On a rainy morning last week, William "Peppy" Biddy stood in front of a computer next to his desk in Cromwell Hall talking via Skype with a student in Italy. The student's name is Tristan, and he and Biddy were going over a marked up version of the student's M.F.A. thesis discussing Biddy's suggestions for improvement.
OK, here's a math problem for you, one I was faced with one day last week. A 1-cubic-foot bag of topsoil at a big box store costs $1.50. A yard of topsoil from the Lowndes County Co-Op is $40.
The only time I ever went deer hunting was when Bull Sullivan was recruiting me to play football at Scooba. A group of fellow recruits and I spent a night or two at a deer camp somewhere in the wilds of Noxubee County. (A friend who was similarly recruited two years earlier said the deer camp belonged to the Sparkmans of Macon.)
Ross, a kayaking buddy, likes to take a garbage bag on our river outings so we can police the take-out area after we've finished paddling.
Most of us, one time or another, have been called upon -- or taken it upon ourselves -- to serve as a tour guide. The call came for me a couple weeks ago. An eminent musician would be here for three days and his host wondered if I would give him a tour, share with him some of the "historical richness" of our community.
On a recent, brilliantly cold morning while navigating a kayak down the Buttahatchee somewhere between Lawrence Bridge Road near Caledonia and Highway 45, I thought about the late Robert McG. Thomas Jr., the celebrated writer of obituaries for the New York Times.
For as long as I can remember, I've been walking the trestle. By that I mean walking out on the old railroad bridge over the old channel of the river near the south end of First Street near Carrier Lodge. My children have "walked the trestle," so have the grandchildren.
In January 1996, when I took this job, I had little idea about the inner workings of a newspaper. As a kid, I had grown up running up and down the halls of this place, and I'd had a few summer jobs here.
"The Lower Mississippi River is suffering from gross misunderstanding & neglect. Most people think of it as either a drainage ditch or a super-highway for tugboat commerce. Its neither. It's a wilderness in the heart of the South."
One evening this past week, at the urging of James "H.D." Taylor, the subject of last week's column, Beth and I headed east toward Mac Davis Road to see the herd of plywood cows in a pasture next to Mitzi and Tom Green's home.
H.D. allowed he had made the cows for the Greens and even made a set for a woman from Tennessee who saw them and had to have some of her own.
Early Sunday afternoon, on the day Mississippi observed its 200th birthday, Larry Priest and James "H.D." Taylor unloaded two fishing kayaks from the back of a battered GMC pickup and dragged them to the river's edge.
The other day, while waiting on the papers to come off the press, David Plyler, a high-school classmate, and I were talking about baseball and our shared love for the New York Yankees when we were kids.
Margie Hall is talking about the Ranch House, the restaurant that has been part of her life since she moved to Columbus from Gordo in the early 50s to carhop for her brother, Bill Hall, who owned the place.
When an abusive husband called her a "dumb ass," she drove to a nearby college and took and passed the Mensa test. That's Jane: intrepid, confident, irrepressible.
Earlier this year Doug Wheeler, 76, broke his ankle while water skiing. During his seven-week convalescence, his wife, Pat, chauffeured him on his daily rounds.
While most of us would declare the study of Latin and Greek terra incognita, Bob Wolverton would argue vehemently otherwise.
All his life, even before he was stapling posters on telephone poles advertising upcoming Ringling Brothers shows and B.B. King concerts for his Uncle Dave, Jim Lavender wanted to be in the circus.
You wouldn't consider any of them political activists, necessarily, but a handful of Southside residents may have the best idea yet on how to address the flag issue. They are flying in front of their homes the historic Magnolia Flag, the banner that was once the state flag.
In the city of Berlin south of the Brandenburg Gate and several blocks west of Checkpoint Charlie, there is a museum called "Topography of Terror."
In May 2014, James Fallows, a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine, visited Columbus. Fallows and his wife, Deborah, also a correspondent for The Atlantic, were touring the country in their single-engine airplane.
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