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Columnist (Jan. 15, 2002)
We finally got our tree down. Albeit after the Twelfth Day of Christmas, but it is down. Un-decorating it may have been more enjoyable than putting it up...maybe it was because time was not as much an issue although I feel pressured doing both, usually running late both ways. That "pressure" makes me sometimes wonder why we keep doing this big tree with so many strings of lights and fifty years accumulation of ornaments, but we already know the reason. In addition to breaking with tradition, we would miss looking at each ornament, remembering who gave it to us, or which child, grandchild or friend made it, or where we bought it, with each supplying a memorable journey. We even have several from our very first tree. The solution may be to downsize both the tree and ornaments, and start passing the others on to our children and granchildren with the story of each one along with it. For instance, the pickle ornament my sister gave us is reminiscent of a tradition with my family when we were growing up. Among all the things Mama canned each summer would be a gallon jug of the tiniest cucumbers made into pickles. This was saved til Christmas Eve when we would hide it for Santa Clause to find. He would be the one to open it and eat the first pickle. We children would find some really good hiding places but he always, always found it, much to our amazement! Don't you just love things that keep on giving! That's the way I feel about these ornaments, especially those that were handmade. Year after year, they become new again and bring pleasure for a lifetime.
So, what's new with you this New Year? If you like to read and like mystery and suspense, let me introduce you to Greg Iles, a superb Mississippi writer with several best-sellers, with the latest being "Dead Sleep". We discovered him a couple of years ago with "The Quiet Game", thinking it was his first book; then came "24 Hours" hitting the best-seller list and we have since found several he'd written before that. Carroll, my better half, is engrossed in "Spandau Phoenix" right now, which might actually be his first one. He is a University of Mississippi graduate from Natchez, where he grew up and lives today. For some reason, he doesn't seem to be as well known as John Grisham, even though his several books have all been best sellers. Don't think any of his have been made into movies and that could be the difference. All are good reading.
The new year is witness to several former Tutwilians returning for brief visits. Bill Moore and sister Coleen Vaughn and Geneva McGee (all now living in Clarksdale) attended services at Tutwiler Baptist Sunday and later enjoyed the Lion's Buffet. Tiffany and Linda McCoy of Mobile and Wes and Pattie Brown and girls of Tennessee visited their parents Leona and Johnie Lane over the weekend. Nena Jennings Smith of Wesson was overnight guest of Anne Barnes after visiting her mom, Marjorie Cox, in Clarksdale and seeing other relatives in Tutwiler. Anne Starr is visiting for a while from her other home in Mercedes, Texas.
Congratulations to Erin Pharis grandaughter of Linda and Cebe Pharis, for winning top honors in the Geography Bee at St. Georges. She will be eligible to participate in the State Competition.
Several have been ailing this past week with colds and such. Among them are Savannah Kellum, Jerry Orman and Virgie Grissom. Martha Campbell has had asthma problems, Sarah Dunavent is getting over the chicken pox and Mrs. Mollie Denney is a patient in Quitman County Hospital at Marks.
Lacey Goldman had heart surgery at Methodist Central in Memphis this past week; Ronnie Smith had surgery on his hand Friday, the 11th, in Memphis; Alberta Mitchell had surgery at the Clarksdale Medical Center and they are all recovering nicely. We are concerned for Thelma Wright's brother in Stamps, Arkansas, who was seriously injured in an automobile accident the latter part of the week.
I don't know how to classify my ailment. I wear, when reading, etc., magnifying half-glasses, keeping a pair in several places for convenience sake. Then, often times, I wear a pair hanging on a delicate chain around my neck. I catch myself putting them on my nose, then picking up a nearby pair and putting them on too. Reminds me of an instructor I had at Delta State who wore two pairs of glasses all the time, which I thought rather comical, yet wondered about...at that time, I thought he needed double strength...time has helped me change my mind. Now, I think he just forgot he had the first pair on. So, back to clarifying my ailment...yeah, forgetfulness.
That's about it again from Tutwiler where the weather is anything but wintry. We need some cold, freezing even, to be rid of mosquitoes still in evidence. No, not an ice storm; just some good natured cold weather, please.
