Another hot and humid day, what else is new, I resign myself to the fact that I will be wet all day. This Southern heat has not been kind to my Northern bones. My friend with the Toy Hauler comes over with some money for his beer. I figured it was a gift from the road, a down payment on some good karma to come my way when I really need it. But I took the folded money and stuffed it in my pocket. Maybe he was paying for karma too. He told me his new Ford pickup has back up assist and backing a trailer is as easy as turning a knob. I am envious as my little Arabella is still troublesome to put in her place. We talk more about travelling and trailers and then it is time for him to go.
Mabel will be enjoying the trailer’s air conditioning when I venture into Montgomery so I let her run in the field behind our spot. When I was in Sag Harbor, good friend Penny Moser, an animal lover in the truest form, gave me a whole bunch of dog toys which have sat on the backseat floor, until now. I select a yellow stuffed duck with an alarming electronic quack that gets Mabel all excited. We go to the field behind our spot and she retrieves it like a champ, running all around with it in her mouth. You can see it in her eyes when she is having fun and today she is having fun! Enough running and I get her set up, knowing she will sleep on my bed, the lint roller will be busy when I get back.
Montgomery isn’t too far from the campsite when the GPS gives correct directions, today I had to supplement with the iPhone. Eventually I find the Welcome Center after pulling past the Hank Williams statue. Parking is conveniently next door. A nice lady is at the centrally located welcoming booth and asks who we are playing. I look at my shirt, it says Minnesota Football, and tell her, “I am here on a visit.” It appears football is on everybody’s mind in Alabama. She gave me a map, highlighted what I should see with my limited time, and some tourist advice sending me once more past the Hank Williams statue. The city is walkable, even in the heat but my first stop is food.
I wanted good BBQ when I came into Alabama as their tourist info touted the goodness of their BBQ. Their sauce is based on vinegar instead of tomato, which gives it a sour taste and I was looking forward to trying something different. Now I know Dreamland is a chain, but I decided to go safe on the restaurant choice and it was a close walk as well. The inside is rustic in a corporate planned way and I had a nice waitress. She helped me decide on the BBQ sausage plate and I left satisfied and stuffed, needing to walk off the calories which were too numerous to count.
Th Capitol Building is a must stop and I head to the road leading towards its doors. A partially deconstructed building draws my attention to a side street and I venture over seeing a worker stacking lumber. I ask what’s happening to the building and he replies it is being stabilized and then torn down. I am full of questions today, maybe it was the BBQ, but I ask him what the building was. He explains that at one time it was a theater and mentions John Wilkes Booth, I am starting to get a feel of his leanings. “The lyrics to Dixie were found scribbled on some bricks,” he continues. “There were passageways in the cellar to other buildings but they are bricked over.” He looks at my shirt, seeing the “M”, and asks, “Michigan?” “No,” I say “Minnesota. Our football team isn’t as good as yours.” He looks at me with a smile and notices my map of the civil rights heritage trail. “You got one of those,” he replies. Again, seeing where his leanings lie. “They sold slaves in Montgomery, there’s a park that mentions it.” and he points across the road. He has lived in Montgomery for all but five years of his life so I have to ask about the statues. “What do you think will happen to the Civil War statues in Montgomery?” I ask sensing I might be pushing. “I don’t know,” he responds, and then tells me the building was renovated and the roof collapsed. I thank him for his time, pass a TWM card, and tell him we are on the web. “I’m not very good with the internet, but will have someone check it out for me,” he says.
It rains as I make my way to the Capitol, not hard enough to run for cover but enough to know it will be more humid when over. The Capitol commands attention as you climb the hill. To the right is the church where MLK preached, its oil lantern lit in an eternal flame. The building is modest and if there wasn’t a plaque designating its importance, one would tend to walk by without a look. I take a picture for a couple and don’t go in, I missed the tour time.
There are a variety of statues on the Capitol’s grounds and I don’t know the significance of many. I do understand the relevance of the Civil War and see where Jeff Davis was sworn in as the Confederate States of America President. A little star is embedded in the rock; a gift of the Daughters of the Confederacy. If memory holds, they placed the plaque at Appomattox assuring future generations the CSA did not surrender their moral purpose. Before entering the Capitol chambers, a large state policeman asks me to walk through a metal detector and empty my pockets to allow passing. A nice woman gives me a map and lets me know where I can visit and that photography without a flash is allowed. The Capitol is smaller than others I have visited, mainly Texas and Minnesota and not as lavish. There is a history to it, you can feel it in its bones, this building has seen some things that I don’t think it disapproves of. Funny how you can get a feel of a building or house. This one sits on top of the hill, a command position. I see what I need to see and make my way back, stopping at the fountain for pictures.
I liked Montgomery and bet it has a nice night life. I contemplated coming back to see its minor league baseball team, the Biscuits, play. Montgomery has come to grips with its history, calling out the good and the bad with many plaques around the town. Of course, good or bad is relative to what side of the coin you are on. Do the remembrances hold them back or allow them to move on? Are they a constant reminder of what was, so the past is always not far from the future? I’ll leave that to you.
Mabel is waiting at the camper but more rain comes so we retreat to stay dry. It rains for a while so I decide to watch a movie, something to get the mind thinking and I choose The Big Short. It is maddening to see how individuals contributed to the 2008 Financial Crisis. Christian Bale and Steve Carrel were excellent, check it out! To the speculators, the upside benefits were all theirs and any down side will be the responsibilities of others. To think of the people that lost their jobs and homes, basically their lives, is so sad, and it could have been prevented. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like much has been learned from it and Gordon Gekko’s words of greed still hold true.
We emerge from the camper and meet the neighbors. He a retired navy pilot in his 80’s and his wife doesn’t tell me her history. She isn’t big on camping because she likes to know where everything is in her kitchen. The unsung value of the homemaker. They have a small dog in a small cage, the type you see alongside many RVs. Mabel sniffs around but ignores the dog, to his dismay. They have an easiness about them and take part in comfortable banter.
Time for dinner and some writing.
Thankful tonight for a rain proof camper.