Category Archives: A Pocket of Resistance

For My Mother

Ode to Three Sisters and Their Mother

The old lady came busting out of the old century;
where she had been
an exquisite china doll of immeasurable beauty;
young men chased her
to allowable limits in the Victorian South
after we turned from reconstruction
while Teddy was roustabouting with Spain
in that little skirmish we often forget.
Remember the Maine.

But Granny came busting out;
fire in her belly, grit in her craw, pluck in her spirit, gleam in her eye;
with the handsome man who won the chase,
taking her and his bloodhounds
to the retired circuit rider’s farm out on the pike
where Granny’s circuit rider father would
preach occasionally without the horse or mule
in the hamlet of Lebanon,
smack dab in the middle of Tennessee,
Where some bright folks built the square
over a cold water spring
they discovered in “Town Creek”
in yet an earlier century.

…and the children would come around wartime,
dropping among the years of the first big one
we resisted until the Luisitania
took its hit and sank like a rock;
…and the children came,
five in all until one died
as young family members often did
in those pre-antibiotic days.
The handsome blood hound man who chased
criminals through the woods
took his own hit,
a decade after the war.
So the little maelstrom with grit in her craw
packed up the chillun’s and the belongings
making the trek to the groves
of central Florida
for a couple of years to
escape the sinking of the hound man
and the attendant feelings thereof.

In thirty-two, they came back home,
each with some grit in their craw.
Granny, the queen of grit,
went to work,
taking care of those who needed care
outside the family in order
to take care of her own.

…and the children grew up early,
cooking the meals, washing the clothes, cleaning the house,
gathering eggs, milking the cows,  pulling the weeds;
before playing ball,
earning money until
they went to college in the little town,
or went to work,
or both.

The second big war came, again
in a wave of terror,
This time in an atoll’s pristine harbor,
taking hits, sinking to the shallow harbor depths.
Remember the Arizona.
The brother went off to war after marrying
a woman of another religion from down the road,
west a bit, in the big city.
He flew a plane named after his lady Colleen,
returning to the Tennessee hamlet, still
with fire in his belly, grit in his craw, pluck in spirit, gleam in his eye
before leaving for the orange groved paradise
he found on the southern trek several years before.

The preacher man was gone;
The hound man was gone;
The brother was gone;
The three sisters and their mother,
fire in their bellies, grit in their craw, pluck in their spirit, gleam in their eyes,
with their three new men
stared at the world,
staring it down straight in the eye,
wearing it down with their labor
until the world cried “uncle,”
admiring their fire and grit and pluck.

There were circles entwined with circles of family;
the circles orbited around the threes sisters and their mother:
all was well.
…and the world rolled on;
Granny finally gave up her pluckish ghost with grit in her craw;
no longer would she braid the waist long hair,
tying the braids atop her head
as she had done for so many years;
the three sisters rallied with
fire in their bellies, grit in their craw, pluck in their spirit, gleam in their eyes.

The grandchildren of the matriarch
spread with the four winds, remembering.
When the circles got together,
the three sisters remained the constant,
demanding the world stay in their orbit,
and the world was warm with laughter and love and
a sense the world was safe
as long as they all inherited
fire in their bellies, grit in their craw, pluck in their spirit; gleam in their eyes.
The world is older;
Granny is gone;
the youngest sister recently joining her,
the oldest failing fast:
The three sisters leaving us slowly with
the fire waning to embers, but still there is
grit in their craw, pluck in their spirit, gleam in their eyes;
staring down the world.

Such a lovely world they have shown us.

101

No, not the California scenic highway, or the highway that used to be scenic in more places.

101. That would have been her birthday today. Estelle Prichard Jewell.

She was spunk. She was matter of fact. She was an encyclopedia of family and Lebanon history. She was athletic. She was strict. She was love.

She was part of a remarkable lineage of grit (i’ll post my poem about her mother and her siblings yet again in a post later today).

She was remarkable.

i’ve written quite a bit about her here. i am hoping to have some surprise news about her in the near future. i will finish this with just photos.

