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COMING TOGETHER W H I L E S TAY I N G A PA R T MEET OUR NEIGHBORS

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I N

T H I S

I S S U E

J U N E /J U LY 2020

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DEPA RTMENT S

ANNOUNCEMENTS

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Letter From the Publisher

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Barnes & Snyder

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Meet Our Neighbors

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Whitten & Reynolds

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Digital Details

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Zhang & Steenwyk

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Shoutouts

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Front Porch Sessions

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Good News Numbers

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Recipes: Summer Picnic

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Good Neighbor: Maggie Carroll

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ON THE COVER

LOCAL HEROES 70

Grocery Store Workers

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Community Service

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Government Workers

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Health Care Workers

These 11 “good neighbors” are people in our communities. They are essential. They are hardworking. They are resilient. They are all of us. Learn about them on page 14. PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM


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F E AT U R E S

64

48

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FE ATURES 42 An Unfolding

50 Locally Grown

58 Making the Most of It

48 Celebrate Good Times!

54 Barbecue with Staying Power

64 Wide-Open Outdoors

Artist Carlyle Wolfe Lee records the changing form and color of the natural world.

Celebrations of momentous occasions including birthdays, graduations and weddings look a little different — but no less joyous — this year.

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Farmers markets around north Mississippi give growers a place to thrive.

C.H.O.P. may have been launched in desperation, but it quickly became — and continues to be — a delicious success story.

From decorating updates to outdoor improvements, these recent DIY projects will be enjoyed for years to come.

Get outside and experience the beauty of nature in north Mississippi at these nearby lakes, state parks and national forests.


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48

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L E T T E R from the P U B L I S H E R When we published our last magazine April 1, I certainly wouldn’t have guessed that for the following several weeks we’d be stuck in our homes due to a worldwide pandemic. To say that those weeks were strange and difficult for our communities and our country is an understatement. But during that time, the Invitation Magazines staff and I didn’t forget about what we do and the people we serve. We scrapped our previously set plans, renewed our focus, and here we are, back in gear, telling stories. These are not the stories we originally planned for our June/July issue, but they are the stories our communities have lived in the past 90 days or so. Common folks became heroes. Our neighbors became good friends, and we all rose to the great occasion by doing our part to serve others. On page 48, you’ll find photos of a joy-filled parade that celebrated a wedding,

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social-distance style. Read about more creative and heartwarming ways people marked milestones this spring — from welcoming a new baby to celebrating a 100th birthday — at invitationoxford.com and invitationmag.com. We’ve also highlighted a few inventive ways families have spent their time. Turn to page 58 for some photos that might just inspire your next DIY endeavor. Because typical community events didn’t exist this spring, we had to get creative with our event pages. Instead of the usual largegroup gatherings we feature, we used that space in this magazine to honor local heroes. Flip to pages 70-79 to see them. There is plenty of other content here that we are excited to share, including a small-business barbecue restaurant success story (page 54); a guide to some special nearby outdoor destinations (page 64);

@INVITATIONOXFORD @INVITATIONM AGA ZINE

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and an interview with a brave and resilient COVID-19 survivor (page 80). In early April, out of necessity, we implemented home delivery of the magazine in our Oxford market. It was met with great feedback from our readers. We will still distribute our magazines in high-traffic areas in our communities. But we will also continue home delivery. If you want a magazine delivered to your neighborhood, let us know. We hope you enjoy this issue. We are so honored to serve you by telling stories that bring us together as neighbors and show the good in the places we live.

RACHEL M. WEST, PUBLISHER

@INVOXFORD @INVMAGA ZINE


PUBLISHERS Phil and Rachel West

EDITORIAL

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Emily Welly EXECUTIVE EDITOR Leslie Criss OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Mary Moreton CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Allison Estes Michaela Morris COPY EDITOR Ashley Arthur EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Abbey Edmonson

OFFICE

BUSINESS MANAGER Hollie Hilliard DISTRIBUTION Donald Courtney Brian Hilliard

ART

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Holly Vollor STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Joe Worthem CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Thad Lee Lindsey Meisenheimer

ADVERTISING

ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS Alise M. Emerson Leigh Lowery Lynn McElreath Moni Simpson Whitney Worsham Anna Zemek ADVERTISING DESIGNER Becca Pepper ADVERTISING INFORMATION ads@invitationoxford.com

MAIN OFFICE 662-234-4008

To subscribe to one year (10 issues) of Invitation Oxford or to buy an announcement, visit invitationoxford.com. To subscribe to one year (10 issues) of Invitation or to buy an announcement, visit invitationmag.com. To request a photographer at your event, email Mary at mary.invitation@gmail.com. Invitation Magazines respects the many diverse individuals and organizations that make up north Mississippi and strives to be inclusive and representative of all members of our community.

