On the last day of a hard year, the sun came up over Tampa Bay shortly after 7, a warm orange dot to the east. Dark to light.
The door opened at Big Apple Bagels in Lutz. The shop started in hard times, but every month got a little better, co-owner Keith Brackin said. The secret? Keep opening the door.
"Happy New Year," Brackin said to a customer.
"Got to be better than the last," the customer said.
Back outside, on the road, radio news: record drop in home prices, record lows in consumer confidence, "global crisis."
This is how people spent the last day of 2008, headed into 2009.
In Wesley Chapel, "Ski" Kulczycke, retired in April, was grinding coffee beans for troops in Iraq. "Idleness is ungodly," he said.
In Tampa, inside Coin Laundry on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Coketha Devlin fed dirty clothes into a washer and thought about the ways she can make this year better than the last.
Up the road, inside D&B Barbershop, Desmond Key ran his fingers through a woman's hair as Auld Lang Syne spilled from the TV. The barber's humble resolution: "What role can I play in the depolarization of humans?"
In Pasco, at San Antonio Cyclery, Joe Salerno sold a blue bike to a little girl. He bought the business right before the big crash. He has been doing okay. Maybe, he thought, the high gas? Or maybe people come for the hills. The ups, the downs. That's what makes a ride worthwhile.
In Tampa, Sherry James sat in the dark inside her flower shop. Flowers are a luxury. Other shops are folding. She cut staff to keep the doors open. Her husband does deliveries. Her sister helped during the holidays. Her family is closer now.
The Cagels and their two young children walked between cages of sad-eyed dogs at the Hillsborough animal shelter and stopped at No. 272. A little white Lab mix. She has a name now: Zoe.
A few miles away, people filed into a service for Dr. Harold Enlow, Marine, World War II, then back to Tampa to be a dentist. He was 85. A good man, one of the people said.
At Spring Hill Regional, a baby was wrapped in a little white blanket. Mom was in bed. Dad was in the corner with a laptop looking for a truck to buy to get back into the trucking business. He sells cars now, but not enough.
"Seven pounds, 10 ounces," mom said.
"She's the positive of '08."