Jun 6, 2009

On the Streets of Philadelphia

Reagan and I have always loved traveling together. We've been blessed to have opportunities to travel to a number of places throughout our marriage. Well, a few months ago we discussed how we've been all kinds of places throughout the United States, Mexico, and Central America, but we've not traveled much in our own state. So, we decided that we'd start taking some over night "mini-vacations" to different places in the state of Mississippi. It would give us an opportunity to get away (alone) for a night or two and also allow us to see a little bit of the history of our state.  This past weekend we made our first trip. We chose to visit Neshoba County

All my relatives who read that, just gasped aloud and sat up in their chairs.

My daddy's family is from that area. He and his sisters are always talking about "up home" when they get together. 

(This is going to be a pretty long post already, but let me digress for just a minute. The Neshoba county that we went to see, is slightly different than the one my relatives grew up in. SLIGHTLY being the operative word. My Daddy tells me stories such as, "Ole Jim (not his real name cause I can't remember the real names of all the people my Daddy talks about) he's been gone for a long time now. He drank out of a jug of battery acid. Thought it was moon shine. He found out quick it wasn't." I seriously wish I was making that up. But, no, my Daddy knew people like that growing up. How do you drink enough battery acid before you realize it's NOT moonshine? And the fact that I'm even using the word "moonshine" tells you a little about the place and times.)

Anyway, if nobody else is interested in this post, I know that my aunts and cousins are going to enjoy this. 

For those of you from other states who read our blog, don't worry, we didn't drink anything beside sweet tea and diet coke. And you're in for a treat, because not only am I going to share a few photos from our weekend, but I'm also going to share a little about the area we visited. I'm including some links, feel free to click on them to read more about the sites I mention in this post. 

We arrived in Choctaw, MS Friday night around 8:30. When we walked into our room, all I wanted to do was lay down here... 

... and all Reagan wanted to do was sit down here.

The bed was so comfortable. I LOVED it. The chair is a Herman Miller. Reagan has always wanted one for his office at work. But, since he spends so little time actually sitting at a desk, as opposed to standing and filling prescriptions, he says he can't justify the cost. 

After we unloaded and cleaned up a bit, we drove into the neighboring town, Philadelphia, and ate at City Limits. It is a steak and seafood restaurant. I ordered the crawfish ravioli. And it was delicious. I wish I had some right now.

Our hotel was located on the Dancing Rabbit golf resort. Neither of us play golf, so we weren't that excited about it. But I hear there are people who travel from all over the United States to play here. We saw several golfers at our hotel.

One of the most interesting things about the area (to me anyway) is that Choctaw, MS is actually an Indian reservation. It is the home of the Pearl River band of Choctaw Indians. While we were there, we rode through the reservation. I didn't think it was probably polite to take too many photos, but I did take one of their tribe council headquarters. I think it's so interesting that we live so close to such a unique and historic cultural people. 

Now, I don't know all the laws that make this possible, but because the Choctaws are a separate people and government from the rest of Mississippi, it is legal for them to operate gambling establishments (casinos) on their land. In Choctaw there are two casinos. The Golden Moon and Silver Star casinos are in the heart of Choctaw. This is the Golden Moon. (I kept calling it the New Moon. Think I've become obsessed with the Twilight saga?  Ha.)

And this is the Silver Star Casino.

No, we did not visit the casinos. No, we did not go there to eat. No, we do not gamble. But it's part of the area we visited, so I took photos. It was very interesting to see the area. In Choctaw, where the casinos are, all the area was landscaped, you could tell the buildings were of high codes, the signage was of high codes, the interstate highway we came in on was well lit with street lamps. Then, as soon as we entered the Philadelphia city limits, no more lights, metal buildings were everywhere, there was little to no landscaping. You could just tell the reservation had a great deal more money than the town next to it.

The reason we chose to visit Neshoba county was mainly because of this next place.

It, in and of itself, is a piece of Mississippi history. This is the Williams Brothers Feed & Seed. Inside, you can find groceries, 7 jeans, Feltman Brothers children's clothes, Yellow Box shoes, Remington bullets, and sliced bologna.

We passed on the sliced bologna, but we did buy a few pairs of shoes and a little outfit for Sara Madalin. As we were checking out, the little elderly lady in front of Reagan bought a can of Copenhagen. She told the cashier, "I'll just put it in my bag. I'm gonna get me a little snuff in a minute." To each his/her own, I suppose.

At Williams Brothers, it's like stepping back in time. The place was packed on Saturday. It was the first Saturday of the month, and in this little town, people usually go to the grocery store on the first Saturday of the month. 

Across from Williams Brothers was a little metal building. It was quite interesting. You might want to click on the photo to enlarge it. Here's this building, in a field, that sells candles. Oh, and they also have a bridal registry. 

