Best of Mississippi

Best of Mississippi and a Farewell Kiss GoodbyeWinter Golfing in Dixie

I did a best and worst of Iowa series while visiting my sister up north, so I figured I’d attempt to recapture that again in my final blog post from deep down in Dixie. I’ll be heading out of town next week to continue on my “Pike’s Peak or Bust” Mystery Tour.  I’ll refrain from a “worst of” entry for Mississippi since there’s entirely too much of that on display in mainstream media already.

Special Thanks to Mike ParkerPower Couple

Bandit and I have been staying with a long-time and dear friend in the suburbs.  We’ve been extremely well cared for by my good buddy Mike Parker.  Mike is a successful restauranteur here in Jackson.  Mike and his late partner Larry were highlighted in a local magazine article in 2012 as a Jackson area “Power Couple” and as the article above notes, their pizza business has received multiple awards since it’s opening in 2006. Sadly, Larry passed away of cancer a couple years before my wife Rita followed him to the great beyond.  Mike has since found a new and loving partner to help him pick up the pieces of his life.  I’m not ready for that kind of commitment again at this point in my life since I’m still mourning the more recent passing of my beloved mate (and best friend).  Even though Mike has remarried, I know there’s still a void in his soul from the passing of Larry that will never be filled.  It’s good to be staying in a house with such love and understanding of what I’ve been through in the last six months.  I cannot say enough good things about the quality of support my friends here in the South have provided for both myself and my furry travel companion.  Such blessings are hard to come by.

Fond Memories of Mississippi

Below is a slideshow of some of the highlights my hairy beast and I enjoyed here in Dixie during the last several months.  Even as we make our way forward and on to new and exciting adventures, I will always cling to the pleasant memories of my stay here in Mississippi.  There are others in my sphere who have also been essential in keeping our spirits high and our bellies full.  I shall respect the anonymity I know they desire but I shall not fail to make note of them here in passing.

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Enjoy.

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Final Farewell to Fort Dodge

Although it had been my intention to regain residence in the state of Iowa and live in the city from which I graduated high school (with honors) back in 1976, the cards were stacked heavily against me. Due to the fact that I have been living in Germany for over five years, my US driver’s license was expired and of no use.  Add to that the serendipitous ‘luck’ of escaping my Nazi (no hyperbole) mother-in-law in Germany on the LAST day before my passport expired and you have the stuff of Kafkaesque nightmares. This led to a situation where I arrived into the state of Iowa with absolutely NO current ID. I imagine the Iowa DMV is overwhelmed with fake passports that are two days past expiration, such is the ease of duplicating the document.  After all, who doesn’t know at least half a dozen folks running around Iowa trying to pass themselves off as somebody else using a “potentially” forged passport just slightly out of expiration?  It’s likely just as common as tits on a pumpkin.

“Welcoming” Platitudes Were as Abundant on the numbered waiting slip at the DMV as they were about the house at my sister’s place of residence.

There were many attempts to rectify this less than fortuitous situation.  More than one of my friends back home got a front row seat to the ridiculousness as well as my personal angst and disgust which I was unable to suppress while getting involved in trying to help me solve this dilemma.

It turns out that the only quick resolution to my ‘illegal alien’ status is a trip to the New Orleans passport office, the ONLY place in the USA where this can be handled in a timely fashion:

Updated and edited to add: ONLY IF YOU HAVE A TICKET LEAVING THE US IN THE NEXT TEN DAYS, a little something I had forgotten about and which added another degree of difficulty to my life a short while down the road.

Me and my trusty companion Bandit are off to the gulf coast for the purpose of proving that I am not a foreign terrorist or Mexican immigrant.  With my passport in hand I will be able to regain some semblance of a normal life in the US (bank account, driver’s license, job….).  I’m glad to have found a quick course to the resolution of my troubles and a return to a normal life in the US, even as I’m painfully aware that there may never be a return to ‘normalcy’ for the ‘family’ I left behind in Iowa.

It’s a sad situation when the Iowa Department of Motor vehicles isn’t even allowed to check the Fort Dodge Senior High 1976 yearbook or accept the dozens of signed affidavits on my identity that I’m sure I could have collected from my many friends there in the city in order to ‘prove’ my identity, but we must remain HYPER vigilant against the communist ..err…Muslim threat.

I would have liked to open a business (or two or three) in Fort Dodge and maybe even paying some heavy taxes to help rebuild the blighted areas, but such is life.  I doubt I’ll ever move back to Iowa after the fiasco I endured, unless I get a penchant for frostbite or pick up a really heavy methamphetamine habit.

Enjoy.

Last Words to a Lost Love

To My Wife

When you passed, I not only lost the best cuddle buddy this side of Bandit, but also my biggest fan and patron. Now that you are gone, I will do my best to try and make a living off my blogging as you always told me I could.  Up until now, I’ve always considered myself the Mr. Tanner of blogging.  I do not know how well I write, it just makes me “whole”.

