Riding the South

The blog of Scott and Jenny Morris

BB gun sharpshooter

revisits Tishomingo

By Jenny Morris

When Scott talked me into spending some of our vacation at Tishomingo State Park in Mississippi, I didn’t know it was a ploy to help him relive his elementary school glory days.

As we went through the park gate, Scott drove into his childhood, reminiscing about a fourth-grade 4-H field trip that included praise from the counsellors for his skill with a rod and reel, and more notably, in the BB gun sharpshooter contest.

As we approached the CCC cabin built by Depression-era young men in 1936, Scott’s story got more interesting as he continued, “Your grandfather was the bus driver on our trip.”

He explained it was his first real taste of the man I remember as a modern day Rooster Cogburn. Apparently, J.J., as everyone called him, hadn’t liked how one of the boys on the trip was behaving, or misbehaving, so he stopped the bus, grabbed the boy by the back of the hair and dragged him to a front seat.

“I’d never seen that side of him,” Scott said. “The whole bus was scared.”

BB gun tournaments and a bus driver in control of his students ... happier and more primitive times, just like the accommodations we found at Tishomingo State Park.

If you go: tips and cautions
Take groceries, but know there are Dollar General, Rainbow Grocery and Salvage Grocery stores seven miles away in town. I was glad we had brought our own meat to cook in the small, not excessively clean, but adequate kitchen that also included a microwave and coffee maker. We used their cutlery, plates and cups, but took our own iron skillet. (Our bottled water immediately began to freeze in the fridge. If you like your drinks cold, you’re in luck in Cabin 6.)

Heating and air conditioning are available. But even with the air conditioning off, we stayed cool. At times, the trees and the stone exterior of our cabin conspired to create an indoor temperature in the low 60s. Also, the cabins have fireplaces. Ours had been used sometime in the last 80 years, and the smoke smell still lingered. Outdoor fire pits are available as well.

To the ladies, follow your husband’s advice and don’t look too closely at the cabin. I couldn’t rest until I knew why the shower included a bath mat inside the stall. When I lifted it to look, I dislodged the broken tile the mat was holding down. We straddled it for our showers.

Having learned a little from the bathroom issue, I eventually quit commenting that I was amazed our cabin had no mice. I even quit indicating all their potential points of entrance.

On the plus side, the water was hot, the sheets on the double beds were clean, and the price was right. With no TV or Internet, the solitude alone was worth $65 a night.

Finally, leave your pets and fireworks at home. Neither is allowed in the cabins. But I didn’t see any prohibitions against firearms. Good thing, or how would they have gotten those BB guns past the gate almost a half century ago?