Every year on our island, we have a festival celebrating shrimp. Our town, Fernandina Beach, Florida, is the birthplace of the industry, in the United States.
I remember the first shrimp boat race that I went to. It’s many years in the past, but I vividly recall the sun on the water, and the people on the dock. We were spectators to a highly, unusual event. Shrimp boats, decorated with colorful flags were “racing” towards us, on the intercostal waterway.
Every one always cheered for the Dixie Queen. It was the pride of the local fleet.
Those days gave way to holding my hand up, at the entrance to the Palace Saloon (the oldest bar in Florida), and being pushed through by the mob, trying to buy a beer. They were in quart sized, purple and white, plastic, milk like containers. By the time you got to the rear exit, you had your beer and they had your money. Curb to curb, purple and white stripes, created the line of festival demarcation. The smell of sun soaked beer, and carefree fun, was Sunday’s morning welcome.
I remember one year, I danced the night away at Peg Leg’s Pub. It was a local juke joint, right on the dock. There was no place better in the world. The smell of creosote and timbers under my feet were life itself.
That’s all given away to the modern day, commercial atmosphere.
I go there and see people I haven’t seen in years. It’s still a great party, but different. The crowd is big, and there’s a heavy police enforcement that goes along with that. You don’t dare get out of line.
But they do have great display of art.
I passed one booth that stopped me in my tracks.
The artist, manning the booth, was one of a team; Courtney and Rommel Ricaurte.
Their card reads, 39 Bush Creek Rd.
Lawrenceberg. TN 38464
The work is images created in polished steel, tooled by Rommel and then painted by Courtney.
They are large, elaborate shapes, with dazzling color.
I walked around and took some shots with my phone, then talked to the artist.
He said his studio is a barn in Tennessee.
HE HAS NO WEB SITE!
I was once told, by the art queen of Tamarindo, Costa Rica, that I couldn’t really be an artist, if I didn’t have a web site. I say, think again, because this couple are premier artists, reaching far beyond mediocrity.
The large as life figures, made me want to, not loose his card. And gave me the thought of a road trip, to see more of his work.
Later, as I rambled down a side street, I saw some cute glass fish images and I took a photo. The artist, jumped off of her stool, with a crazed look in her eye and demanded that I delete the photo, as people were copying her idea and making sales.
You would think that she created fish.
What a sad state to be in. Also, I had thought of purchasing a piece of her work, as they were pretty and I tend to buy glass. They were colorful and had an unusual
presentation. But she’ll never get a dime of my money.
It’s all just another Shrimp Festival memory.
This year it was about the Fearless Fish.
I hope I’m still alive, for next year’s festival.
My hat’s off to Courtney and Rommel.
Y’all are my award winner for 2017
See you then.