So, I took a few days for myself, unsure where I was going to go. Found myself going back to a place I was stationed 40 years ago on the gulf coast. I hadn’t seen the ocean in 14 years, and seemed to need to see something bigger than my small world. Yep, the ocean sure fits the bill! Of course, the first day there it was cloudy, drizzly, extremely windy, and cold. Not my idea of a sunny beach. Mother Nature has her humor. Then my favorite hat blew away. I slipped on the beach rocks and bruised myself. But the pelicans and sandpipers were funny. No, really! They looked at me like, “Got food?” Giggle!!!
On the way there, my car – all by itself mind you, slipped into the grassy median. My phone had just died from overuse of the GPS, so I couldn’t call the tow service. A nice young fellow and his girlfriend stopped to help but, before they could, a local county officer stopped, lights and all. Picture it. Midnight. Car in median. Gotta be a drunk, right? Got my disabled veteran’s hat on, though, and I’m a 63-year-old lady, so he gives me the benefit of a doubt. But, that said, he gives me the field sobriety test. How embarrassing. Decides I’m okay and calls a towing service that I tell him I’m willing to pay cash for. Now for the nice part. Officer lets me sit in warm car. His name is William by the way. After I get warm, I watch Brandon from the tow service work his magic. When I ask him how much I owe, he politely declines and says that it is a courtesy job since there was no accident. The local groups do this on rotation! Not a delay I would ask for, however…. Thanks William and Brandon!
Well, I made it to my coastal destination. Went to a Super 8 hotel across the coastline highway. Get ready for this one, folks. I always thought cash was good for anything, right? I learned differently at this Super 8. The room was $80. When I whipped out the cash, she looked at it and paused and said, “Oh, there’s a $60 deposit if you pay with cash.” WTF???!!! A deposit on CASH???!!! You heard it here, people. When I asked her why, she said it was because they didn’t have my credit card on file. No kidding. Sure enough, the next morning when I was checking out, she said to wait while she checked my room – I guess to make sure this 63-year-old woman didn’t trash it with wild parties – then gave me my $60 deposit back. Amazing… As I was checking out, the girl and I talked. She shared that she had never taken a trip alone and thought it sounded fun. She also said she had never eaten a meal alone except at home. Wow. I told her to try it sometimes. Each bite tastes different when you are not distracted by conversation with someone. You get to watch what is going on around you as well. If it’s somewhere I go often, I take my kindle to read, but mostly, I try to just experience the food and the surroundings and the people interacting. I’ve gotten to do this around the world, and am now doing it in different parts of my state. Very cool.
Spent the day visiting my old base and an aquarium. Walked the beach in the sunshine this time. For lunch, I ate at a popular restaurant called Landry’s, right on the gulf. I love seafood and Landry’s is a part of a large family of restaurants like Saltgrass and many others across the nation. The greeter, Jasmine, was very personable. My assigned waiter, who was so NOT personable that I don’t even remember is name, was the worst part of the meal. I knew I wanted a seafood platter. However, the shrimp came stuffed with some kind of seafood stuffing. I don’t want stuffing in my seafood – kind of overpowers the shrimp ya’ know? He looked down at me like I was a heathen! Too bad, I thought. I’m the customer, do it MY way numb nuts. Then, he brought the salad with the blue cheese dressing on the side. BTW – I did seem to pass some test when I ordered blue cheese dressing instead of ranch. Hmmm. Of course, there wasn’t near enough of it in that tiny little shot glass-sized cup of it. Now, about salads. Remember when they came without all those pieces of cores in them? Those bitter chunks you cut out at home and throw away or give to your rabbit? The ones that show up in bagged salads now and you have to pick out before you eat it? Yep, I picked out 8 of them in the bowl of salad he brought. When he returned to take the salad away, I pointed them out and he said “uh huh” and started to leave and I asked if he heard me. He said he did. And. Kept. Walking. No concern whatsoever. He was WAY too concerned with the larger party behind me that obviously going to provide him a larger tip than a single somewhat elder lady. Believe me, I made sure he got what he deserved. I also intend to let Landry’s know about the salad problem.
Started back home. Stopped for the night in a different town and stayed in a much nicer hotel called American Inn and Suites. A nice attendant named Mingo made my stay very pleasant. The room was only $65, and Mingo had a good laugh at my story about the deposit on cash I had to pay at the other place. Had a delicious meal at a Red Lobster, and a sweet lady named Mindy provided excellent service!
Well, there you are. My two days of travel just before Christmas. I saw some things, learned, did, came home and am settled in with my tiny family and two dogs. I sincerely hope your Christmas is whatever you want it to be – nothing more and nothing less. Peace be in your Spirit until we talk again.