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Birney Imes: Land of the free, home of the brave

Posted 11/21/2015 in Local Columns

As we approach a holiday that celebrates the charity of a native people to a refugees fleeing persecution, we would do well to consider our response to the plight of another set of refugees in the aftermath of terrorist attacks that slaughtered 129 innocents in Paris on Nov. 13.


Birney Imes: A blue light in the rear-view mirror

Posted 11/14/2015 in Local Columns

A friend and I were talking about law enforcement the other day. "How many times have you been stopped and searched by the police?" J. asked. We're about the same age. "None, at least not since college," I said. "What about you?" "Four times," he said. He happens to be black, well educated and prominent in his community.


Birney Imes: At home in the world

Posted 11/8/2015 in Local Columns

In early January of 2014, Jessica Austin boarded a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines jet in Washington D.C. and flew to Istanbul, Turkey. She knew no one in Istanbul. She did not have a place to stay, nor did she have a job waiting on her.


Birney Imes: Backyard, 6:30 a.m.

Posted 10/24/2015 in Local Columns

A thick down comforter of gray clouds pressed against the morning sky. The fringe along the eastern edge of the clouds was the color of July peaches. Before sunrise late last week, I had come outside, coffee in hand, to admire the explosion of yellow swamp sunflowers in our otherwise fading backyard. The sunflowers are perennials that grow and grow -- some are as tall as 12-feet -- and you wonder if they will ever bloom.


Birney Imes: Soccer and swamp music

Posted 10/10/2015 in Local Columns

"Oh the places you'll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all." Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go! Thanks to a soccer-playing granddaughter I have a new Tuesday/Thursday afternoon ritual.


Birney Imes: John Harris' gift

Posted 10/3/2015 in Local Columns

"Now, that's somebody y'all need to do a story on." Mike Perkerson was standing behind the counter of his family's hardware store on Military Road. He was nodding in the direction of a man outside his front door standing next to a motorized bicycle.


Birney Imes: Dick Mahoney's baseball memories

Posted 9/26/2015 in Local Columns

After several unsuccessful tries to reach him by phone, I caught up with Dick Mahoney in his wife's beauty shop Friday morning. Dick is a baseball fan par excellence ... of the Red Sox variety. I figured he, if anyone in these parts, would have had contact with the recently departed and much beloved New York Yankees catcher, coach and sage, Lawrence Peter Berra.


Partial to Home: Breakfast with Miss Doris

Posted 9/19/2015 in Local Columns

Six days a week Doris Martin rises at 3 a.m., dresses and makes the five-minute drive from her home on Buck Egger Road in Caledonia to the Cal-Kola Express, a convenience store/gas station on Highway 45 not far from Columbus Air Force Base. Martin arrives shortly after 4.


Birney Imes: Allen Roberts wants to give you a flower

Posted 8/29/2015 in Local Columns

Here in the South hand-painted signs are among our most irresistible roadside attractions. The best of them exert a Siren-song pull on innocent motorists. Take for example the clutch of signs at the intersection of Highway 50 and Lone Oak Road just west of West Point.


Jake Propst, local tennis legend, dies at 95

Posted 8/18/2015 in Columbus & Lowndes County

Over the course of his long life, William Jacob Propst was a college athlete, World War II fighter pilot, professional baseball player, cattle farmer, insurance salesman ... and he played tennis.


Birney Imes: Cameras I have owned (and loved)

Posted 8/15/2015 in Local Columns

Lately, I've been thinking about buying a digital camera, one with professional features. While I've taken plenty of pictures with point-and-shoot digitals, I've yet to fully embrace the trend that almost overnight relegated film to the same status as record albums.


Birney Imes: Wildlife

Posted 8/8/2015 in Local Columns

Charlie Slayton had just come home with Chinese take-out for his wife when I got him on the phone Wednesday evening. A few days earlier, Charlie, a high school classmate, had emailed a suggestion on how to rid a house of fleas. "I was told that taking a walnut branch and dragging it through the house and yard will repel fleas," wrote Charlie. "Something about walnuts they can't stand."


Birney Imes: Wobble boxes and polywads

Posted 8/1/2015 in Local Columns

Sometimes, when driving, I listen to a learn-to-speak-French CD, one of those language programs where you repeat phrases spoken in French. One of the phrases is "Je ne parle pas anglais, je parle American" ("I don't speak English, I speak American.") I smile every time I hear it, for it's certainly true. And then there is the matter of we in the South with our own lingua franca.


Birney Imes: One more shimmering day

Posted 7/18/2015 in Local Columns

After the visitation I went home and made two tomato sandwiches. There seemed something life affirming about eating tomatoes from your own garden in the heat of summer.


'Mack' Egger, longtime teacher, dies at 93

Posted 7/14/2015 in Columbus & Lowndes County

William Malcolm "Mack" Egger, a revered high school math and physics teacher and a tireless doer of good deeds for the townspeople of his native Caledonia, died Monday afternoon.


Birney Imes: We're lost, but we're making good time

Posted 7/11/2015 in Local Columns

We've been fighting fleas in the house for over a week now. The Yogi Berra quote above pretty much describes our progress so far. I think we've tried every eradication method short of calling an exterminator. That's going to happen Monday, I am told. Say hallelujah.


Birney Imes: Sonny Strickland's labor of love

Posted 7/4/2015 in Local Columns

ACKERMAN -- By five o'clock Friday afternoon, the cars had begun piling up in the gravel lot in front of two small buildings made of rough-cut timber. Smoke could be seen billowing from an open shed behind the buildings. The air was thick with the heavy fragrance of meat cooking.


Partial to Home: Now is the time

Posted 6/29/2015 in Local Columns

We should seize the moment. As the only state in the union that incorporates the Confederate battle flag in its state flag, we signal to the rest of the world allegiance to a cause a large portion of our population associates with enslavement and oppression.


Birney Imes: Picture stories

Posted 6/13/2015 in Local Columns

At a family gathering last week, someone suggested we take a group picture. It was a momentous occasion; there were a lot of us there; and everyone thought it a good idea. But the light was fading. Anyone have a camera?


Birney Imes: A night at the theater

Posted 5/30/2015 in Local Columns

The other night at the theater (no kidding) I happened to be sitting by a woman who, before the curtain went up, was telling a story about a mouse, an English mouse.



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