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Getaways 2010 -

 

 

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2010:

 

 

Lewis and Betty Nolan, both retired, continue their travels. For accounts of short trips taken between 1993 and 2009, please click Getaways 1993 - 2009.. For travelogues of their journeys to Alaska, Germany, Ireland, France, England, Hawaii and other destinations, go to Nolan Travels.

Nolan Getaways – 2010

Spring Getaway for Gulf Shores and Trapp Visit

Page Updated April 24, 2010

 

Return to Nolan Travels Home Page (travelogues and photos of major trips)

By LEWIS NOLAN

 Long Drive to Gulf Shores, Ala. – April 9, 2010, Friday

With Betty handling most of the driving in her Ford Focus station wagon, we pulled out of the driveway at our East Memphis home about 9 a.m. But first we were delayed for a few minutes when we learned that the dog of our new neighbor, Cara Lyons, had somehow become stuck again in the gate to her backyard.

The previous morning, the dog, a part-Labrador Retriever named Pogo, was frantically barking. Another neighbor, a fellow animal lover by the name of Kitty Boren, called us to report that the stuck animal had tried to nip at her when she attempted to maneuver its head through the gate space. We gave her Cara’s work telephone number at Wright Medical, where she is director of advertising and other duties of the devices manufacturer.

We later learned that Cara is single and is age 40. Cara told Kitty that she would be home quickly and deal with the stuck animal problem.

Betty and I went next door to see if there was anything we could do to help. Oddly, Pogo somehow extricated himself when he saw his owner arrive 15 or so minutes later. The dog ran around the garage to greet Cara. Later, she arranged for a contractor friend to install some black mesh over the lower section of the gate. She was very appreciative of our efforts and those of Kitty to comfort and free the animal.

However, the next morning we again heard frenzied barking from next door as we were loading our luggage and supplies into the car. Upon investigation, we found that Pogo’s head was again stuck in the gate. We again called Cara and she said she would immediately return home to deal with the problem, assuring us that the matter would be taken care of so we could proceed with our travel plans to begin our all-day drive to Gulf Shores, Ala. We also alerted Kitty to the situation. Again, Pogo somehow extricated himself from the gate we were glad to learn later.

Thankfully, it was a delightful spring day, with lots of sunshine and the temperature expected to rise into the 70s. So we drove off on our usual route on Interstate 55 south to Jackson, Miss. (We later and happily learned that Cara had arranged for the welding installation of heavy-gauge wrought iron filler rods between the spaces of her iron gate to prevent her much-loved, sweet-dispositioned pet from repeating the stuck-in-the-gate drama.)

Once through town and on Interstate 55 heading south, we found that traffic was a little busier than usual, possibly due to it being Friday and people heading out of town on a beautiful day for driving and favorable forecast for the weekend ahead.

We stopped at a McDonald’s restaurant just outside Jackson, Miss., to purchase a small box of Chicken McNuggets and a fresh salad. We ate both as we continued our drive through Jackson and also enjoyed soft drinks and granola bars we carried with us from home. We got onto U.S. Highway 45 South, a four-lane road to Hattiesburg, Miss., where we turned onto U.S. 98 east to the outskirts of Mobile.

Traffic continued to build the closer we got to Mobile, Ala., especially once we got on a connector section of Interstate 65 that leads to the major drug interdiction highway of Interstate 10 that runs through the Deep South states. Traffic was stop-and-go through the mile-long tunnel under Mobile Bay. But it thinned out considerably once we turned south on U.S. Highway 59 and took it to Loxley, Ala., where we stopped at our favorite produce store in the area, Burress Farm Market.

We were disappointed that the store was out of our favorite salad dressing made of peppercorns and Vidalia onions, so Betty ordered a case of it to be shipped to our Memphis home once it is again available.

