How to Make a Southern Style Pound Cake

My first husband’s grandmother, “Grandma Henry” was a true southern lady. When I met her in 1975, she was in her eighties. Her pride and joy was her own vegetable garden. Every morning she wore an old “house dress” with a faded apron over it to walk out through the neat rows of beans, corn, tomatoes, squash, and potatoes, using the generous apron to collect and carry squash and cucumbers that were “ready” back into her kitchen.

After the early morning gardening chores were done, she would make a list of supplies she needed, change into one of her “good” dresses and head out to the local grocery store in her old car. There she would meticulously inspect  every aisle, while she listened closely for the sounds of familiar voices.

Because shopping was more than just picking up milk and bread. Shopping was a community event, a social happening, a chance to catch up all the neighbor’s news and gossip. It was her chance to see and be seen. She loved more than anything to talk about her garden, her new grandchildren, and what flavor of cake or pie she was planning to bake for Sunday.

Because every proper southern lady knew that Sunday was “visiting day.” A day when friends, family or neighbors could, and would, drop by unannounced to compare notes about who was doing what, who had married whom, who had passed and what was said at the funeral. And a proper southern lady had “refreshments” to offer her guests.

Grandma’s Henry’s specialty was her pound cakes. People would drive from miles around to have to pleasure of sitting at her old-fashioned kitchen table to consume a small slice of heaven. Afterwards, she gave them a “tour” of her garden and a few tomatoes and squash to take home.

This is the recipe that I remember her making the most. She had several recipes for different kinds of pound cake, and she experimented and made different versions… but she was always real proud of this one.

She called it “Sour Cream Pound Cake.”

1 cup soft butter

2 3/4 cup sugar

6 eggs

3 cups of sifted cake flour

(Yes, she used “cake flour” and yes, she sifted it with a real sifter.)

1/2 t. salt

1/4 t. soda

1 cup dairy sour cream

1 t. vanilla

1 t. lemon extract

(She like to try different types of extract, too. I remember her making this with almond.)

Sift flour, salt, and soda together 4 or 5 times; set aside. Cream butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time, continue to cream. Add flavoring and sour cream. Add dry ingredients a little at a time and blend well. Beat at high-speed for 3 or 4 minutes. Bake in a greased tube pan at 350 degrees for 70 minutes in a preheated oven.

She always “fixed” her cake pan like this: She would rub the insides of the whole thing with Crisco on a piece of wax paper. Then, she put the bottom of the tube pan down in a sheet of wax paper and traced around it with a pencil. She cut out this circle with scissors and folded it in half, then into quarters and cut a line halfway down the center of the fold, so that when it was opened up, there was an opening to stick the middle part of the tube pan through. She then inserted this into the tube pan, so that when the cake was baked and cooled, it would come out nicely and not stick to the pan.

Most of the time she served this “plain” that is, with no embellishments. It is very good with strawberries and ice cream. Sometimes she made a “glaze” for it, out of about a cup of powdered sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla (or lemon) extract and a tablespoon or so of milk.

I made this recently for my youngest son, Klinton. It was his 26th birthday. Grandma Henry would have been so proud of him. In my mind, I can see her now, calling out to a long-lost cousin’s great-niece, as soon as they walked into the small store.

June Bell? Hi! It’s Aunt Daisy Henry! How are you? It’s been so long since we’ve talked. Have I told you about my great-grandson, Klinton? He’s graduating for college with a degree in physics next week!”

The cake turned out pretty good, although I smashed the top of it of bit trying to cover it too soon. Grandma Henry would have been proud of me, I’m pretty sure, y’all.

I’m linking up to Sweets For a Saturday over at Sweet As Sugar Cookies. If y’all want to see some more yummy dessert recipes (and photos!) or enter one of your own, head over there…it’s an incredible party!

And if y’all are searching for something special to cook for you Easter Dinner, stop by Dee Dee’s Delights. She is having a “Buffet Line” for food bloggers this weekend! How creative is that?

A Crystal Ball for Macro Monday

I’m calling this a crystal ball, but in reality it’s not. It’s a cute little thing-a-ma-jig. This cute little thing-a-ma-jig hangs in my friend Debbie’s mother’s car. Her mother has a real nice convertible that we were allowed to drive around one Sunday for a “girl’s day,” in which we had a lovely lunch including cocktails and a walk along the Maryland shore visiting all the shops and sniffing candles.

