Old Man River

“Back, back back” – Chris Berman

Baseball transcends generations, but still has generational touch points. When I hear, “Back, back, back” I hear Chris Berman in his rapid, staccato, delivery on ESPN, recapping home run highlights. The expression was also used by Red Barber, the longtime broadcaster of the Reds, Dodgers, and Yankees. But there was a major difference: Berman is describing the ball sailing back and over the wall, while Barber intended to describe the outfielder going back before making the catch. The excitement of baseball may belong to the offense, but the beauty of the game is in the defense.

So far the road trip has traveled over roads we have taken many times before. Still, we will have to come back this way at least once more because the one thing that I have been wanting to see in Memphis has eluded me once again. Mud Island is located in the Mississippi River, just off of the city of Memphis. On it is a scale model of the Mississippi River that you can walk along, from the headwaters in Minnesota to the delta in the Gulf of Mexico. I want to see that. Once when I planned to go, it was not open for the season yet. Once, it was closed due to damage from a major flood, and this trip….it is closed on Mondays. I expect after years of anticipation that I may be disappointed , but I shall return to Memphis and visit Mud Island some day.

After walking along the river and down Beale Street, we hit the Memphis Saucer as they opened. We drove to the Cordova Saucer, about 15 minutes north of Memphis for lunch. They we drove north thru Tennessee to Nashville. There were no more wildflowers, but they were replaced by red buds and dogwoods, two trees that I can not identify outside of springtime. Their respective purple and white blossoms practically glow amid the every-imaginable-shade-of-green that is the color of the trees this time of year.

We had time for a quick visit to Parnassus Books in Nashville (adding a third B to the name of our road trip), checked into Aloft (a much hipper hotel than our usual), watched the Nashville Sound get trounced (best scoreboard ever), and felt old at a Saucer for the first time (Vanderbilt students apparently love $3 pint night).

I’ll plan to post a few pictures tomorrow, but the electronics (and me) all need some recharging over night.

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