Little River Park a source of summer fun

Published 9:05 am Wednesday, June 4, 2014

With summer activities now upon us, we turn our thoughts to those happy days we enjoyed at Little River State Park. Since its beginning back in the 1930s, and right up until today this luring park has been a nostalgic segment of our life. We went there as youngsters and we continue going there now.

The family picnics, swimming, diving, boating, camping, zestful aromas of smoking grills cooking tasty meals will only become memories if this park is closed. Even the girls looked forward to meeting the “forestry boys from Auburn” each summer as they studied forestry courses in the park. That old CC Camp house, now torn down, was located adjacent the entrance to the park and served as their summer headquarters.

We all came from surrounding counties to gather for family reunions, birthdays, parties and “days and nights of just plain fun.” As teenagers, we danced to the jukebox tunes at the main house. We swam all the way across the lake to the old boat house situated “on the other side.” We even washed our cars and pickup trucks at the water spill.

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The park, formerly known as Claude D. Kelly Park, was named after Atmore’s popular ambassador to nature. The park was built by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) back in the 1930s. Located right on beautiful Little River, the park was extremely unique in its setting.

By the way Facebook fans can keep up with all the activities on the Little River State Park page.

I think of many other events, people and places that were once a part of us. At the “potato sheds,” the sounds and aroma of fresh Irish potatoes carried along the grading trays, along with the rattling of those trays with workers constantly “culling out” the bad and smaller potatoes. There were the sounds of L&N freight cars moving in and out of the grading areas, as bags were loaded for shipment to destinations all across the USA. I also remember the ice trucks bringing blocks of ice for the simple refrigerated “boxcar” section.

At Marshall Robinson’s “cucumber shed,” we also enjoyed the aroma of fresh picked cucumbers in the round vats, soaking in salty brime.

Buster’s “Dairy Bar,” State Farm Peach orchards, the Frisco train on the overpass while the L&N train traveled under it, “Up in Norman’s Arms” three-story hotel and the “old high school” on Pensacola Avenue are now embedded in our memories of long ago.

Finally, there is one more event that is very meaningful for me. Almost each day and night I hear and sometimes watch the “hospital helicopter” fly over my home to and from Atmore Community Hospital.

It is extremely suspenseful because I never know whom that plane is taking to either a Mobile or Pensacola hospital. I always stop, look up and say a one-line prayer: “God be with them.” I never know if it is a friend or even a loved one.

On a few occasions I learned that some of those flights did, indeed, carry friends who were ill or injured. I suppose it is because I live right “in the line of the flight” that I think about this. It may be because at my age I could one day be that person. It is especially chilling in the still of night. For some reason the copter seems louder and even closer to my home.

Summer brings on innovated ideals for fine eating. Take, for example, a thick slick slice of ham on toasted bread. Cover each slice with succulent mayonnaise. Serve up a hardboiled egg and counter with spicy pickles, two celery stalks and a glass of chilled milk.

A slice of corned beef covered with mustard placed between two bread pieces makes for a real “quicky” summer sandwich. Add a handful of baked potato chips and a side slice of canned pairs covered with grated hoop cheese and mayonnaise for a real tasty treat.
The traditional hot dog is always the answer for a summer snack. Pour a heaping of spicy chili from one end of the bun to the other and sprinkle some grated cheese. Grab a handful of Tostitos and a great glass of iced tea for a real mouth-watering treat.

A peanut butter and jelly sandwich served with a microwaved link sausage smothered with onions, crushed pickles and deli mustard always hits the spot. With the July 4 holiday only four weeks away, these sandwiches and snacks will “fill the bill” for utmost satisfaction.

Finally, thousands of dollars are hidden in the city of Montgomery. And, all you must do to get some of it is simply take a trip up there and look for it.

Sponsored by the city and Montgomery Biscuits baseball team, these envelope packets are yours for just searching. It begins Friday at 8 a.m., and clues are available today at @HiddenCashMGM on Twitter.

Next week, we will take a look at some more news from 1966.

You can email Lowell McGill at