KEY WEST ON A SATURDAY NIGHT

For me, last night was unique. I hit more downtown/Duval spots that normal. Did it all between 5 and 10.

Actually, I was at the corner of Sloppy Joe’s at 1. A quick down and back. I did not want to miss the Running of the Bulls. One of Hemingway Days’ finest events.

Stayed all of 15 minutes before returning home.

My evening began with Tammy and a manicure. Tammy just returned from a one month trip to Vietnam tuesday afternoon. The jet lag was not bothering her as she did my nails.

Tammy looked outstanding! The trip definitely changed her appearance. She got the works so to speak in Vietnam.

Magnificent eyebrows. Tattooed. Did not look tattooed at all. Thick. Beautiful. Tammy said they will fade over a period of six months.

Only $50 in Vietnam.

Her eyes done differently, also. Bright!

Her skin a golden tan. Her family lives near a beach. She spent many days at the beach.

Changed her hairstyle and color, also. Difficult for me to describe.

Simply stated, Tammy returned a movie star!

Then to Don’s Place. Had a drink with Jimmy. Jimmy will be painting the inside of my new home in about two weeks.

Boomer bartending. Had not seen Boomer in a while.

Followed up Don’s Place with the Chart Room. John bartending. Saturday not his usual night. He was filling in for Shawn.

Fellow sitting next to me from Oklahoma. Thirty six. In the commercial air conditioning business. Would prefer Key West and many retails. Big commercial jobs have big bills. However they have to go through accounting, etc. for approval and it takes him forever to be paid.

First time in Key West for he and his 26 year old wife.

They have traveled Caribbean and Asian waters. Warm spots. Key West the best. He plans on returning soon.

Another couple could not stop talking about the Garden of Eden. Their favorite spot. Wish it were mine.

I have not been there in 10 years. The two times I went, the only bare body parts I saw were the bare breasts of the female bartender.

I have to give it another shot. The couple claimed full body parts now available for observation.

Three couples came in. Ordered shots. Patron Tequila and Cafe. Patron topped with Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Looked good. John said it was also known as a Body Guinness. Because the drink looked like a miniature Guinness beer.

Decided to walk Duval. A Caribbean Street Festival going big time. The street jammed. Increases the temperature by 20 degrees. A bit uncomfortable when the 20 degrees is added to heavy humidity.

During the Festival walk decided stopped at The Porch. On Caroline, just off Duval. Another place I had not visited in years.

When I last visited, people sat on the huge front porch and drank. Not last night. Things have changed.

You can drink on the porch. However, it appeared most preferred inside.

The inside different. As you walked in the front door of this lovely old mansion, there were signs on either side of you. The sign to the left indicating the room to the left for beer drinkers. The sign to the right indicating liquor and spirit drinkers.

I went to the right and enjoyed a gin.

Both rooms packed.

I have heard a lot recently about a relatively new place on Caroline. Across from the Tropic Cinema. The Saint.

The Saint it was.

Looks like a guest house from the outside. With a fire engine red carpet running to the front door.

The inside blew me out!

The newest smartest place in Key West. Smart being the operative word. A long bar. Tons of people. The people as smart appearing as the room.

Customers primarily in the 30’s to 40’s range.

Something about their clothes. Key West remains a tee shirt/sport shirt/shorts town. These people were dressed appropriately, but a step up. I don’t know how tee shirts and shorts can look smart, but they did. The people and their attire went well together.

The Saint definitely will be added to one of those places I frequently attend. Loved it!

It was time to eat. Tavern ‘n Town the choice. The 9 o’clock happy hour.

Fried calamari and a couple of drinks. Read the newspapers. Enjoyed Bobby Nesbitt. Followed by a new singer. Nick Hagelin. Plays the guitar and sings. Outstanding! Diners cheered and clapped loudly each time he finished a tune.

Only appearing at Tavern ‘n Town one night. Hope he returns.

Was home and in bed at 10. A busy evening. All fun!

I did a change of pace video on Facebook yesterday. Talked about my grandfather and his immigration to the U.S. in 1906.

An excellent piece. Said with humility. My grandfather was a unique person and it was a joy to write about him.

I plan on doing a follow up today re my grandfather. He never knew his parents. Born a bastard. The video will tell the story of how he got his last name (and now mine) of Petrone.