The me without you misses you but it’s gonna be ok because there’s still ‘me’. The two people who knew me best and I loved the most were you and my mom. Both of you were exceptionally intelligent women and the only women who held me close to their bosoms while whispering to me how special I am.  I believed you both.

You did your best. I tried my hardest.  You were always right!  Your mother will always be the Devil.  She did call the cops on me as you feared predicted, but you did have me properly ‘papered” against the local police. Same goes for the immigration office.  Just as you warned me, your ruthless, soul-sucking mother tried hard to abuse me!  I can never thank you enough for making sure my scrawny ass was well protected.  I attended to MOST of your unfinished business before bouncing out of Germany and will tend to the rest as time and situation dictate. You would be proud of how well our son is handling the situation in your absence.

Rita’s First and Last Husbands

Me and Rudolf

Your first husband Rudolf and I had a touching non-verbal conversation at the “coffee and sandwich” get-together after your funeral. I’m glad you got to spend some time alone with him in your last months reminiscing and comforting each other.  I know he’s as hurt by all this as I am, even with the passage of time, and realize from your conversations about him, as well as the shared intimacy and caring glances I saw you exchange, how much you meant to each other.  I was never jealous or threatened by your fond residual feelings for any of your previous loves, lovers, husbands or the ongoing stream of men who hit on you.  They were been bound to fail, but they did show good taste, even as you skillfully swatted them away.  I wonder how many other couples have memories of sitting around on multiple occasions comparing notes on which of their friends, acquaintances, etc. had tried to hit on them at any given time?

I held with you to the end babe and you to me. On your last day it’s as if you waited for me to whisper a final goodbye in your ear before slipping quietly away.  I never sought an avenue of escape from Germany when you offered though you lovingly suggested it would be easier on ME.   Bandit and I have now cast ourselves back off into the world, far away from the toxic miasma of the Devil.  We are now back into the great swirling seas of American opportunity, far outside the confines of our shared German Utopia.

Rita Tends to Vince After Open Heart Surgery

And Vinny?  He honors us both. I recognized his love for you as being as strong as mine for my mom.  It has had a profound effect on my attitude towards him. He is a positive influence on the world reflecting your gentle manner and delicate sensibilities. We did something seriously right with Vinny. I mostly ‘blame’ you for that. That’s boy’s seriously not, not right. Polished. Savvy.  I see your heart in his eyes.

Lizzy Love

Lizzy will be tended to by Vince. I wish she was young enough to travel with me and Bandit. I think of you when I see her.  Vince needs a dog too after all!  I will miss her and Vince as I depart the continent, but will do my best to save our one remaining beloved family dog ManMan in the US.

Here's our little Man-Man

I can recreate the loving environment we hand-raised him in. Imagine Bandit and him getting reacquainted!  I understand he’s still a nervous little nelly belly.  We both know where that comes from.  I have your recorded wishes on ManMan’s disposition. I have your favorite picture of ManMan from your bedside to remind me, but I wouldn’t forget anyway.

People still take so much for granted. All is well. And thank you. Thank you for everything. I shall remain in awe of your brilliance and your faithfulness forever. I shall continue to sing the graces of our shared humanity and your special place in the hearts of so many. I will represent your wishes through eternity. I will not burden future relationships by impossible comparisons to you.

I promise to try and find the good Dutch woman you suggested would be ideal for me as a best fit companion, if and when I ever desire to remarry.  I’ll give it a go, somehow. I will vigorously defend those who misrepresent your memory with the actual documentation of your life from any distortion no matter the threat. The book of your love is written on the nooks and crannies of my heart and I shall sing it’s harmonies in prose and speech til my own throat goes stiff and lifeless and my fingers limp.

“You were you, I was me, and we were happy” Our happiness befuddled many who didn’t know our special bond. Still does. You are proof there IS some actual humanity in humans. I hate that your mom misused you so horribly. I understand your addictions. You were mine.

I will always love you.  We’ll talk about a lot of stuff later. Or not. Heaven for me will always be the time we already spent together in Eden.

If Hell shortly awaits, you’ve left me toned and properly rested. I think there are papers to prove that too!  Count on me to remain good without God. I have plenty of experience battling Devils, so don’t worry about me.  Now off to find your loving daddy Joe.  You and him have a celestrial coffee and cigarette break.  You can use the regular sugar now instead of those hideous low-calorie substitutes.  After all, it won’t kill you!  Order one of the most expensive of the ethereal blends.  Try out the special “Stardust Mix” for me and drop a Yelp review into one of my dreams.

#yourbiggestfan #tangledsouls #myprincess

Enjoy.