Friday, October 23, 2015


"When we had the Old Dutch, of course the regular restaurant had long closed, but there was a snack/lunch counter in the front of the tavern, by the big fireplace with the Tarpon anchor on it.  The main bar was on your left as you went in, and the snack counter on the right.  The laundry/storage under the tavern had long shelves filled with the former dinnerware of the Old Dutch, and you now own two pieces.

If I remember correctly, you might get grits or some portion of your breakfast short order served in just such a cup as you have.  Definitely the saucer would have been under your coffee cup.  Occasionally, Cliff Stiles would take my mother into town to the vegetable markets so she could load up for an all-you-can-eat private home-cooking banquet, cooked at the counter, and served on big tables in the front.  Nearly everyone who had businesses on Panama City Beach was from Alabama, or at least some other rural/southern place, and the desire for real home cooking approached religious fervor.  Of course it was one of the most difficult things to come by for the permanent beach folks, so they’d beg to be invited.  Having nine children, Mom was amply qualified to pull off a large feed, and Mr. Stiles would actually cry when we’d all sit down and dig in.  Chicken, fried okra, my Mom’s more-than-famous cream peas and crispy flat corn-bread, the whole works.  Going to the market with an unlimited budget was certainly a wonderfully new experience for her, and of course she enjoyed the adoration heaped on her by the who’s-who of Panama City Beach.  This included Dick Arnold (Holiday Inns), Ira Jenkins (the café owner across the street usually engaged in cursing matches with a laughing Cliff Stiles), Ruby Folsom Austin (Big Jim’s sister and George Wallace’s future mother-in-law), and numerous others.  Both Mr. Stiles and Mama Creel were in their element.  As I believe I’ve told you, Big Ruby loved my Dad completely.

I can remember fetching these items from the laundry whenever we were going to put on a big buffet. So, when we left the Old Dutch, a number of these were in our family’s eclectic collection of dishware.  They were still in use by Mom up to her death in 2011.  I had three cups, and one saucer, and am only too happy to share with you.  I’m sure there are more of these scattered all over Bay County, but I’ll bet that not one of the current possessor’s has any idea what they have.  I usually don’t forget things like that, and am a rabid collector of nostalgia, especially my own.

I’ll be trying to get stories from my brother and his wife when I have time.  I’d really like to see Michelle (Kasandra) in NYC and write down some specific celebrity stories, but have no idea when I might ever do that.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy having these items – maybe not so rare in existence, but extremely rare in documentation.  It gave me great pleasure to send them, and I hope that you will, indeed, have a drink from the cup.

Best to you, Robert!



Blogger Sustainable Design Guy said...

This is a wonderful missive. It is beautifully written and paints a picture that I was very interested in seeing. I find the history of the 'Old Dutch' highly interesting and this note leaves me yearning to know more.

5:28 PM  

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