The Mighty Mississippi (1998) s01e02 Episode Script

Episode 2

1 We're looking at one of the greatest waterways in the world - the Mississippi river.
It flows through the history of a country, creating in abundance and destroying without mercy and playing a central role in the most dramatic events in the life of a nation.
I'm continuing my travels along its two-and-a-half thousand miles.
Starting in the Gulf of Mexico, I'm tracing the river's course right up through the American South and then into the states of the Midwest before reaching the river's source in Northern Minnesota.
It's a fascinating journey of exploration and discovery.
It's a monster.
It really is.
It is the mighty Mississippi.
It is.
To follow the river like this is to move through time and history.
I've never seen a staircase like that anywhere.
From the birth of America and the painful chapters of life in the Deep South to the preoccupations of cities further north.
I talk to witnesses to dramatic events in recent American history.
But it was one shot which rang out across the world.
Isn't that something? That is true.
Did you say there was a black man? In the White House, yeah.
What was he doing there? Exactly.
I see how the river has influenced the culture of millions.
Beautiful.
She looks great.
Oh, lovely.
Oh, Lord Oh, I feel Like going home Trevor! Allons, Cherie.
That is astonishing that they respond by name.
And I begin to understand how this wild and unpredictable river became such a vibrant liquid highway.
My journey began in the Deep South in plantation country where the Mississippi was a significant force in shaping the economic future of the newly-independent United States.
But before going into the Midwest and the towns and cities further north, there is one more southern stop I have to make.
From Natchez I've come to the small town of Clarksdale, Mississippi to meet someone special.
but one which has had a significant voice in the culture of the American South.
Today it's also the home of a great American actor whose life is closely identified with the history of this place.
The actor Morgan Freeman grew up in the Deep South.
It was a time when the segregation of black and white races was rigidly enforced although he lived a rather sheltered life in the countryside.
This is the den.
Yeah, OK.
Ah, lovely.
A lovely den it is.
I wonder whether I could begin by asking you, what do you remember about growing up in this area? I still remember my childhood as being a lot of freedom.
I would get up in the morning, aged four, five and go hunt up my best friend and we would just run.
That's what I remember there.
I was a going to a very good school, I had very good teachers.
I was in a very safe environment.
What white people did I didn't care about.
That comment about not caring what white people did opens a small window into the very different worlds in which Americans of different colours lived.
I knew that we were separate.
If I went into town then there were the separate facilities.
The waiting room at the bus station, the water fountains.
I didn't have to go.
And I didn't go.
So it didn't bother me.
And by the time I graduated from high school I did have this feeling about Mississippi's state of apartheid.
And when I left I was leaving for good.
What is it that brought you back here? You have had a wonderful career which could have taken you and given you the chance to live anywhere in the world or anywhere in this country.
What is it that keeps bringing you back? My parents came back.
My parents moved back in the mid '50s.
They bought land and set up housekeeping.
So I started coming back to visit them after a long absence.
And each year I'd come back and realise, finally, how comfortable I was when I came.
How relaxed and easy-going this life was and remembering my childhood years being a safe and comfortable growing up.
And how would you describe the state of life here now, bearing in mind what you observed about it in earlier years? How is it now? Bizarre.
I learned that in my small town that children were not allowed maybe are, I should say allowed to socialise.
They go to the same school, that's government mandate.
But after school, no socialisation.
Which meant that at prom time they couldn't have a prom that blacks and whites went to.
The kids and I changed that.
It actually changed because Morgan Freeman put up the money for the first-ever integrated high-school prom.
That was in 2008, a long, long time after segregation had been outlawed.
Heather is being escorted tonight by Jeremy.
The realisation that here in the 21st century this kind of thing was being perpetrated upon the children was just I just found it bizarre.
I was about to make the same observation.
This is the 21st century we're talking about.
Yes, we're talking 21st century.
What is extraordinary to me is that there is a black man sitting in the White House? Hm? Did you say a black man? In the White House, yeah.
What's he doing there? Exactly.
Exactly.
And yet these attitudes Yes outside Yes prevail.
Oh, they do, they do, they do.
They do.
Those prevailing attitudes did not prevent Clarksdale making a name for itself based on the claim that this is the place that gave birth to the blues.
This unimpressive rundown building is home to the famous blues club Ground Zero, meaning this is where it all began.
The club is owned by Morgan Freeman and local entrepreneur Bill Luckett.