She is my mother.

i miss her.

Estelle and her older sister, Evelyn Prichard, circa 1919.
The Prichard family, 1926. There is a great story about that pony.
The Hall of Fame basketball wonder, 1935.
The Prichard family, 1937.
1933 before one of her first dates with Jimmy Jewell.
The newly married couple, late 1930’s.
For 75 years, 1 month, and 12 days, they were inseparable. But nine months later, she fixed that and joined him. i’m betting they are celebrating her birthday together today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Estelle Prichard Jewell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hurley’s

There were no photos on the internet that i could find — of course, there are ton of things on the internet i can’t find: i remain technically challenged. In fact, there was no mention of Hurley’s at all.

Looking at a Google map, i believe it was on Brewer Street, off of Thames Street. The Tennis Hall of Fame was on the other side of Thames. There was a grocery store on the opposite side of Brewer, if that was the name of the small street, almost an alley.

And there was Hurley’s. In Navy Officer Candidate School, it was Quebec Company’s go to place, or at least a certain group of Quebec Company, actually three of Quebec Company’s OC’s, Lanny Harer, George “Doc” Jarden, and moi.

Lanny was a big guy from North Carolina and UNC who went EOD. He and i went from OCS to Key West where the two of us shared a room in the BOQ.  Lanny went through basic underwater swim school while i was in Anti-Submarine Officer School. We had a ball but lost track of each other after Key West.

Doc was the hippie’s gift to Navy Officerdom out of Philadelphia and Duke. He showed up on Friday, September 15, 1967 with his head already shaved, which pissed off the first class OC’s who were our DI’s (drill instructors) as well as the barbers in charge of embarrassing us by shaving our heads (except for Doc’s). Doc was not only my barracks roommate on the fourth deck of King Hall, our service numbers were only two numbers apart (Doc’s 726236, mine 726238 — service numbers had not yet been replaced by SSN’s, which is now a taboo thing because we are so advanced and so are small mean people who like to cheat people rather than make a real living — Doc’s father was CO of a top secret, innovative minesweeper out of Charleston, South, Carolina (which fortunately was never deployed, another story). Doc’s orders were to the USS Guam (LPH 9), homeported in Norfolk. My first ship, the USS Hawkins (DD 873) moved her homeport from Newport to Norfolk in July 1969. We hooked up again which resulted in several other stories to tell.

We lost track when i headed west, so west it’s called East, Southeast Asia to be specific. But a grunch of years ago, we reconnected. Doc was in NYC with a converted barn for a home on Long Island. He had wandered around Bali for a couple of years and ended up as a television writer and producer.

We again lost touch. This morning, however, i did a couple of internet searches and found Doc had moved to Wilmington, North Carolina and, although i did not find Lanny, i found this younger guy named Lanny Harer in Raleigh, who just has to be his son. Attempts to reconnect will follow.

But this, after that typically long-winded explanation about who we were, is supposed to be about the three of us and Hurley’s. After Saturday’s Pass in Revue and personnel inspection, the OC’s got liberty from around noon until taps and then again on Sunday until 1700. Big deal. We made the best of it.

We tried the Viking where they had loud bands and a bunch of young folks dancing but the women seemed to prefer the civvy-clad guys compared to the guys in the goofy looking OC uniforms.

We ended up at Hurley’s.

Outside, Hurley’s was not impressive, just another building. Inside it was tables, a small dance floor, and a bar with a stage back of it. On Saturdays, the music was mostly up tempo jazz with some popular stuff mixed in. We would hit Hurley’s early. It was the Northeast version of Mexican Village in Coronado where women could meet Navy officers and sailors. Lanny met a girl from Fall River and they got a thing going. Today, when i see “Officer and a Gentleman” is on some television channel, i think of Lanny.

But before the girl, we would drink and listen to the music. On the way back to the barracks where we always, always arrived just before liberty expired, we would stop at Dunkin’ Donuts. There we would get a dozen jelly-filled buns.

