Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Welcome to Mississippi!


For those of you coming from Blog Around The World, Hey y'all! I'm so glad you are checking us Mississippi girls out. I have spent days trying to figure out what to say to you and what to leave out. I can get a bit chatty. Somehow I think that's not going to change with this post. While I was doing my first draft (yes, I'm a perfectionist...what can I say?) I kept coming up with more and more to write about, and had to delete some just so you wouldn't get so bored you fell asleep on your keyboard. Debbie is a creative genius for heading this trip up! So, without further ado...Welcome!
I've lived in DeSoto County, Mississippi most of my life. My family has lived in DeSoto County for many generations, a fact that makes me proud to live here. I know there are tons of jokes about rednecks and trailer parks in Mississippi, but that's not what we're about, just like any of the southern states. I love the saying I've seen on bumper stickers..."American by birth, Southern by the grace of God!" I hope I can give you a glimpse of why I love it here.

Before we go any further, let me give you a little grammar lesson. "Y'all" is a correct contraction for "you all." Ex: "Y'all get washed up for supper!" "Fixin'" means you are about to do something. Ex: "I'm fixin' to go to the store, do you need anything?" Adding an "R" to the end of a word normally ending in a vowel, while not widespread, is permitted. As is the opposite, taking the "R" off words ending in "R," substituting "uh" or "ah" in its place. Making words normally one syllable into two or more is expected. Taking one or more syllables out of words that normally have two or more syllables is also the norm. Now that you understand our vernacular, you're ready to go.

You can't get any further north in Mississippi than where I live. In fact, Southaven's slogan is "Top of Mississippi." Southaven High school is where John Grisham graduated from, as did my Sweet Husband. Only not at the same time. Okay, on to the basics: our state flower, as well as state tree, is the Southern Magnolia. For those of you who have not seen or smelled this gorgeous flower, the fake scents of candles and potpourri just don't do it justice. Not even Yankee Candles, my favorite. The blooms are huge and the leaves of the tree stay green all year long, making beautiful arrangements at Christmastime.




Our state bird is the Northern Mockingbird. I'm sorry, maybe it's not being politically correct to say you hate your state's bird, but I just cannot tolerate it. I mean, why not have a bird that is not so annoying you want to shoot it at 3 o'clock in the morning? And let me tell you, I am a certified bird nerd. I love all things avian, but my love has conditions. Not singing at the top of your lungs in the middle of the night is one of those conditions. So, even though the Mockingbird really has a beautiful voice and can mimic many other birds, I just don't like it. By the way, I didn't take this picture. I have no idea to whom to give credit, but I believe in full disclosure. So there you go.

Moving on to great places to go, not far from my neck of the woods is the college town of Oxford. Right now there is a lot of buzz going on down there because the Mississippi Southern Living Idea House is just outside Oxford in Taylor, Mississippi. I haven't been able to go down there yet (it's a little over an hour away), but I would like to before it closes in October.

If you don't tell my Kiddo that I did this, I will say a little about the university that's in Oxford. Shhh...if he finds out I will be disowned. See, even though we live in Mississippi, we are die-hard fans of the University of Memphis Tigers. Which, by default, means we must hate Ole Miss (its real name is the University of Mississippi). That's not what I was going to tell you, though. There are generally two colleges you pledge your allegiance to when you live in North Mississippi (we have pledged no such thing to either one, but most everyone else I know has); Ole Miss or Mississippi State. Loving one means hating the other. SEC fans are tough, man. There's also Southern Miss, where Brett Favre went to school. Did you know he is from Mississippi? (Side note here...the JETS????)

Undoubtedly the most famous person ever to come out of Mississippi has to be Elvis Presley. You know his house is in Memphis, but did you know he was born in Tupelo? I have only been to his birthplace once; I went with my Australian friends, Grant and Rod when they came to visit back when I was 23. In other words, eons ago. This is a picture of Rod and Grant on the porch of the Presley home. Don't ask me what Grant was doing with his leg on the rail like that. I'm surprised he didn't get us kicked off the property for not keeping all hands and feet inside the tourist attraction.

