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Birney Imes: Allen Roberts wants to give you a flower

Posted 8/29/2015 in Local Columns

Here in the South hand-painted signs are among our most irresistible roadside attractions. The best of them exert a Siren-song pull on innocent motorists. Take for example the clutch of signs at the intersection of Highway 50 and Lone Oak Road just west of West Point.

 

Jake Propst, local tennis legend, dies at 95

Posted 8/18/2015 in Columbus & Lowndes County

Over the course of his long life, William Jacob Propst was a college athlete, World War II fighter pilot, professional baseball player, cattle farmer, insurance salesman ... and he played tennis.

 

Birney Imes: Cameras I have owned (and loved)

Posted 8/15/2015 in Local Columns

Lately, I've been thinking about buying a digital camera, one with professional features. While I've taken plenty of pictures with point-and-shoot digitals, I've yet to fully embrace the trend that almost overnight relegated film to the same status as record albums.

 

Birney Imes: Wildlife

Posted 8/8/2015 in Local Columns

Charlie Slayton had just come home with Chinese take-out for his wife when I got him on the phone Wednesday evening. A few days earlier, Charlie, a high school classmate, had emailed a suggestion on how to rid a house of fleas. "I was told that taking a walnut branch and dragging it through the house and yard will repel fleas," wrote Charlie. "Something about walnuts they can't stand."

 

Birney Imes: Wobble boxes and polywads

Posted 8/1/2015 in Local Columns

Sometimes, when driving, I listen to a learn-to-speak-French CD, one of those language programs where you repeat phrases spoken in French. One of the phrases is "Je ne parle pas anglais, je parle American" ("I don't speak English, I speak American.") I smile every time I hear it, for it's certainly true. And then there is the matter of we in the South with our own lingua franca.

 

Birney Imes: One more shimmering day

Posted 7/18/2015 in Local Columns

After the visitation I went home and made two tomato sandwiches. There seemed something life affirming about eating tomatoes from your own garden in the heat of summer.

 

'Mack' Egger, longtime teacher, dies at 93

Posted 7/14/2015 in Columbus & Lowndes County

William Malcolm "Mack" Egger, a revered high school math and physics teacher and a tireless doer of good deeds for the townspeople of his native Caledonia, died Monday afternoon.

 

Birney Imes: We're lost, but we're making good time

Posted 7/11/2015 in Local Columns

We've been fighting fleas in the house for over a week now. The Yogi Berra quote above pretty much describes our progress so far. I think we've tried every eradication method short of calling an exterminator. That's going to happen Monday, I am told. Say hallelujah.

 

Birney Imes: Sonny Strickland's labor of love

Posted 7/4/2015 in Local Columns

ACKERMAN -- By five o'clock Friday afternoon, the cars had begun piling up in the gravel lot in front of two small buildings made of rough-cut timber. Smoke could be seen billowing from an open shed behind the buildings. The air was thick with the heavy fragrance of meat cooking.

 

Partial to Home: Now is the time

Posted 6/29/2015 in Local Columns

We should seize the moment. As the only state in the union that incorporates the Confederate battle flag in its state flag, we signal to the rest of the world allegiance to a cause a large portion of our population associates with enslavement and oppression.

 

Birney Imes: Picture stories

Posted 6/13/2015 in Local Columns

At a family gathering last week, someone suggested we take a group picture. It was a momentous occasion; there were a lot of us there; and everyone thought it a good idea. But the light was fading. Anyone have a camera?

 

Birney Imes: A night at the theater

Posted 5/30/2015 in Local Columns

The other night at the theater (no kidding) I happened to be sitting by a woman who, before the curtain went up, was telling a story about a mouse, an English mouse.

 

Birney Imes: Rooster with pleasant memories

Posted 5/16/2015 in Local Columns

On a recent morning around 6 o'clock, a black rooster on the front porch of the house across the street from Miracle Valley Holy Ghost Temple of Deliverance hopped up on the railing and began to crow.

 

Birney Imes: The curious case of Mark Landis

Posted 5/9/2015 in Local Columns

"Things are seldom as they seem; skim milk masquerades as cream." -- Mark Landis quoting Gilbert and Sullivan It doesn't happen often, but every now and then the gods offer up someone who is doing something for which there is no precedent. Because we've not seen it before, we are not sure how to react and acceptance varies, sometimes to the extreme. Take Mark Landis, for example.

 

Partial to Home: The Lord's mysterious ways

Posted 4/25/2015 in Local Columns

So I'm standing in line waiting to place my order at the Old Country Bakery in Brooksville and this voice says, "Why didn't you say in your column that you ate here?"

 

Birney Imes: A case for maps

Posted 4/18/2015 in Local Columns

Not all who wander are lost. --J.R.R. Tolkien Before venturing to the outer reaches of Noxubee County last week to visit Charlie Dahlke's farm, I took my "Mississippi Atlas & Gazetteer" and made an enlarged photocopy of page 39. You know the books, the red oversized atlases dedicated to a single state.

 

Birney Imes: Backyard hijinks

Posted 4/4/2015 in Local Columns

Friday afternoon temperatures hit the mid-80s, so I put several inches of water in a plastic swimming pool for Val. She immediately came over, took a drink then lowered herself into the liquid and sat there as if she was a Persian princess waiting on her attendants to come bathe her. Allowing that Val is of mixed parentage, has a bad eye and was found on a gravel road (dragging a chain), her attitude is, well, charming.

 

Birney Imes: Mack Banks: At 80, still one be-bopping daddy

Posted 3/28/2015 in Local Columns

My friend Axel called from Germany the other day. When I told him I was going to be interviewing Mack Banks later in the week, he threw out a quote from one of Mack's X-rated songs and asked me if I still had the album he gave me years ago.

 

Birney Imes: More than a game

Posted 3/14/2015 in Local Columns

In the Sandfield Community, not far from the intersection of 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue South, there is an abandoned slab of concrete about 30 feet square. On the east and west edges of the square are light poles with "Keep Out" signs on them. At one time, the place served as a basketball court for neighborhood kids.

 

Birney Imes: Ed Phillips, requiescat in pace

Posted 3/7/2015 in Local Columns

Ed Phillips looked like a man you might have seen sauntering down the gangplank of a Mississippi riverboat at the foot of Canal Street sometime in the mid-1800s. Barrel chested, uncommonly handsome and with a voice that rumbled like distant thunder, Ed would have been a more-than-adequate stand-in for Clark Gable in that actor's most memorable role. Ed died Saturday a week ago. He was 80.

 

 

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