Sunday, March 29, 2009

WPB 24th Annual Boat Show

Talk about a show of opulence, the West Palm Beach Boat Show features an estimated 500 boats collectively worth around $350 million. The show began on Thursday and ended today, Sunday. We took some of the photos at the end of the day so unfortunately there are some shadows.

Organizers of the 24th annual show do not expect the sour economy to dampen the event. Their statement was that everyone still wants the dream of owning a boat one day.

The boats are displayed in a temporary 500,000-square-foot marina on the Intracoastal that crews began building almost two weeks ago. This meant that the boats could all be displayed in one location, downtown West Palm Beach, instead of being dispersed throughout the city.

Hosted by the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County, the event typically draws about 40,000 visitors and generates an estimated $15 million. But for all the vendors camped out at the boat show along Flagler Drive, it's just a game of waiting and seeing whether the local boating community is willing to spend money for their boats.

Tents will cover 100,000 square feet to house everything from boat accessories to cars, clothing, jewelry, home goods and fishing equipment. Exhibitors are expected from all over the world, including China and Europe. The middle yacht below is called "Never Enough".

There's a waiting list for exhibitors, some of which have been hoping for years to get into the show, said Emily Schaper of Haber & Quinn Inc., a public relations firm in Fort Lauderdale.

The showcase vessel will be the Casino Royale, a $38.5 million yacht designed with James Bond in mind. It includes frosted-glass panels etched with the silhouettes of Bond girls lighted by LEDs on the central staircase, a handcrafted marble roulette wheel in the deck of the main salon and a figure of Vesper Lynd, the fictional heroine from the 2006 Casino Royale movie.

It's a buyer's market for boats right now, and the dealers at the Palm Beach International Boat Show know it. "Pricing's going to be aggressive at this show," said Mike Brown, a yacht broker with Dania Beach-based HMY Yacht Sales Inc. "There are some substantial deals. If you come here to buy a boat, I don't think the dealers will let you get away."

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Last Ride

These two stories from our local papers about the 84 year old cancer patient is about as good as it gets. Maybe the articles made it to your area, but if they didn't here they are.

Economic cycle helps woman get ride of life

Sometimes a heartwarming story develops from an economic recession.
Ron Borowski, 45, of Loxahatchee has become the most famous Harley-Davidson motorcycle owner in America this week because of a not-so-small act of kindness he did for an 84-year-old woman he didn't know.

June Pearce, 84, rides on the back of Ron Borowski's motorcycle in Okeechobee, Fla., March 6, 2009. Ron gave June a ride on his bike as a surprise birthday present.

And it happened, in part, because of the lousy economy.

"We're lucky if we get two, three days of work a week now," said Borowski, who owns Complete Drywall Service.

So he scours the Craigslist Internet site, hoping to pick up some jobs to fill his too-empty work week. That's how he found an item that said, "Come Give Granny A Ride On Your Hog."
The granny in question is June Pearce, who has inoperable lung cancer and a vivid 70-year-old memory.

"Every time I see her, she mentions the motorcycle ride she took with a boy when she was 14," said Pearce's daughter, Carol Brown, 54. "And when you're 84 and you say to your daughter, boy, I'd really like to have a ride on a motorcycle again, then you feel like you have to do something."

A long ride away

The logistical problem for Brown is that she lives in Bunnell, a small town in North Florida that's a three-hour drive from her mother's trailer park. So she knew she'd have a hard time persuading a motorcyclist in Bunnell to travel all that way to give her mother a ride.
So she tried Craigslist, wondering if there might be a taker closer to Okeechobee.

This wasn't the job Borowski was looking for. But the contractor, who had lost his own mother to cancer recently, answered the ad.

"I thought, if what that lady needed was a ride on a bike to make her life complete, then who am I to stand in her way?" Borowski said.

So on Friday, with no work to do, he called up another bike-riding buddy, and they rode the 65 miles to Pearce's home.

"It was the most beautiful bike I've ever seen," Pearce said about Borowski's Harley, which is blue with ghost flames, and has a kickstand in the form of a skeleton foot.

It also was loud and intimidating, nothing like the little motorcycle in that long-ago ride. The old woman said she didn't think she could get herself on the bike.

Brown who had come from North Florida to be there, didn't envision this sort of ending to her mother's wish.

"I said, 'Mom, these people drove from a long way to give you a ride. You're getting your ass on it."

And so she did, then hung on as Borowski drove two laps around the trailer park with her, leaving her husband of 65 years, Fred, crying in their wake.

"I was crying too," the old woman said. "I figured it was the last big thing I'm going to have."

Karma may kick-start contractor

The story of Pearce's ride was chronicled by Tamara Lush of The Associated Press over the weekend, and it has since been spread worldwide in words and photos.

Pearce doesn't seem to care at all about her celebrity. She just wants to talk about the nice man who gave her that last wish.

"I'm done," she said. "I'm just going to sit around and wait to die."

Borowski's wife said he was working Tuesday. And there certainly was a lot of noise in the background when I reached him by cellphone. It sounded like quite a busy job site.
But it turned out to be just boat noises.

"We're off the Boynton Inlet," he said. "I'm fishing today."

Still no work.

Carol Brown isn't worried about the stranger who gave her mother that wonderful gift.

Woman, 84, gets the ride of her life for birthday

BUCKHEAD RIDGE, Fla. — What do you get an 84-year-old lady for her birthday? That's what Carol Brown was thinking a few weeks ago. Her mother, June Pearce, was turning 84. The idea of buying and giving more stuff just didn't appeal to Brown.

