Wednesday, June 05, 2013

In the Land of the Delta Blues

View of Memphis from the Arkansas side of the
Mississippi River

"Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues In the middle of the pouring rain." ~ Marc Cohen, Walking in Memphis

Kellogg's sign just outside of
Fort Smith--where the Kellogg side
of my family lived 70 years ago!

We are spending the night on the east side of Memphis, having driven a more productive number of miles today, thanks mostly to the rain and all the trees.  The rain because we didn't want to get out in it, the trees because we cannot see all the interesting things there might possibly could be just waiting for us off the interstate!  It's beautiful, and we are loving the lush velvety grass and leafed-out trees...except for the limited effect they have on our side-tripping experience :)  Perhaps it's just as well.  We certainly do have miles to go before this trip is finished.  Some 912 miles to be exact, more or less, perhaps, if we don't get lost.  Or side-tracked.

Welcome sign as we went into the historic part
of Fort Smith

Today did have its moments, though.  Our first slight detour took us into the town of Fort Smith, just over the border of Oklahoma into Arkansas.  My mother and at least some of her family lived there some 70 years ago.  I remember hearing stories of how they road their horse Jubilee bare-footed and bare-backed (the horse, not the girls).  Mama taught school here for a time.  We spent some time exploring the Catholic Church in the historica part of town.  It was quite beautiful.  [We have discovered at least three Adventist Churches along the way, too, lest you think we are only interested in Catholic ones!]  And open, so we went in for some pictures and discovered one of the priests training some children to help with Communion Service.  We enjoyed watching for awhile.

The Swiss restaurant we ate in was originally the
hand-dug underground home the family lived in when
they first came to this country.  They then built a
cabin on top of this dugout, which then became
a restaurant.
Our next major stop was for lunch in a town of 46 people, many of them related.  It was a restaurant at a winery and we thought we might find some tasty food, but ended up with just a baked potato and tossed salad.  Everything else we could not eat.  The atmosphere was kind of cool, but the food a little disappointing. 

Road-sign for the Trail of Tears,
route 70 in Arkansas, not far from the
Tennessee border.
The rest of the time we were driving and driving, mostly keeping ahead of the rain (once we got out of it this morning).  When we stopped for supper at about 8, after having crossed the very full Mississippi River and gone around and out of Memphis, rain and thunder and lightening were in the air.  Linda talked the hotel clerk into giving us one of their last rooms to us at a much-reduced rate.  It's a suit, but we just one bed, so I'm on the pull-out couch.  Feels just fine.  We're tired enough to not care. 

We whiled the time away by researching some of the places we drove through (or by) and talking about books and other oh-so-fascinating things about our lives and our interests.  And once we got off the interstate and took a parallel "red" road in the hopes of finding something interesting...and found the historic Trail of Tears, which we followed until we got to Memphis.  Such a sad page in our history that is :(...

Here are a few more favorite shots from our trip today:

Historic part of Fort Smith with the Immaculate
Conception Catholic Church at the center.
Linda at lunch.
Rondi at lunch.

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