Thursday, August 3, 2006

Been Gone On A Short Trip....

I should qualify that statement. Short in duration, not distance. Jessica and Jason came in with wild hair Tuesday night and wanted to take off to New Orleans that night so Jason could see the ocean. He has never seen the ocean and Jessica hasn't since she was less than a year old when we went to Daytona Beach and Destin, Florida. Of course, being landlocked here in Arkansas that was the only time I'd ever seen the ocean, too. After much hemming and hawing and lots of discussion and second-guessing, we finally made the decision to get some rest Tuesday night and leave on Wednesday morning. Destination: Gulfport, Mississippi. We decided that none of us had ever heard of any good beaches in New Orleans, and the main point of the trip was not just to SEE the ocean, but to actually, you know, swim in it if possible. I did have some thoughts about Hurrican Katrina and all the damage that was done to the area, but we were only going to be gone for a day and didn't want to drive any further. Yes, I said a day. As in, drive down there, spend a few hours on the beach, then drive back. All in the same day. Yes. That's a 7-8 hour drive each way. Jessica and Jason did all the driving. Lamar and I both have licenses, but we rarely or never drive, not having a car of our own. Neither of us have EVER drove in a city larger than Trumann, about 6,000 people, and very rarely that.

It was a fun trip, but tiring. The closer we got to the coast, the more damage we could see to the trees and buildings. The forests and trees and shrubs in people's yards and around businesses were stripped almost bare of limbs, and some were completely uprooted or snapped off. Roofs were damaged, and then gone, then whole buildings destroyed as we got nearer to the ocean. Some are just as they were right after the storm, abandoned. Others are being worked on, and still others have been razed, with just the bare foundations giving sign of where homes, hotels and businesses once stood.

When we got to Biloxi, the beaches were almost all still taped off and signs were posted that the beaches were closed due to debris from Hurrican Katrina. They weren't just whistling Dixie, either. I tried to get some pics of the whole trees sticking partway out of the water just off the beach, but my camera just doesn't do distance shots that well. There was miles of beach, almost co
mpletely deserted, except for the seagulls and terns. We finally found one little strip that wasn't taped off, but it still had a sign saying swimming wasn't recommended and there was no lifeguard on duty. There were only a couple dozen people on the beach and in the water, so we had the run of the place. But there were trees and limbs, pieces of jagged metal here and there, and just stuff, for lack of a better word, everywhere in the water. The water was shallow for a long way out, and I didn't go out any further than about a couple hundred feet off shore. It was a little over knee deep on me. I just sat down and let the waves rock me as I watched the sun sparkle on the water and Jessica and Jason smooching and playing in the water a little further out. Some kind of silvery fish about 6-12 inches long were jumping out of the water, and I got a kick out of watching them. The main boardwalk where we were had been repaired, but only one little stretch of it. All along the rest of the beach we saw the boardwalk was mangled and destroyed. Only some of the framework was left in places. Other places nothing was left of it. Even after almost a year the devastation is unbelievable. Hotels and homes only a few hundred yards off the beach are in various stages of repair, completely gone and just abandoned as they stand. It was an eery feeling to know that people died in those buildings, and bodies were pulled from the water where we were wading.

There was almost nothing planned about this trip. Jessica can be a creature of impulse, and wanted to leave Tuesday evening and drive all night, then come back Wednesday afternoon with no sleep or rest. Lamar and I talked her and Jason into waiting until Wednesday morning so we could all be rested and plan a little better. I prayed before we left the driveway for a safe trip there and back with no car trouble, and the Lord answered my prayers . I thanked Him all through the day for safety as we travelled. We rode 8 hours down there, stayed about 3 hours, then started back just at sunset. We got back home at a little after 2 am. How's that for a flying trip? I kept expecting Jessica to get stopped by a nice trooper or highway patrolman. I figured he'd ask her for her pilot's license rather than her driver's license. Jason was much better about observing the speed limit, I have to say.

This was only the second time I've been to the ocean, and it was a GIFT, truly a gift. It was almost more than I could do to walk in that sand, especially after riding in the car for 8 hours, but I was bound and determined to get in that water if I had to crawl out there! I sat there in that one place for over an hour, just watching those fish and soaking up the memories. There was a nice breeze blowing in off the ocean and every once in a while a particularly big wave would break around me and slap me upside the head. It was glorious. I can tell you all about sand in your drawers that you'd ever want to hear. Okay, MORE than you want to hear, so I'll just leave it to your imagination. Just, Ewwwwww.....Okay?

Please be in prayer for Addison as she recovers from surgery to repair a hole in her heart. Barb posted an update that she is doing well and Sarah and her hubby should meet with the surgeon later today to find out more about the outcome of the surgery and Addison's prognosis. Thank God for answered prayers, and thank each of you who are praying for Addison.

Also, Amy Wilhoite is IN REMISSION!! Read about it HERE.

