01.06.18 Dora and the Explorers – STILAD – Mama’s interesting conversation published 01.09.15

mama reindeer ears
Mama at Thanksgiving, a very good day for her with all her family around her. She loved these reindeer ears so we let her wear them. The dialog below occurred around this time.

January 6, 2018 – It’s hard to believe that this conversation mama had with herself was over 10 years ago.  It was November, 2007 and she died in December, 2007.  I loved that special lady so much.  Her dementia journey did not cover years (so thankful for that) though we realized she probably had it for quite a while before we caught on. She was kind, thoughtful and had such a pretty smile.

The only time she got mean was when the home health staff tried to bathe her.  I was given the evil eye because I was allowing that to happen.  Once the bath was over she went back to being wonderful.   I never saw that look from her in all my life before then.

She was even nice when she’d tell me that the people who lived upstairs (that was my husband and me) kept the house too cold.  She’d never liked dogs throughout her life but our dog Nacho became her best friend and slept on her bed with her.  She’d also feed mama’s food to Nacho using her own fork.  She’d tell me really quietly sometimes that the food she was fed wasn’t fit for a dog.  It was some of her favorite food that I had cooked throughout her life so we got a chuckle out of that.

Original Blog 01.09.15 – Roy and I are deep into constructing a new house which takes up lots of time. So for the next couple of months I’ll be posting this blog every other Friday.  Once the house is finished I’ll go back to weekly publishing!  Thanks for following our blog!

I planned to wait a bit before posting today’s dialog until you all knew my mom a bit better.  When I was putting the finishing touches on the original blog for today I kept thinking about this and realized this is what I’m suppose to share today.  Possibly someone out there needs to read it because their loved one is in this stage or nearing it.  The dialog below was fairly typical of a lot of evenings with mama during the last stage of Alzheimer’s.

I will believe these ramblings of mama’s will be very eye opening for some.  When I’ve referred to “this bizarre little world they live in” this is that world.  Sometimes these ramblings would go on for hours and skip a few days and then pick up day after day.  Having a baby monitor handy to take with me wherever I went I was able to get away from the constant rambling but still be in touch so I could step in if she really needed me.  If you have the money to buy a monitor with a video screen I’d say get that.  I didn’t have that but feel it would be a valuable tool in caring for them.

Something I want add here is that even though she doesn’t say it in this piece below she began calling her bed her “rack”.  Anytime she hollered out it would be something about getting her off “this rack”. Took a bit to make that connection but since she said it numerous times a day we figured it out!  Here we go with:

fancydivider1ONE EVENING IN NOVEMBER WITH MAMA

Sunday night November 18, 2007 – 9:35 p.m.

After me going into check on her twice when she’s called and Roy going in to check on her twice I went upstairs to our bedroom and I’ve been listening to mama talk through the baby monitor for about an hour now. Since I can’t go to sleep until she’s asleep I decided to type what she’s saying.

“Where is my chair. I can’t find my chair. Someone took my chair. They don’t have anything better to do than to take my chair.”

“I have so much to do and I never get finished. I have so much to do but I enjoy doing it. Sometimes I think I do too much but sometimes I enjoy it. Uhmmm… But I need to do it and I enjoy it. Uhmmm it hurts but I enjoy doing it. It hurts too.

10013906_10152873429361718_2039051400472671846_nIt hurts but I have to do a lot of stuff. But you know it’s good and you’re suppose to do it. But it’s hurting you when you have to do it. It hurts, because it’s something you’re suppose to do. You’re suppose to do it, you need to do it. You have to do so much. You need to do certain things. Whether you like it or want to do things but that’s the way it goes. Oh Lord help me to realize it. Certain things you got to do whether you like to or not. And it hurts whether you like to do it or not. Thank you Lord for giving me the common sense that things have to be done whether you want to or not. “

Long silence.

