Archive for the ‘veranda’ Tag

~ Night Dreams ~   1 comment




Tonight I am far away.

I am in another time and space, holding a beautiful young girl in my arms and dancing to

the melody of a soft, slow waltz.  She is smiling sweetly.  No words are spoken.  None need

be as our hearts are so entwined that each knows instinctively what the other is thinking.

There are at least a hundred other people at the dance but we neither see nor hear them as

we are lost in an intimately private world of our own.

 Veranda - Buena Vista - Biloxi

The music in the Buena Vista ballroom died and the band packed up and was leaving.  We danced out onto the veranda to the music that kept playing in our hearts that night.  Til then, neither had voiced the words “I love you”, but we’d heard them a thousand times in each other’s eyes.




~~ Good Night   4 comments


Veranda - Buena Vista - Biloxi


Sweet Dreams

Sleep doesn’t come as I close my eyes

I still see the moonlit starry skies

And hear the faint melody of the band inside

As we dance on the beautiful balcony outside

Another slow waltz, as we glide ‘cross the floor

And quietly slip away through the veranda’s back door

Was not in our mind to spend the night at a dance

When under the moonlight we dreamed of romance.







~~ A Mississippi Evening ~~   4 comments




Sitting out on the deck this evening and the feeling is so much the same as so many years ago, sitting out on the veranda watching the moonrise and the stars appear one-by-one in the night sky.  The day was miserably humid and hot as johnny cakes on the griddle but has cooled into just a warm, soft evening.  Lightning bugs are flashing their signals in the bushes along the edge of the back yard and there is just a caress of a gulf coast breeze……, just like a soft Mississippi evening so very long ago…….



Soft summer evening, just my love and I

Sittin’ on the back porch under a nighttime sky

Talkin’ ’bout yesterday ‘n’ dreams we had

Dreamin’ ’bout tomorrow ‘n’ feelin’ glad

Lookin’ into her eyes, she’s lookin’ at me

Hopin’ that she sees the love that I see




Good Night Everybody !


~~ June 10th ~~   4 comments


When I started this back on about June 8th it was only going to be a picture and a paragraph or two but as time passed and I was writing,  memories started coming back like echoes off a canyon wall.  So, now, here we are………, almost 3 weeks later and still writing.


There was only one June 10th that held any importance for me. It started on Saturday afternoon, June 9th a long time ago…


I had finished the squadron duties early, reported to the first sergeant, and was loitering in the orderly room shooting pool when the thought struck me… Tomorrow was Gayle’s birthday but we had promised Pops that we’d have dinner with him in Gulfport.  Well, that left tonight and I intended for it to be special.  When the phone was free I grabbed it and dialed a number that was almost a habit by now.

“Hello, this is the Latimer residence.  May I ask who’s callin’?

“It’s the king of the Wild Blue Yonder!  Busy this afternoon? ”
“Nope, just have to help Pops finish the books for the month. We’ll be done in about a half hour. Whatcha have in mind? ”
“It’s a bit warm, so why don’t you wear something cool and pretty. I was thinking of maybe an early dinner and dancing. ” I didn’t mention that this would be in New Orleans.
“Ok, see y’all in an hour. Bye. ”

I showered, dressed in my best “casual/formal” (casual slacks and a nice button down shirt) and was off first to get gas in the car and then stop at the bank for some extra cash.  I’d washed and waxed the car earlier in the day.  All considered, I was ready for the evening.  It was about 4:30 when I started down the lane to the farm.  Gayle met me on the veranda when I pulled up.  She was nothing short of the vision of an angel, wearing a white cotton dress that was trimmed in lace.

“Beautiful…, absolutely beautiful, darlin’.  You just are simply breathtaking’ ”

I got out and walked around the car to open her door and was greeted by the scent of jasmine and a peck on the cheek as she slid into the car seat. I closed her door and went back to my seat, thinking to myself that I just HAD to be the luckiest guy in the whole world.

“You look rather dashing tonight, sweetness.  Are we goin’ anyplace special or is it a secret?”

“Yup.., and it’s a secret.”

