HERE ARE THE NUMBERS OF my annual trip to the Gulf of Mexico.
I got back Sunday night. We stay in Gulf Shores, and visit Dauphin Island one day.
12 — the number of times I’ve made the trip to Jane’s beach, Dauphin Island, Ala., without her.
59 — the highway number that runs south from I-10 outside of Mobile to Gulf Shores, Ala. It’s also the number of stoplights that you will catch along the way.
1,375 — the total number of miles put on my buggy. I drive to Maumelle and spend the night, and next morning bright and early we get on the road. When I finally drop off my travel crew, I still have two hours before I get home.
2 — number of pets my daughter had to take to the vet on Thursday morning instead of us getting on the road ahead of Little Rock morning drive traffic.
4 — the number of hours we were late from our usual start.
10 — the number of hours it used to take us before I discovered the shortcut.
8.5 — the number of hours it now takes.
8 — the number of hours it would take if I would only listen to my daughter.
500 — the number of re-purposed bricks stamped “AB&T Brick Co., Pine Bluff, Ark.” forming a sidewalk at the ferry landing gift shop at Fort Morgan, Ala. Because I read the schedule wrong on the night before, we had a loooooong wait before the ferry came in. Counting bricks gave me something to do, and kept me safely away from my daughter.
56 — the number of oysters I slaughtered during the two days and three nights we spent at the Gulf.
1 — the number of healthy meals I had during our Gulf stay. How many calories can there be in a dozen raw oysters, and a seafood salad with vinagrette dressing? Let’s not count the garlic bread, okay?
2 — the number of homies on our trip this year. Granddaughter did not get to go because she had to stay and cheer the Maumelle Hornets on to glorious victory on Thursday night. She stayed with her dad. The Hornets lost. I’m sure she cheered great because her momma, her grandmomma and her great-grandmommas were all cheerleaders.
6 — the number of people we met in one incident in the parking lot of Lulu’s in Gulf Shores. I saw three persons get out of a car. They all bravely wore Razorback apparel. I said “Woooo Pig!” And they said they were from Dardanelle. I said we were from Nashville and Maumelle. While this was happening, three older ladies walked past us. Without even turning her head, one lady said,”I’ve got a daughter in Murfreesboro.” She never missed a step and did not stop to say anything more.
12 — the number of tamales we got at Rhoda’s Famous Tamales and Soul Food Cafe in Lake Village. We ate at a little table right beside Rhoda, herself. The tamales were wonderful, but we didn’t eat half of them. Got a takeout box for the remainder.
6 — the number of leftover tamales we gave two days later to our friends from Rogers, Ark., we met down there. Daughter said I probably poisoned our friends.
4 — the number of men who came inside Rhoda’s and she loudly called “My son, where you been?” Rhoda is a little bitty black lady, and her sons were all white. Rhoda’s building is very close to falling down. The single bathroom is so small that I couldn’t fit inside. I had to stand outside the door to wash my hands. Luckily, only Rhoda’s white sons were in the building at the time (for those of you who formerly only read the ‘Nashville News,’ this is what we at ‘The Leader’ like to call h-u-m-o-r.
275316 — the code to open the door of our condo room.
7506 — the owner code number I needed to get thru gates to the beach or into the pool area. I could never remember any numbers.
1 — (another 1) the souvenir glove the oyster shucker at Acme Oyster House raw bar gave to my daughter after he showed her how to shuck oysters and how to determine which ones should be thrown away. He said oyster shuckers ALWAYS wore these tough gloves otherwise they’d cut their hands to pieces. “Wash the glove when you get home,” he told daughter. Count on it.
0 — the amount of time I spent watching the Razorbacks and the Aggies. Everyone says the Hogs have showed great improvement.
0 — the number of good roads in Jackson, Miss.
22 — the miles per gallon my buggy got overall.
9 — the number of months before I get to go to the Gulf, again.
6 5 5 6 5 6 5 5 6
THINGS I LEARNED from opening (and believing) email: If you are an average American, in your whole life, you will spend an average of 6 months waiting at red lights (more if you drive Hwy. 59 in S. Ala.).
WORD GAMES. The Twins: Up and At’em. Lots of kids these days have apostrophes in their names.
HE SAID: “In religious and in secular affairs, the more fervent beliefs attract followers. If you are a moderate in any respect — if you’re a moderate on abortion, if you’re a moderate on gun control, or if you’re a moderate in your religious faith — it doesn’t evolve into a crusade where you’re either right or wrong, good or bad, with us or against us.” Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States
SHE SAID: “I had a teacher who stressed for me the importance of diction in terms of … I want to be very careful about how I say this … in terms of supporting one’s voice when one is singing. In other words, if you hold on to your words, your voice will pull through for you when you’re singing. So be true to your vowels.” Julie Andrews, actress and singer
SWEET DREAMS, Baby