Saturday, July 30, 2016

Wake-Up Call...

Sunrise...I was up anyway!
So on July 13, we visited Ole Miss for starters. Which was a good thing because LAST year, it was at the tail end of the day. 

Not a great idea when it's 95* or more!

So what's with the title? Well... In the hotel, after a day spent in the sun and finally asleep. Till 1:48 a.m.

When the fire alarm goes off. 

Throughout the hotel. 

I shot out of bed like I had a rocket on my rear end. Stumbled to the phone and called the desk. 

I sincerely hope that the desk clerk was rattled and the laughter was because of nerves, because her response, with a nearly-full-throated cackle, was, "Oh yeah, no worries, just a problem with the alarm."
"2nd Place Trophy"

Really? Really. 

I think my heart calmed down somewhere around 4:30 a.m. It was a rough morning for both of us. 

Anyway. Ole Miss. 

We still parked at the Art Museum. Yeah, I know - I said I wasn't going to do that again, but we did it anyway. Went through the museum - and frankly, it wasn't anything new. They were still installing the newest exhibit, so it was a quicker visit than usual.

We walked to the Civil War cemetery. Here's the story: Once upon a time, a groundskeeper was told, "Go clean up that old cemetery at the back of campus."

So he did. He removed all the gravestones, stacked them neatly, and mowed the lawn, cleared the brush - cleaned it up. 

Yeah - smack your head. They wanted him to clean it up and leave the stones where they were. So now, there's a large monolith with all 472 names, since nobody ever took pictures or kept records of who was buried where. The cemetery has a lovely red brick wall, which matches the other buildings. It's a lovely memorial. Except there are still some graves that they're "not sure about" - so there may be more than 472 persons in that space... I think he probably lost his job. 

The cemetery is at the back of the campus, and we went into the Athletic Building to see if we could cut through. We couldn't, but we must've looked like death warmed over - the woman at the front desk plopped us into chairs and said, "Y'all use our air conditioning. Have some water. Rest. Sit and watch TV." The day clerk at the hotel could take lessons... Just sayin'... 

Long walk back to the front of campus and the museum, though we did stop in to the Library for a quick visit. First, to see (and photograph---shhhhhh!) the Second Shakespeare Folio, visit William, and talk to the librarian about the mysterious "general" and the slave cemetery. 

Second Shakespeare Folio
We took some shots of the Lyceum. When the school was first integrated, the young black man who was the first student created - as you can imagine - some unrest. James Meredith was a student in 1962. And gunfire erupted. In the door of the Lyceum, there are bullet holes. The Kid wanted to take pictures for his students (reminder to self: put the pics on your One Drive!).

The campus is stately, and is really a "tree campus" - one of the magnolias must easily be over 100 years old - even though it's not a "Heritage Tree" it clearly is a landmark. It makes me wish they grew up here, which they won't of course. The closest thing we have is a tulip tree. 

This shot of the magnolia flower is at the base of this tree. 

So as we're walking back to the front of the campus, we're just looking around, chatting. We didn't have a particular spot in mind to stop and visit; we were just on our way back to the car. 

Then we saw it. Simultaneously. And we stopped. Simultaneously. 

And burst out laughing. Simultaneously. 

The Trent Lott Leadership Institute. I kid you not. 

In case you've forgotten, Trent Lott was the Senate Minority Whip in 2007. He resigned. Relatively disgraced. He stuck his foot in his mouth praising Strom Thurmond's run for president and saying that if Strom had won the election, "we wouldn't have had all these problems over the years." Oh, and for fun, he's homophobic. (I figured you'd figure that out, since most of the men of his ilk are.)

Thurmond's campaign would have effectively tossed the Civil Rights Act out of the window. Of course, after the kerfuffle, he tried to repudiate his statements. But we have the tv-machine...

He also became a contestant on Dancing With the Stars. He lost that, too. 

Went back to town, hit Square Books because The Kid wanted to see if they had a book they SAID they had. Then I took a side trip to J. Olive for refills. Picked up souvenirs this time around, and then stopped at Ajax Diner for lunch. 

It is literally a hole in the wall. I only found it because of the awning. But it was another good pick. There were blue-plate specials, regional dishes, wait staff who were adorable, and daily specials, like "fresh garden tomatoes with spicy mayo dressing." After lunch and a little detective work, The Kid found a retro record store which required a pop-in visit. Then I hit the yarn store - The Kid sat outside checking his messages from school. 

When I got into the yarn store, I confirmed that they did indeed move from their prior location. The store owner was all, "How y'all doin'?" and asked me where I was from. I said, "Joliet area in Illinois," and she drops her jaw, and hollers, "Oh my God - I'm from Park Forest!" Not a trace of "southern." I just had to laugh. I bought a few things, and we decided that our very early wake-up call was enough today. 

Even though there's a nice pool, nobody used it. Every night we were there, I "dangled" - I dangled my legs in the "cool tub" hot tub area. It helped relax me. 

We've been watching the weather because "stuff" has been moving into the area for a few days. We head to Mammoth Cave tomorrow; we'll see if the weather holds. 

We may have to make an in-transit change of plans. 

Random Picture...

I know you've been missing these! I love crape myrtle trees. I miss the ones I had when I lived in VA. The ones outside our hotel were a beautiful deep garnet. The ones around my house in VA were pink. 

They're also known as "monkey slide" trees, because as they grow, the limbs are smooth. The bark is like satin. The downside is that when the blossoms drop off, they're sticky and can make a mess of your car. 

Since the hotel was relatively new, they were still in the "bush" stage. They'll do well out there; it's a very sunny location and with the humidity and the rain they get every year, it's a great spot for them. 

So before I left, I had to get a shot of these beauties. 

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