Last week was great fun for people who enjoy the sometimes rowdy, rapid goings on in and about Marco Island city government.
Topic A, of course, was the changing of the guard at Marco Police headquarters.
The chatter became a chant, then a shout as the word spread. Sure, some people knew it was true, particularly the players at City Hall and their closest confidantes. But they all were sworn to secrecy. That’s how we heard about it, last Wednesday at CJ’s On The Bay, one of the island’s two or three best places to be served a large cocktail of rumor, fact and conjecture. It’s better than talking about debt ceilings and sewer cost overruns any day.
We immediately set about asking people we knew would know. After several answers such as, “Well I really can’t talk about that subject,” or “Gee I’ve heard that too. Hmm. Interesting,” sometimes giggles followed.
By Thursday it obviously was true, but none of our credible sources would say so publicly. Some reporters were getting snippy about their inability to confirm City Manager Riviere’s selection of Don Hunter. They weren’t giggling. One city insider referred to some of the journalists as “rabid dogs,” which we think is an insult to rabid dogs.
On Friday morning official word from City Hall came that Mr. Riviere had gotten his man, Mr. Hunter.
It reminded us of a favorite line used by legendary baseball broadcaster Harry Caray. When a batter hit a ball obviously destined to be a home run, Caray gave it some excitement and prolonged the pleasure with his dramatic call: “It might be, it could be, it IS! A home run.”
Islanders will have some fun opportunities this week to join the buzz about our top cops coming and going.
Today, Wednesday, The Marco Police Foundation will honor retiring Chief Carr at a luncheon at Hideaway Beach Club. If you’re interested, call Debra Sanders this morning for reservations at 248-7419.
Tomorrow, Thursday July 21, a retirement celebration will honor Chief Carr, put on by his friends and supporters from 5-7 p.m. at the Marco Island Historical Museum. For details, phone Nancy Payton at City Hall, 389-3987.
Unofficially, we expect a lot of lively conversation at the After-5 event this evening, Wednesday. The Chamber of Commerce party, open also to non-members, is at the Zinful Wine Bar at Vandy’s. Surely the chat will be about the former sheriff, now the new chief in town.
You may wonder why some places are better than others for rumors and speculation spiced with unvarnished truth now and then. Why a bar rather than, say, the library or the dentist’s office?
Easy. Gossip is more satisfying when emoted rather than whispered. And being at the dentist usually renders conversation impossible, what with his fingers in your mouth.
No, nothing beats a lively exchange of semi-information than a few adult beverages.
Let us never forget the Roman proverb, “in vino veritas.” In wine there is truth.
Chris Curle is a former news anchor for CNN and for ABC-TV stations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Houston. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and a former news anchor for CNN and ABC-TV, in Atlanta. His Farmer File column appears Fridays in the Naples Daily News. E-mail: email@example.com.