12 September 2005

A Man of Letters

I've just returned from a 1700 mile journey with my father. Over the weekend, we drove a trailer packed with supplies to the Salvation Army in Biloxi, Mississippi. I never, ever want to hear Elvis, Waylon Jennings, Jimmy Buffet or Willie Nelson again.
Long after dark on Saturday night, as we made our way south on I-65, we got lost to a place called Purvis, MS. (It isn't difficult to get lost as there aren't a lot of road signs remaining down there.) There weren't many places open but we found a little, white restaurant with "The Catfish Shack" painted across the front. A couple of folks were out front, hosing off mats on the dirt parking lot when we approached.

The brief stop for directions turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. The owner was an older, retired man with no shortage of gab. He talked about the area, he talked about the hurricane, he talked about New Orleans. He asked if we ever had Mississippi catfish, and having been informed that neither of us had eaten catfish from anywhere, promptly had some fried up and served with sweet tea. I offered to pay, but he waved me off and smiled. "I'm Southern," was his explanation. We all had a good ol' visit outside on a picnic table under the stars.

So, if you're ever in Mississippi, please go see Mr. W.J. Dees at the Catfish Shack.