Gulf Revisited – 2011
From Trapp Farm to Sunshine at
May 10 – 19, 2011
- Updated June 2, 2011
Several photos of the
interior of our condo at
By LEWIS NOLAN
May 11, 2011 – Wednesday
– Travel from Trapp Farm to
Betty and I arose in the very comfortable guest room in the
farm house home of her brother, Harvey Trapp and his wife near
Betty cooked a delicious breakfast as usual of ham and eggs with freshly made toast for both me and Harvey. We enjoyed the morning meal while his wife, Ann, drove to the law office she manages for an attorney friend in nearby Decatur, Miss. Harvey is the retired business manager from the Decatur-based East Central Community College, where Betty and I met in the mid-1960s and have been in love ever since. It has since more than doubled its student body to over 2,000 freshmen and sophomores from nearby counties.
After eating, Betty and I loaded her Ford Focus station
wagon with a freezer box of frozen perch caught by Harvey and his good friend,
a retired college dean Betty and I knew from our time there long ago, plus a
container of fresh blueberries. We departed about 9 a.m. and drove east on
state Highway 15 through several tiny towns to
At anchor not far from the end of the tunnel is one of the
famed fighting battleships of World War II, the USS Alabama. We’ve toured it several
times and visited various exhibits and souvenir shops including a World War II
submarine but did not stop for yet another visit this time, proceeding on to
U.S. Highway 59, where we turned south toward the
Betty purchased some fresh produce at the market and we
proceeded south on Highway 59 to the Baldwin County town of Foley, where we
stopped at the recently opened branch of Wolf Bay Lodge restaurant near the
celebrated Tanger Outlet Mall (with over 100 discount stores with many prestige
retailing names) to buy a quart of wonderful seafood gumbo. She planned to warm
it up that evening and serve it with a smoked salmon from
Arriving at our beachfront condo at the
The interior of our condo (now with new or recently purchased electric stove, refrigerator equipped with an ice maker, microwave oven, combination air conditioner-heater, and two cable-equipped TV sets) seemed to us to look its very best in the more than 24 years we’ve owned it. We’ve replaced furniture and had the complete condo re-decorated as needed following several major hurricanes and water damage from destroyed roofing in intervening years.
The only negative now that it was totally paid for was our having to lug our luggage and supplies up four flights of stairs (a total of 32 steps) now that we are in our 60s. The elevator serving our building was a long-ago casualty of a hurricane in the 1980s or before.
I took my customary mid-afternoon nap while Betty moved around our condo’s furniture and equipment to suit her superb decorating skills.
It’s great being back in
As usually the case, our time at the beach flew by. It was
soon time to drive back to
The driver pressing for a return to our home was an
upcoming, checkup appointment with my fantastic neurosurgeon, Dr. Julius
Fernandez at the famed Semmes-Murphey Clinic. With relentless optimism and
incredible skills granted him by our Creator, he had pulled me back from
death’s door five years ago following a brain aneurysm suffered at
Dr. Fernandez is a remarkably gifted physician whom I was
extremely fortunate to come into contact with at a highly regarded,
His wife teaches Spanish to some of the best and brightest young men in our region, at the private, very expensive, college-prep Memphis University School, where our son was an outstanding student before getting his degrees at the University of Virginia (in civil engineering) and Harvard University (an MBA).
Dr. Fernandez is in his mid30s, which some experts say is the optimum age for the hard specialties since the relatively new M.D.’s off the academic assembly lines are so close to the very latest teaching and are current with the newest techniques being taught. Moreover, they have been in practice long enough to hone their skills and human relations abilities with patients. He told me he had recently completed a “certification program” in his specialized, spinal surgery field. It reminded me of how my late father, Lewis E. Nolan, M.D., was proud that his abilities and work had been nationally recognized by peer groups with his diplomat status as a Fellow in both the American College of Physicians and also the American College of Pathologists.
It was a disappointment to my father - who died in 1970 in
I enjoyed the possibility that Dr. Fernandez shared several
characteristics with my Dr. Nolan a generation or two before he came along.
They have brilliance and high academic honors in common. They both have
brothers distinguished in different fields of medicine. Dr. Fernandez’ brother is a heart surgeon who
assisted with the insertion of a shunt to drain excess fluid from my brain into
my abdomen. Dr. Nolan’s brother, Dr. Don Edwin Nolan (my favorite uncle), was
remarkably talented and established and ran the big
They could both be affable and fun to be with, just like a lot of really good guys. Nothing high-faluting about either man. And Doctors Fernandez and Nolan both enjoyed lofty reputations among peers in their respective, medical fields.
And from my perspective, they both enjoyed their children – in my dad’s case by several wives. And both give their time and expertise to public causes – in Dr. Fernandez’s recent case by traveling to Bosnia to help needy patients there and hosting one of his colleagues from that area in his own home during a subsequent visit to Memphis. My father was willing to teach college students for little pay and to serve as team physician at several colleges and also at assorted civic activities put on by the Shriners and Coroner’s offices in communities where he lived. Neither distinguished physician let the expense of favored activities – in Dr. Fernandez case flying an airplane for recreation and in my father’s case paying for big trips and expensive education for children’s camps and schools – get in the way of making them happen.
As a tribute to Dr. Fernandez’ great work in temporarily removing part of my skull to install high-tech treatment apparatus in my brain, his recent courtesy examination of my head concluded with a soft suggestion that I schedule a follow-up appointment to come back for another checkup in a year and a half. And this was for a man in his late 60s given only slight chance of survival not all that long ago.
Enough of my mental wanderings back in