Being somewhat less than pristine, we would report aboard the barracks and then go hide in a stairwell. Some poor smuck OC had pulled duty and had to conduct a security check of the barracks every hour. We would hide in the remotest ladder well on the deck above the smuck’s route. When he looked in the ladder well, we would pelt him with the sugar coated, glazed donuts, and run before he could see who it was. Of course, he would get back to the quarterdeck and have to explain how he was covered in powered sugar, jelly, and shards of pastry.

Then Lanny met this girl. They hit it off. Lanny asked her to meet him the next Saturday. i mean this was serious stuff. She said she would love to meet him again, but she had a girlfriend who came with her from Fall River and Lanny must provide someone to accompany her, a double date, if they were to continue to meet.

Lanny, Doc, and i put our collective heads together and came up with a plan. The friend was not particularly good looking. i got elected to be her “date” but with a twist. We decided to explain i was from the German Navy on a new program to swap officer candidates and i could only speak German. Doc, we claimed, was my interpreter.

This was somewhat difficult to pull off since Doc nor i could speak a word of German. We spent about two hours in Hurley’s that Saturday evening with my producing guttural syllables i thought might sound like German and Doc explaining to my date what i was saying while Doc and his unsuspecting girlfriend listened. My German and Doc’s interpretation became more and more absurd with each pursuant cocktail. The three of us  spent most of the two hours suppressing our laughs until Doc informed the group he had to take me back to the barracks because i had to call my family in Germany (time difference, we explained).

Then there was Sunday afternoons at Hurley’s. i know Doc or Lanny accompanied me, sometimes both, but it seems i always went to Hurley’s on Sunday afternoons. i would sit at the bar for the entire jazz jam session. The regular band and quite a few other musicians would show up and play some great music. My favorite song to which they jammed remains one of my favorite songs of all time, perhaps because of my Sunday’s at Hurley’s. They had this woman in the band, the singer, who nailed “My Satin Doll.”

i would sit at the bar, twirling the ice in my bourbon on the rocks, and feel lonely when they would perform a ten-minute or more set of “My Satin Doll.” i was romantic. i was alone. i was sad. But it was good because “My Satin Doll” was consoling.

Strangely, it made me feel good.

Hurley’s is gone now.

The three amigos are spread out. i don’t know if Lanny’s girlfriend’s friend really bought my German act. i don’t eat jelly filled buns.

But i still listen to “My Satin Doll” and remember.

Tribute to an Old Man

Tomorrow, there’s this old guy who is going to have a birthday.

i know because he’s six months and one day younger than me. Old. i mean old.

We have been been more than friends for fifty-six years. In some ways, this is rather odd. In other ways, such a friendship is entirely predictable.

i, as you should know, am from a small town called Lebanon in Middle Tennessee. My parents and their families didn’t have a lot of money, but always got along okay. In fact they were very secure in their life. Out of Castle Heights Military Academy, i was lucky enough to get a Navy scholarship to Vanderbilt. That’s where i met this old guy.

He was from a big city. i mean, it was a big, big city. New York. 95th and Park Avenue. His father was a successful and very good doctor. His mother was a banjo playing starlet. They had three boys. This old guy was in the middle. He started at Vanderbilt the same time i did.

Then we had to go through Kappa Sigma pledge period together. Whatever one might think of the Greek fraternity and sorority system, one must accept a pledge period can bind a bunch of young men or young women together for life, just like it did for twenty-four of us. Then there was this Navy thing. The old guy enrolled in NROTC because he was interested in the Navy, or rather was or became a scholar about all kinds of ships. He was intrigued with them. Still is. For some strange reason, we got hooked up as a pair making a model of a 5″ 38 twin gun mount, the kind that was on destroyers. i don’t think it was really very good, but it got us by.

Somewhere along this time, some connections came out. The old guy’s parents were originally from Rockwood, Tennessee. My family spent a number of weekends in Rockwood in this wandering Victorian home up on the hill. It belonged to my uncle’s mother. My uncle’s father, the Presbyterian minister, had passed away before our family rendezvous’ in Rockwood began. i never met any of the old man’s family on these trips.

