Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Memphis -- Day Two

Yesterday was day two in Memphis.

We went on the grounds of the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. This photo is somewhat deceiving because it's a gigantic complex, including several beautiful apartment buildings where the parents and families of the young patients stay free of charge thanks to donations.

It was a very moving experience. It was a warm, sunny day yesterday and many of the children were being pushed in wheelchairs by nurses so they could get some fresh air and sunshine. I chose not to invade their privacy by snapping photos.

In the visitor center, there is a huge exhibition about the life of Danny Thomas, including his childhood, his Lebanese/Syrian heritage, how he was inspired to start St. Jude's, his dedicated philanthropy in that regard, and his years as an entertainer.

Then we went to the Mud Island visitors center. It was getting late in the day so we didn't go onto the island itself. In the visitors center there is a huge bronze statue of B.B. King.

The locals have a special nickname for the Memphis and Arkansas Bridge: The Dolly Parton Bridge. I can't imagine why.

On April 4, 1968, James Earl Ray entered 418 S. Main St. in Memphis to get upstairs and to the far back side of the building. Then he took careful aim and assassinated Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King was staying at the Lorraine Motel right behind that building. The Lorraine Motel is now part of the National Civil Rights Museum.

At the famous and historic Peabody Hotel, the ducks are the highlight of every mid-afternoon. In the 1930s Frank Schutt, general manager of the Peabody, and his friend Chip Barwick returned from a weekend hunting trip to Arkansas. They had a little too much Tennessee sippin' whiskey and thought it would be funny to place some of their live decoy ducks in the beautiful Peabody fountain (live decoys were legal for hunting back then). Three small English call ducks were selected as "guinea pigs" and the rest is history. The ducks' descendents live on the top floor of the Peabody to this day and spend a couple of hours in the fountain daily.

At the appointed time, the ducks come out of the fountain and march along a red carpet that goes to the elevator and takes them back to the top floor.

My obligatory daily artsy-fartsy shot, this time of the ceiling in the Peabody Hotel.

Tom did some research and decided that Paulette's was the best restaurant for us last night. He was right!

Our server, Albert O. Jones III, is personality plus. He regaled us with great anecdotes, made killer cocktails, served us a sumptuous meal, and recommended, from his experience as a native Memphisite, the absolutely most incredibly authentic barbecue joint in the city. We're going there for dinner tonight, so you'll have to wait for the review.

Back at the hotel, the movie on the all-Elvis-all-the-time channel was "Girls! Girls! Girls!"

More tomorrow -- stay tuned!


Petrea said...

Ann, what a fabulous post. You must be exhausted!

Cafe Pasadena said...

Thank you, Ann, for the restaurant mentions.
Wanna see some BBQ pics 2morrow!

Viva la Graceland said...

The chandelier.

That's all. That is it. I am in love.

Cafe Pasadena said...

Viva La G reminds me of MG