My wife and I spent the last week or so traveling up the East Coast, visiting our grown children and various uncles and long-lost cousins. (We called it the "it's all relatives tour.") I plugged in my laptop a couple of times, but for the most part I was off the grid -- which I highly recommend to those of you who, like me, have become Web-addicted. There's so much to learn out there in the great wide world of real reality.
For instance, while driving through South Carolina, I heard the song "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" for the first time. It changed my worldview and brought me up to speed on a lot of Chris Davis' jokes that had previously gone over my head. Now, I've got it goin' on like Donkey Kong. And whoo-wee,
shut my mouth.
Speaking of my mouth, I ate one the best meals of my life in a Vietnamese restaurant in Brooklyn -- run by Brazilians. It's called Mekong Badonkadonk. (No, it's not. It's just Mekong. Go there soon and order the calamari with lemon grass au beurre sauce.)
We lounged by my uncle's lush shaded pool in Greenwich, Connecticut, for a day and pretended we were characters in a John Cheever story. We took a water taxi around the Statue of Liberty, then walked past the World Trade Center site and visited Trinity Episcopal Church across the street, with its photos and memorabilia of the September 11th attacks. It was tear-provoking and inspiring and evoked the best kind of pride in being an American -- not a swaggering cowboy patriotism but rather the sense that we as a people are capable of rising to any occasion with strength and courage beyond measure.
When I returned to Memphis and plugged back into the grid, I learned that Rush Limbaugh had been busted for illegal possession of Viagra and was facing a stiff penalty and that Michael Hooks Jr. had followed in his father's indicted footsteps. And I found out that the venerable Zippin Pippin had been sold to the Honky Tonk Hall of Fame. Another piece of Memphis history gone, sold to the not-so-highest bidder. Badonkadonk.
Bruce VanWyngarden, Editor
Exactly seven years ago this week, I wrote a column decrying a proposal by city engineers to turn the Overton Park Greensward into an 18-foot-deep "detention basin" designed to stop flooding in Midtown. The engineers claimed we'd hardly notice the football-field-sized bowl. "Except," I wrote then, "when it rains hard, at which time, users of Overton Park would probably notice a large, 18-foot-deep lake in the Greensward. Or afterward, a large, muddy, trash-filled depression."
The rain is coming down, slow and persistent from a low gray sky. It soaks the grass, fills the gutters, and falls hard on the flowers left on the Beale Street sidewalk outside of B.B. King's club ...