Monday, November 30, 2015

Big Mojo Tour

After finishing up at Graceland we hopped on the free bus and headed back to Memphis.  We had a tour to catch at 1:30 so we needed a quick lunch which we found at The Blues City Cafe.  Mac had a cup of Gumbo and I had a plate of small tamales, both were good.  Then we ran across the street to catch our tour.  It was to be a 3 1/2 hour tour hitting the highlights of Memphis and then we'd finish up at Sun Studios.

Miss Peggy

 We took the Big Mojo Extended tour and our tour guide was Miss Peggy, who handed out tambourines and shakers so we could accompany her on our musical journey.  It was a great tour.  Saw where Elvis's family lived when they moved to Memphis (he was 13), they had a sticker on his bedroom window.  We saw where Johnny Cash and his wife lived, St. Jude's Children's Hospital (founded by Danny Thomas), Stax Records (home of soul music), the rich part of town where Machine Gun Kelly came from, the park shell where Elvis gave one of his first performances (he was opening for Slim Whitman the yodeling cowboy)---he thought the audience hated him, but they were screaming for more.  We drove by the Rock and Soul Museum --we'd visited it in October---and the Gibson Guitar Factory.   At each stop Miss Peggy would play her guitar and sing while we accompanied her.  She was very knowledgeable and made the tour a lot of fun.  Near the end we drove to the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King had been shot, large crowds were there.
At the end most people, who were on the shorter tour, got off and the rest of us went to Sun Studios, the studio started by Sam Phillips and where rock and roll was born.  We went upstairs first, looked at memorabilia, saw the dj booth (it had been brought there from the ruins of the hotel it had been in) where Elvis's first record (That's All Right) had been played.  The DJ, Dewey Phillips  liked it so much he played it 14 times in 2 hours.
The drum kit belongs to U2 who came and recorded part of their Rattle and Hum CD at Sun Studios,

And then we went down to the holy of holies, where Elvis first recorded.  Our tour guide walked us through how it all came about, pointed out X's on the floor where Elvis, Bill Black and Sonny Moore had stood.   She put 3 people on the X's and they mimed what happened  and  then she played the recording.  Talk about chills.  Then you could hold the microphone that Elvis held and have you picture taken.  It was incredible.  A little room covered in acoustic tiles and magic was made.
This is where I felt Elvis, not at Graceland, but in that room with all his hopes and dreams.

Sunday, November 29, 2015


There were some questions about my post today and I thought I'd try and answer them.
First, I tripped and fell when exercising last week.  Nothing broken, just some bruises.   I'm fine, still bruised, but no problems.
 Second, grits is a finely ground cornmeal, kind of like mush. It is derived from an early  Native American dish.  It's mostly eaten in the south for breakfast often with syrup on it.  I don't like it for breakfast, but I will eat shrimp and grits.
Third, when we were in Memphis in October we went on a tour of the Gibson Guitar factory and though Mac owns several guitars he really enjoyed seeing them being made and wanted one that was being made while we were there, so he bought one and we were supposed to pick it up on our return trip.  We decided to have it shipped to us and it will be here sometime this week.
A few comments about Graceland.  I expected the 70's decor, that didn't surprise me, and Elvis was just a country boy so I wasn't expecting great taste. What surprised me was how small it was.  Granted you don't get to go upstairs, that's where he died, but even so, it's not a big house, I think ours is almost as big and I don't think of it as being a huge place.
They said he paid $100,000 for it and 11 acres when he bought it.  He should have bought more because it's surrounded by commercial property, it feels really tacky.
Hope that answers some questions.

A Better Trip

We went back to Memphis for Thanksgiving and it was a better trip than the one I had last week, you know, the one where I fell.  We were excited to be returning, so many things we wanted to see and do.
We got to Memphis late in the afternoon on Thanksgiving and the hotel was serving a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but it wasn't turkey that we were after, it was ribs, brisket and chicken.  So we didn't let the lack of a shuttle slow us down, we hoofed the 8 blocks to Beale Street, straight to B.B. King's Blues Cafe and ordered a feast, please observe the before and after photos, no words are necessary.

