Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Checkered Past Of The Czech Club



We were heading over to the Czech Club for the annual North Miami Historical Society luncheon. Monkette told me to wear the cammo shirt. She and I have different concepts of "cammo". I'm thinking lots of blotchy olive drab, shades of brown, a bit of black perhaps, printed on a heavy twill fabric. She's thinking this 100% silk shirt with an abstract palm fronds pattern in shades of green against light sky blue. She was right, of course, always is! It blended perfectly with the oak trees and undergrowth, blue sky showing between the leaves. Perfect!

I sat her up on my shoulder as we walked through the wooded parking area while she stylishly arranged the curls on my still drying hair. We spent a few minutes walking around the grounds as I told her how supposedly back in the 1920's Al Capone's gang of rum runners smuggled whiskey from the Bahamas into Biscayne Bay and then up Arch Creek to this very building! She giggled and said "I bet that's not the only thing that's been smuggled up Arch Creek!" She's very probably right about that. About twenty-five years ago a lot of bales of pot wrapped in plastic were washing up on the beach as smugglers threw it overboard while being chased by the Coast Guard or the Marine Patrol. Meanwhile other people were getting busted for having a single bale aboard despite protesting that they had just found it floating out there.

I asked the police chief about exactly what the story was, and keep in mind that this was before cell phones. He said that if I found a bale while out fishing I should haul it aboard and immediately throw my handheld marine radio overboard, then head back into the bay and then to the launching ramp. If at any time on the way I spotted a police boat, Marine Patrol, or Coast Guard vessel, I should immediately head straight towards it yelling "Hey guys! Look what I found floating out there!" and just forget about the hundred bucks that the radio had cost me.

If I didn't spot any of those boats on the way in "Just head back to the ramp, drive home, and enjoy!" he told me. I never did find a bale. Monkette was fascinated at just how much things had changed over the years, my hair was nearly dry and now a forest of neat curls, and it was time to head inside the Czech Club. Monkette asked if there were likely to be people she hadn't met yet and I told her that yes, there was a good chance of that. She said that if anybody asked if that was a toy monkey on my shoulder I should tell them "No, that's the newest style in cell phones!"

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