Monday, July 27, 2009

A good time was had by all

My parents came into town last Wednesday. They brought my girls back home after hosting them for three-and-a-half weeks. While here we did a couple of the tourist-y things that J-mom and I have been wanting to do, but haven't made it out to yet.

First thing we did was do a drive-by of Graceland. As expected, there were tons of people all around the area. What's surprising to me is how contained Graceland is. You'd kind of expect there to be more of a sprawl of Elvis-reltated businesses, but, no, not really. There are a couple of things right next to the house, but then you immediately go back into urban sprawl. We didn't go in, didn't even get out of the car. Just drove by, flipped around and drove by again. That satiated my urge.

We then went to Neely's on Jefferson. For all the hype and their Food Network blitz, I was left a bit disappointed. Mom and Dad and J-mom and I both got sampler platters that consisted of ribs, pulled pork, sliced smoked turkey and sliced beef. I felt the ribs were fantastic (the ribs on my parents' platter were not so good - overdone and chewy). Everything else was just OK. The pulled pork, especially, was not up to Memphis BBQ snuff. I smoked a shoulder the next day and was far more pleased with the outcome. But, it's another BBQ joint off the list.

The next day we went to Sun Records. Wow. What a place. It just vibes history and music. They've done a very good job in protecting the studio (kind of by luck, if you look into the history of the place). You can actually rent studio time there for $100 an hour, including and engineer. That's peanuts for studio time. The actual tour is kind of short and there's very little to actually see. There's a small room with some of the studio's history on display. You spend most of the time there being talked through the Sun story. For a music buff, it was great. My kids were kind of bored, but they did very well. I was floored by some of the stuff - especially the broken Rocket 88 amp. To see so much history encapsulated in a single thing is always amazing.

After the history, you're taken into the studio to round out the rest of Sun's story and to see where the magic happened. It was such a cool-feeling place. We'll be taking future visitors there. The place is magic.

We had lunch on Beale Street, but we forgot that the Dyer Cafe was there or we would have eaten there. It can be hard living in such a food-centic city. So many places to eat, so limited resources.

It was great to see everyone again and to have the girls home. And any excuse to get out and see some of the city is a good one.

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