Thursday, August 21, 2008



In order to keep away the mosquitos during my stay on 'my island', I had arranged to have the Marco Island spray plane fly the eight or so miles south, to spray me every day. It only cost two quarts of Bacardi Rum, for Martin, the pilot, to agree to this--(see, I even do my bartering with booze!).

Each day, about 8 AM, the old Air Force C-47 made several passes so low, as to raise beach sand everywhere. Martin sprayed that wonderful stuff onto everything. I'd open my mouth to maybe catch some of it. A few months after, that Cuban pilot died in a fiery crash, driving that same aircraft. The Mackle Brothers, developers of Marco Island, paid lots of bucks, for my comfort.

The above paragraph sets up this next bit, the SADDEST DAY OF MY WHOLE LIFE. I can cry even now, remembering the horror of it all. Any true, 'real' alcoholic might identify with me, and KNOW me, know my ache, my hurt, my anguish, by reading this short story:

Two of my friends, both pilots, flew their two small Cessna down to entertain me with their aerobatics about three days before I was to vacate the island. I had run out of ALL alcohol (and cigarettes!), was still walking in pain, and figured they would magically, automatically 'know' my sorry predicament.

The two planes flew SO low, that I could see my wife and daughter in one of them--so then I was CERTAIN that my lack of supplies would be alleviated, since we always had a 'working telepathy'. I stood in one spot, waiting for the drop of my C.A.R.E. package...and fifteen long minutes later, when I finally figured they were playing that 'waiting' game, they flew away--out of my life--forever? Who would know? I knew true HATRED that day! POOR ME--and I MEAN THAT, even now. (Ha! I just peeled off a long-buried, long-hidden, powerful resentment. And I'll take care of it right away!)...........

SO began the Unhappiest day of my whole life--no booze, no smokes, and that equaled NO NOTHING. I did not pray, for fear that I would curse God Himself for this calamity. (They could have at LEAST dropped some Bandages -grin-)

On one slow, painful limp around the island I found a sand-buried Jack Daniels (Black Label!) bottle, and it was about half (empty, or full?). Immediately, I pulled out the cork and proceeded to guzzle--UGHHHHHHH! THHHHHPT! OMG, someone had used it for their specimen, it was all pee. I washed my mouth out with salty sea water, and even drank a little of the brine. I can tell you that God was not taking care of ME that day. (Or maybe He WAS?)

I cried often during the remaining really cool nights, and sun-blistering days. The world as I knew it had ended. Friends and family had forsaken me, I blamed EVERYONE ELSE for my predicament. My mantra: WOE IS ME! REALLY! I was ready to DO it, but was chicken-shit to end my life, because --get this--my FEET hurt too much! I'm living today, because God allowed me to 'cavort' barefoot back-and-forth--unknowingly--through an under-water oyster bar, and spend the next eight days with bloody, infected feet!.

And yet, I spent the next EIGHT YEARS perfecting my drinking habit. I became a 'functioning' drunk. For that, I needed a daily, hefty amount of maintenance alcohol. God, since then, has allowed me to learn and use the Twelve Steps He gave us, and to stay sober since March 18, 1974. I never looked back as far as drinking again--for me. It just has not happened. Expressing my gratitude to God, and you AA people, is what I live for today.

Oh yes, the fishing guide, Joseph, DID arrive as scheduled to pick me up. We enjoyed an EXTREMELY quiet ride back to civilization.

Steve E. (A Hermit--NOT!)


Shadow said...

wow. so this really happened to you?

i can remember that self-centred, all about ME feeling, thinking, doing. it wasn't pleasant. well, i'm glad you made the island stay, and the 8 years that followed, and that you are here now!

Shadow said...

and looooove the new look tooooo

J-Online said...

I think God gives us the bad days so that we can really appreciate the good ones.

Love the new look for your blog. Jenn

Laura said...

Mornin' Steve E. I've been remiss in not reading blogs the last few days and have sat here mesmerized by parts 1, 2 & happily 3 of your saddest day. Thank you for sharing this amazing excerpt of an amazing man's life, blessed by God.

So glad to "know" you now, this way.


Shadow said...

hiya! you got me giggling... you may tell your wife that the piccies are all (well, mostly anyway,) courtesy of google images, specifically this one.

and the writing, they are off-the-top-of-my-head writings, pretty much about the mood i'm in...

Lou said...

An interesting story.I loved it. I can picture you thinking laying on an island for a week drinking was a good idea.Ah,youth..or,insanity!

Syd said...

When I started reading this, I thought that it would mean that you had hit "bottom" and decided to get sober after that island stay. I guess it doesn't work that way and it took a few more years of misery to get the message. I'm glad that you did and that you got off Marco Island.

I've been to Marco Island and know the folks at Rookery Bay Reserve. It was interesting to stay at Keywaydin Island when it was owned by Bolton Drackett. It was a nice place but I think that the old lodge and cottages have been torn down.

~Tyra~ said...

What an amazing story, thanks for sharing.

Zane-nawwaa said...

I really enjoy your comments and your blog. I have now added you to my daily read. Keep em coming.

Princess Powerless said...

What a great story; I hope you tell your story in speaker meetings.

It's a sadder and more hopeless story than Castaway, with Tom Hanks.

Thank God for you, Steve.

Mary Christine said...

One of my exes was a crop duster. I can see the malathion spraying out of that C-47. Yikes. The things we do!