We were lucky to have come on the first Saturday. Not only do folks in small towns buy groceries on the first Saturday, they also have market day. We parked our car and walked down the street and saw tents, cars, trucks, and booths set up all along the road. People looked like they had brought their rummage sale items to town to try and sell them. There was also animal booths. People were selling chickens, ducks, rabbits, kittens, puppies. I think we even saw some turkeys. It was like nothing either of us had ever seen.

All the walking and "culture" made us hot and thirsty. So, we stopped for some banana flavored snow cones right next to where the puppies were being sold.

After we had our fill of the "market" we drove into downtown Philadelphia. We visited a couple shops on the square. Then we had lunch at the Coffee Bean.

I've been to Philadelphia and eaten here with my friend Martha once before. I knew that they served their tea and coke drinks in big glass mason jars. So, when we ordered I said, "You serve your drinks in big ole jars, don't you?" The cashier said, "Yes, but they're all dirty. I'll have to give you a "to-go" cup." I said, "No, you won't. I came here for the mason jar. I want the mason jar so I can take a picture for my blog." No, I really didn't say that. I said, "Oh, ok. That's fine." But I really wanted a picture for the blog. Maybe next time.

After lunch, we left Philadelphia and headed out of town. There was one more place I wanted Reagan to see. The Neshoba County Fairgrounds. For those of you who have never been to the Neshoba County Fair, or have never heard of it, you have missed a treat. It is pure Mississippi heritage at its best. People get together and talk, drink ice cold sweet tea (among other things) and talk politics and farming. It's one big ole party. The Fair is held at the end of July. During election years, politicians come out and "politic." In the center of the Fairgrounds there's a pavilion where they give their campaign speeches. Each year there are horse races - the only place in MS where you'll find that (legally). There's also musical entertainment. I think this year Neal McCoy and Little Big Town are the top artists scheduled. While I can't show the Fair or really help you understand the whole feeling of it - that can only be done by you attending - I can show you some of the "houses" at the campgrounds. Reagan thought these were quite interesting. (You might want to click on the pictures to enlarge them to get the full effect.)

Some of the houses, or cabins, are named, like this one. 

Some are painted unique colors.

Some have lights and flags

And they are all built very, very close to each other. I think it's supposed to promote the feeling of "togetherness" during the Fair.

During the Fair, people come and stay in these "cabins". While we were there this weekend, a number of people were there opening up their cabins and cleaning and painting in preparation for the Fair. This was my favorite cabin. 

I thought it was neat that the fairgrounds have their own post office.

As we were leaving I took a photo of the sign outside the gates.

After we left the fairgrounds, we kept driving and ended up driving through the town where my daddy and his sisters and brother grew up, Sebastapol. And imagine my delight when we came upon this...

We had to pull over because a bunch of children - and a few adults - were riding their horses through town. Only in Mississippi. But there's just something that's not right about this next picture.

Anyway, while we were stopped, I did have an opportunity to take a picture of another Mississippi landmark - the Piggly Wiggly. Every little town in Mississippi has one of these grocery stores. And y'all know what they say about the Piggly Wiggly. Oh, you don't? Then read this.

We really enjoyed our quick little vacation together. We plan to visit another small town in MS soon. Oh, and what was Sara Madalin doing? She stayed with her Aunt Susan. They went to Mitch's baseball game. They picked blueberries. She danced for them. She had a great time. But, I'm still working on Aunt Susan. She said they didn't do anything that required her to take pictures. I guess I need to tell her that SOME people (Aunt Sue, Mrs. Shirley, Mrs. Pat, Aunt Julie, Aunt Brandi, and I'm sure there are others) don't care if she's just sitting there eating puffs, they just want to see a picture. But don't worry, I'll have plenty for you this week.

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Paige said...

Such a fun post! I love finding little towns and the "gems" of history they have. Can't wait to see where your next adventure takes you!! Have a great week.


Lady Katherine said...

Great post on Philadelphia! I just love the Coffee Bean! My grandparents and family are from around the area. I grew up growing to Willamsville. I have a picture of my Mother there long ago. I have been trying to go and do this wonderful post you have done. You should have went to the museum at the reservation. It got a lot of history there. Just wanted you to know you brought back a lot of memories for me.

Jana said...

Ok you country girl!! I have several comments on this post! First the Ms Band of Choctaw Indians is where my bosses husband works! He is a develepor for them and he is the one who built Dancing Rabbit!
Second, If you want a picture of a Mason jar you know all you have to do is go to your cabinet and you will find one!!
Third, The guy on the horse on the cell phone, I know him!!!!!
Fourth, Did you find me a size 12 in Yellow box flops while you were there?
Fifth, The Fair, Did your Ole Miss husband know that one of those cabins is the Mannings? Yes I am talking about Archi Manning! Every year you will find Archi, Payton and Elli all there sitting on the front porches having their beverage of choice talking to anybody and everybody that comes by!!
Well I think that is it for now!

Melanie said...

Oh my gosh. I'm so glad you linked to the Piggy Wiggly entry - I loved reading about Mrs. Betty!