The live oaks on Highway 90 are covered in moss. When heading east, you’ll see them. They are enough to make you dizzy.
This is the Panhandle.
In my short life, I’ve seen Trustee’s Garden in Savannah, I’ve eaten fifty-dollar shrimp in Charleston, I've touched the Cadillac Hank Williams died in.
But Highway 90 is as Old South as it comes.
These mossy trees carry chiggers that will eat a man alive. But they are magnificent—the trees, not the chiggers.
Off 90, there’s an uneven road that leads to a dirt arena. The Circle D Rodeo Arena sits in the middle of the sticks.
Once, I saw a rodeo here. The place was crawling with Wranglers, Ariats, and Skoal rings.
I watched a kid take a fall that should’ve broken his legs. He shook it off and pranced away like Mary Lou Retton.
Later that night, I saw him limping so bad he could hardly walk. Two men held him upright.
Downtown Marianna is a treat. They have stores,
old churches, a stunning post office. A Winn Dixie.
There are mansions with columns. The historic houses aren't flashy—just inviting. Folks on porches watch traffic.
One little girl is walking a Labrador on the sidewalk. She doesn’t have an adult with her.
You don't see that in big cities.
A century ago, a Civil War battle was fought on these streets she walks on.
“Battle of Marianna lasted thirty minutes,” an old man tells me. “An attack on our hometown, Yankees killed and wounded a quarter of our men.”
Confederate Park has a white monument that stands tall. It’s not here to honor war. It’s here to remember farmers, shopkeepers, and anyone who died defending their home.