“So many things I need to get so many things off of my mind. And I need so badly to help and do things that I mainly would not like to do but Lord knows no I can’t do everything I want to. And I just can’t get everything done. NO and I can’t get everything done for everything. Ohhhh I know I can’t … but I gotta try. I need to try and I do try pretty hard sometimes. I do try. But it doesn’t always work out for me. It just doesn’t work for me. My mind just doesn’t work in that way for me. Ohhhhhh ……. I wish it didn’t. Lord Help Me. Oh I know the Lord would help me. I feel like I need to do. He knows what I need and I just can’t do it. And Lord you know I can only do so much and you know my feet and legs are just hurting so much. Help me please Lord, I can only do so much, ohhhhhhh. Help me Lord. Please help me.”

(I went downstairs to see if I could reassure her and if she needed something and she said “no, I’m fine” and then “thank you darling”.  I go back upstairs.)

“Lord Help Me please, I’m so limited in what I can do. I can only do so much and then….. , help me please. Lord help me please, cause I’m limited in what I can do. Ohhhh. My girls love me and I know they do but I can’t help it. I can’t help but cry. I can’t help it. I deserve to cry. “

(I went back downstairs and told her I loved her and covered her back up. She hollered “I love you” as I was leaving and I told her “I love you too.”)

She blew her nose

“I can’t believe it. I can’t help but cry. My ….. just hurts hurts hurts. And I can’t help it. Uhmmmm. My behind hurts too. My stomach hurts so bad. I don’t know why. But it hurts. I don’t know why. Uhmmmm. “

Long silence – She blew her nose.- Long silence.

“It hurts my behind so badly. Long silence. Oh it hurts so bad. Uhmmmm. I try to keep it from hurting but I can’t help it sometimes. Uhmmmm. But I try and it doesn’t always help. I wish somebody could help me to do that. It doesn’t help me though. No it doesn’t help a bit. Uhmmmm. Silence. (It’s 9:54 now.)

It didn’t help, not a bit. No matter how much you try to help it just doesn’t help. No matter how much you …. for it, it doesn’t help. It doesn’t help a bit. Silence. I d10805619_570046056465727_6872502226160874895_non’t think so. But it seems like it doesn’t matter, matter how much you try to help it but sometimes it doesn’t seem like it does. Sometimes…… and then it seems like it hurts more and more. And hurts and more and more and hurts. (She’s getting quieter now with more silence in between sentences.) I can’t help it, it seems like. Hurts more and more. It seems to be worse and worse. Sometimes they get worse and worse. I guess I can’t do anything about it. Uhmmmm. My knees get worse and worse too. And the dog gone feet they get worse and worse and worse. And my feet do to and I don’t know what to do. I can’t get them any better, I don’t know why they won’t get better. Feels like they get worse and worse, instead of better. Uhmmmm. They are getting worse NOW. I can’t get any better. They don’t get any better. I can’t get them any better. ………………

Somebody could come and help me. Somebody could come and help me a little bit and all that pretty chair all over there you could come and help me a little bit. (She starts getting louder.) Come and help a little bit it won’t kill you, it might make you feel better for helping somebody. Somebody it wouldn’t hurt you. I don’t think it would. I don’t think it would hurt you at all. It certainly wouldn’t……… Uhmmmm. I don’t think it would. Uhmmmm. A little bit of … wouldn’t hurt anybody. Uhmmmm. Uhmmmm. It never hurt, might not make you happy but it wouldn’t hurt you. It wouldn’t hurt at all. It wouldn’t hurt at all, it might not help you any but it wouldn’t hurt. They’re never busy, they’re just blabbing, blabbing, blabbing.

Oh, I lost a shoe (she doesn’t have any shoes on, just socks). Don’t know where my shoe is, well heck another shoe lost. Another shoe gone. Another shoe gone (she starts to cry). Oh where is my shoe. Somebody took my shoe or I lost it. I lost my shoe. Oh dog gone I lost another shoe. Uhmmmm. It hurts when I lose another shoe. Uhmmmm. I lost my other shoe. Oh what am I do, what am I do. Oh, I lost another shoe. Dog gone. Somebody come help me find it. I lost another shoe. Uhm, I can’t find it. I can’t find it. Somebody help me. Somebody come help me, please. I can’t find it. I can’t find my shoe. Ohhhh, they are hard to find. I can’t find it. Somebody can come and help me find them. Could somebody come help me find them. I might not, I’m gonna try. If somebody would I sure would appreciate it. Silence. I can’t find it no where. I can’t find it no where. Noooooowhere. My feet and toes hurt soooo baaaad. I can’t find it and can’t feel them anywhere.

