November 21, 2009

Mark Twain Country

After spending a day roaming the southern end of Missouri, we're refreshed and off to Palmyra, established in 1819. 1819!!! SF has an interview scheduled with the editor of the Palmyra Spectator, the hometown newspaper. Local boy makes good and all that!
It's just a small country town." It is, but with a population that is half that of the Big Rip's, it offers so much more. Ripley would kill to have a thriving business center, with very few empty stores, and a real, defined sense of neighborhoods. It is a compact town, whereas Ripley spreads for miles. Beautiful Victorian homes, "modern" homes, and the obligatory single or double-wide thrown in for good measure. If you ever visit there, you must take time to visit The Mark Twain Estates. There is some blight but surprisingly not as much as in other locales. And, naturally, being so old, it has some history, notably the Palmyra Massacre. The Union Army killed 10 Confederate soldiers because 1 Union soldier being held prisoner was not released.

SF has no family left there and most of the friends have moved to other places. However, he was shocked to be instantly recognized by the owner of the Ford dealership. Talk, talk, talk. While they reminisced, I took pictures. There was a beautiful model of an old Ford roadster, I guess that's what it was called, on the showroom floor. Instant service with a loaner thrown in so that we could take a look around. Hot dog! Abby's got brand new shoes!

On a whim, he decided to look up a friend's nephew who invited us out to spend a few hours that evening. GORGEOUS house sitting on five acres. The barn is as large as the house (almost) and ready and waiting for the mules he wants to obtain. Now I don't know why the obsession with mules (I looked up the cost; why not horses?) but that's what he wants. He and his wife are educators and very involved in the community. They've done well with three offspring who are proud grads of Spelman, Morehouse, and a Ph.D-in-training at Harvard. With all those degrees running around, you'd think that they'd be 500-wantabees but they were very down-to-earth and welcoming. I appreciated the hospitality.

Now it's time to tour "America's Hometown," Hannibal, home to Samuel Clemen's (aka Mark Twain). I am in pig heaven! How many times have you read Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn? I read them over and over again. So I am really psyched to visit the restored homes and museum. Click click! The river boat wasn't running; it was the end of the season but that's okay, I got to SEE it! So rather than load you up with photos, take a look at this link and you'll get an idea of what I experienced. Mark Twain Home

Hannibal has a population of 16,000 and is densely populated. It offers a little bit of everything, boutiques, WALMART, and a fashionable main street, replete with sidewalk cafes. They do love their dogs. I counted three pet places within two blocks of each other. More Victorians. It even has a "Lover's Leap" which overlooks the city and Mississippi River. Seems that two Indians, from warring tribes, fell in love...and when they were caught, jumped from the cliff to live together eternally. Sound familiar? Obviously, I didn't get to see everything it has to offer but I saw what I came for. I'm happy!

On to St. Louis.

No comments: