My last job before returning to Mississippi was a gig as a graveyard-shift janitor at a 55-plus living facility in Mesa, Ariz., called Venture Out. It was the sort of job you would expect a convicted felon who had gone from one minimum-wage job to another since being released from prison would have.
One day last week in a conversation with my friends Bert and Sharon Falkner, killdeers, a delightful spring and summer bird of area fields, came up. It is a bird that I have enjoyed watching since I was a child. You will remember them as the bird that acts like it has a broken wing to draw potential predators away from its nest.
March 3 --When is the law the law? And does a state law enforcement agency - not to mention the governor - have the authority to deliberately ignore the law because they don't like it?
Here we go again. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is on stage once more.
There on the bank of the lake lay a critter that looked a lot like a beaver. Its fur was long and wet; its teeth were curved and yellow. Its feet were webbed, but the tail was its undoing. The water rodent had a long round tail like a rat. The son-of-a gun was no doubt a Louisiana nutria.
Friday afternoon Earnestine Mobley took me for a ride in her Cadillac. The car is beautiful, black leather interior with wood trim, OnStar navigation, heated seats and steering wheel, the works. Near the automatic stick shift on the console is a small black plaque that reads, "This Cadillac exclusively built for Earnestine Nash Mobley." As it happens, the car is pink.
I was at lunch Thursday when an older gentleman managed to capture my attention. "Are you Slim Smith?" he asked. When confronted with this seemingly benign question, I always respond with a degree of trepidation and feel the urge to ask, instead, "Uh, why do you want to know?"
There's a lot more "media" than there used to be, but the truth about any given situation is harder to find. We are assaulted with information, but the information is less reliable. In some ways, that's counterintuitive. For instance, if there were more food, it follows there would be less hunger.
Some days pass by so fast you don't even see them, but come Saturday the pace slows down around here. Saturdays start off quiet and slow, allowing time to catch up. Then there's strong coffee followed by a bowl of oatmeal topped with honey, golden nectar, a gracious gift.
Earlier this month two women were married in Laurel. Since same-sex marriage is not legal in Mississippi, so they are not married, at least not in a legal sense. Still, there was a ceremony, cake and wedding gown. One of the women, Crystal Craven, has been battling brain cancer and has undergone three surgeries, the most recent just weeks before the wedding.
The 1960s were turbulent times in our country. That is why every month, it seems, there is some official recognition of a milestone anniversary.
It was 166 years ago this weekend that a die-hard group of Mississippians in red shirts and brandishing Bowie knives changed the course of a battle and history. The Battle of Buena Vista on Feb. 22-23, 1847, sealed the fate of Mexican General Santa Anna's army and ensured a United States victory in the U.S.-Mexican War of 1846-48.
The fever appears to be breaking. The Tea Party movement, much like the Know Nothing Party of 150 years ago, will soon have run its obstructionist course. As is the case with most national trends, that fever will break last in Mississippi, which seems to be on a perpetual two-year time-delay for most national trends.
Both the Mississippi House and the Senate have approved a bill that saddles one-third of Mississippi's homes and businesses with a billion dollars in debt relating to the Kemper power plant. If Gov. Phil Bryant signs the bill, it will become law.
It all started about three days before. The rains were torrential and the lake was so full that most of the center stumps were submerged. "Sam, I think the spillway is dammed up. The water is high." After work Sam took the gator to the spillway and sure enough a beaver had dammed the flow again. In drizzling rain Sam shoveled out the dam and checked the beaver trap. No beaver. "Did you see Leah?" I asked.
When reporter Carmen Sisson, whose story about Magnolia Bowl appears in today's Dispatch, asked me about the old stadium, she unleashed a flood of memories.
Sometimes research and writing takes you in unexpected directions, and that is the case today. As I started writing this column, I stumbled into one of those poignant stories of long ago that touches a present-day nerve.
Writing about love is a tricky thing, especially since my wife might read this column. Fortunately, I heard New Hope Baptist Church minister Jerry Young speak at the Jackson Rotary Club today. His topic was love and marriage. I can't put it any better than he did.
So it finally happened. After years of making and buying King Cakes, I finally got the prized plastic baby. Now granted, my chances dramatically increased due to the fact that the only other person in the baby race was my wife.
There are no states more reliably and consistently friendly to gun owners and gun manufacturers than Mississippi. That's clear, well beyond any doubt.
1. Roses and thorns ROSES & THORNS
2. Remember LOCAL COLUMNS
3. PFC Jared Hunter forced to make a shameful choice NATIONAL COLUMNS
5. Remembering their sacrifices DISPATCH EDITORIALS