Artists like Robert Plant and Willie Nelson have come to play here, if only to say that they were once on the bill at the home of the blues.
It's funny to see all these people all of a sudden from all you know, from All over the world.
All over the world.
It happens routinely now.
And I'm still a bit amazed at it.
Yeah.
At an isolated town of 18,000 people in the middle of really nowhere Yeah.
To be here from all over the world.
What do you think it is that brings them here? We've gotten wonderful publicity and this is just a draw, it's a draw.
I mean, to hear the real blues music in a pretty little town where it all began.
And it You know, the blues music evolved into every form of modern music.
Even hip-hop came from the blues.
And to think it all started with plantation workers and their informal underground blues music.
I leave Clarksdale remembering Morgan Freeman's words about old attitudes in the Deep South.
And the South does move at its own pace, albeit in a country with an infinite capacity for change.
Continuing my journey following the Mississippi I'm in the Mid-South.
From Clarksdale my next stop is the state of Tennessee and the famous city of Memphis.
Memphis grew to prominence gradually in the 19th century as the largest still-water harbour on the Mississippi.
Its founders had grand visions of what the city could become and named it after the ancient Egyptian capital on the Nile.
Memphis is famous around the world for a great variety of things.
But what you won't expect to find here is this.
Taking that Egyptian link perhaps a little too far, Memphis built the Great American Pyramid.
It's the first of many surprises in this city.
I'm in Memphis, Tennessee with Reverend Samuel Kyles who witnessed the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King in April 1968.
Reverend Kyles shows me the motel where Dr King was a guest that night.
It was, in 1968, one of only a few black-owned motels in Memphis.
And here we are.
The Lorraine Motel.
You can see the sign there.
Yeah.
That's the Lorraine Motel.
And this courtyard was filled with people.
Reverend Kyles had come to take Dr King to dinner.
Retracing his steps, he recalls what happened.
So these are the steps that he would have walked up to I came up this to get to the room.
.
.
to the room.
Mm-hm.
I was parked back here someplace.
Yeah.
And this is room 306.
So I brought Martin out here so he could wave at the people.
So there was a crowd and he came out partly to acknowledge the crowd.
Yeah.
And that's when the shot rang out - kapayaahh.
I looked back.
He'd been knocked from the railing back on to this place.
Bullet hit him on the side of his face, went down into his chest.
And it was It was unbelievable.
Blood was just gushing out of his face.
There was so much blood we couldn't get the blood up.
I ran back in the room and I wanted to use the phone.
I was beating on the wall saying, 'Answer the phone, answer the phone.
' I thought I was having a nightmare.
But the nightmare was I was awake.
That was the nightmare for me - I was awake.
The police got about right to where the end of the sidewalk is and I hollered to them, 'Call an ambulance on your police radio.
Dr King has been shot.
' And they said, 'Where did the shot come from?' So the famous picture of us pointing is in response.
They were pointing to where the shot came from.
That small window Yeah in the middle building.
Dr Martin Luther King has been shot and wounded, possibly critically wounded, in Memphis this evening.
The exact extent of his injuries is not know at this time.
Was it immediately clear that it was fatal? On the balcony it was, it was.
But it was one shot that one shot which rang out across the world.
Isn't that something? That is true.
All over the world.
A petty crook from out of town, James Earl Ray, was convicted of the murder.
Today the Lorraine Motel is a civil rights museum.
And room 306 has been kept as it was that night.
Reverend Kyles regularly takes visitors to the place where his friend was shot.
I took the Dalai Lama through the motel.
Yeah.
And he said to the press He said, 'I learned something that day from Reverend Kyles.
' And I'm saying to myself, 'What did the Dalai Lama learn from me?' He said, 'Yes, you can kill the dreamer but, no, you cannot kill the dream.
' The dream is still living.
It's still living.
It's still living.
The killing of Martin Luther King lit a fuse of deep-seated anger.
American ghettos burned.
Cities rioted.
All such a distant memory now from the election in 2008 of America's first black president.
Although the killing was linked to Memphis only by chance, the city paid a heavy price.
Businesses and prominent city people upped stakes and left.
Some Memphis residents stayed, determined to keep the city alive.
How very nice to meet you.
How lovely to meet you.
Welcome to our city.
Thank you.
Good to see you.
Come on in.
What a wonderful place this is.
Well, it has a great view.
Fashion designer and philanthropist Pat Kerr Tigrett lives in this penthouse apartment with views across the Mississippi.
Gosh, what a lovely view.
