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.
If 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.