I just came across this note, filed away in a book. It’s a handwritten list of sights to see in Mississippi and Tennessee. The author was the manager at Rowdy’s in Vicksburg, Miss., where we were filling ourselves up on iced tea and catfish (and the mysteriously sweet and spicy house “nosser” sauce) after a long day of driving during our road trip through the South this past fall.
We didn’t ask for suggestions, but we gladly took them. He said he knew we were travelers by our accents (from our point of view, lack of accents) and tried his best to talk us out of driving the Great River Road. It was overrated, he said. We figured he was taking for granted the sunny Southern skies and billowing cotton fields and winding roads dotted with charmingly ramshackle country stores.
So we didn’t listen to him…until we had followed the Great River Road for two or three long hours the next morning and discovered for ourselves how the beautiful first glimpses of cotton fields eventually turned to monotony. By the time we changed course and made it back over to Hwy 61, we wanted to make up for lost time and get on to Oxford. So while, in our haste, we skipped over most of our friend’s suggestions, we did visit Rowan Oak, the William Faulkner estate.
If I end up in Mississippi again, I’ll certainly be taking the manager’s list with me – and taking it a little more seriously.