they look deceiving. Some are green. Some have some green parts to them. The important thing is: Can they produce healthy grapes? Many of the vineyards in Napa and Sonoma that were affected last year in the Glass fires ending last September, are still being analyzed to see what they produce. Other vineyards have just been given the axe and ripped from the root to start over. Unfortunately, the process from ground zero tends to be ten years to produce really good grapes. Let’s look at what is currently taking place; that is the new issue. With many of the trees and bushes gone on the hills and mountains, there is nothing left to keep the grounds intact. With Mother Nature doing her thing, storms from the West put a deluge of water on California, with the wine country having no protection. Mudslides have been rampant, and the vineyards are flooded. This can cause dry rot and disease to what’s left from past fires. Even for vines that appear to have life, many growers are pulling their questionable vines and starting over. Only the apparent healthy vines are staying. You probably wonder why winery owners do this over and over. Take the risks, put their blood, sweat, tear, and fortunes, into all of this work? It is definitely a love and passion. Wine is a way of life and if you ask most people in the business, they don’t see themselves anywhere else. We have the bug but where else can you want to go to work all the time? What does this climate change craziness mean to us? Yes, you guessed it. Price increases and a possible shortage for the really good wine. Start saving your pennies and buy wisely. While you are reading this article, I am flying to Sonoma and Napa with seven of our customers. I am hoping to show them my love of California and give them the winetasting “bug.” Stop by in November at the store and sample wines from Northern California. Maybe you’ll get infected, too. Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones. g

by Jeanne Maron Owner/Operator of The Gifted Cork & Gourmet, Jeanne likes to think of herself as a wine geek and has been collecting wines since she was old enough to drink. She is a member of International Wine & Food Society, as well as La Chaine Rotisseur, Nord ‘Est Chapter. She is a first level sommelier, from the Court of Master Sommelier’s. Jeanne loves to travel and since she opened the store 11 years ago, she has visited over 10 foreign countries and over 24 wine regions. She leads a group tour every year to a wine destination and opens the trip to any of her friends and customers. Jeanne is married to Howard Caplan and has three sons, all in their twenties. She has lived in Jacksonville all her life and currently resides in St. John’s County. thegiftedcork.com


byAmy Lauer Goldin

SOTA Grant Means More Than Just Money to A Classic Theatre 2022 Season aclassictheatre.org


ACT Artistic Director: Cindy Alexander

his year A Classic Theatre was honored to receive a SOTA (State of the Arts) grant from the St Johns Cultural Council. In the past, the Cultural Council Grants have been awarded for individual projects, but this year A Classic Theatre was pleased to be the recipient of a grant specifically designated to benefit their entire season. This vote of confidence by SJCC for the new direction of ACT is a welcome sign that live theater is valued as an important part of the cultural community. ACT has already produced two well-received productions this season at their current home in the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center; Lullaby of Broadway, their musical opener, and The Dining Room, their sold-out comedy/drama about the changing mores in America played out in a traditional dining room. Upcoming productions of No Exit and The Immigrant attest to ACT’s commitment to bring a variety of stories and experiences to the stage and demonstrate their new vision of theater in the Ancient City. g GET INVOLVED! Volunteers are always welcomed with open arms…and since we only do a few productions each year, we promise we won’t take over your life! We wear many hats and we would LOVE to have new blood with new ideas to help us keep fresh and grow. If you’ve always had an inkling to become part of showbiz, contact us! Let’s talk! 30 oldcit y.online



by Derek Boyd Hankerson, M.A.

Florida, Brian Iannucci is a singer/songwriter with an eclectic musical background. Brian combines aspects of country, pop, and blues to produce a unique sound. As a piano player, Brian brings a different feel to the genre of country music. Brian’s lyrics and vocals provide a deep, thoughtful, and entertaining musical experience!


wenty-one years ago when I lived in conservative Martinez, Georgia I became a country music fan, because, at the time, country was the only type of stations on the air. Today, I still love country music and while St. Johns County is not Nashville, Tennessee, we have a number of musicians who live in the county who have a clear knack for country rock! One of the more popular country music artists in the area is Brian Iannaunci, my pisano – aka Italian brother. Brian is not your average musician. In fact, he has a Ph.D. in Business and a Master of Business Administration. Brian and I have known each other for almost twenty-years. When we first met, we were both actively involved in the St. Johns County Republican Executive Committee. During that time, we never talked about music because we were too busy trying to help other people reach their goals. We are still helping others, and we both learned through life that we have to stick to our core beliefs and follow our own passions while we continue to reach our own goals. Music has always been a passion of mine. (I never shared with Brian I was the president of the boys choir in high school and sang in the church choir since I was a kid.) Speaking of passion, I listened to Brian’s albums as I was writing this article. Frankly, I’m very impressed with Brian’s musical gifts, talents and enjoyed all the songs. Several of my favorites are Unsung Hero, Why the Hell Should I Do Anything Else, Set Fire to This Town, and Tomorrow Will Come. more >

