Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cheers - Bars - Part Two

This is Part Two of a short series about growing up around alcohol.

In the mid to late 1950's there were three bars in the Cruz Bay area, each with its own distinct atmosphere.

If you wanted a cold beer and a raucous game of dominoes Smitty's was the place to go. Raucous game of dominoes? In the islands dominoes is still predominately played by men who, when they have the winning tile, slam it down on the table top with as much force as possible, causing the tiles jump. The games can get quite noisy. Smitty's is where many of the hard-working day-laborers hung out. It was a place where I could buy the occasion Baby Ruth.

Theovald "Mooie" MoorheadIf you wanted to play pool or to talk politics, you went to Mooie's, the oldest bar on the island. Theovald "Mooie" Moorehead an Army Veteran of twelve years, was St. John's senator for many years,  and a humanitarian. Outside his bar, under a large Maho tree, was a concrete bench. While the men talked politics the women gathered under the tree and gossiped. The area became known as the Gossip Tree. In those early days if Mooie wasn't around a person could get a beer or other drink, and leave money on a shelf behind the bar. He kept my favorite soda on hand, Orange Crush. I remember how he'd carefully turn the bottle upside down to mix bits of orange pulp before he opened it.

Smitty's and Mooie's catered more to the locals, both black and white.

Now, if you wanted to play liars dice or pitch horse shoes, you went out to Gallow's Point to Duke Ellington's bar. Duke had been a mystery writer and had several books published. At Gallow's he and his wife, Kay, own and operated a few guest cottages.  Their bar catered more to tourists and white folk. He had a large round table around which long-time residents, like my parents, would confab while they had their evening cocktails. It was here that we heard a wandering minstrel who played a lute. His name was Seraphin (or Serafin) and he wore something like Arthurian or Robin Hood-type garb, green tights, multi-colored coat and cape, and a hat with a feather. We also went to a few Easter Egg hunts there.

Bars were places where people gathered at the end of a long work day, drank a beer and talked before they headed home for supper. It was social drinking and more refined than just going to a bar to drink and get drunk. And we kids, we were all near by, either down on the beach swimming or in the park playing marbles, jacks, or jump rope or playing on the swing set.

Next week? Part Three. In which my sister and I play with cigarettes.


  1. Your childhood was filled with so many interesting moments and people and places! What a rich history to be a part of.

  2. Each had a distinct personality.
    Next week's post sounds like trouble!

  3. I love hearing about your youth, Bish. It sounds fantastic! Well, except for the playing with cigarettes bit, ha!

  4. Sounds so wonderful. I had a somewhat similar childhood but it definitely wasn't in the tropics.

  5. This sounds lovely Bish. I often think about what an interesting childhood you've had.

  6. What an interesting place to grow up!

  7. This is great imagery. Liar's dice.... new one..... Liar's poker.... how do you do the dice? Name the number first???
    Almost one year since we met, as I glance on your A-Z icon. It went like the blink of an eye.

  8. Your childhood sounds so fascinating, Bish!

  9. Nothing like the bars and pool to make a community! Now as to your next post . . . I can't wait to hear about that.

  10. Bish, they still play dominoes like that here, slamming them on the table so that you wonder how it doesn't collapse.

    Interesting stuff about Ellington.

  11. Your descriptions are so vivid. I can picture it all. I think you could create a pretty awesome screenplay based on your childhood. The setting alone is stunning.


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