Gulf Revisited – 2011

So-so Golf for Birthday Boy on 68th

May 10 – 19, 2011



Part 1: Memphis to Trapp Farm

Part 6: So-So Golf for Birthday Boy

Part 2: Trapp Farm to Gulf Shores, AL

Part 7: Score of ‘59’ beats golfer’s age

Part 3: Golf Practice at Gulf State Park

Part 8: Upgrading Library Privileges

Part 4: Shopping at  Big Box stores

Part 9: Gulf Shores to Pearl, MS

Part 5: Condo Owners. Meeting

Part 10: Drive to home in Memphis


- Updated June 9, 2011


Several photos of the interior of our condo at Gulf Village, Ala., are posted on the website of our property manager, Kaiser Realty, which also has pix of the exterior of the complex as well as area beach shots. There are additional pix mainly taken by Betty Nolan during our trips to the area in recent years. They are posted at in various albums registered under Lewis “Buzz” Nolan’s email address. Email for instructions how to access the Kaiser pictures and also the Nolan pictures.




May 15, 2011 – Sunday – The year’s first solid hour of golf practice  


After arising at 7 a.m. and having another great breakfast of ham and eggs prepared to perfection by Betty, I determined that the sunny and comfortable temperature of the morning made it an ideal day to hit golf balls at the State Park while she shopped at nearby Wal-Mart.


Again on this day, there was a generous pile of golf balls on the driving range’s hitting tee. So I saved myself a token or two by hitting the leftover balls rather than purchasing a bucket or two.


I hit about 10 balls with my once-trustworthy 8 iron, followed by fairly equal numbers of balls by a 6-iron, 4-iron, Adams-7 tight lies club, Taylor 3-wood and finally my Taylor driver. As expected after nearly 4 years of little or no play, I “topped” a fair number of balls with my faulty swing. It was the result of my long layoff, which also was responsible for my hitting quite a few “worm burners.” But most disturbing was the unintended consistency of my sweeping slices hit by the longer irons and woods.


After 45 minutes or so of swinging clubs, I rested for a few minutes on a nearby bench. Happily upon re-commencing my practice, I started hitting a fair number of decent shots with my woods.


In all, I hit balls for about an hour. That was the longest session for me so far this year. It was made all the better because I had very little company on the range on this nice weather day. Being a Saturday, it was a low-activity day since so many vacationing golfers are either arriving and departing on this day and spending what time they have with their families at the beach.


I left several dozen golf balls on the driving range for somebody else to hit and repaired to the snack bar. I was a little tired and slightly sweaty. All in all, it was a good feeling to have logged a productive practice session. I was sipping a cold, Diet Coke when Betty appeared in the snack bar.


We chatted with longtime employee Joan, who works seven days a week to provide sufficient income for her family. She works three days at her second job, helping out at a barbeque restaurant in Robertsdale, Ala., about 45 minutes to the north on Highway 59.


With Betty driving her Ford Focus station wagon, for lunch we drove a few miles to the fairly new Wolf Bay Lodge restaurant location in Zeke’s Marina at Orange Beach, Ala. It is now the new home of the restaurant that burned on a finger of Mobile Bay two years ago. It has quickly become our favorite restaurant in the area (and is also rated No. 1 in an advertising poster on the premises). Our previous favorite, The Spot on the public beach at Gulf Shores, was sold a few years ago to make way for a big commercial development that has stalled due to Hurricane Katrina three years ago and the subsequent real estate nose dive in the area.


Being my 68th birthday, Betty treated me to a meal of my choice. I went for the truly wonderful plate of plump, fried oysters served with green beans in lieu of French fries. I also had cornbread hush puppies, a few of her fried crab claws and a heaping bowl of salad and goodies from the enormous salad bar, all topped off by a couple of low-alcohol O’Doul’s beers. The great meal was  followed by a slice of fresh-baked, key lime pie.


It was a wonderful and memorable birthday lunch.


We returned to our condo so I could nap and Betty could sit on the beach and spend the balance of the afternoon sunning. Casey and his beautiful wife, Caroline, called to wish me Happy Birthday.


Betty and I look forward to seeing them and their adorable, identical twin sons, in another two weeks. We will fly from Memphis to Washington, DC June 3 to spend several days in their home across the Potomac River at nearby Arlington, VA.


We’ve seen the baby boys twice since their birth in late September, most recently at their other grandparents’ home in Atlanta for Thanksgiving. One of the many things we and fellow grandparents Ron and JoAnn Glass agree on is that the boys are absolutely adorable. They look a lot like Casey did when he was an infant. Both identical brothers have a strong resemblance to me in my newborn photos and Casey in his.


The first-born son to Casey and Caroline was named Carden Lewis Nolan, a much appreciated honor for his two grandfathers, who are me (Lewis Earle Nolan Jr. on Casey’s side of the family, and on Caroline’s side, her late father, whose name was Wayne Louis Cardon). Young Carden’s first name was spelled with an “e” to eliminate potential mispronunciations of it when spelled with an “o.” Wayne had been a hugely successful young attorney in Atlanta and had been a founding partner of the firm Finestone & Cardon LLP (which became Finestone & Morris LLP). He died in 1983 when his younger daughter, Caroline, was only 11 months old.


Following Carden’s Caesarian section delivery in an Arlington hospital by a couple of minutes was the delivery of his twin brother, Aiden Mayer Nolan. Aiden’s first name was selected by Casey from a big book of names. His middle name was chosen in honor of his maternal grandmother, Mary Hirshfeld; the spelling of her first name was slightly bent into a masculine gender.


Of course, I was among those delighted by the parents’ keeping both sides of the family in mind during the naming process, which they purposely kept secret until the actual births.


After a long snooze in our condo, I arose about 7:30 p.m. and happily found that Betty had prepared a light supper of flatbread crackers topped by sliced ham and cheese. We watched a weird Hollywood movie on Cable TV that evening about a New England house in which ghosts of a half-century ago reappear. Oddly, the beautiful, young woman’s name was “Nora,” suggestive enough of the Nolan name to provide a little creepy interest in the twisted plot line. Since it was a “Hallmark” movie, I think it may well appear again at a later time so will not reveal the conclusion of the neat story at this time. During that night’s wee hours, the story was the subject of one of my rather rare dreams.


(Continue with Part 7 of this trip  /  Return to Nolan Travels Home Page.)