I don’t know what kind of car it is, because I’m a southern female and we just don’t pay attention to stuff like that, y’all. But I do know it is a really pretty teal color and it has this cute little thing-a-ma-jig hanging around the rear-view mirror.

I also know that life doesn’t get much better than spending the day with your best friend, riding around in her mother’s convertible, taking pictures of her cute little thing-a-ma-jig for Macro Monday.

For Macro Monday, you take a close up picture that you think is blog-worthy, post it, and link back to Macro Monday so everyone can visit everyone! (That’s southeren-eese for leave each other comments, if you know what’s good for ya.)

A List of Ten Random Tuesday Things I Feel Guilty About

Keely, over at Unmom, does this thing.

You post Random Thoughts on Tuesday. That’s it. Try it – it’s addicting. Then link back to Unmom and see what other people are randomly thinking and typing about.


Every Tuesday, I think to myself, “This week I’m going to finally get around to participating (not really, I really don’t think the word “participating”)

OK. Start over. Every Tuesday I daydream about writing something really epically random for the Random Tuesday blog. And every Tuesday, I try to figure out what in the heck I’m going to write about. Does anyone else have this problem? Or do all of y’all just walk around thinking random stuff all day, willy nilly?

Alright, so there’s my confession. I am guilty of being random-thinking challenged.

But today will be different. I will blog about some random stuff if it kills me. I’ve been reading advice on how to make your blog more interesting over at Copyblogger, and one of the big things they recommend is making a list. Apparently, people like to have stuff served to them in little bite-like bullets. So I will attempt to give you ten other random things that I feel guilty about.

What? I’m southern. Feeling guilty is what I do.

1. Even though it is a huge waste of time – I like to do crypto-quotes and play Farmville. Anybody else?

2. I really like going into stores that have sample bottles of hand lotion, that let me pump out a bit on my hands. And yes, I realize that sounds kind of nasty. This is what happens when I try to do random.

3. I’m related to Elvis. Yes, “The” Elvis. He was my father’s cousin’s step brother. Or, he was my step second cousin. Or, he was my Great Uncle’s wife’s stepson. OK, got that?

4. I really want to go somewhere warm this week. Like Tahiti, or Cancun, or Silver Springs.

5. I love reading Sophie Kinsella books. It’s a pleasure as sinful and guilty as eating the whole top layer of a box of Whitman’s Chocolates all by yourself.

6. My first impressions about people are sometimes wrong. Very wrong. I would tell you all about this, but I can’t quite bring myself to blog about really personal topics. I don’t want to be that crazy old woman at the family dinners wearing the tee shirt that states, “Be Careful Or You’ll End Up In My Blog.”

7. I’m obsessive  about checking my WordPress stats. Several times a day, OK? It’s a little game I have with myself – to see if there is ever a day that goes by that I don’t get a hit from someone searching for “sexy mature feet,” or “red toes,” or “foot fetish.” I may go down in history as being The Woman With The Sexy Mature Feet, y’all.

8. My husband is having a mid-life crisis. He admits it. He wants to buy a new car – a red Corvette. I suppose that’s better than wanting a new wife. Maybe if I spent less time playing Farmville and checking my toe stats…?

9. I broke up with my hairdresser. He spent too much time wandering around the shop talking about his gay boyfriend, while I languished under the frosting cap, looking like a gargoyle looking my watch. And I haven’t even told him that he’s been replaced. He’s still asking my mother where I am, and she won’t tell him either.

10. Those are my feet in the photo. Yes, I am shamelessly trying to boost my blog stats. I might even start a whole blog about my feet. Just to get the stats.

What about y’all. What do you feel guilty about today?

My Home Town – Wilmington, North Carolina

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Thanks to my friend, Jan, over at Jan’s Sushi Bar, I’ve decided to give this here posting every day thing a try, y’all.

It’s called NaBloPoMo,and I can’t believe how long it just took me to write that. Stands for “National Blog Posting Month”. You post something every day for a month.

travel_tip_thursdayY’all really ought to visit the lovely and talented Pseudonymous High School Teacher today.  Pseudo, as she’s affectionately referred to, lives in Hawaii on the island of Oahu. Anyhoo, she has started a great meme over at her place called Travel Tip Thursday – every Thursday she and anyone who chooses to participate will do a little “travelogue” about a place close to home.

