Angle to Key West: Gulfport Odyssey (2/15)

Blowing Glass

Gulfport, FL – February 15, 2013

Silver dragons perched on rooftops and ten foot tall metal horses. Breakfast with Nancy and Ann Marie, town watchdogs and yard sale experts, who buy corduroy hats for two dollars and yell at politicians to keep ads off the town benches. A drive down to look at the bridge over the bay and the miles of open water ahead of me. Half-off Valentine’s Day chocolate and resupplying for the next leg. Bay News 9 shooting the boat. Paddling circles to get the right angles. A presentation about the trip at the library. Lots of nerves. Lots of friendly faces. Watching glass blowers at the Industrial Arts Center. Then getting a chance to blow something. Picking blue for the water, yellow for the boat, and white for the sky. Adding a dash of pink and green for Frank and Ali. Knowing I will cherish that glass until it breaks and maybe beyond. Knowing it would have been a heaping mess without Owen there to fix my mistakes and pretend like I did most of it myself. Dinner at Jo’s Cuban Restaurant. Eating lechon and maduros until my stomach hurt. Eating more. Meeting a Cuban baseball player and breaking out rusty Spanish to wish him luck. Laughing because he first thought I came all the way from Minnesota in a Cadillac. Eating more. Talking with Doug and learning a bit about life and what’s important (hint: love yourself). Saying goodnight to my grandmother’s sister’s husband’s cousin Margarete who I had never met before yesterday, but who has to be the best tour-guide Gulfport has ever seen. Breathing. Sleeping.

Not bad for a day off.

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The Industrial Arts Center in Gulfport is an amazing place. I had never seen glass blowing before and they are set up so you can watch masters at work or take a quick course and give it a shot yourself. It’s an amazing art form and a lot of fun to try and an absolute gem of a community effort to support the arts. Check it out if you’re in the area and take a course if your brave! Be brave.

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7 thoughts on “Angle to Key West: Gulfport Odyssey (2/15)

  1. Great blog D. Margarete is one of the tribe members that makes everyone around her and her community better. Wonderful spirit, energy and resolve. She was not pleased when I lazily threw in Gulfport with the Tampa area. Like any community it is not location, location, location but people, people, people. And Gulfport has wonderful people (and darn good location too!).

  2. People make places heaven. Sounds like a slice of heaven to me!
    I hope your blown glass lasts until I can see it!

  3. Anna- you too should come down this way some time. This entire area of the Gulf Coast is truly wonderful. The glass ( or vessel as Owen calls it) will be in your area shortly. Regardless of his modesty, Daniel did a great job picking the colors and and blowing a lovely piece. I know Owen and the IACG team were delighted that Daniel stopped by–on the spur of the moment.- and I know they appreciate his support.

  4. ..also have to mention that when you spoke at the library there were two young boys there (7&8) who two weeks prior had lost their mother unexpectedly. You and your message were a special inspiration for them.

  5. I have been following your blog and just love it. Please stay safe. I have good friends in Gulfport and the rest of the gulf coast…trying to protect the environment. Gas and oil folks want it for themselves.

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