The Mississippi Insurance Department, in the news due to a disagreement between its elected director, Mike Chaney, and Gov. Phil Bryant, is 101 years old. It is a clearinghouse. If a company wants to sell any type of insurance in Mississippi, the company needs the state's permission and stamp of approval.
Puffy little dark-eyed juncos are popping in and out of the leftover Christmas tree. The same Christmas tree we bought at Marvin's the day after Thanksgiving. A couple of years back we decided we were no longer able or nimble enough to trek hill and dell to secure the tallest and finest cedar tree in the Prairie.
Thursday night it was my good fortune to see Spike Lee's heart-rending documentary, "4 Little Girls." The screening was the second item in a remarkably dense schedule of events Dream 365 organizers have programed over six days, beginning with a spelling bee on Wednesday and culminating tomorrow with a prayer breakfast.
Over the years searching for the route of the Hernando de Soto Expedition through Alabama and Mississippi has been about like hunting a ghost. So I guess that in looking for the route of his 1540 trek through what is now Lowndes County, it is only fitting that an old ghost story turned up.
For the second time in two years, the Mississippi Senate has passed Charter School legislation. The bill, which has a faint aroma of Good -Ole-Boy corruption, would permit for-profit charter schools to open in chronically low performing districts.
That gruesome skip-rope ditty dates to 1892, when young Lizzie was on trial in Massachusetts for the bludgeoning deaths of her parents. The question for us in 2013 is, "If a 9mm Glock had been handy, would she still have used a hatchet?"
I noticed them right off. There on the roadside near the ditch were big, leafy greens. Once or twice I saw people picking them. I was reminded of the time I saw folks picking greens and carefully putting them in a cloth sack. I asked what they were. "Fiddleheads," they said.
When I was a child we were all terrified of the Russians, specifically, of the bombs from that country, which we believed were aimed directly at my classroom in St. James Major grammar school. We were taught to crouch under our small, wooden desks and bury our heads ostrich-like under our arms.
Reading the Dispatch last week one could not help but notice the problems that a potential new industry seemed to have in living up to its commitments. Such problems are not something new. When the Mobile and Ohio Railroad was constructed through this area in the late 1850s, all was not smooth sailing.
As Mississippi lawmakers huddle in Jackson to start the 2013 session, there will be the usual grumbling about those dang idiots in Washington.
James Meredith was the guest speaker at Tuesday's Columbus Rotary meeting. Having been a frequent enough Rotary guest not to be considered a guest anymore, I noted that Meredith's appearance drew an especially large crowd.
The telescope stands poised at the window, aimed at the deer feeder. At dawn and twilight a Bardwell can be seen standing with eye pressed to the scope, but on this morning I swung the scope toward the lake. A flock of geese had descended and there was Leah, the domestic duck, amongst them.
In the wee hours of the first day of the New Year, after most Americans had concluded their celebrations, Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reached a deal to avert the fiscal cliff. The deal was then quickly rushed through the U.S. Senate while most people were asleep.
Saturday morning I took the dogs down to Friendship. They know the drill. I open the gate and say, "Get in the truck." The truck being a battered Ford Ranger with a tailgate that wants to fall off. Hank leaps in barking with excitement while Maggie cowers, waiting to be lifted.
This past week I lost a close friend when Sam Kaye passed away and Columbus lost not only a good citizen, but a gold mine of its history.
Quite frankly, I expected better from Gregg Harper and Steven Palazzo, two of the three Mississippi Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives. Both Harper and Palazzo voted against the Tuesday legislation that prevented the fiscal cliff disaster from becoming a reality. That the third Republican, the one who represents Lowndes County, voted no on the bill was as predictable as a two-year-old pitching a fit at the supermarket until he gets candy.
"Can you take care of the chickens?" Carolyn asked. "It's just overnight." "You've gotta be kidding. I don't know anything about chickens." "All you have to do is put them in the chicken house. Open the door and they'll go in." "But what if they don't?" I asked. "They will," she explained. "Haven't you ever heard 'going to bed with the chickens?'"
You'll find little here today about resolutions or sage observations about the year just past or the one before us. Nothing so ambitious. I have only a modest wish on this, the cusp of a new year: that the Minnesota Vikings make the playoffs. And, to do that they have to win this afternoon.
A quarter century. That's a mere blink of the eye in the life of an elephant or a Galapagos tortoise. After 25 years, oak trees may no longer be called saplings. But it's a long time for an opinion columnist. And, frankly, it's a mark I never expected to reach. Sure doesn't seem that long.
As we approach the doom and gloom of the fiscal cliff, its repercussions are mild compared to what was happening here 150 years ago.
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