On the Waterfront

A Celebration of sailors’ dives, longshoremen’s vendettas, refineries, factories, giant ships, and fifty miles of dirt water.

It was Memorial Day weekend and the pickings were slim. Most of the ships that normally would have been in port lay anchored in Galveston Bay so they wouldn’t have to pay time and a half to longshoremen. 

The old longshoreman they called Goat made his rounds, cadging drinks and looking for odd jobs at the Harbor Lights, the Athens, the Hong Kong, and the other bars on the Houston waterfront. When he was young and strong enough to work the docks, Goat had been especially fond of holidays. “We was iron men in wooden ships,” he said. “It weren’t nothing to make a hundred and twenty for a three-day weekend.” But now holidays were memories and memories

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