Just got this email update for our dear friend, long-time patron and elder statesman, Willy the Burner.
Sounds like he’s keeping his chin up and his powder dry.
When the expense of island living and lack of proper elder care facilities made his move to Homestead neccesary we were all heartbroken. But it seems every time we see him, or hear from him, he is the same old Burner: Expansive, grateful, humble and of course as Linda notes, always amazed and in wonder that despite all his road-tested miles, he is doing as well as he is.
Here’ Linda’s email
Though we would not call his life a fairy tale, it did sometimes seems like it was enchanted.
Start with him doing tours toward the end of WW II in these three branches: The Army,The Navy, and the Merchant Marine. Then there’s his three marriages, all to women named Jane. Aptly refered to by Burner as Jane 1, Jane 2, and Jane 3.
How about him working on the construction of the Verazzano Narrows bridge, falling off into the water, and being the only worker known to survive such a fall, documented in the next day’s New York tabloids (“Worker Fall from Bridge, Survives”) with a photo of the bridge, a dotted line showing his downward route, with an X marking his point of impact.
All this, and God only knows what else, happened he pointed his 1969 Plymouth Satellite station wagon, (identical to the one in the Brady Bunch), in the direction of Key West in the late ’70’s and then in no particular order, but in rapid succession Burner:
earned his own stool at The Green Parrot,
developed a tight circle of eclectic, close friends,
and, finally to ease him into a glide path to his golden years, discovered psychedelics.
His new friends came from every social strata and occupation in Key West, perhaps a function of his affinity for the Parrot. They included cab drivers, bartenders,smugglers, strippers, and also the well-heeled, restauranteurs, bar-owners, writers and real estate types who, some newly-arrived and newly-invested in Key West placed his skills as a master carpenter in great demand during the day and then,as they recognized his over a drink or a mirror, just plain wanted to be around him, as we all did.
This pretty much brings us to his arrival in Key West and does not even touch on the thirty-plus years he spent here. Those stories are more made for a book instead of a blog.
For example, here’s the punch line to one story: He’s the only guy, to my knowledge. to ever discharge a firearm in the bar.