Our World

Sharing an Our World I wrote and photographed for our paper. I like these features so much....

Bar Mama

Outside, it’s hot and muggy. The summer heat cooks cars zooming along the road at 92 degrees fahrenheit. At a nearby beach, people are applying sunscreen.

Inside The Miscue Bar, a shaft of light floods into the dark and smoky room as someone walks in and takes a seat at the bar. Almost every spot is occupied by working men looking for a drink.

At the end of the bar, a gray-haired woman prepares food in a kitchen the size of a treehouse. She wears a striped shirt with two gold giraffes printed on the front. Her ears are adorned with traditional Irish Claddagh dangles and a gold cross hangs around her neck.

Everyone calls her Mama Carol, but her real name is Carol Martin. Fifty years ago she and her husband started it all.

At first they struggled to get a loan, but eventually they gathered enough and built the bar with their own hands. Carol worked alongside her husband, Bob. She was mostly in the kitchen. Bob, worked as the manager.

A lot can happen in 50 years. Customers made the bar a staple. Some raced turtles along pool tables in the back. They held weddings. They had funerals. Comedians performed on a stage in the corner. Rock bands debuted their tunes. Carol had three kids. She lost her husband. She lost her oldest son.

Mama Carol is 80. She says she will never leave this place. For her, working here feels like a night out.

She puts the final touches on a roast beef sandwich and sets it in front of a customer seated at the bar.

“Thank you mom,” he says while diving into his first bite.

Those seated around him sip on bottles of beer. They are proud to be regulars at Miscue. It’s a landmark, they say, the oldest bar in Fort Myers.

                                                                          *here's what it looked like in print