Friday, May 20, 2011

Beyond the Sabine

Once you cross the Sabine River and continue East, every self-respecting landscape is anchored by a magnolia tree. And in May they are in bloom, giant white blooms befitting those large leathery leaves that fall year round, the price to be paid for their dark green elegance. The best specimens are unfettered by other flora and stand majestically alone on a grassy knoll.

We spent the better part of the week before we left wondering if we could cross the Mississippi.  As as matter of fact it was a non-event at Natchez.  Natchez had the forward thinking to be built on a bluff, so all those antebellum mansions are just fine.  Across the river in Louisiana, it's a different story.  But let me just ask you.  If you built a convention center, a surgery center and a new hospital on the land between the levee(which was still holding back the water for all those homes and businesses who built behind the protection of the levee) and the river, should you be surprised that you are flooded?  A nurse from Natchez, commenting on the phone calls from across the river that it was flooding in the hospital, said, "Well, yeah.  And those were doctors who built it there." 

Driving the Natchez Trace Parkway is the motoring equivalent of a massage.  It rolls and winds without traffic of any kind.   In Mississippi, evidence of the violent tornadoes was evident for about 50 miles, a vast forest of overturned and split trees in the wake of the giant storms.  We exited the Trace for the night in Canton Mississippi, made famous by the movie, A Time to Kill. Can you picture the courtroom?

Another must see on the Trace is Elvis' birthplace in Tupelo.  I speak with the authority gained by reading the displays at his birthplace when I report that he never read music.  He was taught by his preacher and a few others after his mama bought him a guitar at Tupelo Hardware.  He wanted a bike or a rifle, but she thought those weren't safe.  Glad Mama protected him.  Thank you very much Gladys.

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