Delta Magazine September/October 2021

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Delta

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2021

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C.A.R.E.S. Clarksdale Sheltering animals in need

Architect

THE 2021

Outdoor&

HUNTING ISSUE

FRANCES ZOOK

Inspired designs from Greenwood and beyond FALL RECIPES WITH

Sausage and Sweet Potatoes DELTA DOG PHOTO CONTEST WINNERS



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Publisher: J. scott coopwood Editor: cindy coopwood Managing Editor: pam parker Contributing Editors: Hank burdine, Maude schuyler clay, Jim “Fish” Michie, brantley snipes roger stolle, noel Workman Digital Editor: phil schank Consultant: samir Husni, ph.D. Graphic Designers: sandra goff, Maggi Mosco Contributing Writers: Jim beaugez, paige Daugherty, beth ann Fennelly, liza Jones, bill lester, sherry lucas, susan Marquez, Joshua Quong, aimee robinette, angela rogalski, Katie tims, Wade s. Wineman, Jr. Photography: Merrie anderson, tom and Kasi beck, Jim bourne, austin britt, Kyle Devazier, rory Doyle, Johnny Jennings, andy lo, anne Madden 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

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CRAFTS FAIR

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 sponsored by

SEPT. 24 - 26 at AUDUBON PARK, MEMPHIS

Shipping Address: 125 south court street, cleveland, Ms 38732 E-mail: publisher@deltamagazine.com editor@deltamagazine.com

deltamagazine.com Subscriptions: $28 per year ©2021 coopwood Magazines, inc.

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from the publisher

And the Beat Goes On n this edition of Delta Magazine, on page ninety-seven, you’ll find our annual outdoor section. as an avid hunter and outdoorsman, i always look forward to this edition as we present the stories of our great outdoors here in the Mississippi Delta. as i have mentioned before, i’m from a long line of hunters. My father began taking me to the woods when i was four years old. i clearly remember the first time we went squirrel hunting. He was shooting his trusty Winchester twelve gauge shotgun (that i still have), and i was shooting my shiny new popgun i had recently received from santa. From there, he introduced me to dove hunting. Quail hunting was not far behind and in the late '60s, the Delta was full of quail. We always took along his faithful birddog, “J. c.” as we trudged through the thick gumbo mud in search of those special birds. Duck hunting was also part of our outings and we spent many hours together in a blind made out of small willow trees on the Mississippi river. turkey hunting proved to be the greatest challenge because i couldn’t sit still for the amount of time it took to bring in a gobbler. i’m still that way. all wonderful memories i’m thankful for and will never forget. but my addiction wasn’t set in stone until i discovered deer hunting. For many years, two of my friends and i spent almost every day in the woods during deer season. We’d even skip to school to go hunting. some of that momentum took a backseat when i attended ole Miss and the lull continued on after i graduated and moved to Jackosn. it wasn’t until cindy and i moved home to the Delta in the early ‘90s that i got my groove back. so, here we are again at the beginning of another promissing hunting season in the Mississippi Delta. in this day and time, with everyone’s hectic schedule, it is a challenge for the members of our family to be in the same place at the same time when it comes to our woods and small cabin. However, when we do get together, it makes those moments more special than ever. We hope you enjoy this editon of Delta Magazine. DM

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Below, the Model 50 Winchester shotgun my father used the first time he took me hunting; right, middle son Jordan with friends Henry Brown and Dimitri Staursky. Bottom left, oldest son Thomas duck hunting with Price Day.

Scott Coopwood Publisher @scottcoopwood1 publisher@deltamagazine.com

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from the editor

Ready for Fall have a confession to make. i just don’t like summer. after much thought, i’ve finally figured out why—it’s the clothes.

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Who ever said “I just love summer clothes!” That’s right, no one.

but fall clothes? at’s another story. When i was younger, the excitement of shopping for backto-school clothes was palpable. it’s what defined the seasons for me. i’m also one of those people for whom many of life’s truly important memories are a total blur—but ask me what i was wearing in my seventh grade school picture? it’s etched in my brain. in case you’re wondering, it was a maroon and gray plaid wool a-line skirt, cut on the bias, with a maroon velour pullover V-neck sweater— and my gold add-a-bead necklace (which i still have). i loved it. other defining fall fashion moments occurred during my years at Mississippi state in the late ’80s, when my taste in fashion swung wildly from prairie skirts and riding boots to army jackets and combat boots from the army/navy store in starkville. i flip-flopped, channeling both claire and allison from The Breakfast Club—or, one day i was leslie from St. Elmo’s Fire, with my lace collar, walking across campus and the next i was Jules, trying, and failing i’m sure, to emulate the pinnacle of fashion with my huge chunky rhinestone earrings from e limited (which i still have) and oversized blazers. (apologies for the cultural references—you’ll have to watch the movies.) i particularly remember a teal green ralph lauren corduroy set—yes, a matching skirt and top—which i accessorized with a paisley scarf tied around my waist, and a coveted pair of brown leather riding boots. in my mind, it was very on-trend for a college girl in 1986 and i couldn’t wait to wear it. Unfortunately, i insisted on wearing it to one of the very first football games that season, against the advice of both my roommate susan and my mother. not a wise choice. it was blazing hot at Davis Wade that day, as early september weather can be. i was miserable, melting in miles of corduroy, while other girls were cool as a cucumber in their gUess jeans, oxford cloth button downs, and l.l. bean top-siders. Lesson learned. Well, for the most part.

truthfully, things haven’t really changed much in all these years. a clotheshorse at heart, i still love fall and winter fashion—and i still struggle with summer styles. ey just don’t inspire me. i’d choose a turtleneck and a blazer any day over a tank top and sandals. and coats—can one have too many? i think not. e fact is, if you have a good-looking trench coat, you can wear it over almost anything and look like you at least tried. on that note, turn to page 38 to see some of the trends this season in our fall back-to-school shopping guide. but there are many other reasons i love the season: 1) i’m not a fan of daylight savings time. i realize i am utterly alone in this, except for scott, which is very convenient. i love for it to be dark by 5:30. truth is, i also like rainy, dark days and always have. 2) Fall brings a shift in the way we cook—my other passion. Meals are heartier and the flavors more rich. on page 145, i share some of my favorite recipes featuring sausages and sweet potatoes. 3) Fall decor. How easy! Just throw some pumpkins in a dough bowl or on a table and you’re basically done. case in point, our cover photo by rory Doyle. 4) Football season. so many cute ootD opportunities. i would be remiss if i didn’t point out that fall heralds the beginning of hunting season! Whether you hunt or not, the anticipation and excitement is catching. e Hunting & outdoor section, beginning on We created this gorgeous arrangement last fall with page 97, brings you stories of deer tracking dogs, the national bird Dog simple cuttings found along ditch banks and the trials, and Mike Merchant who helps manage habitats by relocating roadside. We clipped large branches of sumac, with its deep red berries, pigweed (the bane of farmers) and nuisance wildlife. Well, there you have it. ese are just a few of the reasons i love fall lots of simple nandina. A pile of artisan pumpkins and what makes this issue so special every year. so—temperature be added the finishing touch! Photo by Rory Doyle damned—bundle up, settle in, and enjoy! DM

Cindy Coopwood Editor @cindycoopwood | cindy@deltamagazine.com

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contents septeMber/october Volume 19 No. 2

46

82

TOM AND KASI BECK

departments 38 SHOPPING Pumpkins, leather, and other fall trends

62

features

62 70 97

Vito’s Marketplace

52 MUSIC GERALD WILSON:

82 Fresh HOME and timeless renovations 140 FOOD Sausage & Sweet Potatoes:

update the Hammond home in Winona

114

Our recipes using these humble basics will be your new fall favorites

150 HISTORY The historic Yazoo Pass:

Leland eatery is bucket-list stop in the Delta

C.A.R.E.S. Clarksdale

Civil War passage was utilized by Union forces to capture Vicksburg

Shelter built with passion and compassion is bettering animal welfare in the Delta

Architect Frances Zook:

From Greenwood to DC to Atlanta, bringing regional influences to every design

2021 Outdoor & Hunting Section

Chad Smith’s tracking dogs, page 98 The Ames Plantation and the National Championship bird dog trials, page 106 Mike Merchant: Solving wildlife problems and keeping balance, page 114 The Goodness: A Delta Boyhood Memory 1958, page 122 The 2021 Delta Dog Contest winners, page 129 Goods and gear for the outdoorsman, page 136

in every issue KYLE DEVAZIER

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Artist brings realism, beauty, and emotion to his contemporary landscapes

From Delta roots, he went on to play with the best-known names in jazz

RORY DOYLE

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42 Reviews BOOKS and what Deltans are reading 46 ART RICK ANDERSON:

20 Letters 26 On the Road Where we’ve been, where we’re going next

30 Off the Beaten Path Roaming the real and rustic Delta

34 156 162 168

Hot Topics Events Delta Seen The Final Word by Beth Ann Fennelly

ON THE COVER: Stunning fall arrangement of roadside clippings and artisan pumpkins. Photo by Rory Doyle 16 | septeMber/october 2021



YOUR LIFE...STYLED

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LETTERS

Another great issue for July-August! i especially enjoyed the story and photos about the Memphis zoo since i grew up in a small town (como) not far from Memphis and frequently visited the Memphis zoo. thanks to Delta Magazine, i’ve decided i am well overdue a visit to the zoo and have added it to my bucket list! Peggy Hampton Jackson, Mississippi Well, you’ve done it again. editor cindy coopwood’s piece in the July/august issue on small town living will strike a chord with thousands of us who cherish(ed) small town life. i say past tense in my case because i’ve been in Memphis for forty-plus years. but make no mistake, the Delta lifestyle is in my blood. even back in the late 60s and 70s, it was nothing for a boy of sixteen to climb in his parent’s car and drive an hour and a half to pick up a date, then another hour to a dance or party. then afterwards, drive her home, most nights long after midnight. it’s a wonder any of us made it at all. You wrote: “the upside here (i.e. small towns) is that fundraisers are really just parties in disguise.” and yet, most all of them raise money for some worthy cause. Delta folks are generous with their time, their money, and their bourbon, right? i always look forward to reading every page, every story in Delta Magazine. no kidding. Michael Hicks Thompson Memphis, Tennessee

I would like to share this personal story and photos regarding Hank Burdine's story “Grandma Moses of the Delta” in the May/June 2020 issue of Delta Magazine. My godmother is the late Jennie lee gorton, and my grandmother is the late elodie rule Mcgee, owner of rules Flower shop for almost forty years in ruleville. Jennie lee was her very best friend and cosupporter of the arts in the community of ruleville, which my great-grandfather James 'Jim' rule founded in the late 19th century. i was very blessed that my grandmother chose Jennie lee as my godmother. she possessed so many of the Fruits of the spirit especially kindness, gentleness, goodness, love and a sweetness to all who were fortunate to have crossed her path. she would always reach out to me with a well thought out letter or gift as a personal way to remember me on special occasions. Jennie lee knew what a dog lover i was, especially bird dogs, so she personalized a painting of a pure bred irish setter in a 'pointing position pose’ painted on an old barnyard board. it was especially touching to me as my high school graduation present from pillow academy in 1974. the barnyard board still gets unusual comments from anyone who sees it and is prominently displayed along with my hunting memorabilia on my office wall. perhaps her most extraordinary painting is the one titled Mississippi Delta scenes from november 1971, which i am told is hanging today in the smithsonian Museum. the painting was originally a gift to my grandmother who upon her death, left it to my mother, elodie Jane smith, in 1973, and was then gifted to me for my 50th birthday. it is prominently displayed in my foyer for all guests to see. Yes, i would say this smithsonian distinction would make Jennie lee the most important artist to ever reside in ruleville or sunflower county and well beyond. if you examine the scene closely you will see many details that were common from those days. there is a shotgun house on cone blocks showing a porch with a beautiful multicolored quilt hanging

between the posts next to a huge patch of sunflowers in full bloom. You notice a lady is busy outside with the daily washing chores. an axe lies next to the chopped wood with a fire burning under the huge black iron kettle, and much more. How

extraordinary that now folks from around the world who visit the smithsonian Museum can see this, her most prized painting of all. as my godmother, Jennie lee watched over me all her years to the ripe age of 101. i can only imagine the things she witnessed and revealed to all of us with her nostalgic artistic flare as well as her prize winning pickles at county fairs! May god bless Jennie lee gorton, and may her memory be carried on as not only the grandma Moses of the Delta, but also as my godmother. Wes Smith Brandon, Mississippi I want to thank Delta Magazine for the exposure I have received from advertising in their publication. i moved to oxford from cleveland in 2014, and started a new career in real estate. While it started as a “part-time” occupation, it has grown over the years, due to my connection with the Delta area, and a fast growth in oxford. i attribute this success in part to the reach of Delta Magazine. the staff has been most accommodating and professional in creating my ads. thank you Delta Magazine for producing such a quality publication, highlighting our wonderful state of Mississippi. Bryan Varner Oxford, Mississippi

SEND COMMENTS AND LETTERS TO: editor@deltamagazine.com or Delta Magazine, PO Box 117, Cleveland, MS 38732 20 | septeMber/october 2021


Y’all Said SOCIAL MEDIA COMMENTS @deltamagazine

We Asked... Almost everybody slices up a fresh watermelon on the 4th of July! We want to know which side of the debate you’re on—Salt? or No Salt? No salt. – Brenda Koestler Salt, and sitting on a Mississippi River Sandbar on the edge of the water. Dig in with your teeth, spit your seeds in the river and wash your face afterwards! Nothing like it! – Donna Surholt No salt. – Kay Coleman Yes! The salt enhances the sweetness! – Tamar Burrell Salt. – Ron Nassar Salt. – J. Miller No salt. – David Hogue No salt. – Phil Tremmel Salt. – Edie Houston Salt, of course, on the watermelon! – Rhonda Drummond

Baseball season has us reminiscing—what was your favorite concession stand food as a child? Hotdogs with sauce, mustard and cole slaw! – Mike Lucas Chili dogs! – Hugh Horton

READER RESPONSE deltamagazine.com

D

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outhern rock ‘n’ rollers Lynyrd Skynyrd, whose iconic songs “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird” have become cross-generational anthems, were riding high in October 1977.

S

FREE BIRDS

The addition of Steve Gaines to their three-guitar army had energized the band as they shook off the hangover of Labor Day 1976, the day co-guitarists Allen Collins and Gary Rossington wrecked their cars in separate incidents while impaired by booze and pills. With Street Survivors, the band’s fifth studio album, frontman and mastermind Ronnie Van Zant aimed to turn things around, and he didn’t mince words. The title itself is a nod to their rough, brawling past—which Van Zant hoped was behind them—while the lyrics to “That Smell” redressed Collins and Rossington for their reckless behavior that derailed a lucrative tour. On October 27, just ten days after the release of Street Survivors, the album was certified gold. In December, it was awarded platinum certification for shipments of one million copies and hit number five on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart—the band’s fastestselling album yet. But by then, there wasn’t a band left to celebrate. While en route from Greenville, South Carolina, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at 6:42 p.m. on October 20, the Convair CV-240 jet the band had leased lost power to its right engine. The left engine died soon after, and the twenty-four passengers, pilot, and co-pilot spent the next four minutes gliding as the aircraft steadily lost elevation, clipping the tree line for five hundred feet before ripping apart as it crashed four miles northwest of Gillsburg, Mississippi. Forty-three years and a day later, Dwain Easley sits in a pickup on a plot of land he donated for the Lynyrd Skynyrd Monument, a series of three granite markers commemorating the band, the first responders, and the six people who died that day—Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines, assistant tour manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and co-pilot William Gray.

Lynyrd Skynyrd was one of the biggest rock ‘n’ roll bands in America. Then the unthinkable happened. BY JIM BEAUGEZ • PHOTOGRAPHY BY GREG CAMPBELL

Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1977: Allen Collins, Leon Wilkeson, Gary Rossington, Artimus Pyle, Ronnie Van Zant, and Billy Powell. 40 | MAY/JUNE 2021

DELTA MAGAZINE 2021 | 41

May-June Issue Free Birds by Jim Beaugez ~ Awesome article—Lynyrd Skynyrd was the best! – Sharon Mazzanti

July-August Issue Euphus Ruth by Susan Marquez ~ This guy is salt of the earth people. He's helped me on a project or two. Thank you, Mr. Ruth! – Creighton Fuller Delta Magazine 2021

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Fields of Gold Standing tall and always facing the sun, brilliant golden sunflowers are a sure sign that Fall and dove season are right around the corner. DM



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ON THE ROAD

where we’ve been, where to go next

CLEVELAND

NATCHEZ TRACE

Old barn seen along the Trace.

– LARRY HENDERSON

Approximately thirteen years in the making, locust shells are always a welcome sight. – DELTA MAGAZINE

CLARKSDALE

PHOTO OPS INDIANOLA A hopeful sign over Hooker Grocery in Clarksdale. – GREG BIRDSONG

MADISON COUNTY

Sunflower fields are dotted across the state this time of year. This one is in Madison County. – J.P. CLARK

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Beautiful statuary in Indianola City Cemetery. – DELTA MAGAZINE


ADAMS COUNTY GREENWOOD

Iconic double bridge in Natchez. – LARRY HENDERSON

After nearly a century in operation, Lusco’s Restaurant in Greenwood closes this September. – DELTA MAGAZINE

& FUNKY STOPS ARKANSAS

CLARKSDALE

Staying caffeinated at Meraki Roasting Company. – DELTA MAGAZINE

Great parking spot in view of a Delta Sunset in Jonesboro Arkansas. – SHARON MCDANIEL

Instagram users, follow @deltamagazine

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OFF THE BEATEN PATH roaming the real and rustic Delta

MR. D’S RESTAURANT IN THE OLD COUNTRY STORE The “Best Fried Chicken in the World” BY ANGELA ROGALSKI

H

ALFWAY BETWEEN NATCHEZ AND VICKSBURG, IN BETWEEN PORT GIBSON

and Fayette in Jefferson county, sits a town called lorman, Mississippi. lorman is the home of Mr. D’s restaurant and the selfproclaimed “best Fried chicken in the World.” and owner arthur Davis has reason to proclaim just that, as Mr. D’s and the old country store have been featured on the Food network and the travel channel. “Mr. D’s has been open since December 1, 1999,” Davis says, “but the old country store has been around this area since 1875, so it has a very long history. i opened the restaurant inside the store in 1999, when i bought the entire building. being on Food network and the travel channel was great. it gave me a chance to display my talents in the kitchen.” Davis says that Mr. D’s has the “best Fried chicken in the World” because his patrons say so and because it’s made with love and his grandmother’s special seasonings. “everybody that eats our fried chicken gave it that name,” he adds. “it’s the “best Fried chicken in the World” because our customers say so and because it’s made with love and my grandmama’s 100-year-old recipe for her chicken seasoning. in fact, i package and sell the seasoning. it’s unbelievable.” along with the “best Fried chicken in the World,” Mr. D’s offers southern cuisine: mustard, turnip and collard greens, cabbage, meatloaf, cornbread dressing and a host of other delicious downhome foods. “so bring your appetite when you come to Mr. D’s.” Davis laughs. and if you visit Mr. D’s and order the “best Fried chicken in the World” he might even pleasure you with a song while you eat —the Four tops never sounded so good! Mr. D’s in the old country store is opened every day from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. 18801 Highway 6, Lorman, Mississippi 601.437.3661 Facebook: oldcountrystorelorman

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THE ATTIC GALLERY A Vicksburg Staple: Art gallery celebrates 50 years N 1971, WHEN LESLEY SILVER AND HER THEN ICALIFORNIA, HUSBAND WALKED INTO AN ART GALLERY IN

the only plan was to shop for a gift for a friend. little did she know it was the beginning of a lifetime venture. While there, the gallery owner mentioned that sometimes brides would register to receive art, in addition to the more traditional china and silver. the young couple was in the jewelry business at the time, and they liked the idea of offering art at their store as well. lesley had about thirty etchings, serigraphs, and block prints shipped to them, which were snapped up immediately upon arrival. that was just the beginning, and lesley soon ordered more original pieces and set up shop in a dark, dusty, storage area in the attic of their downtown bridal shop. those early years allowed lesley time to get to know the artists as well as potential customers, and help them find each other and thus began her life’s work. gradually lesley expanded to include the work of local and regional artists and craftsmen, eventually making southern folk art a big part of the character of the attic, which has always been bursting with one-of-a-kind paintings, etchings, sculpture, pottery and photographs spilling across tables, and filling and the walls from floor to ceiling. Fifty years later, the attic gallery has become a destination for travelers, and increasingly, internet shoppers looking for unique pieces. it is a place where aspiring artists throughout the south hope to place their work, and is now one of the oldest art galleries in the state of Mississippi. lesley has also been awarded the Mississippi art commission’s governor’s award for art in the community. in 1997 lesley remarried and with the help of dedicated friends and patrons the gallery moved to its “new” location three blocks away. eventually the couple moved into the building themselves, their upstairs apartment doubling as gallery space for shows. the attic gallery will be hosting an all-day celebration on saturday, october 2, complete with a walking tour of art in downtown Vicksburg, and culminating in an opening from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., featuring numerous artists associated with the attic. 1101 Washington Street, Vicksburg, Mississippi 601.638.9221 atticgalleryvicksburg.com; Facebook: theatticgalleryms Delta Magazine 2021

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IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR: OUR HERNANDO DICKENS OF A CHRISTMAS AND CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE!

Visit and shop over 20 participating Hernando businesses to get an early start on your Christmas shopping! OPEN HOUSE | NOV. 13: 9-5 & NOV. 14: 11-5

NOV. 13 9-5

on the Hernando Town Square

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Enjoy cra ers and vendors with Christmas wares, trolley tours of historic homes, wassailing in the historic downtown, historic carriage rides, children’s ornament decorating, historic entertainment, sel es with Santa and more. Call 662.429.9092 to get updates on the event. 32 | septeMber/october 2021


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Photo: Francesco Scavullo


HOT TOPICS MIGHTY ROOTS MUSIC FESTIVAL New event coming in October Mighty roots Music Festival—coming to stovall, Mississippi on october 1–2 and staged on the historic stovall Farms where Muddy Waters grew up—is a true labor of love for the people behind it. and it will no doubt serve as a great economic and cultural boon to the Delta. the festival will be a “reboot” of the Mighty Mississippi Music Festival that had previously been held in greenville from 2013–2018. Mighty roots Music Festival is the brainchild of longtime Delta promoter and blues ambassador, Howard stovall, currently the president of resource entertainment (as well as the former executive director of the blues Foundation) along with award-winning hit singer/songwriter/producer and Music & culture ambassador of Mississippi, steve azar. the lineup for Mighty roots includes: Deer tick, Keller Williams, Mystic bowie’s talking Dreads (bowie being the former lead singer of the popular early ’80s group, the tom tom club), radney Foster, the Minks, red on Yellow, national park radio, Jarekus singleton, Mohead, rollin rosatti, tyler tysdale, the stone gas band and anthony “big a” sherrod. information on all of the performers, as well as

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ticket and Vip packages, lodging, and other info, can be found on the festival’s website, mightyrootsfestival.com “our site will make use of the old, historic stovall gin company buildings and the stovall store and we’re expecting about 2500 people to attend. that is where we intend to cap it,” says stovall. “after the main stage closes, we’ll be opening up the stovall store as the Visit clarksdale Juke Joint stage from midnight to 2 a.m. “We have many great blues festivals that are put on in the Delta,” he says. “but what we’re putting on highlights what is called ‘roots’ music: it encompasses reggae, bluegrass, country, americana, as well as traditional blues. We’re also focusing on the roots of the area itself, its economy and agriculture. to that end, we’re partnering in conjunction with Delta council and will be hosting a meeting of their Future Delta group at the festival, made up of 150 young farmers and agribusiness executives from across Delta council’s eighteencounty service area,” says stovall. Stovall Gin Company, 6436 Oakhurst Stovall Road, Clarksdale mightyrootsfestival.com; Facebook and Instagram: @mightyrootsmusicfestival; Twitter: @roots_mighty

OSMANTHUS MARKET IN GREENWOOD New retail garden shop will focus on patio hospitality and unique garden wares there is nothing quite like a well-appointed outdoor space, and brantley snipes is expanding her vastly popular business, brantley snipes landscape & Design in greenwood, to provide just that. osmanthus will include retail space to provide clients with an immersive consultation experience. “My mom is an artist/designer and my dad is a plant physiologist, so landscape architecture is literally in my Dna,” she explains. osmanthus will be unlike any other store in the Delta, as it focuses on patio hospitality and unique garden wares. it will also feature interior plants and other assorted botanicals. “i’ve had dreams of expanding my existing design work into a retail space and the stars aligned earlier this year to allow me to pursue this dream,” she says. “i’m thrilled to have Vicki Yaeger come on board and run the shop with her eye for design and retail experience. landscape architecture doesn’t have to stop with your beds and plants in your yard, it extends to the accessories and features of your porch and patio to create a truly special outdoor space. i’m thrilled to explore this part of the field and add it to my current offerings.”

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319 Howard Avenue, Greenwood; 662.458.0886 osmanthusmarket.com; Instagram: @osmanthusmarket

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301 BAR & GRILL Upscale cuisine in downtown Cleveland cleveland and bolivar county have added yet another unique dining establishment to its well-known culinary landscape with the reopening of 301 bar & grill which took place this august. this particular restaurant has taken a unique approach to reestablish and reimagine its previous incarnation. located next to the cotton House Hotel and originally operated as the sea level oyster House by local restauranteurs Julio and carlos Martinez, the restaurant eventually closed and after coViD-19 hit last year, only the bar section reopened in the summer of 2020 under the name 301 event center. “When i came on board here in February, 301 event center (as it was then called) was thought of more as a late night hangout for college students and younger people,” said operations manager and part owner, bahaa awad. “now we’re the complete opposite: outstanding menu items, a more upscale look and feel, a higher standard of dress required for customers—301 is like a place in chicago or new York.” currently employing fifteen people including general Manager grant clemons, awad said the “official” menu of 301 bar & grill was only recently finalized with the emphasis, again, on French cajun cuisine. “therefore, we’re offering the traditional cajun/new orleans fare, such as gumbo and étouffée, as well as steaks, seafood, pastas and crafted burgers. it’s upscale cuisine that won’t break your

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wallet,” he said. in addition to classic cajun dishes he adds “We also recently updated our menu to include some truly incredible dishes.” 301 bar & grill also has a stage room that can hold three hundred to four hundred people, where musical acts, such as Jason Miller, will be performing. awad said the goal initially is to book a band a month before, hopefully, getting two or three shows every month, including local acts. awad urges patrons to always check the 301 bar & grill Facebook page for updates on everything going on at the restaurant. 301 bar & grill is open tuesday through saturday from 4–9 p.m. and 4–10 p.m. on saturdays. 301 Cotton Row, Cleveland; 662.545.4584 Facebook: 301 Bar & Grill

BOLOGNA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER New season kicks off in September on thursday september 16, the bologna performing arts center (bpac) at Delta state University will welcome audience members to the start of its twenty-seventh season with “an evening with Dionne Warwick,” locally sponsored by Wade, inc. the kick-off event will begin with a reception in the bpac lobby, and conclude with a concert by Dionne Warwick. originally scheduled as a twenty-fifth season anniversary party, the event will now be a celebration to begin the 2021–2022 season. “our advisory board and staff are so grateful for the community support that has enabled the bpac to continue to offer quality entertainment to the region,” said laura Howell, bpac executive director. “We hope that our patrons and friends, both old and new, will come out and join us for this event.” Dionne Warwick is a six-time grammy award-winning music legend who has earned more than seventy-five charted hit songs and sold over one hundred million records. she was discovered by burt bacharach and Hal David in 1961, and went on to record eighteen consecutive top 100 singles—”Don’t Make Me over,”“ Walk on by,” “say a little prayer,” “a House is not a Home,” “alfie,” “Heartbreaker,” “Déjà Vu,” among countless others. tickets for the kick-off celebration are $55–80, and include admission to the concert and heavy hors d’oeuvres during a reception beginning at 6 p.m. cash bars will be available, and Dionne Warwick will take the stage at 8 p.m. tickets are on sale at the bpac ticket office, by phone, or online.

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“An Evening with Dionne Warwick” takes place at the Bologna Performing on September 16.

1003 W Sunflower Rd, Cleveland, 662.846.4625 bolognapac.com. Facebook: Bologna Performing Arts Center; Instagram: @bolognapac Delta Magazine 2021

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SHOPPING

Beautiful gold accessories will be your go-to choice to complete your OOTD this season! Shelby Jewel, Memphis 901.791.4747 @shopshelbyjewel

Seasonal cocktails require equally cute napkins! Love these with a pumpkin motif! Sugar Magnolia, Oxford 662.234.6330 @thesugarms

Gorgeous diffuser sets in black are as beautiful as they smell! BellaChes, Ridgeland Renaissance at Colony Park 601.605.2239 @bellaches

Even your phone can have style with these animal print pony-hair phone pockets! Great for when you don’t want to carry your wallet.

Who said pumpkins have to be orange? White pumpkins accented with gold add an elegant touch to traditional fall decor. Yazoo Drug Company, Yazoo City 662.746.7423 @yazoodrugco

Magnolia House Lifestyle Store, Southaven 662.469.9825 @magnoliahousestore

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It’s time to shop for Fall! Super cute and right on trend, these brown suede leather clogs are a must-have this fall!

Sure to be worn on repeat, this stunning leather belt will add a boho vibe to your fall wardrobe.

Mod+Proper, Cleveland 662.400.3111 @modandproper

Gilbow’s, Cleveland 662.843.1151 @gilbows

Faux leather pants will be the centerpiece of your wardrobe! Lavender Lane, Indianola 662.452.5131 @lavenderlaneindianola

Football season is here and it’s time to show some team spirit! Team-themed hand towels are the perfect happy for your favorite sports fan! Mimi’s on Main, Senatobia 662.562.8261 @mimisonmain

There’s no better time to commit to a skincare regimen than after the long summer. Antioxidant serums are a great way to start! SKIN, Oxford 662.484.4772 @skin_oxford

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Gorgeous, high-quality pillows are one of the easiest ways to refresh a room—and with the most impact. The Olive Tree, Starkville 662.722.3019 @theolivestreestarkville


Even little ones need a fall update. How precious is this sweater for your little guy? Punkin Patch, Cleveland 662.843.0434 @punkinpatchcleveland

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out that What ab k? in pop of p Can’t have too many bangles to add to your stack! Lynbar Jewelers, Greenwood 662.453.2741 @lynbarjewelers

Delta Magazine 2021

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Delta Magazine 2021

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BOOKS

Buzzworthy Comments

60: A Year of Sports, Race & Politics by Robert Khayat (Nautilus Publishing) in 1960, 22-year-old robert Khayat experienced a year in which his own life, the nation, and the state of Mississippi were forever changed. e same spring that four college students in north carolina refused to move from a segregated lunch counter, Khayat’s sec champion ole Miss baseball team were denied the right to play in the ncaa tournement because they might encounter a black opponent. at the same time young John F. Kennedy became a household name, Khayat’s dark-skinned father was making an unlikely ascent to become one of the most politically powerful men in Mississippi. and two high-profile segregationists—redskins owner george preston Marshall and Mississippi governor ross barnett—would impact Khayat’s life in ways he could never imagine. e events of 1960 set a stage for a revolution—and robert Khayat was living in the midst of it all. (special/DM staff )

Robert Khayat

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Seafood Industry: A People's History by Deanne Love Stephens (University Press) e seafood industry on the coast of Mississippi has attracted waves of immigrants and other workers—oftentimes folks who were either already acquainted with maritime livelihoods or those who quickly adapted to the resources of the region. For generations the industry has provided employment and sustenance to coast people. Deanne love stephens tells their stories and identifies key populations who have worked this harvest. oyster and shrimp processing were the most significant of these trades, and much of the gulf coast’s history follows these two delicacies. Harvesting, processing, and marketing oyster and shrimp products built the Mississippi seafood industry and powered the growth of the entire coastal region. (special/DM staff ) Deanne Love Stephens When Evil Lived in Laurel: The "White Knights" and the Murder of Vernon Dahmer by Curtis Wilkie (Penguin Random House) by early 1966, the work of Vernon Dahmer was well known in south Mississippi. a light-skinned black man, he was a farmer, grocery store owner, and two-time president of the Forrest county chapter of the naacp. He and Medgar evers founded a youth naacp chapter in Hattiesburg, and for years after evers’ assassination, Dahmer was the chief advocate for voting rights in a county where black registration was shamelessly suppressed. this put Dahmer in the crosshairs of the White Knights, with headquarters in nearby laurel. already known as one of the most violent sects of the KKK in the south, the group carried out his murder in a raid that burned down his home and store. a year before, tom landrum, Curtis Wilkie a young, unassuming member of a family with deep Mississippi roots, joined the Klan to become an Fbi informant. He penetrated the White Knights’ secret circles, recording almost daily journal entries. He risked his life, and the safety of his young family, to chronicle extensively the clandestine activities of the Klan. (special/DM staff )

For the Record Books Delta Magazine fans are currently reading

o Monica Daniels

Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger

o Cal Edlin

Pappyland: A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last by Wright Thompson

o Bill Woodell

Always Stand in Against the Curve: And Other Sports Stories by Willie Morris 42 | septeMber/october 2021

o Todd J. Cameron

Hitting a Straight Lick With a Crooked Stick by Zora Neale Hurston

o Trish Berry

The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn

o Marian Duncan Hollingsworth A Time For Mercy by John Grisham

o Pat Kline

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb

We asked Facebook friends and Delta Magazine Fan Page Group members to share with us— What book(s) they have read more than once? o Kim Collins Ouzts, regional clinical director at Mid South Rehab Services, Inc. Cleveland, Mississippi

The Great Gatsby. i digested and really appreciated the book after reading it again at the age of fifty after having read it for the first time at eighteen. o Holly Hollingsworth Fava, antiques dealer Collierville, Tennessee

The Goldfinch by Donna tartt. it is an absolutely stunning book about love and loss. there’s a reason it won a pulitzer. plus, tartt is originally from Mississippi. o Jimbo Richardson, M.O.S.S. Band Rankin, Mississippi

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter s. thompson because it is a savage journey into the heart of the american dream. o Jill-Curry Smith Henderson, Stay-at-home mother, Fort Payne, Alabama

Little Women, by louisa May alcott, Jane Eyre by charlotte brontë, and Anne of Green Gables by lucy Maud Montgomery are my favorites. i’ve read each multiple times. they are all whimsical reads that make me smile. o Jim Veal, retired director of trade for the Government of Israel Houston, Texas

South Toward Home by Julia reed. because she is all over it, and anyone from the south can relate to every word. o Netty Clark Bird The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

o Lorri Woods-Whitehurst 3 Enoch by Rabbi Ishmael

o John Allen Mitchell Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

o Carlise Parsons Wood Promise by Minrose Gwin


I Ain’t Studdin’ Ya by Bobby Rush (Hachette Books) this memoir charts the extraordinary rise to fame of living blues legend, bobby rush. born emmett ellis, Jr. in Homer, louisiana, he adopted the stage name bobby rush out of respect for his father, a pastor. as a teenager, rush acquired his first real guitar and started playing in juke joints in little rock, arkansas, donning a fake mustache to trick club owners into thinking he was old enough to gain entry. He led his first band in arkansas between little rock and pine bluff in the 1950s. it was there he first had elmore James play in his band. rush later relocated to chicago to pursue his musical career and started to work with earl Hooker, luther allison, and Freddie King, and sat in with many of his musical heroes, such as Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Jimmy reed and little Walter. rush eventually began leading his own band in the 1960s, crafting his own distinct style of funky blues, and recording a succession of singles for various labels. it wasn’t until the early 1970s that rush finally scored a hit with “chicken Heads.” More recordings followed, including an album which went on to be listed in the top 10 blues albums of the 1970s by Rolling Stone and a handful of regional jukebox favorites including “sue” and “i ain’t studdin’ Ya.” (special/DM staff) Mississippi Prison Writing (VOX Press) the long-awaited third release of VoX’s prison Writes initiative’s inmate writing series features personal narratives and poetry from several Mississippi incarceration facilities from various prison demographics. inmate veterans, women, youth, men, death row, long-term segregation, elderly and handicapped writers are represented in this unprecedented collection. the writers in Mississippi Prison Writing share their innermost thoughts, opening their diaries for readers to witness actual daily life in prison, void of sensationalism and drama. the reflections offer frank meditations on regret, the monotony and isolation of incarceration, the often difficult and layered home lives before prison walls, and the journey to self-realization. though these writers are “reduced to living in a cage,” their words leap off the page, gifting us with complex human beings fighting to keep spirit and creativity alive in a repressive system. they help us remember what happens on the other side of the wall, and why we should care. (special/DM staff )

The Road Leads to Yond: A Miss'sippi Recollection by Billy Ray Griffin (Wasteland Press) the author captivates the reader as he carries you along a journey to coming of age. recollections of humble beginnings begin in a sharecropper shack located in the Mississippi Delta. Hard work and determination have the reader joining him on a journey from the flatlands to high into the smokey Mountains and cherokee north carolina. the journey into hill country to visit kin has the entire family excited and you can feel the heat, the cool breezes, and the mountain air as you take the journey with them. the writing holds you completely spellbound as you are drawn into the descriptive tales of rural-faceted experiences for a teenage boy growing up in 1950’s rural Mississippi. (special/DM staff ) DM

Pink Promise Program Free mammograms for women who are working, but do not have insurance or their policies do not cover mammograms For more information, and to see if you qualify, please call

662-390-6009 “Wrapped In Pink” Services Providing assistance to women with breast cancer. For more information, and to see if you qualify, please call

662-390-6488

BETH’S MISSION...BREAST HEALTH Wrapped In Pink is supported in part by a grant from The King’s Daughters and Sons Circle Number Two

DONATE TODAY www.deltacottonbelles.org Delta Magazine 2021

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44 | septeMber/october 2021


New from the

University Press of Mississippi

Available at your local bookseller.

upress.state.ms.us

A NEW BOOK BY ROBERT KHAYAT 60: A Year of Sports, Race & Politics is the story of 1960, as seen through the eyes of Robert Khayat. That seminal year — Civil Rights, professional football, and politics — changed everything for a promising young man from Mississippi.

ON SALE NOW AT YOUR LOCAL INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE 6” x 9” I Paperback with French flaps I 360 pages 60 Illustrations I ISBN: 978-1-949455-28-1 I $24.95

For bulk/corporate discounts, contact Nautilus Publishing

NautilusPublishing.com RobertKhayat.com

NAUTILUS PUBLISHING, 426 South Lamar Blvd., Suite 16, Oxford, MS 385655, 662-513-0159, info@nautiluspublishing.com

Delta Magazine 2021

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ART

RICK ANDERSON Water colorist has made a career of exploring realism, beauty, and emotion in his contemporary landscapes BY SUSAN MARQUEZ PHOTOS BY MERRIE ANDERSON

Rick Anderson surrounded by some of his works and the tools of his trade in his home studio.

