B.O.'s Fishwagon, chickens, Cigar, Conch Republic, Cuban cigar, Duval Street, Friends of Animals, Hemingway Museum, Kew West Cemetery, Key Lime, Key West Cemetery, polydactals, postaweek2011, Rooster Rescue Team, Rural Cemetery movement, six-toed cats, Snows of Kilimanjaro, southernmost point, sunset, the Chicken Store, United States
Bobby Flay Was Here.
It’s B.O.’s Fish Wagon, a hoppin’ open air shack. I’m not sure how the ‘building’ stays together. (Think Sanford and Sons.) Owner Buddy Owen built the shack around his old fish wagon. It’s cash only and way off the beaten path in Key West.
I left my business card on the pole along with hundreds of others, competing for space with buoys and license plates. Order any catch of the day ~ blackened, grilled or fried ~ on fresh Cuban bread with Key Lime sauce. Guaranteed to make you smile out loud.
There’s plenty to smile about in the Conch Republic. Like the chickens. Key West is a live-and-let-live town. And the chickens like it that way. They strut the streets, loll in yards and hang out at bars. They have their own Chicken Store on Duval Street. No broiling, frying or grilling here. It houses a volunteer group, the Rooster Rescue Team, that helps sick and/or bothersome birds.
And then there’s the polydactyls. The cats, most having six toes, are descended from the original cat given to Hemingway by a ship’s captain. At the Hemingway Homestead and Museum, there are cats in every room, above ground and below.
The island cats, like the chickens, have Friends. The Friends of Animals Chapter offers food, affection and a Spay-a-Stray program.
This is Charlie Chaplin ~tiny black mustache, quiet nature. One of the most photographed felines on the property.
The building where Papa wrote was originally a carriage house. A stairway from the patio takes you to the second floor writing studio. His Royal typewriter, Cuban cigar-maker’s chair, and the mementoes he collected are still in place. It was here that he worked on Death in the Afternoon, Green Hills of Africa,To Have And Have Not, For Whom The Bell Tolls, and many of his most-famous short stories, such as “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber.”
Hemingway’s grave is a simple affair but you won’t find it in the Key West Cemetery. What you will find is Bahamian mariners, Cuban cigar makers, Spanish-American War veterans, millionaires and paupers, Catholics, Protestants and Jews~ side-by-side, a reflection of the island city’s diverse heritage. It’s part of the Rural Cemetery Movement when cities began to build park-like cemeteries with landscaped grounds. There are monuments as well as small markers made of tile, brick and cement. B. P. “Pearl” Roberts was a local hypochondriac who, you might say, had the Last Word.
The Southernmost Point of the Keys has its own monument. A large concrete buoy that attracts huge crowds at sunrise…..
….and sunset. So here we are, at Mile Marker 0, the end of US 1. I found my way here here due to a whipsmart travel agent named Jeanne. And carried home pieces of Paradise because of Jim, my tera-awesome photographer and handholder.
See you at sunset.
And that’s the way it is. Thanks for reading.