Continuing Our Celebration of Gratitude: Chattanooga

My sister-friend, Millicent Garland, and her husband, Bro’ Carlton, invited Mr. K. and me to visit them in Chattanooga. So, after Thanksgiving, I asked her, “You ready for our visit?” I’ve visited them plenty of times, but not with Mr. K. and not since Millicent retired. ( I know she looks 30+, but she ain’t). She assured me she had plenty for us to do and did she ever! Extending our celebration of gratitude, we were off to Chattanooga, TN.

First of all, chez Garland is very lovely and accommodating. It sits on a hilltop subdivision. Beyond the numerous living and sleeping areas, and the fabulous deck we love, it boasts a serious man cave, where we watched Halle Berry in Bruised, a photography studio, and as a young retiree from TVA, Millicent has a great space for 30+ years of memorabilia. This space is also shared with Millicent’s treadmill and sewing machine.

Man cave, (I sleep on the couch on the right). Millicent’s Memorabilia room

I swear, Mr. K. is never tired after driving, but he does sleep late. Not me!! I sleep during movies, but I get up early. Millicent and I did our usual ritual of a light breakfast, over great convo, and when Mr. K. readied, we headed out to the downtown festival, Main X 24. (Carlton had work to finish up before joining us).

Downtown, we met a lively festival with vendors inside and out and willing participants, young and old, to bask in “We are finally out” bliss. Chattanooga boasts artful spaces, from galleries to colorful eateries. The city is eco-friendly. with vendors heeding the call. Y’all! Ya’ girl was doing the Samba in a dance demonstration and cavorting with a fairy. We had to experience the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, where we watched the ice skaters and finally sat down for a snack. (Not that my feet hurt or anything). What?!!

Carton of water from Gallery 1401, Mr. K. and I at the Choo Choo Hotel
Learning the Samba
Fairy, Mary Beth Gray from Fairhope, AL, no less!!
Mr. K. chowing down…
…on cobbler at a Choo Choo restaurant

Carlton caught up with us. I was sleeping in Millicent’s car when he arrived. We walked to the Walnut Street Bridge so Mr. K. could experience the site, but to my surprise, there was a powerful memorial to Edward Johnson erected outside of the bridge.

The Ed Johnson Project

“This reflective memorial recognizes Ed Johnson, his brutal death and sacrifice, honors the heroic and historic efforts of Noah Parden, Styles Hutchins and the African-American community that supported them, and commemorates the landmark Supreme Court case that changed the course of American history and civil rights. The memorial is a welcoming, contemplative space at the south side to the Walnut Street Bridge where people of all backgrounds and cultures can come to learn, reflect, mourn and find inspiration.”

I was moved to tears, and I must commend Chattanooga for “getting it,” the truth of history must be told, no matter how painful. The project was reminiscent of the monument in Montgomery, commemorating the many lynchings in Alabama.


Caption: Sculpture of Ed Johnson and his attorneys, Noah Parden and Styles Hutchins


After walking a bit of the bridge, it was time to dine at Proof, where we had a reservation. Lupita Nyong’o paid a visit to the restaurant and tweeted rave reviews, so Millicent had to get us there. The restaurant is a concept spot, an “Incubator,” with 3 chefs cooking their cuisine. These chefs utilize Proof as their launching pad, to introduce their specialties, in hope of starting their own restaurant. Nyong’o raved about Chef Kenyatta’s food, so we ordered his gumbo, a Po’Boy, Brisket Meatball Yakamein, and the dish Nyong’o loved West African Red Red. All were delicious. We were so pleased that Millicent reserved a 5:30 spot. By 6:00PM, the diners were filling the seats.

Great restaurant – menu linked.
Dining at Proof

Were the Garlands done? Noooo!! Then, we drove to the Edwin Hotel for drinks. Y’all, it was whimsically sophisticated and wonderful. While waiting to be seated, I did a walk-about and ooohed and ahhhed until they called our name to be seated. The bar was plush but comfortable. However, it wasn’t the bar Millicent wanted us to experience; it was the view from the balcony. Although beautiful, I was like “Girl, we going back inside; it’s chilly.”

Elevator doors at the Edwin Hotel
Inside of the elevator
Mr. K. and I on the balcony at the Edwin Hotel Bar
Libations!

After the Edwin, Mr. K. and I were totally satisfied with a fabulous visit, but we drove to the Westin for a final nightcap. We met and chatted with the Garland’s favorite waitress, recounted our fabulous day, and went back home to popcorn and a movie. Ask me what movieyou already know…zzzzzzzz

Here’s the treat I have not yet mentionedMillicent Garland Photography. We were the recipients of a photographer’s whims. Everywhere we went, she took photos…of us! And to top it off, I ended up with a real studio photoshoot that I will always cherish. I tell you, we loved our visit to the Garlands.

Oh!! I forgot to mention Carlton’s hot wings, which I crave. I wonder who took the leftover wings back to Bama? What?!!

Joy Juice

No words – just my expression of joy and gratitude for you!!

Thank you, Millicent Garland Photography

“It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine

© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.



Please Subscribe and Follow my blog! Name(required

Email(required) Website Message

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.

