It’s a bright sunny day as he sits in a dark bar on a stool with a black wool cap hovering over a long thick white beard.
Even with all that furry whiteness it can’t hide his broad smiling face. I have no choice but to grin right back. He shakes my hand and that old gent has raw power that hurts my grip. He may be old but he is solid. He lives in a contrasted life.
He was married forever; she’s been gone five years. He literally traveled the wet world and now he makes one landlubbers trip a week for groceries, the dog’s food and a glass of water with a touch of whiskey. One of his favorite lines now is “give me my water, hold the bergs, just hit it with a dram”.
He’s dry docked now, in his words, after living his life as a captain sailing the great lakes. A trade he learned as a junior officer sailing one of the seven seas. He spent his time with the U.S. Navy learning not only the trade, but the trade winds.
He says the winds blew him and the Mrs. to the Minnesota Ocean. Said he was gonna be cremated when it’s all over. I know what he means. I always know what he means.
I can’t walk past him; I won’t walk past him without stopping for a story of his. He can get me to taste the salt in water I’ve never seen. Wrinkles around his eyes tighten when he gets to the best part of every story. He squints his eyes to check the memory of what he tells me.
Today he tells me about thirty foot waves and some young know it all kid whose had too much to drink says the old man is full of it.
I stand to knock the tar out of that little piece of human crud but the captain quick as any cat grabs my arm and physically stops me, says it’s not worth it, but the bar owner is out of reach of the captain. He grabs the kid by the neck, tells him to apologize and then get the hell out of his bar. The trout whisperer