Archive for the ‘Mississippi’ Category

The Mississippi Delta

Apr 27

Most of our plans were already coming together on this journey.  After all, we’d been in a tornado (sort of), got hit by lightening (almost), taken The Mississippi River for ourselves (in our dreams), and generally ate a lot of good food (true).  Now it was time to do the most important thing we could do: create the musical genre known as The Blues!

How do we do that?  That question is easy to answer: follow historic Highway 61 (The Blues Trail) and play our music until someone hears it and likes it and gives us a record contract and a museum that bears our names.  Piece of cake.  I mean, The Blues Highway was so named because people before us had done just that.

Like B. B. King, whose museum we stopped at in near his hometown in Indianola. 

Like Muddy Waters, whose hometown of Rolling Fork was nearly abandoned (because everyone left to create The Blues, of course).

Like in Clarkesdale, where countless Blues-Men were born, and where Morgan Freeman now has his very own Blues Club.  Rob and I were actually asked to play there (okay, we were sort of invited to a party at his club) but we had another gig (hotel reservations in another town). 

Though fame and fortune eluded us (the music we had set out to invent already existed), Rob found great solace in the town of Greenwood, the former cotton capital of the world, roaming the wide, empty streets strewn with cotton and magic, and our first Wal-Mart in some time. 

We were told by a local before we left on this route that it was “a whole lot of nothing.”  Oh, nice southern lady, you could not have been more wrong.  It was another beautiful drive, perhaps the best vistas I’ve seen, and a whole lot of living history on the way. 

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The Rainbow Connection

Apr 26

Leland, Mississippi.  Along the banks of the idyllic Deer Creek.  A young boy leisurely played here; sometimes by himself, sometimes with his friend.  It was here where this boy dreamed up the world of a talking frog.  It was as an adult that he shared that dream with us all.

My heartfelt thanks to Jim Henson and the beautiful inspiration that is Leland, Mississippi.

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Apr 25

“Vicksburg is the key.  The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket.” Abraham Lincoln. 

And he was right.  Rob and I knew it.  Which was why, disguised as harmless Canadian tourists, we found ourselves in Vicksburg, Mississippi this fine, sunny day:  to win, for ourselves, the key to America.  To fulfill all of Rob’s childhood hopes and dreams. 

Stealthily, we made our way to the battleground, now known as the Vicksburg National Military Park.  Lucky break: the park admission was free this week, as were all National Parks in America!  Our plan was exceeding beyond expectations. 

Inside the visitor’s cent(r)er, the park ranger was playing a tin whistle, spinning a yarn about Guinness beer and his youth spent in Ireland.  Sigh.  Guinness. I love you, Guinness.  But I digress…

With the ranger being so distracted, how could we fail?  Purchasing the interactive CD for the car, we set out to bring our plan to fruition: tour the park and learn more about the siege of Vicksburg during the Civil War! What.  We’re Canadian.  What kind of plan did you think we would have??

This site was far more interesting a tour than Gettsyberg. Sure, I was in High School when we (history class) went to Gettsyberg, but even Rob agreed. 

By the way, if you don’t know your history (it’s U.S. history for my non-American readers), the siege of Vicksburg was won by the Union lead by General Grant’s army.   Not by either me or my faithful companion.  Now, it’s time for a Guinness.  Sigh…


Apr 25

This is one state capital that hit us like a lighting bolt!!!   Shortly after Rob and I arrived downtown to do our tourist thing (take lots of pictures and try and perfect our accents), the downpour of rain began.  Seeking refuge in the underground parking lot our car was in, we decided to get a better view of both the storm and the city by taking the elevator to the top floor. 

It’s really a mystery why people do the things they do, even when I am one of those people.  Sigh.  Just as a car pulled up, there was an extremely deafening noise which caused me to jump. The building shook.  It was hit by lightening.

After we recovered from the shock, we sought refuge in the Old Capital Building, which is now a museum dedicated to, you guessed it, the Old Capital Building. With my hair sopping wet and looking like I got a perm in the 80s (I did get a perm in the 80s), we maneuvered through the fascinating and interactive exhibits. Rob got to plead a case of slavery in front of the Mississippi Supreme Court (he won).

There was a film narrated by the woman from Law and Order, and really big washrooms (which are called restrooms here). Most interesting was the security guard at the front desk, who asked us where we were from. I gave Stock Canadian Answer #1: “Canada. Just outside of Toronto.” She gave me an unexpected response: “Didn’t y’all have Sarah Palin up there garble garble something unintelligible with southern drawl?” I never would have expected Hamilton would be on the map down in Mississippi.

So, thank you, Sarah Palin. You are truly the Greatest Ambassador Hamilton ever had.

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Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore

Apr 25

Rob and I were never in Kansas.

You may have heard about a tiny little storm system that spun some big bad winds down here in Mississippi.  Well, we were there.  Close, anyway.  So close, we had to divert our route.

The warnings for this tornadoes started on the Friday.  I paid attention.  So the next day, I was prepared for The End of Days that was being forecast.  I woke up expecting hail the size of tennis balls and tornadoes and debris and horror, pestilence, plague, gnashing of teeth…you get the idea.  These worries are, of course, how I normally start my day.  Today was different in that there was validation from television and the magic computer I am using now. 

What we found instead was a mostly cloud, though very humid, day.  We decided to venture out to our next destination quickly, as the forecast was still calling for doom.  Having at least some sense to pay attention to the radio (that old-fashioned news source), we heard the worst; that a tornado had indeed touched down, that it was huge, it was life-threatening, and we were on the highway it was coming towards.

Even the two of us can exhibit some common sense sometimes.  Though the thought did cross our minds to follow the thing and get some great footage, good judgement got the better of us, and we got the hell out of the way.

It wasn’t until later that we heard about the destruction that had occurred just miles away from us.

We do stand with the fine people of Mississippi who were not as lucky as we.

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Mississippi: You Scratch Your Own Back

Apr 24

Small towns are fun.  Our first introduction to Mississippi was a mandatory stop in the barely-on-the-map Lucedale. We weren’t the only ones who have stopped here, it seems.  Once, a long time ago, in an administration far, far away, there was an actor named Ronald Reagan.  For reasons that no one can apparently explain, this Mr. Reagan stopped at a pole which had serrated sides.  This pole, in front of a Chinese Food restaurant (no town in the South should go without one), is what Mr. Reagan chose to scratch an itch, so to speak.  No.  Really.  He stopped and scratched his back on this pole.  And now it’s a landmark. 

So, in the South, if you are wandering through a sleepy town and have an itch you just can’t scratch, find the nearest Chinese food restaurant that has a pole with serrated edges and get carried away. You might just find yourself growing up to be President some day.