February 15, 2015- Panama City to Waveland I am a bit of a stick-in-the-mud, when it comes to breakfast. I want no fried, boiled or poached eggs, no bananas and I think keeping the heavy to a minimum is good- so very little, in the way of biscuits and gravy, hits my plate. I did, however, leave my friends’ home in Panama City, with a fair amount of freshly picked kumquats. They are a fabulous snack food, and full of Vitamin C, being the only citrus fruit which may be eaten, rind and all. I will hold these exquisite people in the highest regard, though, I’m not in the market for any of the various ladies with whom Host might want to arrange a relationship. My presence in anyone else’s life is too fleeting. Nonetheless, goodbyes don’t come easy.
The road between destinations always throws in its share of bounties and bestowals. That’s the magic of the journey. So it was, that I left Panama City, headed for Pensacola, with at least the intention of spending a couple of hours poking around the historic sights and sounds of Escambia Bay. There was, as it happened though, the chance of connecting with my friends from Alabama, down in Ocean Springs, MS, for a day or so. Mental arithmetic led to my decision to put off Pensacola and Mobile, until an as yet undetermined “next time”. I did stop at Shrimp Basket, in Pensacola, for a take-out lunch. That was a good thing, as Sunday lunch in the Florida Panhandle means wearing one’s Sunday Best. My attire was neat, clean-and very casual. The crab cakes, though, were very tasty, once I got to that picnic table, outside Ocean Springs. The view of the channel at the rest area, west of Pascagoula, was comforting in itself.
I called a new friend, who happened to be in Ocean Springs, and was pleased to share an hour or so, in that splendid little town, consisting of the two villages of Bienville and Iberville. We met outside the old Rail Station, as he walked towards my car.
As you might guess, he, too, is taking the slow and easy approach to life, at least for a time.
We took the jeep to the beach area, after savouring coffee, and, at least in my case, a cannoli, at the only Coffee House in town.
The beach here is a blend of sand, due to the recovery efforts from the Great Hurricanes of 2005.
You can see that there are still some stands of cypress trees and pin oaks, along the Causeway, north of the beach.
The Gulf here shimmers as well as it does everywhere, belying the ongoing recovery efforts from the Deep Water Horizon, which only the fishermen still feel.
Well, the pelicans feel it, too. They were gathered this fine evening, on posts at the end of an old pier.
The beach towns have always been places to while away a day, in gentlemanly fashion. Had this been a weekday, chances are some would be gathered in the beach-side park, for a game of chess.
They’d have been greeted with a fine message.
Downtown Ocean Springs had celebrated Mardi Gras, just a few hours earlier, as had several towns along the coast. There were beads and other mementos of the festivities, strewn along the sidewalks. In this grand scheme of life, even Man’s best friend gets in the act.
Saying farewell to my friend, I headed further along, to Biloxi, another fine old French-heritage site. Before I ran out of daylight, some lovely memoirs of the Mississippi that was, showed themselves during an hour’s walk.
Here is Biloxi City Hall.
The Magnolia Hotel is Biloxi’s Grande Dame. It was built in 1847.
Mary Mahoney’s French House is the city’s premier restaurant.
The white sand beaches, though, are a key element of what keeps Biloxi thriving.
My last photo of the evening came with a brief stop at the grounds of a place bound to evoke mixed emotions for the history buff: Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis Home and Library. Knowing the past helps shape the future, so on a future sojourn, I may well stop here and learn just what made the man form such an alternate view of how America was to evolve.
The night did not come in a shy manner. I continued on, through Pass Christian, which had just finished its Mardi Gras parade, Bay Saint Louis, where none of the Mom and Pop motels had their Welcome lights on, to Waveland, where I got a modest-sized room, for a premier price- this being so close to Mardi Gras and all. Dinner was cheap, though, at Third Base Bar and Grill, a honky tonk which is one of the most convivial places I’ve yet had the pleasure to visit. This is country Mississippi as I wish it had been in the 60’s, everyone getting along, without regard to who was from where, or from what background. I was treated just fine, with my mushroom Swiss burger, lightly-oiled fries and a pitcher of ice water- me being a teetotaler and all.
The journey becomes a destination, in and of itself.