Take a look. Both videos interesting. The video is Key West Lou Live on Facebook.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

DISNEY STILL GETS ME

A child at heart. I am glad I still am on occasion.

Last night was one of those times. I enjoyed the children’s favorite Aladdin Jr at the Waterfront Playhouse.

I never would have attended were it not for Larry Blackburn’s daughter Sydney playing the female lead Princess Jasmine and Donna and Terri’s granddaughter Lev performing as the Matron.

Both outstanding. The entire cast outstanding! The show professionally performed.

I stopped at the Chart Room first for a drink. Then Aladdin. Then back to the Chart Room again.

John bartending.

Glad I returned to the Chart Room. Met Tim and Stephanie. Locals, also. Though our paths never crossed before.

Tim works for David Wolkowsky. One of his responsibilities is taking care of Ballast Key.

When Tim mentioned he worked for David, I brought to his attention the KONK Life article I did several years ago about David. Tim surprised me. He had read the article. David had read it. David referred Tim to it.

At the time, David laughingly referred to the article as his obituary. A pang of guilt hit me for a moment. Then I realized such is David’s nature to comment in a joking fashion about some things.

It will be many more years before David has need of an obituary. He is only 98.

To those who may be unfamiliar with David, he is Mr. Key West. The Key West of today would not have been were it not for him. Even to Jimmy Buffett.

Buffett tells how David gave him his first paying job. At the Chart Room, no less. The same chart Room we were in last night. The same Chart Room David constructed as part of the Pier House which he built.

It was after 10 when I left the Chart Room. Had not eaten since breakfast. Stopped at Tavern ‘n Town on the way home. Tavern ‘n Town has added a Happy Hour from 9-11. Perfect for me last night!

Today an historical one in Key West. Uber and Lyft are finally allowed to provide service in Key West.

I read an article yesterday that Key West is the last major market for Uber and Lyft service. Disgraceful. We should have had it two years ago. However, the Key West Commission continues to operate via the Bubba system.

An even better example of the Bubba system in operation is that no new cab licenses have been issued in Key West for 75 years. Called taking care of your own, generation after generation.

Got a manicure thursday at Lee Nails.

No Tammy. I forgot she was taking her two children home to visit the family. Tammy is originally from Vietnam. I recall her telling me the trip would take something like 34 hours. Three or four stopovers included.

Husband Rickie stayed home. Someone had to run the business.

When I telephoned and discovered Tammy had left, I panicked. Who was going to do my nails? You, Rickie? No Mr. Lou, he said. You get a beautiful girl. The prettiest. Nina.

I could not place Nina. When I showed up friday, we met. Loverly! Came to the U.S. two years ago from one of the eastern bloc countries. Loves Key West people and weather.

Nina is 23 years old. A bashful 23.

Tammy had obviously left Nina with marching orders as to how I liked my nails done. Nina did a magnificent job. Especially the buffing.

Yesterday, I wrote about cursive writing. Most do not seem to appreciate handwriting as much as I do. It has to be my age. I learned to hand write when 6. The computer did not enter my life till many many years later. I am less adept with the computer than with handwriting.

My friend Tom in Des Moines believes there is no need for cursive today. Initially intended to speed things up from hand printing, today not needed. The computer is everything.

I mention cursive again this morning because typing on a screen came to be on June 29, 1975 around 10 in the evening. In a small California town.

Prior thereto, man had never hit a key and a letter appeared on a screen.

The mere fact that it happened gave birth to multiple changes in the way we live. The future of business changed, how we communicate with each other changed, etc. The world changed.

The responsible individual was Steve Wozniak.

Ten months later Wozniak and two others formed Apple. The other two, Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne.

Last year, Apples revenue was in excess of $215 billion. Its employees, 116,00 world wide.

Enjoy your day!

MONEY LAUNDERING

The New York Times reported this morning that Trump associates were being looked at for money laundering. Not a major portion of the article. Came up at the very end. The thrust of the writing was the news that Trump was being investigated by Mueller.

I have taken the position for six or seven months that in the end it would be money laundering that would bring Trump down. In this blog, my podcast and Facebook video, I have taken that position. More than once in each place.

