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Plantations, Pirates and Harry Potter …..

The Final Installment of the Great American Road Trip with the nephews AKA Pirates, Plantations, and Potter is now fully underway. I realize that this is the third year running that I’ve said this will be the last of the Nephews’ Road Trips but surely this will be as Graham starts college in the Fall and will be done with the old folks for sure by then.

In the meantime, we are still in search of the biggest ball of twine and other Road Side oddities – this time on the Mickey Mouse coast.

We were up and out of the house at TCON minus 2 (that would be 10 am for those of you who haven’t been on one of these trips of discovery with me before). With the mini-van all gassed and gussied up we headed toward Memphis by way of Baton Rouge.

Soon after BR we turned north onto IH 55, passing miles of cotton fields along the way. Memories of my cotton pickin’ childhood flooded in and I was struck with the brilliant idea of making a stop deep in the Mississippi farm country to seek out any one of my many cousins MacDonalds. How cool would it be – taking the nephews to visit the original Old MacDonald’s farm, or at least that’s what Maw Mac called it.

Wrongo! I wasn’t able to convince my fellow traveler’s that we should pull off to pick some cotton because we were “making good time” and they wanted to hit Memphis in time to have dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Chicken Boy.



After ten hours on the road, we pulled into Memphis with just enough time for pizza and pasta with Mr. & Mrs. CB before we made our way to the Westin on Beale Street. It was pretty cool – the FedEx Forum sign keeping our room aglow with L.E.D. reminders of the upcoming Justin Timberlake concert.


We headed over to the FiveinOne Social Club to get our first peek at the concept. I guess CB’s explanation best describes it – Kindergarten for Grown Folk.

Combination of a retail store and “Social Club” where people come and learn how to make fun stuff like shrinky dinks, coloring books, buttons. On Saturday the neighborhood association (which is comprised of mostly artists and artisans) is hosting an event called “Demo Days” where all the artists and storekeepers give demos of how they do what they do. CB is teaching a glass etching class.

While CB, Lettuce and TW prepared the shop for Demo Days, I took the boys to on a tour of the Pink Palace, the never lived in palatial pink estate of the late Mr. Wiggly, now a museum housing a replica of the first Piggly Wiggly grocery.  Garrett came away with his very own Piggly Wiggly tee shirt and a can of pickled lunch tongues.

After the PW tour we returned to the Social Club where Lettuce promptly gave Graham and I the task of  steaming and folding tee shirts in preparation of the big day. A very important job too, or at least that was what I was told.


“Demo Days” was well underway when we made our entrance after TCON. Meandering down the street we saw artists pin-striping motorcycles, artists making soap, the guy who made the sports balls in front of the Memphis Forum life casting a female bodybuilder, and of course the Socialites working on their designs that would soon turn bottles, glasses and handmade glass panes into works of sandblasted art. Can’t wait to show you my engraved “Chicken Boy” glass which was my Father’s Day present from the aforementioned CB!


Father’s Day.
We picnic’d breakfast at FiveinOne while learning how to embroidery my name onto my camera bag, underwear and my new baseball cap. Soon after the embroidery lessons we headed out toward Atlanta by way of Birmingham.

On the way to Atlanta we stopped to see the “Vulcan” the largest cast iron statue in the world, which sits atop Red Mountain overlooking Birmingham, Alabama. Quite a tourist attraction, but still not as cool as the biggest ball of twine.

Maybe we’ll find it tomorrow …..

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