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Holiday issue

Building Mississippi’s future Building Mississippi’s future through tech & education.

through tech & education.

Technology affects every part of our lives & the need for a well-equipped tech Technology affects every part of ourYet, liveswe & the need for athat well-equipped workforce is always growing. aren’t seeing reflected intech our workforce schools. is always growing. Yet, we aren’t seeing that refl ected in our schools. Through the C Spire Through the C Spire Tech Movement, we’re helping to expand computer science Tech Movement, helping to expand computer science & introducethrough students education &we’re introduce students to the incredible thingseducation they can accomplish it. to the incredible things they can accomplish through it.

Join us & learn how you can help bring Join us & learn how you to can helpschool. bring computer science your computer science to your school. cspire.com/techmvmt cspire.com/techmvmt ©2019 C Spire. All rights reserved. ©2019 C Spire. All rights reserved.

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Get Better. baptistonline.org/northmiss



Delta m








Publisher: J. Scott Coopwood Editor: Cindy Coopwood Managing Editor: Pam Parker Contributing Editors: Hank Burdine, Maude Schuyler Clay, Noel Workman, Roger Stolle Digital Editor: Phil Schank Consultant: Samir Husni, Ph.D. Graphic Designers: Sandra Goff, Maggi Mosco, Isabella Horn Contributing Writers: Rebekkah Arant, Nancy Armstrong, Brenda Ware Jones, Clint Kimberling, Bill Lester, Susan Marquez, Aimee Robinette, Angela Rogalski Photography: Austin Britt, Greg Campbell, Blake Crocker, Rory Doyle, Randall Haley, Will Jacks, Johnny Jennings

318 Howard Street Greenwood, Mississippi 662.453.2114 • thealluvian.com

Account Executives: Joy Bateman, Cristen Hemmins, Kristy Kitchings, Wendy Mize, Ann Nestler, Cadey True Circulation: Holly Tharp Accounting Manager: Emma Jean Thompson POSTMASTER: Send all address changes to Delta Magazine, PO Box 117, Cleveland, MS 38732

ADVERTISING: For advertising information, please call (662) 843-2700 or email Delta Magazine accepts no responsibility for unsolicited materials or photos and in general does not return them to sender. Photography obtained for editorial usage is owned by Delta Magazine and may not be released for commercial use such as in advertisements and may not be purchased from the magazine for any reason. All editorial and advertising information is taken from sources considered to be authoritative, but the publication cannot guarantee their accuracy. Neither that information nor any opinion expressed on the pages of Delta Magazine in any way constitutes a solicitation for the sale or purchase of securities mentioned. No material in Delta Magazine may be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the publication. Delta Magazine is published bimonthly by Coopwood Magazines, Inc., 125 South Court St., Cleveland, MS 38732-2626. Periodicals postage paid at Cleveland, MS and additional mailing office. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Delta Magazine, PO Box 117, Cleveland, MS 38732-0117. Delta Magazine (USPS#022-954)

Delta Magazine is published six times a year by Coopwood Magazines, Inc. EDITORIAL & BUSINESS OFFICE ADDRESSES: Mailing Address: PO Box 117, Cleveland, MS 38732 Shipping Address: 125 South Court Street, Cleveland, MS 38732 E-mail: publisher@deltamagazine.com editor@deltamagazine.com

deltamagazine.com Subscriptions: $28 per year 6 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

from the editor

A Look Back—and a Word of Thanks

With Erica Eason Hall at Blair and Dean Ladner’s house in Cleveland, getting it party ready for the holidays.




It’s impossible to think that 2019 is drawing to a close. I realize I say that every year, proving not only how fast time flies but how consistently—and that the days may seem long, but the years are short. While reflecting over the past twelve months, there’s no better time to thank all who have been involved with every issue of Delta Magazine this year. Our photographers, writers, designers, and staff have given their best to make each issue better than the last, and we thank them for their commitment. Quite a lot happened in 2019. It was a year of growth in many ways; in January, we started our bi-weekly newsletter, The Edit, bringing you timely content between our published issues—and the response has been overwhelming! We also re-designed our website this spring attracting over nine thousand new users in the first few months. Our reader involvement on social media went through the roof, hitting ten thousand Instagram followers in early July. And the submissions to our Delta Dog Contest this fall were triple that of last year! I am proud of every article and feature we’ve brought to you. From Katie Tims’s story about Deltans who’ve hiked the Appalachian Trail to Andy Ross’s telling of Dr. Julius Davies and his fascination with collecting prehistoric native Indian artifacts to the gorgeous homes we’ve shared to the fabulous recipes and parties, it has been our pleasure. And, I cannot omit mentioning the covers of 2019. For me, it is impossible to choose a favorite: each one is special, and as a group they are just visually stunning. Your comments and responses to each one has been incredible. A huge thanks to our talented, creative photographers who make each one special. In closing, I would like to add a heartfelt thanks to all our readers, subscribers, and advertisers. Thank you for continuing to support the printed word. We believe, and statistics prove, that holding and reading ink on paper affects the human senses in a more meaningful and lasting way than digital content ever can—and we intend to keep bringing it to you as we continue to deliver the stories of the Mississippi Delta. With that said, from all of us at Delta Magazine, we hope you have a wonderful holiday season and the happiest of New Years! DM

Cindy Coopwood Editor 3


@cindycoopwood cindy@deltamagazine.com















Holiday issue

1. Jan/Feb, Austin Britt, Ground Zero Blues Club, Clarksdale 2. Mar/April, Mintwood Photography, Old Edwards Inn, Highlands, North Carolina 3. May/June, Dianne Bond, Prom Dinner, Oxford 4. July/August, Tom Beck, Chicken coops, Carroll County 5. Sept/Oct, Elizabeth Howe Bates, Delta Dog Contest, Madison 6. Nov/Dec, Greg Campbell, Campbell home, Vicksburg

12 retirement communities with one mission... 1. HERNANDO WESLEY MEADOWS Independent Living and Assisted Living Phone: 662-429-2070 2. CLARKSDALE FLOWERS MANOR Cottage & Independent Living and Personal Care Phone: 662-627-2222

...to serve older adults in the spirit of Christian love.




4 5

3. TUPELO TRACEWAY Cottage & Independent Living, Assisted Living, Supportive Living Green House速 Homes, and Short-Term Rehab Phone: 662-844-1441


4.WEST POINT DUGAN Supportive Living and Short-Term Rehab Phone: 662-494-3640

7 8


5. WEST POINT THE HENRY CLAY Independent Living Phone: 662-494-1079 6. COLUMBUS TRINITY PLACE Independent Living, Personal Care, Supportive Living and Short-Term Rehab Phone: 662-327-6716 7. YAZOO CITY MARTHA COKER Supportive Living Green House速 Homes and Short-Term Rehab Phone: 662-746-4621 8. RAYMOND RIGGS MANOR Garden Homes & Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Support Green House速 Homes Phone: 601-857-5011



www.mss.org 9. MERIDIAN ALDERSGATE Cottage & Independent Living and Assisted Living Phone: 601-482-5561 10. HATTIESBURG WESLEY MANOR Independent Living Phone: 601-264-8847 11. LEAKESVILLE TURNER-DUVALL Independent Living Phone: 601-394-2621


12. GULFPORT SEASHORE HIGHLANDS Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Support Apartments & Memory Support Green House速 Home Phone: 228-831-7000





contents NOvEMBER/DECEMBER Volume 17 No. 3










41 74 78 84

2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Po’ Monkeys: Portrait of a Juke Joint Over 70 gift ideas found locally for everyone on your list

A Storied Collection

A Q & A with photographer Will Jacks about his new book

How a 400-plus year old Bible found it’s way from Queen Elizabeth’s print shop to the Mississippi Delta

Duck Hunting in the Delta

Treks of Greatness, Shades of Grandeur: Guided duck hunts at Linden Plantation and Beaver Dam “I Hear Geese,” a recollection by Bill Lester, page 94











Shade Steele: Recording the history of nature through his art Bruce Blackman: Greenville native and leader of the 1970s band Starbuck

Merry and Bright: Beautifully appointed Vicksburg home is party ready for a Feliz Navidad celebration Renovated and decorated for the Holidays in Cleveland, page 114 A Southern Staple: 8 Pecan Recipes to try this Holiday Season

Rich History, Uncertain Future: The Blanchard-Harris House and mound site






Reviews of new releases and what Deltans are reading now

in every issue 16 Letters 24 On the Road Where we’ve been, where we’re going next

28 Off the Beaten Path Roaming the Real and Rustic Delta

32 Hot Topics 140 Events A listing of events including concerts, festivals, and book signings

148 Delta Seen Pages of snapshots from area fundraisers, art openings and social events

156 The Final Word by Hiram Eastland

ON THE COVER: The living room of Amy and Lane Campbell of Vicksburg, festive and ready to welcome guests to their annual holiday celebration. Photo by Greg Campbell. 12 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

Go ahead. Explore the world. Make some friends and do your thing. Trustmark is here with the financial tools and personalized advice that can help you live life the way you want. Learn more at trustmark.com



Checking • Savings • Loans • Advice

LETTERS through it from cover to cover. This issue pulled at my heartstrings. The Delta Dog contest layout was absolutely gorgeous. Our Honey, a Golden Retriever, is in her twilight years and those adorable pups just made my heart swell with love and memories. Thank you so much for that contest of all those adorable dogs. They're all winners! This one was special for me. Lynda Beth Switzer Atlanta, Georgia

Thank you so much for making our sweet Lucy a “Cover Girl!” We are so thrilled for her to be the overall winner of the 2019 Delta Dog Contest. I loved all of the different categories this year and being able to see all of the wonderfully submitted photos. We are appreciative of everyone who voted for our girl and cannot wait to get our watercolor print from Sunny Palmisano. Our Lu isn’t happy if she is not running in a cotton field or on a Mississippi River sandbar; she is a true “Delta Doodle,” which makes this honor so much more special. Lastly, you all do such a great job capturing the most magnificent parts of the Mississippi Delta and make me want to move back ASAP. Can’t wait for the next issue! Elizabeth Howe Bates Madison, Mississippi I wanted to write and tell you how much I enjoyed the fall edition of Delta Magazine (Sept./Oct. 2019). I always set aside an early Sunday morning and go

What fabulous hot sandwich recipes in the September/October issue! They are perfect for this time of year and I have tried almost every one. The spicy roast beef hoagies have become a week-night favorite with us. The Cuban is also amazing. We love them with chili or black bean soup. Thank you for the serving and side ideas as well, these have been a life-saver on busy weeknights. Keep the great recipes coming! Amy Kirby Brandon, Mississippi I thoroughly enjoyed article about the Rushing family (July/August 2019). We always loved visiting the winery and Tea Room and were greatly saddened when they closed. My husband and I have also moved away, but that article brought back fond

memories of the past. I am always eager to see what’s in the next issue. Lynda Meredith Akron, Ohio Just finished Hank Burdine’s book Dust in the Road. I was born and raised in Greenville and quite honestly had forgotten about Minks and Al’s supper club but certainly not Does. I grew up and went to school with all the Signas. My dad was in the tow boat business with Russell Flowers–so needless to say I really enjoyed ol’ Hank’s book. When you see him thank him for me please—and thank you for Delta Magazine and publishing his work. The Delta—ain’t it just something! William Monie Ponte Vedra, Florida Greetings from New Orleans! I wanted to say how much my family and I enjoy getting the Delta Magazine. Recently on a trip to the Delta, I got to actually stop in the office for a visit and really enjoyed seeing all the magazines and gift items. The magazine is our connection to the Delta. Living in New Orleans, I get to see and read about people I grew up with in Shaw that still live in the area and see what they are up to. Another reason we continue to subscribe to the magazine is getting to read about people from the Delta who have moved around the country and world. Thank you for all the fond memories you share with everyone beyond the Delta. Richard Cuicchi New Orleans, Louisiana

SEND COMMENTS AND LETTERS TO: editor@deltamagazine.com or Delta Magazine, PO Box 117, Cleveland, MS 38732

We’re “buzzed” about our exclusive linen hand towels, $22 each

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Find nostalgia in every item of the

Delta Magazine Gift Collection Call or come by our office to shop our gift collection at 125 South Court Street, Cleveland, 662.843.2700. Like our official Delta Magazine Page Twitter @Delta_Mag

Instagram @deltamagazine

To subscribe, call (662) 843-2700 or visit deltamagazine.com 16 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

Y’all Said SOCIAL MEDIA COMMENTS @deltamagazine

We Asked... We love the smoky saltiness bacon grease adds to so many recipes. What’s your favorite way to use it?

Peas, butter beans and cornbread. @although4650 If I allowed my husband, he would put bacon grease on EVERYTHING! @Ehowe55 Fried cabbage and peas. @annpmorgan As a kid, a good slathering of bacon grease would get the chiggers to turn loose and quit biting! @hankburdine

Pop popcorn using bacon grease!!@joykwood62 String beans and potatoes. @moniutown Oh the aroma of sautéed onions and peppers in bacon grease! @candjzimmer In Garlic Cheese Grits, sop biscuits in it too. And on the eggs of course. I could go on and on. @bluebiscuit1 A good start to gravy!@mh_hensley We use it instead of oil to make our gumbo roux!!! Perfection!! @paigebiglane Making tomato pie!! Sauté those onions in that grease!! Yum! @farmsteadoxford Spinach and eggs! @lifeondeovelente All my life my family has used bacon grease to season everything! It is a “Southern” tradition! – Kathy Meyers My hero mom “Gert” used bacon grease to season or cook everything from popcorn to vegetables, gravy, and anything else where grease would normally be used...so very tasty! – Steve Stricker I always put a little bacon grease in my vegetables, especially purple hull peas and butter beans. And any other vegetable!! – Kathy Hardy I have always loved raw cabbage but not cooked. After starting a low carb diet, I tried bacon fried cabbage and loved it!Kathy Hard – Conni Jaudon A Southerner cannot cook without bacon grease. – Eunice Anne Fowler DELTA MAGAzINE 2019

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Delta Color


Each season of the year boasts its own colors and during this special time the colors of the Mississippi Delta change again as the leaves fall from the trees and farmers clear their fields for the long winter sleep. Photographer Matt Taylor caught this beautiful cypress break ablaze with the colors of the season along Jones Bayou just west of Merigold. But, perhaps Charles Dickens said it best, “Nature gives to every time and season unique beauty; from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, it’s just a succession of changes so soft and comfortable that we hardly notice the progress.” DM


Smarter technology. Greater reliability. And a brighter future. At Entergy Mississippi, we know our customers depend on us to keep the lights on and their lives moving. So we’re investing in the power grid to meet Mississippi’s growing needs for years to come. That means upgrading equipment to increase reliability and implementing new technology to prevent outages before they happen. We’re building a stronger power grid for a stronger Mississippi. Because together, we power life. Learn more at entergybrightfuture.com.

A message from Entergy Mississippi, LLC ©2019 Entergy Services, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


where we’ve been, where to go next



The end of another growing season in the Delta. – MECHELLE GENTRY WILSON

Traveling in style across the Delta. – DEEP BLUES FESTIVAL


PHOTO OPS & JACKSON Fall in the Ozark Mountains.



Ri e h t n o ’ n i l l Ro GREENVILLE

Cruising into Lake Ferguson via the Mississippi River.


