Thursday 30 December
Woke up and dressed late today, so we spent some time at the I-40 Welcome Station on the river in Memphis. While walking along the path by the river lined with maple trees, one could actually smell the maples, from the blanket of leaves and from the trees. Leaving the Welcome Station, we spent the rest of the morning at the Lorraine Motel which is not the Civil Rights Museum. It is a very powerful sight containing the story of our nations civil rights struggle, telling the story of every important person or event that propelled the struggle forward.
As I was watching and listening to the Movie, “The Witness”, told by one of the eye witness who stood on the balcony with Dr. King, just before he was killed. I was struck by the irony that the issues of the day are still being used by the opposing forces keeping others who are not the same as they, under the boot heel of oppression and discrimination. The struggles and issues that African Americans fought to erase from society only shifted toward the LGBT movements and their fight for equal recognition. Now all the anger and frustration is directed toward gay and trans population.
We spent some time at the river front parks and read about Tom Lee, a black man who used his 8 ft skiff to save 32 people when a riverboat capsized. He searched all night to save as many people as he could. Memphis is also about the stories of BB King, W.C. Handy, Elvis Presley, and so many more important figures of the Blues and Rock-N-Roll history.
As we tried to find Handy’s house we ran into roadblocks every where, so we parked our car at the hotel and walked to Beale street, we had noticed band members at the Civil Rights Museum and eventually learned that there was going to be a parade that afternoon. We didn’t learn the parade was for the College Bowl the next day and when we got to Beale street, we saw the mass of people still hanging around at the end of the parade. We eventually realized that the game was between UGA Dogs and UCF Knights. After finding WC Handy’s house and viewing the artifacts, we would be Miss T’s last visitors because she was closing for the pep rally that everyone was gathering for. What a crowd.
After eating at the City Blues Cafe for some more BBQ Ribs, we walked around the city for another couple of hours and turned in for the night.
Friday 31st December
We have decided that it is time to head toward home and so we sadly say goodby to the good people at the Residence Inn and Memphis heading east. But first making a stop for Kay at a yarn shop. Then we head for Hwy 72 and Chattanooga Tn. For lunch we stop at a wonderful fun place called “Rocking Chair Rest”, filled with wonderful antiques, as we enter we are greeted by a life-size doll dressed as Grand-Paw sitting in an old rocking chair. We ear a lite lunch and are back on the road. After a rather long day of driving we arrive at the Comfort Inn in Chattanooga and settle in. We did buy a bottle of Sparkling Wine to celebrate New Years Eve but the crowd on Beale Street was enough for us, so after eating supper we settle under the covers watching Dick Clark’s New Years Eve Celebration and toast to the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011.
I am optimistic for the New Year, but with the new powers in office, I am afraid things will only get worse for the little people of America. Happy New Year.