Whistle Stop Cafe

Studly Doright bought a new old motorcycle as a gift to himself for his upcoming birthday necessitating a quick trip to Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday evening. About 50 miles outside of Atlanta I saw a billboard for the Whistle Stop Cafe, made famous in Fannie Flagg’s novel, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and the film, Fried Green Tomatoes. 


I’ve read the book more than once, and I’ve seen the movie enough times to be able to quote entire lines of dialogue from memory, so being something of a kid I began an earnest campaign for us to make a side trip to the cafe on our return to Doright Manor on Saturday.

“Please, oh please, oh please can we visit? I want to yell ‘Towanda!’ at the top of my lungs and eat fried green tomatoes!”

Studly, being the patient man he is grumbled something like, “Hmmmph.”

I took that to mean, “Certainly, sweetheart, whatever makes you happy!”

Of course he was driving in Atlanta traffic at the time, so my interpretation might’ve been off by a word or two.

We spent the night in Atlanta, picked up the motorcycle, which happily met Studly’s expectations, at 10 a.m., and then plugged the address for the Whistle Stop Cafe in Juliette, GA, into the GPS. 

Juliette is about 55 miles south and slightly east of Atlanta, nestled in the gently rolling farmland and forests of southeastern  Georgia. Turning into its main street felt like stepping back in time.


Studly and I arrived just in time for lunch. That’s his “new” ’72 Yamaha R5 in the photo.


For an appetizer we had the famous fried green tomatoes. So delicious!


The cafe isn’t large, so be prepared to wait for a table should you ever visit. Studly and I sat at the horseshoe shaped lunch counter. 

He had fried chicken and I ordered grilled catfish and a glass of sweet tea. Both meals were seasoned and cooked to perfection. The prices were reasonable as well.


I kept expecting Idgy and Ruth to come strolling in the door.


After lunch I wandered around main street for a bit, but I knew Studly was eager to get his purchase home to see if it would run. I did buy a brand new Brighton bag, retail price $145 that I bought for ten dollars before we started home to Doright Manor. That was my Towanda moment. Here’s Kathy Bates with hers:

https://youtu.be/lx0z9FjxP-Y

Peace, people!

Casual Car Show

Once a month our local Sonic Drive-in hosts a car show. Studly Doright and I stopped by on our way to see the movie, Doctor Strange, in Tallahassee on Saturday evening. 

I walked around snapping pictures and talking to car owners. Which is your favorite? Can you guess mine?

Car 1
Car 2
Car 3
Car 4
Car 5
Car 6
Car 7
Car 8
Car 9
Car 10
Car 11
Car 12

And then there was this guy…

Dog 1

Sonic drive-ins and classic cars seem like the perfect match. The cheeseburger and tater tots were a bonus.

Peace, people!

Exploring Mule Days (So You Don’t Have To)

Calvary, Georgia, is a small town about 30 minutes from Doright Manor. Once a year they celebrate Mule Days with a parade and crafts show. A friend thought I might find the celebration amusing, so I set off on Saturday morning to explore.

I began to wonder if Mule Days was my kind of event as I neared the venue. There were confederate flags aplenty on either side of the highway, and an ample showing of Trump t-shirts and hats on scruffy looking rednecks. I’m not easily intimidated though, so I kept driving.

Once at the parking area, I realized that Mule Days draws folks from many miles away. I spotted cars with license plates from Alabama and Mississippi in addition to those from Georgia and Florida. 

The walk from the parking lot to the actual Mule Days location was long, unpaved, and arduous. I was immensely proud of myself for having worn tennis shoes rather than my flip flops. 

What I found as I made my way around the acres and acres property was a random mixture of Flea Market, garage sale, crafts, and food vendors.


I tried gator on a stick today. Honestly, it did taste just like chicken. 


There was live music. ‘Nuff said.


I did find a small gem:


I’ll put chrysanthemums in this for my front courtyard area. 

Chances are I’ll never go to Mule Days again, but given the throngs of people in attendance I doubt they’ll miss me.

Peace, people!

