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Rheta Johnson: Stars and bars and endless battles

Posted 7/15/2015 in Local Columns

It strikes me that those who are defending the Confederate flag in the name of their Southern heritage are a little late.

 

Rheta Johnson: Gone but not forgotten

Posted 6/27/2015 in National Columns

I grew up in cemeteries. They were part of our education, recreation and, too often, conversation.

 

Rheta Johnson: The Cry Wolf Project

Posted 6/20/2015 in National Columns

There is a website that purports to expose "myths about the economy and government," Cry Wolf Project.

 

Rheta Grimsley Johnson: Caruso played the Ryman

Posted 6/6/2015 in National Columns

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- I try to love Nashville because of its country-music heritage. Whenever I visit that city, I listen to WSM on the drive up to get my mind right, and I wear a plaid shirt that snaps and old blue jeans. It's a matter of reverence. Nashville ought to be different, somehow.

 

Rheta Grimsley Johnson: B.B. King and 'Chains and Things'

Posted 5/30/2015 in National Columns

I have made a long career out of writing about good people who are not celebrities, who typically appear in news pages a prescribed three times: when they are born, when they get married and when they die, and then only if someone cares enough to pay for an obituary. I have liked it that way. I always wanted to grow up to be Charles Kuralt, not Barbara Walters.

 

Rheta Grimsley Johnson: George Washington, whiskey distiller

Posted 5/16/2015 in National Columns

Who knew that the Father of Our Country made and sold whiskey? Rye whiskey, most probably foul-tasting, un-aged, as was the custom of the day. I would not tell a lie.

 

Rheta Grimsley Johnson: The incredible journey of a paperboy

Posted 5/9/2015 in National Columns

Almost everybody I've ever known in the newspaper business threatens at some point to write a book. Few do. I guess it's realizing that you spit out enough words in daily increments to complete "War and Peace" 50 times that makes you think writing a book would be a piece of cake. And, yes, make that a best seller while we're at it.

 

Rheta Grimsley Johnson: Away from the spring break hordes

Posted 4/18/2015 in National Columns

FRONT ROYAL, Va. -- It must have been a harried parent trying to cope while youngsters protested a long drive who invented that car game where you try to spot license plates from all the 50 states. In this the season of school tour groups and cherry blossoms, it's almost too easy.

 

Rheta Johnson: At least not landlocked

Posted 4/16/2015 in Local Columns

It was a "magical place," she says, back in 1992, when her parents bought the big house overlooking the Mississippi Sound in the quaint harbor town of Pass Christian.

 

Rheta Grimsley Johnson: No tail-dragging allowed

Posted 3/14/2015 in National Columns

In a Natchez, Mississippi, gift shop I saw a sign with a dog swilling a pint. It said: "In dog beers, I've only had one." Some days I feel that in newspaper years, I'm 434 years old.

 

Rheta Johnson: Reaching the masses

Posted 2/17/2015 in Local Columns

The New York Times comes to the mailbox in fits and starts, sometimes three papers a day, often none at all.

 

Rheta Grimsley Johnson: How 'bout those Catamounts

Posted 2/7/2015 in National Columns

Warning: The following column contains sexist comments that might be offensive to just about everyone. I heard about the cleverest gift ever, and -- imagine this -- it was given from a man to his wife. He presented her with T-shirts for every University of Alabama football opponent for the entire past season, before the season, so she could wear their colors and root for the Tide's opponents.

 

Rheta Grimsley Johnson: History on the big screen

Posted 1/31/2015 in National Columns

The second record album I ever owned was "In the Wind" by Peter, Paul and Mary. The first, a compilation of rock hits by various artists, including the inimitable Aretha Franklin singing "Sweet Bitter Love," one of the best songs ever sung. I still have Albums One and Two, their surfaces scratched and covers worn.

 

Rheta Johnson: This ole house

Posted 1/24/2015 in National Columns

When I was little, Stuart Hamblen's song "This Ole House" always made me unutterably sad. Despite the lively melody and cheerful beat, the homeowner was giving up, leaving his faithful hound dog to fend for itself.

 

Rheta Grimsley Johnson: Sad days for satire

Posted 1/17/2015 in National Columns

I met Herbert Block, the late, great editorial cartoonist Herblock, in Washington in the early 1980s. Maybe I should say I saw him. "Met" is too strong a word. I never even shook his hand.

 

Rheta Grimsley Johnson: Sinker cypress and causes

Posted 1/10/2015 in National

THE ATCHAFALAYA SWAMP, La. -- The bridge is closed that leads over Bayou Mercier to Greg's cypress cabin, creating a circuitous detour and an even quieter-than-usual space on the edge of the swamp. I don't mind the detour.

 

Rheta Grimsley Johnson: Books you might not have heard about

Posted 1/3/2015 in National Columns

Blockbuster books like "Wild" and "Gone Girl" get so much attention that we forget other authors are out there busting their blocks trying to sell a few stories written without murders and mayhem. I received a couple of quietly wonderful books as gifts, and I have to share the news in case The Times neglects to review them. They deserve attention, too.

 

Rheta Grimsley Johnson: Spending the holidays in a sun-filled place

Posted 12/27/2014 in National Columns

PASS CHRISTIAN -- This is Christmas week. And as Irving Berlin wrote: The orange and the palm trees sway. Cat Island looks so close across the sparkling Mississippi Sound, I could touch it with a feather duster. Live oaks remain green and disguise the season.

 

Rheta Grimsley Johnson: Rereading 'Of Mice and Men'

Posted 12/6/2014 in National Columns

FISHTRAP HOLLOW -- I walked out to the little house in the yard that stores my books. From my personal library that techie friends keep telling me is silly and superfluous, I found with no trouble my battered old copy of "Of Mice and Men." Taped and raggedy and dog-eared, it feels in my hands like life.

 

Rheta Grimsley Johnson: Made in Church Hill, not China

Posted 11/22/2014 in National Columns

If Martha Stewart were in charge of heaven, it might look something like Ocean Springs, Miss., on Peter Anderson Festival days. Traffic is blocked on the main downtown streets, the smell of boudin and barbecue is in the air, clever people hold sway. And that's a good thing.

 

 

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