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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Levitt Shell & Cotton

Cotton blossoms in Henning, TN
A funny thing happened as I drove out to Mud Island one late Saturday morning: I saw things flying through the air everywhere, like great big allergens just waiting to cause a giant sneezing fit.  My afternoon plan was to sit outside at a cafĂ©, read, study for the RD exam, and have a cold drink.  With my allergies, this plan suddenly seemed impossible…  However, I wondered, “Why did I not see all of this air debris at my house 13 miles away?”  I can thank the Mighty Mississippi River for my answer, and more specifically the barge traffic upon her.  It is cotton season, and all of the large and small flying puffs was cotton blowing off of the barges!  Thankfully I successfully sat outside for over 3 hours, with only one incident of cotton inhalation, momentary watery eyes, and a fit of sneezes.

Memphis has a great “shell” in midtown, Levitt Shell, an outdoor amphitheatre.  Young Elvis Presley took the stage here on July 30, 1954, in what historians have called the first-ever rock ‘n’ roll show.  Built during the Depression, it served as an orchestra performance venue in the 1930s and 1940s.  Today they put on more than 20 free summer concerts for the people of Memphis.  On this same Cotton Saturday, I packed up my bamboo mat and headed for a seat on the grassy knoll for my inaugural experience.  I was greeted by 5,000 other Memphis residents, many packing picnic gear and adult beverages.  The Memphis Dawls played, backed by various string players, and the Memphis Doctors Dance Band. They sang and played fun toe-tapping current tunes and covers from the 1940s.  Halfway through the night, dusk started to approach everyone embraced the relaxation and entertainment.