Matt has been in Mississippi for several weeks. He drove from Salt Lake City all the way to Jackson, which if you look at google maps is a distance of exactly 7 light years.

I don't know how he did it.

I mean, I do kind of know how he did it. I know because he texted me every four minutes for three days, telling me every detail of every part of his journey, including where Ollie was pooping, how much he was pooping, how long it was taking Ollie to go poop--pretty much 95% pooping updates.

I knew he had been driving nearly 7 light years when I texted him and asked if he had made it to Mississippi yet. He responded with this picture and no further explanation.

Obviously it's important to read the above picture in an all-caps screaming southern voice.

I was impressed with how immediate that response came, and I wondered if he just happened to see that truck the moment I messaged him or if he had taken it earlier in the day and was waiting for the right moment to share it. Twenty minutes later he texted me to say that he and Ollie had stopped at a park so Ollie could poop, which is where they stumbled upon this:

For at least the above reasons, I was very excited to go to Mississippi for my birthday last week.

Skylar and I arrived at the Jackson airport a little before midnight on the sun. We were drenched in sweat as we meandered down the one hallway of the tiny place and made our way outside to find Matt and Ollie hanging out of a car window, grumpily yelling at us to get in.

Matt drove us through the dark Mississippi jungle to his brother's house, where he and Ollie have been staying this month. His brother's house is out in the country, completely surrounded by jungle and alligators and Civil War ghosts and JESUS and bugs that are so loud that you can hear them from space.

Matt has spent the month slowly remodeling his brother's new charming and gorgeous home (if you follow Matt's Broomebungalow Instagram account, you have seen some of this already).

The next morning we ventured further into very Mississippi, and that's when my education truly began.

A few things I learned about the South:

1. Everyone is always sweaty no matter what.

2. It is important to name drop all southern people you know every time you walk into any establishment.

3. Gossip is a lot more interesting when it's said with a southern accent. We walked into an antiques shop right as one woman said to another woman, "and you know she can't put down the drink to save her life which is why her life has gone nowhere bless her heart!" and it was so charming that you would have thought they were talking about how pretty someone was.


5. People really do say "y'all come back now ya hear!" because I heard that exact phrase said by two of Matt's family members within one hour.

6. At least one person has tried to find a positive way to describe slavery.


7. This billboard and variations of it are everywhere.

8. Have I mentioned about the Jesus thing?

9. Southern people are the best people in the country.

10. Mississippi is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been on this planet.

11. JESUS.

We spent some time wandering the state looking at antebellum homes and pretending we were the upstairs people in Downton Abbey.

At one point we stopped somewhere for lunch and only noticed this very disturbing sign after we were almost done eating:

And then we found our way to New Orleans, where everyone is somehow even MORE sweaty.

New Orleans is amazing. And I think it might also be Sodom and Gomorrah. I saw things while walking down Bourbon Street that Cathie hasn't even thought about me not knowing. And there was vomit everywhere.



I'ma tell you right now that that area of town and all those people who were vacationing in it last Friday night could use a little more

But outside of Bourbon Street, the place was fantastic. Jazz music echos up and down every road and God himself is the chef in every kitchen. Except for the ones on Bourbon Street. God doesn't set foot on Bourbon Street. I'm pretty sure I automatically can't go to heaven just for saying "Bourbon Street."

We eventually made our way back to Mississippi, where we dropped Matt off at the airport so he could go to London for a last-minute work trip. Skylar and I still had a full day left in the state, so we spent it playing with Ollie and listening to Matt's 75-year-old father, Edward Broome, give us a 2-hour monologue about everything that has ever happened in such a strong southern accent that I should get an honorary degree in linguistics just for having heard it.

It was fun to see a new place. And especially fun to learn a little more about why my weirdest, really exceptional, friend is the way he is. The next time he complains about Mississippi I'll refrain from disagreeing with him, even though I'll be tempted to tell him that he's crazy to not think it's one of the best places on Earth, just because I don't want him to ever be tempted to move back.

Mr. Pants basically begged me to take a birthday picture with him.

In Natchez

My new giant painting from a street artist in New Orleans.

Some house in New Orleans

Matt's brother's house, with the world's best front porch.

"Y'all come back now, ya hear?!"

~It Just Gets Stranger