To Memphis and Back

I’m back comfortably in the bosom of  White Flint after a quick trip to Memphis. I’ve only been away from the farm overnight a handful of times over the last five years. I was reminded of some of the things I dislike about traveling and it feels good to be back home.

I had a good reason for going to Memphis. I’m honored and pleased that Organic Wesley was chosen Wesleyan Book of the Year by Christ Church UMC and I went there to receive the award. While there I was interviewed on a local television show that will air soon. I confess that it felt nice to get the pat on the back.

I had a little down time yesterday before the event and I spent a lot of it visiting the National Civil Rights Museum. It was a powerful and moving experience. I recommend it to anyone who visits Memphis and can spare a few hours.



I didn’t have time to take in the musical history sites. I just waved at Sun Studio as I drove by. But I did walk over to Beale Street for lunch. It’s certainly changed a lot since my visit 28 years ago. Then it was seedy and largely abandoned. Only the Rum Boogie Cafe was open and operating. Now it’s still seedy, but crowded with clubs and tourists, even in the middle of the day in the middle of the week. It’s not the Beale Street of the past of course, but it’s good to know it’s alive and kicking.


The catfish supper I enjoyed the previous night exploded in my stomach like a grenade about an hour after I ate it. A decade of a diet of almost entirely all healthy homegrown food has evidently left my innards unwilling to accept the deep fried things I once loved. So for lunch I had a veggie burger. I know. Eating a veggie burger in a Southern food paradise like Memphis is akin to sacrilege. But I couldn’t risk another intestinal rebellion. Sigh.

Memphis is a funky town with a lot of soul. I hope to visit again someday. As I was was waiting to catch my plane, “Crazy Arms” by Jerry Lee Lewis was playing in the airport. How can you not love a town like that?



28 comments on “To Memphis and Back

  1. Congratulations, Bill. Good to see you get some recognition!
    I thought of your battles when I drove by the big feed lots of the San Joaquin Valley of California. I had biked by them years ago and was disgusted with them then. All the more so. I find them almost criminal and will be blogging about them.
    I’ve driven through Memphis several times but never really stopped to explore the city. Seems like we were always on our way to visit our daughter in Henderson/Nashville.


    • Bill says:

      We visited Memphis once many years ago when I had friends living there. It still has challenges, but it has changed for the better since then. I’m sure you’d enjoy a visit (and come up with great material for your blog).


  2. avwalters says:

    I cannot tolerate the foods that once were “normal.” Too much clean living? Even travel has lost its luster, though I have no regrets about the places I’ve been. The charms of home, with everything there is to discover every day, seems to take up a richer slice of time than my old adventures.

    Congratulations on the book recognition–which made the trip well worth its while.


    • Bill says:

      I feel the same way about travel. After spending much of life in airports and airplanes, that was only the second time I’ve flown in over 5 years. And despite the fact that I was once one of their best customers, the hotel didn’t recognize my Hilton Honors number. It’s been so long since I used it that it isn’t valid any more.

      I’m happy staying home now, but we’re going to take a vacation this fall (to a place I think you know well). Our first real vacation in over ten years. I don’t know what we’re going to do about the farm while we’re gone but we’ll figure something out.


  3. Laurie Graves says:

    So interesting to take a little tour of Memphis with you. But, oh, how terrible your body rebelled against the fried food! A veggie burger in Memphis indeed. But what are you going to do? Congrats on the book recognition!


    • Bill says:

      It happened to me the last time I ate deep-fried food and I should have know better. But I was in Memphis! How could I not eat some catfish?? I do eat fish that I catch and we fry here, so it’s not the fish. Cherie says it’s the oil they use. Anyway, I’ll remember to be more careful in the future. 🙂


  4. shoreacres says:

    Such a wonderful reason for a trip. I’m glad your book is getting recognition. As for the catfish — poor you! Life without the occasion fried oyster po’boy or chicken fried steak would be equally poor, though. The trick, I’ve found is to not fry a thing at home, and leave the occasional treat to the pros. There’s an old boy frying up Cajun shrimp down on the Texas City dike who’s a national treasure.

    I was going to leave you a version of “Walking in Memphis,” but that would have been too obvious. Instead, how about celebrating your trip and your safe return with the Carolina Chocolate Drops’ “Memphis Shakedown”?
    The kazoo’s never sounded so good!


    • Bill says:

      I have a theory about beer. My theory is that every human body is allocated a certain amount of beer in a lifetime, and I used all mine up in college. Maybe it’s that way with deep-fried foods too.

      Thanks for sharing the tune. I’ll see your Carolina Chocolate Drops and raise you a Little Feat.


  5. valbjerke says:

    I sympathize with the food issue – neither my hubby nor I can tolerate restaurant food or processed food any longer. Sugar/salt/fat and who knows what else. Makes for some trials when I travel…..trying to figure out what might be safe to eat 😊
    Congratulations on your award!


    • Bill says:

      During the last few years when I was still commuting Cherie would pack meals for me for a week. I was spoiled.
      I’ve eaten a mountain of crappy food while traveling in my life. And this was not a (terribly) greasy spoon place. But as I said, after a decade of nothing but quality homegrown food I shouldn’t be surprised that my stomach would reject a meal like that.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful news about the award Bill.. so well deserving too.. Sorry to hear the reaction you had to the food.. And agree we enjoy too many home grown goodies that when we venture to eat something new our guts rebel.. 🙂

    Hope you soon got settled back in at home 🙂


  7. allisonmohr says:

    Congratulations on your book award! That is so cool that you were recognized. We were at the Civil Rights Museum in 2009 – it’s an intense experience. I hear you on fatty food, it’s no longer a happy experience for us.


  8. Scott says:

    Congratulations, Bill! Glad you enjoyed the trip, but isn’t it nice to savor home even more?


  9. That’s great Bill – congrats on the well-deserved award!
    Interesting to note how many of us that are eating well off the land are finding restaurant food hard to digest.


    • Bill says:

      Maybe we need better restaurants. 🙂
      When I think of the stuff I used to eat regularly, it almost makes me ill. I couldn’t survive on that stuff now.


  10. roscoe74 says:

    Intestinal rebellion. I’ll remember that term.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s