Oh I wish I could. Is there anybody in the room? Rosie? I thought maybe there was one of the girls in the room. Rosie? Shoot I thought it was one of the girls. My …. was hurting so bad I thought it was one of you all. I needed to know who it was. And I couldn’t see and I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know who it was and I just wanted to be sure. OHHHHH. I didn’t know who it was and I wanted to be sure.

(I go downstairs and peek in on her but she’s laying there smiling and quiet so I go back upstairs)

10897013_10152939097016740_8571813695345601818_nMy knees hurt so bad and I didn’t know who it was and I just wanted to be sure. I just wanted to be sure and my …… Somebody can help me if he can. Somebody will. Who is that touching on my feet (nobody). Is that somebody touching my feet? I hope it is somebody that is willing to help me for a few minutes. Why didn’t you answer me (sounds mad)? I don’t bite. Please somebody help me. Please somebody help me. Please somebody help me. I can’t get out of this rack. I can’t get out of this bed. Somebody please help me. Please. I can’t get out of this bed. I can’t get out of this bed. Somebody help me PLEASE. Don’t be so greedy. I’m not gonna hurt anybody.

I don’t hurt anybody and I don’t bite anybody and I’m not gonna hurt anybody but I would appreciate it if you would help me, just for a little few minutes.

(I went downstairs to see if there was really anything I could do and when I walked in and asked she said “no, I’m fine”. I said you were calling for help and she said “I was?” So I went back upstairs)

“I surely would appreciate it if somebody would help me. Rosalyn. Rosalyn. (She says calling me, loudly. I just went down there so I don’t go again.) Rosalyn. You don’t have but one mother in here calling for you. (Of course I go back down – her underpants and socks are off and she says she doesn’t know how that happened – I put new underpants and socks on her, tuck her in and tell her I’m going to go back upstairs and try to go back to sleep so maybe she’ll go to sleep.)

Never, never. ……. But it hurts and it hurts and it hurts. And you can’t do anything….. Uh hummmm. Nothing, 68191_540179176119082_3188283374700687354_nnothing, nothing. I tried so hard so many times. So many times. I’ve tried and tried so many times and it didn’t work. And I’ve tried and tried so many times and it didn’t work. It didn’t work, it didn’t work but I tried and tried and tried. But I really tried.”

Long Silence – sleep maybe?

“Who is it, who is it, who is it? Somebody say something. They’re taking the cover. We need it we need it cause it’s cold outside. We don’t need it, we need it rather because it’s getting colder outside, outside. Getting colder outside, outside all the time. It’s cold forever. …… somebody must have borrowed some of it. No somebody must have borrowed some of it. Somebody must have borrowed some of it cause some of it’s gone. Goodness sakes you never know, you never know.

Okay – enough typing – It’s 10:40 and she’s still talking so I’m going to bed and listen to her on the other monitor and pray she goes to sleep soon.

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The following is another brief ramble the next day.

Nap time on Monday – 1 p.m. Don’t turn it over like some people do. Please please please let people know you care about them. And when you can help somebody, they know it. And it means a lot to them. It hurts when you know. It burns some up when you don’t show that you care about them. It means a lot to them. You need to let them know…… I need to know. Somebody help me. Please somebody help me. I can’t get up.

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Please come back next time when I’ll share another aspect of Alzheimer’s to help you understand it better. If you want to get an email whenever I post a blog (I write about other things, not just Alzheimer’s) find the “FOLLOW” box which is usually to the right hand side somewhere, enter your email and respond when the confirmation email is sent to you.

