Monday Night Magic in Memphis

“100,000 years ago, there were people who stayed by the campfire, and there were people who wandered.”-Reacher

I have a needlepoint belt that is stitched with the names of some of the most interesting streets in America. King Street. Check. Broadway. Check. Bleecker Street. Check. Rainey Street. Ironically, I got rained out. Bourbon Street. Check. Collins Avenue. Check. Sunset Boulevard. Check. Beale Street. Let’s check it out.

No matter what my son, Banks, and I did in Memphis, the conversation always returned to that cool juke box in our hotel lobby. He discovered it on Sunday evening as we checked in, immediately curious as to what he was looking at. I told him and showed him how it worked, and from that point on, we couldn’t walk past the damn thing without playing a song or eight.

Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, The Temptations, Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, Otis Redding. Not your every day playlist for a seven year old.

The BBQ pizza we had was unique and super delicious when dipped into the extra cup of tangy sauce. I read it was a favorite of Elvis, and I can see why.

The hot and spicy chicken was hot and spicy. The beans were good. The mac was great.

The BBQ spaghetti was better than I remembered, and the beans were spectacular.

Yet the best food experience wasn’t necessarily the best food, but it definitely came with the best story.

Early on at the Spurs-Grizzlies game Monday night, I told Banks that if Grizzlies star player Ja Morant scored 50+ points (along with a couple of other things), we could literally do whatever he wanted after the game. The likelihood of all of these things happening was slim to none, so I didn’t bat an eyelid.

And then Ja posterized a dude. And then Ja hit a ridiculous halftime buzzer beater. And then he had 30. Then 40. Then I’ll be damned if it all didn’t happen. Monday Night Magic in Memphis. 52 points. Top 2 plays on SportsCenter. Grizzlies win.

After the game, we started scouring the city for ice cream. The line for the delicious sweets on Beale Street was too damn long. So we walked and looked and finally…

Three scoops of vanilla, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, cherry. I had the raspberry cheesecake myself. We popped back up to the room to relive via SportsCenter what had just happened right in front of our eyes.

But not without a stop at the jukebox first, melting ice cream and all.

You might think that Beale Street with a seven year old is not a vibe, but when the Juke Joint had its doors open, a five piece band was playing, and they served fruity drinks to go, it was a night for the scrapbook, singing and dancing with Banks in the middle of the blocked off street.

I actually thought that a tour of legendary Sun Studios might be a little slow for the big man, but when he started playing his air guitar and singing into Johnny Cash and Elvis’ actual microphone from decades ago, I changed my tune.

And when it was time for us to leave the hotel and he played Hit the Road Jack as our final walkout song, I just laughed.

I didn’t know what to expect from Memphis, but between the food, game, music, and that damn jukebox, we definitely got the win.

Just like the Grizz did on a night we will never forget.

Have a great week.-Benj

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