Have you had any green catsup on your fries yet? Heinz started the fad last year and I understand that purple is now available. Also, Parkay offers a neon pink and blue squeeze margarine and Dannon Spinkl'ins includes "sparkle packets" to stir into cups for boldly colored yogurt.
When daughter Melanie was six, she asked for a blue birthday cake! Icing and cake both blue, which I thought was quite out of the ordinary. That and a few other things make me now know she was just ahead of her time. Industry watchers say to expect to see more surprising colors in otherwise ordinary foods in the future. I made some seafood gumbo one time that turned a shade lighter than the black cast iron pot I cooked it in, but it didn't interfere with the taste, especially if you kept your eyes closed while eating. I remember my friend Ophelia Chatham saying "it's nothing wrong with it, just don't look at it when you eat". She took some home with her but I never knew exactly what she did with it. (We did eat what I kept.)
Another smart sounding item on the market is a new type storage bag for produce that removes ethylene gas and moisture that lead to spoilage. They're called Evert-Fresh Bags and are sold 10 to a package with prices beginning around $3. They can be found at www.greenbags.com or call 1-800-372-3610. I have not used these yet...only read about them but they sound good.
Other smart items come in the form of students from our Tutrovansum area who've attained scholastic notice. On Strider's Honor Roll are Hunter Gee, Kristopher Jenkins, Sarah Ellen Jenkins, Natalie Ellington, Caitlyn Flautt, Leo Hill and Jesse Biggers. St. Georges lists Holly Pearson and Lee Academy includes Schuyler Clay, Brittany Dong, Chad Swindoll, Britney Barnard, Bo Catoe, John Gee, Melanie Dong, Ellen Whitten, Anna Booth Clay and Corley Luckett.
College students with academic and vocational honors are Melissa Ann Goss of Webb and Robert Tharp Whitten of Sumner, attending Northwest Mississippi Community College; Edward Woo, Jr. and Amanda Kaye Fong of Webb, attending Ole Miss; Jonathon Fortner of Sumner, Anjanet Pennington of Webb and Pamela Toombs of Tutwiler, attending Delta State University. Congratulatons to all of you for applying yourselves to achieve this place of honor.
On Wednesday the 23rd, twenty-six book lovers gathered at the Tutwiler Library for
Sandwich With Books'
monthly meeting. Neil Sherman, pastor of Sumner Presbyterian Church, reviewed the beautifully illustrated children's book titled
The Cremation of Sam McGee
, written by an Alaskan and acquired while Neil and his wife were visiting there recently. Neighbors from Webb and Sumner in attendance were Marguerite Webb and Claudie and Sue Chandler. Also in attendance were Adelaide Steele's brother Oliver Anderson and wife Lela from Clinton.
Barbara Jennings, accompanied by daughter-in-law Terri, attended the State Municipal Convention in Jackson 22-24. Barbara is one of many in her family to serve her town. Her husband John and son, Phil, are both past Mayors and daughter Luanne is a past Board Member. Barbara is an enthusiastic member of the Board at present and is very supportive of town functions and goals. She is also very dedicated to her family...any time and all the time. She just returned from babysitting her great grandaughter, little Mary Elizabeth Farish of Greenville, who was ailing and needed personal, at home, attention. Family, friends, community and church keep her happy and on the go.
The community sick that I know about are Mary Tharp, who has Shingles; R.I. Castle recovering from a broken rib and Dot Peyton with pneumonia and a patient in the Clarksdale Medical Center, having to spend several days in ICU. Thelma Wright spent a couple of days in the Clarksdale Medical Center this week, also. Our cousin and former Tutwiler boy, Bill Bruister, is a patient in Memphis at St. Francis Hospital where, at the present time, he is in the cardiac ICU. A big get-well wish to all of them.
That's about it again from Tutwiler where the weather is more like a mild summer day than winter in the Delta. Do you suppose there's not enough cold weather to go around? Maybe I should stop grumbling. We'd probably not like it any better if the weather dipped like it did in 1966 when it hit minus 19 degrees, the coldest temperature ever recorded in Mississippi. Was cleaning out a drawer and ran across a
Mississippi Matters of Fact
Calendar with this recorded for January 30th. (Don't know what else is in that drawer because, of course, the facts calendar was much more interesting) We have
blooming! That's what they called jonquils in
by Janice Holt Giles. Sounds good to me.