January 25, 2009
January has been relentless in her chilling attack. Ice crystals sparkle across my car''s windshield creating delicate marbled paths, splintering onto the hood. The plastic scraper we purchased is worthless against frost that seems to have been adhered with a magical fixative. So, each morning, Chris and I sit patiently in the driveway, waiting for the temperature gauge to move, and for the glass'' lacy veil to dissolve into drops of icy moisture.
But, our little microcosm of the world refuses to be slowed by sub-freezing mercury readings and hands too cold to grasp the steering wheel. I had hoped to spend more time at home with my warm pets and my awful sore throat. This past week had other plans for me.
On Tuesday we gathered with a small group of friends to toast our new president. I was feverish and giddy, thrilled to have a leader who is unquestionably intelligent. I cannot imagine anyone wanting the job of president of the United States. We are incredibly lucky to have someone so very honorable willing to bear that mantle.
I have been voting for almost 40 years. This is the first time I felt enormously optimistic and proud of my vote.
I couldn''t nurse my health on Wednesday either. Mississippi University for Women finally revealed the renovated Art and Design Building. The restoration has been a work-in-progress since the original building was shattered by a tornado six years ago. It has a spacious gallery and roomy offices for the instructors.
The opening reception honored retired professor Eugenia Summer. She has been an important and enduring force in the local art scene. I wish I had a mentor like Eugenia in my art-student days. Along with her work, the exhibit featured creations by former students. Columbus'' favorite (and Summer prot/g/), Elayne Goodman, showed fabulous constructions, truly a must see. The show contains work that is contemporary, whimsical and diverse. You only have until Jan. 29 to view it, so maybe you should hurry.
We dropped in at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library Friday to meet the new director, Alice Shands. She has a head full of inspiration and lots of progressive ideas. Most of us have never been to a library that features a coffee house. That is only one of her proposals. Don''t you just love it?
And there is more ahead. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 6-7, we''ll celebrate "Catfish in the Alley." Where else but in Catfish Alley? (That''s Fourth Street South, for those recently landed from another planet.)
The Columbus Cultural Heritage Foundation will offer free walking and driving tours, music, and a glimpse into this city''s very interesting African-American history. Of course, there will be catfish, too. Don''t be surprised if these free tours are "sold out."
Do not feel too bad if you miss some of these great events. Even party animals like Chris and me must skip a thing or two, because that sore throat really slowed me and there is so, so much going on. Are folks living in other communities forced to make these choices?
Soon, January will dance away in her gossamer gown of woven frost. I suppose we will miss her in July. But, there is a sort of warmth, experienced from art and music and a sense of tremendous hope for our country.
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.
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