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Of sunshine and sea and fresh, hot Krispy Kreme doughnuts

Hubby and I just got back on Sunday from a very pleasant visit with my "big sis", Sara, and her spouse Tony.

My relatives happen to live part-time in the kind of place that many of their relatives love to visit: a comfortable Orange Beach condo situated right on the beautiful sugar-white sands of the Gulf.

Down there, when the sun is shining and the breezes are sweeping up from those turquoise waters-ah, the livin' is good.

Plenty of us folks hailing from LA (Lower Alabama) have long enjoyed our close proximity to the beaches of Alabama and the panhandle of Florida.

We have a heady mixture of childhood memoriesthe excitement of discovering a lovely shell swept in by the tides, the fun of building a super-duper sand castle, along with all the shrieks and splashes of pool games.

Remember the scent of our air mattresses and pool toys (the funny chemical smells of the plastic heating up in the blazing sun)?

How about that rich banana-coconut smell of suntan lotion?

You only have to stop and take a whiff of the Hawaiian Tropic counter at the drugstore or Wal-Mart to be instantly transported across time and miles to a place that seems a little like paradise.

We didn't get many extended trips to the seashore as children due to my folk's poultry business (when the birds were "in session", so to speak, caring for them was more or less a 24/7 job).

Our beach visits often ended up being a one-day affair.

We'd rise before dawn, pack up the old wagon and head south on a Saturday or Sunday.

By nightfall we'd return

somewhat pinker, sandier (how those pesky grains do creep into the strangest places!), and perhaps a little richer with "dollars" of sand, spiny starfish or a really pretty sea shell to show off at "Show and Tell" the next fall.

Sometimes our church would plan one of those day at the beach' trips. No stopping for an Egg McMuffin or Hardee's Biscuit along the way, though, for us.

We were going for breakfast on the beach-the full-course country kind.

The ladies would pack up their electric skillets and percolators and toasters and there would be coolers filled with bacon, sausage, eggs and milk and Oleo' and grocery bags with jars of Bama jelly and loaves of light bread.

The destination of our caravan of cars and trucks was a favorite stretch of public beach in Pensacola where the shelters were big and roomy and equipped with those all-important electrical outlets.

Once there and unpacked, the grown ups would commence the coffee brewing, the grits a-boiling, the bacon frying . . . soon, our taste buds were watering.

But there was one part of our beach breakfasts that we considered essential that we could not bring with us.

This tasty addition to the menu required a stroll down the boulevard to a small building with a neon sign reading "KRISPY KREME".

Oh, my. . .

the decisions we youngsters had to make at the counter of that bakery. Glazed? Crme-filled? Jam-filled? What a delicious delimma.

I knew what I wanted from the word "go": a glazed and chocolate-covered donut (raised, mind you, not cake) fresh and hot from the ovens.

If you have only experienced a taste of Krispy Kreme doughnuts from the grocery or through fundraising sales, let me encourage you to get thee hence to one of their bakeries.

Be there when the fresh ones are being put out.

Savor that melt-in-your-mouth experience as you take a bite of this heavenly southern speciality.

It just wouldn't have been a day at the beach without sand, surf-and a couple of fresh, hot Krispy Kremes.

One summer, we made our annual pilgrimage down to "our" beach n only to discover that section of beachfront had been condemned and shut down to the public due to contamination problems.

We stood and looked bleakly at the dirty and deserted beach before returning with a sigh to our vehicles and hitting the road to find another place. We still had our days at the beach', but, truthfully, it was never quite the same again.

That perfect combination of family-friendly cooking shelters, a clean, safe beach,

wonderful playground, a fun souvenir shop and the heady delights of the Krispy Kreme doughnuts was never to be repeated.

Now I've made some new beach memories with my husband and my family members in Orange Beach.

I enjoyed collecting shells and driftwood, Benny and Tony had fun feeding the seagulls, and my sister and I

both smiled as we listened to the sound of children's voices chanting old familiar nursery rhymes as they splashed in the pool.

It would be absolutely perfect, except for one thing.

There's not a Krispy Kreme shop next to the condo.

Oh, well . . .

"D-Day Memories"

Just a reminder to all our readers out there: if you are a veteran of any of the events involved with the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944-or you are the widow or child of a such a vet-we would like to hear from you.

We need memories, old photos, newspaper clippings, letters, for a super-special D-Day Anniversary tribute we are planning for the June 6 edition of our paper.

Please contact us ASAP.

Call me at home (382-5145) or e-mail me at along@alaweb.com or contact our editor, Stacey at the office, 382-3111.

And many thanks to those who have already shared their stories.

God bless!