F-U-N. F-O-O-D. F-R-I-E-N-D-S-H-I-P. P-H-O-T-O-G-R-A-P-H-Y.
Autumn 2011. One tank of gas. Day trip—six locations. 130 miles roundtrip.
- • Mid-South’s favorite homemade biscuit
- • An American icon of excellence
- • Family owned and operated since 1974
- • Eclectic décor inside and out
- • Oldest diner on Highway 72, northeast
9:a.m. Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard, near Tuscumbia, Alabama
The Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard is a cemetery located in rural Colbert County, northwest Alabama, reserved specifically for the burial of coon dogs. Key Underwood established the cemetery on September 4, 1937 by burying his coon dog, Troop. Underwood chose the spot as it was previously a popular hunting camp. Currently, there are over 300 coon dogs buried at the cemetery.
Dogs must meet three requirements to qualify for burial at the cemetery: the owner must claim their pet is an authentic coon dog, a witness must declare that the deceased is a coon dog, and a member of the local coon hunters’ organization must be allowed to view the coon hound and declare it as such.
Headstones in the cemetery range from the homemade wooden and metal monuments to the more elaborate marble engraved stones found at many human cemeteries. The dead include many famous dogs such as Hunter’s Famous Amos, Ralston Purina’s 1984 Dog of the Year.
Every Labor Day the Tennessee Valley Coon Hunter’s Association sponsors a gathering at the cemetery in a tribute to the inauguration of the cemetery on Labor Day in 1937. The celebration includes music, dancing, food, and a liar’s contest. The gathering is often attended by local politicians. www.coondogcemetery.com
Note: September 29 publication–Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard celebrates 75th
11 a.m. Rattlesnake Saloon and Lodge, near Tuscumbia, Alabama
Now here’s a unique Ace in the Hole (hideout) in Alabama’s Appalachian Mountains foothills you must visit at least once in your lifetime. Just the name alone evokes images of rough riders and slithery creatures. Why even area church groups grab some grub at the Rattlesnake Saloon before moseying over to the nearby Helen Keller Birth Place. Further details at http://rattlesnakesaloon.net/lodge/Lodge_home.html or take a virtual tour of the hideout at http://www.seeitsellstudios.com/
1:30 p.m. Birth Place of Helen Keller, Tuscumbia, Alabama
“I will not just live my life. I will not just spend my life. I will invest my life.” The Open Door, 1957
Helen Keller’s improbable journey from a child unable to communicate due to her multiple disabilities, to her exalted place on the world stage as the famous global citizen she would become, is one of the greatest stories of the 20th century.
For many, Helen’s story ends with the image of a young deaf-blind girl and her teacher Anne Sullivan at a water pump. However, that transforming moment for Helen signified only the beginning of her new life—a life dedicated to tireless advocacy and fearless activism that opened wide the doors of possibility for people with disabilities.
Helen Keller was a luminary who continues to transcend her historical era. Because she was a woman outspoken in her principles, she inspired changes in public attitudes about the capabilities of people with visual impairments. As she pushed for revolutionary changes in the law, people with disabilities were able to transition into mainstream education and employment. Helen Keller inspired future generations of people with disabilities to live life to the fullest. http://www.afb.org/
Helen Keller’s birthplace cottage is situated east of the main house and consists of a large room with a lovely bay window and playroom. Later the cottage would serve as living quarters for Helen and her teacher, Anne Sullivan.
If you ever have the opportunity to attend William Gibson’s epic drama, The Miracle Worker, do. Additional information and biographical sketch at http://helenkellerbirthplace.org/
4:30 p.m. Shoe Tree, outskirts of Cherokee, Alabama—alongside Highway 72
Foot apparel appear and disappear with the seasons, a shoe collection dangles from the lowest limbs to the highest branches of the gumball tree, and east Alabama’s roadside Americana draws visitors from near and far. The unspoken rule: need a pair, take a pair. However, if you can spare a pair, then do it.
Know more about Shoe Trees and other unique Americana at http://www.roadsideamerica.com/ Scroll down to Popular Themes, left side of page.
6:30 p.m. Pizza Grocery, Corinth, Mississippi
Pizza Grocery has been “the crossroads for great food and friendly service” in historic downtown Corinth since 2006. They aim to provide a flavor of Italy with southern hospitality. Our 14-inch margherita pizza—scrumptious. http://pizzagrocery.com
Take another virtual tour at http://www.seeitsellstudios.com/
Are you tired? We definitely were. Hope you enjoyed the ride.
How much fun can two longtime friends and confidants have in one day…with the same camera? A lot. Thanks, Marilyn.
Additional images can be seen at www.corinthrose.com Tri-State Day Trip under This N’ That.