Rick Anderson has made a career doing something he loves, and at age seventy-four, he’s going stronger than ever. in the clinton home he shares with his wife, Merrie carol, rick creates beautiful watercolors that evoke strong emotions. From photo realism to totally abstract works, rick’s work is distinctive and provocative. “My contemporary landscapes incorporate the non-objective with the objective, which are the things you can see. 46 | septeMber/october 2021

realism, to me, is because the brain can turn images the eye sees into what it knows.” born and raised in clarksdale, rick was more into music than anything else. “i started playing the trumpet in the fourth grade at Kirkpatrick elementary school.” in high school he studied under Kent seales, who went on to be the music chair at


Top: Florence, Italy Vendor. This painting was juried into the National Watercolor Society’s member show in San Pedro, California; Middle: Estill, Mississipi; Bottom: Delta Rains

Mississippi state. rick went to Mississippi Delta community college in Moorhead on a music scholarship. “When you are in band, you don’t have much time for anything else,” says rick. growing up, rick had a brother, clint, who was very artistic. “i started drawing because of clint,” he says. While at Moorhead, rick would earn spending money by charging five dollars for a pencil portrait. He had never had any classes in art at that point, but realized it was something he was good at and enjoyed. When he transferred to Delta state University, he started thinking that he could probably do more things with art than he could with music. “i made up my mind to change my major to art. i put the trumpet in a box, and that was it.” clint passed away when the boys were children, but rick believes that perhaps whatever ability clint had comes through in his own work. rick learned a lot at Delta state, because, he says, he was eager to learn. “i was ready, and i soaked it all in.” in the 1970s, rick began entering art competitions and his work was getting recognized. While his style has evolved over the years, rick says that there are some things that have remained the same over the years. “i won ‘best of show’ at a bi-state art show in Meridian a few years ago, which entitled me to the opportunity to have a show the next year. Merrie and i have what we call our ‘private collection’ and i pulled work from that for the show. i realized, looking at it, how much my work has evolved, but i did notice those constants that i have always used in my work.” throughout the years, rick has taught art to all ages, from elementary school to the college level and beyond. He has also illustrated several children’s books, beginning with alphabet and number books written by tennessee author Michael shoulders. “Michael got my name from the Mississippi arts commission’s artist/teacher roster and contacted me,” recalls rick. “He wrote a number book for children called 1 Mississippi 2 Mississippi and he was looking for an illustrator. i submitted samples of my work to an editor at sleeping bear press and i was hired to illustrate the number book, as well as the alphabet book, M is for Magnolia, the Mississippi Alphabet. i Delta Magazine 2021

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Top: Yellow Canopy; Middle, left to right: New Hope MB Church, Estill Mississippi and Day's Work Done; Bottom: Watercolor Sky

illustrated three more books for sleeping bear press, and two books for pelican press in new orleans.” rick did school visits in several states with Michael where they talked about the process of writing and illustrating books. “We even did a tour of germany where we visited american schools.” all along, rick kept painting, using watercolor as his medium of choice. He won numerous awards for his work over the years, and most recently was awarded first place in the mixed media category for his contemporary work, Take the A Train, at the cedars Juried art show in Jackson. He was also awarded second place in the painting category for his piece, August Rain. one of the show’s jurors was artist laurin Mccracken, who rick has known for several years through the art world. laurin, a Meridian native, is a realist watercolorist whose work is influenced by Dutch and Flemish still life painters of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. “the awards are given on the front porch of the cedars,” says rick. “When i won, laurin called me up and told the crowd that they would see me on the international stage. He knew something i didn’t know.” a couple of weeks later, laurin contacted rick. laurin was president of the Watercolor Usa Honor society and the United states country leader for the Fabriano in acquarello, the official group of the international congress held annually in Fabriano, italy, dedicated to watercolorists from all over the world. “He invited me to be a member of the group,” says rick. “and he invited me to go to Fabriano to attend the annual conference there.” sadly, the coViD-19 pandemic put a stop to that, but the conference went on with workshops, demonstrations, and a competition, all aired online. “it was a full week of soaking it in,” says rick. He sent in a piece of his work, an abstract contemporary piece of a gin in the Delta. “the artists’ works were exhibited all over town,” he says. “i am hoping to go to the next conference, as it is such an honor to be included in this group of distinguished artists from around the world.” rick says that he learned so much about different techniques from the artists who demonstrated during the virtual conference. 48 | septeMber/october 2021


Anderson’s permanent installment at the MAX in Meridian, is uniquely displayed, being backlit on a 3-D standing display.

“i taught for twenty-five years,” he says, “but i’m still learning. When you stop learning, you simply stop.” rick’s work can be seen on his website, rickandersonart.com. His work is shown in the Kim caron gallery in tupelo, and the attic gallery in Vicksburg. Jean clemmons Whitehead represents rick through her firm, Mississippi art and Design consultants. “i do a good bit of consignment work through Jean for corporate installations.” rick also has work on permanent display in the Mississippi arts and entertainment experience (the MaX) in Meridian. “i knew they wanted one of my pieces, but i was surprised to see how they used it!” the painting of a Mississippi Delta scene is backlit on a 3-D standing display. With a studio that connects to the bonus room over his garage, rick stores all his paintings. “i usually have one hundred plus works at any one time. it’s very convenient this way. i also keep 30+ stretched canvases in my storage building out back so i have easy access to new canvases.” in his studio, rick has a watercolor station on a flat table with his watercolor palette and supplies, and an easel with the stretched canvas with all his acrylic paint on the shelves next to it. His watercolor paper is a variety of excellent quality 140-pound and 300-pound Fabriano, arches and other brands, which he keeps stored in the home’s bonus room. looking back on his career as an artist, rick says he really loves what he does. “every day is a fun day with art!” DM Delta Magazine 2021

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MUSIC

GERALD WILSON’S Jazz Odyssey

BOB BARRY

He played with the best-known names in jazz—and often composed their music. BY JIM BEAUGEZ But his roots run deep in the Delta.

52 | septeMber/october 2021


ne of the most prolific composers, arrangers and bandleaders in jazz history, who earned nine Grammy award nominations over an eightdecade career, nearly turned down the gig that changed his life.

PEAK

gerald Wilson, barely into his twenties and working as a trumpeter in Detroit, had joined up with the chick carter band, a fourteen-piece regional swing group that worked in ballrooms throughout Michigan and the Midwest. on a day off in Dayton, ohio, Jimmie lunceford—the leader of the hottest band in swing—sent him a telegram inviting him to join his band. but after only a few gigs with the chick carter band, Wilson had decided he liked his new job and told friend sammy lowe he was going to stay put. Wilson had no idea the band was breaking up after the show that night, but once he found out, he called the number on the telegram. lunceford said money and train tickets were on the way, and to meet him in new York city. Wilson stepped into Harlem in 1939, a scene teeming with jazz and swing greats like Duke ellington, count basie, cab calloway, and of course, lunceford. the bandleader first brought Wilson to his tailor to have him fitted for seven performance outfits, and then they joined the rest of the band at the Harlem YMca on West 135th street, where they were staying between tours. “He talked about that all the time, that it's like landing in the true epicenter of jazz music for that moment,” remembers his son anthony Wilson, a los angeles-based jazz guitarist who has performed on albums by paul Mccartney, Willie nelson and aaron neville, and has been a member of wellknown jazz pianist and singer, Diana Krall’s band since 2001. “You see all of your heroes walking down the street.”

BOB BARRY

O

Gerald Wilson, Anthony Wilson and Bobby Hutcherson, Hollywood Bowl 2008.

gerald Wilson’s lifelong obsession with music began one thousand miles away in shelby, Mississippi, then a town of 1,300, with piano lessons from his mother at age six. education for african americans at the time in shelby ended after grade school, so his mother sent him to live with a family in Memphis so he could continue his education. He moved on to Detroit in his teens to study at the cass technical High school, a magnet school that later produced creative talents Diana ross of the supremes, actress lily tomlin, and pianist and harpist alice coltrane.

through connections he made in Detroit, a teenage Wilson befriended sy oliver, lunceford’s trumpet player and arranger. oliver would let him come to rehearsals, where he read the band’s charts and watched him pull together performances. an astute learner with natural talent, Wilson impressed oliver enough that when he decided to leave lunceford’s band to take a job with tommy Dorsey, oliver hand-picked Wilson as his replacement. “My dad just handled it, learned the [music] book, and the rest was kind of Delta Magazine 2021

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JIM MARSHALL

Gerald Wilson and his orchestra at Monterey Jazz Festival, 1963.

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“i think it's important that was imparted to me, because i know so many young musicians nowadays [and] that idea is not in their tool chest,” he says. “blues, in many ways, for a lot of young people is just a form. We play a twelve-bar blues, but to him—and he was from the Delta—blues was blues. it's a whole thing. it's a culture. it's a sound. it's an orientation towards life.”

PEAK

after his son stuck with the instrument and branched out to jazz and other musical styles as a teenager. reading music and learning chord harmony were two main musical concepts he pressed anthony to learn; committing to an arrangement and playing with precision were crucial, too, as a studio musician may only get one or two takes to play a part correctly. “i was telling somebody just yesterday that i had done a session earlier this summer that had a ton of reading on it, and i had to do a fair amount of improvisation,” Wilson says. “it was a oneday session, about ten hours, and we did something like eleven songs. and i thought, ‘Well, this is the exact kind of session my father was telling me about when i was fourteen or fifteen.’” after his father’s death in 2014 at age ninety-six, anthony Wilson had a few days off in the middle of a two-week nashville gig. For the first time in his life, he decided to visit his paternal family roots in shelby and Hushpuckena in the Mississippi Delta. that trip inspired him to embark on a multimedia project that he hopes to finish this fall and release as an album and book. “the Delta has become a superimportant place for me, and i never expected that it would,” he says. “My mind was blown immediately for many, many reasons—first of all, to see the exact spot where my father and grandmother and grandfather and family had lived. “Just thinking about the music, there's a kind of a mysticism that i feel when i'm there. i can’t wait to be there again.” DM

JIM BOURNE

history,” says Wilson. “it was an incredible launching pad for a young musician.” From there, Wilson’s involvement in the band and its music grew organically. oliver composed as well as performed, so lunceford asked Wilson if he could write songs, too. His first attempt failed, but his second, the swinging tune “Hi spook,” was a hit record for Jimmie lunceford and His orchestra on the Decca label. Wilson set his own course in the mid1940s with a series of his own bands, and he also wrote arrangements for a litany of legends, including ellington, ray charles, billie Holiday, ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy gillespie. During the fifties and sixties, after moving to los angeles, Wilson stayed busy composing and arranging for big bands, orchestras, pop singers, and film and television. “i may have done more numbers and orchestrations than any other black jazz artist in the world,” he told the Los Angeles Sentinel, according to his 2014 obituary in the Los Angeles Times. “i did sixty-something for ray charles. i did his first and second country-western album. i wrote a lot of music for count basie, eight numbers for his first carnegie Hall concert,” he said. Wilson also taught jazz at california state University campuses in the area as well as at the University of california, los angeles. He shared many of the same lessons with anthony, including how jazz is built on a foundation of blues that he heard while walking through town back in shelby around the time musicians like robert Johnson and charley patton were traveling the Delta.

Anthony Wilson and Gerald Wilson

While some artists never venture far from their own foundations, Wilson used his to anchor his adventurous excursions. “His pieces are all extended, with long solos and long backgrounds,” musician and jazz historian loren schoenberg told the New York Times in 1988. “they’re almost hypnotic. Most are seven to ten minutes long. only a master can keep the interest going that long, and he does.” Wilson remembers his father as a musician who took music seriously but didn’t show much interest in his son’s obsession with guitarists like Jimi Hendrix and the folk and pop of bob Dylan and the beatles. in fact, he openly discouraged anthony’s interest in pursuing music as a career. He began to come around, though,


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Vito’s Marketplace in Leland From humble beginnings as a pasta shop to its popular salad dressing to live music on the patio—this popular eatery is a bucket-list stop in the Delta BY AIMEE ROBINETTE

IN THE SOUTH, everything has a story attached to it, and Vito’s Marketplace in Leland is no exception.

desserts that are “killer” and a wide range of take-home cuisine. “We do not serve lunch because we are so busy making my line of casseroles, gouda pimento cheese, chicken salad, and my owner amy Virden says it all began in famous white chocolate and blueberry bread greenville back when Vito’s pasta shoppe pudding,” she explains. was a popular spot in the Delta. some exciting news is Virden says Virden began to make Vito’s salad she has a new dressing—Vito’s Dressing herself and sold it in local sunflower seed—coming out this stores and a few places scattered fall. across the Mississippi Delta. it was as with most restaurants across so good, so coveted by salad lovers the country, Virden says the hardest everywhere, that now her salad thing right now is finding employees. dressing is sold in ninety stores all “coViD has become the main across Mississippi, arkansas, issue, where the only thing hard louisiana, Missouri, Michigan, about prior to this was the hours. tennessee, and alabama. regardless, i absolutely love the “i have lived in leland most of business. i so enjoy people and love my life,” says Virden, who also is to cook, and i especially love when an expert building commercial they say how much they enjoyed it. kitchens and does consulting work; “We can seat fifty-five people however, no matter where the inside and 115 out on the patio, restaurant business has taken her which is covered and heated, and in what capacity, she always comes back home to The popularity of Vito’s so it is perfect for parties, her roots in an italian salad dressing has exploded weddings, reunions, and across the South, now being other events,” she says. “We kitchen. have done it all.” Vito’s Marketplace is a sold in ninety locations. When it comes to her reflection of that love for menu, Virden spends time alone to authentic italian dishes and southern fare. contemplate what she would like to try next. “spaghetti is one of our most popular dishes, “My favorite time is early morning with a as is our redfish with crawfish sauce,” she good ole cup of coffee,” she says. “When i’m says. “the lasagna rounds out our top three.” alone, i can think about what i’m going to those may be the most ordered dishes, try next. if things don’t sell well, i take them but Virden says they also have homemade

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off the menu. i’m always trying different things. some work, some not.” Virden says as for the salad dressing, it has always been a favorite. “i had bottled it myself for the longest time, and in 2016, i went to manufacture it. i got in my car and went all over tennessee, Mississippi, arkansas, and alabama, and i started getting in stores that way. it was extremely hard work, and i am blessed that it’s worked out. During that time, i had no intention of opening a restaurant. i was only looking for a place to store my dressings and make casseroles.” one cannot stop progress, and Virden says Vito’s Marketplace was born in 2018


Local musicians regularly entertain diners on the patio.

because the demand for her to open with entrees was so overwhelming that she couldn’t say no. “being homemade, we had to cut out lunch to concentrate on night service,” she says. “i am very pleased and grateful for the opportunity that was presented to me and our customers and the bomb. We love serving our customers. We look forward to seeing them.” the “we” being Virden and her manager, stancey trussell. “there’s no way i could have done it without her. she really loves the restaurant business and has a heck of a grasp on it now. it’s such a pleasure to come to work, see people you love, and serve people you adore. it’s not like work to me; it’s fun.” Virden also says they have specials such as pizza night, and some nights live music fills the air. they also have a full bar. DM Vito’s Marketplace is located at 107 North Main Street in downtown Leland. They are open all day for grab-and-go items on Wednesday through Sunday and for dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday come eat from 5 to 9 p.m. Delta Magazine 2021

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CARE-ing in Clarksdale Shelter built with passion and compassion is bettering animal welfare in the Delta

BY PAIGE DAUGHERTY • PHOTOS BY AUSTIN BRITT

– Ric Browde, CEO, Wings of Rescue

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AUSTIN BRITT

What drew me to CARES was that they were focused on solving the problems in Clarksdale at the source, through education, spay/neuter, and community outreach. They are doing the hard work of connecting with people to change a mindset. We absolutely adore CARES and value the cheerfulness of the staff. They have a reputation of being the best of the best nationwide. It’s magical—what they’ve accomplished in the Mississippi Delta is unheard of!


Mural of adopted shelter pets by Colombian artist DJ Lu.

Board President, Rivers Humber, Executive Director Paige Daugherty, and Director of Animal Care Mary Brock Crumpton.

PHOTOS BY AUSTIN BRITT

D

eep in the Mississippi Delta, past the cotton fields and juke joints of Clarksdale, sits the little shelter that could. CARES (Clarksdale Animal Rescue Effort and Shelter),

the nonprofit organization where i serve as executive director, is making steady strides of progress in animal welfare in the area, for possibly the first time ever. Focused on more than housing animals and finding them homes—though that’s the priority—we are trying to nip decades-old problems at the source, and we are using a can-do attitude to parlay our modest resources into something truly successful. i never meant to work at an animal shelter. i joke that i woke up here! let me be clear—i love my dog, reba, but beyond signing her adoption paperwork ten years ago, i had never stepped foot inside of a shelter. Why would i? they seemed smelly and sad. i assumed that homeless animals were somebody else’s responsibility as a vital part of any functioning city, like trash pickup or street sweepers.

after living away, i moved back to the Delta in 2014 when my father was diagnosed with cancer. He passed away later that same year, but afterward, i found myself making a life here—finding freelance work doing public relations in my hometown of cleveland. one day, a pal of mine called saying she had a website client who was starting a nonprofit animal shelter in clarksdale, and in need of some pr help. a few weeks later, i was meeting with them. the client admitted she wasn’t positive about what was to come, but that she definitely needed help with the communications. she was determined and extremely focused. “i like dogs,” i thought to myself as i agreed to the part-time position, thinking that this would just be another client. How hard could it be to post pictures of adorable pets that needed homes?

i soon learned it wasn’t easy at all. packs of loose dogs and cats roamed the streets freely, and neglect was commonplace. the locals were used to it, and visiting tourists were horrified as they swerved around animals en route to their evening plans. the clarksdale city/county shelter itself had a long history of struggle, piqued by a cruelty tip that led to a raid by the american society for the prevention of cruelty to animals (aspca) in 2010, where more than four hundred animals were discovered in an overwhelmed space designed to hold sixty. Dozens of animals were euthanized, and the New York Times published it all in a harrowing article, leaving a traumatized public in the wake. in the five years to follow, clarksdale’s shelter saw a rotating door of hands in charge, with hardworking volunteers pushing it along for sake of the animals there. it was during this time that a group of likeminded citizens banded together behind the scenes and began laying out plans for a radical change. Delta Magazine 2021

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The shelter sits on over five acres of land on Highway 49 in Clarksdale.

Staff, volunteers, and board members load dogs onto Wings of Rescue flight.

Adopted dog, Atticus, now lives in Maine.

Educational field trip with elementary students and Mississippi State’s Veterinary School. 64 | septeMber/october 2021

Pasadena, a favorite three legged dog.

by early 2015, the group had secured its nonprofit status as cares, formed a board of Directors, and negotiated with the city and the county to officially accept the responsibility of all homeless animals. Just before that was set to happen, i was invited to tag along to a sheltering conference in new orleans with two of the board trustees. needless to say, we all left inspired. From the start, the cares team knew that clarksdale did not need any more sadness. We wanted to do things differently and focus on long-term, sustainable progress that served the Mississippi Delta particularly well. What makes people feel joy—and what makes them repeatedly visit, follow, donate, and adopt—are happy animals, an uplifting newsfeed, and a community centered shelter. cares invested in a new logo that features a dog and a cat in front of a large, orange sun— symbolic of the change that was coming. getting cares off the ground took a tremendous amount of grit, planning, and hard work. We are lucky to have a handful of committed professionals in our corner to help figure it out. Jody swartzfager of cleveland pet clinic, and Mississippi state’s school of Veterinary Medicine have assisted us throughout every step. When two

PHOTOS COURTESY OF CARES

Archie’s amazing before and after transformation.


AUSTIN BRITT AUSTIN BRITT

hundred animals came in 2015, we thought that was a lot. but by the third year, we saw 1,300 animals annually without nearly enough adopters to make the numbers balance. Fortunately, there was an answer. a connection had been made at the nola conference with petsmart charities’ relocation program, and following a tedious application process, we were accepted. this was a game changer! these relocation transports save lives by moving healthy, behaviorally sound animals from areas of the country with an overabundance (like the Mississippi Delta) to regions with waiting adopters and very few shelter animals at all (like northeastern states). We’ve witnessed our Delta Dogs leave the cares shelter and instantly find wonderful homes in places like Michigan, Wisconsin, new York, ohio, pennsylvania, and new Jersey. We currently average at least two ground transports per month, now through the aspca, with at least one air transport per quarter via Wings of rescue. to date, we’ve relocated a whopping 4,782 dogs and cats and know each one of them by name. these efforts, combined with local adoptions and fosters, have allowed us to maintain a no-kill status since inception. as cares grew, we operated out of the

ASPCA’s transport van in Clarksdale.

AUSTIN BRITT

PHOTOS COURTESY OF CARES

Adopted dog, Chloe, at the US Capital in Washington, DC.

