By: Glenn Singer
Several years back I had a gig on Boca Grande Island at a Golf Resort in Florida. Got it from someone I knew who’s son worked as the Chef there. After the show he invited me for a drink and we walked through the steamy Florida night to this little bar in town, nobody there but the bartender. The two of us sat with our beers talking to him about what a nice little place it was. Beautiful woodwork, cozy, old school style. He took us to a doorway in the back and showed us the rest of it: a mirror image space directly behind it, another room which used to be for the help. It was a segregated bar dating back to the days when most of the help was African American and they were kept apart. ‘Nowadays most of the help is Mexican and it’s language more than anything that separates us. We don’t use this much anymore unless it’s a really big night’ he said.
We’d gotten there so late it soon got to be quitting time and he got a 12 pack out of the cooler and said to my friend. Pick up some gas and I’ll meet you at the Community Center. We went out to his truck and stopped at a 7-11 where he filled a gas can with a couple of gallons, then we drove out a sandy road
through a salt marsh under the soft glow of half a moon low in the sky. We got to a cluster
of old clapboard shacks and stopped at the one that had an old Lincoln Continental snugged up against it.
Chef lugged the gas can over to it, popped open the cover flap, unscrewed the cap, loosened the top on the can, pulled out the ribbed sleeve, inserted it in the mouth of the tank and waited as the contents emptied into it. His friend the Bartender pulled up and told me the story:
‘Coupla years ago me and some friends were passing the time on that porch there outta the sun when some old rich guy pulls up and can’t get the car to go no further. Still running, just won’t go. He gets out and pops the hood and looks and looks, asks us but we don’t know, finally he just cusses, leaves, and don’t come back. Never even turns it off. We keep drinking, looking at it, Delmas gets up after a while and fiddles with it. “Transmission’s out” he says. Then he checks the gas gauge and says we better push it back outta the sun before it runs out. So we did. Nobody ever bothered to fix it. 2 leather bench seats enough for 6 people, great stereo, and the air conditioner still works fine.