We arrived at Gulf Shores about 5:30 p.m. and immediately stopped at our favorite grocery store there, Winn-Dixie, to buy some breakfast food and other items. We arrived at our small condo on a beautiful beach in the Gulf Village complex about 6:30 p.m. We lugged our luggage and supplies up four wide-step flights of stairs to the topmost floor and were pleased to see that the management company’s cleaning crew had it looking better than it sometimes has in recent years.

That evening, we enjoyed one of Betty’s “controlled carbohydrates” dinners of small portions of a brought-from-home smoked salmon from Alaska plus heated up, chicken-and-rice soup.

The view of the Gulf of Mexico from the large porch-deck of our second-floor condo at Gulf Village about 1 ¼ miles west of the Intersection of West Beach Road with U.S. Highway 59 was again beautiful, as expected. The sea was calm, dappled with small waves caressing the pure white sand beach.

 

Golf Practice on a Sunny Day in Gulf Shores, Ala. – April 10, 2010, Saturday

 Exhausted by yesterday’s eight-hour drive from Memphis, we slept fairly soundly in our beachfront condo at Gulf Village until about 8 a.m. Betty cooked me one of her wonderful, low-carb breakfasts as usual (scrambled eggs, several honey-flavored slices of ham purchased at Winn-Dixie, tomato juice and a banana – but no bread. 

I’m now taking a once-daily, free prescription tablet of Zocor cholesterol-lowering medication provided to retirees by Merck & Co. following the merger of my Schering-Plough employing company. The small size of the pill at no charge sure beats the hefty fish oil capsules I’d been buying over-the-counter and taking twice daily. The much expanded menu of free company medicines available to employees and retirees of both companies that merged in 2009 is a wonderful benefit and saves considerable sums of money.

 The day started out in typical fashion for spring on the Gulf Coast. It was a little cloudy in the morning, but skies were expected to clear and temperatures to rise into the low 70s in the afternoon.

 Betty and I drove several miles to my favorite golf course in the area and its practice driving range. I had brought from home an unused token providing 50-to-60 range balls from a machine.

One of our longtime favorite employees of the State Park golf course, a Korean immigrant named Cha-Cha, had given me the token during a previous trip. 

Before hitting practice balls, Betty and I had the usually tasty, inexpensive lunch at the snack bar that is partly staffed by other Koreans who do a great job there. I had my usual cheeseburger without the bread but including a pile of lettuce, tomato slices and pickles. Betty went for her favorite, a BLT sandwich and treated me to a single bite. We stayed with our controlled carb diets and eschewed chips, French fries or candy bars but did enjoy Diet Cokes with lunch.

 After eating, Betty drove her Ford Focus to a nearby Wal-Mart store to pick up some groceries and supplies. I stayed behind at the practice range to hit about 60 balls for 50 minutes.

 Per my custom of long ago (a bad torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder in the fall of 2005 had prevented me from playing golf), I started out by hitting a few balls with an easy-swinging 9 iron, then gradually moving up to an 8 iron, 7 iron, 6 iron and 5 iron. I held off hitting any fairway woods or my big metal driver for another day because my initial swings with short irons were predictably terrible.

 My long layoff from golf was painfully evident even though the pain in my injured shoulder was not above the discomfort level.

 I talked briefly in the club house with course pro Harry Dwyer, who suggested that I take a lesson. I had previously been helped by his professional instruction so made plans for a short, refresher session next week.

 Betty returned to the course from shopping about 3:30 p.m. We returned to our condo, where Betty sunned on the beach while I watched TV for a while. I took my afternoon nap after failing to capture a bootleg Wi-Fi signal from a nearby condo complex with my HP laptop computer I’d used successfully on previous trips to access the Internet. (Once back in Memphis, our computer guru Curtis Johnson reconfigured the HP to again operate in a Wi-Fi mode.)

By using Betty’s Acer net book at the Gulf Shores public library, which provides free Wi-Fi service in addition to a small room of PCs with Internet access, I was able to check my email at no charge while Betty used a provided PC. We both deleted many dozens of junk emails to our Yahoo accounts. We both were pleased to get emails from our son, Casey, about his plans to run in the upcoming Cherry Blossom 10K race in Washington.

