Best of Mississippi

Best of Mississippi and a Farewell Kiss GoodbyeWinter Golfing in Dixie

I did a best and worst of Iowa series while visiting my sister up north, so I figured I’d attempt to recapture that again in my final blog post from deep down in Dixie. I’ll be heading out of town next week to continue on my “Pike’s Peak or Bust” Mystery Tour.  I’ll refrain from a “worst of” entry for Mississippi since there’s entirely too much of that on display in mainstream media already.

Special Thanks to Mike ParkerPower Couple

Bandit and I have been staying with a long-time and dear friend in the suburbs.  We’ve been extremely well cared for by my good buddy Mike Parker.  Mike is a successful restauranteur here in Jackson.  Mike and his late partner Larry were highlighted in a local magazine article in 2012 as a Jackson area “Power Couple” and as the article above notes, their pizza business has received multiple awards since it’s opening in 2006. Sadly, Larry passed away of cancer a couple years before my wife Rita followed him to the great beyond.  Mike has since found a new and loving partner to help him pick up the pieces of his life.  I’m not ready for that kind of commitment again at this point in my life since I’m still mourning the more recent passing of my beloved mate (and best friend).  Even though Mike has remarried, I know there’s still a void in his soul from the passing of Larry that will never be filled.  It’s good to be staying in a house with such love and understanding of what I’ve been through in the last six months.  I cannot say enough good things about the quality of support my friends here in the South have provided for both myself and my furry travel companion.  Such blessings are hard to come by.

Fond Memories of Mississippi

Below is a slideshow of some of the highlights my hairy beast and I enjoyed here in Dixie during the last several months.  Even as we make our way forward and on to new and exciting adventures, I will always cling to the pleasant memories of my stay here in Mississippi.  There are others in my sphere who have also been essential in keeping our spirits high and our bellies full.  I shall respect the anonymity I know they desire but I shall not fail to make note of them here in passing.

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Enjoy.

One Last Bite

Updated to add: My dear and lovely wife Rita is gone. She passed at seven p.m. here in Germany the last day of September, after battling a series of cancers and tumors that eventually consumed her. She passed at home, in as peaceful and loving an environment as any of us could wish for ourselves or any of the loved ones we hold dear. She was truly a very special princess.  Details of memorials and services to follow. This blogpost was being proofed for release as I watched over her in her final hours.

Fast Food and Timeless Love

Those who follow my life’s travails on Facebook will have a better grip on the decidedly gloomy situation imposed upon our family by the continued degradations from my wife’s terminal illness.  There’s enough pain, sorrow and heartache to drive many a formerly sober man to whisky, without delving into the hoarier details involved in cohabiting in the apartment above my 85 year old Nazi-era mother-in-law!  Before proceeding, be advised that these missives have been prepared and released under the most dire of circumstances and incredible stresses.

On the matter of the extraneous errata of my sick mind, it’s probably as a result of the mind blowing decisions my wife and I discussed being up against, of which a brief glimpse is offerered in the love story I’m sharing with you today.

Whatever else bubbles out of my brain, today’s offering is just a ‘simple’ tale of a man and his dying wife going out on their last dinner date together in a romantic German location, on a rare balmy night in late Autumn somewhere close enough to Paris to fear guillotines pulled by donkeys headed north.

For some odd reason, the French really have issues with the past when it comes to dealing with the Germans, but there were no wagon wheels or donkey hooves pounding north on the cobblestone streets the night of our last dinner together.  It was just another of the minor blessings that have fallen our direction.

We grab blessings these days with all the vigor we can manage, because time and the degree of significance of their appearance is amplified by the deepening shadows and gathering storms we’ve ignored in order to remain in our amorous stupor for as long as is humanly possible.  You count your blessings where you find them.  That’s the philosophy Rita and I have maintained for a quarter century together and I’m not messing with success.

The Gathering Storms

If you’ve an aversion to fear, death, Nazi storm troopers, video game screen caps or humor bred of morbid fear and impending doom, stop now.  Everyone else…..
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The Last Muse

Last week Rita and I managed to sneak off to a favorite coffee shop/bistro the Cafe Muse.  In the duration, I’m afraid her condition has worsened to the point that it’s unlikely we’ll be making any trips outside the house for coffee again.

