Today is New Year’s eve. Three hundred sixty five days gone by like that. Tomorrow back to the beginning. Day 1.
Key West in the 1970’s was the beginning of what is today. The town desolate and in effect abandoned. Some had remained. A few started dropping in. Then more. Key West was on a roll!
A few of the notables of the 1970’s are presented here. There are more. I will spell them out in subsequent blogs assuming I stay with this 1970’s kick.
A place first.
My beloved Chart Room. David Wolkowsky’s vision. It became well known as the hangout for politicians and business people. Every day following work, they assembled in the Chart Room to make deals.
Someone said the deals were made “out of the sunshine.”
The Chart Room was a favorite of Jimmy Buffett and Mel Fisher.
Louie’s Backyard served as Jimmy Buffett’s backyard. His house was next door on Waddell Street.
Mel Fisher. Close friend with Jimmy Buffett. His headquarters were at the Galleon near the shrimp boats. Shrimp fishing significantly less today from then. The boats still engaged are docked on Stock Island now.
Fisher was the eternal optimist. He came to Key West looking for the Spanish galleon Atocha. Knew it was in Key West waters and loaded with gold, emeralds, and other valuables.
He had a saying: “Today’s the day.” He was the eternal optimist. Took 15 years. However, he finally discovered a portion of the Atocha which brought him $400 million.
Eugene Lyon was a Key West historian. He claims to have directed Fisher to the Atocha’s underwater location.
Lyon said, “Key West was Mel Fisher’s kind of town.” A “natural gathering place for eccentrics of every kind.”
Tony Tarracino an “eccentric.” With a history. Had to get out of New Jersey because he could not pay a debt to the Mafia. Came to Key West. Became a barkeeper, gambler, bookie, rum runner, pimp, politician, etc. He did it all!
At the same time, married 4 times. Fathered 13 children.
Everyone loved Tony.
He became the proprietor of Captain Tony’s Saloon on Greene Street. Still there with his name on the place. Looks just like it did when he ran it. Prior to his purchase in the 1960’s, it had been an ice house and mortuary. A hanging tree comes to mind. The hangings were done from a tree which might still be a part of the Captain Tony building.
Ran for Mayor many times. On one occasion, Jimmy Buffett was his campaign manager. Tony lost. However, he finally did win. Those still alive from those days recall him as a fine Mayor.
Tony credited his successes (especially with women) to his “healthy sex drive” and “strong ego.”
Buffet paid tribute to his friend Tony when he wrote Last Mango in Paris. The song was about Tony.
The women of Key West put on a show Sunday night. The Key West Women of Soul Concert. It is the talk of the town. Especially my dear friend Terri White’s rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
Can she sing it!
Midnight bringing in the New Year can be celebrated by most everywhere in the world. Television will spend several hours covering New Year’s eve in cities as they occur all over the world.
Even Key West. For years CNN has exhibited to the world Sushi coming down in a red stiletto shoe from the second floor of the Bourbon Street Pub.
Duval will be crowded for several blocks in each direction with revelers watching the event.
Be careful with the drinking tonight. Keep yourselves safe. In addition, avoid a DUI. Police will be everywhere.
The day would not be complete without a couple of political observations.
One involves Trump’s good friend Kim Jong Un. Trump is the only one who thinks they are friends.
Kim spoke at a political conference in North Korea yesterday. He spoke non-stop for 8 hours. Another Fidel Castro! Even Trump could not go that log. Even close to it.
Kim called for active “diplomatic and military countermeasures.”
Trump has to be getting nervous. He has recently bombed Iraq, Syria and Somali. A retaliatory measure. He has threatened retaliation against North Korea should it take military action of any kind against the U.S.
We are still waiting for Kim’s “Christmas gift.”
Trump and Kim are birds of a feather. Both crazy. Bullies. I fear one of them is going to start a war the likes of the world has never seen.
The U.S. bombed Iraq and Syria yesterday. Trump says Iran was behind the earlier military attacks in Iraq and Syria.
The U.S. retaliated because a U.S. military base in Iraq was bombed. One military contractor killed, several Americans wounded.
The Middle East could stand at some point united as one entity and in opposition to the U.S. Including “our friends.”
Turkey an opportunist. It will jump sides when it becomes advantageous to do so.
Saudi Arabia cannot be depended upon. Anyone who did what was done to Jamal Khashoggi is neither our friend nor anyone else’s. An opportunistic country also.
The U.S. claims the bombings were necessary to keep the outbreak of violence and extremism from metastasizing. I believe the U.S. retaliatory bombings contribute to and accelerate metastasization.
Wildfires are raging in Australia again. I am surprised Trump has not admonished Australia to begin sweeping the forest floors.
Enjoy your New Year’s Eve!