There are still a lot of overgrown Katrina lots on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, green ghosts left from a decade ago when the driveways led to houses and the concrete slabs held homes.
The civil-rights movement wasn't just "Rosa sat down, Martin stood up and the white folks came down to save the day," the photographer Matt Herron quips.
When I was a kid in knee socks held up with rubber bands from the produce aisle, my fourth-grade teacher scribbled a note on my report card. Rheta has a flair for drama.
When I moved to Monroeville, Alabama, in 1975, it was because of Bill Stewart, not Nelle Harper Lee. Stewart was the publisher of The Monroe Journal, an excellent weekly run by Bill Stewart's son, Steve, and his daughter-in-law, Patrice.
The heft of the gold felt good in the palm. A smooth, super-size coin was passed from person to person. It was the Pulitzer Prize. A real one.
It is Twelfth Night. Beneath a balcony in the French Quarter, we listen as dignitaries high above welcome Joan of Arc and the start of Carnival season.
I was making a gingerbread man, a ginger-Trump-man, using candy orange slices for the infamous hair, all the while trying to figure out why a smart friend the night before had said what everyone and his brother keeps declaring with conviction: The Donald is sure to lose steam any day now.
She is a brindle mix. When I ask what kind of mix, the veterinarian says, "Well."
Somebody kept the puppy about a year and a half -- again, the vet assigned an age -- found her a bother and drove to my woods in the North Mississippi hollow to put her out. In a poor county with no animal shelter or conscience, it happens.
One of my best friends in the world is going "under the knife" today, which is what my mother would have said if someone she knew was about to have an operation. I never once heard her say "procedure," which sounds more like a tax audit or a recipe for making cheese.
The world's problems are best solved with old friends around a warm fire in the kitchen stove in Fishtrap Hollow.
I am in my quiet spot on this earth today, but thinking only of another place, another country, a good friend.
PARIS, Kentucky -- The smallish Eiffel Tower snug to the chamber of commerce office isn't exactly what put me in mind of the other, more famous, Paris. It was the giant sycamores lining the narrow lanes of this town that did the trick.
BAY ST. LOUIS -- There must be something satisfying about the care and feeding of a car. I don't know a Maverick from a manifold, but I can tell when people are happy. Car people are happy people.
I devoured the recent biography "Man in Profile: Joseph Mitchell of The New Yorker," hoping to find secrets about writing. Nobody wrote nonfiction better than Joe Mitchell, who for decades enthralled readers with his profiles of barkeepers, carnival freaks, fishmongers, homeless intellectuals and other noncelebrities.
One September night when I was 4, my father came home early from the butcher shop where he worked in the Florida Panhandle town of Pensacola. We were, he announced, going to the fair.
The New York Times says that the choice of a bona fide working man as the Democratic nominee for Mississippi governor "illustrates to some degree the forlorn state of affairs for Democrats in the South."
Made in China. Made in Mexico. The souvenirs our Virginia visitors bought at the Elvis birthplace museum in Tupelo, Mississippi, all were made far away in other countries, and I'm wondering why. Elvis wasn't made in China. He was made right here in Mississippi.
Among the family treasures my siblings and I divided up after my mother died, there was a sewing machine drawer full of postcards. She may have neglected to save one at some point over her nearly 90 years, but I doubt it.
I wake up in the delightfully retro Austin Motel and see that the childproof top remains on the ibuprofen, which means I did not make it to midnight to hear Bobby Rush at the Continental Club. And that means I'm likely to finish my waltz across Texas without any music.
You should know that I have this thing about long road trips with a turnaround planned but not realized until there are a lot of detours and meanderings and good music that doesn't require a ticket. I'm overdue.
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