June 26, 2010 7:15:00 PM
Cathy Pilkinton recently returned from a great week at Orange Beach. After hearing lots of reports about the condition of the beach from friends and on Facebook, Cathy and three of her friends decided to do what they could to support the local economy there.
After lunching at the ever-popular Lulu''s, they realized just how eerie it was. The usually-crowded eateries were wait-free, the condo parking lots were half-empty. The gals had the entire eighth floor of their rented condo to themselves. There was very little traffic on the local roads. With trepidation they headed to the beach, only to discover beautiful sands, clear water and half-price rentals on the beach chairs.
They did notice the unusual number of boats in the water. Large tankers were mixed with regular ski boats and skiffs. One day alone Cathy counted 95 boats of various sizes across the horizon. These were skimming boats, and it made for interesting observations and conversations. Helicopters hovered overhead while droves of dolphins danced in the shallow waters. Even the Blue Angels were spotted overhead on their return home to Pensacola.
There were droplets of oil in the water but you had to really be looking for them to notice. Otherwise, they just looked like dabs of seaweed. There was no odor and the waves were soft, almost calm. No one seemed concerned, even though the red flags indicated that swimmers were doing so at their own risk. There were very few people on the beach, and the cancellations have taken their toll on the summer season. Some realtors were offering 30 to 40 percent discounts on rentals through August 1.
Son of a sailor
The big news is that Jimmy Buffet (Lulu''s brother) will give a free concert in Gulf Shores July 1, along with Kenny Chesney and others. There are 35,000 free tickets available.
Ron Locke and Jimmy Buffet were both Kappa Sigmas at Southern Miss in the 1970s. Ron has recently moved from the beautiful Pilgrimage home that he renovated in Aberdeen to Fairhope, Ala. Ron was in town last week for former Pilgrimage queen Elizabeth Ford''s wedding.
Beth Boggess Sitters, Ruthe Yow, Owen Smith Shuman, Suzy Widegren Robinson, Nancy Harper, Carol Lott, Martha Neyman and FPQs Beth Mitchell and Jo Shumake hosted the Bridesmaids'' Luncheon at Shadowlawn June 18.
Joe and Carol Boggess hosted a Porch Party at their lovely home Whitehall that same night. The extensive porch that covers three sides of their home was laden with fabulous appetizers that the guests provided and refreshing beverages provided by the hosts. Enjoying the event were out-of-towners Owen Smith Shuman, Beth Boggess Sitters, Beth Mitchell, Suzy Widegren Robinson and husband Jim. The "Energizer Bunny" herself, Dorothy Widegren, held court on the side porch. Ron Locke, Grover and Melissa Allgood, John and Eulalie Davis, Hunter and Gina McShan, Ralph Null and Fred Kinder were among the guests.
When in Rome
Deborah Schumaker hosted a dinner party for Ray McIntyre and Lane Pierrot. Deborah served her famous seafood lasagna. She lived in Rome for 18 years, and once while dining in Venice, she asked the very snobby owner of the restaurant if he would part with the recipe for the pasta.
He had a very unflattering opinion of American cooking and smugly told Deborah he would give her the recipe if she could tell him what the ''secret'' ingredient was that he used. Deborah tasted the dish again and replied, "tarragon ... with a little bit of Ouzo." The recipe was hers!
Carol Crowell just returned from Venice. She and her high school friend, Gail Greene from Dequeen, Ark., spent two nights in Paris and 14 nights in Italy. As they were leaving Paris, their plane was delayed three hours, and they made the acquaintance of a charming Brazilian couple; André and Ludmila Mansur. They were also headed to Italy.
André is finishing up his medical residency in Rio De Janeiro. Carol and Gail traveled to Cortona and wanted to see the villa where the film "Under The Tuscan Sun" was filmed. With the help of two local woman who didn''t speak English, they found their way to Villa Laura. Molly Crowell, John''s daughter, had studied in Cortona for a semester while pursuing her art degree. In Assisi, the travelers visited the Basilica of St. Francis and ran into their new best friends; André & Mila! They all went for drinks and learned about his close-knit family in Brazil.
Sarah Frances Hardy of Oxford just had her first children''s book accepted for publication with Viking Press. Sarah Frances will also do the 30-odd watercolor illustrations for the book entitled "Puzzled By Pink". Readers might remember when The Beau Rivage Casino in Biloxi purchased the rights to one of Sarah Frances'' oil paintings to be used throughout the resort.
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