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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Singing the Blues

You haven't heard from me because we've been away on vacation.  Yup.  We were away.  Out of town.  I was away from the washing machine and the kitchen.  It was great.

A little music video from New Orleans
This was an unusual trip for us.  I am generally of the mind that it's not really a vacation if a passport isn't involved.  I don't go on that many vacations so I always want to make them count.  To me, using a passport to go to some far off land seems well, more vacationy.

But enough about what constitutes a vacation and on to the details.  We went to New Orleans, and then drove the Delta Blues Highway through Mississippi, ending up in Memphis.  That's right.  We did a musical tour of the South with stops in Natchez (you have to love those antebellum homes), Vicksburg (we all need a little history lesson on The War of Northern Aggression as it's called down there), and Clarksdale, the home of the blues.  Memphis was our final stop.
Kate, after her Tarot card reading, with her physic Nicole. Apparently hate's aura is turquoise.

Ted and Charlie listening to some soul at the B.B. King Blues Club in Memphis

I especially enjoyed Memphis.  It lacked the drunken college spring break vibe that NOLA had, which was a good thing.  There's just something so unappealing about people roaming the streets, drunk, with a large fishbowl drink hanging from their necks.  If I'm going to drink, I'd prefer to do it from a nice cocktail glass with perhaps a little bowl of nuts along side.
Kate enjoying a saxophonist along the banks of the Mississippi.

Memphis, like NOLA, is all about music and food.  It's about the blues and soul music, with a healthy dose of Elvis thrown in.  In fact, I even got my family to humor me and do the Graceland tour.  It's not to be missed.  Visiting Graceland is like visiting an alternate universe.  To say that Elvis' wardrobe and decorating taste were consistent, would be a vast understatement.  He had a staircase that was entirely mirrored and a room carpeted on the floor, walls, and ceiling in green shag.  We even got to stop off at Elvis' grave, where the faithful were placing flowers and stuffed animals.

Memphis isn't all about Elvis.  In fact, it's about far more.  The blues and some serious soul music came out of Memphis and it's still everywhere.  There's music in the air in Memphis.

I particularly enjoyed visiting the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.  Where else would I ever get to view Isaac Hayes' gold plated, fur carpeted Eldorado?  It was one of the most fascinating museums I've ever been to.

We also made our way to the Civil Rights Museum and the Lorraine Motel.  Pulling up to the Lorraine Motel was so strange.  How many thousands of photographs have we all see of that balcony where Martin Luther King was shot?  Eerie.

Despite the fact that my kids both through that being downstairs for breakfast by 9:30 a.m. was unreasonable, ("We're on a vacation.  Why do we have to get started so early?"), a good time was had by all.

Next Time: How I Ate My Way Through the South
Also, be sure to take a look at my latest posting on My Year of Unspending

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