Thursday, February 16, 2012
The Key West Community Sailing Center, formerly known as the KW Sailing Club, just so happens to be situated at one end of Garrison Bight and is but a stone's throw away from the Mooring Field bathroom and shower facilities.
In fact I'd venture to say that the distance between the two venues is about the same between deep center-field and home plate on a baseball diamond... a distance which I once could readily hurl a baseball from on one bounce back in my youth.
But that dear reader is but a random recollection of a youth long since past and one that a person will only think about while listening to Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band wail about "Glory Days" from his top selling album Born in the USA.
In any event kids of various ages can often be seen competitively sailing small sunfish boats in the bight as one leisurely dinghies ashore in the early morning. And it is a sight that had me thinking of the time and place when I too would enjoy sailing a small sailboat.
For you see, it was while living in Texas that I would often trailer a small Sail Escape Rumba to Cedar Creek Lake just south of Dallas for a blissful day of sailing.
Invariably I'd put that boat in the water at Don's Port Marina before setting sail for Cedar Isle some five miles away midway along the bridge spanning the towns of Seven Points and Gun Barrel, Texas.
Nevertheless before setting sail, I'd always ice down a twelve pack of beer for the day cause all that physical exertion while sailing could indeed make a sailor quite thirsty. And I also happen to know from experience that there are few things more pathetic than a thirsty sailor.
And since cold beer should always be deemed to be an essential part of one's sailing gear, I was always diligent about making sure that my vinyl beer cooler was securely tied down to my boat in case I should inadvertently capsize while out sailing.
And while capsizing can indeed be an inconvenience of sorts, it is seeing one's stash of cold beer floating away that is most certain to cause unmitigated anguish and genuine heartache.
So yeah, I was always diligent about securing my vinyl cooler containing my ice-cold beer to my boat.
But it was while sailing in heavy winds one day that one of the bolts securing the rudder to the boat's transom came loose thereby causing my boat to lose a good part of its steerage.
That bolt had been working its way loose from previous sailing excursions but to my misfortune I hadn't been as diligent in tightening that bolt as I had been about tie-ing down my vinyl beer cooler. And whether or not my priorities were in order is a matter that I'd just as soon not address at this time.
So as a result of that bolt working its way loose, there was little to do but nurse that boat on back to port and pull it out of the water. Hopefully I'd later remember to tighten that bolt before attempting to set sail on some other occasion.
Well after pulling my boat out of the water and loading her up on the trailer, I peeled off my wet swim trunks, towelled off and slipped on some dry clothes. I then proceeded to head on up to the open aired Tiki-Hut at Don's Port for a few cold Heinekens and some bar grub.
And although it wasn't quite noon yet the sun was certainly well past the yard-arm and if that wasn't quite satisfactory enough for your average Taliban-Baptist tee-totaler, then it surely it had to be five-o'clock somewhere.
It was nevertheless after seating myself at the bar and looking out across the various dining tables that I happened to vaguely recognize a familiar face. And with curiosity getting the best of me, I proceeded to call the bar-tender on over to confirm my suspicions.
Upon asking the bar-tender, a young kid with a bad case of gum disease and glazed-over eyes, whether he knew who one particular patron might be, he immediately responded with a "Oh yeah, he's some hot-shot soccer coach from up in Dallas... he comes here all the time... in fact he closed the place down drinking it up last night".
And with that I immediately came to the realization that he wasn't talking about some random soccer coach from up in Dallas but was instead referring to none other than the head coach of my beloved Dallas Mavericks, Coach Don Nelson... former Celtic great and now in the NBA Hall of Fame.
So without much ado, I asked that super-hyper, young kid of a bar-tender what kind of beer the coach might be drinking and whether I could borrow a pen for a moment and if he could please reach a bar-napkin for me as well.
I then proceeded to scrawl on that bar-napkin something to the effect of "Hey Coach, I've had a bad day of sailing... my rudder broke", followed by "My wife and I are former Reunion Rowdies, cheap seats of course, section 226." And lastly I wrote, "I'm pushing 50 and I still play full-court basketball at the downtown YMCA". I concluded my little note with "Go Mavs"!!
And with that I discreetly headed on over to the coach's table with my brief note and a cold bottle of beer in hand.
(I gotta believe that public figures do get tired of others intruding upon their quiet time while out in public so the least that I could do to make it up to him was to treat him to a cold bottle of beer.)
And after approaching his table, I leaned over and quickly set down both the bottle of beer and my silly note but not before in-obtrusively greeting him with a polite "Hey coach".
And with that, I quickly turned around and headed on back to the bar where I had my own cold beer awaiting me.
A short while later I discretely observed Coach Don Nelson tentatively take a sip of the beer that I had placed upon his table and then proceed to start reading the note that I had scrawled.
It must have been upon him reading the part where I wrote, "I'm pushing 50 and play full-court basketball at the downtown YMCA" that he stood up, looked over at the bar, and bellowed "Awright"!! ... whereupon I quickly responded with a fist-pump of my own and a "Go Mavs"!!
Incidentally, Cedar Creek Lake is a delightful lake with many affluent week-end homes along the shoreline. Yet not for nothing is Cedar Creek Lake often referred to as "Speeder Creek Lake" for not far from the many affluent homes dotting the shorelines are dilapidated trailers and less affluent homes where Methamphetamine and other speed concoctions are cooked up in that secluded, rural community.
B1, Don's Port Marina
A2, Cedar Isle
Former Head Coach of the Dallas Mavericks, Don Nelson.
Well heck... I've still got the same vinyl beer cooler that I'd tie down to my Rumba... I now use it to store my binoculars, handheld radio and GPS while undersail.
Not my Rumba but one exactly like it...