But the connections just kept on coming. Sports. Both the old man and i loved watching sports of any kind. Music. We both loved music, particularly bluegrass. White socks. Yes, white socks. That’s what these two, one from the country, one from the big city wore proudly when they matriculated only to find out white socks were definitely not cool.

Parents. We didn’t know this for a long, long time, but sometime in the late 40’s, early 50’s, the old man’s father was doing some doctoring stuff in Nashville and decided to go to Rockwood before heading for NYC. His car broke down in the early evening right outside Lebanon, Tennessee. So the  good doctor went to the only open auto shop, which was where my father was closing up. My father fixed the doctor’s car in two or three hours. The two talked a lot. When the doctor paid the bill and left, he gave my father a ten dollar tip, in silver dollars. i have them now. At the time, no one knew the old man and i would end up spending a lot of time together.

We probably should have lost track of each other. After all, he was in Europe, Singapore, Hong Kong, San Francisco, D.C., and New Jersey (ugh). i was all over the map and all over the ocean. Then we ended up out here on the left coast. We reconnected. We still liked the same things. Our wives got along famously. It was karma.

i could go on about the old man. He’s pretty special. He’s done some amazing things in his life, but remains low key. His sense of humor is just about perfect.

Oh yeh, i should mention the old man is Alan Hicks. He’ll  be seventy-four tomorrow.

He ain’t too bad. In fact, he’s one of my best all time friends forever.

And i was just kidding about the old man stuff.

Happy Birthday, Alan…and thanks for being my brother.

Oh yeh, his brother Jim ain’t bad either except for the hummingbird thing.

Alan Hicks with two beautiful women, Maureen and Maren in the HIcks’ Sonoma home, 2016.

The Commander, the Ensign, and the Flagpole

One more iteration. One more…okay, maybe two or so.

But it’s back up. Back in its place at the top of our slope.

Up. First time in six months. Yeh, it’s temporary. When Paul gets back from his venture, he’ll come over to redo the front yard (another story) and bring some steel pipe that will fit inside. We’ll add a section or two…or three if it doesn’t give Maureen a heart attack.

It’s been a saga.

About thirty years ago. i got this idea of an ensign on top of our slope for me to admire and the neighbors to see. No, no, no, not the Navy officer standing up there. Ensign is also a Navy term for our United States flag. i went and got some plumbing pipe and made a flagpole. It was about twenty feet high with a union half way up. Didn’t last long. Rusted. Union broke. Gave it up.

Then in 1999 when i had to put Cass, my all-time buddy to sleep, i decided to try again. Ordered a flag pole. Aluminum sections. i built a concrete base. Put the urn holding Cass’ ashes inside. Added a bakelite plaque. It’s still up there: “Cass, A Good Dog, 1985 – 1999, To his and our freedom.

So up went the pole, 25 feet of it. Up went the ensign. It was no little thing either, eight by six. We could see it from about five miles away. So could a lot of other people. There was this guy who lived the bottom of our hill. i’ve written of him before. Jesse Thompson. He was a Pearl Harbor survivor. We had a number of them around here back then. After all, this is a Navy town. Jesse got a group of them together. Turned his home into a Pearl Harbor museum. The group met every Wednesday. He came up the hill one day when i was out, knocked on the door; told Sarah who he was, and asked her to thank me for my ensign. He said the group all agreed it reminded them of Mount Suribachi. That made me feel good, real good and proud.

In those days, i was good at maintaining protocol. Lena, our replacement for Cass, and i would go up every morning at 0800, raise the ensign, and observe colors. In the evening, we would go back up, lower the flag exactly at sunset, and observe colors again. It was a nice way to start and end the day. It was nice view. i even saw two green flashes during those sunsets. Lena enjoyed her walks.

