Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Massalina Bayou

Home by Another Way

Once before I may have written two blog posts the same day, now this morning. We started our walk a minute or so before seven and finished a few minutes after eight, so for two octogenarians that was fair, I give us a C+. Starting on Linda Avenue behind Cove School as always, we decided to do it backwards, so walked north to 2nd Court, west to E. Beach Drive, across Tarpon Dock Bridge and past the building that used to be Alvin Cook’s fish house. Alvin was in business the same time as my father back in the nineteen forties and early fifties. In 1948 he and my father bought new Dodge sedans about the same time, ours green theirs Burgundy, and one Sunday morning that spring or early summer we all drove over to Mobile together in the two new cars to see Bellingrath Gardens. Arriving in time for church, we went to the eleven o’clock service at Christ Episcopal in Mobile. Alvin and Gracie Cook were Baptist and didn’t stand or kneel as we did, but sat through the whole church service. For cars, a couple years later my father bought the brown Plymouth woody wagon that we enjoyed all the way through high school and into college. Alvin splurged and bought a new black Packard sedan that he wouldn't let his sons drive.

We walked past what was Hawk’s Nest restaurant, up to Bay County Courthouse. To catch our breath, sat on the courthouse steps for a couple minutes, a nice view out over Massalina Bayou. Robert took out his iPhone to look up Hawk Massalina (1840-1948), who died at age 108. I remember his death and remember him as a local celebrity and historic personality. In the minute or two we sat there Massalina Bayou filled sudden and complete with white fog. First time I ever saw that happen so instantly. Walking on across 4th Street Bridge, we saw porpoises rolling in the bayou. Very picturesque, ducks floating on the surface and the dolphins rolling, one was quite little. Flat surface and the fog. As we walked on around the bayou toward the green house where Robert grew up we stopped to watch the porpoises rolling, and noticed an owl sitting atop a post.

I tried to snap a picture of it but it’s not clear. The owl is on the tall post to the right of the sailboat. To the left was a large brown pelican taking a rest or maybe digesting his mullet.

Dolphins rolling, pelicans and ducks floating, the owl there on the post and the large pelican on a nearby post. In Massalina Bayou with all the boats. In our growing up years about the only boats seen in the bayou were the South Wind, and Joe Knowles’ father’s boat across on the other side, but now the bayou is jammed up junky with boats of various sizes. Still sacred ground to two ancients.

We walked on around, right where Hamilton Avenue runs into Massalina Drive, past the house my parents built in 1937 and where I grew up, up the slope to Linda Avenue and back to our vehicles. One of our best walks ever.


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