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Waffles, Fried Chicken and Gospel… Must be Sunday in Key West

I awoke yesterday hot hung over and happy. Why would I be happy with a hangover you ask? It was Sunday, the most glorious day of the week and the easiest day to find a cure for a hang over. The one I had from my martini induced Saturday night spent at my neighbors’ house watching girl’s sumo wrestle in his backyard was kicking my ass and it needed a cure.Sunday is best known as the day with the fat New York Times, very large cups of coffee, delicious mimosas, killer brunches and spicy Bloody Mary’s to whisk your hang over away. It is no wonder God made it his day. This Sunday in particular was better and bigger than normal, for it was waffles, fried chicken and gospel day at The Green Parrot. Does it get any better than that for a hang over cure? I don’t think so. Sumo wrestling martini hangover be damned The Parrot had my relief.

Green Parrot BarFor those who are uneducated, The Green Parrot is one of Key West most famous drinking establishments and is possibly one of the greatest places known to man. It is notorious for their fantastic bands, no nonsense bartenders, décor Charles Bukowski would approve of and home to ever so dangerous shot, The Root Beer Barrel. Entire lives have taking place at The Parrot, epic stories that cross-space and time, and the legends that have come out of the joint are well… legendary.

Once a year the Parrot hosts The Conch Republic Music Festival on a Sunday. It kicks off with w/ Robert Albury and Cliff Sawyer howling the very best in gospel and soul while the kind folks in The Parrot kitchen (A.KA. the pool table) serve you fried chicken and waffles (Extra butter for me please.) The plates of goodness are all nice and warm from the heat lamps and served with a smile and a buzz. For lovers of soul and waffles, its like Christmas and your birthday all rolled in to one with a little Al Green in there to smooth it out.

Hangover in hand and $50 in my pocket I rolled down to The Parrot to get my eat on, put my pain to rest with a waffle and listen to some God loving, sweet sounding soul. I arrived, and there was one seat open, right at the corner of the bar looking at the stage. I grabbed it and sighed with relief that I had a seat and the hard part of the day was done. Next to me sat a funny guy named Joseph who used to be a bar patron of mine back in the day and loved to do a funny shimmy dance when he was drunk. Next to him was a lady named Linda who owned an upscale eyes glass shop down the street and to the other side of me was a computer annalist named Mike who just moved here a couple years ago, a perfect collection of keys characters. We knew each other well enough to enjoy each others company, but not well enough to have to talk about any thing substantial, perfect friends to run in to at a bar and get hammered with. Bloody Mary’s were quickly lined up in front of us, topped with spicy beans and filled lots of vodka. The line started for the waffles and chicken and Mr. Curtis started belting out some ass-shaking gospel, things were looking good. All four of us smiled at each other with glee. A look is all you need to see to know that those around you are feeling the same way you do. A collective sigh of awesomeness filled the room.

My hang over was quickly mopped up by butter-covered waffles and replaced with a nice buzz from the Stoli Bloody’s and all seemed right with the world. The speakers pounded with soul, syrup dripped from everyone’s faces and the eyes of all of us in the room shined. I sat there staring at this scene that was my life and couldn’t help but be proud of where I live. It was so authentic, real and colored wonderfully outside of the lines. Who needs television?

Two young girls with flowery sundresses, picked out especially to be worn on vacation walked in, holding street maps and looking confused. Waffles fried chicken, soul, so much to take in for a couple of young girls on vacation. Robert belted out “Can I Get a Witness?” by Marvin Gaye from the top of his lungs, almost crying as he sang. The bar cheered with delight and I ordered another round or the group.. The girls were hypnotized for a moment, forgetting about their cute sundresses. Joseph did his funny jig, Linda sucked down her second Bloody Mary and Mike and I looked at each other with our heads bobbing in unison to the groove. The song ended, the sundress girls giggled and got a quick picture with the band, went on their way not to sure of what they just saw. It made me wish I was on vacation and stumbled in to this scene. Then I remembered I did, ten years ago and I now I live in it.

The waffles were gobbled up, the fried chicken was picked apart, the gospel and soul tunes were sung from the bottoms of the heart and Mike and I did a couple of root beer barrels to make sure that we were set straight. Sunday is a great day and yes, its even better when its waffles, fried chicken and gospel day. I stared at the grimy walls marked with years of history full of days and nights like this and I decided Sunday was even better in Key West, because these types of things happen all the time. Knowing that is enough to take any hangover away, even the ones brought on by to many martinis while watching sumo wrestling girls at my neighbors.

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