It's fabulous, isn't it? It's particularly nice for sunsets.
And to be able to say that you live overlooking this wonderful bit of the Mississippi.
It's fabulous.
I think we all get our energy from it.
Yeah.
Her work as a tireless city fundraiser has been noticed across the nation.
This is from Ronald Reagan the night that we lit the bridge.
He sent me a letter.
That was very nice of him.
'Pleased to extend greetings to those gathered for the light ceremony of the world's largest illuminated letter.
' M for Memphis and Mississippi and I suppose M for Martin too.
That's right.
Now, you were here on that fateful day in April 1968 when Martin Luther King was shot.
Yes, I had just come to Memphis.
I was absolutely You know, I didn't really know what to think.
I mean, I recall You know, they put a curfew on Memphis and you couldn't go out, you couldn't leave.
And the tanks were all rolling down the streets and there were riots.
It was terrifying, really, really terrifying.
It's still amazing, isn't it, that just one event can change the sort of fortunes of a city just almost instantly.
Exactly.
I mean, it's a random act.
You never know.
It's a blink of an eye Mm how life can change all of us.
Economically it's taken us a long time for us to For an example, at the time Memphis and Atlanta were parallel.
Wow.
You go into Atlanta now and you see this metropolis.
And you look at Memphis now And you look at Memphis and it is growing.
Yeah, but you're a long way behind.
Well, we are somewhat behind and yet we have the power of positive thinking behind us, we really do.
Do other people think it will ever emerge from the cloud of that tragic event? Well, if they don't maybe they should move to another city.
In 1973 Memphis, blighted by a tragedy for which is bore no real responsibility, was thrown a lifeline by a local businessman.
What he set up in now one of America's largest corporations.
To see it at work I'm on my way out to the airport.
OK, 1365, you can go ahead and park in gate 261.
Every night, Memphis International Airport closes its doors to passenger traffic and becomes one of the largest cargo airports in the world.
It's run by the express courier FedEx.
60% of all its packages from around the world are sorted here.
And it all takes place in the dead of night.
John Dunavant is vice president of Operations.
The idea which is extraordinary is that a civilian airport is taken over by a commercial company for this operation.
Correct.
You know, it starts about 10:30 at night and before 10:30 at night it's like a ghost town.
And then the operation runs for about four hours to five hours.
And tomorrow morning at about 4 or 5am it's another ghost town and all 10,000 people have gone home.
So this airport keeps changing its role.
Oh, it's very dynamic.
And in the morning it turns into one of Delta Airlines biggest terminals here in the US.
So it's the in terms of tonnage it's the busiest airport in the world.
The operation is impressive.
It employs 10,000 night workers from the city of Memphis and the surrounding districts.
Charles Lewis has been working this shift for seven years.
Charles, I'm looking at that clock there.
It says it's two minutes to 11at night.
OK.
This is the start of your working day.
Right.
Do you have a sleep in the day? You don't sleep like normal people any more.
No.
You get naps like babies do and you get adjusted.
There's something about this which feels a bit abnormal.
It is.
But you get adjusted.
I suppose you're going to tell me you have a day job too.
Well, actually, I'm semiretired.
I do have a business of my own that I work during the day for the most part.
So this is like a secondary outlet for me.
That's called burning the candle at both ends.
And I'm a little old for that.
At the rate of every couple of minutes, cargo planes touch down from cities across the globe.
Sorting these packages is not a particularly well-paid job.
But with it comes medical insurance and that's a big bonus to any worker in the United States, however unusual and antisocial the hours.
In 90 minutes the planes are ready to take off again, carrying every conceivable kind of cargo.
What are some of the most extraordinary things that people send from one place to another? We ship You know, we don't like to say no to anything.
We'll ship anything.
So we've shipped pandas, we've shipped gorillas, we've shipped horses, we've shipped race cars anything that'll fit inside the door of that aircraft.
Memphis is also famous for something much bigger than the FedEx operation.
This is the city that gave Elvis Presley to the world.
And it's with Elvis in mind that I'm off to meet someone who knew him intimately and who knew a great deal about his early life - a former girlfriend.
I'm in Memphis, Tennessee on my journey along the Mississippi.
This is home to some of the legends of 20th century music.
Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, BB King, Otis Redding.
And this is the place where many of the greats have played, right here on Beale Street.
Local musician Memphis Jones tells me he's always wanted to follow in their footsteps.
As a musician Beale Street is It's the Holy Grail.
