We’ve come to the lucky 13

By Steve Estes

Strictly Drivel by Steve Estes

Today marks issue number one for the beginning of our 13th year at the helm of the News-Barometer.

It’s a good thing I’m not superstitious ‘cause there’s always that old number 13 thing.

On the contrary, I don’t believe in 13 as a bad luck number. I wore 13 for many of the years I played softball, and interestingly enough, the man who was arguably the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL wore number 13…a guy named Dan Marino…some of you may recognize that name.

Holly and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary in December, and things are better this year than last, which was better than the one before it, and so on and so on, and we expect every year from here on out to be better than the current year.

I’m not speaking business wise. We have already outlived what many people predicted for our demise, and that of course is thanks to all of you and the responses you give to our advertisers, the folks who ultimately pay the bills.

This will be a special year because grandchild number 13 will be born later this year.

So 13 is a good number for us.

But we could never have reached this particular milestone, albeit a small one in the annals of Lower Keys businesses, without our dedicated corps of readers. Every week you pick up the publication, giving us the incentive to start another week.

You’re not always happy with what you read. That’s OK. Neither are we always happy with what we print.

But we have a goal.

If we can make you laugh, smile, remember something good, or raise your passion to activity levels on local issues, we consider that a success.

Often, we are the bearers of bad news. We are the messenger. And haven’t yet been shot, though in the past I have been shot at a time or two.

And this job isn’t without its definite perks. There’s always something about every day that gives me reason to smile. Sometimes that reason is a good word, sometimes that reason is one of the many things that happen in this community that are just downright strange.

I mean where else in the world can you wait five minutes extra on the trip home while a local Key Deer plays “chicken” with a tourist in the middle of Key Deer Blvd.?

And where else in the world can you wait five minutes for a parking space at the local grocery store while you play “chicken” with a local chicken?

And there are few places in the world where almost daily in the winter you can play “chicken” with a visitor pushing a grocery cart.

Where else could you live where you walk up the drive to your front door and dodge an opossum that scampers out of the trash cans, a Key Deer munching on your ornamentals, a raccoon looking for a free meal, an iguana trying to defecate on your head and a gecko trying to scamper in the front door ahead of you?

Maybe there is somewhere else, but it is definitely here.

I still remember a few days from nearly 13 years ago where a long-time local would saunter into the small office we started in at Big Pine Village, plop themselves down in a chair and proceed to let us know just how things were on this island we had adopted as our own, with the conversation usually starting out as “Let me tell you the real story.”

Many of them have been proven right over the years. Many more have been proven wrong.

But that’s all part of what we do. Wouldn’t trade it for any other job anywhere else in the world.

We have to give a great big thanks to the local business community that has stuck with us for the last 12 years. We’ve watched some friends come and go, and we’ve watched some friends stand right with us for more than a decade.

And a big thank you to you the reader, for without your support of us and the business community that uses us to reach you with their message, this would have been a fruitless effort.

No one is guaranteed anything in this world, but my promise to you is that as long as you’ll have us, we’ll be right here.

Thank you one and all and may we celebrate another 12 years together.

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