I think Judge Jim Strain is taking this semi-retiring thing a little too seriously.
Now don’t get me wrong, Strain is not retired and is still quite active with his law work in the area. But he did back it down a little in recent years and is probably not spending 40-plus hours a week at his office where he continues his law practice and specializes in mediation—one of the new law buzz words that is getting more attention due to reducing costs for clients and speeding up the process.
But back to the judge. I ran into him in Resource Bank last week and he was so casually dressed that he probably figured I didn’t recognize him for a minute when he said hello.
He was wearing a very casual outfit with a sweater and a hat—it was really the hat that threw me—before I finally realized who he was.
Heck, maybe it was a message to me. He looked so happy and relaxed that at first I thought it was some guy I had known years ago and he was now retired. Might be a lesson in there somewhere about balancing the job enough in the later years that you stay busy, but still have some fun.
Of course, if you ask my wife if I am able to leave the job behind every weekend and have fun, I know she will be nodding her head in the affirmative.
Speaking of longtime Slidell friends, which are certainly the category I would place Jim Strain in, I saw my very good friend Jo Anne Basanez at her store last week, Accents & Things.
Jo Anne has been dealing with some health issues in recent days and I am asking you folks to say some prayers for her to get strong again. But on this day I must say she had a twinkle in her eye and her friendly smile I have been greeted with for years. When I told her, “you look really good” it was a 100 percent truthful statement. She did look great and I was happy to see her again.
Accents & Things is starting a close-out sale since they will be closing the store somewhere in the New Year. I mean, come on—Jo Anne has been doing the Accents & Things gig for over 40 years in Slidell! I think the woman deserves a real break.
She is starting a huge 50 percent off sale this weekend on everything in the store (other than food items) so you really should stop by and see them in the Cross Gates Shopping Center. I have bought my share of items for the wife there over the years and she has never been disappointed.
I’ve told Jo Anne’s story in the Slidell Independent pages in years past and it is a great story about a small businesswoman and the perseverance she had that made her a success in what I have learned is always a very tough business to enter. By that I simply mean small business is all tough, no matter what line of it you are in, and she certainly beat the odds at Accents & Things.
Anyone who can have success with a small gift shop in a small community such as Slidell really deserves some props. If you have any ideas of going into business you would be wise to talk to Jo Anne for advice.
More than anything, however, I’ve appreciated how kind she always has been to me from the first day I strolled in and said, “guess what? I’ve started my own Slidell paper!” She was a longtime supporter of the Slidell Sentry-News and continued to do local advertising with us over the years.
I will always appreciate that, but more than anything I value her as a good friend she has always been to me.
Have you ever tried going to one of the casinos for your holiday meal with the family?
I think it was about four years ago when my wife said she kept hearing Silver Slipper G.M. John Ferrucci advertise their buffet for Thanksgiving, so finally we tried it. Since then we have enjoyed the buffet for the holiday and it certainly can be enticing for many since you don’t have to cook a thing, no cleanup, and you have a fabulous selection.
The Silver Slipper buffet was recently named the “Best Buffet in Mississippi” by Yahoo Travel, quite an honor when you consider all the bigger casinos in Biloxi and Gulfport. But if you have ever eaten there you know it is an outstanding buffet, regardless how big the place is.
I was talking to Ferrucci at a recent evening event and wondered about the numbers they fed for Thanksgiving this year. His Director of Operations Leslie Clark immediately whipped out the phone and pulled up the numbers: 1,307 people came through the buffet, plus they fed over 700 others at the Blue Bayou restaurant and grill.
I’ve always been a numbers guy and got a kick out of seeing that. Not only did they feed over 2,300 people that day, but it was as smooth an operation as you could imagine.
You just might want to try it sometime—I know that we will be back.
Kevin Chiri can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.