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Partial to Home: A childhood pleasure rediscovered

Posted 7/13/2019 in Local Columns

Wednesday afternoon walking through downtown you felt as if you were trapped inside a pizza oven. Thus the late afternoon rain provided a welcome finish to the day, even if you were riding a bike on the Riverwalk, as I happened to be.

 

Partial to Home: Gardening after dark

Posted 6/22/2019 in Local Columns

This time of year when I can't sleep, I put on my headlamp, go into the backyard and wander around in the garden. There is something otherworldly about all this natural beauty shrouded in darkness.

 

Partial to Home: Why I love Finland

Posted 6/15/2019 in Local Columns

HELSINKI, FINLAND -- We took a seat on the ferry to Suomenlinna next to a man eating strawberries. He looked like an athlete, tall, lean with California-surfer good looks. He was dressed in his bicycle garb, helmet at his side.

 

Partial to Home: Avoid heartbreak; get your snoots early

Posted 5/18/2019 in Local Columns

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.

 

Partial to Home: Downtown in the pouring rain

Posted 5/11/2019 in Local Columns

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.

 

Partial to Home: The audacious Mrs. Maer

Posted 5/4/2019 in Local Columns

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."

 

Partial to Home: The clunky, utilitarian, irresistible Land Cruiser

Posted 4/28/2019 in Local Columns

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.

 

Partial to Home: Elvis reconsidered

Posted 4/13/2019 in Local Columns

Partial to Home: 'Always inspired, sometimes poetic and often just downright funny'

Posted 3/30/2019 in Local Columns

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.

 

Partial to Home: Pick up trash. Tell the world about it.

Posted 3/16/2019 in Local Columns

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.

 

Partial to home: My mother's childhood memories

Posted 3/3/2019 in Local Columns

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.

 

Partial to Home: A honey of a retirement plan

Posted 2/23/2019 in Local Columns

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.

 

Partial to Home: Moon river

Posted 1/26/2019 in Local Columns

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.

 

Partial to Home: Area paddlers enjoy rich offering of natural wonders

Posted 1/21/2019 in Local Columns

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.

 

Partial to Home: On tour with swamp rocker Tony Joe White

Posted 1/12/2019 in Local Columns

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.

 

Partial to Home: A rose for Taddy

Posted 1/5/2019 in Local Columns

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.

 

Partial to Home: A rainy night in Columbus

Posted 12/29/2018 in Local Columns

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.

 

Partial to Home: On Magowah Creek

Posted 12/15/2018 in Local Columns

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.

 

Partial to Home: A day in the woods

Posted 12/1/2018 in Local Columns

To say you spent a day in the woods with a woodcutter sounds like the opening lines of a folk tale.

 

Partial to Home: Resisting the cell phone's Siren call

Posted 11/17/2018 in Local Columns

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.

 

 

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