Standing proud in the capital city. Old Ironworks building that is now converted to downtown lofts. – @LOSTJXN – JIM VEAL



An Old


A small town with a big heart and much history. – DIXON DRONE PHOTOGRAPHY

A nod to years gone by on Dockery Plantation. – DELTA MAGAZINE

Good Luck Charm


FUNKY STOPS Roaming the real and rustic Delta

GUNNISON Double rainbow over Delta gold. – MADGE HOWELL


Big Woods A road deep in the Delta woods near Gunnison beckons the world-weary to pause and take in the incredible beauty of the season. – DELTA MAGAZINE

A new salute to a Delta musician and ambassador. – MISSISSIPPI TOURISM ASSOCIATION Instagram users, follow @deltamagazine and see #DMphotoops


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Experience Mississippi’s Premier Christmas Shopping Destination Where you’ll find beautiful surroundings for your holiday celebrations, the perfect holiday attire for you, and the gifts you know they’ll love.


am NOv. 23 at 9

Join us for our

Renaissance Holiday Open House Sunday, November 24th, 2pm-5pm


Benefiting Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital


Aerie ■ Allure Plastics ■ Altar’d State ■ Alterations by Tailor Kim ■ American Eagle ■ Ameritrade ■ Angie’s ■ Ann Taylor LOFT ■ Another Broken Egg Café ■ Anthony Vince’ Nail Salon ■ Anthropologie The Apple Store ■ Aqua the Day Spa ■ BankPlus ■ Barnes & Noble Booksellers ■ Barnette’s Salon ■ Basil’s ■ BellaChes Specialty Gifts ■ Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano ■ Brooks Brothers C Spire Wireless ■ CAET Seafood|Oysterette ■ Chico’s ■ Five Guys Burgers and Fries ■ Francesca’s Collection ■ Free People The Fresh Market ■ Gifts by KPEP ■ Gingersnaps ■ GNC Amy’s Hallmark ■ The Headache Center ■ Highland Park The Hyatt Place Hotel ■ Inside-Out ■ J. Crew ■ J. Jill ■ Jolly Orthodontics ■ Justice for Girls ■ Kendall Poole Event Planning ■ Koestler Prime ■ L’Occitane En Provence ■ Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry ■ Libby Story ■ The Little Gym ■ The Little Village Children’s Boutique ■ Local 463 Urban Kitchen ■ Lucky Brand Jeans ■ Material Girls ■ Mindful Therapy ■ Monkee’s Olde Tyme Commissary ■ The Orvis Co. ■ Oswego Jewelers Pandora ■ Panera Bread ■ P.F. Chang’s China Bistro ■ Red Square Clothing Co. ■ Regus ■ Renaissance Cinema Bar & Grill Results Physiotherapy ■ Ridgeland Visitors Center ■ Sand Dollar Lifestyles ■ Sephora ■ SleepStore by Miskelly ■ Smoothie King Soft Surroundings ■ Solstice Sunglass Boutique ■ Soma Intimates ■ Starbucks Coffee Shop ■ Talbots ■ Traditional Jewelers ■ Vintage Wine Market ■ Whimsy Cookie Co. ■ White House|Black Market ■ Williams-Sonoma ■ Zea Rotisserie & Bar

FIND US ON FACEBOOK I-55 at Old Agency Road, Ridgeland, Mississippi | 601.519.0900 See all our retail stores and restaurants online at www.RenaissanceAtColonyPark.com For leasing information, contact The Mattiace Company at 601.352.1818


arium shows!

net +Holiday movies and pla


NS OPE 3rd .2 NOV





OFF THE BEATEN PATH roaming the real and rustic Delta

THE ART FACTORY Handmade Furniture and Art from Mississippi Delta Wood BY ANGELA ROGALSKI


NIQUE. DIFFERENT. INTRIGUING. The Art Factory in Robinsonville is all of those things and more. Owned and operated by Dale and Dottie Martin, this shop is a bit off the beaten path, but it’s totally worth the trip. The Art Factory offers gorgeous handmade fireside furniture, either predone or custom built for customers’ individual tastes, in wood obtained from the Mississippi Delta; not one splinter comes from anywhere else. “We use antique wood made from old sharecroppers’ houses, Mississippi Delta trees, and driftwood from the Mississippi River Delta to hand make our fireside furniture,” says Dale Martin. “We also produce beautiful, hand-painted artwork, sculptures, and airbrushed wooden items that are all made from Mississippi Delta wood.” The Martins custom build fireside furniture that goes in your yard or around your fire pit, such as benches made from cedar, cypress, or black walnut. They also create chandeliers, paintings, and a multitude of other items. “My wife, Dottie, does epoxy tables and epoxy pictures,” Martin adds. “And all the wood is hand cut with a chain saw; we don’t use any sawmills or anything like that. We can leave the furniture in just the raw wood, or we can put a finish on it, whatever the client wants.” The Martins live on the same property as The Art Factory and invite everyone to come to Robinsonville for a unique furniture shopping experience. Open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. or later. 11277 Old Highway 61 North, Robinsonville 662.367.2002 or facebook.com/pg/DNDMartinart


A VISIT TO THE WHITTEN STORE IN CASCILLA A Step Back Into History of a Hill Country Town BY ED MEEK


HE WHITTEN STORE, LOCATED IN THE HILLS OVERLOOKING THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA, Is one of those places where it is said, “you can’t get there from here.” First opened in 1884, the store is operated by Brenda Turner and is thought to be the oldest general store in Tallahatchie County. Brenda Turner refurbished the old building, which had been unused for years, and opened the Whitten Store once again this past July. Located at the crossroads in Cascilla, the Whitten Store stocks some convenience items, but the store is much more than a grocery. It is Cascilla history. On the top shelf are items that reflect a rich history. visitors will find a full set of Tinker Toys, an old tin of crackers, snuff bottles, arrowheads, and much more on display as they shop. Even a hidden under-counter compartment where moonshine was once stored has been preserved with the original counters. “When we started to clean up and open the place, they wanted to sand down the counters and make them look like new, and I said no sir; keep them just like they are,” says Turner. Those counters date back over a century. In addition to groceries, the store sells artwork from area artists and probably is the only “convenience store” in the world that contains the local free library. Turner and her friend Marilyn Grantham collected the books themselves. The little library even offers DvDs and has a children’s section. visitors can also take home the clean, fresh scent of Cascilla. Quite the entrepreneur, Turner has it bottled and available for just two dollars. And it’s her best seller. “Cascilla, Mississippi Air” is hermetically sealed. However, once the seal is broken, Turner says she is “no longer responsible for the freshness of the contents.” 622 Whitten Road, Cascilla 662.647.5901 DELTA MAGAzINE 2019

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Kid friendly... and pet friendly furniture now available.

Merry Christmas From Our Family To Yours Miskelly Furniture, Jackson, Madison & Hattiesburg | miskellys.com

HOT TOPICS FAMILY, FOOD AND FLOWERS Mother-Daughter team open Petal Pushers in Indianola Walk through the doors of Petal Pushers and prepare to be dazzled with authentic Southern lady fare. With a complete line of grab-and-go food stuffs, owners Corey Smith and her mother, Pat Ellis, have made eating well quick and easy. The duo also provides flower arrangements that compliment any home or occasion, making Petal Pushers a sought-after establishment in the Indianola community. “I’ve been arranging flowers for years and have always enjoyed it. The opportunity fell in my lap, so I knew it was the right time to open my store. I’ve been very pleased with the outpouring support from the community. I look forward to serving everyone in the years to come,” Smith says. She jokingly adds that she has also enjoyed “dragging” her mother out of retirement to help with the new venture. “Our store is a full-service flower shop with a small seasonal garden center. In addition to the flowers and plants, we offer an array of unique gift items. We also have an on-site kitchen where we make homemade casseroles, desserts, chicken salads, pimento cheeses, and other salads.” Their casseroles are made with the freshest ingredients, and the top three sellers, among a wide variety of others, include poppyseed chicken, lazy day lasagna, and the dish. If that doesn’t get your


mouth watering, try one of their various desserts made from scratch such as their scrumptious brownies, cookies, and cupcakes. They can also whip up a fresh strawberry cake, Italian creme, chocolate trifle, and peanut butter pie just to name a few. “Many of our recipes are family favorites. My grandparents owned the Dairy Diner in Indianola in the ‘60s and ‘70s. My mother owned a local bakery in downtown Indianola called Pat’s Party Pals,” explains Smith. Petal Pushers is also known for its awesome delivery van named Myrtle. “We plan on taking her to festivals and flea markets,” Smith says. “We offer classes on flower designs, food preparation and presentation, plus we try to accommodate the client’s requests. 304 Miss. Highway 82 East, Indianola, 662.452.5048

MISSISSIPPI MEAT COMPANY Bringing fresh cut meat and speciality products to Greenwood Finding quality, hand-cut beef and pork proved to be quite the task for Matthew Waldrup. This prompted Matthew and his wife Sarah, along with Wes and Courtney Smith, and Caleb and Elizabeth Whites to open Mississippi Meat Company in Greenwood. “We love meat!” Matthew says. “In our area it’s tough to get high quality, custom meat. So we started with a mission of providing quality, custom-cut beef and pork at a fair price. In addition to that mission, we all wanted to do something we would enjoy doing. We definitely would like to earn a living, but, more than that, we all wanted to be part of something we started and built from the ground up.” The recently opened establishment currently offers beef and pork cut to order as well as anything from ground beef, steaks, roasts, and chops to more specialized items such as oxtails,



neckbones, and pig’s feet. Matthew says they love making specialty products, and for him it’s the most enjoyable part of what they do. “Our filet mignon kabobs have been a big hit along with our fresh ground butcher’s grind. Going into the holiday season, we will be offering specialty roasts such as stuffed beef and pork tenderloins, standing rib roasts, and prime rib. Due to customer demand, we’ve recently started offering locally sourced, 100 percent grassfed beef and handcrafted sausages. We also have dryaged beef on the horizon,” he says. 114 West Claiborne Avenue, Greenwood, 662.374.5059 or email at msmeatcompany@gmail.com

REDISCOVERING PAPPY KITCHENS Dunlap’s new book reflects on the life of the Mississippi artist O. W. “Pappy” Kitchens (1901–1986) was born in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, and began painting at age sixty-seven. His self-taught, narrative, visual art springs directly from the oral tradition of parable and storytelling with which he grew up. A self-declared folk artist, Kitchens claimed, “I paint about folks, what folks see and what folks do.” His magnum opus, The Saga of Red Eye the Rooster, was painted between 1973 and 1976 and presents a homespun Pilgrim’s Progress in the form of a beast fable. Kitchens’s most ambitious allegorical work, this fable consists of sixty panels, each one measuring fifteen inches square, composed of mixed materials on paper, and executed in three groups of twenty. Kitchens follows


Red Eye from foundling to funeral, exploring the life of this extraordinary bird. Red Eye’s quasi-human behavior inevitably maneuvers him into conflicts with antagonists of all sorts. He encounters violence, avarice, lust, greed, and most of the other seven deadly sins, dispatching them in heroic fashion until he finally succumbs to his own fatal flaw. In addition to The Saga of Red Eye the Rooster, the volume features personal photos of Kitchens as well as additional works by the artist. Written by distinguished artist and Kitchens’s once son-in-law William Dunlap, with an introduction by renowned curator Jane Livingston, Pappy Kitchens and the Saga of Red Eye the Rooster brings much-needed exposure to the life and work of a key Mississippi figure. Published by University Press, www.upress.state.ms.us

BIGFELLAS IN ROLLING FORK Must-Stop Dining in the South Delta When it comes to bold flavors, impressive portions, and a relaxing atmosphere, Bigfellas in Rolling Fork has you covered! The restaurant/butcher shop is a lifelong dream come true for owner Marty Long. “I have always wanted to own my own restaurant or butcher shop,” says Long. “After running my carpentry business for the past seveneight years and doing cooking ventures on the side, I finally made the leap to open a restaurant.” Long’s mastery in the carpentry business is evident at Bigfellas. Polished wood floors and a gleaming tin roof provide a warm welcome for patrons. And they are in for a treat as the food is worth a road trip to Sharkey County. “I had previously been doing a lot of cooking with a cooking team out of Louisiana,” says Long. “We traveled around doing boucheries, teaching people the art of butchery and traditional cooking techniques. This made me restless to try to cook fulltime.” Long opened Bigfellas in July of this year and hasn’t looked back. He and his staff provide a country-style buffet and short order at lunch. At night, they serve salads, steaks, seafood, pasta, breakfast platter, stuffed pork and chicken, among other menu items. There is also a wide selection of domestic and craft beers. The deli and butcher shop is located in the front of the store where people can come in and get their own meat freshly cut to go home


and be grill masters themselves. Long says they have premium, hand-cut steaks, stuffed pork chops and chicken, homemade boudin and sausage. “We do catfish bread as an appetizer that sells great! We also have that in the freezer to take home and cook yourself,” he adds. “We sell some local seasonings, local honey, cooking gear made in Louisiana.” Bigfellas also has live music most Friday and Saturday nights. Information including times, specials, and upcoming events can be found on Facebook page or by calling. 34178 Miss. Highway 1 South, Rolling Fork, 662.873.9356 DELTA MAGAzINE 2019

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Buzzworthy Comments

Chances Are… by Richard Russo (Penguin Random House ) Richard Russo’s newest book, Chances Are…, is a stand-alone novel in which his characters are so fleshed out that it’s easy to be convinced that this story is about people you know. Three middle-aged men, old college buddies, meet again on Martha’s vineyard, where they had parted ways at the end of a Memorial Day weekend decades before, and where a fourth friend, Jacy, was last seen at the end of that same weekend in 1971. All of them were in love with Jacy, and as they flash back to that weekend and their years in college, the pieces begin to come together, forming a picture of what really happened around Jacy’s disappearance. This story has a few heartbreaking moments, as during the flashback to the draft lottery of 1969, but it’s also a heartwarming study of friendship and humanity, always limited by the folds of chance, fate, and time. (Liza Jones)

Richard Russo

We asked Facebook friends and Delta Magazine Fan Page Group members to tell us their favorite book about the holidays or a favorite book that they read during the holidays. o Leigh Mabry Flemmons, Investigator Trainee Ruleville, Mississippi

The Traveler by Regina Porter (Jonathan Cape) The Travelers is a debut novel by Regina Porter, a talented playwright with a keen eye for emotional detail. She presents this story like a playwright would do: a large cast of characters, multiple settings, and interconnecting vignettes assigned to specific times and places of this family’s saga. Inside these vignettes, the novel takes place in many geographical locations from Buckner County, Georgia to Berlin to vietnam, and also takes place in any time span from the 1950s to the election of Obama. It follows two extended families, one black and one white, connected by the marriage of Claudia and Ruffus, who seem to be the central characters. Porter leaves emotions up to the reader in a wonderfully candid way, as she tells of the injustices, grievances, pains, and joys of the different characters. Many modern issues are addressed, but chief among them is race and how to travel through life and time together. (Liza Jones) The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo (Knopf DoubleDay) Life is not as perfect as it seems in The Most Fun We Ever Had, a debut novel by Claire Lombardo. Set in Chicago and its suburbs, this novel tells the story of the Sorenson family, complete with their messy dysfunction, complicated relationships, and secrets. Marilyn and David Sorenson are still madly in love after forty years of marriage, but their four daughters are dealing with all sorts of turmoil, on top of having watched the perfect relationship all of their lives. Wendy is newly widowed, soothing herself with alcohol and men. violet is a housewife with a big secret. Liza is newly pregnant by a man she’s not sure she loves. And Grace, the youngest, lives her own lie. With authenticity, Lombardo easily pulls you into the characters’ lives, and once you’re in the mix, it’s hard to leave this impressive and energetic novel about the bonds and fissures of familial love. (Liza Jones)

For the Record Books Delta Magazine fans are currently reading

o Lisa Ray Bennett

A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean

o John Ramsey Miller The Last Policeman by Ben Winters

o Michael Storey Martin The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey

o Sheri Cleveland

Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man by Steve Harvey 36 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

o Donna Pase Keithley Under the Lake by Stuart Woods

o Carol Tutor

Come Find Me by Megan Miranda

o Kaye King

The Curse of the Kings by Victoria Holt

o Katie Huff

Educated by Tara Westover

Every Christmas Eve after dinner my family gathers together while my cousin and I read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore and Luke 2:1-20. It is a family tradition that has been passed down for generations and I am so happy to carry it on. o Suzy Price, Romies Grocery Ponotoc, Mississippi

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham is one of my favorites to read during the holidays. It always makes me laugh and puts me in the holiday spirit. Regina Porter

o Lisa Ray Bennett, Tax Manager, CPA Laurel, Mississippi

The Story of the Other Wise Man by Henry van Dyke. A great story about a fourth wise man’s quest for the Christ child. The people he encounters along the way and how he comes to their ad. I read it every advent season. o Whitney Kelly-Jones, Stay-at-home mom Yorktown, Virginia

Claire Lombardo

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I love the reminders of a simple season and what’s most important. Things such as embracing family, togetherness, selfless giving, and the generosity of spirit. And being the wife of a Navy chaplain, I can especially relate to the circumstances of missing loved ones at Christmas because of service commitments.

