The Bull & Whistle, Duval Street, Key West

The year my dad passed away I took my mum out to Florida for five weeks. A day or so after his funeral I took her out to my home in Orlando, the idea was for me to put my home up for sale & to get my mum away from the thousands of telephone calls that she would expect to get from well-meaning relatives checking up on her.

Bull & Whistle Barmaid.

As it happened the house sold the day I put it on the market for a lot more than was expected, which was great & meant that I could go forward with my plans of resettling myself in Spain a lot quicker than I imagined.

After the house sold we drove down through Florida, we visited the Everglades where we stayed in a small hotel & went out on one of those large boats with the huge fans propelling them along at high speed. When we left the Everglades we drove down to Key West to stop for a few days.

One day mum & I walked into the Bull & Whistle bar on Duval Street, there was some live music on & we sat at the bar to get a drink & listen to the music. There were not many people in the bar but the barmaid kept walking straight past me. Mum waved to her & she served her straight away with her vodka & tonic but did not pour the beer that mum had ordered for me. We both thought she had simply not heard mum & as another barmaid passed I ordered a beer from her.

We listened to the group for a while & when we finished our drinks we turned around to order another drink. Once again the barmaid completely ignored me but served mum her drink straight away. Again the other barmaid arrived & served me my pint. When this happened again for the third time I asked the barmaid that did serve me if I had inadvertently upset the first barmaid. She explained to me & my mum why the barmaid was indeed ignoring me completely. She asked if I remembered going into the bar two years previously with a friend & explained why the barmaid was ignoring me.

A few years previously I had gone to the Keys with my friends Martin & Sean, & my cousin Dave. One day Sean & I had gone to the Bull & Whistle bar for a few beers. We had both been chatting up the barmaids & I had been getting on very well with one of them. She had taken a shine to me & I had promised to go back a few weeks later & take her up to Orlando to go to Disney World & stay at my house for a few days whilst I showed her all the local sites. Needless to say, I had completely forgotten that I had made this promise to the girl, the beer had taken its toll on my memory. The girl that I had promised to take out was the barmaid that was now completely ignoring me, the barmaid that was serving us was her best friend who had also been working the night I had asked her out. The girl I had forgotten to go back & take out, had told the other girl she would not serve or talk to me at all. Mum & I spent a few hours in the bar listening to live music before leaving later in the evening. The entire time we were at the bar, mum would get served immediately & I would have to get one of the other barmaids to pour my beer.

A few days after we got back to England I took my mum to the Working Men's Club that I was a member of. We were standing at the bar chatting with a group of my friends when my friend Sean walked in. He began talking to my mum & asked her if she had enjoyed the trip to Florida. She was telling him about the trip & began to tell him about the girl in the Bull & Whistle pub in the Florida Keys. He immediately began laughing & asked my mum if the girl had a sleeve of tattoos on her arm. When she confirmed that this was the girl she was talking about, he told my mum the same story about me asking the girl out & promising to take her to Disney World. I guess I was the only one who had forgotten about taking the barmaid out.

I often wonder how the barmaid is & what I would be doing or where I would be living if I hadn't forgotten the date I had arranged with her. My mistake, my loss, if you are the barmaid I am talking about, I am sorry, I hope you are doing well & enjoying life.