 That evening, Betty cooked fresh shrimp purchased from a Gulf Shored seafood store. We agree that it’s great having the resources of our own condo with the freedom to cook freshly-caught seafood or eat out as the spirit moves us.

 The only downside is the late-arriving season this year. It’s not quite warm enough to spend much time on the beach even though temperatures are in the low 70s and the Gulf water is reported to be a chilly 66 degrees. Very few sunbathers are venturing into the ocean other than a few waders. We plan to visit a flower festival in the town of Foley about 10 miles to the north and while there shop for some loafers for me at a shoe store we like in the Tanger Mall on the south side of town.

 

Flower Festival and Shopping in Foley, Ala. – April 11, 2010, Sunday

 We arose just before 8 a.m. and were greeted by a typically beautiful morning on a beautiful beach at Gulf Shores, Ala. It was sunny and the temperature was expected to reach 72 degrees.

 From our large porch at our condo on the second floor of the Gulf Village complex, we enjoyed a wonderful view of the blue water of the Gulf of Mexico gently lapping the white sand. 

After yet another splendid breakfast cooked by Betty, I spent much of the morning reading a thrilling, non-fiction book by Hugh Ambrose about the Marine Corps fighting the Pacific Islands campaigns in World War II. Betty tended to her transcribing onto her laptop computer the recent meeting minutes of the Evergreen Presbyterian Church’s Presbyterian Women organization, which she serves as volunteer secretary.

We drove north to Foley, Ala., on U.S. Highway 59 and stopped at a branch of the big Lowe’s home store chain to check out some prices on an outdoor table with chairs we want to replace while we are here. We found that the nearby Chick Filet outlet was closed because it’s Sunday and had a memorable lunch next door at Walt’s, a new fast food outlet  that we found served the best BBQ pork outside Memphis we’ve ever eaten. I had the BBQ on a lettuce salad while Betty had very tasty morsels of fried chicken on Romaine lettuce.

The flower show in a public park on the north side of Foley was delightful. Weather was close to ideal, with temperatures in the low 70s and big trees and a tent offering shady cool from the heat of the spring sun. Betty purchased (for $12) a large pot of Knockout Roses (pink blooms pop out twice a season) to give to her brother, Harvey Trapp, and his wife, Ann, on a visit to their farm in South Mississippi on our way home to Memphis next week. They are celebrating their re-marriage anniversary and also an upcoming birthday of their beautiful granddaughter, Maggie, who is turning 8.  

Betty and I got back to our condo on the beach at Gulf Shores about 2:30 p.m. She went to the beach to read and sun. With my history of successful medical treatments to remove fairly minor skin cancer several times in recent years, I stayed inside at the condo to watch the Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta, GA, and to snooze. It wasn’t hard to notice that the usual, colorful fireworks of blooming azaleas and Dogwood trees around the golf course had been delayed by the late arrival of spring in the southeast this year.

 For dinner, we had nice portions of the smoked salmon from Alaska we had brought from home along with some champagne from Washington State. I continued reading Hugh Ambrose’s great history book, “The Pacific.” He is the son of the acclaimed author Stephen Ambrose, the founder of the fascinating World War II Museum in New Orleans we previously visited.

 

Hitting Golf Balls and Shopping in Gulf Shores, Ala. – April 12, Monday 

Betty dropped me off at the State Park golf course so we could have lunch there, followed by another practice session for me of hitting more balls on the driving range while she shopped at the locally owned dress store there, Smart and Sassy. 

I focused on my very rusty swing with mainly an 8 iron and a 5 iron, generally topping many balls and spraying them a relatively short distance from the practice tee. Betty found a “broomstick skirt” she liked that reminded us of the tie-dye clothing of the 1960s. She purchased it and looked very fashionable sporting it in casual social gatherings. 

Later, we checked our email at the Public Library and talked on the telephone to our in-law, JoAnn Glass, about an article she had passed on regarding the famous Sistine Chapel at the Vatican in Rome.  