Beale Street is the thing that has inspired all of my heroes.
So, as a musician, I would say Beale Street still has it, still does.
So it's more than just a tourist trap? So much more.
You can you can tell as soon as you put your feet on Beale, as soon as you breathe the air on Beale, you know that you're standing in standing in the middle of greatness.
Beale Street is one of those places.
Always has been, always will be.
So anybody who wants to be considered a good musician they must ply their trade here, is that it? Absolutely.
This is top in Memphis, the echelons of Memphis musicians.
You've got to be the best to play here.
It's the face for the free world.
People coming from around the world gotta get in a long line and pay their dues for a long time before they're invited to a bandstand on Beale.
And, given its importance, Elvis must have been here.
Absolutely.
Elvis Presley, Memphis history.
This is where my heartbeat is, Sir Trevor.
A white kid singing the blues but loving the culture where the blues comes from.
There is no Elvis without Beale Street, no Graceland without Beale Street.
The city of Memphis is still mad about Elvis.
He lived here from the age of 13.
He made his first records here in Sun Studio.
It's now designated a historic landmark.
Local musician Amy LaVere shows me the studio.
She now plays all over the world but explains how special this place is.
And this This is is the studio.
.
.
the studio.
Wow.
It's amazing to be here.
I think so.
I think it's somewhat of a church for musicians really.
There's not a whole lot to see in this room.
It's more of what you feel in this room.
This ceiling, this wacky design on the ceiling here, that prevents the sound from reflecting back down to you.
So Actually, when that door is shut this is a very dead, still-sounding room.
Just This was the kind of thing that existed in the first studios I ever knew when I started out in radio centuries ago.
Right.
I know what you mean about the sound.
So it's really sort of very old-fashioned.
Very old-fashioned.
Even still today I think that people that come in here to record actually sound better than they do Really? Yeah, there's something about this place.
The energy of it I think makes people better.
And just looking round on the walls here.
I mean, there's Elvis.
Yes.
And Jerry Lee Lewis.
Mm-hm.
And Johnny Cash.
Right.
And then in the centre there is Carl Perkins.
Yeah.
This is roughly where Elvis stood when he made his earliest recordings Right here.
Bob Dylan came here to Sun Studio.
Bob Dylan was here? Bob Dylan came but not to record.
He wanted to come kiss the X where Elvis stood.
I don't believe that people actually marked the spot where he stood.
Absolutely.
And you'd still believe people still kiss that X every day.
I don't believe it.
They really do.
Initially, as the story goes, Sam had first had Elvis facing into the control room where Sam Phillips would man the ship from in there.
But Elvis, the Elvis that we all think we know as the most confident hip-shaking guy in the world, would get terrified singing to Sam Phillips in that window.
So he moved Elvis here.
And he faced the other way.
Facing his band.
Rocking down by the river He'd take me there by the hand We'd watch that sunset on that river Just me and my man By day people come in their hundreds to salute the memory of the legends who played here.
Come the evening and it reverts to being a recording studio for artists like Amy.
I look in on one recording session.
Memphis is always seeking to build on its reputation as one of the innovative music capitals of the world.
In this city you will frequently hear a fusion of country, jazz and blues.
As night falls, Beale Street explodes into life.
If Memphis manages to project a particularly vibrant image it owes it all to Beale Street.
A mere block or two away Memphis dies.
The city never recovered from something that happened here one evening way back in 1968.
Already facing a decline in its fortunes, Memphis now carried the additional burden as being the place where Dr Martin Luther King was shot and killed.
The assassination of the civil rights leader shook America to its roots and shocked the civilised world.
Dr King had come to Memphis to support black sanitation workers who'd gone on strike to protest against discriminatory employment practises.
I'm on my way to the Mason temple where, on that visit, Dr King made his last ever public speech the one in which he predicted that he may never get to the Promised Land of freedom and equality.
I may not get there with you.
But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land.
Dr King was known as a great orator.
What made the Mason temple speech memorable was its sadly accurate prophesy.
Meeting me here is Reverend Samuel Kyles, a former colleague of Dr King's who was in the congregation that night.
Reverend Kyles.
Yeah.
I'm Trevor McDonald.
It's an honour to meet you, sir.
It's my pleasure.
My pleasure.
Where were you sitting that night, April 31968? One of those chairs right there.
In the front row.
What was the atmosphere in the congregation that night? Well it was thundering and lightning and Martin thought there wouldn't be many people here at the church.