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Advertise with us! Top 3 Questions People Ask Yvette: #1 Will you do an article about me and my business? Yvette’s Answer: • YES! • A 2-page story! • You can write it yourself. Me or one of the magazine’s contributors will write it for you. • We work together with you to get the kind of story Old City subscribers deserve to read. • I’ll send a photographer to take the photos if you don’t have any recent. • The pages will have ADVERTORIAL written across the top which means it is a story that has been paid for by you. The price is on the rate sheet. • I believe selling editorial is unethical. The magazine is a business that sells advertising.

#2 Can I get a discount? Yvette’s Answer: • Sure, all my consecutive advertisers are business partners! • Advertising space is real estate, buying the space in Old City Magazine is an investment. I work to get my business partners a return on their investment. How can we work together?

#3 Can I be on your cover?


Yvette’s Answer: • Yes! • I have very high standards but totally open to ideas and suggestions. Let’s see what we can come up with.

Photography: Rudy Arias Jewlery: Donna Moody Gray Fashions: Emily Sifrift

MISSION “To reflect Saint Augustine’s positive image, inspiring readers to explore their surroundings and create a joyful and meaningful life.”

Yvette Monell Owner & Publisher 904.495.3059


music : continued from page 31

Brian has been playing music since he was five-years old. He was drawn to the piano at his grandmother’s home on the Treasure Coast in Port St. Lucie. Ironically, Brian’s mother convinced a piano teacher to take him on, at five-years old, a younger age than any of her previous students. At the age of six, he wrote his first song and won a song writing contest at his elementary school. He began playing shows in his teens and he has been performing on and off ever since. Over the years, he has picked up other instruments – most recently, the acoustic guitar in order to supplement his songwriting and show performances. He has continued to write songs and found this to be a constant in his life. No matter what, he is always drawn back to music. Brian realizes that the stories, music, heritage, and many other factors have made country a very inclusive music genre that is open to many sounds. And, as an artist, he’s provided a ton of flexibility. Brian grew up a pop guy, but as a piano player, he has always looked up to artists like Billy Joel, Elton John, The Beatles, and The Eagles. During my discussion with Brian, he commented saying, “In the 90s, country had a major shift. Artist like Garth Brooks, Toby Keith, Diamond Rio, and many others brought country to the mainstream. That sound seemed to fit me more and more and I was listening to more country music than ever,” said Brian. When Brian graduated with his Ph.D. years ago, he was shocked when he walked through his home door and his wife, Stacia, bought him a baby grand piano. As you can imagine, it inspired him to get back into playing the piano and writing more and more. All of this led to him playing over 150 shows a year in the past eight-years and, eventually, finding his way to Music Row to record his music. Brian’s musical plan is to ride the wave. His music continues to reach more and more people and he is excited to continue his musical journey. As a songwriter, Brian would love a big artist to record his music. As a performer, he is excited to play to bigger and bigger audiences. Today, Brian has no plans to live in Nashville, because like most of us he loves St. Johns County and his home here. However, if he acquires a signed

country music contract, he’d consider moving, but Brian realizes that, with technology, he can be in Nashville without being in Nashville. Presently, Brian is an independent artist and he manages all his own affairs. However, he is getting to the point where he is actively pursuing a label and management that can help him grow in the industry. He realizes there are tons to do from promotions, to media, to booking, and he is working diligently on this balancing act on all the aspects of this business. On his first album, he worked with Stephen Wrench as he co-wrote and produced several tracks. On his recent release he, co-wrote his first single, Kiss You for The Rest of My Life, with JS “Scott” Triplett. Brian’s music is on all major streaming platforms or check out his site, brianiannuccimusic.com. g

Helping You Plan Excitement

JOIN TO HAVE A BLAST 904.495.3059 or 706.409.3105 eventsstaugustine.com Submit press releases to info@eventsstaugustine.com We focus on the arts, community, charity and non-profit events. Call to request event coverage and editorial.