“Have we been there before?”

“Nope, don’t think so.”

“Ok, stop playin’ Gary Cooper with me and tell me something!”

“Ok, we’ve never been there; it’s not in Biloxi; it’s not in Gulfport; it’s not in the Pass; and I’m not goin’ to tell you anythin’ more ’cause it’s supposed to be a surprise, ok?”

We’d just pulled out onto US90 and when she started to reply a gust of wind caught her dress, blowing it up into her face, exposing her beautiful long legs and she broke out laughing.

“Alright we’ve had the show. The entertainment’s over. Now let’s get some dinner.  I’m hungry.  Wait a minute, you turned west.  Isn’t any nice place out here to eat that I know about.” and then she fell silent for a while and we listened to music on the radio.  All the while I could hear the wheels turning in her mind, trying to figure out what I had planned.

About the time we started approaching the Lake Ponchartrain Bridge Gayle turned to me with a smile, laughing and shaking her head.

“Well, darlin’ girl, I think you’re startin’ to figure it out. There’s only one thing at the end of this bridge and that is…….”

“New Orleans !!!  Oh, Paul, honey, this is the greatest surprise!  I haven’t been there since I was a little girl with Mother and Daddy.  You make me so happy…, did you know that?  Now where have you decided that we’d be dining and dancing?”

I’d noticed that she had referred to her father as “daddy” instead of “Pops, and she’d mentioned her mother which she rarely did these days”.  The thought of New Orleans must have triggered some happy memories.  I was glad for that.

“I figured we’d do our dining and dancing at the same place.  There’s this little “hole-in-the-wall place that some of the guys seem to think is pretty great so I thought we’d try it out”

As we left the bridge I fished in my pocket for the map one of the guys had drawn for me.  As I got it out and opened it, Gayle playfully snapped it out of my hand.


“Hmmm, French Quarter, this sounds interesting.  Ok, you drive; I’ll read the map, be the navigator and get us there.  By the way, how will I know when we get there?”

“Don’t you worry your pretty head about that.  I’ll know when we’re there.  You’ll know when we walk up to the door.”

Turn left here. Turn right there. Go down five blocks and turn right.  Find a parking place and you’re there.  The directions were perfect as they landed us right in the middle of the French Quarter.

We had about an hour to kill before our reservations so we started a casual reconnoiter of the area, peeking into this little club and that when the music sounded good.  Gayle was excited, and happy which pleased me no end.  The idea had been a real case of serendipity.  When I called her earlier I had no clue of a plan for the evening.  The dinner and dancing thing was just …., well, I really didn’t know what it was going to be…, until I saw the travel brochure for New Orleans on the First Sargent’s desk.  I read enough to see that they had fine dining and dancing at Pete Fountain’s Place and, with that I decided that would be the place tonight.  We held hands as we strolled along, taking it all in and enjoying our little adventure.  I saw that we were close to the club and checked my watch; 10 minutes to go.  I took Gayle across the street and down the block til we were right across from the club.

“Paul, I hate to seem redundant, but I’m hungry…, and now thirsty.  Are we going to eat soon?”

“Yep, we should be at our table in about five minutes.”

“Where are we going?”

“Oh, just across the street.”

“That little place?”

“Yep, the one with the fancy door right on the corner.”

Pete Fountains Place

“That says Pete Fountain’s Place !  It’s a night club….”

“…and with a fine restaurant, and dancing, and great atmosphere, and one of the best clarinet players in the country”.

“…and we’re just going to walk in and they’ll find us a table?  They look jammed!”

“Yep, we’re just gonna walk right in and go to our table.  I have reservations, my love”

“I should have known.  You just never leave anything to chance, do you?”

“Nope, not when it involves your birthday celebration, sweetheart.  I have already ordered dinner for us, and requested a couple of tunes for us to dance to.

When we entered the club I spoke with the hostess and she directed us to a table along the dance floor just right of center stage.  Before you get the idea of a grand ballroom, it was not!  The dance floor was almost smaller than the stage.  The club itself wasn’t large as a lot of the nightclubs were, but it was intimate and was dripping with class.  It was all I’d hoped for, and it was perfect. .