My brother-in-law was temporarily living with us at the time. He kept the house while we went somewhere. He was watching the flag in a winter storm. He said it was beautiful holding stiff into the strong wind, bending the flagpole.

That’s when it broke the first time.

i got another section to replace the broken one and strengthened the pole. The winds can get strong coming off the ocean to the top of that hill. i bought a PVC pipe to fit inside the sections, cut it to the flagpole length and got some neighbors to help me put it up. Looked good.

A neighbor from down the hill came by and stopped when she saw me working in the front yard. She said she was a teacher and seeing my flag each morning on her way to work made her feel all was right with the world. She handed me fifty dollars, for maintenance she said. i tried to refuse, but she was insistent. i finally gave in.

Then the Santa Ana came. Fifty knot winds. The PVC wasn’t that strong, and once again, the flag pole toppled. Next. Paul suggested the thicker PVC. This one needed some muscle no longer available in seventy-year old men. Paul and his boys, with my feeble assistance, got it in place.

Until the winds this past winter. January.  Winter storm. i knew the pole could withstand the projected 40-knot winds. i checked it out. Beautiful sight it was, rippling against the wind, resistant, Suribachi-like. Maureen asked, “Aren’t you going to take the flag down?”

“Ensign,” i corrected her. “Nope, i said, “She’s doing fine.” “Don’t worry,” i said, “She’ll withstand forty knot winds.”

i went inside. The wind gusted to seventy: down went the pole with my ensign.

Six months, i waited. Now it’s up. And until Paul gets back, it will be a bit shorter.

But i don’t care. After all, it’s become a landmark in Bonita:

College Station, circa 1977

Escape. That’s what this is. i was trying to get into work. Budgets, book writing, sorting, organizing. That sort of thing. Gave it up when i came upon this one in a folder i had misfiled a long time ago. What the hell. Here it is.

College Station, circa 1977

a spring day whistles into the middle of Texas winter:
i gaze through the campus greenery
from the window of my antiseptic office
recalling a Newport winter several years ago
where sleet with biting cold predominated;
the hoary wind gnashing its way
off of Naragansett Bay
inside it was warm,
candles lit the upstairs apartment;
bare trees haunted from the yard
before Easton Bay
with disdain;
wine was poured,
long before i knew its worth,
to be sipped while the bay wind
beat the sleet against the windows.

where have all the smiles gone
which once accompanied the sleet, the wind, the cold
and
the wine?

i turn from the window
looking out at winter,
what we, back then in Newport,
would have called early summer;
the secretary reminds me to return a call;
i pause with the receiver in my hand
remembering the winter smiles
before returning to the business at hand.

I Was a Sailor

Today’s Navy is a world apart from the Navy i served for twenty-two years. The change had begun as i was completing my active duty. Women were becoming part of seagoing world. Computers were becoming more and more critical to getting the job done. Gas turbine plants were replacing the old classic steam engines. i expressed my feelings in a poem included in these posts before and was part of my book, A Pocket of Resistance: Selected Poems. i will not judge which Navy is better or worse. They are just different, that’s all. But i sure liked going to sea in the old Navy. i am posting this in a group called “US Navy Gearing Class Destroyers.” Old sailors. i hope they enjoy it.

I Was a Sailor

I was a sailor
when the boatswainmates
swept down and triced up;
the decks were spotless;
first division stood
at the ready on the forecastle to
cast away all lines;
the sleek greyhound visaged lady
got underway,
no tugs,
no bow thrusters
like they, the pansies are required to use
today;
no sir:
we ruled the seas
standing proud in quarters standing out,
no manning the rails for show,
we did it like it was supposed to be;
the bow cut through the channel like
it owned the sea,
the trough slid up the side
only feet under the gunwale;
the stern wash was white with foam:
we were underway,
rocking and rolling.

