Memphis/Mississippi

I am in Memphis, where I lived from age six to 17. It feels really good. A fabulous hiphop radio station K97, makes me think of all my childhood, growing up with the best of r&b. And coincidentally Justin Timberlake arrived when I did, to annouce (maybe) that he’s reviving the famed Stax Records.
I drove to Miss-sippi yesterday, to Gren-ay-da, and had shrimp and grits in a little restaurant off the town square that had some of the flavor of the restaurant in Fried Green Tomatoes, a bunch of women hanging out, cooking, catering, gossiping. Grenada is like a lot of Mississippi, kind of flattened, tattered, uncared for, peeling, lonely. Excepted for the blight around the Interstate interchanges. You have to hunt for the town.
Then I drove back up through the Delta. The cotton is high. Like snow on the fields. Half of it is picked now by the big mechanical pickers and those fields look really sad. And the cotton sticks in the grass on the side of the road. It looks like the balls of fluff you brush out of dogs. And in the shimmering distances you see lines of dust clouds that mark where a car or tractor is traveling over a dirt road, which are the color of pale terracotta.
I went back through Hernando to see if this house I loved, nay nearly worshipped, as a child was still there. It is and it hasn’t really changed very much. The gardens behind it are still tangled and wild, but not so neglected. This house was called “The Old Bank House” when I was little.It’s the classic pillared portico Southern mansion, but not really that huge, just perfect in every way. And now it’s on a main street. But it’s still wrapped in its neglected trees and private,remote, from another time.

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