We made a early night of it because we knew we had a full day planned on Friday.
Friday morning we were up early and off to Miss Polly's Soul City Cafe in search of a southern breakfast.  They were out of potatoes because they'd served so many the day before, but we were undeterred.  We could have had grits, but I don't do grits.  So I had bacon and eggs while Mac had Chicken, waffles and eggs.  Who knew chicken could be so good for breakfast.  The coffee was delicious and we asked what is was, Miss Polly said Community Coffee from Louisiana.  We drank many a cup before leaving.

After breakfast it was off to Gibson's, we had to make arrangements for Mac's  guitar, it was ready and we could take it with us or they'd ship.  Well, Mac always travels with a guitar so we didn't need to be carrying a second one so we told them to ship it.
After that we grabbed a taxi and headed out to Graceland we had tickets for 10:30.  Of course there were huge crowds long before we got there.  I'm not going to say much about Graceland, we didn't enjoy it at all.  I'm not going to comment on the decor, that wasn't the problem.  It was the whole feel of the place.  To me it felt like  the saddest house I've ever been in, that no one who lived there had ever felt joy or happiness, it was down right creepy.  We couldn't wait to leave.
  We were allowed to take pictures, but the only one I shot was of the exterior.  

The next part of our day was much better and I'll write about that tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to family and friends wherever you are.  Hope the food is tasty, the talk amusing and the folks you're with bring you joy.
I'm grateful that my family is safe and healthy and though we can't spend this holiday together, that soon our daughter will be here and the spirit of the holidays will be complete.  To me it's being together, sharing food, laughter and memories that makes a perfect holiday.
So enjoy.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Have a Nice Trip

While exercising yesterday I tripped and fell.  Scared me more than it hurt me, my right index finger and knuckle are black and blue as is my left forearm.  Nothing broken, nothing much hurt except my pride, I hate being clumsy.  Also put a gouge in the floor, didn't realize I had such sharp edges  Don't know how I tripped which makes it hard to avoid doing it again in the future.  Today I'm a bit stiff and I will exercise very carefully .
Cold last night, finally, down to 40º, great sleeping weather.
Today it was run around town day, bank, store, Goodwill donation, another store and then home.  Too late to get much done.
OW!! Mac just closed his fingers in a bifold door.  Gonna be one of those weeks I guess.
No pictures, it ain't pretty.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday Catch Up

I've been busy, but that doesn't mean you haven't been on my mind.  I've been working diligently on a Christmas present and I had to wait for more supplies to finish it.  It's almost done.  The gift is for our daughter who'll be flying in from Japan for the holiday and I want to have her stuff finished before she gets here.
While I've been upstairs working away Mac has been busy in the backyard getting the greenhouse ready for winter.  He's painted wooden shelving and put them  up with cinderblocks, then started moving the coleus and other "tender" plants in. He transplanted the lettuce to the greenhouse because the rains just keep beating them down.  The cabbage are tougher and are doing well outside.
I have more crocheting to get done and then need to finish something I've started for Mac.
Yesterday I made homemade chile and it was so good, without all the sodium you get from canned chile.  It was nice that it was finally cool enough to have something like that.  Today I need to do some baking.  Will do that while I watch really bad football.

Transplanted lettuce and coleus

More Coleus and a Hydrangea


Zinnias grown from our own seeds

Broad Beans coming up in the garden

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Too Hot

It's November 19, the overnight low was 72º, I'm pretty sure that's a record.  Our morning walk felt like a morning swim, not a breath of air.  According to the weather report the mold count is high and we're definitely fighting a battle with it here at the Little House in the Swamp.  Spent the whole morning cleaning wood furniture, rugs airing, stuffed animals airing.  Cough, cough, sneeze, sneeze.  We need a freeze to kill some of it off and a couple of weeks with no rain.  But I'm afraid that El Niño has decided we're to have a warmer than normal winter as well as a wetter one.
And now for something completely different, I've been working my way through Kate Morton's The Lake House rather slowly.  I usually devour her books, but for some reason, not quite sure what, perhaps because several of the characters are rather, to me, very annoying.  I'll finish it and like it ok, but for me, though it was much anticipated, it's not great.