Savannah Guthrie has been "formally offered" a promotion at "Today" (she now co-hosts the 9 a.m. hour with Natalie Morales and Al Roker), according to the Hollywood Reporter. She would take over the position currently held by veteran reporter Ann Curry.
Greetings friends and neighbors!
It recently dawned on me how lucky we are to live in a city with such a rich and amazing past. Memphis is literally steeped in history. You can feel it when you walk the ancient cobblestones along the riverfront and imagine the riverboats heavily laden with cotton that were once tied to the massive iron rings that still stand as silent rusted witnesses to all that went on there in those bygone days. You can also feel it as you stand in Confederate Park and look out across the Mississippi and imagine the roar of Southern cannons that unleashed their fury from that very bluff upon Union ships plying the great river. Or as you view the secret tunnels and trap doors of the Burkle Estate Museum that was once a stop for freedom seeking slaves on the underground railroad. You can feel it as you stroll down Beale Street on a quiet Sunday morning. If you listen hard enough it’s not difficult to imagine hearing W.C. Handy’s trumpet wailing the blues in the wind. It’s in the stately architecture of the Mallory Neely house in Victorian Village and as you stand at the grand old Hebe fountain in court square downtown. You can feel it and touch it as you stand upon the balcony of the old Lorraine Motel in the very spot where Dr. Martin Luther King was martyred for truth and justice. In fact, from it’s beginning as John Overton’s 15 cent an acre dream in 1795, through the civil war, the Yellow Fever epidemic, World wars one and two, to the great struggle for civil rights in the 1950s and 60s, to the tragic war in Vietnam, through the 1970s, 80s and 90s to the city we call home today, the story of Memphis is an important part of the story of America, and if you slow down and take the time to listen, Memphis will tell you that story. And there are no better story tellers than those who lived and shaped Memphis history. You can find most of them quietly waiting for you at Elmwood Cemetery.
Elmwood Cemetery was established as one of the first rural garden cemeteries in the south in 1852. It was the vision of fifty Memphis gentlemen who dreamed of a beautiful and dignified final resting place amid towering trees and and winding paths and lanes. A park not just for the deceased, but for the living as well, where families could gather to celebrate both life and death. And it was truly a dream that came true. One you should take time to visit. The 75,000 residents of Elmwood came from every walk of life and every culture imaginable. Beneath the ancient Elms, Oaks, and Magnolias of Elmwood lay our most honored and revered. Flowering Dogwoods and crepe Myrtles interspersed with Memphis history. Here lie the famous and infamous. The most loved and the most feared. There are veterans of every American war, from the Revolutionary war forward. There are Generals, senators, governors, mayors, madams, and murderers. And of course perfectly ordinary citizens that are part of our city’s rich and colorful past. This is truly one of the most beautiful and amazing places I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to believe I have lived here for so many years without once having visited Elmwood, but after a tip from some friends, I decided to call Director Kimberly Caldwell, who generously offered to give me the grand tour. What I found when I arrived is almost hard to adequately put into words. As I crossed the old Morgan bridge and entered the gates of Elmwood it was as if I had entered an alternate world where time and space had slowed to a standstill and the whispers of the ages silently invited me in for a visit with a knowing nod and a polite southern smile. Elmwood’s cottage, which was built in 1866 and houses the cemetery offices stood just inside and after a very brief moment Kimberly met me in the foyer and we began our trip into Memphis history.
