Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving and Christmas in Columbus, Mississippi

Alone with My Twin Calicos...

When I bought my house here in Columbus, part of the expectation was that my partner would be joining me sooner, rather than later, but as it turns out it will be later. I've been here in Columbus, Mississippi (I like writing out the full name of the state, and the license plate is pretty, too), since Midnight of May 26, 2016. That is when I arrived to move in. I was here in April to close on the house, and I spent a week here that time, but I stayed in a hotel. So, I arrived in May with my two kittens, who were a little over two months old and "moved in" to an empty house. I had an air mattress, and it was literally the only furniture I had for over a week before the movers arrived. There was no place to sit, except for the toilets in the two bathrooms. I had no cooking utensils and not even a microwave, so I had to buy sandwich fixings and lots of junk food, or eat out at restaurants, which I did.

I was alone with my twin calico kittens and we made the best of it and have, now, for almost six months, but now that it's that time for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year, I'm feeling the alone part much more intensely than the rest of the time I've been here. I quickly add that I'm not feeling sorry about it. It's just the way it is. So, I keep out my feelers for what's happening with the people "back home" that I love and those who likewise moved this year. Specifically, Cliff's parents just moved to Rosebud, Texas, to a place out in the country and they're getting settled as well. And here is a story that will be talked about in the family for years to come, one that doesn't have anything to do with me or Mississippi, but I "witnessed" it through communication from Cliff.

To set the stage for the story, Rosebud, Texas, is 668 miles from Las Cruces, New Mexico, and on Tuesday, November 22,  Cliff and his brother left Las Cruces in two pickup trucks, one hooked up to a horse trailer that was fifty years old (built in the 1960s), and the four wheels on the horse trailer are the kind that have the split-wheel ring—a very dangerous tire to change. Add to that, the tires on the horse trailer were old and the tread was thin, they also required inner tubes (yes, that old). It was loaded with stuff from their father's farm, including a welder, steel, and other heavy stuff, which their father wanted in Rosebud, Texas.

About halfway between Las Cruces and Rosebud is a town called Ft. Stockton, Texas. It's out in the middle of west Texas in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the harsh desert. Cliff and his brother sailed through Ft. Stockton, but about fifteen miles east of Ft. Stockton two tires on the horse trailer started shedding tread. Cliff said he saw it flying off, as he followed along behind his brother. So they pulled off to the side of the road and had to assess the situation. This was about 1 p.m. The logical thing to do was to call gas stations and other places in Ft. Stockton where they could buy new tires.

The phone calls revealed that no place they called had the type of tires (requiring inner tubes) and none that would fit the wheels on the trailer, either. So Cliff's brother did the next logical thing. He left Cliff  on the side of the road with one pickup and the horse trailer, and he drove back to Ft. Stockton to further check out the possibility of buying tires and maybe even wheels, if necessary. Two hours later, still nothing. They had to contemplate leaving the horse trailer on the side of the Interstate, but...

When I finally called Cliff at 5 p.m. to see what the progress was on the situation, he said they were just then leaving a steak house in Ft. Stockton, and as soon as they filled the pickups with gas they would be continuing down the road.


It was around four o'clock when Clay discovered that the manufacturer that built the horse trailer back in the 1960s was right there in Ft. Stockton. This in itself is actually quite a coincidence, since what are the odds that the very builder of the horse trailer would be in Ft. Stockton? And not only that, they were still in business, and not only that, but they had new wheels and tires that would fit the fifty-year-old horse trailer. The wheels were modern and did not have the split ring and the tires were tubeless tires. It was also quite a coincidence that the tires blew just fifteen miles outside of Ft. Stockton, the very place they needed to blow to make it possible for Cliff and his brother to get replacements. Remember that the distance they had to travel was over six hundred miles, and the tires blew in exactly the right place where they could get them replaced. Had this happened a hundred miles East of Ft. Stockton or a hundred miles West, the story would not have turned out quite so well.

So, that alone is something I and the rest of Cliff's family have to be thankful for this season. I might have spent Thanksgiving alone with my little girl cats, but I was emotionally "right there" when Cliff and his brother were going through their ordeal and amazing resolution.

And now, here is my absolute favorite Turkey video. I hope you enjoy it. It's another kind of survival story.

Monday, November 14, 2016

What do Donuts, Gasoline, and Prescription Meds have in Common?

A delightful discovery...

On the mornings when I drive up Highway 45 on the edge of Columbus, MS on the way to MacDonald's to have a cheap sausage biscuit for my 5 a.m. breakfast, or heading up to Walmart for my grocery shopping (it's still the cheapest place for food and toiletries), I often passed Krispy Kreme, a chain donut shop, and I stopped there a couple of times when I wanted to be bad. But one place I kept passing back and forth, on 45 closer to downtown was a place called The Donut Factory, a local donut shop that made me wonder, could they possibly be as good as Krispy Kreme?

The Donut Factory, Gas Station, and Pharmacy
Now, I want to make it very clear that during the five months I've been living in Columbus, I've restricted my sweets and pastry intake to once or so a month. It has paid off in lost weight, and I intend to keep it that way. But one day I needed gasoline, and I had tried several places in town, and while the gas was not that expensive in those other places, their convenience stores were...meh. Just the usual. So a couple of mornings ago, I got gas at the combination Donut Factory, drive-thru pharmacy, convenience store, and gas station. And since I'd been wondering about the quality of the donuts at the Donut Factory, I went in and bought an old fashioned glazed and a caramel cake donut, and took them home. Man, was I surprised. They were both delicious. But my surprise and delight did not stop there. In the convenience store, which I went to the next time I bought a donut at the store, I brought my own mug, The Commercial Dispatch Sunday edition, and bought a cup of coffee from the convenience store. The surprise was they had several coffees to choose from, sitting on the warmers in very clean pots. I chose the Southern Pecan coffee. I hadn't had Southern Pecan coffee in several years. Yeah, I know, it's a flavored coffee and not something gourmet. But I don't care. I like the things I like and Southern Pecan coffee is one of them. I took my mug of coffee into the donut shop and ate my donut and read the Sunday paper. It doesn't take much to please me, granted, but this was a delightful (and cheap alternative) to my usual coffee shop visits.

I highly recommend this place as a stop for gas and treats, and I plan to make it a regular gas station when I need to fill up. Now, I just have to hold off and only buy a single donut whenever I fill up with about three weeks. Oh, yeah, the convenience store is a little different than the other gas station convenience stores. I picked up a loaf of bread there today because it was closer than Walmart and I was out.

Tonight is the Super moon, which hasn't been this close to the earth in 69 years. It's last appearance was 1948, the year I was born. Alas, this is Mississippi, and unlike the desert of southern New Mexico, you can't watch it come up over the mountain peaks. Still, I was able to view it just down the street from my house, coming up over one of the buildings on the MUW campus.

Be sure to watch this video far enough in for some really interesting information on Mississippi Hills blues technique, which is different from Mississippi Delta blues.
And I couldn't resist throwing in this "hot" video. I think it's all right to repost it, but if not and I get a complaint, I'll take it down, but for now, enjoy. It's from Late Night.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Taking time out to relax

This is a longish video of the Natchez Trace Parkway. I was delighted to have discovered it on YouTube and after this awful presidential election, I just wanted to visually, at least, decompress. The results of the election still feel unreal, in a way I simply cannot wrap my head around.

So join me in enjoying the views in this informative video

This is the Tennessee portion of the parkway, but the scenery is like this in Mississippi. Total mileage of this well maintained highway is around 400 miles.