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Feliz Navidad.



The old man was in his usual place at the dark wood bar at la Floridita.

In front of him, a stemmed frosted glass, the product of local limes, orange liquor, and white anjejo rum.

He took the glass in his weathered hand, He looked at the sea in the mural of the city behind the bar. He said “Salud”.

The icy liquid slid down easily. It was his first of the day. And it was good. It would not be his last.

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#1 Comment By PTC On December 25, 2008 @ 6:48 pm

I knew it! I friggin knew it!

Controllaban tres fulanas, pero a mi me reservaban, los encatos de maruja, LA CACHONDA!

#2 Comment By PTC On December 25, 2008 @ 9:31 pm

#3 Comment By Rechtal Turgidley, Jr On December 25, 2008 @ 10:43 pm

I apologize to the gentle readers of ephblog for Swart’s entry (above). I must assure you it was made without my consent or knowledge. The poor boy seems to be suffering from Hemingway Syndrome, which is similar to Stockholm Syndrome, except that instead of identifying with one’s captors, one identifies with stocky men called ‘Ernesto’. Rum in quantity is believed to be a possible cause.

It had been my hope to dry him out of his addiction to ephblog while I lectured the Cayman Islands Philatelic Society on dollar evaluations of their recent issues and the Servicia Postale de Cuba on the collectability opportunities of a possible series on ‘Albanian Heros of Communism’ (I believe that released with proper timing and using older printing methods to enhance the era. the series represents a good opportunity for hard currency acquisition).

While in the city I had an opportunity to take some ‘home movies’ which I share with you here:


Rechtal Turgidley, Jr
Quark Island, Maine

#4 Comment By Ronit On December 26, 2008 @ 1:01 am

My research indicates the following mix for the daquiri Hemingway used to order at the Floridita:

8 parts Bacardi White Label
Juice of two limes
Juice of half a grapefruit
2 dashes maraschino liqueur
Mix with shaved ice and serve in a chilled collins glass
Drink about 16 of these in a sitting if you really want to experience Hemingway sydnrome

(needless to say, no blenders, umbrellas, or cherries are allowed anywhere nearby)

My own preferred rum tipple is a dark ‘n stormy – Gosling’s Black Seal + ginger beer.

#5 Comment By hwc On December 26, 2008 @ 12:49 pm

At first glance, I thought my favorite Berkshires’ honky-tonk, the New Florida Lounge, had gotten a new sign.

I always wondered what the old Florida lounge must have been like.

#6 Comment By PTC On December 26, 2008 @ 1:31 pm

hwc- The Florida lounge? Man, that is out there. I have not been to that venue in at least 15 years. Not sure if it still exists? I think the last time I was there it was 1988, a friend of mine was playing drums in a rock band named … heck, I cannot even remember. I remember they had a sign… “If you old ladies like knitting needles, then you’ll love this…” followed by the name of the band. Real 80s metal…

I beleive that Dick finds himself in the fun and the sun of Central America this vacation season… but perhaps I am off by several hundred miles or so. North or south, who cares. I wish I was there, soaking the suds and speaking some spanish.

#7 Comment By hwc On December 26, 2008 @ 1:39 pm

When I was out in Williamstown last summer the New Florida Lounge was gone. Took me a while to find the building. It’s like a non-descript white cinder block “architecture”. The building is now a feed store or something. At least they didn’t have to sweep up the sawdust on the floor.

I can’t remember if I ever saw a live band there, but we wore out the jukebox playing Waylon Jennings on several occasions. It was my closest neighborhood bar to Hoosaic Tunnel.

#8 Comment By hwc On December 26, 2008 @ 1:42 pm

I liked out that way just after construction on the Bear Swamp Project had wrapped up in 1974, so the glory days of Florida, Massachetts were about to come to a close.

Heck, they’ve even torn down the nuke plant.

#9 Comment By PTC On December 26, 2008 @ 2:08 pm

hwc- How about the three way down rout 346? Also the Carousel up on the taconic trail headed towards Troy? I would imagine you hit some of those places for New York State after MA/ VT hours in the 70s, if you were into the Florida lounge back then. Man- that is back in the days of Rolo’s… and the British Maid in Williamstown.

Also Back Street and T Bones in Hoosic Falls…

In Vermont- Rogers Roost and the Turf lounge in Pownal, plus the Daquri Factory, Ramada Inn, TJ’s pub… All popular venues in the 70s and 80s.

#10 Comment By PTC On December 26, 2008 @ 2:10 pm

and in North Adams… the Aces, Grandmothers, Peno’s Beacon Street, Altiers, and Key West… as well as several others. Some of those places are still open today.

#11 Comment By PTC On December 26, 2008 @ 8:00 pm

Actually, now that I remember it.. the place up on RT 2 was called The Trails.

#12 Comment By hwc On December 26, 2008 @ 8:13 pm

I was never a big drinker. Never hung out at the bars in Pownal, but was a customer of State Line Liquors. The New Florida Lounge was an exception because it was right up the mountain from our house overlooking the Deerfield River, usually with about 16 feet of snow in the winter. After a hard day of packing the tobaggan run in the front yard, the New Florida was the perfect place to unwind with with a shot or two of Jack and some Waylon on the jukebox.

Now, the British Maid was regular haunt. Sunday brunch. I still remember the eggs benedict and they had some kind of fruit waffle that sticks in the memory banks. Also, if I recall, the British Maid had music at night. I’m pretty sure that’s where my friend the singer/songwriter played from time to time.

In Williamstown, the Log was still going strong. Pitcher of beer there was pretty popular my first and second years at Williams. Once I moved off campus and became a townie, I frequented the old VFW lodge at the foot of Spring Street for cheap beers. The Purple Pub opened while I was at Williams, but it was more of a college bar.

For my last year in Wiliamstown, my future wife and I shared a little one bedroom house on Park Street (now owned by the College). We pretty much did our own thing, hung out with some friends, studied pretty hard, and were ready to move on after living year round in the Berkshires for four years.