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Rheta Grimsley Johnson: A September night long ago

Posted 9/26/2015 in National Columns

One September night when I was 4, my father came home early from the butcher shop where he worked in the Florida Panhandle town of Pensacola. We were, he announced, going to the fair.


Rheta Johnson: Big rig democrat is stunning

Posted 9/19/2015 in National Columns

The New York Times says that the choice of a bona fide working man as the Democratic nominee for Mississippi governor "illustrates to some degree the forlorn state of affairs for Democrats in the South."


Rheta Grimsley Johnson: Elvis was Mississippi-made

Posted 9/5/2015 in National Columns

Made in China. Made in Mexico. The souvenirs our Virginia visitors bought at the Elvis birthplace museum in Tupelo, Mississippi, all were made far away in other countries, and I'm wondering why. Elvis wasn't made in China. He was made right here in Mississippi.


Rheta Grimsley Johnson: Wish you were here

Posted 8/29/2015 in National Columns

Among the family treasures my siblings and I divided up after my mother died, there was a sewing machine drawer full of postcards. She may have neglected to save one at some point over her nearly 90 years, but I doubt it.


Rheta Johnson: Waltzing across Texas

Posted 8/22/2015 in National Columns

I wake up in the delightfully retro Austin Motel and see that the childproof top remains on the ibuprofen, which means I did not make it to midnight to hear Bobby Rush at the Continental Club. And that means I'm likely to finish my waltz across Texas without any music.


Rheta Grimsley Johnson: A Thelma and Louise story (kinda)

Posted 8/15/2015 in National Columns

You should know that I have this thing about long road trips with a turnaround planned but not realized until there are a lot of detours and meanderings and good music that doesn't require a ticket. I'm overdue.


Rheta Johnson: Stars and bars and endless battles

Posted 7/15/2015 in Local Columns

It strikes me that those who are defending the Confederate flag in the name of their Southern heritage are a little late.


Rheta Johnson: Gone but not forgotten

Posted 6/27/2015 in National Columns

I grew up in cemeteries. They were part of our education, recreation and, too often, conversation.


Rheta Johnson: The Cry Wolf Project

Posted 6/20/2015 in National Columns

There is a website that purports to expose "myths about the economy and government," Cry Wolf Project.


Rheta Grimsley Johnson: Caruso played the Ryman

Posted 6/6/2015 in National Columns

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- I try to love Nashville because of its country-music heritage. Whenever I visit that city, I listen to WSM on the drive up to get my mind right, and I wear a plaid shirt that snaps and old blue jeans. It's a matter of reverence. Nashville ought to be different, somehow.


Rheta Grimsley Johnson: B.B. King and 'Chains and Things'

Posted 5/30/2015 in National Columns

I have made a long career out of writing about good people who are not celebrities, who typically appear in news pages a prescribed three times: when they are born, when they get married and when they die, and then only if someone cares enough to pay for an obituary. I have liked it that way. I always wanted to grow up to be Charles Kuralt, not Barbara Walters.


Rheta Grimsley Johnson: George Washington, whiskey distiller

Posted 5/16/2015 in National Columns

Who knew that the Father of Our Country made and sold whiskey? Rye whiskey, most probably foul-tasting, un-aged, as was the custom of the day. I would not tell a lie.


Rheta Grimsley Johnson: The incredible journey of a paperboy

Posted 5/9/2015 in National Columns

Almost everybody I've ever known in the newspaper business threatens at some point to write a book. Few do. I guess it's realizing that you spit out enough words in daily increments to complete "War and Peace" 50 times that makes you think writing a book would be a piece of cake. And, yes, make that a best seller while we're at it.


Rheta Grimsley Johnson: Away from the spring break hordes

Posted 4/18/2015 in National Columns

FRONT ROYAL, Va. -- It must have been a harried parent trying to cope while youngsters protested a long drive who invented that car game where you try to spot license plates from all the 50 states. In this the season of school tour groups and cherry blossoms, it's almost too easy.


Rheta Johnson: At least not landlocked

Posted 4/16/2015 in Local Columns

It was a "magical place," she says, back in 1992, when her parents bought the big house overlooking the Mississippi Sound in the quaint harbor town of Pass Christian.


Rheta Grimsley Johnson: No tail-dragging allowed

Posted 3/14/2015 in National Columns

In a Natchez, Mississippi, gift shop I saw a sign with a dog swilling a pint. It said: "In dog beers, I've only had one." Some days I feel that in newspaper years, I'm 434 years old.


Rheta Johnson: Reaching the masses

Posted 2/17/2015 in Local Columns

The New York Times comes to the mailbox in fits and starts, sometimes three papers a day, often none at all.


Rheta Grimsley Johnson: How 'bout those Catamounts

Posted 2/7/2015 in National Columns

Warning: The following column contains sexist comments that might be offensive to just about everyone. I heard about the cleverest gift ever, and -- imagine this -- it was given from a man to his wife. He presented her with T-shirts for every University of Alabama football opponent for the entire past season, before the season, so she could wear their colors and root for the Tide's opponents.


Rheta Grimsley Johnson: History on the big screen

Posted 1/31/2015 in National Columns

The second record album I ever owned was "In the Wind" by Peter, Paul and Mary. The first, a compilation of rock hits by various artists, including the inimitable Aretha Franklin singing "Sweet Bitter Love," one of the best songs ever sung. I still have Albums One and Two, their surfaces scratched and covers worn.


Rheta Johnson: This ole house

Posted 1/24/2015 in National Columns

When I was little, Stuart Hamblen's song "This Ole House" always made me unutterably sad. Despite the lively melody and cheerful beat, the homeowner was giving up, leaving his faithful hound dog to fend for itself.



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