Suffering from a Severe Lack of Oomph

I surrender! I have all these photos of the grandkids’ visit, but not the oomph needed to write about them. My oomph evaporated on Monday afternoon when I left the kids at the airport in Panama City Beach, and I’m not sure when it’s coming back.

Life continues, though, as does this blog, so I’m going to take the easy, less oomph reliant path and just post photos. If the spirit moves me, I might even comment on them. If not, well, make up your own captions. Oh, I started at the end of their visit and went backwards for some reason.

Here are a few from our morning in Panama City Beach before we headed to the airport:

Dominique and friend, Sophia, pose outside Dick’s Last Resort.

Enjoying a pineapple drink on the promenade.

Dominique pushing Jackson in a beach wheelchair so he wouldn’t get sand in his cast. I pushed him out to the beach and she pushed him back to the pavement. Hey, I think I know the moment my oomph disappeared!

Ahhh! The sun and the sand and the water.

Dining at Dick’s Last Resort, where the waiters are rude on purpose and the giggles are non-stop.

From our trip to Wild Adventures in Valdosta, Georgia on Sunday:

Poppa (aka Studly Doright) and Jackson built a motorcycle during the kids’ visit. For some reason I didn’t take any “before” photos, but this bike was in pieces at the beginning of last week:

Tallahassee Museum and Zoo is one of the grandkids’ (and grandparents’) favorite places to visit.

While the two 15-year-olds embarked on the tree-to-tree adventure,

Jackson, Studly, and I explored the zoo area:

At Jackson’s request we went “thrifting.”

And I took the girls sightseeing and swimming at Wakulla Springs:

And that’s about it. The kids and I stayed up late to watch a scary movie one night, but I didn’t document that. I had crafts for us to do, but those ideas were met with little enthusiasm. That’s just fine. I’m not sure my limited supply of oomph would’ve allowed for much creativity.

It’s awfully quiet around Doright Manor since they’ve been gone. The only one happy with the kids’ absence is our cat, Patches. Maybe she’ll help with the oomph issue.

Or not.

Snapshot #210

Yesterday (Sunday) was nuts. Studly Doright and I took the Texas grandkids and their friend, Sophia, to Wild Adventures theme park in Valdosta, Georgia. I was too worn out from all the fun and heat last night to write a blog post, and this morning I have to get the crew up to catch their flight out of Panama City. A single snapshot is all I have time to post today.

I call this one, “The Trouble with Butterflies.” Darn thing wouldn’t stand still.

Peace, people.

Lunch with my Cousin and a Night in LaGrange

Drive, drive, drive! That’s about all I did on Friday the 13th. I left my friend Nicky’s home in Kingsport, Tennessee, around 9:45 yesterday morning and drove to Knoxville to meet my cousin, Peggy, for lunch. Peggy is my second cousin. Her father and my grandfather were brothers. Both were handsome men married to attractive women.

Peggy and her two older sisters were the young women I looked up to as a child. All three were beautiful and well-mannered; whereas, I was a plain little girl with a tendency to rebel. Nevertheless, Peggy, who is three years my senior, was a sometimes playmate, and I have great memories of times we spent together in our younger days.

I’d lost track of Peggy for at least a couple of decades, maybe more, until a few months ago when she friended me on Facebook. After I’d accepted my friend Nicky’s invitation to visit Kingsport I began making plans to have lunch with Peggy in Knoxville on the way home.

Now I’m kicking myself because I forgot to get a picture of the two of us together. Damn. You’ll have to take my word for it, but Peggy is still beautiful and well-mannered. We did our best to catch up in the limited time we had to visit, but I need at least another week with her.

Once we parted ways I set my GPS to avoid major highways and the city of Atlanta on my trip home to Doright Manor. The resulting route took me on a scenic, yet curvy, roller coaster ride through Tennessee and into Georgia. I figured that once I’d gotten far enough south of the aforementioned Atlanta I’d reconfigure my settings to find the fastest route.

Back roads are fun, yet exhausting, and around 7:00 p.m. I decided to stop for the night in the town of LaGrange, Georgia. Now, I might’ve found the most perfect town in the world quite by accident. After checking into the brand new Courtyard by Marriott, I had a nice dinner in their bistro before setting out to explore the downtown area.

Directly across the street from my hotel was a park with a statue in the midst of a fountain.

Curious as to the identity of the statue, I crossed the street for a better look. I’d expected to see some Confederate war era general, but to my surprise and delight I discovered it to be a statue of General Lafayette.

