Letters from Our Guests
A Poem from Our Guest Jim Hunt
Stanley or Andy,
As you may recall, I am the author of “Restless Fires, Young John Muir’s Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf in 1867-68.” I gave a presentation today at the Cedar Key Public Library at 5:00 PM. In 2007 I was in Cedar Key and stayed at your fine hotel and restaurant. I dined alone since my wife was in Spokane having flown back early from Ashville. Clearly, I missed sharing a meal with her at your restaurant, which was unusually fine. I wrote a poem about her and the meal. I read the poem at our 40th wedding anniversary. Of course, Linda wanted to visit your restaurant and so we did so after a family reunion this past year and again today. Here is the poem for your use or disposal which I wrote on a paper napkin or place mat when I was particularly missing her company.
Thank you for the fine food and the inspiration for this poem. I was also impressed that John Muir visited this building in 1867 when he came to Cedar Key when it was Parson’s General Store and bought citrus fruit which he wrote about in his journal. I am delighted a building from his era is still providing for people traveling through Florida.
With my respect and warm regards,
It is not well to eat a fine meal alone.
Here in Cedar Key an old place made new, begun in 1859.
Through numerous owners and dreams,
Once a store, then a barracks, a whorehouse, now a B & B.
But, where are you? And why am I having abundant pleasure alone?
This abundant pleasure alone?
Why the Balvenie scotch by myself?
An empty chair unfilled with absence?
An empty seat, vast right now, but not always?
Along comes the Savignon blanc,
Perfect with local steamed clams in white wine.
No place mat or napkin across from me.
The empty seat an emblem of what I feel inside.
Yet, filled I am with savory lentil soup
And another glass of sauvignon blanc
To go with grouper, shrimp and scallop
Sautéed in herbs and wine,
So savory, filling; yet, unfulfilled.
There is the emptiness of the absence.
No one with whom to share this delight,
Of candle light, soft ballad music, memory and your presence.
No exchange of pleasantry or profundity, or lists, or concerns.
It’s an absence, silent, empty; yet, I am filled,
With food, longing, love and memory,
That one day we shall share a time of
Scotch, Savignon Blanc, lentil soup, grouper, shrimp and scallop too
One day a longing can become a reality,
Because while this good moment is fine;
It is incomplete without you
So, so, so incomplete.
– Jim Hunt