CLASSIFYING THE CONSTITUENTS OF CHAOS

Natchez, Mississippi: 4,380 miles The whole quote is: "The classification of the constituents of a chaos, nothing less is here essayed." and it's from Moby Dick, which I am currently rereading. A good road trip is something like that. You point your car here or there, pretty much at random but with an abiding sense of where you're headed, and soone or later you've made something of it. What? I'm not sure yet. But something. And so far something very good. Following two great meals in Chicago - one Italian and one Thai, a splendid time wandering around the old library building and Millenium Park and a frustrating time in the Art Institute (it was in utter disarray thanks to construction and exhibit installation)and a book event at which one person showed up (the bookstore was great though - The Book Stall of Winnetka - and the people who worked there warm, friendly and smart), Eva and I sat in the car and headed nine hours south to Clarksdale, Mississippi, the heart of the Delta and arguably the birthplace of the blues. We stayed in a fantastic guesthouse that used to be an ice house. We met many interesting, friendly people, we heard some great, and some not so great, music. I hadn't expected much of interest to be left in the Mississippi Delta. I was wrong. It far exceeded my low expectations and now I'd love to go back and spend a lot more time. Here's some pictures with captions: The Chicago skyline seen from the prairie grasses garden in Millenium Park. (I don't know what caused the wacky stuff on the building, but I like the way it looks.) Eva and me, reflected numerous times in the underside of "The Bean" in Millenium Park. Back when they really put a lot of money into building libraries. Art babble in the Art Institute. I think everyone who writes for art exhibits and catalogs, as well as about 98% of all the university professors in the world, ought to be sent, regularly, back to writing boot camp. Sheesh! The famous "Crossroads" of highways 61 and 49, where legend has it Robert Johnson and a number of other blues phenoms sold their souls to the devil for their musical prowess. There is a great deal of controversy as to which crossroads in the Delta is the "real" one, but this is the only one with a crossed guitars monument. It's in Clarksdale. Abe's BBQ, is here and has been here, run by a Lebanese family since 1924. It's a very nice place with, I'm sorry to say, mediocre bbq. Supposedly, Messenger's on the wrong side of the tracks in downtown, is much better, but we didn't get there. The Big Pink Guesthouse, on the other hand, is truly splendid. $125 per night for the gigantic King Suite - the whole front half of the building that used to be an ice house, then an ice cream factory, then an ice cream parlor, and now one of the very best hostelries we've ever stayed in. More later. Right now we've got to hit the road from Natchez to Lake Charles, LA.

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