I am not claiming to be an oracle of wisdom. I did however pick up on the money laundering several months ago in researching a separate matter. I also talk to tourists/people constantly about certain issues. Key West a good place to do so. Everyone is here at one time or another.

Now we wait to see what will happen. The hole dug by Trump and associates gets deeper by the day.

The Chart Room first last night. An unusual crowd for this time of the year. Wall to wall.

John bartending. He was training Bart who will bartend tuesday evenings at the Chart Room and three other evenings at the Beach Bar. Bart needed no training. He has bartended for 12 years at various Duval drinking establishments.

Janyne walked by the Chart Room on her way home. I nodded for her to come in. Chatted a bit. A lovely lady. A great personality.

Stopped at Outback on the way home. A small prime rib, baked potato and steamed vegetables.

Then, home.

I was on the road at 4. My evening finished by 8. Home in bed at 8:30. Fell asleep. Woke at one and have been awake ever since.

The moral: Never go to bed early unless you need the sleep.

Howard and Cindy Livingston are two of the nicest people in the Keys. I have known Howard for years. Even before he was the Howard Livingston he is today.

Howard a success. As is Cindy. She works every gig with him in one fashion or another. Also provides the moral support a good woman gives her man.

Neither Howard nor Cindy were born in Key west. However, they are loved by all and participate in many charitable events. Recently, Mayor Cates awarded each a certificate designating them as Honorary Conchs.

A big deal!

I recently read something concerning Pepe’s. The great restaurant on Caroline.

Pepe’s is the oldest restaurant in Key West. Born 1909.

Pepe’s special meal is steak smothered in pork chops. Outstanding! Enough for three!

The article seemed to suggest Pepe’s was serving the steak smothered in pork chops back in 1909. Correct? I will have dinner soon at Pepe’s to find out.

Every now and then I enjoy traveling back hundred of years to a significant person or place. Several times, I have visited Dante.

It is Dante again today.

Dante aka Dante Alighieri. On this date in 1300 A.D., Dante became a prior of Florence. He was one of six. they ran Florence politically.

Dante irritated some leading citizens. In 1302, he was banned from Florence.

How swiftly the mighty fall!

Dante and his family became wanderers. They sought the protection of several cities over the years.

The reason I mention Dante today is that during his years as a wanderer, he wrote The Divine Comedy.

A busy morning. A haircut with Lori and a visit to Farmers Market.

Enjoy your day!

OUTSTANDING FLAGLER RAILWAY EXHIBIT

Slept late. Bed followed by a meeting. Ergo, blog late today. Sorry.

I went to the opening of the Flagler Railway Exhibit at the Custom House last night. Outstanding!

Curator Dr. Cori Convertino performed well. She was in charge of the exhibit. A permanent one. A lot of work and time had to be involved. The finished product made it worthwhile.

I could not find Nicky’s drawing of Flagler. It’s there. I will return when there is no crowd and I can take my time looking.

Dr. Convertino in attendance, of course. All decked out in long. Looked terrific! A hug and a kiss of congratulations.

Ran into George. George is a female. She bartends at Hogsbreath. For at least 15 years.

I had not seen her in years. She never changes. I told her so. Looks the same as when I first met her at Lisa’s wedding 13 years ago.

Walked over to the Chart Room following the exhibit. Another fun evening.

Sheila was there. First time in three months that I have seen her. Sat next to her.

Linda Cunningham seated next to Sheila. She contributed to making it an enjoyable evening. In her other life, Linda was an editor. In Key West, she is a Board member of The Stars and Stripes.

Kevin and Holly at the other end of the bar. Chatted with them briefly. Holly her usual lovely self.

Met Grace and Steve. They reside in one of the Villages. Visiting Key West for the holiday weekend.

Grace into legal case management. Steve a former crane operator. Now, retired.

Nice people. Steve especially expressive.

John handled the bar well. Joined in the conversations when he could.

Zbigniew Brzezinski died. Eighty nine years old. A distinguished American. He was National Security Adviser under President Carter. He succeeded Henry Kissinger in the position.

Brzezinski’s family escaped Europe before World War II. Amazing the heights Brzezinski attained.

He is the father of Mika Brzezinski, one of the Morning Joe hosts.