o Suzanne Smith Barnette A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers

o John Paxton

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

o Misty Campbell The Kept by James Scott

o Lee Baker

The Lottery by D.K. Wall

Vicksburg by Donald L. Miller (Simon & Schuster) vicksburg, Mississippi, was the last stronghold of the Confederacy on the Mississippi River. It prevented the Union from using the river for shipping between the Union-controlled Midwest and New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. The Union navy tried to take vicksburg, which sat on a high bluff overlooking the river, but couldn’t do it. General Grant moved his army south and joined forces with Admiral Porter, but even together they could not come up with a successful plan. At one point Grant even tried to build a canal so that the river could be diverted away from vicksburg. In Vicksburg, Donald L. Miller tells the full story of this year-long campaign to win the city. He brings to life all the drama, characters, and significance of vicksburg, a historic moment that rivals any war story in history. (Special/DM Staff)

Chimneyville 2019 ARTS


Mississippi Trade Mart | Jackson, MS FRIDAY

Dec 6 9am-7pm SATURDAY

Dec 7 9am-7pm


My Dog, My Love, My Best Friend by Norman Adcox (Whippet Media) In his book My Dog, My Love, My Best Friend, author Norman Adcox shares the story of growing up with a puppy who becomes his best friend and companion. They grow up together sharing everything. As the boy gets older, he finds less time for his beloved pet, as girls, relationships and life distract him from his best friend. As the young boy grows up and matures, his dog waits patiently for him to return in order to continue their special and intimate friendship. Eventually, he marries and settles down to resume the extraordinary relationship with his dog—until one day his best friend crosses the rainbow bridge, leaving him behind to struggle with the pain that only comes from the loss of a dear pet. This is a heartwarming story of the love only a boy and his dog share as told through a fully illustrated poem. The book features beautiful full-size hand-painted water color illustrations by Mid-South artist Meredith Wilson and is the perfect companion for any dog lover. (Special/DM Staff)

Dec 8 11am-4pm Juli Juneau

www.cra smensguildofms.org


Foreign Missions of an American Prosecutor by John Hailman (University Press) In his fifth book, John Hailman recounts the adventures and misadventures he experienced during a lifetime of international travel. From Oman to Indonesia, from sandstorms and food poisoning to gangsters and at least one jealous husband, Hailman explores the cultures and court systems of faraway countries. The international story begins in Paris as a young Hailman, a student at La Sorbonne, experiences the romance and excitement one expects from the City of Lights. Years later Hailman returns to France, to Interpol Headquarters in Lyon where he received his international law certificate from the National School for Magistrates. Traveling the world as a representative for the US Justice Department, Hailman encountered criminals and conspiracies, including a plot in Ossetia, Georgia, to hijack his helicopter and kidnap him. From his time as a prosecutor are tales of three very different Islamic cultures in the colorful societies and legal systems of Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. viewing his adventures through the lens of laws and customs, Hailman is able to give unique insight to the countries he visits. With each new adventure in Foreign Missions of an American Prosecutor, John Hailman shares his passion for travel and his fascination with other cultures.(Special/DM Staff) DM DELTA MAGAzINE 2019

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New from the University Press of Mississippi

The Mississippi Governor’s Mansion Memories of the People’s Home By Governor Phil Bryant Foreword by First Lady Deborah Bryant Artwork by Bill Wilson

Life Between the Levees America’s Riverboat Pilots By Melody Golding

Available at your local bookseller.

Pappy Kitchens and the Saga of Red Eye the Rooster By William Dunlap Introduction by Jane Livingston

Po’ Monkey’s Portrait of a Juke Joint By Will Jacks Essay by Boyce Upholt

upress.state.ms.us | 800.737.7788 DELTA MAGAzINE 2019

| 39

SHE WANTS A DIAMOND might tell you she

something simple, nothing extravagant like

But you can read between the lines, can’t you?

5100 Wheelis Drive #211 | Memphis, TN 38117 | 901-763-0195 | 1-800-264-4146 J E W E L E R S C H O I C E I N C .C O M

Delta Magazine’s 2019

holiday GIFT GUIDE Over 70 GIFT IDEAS from the Delta and beyond

Something for

everyone on

Your List! DELTA MAGAzINE 2019

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holiday gift guide Gifts for Her


Unique classics she will love this season



We love this cool line of customized truckers, beanies and baseball hats created by Haisten Hardin, an Ole Miss grad who has put down roots in lots of places. “I was inspired by the concept of representing where you’re from, whether it’s one place or five.” says Hardin. Currently based in Austin, Texas, the line is locally available at Brooke Atwood, in Clarksdale, and Maisson Wiess in Jackson and Oxford.





1. Dazzle this holiday with electric blue lightning bolt earrings, Saint Boutique, Hernando

5. Stunning 24k gold-plated hinged bangle with silver coins and pave crystals, Gilbow’s, Cleveland

8. A great gift to keep her toes cozy! Barbour fur-lined mule slippers, Abraham’s, Cleveland




2. $how Your Root$ custom truckers and beanies, @show_your_roots

6. Spongelle body wash infused buffers, Hair Tenders, Greenville

9. Illuminaria porcelain diffuser, The Truffle Pig, Memphis



7. Carry your sunnies AND your readers with these gorgeous Asher G cases that a also fold over to work as a clutch, Fine Eyes Eyewear, Ridgeland

10. Love this gorgeous snakeskin crossbody with enamel clasp detail, Lavender Lane, Indianola

3. The perfect PJs for leopard lovers, H Squared Boutique, Cleveland @hsquaredboutique

4. When a clutch just won’t do. Kelly Wynne carryall in midnight blue, The Wishing Well, Cleveland @thewishingwellofcleveland




11. Upgrade your wardrobe with the accessory of the season—a

snakeskin belt, Gilbow’s, Cleveland @gilbows

12. Chinese Laundry snakeskin boot, Kut Works Boutique, Cleveland @kutworksboutique

13. A winter staple for your closet. OTBT stacked-heel booties in tan suede, Upstairs Closet, Senatobia @upstairscloset

14. Ivory Quartz danglers will pop with any outfit, Love Blue Designs, Indianola @love_blue_designs

holiday gift guide 15. This top handle, multicolored bag by Zac Posen will instantly elevate any wardrobe, Oak Hall, Memphis



16. Knockout side-stripe boots by Avana, H Squared Boutique, Cleveland @hsquaredboutique

17. Pamper her feet in luxury with Jacques Levine slippers, A Fitting Place, Memphis, Tennessee



18. A forever classic. Monogrammed beaded clutches, Jane, Oxford




19. Give a gift that will be enjoyed long after the holidays! Potted miniature cactus, Oil Shed, Oxford @oilshedoxford

20. Make a statement with these colorful druzy and tassel dangles, Kim Gambrell Couture Jewelry, Tupelo



13 14








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holiday gift guide 2


Gifts for Him Useful choices for the special guys on your list

1. If you know someone with a passion for ducks, a custom, hand-crafted duck call by Josh Raggio is a truly special gift, raggiocustomcalls.com

2. Peter Millar Olive quilted jacket, Abraham’s Men’s Clothing Store, Cleveland @abrahamsclothingcleveland

3. Stay well-groomed with Munson and Brothers beard oil and balm, Munson and Brothers, Columbus @munsonandbrothers

4. Every guy needs a Gen Teal baseball cap, Country Gentleman, Greenville @thecountrygent


5. Ranger Station roll on cologne for the man on the go, White’s Mercantile, Wilson, Arkansas



6. Stay charged with the Beam Bank solar recharger, McCall and Company, Greenville



7, A Brackish feather bow tie is an essential accent for the man with distinctive taste, @kevinscatalog




holiday gift guide 8. Magnetic collar stays will be much appreciated by the sharp dresser on your list, Kinkade’s Fine Clothing, Ridgeland

8 9


9. Stainless hip flask wrapped in leather-trimmed, waterproof canvas, Viking Retail Store, Greenwood vikingrange.com

10. The ultimate grill tool—a meat fork and thermometer in one from Williams Sonoma, Renaissance at Colony Park, Ridgeland williamssonoma.com

11. Keep these handy in the truck or toolbox for those tough every day jobs, Tuff Mate work gloves, Cleveland Ace Hardware @clevelands_ace_hardware


12. Rugged and water-resistant, Mountain Khakis overnight kit will keep personal essentials tidy and together when on the road, Kinkade’s Fine Clothing, Ridgeland @kinkadesfc

13. Sturdy and useful. A canvas bottle-opener keychain, Viking Retail Store, Greenwood vikingrange.com

14. Keep warm on cold winter nights with Four Roses Single Barrel bourbon, hand selected from the distillery, Chillie’s Package Store, Greenville







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Gourmet pecan products made in the Mississippi Delta make special gifts as well as the perfect items to keep on hand for entertaining. We have a wide assortment of flavors, using only the finest ingredients and innovative recipes, and a variety of gift tins, boxes and baskets to suit any gift need.

The Original Praline Pecan


1-800-541-6252 • pecanhouse.com Our Original Store in Indianola, Market Street in Flowood, Mall at Barnes Crossing in Tupelo Š2019 IPH, Inc.


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holiday gift guide

For the Home Gifts and goods they will treasure

1. “Stag” and “Let’s Drink Y’all” woven cocktail napkins, Cleveland Fresh, Cleveland @clevelandfresh


2. Spencer Peterman carved wood bowl and salad servers, Social, Memphis @socialmemphis

3. One-of-a-kind, custom made lamps, The Lamp Shade House, Memphis



4. Water Buffalo Horn salt and pepper shakers, Scout Antiques | Interiors, Memphis @scout_antiques_interiors


5. ABC’s of Memphis ceramic tray, Cotton Row Uniques, Memphis, @shopcottonrow

6. Beautiful agate candles come in a variety of colors and smell amazing, SoDelta Candles, Greenville



7. Gilt decorative shell container, Cumbaa Design Company, @cumbaadesignco





holiday gift guide 8


8. You know someone who needs this! Queen of the Delta Blues, 24 x 36 mixed media and acrylic on canvas by Catherine Ann Davis, Hi Yall! Starkville hiyall.com

9. Barefoot Dreams leopard print throw, Mod + Proper, Cleveland @modandproper

10. Merry Christmas and Holly Jolly Hand towels, The Mississippi Gift Company @themississippigiftcompany

11. Antique French grapevine corkscrew, Lina’s Interiors and Antiques, Leland @linasinteriors

12. Etta B Holiday Cardinal candy dish, The Mississippi Gift Company



13. Architectural fragment framed in a shadow box, by Philip Cadre, Rosson Company, Cleveland @rossoncompany

14. Carved wood wine bottle holder, Neysa’s Fireside Shop, Cleveland @neysa’sfiresideshop



13 14


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holiday gift guide


Stocking Stuffers & Happies


Treasures that will fill their stockings and delight your friends

1. Mini champagne bottle candle, Mod + Proper, Cleveland @modandproper

2. Stuff their stockings with this favorite Southern snack—gourmet pecans, Indianola Pecan House



3. What’s a better gift than a day at the spa? Gould’s Salon Spa, Memphis @gouldsalonspa



4. Leopard Corkcicle stemless wine cup, Mod + Proper, Cleveland @modandproper

5. Start the year off right and stay organized with a gorgeous planner, Fresh Ink, Jackson @freshinkstyle

6. Tillen Farms Dirty Martini mix, 49 Commisary, Belzoni @49commisary

7 Mike’s Hot Honey, delicious drizzled over chicken, cheeses or salads, Petal Pushers, Indianola



8. Chock full of wisdom and life lessons, and with a forward by Robert St. John, Marilyn Tinnin’s new book will treasured by all who read it! marilyntinninwrites.com

7 8

9. Give a little sweet heat this season with Fat Mama’s Fire and Ice Pickles, Downtown Market Place, Yazoo City @downtownmarketplace




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holiday gift guide 1 1. Mississippi Cheese Straw Factory’s new Gail Pittman Holiday tin, with Cheddar Cheese Straws and Red Velvet Cookies, Mississippi Cheese Straw Factory, Yazoo City mscheesestraws.com

2. Set of eight beautifully detailed enclosure cards with four classic southern designs, Rebekah Caraway, Greenville @rebekahcaraway.designandpaper

3. Haley Farris Christmas ornaments, Flower Bouquet and Interiors, Clarksdale @flowerbouquetinteriors

4. Thymes Frasier Fir candle and Fragrance Mist, Mimi’s on Main, Senatobia

2 3


5. Upgrade your flight with your favorite cocktail—just tuck in a Carry On Cocktail kit and you’ll have all you need for two top-shelf drinks, Carry On Cocktails



6. Beautiful daily scripture reminders from Anne Neilson’s A to Z Scripture cards, Rosson Company, Cleveland @rossoncompany

7. The perfect finishing touch for your travel accessories, Deluxe luggage tag, leatherology.com

8. Set a festive table with disposable paper holiday placemats, Lina’s Interiors and Antiques, Leland @linasinteriors


9. Mandatory reading for all who love the Delta! Dust in the Road: Recollections of a Delta Boy, by Hank Burdine deltamagazine.com







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Covering the Most Southern Place on Earth!

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| 57

holiday gift guide Kids and Tweens Fun finds for the young crowd

1. “Y’all” Southern socks in pink, White’s Mercantile, Wilson, Arkansas




2. A wear-with-everything Polo hoodie is sure to be a favorite, Young Ideas, Indianola @young_ideas

3. Adorable Milk Barn burp cloths, McCall and Company, Greenville



4. Warrior’s Mark Axe Throwing set and target, Punkin Patch, Cleveland @punkinpatchcleveland

5. Old-fashioned felt cardinal ornament, Rosson and Company, Cleveland @rossoncompany


6. Move Kids Activity Watches in fun designs, Punkin Patch, Cleveland





7. With a surprise inside, Musee’s bath bombs make bath-time fun, and will get your little ones in the holiday spirit, Musee Bath @musee_bath

8. BuDhaGirl All Weather Bangles, Saint Boutique, Hernando @shopsaintboutique


9. Alphabet blocks truck by Melissa & Doug, Lina’s Interiors and Antiques, Leland @linasinteriors

10. Update your make-up bag with a cute and custom design, Stovall Collection, Memphis @stovallcollection





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FOR A FULL LIST OF EVENTS www.visitnatchez.org 800.647.6724


| 61


Shade Steele

Recording the history of nature through his art BY SUSAN MARQUEZ • PHOTOGRAPHY BY AUSTIN BRITT

ON THE BANKS OF DESOTO LAKE, NOT FAR FROM THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER, SHADE STEELE REMINISCES ABOUT HIS LIFE AS A WILDLIFE ARTIST. For as long as he can remember, Shade has enjoyed drawing. “That was a problem for me in school,” he says. “I was much more interested in art than I was in history or algebra.” He took an art class in high school, mainly to avoid being in chorus. 62 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

Steele putting some final touches on one of his recent works.

“I was mostly just biding my time there. While the art teacher didn’t teach me to paint, she did encourage me to draw,” says Steele. He drew cartoons on note cards for his friends and has recently learned that many of his old classmates have held on to their Shade Steele original art all these years. “That was a big surprise to me!” Steele’s art took a turn in 1972. “Some friends gave me a set of oil paints. That was when everything changed.” In a time before Google and YouTube, Steele had to learn how to use the oil paints on his own. “I didn’t have art classes, so I had to learn by trial and error. Working with oils was

somewhat intuitive for me, but, still, it took a lot of hard work to figure out what works best.” For most of the 1970s and into the early 1980s, Steele painted. He did artwork for Game & Fish magazine and for Ducks Unlimited. “That was distributed throughout the United States and Mexico, so it got me a lot of exposure.” He was named Artist of the Year by the Louisiana Wild Fowl Carver’s Guild in 1979, and in 1983 he was named Artist of the Year by Ducks Unlimited in Mississippi. “I released two series of prints for sale that year and did well with them.”


| 63

Steel’s interpretation of the great outdoors captures the beauty and uniqueness of the Mississippi Delta.

