Thursday, July 13, 2017

Last One to Leave, Turn Out the Lights


Cliff entered Columbus, Mississippi from the west
and had I been standing on the steps of Harvey's
restaurant, as I was when I took this picture, I would
have seen his SUV clearly.
My partner Cliff arrived in Columbus, Mississippi, on Friday, June 30, around 7:30 p.m. He traveled for two days, spending only one night on the road in Weatherford, Texas, west of Fort Worth/Dallas and just barely out of the west Texas desert and into the rolling hills on the edge of much greener and wetter east Texas. He left Las Cruces, New Mexico, embroiled in triple-digit heat and a haboob, and after two days of grueling driving (with our cat Julia), he crossed the Mississippi River and drove through Vicksburg, Mississippi in a rainstorm—just exactly what my experience was one year and one month ago, when I entered Mississippi.

This is the Haboob that hit Las Cruces shortly after
Cliff had left to move to Mississippi
But in fact, he was not the last member of his family to leave Las Cruces, New Mexico, for greener climes. His brother Clay and his wife Angie left Las Cruces a day after Cliff did. They were the last ones of his family to leave and to turn out the lights. I have to mention that Clay and Angie were in a caravan with friends driving trucks and trailers and hauling the great bulk of possessions, some of it was for Cliff's parents who had previously moved to Rosebud, Texas.

But in fact (yeah another one), Clay and Angie's three children are still in Las Cruces. The twins are entering college at NMSU, and their oldest daughter is getting married and will be living in Las Cruces with her husband.

But I digress...Cliff's arrival closed a chapter in our relationship—the one year and one month we were apart, while he sold property, bought property, closed the family business, and otherwise settled accounts in New Mexico, so he could finally leave. Now that he's here, he said—and I agree—this past year apart just seems like the blink of an eye. Cliff and our cat Julia moved into my house while his house is continuing to be renovated. That, too, is quickly coming to a close and in a few more weeks his house will be move-in ready.

On the night that Cliff arrived, we make a late evening trip to Harvey's Restaurant for a small meal and a dessert. It reminded me of our first trip to Columbus in 2014 when we first looked at property and were astounded at the sheer beauty of the small city, the friendly people, and the progressive atmosphere.

In the two weeks that Cliff has been here, getting settled, opening accounts, etc., we managed a delightful trip to West Point where we ate lunch at The Main Street Market and Restaurant. We were both astounded at the deep menu selections, including entrees from fish, chicken, pork, and beef. It is also a meat market, and when we left, we took both brisket and pulled pork. The decor is down-home with a nod to Mississippi's musical heritage and culture. There are two pictures of Elvis. The waitress Martha was delightfully ready to talk and answer our questions. One of the dessert items was called "Elvis Cake" and, as it turned out, that's what Cliff and I shared. I took pictures of our main entree, as well as convinced Martha to stand with Cliff in front of one of the Elvis pictures and jointly holding a serving of Elvis Cake. It is a basic white cake with soaked in brown sugar and pineapple bits, covered with a butter cream (cream cheese) and pecan icing. Martha told us that it was one of Elvis's favorite desserts. The chef of the Market recreated that dessert for his restaurant. Throughout our meal, even on a Monday afternoon, people came and went, mainly to get take-out. We had planned to eat at another popular restaurant in West Point, called Anthony's. But fortuitously it was closed and we discovered the Market restaurant, which Cliff recalled reading about in some Mississippi magazine.

Cliff and Martha posing with
the Elvis Cake
We do plan to return to this restaurant, and we know that our friend Jim (who hails from Arkansas) would love this place. Yes, I could have tasted their catfish on this particular afternoon, but I tried the small pulled pork sandwich, instead. I cannot imagine how big the upsize of this sandwich would be. I felt stuffed as it was with the small sandwich.

Once again, I find myself talking about the food and hidey holes in the area where I live. West Point is just minutes away from Columbus, and there are at least three stellar restaurants there. We had originally decided to make the jaunt to West Point to visit Annabelle's Antiques, which is also on Main Street. We'll be returning on a later date for that purpose, but I hope that we can take time to have another meal at the Main Street Market.

Cliff has taken it slowly in meeting people that I have come to know, here in Columbus, but we're both looking forward to a trip to Ruben's Fish House on the Tom Bigbee waterway, just outside the entrance to Columbus from the west. I've already eaten there. Ruben's has a colorful history. That restaurant sits on the banks of the waterway. That's where we're going with two friends of mine this coming Friday, July 14. And while we have been exploring Columbus a little bit, most of our time is taken up with overseeing the final touches to Cliff's house. It's coming along fine, with a few hiccups along the way. Sit back and enjoy a 26-minute episode of Mississippi Roads:

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