The road out of Little Rock took us 90-miles north to Marshall Dry Goods in Batesville, an old warehouse that claims to carry 10,000 bolts of fabric. The side trips to quilt shops have added color to our trips, as they often take us down the roads less traveled. The next 160-miles took us across Arkansas with a pass through Memphis before stopping for the night at Tunica, Mississippi. The next day found us driving into Tupelo, where we stopped at Heirlooms Forever in lieu of a visit to the birthplace of Elvis Presley. The store’s owner provided us with advice on additional quilt shops in the area - so off we went.
I considered getting a haircut while Julie shopped - - - but they were closed.
We jumped onto the Natchez Trace Parkway heading south toward Ackerman. The Parkway is a 444-mile drive through 10,000 years of American history; it is the trail originally used by American Indians and settlers. Obviously we drove only a portion of the Parkway, but enough to enjoy the beauty of it’s tall pine forests and take note of numerous historical markers located along the road. As we approached our turn-off, a road sign indicated we were passing through an area devastated by a tornado in April 2011. We passed through a 10-mile area of trees that had been twisted, broken or flattened. After stopping at the quilt shop in Ackerman we drove the remainder of the 200-mile journey to West Point.
One condition of playing at the private Old Waverly golf club was that we stay on the property in one of their cottages. Our plan to enjoy a nice dinner in their clubhouse was snuffed upon learning the entire facility was closed on Monday. The Monday closure took on a new meaning when we arrived at the front gate where the night guard presented us with a room key. The front entry doors to each cottage were without latches, enabling free access to a common area. Our key locked one of the four bedrooms located off of the common area. The area was deathly quiet since only one other cottage had any occupants. The only people that could be seen or heard were scattered along the banks of the small lake trying to catch fish.
Old Waverly Cottage
Common area inside the cottage
View from the deck looking toward hole #10
The following morning, I called the pro shop to see if I could move up my 1 PM tee time. I could have saved the phone call. I did not see another person golfing until I was on hole #8.
Note: the only sign was above the pro shop - - - there were no signs at the property's entrance
Location: West Point, MS
Golf Digest Best-In-State Rank: #2
Golf Digest Best-In-State Rank: #2
Date: 13 Mar, tee off at 8:50 AM
Conditions: overcast skies with occasional mist, 5 MPH wind, 64 degrees
Lost balls: 1
Lost balls: 1
Score: 80 on a par 72
During the entire round, I only saw 4 other people golfing, a number that nearly equaled the number I saw fishing near the #17 green.
The croppies were biting!
As you can see from the score, the “golf gods” were with me again. I shot a 2-over par 38 on the front nine holes.
339-yard par 4 hole #1
160-yard par 3 hole #3
180-yard par 3 hole #7
I did not find the water until a bad shot on hole #11 cost me a penalty. In spite of numerous sand traps, my shoes did not touch any until hole #13. The back nine was more challenging - - - although I did manage to birdie hole #16 after a 15’ putt dropped in for me.
517-yard par 5 hole #10 (view from fairway before 2nd shot)
408-yard par 4 hole #11 (view from the green toward tee box)
499-yard par 4 hole #15
388-yard par 4 hole #16
181-yard par 3 hole #17
385-yard par 4 hole #18
In spite of taking my time during the round, I was finished in 2-1/2 hours. The sun was starting to shine, the temperature had climbed to 71 degrees, and the local boys were starting to show up to play. I jumped in the car and we headed off down the road again before any quilt shops might close for the day.
Mama’s Quilt Shop
One reason to play golf a little earlier was to allow more time for our 300-mile drive to St. Francisville, Louisiana the same day. Julie started to think we had time to drop into one more shop along the route when I wrapped up the round before noon. Her desire to stop in Independence at Mama’s Quilt Shop was in question until she called ahead. “Mama” agreed to re-open her shop upon our arrival since she lived directly next door.
“Mama” was still in her shop when we pulled into the driveway shortly after 5 PM. While Julie shopped for fabric I struck up a conversation with “Mama’s” mama. The shop was located next to a pond on Catfish Farm Road, with evidence of several abandoned ponds within sight. “Mama’s” father operated 9 catfish ponds on the site for more than 20-years. He sold catfish by the pound to anyone who wanted to catch them from the bank with their own fishing pole. Upon his death, her mother began to watch over the operation. She operated it for several years until she grew tired of people trying to steal the fish; catching & tossing them into tall grass to be retrieved later when no one was watching. Although they quit raising catfish many years ago, people still knock on their door asking to fish.
The view down Catfish Farm Road
Mama's Quilt Shop
Julie, Mama, & Mama's mama