Around The Town

A love letter to Orlando

Dear Orlando,

     I just wanted to write today to say thanks for helping me have such a great weekend last week.

I should have written a few letters to you already – about what great quality of life things you have provided to me throughout the 17 years that I’ve lived here. It shouldn’t have taken a great weekend that unfortunately ended in more worldwide sadness to get me to write this letter to you as an appreciation for the small times where you give me so many smiles.

     First up, I’ll say that my weekend really started on Friday Eve. I dined out with a bunch of really smart women at the Rusty Spoon. We tried to have dinner at Bulla, but when I called to make reservations the night before, they actually didn’t have space for all of us! So things are looking up for them, right? But, Rusty Spoon was a wonderful old standby, and they really catered to our table’s needs. At one table we had a woman who is a vegetarian, another who is allergic to gluten (ok, me), another allergic to dairy, and then a woman who is allergic to everything else. But while we had many needs, the restaurant was so accommodating that everyone had a fantastic meal.

     On Friday we had another great meal, this time at Blu on Park Avenue. Five out of six of us of the party were present. For the sixth person, we had bourbon in her memory and honor. We then went to the Rollins play, the Cradle Will Rock. The Rollins kids were fantastic! And, because it was opening night, we were invited to a special after party where they passed out champagne! The sign at the door said they would card everyone under 40. I started to pull out my driver’s license and the young twentysomething girl looked at me and said, “Oh no, that’s OK. We don’t need to see it.”

“But I’m under 40,” I said!

“Well,” she said, “that was really more for the college students.” -_-

     Orlando, I was particularly impressed with your offerings on Saturday night. We have made some new friends, and since they have just returned to Orlando from being gone for about 20 years, we wanted to re-introduce them to you. About a week or so before when we had set the day to hang out, I said I would find something for us to get up to. And you didn’t disappoint. It seems that any night of the week, I can find something amazing to do that is either cheap or free. Of course, you do have things that cost a little bit more money, but they are such a high-quality caliber act (thanks Disney for setting the standard) that it is so worth it. Anyway, I looked online and just searched for things to do in Orlando this Saturday. Artlando was the main event put on by Orlando Weekly. Beforehand, we went to the sanctum for dinner, and everyone (even my husband who is a renowned meat eater) had fantastic meals and were pleasantly stuffed for the remainder of the evening. When we arrived at Loch Haven Park, we wandered around the exhibits (Tesla was there with home batteries!) and finally settled on the grass and enjoyed a variety of performances until the rain shoed everyone away. But with all of the different performances we saw, it was a blast, and our friends commented on how much they look forward to getting to know you even better.

     Sunday we decided to lay low because I had to work on my various side hustles, and the husband, who is now on the board of the College Park Neighborhood Association, had volunteered to write overviews of all of the bungalows that are going to be shown during the Tour of Homes in November. But staying in our own bungalow was a lovely way to end what was already jam-packed weekend, and the calm made me reflect on how much I really enjoy living here.

     And then Sunday night tragedy struck. Again. While this time it was not3 miles away from my home, the world is a very small place, and a flight to Vegas is closer than a drive to Atlanta. And while other people were enjoying something so fun and fantastic as an outdoor concert (kind of like what we were enjoying on Saturday night) they had to have the joy taken away.

     Orlando, I have to say, you definitely stepped up to help others in need. I learned at the City Commissioner District 3 debate on Monday that immediately after we heard what happened, Orlando sent mental aid workers to Las Vegas to help provide best practices for how to handle the trauma. And here, we held vigils on Monday and Tuesday night, and the stories of what happened there bring tears to my eyes. While we love you, Orlando, and feel like you’re at the center of our world, we still love and appreciate all citizens of the world, and want to do what we can to help. I also learned at the debate, that Orlando is stepping up through the public schools and other charitable organizations to help welcome tens of thousands of displaced Puerto Rican families to help them continue on with their lives in the best way that they can. For all of this Orlando, I love you.

Looking forward to the next 17 years,


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