We woke up in Little Rock, but the day was all about Tennessee. We drove across the Natural State (Arkansas) and crossed the Mississippi River into Memphis around lunchtime. What an amazing city! We started at Beale St, the epicenter of the blues. I saw B B King’s club, Jerry Lee Lewis’ club, a number of great barbecue joints and just a lot of fun bars.
From Beale Street, we headed uptown to the Bar-B-Q Shop. This is a classic Memphis BBQ joint. Dry rub spice, dipping sauce, slow-cooked and falling off the bone. This was possibly the best barbecue I have ever had! I bought a jar of their spice rub and their sauce. The gentleman made a point to tell me, there is so much more to the flavor. So basically, don’t expect these two purchases to make my ribs like theirs!
From there we headed to the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel. This is the site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. It is eerie, and moving. There is a wreath in front of room 306, right in the spot where he was standing when a bullet came from across Mulberry Street. There are two late model cars parked out front, and an extensive museum of documents and exhibits. To stand looking at this spot is to feel the hatred and resentment that would deny the black community of one of their greatest leaders.
I did not set out to make this trip into a tour of civil rights abuses, but it has turned out to be hard to avoid! The Navajo Nation, the monument in Santa Fe, the Oklahoma City Bombing, the Tulsa Race Massacre, and not only the assassination of Martin Luther King, but there was also a race riot in Memphis in which 9 black schools were burned to the ground! I see politicians on TV denying that there is any institutional racism in the US, and yet every town seems to have a monument to some tragedy in which people of color were brutally victimized and disenfranchised. To those who claim “all lives matter”, all means all!
Three hours later we were pulling into Nashville. I have not been to Nashville for over 15 years and never visited the Broadway Bar district or Music Row. This is a place where country music meets Bourbon Street! It was a little unsettling to see so many people pressed up against each other in line to get into clubs, inside windows crowding around the band, etc. Very few masks, and NO distance! We just walked up and down the strip because the noise was a little tough on GusGus; so we could not go inside any bars.
But man what a place! This is another place I must return to when I can spend more time! We are in the Grand Sheraton tonight (God love Marriott points!). We are on the 24th floor with a great view! The Tennessee Statehouse is lit up in purple this week to honor victims of domestic violence.
I’m not going to lie, I’m getting tired and ready to be home with a day to just relax. We’re having an amazing time, and still having some great talks. I thought we would be in the Eastern time zone by today but it turns out Nashville is still in Central time. Tomorrow we will be in Virginia on our last night before getting home to Arlington, after which Tim will head to Boston.
GusGus continues to hang in there, and is getting very comfortable with our cycle of waking up in one hotel, driving all day with stops, and sleeping in another hotel.
Line of the Day:
Tim: OMG I lost my crown and I can’t find it! I think I may have swallowed it!
Tony: That’s going to come back to bite you in the ass!