It reminded me of the closing line in the movie Casablanca, when Rick (Humphrey Bogart) says to Capt. Renault (Claude Rains): "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
I was going to dinner with a group of friends and I went on ahead to make reservations as they gathered at Magnolia Square while the Jazzed in the Square concert was winding down.
I walked across the street to make sure there was seating at Two Blondes & a Shrimp.
Our choices: We could wait for a seat in the main dining room, which was full at the moment, or eat in the outside "Preservation Alley," which sometimes gets a little chilly when the breeze kicks up through the passageway in the cool evening.
Or, we could sit in Washburn Imports, the next-door home furnishings store that worked out a friendly arrangement that would allow restaurant patrons to sit at tables among the home decorations, furniture and knickknacks when the store was normally closed.
Sheri Blanche, owner of the restaurant, and John Washburn, owner of the imports store, knew when they first met each other that they wanted to try to work together somehow.
It is sort of a work in progress as they see where the business relationship heads. There are even plans to knock out a new door from Washburn's into the breezeway, put in some more tables and change the lighting.
If there is a demand, they'll even open up seating for diners in Washburn's during the daytime.
What a beautiful relationship, as Bogart would said.
Two Blondes benefits by having extra space to seat patrons, and Washburn gets additional exposure and brings in some potential customers who may not have been in before. Plus, customers don't have to wait as they get to sit amid some one-of-a-kind furnishings.
And on this night, both business made a sale.
Besides our dinners, someone in our party of eight loved a wall tapestry in Washburn's and was able to purchase it from the restaurant server.
"It's a very organic thing," Washburn said, "and we'll let our customers dictate what we do here."
This is a perfect example of how businesses that work together, can become successful together – and give everyone involved a better sense of community.
A textbook arrest
If every arrest in Sanford were this efficient, residents could sleep much easier.
About 3 a.m. Thursday, some dogs in my neighborhood started barking, waking up their owner. She looked out her window and saw someone carrying a wicker rocking chair and trying to hide it with another chair in nearby bushes.
Again, this was 3 a.m., not the normal time to see someone carrying furniture down the street.
My concerned neighbor called the Sanford Police Department to report the suspicious activity, and before she had even finished making the call, an officer arrived on the scene.
The suspect must have seen the officer coming, because the caller said the thief took off – heading toward the police department about two blocks away!
She gave a description of the man, who was caught just a block from the station. Plus, he already was wanted on another warrant for larceny.
And here's the kicker: He said he took the chairs because he wanted to give them to his parents – as a Valentine's Day present.
"Times were hard," he told the officer.
And, by the way, parents – if this were a true explanation – you raised a thief and an idiot who thinks society's rules don't apply to him.
He deserves to be taken to the county jail, and if he had been out swiping things from innocent people because "times were hard," he likely doesn't have the money to pay the $1,000 bail.
Good job, officers, your quick response put two chairs and a thief where they all belong.
Thursday's King Crawdaddy Strut included several marchers for the Alive After 5's first parody parade, which was led by Steve "King Crawdaddy" Richards in his full royal garb.
There was a Dixieland jazz band, the Seminole Chamber of Commerce "biker gang," zoo CEO Joe Montisano riding a huge pink flamingo, Sarah Palin (or it could have been just a look-alike), some individuals carrying signs, someone throwing beads, a parading dog – and The Sanford Herald .
The Herald was wondering about the status of the city's campaign to find a new slogan. It has been almost a year now and thousands of dollars, but there doesn't seem to be a new slogan in sight.
The Herald's sign in the parade said: Sanford - The City in Search of a Slogan.
Several people made suggestions afterwards:
"Sanford – It's Where Your Friends Are" – Chris Gardner
"Barbi Bauman says it best: "Keeping it Weird in Sanford" – Joan Faler (referring to Barbi Bauman, Sanford's special events coordinator, who credits that slogan to Austin, Texas, where a business group uses "Keep Austin Weird.")
"The Cradle of Seminole County's History" – James Gardner
Keep those suggestions coming. Maybe one will stick someday.
Comments can be sent to Herald publisher Gene Kruckemyer at GKruckemyer@MySanfordHerald.com.