musings of an adventurous soul stuck in a rationalist's mind

Walking In Memphis

After we rolled out of Nashville Sunday morning, the thought was to head to the Memphis area. We don’t have campsites reserved anywhere. Reservations mean plans and a set timeline which is exactly what we want to avoid but we are trying to find interesting places along the way without exceeding more than a few hours in the car each day. The only thing we knew about Memphis was that it’s home to Graceland. Can’t say that either of us are huge Elvis fans but the distance and direction were right and we figured it was one of those places that would be worth seeing once in a lifetime.

The Nashville KOA pretty much left us wanting something a little more remote and oddly enough we found a state park, right smack in the middle of the city. It was small, it was simple but there were trees and there were trails. After setting up camp, Don stayed with the dogs while I made a quick trip to the nearby Walmart to grab a few things we needed.

Right outside the park limits, I started to feel a little on edge. Run down houses and boarded up project housing were at every turn. Trash littered every roadway. I figured I’d out run it at some point. I grew up in a major city and I’m well aware of the “other side of the tracks”. But I never found the tracks to cross back over. It was depressing and heart breaking and in all honesty made me feel a little nervous and insecure with where we were staying.

The next day Don and I opted to simply hide away in our little city oasis. Partly due to the city I had seen and partly because the heat index was at 110 degrees and we really didn’t feel like doing much of anything. We took the dogs for walks in the woods. Napped. And got a few camper honey-do things done.

I had no idea that in 2017 Memphis was ranked the poorest large metro in the nation. According to The University of Memphis, the city has a poverty rate of 26.9 percent and child poverty is 44.7 percent. Well above the national average. There’s so much America out there that I’ve never seen. Places and things and ways of life I never have to consider. It’s so easy to get caught up in our own little worlds and forget that there are people struggling just to get through the average day. I’m sure there’s more to Memphis than what we saw but what we did see left us little desire to delve deeper.

2 thoughts on “Walking In Memphis”

  • All very true. And once you spend some significant time in other parts of the world, perspective increases exponentially. It is easy to forget the good fortune cast upon us as we tumbled from the Universe into a white, middle class family in the US. That is, for much of the world, like being born on third base. A huge lottery win.

  • I got my Masters at the University of Memphis. I drove through those sad streets frequently on my way to school. Living in Tennessee was shocking to me. It was the most racist place I’ve ever experienced. There is a lot of hate surrounding those streets. I had to explain to my children why there is still a street in downtown Memphis named “Auction Street.” How does one explain the selling of people to an eight year old?

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