While I'm still processing so much of this trip mentally - how do you force a good time? How do you make a memory on command? One of the best parts of the trip was the joyful yet melancholy differences between the land that was my home and the one that is. I thought I would share a few.
- Iced Tea - you never have to walk into a restaurant in the South and wonder if their tea is good. It's no question at all... it simply is. Here, even Southern fried chicken chain Popeye's has some of the nastiest tea on earth. And Panera Bread - an East coast chain - has the best. But in the South, every mom and pop to national chain has great iced tea.
- Warm weather - While Louisiana can have brutal winters, there always seem to be a sprinkling of mild or even warm days. Back here on our big old mountain, I'm warm for about 20 minutes around one o'clock. Being cold seems to make my head cold miserable.
- Dogs - This is actually a similarity. Like my mountain community, I could always find a dog to love on. My nephew Bailey is such an intense little dude. He would stand with his heavy paws on my thigh and stare deep into my eyes for minutes on end. I felt like he could see my very soul. He brought much comfort on my trip. There will be a post or two about him in the future.
- Ghost Stories - I heard a few amazing ones on my trip home. California may be the land of the nutcases but people don't offer up their ghost stories here like they do back home. Or maybe the air is so thick back there that the setting is just ripe for them.
- Excellent Seafood - For excellent seafood here, you need a second mortgage. As always, I partook of some of the best fish and crustacean dishes in the world for no more than I would expect to pay for a regular dinner. Sadly, my favorite seafood restaurant burned down the morning of my arrival and another old favorite went out of business when the owners retired. But I found some new favorites.
- My Mom - as much as I know we irritate each other, it's only because we are so much alike. I was pleasantly surprised to open her fridge and find a heart shaped potato. Could she be the reason I collect heart shaped stuff on all my hikes?? Is my inner child really that different from hers?