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Monday, July 21, 2008

The Moroccans Tour Memphis

Darling niece Shannon and hubby Hassan spent a couple of days with us last week, so we had a chance to show off Memphis to Hassan on his first trip from Morocco to the U.S.

We started with a visit to Graceland, then went to Tom Lee Park on the bluff overlooking the mighty Mississippi River ( We spent a good bit of time on Beale Street noting W.C. Handy Park (, the new and old Daisy Theaters (more later), A. Schwab’s historic dry goods store, and taking in the sounds and scents of the restaurants and clubs that we passed.

On the way to lunch, we went by our friend John Robinette’s gallery and then had a delicious sandwich feast at the Arcade Restaurant on the corner of Main and G.E. Patterson. Opened in 1919, it is Memphis’ oldest restaurant and is now being run by the third generation of the Zepatos family. The Arcade has been designated as a historic landmark.

It’s been a hangout for many folks including Elvis and his buddies. Immediately upon entering, Mike pointed out the Elvis booth. Unfortunately, someone was already sitting there and Mike wouldn’t let me kick him out. In addition to having become a tourist destination, the Arcade has been used in many movies and videos including Mystery Train, Great Balls of Fire, The Client, I Walk the Line, Elvis: The Early Years, Memphis, A Family Thing, and 21 Grams. (

On the way home, we drove by the National Civil Rights Museum and by Sun Studio so Mike could explain its importance in music history. (

We picked up Mother for a cook-out that night at our house, then took Shannon and Hassan out the next day for episode two of the tour including some of the beautiful residential neighborhoods that are so “Memphis” to us. We got to the Tunica riverpark in time for sunset on the Mississippi, and then took in the buffet at Fitzgerald’s Casino. It was Hassan’s first visit to a casino, and Shan was not unhappy that he ended up losing the couple of dollars he dropped into a slot machine. It’s good to know that they take your money more than they give you money.

The kids are heading off to a California visit and some time in Hot Springs, AR before they return to Casablanca for one more year. We’ll see them again before they fly away.

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