According to GeorgiaInfo, an online Georgia almanac,

“Born at the Chateau de Chavaniac, Auvergne, France, on September 6, 1757, Gilbert Motier de Lafayette became at age 19 a major general on George Washington’s staff. He played a vital role in the defeat of General Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown, October 19, 1781, ending the American Revolution.

Later in France Lafayette was commanding general of the National Guard. Leader in the movement that gave France a republican form of government, author of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, and designer of the “Cocarde of Liberty” which he holds in his hand.

LaGrange, Georgia, was named for Lafayette’s home, the Chateau de LaGrange, on motion of Julius C. Alford, when this city was chartered on December 16, 1828…”

The statue and the surrounding park are a fitting centerpiece for this lovely town.

The First Baptist Church on the Square:

This is a museum of some kind. I’d have visited it if it had been open. Maybe on my next trip through the area I’ll have better timing.

Lots of interesting shops called to me, but again, I arrived too late:

I don’t think I’d ever seen a “Keep Off the Trees” sign before. It kind of made me want to climb them, rebel that I am.

I MUST visit this shop:

What a day, am I right? Lunch with a long lost cousin followed by a trip on scenic back roads, culminating in a stopover in LaGrange. I’m ready to be back home with Studly Doright and the cats, though.

Peace, people!

Bumming Around Bainbridge

On Saturday morning Studly Doright decided we needed to drive the thirty miles or so to Bainbridge, Georgia, for breakfast at the American restaurant. I was delighted that he felt like getting out for a bit, so I quickly made myself presentable, and soon we were driving north through Havana, FL, and across the Florida-Georgia state line.

The drive is a pretty one through rolling hills and by 9:30 a.m. we were pulling up in front of The American.

There was just one problem–the restaurant didn’t open until 11:30. Studly assured me that he knew of another restaurant in Bainbridge, so we drive across town only to discover that they weren’t open either.

Studly suggested we get a donut at a place we’d passed as we drove into town, after which we could shop for a few necessities at the local Walmart then try The American for lunch. A donut sounded awful, but by this time I was so hungry I’d have agreed to just about anything.

After eating our much too doughy donuts we drove to Walmart and bought a new alarm clock and a few other items. We wandered around as long as we could, but it was only 10:30, and I could still taste that damned donut.

I suggested we go back to the downtown area and walk around until The American opened. Studly parked under a shade tree and sent me off to explore while he took a nap.

This pretty park sits in the heart of downtown Bainbridge:

Finally The American restaurant opened. We’d never eaten there, but one of Studly’s co-workers highly recommended it.

The interior was appealing.

Studly enjoyed a Hawaiian ribeye sandwich, and I had a grilled chicken and pesto sandwich. Both were good, but I’m not sure they were worth the drive. Maybe that darned donut was still messing with my taste buds. I’ll have to give the restaurant another try some day.

We drove home and both of us took a nap. Poor Studly still isn’t getting enough sleep due to pain from surgery to repair sciatic nerve damage, so he catches a few zzzzz’s anytime he can. I feel totally helpless.

Peace, people.

Photos from Birdsong

On Sunday I met up with members of the Tallahassee Women’s Meetup group for a visit to Birdsong Nature Center outside of Thomasville, Georgia. This was my second visit to Birdsong, and I had eagerly anticipated the trip.

http://www.birdsongnaturecenter.org

Anticipation can sometimes be the enemy, and leave one feeling disappointed by reality, but Birdsong delivered the magic once again.

Here are just a few of my extremely amateurish photos.

Dogwood in bloom:

A titmouse at the window:

A bright red cardinal:

Wild azaleas:

A nice fat woodpecker:

An even fatter squirrel:

The Listening Place:

And one more cardinal:

What a glorious day!

Peace, people.

I’ve Been Eating on the Railroad

In Monday’s post I recounted the tale of a trip to Birdsong Nature Center outside of Thomasville, Georgia. My friend, Lee Ann, was visiting from Indiana, and we wanted to explore the beauty of nature while enjoying a good hike. Birdsong was the perfect place to indulge our wishes.

Of course after our four mile hike we were hungry, and I suggested that we drive into Thomasville to enjoy a meal at Jonah’s Fish and Grits. Jonah’s is always a great choice. Unfortunately everyone else in the area had the same idea, and the line for Jonah’s snaked down the sidewalk. My first inclination was to go on back to Tallahassee, but on our way out of town we saw a sign for Sass! Sweet and Savory Sisters Restaurant. 


