Winter in Cleveland persists like an ice cream brain-freeze; it can’t go away fast enough.

But I received some nice warm news from a friend of mine, Jeff Wilkenson, who lives in the paradise of Sarasota, Florida. I lived in Sarasota for over 10 years and still can’t figure out why I moved to the frozen tundra north. Oh, yeah. Got married to a gal in Cleveland and next thing you know, I have two kids, a mortgage and a dog

The warm news is this last weekend, Jeff went to the Zypherhills winter Autofest in Zepherhills, Florida and his wife Anne, sent some photos.

Plymouth at Zephyr Hills show#2#4#3

I love Sarasota. When I lived there, I had a nice red ’88 Mustang GT convertible that I treated like a baby. You know. It had a V8 High Output 5.0 with 225 HP, which doesn’t sound like much, but it was a small car, and very fast. It took me over 6 years to pay it off. I loved that car, but I found out that there are a lot of people who are so deranged that they hate people that have nice things.

My '88 Mustang GT

First thing that happened was at a bar/restaurant, in a town that I had never been to before (I travel a lot by car in my business). The Mustang looked beautiful and the parking lot light gave it a nice photogenic pose. When I came out, some jealous loser had slashed all four tires.

Where I lived on St. Armand’s Key, an island off the coast of Sarasota, we lived just blocks from beautiful Lido Beach. I say ‘we’ because I had to have several roommates to pay the rent on this ‘greatest-of-all bachelor pads.’ St. Armand’s Circle is where two streets meet and an extra-large circle helps the traffic flow. It is an area of fantastic restaurants, shops and nightclubs with the inside of the circle a perfect place for a picnic, art show or a concert. One night, another bitter loser came around the neighborhood and slashed all the convertible tops. Gr-r-r-r-r!

By the time I moved north, I had one of the first cell phones out. It was large, but I needed it for travel and the only charger I had for it was designed for a car lighter. So I had to leave the phone in the car at night to charge. Yep, one night another moronic loser broke the window and stole the phone, even though I had hid it pretty well. Someone had to know it was in the car.

A year after that, I brought my Mustang into a local Lincoln dealer to have the upper portion re-painted because someone in a parking lot somehow caused a long scratch on the side. I received a call from the dealer, “your car was stolen and by-the-way, you owe us for the paint job.”

The cops eventually found a body part of my car that had a VIN on it. They said the car must have been stolen and taken to a ‘chop-shop’  (thieves take apart cars for it’s parts, then sold). They also said there was no evidence that it had been painted and instead looked like faded paint. I confronted the dealer, but he kept my payment because there was no proof and yeah, I was pissed; he was a client.

But, to bring me back to warmer thoughts, spring is the light in winter’s tunnel and I can hardly wait for the warm nights that bring out the cruisers in their incredible Dream Machines.

PS –   Oh, yeah; I’m going to try and do this blog with a little bit of regularity, something I’m blessed with in the morning (is this too much information?). I plan to write it over the weekend and start posting on Mondays. I hope that works for me… and you.

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