Paige Daugherty with her own rescue dog, Reba. Delta Magazine 2021

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old city shelter building for nearly two years, with improvements added as funds allowed. We quickly outgrew the small space. the board initially planned to start a capital campaign to build a brand-new building. but after some scouting, the perfect property was found—a vacant building on Highway 49 in clarksdale, just down from the historic crossroads. a former tractor sales building that had been closed for twenty-two years, it had good bones and it sat on more than five acres of grassy yard. but, there was a catch— it wasn’t for sale— it also lacked a roof. thankfully the owners saw the vision of what the space could become. the board agreed to secure a loan, which allowed cares to buy the building. this was the turning point! the building was transformed improving not only the physical sheltering of the animals, but also the public’s perception of shelters. it was now a bright, pristine animal shelter with a cool midcentury vibe. For the first time ever, there was adequate room! all dog kennels were finally indoors. there was also a cat wing, a medical room, multiple offices, an educational room for children, and private adoption rooms for visitors. cares was becoming a physical place that could make clarksdale proud. in our six-year history we’ve taken in over 6,200 dogs and cats. Most need immediate tlc upon arrival. our Director of animal care, Mary brock crumpton, does a beautiful job of overseeing the dayto-day operations, and she does it with tenderness and purpose. Daily treatments, intakes, charting records, and behavior exams are handled by our two woman strong med team. a compassionate team of caretakers do the feeding, cleaning, and caring of animals 365 days per year. it’s a far cry from the sad shelter i had once imagined. the dogs go outside each day, and all pet housing has enrichment and comfort items, such as toys and blankets. the entire process is not cheap—and it’s a complicated, multi-pronged system. and though in contract with our city and county, we fundraise to cover 75 percent of our operating budget each year. as much as we focus on sheltering—and we do—we’ve always known that the future of animal welfare in the Mississippi Delta depends greatly in what happens outside of our walls—out in the community. each year, we’ve worked toward expanding our services to fulfill the “big 66 | septeMber/october 2021


picture” goal of one day having far fewer animals that need our shelter services. in 2017, we launched a community pet food bank (supplied by chewy) that has grown to serve over fifty families monthly. We followed that with a $38,000 grant in 2018 to spay/neuter five hundred owned pets for free! We “spay or pay” moms of litters brought to us to prevent future unwanted litters. this is in addition to the field trips, partnerships, volunteer programs, and shelter extensions that are also part of our model. but still, we knew we weren’t reaching the clarksdalians that needed help the most. in 2019, after years of applying and an in-depth community assessment, we became the very first shelter in Mississippi to be awarded a private grant through the Humane society of the United states to bring their coveted pets for life (pFl) program to clarksdale. pets for life targets animals and families in underserved clarksdale neighborhoods with little to no access to pet care resources. it confirms the notion that most people love their pet, but perhaps they never knew about preventative medicine or spay/neuter. and now, providing this information has prompted a cultural shift, right here in the Delta. We are seeing people seek veterinary care for the first time, perhaps realizing that their dog from childhood might have died from heartworms, or that altering pets can prevent litter after litter of homeless kittens or puppies. pFl actively replaces chains, hands out fly repellent, and makes owned pets comfortable at home, giving options without judgment. We go from door to door, making connections and a plan, so people’s beloved animals can be healthy and stay with them. soon we’ll start our newest grant program, Dogs playing For life, which will teach our team how to effectively run play groups in our own yard. Dogs will get to interact with each other, enjoy a break from their kennels, and in turn, become more adoptable. it’s taken a village to get here, and it wouldn’t have been possible without a multitude of contributors, volunteers, and staff coming together to see it through. together, cares is building something special in clarksdale—come see for yourself! DM

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CARES can be found online via Facebook, Instagram, and at caresclarksdale.com. Delta Magazine 2021

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FRANCES ZOOK From Greenwood to DC to Texas to Atlanta—bringing regional influences into every architectural design

JOHNNY JENNINGS, @DELTAJJJ

BY SHERRY LUCAS • PHOTOS COURTESY OF FRANCES ZOOK COLLECTION

70 | septeMber/october 2021


A new family home for an empty nester couple in Greenwood. The house takes advantage of all its surrounding views-river and farmland.

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T

he Mississippi Delta’s formative sway on Frances Flautt Zook’s growing up years still tugs at the corners of her imagination and curls up her heart.

the architect’s work has taken her across the southeastern United states, but those threads from her greenwood hometown—the smalltown camaraderie, the sense of home, place and family—have stayed right along with her, fortified by Delta roots that reach back ten generations. “the Delta is always going to be a part of me. always. and still is. i’m there all the time,” drawn back by family and farmland. the vernacular of a place, too, always sticks with a professional in the art of creating and designing spaces for life and work. “the look of how buildings are developed for a certain space, topography, and climate certainly has an influence,” zook says, noting the way Mississippi’s long, hot days determined how houses were built to catch the breeze, back in the day. and in the Delta, particularly, the functional needs of its agricultural base dot the landscape with barns and warehouses. now in oxford, she notes the simple greek style that maintains its classical design, without 72 | septeMber/october 2021

the higher-end flourishes a bigger city might have. anywhere she goes, zook looks for that connection between a region and its built spaces, folding that knowledge into her own aesthetic. she started her studies at Vanderbilt University then transferred to louisiana state University once architecture became the chosen path. “i had this need to know what i was going to do for the rest of my life. once i made that decision, i never changed.” Her uncle, Jimmy Flautt, had suggested it. “He saw my interest in design and the community and our family farm—just a sense of architecture itself,” she says. after college, her career took her to Washington, D.c., for five years, texas for four years, and then atlanta, where she branched out on her own. the range of cities brought a range of influences, all from the different cultures of each, she says. “so much of D.c. is about our american heritage. it’s very influenced by that,” with strict guidelines and a preservation mindset, “Which is okay. it’s fine,” zook says. “but then you move to texas, and it’s all new, and it’s all texas, and it’s wild and woolly…. it’s kind of refreshing, actually.” that freedom likely gave her the courage to buy a midcentury

PHOTO BY ERIN AUSTEN ABBOTT

DAVID CHRISTENSEN, @DHCPHOTO

This outdoor room embraces the native landscape and views of the lake. A Tennessee fieldstone clad fireplace accentuates the symmetry of the space.


LAURA NEGRI CHILDERS, @LAURANEGRICHILDERS

A new master suite with custom steel windows and stone floor takes full advantage of outdoor pool views. Double mahogany doors separate the bedroom from the sunroom.

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LAURA NEGRI CHILDERS, @LAURANEGRICHILDERS

ROBERT PETERSON, @RUSTICWHITEINTERIORS

This 1917 historic Marietta, Georgia home was fully renovated to include a limewash finish and slate roof. Additions shown here are a master porch, decorative chimney with fountain and balcony for the upstairs carriage house.

A new sunroom addition complements the cedar shake and bronze metal roofs. As shown in the interior shot (left), a vaulted space with an abundance of glass created the light filled room.

LAURA NEGRI CHILDERS, @LAURANEGRICHILDERS

modern house in atlanta, long before that style became the trend of the moment. “it was fun to work on it,” she says and they redid most of the house, bringing in her own special touch. For example, when a boring white wall begged for a highlight and paint didn’t do the trick, she took a cue from patterns in the bluestone patio wall just outside. rather than changing the color, she’d change the texture. Her cabinet maker brought over all his birch scraps, and “he and i built the wall together, and that, to me, is my favorite part of architecture.” the result provided a cool and subtle point of interest that fit the flow. zook’s office on the square in oxford is about two years old, and she still splits time between there and atlanta, where she lived and practiced for twenty years. Her husband, Jim zook, is chief marketing and communications officer for the University of 74 | septeMber/october 2021


LAURA NEGRI CHILDERS, @LAURANEGRICHILDERS LAURA NEGRI CHILDERS, @LAURANEGRICHILDERS

This in-town bungalow master bedroom addition blends perfectly with its original form.

Bringing new life to a family guest house, it now serves as a pool area, teenage hangout, and family workout room. Delta Magazine 2021

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DAVID CHRISTENSEN, @DHCPHOTO

DAVID CHRISTENSEN, @DHCPHOTO

DAVID CHRISTENSEN, @DHCPHOTO

Detail photos from a new north Georgia lakehouse include kitchen views to the lake, master bath and custom steel front door.

Mississippi, and their two sons have ole Miss ties, too—Jack just graduated, and Will is a rising junior. zook’s residence of the moment is an oxford townhouse, but she’s in the middle of designing her own house. she’s had a hard time with it, she admits, joking that her client is about to fire her. “My husband is my client,” she says, laughing. “that’s when the artist comes out. You can’t design in a day. “so much of architecture is about structure and deadlines and forms. but the design part is just so much about art. it’s hard to 76 | septeMber/october 2021

start and stop,” with creativity in a constant flux of tweaks, changes, and new ideas. “that’s the exciting part.” she keeps a notebook handy to catch inspiration when it strikes. she’ll sketch a door here, a portion of a roof there, maybe the detail of a post—anything she might want to revisit later. Weekly lessons, too, with brooke alexander, an assistant art professor at ole Miss, help the empty nester reclaim the artistic spirit so integral in her work. there’s a sweet spot in architecture—“the idea, when it comes, when it’s set in stone,” she says. a few days before, on her house-


DAVID CHRISTENSEN, @DHCPHOTO

to-be, “it hit me, and i’m in the major process of designing it. that is just super exciting, to see that in my head! “the other favorite thing is when it’s being built. i love construction. it’s fun! because it shows up from paper.” she revels in conversations about products, talks with tradespeople, finding out more about whys and hows of their skillsets. architects on her admiration list include a suite of southerners. louisiana native a. Hays town, arkansan e. Fay Jones, and atlanta architect neel reid make the list. she respects tradition, too, as in the italian renaissance’s palladio. a favorite artist is charles rennie Mackintosh, who was a scottish architect and designer influential in the art nouveau movement. “i love all the tendrils. i think it’s so beautiful,” zook says of the style, tracing her love of art and design to the influence of her parents, the late polly Meek Upshaw and her dad, Henry Flautt, still in greenwood. late architect samuel Mockbee, who she worked for in Jackson one summer, was an early influence too. zook reaches for a quote of his—“everyone, rich or poor, deserves a shelter for the soul.” “He always defined a home or a place as someone’s sacred space. . . and i always just loved that,” she says. “it’s not what the world is looking at. it’s what you embrace and feel.” Her own stylistic approach? “not overly formal,” zook says. “i want a space to be something someone is comfortable in but yet certainly elegant. everything has a sense of purpose in my spaces. i try very hard not to waste space.” that came in handy with a clarkesville, georgia, project on lake burton, a georgia power/southern company reservoir with specific guidelines. they had to work within the same footprint of an existing home. that one-story was torn down; they added infill

EMILY FOLLOWILL, @EMILYFOLLOWILLPHOTOGRAPHER

This classic ranch house renovation included two owners and two phases—including main body additions and renovations, and a pool and pool pavilion with an outdoor kitchen.

Above is an interior front door view of a renovated 1930’s tudor home.

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ROBERT PETERSON, @RUSTICWHITEINTERIORS LAURA NEGRI CHILDERS, @LAURANEGRICHILDERS

A basement wine room with horizontal bottle storage displays, custom steel windows and stone that open to a family room.

‘English Cottage’ defines this family home.

and piers, rebuilt the foundation, rebuilt the house, put in a second story, plus executed the only allowable addition—a porch. “this was a family vacation home, and they wanted a lot of bedrooms, so we had to just—not necessarily shoehorn in — but we had to make some nice spaces, but it had a limited amount of space.” that success won her an aia atlanta Merit award in the single Family non-traditional category. a huge renovation in Marietta, georgia, included a master suite addition, the renovation of a family room, a carriage house re-do, 78 | septeMber/october 2021

and a redesign of the pool house to bring it more in line with the existing house. Details both enhanced the spaces and added function, such as the steel windows and a custom railing that opened up a stairwell with light and an airy feel. the family room was gutted and redesigned to bring in more light, too, with vaulted ceilings and more windows. she added a fireplace. “the main thing i like to do is make sure that whatever architectural work is done to it, it integrates into its either existing conditions or the site.” that’s obviously the case with a recent project west of greenwood for a couple who wanted a place on their farm property. perfectly situated on an isthmus, high up and near a bend in the Yazoo river, the house has sweeping views front and back with the cotton fields just beyond the front door and river views across the back. an expansive brick porch wraps around the whole house to take full advantage of the view. With clients, she always asks, early on, for a list of their goals. “What i’m trying to do is achieve goals for that family, that person. … You can’t achieve every goal, but you try.” Juggling clients’ wishes, lot guidelines, site specifics, and more can be a real challenge. “that, to me, is a big-time, problem-solving puzzle, and i love it. it’s a blast. . . . and i’m trying to make an attractive puzzle,” that’s also practical and in budget. “that’s always the dance,” she says, with the smile of someone who revels in it. DM


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HOME

Fresh & Timeless After several recent renovations this Winona couple realizes there’s no place like home BY SHERRY LUCAS • PHOTOGRAPHY TOM AND KASI BECK

82 | septeMber/october 2021


The kitchen redesign and expansion transformed the room into a lighter, brighter and more workable space that’s now a highlight of the home.

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Corner windows meet to form a cozy corner with plenty of sunlight for plants and blooms. An expansive island was a must-have, and the charming light fixture helps confirm its showpiece status.

IN THE HUNT FOR UPDATED, cooler living spaces, Eddie and Gay Hammond didn’t need to look any further than their Rolling Greens Estates home in Winona.

BEFORE

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recent renovations rescued their sunroom from its summer blast, added a paradise island and more in a kitchen expansion, refreshed the den, served up a tasteful redo in the dining room, and even tackled the biggest game in the Hammonds’ household—the crowd of trophy mounts, from the Mississippi Delta to points across north america, in eddie’s hunting room. “i had been wanting to renovate my kitchen for a long time, and then finally we just decided to go ahead and do it,” says gay, owner/pharmacist at Hammond’s pharmacy. the extensive 2019 work had the couple retreating to “dorm living again” as updates progressed, says eddie, bank of Winona president. “We had a bathroom and a bed; that was it.” “but that was fine,” gay adds, with a smile that says, “totally worth it.” Madison-based designer anna allen wantedto keep the Hammond home’s traditional style but make it feel fresh and timeless. gay’s extensive collection of Mccarty and peters pottery in jade and nutmeg brown provided some color cues, and the blue-green shades


in particular nudged the new, neutral palette in a breezy direction. the kitchen’s extra one hundred square feet allowed abundant space for a sweet-spot corner where two big windows come together; a farmhouse sink enjoys the view, and the stone backsplash reaches up to the ceiling. there’s plenty of counter space behind the faucet, where a collection of plants—a mix of birthday present plants from her father and one sent in sympathy after his death from coViD shortly after christmas—soak up the sun. “i just call this Daddy’s corner,” gay says. the expansive island (eight by six and a half feet), with special baluster columns and a countertop cut, stands out, as do gleaming granite countertops and glass upper cabinets that display gay’s china and pottery collection. the stone backsplash’s pattern turns herringbone behind the slide-in range—another subtle spotlight that frames the shiny pot filler. “We did work really hard to make sure it looked original to the house and not like an add-on,” designer allen says of the expansion. the relocated powder room is a small space with big impact, thanks to pretty powder-blue wallpaper and a custom vanity. “i am pleased with everything just because it flows now,” says gay,

Fall arrangements of fresh flowers and yard clippings—and homemade pies—adorn the massive island

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Soft grays and soothing blues bring a restful atmosphere to the dining room. Decorator paper from Gay Hammond’s pharmacy and gift shop, framed as art, brings the perfect touch to the dining room (above) and to the breakfast nook (bottom right).

who revels in newly open entryways, the extra space, and special touches that increase functionality. patterns, hues, and details make seamless and subtle connecting threads from room to room. she’s most pleased with her kitchen. “i love my big island, and that’s where i can sit and do my work. and then i love sitting in the sunroom because it’s just peaceful.” before, it was just hot—too hot to enjoy most of the time—with a series of sliding glass doors that let the room roast. “the back was all glass, so you had all the west sun hitting it, and even with a threeton unit in that one room, you couldn’t get the temperature below eighty degrees in the summer,” eddie says. they gutted it and then reinsulated everything, including dropping the ceiling about a foot to add more insulation. now, even on a sunny and muggy summer afternoon, the room reads and feels crisp, cool, and inviting. an impressive elk mount is the sunroom’s sole remaining nod to eddie’s hunting prowess, and along with the windmill fan and V-groove pine ceiling, it adds a pleasingly rustic element. Furnishings are comfortable, attractive, and practical—a sofa in the palest sage, a pair of dove-gray chairs, and a big, soft, and round faux leather ottoman (perfect for young grandkids’ comfort and wipe-down ease). “i wanted something neutral and just soothing,” gay says. “i just love this room. this is my favorite.” in the dining room, a mix of soft blues provides more soothing surroundings. “i wanted it to feel really relaxing,” says allen. in the dining room, and on the wall of the breakfast room, decorator paper from gay’s pharmacy and gift shop, mounted and framed, packs the

Interior Designer Anna Allen puts finishing touches around the Hammond home.

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The master bedroom is a blend of cool and neutral tones. White bedside lamps add a crisp touch.

hunting paraphernalia—guns, hunting clothes—so they weren’t scattered all over the house. He and his son, West, have eighty-eight mounts between them (six now at the taxidermist) that include elk, pronghorn antelope, whitetail, mule deer, turkeys, black buck antelope (killed in texas), a bass, and some ducks. “We like hunting in the Delta,” he says, and they’re now finishing their second cabin there. this one (“her project,” he credits gay) is at burkes Hunting club of coahoma county, and it’s a drive-to upgrade from his first “man-built” cabin at Montgomery island, accessed by boat. this past year eddie was lucky enough to win a hunting lottery, drawing five premium tags out west—odds that worked out between sixteen million and one hundred million to one, according to 88 | septeMber/october 2021

research, he says. He was even able to transfer the Utah tag to his son and went with him on the trip. Hunts took him to arizona twice, nevada twice, and Utah with West once. “i went five for five,” harvesting three elk and two mule deer (one by West). the texas gun company Horizon Firearms built a special prototype that he and West used in the pursuits. the challenge of the hunt is what pulls eddie in, “and everything that goes with it,” he says, from the mountains climbed to the deserts endured. “Mostly, it’s the people you meet, the places you go, and the experiences. “it’s a physical challenge. it’s a mental challenge.” “and it gets you spiritual, too,” gay says. Hunts have taken him to Mexico three times and canada twice.


Above, pretty blue wallpaper perks up the powder room just off the kitchen.

but it’s here at home in Winona, surrounded by the trophies of a sportsman’s life, that he can relax and recount the stories behind each mount in his hunting room. still, the couple had never really had time to give that space much attention. that became allen’s task. “i’d never seen so many animals in my life,” allen says of her first look at what would become her first hunting room redesign. stained concrete gave way to wood floors to soften the look, and an antler chandelier was banished in favor of a much simpler one in iron. a long cabinet highlights eddie’s collection of animals in bronze too— most of them bradford Williams sculptures. a pedestal mount features the two mule deer he and West shot together in Mexico, displaying them together with rocks and scenery suggesting the sonoran Desert. allen and eddie spent a lot of time

Gay and Eddie Hammond relax in the cool comfort of their Winona home.

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Trophy mounts and a denim-hued sofa anchor the hunting room in masculine comfort. “The menfolk like hanging around down here,” Eddie says.

Eddie Hammond built this table from a section of live oak, brought back from a hunt in Texas. He killed animals with the three bullets that now nestle in a void in the wood.

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visual punch of art—a floral in the dining room and tall twin pictures of cheery lemons in the breakfast room. “they turned out really well,” says allen, who spotted the papers rolled up at gay’s shop. “they look expensive.” the den’s fireplace brick now stretches all the way up to the vaulted ceiling, and the muted hues of an atmospheric painting by Harris Fyfe over the mantel feel right at home. eddie’s hunting room, originally added in 2003 just off the master bedroom, was first just a place to park the antler overload his passion produced. “to say i’m obsessed is probably a little bit mild a term,” he says. “it became a man cave” and a catch-all for trophies and


The biggest elk Eddie ever harvested is now a showpiece in the renovated sunroom, where a windmill fan and pine vaulted ceiling enhance the breezy, neutral furnishings.

