Do you folks remember that television show? It was broadcast by NBC during the 1952-53 season, and featured U.S. Navy exploits during WWII. Well, my marine exploits haven’t been as distinguished, but I was victorious in a recent “literary battle.” Shortly after leaving the port of Santo Thomas, Guatemala, I received word that my new history book, TURBULENT TIMES (The Remarkable Life of William H. Seward) won the Gold Medal for the “Best U.S. History Book of 2017” from the good folks at the Florida Book Festival.
Incredibly, (considering my poor spelling ability!) the book has now won six gold medals! (Just for the record, my first history book, THE SECOND MOURNING, also won six gold medals, and the year ain’t over yet!) Needless to say, I am very appreciative and humbled by this prestigious award. The festival drew over 3,000 entrants, including two Pulitzer Prize winners. The Miami Herald will be featuring a story about the festival, and I will try to post it on my blog. We are sailing back to Miami today, via an overnight stop in Key West, so you can look for the article some time next week. (The cash prize will be spent on rum!)
Speaking of rum, when we were visiting Guatemala, a nice young man took me on a private boat trip to the town of Livingston, where I was able to purchase (at a ridiculously low cost) a bottle of 23-year-old Ron Zacapa rum, rumored to be the BEST rum in the whole world! Now all I have to do is get the bottle back to Austin without breaking it! Wish me luck.
Yesterday was spent on Harvest Caye, which is an impossibly beautiful island owned by the government of Belize. Think crystal clear water (which could have been a drop warmer) a gorgeously clean beach, and a daring zip line jungle adventure! (And, of course, great rum.) I swam a little and got some sun, and I was greatly impressed by the friendliness of the local inhabitants.
Since I knew “The Donald” from our days in New York real estate, I sent him an email (although I hear he prefers tweets) suggesting that he NOT use the term “S***hole Countries any more. If one must be vulgar, they should refer to under-developed locales as “Turd World Nations.” (Which has a much better ring to it, in addition to being clever.)
And since we are on the subject of clever folks, allow me to acknowledge some of our new dinner companions, who we’ve met aboard our vessel, the S.S. Minnow. (Which was NOT named after me, thank you very much!) These include Christine and Rick (and their amazing 94-year-old mother) from Canada, “Tequila Mary” and her husband Phil, and the captain of our ship, Dimitrios Flokos, from Greece.
Finally, I would like to thank Mr. Gustavo Turcios for providing one of the most interesting boat trips I’ve ever taken. (We took a small boat up a long and winding river in Guatemala and saw where they filmed the movie JURASSIC PARK. We also got to visit a jungle school and deliver a bunch of badly needed books to the children. These were children’s books, but I offered the kids a substantial discount (10%) for ordering TURBULENT TIMES and THE SECOND MOURNING through Amazon.com (Since we were in the jungle, “Amazon” seemed like the right provider!) In any case, they weren’t that interested. Probably because they had no electricity or internet service. Well, what can I say? You gotta keep trying.
Tonight we are dining at a joint called “Jacques,” which is supposed to be a five-star restaurant. (Named after some French guy.) I got a little scared when I studied the menu and saw that they offered “Poison” as an entree! I will definitely be avoiding that dish! The last time I ate there, they offered me a sweet tart at the end of the meal, but since I was with my wife, I had to turn her down. Say levee. (As they say in New Orleans.)
Well, you folks take care, and we shall chat again soon. Have a safe and fun-filled week…. and love to all……