YES, I AM STILL HERE peeking out of the newspaper’s window on Main Street and I am just returned from a brief stay at the Alabama Gulf Coast. My late wife and I began going there in the 1970s. In those days we went to Dauphin Island which is connected by a tall bridge and a ferry to the mainland. It’s a choppy 30-minute cruise by ferry.
One of the Gulf’s mid-90s hurricanes blew away the beach house Jane and I always rented, and we stopped going.
But we never lost our love for the Gulf.
I returned in October of 2007 to scatter her ashes in the waves as was her wish. Daughter and granddaughter were with me then. We stayed across Mobile Bay in a Gulf Shores condo owned by some friends.
We returned nearly every October until school events and Covid interfered for awhile. Then we resumed.
Even without granddaughter, Julie and I returned nearly every year and stayed in the same condo even after our friends sold it. We’d ride the ferry back to visit Jane’s beach.
Here are some of the highlights of our trip this year:
• They have not run out of shrimp, oysters or fish, and there are plenty of places anxious to sell you some. One of the reasons we love an October trip is that there are no crowds trying to get into the restaurant ahead of you.
• Restaurant prices have done the same thing our gasoline prices have. One thing has remained steady. Nashville had the highest gas prices on our way down and back.
• One fine morning as daughter and I sat out on our 10th floor condo balcony at least three dozen monarch butterflies fluttered past — going east to west on their route to Mexico. We saw none, zero, on other mornings, and we looked for them. One day we watched two bathers waaaaay out from shore. At the same time we saw a shark — maybe a 4-footer — cruise along just beyond the gentle breakers. The bathers never knew it was there, and the shark just peacefully made its way between the bathers and the shore. It has been years since I’ve gone out even chest deep into the ocean and this incident reinforced that policy.
• The ferry was closed for repairs the whole time we were there.
• Arkansas highways are generally worse than Mississippi and Alabama. The exception is around Jackson, Miss., which is the absolute armpit of the world.
Glad to be back in time for Early Voting.
=—-= — =
LET’S VOTE. Here are some important dates for the November General Election:
•Monday, Oct. 24, early voting begins at Carter Day Training Center. Vote center is open M-F, 8-6
•Friday, Oct. 28, is the last day to transfer your address (examples: from Athens to Dierks, or from Nashville Ward 6 to Ward 3).
•Saturdays Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, early voting continues, 10-4 each day.
•Monday, Nov. 7, last day for early voting.
•Tuesday, Nov. 8, General Election day. Four voting centers in Howard County are open 7:30-7:30.
Me? I’m voting AGAINST every issue on the ballot. Why? The TV ads for the marijuana issue are soooo misleading. And the other items were proposed by the legislature, and history has taught me that most of those referred items are for their own benefit. The religious freedom issue corrects a problem we do not have.
=—-= — =
WORD GAMES. Here are more words that go together in some context: This, That and The Other. Pretty much covers everything.
=—-= — =
I STILL MISS Joda’s Restaurant, an iconic eating place in Nashville during five decades. It was located where a convenience store/station is now next to a car wash on Hwy. 27 N. Before that it was a streetcar diner located where the abandoned Pilgrim’s offices are on East Shepherd St.
And I hear a lot of you commenting on its absence, still. Some of you even brag that you have the recipe for Joda’s dressing which was squeezed over many a Saltine cracker.
I have already cast my vote for Joda’s in the annual restaurant and food recognition program at the Arkansas Heritage site on the Internet — the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame.
Vote for Joda’s in the ‘Gone But Not Forgotten’ category.
You’ll need to know the years Joda’s was open, and Joda Nelson’s daughter, Neva Jo Nelson White informs me that it was open 1948-1985. She operated it for the last few years after Joda retired.
Don’t let Arkansas forget Joda’s. Go to firstname.lastname@example.org to cast your vote.
And, pass the crackers and Joda’s dressing, please.
=—-= — =
HE SAID: “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” Isasac Asimov, sci-fi novelist
=—-= — =
SHE SAID: “We cannot create observers by saying ‘observe’, but by giving them the power and the means for this observation and these means are procured through education of the senses.” Maria Montessori, physician and educator
=—-= — =
SWEET DREAMS, Baby