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Comfortable seating, his (leather recliner) and her (plush and plaid) chairs and a desk expand the hunting room’s appeal and its function.

Mule deer and a blackbuck antelope, as well as white-tailed deer, are on display in the hunting room. 92 | septeMber/october 2021


A custom gun cabinet and the family hunt photos that flank it bring new practicality and personality to Eddie’s hunting room. The curved writing desk fits right in.

sorting which trophies would stay in the house and which would go to decorate the new hunting cabin in the Delta. about twenty-two (down from the previous thirty) made the cut. “that was nice, to scale back and have a design,” says allen, who also added all-new furniture—a denim blue sofa with a ceramic milkjug lamp beside it, a new leather recliner for eddie, and a comfortable chair in custom plaid for gay. “i wanted them to have a seating area, and i wanted him to have a desk area,” she says, and the curved writing desk, angled for a good fit and view of the room, is manly without being overly ornate. a favorite part is the nook with its new custom-designed gun cabinet in steely blue with a vertical line of deer skulls. Hammered black and gold chunky pulls are an attractive, tactile detail. enlarged family photos from hunts stack floor to ceiling on the walls flanking the cabinet for a delightfully personal touch. “now, i tell people we’ve got throw pillows and curtains in here,” says eddie, tickled with the transformation. “i never would have had that before.” “i love it, too,” gay says. “it’s homey now.” DM Delta Magazine 2021

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THE 2021

Outdoor& HUNTING ISSUE

Delta Magazine’s ANNUAL SPECIAL SECTION Delta Magazine 2021

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Chad Smith and his tracking dog Whitney.

TEAM TRACKING When it comes to finding deer, Chad Smith’s dogs are on the job.

BY KATIE TIMS • PHOTOS PROVIDED BY CHAD SMITH

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Chad’s favorite event every year is the Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Foundation Super Hunt. Here, Chad is with his dog Si (the black lab) and his friend Jason Burchfield is holding his dog Smoke (black mouth cur that is the father of Chad’s dog Whitney).

L

ast season, a guy named Si bagged better than one hundred deer in the Delta. It was a good go but nothing out of the ordinary for this dedicated hunter. He’s been at it for seven seasons straight now, and his yearly count is typically three digits deep. His trusty companion Whitney has a record almost as impressive.

neither si (pronounced “sigh”) nor Whitney own a gun. they don’t shoot a bow, dress in camo, wait in a deer stand, or have a license. and yet their reputations precede them—two of the south’s best and most talented deer tracking dogs. It started with cow dogs chad smith, a farmer in leland owns si and Whitney. He’s the go-to person when a hunter shoots (or mis-shoots) a buck that gets up, runs off, and cannot be found. “You have to make every effort—morally and ethically—to recover your deer,” chad says. “it’s the humane thing to do. if you don’t, the coyotes are going to kill the deer, or it is going to suffer for days and then die. no hunter wants that on his or her conscience.” chad is passionate about tracking, a hobby he took up years ago. “i grew up on a cattle ranch in the hills near greenwood,” chad says. “there was a lot of wooded area, cut-over, and not much ag ground. it’s not like you could ride out there and see a cow five hundred yards across the field. that’s why you had to have a dog that would go hunt—that would track that cow until it found it.” chad believes the black mouth cur is the ideal cow dog. “their natural instinct is to bay,” he says, explaining that “baying” is when a dog barks and contains the tracked animal. “We could

Chad (center) and Whitney helped track down this buck. Tyler Gore is at the horns and Pittman Edwards is on the left.

handle our dogs—call them back, keeping them behind your horse until you sent them forward again to help push the cattle. but our black mouth curs could also go track a cow and bay, which is something a heeler or border collie won’t usually do.” according to the United Kennel club, the black mouth cur was developed in Mississippi and tennessee during the nineteenth Delta Magazine 2021

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Chad and his dog Si, along with Harper Ross (holding the horns).

Cauy Smith (center) and Si tracked this deer for Will Duncan Fratesi (left) and Will Fratesi (right).

century, crossed and selected for its work ethic, guardianship, and tracking abilities. today, the UKc recognizes the black mouth cur as an official purebred herding dog (the american Kennel club has yet to include the breed on its roster). black mouth curs range in color, weigh fifty to one hundred pounds, stand at about eighteen inches, and are usually characterized by the black hair around their muzzles and eyes. “they’re so versatile,” chad adds. “You train them to hunt what you want them to hunt.” and, just so you know, Disney’s famous old Yeller was a black mouth cur.

Farming allows chad the freedom to track deer during hunting season. He has bred, bought, and trained several dogs, and these days chad successfully recovers around one hundred deer per season. “i track for all the camps up and down the Mississippi river,” chad says, adding that sometimes there is more work than time. “i’ve had to learn how to say no. it’s hard because i want to go find every one of those deer.” thankfully, there’s a second generation taking up the craft. cauy is following in his dad’s footsteps. “if it’s not a school night, he’s in the truck with me tracking,” chad says happily. “once he gets his driver’s license, he’ll be able to go out on some of his own tracking calls.”

Generational tracking as a kid chad spent a lot of time with his grandfather, robert acy, who had one special gyp (term for a female dog) that tracked both cows and deer. “Jill knew the difference between the two,” chad says. “During hunting season, a neighbor would call asking for help. We’d set her loose at night, and she knew we were looking for a deer. if it was in the day time, she would stay focused on the cows and not run the deer. she was a very intelligent dog.” thanks to mentoring from his grandfather, chad learned to train his own tracking dogs. “We would go find three, four, or five deer every season—just me, my brother, and the neighbors,” chad recalls. “We didn’t have tracking collars—just little bitty cowbells on their collars. You’d hear it going through the woods, and when it stopped you just walked in that direction.” by high school, chad and his brother were tracking about twenty deer a season. in college, the numbers grew even higher. the hobby indulged chad’s love for dogs, passion for hunting, and the gratification that missing deer were recovered. chad married his wife, gay, and they had two children. the couple lived for a time in grenada and then moved a few years ago to leland, where chad manages a farm. they have a son, cauy, fifteen, and daughter Kylie, ten. 100 | septeMber/october 2021

Trust the dog Using dogs for tracking deer is not legal in every state, and here in the Delta it’s acceptable only for recovery purposes. in other words, hunters don’t use dogs to find deer to hunt—they bring in dogs to track deer that have already been shot by a bullet or arrow. chad is an expert tracker, and he’s often tapped for seminars at hunting expos where he offers instruction for hunters who lose sight of their shot deer. “Walk over to where the deer was standing, look for signs— blood, hair, or whatever sign you can find,” he advises. “if you can track that deer one hundred or 150 yards and you don’t find him, it’s a pretty good chance that you didn’t make a good shot.” often, chad says, the hunter finds blood and bone fragments where the deer was hit. “they usually think it’s rib bone,” he adds. “i have found over a thousand deer, and i’ve never seen rib bone—it’s the leg every time, 100 percent of the time. and a leg-shot deer will not be dead—100 percent of the time.” that presents a problem. “that deer is out there two hundred yards, suffering,” chad explains. “then have humans out there walking through the woods with the flashlights, talking—it makes that deer get up and run two hundred more yards. You’ll never walk up on him.”


Cauy Smith and Si, along with Allison Britt and her buck.

Si is baying a deer, holding the animal until Chad arrives.

Chad Smith holding Whitney after tracking this buck for Max Morgan.

Chad and Si—a dedicated dog that has successfully tracked 647 deer. Delta Magazine 2021

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not he goes and finds the deer.” chad harkens back to advice his grandfather offered years ago about dogs and tracking. “He told me, ‘that dog can smell better than you can see. You trust him until you can prove him wrong.’ it’s wisdom that i’ve lived by.”

Since he was a little guy, Cauy Smith has been accompanying his dad on hunts and on tracking excursions.

that’s why, chad advises, it’s best to call in tracking dogs. by the time a hunter gives up searching and calls in a tracker to find the missing deer, many hours have passed, the weather might have changed, and the scent trail is confused. “When you go to looking for your deer, you’re not thinking about what you’re doing,” chad says. “You’re just walking down the trail with a flashlight thinking that you’re fixin’ to find your deer. When that doesn’t happen and the blood stops, then you go to searching—walking around in circles.” When chad arrives, he asks the hunter several questions and then sets his dogs loose. immediately, the hunter’s path shows up on the handheld gps device that connects with the dogs’ collars. “the line will go pretty much straight along a predictable path, and then it goes crazy,” chad says. “that tells me where the hunter stopped tracking and started searching in circles and back and forth. it takes a few minutes—sometimes as much as a half hour—for the dog to get all of that worked out. then you’ll see the line start back off.” another challenge is when a hunter swears the deer was shot “right there,” but the tracking dog heads in the other direction. “it happens every year,” chad says. “that hunter is looking at you like, ‘Man, your dog doesn’t know what he’s doing!’ i tell them, ‘if it’s not right, that dog will be back.’ More times than 102 | septeMber/october 2021

Team effort chad’s dogs are dedicated and tenacious but never aggressive toward the deer. “typically, if dogs run in and try to catch the deer, it’s going to cause it to break and run. My dogs can sense how badly hurt the deer is. they will do a wider circle on a deer that is not hurt real bad, and they’ll bay closer in on the ones that are badly hurt. those are things you just can’t teach.” tracking dogs don’t rely solely on blood to track an injured deer. “a deer that is mortally wounded produces a specific pheromone, and that’s how the dog differentiates,” chad explains. “there could have been ten other deer there when the guy shot that buck. but when you turn that dog loose, it’s able to track the right deer through all the other tracks.” granted, the black mouth cur is chad’s first go-to dog for tracking. but it’s a labrador retriever that is chad’s alltime favorite. si is an eight-year-old lab, and the dog has successfully tracked 647 deer. chad’s number two dog is Whitney, a four-year-old black mouth cur. “they work totally differently, but they complement each other really well,” chad says about the two dogs. “the cur can’t handle the cold water like the lab can. the lab has a colder nose [can track an older track]. si has run some tracks that were forty hours old. cur dog is a little grittier and tougher, which is also important.” si started as a drug dog. the north Mississippi Drug task Force bought him as a puppy and sent him to school, which he flunked. “obviously it wasn’t his nose!” chad says with a chuckle, adding that si has an amazing sense of smell. “He was six months old when i got him and had been through all the obedience training. He had a such a drive to please—everything he did he wanted to please me.” si tracked his first deer at ten months old. “i don’t think i’ll ever be without a lab just because of the territory i’m in and all the water,” chad says. “i’ve watched my lab swim the Mississippi river behind a deer, several times. plus, he’ll bay. if you hear him in the woods at night, you’d think he was a cur dog. He’s pretty intense.” as for Whitney, she belonged to one of chad’s best friends. When that friend, Jim, was killed in a crop duster crash, the family asked chad to take Whitney. she was still a puppy and had a tough time bonding to her new owner. chad knew he needed to keep the dog, and so he asked his mentor, Keith Watson, for advice. “He told me to leave the old dog home and send Whitney in to track by herself,” chad says.


Chad and his dogs have track right at 100 deer every season for hunters of all ages.

that chance arrived shortly thereafter. chad got the call about a “monster” deer that was shot over by greenwood. initially chad doubted the “monster” claim, but then he saw the trail cam. the guy was not exaggerating—this was a special buck that needed to be located asap. the problem was chad had brought Whitney and left si home. “in the back of my mind i’m thinking, ‘alright, in thirty minutes i’m fixin’ to go home and get my old dog and come back,’” chad recalls. “the hunter told me he saw the deer laying on the ditch bank, but when i turned the dog loose, she kept going the other way. it was an absolute s*** show for the first fifteen minutes.” then, on top of everything else, chad finds out the deer is somewhere out in the field where his friend Jim was killed. “Finally, i sat down under the tree where my friend was killed, and i told the people to get in the buggy and leave.” With the distractions gone, chad set Whitney loose and she headed out the way she wanted to go. a few minutes later chad’s phone rang. the dog located the injured deer—on the opposite side of the field. “that was the first deer that she ever found by herself, and it was in the field where Jim crashed,” chad says. “it still gives me chill bumps every time i think about it.”

This season as soon as bow season opens, chad and his dogs will be front and center on the tracking trail. along with si and Whitney, chad has a ten-month-old and a two-year-old – both black mouth curs— who’ll get the chance to track their first deer. as for that dream dog…“i’m really thinking about crossing si and Whitney,” chad admits. “in a perfect world you’d like to have the best of the cur dog qualities and the best of the lab dog qualities, all bundled up in one dog. but that just doesn’t happen.” Deer trackers have their definite preferences in dogs. several different breeds are used—one couple in alabama swears by a pair of wirehaired dachshunds! “i have the question asked a hundred times a winter, ‘What is the best dog for tracking?’” chad says. “i tell them, ‘it’s personal preference. but remember, that dog is going to be a tracking tool for three months out of the year; he’s going to be a pet for nine.” chad emphasizes the importance of socializing his working dogs. “You’ve got to have a dog that will stay focused on the job at hand and still be friendly. it’s got to be both ways. because when we do find that deer, i want little Johnny to be able to hold this dog next to that buck and get his picture taken.” DM

“A DEER THAT IS WOUNDED PRODUCES A SPECIFIC PHEROMONE, AND THAT’S HOW THE DOG DIFFERENTIATES”

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AMES

Hobart Ames in front of the manor house of the old Cedar Grove Plantation built in 1847 and incorporated into the 18,400-acre Ames Plantation, home of the annual National Championship of Bird Dogs. Among other restored and furnished log cabins, out buildings and a one-room schoolhouse, the antebellum manor house remains the architectural centerpiece of the property.

PLANTATION and the

National Bird Dog Trials

WAY BACK IN THE DAY, in the very early 1900s, most farms in northeast Mississippi were one- to two-hundred-acre homestead farms with cotton planted in the bottoms along with patches of corn to feed the mules that worked the land. Small fields, pastures, and fencerows were scattered all about.

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"MR. BUCK" THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF NASH BUCKINGHAM

BY HANK BURDINE


Beginning the search for a scent, an English Pointer heads out for a three-hour run on one of the prescribed trails of 11.5 linear miles on the “Hallowed Grounds” of Ames Plantation. Judges and observers follow behind so as not to impede the progress of the dog.

AMES PLANTATION WEBSITE

included in these farms were wooded areas where cleared spots were being opened up for more cotton planting and lots of forested edge abounded. native grasses grew prolifically along these edges and fencerows that produced hundreds of pounds of seed while providing cover for wild birds and critters. What was being created was ideal habitat for the wild bobwhite quail. Mr. bob, as he was respectively called by those ardent sportsmen and women, was a cherished bird to hunt and a succulent addition to the table. the sport of hunting quail in the northeast hills of Mississippi and the southwest portion of tennessee became well known throughout the country, and soon well-off industrialists and financiers came down on trains from the east coast and up north to hunt the cunning and wily bobwhite. and these rich northerners liked what they saw. some of the landholdings were large plantation style farms covering several thousand acres with big houses on them. being somewhat different from Mississippi Delta farms that could have 150–200-acre open fields on the wide and flat bottomlands, these hill places had fields scattered about averaging twenty to thirty acres in size. Wooded edge was everywhere, and the wild quail thrived on the habitat and multiplied greatly. northeast Mississippi and southwestern tennessee became known as a quail mecca with its gently rolling hills, creeks and streams, and ample cover for renowned coveys of wild quail. the well-to-do northern sportsmen began to buy up certain plantations and use them as sporting retreats. to hunt wild quail, you must have dogs trained to the scent of the bobwhite. and that dog must know his job and how to expertly perform it so as not to scatter the birds before the hunter can arrive in order to flush the covey and take what bounty he can out of the exploding and wild scattering of whirring wings. then, what few birds are taken must be retrieved and the singles sought out and hopefully added to the bag. pointers and setters were used exclusively to locate and point the birds. sometimes

"MR. BUCK" THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF NASH BUCKINGHAM

Lippencott Colket of Philidelphia, Pennsylvania and Nash Buckingham of Memphis, Tennessee debate the “best in show” during the “Plantation Owners Field Trial” near Estill, South Carolina in January of 1941.

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POINTERS SETTERS FIELD TRIALS BY LUTHEER WAYNE CAPOOTH, M.D. THE BEST OF NASH BUCKINGHAM BY GEORGE BIRD EVANS

Nash Buckingham, T. Benton King and Hobart Ames, judges at the 1941 National. The dog Ariel won and repeated again in 1943 and 1945. This was the last National Field Trial Championship Stake that Hobart Ames ever judged as he passed away in 1945.

Nash Buckingham, age thirty-two, shooting quail over Don and Kate near the Ames Plantation.

retrievers were brought along to retrieve fallen birds. it was then that the bantering and jibing between dog owners, handlers, and sportsmen began. “Why, ole sue is mighty good, but she ain’t half as good as my dog brummie!” or, “that yellow spotted pointer of yours is too far ranging; she got a good nose, but even my horse can’t hardly keep up with her. You need to slow her down.” and so the competitions began. the first national championship for bird Dogs was organized and run outside of West point, Mississippi, in 1886. a few years later, the competition was held on field trial grounds south of grand Junction, 108 | septeMber/october 2021

tennessee. Finally, the national championship for bird Dogs found a permanent home on the “hallowed” field trial grounds of northern industrialist Hobart ames and his ames plantation, located on 18,400 acres of rolling hills north of grand Junction and la grange, tennessee, and ten miles north of the Mississippi-tennessee state line. Hobart ames, a wealthy industrialist from north easton, Massachusetts, established ames plantation in 1901. He operated the landholdings as a hunting preserve, livestock operation, and cotton plantation until he died in 1945 when the

property passed on to his widow, Mrs. Julia colony ames. located approximately sixty miles east of Memphis, the property encompasses twelve thousand acres of forested woodland and two thousand acres of row crops while maintaining six thousand acres of fields and grasslands where the national championship for bird Dogs is run each year in February on two separate trial courses that run eleven and a half linear miles each. the courses are about 25 percent timber scattered about through open ground and grasslands. ames plantation also keeps about seven hundred head of angus beef cattle along with forty or so horses. it was Mrs. ames who came up with the idea to memorialize her late husband’s name by leaving in her will the entire 18,400 acres to the Hobart ames Foundation, with instructions that the plantation be operated by the trustees of the foundation to “benefit the University of tennessee and to provide grounds and administrative support for the national championship for field trialing bird dogs.” ames plantation is used as a wildlife and forestry research center working in conjunction with the University of Memphis, University of tennessee, rhodes college, and Mississippi state University. beginning the second or third Monday of February each year, the national trials have an entry of about thirty-six english pointers and/or english setters. these dogs have had to be winners or placers in seventy different qualifying competition trials held throughout the United states and canada. in order for the national to be successful, the event must have a good and strong population of bobwhite quail in pristine field trial habitat. braces of dogs are run on a three-hour set with judges following the handlers on horseback. several thousand field trial enthusiasts from all over the world come each year to follow the action on horseback or just to be in attendance. ames plantation raises “flight-conditioned” quail from georgia that are released in september in a staggered time frame. all total, 6,200 bobwhite quail are released that have been raised to be wild with an inbred survival instinct. these birds thrive in their new habitat. Habitat management is a critical and ongoing issue on ames plantation and is overseen today by Dr. rick carlisle. Having grown up on a family farm in bolton, Mississippi, Dr. carlisle is living the sportsman’s dream. Having graduated from


AMES PLANTATION WEBSITE

AMES PLANTATION WEBSITE PHOTOS LESLIE BALLARD

Barrie Van Cleve and Leslie Ballard following the dogs at the National Championship. Leslie states, “Riding Nationals is my annual pilgrimage to pay homage to my memory of land, family, beloved hunting dogs and horses with the sweet smell of quail lingering all around in the crisp winter air.”

