April 17, 2010 8:20:00 PM
Some of you may have noticed that I have been absent over the last few weeks. I have had writer''s block. I called on a friend of mine who writes and edits for a living. He gave me hope. He confessed that he, too, suffers from this malady once in a while.
When I asked for suggestions on how to overcome it, he encouraged me to "write about what you know." Not to be an ingrate -- no help at all there. Knowing about and/or understanding something limits me greatly.
This week I considered telling you about a trip the boys and I took out to the Grand Canyon over spring break a few of weeks back. Chronicling a trip out west would be akin to inviting you over, dusting off the old Super 8, hanging a sheet on the wall and putting you right to sleep.
At the risk of losing you, I will report that the Grand Canyon is "deep and wide," spectacular. For some reason or another over the last few years, seeing it was a check-off before I leave this world for a place that perhaps offers a better view ... hopefully from "up there."
It''s a long way out there. Driving almost 2,000 miles by myself held little appeal, so I coerced the boys into making the trip with me -- not with the prospect of seeing the beautiful landscapes the drive offers from Amarillo westward, but by two nights in Las Vegas at the Bellagio, staking them with $250 each, no ties to winnings and no curfew.
I''m glad to report our Las Vegas experiences were rather bland.
On a serious note. Should you ever find yourself in or near Oklahoma City, visit the National Memorial built to commemorate those who lost their lives at the Murrah Building. It''s right off the interstate and will take you no more than 30 minutes to experience. I was moved by the reverence the other visitors showed as they walked along the reflecting pool that now covers what once was the street that ran in front of the Murrah Building. It''s truly a spiritual place.
Southern and proud
When I get more than a state or two over from Mississippi, folks often times pick up on my Southern drawl. I must really have one. We got a lot of "where are you from?" As always, I was proud to tell those who asked that I am a lifelong Mississippian.
As a forevermore Bulldog fan, I was pleasantly surprised by how many good folks asked about Mississippi State, never Ole Miss. Our tour bus driver at the Grand Canyon knew more about Coach Dan Mullen than me. He was a fan and had never visited Mississippi.
One fellow wanted to know all about Clarksdale, the birthplace of the blues. One of his check-offs was to tour the Mississippi Delta. Now how happy do you think that made me? Naturally I made sure he added Rolling Fork to his must-visit list.
In case you''ve forgotten, let me remind you that it is really cool to be from Mississippi. I would wager that if one devised a test to measure how much Americans know about our 50 states, we would be in the top 10 percent. Don''t laugh: Elvis, count ''um, four Miss Americas, the Mannings, Faulkner, Welty, Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. Puts quite a shine on us.
Before I go
Getting back to this writer''s block thing. Sure hope I can get better at coming up with ideas to entertain and enlighten you. Fretting over it is giving me a headache. I think I''ll take an aspirin and go to bed. However, before I do, just one more thing.
I recently lost a dear friend, Lynn Smith. Lynn was a retired FBI agent. At Rotary, we once prevailed on him to give an account of some of his more interesting experiences fighting crime. He told us about how soon after leaving the FBI to do private investigative work, one of his clients prevailed on him to get control over some of his employees who were pilfering.
Lynn identified the ring leader and summoned him for a little one-on-one. Always the G-Man, he quickly bore in. "Have you taken a this? Have you taken a that?" The guy wouldn''t crack. Finally in frustration, Lynn asked, "Would you take a polygraph?" The man, with a confused look on his face, meekly replied, "Mr. Smith, we don''t even have a polygraph."
I miss you, Lynn.
Roger owns Bayou Management, Inc. and is also a semi-pro guitar player.
4. A Stone's Throw: Beware COLUMNS