MUSIC NOTES BY GATOR NATE
Hey guys, although we haven’t had a chance to chat over the last few tweaks, don’t think I forgot about you. In fact, I have been thinking about how many great musicians and entertainers we’ve had over the years down here in Southwest Florida. Many folks have come to make a home for themselves, some just here for the time being and some decide to never go back. Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey and Illinois are all places that seem to send us new and interesting people. Of course, folks come for all different reasons, the climate, the beach…some folks come to begin a new chapter in life and start fresh in a fresh new place.
In 1968, Stan Goober (who needs no introduction) did just that. Born in Alabama and later migrating to Miami, he had been driving across that Tamiami Trail on weekends for nearly ten years, fishing what most thought of as the “last frontier.” Back in those days the snook were plentiful, to say the least. There was almost nobody living in our area besides fishermen. Stan decided to quit his job at the phone company and head to Goodland with the wife and kids. He purchased the motel across the street from present day Stan’s and although it was pretty run down when they got there, he and the family got the place ready for business. In December 1969, they had their first guest. Ever since then, Stan has been making folks from all over the world feel “right at home” in Goodland. In 1970, he bought The Idle Hour Restaurant. By 1974, “Stan’s Idle Hour,” had added a bar and a pool table and was serving folks from all over the world.
Stan has always been a very hard worker. From his humble upbringing in a broken home in rural Alabama, his service to America in WWII, to entertaining large crowds every Sunday in “downtown” Goodland with his live performances.
He was a true entertainer. The original music of Stan has been a part of my upbringing. I was born here in 1978, and since my days in a plastic baby carrier, propped up on the bar at the Idle Hour, (I can’t count how many times I’ve heard that), I have had a respect for Stan. He had a driving passion to be an entertainer. And entertain he has. His songs carry a sort of “happy to be here” vibe. Tales of fishing, enjoying life in Goodland and being a “proud American” are the common themes. Stan hosts the annual “Mullet Festival” that is, and has been, the highlight of the year for the tiny fishing village, bringing thousands of visitors for the weekend.
Everybody knows he loved to have fun, but Stan was also a humanitarian. Not the kind who did it for attention. He helped folks just because that’s who he was. Over the last 40 years, he has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities like the Salvation Army, Avow Hospice and the American Cancer Society. When he collects those “Yankee Dollars” during his performance, they all go to good causes.
It is really hard for me to imagine Sunday afternoons in Goodland without its main character, Stan. But “The Buzzard Lope,” “The Yankee Dollar,” and “The Star Spangled Banner,” all considered staples of a weekend at Stan’s, will carry on. Locals and visitors alike, can still enjoy the music, the food, and the cold drinks along legendary “Buzzard Bay.” Tribute bands will continue to sing his infamous songs, including, “What Kind of Fish is That” and “Somebody Stole My Boat.” Not a Sunday will go by without stories and memories of Stan and his entertaining being told. His spirit will forever remain a part of Goodland.
We can all learn something from this American legend. In his own words, “I am not a big shot. The things that happen in your life, that’s just things that happen. It ain’t no big deal. I don’t like to look at life like a big deal because in the end your goin’, and you ain’t taking nothing with you. You never seen a U-Haul following a hearse. Looking back at these 80 years I think if I had to do it all over again, I’d do it all over again. I’ve tried to treat everybody honest, and I believe in honesty. I have no regrets of living this life that I’ve lived.”
Stan will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. My hope is that we can all learn something from his life. If you haven’t read it yet, Stan’s autobiography, “Stan: An American Story,” is an uplifting journey of his trials and tribulations. It also comes with a CD of his songs and jokes. It can be purchased at Stan’s Idle Hour in Goodland or at Amazon.com
Nate Augustus is a native “Florida cracker” and a singer/songwriter from the Marco/Naples area. His band, “Gator Nate & The Gladezmen” and his “One-Man-Band” can be seen at many local venues. He has released multiple albums on his record label “SwampSong”. For more info on Nate and his musical doings, go to www.Gladezmen.com or facebook.com/NateAugustus His latest CD “Gator Nate Augustus-Only Child Family Band” is available on CDBaby and Itunes.