by Lee Blaylock
We’re Lee and Cassandra Blaylock, recent transplants to the Pacific Northwest. We’re also a married photographer-videographer team.
We’re from the Deep South--Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to be exact, a college town in the southern part of the state, where Brett Favre got his start as a Golden Eagle at the University of Southern Mississippi. It’s also home to Leatha’s BBQ, where you might have seen Andrew Zimmeran of “Strange Foods” fame enjoy a Soul Food dish consisting of cooked possum. The first note of what would become known as rock and roll was recorded in Hattiesburg; it’s the birthplace of American music.
We lived an hour and a half north of New Orleans, and boy do we miss beignets buried beneath drifts of powdered sugar (and drinking café au laits) at Café du Monde, the smell of creole cuisine rising from open doors and open-air café restaurants; we miss the festive spirit in all those narrow lanes of the French Quarter, where the buildings—balconies festooned with ferns, iron-wrought railing—are painted in as many colors as there are personalities living and working there. Fleurs-de-Lis everywhere you turn. The French Quarter: where "When the Saints Go Marching In" is always on the air, trumpeted from some street nearby.
It’s true: once a Southerner, always a Southerner.
Maybe it’s in the water of the Mississippi Delta, where I grew up, where the tannins from all those decaying Cypress trees infused the water table, so that what came out of our faucets and filled our bathtubs looks like diluted Lipton tea. Or maybe it was the oil from the deep-fryers at the catfish house where Cassandra served for eight years, in blink-and-you’ll-miss-it McNeil, MS, that soaked into her skin.
But you can never outgrow or forget the spirit of the South, made up of that world-renown hospitality, that unique patois of the region—the Southern drawl—the world-class food (down home, country-style cooking!), the enduring faith of the people there, and the rich and colorful history, heritage, and culture that make up one of the richest tapestries in American history.
But for reasons (our adventure-loving spirits being one) too involved to address here, but ones we may write about in a future blog, we nevertheless packed up our house in Hattiesburg and moved all of our belongings to the first floor of the converted Cotton Gin where my parents lived, in Greenville, three hours north in the Mississippi Delta. We returned to Hattiesburg, stayed with a friend, and finished out our work.
We finally left for good in the last week of March, drove back to Greenville, and stayed with my parents until the big move. We packed three stories worth of a household, plus our own, into a 28-foot trailer, the rest on a rental truck, and began our westward voyage on April 6th, around noon, in a torrential downpour.
I drove a Class-C motorhome, packed with three dogs and everything else that didn’t fit in the trailer, following my parents, who pulled the 28-footer with their diesel Dually truck. And so we made our way across the country, like the Clampetts, staying at KOA campgrounds along the way. Our route took us through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and finally, Washington state, which was our destination.
We arrived in La Center, WA, on April 13th.
We’ll write about the journey soon, and make that chronicle available here, as well. It was quite the adventure. But we've had plenty of adventures both in Washington and Oregon since we arrived in April. It's stunningly beautiful country. And now we're finally settled enough so that we can begin the work of rebuilding our business, now on the other side of the United States.
We're looking forward to new projects, meeting new clients, making friends, and building a remarkable portfolio with the beautiful Pacific Northwest as our backdrop.
May God bless you!