Speaking of Tupelo, the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo is one of the neatest places in North Mississippi that I've never been to. I'm not joking when I say that. My sister and nephew enjoy going there, but I haven't made it down there yet. I know my Kiddo would love it.

Another town that has a lot to see is Holly Springs. It has the most beautiful Antebellum homes that you can tour during the annual Pilgrimage. It is also the setting for Jan Karon's latest novel, Home to Holly Springs. I loved that book. I love all of Jan Karon's books. If you haven't read her Mitford books, you must. MUST. They are set in North Carolina and are delightful. Sorry, I digress. Again.

Many places in Mississippi were Civil War battle sites, but probably the most famous in North Mississippi is Corinth. If you are into history, particularly Civil War history, this town is for you. They have so many museums, tours, and reenactments it makes you feel like you are back in time.

Another town where there is lots to do is Tunica. Forget the casinos. There's more to do than waste your money there. The Tunica Aquatic Center is an indoor pool that has a water feature for any age. The Tunica River Park is a beautiful place all around, with state of the art architecture, a gorgeous view of the Mississippi River, a museum of Mississippi's Natural History, and walking trails that take you on a nature hike.This picture of my Kiddo and Husband was taken a few years ago from one of the lookouts at the River Park. Sorry the quality is so horrible...I forgot to give my husband this one to scan at work so I had to take a picture of it. I'm desperate, I know.


Here's another picture of the river. Every time I drive across it from Memphis to Arkansas I'm reminded how massive this body of water is. This picture just doesn't do it justice. Especially since it's another picture of a picture.


Another body of water that is close to us is Arkabutla Lake. There's not much I can say about Arkabutla, but I wanted to point out that, per my dialect instructions listed at the beginning of this post, I was nineteen years old before I knew Arkabutla was not spelled "Arkabutler". We passed a sign for it on the interstate and for a split second I thought, "Hey, they spelled it wrong!" Then the reality hit me that, no, they spelled it correctly, but I, along with everyone else who had ever said the name since the lake was formed, pronounced it incorrectly. And I still do, dagnabbit.

I know this post has been all over the place (literally!), and I'm not usually so disjointed, but I wanted to show y'all a little bit of everything. I hope your head isn't spinning, and I hope you are still awake. I didn't even get to talk about the Delta (where The Blues was born, and yes, that is correct grammar), Hernando (our county seat named for Hernando DeSoto, who discovered the Mississippi River in 1541), Snowden Grove (one of the best little league baseball parks in the country), and so many other things. If you're still with me, thank you for letting me talk incessantly about my neck of the woods.

I do love Mississippi!








67 comments:

Karen said...

What a wonderful introduction to Mississippi .. :-)

I remember the studying the Mississippi River for geography and history, at school in New Zealand. I was also once asked how to spell Mississippi in a spelling contest :-)

Joyfulsister said...

Aloha.. from Hawaii.
So glad to meet a new friend from Mississippi. You know I always spelled it wrong in school lol. Thank you for the personal tour I really enjoyed myself. I think we would be good neighbors I'm chatty too lol.

Hugz Lorie

Gina said...

Hey, thanks for all that good info. My 11 year old would love to see Elvis's house- or anything elvis related.
Have fun being the Blog Queenie today.

greedygrace said...

Happy BATW Day! What a great tour!

Lady Dorothy said...

Thanks for a great tour of Mississippi!

I love your caterpillar/butterfly DNA quote! Makes for a great blog name! (See, I figued it out, Debbie, without asking!)

Gramma 2 Many said...

Oh my gosh, talk about head spinning, I am going to have to come back during the day and re-read this. There is more here than one can take in all at once.
Enjoy your BATW day.

EmmaP said...

ok - maybe because it's almost 3 in the morning here and i am sooooo hungry - but i was really hoping to get the lowdown on Mississippi Mud Pie. Anything you can tell me about that? Got a great recipe? J/K...seriously, though...do you?

