10:34 p.m. Aug. 11
MEMPHIS, TN.---There are few better places to have a cold beer than in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis. And a beer in Memphis in August is special as beads of condensation drip down the bottle like tears in a Bobby Bland song. That's why they serve beer with a white napkin down here. First you wipe off the bottle then you dry off your eyes.
I've been visiting Memphis on almost an annual basis for 20 years and a stop at the Peabody (built in 1869, closed in 1923, reopened in its present location in 1925) is always on my list of things to do. The Peabody lobby is the launching point of the Delta as argued by historian David Cohen in 1935. He wrote, "The Mississippi Delta begins in the lobby of he Peabody Hotel and ends on Catfish Row in Vicksburg. The Peabody is the Paris Ritz; the Cairo Shepherds, the London Savoy of this section. If you stand near its fountain in the middle of the lobby...ultimately you will see everybody who is anybody in the Delta........"