Grand Junction, Tennessee has only three hundred inhabitants, yet is ground zero for not only the National Bird Dog Trials, but also the National Bird Dog Museum dedicated to the preservation and perpetuation of bird dog, field trial and hunting traditions. The 30,000 square foot museum houses art, trophies, photography and memorabilia about field trials, shooting sports, and over forty breeds of bird dogs including pointing, flushing and retrieving breeds. The museum houses the Field Trial Hall of Fame, Sporting Dog Hall of Fame, Retriever Hall of Fame and the Wildlife Heritage Center.

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Mississippi state with a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences and a master’s degree in agronomy with major emphasis in forage and pastures crops, he went on to get his doctorate from the University of tennessee with the same major emphasis as his master’s degree. starting work at ames plantation in 1982, he is now head of the research center and in charge of the entire plantation in regards to maintaining and prepping the ground for the national championship while overseeing all other aspects of the property management. During the year, students and scholars work about the plantation doing research on the forests, habitat enhancements, wildlife, and waterways. limited turkey, deer, and duck hunts are available with the field trial, tourism, and academic research contributing to the self-sufficiency of ames plantation.

Champion Bird Dogs were often painted by sporting artists and placed on gunpowder and shot shell sporting calendars. These prints from calendars of Champion Bird Dogs were framed by Parchman Farm prisoners in the carpenter and wood working shop at Parchman Penitentiary and given to the author’s mother when she served as secretary to the Superintendent of Parchman during the 1930s.

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The Dogs grand Junction has long been billed as the bird Dog capital of the World. established in 1854 at the junction of the Memphis and charleston Mississippi railroad lines, the surrounding area was easily accessed by rail from far away locations. one of the earlier visitors to ames plantation and an endearing friend of Hobart ames was noted sportsman and writer nash buckingham. an avid bird hunter, buckingham owned a sporting goods store in Memphis, was a director of the Western cartridge company, and an associate editor with Field and Stream. throughout his life, nash buckingham was widely known as a field trial judge, participating in just about every major field trial and retriever event in the nation. He judged the national Field trials for bird Dogs many times and was

elected to the Field trial Hall of Fame in 1964. author and coauthor of nine books and hundreds of articles, nash buckingham was a master of the sporting dialect. From his story “amid Whirring Wings” is his description of what he considers a champion bird dog, or if not, then possibly one just as good as one his own dogs, Don or Kate, tom or cotton. He writes, “My taste...runs to a hard-bitten pointer or setter—great chested, high-headed, longstriding—from a well-bred strain of country giants with verve, hardihood, and courage that blazes the sedge and leaves smoke in the hollows. Fellows not overly friendly but with a magnificent sense of understanding and loyalty. Fellows that stride up to a weed patch, trusting high noses for instant diagnosis. Dogs that spared pace across pastures and then turned loose like coiled springs when their pads re-gripped bird country. Dogs that cast in reluctantly at nightfall, with vinegar enough left to fight like wildcats or shake a few curs along the quarter’s lane. the type that come railroading off a hillside and into an area where potterers and egg-busters were sniffing and creeping, and put them instantly to playing second fiddle. the kind that stalked stiff-legged from point to point among scattered singles. standing like a sentry until clucked on into whatever action is necessary.” that, my friend, is a bird dog. in 1905, the national champion bird dog was owned by Hobart ames and handled by c. e. buckle. alambagh was an english setter, one of only nine starters, all setters. He was the only dog owned by Hobart ames ever to win the national. nash buckingham described the dog as “class to its very toenails.” DM

BURDINE FAMILY COLLECTION

Author’s bird guns that have seen many days afield. On top is his mother Baby Jane’s 16 gauge Belgium Browning and below that is his Winchester Model 12, 20 gauge shotgun that he has shot since a child and his 20 gauge Parker double. Bird guns, either carried ashoulder or slung in a leather scabbard on horseback, are working guns and can show the wear.


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We’re Caught in a Trap Resolving wildlife problems and keeping balance in habitats by using relocation and wildlife management

BY JOSHUA R. QUONG PHOTOGRAPHY BY KYLE DEVAZIER

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Mike carefully sets one of many leg-hold traps.

M

at bridging the gap between humanity and the wild world did not come about ex nihilo. it has manifested through a contemplative recognition of nature’s complexities and the hard work it takes to maintain her balance. reared on a farm in rural scott county, it was quite apparent early on that Mike’s wild spirit would light his rugged path. according to his father, “Mike didn’t want to ride anything that didn’t buck.” so it only follows that Mike would break his first pony at three years of age. this would spark a life of traveling hours upon hours across the continent in cars and trucks packed with cowboys and saddles only to cling for mere seconds alone atop snorting horses or bulls in the middle of rodeo arenas. During his career he would win a collegiate national championship and rank in the top twenty worldwide during his time on the pro circuit. of course, not all bucking leads to the breaking of the animals one rides. “a bull named Firecracker was the first to break my bones when he flung me,” recalls Mike. “i was fourteen, and it was then i learned that sometimes you’re the buck-a-roo and other times you’re the buck-a-ree.”

JERRY GUSTAFSON

ike Merchant loves animals. And for over a decade, he has become the South’s premier animal control specialist whose skills and personality have garnered an almost cultish following. These friends and fans within his orbit know him by such monikers as “The Animal Man,” “The Critter Getter,” and “The Cowboy Trapper.” but Mike’s success

Mike, a member of the Pro Rodeo Cowboy Association, competing in the Saddle Bronc competition at National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado.

trapping also seemed to come not only naturally to Mike but also genetically. “My grandad raised eleven kids during the great Depression as a mink trapper, and he was well known for his skill,” Mike says. “i wanted to impress him, so when i was thirteen, i trapped my first animal… a mink.” plus, “cowboys and trappers are one in the same,” he continues. “that’s how the West was settled. cowboys wrangled their livestock as well as wrangled varmints. back then, the best way to keep a pack a coyotes from killing your calves was by trapping them. ain’t much changed since.” so in between rodeos, Mike worked as a trapper for the United states Department Delta Magazine 2021

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Mike loads nuisance bobcats and coyotes into a specially design transport trailer to relocate them to their new habitat.

of agriculture’s Wildlife services program. During this time, he became adept in dealing with the imbalances and divides that exist between the animal kingdom and modern man. He also recognized imbalances within himself. “in rodeo, as well as in life, where you look is where you go,” Mike says. “if one is in the habit of looking at the ground or to the bottle, then that’s where one ends up until they make a habit of focusing elsewhere.” one of the things that helped Mike regain focus and balance was the birth of his sons. “When the boys were born, i realized what my purpose was in this life,” Mike says. “they’ve raised me as much as i’ve raised them.” the other was the creation of his own wildlife damage management company called Wildlife resolutions based out of oxford, Mississippi. “the first private trapping i did was for the episcopal church in oxford,” Mike recalls. “they had a horrible infestation of squirrels that were ruining their very expensive organ.” a quick call to Mike and all the vermin were relocated. by the next sunday’s service, there was a joyful noise once more in the sanctuary. this bit of divine intervention was just the impetus Mike needed to help validate what he had felt all along. “i saw where people not only needed help to resolve their nuisance wildlife problems but that they also needed someone to develop effective strategies with longrange goals in focus. i didn’t really see anyone else doing that.” Yet there are those who look at what Mike does as a negative endeavor. “Folks hear ‘trapper’ and think about those giant looney toon traps with razor sharp teeth,” Mike says. “that’s antithetical 116 | septeMber/october 2021


JOSHUA R. QUONG

Coyotes await transport to their new homes.

to what i’m trying to accomplish. i’m looking to hold a coyote the same way i’m looking to hold on to a bucking bronc: as firmly as i can without either of us seriously hurting one another.” Mike’s view is that the natural world has teeth everywhere and those teeth are always set to bite. the action used to sustain life is the same action used to defend it, hold it, and even carry it. an animal’s entire existence depends on knowing when and how to bite—one momentary hold necessary for release. there cannot be one without the other. life’s energy depends on this dichotomy. Mike puts this metaphysic into action with every grappling grip and every clasping trap. and for Mike, Wildlife resolutions has done much more than just “keep the peace” between animals and humans. it has provided a huge platform for education and conservation. He is never too

MIKE MERCHANT COLLECTION

A side-saddle Mike heads to the next trap line loaded down with all the tools a trapper needs.

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MIKE MERCHANT

The Stare Down: Mike approaches trapped coyotes calmly and deftly.

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busy to visit school classrooms or neighborhood children to show and tell them about the motherless baby raccoons or bobcats he’s found while working. nor does he miss an opportunity to converse with his clients about the behaviors of the furry and scaly residents in their attics and yards. Mike has also been able to play pivotal roles in helping to maintain the natural balance in large ecosystems like the Williams plantation in clarksdale, Mississippi, where for the past several years he has trapped coyotes and bobcats and relocated them as part of the farm’s wild turkey reintroduction efforts. His countless hours of patterning predators, baiting traps, and mentoring local outdoorsmen have bolstered the flock numbers. but this should be no surprise. For Mike Merchant, the flock is ever growing. His love for the animal world is infectious. Whether he’s reeling in giant marlin in the galapagos with his sons Marshall and Michael or motoring side-saddle atop his atV loaded with buckets of bait, Mike Merchant is the quintessence of the philosopher cowboy—an old friend we’ve all just met whose words and adventures capture us for a while then turn us loose again into our natural habitat. DM


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MIKE MERCHANT

MIKE MERCHANT

JOSHUA R. QUONG MIKE MERCHANT


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Dalin Kennels Breeders of Field and Show Champion German Shorthair Pointers

Breeding and training pointing dogs Long or short-term boarding

Dale or Linda Garner 134 Drive 32 Shannon, MS 38868 (662) 767-8851 brddgs@gmail.com Delta Magazine 2021

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The boy’s box of treasures collected at Estill in the late fifties.

THE GOODNESS A Delta Boyhood Memory 1958 BY BILL LESTER • PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR

HE REDBIRDS WERE AT THE BATHROOM FEEDER ON THE WEST SIDE SECOND STORY. The boy at ten years old was at the base of a spruce tree his grandfather had planted in 1921 when his mother was born. The boy had a mason jar part filled with Indian head nickels and pottery shards he had found on the Indian mounds at his home—the nickels hidden by Lad Baby and Mark on the mounds as requested by the boy’s grandmother on special occasions for the grandchildren to hunt and the pottery shards made by the Indians more than eight hundred years ago.

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the boy was about to bury the jar, a treasure for later. then the sound. it came like nothing but crept into the boy and found a place to ride alongside all that would come for the boy, good and bad. the sound pressed against the window’s glass and flushed the blood-colored cardinals suspending them between the now and the then. in less than a moment, the now had passed. the then came, and the birds went back to the feeder as if the lasting now had never come. the sound


would never control his thoughts, only lie boy on one of their talks, “i hide them was not dust at all but skin that had not quietly beside them content to always be treasures in the bushes for you ‘cause i can allowed the elements to penetrate and a part of the boy. the empty sunflower see in your eyes when you roams the yard harm the lad baby for almost a hundred seeds’ hulls spiraled downward like black and builds them forts and such that you years. He always told the boy “being clean and white life boats with no captains-first goes to the place i want to go to. so each is what god likes.” the whites of his eyes to the left and then to the right—earth time you finds one of them treasures you had long ago turned yellow and cataracts bound from their zenith above. the boy take a little part of me with you, so one had turned his once black eyes a cloudy looked up—the birds went back to their day all of me will go with you. i thinks of cream color. His thin lips covered the fact free meal; the boy went back to burying you as mine. You know, all my house that his teeth had been only a part of his his treasure, the last thing he youth. lad’s clothes belonged would ever do without the to someone else bigger than he sound and its content present. was, but he was careful with the boy had just become his look. (the boy always aware of what the eons of wondered how the lad’s fathers and sons before him clothes looked so smooth as and the ones to come must they hung on his small frame. have felt and will feel as they then he saw the old cast-iron breathed the plans for hunts iron on lad’s wood stove one into each other—each a part morning being heated for the of their hoped success. then early morning pressing the the sound, and it was over. lad’s clothes got each morning lad baby went about his before the sun could find the doings in the barn lot behind horizon.) His belt tight and the big house. the sound his top shirt buttoned at the came and went. there were neck said he was ready when chickens to feed, turkeys and god was. still, he carried milk cows to feed and then The old homeplace at Estill. himself with the fact that god sharpen the old mule shears to had a place for him as he spent trim the grass along the walk his days in the barn lot and to the cemetery—not because yard of the big house. of the sound but just a daily after the sound, the hours ritual so that if a visit by the of the boy’s day melted into a boy’s people was necessary or if stream of consciousness with they came to look at where images of the past mixed with they one day would be, he did opaque thoughts of the future. it. at some time in the day, the With these, the boy navigated lad would allow himself a along in the yard, captain on little snuff between his front his ship; his compass, the gum and lower lip, letting the sound. juice issue from the corners of after the sound, the boy’s his mouth because to spit was grandfather had offered to pay not like him, and it was at that him a nickel for each black time he would pull from his Unfortunately, there are no known photos of Lad Baby. Left, is Mark bird the boy could remove pocket a small treasure— Humphreys who worked alongside Lad Baby hiding coins and treasures from the garden. the boy’s broken colored glass, for the boy on the Indian Mounds. Right, Lester as a young boy. self-motivation carried him to bottlecaps, and, once in a great ask the lad to help him please while, a buffalo nickel (held back from the children are gone, but i still have some his grandfather and fill the boy’s cigar box mound hides)—and carefully wrap the yards. i can tell they mine cause of they with nickels. the lad showed the boy treasure in a piece of brown grocery sack have this red skin like me—‘cause you how to build blinds at the base of the big tied around with cotton kite string. He know i part indian—my great pappy was pecan trees weaving limbs with worn out would slip into the yard and look for the a full blood.” pecan sacks to make invisible hides. boy. once found, the lad would go to the lad was a tiny man—his years on blackbird decoys were cut from scrap another part of the grand yard and hide earth surpassed his weight. at five feet tall wood by the lad with a small coping saw the treasure, hanging it from a bush he was childlike as he passed you by. the and wrapped with coat hangers to make branch where the boy would find it while lye soap that crossed his skin daily left a stakes to hold the decoys upright in the on the boy’s bird hunts. the lad told the vale of seemingly almost gray dust that ground. the boy would paint them black Delta Magazine 2021

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A wooden blackbird decoy, carved by Lad Boy, used to lure the blackbirds.

The author’s rendering of a cardinal for the cover of the upcoming book.

Buffalo nickels found by the boy and gathered as payment.

and tack on the wings of some of the birds he removed from the garden. the boy would set out the blackbird decoys every morning, climb into the blind, position the bucket he had for a seat, and prepare to be patient. When too much patience was required, a handful of chicken feed spread among the decoys always helped. some days by noon he would have twenty-five birds. lad had taught him not to move after the shot so the birds would return to the decoys and the handful of chicken feed instead of fly away. the boy’s weapon was a benjamin pellet rifle,

caliber 177 (bb) with a 4-power Weaver scope. at five yards, the boy could put all the bb’s through one hole of his target paper. He had started with a Daisy bb gun that was just accurate enough for the boy to save up enough nickels to buy the steel, brass, and walnut gun and a scope. it was a thing of beauty. at the end of the day, the boy would count the blackbirds and present them to his grandfather for payment. the nickels would soon be at home with yesterday’s payments. as the grandfather counted out the nickels, he was unaware of his grandson’s secret.

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the lad with no teeth and no means had a need for robins—their breasts almost as big as a dove’s, and the meat when potted was just what lad with no teeth needed. the lad told the boy that when he was a boy more than ninety years ago, he would trap robins and had a taste for them. the boy knew he was not to shoot “song” birds, as his grandfather called them, but the sound had come a few short months ago, so the grandfather gave the boy the job of shooting blackbirds to keep the birds from destroying the grandfather’s garden. His hope was to give the boy something to do. but then there was lad baby, so each day the boy would gather three or four robins and place them in a small paper sack from the stack on the back porch and put the sack in one of the large refrigerators that were on the back porch along with two large chest freezers that held the summer garden of corn, butterbeans, and peas. the boy hid them for the night in the back so no one would find them. before daylight the next morning, the boy would sneak downstairs, remove the paper sack of robins, and make his way past the cemetery and on to the room lad baby lived in that was attached to the back of Mable’s house in the pasture next to the big house. lad would be up, pressed, and ready. His no-teeth smile was the boy’s reward for delivering the robins. Had the grandfather known the boy was shooting robins, a whipping of great magnitude would follow. but they were for the lad, so the boy always held the thought of being caught at some distance. the lad took the birds, removed the feathers and the insides, leaving the gray legs with the tiny black claws attached to the small bodies, and gave a dip in the water bucket before he carefully placed them in a yellow and red Folger coffee can legs up. next a yellow onion cut like a chrysanthemum he cared for in the big house yard covered the birds and formed a nest that held the birds head down, legs up. the onion would collapse in a pleasant embrace around the robins’ breasts as they slow-cooked over the small wood fire. this image the boy would hold in his memory until his time to become a member of the Highbank cemetery came. then salt and pepper, water to the halfway mark on the can, and a much chipped and discarded saucer would be placed on the


top to form a lid. the stick fire was started and the coffee can with its nest of birds was left to be heated by the fire, and after the fire went out, the birds and onion would rest out the day waiting to be reheated after nightfall. then the lad would remove the birds one by one by the legs with care not to loosen the meat that barely clung to the bones and gum the meat off the bones and spoon down the soft onion and drink the liquid. the boy had done his duty. and now the sound was not as loud. the sound had long ago left the boy’s ears and wound the boy’s heart around with knots beyond untying, so the boy wore the sound like a red badge of pinnedon courage: the red for the color that the birds gave as they met their predestined fate becoming gifts to the lad; the badge for the courage it took to wear it. to eat, sleep, kill birds and then again eat, sleep, kill birds. the time came and the boy went off to school, and when he came home for his first visit, lad was gone. the boy had always glanced away when the thought of lad being collected passed before him. His people did not know that lad lived in the boy’s heart. the small pile of dirt that was trying to heal was not enough for all that goodness, for years ago it was on one of those mornings while the bird meat was steeping away from the bones that the lad and the boy talked about the sound.the lad told the boy that “god do the giving and god do the collecting, and He don’t like it when you take away his collecting.” He told the boy to give him the sound because he was closer to being with god and would see to it that god got the sound. the boy had not come to the then, so he just could not; the sound was still too loud. the boy now stood with the then before the pile of goodness and gave the pile the sound. but the lad went with the boy in his heart. the boy could now let the now go and go with the then. DM

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Editor’s Note: Bill Lester is a noted artist, avid outdoorsman, and author. He lives at Dockery Farms with his wife Tennie, where he is executive director of the Dockery Farms Foundation. This story is an excerpt from Lester’s upcoming book which he describes as a Delta boy’s embellished memories, to be published in October of 2022. Delta Magazine 2021

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Mississippi Land Sales

Cole DeLong, Broker · 601-940-0222 www.ColeDeLongRealty.com 126 | septeMber/october 2021


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2021

DELTA DOG CONTEST OVERALL WINNERS

202D1og

Delta

1st Place

WINNER

1st Place: Loki, Schnauzer Mix, submitted by Katie Willis of Memphis, Tennessee

2nd Place: Sara Beth, Labrador Retriever, submitted by Emily Nichols of Duncan

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SPORTING DOGS

1st Place: Moss, Labrador Retriever, submitted by Courtney McNeer of Greenwood

2nd Place: Rocko, Labrador Retriever, submitted by

3rd Place: Bella, British Labrador Retriever, submitted

Libby MacNealy of Madison

by Bailey Lincoln of Oxford

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DOGS AT PLAY

1st Place: Jax, Labrador Retriever, submitted by Melanie Griffin of Louisville

2nd Place: Murphy, Bluetick Coonhound, submitted by Kyle Kantor of Canton

3rd Place: Finley, Boykin Spaniel, submitted by Alison Cowart of Indianola

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PUPPIES

1st Place: Miller, Golden Retriever, submitted by Alston Sory of Madison 2nd Place: Dolly Pawton, Golden Retriever, submitted by Emily Gatlin of Oxford

3rd Place: Indigo, Toy Australian Shepherd, submitted by Anne Marie Rhodes of Yazoo City

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ADOPTED OR RESCUED

1st Place: Blue, Australian Shepherd & Beagle Mix, submitted by Sam Rayburn of Madison

2nd Place: LeeLee, German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois Mix, submitted by Monica Jackson of Southaven

3rd Place: Reb, Beagle, submitted by Holley Luckey of Jackson, Tennessee

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GOODS AND GEAR for the outdoorsman

Great for outdoor excursions such as camping, RV trips, hunting and more, we love a campfire griddle! Bayou Classic Campfire Griddle Grill, bbqguys.com

Small, quiet, and easily concealed, the Shadow Micro Cam is undetected by big bucks and camera thieves alike. Davis Feed and Farm Supply, Yazoo City 662.746.9322 @davisfeedandarm

The Matthews V3 Model compound bow, is super compact but never sacrifices accuracy. The Sportsman, Greenville 662.335.5018 @the_sportsman_inc

Wild-game chef Hank Shaw’s new book covers both freshwater and saltwater fish and seafood, from all over North America. It is a must for food lovers and outdoorsmen. Hook, Line, and Supper, honest-food.net

With equal parts style and function, the Leflore Guides Duffle will last the duration of any excursion near or far— and even better, it’s made by a Mississippi company. Leflore Guides Duffle, wrenandivy.com, @wren_ivy

The light kit you need for bow fishing, predator and hog night hunting. The Sportsman, Greenville 662.335.5018 @the_sportsman_inc

The Legacy Gun Sleeve is just what you need to protect your duck gun from debris and mud.

