National Geographic : 1950 Jul
The National Geographic Magazine Date Palms Give the American Southwest an Egyptian Look "Head in hell, feet in paradise," Arabs say of dates, which love hot, sunny skies and cool, wet soil. Intro duced into the Southwest not half a century ago, the palms now occupy mile upon mile of irrigated lands. Today many old trees have grown so tall that growers use tower platforms for dusting, hand pollinizing, and picking. These Phoenix, Arizona, palms are young and low. Here in July the fruits are as green, hard, and bitter as young olives. November harvest will find them brown, juicy, and sweet. by the carload. Miles of modern warehouses obscured other vessels along the water front. About Mobile, however up and coming, I liked its old things best. On wide Government Street or narrow lanes I saw magnificent man sions occupied for generations by the same families; the ironwork of their balconies looks like frozen lace. A business firm restored one old home to its ante-bellum dignity and uses the rooms for office space. In Mobile I smelled the South; felt it; tasted it. With friends I went to a small eat ing house. My nose told me we had chosen the right place. Big bowls of barbecued pork ribs covered our table, but no silverware. We fell to with bare hands and teeth. On another southern scent I drove to Bel lingrath Gardens, 20 miles south of Mobile. Walter D. Bellingrath, former owner, turned a casual camp on a riverbank into a garden of 60 acres. But, of course, I should have been there in early March to see the azaleas. Recently Bellingrath created a foundation for the care of the gardens. Not gardening, but fishing, obsessed Biloxi, Mississippi. A friend apologized for keeping me waiting while he telephoned; he had to wind up arrangements for a two-day fishing trip. With difficulty I declined his invitation to go along. I wanted to see Biloxi.* My friend took me on a quick tour. In stinctively he drove straight to the water front. Small boats creaking with the day's catch of deep-sea varieties unloaded at the beach: larger craft drew up to the docks. I asked the names of fish I'd never seen before. The weathered seamen told me; but my angler guide corrected them, mumbling something about old fishwives' tales. * See "Machines Come to Mississippi," by J. R. Hildebrand, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, Sep tember, 1937.