Tuesday, June 14, 2016

SOWA Food Film Festival

Settling an Estate is certainly not for the weak or weary.  Finding an attorney that you can trust is a gift.  (I now find myself with two in two different states.  Who ever knew I’d be so important?!)  Coming back from Costa Rica had me receiving some disturbing news, to say the least.  It sent me into a tailspin, yet again.

Needing something positive to keep me busy, I invited myself to join a Food Film Festival event in the South Walton Beach area of Florida.  (Thank God for JetBlue’s very generous benefits.)   If you know me at all, you know how important my FFF Family (and some of our wonderful partners) has become in my life.  We laugh hard, play hard, work hard, and eat very well together! 
The Hub on 3A

Meeting a new dear friend, made at the Charleston FFF last fall, as well as one of my favorite chefs (of Karl’s Balls) and his wife at the Jacksonville airport; we had a long, flat drive across the Florida Panhandle.  After settling into our hotel, we found our Leaders and had a quick dinner at one of the sites for the weekends’ festivities, The Hub on 30A of Santa Rosa Beach.

Caliza at Alys Beach
Friday the fun began!  Oh my, Caliza Restaurant at Alys Beach made me feel like I was finally living in the lifestyles of the rich and famous where I belonged.  Until I realized I was actually “the hired” help.”  It was still magnificent, and working with the staff of this beautiful place made it all the more special.

Brunch @ Bud + Alley's
Saturday had us back at The Hub from morning til midnight for two great events.  And Sunday was capped off at the beach, at the gorgeous Bud + Alley’s Seaside at Alys Beach for a brunch event.   Much of our cast and crew left shortly after the brunch ended.  But, my Road Trippers and I stayed an extra night since we had a 6 hour drive back to Jacksonville.

I shared this story the next week with our FFF Family.

                                     Magical Mysterious Ring

Still feeling fuzzy from yet another wonderful weekend with some of my favorite People in my world, I opened today’s mediation and was hit by these lines, and thought it most appropriate to share.  

“This world is in deep trouble, but it can be swiftly healed by the balm of love.” Rumi

I would also love to share a little story, if I may.  Sunday after most of you lovelies departed, Mary, Karl, Tammy, and I lolled on the beach as beauties bathing (oh, no, are we now bb’s?!...don’t even get me started…), chatting, hanging, etc.    A lobster and then a crab roll later, (for Tammy! the tiniest of the bunch.  Life is so unfair…) we went to the hotel with plans to pass out in the hot tub with wine, beer, and hotel food.

As Mary and I sat veggin’ in our room, first plastic cup of wine in hand, we got a call from Karl of the Balls.  His wedding ring was gone.  Thought it came off at the beach.  In the, elevator to the lobby, I instructed Everyone to start to praying to St. Anthony, finder of lost things.  He is non-denominational.

Stopping at the front desk to borrow a flash light as I had left my phone in the room that holds my license, but managed to grab my big purse?!  Poor Karl had to drive (read above as to why).  It got darker as we drove.  It was a quiet ride.

Retracing our steps on the beach, we found our spot as Mary had poured out her beer and the imprint was still there, as were the towel imprints.  By light of phones, and borrowed flashlight, we looked and sifted, and prayed.   I must admit I though it hopeless, but kept on, keeping my mouth shut (for once), praying, and feeling Karl and Tammy’s sadness.  I was willing and able to keep on until they decided otherwise.

After Karl went through the trash barrels, God love him, we all gathered around Mary, who had decided to dig deeper.  OMG, she pulled something gold out of the sand.  It was the ring!!!

The ride home was much different.  We did get to sit in the hot tub, getting drunk off one drink.  (Never had dinner, I ate half the bag of popcorn that was left for us at midnight.  Thank You!)

So, the Power of US..the magical mysterious Food Film Festival Family.  We come from all shapes, sizes, nationalities, ethnicities, countries, faiths, and I am so incredibly thankful and feel so blessed to know and have each and every one of you in my life.  I can no longer see through my tears (thank God, happy ones, finally..). 

Better take a nap before George’s big event tonight.   

George Motz, the Founding Director of our FFF, just released his book Hamburger America: Completely Revised and Updated Edition: A State-by-State Guide to 150 Great Burger Joints.  The big event was the book release party at the very cool PowerHouse Arena Bookstore in DUMBO.

George’s response to this story was  What a great story, but didn’t find the ring by chance.  The ring found you.  As much credit as you want to give yourself I truly believe that the desire to do something does get you closer, but the thing you are trying to achieve ALSO gets closer to you.  It’s a symbiotic relationship that can only be explained by finding something as ridiculous as a ring on an enormous white sand beach… Credit your hard work but know that you were destined to find that ring.  It’s in the fabric of your being to be persistent.  And THAT is why our group of misfits is so .. good at what we do.”

Is there any wonder why my FFF is so special?!