MIAMI, FLORIDA IS NICE - BUT HERE’S SOME FREE ADVICE,
POSTCARDS HAVE A COST BUT NEVER GET LOST.
Now, let’s get this story straight?
How can anyone during the 1980’s, afford to go to Florida to buy those elusive postcards and covers?
Well, my buddy who had a real job - North America wide, had a business conference scheduled in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
And it just so happened that two postcard shows were being staged, one weekend after another.(January)
My buddy’s company was paying for all his expenses, so after some deliberation I “busted” into the three piggy banks of our kids, who were asleep at the time.
I now had just enough money for a return flight, a seedy motel and a Big Mac.
A long flight from Edmonton to Toronto, then on to Miami, Florida. We arrived at night and it was hot and humid. This is particularly noticeable when you go from -30C to +27C.
And NO, Don Johnson of Miami Vice wasn’t waiting for us at the airport in his convertible.
In fact Don was solving crime as he drove here, there and everywhere making stops and making “Drug Traffickers”, very nervous.
Ya right Don.
The rental car and accommodation were then finalized.
Oh! I forgot, how do you clear fog off the back window of your car?
Oh! Put on the air conditioning.
Great idea, if it worked.
The next day was a free day for both of us, and we stopped in at a fast food place for a snack.
The young man taking our order asked, “are you two guys brothers?”
Well, we looked as much like brothers as Danny DeVito and Arnold the muscle guy Schwarzenegger, in the movie Twins.
No, was the polite reply.
Next question, “where you guys from?"
"Oh! I met a guy from Montreal, his name is Jack and I think his last name is Carter, do you know him?".
Well, of course if you are referring to Jacques Cartier, we know him very well. Lunch was then served.
Now, I am by myself perusing antique shops, looking for stuff.
There is nothing much really, but we were aware of a Stamp Dealer in Naples, Florida which is about 125 miles from Miami.
I took out my map, and planned on going the next day, down along a two lane highway called, Alligator Alley.
Now why did the highway have such a name?
Well, I’m off to Naples. Swamp on my left, swamp on my right, on a narrow highway with an immediate drop off into the not so attractive slimy, green bubbly marsh.
Then suddenly, a nose and then great big eyes and a large head surfaces from the slimy water.
What the hell?
It’s an alligator, just three feet from the car door.
A name to remember.
So now, gas pedal down hard, I’m looking to my left and looking to my right and there’s another one and another one.
Speaking of gas, lets look at the gas gauge, which is now of course close to empty.
If I run out of gas and get out of the car....well, in alligator terms my butt would be “prime rib”.
You might say a meal that would feed an alligator family of four.
So you want to be a postcard dealer, huh?
There was virtually no traffic either way and also noticeable was the amount of abandoned cars along Alligator Alley.
Well, if you are on a “hit list”.... a couple of shots and a quick flip into the swamp, where let’s say the evidence is digested.
Come to think of it, these creatures looked very well fed.
However, I did spot a couple of guys on a small bridge fishing.
I then finally happened upon Empire Stamp, (I think it was called) and finally I was safely inside.
Surprisingly, there were a lot of Canadian covers in the back room.
The dealer just kept on bringing them out.
I picked out quite a few. The #302, FDC $1.00 Fishing for example.
But in the back of my mind while I was looking around, I was thinking... there is NO WAY I want to drive back to Miami, especially as it was soon to be dark.
A dark alley is scary, but dark Alligator Alley?
Next week, the seedy motel, the Postcard Shows and the cost of getting lost.