Great blog, btw. Mississippi looks like an awesome place to live. Thanks for hosting us from BATW. Its been fun!

Julie said...

Wow, that is such fun info!!! I would love to visit the deep south sometime. I am originally from VA and people in the south don't claim us and people in the north don't claim us, so I feel a bit confused! Thanks for sharing about your wonderful state!

Darlene said...

Oh, I LOVE your tour of Mississippi!! It looks like a neat area....Great job!! I especially loved the lingo lesson. I'm from Texas originally, now in Oklahoma....so you know all the same talk applies. When we lived in California (while hubby was in the military) we would be fixin to go somewhere and would constantly get grief over how do you "fix" to go somewhere? LOL

Keeper of the Skies Wife said...

Hello from Arkansas. Thanks for the great tour! Elvis' little childhood home is so tiny....we saw it a few years back.

Becky Welch said...

Happy BATW day!! I am not far from you. I am in Tennessee. I lived in Columbus for a little while. Thanks for the visit and the tour!

Melissa B. said...

Hey there, gal! Native Texan & current Virginia resident checking in! Don't forget that Mississippi is also the home of Brett Favre, recently of Green Bay Packers Fame, now a New York Jet. Thanks for the tour and for having us over!

Veggie Mom said...

Thanks for the tour! I love Mississippi, too, and not just 'cause it was the first state's name I learned to spell! If you're at the "top" of the state, then you're near Tupelo, right? I've been there quite a few times--my Nana was from nearby Alabama!

Patti said...

Here from Texas!

Thanks for the tour of Mississippi!!

Lula! said...

'Sippy is my second home state...both parents are from Meridian & what little family I have left are still there. Both parents graduated from Mississippi State, but both parents are Georgia Bulldog fans, like me! (We pull for MSU, though--especially against Ole Miss!) I love me some 'Sippy...it's where my roots are firmly planted.

Great post...so fun to read!

Lauren W said...

What a fun introduction! Not gonna lie, though, I was a little disappointed that you left out anything about kudzu. Anyway... Thanks for such a great tour :)

Rene said...

What a great tour!! My fam is from TN so I know all about MS and the crazy dialect! You did forget to add that you are supposed to add r's into all kinds of other places too. My grandmother used to warsh her winders all the time. Do you do that there? ;-)

I gotta go cuz the BATW bus is gonna leave me but I'll be back. How could I not?!?

Kelley said...

I never knew so much about Mississippi, but I have driven through it so many times I can't even count them! We lived in Louisiana but we were from Georgia so at least 5 times a year we would drive to and from Atlanta or Albany. Thanks for the introduction to the state!

Caution Flag said...

That was a wonderful post! I think I need to visist Mississippi.

sassy stephanie said...

I used to vaca in M.I.crooked letter crooked letter....every summer when I went to NOLA with fam. Fun!

I didn't know John G was from Sippi!

HeathahLee said...

Melissa, I would never leave ol' Brett out! He's in there right above my Elvis stuff.

Lauren, yeah, I guess I should have mentioned the plant that ate the south! : )

Rene, I have a friend that cannot pronounce "coin" without it sounding like "corn." We worked at a bank together and I cracked up every time she said "You need to count your corn." Wha...?

~Trish~ said...

Stopping by from Kansas, very interesting post! Thanks for the info!!

Ashley said...

Thanks for the Mississippi tour. I'm right next door (AL) and rarely come over! Congrats on your feature!

Rela Pantaleon-Manigsaca said...

Landing again at your blog! I'm getting used to the term "neck of the woods" now...

Thanks for the Mississippi tour! One day, I will get there to visit, too!

Anyhow, what do residents of your state call themselves?

HeathahLee said...

Rela, we are Mississippians

Tara said...

Stopping by from Nebraska... Thanks for the great tour of Mississippi. What a great place to live!

CarlynB said...

Hey Sister,

That was a great introduction to our state.

