Mississippi: The 47th State

24 Apr
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Mississippi crew of 2.

 

So…Mississippi was not the 47th state to join the good old US of A.  (#47 is New Mexico, thanks Google). Luckily, this blog post is not based on historical accuracy, and Mississippi is, in fact, the 47th state that Patrick has visited!

For Patrick’s birthday this year, we headed out on a road trip to visit a state that he had never been to before.  Just FYI, one of his goals is to visit every state. We started out in Memphis, Tennessee, because it was the only ten I saw… (okay, I guess that joke only works in the present tense).

The morning of our trip, despite only getting 5 hours of sleep, I woke up on the first alarm, put in my guitar pick earrings (because “when in Memphis..”), and got to the airport an hour and a half early. Let me repeat that: This was the type of trip that I was so excited for that I got to the airport an hour and a half early. Thanks to Chase Sapphire and their priority pass, I was able to spend this extra time in an airport lounge eating jelly beans.

 

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Right off the plane it was obvious that Memphis is known as a music city.  I started pointing out all of the musical imagery to Patrick just to make sure he knew he was included.  

 

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I wonder what “sounds” encompasses…is it different than music? TBD

 

So besides the music, sights, and sounds (that may or may not also be music), the sign should have also included BBQ. Because there’s a lot of it, and they only sell it by the pound. The first thing we did after a super easy car rental pick up was drive to A&R BBQ.  We ordered 1 lb of hot sausage and 1lb pulled pork. They wouldn’t sell us any less.  Was it a ton? No, it was only 2 lbs, I told you. But was it a lot? Yes. But was it also delicious? Extra yes. It was probably the best BBQ I’ve ever had.

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Now, in my right hand is one lb of meat smothered in sauce.

 

So we had some sights (that bbq shop was definitely a sight to see), we had some sounds (Does talking count as a sound?), so of course we had to get in some music.  And because Patrick was the bday boy — and when it’s your birthday you’re not supposed to do an ounce of work even though he was the one who knew the most about music — I decided to check out some funky jazz. I came across this one band — Thump Daddy. And if you’re not already impressed by the name, and if you don’t immediately picture a bunch of cool cats with black berets and sunglasses, then you know less about music than I do. 

Anyways, yeah. Thump Daddy. I checked out some YouTube videos of them; they were smooth, they were hip, they were super jazzy, and I was into it. I checked to see when they were gracing Tennessee with their presence, and, just our luck, Thump Daddy was playing at Cafe 152, which was right in our general vicinity.

Before we made it to the heart of the night life though, HQ was on and we pulled over on the side of the road to play and got our highest score yet… 11/12!  So close to winning!

We headed to Beale Street, specifically Cafe 152 in search of Thump Daddy, but we couldn’t find the bar. A little defeated, we ended up going to a random spot that wasn’t too crowded and didn’t charge cover because, let’s be honest, that’s almost as good as seeing Thump Daddy. There was also live music at this random bar, but it was just a bunch of old white guys singing Backstreet Boy covers. As we gazed upon this throwback cover band, we realized there was a “152” on the screen behind them. Could it be? Was this the Cafe 152? Was this the opener for Thump Daddy? With spirits high, I excitedly asked the bartender “Is this Cafe 152??  Do you know Thump Daddy?  What time will they be coming on?!”  

“That’s them.” She says pointing to the guys on stage, who were singing “Toxic.”

I was really confused. “Huh?”
Patrick said to me “Is this Thump Daddy?”
No! It couldn’t be!  I turned to him puzzled “No, this isn’t them, I looked them up before this.”

Patrick laughed at me the whole night as it dawned on me that this was indeed Thump Daddy.  They had become gentrified. They were no longer Thump Daddy — cool jazz cats with black berets — they were now “Papa Daddy” or “Thump Papa.” But hey, to be honest, this was kind of our demographic and it was really fun.

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Thump Papa…at least one of them is wearing sunglasses.

 

After the Thump Papa show, we ended up going to a brothel-turned-bar. The brothel had shut down in 1992, and being in there was kind of eerie; I felt for the women. We met the bartender, Nate, who had been working there for decades, and (after finding cash) I even got him to sign a $1 star note (heads up, Andrew and Brian, one’s coming your way!).

 

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Nate, the bartender and music selector.

 

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Nate signing the $1 bill for my friends.

 

After our one wild night in Tennessee (which induced a memorable moment in Rayfords disco and Dominos that took so long to arrive that I fell asleep and ate it cold the next day), it was time to keep moving. We headed to Mississippi, Patrick’s 47th state. On the ride there we talked about if the leaves fall off in this part of the country (they do) and bought Russ a fake plant (you’re welcome).

So, of course, the first thing we did when we got to Mississippi (like the first thing we did when we got to Tennessee) was order some BBQ. We arrived at this BBQ place that I had researched and had won the title of world champion ribs for 6 years. WORLD CHAMPION RIBS! As we ordered the ribs, the woman asked:
Do you want the ribs wet or dry?
Us: …Yes…?
Silly Yanks.  We didn’t know how to answer that question, but after her recommendation, we ordered them wet. Which was a great decision.