After a few minutes our server came to the table and, in fine Cajun French asked something, after which he was rewarded with our best blank stares.

He made a quick recovery and followed with:

“Ok, I’ll drop the act, would y’all like to eat now or a bit later when the performance starts?”

I looked at Gayle and gave her a mischievous smile and then turned to the server…

“Why don’t y’all bring us a soda right now, and then start serving the dinner courses in about ten minutes, ok?”

“Paul, is it ok if I ask what I might be eating for dinner?”

“Sure, we’re gonna have some of the finest Jambalaya in the city of New Orleans, right after our chef’s salad.  It’s supposed to be special too.”

“How do you know if I’d like Jambalaya, anyway?”

“Simple, I just asked Molly.  You’d be surprised what Molly tells me about you”.

“No doubt I would, you devious, clever man.  How long have you been planning this?”

“Oh, since about 2:30 this afternoon, just before I called you.”

She started to say something but just stopped, shook her head and smiled.  About that time the salad was served and the meal began.  The main course arrived at the table about 15 minutes later and we were both amazed at how absolutely delicious it was.  Along with the Jambalaya came golden corncakes and slices of home churned butter…, the real thing, not margarine and, for each of us, a pilsner of beer (don’t remember the brand), but that drew a look of surprise from Gayle.

“How could you get beer served to us?”

“Easy, darlin’, legal age in Louisiana is 18.”

She smiled, pointed her finger at me and said, “But we’re not 18 just yet”.

“But you will be at the stroke of midnight”.

We quietly finished our meal, relishing every morsel of it.  And then came desert…, a slice of pecan pie swimming in rum sauce and topped with a dipper of ice cream.  No words this time, but the look she gave me spoke volumes.

s9 Soaked in blue[1]

As we finished our dessert, the lights on the stage came up, the band came out and started to tune their instruments and warm up.  Applause started from the back of the room and the main event was about to begin as Pete Fountain took the stage.  He opened with “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In, followed by “Dixie”.  He told a few jokes and socialized with the audience a bit…, and then he came over to our table.

“Hey everybody, looks like we got us some new folks here tonight…, an’ one of them’s a Yankee!  And that Yankee is squiring one of our beautiful southern belles.  And guess what else, folks?  Tomorrow’s her birthday!”

And with that he lifted his clarinet and started playing “Happy Birthday” at which the audience sang along.  Gayle raised her hands and covered her mouth in embarrassment, her face turning bright pink.  She glared at me for only a moment and then started a smile that blossomed into happy laughter.

“I will get even with you, I will, I will, I will !!!”

“Folks, this nice young couple requested a couple of songs and I don’t know one of them except they wanted a rumba, so I think this one will sound ok and fill the bill.” (we found out later that the name of the song was “Te Quero).  He pointed to the dance floor, “Gayle, Paul, would you honor us with the first dance tonight”?

I stood, took her hand, led her onto the floor and as the music began to play we became lost in our own private world.  The song was a very nice slow rumba and it was easy to make her look completely graceful and elegant in our turns, spins, and promenades.  I think Pete played several more bars than were actually in the song.  As for the two of us, we hardly noticed when the music stopped playing.  I think our first clue was the applause from the audience.  We assumed that the applause was for Pete.

“Folks, just let me say this before we go on with tonight’s show…  That was probably the most beautiful dance I’ve seen done in this club.  If I didn’t know better, I’d think these two were in love with each other.  It sure looked that way from where I was standing.  I think they stole that number from me.  You may have heard me, but you were all watching them.  Let’s give them a hand.

We walked slowly back to our table and sat down.  Pete rolled into the evening with some smooth jazz and Dixieland.  I turned to Gayle.  It was obvious that she was happily enjoying the evening.  A bit later Pete looked over to us and smiled.

“This one’s for you.  It’s a number called “I’ll Bring You Flowers”, and he began to softly play a sweet, slow waltz.  There were others on the dance floor but as I led Gayle there they gave us some space of our own.  The waltz is our favorite step and, once again, we lost ourselves in the music and let our hearts lead our feet into the dance.  I looked into her eyes and there were tears.

