I’ve traveled this road for over forty years…the one that takes me from Mississippi to Oklahoma. I first traveled it as an excited young bride, later as a new mom, then as a grandma, and eventually as a widow. Over the years, I’ve made the trip in a variety of vehicles from cars, to vans, to trucks. I traveled it with joy and excitement and with tears. (I’m remembering the late night ride to my brother Wayne’s funeral and a bitter sweet drive with Ben when my mom had a stroke.) I am now blessed to travel this path with John and most recently with our Fifth Wheel in tow. Though there have been many changes in the journey, there are those things that remain the same. I still get excited when I see either of these signs because both signify I’m close to home.
Some of the changes have been good. The vehicles I travel in have improved vastly over the past forty years too. The highways have become straighter and smoother and there are more places to stop along the way when we’re tired and hungry. Some of the scenery has changed along the way too. For many years there were hundreds of tiny shabby houses lining a part of the drive along the Mississippi Delta. They stood in rows, side-by-side and backed up to crop-filled-fields. I don’t remember when those disappeared but one day I realized they were all gone. On our latest trip home, John saw this one at the Cotton Museum in Lake Province, LA….it’s a part of our Southern history and etched in my memories.
But as I said, many things haven’t changed. I still love traveling along the Oxbow Lakes formed by the Mississippi River, the Bayou’s, and other lakes that run through parts of Arkansas and Louisiana. The cypress trees growing along the route are stunning and always grab our attention. A summer view above and a fall view below. And as a young woman, the well lit Christmas trees that line the Bayou in Tallulah, Louisiana fascinated me…I’ve just found this is called the Walnut Bayou. This sight is beautiful on a cold winter’s night when the trees are all lit. Southern columned homes line this route, too. After passing through this area, then I get excited as we cross over the Mississippi River bridge. As a young woman, I tossed a penny in as I crossed over on my first visit to Oklahoma.
Passing on through Vicksburg, a beautiful array of trees flank both sides of the highway amidst many pines. They’re still standing tall in spite of the ravages of many hurricanes.And if you look, you’ll see Kudzu along the way still trying to choke out the trees. The ‘swtiches’ still grow wild all through the land too. I used to hate it when my mom said, “Go break me a switch.” I knew I was in trouble. The hay is still harvested and seeing it brings fond memories of the farm. As a girl, I’d drive my dad’s old pickup as they loaded it with bales of hay. The pines still tower on much of the land and are now planted and harvested every fifteen to thirty years by many of the land owners. Cotton is still grown but the way it is harvested is much more sophisticated than it once was. I remember having my own little cotton bag when I was very young.
Love seeing these cotton fields along the Mississippi Delta. They were in the process of being harvested as we passed through this time.
Boiled peanuts are still available all over the place, particularly around Jackson, Mississippi. Many farmers sell them along the highway. YUM! Sweet iced tea is still a staple as is cornbread and grits. Porch swings are still everywhere! (One of my favorite things)
Pecan orchards still abound and the town of Columbia is still dear to my heart and so are the people. But there’s one place even dearer to my heart than Oklahoma or Mississippi. When the sun of my life sets and my journey ends, Heaven, my real, forever home awaits . I kinda think there’s a tall glass of sweet iced tea awaitin’ me and a long sit in a porch swing with Him.
II Corinthians 5: 1 We know that the earthly tent we live in will be destroyed. But we have a building made by God. It is a house in heaven that lasts forever. Human hands did not build it.