I awoke with a mild headache in Ocean Springs; the delicious syrah took its toll.
It was shortly after 7 a.m.
Commanding presence man (affectionately known as S-) spent the evening with Jessie, myself, and the dogs.
I blame myself for keeping us up so late.
Of course, he dozed in separate sleeping quarters.
I was making a cup of tea when he rejoined the morning after party.
We looked for some coffee, but since neither of us lived in the home, we were at a loss. Essentially, he would have to wait until Jessie returned from her morning run with her canines.
With coffee brewed, the three of us continued more conversation.
Within the hour, I left the java-filled morning to take a shower. When I finished, I noticed that S- had left. Meanwhile, Jessie was going to attend to cleaning, errands, and a nap before heading off to her business.
I quickly dressed and headed out to give her some personal time.
I walked to the local library (hence, my last post).
It was quite a jaunt, and I enjoyed the physical activity. The folks there were extremely courteous. I blogged for several hours.
After the foggy-brained, marathon blog post, I headed back to Jessie's place.
The clouds were gray as an impending storm approached. I thought nothing of it. About 10-minutes into my walk, a drizzle began followed by an intense downpour. At this point, I was stuck in a residential area with nowhere to go for shelter.
I took in the rain shower and arrived at Jessie's home utterly drenched.
It was one of those romantic movie moments.
Girl caught in rain; boy seeks girl and finds girl; they kiss; end scene.
None of that happened to me.
It's nice to fantasize about it.
Instead, when I returned to Jessie's home, I put my clothes in the washer followed by the dryer. She was at work and while I desperately attempted a nap, my efforts proved pointless.
I tossed and turned.
The afternoon had disappeared, and I had accomplished nothing except for one blog post.
Instead, I took another shower (don't ask me why), and sent Jessie a text to see whether S- would be able to take me on the Ocean Springs tour he had promised me.
S- picked me up somewhere near 5 p.m. or so.
First stop: Jessie's business.
He bought us a couple of iced coffees, and we spent a few moments chatting with her. Then, we headed back out to capture as much daylight as possible.
Essentially, I got an insider's guide to his hometown.
In the span of a few hours, I unearthed all sorts of insider information on and from S- such as where he went to elementary school to the location of the breathtaking Ruskin Tree to where his mother was buried (and his family plot was located) to the history of the Singing River and "West Florida" to where Elvis Presley golfed t0 how lush swamp trails spill into vast, sooty waterways.
Indeed, "S-" was extremely open with me. I could ask this Mississippi insider anything about anything, and without hesitation, he would answer.
During our tour, he admitted how much his hometown had significantly changed since his boyhood, and like many who appreciate the beauty of nostalgia he was not pleased.
We ended the evening by watching the orange, pink, purple sunset with "J-" at a roadside restaurant. While there, I ordered and devoured a delicious alligator sausage as the two reminisced over the smells of their water.
I could have sat their forever listening to them discuss creeks and boyhood.
Just when I thought the night would end, we closed the evening at a small downtown bar where M- had joined us as well.
The night gurgled.
Around 10ish, I found myself back at the front door of Jessie's house. With a quick goodbye and a lackluster one-armed side hug, "S-" vanished.
I headed inside exhausted, yet I could not sleep.
A hefty morning awaited: a gorgeous ride along Route 90 west to New Orleans and a reunion with my Coast Guard-serving brother Pablo.
Until we meet again, my friend.