Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Memphis Blues

When PCI acquired the major southern subcontracting company, there had been just one branch, Rome GA, that was actively involved in the drywall/acoustic trade. Now, some of the other branches decided to give it a try. Most had been insulation subcontractors and knew very little about drywall/acoustical and even fireproofing. My job was to help them in any way I could and teach their estimators how to use our software.

One of those branch offices, Memphis TN, called us and asked for our help. So I was off to a new destination; something I always liked to do. It was the continued flights to a site that drove me crazy. Airports, TSA and airlines were beginning to be a real drag on my psyche. But...Memphis was new and after looking at the maps on the net, I was eager to be there.

I arrived midday and soon found the office. I pulled into the parking lot, noticing a large crowd of workmen standing around the loading dock. I went into the office and the receptionist informed the manager that I was here. We met and after a few minutes of polite chatter he asked me if I like fried fish and hush puppies? Of course I did, and he told me to follow him. Out to the loading dock we went and out there he had a large deep fryer heating up and lots of fish and hush puppies to fry. He explained that once a month he had a safety meeting where he cooked up a great southern meal, a regular old fish fry.

Of course it was delicious and it some time before I was able to get the manager aside to plan our training schedule. My 'Student' was right there, on the dock, and we set a time for the next day. Now I could leave and find the hotel I had booked. This was certainly a pleasant way to begin the work week.

I was going to be there for two weeks so I began to plan for the weekend. I had the city to explore plus Mississippi was just minutes south of the city. I had to visit that state so I could mark it off on my map of states and cities I had been to. Tennessee was a new one for me.

Saturday morning arrived and I decided to visit downtown Memphis. I drove around without a destination in mind and then I saw a sign that said "Mud Island Next Right". I had to see that! Getting closer, I found a parking lot and the entrance to the monorail that would take me to Mud Island. If you didn't know, you should know that Memphis is located on the banks of the Mississippi River and Mud Island may have been an island at one time but now it was firmly connected to Memphis...and there was very little mud in evidence. Mud Island had a large outdoor concert venue and a most fascinating scale model of the Mississippi River fashioned out of concrete and bronze. You could walk along its length and all the cities were noted in bronze letters embedded in the concrete, along with the mileage from the river's origin in Minnesota (Lake Itasca). The shore line was shown as well as could be. This river is constantly moving it's banks. As you can see in the photo, this is not some amateur model. You can walk along the river, even step into it on a hot day. It's all part of the Mississippi River Museum and it's a fascinating look at this mighty river.

The museum is located at the northern end of the 'island' while upscale homes and apartments make up the majority of the space on it.

The monorail is an upside down one, the car hanging below the tracks. It's also quite short but it is interesting; for someone like me. I spent most of the day on that island and then went back to my room to plan a trip to Mississippi on Sunday.

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