Walkin’ in Memphis – Wasted in Margaritaville

On Friday afternoon (10 Feb) with temperatures now approaching a range in which humans can live without the protection of pelts from a variety of furry donors we rolled into Memphis, Tennessee.  A fine day of travel it was,  and much to Susan’s delight I had shifted gears from Bob Dylan to a catchy little tune expertly performed by Mark Cohn aptly entitled “Walkin’  in Memphis.”  There are lyrics to this song that stay with you like a tattoo;  but once they become yours the desire is to share them at every opportunity. A blessing to all those with whom you are traveling or sharing your life. (Look this song up if you’re growing weary of Bob Dylan. You will not regret it! I cannot speak for your loved ones!)

Moving ahead, Memphis is all that you have and have not imagined which leaves you with a pretty fresh palette ( We spell that differently in the dental world).  In just over forty-eight hours Cameron gave us a fairly comprehensive tour of as much Memphis that he  felt it wise to traverse.  At first I thought it was a poor man’s Reno then after more exposure I thought was  a rich man’s Reno.  By the time I left I realized it was not Reno at all; but it is a buzzing southern town with lots of young people trying to do good things.  If we older folks would just get out of the way, the world may turn out OK after all.

We stayed at an Air B&B in Midtown where Cameron is hunting down his next house project. In the AM we had a running tour through  the neighborhoods of Midtown, around Overton Park, hit the farmers market and had breakfast at a local hot spot.  Eventually we caught up with his girlfriend, Kelsey at her Girls Inc urban farm – big project! Then a drink at an outdoor bar, dinner at Central BBQ and a couple of hours on Beale St., sipping, listening to music and people watching.  Believe me…….there was plenty to watch!  I’m hitting just the high points but there were very few pauses when I was not at least humming that little ditty about Memphis.

While  we were entertaining ourselves here, the weather reports from the northeast involved stories of feet, not inches, of snow!   Did you know that it is quite easy to fly from Memphis to Key West?  Well it is.  So we did!  It was wonderful – best idea we ever had.  When I let Mel know our whereabouts, he of course had a restaurant recommendation that he remembered from when he was there in ’92……….really? I always marvel at his memory.  He tells me that he just remembers things he’s interested in.  Well, from our long history together  I can tell you he’s interested in everything!  I challenge anyone to name a city in which he can not tell you where to dine.  My big concern is that one of these days Mel will take in one more fact and his head will explode!  When it happens I want to be nearby so that some of what he knows will stick to me!  To add mystery to intrigue – or maybe it’s the other way around – no one I know has done more to kill off brain cells with wine. Which just goes to show you, it’s only cheap wine that kills brain cells!

We arrived in Key West (Mon 13 Feb) and were greeted by perfect weather.  The first thing we do at any new destination is walk until we drop.  Susan likes to do this just so she knows where not to bother driving later.   Having just finished doing this in Memphis the soles on my shoes were already a worn little thin.   In the weary moments after the death march I went back and checked our marriage contract and sure enough, there in the fine print I had agreed to “walk ’til I drop.”  I signed that when I was young, naive and had a one track mind (some things don’t change) and thought that was her “suggestive” code for something else entirely.  Nope!  She meant “walk” ’til I drop.

After day one, and no shoes with soles, we rented bikes and had a really enjoyable week spending every sunset at the Margaritaville Bar waiting for the green flash that never occurred. But always worth the wait.  At one of our daily interludes over a glass of wine I said to Susan, “This is a really nice vacation.”  To which she responded, “Since you don’t work, it’s not a vacation.  This is your life.”  ——- Even better!

Late in the week after many liberal tippings of the wine glass and minor carpal tunnel symptoms, Susan announced that upon returning home she was only going to drink on weekends.  It took her about two seconds to reconsider and include Wednesdays.  This was a nice compromise since our weekends start on Thursday and end on Tuesday!  But I sensed where she was coming from because like Prometheus, except for that thing with the rock, I too felt like the eagle  may be paying a daily visit to my liver.

For some reason, Susan had gotten us round trip tickets!  So come Saturday, it was time to drag myself out of the hot tub and put on long pants.  We got to the airport and Delta kept delaying our flight. Other airlines were leaving so after about four hours I determined that DELTA  stood for Doesn’t Ever Leave This Airport!  My suspicions were heightened further when, finally aboard and idling on the tarmac, the captain explained that the runway was technically too short for this particular aircraft.   Hi Ho!         Green Flash!

As usual, much has happened since…………..

What kind of shoes are made from banana peels?……………………………..Slippers!!

From high on the GrumpStump


  1. Jgmurph40

    I love hearing all of your news. You don’t sit still for very long. We have a granddaughter in Memphis. Her husband is in the restaurant business. I don’t think they get around much. Looking forward to spring. Is that really your EMail address at the top of the page. It’s humungous ! Cheers Aunt Jane

    Jane G. Murphy

  2. tom colbert

    Recent cartoon in the New Yorker : A young couple staring at their respective iPad screens-one says to the other ” I feel like everybody’s podcasting and nobody is pod-listening “. Jim,in fact we are listening, if not living our otherwise hum-drum lives vicariously through your travels.

    The burden of having every day potentially being wonderful must be the most daunting part of retirement I am sure. As the dowager famously said ” Weekend ? What’s a weekend ? “. Thus reading your posts is not only fun but also instructive for that day in my not so distant future. Keep doing it right teacher !


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