Change of Space


byTracy Wells

o you feel frustrated when you walk in your front door? Are you forever losing your keys, the channel changer, or your mind? How do you get control of your home?

Recognizing the problem, knowing there is a solution, and asking for help will get you moving away from confusing, cluttered, chaos to being calm, cool and collected. Clutter invades, so start small and create S.P.A.C.E. To do so, we need to Sort, Pair, Assign, Create and Enjoy. Sort all the items in your area into 3 piles/baskets/boxes. Keep (love, want, use, need), Give (no need, doesn’t fit, don’t love), and Not Sure (Don’t want to let go). Pair by putting “like with like” from the keeper’s pile. Assign a home for items in the same category (knives in knife drawer, shampoos in “hair products” bin, baggies in the food storage organizing rack). Create cohesiveness by using complimentary storage bins to put all things in their place. Choose storage bins that YOU like. Hidden organizers like labeled bins that you can’t see through (canvas bins, woven baskets) and Visual organizers like labeled bins that you can (wire baskets, clear acrylic). Enjoy the results of the work you have done. When small projects are completed, we are inspired and strengthened to take on the larger ones. Whole house projects are my favorite! In this project, my client and I together started in the first place you see when you walk in the front door and the last when you walk out…the entry way. We then worked in the area that she visits all day long…the pantry. The kitchen island was unable to be used, so we spent time there next. Her retired hubby was helpful in putting together organizing items and fixing things that were not working. Her journey has begun, and we will continue until the whole house is organized. Like the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady wins the race. In small increments of time, great things can be accomplished. Take that first step! I am so thrilled to help others in this way! Simplify, Organize, Satisfy!

Tracy Wells


As a professional organizer, it is a joy for me to use my skills and life experience to help you Simplify where there is chaos, Organize where there is disorder, and feel satisfied instead of stressed! SOS Organizing ~ simplifyorganizesatisfy.com ~ 615.714.0705 34 oldcit y.online

“Change only comes when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change.”

— Tony Robbins

ar t

San Sebastian Arts District

photos byYvette Monell


as well. The galleries KNEW that they must approach him about starting up a themed gallery tour. His Historic tour is currently very popular, and he was happy to oblige.

So, what changed? In 2018, AGOSA [Art Galleries of St Augustine] organization decided to organize the myriad of galleries located all over Saint Augustine. They created a map and designated different galleries to named districts based on location. This map serves as a valuable guide that directs art enthusiasts to as many galleries close to one another as possible.

Said Laura O’Neal with ArtBox gallery, “I affectionately refer to this tour as cArtWalk! Its Art Walk without the walk!” She laughs. “I think it will benefit tourists as well as our local population. I feel many locals want to attend First Friday ArtWalks but may dread parking and inclement weather. With this tour everyone will get an earlybird experience, a covered ride and a warm welcome from each gallery representative.”

iami celebrates Wynwood, Santa Fe has its Railyard Arts District, Asheville boasts their River Arts District and now Saint Augustine is being put on the map with The San Sebastian Arts District!

Once on the fringe of downtown and removed from the central hub of the Plaza driving out of Saint Augustine to US 1, this area, was at one time not exactly a destination for art. Today “THE” District as some are calling it, is now beginning to flourish! The San Sebastian Arts District is comprised of Alma Ramirez Gallery, ArtBox Gallery, Butterfield Garage, Gallery 144 and Maria Reyes Jones Gallery. These days there is a lot of buzz surrounding this district with the development of the marinas and the fabulous food and drink establishments that are in this area of downtown housed between Riberia and US 1.

What makes the San Sebastian District stand out? These five galleries have put their heads together and have involved yet another business located within The District. Blaise Morrell, proprietor of Pineapple Ride & Tour, offers pedicab and electric vehicle rides and tours. He is also a metal designer and fabricator with his metal studio on Riberia. He operates his tour company from this location

Pineapple is now set up to book electric cart tours through the district. They will launch from the parking lot on Riberia at four o’clock in the afternoon. The guests will be led and driven to all five district galleries where they will experience an intimate gallery visit, refreshments, see behind the scenes, meet artists and be privy to interesting stories! These guests will be the first patrons to view the art openings and features before the general public walks through the doors for ArtWalk.

