Just about 24 hours from now, Guido and I will be pulling into Key West for the first of two visits we try to arrange every summer. While the two of us have been in parrot head mode for about 8 weeks, when we arranged this, over the last week it’s been especially feathered.
Our visit coincides with Hemingway Days, an annual celebration in KW when white-bearded geezers from all over the world descend on the island to misbehave stupidly in an unflattering imitation if not of Ernest himself, then his legend. I suspect most of these imposters don’t know Hemingway from a hummingbird, but somewhere along the line they discovered they look like he did toward the end of his life.
So they parade from bar to bar, making jokes and shaking hands, and then there’s a competition to see which of these asshats resembles EH the most this year, and that fellow is crowned The Winner and gets to ride a wooden bull the others propel up Duval Street.
Great fun, I guess, and the tourist industry loves it. The Hemingway family is not as thrilled. Having met about half a dozen members myself, including middle son Patrick and his charming daughter, I have it on good authority that this event is not one the whole clan endorses (although some are intimately involved with it). They would prefer more attention paid to EH’s literature than his liquoring. But then, this is Key West.
And in truth, I’m not going for the literature, either. Other than newspapers on the john and maybe a book by the pool, mostly I’ll be reading beer bottle labels, menus, and messages on tee shirts. The tourist industry is okay with that, too.
Two o’clock. KW in about 24 hours. Well, it’s 5:00 somewhere, so I’m going for a beer, and you saw that one coming.