"When you're 84, what is there?" she thought.

Pearce lives in a slow-paced retirement area near Lake Okeechobee in rural Florida. She's been married to the same man, Fred, for 64 years. Pearce is a wife and a mother. She's had a few strokes, which have robbed her mind of short-term memories. Lung cancer has claimed much of her strength.

But one memory has stuck with her: riding on the back of a boy's motorcycle in the 1930s.
"I wasn't scared at all," Pearce remembers.

It was exciting, possibly one of the most thrilling moments of her life. Pearce remembered sliding off the bike and the pain of scraping her leg, but loving it just the same. She told this story so many times that Brown can recite it by heart.

"It was during the depression," Brown said. "Not a lot of excitement happened then."
Brown thought of that story as she racked her brain, wondering what to do about the birthday. Then she had an idea.

"Come Give Granny A Ride On Your Hog," she typed into an ad on Craigslist.

In the Internet posting, Brown asked if anyone would be willing to ride out and give Pearce a ride for her 84th birthday. She got one response, from a man named Ron Borowski. He said he'd ride his Harley-Davidson Low Rider — electric blue, with dark blue flames and a chrome kickstand shaped like a skeleton's foot — from his house in Palm Beach County to June and Fred Pearce's home, some 65 miles away.

"My mom passed away from cancer, so the ad touched me," said Borowski, 45. "I just figured it would be an adventure."

Brown wasn't sure how her mom would react if a strange person showed up in the driveway with a Harley. So Brown told her mom the day before, and June Pearce spent the day calling everyone she knew to tell them about it. Brown's two grown daughters also showed up to celebrate. After all, it might be June Pearce's last birthday, since a doctor told her in September there was nothing more they could do for her cancer.

On Friday, Pearce spent most of the afternoon walking up and down the driveway, waiting for Borowski. Just about 5 feet tall, Pearce's white hair matched her white cardigan, which was embroidered with butterflies. She wore pink glasses, which matched her pink frosted nails.
Just before 4 p.m., Borowski thundered into the driveway, followed by a buddy riding a big, silver Honda.

"I'm your chauffeur today," Borowski said, grinning and taking off his helmet. He was wearing jeans, a T-shirt and a leather vest.

Pearce's eyes widened. She made her way slowly toward the bike and touched the seat. Everyone made small talk for a while and Fred Pearce showed a sepia-tinged photo of the family's upstate New York home he and his wife built with their hands many decades ago.
Then Borowski asked June Pearce if she wanted to take a ride. Pearce shook her head — how on earth would she ever get on the bike? "No way," she said firmly.

Pearce is a feisty woman, prone to swearing and stubbornness. Brown, Borowski and the granddaughters looked at each other. Had Borowski driven all this way for nothing? Maybe, thought Brown, her mother was just embarrassed that she wasn't able to straddle the bike on her own.

Borowski, Brown and the granddaughters said they'd help her on. Pearce ran her hands on the black leather and, with a bit more coaxing, sat on the bike near the tank. She allowed her leg to be swung over the seat and then Borowski gently lifted her onto the back.

"I wish I was a lot younger," Pearce said, adjusting her helmet. Borowski climbed on.
"Hold on tight," he said, and started the motor. The bike was so loud the grass near the driveway vibrated. Brown felt her heart thumping loudly out of excitement — and a bit of fear that Pearce would fall off.

Pearce's husband watched from a few feet away. "I've got all of my fingers crossed for her," he said. There were tears in his eyes; for the last three years, he's been caring for her through her chemotherapy and radiation.

"I've been lucky to keep her alive," he said softly. "I hope this gives her another six months."

June Pearce wrapped her arms around Borowski's chest and he took off, slowly. They went around the block twice, past the retirees watering their lawns, past the pastel colored mobile homes — and Pearce wore a tiny smile as they rumbled into the driveway.

"What we're giving today is a memory," said Brown. "She's not going to get rid of it in a garage sale, break it or throw it away. Memories are the best gifts, I think

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

These beautiful dogs all found a good home

Special heart felt thanks to all the wonderful people who responded and gave these lovely Samoyeds a good home. Our prayers and thoughts go out for Cathy.

This is not our usual happy blog, but we received this information below via email and wanted to share it with as many people as possible.

Would you please forward this message (below) & photo to your mailing list and
ask others to do the same?

In this way it might reach someone who can help Cathy, whose time is limited.

This would greatly ease her mind. Thank you. Anyone wanting info can

Carla J. Savage
North Florida Evaluation & Treatment Center

It is with great sadness to pass along that my dog breeder, Cathy Pendleton, whom I love and treasure is losing her battle with breast cancer. She can no longer care for her dogs. She is in hospice after being in the hospital for a week. We are in the process of placing her Samoyeds. If you know of anyone who would like a sweet natured, playful, pet, please let me know. She has all girls who range from 1.5 years old to more senior dogs. All are healthy and have been very well taken care of. New homes need to have space for an active dog and a fenced in back yard. We may do a home visit to ensure that these precious dogs and their new family are the right fit. There is no cost, but the new family will need to spay the dog if it is less than 7 years old. They can move out of state. The new family needs to be willing to stay in touch with the "Sammy family." We will want to know how they are doing and if it is working out, etc Let me know if you have any leads. Thanks for your help Melonie Gibson