It’s best to follow in your footsteps, particularly in the snow. It’s my first Wisconsin winter since 1993-94 and it’s cold, but not as sustained cold as it used to get. The summers are milder too and that’s the global warming I’ve noticed in Milwaukee, WI. In Central Florida the summers have become guaranteed scorchers which start in May and last through hurricane season which keeps getting longer & more intense.
What is proven by Hurricanes Charley-Francis-Ivan-Jeanne (2004), Sandy (2012) and then Irma in 2017, is that you can not sustain a direct hit from the eye, and the storm surge is now HUGE on both sides of the Florida peninsula. The panhandle and the Keys are the most dangerous places because they are exposed and too often in a hurricane’s path. Something needs to be done, but nothing is.
In 2019 Hurricane Dorian stalled over the Bahamas for 48 hours with a wind forces that exceeded the Saffir–Simpson scale in which a Category 5 starts at 157 MPH. The rating scale starts at 74-96 MPH for Cat 1, with ranges in the mid-to-high twenties of sustained MPH through Category 4 at 130-156 MPH. Sustained winds for Dorian were over 180 MPH, with gusts of 200+ MPH. Dorian was a Cat 6, and I was relieved it didn’t hit where I was, but my relief is someone else’s misery.
I have a simple rule for establishing residency in Florida: Have you ever been in the eye of a hurricane? It will teach you to be ready in EVERY way. With that said, I’ve met a lot of great snowbirds and have no prejudice against them for going back North during the Florida summer. Everyday people are great everywhere is what I have learned.
I really feel for loved ones, colleagues & friends who still live in Florida. It’s an amazing place with so many great people… but it’s been fucked-up by elites who don’t care about anything except profit for themselves. Anyone who has lived there will tell you that it’s a good ol’ boys network and if you ain’t from the Sunshine State (or relatively close) then you’re not-so-welcome by the people who own it. They’ll take your money and get you to work for them, but they don’t like you. Many of them are still fighting the Civil War on the side of the Confederacy. You have to beat them at their own unfair game, which I did. Then they really hate you.
That’s what I ran up against from the start in Central Florida. Now, Florida is run by Donald Trump from his Mar-a-Lago compound though his puppet Ron DeSantis in the governor’s mansion. For me it’s like that April Wine song “Sign of the Gypsy Queen” where you better see the red flags and MOVE.
On April 17, 2021, directly upstairs to my Sanford apartment, I witnessed my angry neighbors bringing in at least 3 assault rifles in hardshell cases around dusk on a clear Saturday. I had seen what looked like cases of ammo when they were unloading their U-haul trailer, shortly after they had moved-in months earlier. These haters never smiled, and always tried to provoke & intimidate everyone. That upstairs armament incident happened the weekend Drivin N’ Cryin played in Sanford. They were great, but the local music scene has become so toxic that it’s impossible for me. No respect from the gatekeepers, with too many jealous wanna-be’s, manipulative hangers-on, etc. I’m a pariah for being a revolutionary. All this told me it was time to go.
There’s no regrets on leaving Florida, and no complaints about the good people I worked with across all the professions. I met & worked with some amazing dental specialists, world-class practitioners; along with amazing hygienists, assistants, office staff, lab specialists, etc. I’m a humble bread-and-butter dentist, but with musical talent. Everyone who was there knows. Since I’m grateful to escape, my policy now is what happened in Florida stays in Florida. That’s the kind of state it is, and if you respect that you can get by, but you always have to be ready for the rough & mean.
I also worked with some serious musicians, all of whom I didn’t always see eye-to-eye with. Being a professional is about doing a first-class job whenever you are hired, no matter how you feel about that person, the material, etc. Music for me has been about finding my collaborative soul mate, as I’m deficient in certain key areas. Everyone knows that Tom Pearce is my musical partner. You need a producer.
Tom is the older brother I never had as a kid, so we disagree about stuff… but it’s the love & respect that carries us through. It certainly wasn’t about the money because there wasn’t any for what I did. We just wanted to be free and make music. Today, Tom has many side projects and has benefited tremendously from our collaboration. It’s the only way I can pay him anymore. We’d love to re-master everything onto a multi-disc CD anthology with a booklet and all that, but there needs to be money & distribution. Tommy Mottola & Co. have it all locked up. The music business is a mafia.
Friends who helped in music & dentistry have moved on and are pursing their lives, hopes & dreams. I hope they understand life is a journey as well as a conscious choice. I gave it my best, but there’s no money or prospects for me, so I had to move on. That’s my attitude and it’s rational, but it’s also hard to concisely explain. Concision is such a virtue.
So whenever you’re going somewhere you’ve never been, learn to follow your footsteps. It covers your tracks and keeps you warm, clean & dry. It gives you something that is your own to follow & believe in. It marks & remarks where you’ve been, in a silent way. You can live to cover many miles by following your footsteps.