The Rainbow Flag. One and a quarter miles long. From one end of Duval to the other. An expression gay pride.

A portion of the flag is referred to as Section 93. It has been exhibited in several parts of the U.S. and as far away as Australia.

On January 11, Section 93 will participate in a unity and pride parade in Washington, DC. The Equality March for Unity and Pride. It will lead the parade.

Big time sailboat races no more in Key West. For thirty years, the Key West Race Week held in waters off Key West. A big deal!

Unfortunately, participation has dwindled. In 2001, 326 boats. In 2016, 130. This past January, 90.

The numbers explain the cancellation determination.

At a Trump rally in March, Senator Jim Kane’s son was present. Senator Kane was Hillary’s Vice-Presidential running mate.

The son is Linwood “Woody” Kane.

Young Kane was opposed to Trump. He and friends disrupted the rally. One threw a smoke bomb.

That was March. He was arrested this week for his activities at the rally. My question: Why did it take two months to arrest him? Does not make sense.

You can always find an outside the box event in the Keys. This afternoon a dog wash fundraiser. Sponsored by the Sheriff’s Department. Being held at the Keys Animal Hospital. The proceeds go to the Florida Keys SPCA.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

HITLER REVISITED

History repeats itself. No question. In one fashion or another.

Recall Auschwitz. Hitler’s pride. An example of German efficiency.

The gas chambers were so effective, that the bodies could not be disposed of fast enough. Mass graves were not doing the job. Crematoriums came into play. Burn the bodies! Quicker, cleaner, less burdensome. Also, ashes not discoverable in later years. Mass graves are.

Some 70 years later comes Syria’s Assad. Guilty of mass executions. Problem was body disposition and secrecy. A crematorium was constructed at Sednaya Military Prison. Problem resolved.

Note Assad has killed thousands without resort to judicial proceedings.

Assad is supported by Russia and Saudi Arabia. The United States supports the rebels opposing Assad. Russia is supposedly not the U.S.’s friend. Perhaps Trump’s however. Saudi Arabia has become a much closer friend since last week’s visit by Trump. Trump was sucked up to big time.

Zeroing in on Saudi Arabia, how can the U.S. be friends with a friend and supporter of a mass executioner such as Assad?

Trump forgets who our friends are. He plays up to despots while insulting and ignoring those who have been friends of the U.S. for years.

I was correct re the effect of the south wind yesterday. The rain storm came at 6:30 last night. Heavy and prolonged. Streets flooded.

The last block to my home deeper in rain water than I have ever seen. I questioned whether I should drive it. The alternative was walking through water 12-18 inches deep. I said screw it. Hit the pedal hard and rammed through the water.

The Chart Room first last night. Kevin and Holly there. John bartending. Quiet. We chatted for a couple of hours. A lot of laughing involved.

Stopped at Outback on the way home for dinner.

Memorial Day Weekend begins tomorrow. Key West will be buried in tourists. Everyone having a good time.

Much will be going on. One of the highlights of the weekend is the Schooner Wharf Minimal Regatta sunday. Don’t miss it! Lots of laughs!

Dr. Cori Convertino is a talented woman. She is the Curator at the Key West Art and Historical Society. Located at the Custom House.

Tomorrow night a new exhibit opens. One Dr. Convertino has spent months working on. Overseas to the Keys: Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railway Exhibit.

John Kennedy had a way of inspiring. He made us feel we could accomplish the impossible. He gave us pride.

On this day in 1961, Kennedy announced his plan to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

We believed him!

Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon on July 21, 1969.

Kennedy pride. Not the Trump pride Trump tries to foist on us.

Staying with Trump for a moment, Trump reminds me of what happens when a pebble is thrown into a pool of water. The circle caused where the pebble hit grows. Ring after ring. Each larger than the previous

Sort of like……Woe the web we weave when first we seek to deceive.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

 

SHIRLEY VALENTINE

Love Shirley Valentine!

A 1989 British film. Warm and touching. The story of a middle aged woman who visits Greece and decides to remain. Her love and life come into play. The wakings and complexities of middle age.

The film touched me. I have reseen it several times on television.

When on the London stage, it was a one woman show. The film was expanded to include many characters.

