7 August, 2014    #10

Lovely Rita

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In the late 1950’s, Key West was just a sleepy island stop on the way to Havana.  It was summer, and when I wasn’t skin diving, I worked at the Gulfstream Market on White Street.


Every once and a while, she would catch me looking at her with eyes that shouldn’t have looked.  I was 16, overloaded with youth, and she was a customer in her 40s.  It was embarrassing as my eyes tried to casually disengage … but, she was teenage petite and extremely attractive.


Paul and I became friends that summer and I was eventually invited over to his house for dinner.  Paul’s dad was a reputable attorney and lived in the best section of Key West.  My mother reiterated how to eat with manners and to start with the outside utensils and work your way in as dinner unfolds.  This was not just any dinner and I was a bit nervous not knowing what to expect.


I made my way past several well-kept Victorian homes of the past century, finally arriving on the family’s front porch.  I was greeted by Paul and entered into a stately sitting room where his dad, in a white linen suit, and several attorneys were smoking Cuban cigars and sipping straight whiskey.  I was in a scene out of a Bogart movie as I struggled with my lines.


Suddenly, a lovely female voice entered with, “Well this is Mike. It’s so nice to finally meet you”.  Our eyes instantly locked in astonishment and there was no looking away this time.  I was caught in a terrible, blissful nightmare.  “Mike, this is my mom, Rita”, said Paul.


Rita smiled with the confidence of age, and asked me if I wanted something to drink.  As I followed her into the kitchen, she stopped, held my hand and gave me the hug I had dreamed about. “Mike it’s OK.  It’s just going to be our little secret”.


Eventually, I confessed all to Paul who referred to his mom as “Lovely Rita”.


Mike Kohut, President, DDMS






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