"There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere . . . "
- Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Ouch! Not really, although with a heat index somewhere around 108 degrees F, it sometimes feel like I might be roasting over a spit down in the FloraGeorgia area (that's a part of the US, by the way, not a euphemism).
I'm not complaining - don't get me wrong - I adore the toasty days, lounging under a wide-brimmed hat.
But before I roast my skin, I'd prefer to go with the barbecue at Jim & Nick's!
I first found this place, with it's delicious little cheese biscuits and a side of honey butter, way back when I was a poor undergrad student, learning what barbecue was,back in Birmingham, AL. Back then, this wasn't a full-blown chain - just a few little spots around town. My senior year of college, Jim & Nick's had this huge radio promotion to name their poster pig. I remember calling in (back before cell phones even) and submitting suggestions, but I don't remember what those were, or what the final pig name turned out to be.
That's Alabama for you - one of my prime senior year recollections revolves around naming a pig. And hosting cow pie lotteries - who out there knows what those are?
Veronique recently mentioned in the comments that she was intrigued about those long ago Alabama steamy summer days ~ well, we're going to detour through a few of them here over the next few days.
But that's enough for now. Before we get back in there, pull up some sliced turkey, creamed spinach and fries and enjoy. This is some tasty barbecue. Don't forget your pickles.
You never know how things can change. A year ago, I'd never have believed that so soon I'd find myself vacationing in Florida with Ben and a sweet little puppy that wanted nothing more than to nibble treats from my fingers and snuggle under my chin. Of course, I wouldn't have guessed I'd be sleeping in a hotel in Wisconsin every week or two either. It is odd, the twists and turns a life takes.
Where will we be next year?
Every time we left the house in Destin, Doolin sprinted for the beach gate.
He quickly learned the way and - despite his distaste for the actual ocean - he was in love.
Beyond the gate is a private overview, a perfect place for watching stars fall at night or waves roll during the day.
Doo loves to sit and pant and look out through the slates.
So do I...without the panting, usually.
Honestly, we were pretty glad he coerced us down to the beach so often. We tend to be lazy some times and would have missed so much fun.
Doolin lounged in the sand...
...while Ben and I took turns...
...splashing in the warm, warm Florida waves.
Too soon, it was time to pack up the beach gear for the final time this trip...
Just off of highway 98, as you drive along the panhandle, oceanside, this little Shake shop sits behind a Chik-fil-a. We had to stop - you know how I am about my ice cream.
So the menu boasts "concretes" - frozen custard creations that are a total rip off of Shake Shack. Or is it the other way around?
We ordered our sweet treats then settled into this perfect little shady seat.
It was hot that day - so hot that the sickly sweet oder of melting asphalt permeated the air, a fetid smell combination of burning tar, dessicaated rubber and something that tastes like overripe, rotting mango. The scent took me back to those summer days years ago in Alabama, the ones I spent marching around an empty, sun-drenched parking lot in the thick of the summer heat, trotting back and forth to a metronome with a giant bass drum strapped to my shoulders. Nowhere else since have I caught quite that same wretched, nostalgic perfume. It isn't something I would particularly recommend, but I settled into it, absorbed in the memories.
Ben had never caught quite that scent before.
Soon enough, my Turtle Shake arrived, with vanilla custard, caramel sauce, pecans and chocolate fudge.
It was absolutely delicious. I love the way those wee pecan bits burst with each bite, disintegrating into the caramel and chocolate.
Ben indulged in a chocolate-chip cookie dough peanut butter concoction.
We only had the time for once visit to Shakes this trip, but I hope we can return again. There are other fantastic creations I'd love to try (most of them festooned with pecans!)
I don't even have to look any more. These days, I suspect the yarn finds me.
We're just driving down the road and Shazam! - there, not six blocks from our house, sits a yarn shop. This one was extra quirky, located inside a mattress store. So if you exhaust yourself with yarn-sniffing and knitting, you can take a break on a pillow-top, I suppose.
We managed to arrive about three minutes before closing time, but the nice proprietor kept the doors open for us to take a look around.
Yarn shopping...it doesn't take me that long anyway. I can drag it out for hours, or grab-and-go.