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Monday, April 30, 2012

Taking a Stroll Down Memory Lane...

Boat Dock, Turtle Kraawls, Key West Historic Waterfront. November 1989.

There just ain't a whole lot to do here in Key West once evening rolls around other than to plant one's rear end on a bar stool and wish one were elsewhere. And it is indeed a scene that can get rather tiresome after a while. At least from my perspective anyways...

In any event I surprised myself the other evening when I purposely made it a point to avoid the usual bar scene and do something entirely different for a change of pace and that was but to take a slow, casual stroll along the Key West Historic Waterfront while sipping on an Arizona Lemon Ice Tea of all things.

Yep, imagine that... me foregoing the usual Sports Bar scene and of mindlessly gazing up at a flat screen displaying yet another inconsequential sporting event. Which begs the question, can't we watch sumptin' else fer' a change?... like perhaps the Travel Channel, or the Food Channel, or even Animal Planet? It ain't likes we gotta hear the program for it to be of interest.

But I digress... for it wasn't long before I found myself ever so slowly strolling on past the Schooner Wharf Bar along with its usual boisterous festivities before mindlessly ambling off in the direction of the Turtle Kraawls Restaurant and Bar.

And after casually inspecting the dinghy dock along with its usual cluster-fu*k of dinghies located in front of that dockside restaurant, I tentatively strolled the same pier where my ex-wife and I had once previously tied our boat off to for a number of months back in '88 and '89.

But it was while idly gazing at the many luxurious motor vessels now tied up to that pier, that I began to recall the many unique characters and personalities that I'd previously met. For you see, it was while previously cruising aboard S/V BratCat, a Morgan 35' sloop, that we had once tied off to that very same pier before later anchoring offshore of Christmas Tree Island.

Among the more memorable characters was a gregarious fellow by the name of Gary who spoke with a thick Southern accent and who also happened to hail from the state of North Carolina.

Well Gary was a "hoot", to use the same word that he'd often use when describing something he thought was rather amusing. And who can forget his bag of magic tricks and the "wiffle dust" he'd sprinkle on his many magic tricks in order for them to work?

And of course Gary was always quick to explain that "wiffle dust" was simply all that remained of long since deceased magicians... Yep, Gary was indeed quite a "hoot" and his trawler was aptly named "Magician".

Now John and TT, a married couple and well up in their years happened to reside aboard an adjacent wooden boat that had long since seen better days. Well TT simply doted on John and also happened to worship everything about her husband. It was always "John this"... and "John that"... until one's eyes would glaze all over.

And John would always without exception speak in a low monotone and was always certain to bore the hell out of you if he should happen to corner you somewhere along the dock.

Invariably he would then proceed to recount his experience yet once again for the umpteenth time of the morning when Pearl Harbor was attacked and of when a fellow sailor died in his arms after taking a round to the chest from an attacking Japanese Zero.

Needless to say, once John started narrating that experience, one couldn't help but feel compelled to respectfully listen while idly standing at attention for what seemed like hours on end.

By the way, TT also happened to be the dock master but "TT" wasn't her real name. And I seriously doubt whether she knew that all the barstool sailors hanging out at Turtle Kraawls referred to her in that way. For you see, I can't quite exactly remember her real name but I do happen to recall that TT derisively stood for "torpedo tits".

Yep, dem things always looked armed and dangerous and ready to be launched at a moments notice whenever she'd turn towards one while in conversation.

Tweeter... our live-aboard cat and a most reluctant cruiser. This cat disliked sailing and was always quick to jump off onto the dock only to then sprint and scamper onto another boat and then hide at the first hint of any sailing preparations.

Nevertheless Tweeter was always the first to greet us at the docks upon our return after a day of sailing... MEoOWW!

This entertainer is a hoot and I never seem to tire of his island songs and usual routine of disparaging jokes and commentary. Everybody is fair game... including the "Fat Bartender" he sings about in one of his original songs.

By the way, his poochie-dog up on stage does have a name and her name be Cinderella.. not that there be anything particularly charming about that mutt.

And not that it might be relevant one way or another but Cinderella use to have free rein of the opened-aired bar. That was up until she got a tad too belligerent towards other visiting pooches in the outdoor seating area. Cinderella now remains tethered to a leash whenever up on stage.

Souvenir shops along the waterfront and they all seem to look exactly the same as they did back in '88 and '89.

Lock and load baby! I is gonna blow me up some of dem tourist on jet skis zipping on through the Garrison Bight Mooring Field with the throttle wide open and I is also gonna blow dem all up jest fer grins!

For some odd reason I always seem to cherish taking a few moments to gaze and silently marvel at the Western Union. I seem to recall reading the plaque claiming that she could hold 80 tons of cargo and 20 miles of cable which would later be laid out across the Atlantic.

Sunset, Mallory Square, Key West

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