I am a creature of habit. Over the years, Key West provided me with two special haunts. One, the Chart Room. The other, Don’s Place.
Yesterday’s FEEDSPOT TODAY under its Key West/Reddit section ran a drawing of the bar at Don’s Place. Brought back memories. The drawing by Fighting McIrish.
What made Don’s Place unique was its owner Don Manaher. One of the finest persons I have met in my lifetime. They do not come better.
Prior to his Key West experience, Don was a Vice-President at a Buffalo newspaper and a publisher of another at some midwestern state. While visiting Key West, he came upon what is now Don’s Place. It was for sale. Don always wanted to own a bar. He bought it. For a cool $1 million! Named his new acquisition Don’s Million Dollar Bar.
Don’s personality, his genuine warmth, made the place an instantaneous success. Locals formed the basis of the clientele. The hard working people of Key West. Tourists and new residents like me became customers also. Returning vacationers came to Don’s Place to see their “friend” Don. He remembered everyone of them.
I played golf with Don every Wednesday. There were 8 of us. Everyone but me pretty good golfers. Most shooting in the 80’s with an occasional round in the high 70’s. My 135 was consistent.
Don took care of me on the golf course. We played for money. He made sure I got my strokes. Generally, 2 a hole except for the 3’s.
I joined his bocce team, Don’s Place. Played with the team some 15 years. I was a bit older than most. My body started getting away from me after a while. I lacked the strength on many shots to even get the ball beyond half way down the court.
Don never said a word. I knew he and the team members were not happy campers about my playing. The team had become good over the years and bocce was serious for them all. Don never said a word. Nor did anyone else. Don was the boss. I knew I was screwing things up. Finally, I quit.
I continued stopping at Don’s Place several times a week. Don was the attraction. I enjoyed sitting at the bar and bullshitting with him and the guys.
Don stopped frequenting the bar. Turned the operation over to his children. He moved to a camp somewhere as well as Chicago. Don’s Bar was not the same without Don. I stopped going. As I understand some others did also. Then COVID hit. I have not been to Don’s in 4-5 years.
In the meantime, Don got sick. Developed a bran tumor. Surgery in Chicago. God good. He survived. I hope someday when he is back visiting I become aware and can join him for a drink again.
Biden has handled the Chinese balloon in the best interests of the U.S. His short time of caution correct. The balloon was discovered over mainland U.S. Wednesday. He ordered it shot down when safe. The balloon was shot down yesterday after it reached the Atlantic Ocean.
In the few days the balloon moved over the U.S., Biden made sure it was “neutered” so it would not be a danger.
Once again, Biden’s actions in a time of danger leave me comfortable with the man. He was not “trigger happy” as some Republicans who were clamoring for it to be shot down, nor was he “sluggish” in dealing with the problem as those same Republicans were claiming.
Jim Boeheim told an ESPN reporter in an interview yesterday that he’s “probably” returning for the 2023-24 season.
He has 4 key freshman who will be returning. Joe Girard and Jesse Edwards have the capacity to return if they want. It will make for a hell of a season!
Syracuse played Boston College at Boston yesterday. Syracuse won 77-68.
Watched more of Pebble Beach yesterday.
Continued to bring back memories.
Finally got to see the par 3 seventh hole. A monster! Straight down. Like the Charge of the Light Brigade. Howling ocean winds on both sides of the fairway and coming in onto the green straight off the ocean.
The other 7 in our group wanted me to hit first so they could evaluate the wind, etc. An insult in itself. They were all 70-80 players. I was still 135. Never improved.
I hit my drive. Topped the ball. Somehow it made it down the hill, striking several rock formations along the way. Ended up on the green.
The other 7 were pissed off because they learned nothing from my shot. They should have. The key I told them was to hit the ball low.
I was the only one who made the green. Several went in the ocean, the others in sand traps.
I walked away with a smile thinking…..F–k you guys!
I am not sure what I am about to report is correct. I think I saw on the internet, only once this morning, that there would be no play today because of the winds. The final round would be tomorrow.
Northeast very cold yesterday. Mount Washington in New Hampshire had a wind chill of minus 108 degrees. A U.S. record.
Enjoy your Sunday!
I never knew anything about Don’s. I enjoyed reading about it and your relationship with the owner. Seems like a cool place.
I agree with you again re: Joe Biden, as to how he handled the balloon “crisis.” A “crisis” made mostly by Republicans, wringing their hands over this issue. Biden made all the right moves.
Turns out that there were, at least, 3 (three) similar Chinese balloon incidents floating over the US during Trump’s time in office, ALL of which he kept secret. How come no “chicken little” nonsense back then?