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.
On Friday night while I was downtown enjoying wassail, several people asked me the same question; "What are you writing about for Sunday?" I got some strange looks when I replied that my topic was that this was the month to celebrate pork barbecue in Mississippi.
"William went that way, he's looking at pictures." Trey Porter of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History is talking. It's Wednesday afternoon and he and William Winter have driven up from Jackson to talk about two museums under construction in the capital, a state history museum and a civil rights museum.
Because I take my responsibility as an American citizen seriously, I recognize that it is essential that I keep abreast of the important news of the day. There is no substitute for an informed citizenry, after all. That is why, in addition to reading newspapers, I am also careful to watch TV news, not only the network newscasts but the cable news networks, too.
In 1994 Starkville put before the voters the proposition that there be an additional 2-percent tax attached to the food and beverage sales for those enjoying the restaurants within the city limits. This measure succeeded and since then the city and several other government related entities have been on the receiving end of a lot of additional funding.
Officially, Alan Nunnelee represents Mississippi's first Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Halfway through is second term in Congress, I am beginning to wonder who he really represents, though.
Members of America's military services are being shown spontaneous respect these days. It hasn't always been that way.
"It wasn't always an island," Sam explained. "The channel redirected the Tombigbee River cutting off Highway 82 and creating the island." On a cold Sunday afternoon drive Sam shared 50-year-old memories.
Nearly 40 years ago I realized a dream. I went to work for the government. In this day and time it is a favorite parlor game to "dog cuss" anything having to do with the public sector and the bureaucrats who ply their trade, but that was not always so.
We operate in a retail world dominated by chain stores. Too often these stores are staffed with lackadaisical clerks with little knowledge of the goods and services they are selling. In fact, so seldom do we encounter competence and enthusiasm in this arena, it is like a blast of cool, fresh air when we do. Here is one such story.
Late November and early December was once the time when Columbus, Aberdeen and other towns along the upper Tombigbee River would get to celebrate the arrival of the first steamboat of the season.
1. Our View: Bill Minor: A light in dark places DISPATCH EDITORIALS
2. Our View: 'Tales from the Crypt' far more than entertainment DISPATCH EDITORIALS
3. Voice of the people: George Hazard LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)
4. Steve Chapman: Opioid deaths: another drug-war failure NATIONAL COLUMNS
5. Patrick Buchanan: The continuing decline of Congress NATIONAL COLUMNS