Every couple of months of friends Hugh Leigh (HL) and Gigi pull into our driveway, typically on a Sunday afternoon, as they prepare to go out for a drive to nowhere. Fortunately we normally have the time to go as we get to see sights and sites that if we tried it on our own we probably couldn’t find. So in we hopped and we were off and away.
Anyone reading this may be aware already but if you are new to this blog HL and Gigi have memories to go along with virtually every road, pasture, farm, bridge et al in Yazoo county and beyond as this is where they have lived for their 59+ years of their lives. While it is fascinating to hear the stories the facts, people and events just keep pouring our and at some point it does become overwhelming. HL really is of the school of oral tradition and he is able to just come up with amazing details of things that happened when he was 3 years old and beyond. As he was the first child it is not like there is an older sibling to help remind him of things. It must be that his father was also a story teller and HL learned to imprint things at an early age. Once he was old enough to meet Gigi in school, she can help him remember (well it really is an ‘animated discussion’ at times) events of their shared memories.
We left the paved roads often to go down packed gravel / dirt roads. I have mentioned before but cease to be amazed that many of the roads have been originally worn down by wagon wheels and then erosion from the ruts that formed from wheels of all types during rain storms. To handle the ruts they are then graded which lowers the road even more. The result is the roads are often any where from 2 to 10 feet below the countryside. The sights then are just the roots of trees, dirt and local vegetation that is struggling to live in a tough environment. Then you turn a corner and pop back up over the shoulder of the road and see the world again.
This results in a little disorientation for us non-locals and you wonder where you are.
One of these times it was a dilapidated old building at an intersection that we were informed was the Casey Jones Museum!http://wikimapia.org/6256522/Casey-Jones-crash-site-c-1900
While I had rediscovered the Casey Jones story when we attended an event at the Yazoo Historical Society shortly after we had arrived in 2013 (which was a post done then) we were informed that this was the original museum site that had the same model steam locomotive engine that Casey Jones was at the controls when the crash occurred close to the intersection that the museum site we were looking at. http://www.eventcrazy.com/attractions/Vaughan-MS/Casey-Jones-Museum-48699
An aside: My MAC went into hibernation and for some reason it didn’t used to do, it closes down Safari and so WordPress. When I opened it up I thought I had lost everything I have written so far in this post. Momentary panic set it until I patiently poked around for a while in drafts and finally was given to refresh what I had in browser. Voila! Up back up and running.
Somehow our drive ended up in the next county north of us (my wife and I had a little discussion of our own as the county was north or south of Vaughn) and were driving by a very large farm that has been in the same family for over a hundred years. Since we are in what is known as the ‘hill country’ vs the delta, farming is not as easy with all the rolling hills but even this land was planted all cotton when “Cotton Was King”. Now it is one of a number of crops depending on the rotation of crops that allows the soil to replenish its nutrients. As cotton is still grown there are still cotton gins (for those in the know, Eli Whitney invented the gin – which gets the seeds out of fluffy cotton – and that was the beginning of the industrial revolution in the South). One of the last things of note that we passed on the way home was a cotton gin that still operates and naturally HL could tell us all about it as he used to haul cotton and cotton seeds to and from the gin.
We arrived home exhausted from all the information we had to digest but very grateful to our friends for thinking of us when starting the excursion.