Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Learning gospel music on Scenic Drive

Bikers enjoy Scenic Drive in Pass Christian
Wifey and I have two basic route options when traveling to New Orleans.

One is to almost immediately get on Interstate 10 about four miles from where we live in Ocean Springs and just drive the speed limit and get there in about an hour and a half.

The other option is to take US 90 which travels along the beach from Biloxi on the east to Bay St.Louis on the west.

Its a more time-consuming trip. The highway parallels the beach for about 20 miles. The road then heads inland as it crosses swamps, rivers and bayous on its way to the Big Easy.

And it takes a little bit longer because wifey enjoys taking the Scenic Drive in Pass Christian which means for about three miles, we meander along the scenic road at about 10 miles per hour.

Scenic Drive parallels US 90 but runs along the edge of a high ridge just north of the highway.

There is the open waters of the Mississippi Sound to the south and a variety of expensive looking and not-so-expensive-looking homes on the north side of the drive.

It has been reported that many New Orleans well-to-do- residents years ago owned a lot of the houses which their families lived in during the summer, enjoying the gulf breezes while those in the river city had to deal with oppressive heat.

And anyone who has visited the Crescent City in the summer knows about that heat and humidity.

We’ve taken the Scenic Drive route numerous times, sometimes stopping in the shade of a hugh oak tree to picnic. This last trip involved taking a few photos at the location of the Gospel Singers of America facility.

We’ve seen the sign throughout the years and wondered what was offered.

Gospel singing facility in Pass Christian, MS

The organization's website says they teach students to read music, play instruments, sing and write gospel songs and encourage them to return to their home churches and help with the music program.

Next post: April 1, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A chair built for a southern giant


What a big chair!

Wifey and I didn’t have to go far from home to find the largest rocking chair in the world.

It was just about 20 miles down the road from our Ocean Springs home.

We were observing a “vacation day” which usually entails eating breakfast at McElroy’s in Biloxi and then coming back to our hometown to feast on drinks at Coffee Fusion.

But today was a little different.

I told wifey that after breakfast we were going to go to Dedeaux’s, an operation run by a family clan who produce high-quality wood furniture.

We had purchased six kitchen table chairs farther back than I want to remember and were sitting daily at a mismatched table.

Was it time to make a change?

Maybe, maybe not!

Anyway when we arrived at Dedeaux’s, 11451 Canal Rd, just northwest of Gulfport, we saw this hugh rocking chair outside.

The sign says the chair stands 35 feet tall and is fashioned from Southern Pine. Built in 1995, it is a giant replica for the family’s trademark product, the Magnolia Rocker.

After checking out the chair and some tables inside, it was lunch time and we hit Chic Fil A on US 49 in Gulfport and then headed home, stopping off for coffee and tea as we usually do.

We enjoyed another great vacation day in retirement.

Next post: March 25, 2015

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Relaxing in a Gulf Shores cabin

It was sorta like camping, but not exactly.

That’s the way our trip to Gulf Shores these past two days was like.

We decided to stay in a cabin instead of involving ourselves totally with the out of doors.

It was nice to have our own private bathroom, a fully functional kitchen and a tv where we had access to more than 200 channels (wifey said she still couldn't find anything worth watching).

It was another surprise of sorts for wifey. She didn’t know exactly where we were going to stay. On our previous trip to the area (about 115 miles from home), we stayed in a motel in Orange Beach that was adjacent to a lagoon.

This time it was the Alabama Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores. Years and years ago, before a hurricane ravaged the area, our favorite non-camping place to stay was Gulf States Resort. It was a complex that was part of the Alabama state parks system along the beach that offered eight units each in a series of about 15 to 20 two-story structures. 

There was a convention center along with a restaurant and gift shop.

We enjoyed being able to just walk out the door of the motel-type units and onto the sand beach. Its been about 10 years since they were destroyed. Talk has it that the state is planning on letting some developer come in and build another beach front hotel.

It won’t be the same. But that’s the way life is.

Our first stop in Gulf Shores was for lunch at Lulu’s, owned by a sister of famed entertainer Jimmy Buffett.

Wifey had a salad and I had a “Cheeseburger in Paradise” with a side of French fries.

And to top it off, we ordered a slice of Key Lime pie.

The weather was great with a light breeze blowing through the area.

After lunch we headed over to secure our cabin in the park.

The day and night were clear and cool, but the next morning, as we were getting ready to check out, the rain, although light at first, began to fall.

We headed back home with a relaxing time behind us and reality on the horizon.

Next post: March 18, 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

'Laissez le bon temps rouler'

"Throw me something, mister"

The culmination of Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is celebrated today along the Gulf Coast, mainly in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana with thousands upon thousands of people lining various parade routes in New Orleans, Mobile and Biloxi, among others.

It is not exactly our kind of celebration. Over the course of the past 10 years or so, we may have gone to three or four parades.

During my younger days, back in the 1950s, my parents would sometimes load our family up and we would head over to New Orleans for the big day. We would often go to the parades in my hometown of Biloxi.

One remembrance of a Big Easy trip was not too pleasant, but fortunately ended up OK. I was along the curb, as most pre-teens would be, trying to catch beads and doubloons being thrown by those on the floats.

I was looking up and wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings and before I knew it, I felt someone behind me grab the collar of my jacket and swiftly pull me backward.

At that second I didn’t know exactly what was going on, but it didn’t take long as I looked back toward the street to discover that I was in the path of a giant float. Injury and possibly death was only inches away. I don’t remember who it was that was looking out for my well-being, but I was thankful.

But that was then.

My wife and I are huddled in our favorite coffee location here in Ocean Springs on this Mardi Gras with the rain falling and the temperature hovering around the 40 degree mark.

It is a place we would rather be than out on the streets waiting for the parades to roll by.

Anyway, for those thousands who are or have been standing out there ready to holler “throw me something mister,” all I can say is “laissez le bon temps rouler” (French for "let the good times roll").

Next post: March 11, 2014