It's time for the obligatory end of the year review, and a bit of a break from all the historic and historical sites of Texas. I recently learned that there is a difference: significance versus age. I tend to lean toward historical, that all things of place matter because they are part of who we are because they are part of who we were. I was reminded of that yesterday as I was searching through a box of old pictures looking for something I needed. It was amazing how each photograph could transport me back to a time and place that I had not thought about in years, and yet recall the details of the event.
At midnight last night, the neighbor shot his gun (we are in rural Mississippi after all) 12 times. I was grateful he did not see the need to add the other 2000 years. I went outside and welcomed in the new year under a starry sky and a moon bright enough to have fair visibility. The cats were playing, excited to have someone else outside, too, and Scruffy crawled up on my lap for his ear scratching and belly-rubbing, purring contentedly. It does not take much to make a cat or a dog satisfied, does it? We could take a lesson from that.
January 2011, I chanced upon Tippo, home to jazz and blues musician Mose Allison and uncovered the rural architectural building form of the Hardwicke-Etter Cotton Drying Extracting and Cleaning System, one of the last remaining gin manufacturers.
February took me to Tupelo several times, and the Lyric Theatre, which ranks among the top posts on the blog. I made my first visit to the historic Spain House, and watched the demolition of Miller Hall to make room for three new mega-dorms on the campus.
March continued my exploration of the University's historic buildings and their architects with Frank P. Gates' University High School, Bondurant Graduate School, and Lamar Hall Law School. I also solved the mystery of P. J. Krouse and the Bobo High School building. My last trip to Tupelo for the year resulted in another top post, the old Tupelo High School building.
April brought me smack-dab front row tickets for the James Pirkle Blues Band and another new Mississippi cultural experience.
My highlights for May and June were taking 8 students to South Africa for yet another incredible adventure in the country I could call home and my first visit to Mound Bayou, another place I could call home. I also took students to the Gulf Coast for a service learning class, which gave me a chance to catch up on the post-Katrina story that never seems to end.
July sent me back to Mound Bayou, and my first visit to Shelby: City of Justice. Imagine my amazement that the doctor repairing my hand in my recent visit to ER was from Shelby! He, like everyone I have asked so far, has no idea why they call it the City of Justice. We'll be down there this week, though, and I am making it my mission to find out.
August was the busiest month, with a trip to Texas, continuing to explore historic buildings on campus, more Mound Bayou, and a visit to the historic Public Square in Batesville. The highlight, though, was finally finishing the bathroom remodel!
September brought the Mound Bayou September Fest, and my first visit to historic downtown New Albany and the Tallahatchie River Fest, with my good buddies the James Pirkle Blues Band.
In October, my travels took me back to Mound Bayou for the Historic Preservation Workshop for youth, and over to Atlanta for a few days.
I made a mad dash up to Franklin, Tennessee the day before Thanksgiving, and spent a lot of time with the buildings in the Circle that don't see much press.
The year concluded with another trip to Texas (and I've still got posts to do on that!) and another trip to Mound Bayou. Looking back on this year, there was a whole lot of driving going on! It looks like 2012 will be more of the same and I head back to Mound Bayou Thursday for a week with students and follow that up with a month of travels to Tupelo. After that, who knows where the road will lead? I do know it will always be an adventure, whether it is back to someplace I have already been or to a new destination. After all, "the trail is the thing, not the end of the trail" (L'amour, 1984).