I wrote a note this morning to the other journos (Kim Voynar, James Rocchi, Jen Yamato) who will also be visiting the Oxford Film Festival this weekend. “Sometime between Thursday and Sunday, I’m going to rent an Enterprise car and drive 40 miles to Tupelo, Elvis Presley‘s birthplace and the presumed geographical inspiration for Van Morrison‘s ‘Tupelo Honey.’
“Does anybody want to split the rent/gas expense and come along? Can’t be much. There’s also a Rent-a-Wreck in Oxford.
“I also want to visit Rowan Oak, the William Faulkner homestead in Oxford. Tupelo and Rowan Oak together should take maybe four or five hours, I’m guessing.
“I briefly considered driving all the way the fuck down to Philadelphia, the town where the Mississippi Burning civil-rights murders happened in ’64, but 150 miles down and back again would eat up the whole day so I guess not.
“I’d like to have breakfast or lunch in a really out-of-the-way mom ‘n’ pop diner somewhere between Oxford and Tupelo. Someplace really small and run-down with good food. Like the little joint Clint Eastwood was sitting in at the end of Million Dollar Baby. An HE reader wrote me yesterday and said to have a meal of fried catfish at the Taylor Grocery in Taylor, Mississippi which is about 5 miles south of Oxford. “Look for Jimmy Buffett‘s autograph scrawled on the wall there,” he wrote.
“How times have I visited rural Mississippi in my life? Donut. How many more times am I likely to visit rural Mississippi, given my profession and tendencies?
“And one way or another I want to work in a visit to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where Dr. King was killed. And what about visiting the legendary Sun Records? I think we need to make it a three-fer in Memphis on Thursday before driving down to Oxford — Graceland, Sun Records and the Lorraine motel. It’ll probably take two or three hours. Okay, three. So we arrive in Oxford a little later than expected…big deal. You only live once.
“If the Oxford Film Fest driver doesn’t want to do the Memphis trifecta, maybe it would make sense to rent a car in Memphis airport and keep it for the three and a half days (and obviously work in the Tupelo thing in the bargain).
“I realize you can’t do everything so I’m foregoing a visit to the Memphis locations used in Sydney Pollack‘s The Firm, specifically the Mud Island footbridge and monorail and the Peabody hotel at 149 Union Avenue.”