Steve Mullen: Things to do in the summer doldrums


Steve Mullen



We''re in the doldrums. The Independence Day weekend is behind us. Most of us, if we were even planning to take a vacation, have gone and come back.


What remains are the few weeks of increasingly hot summer left, before school starts again. Kids are lost in summer right now. They aren''t thinking of school starting back. Any such fleeting reflection is quashed by a splash into a pool or laughter with friends.


The end of summer creeps up on you. I was surprised when my wife, a teacher, mentioned she goes back in just a few weeks. What happened to summer vacation lasting from the beginning of June to the end of August? I don''t remember going back until after Labor Day.



Of course, unless you''re a teacher or a school-age kid, summer is just like any other time of the year -- only hotter.



A plaintive wail


We have trains here in Columbus. I don''t know that because I see them, though I have, occasionally. I know that because I hear them.


Even downtown, which is miles from the nearest track, reverberates with the wail of train horns most every night.


This is part of life in Columbus. But does it have to be? A couple weeks ago, Clinton became the first city in the state to be designated a "quiet zone" for trains -- meaning train horns aren''t to be blown in the city limits unless the engineer sees an actual obstacle.


The are hoops that have to be jumped through for such a designation. Cities have to upgrade their crossings, and apply to federal and state authorities (and deal with the railroads blessing too).


In all, Clinton started the process a few years ago, according to an article in The Clarion-Ledger.


Just something to think about, Columbus. If you can think over the wailing of the train horns.



101 things


We still have time to do summer things. We''ve gotten lots of responses at [email protected] -- we''ll release our list of 101 things in an upcoming special section. You still have a week or so to send in your ideas.


A few random ones:


  • "One of our favorite places to eat is United Deli on the corner of Tuscaloosa Road and Gardner Blvd. The sandwiches are huge and made with the best bread in Columbus! The owner, John, and his family are super nice and huge supporters of the Air Force Base."


  • "My husband has made a habit of taking me on the back roads of Crawford heading to Bethel to visit his grandma on Sundays. It is really fun to travel those dirt roads and pull up wild flowers and get as close to the cows as they will let me. It is also interesting while on those back roads to see the abandoned houses and junk yards along the way."


  • "For anyone who has not seen or experienced the operation of the lock system on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, an outing to the Stennis Lock and Dam would be a great excursion. You can literally walk up to the edge of the lock and see how these massive "water elevators" raise and lower boats to the different levels of the river. The Lock personnel are friendly and informative. You shouldn''t have to wait too long for a barge or boat to arrive for locking ... it goes on all day and all night."


  • "The Friendship House on Coontail Road between Aberdeen and Amory is the best place around to eat catfish. It is way out in the boonies, but it is well worth the trip. People from Columbus are there just about every time we go, and we go often. They have terrific hot fudge cake with a secret sauce."


    All good ideas, and all unique to us. Send in your own ideas, before summer gets away from you.



Steve Mullen is Managing Editor of The Dispatch.


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