Posts Tagged ‘Mississippi’

 

What Did Tennessee

2016.02.choochooLinda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, ArkansasWhat did Tennessee, boys, what did Tennessee? Remember that old Scout song? Entertainment around the campfire, roast a weinie, toast a marshmallow, sing nonsense till you pass out in your tent. What did Delaware? What does Iowa? Where has Oregon? These and other intellectual questions (What does Mississip?) kept me smiling as I sang my way across Mississippi into Tennessee and then back to Arkansas this month (she saw what Arkansas.) My turnaround point for a little vacation was Chattanooga, where I lived when my children were growing up, and again later 2016.02.betty and linda pwhen I became “Ms Chattanooga,” a spokeperson for a beautiful city; so precious to me I wrote a guidebook about it (Chattanooga Great Places) and a second guidebook about the surrounding area (SE Great Trips). And then (it follows) a weekly travel column for the Chattanooga Times entitled “Here or There” which focused on things to experience in and around that lovely town. (Me, left, with books and illustrator Betty Harrelson, Books A Million in Chattanooga, 1996.)

Those were very happy days, living in a place I loved and then pointing out to everyone how wonderful it was! That’s what we all should do, I believe. Just think, if every single person in the US of A really cared about their homeplace, and bragged about it, and worked to make it the absolute finest place in their part of the world, then – well gee! No urban blight, no rural downtrod, no crumbling infrastructures; you get the idea. So here’s my message, wherever you are. TODAY, do these three things: » read more

 
 
 

Song of the South

11.Sam Arriving AtlantaLinda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas –July was Sam Time. Sam is my youngest grandchild, born and growing up in the Pacific Northwest. He went to Juneau with me on the Journey back in 2012 (read all about it in Juneau) where we went whale-watching and dog-sledding and he got to know a capital city up and down. He flew into Little Rock last summer and spent three weeks with me in Arkansas, where we made a quick-trip into Oklahoma and Texas. But I figured it was time this boy had a bona fide real-time southern experience and learned about his roots. After all, he was teetering on the cusp of teenhood, and you know how fast that goes. I planned a full-fledged Journey through the south, worthy of a Fodor review.

I met Sam’s plane in Atlanta. His “unaccompanied minor” status required a direct flight, and we were headed for Gatlinburg anyhow, so that made sense. Did you know that Hartsfield International in Atlanta is the busiest airport in the world? 95 million passengers annually, coming into 7 terminals, exiting through 201 gates. Sam emerged through Alaska’s Gate D3 (at the far end of nowhere), a little taller than last year and wearing a Seattle Seahawks shirt. “Welcome to Atlanta, home of the Braves!” I grinned. And so began Sam’s Song of the South, Scott1stSteps66subtitled “Where Your Dad Grew Up.” I’d filled a notebook with pictures of family members he’d meet, and details about each stop we’d make. “First stop tomorrow is South Carolina,” I explained in our Atlanta motel room that night, “Ware Shoals, where we were living when your Dad was born.” I had a picture of his Dad taking his first steps, in our kitchen there on Dairy Street. My plan was to drive by and show him the house. You won’t believe how that turned out. » read more

 
 
 

All About Fondren

Linda Burton posting from Jackson, Mississippi – “Here’s something about Fondren,” Sandra said, as she pulled more brochures from the shelves at the Jackson Visitors Bureau. “It’s a fun, fine place; you’ll want to check it out.” Find It In Fondren is the name of the magazine she gave me, the Winter 2012/13 edition. The People, Places & Events of Jackson’s Hippest Neighborhood were the words printed across the bottom of the cover photo; Dr Blair E Batson (of the Blair E Batson Children’s Hospital in the Fondren neighborhood) is pictured in a red plaid vest, grinning big as he reads Dr Seuss to the children and nurses and doctors gathered round; the mood comes through. I flipped through the magazine, trying to tune in to the idea of Fondren. Ads on the first two pages promoted the Mississippi Blues Marathon coming up January 5 (hey, hey, the blues is alright) and Babalu Tacos and Tapas, over on Duling Avenue (Eat Here). The index page was intriguing; titles such as “Game of Hope,” “A Noble Profession,” “A Cheerful Heart,” and “Change Maker” lured me further inside with the question, “What is Fondren?” I turned to page 12, “Building Jackson.” And that’s where I learned about Scott Crawford. » read more

 
 
 

Listening For Stories

Linda Burton posting from Jackson, Mississippi – I heard a little inside story about Eudora Welty today but I can’t say who told it. It may or may not be true; but it could be. The story goes like this: Eudora didn’t go to the beauty parlor every week like some women do; but when she went it was always to the same place. One of the ladies who saw her there from time to time commented to another, “She’s a bitter woman. Nothing good to say.” Now, anyone who knew Eudora knew she was anything but bitter. In the years since her death, they have pondered that woman’s comment and concluded it was Eudora’s way of “sparking” a story – throwing out a line that would get people talking. And then she’d sit back and listen! Fodder for writing. On one of the interpretive panels in the Welty Museum I read these words: Welty never stopped listening, her skills at recreating southern life and its stories was based on “eavesdropping” and on living for decades in the place where she grew up. “Once you have heard certain expressions, sentences,” she wrote, “you almost never forget them. It’s like sending a bucket down a well and it always comes back up full.”

Eudora Alice Welty (1909-2001) was a Pulitzer author of international acclaim who was born, and died, in Jackson, Mississippi. Though her stories and novels were set in the south, she did not consider herself a southern writer; she traveled and lived in New York, San Francisco, Mexico, Europe; her friends included authors and artists from around the world. But her love of the south, and the people living there, comes through in every word she wrote; gentle perceptions overlain with a fierce wit, always ringing true. » read more

 
 
 

Outstanding!

