My Home Away From Home

Sometimes we’re fortunate to find a place we can call ‘Home’ even though we don’t live there.

A place that satisfies our deepest yearnings. That feels so comfortable and ‘right’ we can’t imagine not spending time there.

For me, that place is Gulfport, MS, nestled on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, midway between New Orleans and Mobile.

Who could resist this view?

Sailboat on the Gulf

Sailboat on the Gulf

As a child, I spent many vacations in Gulfport, visiting relatives and taking a brief break from our harsh Midwestern winters. Something about the sand, sun, and salt air rejuvenated me. Healed me deep to the core.

It still does.

Swimming birds

Swimming birds

The raucous cries of sea birds as they fly overhead or swim in formation looking for food.

The rhythmic ebb and flow of the tides, the brine in the air that’s blamed for coaxing visitors to eat more than they intend.

The graciousness of the natives.

The small-town feel with the big city offerings.

All these comfort me. Satisfy me.

Bird in flight over sparkling water

Bird in flight over sparkling water

I lived in Gulfport for a few years but found it challenging to work when so many were playing. Vacationing. Boating. Being tourists.

Now that I live in Illinois, I appreciate Gulfport more.

And I miss the relaxed way I feel when I’m there. Miss stuffing myself with seafood, po’ boys, Barq’s root beer, butter-cinnamon drenched rolls, beignets. Miss wearing shorts and T-shirts practically year-round.

Miss hearing a Southern drawl, y’all.

Palm tree in the sand

Palm tree in the sand

Miss kicking off my shoes and walking barefoot on the white sandy beach. Miss how cool the winds feel the closer I get to the water.

Miss Mardi Gras, Spanish moss, Confederate jasmine, columned plantation homes.

Miss not having to shovel — even in January — because whatever snow might fall is gone the next day.

Even my Sheltie is more relaxed in Gulfport:

Hugging "Duck"

Hugging “Duck”

I don’t know if I could live in Gulfport again, but I relish the time I spend down there. For now at least, Gulfport is my home away from home.

The sun sets over Gulfport, MS

The sun sets over Gulfport, MS

Ed. Note: The very kind Priscilla over at DogVacay.com approached me and asked if I’d be willing to write a post about my Home Away From Home, what it means to me, and include any illustrations to that effect. Based in southern California, DogVacay connects dog owners with pet professionals who provide services such as doggie daycare for pooches whose owners must travel without them.

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35 thoughts on “My Home Away From Home

  1. That duck (or goose?) quacks (or honks?), doesn’t it?!? Mr. Cahier and I had a dobie who LOVED stuffed animals (her “babies”) and we used to buy her those. It was hilarious to hear it quack/honk when she gave it love nibbles!
    Great pictures. Anywhere that has water and sand is my kinda place, y’all. :-)

    • Yes, ‘Duck’ is a honker. The older ‘Duck’ gets, the higher-pitched his honking gets, too. Don’t know what’s up with that, other than a supposition that squeakers — like everything else — eventually wear out.
      Another kindred spirit for sand and water? Love it! If Gulfport could convince me it never would see another hurricane, I just might be convinced to move back. Sadly, I don’t think that’s gonna happen. You can still see places — nine years later — where Katrina struck, and it makes me pine for the beauty that’s gone.

      • Yup, definitely a mallard. I was looking at a small screen and couldn’t see that well.

        Hurricanes are always going to happen, possibly more so with climate change. The beauty changes, but it’s still there.

        • As fate would have it, Dallas partially yanked “Duck’s” head off just this morning, Hipster. I almost cried! Funny how I get more attached to his toys than he does — could be because I name them?!?

        • The primary port of early Texas, Indianola, was wiped off the face of the earth by two hurricanes, in 1875 and 1886. So, they moved everything up to Galveston, which was devastated by one of the worst hurricanes in history in 1900. Climate change? You decide. ;)

          (I just had to… this climate change hysteria is starting to get to me.)

        • I recall reading about the Galveston hurricane; the destruction must have been phenomenal. I, too, have serious doubts about the climate change hysteria. It seems we’ve always had storms and weather issues — this, after all, isn’t Paradise, so why shouldn’t we? Other countries have their share of bad weather — we just don’t hear about it unless it’s life-threatening like a tsunami or something. We can be thankful it’s not worse!

  2. Debbie, I love the way you expressed your feelings and how you presented this post about Gulfport. And what beautiful location it is! Fabulous photographs because you can really get a sense for what it’s like there. The shot of the palm tree in the sand and the sunset are breathtaking. And of course, the shot of Dallas is adorable. What a cute doggie he is.

    “a place we can call ‘Home’ even though we don’t live there.

    A place that satisfies our deepest yearnings. That feels so comfortable and ‘right’ we can’t imagine not spending time there.”

    Yes, I feel that way about NYC. It’s a city I feel deep within my soul. And it’s a city I will always consider my home. It’s the place I feel most energized and alive.