If you are in need of prayer for yourself, in your role as a caregiver, or if you have any specific questions please send me a comment with whatever information you want to share or ask about. I’ll say again that I’m not expert, but I probably experienced with my mom a lot of things you’re going through and will try my best to help. If I don’t know the answer I will tell you I don’t know. I’ll never judge, I’ve been judged enough to last a life time and would never do that to someone else. My email address is rosalyn@selu.edu if that is an easier way to communicate.

Until next time,

psalm 34 18

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09.19.17 Petrified Forest and Painted Desert on Route 66 in Arizona

On the first impression, the Petrified Forest may not sound very appealing as it comprises stone log fragments scattered over a rather remote and otherwise featureless section of the Arizona desert. Apparently, it comes as a little disappointment to some, like us, who expect the trees still to be standing in thick rocky groves instead of lying flat in sections as they are. But the petrified logs are extremely beautiful with most unexpectedly bright colors, and the park contains a section of the scenic Painted Desert. 

Petrified Forest covers 146,930 acres.  We stopped to look up close at a couple of places along the trip.  We skipped getting out to walk a distance to see things.  I’m having a lot of problems with breathing while walking any distance.  I know we missed a lot but what we saw was beautiful.    

Petrified Wood

Dora and Boots in the Petrified Forest. 

Many miles of going through the forest was just desert.

Petroglyphs are carvings made directly into rocks. Newspaper Rock boasts over 650 petroglyphs from a variety of tribes that frequented the area, such as the Anasazi, Navajo, and Pueblo.

Many of the petroglyphs are crescents, small human figures, animals, swirls, and a few other patterns. While many of the glyphs came from the Pueblo people, there have been many authors over a long stretch of time, extending from the prehistoric era to the historic periods of more modern times.

At the outlook, there are three sets of binoculars.  With the naked eye you would never know the markings were there. Looking to the right wall shows swirls and men while looking almost straight downward from the children’s binocular set yields a different set entirely. It was a good view and interesting to be so close to them. I wish we could have gone closer to them to see the markings without the binoculars, but I understand the need to preserve the carvings.

   This is from the internet showing a lot of the shapes clearer.  We saw them through the binoculars. The rocks we saw when heading to the exit of the park.  I think it was the prettiest!    From here we drove to our home for 7 nights which is Hidden Valley Resort in Tijera, New Mexico.

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09.15.17 What a sight! Red Canyon, Utah

Friday, September 15, 2017 – Wow, wow! Here’s what we saw leaving Bryce Canyon, going through Red Canyon on our way back to Paradise View RV park in Panguitch, Utah. The change in what the scenery looks like around every turn just had to be shared! The first photo is one of four tunnels along the way. The rest of the photos are what we saw along the way.

Out in this part of the country it is not just a place you go to see something special, it’s also what you see along the way that makes it all so wonderful!

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05.16.17 Chauvin Mother’s Day Joy 2017

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 – Mother’s Day at Trinity Baptist Church is always special. The love of God and each other was show in the report from our Pastor search committee, parent and baby dedication, beautiful duet by Koree and Randi Beth Wall, meaningful message by Rev. Derek Wall and the loving spirit of all our church’s members. I am hopeful that the folks at Trinity have gotten use to me snapping photos on some Sunday mornings because I got a lot of them on Mother’s Day.

Here they are backwards in the order in which they were taken, but it was easier to leave them this way than to fix them! Here they are: After church I visited with friends in the parking lot in the sun quite a while. I began feeling very light headed again. No further signs of problems, just that.

We headed home where I rested for a while before Chip and Misty’s family showed up. They brought a huge box of boiled crawfish, potatoes and corn. Some of the most delicious crawfish I’ve ever had. Misty’s mama, Vickie and Misty’s brother’s children Haylee and Connor (who live with Vickie) joined Chip, Misty, Madisyn, Kalie and us for our family Mother’s Day.

A beautiful (bit warm) sun shiny day added to the wonderful Mother’s Day we were already having. After pigging out on the crawfish, potatoes and corn, we made our way down to the pond for some more fun. Chip had fun riding around on the mini motor bike he and Misty bought us! Haylee loves gymnastics which shes quite good at and flip flopped around our property!


