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Partial to Home: Miracle in New Hope

Posted 12/1/2019 in Local Columns

Monday afternoon Bill Cole sat on a barstool in the empty bay of a metal building that houses Dixie Towing, the New Hope business he has owned and operated for 30 years and looked out across the road. Cole was wearing pressed jeans, cowboy boots and a black long-sleeved shirt. His swept-back white hair gives him the look of a country music star -- think Charlie Rich.


Partial to Home: How Elvis bought Graceland

Posted 11/2/2019 in Local Columns

This past Sunday Ed Rice, Bobby Manning and I were headed north on Wolf Road when Bobby for no apparent reason launched into a narrative about his family history.


Partial to Home: Catfish ponds, cotton fields ... and a coffee house?

Posted 10/27/2019 in Local Columns

Try to hold these two images in your mind. A young Mennonite man who spends workdays with his father, Michael, installing and adjusting control panels for aerators in catfish ponds in Noxubee County.


Partial to Home: Perfection as a business model

Posted 10/19/2019 in Local Columns

By the time he had worked five years in a local manufacturing plant Tony Parson knew he wanted out. But there was the usual ballast of house payments, health insurance, groceries, children, more insurance. He would endure the plant for 17 more years, until 2006.


Partial to Home: Squalid indifference

Posted 10/5/2019 in Local Columns

Partial to Home: An afternoon on the banks of the Ohio

Posted 9/29/2019 in Local Columns

When someone, who knows you well, gives you a list of sites to visit in and around his hometown and one of them is a place called Rabbit Hash, chances are, if you have the time and any curiosity, you're going to give it a look.


Partial to Home: Simply messing around in books about boats and rivers

Posted 9/21/2019 in Local Columns

Awhile back I included in an emailed invitation to a friend to go paddling on the Columbus Lake near the lock and dam a quote from Kenneth Grahame's classic "The Wind in the Willows."


Partial to Home: The hushpuppy debate

Posted 9/7/2019 in Local Columns

Just after 5 o'clock Wednesday afternoon HD Taylor pushed through our back gate. He was carrying a small cooler of catfish strips and a 14-inch cast-iron skillet.


Partial to Home: Cemetery alive with avian activity

Posted 8/31/2019 in Local Columns

When I phoned Paul Mack to finalize plans to go with him on one of his bird walks in Friendship Cemetery, he asked if I had a set of binoculars.


Partial to Home: In the fullness of August

Posted 8/17/2019 in Local Columns

If you are driving down Jemison Mill Road near Steens and happen see three abandoned kittens emerge from a hollow tree like a scene from a fairy tale and you turn around for a second look, you might as well clear off the front seat to make way for additional passengers.


Partial to Home: A kinder way

Posted 8/3/2019 in Local Columns

Partial to Home: Camping on the Sipsey

Posted 7/27/2019 in Local Columns

Around 5 o'clock on a recent Wednesday afternoon I was standing in the wilds of Pickens County, Alabama, in the only whitewater rapids on the Sipsey River, with a peach in one hand and a cell phone in the other.


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


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