“Do piranha live in the Mississippi?” Sweet T asked the lady taking our breakfast order.
“I’m sure they do the way them bodies keep disappearing!” our waitress quipped.
“Welcome to Memphis!” T and I chuckled. We were glad to be visiting the historic city for our first vacation in nearly six years. In recent weeks, we had both inventoried our life to identify why it had been so long since we had taken any significant time off. This happened. Then that. Life gets busy. We are entering a season of change in which we, out of necessity and good stewardship, need to bring some of our own interests to the forefront to ensure we can finish the race well. Life is a marathon, not a sprint and there is a ways to go still before we see the finish line, let alone cross it. Praise God for His goodness!
Our breakfast server differed substantially from the waitress we had for dinner the previous evening. When Terri asked that particular disinterested young girl about the size of the hamburgers the restaurant served the youthful waitress shrugged and said “The regular size.” When I asked if the burgers came with fries, she replied, “Nu-uh.” Just as well, I probably didn’t need the fries.
The Mississippi River is the second longest river in North America behind the Missouri. The Mississippi starts out as a trickle in Lake Itasca up in northern Minnesota and flows south for over 2,300 miles right down in to the Gulf of Mexico. The Big River has more curves than Angelina Jolie and borders or passes through ten states.
The word Mississippi comes from a French rendering of an ancient Anishinaabe tribe name. The Anishinaabe were a culturally intertwined indigenous peoples living throughout the land known today as Canada and the United States. The Anishinaabe believed that life was created by divine breath (Johnston, Basil (1990). Ojibway Heritage. Nebraska Press. Lincoln, Nebraska).
The Mississippi River towns are comely, clean, well built, and pleasing to the eye, and cheering to the spirit. The Mississippi Valley is as reposeful as a dreamland, nothing worldly about it . . . nothing to hang a fret or a worry upon.Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi
Bordering southwest Tennessee and situated on the banks of the Mississippi River, Memphis is known for its significant influence on American music, particularly the blues, soul, and rock-n-roll. Elvis, B.B. King, and Johnny Cash recorded at the legendary Sun Studio. The influence of larger than life hometown hero Elvis Presley can be felt throughout the city. Amid all the great music and excellent food, the National Civil Rights Museum stands tall. Our three hour tour of the place where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated resonated with Terri and I deeply. The struggle surrounding Civil Rights hit home as we maneuvered our way through the museum. The amount of information showering our synapses felt overwhelming. We couldn’t digest it all and left us with a lot to process.
Naturally, when in Memphis one must visit Graceland. The presence of Elvis remains engrained throughout the big, well-preserved mansion. We also visited Stax Museum and toured a portion of the Big River on a steamboat. Our stay at Big Cypress Lodge was phenomenal. Along the way, we ate at several superb places, including Central Barbecue, the Sunrise Memphis, and South of Beale.
The history of Memphis is rich and an integral part of the American story. The wounds and scars embroidering our tangled tapestry of racial relations run deeper than the shallow waters of the Big River. Memphis is a place that ignites a growing curiosity with each beautiful sunset.
I pray all is well with you and yours.
The Devotional Guy™
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