It was early in 1999 and I was engaged to be married. For years I had lived throughout Colorado and New Mexico and was at a point in my life that I wanted to move back to the South where I am from, Mississippi. After meeting my beautiful soon to be wife who was originally from New Orleans it just made more sense for us both to be closer to friends and family. At the time I lived in Denver which as experiencing major traffic congestions due to their population explosion. Most everyone we came in contact or made friends were transit to Denver and it was becoming more of a stopping point for many, just like me. Getting married was a huge step for both of us so thankfully we shared the same values, family bond, southern manners, and a desire to see the awakening of green in a early morning sunrise in Mississippi and it was calling us.
Being in the mortgage business my wife had visions of our home potentially being that from a scene in Gone with the Wind, with a flare of Natchez Mississippi with moss dangling from those live oaks surrounding a large yard with a long stretching driveway all the way up to the home surrounded by large white spacious columns. We visualized a large backyard that was so huge you could swim, run, and play fetch with pets without the worries or intrusions of neighbors or cars. Rooms galore for many guests and family members to visit without the worries of breaking out the sleeping blanket or pull out bed. This would give anyone visiting the feel that they were staying at The Pennisula Hotel in little Mississippi. Waking up on Christmas morning and walking down the long spiral staircase that seemed to stretch to the high heavens only would make an excitement for Christmas Holidays come early every year. We could smell rosemary, thyme, and basil herbs from the large open kitchen that were laid out over the kitchen counter as it would make anyone want to become a foodies expert and start cooking immediately. All of this seemed really a great vision especially coming from Denver where all homes were over the top expensive and with Mississippi prices you could buy a mansion for the price of a spec home elsewhere. However, the reality of what I could afford vs what we both had dreamed was two different versions back in 1999 being new back to Mississippi and starting all over. I mean really what was I thinking we were not even married yet, no kids, and I just had turned 28 years of age when we moved from Denver. Boy was it fun thinking of that beautiful sprawling home just waiting to be mine one day. So after we got settled in Jackson, MS about 90 miles NorthEast of Natchez, MS a 1964 Ranch Style Home became our Gone with the Wind Home! But every year before the Holidays that vision reappears.
And every time of year during the Holidays I see many magazines showcasing some of these large antebellum homes decorated with christmas spirit and smelling like fresh cut pine as you enter the foyer with the fireplace lite up so bright just as you enter to your right. If only the moss from those Live Oaks could talk what a story they would tell. I personally have witnessed and originated historic renovation on some of these homes and to see their walls open up gives you insight to the unique and complicated construction of these homes in an era where everything was constructed by hand tools with talented trim artisans.
As I write this blog I sit in a Starbucks in Ridgeland, MS and watch movie executives come in the coffee shop every a.m. to finalize their scene shots and normal gossip while a movie is being filmed not to far from here entitled Same Kind of Different as Me. Shooting scenes of churches and large old homes have been used as backdrop scenes to give this movie a story that once lived. Interesting if you think about it as these homes and secular places are still telling a story that soon will be another movie filmed in Mississippi exploring the talents of our landscape of beautiful homes with a new story.
Yes our state has a complicated history that at times still seems to stand the ages of time rehashing an old past that many wish would go away as some outsiders seem only to think about the past and not the beauty, but that my friend is changing for the better every day. I for one choose to take path that defines me as who I am and NOT where I am from. Being born of this state and having a chance to live in other states throughout our beautiful country I can attest that truly there is no place like home. I love the common sense, no fuss, no congestion, fall football excitement, family loving, good cooking, low key, and southern charm story telling I call Mississippi. So as you look at these beautiful picturesque Historic Home photos in Natchez, MS called Ravenna 1834 that was provided to me by Tricia King from New Orleans it only makes me realize that we truly have some of the most beautiful homes that I have come to know as my Mississippi, my place, my home! Cheers with glass of Sweat Tea!