5/6/08

raw oysters and boiled srimp


I miss Posey's. If I sit here and think about it for a second, I can smell the mix of beer and smoked fish and river that permeated the dollar-lined walls of the dark front room. I grew up sitting at those rough-pine tables, eating poor man's oysters (that's saltines with cocktail sauce for you who weren't graced with a Florida childhood) and picking mullet off the bones.

When I was little, the back room wasn't yet set up as a bar. My sister and I would wander back there to the pool tables, unused in the afternoon, and try to sink the cue ball while the grown ups had a few Buds and a couple dozen raw. Getting older, nothing beat calling up a few friends on Sunday for the drive to St. Mark's, squeezing in between bikers and slumming college kids for a table outside. If you've never watched the river while downing the best the Gulf has to offer (and the cheapest Milwaukee has to offer), brother, I feel sorry for the state of your soul.

When visitors came into town, especially those from up north who wanted the true local experience, Posey's and Wakulla Springs were the two spots we had to hit. I swear, one of my yankee buddies almost fell off her bench seat when a twelve year old in a "I spent a wild weekend at Posey's one night" tshirt brought us out our beers. Another friend of mine had her first hushpuppy there. She wasn't sure at first, being a picky eater at the time, but two bites in and she was already headed for the counter to order up a basketful.

When Dennis swamped St. Mark's, part of my life got washed away. I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I have any idea what the actual residents felt, or that I was impacted like those who lost their homes and jobs. But, damn it, that doesn't mean I don't still mourn, years later. I guess they're fighting right now about building some sort of convention center and so on down that way, and I can't say I blame them. I don't think there's more than a couple hundred residents of the little village now that the tourists and the refineries have both left the scene. But I can't say I wouldn't love to ride on down there now that the weather's warm and sit up by the railing and listen to some dude cover Buffet while I pick that good, good mullet.

6 comments:

Ms. Moon said...

Yep. Your sister's first solid food was smoked mullet at Posey's. She grabbed it out of my hand on the way to my mouth and popped it into her little mouth. And she loved it.
I remember when Mrs. Posey used to make y'all Christmas presents. Such good memories.
Willie Nelson on the jukebox. The way the floors tilted so much you felt like you were drunk even if you weren't drinking. The brown paper towels the mullet was served on....
But mostly the river, the oysters, the people.
Nice post, baby.
You said it right.

downtown guy said...

The little ceramic Christmas tree that lit up, the way their fountain sodas tasted just a wee bit better than usual (probably something to do with the water), looking through the oyster shells to see if I overlooked any...

may said...

I would still grab smoked mullet out of someone's hand and pop it in my mouth. I just wouldn't be able to help myself.
Remember all the great smells? And how the wood railings were soft with age and salty when you bit them to leave teeth marks? And how sleepy and full and in love with the entire world we felt on the drive home? And how Mama and Daddy Glen would laugh and everyone would laugh with their big white teeth in their heads and they were so beautiful and we felt like happy pirates?

downtown guy said...

Yep, it was a salty little slice of heaven right there on the river.

My Grizzled Life said...

Thumbing through your old stuff - y'know, I still think about that place fondly...I had no clue it was gone. Thanks for taking me.

downtown guy said...

Of course. I'm glad you could go before it got drowned.