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A swivel chair is a musthave for your blind! Delta Outdoors, Cleveland 662.843.9109 deltaoutdoors.com @deltaoutdoorsms

Luckey Town custom blades and sheathes are handmade in Mize, Mississippi handmade from repurposed steel such as sawmill blades, files and rasps, and mower blades. 601.946.4927 luckeytowncustoms.com

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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 THURSDAY - SUNDAY 11:00 AM - 8:30 PM 662.453.6530 423 CARROLLTON AVENUE GREENWOOD, MS

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FOOD

Sausage&

Sweet Potatoes The season is shifting and along with it our collective palates. Rich, hearty dishes are what satisfy in fall. Smoky, savory, spicy, and earthy sweet flavors reign. Two of our favorite foods— sausages and sweet potatoes— fit the bill perfectly. Give these recipes a try and you’ll see that these humble basics will be the centerpiece for versatile and delicious fall meals. BY CINDY COOPWOOD • PHOTOGRAPHY BY RORY DOYLE

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HEARTY SMOKED SAUSAGE AND CHICKEN STEW think Friday nights by the fire or saturdays watching the game. this feeds a crowd and is a great alternative to chili. 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 pound andouille sausage, cut into rounds 3 pounds skinless chicken breasts 1 tablespoon butter 2 large Yukon potatoes cut into 1-inch cubes 1 large onion, chopped 1 cup chopped celery 1 cup sliced carrots 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes 1 cup chicken broth ¼ cup Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme 1 tablespoon salt 1 (15-ounce) can baby lima beans, drained and rinsed 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels ¾ teaspoon black pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. add the sausage, and cook, stirring often, until browned. place the sausage on a plate lined with paper towels. add remaining tablespoon oil to the Dutch oven. cook the chicken, in batches, until browned, about 5 minutes on one side, then flip and cook until browned on the other side, about 2 minutes. place the chicken on a plate; set aside. next add the butter to the Dutch oven, and swirl to melt. add the potatoes, onion, celery, and carrots; cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, about 4 minutes. add the tomato paste, and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. stir in the diced tomatoes, broth, Dijon, salt and pepper. bring to a boil, and return the chicken to the Dutch oven; reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a simmer, and cook, uncovered, until the chicken is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. remove the chicken, and let cool slightly. shred into bite-size pieces. add the shredded chicken, sausage, lima beans, corn, and pepper to the Dutch oven, and simmer, stirring often, until warmed through, about 10 minutes. ready to serve!

FRIED CABBAGE AND SAUSAGE RECIPE this easy skillet recipe can be ready in less than thirty minutes, and with so few ingredients it’s perfect for busy school nights. serve with warm cornbread! 4 ½ 2 14 1 1 ½ 1

tablespoons butter divided large onion diced cloves garlic minced ounces smoked sausage large head green cabbage cored, coarsely chopped teaspoon salt teaspoon freshly ground black pepper teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional

place whole sausages (or cut in half) in skillet prepared with cooking spray cook over medium-high heat until hot all the way through, turning often to brown on all sides. remove sausages from skillet, keeping warm. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the same skillet. then add the onion; sauté until translucent about 5 to 7 minutes. add the garlic to onion and cooking another minute. add remaining butter, cabbage, red pepper flakes (if desired), salt, and pepper. toss to coat the cabbage with butter and seasonings. sauté until cabbage is wilted and slightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. remove from heat, top with warm sausages, and serve directly from the skillet. Delta Magazine 2021

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ITALIAN SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS—THREE WAYS sweet italian sausages are combined with diced tomatoes, garlic, oregano, basil, and lots of peppers and onion for an easy weeknight meal. try this versatile recipe on a hoagie bun, alone as an entree, or tossed with pasta and generously topped with parmesan cheese. 2 1 1 1 2 2 1 ½ ½ ½ ¼ ¼

tablespoons vegetable oil pound package sweet Italian Sausage green pepper, thinly sliced red pepper, thinly sliced sweet onions, thinly sliced cloves garlic, minced tablespoon tomato paste teaspoon salt teaspoon dried oregano teaspoon dried basil teaspoon black pepper teaspoon red pepper flakes

add vegetable oil to a large pan and heat over medium-high heat. add whole sausages, cooking until browned on all sides. remove sausage from pan and set aside; it does not need to be cooked through at this point. add onion and peppers to grease left in pan and cook over medium heat until softened. add garlic and cook for 1 minute. slice browned sausages into 1 to 1½-inch pieces and return to pan along with tomato paste and all other ingredients. cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until sausage is cooked through and sauce is thickened. serve on hoagie rolls if desired. also delicious as a simple entree, or tossed with your favorite pasta! Delta Magazine 2021

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CREAMY SWEET POTATO SOUP this just exudes comfort. the smoky bacon is the perfect foil for the sweetness of the potatoes, and the coconut milk adds an extra layer of creaminess. it makes a beautiful first course! 6 1 2 1 3 ½ 4 1 2 ⅛ 2

strips bacon, diced cup diced onion garlic cloves minced large celery rib diced sweet potatoes, peeled and diced, about 2 pounds teaspoon dried thyme cups chicken broth cup coconut milk teaspoon salt teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste tablespoons parsley or fresh thyme to garnish, optional

in a large pot over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp 8 to 10 minutes. remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel. leave about 3 tablespoons grease in the pot; or more, for a more flavorful soup. add chopped onion, and celery and cook 4 minuntes or until soft, stirring occasionally, then add 2 pressed garlic cloves and saute another minute. stir in diced sweet potatoes, thyme leaves and 2 teaspoons salt. pour in the chicken broth, partially cover and simmer 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. puree soup until smooth. (this may have to be done in batches.) return soup to pot and stir in 1 cup coconut milk, or add milk to reach desired consistency. then check seasonings adjusting salt and pepper to taste. serve in warm bowls. sprinkle the tops with bacon and garnish with chopped herbs, if desired.

GARLIC PARMESAN SWEET POTATO FRIES We can’t say enough about these fries! they are such a great side with burgers, grilled chicken, or just about anything. they’re also a fantastic appetizer for a hungry crowd! 4 sweet potatoes, cut into sticks 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon smoked paprika salt and black pepper to taste 2 tablespoons butter 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated ½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Dipping sauce: ½ cup mayonnaise 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 clove garlic pressed salt and pepper to taste dash of cayenne pepper, if desired

preheat the oven to 425 degrees. place the sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet and toss with olive oil, paprika, and a generous sprinkle each of salt and pepper. spread the fries out in an even layer, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. if needed, divide the fries between

2 baking sheets. transfer to the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, gently flip fries and return to the oven and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender but crisp on the outside. While fries bake, melt the butter and garlic together in a small pan over medium heat. When ready, remove the fries from the oven and gently toss with the garlic butter. top with grated cheese. To make dipping sauce: simply mix all ingredients in a bowl until smooth and creamy. adjust seasonings to taste.

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Regina’s technique of folding and rolling out dough several times helps produces flaky biscuits.

REGINA’S SWEET POTATO BISCUITS natchez chef regina charboneau is famous for her butter biscuits, but we love her sweet potato version just as much! they’re a softer, sweeter biscuit because of the sweet potato. 3 3 3 ½

cups all-purpose flour tablespoons baking powder tablespoons sugar cup (1 stick) salted butter, chilled and cut into 2-inch cubes 1 cup (2 sticks) salted margarine, chilled and cut into 2-inch cubes 1 sweet potato, baked, peeled, mashed and chilled (to measure 1 cup) 1¼ cups buttermilk, chilled

put the flour, baking powder, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. blend the dry ingredients

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on low for 15 seconds. add the butter, margarine, mashed sweet potato, and buttermilk to the bowl. turn the mixer on medium speed and count to ten. there should be visible chunks of margarine and butter in the dough. generously flour a work surface. roll the dough into a rectangle about 2 inches thick, fold into thirds, and roll again. turn the dough one-quarter turn and roll out again to a 2-inch thickness. Fold into thirds again and repeat the process for a total of four to five times until the dough is smooth. the dough should have a yellow ribbon effect where the butter and margarine are rolled out. this is a good sign that the biscuits will be flaky. roll the

dough one last time to a 1½-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch floured biscuit cutter, cut the dough into rounds. arrange the biscuits on a baking sheet and freeze. the biscuits are best if first frozen. once frozen, transfer into a zippered plastic bag. (Unbaked biscuits can be frozen for 2 months.) When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. place the frozen biscuits in the cups of 2 muffin tins; these biscuits are best if not baked on a baking sheet. let the biscuits thaw in the tins in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. bake until the tops of the biscuits are golden, 23 to 25 minutes. turn the biscuits out onto a wire rack and serve warm. Makes about 24 biscuits. DM * First published in September/October 2019


GRILLED CATFISH WITH TOMATO BLACKBERRY SALSA

THIS FALL,

HEARTLANDCATFISH.COM 55001 Highway 82 West Itta Bena, Mississippi 38941 US

Comfort IN FAMILY AND Great Food.

FIND

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HISTORY

YAZOO PASS Utilized by Union forces as an alternative strategy to capture Vicksburg BY WADE S. WINEMAN, JR. • PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR

Ironclad gunboat USS Chillicothe, 1864

A

leisurely drive north on Mississippi State Highway 1 from Friars Point will soon take one past an easily overlooked feature, an innocuous bayou located near a famous Mississippi playground: Moon Lake, in northwestern Coahoma County. today, this topographical feature appears to be little more

than a stagnant, tree-choked slough. Few passersby realize its significance or recognize it for what it once was: a site of strategic importance during the civil War. this indistinct stream is still known today by the name it bore during the civil War: Yazoo pass. before levees were built, Yazoo pass was both a tributary and distributary stream of the Mississippi, since water could pass through it in either direction, depending on the level of the Mississippi. surprisingly, in the early nineteenth century, Yazoo pass was navigable by shallow-draft steamships and provided the fastest water route between Yazoo city, Mississippi, and Memphis, tennessee, connecting with the Mississippi river just below Helena, arkansas. before the civil War, Yazoo pass joined the Mississippi just north of the river town of Delta, Mississippi—a “Delta in the Delta.” in 1842, Delta had become the second county seat of coahoma

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county, following port royal, the original county seat founded in the mid-1830s. port royal was located eight miles south of Delta on Horseshoe bend of the Mississippi, but a natural cut off by the river made Horseshoe bend an oxbow lake and ended the town’s existence after less than ten years. Following port royal’s abandonment by the active river channel, Delta replaced it as a busy Mississippi river port. Delta’s population quickly grew to seven hundred, but its existence also proved to be short lived. Following a major flood in 1848—the same year Delta became incorporated—many of its residents were forced to move four miles south to the town of Friars point. by 1850, Friars point had replaced Delta as the county seat, becoming the third county seat in coahoma county’s brief existence. today, nothing remains of Delta, the town having been gnawed away by unrelenting river encroachment and by levee construction.1 the strategic significance of Yazoo pass during the civil War arose from the frustration experienced by Union forces as they attempted to capture Vicksburg by direct approach from the Mississippi river, beginning in the summer of 1862. by early 1863, acting rear admiral David D. porter, commander of the Federal Mississippi river squadron, had abandoned the Union’s original strategy of capturing Vicksburg with his navy alone. confederates


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Historical Marker on Highway 61, southeast of Moon Lake.

destruction might facilitate access by his naval vessels and by then had fifty large guns emplaced on the high bluffs above the troopships. the expedition would be under the command of river, and the steep terrain of the bluff hills was a deterrent to attacks brigadier general leonard F. ross. lieutenant colonel James H. by ground forces from the riverbank below.2 Wilson would supervise the removal of the levee and initial clearing porter and Major general grant eventually conceived an of obstructions in the upstream portions of the pass. alternate plan to take Vicksburg: navigating the length of the Yazoo the expedition began on February 3, river, which ran along the base of the bluff 1863, when landfall was made at the hills north and east of Vicksburg, and thompson/lindsley plantation on the east establishing a base of operations near bank of the Mississippi, just north of the Haynes bluff, behind the confederate old site of Delta, Mississippi. general lines protecting the east side of Vicksburg. grant had issued orders on January 29 to What they needed was a way to access the brigadier general W.a. gorman, Yazoo. they were aware that Yazoo pass commander of the Helena district, had once been navigable by steam vessel instructing him to, “send a sternwheeler, north from Yazoo city to the Mississippi. with as many troops as you can although the pass had recently been sealed conveniently carry, to the entrance of off from the Mississippi by a substantial Yazoo pass, for the purpose of cutting the crop-protection levee, grant considered the pass entrance to be the most practical Remaining portions of the earthworks at Fort levee and letting the water from the Mississippi in. the gunboat by which this point from which to access the Yazoo river Pemberton are still visible near Greenwood. is sent will accompany the expedition. the system. party should remain at the pass until they see the work effectually the new plan—which would be called the Yazoo pass done, and then return to Helena.”4 expedition—would begin at the confluence of the pass and the Due to elevated Mississippi river levels at the time, an eightMississippi and involve transporting five thousand troops by and-a-half foot “head,” or differential, existed between the height transport ships, as well as seven naval vessels, including ironclads of the water on the riverside of the levee and that on the land side. Uss baron De Kalb and chillicothe and five lighter combat Wilson’s men began detonating explosives, blowing two holes in vessels.3 the plan would be a lengthy endeavor by Union forces, requiring them to cover over three hundred miles by water through the levee, twenty feet apart. a cascade of water immediately surged multiple meandering streams. the levee further complicated the from the river into the streambed of Yazoo pass, creating turbulence mission, but grant realized the flooding resulting from its described by lieutenant colonel Wilson as, “like nothing else i ever 152 | septeMber/october 2021


1872 map showing Yazoo Pass and Delta, Misissippi

saw, except niagara Falls. logs, trees, and great masses of earth were torn away with the greatest of ease. the work is a perfect success.” by 2300 hours, a gaping hole forty yards wide had opened in the levee, increasing shortly thereafter to eighty yards in width. the ferocity of the torrent was so great that the boat captains estimated it would be several days before it would be safe enough for the boats to run down the pass. the current finally slowed enough by February 7 to allow the flotilla to enter the pass.5 lieutenant general John c. pemberton, commanding the confederate Department of Mississippi and east louisiana, had learned earlier that Yazoo pass was vulnerable and directed his troops to obstruct the area downstream from the levee by felling trees along the banks of the pass. by the time the Federals reached the area, miles of timber had been cut by the confederates, some fallen trees measuring four feet in diameter. the timber raft proved

to be a formidable blockade, spanning the entire stream in places and requiring many days of grueling labor to clear, dramatically slowing the Federal advance. removal efforts were further complicated by the extensive flooding, requiring timber and overhanging limbs to be cut by soldiers as they stood in the boats. by February 24, the vanguard of the Union forces finally crossed Moon lake and reentered Yazoo pass heading southeast. the Union fleet continued to find progress slow; navigating the narrow, sinuous stream remained a formidable task due to tight bends and dense, low-hanging limbs and vegetation. in addition to the complications of timber removal and steadily rising water levels, Union forces encountered sniping by confederates, along with dense smoke and low visibility caused by burning cotton ignited along stream banks. confederate Major general William W. loring was intent on stopping the Federals before they reached Vicksburg. His troops Delta Magazine 2021

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had begun constructing a fort on the tallahatchie river just west to inundate the confederate fort. Following two failed attacks in of greenwood, Mississippi, at a point where the tallahatchie made early april, however, the plan was terminated, grant abandoning a wide loop to the east before joining the Yalobusha river. the fort, the expedition and bringing his forces back to the Mississippi.6 earlier, before grant learned of the failure of the Yazoo pass named Fort pemberton—known by Union troops as Fort expedition, he had sent general William t. sherman and admiral greenwood—was strategically placed at the narrowest point of a David porter on a similar riverine mission. they were to steam from neck of land lying between the tallahatchie and Yazoo rivers. Vicksburg on a particularly circuitous route: up the Yazoo river to to fortify the position, earthworks were quickly thrown up and steele bayou, then one hundred miles up steele bayou, cypress reinforced with cotton bales. inundation of surrounding land— lake, black bayou, Deer creek, and rolling Fork bayou to the resulting from the levee destruction upstream on Yazoo sunflower river, then south another one hundred miles to the pass—effectively protected the fort from attack by ground troops. Yazoo. this mission—known as the confederate troops had not arrived at steele bayou expedition—suffered a the site of Fort pemberton until fate similar to that on Yazoo pass, February 21, but the excruciatingly except the streams encountered were slow progress of the Union flotilla even more winding and narrow. afforded them time to adequately often, the width of a stream was only construct and reinforce the fort before a few feet wider than the forty-twothe arrival of the enemy almost three foot width of some of porter’s vessels. weeks later. as was the case in the Yazoo pass the fort’s defenses included several expedition, rising water levels made cannons, one of which was a thirtyoverhanging limbs and trees more two-pounder commanding a bend in problematic, and the vessels suffered the tallahatchie just above the fort. to severe damage in the form of further obstruct Union vessels, loring damaged smokestacks, pilot houses, ordered that the star of the West, a and equipment stored above deck. Union merchant ship captured by the also, when branches were struck, confederates, be brought upstream various swamp vermin seeking refuge from Vicksburg and scuttled to block from the floodwater were dislodged the river’s channel. the sinking was onto boats’ decks, including accomplished by drilling holes in the raccoons, possums, snakes, rats, old ship’s hull, causing it to sink just squirrels, and even bobcats.7 upstream of the fort. ironically, star of although from the Union the West had been fired upon as it perspective both inland-river entered charleston Harbor on January expeditions were failures, they caused 9, 1861. although the civil War considerable economic damage to the would not officially begin until three Yazoo Pass looking east from its west end, at the levee. confederacy. the breach in the Yazoo months later, the star of the West pass levee at the Mississippi river would consequently be remembered flooded tens of thousands of acres of farmland, forcing refugees for receiving the first shots of the war fired by either side. from their homes and destroying between four and five thousand after five arduous weeks of toil, the Federals finally reached the bales of stored cotton. additional damage was caused by the confederate redoubt, and on March 11, lieutenant commander confiscation of staple goods and the burning of homes and other Watson smith’s forces initiated the battle of Fort pemberton as the property by Union forces in retaliation for sniping activity along chillicothe began exchanging gunfire with the fort. Union infantry stream banks. perhaps the most significant effect of the expedition, troops attempted a flanking action west of the fort, but the action however, was that it diverted confederate troops and supplies away failed due to the flooded landscape. With no infantry support, the gunboats became the Union’s sole hope for success, although their from Vicksburg, which grant eventually took on July 4, 1863. DM effectiveness would be limited due to the river’s narrow width. over 1 Kerstine, Margery (January 7, 2011). “cotton-Family-religion: Jewish life in five days, several attempts were made by the ironclads to assault the coahoma county Mississippi, Delta History from 1836 to 1941, prologue: 1721 to 1867”. bragg, Marion (1977). Historic names and places on the lower Mississippi fort and make a landing, but each attack was successfully repulsed, river (pDF). Mississippi river commission. p.100. as cited at Wikipedia. with the ironclads receiving crippling damages. the chillicothe was https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta,_Mississippi finally put out of action on March 16, its guns disabled by direct 2 coffey, W. https://civilwarmonths.com/2018/02/07/the-yazoo-pass-expedition/ 3 artillery hits on its gun ports. ibid. 4 as Union forces retreated, they encountered reinforcements the papers of Ulysses s. grant, Volume 7: December 9, 1862-March 31, 1863. https://msstate.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/Usg_volume/id/18209/rec/3 headed by brigadier general isaac Quinby. Quinby directed the and id/18513/rec/7 combined forces to renew the attack on Fort pemberton, but upon 5 ibid. reaching the fort, they discovered that it had also been reinforced. 6 losson, c. https://mississippiencyclopedia.org/entries/battle-of-yazoo-pass. 7 Upstream, at the entrance to Yazoo pass on the Mississippi, Union groom, W. https://www.historynet.com/fire-and-blood-getting-to-vicksburg.htm troops attempted to widen the original breach in the levee, hoping 154 | septeMber/october 2021


