MEL FISHER…..THE INDIANA CHICKEN FARMER WHO MADE GOOD

Some persons become legends in their own time. Key Westers recall their legendary figures. Among others, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Sloppy Joe, Captain Tony, Mel Fisher.

Mel Fisher concerns me today.

Key West annually celebrates Mel Fisher. Mel Fisher Days this year are July 12-14. Party time. All kind of activities befitting Mel Fisher.

Mel Fisher’s claim to fame is that he discovered a part of the Spanish galleon Atocha. Recovered $400 million in gold, emeralds and other jewelry.

His story.

Mel was a chicken farmer from Indiana. Eventually, he,  his wife Doe and family, ended up in Key West. Fisher was convinced there was gold in off shore waters. He spent 16 years looking for it. Lean years. Sacrificing time for the Fisher family.

Fisher would begin each day by telling his crew…..Today’s the day! For 16 years.

Finally, he scored.

The Atocha was ladened with gold, emeralds and other jewels. On their way to Spain. Atocha was one of a convoy of 28 ships. Some had problems. The convoy left 6 weeks late. Five weeks into the tropical storm season.

A hurricane hit the second day out. The Atocha went down.

On August 20, 1985, Fisher discovered a part of the Atocha. He was able to salvage $400 million in gold, emeralds and other jewelry.

Still not his. Spain made claim to the fortune. Fisher fought Spain and others all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Fisher won. The Court ruled in effect…..Finders keepers!

Obviously changed Fisher’s life and that of his family.

The man earned it.

My evening yesterday began with Liz Moody’s birthday party. Eighty four years and going strong!

A beautiful woman. A glowing face and personality.

Many friends in attendance.

Age is taking its toll. A broken hip that never mended properly. A diabetic whose problem frequently gets out of control. She was released two days ago from the hospital where the fight to stabilize her sugar took place for 15 days.

Liz parties well. She had a good time. I had a good time. Everyone had a good time.

Then to the Chart Room. Looking for Kevin. He had purchased tickets for a group of us to see Howie Mandell monday evening at the Key West Theater. Needed to pick up my ticket and pay $59. A bargain from my perspective.

I have always enjoyed Mandell. It will be good to laugh continuously monday evening.

David stopped by for a moment.

New friends Ray and Augusta at the bar. Enjoyed their company.

Stopped at Sandy’s Cafe on the way home for something to eat. Food at Liz’s party. I drank however instead of eating. Read the newspapers and enjoyed a Cuban cheese toast with tomato and a large Cuban coffee. The gin earlier was not enough to give me a bang. Needed the Cuban coffee.

Home early. In bed by 9:30. Slept well. Slept late this morning.

Trump, Brussels and the NATO Conference. Trump embarrassed us. His conduct disgraceful.

He beat the hell out of Germany’s Angela Merkel. Improperly so. He never has his facts right. Referred to Germany as “totally controlled” by and “captive” to Russia.

He deficated upon NATO as a whole for failing to keep up with individual payments to NATO. Implied clearly the U.S. was being forced to pay more than it should. He said the U.S. was paying 90 percent of NATO’s bills. Not correct. Sixty six percent. Note that payments are determined by how much money a nation earns per year.

A press conference this morning. Trump made it sound like everything was now kumbaya. Everyone happy. Claimed he made it so. He forced the others to agree to reach the 2 percent level by 2024.

The 40 minute press conference crowded with additional Trump lies. The English like me. He was headed to England following the press conference. The English hate him! Only 11 percent like him. The 2 percent going to 4 percent soon after 2024. No such promise made. Merely Trump’s idea.

He failed to explain some pertinent facts. Perhaps he did not know. He does not prepare for these meetings.

Trump claimed England buys 70 percent of its gas from Russia. Not true. Only 33 percent. Note most European countries buy gas from Russia. It’s cheap. The U.S. cannot compete with the Russian charges because of the distance and lack of a pipe line.

Trump was not aware that although most NATO nations were behind in the 2 percent contributions, they were far ahead of the United States in humanitarian aid. Eurounion countries provide such aid to the tune of $12 billion a year as opposed to  the U.S.’s $6 billion.