    Great post, my friend. Have a super Monday and week!

    X

    • Thank you, Ron, for “getting it” about Gulfport. I remember you spent a number of years in Florida, so I’m sure these palm trees and beach shots struck a chord. But you’re a New York kind of guy, huh? Well, yes, I can see that — the activity, the energy, the immenseness — for me, an interesting place to visit but way too HUGE to live there, ha!
      Dallas thanks you for the compliment — and I hope he doesn’t get all pompous over it! I still can’t believe he never woke up when I took that photo.
      Glad you enjoyed this one. Have a fabulous week, my friend!

  3. Gulfport looks beautiful. I think I could get used to it! But I have often wondered what it might be like to live and have to work in a place that draws tourists. Now I know it’s not so easy!

    • The thing about a tourist locale is that there are always LOTS of interesting people around, and the “natives” tend to be most gracious and accommodating. The hard part is knowing you have to work while it seems like everybody else is playing! But yes, Gulfport has many beautiful spots — and I’m sure the “natives” would say I missed plenty of them!

  4. Looks beautiful. I love the sand and water. A little warm and muggy for me in the summer months but every state has it’s weather challenges. Cute picture of Dallas with his Duck.

    • You’re so right in saying every state has weather challenges. And that seems to be even more so these days (or perhaps it’s just The Weather Channel making a BIG DEAL out of everything!). I can’t believe Dallas never even blinked when I snapped that photo — he was definitely in Doggie Dreamland!

  5. I’ve not been there, but it does look peaceful! Love the photo of Dallas napping :) I’m not sure I’d do well with the humidity (I think 25+ years in Arizona may have dried me out too much) but visiting someplace different does have a way of clearing our heads. Thanks for sharing your photos!

    • Well, you remember New Orleans and its humidity. Summertime is definitely like that in Gulfport unless you hang out near the water where it’s cooler at least. I’m told all that mugginess is good for one’s skin. I know for a fact that the soft water really makes my hair silky and my skin smooth (big difference from our harsh Midwestern winters!) Thanks for coming along, Janna.

  6. I love Gulfport. I was there about a year after Katrina, and it was so sad. One of the saddest aspects of the whole thing was that NOLA got all the attention, and poor Mississippi was shunted off to the side. As a matter of fact, the one newspaper article I’ve had published since I started blogging was in the Sun Herald – about Gulfport and etc. post-hurricane.

    Your photos are just wonderful.That water and sand would be good enough by itself, but that list of foods your provided? Good gosh, that sounds good!

    I need to find someone like DogVaCay, though. I just lost my kitty sitter this week, and I’m beside myself. She’s moving to Washington state. That’s a great move for her. I can’t fault her for that. But she was professional, absolutely trustworthy, and Dixie tolerated her. Now? I have to start the whole process over again. Sigh.

    • I used to work for the Sun Herald, Linda — great place to work, though I was one of the early birds arriving by 6 a.m. (That was in the ’80s when Biloxi had two dailies, one evening and one morning).

      Glad you enjoyed my photos. As you can tell, I had a beautiful day in which to take them! And the foods? Oh, yes, I can see how easy it might be to eat w-a-a-a-y more than one needs. Fresh seafood is a luxury they don’t appreciate near as much as we landlocked Midwesterners do.

      DogVacay is a national outfit, so you might check them out. Perhaps you can find a qualified replacement for your kitty sitter. I usually take Dallas with me — he’s a great traveler and is so attached to me that I’d worry about his pining away if he got left behind. I think DogVacay has people in most of the bigger cities; I haven’t checked yet, but I’d be surprised if they had anyone in my small town. Good luck with your search!

  7. Debbie, you have done a terrific job of making us all long for Gulfport!! I think I would head straight for the butter-cinnamon drenched rolls, even before the beach. I’ve never been to Mississippi, though always–from a young age–I loved to spell it.

    • Ah, thanks, Jann. Since my parents both hailed from Mississippi, I grew up with a fondness for the state. It’s only as I became an adult, though, that I’ve come to more fully appreciate its many charms. I’m glad if anything I’ve done here boosts tourism, too!

  8. It’s nice to have a place where you can get away from it all, and that you love deeply, as you seem to love Gulfport. Looks lovely in the photos. I received the same request from DogVacay, but couldn’t think of anything to write about and wasn’t sure if they were paying for it. Anyway, glad you took them up on the offer. Nicely done, pictures and all. Especially the one of Dallas. Don’t know how you can resist petting him 24/7. ;)

    • Oh, he’d *love* being petted 24/7, Monica — nothing spoiled about this pup! Glad to hear someone I “know” got the same request. They didn’t offer to pay me, but I saw it as a worthwhile and interesting opportunity, one that might result in a fun post here. Besides, I had a bazillion extra pictures on my camera from our winter trip to Gulfport and wanted a chance to showcase them. Thanks for stopping by!

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