Summer 1966 Dear ***** Kurt was my "Sunday Morning" bartender. Sign, posted out front of Dusty's Red Barn in Naples Florida, read "LAST CHANCE for ALCOHOL until MIAMI". Yes...I stood in line with others who also had--on Saturday--miscalulated their liquor inventory. Kurt's body was adorned with muscles as a holiday tree with ornaments and lights. He WAS one muscle. In an earlier life he caught his wife night-after-night. He, high up on small swing--she, even higher, flying through the air. High-wire circus performers who retired to Naples.
Originally from Sweden, Kurt and his wife loved sailing, and partying so much that I figured about all Swedes did was sail, drink, and fly high under a tent.
Kurt and I became friends, we both drank a lot. However, when Kurt would stop for the day--or night--I'd keep drinking until, well...until somehow, chaos entered the room. In minutes, I fantasized hell into a bright, shining goal instead of a death-dread. Kurt owned a 36-foot wooden-hulled single masted sailboat, which I loved from afar. At his invitation to go sailing without wives for a week, I said "YESSSSS!!!" Reluctantly, of course--grin!
Preparations included 5 gallon gasoline for the small auxiliary motor, 12 cases of beer and 1½ cases Early Times Bourbon. It was a compromise. Kurt believed one case to be sufficient, I wanted two cases on board, ya never know. In my small "personal" case, I hid 3 quarts of vodka--to be on the safe side. I remember some water, lots of ice, and a case of Cola for Kurt. Also some food, about which I remember little.
(So many cases of beer--because if we should run out of water or ice, shrimpers at sea would trade for beer--boy, were they a rough, crude, bunch. Whoo!) Since it was I who clambered aboard the larger boats, made the exchanges, I recall my fears of indiscriminate bodily harm. Involving sharks, naturally--grin! I had never seen much sense in beer drinking. It is mostly water, I figured. In fact it was beer with which I watered geraniums. They were forever wilted. Always thirsty, I guess... One weekday morning at 10 AM we set out, a lone boat in Naples Bay, even more alone out in the Gulf of Mexico. My first real "sail" adventure about to begin. --steveroni