I’ve been meaning to participate in this, since I feel as if I live in one of the prettiest towns in our nation. I want to introduce all of y’all to my home town, Wilmington, North Carolina. I love it so much that I have another blog called Wilmington Daily Photo. It keeps me busy posting a new photo of the Wilmington area every day. I hope y’all will check it out and see for yourselves why I think this place is so spectacular. In future Thursdays, I will post more about specific things to do and see down here.

About Wilmington

Also known as The Port City, Wilmington was founded in 1739. Once the largest city in the state, it is located on the southeastern coast of North Carolina between the Atlantic Ocean and the Cape Fear River, and minutes away from nearby beaches; Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach.

It is home to the USS NORTH CAROLINA Battleship, the Azalea Festival, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, the UNCW Seahawks, and the Wilmington Hammerheads. It offers a large  historic district on the riverfront, horse drawn tours, an authentic riverboat, quaint shops, elegantly restored southern mansions, many gorgeous gardens and golf courses, and  Thalian Hall – one of the oldest working theaters in the nation.

The city has been given the nickname “Wilmywood” since it became a major center of American film and television productions. Films such as A Walk To Remember, Blue Velvet, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Empire Records, Cape Fear, Black Knight, 28 Days, The Crow (death place of Brandon Lee), Nights in Rodanthe and the controversial  film Hounddog were produced here, in addition to television shows such as Matlock, Surface, The WB’s Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill.

I am proud to live in this beautiful, coastal, Southern town. I was born here, to parents who were born here. My grandmothers, my parents and I all graduated from the same school, New Hanover High. I love this place, and I feel as if the people, the customs, the food, the oak trees, the historic buildings, the battleship, the gardens, the salt air full of screaming sea gulls, and the lonely river that flows through it…are in my blood.

I Heart My Feet

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This photo is for the I Heart Faces photo contest this week. The theme this week is “Feet”.

As soon as I saw that this was the theme this week, I knew I had to enter. First, I really do like my feet, y’all. I especially like them propped up in a hammock, with the blue waters of the ocean in the background, in an exotic locale.

This picture was made in Playa Del Carmen in a fantastic place called Xel Ha. My husband and I took a cruise for my 50th birthday, and if you’ve not read my blog post about what an ordeal we had getting there, do. It will help explain why I loved this moment of relaxation so much that I chose this picture for my blog heading.

Second, and I’ve mentioned this before, my husband is in love with my feet. So much so that I give them most of the credit for helping me to catch him. Hey! A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right?

And finally, feet seem to be a pretty popular subject around here. Whenever I check out my “stats” page, it amazes me to discover that there is always a visitor or two that found my blog through using terms such as “feet fetish” or “red toes”. Just today, y’all, in my search stats I read  “mature sexy feet” and “flip flop street”.

Shoot. Here all this time I was convinced my readers wanted sarcastic southern humor, or the insightful philisophical thoughts of a menopausal woman dealing with shift work and mature family issues. Instead, they want toe pictures. Who knew?

I Heart Faces is a photography sharing forum that focuses on the art of capturing faces and their various emotions. Each week, people from across the world enter their favorite face photos (except this week, it’s feet!) into two different categories ~ kids and adults. A judge picks a winning photo from each category that is displayed on the I Heart Faces page.

Click on the buttons to check out lots of other feet, or to enter a photo of your own.

button - feet week

Driving Miss Lucy

spincyclesmallIt’s time to do another Spin Cycle. Finally. I know. This week the topic was “driving”. And, miraculously, I thought of something to say about it.

Now I have to admit, I’ve been real reluctant to write anything lately. I guess y’all could say I’m pouting. See, my new baby grand daughter, and her parents, my son and his girlfriend, are planning to move away to another state. And this news is just so …..crappy…..  that I’ve been in an awful mood about it.

But I do realize that folks move all the time, especially in this economy. And I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my own childhood. My parents decided to move from Wilmington, NC, my hometown, to Eau Gallie, Florida when I was only five and my brother was a newborn. Now I know how lost my grandmothers must have felt, since we were their only grandchildren at the time.

