Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Runnin' the Delta: It's a Little Delta Roadtrip

It's a Little Delta Roadtrip.....

It's a sultry, summer, Saturday morning and I'm running over to Marks, running twenty minutes east on still two-lane Highway 6 from Clarksdale, for a little Eggs Benedict brunch (homemade Hollandaise of course) with champagne and jazz and the artsy movie  "The Grand Budapest Hotel" at a friend's.....  

Delta Roadtrip

Vintage fine china and crystal in the foreground,
a vintage Chambers range, nearly like my Grandmother Nanny's,
WITH iron skillets, in the background,
the perfect scene is set for a Sunday Delta brunch

Brunch is NEVER complete without music.
I always love a little Jazz brunch.
Daddy took me to see Ray Charles at the Blue Room on New Orleans'
Roosevelt Hotel when I was about thirteen.
I wore a formal gown and felt glamorously grown up.

Home made Hollandaise in Motion!

I loved this artsy movie full of layered imagery, fabulously designed sets, and details

Voila! The most delicious brunch is served!

It's a little Delta Roadtrip. 

Most mornings these days I run to Helena from Clarksdale on Highway 1, and then in the evenings I run back from Helena to Clarksdale. 

Where Highway 1 begins, just east of the Mississippi River bridge and Helena.
I adore the cow on the pole.

I love the many old churches and buildings along Highway 1 between
Clarksdale and Helena.
I really do enjoy this little roadtrip nearly every day.

Just as I turn for Clarksdale onto Highway 1.
The flat Delta land ALWAYS makes my heart soar.

It's a little Delta Roadtrip.....  

When I was growing up on the Coldwater River between Lambert and Marks in Quitman County Mississippi, we were always running somewhere.  "Let's run over to Clarksdale and get some new shoes," my grandmother would say, late in the summer when it was time to get ready for school.  And to sweeten the trip even more, she would add,  "And we will go see a show at the Paramount while we're there."

And I did love going to movies here with my grandmother Nanny.
I always got popcorn, a coke, milk duds for starters,
 AND THEN a cherry drink with Jordan Almonds for Round 2!

It was a Delta Roadtrip!
The boards that covered the old marquee were removed not too long ago.
I hope to go in at some point.

It's a little Delta Roadtrip.....

"I've got to run over to Helena and pick up some parts," I heard my farming daddy say what seemed like a million times.

My very handsome and very beloved Daddy, a true Delta gentleman farmer
who loved the land and the cotton.
He is standing in his beloved cotton. 

One of Daddy's oldest pickers.
I believe it is a two-row.
There was always a need for parts,
 which precipitated a Delta Roadtrip.

"Let's run down to Greenwood and eat at Lusco's tonight or maybe Polles' in Clarksdale," my mother, who back then lived to dine out, would often say. 

We ran down to Greenwood to eat at Lusco's.
And of course went to a gallery and a book signing.
It was a lil' Delta Roadtrip!

Celebrating birthdays with some of my very favorite Delta folks at Lusco's.
The private rooms are the best!

Checking out at Lusco's
We were about to run back to Clarksdale.

It's a little Delta Roadtrip.....

To get everything done we had to make a lot of roadtrips here, there, and everywhere around the Delta.  We were exposed to lots of food, art, music, and literature all over the Delta. 

That part of living in the Delta hasn't really changed. Roadtrips were and are integral to Delta life. Every day is an adventure of sorts, full of the tastes, textures, sounds and images of different Delta towns.  

Soon I won't be running along Highway 1 every day. I will be installed on Cherry Street in downtown Helena, but I know many days I will be running somewhere for something, probably for food, or art, or music. Lots of days I will  probably run to Clarksdale.  

The Maven is working on a studio in Helena on historic
downtown Cherry Street.  Maven West?
I recently hosted the Delta Ducky Derby here to benefit
the Phillips County Humane Society.
Helena's Malco is directly across the street.

I confess, I LOVE candles!
And of course the faux bois bench!
(See more about my love of faux bois HERE)

Did you know that Helena and Clarksdale are now officially sister cities?  Our Helena Mayor Jay Hollowell and Clarksdale's Mayor Bill Luckett recently made the announcement in Helena.  

Mayor Luckett took a little 
Delta Roadtrip.....

Mayor Bill Luckett of Clarksdale and Mayor Jay Hollowell of Helena
at the Americana Music Triangle launch in Helena discussing the new
Sister City Relationship between the two towns.
They are under my "watchful eye", as Mayor Luckett calls it.

