In my first week at Flamingo Beach I probably met fifty characters, but for me Mr. Gilligan stands out the most. He is not tall, but certainly an impressive sight. He has what I would call a compact body, and both men and women are impressed with his muscular form. I understand that he has never owned a car, so he usually walks everywhere. It is evident that he is into exercise and physical fitness. He really likes to walk, but never refuses a ride if it is offered. On many occasions I have seen him jogging effortlessly on the beach, and it did not take me long to come to respect him. In fact, I decided that I would even try to emulate certain aspects of his lifestyle.
Gilligan can be seen almost anywhere at anytime in and around the beach area. He loves to swim and I think that it is fair to say that he is an accomplished body surfer. He is for sure far better than I am. He has never held a steady job and mostly gets by on the kindness of others. Clearly a ladies man–the proof of that is evident everywhere in the community. On more than one occasion I have been introduced to one of his offspring with; “This is one of Gilligan’s kids.” What is surprising to me is that most people point to that fact with pride. I think that if I had been the one with such a reputation it would have been hard for me to hold my head high when I walked through town–not so for Mr. Gilligan. He has a certain look of pride in his eyes when someone confronts him about his questionable exploits. You really have to admire him. Maybe I’ve just missed something in my own life.
Gilligan is truly a party animal. He always knows exactly where to go, and it seems as if he has a preset schedule of events planed for each day. It is usually breakfast at Marie’s Restaurant, and then off to the beach to check out the new crop of tourists. If the pickin’s are good he will hang around there usually trying to impress the ladies with his great body surfing ability. If he is lucky, he will curry the favor of some “friendly” lady. The rest I’ll leave to your own imagination.
Often after the beach scene played itself out he would return to Marie’s for some lunch, or go over to the house of his good friend Jenny Crissman. She is always kind to him and is seldom judgmental about his activities. Actually, he knows how to keep the welcome mat out at several places. Jenny is the cook at Tio’s bar and restaurant, and when she is heading off to work he will usually go with her. If it is a good beach day he will go back to the beach for a while then walk to Tio’s later. In any case, he never seems to miss a day at Tio’s.
If Tio’s is happening he will try to get someone to play softball with him. Of course there is always the “big” softball game every Sunday, but during the week he will usually settle for a game of “catch” or maybe just shag a few balls for one of the players during batting practice. It is almost impossible to get a ground ball past him.
Evenings usually find Gilligan at Tio’s, but when the weekend rolls around he often likes to go to Amberes to check out the live music, and of course, the ladies. He is always as welcome there as anywhere in this beach community. On a good night he will hang around and close the place. That usually happens around three or four o’clock in the morning. Sometimes he’ll have a snack, but often he is just plain exhausted from the events of the day, and he will lay down anywhere he can find a spot. He really isn’t that particular about where he sleeps.
I really like Gillian, and on more than one occasion I have told him so. I do have a strong sense that he feels the same way about me. However, he has never actually told me, or anyone else for that matter. Should he ever tell me that he likes me then I’ll probably leave Flamingo Beach as fast as I can. You see Mr. Gilligan is a Labrador Retriever, and I’m not yet ready for a talking dog, not even Mr. Gilligan.
In December of 1993, Mr. Gilligan was chosen as “Story of the Year” by the Tico Times of San Jose, Costa Rica