GARDEN SPICES MAGAZINE ART- Dorothy Small-Spaulding: Why Not Paint!

The featured image is a card sent to me and created by my longtime friend, Dorothy. It sits on my family room shelf as artwork and inspiration. I’ve known Dorothy Small-Spaulding for over 40 years. We met in Cleveland, OH, my first friend there. With bright eyes, wearing a generous amount of turquoise jewelry, and a warm invitation to eat lunch at the Art Museum, Dorothy steered me to the artistic side of Cleveland and was part of my tribe. Dorothy introduced me to the art of making jewelry, to Sun Ra, and to Coventry, the neighborhood where all cool things thrived.

We both left Cleveland, and thirty years later, I caught up with Dorothy. It was no surprise to find her living in California and to learn that she had near ’bout traveled the world.

I resumed my relationship with Dorothy by phone and briefly visited her airy condo in Camereo, CA. To my surprise, there were paintings, watercolors created by Dorothy. There you have it; whatever her creative interest, Dorothy finds a way to put her fingers into it.

Today, Dorothy resides with her husband, Bernard, in Palm Springs, CA. Initially a hobby, her work is now exhibited at her clubhouse gallery. I asked her to let Garden Spices display some of her work as an inspiration to ignite us to be brave enough to delve into painting/our passion. – Victorine

About the Artist

Dorothy is a visual artist, who has always had a great appreciation of the arts.  She worked for years in the cultural area, by the Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio.  Dorothy started with jewelry making and painting wearable art.  She fell in love with watercolors after taking classes at the Hillcrest Center for the Arts, in Thousand Oaks, CA. 

“Painting with watercolors has become my passion.” Dorothy Small-Spaulding


“Artist of the month at our clubhouse”
Dorothy Small-Spaulding

Copyright 2021 © Camp Goldston Publishing,. All rights reserved.


Vicki Goldston (Victorine)

CEO, Camp Goldston Publising, LLC, Founder, Editor-in-Chief of Garden Spices Magazine and Spicy…a garden spices blog by Victorine

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Yep, that’s me, sitting with my legs up and iced typing this.  I had to suspend blogging memories of my travels to tell you this:  You may feel as though you are 35 in your head, but your body commands respect, I mean Aretha R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  What?!!

I recently told you I am on a weight-loss journey, which I am enjoying.  An integral part of it is exercise.  For me, that means walking, marching in front of the TV, Turbo Jam, Taebo, and now I am embarking upon cultivating a serious Yoga practice. I have the best Yoga instructor/coach, Charlene Carter, who demonstrates how to invoke the energy, strength, and flexibility that each of my muscles needs.  She exercises caution, and I look forward to my sessions. 

Here’s the first thing:  I have no cartilage in my knees.  In order to do certain poses, I had to get on my knees to be able to learn them. The second thing is that Charlene offered pads for my knees; I said “Nooo;” Yoga bricks, rugs, “No.”  I just stay on my no-cartilage knees until they begin to hurt and I have to roll off of them.  Did you know I’m a good student?  I practiced what I was learning at Charlene’s at home, on them knees again. What?!!

Y’all!  I been living with these knees for over 20 years.  I know how to treat them – no high impact, rubber sole shoes, bend at the knee, with swelling, knees up, and number one, DO NOT KNEEL FOR EXTENDED PERIODS!!  Needless to say, I kicked the dognot the Downward Dog; I injured my knees.  OK.  I know how to handle thishot and cold compresses, legs up for at least a day, Osteo Bioflex (given to me by Mr. K.) for strengthening, and Ibuprofen for pain. 

Speaking of dogs, after a two-day rest, I decide to walk my visiting granddog, HenryThree blocks in, my left leg begins to hurt.  Suddenly, I’m limping and can barely make the remaining block to my home.  Then, I could not put weight on my left leg and I had to try walking with a cane. I was in pain on a cane!  Long story, short, I dissed my knees, and they showed me that they command respect, as does the rest of my 71-year-old body.  What to do?

Henry chilling at home.

I spoke with Charlene, who was sympathetic and really nurtured my spirit by assuring me that rest and time can heal all wounds, and I was blessed to have Charlene’s sister, Deborah Carter, ND, a Naturopath, pay me a home visit.  She felt I had a torn ligament and did sound therapy, which helped me to walk. She also advised me to double up on the Bioflex, apply cold compresses, and use knee braces.  My kids kicked in:  Miles looked after me, and Camille brought me tennis balls for massaging my legs.  While I know it will take some time to completely heal, I am giving myself a couple of weeks to see a shift.  If not significant enough, I will see a Bone & Joint MD.

“A word to the wise should be sufficient. RESPECT is the word.  Our older bodies need the care that sustains them; that enables health and wholeness.  We don’t have to prove anything to anyone.   Sometimes we have to get somewhere and sit down. What?!

Joy Juice

Now that we’re a bit past the onslaught of COVID, we are feeling ourselves and want to do more.  Doing more includes listening to our minds and bodies.  Our souls command what our spirits need, and we hear both. Ase’.

