DRINKING ALCOHOL TAUGHT ME HOW TO FLY
THEN IT TOOK AWAY THE SKY

Saturday, January 9, 2010

HERMIT STORY: THE BEGINNING




 
 
1956

 I watched with intensity a Television show (documentary) in which David Brinkley explored the life of a hermit. He chartered a boat to carry him out in the SW Florida waters, to visit Rob Roy Ozmer, the "Hermit of the Ten Thousand Islands". I watched intently as Brinkley disembarked, and the hermit Rob Roy walked to meet him.

That day I had made up my mind that in order to be free, one must be a hermit. I talked about it to everyone, constantly, year after year, and daily. And so the thought lingered, then became implanted in my brain, to stay there until.....

1964

The time was now for me to go to visit Rob Roy. It was a more-than-cold December. From my home in Cincinnati, I took a week vacation (holiday, for you European Peeps!)
and flew to Miami Florida. As the plane circled low over the city's fringes, I looked down and my heart REALLY sunk--there was snow everywhere...you must know how I felt, well, like excrement. I had written David Brinkley at NBC(?) and he responded, urging me to take Bacardi Dark out to the hermitage (near Coon Key Island). But he'd written nothing about snow in South Florida. The "snow" I saw was nothing more than all the rooftops painted white, the color which deflects the daily sun heat (Sigh!)

In a bar (naturally!) in Everglades City I found an out-of-work crabber who would, for $15, run me out to the island and back for a visit. Well, it is easy to get lost in the Ten Thousand Islands (actually well over 12,000), and I felt "God" was with me, as, laden with no more than the rum, we arrived at Rob's island, waving the bottles in the air. And obviously, that was our 'ticket' for an audience with the hermit.

More and more, I could see myself living in this fashion, free as the birds..even free as the mosquitoes which were bird food!  Rob Roy Ozmer was as congenial a host as a genteel plantation manager in Georgia, FAR exceeding my expectations. Several memories:

1.  He told about a man he'd seen the summer before, attacked by hordes of mosquitoes entering into every
(that's EVERY!) orifice in his body. The man jumped into the Gulf of Mexico, and died of suffocation. (My "deadly mosquito" story.)

2.  I could hear bubbling from my seat on the dirt floor, which provoked the question to  Rob Roy. He was making carrot liquor in five-gallon vats placed strategically around his houseboat home, the old boat no longer fit to float.

3.  Rob Roy's younger wife lived in Everglades City--population about 247 at the time--he was age 65--and once a month he putt-putted (a small boat) into town, collected his Social Security check, bought supplies, said hello to "her", and back again home, before the mosquito population took over the Everglades.

4.  We spent the whole day drinking, eating bird of some genre (I did not ask!), and discussing the outside world as if it were a billion space-miles distant...as it was!

5.  I left  drunk, full stomach, and happy for a "day-in-life-of-Steve". Days of heavy drinking--for me--did not ALWAYS end in catastrophe...just almost always! We got out just before the invading insects came out from their hiding places of flora and fauna. Somehow, I still have the feeling that maybe WE were the invaders...

2010....TODAY!

Peeps, I DID shorten this story as much as possible, keeping some of the salient points. There follows ONE punch-line-story, which I simply MUST tell you--don't go away NOW.....

This post was mainly about an obsession culminating with a day in the year 1964. 


NOW is the year 2010. About 4 days ago, I was sitting outside our Alcoholics Anonymous meeting place, the 24-Hour Club in Naples, FL. Next to me was a girl, and we began to chat. I told her of my planned blog post (THIS one!), since she had mentioned that some 50-odd years ago she was BORN in Everglades City (the smallest of villages I have EVER encountered to this day.) When I mentioned Rob Roy Ozmer, she hit me on the arm, saying "You will not believe this but his WIFE was my grade-school TEACHER!"

Melly and I (not real name), both staying sober after hellish lives, by chance are sitting side-by-side, in the cold, drinking coffee FORTY-SIX YEARS after my encounter with the husband of her teacher. You tell ME what are the chances of this--almost spiritual--happening.  

Sorry about the length of this post, but I felt some might find it interesting, the beginning of an obsession which lasted for years after. Once or twice a year still, I get a strong urge to hunker down alone somewhere even if only on the open road, on my motor scooter. But to actually live the life of a hermit...never, NEVER again! I love Peeps TOO much! We all know many who live like hermits, though surrounded by hundreds of Peeps. I can be that kind of hermit any time I drift from my program, my way of life, Alcoholics Anonymous. Isolation is for me an attribute long ago removed.

I truly LOVE you, my Peeps
I really NEED all of you, my Peeps
I stay SOBER with you, my Peeps
I want to be HAPPY with you, Peeps
I want to live without ANXIETY--like you, Peeps
At least for TODAY--and maybe tomorrow?

