The church ladies of Pearl River County met in the school parking lot on Saturday for that long-anticipated and never talked-about bus trip, arranged by Cordie Mae Wilson, pecan grower and confectioner. They huddled in little groups, the Methodists, the Baptists, and the most strict Church of Christ and holy roller contingents. It was not stated, but universally understood, that they were going for a ride on the wild side! The trip was touted as an all-day visit to Bellingrath Gardens near Mobile, but they all knew the score!
Finally, the bus pulled in, and Cordie Mae took up the tickets as Jim Bob idled the motor. And they're off!
It was a short ride, through Necaise and Kiln, to that fabled land of Cockagnie: the casinos of Gulfport and Biloxi! This was the girls' afternoon and evening out! En route, Cordie Mae served some of her special punch. No one asked questions. They considered themselves in good hands with Cordie Mae!
Screech! Jim Bob jammed on the brakes by this Palace of Iniquity, the Casino. They noticed in the parking lot a number of unfamiliar license plates, including some from that mythical land of Nevada! Was that a real state, after all?
In entering the casino, the ladies were awed by the neon lights and rows upon rows of slot machines. To the side, there were cashiers who would make change into quarters, half dollars, and even big damn cartwheels, as the head of the Baptist choir termed these unfamiliar and heavy coins not seen in the stores or Picyaune and Poplarville!
Well, it turned out that several of the ladies were wearing dresses that you don't wear to Marge's Diner, or to church on Sunday! Or, for that matter, while shopping at Belk's in Hattiesburg. It's nice to dress daring and avoid censure by the clergy. However, Brother Barksdale and the Rev. Howland didn't see this side of them, nor did their husbands or bosses. Not to mention their kids: don't set a bad example for them! Momma needs her fun.
But back to the Casino. The ladies started off with the slots, where a few jackpots started them off on the right foot. But they filtered off into blackjack, roulette, and poker! Those Thursday night card players were soon able to shout Hallelujah! They had a light lunch at the buffet, and found that mimosas went with the beef. This led them to drink experimental daiquiris. They pronounced them delicious!
Going to the Casino would not be complete unless they took in a few shows; and they found it easy to hang out with some dissolute Gulfport guys! These dudes introduced them to gin fizzes and dry martinis! But, stalwart as they were, they were not deterred from the business at hand, but a few of those Gulfport guys had their butts squeezed as they parted. Turnabout is fair play!
Another session with the slots, and then capping off the evening with a few spins of the roulette! Marge hit the jackpot on the dollar machine, and Celia Anne won at roulette. They bought a few bottles of champagne to pass around on the bus. It was a gleeful time in old Pearl River and Lamar Counties.
The church ladies arrived back at 9 P.M. What happened in Gulfport stayed in Gulfport! They were collected by their families, and went home to bathe away their possible sins because the next day was a church day.
For the next week or so, the local betting parlor had few customers through its private, secure back door.
Dry counties can be fun at times, as long as there's a county nearby that's as wet as a bar rag.
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