The Fight Never Was About Me

Your fight is over, someone typed, how’s it feel to be a loser?

The fight, I say, was never about me,

My whiteness

My straightness

My middle class existence

My religion 

The fight was about the others who are also us.

For their rights

For their justice

For their well being

For their freedom to worship. Or not.

And OUR fight isn’t over.

A Death in the Family

She lived a good life
Protected and nurtured us
Now lost forever

Yet birds keep flying
The sun continues to shine
Heedless of her death


Our grief is immense
Life, though, continues apace
While this old world turns


I’ve been asked repeatedly today how I feel about Trump winning the election. Truthfully I feel like there has been a death in my immediate family. Ultimately I know we will be alright, but right now I’m experiencing a deep grief.

I spent a sleepless night in which my thoughts circled relentlessly like a dog chasing its tail, and I recalled reading Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s book, On Death and Dying, in which she introduced the five stages of grief:

  1. denial, 
  2. anger, 
  3. bargaining, 
  4. depression, and 
  5. acceptance

From my psychiatry courses in college (where a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing) I remember that one can cycle through these stages in a variety of ways unique to each individual. 

I ran through denial pretty quickly. The numbers were there. And while it was heartening to note that Hillary won the popular vote, Trump undeniably took the electoral college votes. 

Anger is my current companion. I’m not angry at Trump or his supporters so much as I’m angry at their willful ignorance. They don’t care that he has no real plans to implement his policies. They like him because he’s not a career politician, and he isn’t politically correct. 

I’m angry at the registered voters who just didn’t show up. I’m angry at those who used their votes to protest by voting for non-viable candidates. I’m angry at the subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle voter suppression tactics that were employed in several states.

I can’t imagine there’ll be much bargaining involved, but depression is anger’s little sister and I’m going to do everything in my power to avoid going down that rabbit hole. Today I smiled at everyone I saw and hugged a woman at work who supported Trump. Little steps.

Acceptance? That’s going to take awhile. But I won’t be like those conservatives who disrespected President Obama and actively rooted for his failure these past eight years. I’m going to support Trump as our president while continuing to fight for the rights of all those living in our country: health care, reproductive rights, racial and gender equality, etc. 

I know other bloggers have addressed this much more eloquently than I, but I think the healing starts when we lay it all on the line. This piece was part of my healing process. Maybe it will help someone else along the way.

Peace, people.

Joe Biden at FAMU/VOTE BLUE 

Warning: This post is all over the place. It started out as a recounting of my experiences at a rally featuring Joe Biden and then it morphed into the lists of accomplishments of both major party candidates. So sue me.

Living in a high-profile state is a treat during presidential election years. In the past six months I’ve attended separate events where former President Bill Clinton, and Vice-presidential nominee, Tim Kaine, have spoken. Today I was privileged to be present at a rally featuring Vice-president Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden. 

Today’s event was held on the campus of Florida A&M University with dozens of local and state Democratic candidates in attendance. I’d been to FAMU before, and gambled that parking would be in the same place even though the venue had changed. It was a great gamble. I quickly made friends with a young woman who was headed to the rally, and we walked up the hill together.

After standing in an epically long line for nearly two hours we finally made it through the metal detectors as some of the local dignitaries finished speaking. I’d resigned myself to being in the back forty when a young man came and asked if my friend and I would like to move closer to the stage. Soon we were standing just a few yards from the the speakers. Better still, we had a shade tree. 

Congresswoman Gwen Graham was on hand to welcome the Bidens. Gwen is a strong voice for Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives. My hope is that she’ll be our governor some day.


By the time the Bidens arrived my feet were in agony. I hadn’t really planned on attending the rally today and had worn boots that, while darned adorable, weren’t all that comfortable. So I did what any sensible person would do–I took them off. Ahhhhh! 

The Bidens took the stage together. Jill spoke about meeting Joe when he was running for office and she was a college student. She’d attended a campaign rally and was impressed by his passion and integrity. So much so that she voted for him.

The Vice-president spoke then. He is personable and funny and invested in making this country a place where everyone has a place at the table. He spoke about the cuts Trump has proposed and the programs those cuts would affect: Social Security, funding for education, and health care chief among them. 


