A couple of years back (wait – three years. Three already?!) we went to Memphis for our anniversary.
This year we went again, with a couple stowaways.
And this year we dragged the trailer along behind us. That’s why it rained all weekend, I’m sure. It was okay this time because our activities were mainly indoors – it’s just that this happens to us EVERY YEAR. But it’s okay, I figure if we get all the rainy weather out of the way early in the camping season maybe it will lay off us on our big vacation.
So the first thing that happened was I thought it was a half-day for Laurel. Turns out that only applied to grades K-5. Oops. I felt a little guilty but we pulled her out anyway. We figured one day a year isn’t going to hurt – especially when so many of her days are filled with shit like ‘fun day!’ and ‘pi day!’ and ‘go to the movie theater day!’ But that is another post for another time.
The kids and I had never been to Lambert’s – Greg thought we should go. We did. This is the part where I tell you I’m totally disgusted by the United States’ general fascination with gluttony. The idea that we glorify competitive eating and crap like that when kids are hungry in our own neighborhood makes me sick. And that is yet another post for another time. Like a good gluttonous ‘Merican I ate.
I was careful not to make myself completely sick because we had Big Plans for Barbecue for the evening.
Alas, that wasn’t to be. We pulled in, got set up, laid around recovering from road weariness for awhile, went on an emergency run for a DS for Ethan because he was going to send us to an early grave if we didn’t, then went to eat dinner…and of course the barbecue joint had closed FIVE MINUTES BEFORE WE GOT THERE.
We salvaged the night by driving through some of the less desirable neighborhoods of Memphis (thank you, GPS) and dining at Boscos Squared, where I had the most awesome black bean and goat cheese tamale. Word. Oh, and this:
By the way, I am not skeered of unsavory areas. Once when I was in Memphis I was lost on Elvis Presley Blvd, but not the good side. I was on the side with the hookers and gangbangers. So there you have it.
Back to our story – holy hell, are you ready for the miracle news?! Laurel found her name in a word search given to the kids at the restaurant. This girl cannot find ANYTHING personalized off the rack. Lauren, yes. Laura, yes. Laurie, yes. Laurel, NO. But here it was in print. As an aside, I never knew how difficult it would be for people to spell and pronounce her name when I named her, nor did I consider the difficulty of ever finding personalized trinkets for her…wait, maybe that’s actually a blessing.
Bonus: Greg acquired a new growler and a growler koozie. Yeah, baby!
We retired back to the trailer shortly thereafter only to encounter severe storms coming through. Fortunately we had cable and wifi so the kids were entertained. Oh yes, and that damned DS.
Saturday was the big day, and after noshing on donuts from a local shop, we hit up the Memphis Fire Museum. It was, in a word, fantastic. Well, except for the fact that Greg’s Discover card was declined. Discover has a bad habit of freezing his card to ‘protect’ him every time we travel. And they won’t waive that feature. Hi, Discover Card? We’re not supposed to have to fucking call you to ask your permission to go somewhere, you bunch of chuckle-headed knuckle-draggers. And not only that but we had a recurring charge try to hit while you had his account frozen and it was denied so he has to make another pain-in-the-ass phone call. But again, another post, another time, right?
As always, this is photo-heavy, so mouse over for captions:
I have always been a little creeped out by dummies (of all kinds – you get what I’m saying?) and these were no exception. I walked into an ambulance model without looking around the corner first to see what was there. Ugh. Spooked me something fierce. There oughta be a warning on THESE things. With a roller coaster at least you know what you’re facing – with this not so much, but which has the warning? Yup, the coaster:
The highlight of our visit may have been Greg sliding down the fire pole.
Or maybe it was when we got to stand in the fire simulator while it demonstrated how it feels and looks to be in a room that’s ablaze. Ethan was a little freaked out but at the end of the day it’s probabl
y good that he experienced it.
Of course, no visit to Memphis is really complete (for families anyway) without a visit to the Peabody Hotel to watch the Peabody Ducks march their way to the fountain. That’s what we did. Never mind that we were standing right behind some gal who absolutely COULD NOT CONTROL her children, who were rolling all over the red carpet. Uh, pro tip: When your kids are losing their damn mind in public, get them out of there. Not just for your sanity, not just so they maybe learn something, but for the sanity of everyone else.
Oh, and some kid broke Ethan’s fire truck souvenir from the Fire Museum. Greg fixed it, and it was really cool of Ethan to share, but DAMN. The kid broke it and his parents didn’t do anything about it.
So here are the ducks:
Next we were off to Huey’s. For those of you who don’t know, Huey’s is a Memphis institution for burgers and I could probably live off burgers. I am a burger purist, though. I don’t want ‘em all fancy. Huey’s is particularly enchanting because their ‘thing’ (aside from letting customers write on the walls, which everyone does these days), is allowing those same customers to shoot toothpicks into the ceiling tiles:
Only Greg was successful.
No visit to Memphis is complete without a trip to Beale Street. Well, Beale Street isn’t really all that kid-friendly, but A. Schwab’s at 12:30 p.m. or so is relatively safe, so that’s where we went. While Laurel piddled around figuring out how best to fritter away her money on junk, Ethan and Greg and I donned hats and took photos. There is no telling what sorts of insects and/or diseases we now carry:
Ethan ended up taking home the jester hat, which we later discovered LIGHTS UP. Non-parents may not think that is the most obnoxious thing ever, but parents know it is. Those little flashing lights in shoes? HATE THEM. Hate, hate, hate. In fact, Ethan asked me the other day at the shoe store why I disliked them so. “Because they were clearly dreamt up by someone who had major issues with his parents and no kids of his own.”
By the way Laurel, I SAW YOU LOOK AT THAT POCKETKNIFE. We have told you, NO POCKETKNIVES. It’s not so much that we are worried about you slicing off your finger, it’s that the schools have a zero-tolerance policy for such things, ridiculous as it may be, and again, another post, another day. Wow, all these posts and I don’t update this blog like I should. Huh.
After we’d spent as much time as we could stand on Beale, we headed out to the Pink Palace Museum. Now, the Pink Palace is an interesting study. I gu
ess it was built by the Piggly Wiggly founder. I have a soft spot in my heart for the Piggly Wiggly because a) I love the movie “Driving Miss Daisy” and b) it’s fun to say. Oh, plus, thanks to our membership with the St. Louis Science Center, we got in free!
From the Piggly Wiggly store model:
So you know how you go to a fancy restaurant and they offer oxtail stew for like $15? Well, just think. Back in the day, Campbell’s would’ve given it to you for $0.08.
This I could do without:
Blech. And by the way, what is wrong with me that I am not nearly as creeped out by a shrunken head as I am by dummies?
Other highlights of the museum included a fascinating (to me) exhibit on George Washington Carver and a whole big room chock full of skeletons of every variety.
That night Greg didn’t want to drive far for dinner so we stuck close to the RV park, visiting Wiseguys Chicago-style pizza. It’s in an old bungalow in the middle of nowhere as far as restaurants go, and those are usually the best kind. I was really needing some salad to redeem myself by that point, but no – no salads. Still, it was precisely the kind of local neighborhood joint I love to visit. The pizza was really good, though I wouldn’t exactly call it Chicago-style because it had cheese on the top instead of the sauce. Oh, well.
Ethan took a photo of his ‘personal’ heart-shaped pizza – it was really good, but they must have used 4 pounds of cheese on our meal alone.
So there you have it. No barbecue this time. We’ll just have to go back.
And by the way, Happy Anniversary, Greg. It’s been great, is great, and I have no doubt it will continue to be great.