I'd like to mention that there is a little bit more excitement going on in Oxford these days. In a couple of weeks the very first national Presidential Debate will be held in Oxford! Very. BIG. DEAL.

Love you,

Sister

Frizzy and Bird said...

So nice of you to have us over. You did a great job rolling out the red carpet for us and making us feel right at home and welcome! Enjoy your day in the spotlight!

JourneytoFamily said...

Thank you for the tour! Visiting via BATW from L.A.

Strawberry Blonde said...

Ok, so you would have room for me. Scott and I would really love to bring the kids to visit. We should plan a nice fall weekend. It would be a blast!

Oh, and the tour of Northern Mississippi was spectacular. Where do I leave my tip for the tour guide??

-- Brandi

Breanne said...

I love your blog. Stopping by on BATW. Thanks for thr tour of Mississippi.

Katie @ 3 Blondes and a Redhead said...

That was so enlightening! I learned so much about a place I've never been. Thanks for sharing about your home!

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Heathealee,
You did a great job of showcasing our state.

I went with a group of teachers on a tour of Mississippi sponsored by the Mississippi Geographic Alliance in the summer of 05 right before Katrina. We went to some of the places you mentioned...and lots of places on the Gulf Coast that are no longer there.

Go MISSISSIPPI!
Another Mississippi gal,
Diane

georgie said...

This blog around the world is REALLY giving me ideas for summer
'09 family vacation-this is better than ANY vacation guide on couldorder....Thank you for sharing your state

HeathahLee said...

Heh, heh, yeah, Sister, I sort of forgot about that little debate at Ole Miss.

Susie said...

Greetings from Wisconsin. Congratulations on your BATW feature. I hope that you are enjoying your day in the sun.

Tamie said...

that was seriously just so much FUN! the furthest south that i've ever been in Arkansas, and that was far-west side of that state...i am a civil war junkie...i told my husband that one day i am just going to have to go to colonial willamsburg or someplace down south just so i can have my fun for the day (and then go and enjoy my modern-day comforts in a hotel!)
thanks for sharing with us travelers!

Shannon said...

That was a great tour! I've been to Miss. a few times... the farthest south was to Laurel and Hattiesburg.

Susie Harris said...

What a great state you live in ! You look like you love it too, smile~ We go to Mississippi often and love it. As a matter of fact we will be there in a couple of weeks... I cant wait!

Shell said...

Coming in from BATW. I've been to Mississippi once when I was a kid. It is a lovely place. Thanks for making me feel welcome.

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

Thanks for the tour!!! I grew up in Minnesota so the Mississippi RIVER was always part of my life, but I've only been to Mississippi STATE once! Thanks for all the fun info!!!!!

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

The biggest reason I would want to go to Mississippi is to meet you. :)
And yes, it was one of the first states I learned to spell and the only state my younger daughter CAN spell. I am now fully informed!

~~tonya~~ said...

Stopping in from Louisiana via BATW!! Thanks for the tour. I know what you mean about the mockingbirds, they always seem to get in the tree right outside my bedroom window and make the loudest noises in the middle of the night!!

Melissa Lester said...

Thank you for the tour! I would love to visit the antebellum homes in Vicksburg and Holly Springs.

Your profile picture look so much like one of my dear friends, so when I read your comments on other sites I hear her lovely southern drawl. And now that I know you are from Mississippi, maybe you two do talk alike!

Mekhismom said...

Thanks for all of the info on your state. You did great just like I knew you would!

Nichole said...

Visiting from South Dakota. Thanks for the tour :o)

Dawn said...

Wonderful post!!! I learned a lot!! Hope you are doing great!

Jen said...

If I had to be put together with any other state, I am glad that it was you. Great post and I am glad to 'meet' you.

Mamasphere said...

Wow- that was chalk full of information! GREAT information! Thanks for the tour.

CaraBee said...

Fabulous intro to Mississippi! I absolutely love Magnolias, they are so beautiful and smell so yummy.

Debbie said...

