You never know who may appear at Turnrow on a Friday afternoon. We were pleasantly surprised last weekend when Thomas Keller, American chef extraordinaire, walked in. He was in Greenwood on culinary business and dropped by to say hello and sign copies of his two lovely cookbooks, The French Laundry Cookbook and Buchon. He was on his way before we could grab the camera for a shot, but accept this photo of his lavish signature as proof of his visit.
Not half an hour later, Joe McCain, younger brother of presidential hopeful John McCain, came in with Edwina McCain, an enthusiastic friend and customer of Turnrow. Mr. McCain was in town for the large McCain family reunion in nearby Carroll County — Teoc to be specific, an agricultural community still thriving about ten minutes outside of Greenwood. It was founded by the McCains, we understand, and was the original home of the great gentleman bluesman Mississippi John Hurt, a descendant of the McCains as well. The McCains are a long-standing and respected Carroll County family, and this reunion is a big event, especially in this auspicious political season. (You can read John McCain's own remembrances of the Mississippi homestead, as delivered in a speech in Meridian back in March.)
The younger McCain brother (learn more about him in this Boston Globe article) had stopped into Turnrow for a copy of The Little Prince, which we happily sold him. Unfortunately we could not fulfill his other request. "Where can I get an American flag lapel pin?" he asked, a touch theatrically (you'll understand after reading the article). "I've lost mine." At first we thought this might be the set-up for an Obama joke, but it turns out his plight was genuine. We confessed ignorance but were relieved to see that he had found one when next he arrived at the store, several hours later, to toast his cousin, the great Mississippi writer Elizabeth Spencer.
Ms. Spencer was also in town for the McCain family reunion (her mother was a McCain) and had graciously submitted to a book signing and reception. It was a mob scene, frankly, thanks to the mix of McCains and long-time fans of her work, most notable the memoir Landscapes of the Heart. She was accompanied by a documentary film crew from North Carolina, the latest spark of renewed interest in her long, acclaimed career. A Tony Award-winning musical of her story "The Light in the Piazza" has made a strong run for several years. At 87, she is still a formative wit and continues to write. It was a great honor to have her at Turnrow.
Interestingly, there were an unusually high number of photographers present for Ms. Spencer's reception, not counting the film crew. See if you can spot them in our photo gallery from the Spencer event. And if you find yourself in Greenwood any given Friday, sit up front and watch for famous visitors.