The first port o’ call on our cruise, bright and early on a Tuesday morning, was the city of Nassau, in the Bahamas. Our first port o’ call, but also the last stop on our journey for the fourth-and-a-half member of our company, Junior Steeler.
This was not my first visit. It was three years ago, and while the wife and kids were enjoying an excursion to the nearby Atlantis Resort, I was enjoying a walk about town, guidebook in one hand, camera hanging from my shoulder, traversing the hills overlooking the town, and the port where my cruise ship was docked. It had been a long morning and part of an afternoon, with plenty of historical/cultural points of interest and a LOT of photos .. and I was more than ready for some lunch
I was working my way back towards the coast road - still a few blocks from the clusters of bars and eateries that cater to visitors - when a yellow placard on a sidewalk caught my attention, informing me that the Bahamian Kitchen was just inside the door. That suited me since I was ready for a taste of the local cuisine, so in I went …
… to be greeted by a street sign that designated reserved parking for Pittsburgh Steeler fans. The walls of the bar and dining room were a colorful mixture of junkaroo masks, posters for the local Kalik beer, and Steeler banners and bumper stickers. I was in the unofficial Steeler Nastion consulate of the Bahamas … I’d come home.
Good beer, great food and our fellow citizenship in the Steeler Nation made for a wonderful meal, and a wonderful memory of my all-too-brief time in the Bahamas.
And now were on our way back, and I was determined to re-visit Bahamian Kitchen, catch up with Mike Brice and Tom Kessler, and maybe bring them a special Steeler tribute … like an old bobble-head, maybe?
Our journey with Junior Steeler was all-too-brief. But in the course of that journey - from Midland to Houston, Houston to Miami, Miami to Nassau - we saw some neat sites and met some great people, many of whom paused to have their photo taken with my perpetually-smiling, perpetually-nodding little friend, and become a part of his journey
Nassau at last! Bahamian Kitchen didn’t open until lunch, so I had some free time to do a little souvenir shopping, and to spend some time at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirch and catch-up on Lenten devotionals I had missed during Sunday’s hectic rush of embarkation. Having enriched the local economy, and my soul, I proceeded to lunch …
... and saw from the start that there had been some changes made The junkaroo masks were still their, and the Kalik posters … but all of the Steeler memorabilia was gone, as were the one-time proprietors of Bahamian Kitchen. Tom, a splendid old gentleman from Ohio, had passed away last year. And Mike, a local man with excellent taste in American football, was now working elsewhere in Nassau. The kitchen staff was much the same, and the old woman who ran the kitchen was as charming - and as skilled a chef! - as I remembered. Another wonderful meal, and another wonderful time .. this one with new friends and new experiences - including one of the locals leading us in the singing of a number of old-school American country western songs such as “Crying Time” and “Streets of El Paso.“
It was there, on the streets of Nassau, that Junior Steeler and I parted ways. The new proprietor, Rudy, knew Mike well, and promised to take Junior on the next leg of his journey, while I embarked once again for the next leg of my journey. Part of me already misses the little guy, but I am comforted by the knowledge that he will be in good company.
And I am also comforted by the knowledge that, wherever we go, it will be - as the locals here say - ‘no problem, man … is alright.’ Also comforting … wherever we go, we take the Steeler Nation with us.