PLEASE RECYCLE THIS MAGAZINE

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M E E T

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O U R

N E I G H B O R S Floyd Hodges has been in hardware sales for almost 10 years at Tupelo Hardware Co., a family-owned north Mississippi institution that has been in business since 1926. Hodges previously was a sewing machine mechanic at Hunter Sadler.

Sarah Robinson is a biology teacher at Oxford High School. She has worked at OHS since 2013, and was named Oxford School District’s Teacher of the Year in January.

Dr. Will Edmonson is a Tupelo physician who specializes in pulmonary critical care. He has practiced medicine 17 years. His workload has increased during the pandemic, but Edmonson said Tupelo is fortunate to have plenty of pulmonologists.

Tina Pate has been Tupelo’s postmaster since June 20, 2019. She is the first woman to fill this position in Tupelo. The 60-year-old Pate’s first job with the United States Postal Service was in Mooreville after her high school graduation.

Will Reed and his wife, Amanda, run Native Son Farm in Tupelo. They feed hundreds of north Mississippi families through their Community Supported Agriculture program as well as their farm stand and local farmers markets.

Elizabeth Ducksworth has been an employee of Larson’s Cash Saver in Oxford for three years. The mother of four has recently been promoted to assistant manager.

Christopher Wilkinson is a 2020 graduate of Corinth High School, where he was a member of the archery team. Wilkinson will be serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and will attend recruit training this summer at Parris Island, South Carolina.

Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill, along with other city and state officials, has spent countless hours planning the community response to the pandemic. She and her husband, Rhea, have three children.

Jeffrey Dukes, an Oxford native and graduate of Lafayette High School, has been with the Oxford Police Department since 2008. He has been a warrant officer and SWAT team member, and now is a school resource officer. He is the father of three daughters.

Emily McElreath is the mother of Evelyn, age 2, and Vivian, age 1. Without the usual play dates, preschool and visits with grandparents, she kept her kids busy at home with crafts, reading, playing with bubbles, drawing with chalk and going on scavenger hunts.

Maggie Carroll of Cotton Plant is a survivor of COVID-19. She was the first person to be discharged from North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo after being placed on a ventilator. Read more about Carroll in a Q&A on page 80.

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D I G I T A L details E XC LU S I V E LY O N L I N E AT I N V I TAT I O N OX F O R D.C O M A N D I N V I TAT I O N M AG .C O M

C e le b rat e G o o d T i me s!

social S N A P S

V id e o s

We love being tagged in your photos!

Turn to page 48 for a peek at a nontraditional wedding celebration that took place May 2, and visit invitationoxford.com or invitationmag.com to read about more special occasions that took place during the past few months thanks to paradegoers, video conferencing and a willingness to support one another.

We are thinking outside these pages with a series of short videos produced by creative contributors! Follow our social media pages to see the latest video, or visit our websites to watch them all. And submit your own short video to us at invitationmag.editors@gmail.com for a chance to be featured!

Fa r me r s M a rke t s Farmers markets all around north Mississippi are opening for the season! Turn to page 50 to learn more, and see pictures from some local farmers markets at our websites, invitationoxford.com and invitationmag.com.

Fo o d Blo g

April just wasn’t the same without @doubledecker art. Sharing a few of my past Oxford pieces. L O C A T I O N : Oxford U S E R N A M E : @blakegore

T h a n k you , Adve r t i s e r s! Love each other. L O C A T I O N : Starkville U S E R N A M E : @finchcollective

Roasted Pork Loin

Our food bloggers have been hard at work creating family-friendly recipes for our readers to try making at home. Follow our social media pages to see the latest food blog posts, or visit our websites to peruse the archives of recipes there. FOLLOW US

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Shopping bag found at Frock | Oxford

Visit our websites for a complete, interactive list of our advertisers. We can’t thank these businesses enough for their loyal support. To our readers: Please continue to support these community businesses.

@INVITATIONOXFORD @INVITATIONM AGA ZINE

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Things a lady contractor buys when she finally has to go to Walmart during a pandemic. L O C A T I O N : Oxford U S E R N A M E : @jriddell_princesshokaprop @INVOXFORD @INVMAGA ZINE


social S N A P S continued

Ghost town. L O C A T I O N : Oxford U S E R N A M E : @jakemcanallyphotography

About to turn these beauties into limeade for a photo shoot with @invitationmagazine!! L O C A T I O N : Tupelo U S E R N A M E : @cookingasafirstlanguage

Picking up Easter flowers. L O C A T I O N : Oxford U S E R N A M E : @abbottgoldies

OMG. LOOK what we have today! L O C A T I O N : Big Bad Breakfast U S E R N A M E : @bigbadbreakfastoxford J U N E /J U LY 2 02 0 | I N V I TAT I O N

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S H O U T O U T S Ne w Bu s i ne s s In March and April, with business slowing down and public health at risk, many small companies got creative with the products they offered. Queen’s Reward Meadery in Tupelo is one of several small businesses that created a brand new product in the wake of COVID-19. Owner Jeri Carter said they decided to stop making mead for the time being and start making hand sanitizer. “We made this decision when we realized that we already had half of the process in place here at the meadery,” Carter said. “All we needed was a still so we could distill the alcohol we make to a level that will kill germs. We made a few phone calls, located the equipment that we needed and before long, we were on our way.” The meadery begins by fermenting sugar water, then distilling it. The final product has an alcohol level of around 85%. They then follow the recipe provided by the World Health Organization, and bottle it.

Carter said Queen’s Reward plans to continue making hand sanitizer as long as there is a need for it. The sanitizer, along with the meadery’s other products, can be found at queensreward.com. Among other small businesses changing

up their products, Wonderbird Spirits in Taylor and Cathead Distillery in Jackson also began producing hand sanitizer. Oxford’s Blue Delta Jean Company and New Albany’s Kevin Charles Fine Upholstery started making masks as well.

V i r t u a l H e a lt h C a re

Health care providers are encouraging patients to use virtual health care options to get the treatment they need without leaving their homes. Marsha Tapscott, director of marketing and public relations for North Mississippi Health Services, said health care must

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continue despite social distancing measures and advises patients to consider these alternative options. “We need to be sure that people who need routine care and emergency care seek it,” Tapscott said. “Some people are putting off care out of fear. Health care will be a combination of protecting people from the spread of the virus and meeting their health care needs.” The NMHS program, myConnection, allows patients to manage their health-care needs via the internet. It allows patients to participate in e-visits, request prescription refills, schedule video visits, communicate with doctors and access test results. Telephone visits are available for minor medical problems as well. A doctor or

nurse practitioner can evaluate a patient’s condition, new or preexisting, via phone. The Orthopaedic Institute of North Mississippi in Tupelo also offers virtual visits to patients. In live video consultations, doctors are able to conduct follow-up visits, review lab results, engage in post-op visits, have surgical discussions and even advise on wound care. Virtual visits also give patients a chance to connect with their providers. “Telemedicine has provided us a way as orthopaedic surgeons to continue to interact and take care of our patient’s needs while trying to limit the spread of coronavirus,” Dr. Gabe Rulewicz said. “Using telehealth enables us to see and talk with our patients restoring some normalcy while they are isolated.”


SHOUTOUTS

continued

H a p py Bi r t hd ay, I nv it at io n!

In May, Invitation Magazines marked the 10th birthday of its northeast Mississippi edition. This premier community lifestyle publication focuses on the 10 counties in the northeast corner of the state — Alcorn, Chickasaw, Itawamba, Lee, Monroe, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Tippah, Tishomingo and Union. Its sister publication, Invitation Oxford, has been published since 2006.

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DIGITAL DETAIL S

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LOCAL HEROES

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SESSIONS

JOE WORTHEM

AC PHOTOGRAPHY BY CLAIRE WISE

LOCAL PHOTOGRAPHERS SNAPPED SOME MEMORABLE PORTRAITS OF FAMILIES S TAY I N G H O M E D U R I N G T H E Q UA R A N T I N E . T H A N K YO U, R E A D E R S , F O R S U B M I T T I N G T H E S E P H O T O S .

