The third Friday of each month comes around like death and taxes.  I was in my office at Tarleton Wednesday afternoon when I received a text from the editor of the E-T asking me if I was submitting a column for the paper today.  This came as a great surprise in that I thought I had another week to prepare.  Evidently, not so much.

The past few weeks, I have been celebrating a major event in my like.  On January 26th, I turned 70. Seventy! 

When I was a kid in high school and college I thought that when you turned 70 you had one foot in the grave and the other foot was on its way in.  In fact one of my grandfathers never made it to 70. 

I look around these days and 70 doesn’t seem to be a big deal. Some people even blow smoke and tell me that 70 is the new forty.  Most of these people are in their forties or fifties and not 70 themselves.

So what does one do when they turn 70?  My wife and I and three other couples flew to one of our favorite vacation locations, Key West.

Four members of our group had never been to the Keys so we were excited to show the newcomers the sights and sounds of the closest US city to Havana.  Key West is a community with many places to eat fresh seafood and listen to live music.  Just about every restaurant serves the local dish, conch fritters.  I was not real sure if our friends really liked them but they were good sports. 

We all did consume several dozen raw oysters which is what one does at the Half Shell Raw Bar.  Then there was the live music at the Schooner Wharf Bar and Hogs Breath Saloon.

Of course we had to visit the Hemmingway house and the bar he frequented, Sloppy Joe’s and the original location of Sloppy Joe’s now called Captain Tony’s Saloon. 

And there was the brunch at Blue Heaven.  It can’t be adequately described, you just have to go.  Being in Key West is similar to being in Las Vegas, what happens there stays there.

Saturday morning we split into two groups.  Four members of the group had a massage at the spa located on the roof of our hotel.  It must have been a fantastic experience in that all appeared to be very relaxed for the rest of the day. 

The other four of us went deep sea fishing. This was a bucket-list experience for me in that I had never done that before.  I would like to tell you that we caught three marlin, oh wait we did; what happens in Key West stays in Key West.  Regardless of “the truth” we all had a good time and can’t wait to return.

I did avoid buying any art from the Millionaire Gallery that has been my Achilles heel.  If you haven’t been to the Keys plan an excursion, it won’t disappoint.

On an unrelated note, I heard of a singer/songwriter having medical problems and having to establish a GoFundMe account on Facebook to collect money for these expenses.  If the Republican Congress and the President succeed in repealing the Affordable Health Care Act without replacing it with their own plan, then we all may have to establish GoFundMe accounts to pay our medical bills.

Bob Newby is an educator and Erath County resident. He is a member of the E-T's community columnists and can be reached at