I have a meeting tonight at church so I'll try to get blogger to upload some pics but don't hold your breath. If I don't have any luck at it I'll try again after I get back. I'll try to get to everyone's blogs to comment and read as soon as I get back, too. Hope everyone is having a great week so far. Love and blessings to all my friends and family.

PS: Johnny, that flower is cypress vine, a member of the ipomoea family, along with morning glories. I used to have lots of it, and I think Ducky still has somel. Hummingbirds and butterflies love it. Also, your email program won't let me email you. I get an apology email saying I'm not an accepted mailer. :-( Fix it and I'll email you again, BIL. :-)


BooMama said...

Given the fact that you went along for the ride, I think Jessica MAY come by her impulsive nature pretty honestly. :-)

When I read that y'all were heading to Gulfport, I wondered if y'all were able to find an open stretch of beach. So glad that you did...and glad you made some fun memories.

Hope you get some rest the next couple of days!

Barb said...

Well! Now I'm sorry I worried about you. You were having FUN! It really sounds fun. I love impulse things like that.

You have to know I'm jealous you got to sit in the ocean, sand in your drawers and all.

The last time I was in New It was for my cousin's funeral. He was killed by a land mine the third day after he arrived in Viet Nam. A long long time ago. But I remember that city and it was beautiful. I've never been to Mississippi. It just make me sad to hear that after all this time it's all still so devastated.

Still, I'm so glad you did this trip, Diane. Must have been good for the soul. xoxoxo

Sue said...

I'm glad you were blessed to see the ocean. I always find such peace there. A getaway is almost always a good thing, but glad you're back!

Tammy said...

What an awesome trip you had...I've seen the ocean once in the Fall of 2004 at Destin...I fell utterly and completely in love!!!
You mentioned the silver fish...did you see any dolphin? I'll never forget my first sighting!
Sounds like the people down there need more help and prayers doesn't it?
I'm making your recipe for Crock Pot Chicken & Dressing grandkids are comin in from KY...I can't wait!
You get some rest...I'm sure you need it, I would after a trip like that!

Andre said...


I think that I've got to start serving the same God as you. :) Here you are taking awesome trips, while I'm sitting here agonzing through another miserable semester.

Glad you had a great time!

momteacherfriend said...

I am sure you won't forget that trip....ever.

Dick said...

Our stretch of the Pacific Ocean up here in Washington State is a little too cold for me to go sit in, but it is beautiful to look at. Kind of awe inspiring to think that those swells breaking on the beach may have started in Japan.

My older son spent three years in Gulfport with the Navy & we just moved his fiancee & her three kids up here from there last Oct. They went through the hurricane but her place was a few miles inland so she didn't have a lot of damage. Of course her job was gone, no gas available for the car & shortages of almost everything else. It is sad that there hasn't been more repair work done.

Dawn said...

I wondered where you were. Glad you were doing something fun - though I wouldn't like driving that much in such a short time! But it sounds like you had a great family time and got to enjoy the water. That's super!

Addie said...

I agree with Boo, the fact that you went means you got a little wild side there too! I'm glad you had such a good time.

I printed out your sugar cookie recipe this afternoon, fully intending to go to the store and get the remaining ingredients, and bake some cookies tonight. However, my two oldest ended up sitting at the dinner table for over an hour trying to avoid finishing dinner. So we didn't make cookies. I promise, I'll let you know when we do though. :-)

Diane said...

You may be right about the impulsiveness, I'm afraid. :-) Even more so when I was younger, but I still have a little wild streak. I manage to keep it restrained most of the time, but it tends to make itself known from time to time. ;-)

We had a great time, and with Jessica and her boyfriend, too! I realize how blessed I am that my relationship with Jessica is so open and we can have such a good time together. :-)

I love the ocean, and because I get to go so rarely, I treasure my memories that much more.

Thanks for missing me, and (((hugs))) to you, too. :-)

Nope, no dolphins at all. Didn't see any sea life except those fish, whatever they were. :-)

You have a full weekend planned from what I read on your blog. I hope the dressing turns out good for you, and that y'all have a GRAND time. Have fun! :-)

Now you know we serve the same God, my brother! I'm sure you're getting some blessings I'm missing out on, LOL. :-)

Keep plugging along, Andre. All the studying and work will be worth it when you have that Dr. by your name, my friend. :-)

I will never forget any of this trip, I'm sure, and especially the ocean. I love it, and I will treasure these memories. :-)

Cold or not, I'd have to get in it, at least for a little while. I thought about all that water, and that the same ocean stretches to Newfoundland to our friend Green Eyes' cabin on the beach, to Australia where Meow and Leslie live, Singapore where Nashe lives, and to California and Washington State where Sue and you live. How anyone can look at the ocean and not believe in God is beyond me.

Yes, there is MUCH to be done as far as rebuilding and repairs along the coast. It will take years to return to any kind of normalcy, if ever. Sad, indeed.

Yes, the travelling is much harder on me than it used to be, but I still love it. I had a glorious time! :-)

Yep, I confess, I do have a bit of a wild streak, too! ;-)

I do hope you enjoy the sugar cookies, Addie. I think you'll be pleased with the results. :-)

Lisa said...