But the two of them were good friends, having met on the job before either of them even got married. Both of these fine women were telephone operators for Ma Bell in the 1930’s. They both eventually married my grandfathers and settled down on the same street to raise their children. Both families attended a small Baptist church on that same street. My parents were the epitome of “childhood sweethearts”. They met as youngsters in Sunday School.

Having their children and grandchildren move to Florida in 1963 meant just one thing for these two lifelong friends, who were by then both widows. Road trips! My mother’s mother, Miss Gladys, being known as a tomboy all her life, of course drove. My father’s mother, Miss Lucy, being one of the prissiest women the South ever turned out, of course rode. Oh, and she talked. If there is one thing Miss Lucy was good at, it was talkin’ yer ears off.

I’m pretty sure she had some stories that probably lasted the whole trip.

To say my brother and I  looked  forward to these visits would be an understatement. It was a car full of love ( two grandmothers at once!)  that pulled into our driveway a few times a year, just in time for supper. They would usually stay for a few days, bestow us with hugs and kisses and gifts and plenty of grandma stories, and then make the trip back.

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The two ladies seated in this picture are my grandmamas. The one on the left, in the dark glasses, is Miss Lucy. The one on the right, clutching her purse, is Miss Gladys. I think this picture was made at Miss Lucy’s birthday, when she was about 89. When she passed away, a few years later, Gladys wrote the following poem, describing their road trips to Florida to see me and my brother.

LETTER TO LUCY

You passed the door of mystery
The door we’ll face one day.
We breath and live in this world
And one day we’re taken away
To a place with streets of gold
No sickness or sorrow there
Just love and beauty I am told.
God’s love is everywhere.

I’ll always remember my co-pilot
Who talked and guided the way
On trips to see our children;
It always took a day.
On 17 was the way to go
No super highways then.
Some day this I know
You will be my co-pilot again.

With Love,
Gladys (5/19/03)

I’m certain of few things, y’all. One is, I was very close to my grandmothers, even though I was growing up over 700 miles away. And I’m determined to be close to my grand daughter, if it’s the last thing I do. Two, I know my grandmamas, grand ladies that they were, are together again right now. Gladys was able to join Lucy last October. They are up there somewhere right now. And, of course, Gladys has the wheel.

Watery Wednesday Tears

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It’s Watery Wednesday and I’m makin’ some water, in the form of tears. A lot of things make me cry. Sad movies, like My Dog Skip or Charlotte’s Web. Heck, even sad commercials get me. I cry at weddings and funerals and when my boys give me sappy Mother’s Day cards. I cry when I get mad, or frustrated and (I hate this) when I make mistakes at work. I even cried when I was watching Shamu the Whale at Sea World. Don’t ask me why, it just got to me, OK?

But this right here is one of the best things I’ve ever cried over. My grand daughter, Freya. This is a picture of me holding her for the first time. I thought I could get through it without crying. But then I had to go and try to say, “Hi sweetie, it’s your Grandma Ginger.”

Oh shoot. I just made myself cry again, y’all.

waterywed2b1Watery Wednesday is hosted by 2sweetnsaxy at Eyes, Mind and Heart. It’s so easy, even cavemen and southern grandmas can do it! Just post a photo, on Wednesday, y’all, of something with water in it. Then link back to Watery Wednesday so other folks can enjoy your photo! That’s all ya gotta do, I swaunee.

Ginger’s a Grandma, y’all!

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Welcome to the world, little one.

This is my first grandchild, and my first girl. After having three boys, you can imagine how tickled I am, y’all. Her name is Freya, and she is most likely the prettiest little baby in the whole entire world.

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She’s got long, delicate fingers. Maybe I will teach her play the piano?

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She’s obviously got magical powers. See? She’s making my husband fall right in love with her.

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My son, Ryan, and Erin. The did a spectacular job of getting her here.

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I wish her great, great Grandma Gladys could see her. But, somehow, I think she already has.

I hope I can be as good of a Grandma as she was to me.

Dog Owners Have Feelings Too

spincyclesmallI’ve told y’all this story before. But it seemed perfect for this week’s Spin Cycle topic, “Pets.”  So, I’m telling it again doing a re-run because I’m southern and we love to repeat ourselves it’s a subject that I’m passionate about.


IMG_0049I love my dog, Hannah. She is like my own child. She is the “baby” that my husband and I could not have. We really feel that way about her. If, God Forbid, we were to ever get divorced, I’m sure we would fight over custody of her.