Hey Bird Nerd!!! You did a fabulous job. I checked in this morning but didn' have time to read it all so I came back this evening. Love it!

Greg and Jen said...

Great post!! I learned so much. I felt like I was back in school, which I LOVE!

Never been to Mississippi but would love to visit someday. Great job.

Coach said...

Gosh, your popular. That is a lot of responses. I noticed your a Tiger fan, so I'll share my Tiger basketball blog with you.

http://uofmtigers.blogspot.com/

And I know what you mean about the Ole Miss thing. I'm a Memphis guy myself, but I've got lots of ties to Ole Miss and my wife's a Missippi (sic) girl (even went to grad school in Oxford).

ME (A) said...

Checking in from BATW. Thank you for sharing your great state with us. Enjoy your spotlight!

Hippie Family... said...

hi from MO.. the drive thru mississippi is always a fun one.. glad we got to see some stops along the way!

LaDonna said...

Thanks for the tour of Mississippi.

Kelly said...

Thanks for the great tour of Mississippi!! You did a great job!! I love the comment about the bird...LOL!

Kelly said...

Thanks for the great tour of Mississippi!! You did a great job!! I love the comment about the bird...LOL!

Brian and Staci said...

Greetings from Ms. Oklahoma!! What a great tour!! I left one of my favorite tshirts in Tupelo when I was about 13 on vacation :( Isn't that funny how you remember things like that! You did an absolutely great job! Nice to meet ya!

Lynda said...

Sorry I'm late, but I sure enjoyed the tour. I'm married to a Greenville guy, so I have a fondness for Mississippi :-)

I do have to disagree about the mockingbird (also the state bird of TX) - I absolutely LOVE it!

Thank you for doing such a fantastic job!

lynn said...

Hello from Wisconsin! I hope you enjoyed your BATW day! Sorry I'm a bit late :( Thanks for the tour of your fine state!

Kimba said...

Wow! Thanks for the tour of Mississippi! I've travelled quite a bit but that's one state that I've never set foot upon. Maybe someday I'll get to come for a visit.

I have to comment on Graceland...I was there one time - eons ago. I was probably about 23 also. Maybe we were there at the same time. ;-)

Mrs. Trixi said...

Oh, Heathalee, you did our state proud. I too love being a Mississippian. We have some good friends who moved here from California and they call it the country's best kept secret. I would not want to be any where else.
I did not know about the Southern Living idea house. I will have to make a trip up there. We may just have to meet up!
Oh, and on the SEC think, Go Dawgs!!
Have a great day.

Tracy P. said...

Hey Heathalee! I see I'm not the only one who missed the plane. My only trip to MS was to visit the guy I was dating long distance at the time in Holly Springs. The trip did NOT go well, and (being from MN), I felt all alone in a foreign country. He was a mess!

But it was so much more fun coming with you today--wish I had ditched him right then and let you be my tour guide!! Thanks for the fun trip!

Urban School Teacher said...

Interesting and informative post- and a nice blog format.

Vicki said...

Oh, there are so many things I love about this post...I'd have to write a book. Where to start?

1. Ok, I love your header on your blog. Beautiful.
2. I am Southern by the grace of God as well and so proud of it.
3. I loved your grammar lesson! And how about those people who try to spell it ya'll...I want to repost this post on my blog just for the grammar lesson.
4. Magnolias...yum. My grandmother had a magnolia in her front yard. If I remember correctly (it's been so long since being around one) the seeds were cool to extract and play with.
5. Ditto on the mockingbird. What were they thinking?
6. Ditto on football. We just moved to AL and you're either for Alabama or Auburn. You must decide.
7. Jan Karon's Mitford series...one of my favorites. We camped near the area she wrote about in NC. I've driven through Holly Springs...Is that close enough to six degrees of separation from Jan?

Thanks for the tour! I truly enjoyed it :)

Tammy said...

This is my first visit to Mississippi (via BATW) and I sure enjoyed it! My FIL was born in Hattiesburg, and there are still relatives there I guess.
Thanks for the tour!