Through the miracle of pricey toys, I’m writing this while sitting on a park bench on the left bank of the Tombigbee River in Demopolis, AL, this morning. Not a bad way to start the week. The river is very beautiful here in Demopolis, which means “city of the people,” more or less. Demopolis was settled by the French, who came upriver from Mobile. Growing up in Alabama, we were taught that their intention was to establish grape vineyards and olive orchards, but the climate and soil would not cooperate. Later in life, I was told by a French history professor and friend that the whole thing was more akin to a developers’ swindle. Anyway, Demopolis today is a captivating, if sleepy, little river town.