One of our birthday traditions is having a favorite meal chosen by the celebrant. Given that we had several days, DHubby designated (a) Shrimp Diane a la Chef Paul Prudhomme, and (b) fried chicken with rice and gravy, sweet potatoes and lima beans. ( We also ate out: his most frequent order is crab in some form--since I do not prepare or eat this, being allergic.) Our daughter, who doesn't cook, has a lovely kitchen with a gas stove; in self-defense, we've contributed some equipment so that it's easier for me to prepare feasts there.
Our daughter was working on Friday, so DHubby and I did a bit of exploring in the county north of the city, driving along Eagle Lake, one of the many lakes formed as the large rivers (the Yazoo and the mighty Mississippi) changed courses over the decades. We then followed a back-road route into the older part of the city, where we toured one of the older homes (now a B&B/restaurant.) A cannon shot is buried in the wall of the parlor, relic of the 1863 Siege of Vicksburg.
On Saturday, we revisited the Vicksburg Battlefield National Park. The visitor's center has an introductory movie and a small museum, always a good place to start; we then followed the driving tour, stopping at various monuments and at significant earthworks where the Union forces had attempted to storm the defenses. Unable to defeat the Confederate forces because of the formidable fortified position of the city, high on its bluffs above the river, Grant settled down to lay siege and cut off the supply lines. From May 25th until July 4th, the Union artillery and the gunboats on the river bombarded the city and the defensive positions, while residents fled to underground caves. Summer heat, dwindling food supplies, and rampant disease (malaria, dysentery) contributed to the misery of the defenders, and just as Grant was preparing another massive assault, General Pemberton surrendered the battered city. The occupation of Vicksburg became a model for the Reconstruction period after the war. (The residents stayed mad for at least 100 years.) There was never sufficient manpower to reclaim the land that had been dug up, trenched, tunneled into, built into redans...so the huge battlefield has survived, with its cemetery of 20,000 graves.
Newly opened: the salvaged USS Cairo, a fairly new city-class gunboat that was sunk in the Yazoo River by the first electronically-detonated mine in the history of warfare. The ship sank in 12 minutes (though without loss of life) and when raised and excavated 100 years later, revealed a wealth of artifacts, including shoes, cutlery, tools, medicine bottles, cannon, et cetera. There were several 'Re-enactors' dressed in uniforms who 'recruited' some of the youngsters touring the exhibit. Fascinating! (Quibble-- the entrance, a long long ramp, is meant to be accessible, but it's a serious barrier for anyone with limited strength, mobility, or breath.)
Low point: discovering that we had come away without some of our necessities. (No longer having our fully-equipped camper in action, we are not quite used to having to plan from scratch.) Worst lapse: I left the DHubby's carefully-chosen and craftily-sequestered birthday gift at home! Since I had to go out to buy soap, shampoo, a hair dryer, a curling iron, and such, I added a contrite birthday card and some Cadbury eggs as a stop-gap. Ever notice that, as we age, the humiliations get worse?
|Daughter's house; there is a brown thrasher nest in one of the shrubs in front|
We enjoyed seeing barn swallows flying acrobatically about; in the evening, bats were also glimpsed. A hummingbird visited the newly-planted snapdragons.
|Daughter's back yard with swing and redbud trees|
A nice place to sit and visit; when the two redbuds are larger, it will be shadier! Why are there no pictures of the family? The camera didn't make the trip, either. D'oh!