What's up with Yazoo City?
Places to park a bus: Amtrak parking lot.
Is there something strange about this small town of 12,000 people? That's what we want to know.
We rolled into town just a few minutes before 5:00pm. Ben and Chris dashed off to the Bank of Yazoo City to cash some traveler's cheques, with the rest of the crew in tow. We must've been an odd-looking bunch, six road-weary yankees straggling into a bank at closing time.
The bank manager was very pleasant and asked where we were from. We told him, and he said, "Did y'all take a wrong turn somewhere?" An extremely hospitable fellow, he gave us a map of the town (provided by the Chamber of Commerce). But he made a joke as he drew some routes on the map that it could be real evidence item #1 if we were murdered.
This totally spooked Ami, although the rest of us thought he was just kidding around. Still, it was a morbid sort of joke to make with complete strangers, we had to admit. A murder case? Was there something about Yazoo City he was trying to tell us? We only knew it was an old Mississippi Delta Blues town.
The bank manager recommended his favorite restaurant, Clancy's, and told us how to get there. He also gave us very particular directions on how he would leave town to get back to the freeway, if he were us. Again, was he trying to tell us something? Ami definitely thought so, though the rest of us were unsure. His route backtracked a little; maybe it was on better, faster-moving roads? Or maybe there was something up ahead that we were better off avoiding.
We ate at Clancy's, even though they had almost nothing on the menu that was remotely vegetarian. Some of the other patrons stared at us almost the whole time we were there. One of the waitresses warned us that their cole slaw was very spicy, and that if we didn't like spicy food, we might want to substitute a different side dish. All of us were excited to experience a regional variation on cole slaw, so we tried it, only to find that it wasn't spicy at all. There may have been a light dusting of...paprika?
We tried to order pecan pie, real southern pecan pie, but one of the waitresses said that they were all out: their pastry chef had been out sick all week.
On the way out of town we got lost on some very dark, narrow rural roads, with hardly even a place to turn a school bus around properly. There was a good chance that if we had slowed down at all, the kudzu would have overgrown the bus. I think we got lost because of the The Witch of Yazoo. That's what the bank manager was trying to warn us about, to be sure.
Later we discovered that the witch was a hoax devised to scare people away from a devious and complicated pecan smuggling operation. We unmasked the witch: it turned out it was the waitress from Clancy's that had claimed the restaurant was all out of pecan pie.
She swore she would've gotten away with it if it hadn't been for us meddling kids.