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.
The blues historian Scott Barretta has a clipping from The New Yorker tacked to the wall of the office in his Greenwood home.
Sunday morning, two weeks ago, the parking lot of the Dollar General in Eastpoint, Florida, was jumping. Beth and I had stopped for bottled water. We were headed into the interior of the Florida Panhandle for a day of kayaking.
In 1986, the late Mike Royko wrote a newspaper column titled "Shortage of short Greeks killing us." Royko, a syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune, began by relating a bad dining experience at a cafe managed by a college graduate with a degree in hotel and restaurant management.
I suppose I should thank the person who threw out the plastic bag from Unclaimed Baggage while driving through the soccer park last week.
There was something rare and ineffably sweet about the gathering at the Trotter Center Saturday evening a week ago. "Goose's Grand Gala" it was called, a party for Edwina Williams, known by many as simply, "Mother Goose."
"A Mr. Ronald Crowe is here to see you." It was a receptionist in the front office, Monday morning.
There are benefits to living near a firehouse. I hope the firemen there feel the same way. We're a block away and always good for a laugh.
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