 “Only a fool tests the depth of a river with no feet.” African Proverb

“For God gave us not a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control” 2Timothy 1:7ESV

“Whatsoever passeth beyond the limits of moderation will cease to exert a beneficial influence.” – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 216.

“It’s all good/love/God”Victorine

© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.


Please Subscribe and Follow my blog!

Name(required)
Email(required)
Website
Message

 

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.

“Everything’s Bigger in Texas!”

Texas Stars

Yep! We were rolling into Corsicana, TX, and we had ranches with big land rolling right with us. We were on our way to visit Mr. K.’s sister, Glenda Williams, their Aunt Gladys, and Marvin Mitchell at their G&M Ranch. Slick Vick “Home, home on the range.What?!!

We were pleased to meet their beautiful house with the famous Texas star on the front doors. This spacious “ranch” is elegantly appointed with an open design, a welcoming veranda, deck, pool, and outdoor kitchen. Beyond their home, are the 50 heads of Black Angus cattle on 54 acres of land, and we cannot forget Lily, the Dalmation they inherited from the previous owners of the property.

Almost as soon as we got to Corsicana, the sky fell open and the rain began, lasting for 5 days — five days of waking up to my meditation and prayer on the front porch, walking to the cattle (only to have the cows back away from me). Lily running up to me for a hug and keeping me company for a while, before scampering away. That’s Lily, such a sweet dog.

House: Front, Back veranda, and Outdoor kitchen with poo
l
Living room, opening to kitchen, which opens to the dining area.
Beauty in black and Lily

As you might imagine, the daily maintenance of the ranch had Mitch mowing, gardening, and overseeing the workers contracted by Glenda. Of course, as a contractor’s daughter, Glenda would be right with Mitch for the construction jobs, and the inside was her domain. Mitch took us out on the cart (his mule), to see the vastness of the land, the ponds, the cows, and where the hay will be stored. That barn had plenty of equipment for working the ranch, and the garden was growing beautifully.

We had lazy days with Glenda’s good cooking and watching Mitch and Glenda shape their ranch into their own. I loved spending time with Aunt Gladys.

Corsicana is a small town, but you know we found our way to an upscale restaurant downtown. It was my birthday, and we celebrated royally at Across the Street Bistro. Why did they have Chilean Sea Bass? I was in heaven. Mr. K. ordered a slice of luscious Lemon Cake, which was to die for, and I had 1,2,3 bites of it.

Mr. K. reclining in the She-shed chair

Then, there was the famous chair. While the rest of the family gathered to watch TV, I would go exercise to a video, and then, the piece de resistance, “the chair.” Glenda’s she-shed chair held me captive almost every night. So relaxing, it was like a cocoon.

Thanks to our hosts, this visit was wonderful, but when the rain let up, Mr. K. and I said our “Thank yous” and “Goodbyes” and scurried to beat the rain to our next destination, Prairie View, Texas, home of Prairie View A & M University, Mr. K’s alma mater and a visit with Aunt Irma, a fascinating woman.

Stay tuned!!

Joy Juice

The open range is beautiful, another expression of the Creator’s beauty. I don’t know if I could live in this particular kind of splendor, (It took me a minute to relax and do nothing), but I prescribe the experience for everyone.

“It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine

© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.


Please Subscribe and Follow my blog!

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.  

Chicago…Always!!!

I guess y’all can’t believe that we had the nerve to drive to Chicago in July. We had to. First, to celebrate Mama Jeanette, that beauty I blogged about, and secondly, to introduce Mr. K. to my city/friends-family/sights/food, and third, to see the Bisa Butler exhibit. What?!

Mr. K. had his introduction to chez Pat’s, (Pat Charles Kline), meaning every amenity, fully accommodating fridge, beauty, and her welcoming hug. Of course, as soon as I arrive home, Nedra Shelton is on the phone and making her way over to greet us. Both Pat and Nedra meet Mr. K. as though they have known him forever. Indria Perrilloux is still in Vegas, but with us in spirit, following our every move. Ahhh, Besties!

We relaxed the next day. I was Mr. K. was tired from driving, but still ready to dive into Chicago cuisine. In spite of it being post-Covid, there were quite a few restaurants open, and our first pick-up was corned beef samiches. Now, there are cute corned beef sandwiches, and there are slightly greasy, serious, can’t-eat-the-whole-thing, samiches. We drove to AP Deli for the real deal, and they delivered. You get at least 2-3 meals out of their samiches, and it’s sooo good.

The next day, Pat took us to the Harbor at Navy Pier for appetizers and drinks. Thank God, we had Joy Gill, another one of my sisters, with us. After drinks, we walked the harbor to, ta-dah…Rainbow Cones. Can y’all believe I adhered to Noom and had sorbet instead of my luscious 5 tier cone with cherries, almonds and, deliciousness? That’s OK. I got my rainbow at the famous Buckingham Rainbow Fountain, our next site. We waited to see the transformation. Still so beautiful, as it changed colors, the fountain reminded me of my childhood.