For more information and to book, go to RideandTour.com g

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by Renee Unsworth

Just in time for the holiday season, The Odd Macabre in historic St. Augustine, Florida will offer unique activities during Nights of Lights. The Odd Macabre parlor is run by St. Augustine husband and wife Steve and Heather Settle. Located at 76 Spanish Street, it’s a cozy little cottage space where guests can gather to start a scavenger hunt, make a candle, or learn about the many spirits of St. Augustine on a ghost tour. Learn more at theoddmacabre.com Nights of Lights runs Now through January 31, 2022, with more than 3 million lights sparkling throughout the City of St. Augustine. The lights come on at dusk every evening. While many visitors ride trolleys or see the lights on a boat tour, others take a self-guided walking tour. We recommend taking the Very Merry Nights of Lights Scavenger Hunt to see the lights and find 13 locations throughout the Nation’s Oldest City, while learning some of its history! VERY MERRY NIGHTS OF LIGHTS SCAVENGER HUNT This Scavenger Hunt continues Thursday-Sunday each week through December 29! This self-guided event takes your very own small group through the Nights of Lights display in St. Augustine, Florida — finding 13 locations throughout the Nation’s Oldest City during this holiday spectacular featuring 3 million lights! When you check in at 76 Spanish Street, you’ll be given your scavenger hunt materials and gear. Meet your helper elf who will be in touch by text as needed to make your way through the magical Nights of Lights Hunt! RSVP at the13keys.com CANDLE-MAKING FOR HOLIDAY GIFTS Looking for the perfect gift idea? Create a handcrafted soy wax candle as a holiday gift! The WhichCraft Candle Parlor at The Odd Macabre offers candle-making sessions where guests can choose the candle vessel, the type of wick, and can combine three scents to create a one-of-a-kind fragrance. Participants get crafty and create their very own labels as well, perfect for gift-giving. (Some candle history: Romans began making dipped candles beginning around 500 BCE! Candles were regularly given as gifts during Saturnalia.) Reserve your date and time at whichcraftcandleparlor.com GHOST STORIES WERE OFTEN TOLD AT CHRISTMASTIME Did you know that ghost stories are part of Christmas past traditions? The most famous Christmas story is a ghost story: Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was first published in 1843 — a story about a man tormented by a series of ghosts the night before Christmas! For much of the 19th century, the holiday season was associated with ghosts. Telling ghost stories during winter is a hallowed tradition, a folk custom stretch back centuries, when families would wile away the winter nights with tales of spooks and monsters. Based in folklore and the supernatural, it was a tradition the Puritans frowned on, so it never gained much traction in America. Join A Night Among Ghosts for a ghost walk, a paranormal investigation or a ghost tour, and learn about spirits of St. Augustine! Choose your experience at anightamongghosts.com TWILIGHT CANDLES & GHOSTS EVENT Sunday, December 19 from 6 to 8 p.m., take a candle class and hear a ghost talk at The Odd Macabre parlor. Cost is $45 per guests (ages 12 and older) and includes coffee, tea, hot chocolate, bottled water, and an oracle card pull. BYOB. Reserve your spot at whichcraftcandleparlor.com g 36 oldcit y.online

Owners Pieter Nel & Donah Parent

We stock a great selection of Gourmet Cheeses, fresh Baked Bread, fresh Soups, Chowders and freshly prepared Take Out Meals. Plus Hanger Steak, Outside Skirt Steak and Picanha Brazilian /Top Sirloin Cap, Rack of Lamb, and Leg of Lamb in addition to all of our other great meats! Our new signature line of Gourmet Spices to complement you purchase.


International Gourmet Market

Offering Local Grass Fed Beef, Prime Beef, Wagyu Beef, Duroc Pork, Organic Chicken, Organic Eggs, Fresh Seafood, Prepared Take Out Meals, Specialty Wines, Craft Beer and More.

South African specialty meats manufactured on site include Biltong, Droewors and Boerewors.

