Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Backroads Tour
Day 5
The Magnolia State

"Where we going today, baby?" Cece asks over morning coffee.
I reply, "Tupelo, honey."

We spend the morning chasing down the signposts that are the young Elvis. At the museum they have the First Assembly Church the Presley's attended. It was moved here from somewhere else.

I don't know if the house was moved as well but it would have been an easier lift.

Next stop is for breakfast at Johnny's Diner, featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives but a favourite hangout of the young Elvis.

Check out the picture of the dude I had to kick out of this booth.

Now you can't tell from this picture but that is a beautiful shot of a young and gorgeous Elvis sitting at this booth. The restaurant is selling t-shirts, hats and cups BUT NOT prints of that photo, which they own. Quite the oversite. I mentioned it to the staff and they said it had never occured to them to do that...perhaps next time you stop in you can pick me up a print if they wake up to the possibilities.

The rest of the tour includes his primary school, high school and the hardware store where he bought his first guitar.

On the road again towards Meridian for a stop at the Jimmie Rodgers museum. Now I thought this was going to be a brief stop, merely a signpost, but the host at the museum made it much more than that as she regalled us with JR stories. Furthermore, even though it says "NO PHOTOS without permission from Jimmie Rodgers INC" she let me take out my camera. Only Cece and I in the place and she seemed happy to have company.

Great artifacts inside here, lots of postcards and letters, one from his stint in NYC to his sister asking why she doesn't write. A copy of his business card with a note on the back asking the promoter to treat the holder with respect. His performance tux and the travelling case he used when on the road.

The highlight (or intended highlight) was Jimmie Rodgers original guitar, made for him by Martin guitars and at the time, the only one in existence with a rosewood body and mahogany neck. It's kept in a safe. Excuse the glare in the lower corner. I have more pics but need to do some photo editing.

The real highlight, for me at least, was a quilt hanging on the wall with signatures of about a hundred country music stars. The story behind this was even more interesting. A lady in town got it in mind to create this and contacted various management companies for the different stars informing them of the project. She sent out 4 pieces of material to each and these stars signed them...then she quilted over the signatures. Timing is always of the essence and I was told she received the items back from Elvis' management on the day he passed away. Download the picture and zoom in ... a unique project. There are three other versions of this quilt but they are not for sale, not that I didn't ask.

Now we haven't been chasing down dead people at the rate we normall do but Jimmie's grave was just around the corner and we figured it wouldn't hurt to add another stone, or two, to our collection.

The day ends with a stop at Dunns Fall and a short ride to Hattieburg.

Tomorrow...the Big Easy.

No comments: