May 30, 2007

Down in Louisiana Just About a Mile From Floribama

We left Hugo, continuing on through Texas and Arkansas as I repeatedly sang, "It was down in Louisiana, just about a mile from Texarkana, in them ol' cotton fields back home." I then insisted we listen to nothing but Creedence on the ipod as we crossed the great state of Louisiana. How can a band from California sound so dang Suthern and swampy? I met no resistance from Mr. Sweetheart, as we own literally every song CCR has ever recorded. Later I amused him by coming up with country songs appropriate to the cities on or near our route, belting out "Jackson" with my best June Carter Cash impersonation, and "The Mississippi Squirrel Revival", by Ray Stevens for the opportunity to shout out "PASCAGOULA!"
After a night spent in Shreveport, where our little car was very nearly smashed between two semi trucks (very scary), we headed across Mississippi and Alabama, taking small highways. We stopped a gas station/liquor store/pawn shop in nowheresville called "Snuffy Smif's", a hillbilly themed establishment, which was, ironically, owned and patronized by actual hillbillies. While waiting in line to ask for the outhouse key, I had an epiphany when I realized that those little fake roses in glass tubes that you see for sale at registers of convenience stores are crack pipes, Dollfaces. I had always wondered, did people buy these things as last minute Mother's Day gifts? What was the point? After hearing a meth head repeatedly ask for,"three roses and three Bics" in a shaky voice as she bought a fifth of Old Rose whisky and asked if anyone had tried to sell her mama's stolen freshwater pearls there, it finally became clear to me. Now I know where the glass tubes that fall out of people's pockets on COPS come from, as well. Two mysteries solved.
We finally arrived safe and sound at Mr. Sweetheart's mama's house, where we had a great visit that included lots of tasty deep fried things from the sea, key lime pie, lots of grits, eggs and Community Coffee (my new favorite) and tons of other yummy stuff to eat. Oh, we did other things too, but mostly we ate.
Here is Sugar Pea on her first day at the beach. She was not amused when I held her near the surf and a large wave sent shockingly cold water up to her thighs. She spent the rest of the day rubbing sand in her eyes and fussing. Poor baby. I'm not sure The Sweethearts are beach material. We're fair-skinned, chubby and generally rather delicate.

Another day my brother-in-law came with us to see a bog full of rare, carnivorous pitcher plants surrounded by a wooden walkway that encircled hundreds of them and continued back through beautiful deep woods full of native ferns to a pretty bay. Unfortunately, my camera's battery died right after I snapped this photo, so there are no pictures of the rest. Poor you.

After the bog, we walked around picturesque Fairhope, Alabama, a town so pretty it looks like a movie set. This picture is from the city's website, since my camera was still dead.

Later, we visited a place with a lot of history called Pirate's Cove, which was like a Jimmy Buffett song come to life--about the opposite of our idea of a good time, but a very neat place, nonetheless. There I had one of the best cheeseburgers and onion rings I think I have ever eaten, and yes, it was like eating a cheeseburger in paradise. Again with the food. Later we brought Sugar Pea here for her first swimming session because the water was shallow, warm and calm, and she had the time of her life splashing around with one of the many dogs people bring there to swim and play.

The next day we all went to Pensacola Beach, Florida, which had the prettiest white sand and blue green water, not to mention a cool water tower painted to look like a beach ball. It was a red flag day with high winds, so we could only wade a few feet into the strong waves for fear of being sucked out in a riptide. Mr. Sweetheart and I were diligent about our SPF 50 throughout the whole trip, but somehow neglected to protect our feet and legs this day. Smooth move, Lobster Legs McGee.

We paid a buck a piece just to walk out on this pier, but it was incredibly exciting for us landlocked Okies to get that far out on the water. We continued down Santa Rosa Island to a section of wild, empty beach that was so beautiful and was littered with good shells that hadn't been picked over.

The next day we returned to Pensacola to walk through historic St. Michael's Cemetery. What, you think it's weird to visit not one but two graveyards on a vacation? One more and I'd need to buy a tube of black lipstick.

I hope someone thinks I kicked enough ass to require an exclamation point when I shake off this mortal coil.

I think Mr. Sullivan must've realized he couldn't take it with him a little too late, when there was no time left to blow it all on anything but this ridiculous head stone.

One of the few examples of when naming your daughter after the state you live in actually works. Somehow "Idaho" doesn't have as pretty a ring.

Next up, we took a little trip to kookville, otherwise known as Dinosaur Adventure Land, federal prisoner Kent Hovind's charming amusement park. Unfortunately, the "Science" Center and Creation Museum were not open, but we did get to see a video depicting different dinosaurs being taken aboard Noah's ark, as well as an exhibit showing how the Grand Canyon was not formed over millions of years, but instead created rapidly by the rushing waters of the Great Flood. There are also fossils on display to prove all this "science".

Also, I bought some great tacky souvenirs and went junk shopping, but I'll show you my spoils later. Tomorrow: the trip home. Much more fun than it sounds, I promise.

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