Sorry about lack of post yesterday; it was Sunday, and the library in Holly Springs was closed.
Yesterday I left Brownsville and headed south on TN 76, which goes straight south a long way, eventually reaching Moscow, TN., where I headed west a bit before taking Slayden Road south. At Wolf Creek, just west of Moscow, there was a historical marker, so of course I stopped. “Battle of Moscow”. The Union was holding a railroad bridge across the creek, and Confederates attacked. Although there were a lot of Union casualties, the Confederates were repulsed, and later the Union troops moved into Moscow, where they burned all but two houses. Then at the bottom, the sign says “continued”. So I pushed the bike up a bit, and there on the back: “African-American Troops at the Battle of Moscow.” Apparently a lot of the Union troops that won that battle were black, and they were later commended for their bravery under fire. I just thought it was an interesting segregated historical marker.
There wasn’t a sign to tell me I’d entered Mississippi — the pavement on Slayden Rd. changed color from brown gravel to gray, and got a bit poorer. I wasn’t sure, and a quarter mile up the road I saw a kid picking up trash while another guy mowed the shoulder, and as I went by I said “Is this Mississippi?”
The road to Holly Springs was pretty hilly, and I’m getting slower as I go along. Nevertheless, I got there about 1 PM, and rode around the central historic district. Everything was closed for Sunday. For that matter, the Marshall County Historical Museum, advertised on signs on every approach to town, appeared to be permanently closed, its lawn in need of mowing, and the building up for sale. I did get some pics of antebellum homes, though, and I saw Ross College, which I believe was the first black college founded in the south, in 1866.
I then went to WalMart, McD’s, and a convenience store. I thought I was never going to communicate what I wanted to the girl at the McDonald’s. I think she found me just as hard to understand as I did her. “I’d like a grilled chicken sandwich with no mayo, to go.”
“You wone silicks?”
*pained grimace, intended to convey “I hate to be so thick, but I still can’t tell what you’re saying…”*
She sighed. “Whatchoo wone?”
Reading carefully from the menu to get the wording just the same: “a Classic Grilled Chicken Sandwich, no mayo, to go?” This finally registered. Apparently she had been under the impression that I was ordering “Chicken Selects,” which are like chicken nuggets only made of chicken.
At the convenience store, another surprise: even in a wet county in MS you can get 24oz singles at a convenience store. So, I got a bottle of Corona and headed out to the country. Chewalla Lake, or as I like to think of it, Amanitaville. I never saw so many mushrooms, including scads of beautiful, bright red, deadly Amanitas, in my life. The lake itself was nice, with a small swimming area full of screaming kids. The “primitive” campground was completely empty and private, and I had my own private highly mildewed bathroom and shower.
Here in northwest Mississippi, it’s mixed oak and pine woods on red clay, and it reminds me a lot of home. South Florida, that is. Although you’d never know it now, where I grew up was once mostly sandy pine woods, and the smell of pines on a hot day takes me back to my boy scout days.
Anyway, I need to go look for the Faulkner museum now — I’m in New Albany, his birthplace. Can’t miss that. I’m reading The Hamlet on the trip, by the way. I still have another 50 miles to go today, so I should get on it — looks like rain.