Last week I was asked to explain the origin of the old saying "The Lord be willing and the creek don't rise." There are several traditions about the origin of the phrase but one clearly sticks out in my mind.
In William Saroyan's short essay "Finlandia," he writes of going into a music store in Helsinki and asking the girl working there if she knows "Finlandia," the symphonic poem by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. Saroyan, then 27, had heard the piece five years earlier and had been haunted by it since. The girl finds the record and puts it on the turntable. She and the writer stand and listen to the music, both of them transfixed by its beauty. Afterward Saroyan asks the girl's English-speaking coworker if she knows the composer. She does and gives him a phone number.
Volunteer Starkville, it can be a call to action or it can be a non-profit organization. For my purposes it's both, and since we are fully into the New Year, let's revisit my resolution to actually get off my post-holiday widened rear and do actual volunteering.
The tiny little car pulled up to the steps of the state capitol building in Jackson Tuesday. The car door swung open and 174 legislators piled out to the strains of calliope music. Yes, the 2014 Mississippi Legislature is officially in session and lawmakers are eager to get down to the serious business of seeing how much nonsense they can inflict on us during the next three months.
The Mississippi Department of Education already assigns letter grades -- "A" to "F" -- to public schools and school districts. Why not close the loop and give each parent a grade, too? Maybe require a bumper sticker, too? That would be radical, too radical, really.
The Prairie house became a B&B throughout the holidays. Family members returned again and again, sheets and towels ran continually through the Maytag, decaf or high octane coffee was served with or without cream and sugar, and a continual flow of baked goods streamed in through the front door, compliments of the neighbors.
Each year, Oxford Dictionaries announces its "word of the year." This year, the word is "selfie," which is a photo someone takes of himself or herself, most often to post on social media sites such as Facebook or Instagram.
It is a simple question, and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, got it wrong. Does the U.S. Constitution protect the rights of all citizens? Or do people who receive federal or state assistance forfeit those rights? Are they lesser citizens because of their need for help?
Monday, the Minnesota Vikings fired its football coach, which normally wouldn't be of much interest in Columbus except among the most fanatic of NFL fans.
There is a man who often mails books, and when the postal clerk asks the obligatory, "Is there anything hazardous or flammable in the package?" He answers, "Yes, words."
This New Year's Day arrives with a fair share of concerns: What will the Affordable Care Act do to health care? Will the economy improve? Will there ever be peace in the Middle East? As much as those issues worry people, they are nothing like the fears of people in the Tombigbee River Valley 200 years ago on January 1, 1814.
Now that Christmas is behind us, our thoughts naturally turn to the New Year and what it might hold.
Among the cards and letters that have arrived on my desk this Christmas season, I came across a curious correspondence I thought warranted a personal response. The subject matter is time sensitive, so I thought the most expedient way to answer would be through this column.
For days he asked, "Is it Christmas yet?" "No Daddy, still two more days." Our roles were reversed; now the daddy asked the child, "Is it Christmas yet?"
This may sound cynical. It isn't meant to be. Just trying to be honest. Once Santa gets the reindeer unhitched and back in the barn and the New Year parties are over, Mississippi lawmakers will head to that great big building in Jackson for a 90-day session of good old-fashioned lawmaking. But times have changed. There's really not much for them to do.
On Friday Karen and I made a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up a couple of last minute items for next week's Christmas dinner. Several hours later while stuck in traffic I pondered on Christmas dinner in times past.
Early one morning this week, as I was preparing for the day, I heard a startling pronouncement from a television personality for a promotional piece on Christmas giving. The announcer stated flatly that Mississippi led the nation in giving.
It was the strangest thing. I was walking down the sidewalk, minding my own business, when a passing mail truck hit a pothole and out flew a bunch of letters. I gathered them up -- all were letters to Santa, with his responses penned across the bottom -- but the truck had trundled out of sight. Anyway, just sharing ...
I heard two interesting political figures speak last week: one state and one national.
The Bardwells were cooped up on the weekend with colds. Since Sam and I were both sick we scratched around the house looking for something we could do. We wrote Christmas cards, wrapped presents, watched football games and a Christmas movie while passing the Kleenex box back and forth.
1. Roses and thorns 9/25/16 ROSES & THORNS
2. Ask Rufus: In 1819 this was Columbus, Alabama LOCAL COLUMNS
3. Partial to Home: The bespoke Ms. Swift LOCAL COLUMNS
5. Kathleen Parker: What we will look for Monday night NATIONAL COLUMNS