You know the name Spartacus, probably from the many fictional descriptions of his life, especially Kirk Douglas playing the title role in the 1960 film by Stanley Kubrick. There are novels about him, too, and a ballet by Khachaturian. Ronald Reagan was no scholar of Roman history, but in an address in Britain, he referred to the rebellious slave Spartacus as a symbol of the fight against totalitarianism. Spartacus’s name seems as if it will resound forever, and so a case could be made that we ought to know more about him than the “facts” presented in a Hollywood biopic.
I have hesitated to write about the Mississippi University for Women name change because I have mixed feelings. Something surfaced, however, that I feel compelled to comment on.
Today we honor mothers of all sorts, and not a moment too soon. I’m not sure I could stomach another sticky-sweet ad featuring pink, cubic zirconia, hearts and corny text. Does anyone’s mother ever look like those models wearing inexpensive jewelry, and in rapture over a bottle of drug-store fragrance?
Recently I wrote that I had heard of the closing of Sir Antony’s near Pontotoc. I was distressed to be told that the major reason for this was due to “no-shows,” customers who make reservations and simply don’t show up.
Our perfect spring is quickly melting into the sauna that is summer. It won’t be long before Chris and I will be forced to abandon our late-afternoon alfresco chats with the neighbors, cultivating friendships.
“If I had your hand, I’d throw mine in.” Those are the words of encouragement I gave one of my best pals a few days ago during what turned out to be a pretty somber visit. His job is going away. I had to remind him that he is super intelligent and has a laundry list of accomplishments he couldn’t fit on a four-page resumé.
Let me introduce you to my grandson, Douglas McRae, who is serving a 27-month assignment in Peru as a health volunteer. I thought my readers might like to know something about what it is like to do that, so I asked him to share his experiences with us. It is new to me, too. What he sent me follows.
In the South we are known for our warmth and hospitality. It doesn’t matter if someone asks for directions, or advice on where to get great barbecue, or just says “hi” as they walk through our lovely streets. In this part of the world, and especially in Columbus, we are eager to respond. In fact, we sometimes wish there were more opportunities to illustrate why we are called “The Friendly City.”
First, an addition to my column on coconut. Marleen Hansen has told me you can purchase lemongrass in Columbus from Lemon Grass Oriental Foods at 153 Priscella Circle (off Mike Parra Road). I haven’t been there, but I thought I’d pass this tidbit on. For that matter, Joy’s next to the Sunflower across from Lee Middle School may also have lemongrass.
There are days when the news seems surreal. So often we wonder if we really understood what we heard or read. “Pirates Off the Coast of Somalia.” “Airliner Lands on the Hudson River.”
Before you begin reading this Sunday’s interesting and informative “Strummin’,” you should know that I’m lucky.
In my last column I passed along a story of Tom Hardy illustrating how an incident can be seen from two points of view. Coincidentally, about the same time Linda Lodato shared with me an illustration of how time can produce two different points of view.
I have had the great good fortune of loving two cities that other people find fascinating. Both Columbus and New Orleans are beautiful, and rich with history. They are much desired destinations for those who live in generic places where life has a sameness and the houses are unnamed.
For the past week or two coconut cake has been on my mind, and I’m not quite sure why. Not just any old generic coconut cake, but my mother’s. She did not bake cakes often, just the rum cakes for Christmas presents and a cake for birthdays.
They say you can’t go home again. This is probably quite true. But, every once in a while, Chris and I make a journey that is lovely and bittersweet.
Tom Hardy is a friend who is a good raconteur and who has a long history in Columbus. Recently he shared the following story with me. I could not improve on it, so I’ll let him tell it himself: “Recently I was driving down Seventh Street South and saw an old water oak tree, between the street and the sidewalk, which brought to mind an incident that has remained in my memory for nearly 80 years.
We fall in love for mysterious reasons. I fell I love with my husband because he said kind things about his boss, and because my knees got weak when he hugged me. That love had nothing to do with wealth or status. It was an intuitive knowing that this man was something special. I proposed to Chris four months after we met and have never regretted one second of our marriage.
First, a correction and some amplification on my last column: Thank you to Scott McKenzie, of the Mississippi University for Women Culinary Arts Institute, and local restaurateur Sarah Labensky for noticing my mistake on the author of “Larousse Gastronomique.” It was Prosper Montagne who penned the first edition of this work.
A couple of Saturdays ago a singing pal of mine and I took a day trip over through the Delta. The drawing card was a concert to celebrate the start-up of the Delta Music Institute (DMI) at my old alma mater, Delta State University.
There was a time when almost every science fiction film featured a scene where the spacemen landed and said, “Take me to your leader.”