I called Greenville, Mississippi, home for six years, spending the formative years of my adult life in that historic city on the banks of the Mississippi River.

Greenville Mississippi cypress

My path there was simple. I had just graduated college with degrees in Spanish and anthropology and had no job. With absolutely no teaching experience or training, I joined a program called the Mississippi Teacher Corps, and agreed to teach for two years in a high-needs school district somewhere in Mississippi. They placed me at T.L. Weston High School in Greenville. Thanks, Kim Harris, for sending me this pic from my teaching days at Weston. I think I still have this tie, though most of the hair is long gone.

Steve as TL Weston teacher

For my work, I’d receive a teacher’s salary, a tuition and expenses for a masters degree from Ole Miss. (Hotty toddy!)

When I signed on, I’d planned to stay for only the required two years. My plan was to use that time to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. Well, I stayed in Greenville teaching for six years, and wound up spending 21 years in public education. Funny how life works.

Needless to say, when you spend six years somewhere, it has a huge impact on you. Throughout our marriage, Ann has been forced to listen to tales of my time in the Mississippi Delta. So when we decided to drive to Florida for a cruise, it only made sense to plan a route that would take us through Greenville.

Seeing old friends

One of the main things I hoped to do in Greenville was introduce Ann to some of the people I knew while there. I set up a time and place to meet some folks and was tickled that people actually came to visit! I saw two former students, Frederick Crowley (and his beautiful family) as well as Lucas Winters. It was so nice to connect with them again and see the good men they’ve become in life and I’m glad I can now call them friends.

Greenville Mississippi

In addition, two former co-workers and mentors of mine, Jerry Stephenson and Ken Kable also came to meet up with us. We had fun reminiscing about old days and just catching up. The years melted away as we sat chatting, enjoying the time together.

Because we were there on a Sunday morning, we also attended church at First Presbyterian, my church when I was in Greenville. It was so nice to be in my old church home and to chat with church friends, as well.

Greenville Mississippi

Old favorites

I loved that I got to take Ann to see my old stomping grounds. We made stops at the school building where I worked, and the athletic fields and courts where I coached soccer, tennis, track and football. (Again, no real prior experience.) Because we were there on a day over Christmas break, we couldn’t get inside the school.

Greenville Mississippi

With the building having been turned into a middle school, there hasn’t been need to maintain the tennis courts where I spent so many afternoons coaching.

Greenville Mississippi

It was a little surprising to see that my classroom was gone, although I’m not sure why. I taught in a portable classroom, so I shouldn’t have been too surprised that it had been ported away from the end of the sidewalk I’d traversed so many times. I mean, it has been 17 years.

Greenville Mississippi

The other shocking change I found was to the fields where I coached and refereed soccer. They’d fallen completely into disrepair and it looked as though no one had done anything to maintain them for years.

Greenville Mississippi

After we took these pictures, though, I learned that the city built a new soccer complex. I was glad to know there was a good reason this complex had been abandoned.

Tour of Greenville, Mississippi

Another highlight of our visit to Greenville was just taking Ann around town. We drove by the apartment complexes where I lived. Then, we drove north of town to find a house where I lived for two years with some other teachers. Not wanting to scare the current residents of my old house, I just snapped a couple photos from the car as we drove by.

Greenville Mississippi

There’s a neat archaeological site called Winterville Mounds near that house, so we made a quick visit there.

Greenville Mississippi

We drove past the schools, stores, theaters, and restaurants that I remembered from my time in Greenville. Sadly, so many places I remembered are now closed. The years have not been kind to Greenville; population is down and many buildings are vacant.

Down by the river

Being on the river, Greenville is home to some riverboat casinos. I have often told Ann how on Tuesday nights we’d go down and eat a $5 all-you-could-eat buffet and then get a coupon for buy $5, and get $5 in free tokens at the casino. We’d take the coupon, get the tokens, then cash them in, effectively paying only sales tax for our meal. I wanted to show Ann where we found this unbelievable deal, so we drove downtown to find the casinos. When we crested the levee, I was shocked to find that two of the floating casinos that been docked there had been floated away. It was a view I’d never seen in all my years living there.

Greenville Mississippi

Finally, we had dinner at a classic Greenville restaurant called Doe’s Eat Place. That was an experience in and of itself, and I know that Ann has a post just about that dinner planned. But I thought we’d toss in one gratuitous photo to get your tastebuds going. For what it’s worth, it tastes even better than it looks.

Doe's Eat Place Steak

I’m glad we stopped in Greenville. Yes, it has changed over the years. Everything does. But Greenville was, for many years, my home. It’s an integral part of the person I am today; I count myself lucky that I got to teach at Weston. And I’m glad I got to share that with Ann.

  • We had a few windy days in the #FloridaKeys this week that stirred up the waters. It created the most gorgeous colors in the Atlantic Ocean including this area at Sombrero Beach.
  • We miss waking up on the Celebrity Edge. That's all.
  • We've been having the best time in the Florida Keys visiting Steve's mom and dad this week. Today, it was cold for Floridians, but we loved the sunshine (and were thankful for awesome neighbors who were likely shoveling the snow from our driveway back home).⁣
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We are so thankful for a flexible schedule and opportunities like this one to share time with family. Life seems to pass us by so quickly the older we get and we're fortunate to be able to travel and share experiences with the people we love most. ⁣
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Feeling especially blessed tonight, in the beautiful Florida Keys.
  • We enjoyed a delicious dinner tonight at Hideaway Cafe on Grassy Key with Steve's mom and dad. We went early at 5 p.m. for the sunset dinner menu which has smaller portions and the most beautiful views of the sunset. ⁣
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The food was fresh and made-to-order and served by gracious and professional staff who made us feel right at home. ⁣
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Hideaway is a great restaurant choice for dinner if you're in the Florida Keys. Get a reservation ahead of time, as it fills up quickly, even at 5 p.m.
  • Need some inspiration for staying healthy while traveling? Good news! We are taking over the @noom Instagram stories this afternoon and hope you’ll all follow along as we share tips on how to make healthy living choices while on a cruise ship. We’ll take you inside the beautiful @celebritycruises Edge and show you how we stayed on track with our Noom goals while still enjoying a fantastic cruise vacation. Be sure to follow @noom! Our takeover has just begun. 😁
  • The Rooftop Garden is a unique space on the top deck of the @celebrityedge. There’s no water slide on this ship, no go-carts, and the’s no rock wall for climbing. Instead the Rooftop Garden provides a “living urban playscape inspired by childhood playgrounds and designed to waken the inner child in all of us,” according to the Celebrity Cruises website. There are live plants, comfortable outdoor seating, and unique art installations that set the space apart from anything else at sea. @cruisecelebrity
  • Blu is a restaurant on the Celebrity Edge that is dedicated to guests in Aqua Class.  It serves “clean, crisp flavors and inventive cuisine” in a gorgeous blue venue. To give you an example of the types of entrees served, for dinner tonight Blu is offering seared duck breast with wilted chard, farro risotto, and black cherry jus; a cracked pepper corn-crusted tuna salad, watercress, and dijon vinaigrette; and pumpkin gnocchi with sautéed arugula, sundries tomatoes, marinated artichokes, goat cheese and basil pesto. What would you order?
  • Yes, cruise ships are huge, but if you do a little exploring, you’ll find that the designers have included many small spots perfect for intimate conversation and watching the world go by. We found this nook in Eden, on deck 5 of the Celebrity Edge, near the stern.

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