Sunday, July 20, 2008

Destination: Gordo

There are a lot of reasons to go to Gordo, especially when you consider it's a small town with a population of roughly 1600 located in a dry county.

The first time I was there was on an elementary school field trip to Ma'Cille's Museum of Miscellanea which was a completely amazing and slightly scary wonderland. It included everything from an Indian burial, hundreds of old dolls, taxidermied animals and colorful antique bottles to a life-sized diorama of men tending a whiskey still. Ma'Cille has passed on and the museum is no longer there, but I think it's safe to say that its memory remains deeply etched in the minds of everyone who ever visited.

Besides Ma'Cille's museum Gordo is probably best known for its Mule Day parade (now combined with Chickenfest) held the first Saturday in June every year. Photographs from this year's Mule Day can be seen here. Mule Day was a lot of fun, though I was kind of lost on the Chickenfest aspect. I'm a big chicken fan whether they're in delicious fried form or alive and clucking but neither seemed to be present. At least not on main street. I will say I had a very fine corn dog and also noticed that gator on a stick was readily available.

This year Glenn House Sr., Ma'Cille's son, was named Pioneer of the year by the Gordo Chamber of Commerce for his contributions to the town. With his wife, photographer Kathy Fetters, and photographer Barbara Lee Black, he established an art gallery in the largely abandoned downtown. Many of Barbara's photographs incorporate objects from Ma'Cille's museum. He has also provided workspace for other artists associated with the University of Alabama's book arts program which Glenn founded. You can get all the details in the commendation by the Alabama State Legislature.

Last but not least, if you're a classic country music fan, the Gordo Truck Stop is the place to be on a Friday or Saturday night, with Thursday night devoted to gospel. No drinking of course, but they serve up some mean hamburgers. We've been there on both Friday and Saturday nights to take in the country jam where whoever shows up is welcome to play or sing a song or two. They're located on highway 82 and the music gets started around 7:00.

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