This past weekend I was in Tampa again for their Eagle’s FIRST Anniversary bash. The drive up and back is always a pleasant ride. Theres never much traffic when I get in the car to go and for 15 bucks I take a trip up and I ALWAYS have a GREAT time.
I went over Daddy Eric Siglin’s home and I had a wonderful dinner with about a dozen or so men; some in leather some not. Even though the only person I knew Was Eric I felt that everyone welcomed me. Eric made sure to let everyone know I was part of Mama Sandy’s Leather family. It felt good to belong.. I am still amazed how many have never heard of her or the work she has done. I am always watching my weight. I prefer to watch it then have others watch it for me and tell me about my expanding waist so I keep myself disciplined and in check. The reason I mention this is because there was so much food that I liked and would have demolished but refrained from doing so. I ran int one of the guys I knew from 3 yrs ago. I went to open the door since I was closest and there was Tony..FREAKIN WOOF. I was all over him like hair attached to my chest. We got to spend some good time together reconnecting at Eric’s. I am planning to go see him one day soon. We ended up staying there watching videos on his HUGE TV till almost 11PM.
The hotel I stayed in with the Leather wolf dog was by far one of the best hotels I have ever been in. The Hilton Gardens Hotel in Ybor City was a class act from beginning to end. I give it a perfect score on all fronts.
On Saturday afternoon we walked on the main drag in Ybor and it was dead. It looked like an evacuation and someone forgot to tell me. We spoke to one of the women in a pizzeria and she told us between the economy bad weather both in Florida and up north, that the stores were dead. Many had left or relocated because the landlords wouldn’t lower their rent to reflect the tough times. I would rather get some rent than nothing. So many greedy individuals end up shooting themselves in the foot to keep their property empty rather than rent it out and get something for it each month. It took me awhile to get used to the place looking like a ghost town on a Saturday afternoon when the last time I was there the place was packed.
But I digress… after dinner at Eric’s we came back to the hotel and changed, walking out into the night to the Eagle for the evening festivities. Those guys up there know how to make you feel welcome. Without going into detail lets just say that Daddy had a great time with several, ok ok, 4 guys. The leather store that just opened up inside the bar hosted a very friendly guy who owned the shop and he was very helpful. Anyone up there needs to check it out. The guys who went there were very friendly and accommodating to me. The place was fairly crowded and it was nice to see leather everywhere. I can understand why bar owners don’t restrict the crowd to leather only. They would lose a ton of business, AND MONEY, so as an offering they designate a SMALL space to the leather crowd with the majority of the bar left for everyone else. Here’s what I DON’T get. Even though these one a month evenings get packed, they REFUSE to expand the space, like maybe they should let the ENTIRE bar go leather only just for one night a month? When you have been in the SAME space for MANY years you can afford to do that but there are those that no matter how much they get they want more..its NEVER enough. I am however happy, for the crumbs we are fed. It’s better than nothing. To say that things have changed is an understatement. I often wonder how did leather, which by its very nature was rebellious and tribal, come to mean or be politically correct? I hate going off on tangents but I love leather and the lifestyle so much that its very upsetting to me to witness what it was and what it now is.
We left on Sunday morning beating out the bad weather which was headed toward the Tampa area to return to a partly sunny and FINALLY very warm Wilton Manors. I keep accumulating memories of the community I love with incredible men. Matt, Wolfy, Lincoln, Todd, Eric, Tony and several others all conspired to give me more of who I am and what I need…Thanks men. You are my family.