Sunday, November 30, 2014

Taylor and Oxford, Mississippi, November 15 and 16

In these times of smart phones and GPS, Rich and I are still traveling mostly the "old fashioned" way, with (real paper) maps, hand-written directions, and our latest addition--screen grabs of maps on Rich's iPad.  Our AK cell phones have no data plan so we have to be prepared with instructions in advance or search for a wi-fi spot.  Yes, I know, this sounds terribly 20th century.

We left Jackson for Taylor, Mississippi to visit friends for the weekend.  We knew that they lived out in the country a bit but we figured we'd be fine with our iPad directions.  We didn't leave as early as we'd hoped and I texted along the way that we would just stop for lunch before arrival since we hadn't eaten breakfast. Then came the search for a place to eat and we finally were forced into a row of fast food places off the highway, settling for a Waffle House where I could still get some kind of breakfast food.  Okay, seriously, if a place calls itself "Waffle House," shouldn't it have super great waffles?  Waffle House--where you get  the flattest, saddest, most tasteless waffles you'll ever meet. :)

After eating, we continued on our journey to Taylor.  The bad thing about screen grabs of maps and directions is that they are not necessarily correct and you have no way to do any further research with no internet. Well, we did have an atlas in the car but it was no help. We were sent down many winding backroads that did not seem to match up with the directions at hand.  Eventually, I called Susan, who said without missing a beat, "Are you lost yet?!"  Yes, we were lost, but luckily we were lost in Taylor, MS and just had not come far enough.

Susan gave us directions the rest of the way and said she would wait down at the end of their driveway for us.  It's a good thing she did or we might have driven right past their house, which is up a hill and somewhat hidden from the road.  Whew, we made it!

It was great fun to be reunited with my dear friend Susan, also known here as fellow blogger Suzassippi, her husband known affectionately as Randoman, and their son known on her blog as J.  We go way back to our days in Texas, before they took off for Mississippi and I took off for Alaska, when we had young kids and were young social workers and peace activists in a town not-so-friendly to left-leaning folks . We've shared many adventures over the years and she is the one friend who has consistently kept in touch with me since I moved away.  We still email each other several times a week and discuss everything from current events to family life to the fact that getting older sucks pretty badly sometimes. Although we have seen each other in TX for brief get togethers when we both happen to be in town, this is the first time in several years we've had a couple of days to visit and hang out.

Our southern road trip was turning out to be a chilly and rainy one and our arrival date was probably the coldest and dreariest of the drive so far.  Where was our sunshine??!!

The first night our friends treated us to a lovely dinner out at a place called The Ravine.  The food and the company were great and we had a nice time catching up.

Randy and Susan

Since we have been in Oxford before, and the weather was pretty nasty, we did not tour around too much this time. We did visit the Ole Miss campus, where both Randy and Susan are employed, and went to see the statue of James Meredith, the first person of African American heritage to enroll in the University of Mississippi in 1962, amid violence from segregationists that necessitated the calling up of the National Guard and US Marshals.  Two people were killed with many more wounded and the Governor was fined and found in contempt before the rioting was done.  Read much more about these events here.

Once again, I am struck by the courage it took for one person to stand alone when all around him people were carrying out violence and spewing hatred.  I often wonder what it is about people like James Meredith that compels them to persevere in the face of so much opposition, not to mention the very real possibility of physical harm or death.  These are certainly the people who move our society along, even if many are kicking and screaming (literally--and worse--) against change.
Otherwise we mostly hung out at the house and visited, while reassuring their dogs that we had not moved in forever and that soon they would  have their routine and their sleeping arrangements back to normal.  ;)   Thanks, S, R and J for your hospitality!

1 comment:

Suzassippi said...

Si Kahn's song "so long ago so long ago, so long Mississippi goodbye my friend" just came to mind. :) At least you finally got some warm weather in Mexico!