Doorway Into The Past
It was February, 1976, and I was on shore leave with a couple of Navy buds in this small “off the beaten path” bar in Mombasa, Kenya in Africa drinking Tusker Lager beer. I looked over at the side door, and saw these two chairs under an umbrella with a bottle of Tusker Lager on the table. In the background, past the wall, on top of a building across the way, I could see the black table-umbrellas of another establishment. It was one of those settings that had nothing of particular noteworthiness from a tourists perspective, but something about it seemed interesting, as if I was looking into a doorway viewing a scene that had been viewed by many travelers over the years, never changing. I wondered how many sailors from around the world had sat on the same patio drinking and reminiscing about what sailors all talk about, women and home. I snapped the picture almost as an afterthought. As I was drinking my beer, I peeled the label off the bottle for no reason in particular, and then put it in my shirt pocket. When I got back to the ship, I put the label in my locker. For whatever reason, that label somehow survived all my travels and moves for the next 30 years. As I was going through some old tubs of “stuff” I came across the label, and I remembered the bar in Kenya. I went through my old slides, and sure enough, there it was, the picture through the doorway. It will probably never win a Pulitzer prize, and may solicit a few “humph, I wonder what he was taking a picture of..” comments,. But for me, I wonder if someone is sitting in the bar, drinking a Tusker Lager, and looking at the doorway into the past.