Betty and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the recently rebuilt Wolf Bay Lodge in nearby Orange Beach, which replaces the burned restaurant near Foley, Ala. I had fried oysters, green salad, white wine and O’Doul’s beer. Betty had a plate of their excellent crab claws.

 

Golf Chipping and Putting Practice at Gulf Shores, Ala. – April 13, 2010, Tuesday 

We arose about 8 a.m. to another beautiful morning on the beach at Gulf Shores, with only a few clouds in the sky and the temperatures backing off a bit to an expected high of 67 degrees today. 

We had wanted to visit our longtime friend and real estate professional, Roger Kaiser, who has been a patient in a rehabilitation facility of a nursing home at Robertsdale, Ala., about 30 or so miles to the north. Roger had handled the sale of our condo to us more than 20 years ago and has since given us expert advice on management and maintenance of the unit so it would be rented well by his family’s business. 

We contacted his son, Randy, on the telephone; he suggested that we visit his father after lunch during the week at the Robertsdale Health Center’s rehabilitation unit.

So pending the drive in another day or two to Robertsdale, I putted and chipped 50-to-60 golf balls on the Gulf State Park practice green. Betty returned to Wal-Mart to do some more shopping then we enjoyed another tasty but low-cost lunch in the park’s snack bar.


We then drove down West Beach about five miles past our condo to Laguna Key to admire several huge homes that had been built recently and probably sold for a million or more dollars.

 

To Robertsdale, Ala., to Visit Roger Kaiser – April 14, 2010, Wednesday

 Betty, with long experience of visiting aged friends in nursing homes including a big retirement home across the street from our Memphis residence, had warned me to not be disappointed or emotional when we see our old friend Roger Kaiser. He has been a patient in the fairly ritzy, Robertsdale Health Center since suffering a stroke about two years ago. The good news, we were told by his son, is that he is making good rehabilitation progress and his family hopes he can return home soon. 

We were pleased to see that Roger is looking better than we had expected and while confined to a wheelchair during our short visit was fully alert. He was breathing through a hole in his throat surgically cut during a tracheotomy during a recent operation, making his communication somewhat difficult. But he had a large room with a television and attentive staffers to help him get around as needed.

It had been two or more years since we had last seen Roger even though we have regularly inquired about him when talking to our rental manager, Sheila Graham, who works for the Kaiser Realty business. It turned out that Sheila is taking this week off from her work since her young children are out of school for Spring Break.

We were happy to tell Roger how pleased we are with Shelia’s property management work on our behalf and our continued satisfaction we’ve had since following his advice regarding our condo in Gulf Shores for over two decades. He seemed to be delighted to learn that we had paid off the mortgage taken out to buy the property and that with tax advantages, ownership and vacation time there has been a positive experience for us.

Betty presented Roger with a healthy potted plant she had purchased for him at a florist near the new Kaiser Realty office in Gulf Shores. We kept our visit reasonably brief so the nursing home staff could help him return to bed for an afternoon nap.

 Sadly, we learned that Roger’s wife had recently suffered some serious injuries from a fall. I think both are in their 80s and we hope that they are soon able to again enjoy life near the beach. I credit Roger and his brothers with much of the leadership that helped the town grow from a backwater fishing village to a thriving resort on the Gulf of Mexico with a global condo ownership clientele and vacation crowd.

 We stopped at the Tanger Mall on the drive back to Gulf Shores so Betty could shop for casual clothing for both of us at various stores plus for a birthday present for her niece, Maggie Nowell, on her upcoming 8th birthday.

 Later, we returned to the fabulous Wolf Bay Lodge behind Zeke’s Marina at Orange Beach. Betty had excellent seafood gumbo, one of their noted dishes she shared with me. I also enjoyed eight plump oysters fried in a light batter plus some veggies from the salad bar and a couple of “forbidden but wonderful” cornbread hush puppies plus a glass of Chardonnay wine.