So when we saw the crowd we said, 'Oh, no.
These people have come to hear King.
' We had no way of knowing that would be the last speech of his life.
Although Dr King preached non-violence, his campaign for race equality made him such an obvious target that he was philosophical about how his life might end.
What about the content of the speech? Were you surprised about that? There had been so many death threats against his life.
Finally he said, 'Stop telling me about 'em.
I don't wanna hear it.
Just just don't tell me.
' He had on other occasions, 'I'll never live to be 40, not that I wouldn't like to.
' That's what many people don't realise, how young he was.
He wasn't even 40.
He knew his time wasn't long, he just didn't have a time and a date.
He said, 'I may not live to see it with you.
' 'I may not get there.
' 'I may not get there.
And I'm so certain he knew he wouldn't get there.
Rather than saying, 'I may not get there', I'm so certain he knew it.
And instead of saying, 'I will not' he softened it for us and said, 'I may not', knowing full well that he would not.
So I'm happy tonight.
I'm not worried about anything.
I'm not fearing any man.
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.
What was the reaction of the congregation? Oh, it was wonderful.
They accepted it and he just lifted us up out of our seats.
He worked himself and preached himself through the fear of death.
Pushed it away from him.
Just got it away from him.
And that's what he held on to.
The next day dinner was to be served at my home.
And he was in such a joy joyful mood because he got all that death thing away from him.
Even talking about it now releases all sorts of emotions, doesn't it? Oh, it does.
It does.
Reverend Kyles was only a few feet away from Dr King when the fatal shot rang out.
He takes me to the scene of the crime.
There are a thousand Elvis Presley stories in Memphis.
But one person who knew him better than most has rarely talked about him on the record.
And I'm off to see her in the sleepy little town of Trenton, Tennessee.
This is the home of one of Elvis Presley's former girlfriends.
How are you? How very nice to see you.
Nice to see you.
Hi, Jim.
Pleasure to meet you.
Thank you.
Barbara Hearn's relationship with Elvis Presley began in the 1950s when she was 19.
Now 74, she runs a bed and breakfast with her husband Jim.
What she has to say about Elvis is fascinating.
Elvis was 19 when they met.
He'd been dating Barbara's friend.
Barbara's relationship with the star began just as he started his climb to international fame.
Some of the images of some of the pictures of you and Elvis here.
I mean, this is a this is a fascinating one.
This was 4 July 1956 and he had cut Don't Be Cruel.
You must have been the envy of all the girls at that time.
I think so.
I can well imagine them thinking, 'Why is he Why Barbara?' And I used to wonder the same thing.
I would stand at the window and look out at all the girls lining Audubon Drive, particularly.
That's where this picture was taken.
And I would wonder, 'Why am I on the inside and they're on the outside?' How did that feel? Well, sort of other-wordly.
Sort of strange, you know.
So why do you why do you think you were on the inside and the others were on the outside? One reason, I think, is that I had known him before.
And I think he trusted me.
I dated him steadily for a year.
He never dated anyone steadily.
But er And you were aware of that? Yes.
And that's another thing that's very strange about him.
Any other boyfriend I had that wasn't faithful to me would have been shown the door but with Elvis you just He was different, you know.
You could understand.
And I understood the girls going after him too.
And you were quite resigned to that? Well, as we were speaking, I was on the inside and they were on the outside so that was OK.
So that was fine.
Yes.
Wonderful.
And there's this one here which is a sort of It's a very passionate embrace.
Oh, isn't it though? Well, he and the photographer got together, unbeknownst to me, and he let me in the side of the car, as young men used to do, and walked around the car and opened it.
And just as he opened the door he reached over and grabbed me and kissed me.
And the photographer was in the back seat.
They had planned So this was staged? Not on my part but on their part it was.
Yeah.
When you look back at these images now, I mean, what are your thoughts about them? In a way it's like looking at someone else.
A spectator.
And can I tell you a little sweet story right here? I was going to go college and I lived quite a distance from the University of Memphis.
He said, 'Well, how are you going to get to college?' And I said, 'Well, ride the bus.
' He said, 'You're blocks away from the bus stop.
' I said, 'I don't care.
I've thought it through and I'm going.
' A few days later we were out riding on a motorcycle.
He pulled into a car lot and he told the salesman, 'I want that car for this girl.
' And I was just flabbergasted.
And he said, 'Now you don't have to ride the bus.
