A call to the medical center brought a young woman carrying a large red backpack. She took my temperature, my blood pressure, and measured my heart rate. Then, she gave me an injection that knocked me out for hours. Even after waking, I was so groggy I could hardly stand. All I wanted to do was sleep more. Late in the evening Kay ordered some chicken broth for me from room service.
Were beginning to come full circle. Kay and I were here in Washington three months ago just before renting the Beast and driving off in the rain.
Kay and I love coming to Washington. Its monumental architecture and world-class museums are big attractions for us. Another is that, with its wide avenues and magnificent vistas, it is a beautiful city to walk around. We’re proud of Washington where we feel we are in the capital of a great and powerful country. If you’ve never been to Washington or haven’t seen it in a long time, we urge you to make a visit. It’s rewarding.
We’re on the road again. Hendersonville, North Carolina is in the western part of the state south of Ashville. We’d never come here before and wouldn’t be here now were it not that my friend Pat had recently relocated here with her husband from Chicago’s North Shore. Pat and Jim are now retired. They love to play golf and wanted to escape the harsh Chicago winters. Sound familiar?
Like other relationships I’ve written about in these chapters, Pat and mine is the story of a friendship interrupted. We knew each other as teens in small-town Onarga, Illinois where I was a cadet at the Onarga Military School. Pat tells me that I was her date for her high-school prom. I remember the excitement of sharing ideas about books and other cultural matters.
Forty years after Onarga, Pat and I reconnected via the Internet and have been corresponding regularly since.
“I had the blues so bad, they put my face in a permanent frown Now I’m feeling so much better I could cakewalk into town.”
A visit to Clarksdale, Mississippi, center of the region known as the Mississippi Delta, has been on my bucket list for a long time because for blues lovers the Delta is like Mecca. Once, in 1989, Kay and I set out to come here from New York. Unfortunately, our van’s AC malfunctioned and our vacation time ran out too soon.
I pushed hard to get us on the road as early as possible. Vicksburg was 150 miles south, and we would have only today to visit the famous Civil War Battlefield and anything else that caught our interest.
If Route 66 is the most legendary highway in America, then Highway 61, especially as it runs through Mississippi, must run a close second. Not that there is so much to see along its roadsides. As Route 66 grew famous because of a song, so does Highway 61 owe its fame to music.
The spot where highways 61 and 49 cross just on the edge of Clarksdale is where legend has it that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil in return for his preternatural ability to play the guitar. Then, there is Bob Dylan’s great Highway 61 Revisited.