One Man and His Horn: Jensen Beach Day 1

I kicked off my Florida Tour in Jensen Beach, FL on Sunday, November 13th.  I wanted to start there, because that was my home for about ten years and it was kind of a homecoming for me.  I hadn’t see many of my friends in the last ten years since I left, who still live there.  I didn’t know what to expect, but when I walked into Jan’s Place Restaurant (I worked there for 5 years) it was almost like I had never left.  When I worked there it was like a family, the staff had all worked there together forever.  I had hurt some people there before I left, and I guess the saying is true, “Time heals all wounds”  That is all I have to say about that.   I arrived at 11:00am and said my “Hellos” and chatted for a few minutes, then I got to work.  I had called Jan earlier in the morning and let her know I was coming and asked if I could play outside the restaurant.  Without even a thought she said yes.

I went out front and there was outdoor seating and I played on the sidewalk.  I could not have asked for better weather, it was a beautiful sunny day, and the people dining outside were really enjoying what I was doing.  I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think they have ever had a jazz breakfast outside.  Anyway, I was talking to some of the guests in between songs and there was one couple, Anthony and Lori, who were just great to talk to.  They got the code word and received a copy of “Conversations” and later on gave me my first tip in “check” form.  Anthony said, “I know this may be unusual, but I didn’t bring any cash.”  I told him it was the first ever.  I thought they were super cool to talk to and they really liked the atmosphere.  Throughout the twos hours I played, for the afternoon shift, it was a wonderful reception.

After I was done, I went in to get something to eat and Jan’s treated me to an amazing breakfast- a southwest benedict- cornbread topped with veggie sausage, onion, avocado, tomato, 2 poached eggs and enchilada hollandaise sauce.  It was awesome! Their entire menu is awesome.  If you find yourself in Jensen Beach, Jan’s is THE Place to be for breakfast!  After they closed, as is the tradition, we went to a local watering hole for two beers.  We were finally able to talk and catch up without any distractions.  Though there were a few faces I didn’t know, it was almost like stepping back in time.  The only thing that really changed, was the conversations.

Later that evening, I went to Stuart, which is just the next town over.  I played outside the Lyric Theater.  There wasn’t a show that night, so it wasn’t a problem.  There wasn’t a whole lot of action down there, but there was some and, again, I got to talk to some cool people.  I tell a short story and have people guess the code word—

“This is a 1925 Conn Alto saxophone, and I named her Gilda.  What is the code word?”

Some get it, some don’t, but it is just a fun thing to do to give out discs.

After about two hours, I was wiped out, it had been a long day.  Bob and Jan were wonderful to offer me a place to stay while I was in town, so I went to their house.  We watched the Patriots game that night (well, not all of it, I fell asleep in the beginning of the 3rd quarter) and really got a chance to hang out and catch up.  It was a wonderful night of conversation and company.

  1. karol ziemba said:

    That’s so cool ,and I know how you feel about things not changing much in J.B. Been there my self a few times.(coming back from canada the first time was a real treat)Can’t wait till I can do it again.Best wishes & Happy holidays to you my friend. Iceman !

    • It was great to be there for a few days! Perhaps we will be there at the same time, one of these days. Best Wishes and Happy Holidays to you and your family as well, my friend!

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