"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime"-MARK TWAIN

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Another Milestone


A few days ago, Wanda and I reached another milestone in our lives.  Forty eight years married to each other.  How can that be?  I’m incredulous that she has put up with me for that long.  Appears that I’m in for the long run.

We decided that we would spend the day by driving down to St. Francisville, Louisiana.  We had read of a new restaurant in that area which was receiving many accolades.  A young couple, both chefs, had moved from New Orleans and opened their own place.

St. Francisville is an old river town, much like Natchez or Vicksburg. Lots of old homes which attract tourists.

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And old buildings full of stuff to sell.

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Once the Bank of Commerce, the vault now holds buttons.

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Grand Mother’s Buttons to be exact.  Folks will buy anything.

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As for the restaurant, it didn’t live up to our expectations.  Though the food wasn’t bad, it didn’t fit our taste’s.  Good Cajun food is spicy, but flavorful.  Both our entrĂ©e’s were so hot with Tabasco that the flavor of the seafood was totally masked.

We took a different route toward home. Passed by this sign and turned around.

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Oakley Plantation.  A Louisiana state park.  With connections to John James Audubon, himself.

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Oakley was much like many other plantation houses of the day.  Built by a rich planter from Natchez, in 1799. It raised Indigo and cotton on the backs of slave labor.  It’s connection to Audubon began in 1821, and only lasted a few months.  John James Audubon was hired by the mistress of Oakley to be the tutor of her daughter.  His pay was sixty dollars a month, plus room and board for himself and his 13 year old assistant.  Remember this was 1821.  Big money for a tutor.  As the daughter became ill, and unable to attend her studies, Audubon was fired after four months.  During the four months he did live at Oakley, he completed thirty two of his famous bird paintings.

This one’s for real.

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I took a few pictures inside, but they looked the same as every other old plantation house. Figured why bore you with that.

Thoughts of cool mountains are dancing in my head…..jc

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Signs of Summer


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Though Summer doesn’t officially arrive for another ten days or so, the signs of it’s arrival are all around us.  The day lilies are blooming in flower beds, and along the roadsides. 

The Blueberries are beginning to ripen, which in turn calls for pancakes for breakfast, and blueberry pound cake with vanilla ice cream for a late evening snack.

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It’s fascinating to see how much they plump up as they ripen.  The fully ripe ones are the size of a dime.

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And then, there’s the road side vendors along the way.  I admit I didn’t take this picture.  Borrowed it from a friend who posted it on Facebook.  It’s one of the best examples of “Summer in the South” you’ll find anywhere.

Deep south

Hope you can read it.  It’s perfectly clear to me…..jc

Friday, June 5, 2015

Steaks, Tamales, and much more.


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With things sort of slow around home, we gave some friends from Memphis a call.  Would they like to meet us someplace for a few days of just visiting, eating, and other low impact activities?  The answer was a resounding yes, and we decided on Lake Chicot State Park near Lake village, Arkansas.  Lake Chicot itself is a beautiful old oxbow lake.  Part of the Mississippi River some 500 years ago, it became a polluted cachement basin after the levees were built in the 1930’s.  A restoration was begun in 1985, and it is now one of the premier lakes in Arkansas.  It is also the largest oxbow lake in North America.

Arkansas state parks, along with Mississippi’s, are some of the best in the Country, in my opinion.  They are nice facilities where one can get a full hookup site for around twenty dollars.  No additional per-person fees or park admission fees, either. 

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My only complaint is their water hookups.  You have to wonder why the electric and sewer is where it’s supposed to be, and the water is way out “there”.  We’ve run into that in a number of Arkansas parks.

Did I mention eating?  One shouldn’t be within fifty miles of Greenville, MS, and not visit Doe’s Eat Place.  Located in a neighborhood that was run down in 1941, when it opened, it’s a place that defies description.  An armed security person roams the street and points out where to park. Entering the front door, you find yourself in the kitchen, where slabs of beef the size of dinner plates are sizzling in the broiler.  There are other Doe’s out there, but this is the original.

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You’re seated in another part of the kitchen where the frying takes place.  The menu is steak, shrimp; fried or grilled, and spaghetti with sauce.  You get fries with the steak or shrimp, and a small salad with home made dressing is optional. That’s it!

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When “our” 42 ounce “bone in ribeye” arrived, I was too shocked to take a picture.  Ruth’s Chris couldn’t touch it.Smile

On another evening we went looking for tamales.  One might think the Mississippi Delta would be an odd place for tamales.  Truth is, they are everywhere.  Handmade by families that have used recipes handed down generation by generation.  Lots of stories about how they became a staple of the Delta.  No one know for sure, but most every Delta town has a family that makes and sells tamales.

We decided on a local joint in Lake Village.  Wanda wasn’t too sure about the place.

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Rhoda and her husband make every tamale, themselves.  Wrap each one in a shuck and simmer them for hours in a pot of seasoned broth.  Almost forgot to get a picture there also.  They were awesome.

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I may have gotten another half dozen, but we had pie back at the camper.

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We were told that a bus with fifty Australians stopped by earlier that day.  Would have loved to get their thoughts on the Delta, and its food…….jc