Back from the truly Deep South...
We had a fantabulous time this past weekend (that's like a combination between fantastic and marvelous, which means it really was great!). I spoke at the Mississippi Writers Guild's annual conference and Gary tagged along to enjoy a weekend away with me. Everything about it was really wonderful!
I already live in the Deep South, but the people there in Vicksburg made me feel even more Southern...if that's at all possible. They had the loveliest accents, and hugged me on sight, and went and got me sweet tea whenever I asked for it, and told wonderful stories like only Southerners can tell. It was a really great experience (so, thank you, Richelle and Anne and all you wonderful folks, for making me feel so welcome).
On Saturday night, after the conference had finished, we went with other speakers and their spouses and other leaders of the Guild and ate at The Cedar Grove Inn. It is a lovely (and huge) antebellum home two blocks in front of the Mississippi River. It was built by a father for her daughter and son-in-law when they got married (how about that for a wedding gift?) and the mother was actually related to General Sherman of the Union army; so the home remained intact during the siege of Vicksburg (aside from two cannonballs that were inadvertantly shot from a Yankee boat going down the river; one of the cannonballs is still lodged in the front parlor wall).
The house is also apparently haunted, and we learned some wonderful stories about the smell of cigar smoke lingering in the library and the handprint on one of the mantels that reappears even after the housekeepers clean it off (of course, Gary and I investigated all the supposed haunted spots). We also wandered up for a view of the Mississippi from the roof, and explored the grounds, and then enjoyed the best Shrimp and Grits you could imagine (and some fabulous bread pudding as well).
Alas...I have no bed-jumping pictures because I left without taking my camera. Gary had his camera, but he didn't have a wide-angled lens with him (there was one on my camera, that would have helped...if I'd actually brought it!). So, Gary took some great shots at the Civil War battlefield park there in town, but didn't get any good ones of my food, or the cannonball lodged in the wall, or of me bed-jumping (he would have had to open the door and take the picture through the window from across the courtyard, to get me in the frame!).
I have returned home full of more ideas to write about; a few more pounds on me from the delicious food I ate; the reminder that time away is always good; and a new appreciation for the South and sweet, new friends.