Steele did art shows in small towns around the state and as far out as Atlanta, and he did shows for Ducks Unlimited all the way to Iowa. Yet in 1983 he decided to finally quit trying to be a full-time artist. “I got a job as a caretaker of an island hunting club on the Mississippi River. “It was Island 66, and I spent thirty-five years there.” For seven years, Steele oversaw eight thousand acres. Then, he went to work for a gentleman who owned the largest parcel of land on the island—three thousand acres. “He wanted to reforest the area, and I wanted to be a part of that.” Time on the island gave Steele a unique perspective of the wildlife there. “I spent a lot of time in the cypress swamps, which I love. The Delta was once covered in cypress trees, but when the land was cleared for farming, only 10 percent of the cypress trees remained. I feel the work I’m doing is something I’m passing down to future generations. My paintings are a historical record of what’s here now.” Steele’s paintings depict the landscape and wildlife of the island. “I had time to really study and observe the wildlife, including different species of animals, their habitats, and their activities. I watched how they moved, what they did, and how they looked while doing it.” Early in his career, he shot photographs 64 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

and video. “I also sketched a lot, sitting in my truck. Then I’d go back and fill in with watercolors.” Steele says his love of the outdoors began when he started hunting and fishing. His time in nature has given him a reverent perspective of the land and the wildlife that inhabits it. “It’s an honor for me to paint it.” His paintings have a mystical quality to them, as if time stood still, providing a way for nature to be observed up close and personal. He paints different seasons in the cypress swamps, often with an otherworldly glow. “That’s what I call ‘artist privilege.’ I’m able to throw light where I want it.” Steele’s art has a longevity to it, as is demonstrated by a gentleman who purchased the painting that earned him the Ducks Unlimited Artist of the Year award in 1983. “We had high water everywhere this past spring, but he managed to make it to my almost-flooded house with the painting. He had scratched it during a move and wanted me to restore it for him.” For a couple of years, Steele got into lost wax bronzes of deer and waterfowl. “It’s super expensive to do and not very profitable. I did it to see if I could, but it’s not something I can maintain.” Steele and his wife, Kathy, have been married since 1976. The couple never had children, although Steele says he’s raised several who didn’t belong to him. He retired from his job on the island last year. The couple still lives in the home they moved into forty-three years ago, and their chocolate lab, Whiskey, runs the house. Inside are hundreds of paintings stacked in corners. The den walls are covered with Steele’s artwork. Since he retired, he has created fifteen to seventeen pieces that of which he is particularly proud. He does some commission work, especially dogs. “People seem to love their dogs more than their own kids.” His work isn’t sold in art galleries yet, but his small pieces will soon be for sale in the gift shop of the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale. “My home is my gallery,” he laughs. “If folks would like to see my work, they can contact me by email or phone.” DM Shade Steele can be reached at 662.627.2834. His email is shadesteele@att.net. DELTA MAGAzINE 2019

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All-natural, hand-poured soy candles influenced by the "most Southern place on Earth", the Mississippi Delta. You may shop on our website, in our studio or at many fine gift shops across Mississippi.

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662-347-0736 sodelta.com



| 67



Bruce Blackman

Greenville native and leader of the 1970s band Starbuck BY CLINT KIMBERLING • PHOTOS COURTESY OF BRUCE BLACKMAN

“You say you came to Baltimore from Ole Miss A class of ’74 gold ring” eltans of a certain age might recognize the lyrics to “Moonlight Feels Right”—one of the most popular songs of the 1970s by the band Starbuck. But many probably don’t realize


that this song was written about a Mississippi Delta moonlit night and that bit about Chesapeake Bay was just a little artistic license taken by songwriter, producer, and Greenville native Bruce Blackman. Starbuck’s breakout hit was penned by Blackman about Peggy, his date that evening who eventually became his wife. e inspiration for the song came when Bruce parked his MG convertible near a lake in the Delta. “Somehow singing a lyric about lake in the Delta didn’t have the same ring. I’m pretty sure I made the right decision,” Blackman says. “I’ll take you on a trip beside the ocean And drop the top at Chesapeake Bay Ain’t nothing like the sky to dose a potion The moon’ll send you on your way”

Blackman has always had an interest in writing and music, even at a young age. In the fourth grade, everyone in his class leaned to play the tonette, a precursor to the recorder that became so popular in elementary music education. He describes it as a flute and piccolo hybrid that has a little more air in it. “I was enamored with it,” he recalls. He even won a contest by playing “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and “Flight of the Bumble Bee” while everyone played “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” is natural talent was put to the test by the junior high band director, Peyton Crowder. Blackman was given a trumpet— an instrument he didn’t play—and was told to keep up and play along with the band director on the piano. He was able to play well enough through the riffs and key changes meant to trip him up. By the time he reached the sixth grade, Blackman was the first chair trumpet player. But it was an English teacher, Nell omas, who Blackman credits as a major

Blackman with wife, Peggy, the inspiration for “Moonlight Feels Right.”

influence on his writing and music career. omas, seeing potential in Blackman as a writer, gave him extra work outside of class. Blackman wrote the essays and themes even though he remembers them being returned covered in red ink. But the pair worked together until he wrote something that she was satisfied with. It was, he remembers, a theme about his chemistry teacher, Mr. Claude Stewart. “When she told me she was

Photos from Starbuck’s appearance on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. DELTA MAGAzINE 2019

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overnight success. “Every label passed on Moonlight. Nobody knew how to sell a band from Mississippi that wasn’t Southern rock or disco.” Another problem with finding success could have been the length of the song. e final studio version clocked in at three minutes, forty seconds. e record company said it was too long for radio play and wanted to trim the run time down to around three minutes. But that would mean cutting out Bo Wagner’s marimba solo bridge. Blackman recalls the struggle, saying, “I put my foot down and said we weren’t going to change it. To this day, I don’t know how I had the stones to say it, because we didn’t have other options. By then everyone had already turned us down.” When the song was eventually released Promotional shot of Starbuck back in the day. in September of 1975, the marimba solo remained. But it didn’t get played on the As a teen Blackman listened to rock ’n’ roll proud of me, I felt like I had really done radio or anywhere else. Michael St. John at like everyone, but it really had no influence something great,” he says. WREC in Birmingham said he liked the on him or the music he wanted to play. “e In high school, Blackman was a good record, but was insistent that it sounded like boogie woogie blues were big then, but that’s athlete. A standout on the track team, he a springtime song, not suited for the fall. also played football “against his will” as Blackman thought he was just he describes it. He eventually accepted shrugging them off, however he kept his a track scholarship to Mississippi State. word and began playing the song in the After his coach, Jerry Simmons, died in spring. a car crash, the track team fell And the song’s success built slowly completely apart. “I just lost interest in from there. “Moonlight Feels Right” running, and music took over from was on the charts for twenty-two weeks, there,” he remembers. topping out at number three in 1976. It was during this time he joined the is was a perfect setup for touring as band, e Phantoms, who played pop the band could follow the song to new and harmony songs at bars and fraternity parties. is group evolved Live show at Chastain Park Ampitheater, Atlanta, Georgia radio markets, and it allowed them build up a fanbase. into a band called Eternity’s Children with Toto and Chicago. During this time, Blackman adopted made up of guys from the Delta. ey his signature look—a white English had some success and scored a minor hit driving cap. Bruce was told by his with the song “Mrs. Bluebird,” which manager that he didn’t have the right reached number sixty-nine on the look for a front man and that he needed Billboard charts. more hair. He was sent to a hairdresser Dissatisfied with management, who shaved off the front part of his hair Blackman eventually struck out with and sewed hair extensions into the scalp. two other band members—Johnny He says, “Somehow it didn’t take and Walker and Bo Wagner—to form just looked bad. So my wife cut it. at Starbuck in 1970. At first the band took my look from bad to worse called themselves Mississippi, an because my head swollen and red from homage to their home state. But their the stitching.” record label insisted on a name change To make matters worse, they were in because they also signed a group from With 70s television talk show host, Merv Griffin. Los Angeles to play on American Australia named Mississippi. “Funnily Bandstand and begin a media tour. ey not what I wanted to play. I liked show enough, they told the guys from Mississippi needed a solution quickly, so Peggy went out tunes, Dixieland jazz, and artists like Dave that we had to change and let the Aussies to buy some hats for Bruce. She returned Brubeck and Ahmad Jamal.” In fact, he keep the name.” with three choices—a captain’s hat, a regular concedes that “Moonlight” is essentially a Bruce was a fan of Moby Dick, and the ball cap, and the white flat bill. “Of the three, big band song. name Starbuck jumped out at him. “It felt I thought that was the best, and she agreed, e song and the band were hardly an right for the music we were making,” he says. 70 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

saying it had a ‘cool gentleman feel.’” During this trip on the West Coast, the band went on a big media blitz, and, of course, Blackman wore the hat everywhere they went. e legend of the hat was born. In fact, the first time he tried to play a gig without the hat, the crowd called for it, chanting,“White hat! White hat!” When the roadie finally brought it out, there was standing ovation. As Blackman thinks back now, he says, “Some things are not hard to figure out.” e white hat became his signature look, and he still wears it on stage today. After Starbuck settled down, Blackman took a break from recording music for a few decades. However, he found himself back in it ahead of a high school class reunion in 2014. He wrote and recorded a song called “Jim’s Café” that he intended to give to his classmates as a gift. e tune, a true story about a trip Blackman made from Baton Rouge to Greenville in order to go out with his future wife, was just meant to be a small thing. He gave out fifty copies to his classmates as presents. When word got around, people were asking him where they could buy it and if he had more. Without any copies to give out, Blackman told people to message him on Facebook. But when he got home, there were over six hundred messages waiting on him. Clearly there was some interest in his new music, and he decided to record an album. at album, Moonlight Feels Right 2014, had five songs appearing on the adult contemporary charts, including a top twenty ranking for “Jim’s Café.” Blackman stays busy these days, and Nell omas would be glad to know that he spends most of his time writing. He landed a book deal almost by accident through posting short vignettes and memories of his career on Facebook when a publisher cold called him and offered a book deal. He published e Road to Moonlight Feels Right in 2018 and filled it with anecdotes about his life and the music business from 1952 through 1980. Blackman is also hard at work on three other books that are due out soon as well as Starbuck’s anthology record featuring all new material. DM DELTA MAGAzINE 2019

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PO’ MONKEYS PORTRAIT OF A JUKE JOINT New photography book by Will Jacks captures the essence of one of the region’s most legendary juke joints

Q&A with photographer Will Jacks You were a regular patron of Monkeys—what inspired you to start photographing it? It all began while brainstorming about a feature I could do for Delta Magazine. After working on that for about nine months and having it published, things still felt incomplete to me. I didn’t feel like I had a deep understanding of what I’d just documented, so I decided to just keep going back to see if I could get that understanding. When you began documenting Monkeys and Seaberry, did you think it would eventually become a book? I knew about two years into it that there was something of value. I began to envision a book about that time, but had to wait a good while longer before I felt the content, and perhaps my importantly, my understanding of it, was substantial enough for a book. What is it that made Po’ Monkeys so magical? First, it was Willie Seaberry. He was as magnetic a person as there ever was. Then it was the people. What made Po’ Monkey’s so different from so many other spaces in the Delta is that it was always grounded in locals. This is extremely rare, particularly in today’s 74 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

tourism driven market. The space itself was amazing—the colorful lights, the old cypress, the gravel road and the structure surrounded by fields—but the real magic was the amazing mixture of people, and that mixture was created because of Willie Seaberry. If you could choose—what would you like to see happen to Po’ Monkeys? Do you think it could reopen successfully? Ah, this is a trick question! Successful is a subjective word. What some deem amazing others deem an atrocity. What happens out there is not my decision to make, but whatever occurs, I do believe it needs to not only honor Willie, but also the many locals that were the glue for that space. If an environment is created that ceases to carve a space where the same group of people feel comfortable returning, then it would not be a success in my opinion. Better to

see the structure return to the earth, than to become a space that is no longer frequented by those that held it together. How to do this? I’m not sure. Willie knew how to do it, and he did it well. Perhaps someone else will come along that can do the same. Perhaps not. But if the space is ever to reopen and serve the community the way it did when Willie was alive, it will require another Willie Seaberry to run it. What’s your biggest takeaway from knowing Willie? Share what you love as often as you can with as many as you can, and amazing things can happen. DM Selected photos and writings from Will Jacks’ new book Po’ Monkeys: Portrait of A Juke Joint with an essay by Boyce Upholt. DELTA MAGAzINE 2019

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A complete four-volume Douay Old Testament, a Catholic translation of the Latin Bible, 1796.

A Storied Collection How a 400-plus year old Bible found it’s way from Queen Elizabeth’s print shop to the Mississippi Delta BY REBEKKAH ARANT • PHOTOGRAPHY BY RORY DOYLE




These remembrances may be shared around a greatgrandmother’s cherished antique dining table while enjoying decades-old family recipes served on dishes handed down from generation to generation. There is a real comfort that comes from the familiar faces and surroundings we’ve grown to love over the years. Happy memories are made in a setting, and the objects people are surrounded by reflect a lot about those to whom they belong. It’s the stories of objects like these that attract collector Dr. Andrew Jones. A Cleveland resident and retired Delta State University professor, Dr. Jones has been an avid collector for years. A collector by nature, Jones recalls gathering rocks and simple things that didn’t have much value when he was a child; they just sparked his interest. The first item that truly inspired his hobby was a coffee pot given to his mother by a beloved teacher; his mother then passed the coffee pot down to him. Now his collections range from antique furniture to cut glass to artwork. But, perhaps, it’s his gathering of old Bibles and religious texts that is the most fascinating. Made up of more than sixteen Bibles and various other books including an Isaac Watts songbook and a history of baptism, this collection showcases books that Jones has picked up over the years for their unique qualities. The book that began the collection was his student Bible from Mississippi College. Jones was a speech major

Jones attaches personal notes detailing the uniqueness of each volume.

at Mississippi College, and he quickly added to the collection when the library there had to discard some of its books. He explains, “They were stacked up on the third floor. Well, as it turned out, in 1949 the speech department was started, and they put them on the third floor of the library. So I was around those books, and they were having to move them and throw them away, so one or two of them I picked up there.” He added a notable volume to his collection in 1965. While teaching at Mississippi University for Women, he received a flyer in the mail advertising used books and saw an old Bible for sale. He thought it looked interesting and bought it for a sum of around thirty-five dollars. That particular Bible turned out to be a 1599 edition of the Geneva Bible imprinted by Queen Elizabeth I’s publisher Christopher Barker. Elizabeth I reestablished England as a Protestant nation, and this version of the Bible flourished in her reign, influencing such writers as William Shakespeare, John Bunyan, and John Milton. However, it wasn’t until 2016 when Jones read an article in The Clarion-Ledger about another copy of the same Bible that he truly realized what he had. The article told the story of a history major at DELTA MAGAzINE 2019

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Printed in 1599, this rare Bible contains intricate woodcut illustrations and is closed with metal clasps.

Dr. Jones’s Bible is similar to one known to have been carried to North America by the Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower.

Lewis and Clark College in Oregon who found the Bible by chance when going through historical documents in the school’s library. The Bible described in the article seemed immediately familiar to Jones, so he went to his collection and confirmed that it was the same book. He notes, “It means more now that somebody else has one too. It’s not just a castaway.” Over four hundred years old, the Bible remains in good A page from the Geneva condition, complete with metal clasps, Bible, showing the use of the and is worth well more than he paid letter “f” in place of “s”. for it. Other significant works in the collection are a complete fourvolume Douay Old Testament published in 1796 and an 1861 New Testament printed with every other page blank so that readers could take notes. The Douay is a Catholic translation of the Latin Bible and serves as the foundation for most modern Catholic versions. Although Jones doesn’t plan to learn Greek or Hebrew, he has copies of the Bible in both languages. He found the Hebrew version particularly interesting as the Hebrew language is written and read right to left. 80 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

Jones’s collection includes a Hebrew Bible that was a library discard; interestingly, Hebrew texts are written and read right to left.

