The in-flight movie was Elvis’ “Jailhouse Rock” which we all pretty much agree probably deserved to be passed over for that year’s Academy Award. It was, however, a good warm-up for our scheduled tour of Graceland, and fortunately–or unfortunately–it has added to our road trip lexicon.
Our brains are now uncomfortably stamped with the King’s loving words to the movie’s leading lady, “You are so sexy to me. You are like a hammer on my soul.” And my offspring, who are never content to let well enough alone, occasionally practice the line in their best Elvis voice in the back seat before bursting into uncontrollable laughter. Another groovy 50’s slang expression, we have picked up from the movie is “gonesville,” which for those of us in modern times, can be translated to mean, “cool” or great.
On the way to Memphis, we stopped for a lunch picnic with Derek and his two sweet kiddos, GiGi and Thomas, who showed us around Centennial Park in Nashville. That’s where we saw the impressive replica of the Parthenon, which was built during Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition. According to Derek, Nashville had the Parthenon built because it fancies itself the Athens of the south, which leads one to wonder how Athens, GA; Athens, TN; Athens, FL, and Athens, MI might feel about that.
Nonetheless, the park was lovely, in spite of the heat and humidity that descended on us at our arrival. The temperature (according to the car thermometer) climbed from 70 degrees to 94 degrees in our four hour drive. That’s where the Snowcone Man became the hero. Anna, Derek, Thomas and I had blue raspberry ones that stained our lips and teeth for the remainder of the day.
We bid the Petrella’s good-by after a nice visit and hopped back on I-40 on the way to Meeman-Shelby State Park, which is just 10 miles north of Memphis according to google maps, but situated in such a way among illogically twisted rural roads and dense forest that it took us much longer to find than we expected at the end of a long day.
Plus, we did not pass any stores for dinner provisions on our way, except of course, the famous Shelby General Store, just outside the park, which offers bluegrass and steak dinners on Friday nights until 9 p.m., but closes at promptly 6 p.m. on Sunday. We arrived at 6:06 p.m. and in spite of my attempts to press my face pitifully against the store window, begging for just a loaf a bread and some cheese, we were not granted entry. Not to worry, we found provisions at Kroger just nine miles away and managed to celebrate with a cheeseburger dinner well before midnight.