Friday, August 10, 2007

Walking in Memphis

Our much-anticipated trip to Memphis is over… After months of car washes, bake sales, and thrift sales, the money is spent, the pictures have been taken, and Elvis is just a memory. But what a memory!

Friday night, July 27th, we arrived in Memphis. We crossed the mighty Mississippi and were welcomed to the city I called home for four years. Although it no longer feels like home to me, it was good to be back in the land of sweet tea and barbecue! After a meal at “Hard Rock Café” the girls headed to Linda Bateman’s house to get settled in for the night. Linda is a dear friend who opened her home to us. She fed the girls breakfast every day and dinner two nights, as well as providing late night snacks for hungry teenagers. She was a blessing.

Saturday we began our adventure as tourists. The girls took in Graceland and the Pink Palace museum. They loved seeing Elvis’ home, despite the somewhat dated décor. Saturday night we took the girls downtown to “Rendezvous” and introduced them to real barbecue, Memphis style. Sunday morning we went to church at the Downtown church of Christ where Bob and I used to go (where we met, in fact). It was wonderful to be there again and see many familiar faces. After church, the girls headed to the Stax Museum and then Sun Studio, where they saw the microphone Elvis sang into when he was just starting out as a young, unknown singer.
We had a relaxing evening swimming at Dr. and Mrs. Bland’s pool. Dr. Bland is a former professor of Bob’s from Harding Grad. They were so gracious in allowing us to swim in their pool. On our last day of sightseeing, we headed to the zoo. There was a slight glitch in our plans when we got a flat tire on the van. God was watching out for us though. We were right next to a tire shop where the mechanic kindly repaired the tire for free! We did finally make it to the zoo where we enjoyed the pandas and the polar bears and all the other animals. That afternoon we went downtown to the National Civil Rights Museum. I think seeing the struggle for equal rights in our country and how far we’ve come touched us all. It was a good way to end our time in Memphis. Tuesday morning we packed up and let the girls hit the mall for a few hours. Then we headed home to Tulsa.

Miriam and I missed out on at least half of the sightseeing adventures due to the many needs of a growing toddler. Timilyn Towers, one of our other chaperones, was tour guide extraordinaire. She took over the responsibilities of keeping up with everyone, as well as keeping everyone laughing and having fun. Thanks, Timilyn! We were also blessed to have Larita, a grandma of one of the girls, along with us. She was a trooper, keeping up with all that walking we did!

In reflecting on the trip I’ve tried to think of one story that highlights what this experience meant to the girls. I don’t think I have one, probably because Miriam and I were having a somewhat different travel experience (those of you with toddlers will understand!). I do know though that the girls benefited from seeing the world is bigger than their neighborhood, bigger than Tulsa. This was the farthest from home most of them have ever been, and there is no way it could have happened without the help of many people.
I know the girls felt the love of D who arranged spending money for each of them, of Linda who let them sleep all over her living room, of Dr. Bland who let them use his pool, of “Miss T.” who drove them all around Memphis in the van and led them in devos every night, of everyone who helped us with fundraising or who prayed for this trip to be possible. To each of you we say, “thank you”.

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