We had a great vacation down south, yes we went to the heart of Dixie in Mississippi. I have been to this area many years ago when I was a kid and things have changed a lot to say the least. Of course the old people are pretty much all gone and there is a new generation taking the reins. The cotton fields flourish, the old antebellum homes are still here but life as the old south once was is history. You would think in a lot of places you were back in Peoria or Chicago but in isolated areas you can still see what it used to be like when I was young, for that matter a 100 years ago. We saw a few mom and pop stores but like home Walmart and convenient stores have taken their place. You have to search but can still find some of the old south’s charm even in these days of change.
Last year we went to Shanksville Pennsylvania’s 911-Memorial, Gettysburg, Williamsburg area then Virginia Beach with our good friends Jerry & Connie Waller and they joined us again this year to explore Mississippi.
One locally owned place we enjoyed was The Old Country Store in Lennan Miss. near Port Gibson. We had a buffet with some of the best fried chicken, ribs & pork chops in the world with all the extra fixins. The owner Arthur Davis was at his restaurant greeting and singing to customers. He uses a delicious recipe from his Grandma for the chicken and opens 7 days.
We explored the ghost town of Rodney to find a Presbyterian Church built in 1829 that has a Union cannon ball lodged in the front of building. A great story goes with that battle. Then went to Winsor Ruins see photo for more info.
I found a confederate statue in Port Gibson and was surprised it was still standing. I asked some of the locals when they thought it would come down and there reply was it never will. The town which now is 95 percent black have no qualms about this statue that has been there for over a 120 years. They respect their past and don’t think it is any more than a tribute to a time when people wanted their independence from the US.
As I walked through the cemetery with the 100’s of dead confederate soldiers I looked at the names, they were the same as if being back home. Names like Jones, Williams, O’Neal, Sullivan, Humphrey, Keller and Smith; the same people but in a different part of this great land.
This was an experiment by the south to have their own country just as we fought against the British during our Revolutionary War. They are still proud of their families who sacrificed all to try to be separate and establish their own country. Remember all of us were and still are Americans and always will be. We cannot change what happened or white wash and interpret the great rebellion as anything else but an experiment gone aerie.
The death of 760,000 Americans is a pretty staggering sacrifice for such a small country or any country for that matter. Once you take a long trip down south and not hurry through the remnants of this war you get a real feeling of what happened. This new generation of idiots who don’t care nor do they want to learn about this country’s history, but want to change it to fit their own narrative.
We spent time at the old court house in Vicksburg and had the pleasure to meet and spend a lot of time with the past curator Gordon Cotton a lifelong Vicksburg residence. Gordon who I found to be a look alike of Shelby Foote the famous Civil War author even had the same mannerisms. The local folk’s perspective on what the hell went wrong and what happened is refreshing.
Two nights in Shiloh, Tennessee, then Vicksburg, Port Gibson and the beautiful city of Natchez Mississippi. It has 100’s of homes that are some of the most beautiful displays of early architecture in the United States. To see homes built in 1780’s and 90’s was really neat. We stayed in a beautiful Mansion in Natchez called the Dunleith Country Inn in their renovated old Dairy Barn.
If you love America and history you should see these wonders of the south not far from our home state of Illinois. By the way Illinois sent 260,000 volunteers to fight in the Great Rebellion and if Illinois didn’t show up the Civil War in the west would not have happened. There were 38,000 just at Vicksburg and my second Great grandfather fought with the 28th Illinois. I guess I love America with passion and the south is a big part of it and should be on your bucket list if not already there. I found that the folks of Mississippi are some of the nicest people in whole country. We met a good friend Jeanie Miami, through Airbnb.com and stayed at her beautiful 1890’s home.
Now a short story of the old Rednose gone but not forgotten. It was about 1981 and at that time most of the old timers were gone except for Paul and Bill who were actually the oldest ones even Frenny was still going, close to being 90. I tried to hunt as often as I could working at Caterpillar Tractor and working 2nd shift. I left about 4:30 in the morning and headed south to Duck Island. The fog was as thick as I have ever seen it. The only way I could find my way was staying on the main roads and crossing my fingers. When I got close to the turn off I missed it twice but finally got on the old gravel road.
It wasn’t just the road but deer were a big issue in the mornings. Driving through the gravel pit just about put me in the drink going off the road would have been a 30 foot drop. I did but don’t know how I was on the road to the club. I stopped the car and rolled the window down to hear thousands of geese sitting on Big Lake. I thought when they come out to feed in the fields I might get a shot. Walking out to the field was eerie, the fog was thick and the air was heavy. Just before any lite I could hear them flying 30 yards coming right at me. I shot 3 times with number 2’s and five lesser Canadas came falling.
After I picked them up and started back the fog was not as bad but still very thick. I drove up to the shack to see Paul and Julie cooking breakfast. After a great morning shooting a few ducks it was time to go. I gave Paul all of the geese and he headed home. I thought it was just a great day at the old club. I drove home and on the radio I heard there was a terrible wreck near Tremont on Allen road, nine men on their way to work at Caterpillar were killed in a van in the fog. Their van was hit by a semi and it exploded and all the men burned to death. It was one of the worse accidents ever in the state.
And now back to Paul the old Dutchman who lived in Springfield was 3 blocks from his home when his VW station wagon hit a brick in the road and the car flipped over. Ducks and geese went flying through the car. Paul an old WW1 German army infantry man was as tough as they get. He crawled out and told the Police officer he would walk home. He had blood all over him from cleaning game and when he came to the door Julie almost passed out but he was fine. It was a day in November that I will never forget as long as I live. Another memory long ago at the old Rednose Gun Club.Remember our Veterans this Nov. 11th. Good luck with hunting season this fall. Be sure to keep your worm wet & your powder dry – Harry