“I can’t help it, Paul.  I’m just so happy!  You… just… make me so… very happy.  I love you, Yankee farm boy.”

I held her close as we circled the floor, letting the music flow over us and into the night.  “I love you, sweet southern belle.  You are the stuff of my dreams.”

When the waltz had finished, we stopped at the stage and said our thanks to Pete, paid our tab, and walked out into the soft night.  Gayle sat on a bench in a small park we were passing and I stepped behind her, reached over her head and fastened the clasp on a necklace pendant that I’d kept secreted in my pocket.  I had checked my watch to make sure it was after midnight.

“Happy Birthday, Sweetness.  Tonight was so special, not because of New Orleans, or the music, or the dancing…, but because of you.  I love you.”

No other words were spoken.  Our hearts were speaking for us and they didn’t need words.





~~~ Tonight~~~   2 comments








Tonight I am far away.

I am in another time and space, holding a beautiful young girl in my arms and dancing to

the melody of a soft, slow waltz.  She is smiling sweetly.  No words are spoken.  None need

be as our hearts are so entwined that each knows instinctively what the other is thinking.

There are at least a hundred other people at the dance but we neither see nor hear them as

we are lost in an intimately private world of our own.


His:  I can see the promise of a million tomorrows in the softness of her beautiful blue eyes…

Hers:  His caring and strength are the rock I can cling to for a million tomorrows…

His:  There is no one on this earth as sweet, wonderful, and beautiful as she.  How do I deserve to be in the arms of such an angel…

Hers  Its his reality that makes him the beautiful man that I want to hold forever.  Does he know how much I love him?…

His:  In my wildest dreams I never dreamed I would ever find someone like her.  Her love is so intense and real I can feel it surround me…

Veranda - Buena Vista - Biloxi

The music in the Buena Vista ballroom died and the band packed up and was leaving.  We danced out onto the veranda to the music that kept playing in our hearts that night.  Til then, neither had voiced the words “I love you”, but we’d heard them a thousand times in each other’s eyes.


I’ve returned from that “other” place now…, that place of soft waltzes, blue eyes, tender warmth, and am living, once again, in a place where these exist only in beautiful memories of softer times in a gentler world.


Good Night Everybody





By Chance   5 comments

(Part fact – part fiction.  Mostly just a story)


While walking along a moonlit shore one peaceful evening, a young man chanced to meet an unbelievably beautiful young woman.  The air was filled with the scent of jasmine and the saltiness of the incoming tide.  Small waves softly kissed the beach and retreated, leaving the reflection of the moon shimmering in the wet sand.  Was he taken with her beauty?  No…, he was mystified…, entranced.  This was no ordinary girl.  She was the embodiment of everything he had ever thought of as beautiful, his image of an angel on earth, walking beside him…, talking with him.  For her part, she looked at him, admitting to herself that while he wasn’t the most handsome guy she’d ever seen, there was, in his eyes, the look of a dreamer, one who not only dreamed but would make those dreams come true.  He was rugged, and more mature than most she’d met.  When she met his eyes she knew that she would never be satisfied until she could see those dreams, and maybe be part of them.  Initial conversation was pensive, introductions and mostly small talk – where are you from?  where do you live?  what do you do?  Then he asked a question that broke through that barrier.


“What brought you out here tonight”?

“You did.  I saw you leave the auditorium and decided I wanted to meet you”.

“I’m happy that you did.  I saw you on the stage and I …….”

“…didn’t think I would be approachable”?

“Yeah…, precisely.”

“I’m gonna guess that you’re a shy one, and just so you know, being attractive isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  I’d rather with one guy like you than a hundred of those who are just chasing after a pretty girl.  They’re all hat, with not much under it”.


This was the beginning.  In the days, weeks, and joy filled months that followed both were to find a bond that became stronger and deeper with every meeting, conversation, and kiss.  This wasn’t a “love at first sight” affair, more like “I want to explore you – get to know everything about you relationship”.  A foundation was being laid for something much larger and more important than either suspected at the moment.  Sometimes when they were together he would look at her, amazed by her beauty, not just her pretty face or her seductive figure, but by the beauty he saw in her eyes, the windows to her heart and soul.  She looked at him, thinking that she had almost passed this chance…, almost!  For her he was an anchor, a foundation, a rock she could hold onto when things were bad, and that partner she most wanted to share with when all was wonderful.