Now I realize there are folks who are not dog lovers. I don’t understand it, but I know they are out there. What I don’t understand is how someone can dislike an innocent creature, who has done them no harm, to such an extent that they don’t care if they insult the owners. Because, let’s face it, y’all, owners are people. Usually people that these dog haters profess to care about.

So here’s my spin on this. And listen, if you love a person, try not to shudder when their furry child walks into the room. Really, y’all. It’s rude.

How Could You Not Just Love Her?

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This is my Rottweiler, Hannah, and me. We are lying on our tummies at the top of our stairs, waiting for “Dad” to come back.  Hannah has  hip dysplasia, an affliction that is,  unfortunately, common to a lot of rotts.  It makes it difficult for her to go up and down stairs and she requires alot of assistance. But she will endure all kinds of pain, if it means she gets to spend a little quality time being petted by mom and dad, while they watch TV in their Man Room. And getting a few bites of “people food” sweetens the pot a little, too, of course.

To get her up the stairs, one of us has to go ahead of her and call her. One of us has to get behind her and push her bottom as she painfully pulls herself up. Getting her back down is even more of an ordeal. I walk down backwards,  taking each step slowly and stopping on each one, to pat the previous step and call her. Hannah will come down one step at a time, with careful little hops, pausing to look at me plaintively between each step. When she finally reaches the bottom, she jumps onto the waiting area rug with a little triumphant flourish and a wag of her nub, as if to say, “I made it one more time, Mom!”

So going up to the Man Room, to spend the evening watching a movie, is quite a production at our house. Once up there, Hannah has to stay until we come down for bed. If we make a quick  trip down for a potty break, she lies at the top of the stairs in utter despair (we call it the “Great and Powerful Sadness”) until we return. I love the expressions on her regal face, and this one always gets to me. Who couldn’t love her right to death, y’all?

My stepmother, that’s who.

Twice a year, my daddy, “Pa Bill”,  and his lovely wife, Shelba, travel six hours from their mountain home… to visit us, ya’ll. They know we have a dog. They know her name is Hannah. They know we love her just like one of our own children. But, when they show up for their Royal Visit, my stepmother, who acts like every dog in the world  is a  snarling hound from hell, ready to tear her limb from limb, will call Hannah “it” or “he”.

As in, “Ah’m asceered to go in the house, ’cause Ah’m asceered It will bite me!” This, as she stands firmly rooted to the spot, outside the front door, refusing to come inside, until we assure her, multiple times, that the dog is not even HERE! It is at grandma’s house for the evening. Then she’ll ask, “Are you sure he’s not here?  Ah’m afeared of Rock-wilders and Ah’m allergic to dawgs.”

We’ve gone down this road before, y’all.  Back in the beginning of our dog ownership, we tried, during the Royal Visit, introducing our sweet, adorable Hannah to her “step-grandmother.” To describe it as a “disaster” doesn’t even come close, y’all. After watching Shelba shudder and convulse every time Hannah even looked at her, we decided to put her in the bedroom and shut the door. Well, you just don’t do that to a dog who goes into mourning every time you go downstairs to take a pee break for a few minutes. Naturally, she tried scratching on the door.

SCRATCH on the bedroom door.

Shelba almost faints. “OH MY GOD, BEE-ILL!” She clutches my dad’s arm, in terror. “What was that?”

“It’s just Hannah, scratching at the door,” I explain, trying to stay calm.

Hannah hears her name. SCRATCH.

Shelba practically jumps straight off the couch, clutching madly at my father. “AH’M AFRAID HE’S GOIN’ TO GET ME!”  she wails.

Hannah, hearing all the excitement, decides to bark. A very polite bark, but still.

By now Shelba is all but having a nervous breakdown. She’s shuddering, she’s trembling, she’s probably wet her “bloomers”. My dad is staring at me accusingly, as if I am the perpetrator of a diabolical plot to drive his poor bride mad.

“She can’t get out! She’s not going to bite you! She just wants to come in and say hello!” I try to explain.

“Ah just don’t know why you’s cain’t put him in the yah’rd,” Shelba says, tearfully.

“Well,” I say. “We don’t have a fenced in yard and our homeowners association won’t let us put a dog outside unless there’s a fence or she’s on a leash.”

