I returned back home for the first time in 11 days today. I was originally going to do a cross country drive, but that got rescheduled. Then I was going to fly to LA for a little design inspiration, but I canned that. I eventually found myself in Southern Mississippi, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, being a good ole Southern boy. Can anyone think of two more different places than LA and Mississippi? Maybe NYC and Wingate? Maybe Heaven and Hell?
I was reading one of my favorite writer Tom Sorensen’s most recent column last week about the new Carolina Panthers owner. In it, he states that every city has its own personality, and that it is on the person to get to know the city, not vice versa. Got me thinking…
As with any place, the Mississippi Gulf Coast has its own personality. I imagine the majority of you have never been, so let me enlighten you. The pace is slow. Like cook in the crockpot all day slow. That piece tests me, because I’m like zap it in the microwave fast. But otherwise, I dig it. One of my favorite things about the people down there is that they know how to do stuff. Filet a fish. Fix a boat. Build a house. Catch shrimp. Cut timber. It’s fend for yourself and help a neighbor territory, and it is fascinating. I try to blend in the best that I can, but who am I kidding? I can barely plug the microwave in. However, I do like to think that I can adapt everywhere, but then again, I also don’t know that I really fit in anywhere.
We had ribeyes at Donelle’s, a place so good it doesn’t have or need a website. BBQ at The Shed. Fried Oysters at the Tiki. Burgers at Huck’s. My son went crabbing. We all went fishing. I learned how to drive a boat. We looked for gators and snakes. I got 4 rounds of golf in.
The Gulf Coast is good because it forces me to let my hair down. I shower every 4th day. I rarely change clothes. I keep my shirt untucked at the golf course. No one cares. There are no rules. Except slow down. Relax. Enjoy. So I try. As Mr. Sorensen reminded me, I have to adapt to their way of life, not vice versa.
The common denominator of all these activities is being outside. It is good for the soul. I’ve made a pact with myself to be outside as much as humanly possible going forward, in some pretty cool places, wearing my unique clothes and hats.
I think I turned a TV on twice, once to show my father in law the opening scene of Spectre in Mexico City, where I just was. And the other last night to watch LeBron prove why he is LeBron. I opened up my phone a few times to read and share some pictures, but otherwise it was closed for business.
So what can the folks of Mississippi teach us? Life is right in front of you, with great food and golf and boating and exotic animals and sunshine and family and friends and fixing stuff and generally being present. Lots of enjoyment and lots of learning this week.
I may not even unpack my bags tonight. Back on the road Friday. Stay tuned…
Have a great week.-Benj
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