One thing led to another, and another…, and another.  They worked together, and she was always amazed at how he seemed to know how to do…., everything.  For him, it was such a surprise how she seemed to completely read his thoughts, even to handing him the next right tool to complete a project.  They played together, enjoying fun in the sand and water at the beach, dancing til the early morning hours at the club, and sometimes just walking through the woods and sitting by the stream.  Loved each other would be an understatement…, they completed each other in every way possible.  Friends, amicably, envied the aura of happiness that surrounded them.  They loved, and, in turn, were loved by all around them.

Then one quiet evening, as a culmination of their romance, he stood in front of her father with an aire of serious formality and said:


“Sir, I’m here tonight to ask your permission to marry your wonderful daughter.  If yes is your answer I promise you will never regret it”.

There was a long pause that made his heart pound hard as he waited for a response…

“No was never a consideration, son.  I’ve watched you…, and her together, and I couldn’t be more pleased.  You have my permission…, and both of you have my blessing”.


Well, that was the easy part.  Permission granted.  Now all he had to do was figure out how to make it happen…, this wonderful dream that he’d walked into and pulled her, willingly, with him.  It wouldn’t be easy, but somehow, they’d manage it together.  First things first, though.  He had to ask her, had to get a ring…, and she had to say yes.

Days turned into a week…, a second week.  Why should finding a ring be so difficult?  Well, just any ring would be easy, but this had to be the “right” ring, one that would translate his love for her to her finger.


“What’s the matter, son?   Gettin’ cold feet?  I thought you would have asked her by now”.

“Not cold feet, Pops.  Having trouble finding the right ring…, that I think she deserves and that she’ll like”.

“Well, now…, been there ‘n’ done that when I asked her mother.  Quite a conundrum now, isn’t it?

He opened the wall safe behind the portrait of Marie, his wife, removed a small brown envelope and sat down…, a thoughtful look crossed his wrinkled brow and he was silent for a minute.  Whatever was on his mind was quickly resolved as he looked up and smiled.

“Come on over here, son.  I may have a resolution to your problem, and an answer for myself.  See, I bought this stone to be set in a pendant for her mother, but it all happened so quickly that I never had a chance to …..give it to her.  Now, if you would take this and have a jeweler put it into a setting for you, I’m just sure my daughter would like it, and it would please me to see it on her hand.  What do you think”?

“Pops, that’s just too much…, I couldn’t…”

He placed the stone back in the envelope and sealed it again, putting it firmly in my hand.

“I’m not taking no for an answer.  I’m a hard-headed old S.O.B. and…., and I’d really like for her to have this.  Please, son”.

When I looked up and met his eyes, he was close to tears, and I’d come to love this old rascal.  How could I refuse him.  Stick my pride back in my pocket and get on with it.

“You drive a hard bargain, Pops.  Are you always going to be like this”?

“Damn right”.

“OK then, do you know a jeweller who can help me”?


Pops had sent me to a jeweller who did custom work and, between the two of us, we came up with a design that pleased both me and him.  The stone was a marquise cut, almost a full carat, and the jeweller had recommended a small sapphire baguette on either side of the diamond.  He sketched it for me  and it looked like…., well it was just damned beautiful…., and I could afford the setting and the baguettes.

Two weeks later the jeweller called to advise me that the ring was ready.  I was dazzled.  It was more beautiful than I’d ever dreamed…, the diamond set in white gold with the sapphire accents was stunning.  I immediately took it to show Pops what we had done and he agreed that it was even more than he’d thought possible – beautiful !

Now came the part where the young man grew really aprehensive.  How do you go about asking an angel to share her life with you?  What kind of words do you use to convince her that the love you have is never going to end?  How do you say what your heart can’t even put into words?  That was a real problem.

