First Words — 08 January 2016
My favorite stories: Editor & Publisher picks

By Mark Gauert

I asked everybody else for this special anniversary issue to write about their favorite story from the past 15 years of City & Shore Magazine.

But I can’t say what my favorite story is. No, really, I can’t.

I could say it’s the time I was invited to play Dwyane Wade, Shane Battier and Ray Allen in basketball at AmericanAirlines Arena. I scored 1 point.

“That was a really nice shot,’’ Allen said, possibly astonished. I quit while I was ahead.

I could say it’s the time I took a turn off the main road into dark woods in North Florida, while researching a travel story. “I remember the time I took a first date out [here],” my guide laughed. “She must have wondered if this man she’d just met might be an ax murderer, taking her down that country road in the night.”

I was wondering the same thing, until we arrived at the legendary backwoods Bradfordville Blues Club. An evening I’ll never forget, draped in Spanish moss, moonlight and the blues.

I could say it’s the time cellist Yo-Yo Ma autographed a CD for me because of my editor’s letter, “Beeping With the Enemy.” In it, I confessed that my watch alarm had gone off during a particularly sublime account of Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor by the Cleveland Orchestra at Miami’s Arsht Center. I was mortified.

“Please accept this CD as a token of my appreciation for your honesty – and willingness to share it publicly – and for being a patron of the arts,” wrote Andrew Goldberg, vice president of marketing at the Arsht Center. It was such a gracious and welcoming gesture, from Messrs. Goldberg and Ma. I’ve never worn a watch to a concert again.

I could say it’s the time I was invited to drive 510-horsepower Jaguar XKRs on the track at Homestead-Miami Speedway. I’d always dreamed of driving fast – away from traffic lights and traffic enforcement – and here was an opportunity not only to do that, but with an instructor, Morgan Kavanaugh (the “skid expert’’), who complained – as I hit 130 mph – that I wasn’t driving fast enough.

I could say it was the time I was invited to be a judge at the American Fine Wine Competition (sampling 603 wines  is really hard work); or the time I rode my bike from Fort Lauderdale to Palm Beach and back for a Kids in Distress event (“you helped a child today,” a volunteer said at the end of the 100-mile ride. It felt good, but even better to get off the bike); or the afternoon I spent with 94-year-old James Ponce on his Historic Hotel Walking Tour of The Breakers Palm Beach. The Town Council had proclaimed him “Palm Beach’s only two-legged historical landmark.”

“We used to have so many dances here,” he said wistfully in the Mediterranean Ballroom, looking over the terrazzo dance floor where so many parties and dances had swirled. “People today, they don’t dance anymore.”

I thought of Mr. Ponce when Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello danced there after their wedding in November at The Breakers. The grand old days, renewed.

There have been so many stories like these. So many good people, unforgettable adventures, great causes. We are honored to share them with you.

I can’t say what my favorite story from the past 15 years with City & Shore Magazine is. No, really, I can’t.

Because my favorite story will always be the next one. Here’s to the next 15 years, with you.

— mgauert@cityandshore.com

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