Sunday, November 16, 2008

Making the Most of a Mandatory Memphis Mission

I am just now getting a chance to write about a trip Gary and I had to make to Memphis on October 29th.  Some of our adoption paperwork was about to expire so we were required to drive to Memphis to be re-fingerprinted by the Department of Homeland Security.  I am not going to go into all of the tedious and highly annoying details, but of course since our government is not always known for being efficient, well organized or caring, we ran into some difficulty.  To summarize, they almost forgot to invite us to Memphis in time to get our fingerprints before a very critical document expired.  When prompted by me to send us the invitation they sent me an email saying we would receive an invitation to be fingerprinted on 10/29.  By 10/27 it hadn't arrived and I was beginning to panic.   When I inquired about it I was told by email to just bring the first email as proof.  When we arrived we were chastised by the person in charge, "Why are you here today?  Your appointment is for 11/6."  We show them the email.  They look at it in complete disbelief.  "But your appointment is for 11/6" they repeat.  Arghhhhhh!  Do we have to drive home and come back again and each miss work for another day?????  Thankfully, after much shaking of heads and clucking of tongues in disapproval they decided they would allow us to be fingerprinted on the day when they originally told us to come. But as punishment for our inability to read their minds we had to wait in a 55 degree room for three hours before we could have the honor of having our fingerprints taken to show that we are STILL NOT criminals.  I didn't mean to go into so much detail, but once started it is hard to stop.  I will satisfy myself by not describing how incredibly rudely we and several other U.S. citizens were treated by the person that took our fingerprints.

Now that I got that out of my system :-) let me share the rest of our day which was truly lovely.  On the drive over we got to spend 2 1/2 hours talking and enjoying the scenery.  We stopped at a cool rest stop just inside of Tennessee and took a few pictures.

Mississippi River Bridge
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Welcome to Arkansas
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The King
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B.B. King
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On the way home with just a few hours to go before dark we stopped by Louisiana Purchase State Park which is located in Arkansas and contains a marker for the exact spot where the survey for the Louisiana purchase was started.  That in itself is fascinating, but it is made even more appealing by the fact that the monument is located in the middle of a beautiful swamp.  We were the only people at the park when we visited.  It was so peaceful.
In the short video below I tried to capture some of the lovely sounds in this enchanted place. You will also see the monument I mentioned.  We visited during the dry season; in the springtime this area is completely flooded.


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Turtle Caught in a Illegal Trap - Gary and I saw this guy and felt so badly for him.  We would have tried to let him out, but the trap was too far away from dry land.  Gary suggested we call a wildlife officer, so on the way home that's what I did.  We were so relieved to hear that someone was going to go out right away to save this turtle and get rid of that trap.  They confirmed that it was definitely an illegal one.  It was nice to end our day by having a positive experience with someone who works for the government.
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Below are a few pictures from our first trip to L.P. State Park which were taken over 2 1/2 years ago when we made our first trip to Memphis for our adoption process.

A closeup of the monument
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The Swamp During its Wet Phase
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Gary Strolling Down the Lane
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Interesting Plants
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Entrance to the park
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Beautiful Boardwalk
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Swamp
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Tree Tops
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