Key West’s Fringe Theater is performing Shirley Valentine May 17-27. I do not know how many in the cast. What I do know is I plan on seeing the show. Everyone should.

Last night, another evening at the Chart Room. The bar full. One seat at the far corner of the bar available. Said hello to John.

The gentleman next to me said, “You’re Key West Lou.”

It was Mark from five years ago. He had a better memory than me. We had met in the Chart Room five years ago. We spent a couple of hour last night chatting.

Mark 55. He has spent most of his adult life in what I would describe the sophisticated medical supplies field. Does a lot of traveling. Off to Munich next.

Married, lives in Boston.

Politically, a Trump fan. Made our conversation even more interesting.

Hope we run into each other again in the days he has left in Key West.

Left the Chart Room hungry. Was heading to Hot Tin Roof when I recalled the cupboard was bare once again. Skipped the Hot Tin Roof and headed to Publix. One of my purchases was a barbecued chicken which I enjoyed later at home.

The Minimal Regatta coming! Technical name the Schoonerwharf Minimal Regatta. The 26th annual one. May 28.

I am providing early notice so you can get ready to participate, if you so desire.

The race is directly in front of Schooner Wharf. The boats all man made. Materials skimped on, of course.

The following represent ALL the materials that may be used in the boat’s construction: 1 sheet of plywood, 1 pound of plywood fasteners, 1 roll of 2″ x 60 yards duct tape, and 2 2 x 4s.

Success is not dependent on sea prowess. It is all dependent on constructing a boat that does not fall apart and sink.

A fun time!

The Minimal Regatta reminds me of what grown people do in Key west. Return to their childhoods!

Several years ago, I wrote a lengthy column in KONK Life on embalming. Surprisingly, the only country where embalming is a common practice is the United States. Not legally required by federal law. A few state laws mandate it.

Lincoln’s funeral train brought embalming to the attention of the American public. The train was carrying Lincoln’s body to Springfield, Illinois for burial. The trip took 13 days. Traveled through seven states and 180 cities.

Decomposition of Lincoln’s body was a concern. Especially the decomposition odors that would emanate  from it. The decision was to embalm.

A popularity for embalming grew slowly over the years following Lincoln’s burial.

This past week Trump signed another Executive Order. This one establishing an Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Commission seats are being filled rapidly.

Trump’s puppet Vice President Mike Pence is chairman. Commission members appointed thus far are state officials. Most of whom already have a track record of supporting state laws that minimize a person’s right to vote.

A stacked deck.

Trump continues to believe he would have received 3 million votes more had there not been irregularities at the polls. All information/investigation to date reveal no voter fraud.

Wasted money, wasted time. To satisfy one person’s ego.

Enjoy your day!

 

BIG LIPS, BIG BOOBS AND SENSITIVE NIPPLES

The Chart Room is an interesting place. All type conversations. A multitude of topics covered over the years. Never like last night, however.

A woman’s lips, breasts and nipples.

I did not participate. Sat at the end of the bar with my head down. Afraid someone would ask what I thought.

Four people plus me at the bar. John bartending.

Evan and Liz locals. Young. Late 20’s, early 30’s. Chris and husband. I did not get the husband’s name. Vacationing from southern Pennsylvania. Mid 60’s.

The female body exploration began with lip augmentation. Referred to as big lips in the conversation. All four going at it. The consensus was it was stupid and looked awful. They could not understand why anyone would do it.

Then came nipples. Breast nipples. Chris from a little town in Pennsylvania said size did not matter. Sensitivity did. The four got into inverted nipples, also.

Next, big breasts. Interesting talk. Do whatever makes you feel good. Not too big, however. Too heavy if enlarged. And so on.

That part of the conversation took an hour.

Then we got to a point where I thought I could safely participate. Snow. Huge snowfalls.

Upstate New York thought the place for the worst. Buffalo and Rochester. Then Syracuse. Liz piped up she was from Syracuse. At that point, I got involved. From Utica and went to law school at SU.

Glad I stopped at the Chart Room. An unusual conversation. I had not intended to stop. As you will see from the next few paragraphs, it was the venue of last choice.

My day began at Verizon. Got the video problem figured out. The wi-fi was off. I must have hit a wrong button. Don’t see how. To screw it up, I would have had to hit the app key and then four more. I have never gotten that deep into my cell phone.

