Chickens and Cats in Key West

Hen and Chicks

I spent the afternoon in Key West Florida. It was just a short layover before heading further south for more tropical waters. Key West is an odd and interesting place. First, there are chickens roaming the streets. It's true. No one I talked to knew exactly why, but each just accepted the fact that there are chickens everywhere.

Well, almost everywhere. I visited the lovely house where Ernest Hemingway lived and worked for years. Apparently, the fame of this location is shared among the legend of Hemingway and his 6-toed cats, all descendants of one white Snowball, who once ruled the Key West mansion with an iron paw.

Hemingway and Snowball have long since departed this earth. But there are nearly 30 descendants of Snowball still in charge of the Key West property, and half of them have 6-toes on their front paws. Interestingly enough, I didn't see one chicken on the Hemingway grounds.

I'm back on board and heading south to Belize. More to report soon...


Key West makes think of Panama Hats and ceiling fans; somehow chickens are not in there :-) and six toed cats to boot. Travel often brings the unexpected...

Key West is also the home of Sloppy Joes, the place in town where Ernest often hung out and drank. I taste-tested one of the sandwiches and liked it... although chasing it with a cold beer seemed to enhance the overall experience. I have a good "Joes" story that I might post next.

Living in Key West means you learn to love geckos crawling across your ceiling or finding them mummified between books. It means having the occasional pelican stretch on your fence. It means looking out your window and finding the streets and yard have succumbed to another exceptionally high tide. But mainly it means chickens under your feet when you eat dinner at outside restaurants and waking to the screech of a local rooster that will strangely disappear over the next few days. We love our illusion that we are still at the end of the earth, that people can be as unique as they want and they will still have a welcoming hometown, and that animals mingled among us mean we are still connected to the earth and sea. Plus the darn chicks are cute.

The chickens of Key West are a wonderful feature and contribute greatly to the islands charm. It certainly helps offset the overblown tacky commercialism.

I am getting ready to visit Key West and am curious why there is always talk of Sloppy Joe's and Ernest Hemingway, but yet when I am researching, it says it was "Captain Tony's", that he hung out at. Was Captain Tony's formally known as Sloppy Joes and now the new Sloppy Joes, is claiming to be the one Hemingway hung out at?

Do you have more information on this subject? I have been digging for this information for ages. --------- You might think I'm nuts but I'm crazy over white ceiling fan.

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