Saturday, July 24, 2021

Honey Island Swamp

Having a retired editor for a husband comes in extra handy for this blogger.


After reading my earlier post, he pointed out that I had failed to offer a clear description of where Honey Island Swamp is located in Louisiana. An attempt to craft a clearer description of its location smacked me with the realization I had no idea. I had just ASSUMED I knew! (To the uninitiated, it is about 35 miles north-northeast of New Orleans just east of Slidell.)

A visit to Wikipedia provided specifics:

The Honey Island Swamp (FrenchMarais de l'Île-de-Miel) is a marshland located in the eastern portion of the U.S. state of Louisiana in St. Tammany Parish. Honey Island earned its name due to the abundance of honey bees once seen on a nearby isle.

The swamp is bordered on the north by U.S. 11, on the south by Lake Borgne, on the east by the Pearl River and the west by the West Pearl River. The swamp is located within the Pearl River wildlife management area and managed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

It is one of the least-altered river swamps in the United States. Considered by many to be one of the most pristine swampland habitats in the United States, the Honey Island Swamp covers an area that is over 20 miles (30 km) long and nearly 7 miles (10 km) across, with 35,619 of its 70,000 acres (280 km²) government sanctioned as permanently protected wildlife area.

My family's Friday afternoon departures to the houseboat years ago took us down U.S. 11 from Hattiesburg. When we crossed what we called East Pearl River my excitement ratcheted up. I knew at that point we had crossed from Mississippi to Louisiana and we were getting close to our destination. 

But I never realized from East Pearl River to West Pearl River everything on our south side was Honey Island Swamp.

There are so many gaps in specifics from my younger years. I just accepted everything the adults in my life told me about the world around me and the lives of my parents and older relatives. I rarely pursued the details. Now I would love to know more. Those details I do remember of their life experiences are treasures.

Blogging is one way I am attempting to save memories both ordinary and special. What are your strategies?


Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Thanks for the Memories!

"Another Bee Adventure" at Linda's Life Journal was an intriguing post that brought memories of a dear elderly but active family friend. 

Mr. Ford kept bees in Louisiana's Honey Island Swamp near where his three-room houseboat and my family's single room houseboat were tied up on west Pearl River. 

He never used protective gear. He said the occasional stings helped his arthritis. 

I was a curious five-year-old, and he was extra patient with my dogging his steps and pelting him with questions. He never agreed to take me to his bee hives, but he did give me just about free rein with all his many other projects. 

A favorite memory was of when he hatched a bunch of quail eggs and hen eggs. He had the baby quails in one huge cardboard box and the chicken biddies in another. He let me cuddle them and play with them.

He graciously accepted my dubbing the fluffy little quails as cowboys and the biddies as Indians. it was a time of innocence before political correctness changed the nomenclature. And it was before I was aware of his struggles with alcohol that drove him away from his home and family.

I was much older and he had passed on before that knowledge came my way, bringing both sorrow for his losses and admiration of his building a life that included friendship and  generosity toward a shy youngster.


Friday, July 16, 2021

3rd Annual Group Smoky Mountain Camping

Family and friends at Elkmont Campground

Hubby and I joined relatives and friends for a week of camping and EATING at Elkmont Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park last week.

We are the red-shirted couple in the photo, obviously the oldest campers there. With more than 30 in the group, we weren't the only ones who were joining the fun in spite of health challenges, though. 

But Hubby's compression sock mandated by a circulation issue and the obvious effects of my 2011 hemorrhagic stroke that affected my left side, the "youngsters" of all ages were ever alert and eager to help us oldsters. 

That helpfulness ratcheted up to an even more intensive level when Hubby came down with an intestinal bug. Tammy, a nurse in the group, sent over some medicine. 

Amy, another camper picked up some Pedialyte during an outing. Our niece contributed Pepto Bismol chewable tablets. 

Hubby's sister delivered all those helpful items. Hubby's brother and wife checked on us regularly.

And without their parents' knowledge, Miles and Cooper, the two youngest campers in the group, rode their bikes over to our campsite to check on us. Hubby was zonked out, but I was awake and charmed.

We are latecomers to this group of campers, but it is clear that Miles and Cooper have absorbed the example of awareness and caring for others that is characteristic of the adults in this group. 

P.S. The white tent behind us was "ground zero" for lots of great food and laughter.