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Partial to Home: A case for kindness

Posted 1/9/2021 in Local Columns

What can I do? It's a question a lot of people have been asking these past few days. How to deal with this ongoing feeling of helplessness, at home and in Washington.


Partial to Home: More conversations, better understanding

Posted 1/3/2021 in Local Columns

This first morning of the new year begins in a corner of the backyard in a weathered wooden chair of cypress made by a long-gone friend. The coffee is good and the air washed fresh by last night's rain.


Partial to Home: Predawn preparations

Posted 12/19/2020 in Local Columns

At 5:30 a.m. the only light in the backyard is the soft, red glow of the greenhouse.


Partial to Home: Small-town boys

Posted 12/12/2020 in Local Columns

One of the pleasures of living near downtown is the variety of options the walker has just outside his or her front door, i.e. The Riverwalk and/or soccer park, MUW campus, Friendship Cemetery.


Partial to Home: Confessions of a leaf thief

Posted 11/28/2020 in Local Columns

Gardeners can be a notoriously parsimonious lot.


Partial to Home: Winter light

Posted 11/21/2020 in Local Columns

It seemed strangely incongruous to sit in the predawn light at my laptop in PJs and Paul Thorn autographed baseball cap singing hosannas to Mother Nature.


Partial to Home: Taking good care

Posted 11/14/2020 in Local Columns

For his service to his country in Vietnam, he was spit upon and called a "baby killer." For his devotion to his Southern wife, he was reviled by his mother-in-law as a "damn Yankee."


Partial to Home: Idle remark opens floodgates of memory

Posted 11/7/2020 in Local Columns

Not too long ago, someone said to me, "You always were a little off-center." Later that day I was going to be driving a tractor and was dressed for the part in patched work pants and a rumpled cotton shirt. Though attire is what evoked the comment and his tone friendly, I suspect the fellow's assessment wasn't limited to my sartorial choices.


Partial to Home: Trash retrieval outing offers unexpected delights

Posted 10/31/2020 in Local Columns

What's the difference between a graveyard and a cemetery? A friend asked me this question Friday, and I, a lifelong habitue of burial places, large and small, had no idea.


Partial to Home: Unexpected splendor along Officers Lake Road

Posted 10/24/2020 in Local Columns

How do you write 600 words about a bend in the road? What if that road, in the shape of a backwards "S," snakes around a slough made gorgeous with a profusion of yellow wildflowers?


Partial to Home: Persimmons and possums

Posted 10/17/2020 in Local Columns

Partial to Home: Waiting for a train

Posted 10/11/2020 in Local Columns

Sunday morning, a week ago, en route to my bother's house on South Ninth Street, I met what appeared to be one of those endless freight trains.


Partial to Home: A deadly silence

Posted 9/26/2020 in Local Columns

Were he Catholic, chances are Jimmy Carter, who turns 96 later this week, would be destined for sainthood. Since his 1980 defeat by Ronald Reagan in his bid for a second term as president, Carter, with his wife Rosalyn, has devoted himself to humanitarian causes.


Partial to Home: Under a watermelon sky

Posted 9/5/2020 in Local Columns

About a week ago, in the waning days of August, Gerry Jeffcoat gave me a watermelon he'd grown. A Congo Red, he said when asked the variety.


Partial to Home: And the conversation turns to newspapers

Posted 8/29/2020 in Local Columns

Before coming to The Dispatch in the mid-90s, I worked as a commercial photographer. In those days there was a lot of manufacturing in the area, and there was product photography to be done: fishing lures, toilet seats, gym sets, hams.


Partial to Home: A perfect day

Posted 8/22/2020 in Local Columns

On the morning of my birthday this past week, I took my coffee outside and found my usual seat in a garden overlooking the street.


Partial to Home: An authentic experience

Posted 8/15/2020 in Local Columns

The other day while walking along the entranceway to our fair city carrying two trash bags filled with litter, I happened upon an empty Dr. Pepper can.


Partial to Home: Alan Smith's quiet good works

Posted 8/2/2020 in Local Columns

When Alan Smith passed from this world Sunday evening, he was in his home surrounded by an adoring family, who had been remembering him with stories. There was little doubt how the evening would play out. A long bout with cancer would soon be over.


Partial to Home: Honeybees offer virus preview

Posted 7/4/2020 in Local Columns

With a bit of imagination you could say that last fall our bees gave us a preview of the pandemic now besetting us. Suddenly they started dying in large numbers. I would walk out mornings to find piles of dead honeybees on the ground around the hives. Not only was it confounding, it was heart-wrenching. These thousands of small flying creatures were our pets.


Partial to Home: Life lessons from the bee yard

Posted 6/27/2020 in Local Columns

On a recent Saturday morning as I walked into the Starkville Community Market, a young boy, his blue baseball cap askew over curly brown hair, asked if I'd like to buy a beeswax candle.



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