Birmingham and Back Home

We went to lunch at the historic Bright Star Restaurant, hung out and visited, ran errands, watched part of the World Series, talked politics, and tried to solve all the world’s problems.  🙂  On our last morning, Adrienne and Bill’s daughter Ashton met us for breakfast before we left town. I had not seen her since she was maybe 12 years old. She is smart, clever, funny, friendly, and beautiful…I was so happy to get to catch up with her!

After saying our goodbyes, we drove on to Shreveport to spend the night in another hotel/casino. This one smelled much better and the room was lots nicer!  We had a good dinner and were treated to a free drink each. 🙂  We did better gambling, too; well, Rich did.  I lost my $20 fairly quickly but he managed to win some the first night and then went back again the next morning and won a little more so he covered the cost of the room for us.  🙂  It was a much shorter drive back to Dallas from Shreveport.  All was well at home and the kitties didn’t seem to miss us too much.  🙂

Road Trip to Birmingham AL

Our friends Adrienne and Bill live in Birmingham and we have started a tradition of getting together every fall.  We’ve been to their house once before, they’ve been to Dallas to stay with us, and last year we met in Hot Springs, AR.  We discussed going somewhere else this year but could never decide upon a location so we thought we would go back to see them at home. They are great friends that we have lots in common with, and always enjoy our time together so much! Because of the tornado and loss of power, we weren’t sure if we would have to postpone our trip…but once the electricity was back on, we decided we would keep our plans.

I  did my Tuesday volunteer work till 1 PM and then we headed out. We can’t take a really long day of driving any more so we planned to overnight in Vicksburg before going on to Birmingham. We made reservations at a casino/hotel because Rich thought it would be fun to gamble a little. 🙂 By the time we got there, only one restaurant was still open in the casino and it was not very good. The casino reeked of cigarette smoke, to the extent that even an ex-smoker like Rich thought it was overpowering. Needless to say, we did not dilly dally for long.  We quickly lost $20 each and went back to our hotel room for the night.

 

The next day we drove on to Birmingham, arriving around 4 PM. We had dinner and hung out and caught up on everyone’s news.  The following day we had tickets to the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice so we got up early and made the trip from Birmingham to Montgomery.  The Legacy Museum traces the history of African American people from slavery and lynching through Jim Crow to the Civil Rights Movement and to mass incarceration and police shootings today.  We were not permitted to take photos inside so I have none to share here. It was very interesting and emotionally exhausting to learn lots of information we were not necessarily taught in school, to see photos and documents and videos of this country’s very questionable and terroristic history toward African Americans. I basically cried my way through the exhibits, all the while wondering how difficult it must be for Black people to walk through the museum and know what has been done to their people.

From there we drove to the Memorial for Peace and Justice, which commemorates the over 4000 people who have been identified as lynching victims in the US from the 1800s up until 1950.  1950!! Can you imagine? I just cannot fathom the hate and cruelty that white people have inflicted on people of color for years and years and years in this country.  What could make you hate someone so much, merely for the color of his or her skin? I could hardly stand walking through the monument and seeing the names of those who were killed. Yet I think it is so important and I wish every white person would go.

 

For more information about the Legacy Museum, go here. And for the Memorial for Peace and Justice, here.

Birmingham, Alabama

We spent two nights with our friends Adrienne and Bill in Birmingham.  As I mentioned, they had pizza waiting for us when we arrived and after we ate, we sat down to watch the Presidential debate together.  Very interesting….????  I am not a Trump fan and he did nothing to change my mind.  Oh. my. goodness.

Since we have been to Birmingham before and have visited all of the historical Civil Rights sites in the past, we decided to go to the Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark and to Vulcan Park and Museum.  I had no idea that Birmingham had been called “The Pittsburgh of the South” and had been such an industrial powerhouse. Sloss Furnaces produced iron for almost 90 years beginning in the late 1800s and today you can walk through the grounds and see all of the huge structures up close.  We watched a short film about the history of the plant before exploring on our own.  It’s pretty massive and impressive and we could just imagine what it must have been like back in its day.  You can read more here.

We then went to Vulcan Park and Museum.  Vulcan is the Roman god of the forge, son of Jupiter and Juno.  According to mythology, he worked as a blacksmith after being thrown from Mt. Olympus, making weapons and armor for the gods and goddesses, though he was peaceful himself. Birmingham’s Vulcan is the world’s largest cast iron statue, designed by Italian artist Giuseppe Moretti and cast from local iron in 1904.  Vulcan has stood over the city since the 1930s. We went through the museum and then took the elevator to a deck near the top of the statue where we could look out over Birmingham.  Learn more about Vulcan here.

It was great to get to visit with Adrienne and Bill again (we’d seen them a couple of years ago on another road trip) and we always have a good time hanging out with them.  In fact, they are meeting us in New Orleans in a few weeks!