When I first built my Tiki Bar, the idea was to have a place to relax, a place to feel like I was somewhere else, a place to sit with friends and sip cocktails like it was 1959. And my Tiki Bar has been exactly all that. And more.
A few weeks ago an old friend (by that I mean I hadn’t seen the kid in over 20 years) found me on FaceBook and said hello. Brian (that’s his name) told me he was coming down to Florida on a scuba trip, and asked if I was anywhere near Pompano. Well, I’m only 20 minutes from Pompano, and since that’s closer than where he usually hangs out (Central NJ) we decided to get together.
We met up at my favorite Tiki Bar (besides my own) in the continental US, the Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale. Of course right-off we started talking about “the old days” AKA the 1980’s, and about the people we both used to know. We talked about high school, and how things have changed since then. We talked about what happened to some the people we knew, and talked about some of the people we
wish we still knew who disappeared after high school, and haven’t been heard from since.
After the second round of Mai Tais and Rum Barrels, we headed back to my house. There Brian met my wife, Colleen, who wanted to come along to the Mai Kai but hadn’t been feeling good all week. She tried her best to be sociable, and managed to talk a while before the medications knocked her out.
Out at the Tiki Bar, we picked up where we left off at the Mai Kai. Brian talked about his hobby, scuba diving… he comes down to the warm waters of South Florida now and then to dive and take advanced lessons. He’s dived a lot places, and seen some great stuff under water, and even collected some antique bottles and other fun pieces. We also talked about my hobbies, working on (and even occasionally driving, believe it or not) the ’53 Chevy Hot Rod, writing, playing sax. The Tiki Bar conversation always drifted back to those days long ago in south Jersey, and crazy people we both knew.
It was nice to see someone from way back, someone I talked with all the time in high school, but somehow for whatever reason didn’t see much after that. Brian’s back in NJ now, but he knows he’s always welcome at the Tiki Bar.
Last weekend Captain Steve came down from Jacksonville to spend the weekend. Even though we live in the same state, Jacksonville is 5 hours away, so we don’t get together as often as we’d like. In fact, I hadn’t seen him in about two years.
Steve came to the last Mermaid Show at the Yankee Clipper with Colleen and me. Then we all went to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show Live in Fort Lauderdale (1am show!) with some other friends, and had an old fashioned BBQ of honey-BBQ chicken and BBQ’d sweet onions on Saturday. The Captain got a chance to taste some of that good hooch that the Tiki Bar boasts, including a Banana Banshee and a Drunken Wench. The conversation tended toward the usual stuff…cars, women, booze, collecting things, women, music, a little politics, Key West, boats, women, the old days, women…
We also talked about TikiLoungeTalk.com, and how happy I am that after only two months on the net I’ve had the honor of people from all over the world checking it out. Like I say, it’s only fun to write this stuff if someone is having fun reading it.
The conversations were occasionally dominated by the two parrots, Rio and Zach, who always like to get their two cents in. They have a limited vocabulary, but they certainly try. The two cockatiels usually follow the parrots, and a few times it sounded like a real jungle out on the lanai. Then of course the cats join in, meowing their heads off. This was soon followed by the yelpy barks of a little dog named Snoopy, whom my wife acquired Saturday afternoon and is fostering until a suitable adoptive family can be found to take him permenantly. Soon, I hope.
We also talked about my msytery/ghost story novel (that I’m hoping to get published some day), “Behind the Closet Door”. Captain Steve was the second person to read it (Colleen was the first). He admits that he had no idea it would be any good. He figured he’d read it, and it would be ok, and he’d say “Good job” and that would be that. Well, he told me after he read it, and reiterated it last weekend, that he was completely surprised and blown away by how good it was (I know, a shameless plug, but I’m proud of it). It really made me feel good to know at least one other person besides me (and Colleen) enjoyed it. He told me he wasn’t just “saying that” because we’re friends, he was truly impressed. Thanks Steve, I really appreciate your compliments. (Another shameless plug…my good friend Tom also read the book and said, “I like it. It’s pretty good”. From Tom, that’s a great compliment.)
Steve had to leave on Sunday, so after a nice breakfast at the Waffle Works (not Waffle house) we said good bye, and he took off for the great white north (Jacksonville, FL).
It’s always nice to have company at the bar. At night, the black lights glow with a retro feel, the tiki torches dance in the breeze, the musica exotic plays softly, and the sounds of the waterfall splashing into the pool add to the atmosphere of a tropical paradise. And now, I believe I’ll take a seat at the Tiki Bar myself, perhaps with two fingers of Wild Turkey and The Parrot Talks in Chocolate, a book I am truly enjoying.
Until the next time, Mahalo!