Clockwise from top, left: Sam and Emily Cobb Location: Ingomar Nick, Augusta, Ezra, Bessie Pearl and J.R. Weaver Location: Oxford

KAYLA WALLEY

Cliff, Mary Adams, Wiley and Mary Baker Kinney Location: Taylor

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Opposite page: Bethany, Jackie the dog, Tim, Jima and Jordan Alexander Location: Tupelo Burke, Samantha, Charles and Ann Lillian Stockett Location: Oxford


FRONT PORCH

LINDSEY MEISENHEIMER

CHRISTY FLYNN

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more F R O N T

PORCH

SESSIONS

Clockwise from top: David, Alicia, Lauren, Lacey and Malayna VanLandeghem Location: Oxford Olive and Anne Kramer Location: Tupelo CAROLINE BEFFA PHOTOGRAPHY

Joe, Karen, Molly, Jack and Grayson Swingle with dogs Xena and Zoe Location: Oxford Blake, Megan and Laykin Hodge Location: Oxford

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DAYNALEE FAITH PHOTOGRAPHY

ANNE KRAMER

KAYLA WALLEY PHOTOGRAPHY

ASHLEY STEWART

Ethan and Logan Gill with Lilly the dog Location: Pontotoc


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N U M B E R S

AT THE HEIGHT OF THE COVID-19 CRISIS, W H I L E B U S I N E S S E S W E R E S H U T T E R E D A N D W E W E R E O R D E R E D T O S TAY AT H O M E , WE WERE INUNDATED BY NUMBERS AND PERCENTAGES TRACKING THE VIRUS SPREAD. HERE ARE SOME HAPPIER NUMBERS THAT CAME OUT OF THOSE DARK WEEKS.

U.S. RETAILERS TOTALED

$1.5 BILLION IN

TO I L E T PA P E R

LAFAYETTE COUNTY SHERIFF'S TUPELO PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT

16,000

SERVED

MEALS TO STUDENTS IN GRADES K-12*.

DEPARTMENT PARTICIPATED IN

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B I R T H D AY PA R A D E S COMPLETE WITH SIRENS AND FLASHING LIGHTS*.

SALES IN MARCH. —Yahoo Finance

370%

INCREASE IN

J I G S AW PUZ ZL E S OVER LAST YEAR.

34.3 MILLION PEOPLE WATCHED

" TIGER KING:

166

BABIES

BORN AT

BAPTIST MEMORIAL HOSPITAL -NORTH MISSISSIPPI IN OXFORD*.

M U R D E R , M AY H E M

—Ravensburger

AND MADNESS"

2,181

IN THE FIRST 10 DAYS AFTER

SUGAREE'S BAKERY IN

ITS MARCH 20 RELEASE.

NEW ALBANY SOLD

— Adweek

664 DOZEN

H OT B R E A K FA S T S SERVED TO PEOPLE IN NEED BY

169

VOLUNTEERS

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647% INCREASE IN SALES OF

AT SAINTS' BREW, A MINISTRY

BAKING YEAST

OF ALL SAINTS' EPISCOPAL

OVER LAST YEAR.

CHURCH IN TUPELO*.

—Nielsen Data

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CUPCAKES

(THAT'S 7, 968 CUPCAKES!) THROUGH ITS CURBSIDE SERVICE*. *These numbers reflect March and April; many numbers will end much higher as services continue to be provided.


GOOD NUMBERS

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79,188

FREE WEEKDAY M E A L S PROVIDED BY OXFORD SCHOOL DISTRICT TO ITS STUDENTS AGES 18 AND YOUNGER*.

500 +300 +LOTS BOOKS

J I G S AW PUZ ZL E S

OF LEGOS

PICKED UP CURBSIDE FROM BARNES & NOBLE IN TUPELO DURING MARCH & APRIL*.

