The gifts are small -- a stuffed animal, pencils, a pretty hair clip, bar of soap or tiny model car. But they deliver a powerful message. One that says, "You are not forgotten. Someone cares." To a little girl in an orphanage in Rwanda, or a boy living in a Peruvian village hut, or in any of more than 100 other underserved countries, the modest gifts can make a difference.
Several days ago, Karen Johnwick stepped into the dingy, cramped and cracked building that only a few weeks ago was home to the Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society. "When I walked in I wondered again -- how did we work here so long?" the shelter's executive director said.
A troop of zany aliens is headed to Earth, but not to take over the planet, oh no. They're just out to steal underwear -- from woolly long johns to pink frillies. And what do you call a grandpa who drags his grandson to a monster truck show in the middle of a tornado? Awesome, that's what.
Sheila Clark is nature's child, open to textures, shapes and hues that surround her. The bark of a tree, veins in a leaf or the swirl of a mollusk shell may be her muse. Once inspired -- and she's always inspired -- her hands recycle the gift, channeling it into pottery pieces, both large and small.
Banks around Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge were filled with young fishing enthusiasts Sept. 28 as 55 children from Palmer Home's Columbus and Hernando campuses were treated to a day in the great outdoors, thanks to 24 U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees participating in the Advanced Leadership Development Program.
Old MacDonald made room for a younger generation of farmers Sunday, plus an estimated 50 to 70 people who wanted to check out their farms. The fairly new Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network coordinated free tours Sept. 29 of Black Creek Farms in Columbus, Beaverdam and High Hope Farms in Cedar Bluff, and Bountiful Harvest Farm in Starkville.
They barely fluttered in a scant breeze Wednesday, as watery sunlight strained to break cloud cover. One thousand T-shirts or more, hanging on clotheslines on Mississippi State's drill field. They were of all colors, covered with messages in turn stark, poignant, angry, hopeful, emancipating -- each silent, but powerfully speaking out against violence, especially sexual violence, against women and men.