The Special Joys Of Seaside Bars

We’ve had a chance to frequent a seaside bar or two during our brief visit to Grand Bahama Island, and we’ve enjoyed each visit.  In fact, I think I’ve enjoyed every visit I’ve ever made to a seaside bar, regardless of whether the particular hole-in-the-wall is in Key West, Cozumel, or a remote Caribbean island.

There are several reasons for this.  First, a cold beer never tastes so good as when it is quaffed in the warm sunshine, while you are wearing a bathing suit, sitting barefoot, and watching through the darkened lens of your shades as anchored boats bob in the sun-dappled water nearby.  The warmth of the sun and the beer-infused warmth spreading through your system seem to combine in a magical elixir of relaxation.

Second, seaside bars tend to serve mostly fried foods — that is, salty, heavy, crunchy foods that are guilty pleasures for almost everyone.   I’m talking about foods like conch fritters and chicken wings, grouper fingers and fried lobster.  These are dishes that you eat with your fingers and dip into a sauce and that taste especially good with a cold beer.

Consider this plate of cracked conch and french fries that I got yesterday when we visited Doris’ place outside High Rock on Grand Bahama Island.  The plate is a study in shades of tan — the color that most of us secretly associate with tastiness.  There’s no effort to make it “healthy” by adding a few unwanted sprigs of green or the latest cutting edge vegetable combination.  In truth, no one wants to eat vegetables in a seaside place.

And finally, seaside bars are unpretentious.  They’re not decorated with fancy stuff.  They feature battered picnic tables and plastic utensils rather than fine cutlery.  There are cracks in the wood flooring.  They’re not the kind of place where people feel they need to whisper.  No, they’re places where everyone tracks sand in the door, and their idea of decorations doesn’t go much farther than a funny sign or two.  In short, they’re the kind of place where you can heave a sigh of relief, lean back with your frothy adult beverage, and enjoy a hearty laugh with your friends.

And that is the beauty of a seaside bar.

New Year’s 2012

In my mind there is nothing more rewarding than sharing good times with close friends especially on New Year’s Eve. With the help of a long afternoon nap and quite a few cups of coffee while at work, Kimmy and I were able to stay up late enough to ring in the New Year along with people living in Hawaii at 5 a.m. our time. I think an Irish New Year’s toast says it best “In the New Year may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship and never in want”. Best wishes and much happiness to all who read the Webnerhouse blog in 2012.

The Buckeyes Try To Forget 2011

By the time New Year’s Eve rolls around, most people are eager to see the dawn of a new year.  I’d wager that no one was happier to see 2011 in the rear view mirror than the participants in the Ohio State University football program.

2011 was a year of embarrassments unparalleled in the history of OSU football.  From the abrupt “retirement” of Jim Tressel in the face of an NCAA investigation, to the forfeiting of games, to the suspension of players for rules violations, to poor play, galling losses, and a crappy on-the-field record, and finally to the announcement of serious sanctions that include a one-year bowl ban, the Buckeyes and Buckeye Nation had to absorb a series of body blows throughout the year.

Tomorrow the Buckeyes will play the final game of the 2011 season when they take on the Florida Gators in the Gator Bowl.  Normally I’d think about this game as an opportunity to get some payback for the whipping the Gators gave the Buckeyes in the national championship game a few years ago, or as an intriguing story line now that Urban Meyer is Ohio State’s head coach.  Not so this year.  I’ll watch the game, and I’ll hope that Braxton Miller can lead the Buckeyes to victory — but win or lose I’ll be happy to see the 2011 season end, never to be thought of again.  I’m guessing that I’m not the only one in Buckeye Nation who feels that way.