Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The car rumbled and the stomachs grumbled.

JF and I had been through the town of Northport which is also in the county of Tuscaloosa. (More about this further down) While visiting one of the art galleries, the owner told us about Wintzell’s.
She raved over the food, flavor and atmosphere of Wintzell’s and how there was more of a selection than at Cypress Inn. Prices she said were comparable to those of other eating establishments of the same caliber.

JF: (turning to CM and me) Do you want to try…
CM and me: Yes! ( JF didn’t get to finish the sentence)

It turns out that Wintzell’s was just a few blocks away. We went in and were seated immediately. Apparently we’d come at the right time. It was a pleasant day so we sat outside on the large patio. There was a small trail that pretty much abutted the patio and from time to time walkers would pass by . At one time being in the south meant that if you made eye contact with someone you have to speak. And if you didn’t you were just being plain uppity. Thank goodness that rule has been relaxed. You acknowledge who you want to and the rest you just don’t look at. Now, there are older denizens who would beg to differ with me but in that case you adjust the rule as needed.

Just past the walking trail was the Black Warrior River which we also had a view of. A very enjoyable and serene setting overall.

I really would like to tell you what we all had but about that time I had gone into “me hungry” mode. I had a combination of fish, shrimp, crab claws (very small ones), crab cake and oysters. I had slaw , hush puppies, and green beans as my sides. And yes, every bit of my entrĂ©e was fried. I don’t usually eat oysters but even they were delicious. It was really enough food for two people. We all enjoyed the food and were finally sated. Before we headed back to Birmingham CM went into Dreamland Barbeque which was located right next door to Wintzell’s to pick up ribs for her mother.

Now, back to Main Street.
Main Street is very quaint It reminds me of Mayberry or a Norman Rockwell type of place. There’s more than one shop that sells clothing. There are antique stores, restaurants, art
galleries, barber shop ( didn’t see Floyd inside) , hardware store and even a five and dime store. The buildings all seem to have their original architecture which only adds to its attractiveness.
The 5 & 10 was reminiscent of a bygone era.
What I’m about to describe would be purely foreign to most people under the age of 40. Inside the store were a few piece goods (bolts of fabric), zippers (some of them metal), ladies dusters (not for dusting furniture), snuggies (not the diapers).
The owner had a black rotary phone and an old style cash register. I bought 5 of the zippers to use in future craft projects. The prices were .45 for a 7 inch and .65 for a 9 inch. BTW you’d be hard pressed to find a 7 inch or 9 inch metal zipper these days.
As you can see in the picture of Dreamland Barbeque, heavy clouds were moving in. Our journey back to Birmingham was accompanied by a torrential downpour which lasted for quite a while. It was a bit scary for me. By the time we reached home it was still raining steadily but at least we were back in familiar territory.
I blew a sigh of relief and a heartfelt thanks for our safe return.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Stillman College

I went on a day trip with friends down to Tuscaloosa for lunch at Cypress Inn. At least that’s what I thought. We left about 1 pm from Birmingham. I was thinking we were leaving at that time to avoid the lunch crowd. I’d had one slice of 40 calorie toast and a small scrambled egg for breakfast. I wanted to have room for the fantastic lunch I was told about at the Inn.

After arriving in Tuscaloosa I began wondering why we were still driving around and not headed toward the focused eatery. Well, apparently moi didn’t listen closely because our driving hostess informed us that she said dinner not lunch.

I was sitting in back and the other rider, (C.M.) was in the passenger seat up front. We both exclaimed, “Dinner! I thought you said lunch!”

CM quickly followed up with, “Well, I’m going to need a milkshake to tide (no pun intended Alabama fans ) me over till then.”

We began to poke good-natured fun at our driving hostess (JF).
“We’d like to kick you out of the car, but, you’re driving.”
“You may find yourself sitting on the side of the road on the way back to Birmingham.”

Be that as it may we stopped at Stillman College for a mini tour of the campus.
Stillman College was founded in 1876 by a group of Presbyterians who wanted to establish a school to train Black ministers. This group was headed by Rev. Charles Allen Stillman for whom the college is named.
Stillman is a small, neat, beautiful campus. The grounds and buildings are immaculate. With this being summer not all buildings were accessible.

We began our stroll down Greek Lane. Each fraternity and sorority is represented here with their shield on a pedestal. Some had outdoor cookery and seating. I’m sure it’s pretty busy during pledge season.

Stepping into the William H. Sheppard Library was a welcomed relief from the outdoor heat. The library appeared to have much of its original architecture all very well kept. I just adore old buildings. I was impressed with the vintage light fixtures. I’m not sure if they were original or reproductions. Dr. William H. Sheppard trained for the ministry at Stillman College in 1887. He became part of a missionary group for the Presbyterian Church in what is present day Zaire.
The Myrtle Williamson Memorial Prayer Chapel was named after a member of the Bible Faculty. The light emitted from the colored blocks inside the chapel was calmly alluring. While enjoying the tranquil peace of the prayer chapel, my stomach began to growl which revisited my thoughts of, “When do we eat?”

