AFRICAN CEMETERY

There is a goodness to Key West people. Unique.

Key Westers are caring. Be down on your luck and the locals rise to help.

Such is not a recent thing. The year 1860 an example.

The US Navy captured three American owned slave ships. Transported more than 1,400 of the Africans on board to Key West. These were not slaves. They had been captured in Africa and were on their way for sale in Cuba and central America. At which time they would become slaves.

They were refugees at the time of their salvation. African refugees.

Key West immediately pitched in. Constructed housing and a hospital. All in what today is the Higgs Beach area. The hospital needed to care for Africans made sick or injured during the trip from Africa to where the vessels were captured.

More than 100 died. Some believe the figure to be 245. Whatever, the dead refugees were buried at Higgs Beach.

Forgotten by time. Till 2002. Some repair/maintenance work was being done int he Higgs Beach area. A few bodies were discovered. Bones that is. Experts called in. Utilizing ground penetrating radar, the remains of more African refugees were discovered.

Certain locals got together to make sure the graves would never be disturbed. The area was determined to be an African Refugee Cemetery. The area fenced off. A series of pedestals and other items erected explaining and commemorating what lie below.

A Day of Remembrance is held once a year. Today that day. From 6-8 this evening, a ceremony will be held. African dignitaries attend from various parts of Africa. Including a King. The King has become an annual visitor.

Spent three hours late yesterday afternoon sipping, enjoying the view and chatting with others at Louie’s Backyard. The Outside Deck.

Then home. I craved the sauce and meat Fran Dixon from Buffalo had recently brought me. The food was frozen solid. I could not wait for it to thaw. Ergo, microwave required. A problem existed. The sauce and meat were frozen in a plastic container.

I telephoned Fran in Buffalo. She and Tom were in the car on their way to dinner.

Explained my plight to Fran. She said micro 2-3 minutes. The frozen block will slip out. Plastic container will not melt.

I performed as directed. No problem. Transferred the food to a large microwavable bowl. Twenty minutes later, hot sauce, meatballs and pork.

Dinner simple. Dunked bread in the sauce. Ate the meatballs and veal. Nothing left at the end. Magnifique!

I live and learn. This time via Diana Millikan.

Diana is renting an apartment on a canal running along side Hilton Haven Road. Boats are parked on the canal. The boat in front of Diana’s place is named the Head Honcho.

The toilet on a boat is referred to as the head. Perry Chaing’s business is cleaning out the heads. A big business. Name of boat derived therefrom. Head Honcho.

What I learned. Years ago, toilets/receptacles were placed at the bow or base of the bow. The head of the vessel. The splashing waters would clean the toilets/receptacles.

Today, boat owners and boats world wide are sophisticated. Head Honcho’s hired!

Head Honcho’s business in Key West is known as Marine Sanitation Solutions Inc.

Tomorrow the eclipse. The moon will block out most of the sun. A shadow will be cast over the Earth. Around 3 in the afternoon. Wear the special glasses!

St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church is located on Truman Ave. The Church was dedicated this date in 1904. Still stands more than 100 years later.

I attend Church infrequently. However when I do stop into St. Mary’s, I am subjected to the warmth of a small island Caribbean house of worship. Sun shining in. A touch of warmth. A flavor not experienced elsewhere.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

BERLIN’S ON A FRIDAY NIGHT

It had been a couple of months since my last visit to Berlin’s. It had also been a couple of months since Jenna and I were last together.

We had dinner last night at Berlin’s.

It was catch up time.

Jenna is studying for a realtor’s license. Difficult, she said. Still filming and modeling. The modeling primarily in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

I keep telling her to find a rich man and get married. She complains the ones with money are all too old. Jenna a mere 30. Seeks a contemporary age wise. Key West a difficult place for two heterosexuals to come together.

She traveled quite a bit this summer. Two weeks home in Indiana, a trip to Los Angeles to visit a girl friend, Chicago, etc. A tough life!

She leaves for a one week trip to Hawaii in two weeks.

I told her maybe if she stayed home in Key West more, she might score guy-wise.

Jenna is a knock out! No question about it. Thirty has not affected the freshness of her beauty in any way.

We laughed our way through dinner.

Jean Thornton and the ladies showed up. Sort of a girls’ club. They dine together frequently. Sweet Janyne was with them.

I had run into Jean earlier in the evening when I stopped at the Chart Room for a drink before leaving to meet Jenna.

English Peter showed up. He had been at the Chart Room earlier when Jean and I had. Peter came for a drink and ended up having dinner. Jean and I wanted to treat. We could not agree who should pay. We ended up sharing his bill.

Ran into two interesting couples.

Tim and Susie from the midwest. Middle aged. Impressed me. They kissed even when she left to go to the ladies room.

Tim and Susie have been coming to Key West for 20 years. They have a time share at Banyan Court. One problem this year. They miscalculated their week and arrived a week too early. No room at the inn.

They stayed at the new Perry Hotel on Stock Island. Absolutely loved it! View and room spectacular. Service outstanding. Cheap. $170 a night.

