After a welcome post-lunch lull, tables with a Gulf view begin to fill in the late afternoon as everyone waits to see what spectacle Mother Nature will unleash at sunset. A blackboard quickly fills with names and “best guesses” of the precise time the sun dips below the watery horizon. It’s a fun tradition. Guess correctly, and win a drink. Guess incorrectly, and enjoy the spectacular view.
“We have a winner every night,” Mo said.
Nowadays, the Tarpon Club is larger, with new porches and expanded bar space. It looks fancier and feels less like a surf bar. But among the changes, a few things remain constant—Mo behind the bar, the sunset bell (although now with an electric ringer), attentive service, good food, gorgeous Gulf views, and cold drinks with a kick.
You’d think it might be difficult for Mo to pick a favorite memory after all those years, but it’s not. His eyes light up as he remembers two of his favorite moments from behind the bar.
“I got to watch the Braves win the World Series with Ron Grant! He was sitting at the bar, and we had it on the TV. That was incredible. And Jerry Jones. I’m a big Cowboys fan, but I never try to engage him. I remember one time he was up here, and he got to talking to this guy at another table about the guy’s son, who is autistic. They were talking about the type of physical therapy the son was getting. So Jerry goes and gets a piece of paper and writes out this full-page thing so the kid can go and use the Cowboy’s training facility for whatever he needs. I mean, it’s incredible to me that I get to see people do extraordinary things like that.”
When it comes to retirement, Mo frowns and shakes his head.
“Everyone wants to know when I’m going to retire. I’m not! Why would I give this up?” he asked, gesturing at the brilliant blue Gulf waters.