Last Day

Today I'm driving the Texas grandkids to the airport in Panama City, Florida, for their flight home to Dallas, Texas. Neither of have them have ever flown unaccompanied, and there are some jitters. Not on their parts, mind you, but underneath this calm exterior I'm going a little nuts.

We've had a good time these past two weeks spoiling these kiddos. Doright Manor will be awfully quiet once they leave.

Bike in a Box

Poppa (Studly) Doright and I keep motorcycles for the grandkids to ride when they come to visit. All year long he searches EBay and Craig's List looking for used bikes that are just the right model and size for each child. Once he gets the bike home to Doright Manor, Studly tinkers and tweaks until the bikes run like brand new ones.

He hit the jackpot with Jackson's little Honda.

But Dominique's scooter wasn't ideal for trail riding. She'd wanted one she didn't have to shift, and that part was great, but the scooter just didn't do well in the dirt.
So Poppa began scouring local ads and found what he thought might be the perfect bike. Unfortunately it came unassembled in a box:


But it didn't take long for the bike in a box to be ready for action.

It's a pretty little off brand thing called a Viper. Contrary to what the guy we bought it from told us, the Viper isn't an automatic, though, so Dominique still doesn't have a bike.

Back to the classifieds and Craig's List we go. It's one adventure after another here at Doright Manor.

Peace, people!

Unloading the Bikes

Sometimes having fun is hard work. Today Poppa, aka Studly Doright, and the grandkids took the bikes to a local riding park outside of Tallahassee. I went along just in case a chase vehicle was needed.

Poppa made sure both Dominique and Jackson played active roles in unloading their bikes.





While the three intrepid bikers took off down a series of dirt trails I sat in the car and read for awhile. Consequently, I have no exciting photos of their ride, only secondhand tales of near misses and wrong turns. In the end, my chase car services were necessary when Dominique's scooter suffered a minor breakdown. It is nice to be needed.

Peace, people, and safe travels.

Motorcycle Man

Our Texas grandkids are visiting us here at Doright Manor, and the prime attractions are their motorcycles.

Jackson wasted no time in gearing up and cranking the engine:

Dominique had to make sure her hair fit under her helmet:

Good times with Poppa!

Tallahassee Auto Museum

Last Sunday Studly Doright and I took his mom, Saint Helen, to the Tallahassee Automobile Museum. Even though Studly and I have been in Tallahassee a little over three years, this was our first visit to the museum that sits just off Interstate 10 east of Tallahassee.

Elvis Mobile
Weird horse statue greets visitors

Here are just a few of the automobiles on display. The array was dizzying. 

Amphibious car–LBJ had one and loved to prank guests to his Texas ranch by driving into his lake.
Studebaker Avanti: The front looks like the rear.
Disturbing!
DeLorean
Studly and Saint Helen

Batman had his own section.


There were motorcycles in abundance:



Boats


Boat motors:


Tricycles and pedal cars:




Steinway Pianos:






Cash registers:


A vampire hunting kit (I really think I need one):


And lots of other goodies:


Hearse believed to be used to convey Lincoln’s body.

The museum, with its eclectic array of memorabilia, provided us with a couple of hours of entertainment. I think I’m still suffering from antique overload. 

Peace, people.

Studly’s Big Birthday Adventure, Part 1

Saturday was Studly Doright’s 59th birthday. Having feasted to the overflow mark on Thanksgiving he wanted no special birthday foods and said he’d play a round of golf to celebrate the big day. I sang “Happy Birthday” as he headed to the golf course while he grinned. I have that effect on people.

When he arrived home after golf, though, he told me to pack an overnight bag. He’d bought some motorcycle parts online and we needed to pick them up. In Metairie, Louisiana, outside of New Orleans! I didn’t quibble and ten minutes later we were on the road. 

New Orleans is a five and a half hour drive from Doright Manor, and we made it to the seller’s home around 5:30 p.m. Studly was delighted with his bargain, so while he and the seller stood swapping motorcycle tales (a.k.a. “kicking tires and telling lies”) I booked us a hotel room in Metairie. 

After a nice light dinner at PF Chang’s we checked into our hotel and cheered on the Florida State Seminoles from the comfort of our bed. 

A birthday toast at PF Chang’s.

Knowing the New Orleans Saints were playing at home at noon on Sunday we planned to get up early and be well away from the area before game time. Studly had me find us a breakfast spot using Siri, and with only one little mixup we were soon seated at a table at Willa Jean, a top brunch spot in the central business district in downtown New Orleans.

I had beignets on my mind, but unfortunately they weren’t on the menu. But, oh my goodness! What a menu! Studly, who is a breakfast traditionalist, had biscuits and sausage gravy and proclaimed his meal to be perfect. I enjoyed grilled cornbread with a syrupy butter and a side of bacon. We both believe it was the best restaurant meal we’ve had in years. Check out their website: http://www.willajean.com


After we left Willa Jean, finding the interstate was a cinch. I snapped this photo of Louis Armstrong just standing on a corner:


Ok, so Satchmo was only there in statue form, but the city was waking up around him in preparation for the game.


Once on the interstate I took a few random shots. Whatever did I do before I had an iPhone?


