I’m in Greenwood, MS, deep in the Delta. Last night I read at the absolutely wonderful Turnrow Book Company in downtown Greenwood. And this morning I was on WABG’s "Good Morning Mississippi" with Rachel Elvis, who I found a total delight. Very down to earth, smart, seemed to *care* about the news she was reading. Had lunch at the Delta Bistro. Chicken salad with pecans surrounded by field greens, mandarin oranges and grape tomatoes. And then lemon icebox pie and lots of coffee. Haven’t had that kind of pie since I was little and my grandma would make it, only hers was topped by meringue and this was topped with real whipped cream.
(Isn’t whip cream a miracle? That a liquid can be beat into such a fluffy mass?)
About Turnrow: Owner Jamie Kornegay was great. Just had his third child–well, his wife did–named Ruby. Ruby was my grandma’s name, so I have a special love of that name. Jamie and I talked gardens. He too was changed by reading Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and he and his wife grow a lot of their own produce. I’m assuming his garden is much succesful than Alan’s and mine. Alan’s and mine is pretty much a salad bar for the squirrels.
I had to wake up at 4am to drive from Greenwood to Greenville for the "Good Morning Mississippi" interview. (There are two 4:00′s in the day?) And get this. There is a vet who is a regular on the show, and he brought his little dog with him as an example of a rescue dog. The dog’s name is Ed, and is a chiuwawa (sp??) mix. Cute as can be, and apparently loves women because he kept jumping on my lap and Rachel’s lap. Well, at the end of the morning show, after my interview was over, the newscast (which = Rachel and very chivalrous Ryan Evans) did their sign off with the vet and Ed. And they asked if I wanted to come up on set for the sign off. Of course I did. I got up there, Ed jumped on my lap, and I got to wave from the tee-vee to the good people of Missisippi with a little dog sitting on me. I loved it.
In Greenwood I splurged and stayed at the Alluvian hotel. Lovely place, connected to the Viking cooking school. Very elegant and chic, but friendly as hell, because we are in Mississippi. In general people here have been exceptionally friendly. I was eating alone at a table in the restaurant connected to the hotel last night, and two regulars asked me to join them because, as they said, "It’s no fun to eat alone."
Now I actually disagree with that sentiment, but on that particular night it was really nice to have company, and I wondered where else but in the south would such an invitation be extended so easily. Don’t get me wrong–my relationship with La South is muy complicated (see: politics), but I love the ease of the schmooze, the friendliness. (This precludes the "friendliness" of the business men at the restaurant i went to in Birmingham.)
And now I’m headed to Oxford. Where I must, must work on book #2 for two days straight before headed to Memphis to resume the tour. (Oxford is just for fun.)
(I’m typing this from the lobby of the Alluvian, and there’s a singer/guitar player who is playing "Angel from Montgomery," a song I love with a fierce intensity.)