I leave for Bali VERY early on Sunday morning . Before I leave, I promised more information on Memphis. What an amazing city it is, with the music culture enlightening the whole city, so it is not racist like other Southern cities. It helps that it is 60% Black. Beale Street is 3 solid blocks of many racially mixed bands, although there are solely white and solely black bands too. The music is streaming out from every venture. The first three days I danced at 5 or 6 venues every day, and they all seemed happy to have me visit and to dance with me. There aren’t as many active dancers as in Austin, but as in Austin, folks can be coaxed onto the dance floor by an uninhibited, wild dancer like me and like my friends from Wisconsin.
On our last day there, which was my birthday, we spent two hours in the morning visiting Graceland, where we all came to a realization that Elvis was The King and was a good and exceptionally talented man, who deserves our love. He brought rock and roll into the American mainstream music scene. He didn’t see skin color. In the 1950s he was a beautiful, earthy, vibrant young man, with a great voice. He went from a 19 year old truck driver to one of the most well known entertainers in the world. We all have problems but his were known by billions of people, who loved him despite his problems because he gave of himself so generously.
Elvis tried to grow in every way. He gave to anyone in need. I think his downfall was being drafted into the Army in 1960, being a perfectionist and being encouraged by his handlers to take pills to sleep and pills to wake up and pills to lose weight. What do you think? I would like to know.
After a nice birthday lunch, we spent three hours in the emotionally charged Civil Rights Museum, which is in the motel where Dr. M. L King, Jr. was assassinated. “More than a museum: A Mission…The National Civil Rights Museum located at the Lorraine Motel, the assassination site of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, “chronicles key episodes of the American civil rights movement and the legacy of this movement to inspire participation in civil and human rights globally, through our collections, exhibitions, and educational programs.”
They spent 28 million dollars on it last year. It starts with slavery and how it was the foundation of the Southern economy. They couldn’t have thrived without the slaves, who were not treated as human beings. Then on to U.S. Racism…..There seem to be a few decades when Black people temporarily won the fight and had a middle class, with jobs and education available to them, but that time is over. White people are also suffering from our problem of income inequality.
It was pouring rain when we left the museum. You will learn a great deal if you go to Memphis, especially at the Civil Rights Museum.
We poured into the B.B. King Bar, which had the only action on a rainy, Monday on Beale Street. I was so wrung out from 5 hours of museums that I had to dance. I hit the dance floor, alone because my friends were eating. It was a good three piece band called Memphis Jones. They liked the solo dancer, and I told them it was my birthday,, which was announced and cheered. A young TN man bought me a birthday drink.
My friends joined me, and we danced for a few hours, encouraging other folks onto the floor. The weather had been glorious all weekend, but rain is needed in Memphis, as in many places in the U.S. that haven’t gotten their usual winter precipitation. We left early because the next morning it was time to leave Memphis, a city I would recommend to all. It was a learning and growth experience.
I have enjoyed my time in Austin. My last week here I am house sitting for a friend and rented a car to do all the errands I had neglected. Because I don’t own a car and have no insurance, my very basic rental car insurance doubled the price of my rental car. Austin has no real rental car deals because, as it was explained to me, it is an affluent city, which always has events going on. They don’t need to give “deals”. I have since learned that I need an American Express card. If you use it for payment for your rental car, they also pay your insurance.
I hope to be dancing on Congress Avenue tomorrow night, at Guero’s and the Continental Club, and will be at Eeyore’s Birthday Party and the Louisiana Crawfish Boil on Saturday.
The next time you hear from me, it will be from Ubud, Bali. Be well, everyone….