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Saturday, January 26, 2013

LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI Chapter 10



A Real Captains Hat
courtesy free clip art

The next day after Lee was pummeled by the hooligans, the Captain came in to where Lee was still recuperating, and had a surprise for him.

His Pilot’s cap had been torn up by the young thugs, and Captain Jack gave Lee one of his new caps.  He kept several in his cabin, for he always wanted to look good when he was entertaining his guests aboard the ferry.  

Lee couldn't have been more pleased for his new cap was so much nicer than the one that was destroyed.  This helped his recovery to speed up for he wanted to show off his new cap.

After four days he was getting around very well, and Captain Jack said come on down into the saloon/card room and meet someone.

When they got down there Captain said, “I want you to meet the former middleweight champ of the world.”  Lee looked and saw the bartender he knew as Paddy.  

No one had ever said anything about him being a great boxer.  He wasn't an overly large man but he was a compact, strong, looking fellow.  Captain Jack said Paddy has agreed to teach you a little about defending yourself, some things you didn't learn while living with all those women at the club.

For the next two years Paddy taught Lee the finer points of protecting himself.  A lot of it was conditioning and daily exercise, and learning to read people.  

Knowing when to back off and withdraw can save a lot of confrontation which was unnecessary.  Paddy's reasoning was, “Why fight for no reason other than trying to prove you are better than the other man.”  He told Lee there are many men that are no longer here by making that mistake.

Paddy taught him not to expect other men to follow rules someone has made up, for in the heat of battle one fights for their life whether that is the case or not.
 
If possible avoid getting in a fight where someone has a knife. Those fights are always dirty and the unexpected can happen.


Image courtesy Free Clip art
When stopping over where there was a gym, Paddy would take him to watch the boxers spar and train. The boxers would try to get Lee into the ring but Paddy wouldn't allow it.  Some of the new guys who thought they were really good they would taunt Paddy, calling him names such as, “an old man and a has been” but he would just ignore them.

Lee overheard the owner of the gym tell one of the smart alecks, “If he got in the ring with you, he would beat you to a pulp even though he has gotten a little older so shut your mouth.”

After three weeks they made it to St. Louis and as promised they went to Club Louise to visit his old friends. It had been a long time since he saw them.  Things had changed quite a bit.  Several of the girls were no longer there and the place was getting run down.

His friend Moses the piano player had been let go because Louise couldn't afford him any longer. There were a couple of new women that he didn't know and they were older.  

Louise was just as nice as ever but her cliental had fallen off, and she wasn't doing well financially. In fact she shared with Captain Jack if things didn't get better she would have to sell the hotel. They spent the night and talked about Lee's early years, but come the morning they left for the boat.

Lee hoped that this was not the last time he would see Club Louise or Louise herself, but he realized that things happen and the world can quickly change around you.

To be Continued 
Time Marches on -
courtesy free clip art


  

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