Linda Burton posting from Jackson, Mississippi – Some people are born with community spirit, and one such person I know is Ivous Sisk, a member of the Board of Directors of Capital Cities USA. And Ivous lives right here in Mississippi. I was hoping we’d get to visit during my stay in Jackson; I planned to have her do the “victory pose” or at least a “thumbs up” beside the Scion Journey car. But she’s at the far north end of the state and the miles and the family holiday festivities are too many; we haven’t been able to connect so I’m using a photo of us from last year. I felt particularly close to her last Friday evening, however, as I stood in the House Chambers in the State Capitol. Because that’s where the Mississippi Legislature passed House Resolution 26 back in 1998, recognizing her achievements and naming her an Outstanding Mississippian. I’ve known Ivous since we both were kids; I knew she preferred tomato juice and crackers over sweets as a ten-year-old; and I knew she was friends with Elvis back when only his Mama had heard him sing; but I didn’t know all the achievements she has racked up over the years. So I asked for a list, which she modestly provided. An Outstanding Mississippian? I say she’s just downright Outstanding. » read more

 
 
 

Refreshments Were Served

Linda Burton posting from Jackson, Mississippi – I saw the cutest Santa in the world tonight. Never before have I seen Santa Claus with jingle bells around his knees and a wreath around his head. And just look at the smile on this fellow’s face! No ordinary department-store Santa this; and no ordinary evening either. I’m standing in the gazebo in the East Garden of the Governor’s Mansion, my third stop on the “Seventeenth Annual Old Jackson Christmas By Candlelight Tour” that charmed the socks off delighted guests. From the back steps of the State Capitol, shuttle buses ran a constant route for the four-hour soiree, delivering passengers to the Old Capitol, the Governor’s Mansion, the William F Winter Archives and History Building, and the Eudora Welty House. The buses were packed with townfolk and out-of-towner’s like me; young and old tiptoeing along candle-lit sidewalks in eager anticipation of the next surprise. A mother and little daughter behind me sang “I love the bus, I love the lights, I love everything I see,” in a self-made tune. We were greeted at every door with welcoming smiles, and, true to southern hospitality, in every place refreshments were served. » read more

 
 
 

Pearls of Wisdom

Linda Burton posting from Jackson, Mississippi – “You hear people say that folks in Mississippi are slow,” Reese said. “We’re not slow, we’re content!” He laughed a little at his own remark and added, “You don’t have to rush around hurry, hurry when you’ve got everything you want. Here family comes first; it’s all about enjoying what you have. We’ve got good food, good music, and a good life.” Reese went on to explain that he’s a transplant from Ohio and moving to Mississippi was a culture shock at first, but now he says he’s adjusted to the pace. “What is better than all the family getting together for Sunday dinner and then sitting out on the porch in rocking chairs and talking? You can’t beat that.” Such was my introduction to the capital city of Jackson, as I chatted with Reese at the front desk of my hotel, inquiring as I always do – what do you like best here? The Visitors Bureau promotes Jackson the same way, calling it “The City With Soul” and emphasizing its family friendliness. I started reading more about this place that started out as LeFleur’s Bluff, a trading post on a “high handsome bluff” on the west bank of the Pearl River. And thinking about Reese’s words of wisdom. » read more

 
 
 

Delta Dawning

Linda Burton posting from Jackson, Mississippi – I’m in Jackson now. Praise be, I got the show on the road without too much fanfare this morning; no cats hid under the bed and commute traffic had thinned by the time I started driving. It’s 265 miles or so from Little Rock to Jackson, depending on where you cross the river, so I knew I’d get to my next new home well before dark. Freeways don’t make a direct connection; state roads lead from one chunk of interstate to another, though not in a straight line. Some of the highways were two-lane but I didn’t mind; the slower pace gave me more time to enjoy the countryside, never far from the Mississippi River, or pieces of it now landlocked in oxbow lakes. Every inch of the rich dark bottomland was either growing something new or just finishing a crop; bright green fields lay beside freshly-plowed brown; dust from tractor tires drifted and mixed with smoke from recently cleared brush; white cotton fluff  lay disappointed beside scraggly dead mother plants. Silos edged these fertile fields; filled with grain? I don’t know which grain grows here, when I think of the Mississippi Delta I think of cotton. And Delta Blues, of course.

» read more

 
 
 

On The Road At Last

Linda Burton posting from Lafayette, Louisiana traveling from home to Austin, Texas – Sometimes you have to stop planning and start driving. Today was that day. I’d hoped to begin the Journey Across America on January 1; it seemed an auspicious date, an easy target to aim for. I’d do Montgomery first, then Tallahassee, Baton Rouge, and Jackson, arriving in Austin on the first of March. But there was too much to do; buying the Scion and getting it decked out, packing and moving stuff to brother’s house, or giving much of it away. I had to buy a new laptop and phone that will let me work on the road. I had to visit the family in Florida; have that last lunch with cousin Emily; have that last visit to Mom’s and Dad’s graves and say goodbye to step-mom Opal; check in with the doctor and the dentist. Today I’m tired; I could sleep for a week, but no more delays. This is it. It took hours to load the car, brother helped me haul it out; I had no idea how everything would fit. But somehow it did; the cats were tucked against the back of the seat so they could see me, and I could almost see them. Brother got my picture by the car; I got his by the front door; arms extended, whew! We’re done! Now go! I stopped for gas, diet Coke, and a bear claw, my standard convenience-store shopping. It was 9:04 AM, and I was on the road at last. » read more