One thing I forgot to talk about in the last post was the latest mod. After finishing the recent painting, etc. (see pics here), we spent quite a bit of time trying to find a lamp that would help me see to work on stitching projects. It has been frustrating that I’ve had no good way to work for several years now, and Mr. Wonderful (MW) has been frustrated waiting for me to complete the one I’ve been working on for him. He gets a little testy when talking about it, because I’ve done pieces for my Mom & Dad2, Pat & Russ, Dad & Satilla, the Van Horn children, all of my Boogers, and Christmas ornaments for a variety of people. I started an Eagle, Globe, & Anchor for him YEARS ago, but it has been on hold. With the new lamp, I can get to work, and since it is bolted down, we don’t have to worry about storing it when we relocate. Bonus!
On Monday, March 14, we headed out about 9 AM and were forced to take I-10 (ugh) over to Mobile because of the bridge clearance on the other route. We jumped off in downtown Mobile, though, and headed northwest on US-98, stopping for lunch at Ward’s in New Augusta. This is a small chain with some pretty good food. MW had a Big One w/Chili & Cheese, while I just had a small burger, and both came with fries. He liked that the chili is not runny, so his burger wasn’t a huge mess like they often are. Back on the road, we caught US-49 at Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and then MS-13 up to Morton and Roosevelt State Park. The funniest thing we saw along the way was the town sign for Puckett, Mississippi, that announced “300 Really Good Folks and a Few Soreheads”.
SIDE NOTE: We passed a “certified retirement community” in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. What, exactly, is that? Does someone come through and “certify” that no one is still working? If someone starts working as a greeter at Walmart, does the facility lose its certification? Or does the retiree get kicked out and all of their stuff get dragged to the curb? Maybe it’s a community for retired people who are certified? If you are a certified electrician, you’re in, but if you just worked your way through as an apprentice, you aren’t welcome. Are they using the certified people to do jobs in a “work for stay” barter system? I’m a retired Air Traffic Control Specialist. Yes, there is a certificate involved. Can I get in? What will I barter with? Unless they have a HELIPAD!! Or maybe a little runway out back like John Travolta!!! Now we’re talking!
Tuesday dawned grey and drizzly after raining all night. It was MW’s birthday, though, so that made it special nonetheless. After a quiet morning, I took him out for a surprise lunch in Pearl, Mississippi, at the Crawfish Barn Oyster Bar. Dude LOVES him some mud bugs, and they had plenty. It was an odd little place, though. In addition to crawfish, they had a variety of shrimp, oysters, and fish items. Then, on the other side of the menu, there was a complete selection of Chinese food. No kidding. The hostess/waitress (it was a pretty small place) was a nice older woman. I asked her about a couple of menu items, and she said “eryting goo for you” in a thick, Asian accent. (Reminded me of the Anjelah Johnson nail salon routine, and I couldn’t help but smile.) As we headed to Morton, Mississippi, to scope out a laundromat (bad), we saw Genna Benna Bakery in Brandon, MS, and popped in. It’s a really nice place with good variety, and they give you a free cupcake on your birthday! Bonus for MW! We couldn’t resist a couple of other things, too. After a quick stop in the Fairway Foods in Morton, we continued up to Forest, Mississippi, to scope out the Suds R Us laundromat. Then we headed back to Petunia where I got a little work done in the evening.
SIDE NOTE…AGAIN: The road through Roosevelt State Park to the campground is long and curves through the woods around Shadow Lake. At one point, just before you cross a little bridge over a ditch, you see the sign below. You know, life can be a dangerous thing. There are tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, bear attacks, snakes, car accidents, trip and falls, panthers, fires…WHEW, I could probably type for the rest of the week on that. I STRONGLY feel that this sign should have a little more information. Am I looking for an attack of some kind? Has ebola been found in the woods? Have alien ships been sighted? Or maybe Bigfoot? Ooooo, I know…these woods make people spontaneously combust! That’s what I’m going with. It didn’t happen, so I guess we used the appropriate amount of caution. Glad that stress is over!
Wednesday I headed out to Suds R Us to do laundry while MW worked on yet another leak issue. (The water stuff was twanging on his last nerve, I tell you!) Man, what a nice laundromat…lots of machines and folding tables, picnic tables and benches to sit at, and they use the DexterPay app, which makes it really easy. With my chore finished, I was headed over to McDonald’s to do some work when MW called. Apparently there was a valve on the water heater that was causing the issue, and until it was fixed, we would not have water. That, to me is critical. While he likes the space the bathhouse affords, I’ve never been a fan of showers used by lots of strangers. It’s one of my few picky areas. I swung by and picked him up, then we headed first to Home Depot and then to Ace Hardware in Pearl to find a solution.
