Journal brings back happy times

Published 1:30 am Saturday, October 29, 2011

These beautiful sunny fall days with cool mornings and evenings bring back memories of the Deep South Dulcimer Association festivals my husband and I attended at Chickasabogue Park in Mobile County for a number of years.

As I thumbed through our camping journal, I noticed that we left for our first one on Sat., Nov. 1, 1990. It had been a hectic “get ready” week for me. While my husband had done everything he needed to do to prepare for our trip with our aged Airstream travel trailer, I had, as usual, waited until the last minute to haul in my clothes, load groceries, put fresh sheets on the bed, etc. I was pretty tired at mid-day when I stood outside the truck and trailer checking the taillights before we pulled away from home at Lillian. Despite that, I was happy and eager to get on the road again. It was one of those perfect south Alabama fall days with the sun shining and leaves turning; a day that just makes you want to be outside. I looked forward to kicking back in my reclining chair with a book, and sitting around chatting with friends. My husband was ready for lots of jams, where people gathered to strum their dulcimers, sing, laugh and joke, and just enjoy the music.

As we rolled along the highway, we noticed harvested cotton fields and bales of cotton sitting beside the road near Robertsdale. Our spoiled, jittery dachshund Lillian sat in my lap, sniffing the air that floated in from the truck windows. Our friends Earl and Nancy Edwards and their even more spoiled little poodle traveled somewhere behind us in their motor home. Although not dulcimer enthusiasts as my husband had become in just a few months, they were looking forward to the fun and fellowship ahead.

We learned about this festival through those we met at Tannehill Historic State Park who attended the Southern Appalachian Dulcimer Festival the previous May. Pumpkins, several scarecrows, and other festive fall decorations dotted occupied campsites. After we pulled into t our assigned site, unhooked our truck, and took care of all the hook-ups, we headed out to explore the campground to find some of our new friends. We first saw Jim and Annette Quint of Mobile who gave us a look inside their trailer where their dog Ginger greeted us. They invited us to a red beans and rice supper around their campfire where we met more of the campers. After everyone had feasted on the main dish, various salads and plenty of desserts, out came the dulcimers. They played way past our bedtime, while we drifted back to our RV early to collapse in bed after a full day of activity.

We returned year after year until the DSDA ceased to have the festival. Even though there are no more DSDA festivals, I am glad that I can flip the pages of our camping journal to relive moments of those happy times.