Also in the collection is a Bible printed in 1847 and distributed by the Young Men’s Bible Society of Cincinnati, a group that placed Bibles in hotels before the Gideons. This is one of Jones’s favorites because of its background. He says, “Somebody lifted it, and it ended up in a used book store, so that is the reason I got it, because of the uniqueness of it.” A few of the books hold particular meaning for Jones. A small Bible made with a mother-of-pearl cover was a gift from his wife. Appreciating her husband’s interest in old Bibles and in items made of mother-of-pearl, Jones’s wife knew it would be the perfect fit for his collections. A well-worn black volume in the collection was also a gift. He explains, “my mother-in-law bought that and gave it to my wife, and my wife has drawn a line through her name and put my daughter’s name in it, so they are passing it on.” Jones says the Bible “will mean something special” to his daughter. Although Jones is not actively adding to this collection, he suggests that he would pick up a piece “if it is really a bargain and not like anything” he has. He frequents used book stores and consignment shops, so the possibility of a new addition is not unlikely. As for the future of the collection, Dr. Jones hopes that it will be “preserved so that other people could see them because there is a good bit of history.” And it’s the history of the items that fascinates him. Jones has an uncanny ability as a storyteller and can recount the history and details

of each piece with a stunning familiarity that captivates the listener. He points out, “Stories come natural after you work to find out about it. It sticks with you and you remember.” He goes on to say, “Where I got it, who owned it, has a lot to do with the value that I place with it.” Jones proves that the value of a collection is found in the collector’s fascination and enjoyment of the objects. He encourages others who are interested in collecting to choose “something that hits you and you like it” and points out that “you have to be aware that you may collect something and put a good bit of money in it that becomes worthless,” monetarily speaking. It is for this reason that he collects pieces that he finds meaningful or unique rather than things that simply have an extrinsic value. Treasured items are on full display in this season of traditions, and their stories are waiting to be shared. Jones explains that the inclination to cherish family heirlooms is fueled by “the feeling you’d like to hold on to a little something you’ve been around.” At Jones’s house, his Bible collection will “take a backseat” during the holidays because “the Christmas tree goes right in front of the fireplace, and it will have 125 Gorham snowflakes on it” that he has collected over the years. Through these collections, Jones has learned about his interests and his family history and believes that others can use collecting as a way to learn, “especially if you are collecting stuff that was in your family.” DM DELTA MAGAzINE 2019

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At eleven years old, Dinkins’s retriever Littles has over 6,000 retrieves under gun. A Wildrose Kennels pup, her official name is Little Sip O’Whiskey.

Treks of Greatness, Shades of Grandeur Guided Duck Hunting in the Delta RORY DOYLE



orever and ever, amen” is the ofttime response when a city slicker asks a hardened old duck hunter how long ducks have been coming to the Delta. Or, as legendary Fighting Bayou duck master Skipper Jernigan relates, “since man’s memory runneth not to the contrary.” If it’s winter, there are going to be ducks in the Delta. The greatest waterfowl flyway on the North American continent is the Mississippi Flyway, carrying a staggering amount of the migrating waterfowl each year from their breeding grounds in the upper regions of North America to the areas of Louisiana along the Gulf Coast. And one of the highest concentrations of ducks and geese funnel each year into the Arkansas and Mississippi Deltas along the Mississippi River. No greater masses of waterfowl come through an area than our Mississippi Delta. Following the ingrained paths of the Mississippi River and its floodways, the historically flooded bottomland hardwood timber, grass fields and sandbars have offered up a smorgasbord of wild grass seeds, acorns, pecans and tubers that is the historic diet of overwintering waterfowl. In other words, in the Delta today, “if you got food, you got ducks.”


Robinson and Dinkins in their element—often the subtle soft call at the end makes all the difference.


A majestic view of Linden Plantation in Glen Allan.


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This view from the Big Pit duck hole is a familiar sight to Esperanza hunters.



Station 1 of the sporting clays range. Stations are set up to simulate multiple wetland and upland fowl hunting scenarios.

Robinson foraging for chicken of the woods mushrooms, which will be enjoyed at dinner. 86 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

Deep in the south Delta, in Washington County, only a few miles off the current path of the Mississippi River is the old Swan Lake bed. A shallow lake, it served as the drainage sump for a large part of the neighboring Delta. Surrounded by virgin cypress and dense hardwood forests, the lake would rise during high water times and then drain out, allowing hundreds of acres of grass flats to emerge loaded up with tons and tons of seed. Swan Lake, like many of the oxbow lakes created by the meandering river, would literally fill up with ducks each winter. As the unforgettable Duck Doctor, the late Bubba Tollison, often said, regarding the annual migrating ducks’ return to imprinted resting and feeding grounds, “Their eyeballs would peel back as they fell out of the sky heading straight into the water.” It stands to reason that in 1893, this is where the first incorporated hunting club in the state of Mississippi was established, Swan Lake Hunting Club. Today, the Yazoo National Wildlife Refuge encompasses thirteen thousand acres of the old Swan Lake bed and surrounding fields and forests. South Washington County still holds an abundance of the lakes and wetlands that have been home to overwintering waterfowl since long before the first white men established residence in the area. Along the banks of Lake Washington in close proximity to the old Swan Lake bed stands Linden Plantation. The property, which was the first presidential land grant and homesite in Washington County, was originally purchased in the early 1820s by Frederick Turnbull of Kentucky, who settled there building a two-story log cabin and gave the plantation its name. The second owner was Christopher Hampton of South Carolina, brother to Civil War Calvary General Wade Hampton. Christopher Hampton built the first formal home on the location. In 1898, the property was purchased by P. L. Mann. Mann eventually razed the Hampton home in the early 1900s and began construction on the Greek Revival home which still stands today.



Robinson enjoys explaining where the local delicious edibles come from and how they are prepared. Many Esperanza visitors are inspired to cook more adventurously back home after visiting his kitchen.

Linden Plantation is currently occupied by the fifth generation of the Mann family, Cameron, Whitney, Banks, and Linden Dinkins. With the goal of creating a sustainable business model from the abundant recreational opportunities found on his family’s land and throughout the Mississippi Delta they called home, Cameron founded Esperanza Outdoors in 1997. Over the years, the Dinkinses have added to their property and made improvements to the land in order to create an ideal habitat for the wildlife that reside in and visit the Delta. Esperanza Outdoors has now progressed from a hunting leases and club format to a fullservice destination for wing shooting and shooting sports based at Linden Plantation. In 2008, chef and avid sportsman Stewart Robinson joined the Esperanza team when he moved back to Mississippi after several years living out of state. He and Dinkins began hunting, fishing, cooking, and exploring together and realized they shared not only a love of the outdoors and entertaining but also a vision to offer what

they refer to as a Mississippi Delta “boutique” duck hunting experience. In the fall of 2013, Robinson became a full partner when the Dinkinses decided to transition to a premier guide service, offering a multi-faceted guided hunting experience that encompasses duck, goose, dove, and teal hunting, fishing, and a multi-station, state-of-the-art sporting clays range. “Whitney and I knew that it was time to transform, but we didn’t want to make the change unless Stewart wanted to be a partner as well,” says Dinkins. “The three of us work hard to convey our vision of the essence of hunting in the Delta. It’s about the whole experience of friends and family enjoying the bounty of nature, great food and fellowship, and the ambiance of this truly magical setting.” And magical it is. Upon arriving, there is no better way for guests of Esperanza to toast the upcoming hunt than from the front veranda of the Big House. There, surrounded by massive columns and nearly two-hundred-year-old magnolia trees, planted by Turnbull himself, they watch as the sun slowly sinks into the


Hunters are taught to shoot their position, a trick these seasoned hunters learned long ago.


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There is a bittersweet satisfaction for these hunters as they head back to the city after a successful weekend hunt in the Delta. 88 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019


After dinner—tall tales and recollections from the field. This is hands down a must for a truly Delta experience.

cypresses of Lake Washington. During their stay, they are treated to an immersive, two-to-three day foray into the depths of the Mississippi Delta. Hunters dine at Doe’s Eat Place, gather around the one-hundred-plus year old fire pit to share the day’s stories— along with a nightcap—and are treated to Robinson’s culinary creations, which are gathered and harvested from the surrounding fields, woods, and water. “Ultimately, our desire is to make each guest a part of the Esperanza family, always at home...and anxious to return,” says Whitney Dinkins. “Warmth and hospitality are the keys to a welcomed stay. I love people and hope to immediately put them at ease and make them feel like part of our family.” In addition to her work with Esperanza throughout the year, Whitney also runs an event and rental business on the property hosting weddings, dinners, workshops, and retreats. Needless to say, the Dinkinses and Robinson know how to put on a weekend of unparalleled opulence for their guests as they are immersed in some of the best duck and goose hunting available in the Mississippi Delta. But for Robinson it’s much more. “I want to shatter people’s preconceptions about what the Delta is and who our people are,” he says. “Our goal is certainly to give our clients the most productive hunting experience possible, but we don’t want to send them home with just a cooler filled with meat. We want to baptize them into the Delta. The food, stories, wildlife, and characters of this place are what make it special to us, and that is what we hope to convey to others.” For more information visit espoutdoors.com

One of the old tried and true blinds on Beaver Dam Lake.

BEAVER DAM HUNTING SERVICES At the turn of the last century, little of the Mississippi Delta had been cleared for farming, but that was rapidly changing. Chugging out of Memphis daily was a small train that carried freight, supplies, and a few passengers deep into the wilds of Desoto, Tunica, and Coahoma Counties. The “Limb Dodger” carried cotton and timber back out of the swamps to the timber mills and cotton shipping points in Memphis. The track ran right alongside Beaver Dam Lake, an old oxbow of the Mississippi River. Forever, this lake has been a prime spot for overwintering waterfowl that migrated each year by the untold thousands, if not millions. Onboard the Limb Dodger in the wintertime would often be Memphis sportsmen who had formed a small club on Beaver Dam Lake to partake of all there was to offer in the cypress brakes, grass flats, adjoining fence rowed fields full of quail, and nearby river sandbars loaded with geese. Most likely on that train, accompanied by his father and other older men, was a young Nash Buckingham who later would become possibly the greatest outdoor sporting writer of all times. Word had been sent by long-standing and loved caretaker Horace Miller that “da ducks is down.” One could rest assured that Horace’s wife, Aunt Molly, was busy in the kitchen getting ready to feed the sporting guests. There would certainly be “goose stew…served right royally and attended by outriders of ‘cracklin’ bread’ and flanked by a man-at-arms in the form of a saucily flavored brown gravy. I recall a side dish of broiled teal and some country puddin’ with ginger pour-over, but merely mention that in passing.” And the next morning in Aunt Molly’s


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Icy temps and a little snow doesn’t stop these hunters in the cypress-filled waters of Beaver Dam.

“Falling from the sky” into Beaver Dam Lake.

A group of satisfied hunters proudly displays the day’s limit.

Young hunters shoot from the comfort of a blind.

kitchen guests were served, “…coffee, poached eggs, butter-broiled country ham, and beaten biscuits.” But it was the ducks and geese that drew the gentlemen to Beaver Dam. Mallards, pintails, gadwalls, teal, widgeon, and wood ducks by the sky-blackening-thousands descended on the flooded grass flats, willow thickets, and cypress brakes that were loaded with floating duckweed, acorns, pecans, and grass seeds. And that has not changed much today. The old Beaver Dam Ducking Club has been resurrected in the new Beaver Dam Hunting Services. Shooting from historic and legendary blind locations in towering cypress trees and buckbrush sloughs, along with newly added flooded grain fields, owners Mike and his son Lamar Boyd offer nostalgic memory-laden hunts to serious sportsmen from all over the country. Inspired by a friend’s prompting, those first hunts were originally booked for a few morning hunts to mostly local clients. Now, years later, Beaver Dam Hunting Services offers opportunities to serious waterfowl hunters from all across North America. The Boyds have now been providing professionally guided

duck hunts since 1982 in what is regarded as one of the premiere waterfowl destinations in North Mississippi and the nation. Beaver Dam has received coverage in numerous national publications, including Field and Stream, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Petersen’s Hunting, and Ducks Unlimited Magazine, as well as national media exposure. Nowhere else can you hunt ducks and shoot from the same blinds and areas that were immortalized over a century ago by Nash Buckingham. Oil up your old Parker or Fox side-by-side and get a box of the new tungsten shells that won’t damage those glorious old barrels as you draw a close bead on one of a flock of feet-down mallards. You just might hear that resounding “baaaruuuumph” of Buckingham’s legendary Bo Whoop echoing off through the cypress. If you are serious about duck hunting, you just may need to be able to sit back on a cold winter’s evening in front of an ember-laden fire, glass in hand, and say, “I really do think I heard it.” For more information visit beaverdamducks.com




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Bill Lester and Paul Moak at age fifteen, after a hunt at the Ross Barnett while it was still being filled to make the reservoir.


The bittersweet memories of a young boy’s first duck-hunt BY BILL LESTER


t was sleet; I was sure of it, lying there awake some time into the hours past midnight, above my

father in the upper bunk of the small boathouse he, a helper, and I had built the past summer, lying there listening to him breathing each breath as if it were the one before he would awake and find me awake and begin to make ready for the morning hunt. The endless pecking drew my attention again to the galvanized sheets above me. It must be sleet!


I lay there above my father, ten years old, deep in the night before my first hunt for ducks, unable to sleep, wanting day’s first light to swiftly come so anticipation could be fulfilled and become memory. We were in northwest Tennessee on a small spring-fed lake. My father had purchased a partnership in the lake in 1957, and we built a boat house in the summer of 1958. Finding ducks on the lake that December was a surprise. He had

intended the lake for fishing. My father was a custom home builder in Memphis and a devoted duck hunter. He and Memphis photographer George Haley made many hunting trips to Stuttgart, Arkansas, and as a small child, I had thrilled at the stories they told and memorized each photo, hoping soon to see myself grinning from within the black and white images of men, ducks, and Stuttgart. Father had promised to take me to the

promised land of Arkansas when I reached my tenth year. But before my first Arkansas trip could become a black and white on the wall, he said I needed some understanding of how to hunt ducks. We had spent the day before building a blind in a small shallow inlet at the north end of the lake. Before dark, we saw a few mallards coast along the water and settle in front of the blind. My father smiled and whispered, “Red legs, tomorrow!” The rattle of sleet was overpowered and consumed by the alarm. I was out of bed, standing stocking footed upon the cold plywood floor, staring in his awakening face saying, “It’s time! It’s time!” We dressed; he opened a can of twentyfour count sardines, cut cheese, and made coffee and said, “I believe it’s sleeting.” “Yes sir,” I said, something I had been aware of for the past five and a half hours. Finally, we loaded decoys and gear in the truck and made the short drive to the north end of the lake. Between us on the truck seat was his Remington 12-gauge made on the Browning pattern and a Belgium-made double barrel .410. I kept my hand on the new, cold blue metal the entire ride. The sleet was persistent and pitch-ofnight black as we made our way along the thick bank toward the blind. His stop was sudden; he put down the

Two young boys pose proudly with the 100-duck harvest of four successful hunters, including their own fathers and Carey Lester, circa 1947, Stuttgart, Arkansas.

Bill Lester, age 10, with a fish caught the summer before the first and last hunt.

Carey Lester, Bill’s father, about 1943.


Lester in his studio at Dockery Plantation.


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bag of decoys carefully and knelt on one knee, his face almost against mine, and said, “Geese, I hear geese.” His voice filled my small boy body with excitement; I could smell cigarettes and sardines as his warm breath carried the words of a planned stalk and ambush into my very body. For a few moments we were capsuled in time; we were part of the past and living mass of fathers and sons on all the predawn hunts that had passed and all that were to come, there exhaling and inhaling into each other, not only the breath that keeps us alive but the excitement and expectation that made taking the next one worthwhile, worth the effort. He whispered, “The wind is from the south, so they will likely take off into it, and that will carry them over the finger (you know, where we caught the bass this summer). I’m sure they will pass over it if I don’t crowd them on the flush. We have twenty minutes till shooting time. So go to the finger, crawl out to the point into the tall grass, and stay down. Don’t move till the first one passes over you; then take the second. Remember, hold on the head; don’t look at the body. Just hold on the head and give ‘em both barrels, son; give ‘em both!” We parted, and I was alone in the night, an extension of my father’s dreams and excitement and yet a lone and single hunter beginning to be worthy of my own purpose and dreams. I turned south and into the wind filled with tiny sleet the size of a shot. Almost at once I was on the slim piece of earth that jutted in to the lake. From my weeded concealment, I watched as the pale of dawn became new day, and then I could see the pack. There were six all told, the color of putty with black snake heads and a patch of white at the throat. They talked in low voices, undisturbed and unaware that my father and I planned murder. I looked at each one and wondered, could this be the one, not letting the fact that I had never shot at a duck, let alone a great goose, even enter my desire. Then I saw him, my father, emerge, with the geese between us, from the dark embankment and walk out in plain view as if he didn’t care if they were there or not.


