Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Here Comes Nobody

On Monday, Rob and I bid a sad farewell to Watson at the Nashville airport and lit out for some deep country barbecue. Sadly, the object of our intentions, Ricky's Scott's Barbecue (no relation, I think, to Ruth's Chris) is closed on Mondays. A big wood fire was raging in the back though, and a deaf-mute there directed me inside to chat with a gentleman of the establishment (quite possible Ricky), who confirmed that, indeed, there was no barbecue to be had at Ricky's Scott's, nor in the entire town, nor for miles around. So we left.

Monday = Closed, dummies

We made our way to Pinson Mounds State Archeological Park, which is revered, I'm told, by archeologists for its preservation of the remnants of a moundbuilder settlement of sorts. The builders themselves, being a fundamentally nomadic people, are naturally long gone, and really, we don't know much of nothing about them—though, to be fair, we did not watch the 27-minute-long video about what is known about them. Instead, we tromped around the woods for an hour and a half or so. There was also no barbecue here. So we left.

Mission accomplished, said the mound builders.
Having determined by now that Jackson, Tennessee, is widely considered a culinary desert (not the same as a food desert), we were thrilled to learn of Tulum, a Baja-style Mexican restaurant that the Internet more or less declares is the best place in town to eat. It's right. We wolfed down some fish tacos and then some carne asada tacos for good measure, accompanied by good banter with the owner and his cousin, which somehow resulted in us walking out with the owner's three tickets to that night's Jackson Generals game. (Thanks again!) Really, it's a sweet little place in a former fast-food outpost of some sort or another (Debra Jane, can you help us ID it?) that deserves every success it can get. But game time was approaching, so we left.

Eat here and be lonely no more.
At the game, the Generals (formerly the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx) took on the Montgomery Biscuits, whose uniforms, weirdly, did not quite match top and bottom. But that's a minor point. A major point is that no one goes to see baseball in Jackson. The picture at the top of this post was taken as the first pitch was being thrown. Being very, very generous in my counting, I came up with a peak crowd of about 300 people. Not encouraging. Tallahassee, are you listening? Columbus, do you want a team again? Anyone? Anyone?

One person who was at the game is our old friend Hak-Ju Lee, whom we first saw in Boise and whom I glimpsed again at a Cubs futures game, before he was dealt in the catastrophically lopsided Matt Garza deal in early 2011. He didn't do much of note this night, and he seems to have slowed up a bit on his path to the Show. Certainly, if standing around in hundred-degree weather in front of 300 people in Tennessee doesn't motivate a person to get up and out, nothing will.

Come on, Hak-Ju, the Durham Bulls are calling. Or aren't they?

After a national anthem from Miss Tennessee, the game itself was a fairly speedy 2–1 win for the Generals. There being no other reason to stay, we and the 100 or so people remaining got up and left.

On the way back to the hotel, we swung by the hokey Casey Jones Village (which was not, repeat not built by moundbuilders), just to see if there was anything to see. Friendly as it was, there wasn't.

Alone again, naturally.

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