Day 1: Reflections on the Journey to Mississippi via Vicksburg

Day 1 was a 9-hour migration from our home in Texas to my childhood stomping grounds in Aberdeen, MS.

Along the way, we decided to make a stop in Vicksburg. The tour was free. Plus, for Memorial Day, they provided live musket demonstrations. The girls were amused as the host attempted to load and fire 3 shots in under a minute. He failed.

(pics when I’m able to offload the cameras)

These moments create interesting conversations with our children. Libbie, age 5, has no context for the Civil War. For her entire existence, she has had friends of all races. The thought of a person owning another was altogether foreign – a sad moment when that innocence washes away.

Thankfully, at this age she doesn’t quite get it, and she can enjoy a few more blissful years.

More confusing to her was the idea of people within our nation killing one another over ideological and moral divides. The ideological quarrels with her peers involve little more than disagreements on the best flavors of cupcakes.

It is sobering to reflect on our charmed existence in modern America. We enjoy our hipster foods. We gripe when the WiFi is laggy. We choose from a buffet of churches and take those freedoms of faith casually.

Just 150 years ago, the tale was a different one.

After a few introspective moments subsided, we moved along to the remnants of the Cairo, a Union war ship dredged from the river 102 years after she sank from torpedo fire. It was a vivid illustration that fashioning armor doesn’t make you invincible. There’s a moral in there somewhere.

Next, we headed up the Natchez Trace, dodging a few turtles who braved the asphalt, and enjoyed the green grass and hovering trees, before settling in Blue Bluff Campground.

The girls are showering, and I’m thinking of the grand stories I’ll tell them when we visit my old haunts tomorrow.

M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I.

From the time I was 4 to 16, these humid lands were my home.

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