Trump can only see one way. He does not take into account peripheral items.

He forgets also that NATO troops have been fighting along side U.S. troops in Afghanistan for 16 years. Eleven thousand non U.S. NATO troops have died.

A question. The U.S. imports 43 percent of its imported oil from Canada. Does that make the U.S. “totally controlled” by and “captive” of Canada?

Paul Manafort was moved yesterday to another jail. It was discovered his jail time came with unique privileges. He had a larger than normal cell, a private bathroom and shower, a personal telephone (made 300 calls), separate work space to prepare for trial, and was permitted to have a lap top in his cell.

Not normal. Unusual. Reminded me of how Mafia bootleggers were treated when jailed back in the 1920’s.

Have to hustle. Haircut time.

Enjoy your day!

JIMMY V

Syracuse plays Connecticut tonight at Madison Square Garden. As part of the Jimmy V Classic. Syracuse a 5 point underdog.

Jimmy V of course the renown Jimmy Valvano. Famed college basketball coach. Led North Carolina State in 1983 to victory in the NCAA Tournament.

Two interesting things about the Championship game.

North Carolina State was losing by several points with a couple of minutes to go. Valvano had his players start fouling. I was watching the game on TV. I thought he was crazy. It worked, however. North Carolina State won by 2 points.

North Carolina State the National Champion. Valvano went crazy. He was running all over the court looking for someone to hug. His team was hugging each other. Valvano had no one. And then he did. Hugged many times that evening.

In his mid 40’s, Valvano died from cancer.

He was loved by all. Loved to this day.

Ten days before his death, a banquet was held commemorating North Carolina’s 1983 NCAA victory. Ten years to the date.

Valvano spoke. Knowing death was near. Fighting death every day. His words remembered to this day. “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”

A few days later, Valvano spoke at another event. The ESPY Awards. The first such event. The recipient to receive the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award. Valvano was the recipient.

Valvano spoke again words remembered to this day. He admonished all to laugh, think and cry every day.

Words recalled from his address included…..”Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.”

The Jimmy V Classic tonight is part of the ongoing fundraising for cancer research. His fellow coaches lead in the fundraising to this day. Jim Boeheim one of them. $36 million so far.

I met Valvano one time. The year he won the NCAA Championship or a year later. In Rome, Italy.

I was in Rome with my wife and two of our daughters. It was night time. We were walking the Via Veneto. I was tired. The women wanted to continue strolling and taking in the sights.

I said I would be sitting at one of the outside cafes drinking espresso when they were done.

I approached the nearest cafe to rest my body. There was Jimmy Valvano sitting enjoying a coffee. I walked up and introduced myself. Syracuse fan, friend of Jim Boeheim.

He asked me to join him. I asked what he was doing sitting alone. He said he was tired and his wife wanted to continue taking in the sights. He told her she could find him at the table. We both had a good laugh when I told him my story.

We talked about basketball. The Championship was still fresh in his mind. Till his wife returned.

My one Jimmy Valvano meeting in of all places, Rome.

You never know.

Yesterday by day was not the best.

First a visit with my relatively new primary care physician. He ascribes my tiredness to old age. He said your 82 and expect to get out of a chair quickly. You’re not that young anymore.

I don’t buy it. In effect he was telling me I was an old man (which I am) and there is nothing that can be done to energize me. Left me thinking all I had left was to wait and die.

Then to pick up my new glasses. I was excited. New frames and all. I would be able to see much better.

An absolute disaster. A screw up somewhere. Both distances a blur. I have to return to my eye doctor to check the prescription out against the new glasses. Then return to the optician to get new lenses.

I have been wearing glasses since my 30’s. Never happened to me before.

Tom and Frances last night. Chart Room first and then dinner at Hot Tin Roof.

My Buffalo friends. Fran once again brought me three containers of sauce with meatballs and pork. Frozen solid. In her suitcase all the way from Buffalo. Also all kinds of Xmas chocolates.

Everything in the freezer! I am on a diet. The food and sweets will last.

My podcast tonight. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. All type goodies to talk about. Join me at 9 my time. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

I am impressed. I have had advertisers the past six months. Among others, GEICO Insurance and Old Navy.

Enjoy your day!