"the" Mrs. Astor

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The year that most of us would prefer to forget is over as is the two week bacchanal that ended it; the last visitors have left and now we have to wonder what is ahead for this little town. There is really no need for resolutions, but there is a category I call, Something Has To Be Done, and it has to do with Mr. Astor's addiction to shopping. He did warn me in the beginning that he had one weakness and that it was fashion. When he arrived one year ago with 56 pair of shoes I thought it charming; there are over 80 now and that doesn't include flip flops and boxes labeled interestingly like "Swim Shoes". There are, of course, worse habits; there are no bottles of gin hidden in the washing machine, no gambling debts, but it is beginning to feel like a department store here.

This weekend Leopoldo found a new source of spending delight: Hats (not the ones pictured here, though). We went on a drunken shopping spree last night, picking up three more smart hats and immediately ran to another bar to show them off. Now I have to find a place to put them, much the way I had to find room for the shoes.

There are, of course, worse things happening in the world, but no one has told that to Bal Harbour. I spent the afternoon up there yesterday and watched in amazement as crowds of well-coiffed women lined up at for good seats at its restaurants, laden with fashionable shopping bags. The weather was again warm and invited everyone to parade around in smart suits and shoes; the sales are over, but the stores were packed. There were a lot of foreign languages being spoken, lending truth to Leopoldo's belief that tourists are the ones spending big.

Down here there is a feeling of impending doom as retail stores close here and there. I really wish I knew what this year will be like, but not much makes sense right now. Perhaps a new hat is just what we need.


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