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Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Today's journey took me through Tupelo, Mississippi, and over the Tallahatchie River, two places that are forever immortalized for me by the beautiful Bobbie Gentry.  What I didn't realize was that Tupelo is also famous for being the birthplace of Elvis Presley.  Wouldn't you know it, as I took a spin through the AM radio dial, I found an all-Elvis lunch hour on the local station and started having some fun.  Here's the result:

Sometimes this is how the best times happen on a road trip.  There is something so simple and real about AM radio that goes beyond all the campy feelings.  It goes right back to childhood.  Ironically the last tune, Bossanova, was the same one that was in a previous video from my Tennessee moonshine run.  I had to muffle my laughter.  Also, as I pulled into town I was thinking about Bobbie Gentry because she mentioned Tupelo in Ode To Billie Joe, one of my most favorite songs.  I couldn't believe it, but in one of the songs on the All-Elvis hour he belted out the first two lines of Ode To Billie Joe then launched into another tune.  It was over before I could start the recording.  Talk about a spooky-cool synchronicity.  Wow.

I loved the drive through Mississippi along 78.  It was verdant and lush, and the highway felt like a parkway.  Very beautiful.  Tupelo was cool too, although the video doesn't do it justice.  The downtown area of Tupelo was actually quite cute.  I'd definitely go back and hang out there.  It seemed like a pretty nice little town.

I headed on to Birmingham, Alabama, then to Atlanta, Georgia, where I lucked out yet again.  Very little traffic during the tail end of rush hour.  And still nice weather even though the thunderstorms were following me the whole day.  Later that night, once I'd checked into the hotel in Gainesville, I saw that Atlanta got pummeled by heavy thunderstorms shortly after I left and that traffic was at a standstill.  Phew, lucky again.

Dr. Masaro Emoto, who is famous for his breakthrough discoveries concerning the consciousness of water, found that by taping handwritten words to jars of water and then putting a drop of the water under a microscope, the two most powerful words were LOVE and GRATITUDE.  These words caused the most beautiful crystals to be formed, whereas a word such as HATE or a cell phone taped to the jar would not produce a crystal when the water was analyzed.

I make it a point to express love and gratitude as many times a day as I can.  And on these trips when bad weather is all around me, my feelings just get magnified.  I am very thankful.

In Atlanta, I finally tried The Varsity for some hot dogs.  It's a famous Atlantis landmark institution that's been around since 1928. They're known for great hot dogs, and for saying "What'll ya have, what'll ya have?" as you order.  I got a couple of OK dogs and a girl that acted like her break couldn't come soon enough.  Ha, whatever.  It's a tourist joint. 

I'll leave you with Bobbie Gentry's Ode To Billie Joe which gives me chills each time I listen to it.  I can hear the heat and see the shimmer in the thick summer air as she sings.

Ode To Billie Joe by Bobbie Gentry on Grooveshark

Gentry was one of the first female country artists to write and produce her own material, and it's sad that she didn't receive much credit for it.  "I originally produced "Ode To Billie Joe" and most of my other records, but a woman doesn't stand much chance in a recording studio. A staff producer's name was nearly always put on the records."

The world needs more people with half as much soul as her.

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