Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Shed, Ocean Springs, Mississippi

 

It’s nearly three in the afternoon when we reach exit 57 into Gautier, Mississippi, but the odor of fresh-cooked beignets is driving us crazy, and making us hungry, so we stop at The Shed. The website says The Shed is in Ocean Springs, but I always think of it as Gautier because it is just off I-10, that major drug running and human trafficking route running across our southernmost United States.

We’ve stopped before at The Shed, with the grandchildren, but it was always so crowded and backed up that we found someplace else. This time, we are in luck.

As we order, we see on the menu that Seniors can order kids meals. We are not big hungry, and we know we have a dinner party in just a few hours, so we order kids portions. Good thing.

The ceiling inside The Shed:

The interior, and where I believe live music often plays:

My “child’s portion” of ribs:

AdventureMan’s “child portion” pulled pork sandwich:

So delighted we could get these “smaller portions.” I hate to imagine what an adult portion would look like!

June 24, 2017 Posted by | Adventure, Aging, Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, Food, Pensacola, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Hell Bent for Texas and the Country Kitchen

(This is my first blog entry done from an iPad, and I still have a lot to learn about how to make the same technologies work that seemed so easy on my computer. Bear with me!)

We could have taken more time, but we decided to make it all in one day – Pensacola to Bryan/College Station, Texas, to see old Texas friends. We made it out the door at exactly seven a.m. – a miracle, and chat chat chatted our way across the remaining few miles of Florida, flew across Alabama, zipped across Mississippi. About when we figured we were half way, and were hungry for lunch, we found ourselves back in familiar territory – the Atchafalaya Basin, Bayou Teche and serious Cajun country. And – we also needed gas, so drifting into the gas station on fumes, we breathed a sigh of relief and focused on our next project – what to eat, where to eat.

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An answered prayer – The Country Kitchen. As we drove into the parking lot, AdventureMan lowered his window and said “Can you smell that??” The smell of smoking meat pulled us happily inside, where we ordered BBQ chicken. I did something I never do – my phone rang and I had to make a quick decision on a side, and I went with cornbread dressing. What a blessing of fate, while it is something I probably should not eat much of, it was SO delicious, hot, spicy and sweet. It was hard to resist. I also had the sweet peas – they were out of green beans. AdventureMan had very much the same, except with rice.

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SO Good.

If you find yourself outside of Lafayette, LA, find this gem. The cooking is all real food, probably not the healthiest, probably they use fat in just about everything, but it is oh, so delicious.

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Now Google tells us that the quickest way to get to Bryan, TX is to get off the Interstate at Beaumont, TX, just after crossing the state line. This road is hilarious – two lanes, with speed limits of 70 on several stretches, churches along the way with names like Cowboy Church and Lonesome Dove Chapel, and a stand set up selling Mayhaw jelly.

It was a very very long drive, and, at long last, we arrived at our friends’ beautiful, serene house, spent the evening laughing and catching up, with never a silent moment, we all just had so much to say. Finally, exhausted, we fell into bed, only to rise ready for more chat the next morning. Aren’t old friends the BEST? No matter how much time has passed, you can pick right up, share your hearts and you can talk about everything.

It was a joyful breakfast, again full of tears and laughter, and then, the painful parting. We have this wonderful memory though – just as we were about to leave, we asked about those Mayhaws. what were they, and then we asked about a song AdventureMan can almost remember, “Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch,” which our friend knew and sang, and as we left we were all laughing once again.

April 24, 2012 Posted by | Adventure, Blogging, Eating Out, Friends & Friendship, Road Trips | , , , | 2 Comments

The Appeal by John Grisham

One of the things I like about John Grisham is that he really likes the underdog. In his books, the person often the least likely to prevail does so, usually because he has a smart attorney, one who is paying attention and taking good care of the client. Warning – this book review contains a spoiler, so don’t go any further if you don’t want to know too much about the plot and resolution.

Appeal

The Appeal is the exception. No one wins, not even the apparent winner, who sails off in the end with his empty, unsatisfying life. He schemes, he exploits, he lies, he buys elections, and he makes a fortune – and he isn’t satisfied. He is married to a woman who sounds more like a greyhound, all skin and bones and self-absorption.

The subject matter is a case where a chemical company has dumped toxic wastes into the ground in Mississippi, it has penetrated into the groundwater, and polluted the entire water system of a small fictional town. Two lawyers, married to one another, sacrifice everything and face bankruptcy to win a case for their client who has lost both husband and son to cancer caused by the toxic chemicals dumped. They win.

There is an appeal.

What this book is about isn’t just about groundwater contamination, or even about buying elections in Mississippi – it is an indictment of every state that elects judges. The core of the novel is about how big money, big corporations, pick candidates and fund them, legally and illegally, and insure that they win. They pack the courts with judges who are opposed to large settlements.

God bless John Grisham. With all his great legal thrillers, he has made a bundle and can take risks like writing a book like The Appeal, which should be an eye opener, and should be read by every caring citizen.

Judges should not be elected. When the judiciary are elected, they have to think about their next election, with every legal decision. It taints objectivity. It corrupts objectivity. It eliminates objectivity. Without an objective judiciary – why bother? They will always rule on the side whose interests are the most powerful and profitable.

Here are a couple quotes that tell you where the novel is going. My Kuwaiti friends are going to love this – I have taken so many shots at Kuwait corruption – so here it is, my friends, exposure of the institutionalized corruption in my country:

Barry laughed and crossed his legs. “We do campaigns. Have a look.” He picked up a remote and pushed the button, and a large white screen dropped from the ceiling and covered most of the wall, then the entire nation appeared. Most of the states were in green, the rest were in a soft yellow. “Thirty-one states are in the green. The yellow ones have the good sense to appoint their courts. We make our living in the green ones.”

“Judicial elections.”
“Yes. That’s all we do, and we do it very quietly. When our clients need help, we target a supreme court justice who is not particularly friendly, and we take him, or her, out of the picture.”
“Just like that.”
“Just like that.”
“Who are your clients?”
“I can’t give you the names, but they’re all on your side of the street. Big companies in energy, insurance, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, timber, all types of manufacturers, plus doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, banks. We raise tons of money and hire the people on the ground to run aggressive campaigns.”

* * * * * * * *

The Senator did not know who owned the jet, not had he ever met Mr. Trudeau, which in most cultures would seem odd since Rudd had taken so much money from the man. But in Washington, money arrives through a myriad of strange and nebulous conduits. Often those taking it have only a vague idea of where it’s coming from; often they have no clue. In most democracies, the transference of so much cash would be considered outright corruption, but in Washington the corruption has been legalized. Senator Rudd didn’t know and didn’t care that he was owned by other people. He had over $11 million in the bank, money he could eventually keep if not forced to waste it on some frivolous campaign. In return for such an investment, Rudd had a perfect voting record on all matters dealing with pharmaceuticals, chemicals, oil, energy, insurance, banks and on and on.

I like almost every book I read by John Grisham. He is a man with a conscience, and he is trying to raise our awareness of corruptive factors before our system goes entirely under. I couldn’t put this book down, and I can hardly wait to read the next one.

June 16, 2009 Posted by | Books, Bureaucracy, Character, Community, Crime, Cultural, Fiction, Financial Issues, Fund Raising, Interconnected, Law and Order, Leadership, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Social Issues | , , , | 3 Comments