November 7, 2009
We left our Hilton Head paradise this morning. Marie and Steve flew home last evening and it was time for us to hit the road. We are heading for Memphis; we’re going to Graceland…well at least Donna and I are…Bill and John…not so much. We drove across Georgia, which today seemed like a very long state. The roads in western Georgia were not well maintained…a lot of trash and overgrowth, which surprised us after seeing Savannah! We got into Alabama in the afternoon, had to turn our clocks back an hour, which gave us another hour to drive! Driving along these interstate highways, it’s hard to tell one state from another! Our original intent was to stay in Birmingham for the night, but because of the time change we went a bit further on to a town called Jasper. The climate definitely changed as we travelled northwest. The air seemed a bit colder although I sense this is more from drier rather than colder air; in fact the temperature if anything, was warmer than Hilton Head. But the leaves on the trees have taken on their autumn colors and in some places have fallen completely from the trees, leaving these areas gray looking.
Once in Jasper, we found a hotel, the Jameson Inn. It was more than adequate after a long day of driving. We had our usual cocktail and tried to figure out the next several days. The plan, at least for now, is to get to Memphis (we’re booked into a hotel one block from Graceland and it has a guitar shaped pool!!!) and from there head up to Nashville to see the Grand Old Opry. After that, we are in for a wonderful treat; we’ve booked a log cabin for three nights in the Smokey Mountains near Pigeon Forge, which is Dolly Parton’s neck of the woods! The cabin looks amazing…with two decks overlooking the mountains and a hot tub on one of them.
After drinks, at the suggestion of the hotel clerk, we headed to Morse Landing for dinner. It was there we realize…we are really in the South now. The restaurant was mostly a fried food place but the locals were fascinating to watch and to listen to. I had to really concentrate to understand our waitress because her accent was so heavy. She was a lovely woman who immediately shared some of her life stories with us. Her language was peppered with expressions like “A good Christian girl” (speaking about her daughter) and “Mother” referring to what her daughter called her. She brought me “unsweet tea”. We all got hush puppies and some of us had fried green tomatoes and catfish….not me of course, who believes that any food beginning with the name “cat” should be in a can marked “Purina”! We saw a lot of men who, in my book, looked like “Good Ole Boys”. But what was most striking to me was this: when we got up to leave, our kind elderly waitress came over and hugged Donna and me…imagine that happening in Boston! If a waitress at home came at you with her arms open, you’d give a few airborne Karate chops and flee the establishment!
Today’s Road Lesson: I love the South!!
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