We came first to the area of the cemetery called “No Man’s Land” where more than 1500 victims of the great Yellow Fever epidemic of 1878 are buried in unmarked graves close by the heroes who died while valiantly trying to save lives during that terrible time. Heroes like Dr. R.H. Tate, one of the first African American doctors to practice in Memphis, and Annie Cook, a madam who devoted herself to caring for the dying during the epidemic, and succumbed to the disease while trying to save lives. From there I visited the place where victims of the Sultana explosion, the greatest maritime disaster in U.S. history which killed 1647 people, most of them Union soldiers coming home after the Civil war are buried. Then it was on to the Confederate Rest Monument and burial place, where more than 1000 Confederate soldiers and veterans lie under the stately oaks of Elmwood. We wound our way down the lane to the gravesite of Kit Dalton, a Confederate and member of the notorious James Gang who later reformed and became an ardent baptist. Wade Bolton, who was killed in Court Square in a family feud that took eight lives, his monument depicting him as he actually appeared, with one shoe untied and his vest mis-buttoned. General William J. Smith, a Mexican war veteran and Union General during the Civil War. He stayed in Memphis to help Yellow Fever victims. There was the grave of Colonel John Smith who served in the Revolutionary War and died in 1851. The stunningly ornate monument of former Mayor and grandson of Memphis founder John Overton. Truly one of the most memorable parts of my tour was the monument to more than 300 slaves who are buried here. It was a chilling reminder of the darker side of American history. Lt. Col John B Snowden and members of his family are interred near a monument called the Snowden Angel. We drove on past the grave of Grace Toof, the woman for whom Graceland was named. There was Lillie Mae Glover the Blues singer known as the “Mother of Beale Street”, and the imposing giant obelisk that stands as a monument to the man who once ruled Memphis with an iron fist, Boss Edward Hull Crump. Since I had arrived so late my tour was a brief one by Elmwood standards, since there is so much to see, and I plan to come back when I can spend the entire day. Even that won’t be long enough to take it all in, as Elmwood covers such a vast area. Kimberly said she has been here 10 years and still hasn’t seen it all, and I want to personally thank her here for showing me around this amazing Memphis treasure.
Elmwood Cemetery is located just west of I-240 and Lamar Avenue, at the end of Dudley Street. From E.H. Crump Boulevard (Lamar), turn south onto Dudley. Continue to the end and cross the Elmwood Cemetery bridge. The office is open Monday thru Friday 8am-4:30pm and Saturday. If you’d like to visit, the grounds are open every day of the year from 8am-4:30 pm. To arrange a guided tour or to reserve a church service, wedding ceremony, reception or any other type of function at Elmwood’s Gothic Chapel, call the office during business hours at (901)774-3212. Admission to Elmwood is always free.
1. iPad -- If you have an iPad, then you honestly don't need anything else. Between watching movies & playing games, this thing has definitely saved our sanity on more than one road trip.
2. iPod Touch -- The iPod is definitely the next best thing to the iPad, and it's what we used for our son before we upgraded to the iPad. It still plays movies and offers games, but with a smaller, hand-held screen.
3. Headphones -- Do I really need to explain this one?
4. Leapster/Leap Pad -- The Leapster & Leap Pad is great for small kids who haven't quite mastered using big kid gadgets just yet. And since it offers educational games, they can keep on learning right through the summer.
5. Portable DVD players -- Portable players are pretty much dinosaurs when it comes to movie watching methods, but they will still keep your child entertained.
6. Extra chargers -- No matter what kind of technological device you pack for your kids, make sure to have at least one extra charger on hand in case you leave one at your destination. We've lost many a charger to hotel rooms and relatives' homes, so it's always smart to have a spare.
Mariah Carey has shown her support for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign by writing an inspirational new song in his honor. Mariah performed the song, "Bring It on Home" last week at a special fundraiser for Obama at New York's Plaza Hotel. Mariah also backed Obama in the 2008 election.
Mariah tweeted, "Just finished performing Hero, We Belong Together and BRING IT ON HOME - a song I wrote especially for the event."
Greetings friends and neighbors!
Driving home one steamy afternoon I was stopped at a red light and as I always do, took some time to look at the cars around me and the people inside. Wondering where they were going and what they were thinking about as they made their way through the Memphis heat and traffic. As I waited for the light to change, I noticed the Vintage Volvo station wagon in front of me which displayed a red bumper sticker that read, “Summer is my Poplar”. It got me thinking of one of my favorite Memphis thoroughfares. I’ve always enjoyed cruising down Summer Avenue. Especially that part of Summer that starts at I-240 and stretches to East Parkway. If you’re looking for a street in Memphis that has stories to tell, this is it. I like to think of Summer Avenue as Memphis’ own version of Route 66. And with good reason too, because the histories of these two roads have some striking similarities. Back in the days before I-40 cut a straight four-lane path across the state, Highway 70 was the road to Nashville, and Summer Avenue was the Memphis leg of that highway. Travelers on their way through town were accommodated by Motels, Gas stations, souvenir shops, restaurants, and all manner of roadside curiosities along the way. Needless to say, Summer Avenue was once not only prime real estate, but was a very important part of the local economy and in its heyday was really something to see. Nowadays at first glance, Summer Avenue seems to be a funky collection of used car lots, ethnic restaurants, antique shops, daycare centers, trailer parks, churches and bars. A street that seems to be lined with everything from fast food to flea-markets, where you can experience everything from modern retail centers to urban semi-blight all along one road. And although the shine might seem to have worn off this once grand old Avenue, the soul still thrives. Summer Avenue has a vibe that is unique in all the city, and if you take the time to explore it, you will be rewarded with an experience that no other part of Memphis can provide. Tucked away amid the clutter of Summer Avenue are bits and pieces of the past that still stand as they were, seemingly untouched by time. One of these treasures is The Peanut Shoppe at 4305 Summer Avenue.
