First full day at a new location is usually devoted, at least partially, to reconnoitering. Our first day in Grenada was no different.
I have this “thing” about going to grocery stores in new locations. I don’t mean to buy provisions — at the moment our larder is pretty well supplied. I mean just to snoop. What do people here eat? How do they season? What’s to be found on the shelves in a strange grocery store that we can’t find on the shelves in our old, familiar groceries?
We found a lot of interesting things on Thursday — but I only bothered to shoot four meat items. If you knew how many different foodstuffs I get excited about you might think me really weird.
It’s an interesting town, we found. I was surprised that we didn’t find a large Kroger, or Food Lion, or Safeway, or some such store. We did find a Sav-a-Lot store, and a Grocery Basket Spain’s grocery. All were quite small stores for a city of 12,900.
And then we found out about the Walmart store in town. Yup — that old Killer-of-local-businesses is here too in their usual SuperCenter type store with bright lights and low prices.
We took a look around town, and like a lot of small-town-america Grenada is having a hard time. Most of their business district is empty or abandoned — there’s lots going on out on the highway, but the historic district looks pretty woebegone.
My experience of Mississippi is quite limited. 30 years ago I found myself traversing the highways here quite a bit — I spent a few years as an over-the-road driver and I saw a lot of this state. SAW being the operative word. I passed by. I never had much time to sit and attend to what might be around me. I loaded and unloaded and traversed the state; I slept overnight in truckstops and I ate meals in any restaurant that had a parking lot big enough to park my truck near. My overwhelming impression of the state at that time was one of poverty, and inequality, and of depression.
I have to say that 30 years later things look a lot different. Mind you, we haven’t been in this state for even 24 hours — so I’m not qualified to say much more, nor would I dream of doing so. But I have to say that life from a 23 hour window looks a lot better here now than then. On the scale of which states are the most dependent on the federal government for spending there’s huge difference between Wisconsin and Mississippi. Wisconsin taxpayers get $1.84 back from Uncle Sam for every tax dollar they contribute to the Federal coffers (ranking 20th on the scale of feeding at the federal trough). Mississippi on the other hand pulls in a whopping $3.02 (ranking as top dog – ahead of all other states). Federal funding is almost 46% of their state revenue.
The Corps of Engineeers project here is a good example of how the money is spent. This is the cleanest, nicest, facility we have visited of all the Corps campgrounds we have stayed at. It’s mild enough that the Corps keeps camp hosts here year round — as with the Forest Service at the Oregon Dunes, it’s cheaper to let a camp host stay here through the winter, servicing the few campers that come through than to repair the vandalism that would have been done in an empty facility. Good use of MY tax dollars I think! 🙂
I’ll admit I have mixed feelings about being here. I have been looking forward to four weeks in LA — just kicking-back-time. But there’s this thing about going someplace you don’t know when you’re already in a place you really like. So, we have until Sunday (our original stay-till registration date) to decide whether or not to re-up for a few more days. Bayou Segnette is just across the river from New Orleans, while Grand Isle is located at a veritable Land’s End location. I do want to visit both — but whether it will be 2 weeks at each within the next month or not is up for grabs right now.
Where we are — this physical site — is an ideal place for me to tear into the basement storage bays and make some sense out of them. But we’ll see how many other projects I get into, or whether I’m just happy putting my feet up and working on another good book. Only time will tell.
Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow!