Jonesville History: Henry of Eisentown

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Jonesville History Lesson: Napoleon B. Eison, prominent Jonesville citizen in the 1800s and Confederate veteran, was so attached to Henry, the horse he rode during the Civil War, that he had him buried in his front yard. Wondering if anyone in our Eisentown community has found him yet…

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— Tim Bryant
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

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Book Review: The Drunkard’s Walk

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I came home from the used book store with a copy of The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives,  a New York Times bestseller by physicist and author Leonard Mlodinow. It’s about the role of randomness in everyday events, and the cognitive biases that lead people to misinterpret random events and stochastic processes. For me (no mathematics scholarships in my past), The Brain Pain began just reading the introduction. Nevertheless, it’s a great addition to your private library book collection. A book for the beach. A book for the boat.

I brought it home in plastic grocery store bag. It was crammed in there with GONZO: The Life Of Hunter S. Thompson, PALM BEACH BABYLON: Sins, Scam and Scandals, FAMOUS MUGS (Stars Behind Bars), Hemingway’s Key West, and Wines & Beers of Old New England. Think of it as a Dagwood Sandwich for evening reading sessions in the back porch hammock. Drunkard’s Walk being the meat.

Sometimes I’ll have 3 – 4 different books going at once. Not unlike switching back and forth between channels on the television. Eventually, Drunkard’s Walk will be completed. And when that happens, I’ll “spike” it football style and do a victory dance on the sun deck.

But more than likely Gonzo, Mugs, Key West and Wines & Beers will have long been filed away on shelves in the new conference room library and I’ll have moved on to a Philly Steak created from other books brought home in sacks.

For instance, Keith Richard’s book Life. Or Outward Leg by Tristan Jones. And The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts by Louis de Bernieres. All of them also recent finds from the used book store.

What about you? What’s in your hammock?

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–Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

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Going Native (the soul of a whelk)

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(From a book I’m writing called Exaggerations And Lies Of A Sailor’s Life In Advertising)

 

Part of Going Native involves becoming true to oneself in business and at home—balancing both with perfect synergy.

I’ve worked with over a hundred entrepreneurs, VPs of marketing, company presidents, and CEOs. In my opinion, the best of the breed—the ones not only most successful but also happiest, even-keeled, and prepared for the long haul— understand that sometimes you have to go sideways in order to go forward.

They have what author John Irving would describe as “the patience of a time bomb.”

[Imagine, now, the situation of an actual bomb tick-tick-ticking calmly ever closer to a last moment; the grand finale of chaos and calamity –inching toward it quite surely, yet without even an eyelid twitching a little …a soul resembling that of a whelk from which, way deep inside, matches the soft yet unfaltering whispers of the sea and the infinite world beyond.]

* * *

The entrepreneurial spirit is not just a matter of confidence.

It’s self-awareness.

Syncing up with things “out there” beyond where eyes can see.

* * *

The best of the breed understands that the straight line sometimes isn’t the most effective and efficient way…

Sometimes the course, for the long haul goal, requires zig-zagging against the wind.

* * *

I appreciate minds that reach out beyond where eyes can see to gather subtle clues instead of quickly passing them by impatiently, too sure of only one way being the right way, too quick to risk the long term to satisfy the short.

 

For sailors, time and space are multidimensional. In a sailors world a broad range of factors influence success—many of them beyond one’s control, beyond the radar screen—yet sailors become tuned to them instinctively across moments and hours, months and years.

The sound of water and wind have special meanings under sail versus the mindless droning on of motors.  Valuable information of use now and later on.

True, the motoring types get there sooner. But they arrive with less information having done less thinking through and having depended too much on unreliable bits and parts: electronics, engine components, fuel and electricity gauges. They become less engaged and less interesting.Less likely to have lively tales and deep channeling insights when I ring them up to meet on the veranda for Costa Rican coffee and Cuban cigars.

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We (all of us) can leverage an entrepreneur’s outlook, can be masters of life…

…away from the office

…and away from business altogether…

through the patience of a time bomb and by finding the whelk-like soul deep within.

 

Bottom line: Going Native is a “zest for living” thing…

that frees us (all of us) from the mundane.

* * *

— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

 

 

 

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Koozie Donations Needed!

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Support the arts in Jonesville, South Carolina. Pineapple Hill needs your new or used beer koozies (coozies) from island and beach bars, restaurants, or resorts all over the world.

Be part of this quirky “Christo-style” happening.

Will be glad to mention you (or your brand) as a Koozie Donor on our little website and on Twitter.

Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of The Great Koozie Round Up Of The Century.

For the mailing info, contact me here or via Twitter.

Donating a koozie could quite possibly bring happiness way into your golden, drooling oatmeal years.

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— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

 

 

 

 

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Trivia: Tahiti, pouques, kava and more

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News and information for enjoying the island lifestyle (beaches, sailing, surfing and such) …wherever the hell you are.

…About one-third of North America is bordered by barrier islands.///

…In ancient Tahiti, archery was a sacred sport, practiced only by people of high rank. And while they were expert marksmen, bows and arrows were never used as weapons of war.///

This knot is called a monkey’s fist. Try making one sometime. Then take up drinking.

…The people from the islands of Jersey and Guernsey, just off the coast of  France, think they are descendants of fairies, known on the islands as “pouques” (pronounced “pooks”)! The last reported sighting of a fairy was in the early 1900’s.///

…The roots of the South Pacific kava plant are used to produce a drink with sedative and anesthetic properties. When Captain Cook and his crew first witnessed the preparation of kava by mastication, they were thoroughly disgusted.///

…About 70 percent of the planet is ocean, with an average depth of more than 12,400 feet. Given that photons (light) can’t penetrate more than 330 feet below the water’s surface, most of our planet is in a perpetual state of darkness.///

…A monkey’s fist or monkey paw is a type of knot, so named because it looks somewhat like a small bunched fist/paw. It is tied at the end of a rope to serve as a weight, making it easier to throw, and also as an ornamental knot. This type of weighted rope can be used as an improvised weapon, called a slingshot by sailors. It was also used in the past as an anchor in rock climbing, by stuffing it into a crack, but this is obsolete and dangerous.///

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— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool

Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

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Bolger Stitch and Glue

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As it looked in the USED CAR LOT
As it looked in the USED CAR LOT.

After sailboats 30′ and up, I never thought I’d enjoy having a small skiff but then I found this small wooden “stitch and glue” oar/sail Gunther rigged skiff at used car lot in Charlotte.

I thought it to be an Otter 16 but the guys at the Wooden Boat forum have convinced me it’s a Phil Bolger Gypsy design. TheWooden Boat forum is definitely a big help.

Of course, sailing it is different than bigger boats. No room to stretch and move around. No place to get out of bad weather. No space to stash several months provisions. But it’s fun to sit closer to the water and closer-to-nature. And there’s virtually no maintenance hassles. It’s very easy to row and I’ve set it up for a small trolling motor though have never put one aboard. What really makes it special right now is that I can sail the reservoir behind my house when the urge to sail hits and I’m unable to make the three hour trek to the sea.

There’s something about wooden boats versus fiberglass (plastic) that’s magical—as if you’re part of a living thing and it, the boat, is part of all living things around you: water, sky, fishes, birds, animals, etc. It’s a “close to nature” vibe.

I beefed up the mast step, added additional bench and deck boards (with finger holes to lift them up for storage underneath) and then gave it a paint job.

It’s now Pineapple Hill’s official Tongan War Skiff.

— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Worse than a shoestring budget

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I’ve met some interesting people on Linked In this week. My “Surf Director” title at Pineapple Hill has led to some really fun exchanges, many of which had nothing to do with surfing, banana trees, or cows.

I met a guy for coffee to discuss his interest in revitalizing a blues club he owned and eventually having a chain of them via the franchise model. Although it didn’t fit with my personal “Time:ROI” formula, it rekindled memories of my early marketing work in arts and entertainment. Back in Florida, as PR Director for a county arts council supporting 26 adjoining municipalities, I was involved in a number of concerts and festivals. I was a member of the International Festival Association and even had a Certificate in Festival Marketing from Purdue (the university, not the chicken brand).

One event, a music festival held on the grounds of the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Art, drew 40,000 people when fewer than 10,000 were expected. Let’s just say we were short on a lot of things including port-o-lets. In those days I spent time at BB Joe’s, a jazz club in downtown St. Pete, and got to know a lot of musicians and singers.

But all that was before I drifted into and “around in” various aspects of ad agency work, starting in PR and going from there into copy writing, planning, account supervision and strategic brand planning. Drifting further and further from the arts into categories such as financial services,  manufacturing and technology.

Anyway, getting back to my LinkedIn coffee session that day, it felt good to talk blues and jazz and marketing all at once. I liked the idea of revisiting my roots in the arts. Just halfway into my Vanilla Nut Mocha, I was already hooked enough to at least scratch out some ideas for getting started on a shoestring budget.

Now, to be clear, shoestring budgets aren’t given much more than what I call a “napkin draft”.

