Parallel parking and rich Texans

Parallel parking was invented by someone who owned a car body shop. At least, that’s what I thought when I was 16 and faced with trying to pass the state test to get my driver’s license.

“Who would ever do this?” I thought, as I tried to get my car into the space without bumping the posts in front and behind me.
My attitude hasn’t changed much over the past 50 years.
Oh, I learned how to parallel park as well as most of the folks I’ve seen attempt it, but I try to avoid it. It’s a good way to scrape up today’s colored bumpers.
Fortunately, New Albany has angled parking in the downtown business district. It makes it easy to park, and provides quite a few spaces in front of the stores of downtown merchants.
So, I got quite a chuckle this week when I was handed a new study of New Albany done by a professor and a couple of students at Mississippi State University and financed by the CREATE Foundation.
Inside the fancily printed document were several ideas, including a proposal to redo downtown by widening the sidewalks and converting to parallel parking. The study concluded it would make New Albany more pedestrian-friendly.
It reminds me of the fad a couple of decades ago of creating downtown pedestrian malls. Towns that did it, often found businesses no longer could survive.
The reality is most of us do not want to walk very far from our car to a store. And we don’t want to parallel park.
That’s what has led to today’s successful lifestyle malls, such as The Avenue in Collierville, Tenn.
There’s not a parallel-parking space in the place.
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We were in our own home Saturday night, doing what we usually do – petting our dogs and cat and watching college football on television.
Oh, I was pretty busy, clicking the remote back and forth between the exciting finish of my Missouri Tigers game on ESPN2 (we won) and the opening minutes of the Ole Miss game with Texas in Oxford (we lost, but you already knew that).
Before the game, Jenny and I were trying to decide what being in our own house on Saturday was really worth.
We had been reading for days about all the hoopla in Oxford and how Texans were invading the town. Residents were even moving out for the weekend and renting  their homes to the visitors.
A colleague of Jenny’s who lives in Oxford got $1,900 for her home for two nights, but the family with four kids and a dog had to bunk elsewhere to make room for the visitors from Texas.
 Supposedly, folks with really large homes rented them to Texans for as much as $10,000 for the weekend.
We concluded we would hate the idea of strangers in our house, messing with our stuff. And we would not have wanted to board our pets and drive to some other town to stay in a hotel for the weekend.
It’s the principle of the thing, I said. Besides, no one asked us.

T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at