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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Friday, March 18, 2011

Catching Up in Mississippi

After we rested a bit in Mckinney we decided to go out to Two Senoritas, an authentic Mexican restaurant and cantina. We sat in the cantina and met a young Iraq veteran Marine who has three purple hearts and a bronze star. Said he was in Germany but since he was in the hospital he wasn't able to enjoy any of their famous beer. He was shot in the left hip one time, another time in the right arm breaking both bones in the forearm and the third time he got it in the chest. He couldn't pass the physical requirements to stay in so he was mustered out but he can pass now and he wants to re-up though it may mean Afghanistan this time. He is an engineer but wound up with recon guys and had absolutely no training in recon! Has two sons--the youngest just like him--gung ho to become a Marine,even though his ex wife has told the little guy--5yrs old--about talking to his Daddy with shells bursting in the background. Kid thinks that was cool. The guy is happy that his older son is going to be a poet and musician--peaceful and creative--he's hoping this son will guide the younger to make better choices than the Marines. LOL

Another person there was a woman who works in the local mill and is from the Texas hill country--says it is the most beautiful part of the State. I was close when I was in Round Rock several years ago but still haven't gotten there--New Braunfels, Fredericksburg, Luckinbach--just about the only part of the State where I haven't been. And it is definitely a part I want to explore--next trip!

The meal and the conversation were terrific--had a fabulous white queso dip with pico, bean soup and two tacos washed down with Dos Equis.....Way to go!

The next day we took 67 out of town and on to farm roads. Since it was St Patrick's Day it seemed perfectly logical to go through Kildare but let me tell you--there is NOTHING in Kildare, Texas. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful day and it was a joy to see all the flowering trees of every hue and wisteria which seems to grow wild--probably an escapee! We eventually entered Louisiana but because we were on back roads the only indication we'd crossed State lines was a change in road number and designation from Texas to La 1. Continued along back roads and through towns that are barely there until reaching Ruston, La the home, as the water tank says, of Louisiana Tech. Since traffic was terrible along the frontage roads and the Interstate, Bill suggested that we go eat and get it out of the way.

Off we went to Applebee's and the cutest barkeep I've seen in a long time--David's smile just lit up the place and his personality is every bit as big and fun as that smile. We had a blast talking to him and the young fellows who sat next to us. All Grambling State students, except David, who just graduated. One young man dropped his fork when opening those bundles restaurants give you these days. Without thinking he said " shit " as he started to get down to pick it up--immediately he apologized to me--oh, excuse me, ma'am! When was the last time a Northern kid has done that? The graciousness, friendliness and courtesy in the South is unbelievable. The Southwest if similar but there is a warmth in the South that is lacking in other parts of the country. Any way, though there was to be karaoke which I think would have been fun, we left and returned to our room where I read some more of Hornet's Nest.

Today we headed South to see the birthplace of Huey Long and his nephew, Earl. As we stepped out of our motel I got a whiff of something that smelled like strong cabbage--I had gotten a touch of it the night before, also--but that didn't quite seem right. As we continued along I realized that it was an odor I'd grown up with in South Glens Falls, the eau de paper works from Finch Prynn. Sure enough when we reached Hodge, La, there it was --a containerboard mill--with all the steam coming out and the sounds of compressors going. One never forgets that smell--think Rumford, Maine before air pollution regs--which obviously don't exist down here. Once we passed the mill the odor was gone. In Winnfield which is the Long birthplace there was no evidence of any commemorative house etc so on we went to Rte 84, eastward through the piney woods--soft pine for paper mills--and on across the Mississippi from Vidalia to Natchez.

That motel is still there in Vidalia, Barb--now it is a Budget Inn and looks even seedier than the last time we saw it--most of it is empty--it must have been something in its day. We opted to return to the Quality Inn in Natchez though someday I'd like to check out the Comfort Suites right on the river beneath the bridge and across from the casino. I bet the view from a riverside room is beautiful at night. Will have to be on the way West when we are more flush. As it is, the Spring Festival is going on, as it is in St Francisville so we opted not to go to Grandmother's Buttons. Anyway, while our room cost only $72 plus tax they wanted 25,000 pts! A suite in Ruston only took 16.000 pts last night. We opted to pay rather than use so many points. That is only until Apr 15 when the Promenade is over.

So, here we are and we think we are going to head into Alabama tomorrow and explore--we've really covered Mississippi pretty much on previous trips. I kind of want to go to the coast and Bill is leaning toward Selma so not sure yet where we will head tomorrow.

It is really getting too hot already--80 degrees plus all day today--which wouldn't be bad but since central Texas the humidity has been building. Also along with the beautiful flowers the bugs are emerging and you all know how I love June bugs, etc.

Will let you all know what we've decided tomorrow night--until then--keep dry and don't get stuck in the mud!

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