I have noticed something on this visit through the south that somehow eluded me in years past:  your proximity to Florida is directly proportional to the number of buffet-style restaurants you encounter.  We are camped out about 30 miles from the Alabama-Florida border and our little town has as many buffet restaurants as you will find in all of the Las Vegas casinos.  That’s a bunch!!   Now I really HATE buffets and would never knowingly or willingly eat at one.  You can imagine my disappointment after standing in line at a brand new “steakhouse” for an hour only to discover that the “steakhouse” was an undercover buffet . . .

Back in ‘Bama!!  After our whirlwind tour of the southern half of the U.S. and a brief stopover in New Orleans for our daughter’s wedding, we now find ourselves once more in the land of honeysuckle and magnolia scented air on the shores of Mobile Bay.  My navigator has put away all of her maps and charts and has settled into “southern” - that is a pace of life best explained by the claw marks she has on one of her legs after being “run to ground” by an irate box turtle.  We are talking one really SLOW lifestyle . . .

I suppose I should have been a bit more suspicious when a dozen or so old farts lined up in front of us with their wheelchairs and walkers.  Old folks NEVER pay more than $5 for ANY meal and consider a dollar tip the norm regardless of their food quality or dining experience.  This makes it really tough on us “young” old farts who have not yet ripened to that level of wanton extravagance and are still tipping in the 50 cent range.  This may well be the last correspondence you ever receive from us as we are heading out tomorrow morning for Orlando, Florida and will soon be accompanied by our 11-year old goddaughter for 2 weeks of fun under the sun at Disney World.  Your prayers are greatly appreciated.  See ya next time . . . maybe.  Smiles, Chuck & Kalyn

The wedding in New Orleans turned out to be THE social event of the French Quarter and was held in the garden of the Royal Sonesta Hotel.  Kassie has always wanted a “princess” wedding complete with horses, carriages and the releasing of doves after exchanging vows.  She also asked me to shave my beard so I would look more like a member of the wedding party and less like a well-dressed street urchin . . .

We were a bit surprised that more than 50 people were in attendance considering that everyone had come from either California or the northeast U.S. and none actually lived in the New Orleans area. And my navigator took full advantage of the situation by purchasing another dress . . . she is now up to two!! . . .

  Back In 'Bama                                                               May 30, 2005

I, of course, was more than willing to allow all the tourists throughout “The Quarter” to believe that some old fart had hit the big time by landing a sweet young bride and Kassie, eventually tiring of yelling “He’s my dad” to all the well wishers, accepted her role as trophy wife to a lecherous old man. Our carriage ride ended at the front door of the Royal Sonesta where I escorted her from the carriage through the hotel lobby and into the garden where the ceremony was held . . .

Okay, I know that you are getting pretty bored of seeing pictures of me by now, although it is the first time my handsome mug has been fully visible in more than 5 years, so we’ll move on to something of more interest . . . my Jeep!  ;-)