It was now about 3:00 p.m. JF decided we would head toward Cypress Inn to see what time they opened for dinner.

Arriving on Cypress Inn premises we saw a member of the wait staff reporting for duty. We asked this nice young man what time the Inn opened for dinner.
We were told, 5:30 p.m.!
I think all three of us bellowed a collective, “WHAT!”
Seeing our famished faces, the young man cautiously took a step away from the car and in a soothing voice said, “…but, you can sit at the bar.” (Never upset hungry, middle aged, menopausal women)
So, what did we do?
I’ll let you know.

Monday, June 15, 2009


It's here. BINGO. Does anyone really benefit from the proceeds. Once again we here the mantra..."raise money for schools." "Help our children."

Every politician when campaigning has something within their platform that addresses ,"the children". I have yet to see it come to fruition. Of course the local government wants a piece of the pie. How is BINGO any different from the internet gambling that was shut down a year ago. Oh, I remember, local government wasn't getting anything from internet gambling. So, they shut it down.

I neither condemn or condone gaming. To each his own.

Former Goody's is now BINGO hall.

Notice all of the cars.

This is a sign not far from the

BINGO hall in the above picture


Saturday, June 13, 2009

CANDY BOMBERS; Museum of Flight Pt. 2

During World War II Soviet troops formed a blockade around West Berlin on land and sea. This blockade restricted food and other necessities to residents. It was the Soviets intent to starve the population.
In retaliation, American pilots dropped food rations into Germany so that occupants wouldn’t starve.

Impressed with the warmness and kindness of the Berlin children, Col. Gail Halvorsen began tying candy into a handkerchief shaping it like a parachute. He would then release the candy parachutes to the children from his plane .
He was given the name, Uncle Wiggle Wings by the children. Before dropping the candy parachutes he would wiggle the wings of his plane to identify himself to the children. Eventually, fellow pilots joined Halvorsen as candy bombers.

Letters Berlin children wrote to the Candy Bombers.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hyundai Plant & Peach Park

Here are additional pictures on my day trip to Montgomery. On the way back to Birmingham we stopped at the Hyundai plant and we were given a guided tour. (Photos inside the plant weren't allowed)

This gem of a Hyundai was in the show room. Eight speakers.
Peach Park in Clanton has some the best fried pies. Top that with a scoop of peach ice cream and you're in peach heaven.

They have a little vest pocket park on the premises.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rosa Parks Museum

A while back a took a day trip with a group to the Rosa Parks museum which is in Montgomery, Alabama. For those who may not know, Mrs. Park's was instrumental in the desegregation of the public transit system in Montgomery.
She refused to surrender her seat to a white man and move to the back of the bus.
(photos were not allowed inside the museum)

Her (Mrs. Park's) bravery launched the beginning of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Chick-Fil-A Freebie

What can I say? I'm a freebie magnet.

Chick-Fil-A will be sponsoring a Super Summer Giveaway beginning June 11th.

On my last visit to Chick-Fil-A a promotional poster was on the door regarding this delicious event.
For other upcoming freebies here in Birmingham, Alabama click here.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Doughnut Day

Yesterday( June 5th) was National Doughnut Day. All of the Krispy Kreme's were offering a free doughnut. Of course I sidled into my local shop and was given a warm, glazed confection that melted in my mouth. A fresh, hot doughnut reminds me of a wispy cloud. Airy and light it's gone in four bites (that would be a great jingle for them).
Dunkin' Donuts offered a free donut with the purchase of a drink.
(Didn't go there)
Krispy Kreme is by far my favorite. Had I been aware of National Doughnut Day a week ago I would have plotted my strategy for obtaining more than one free doughnut.

1. 8601 1st Avenue North, Birmingham, AL

2. 96 Weibel Drive, Birmingham, AL 35228

3. 1990 New Patton Chapel Road, Birmingham, AL 35226
The plan is to go to each of these locations during the morning. Return to each location after the working shift changes and do it all again. Optional: Change your clothes or wear a disguise just in case someone is working a double shift.

BTW *If you're ever hankering for a doughnut and can't get to a doughnut shop, here's a substitute.
You'll need:
canned biscuits
vegetable oil

confectioner's sugar
1. Place cooking oil in a deep fat fryer or boiler (enough to cover the biscuits/doughnuts) Heat oil to a medium high heat.
2. Separate the biscuits. Drop the biscuits/doughnuts one at a time into the hot cooking oil.
NOTE: You may want to lower them into the oil using a wooden skewer or long handled
3. Turn biscuits with skewer or fork and remove when slightly golden on each side.
4. After removing from oil, immediately drop hot biscuit/doughnut into confectioner's sugar
and toss.
5. Shake off excess sugar and consume when cool enough to eat.
OPTIONAL. No confectioner's sugar. Split biscuit while hot and sprinkle in a little brown sugar,cinnamon and raisins . Voila' ! instant cinnamon roll.
NOTE: These are better when warm. They aren't good cold and don't reheat well.