I’ve been coming to Siesta Key for more than 25 years, and tonight will be the last one I spend as owner of a small and pretty apartment overlooking the
Siesta Key, despite its hokey name, is lovely. Only a few hundred yards wide, it rests southeast of
In the early morning, I can see porpoise from my living from window. There have been less pleasant sights. In 1999 a large woman was taken by the riptide. She was so covered with suntan lotion that rescuers could not grab her. When she was finally wrestled to shore, the EMTs parked their ambulance beneath my window and tried to resuscitate her. They hit her with the electric paddles a dozen times before they gave up, and each time her body shook and quivered, but she was gone. It made the evening news.
I’ve been through two hurricanes here, the first time drunk, the second sober. The latter was a lot more frightening. I was evacuated once, with the rest of the island. The winds reached 100 miles per hour and the rain was horizontal. The hardcore—people too stupid or inebriated to leave—weathered the storm inside Captain Jack’s restaurant and drank the bar dry. One guy who went to his car to get cigarettes was never seen again.
Siesta is not a babe-magnet island. The men are mostly overweight and over sixty. The women are roughly the same. Only once did I see someone wearing a thong at the beach and, putting it as kindly as I can, she really should not have. Neither are there 350-pound German grandfathers wearing Speedos, a common and unfortunate occurrence on the beaches of the south of
The island appears to have gone through the financial crisis without too much damage. Both video rental stores are gone, as is the sole Japanese restaurant. On the mainland, thing are worse; every tenth store on Rte. 41, the Tamiami Trail, is shuttered. Restaurants, fast-food emporiums, mom-and-pop rental places, specialty stores, all have suffered greatly. The people still making money cater to the old and he dying. There are two cancer clinics, more chiropractors than a human has bones, innumerable vision and hearing aid dealerships, and, my personal favorite, a
I love this place.