Gulf Oil

Word that the leaking Horizon well is under control is encouraging, and that is good. But damage has been done in ways we’ll be dealing with for years. Husband and I were in Pensacola, Florida, this past week for a quick couple of days. It’s one of our favorite vacation spots and we were anxious to check out the oil-leak effects. Here’s what we found: The Emerald coast was gorgeous, as always … but, sadly, clean-up workers seemed to outnumber tourists. We didn’t mind no lines at restaurants and no crowds on beaches, but that also meant no money coming in and no jobs for the folks who live there. And that is not good. At Joe Patti’s Seafood, there were more employees behind the counter than shoppers in front of it — and no local shrimp, grouper or oysters. The Boardwalk shops in Pensacola Beach practically echoed with emptiness. A local newspaper story quoted locals as saying it was “January in July.” And even though theoretically folks who’ve lost money and jobs to the oil leak will be reimbursed, what’s going to happen next year when all the tourists who got scared off by the oil this summer decide to stick with the new places they found? We’ll be back. And you should, too. You can order from Joe Patti’s online at and keep up with the latest Pensacola happenings at


Every time a disaster strikes, we who are seemingly untouched by the crisis always wonder what we can do to help those who are most affected by it. This time, luckily, the solution is easy: Go to the Gulf coast and eat fresh seafood! My family just got back from a long-anticipated and much-planned week at St. George Island, near Apalachicola, Florida, and ate our way through as much fresh seafood as we could find: Shrimp, oysters, crab and scallops were the stars, along with grouper. The water was gorgeous, the beaches beautiful and the rental houses full, as always. But, sadly, due to the oil leak, there are beaches where that’s not the case and people are hurting. If you still have some vacation time this year, head down to the Gulf. You’ll be treating yourself at some of the most gorgeous spots around — and helping boost an economy and industry that desperately needs some help.

Lost and Found

I had a 24-hour run of very weird things happen to me — well, weird in my world, at least. Some of this may be slightly gross, so you have been warned. First, I lost my underwear. What happened was that I was visiting Older Daughter and I was taking a shower in 2-year-old grandson Capt. Adorable’s bathroom. I brought clean clothes in and took off my pajamas and underwear and then when I got out of the shower and got dressed in my clean clothes and gathered up my already-worn clothes, I could not find my underwear. Anywhere. Completely disappeared. I looked in all the towels and under the rugs, but nada. I even wondered if they’d gotten tangled up in the clean clothes — cargo capris and a T-shirt — I’d just put on but they didn’t seem to be there anywhere. (Notice how I’m trying to avoid the use of the word “underpants” since I am a good Southern girl and we just don’t use language like that out loud in mixed company.) My son-in-law gives my 2-year-old grandson Capt. Adorable his bath in that bathroom and I really didn’t want either of them to find my missing … well, you know, but a thorough search turned up nothing.  So I sort of forgot about the mystery and went on about the day — playing outside, going out for lunch, meeting and greeting — until a few hours later when I returned to the bathroom. And as I was leaving, I felt something soft skitter down my leg and there on the floor was the missing article of clothing. It apparently had gotten tangled up in my pants and had only then worked its way down. Very strange. And what I want to know is: Has this happened to anybody else? Is there an epidemic of underwear falling out of people’s pants legs? Do I need to be on the lookout for this?

And the weirdness only continued: The next day I was late for a hair appointment but the salon was closed when I got there so I left to run more errands and then the stylist got there after all and thought I was late but I came back and we were each glad we hadn’t given in to our impulses to leave scathing voice mails. So I got in the chair and she started cutting and all of a sudden she asked me if I had any old pantyhose. (Yes, even when it’s 95 degrees and 95 percent humidity, we Southern women will still wear pantyhose.) Turns out hair salons are collecting the hair that usually ends up on the floor and sending it to the Gulf for use in buoys that will soak up some of the oil spill. And also collecting pantyhose to put the hair in. The stylist and I debated the merits of used versus new pantyhose for oil-soaking-up and didn’t reach any conclusion. But my hair did contribute to the cause.

Then I needed lunch but my favorite downtown lunch place turned out apparently not to be my favorite since it had closed two weeks ago and I didn’t even know. So then I craved a veggie burger from Burger King but the nearest BK had a note on the door saying its broiler was broken although they could still fry anything you wanted. Add in road work and detours everywhere. So there you go.

But all was well this morning because my weekly column in the Florence, Alabama, TimesDaily ran next to a story about “Sex and the City” fashion so my column and photo is right next to a the headline that reads “Fabulous at any age.”  Yes, ma’am. I’ll take any adjacent and reflected glory I can get.