Tuesday, August 19, 2008



The year 1966 is one which lives in my memory, mainly for the events here described. Since I had come to Florida to 'be a hermit', for my vacation during the summer of '66, I determined to get a taste of the hermitage. So, for my two weeks in the sun and fun, I chose to get myself planted on a small spit of an island south of Marco Island--the objective, to 'play hermit' for a week or so...I think it was ten days?

I rented a tent, and all the equipment which could fit on a small boat, and hired a fellow to float me down to this 'sugar loaf' spit of sand in the Gulf of Mexico. And of course, it goes without saying that I loaded onto that little runabout several cases of beer, one case (12 quart bottles) of my favorite (the cheapest) vodka of the day and six quarts of Early Times (to compensate for my bland vodka dietary choice). Ice, many cans of tuna, some boiled eggs, heck I don't know what else, it didn't matter. Ants got to the food before me, since I mostly drank the first couple days.

As soon as this fellow dropped me, and helped to unload my gear (don't break the glass!), he sped away, maybe glad to be rid of me--with the promise that in ten days he'd return. Well, I was ecstatic!

I was in HEAVEN! I ran around like a crazed child, alone on his private playground. Me, the hermit! My dream of thirty years had come true, at least in "trial" form. I cavorted (yes, cavorted) in the water, bare-footed, and bare-ass'd. I really thought maybe the water there was contaminated, because it had a certain foreboding red color, all around me was this red-tinted water. It was THEN, that reality set in. I had been cavorting on an old oyster bed, and the "red" was my own blood. Yep, my (by now!) VERY sore feet bottoms were shredded.

Now I became scared...no doctor, no medicine, no First Aid kit...so first I took a huge pull from a vodka bottle, and knew that I was going to soon be wasting some of the precious liquid on my FEET. If whoever reading this is an alcoholic, they will immediately KNOW what absolute TRAUMA it was for me to pour vodka , AND Early Times (forgot to mention the Whiskey!) onto my feet. I cried then. Not the burning, but OH! the wasted booze, Oh! Woe is me!

So, for the next days (daze!) I walked about wearing a tee shirt wrapped around each foot, using a makeshift cane for support. I did not know God at that time very well, I mean He and I were at odds, at least I was.

But, Back to my first night. On the radio, it was announced that a Tropical Depression had formed over Everglades City, about 10 miles from where I sat, painfully nursing myself with the only anesthesia I knew, in the darkness of a warm, June night. Well, that storm came thundering full blast at my island, the water kept rising, I'd check it every half hour, and moved my tent several times that night, walking on two bloody stubs. I stayed very drunk, but could not avoid the dangerous situation which was before me. There was nowhere to go, no hills, and the water kept rising. In a drunken stupor I fell fast asleep.

You'd think my 'First-Night' story might end here. Wrong! Since this blog has become waaay out of bounds for a simple daily log reading, the "rest of this story" will be on tomorrow's posting, that's Wednesday. It's much more interesting than today's, so don't miss it. I promise!


Anonymous said...

I’m ahead of the curve on this story. I heard it about 20 years ago and I have always been fascinated by its telling. I’m not sure exactly which continuing elements will be in the follow-up episode, but they are all good. What a testament to the creative nature of the mind – sometimes beautiful and sometimes really scary. (Thank God you didn’t drown on that island all those years ago. Selfishly – we wouldn’t have met!)

Shadow said...

scary and interesting. i'll check in for more tomorrow...

Syd said...

This story reminds me of one of my favorite characters in Carl Hiassen's books---Skink. He is a cool dude who lives in the wilds of the Everglades.

TraceyBaby said...

Ouch...what was the name of that Tom Hanks movie?