Mom and Pop, whose names have been permanently erased from my memory in the intervening 43 years, immediately blessed us with warmth, and frequently, live music as Pop would pull a well-worn guitar from behind the counter strumming and singing quietly in Spanish. Then, when Mom finished serving up the goods and giving the bar an extra wipe for good measure, a duet would follow with Mom‘s strong vocal cords carrying the day. It was obviously Chilean ‗country and western‘ and while we couldn‘t understand a word, we got the full meaning from the Latin expressiveness of our entertainer/hosts.
Pictured here on a visit to the Southwind is Mom, Jilda, Ensign Pierce Smith (tour guide), and the “little girl”. In the background at the top is the clipper-prison.
Then there was Jilda. She seemed to be Mom and Pop‘s niece from somewhere further north in Chile. (Come to think of it, everything was further north from Punta Arenas.) That‘s all I recall of her background, but my principal memory of her was that she somehow exuded virtue. There was also a little girl, round faced and pleasant; perhaps ten years old who would come and go. That‘s it, an extended family of four, full of love for one another, a love that spilled over on to some forlorn sea farers.
We would camp out at the Club Jupiter during each port call which perhaps totaled three or four during ―Operation Deepfreeze ‗68‖ as we shuttled people and materials down to Palmer Station on the Antarctic Peninsula. Each time we were welcomed back like family. I know the mercenary among the readers would assign a financial motive to the welcome but I categorically reject the notion as I would similarly reject the thought that my own mother‘s warm welcome at Thanksgiving was the result of the apple pies in my arms. This was a real and genuine welcome.
There came a day, of course, when we knew there would be no more port calls to Punta Arenas. I may be stretching it, but I think I recall ―Mom‖ crying as we prepared to leave. What I am sure of was that in a totally unexpected and magnanimous gesture, Pop through open the top of the old, well- worn jukebox in the corner, the source of much of our entertainment when our live musicians were serving up refreshment, and signaled for us to take any records (45s, you remember, the ones with the