An early dinner at Roostica. Lemoncello wings. Spoke a while with owner Bobby. A wedding outside. Tablecloths. Everyone dressed. Laughter from every direction.

Then to bocce. Everyone playing but my team and another. For some reason, the game had been cancelled.

I sat with Sharon a while. Sons and Daughters of Italy playing.

Then to Don’s Place. When no game, the team is there. Not last night. Three guys at the bar and Michael bartending.

I was beginning to wonder why I showered and shaved.

Left for the Chart Room.

William Hackley won some money in 1856 in the Havana Lottery. He and three others purchased a ticket together. Won $400. $100 a piece. A lot of money back then.

The top prize was $60,000. At least $6 million today. Maybe, $60 million.

Hackley mentioned that he and his wife attended the funeral of the child Fanny Porter. Whooping cough killed her.

No vaccinations back then. Vaccinations today. Not perfect. Better safe than sorry, however.

Every one wants a piece of the Ukraine. Good growing fields and excellent mineral deposits.

Putin got as piece two years ago. Near the end of World War I, Germany’s Kaiser and Austria signed a pact to exploit Ukraine’s economic benefits. What a joke! The pact was signed this date 1918. World War I ended six months later on November 11, 1918. Germany and her friends defeated.

The Kaiser did get to exploit Ukraine within those six months. He demanded and received 100 million tons of food rations from Ukraine.

I came across the name Dante in my readings. Not the Dante I am familiar with. However it did recall Durante degli Alighieri, better known as Dante. A distinguished poet in the Middle Ages. Thought to be one of the best writers of his time.

His most famous work the Divine Comedy.

I took two years of Spanish in college. My teacher was Professor Cantatore. Italian. A small elderly man. His enthusiasm for Dante greater than his body size. A cultured man.

Every class, the good Professor drummed into us to read one page of Dante’s Comedy a day.

I never bought the Comedy. I did read a few pages when the opportunity arose. One of my college jobs was working the main desk in the library. A quiet uneventful position. I would take the Comedy off the shelf and absorb some of Dante’s wisdom.

Last but not least. Betsy Dietz died. Seventy five. Finally succumbed to uterine cancer after ten years.

Betsy lived in Key West so many years. She gave to the community. Involved heavily. Helped get AIDS Help started. Active at the beginning and over the years with the King and Queen Festival. A member of numerous boards.

Betsy and Lisa good friends. Every Christmas Eve and Christmas day, Betsy shared the holiday with Lisa, the grandkids, Santa Claus and me.

A rare woman. May she rest in peace.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

MARTHA WASHINGTON AND BESS TRUMAN BIRDS OF A FEATHER

John from the Chart Room had a night off. We did dinner together at Hot Tin Roof. Good food and good company! As usual, the Hot Tin Roof was packed.

I asked in yesterday’s blog…..Where was the U.S.S. Vinson? It was supposed to be in North Korean waters. Nothing had been mentioned as to its location for almost two weeks.

My inquiry was premature by several hours. Yesterday afternoon it was announced the Vinson had arrived in Korean waters and was engaged in war games with South Korea. TV this morning is showing videos of the Vinson and smaller vessels in Korean waters.

Today, there is a Coast Guard cutter named the U.S.S. Mohawk. Stationed here in Key West. Yesterday, yesterday being 1859-1864, there was a screw steamship in the Navy named the U.S.S. Mohawk.

I write about the Mohawk of old because yesterday was significant in its history. An event which ultimately became even more significant in Key West history.

In 1860, the Mohawk was operating against pirates and slavers off the east coast and in the Caribbean. On April 28, 1860, the Mohawk captured the slave ship Wildfire. The Wildfire carried 530 slaves from Africa. The crew and slaves were delivered to Key West.

The crew was imprisoned. The slaves placed in a compound under the protection of the Mohawk’s Marines.

Subsequently, vessels of the United States captured two more slave ships. The slaves on each were delivered to Key West and placed in the same compound as those from the Wildfire. Total number of slaves exceeded 1,200.

What to do with the slaves? Obviously return them to Africa. Where in Africa, however? Ultimately decided to relocate all of them to Liberia, a country in Africa. President James Monroe had as a practical matter returned previous slaves to Liberia. Liberia was a welcoming place for returned Africans. They created a new society.

