|Camellia in Eudora Welty's garden|
My first drive took me down Highway 51 from Ridgeland. I reminisced about the days before I-55 when we would drive from Alexandria and travel up 51 from Highway 84. It was tedious, but coming into Jackson meant that usually we would be stopping for gas and sometimes to eat a meal or just pick up something. On this morning's little journey I passed through the little neighborhood of Fondren, squealing with delight at its quirkiness! I could hear my Daddy's voice telling the that I needed to have my eyes and my head examined, but I loved it!
I wished fervently that Daddy was in the car because he could have answered all my questions about what is this and what is that. I think that I passed by the Bailey Jr. High that is on the 101 Places list, but I'm not sure. I did pass by Millsaps College, one of the institutions that my parents wanted me to consider when choosing a college. If they had brought me here and showed it to me I probably would have chosen it!
My first stop was the old Capitol Building. I had been here several times before, but wanted to come back as I always loved it and the exhibits. As I walked up I remembered that my last visit was in December 2003. The first plaque that I read spoke of Katrina's damage and subsequent restoration. Upon entering the building I was greeted by a delightful lady that explained that after Katrina everything was changed. Now the exhibits focus on the building itself and the events that took place inside. We had a long conversation (turns out she has a cousin that lives close to me and she had visited San Antonio) about preservation. Just as in San Antonio, it was a group of ladies that led the fight to preserve the Old Capitol after the New Capitol was built and abandoned the old building.
I enjoyed the exhibits, although I had issues with the open ceilings looking down into the chambers and the entry hall as the railings were very low. A light clicked on when I saw a picture of how the building looked in the 1960's - the stucco had not been reapplied after the 1959 renovation so the red brick was exposed on the second and third floors. That's it, I thought! That is why I kept thinking that this building was different when I was a child - it was different!
|The Old Capitol Building as seen from East Capitol Street. Just to note that I've decided that power lines, traffic lights and road construction are part of the permanent landscape, so I don't worry about trying to avoid photographing them!|
|Douhlie catches a little sun!|
|This building was completed in 1903.|
As I walked through the garden I couldn't help but think about her and her mother and the wonderful hours they had spent here. If I lived in Jackson I would definitely get involved with any group that helps tend this space. The camellias were still blooming and daffodils were popping up. Spring is just about to burst forth!
Continuing on I stopped at the Mississippi Crafts Center. I had always enjoyed visits to the old center many years ago. I still have a beloved coffee mug that I bought there! I picked up a pottery centerpiece type plate (photo to come later) and some soaps made here in Mississippi. There was a little of everything to delight my eyes. An early supper took the form of catfish at a local restaurant that I love (I only eat catfish at this restaurant, no where else, ever!) and then a drive along the Natchez Trace and the Reservoir.
As I pulled into this scenic overlook I had a sudden realization that I had been here before. In fact, it was almost 35 years to the day. The husband and I had taken our almost one-year old son to see my grandparents and we had stopped at this overlook while going up the Trace. I have a picture of little son and me standing in these trees. As I pulled away from the overlook I had the strangest, oddest feeling that I'm not sure how to describe. Time is strange, isn't it?