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Goodland Life

Sweet Victory

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GOODLAND LIFE Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com In my experience, especially as a writer, learning about any new place always begins with getting to know its people. I love listening to the local stories, and I’m always eager to shine a well-deserved spotlight on the people that make their town great. I’ve written once before about Goodland’s own, Nick Lemke, and his Shima Dojo at the Greater Marco Family YMCA. To this day, it ranks as one of my most favorite stories. So of course, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to do an update on all of the exciting things ... Read More »

Surviving Year-Round in a Seasonal Town

Blue sky to the north and a mean storm rolling in from the south came together to pose for a beautiful picture.

GOODLAND LIFE Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com Doldrums – a state of inactivity or stagnation; a dull, listless, depressed mood; low spirits. The term “summer doldrums” is new to me, but apparently it describes what I’ve been experiencing but successfully fighting off. How does a person of modest means ensure survival when home is a place that lives and dies by the season? I admit, I’m no expert, but this Ohio girl is trying to quickly acclimate to her new home, and I’ve learned a few things along the way. When I think of survival, I think of basic necessities: food, clothing ... Read More »

Independence Day

Birds of a feather!! Goodland's favorite winged-resident, Pirate, and his feathered friend, this year's Buzzard Queen. Pretty ladies got a "hello" and a wave.

GOODLAND LIFE  Melinda Gray  melinbrya3@yahoo.com Living in a seasonal town is still very new to me. Though I am trying to acclimate quickly, many unfamiliar things about my home continue to surprise me. My July 4th memories have always been made of Hallmark staples: red, white, blue, family, fireworks and food. But, they also were tainted by the woes of over-planning and stress. I expected this year to follow that time-tested recipe, sprinkled with a touch of homesickness. The sheer distance from my son, family and friends all but guaranteed a lonely, wistful holiday. Contrary to my expectations, this Independence Day ... Read More »

The Anatomy of a Rumor

Collier County water department workers  directed the light flow of traffic in and out of Goodland on June 16. PHOTOS BY MELINDA GRAY

GOODLAND LIFE Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com It’s a well-known fact that big news, or any news for that matter, travels fast in a community as small as Goodland. It’s also widely accepted that as news travels farther from its source it tends to lose the original, factual information in favor of a more dramatic, sensationalized version. In short, minor issues feel like major happenings, especially this time of year. I recently experienced this phenomenon first-hand when what eventually proved to be a routine, short-lived inconvenience was all anyone could talk about in the days leading up to the morning of June ... Read More »

The Long Trip Home

One last walk along our private Lake Erie beach.

GOODLAND LIFE Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com The mission: a seemingly impossible road trip with the ultimate goal of packing up the last of my worldly possessions. I’ve got to gather what’s left in Ohio and bring it all back home to Goodland. I hear the “Mission Impossible” theme song in my head every time I think about the gravity of the situation, but it’s time to say goodbye to what was and start laying some permanent roots. I will admit, in the weeks leading up to this mission I wasn’t looking forward to seeing Ohio. The daunting 24-hour drive promised to ... Read More »

It’s That Time Again…

Used traps are pulled and stacked. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

GOODLAND LIFE Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com The smell of crab traps in the open air — after months of being underwater — is a tell-tale sign of the end of stone crab season in Southwest Florida. “It’s quite pungent over there,” said Pat Kirk, the matriarch of the Kirk family and owner of Kirk’s Fish Company. Anyone living or passing by Kirk’s downwind can confirm that, as over the past month crab traps have been systematically pulled and stacked next to the store in preparation for cleaning and repair. May 15 was the last day to legally collect those delicious stone ... Read More »

If We Build it, Will They Come?