Why the “Thank God we had Joy?” Joy is a walking history book. We started from the Water Tower to the Magnificant Mile, to the University of Chicago, Hyde Park, including Honorable Elijah Mohammed’s home to the Obama’s residence. Joy knew all the backstories of every site, and we were thrilled to learn all the information we never knew, even as Chicagoans. Of course, both Joy and I went to St. Thomas Apostle high school, and I had a few stories about fun times spent in the Hyde Park community. What?!

Magnificent Mile, University of Chicago, Hyde Park, Joy and I at our high school reunion


The next day we were blessed to attend the beautiful celebration for Nedra and Deegee’s mom, Jeanette Fairley, and saw so many family friends who paid tribute to a life well lived That celebration went into the next day when the family gathered for food and sharing updates and memories.

Mr. K. and I went solo the next day. We explored one of my childhood favorites, The Museum of Science and Industry. (Why did everything look so big, when I was little)? Many of the exhibits were Covid-closed, but Mr. K. enjoyed the exploration there. Afterward, we set our GPS to see all of my old haunts.

Mr. K. playing at the Museum of Science and Industry and the wonderful Colleen miniature fairy castle,

We started with my last Chicago apartment on North LaSalle, and after experiencing Near North and Old Town, we GPSed to my second apartment on Roscoe, which was in a vibrant, diverse community. Oh, the memories. When I wanted Japanese food, I would simply go downstairs to Chris Kobayashi’s place. Mexican food – to Sophia Guadeloupe Maria Garcia’s aunties house. I got Greek food from Grocery Diana’s, and almost everyone I knew from those days was in the Free Theater, including one of my besties, Laurel Heiss. Peace, love, dove + Power to the People. What?!

Laurel Heverly Heiss and I still yucking it up today. (Y’all see she’s still rocking an army jacket, a style from the ’70s. )What?!

We found a great Thai restaurant, Kinnarree Kitchen that was open-air and only a block away from a parking space. We dined while people watching, made our way back to our car, and back to the Southside we went. On the way, we passed 8 Track Recording and the Tribune, where I worked, then to Englewood, where I grew up. Nothing left in my neighborhood, but green grass. The railroad decimated my childhood streets, but a mile away, St. Martin, my elementary school, still stood. We drove back to Pat’s.

St. Martin, yes the daily, long snow walks The doors of St. Thomas Apostle


Next, Bisa Butler, Bisa Butler, Bisa Butler. Pat, my cousin-niece, Deanna Kemp, Mr. K., and I ravished every bit of the breathtaking exhibit.

Finally got to see her exhibit.

A short story: I was viewing one of Butler’s pieces when I heard this woman quietly describing every thread, color, the nuances of the artwork. I listened intently, enjoying her interpretation. I stepped back a bit to see another lady. The two were together. Friends, one telling the story, and the other, blind and intently listening. I could not help but talk with them discovering that the blind lady was a quilter who was losing her eyesight. I felt an overwhelming sense of admiration and compassion for the two women. They moved on to the next exhibit, and I soon followed. The interpreter told her friend, “Oh, it’s our new friend coming to join us.” She meant me.

A composition of compassion

We all were enthralled with the Butler exhibit. I had been waiting forever to see it. Our bonus was the Obama portraits, (on Featured image), also impressive. Satisfied, we made it to our car and discussed where we would meet Nedra to eat. I opted to go to the Southside to one of the homestyle Greek restaurants that serve big portions of good food.

How ‘you gon’ get a salad, entree, wine, and a dessert for less than $20? We all ordered the Special and were like, What?!!

Finally, time to hug and love on my family, from my first cousin, Jo-Ellyn Smith, and her kids, Deanna Kemp, Wilhemina, and her husband, David, and kids. Oh, what love and fun we had at Mina’s house. Of course, we had to have Giordano’s Pizza and Garrett’s Popcorn chaser.

Cousin Jo and David, Mina, David, and the boys, Mr. K. with Baby Devin, Jo with her crew, and Dee dee with me.

Next, the gathering at Pat’s with so many Chicago friends, like family visiting to meet Mr. K. and to say their hellos and goodbyes to us. Always a sacred part of my visit. Oh yeah…Chicago, always. What?!!

Joy Juice

Yes, we did it again! We embraced every blessing we encountered in Chicago. What fun to show Mr. K. my Chicago. just as he showed me his Carolinas. I bet every one of us can tour our hometowns with new eyes, finding nooks and crannies, some unnoticed and some, new. I challenge you to discover something about where you live. Maybe a theater, a community center, park, or street. At this age, we always need something new! IJS #everythingoldisnewagain #chicagoisrefriedandgentrified

“It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine

“Whatever precious jewel there is in the heavenly worlds, there is nothing comparable to one who is Awakened.” Buddha

“For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

“Knowledge is a garden. If it isn’t cultivated, you can’t harvest it.” African Proverb

© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved


Please Subscribe and Follow my blog!


Scroll down for news about Patreon.

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.


NEWS FLASH!!