Haylee (Misty’s niece) got such a kick out of how the catfish and perch gobbled up the catfish food we’d throw into the water. She knew for sure she could scoop up a fish in a large Folger’s coffee container, and she was right. Three times she scooped up fish and then poured them onto the ground watching them flap their way back to the water! They fished with poles for a while too and even tried to go black berry picking. That ended when they heard something in the bushes and they all came running back! Kallie, quite comfortably, hung out in the hammock while visiting with us. Madisyn loves her Mama Misty (her step mother) and it was wonderful seeing them enjoy their time together.

This young man above, Connor (Misty’s nephew), got to fish in our pond today and the joy on his face was quite a blessing to see! Click on the photo to watch the video of him catching a fish!!

We love having Vickie, Connor and Haylee in our family since Chip and Misty got married. We look forward to many family gatherings with them in the future. Misty, Vickie, Connor and Haylee have a very special bond that is wonderful to be around. This next photo is of Connor enjoying taking the wheel in our motor home pretending to drive!

Well that wraps up a spectacular Mother’s Day with a special church family and regular family. I went to sleep last night quite happy and thankful that God has blessed us so abundantly with all of these wonderfully special folks!

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10.27.16 Mississippi Gulf Coast – Week One 03.21.16 to 03.27.16

Thursday, October 27, 2016 – We have gained several new Dora and the Explorer blog followers since earlier this year. I want to share how great the Mississippi Gulf Coast is with these new folks so the next few days I’ll share previous blogs here. If you’ve read them before take some time off, if not I hope you enjoy them!

Thursday, March 31, 2016 – We arrived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast on Monday, March 21st. Here’s a bit of what we did and saw during week one.

The trip here and our place at TLC Wolf River Resort

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The Mississippi Gulf Coast20160323_124031 20160323_124044 20160323_124054 20160323_124228

Lookie, Diesel is lower than Regular!20160323_124403

One missing puzzle piece just drove us bananas!20160325_104539

So Roy searched high and low. How can anything get lost in a 400 sq. foot home! Between the sofa and the dining area under some packing boxes was one little puzzle piece. What a man I am married to!

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And now the puzzle of the Grand Canyon is complete. I can’t bring myself to take it apart so a week later it is still together waiting for someone to want to take it to their home!20160327_132510

One afternoon we went to the Biloxi Visitors Center to tour it and to watch a 50 minute documentary on Biloxi and Katrina.

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Jim Cantore, from the Weather Channel in part of the film.20160325_143600

A car under a 18 wheller.20160325_143606

One of the casinos that was lifted up and moved across the highway from its original location.20160325_143704

Some of the amazing wooden art sculptures made from Katrina damaged trees from the coast.20160325_144938 20160325_144946 20160325_145235 20160325_145713 20160325_150035 We found this great place in Biloxi where you can get crawfish to go. We picked up some crawfish, corn and potatoes and took them back to the resort and enjoyed eating them outside on our picnic table. This is our first, and maybe last crawfish of the season so it was quite important for us to have some!20160325_152901 20160325_161403

Two other RVillagers who are at our park are Henry and Sonja Jones. We contacted them RVillage and went to see them one evening. We got to know them and enjoyed some fun talking and visiting!20160325_194933

Saturday the Easter bunny was seen hopping (actually riding on a golf cart) around the resort and then having an Easter Egg hung under the big oak tree with a bunch of children!20160326_110350 20160326_110406

Roy cooked some hamburgers one evening. We ate them on toasted french bread! Yum!20160326_143537

Madisyn and Kallie’s Easter baskets. They each got new girl’s Bibles and several other goodies!20160327_115727That wraps up week one on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We’ve ridden up and down the beach several times but haven’t sat on it yet, that will be the second week!

