Nice vacation locales are close to home

Published 11:02am Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Have you ever given thought on taking a one to two day vacation close to home?

If so you may want to consider Wakulla Springs, Fla., Marianna, Fla. and New Orleans, La.

A short ride to Wakulla Springs includes taking a right off I-10 near Quincy on Florida Highway 267 and motoring right down to this charming town where you will find some of Florida’s clearest spring lakes. Clogs of grey hanging moss tangles from gigantic dark green water oaks rendering a most serene welcome. You will soon discover the four and one half hour drive is worth it all.

Spend the night there or see it all in one day. Cap it off with a boat ride on that clear water lake where you can see fish swimming near the sandy bottom. Learn how the movie “The Creature from The Black Lagoon” was filmed there. You will readily agree this is one of Florida’s most beautiful and restful locations.

On your way back home stop off in Marianna and take a stroll in the historic caverns. See cool water dripping from stalactites high in the ceilings and enjoy a breath of fresh air in the relaxing comfort of the quiet and luring surroundings.

Another inexpensive mini vacation is a three and one half hour drive to New Orleans’s Audubon Park and Zoo. Refurbished several years ago, this magic land recaptures the African wild in a most appealing manner.  You will find enjoyment there for every member of the family. Kids especially like the rides and the petting zoo. Practically every animal imaginable roams in its domain.

You can see it all in one day and get back home that same evening. Yes, these are only a few of our nearby sites where you and the entire family can enjoy great fun together – on very little money, too.

Have you noticed all these cool nights lately? Farmers and gardeners are saying be gone. They really need some warmer nights. Now our weather friends who predict storms and disturbances tell us conditions are “ripe” for an aggressive hurricane season.

Some twenty disturbances are expected this summer and fall, mainly due to three factors: Continued wind storms off western African coasts; a much warmer Gulf and Atlantic; and an absence of El Niño which blows tops off tropical winds and hurricanes.

The percentage of possible land hits in our area has been elevated because of these conditions. Let’s hope they are wrong and things will not turn out as expected. After all, who can really predict the weather?

Now let’s take a look at some news from years gone by. In 1954 a group of area young women organized a traveling basketball team. Known as the “Red Devils”, they played in a league consisting of teams from Cantonment, Pensacola, Baldwin County and Mobile.

Team members were Lorain English, Voncille Madison, Paulene McCall, Helen Hoehn, Marie Faircloth, Mary Lou Nall,  Shirley Amerson, Thelma Pitts, Glennie Wiggins, Polly Cooper, Rita O’Farrel and Betty Jo Smith.

These ladies drew large crowds, as they had no TV competition back in those days.
That same year Twentieth Century Business College announced plans to begin a school here. This would afford many the opportunity to learn trades like speed writing, book keeping and shorthand.

Our Pink Lady this week is Marvis Ward. The widow of Gasque Ward, this kind lady was often referred to as “neat as a pin” when she worked with Southland Telephone Company. She was one of those “number please” telephone operators in the era prior to dial up phones. In other words, she was a member of the force of operators who “punched” in your phone calls.

A member of First Baptist Church,  Marvis is now retired. She donated several years to the Hospital Auxiliary as a Pink lady. Her brother Billy was a well-regarded barber in Brewton.

Thanks, Marvis, for your service to our community.

I’ll have more news of Atmore’s people, places and events next week.

Lowell McGill exam@frontiernet.net.

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