By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 5/20/2019
Occurred: 1/25/2017
Topics/Keywords: #Gianna #Michael #Travel #KeyWest #Florida Page Views: 1193
We go beach hopping.

First thing in the morning, John called to let us know that he and the babies were going to the playground at Higgs Beach while their mother and her sister, the bride-to-be, got their hair and nails done. So, of course Michael, Keith and I gobbled down our breakfast, ran through showers, and set out in the golf cart.

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Although there's a small, enclosed playground right on the beach, Gianna prefers Astro City, across the street. It's bigger, has more things to play on, and, for some reason, tends to be less crowded.

However, Gianna has only had one nap since we arrived and cried much of the way to the "Go Gown", as she calls it. When we arrived, she threw herself down in the sand and refused to enter the park. I stayed with her, and when she realized no one was going to force her to do anything, she started playing outside the playground, running back and forth on the sidewalk and balancing on the parking barriers.

After Gianna finally entered the park on her own, her Uncle John (or, as she calls him, All Done) took over and Keith and I managed to get a peek at Higgs Beach. It's nice enough, but we agreed Fort Zachary Taylor Beach is nicer, and decided we'd manage to get there to swim later in the day if we could, now that the ocean had calmed down from the storms earlier in the week..

Michael, who is still recovering from a car accident that happened in December, assigned himself the job of entertaining baby Dominic, who to be honest was entertaining himself by trying to suck his own toes. (And succeeding!)

I was very impressed with Gianna's athletic prowess, though not too surprised. After all, when her mother, Jenny, was five years old, she could do a backflip. ("Where did you learn to do that?" I asked, astonished. "On TV," she replied. It turned out she'd been watching the Olympics!)

that?" I asked, astonished. "On TV," she replied. It turned out she'd been watching the Olympics!)"/>

She and I spent quite a while on the swings together. Every now and then she'd say, "High!" so I would get off and give her another couple of pushes.

John joined in. Apparently he can make her go "High!" better than I can.

Since Gianna's need for a nap was imminent, John took the babies back to their place. I got a call from Zach, and we then decided to return to Fort Zachary Taylor Beach, now that the seas were calm and swimming was allowed. Here's Michael, Zach, me and Keith enjoying it.

There were a couple of artificial reefs that I assume were placed to protect the beach from storms like the one that was raging earlier in the week. Zach suggested he and I swim out to one. I gave up barely a third of the way, but Zach is one of the strongest swimmers I've ever known and made it to the rocks in just a few minutes.

I can legitimately take some pride in Zach's swimming ability, as Michael and I taught him how when he was just three. Before that summer was over, he could swim across the pool by himself. Now he's crossing stretches of ocean.

The view to the west had been unobstructed. As the sun lowered, we tended to stand looking away from it. But then Michael turned and suddenly yelled, "Where did that come from?!" It was a cruise ship setting out for its next port-of-call.

We had already done all the swimming we wanted—even Keith went in!—but what we were waiting for was the sunset, which we'd been promised at the gate was likely to be spectacular.

Every time Keith and I had driven on Roosevelt Avenue—which was, like, several times a day—I laughed at the signs advertisng a particular seafood place. I pointed it out to Michael, who immediately decided he would treat Keith and me to dinner there.

The Stoned Crab is located on Roosevelt (US 1), just between my daughter's place and ours; so it wasn't at all out of the way. (On a 4-square-mile island, nothing can really be out of the way!)

In any case, we sat on the porch which was delightfully breezy, until I began to get chilled. But it was my fault for going out in shorts and without a jacket, when I know it cools down quickly at night, especially in January.

I loved this mention on the menu. So much of our fishing nowadays is unsustainable that the entire industry in on the verge of collapse. Still, it's hard to picture too many crabs celebrating.

Why So Many Stone Crabs Are Named "Lefty"

Why So Many Stone Crabs Are Named

Michael decided he would definitely need a bib to eat his lobster, but decided against using the gloves that were also provided.

I'm not the world's greatest lover of seafood, and ordered fried chicken and cornbread with a salad. Keith and Michael both ordered the lobster, which made me think how much my late ex-wife would have loved to be here, as lobster was one of her favorites.