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10.24.16 Mississippi Gulf Coast – Fall 2016

Monday, October 24, 2016 – Well here we are back on the Mississippi Gulf Coast at our home park in the Coast to Coast System, TLC Wolf River RV Resort. They are all decorated for Halloween and the grassy areas along the river are again just beautiful.

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It does not matter how many times we come here, when we turn on to the Beach road which is Highway 90, I just start snapping pictures. It is so beautiful I am taking pictures like we’ve never been there before. Friday evening we decided to go to Treasure Bay Casino in Biloxi, our favorite dungeness crab buffet with many other seafoods and just downright comfort foods. The ride there was just beautiful.

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The food was delicious!

Dungeness Crabs and Snow Crabs

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Hot boiled shrimp!20161021_161916

Fried Okra, Creamed Spinish, Frog Legs (gag…..) and something I think Mussels which is weird here in Louisiana.20161021_161921

Roy picks the meat out of his crabs and fills up these cups pouring clarified melted butter over them. In the second photo he put the crabmeat on top of some fresh baked fish for a delicious combination!!!20161021_171552 20161021_172041

We ate so much that we took a walk out to the pool to rest there before heading home. They have a pool where one end seems to have no end. It is really beautiful and I enjoyed checking it out!

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The ride home was even more beautiful. As the sun was setting, the gulf water was a brilliant light blue, the sky was amazing pink and the sun going down to the right had a golden glow.

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We haven’t previously gone out on the coast at that time of the evening, but after seeing this amazing site it may be a frequent drive for us to take!

We lit our first campfire of the cool weather season yesterday while we bundled up outside. We watched LSU have their way with Ole Miss and a pot of peanuts was cooking!

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Roy went to Hammond today to take care of some errands and to get in some remote control flying time. I stayed home to work. Chip, Misty, Madisyn and Kallie met him at the flying field for a joyous reunion. Grannie did get to Skype with everyone. Roy’s cousin Chris Fox was there and let Madisyn fly using a buddy system (that’s what Roy calls it). Here’s a picture of Chris, Madisyn and Roy all holding controllers flying.

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You know when you start seeing pictures of Madisyn we are getting close to home! She grows way too much when we’re gone.

Roy and I enjoyed the beautiful cool morning and evening here today. We spent most of the day outside working on a difficult puzzle of Rosie the Riveter! Our old eyes see the subtle color variations much better out in the daylight!!! We’re going to the beach tomorrow to play! More on that later!

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10.22.16 Before we said Goodbye to Tennessee

Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Before we left Tennessee I set out one day on my own to see Toone, Tennessee and do some shopping in Jackson, Tennessee.  Our former pastor, Dr. Randy Davis and his beautiful wife Barbara are from the tiny town of Toone.  He’s spoken of it fondly in many sermon illustrations so my heart lead me to visit it since it was not too far away.

He was right it is a tiny town, but I got to see his home where his mother still lives, his home church and all that makes up Toone, Tennessee.

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From there I drove north to Jackson, Tennessee.  I found a wonderful Books A Million where I did some Christmas shopping.  I drove by and around Union University where Randy graduated from and where our oldest son’s brother in law Jason teaches.  Both daughters of a couple we know recently graduated from this fine Christian college.

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I did some winter wardrobe shopping at their Goodwill!  It was the biggest and nicest building I’ve ever seen a Goodwill in.

This past Monday Roy had his final follow up appointment with Dr. Lawrence Schraeder, his knee surgeon.  Doc said Roy’s doing exceptionally well.  He can bend his knee with no pushing or pain 135 degrees which is better than the goal!

On our way home from Dr. Schraeder in Bartlett/Cordova, Tennessee we saw many cotton fields.  A friend of ours stood in the middle of a cotton field for a photo on Facebook last week and that inspired me to do the same!  Here’s my middle of the cotton fields pics!

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Here’s a field with cotton already picked and packaged.

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One of our favorite things to do when we come to this part of Tennessee is get a couple dozen Krystal burgers, eat them on the way home and toss all the boxes in the floor of our truck.  Here’s the evidence of our naughtiness! 20161017_155215

We stopped at Walgreens to pick up some things and Roy seeing one of the Halloween masks had to play with it! Silly boy!20161017_145348

We left Hornsby, Tennessee Wednesday, spent the night at Walmart in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and arrived in Pass Christian, Mississippi Thursday for a two weeks stay here.