On the way back we popped into Walgreens, then headed to Krystal. As I’ve noted before, MW and Dad2 are big fans of the tiny, square burger, and I’m okay with it occasionally, mainly because it brings back memories of my youth. Since we are heading out of Krystal country, I suggested he get his fill. The store we went to was in Pearl, Mississippi, and we didn’t pay much attention to the dining room when we walked in the front. We did notice that the young lady that took our order was wearing a t-shirt that was really dirty, though. While waiting for the order, we sat down and had time to look around. The tables and chairs were clean, but that is where it ended. The carpet…why does anyone put carpet in a fast food place…was FILTHY. Originally a red print, it was black in the high traffic areas, and judging by the amount of debris, it didn’t even get vacuumed/swept up. The threshold between the dining area and behind the front counter had a standing puddle of dark soda that we watched four employees step over, two of them repeatedly. Tables were still stacked in the corner, a leftover Covid situation, but of the few that were out, employees were using two to stack their personal items. From where we sat, we could also see the computer screen where they were taking orders…blech! Back in Brutus, I looked up the Krystal corporate website and sent a long email, not holding anything back. Of course, I didn’t expect it to do a darned thing, but I’m telling you guys, DO NOT go to the Krystal in Pearl, Mississippi, no matter how much you might be jonesing for a fix!
Back at Petunia, MW fixed the water heater issue, and ended up with parts left over that will need to be returned to Ace Hardware later, but WE HAD WATER again. Yay!! After getting the clothes put away, I spent a bit of time in the evening writing.
Roosevelt State Park sits on Shadow Lake and has a lot to offer. Almost all state parks offer playgrounds, picnic areas and pavilions, and swimming areas if they are on water. This one adds to that with a disc golf course, softball field, tennis courts, swimming pool, and a WATER SLIDE!! Adjacent to Bienville National Forest, there are ample opportunities for hiking nearby, and they have meeting rooms, a banquet hall, a game room, and a performing arts and media center. Lodging opportunities include a motel, 15 cabins, a group camping facility, a primitive campground, and RV camping areas. The latter has paved roads and sites with picnic tables and grills and includes 27 with electric and water, and 82 full-hookup. The old campground on the east side of the lake offers 30-amp electric and easy access to the pool, water slide, and sports facilities. The newer campgrounds on the west side of the lake offer 50-amp electric and a beach and swimming area for campers only. Each camping loop has a nice bathhouse with laundry facilities, too. Not far off of I-20, there is a bit of highway noise, but it wasn’t as loud as we expected. Our site backed right up to the lake, and was really peaceful. The one negative for this park was the roads that are in bad need of attention. That said, we would stay here again. (Note: While we were there the boat ramp was closed while they worked on the dam.) For this stay in March 2022, we paid $102.72 for 3 nights.
Thursday we hit the road around 10 AM. I spent much of the ride buckling down to catch up on some bookkeeping work, but it wasn’t a very long day. We started out due north through Lena to Carthage, Mississippi, where we found the Golden Palace for lunch. We thought it was a basic Chinese place, but turned out to be a buffet. It was good, though. Back on the road, we continued mostly due north through Kosciusko and Winona, then northeast through Eupora, Calhoun City, and Houston. The final leg was north to Pontotoc, then a side-step east to Trace State Park.
I’ve been trying hard to get caught up on writing and keep up with work, so Friday started with bookkeeping in morning. Later we headed out for our tour for the day, Rowan Oak, an 1840s primitive Greek revival house in Oxford, Mississippi. This beautiful place was the home of Nobel Prize (1949) winning author William Faulkner. He purchased the property in 1930, and named it for the rowan tree, a symbol of security and peace. It remained his home until his death in 1962. Initially surrounded by four acres, he later purchased the surrounding Bailey Woods, increasing the parcel to 29 heavily wooded acres. This house and the surrounding area had a profound influence on his work. His writing is filled with characters influenced by local stories and legends of the South and his upbringing in it. Ten years after his death, his daughter Jill sold the house and contents to the University of Mississippi to preserve her father’s story. Most homes of historical figures that the public can tour are filled with period furniture made to look like it might have during their occupancy. My favorite part of this house is that around ninety percent of what was there when he died is right where it sat, and no one went in and added a bunch of stuff that didn’t belong to the Faulkners. It’s interesting to see the bookshelves in the library that he built himself and cool that you are looking at the actual desk where he wrote A Fable, which won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award in 1954. There is a photo of Faulkner and his wife Estelle walking down the front walk the year he won. (He later won another Pulitzer for The Rievers.) Even more fascinating was getting a glimpse of his writing process. The study walls have the plot outline to A Fable written on the walls in his handwriting. Walls seemed to be a favorite writing surface; all of his contact numbers are written beside and around the wall telephone. Another interesting fact…he was born William Cuthbert Falkner. Note that spelling? No one knows for sure why, but one story is that, in 1918 the typesetter spelled it incorrectly on the cover of his first book. When asked whether he wanted it changed, he said “either way suits me”. From then on, he was Faulkner. The writer’s disdain for technology was the trigger for bitter arguments. Estelle bought a radio for daughter Jill to keep in her room after one such altercation. The window AC unit in Estelle’s room was added the day after his death. In addition to the house, there are several buildings on the grounds and the remnants of a maze garden. The grounds were pretty wet, and the parking lot was actually closed, due to recent flooding, but we were able to park on the road near the entrance. The house alone is worth the $5 bucks to tour. Final interesting note: MW’s Mom went to the University of Mississippi in Oxford, so she was right down the road in class while Faulkner was sitting in this house writing. Who knows, she might actually have seen him around town at some point!
