Honeymoon ends in a surprise
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
An air of mystery swept through the hot and humid streets of Key West this Halloween night.
Without a costume for the first time in 26 years, I was an observer instead of a participant as adults roamed Duval Street disguised as wizards, Girl Scouts, and various entertainers celebrating my favorite holiday.
No disguise could have hidden the fact that John and I were the consummate tourists/honeymooners. Apparently our shiny wedding bands and bright red sunburns were a dead giveaway.
The night's mystery began to unravel when we veered from Duval Street and made our way to Captain Tony's Bar. On a ghost tour the previous evening, the guide had told our group about a bikini-clad skeleton propped behind the bar and a forgotten graveyard under the pool table.
The temptation was too great.
We found something better than a skeleton propped in the corner as we walked in. The legendary Captain Tony himself sat surrounded by beautiful women and flashing cameras.
A Key West proprietor, former mayor, and friend to the likes of Ernest Hemminway, Sloppy Joe, and Jimmy Buffett, I handed John the camera and waited for my turn to be immortalized on film with the old seafarer.
We stayed for awhile and searched for the handwritten lyrics to "Margaritaville" on the bathroom wall, read the many framed articles about Captain Tony and Jimmy's friendship, and listened to the soothing sounds of light-rock classics sung by a drag queen.
Halloween and the last night of our honeymoon were getting better by the minute.
Back on Duval Street, we encountered my favorite group of trick-or-treaters-a "phlocking" of Parrotheads disguised only by paper-and-string Jimmy Buffett masks.
(If you haven't guessed by now, I have a bit of an obsession with the ballad-making beach bum.)
The annual "Meeting of the Minds," an event where thousands of Parrotheads gather in Key West, the home of Margaritaville, to pay homage to Jimmy, was just getting under way.
Their enthusiasm filled the air and stirred the lingering mystery.
John suggested a stop at Margartiaville to rest our feet and quench our thirst before our final shuttle ride back to the resort.
A nice waitress seated us at the bottom of the balcony stairs and at the front of the stage just before a very talented band settled in to play.
We settled in for about an hour and watched the small dance floor fill with diehard Buffett fanatics.
Reluctantly, we rose from our seats to leave-leave behind the evening's unsolved mystery, our fabulous honeymoon, and Halloween hauntings.
Just then, the waitress touched my shoulder and told me not to leave.
I turned to see the open-air restaurant was locked down and heavily secured.
As my heart sank, I looked at the waitress and whispered, "Is HE here?"
She nodded and asked me not to tell.
Thrilled by our secret, I stood in my chair and started to sing along to "I'm Your Mailman" with the small crowd of unknowing Parrotheads.
John knew in an instant that we weren't going to catch that shuttle.
And then it happened.
A man in khaki shorts, a blue button-down, and a paper-and-string Jimmy Buffett mask began to walk down the stairs and toward the band as they played the Buffett classic "One Particular Harbor."
Once on stage, the mystery was revealed. The mask came off and the real Jimmy Buffett joined in to sing his song.
Less than 100 lucky people, including two very excited newlyweds, were treated to the best Halloween trick ever-and to a private concert that lasted nearly an hour.
And it was the best end to the best honeymoon and the best Halloween ever.