The Cayucos Pirate makes it to 67

June 4, 2024

Pirate and Dell Franklin


Editor’s Note: The following series, “Life in Radically Gentrifying Cayucos by the Sea,” to be posted biweekly includes the notes, thoughts, and opinions of an original American voice: author Dell Franklin. 

Franklin’s memoir, “The ballplayer’s Son” is currently on Amazon.

If you observed the Pirate 30 years ago, and throughout the ensuing 20 years, you would predict he’d never make it to 60. This was before he was 86’d from the Cayucos Tavern for being too much fun, and made his new permanent watering hole Schooner’s Wharf and quickly became too much fun and a beloved headliner of all time Cayucos characters.

This is Randy Crosier. Born and bred in Cayucos. Stone mason. Hunting guide. Commercial fisherman. Guitar player with his own band. The kind of guy you saw squatting in the well of an old pickup truck that wobbled down the street in a rattling death gasp, and then, after working on it for two hours, drove it up to Oregon to visit his brother dying of cancer and made it back without complications, driving straight through both times in fear it wouldn’t start if he stopped.

A man of determination, heart and stamina.

This is the Pirate who, after work, always came to a stop below my deck for well over a decade to get out and hurl dog biscuits up to my black Lab Marley, and later my brown Lab Wilbur, both dogs pacing and drooling when they heard the truck blocks away. Once, downtown, Wilbur heard the truck, and as a 13-year-old, clumped after him barking for three blocks until the Pirate pulled over and produced biscuits.

So, less than a couple years ago, the Pirate finally decided to see a doctor after boozing and dining on beef all of his life and discovered he had stomach pains resulting in colon cancer to the degree there was a baseball-size malignant tumor in his gut.

The Pirate was stoic. There are a few of us old guards remaining in town who have attended his parties and binges in both the now-closed Cayucos Tavern and Schooner’s Wharf who were alarmed about possibly losing the last genuine remnant of the last coastal outpost in California.

So the rosy-cheeked Pirate spent two weeks in the hospital after they removed the tumor, said it was rough but smiled and refused to go into it. The Pirate refuses to deal in negativity, unless you cross him, which is difficult. A couple months home from the hospital, he dropped by to give me a jar of world-class pickles he made on his own, as well as tomatoes from his garden out on the ranch where he now resides.

“I’m feeling much better,” he said, when I inquired as to his health.

“Have you been to Schooner’s?”

“No.” He seemed almost dejected, though thankful to be alive.

“Drinking at all?”

“Just a few beers now and then.”

“Still smoking?”

“Oh yeah.”

“Still eating meat?”

He shrugged. “New diet. No hot and spicy. Not as much fun.”

I thought to myself, what will it be like in Schooner’s without the Pirate holding court on his usual stool that is designated to him with a gold plate of dedication on its back? Well, believe me, it was not the same. It is a small world we live in here, and Schooner’s is an extension of it, community hub, where the same bartenders have been for over 15 years, and each patron has become over the years a personality of their own, and the Pirate is the big fish in this little pond.

Last summer, he dropped by early for my 80th birthday bash on my deck because he wasn’t up to drinking from 4 o’clock in the afternoon until closing time at Schooner’s. He was maintaining. He had one beer. No shots of rum.

Then, one afternoon he dropped by while I was on my deck, got out of his still wheezing truck, and announced, with a different smile, and a glint in his eye, “I had my test. It’s been a year. I’m cancer free.”

Thus, the Friday evening of his 67th. He was on his usual stool with his name on it, up front. Tag Morley, who has known and looked after the Pirate for over 40 years, was beside him. Most of the old crew that had surrounded him for years was gone, from either death or ill health or having to move because they could no longer afford Cayucos.

He was drinking his beer and sipping his shots of dark rum and he was the old Pirate, no longer suppressed by ongoing sobriety, the tourist crowd mesmerized by the sawed off, Santa Claus-bearded elf-man, exchanging hugs, ebullient, at one point threatening to beat me up and take the three good looking women I was talking to, and then hugging me for the fifth or sixth time.

After a while, tourists were approaching him—a man with little money, a beat up truck, few material items, and no sense of style—as if he was that rare rock star celebrity who proves irresistible.

The Pirate is back.


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This is the most Cayucos picture of all the Cayucos pictures ever taken.

Such a positive , great dude. His B210 was a classic ride. A few weeks out of that surgery he was on a job doing a stucco patch with the wound so fresh other guys carried the heavy materials to the proximity of the work area because tradespeople have become so scarce.