Remembering Dr. King and the National Civil Rights Museum

Today we celebrate the life, teachings and sacrifice of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. If he had not been cut down by an assassin’s bullet in 1968, he would be 91 now. He would have elderly children, grandkids and great grandkids. It’s hard to picture when you consider the timeless images of a young man like the one above.

Here he is with his wife and first child. It brings to mind the famous quote that we all have heard.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

You have to wonder how much different the world and our country might be had he lived longer.

Today I thought we should visit the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN. First of all, Memphis is one of my favorite places because there is music and history and culture and mac and cheese at every turn. Seriously, the abundance of homemade mac and cheese is pretty spectacular.

But it’s also home to this museum that beautifully and skillfully tells the story behind the movement.

Among other things, the museum has preserved the Loraine Motel where Dr. King was murdered. You can see his room and the balcony where he stood when bullets were fired from a boarding house across the street. Incidentally, you can tour that boarding house as well.

Visiting here was a sobering, humbling experience that sort of put a damper on the fun of all that music and food. But friends, I would go back today if given the opportunity and I would highly recommend it to you as well.

Facing history gives us the opportunity to learn from our past, to humanize those people we read about in text books and to hopefully do better tomorrow. And if nothing else, a place like this instills in us a new sense of empathy and understanding that we may not have known on our own.

Want to visit the National Civil Rights Museum? Click here for details. If you wish to ponder the teachings and thoughts of Dr. King, this is a good source for quotes.

Still Waiting For Snow

This winter has been extremely mild. So mild, in fact, that we’ve hardly seen any snow. Everyone is ecstatic except for me.

Ohio is bleak and ugly in the winter time. Trees are stripped of leaves. The grass is dead and things are muddy because we’ve seen lots of rain in lieu of snow. It’s depressing.

Snow makes everything look pretty, as though the world has been tucked in for a long nap under a fluffy white blanket. One of my favorite pastimes is stomping around in it with my camera, trying to find new ways to make the trees and hills of my yard look fresh and new in pictures.

I also enjoy hiking in it.

And, of course, spending a quiet weekend cozied up with a book in a chair where I can glance up at the falling snow Is nice too.

We often have snow for Martin Luther King weekend so I was hopeful. Nope. More rain.

So I continue to wait. . .

Frankfort Presbyterian Church

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This Presbyterian Church in Frankfort, Ohio is one of several interesting things I photographed in the village one summer morning last year.

It features some of my favorite things – including these beautiful doors.

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And these gorgeous stained glass windows. Notice the angels are African American. That’s not something you see every day in southern Ohio. Aren’t they spectacular?

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Churches often have the most stunning architectural features and works of art. I would love to see inside this one someday. People were gathering for a funeral across the street that day so I didn’t linger long but am contemplating returning for a service someday. The windows illuminated at night would be worth the trip.

 

 

 

The Best Pizza In Wyoming and Plan B

We stopped for lunch in Lusk, Wyoming on the way to Rapid City. This picture represents a portion of their charming downtown area. I know it’s a bar but I liked the bike and all the colorful signs. More importantly, there was a promise made that the best pizza in Wyoming is made at a local joint here in Lusk.

Alas, that best pizza isn’t available over Labor Day weekend.

They were closed. Yup. Just my luck.

Since we had eaten a light breakfast, we were starving with few food options in the neighborhood. So we ended up at a gas station across the street where we found gas station snacks and “fresh personal pizzas.”

It seemed pretty impersonal pulling it out from under a warming light and it wasn’t especially fresh either. But it kept us from starving until we could get a real meal.

The moral of this story is that sometimes you have to adapt and come up with a plan b.

First though, we stood on the sidewalk outside the pizza place staring at the closed sign and debating what to do. It was reminiscent of the Griswold Family outside Wallyworld when they found it closed. It probably appeared we were willing the place to open just for us and for pizza to magically appear! After some initial whining, we eventually decided that we just needed to not starve and to move forward.

Things don’t always go as planned when you travel and that’s ok. Into everyone’s travel life some gas station food may come. It’ll make you appreciate the next meal even more!!!

Wonder What She’s Thinking?

In addition to churches, barns and vintage signs, I have a mild obsession with old cemeteries. This statue is in Grandview Cemetery in Portsmouth, Ohio.

I used to walk regularly in that cemetery and always looked for this statue. She’s lovely and sad, peaceful and thought provoking. There are other statues and interesting headstones but this is the most notable by my estimation.

Some people say that it’s wrong to photograph cemeteries because it’s sacred ground. But the graves are also monuments to people who someone didn’t want to be forgotten. There are people here – sons and daughters, parents, grandparents and friends – who someone wanted to remember. I say remember them. Read their names, imagine lives lived between the dashes and yes, photograph the ones that capture your attention if that’s what you want to do.

Wouldn’t you want someone to remember you?

Forlorn

It’s been gloomy a lot here lately but this scene is simply forlorn.

It was early Friday and rain had settled in for the day. The fog was trying to lift but these bare trees against that fog were just too much to resist. What I wouldn’t have given to have my camera in the seat next to me but had to settle for capturing this with my phone.

One of these days, snow will blanket the landscape and it won’t look so sad. For now, all we can do is seek beauty in unexpected places.