Another couple was from Coral Springs. Did not catch their names. The husband said, “You’re the novelist!” No one ever called me a novelist before. The sound of it felt good. I am aware that even though I write, a novelist I am not.

The couple remembered me from the Chart Room on a previous trip. That triggered my memory. They are in the real estate business. Have a boat. Come down to Key West every 3-4 weeks for a long weekend. Sleep on the boat.

Stopped at the Chart Room first. Already mentioned I visited with Jean and Peter. John, also.

Several years ago, I met an extremely nice couple. Thirty-forty years younger than me. They had a home by the cemetery and visited Key West often. We got together frequently. Then about 4 years ago, we never saw each other again. Why, I don’t know. Maybe they disliked me.

I did not have their number. The wife had mine. She would make the arrangements.

I am having a senior moment. I cannot remember their names.

Last night, I did recall their faces. They were in the Chart Room. Went over and jokingly chastised them for having forgotten me. Both laughed. The wife and I hugged. Always a sweet woman!

She said forgotten I was not. She continues to read my blog every day.

His father was with them. I told him the kids should be ashamed having cast me aside.

I left asking them to call me for dinner.

On the way to the Chart Room, I stopped at Publix. Don’t laugh. I bought 10 Power Ball tickets. Picking today. The prize $535 million.

I never buy lottery tickets. In all the years they have been out, I probably have purchased them six times. Maybe I’ll have beginner’s luck.

A good night!

Two rallies today. The nuts and anti-nuts. One in Boston and one in New York City. At noon and 1 respectively. Will watch both on TV.

Enjoy your day!

VENEZUELA’S DESCENT INTO HELL

Nicolas Maduro has been President of Venezuela for four years. His Presidency a steady decline to the gates of Hell. First no toilet paper. Then no food. Finally, pets and zoo animals eaten. Along the way, people disappearing or killed.

Today, Venezuela stands at those gates. It is election day. A special election day. Maduro wants to replace Venezuela’s National Assembly and adopt a new Constitution. The new National Assembly will be composed of persons nominated by Maduro. The new Constitution will give him the powers of a dictator.

I have written about Venezuela the four years Maduro has been President. I was intrigued when the nation ran out of toilet paper.

It has bothered me the people never revolted. They protest in huge numbers. In recent weeks, a handful have clashed with Maduro supporters.

Turns out Cuba is behind it all. Yes, our tiny neighbor 90 miles to the south. Cuba is responsible for everything that has been happening in Venezuela.

Cuba is the power. It controls the levers of power. The government and those who support it.

Mary Anastasia O’Grady wrote an excellent opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal’s July 17, 2017 edition. Titled: How Cuba Runs Venezuela.

Cuba has been trying for 50 years to sow its ideological revolution in South America. Concerning Venezuela, it has succeeded.

Cuba needs Venezuela to transport Colombian cocaine to the United States and to Africa to supply Europe. It also relies heavily on cut-rate Venezuelan oil.

Cuba has established a Soviet type hold on Venezuela. Working in Venezuela are 50 high ranking Cuban military officers, 4,500 Cuban soldiers, and 34,000 doctors and health professionals who are there to defend Cuba’s tyranny with arms if necessary.

Thousands of other Cubans hold high level Venezuelan government positions.

The Cubans have toilet paper and eat well.

Similar to Soviet oversight, each Venezuelan military commander has a civilian minder. A person who watches every turn and reports to higher ups any deviation from expected conduct.

I find it amazing how relatively silent the American media has been over the years re Cuba’s influence.

Today’s election is most important. I fear Maduro and his followers will win. Nothing good can come from the victory for the Venezuelan people and the rest of the world.

Last week when Trump lifted our new relationship with Cuba, I thought he was succumbing to that small group of Cubans who had to flee Cuba fifty and more years ago and now reside in Miami. A poor reason I thought.

Now, I wonder if Trump was motivated to show the world he stood against the evils imposed by Cuba upon Venezuela.

Regardless, the Monroe Doctrine has been forgotten.

Yesterday was Saturday. It became my Sunday. My lazy day.

I never left the house. Read, wrote, napped and watched TV.

Hackley’s journal has suggested, at least to me, that Hackley used slaves. Not as an owner. He rented them.

Further indication of Hackley as a lessee is found in his entry of this date in 1856. Hackley speaks of his cook Black Matilda. It was yellow fever time. He wrote she had “some fever and pains in the head.”

Hackley got Black Matilda out of the house immediately. Delivered her to someone else to worry about.

Some generally unaware history concerning Harry Truman. Harry Truman loved Key West and Key West to this day loves Harry Truman.

On this date in 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law. He did so at the Truman Library in Independence. Truman was still alive and attended.

Why the Truman Library and in Truman’s presence?

Truman was the first President to propose national health insurance. Congress opposed. He could never get it passed.

Johnson further paid tribute to Truman by enrolling Truman as Medicare’s first beneficiary.

Enjoy your Sunday!