110 Anastasia Blvd. Suite A, St. Augustine, FL 32080 (904) 417-0550 • info@freshmarketisland.com • freshmarketisland.com




Too Young, Too Smart, Too Rich To Be An Alcoholic

t’s like a Jeopardy game show question: “What are the three reasons most often given as to why men and women with a drinking problem cannot get sober?” What is too Young, as “I’m only (_) fill in the blank, years old. How can I possibly be an alcoholic, I’m too young?” “Yes, my mother and father drink too much and probably alcoholics but they were in their mid-seventies.” “Not me, I’m much too young to be an alcoholic.” The undeniable truth is that alcoholism affects both young men and women of all ages. What is too Smart, as “I have an MBA from a very good school and have received excellent grades throughout my entire academic career. I believe only high school and college dropouts can be alcoholics.” “Not me, I’m much too smart to be an alcoholic.” “Besides, I already have a good work history and promising career.” The undeniable truth is intelligence is no more a factor as who may be an alcoholic than the day of the week they were born on is. What is too Rich, as “I don’t live outdoors, I didn’t spend last night under a bridge. I have an excellent paying job, live in a nice neighborhood and a BMW in my garage. No. I’m definitely too well off financially to be an alcoholic.” The undeniable truth is that money and an individual’s wealth play no role as to who may or may not be an alcoholic. My personal and professional experience in the rehab, recovery and treatment world suggests strongly that it is either one, a combination or all three of these reasons why people believe they cannot possibly have a drinking problem. In my own case it was all three reasons, “the trifecta” as I like to refer to it, as why I could not possibly be an alcoholic. I was 39 years old, a college graduate and a successful, small business owner who attended Church each Sunday. How could I possibly be an alcoholic? Besides, I had a lot of friends and especially relatives that spilled more than I ever drank. I used to say, ‘I only had a problem when there was nothing to drink.’ The craving started most weekdays between 2:00p and 3:00p.m. It was at this time each day that I would start romancing the idea of having a few cold, “Tall Boys” on the drive home. Winter or summer, hot or cold, it made no difference. Stopping each late afternoon at the local convenience store or “packy” as we say in New England and purchasing what I considered my just reward for completing yet another day at work became a ritual. I was greeted in the store and had become like Norm on Cheers. How else was I supposed to make my way home through the late afternoon traffic? Besides, I worked hard each day and deserved a few beers on my way home, didn’t I? I loved escaping my problems through drinking but as my drinking progressed felt like it just started raining and I was the third monkey running to get aboard the Ark. I had always believed alcoholics were dirty, lived outdoors, and people who

drank cheap wine from screw top bottles. Arriving at home each day before taking my winter coat or suit jacket off, I would routinely reach into the fridge for another of my trusted friends, my Buds. Oftentimes I would proceed to have several additional ice-cold beers in arm’s reach while taking a hot bath or sitting in a bubbling jacuzzi. Just one or two more before supper and I’d have captured once again that illusive beer buzz that I so craved at the end of each day. I thought I could stop drinking any time if it became necessary. Based on my disease’s penchant for denial, stopping was the last thing I ever wanted to do. I had always thought denial (“deNile”) was a river that flows through Egypt! The simple truth was I was living a lie and had a secret I could not share with anyone. I knew deep down inside I was not able to stop or control my drinking. I began to worry that it was just a matter of time before I too hit what I had heard referred to as a “bottom” and lost everything. I discovered there are two “bottoms” an alcoholic will experience. There are what are referred to as High bottoms and Low Bottoms. Examples of an alcohol addict’s Low bottom oftentimes includes DUI’s, divorce, bankruptcy, job loss, hospitalization, house arrest or jail. But again, how could I be an alcoholic? I was only 39 years old, a college graduate and owner of a sailboat and a BMW. It wasn’t until my wife gave the ultimatum and choice between continuing to drink or losing my marriage. I finally surrendered and sought relief. I was desperate and sick and tired of being sick and tired. It was in taking a former prep-school classmate’s advice and attending twelve-step meetings that allowed me to come to grips with the fact that I had become powerless over my alcohol consumption and that the loss of my life, health and marriage were truly at risk. I proceeded to attend ninety meetings in ninety days. In hindsight, this saved my life. The gratitude I have today stems from the fact that I didn’t have to lose everything as so many others had before I succumbed, surrendered and acknowledged my alcoholic disease. Today, I chuckle to myself and oftentimes cannot help but laugh out loud when I hear a person say they are too young, too smart or too rich to be an alcoholic. As now I know better. If a loved one, family member or friend is struggling and losing their battle with the Big Bottle (alcohol) or the Little Bottle (pills), remember it is never a question of willpower and self-control. If you, a family member, or a friend can relate to any of this and would like to talk, please call me. 904.553.1600 If you do not reach out to me, reach out to someone. There are countless resources available including Rational Recovery, Celebrate Recovery, 12-Step Programs, clergy and both toll-free Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) and National Alliance on Mental Health Issues (NAMI). Thank you for helping me keep sober for one more day. g

by Lawrence (Laurie) Traynor is a Jax Beach resident and retired National drug and alcohol treatment executive. He volunteers his time helping alcoholics, their loved ones and families locate public and private alcohol assistance resources. 904.553.1600 or RugbyTrayn5858@gmail.com 38 oldcit y.online

Happy New Year Saint Augustine


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