Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Home, Sweet, Home

The business trip to Alabama was a rousing success, I was surrounded by retired southern gentlemen and gracious southern ladies.

At every turn, I was plied with homemade jams, (peach and blackberry) tomatoes, and cheesecake. Miss Mary sent me home with orange fudge. Another Mary presented me with a ceramic owl. She wanted to make certain I left their fair state with something made from Alabama clay.

Brighton (a co-worker and partner in crime with a love of all things Brighton, especially the shoes and sunglasses) told Jim that we were going to buy peaches on our drive home. He reported the next morning with two full baskets. He drove up to Chilton county after supper the night before and picked them himself. He wanted to make sure we didn't buy any junk on the way home. You can't be too careful with your peaches.

On the drive home there was an Oscar Mayer Wienermobile sighting. It was actually moving on the open highway. We waved. Ya gotta wave at the Wienermobile.

The drive home took us through Tupelo, Mississippi and the birthplace of Elvis. (Well, of course we stopped. Are you daft?) The lady taking tickets at the homestead said they were expecting 65 busloads in August-from England. I'm assuming they'll wait until they are stateside before actually getting on the bus. But, England? Well, he was 'The King'.

Brighton's husband is a Civil war buff. So, we stopped by Brice's Cross Roads for a book and a T-shirt. Does the remembrance/celebration of a civil war happen in other countries? It's a part of my heritage, but I wonder...

We bypassed Memphis. We'd been to Graceland before, so we passed this opportunity. I did hear Rendezvous ribs calling my name. We stopped at the Krystal instead. That's about as far north as they go, I think.

Coming home through Arkansas, we stopped and bought okra, cantaloupe, and fried pies-all from the same roadside stand.

We drove through Black Rock for my benefit. It saddened me beyond belief. It has been many years since I drove through my grandparents' hometown.

It is dead.

Every building in downtown is boarded up. The original corner grocery store was burned down, a new one (with much less personality) had replaced it and had closed also. I remember walking with my bubby, passed Bobby Gene's garage, to the store for a Coke. I can hear the bell on the door ting and the wood floors creak.

I arrived home to hugs and kisses from my Missouri men and gave them in return a carload of produce and home-canned goods.

The next night we had homemade ice cream with fresh Chilton County, Alabama peaches.

I love my life.

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