I’ll finish up my piece tomorrow with photos of our visit to the USS Alabama. For a low-key birthday, we had a pretty grand time. Thanks for reading! 

Peace, people!

Friends in Cold Places

Studly Doright had a motorcycle for sale on eBay, and the winning bid came from a Canadian gentleman named Dave. Well, Canadian Dave elected to drive down to Florida from Newfoundland to pick up the bike in person rather than having it shipped.

He arrived at Doright Manor around nine on Sunday morning and the minute he came through the door we felt like we’d known him forever. A semi-retired mechanic, Dave is an avid collector of cars and motorcycles, so he and Studly talked for nearly three hours before we helped him load up the bike for the long trip home. 

Just as he stepped into his pickup truck he turned and in all seriousness said, “If you two need a place to come live should that horrible man win your presidential election, you’re welcome at my house.”

It’s good to know we have friends in cold places.

Peace, people!

With a Little Help from my Friends

Note: I had a great deal of help with this post. I left blanks in my story and asked friends on Facebook to come up with content. When I had more than one friend respond I drew names from a hat. The darned story went in a totally unforeseen direction. I like it. 

My helpful friends are listed at the bottom. Underlined phrases indicate where I received help. 

“Flirting with the Law”

Sitting astride her motorcycle in front of a small jewelry store in Panama City Beach, Beth smelled the stranger before she saw him. He smelled like sheets hanging on the line, dried by the summer sun, and she lifted her head to catch his scent on the breeze. 

The scent transported her back to her childhood when hanging laundry on the line out back was a chore, but the results well worth the work. There were few things in life better than sleeping on sun-dried sheets.

Lost in her reverie, Beth startled when she realized the police officer standing beside her motorcycle was attached to the nostalgic scent. He was tall, dark, and oh so handsome.

“Excuse me, miss,” This perfect vision of manhood began, “Did you know that your license plate is missing?”

“Huh?” Beth replied in her most articulate manner. “I mean of course it’s not missing. It was there when I left Tallahassee this morning.”

But even as she spoke Beth swung a leg over the back of her bike and walked back to check. Sure enough, the plate was missing.

“Well that’s just weird,” she said. “Now what?”

The nice smelling stranger said, “Could cost you a ticket, you know,” and without looking at her he ran his leather gloved hand along the curvy contour of her tank, stopping at the crest of her saddle seat.

Beth gulped audibly and felt a slow blush creep over her face. “Honest, Officer, ummm…”

“Greg. Just Greg,” he said. “And here’s your plate. I saw some kids messing around with your bike and caught them red handed with your tag.”

Beth exhaled. “Greg, you just saved me a huge headache.”

“Well, I’m not letting you off the hook just yet,” the officer said. “Did you realize that I just finished my shift and I’m starving?”

“I guess I should let you go then, though, I don’t suppose you have a screwdriver on you….” Beth said indicating her detached license plate.

Greg grinned from ear to ear. “Come, let me buy you some lunch, and I’ll find a screwdriver for you.”

For one brief moment Beth considered turning him down. After all, he was a cop, and she did have a bag of stolen diamonds in her saddlebag. 

“Why, I’ll take you up on that,”she smiled demurely, looping her arm through his. She was running well ahead of schedule.

Many thanks to

Steven Ramos
Bob Walsh
Flora Diehl
Janie Christie Heniford
along with everyone else who submitted suggestions.

Peace, people!

Curves

she’d never been adept
at hanging lefthand curves;
hitting the apex just so,
leaning tight into the turn.
she’d fall out too soon,
or overshoot, rattling
her delicate equilibrium.
but let her lean right,
oh my! and the gods smiled
at the smooth transition,
steely nerves, graceful form.
she pondered a world of
only right hand curves
and ended up exactly
where her ride began.

 

I only wish I could lean left like this.

Peace, people. 

All Fun and Games

  
Our housekeeper came on the 24th, and Doright Manor was spotless by the time she left: Tiles gleamed, faucets sparkled, and countertops shone. Studly Doright and I enjoyed Christmas Day and Boxing Day in a clean castle. Then the grandchildren arrived, along with the jolly mess that accompanies them everywhere they roam.

Within minutes of the kids’ arrival at midnight on Sunday the house looked like a violent windstorm had blown through. Suitcases exploded flinging clothing hither and yon, chairs that do not normally recline somehow morphed into loungers, and our cabinets were emptied of anything edible. 

And this was all before the gifts were opened. Once that occurred, Doright Manor disappeared beneath acres of brightly colored wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows. There might’ve been actual books, gadgets, and toys in the pile, I’m just not sure they’ll ever be located. 

Thankfully the weather here in the Florida panhandle has been perfect for exploring the outdoors this week. The kids spent hours riding the mini-bike and motorcycle that Studly (a.k.a. Poppa) fixed up for them in the weeks before their arrival. The property surrounding the manor provided a perfect track for our budding bikers.

   
 And we spent a couple of hours learning basic gun safety.

   
 A prodigious amount of tree chopping took place, as well.

  
In other words, we tried to keep them outside as much as possible. 

The crew headed home on New Year’s Day leaving behind a trail of detritus and memories. The house might look like we’ve lost a rousing game of Jumanji, but it was worth every second.

Peace, people.