May 6, 2009
Many folks stick close to their families all their lives, so occasions such as Mother''s Day are somewhat routine. I used to feel that way.
I''ve been away for eight Mother''s Days. Driving down to Rankin County to see the folks is still a novelty -- it still hasn''t worn off that they''re not across the country anymore. They''re a two-hour drive away, instead of a two-hour drive to an airport and then eight hours on a plane.
I''m going back home for Mother''s Day. I''ll go out to a nice place for dinner with my folks, my little brother, and his wife and kids. It''ll feel special, partly because it is, but even more special because it isn''t. It''s easy.
My mother is a big reason we decided to move back to Mississippi. For the past year and a half, she''s been battling colon cancer. After a surgery and rounds of chemo, doctors discovered it had spread to her lungs. After another surgery and even more chemo, her scans have been clear.
Lee''s parents and her sister all live in Mississippi, too. As our children grew older and our parents did too, we came to the realization that family is important, more important than career. (A person can have a career most anywhere, so why not have one here and plant the kids close to the grandparents?)
Soon Lee and the Kids will be done with the school year in California, and out they will come. It''ll feel weird for them, too -- being so close to all this family. It''ll also feel special, because it is and because it isn''t. It''ll feel right.
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I heard from a few people about my lack-of-ammunition column last week, including one person who pointed me to a story that mentioned another theory -- that greater demand for metals overseas is contributing to the bullet shortage.
A little more about Uncle Mike. This is the person I mentioned last week with the farm in Madison County, the farm upon which I''m allowed to unload on Coke cans, tomatoes and other unlucky stationary objects with my .45 Colt (when ammo can be found). As long as I''m bringing up cancer, I may as well mention that he has it too. Prostate cancer. This one is fairly common, and treatable. "You may die of cancer one day," his doctor told him, "but you''re not going to die of this."
I''m only bringing it up because of something unusual that happened. He went in for surgery last week. The operation is performed by a robot, which is guided by two doctors in the operating room. He was prepped, put under, cut open, and -- all eyes on the robot now -- the robot didn''t work.
He woke up in the recovery room, all stitched up, thinking hooray, I''m alive, I''m cured. Then, he got to do it all over again the next day.
I''ve heard of all manner of objects getting inadvertently sewed up inside a person during surgery, but I''d never heard of a multi-million dollar piece of equipment like that just shutting down. Neither had the doctors.
The robot got over its performance issues the second go-round, and Uncle Mike is on the road to recovery.
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I also received good feedback about my column on Twitter a few weeks ago. I wrote the column a few days after starting The Dispatch''s Twitter feed, when we had fewer than 25 followers. As of this morning, we were up to 108 followers, a number that grows daily. (That''s a far cry from No. 1 tweeter Ashton Kutcher''s 1,621,445 followers, but we''re just getting started.)
We''re still Twitter newbies, and haven''t unlocked its full potential. But it''s a good way to get alerts about stories, breaking news, and other things. To follow us, go to www.twitter.com/cdispatch.
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The Market Street Festival is behind us, and I was impressed with the music, the food and the turnout. I popped in and out all day -- not a tough feat, living right on Fifth Street.
Market Street was my alarm clock on Saturday morning: I woke up to someone doing a sound check on the WCBI stage at 9 a.m. The music he was putting through the speakers was far louder than any of the acts that followed it.
Still, I was glad to get the wake-up call, and enjoyed looking out the window to see bands playing live music and folks milling around the vendors'' booths during the day.
I''m looking forward to it even more next year, when the kids are here to enjoy it.
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The other day, our circulation manager, Bobby Tingle, shared a note that accompanied a check, mailed in from a subscriber. She said that she almost didn''t renew her subscription, but decided to anyway -- and then listed several recent changes in the paper she didn''t like.
The new paper size is too small. The type looks faded and is hard to read. And the biggie -- no more TV book; she''s not used to the daily TV listings.
She ended the note with this: "I''d just as soon see Steve Mullen move back to California."
That''s great. Making friends in the Friendly City.
I''m assuming that she believes I''m behind every change. I''m not, but I''m happy to be associated with The Dispatch, and happy to work for our readers. From where I''m sitting, it''s a darn good paper, and getting better every day, with or without a TV guide.
Steve Mullen is managing editor of The Dispatch. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.