Five Great Things to Stop and Admire If You're Ever in Mississippi:
1. Off-Square Books- Square Books is a nice little independent store situated in Oxford, Mississippi's town square. I probably never would have made it there, had my son not gotten a couple of scholarships from Ole Miss and ended up in Oxford. Square books is lovely, but Off-Square is wonderful, mainly because of the adorable and exceptionally friendly store cat (the off-price books are really fun to peruse, as well, although Square Books has a much better selection, as well as a coffee bar and cute mugs with great quotes by writers). I have a postcard of the cat, but I can't find a photo, online. Darn. There is another store on the square that had not one but two cats in its window when we were in town, one time. I don't know the name of it, but if you walk around the square you're bound to figure out where the store cats reside. They tend to lie around in the windows. I confess, I'm a cat lover.
2. The Cyprus Swamp - This photo came from the online journal of a biker who stopped by the swamp while biking in Mississippi. I haven't been there in several years, but it's absolutely mind-boggling, with eye-popping reflections that would make any photographer pant with joy. I need to go back; we can all use that kind of nature infusion, now and then (preferably during a season that's short on mosquitoes).
3. Biloxi Lighthouse - Okay, again a disclaimer: I haven't seen the lighthouse lit up like the photo at left (but it was the prettiest photo I happened across, so I snagged it from the website to which I've linked). When we moved to Mississippi, way the heck back in another century, we had one cute little blonde 2-year-old boy; and, one of my absolute, all-time favorite photos of my husband and eldest son is of the two of them holding hands, walking out onto the Biloxi pier just next to the lighthouse. We were pleasantly surprised to find that Biloxi had a lighthouse and I think all of us sighed with relief when we found out that it survived Hurricane Katrina. The buildings in the background of that photo were more than likely flattened, but I can't say for sure.
4. The Mighty (and Muddy) Mississippi - We don't go there as often as we should, but the best view of the river, in Vicksburg, is from the Welcome Center, these days. There used to be a wonderful restaurant by the name of Top O' The River situated on that same bluff overlooking the river, just down the road. Unfortunately, as I've heard it, the owners had some major medical bills and sold out to one of the casinos. Where there once was a fabulous restaurant that served incredible catfish and cole slaw, which was known for both its outstanding service (something you don't get much of, these days) and its incredible river view, there is now a gas station. However, the river is still there, bless its muddy old heart. You can walk up some stairs and across a little foot bridge to a hill with a cannon on top for the best view.
5. The Old Courthouse Museum - Also in Vicksburg and another place I don't go often enough, the Old Courthouse was built by slave labor in 1858 and has a small but excellent museum. Even better, according to the cat lover in me (who is rather pushy), they keep a cat house on the porch. My friend and neighbor works there; she's not too thrilled about the cats, but she loves her job and the museum itself. I go there, now and then, to get a few dozen bookmarks to give to friends.
There are lots of other wonderful places to visit in Mississippi, but it's Friday and I'm sticking with five.
My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin
Books that walked in my door this week:
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash
A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
Have a Super Weekend!