“Well you could tie hit to a tree, couldn’t you?”

“No Shelba. It’s December. It’s 30 degrees out there. I’m not putting Hannah outside in this weather and TIE HER TO A TREE!”

Hannah hears her name. SCRATCH.

At this point, I made an executive decision, y’all. I decided that I would never, ever, as long as I live, put myself through this scenario again. So now, when Pa Bill and Shelba come for their annual Christmas visit, Hannah gets to go and spend the night at Grandma’s house. Hannah has been going to Grandma’s house for at least three years now, and Shelba still stands in the front yard, afraid to come in, until we assure her, repeatedly, that the vicious “Rock-wilder” is not here.

img_0150Funny thing is, Shelba, bless her heart, doesn’t mind our cat. And to tell you the truth, the cat would probably bite her quicker than Hannah ever would. Shoot. To tell you the truth, I’d probably bite her quicker than Hannah would. Not that I ever would, or anything, y’all. I’m just sayin’.

The Ordeal of a Lifetime, Part Five

spincyclesmallPlease read The Ordeal of a Lifetime, Part One, Part Two, Part Three,  and Part Four before reading Part Five. This is for this week’s Spin Cycle topic, Manners.

When my husband took me on a cruise, to celebrate my 50th birthday, I ignored the advice of  every professional travel planner on the planet,  did things my own way, and in the process, managed to survive The Ordeal of a Lifetime. This is Part Five of the  story. It is true, y’all.  Every single detail of it.

In Part Four of this saga, we had miraculously caught our flight to Miami, in the nick of time, and landed. But there was a hellishly long fifteen minute delay in letting the passengers off the plane, for some ungodly reason. And we still had a cruise ship to catch, at the Port of  Ft. Lauderdale, in exactly fifty five minutes.

As we stood there in the aisle of the plane, being mashed on all sides by the mass of humanity that was the other passengers, all of whom had their own agendas to keep and similar looks of desperation in their eyes, I was starting to feel decidedly unsouthern, y’all. Not only could I feel drops of  sweat rolling down my underarms, along with the awareness of my horrible absence of lipstick, but I was developing a real unladylike case of aggravation.

img_1286Now, southern women, like me, are born with this gene that makes us instinctively know how to catch more flies with honey, than with vinegar. In normal situations, this inbred sense of good manners makes us all charming and sweet, whenever we are faced with adversity. I’m sure my mother, who’s had years of practice at batting her eyelashes and flashing her beauty queen grin, would have been able to murmur, “Oh excuse me, shugar, but can I ask you to quit standin’ on my foot, if you please,” but I was just about ready to throw my years of good southern manners out the window and STOMP somebody to death, right there in public.

FINALLY, right before I threw a right proper hissy fit, the door opened. Apparently, there were no other real southerners on that plane, because everyone started pushing and shoving like a pack of wild dogs tryin’ to get after a lame squirrel. We were caught up in the hysterical flow and deposited at the entrance of the Miami International Airport.

miami-636Now MIA covers an area of 3,300 acres and contains four runways. It is a major gateway between the United States and Latin America, and the twenty-ninth largest airport in the world, in terms of passenger traffic. It is home to 29 restaurants and 33 shops. You can get your hair cut, your nails done, buy a new wardrobe, get a massage, get a new cell phone, play the lottery, rent a movie, fill your prescriptions, get your shoes shined, buy a whole new set of leather suitcases, stock up on booze and get married, all while you are waiting on your flight to take off. I’m pretty sure it’s much larger than Burgaw,  which is a whole town in North Carolina.

In other words, we were completely lost and had absolutely no idea which way to go  to reclaim our luggage, y’all.

I knew my husband would stand there trying to figure out the lay of the land all by himself, until we had no earthly chance of making it to Ft. Lauderdale in time, because, well, duh, he’s a man and that’s what they all do. So I headed straight to The Tourist Information Center and got in line. There was a man ahead of me, who was talking to the customer service representative at great length. In Spanish.

So I stood there, and as patiently as I could, I waited. And waited. And, sigh, waited.

The two of them appeared to be friends. They were having a very animated Spanish conversation, punctuated by much laughter and postulatin’. All the while, I was nervously watching the clock and trying not to scream in frustration, because, well, that would have been, not only rude, but decidedly unsouthern.

