In most places in this country the summer is officially over, except here on our island paradise. September can sometimes be the hottest, wettest and most uncomfortably; the slowest time of the year for many local businesses. Hence the reason many shops and restaurants shut down and it is a perfect time to enjoy their vacations, including yours truly.
I am back on the rock after enjoying my stay in the state of Florida holiday, at my remote north–central retreat with family complete with my cherished canines. Here in the woods, surrounded with quiet nature, I eventually take it all in, after a few days of cutting and clearing—during my prolonged absence here, Mother Nature tries to take it all back!
It’s not just the beauty it’s the absolute silence.
Finding that peace here in “Our Island Paradise “is in my opinion getting harder and harder, unless you are fortunate enough to own a boat or stout-hearted enough to explore the Everglades to get away from it all. There comes a time, as many long-term islanders know to take a “Get me off this crazy rock holiday!”
At this point of my life, I find it takes a few days to adjust to this shifting into low gear, let alone putting my life into neutral, I’m so used to being in stressful hyper-drive mode running a small business in these weird times. So, I occasionally step off the merry-go-round, jump in the truck, and drive four hours to return here.
I must admit, the dogs love free–ranging and are having the time of their lives besides resting a lot they are exploring the pastures and woodlands, taking in all its forms of wildlife—squirrels, chipmunks, deer and most birdlife are on their pursuit, which they never catch. My only worry is they may encounter a raccoon. Their most recent discovery was a large gofer tortoise who had the audacity to enter their domain; that was very amusing for all of us.
My newest addition to the family, Bella, a mostly white and black spotted Florida cur made it into my distant neighbor’s cow pasture and had an interesting encounter with a cow with near–identical black and white markings. Maybe it mistook it for its mother?
Bella spends at least an hour a day visiting with that cow or a reasonable facsimile thereof. A few weeks of this is good for the soul, it refreshes and recharges my batteries, and then it is back to island time reality and hopefully another busy season without a dramatic life-threatening interruption.
The COVID bomb that was dropped in late March, no matter how you personally feel about it, has left a lasting impression on all of us and will change how we will react with people and do business in the future. That’s just a fact!
I realize this next topic is a third rail issue, we have a mix of COVID-19 believers and disbelievers both locally and throughout this country. I have friends and customers who insist on wearing a mask around people, and some who simply won’t wear one. I witnessed a very uncomfortable moment at a local restaurant when a recently seated patron started coughing and hacking uncontrollably, the silence was deafening and everyone—be it a believer or non-believer—were having second thoughts about remaining there in that restaurant. I can’t help but notice even here on the island that even a simple allergy sneeze gets attention, and that person is looked upon as now being a germ spreading Typhoid Karen. So, believe it or not, my shop will continue using safety shields and constant sanitizing to keep my customers and staff safe until I am convinced by medical professionals I no longer need to do so. End of story.
I suppose I should begin talking about jewelry, as the name of my column implies… On a good note, talk about the inmates running the asylum, my staff who had asked for time off during the worse of the pandemic; asked I would cut the September vacation period short. They insisted we reopen the 14th instead of the 21st. They did so in my absence, and they had one of the best weeks in my shop’s history. Go Figure? Slow September, during a pandemic in a monsoon…?
There is an old saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” For those of you who are mask believers, Mary Joe—my humble shop’s talented pearl re-stringer and salesperson—created some colorful beaded “mask holders” you wear around your neck that we will offer for sale soon. Mask Jewelry?
I’m back at work, and yes, the price of precious metal is still the highest it has been like since the dawn of mankind, but oddly enough the cost of diamonds is down. So, ladies, it’s time to get those diamond studs you always wanted!
I predict it will be a “time will tell” situation on how that will affect the jewelry business, especially during the holiday season and the months that follow. Public interest and what they are buying will be a sales barometer to be taken very seriously.
Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith and owner of The Harbor Goldsmith, Marco’s Island Jeweler since 1994, and welcomes your questions, comments, and business inquiries at www.harborgoldsmith.com.