When I lived on the island of Nevis in the Eastern Caribbean, Ione of my favorite restaurants was a place near the ocean called Lorenal's By The Sea.
It was a two-story wooden building owned by an older Caribbean couple. They prepared excellent Caribbean dishes -- plantains, pork, beef, black beans and rice. You could dine in an outdoor setting since part of the restaurant extended out toward the ocean. At night, it was an incredibly romantic setting. You could see the moon, the stars and the lights of the ships at sea.
Lorena had an attractive niece who worked evenings as a waitress. I flirted with her and asked her to accompany me to a popular bar in the downtown area of Charleston, the island's capital city.
She was interested. Smiling, she said, 'You will have to ask Lorena's permission. What will we do? '
'Dance. Dine. And live life.'
She flounced away, laughing. I went to Lorena to ask permission to take her niece out for an evening of dancing.
Lorena shook her head. This was the same woman who, when I asked her one day what she would do if somebody with a gun tried to rob her, said, 'Why I would take away his gun and beat him, of course. Nobody steals my hard-earned money!'
She said, 'I don't know about that. You're a gadabout. What if you turned up missing? I would not know where to look for yo.'
I am a gadabout. She let her niece go out with me, but she kept a careful eye on the process.
I have always been a gadabout. I have worked on more newspapers and lived in more cities than I can count. And now I am leaving Phoenix for a cross country tip. I may end up in Florida, South Carolina or West Virginia. Who knows. My heart goes where time and circumstance take me.
Wherever my path may go, I will be looking for stories to add to this website.
My tentative plan is to drive to California and follow the coast highway north through Big Sug country, to San Francisco, into the state of Washington and to play poker along the way.
I did this once before when I was married. The journey turned out to be glorious.
I played poker in small card rooms in northern California, Seattle and near Yellowstone National Park. I played against lumberjacks, cowboys and cattle ranchers. I earned enough money to pay for my trip, made a lot of friends, and lived the carefree life of a gadabout poker player and journalist.
My faithful Chevvie Cavalier hopefully will be up to the job of taking me where I want to go. I will travel through Montana, parts of Wyoming and South Dakota. This is a great country with far more to offer a traveler than many foreign destinations.
I will follow the northern route until I reach the outskirts of Pennsylvania where my brother lives. After some rest and relaxation at his home in Sutersville, PA. (pop. 960), I will continue on to Charleston, WV. to spend some time at the Mardi Gras Casino with my friend Jim Gussius, a Charles Bronson look-alike who runs the casino operation.
Charleston is also the home of Coal People Magazine, a monthly publication owned by Al Skinner and his daughter Christina, who is also his managing editor. The magazine has published many of my stories about coal mines and coal people, including my late father who worked as a coal miner at Warden Mine, which at one time was one of the largest coal producers in America.
From there I haven't decided where my next stop will be. I may continue on down the coast to Charleston, S.C. where my daughter is moving to, and then on to Florida for some good pokeat the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, FL. There is a motel near the beach where I can relax, tan myself in the sun and get some sand in my shoes.
Wish me luck. The poker players in the Pacific Northwest are different from the ones in Arizona. They play poker differently in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida. I will need a lot of luck on the journey and I hope to find a lot of stories to share with my readers. Let the gadabout's journey and the games begin.