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By Tim Hunt

Observations from points south

Uploaded: Aug 25, 2015

Here are some thoughts and observations after returning last week from two weeks on the road in San Diego and then Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee.

San Diego was devoted to golfing research for our digital magazine, ACES, while we attended a ministry conference in Nashville with our daughter.

What was common for both was that we stayed in downtown hotels near the entertainment districts. Our San Diego lodging was just half a block from the Gaslight entertainment district downtown, while in Nashville we were a couple of blocks off Broadway. Broadway rocks way into the night—we grabbed a bite to eat at 11 p.m. at a grill and bar that serves food and drinks until 3:30 a.m.365 days a year. Live music, as you might expect, abounded.

Given Nashville's status as the music city, I should not have been surprised, but it is in environment that I do not frequent in the Bay Area (something to do with enjoying life in Pleasanton).

While in Memphis, we made sure to visit two spots: the historic Peabody Hotel downtown and the National Civil Rights Museum. The Peabody is famous for its trained ducks that occupy the fountain in the center of the lobby during the day and then depart at 5 p.m. for the roof and their nighttime coops. When you read about it, I suggest paying attention to the number of ducks—five—not too many more will fit into the fountain. Simply said, it's nothing I need to do again and, in retrospect, could have spent the time better.

Not so for the civil rights museum that is located in the Lorraine Hotel when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. It's the third museum we have visited chronicling events during our lifetime—we also has seen the museums where the Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989 and the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa, where that despicable practice ended peacefully in 1994.
The civil rights museum is of that caliber. I was a bit young and quite naïve growing up in Pleasanton in the 1960s so I was not tuned in to those summers of marches and bloody reprisals. The museum opens your eyes to that movement and some of the strategies that went into changing the South from separate facilities for whites and Negroes to an integrated society. It is well worth a visit. We spent more than three hours there on a Monday—it can be jammed on the weekends according to the locals.

One aside, we sampled barbeque in both Nashville and Memphis, which is famed for its BBQ. One takeaway from a diner who finds no joy in food so spicy hot that it burns my lips: What passes for "medium" heat in Nashville is hotter than the hot stuff at the Memphis barbeques we enjoyed. One destination joint, Central Barbeque, is located right across the street from the civil rights museum.