We arrive early to snag a street meter, avoiding more expensive
public-lot charges; $2 buys us two hours of strolling time.
As vendors pull out their rumba costumes, wrought iron peacocks,
fur stoles, and mah-jongg sets, we wander through the stalls
stretching along South Beach's famous Lincoln Road pedestrian mall.
For 50 cents, Hunter surfaces with a Hunter Mountain Ski Bowl pin
and Maddy grabs an old 19th Amendment suffragette button. A belt
buckle with a tiny working roulette wheel in the center fascinates
Hunter. Michelle considers a bracelet made of large green dice but
decides it costs too much.
We pass rows of costume jewelry, pausing at a booth run by a
gregarious couple, Niki Blacker and John Reubens, more New York
transplants. Blacker is a concert-level pianist who has played
Carnegie Hall. Reubens is a tenor with an operatic pedigree. They
moved to Miami 11 years ago. They both perform in Broward County
but love selling at the market. ("I put my first husband through
law school doing this," Blacker confides.) Maddy and Michelle buy a
group of '60s-vintage Lucite bracelets for $25 from them. A clerk
in a South Beach boutique later tells Michelle she got a terrific
deal. Maddy adds a sparkly lobster pin from a nearby booth for $10.
We escape, keeping to our frugal $40 budget.
We swoop across the bridge toward town and stop at Parrot Jungle
Island, home to 1,100 tropical birds and 2,000 varieties of
Every family has its own set of eccentric interests. One of ours is
a love of birds. We immediately find affinity for two very puffy
St. Vincent parrots. "This pair of birds is currently on a diet to
control their weight," reports a sign on their cage. "Please do not
feed." They apparently don't take dieting any better than we do -
they squawk and fight so loudly a park worker has to