Chickasaw State Park TN, TN
November 29, 2009
We awake to partly cloudy skies and warm temperatures. We plan to meet Nancy’s cousin, Carol and her husband Joe, for a late lunch in Jackson Tennessee, about halfway between Nashville and Memphis. This is a long awaited reunion for Nancy, not having seen Carol since 1960 on the occasion of their grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary, a lot of years, kids and grandkids. As we make our way to Jackson we don’t get far before the rain starts and it increases in intensity as we move west creating a very stressful drive, lots of big trucks on the road and lots of traffic heading home after the long Thanksgiving weekend but we make it safely to our rendezvous point, Casey Jones Village just off the interstate in Jackson.
We arrive a little ahead of Carol and Joe but while we wait we learn that Casey Jones was a real person, we had no idea, all these years we thought he was just part of folk lore. This is in fact where he lived and a railroad museum has been erected in his memory next to his home that has been restored. The museum was really quite nice with a well organized collection of memorabilia, newspaper clippings, articles about his train wreck, a entire section devoted to his family tree with photos of him, his wife and children as children and as adults. There is a replica of engine 382 along with other rail cars and the building in which these are housed is very much like an old depot but, of course, larger. It was a well-done exhibit and now we know that Casey Jones was real and that even though he was killed in the train wreck no one else was killed and there were only minor injuries due to his skillful handling of the train before the crash.
We had a lovely lunch with Carol and Joe and they brought us up to date on their family and new home in Atoka and they shared their knowledge of the area and of the Memphis area where we are headed next. Our visit was too short but it was wonderful to meet Joe and to reconnect with Carol, now we will have to work on them to come west for a visit and perhaps re-ignite the idea of a “girl cousin reunion”. We were delighted they could take the time out of their travel to get together.
They headed for Gatlinburg and we headed south to the Chickasaw State Park for the night. Tomorrow Memphis.