We appreciate you reading, laughing/crying with us.  If you enjoy the content and wish to support us, please become a member of PATREON.   It’s a way to receive benefits from Garden Spices Magazine and from Spicy

Images:

By TonyTheTiger at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3092975 Magnificent Mile

By TonyTheTiger – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33848282 Harper’s Court

By Victor Grigas – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42754817 Old Town Chicago

By Daniel X. O’Neilhttps://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44051756 Roscoe

By MrHarman – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20801543 Englewood

The Show: Indria & Andy Gumbo

We never got a chance to see it on the air…the Indria & Andy Show. But I saw it up close and personal on visits to Chicago and Louisiana, every Thanksgiving, from 2013 to 2016 in AL, and even on the phone. Indria and Andy Perrilloux were funny! Indria was the “straight (wo)man” always starting with her name for Andy, “Anderson!” and Andy would grab her parachute and bring the laughs on home.

I met Indria in high school, where I was always her “Zampino” and she was my “Jessomina,” (from the movie LaStrada, with Anthony Quinn). See? That’s the kind of crazy, weird we were, so it was no wonder that Indria attracted Andy, as her husband-in-laughter. He played golf with comedians, like Bernie Mac, and they called him the “Funny Man!” What?!

Andy Perrilloux, 1989

His sisters by love, Nedra, Pat, and I would talk on the phone with Indria, and all of a sudden, she would let out a short scream. Why? Andy would be peeking at her through a window, or sneaking in to tweak her, anything to hear, “Anderson!” And we would laugh, picturing the two of them; Indria calling him Anderson and other choice names, and Andy responding with even more hilarity. Andy had his mating call as well, “Indra…Indra!” Notice, there’s no “i,” in “Indra”; that was his pet name for her. We loved to hear them go back and forth and to have Andy drive us to and from.

Andy was the driver for many a “girl’s trips.” He drove Indria and friends from Chicago to Tupelo for a party, and they recounted his antics; I experienced laughing at Andy, as he chauffered our crew around New Orleans, his stomping grounds. However, it’s our Thanksgiving visits with Indria and Andy I wanna tell y’all about.

The Perrillouxs would arrive in Florence, AL Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving. After dinner and a night of good sleep, Indria and I would greet the next morning, but without Andy. Why? Andy was off and running after sunrise. We’d be like, “Where have you been?” Andy had been to visit the closest golf course, and to Walmart, where he would meet new friends he could tell us about; he met no strangers. Then, he would hassle us about getting the food ready so he could have a nibble; if we weren’t fast enough, he would grab my son, Miles, and go to my daughter’s house to see what she had. Then, there was the dinner, really, any dinner at my home.

Andy was a former bus driver in Chicago. With Indria encouraging him, he would tell us about his exploits…OK, I’ll tell just one of his stories. He was driving his route and picked up a drunk who decided to get in his face. Andy warned him, “Sir, back away from the driver…” at least several times before he had to literally put this guy in his place. Andy removed him from the bus, sat him on a bench, and put the guy’s hat over him. Andy then returned to his bus and continued his route. We were on the floor laughing after all of his stories. Of course, his regulars would board his bus with all kinds of food and gifts for him. Who could resist Andy?

Anderson Perrilloux

On his early morning jaunt, Andy would bring me a poinsettia for my Thanksgiving treat. The best part of the Indria & Andy show was when they served the gumbo two days after Thanksgiving. They would have us rolling as each family member dove into the pot for more savoring gumbo. We couldn’t get enough…we couldn’t get enough of them, the gumbo they made together.

Andy, Indria, and Bear, 2021

Even though Andy is now in the next realm, he holds our attention/affection, as Indria gives us yet another one of his life stories. For those that love the Perillouxs, including yours truly, the show continues, and I could not write this without smiling.

Caleb, Indria, Andy, and Asher in Grandparent bliss!
Andy Perrilloux
Andy stepping with one of his “sisters,” Pat Kline, at “sister,” Nedra Shelton’s Christmas gathering.

Joy Juice

How can we count the blessings that friendship brings? There is no need to count them; it is our joy to immerse ourselves in the appreciation of our many friendships of the moment. We smile and love easily, understanding the fragility of our time.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  Hebrews 10:24-25 

“Hold a true friend with both hands.” African proverb

“It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine

© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.



Please Subscribe and Follow my blog! Name (required) Email (required) Website Message

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.  



Post-Houston: N’awlins!

Our intention was to drive through Baton Rouge to eat at a restaurant favorite, Juban‘s. However, they were Covid-closed. So, in Mr. K. fashion, we made our way to the magical city of New Orleans, but for only one day. Our first stop tended to the important matter at hand – breakfast! We GPSed our way to Daisy Mae’s restaurant. ( By the way, a pause for the cause...everywhere we went we were masked up, vaxed up, and socially distanced from folks we did not know). At Daisy Mae’s all the patrons were masked, inside and outside. We saw a good number of Black folks waiting in line to get in, but what was cool was that so many were in the city for college graduations. ‘You mean to tell me all these families were celebrating Black graduates from LSU, Xavier, etc.? I loved it. What?!

