Wednesday, April 26, 2006

There's sometimes nothing like a good road trip, especially when it takes you somewhere pretty. We just returned from a weekend trip to attend a neighbor's daughter's wedding at Ole Miss (that's the "University of Mississippi" for all you Northerners, bless your hearts) in Oxford, Mississippi. The wedding, held at the Paris-Yates Chapel on the campus, was a very special, lovely ceremony (Dickie, I'm still proud of you for holding up so well), and the reception, held at a historic home on the east side of Oxford, was simply delightful. There is indeed something so appealing about sipping yet another glass of chilled white wine on the lawn of a beautiful Southern home while taking in the scent of jasmine on the cool night air and listening to the strains of The Marshall Tucker Band. Hallelujah.

Oxford is a unique community with a style all its own -- historic, artsy, somewhat trendy, and unquestionably hospitable. It's also only 75 miles from Memphis -- far enough to be on the quiet side, but close enough to a major metropolitan area to take advantage of the services it provides. Being a book nut, I was enthralled to find three separate bookstores on the pristine town square, each with its own focus -- one specializing in signed first editions, one focused on quality bargain books, and a third devoted to children's literature. Square Books, one of the larger stores, has a special section devoted to the works of William Faulkner, certainly one of the city's most famous sons. Faulkner's home, Rowan Oak, is open to the public, and self-guided tours of the house and grounds make for a restful morning visit.

We wrapped up our brief pilgrimage with a day in Memphis, where we visited Beale Street, strolled around the Memphis Zoo (an awesome collection), and consumed large plates of pulled pork barbecue at Corky's on Poplar Avenue with my longtime friend Lewis and his wife Donna. The waitress "talked me into" eating pecan pie a la mode for dessert. It was nice to be back in Memphis, livin' on Delta Time, if only for a day.

I came back to Atlanta a happy camper, well-rested, but still clinging to the scent of magnolia blossoms, dreaming of groves of oak and cedar, and listening to Faith Hill just a little more often. Oh, by the way, dea-ah, if you don't mind, would you please pass me that little ol' glass of bourbon I left settin' over the-ah? Thank you kindly, ma'am.