Made it to Birmingham.  We stayed with a girl named Mindy and a guy named Joe, both first year med students and charming individuals.   We were lucky enough to catch a potluck dinner the night of our arrival.  Thank god the Terrell’s packed us a bag of venison for the road so we had something to contribute.

Birmingham is incredibly hilly.

It’s also an industrial town, and a town where the legacy of the civil rights movement is unavoidable.  There, I encountered some of the most unique bums I’ve ever encountered.  One approached Alexi and me to explain some minutiae of segregation-era Birmingham, then asked for a couple of dollars because, well, times are still hard.  In New York, they sing.  In Birmingham, they educate.

We wandered into a small local printing press called Kempis Press.  The fellow staffing the place welcomed us and showed us around the presses.  He then pulled out some lovely, large prints of Rudyard Kipling’s “If” and gave one to each of us.  They easily could have sold for twenty-five bucks.  After gifts like these and after all this food, I’m beginning to truly believe in Southern hospitality.


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