Donald “Clay” Clay, an Air Force veteran, was enjoying his stogie while chit chatting with friends, watching boats slipping by. On every weekday afternoon when the weather is fine, he and a half dozen of his perennial friends such as Robert “Bleu” Jones and Kimo Tavares gather at the Slip Inn to chill, booze up and snack on the crowd-favorite George wings. No one knows for sure why they call them George, but rumor is one of the cooks from the earliest days in the 80s came up with the secret breading.
The Tiki bar and restaurant wasn’t located in the Navy Yard, Old Town Alexandria or the National Harbor — places packed with tourists. Instead it was tucked away at the edge of Joint Base Anacostia Bolling, a well-kept secret amongst retirees. That’s why Clay, Bleu and a handful of old timers made it a daily ritual when the clouds are clear and the skies are blue.
And the weather forecast for the next three days was bright and promising. There was a ton of activity as military personnel and their families kicked off the glorious weekend with Country Western Night featuring a local, up-and-coming talent.
Sara Gray is a singer, song-writer from Indian Head, MD., just down the beaten river in Southern Maryland. The first time she sang in public was at the age of three on a cruise ship — from the soundtrack of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. She watched her father sing in his local band, then started performing at church and has rendered the National Anthem at various community events. At 16, she wrote her first song and her budding repertoire focuses on country and classic rock. For the last year, her schedule has been in high demand, opening for country stars such as Toby Keith, Dierks Bentley, the Zac Brown Band and Luke Bryan and performing all over the DMV.
“I’m so happy to be on the stage where I feel right at home. I love getting the crowd involved, clapping, dancing and singing along. They inspire me.”
Photos by Skvora limited media