We hit all the familiar places, starting with parking on Canal Street. We called Indria Perrilloux, the LA aficionado, for how to get where we wanted to go. On the trolley we went, landing at the French Market and French Quarter. We enjoyed the art walk, talking with many of the local artists. Then, we found ourselves in front of the St. Louis Cathedral, and I had to enter. It’s so bizarre; they say once a Catholic, always a Catholic. So even though I am sure I have been excommunicated for years, I went right into Catholic church mode. Holy Water, to Sign of the Cross, to walking the aisle to view the hand-carved Stations of the Cross, admiring the beautiful frescoes, and, up to the massive altar. I genuflected and took a seat on one of the benches to pray. While walking to the exit I bowed my head – still the obedient Catholic girl of my youth. Mr. K. did not engage and said to me, “Come on, Catholic girl.” I smiled, but I love a Cathedral. What?!

We walked out of the Cathedral to see a great magician on Jackson Square. His irreverent antics were so funny and kept our attention for the duration of his show. Afterward, beignets were calling out to us, but not at the famous Cafe’ du Monde. The lines were wrapped around the corner. We found Cafe Beignet, which had a bearable wait. Of course, Mr. K. engaged in conversation with a senior couple behind us, and when they found an empty table, they invited us to join them. Mr. K’s friendliness paid off again.

Lines at Cafe’ du Monde, Cafe Beignet, Magician on Jackson Square, and a friend and I relaxing .

Filled up and tired of walking, we made our way to the trolley and back to our car. (Senior sideline: You should’ve seen us trying to find our parking lot). Finally locating our car, we toured other areas in New Orleans. I had to ride down Magazine Street, my favorite, and Mr. K. found two locations where he used to live. It was interesting driving through the architecture I love and seeing many of the parks and residential areas. Stomachs started talking, so we had to find a restaurant.

I remembered this great little neighborhood restaurant my family loved. Another senior moment – remembering the name. I just knew it was “Uncle Dave’s.” NOT! In New Orleans…NOT! Finally, I remember we stayed in Metairie. I Googled restaurants there and found Chef Ron’s. Does that sound anything like Uncle Dave’s? The thing is, Chef Ron puts his hands in everything and comes out to make sure your food is on point. The etouffee I love, Mr. K. the gumbo, and we shared a salad and bread pudding to die for. (We took some home to Mr. K.’s sister, Glenda Williams. Again, this great neighborhood eatery did not disappoint, and of course, after the grand meal, we were ready to sleep.

We awakened, ready for our ride home to the Shoals. We have a running joke. I call my GPS “Gigi,” and Gigi usually has the most efficient way to get to a destination. Mr. K. will also initiate his Garmin device in his car, which is a bit less efficient.. We trusted Gigi to take us home, but I must’ve found the slow, go through every country town, dark road, crazy street route. Needless to say, Mr. K. was too through with Gigi, and I did the walk of shame. What?!

Y’all, I just want to reiterate that wherever we went, whatever we did, we were Covid-conscious. We took nothing for granted, and if a restaurant was not in compliance, we did not stop there. We both have been victims of this virus, and we do what is necessary to stay safe. That being said, we had a wonderful summer post-vaccinated vacation, and we hope you have the opportunity to renew your passions, whatever they are.

This time at the Museum of Science and Industry, in Chicago, masked!

Joy Juice

We did the post-Covid do! Such an exciting time to be aware of this season of life. Some aches? Yes. Some apprehensions about our times? Yes. Some compassion for the many lives lost during these times? Yes. But do we bask in our blessings and joie de vivre? Yes. We are here to live our soul’s journeys, taking with us all we encounter to expand and grow. (Our minds, not our bodies. What!) Thank you for traveling with me.

“However long the night, the dawn will break.” African Proverb

“Seeing is different than being told.” African Proverb

“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14

“It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons


© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.



Please Subscribe and Follow my blog! Name(required)

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.


Out of the Prairie and on to Houston

We forged ahead, from Corsicana to the homes of two greats, Mr. K.’s Aunt Irma Kendrick and Prairie View A & M University. (PVAMU) Let me just say this; when you roll up into an HBCU town, you can feel the heritage. This town bleeds purple and gold, legacy, pride, and is a sanctuary for strength and wisdom. Aunt Irma is a big part of all things wonderful about Prairie View.

Mr. K. in his PVAMU Alumni T-shirt

The clouds rode with us to Prairie View, and when we got there, we hit the local restaurant for food offerings to give Aunt Irma. Mind you, this was not my first time meeting her, and ever since our first meeting, I feel as though I’ve known her forever. Her home is modest and mighty, welcoming all that enter with warmth, family stories remembering her deceased husband, Griff, and giving testimony that excellence is a possibility. Aunt Irma ought to know; she has ushered, sheltered, typed for, and guided many a student to success via PVAMU.

I won’t preempt Mr. K.’s praise for his Aunt Irma. You can read it for yourself in his article, How Aunt Irma Influenced My Life.” However, I do wish to validate that she is everything he says she is. And I say Aunt Irma is an exemplary person that warms my heart whenever I encounter her. Oh…and she welcomes her guests with serious chili and poundcake. What?!!

Aunt Irma with a recipient of her warmth

Thank the Universe we were with Aunt Irma when the ferocious storm struck and raised its voice throughout the night. After two days of Kendrick-kindness, we made our way to our next destination – Houston.

