Thursday, January 2, 2014

Shel Silverstein and Key West Musings

Since we went to Key West last month, Jim and I still can't stop thinking about it.  It calls to us.....

To keep enjoying that feeling, we have been listening to Rich McKay's songs and working on our photo album.  Jim plays the songs online and I have been listening to the cd's Schoonin'Learnin' to Love and Come Little N Big Children while driving.  They are both by "The Sundogs" of which Rich is a member of.  I forgot that some of Shel Silverstein's poems were set to music on the Come Little N Big Children album.

Captain Tony Tarraceno and Shel Silverstein were friends.  Shel used to go to Captain Tony's Saloon and one of his homes was in Key West.

After I found out about Shel's connection to Captain Tony and then heard his poems sung by Rich McKay, I decided to borrow some biographies about Shel from the library.  The first one was interesting and I am hoping to read the second one soon.

Me holding Katie, Captain Tony, Jim - after Hurricane Irene Oct 1999
This was the first and only time we met him in person!  It meant a lot to us to meet him.
Here are two poems that I loved that were printed in one of the biographies.

A poem called "The Voice" from Falling Up by Shel Silverstein

There is a voice inside you
That whispers all day long,
"I feel that this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong."
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What's right for you - just listen to
That voice that speaks inside.

A poem called "Listen to the Musn'ts" from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Listen to the MUSTN'TS child,
Listen to the DON'TS
Listen to the SHOULDN'TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me -
Anything can happen, child.
ANYTHING can be.

Shel's words in these two poems make me think of possibilities and I like how they encourage each person to be themselves and listen to themselves.  Good stuff!

More About Rich -
Whenever we hear Rich sing, we feel uplifted. And it reminds us of all the fun times we've had in the past in Key West and of hanging out with Rich either on the Schooner Wolf or elsewhere.  Awesome times in an awesome place!

If you want to buy any of Rich's music or listen to some of his songs, you can do so from this link: or

"Sparkle" is one of my favorites as well as "Berries By The Road." "Montserrat" is another good one as well.  "Mermaid" is another of my favorites and part of it can be heard in a video clip below.

Here's a clip of Rich singing "The Ballad of the Atocha.":

Rich In Spirit McKay's music is extra special to us because we met him about 20 years ago when we were taking a sunset cruise on the schooner Wolf and he was playing music on it.  We liked him and his music right away!  The joy he feels while playing is contagious!  We became Rich McKay fans!

Rich In Spirit McKay - April 1996 - Key West, Florida on the Schooner Wolf

Here is a video clip from August 2013.  Rich is singing "The Mermaid" on the Schooner Wolf.:

We've corresponded with Rich a bit over the years and visited him when we used to frequent Key West (before kids) and then when we went down with Katie when she was 2 1/2.

Jim and I started the "Rich McKay Fan Club, Jersey Shore Chapter" in the early 1990's and had T-shirts made up for all three of us and surprised him with them when we went on our next trip!  

Rich liked them so much that he traded us Schooner Wolf shirts for our own fan club T-shirts!
Rich and I dancing at El Meson de Pepe's in Oct 1999.  A little different than BO's!  But still fun!

Sayin' aloha to Rich before we headed home - Oct 1999

Sunset Key West Oct 1999 - Katie was 2 1/2

On one trip to Key West, we went to BO's and Rich and I danced and we all had a great time!

When Rich came out with Come Little N Big Children, he surprised us by sending it in the mail!  That was so cool!

Now we keep in touch through facebook.  It is amazing all the good things that he does!  He is such a good person doing good things in the world (he goes to Russia with a Patch Adams group! and does other good deeds as well).  Not only that, but he lives his life by doing what he loves to do first and fitting in other things after that.  Good for him!!!  This past trip seemed so fast and super busy with all six of us and sadly we didn't get to connect with Rich.  Next trip we will plan better!

Sweet Update as of 1-14-2014!!!  I opened up a package addressed to me this evening.  I didn't know what it was, but as soon as I opened it I was overcome with happiness and gratefulness!  It was Rich McKay's autobiography - a hardcover!!  I had sent Jim the link to it a couple of weeks ago because I found it online and was so excited reading whatever I could that was available to read from the book site.  I love reading biographies, and to read one about Rich whom I find so inspirational and have met many times makes it double...triple good!  It was so sweet of Wolfie to surprise me!  I was so happy I said it out loud!  I thanked him the minute he walked in the door!  He said it was a late birthday present!  The best!!  I am so excited to read it, hopefully together!  :)

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