 On the way back to our condo we stopped at a big shopping center so Betty could visit the Orange Beach branch of the Al’s discount variety store to buy some gardening supplies for home use. Once back at our complex, we met Bev and Jim Chase from Pennsylvania, who like us had purchased their condo (on the first floor of our building) more than 20 years ago. They are here for most of the winter to avoid the worst of the Northeast winter and heavy snow back home, where he is a contractor and she works for a cement company.

 

Playing Golf at Last in Gulf Shores, Ala. – April 15, 2010, Friday 

It’s hard to think of a better day to play golf than at my favorite course in Gulf Shores on the day federal taxes are due.  

We arose at 7:30 a.m. on yet another delightful spring day, with sunny skies and expected high of 70 degrees. After another great breakfast prepared by Betty, we repaired to the State Park golf course for my 10 a.m. lesson with teaching pro Harry Dwyer.

 His brief, 30-minute lesson (costing $25 for special, repeat customers like me) straightened out what I think was a severe swing defect of lacking proper follow-through on my stroke. With his guidance, I re-learned how to effectively shift my weight from right-to-left and carry through the club when facing the target with squared shoulders. That valuable tip added a lot of height and 10-to-20 yards of distance to my 8-iron shots. 

I had only brought my 8-and-4 irons to the lesson tee, but learned that in the future I should bring both a pitching wedge and also a 5-iron for maximum benefit.  

Happily, I was relieved to find out that Harry’s expert eye spotted no major swing flaws. 

Afterwards, I played 9 holes of golf on the Park course, with Betty driving the golf cart. It was a beautiful day but somewhat windy – to the point that Betty complained about not bringing a sleeve. Temperatures grew to the low 70s but with the wind it was just a bit chilly at times.

 I shot better than I had feared a few days ago when my practice sessions were awful. I managed to score a 57 for 9 holes. That was well off my lifetime best score on this course of 79 some years ago, the first and only time I’ve ever broken 80 for 18 holes.  

While I managed zero pars and bogeys (1 over par) and didn’t come even close to scoring any birdies (1 under par), I did score 6 double-bogeys (2 over par) and three triple-bogies (3 over par) with nothing worse. Happily, I did not lose any balls. Nor did I lose any clubs or hit any balls into a water hazard. So all in all, it was a successful day even though in my pre-injury days a 57-score that much over par of 36 would have been a very major disappointment. 

On the positive side, I somehow managed to putt fairly well, single-putting Holes No. 1 and 7, for a total of 18 strokes putting regulation (a “regulation score” expects 2 putts per hole).

The only complaint I had was the complete absence of even a single drive of respectable distance and placement plus very slow play. The slowness of play was mainly due to the starter not following the posted rules and allowing a couple with two small children to play most holes.

 For the record, I played off the white tees, which for 18 holes has a total distance of 6,171 yards. With Betty driving the cart, it took 2 ½ hours to play only 9 holes, nearly 30 minutes longer than usual.

 After playing, I enjoyed a cheeseburger without bread but with an O’Doul’s low-alcohol beer. On the way back to our condo, we stopped at the Winn-Dixie grocery story for Betty to pick up a few groceries and also at a nearby seafood market for Royal Red shrimp caught in deep Gulf of Mexico water. Once back, she sunned on the beach while I read a USA Today newspaper and then napped before she cooked the shrimp for another great dinner.

 

Drive to Perdido Pass near Gulf Shores, Ala. – April 16, 2010, Friday 

We arose about 7:15 a.m. to another beautiful, sunny morning by the Gulf of Mexico, with the temperature expected to remain a bit cool at about 62 degrees. After a bigger-than-normal breakfast (a three-egg omelet with salsa) and some ham but no bread, we drove down West Beach to Perdido Pass toward the Alabama-Florida border.  

It was interesting to see the new and replacement construction that has pretty much erased all traces of the damage done by Hurricane Ivan a few years ago.

