Jan 19: Friends in Low Places (Florida, that is)

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I flew to Jacksonville, FL today. Hertz gave me a Mustang. I drove to St. Augustine. Friends from Newberry winter here, so they came and picked me up for dinner. We went to the Columbia restaurant. It boasts that it is Florida’s oldest Spanish restaurant. I had tapas that were yummy: empanadas de picadillo and black beam cakes.

I got to visit with Bette and Jim Murray who seem to be loving living in SC, FL, and anywhere else they decide to go in their RV. I’m excited that they plan to be in Michigan this summer. I’d like Bill to meet them. Besides being nice people, Jim made a difference for me as a teacher and a person. He was a School Safety Officer my second year teaching. I had a trying bunch of students that year. I’d put them up against the toughest kids an inner-city school could dish up! Jim adopted my class. He introduced us to Mose, a convicted murderer who made a “Blink” decision that left him incarcerated for life. Mose and Jim counseled my kids. I’m sure many have found their way to prison, but I always hope that as a result of that year of my compassion, paired with the devotion of Jim and Mose, one of those students managed to stay clean. I will always be thankful for that beacon of light that Jim was the year I spent with those troubled teens.

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