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Partial to Home: The view from Homer's front porch

Posted 5/28/2016 in National Columns

It's Friday afternoon and I'm sitting on the front porch of an uninhabited trailer that until recently was the home of Homer Cantrell.

 

Birney Imes: The fraternity of beekeepers

Posted 5/21/2016 in Local Columns

Omar is having trouble with his bees; they're not producing honey. This according to Rashita, the woman who manages the inn where I am staying.

 

Partial to Home: Questions without answers

Posted 5/14/2016 in Local Columns

A woman in our group wonders aloud if the birds were singing when the air was filled with ash. I walk over to the fence and balance my recorder on the rusting strands of barbed wire.

 

Partial to Home: Persimmons

Posted 4/23/2016 in Local Columns

About four years ago a friend visiting from the North rode with me to a rural church outside of Caledonia to photograph the tombstone for a woman's leg. The woman had the leg removed for medical reasons, and, perhaps thinking it would be useful later, had it buried next to the spot her remains would eventually (and now) inhabit. Her husband's grave neighbored her on the other side.

 

Partial to Home: A eulogy for Bob

Posted 4/16/2016 in Local Columns

Last weekend I attended the funeral of a dear friend who died after an almost two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Though not a religious man, Bob's funeral was held in a Catholic church in a scruffy section of Syracuse.

 

Partial to Home: Emoji, Uber and two birthdays

Posted 3/26/2016 in Local Columns

One afternoon last week I walked into the house to find our grandson helping Beth develop a personal emoji. You know, those little icons that go with emails and text messages to communicate emotion: happiness, sadness, anger, surprise.

 

Birney Imes: Fossil hunting on the Luxapalila

Posted 3/19/2016 in Local Columns

Eighty-five million years ago, sharks swam where Gardner Boulevard is now. Carnivorous raptors roamed nearby beaches. Ten-foot-long crocodiles thrashed about.

 

Birney Imes: A bit of Alabama history

Posted 2/27/2016 in Local Columns

Tuesday afternoon, in a warehouse in Fayette, Alabama, Kimberly Bowling, a 45-year-old mother of three, Auburn University graduate and business owner, maneuvered a pallet jack up the ramp of a semi-trailer and pushed it under a listing tower of glass jars. The jars, $20,000 worth of them, had just arrived by truck from Jonesboro, Arkansas.

 

The gentle gardener

Posted 2/13/2016 in Local Columns

Back in the 60s when he was a student at Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee, and dating a pretty young coed named Jessie, Melchie Koonce had an idea.

 

Partial to Home: 'Remember me as you pass by'

Posted 2/6/2016 in Local Columns

If you want to find Billie Noland on a Thursday morning, the best place to look is Friendship Cemetery. Such has been the case for 29 years.

 

Grandma Willie's Jerusalem artichoke relish

Posted 1/16/2016 in Local Columns

A letter from a 93-year-old woman in Bartahatchie leads to living room in Brooksville. There on Thursday afternoon I heard stories about long-ago teenagers dancing barefoot in a local dance hall and learned some of the finer points of making Jerusalem artichoke relish.

 

Partial to Home: Google's Earth

Posted 1/9/2016 in Local Columns

Mrs. Leonard Ross sent us a letter last week. Enclosed was a check for six months of The Dispatch and a year's subscription to Catfish Alley. In a note with her check, Mrs. Ross wrote, "Have been subscribing to your paper since water!!! Keep it going to print!" She also wrote, "Tell Birney to keep 'Partial to Home' articles going. Printed news very important for us 'oldies,' who are not 'computer involved.'"

 

Birney Imes: Radio days

Posted 1/2/2016 in Local Columns

New Year's Day -- Late morning as I was driving up College Street on my way to the grocery store, I switched on the radio and The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra was playing "On the Beautiful Blue Danube" by Johann Strauss. I thought of my father.

 

Partial to Home: End-of-year musings

Posted 12/26/2015 in Local Columns

Christmas Eve -- It's early morning and Val, our lost-and-found dog with a bad eye and I are on our way to Noxubee County to spend the morning in the woods.

 

Partial to Home: Buck's bees

Posted 12/12/2015 in Local Columns

On a recent afternoon, the beekeeper Buck Hildreth walked out the back door of his home and down his driveway to a white cabinet near the road that runs in front of his house.

 

Birney Imes: Lunch with Bobby

Posted 12/5/2015 in Local Columns

Do people talk with each other anymore? Here's an idea: Call and invite someone to lunch, or coffee or for a drink. Both of you agree to put up your "devices." Better yet, invite someone outside your usual circle, someone different, maybe even someone of a different race, different politics or with different views on religion. Amazing what a face-to-face conversation can do for understanding.

 

Birney Imes: Land of the free, home of the brave

Posted 11/21/2015 in Local Columns

As we approach a holiday that celebrates the charity of a native people to a refugees fleeing persecution, we would do well to consider our response to the plight of another set of refugees in the aftermath of terrorist attacks that slaughtered 129 innocents in Paris on Nov. 13.

 

Birney Imes: A blue light in the rear-view mirror

Posted 11/14/2015 in Local Columns

A friend and I were talking about law enforcement the other day. "How many times have you been stopped and searched by the police?" J. asked. We're about the same age. "None, at least not since college," I said. "What about you?" "Four times," he said. He happens to be black, well educated and prominent in his community.

 

Birney Imes: At home in the world

Posted 11/8/2015 in Local Columns

In early January of 2014, Jessica Austin boarded a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines jet in Washington D.C. and flew to Istanbul, Turkey. She knew no one in Istanbul. She did not have a place to stay, nor did she have a job waiting on her.

 

Birney Imes: Backyard, 6:30 a.m.

Posted 10/24/2015 in Local Columns

A thick down comforter of gray clouds pressed against the morning sky. The fringe along the eastern edge of the clouds was the color of July peaches. Before sunrise late last week, I had come outside, coffee in hand, to admire the explosion of yellow swamp sunflowers in our otherwise fading backyard. The sunflowers are perennials that grow and grow -- some are as tall as 12-feet -- and you wonder if they will ever bloom.

 

 

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