Thinkin’ that I must be invisible, I cleared my throat. “Um, excuse me, please,” I said, in my best Southern accent. “I just need to ask y’all a quick question.” I also batted my eyelashes, for effect.

The man behind the counter  looked unfazed. “Be right with you, lady, in just a momento.” Leaning casually against the counter, he resumed his conversation, in Spanish, with the man in front of me.

“Oh FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!” I thought. I saw another customer representative standing on the other side of the counter, talking on the phone. I rushed over to him. “Excuse me!” I said breathlessly. Unbelievably, he held up his hand in a dismissive gesture. “I’ll be right with you,” he said.

So I waited. And waited. And waited some more. When he finally hung up, I told him which flight number we had been on and asked where we could pick up our baggage.

He smiled brightly.  “Oh, that’s easy,” he said. And then he said something that might have been, “You need to go to baggage claim area number 352, which is very easy to get to. Just go past Burger King right up this corridor, turn right, go down a little until you see Dunkin DoNuts, then take  the next left, the go down past the third waiting area and turn right near the restrooms and you should see 352 right there on the left!”

Only, I’m not real sure, because he spoke way too fast, and with much more of a Spanish inflection than my little ole southern ears could translate….especially as stressed as I was.

As I blinked in confusion and disbelief, he was already beginning to speak Spanish to another person who had come up behind me. I turned around to look for my husband. All I could remember was something about number 352 and it was somewhere beyond  Burger King.

“Did you find out where we’re going?” Jeff asked me.

“Yep,” I lied. “It’s right up here past Burger King.” I could see the sign, and it was a bit of a walk, so we needed to hurry.

00245-restaurants-parent_14We rushed down the corridor towards the sign. Ahead of us, I noticed another couple that were about our age, that I remembered seeing on the plane with us. They were striding purposely down the corridor towards the Burger King sign, so I decided to follow them. All the way to a baggage carousel, which was carrying everyone’s bags around and around.

There were about three hundred other passengers standing there, two and three deep, watching for their luggage. Jeff and I also stood there, holding our camera bag, laptop case, a carry on, my pocket book and my precious itinerary, helplessly waiting for our other four  suitcases and incredibly heavy golf club bag which was stuffed with two sets of golf clubs, plus our shoes and a bottle of Peach Schnapps to appear.

Then, we spotted one of our suitcases! But there seemed to be  no opening in the line of passengers to get over to it. They crowded around the carousel greedily, refusing to move.  I looked at my watch. It was 4:24 pm. We had to be in Ft. Lauderdale, on the cruise ship, before it set sail, in exactly thirty six minutes.

Well, it’s like this, y’all. I was hot. I was tired. I was hungry. My hair was messed up, my make up had long since disappeared and my clothes were rumpled beyond description. Not only that, I was on the verge of tears. There was no way we were going to miss that ship! We had gone through too much and come too far to let a measley three hundred people stand in our way!

Now y’all please don’t tell my Momma, but I’m afraid I got a little carried away and may have come across like a raving lunatic as being a tich rude.

I snapped.

I lunged for the suitcase. I pushed, I growled, I elbowed, I grabbed and may the Good Lord in Heaven help me, I may have even exchanged a few bad words with a woman in a hideous flowery dress. But by the time all of our luggage rode around and passed near me, allowing me to snatch it triumphantly and throw it to Jeff, people were eying me warily and scootching away to give me plenty of room.

We used the last item, our incredibly heavy golf club bag which was stuffed with two sets of golf clubs, plus our shoes and a bottle of Peach Schnapps, as a sort of battering ram to clear a wide pathway back through the crowded room and out through the front door.

f_taxiAs soon as I was out on the street in front of the airport, I dropped everything I was carrying in a heap on the ground, and raced towards the row of cabs. As I banged on the window of the nearest taxi, the cab driver looked at me as if I was crazy.

“CAN YOU GET US TO THE PORT IN FORT LAUDERDALE IN THIRTY MINUTES?” I screamed.

The door of the cab opened. The driver slowly climbed out. He stood up. I found myself looking up into a pair of large, black eyes in the face of a very muscular black man. He stared quizzically at me for a moment. Then, in a distinctly Jamaican accent, and a calm, deep voice, he said:

“I do my best, Ma’am.”

To be continued…..

Part Six: Did We Break the Sound Barrier?

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