All heads went to attention; all sound, save for the falling sleet, stopped. My heart thumped beyond control beneath my canvas coat. As I watched, my father advanced slowly toward the guarded pack. Suddenly they had had enough! Seemingly without effort, the squadron lifted off barking orders to one another; on powerful wings in to the wind they came. I could see their bodies clearly in the gray morning air and my father, tiny in the distance. I knew he was saying, “Hold on the head, hold on the head!” I looked up as the powerful leader craned his neck about, still passing out orders and still unaware, and passed barely twenty yards above me. I felt the wind from his wings. I rose and shouldered the .410. They were startled but committed, and on they pressed. The tiny barrel barked its feist’s sound. There was disorder and one slowed. I called on the second barrel, another tiny sound, and the third goose from the leader locked his wings and came earthward, his final and predestined journey. Editor’s Note: Bill Lester is an avid duck hunter, turkey hunter and artist, widely known for his custom made turkey calls and hand-carved, block print paintings of local waterfowl and other wildlife. His varied career has included painting, teaching art at Delta State University for thirty-seven years, and now, serving as the executive director of the Dockery Farms Foundation, which is responsible for raising money to restore the historic blues site. Here Lester shares this poignant memory of duck-hunting with his father, who died later that same month. “I actually wrote this when I was a freshman at Ole Miss,” Lester says. “It was about my first and last duck hunt with my father. What I didn’t mention in the essay at the time is how my father took me, and the goose, and the .410 all around the next day, showing us off to his workmen. He was so proud.” “I also never told my father that I was shooting at the first goose but it was the third one that fell—he never knew,” Lester recalls with a smile. “It’s funny the small details you remember and think about as you get older.” DM


Fried Simmons Catfish Fillets, Okra-Ham Purloo, Marinated Cucumbers, & Fish Sauce Aioli. -SNACKBAR, Oxford, MS

Fresh From The Pond To Your Plate. SINCE 1982


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Shop where you see everything from Wizard of Oz to Alice in Wonderland and all your dreams come true.


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Merry& Bright! Every December, this Vicksburg couple enjoys welcoming guests for plenty of food and fun in their sprawling lakeside home.




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This needlepoint stocking, hung on the stair rail with care, is for the littlest Campbell. At right, a large Old St. Nick mannequin, with colorful Mexican paper flowers, stands ready to welcome Yuletide company in the entry hall.



The yellow-clapboard, Colonial-style dwelling, with its elegantly simple seven-bay façade, was actually built in 1989. With deep roots in tradition and plenty of room for a growing family, it is a place the Campbells enjoy every square inch of, especially when the holidays roll round.

“We had thought about building, but a house this size would have been prohibitively expensive,” says Amy, a Jackson native (nee’ Calvert). She happily adopted vicksburg as her home town after marrying attorney Lane, who followed in his late father Frank’s footsteps and returned to the River City to serve as assistant district attorney and then eventually open his own practice. “And, too, finding a four-acre lot this close to town would have been a challenge!” So back in 2017, when original owner Pam Powers decided to sell the dream home she had commissioned architect Paul Ingram to design for the rolling acreage on Stenson Road, the Campbells quickly jumped on it. The excellent bones were there, and space was plentiful; at 6,400 square feet there was no question it could hold them all. “You have to understand,” laughs Amy, “that 1,400 of those square feet are the upstairs playroom.” This unusual feature sees daily use by the little ones, son Ellis and daughters Kate and virginia. The gracious entry hall, featuring a classic paneled stairwell with 102 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

a contemporary iron railing (both added during their renovation) and warm diagonal-laid brick floors, leads left into the large formal living room and forward into a huge combined family living space with a family den, secondary dining area, and large open kitchen, all with a sweeping back porch beyond (a later addition designed by architect S.J. Tuminello). To the immediate right, off the entry hall, the master bedroom suite connects at the rear to the laundry and kitchen area and a second, private staircase. This feature, often seen in very old houses, is unusual in contemporary architecture. “What we loved instantly about this house is the floorplan,” says Amy, “with the old-fashioned amenities like this.” “We actually didn’t do very much to the house,” she continues, then pauses, adding, “Come to think of it, we did a lot, actually! Fresh paint for every room, retiling several bathrooms, adding granite in the kitchen, and updating the look with all new lighting fixtures. But nothing structural was needed, luckily.” Amy, acting as her own interior designer, chose a bright, cool vanilla palette for the walls and incorporated many treasured family antiques in each

Ruffle-edge Annieglass chargers echo the sparkle of the crystalbeaded chandelier and the gilded gleam of the oversize nutcracker in the dining room all set for a festive holiday repast.


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Feliz Navidad Fiesta Menu Fresh guacamole and tortilla crisps Carnitas (pulled pork nachos) Build-your-own fajita station (assorted grilled, sliced meats with warm tortillas and assorted toppings of onion, peppers, cheese, and sour cream) Roasted Mexican garlic-butter street corn Miniature caramel flans and Key lime tartlets

The central granite kitchen island, usually the venue for meals and after-school snacks, acts as extra serving space for large parties. Here, succulent Mexican Street Corn and a McCarty bowl filled with spicy pulled pork are ready for guests to enjoy, along with fresh salsa.

Upstairs, in addition to the oversized playroom, there are three room. The living room furniture, including the piano, originally bedrooms and two bathrooms and a central sitting area perfect for belonged to Amy’s grandmother. “These are some of our favorite movie evenings for the kids and their spend-the-night company. things,” she notes, “along with a china cabinet that Lane rebuilt for Older daughter Kate’s room has a charming fireplace, another me from a piece we had in our first home.” Lane inherited his love feature reminiscent of houses of of woodworking from his dad, and yesteryear. another favorite feature of theirs is On one night of the Yuletide the old plantation shutters that season, though, the little ones are conceal the large den Tv, which happily sent off to grandma “CiCi” were reclaimed and refashioned (Lane’s mother Carole) so that the from Lane’s childhood home on grown-ups can enjoy an evening of Baum Street downtown. “Lane’s dad holiday festivity with their friends. Frank built these, and they were One year, merriment (and anxiety!) removed during a kitchen ran especially high when the brave renovation a few years ago,” she Campbells hosted back-to-back recalls. “It’s very special to have parties on two December evenings. something to remind us of him on The first one went seamlessly, with a daily basis.” many of their Warren County Bar Selecting the perfect artwork for the walls was easy and certainly Lane and Amy Campbell with their children Kate, Ellis and Virginia. Association friends commenting on their luck with the weather, required no art consultant. Lane’s which was snowy and freezing up in Oxford that night. The next paternal grandmother Jane Campbell, remembered fondly by many morning, the Campbells awoke to discover that the frosty conditions vicksburgers, died before Amy and the children could get to know had moved south overnight, and a deep snow had blanketed their her. She was a talented painter in oils and acrylics, and many of her world. “We went into full working mode at 7:00 a.m., securing colorful landscapes and still life compositions are featured more heaters, commercial grade plastic lining to block the wind on throughout the house. 104 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019


coarse salt for the rim ounces Grand Marnier ounces Tequila ounces white cranberry juice ounces freshly squeezed lime juice ounce simple syrup lime for garnish cranberries for garnish simple syrup

Rim each glass with a lime wedge and dip in the coarse salt. Fill each glass with ice. In a cocktail shaker, add the Grand Marnier, tequila, cranberry juice, lime juice and syrup and shake for 30 to 60 seconds. Pour over the ice. Garnish with extra limes and cranberries. Simple Syrup ½ cup water ½ cup sugar

Stir together the water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until the sugar dissolves and bring the mixture to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. “Make mine a Mistletoe!” is the cry of party-goers at this southof-the-border bash.

An assortment of warm tortillas, crisp chips, and a plethora of “fixings” and sauces to top the meats make do-it-yourself fajitas fun, and easily accommodates vegetarian diners.


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The custom iron stair banister is the perfect spot for the family’s five Christmas stockings, hanging among the swags of greenery festooned with twinkling light and bright ribbon. The Campbells added the crisp, classical painted wall of paneling when they refurbished the house.



cup sugar 1 cup water 1 whole eggs 1½ egg yolks 1 can sweetened condensed milk

cup whole milk cup heavy cream tablespoon sugar tablespoon vanilla extract

For caramel, put 1 cup of sugar in a small pot with ¼ cup of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir once and reduce the heat to medium and cook about 5 minutes or until the syrup turns a caramel color. Immediately pour an equal amount of the caramel into 6 ramekins. Swirl to coat the bottom of each dish with the caramel, working quickly as the caramel will begin hardening as it cools. Place all the ramekins in a large roasting pan and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, mix the eggs, egg yolks and 1½ tablespoon sugar for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and add the condensed milk, heavy cream, whole milk and vanilla extract and mix for 1 more minute. Carefully pour an equal amount of the flan mixture into the caramelized ramekins in the roasting pan. Then carefully pour hot water into the roasting pan, avoiding ramekins, until the water comes half way up the sides of the ramekins. Place the roasting pan in the oven and bake for 1 hour, or until a knife inserted in the center of the flan comes out clean. Remove ramekins from the roasting pan and cool for at least 30 minutes. Then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. When ready to serve, carefully run a knife around the edge of the ramekin, cover with a small serving plate, flip it over and gently remove the ramekin allowing the caramel run over the sides. Makes six servings.

Above left, the heirloom sideboard stands ready to offer the pickup desserts of Key-lime tartlets and miniature flans. Above, additional places are set in the living room, with vintage Christmas china. Below, a whimsical centerpiece with a piñata donkey brightens the table in the den.


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The large master suite is a serendipitous oasis of calm, with creamy walls set off by muted grey-blue and beige toile on the bed, and contrasting buffalo-check linen on the curtains and box valances. An ornate Eastlake Victorian dresser and crib provide pleasing counterpoint to the crisp, tailored headboard and French slipper bench, all illuminated by a contemporary, sculptural light fixture.

the back porch, and a shuttle van, since we lost all of our parking space in our yard. To top it all off, I had recently found out I was expecting our third child, just three days prior to these parties!” Last year, Mother Nature was kinder, at least in the snow department. The occasion was a “Feliz Navidad”-themed Mexican dinner to entertain nurse practitioner Amy’s work colleagues from the River Region Pain Management Center, headed by Dr. Alan Torrey. The house had been decorated for days; this is Amy’s favorite time of year, when her creative energy gets into gear. Again, no fancy help or holiday stylists are called in—Amy and her family love decking the fresh-cut tree in the formal living room with ornaments acquired on vacations or from their parents’ trees from yesteryear. In addition, “I have an artificial tree that I decorate solely with the 108 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

children’s homemade things from school or church. They especially love to show off their new and old creations!” Delicious aromas with a definite south-of-the-border aura greeted guests as they strolled in past the nearly life-sized Santa mannequin in the foyer. To feed the large group, William Furlong, chief caterer at the antebellum Duff Green Mansion in downtown vicksburg, was engaged to provide the spicy meal. “Mexican is a great choice on cold nights,” comments Furlong. “Also, it’s easy to serve buffet style, which is a plus when entertaining a crowd of any size.” The large country-style kitchen, with its beautiful willow wood cabinetry is a dream workspace for any caterer; it’s oversize central island and serving bar are perfect for creating memorable events. Furlong and his assistant Cody McElwain had arrived early and set to work like happy elves, creating the savory offerings. Appetizers

Above right, Christmas carols, anyone? What better place to gather than the family piano, topped with a display of frosted fir trees and greenery. The oversize pair of square-shade lamps flank a gently distressed painted trumeau looking glass. At right, a book-filled library wall in the living room gives seasonal quarter to lovely crèche figurines among fresh greenery.


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Older daughter Kate enjoys her very own Christmas trees, sparkling with white lights and rainbow pastel ornaments, her pink-and-white confection of a bedroom upstairs. An antique wicker doll carriage holds a smaller version, and a jolly Santa presides over all. 110 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

The Campbells were surprised, but undaunted, by a heavy snowfall one December, the very night before a party.

The children’s downstairs playroom and art center is set for serving. The Campbell children having a little chat and photo-op with Santa himself!

were placed on the bar separating the kitchen from the den, and the buffet dinner was served on a long built-in cabinet in the den area, which connects conveniently to the formal dining room. This arrangement frees up the dining room sideboard for a special dessert presentation and makes serving a crowd effortless. Preprandial cocktails were mixed in a charming glass-walled corner room, just behind the dining room, that serves as the kids’ downstairs craft room during the week. Here, “their” special tree holds pride of place. On party night, a chalkboard featured the recipe for the evening’s signature libation, “Mistletoe Margaritas.” The party lasted until the last scrap of savory food was gone and beyond. Winter evenings come and go, and soon this lively annual gathering has been filed in the Campbells’ growing archive of happy memories. Spring will come, and the three little ones will get back to their daily enjoyment of fishing down at the lake or capturing fireflies, frogs, and bugs. “I have to remind them to release them before they bring them in the house,” smiles Amy. But one gets the feeling that, for this relaxed mama, adding a bit of native fauna to the eclectic mix would be no problem at all, even at holiday time. DM

Who says Santa Claus must always bring his bounty via sleigh and eight tiny reindeer? Sometimes, down South, only a vintage Chevrolet pickup will do. DELTA MAGAzINE 2019

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Holiday &

Renovated, Decorated




In the Ladner’s updated living room, mixing old and new elements keeps the overall design curated and fresh looking. We used modern matte white containers in the same setting as grandmother’s silver. - ERICA EASON HALL

Cleveland couple transforms an outdated ranch into a light-filled, modern family home n first four years of marriage, Blair and Dean Ladner moved from East Memphis, to Ankeny, Iowa, to Collierville, Tennessee, with Dean’s job in agricultural sales. Needless to say these Delta natives—Blair is from Duncan and Dean grew up in Cleveland—were ready to return to their roots. They also knew this is where they wanted to raise their family, so they took the first opportunity they could to move back to Cleveland. Then the search was on, and luckily for the Ladners, they are not afraid of a project. They found an unusual house that took some vision to transform, but Blair knew when she saw it, it was the one for them. With lots of white paint, and several budget friendly hacks they’ve made it a light-filled, charming home for their active family. And now, with the help of stylist Erica Eason Hall, the Ladners are party ready with simple, fresh, and foraged greenery and arrangements for the holidays.



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A coat of fresh white paint and a modern white light fixture were frugal ways to transform the outdated kitchen. The island was painted dark gray and topped with simple plywood that was sanded and finished for wood-block look.

The lower cabinets pictured here were salvaged when they opened the space between the kitchen and den. The Ladners moved the cabinets to the breakfast nook creating a multi-use bar and storage area. They used the same wooden countertop and dark gray paint as on the island for continuity.

Q &A with BLAIR LADNER When did y’all purchase the house? After living in three places in five years we moved back to the Delta and bought our house in Cleveland in January 2017. And from the second we first walked in, I told Dean he was in trouble—we had to have this house! It had such great bones but just needed a little love. It took us two months to finish the renovation and move in.

Blair framed simple agate coasters from Anthropologie in vintage frames that belonged to her grandmother for a creative and stunning display in the dining room. 116 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

What were the biggest challenges/projects you tackled? The biggest challenge for us was staying true to the house’s character while still trying to modernize it. The house was extremely oriental when we bought it. We wanted to update it, but stay true to the style of the home. We knew we couldn’t do everything on our wishlist at one time but wanted to get the biggest bang for our buck. We kept the original kitchen cabinets, just gave them a fresh coat of paint. We got very lucky in the bathrooms and kept all of the bathroom tile.

Cabinets salvaged from the kitchen were used to create a versatile bar area.


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Locally purchased artwork and pink barrel lampshades provide pops of color against the crisp white walls in the den. The original wood beams, pictured below, were painted a tasteful gray providing a subtle architectural detail.

Newman, 3 and Liza, 18 months, snuggle on the bed.

Dean, Liza, Blair and Newman Ladner.

Which updates made the most impact? With a busy little boy running around, we knew we wanted an openconcept living and dining space. This area is truly the heart of our home and where we spend most of our time. We removed an original wall that separated the kitchen from den and another wall between the kitchen and breakfast room. It flows quite nicely now and is perfect for entertaining. We also replaced all the windows and doors in the home. The floor to ceiling windows throughout the house add a ton of natural light, bringing the outdoors come in and our family loves the outdoors! What were simplest or least expensive changes that gave you the most bang for the buck? Well, paint goes a long way. Our contractor joked with me the entire time during the renovation because every paint color I picked was 118 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

Continuing the neutral theme, the light-filled bedroom is awash in whites and grays and is accented with framed family photos and modern bedside lamps.

some shade of white (primarily Dove Wing by Benjamin Moore), but it really did make all of the difference to freshen up the space. Even on the exterior, the brick is actually white and has never been painted, so I chose a white for the trim making everything appear one color. It contrasts well with the bronze windows. We were trying to transition from oriental to more of a modern ranch. Updating all of the dark paint colors inside and out with white gave us a clean slate to add in pops of color through art and fabrics. Another inexpensive change was salvaging the lower cabinets when we removed the wall in the kitchen. We moved them into an unused space in the breakfast room. What could have easily been trash, we repurposed into a beautiful sideboard and extra storage. Tell us a little about keeping it child-friendly and how your family lives day to day in the house? Dean and I have two children, Newman, three, Liza, eighteen months, and Lucy our labradoodle. We really do live in every square inch of our house, inside and out. Real life happens here—we live, play and party here. There is nothing that is off limits. I never want my kids to look back and think “stuff” was more important than the memories we made. However, I do have a cleaning cabinet filled with oxi-clean, magic erasers and resolve! DM

A framed collection of family Christmas cards and other artwork adorns the hall bath.


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Stylist Erica Eason Hall gives budget friendly decorating tips as she readies the Ladner home for holiday entertaining. ERICA’S TIPS

• For simple chic decor, keep your palette all green. • Varying your textures for visual interest. • Cut from local evergreen trees and mix with produce from the grocery store. • My styling always incorporates high and low alongside old and new. Wreaths and Garlands For convenience and ease, buy artificial basic wired green garland and wreaths. Add cuttings of cedar, cedar berries and magnolia to it, using green Oasis bind wire. To embellish wreaths, start anywhere, layer in fresh cuttings, repeating, moving in the same direction until complete. For the garland, I layer the fresh cuttings from one end to the other. Then I add varying pieces going in opposite direction. Once garland is complete, lay it on table, sideboard or mantle and begin adding in accents of fruit, pine cones, candles, dried pods, and magnolia branches. See photo on page 115.

Front Door Pots I created arrangements in oasis lined paper mache containers that can easily be dropped into urns. Sometimes you have to place build up items such as bricks or upside down pots inside of container, so that drop in is level with lip of exterior container. I like to add an artificial wreath over the top of exterior container before dropping paper mache down into it. This hides any of the mechanics. And then I adjust greenery over it for finished look.

The best part about this holiday decor is that it’s simple, versatile, and inexpensive. I hope you’ll consider trying these ideas in your home this Holiday Season! - E.E.H.


FROM THE GROCERY STORE Pine Cones (during holiday season) Green Apples Asian Pears Artichokes

FROM THE YARD Cedar branches Red Cedar berries (actually blue) Magnolia leaves (use front or brown backs)

FROM A FLORIST OR CRAFT STORE Eucalyptus (Seeded & Silver Dollar) Brunia Balls China Berries Artificial green wired wreaths and garland Oasis bind wire Fill a white container with cedar cuttings, artichokes, and Red Cedar berries for a simple arrangement that can be used in vignettes all around your home.


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Southern STAPLE

8 Pecan Recipes to try this Holiday Season BY CINDY COOPWOOD • PHOTOGRAPHY BY RORY DOYLE

ith fall comes the pecan harvest and it’s just in time for the holidays. Whether sprinkled in salads, topping a casserole, or filling a pie crust, pecans are a signature of many of our most treasured recipes—it’s almost impossible to imagine Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations without them. We’ve gathered eight fabulous pecan-filled recipes we hope you’ll add to your holiday menu this season, from appetizers to desserts—and yes, we say puh-KAHN!


Olive-Pecan Bites, page 128



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The cream cheese will blend more easily if room temperature; and we always encourage hand grating the cheddar cheese from a block when grated cheese is called for!


Toasting the pecans will give them a more intense flavor and added crunch.

PARTY CHEESE BALL WITH PECANS This is best made the day before to allow the flavors to blend together. 8 8 2 2

2 teaspoons minced garlic ounces cream cheese ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated ½ teaspoon salt several dashes hot sauce, or to taste teaspoons grated onion 2 cups finely chopped pecans teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Combine cream cheese and cheddar cheese, blending well. Mix in onion, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic, salt and hot sauce if desired. Taste, and adjust seasonings. Chill in refrigerator, until firm enough to handle. Shape cheese into a ball and wrap tightly with a plastic wrap. Return to refrigerater for several hours (and up to 3 days) before serving. When ready to serve, allow ball to sit out for and hour or two, then remove plastic wrap and roll the ball in the pecans until the entire outer surface is completely covered. Serve with crackers. 126 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

TANGY PECAN CRUSTED PORK TENDERLOIN The crunchy pecan coating elevates this simple cut of meat to another level—it’s definitely dinner-party worthy for the holidays. 1 ¼ 1 ½ ¼ 2 ⅔

1-pound pork tenderloin cup packed brown sugar tablespoon spicy brown mustard teaspoon salt teaspoon pepper garlic cloves minced cup chopped pecans Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl combine sugar, mustard, salt, pepper and garlic; rub over pork. Roll pork in pecans. Place tenderloin on a foil-lined pan or a broiler-pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160 degrees. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes before serving.

BROWN SUGAR GLAZED CARROTS WITH PECANS Crunchy and sweet, the simple recipe is a perfect complement to holiday main dishes such as ham, turkey or roast. 1 6 1 1

tablespoon olive oil cups diagonally sliced peeled carrots teaspoon fresh ginger, grated cup packed brown sugar salt and pepper to taste 1½ cups toasted pecan halves

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots and cook, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes. Add sugar and ginger, stirring until sugar melts, about 2 minutes. Toss in pecans and cook until carrots are cooked to desired tenderness when pierced, and mixture is glazed in sugar, 3 to 5 minutes.


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OLIVE-PECAN FINGER SANDWICHES These party sandwiches are packed with flavor from the briny olives and have added crunch from the toasted pecans. If desired, alternate with different types of bread such as pumpernickel for presentation. 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened 1 to 2 tablespoons mayonnaise ½ cup chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives 2 tablespoons finely chopped black olives ½ cup finely chopped pecans, toasted 12 slices thin whole wheat bread

Stir together first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve. When ready to assemble, stir mixture to help bring to a spreadable consistency. Spread on bread and assemble sandwiches. Trim crusts from sandwiches with a serrated knife; then cut each sandwich into thirds to make 3 sandwiches.

OLIVE-PECAN BITES A crunchier, lower carb variation on the olive-pecan finger sandwich. These stuffed pecan halves make a great pick-up appetizer for any gathering. 80 large pecans Olive-Pecan spread (recipe above)


tablespoons butter, melted tablespoon Worcestershire sauce teaspoon ground red pepper teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon garlic powder 2 cups pecan halves 1 tablespoon chili powder

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix butter, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Stir in the pecans, and gently toss with chili powder to coat. Spread coated pecans on a medium baking sheet, and cook 30 minutes stirring approximately every 10 minutes.


We prepared the above recipe as is, but you may omit chopped pecans if desired. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake pecans in a single layer about 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Allow to cool. Spread filling onto 1 side of half of pecans; top with remaining pecans, forming a sandwich.


Use different types of white and dark breads, such as pumpernickel for variety.


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Buy an extra jar of caramel sauce to have on hand for garnish if desired.

CARAMEL-PECAN CHEESECAKE PIE There’s just something special about a homemade pie. Your guests are sure to be impressed with this one—and they never need to know how simple it is to make! 1 sheet refrigerated pie pastry 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened ¾ cup sugar 4 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1¼ cups chopped pecans 1 12-ounce jar caramel ice cream topping ¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9inch pie plate with pastry. Trim and flute edges. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, 1 egg and vanilla until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture into pastry shell; sprinkle with pecans. In a small bowl, whisk remaining eggs and salt; stir in caramel topping until blended. Pour slowly over pecans. Bake 35-40 minutes or until lightly browned; if pie browns too quickly, loosely cover edges of crust with foil after 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight before slicing.

PECAN SANDIE PRALINE BARS Cookie layer 1 ⅓ 1 2¼ 1 1 1

⅔ ½ 2 2 1 ¼ 1½ 1

cup (two sticks) butter, softened cup firmly packed light brown sugar large egg cups all-purpose flour cup finely chopped pecans teaspoon salt teaspoon vanilla

Praline layer cup light corn syrup cup firmly packed light brown sugar large eggs tablespoons unsalted better, melted teaspoon vanilla extract teaspoon salt cups chopped pecans 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with baking spray. For cookie layer: In a large bowl beat butter and brown sugar with a mixer on medium speed until creamy. 3 to 4 minutes, stopping scrape down sides of bowl. Add egg, beating well. Gradually add flour, pecans, salt, and vanilla, beating until combined. Using the bottom of a measuring cup, press mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Bake until edges are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly. For praline layer: In a medium bowl, beat corn syrup, brown sugar, eggs, melted butter, vanilla, and salt with a mixer at medium speed until combined. Fold in pecans. Pour over cookie layer. Bake until praline layer is set, about 35 minutes. Immediately sprinkle chocolate morsels over praline layer, and let melt, using an offset spatula, spread melted chocolate over praline layer. Let cool to room temperature before cutting into bars. Refrigerate for up to 3 days. DM


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Save Room For Dessert For 50 years, The Crystal Grill has been serving Delta classics to generations of families for lunch and dinner. The Crystal Grill is known for its generous portions and legendary desserts. Locals know to save room for dessert. What will you try? OPEN TUESDAY - THURSDAY, SUNDAY w 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM SATURDAY - SUNDAY w 11:00 AM - 9:30 PM 662.453.6530 w 423 CARROLLTON AVENUE w GREENWOOD, MISSISSIPPI facebook.com/TheCrystalGrill


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Rich History, Uncertain Future A cultural treasure, the Blanchard-Harris House and mound site stands in the hidden enclave of Perthshire BY NANCY ARMSTRONG


ituated on the Bogue Phalia near Perthshire, Mississippi, The Blanchard-Harris House and Mounds have both historical and cultural significance to the Mississippi Delta. The site is a favorite of archaeologists because of its tiered mound system of rectangular and conical mounds and the amount of Native American artifacts which have been found on the property. These impressive mounds were built between 500 and 1500 AD by the region’s early inhabitants known as the Mississippian Mound Builders. The Blanchard Mounds were first recognized as an important Native American site in 1940 in the Peabody Study, a noted anthropological study.

The Edward and Sally Blanchard family obtained the property soon after the end of the Civil War. Upon acquisition, the family built a four room dogtrot style home. The house is one of the oldest homes in the area and with a vast assortment of outbuildings created one of the Mississippi Delta’s earliest cotton plantations along the Mississippi River. The home was renovated in 1890 to a victorian style and was greatly enlarged by adding a full second floor and a sleeping porch downstairs. During the 134 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

height of the Blanchard’s stay, the property contained stables, race tracks, and the first golf course in the Delta. Famed entertainers Dale Evans and Roy Rogers were frequent visitors to the home. Dale’s grandmother was Frances Blanchard. As Dale came from a troubled home, she would often stay with her grandmother for months at a time. Dale Evans always considered the Blanchard House to be her family home and spoke fondly of her times spent there. Blanchard Farms was known for its extensive stables

Above, the Blanchard-Harris house, east of Gunnison, dates to before the Civil War. Below and right, the family cemetery.


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Above, one of the old tennant houses located behind the main house. Above right, one of several Indian mounds located on the property. Right center and below, interior photos of the home.

and flashy Tennessee Walking Horses and this is where Dale learned her equestrian skills which later led to fame and stardom. The Blanchards experienced major financial struggles during the Great Depression, which forced them to sell the family property. In 1939, the Harris family obtained ownership of the farm. Later in the 60s, they made extensive Edward and Sally Blanchard renovations to the house resulting in along with a prolific muscadine vineyard. a more modern appearance. The great The Harris reign of the property ended contribution made by the Harris family in the 1980s when the family moved and was in the area of native plants. Along the bulk of the property was rented to a with growing cotton and rice, Edward local farmer. Tragically, one of the Indian Harris was a self-taught horticulturist who mounds was rented with the farmland and produced new varieties of fruits and trees. that mound was leveled for cultivation Harris’s most successful grafting resulted purposes; however, the eight acre area in a new pecan tree called the Harris Super containing the family home, carriage Pecan. At one point there were more than house, and shack along with the two hundred pecan trees in the orchard 136 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

remaining Indian mounds was deeded to The Archaeological Conservancy, a nonprofit organization devoted to preserving Indian mounds. In addition to the house and mounds, Mound Cemetery adjoins the property. It is the final resting place of several prominent early citizens of the area. One is Emma Knowlton Lytle, a well-known eclectic artist, sculptor, photographer, and filmmaker. There is also a massive twenty-foot tall marble obelisk honoring the Keeler family, and the namesake of the town of Gunnison is also buried in the Mound cemetery. Unfortunately, in 2018 a tree toppled in the cemetery resulting in damage to many of the headstones. A small philanthropic group with family ties to the cemetery committed to a massive restoration project that has recently been

Now being used as an event center, one of the first events to be held on the property was the wedding of Robyn and Weejy Rogers of Cleveland.

completed. The headstones were repaired and cleaned, and the beauty of Mound Cemetery has returned. The Blanchard-Harris stewardship of the land has resulted in the creation of a rare sanctuary for wildlife and native fauna. The grounds include a plethora of trees indigenous to the South. Huge sweeping magnolias, towering black walnuts, bodocks, persimmons, mulberrys, figs, and pomegranates dot the Blanchard-Harris landscape. The grounds are especially popular with ornithologists hoping to catch glimpses of rare birds. The grounds offer people an opportunity to witness life as when early Delta pioneers inhabited the area. The future is uncertain for the Blanchard-Harris House. Although structurally sound, the house has been uninhabited for eight years. The remote location of the house makes it vulnerable to thieves and vandals. Currently, Blanchard-Harris House and Grounds are being utilized as an event center. While facilities are primitive, it has been host to weddings and dinner parties. A partnership has formed with Delta State University History Department with plans to use the site as a teaching center; a history of the Mississippi Delta class was recently taught on site. Tourist groups are beginning to discover the house and mounds with private tours being conducted upon request. The Indian mounds, the bogue, the majestic trees, the historic home, and the historic cemetery makes this historical site in the Delta an authentic Mississippi experience. DM

While traveling through the Delta, Roger Fisher a founding member of the rock band, Heart, visited the Blanchard House and property. Fisher stands in front of the F. B. Keeler grave, the centerpiece in the Blanchard Cemetery. Keeler owned a large plantation adjacent to the Blanchard property and many other local plantation owners unrelated to the Blanchard family, are also buried there.