Despite being very “first blush”, my notes pointed out a few things many start ups overlook –especially in the area of promotional merchandising and grassroots marketing.

These would apply not only to marketing a nightclub or restaurant, but to other areas of business too where experential marketing and strategic branding can make a big difference without necessarily needing a lot of cost.

The bottom line is that branding, done right, is always better than no branding. And branding done wrong, can be worse than a shoestring budget.

In the meantime, have you checked today’s surf report?

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— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Don’t pick up baby deer

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Transitioning to country life —whether from jungle, sea or city—  requires learning local customs to avoid calling attention to yourself.

For instance, don’t pick up baby deer.

Just because there’s so many all around and they’re so damned cute (big brown eyes and spindly legs just like Bambi), you cannot gather a bouquet of them as a gift for someone you love.

Not even on Valentine’s Day, birthdays or anniversaries.

Nope. Don’t do it says the DNR (Department of Natural Resources). Leave ‘em alone. Don’t try to pet them or pick them up. They say the mother is probably somewhere near. Hiding. Like I am. Unless you already found her with your AR-50. In that case, hide the AR-50 and call the DNR at (803) 734-3898  to come get Bambi.

PS fyi, if I see a baby deer I’m gonna wanna try to pet it. And then I’m gonna wanna let it hang out all the time, use the TV remote when it wants.

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— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool

Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

 

 

 

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Book Review: Time Bandit

Posted on Posted in Books & Writing, Notes & Doodles

I just got out of the hammock having finished Time Bandit, the memoir of brothers Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand whose fishing vessel of the same name has taken them out into the Bering Sea and back—where they brave ice floes and heaving 60-foot waves, gusting winds of 80 miles per hour, unwieldy and unpredictable half-ton steel crab traps, and an injury rate of almost 100-percent in search of “the deadliest catch”: Alaskan king crabs and opilio crabs.

Add this one to your books for the beach and books for the boat shopping list.

What makes Time Bandit especially fun is that these two guys were waaaaaaaay crazy long before they came to own that famous boat of theirs. As young boys they went camping—sleeping by the shore eating crows (which, for all I know, may be the tastiest thing in the world, I’ve never tried it)—while at their feet were a type of mussel deemed tastiest in the world (but they didn’t know, having never tried it).

There were sword fights using garbage can lids for shields. Attempts to jump motorcycles over way to much –resulting in so many trips to the hospital for stitches that the doctor told their mother she’d save a lot of money learning how to do stitches herself.

I think my favorite story was from their childhood was the time a friend decided to become an astronaut by climbing into a metal garbage can while the two brothers lit the odd collection of combustible fluids and explosives underneath.

And not much changed as they got older. When not taking on near death experiences at sea, they faced them on land as well: lots of great bar brawls in this book including the time one of Jonathan’s uber hot girlfriends got her faced slammed into the bar by a biker, resulting in the biker being given a three-day coma by Jonathan.

Next time I’m fishing at the Jonesville Reservoir I’ll take along my copy of Time Bandit.

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— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

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Food for thought (fun with Jethro Bodine)

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I’ve made a major discovery this morning –and it’s occurred so early in the day my coffee’s still warm.

Here it is: All people of the world can be said to fit in just one of two categories related to the two Jethro Bodines:

a) Those preferring the Jethro Bodine as played by Max Baer in the Beverly Hillbillies television series

b) Those that prefer Diedrich Bader as Jethro in the movie with Jim Varney.

In other words, all the people of the world can be said to understand there are basically just two forms of idiocy and all people of the world instinctively relate more to one than the other.

That’s my Big Observation. I swear it hit me today with the same intense clarity as the apple that konked Newton on the head.

Admittedly, it’s a theory still in its infancy. It may be years before the math is worked out. Right now, the formula I’ve put on the chalkboard is still “chicken scratch”. But someday, if Mankind continues his evolutionary trajectory, we’ll nail this baby. I’m almost sure of it.

I’ve lived long enough in enough different places to believe the Max Baer Jethro has a sinister side versus the “just plain dumb” vibe Diedrich Bader’s Jethro radiates.

Max Baer’s Jethro isn’t far from banjo toting and pig squealing. There’s a primal danger lurking stage left. When I imagine what might be going on in the skull of Max Baer’s Jethro what I see resembles the prehistoric shadow tip toeing across a yellowed movie screen with the image part on the screen and part on the wall. A raptor, up on its hind legs, waving the blades of Edward Scissorhands, creeping up from behind. Had the Beverly Hillbillies television show gone on forever, eventually Max Baer’s Jethro would’ve wound up locked away forever for a series of awful crimes involving neighborhood children and animals.