Goodland enjoys 2 county parks inside her very modest amount of land, pictured above is Margood Park. PHOTOS BY MELINDA GRAY

GOODLAND LIFE Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com “Water, water, everywhere, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.” — Samuel Taylor Coleridge “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” Summer is quickly approaching, and with it come the horror stories warning first-timers like me of mutant bugs, face-melting heat and the unbearable boredom to come. Of course, I don’t believe everything I hear, but I do feel a kind of “something wicked this way comes,” and I have started to brace myself accordingly. In my search for ways to keep the family cool this summer, I’ve noticed ... Read More »

The Goodland Good Life

Dub holds up his prize proudly. (left) J.W. "Dub" Abbott will celebrate his 100th birthday next month. (right) SUBMITTED PHOTOS

GOODLAND LIFE Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com Life has been good in Goodland for J.W. “Dub” Abbott, who will turn 100 years old this month. The Drop Anchor resident was born May 2, 1914, in Checotah, Oklahoma, to Wayne and Beulah Abbott, who had five other boys and one girl; his youngest brother is only 93 years young. He says his mother gave him his initials because her other sons had all been given nicknames, and she didn’t like that. She thought that her method would prevent him from being nicknamed; he’s been known as “Dub” all his life. Growing up with ... Read More »

Four Month Frenzy

My mom, the 2014  Buzzard Queen, dressed incognito for the Mardi Gras Goodland Boat Parade. (left)
My son and daughter at the Old Marco Lodge on a fun Sunday night. (right) PHOTOS by MELINDA GRAY

GOODLAND LIFE Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com As this season, my first here in Goodland, draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on what it means for me. I’ve made so many friends in just a few short months. Some will go north for the summer and come back next season; some I expect to say farewell to permanently as they continue on from here; and some will stay in Goodland, and we will pass the long, hot summer together. I can honestly say I am looking forward to the emptiness of the island, but will also miss all of the ... Read More »

Isle Be Jammin

Billy J and the Big Easy play regularly at Marker 8.5. The duo pack this small venue with a large crowd.

GOODLAND LIFE Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com Anyone who knows me knows I love listening to live music and enjoying a cold drink with some friends. Music has always been very close to my heart. I’ll listen to almost any genre, depending on my mood: country for the “nothing else could go wrong” day; metal or punk if I’m angry or a little rebellious; electronic or dubstep if I’m in the dancing mood. Where ever I go, I always check out the local music scene. I’ve known fantastic musicians in every place I’ve lived. I prefer small, unique venues and undiscovered talent. My ... Read More »

Honoring a Goodland Icon

Clyde Stuart “Butch” Cameron

GOODLAND LIFE Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com Let me start by saying, this has been the most enlightening, yet hardest thing I’ve ever written. To try and capture in words, what this legend of a man has meant to everyone he’s loved and everyone who loves him, is almost impossible. Please take into consideration the fact that I never had the honor and pleasure of meeting Butch Cameron. Through talking to as many of you as I could, and attending his memorial, I feel like I almost know him by proxy, and thus I will try to honor him here in my Goodland ... Read More »

Shock to the System

I still can’t believe this is my backyard. PHOTO BY MELINDA GRAY

GOODLAND LIFE Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com In my 35 years, I’ve traveled all over the world. My mother and grandmother loved to see new places and experience different things. As a very young child, I was taken to various tourist destinations and third-world countries. I’ve known my fair share of culture shock. Yet, as well-traveled as I am, I never expected to find myself so amazed at how different life could be just six states away. Goodland has delivered its own dose of culture shock; it’s unlike any place I’ve been in the world, including my former home in Ohio. Here are ... Read More »

My Life in Paradise Begins…

GoodlandSign

GOODLAND LIFE Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com The first time I visited Goodland was just a few short months ago. My mother moved here a year earlier, and insisted I visit soon. So I planned to fly down with my two children, stay with my mom for a month and then return to snow-covered Ohio. My plans went out the window from the moment I woke up on my first morning in Goodland. I knew I would move proverbial mountains to make this paradise my home. Over the last few years, my mother would visit Goodland, post beautiful pictures online, and swear ... Read More »

Farewell Goodland…

Remind me again why I’m leaving this place?

GOODLAND LIFE Natalie Strom natalie@coastalbreezenews.com The first time I visited Goodland, I was about five years old. I don’t remember, but my mom does. She vividly recounts the story of the family going to dinner at The Little Bar and how my younger brother, still an infant, made a massive mess of himself. My mom was horrified. She spent a lot of time in the restroom with him that evening. When she tells the story even now, I can hear the embarrassment in her voice. I do, however, remember the second time I visited Goodland. It was February of 2005. I ... Read More »

Parties, Pancakes and Parades

Boat parade 2013. The theme: musicals. We chose “Hair,” and came in 2nd to last!