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10.15.16 Mud Island River Walk in Memphis, Tennessee

20161013_140310Saturday, October 15, 2016 – Thursday was a beautiful day temperature wise.  Roy and I took advantage of the lower temperatures to go into Memphis, Tennessee where we toured the Mud Island River Walk.

The local Bass Pro Shop – never would have thought that was what this was until we saw the sign on the other side of the pyramid.

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On our way there we drove through a beautiful part of Memphis that resides right on the Mississippi River. This was a very large area of beautiful homes beautifully landscaped and quite large!20161013_134148

Across the street from these homes is the Mississippi River20161013_134835

The River Walk is one of the most unique representations of the Mississippi River in the world.   It is an exact scale model of the Lower Mississippi River flowing from its confluence with the Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois 954 nukes south to the Gulf of Mexico.   It is scaled 30″  = 1 mile.  It’s entire length is 2,000 feet or 5 blocks. The  model empties into an acre size Gulf of Mexico.

Before showing the photos we took of this model of the river here is a short video that really shows what is so special about the Mississippi River.   I was unable to embed the video here but you can watch it by clicking on the words “Watch on Facebook”.

Here are some photos from the start down to where it empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

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We knew this would be a miniature version of the Mississippi River’s trail down into the Gulf of Mexico.  What we didn’t realize was how big this would turn out to be. We started at the top and walked and walked and walked watching the Mississippi curve its way through state after state down to our beloved Louisiana where it empties into the Gulf.

Some of the major cities along its path are noted with a layout of the city alongside the mini river.

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Here I am standing in the middle of the river at Memphis. 20161013_141742

Right by my feet in the photo above is what you see in this first photo below.  This is Mud Island as it lies alongside the Mississippi River.20161013_141814

The Memphis area next to the river without me in the photo!20161013_141832

Here we are getting closer to Louisiana which you can see on the flag pole banner.20161013_142315

The actual Mississippi River right next to the River Walk. Cool beans like Madisyn and I like to say!20161013_142518

Our Louisiana capital, Baton Rouge20161013_142711

Roy was proudly standing in La Place, Louisiana20161013_142842

This mini version of the Mississippi is situated right next to the real Mississippi River.  It is also in the middle of several buildings surrounding it that normally have interesting things to do in them.  It is also landscaped quite nicely throughout with the kind of foliage you would see as you go down the river towards the Deep South.

Our hometown of New Orleans

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These photos depict the Mississippi emptying into the Gulf of Mexico.

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When our oldest son was a toddler we took him down to Pilottown right on the Gulf of Mexico.  Tried to find pictures we took that day but I couldn’t find them. These maps were stationed all along the river’s pathway.20161013_143235

This is  me standing in the swamp land out in the Gulf with the Memphis skyline to my back!20161013_143350 20161013_143446

This was not a good time of the year to visit what is probably a bustling really nice facility during the summer months.  Other activities there were closed down but since the weather was so nice it was a great day for what we did get to see which was all outside.

I am writing this on Friday and it has poured down rain all day today.  This area hasn’t seen rain in over a month so it is much needed.  The recent cooler weather and this rain ought to help the trees change their leaf color more soon!  The rain delayed my plans to see more of the surrounding area today.  That will wait till Saturday now!  We are leaving in a few minutes to eat dinner at this RV Resorts Friday night dinner at the Bistro, fried catfish, fries and hush puppies!

Roy’s been enjoying the open areas here getting to fly his plane.  He can do loopty loops now really well!  There is also a firing range here where he took his pistol to shoot the other day.  Said it wasn’t great for his hearing afterwards, his ears hurt!

Monday we go to Bartlett (near Memphis) to see Roy’s knee surgeon for his final follow up.  I am hoping that the leaves have changed a lot in their color when we go on Monday.  That will be our last opportunity to see Tennessee trees before heading south to the Gulf Coast on Wednesday.

