Putting a Pest on a Pedestal

Let me tell ya a story about a boll weevil

Now, some of you may not know, but a boll weevil is an insect

And he’s found mostly where cotton grows…

…But this is the way the story goes

Brook Benton, 1961 R & B Hit

We love exploring the small towns that are in the general vicinity of our campsites. Enterprise, AL is roughly 25 miles from Opp, so we decided to jump in the truck and check it out.

It is almost ‘Un-Boll-Weevible’ but in Enterprise, Alabama, there is a monument in the center square that pays homage to the boll weevil, a bug that decimated Alabama’s cotton crops in the early 1900’s. Why venerate an insect that destroyed the agricultural economy? I was perplexed. As it turns out, the beetle forced farmers to heed the advice of George Washington Carver; to diversify, plant peanuts, soy beans and sweet potatoes, which caused a marked upswing in the economy of Enterprise. Thus, the beloved bug.

Enterprise seems to be enjoying the novelty of erecting the only monument dedicated to a beetle. The stores capitalize on the uniqueness and the quaint downtown is full of fun shops, restaurants and a brewery, most of which draw attention to the idolized insect. Had it been later in the day, perhaps we would have stopped to sample a ‘Buggy’ Bourbon Barrel Stout.

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
― John Muir

Small towns are great fun to explore, but my heart lies in the forest. It is a quick, half-hour drive to the Conecuh National Forest. With 83,000 acres, there are multiple hiking opportunities within this Long Leaf Pine Ecosystem. There are natural springs, with water so clear that it is transparent.

Our 8-mile hike took us to ponds, coniferous forests, and areas still ravaged from Hurricane Sally. We had to do a little bushwhacking to circumvent some trail sections that were closed due to downed trees and washed out footpaths.

After our hike, it became even more apparent that Gypsy’s incessant pulling at the leash was ruining her collar. Plus, her collar was red and her leash was purple. The clashing color scheme had always offended my style sense, so this was an opportunity to buy her a coordinated set. However, in order to find a store that sold such luxuries as leashes, we had to drive to the neighboring town of Andalusia, which I felt compelled to further scrutinize.

Although not as vibrant as Enterprise, Andalusia IS the home of the World Championship Domino Tournament. There is also a cute, little train museum and the First National Building is wrapped up with an enormous, red bow. Most importantly, however, Andalusia has a dog park. A tired Gypsy is a good Gypsy.

Despite my inclination to always be on the go, we do have some restful days. We have days to read by the lake, to search for interesting wildlife, and to cook some Maryland-style chicken wings on the grill. The aroma of Old Bay makes me a bit hungry for home.

We have not made it to Hook’s Bar-B-Q. They are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. I guess if you work the weekends, you have to make sure that you still have two consecutive days off. I won’t stop trying until I can critique their fried Okra.

Stay tuned…

4 thoughts on “Putting a Pest on a Pedestal

  1. Hmm. Interesting, but thanks, but no, thanks re the boll weevil.
    The forest looked a bit decimated; probably ’cause it’s winter (even down south).
    But what looks best is Gypsy, that beautiful animal.
    Happy you’re having a so many different adventures.


    1. Most of the decimation is due to recent hurricanes. It appears that even inland, these storms deliver a powerful punch. It is indeed winter here. I knew it would not be warm, but I did not expect the number of nights with below freezing temperatures. We are managing with warm clothes and space heaters, but I really yearn for longer days and warmer nights. I miss all of you so much and although I continue to enjoy the adventure, I am eager to see everyone this Spring.


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