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I was an invited speaker for the Mississippi MG state conference this past week in Cleveland, Mississippi. I took MS native Martha Ray with me, so I got the behind the scenes tour of the Delta. Our first stop was McCarty pottery which has been in Merigold, MS since 1954. You better know it's there, because there is no signage that I saw.

They turn out some fine pottery created in an old mule barn.

They have a pretty garden out back as well.

They were going to be hosting the MG conference in the afternoon, so we beat them to it, and toured before the conference started. We visited with the current owner

and of course, bought some pottery. I think my piece is right at home in my kitchen.

Then we were off to lunch at the Airport Grocery, a unique eatery with some very tasty food. My crawfish poboy was to die for.

Then we checked into our hotel, refreshed and went to check into the conference and hear the opening session by my friend Gary Bachman.

The late afternoon schedule was to tour downtown Cleveland and McCarty Pottery on your own, before the evening event at Crawdad's Restaurant. There are some lovely shops in downtown Cleveland and we had an excellent time visiting. Martha Ray knew half the town people.

The evening event was at another unique restaurant in Merigold.

Their keynote speaker was Elizabeth Heiskell a cookbook author and a regular contributor on the Today Show who is from Mississippi. She was a hoot and did a great job entertaining the audience with some education thrown in as well. By the time the dinner event ended rain was imminent and it was time to call it a night.

It stormed off and on all night and I had an early morning wake-up call when my storm alert went off on my phone at 5:20 a.m. with a flash flooding warning. The delta is flat land. When that much rain comes all at once, there is nowhere for the water to go and flooding occurs.

The fact that so much rain has been falling the past few months, means the soil was already waterlogged so extra water was everywhere. We had no issues getting to and from the conference but others had horror stories from closed roads to downed trees. Some of the parking lots on campus were covered in water too. As we drove fields everywhere were covered in water.

The MS MGs had some great seminars, a nice trade show

and a silent auction.

Some of our Arkansas vendors were there as well.

There were slightly over 200 MGs from across the state and they were having a great time.

We visited with so many before we finished up and headed home. We had a great visit, albeit a short one. Martha Ray was a font of knowledge and it was like old home week for her. We were lucky that our driving weather both coming and going was rain free. Everyone we seem to meet from whatever state you want to name, are all complaining about the weather and the amount of rain we have been having. Farmers are having a hard time getting crops planted, researchers can't get trial gardens planted and gardeners can't get things done because it is too wet! It appears even more rain is headed our way--and really cool weather for May!

If you are at the Mississippi/Arkansas border, there is a great rest stop at Helena.

Here is a small gallery of extra photos from our trip:

Gallery: mississippi trip

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