Diedrich Bader’s Jethro is the flip side of that worthless

Diedrich Bader's Jethro (see the butterflies?)
Diedrich Bader’s Jethro (see the butterflies?)
Diedrich Bader’s Jethro (see the butterflies?)

currency. When I imagine what might be going on in his skull I see the quirky image of a broken television set with a bad antennae and poor airwave signal: Static. Then, a field of bright flowers alive with happy butterflies shown in Wizard of Oz-style Technicolor. Then a screen saver image that goes from aquarium full of fish …to logs burning in a fireplace …to a basket full of kittens. Then static again. The whole deal repeating itself on continuous loop. Had the Beverly Hillbillies movie gone into sequels, Diedrich Bader’s Jethro would’ve led a small but fervent (cult-like) flock of followers, a ministry of Skittles & Rainbows.

Diedrich Bader’s Jethro radiates “warm and fuzzy” while Max Baer’s paints your survival instincts in a color called Neanderthal.

Diedrich Bader’s Jethro suggests comfort food: a pile of mashed potatoes with lots of real butter running down the sides.

Max Baer’s Jethro suggests a late night crime scene surrounded by yellow police tape with spotlights pointed to a mass of still quivering raw meat.

Are they equally dangerous in terms of their potential end results?

Think about it. Seriously. Because both Jethros are alive and well, living among us in plain sight, like Freemasons …but really really really stupid.

O they may seem funny and harmless in a series of thirty minute doses or just one sitting of barely two hours but, on the long haul, nothing good comes from either kind of Jethro.

I can promise you that.

Your thoughts on the two Jethro Bodines?

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— Tim Bryant
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

 

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Chicago Guy needed a marketing plan

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 [Excerpted from Exaggerations And Lies Of A Sailor’s Life In Advertising…book I’m writing about my day job]

 

A guy calls from Chicago. I answer my landline “Hello?” “I needa marketing plan,” the guy says. Then he says: “holdonna minute.”

I hear a meaty hand slide over the mouthpiece then hear some meaty sounds slip by into the phone: One guy mumbling to another guy. The other guy mumbling back.  Horns honking and brakes squeaking in heavy downtown traffic. I remember Chicago fondly, but am glad to be far from the cold windy shadows and sticky wet snow.

Still on hold (as in “holdinonnaminute”), it occurs to me to listen for the familiar rumbling-creaking-rattle of The Loop but, alas, the meaty hand is seriously goal-tending now and all I get now is the meaty sounds of the meaty hand itself.

Suddenly, a meaty voice that perfectly matches the meaty hand says: “Okay Bub, I’m back. Sorryboutdat, You still dere?”

“No problem,” I answered, still reading emails at my desk, glad to not be in Chicago; glad to be under slow-moving ceiling fans looking at banana trees through an open window.  “You mentioned needing a marketing plan?” I said to The Meat.

A big bright-green insect landed so heavily on my Rolodex that the D’s spun over and flipped open the A’s.

 “Well da bawz wansta know what dat would coss,” The Meat said.

Hmmmmm, I thought. One of thoooooooooose. I took a big breath, filling up my lungs completely, then slooooowwly let it out, Yoga style, counting to ten. “How much do you want to spend?” I queried, a little restrained.

Winston, an enormous yellow parrot, perched barely five feet away, tightened his grip on his little wooden balance beam.

“Zaaaaactly!!!” The Meat barked excitedly, “Da bawz wantsta know how much do we wants ta spend! Kinya hep us wit dat, Bub?” The Meat seemed really happy. I could tell our call was going better than his early expectations.

I was happy that he was happy and so started to speak-

“Holdonnaminute,” he said, cutting me off. The meaty hand slid over the phone again; as the muffled meaty voice spoke to the Other Guy again.

Oh well…

I could tell they were still in the city. I remembered a fabulous place for deep dish pizza:  a basement-level walk-down. People wrote all over the walls and the ceiling with chalk. I wondered if The Meat knew of the place. Of course he does, I thought.

I watched the bright green insect balance on a single Rolodex card. I noticed it was the number of a diesel mechanic that worked on my boat last year. I decided to ring him up about the stuck fuel gauge. I looked at my watch, took note of the time and decided it was unprofessional to be thinking about deep dish pizza and diesel mechanics while On Hold with a meaty hand calling from Chicago.

I straightened up and opened another email, happening to look just in time to watch Winston shift forward and drop parrot doo on an expensive plant from the South Pacific I keep in a big clay pot.

Paradise isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. At least not now, still on hold.

