Saturday, April 7, 2012

2012-8 Ocean Springs Mississippi


Theodore Alabama
Ocean Springs Mississippi

Campground:  Davis Bayou Campground. NP.  52 campsites, water/electric w/ paved pads.  First come first served.  $8 Senior rate, $16 regular.  Nice bayou setting.  Close to Biloxi Ms.

Theodore Al, Chicken 

It’s officially spring and I’ve changed my bedspread out to the white one with stitched outlines of seashells.  With the larger 5th wheel camper it’s easy to have two sets of bedspreads to change out with the seasons.  The flannel sheets have been put away and the cooler cotton sheets are back on the bed as well.

Rather than use the laundry room here at the campground, I decided to go to a local Laundromat to catch some of the local flavor.  Well the place was a dump, machines that looked like they were 50 years old, ceiling fans with missing blades or with limp and sagging blades, old plywood and paneling tacked up to hide gosh knows what, but I put my money in the dilapidated old machines and proceeded to listen in on the local chatter.  A mix of white, black and shall we say, redneck clientele.  The laundry attendant with her peanut can filled with quarters and bills for change and a heavy southern accent with letters, words and phrases rolling off her tongue like a southern ballad rolling across the bayou.  One young gal (25ish) came in with her boyfriend who left almost immediately letting her know it wasn’t his job to spend time at the laundry and he was going to “get wasted” (it being 8:30 on a Sunday morning) and would be back in an hour and a half.  She was a real chatter box, talking about a friend who she was sure hadn’t committed suicide recently and if she could prove the husband did it, she’d kill him.  A black gal said under her breath, “and you’ll be in jail right soon too”.  The gal proceeded to say she’d talked recently to her sister who was in jail at the time, that yes, that was her big truck that her boyfriend drove off in and that she owned another car which was currently up north. Talk continued about low life friends and relatives of which I only half listened too as I was getting concerned about a real smoky fire type smell coming from the dryers.  Trying to figure out how quickly I could grab my clothes out of said dryers and run for the door if need be.  My clothes dried, I folded them up and left.

Went to Arby’s for a “value meal” deal where I heard a complete conversation in French as a gentleman was talking to a gal over his laptop connection.  I could hear both ends of the line quite clearly as they were both speaking rather loudly.  Everyone in the restaurant looking over their shoulders wondering why this guy was speaking so loudly.  He even got up to freshen his drink and continued the conversation between the soda fountain and his laptop waiting back at his booth.  Sure wish I knew French so I could have known what they were talking about.

Tatonut Donut Shop

Ocean Springs Mississippi

41 miles on down the road and I’ve arrived at Davis Bayou Campground.  A part of the Gulf Islands NP which was established in 1971.   This is cheap camping for me as I’m able to use my NP Seniors card and pay only half price for the campground.   At $8 a night (senior rate), I’ve decided to stay a full week.  What a deal.

When I stay in an area for more than a couple of days, I’m able to do a bit more exploring into the culture and find places the locals go.  Tatonut Donut Shop is just one of those places.  They make their special tatonut donuts using a blend of wheat and potato flour.  Creating a light fluffy donut.  The store in on a side street in downtown Ocean Springs.  I sat down with a local who has lived here since 1942.  He told me the original Tatonut shop was much larger and that they used to make wonderful long loaves of French bread.  His father used to buy 20 loaves at a time for 5 cents a piece.  He said they’d put a pound of butter on one loaf and just eat it up.  The guy was dressed in a light blue jacket, baby blue knit top and medium blue slacks.  All looked brand new.  He later told me, very proudly, that he’d gotten everything at the thrift store for only a few dollars each.  Their small community which is only a few miles east of Biloxi and over a causeway has quickly changed and growing by leaps and bounds, though I found the old part of town still quaint with it’s large shade trees and a mix of old and new shops mainly catering to the artsy crowd.  At least Ocean Springs doesn’t have any casinos as of yet.

Besides the donuts, I’d come downtown to go to the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, WAMA.  I’d learned a bit about Walter from the video they have at the visitors center at the Davis Bayou NP.  He’s featured prominently because he was a huge fan of Horn Island now a part of the Gulf Island National Seashore.  Having spent much time there painting and contemplating life.  Walter even tied himself to a tree and survived a hurricane just to experience it.  Much of his work was destroyed in hurricane Katrina.  His other two brothers also became artist and one has created Shearwater Pottery which is still produced today.  The community center next door contains a huge mural that encompasses the entire main hall.  Interesting to learn about artists and they’re creations.

A couple of days of rain have slowed my excursions down a bit.  Perhaps a day at the casino and a good buffet lunch will be in order.  Possibly the Palace as it’s the only smoke free casino in the area.

The rest of my time has been spent doing small Rv chores, shopping and reading a good book.

and a few photos of gators and magnolias.


Writers on the Road said...

Hi Doug
Your trip is deja vous for us and we enjoy following that route again. We never went to WAMA but I love the look of this art. Loved the gator and magnolia pix too. Guess you are not missing TPR much. We are back home in Boston, waiting for warmer weather. Have fun continuing the journey.
Cyndy and Mike

Douglas Palosaari said...

thanks Cyndy and Mike, I've been derelict on my duties of viewing and posting comments... thanks for the comments