I went to my cousin's college graduation last weekend and meant to talk about it earlier - possibly while I was there in Memphis or certainly while I was in Georgia for work this week - yet it never seemed to pan out. Anyway, the graduation was in Memphis which I had been to once before. On that occasion I was attending the national conference of my fraternity (Phi Sigma Pi - yeah, I know, I'm a girl. It's co-ed, and yes it's stilled called a fraternity). For some reason that I no longer recall, we were considered the trouble making chapter - and spent the weekend trying to live up to that reputation (and failing miserably). Somehow there wasn't a lot of time for sight-seeing.
This time, in between official graduation activities and family meals, I actually got to do some touristy things. Friday afternoon after we all arrived, a group of us went to the Civil Rights Museum
. I realized that I would need another trip to take in the museum by the time I was in the second room. There is tons of exhibits and information - two whole buildings in fact - and we got there only an hour or so before closing time. It's sad really. There we whole rooms I missed because I was chasing after my mother who insisted that we make the second building. For the first half I was struck by two things: 1.) How much I had forgot from my time at school. At least in my school district, most of the civil rights information came in Elementary and two some degree Middle School, when you still did projects for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month. By high school, the curriculum is so set that you don't follow those kind of calendar themes any more and American History Part II (1865-present) takes the carbon dating definition of the present. 2.) How much of the south I've been to in my job. Logically I know that I've done survey work in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Tennessee which constitutes the majority of the south, but I was still surprised by the number of signs I read and thought "I stayed there or I surveyed that area". The second building I thought was much weaker. It is housed in the building from which James Early Ray shot Martin Luther King and the exhibits there focus on the man hunt in the aftermath of the shooting. There was a lot of looking at guns and passport photos. I also got the interesting moment of turning a corner and thinking "why is there a picture of Bono on that wall".
Saturday, after the graduation, I went with my mother, aunt, and youngest cousin to the more frivolous tourist location of Graceland. Of the four of us, only my Aunt was in anyway an Elvis fan. In fact, on my last trip to Memphis we had driven out to Graceland, saw it cost $30 to get in, took a picture with the sign and decided to drive to Arkansas instead. I think our families greatest moment at Graceland was when, right before we walked in the door, my aunt told my mother to look closely at the lamps in the first room because they looked exactly like those in the house they grew up in. Other than that my mother was apparently the only person left in creation not to know that Elvis was a twin and that he started off singing religious songs. Sometimes I want to know what she was doing during her childhood. Also, the pool room was the most hideous thing I've ever seen. Why would you cover all the walls and ceiling of room in fabric with an extremely busy pattern and then cover all the couches in the same fabric. *shudder*
Then Saturday night was the great adventure. My Uncle is the kind of person who likes to party. So, of course, Saturday night after all the official ceremonies were finished we had to go out for a night on the town. We ended up at some bar which I thought was called Sucky O'Sullivan's, but I think I may have read the sign wrong and the first word was really Silky - it would make more sense. There they have some awful drink that involves everything behind the bar and comes in a bucket with 10 or so straws which we had to try. I left with the adults after the first one, but my brother and oldest and middle cousins stayed and drank two more - blech. They then all got to pile into my hotel room with the tiny beds to sleep it off. Wow does my brother snore. I'm glad I travel with earplugs in my purse or I wouldn't have gotten any sleep at all.
Sunday I got back to New Orleans only to fly out again on Monday at 6:25 am for work. I flight my co-worker and I almost missed because apparently Louis Armstrong international is way busier at 5:45 in the morning that it is at any other time during the day.