as is the case with memphis as i noticed while i was on my 5 hour walk of the town today.
from my hotel, it's about a half a mile through town until i get to the "developed" part of town... the peabody, peabody place, beale street, etc. until you get there though, it's a half mile of gorgeous building that are abandoned. gorgeous buildings with broken and boarded-up windows. gorgeous buildings that need just the smallest amount of attention and they can be breathtaking, beautiful, useable jewels again. then you get out of this 5 (maybe) block radius of "developed" town and it's back to dilapidated buildings, empty lots, lots of low industrial buildings, etc. no matter what part i was walking in, i was greeted with nothing but genuine cordiality, true southern hospitality. from dudes working. from people on their breaks. from people who are from here and will stay here and will persevere through whatever happens in this town.
there is a soft energy around this town that isn't perceptible unless you're looking for it. it's a town on the edge of SOMETHING but no one can tell you what. this thing that's going to happen, it's either going to be really great or really bad and everyone here is waiting for it because there's nothing you can do until you see what it's going to be. they're ready to strike whether is a good or bad thing. and because of that, i sincerely hope that it's great. if i had my way, i would LOVE to be apart of what's going to happen, if it falls to the positive, wonderful side of things.
from my extremely limited experience here, this town has 5 things going for it that i can see: fedex, this 2 block piece of corporate hell called beale street, the history, graceland and the people. the last item is really what is going to make of break this place when whatever happens, happens.
this place also has a lot to overcome - from my end alone, i know there is a MAJOR home foreclosure issue here that rivals california, florida and chicago. enough that this is one of 6 places in the country that we WON'T lend because the foreclosure scene is so prevalent. and, again from my field of knowledge, i've noticed that there aren't any credit unions here - just banks. even a federal reserve bank branch (SKEEVEY EVILNESS!). i know that seems like a little thing, but, historically, credit unions are harbingers of good and bolster local economies. they're all about keeping everything local and giving back to their communities. banks are takers and energy suckers in a lot of ways.
there is so much potential here. and potential to make it something wonderful. not something corporate, not something yuppie, not something hipster, not something "expected". this place can be magic - it's brimming at the surface, someone or something just needs to break it open.
i came here mainly because i wanted a long drive, wanted to get out of texas, but needed to be back by monday morning for work. i think i accomplished that and fell in love with the potential of a town. look who's a multi-tasker!