The night was at hand.  Clothes had been carefully pressed and laid out on his bunk…, gray slacks, blue shirt and tie, navy blue blazer…, the best that an airman’s pay could afford.  The car had been carefully washed and cleaned.  There was nothing more to do but get dressed and be on his way.  The early evening was beautiful…, a few lazy clouds drifting overhead, ready to create a beautiful sunset and a hint of a breeze to make the evening pleasant.  Lost in his thoughts, he almost missed the turn to the farm.

She met him in front of the house, a vision of beauty, wearing a white linen dress, black hair perfectly coiffed and glistening in the sunlight.  She smiled and her warm blue eyes flashed a welcome as she waited for him to open her door.


      “Good evening, Princess.  You look so glamorous…, even regal tonight”.

     “Good evening, Prince Charming.  My what an elegantly handsome escort I have this evening”.  Followed by a saucy smile and a giggle.

He’d made reservations at the Edgewater Beach and had pre-ordered their meals, complete with drinks.  After they’d been seated she was curious why no menus had been offered.

     “Tonight’s a special night and I’ve already ordered for us”.

     ” …and what’s special about tonight?  It’s just Friday…, isn’t it”?

He downplayed the issue. 

“Yeah…, it’s just Friday, but I wanted to go somewhere nice for a change.”


Small talk continued and dinner was served.  She was surprised that he’d known to order everything that she liked, prepared just as she would like it.  After dinner they went down the beach to the Buena Vista Lounge to dance.  He’d taken the trouble to have the player at the piano bar play specially selected music when they arrived and while they danced.  To her, everything seemed so perfect…, so magical tonight…, as though she was living in a dream.


     “Alright, y’all have to tell me.  What’s going on tonight?  I can’t believe it.  You set everything up this way, didn’t you?   Everything is just happening so wonderfully, like in a dream. “

     “Patience, darlin’ girl.  I just wanted us to have a really nice evening tonight”.


After a while he led her across the veranda and down to the beach where they watched the setting sun paint the sky in purples, golds, and oranges.  He led her out on one of the fishing piers, one special to both of them as it was where they’d sat and talked on the first night they met.

“Remember this”?  

“I’ll never forget it…, how could I?  This is where I decided I wanted to fall in love with you”.  

They sat on the bench at the end of the pier and were quiet for a while as they watched the last light from the sun as it dropped below the horizon.  As twilight gave way to night and the silvery full moon shimmered across the water the young man stood and turned to face the beautiful girl he loved, dropped to his knees and took her hands.  Now she began to realize what was so special about this night.


     “My sweet southern belle, I will never love any other the way I love you.  I want our love to go on forever, darlin’.  Will you be my wife, and share your life with me”?


     “Yankee farm boy…, yes…, I want to share my life with you and be your wife…, just forever and ever.  I love you so very much”.


There was a wedding, a celebration the likes of which that little southern town had never seen and happiness surrounded them and followed them like a shadow wherever they went.  Their love and generosity was legend in the area for years to come.  The north had, once again invaded the south, and had this time won love…, not war.

Soft Southern Nights   6 comments




Dinner had ended, Pops retired to his office, Molly to the kitchen to finish cleanup, and a young lady took her young man out to the veranda for some fresh air.

Chantilly lace and a pretty face
 And a pony tail hangin’ down
A wiggle in the walk and a giggle in the talk
Make the world go ’round”.

“Sounds like he’s singing about you, darlin’ girl”.  The music drifted across the veranda to the young couple sitting on the swing.  “Dance”? she teased.  “Sure”, and they worked their way into their own style of jitter/swing, both enjoying the casual play of the dance.  Just as quickly the music morphed into a soft slow ballad and they eased into an intimate, romantic waltz.  As it ended, they drifted back to the couch, snuggling and whispering to each other until the moon had reached its apogee and was retreating toward morning.  Then slowly, hand in hand they mounted the stairway and went off to bed cuddling after a goodnight kiss. 

So many soft southern nights passed like this in the quieter, simpler time of their love.