To Galveston and Beyond
We zipped on up to Jackson and were rather dismayed at how empty it was. There were no cars parked on the street or in any parking lots after 5 p.m., the crime rate is too high. The downtown has been severely "malled", but we went into a bar in a 1920s hotel and the bartender, a young man from a nearby college, told us they are trying to bring it back. The town was pretty grim, but had some fantastic historic architecture. We did find Eudora Welty's house, surrounded by lovely camellia bushes. We also found Choctaw Books. Unfortunately we arrived Saturday evening late and he was just closing. We were going to go on to New Orleans Sunday, but decided to stay over and go to his store Monday morning. And we were glad we did!
First and foremost, Fred Smith, the owner of the store was cheerful, helpful, knowledgeable, and seemed to actually like us and want to help us find things. No mean feat in this store which is packed, crammed, jammed, and stuffed with books on almost any subject you can name. It is floor to ceiling cases, with aisle piles and boxes and overflowing nooks and crannies. Fred told us that one lady had lost a $600 pair of glasses in the store but they had never been found.
He has rare and used books and a fine selection of firsts, signed books by southern authors, Civil War books, southern history, and regional stuff. There is quite a collection of Eudora Welty and scads of ephemera poked into shelves here and there. If you are looking for something specific in the southern genre, give him a call at 601-352-2614. It would take two weeks to actually dig around and find all the terrific things he has stashed away, but he knows pretty much where everything is. It is loosely arranged by subject, but you might want to quickly scan all subjects anyway, since I found a couple of fabulous books hiding in the wrong place. I ended up with a whole box of books with a nice discount, and, bless his heart, Fred offered not only to mail the books I bought from him, but all the books we had accumulated over the past week. That's a huge help when you are on the road and can't carry packing materials.