Anecdites, Yarns and Truth

lick image for a preview of the chapter


January 1991

You are there again on the pink path when 1991 is ushered in with the same playful cannon fire on the island; but it's the foreshadowing cannon fire off the island that is occupying most people's unconscious attention -- something brewing in the Persian Gulf that will soon acquire the name Operation Desert Storm. Sure it's a safe distance away, they are saying. Sure, no one close, no one sitting around the Tarpon Bar watching coverage on the TV has a relative in the fight - except they say in a whisper, "the guy at the end of the bar with his head hanging over his Guinness. His son enlisted because his high school grades were in the toilet."

You along with the others on the island are watching live coverage of a war, an actual war that was started by another war when a neighboring country was accused of "slant-drilling" for oil and then attacked. But questioning the reasons for going to war now is not helpful; it's too late to turn back. And even when the reasons are legitimate, as the 51 Cubans trained here on the island can attest: It's one thing to be "vulnerable to our enemies," one of them said, and another to be misled by "our friends."

And while those thoughts and others rumble through your mind as you sit watching the chilling reports of war on TV - like it's some new Hollywood version of Reality TV - the others in the room seem to be experiencing the same uneasy feelings you are, yet they are unaware that this island has many times come closer to the edge of conflict than anyone could currently imagine: the ambushed patrol that set out from the island during the Civil War; José Caldez and the fate of the island's custom official Henry B. Crews back in the early 1800s; runaway slaves; the Indian Removal Act or the mysterious disappearance of the Calusas; and, of course, the Bay of Pigs vetting. History lessons that bring a truth closer to home, whatever that truth is and only if people are willing to listen.


Return to Table of Contents
of Sport Fishing