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North Mississippi Allstars, September 30

300 Oaks Race

FESTIVALS, MUSIC & FUN THINGS TO DO September 3

Tunica

September 16, 6 pm

Cleveland

Sara Evans

An Evening with Dionne Warwick

Gold Strike Casino Resort tunicatravel.com

Bologna Performing Arts Center bolognapac.com

September 3-4, 5 pm

Greenville

September 17, 8 pm

Greenville Aivation Day

Sheryl Crow

Mid Delta Regional Airport Static display aircraft, fly-in, hot air balloons, vendors and more @GreenvilleAviationDay

Memphis Botanical Garden concertboom.com

September 4

Greenville

Factory Stock Showdown

★ The 5th Annual Money Road Unity Festival Greenwood

Held on grounds of WABG Radio

September 4

Tunica

Rick Springfield Fitz Casino & Hotel tunicatravel.com

★ Red’s Old Timers Blues Festival September 4

★ Mag Fest

Greenwood

Greenville

& Heritage Festival

Washington County Convention Center and Fairgrounds visitgreenville.org

Memphis

Brandon

New Albany

Union County Heritage Museum, 114 Cleveland Street

Tunica

September 23 to October 3

Charlie Wilson

Mid-South Fair

Horseshow Casino Tunicatravel.com

Landers Center Visitdesotocounty.com

September 11

Cleveland

September 24

35th Annual Pig Pickin’

Kane Brown

Delta State University

Brandon Amphitheater Brandonamphitheater.com

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Hollandale

September 30, 7:30 pm

Cleveland

Shake & Holla with North Mississippi Allstars, Rebirth Brass and Cedric Burnside

Orpheum Theatre Orpheum-memphis.com

September 10

September 24-25

visitgreenville.org

An evening of Jazz in the Faulkner Garden

Memphis

★ 10th Annual Sam Chatmon Blues Festival

Brothers Osborne

September 10

Bentonia

107 W. Railroad Avenue

3 Doors Down

September 23, 6-9 pm

Landers Center Visitdesotocounty.com

Blue Front Café 73rd Anniversary

Brandon Amphitheater Brandonamphitheater.com

Hopson’s visitclarksdale.com

Southaven

Sam Hunt

September 24-25

ZZ Top

September 23 Clarksdale

Horseshow Casino Tunicatravel.com

September 24

Orpheum Theatre Orpheum-memphis.com

Martin Luther King Stage by the river Visitclarksdale.com

September 4

September 18

Tunica

Gary Allan

greenwoodmschamber.com

★ 44th Annual MS Delta Blues

King Biscuit Blues, Festival October 6-9 September 24

300 Oaks Road Race

September 19

Clarksdale

Memphis

Cooper Young Historic District

September 18

Greenville Speedway greenvillespeedway.net

September 4, Noon-10 pm

★ 2021 Cooper Young Festival September 18

Memphis

Southaven

Bologna Performing Arts Center bolognapac.com

October 1

Tunica

Ron White Horseshoe Casino Tuicatravel.com

October 1

Tunica

LeAnn Rimes Brandon

Gold Strike Casino Tunicatravel.com

★ Mighty Roots Music Festival October 1-2

mightyrootsmusicfestival.com

Stovall


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★ Carrollton Pilgrimage October 1-2

Carrollton

& Pioneer Day Festival visitcarrolltonms.com

October 1-2

Tishomingo County

Tishomingo Trash & Treasures

★ 21st Annual Highway 61 Blues Festival tishomingofunhere.org

October 2

Leland

Downtown Leland visitgreenville.org

★ Frogfest 2021 October 2

Leland

October 2-3 keepclevelandboring.com

★ MS Peanut Festival

Collins

Mitchell Farms, 650 Leaf River Church Road mitchellfarms.com

October 6

Brandon

The Beach Boys Brandon Amphitheater Brandonamphitheater.com

★ King Biscuit Blues Festival

Helena

Kingbiscuitbluesfestival.com

October 8

Brandon

Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit

October 8

Greenville

5th Annual Greenville Heritage Rodeo Ernest “Red” Rempson Memorial Expo Center visitgreenville.org

★ Octoberfest October 8-9

Cleveland

October 9

Tunica

Buddy Guy and special guest Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

deepbluesfest.com

October 14, 7:30 pm

Cleveland

Martina McBride Bologna Performing Arts Center bolognapac.com

Tunica

Jeff Foxworthy Horseshoe Casino Tunicatravel.com

October 16

Brandon

Earth, Wind & Fire

October 21, 7 pm

Memphis

Earth Wind and Fire Memphis Botanical Garden memphisbotanicgarden.com

October 22, 8 pm

Memphis

Joe Bonamassa

October 22-24,

Memphis

Holiday Market Jackson

Vintage Market Days “All is Bright” Vicksburg

Mississippi Trademart Center

October 22-24

Visitvicksburg.com

Greenville

Monuments on Main Street Olive Branch

Memphis Bridal Show

Visitgreenville.org

October 23

Whispering Woods Hotel and Conference Center Memphisbridalshow.com

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Clarksdale

October 14-17

October 22-24

Over the River Run

Cathead.biz

★ Deep Blues Fest

Downtown Greenville mainstreetgreenville.com

Agricenter International

Horseshoe Casino Tunicatravel.com

★ Cat Head Mini Blues Fest

Greenville

Cannon Center for The Performing Arts thecannoncenter.com

Downtown Cleveland octoberfestms.com

October 10

★ Delta Hot Tamale Festival

Brandon Amphitheater Brandonamphitheather.com

Brandon Amphitheater Brandonamphitheater.com

October 10

Clarksdale

October 15

October 6-9

October 9, 8 am

October 14-16

October 14-16

Cleveland

October 2 and 3, 9-6 pm; 12-5 pm

★ MS Delta Tennessee Williams Festival Deltawilliamsfestival.com

Downtown Leland lelandcoc@gmail.com or 662.379.3764

★ Otherfest

Sheryl Crow, September 17

Rolling Fork

Great Delta Bear Affair

★ River Arts Fest

Music, arts, crafts, food, fireworks and more

Clarksdale

October 23-24

Renasant Convention Center

Memphis


October 24

Memphis

Gary Clark Jr. Orpheum Theatre Orhpeum-memphis.com

October 28, 7:30 pm

Cleveland

Don Felder, Formerly of The Eagles Bologna Performing Arts Center bolognapac.com

LITERARY EVENTS Carlos Ruffin

The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You September 1, 5:30 pm: Square Books, Oxford squarebooks.com Laura Lippman and Megan Abott

Friends and Fiction September 1, 6 pm: Square Books, Oxford (Virtual event on Facebook) Squarebooks.com Dan Yaccarino

Storytime Takeover- The Longest Storm September 8, 10 am: Square Books, Oxford Squarebooks.com Karen Brown

A Year Long Honeymoon (signing only) September 9, 5pm: Lemuria Books, Jackson Lemuriabooks.com Susan Verde

Storytime Takeover- I am Courage September 10, 10 am: Square Books, Oxford Squarebooks.com Kendare Blake and Marissa Mayer

All These Bodies September 21, 5:30 pm: Square Books, Oxford (Virtual Event on Zoom) Squarebooks.com Sasha Graham

The Magic of Tarot September 29, 12 pm: Square Books, Oxford (Virtual Event on Zoom) Squarebooks.com Joshua Nguyen

Come Clean October 8, 6 pm: Square Books, Oxford Squarebooks.com Daniel de Vise

King Of The Blues October 12, 5 pm: Lemuria Books, Jackson lemuriabooks.com Marlin Barton

Children of Dust October 16, 5 pm: Lemuria Books, Jackson lemuriabooks.com D M Delta Magazine 2021

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20 21

FR GFEST

Come to Leland on October 2nd to enjoy frogfest on the Rainbow Bridge Admission is free, but we ask that all attendees bring canned goods that will be donated to the Leland Food Pantry 5K race sponsored by Delta Health Alliance at 9:00 a.m. Fun run for children under 12 at 9:30 a.m. Other events (10 a.m. until 4 p.m.): art contest, face painting, balloon twisting, a magic act, toy train rides, a dunking booth, cooking competition, street vendors with arts and crafts and food, and caricature artist. ARRF will sponsor a toy walk and bake sale. The Leland Chamber of Commerce will be selling duck t-shirts designed by local artist Jamie Tate. Local musicians and an Elvis impersonator will perform from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. The Delta Paddlers Association will be paddling around in Deer Creek.

For more information- lelandcoc@gmail.com or (662) 379-3764

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DELTA SEEN

Anna Brittain Antici

Barks and Burgers for CARES Animal Shelter at Hooker Grocery in Clarksdale on July 13 University of Mississippi Law School Class of 1981 Reunion in Oxford on July 30-31

James and Beverly Gooch

Mary Brock, Bo, and Evelia Crumpton with Corey and Luke Crumpton

John Grisham and Pat Caldwell

Luna Martin, Brooke Atwood, Kelly Connell, Fitz and Haisten Hardin

Brooke Atwood, Johnny Cass and Cindy Mitchell

Neville Boschert and Robert Khayat

Marian Dulaney Fortner, Lisa Futrell, Noel Harris, Neville Boschert and John Futrell

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LeAnn Flowers and Barney

Jeff Stewart, Bill Lehman and Steve Corban

Michael Horan, Mike Ratliff, Martha Jane Ellis Blanche, Mike Holleman and Bobby Miller


2020-21 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Awards Ceremony at Oak Crest Mansion in Pass Christian on June 12 Photos by Ann Madden Photography + Design

DELTA SEEN

Saramel Evans, Laura and Austin Evans, Valerie Walley, Entertainment by Emily and Josh from Della Odie Lindsey, Dana DeLoca and James G. Mel and John Evans Thomas Jr., 2020 MIAL President Memoria

2021 Award Winners, Rea Hederman, Andrea Morales, Odie Lindsey and Cathy Hegman

Rea and Jan Hederman

Seph and Pamela Dupuy

Patrice Waldrup and David Beckley Rebecca and Mark Wiggs

Emily Liner with Bridget and Steve Pieschel Scott Polk, Ann Abadie and Catalina Polk

Sandra Shellnut, Board of Governor Emerita, Cathy Hegman, 2021 Visual Art Award, and Scott Naugle, 2021 MIAL President

Randall and Carla Wall with Jan and Zach Taylor

Leslie, Dale and Ann Abadie with John Boyne

Mary Margaret Miller White, Malcolm White, and Richard Ford

Mieke Chew, Gaye Taylor Hederman, Patrick Hederman, Jennifer and Taylor Hederman

Annita Johnson, Stacey Johnson-Hardy and John Hardy Delta Magazine 2021

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DELTA SEEN

Garrard Cole, Billy and Phaedra Whittington Cole

Merrit Reichle, Key Britt and Margaret Allen

Hugh Warren and Wes Higgason

Photos by Johnny Jennings

Moxie and Tommy Gary

Danny Walker, George Jarman and Mike Moffatt

Gene Stansel, Larry Gnemi, Meredith Allen and Jan Verhage

Shelly and JP Walker

Garrard Cole, Phaedra Whittington Cole, Karen Clark, Carla and Russell Martin and Miller Arant Russell Robertson

Dameon Shaw and Linda Summerville

David Camp, Wade Litton and Shane Stephens 164 | septeMber/october 2021

Staplcotn Business After Hours Celebrating 100 Year Anniversary in Greenwood on July 15.

Meredith Allen, Tracy Shelton and Judy Nail

Gloria Boyd and Tamala Boyd Shaw

Ronnie Stevenson, Johnny Jennings and Charles McCoy


DELTA SEEN

Gene Stansel with Merritt and Hank Reichle

Jean Cadey, Lisa Melton and Beth Williams

Gene Stansel, Allen Ellis, Rob Spiller and Jason Studley

Chris McClain, Teresa Webster and Chase Bennett

Hank Reichle

Karyn Burrus, Shona Craig and Karen Clark

Shona Craig, Karen Clark, Christy Hollis, Kathryn Carolyn McAdams and Paula Provine David Hill, Ashley Farmer, George Jarman and Floyd Melton Bennett, Theresa Coward and Trish Wall

Jim and Susan Smith with Jane Moss and Bill Crump

Shane Stephens, Kim Carter and Gene Stansel

Kim Carter, Betty Aden, Debra Hibbler, Lizzie Woodard and Debra Adams

Floyd Melton and Chase Bennett

Jerrika Goss, Chase Bennet, Rick Truitt and Floyd Melton Delta Magazine 2021

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DELTA SEEN

Taryn Wilson, Joseph Gorman, Shelby Gorman, JP Gairhan and Spence Townsend

David and Cyndi Wallace

Allyiah Evans and Lora Evans

Taylor Calhoun and Michael Joe Cannon 166 | septeMber/october 2021

Mississippi Art in the Alley in Greenwood on June 10 Photos by Andy Lo

Preslee Magee, Elizabeth Vaughn, Brittany Gregg, Lori Beth Bartlett and Lindsey Uithoven

Erin Jacobs Stagner and Emily Dubose Shafer

Pierce Brown and Taylor Calhoun

Helen O’Dell, Mary Key Britt and Madeline Kirk

Ashley Boggan, Brooke Nokes and Cyndi Wallace

John Beard and Hart Henson

Ashly Tillman, Sulee Blansett and Carrie Brooke White


A selection of photos by Delta Magazine readers

DELTA SEEN

Ike Trotter, Richard Dattel, Harold McGarrh, Claude Marchesini, Benjy Nelkin, Charlie Tindall, Bruce Blackman of the band Starbuck and the writer of “Moonlight Feels Right”, Jim Veal, and Andy Alexander at Jim’s Cafe in Greenville.

Beth Hardman, Mary Helen Varner, Frances Varner, Chris Hardman, Forrest Vinson, Rogers Varner and Clayton Norquist

Ann Nowell, Sara Ann Sims, and Amy Webb

Molly Walker, Liz Barrett, Stephanie Baker, Jacqui Lear, Janet Skelton, and Kay Pitts celebrating a wedding in New Orleans.

Woods and Lynn Eastland, Laura Gresham, Jim and Bond Moore, Barbara Levingston, Joyce Perry, and Bill and Tennie Lester Terry Routman Walton Gresham with Hilda and Kirkham Povall

Front left to right, Marion Barnwell and Susan Allen Ford; Back left to right, Andrew Novobilski, Myrtis Tabb, Billy Nowell, and John Thornell celebrating the memorial Sarah and Bryan Varner Luke and Elizabeth Heiskell hiking in Aspen to longtime Delta State professor Dorothy Shawhan.

McKenzie, Stephanie, and Bailey McGarrh vacationing in Montana Delta Magazine 2021

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Thefinalword

The Perks of Parks SU FANS ARE CRAZY. They’ll pay anything you ask. is coming from our neighbor who rented out his house for footballs games, a decade before airbnb, back when allowing strangers to sleep in your home seemed strange, almost shocking. but our Visa bill was also shocking. our neighbor’s house was similar to ours, nice but nothing sumptuous. How much? we asked. How much will crazy LSU fans pay? He grinned. Three bedrooms, three thousand. We called a realtor. oxford, Mississippi, normally 20,000 people, tsunamis with 100,000 on game weekends. ey come for the tailgating, best in the nation, better than the football, hence the motto, “We might not win the game, but we always win the party.” normally, my husband and i would have helped cinch the party victory, tailgating with our friends while our kids ran wild with their own, all of us spinning in separate orbits of noise and delight. instead, we readied our house for weeks, editing our overstuffed closets and bookshelves, scouring the oven and fridge, all the dreadful, long-postponed chores. i bought new sheets and six sets of matching towels. en we packed up our fishing rods and our grave doubts and headed an hour and a half south, to Holmes county park. With the $3K we were extorting from the poor lsU fans (well, not so poor, and they would beat us 1714) we could have lived it up in la or nYc. instead, in our spartan seventy-dollar-a-night cabin, we fished from our own pier. We snacked on slice-and-bake cookie dough (the cabin didn’t have a cookie sheet). We hiked through autumn-burnished woods. We read, played Monopoly, star gazed. and, sure, we fretted a little, both about our house and our lack of epic tailgating. returning to oxford on sunday, a lone cricket, escaped from the bait shop’s cardboard container, chirped eerily from the innards of our minivan, an apt soundtrack. but our house was fine. better than fine: the fridge was stocked with expensive cheeses, a bottle of ridiculous port on the sideboard. ere was that fat check on the

L

Beth Ann Fennelly, a 2020 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow, was the poet laureate of Mississippi from 2016-2021 and teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Mississippi. She lives with her husband, Tom Franklin, and their three children in Oxford, Mississippi.

168 | septeMber/october 2021

BY BETH ANN FENNELLY

counter. and there was that other windfall— our reconnection with each other and the beauty of the Mississippi countryside. Despite our vow to maintain the zerobalance Visa, the next fall we needed dough again. ank god for alabama fans. ey’re crazy, they’ll pay anything. and thus began a tradition. every fall, in the middle of the busiest part of the semester when we’re all a bit scattered, we clear out for the biggest game. because we have to, we unplug our devices and thus recharge our family battery. now we have fifteen years of state park memories: the park with the disk golf, the one with hot springs, the one with canoes, the one with native american burial mounds, the one where we dug for arrowheads at the riverbank and ended up painting ourselves with red mud. e woods where we found an ornate Victorian wrought-iron fence almost completely obscured by kudzu vines; behind the fence, four ancient graves. e campfire stories we told about the graves. and the little communities around the state parks, the dim bait shops where you screw in a light bulb to better see the jars of pigs’ ears and the fishing lures displayed more enticingly than even the penny candy. back to the pier with our styrofoam cups, some holding thin, bad coffee, and some holding fat, wriggling worms. our oldest child is in college now, our middle child in high school, so this fall, it’s going to be complicated to find a free weekend. and less profitable. With three new hotels, oxford’s heads-to-beds ratio has caught up with demand. When you add in the airbnb johnny-come-latelys, renting out your house is hardly worth scouring out your oven. in recent years, we’ve lowered our asking price, and occasionally, we couldn’t find a renter. so maybe this will be the year we don’t go to a Mississippi state park. or maybe we’ll go, even without a rental. Maybe, i’m beginning to think, we can’t afford not to. DM



Fred Zepponi III 662-418-6767

fzepponi@mossyoakproperties.com

5741 Hwy 45 Alt South West Point MS 39773 O ce 662-495-1121

223 Sharkey Avenue Clarksdale MS 38614 O ce 662-624-8282

Darrell Bullock 662-392-3010 dbullock@mossyoakproperties.com

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Call America’s Land Specialist! We specialize in selling recreational, timber and agricultural properties in Mississippi and Alabama. O ce locations in West Point and Clarksdale Mississippi. www.mossyoakproperties.com

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