The Peanut Shoppe was opened right before thanksgiving 1959 by the Planters Peanut Company to compete with all of the other roadside attractions along the highway. Places like Stuckeys, Howard Johnson's and Nickerson Farms. The Planters mascot, Mr. Peanut was a well known American Icon as far back as 1922, and the Planters Peanut Shoppe did a booming business selling fresh roasted peanuts to travelers coming through town and locals too up until they decided to sell their stores in 1963. The Summer Avenue Peanut Shoppe was bought and run by a man named Justin Adler. Things were going pretty well, but Mr. Adler decided he didn’t need such a big space to sell his peanuts, so he rented half of his store to a popular record store looking to expand further east, and thus 4305 Summer became the first satellite location of Pop Tunes. This made The Peanut Shoppe not only a favorite place for local teens to meet and work, but also for local musicians who would hang out at Pop Tunes to check sales of their records. At that time Memphis was the national epicenter of popular music. Not only the crucible of Soul, but also rock and roll, and many talented young musicians formed garage bands that found both national and international fame. Bands with names like The Counts, The Box Tops, and The Gentrys.
Young rockers like Larry Rasberry, David Mayo, Jimmy Tarbutton, and Sam Samudio of Sam the Sham and the Pharoas would stop in to get a fresh bag of roasted peanuts while next door at Pop tunes. One of the Local teenagers who worked behind the counter at the Peanut Shoppe was named Jim Burge. It was a job that young Jim truly loved not only because The Peanut Shoppe was so popular, but because Jim was a huge music buff, and loved to be close to Pop Tunes where all the action was.
Fast forward to 1993. Jim Burge still loved to stop by The Peanut Shoppe on his way home to get some fresh roasted nuts and revisit the fun of his youth. One day Jim was talking with the lady who now owned the store and discovered that she was planning to close The Peanut Shoppe down. “If I can’t sell it” she said. Well that was all Jim needed to hear. He wasn’t about to let such a local institution fade away into the dustbin of history! Soon thereafter Jim Burge became the proud owner of one of Memphis’ most treasured Summer Avenue hotspots. Today, Jim and his wife Debbie have painstakingly preserved The Peanut Shoppe to its original glory, and offer not just peanuts, but every kind of nut under the sun including Cashews, Walnuts, Pepitas, Brazil Nuts, Almonds, Pecans, Pistachios, and Sunflower seeds to name just a few. It’s the only place in Memphis where you can call ahead and have your favorite nuts custom roasted for you and also the only place in town where you can get a fresh bag of my favorite south Mississippi delicacy, Boiled Peanuts! YUM! On a recent visit Jim and Debbie showed me around this amazing store and all the wonderful things inside. Not only a dizzying selection of candies, but gift tins, Elvis souvenirs, Sno-cones, and authentic Planters Peanuts memorabilia including the original Mr. Peanut roaster, original antique scales, and Sandy the 10 cent Wonder Horse! The Peanut Shoppe is very popular around the holidays because there’s no end to how creative you can get with a custom made tin of someone’s favorite roasted nuts. (Make mine Pecans, Walnuts, Pistachios, and Brazil Nuts just in case you were going to get me something). So next time you find yourself down on Summer Avenue, look a little closer. You never know what you will find! The Peanut Shoppe at 4305 Summer is my Memphis treasure of the week. Stop in and pay Jim and Debbie a visit. It’s fun for the whole family! Call ahead for custom orders. (901) 682-1404.