Sunday, December 13, 2015
Brief road trips
Miss D. and I hit the road yesterday. We spent the night in Birmingham, Alabama, about three hours south of Nashville, and we hope to be back home by tonight.
The main purpose of our trip was to see our buddy, Joe, who works as a gunsmith here. We last met him at Blogorado in October, where I discussed some gunsmithing work with him. Now it's time to drop off the guns and let him work his magic on them. He fixed one problem in two minutes while we waited, and four more firearms will receive his ministrations over the next few weeks and months.
We joined Joe for supper at what he tells us is the original or 'starter' branch of Jim 'n Nicks Bar-B-Q, which appears to be something of a Birmingham institution. The food was certainly worth the trip. After a shared starter of the restaurant's justly famous hot sausage links and deviled eggs, Miss D. managed to get the last cut of prime rib available that evening, while I enjoyed a plate of beef brisket and BBQ chicken, accompanied by potato salad and baked beans. (It contained no calories or carbs, of course - holiday food never does, right?) We shared a slice of lemon pie for dessert.
Sunday morning we'll take a quick look at the Birmingham Zoo before heading for home. We both enjoy animals, and a good zoo makes any city more interesting. Joe assures us that the art museum is also worth a visit, so we'll plan to see it in January when we come back to pick up some of the guns he'll have completed by then.
Next week we'll be making another road trip to Huntsville, Alabama, which was an early home to Dr. Wernher von Braun and his former Nazi rocket scientists when they were brought to the USA after World War II under Operation Paperclip. It's now the home of the US Space and Rocket Center, dedicated to the early history of the US space program culminating in the Apollo program and the moon landings. I'm taking a scrapbook to the Museum to see if it interests them.
Back in 1969 I compiled a scrapbook in South Africa of the Apollo 11 mission and the first moon landing. It was a pretty good school project (largely due to a lot of help from my late mother - most of the credit should be hers, I'm afraid!), and won a couple of prizes. All these years later, while sorting out all our belongings in preparation for our forthcoming move to Texas, I found it at the bottom of a tin trunk I'd shipped across the Atlantic back in the late '90's. I've no idea why I brought it with me, but for some reason I did. I've no particular reason to keep it, but I remember the excitement and awe of that period in history, and the scrapbook's a valued memento.
The Museum is interested in taking a look at it, because it provides a foreign perspective on the moon landings that adds a new dimension to the one familiar to most US citizens and residents. (For example, I have an entire section dedicated to cartoons about the moon landing in South African newspapers, most of which are written or drawn from a very different cultural background to that of NASA or Huntsville.) If the Museum finds it of value, they'll add the scrapbook to their research collection. I'd like to see it still of use to someone, rather than merely discarded with the rest of the detritus of my life at some future date. We'll see what they have to say when we take it down there.
Other than these quick road trips, it's onward with the packing and sorting. All being well, by the end of next month we'll be in our new home.