Houston

On to Mr. K.’s cousin’s spectacular Bed & Breakfast, La Maison in Midtown Houston, but not before paying a visit. My friends from Chicago, Ron (Smitty) and Pat Smith, recently relocated to Houston, and we had to holla at them. Our “holla” turned into a celebration of meeting their new house, their daughters, and their families, including beautifully vibrant children. They all lived within walking distance of each other in a lovely subdivision.

We swapped Chicago stories and laughed at Smitty’s antics throughout the day, and as we said our goodbyes, I knew my friends were in good hands with their new home, Houston.

La Maison

This was my second visit to La Maison; my first to simply see the B&B and to take Mr. K.’s cousin and co-owner, Genora Boykins to dinner. I was so impressed with this urban swank and splendor, but with no vacancies, I could not see the full cigar. However, we did see the dining area and caught Happy Hour, where beyond wine, several guests were chowing down on aperitifs. Not to be rude, we joined them. What?!

On this visit, Mr. K. booked one of the guest rooms, and I got to feel the warmth and luxury created by Boykins and co-owner, Sharon Owens. It delivered beauty, from the parlor to the rooms with every amenity desired. Because the B&B is centrally located in Midtown, it is a walk away from restaurants. Of course, we found our Thai, dined sufficiently, and made our way back to the lap of luxury provided by La Maison. Pictures:

La Maison Midtown Houston

After a wonderful breakfast via Chef Matthew Williams, and a morning thanks and goodbye, Mr. K. and I were on our way home to the Shoals, except…we intended to stop at Mr. K.’s favorite restaurant in Baton Rouge, but it was Covid-closed. Sooo…he says “Let’s go to New Orleans!” Who am I to argue? Stay tuned!*

Featured image: David Daniel Turner, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Joy Juice

Can Seniors dare to be spontaneous? Even with our appointment-ridden lives, we can dare to let the wind blow us in an unexpected direction. With Spirit as our guide, sometimes it is where miracles can happen.

It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine

© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.



Please Subscribe and Follow my blog! Name(required)

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.

https://www.instagram.com/gardenspicesmagazine/%post_id%

Logging in to Savannah, GA

I’d better hurry up! Mr. K and I will be leaving soon for another trip. So, heeere’s Savannah! Screech!! An aside here: Mr. K. is good for “I’ve never been to this town; let’s check it out,” which explains why we stopped in Beaufort, SC. on our way to Savannah. What?!!

Beaufort is a quaint town, with shops and architecture to explore, but we were hungry on a post-COVID, closed-town day. Thank goodness, Bricks on Boundary was open and welcoming, with a casual atmosphere and a generous menu. The food portions were also generous. Mr. K. and I always share our dishes, and we were sufficiently full, ready for a good night’s sleep, and to meet Savannah in the morning.

Savannah, GA is history on steroids, with cobblestone streets, architecture, and a wonderful river walk. We parked in a lot close to the river walk, and we hit the pavement, which turned into the cobblestone streets leading to the river walk shops. I’m not too much for touristy shopping, but after my experience in Charleston, I’m a fan of a historical tour. We walked to the Tourist Center, found the Black historical tour, but we had to walk half a mile to get there, and we were running late. (You already know…What?!!!)

Bricks and Stones

There is so much history in the bricks and stones of Savannah. Our tour guide recounted the history of the famous grey bricks of Savannah. Handmade on the McAlpin Plantation in the early 1800s, and as historical remnants, authentic bricks are very costly. Our tour guide took us to see many of the historical homes and buildings that boast these grey beauties.

Grey Bricks: Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

We were also guided to the historical neighborhoods where Blacks lived and conducted everydayisms. Of course, we also visited the Black section of the Laurel Grove Cemetery. According to Go South, “Four acres of the original cemetery area (the lowest, most ill-drained portion, and the furthest from the city) were set aside for the burial of Savannah’s African-Americans, enslaved and free; the acreage was shortly afterward increased to 15, and then doubled again a few years later (the present-day 90-acre burial ground is roughly the same size as its neighbor).”

Our guide also took us to several galleries exhibiting Black art from the region, as well as to historical churches.

Touring Black Savannah
Galleries and classrooms

After touring Black Savannah, we were on the cobblestone for food and a look at the steamboat. I asked for soft-shell crab, and Mr. K. provided! The Greek restaurant, Olympia Cafe, was serving great food, and the soft-shelled crab was to die for.

We bought candy and walked the harbor until Mr. K. decided to nap. I continued to walk and met some shopping and restaurants along the way. All good, but that Georgia Queen Riverboat was something to behold.

Cliff from Arlington, Virginia, USA, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

With a quick call to my Yogini from the past, Mary Felchlin, we found ourselves meeting her at a whimsical outside court with food and music; we also met Mary’s sister, Marguerite. She introduced us to her product, Marguerite’s Creole Seasoning, some of the best seasoning I’ve tasted. She gifted us with a sample, and I slap it on everything I cook. What?!

After reminescing and catching up with Mary, (see below), they told us everything we missed in Savannah. We assured them we would be visiting again. We were on our way to a quick stay outside of Savannah and a visit with my friend, Lou Ellen, her daughter, Stephanie, and family, whom I had not seen in over 30 years.

Lou Ellen, whom I affectionately called “Butchie,” had prepared lobster rolls. She also served her famous meatballs, which were passed down by Pasquale, her Italian stepfather. Mr. K. and Lou’s husband, Douglas, swapped stories, and we had a fabulous visit.

At the end of the day, as the Savannah river keeps on rolling, the people I visit are the thing. The people, as well as the history and sites will roll us back to Savannah.

Mary and Paul Wolf, the subject of current events. What?!
Marguerite Cuquet and her organic seasoning. Good on everything!!
Stephanie and Lou Ellen after over30 years!

Joy Juice

History is so important, which is another reason to travel. We learn how we came to be this country and the world. ‘Thing is, it’s so important to hear the truth, and historical tours are breaking ground for learning and digging for more treasures of our past. Shovel ready? Texas is next.

I’ts all good/love/God – Victorine

“We desire to bequeath two things to our children. The first one is roots; the other one is wings.” — Sudanese proverb

“If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” Psalm 139:9-10 ESV

© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.


 

Please Subscribe and Follow my blog!

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.  

Low Country…Hilton Head and Chez’ Statham

The splendor of Low Country preceded Mr. K and me with lush greenery and dotted shops along the way. We were making our way to the land of luxury, with upscale homes, resorts, and outlining beachesHilton Head. Driving in, we GPSed our way to cousins-in-law, Gloria and Carl Statham. Thank God!

Gloria had been trying to get me to visit them since her cousin, Bob, made his transition. Fourteen years later we drove through a tunnel of trees, manned the twists and turns to the Statham’s home. The physical appearance of a house has little to do with all the beauty we experienced. However, this spacious house was intentional and had every room and appointment you could ask for. My “Thank God” is defined by the welcome Mr. K. and I received. After me Oohing and Ahhing over the house, we were greeted with a smorgasbord of delights. In spite of our plans to stay with them for only a day, we were invited and taken up to our suite to stay with them. our entire stay. What?!

I don’t know why I didn’t keep shooting the video up to their house. What?!

Let’s get this out of the way: Gloria cooks like her mama, Aunt Nick, who had lick-the-plate meals. So, every meal was delicious. After breakfast, (the woman had lox!), we planned our day. Of course, Mr. K. wanted to show me his old haunts; I wanted to walk the beach, and Gloria and Carl had clear calendars for showing us what they love about living in the Low Country. We did it all.

Hilton Head is loaded with venues for outdoor activities, bike and hiking trails, jet skiing, parasailing. This vacation spot also boasts art and music spaces, and taking note of historical Hilton Head, it has a multitude of former plantations, now, swank resorts (Hmmm); Mr. K. has vacationed in plenty of them, all impressive. (As impressive as they look, unless you are staying on the grounds for the day, do not pay to see them…ask me how I know). The beach was all I wanted; so Mr. K. pulled into the Marriott, and we walked through to the beach, which enabled a lovely beach walk. We made our way back to our house to Gloria’s and readied to go to the town market.

It was so nice to walk the weekly market and to meet all kinds of vendors, even kids selling items for fundraising. We settled on some delicious-looking bread, (.I wonder why…). We bought a couple of loaves, and while the guys found a bar for drinks, Gloria and I went looking at the various shops on the outskirts of the market area. We joined the guys for drinks and made our way back to the house.

Gloria and Carl live on a golf course, so they loaded us into a couple of carts, and off we went to see the country club, its amenities, and the greens. All were gorgeous, but Carl’s landscaping was the “Wow” for me. We also enjoyed their Low Country Boil, which was tumbled onto a patio table where we stuffed ourselves. Key Lime pie followed. (I only at two three fork-fulls). What?!

The next day, we packed our bags for goodbyes, but not before experiencing a spiritual talk in the Sunroom with Carl and a great breakfast, this time, with Gloria’s loaded grits. (Mr. K. had the nerve to try putting butter on them. Those grits were cooked with butter!) Their Sunroom lends itself to serenity, and that’s exactly what we felt leaving our visit with cousins, Gloria and Carl, serenity...our Hilton Head visit.

Living room, dining room, some of the many sculptures, They have many original pieces,including the ones over our guest suite in the vibrantly yellow room
Our Gloria and Carl’s house, family room, sun porch, view from the sun porch, patio overlooking the golf course, Carl’s “hobby,” landscaping.

Carl and Gloria at the market, in the kitchen (Yay), a goodby selfie, and Mr. K and I, leaving our home resort.
Gloria and Carl

Joy Juice

It took this long for me to be able to experience the love connection of Carl and Gloria without feeling the pain of losing Bob. Grieving a loved one can do that, put a hold on connections that you feel may be painful.

Thank God that rejuvenation can reawaken the spirit. (Of course, I give Mr. K. some credit here too). Every old friend and family member we visited on our trip welcomed Mr. K. with open arms, which means they continue to lift me up, and I am grateful.

“It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine

© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.



Please Subscribe and Follow my blog!

Please support Spicy…a blog by Victorine through Patreon. 

 Victorine, Bio

Author of  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences.