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Birney Imes: Spring fling


Birney Imes



You might have complained about the weather Friday evening, but not the Stokes-Beard All-Stars. They -- I counted 37 of them -- were one of the featured attractions at Catfish on the Alley held at the Hitch Lot under a big Rex Rentals'' white tent. 


Considering the rainy night, the crowd was robust. Tip for promoters: Want to get a crowd to your event? Include on the program a kids band or choir. You''re guaranteed parents and grandparents. Such was the case Friday. 


We enjoyed the kids and our Marty Wages'' catfish and homemade potato chips while sitting next to Craig Roseburgh and his beautiful 3-year-old, Aniah. They were there to see sister and daughter Destiny sing with the Super Stars, who lived up to their name. 


Stokes-Beard music teacher Becky Harmon Abrams, whose energy rivaled those of her third and fourth graders, led the choir in "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee." Teaching assistant Sonja Clark chimed in with a solo. The place rocked. 


"We had people crying at the Dream 365 breakfast," Abrams said later, adding, "I love my babies." 


Abrams said the group is always looking for opportunities to perform. To book the Super Stars, call the Stokes Beard office. 


Speaking of the Hitch Lot, a friend and I ran into Farmers'' Market Super Stars M.C. and Frances Ellis at a barbecue joint Friday. M.C. was wearing a knee brace and using a walker. Frances said he had tried to kick her and missed. 


M.C. claims it was a knee replacement. Says he''s got a three-month recuperation. 


"I''ll be able to hop around pretty good in three weeks," he claimed. 


Though the captain may be hobbled, work at Mayhew Tomato Co. is ticking along unabated. M.C. says he planted potatoes a couple weeks ago and his English peas and strawberries are coming up. 


He said 600 tomato plants are going into the ground on Monday. M.C. gets his plants from an automated outfit in Philadelphia that plants seeds he provides into flats and keeps them in a greenhouse until needed. 


The question everybody wants to know the answer to ... 


"We''d love to have tomatoes by the 25th of May," Ellis said. 


Another super star, Dispatch columnist and local historian Rufus Ward, will be having heart surgery Thursday. Keep Rufus in your thoughts and prayers. 


The slide show that is spring in Mississippi has begun. 


We started the week with Japanese Magnolias in full bloom; a few days later Bradford pears were at their whitest and brightest -- like big white lollipops all over town. By week''s end the magnolias were on the wane and the purple of the red bud was evident. 


Hackberries are starting to green, same for the Japanese red maple in our backyard. 


Don''t forget the jonquils, camellias and forsythia. 


When Shannon Bardwell e-mailed and said she wanted to call her column Possumhaw, I''m embarrassed to say, I had no idea what she was talking about, some plant in the Prairie I assumed. 


Nurseryman Alan Smith cleared that up for me when he pointed out three specimens to the south of Long and Long Realtors on Eight Street at the edge of the Region''s parking lot. Now I see them all over the Prairie in hedgerows. Their red berries add a welcome touch of color to the gray winter landscape. 


I hope readers will indulge my newfound enthusiasm for growing things. As a beekeeper, you begin to wonder about where your honeybees go for their nectar -- right now they''re all over the red blooms of the ancient quince in our backyard -- and then you want to start planting for them. 


I''ve not been to Strawberry Plains Audubon Center near Holly Springs, but friends who have are enthusiastic about the place. The center oversees the conservation and restoration of 2,500 acres of hardwood forests, wetlands and native grasslands. 


According to its website, SPAC "works with landowners to develop habitat management plans that will help future generations enjoy the economic and social benefits that clean water and a natural environment provide." 


Next Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the center is offering a workshop called, "No Leaves, No Problem! Winter Tree ID Class at Strawberry Plains." Upcoming classes will address rain gardens, winter gardens, five senses gardening and gardening for wildlife, with a specific focus on hummingbirds and butterflies. 


For more information about the series or individual classes, visit the website at or call 662-252-1155. 


Last week a friend in upstate New York complained of 12-foot high snow drifts in her yard and single-digit temps. Meanwhile, here in the South, Mother Nature is shameless in her efforts to delight our senses. The least we can do is sit back and enjoy the show. 


Birney Imes is the publisher of The Commercial Dispatch. E-mail him at [email protected]


Birney Imes III is the immediate past publisher of The Dispatch.


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