• Jim Farrell

Hound Dogs and Hot Rolls

We spent last week in Mississippi. Tupelo, Tishomingo and Burnsville to be exact. Three places we had never been before so it was time for some exploring. We dropped off our Beacon home on wheels at the Tishomingo RV Service Center for some warranty work on Tuesday and made our way to Tupelo to the LaQuinta Hotel for 3 nights. Nice, comfortable and pet friendly. On Wednesday we headed to Petsmart for DaiseyMae to have her monthly nail grinding, with a stop in Home Depot for a few items. The rest of the day was spent resting/reading at the hotel since we had been on the road for 3 days and we all needed a good nap. But on Thursday morning we were all refreshed and headed out for a full day of exploration. I mentioned as we came into Tupelo that we could visit the birthplace of Elvis Presley while we were there. DaiseyMae gave me a look which said, "Elvis ain't nothin' but a hound dog, cryin' all the time." Jim gave no response to my suggestion, which told me that even though he loves me tender, maybe even with a burning love, there was no way he wanted to visit Elvis' birthplace. Not now, probably never. So I put away my blue suede shoes, tried not to be all shook up, and told myself at least you won't be lonesome tonight....

We began our exploring on the Natchez Trace parkway, a 444 mile trail passing through 3 states - Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. We only traveled a short portion of the parkway. It's a very scenic drive and roughly follows the "Old Natchez Trace", an historic travel corridor used by Native Americans, European settlers, slave traders, soldiers and future presidents. We stopped at the Visitors Center and found out that Tishomingo isn't just the name of a great RV Service Center and little town in Mississippi. It was originally the name of the last full-blooded Chickasaw Indian Chief, born in 1734. The Chickasaw, Choctaw and Natchez tribes lived in this area. So as they say, you learn something new every day.

We stopped at a spot along the parkway called Old Trace, a path which leads you to an area of the original trail traveled by so many Native Americans and early settlers. Much of the old trail was abandoned by the start of the civil war, but soldiers still marched, camped and fought along portions of the old road. We walked up a short path into a beautiful wooded area with very large old trees, and came to the site of gravesites for 13 unknown Confederate soldiers. It is not known whether they died from war injuries, illness or disease, but they were buried here in unmarked graves. A very quiet, peaceful place.

Next stop on our travels was the Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard. Did you know there is a graveyard specifically for coon hounds? No other dog breeds can be buried here.

7 miles west of Tuscumbia AL on Coon Dog Cemetery Road

Troop, the first coon hound dog buried here in 1937, was a faithful companion and friend to Key Underwood for more than 15 years. The cemetery is located on the site of a popular hunting camp where coon hunters from miles around would gather to share strategies and stories, chew tobacco and compare their coon hounds. Everyone compared their dog to Troop, the best coon hound around. Soon other hunters started burying their favorite dogs here and today more than 185 coon dogs from across the US are buried in this spot in Northwest Alabama. Some of the headstones are crafted of wood, some of sheet metal, some are stones just like those in a "normal" cemetery. Here are pics of a few of the graves.

We left the Coon Dog Cemetery and headed to the VanLeigh RV Plant in Burnsville, MS for a tour. We had a great time touring the plant and seeing how our fifth wheels are constructed, step by step. DaiseyMae got to hang out in the office while we had our tour. We met some other owners and prospective owners and when we were done, we were glad we had purchased our Beacon of Hope.

The latest 42 foot long unit being built.

4 colors of interior wood

Slide outs are built separately, then added to the unit.

A Beacon before it gets full body paint.

Gluing on the TPO roof material.

The Beacon was finished at the Service Center on Friday afternoon, so we stayed overnight there and headed out to Sikeston, MO on Saturday morning. When we arrived at our RV park in Sikeston, we saw a sign for Lambert's Cafe - Home of Throwed Rolls. We had seen this same sign on a big cafe in Foley, AL when we were at our VanLeigh Owners Rally at the Gulf Shores. At the time I wondered - what in the world is a "throwed" roll?? As far as I know, there is no such word as "throwed." You might have "thrown" a roll, or someone "threw" a roll, but a "throwed" roll??

So anyway, here we are in Sikeston, MO at our RV park and just a half mile down the road is Lambert's Cafe - Home of the Throwed Rolls. Turns out there are only 3 locations for this restaurant - Sikeston, MO, Branson, MO, and Foley, AL. We had to go for dinner and see what this was all about.

We arrived and found out that Lambert's is a very popular restaurant. Lots of folks waiting outside on benches. We joined them and waited for about 45 minutes or so until they called our number. We went inside and soon realized this would be quite a culinary experience.

Turns out that in 1976, the owner was trying to pass out hot rolls to his customers as he traditionally did, but it was an extremely busy day and getting through the lunch crowd was impossible. One of the customers yelled, "Just throw the thing!" He did, and everybody else joined in. Now, ever since May 26, 1976, the waiters have been throwing hot rolls at customers. And I do mean throwing hot rolls - very hot large yeast rolls. The waiter yells, "Hot rolls here!" People all over the room raise their hand if they want a hot roll, and the waiter begins to throw them to people like softballs. Not just a few feet away - across the room. Look out or you just might get a hot roll on your head.

"Hot rolls here!"

I love this man's style!

The wait staff also walks around the room with big pots or bowls of what they call "Pass Arounds." Macaroni and tomatoes, fried potatoes and onions, black-eyed peas, fried okra, apple butter and molasses for your hot rolls.

She's walking around with a pot of macaroni and tomatoes.

The menu was filled with all kinds of southern food and lots of side dishes. My favorite menu choice was entitled "Somethin' Southern" - All the white beans a body can eat with your choice of ham, jowl or fried bologna and 2 sides. Plus all the pass arounds. Served with a King Edward cigar or Big Red chewing gum. All for $10.29.

Lambert's serves 13,107 gallons of slaw a year, 40,800 lbs of white beans, 150,000 lbs of chicken breasts and legs, and 61,650 lbs of chicken livers. How many hot rolls do they serve? The ovens start every day at 9:15 am and stop at 9:00 pm. They average baking 520 dozen rolls a day. The rolls are 5 inches in diameter. Like I said - don't get hit in the head with one as it flies across the room!

The owner of Lambert's has a fascination with mule pictures, so there is a wall full of mules as you leave the restaurant.

All of the walls are filled with license plates and memorabilia.

Yes indeed, Lambert's is a must do, at least once in your lifetime, if you are ever in Sikeston or Branson or Foley. Jim and I can now say we've experienced hot throwed rolls!

Today we are in Springfield, MO. We leave tomorrow morning to make our way up through Kansas City and then to Forest City, Iowa, where the Beacon is going to have a paint buff. By next weekend we will be in South Dakota. Maybe the fishing will be better there?? We shall see. Until then, we are free2bwheelin!

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