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Wet ribs and dry rinds.  If that lst BBQ wasn’t the best I’ve ever had than this definitely was.

 

Even though we were incredibly full after our world champion ribs, Patrick asked if I thought there would be good pecan pie anywhere. While we couldn’t find it at the rib joint, I made it a point to find some pecan pie while we were in Mississippi. I was determined to find pecan pie; I made it my mission to find pecan pie. I was going to find some amazing pecan pie if it was the last thing I did….for Patrick, of course.

We continued on our way to see Russ and I had 2 double shot cans of coffee on the way (YUM), SO IF I WASN’T ALREADY PUMPED TO SEE HIM NOW I WAS!

We met Russ at an arts festival (where I bought the perfect necklace) and also got to meet Ryan, the guy Russ has been working with for years (who I’d never gotten to meet until this point). He’s great.  We admired their booth where they were selling beard oil products and had a blast playing with some of their photobooth props:

 

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The three amigos.

 

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Don’t mess with Munson and Brother..actually yes, mess with them. Buy their beard oil.

 

After the art show and checking out some Southern Belles, we went to grab dinner. It was Italian night at the place Russ chose and, since he had been there several times before and has good taste, we all decided to order the exact same thing as him. For dessert I ordered the “energy bar” which, with condensed milk and lots of chocolate, was more like an anti-energy bar.  Still no pecan pie for Patrick.  As we were standing in line, Russ kept saying how exhausted he was. Our conversation went something a little like this:
Russ: Wow, I’m so tired, I can’t wait to sit down (Pause…)
Sammi: I can take a hint. Do you want to sit down? I know what you’re going to order. They call me Take-a-hint Sam.
And thus, my new nickname was born.

 


 

Russ had cleaned his entire place, gave us keys to his house, and made us feel completely welcomed — THANK YOU!  That night Patrick and I watched ALL the movie trailers in bed and unscrewed the lightbulb because of the clinking I couldn’t figure out.

The next day, we woke up, went for a run, and decided to go on a cultural excursion to church. I was vetoed from going to a methodist baptist church and we ended up at just a regular baptist church. It was a massive place, had hundreds of attendees, lots of singing with karaoke style entertainment and words on large screens above us (at one point on the screen there was a question in the form of a song called “Who can compare?”, but I leaned into Patrick and told him this was a non thinking question, a rhetorical question.  Take-a-hint Sam knew not to try to answer this).  In addition there was a live band and live singers — the whole shebang (but not with a bigbang theory…if you catch my drift). And I was really getting into it, singing, standing, sitting, standing again, sitting again.  It was engaging and I was all in.

I started off in the middle seat (between my besties) but every time we had to sit or stand (often) I moved so Patrick and Russ could have a turn.  The two of them stayed stationary but I, like a happy seal, moved all around. It was so fun to have the middle seat!  Everyone should get a turn! This was great!

That was, until, the message got unnecessarily mean. As the pastor was giving the sermon, he started getting hateful and judgmental. I was shocked and mad! I started crying — the message really rubbed me the wrong way, to say the least, and I felt like I was betraying my soul for not speaking up for the ones I love. But, I was a visitor here and I’ve traveled enough to know that there is a time to be respectful even when you disagree and so I held my tongue (but not my tears). Once the service was over, we got out of there ASAP and I let my sobs flow freely.

—————

To make me feel better from that less than wonderful experience, we finally got to meet Russ’s girlfriend, Marnie, who he’s been with for over a year and who I still hadn’t met. But it was amazing to meet her. She’s a musician, so it was cool to get to hear her talk about all of her music stuff.  She plays with multiple parts of her body!  Very talented. I ordered exactly what she did for lunch because I figured she had really good taste (spoiler: She does).

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Marnie & Russ sittin’ in a tree…ok, sittin’ in a booth…

 

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Sammi and Patrick sittin’ in the other booth!

 

Later that day, the 4 of us went all around town.  Bowling, arcade games, we even rode backwards on stationary motorcycles. We also got to visit Russ’s stomping grounds. He and Ryan gave us a tour of where they make beard oils and also (separately) where they make candles. 

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Patrick and I each got to pick out a souvenir candle and Patrick said it was the best birthday present he’d gotten this year.  Not jealous, just remembering.

 

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That’s Ryan telling a hilarious joke 🙂

 

One morning Russ told us he was training someone else to lead a meeting and I asked if he was looking for a new role.  He said he was and I asked if he wanted the “Take-a-hint” position.  He said, yeah, he was vying for it.   I told him solemnly, “I can take a hint, I’ll step down.”

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We love Mississippi!

 

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Visited Lydia’s moms estate, had a tour, and learned about local history.

 

By midday, Marnie had to go to work (her last day at her old job), and the three of us went to go see Amy Schumer’s new movie. Aka my previous favorite movie. “3 I Feel Pretties.”, please.
I feel pretty.
I feel pretty.
I feel pretty.