I’d seen their sign before, but didn’t have any knowledge of their fare. I quickly consulted Lee Ann and with her approval I made a sharp turn into Sass’s parking lot. 

Sass is located inside a historic train depot and outdoor seating features a ring side seat to actual train tracks.


Lee Ann wondered aloud if the tracks were still in use. A few minutes later, we got an answer:



I remarked, in a necessarily loud voice, that Sass would be the perfect place to bring someone with whom you didn’t want to make meaningful conversation.

But all joking aside, Sass was a terrific lunch spot. The staff was lively and efficient and the menu included everything my dreams are made of including beignets! 


Lee Ann ordered a strawberry, walnut, and spinach salad, while I ordered a couple of appetizers: mini tomato sandwiches with dill mayo and baked pimento cheese on French bread. And it goes without saying that we enjoyed the beignets for dessert. Oh my!

What a great meal to celebrate our visit. And I highly recommend Sass. Yes, Jonah’s is good, but Sass is its equal. Different fare, but both worthy of a trip to Thomasville. 

Peace, people!

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!

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 Grandkids are Coming! The Grandkids are Coming!

Saturday (tomorrow!) I am meeting our son in Jackson, Mississippi, and bringing our oldest granddaughter, Dominique (13), and our youngest grandson, Jackson (10), home with me for two whole weeks! 

Eeeee! Time spent with the grands is the best.

I have a list of fun stuff to do while they’re with me in Havana, Florida, including trips to the beach, to the water park in Valdosta, Georgia, and to the wonderful Tallahassee Museum. Plus we’ll fish off of the dock in our backyard and maybe play Pokemon Go! I see exhaustion in my future.  

The blog might take a backseat for two weeks, but surely I’ll have time to add some pictures of our adventures to keep me in the habit of posting daily. I have a few posts queued up, as well.

Now I need to go freshen the bedding in the guest rooms and make sure my stock of snacks is sufficient for two hungry kids.

So excited! Peace, people!

We saw the kids in May when they were forced to sit still for a photo.

Thomasville, Georgia

A brand new friend and I drove over to Thomasville, Georgia, yesterday to shop and have lunch. It was a superb day even with the rain that fell sporadically and the growing realization that my hips have grown wide enough to qualify for their own zip code.

My friend knows the area, so she was my guide as we peeked into gift shops and boutiques and even a funky taxidermy establishment. 

 

Heavenly seafood and grits to die for!
 
After a lunch of Jonah’s spicy Cyclone Shrimp and a Caesar salad we wandered into the cutest little shop. 

 

You probably can’t tell, but the table top had a layer of sand on it! Perfect for a summer beach themed display.
 
I should’ve taken more photos, but as we browsed I realized that after several minutes no watchful shop attendant had come out to greet us. A pair of high school aged girls stopped by the store and we learned that one of their teachers owned the business. We continued looking around and visiting for awhile and then the young ladies left. 

Now, I’m a huge fan of shows like Crime Scene Investigation and Criminal Minds, so naturally I began to believe that the shop’s owner had come to some harm. Perhaps as we’d been innocently examining the goods in her shop she’d been lying in a pool of slowly congealing blood, scratching the initials of her assailant in the viscous red liquid in hopes that her murder will be solved and justice served.

With that scenario in mind, I boldly strode to the work area of the store and yelled, “Hello?!” No answer. I looked under a workbench and behind a counter. Nothing. No one. My new friend was beginning to get a bad vibe. About me. I can tell these things–it’s why I can count my friends on one hand and still have two fingers left over.

Reluctantly, we left the store, but I wasn’t through. I went to the shop next door and explained my concerns to the two ladies working there.

Specifically I said, “There’s no one in the gift shop next door. We were there for at least ten minutes and I’m worried about the shop owner.”

“Oh,” said one of the women with a smile. “She is a bit eccentric. She probably just wandered down the street to get some lunch.”

I was relieved and a bit flabbergasted. Who leaves a shop unattended in the middle of the day? Or at any time, for that matter. Granted, Thomasville isn’t a large city, but it is certainly big and busy enough for there to be ill-intentioned people lurking about.

My (still?) friend and I left feeling a measure of relief and continued shopping. She bought a couple of cute tops and I bought a natural mosquito repellent. That’s what one buys when one’s hips have become their own 90210. 

I fully intended to return to the unattended shop before leaving Thomasville, but a rain storm burst from the heavens and put an end to our stroll about town. Perhaps on my next visit I’ll stop in to see who this most trusting of women is and spend a few dollars in her shop. I had a strange affinity for those wooden seagulls.

Peace, people!