Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Paying our respects

WHEN? Tuesday · May 20

WHERE? Jackson, Mississippi · find us on the map

Jackson's Harley-Davidson dealership hosted the sixth annual Trail of Honor, a four-day tribute to American veterans. Special guests Rolling Thunder arrived Monday around noon. Their California-to-Washington DC Ride For Freedom will culminate next weekend at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

Other attractions:

  • An amazing performance by the Black Daggers Parachute Team
  • Although $50-per-person helicopter rides raised funds for a good cause, Wendell and I chose instead to simply look around inside. Being in a Chinook helicopter was a first for both of us, and we were impressed with its size.
  • One of the motorcyclists gave Wendell a Run For The Wall 20th Anniversary pin for his souvenir cap.


  • Wendell had the privilege of chatting with Medal of Honor recipient Leonard Keller.
  • The street that leads to the Harley dealership is named Can't Stand Earl Drive as a joke on dealership owner Earl Rottman. His friends told me that it probably should have been called Love Earl instead.
  • The Clarion Ledger published an article covering this event that includes a 22-photo gallery.

See more Trail of Honor photos on flickr

Our final stop on the way back to Sweet Home Alabama was at Wilson's Meat House in Crystal Springs, Mississippi. I'll bet you can't imagine people going an hour out of their way just to get some smoked link sausage and very special pork chops, but that's just what we did. After arriving home, we could hardly wait to start snacking on the sausage... then more sausage for breakfast this morning... and pork chops grilled over charcoal for lupper today. Good stuff!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Class of '53

WHEN? Saturday · May 17

WHERE? New Albany, Mississippi · find us on the map

Ripley High School Class of 1953

Born in the Great Depression
Raised with Dixie pride
Ripley's Class of
Known and loved worldwide!

Wendell's Ripley High School graduating class is particularly fortunate to include members who have hosted its annual reunion at their charming New Albany home for a number of years. Their son, John, loves to cook, and this year the entrees of smoked chicken breasts and pork loin were prepared by him. Lots of tasty side dishes and desserts were home cooked as well. As an extra treat, their cute little dog Chloe showed off for the group with several of her favorite tricks.

Call me prejudiced, but I think the photo above is hands-down proof that I married RHS's most handsome alumnus ever. Other snapshots kinda give the impression that the boys and the girls had to be separated.J

Chloe - RHS Class of 53's unofficial mascotThe boysThe girlsDon't tell the boys, but the girls look like they were better company

See more Class of '53 reunion photos on flickr

New Albany is the county seat of Union County, and its civic pride is obvious. See for yourself:

New Albany in Mississippi on flickr

North Mississippi has been struck by several tornados in recent weeks. As we headed west from New Albany towards Jackson this afternoon, we saw evidence of the severe weather, including a church with its steeple on the ground.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

When local flavor ... isn't

WHEN? Wednesday · May 14

WHERE? Grenada, Mississippi · find us on the map

Detour along the road to Olive Branch:

Part of vacationing means enjoying the food, and we sometimes return to restaurants where we had great meals years before. So as lunchtime approached, we agreed to visit a downtown eatery that used to be open only on weekdays. Although we knew it had closed and re-opened, we hoped the new owners would be putting out similar fare. Places change, though, and searching for fond memories can sometimes feel more like driving around in the Twilight Zone.

After realizing that our old favorite was no longer serving lunch, we mistakenly tried a downtown bistro whose name suggested it served traditional New Orleans food.

Hindsight: It wasn't the place we'd previously enjoyed. And in spite of its name, we weren't in New Orleans.

Lesson learned: Don't try this strategy to re-live an old vacation memory. Chances are slim that this will occur at a different place.

A better idea: Keep a lookout for full parking lots, which suggest that the restaurant's food and service are worth stopping for.

At least this place deserves credit for kinda resembling French Quarter architecture