Well, howdy, friends and neighbors. Since it is already Tuesday of this week and I still haven’t written a story for Tuesday of LAST week, in an effort to not fall too far behind my own schedule (and completely throw off the artists’ schedule – note the use of “s-apostrophe” instead of “apostrophe-s,” which would have made that word sound like “artistsez” which is just silly), I am about to do something I’ve never done before.
I’m going to cheat.
But just a little. I am going to publish something as the entry for story #93 that I wrote previously (GASP!). BUT what is important is that, at the time it was written several years ago, it was written in one sitting without preconceived notions, just like the stories here. It was subsequently only read by a few people, and I would love it to have a wider audience, since I think I am funny.
Here’s the set-up; a good friend of mine was vacationing in the Florida Keys and mentioned to me during a phone call the huge interest in both Mangrove trees and Ernest Hemingway down there. She told me my “homework assignment” was to find out what the deal was with all that (or something possibly more eloquently stated. It’s back-story, don’t get too hung up on it). So, after a little bit of actual research, I grew weary of facts and instead wrote the following essay in a single sitting. I was fairly proud of myself (remember how I think I’m funny?), and am actually quite pleased that you all can have a chance to read this little bit of “educational material.” Hope you enjoy it! 🙂
[editor’s note: this essay was originally “published” with pictures to illustrate its various educational points, but since we didn’t want to deprive this week’s artist, the cartilage-less wonder-girl Maria Gullickson, of an opportunity to create . . . and also have no idea where I stole the original images from and don’t know the legality of re-posting them on these here interwebs.]
What the Florida Keys are All About
An incredibly well-researched essay by Josh Burns
The mangrove tree: how little we know of this woody, enigmatic creature of the swamp. Is it a simple tree? Or an alien being sent to watch over us until it’s leafy brethren descend from uncaring space and take us all hostage in an interstellar takeover the likes of which has not been seen since the days of Stonehenge and the great pyramids of Giza, Egypt? No one can be sure. But perhaps Ernest Hemingway said it best in his famous treatise, “Mangrove, Mangrove, Wherefore Art Thou Mangrove?” when he wrote, “A mangrove tree is most certainly not a mango tree. Don’t be silly.”
One little known fact about the mysterious mangrove tree is that the entire Overseas Highway was originally to be built out of nothing mangrove trees. Plans were drawn and construction was begun on a balmy Thursday morning. A single mangrove “pylon” was sunk and then, in an historic turn of events, the foreman’s younger brother Mikey said, “are you gonna build a whole highway out of those things? That’s just retarded.” Everyone agreed and the plan was scrapped in favor of the now popular concrete version.
Mangroves are also quite vain, often staring at themselves in the water for hours at a time. In days of yore, before mangroves were added to the endangered species list (by a clerical oversight that has yet to be rectified), this was how many a hunter would catch a poor mangrove unawares.
Mangrove trees, like most species, have had their dark times throughout history. Until the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, dark-leafed mangroves were discriminated against, and couldn’t grow in the same water as light-leafed varieties. Having interviewed several mangroves exhaustively about this, I can say with absolute impunity that mangroves don’t actually speak. Ever.
Adding to the mystery of the mangrove tree is the fact that Ernest Hemingway was not, in fact, a tree of any kind. There is little, therefore, to explain why he penned the now immortal haiku, “I Am a Mangrove.”
I am a mangrove
Watch me grow in still waters
Hey, where are my pants?
All that is known about the writing of this verse is that Hemingway was hanging out at his own “Sloppy Joe’s Bar” when he wrote it, and that he had been drinking tequila shots for three straight days.
In conclusion, I think it is safe to say that mangrove trees and Ernest Hemingway are the cornerstone on which the foundation of the Florida Keys was laid. That, and maybe piracy. It is hard to say for sure, but let me once again defer to the brilliant Mr. Hemingway, who once said, “I am not a pirate, but if I was one, my name would most assuredly be Long John Mangrove. Now, somebody buy me a shot, will you?”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
See you soon,