' And when he started becoming that famous, did you entertain ideas about the permanence of this relationship or not? Well, I was lucky on one point in that I did not fall in love, passionately in love, with him.
Why was that? I wonder if it was because maybe a part of me realised that that's the way to get your heart broken.
I don't know.
I don't know.
But er You were worried by his fame, his popularity? No, not so much as it as it was him.
How did this relationship end? Well, I said, we started out as friends, we were sweethearts for a while and we ended as friends.
But I think you can tell from Elvis, you know, you're not totally platonic all the time.
And you never looked back and thought, 'Wow, I've missed out here.
What could have been?' I've looked back and thought, 'I wish I could have stayed in his life for longer.
And I wish I could have been there when certain things happened.
' But, no, I moved on.
You were telling me about some of the records that he produced when he was still very close to you.
Yes, yes.
In fact, this is one of them.
This is one of my favourites.
In the pictures when I've got the polka dot dress on this is what we're listening to.
Over and over and over.
Dissecting it.
This was great.
It was a wonderful record.
See, you can't Yeah, I know, I know.
You can't listen to it without moving.
No, it's wonderful.
I don't know who wrote that but I know he loved that record.
Yeah.
So did I.
While Elvis headed for superstardom, Barbara married and raised a family.
She says she always knew he'd be there if ever she needed him.
When Elvis Presley died in 1977, Barbara decided to remember her friend as she'd always known him.
I did not go to the funeral, I did not see him dead.
And when you don't see someone you can almost pretend they're still there, you know? Barbara Hearn's memories revive images of a golden age when one rock'n'roll superstar took American music and the world by storm.
Leaving Barbara Hearn and Trenton, Tennessee I'm off to the final stop on this leg of my journey.
And it takes me to the other side of the Mississippi and into East Prairie, Missouri.
The Mississippi has always been a generous provider of agricultural riches.
But it's also a ferocious beast.
When the river flooded in 2011 it gobbled up East Prairie.
The floods created a lake covering an area of some 200 square miles.
It crushed everything in its path.
With the waters only slowly receding, I'm shown around the affected area by John Hutchison whose family have farmed here for generations.
He's never seen anything like it.
John, what's this here? What This was one of the homes that was destroyed by the water.
The water got in it.
The wave action will literally tear the walls apart and just it just basically washed it off the foundation.
This was a functioning home.
There were people living here like everywhere in the spillway.
The water actually began to pick it up.
If it weren't for that tree behind it it would probably not be here.
It would be scattered everywhere.
It would have flattened it? Yes.
I think it would have torn it apart.
And is it a sort of solid wall of water or does it come in waves? No, actually it came in and began to spread and then it began to rise.
It's such a picture of just total devastation.
Yes, sir.
What about the insurance and things? What happens there? I know a lot of places like this there was no insurance.
Probably on this one there wasn't.
The flood insurance is so catastrophically high that you simply can't afford it living here because this is a floodway Yeah.
.
.
quotation.
So that's a terrible conundrum really, isn't it? Insurance is too expensive but living in this area you kind of need it.
Yes, sir.
This is the area where John's crops once flourished.
Wow.
This is amazing.
Yes, sir, it was it was something to see when it was all up.
When the waters actually flooded here how high were they? From where we're standing about 8ft over the top of our heads.
So about 14ft on this particular area right here.
So this looks pretty horrendous as it is but it was even worse? Yes, sir.
14ft straight up.
And all this is your land or, should I say, what was your land.
It was, yes, sir.
It will be again.
Sounds a rather precarious way of an existence really, a precarious way to live.
I've always said that farming is a fantastic way to live but a terrible way to make a living.
But just looking at this.
I mean, it's it's almost a kind of apocalyptic scene.
It's horrendous.
Yes, sir, it is.
The extraordinary fact is the Mississippi gives a lot of fertility to this part of the country.
It's made this country what it is.
But then it also destroys a lot of livelihoods.
Yes, sir, it can.
There are no free lunches.
We have to pay it for what it gives us.
We have to utilise what it gives us when we can and hope it doesn't take it from us long enough to put us out of business.
Because she's gonna do what she's gonna do.
You have to be an optimist, don't you? Sure you do.
Either that or an idiot.
I still have a thousand miles to go on my journey along the Mississippi.
Next time, life in the America of the 21st century.
Look at that place.
And a place like that would be about what? Probably in the upper 20s.
Oh.
You want to try to go up in an elevator? What's an elevator? And I finally reach the place where the mighty Mississippi begins its life.