After another helping of waffles at the Memphis La Quinta (I have a frequent stayers card now!) we headed further south today. I can't say I was sorry to leave Memphis but I'm glad we went out of our way to visit.
Jaime & Xavier had been watching a documentary about 'Ole Mis', the University of Mississippi and James Meredith, the first black man to attend the university and the riot that followed his admission in 1962 so we decided to take a visit to Oxford and check out his statue. The university is absolutely beautiful, like a picture postcard of southern architecture, its beauty emphasised today by the clear blue skies and magnificent autumn foliage. It took us some time to find the statue of Meredith but in the process we learnt a lot about the history of the buildings and the riot. As with so many sites of tragedy, it was hard to imagine such violence in this tranquil environment. Racial conflict and segregation is, of course, interesting to us, especially coming from a virtual mono culture in country Victoria. We don't understand it at all but can't help be intrigued and a little bewildered. This trip to the south has certainly piqued my interest in exploring more about the history of the area and the civil rights movement. Given that most of my prior learning has come from repeated readings of 'Gone With the Wind', I think I have plenty to learn!
From Oxford, we headed on down to Jackson. The drive was very reminiscent of the highway between Tauranga and Taupo in NZ, minus of course the flax and punga. I keep trying to connect the names of the counties to stories and songs and whilst driving over a bridge in Madison made that one easy, I was stuck for ages on Carroll County till I remembered the words to 'Harper Valley PTA'. No one else in the car is old enough to have heard it so I had to hum along quietly to myself!
Geoff came down with a nasty virus on Thanksgiving Day but has soldiered on to drive us over 1400 miles in the last few days. It's a lesson learnt that if you only sign up for one driver you may be in trouble if they become incapacitated. I'm sure he would be recovering faster if he was able to curl up in the back of the car and sleep.