MEMPHIS, Tennessee — CLARKSDALE, Mississippi –NEW ORLEANS, LA
Janey says it was Ron Hansen who later became the Mayor of Muscatine who leaned over to the waitress as she delivered a platter of cheeses to a banquet Jane attended. He gently touched the waitress’s arm and declared triumphantly, “What a friend we have in Cheeses!” Jane has RE-immortalized these words at several meals as we often are seated together at a meal when a cheeseburger makes its ill-fated way to our table.
Now we have a song:
What a friend we have in Cheeses
All the flavors we enjoy
Swiss and Feta are our favorites
But we like Gouda a even more….
That may stick in your head. For that we apologize. …
Janey says her favorite part of yesterday was the air hockey tournament that happened at the Laundromat. Before dinner we ditched Patty V at the hotel for a nap and headed to the laundromat (and stopped at a Walgreens too, of course) to do laundry. The gals found an air hockey table and had a raucous game….
We left Memphis this morning after two consecutive nights of catfish and ribs and coleslaw and baked beans….The first night we ate at Blues City Cafe on Beale Street and the second night at Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous in the alley. Both had been recommended as Memphis’s best BBQ.
This morning we made our way to the National Civil Rights Museum by 9:00am as we wanted to return to the hotel in time to see the famed Peabody ducks… The historic hotel has a fountain in the center of the lobby. The famous ducks are housed up on the roof of the hotel and have daily excursions down to the lobby in one of the elevators as they and their ancestors have for eighty years. This happens at precisely 11:00am and they return to their roof accommodations at precisely 5:00pm each night.
The Civil Rights Museum is at the Lorraine Hotel where Martin Luther King
was shot on April 4, 1968. The night before Dr. King had given his famous “mountaintop” speech which expressed his fear that he might not be alive to see the culmination of his promises that someday there would be equality for all…
You can see where he stood outside of his hotel room #306 discussing having his favorite spiritual be played at that evening’s planned meeting You can stand in the room across the street where the sniper James Earl Ray also stood.
We returned to the hotel to see the ducks under the tutelage of the esteemed Duckmaster and snapped a quick pic…
Before long we were back in Sparky II on our way to New Orleans by way of Clarksdale, Mississippi.
The best sandwich in the world is in Clarksdale, Mississippi which is also the home of Ike Turner and the Delta Blues Museum. Sidle up to a toasted brie and apple chicken sandwich with homemade fig jelly and start talkin’ to the locals. They’re a little hard to understand but the whole town smells like barbecue so you can get past it by closing your eyes and thinking about ribs.
A gentleman asked Janey where we were all from, and when she said, “Bradenton Florida” he immediately said, “The home of Tommie Frazier!” (Tommie Frazier was a Manatee High School export who went on to become a starting quarterback at the University of Nebraska eventually leading the team to TWO National Championships in 1994 and 1995) Sure enough this Alabama-native-turned-Radiologist (pictured below) is living in Mississippi and is still a Nebraska Cornhusker fan. He says he became a Cornhusker fan after watching some games when he was a kid and noting that the grade point average of the Nebraska players were higher than those of some of the other teams. He knew that academics is the key to success. He’s been a fan ever since. He is now a fan of Patty’s since he heard her story and asked her about her cancer battles…
Off we went to the Delta Blues Museum. It seemed like the right time to ask the gals what Blues Music IS as I had absolutely no idea. The answer seems to involve “no paycheck” and “babies cryin” and “your girl done did you wrong.” Those things can be solved with chocolate but apparently also with this banjo-rich sound that truly is lovely and soulful and brings you to your knees. You have to sway. You begin to dance. Patty loves it, and the heart of this town of Clarksdale, Mississippi is the blues…for sure…
Back in the car and Patty led us off with our count…”One!” she called. And the rest of us followed in perfect order — “TWO! I yelled” (remember I’m BM so I’m definitely #2). Jean is three. Patti is four. Trudi is five. Janey is six. We were back on the road headed for New Orleans.
We passed cotton field after cotton field and a small plane dived down cropdusting the fields. An occasional corn field broke up the expanse.
We passed the time with a travel version of “FACT or CRAP” and we played 20 Questions. We ate Lays Potato Chips and GoodnPlenties and Twizzlers…
We continued on and logged 7.5 hours of driving as we finally closed in on New Orleans and a seafood dinner at Middendorfs which was recommended by someone we had met in Clarksdale.
We listened to the advice of our server Dinee and ordered catfish and shrimp. The mosquitos waited patiently at the door as the swamp was right behind the building and escorted us to Sparky.
Within an hour we were driving into New Orleans!
We are grown women. We did not stop at a rest stop in Louisianna and hum the Lion King song with distinctly inaccurate Zulu words…”Baaaaaaaaahhhhhhh—So Wayne—Yaaaaahhhhhhhh—-Mama Beats Se Ba Bahhhhhhhhhhhh. Wayne–Yaaaaahhhh Hahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!” while we created this picture of Patty holding her purse. Because that would be immature.