Friendship, a True Treasure

Irl Colorado East (1)


Lamar’s resident pirate king, Irl Quinby, celebrated his 60th birthday in royal style at Colorado East Bank and Trust on South Main in Lamar this past Thursday, February 18th.

Irl Colorado East (4)

Brenda May, bank president, said, “Irl has become a friend to us with his afternoon visits at the bank. We had a private party for him last year, but because this is his 60th birthday, we decided to open it up to the community.”  Bank staff sported pirate tee shirts or bandanas and jewelry as Quinby was dressed to the nines with his notable tri-corner hat, waist sash, canvas pants and high boots, a fitting wardrobe for a proper pirate.

Irl Colorado East (2)

“I grew up in Kiowa County, but I became a pirate 23 years ago,” he admitted. Quinby is an almost daily fixture along some streets in Lamar, venturing along Memorial Drive, BJ’s Burger and Beverage and at Colorado East Bank and Trust.  Snacks were set out, plus non-alcoholic pirate’s punch, a treasure chest and a cut out fixture of a galleon in full sail lined the stairs leading to the second floor of the bank.  Well-wishers, young and old, were dropping by, offering cards and birthday gifts including a small treasure chest filled with chocolate doubloons and some pirate treasure.

Irl Colorado East (3)

Quinby spoke about buried treasure and Geena Davis, star of the movie, “Cutthroat Island” from several decades ago. “I need to get to Hollywood to get five swords and to find out more about the treasure,” he remarked.  He took this reporter by surprise during our conversation as we discussed well-known pirate, Captain William Kidd and his escapades.  I remarked to Irl that years ago I had the opportunity to visit a site off the coast of Long Island associated with some of that infamous buried treasure.  “Oh yes, Gardiner’s Island,” Quinby replied, giving me a moment’s pause over his knowledge of a not-too-well-known fact.  He went on about other pirates and gold and silver from the Caribbean seas, adding that a lot of treasure can be found in attics and false floors of old houses, and that he’d like to have a metal detector so he could continue his searches.

Irl Colorado East (5)

Through the afternoon, some of the gifts that had been given to him were being left on Brenda May’s desk in her office at the bank. And gifts of friendship and appreciation continued to come in through the front doors as other guests arrived.  “Irl asked if at the end of the party, he could get a ride home from me, so we could bring back his presents including the decorations” she said, adding that, ”he told me that despite his pirate’s garb, ‘These boots aren’t made for walking’”.  Happy birthday Mr. Quinby, may the wind always fill your sails.

By Russ Baldwin

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