SOUTHERN CRAFT STOVE + TAP PROVIDED

800 MEALS

TO FEED FAMILIES IN NEED AND FRONT-LINE WORKERS. (The meals were sponsored by members of the community including Giles McPhail Wealth Management; the Oxford Police Department; Tannehill, Carmean & McKenzie; the residents of Windsor Falls subdivision; and Century Construction. See a few photos on page 71.) J U N E /J U LY 2 02 0 | I N V I TAT I O N

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WEDDING Me re d it h C l a i re Ba r ne s & M at t he w R ic h a rd S nyd e r

VENUE & CATERING OFFICIANT BRIDE'S GOWN BRIDAL HAIR & MAKEUP FLORAL DESIGN CATERER CAKE VIDEOGRAPHER PHOTOGRAPHER

Castle Hill The Rev. Robert N. Gill Lace Bridal J. Lauren and Co. Fresh Cut Floral Castle Hill Baked by Birdie Revival House Hannah Magro Photography

DJ

Jacova Jenkins

REHEARSAL DINNER

Taylor Grocery

HONEYMOON T R AV E L AG E N C Y

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November 30, 2019

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Cancun Pro Athlete Travel

HANNAH MAGRO PHOTOGRAPHY

DATE


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WEDDING

KYLE HANCOCK

Bro oke M ic he l le W h it t e n & Br it t Ke l s o Re y nold s

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DATE CITY

July 6, 2019 Oxford

WEDDING & RECEPTION VENUE OFFICIANT BRIDE'S GOWN GROOM'S AT TIRE FLORAL DESIGN CATERER BRIDE'S CAKE GROOM'S CAKE VIDEOGRAPHER PHOTOGRAPHER

The Jefferson Brother Casey Powell Blush by Hayley Paige at Elle James Thomas Brothers Blossoms in Batesville Taylor Grocery Special Events Catering Sweet T’s Bakery Cheesecake Factory Joe and Callie Cain from Abundant Co. Kyle Hancock

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WEDDING

THE WARMTH AROUND YOU

Yuji n g Z h a n g & T i mot hy C h a d S t e e nw yk

DATE CITY BRIDE'S PARENTS GROOM'S PARENTS

February 29, 2020 Oxford Mr. and Mrs. Darryl Scott Stevens Ms. Melanie Brown Steenwyk and Mr. Chad Lavern Steenwyk

WEDDING VENUE OFFICIANT RECEPTION VENUE & CATERER BRIDE'S GOWN FLORAL DESIGN CAKE PHOTOGRAPHER CEREMONY MUSICIANS MAKEUP REHEARSAL DINNER

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Paris-Yates Chapel The Rev. Gail Stratton Tallahatchie Gourmet David’s Bridal Twisted Twig LLC The Cakery The Warmth Around You Andrew Gordon and Rosalie Doerksen Makeup by Ava The Ravine


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PICNIC

SEASONAL HERBS AND COLORFUL VEGGIES AND FRUITS SHINE IN THESE SUMMER PICNIC RECIPE SUGGESTIONS. RECIPES BY L AUREN MCELWAIN

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

PROPS CONTRIBUTED BY OXFORD GOURMET

N

o need to travel farther than your own backyard for a leisurely picnic lunch this summer. Set your outdoor table or lay a blanket in the grass and spend an afternoon outside with people you love and seasonally inspired food you won’t be able to resist.

asian

PASTA SAL AD 1 package spaghetti noodles 1 red bell pepper, julienned 3-4 green onions, julienned 1 cucumber, seeded and julienned 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds 1 cup Asian Vinaigrette (recipe below) Prepare noodles according to the instructions on the package. Put all ingredients in a decorative bowl, and toss to blend. Serve immediately, or cover and chill until ready to serve.

asian

VINAIGRETTE ½ cup olive oil ¼ cup soy sauce 1 clove garlic, minced 1 tablespoon honey Whisk ingredients together to combine.

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cilantro pesto

SHRIMP SKEWERS

cilantro pesto

MARINADE

2 pounds frozen peeled raw shrimp with tails Cilantro Pesto Marinade (recipe at right) 1-2 tablespoons butter 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 cups fresh cilantro leaves (stems removed) 1 large garlic clove Âź cup olive oil Juice of 1 lime

Thaw and rinse shrimp. Combine shrimp and marinade in a ziplock bag; seal bag, and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes. Place 4 or 5 shrimp on each wooden skewer. In a grill pan over mediumhigh heat, melt the butter. Add shrimp skewers to grill pan, and cook until shrimp turn pink and start to brown, about 3-5 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper, and serve.

In a food processor, process all ingredients until completely pureed.