We stopped at a Souvenir City branch store to purchase a few seashells and a pink necklace for Betty’s great-niece, Maggie Nowell. We expected to see the child the next day when we stop at the farm of her grandparents, Harvey and Ann Trapp in south Mississippi near Newton.  

While out we also stopped at the Public Library in Gulf Shores to check our email and also at the Wal-Mart store there to have my reading glasses repaired. I was pleased that one of their opticians replaced a missing screw in the frame without charge. We also drove out scenic Canal Road to another favored restaurant, the Jenny Lane trendy saloon and eatery in a big real estate development of condos and shops that seems to be struggling. We enjoyed a very tasty lunch of baked seafood for me and blackened shrimp for Betty. 

Later, we returned to our condo where I napped while Betty sunned on the beach for our last day here. I decided to pass on practicing my putting with the thought I wanted to end my re-entry into the golf world on a high note rather than taking a chance of entering with dismal putting and chipping.

 

Drive to Trapp Farm near Newton, Miss. – April 17, 2010, Saturday 

I arose at 7:30 a.m., about 30-to-45 minutes after Betty had already gotten up to partly load her Focus Station Wagon (named Fiona) with some of the luggage and supplies she had packed the previous night, including a Knockout rose bush for her brother and sister-in-law. I helped her pack the car and had a quick breakfast of the usual foods. 

We pulled out of the condo parking area beneath the building just before 10 a.m., stopping on the way out of town to return a book to the public library. We also made a quick stop at the Burress Farm Market in Loxley near I-10 so Betty could buy a carton of gift strawberries for her kin and confirm her order for a case of a favored salad dressing made of peppercorns and Vidalia onions.

With the stops, we didn’t get through Mobile until about 12:30 p.m., putting us about 30 minutes behind the usual schedule. Betty handled the driving for this segment of our trip through Hattiesburg and Laurel, Miss., then up Highway 15 to the turn onto a farm road labeled Garlandville leading to the Trapp farm of over 400 acres. I joke the farm is “20 miles from the sticks” of Newton in a very rural area where Betty and I attended a junior college nearly a half century ago.  

Fiona’s mileage is so good – probably over 25 miles per gallon on the highway – that we didn’t have to stop for gas. At Harvey’s farm, it was great seeing him, Ann, granddaughter Maggie and their assorted cat and dog pets. We missed seeing Maggie’s parents, Jimmie Nowell and Tonya Trapp Nowell, because Tonya was on the decoration committee for that evening’s 8th grade Prom at the Newton school where she teaches. 

Betty enjoyed visiting with her brother and his family while I took a nap in the comfortable guest room. Betty helped Harvey plant the anniversary gift of a double pink, Knockout Rose bush.  

Later, Ann drove us all in her plush Volvo SUV through parts of Neshoba, Newton and Scott Counties to see sections of the Choctaw Indian Reservation dotted with neatly kept, brick farmhouses. Several groups of stocky Indian children played in the yards we passed. 

After nearly an hour of driving on twisting, country roads two lanes wide, we finally arrived at Lee’s Steakhouse, a wooden, ranch house structure near Sebastopol, Miss. It was obvious that it is a very popular place to eat as the gravel parking lot was nearly full of late model pickup trucks and SUVs. 

We all enjoyed Lee’s specialty of rib eye steaks, with me, Betty and Harvey going for the 9-ounce “Buckaroo” version – cooked medium well - and Ann opting for a larger one to share with Maggie. We all took advantage of a rather skimpy and pedestrian salad bar and both Betty and I opted for baked slices of sweet potatoes served plain and without butter. I caved in and ate a slice of toasted and buttered white bread with my steak. I was surprised that no beer or wine was served and suspected Scott must be a dry country.

Once back at the Trapp farm, I further relaxed my low-carb diet regime and accepted a small slice of a home-made coconut-chocolate cake Ann had made for a church function that was leftover. It was absolutely delicious. Betty hand-fed scraps of fat and gristle from our steaks to the Trapp’s two dogs – a female Lab named Belle and a female Blue Heeler named Violet. It was obvious by their aggressive and undivided attention that the dogs weren’t used to that personal kind of hand-feeding of meat. 

