This past week my wife and I spent time with relatives in Las Vegas. My wife’s brothers sent her a ticket to come out on a surprise visit for her mom and dad. And they were indeed surprised. Their mouths dropped open and tears started flowing. We spent a week visiting with friends, relatives and even did a little shopping.

We also checked out two new casinos. What surprised me most was how many casino employees were standing in front of vacant gaming tables. For a holiday weekend there was not near the traffic I remembered when I lived in Las Vegas. The local news outlets were boasting a one hundred percent increase for home sales and two hundred percent on condos as compared to one year ago however the average home is about sixty thousand dollars less than last year. Commercial space was also readily available. Even though it was a vacation for us, her brothers still had to work. It was obvious why they are so successful in their chosen professions. They each worked at least half a day – twelve hours. They still maintain a healthy relationship with their family have hobbies and attend family functions. The bottom line is that in order to live the lifestyle to which they have grown accustomed, a twelve-hour workday is a necessity. Las Vegas, like much of the country, is feeling the effects of the recession and in order for many to survive, they take on second jobs or work longer hours. It’s not much different here in the keys. Even though we have enjoyed a pretty good season many of us have had to do the same. As my wife always says, “It is what it is.” Since there doesn’t appear to be any immediate relief in sight we might as well accept the inevitable and get to work. My father always said that hard work can solve just about any problem and I hope he is right. As a nation, we have a reputation for working hard and playing hard. This is an important mix and it keeps things in perspective. Why work if you can’t have a little fun along the way?

As a resort community we are lucky to be the only tropical destination on main land America. Many who normally travel abroad will be more likely stay in the United States this year. Other countries are experiencing political unrest, and in some cases, are just not safe for travelers. With any luck we can attract more people to visit the Keys and they will bear witness to our summer season. Let’s pray for a windless summer with calm seas and tight lines. Let’s hope that tourists find their way to the Keys and have the trip of a lifetime.

Dream the life you live and live the life you dream.

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