Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Return to Mayberry

             Well, Barn, do you wish you could return to those slow-moving summer days fishing at the creek with a bottle of pop and a baloney sandwich? Do I hear whistling as you make your way to the water’s edge, fishing pole over your shoulder?
            You don’t have to relegate your desire for an easier time in the old South to just watching “The Andy Griffith Show,” you can actually live them at Mayberry Days this week (Sept. 26-29, 2013) in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, “where Mayberry comes to life.”
            There’ll be local bands playing those old songs Andy and Aunt Bee loved, a parade through town, a silent auction, “The Emmett” golf tournament, championship barbecue cook-off, Colonel Tim’s Talent Time Matinee and the “Hometown Tribute to Emmett Forrest” Sunday at the Blackmon Amphitheatre, among so much more. (Forrest was a lifelong friend of Griffith and a collector of memorabilia spanning Grffith's career).
            Best of all, Gomer, there’ll be “special guests,” actors from the long-running (eight full seasons) TV show, appearing at the festival, plus Roland White, who played with The Country Boys in two episodes.
            If you can’t make it this weekend, be sure and come back to visit The Andy Griffith Museum, featuring the hundreds of items from the life and career of Andy Griffith collected by Emmett Forrest.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

It’s not weird, it’s down-right gross

            I had a run-in last night with a roach the size of Montana. I could have sworn the damn thing winked at me from my lampshade as if to say, “Try swatting me on this baby, bitch!” I sent in my best man, my brave son Taylor, who after knocking the imposter on to the floor managed to beat him into submission.
Audubon Insectarium in New Orleans offers an up-close view.
            It took four hours.            
            You know I’m kidding, but not by much. I live in South Louisiana where these suckers — called tree roaches — grow the size of dogs. OK, exaggerating again. In reality, they’re oversized, they fly and they multiply like rabbits in our humid, junglesque environment.
            And before you start judging the cleanliness of my home (Yahoo Answers will back me up!), we all have them, even those McMansion folks. I remember once walking the streets of New Orleans at night with tourists who have that romantic Tennessee Williams idea of the city in their heads. We were on Prytania, waiting to cross the street to take in a movie. Above us, flying around a streetlight, was a collection of these buggers. My tourist friends asked if they were small birds.
            In my husband’s haste pulling out of our driveway one night he knocked off our faucet and sent water everywhere. Our plumbers, who are now our best friends, raced to the rescue but the new faucet has left behind a small hole leading straight into the kitchen sink. Call it the super roach highway. It could be a pinhole and those nasty creatures would find a way in.
            So today, I will be closing the front door to the roach motel with a calking gun, then spraying everything in sight. Hopefully they won’t even check in. The only thing worst than a live roach is one dead on its back, waiting for your shoe, sending off a cracking noise that drowns out the TV.
            Now, if you’re one of those weird people who loves looking at creatures like this, the Audubon Institute in New Orleans has a fabulous Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, located in the U.S. Custom House on Canal Street, that includes a Cockroach Chat, a live cam of the museum’s miniature New Orleans kitchen crawling with you know what. I've included a nice photo above of the Insectarium, because there was no way I was going to post a cockroach to my blog! I know my readers will thank me. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Jamming possums in ‘Quartz Crystal Capital’

             Every Saturday evening from May through October folks gather in the Mt. Ida town square to enjoy free performances of bluegrass, gospel and country. This small Arkansas town known for its quartz crystals also attracts visitors for the weekly Frontporch Stage concerts.
            And then there’s the possum, the town animal so to speak.
            The Frontporch created “Possums Unlimited” wih possum products to help raise money for the non-profit that runs the show.
            “Possums Unlimited is sort of our version of Ducks Unlimited seein’s how we ain’t got no ducks,” the organizers explain on their web site.
            They also elect a possum queen and hold a coronation picnic. The only requirements are you must be a Montgomery County resident and have a good sense of humor.            
            Be sure and visit on Sept. 28 for the annual Possum Picnic with music by The Acousticatz with special guests from Texas.
            Mt. Ida is located about 35 miles west of Hot Springs on U.S. 270. In addition to the FrontPorch and possums, Mount Ida offers rocks shops and places to dig for its famous crystals, plus sits near the western end of the 40,000-acre Lake Ouachita and is surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest. The natural beauty of the surrounding mountains offers plenty of opportunities to swim, fish, sail, hike, bike and camp.

            Accommodations range from in-town motels like the affordable Royal Oak Inn to the nearby Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa that rents everything from full houses to motel rooms and offers a wide variety of amenities including water sports, houseboat rentals and the Turtle Cove Spa.