Here’s a sneak peak at what our next blog will be about – yes we voted!  We are Madison, SD residents and voted by mail in ballot!  All signed and mailed!!

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Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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10.07.16 Bush’s Beans, Pigeon Forge and the Apple Barn

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Roy, Rosalyn and Duke, the Bush’s Beans dog with the Secret Recipe!

Friday, October 7, 2016 – We left Dandridge, Tennessee this morning and are traveling across the state to Hornsby, TN which is about 75 miles east of Memphis.  It is a full days drive. Roy will see his knee surgeon for a follow up while we are there.

On Tuesday we went to see several things in and around Pigeon Forge.  We’ve stayed in Pigeon Forge before and saw a lot the first time. This visit, other than Dollywood, included a few special stops. Most of these photos are clickable to enlarge.

First stop today was at the Bush’s Beans visitors center located at 3901 US 411 in Dandridge, TN.  You probably know that the spokesperson Jay has a trusty dog, Duke, who always wants to give away the Bush Family’s Secret Recipe. header_visitorscenter2x_0

We started off by touring the museum and having our photo taken with Duke.  The photo is in the upper left at the beginning of this post.

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20161004_132337 20161004_132609 20161004_132749 20161004_125055 20161004_124930 I was sweating it out while waiting for my weight to show up (in public) but much to my delight it showed how many beans I weigh.  Roy did his also.  He’s full of more beans than I am!

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A repblica of Duke’s dog house20161004_124748 20161004_124531 20161004_124657  20161004_124035

We then watched a 20 minute video about the family with some really funny spots about Duke.  The video also included a peek inside the workings of the Bush Bean factory–from fields to our shelves in the grocery store. It really gave us a great appreciation for this company. It was interesting to learn that they use water from mountain streams to make their beans & the water eventually gets returned to their fields through an irrigation system. Really interesting video!

At one end of the complex is the Bush Family Cafe.  We did not eat there but have heard it’s a great place to stop.  It was full with people waiting outside when we left.  Guess that means its popular at least!20161004_123655After the video we did some shopping in the store.  We found several Bush’s products we’ve never tried before so we bought those and other goodies before leaving there.

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It was a great experience and I highly recommend visiting it if you’re in this area.  From start to finish, it was a great FREE tour.
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Bush’s Baked Beans candies!!

From there we went into Pigeon Forge which is an amazing town with lots of attractions at every turn.  We came upon a Crafts Fair under a huge red and white striped tent in Patriot Park.  We (strike that we and insert I) enjoyed walking through and seeing all the uniquely Tennessee items for sale.  Found a few I had to buy for others and we were back on our way.

The first photo below is of Wonderworks.  We visited there our first time in Pigeon Forge.  It’s a wonderfully fun place for children and even adults.  We didn’t go back this time so we could check out more things.

ww-pigeon-forge-bldThe beautiful Smoky Mountains.rainy-weather-in-the-smoky-mountains pigeon-forge just-down-the-road-fromab_logo_140hWe ate at the Apple Barn Restaurant, Cider Mill and Store about 5 years ago.  Remembering it well we went back again today to wrap up this outing in Pigeon Forge.  The meal started off with delicious apple fritters and their homemade apple butter.  Roy got his favorite liver and onions.  I got a four veggie platter with dumplins, sweet potatoes, amazing broccoli casserole and fried okra.  A Southern comfort meal for sure!

20161004_165131 20161004_161420 20161004_164902the-apple-barnthe-apple-barn-with-signfront-interior-of-theI came away from there with fresh baked apple bread, apple butter, apple spiced tea bags, a bag of dried apples and a bag of apple crisp mix.  All things apple are great in my book!

Well, we’ve seen a lot and had a lot of fun while in this part of Tennessee.  Wednesday and Thursday were spent resting and working!  On to our next stop in our travels! The tree leaves are starting to change a lot here and I am looking forward to seeing a lot of that in the next two weeks!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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