As Joe Biden began winding his speech to a close I decided to put my boots back on in preparation for walking down the hill. I asked a sturdy young man If I could lean on him and he gave me a huge grin. He probably thought I was a nut, but patiently stood there as I got my left boot on. 

When I put my right toe into its boot I got a Charlie horse (cramp) in my calf and almost said a bad word, but managed to restrain myself. I thanked the young man who held my hand through the whole thing. Age does have its privileges. 

The crowd was fired up and ready to vote as we headed in separate directions. My new friend had cut class to be at the rally and thought she might catch the end of it if she hurried. She promised to vote tomorrow.

Tomorrow. Election Day 2016.

I’m sixty years old. I cannot recall a more important or divisive election in my lifetime:

On the one hand we have Trump:

  • a blustering demagogue who has been in bankruptcy proceedings numerous times, even though he encourages people to think he’s a great businessman. 
  • someone with a history of litigation against those he’d rather sue than pay for services rendered.
  • a bully who encourages violence against those exercising their rights to free speech.
  • a misogynist who has bragged about groping women because as a celebrity he can do as he pleases. 
  • a man who has refused to release his tax returns and has shady ties to Russia. 
  • an anti-Semite.
  • a candidate who has mocked the disabled, stereotyped Latinos, Blacks, Muslims, and women. 
  • a man who has been endorsed by the KKK.

Then on the other, dare I say, sane hand, we have Hillary Rodham Clinton:

Cut and pasted from a Daily Kos article:


Oh, she’s also been endorsed by more newspapers, Conservative and Liberal, than any candidate in history.

Is she perfect? No, but she has faced numerous investigations by the FBI and a GOP led congress and neither entity has charged her with a single thing. 

Don’t sit around thinking your vote isn’t needed. It is. 

Peace, and common sense, people.

Put Her In, Coach

Inside the locker room at USA High

Coach Stern: Well team, I’ve got some bad news. Barry’s dad got a promotion and his family’s moving to Hawaii.

(Assembled team gasps.)

Running Back: But, Coach, he’s our quarterback! We can’t win without Barry! 

Noseguard: He’s brought us back from so many deficits. We’re doomed!

Coach Stern: Settle down everyone. I know we’re all gonna miss Barry. He’s probably the best QB we’ve had here at USA High, and he’ll be a tough act to follow.

Fullback: So, Coach, who ya got in mind to wear the quarterback’s jersey? We’ve got a couple of big games coming up. All the scouts are gonna be there.

Coach Stern: As it happens, I have two prospects in mind.

(Team members make random noises of curiosity.)

Coach Stern: One’s a seasoned player. She’s never been the quarterback, but she backed one up for years. And she’s studied every aspect of the game. Smart as hell to boot. 

Right Tackle: A chick!? Is she tough enough? Does she have the stamina to lead us?

Coach Stern: She’s got stamina like you wouldn’t believe. Almost impossible to knock down. If she were a guy she’d have been quarterback years ago.

Punter: She’s still a girl!

(Team makes assorted grumbling noises.)

Coach Stern: I thought some of you might say that, so here’s the story on the other prospect. He’s never played a single down. Heck, he tried to give our game plans to the crosstown rivals.

(Team makes angry noises.)

Safety: You mean he sold us out to Russkie Prep? 

Coach Stern: Yep. That’s exactly what he did. And he groped a couple of our cheerleaders without their permission.

Safety: Anything else?

Coach Stern: Well, he is real unpredictable, and we aren’t even sure if he’ll study the playbook. He’s a sore loser, too, as far as we can tell. Never takes responsibility for anything.

Wide Receiver: So why is he even under consideration?

Coach Stern: Well, he’s a guy. And he brags a lot. 

Tailback: Do we get a vote on this Coach?

Coach Stern: Damned straight, you do. So vote. Vote wisely. The school’s reputation depends on it.

Left Tackle: It’s a no brainer Coach. I’m with her.

(Sounds of unanimous agreement, like”Hell yes!” “Damned straight!)