What a cool, fun road trip! That's what my husband loves - the spontaneous ones.

Overwhelmed! said...

Love thep ictures of your trip to the Gulfport area. Isn't the ocean wonderful?!

I didn't realize you had so many different blogs until just now. :) I'm going to check out your recipe blog!

Overwhelmed! said...

Diane, you need to add some new recipes to your recipe blog! :)

You also need to participate in my "Five Ingredient Friday" recipe exchange. Come check out this week's at,

Mountain Mama said...

Sounds like you had quite a trip! I think it would be interesting to actually 'see' some of the hurricane damage. It's hard to imagine the force of such a thing and TV pictures don't always show it all.
Just the same I am very thankful to the good Lord that we don't have things like that here.

Anonymous said...

WEll this is just a note to tell all who are concerned...Jessica and Jason had the time of their lives....we absolutley loved the ocean...and the seagulls, and well the scenery in general...and traveling with mom and dad was definatley and experience for four large people in such a small area with so many attitudes and hormones raging..of course i'm speaking of myself...but anyways...besides cutting my foot and our being tired from driving so much....we had a BLAST!!!

Diane said...

Jessica and Jason,

WELL, it's about time you FINALLY commented here! If it wasn't for the hundred or so pictures I post on here people would probably think I made y'all up, LOL. ;D

Yes, there WAS a bit of PMS and crabbiness going on. I'll leave it to everyone's imagination as to whose, but I think you pretty much told on yourself there, babe. ;-)

I always enjoy our joy rides, but this one was special. Thank you both from the bottom of this Mama's heart for this special gift. I will treasure our time together and these memories for the rest of my life. Seriously. Y'all make me proud. I love you both. *Sniff*....

Val said...

My head is reeling from all the experiences you had on this journey, especially being so far away from the ocean and finally getting to see it again. And you've provided a good bit of news reporting for us on the post-hurricane situation. It was big news all over the world when it happened, but now we only see occasional brief reports in the papers. The latest I remember reading was that the aid money has been about 90% squandered, which is really sad.

Mandy said...

Wow! Talk about spontanious!!! It sounds like it was a good trip, though short and quick and unexpected.

I guess you can't begin to understand the devastation of something like that unless you are there - TV only does so many things justice.

I do envy you living close enough to the beach to drive in a day. That trip would have taken me a few days. What great pictures!!

Thanks for sharing your adventure!

Diane said...

Yep, spontaneous is another word for it, LOL. ;-) We had a great time, although it went by so fast I wish we'd had more time to linger at the beach.

TV truly cannot do it justice---you can only see what's in view of the camera lens at the time. It's the sheer scope and area that's so hard to grasp.

I've lived here all my life, Mandy, and only been to the ocean twice in 42 years. I would love to see the Rocky Mountains where you live. Someday.... :-)

PEA said...

Did you get all the sand out yet?? lol Sometimes these impulsive trips are the "funnest" ones:-) It must have been sad, though, to still see so much devastation left behind by Katrina. I've only been in the ocean once, the Pacific Ocean, when I was gone to BC...we camped near the ocean and I loved falling asleep to the sound of the waves. xoxox

Diane said...

I THINK all the sand is gone, but....LOL ;-)

I'd love to visit the Pacific and further up the coast of the Atlantic. Both times I've been to the ocean we only got to wade for a few hours, not really swim or stay as long as I'd have liked.

And it was SO sad, even this long after the hurricane.

I agree, some of the best memories I have are from spur of the moment impulsive things we did. ;-)

Granny said...

I haven't read far enough back yet to figure out your family and friends but no matter. I'll keep the baby in my prayers.


Paulette said...

Diane I probably would have sat there and bawled like a baby at the devastaion. I am so emotional.
I love the ocean more than anything in the world, way down deep in my soul. It would have been awesome to do that on the spur of the moment. I go to Galveston Ocean which is 4 hours from me. I often frequen Florida s Ocean and am going to Miami beach later in the month. I get to the Ocean as much as I can.
Thankyou for sharing this visual picture with us. Those fish are called silver mini's. I see them alot when I go and looked it up one time. I have literally seen Dolphin jump in clear view as well. Its awesome

Jeana said...

Sounds glorious!

Dawn said...

I had to comment on your post. I live in MS only about 2 hours from Biloxi and I wish you could have seen her before Katrina. Our beautiful coast and the history, but we will rebuild!

I wish you could have gone into the quaint shops on the beach, swim without fear of what's in the gulf and see the beauty that was once there. I am glad to hear you had a good time there. Biloxi and Gulfport are awesome and dear to my heart. On the Biloxi/Gulfport line on the beach there was The Olive Garden and that's where my husband asked me to marry him 2 years ago. It's also where we have our confreneces and lots of family trips there.

We are rebuiling our beautiful coast line and I hope one day you and your family will come back and make more happy memories!!!