Ebony and Ivory take a trip

Hey, everyone. I hope you’re reading this in a socially distant environment and not sweating under a mask. In early July, I thought we were almost out of the COVID-19 woods. Now I wonder if we’ll even emerge next spring — and if we’ll have tan lines on our faces from masking up all summer.

Now I hope you won’t mind me diverging from current events to tell y’all a little about my recent trip to Natchez with my friend Tonja. Honestly, Tonja and I should write a travel blog. We call ourselves the Ebony and Ivory Travel Agency, but we only book trips for ourselves.

Since December 2018, we’ve visited Clarksdale, Laurel, the ghost town of Rodney, Tuscaloosa, Memphis and Natchez. We take turns picking the city. I’m in charge of finding lodging, and Tonja scopes out entertainment and local restaurants.

Tonja and I loved My Book House, which sells used books and vintage items.

Until a couple weeks ago, we hadn’t traveled since the end of February, due to COVID. But by July, Ebony and Ivory were ready to ride again, and Natchez turned out to be a wonderful destination.

Yes, we had to wear masks in restaurants until seated at our table, and when we shopped. (Speaking of shopping, we recommend My Book House, which sells used books and vintage items. FYI, the store is NOT located at the address listed online. Call her. It’s directly across from Napa Auto Parts.)

One place we didn’t have to mask up was at the drive-in movie we attended. It was the first drive-in movie for both of us, and the entire reason we picked Natchez.

Every weekend in July, the city played drive-in movies on a big projector screen in an empty parking lot overlooking the river. We selected the 10 p.m. showing of “Hidden Figures,” about the black female mathematicians at NASA. The movie froze up after a minute, so they played “The Sandlot” instead. Talk about a 180! But it was a great movie for a drive-in. Nothing says nostalgia like kids playing baseball.

Our Airbnb cottage sat right next-door to the Natchez City Cemetery and mere blocks from the Natchez Trails walkway overlooking the river. So Saturday morning, we got up and walked. After lunch, we hunkered down in a gorgeous coffee shop called Steampunk and wrote until they closed at 5.

Me admiring a fancy chocolate bar I bought at Steampunk Coffee Roasters in Natchez.

It was the perfect getaway. And it was much needed.

Sometimes you’ve got to take a break in order to go back to your calling with fresh fervor. I needed the reminder that my office, my house, and my immediate family were not the only things that existed on this earth. The beauty of a restful weekend away, and of a friendship strengthened, drew me to God in praise.

That’s what I want this magazine to do, too — point folks to Christ, and enrich their lives. We can all play a part in doing that for each other. But sometimes we’ve got to “get away” and soak up some grace for ourselves.

If you’re not comfortable traveling or don’t want to wear a mask, you might try finding a nearby park. You could even make it a weekly ritual. Go in the morning before it gets hot (or before your family wakes up?) and pretend you’re a million miles away. Enjoy some nature and some Jesus!

Before I go, one small announcement: Our dear friend Barb Martin’s schedule is getting tight, and she will no longer be writing our Tough Questions column. However, she handpicked her successor, so we are excited! Check out Brenna Weaver’s first Tough Questions column..


More ‘must-reads’

• Jay Morgan’s drool-worthy recipes

• Libbo Crosswhite’s hilarious Modern Motherhood column, which has a “picture-perfect” photo accompanying it!


Ways to connect with MCL



Our e-digest. Visit bit.ly/mcledigest2020 and click Subscribe at top left to never miss our twice-monthly devotional (written by Tonja once a month!) and other cool stuff.

Our podcast, “A Closer Walk.”  Search “Mississippi Christian Living” on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. This month’s podcast features Barb Martin discussing how to relate to your in-laws. (So happy we can hear her voice, even though we’ll miss her words in print!)