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.
Fifteen years ago, when I moved to northern California, people there often commented on my speech. I would usually just laugh and say, "You know, I never had an accent until I left Mississippi." The brighter folks usually figured out what I meant by that.
Folks familiar with Greek mythology (10th grade?) will remember that it was Alexander who "untied" the Gordian knot in 333 B.C. and, as a result, became known as Alexander the Great. The knot had existed since Gordius honored Zeus by tying it. No one could figure it out.
Tonight you may be sitting in a bar or alone in a hotel room, you may be confined to a hospital bed or you may be kneeling at a Communion altar. You may be with family or only dreaming of a family far away, wherever you are right now the Christmas Eve story is for you.
Once again, it's the season of joy and light on this little planet of ours. And please forgive me if it's unseasonal for me to mention this, but there's a little problem that has come up in Caledonia. It has come without much fanfare or attention, though it may very well lead to a great deal of attention if it's not tended to.
At Christmas we always think of children and gifts and goodwill. But do we ever stop and remember the people in our community or connected to it that year round do so much to help young people. Of course there are teachers and social workers and church youth leaders and scout leaders and so many others that I dare not list for fear of leaving someone out.
Early last January, I got a call from an old high school friend who lives in the suburbs of Memphis. It was the same day a deeply-disturbed 22-year-old named Jared Loughner opened fire in the parking lot of a Tucson supermarket, killing six people and injuring 12 others, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
It's been a tough road for the Delta, but high commodity prices are giving the region a healthy boost.
Once at MUW I shared my fear with Professor David Smith that I was not brave. Looking up from his desk with horn-rimmed glasses on the tip of his nose and disheveled graying hair on his head he said, "Bravery is not bravado. It's being afraid and doing it anyway."
What were you thinking? Why did you do what you did? I don't care if you were mentally ill. I don't care if you were a nerd, loner or had issues. I want answers to why you had to kill 20 elementary children and six adults. You killed your mother in her bed and you picked innocent, defenseless children in their school. You killed teachers trying to protect those children.
I have not talked with you in a while. I still think of you. I still feel with you. We have watched our children grow. Some of our children have had to endure heartbreaks, yet most of them have matured into responsible adults with careers: teachers, bankers, writers, photographers, lawyers, doctors, etc. To feel cool, they no longer are compelled to borrow each other's clothing or to see who can make an A in Uitohoven's English class. Some have babies, and those babies are OUR grandchildren.
The Christmas season always reminds me of barbecue and global warming. They have both been around our area a long time.
The failed Twin Creeks solar panel plant in Senatobia is yet another chapter in Mississippi's story of failed state investments.
I live in a world of superlatives, just ask my wife. But when every day is "the best day ever," I find I'm rarely disappointed. You would think that with high expectations, I would be let down more often than not. But I tend to keep my expectations realistic; it's what happens along the way that I find most exciting.
In tough times we expect strong leadership from public officials. These days our officials come from one of three types: leaders, pleaders, and plodders.
1. Our View: Saying goodbye to an old friend DISPATCH EDITORIALS
2. Voice of the people: Willis Pope LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)
3. Kathleen Parker: Karma can be good business NATIONAL COLUMNS
4. Patrick Buchanan: Why Russia resents us NATIONAL COLUMNS
5. Possumhaw: Joy of the roadsides LOCAL COLUMNS