Not all the slaves confined in Key West were returned. Some had died. Two hundred ninety five. They were buried on Higgs Beach. Many years later in recent times, their graves were discovered. A small monument sits on Higgs Beach recognizing the final resting place of those who did not live to return to Africa.

The Mohawk continued functioning till 1864 during the Civil War in defense of the United States. The Mohawk is the reason Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortuga’s and Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West remained in Union hands.

Beat up from combat, its boilers to badly damaged, its general condition unfit for further fights, the Mohawk was sold in 1864.

It was renamed the Alliance and remained in commercial service till 1869 when it was wrecked at Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina.

Martha Washington and Bess Truman may be described as birds of a feather. Neither was happy her husband became President and each was less than supportive of her husband during his days as President.

Bess Truman’s story is more familiar to us. Perhaps because of its closeness in time.

Note the many trips by President Truman to Key West. Eleven. Consumed 175 days. Bess was with him only a few times. While Truman was living and working in Washington, Bess was home in Independence. She preferred the company of her Independence lady friends.

Martha’s questionable helping hand less known.

Washington was sworn in for his first term as President in New York City on this date in 1789. Martha was not with him. She was back in Mount Vernon.

Washington was tired/beat up prior to making the trip from Mount Vernon to Washington. He was trying to close down the business end of Mount Vernon. There were bills to pay. He had a difficult time arranging for a loan to cover them.

Martha was not happy he had agreed to become President. She was tired of public life. Wanted to live the rest of her days in Mount Vernon as a domestic wife. She abhorred politics. She refused to join her husband in New York City for the inauguration.

A comment or two on Washington’s inauguration.

His inaugural speech was important to him. He had several persons helping him. One by one in succession. Over a period of several months. He was displeased with every rendition. He finally called in James Madison for help. Madison spent a week at Mount Vernon helping Washington knock out the final draft.

There was a reception following Washington’s swearing in. It is recorded that Washington mentioned to some in attendance that democracy was fragile. He hoped what they had created would survive.

It did. Still fragile, however. You never know what could happen. Especially in the sensitive times we live in.

Enjoy your Sunday!

MUSSELS FOR LUNCH

Many staples of my youth are epicurean delights today. Snails and mussels, for example.

We were an Italian family. My mother had been born in Italy. The cooking definitely Italian.

The snails are now known as escargot. Fancy!

At home, prepared differently than today. My mother would boil the snails in a large pan. The pan had to be large. The snails would try to climb up the sides to get out. The cooked snails were then placed in a huge spaghetti bowl. Sauce poured over. Toothpicks used to snare the snail from the shell.

Mussels. The mussels of today the same as the mussels of yesterday. Boiled. Covered with a tomato or buttery sauce. Bread dunking to clean the plate.

There was a third dish. Tripe. I hated tripe. Most must have. You rarely if ever see it on a menu today. Tripe is a cow’s stomach wall.

My Mother loved tripe. She cooked it. I had to eat it. Ugh!

I enjoyed mussels yesterday at lunch. At Salute’s. Best mussels in town!

I do not eat at Salute’s enough. Don’t know why. Food outstanding. Located on the beach, the view spectacular. Especially of the bikini clad ladies. At my age, the best that can be.

Last night a Chart Room one. Sat at the corner of the bar. Chatted with John.

Two ladies from Des Moines, Iowa seated at the round table. John, I and the ladies chatted away.

Laura and Lisa. Sixtyish. Attractive. One a widow, one divorced. Staying at the Pier House. Leave this morning.

Laura works for an insurance company as a workmen’s comp adjuster. Lisa in logistics for a trucking company.

Everyone expects to enjoy a little deviance in Key West. The ladies were interested where on Pier House property could they have sun bathe topless. I advised not on the main beach. Just to the right, however. under the overhang.

Next year, they will!

This morning’s Key West Citizen ran an article advising that the Navy is training four bottlenose dolphins in Key West waters for a month. The dolphins being trained in underwater detection. Apparently, dolphins are natural discovers of certain type weaponry buried underwater beneath the sand.

