I spent last Saturday at the Choctaw Indian Fair at the reservation just north of Philadelphia, MS. The reason for that is that I was born here in MS and I’ve lived most of my life here, and I’d never been to the fair, and neither has my wife. We have it in our heads that we’re not going to live in Mississippi once I retire, so it’s best to take advantage of the cultural experiences on offer while we can, so we piled into the Yeti and took off. The fair itself was fun, and I recommend it to anyone. One odd thing did happen—as we were walking from one part to another a woman offered us free tickets to “the Duck Dynasty Experience,” since they couldn’t use them and otherwise they’d go to waste. It seemed that “Uncle Cy” from the show was going to be on site, answering audience questions. We hadn’t planned to go, but figured WTH. So we did, and it was fine (I don’t follow the show, but I’ve known people like them all my life). Fine, that is, until some nitwit decided to turn it into paranoia politics central with a question on what he would do if the “gubmint” decides to ban guns and religion, but I digress.
That isn’t really the odd part. Considering the audience, that nonsense was almost predictable. No, the odd part was that the event was being held in a part of the fair we hadn’t gone to, nor planned to go, since none of the program items we were initially interested in were being held there. As we approached the auditorium, the area around it started to look familiar, and then I realized where I was.
“This is Choctaw High School. I’ve been here.”
Off to the left I saw the football and track field. A stickball game was about to start and the players were parading to the field, led by drummers in costume (if I’d thought to bring a decent camera, I’d have pictures), but even that wasn’t what got my attention. I was remembering. Choctaw Central was in our division, or whatever it was called back in HS. Choctaw Central had the best facilities, so all the track and field meets were held there, and at the time (when I was skinny and quick) I was a hurdler. I hadn’t seen the place in forty years, but I recognized it immediately once I saw the track and the stands. I sat in those stands. I ran on that track. Since my old high school (and most of our rival schools) no longer exists, this was probably the last place on earth I could say that about. And without free tickets to The Duck Dynasty Experience, I’d have missed it completely.
Some years back I went to visit in New Iberia and drove past the old elementary school I attended as a 1st grader. This was during a weekend. I stopped and walked over the grounds and was hit with a flood of memories.
Sometimes cool things like this happen. Glad you wrote about it.