Rachel sits on the ground by the road, leaning against the mailbox post. She watches the fire through the windows as it spreads from the sofa to the carpet and begins to crawl up the walls of the living room. Smoke seeps from underneath the closed windows in a slow exhale.
Roughly a half-million kids will descend on roughly 1,100 Mississippi public schools to begin the 2013-14 school year on Wednesday. I suspect it will be a controlled chaos and that most of what is learned Wednesday won't be found on the syllabus.
In Part I Sunday, Rachel awakes in the night to find her home being vandalized, hiding under the bed until the intruders have departed. Her brother, Stephen, urges her to leave for Ohio to live with their mother, leaving behind her meager life as a truck-stop waitress and every-scheming boyfriend, Dale, who is in Hattiesburg talking to some strangers about the dubious prospects of opening a buffalo ranching operation...
Sometimes you get a wild hair. I wish I could say it doesn't happen often, but frankly, it does.
Nine months and 1,100 miles ago, 18-year-old Alexandre Ledwith climbed into his $500 sailboat moored on the banks of the Mississippi at Trempealeau, Wis., and headed downstream.
Rachel crawls out from under the bed. She takes her robe from the hook on the closet door. She had awakened in the middle of the night and heard the voices outside the house, then heard the back door forced open, and she slipped out of bed and onto the floor, scurrying under like an insect.
This past week my Aunt Marietta McCarter died and it again brought to mind the continued passing of the "Greatest Generation.'
Drew and Carter Pack stood on the dock. Each, being boys of 7 and 4 years, had shed their shirts, shoes and socks. Drew, with fishing pole in hand, caught fish while Carter scooped minnows in a cup.
Paris, July 21 -- Everyone said the crowds would be horrendous. The woman at the front desk was unenthusiastic. Six cyclists from California who were drinking wine in the lobby of the hotel had been to the Champs-Elysees earlier in the day. They had seen the crowds and the giant flag draped from the Arc de Triomphe, and that was good enough for them. They would watch the finish on TV.
Occasionally an easy breeze blows through the tree canopy, and it feels cool. Other times, the wind is as still as death, the air so thick it's like pushing against a wall.
Tony had said he would give me a ride to the train station.
July always brings, hot humid weather and thoughts of vacations. Though destinations and entertainment have to a large extent changed, summer vacations have long been with us. While people still often go to the Biloxi and the Gulf, who now goes to or has even heard of Way, Mississippi?
As part of its mission as a research university, the folks at Mississippi State are always up to something interesting. Hardly a week goes by that we do not receive a press release that provides details of research projects the university is working on. Some are more interesting than others, obviously.
With the latest rate increase caused by the runaway Kemper power plant, Mississippi Power residential customers will be paying 66 percent more for their electricity than Entergy customers in Mississippi.
A raccoon was caught in the cage and the rain was beating hard. I admit I was feeling pretty prideful as it rarely takes more than a night to catch one. Raccoons are destructive; they have to go.
A sweet young woman named Michelle painted my toenails the orange of road construction cones, a polish called Flip Flop Fantasy. I was ready to roll. The older I get, the lighter I travel.
2. Possumhaw: Lazy, hazy days of summer LOCAL COLUMNS