Wednesday, July 15, 2020

FLIP: The day in the life of a paper boy

Flip. Submitted photos

Flip. Submitted photos

By John Patterson

Hi! My name is Flip – when I was a puppy I was a bit of a handful.

A flipping nuisance, hence the name Flip, a Border Collie, well-known as a working sheep dog. Unfortunately, we had no sheep at home so I worked with my master and best buddy, John, helping him on his paper rounds. This was in the 50‘s, it was always an early morning start before he went to school. We had two areas: one very rural and the other the outskirts of the town where we lived in Chesterfield, a small market town, Derbyshire; that’s in the UK. John worked very hard for his pocket money and I did my fair share. It was great fun visiting the farms where the sheep were grazing. I would always go into the fields and round a few sheep up whilst John delivered his papers. Between deliveries I would jump into the basket on the bike whilst he peddled away to the next drop. My most useful job was to ‘ protect.’ If a home had a problem dog then I would go in first, have a scrap with the problem dog as John rushed in behind to deliver the paper. We had a perfect understanding and being a Collie I was far too smart to get hurt.

Where is all this going, well you have probably guessed. I have been in Doggy Heaven for a long time and have watched my best buddy, John, go through his life: schooling, corporate work, running his own businesses and not forgetting his passion for soccer and his contribution to the sport.

Well, what does he do now? Guess what? Without me, he is back delivering papers for Coastal Breeze. Would you say that’s a big step backwards? Not at all – he has the same fun as he did with me. He says it keeps him fit and he meets really, really nice people… the ones that work hard for their living and existence on Marco Island the ‘Paradise’ of Florida.

John is not the only one who helps on distribution, most of the staff help deliver – even the publisher, Val, because like

Tina with Gary, the Bell Captain.

Tina with Gary, the Bell Captain.

John, they all like the challenge of being involved with a new and outstanding community paper, all contributed by the community and for the community.

John thought the next idea was a dream, but it was ME. (I still watch over him) suggesting that he should give a selection of these interesting people he meets the opportunity to contribute to the paper. The first one follows. We will invite a selection of Coastal Breeze readers to voice a few positive comments about themselves and their lives on Marco Island.

Today it’s the lighter side of the concierge life by Tina Stiffler, Concierge for the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa.

John: Hi Tina, what’s new? Nice weather.

Tina: Well, speaking of weather! There is no doubt about it – guests are happiest when the sun is shining. That’s no surprise for a beach vacation, but my heart sinks on those rare days that it rains all day and the guests want something to do. Much as I would like to ask them what they do at home when it rains. I have to smile happily and look enthusiastic and suggest movies and our wonderful shops.

The rain gods on Marco did oblige the other day, a guest had noted a rain shower on the forecast and came to the desk and asked me what time it was going to rain. Of course I had no answer – if the forecast cannot predict, then how can I, but I smiled sweetly and noted our Bell Captain Gary was not too busy so I called him over and explained our guest would like to know what time it would rain. I expected a light hearted reply. In his 24 years at the Hilton, Gary has heard it all, but he stroked his chin thoughtfully and studied the sky carefully. It was a beautiful day with brilliant sunshine and certainly did not look like rain but Gary delivered his verdict with gravity, “any moment now.” Well would you believe that by the time Gary had walked back across the lobby the skies opened and a truly torrential shower erupted. Our guest simply gazed in wonderment and Gary took a bow.

Flipping Brilliant.

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