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I know I am not alone in missing traveling during this time of Covid. I haven’t left central Arkansas since my trip to Costa Rica in February. I had the opportunity to go to Mississippi for three days this past week, and my excitement level was on par with a European destination. I was giddy! In the past, I kept a suitcase packed with all essentials, and just had to add clothes. Since I haven’t gone anywhere in months, not only did I have to pack everything, it took me some time to find where I had stored my little suitcase! My friend Carol and I took off to visit our friend Sassy in Cascilla, Mississippi which is in Tallahatchie County, population around 15,000. We took precautions and wore masks while driving and when we were in close proximity with other people. Sassy’s house is in a very remote location—so remote, I had no cell phone service!

We did spend a lot of time outdoors. We ate our meals in Sassy’s covered back patio,

toured several gardens,

and garden club projects and explored the area. Her husband gave us the grand tour of their farm, and we learned a lot about their community. We found some treasures, met a lot of new dogs--and the biggest and most lovable lab ever,

and made new friends.

Our last day there, I spoke at the Charleston Garden Club, which was an outside meeting.

We had a fabulous time exploring, visiting, talking gardening, and the different change of scenery was wonderful. It was also really nice to present a program again to interested gardeners.

You would not believe how well the kudzu was growing all over this community.

I think if we had laid down for a minute, we would have been covered up. We got to see fields of sweet potatoes being harvested.

We toured a state-of-the-art wellness center that opened in 2016,

complete with a community garden that serves those in need.

For a small, relatively poor community, this facility is unbelievable,

and is serving the community so well. Their mission is to inspire and empower residents to lead healthy lives. They have a full gym inside, but they hold classes on nutrition, self-care and wellness. There are walking trails, a healing garden and the community vegetable garden.

Everything is maintained so well. We were very impressed. It is an award-winning program, and a real boon to their community.

We toured a wonderful garden full of plants.

Carol B. who owns the garden, has a degree in horticulture from Mississippi State and is a master flower judge as well as designer. Her designs are featured in a national design magazine this month.

She also loves to propagate plants

and has rooted cuttings everywhere.

We came home with some jewels. In fact, we had an empty car going and a packed one coming home. Her garden had so many interesting plants in it,

that I am loaded with mystery plants for a while.

The Charleston Garden Club is a force to be reckoned with. Sassy showed us so many projects in their county that are all planted and maintained by this group of older women. They do not sit around and drink tea and eat bonbons, they work. They pay back to their community just like a Master Gardener county group. I enjoyed seeing and hearing about all the good things they do in their towns. We also had a wonderful lunch and got to visit with a lot of avid gardeners.

After the meeting, we loaded up and headed home. It was a short trip, but we packed a lot in. Sassy was a wonderful host and we felt cherished from the moment we entered her door! We were all conscious of sanitation, and masked up,

washed hands and used a lot of hand sanitizer. I think we practiced safe traveling protocols. It was so nice to have an adventure and learn something new, and reconnect with old friends. This trip was small but mighty good for my soul.

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