If I closed my eyes and imagined being in some other part of the world, and then opened them up and saw the bright water and snazzy boats, listened to the laid back music under the thatched roof, while eating the kind of crab cake that finally makes you understand what all the fuss is about. . . well, I almost had to slap my own face for failing to realize what a great place Pensacola is, and that, yep — I live here. I swear, I have got to get out more often.
It was one of those days when it was warm in the sun and cool in the shade: perfect, in other words.
When you hunker down in the woods, like we do, it’s easy to forget this other world, this actually fantastic world, of boats and shrimp po’boys and folks who drink beer in the middle of the day like it was a normal thing to do and expensive boats with names like “Sweet Baby” and the sun so warm but not hot yet that you just want to lay down on that wooden dock and say “Wake me in the next life.” And it’s all just down the road a piece.
Buck said, “Hey,” about Noon time. “Let’s go down to The Oar House for a late lunch.”
Something is happening in our dinky little town. Call it healing from the big one: Hurricane Ivan. Call it some relatively new folks coming into an old town and spending their money and their brains and their imaginations to stir things up.
When we arrived, around 2 in the afternoon, all those chairs were leaning up against the bar,and the awnings were shut. But by the time we left, the shift had changed, boaters were tying up at the dock, and the drinking lamp was lit.
I bruised, sprained or broke a few bones in my right foot a few weeks ago, and so unglamorously shuffled up and down various docks, admiring the sail boats, cabin cruisers and high-tech fishing rigs.
I keep thinking back to that crab cake. No bread crumbs inside or bread crumb coating outside. Really, nothing identifiable except seriously jumbo lump blue crab barely held together with a binder of some sort, probably egg. A little seasoning (maybe Old Bay?), possibly a shake or two of Worcestershire, I’m not sure, and then a quick saute.
The Oar House makes it on fried seafood baskets with fries and a big selection of beers and tropical drinks. It’s a big old friendly place that helped me put my brain in neutral for awhile, even though I was only drinking iced tea.
Did I mention the crab cakes are sensational?
Salutations to all creative folk everywhere who delight our eyes and lighten our spirits on this turbulent, stunning, spinning orb.
Your art sandblasts my soul into this moment, and I am grateful.