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Rheta Grimsley Johnson: More than a song and dance woman

Posted 10/27/2016 in National Columns

She called it her "Sleeping Beauty Castle," and that name is apt. If you saw this storybook chateau in the U.S., you'd figure Disney built it. You'd drive a thousand miles to look at it.

 

Rheta Grimsley Johnson: Home is where the art is

Posted 10/1/2016 in National Columns

Last week the temperatures dropped, the sedum in the front yard turned blush pink, SEC teams took the field, an owl hooted, and it was safe to go on the porch again. Fall is always worth the wait.

 

Rheta Johnson: Faulkner, chainsaws and magnolias

Posted 9/24/2016 in National Columns

The apex of my 40-year journalism career was a telephone interview, strange to say. I combed my curls and dressed up in my best corduroy skirt and blue sweater for that phone chat, wanting to look pretty because of the person on the other end of the line.

 

Rheta Johnson: Build that wall

Posted 9/15/2016 in Local Columns

I've been three times to the Ernest Hemingway house in Key West, Florida, hoping with each visit to find some secret to writing short, declarative sentences that resonate with the reading public and sell millions of books.

 

Rheta Grimsley Johnson: A dangerous place to travel

Posted 9/3/2016 in National Columns

It was a story in USA Today with a big, inky headline that caught my eye: "OVERSEAS WARNINGS ABOUT TRAVEL TO USA COULD HURT TOURISM."

 

Rheta Johnson: A shout-out about Whispering Bill's book

Posted 8/27/2016 in National Columns

It's almost like one of those "Where's Waldo?" books, when you find the man in the funny cap on every page in every location in every situation.

 

Rheta Johnson: My old man and lesser writers

Posted 8/16/2016 in Local Columns

I'm scheduled this month to show up at a writer's fair in Mississippi's Jackson, a town where I've only ever distinguished myself by not being hired by the local newspaper, being evicted from an apartment for parking a rotten sailboat in the side yard and working briefly for United Press International after that news organization stopped issuing regular paychecks.

 

Rheta Grimsley Johnson: A personal Magic Kingdom invaded

Posted 7/23/2016 in National Columns

Most of us, if we are lucky, have one place in our lives we have seen that exceeds all expectations, that we keep in our minds like an escape hatch from the dreary routine of daily existence or failed dreams.

 

Rheta Johnson: Kris' birthday coming down

Posted 7/14/2016 in Local Columns

As soon as the heat dropped below 90 degrees one recent late afternoon -- about 7 o'clock, really -- I moved the CD player to the front porch, adjusted the fan just so and put my feet up on a coffee table. I played "Sunday Morning Coming Down" and "The Pilgrim" and "The Captive."

 

Rheta Johnson: America the beautiful

Posted 7/2/2016 in National Columns

A Wellesley College English professor, Katharine Lee Bates, made a journey by train to Colorado Springs in 1893 and was so inspired by the sights that she wrote a poem.

 

Rheta Johnson: Grits, religion, bush-hogging and coming out

Posted 6/18/2016 in National Columns

I wonder if the governors of Mississippi and North Carolina and other states where gay, lesbian and transgender citizens have been targeted, usually in the name of religion, have any idea that the taxpayers they are maligning have been through many other battles. And survived.

 

Rheta Johnson: Rent to own or get a loan

Posted 6/6/2016 in Local Columns

President and Mrs. Obama reportedly are about to join a club in which I'm glad to no longer hold membership: They are about to become renters.

 

Johnson: Why some people live like they do

Posted 6/4/2016 in National Columns

I like to go back to Metro Atlanta often enough to remember why I left. Atlanta, of course, is now one hellishly dense suburb that stretches from Chattanooga to Columbus with a tightly stitched tapestry of chain crap and traffic snarls in between. I creep along and remember.

 

Rheta Johnson: Azaleas and long legs

Posted 3/26/2016 in National Columns

There are still a lot of overgrown Katrina lots on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, green ghosts left from a decade ago when the driveways led to houses and the concrete slabs held homes.

 

Rheta Johnson: Events in black and white

Posted 3/19/2016 in National Columns

The civil-rights movement wasn't just "Rosa sat down, Martin stood up and the white folks came down to save the day," the photographer Matt Herron quips.

 

Rheta Johnson: Time for your close-up

Posted 3/12/2016 in National Columns

When I was a kid in knee socks held up with rubber bands from the produce aisle, my fourth-grade teacher scribbled a note on my report card. Rheta has a flair for drama.

 

Rheta Grimsley Johnson: One writer to another

Posted 2/27/2016 in National Columns

When I moved to Monroeville, Alabama, in 1975, it was because of Bill Stewart, not Nelle Harper Lee. Stewart was the publisher of The Monroe Journal, an excellent weekly run by Bill Stewart's son, Steve, and his daughter-in-law, Patrice.

 

Rheta Grimsley Johnson: A newspaper's finest hour

Posted 1/30/2016 in National Columns

The heft of the gold felt good in the palm. A smooth, super-size coin was passed from person to person. It was the Pulitzer Prize. A real one.

 

Rheta Johnson: Voila, New Orleans

Posted 1/19/2016 in Local Columns

It is Twelfth Night. Beneath a balcony in the French Quarter, we listen as dignitaries high above welcome Joan of Arc and the start of Carnival season.

 

Rheta Johnson: Catch me if you can

Posted 12/29/2015 in Local Columns

I was making a gingerbread man, a ginger-Trump-man, using candy orange slices for the infamous hair, all the while trying to figure out why a smart friend the night before had said what everyone and his brother keeps declaring with conviction: The Donald is sure to lose steam any day now.

 

 

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