All his life, even before he was stapling posters on telephone poles advertising upcoming Ringling Brothers shows and B.B. King concerts for his Uncle Dave, Jim Lavender wanted to be in the circus.
You wouldn't consider any of them political activists, necessarily, but a handful of Southside residents may have the best idea yet on how to address the flag issue. They are flying in front of their homes the historic Magnolia Flag, the banner that was once the state flag.
In the city of Berlin south of the Brandenburg Gate and several blocks west of Checkpoint Charlie, there is a museum called "Topography of Terror."
In May 2014, James Fallows, a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine, visited Columbus. Fallows and his wife, Deborah, also a correspondent for The Atlantic, were touring the country in their single-engine airplane.
Friday afternoon after work, Lance Dodd and his fiance Jami Harvey took their 3-year-old son, Jackson, to Lance's grandmother's place for a bit of end-of-the-week unwinding. At least, that's what they thought they were doing.
On a recent weekday afternoon, Art Mills parked his golf cart under one of the live oaks in front of the Main Street post office and went inside. The golf cart had a blue kayak strapped on top of it.
Not long ago a man walked up to me in Kroger and, in a barely audible voice, said, "My wife told me I ought to get in touch with you; I have something you might be interested in."
Late Tuesday afternoon five people are sitting in the living room of the small brick house Marion Fairchild shares with Joyce, his wife of 50-plus years.
The three-foot-long rat snake sprawled across the entrance of the barn like he owned the place. I could feel the hair on the back of my neck tingle. "He's here for the mice, the rats," I said to myself. "That's a good thing; he means no harm to you."
About a year ago, four Mennonite boys from Georgia came up with the idea to build a houseboat and motor down the Mississippi.
The sparrows here are insistent, expectant. Before I can get the laptop out of its case, two of them are at my feet looking up.
Paul Thorn, songwriter, musician, storyteller, artist, former welterweight boxer, son of a preacher and all-around good guy, walked onto the stage of the Omnova Theater Friday evening, sat down and to a full house unceremoniously announced he was going to play a song about "back-road fornication." Thorn then launched into "A Long Way from Tupelo."
Paddling downstream on the Luxapallila about halfway between Gunshoot Road in Steens and Highway 12, you come to a cypress slough stretching back to the north in the direction of Jemison Mill Road.
We had been talking about his growing up in Columbus and where he went to school, when I asked Fredrick Jackson what got him into politics. He held up his hand.
"First, let's talk about my wife," he said.
Facing a day of rain, I went to Starbucks Sunday, a week ago, and bought a New York Times. Regardless your politics, the Sunday Times can be a cornucopia of delights and -- assuming you have two hours or so to devote to it -- the best argument I can think of for hold-in-your-hands newspaper reading.
About 20 years ago, when the Internet was in its infancy in these parts, Betty Armstreet Sparrow joined a Yahoo on-line craft club and met a woman in Hannibal, Missouri, named Jackie. The two became best friends.
Ben Kilgore would like to sell you a school bus. Not just any school bus, mind you, a '57 Chevy 3800. Condition is, well, rough. Maybe even rougher than the pictures on craigslist suggest.
Late Friday afternoon on a whim I drove to Southside to see if I could find the man I'd seen earlier in the week sitting on his front porch in the pre-dawn darkness listening to a radio. The man had been wearing a white dress shirt, and I don't know why but the image had stayed with me.
What ever happened to ping pong? Do kids still play it in basements? It's a great game -- improves coordination, reflexes and provides an easy way to socialize. Table tennis, the sport, while using the same table, paddle and ball, is something altogether different. More on that in a minute.
Tuesday afternoon after the rains, I had the good fortune to be sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch of a just-completed small cabin at the edge of a pond in northwest Clay County. My host was Johnny Wray, a slow-foods farmer who embraces his vocation in the spirit of Wendell Berry.
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