On a Beach Walk: No. 8

I like walking the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

As I walk a vast mass of water is 180 degrees to my side – a mass of water with its currents moving it ashore and beyond. The moving water that splashes and refreshes my feet.

I think of water moving in its cycle. Where has that drop on my knee been? Who has it touched? Did it touch a television or movie star? A world leader? A historic figure? Perhaps da Vinci, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, or Confucius? A farmer, carpenter, librarian, artist, fisherman, musician, or business leader? Or even Lucy the early hominid, Lucille Ball, or Kenny Rogers.

I think of ancient people during ancient times who were unaware of water’s cyclic ways. No wonder they saw the sky as a solid dome separating the waters from above and below. No wonder they saw rain as something that came down from their god above.

Water – so much of it – so many uses – so vital for life – no wonder it is a powerful metaphor. There is much to wonder about water, but now I will settle on allowing my mind to wonder as water refreshes my feet.

On a Beach Walk: No. 4

I like walking the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

I am not a sheller, but shells serve as a reminder of where I am – walking along the boundary between two worlds that offer many similarities and differences. Two worlds – one to my left and one to my right. Two worlds – one that I live on and one whose mysteries and beauties I only encounter through videos and still images.

I am not a sheller, but shells remind me of all the life that is in the waters. Yes – out there in the shallow and in the deep and everything in between. Life abundant that is woven together into intricate complexity of beauty and stability. Just like my world on land.

I am not a sheller, but shells remind me of the life that is just below where I walk – where the water refreshes my feet. That life below is sometimes submerged in water, but always covered with sand. A life that is adapted to the daily tides – but they are different from the life that is adapted to living in the pools along the rocks where I do not walk.

To some I’m walking in nature, to others I walk in creation – yet to me they are one in the same. Nonetheless, I like to walk the beach for it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: No. 3

 

I like walking the beach. Walking is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Pelicans are on the water and in the sky searching food. – but all the pelicans are oblivious to my presence. Sanderlings are ahead of me using their fast-moving feet in what appears to be a frantic search for food – but they are very aware of my presence. I can see a Great Blue Heron ahead staring across the water – and no doubt oblivious to me. These are a few of the things happening as the persistent waves wash across my feet as I walk.

Some of the pelicans fly amazingly close to the surface while others soar above then suddenly turning their glide into a dive. I wonder about the pelican’s design – its adaptations allowing it do so – its adaptive features for its necessity – including diving without breaking its neck. I wonder about the success rate of their dives.

I glance ahead to the sanderlings with their beaks in the sand and moving quickly where the water just passed. I know they are searching for food as small crustaceans, crabs, crab eggs, aquatic insects, and worms. I wonder if they have a way of separating water, sand, and food. That I do not know, but they are like the pelican because they are adapted for what they do. The next wave comes, but they quickly move as if saying “You aren’t going to get me”, then the search for their necessity resumes as the water retreats. Meanwhile, the Great Blue Heron stands and stares.

sanderlings

Sanderlings and pelicans in their daily routine. Each doing something that the other cannot. Each doing what they need to do, but in their own way. Each searching for food – food to survive so they can survive to reproduce so their next generation continues tradition. And the Great Blue Heron doing the same – but doing so by patiently standing and staring.

Isn’t creation grand! All this as I walk and the water refreshes my feet.

On the Flora-Bama

I first learned about the Flora-Bama on our first trip to the Alabama coast in the early 2000s when we visited my in-laws wintering in that area. My father-in-law raved about it, so we went for dinner and music while not knowing what to expect.

“Honky tonk” is a good first-impression description. The weathered siding – floors probably hosed down at the end of the day. The room was full of patrons engaging in food, beverages, and conversation while listening to music in a room with many pieces of underwear hanging from above. I recall enjoying watching the patrons.

However, over time I learned that “honky tonk” isn’t applicable – after all, I introduced it to you in this past post as the Last Great American Roadhouse.

My in-laws would change locations every few years, so time passed between my visits to this local icon. The next would be between 2005-2007 they rented about 2+ miles away. It’s also easy to remember because in September 2004, Hurricane Ivan brought havoc to the area – including upon the Flora-Bama. National news even reported that Ivan devastated it.

Despite the fake news (I couldn’t resist), the legendary Flora-Bama would not die. Battered and sand-filled, it re-opened after cleaning and a bit of restoration that probably included nails and hammers.

We took this image dated 13 February 2005

I recall it seems more rickety than ever – but that was part of its charm. Refrigerated trailers were in front of the building for storing food and beer. A temporary shack sold souvenirs.

florabamatempentrance

The housing-financial collapse of 2008 delivered another crushing blow as the principal owners filed bankruptcy because of failing real estate investments. The long-time owners became minority owners and the new ownership restored the venerable venue.

The trailers and the souvenir shack are gone, but the rustic weathered look remains. The new Flora-Bama is a mixture of old and new that maintains the original character. The original area I first sat remains as another music area – as does the adjacent large tent area.

florabamadeckstage

Inside the new brick front contains a large area for merchandise with a main lounge and stage on the second floor. The decor is a display of pictures, framed news articles, fishing nets, underwear, musical instruments, license plates, and more to go along with the countless names written with a black marker onto the walls.

florabamamainbar

With 3 stages, music is plentiful at the Flora-Bama. Yep – there are times when three musical acts are playing at the same time! On this night, only Rhonda Hart and Jonathan Newton were performing. We enjoyed them so much, we heard them three times.

florabamamainstage

The Flora-Bama is alive and well. The colorful place with a colorful past that includes a large cast of colorful characters remains. A place for a wide range of ages from different places – from northern snowbirds to colors – from retirees to young adults. From low-key weekday afternoons to raucous weekend nights. If you are ever in Pensacola, Perdido Key, Orange Beach, or Gulf Shores, consider stopping by the Flora-Bama Lounge Oyster Bar and Package Store

Entering from the beach – Notice the tents to the right!