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Continued from page 37

PLT

SANDWICHES 1 cup mayonnaise 10-12 basil leaves, finely chopped Olive oil spray, optional One 12-ounce ciabatta loaf or 6 small ciabatta rolls 6 fresh mozzarella cheese slices 10-15 large pepperoni slices 6 tomato slices Handful of spinach leaves In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise and finely chopped basil. Set aside. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray top of bread or rolls evenly with olive oil spray, if desired. Bake bread until toasted, about 10-12 minutes. Cut the bread in half through the middle to create a top and bottom. Hollow out some bread from cut side of top half to make room for sandwich ingredients. On the bottom half of the bread, layer mozzarella, pepperoni, spinach and tomato. Spread the basil mixture on the inside of the top half, and place on the sandwich. If using a loaf, cut sandwich into 2½-inch squares before serving.

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kale & brussels sprout SLAW

1 small bunch kale, stemmed and shredded One 14-ounce bag coleslaw mix 8-10 Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced ½ cup sliced almonds 1 cup Honey-Sesame Vinaigrette (recipe below) In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients. Cover and chill for at least a few hours for flavors to meld before serving.

honey-sesame

VINAIGRETTE ž cup olive oil 1 tablespoon honey 1 teaspoon sesame oil 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar 1 teaspoon garlic powder Salt and pepper, to taste In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Continued on page 40

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Continued from page 39

strawberry

COOKIES

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened ¼ cup cream cheese, softened ¾ cup packed light brown sugar ¼ cup granulated sugar 1 large egg 2¼ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cornstarch 1 teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt ½ cup chopped frozen strawberries, thawed and drained 1 heaping cup white chocolate chips 1 heaping tablespoon lemon zest

In a mixing bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, sugars and egg, and beat on medium-high speed until creamy, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Fold in the chopped strawberries, white chocolate chips and lemon zest. Chill dough for about 1 hour.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Beat until just combined, about 1 minute.

Heat oven to 350°F. Form dough into 1-inch balls, and place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove to wire racks, and let cool before serving.

limeade Juice of 10-12 limes Juice of 1 lemon 1 to 1¼ cups granulated sugar 4-5 cups water In a large decorative pitcher, stir all ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight before serving over ice.

Lauren McElwain is a regular food blogger for Invitation Magazines. Read more of her recipes at invitationoxford.com/food-blog or invitationmag.com/food-blog. She is also the founder and director of Cooking as a First Language, a community organization based in Tupelo that meets monthly to enable guest chefs from many different countries to share authentic, international food and culture with others. Follow them on Instagram @cookingasafirstlanguage.

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An

Unfolding

WRITTEN BY ALLISON ESTES

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GOOD NEIGHBOR

A R T I S T C A R LY L E WO L F E L E E RECORDS THE CHANGING FORM AND COLOR OF THE NATURAL WORLD.

PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM AND THAD LEE

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n a graduate school art class 20 years ago, students were assigned a drawing project: Take 10 sheets of large Stonehenge paper, and stick with one subject for the whole semester. Carlyle Wolfe Lee chose zinnias. “I started these quiet, contour line drawings of these flowers,” Lee said. “Contour line drawing is something you learn in beginner drawing, but it’s a great way to just develop your visual sensitivity.” All that fall, Lee filled up the pages with lightly penciled, graceful petals. She couldn’t say exactly why, but something about the contemplative process captivated her; she felt it was taking her someplace. She describes it as an unfolding. “I didn’t have a lot of artists in my life,” Lee said. “I’m really thankful for this now — but I didn’t have this sense of, ‘This is where I want to be, what I want to do, what I want to make.’ I just had this sense of, ‘There’s something about this that’s really right for me.’ And I could see the next step, but not the distance.” The more she drew, the more she discovered. She loved the delicacy and variety of the blooms, and what she calls the balance between specific detail in the landscape and the fluid movements of changing color and light. The young artist had found, in the natural world, a subject area rich with information that so many overlook. “With the contour line drawing, you are looking at the outline of a shape: the edges of a form,” Lee said. “That doesn’t mean just the silhouette, but you would look at where one petal ends and

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Top: “Summer Garden” (4- by 10-foot diptych, oil on panel, 2018) Above: “Zinnias” (38- by 50-inch, graphite on paper, 2001-2004). This is one of the 10 zinnia drawings Lee made in graduate school.


