by Gene Benedict
September 27, 2017

You know, every place has its characters but nowhere is that as evident as in Cedar Key. I arise early and spend my mornings writing and composing. Later in the day, I wander about picking up material. One afternoon late, I found myself talking with another writer, a first-time visitor to Cedar Key. After explaining to this woman how I spend my afternoons “picking up material,” she asked me if I would consider her “material.” No comment.         

Dave the other day spotted Ms. Lee, who used to work with her sister Ms. Helen at what is now known as The Windjammer, at some distance. Ms. Lee was walking along the dock with family and friends. Dave hollered out, “Hi good looking.” Ms. Lee smiled, waved and kept on walking. Just before passing out of view, Dave hollers again. “If I’d a had teeth, I’d a whistled.”

Sometime back Cap’n Will, Cap’n Larry and Glenn delivered a new, large Hatteras Yacht to Mobile for the owners. None had before sailed through the harbor into Mobile Bay. Even in daylight, all were confused by the myriad of markers, “but we just kept going, through narrow passages between islands and after a while the route to take became apparently evident,” those words by Cap’n Will.

Dockmaster Lloyd, a native who has lived here who knows how many years, was talking, not that long ago, about social times as a young man. “We only had one piano in town and there was a dance floor above the Country Store, so we carried that piano up and down those stairs. And then we carried that piano out to the school, and all over town wherever there was a dance. And after a while, it got to where that piano wasn’t very heavy anymore.”         

Will asked Chief Mate Terri after riding out a very heavy storm if she prayed and what she got. “Yeah, I prayed, and I got two dolphins, a turtle and a feather.” I assume they came with the calm, but who knows?         

In the bar the other day, a visitor, Mike from Mississippi was talking with Jim from Tennessee. After a while, they allowed as to how well they understood each other. Mike says, “Hey, I like you. I understand you. Not like them others over yonder and across and down around the other way.”         

To properly experience these characters that abound here, and they are not at all bashful, you have to be a part of it. Some of my most memorable times have been while picking up material in the afternoons. We’ll visit this again another day not that long from now.

Last time we talked about Mike Philbrook, now in a hospital in Boston. Here’s a recent update. He was due this week to have surgery to inject some DNA into his heart tissue in an effort to cause the building of an auxiliary circulatory system to feed his failing heart and perhaps extend his life. The surgery has been postponed. He now has pneumonia. The doctors won’t operate until all traces of infection are gone, so it will be days, maybe weeks, before that can happen. And his three or more month stay in Boston will be even longer.

Have a great weekend, enjoy the holiday season, and I’ll see you out there while I’m picking up material on my search for Trouble in Cedar Key.

 Copyright © by Gene Benedict 27 September 2017

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