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November 19, 2003

Anywhere But Here

Thanksgiving is in a week! Well, almost. And in recognition of that, I'm going to be posting Thanksgiving-appropriate recipes and stuff on me little website here. First up, from NYTimes.com - Sausage Stuffing with Caramelized Onions.

And in other news - scary things afoot in downtown Palm Harbor, where I work.

When I left the office last night at 6, I noticed two sheriff's department cars outside of the Blue Coyote Coffee Company building across the street. Dave, the owner of the BCCC, was talking with a deputy. Obviously something was up, but it was 6, I was tired, and it was time to get the hell out of Dodge (if you know what I mean).

So this morning Suzanne went over to Dave's (no one really calls the place by its real name) to get some tea, and she got the scoop:

All day yesterday a scraggly-looking man had been hanging out in and around Dave's. He had long, ragged blonde hair and scruffy facial hair. He was also, apparently, obviously mentally ill. He was talking about strange things and pinballing from topic to topic with no sense of order. Crazy talk, if you will.

Dave only works in his store in the mornings/early afternoons. In the late afternoon, he has high school kids that take over. Apparently this strange man made them nervous, so they called Dave to come back to the store. He did, and he got the man to go outside onto the sun deck with him, where he calmly explained that the man was intimidating his employees and that he needed to leave. And if he didn't leave, Dave would call the police.

Now, let me tell you this - Dave is a very soft-spoken, kind-hearted man. I'm sure he talked to the man as nicely as would be possible, under the circumstances.

The man did not leave, so Dave did call the police. They came and it was obvious that the man was mentally ill, so they handcuffed him and put him in the back of a cruiser. They were going to Baker Act him (basically an involuntary commitment to a mental illness treatment program in jail; a person can be Baker Acted for three days if the police believe the person is a danger to themselves or others).

Once the man was in the cruiser, Dave went inside his store to get the man's backpack. He brought it out to the sheriff, and the sheriff opened it and looked inside. He found a loaded Glock handgun.

I am stunned. I am so thankful that the situation didn't escalate into something absolutely horrible, which it so easily could have. If Dave had been a different sort of man, with a more angry and confrontational temperment, I think the situation might have played out in an entirely different way.

And now I'm left here thinking, Are we ever truly safe? I don't think we are. Because this little area, downtown Palm Harbor, with its 4 blocks of little shops and antique stores, is the last place where you'd ever expect to be shot.

Posted by Julie on November 19, 2003 10:16 AM to the category Day In the Life | Food

Wow. I wish everyone could read this story...the obvious lesson is that a little compassion and sanity goes a loooong way. Bravo to Dave for handling that situation so well. If only more people were like him.

Posted by: Ka Ching at November 19, 2003 12:44 PM

*Squeezes Heewig* You be careful hanging 'round yo' hood, G.

Posted by: Roo at November 19, 2003 02:01 PM

I lived in Oldsmar for a bit during the early 90's....is there really a "downtown" Palm Harbor???

Posted by: Cops at November 19, 2003 05:57 PM

Cops, yes! You know how Tampa Road runs right through Oldsmar? Well if you take Tampa Rd. almost all the way west, then go north on Alt. 19 about a half mile, downtown Palm Harbor is on your right. The main attraction down there is the Thirsty Marlin.

Oh and me, of course.

Posted by: Julie at November 19, 2003 06:39 PM

I've just been letting everything happen without me lately, but oh well. I haven't been up to much these days. Today was a complete loss. Shrug. More or less nothing seems important, but such is life.

Posted by: fedex rules at February 23, 2007 12:37 AM

More or less nothing seems worth doing. I haven't been up to anything today. My mind is like a void.

Posted by: help me now at February 23, 2007 12:39 AM
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