South from Memphis on THE River.

So far, cruising the Mississippi River on the American Queen has been everything we had imagined. This is a big boat–and it is, we have been told, a boat and not a ship–and our first 24 hours on board has taken us from Memphis to Greenville, Mississippi, where we have stopped while a number of passengers have gone ashore to see what sights there might be in Greenville.

 I must note that before leaving Memphis late yesterday afternoon, we toured the National Civil Rights Museum which is located in the building that was once the Lorraine Hotel. It was here that Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968. This photo is of the wrecked and burned hulk of the Greyhound bus that carried Freedom Riders into the south in 1961.It takes a while to work your way through the exhibits and I felt worn down by the time we left . . . worn down at seeing how long and how hard a road it has been and knowing that we’re not nearly there yet. Stlll, this is a must-see.
Tomorrow we’re stopping for the day in Vicksburg, the site of a pivotal battle during the Civil War with horrific losses on both sides. The carnage, of course, made it a typical Civil War battle.
 First and continuing impression of the Mississippi: I know it’s been called “the Mighty Mississippi” for years, but you have to find yourself out in the middle of this river to truly appreciate it. Words can’t … certainly not the very few I could cram into this space. But it’s huge: miles across in some places, more than 200 feet deep down near New Orleans.
And in the lower part, the river really dominates because there’s not much population until we get down to Baton Rouge and then, of course, to New Orleans. Here, we’re in the grip of this huge, moving, living body of water . . . and when we get to New Orleans anyone who has been paying attention will know that the only reason we got there was because Ol’ Man River allowed it.