And here we are again a few weeks later at Helena's Delta Cultural Center
at the official press conference
 to announce the Sister City relationship.
The Delta art of Tim Jacob is in the background.

From Left: Clarksdale Mayor Bill Luckett, Katie Harrington of the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, ME, Doug Friedlander Director of the Phillips County Chamber of Commerce, Kappi Allen Director of Clarksdale Tourism, Chris Ritchey incoming Director of the Phillips County Chamber of Commerce, Riverman John Ruskey of Quapaw Canoe Company, Madge Marley Howell and Billy Howell of The Delta Bohemian, Lindy and Will Howell, Helena Mayor Jay Hollowell

The Helena and Clarksdale Mayors on the Mississippi River  

And joined by me and Kappi.
It was SO windy!!!!

It all excites me to my core. I hope you will join me in Helena AND Clarksdale for the first official sister city event, Delta Roadtrip on October 2 and 3, a celebration of authentic Mississippi River Delta art, music, food, literature, and culture. We will be running back and forth on Highway 1. 

We will have a Friday evening and Saturday all day long mix of food, music, art, and culture in the Delta.  The Delta has always has been a mecca for such, and I'm hoping it always will be. Please join us as we celebrate all that is authentically Delta.....

Take a little Delta Roadtrip with me.... 

I was just about to run to Greenwood with Madge
on ANOTHER little Delta Roadtrip!

Our official Delta Roadtrip logo is a painting by
Clarksdale artist and musician Stan Street of Hambone Gallery.

Stay tuned for more details.....

Clarksdale and Helena are proud to be on the Gold Record Road
of the Americana Music Triangle.

Delta Roadtrip is proud to be a part of Bridging the Blues.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May In Full Bloom: The Scent of Love

Van Gogh's Garden in Bloom
Arles, c. 1888

You know that old expression,
 "The nose knows"?  

It turns out that is really true. 

"When you smell things, you remember emotions."

Take LOVE, for example.

Who wouldn't want to remember the exhilaration of early, or any for that matter, LOVE?

What does LOVE smell like?

It smells like May ...... 

A Mississippi/Arkansas Delta 
May in FULL BLOOM.  

Delta Bohemian Garden
with the famed Spitting Frog Fountain

The scents are intoxicating, heady.  

The promise for the upcoming,
 long, hot, barely unfolding summer reverberates in the sunshine. 
 Excitement can't help but
 course through your veins 
and cause your heart to leap 
at least just a little. 

The earth has warmed, the temperature is rising, and there is a cacophonous intermingling of delicious smells everywhere, a 'Flower Bomb' if you will.  

"Flower Bomb" is my au courant scent

You can lose yourself in the scent,
 get totally carried away 
by the love in the air.  

The scent of this time,
 of May in FULL BLOOM, 
the scent of LOVE, 
will always remain in your memory.... 

I don't design that many weddings,
 but this May I have been working 
on two Delta weddings, 
an elegant, gilded, streamlined, formal affair in Clarksdale, 
and an earthy, colorful, outdoorsy 
fete in Helena. 
Both weddings of course are laden with flowers and scents.......

My beautiful Clarksdale Delta bride 
chose a crisp, modern white and golden palette with lots of vibrant green
 for her wedding day. 

My longtime friend and right hand floral man Chris Morrow and bride Ashley Britt

Her memories of LOVE
 will be tied to the scents of 

Peonies (Bashful)
Roses (Happy Love, Beauty)
Tulip (Love, Fame)

My fresh and lovely Helena bride
has chosen a palette of what I like to call
classic French countryside,
orangey red, turquoise, and golden yellow
with touches of bridal white,
 raspberry pink and lavender.

Her memories of LOVE will be tied to the scents of

Roses (Happy Love)
Rosemary (Remembrance)
Sunflower (Pride and Appreciation)
Lavender (Serenity and Grace)

My wedding wasn't in May, but May holds many scent memories of those I love .....

The pungent smell of marigolds reminds me of my grandmother Nanny's house, 
for each May she planted them down the sides of her driveway. 
 I spent many fun hours playing in her big, sloping yard on Main Street 
or Darby Avenue in Lambert. 

In the Language of Flowers
Marigold means
"Despair and Grief".
I love the color for a wedding, but not the sentiment!

I think this marigold colored wedding looks so crisp.
I am betting Madge would love this.
It's her favorite color!

Nanny's yard was also home to a gloriously huge, May blooming Magnolia Grandiflora. 
 Susan and I spent hours playing under its ground hugging branches and 
loved its buds wrapped in greigey, 
velvet like outer leaves, 
its huge full blown flowers with their light, creamy, slightly citrus scent, 
 and it's pineapple like cones.  

Delta Bohemian Garden

Delta Bohemian Garden

Delta Bohemian Garden

Delta Bohemian Garden

A perfect bouquet for a Delta wedding:
Magnolia leaves with tulips and tallow berries

In The Language of Flowers
Magnolia Grandiflora means
"Dignity and Love of Nature".

The delicious, sweet smell of roses reminds me of my play yard on our farm on the Coldwater River in the Delta. 
 My Mother espaliered the first roses I ever remember on the play yard fence. 

Delta Bohemian Garden

And on one of my early Mother's Days,
in May of course, 
 we went out and cut red roses
 to wear to church. 
 I was a tiny bit sad that we had no white rose for Nanny to wear for long passed great-grandmother Mammie.
 To this day, red roses are one of
 my very favorite flowers.  

In the Language of Flowers,
roses mean
"Happy Love".

Another beautiful Helena Bride
and her bouquet of all white roses, Eskimo and Vendela.

The funny, earthy, acid smell of tomato vines reminds me of my Uncle Raymond and his many May plantings of tomatoes.
 His tomatoes are some of the most delicious I have ever eaten.  

Delta Bohemian Garden

I DO love this unusual scent!
Do you?

OK, this photo of a quintessential tomato sandwich.
white bread, vine ripened tomato, Hellman's Mayonnaise, salt and pepper,
is off topic, I admit, but foodies and tomatoholic that I and someone are,
I could not resist!

Is this wedding too tomatoey for you?

I LOVE to use the unexpected in wedding arrangements.
VOILA, ripe and green tomatoes!

Heavy and sensuous, 
the scent of gardenias 
is one of my favorites. 

Delta Bohemian Garden

One of the first perfumes 
I ever wore was Jungle Gardenia
 in junior high school for a
 Lausanne May Day celebration. 
I felt so grown up!

I still love all those Lausanne Ladies. 

A beautiful wedding gown called "Gardenia".

I can still smell the cut honeysuckle my Mother placed on my dresser 
my senior year in high school 
just before my May graduation.  

In the Language of Flowers,
honeysuckle means
"Bonds of Love".

I love the touch of Art Nouveau in the honeysuckle artwork
 on this wedding invitation
I could definitely use the leaves and honeysuckle as inspiration
in designing this wedding.

And when I smell fresh herbs, 
the memories of my first house in 
Charlotte, North Carolina,
 where the first May I lived there, 
 I planned, planted, and daily cared for my first herb garden.  

Rosemary means "Remembrance".
Delta Bohemian Garden

Basil means "Hatred".
Delta Bohemian Garden

John McKee's Mint
Mint means "Virtue".
Delta Bohemian Garden

Thyme means "Activity".
Delta Bohemian Garden

Sage means "Long Life, Esteem, Health"
Delta Bohemian Garden

Delta Bohemian Garden

I hostessed the main course of a fancy progressive dinner party alfresco
 in my herb and rose garden late that May.
 I was so proud. 
 Memories of all my Charlotte friends I love come flooding back. 

Peonies and fresh herbs for a scent-ual bouquet.

Earlier this May week, I rode out to
 Moon Lake with my dear friends
 Madge and Billy. 
 We shared this beautiful view of the lake and the totally intoxicating scent
 of mounds of glorious jasmine 
growing on the fence and dock. 

In "The Language of Flowers"
jasmine means
"Cheer and Grace"

Perhaps a lovely scent for a bride and a scent memory for her groom?
I have not tried this, but I want to.

Truly the scent of LOVE!

I am making new scent memories 
with those I love this May in
 Clarksdale, Helena, and their environs, where everything is indeed in 

And SOMEONE smells really good.....

I won't forget......

LOVE smells like May.  

May smells like LOVE. 

What is your favorite scent memory?

photo credits: Marilyn Trainor Storey, Pinterest, SOMEONE who smells good


Kudos to Billy Howell and
 his beautiful Bohemian Garden 
which delights the eyes and the nose.
For more on Billy, Madge and the
 Delta Bohemian