Wednesday, April 3, 2013


1. The camera salesgirl spoke with the soft lilt of Alabama, "How kin I help yew?" I smiled and slid right down into that familiar dialect. We chatted while I looked. "I just love it here," she said. "Is this your hometown?" I asked. "Oh, yes," she said and repeated, "I just love it." Scottsboro must have come a long way since it was a crime to be black in a little town.

2. On the walls, up high and mostly out of reach, fascinating objects are displayed with their dates of arrival at Unclaimed Baggage. Underwood typewriters, McDonald's arches, and this Hani headdress, my personal favorite.   East meets West by way of the South, where hundreds of folks pass every day. I wonder how many look up and stop as I did?

3. Veranda Cafe for lunch was a pleasant stop, but the dessert, which my friend and I bought because of the owner's enthusiastic description, exuded the too-sweet flavor typical of "the country south." Crushed pretzels, topped by what we were told was cream cheese (but seemed suspiciously like Cool Whip), slathered with sticky, gelatinous strawberry pie filling. Even the description makes my teeth hurt now.

4. A quick stop at the Stevenson Town Park rewarded us with coots bobbing on the water and pecking along the ground, their tidy feathered silhouettes like little mourning-coated gentleman mingling at a wedding, and a pair of osprey, their nest on a ball-field light. As if showing off for us, he fished, with success, brought the food home, and then they both soared.

Scottsboro has been known for two things: a horrifying miscarriage of justice famous in American history (The Scottsboro Boys) and Unclaimed Baggage. Today's journey added a few more to my list, all in the "best of" category.

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