“Well, go on down to Jackson; go ahead and wreck your health. Go play your hand you big-talkin’ man, make a big fool of yourself, Yeah, go to Jackson; go comb your hair! Honey, I’m gonna snowball Jackson. See if I care.” ~ Jackson by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash
Well, I went on down to Jackson like Johnny and June said. Many a person came to me and asked me why. Being so entrenched in my Yankee roots and all I can surely understand their confusion. But, as you know, I am never one to bypass adventure so here we are in Jackson.
Hey, do you want to go to Jackson?
“Jackson, what?” was my immediate response to this question, posed to me by my good friend Stacie.
“Mississippi!” she replied. You see, Stacie has made the ungodly decision to run a half marathon in every state and she needed someone to hold her wallet. Its widely known that my wallet holding skills are world renowned so I was the perfect choice.
“Sure,” I typed back. No exclamation point, just sure. I would’ve gone anywhere to be honest. My severe lack of adventure in 2017 left my travel bug flailing out in the sun, dying a slow and painful bug death. I needed a trip across state lines, somethin bad.
Arrival and Dinner
We arrived in Jackson, Mississippi late Friday evenin’. The city at night was, well, sad. I was informed later on that Downtown isn’t the most lively o’ places but still, gray and sad were the overall impressions.
After picking up the race packet we left our bags at NOT our hotel (they took them anyway) and tried the recommended race restaurant.
You’ve never seen so many emerald green vinyl booths in your life. This was my kind of place! I LOVE places stuck in time. It makes you feel more connected to the history. These days everything is gentrified. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing (bathrooms are certainly cleaner and the food is more interestin’), but sometimes you just need some beef and gravy on wonder bread with a side of fries type dinner. Add some vegetables (aka red beans and rice) and you’ll be in the Mississippi spirit.
My first brush with liquor laws in the south was a family trip to South Carolina. We were just over the border at a lake house and we were running dangerously low on beer. We drove to the gas station only to find-NO BEER ON SUNDAY. So, we drove to another gas station-NO BEER ON SUNDAY. I did not like where this was headed. I think it’s safe to say most of the alcohol in the state of Wisconsin is consumed on Sundays, at least on Packer Sundays.
As I opened the dinner menu at our Mississippi Diner my eyes dropped to the bottom.
I promptly flipped the menu over. It was blank. I flipped it right side up and looked again, surely I had missed somethin’.
“Where are the drinks?” I asked Stacie but she had no answer.
I began to scan the room. At the shiny green booth across the aisle I saw sweet tea, tea and more tea. The table behind us had water and tea. All I wanted was a Miller Lite. That’s barely alcohol at all but nothin, there was nothing but tea in sight. No tap on the bar, no whiskey bottle behind the counter.
Dinner was dry, very dry.
We happened upon these three individuals as we left our dry dinner. Honestly, I had no idea who I was looking at and my half hearted attempts to find the plaque failed. If there was a plaque, I didn’t see it but Google helped me figure out that this is a writer’s circle of famous Mississippians (William Faulkner, Eudora Welty and Richard Wright).
Eudora Welty was a Pulitzer prize winning author who wrote short stories and novels about southern culture in the 50s and 60s. After reading her biography online I decided to purchase a book of her short stories for the ride home. I think we’ll become great friends.
What I do in writing of any character is to try to enter into the mind, heart, and skin of a human being who is not myself. Whether this happens to be a man or a woman, old or young, with skin black or white, the primary challenge lies in making the jump itself. It is the act of a writer’s imagination that I set most high. ~Eudora Welty
Jackson can sang the blues! When the Beatles came to America in 1964, John Lennon told a reporter he wanted to see Moody Blues. The reporter said, “Who?” To which John Lennon replied,”You don’t even know your own famous people?”
I learned about Moody Blues, BB King, Jimmy Buffett and Elvis at The Iron Horse Grill, once a Hot Dog Factory, but now a premiere blues venue. Stacie and I were lucky enough to see Jonathon ‘Boogie’ Long and his band rock the house. Somethin about a blues guitar just soothes the soul!
We Found Alcohol
I have nothing else to say about their vodka other than the Pecan Vodka is a gift from God.
Ohhh and they have a good taco truck, weekends at 3pm.
All in all I was glad to say I went to Jackson. A two day trip isn’t the most thorough representation of what a city has to offer but I learned a lot and took some knowledge with me. At the end of the day, isn’t that what traveling is all about??
Till next time,