After eating their treat of steak leftovers, the dogs took care of themselves and slept outside as usual, where they spend their days chasing any visiting coyotes, deer, possums or raccoons. Betty – who stayed up for a while to talk to her family - and I slept comfortably that night in the queen-sized bed in the Trapp’s guestroom. 

Great-niece Maggie seemed thrilled to get our early birthday gifts. She modeled the pink, shell necklace and wore for a while the matching pink jeans and tee-shirt emblazoned with “Birthday Girl” lettering. She also seemed to like the small box of Souvenir sea shells marked with a tiny, starfish in her favorite color of pink. 

Maggie was gratifyingly polite when she thanked Aunt Betty and Uncle Buzz with notes she typed in elegant typeface for our help with a ”Flat Maggie” scrapbook of a school project that involved photos and caption writing. She is remarkably pretty, blonde and quite smart – probably much the same as Betty was at that tender age and also probably why she can read and type so young.

 

Drive to Jackson, Miss., for visit with SueAnn Turnage and home. – April 18, 2010, Sunday 

With Betty up first to further organize and start packing for the long drive back to Memphis via Jackson, Miss. I didn’t get out of bed until 8 a.m. I arose to another wonderful breakfast she cooked of ham and eggs, with tomato juice, a banana, a strawberry and a small slice of Melba toast.  

We drove about an hour-and-a-half to Pearl, Miss., a suburb just outside of Jackson where Betty’s longtime friend SuAnne Turnage owns a small house. The two were suitemates at East Central Junior College in Decatur, Miss., where Betty and I met in 1965 and they have stayed in touch and visited one another on occasion.

Seeing SueAnn was again a delight and we enjoyed meeting her short-term tenant, a young woman named Chelsea from Idaho who is completing work on a doctorate degree in physical therapy at the University of Mississippi medical and related schools in Jackson. We also saw SuAnne’s newest granddaughter, Victoria, age 8 months, born to her daughter, Katie. Victoria was an amazingly, well-behaved infant. Her mother, Katie, seems happy in her new job and parental responsibilities. 

Betty and I took SuAnne to lunch at a restaurant of her choice, a salad and sandwich place called Newk’s, a locally based, fast-food chain. We had eaten there on a previous visit and lunch was predictably excellent. We had huge salads and some very good chicken-tortilla soup. It was way, too-much food for us normally light lunch eaters; SuAnne saved some of her lunch for a takeout meal later. But the food and company was unqualified great for us. 

After lunch we returned to SuAnne’s home. Betty helped SuAnne spot a suitable place in her big backyard to plant a cutting of Confederate Rose shrub provided by Betty’s brother, Harvey Trapp. The hole in hard-pan soil to plant it was dug later by a helpful, young male neighbor with a post-hole digger. 

Betty and I pulled out of Pearl about 3 p.m. for the 3-hour drive to Memphis. The driving duties on Interstate 55 North were shared by Betty and Buzz. We stopped for Chicken McNuggets and salad at a McDonalds south of Grenada. The turnoff for U.S. 82 toward Winona seems to be an excellent stop since the state of Mississippi has stupidly closed most of the Interstate rest stops  for renovations courtesy of new money available under President Obama’s Economic Stimulus program. It was an irritation to this motorist to see so many travelers passing through the state inconvenienced by so much ”modernization” at the same time. 

We arrived home in Memphis about 6:30 p.m. by way of a neighborhood Wendy’s to pick up our dinner of double-stacker cheeseburgers, chicken sandwich and a takeout salad. After driving for most of the day and unpacking our fully loaded station wagon, cooking dinner was out of the question. 

After a good night’s sleep in our own bed at home, I started work on writing this travelogue and Betty arranged to check on our order of a case of a favored salad dressing from Burress Farm Market in Loxley, Ala., at 1-800-898-9028.

 

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