 

One of the opportunities to take a picture.

 

Because many enjoyed the Kenny Chesney song about the Flora-Bama in my previous post, it’s still appropriate here.

On a Slice about Americana

florabamabeach

There it is … sitting along a beautiful beach sandwiched between a high-rise condominium to its right and a parking garage of another high-rise condo to its left. A place where friends meet. A place where others become friends. A place for good times and good music.

It’s a local legend, yet a place well-known throughout the South. A place that northerners in the condos as vacationers or snowbirds came to know. The place actually straddling the Florida-Alabama state line – although it is mainly in Florida. A place that was a very short walk from where we stayed in January.

There it is – A place displaying a weathered look while sitting along the beach since 1964. A weathered look of normal wear and tear that beach side brings, plus the occasional hammering by storms and hurricanes.

The Flora-Bama -a colorful place with a colorful past that includes a long list of colorful characters.

The Flora-Bama – a place featuring music seven days a week by local and regional musicians songwriters. Some who made it to the national stage of hits and awards while others maintain their local craft.

The Flora-Bama – with its more than eclectic collection of artifacts adorning its walls and ceilings – plus walls with names of patrons written in permanent markers – let alone the framed signed pictures of visitors and performers – and yes, even there is even more to see.

The Flora-Bama – an institution to many, no wonder country music star Kenny Chesney wrote a song about it. No wonder he performed his only concert of 2014 along its beach to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Before I tell you more in another post, I’ll let his lyrics and his music video introduce you to this slice of Americana – the place its documentary called The Last Great American Roadhouse. Welcome to the Flora-Bama Lounge Oyster Bar and Package Store.

On Alabama Tidbits

Although I’ve been to the state of Alabama before, staying a month allows ample learning opportunities. I present tidbits you may not know about the state of Alabama.

1) These people are football crazy! During the month and no matter the day of the week, the newspaper’s Sports section features college football – even weeks after the season is over. Ohio is enthusiastic about football. Texas thinks they invented the game – but Alabamians are just bonkers over football.

2) Grapefruits and oranges in the store were of pathetic quality. I get better tasting citrus in Ohio. Being close to Florida, one would think the quality would be better. After all, Florida thinks they invented grapefruits. Why we couldn’t find pink grapefruits from Texas is beyond me.

3) We stayed in Orange Beach – where sales tax is 10% on everything!

4) The Alabama coast is only 100 miles (160 km) – but the beaches are very good.

5) Restaurant menus offer many fried foods – they may be willing to fry anything.

6) Politically, Alabamians are very conservative, therefore all troubles can be traced back to presidents who were Democrats – especially Obama and Clinton.

7) Alabama is home for manufacturing/assembly plants for Toyota, Airbus, Honda, Hyundai, and Mercedes-Benz.

8) Alabama is home to the first Mardi Gras in the U.S. (Mobile).

Image from Tennessee’s Boll Weevil Eradication Program

Image from Tennessee’s Boll Weevil Eradication Program

9) The Atlas rocket that launched astronauts to the moon was built in Alabama (Huntsville).

10) Alabama is home to the monument honoring an agricultural pest – the Boll Weevil (Enterprise).

11) Alabamians described President Trump’s inaugural address as uplifting, refreshing, unifying, powerful, great, and amazing.

12) Alabama has the longest Constitution in the world: over 300,000 words and 775 amendments.

13) Alabama is the only state naturally possessing all the raw materials for steel. No wonder a statue of Vulcan sits on a hilltop above Birmingham.

14) I’ve never seen so many billboards advertizing attorneys – and the number of TV commercials for attorneys is very high. I saw this commercial 10 times in 45 minutes – while wondering about the content. Any thoughts?

On Recent Time Away

sunsetI’ve been on the move for the past 10 days; most of which was on a family vacation. Good news is I was able to keep up with posts; bad news being that I couldn’t keep up reading and commenting on my favorite sites. Besides returning to a lot to do, I’ve must also backtrack to many of your posts.

This was a family gathering of adults: 3 in our 50s and 3 in their 70s. We gathered where my in-laws spend January through mid-March: Cribe Resort in Orange Beach, Alabama. Here are some random tidbits of my time way.

windyVisit the Cribe’s site if you’re interested in the northern gulf-coast region. This area provides fall-like weather this time of year, but hey, still better than in Ohio. The first weekend involved some strong, chilling winds from the north to create havoc. Then each day was a gradual improvement from the previous.

As a group we like to play a mindless card game called golf. Interestingly, three different people won the third three games on three consecutive nights while sitting in the same chair … and I wasn’t one of the three … but my win broke the streak!

florabamaHave you ever been to a bar that sells T-shirts describing itself as the Ultimate Dive? If so, you’ve been to the Flora-Bama Lounge. If not, the Flora-Bama is one of the unique places in Americana. It’s beyond description and can only be believed through experience.

While on a boat to view dolphins, I did get this interesting shot.dolphins