More so than any other single question, I am asked about the origin of local names. What does Tombigbee mean? What is West Point west of? What does the Military Road have to do with the military? Our region abounds in interesting names. I will try to shed some light on a few of them.
In his book, "An Education of a Lifetime," former University of Mississippi Chancellor Robert Khayat tells the story of his recollection of one of the most traumatic events in the university's history -- the riots on the Ole Miss campus associated with James Meridith's enrollment at the school's first black student in 1962.
Cities live beyond our here and now. Beijing is about 3,000 years old; Paris is over 2,000 years old; Rome is over 2,500 years old; London is just under 2,000 and New York is headed to its 400th birthday. Starkville is officially 175 years old.
Leah stuck her bill into the broken egg and hoisted it up high. She shoved off into the water and paddled as fast as her webbed feet would take her. On the bank she carried the egg into the grass where she ate the egg, shell and all.
From under the old drawbridge at the Riverwalk, the Tombigbee River looks small and peaceful as it slowly flows toward Mobile. Yet for almost 500 hundred years that location has witnessed an almost unbelievable pageant of history.
This week, Possum Town Tales, also known as the second annual Storytellers Festival, is being held at the Rosenzweig Center, featuring a trio of renowned storytellers.
A charmed life. That's what the evidence says about Robert Khayat.
Friday night the Trotter Convention Center was filled with our nation's finest, for it was the annual Air Force Birthday Ball. Seventy years ago, predating the birth of the Air Force as a separate service, there were also pilots and other servicemen dancing at the Trotter which was then called the City Auditorium. It was a different time but the same place with different men and women but with the same sense of duty and commitment to our country.
The praying mantis had the advantage, as his head rotates 180 degrees. His forearms were folded in prayer; he looked so delicate, so pious. His very name "mantis" means "prophet" in Greek. But if there ever was a wolf in sheep's clothing, it is the praying mantis.
I saw a slow moving, old white dog the other morning. She was crossing one of the vacant fields at Lynn Lane and Louisville Street in Starkville. That property sits across from my office and so I took the time to watch her make her way through the grass in the first hours of the business day. No doubt she was headed to some quiet place to rest as the heat of the day began to descend on her home.
Early this year, when the qualifying period began for the mayor and council races began, I found it odd that more people didn't choose to run. As you will recall, two council positions were uncontested and only one council race had as many as three candidates. In the mayor's race, two challengers faced incumbent Robert Smith. Given the general downward trajectory of the city, you might have thought more people would be inspired to jump into the fray. Hardly.
Just the other day Tjajuan Boswell was working on the flowered medians in downtown Columbus. Heat radiated at 107 degrees, and she was working like a Trojan. With the back of her forearm she wiped sweat from her brow. I complimented her on how wonderful the flowers looked and thanked her for her efforts to beautify the city. It's no easy job.
Lynn Spruill grew up in Starkville, the only child of an accountant whose energy level and curiosity exceeded the demands of his practice. L.E. Spruill, the son of a Kolola Springs farmer (his only sibling is the wonderful Frances Jutman of Columbus), also bought, demolished and rebuilt failing subdivisions and rental properties. He did dirt work.
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