GOODLAND LIFE Natalie Strom natalie@coastalbreezenews.com Suddenly, it’s the end of January 2014. Where did the time go? When did the slow days of summer suddenly slip away? I guess I was too busy on my Fucillo HUGE KIA cruise to notice, but it is here: “Season.” Thus, the celebrations in Goodland — and all over South Florida — have begun. Ready to party? Because I am! (Big surprise.)   30th Annual Mullet Festival Stan’s and Son’s 30th Annual Goodland Mullet Festival kicks off on Friday, Jan. 24, and continues until the sun sets on Sunday, Jan. 26. The usual festivities of ... Read More »

Island or not? That is the question

Holly and Duffy helped out at last year’s Boat Parade, selling raffle tickets and handmade items by local residents - all to benefit Avow Hospice.

GOODLAND LIFE Natalie Strom natalie@coastalbreezenews.com No one man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” - John Donne I have often (ok, more than often) referred to the village of Goodland as an island. I always knew it really wasn’t it’s own island, but using the terms village, town or community sometimes becomes redundant which you will notice as you continue to read. I resort to using the term island for the sake of diversity, but in all reality Goodland is connected to Marco Island. An aerial map of ... Read More »

Arts Alliance Accepted

LOGO CREATED BY SHERRI MORRISON

GOODLAND LIFE Natalie Strom natalie@coastalbreezenews.com The date was September 30, 2012. Twelve Goodland residents met at a picnic table under the pavilion at MarGood Harbor Park. Their goal: to promote the arts, music and history that make Goodland what it is today. On that day, just over one year ago, the “darling dozen” formed the Goodland Arts Alliance, and now the non-profit has officially obtained its 501(c)3 status. Getting the ball rolling wasn’t easy, but with the help of many knowledgable and experienced philanthropists, lawyers, artists and accountants, the GAA became a licensed non-profit within the state of Florida. The first ... Read More »

What a Weekend!

It’s Stan’s! Go there at night and get a glow stick in your buzzard punch. I’m all for it.

GOODLAND LIFE Natalie Strom natalie@coastalbreezenews.com Yes! What a weekend! It’s always nice to take a time out from the hustle and bustle of working life and actually spend some regular time in Goodland. No work, no volunteering, just a bit of a good time with friends and local business owners. On Friday night we went down to Stan’s. I usually go on Sunday like everyone else, but we wanted to try something different, and it was worth it. Owner Steve Gober and his sons were there, working away as usual. But Steve made the time to sit and talk with us. ... Read More »

GCA Holiday Bazaar a Success

JRobert, Robert of the Bridge Trolls and Gator Nate joined up to jam together. All the musicians volunteered their time for the event.

GOODLAND LIFE Natalie Strom natalie@coastalbreezenews.com It was an extraordinary affair. Two days of music, arts, crafts, food, ice sculptures and a park filled with holiday decorations. The above barely defines the joy had by all at the Goodland Civic Association’s Fourth Annual Holiday Bazaar. MarGood Harbor Park was the locale for the affair held on the weekend of November 16 and 17. Nearly 60 vendors shared their creations with hundreds who passed through the park. Delicious food was available as well as fresh fruits and vegetables and flowers. Ten musicians from the area volunteered to play music throughout both days, and ... Read More »

The Goodland Gazette

Save the historic cottages! Join the GAA (email me for details) and let's get this restoration under way!

GOODLAND LIFE Natalie Strom natalie@coastalbreezenews.com This is issue three or four of what I like to call the “Goodland Gazette,” a newspaper inside a newspaper. When there are myriad topics to be covered pertaining to Goodland, I like to break it down, dissect it, examine it and share the you-know-what out of it with our readers. Holiday Bazaar not so Bizarre November 16 and 17 are/were (depending on when you read this) the dates for the annual Goodland Civic Association Holiday Bazaar. Over 60 vendors, 10 musicians and food of all varieties will be/were featured at the event which is/took place ... Read More »