I have a dolphin family living in the waters off my house. Used to be four. Down to two now. If I am out on the deck as the sun rises, they will be all of 50 feet away looping up and down in the water.

Big night tomorrow! Don’t forget! The Big Sea Battle. The Conch Republic taking on the forces of the United States. Seven from Mallory Square to Schooner Wharf.

Thirty one years ago yesterday on April 26, 1986, the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl in the Ukraine suffered a chemical explosion. Big time bad time. Fifty tons of radioactive material released into the atmosphere.

In 2000, a mother came to me with her baby girl. Eight months old. Lovely. Bubbly. The child had been born with half an arm on one side. The left arm ended just above where the elbow would have been.

Turned out her husband had been working 15 miles from Chernobyl at the time of the event. I did a little digging. The baby was born with one arm missing as a result of the Chernobyl incident.

The mother was not in the area. The father was. It had been established medically that male semen for years thereafter had been affected.

A situation! The father refused to accept it was his semen that was responsible. The mother always crying as her husband beat on her and in her desire to protect/help their daughter.

I tried to put the case together. Beyond my experience and capabilities. Worked with experts in New York, London and Milan.

Sadly, we could not do it. For a number of reasons not pertinent to this portion of the story.

The Trump tax cut that is being bandied about the past 24 hours confuses me. Republicans for years have been decrying the national debt. Has to come down!!! All they would say. No, not say. Shout!

The proposed plan will increase the national debt anywhere from $3-10 trillion over the next ten years.

The Republicans are quiet.

Enjoy your day!

KEY WEST PEACE

Strange as it may sound, Key West is a very peaceful place to live.

Most think it is Duval Street night after night. Once for me. No more. The once being when I first started coming to Key West 26 years ago. After a few years, I had it with Duval. Too much for me. The excitement gone.

I still hit a bar or restaurant occasionally. That’s it. Don’t do one bar after another anymore.

Some things I did yesterday and will do today reflect the peaceful existence I enjoy.

Researched and wrote all day yesterday. Chart Room last night. Only the Chart Room. Sat at the bar and chatted with John. For a while with Phil from Minneapolis who sat next to me.

Phil only 36. A hard worker. Ha already made his mark and a bit of a fortune in an intellectual property firm he founded and sold. He is on vacation with an absolutely lovely lady friend. They are staying at the Pier House.

Enjoyed my time with John and Phil. Stimulating conversation.

A tough day ahead today. A haircut and manicure. Several hours apart. I will read and write in between.

Tonight, bocce. Though I no longer play because of my heart, I am still carried on the team roster. I sit on the players’ bench and cheer my friends on. Enjoying a couple of drinks at the same time.

I had to stop playing a couple of years ago. When I bent over to pick up the ball, I fell over. My  team mates began doing he bending and handing me the ball. Kind of them. Made me foolish.

Then I started losing strength when I threw the ball. That definitely was the end. I was of no value to the team.

I retired from bocce.

Conch Republic Days begin tomorrow. A many event weekend. Adults playing like children. I will watch some of the activities.

The carrier fleet heading for North Korean waters a continuing fiasco. No one assumes responsibility.

The USS Vinson was more than 3,000 miles away heading for the Indian Ocean for war games with Australia. Has been turned around and is now heading for Korean waters. Still around 3,000 miles away.

An obvious screw up. Trump and his people take the position that they were correct when they said the carrier fleet was heading for Korean waters. They never said when, however. Now that the Vinson has turned around, the fleet is heading for Korean waters.

Ergo, no one was misled.

We all make mistakes! Own up to them when they occur.

Trump came out with another beauty yesterday. He said Korea “actually used to be a part of China.” Truth searchers say no.

Tillerson announced yesterday he is seeking an exception for Russia from certain sanctions. Russia and Exxon-Mobile discovered what may be the largest oil deposit ever in Arctic waters. Saudi Arabia’s deposits minuscule in comparison.

Russia and the oil company are engaged in a joint venture/ownership in drilling for the oil. Work stopped because of the sanctions.

Tillerson says let the work proceed. What is he thinking? Here we are investigating Russia for tampering with our elections. Consider also Tillerson was CEO of Exxon-Mobile for 15 years.

Tillerson forgets he now works for the people of the United States.

Enjoy your day!