Thursdays with Mimi

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Today is a pretty big day for the blog, my 100th post since starting this a few months ago, and in an effort to always be improving and trying new things, rather than remaining stagnant I’m happy to announce a new topic, or column if you will, that I hope to make a regular part of this blog. I’m calling it “Thursdays with Mimi” and it will revolve around hanging out with my Mimi, my dad’s mother, on Thursdays, which is typically one of my day’s off work. I’m planning on writing this column at least bi-weekly and I hope you will enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoy living it.

A couple of days ago I picked my Mimi up and went to the zoo, one of my favorite places in Memphis, which I frequently visit every couple of weeks or so. We arrived a few minutes after nine and to our horror saw the yellow buses lined up in front of the entrance. It’s not that we hate kids or anything, but if you’ve never been to the zoo, surrounded by hundreds of kids yelling at the animals trying to imitate their noises, then you have been more fortunate that I. This is going to sound like a complete exaggeration but I swear I’m not being facetious in saying that I don’t remember the last time I’ve gone to the zoo when there wasn’t a large group of kids there. Maybe that’s a sign that I’m too old for the zoo and should grow up? Nah, maybe next year. Anyway the kids, moving like a throng of ants turned right headed towards primate pavilion, so Mimi suggested we take a left into Cat Country to avoid the crowd. You don’t have to tell me twice; Cat Country is my absolute favorite part of the zoo and home to two of my favorite animals, tigers and ocelots. Unfortunately, neither of these cats were in their exhibit but we did get a good view of the jaguar perched on top of a log about five feet off the ground, and as we stood there admiring the beautiful cat who seemed to be staring into our eyes, more kids arrived, running, screaming, and ruining our day.

Try as we might to avoid the children, they were everywhere. If we’d been in a movie, it would have been quite comical to see the scenes of us showing up to an exhibit and peacefully watching the animals, only for a few seconds later to have screaming kids enter from all directions. The highlight of the day at the zoo for me was getting to see the polar bear, which hadn’t been on display any of the previous times I’d visited this year because they thought one of them might have been pregnant and needed to be cared for inside. Every time I see the gorillas, the more terrified I become of them. Mimi and I both agreed that if we had to choose an exhibit to be dropped into, the gorillas would be our last choice. We came to the conclusion that while the grizzly bears would be pretty scarier, they have a much larger exhibit than the gorillas and there is only three bears so we could more easily stay hidden or out of reach for the allotted time period.

After the zoo we went to the library bookstore and then on to La Baguette for lunch. Let me preface our lunch by telling you about the weather on Thursday. When I left the house it was 47 degrees, a glorious day outside, and although we spent a couple hours at the zoo it was still only 60 by the time we left, perfect weather for soup. I absolutely love cold weather and when it’s cold there’s nothing I like more than a hot bowl of soup or chili. Apparently Mimi feels the same way I do because she suggested we have lunch at La Baguette, a place that has some great soup. I got the spicy tomato and she had the creamy butternut squash soup with a half pimento cheese sandwich toasted. We both enjoyed our meals and we went to head home, which is when the most interesting conversation of the day took place

I’d heard versions of the story before from various people, but never from Mimi herself so it was very cool to hear about the time Elvis Presley approached her at the skating rink and asked to buy her a pronto pup or a corndog. According to Mimi she declined, trying to play it cool in front of the King of Rock and Roll, and to this day one of her friends she was with teases her about not letting Elvis treat her to a corn dog. She also told me about her and her friends found themselves at Graceland on multiple occasions, security always letting them through the gates, and they would just hang out in Elvis’s mansion. How cool is that? I was treated to a great time and some unique stories and I’m greatly looking forward to my next Thursday with Mimi.

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