Okay. I get a surfing tee, cargo shorts and flip-flops.

But then there’s a meaty hand calling from cold windy shadows in city traffic wanting to know (even though he doesn’t realize that he wants to know) “which comes first, the chicken or egg?” 

Or, in this case,  “the budget or the marketing plan?”

On a good day, the caller will be savvy enough, patient enough, interested enough and open-minded enough to not hang up when I ask “What do you hope to achieve and in what amount of time?”

But on a bad day, like this one, the caller is clueless and there’s no point hanginonnaminute because the caller isn’t really interested and, regardless, isn’t going to be able to help me help him.

I decide to hangonnaminute just long enough to finish reading the last email while passively listening for familiar sounds from The Loop.

When the cat jumps onto my desk I look up just in time to see the bright green insect fly out the window and in the exact same split second there’s a commotion on the streets of  Chicago: a horn, brakes, collision, CRASH, “fer-cryin-out-loud” …then the humming droning static of a disconnected line.

I shrug, set the handset down and pad barefoot on thick tiles out into the warm sunny skies of Pineapple Hill.

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— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

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And then he stuck a fork in it…

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[Found this is the box from the liquor store where I’ve kept my writing doodles during 30 years. I used to write an hour or so every morning before going into work. It was a habit I found fun ..and it woke me up before facing the boss or clients. This was originally dated June 28, 2013]

 

Driving home late last night in an old two seater with the top down, the convertible top tossed back miles back at the last stoplight at the edge of town. Heading due south into farmland and woods, the land and the sky had long since folded over me with their cool dark tunnel of nothingness.

Nothing ahead of me but the narrow path headlamps painted on a deserted four-lane.

Nothing beside me but wind.

Nothing behind me but memories -catching up and connecting the dots left across my mind by wandering thoughts…

I remembered driving Florida’s A1A in a badly used MGB once, hugging the coast. Sometimes there were long stretches of pine, palms, and scrubby darkness.There, A1A was claimed only by the armadillos.

Last night, driving from Spartanburg on Highway 176 into Union County, for some unknown reason I remembered also my time on the other side of Florida. It was early in my career—in arts administration first, then ad agency work: PR and strategic brand planning.

What came to mind was the time I attended the annual fund raiser at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. My date and I won the “Purple and Silver Award” that night. I was silver, achieved by purchasing a three-piece suit from Goodwill and painting it with chain link fence paint. It stank, was stiff as a board, and gave me a rash behind my knees and under my arms.

My date was a purple Cinderella.

Alone on the highway last night, I laughed aloud to myself remembering the “third leg” to our date that night. A guy named Don who had come to the party with us. We’d invited him “last minute”. I can’t remember why.

He was twenty years older than us and a LOT wealthier. He owned the upscale men’s store on St. Pete’s main drag –a business popular with the town’s lawyers, dentists and and high end real estate brokers.

All Don had done to prepare for the party was to still have on his jacket and tie from work—freshened with a dry martini and cigarette.

As always, he had taken a long time answering the doorbell and, as always, he’d looked a little surprised when he opened the door.

No matter how many times we swung by to take Don somewhere, the martinis got in the way. He always made a big production. Always made the same face of “What? A surprise party for moi?!!!!” I saw that expression later on Bill Murray getting off the plane in Stripes.

Anyway, that night we picked up Don, it had taken a few more drinks and some relentless nagging to get him to wear a costume like we were going to do for the party at the Dali Museum.

So he pulled a 50′ roll of aluminum foil from a kitchen drawer then wrapped foil around his head until it resembled a gigantic Hershey’s kiss hat.

And then he stuck a fork in it.

Off we went to St. Petersburg, Florida’s “shrine to melting clocks”.

It turned out I wasn’t as boned up on Dali as Don was. It wasn’t until we got to the party that I made the connection between Don’s bent fork and the famous artist.

I recall it had been kind of a long right from Don’s house to the museum not knowing how things would go with Don, not knowing how guests would react to Don, a little tipsy, carrying a martini still, walking in with a foil and fork.

It turned out, however, that the arts donor/museum sponsor crowd in St. Petersburg were very used to Don. We had a great time. The next day I was in the society section of the St. Petersburg Times with Don and Purple Cinderella.

Anyway, last night I must’ve cruised for twenty miles on auto pilot thinking about that Stick A Fork In It night in St. Pete.

I bet there’s a bunch of people out in the world, perhaps driving lonely stretches of road at night like me, that would have never “got” that fork…

…never “got” Don.

In my case it took Highway 176 headed out to the boonies in another state nearly twenty-five years later.

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— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

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