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181126 November 26, 2018


Linda Taylor, Jeannie McBride, Judy Bills Tate and husband Warren, Collins Wynn, John Fulda, Jim McBride, Glynn Pike and wife. 

Lee Generals Invade Flora-Bama
Collins Wynn
LHS '64

    Sometimes the most pleasant experiences just happen.  Jim McBride’s performance at the Flora-Bama last Sunday here in Orange Beach was one of those experiences.  Quite by accident  and totally unplanned,10 Generals ended up sitting together enjoying old friendships.  The late November day was almost perfect with blue skies, white sand, clear water, warm temperatures and a bright sun – some were even comfortable with sandals and shorts.  As always I am sure, Jim did a wonderful job with his music even doing one of his special songs about a cotton mill village dedicated just for us.  Conversations around the table ranged from Generals baseball to old friends now gone to possible family connections with just a little gossip thrown in to keep things interesting similar to Tommy’s gossip pages from Lee’s Traveller.  Our pride of association with all the students in the early classes of the original Lee High School was universal.

Jim at Flora-Bama

Youtube video of Jim performing

    Although it is not a surprise, I want to say Jim is still a great and wonderful guy regardless of all the success he has had.

Linda Taylor, Jeannie McBride, Judy Bills Tate 

    All in all, it was just a grand experience.  My great friend John Fulda and I walked out together and stood in the parking lot talking  for a few minutes longer.  In a way I hated to leave, wanting the experience to continue but that was not possible.  Guess I’ll just have to grow up.


    There are many stories about how the most famous beach bar in the country, the Flora-Bama Lounge, became the iconic location it is today. Some of the stories are even true and a few others were thought up on a local bar stool. The truth is that in 1962 the State of Florida gave the State of Alabama two miles of beach front land in return for the construction of the Perdido Pass Bridge. The Tampary family (Father Ted with sons Connie and Tony) decided to build a small bar and package store on the new State Line. The Flora-Bama was originally constructed in 1964, two years after the road  was completed. In the early days of the Flora-Bama, the lounge was practically the only thing in the area. As traffic began to increase along the new highway, business grew and the lounge grew to match it with new construction added piecemeal to accommodate the larger crowds. At the time it was established Escambia County, Florida, in which it is located was "wet" while across the line Baldwin County, Alabama, was "dry".

    The Tamparys created a camaraderie rarely found among people of all ages and walks of life.  Joseph Gilchrist purchased the tiny lounge and package store on April 17, 1978, and made live music a daily staple.  Joined in 1986, by partner Pat McClellan, together they created calendar events like the “Interstate Mullet Toss” and the “Frank Brown Songwriter’s Festival,” named after the early, imposing night watchman.

    In 2009, John McInnis and Cameron Price became co-owners of the Flora-Bama, along with Joe and Pat, to carry it into the next 50 years. Together these four owners have carried on the tradition of making the Country's Best Beach Bar a place where everyone feels comfortable and leaves smiling. Today the live music at the Flora-Bama consist of local favorites to Platinum selling recording artist. The events range from chili cookoffs and fishing rodeos to the Annual Mullet Toss and big beach front concerts. The best part is there is always someone and something different going on at the Flora-Bama every day and you never know who is going to be sitting next to you.

    (Editor's Note: Thanks to Linda Taylor for posting the photos. In case you are wondering more about Flora-Bama, here is a song by Kenny Chesney I found when I was doing a web search.

Flora-Bama Kenny Chesney


        Memphis, TN -  We missed it this year, but if a group decided to go see Jim and Jeannie at the Flora-Bama next year - count me and Sue in. As a matter of fact, as soon as I find out about it I'll publish it in Lee's Traveller and we'll have a Mini-Reunion that will go down in history.

    Thanks to Collins (C.E.) Wynn for the story and Linda Taylor for the photos.


From Our Mailbox 


Subject:    Christmas at Graceland

Tom Provost 

LHS ‘66

    Tommy, Tommy, Tommy, I SAW YOU in the movie! I love Hallmark movies and watch all of them. I’m glad you gave us the heads up so we could look for you. The stooping over to pick something up was a touch of brilliance because it made you all the more noticeable.

`Thanks, It made the movie more fun!

Subject:    Christmas at Gracelena
Ginger Cagle Moore
LHS '66

     I've watched Christmas in Graceland 3 times now. The first time I missed you, I was focused on Kelley Pickler,  and now that I've seen it two more times I can't believe I missed you. You are clear as a bell and did a great job. So proud of you.  I did see your car too but of course I wouldn't have known that. But it's great seeing you in the movie. I know you had a great time and enjoy doing those things.


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