For lunch we found Bouré on the square in Oxford. Called “up-scale down-home” we just thought it was darned good. We ordered two sandwiches to share and went for the Bouré “Bomb” Fried Shrimp Po-Boy and the Grilled Salmon BLT. Both were yummy! Next we walked across to Square Books, where we purchased A Fable and The Snopes Trilogy, which includes The Hamlet, The Town, and The Mansion. Heading back we passed through New Albany, which had a nice downtown and courthouse. We looked for groceries in Sherman, but the place on Apple Maps did not exist. We passed Brooks Grocery in Tupelo on the way to an Ace Hardware and picked up a few things. (Luckly, we don’t live near this store, because it would be dangerous!) Unfortunately, the hardware store map location was actually a house in an upscale neighborhood…what the heck Apple Maps???!!! That was enough frustration for one day, so we headed back to Petunia, where I cooked black beans & rice for supper.
Our plan for Saturday had been to get up and drive to Savannah, Tennessee, to visit with Uncle Wyatt, Aunt Mae, Aunt Pat, and Uncle Ken. Sadly, Uncle Wyatt, who had not been doing well, passed away on Friday. (Tribute.) He was a unique character, and will be missed. I spent the morning writing, and later, we headed back to Tupelo. We had a return for Ace Hardware, but the first location didn’t carry the part, so would not accept the return. Then the second place downtown closed minutes before we arrived. Frustrated, we walked next door to Kermit’s Outlaw Kitchen for lunch. Wow…nothing to say but awesome! It is an eclectic joint with a bar upstairs and decor centered around music. MW had the special of the day barbecue plate, and I had the best darned barbecue nachos I’ve ever put in my mouth! They are a farm to table restaurant, and the veggies tasted like I was picking them myself. No kidding. Plus, they spread the chips out and put stuff on all of them…bonus! This is a definite must when you are in Tupelo. After lunch we walked around the downtown a bit, then headed back to Petunia. Fun Fact: Tupelo Hardware, which is the Ace downtown, is where Elvis got his first guitar. His Mom took him there to buy a bike, but he wanted a gun. She wasn’t thrilled with that choice, so the guitar was a compromise. She purchased it for $7.90. Don’t Miss: If you have never been to the birthplace of Elvis Aaron Presley, it is a must-see on a Tupelo visit.
Sunday started with little writing before church time. We were unable to stream the service, though…technical difficulties on their end. Later we headed into Pontotoc, Mississippi, to run by the auto parts store and the post office and grab lunch at Hometown Pizza. We were hoping that the latter was related to Hometown Pizza in Rockmart, Georgia, that is terrific. Sadly, this was not. On the way back to Petunia, I took some park pics. The evening was finished out with some more writing and a bit of tax work.
Trace State Park is pretty nice if you can get past one issue…the roads truly suck! No kidding…pavement pushed up on the sides, huge holes, repairs that sank in. This is our second Mississippi state park, and honestly, we’re wondering if they are ridiculously underfunded or just don’t know how to lay a road bed and maintain pavement. That said, everything else is really good. Activities include fishing and other water sports, hiking, biking, disc golf, and golf (overnight visitors get discounts at the neighboring Pontotoc Country Club). Lodging includes five cabins and three cottages, 16 primitive campsites along the lake, and 76 full-hookup RV sites with picnic tables and grills. The latter are divided into three loops, each with a bathhouse, and Eagle Ridge also includes a laundry. Warrior Trails is an equestrian area with a horse barn. When we drove through that area there were a LOT of both campers and day-use people with dirt bikes and such and no horses, which might be a problem with some animals. I don’t think we would go back to this park until the roads are fixed, but we certainly won’t scratch it off of the list. For this four night stay in March 2022, we paid $136.96.
Historic Note: Davy Crockett lived on what is now park grounds while he was trading with the Chickasaw Indians. He was at this home when he got wind of Sam Houston’s problems in Texas and went to help, later dying at the Battle of the Alamo.
That’s it for now. Next up..An Oxbow, Plantations, and Longhorns. See you on the path!
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