Drinking Alcohol taught me how to fly
Then it took away the sky....

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Sail Away --by elvengaard

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.


Part 2 will follow in couple days


  1. Nice, Steve. The Swedish Hallberg-Rassy is a great boat. I am betting the sail was good but hope the booze didn't get in the way. I knew a similar story of a couple of alkies who decided to take off for Key West from my marina. They got down to Savannah and ran out of food because there was none on board--just booze.

    1. Don't know brand or style of boat...but I recall the mast could be lowered for going under bridges. We never had to DO that. But he LOVED his boat like I love my violin, that's my memory. I'll write in few days about our Dry Tortugas visit(s). Thanks for visiting, Syd.

  2. smiles...aside from drinking a bunch with him...but the adventure of the sail would have been amazing...i used to sail at summer camp...and i would love to go again...for the adventure....funny on trading cbeer for supplies at see...i bet they were and interesting bunch for sure...hope you and the wifey had a great weekend sir....

    1. Brian, weekends here are the kind ya need a vacation from--we busy people, but mostly with other people.We hardly see each other over a weekend. And when home, me on computer, she, on phone and/or TV. Life is good my northern friend, you who now get to experience another series: Wonders of Spring! Brought to us by God.
      PEACE and LIGHT, Bro...or Bri

  3. I am most interested to read the outcome of your voyage.

  4. ... www.youtube.com/embed/MyGsXiKOVis?rel=0 ... Love, cat.

  5. Hahaha! You placed that song in it's proper place this morning, Ma'am. 😊

  6. Oh dear I am laughing hard! watering Geraniums w/ beer!!!! - It amazes me I liked beer at all- (Fizzier like Fosters- and COLD...)Only flat warm Millers for flowers- YUK - No wonder they wilted!

  7. The beginning of a great and wonderful adventure. I will be interested to see how it unfolds!