So tell me, what are you reading this summer? If you were going to recommend a book to a stranger or friend, what would it be? This was a question I put to half a dozen or so local readers.
One hundred and fifty years ago the Alice Vivian, a Tombigbee River steamboat turned Confederate blockade runner, was captured by the USS DeSoto while attempting to sail from Mobile to Havana, Cuba. Few steamboats anywhere experienced history as did the Alice Vivian.
Suppose you pick up your paper and a headline says the school superintendent is "declaring war" on dropping out of school. You would infer the superintendent will deploy assets and tactics to reduce the number of students who quit before receiving their diplomas.
Dr. Harry Sherman called and asked if we could meet at Plymouth Bluff Environmental Center. We toured the exhibits and he pointed out the merlin, a small falcon that had the misfortune to collide into our sunroom's window. The merlin was now immortalized in the nature exhibit.
When I saw the lizard sunning himself at the top of the door jam, it occurred to me I was standing where Martin Dain had stood just over 50 years earlier with his Leica as William Faulkner closed the door below where the lizard now sat unblinking.
Often the photos are faded and bent, and though fewer and fewer remain who remember the names, their sacrifice is still ours to honor. They include the members of the "Greatest Generation," who gave their lives so we could be free. That whole generation is fast leaving us, which means it is up to us to pass on their legacy.
Remember when Coke bottles had the name of the town where it had been bottled stamped on the bottom? The other day while my grandson and I were knocking around in a vacant lot, he found a piece of one of these old bottles with "Columbus, Miss." on the bottom. When I told him it was an old bottle, he asked if it had been around when Elvis was alive.
Today, few people realize the extent of European activity during the 1700s in the Tombigbee Valley or how European conflicts between the French and English spilled over into our region. The 1700s were turbulent times in northeast Mississippi and west Alabama.
When Joseph and Mary donkeyed up and headed for Bethlehem, they knew the reason. It was to visit the tax man and pay up.
On a recent Tuesday the streets of many of our municipalities were lined with fellow citizens and supporters of mayoral, aldermanic, and council candidates waving signs and banners in behalf of their favorites. It was gratifying to see such an outpouring because in many of these towns the stakes are perhaps higher than they have ever been before.
I have had the good fortune to live in two cities with rich histories. New Orleans and Columbus have many fascinating tales to tell. Both love the stories of their pasts and keep them alive with written and oral retellings.
We've all witnessed it. You're in a restaurant and at a nearby table a couple sitting across from each other are both engrossed in their cell phones. A friend calls it "prayer meeting."
Tuesday, I made the drive to Parchman to report on the execution of Willie Jerome Manning, who was convicted in 1994 of the 1992 murder of a pair of Mississippi State students in Starkville.
Prairies form the heart of the Golden Triangle Region. Three miles across the Tombigbee River from Columbus was Pitchlynn's Prairie, which centered around John Pitchlynn's 1820s residence.
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