A local dinner club meets for a casual dinner on the mound. From left going around table. Philene Allen, Mollie Rushing, Margaret Tullos, Frances Scarborough, Janie Bradley and Leslie Griffin. DELTA MAGAzINE 2019

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EXPERIENCE THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA through prehistoric fossils, Native American pottery, Civil War history, cotton farming and regional art. • 12,000-year-old Mastodon • 14th Century Pottery • Spanish Colonial Beads • World War II • Civil War • Swamp Room • Art Gallery • and more 1608 Highway 82 West Greenwood, Mississippi Mon - Sat 9a.m. - 5p.m. Phone: 662-453-0925 museumofthemississippidelta.com


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50 Nights of Lights

FESTIVALS, MUSIC & FUN THINGS TO DO November 2, 9 am-4 pm

Glen Allen

November 7, 6-8 pm


November 9-December 31

Lake Washington Antique Tractor Show

Cleveland Bites Food Festival

50 Nights of Lights

Paul Love Park Tractor rodeo, vendors, arts & crafts, and children’s activities

Downtown Cleveland

Downtown Cleveland 50nightsoflights.com

November 2, 1-10 pm


One Mississippi Singer Songwriter Benefit Concert

November 7-9

November 9-10, 1- 5 pm


42nd Annual Hernando Christmas Open House Yazoo City

Christmas Holiday Open House Memphis

Melissa Etheridge Graceland Soundstage gracelandlive.com


Gold Strike Casino


Gin & Tonic: Gin Blossoms + Tonic

November 11, 7:30 pm

Horseshoe Casino

Tedeschi Trucks Band

November 9-10

Trace Adkins November 6-9


November 11, 1-5 pm

Triangle Cultural Center

November 8

November 2, 8 pm

Yazoo City


Holiday Artist Showcase

The Gin at Dunleith To benefit the South Delta Disaster Recovery Fund

November 2


Holiday Open House November 8, 6-8 pm




Bologna Performing Arts Center Bolognapac.com

Holiday Open House Historic Downtown Saturday 5-8 pm, Sunday 1-4 pm Tree lighting ceremony Saturday, 6:30 pm


November 14-15


The Color Purple Thalia Mara Hall thaliamarahall.net

Mistletoe Marketplace

November 15, 8 pm

Mississippi Trade Mart

Travis Tritt


Gold Strike Casino

November 15, 8 pm


Elvis Costello Graceland Soundstage gracelandlive.com

November 15


Family Feud Live! Celebrity Edition Horseshoe Casino

November 17, 1:30-5 pm


Christmas Old-Fashioned Open House Tedeschi Trucks


Downtown Vicksburg

Ariana Grande

November 19, 7 pm


Well Groomed: Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers Bologna Performing Arts Center Bolognapac.com

November 19, 5:30-8 pm


AgFest Catfish dinner, ag booths and displays, games, live music and a special appearance by Miss Rodeo America

November 19


Third Eye Blind The Orpheum Orpheum-museum.com

November 21


Cedric the Entertainer and Friends The Orpheum Orpheum-museum.com

November 23, 2-4 pm


Grenada Christmas Open House November 29-30, 5:30-8:30 pm


Christmas on Deer Creek Pop Up Shops, Thompson House open house, Mennonite chorus performance, etc. Lelandchamber.com

November 29-December 31


19th Annual Southern Lights Central Park, 7651 Tchulahoma Road Drive through the 116 acre park with 500,000 twinkling lights southaven.org

December 3, 7 pm


A Charlie Brown Christmas Live Bologna Performing Arts Center Bolognapac.com

December 4-29


Festival of Trees The Westin Jackson A “Whimsical Winter Wonderland� with an ice skating rink, treats, and more events. jacksonfestivaloftrees.com


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Jurassic World

December 14-15


Sesame Street Live! Let’s Party

The Nutcracker

Landers Center Landerscenter.com


December 19


Polar Express

December 5-8

Murder on the Orient Express

December 19, 7:30 pm

Delta Center Stage Deltastage.com

Q107.5 Jingle Jam

December 6, 3-6 pm




December 21-22

Festival and parade boasts numerous bands from high schools and universities across the south ending with fireworks over the Yazoo River!

A Christmas Carol


December 26-29

Thalia Mara Hall Presented by Ballet Mississippi thaliamarahall.net

Jurassic World Live Tour


1302 Adams Street



Ariana Grande: Sweetener World Tour

Tell Me A Story

FedEx Forum Fedexforum.com

Cassandra King Conroy November 1: Lemuria Books, Jackson, 5 pm November 4: Square Books, Oxford, 5:30 pm

SOUTHERN CHARM December 7, 9 am-3 pm


Holly Days Arts & Crafts Show December 8


Holiday Home Tour Tour decorated homes and the KCS Railroad Depot followed by a reception at the Elkin Theater (662) 369-9440

December 12-22

Daily Ponderances Ken Slay November 2: Lemuria Books, Jackson, 2 pm

1302 Adams Street

Mysterious Benedict Society & the Riddle of Ages Trenton Lee Stewart November 5: Square Books Jr., Oxford, 4 pm


Annie The Musical


Greenwood Little Theater Greenwoodlittletheater.com

Mark Barr November 5: Square Books, Oxford, 5:30 pm November 7: Lemuria Books, Jackson, 5 pm

December 12-15

Ballet Memphis’ Nutcracker The Orpheum Orpheum-museum.com



Landers Center landerscenter.com

Holly Days Arts & Crafts Show December 7, 7:30 pm


Thalia Mara Hall Presented by Ballet Magnificat! thaliamarahall.net

The Nutcracker

December 7, 9 am-3 pm


Landers Center Landerscenter.com

Delta Band Festival

December 6-8

\VisitVicksburg #VisitVicksburg

Visit Santa, make ornaments, enjoy a photo booth and watch the movie, Polar Express at the Elkin Theater aberdeenms.org


Last Call Brad Thomas Parsons


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Christmas Tree Monday, December 9th, 7 p.m. First Presbyterian Church 300 Main Street, Greenwood Bleachers are provided. Rain Date: Monday, December 16th

The 31st Annual


Visits, Vittles & Vines The Culture of Southern Hospitality February 27-29, 2020


November 6: Saint Leo Lounge, Oxford, 6 pm

The Revisioners Margaret Wilkerson Sexton November 6: Lemuria Books, Jackson, 5 pm November 7: Thacker Mountain Radio, Oxford, 6 pm

The Magic Moment William H. Morris November 8: Square Books, Oxford, 5 pm

Setting Parents Free John L. Cox November 12: Lemuria Books, Jackson, 5 pm

South Sean Brock November 14: Cathead Distillery, Jackson, 5 pm

Sofia Valdez, Future Prez Andrea Beaty November 15: Old Army Pavilion, Oxford, 4 pm

Mae Mae’s Grandmother Book Marilyn Tinnin November 15: Square Books, Oxford, 5 pm

Meander Belt M. Randal O’Wain November 21: The Lyric, Oxford, 6 pm November 26: Lemuria Books, Jackson, 5 pm

Sugar Run Mesha Maren November 26: Lemuria Books, Jackson, 5 pm

The Secrets We Kept Lara Prescott November 21: Lemuria Books, Jackson, 5 pm

The Seeing 2020 Calendar Wyatt Waters November 23: Lemuria Books, Jackson, 11 am

The Art of the Host Alex Hitz November 30: Square Books, Oxford, 5 pm

All Blood Runs Red Phil Keith December 3: Lemuria Books, Jackson, 5 pm

Solitary Albert Woodfox December 4: Square Books, Oxford, 5:30 pm

Stories from 125 Years of Ole Miss Football Neil White December 7: Lemuria Books, Jackson, 11 am

The Seeing 2020 Calendar Wyatt Waters December 14: Lemuria Books, Jackson, 3 pm

Biloxi Mary Miller


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This could be you! Don’t miss your chance to be part of the Most Southern Wedding event of the year—AND to be considered to be the Delta Magazine cover bride!

March/April 2020 We are now accepting submissions for our

2020 Wedding Showcase Don’t wait—submit your announcements today! For more information visit: deltamagazine.com and select weddings or, email submissions to weddings@deltamagazine.com

DEADLINE: January 17, 2020














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Wanda Lee and JoAnn Blue

Leonette Henderson with Roger Stolle

Lori Heird-Townsend and Becky Bobo

Rachel Ware and Celia Luckett Bobo 148 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

Becky Bobo, Kathryn Erbe and Bill Gresham

Darren Pettie, Kathryn Erbe and Bill Luckett

Shelley Ritter and Bill Gresham

Anna Tyler, Rob Tyner and Sherrye Williams

Tennessee Williams Festival fundraiser at the home of Bill and Francine Luckett on August 27 Photos by Randall Haley

Rob Tyner and Marty Laney

Hilda Clark and Pete Williams

Rita Marascalco and Martha James

Bob Bowen and Ted Kellye


Jean Nimrod: A Delta Retrospective Art Event at the EE Bass Center in Greenwille on September 9 Photos by Blake Crocker

Rush Ann Brent and Betty Jo Boyd

Larkin, Sarah and Love Mitchell

Claire Quittmeyer with Carl and Amanda Cottingham

Melissa Moyse and Kathy Bullard

Betsy and Lauren Bostic

Emily Pieralisi, Sandy Welsh and Mickie Sandidge

Joe and Frank Thackston with John and Sylvia Czarnetsky

Margie McGarrh with Marilyn and Bill Andrews

Linda Archer, Brenda Kretshmar and Laurie Desgill

Holly Wade and Nan Hines

Jan Engel, Mary Watson and Margaret Wade DELTA MAGAzINE 2019

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Archie Manning and Dr. Tim Holston

A Delta Conversation sponsored by Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi at the Grammy Museum Mississippi in Cleveland on September 11.

Gary Gainspoletti, Becky Nowell and Jamey Gainspoletti

Lanier and Robin Hurdle

Tom Gresham and Tom Pittman

Drew Depriest and Mickey Naaman

Meredith Creekmore, Robin Hurdle and Nan Sanders

Photos courtesy of Community Foundation

Ryeshun Holston, Dr. Tim Holston



Theresa Erickson and Kara Dulaney

Mary Thompson, Rives Neblett, Tom Pittman and Lisa Melton

Zach Scruggs and Tom Pittman

Sarah Rose Lomenick, Olivia and Archie Manning, Zach Scruggs, with Gayle and Mike Henry

Robin Hurdle, Archie Manning and Carol Ayers

Mike Sturdivant, Archie Manning, Keith Mitchell and Walt Stephens



Lisa Melton, Archie Manning and Floyd Melton


Norma Cooper with Shirley and Woodie Bounds Tom Pittman, Robin Hurdle, Archie Manning, Tom Gresham and Keith Fulcher

Georgia Ann McPherson, Archie Manning and Duncan MacNealy

Bud Lowery, Archie Manning and Ike Sayle Tina Fortenberry and Archie Manning

Tom Pittman, Senator Willie Simmons and Becky Nowell

Archie Manning and Wade Litton

Colie Sanford, Cal Wilkins, Archie Manning, John Graeber and Drew Depriest

Charlie McGuffee, Archie Manning, and Faye McGuffee

Cyndi Pittman and Kara Dulaney

Tucker Pannel, Archie Manning and Mary Bess Pannel

Brooks Campany, Blair Hull, Tom Pittman, Louise Gresham, Zach Sruggs, with Mike and Gayle Henry DELTA MAGAzINE 2019

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300 Oaks Road Race 10k/5k in Greenwood on September 21 Photos courtesy of Greenwood Chamber

Bryant Lary, Robert McBryde, Chris O’Neal and Bobbie Woods, April Simmons and Teresa Evans James McBryde

Toni and Heston Powers

Charlie and John Coleman

Lelia and Stephen Fleming Anita Grossman Horn and Katie Jones

Merritt Reichle and Courtney Kimmel

Mary Macarty and Beth Stevens

Anne Craig Melton, Elizabeth Powers and Michael Naaman 152 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

Ronnie and Samaria Stevenson

Shelby Jones, Stephanie Reynolds and Cindy Nokes

A selection of photos by Delta Magazine readers.


The children of the late James and Frances Agostinelli with their high school portraits. Left to right: Richard Agostinelli, Jamey Gainspoletti, Joey Agostinelli, Paula Warner, Larry Agostinelli, Oxford and Robin Agostinelli

Celebrating her 90th birthday at the Cystal Grill is Ann Pilecki surrounded by her family: back row, Rachel Gwin, Cole Gwin, Paul Gwin, front row, Missy Pilecki Gwin, the birthday girl and Jay Pilecki

Phyllis and Tim Timbs with Lionel Richie Rives Neblett, Warren Cohen, Virginia SamuelsonButler and Scott Coopwood at the Cotton House Hotel

Keith Fulcher with Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith

James Glorioso and Ole Miss basketball coach Kermit Davis at UM event Beth and Charlie Heinsz at UM event in Merigold

Jenny and Jamie Smith at UM event

Mary Francis Varner and Coach Kermit Davis

The unveiling of Steve Azar’s Country Music Trail Marker in Greenville during the Hot Tamale Festival, with Mississippi Tourism Director, Craig Ray, Governor Phil Bryant, Steve, Gwen and Cecilia Azar

Sisters, Toni Malvessi Hardin and Jeanalla Malvessi Mathis in Freiburg, Germany DELTA MAGAzINE 2019

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THE RICE DIVORCE TEAM Congratulates Jessica Farmer Ferrante on her admission to the Mississippi Bar.

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Thefinalword Thanksgiving and Christmas

Hiram Eastland was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta. He is a lawyer with Eastland Law Offices in Greenwood, and he divides his time between Greenwood and Destin, Florida where he is completing two books, Destin Beach, a political thriller, and The World According To Pelicans.

Thanksgiving and Christmas in the Mississippi Delta is a time when the “the most Southern place on earth” experiences the joys of the holidays as one big extended family. The Christmas holiday officially begins in our family each year when Santa Claus appears at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Within a few days of Thanksgiving, we find the perfect Christmas trees—which is a contact sport in my family—and we decorate the trees with the help of my mother’s famous well-spiked eggnog. We then make plans to ride around the Delta to enjoy the Christmas lights that set the Delta aglow each year. Some of my earliest Christmas memories are capping our Delta journey by riding by the live nativity scene at the Greenwood Presbyterian Church as my father shared the Christmas story of the birth of Jesus Christ. As Christmas approaches our traditions branch out to extended family. That’s when Delta Christmases get even more real! So many warm memories both past and present. And so many funny memories. Like the 156 | NOvEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

time Gail’s great uncle Chalmus rode through Greenwood one Christmas Eve lit up like a Christmas tree and came home to announce that with all those Christmas lights strung across the streets he didn’t see one red light! And Delta Christmas gatherings at our Adair home when one year the roads froze over and many guests had to spend the night—in what beds they could find, on couches, with pillows on the floors, and some slept straight up in chairs! Then there are the Christmas memories that most exemplify the joy of sharing Christmas with everyone as one big extended Delta family. Memories like my father having my sister and brothers and I go with him every Christmas Eve to hand out Christmas presents to the needy families and children in the Doddsville area. The look on those children’s faces when they came out to get their presents is something no one could ever forget. And the time my Father had me secretly go with him to take a station wagon full of toys and bicycles one Christmas Eve to surprise a close friend who was not able to provide presents for his children that Christmas. His friend began crying uncontrollably, and the look of genuine love and Christmas sharing between those two grown men was something I will never forget. My childhood friend Judge Fletcher and I later took up my father’s tradition of providing presents and toys to needy families and children. And the warm memories of my children and then my grandchildren and their friends helping pick out those Christmas presents and handing them out to those children is priceless. Memories like the time Judge and I observed a shy little girl who wore a tattered dress come in and make a beeline for only one doll that she clutched tightly to her chest while the other children were selecting numerous toys from around the room. Memories that also tear at your heart like the time years later when I was checking out


of a gas station in Jackson and a young man asked, “Are you Hiram Eastland?” I answered, “Yes, but I don’t think I know you.” And he responded, “Oh, but I know you. I’m one of those children in Doddsville who would not have had Christmas if it had not been for you and Judge and your family.” Present day memories like the Buford Family Christmas Caroling; the Singing Christmas Tree; the Greenwood, Oxford, and Carrolton Christmas Parades with Judi and Bill Gillespie; the Bayou Bend Christmas Party with Sykes and Cindy Sturdivant, Bill and Francine Luckett, Morgan Freeman, and Linda Keena; Christmas Eve visits with my cousin Woods and Lynn Eastland; the Episcopal Christmas Mass with Father Peter Gray and his father Bishop Duncan Gray; Christmas Eve visits with the Freeman and Cooper families, and previous Christmas visits by our friend Hambone Howard. One additional heart-wrenching Christmas memory is the time my black mother Lee Lackey who helped raise me alongside my white mother visited on Christmas Day. When I was escorting Lee that evening as she walked slowly with her walking cane towards her porch in Doddsville, she abruptly stopped. It was a beautiful Christmas starlit night with the full moon shining brightly on the silvery tin roof. Lee slowly turned and said, “Hiram, I want you to promise me something. Please never forget me.” I responded, “Lee, you know I love you and I will never forget you!” And my family and I will never forget our Thanksgivings and Christmases in the Mississippi Delta. Put on Delta Christmas music like B.B. King’s “Christmas Comes But Once A Year.” Put on Bing Crosby and David Bowie’s “Little Drummer Boy” duet that sings of peace on earth, sharing all the love that we can, and caring for our fellow man—our extended family. And have a very merry Mississippi Delta Christmas! DM






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Profile for Delta Magazine

Delta Magazine November/December 2019  

Our mission is to bring our readers the uniqueness of the Mississippi Delta and to celebrate the lifestyle enjoyed here. With each issue we...

Delta Magazine November/December 2019  

Our mission is to bring our readers the uniqueness of the Mississippi Delta and to celebrate the lifestyle enjoyed here. With each issue we...