Mobile is like a lite version of New Orleans, but it’s half the distance and half price of a trip to the Big Easy. Clista and I love Mobile and try to visit at least twice a year. Mobile has about three blocks of Dauphin Street instead of Bourbon, no strippers, fewer bars and nowhere near the obnoxious Yankee tourists. Café Noja is the equal to any restaurant in the Crescent City and Wintzell’s oysters are as good as the Acme or Felix’s. Mobile even has its own Mardi Gras, which pre-dates the New Orleans version by fifteen years. You get a lot of bang for your buck in Mobile.
A couple of weeks ago we made our semi-annual trek down I-65, and as usual, we planned to stop in Evergreen to pick up some of Alabama’s world class Conecuh sausage. Just south of Greenville I saw the sign that always catches my eye. This segment of I-65 is named “The Lonesome Highway” in honor of my favorite country singer, Hank Williams, Sr. Every time we drive by I say we ought to stop and visit his Museum in Georgiana, Alabama. This trip we did just that.
When we entered the little village we followed the signs directing us to The Hank Williams Museum, and we soon came upon a large two story white house with a couple of pickups parked in the yard, and large sign proclaiming it to be the National Headquarters of the Hank Williams, Sr. Fan Club. I’m not sure just what we were expecting, but it wasn’t this. I just assumed the museum would be in a much more modest house, after all, Hank grew up poor.
There was a light rain falling, and I figured that Clista, who doesn’t know Kitty Wells from Mineral Wells, would be satisfied to say that we had seen it and keep on moving. Surprisingly, she suggested that we brave the rain and go in and check it out. (I owe her at least one trip to a hardware store for this gesture. She might not know Lester Flatt from Yucca Flats, but she is a real tool maven and loves Ace Hardware and the ilk.)
Once inside the Club house we were greeted by a group of Hank’s fans from the local area, and treated to a guided tour of his music and memorabilia. Personally, I believe Hank Williams, Sr. to be one of the great American poets and our leading folk singer. At one time, back in the vinyl days, I had a copy of every song that was commercially available, including all of his “Luke the Drifter” singles and transcripts of many of his early radio shows. I still love Hank’s music.
While we waited for the rain to let up so we could get back on the road, I managed to spend close to a hundred bucks buying books about Hank and joining the fan club. I’ve never been a groupie and I’ve always said that there were only three people I’d ask for an autograph or join their fan club: Hank Williams, Ted Williams and Winston Churchill. At least I finally found one of them.
The rain finally slacked up enough for us to run to the car, and as we drove up the street I saw a more modest building housing the Hank Williams Museum. I was about to pull over and stop, when Clista suggested that we ought to head on to Evergreen and eat lunch at The Conecuh Sausage Company. I decided that I had pushed her far enough for one day, and agreed to hit the highway. Besides, I’ve got my eyes on coming back to Georgiana in June for the 35th Annual Hank Williams Festival. This might cost me a trip to the Stanley Tool Museum in New Britain, Ct or a weekend at Bass Pro stores — another of Clista’s go-to sites.