Thursday morning amid a swirl of hickory smoke Ronnie Clayton raised the lid of a well-seasoned cooker and placed about a dozen hog snoots on the grill.
Saturday afternoon, just after three o'clock, I made an ill-timed decision to walk around the corner for a coffee. I had been in my office at The Dispatch struggling with a column on books about rivers -- a favorite subject of late -- and it just wasn't happening.
A while back Katherine Kerby got a phone call from a retired British soldier living in Canada. He was doing genealogical research on his cousin Susan, who he said, "had been lost to the wilds of Mississippi."
It began innocently enough. The Toyota obsession (or "sickness," as he calls it). In 1993 Kerry Blalock promised his nephew, Eric Mason, a vehicle if he kept his grades C or higher. Shortly thereafter Blalock found Eric a 1974 Toyota Land Cruiser at Greenline Equipment. Someone had traded it in on a tractor.
Saturday, a week ago, while waiting on coffee in one of those scruffy, only-in-New-Orleans kind of places, I leafed through the current issue of Gambit, a local weekly newspaper, and there was Elayne Goodman.
Alabama's Sipsey River is a 145-mile long low-lying, swamp-like stream that begins in Glen Allen near Fayette and runs south until it crosses Highway 82 just east of Gordo. There it veers southwest where it eventually flows into the Tennessee-Tombigbee just south of Vienna.
When my mother was a schoolgirl, she would come home from Franklin Academy, get a lemon, dip it in sugar and then climb up into her tree house and read Nancy Drew mysteries.
Lee Lee and Randy Burris have what seems to be the perfect retirement plan. It looks a lot like beekeeping.
They didn't stumble upon it right away. Parents of two grown children and longtime New Hope residents, the Burrises retired a dozen year ago: Lee Lee from teaching at New Hope Elementary and Randy from the Mississippi Employment Service.
It was a scene straight out of Huck Finn. Two guys standing around a campfire on a remote island in a wide river, bright moon and stars overhead.
Having spent a healthy slice of time in my formative years on the Tombigbee in a ski-boat dodging stumps, blue rock and gravel shoals, it seems like a fitting destiny to be quietly paddling a kayak through those same waters half a century later.
At the head of a column two weeks ago about a walk in the rain along Moore's Creek, I quoted the opening lines from "A Rainy Night in Georgia," and attributed the tune to Brook Benton, who in 1970 took it to the top of the Billboard charts.
On the morning of the second day of the new year, I was in Friendship Cemetery with a pick, a bag of mulch, soil enhancer and a couple of scraggly twigs purported to be a rose bush in the back of the pickup.
Late Thursday afternoon I went for a walk in the rain.
By the time I hit Main Street it had been raining a couple of hours. The deluge would go on until around 6 the following morning, 3-1/2 inches worth, according to the NOAA* website.
Shortly after passing Bob Roberts Barbecue and Burkhalter Rigging, the motorist heading south on Highway 45 crosses three streams, Motley Slough, Gilmer Creek and Magowah Creek.
To say you spent a day in the woods with a woodcutter sounds like the opening lines of a folk tale.
The other day I was in Office Depot getting some river maps laminated. The Army Corps of Engineers has wonderful navigation maps available online of the Tenn-Tom and the Mississippi, two rivers I've been exploring in a kayak.
Isaac Miller wakes up thinking about different things than most of us. To wit: Friday morning he woke replaying in his mind a game of chess he played the night before with his brother.
Thursday lunch, Algoma Store.
Five of us are sitting at a round table with a vinyl, checked tablecloth. Mike and Clyde are eating bologna-and-cheese sandwiches on white bread. Johnny is having chicken-fried steak with white gravy and Don and I are having chicken wings, he with fried onion rings, me potato logs.
Saturday, a week ago, on the way home from a graveside service at Friendship, I drove through Trash Alley where a garage sale and fish fry were in progress. Thinking some levity might be a nice follow-up to what had been a solemn event, I rolled the window down and asked what was cooking. Fish and chicken.
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