I have truly been blessed to have spent the last twenty five years with Rita, and I shall cherish every minute we have left together.

 

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Enjoy.

Holland Photo Recap

The weekend mood in Enschede was as electric as ever.  The early fall temperature, still moderated by the fading shadow of summer, made a coat redundant.

Quick Trip to the Dump

HoneyDoMy honey do list for today included runs to the grocery store, the waste management (recycling) center, and the vacuuming of massive amounts of dog hair out of the Mercedes. It’s not that we let it collect for any long period of time, it’s just that we’re constantly taking Bandit and Lizzy with us everywhere we go.  They both shed fine, white hair faster than a platoon of boot camp barbers. It wafts off them like cumulus clouds, and as the rays of sunlight intersect with the aerosolized pet dander I imagine the car looks like a rolling snow globe populated with two spoiled dogs nuzzling up to the glass.  But I digress.

Three Bags of Garbage and some Glass Bottles

I had intended to take some pictures at the recycling center today just to document the degree of sorting and sophistication that is involved in going to “the dump” in Germany. I didn’t get any pics because some gruff looking foreigner walked up to me and started chatting away in German like I was one of the local boys.  He’s spewing German out like a well oiled German machine gun.  I’m busy comparing the words I’m hearing him say against the list of 53 German words I’ve familiarized myself with (in the several years I’ve been here).  I’m wondering  what the hell the guy is talking about while simultaneously nervous I might have inadvertently violated some arcane German trash sorting rule or possibly breeched some other local custom.

Sorting it Out

He didn’t look like he worked at the recycling center, but it’s not like they’d dress up for work so I couldn’t be sure. I had already paid my five euro drop off fee so I knew that covered.  Was my car parked at the wrong angle in the drop zone?  The last thing I wanted was an international incident.  I told the fellow, in my own perfect dialect of midwestern and Mississippi slanglished German, that I don’t know any German.  He keeps on talking. How stupid can he be?

My ability to read these types of situations and pick out the meaning of the conversation is approximately equal to that of Siri 1.0.  The first word I noticed was verkauf, which is to sell, but bauern was also in the mix and that means farmer.  I’m working my mind thru “selling” and “farmer’ as I stand at the back of the Mercedes digging through the trunk for errant refuse.  I try, again in vain, to verbally expound on my ignorance of German.

I’m sensitive to the fact that this guy probably doesn’t even understand that I don’t understand.  I am simultaneously amazed that he is totally unable to translate my facial expressions that are screaming out in international angst  “I haven’t a clue in creation what it is you’re slobbering on about!??!”.  I may have to go back and take remedial body language at the tantric center over in Holland.

Breakthough

As I stood there mulling over farmer and selling, I heard him ask “Benzine oder Diesel?”  Like any good Clue player can tell you, it takes a very small set of data points to conclude that it was Uncle Mustard with the lead pipe in the study. I was pretty good at Clue.

It finally hit me as I watched this guys eyes sparkle as he hungrily scouted my Mercedes that he was interested in buying it from me.  This guy thought I was an old farmer that might possibly want to sell him my immaculately cared for, but aging Mercedes Sedan D’Elegance.  I don’t hold it against the guy, because on any given day, what with my advanced aging and decrepitude, I probably look like I could keel over any minute. He must have felt like it might be his best/only chance of scoring such a cherry ride.  I gently rebuffed his confused offer and exited stage left.  Another potentially ugly international disaster averted.

The Rest of Saturday in Paradise

Horsing Around

Later today, I’ll be hanging at the international equestrian extravaganza going on down at the stables. It’s the bee’s knees, specially if the b’s you’re interested in are  Bier, Brot und Brötchen. I’d expect at least one Instagram picture of a German barmaid filling my glass will emanate from that meta data location in the immediate future.  FWIW, I’m traveling the rest of the day via Iron Donkey, my Tomos moped.

Enjoy.