I was a sailor
back when being a sailor
was tantamount to being a man;
there weren’t no great number
of automatic controls back then,
not one hell of a lot of video games or graphics to read:
you turned the valves and the steam hissed;
you cleaned the boiler plates on the lower level
with the blowers blasting air in your face
for relief from the hot wet heat;
inserting the plates and firing it up
hoping it wouldn’t smoke white
and
blow your ass
off the naval station
to kingdom come;
the boilers would rumble,
groan and croak,
spew their smoke out the stack,
build up steam
until there weren’t no smoke
and
the boiler tenders
down in the bowels
knew they would be
getting underway
soon.
we lined up the feed pumps;
kicked off the auxiliaries,
went on ship’s power,
dropping our umbilical cords from the pier
like the doctor cuts the cord
on the newborn:
separating us from mother earth,
sending us to the bounding main;
when we turned the nozzles of steam
onto the turbines of the main engine,
watching the tree trunk sized shaft
turning slowly;
the engine room wheezed and coughed:
made us feel like we
were in a jungle of sweltering pumps and motors
while the distilling plants gurgled with
Rube Goldberg smugness,
making you wonder if
they would really make
good water
again.

I was a sailor
back when we manned the big guns,
not standing apart, aloof, with computer controls
in the air conditioned spaces
but inside those big guns,
metal death traps where
we stood alongside the breech
when the firing shook our brains, our guts, our souls
and
we loved the thrill of it all;
the brass kicked out the aft end;
the hot case man with his asbestos gloves
smacked them out onto the rolling deck:
no automatic, manless machine of death
back then.

I was a sailor
back when we didn’t know
what the hell politically correct meant,
back when they meant
|what they said when they said,
“if the navy wanted you to have a wife,
they would have issued you one.”
Navy was a way of life,
living on board, locker in a club
just outside the main gate
with civvies,
so
you could go down to sailor town,
drink beer and cheap whiskey,
enough to make the woman look
pretty enough to pay
for the night so
you could get back in time
for quarters at 0700
unless there was a fight.

I was a sailor back then
when men were men
and
sailors were sailors
and
then was then.

Way “off the wall”

The item below appeared in yesterday’s (July 10, 2018) edition of the San Diego Union Tribune. It was included in the daily sidebar, “Off the Wall,” which contains interesting and humorous tidbits and a sports trivia quiz.

This particular item was so wrong, so bad on so many levels it caused me to laugh so hard i snorted my breakfast cup of coffee.

i hope you are not offended and also find it funny as hell:

Off the wall

Touching tribute

After a young New Orleans man was killed, his grieving family chose to remember him doing what he loved: sitting in front of a TV with his beloved Boston Celtics on the screen.

The body of 18-year-old Renard Matthews , who died from a gunshot wound to the head on June 25, was dressed in a Celtics jersey at a Sunday wake at the Charbonnet Labat Glapion Funeral Home in the Treme neighborhood. WDSU-TV reported that his body was positioned in a chair and he had a video game controller in his lap. His favorite snacks were positioned on a nearby table and the floor.

The 18-year-old Matthews will be buried today.

Memories

Yesterday, i posted birthday thoughts for Blythe. i had picked out too many photos to accompany those thoughts. So here they are today, with loving memories of our good times together:

Blythe atop Nuʻuanu Pali on Oahu in 1981. It was a wonderful pre-Christmas, end of a year of Westpac deployments for me, and magic to be with her. It was also cold up there.
In the Petrified Forest for about 15 minutes of our whirlwind visit to it and the painted desert. She was not really enthused about rocks that used to be trees. i was awed and felt the force of history, nature, and a sense of something larger, inspiring.
And a few of my favorite things. My RX7 Blythe helped me pick out. My parents in their first fifth wheel trip to San Diego, outside one of the best bachelor pads ever, overshadowed by the next move to a condo in the Coronado Cays, the Koala stuffed bear i got her in Perth, Australia, and Blythe. Life was good. August, 1981.
Sailing with Blythe on JD’s boat on San Diego Bay, 1982.

