[caption id="attachment_367" align="alignleft" width="238" caption="Tar Matey...who steeps thar? "][/caption] by Sarah the Tea Mistress High atop the crow’s nest, Captain L.B. Franks, or Longbeard as his friends call him, looked down at the sea below and slowly sipped a cup of hot tea. Longbeard knew that as captain of a ship, especially the captain of a pirate ship, he had to be the manliest of men. He also knew he had to have a little time to himself to think. This last trip had been especially hard on him and his crew and nothing could ease his weary bones like warm tea and the quietness of his lofty perch high above the sea. The past few days had been full of excitement and intrigue, outrunning an East India Trade Ship, losing quite a few men in the process, and then falling prey to a loss of wind. As Longbeard reflected on the events of the last few days he realized that with all the excitement he had almost forgotten about the tempest he left on the shores of a quiet fishing village in Spain, Lola. At the very thought of her name anger started welling up inside him. He had courted Lola when he was working on the docks. She was the daughter of a wealthy trader of fish and he had nothing to call his own. "How could he have ever convinced himself that it could work between them?", he mused. He was surprised every time she smiled his way and when he finally turned to a life of pillage and plundering he was shocked to find her by his side. He thought then that maybe life with Lola could work out but she had proved to be a storm he could not navigate. She was wild with jealousy and yet the day Longbeard returned early from a disappointing treasure hunt he learned that he was the one who should have been jealous! How could she cheat on him, Longbeard, the most ferocious and deadliest pirate on the seas? He put his rudder to that village and Lola and had not looked back until tonight. So much can change in the shifting of the winds. After Lola, the attack on his ship and the narrow escape of death brought about by the loss of wind, Longbeard had never been so happy before to see land ahoy! Ahead of him lay the pearl of the Caribbean - St. Lucia. What wonders and booty this city offered up, he could not wait to find out. After some business dealings and ship repairs Longbeard set out to enjoy the nightlife and find a stout ale to ease his mind. Longbeard entered The Lonely Oyster and his senses were overwhelmed by the smell of ale and salted meat and the sounds of merriment. He found a small stool and demanded a pint. When his ale approached in the hand of a sea nymph he could not move. The creature in front of him was the most amazing beauty he had ever looked upon. Eyes a deeper black than a stormy sea at night and hair to match, he observed her pert nose and regal chin as out of place on her otherwise voluptuous figure. She tried to deliver the ale and go, but Longbeard grabbed her hand before she could flee. He had found his treasure and could not part with it. He learned very little about her other than her name, Carmen. She seemed hesitant but after some quick maneuvering on his part she was starting to get more comfortable and even asked him a few questions about where he had come from and what his business was. As he told her about his life as a pirate she drew closer to him, close enough that he could smell her scent of wild orchid which was intoxicating. The two spoke together for what seemed like hours and neither could deny their connection. Just as Longbeard was leaning in for a first tasting of Carmen’s lips there was a tap on his shoulder. Longbeard turned and was greeted by a fist to his gut. This man in front of him was screaming something that Longbeard could not quite make out, he barely had time to move away from the swinging fists of this stranger. He tried to shield Carmen from this attacker but somehow she had ended up next to this crazy man, what was happening? To stop the next barrage of punches Longbeard pulled out his pistol and dared the man to take another step. The stranger realized he had brought fists to a gun fight and slowly lowered his clenched fists. Longbeard demanded an explanation when Carmen stepped between this crazy man and the gun. She explained that this man was her husband and he had every right to be upset with Longbeards despicable behavior, she looked upon him with contempt. Longbeard stepped back only now taking in what was happening. This woman so stunning, a gift from the seas he had thought, had set him up. She was only playing while he had been falling in love. Longbeard once again had to put another town and broken heart behind him. As he sailed away he dared the sea to bring on its worst, he was ready for anything. That night Longbeard climbed back into the crow’s nest with a steaming mug of tea. He knew what his heart wanted and this time he would get it. There was only one woman in his life that had never left him high and dry, only one that soothed him when he was troubled and her name was Camelia Sinensis. There were many woman to be had but as he sipped standing in his lofty perch he knew that Camelia Sinensis, tea, would always be his one true love.