I planned on boarding a plane to France on Wednesday, but unfortunately the trip will have to be postponed for health reasons. I'm suffering with a severe form of sciatica and a slipped disc, which makes it almost impossible to walk. :( Because I'm in a bit of a depressive mood, it seems like a good day to tell you about Moscow. Not Moscow, Russia but a small town with the same name in rural Tennessee. I visited this remote village last December, and in some ways it would fit in perfectly with the overall landscape of Central Russia. A lot of abandoned buildings, small houses in disrepair and the overall feeling of a ghost town. Despite all of this, we encountered some friendly Americans who somehow manage to survive just fine in the gloomy little town.
1. Moscow, Tennessee was founded in 1829. The main business in the village appeared to be this taxidermy/meat processing shop. We came across the location after seeing photos of dead deer hanging on the outside of the shop on the Internet. It seemed a bit grotesque based on the Internet photos, but in fact the store was quite cozy. For meat lovers, the perfect place to shop!
2. The owner - a man of many trades! He has two tasks - processing the dead animals and turning them into wall decorations or gutting them and turning them into meals. I traveled here with Alex, macos, and he informed the owner in a joking manner that he also lives in Moscow. After a few minutes, the shop owner got the joke and then an immediate discussion ensued about Ukraine and gun rights in Russia. Notice he wears a gun right on his belt? Normal thing to see in rural America. Warning - next set of photos should not be viewed by vegetarians or animal rights activists! Photo credit for the shop pictures goes to macos.
3. A man with a gun may appear intimidating to some, but this guy was just a big teddy bear. He offered to give us a quick tour of the shop. I must admit it's a bit disgusting to walk into a room and see dead deer hanging, decapitated and dripping blood! But this is where they are tied up until the skinning and fileting begins. I can't imagine handling one of these animals, but for hunters it's just second nature. I would not even know where to begin.
4. Later, the cute little deer look like this - dead flesh and meat ready to be devoured. I've never tasted venison, but many Americans eat it. Remember my cousin's boyfriend, Ben, who is an avid hunter? I told you about him in my Thanksgiving post. He just killed two deer this weekend and will feed the family with the meat. Prime hunting season is happening now in Virginia, but there is a two deer maximum per person/per day. So, Ben shot two and his teenage son shot two. Both used a bow and arrow rather than a gun. Supposedly this is a more humane way to kill the animal. I'm not a huntress, so I wouldn't know.
5. The owner's wife creates venison sausages, which line the shelves of the store. She was very shy and didn't want to photographed. Have you ever tasted venison? I haven't. Not sure if it's tasty, but mentally it seems sad to eat a cute little animal like a deer. Thoughts of Bambi immediately enter my mind. :)
6. Locals come and buy the sausages and venison filets for cooking. This is a popular meat for hearty, winter stews and soups.
7. I'm not sure what this building is, but it's nice to see some bright colors in an otherwise grey town. Somehow brightens the mood. I remember in Russia seeing so many dark buildings, however it appears newer apartment complexes and buildings are finally incorporating bright colors into the landscape. I think it's a very welcome sight, especially to brighten the winter season, which is depressing for many people. But not me.
8. Local police car. So many foreigners have told me they were amazed by our emergency personnel equipment - from the bright, shiny red fire trucks to decorative police cars. This is such a small village, with less than 600 residents. A very small police station, with only a few cars. We tried to visit the station and talk with a police officer, but none of them were there. There was only one policeman on duty at the time, the rest of the crew were celebrating the police station's annual holiday party at a local restaurant.
9. Absolutely the worst house in the village! Completely unkempt and the yard is covered with all kinds of junk and trash.
10. Other residents of Moscow live in modest homes, but they are well kept and in general order.
11. My favorite house in the neighborhood. Very quaint and charming with the front porch and hanging clock. Typical American style home.
12. Why do people leave appliances on the front porch? I have no idea what people in Moscow do for work. They must travel to nearby, larger towns because there is absolutely no commerce in the tiny village with the exception of the meat shop and a few restaurants.
13. Another old building, with America's national symbol - Coca-Cola painted on the side. It looks like some businesses may still operate here, but there were no workers or cars when we visited.
14. A reminder that we're in Moscow, USA not Moscow, Russia. I've never seen one of these Jeeps on the streets of your country. During university, this was my dream car. :) But I never owned one. Great for road trips and adventures on American highways.
Moscow is located about 65km from Memphis, Tennessee. The whole village can be explored in about an hour, as it only encompasses a total area of 3km. Sleepy place, where the average income is only about $30,000 USD, average rent about $700 USD and probably a lot of boredom on most days. There's no desire to return here, but it was interesting to see. What do you think? Does it look like Russia? :) I still do not know how or why the village acquired the name Moscow.
Overall, Tennessee is a beautiful State! We drove from Paris to Moscow in one day. Sounds cool, huh? In the next post, I'll tell you about Paris, Tennessee. A much nicer and cozier small town. :)
Other reports from Tennessee:
Walking in Memphis
God's Tree House: Crossville, Tennessee