Let's get one thing straight...Julie Newell did not "cotton" to anything or anybody that glorified the "good ol' days"...especially the good ol' days DOWN SOUTH!
As we all know, Julie was a fighter, but she also knew (sometimes) when to pick her fights. One fight she chose not to pursue was with racists who inhabited the South.
A case in point...
We've already touched on Julie's "gambling bug". Well, friends kept telling Julie about the casinos in Tunica...how she would REALLY love them. I noticed, however, that she did not immediately pester me to take her. So...finally, I asked her about it. Well, Julie liked the idea of casinos, but she wasn't particulary happy with the location of Tunica; namely MISSISSIPPI. Can we get more "southern" than Mississippi?
Wasn't too many months, however, and Julie's gambling fever outweighed her reticence about venturing into "enemy territory".
So, we jump into the car and take off for Tunica. Our friends had assured us that the route to Tunica was a safe one...nothing to worry about. Well, with friends like these! No, actually, our friends were right...as we found out on later trips. It's just that, somehow, we managed to take an alternate route.
Folks I never saw so many southern mansions with Confederate flags proudly flying in my whole life! And, it got worse...I never saw so many TRAILERS with Confederate flags proudly flying in my whole life! Julie looks at me and only half-jokingly says that she is getting down on the floor and hide. She DID seem to be shrinking with each mile we drove.
As we are driving through a heavily trailered area, Julie looks at me and says "If anyone stops us, I don't know who the hell you are! I'm telling them that you kidnapped me...that you said you was gonna take me out into the woods and have your way with a niggah woman!"
I don't think she was kidding. As I said, Julie Newell knew when to pick her fights!
Well, we made it out of the woods and finally arrived in Tunica. Julie quickly adjusted when she saw the more cosmopolitan atmosphere and thoroughly enjoyed her stay. (Julie especially enjoyed hitting a jackpot for $5,000 on a slot machine. I'm telling you, the girl was loaded with electricity and caused machines to go haywire!)
It made Julie even happier when we found the right road back to Cairo...the road NOT paved with Confederate flags!
Don't you just love these long intros to the story that I was supposed to tell? Yep, again, the preceding was not about Julie "taking a stand".
As you recall, a group of us went to Cancun, Mexico. Well, this time we are off to New Orleans. One of our group had a van that would accommodate all of us, so we drove.
The van was a blessing for me. Having just recovered from walking pneumonia, I wasn't up to driving. I had literally come home from the doctor's office and climbed right into the van...I was one whipped puppy.
The trip down was fun...lots of good conversation...and NO CONFEDERATE FLAGS!
I think we crashed the first night...arriving somewhat late. At least Julie and I did. But...the next night, that was NOT an option. I mean, you don't drive to New Orleans to sit in a hotel room.
Whether it was our original destination, or if we just finally wound up there, I don't remember. Anyway, we found ourselves in Pat O'Brien's, a VERY popular drinking establishment that specialized in a drink called a "Hurricane". A Hurricane is one of those rum punch drinks that will flat knock you on your a...butt if you are not careful.
Julie is having a good time...not drinking a lot, but also not that used to drinking back then...especially Hurricanes. All of us are laughing and talking and just generally being silly. There is a band playing, and the crowd is really getting into it...singing along.
Finally, I'm sitting there just really wearing down when the band cranks up its next song..."Dixie". I'm thinking...Oh, oh...Julie ain't gonna like this! About that time, Steve Dain gets my attention, asking me about something or other and I first try to hear him over the loud music and then try to give him some answer.
When I turn back around, what do I see? Knees...Julie's knees! Julie is standing in her chair and is singing "Dixie" with great gusto, including the line "I wish I was in the land of cotton." Well, hell...I just sit there looking up at her with my mouth hanging open. The others in our group notice me, and they stop and start looking at Julie also.
As the song ends, Julie finally notices us staring at her and says "What's wrong?" I look up at her and ask "Do you know what song you just sang?" Julie pauses and you can see the wheels starting to spin. She steps down gingerly from her chair, looks around at everyone, and says "Uh, we need to go back to the hotel room. Ronnie's been sick."
I never, ever let Julie forget the night she took her stand (on a chair) in Dixie!