Anytime we get hungry for fresh fried mullet and cole slaw, we drive in from the woods to Bayou Chico and the Marina Oyster Barn, home of Rooks Marina here in Pensacola, Florida. It’s a local joint and you kind of have to know about it to know about it. We’ve been going there for years. Recently, a friend has been trying to lure us out of the woods to have dinner with him. He felt like he had enjoyed the hospitality of the Longleaf Bar & Grill too often (not so) and seemed determined to take us to dinner. He suggested the Irish Politician’s Club at Maguire’s, whose claim to fame is their thick, prime steaks, (but we’ve both kind of had our fill of beef for life), or Steelwood, a fine private club just over the line in Alabama, (but it requires wearing something snazzier than shorts and jogging shoes and besides, being in Alabama makes it seem far away and we didn’t want to leave the pup home alone over-long).
So when we suggested the Marina Oyster Barn, he said “Sure, how about Saturday?”
We met up there for an early supper. They have measurements on one wall showing how high the water came into the restaurant during various hurricanes over the years. Probably why the floor tilts and sags a bit, just enough to make me feel like I’m on a floating boat.
A mangy old ginger cat took up residence at the restaurant some years ago. Buck and I noticed him hanging around the small porch by the front door. Next visit we saw him sporting a flea collar. Winter came and a fleece-lined cat bed appeared. The ginger cat began looking a bit more prosperous. But this time, we discovered he has gone into comfortable retirement indoors and been replaced by a feline with a different personality.
He wasn’t on post when we went in, but when we came out and were standing in the parking lot talking with our friend, I spotted him. Most of the folks entering would stop to kibbutz with the cat or even reach out to stroke him.
He looked a lot bigger than the old cat. Tougher, too, so I decided to walk around to the other side and get a couple of close-ups.
He was in mid-yawn and didn’t notice me at first.
But then he got me in his sights and it became clear to me that he doesn’t truck with paparazzi, so I took my little camera and went around the corner to take a shot or two of the water on this pretty afternoon instead.
Picture perfect Pensacola afternoon.