New Year’s Eve Greetings from Memphis!


FYI, I’ll be celebrating the New Year in Memphis this evening.

Things are going fairly well here, although as you can see, the weather’s a bit dingy. I’m writing from the pictured Starbucks, the one at White Station and Poplar. This location has significance for me because my wife worked in this very building back when we were in college. No, it wasn’t a Starbucks then; it was a Pancho’s taco outlet (a local Memphis chain).

As I boasted on Twitter, I had Corky’s BBQ last night, which is the best. Sorry y’all didn’t get any.

Here’s a weird coincidence, by the way: The other day when I went to Hobby Lobby to paint my masterwork, I noticed that the building on Forest in Columbia that was once, briefly, a Corky’s (not a very good one, though — not up to Memphis standards), I saw that it is now a Pancho’s Mexican food place. It’s like there’s a wormhole between Memphis and that one spot in Colatown…

Meanwhile, based on e-mails I’ve received from the two Steves running for mayor, Columbia is trying to emulate Memphis-style racial tensions. Not cool.

For its part, Memphis is pinning its hopes for a bright 2010 partly on the fact that, 32 years after his “death,” Elvis’ appeal remains unrivaled. Really. Hey, you make do with the assets you have…

15 thoughts on “New Year’s Eve Greetings from Memphis!

  1. Bart Rogers

    To Brad, Kathryn, Doug, Burl (yes, you Burl), Maude, bud, Herb, Steve, and all of the others who visit or post here, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the level of intelligence, passion, civility, and the broad spectrum of knowledge displayed by everyone who participates.

    There may be disagreement between parties, I know I have some strong differences of opinion but I appreciate and treasure the freedom we have to take part in our democratic system of government. Let us pray that we will always have that because it is the one thing that keeps us honest and most importantly, keeps us involved.

    Let us remember that even though as a country we have a few warts and a blemish here and there, America is still the greatest country on this planet and we should be thankful we live here.

    Thanks to all of you for making 2009 a better year by way of all of your commentary and opinions. Without them, life would be boring and just too vanilla for my tastes.

    From my wife and myself, we wish each and everyone of you health, happiness, prosperity (whatever prosperity is to you), and God’s blessings on each and every one.

    Happy New Year!!!!

  2. Brad Warthen

    Thanks so much, Bart. How kind and thoughtful of you. And likewise.

    And Maude — it is unusual, isn’t it? They kept the Pancho’s architecture. I hadn’t really noticed how distinctive it was until my wife — she who worked there when it was Pancho’s — remarked on it yesterday. Of course, she has a slightly different perspective. As we drove around the building, she pointed to the back and said that’s where she would get the hose to hose out the bathroom every night — and she said it with a shudder…

    My favorite Starbucks location remains the one on Gervais, in the old building owned by my friend Hal Stevenson.

    By the way, speaking of Pancho’s. I went to the one on Summer last night and got a couple of tacos. Not the same. I think they left off the special green sauce.

    I wish I had time to hit all my favorite Memphis spots this trip, but I don’t. So no Rendezvous ribs, and I won’t make it to the world’s best Italian joint, Pete and Sam’s

  3. Steve Gordy

    In case I start to whine about what things look like on 1/2/10, I try to sit down and remember that on 1/2/40, my parents were just emerging from the Great Depression, with the horrors of World War II in front of them. Glucklisches neues jahr, as the Germans might say.

  4. Kathryn Fenner

    Off topic, but perhaps to stimulate discussion:

    We just watched Frost/Nixon (Netflix is so much cheaper and more convenenient) and one of the comments made by “James Reston” was that Nixon’s legacy was that all political scandals now end in “-gate.” It suddenly occurred to me that Mark Sanford’s Argentinian Trail episode did not have a “-gate” name. Wow! Mark Sanford killed Nixon’s legacy.

    You can say that again.

  5. Herb B.

    Thanks Bart, and the same to all! Well said!

    Steve, I wouldn’t have mentioned it, except for the accidental humor, but you’ve got one “s” too many in “glückliches neues Jahr.” The funny part is that with a little too much alcohol, a German would be prone to pronounce it exactly as you wrote it!

  6. Kathryn Fenner

    @ Herb—-or a Bavarian/Austrian/Swiss, etc….
    Can you actually understand those dialects? The Swiss are so obscure, that even knowing they are Swiss, I can barely tell that they are speaking German as opposed to French!

  7. Herb B.

    Well, Bart, I lived there for 28 years, so yes, a bit of dialect rubbed off on me, especially schwäbisch, since I lived in Friedrichshafen for 17 of those years. (Of course, the folks around Stuttgart would call the people in Friedrichshafen “Pre-Austrian,” (Vorderösterreicher) and not pure Swabians–I guess it’s human to put down “the folks down there”–with the church folks I hung out with, it was usually meant in good fun. Not so in general, I think.

    Bayerisch and Austrian? Well, I can hear when they are spoken, but I don’t know more than a few of the different vocabulary words that those dialects use. Our kids could speak perfect Franconian back when we lived near (what was then) the East German border. They’ve forgotten most of it now, though.

    A Swab will always tend to use an “sch” sound with any “s,” while a north German will pronounce the “s” distinctly.

    Except when they’re drunk. That’s when the “s” will always turn into an “sch,” or “sh” in English, since I think the same thing happens in our language.

    The interesting thing is that a native claims to be able to tell the difference in dialect between one village and another. I guess it’s true; I’ve got no way of substantiating the claim. No way a foreigner like me could tell the difference.

  8. Herb B.

    Sorry, it was Kathryn, not Bart! Guess I’m needing some new glasses!

    I need to add that Swiss German was always the most difficult for me. I had friends who could understand it somehow instinctively, but I never could. It was interesting, the times I was in a group of Germans and Swiss–I could only get the gist of the conversation by following the Germans.

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