 

We hung out so long in the movie theater after the movie was over that the movie started playing again.  Same trailers and everything.  We dipped into the movie next door — Blockers.  We basically got a double-feature and both movies were hilarious, I’d highly recommend either one.

They (clearly) didn’t come to clean out the theatre between shows and, in the second film I was glad they hadn’t because I found a bag of gummy worms that someone left and shared them out with my crew.  (Better than the crawfish I had initially suggested as a snack, eh?)

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Double-feature aka we just stayed so long we got to see two.

 

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Some more delicious BBQ,  *bbq tacos*

 

On our final day in Mississippi guess what we found? Yes, correct!  We found what I… er, I mean, what Patrick… had been looking for this whole time. PECAN PIE.

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And finally Patrick got what “Patrick” had been asking about.

But wait, not only did they have pecan pie but also they had…. 

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PECAN PIE WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS!!!!!! MINE HAD CHOCOLATE CHIPS IN IT!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!!!?!!  Pecan pie with chocolate chips exists! 

 

On our last stop in Mississippi, by a fluke, we found birthday cake popcorn.  What..!  Birthday. Cake. Popcorn.  If you know us, you know that we’ve bonded over popcorn for 7+ years. And birthday cake popcorn on Patricks birthday?!  This was living! We must be doing something right.

 

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…After a while we couldn’t tell what was the wax and what was the colorful popcorn. 

 

As we were driving, we realized we had more time than we thought before our plane the next day and so, impulsively, we thought…you know what’s better than 47 states?  48 states! We decided to head to Arkansas, Patrick’s 48th state.

 

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Buckle up for safety…are they talking about the roads…or about Arkansas in general?

 

We looked on the map and tried to pick a spot.  Here were our requirements: We needed a place that was still close-ish to the Memphis airport, that had a bar that was going to be open past midnight, a hotel in town, and Uber.

As they say in Jamaica, “Arkansas was brata.”.

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Couple of crazy kids partying in….Arkansas….? 

 

After some quick, off the cuff planning we ended up staying at the Red Rood Inn. Not a typo. They had new bathrooms, new beds, but they couldn’t change the wifi code and so, we laughed a lot about at how fitting that felt.  The Red Rood Inn, where Patrick woke up on his official birthday.

That night we walked across the street to the casino to check it out.  They had live dog racing.  Neither of us had ever seen that before but when in Arkansas, right? So, we bet on a few dogs with crazy names and I lost every time…but Patrick won every time! And, since we pooled our resources it’s like I ultimately won.  We left with a collective $15 more than we walked in with.  They had a non smoking area which cost $3 to enter so we saved our money and just left smelling like smoke.

 

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“Here comes Rusty!”

 

So, what did we do with our extra funds? We grabbed an uber to Ethels Old Airport club, a bar we had picked out from Google Maps.  It had 4 reviews with a 5 star rating and was open until 4am on a Monday night.

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They thought it was hilarious that we had picked this bar off of Google.

 

We incorrectly kept calling the bartender Lisa until someone corrected us…”No, it’s Litha.” Right.

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New bartender, who dis?

 

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In birthday heaven.

 

Along with great music came great conversation, and by great I mean reality-show quality.  I learned from the manager of the bar that one of the girls there had a boyfriend who was locked up (for hitting her) and she was now secretly dating his best friend. This was the same girl who really wanted to hear her favorite song by Evanescence, so she jumped the birthday boy’s que, paid the the machine a little more, and snuck in her Evanescence song.  “This isn’t mine…” said Patrick laughing.

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After celebrating midnight three separate times — for Pittsburgh, Arkansas, and Denver — we took the same Uber driver back to the Casino where we began our night because that feels like how it is done in Arkansas.   One uber driver forever. 

 

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Casino? More like casin-yes!

We ended our memorable night with fried catfish and then began again, a mere several hours later, with cookie dough dessert for a breakfast in the Red Rood bed.  I insisted we check out the Bass Pro Shop because it had come highly recommended to me when we were at Ethels Old Airport club. But wait, I’ve been to a Bass Pro Shop before, wouldn’t this one be like any other Bass Pro shop? Turns out, no.  With very little expectation, we went and were stunned by how cool it was! It was massive, and they had everything inside — including loads of live animals. I could definitely understand why this was a recommendation.

 

 

 

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At first, he thought it was the convention center.

 

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Actual view from the Bass Pro Shop roof.

 

We took photos at the top with a women from Alabama who was also there, celebrating her birthday.  These two were practically twins. Er, birthday twins, don’t worry Patrick.

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That moment when you visit a 47th state…and then a surprise 48th.

 

Overall, the trip was a success! The music, sights, and sounds were wonderful. And so was the bbq, the pecan pie (which, again, was totally for Patrick), and the company!

 

Until the 49th & 50th states — Oklahoma and Kentucky, here we come!
Happy birthday,
‘mi

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