On Wednesday a small group of friends met at Munson Brothers’ Trading Post to eat pizza.
Community activist and businessman Ryan Munson needed some folks to sample food he hopes to serve at his neighborhood gathering place.
Imagine a trading post in the Pacific Northwest, one that happens to have a living room, a bar, a beer garden, a small park and a kids playground. It even has a front porch.
It is a pleasant place to end the day with friends, the beverage of your choice and, on this evening, pizza.
Mississippi Main Street Association must have agreed. Earlier this year it recognized Munson Brothers as its outstanding new business.
Munson plans to apply for a license to serve food soon. For now patrons can brown bag their food.
“‘Brothers’ is metaphorical,” says Ryan. They are the people who help him craft the candles, soap, lotions, beard oil and lip balm he markets in the Trading Post and at festivals and craft fairs.
His wife Katherine (Feeney) and Lance Cooper are his primary “brothers,” he says.
When I stopped by late Friday morning, Brother Katherine was serving lunch to their three children: Molly, 10; Luke, 6 and Hannah, 3.
The place always seems to have a happy buzz, and this morning was no exception.
“We’ve visited places where people are building the world around them they want to live in,” says Ryan. “We want to bring things to Columbus that are not here already.
“Our business plan makes no sense.”
Munson, recently selected board chairman for the Columbus Arts Council (CAC), believes the arts can be a catalyst for community growth and enrichment.
“We want to be a part of cultivating an arts scene because it enriches a place,” he says.
The Trading Post has hosted numerous community events including The Burns Bottom Arts Festival, which it co-sponsored with the CAC in March.
The only fly in the ointment, if there was one Wednesday evening, was music bingo trivia, a.k.a. Rock Star Bingo.
The first category, 90s music, might as well have been rulers of ancient Mesopotamia, about which I know nothing.
Lawton Harrison, who is visiting from Texas and who I’ve known at least since we entered Audrey Whitten’s first grade class at Demonstration School, somehow got the schooling on 90s music. Maybe it was his stint as a high school teacher.
Lawton and I over the years shared some memorable teachers, Virginia Mae Ferrill for sixth grade at Demonstration School and Betty Carnes (geometry) and Mack Egger (physics and senior math) at Lee High School.
Good teachers shape lives. Lawton became a math teacher … as well as a golf pro, swimming coach and Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal.
When the music bingo category changed to Classic Rock —“Purple Haze,” “Come Together,” “Sympathy for the Devil” and “For What It’s Worth” — our fortunes improved.
Hendrix, the Beatles, the Stones and Buffalo Springfield, all rightly dubbed classics.
Our group dispersed as the sun was setting. As we walked to our cars Lawton said, “Columbus has always had beautiful sunsets.”
Such was the case on this day. There had been rain earlier, clearing the air. To the west, over and beyond the Hitch Lot, a dark cloud obscured the setting sun.
Not one to leave the stage unnoticed, the sun haloed the dark cloud in a brilliant orange and red.
I sat in my truck and watched the show, a quiet, sublime ending to another day.
“Building the world around us we want to live in.” Each in our own way.
Birney Imes (email@example.com) is the former publisher of The Dispatch.
Birney Imes III is the immediate past publisher of The Dispatch.
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