One of the fun things about this great nation is all the crazy or familiar town names. I was born in Rome — New York. In fact there are 13 Romes in the US!
As we’ve driven across the country we’ve stayed in London (Kentucky) and Cairo (Illinois). We have stopped to take pictures of funny and unusual town signs like Bucksnort, and … a personal favorite … Judy.
On one road trip we came upon Uranus, Missouri. The town embraces the innuendo of the name, and gave us almost an entire day of jokes and laughs.
But one place that will always be special to me is Paris. My best friend lived there before she fell victim to cancer. I spent many weekends with her and her mom. Other friends joined us several times. We’ve made the obligatory visit to the 70-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower and snapped pics.
Paris, Tennessee is off the beaten track, to be sure. About halfway between Nashville and Memphis on the border between Tennessee and Kentucky, Paris touts itself as the “Home of the World’s Biggest Fish Fry.” I can’t speak to that, but I can say it’s the home of the best BBQ I’ve ever eaten.
Perry’s BBQ was once a couple of giant smokers and a small shack in a parking lot off the town square. They’ve expanded since our first visit. When Greg and I first experienced the mouth-watering deliciousness it was raining. We took a bite of a perfectly smoked rib with the most amazing BBQ sauce carmelized to a sticky brilliance and decided it was worth it to stand there in the rain and chow down on that scrumptious meat.
But for me, Paris was always a place to feel at home with my best friend and her family. I also loved telling friends and coworkers I was off to Paris for the weekend … it took awhile, but they all caught on and the joke faded away. It was fun while it lasted.
Today we’re back in Paris, probably for the last time. Melissa is gone and her mom has passed away. We are once again gathering with friends to say goodbye at their beautiful little church. Spring is in the air. We will share stories and laughter and maybe even make one more stop at the Eiffel Tower.
As we planned this trip I was chatting with one of the friends who hoped to make the trip. He found the perfect quote to throw into our conversation as we considered this might be our last time here. It’s the famous line from the classic Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman movie Casablanca, “We’ll always have Paris.” Like the movie scene, it speaks to fond memories of times gone by.
Places hold memories, both happy and sad. They are the everlasting gifts that travel gives us.
There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Cherish the memories as you visit, and revisit, the places that speak to your heart and soul.
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