Palaver from Persimmon Crossingwith Warren Faulk
The Road To MississippiSeveral years ago my wife and I decided to visit the flea market in Ripley, Mississippi. At the time Ripley held a huge flea market on the first Monday of most months called, oddly enough, First Monday. We had recently moved to Russellville, Alabama and everybody there said "you've just got to go to Ripley". We struck out across Franklin County headed West without a map on a good two lane road figuring to ask directions along the way.
Our first hurdle was a herd of cows that were loose and blocking the road. We found a farm house and got some help nudging the herd off the road. As we approached the Alabama/Mississippi line it became apparent that the road we were on did lead to Mississippi, but not INTO Mississippi. The black top ended abruptly, leaving only a three trail dirt road overgrown with trees and bushes that was little traveled.
So we backed up and found a good road going South for several miles and from it we located another improved road going West and did finally enter Mississippi. A map began to seem to be a better idea the further we went. We wandered around for maybe a half hour and finally stumbled on a small town with a filling station.
The station operator said he didn't have a map, for sale or otherwise, but he could tell us how to get to Golden, MS which we new to be on the way. I was taking the best notes I could to help me remember which mailbox to turn at before going a fur piece and taking the left fork . About then a second fellow came up and started disagreeing about which fork to take because he had lived there all his life too and he was older. It seemed that a fight was about to take place when a third man showed up and promptly joined in with yet a third opinion. Things were getting real confusing and we decided to leave before anyone realized we were still there.
We did a little more probing on our own and found our way through Golden and on to Ripley. The flea market lived up to its reputation. It was the biggest we had ever seen and offered about everything you could look at in a full day, from chickens to china.
Late afternoon we headed back toward home with a van full of booty. You'd think the roads would go back the same way they came but it isn't true. We approached Golden three times from the West before we found a route through and on toward Alabama.
As we were about to leave the town we saw a handwritten sign that said "Auction - Right Now" ... so we stopped ... and the day began anew. We were the only outsiders. The people took to us like a country church takes to visitors. They fed us white beans and corn bread for $1.00 a plate, all you can eat, and when the bidding started, all eyes were on us. This was far more social event than auction and we clearly were the evening's entertainment. Nothing of significance was offered for sale, very little was sold and nobody seemed to care. They, indeed we, were just going through the motions to have an excuse to sit and talk.
So if you have occasion to visit Northern Mississippi, for goodness sake leave your atlas at home. Otherwise you might miss out on all those things you hadn't planned to see and do.
-- Warren Faulk
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