Clearwater: Timeless Mellow

“Don’t wait for the sunshine to brighten your day.” (Anthony T. Hindi’s)

Ruth and I certainly needed a relaxing break from lingering family crisis now. Yet I fully expected the rapid approach of Tropical Storm Nestor toward the west coast of Florida would complicate our pre- booked plans to enjoy the Clearwater Jazz Festival last weekend. I mean how could we even expect the open air concerts would even go on stage at Coachman Park in the presence of expected high winds and torrential rains stirring along the adjacent Gulf of Mexico shoreline? When Friday’s concert schedule would in fact be cancelled, we thus contemplated other strategies to “mellow out” in response to the increasingly likely idle time.

Under these unusual circumstances, I deeply reflected about past fun times experienced in the Tampa Bay region as a financially strapped college student at the University of South Florida. In particular, I reasoned how I might have best “chilled out” in the moment then to escape the pressures of academic performance off campus. Other Plan B alternatives to combat the storm would also surface as I “flashed back” to days of curious wandering during extended stays with my grandparents in Tampa in my teen years. I thus wondered how I would have acted on a rainy day then as an outdoor loving adolescent in the company of my most caring grandfather?

As it turned out, bad weather may have changed our plans, but it did not have to actually ruin our entire weekend. Life can often challenge us with unexpected scenarios like this, but our will to be resilient should be stronger than that. Enjoy the following photographs.

The four mile bridge extension, Sunshine State Skyway, towering over Tampa Bay watershed can be a perilous route to cross in times of inclement weather. However, spectacular panoramas at “stop off” points along the way on Friday afternoon invited many interesting photographic opportunities.

In spite of the the ominous overcast conditions overhead, it felt safe enough to wander around curiously during a brief stop at the northern end rest area of the bridge. With great interest, I spotted a lone plaque offering remembrance of a disastrous ship crossing nearby on May 8, 1980.

Stopping for a casual lunch that day at Pas- A – Grille Beach, we made a bold decision to take a relaxing walk along a deserted beach amidst these threatening skies.

At Capogna’s Dugout Sports Bar, on Saturday afternoon, we dodged the worst of the storm by gathering with other USF alumni in community spirit at a Bulls Football Watch Party.

With clearing skies luckily expected , we battened down with our rain ponchos to brave gusty winds/periodic showers to watch Blood Sweat and Tears and Chicago on Saturday evening provide powerful musical memories of their pop rock stardom.

Finally enjoying cool and dry weather on Sunday, we opted to spend a pleasant morning sunbathing along the silky smooth sands of nearby Clearwater Beach.

Finding the perfect seashell along Clearwater Beach provided an excellent cure for my “monkey mind” obsessions about missed opportunities this weekend.

We may not look as young as we used to, but in the spirit of this inviting poster, you might say we revived our ageless mellow in Clearwater.

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