Eaters

As is my routine, i reread my post this morning. i laughed. i had gotten my terms mixed up. At my age, it’s excusable to do that but not excusable to let the mistake continue. In mentioning Shakespeare’s and my friend, Pete Thomas, i described the Guinness and Bass mixture as a “pink and tan.” i was thinking of the old army uniform, which was still the uniform at Texas A&M when i was an NROTC instructor there. i should have written “black and tan.” Oops.

Today, it was hot. Hot for the Southwest corner. Fires too. Something to discuss later.

Part of Maureen’s and my strategy to deal with hot included lunch at a cool place.

We chose Blue Water. It’s official name is Blue Water Seafood Market and Grill. It’s in the hotbed of unique cuisine, made popular for wonderful food of all sorts, not some place to go to be cool or be seen. It’s located at the end of India Street, the old, old road which begins in what was Little Italy, now the place to go to be cool or be seen. Although Maureen is cool and a sight to be seen, i am definitely not either. But at the northern end, India Street tees into Washington Street is not trendy. It’s just crowded because the food is so damn good.

There is an iconic Mexican restaurant with hot border Mexican Food, one of the biggest draws and probably the oldest in this little area of wide spread diet genres. It has a park across the street with concrete picnic tables. My buddy from amphib days, Bruce Brunn, and i used to run around Balboa Park at lunch and then stop for tacos and beer at El Indio and eat in our sweaty running togs sitting on the curb so as not to gross out the picnic bench sitters.

There’s this Brit pub called Shakespeare’s. Today, it was packed and ribald with soccer watchers. One of my best friends of all time, Pete Thomas and i would meet there for an evening meal featuring black and tan’s, i.e. Bass Ale and Guinness. i would order the shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, or fish and chips.

There is Wine Vault and Bistro, an incredible dining experience with paired wines for each pre-fixe course. It remains one of our finest experiences in dining and we go at every chance. i couldn’t begin to describe how wonderful a place Chris and Mary have created.

On the corner, there is Gelato Vero, a small place with little sitting room Maureen claims has the best gelato in the world. i ‘m not a gelato guy and her claim is a bit expansive. i can’t argue, but it is good.

There are a number of Johnny-come-lately’s attempting to lay claim to culinary excellence by geographic association, but not for us. We’ve got the ones we go to.

i  think i’ve mentioned these favorite of ours here before, so i will refrain from more explantation except for Blue Water.

You have to wait in line. There are no reservations and it is always packed. You can’t claim a table early. The staff assigns you a table based on the number of your group and your preference, if available. We normally sit out on the patio where they have about ten small tables, but it really doesn’t matter. The food matters.

Today, we argued…er discussed what we would order all the way through the fifteen or twenty minute line wait. Maureen likes to share. That’s not my thing, but i will and am getting better at since i am old and somewhat conscious of my waistline. We would have liked to order damn near everything on the menu, most as either a sandwich, a taco, or a salad. Fish. Seafood. High Quality. You can pick out some of those to take home, no, all of those from the seafood market crammed into the side of Blue Water.

As we neared the order/pay young lady, i caved. We ordered the half-dozen oysters on the half shell with separate mild and spicy sauces. And we ordered the sashimi special with Ahi and yellowtail tuna.

It was quite simply, the best yellowtail i’ve ever eaten and the ahi would match up against the gazillion of pounds of sashimi i’ve had everywhere, including Japan.

From my experience at Blue Water and listening to those in line who have also eaten there before, that is a common adjective about the food: “the best,” whatever it is.

It is one of those places we go in the Southwest corner we find so good we keep returning and returning. And every time. i mean every time i wish two people could be with us. My son-in-law Jason loves all kinds of good food. He is extremely knowledgable as well. He and Maureen have discussions about food, and it sounds like Greek to me. i always wish he were with us.

Then there’s this guy up in San Francisco. We’ve been brothers for  half century plus. He loves food. Together, we’ve spent an ungodly number of hours dining at places running the gamut of low end dives to high end dining over those years. He’s the other one i wish were with Maureen and me.

But since they aren’t here, we’ll just have to go back to Blue Water and wish for them again.