Tim addresses the front of the boat, while the partyers in the back are tasting wine and snacks
The European American Business Club http://eabcnetwork.com/ had a sunset cruise outing Wednesday night leaving on Amelia River Cruises from the Downtown Marina to the marshes around Cumberland Island. Some 40 plus members of the club were in animated conversations, aided by a healthy mixture of European and American wines and snacks, on a beautiful spring evening.
With the proper warnings from Captain/Owner Kevin McCarty that he loves to talk, the trip over to Cumberland was an hour of some of the finest lessons in mind and fact altering history I have ever witnessed. From others and intimated stories I had already learned that Kevin has a way with stories that puts you back into the scenery of those days long gone.
The original town of Fernandina, the fact that the floorplan of old town was not big enough for the plan to turn Amelia Island into the Manhattan of the South and therefore the whole town was moved at one point in time; the fact that for many years the deep waters of Cumberland Sound and the Amelia River were anchorage for hundreds of trading vessels, smugglers, marauders and pirates, as the closest port to America. I looked over the vast waters and the lighthouses and my mind wandered 200 years back
If you ever want to get a true sense of how life was in those days, Captain Kevin can take you there.
Even the stories about the Carnegies and their 54 room mansion Dungeness on Cumberland Island, the story of the wild horses that are still roaming the island, John Kennedy Jr. wedding chapel and the life and death of Nathaniel Green, are fascinating and once and for all establishing the this little piece of the world once not too long ago was a major center of world history.
Once we turned our back to Cumberland and the surrounding marshes though, the conversation in certain groups turned to what many Europeans consider a major event every 4 years: The World Cup Soccer .
The mix of this club membership is pronounced enough to warrant some nationalistic emotions between Brits, Germans, Dutch, Belgian/French, Italian and some Spanish blood going around and soon discussions and conversations centered around the event and the next meeting, usually scheduled for the second Wednesday of the month. Well it turns out that the second Wednesday in June falls on the 9th, two days before the World Cup kicks off in South Africa and the July meeting is scheduled for July 14th, 3 days after the finals. Brilliant planning I overheard someone saying.
I have not been much into soccer since the Dutch lost in the finals in Munich Germany in 1974, when they had the best team in the world, but with typical Dutch arrogance thought they had it bagged after scoring 1-0 in the first minute of the game. They lost that year 2-1 to Germany. I was in the Munich stadium, postponing my vacation and paying DM500 for a ticket. They stopped playing soccer after that first minute penalty goal. They made it again into the finals four years later but lost to Argentina in Buenos Aires after extra time. I had already crossed the Atlantic by then.
From the conversations going around I learned the following opinions about the upcoming world cup:
The teams who will probably win it : Brazil, Argentina, Italy ( they are champions and on their style, the toughest nut to crack), Germany, Spain, with Spain as most people’s favorite because they play the soccer that can charm the pants of a cold blooded NFL player. Brazil is the other main contender (as always) even though they play soccer these days as a battle ship; it produces results but little excitement.
Also the ones who might win it without shocking the world too much : England, France, Holland, Portugal. Consensus is that any of these countries would take a semifinal as a fair result. Not the same weight of expectation.
For the rest of the Europeans, South American and all African teams, as well as Mexico, USA and Australia probably would be ecstatic with a semifinal in a way the other 9 would not be. 32 Teams are playing in 8 rounds. Since 1930 Brazil has won the cup 5 times, Italy 4 times and Germany 3 times.
We will know who won 2010 by the time our July meeting comes around, but since that meeting falls on Bastille Day, July 14, the French National Holiday, I think the meeting should be on the Pétanque Courts at the marina, where every nation in the European American Business Club will have an opportunity to defend its own colors and drink Ricard on honor of the French. We’ll have enough time to teach our American Friends the “Marseillaise”. Should be fun.
Here are the words of the first verse:
Allons enfants de la patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé !
Contre nous de la tyrannie
L’étendard sanglant est levé ! (bis)
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes,
Mugir ces féroces soldats ?
Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras
Égorger nos fils, nos compagnes !
Aux armes, citoyens !
Formez vos bataillons !
Marchons ! Marchons !
Qu’un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons !