Sunday, May 15, 2005

Boots Hinton

We didn't get nearly as far as I'd hoped, we're overnighting in Meridian Mississippi. It's my own fault, I just had to stop at the Bonnie and Clyde Museum in Gibsland, Louisiana. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were right up there with the most notorious of the Depression-era bandits, they cut a swath through the Midwest and southwest, robbing and murdering for two years before they were ambushed and killed by a six-man posse on a back road outside Gibsland.

The museum itself is almost a ripoff. Seven dollars each to see a bunch of old news articles and photos blown up poster sized and the car the shot up in the Faye Dunnaway, Warren Beatty movie. It wasn't a ripoff, though, what made it worth more than we paid was the guy running the place, a feller named Boots Hinton. Boots is the son of the late Ted Hinton, a member of that six-man posse and, at the time, a Dallas County Sheriff's Deputy, was assigned to that posse because he actually knew Clyde Barrow, having worked as a teenaged Western Union Messenger with Clyde.

Boots, a former Texas lawman himself, had too many stories for me to make a quick getaway. I found myself burning up two hundred miles worth of time sitting on a bench in the shade in a small town swapping li, er, stories with a kindred spirit.

We didn't get back on the road until after five PM, I just screwed my whole schedule. If it hadn't been that, it would have been something else. I found myself out of daylight in Jackson, Mississippi. I then regretted not getting a much earlier start. Have you ever wanted to stop and check out a town just because of the name? I found just such a town in Mississippi. Some day I'm going to have to come back and explore Chunky. Yes, somewhere in the dark, between Jackson and Meridian, I passed the exit for Chunky. I need to come back and find out if they have a high school. I'm probably going to lose sleep tonight wondering about the high school cheerleaders. I want to meet the chunky girls.

Taking this springtime trip reminds me of just how lucky I am to live in Texas. The sides and medians of the highways in Texas are covered in wildflowers in the spring, a legacy of Lady Bird Johnson. We crossed the line into Louisiana, the wildflowers disappeared. For a while I thought that so had the pavement but it's just that our coonass brethren have yet to master the concept of smooth concrete.

Well, tomorrow it's on to Atlanta, Linda Lou insists on going to the Coca Cola Museum. We may get to Charlotte in time for that new boy's Bar Mitzvah. It's time to close this, and my eyes. I must ponder the question of the Chunky girls.

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