24 comments:

Madison said...

Very coincidental indeed. Now you know you're at the right place at the right time doing the right thing and you're not alone.

Joan W. Page said...

I love when meetings like this take place!
Steve, thanks for visiting my blog 50 something woman. After reading this, I just realized you might enjoy a past summer 2009 post entitled NO MAN IS AN ISLAND.

Andrew said...

You left out the part about walking on the Oyster bed. lol. But I suppose it is a not so happy memory.

I have not been reading as much lately. I do remember and think of you and Anna often.

Love to you Steve

Carol said...

I loved that you ended with the beginning and the present.

Nevine said...

How can you be isolated when there are so many people who love you? Never, Steve!

Nevine

Dulce said...

You see? Everglades is not so small after all, but the rest of the world IS!
I think a part of you is still a hermit, yes once or twice a year- But there it is... And I think that's good. What makes me sad is that last line which says ... so many hermets surrounded by lots of people...peeps! ok

I LOVE that picture... so very appropriate!
Hugs.

Fireblossom said...

You would make a crappy hermit, Steve. Just sayin!

Steve E said...

FIREBLOSSOM: You SO right, Babeeeee! How is it you "know" peeps so well? You have that 6th sense--in your case, maybe 7th?

But that was then...this is NOW!
Love your blog
Love you

DULCE: Thank you for your comment re the picture--I searched long to finally find that in DeviantArt, in which I am a member. Glad you follow, and comment. XOXO

NEVINE: You are always so sweet with me, it does not go unloved! But I am no longer in isolation. I talk to many strangers EVERY day, even in lines at market. I now LOVE people! Yessss!

CAROL: How happy I am that you not only follow, but comment! I hope to get up as far as Ne Hampshire one day. I remember a wintry snow-filled day in Keene as the symphony played there, We got snowed in for two days.

ANDREW: My friend, I told you that story at breakfast one day? If you go back two days in the blog you will find the "Turtle"!!

JOAN: It was a pleasure reading your blog, and then the "No Man Is An Island." Oh! How SO true. I'll visit you again and again.

MADISON: Are not coincidences the way God lets us know He is still here...and "in charge"???
Thank you SO for being here.

Cindy said...

Awesome memories! There are so many miracles in and around the program!

Mama Zen said...

What a wild story!

Zanejabbers said...

Steve,Thanks for these four bloglets. I may isolate but I could never be a true hermit. I always need people, but some days I am enough. I can be comfortable with myself and that is such a change from 18 years ago come the 20th of this month. Now I've got to go try to figure out where tose 5 women got their little black dresses. Only you and I know what I am talking about, the rest of your peeps will think I am nuts.

Steve E said...

ZANEJABBERS: How do we know they are all women???

MAMA ZEN: I did not think the story wild, just another day in the life of me. But I DO have some wild ones, guess they will be blogged in time. BTW, ALL these stories are true, as true as can be. I like to exaggerate but not when I'm story-telling. Thank you for dropping in and commenting, girl!

CINDY: You are SO RIGHT ON!

Selchie said...

Too long? No I coud read more. Love your life stories. I know what you mean about the wanting to get away, maybe just sometimes these days...)

Happy new year to you lovely peep.

Sarah.

Secretia said...

Unhappy people can hide in plain sight, like a hermit crab.

Steve E said...

SELCHIE: You are really a kindred spirit. LOVE "Three Graces Snowy Field"...it is not hanging yet, but soon, after framing. And the "extras" you sent, like another present, thank you.

SECRETIA: Probably 3 years since I have known "unhappiness", and it was not hidden. But only YOU know the reality, the true meanings of lives of many--through your blog. It is one in a million (billion?)

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

Miracles!

Hootin' Anni said...

...and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next and the next....filling our years with your joy of life and your honesty.

Thank you Steve for this post.

And....thanks for the visit, and the lovely comment you left for me this morning.

Scott said...

AA and God are so kool like that aren't they??

Kim A. said...

Where I can identify with your *bloglets* ( I love that word, Zanejabber!) is with my battle living with depression. I love being alone now, in a healthy way, because I know I am not alone. When I start to mentally isolate, I could be in a room of 100, and still feel the cloud around me.

My Creator, Alanon and a wonderful doctor help me this 24.

Namaste

Sylvia said...

Living the life of an Hermit can be constructive, but loneliness in my opinion is destructive. The ideal is to be in the Nature, but with a loving family or friends. That was a good learning experience anyway, I believe, if it helped you to recognize the importance of others in your life. Loved your story. Big hug.

Syd said...

At first I thought that you might be telling a hermit crab story! I think that it would be fairly easy for me to be a kind of hermit.

Superfluous Brunette said...

I think you are amazing and your peeps love you too.

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.

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