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Left: Carlyle Wolfe Lee Below: “Angel Trumpets” (36- by 51-inch, gouache on paper, 2019)

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another starts. Or where a shape kind of turns in space and folds. Its appeal to me wasn’t just that I liked the finished product, but it was more such a discipline of looking. … it really increases your visual sensitivity, and just kind of what you see.” She began making color studies. One series records, at 10-minute intervals, the changing colors from pre-dawn to sunup outside her bedroom window. Lee now has a “bank” of color studies through time and season: a visit to Monet’s garden at Giverny; rides across Delta farmland in winter; walking through the woods. Along with the color studies, Lee has been collecting contour line drawings of plants for more than 20 years now. Stem, leaf and petal; myriad shapes and hues: To Lee, they are a visual language of form and color through the seasons — the very soul of her paintings. “Over time this process developed,” Lee said. “I started cutting out the silhouettes from these shapes (the drawings). I would use those as stencils, but I didn’t even call them stencils at that point because it was just unfolding.” Lee’s first stencils were paper, cut out by hand. But eventually she realized she needed to find another way, to save her hands. She draws each plant to scale, photographs it, then, using design software, she traces the image with a pen tool. These days her stencils are laser cut from stainless steel, by Maximum Industries in Fort Worth, Texas. So along with precision parts for the medical and aerospace industries, and bulletproof guards for war vehicles, Maximum Industries now cuts out flowers. Over the years, Lee’s way of looking at the world has accumulated into thousands of stencils and a whole body of connected work. She describes it in direct relation to the years it takes to establish a garden or an ecosystem. “I love thinking about my scale and the length of my life and the length of my days in relation to all of these different plants being like they are and what they are as a whole — kind of how endless and vast it is, and the small part of it that I can even hope to touch in my whole life,” she said. Continued on page 46


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Continued from page 44 Like gardening, Lee’s process is very much influenced by the seasons. In fair weather, she is outside drawing. When it’s cold, she builds a big fire and cuts stencils. “There are parts that feel like a harvest, where you’re using what you’ve invested, and parts where you’re investing in the bank where the next body of work will come from,” Lee said. This year, Lee has returned her focus to the original drawings she made in art school. “As I approach 20 years with this cumulative body of work, I decided to spend some time with the 10 large drawings of zinnias where the work began,” Lee said. “I decided to trace over the flower drawings with a darker pencil in hopes of using the lines in new ways, but also to reconnect with the long, quiet, thinking, listening, marking time process as I reflect and plan for the future.” In the garden of Lee’s future, she hopes to develop a new group of sculptures and paintings based upon these lines. Another unfolding.

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Above: Metal stencils; Below: “Forget-Me-Nots” (2- by 6-feet, oil on panel, 2019)


Lee’s “Summer Garden” artwork is on the cover of Caroline Herring’s album, “Verses.”

Verses Caroline Herring is an internationally acclaimed artist. Her album, “Verses” (Continental Records), released in August 2019, is based on ancient scripture texts about wisdom, longing and love. The album is available at carolineherring.com. “Caroline Herring and I grew up together in Canton, and studied at UM a few years apart. We also both went to Camp DeSoto and both still return as often as possible. “Even though we don’t see each other very often and our work is very different, through the years we have encouraged each other and enjoyed having a long friendship, sharing the joys and challenges of pursuing creative work. “A few summers ago, Caroline spent a few weeks at Camp DeSoto and wrote a song based on John 1:16-23 that quickly became a favorite. There is something glorious about 300 girls singing ‘grace upon grace upon grace upon grace from Him.’ “When she contacted me about making album artwork (for ‘Verses’), I was thrilled to help. I chose ‘Summer Garden’ because it is especially like summer at camp, bright and happy.” — Carlyle Wolfe Lee J U N E /J U LY 2 02 0 | I N V I TAT I O N

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WEDDINGS LOOK A LITTLE DIFFERENT — BUT NO LESS JOYOUS — THIS YEAR. PHOTOGRAPHED BY LINDSEY MEISENHEIMER

Meredith and Austin Lenox got married May 2 in Oxford, and their would-be wedding guests gave them a grand send-off parade. Photographer Lindsey Meisenheimer captured the joy of the day. “My goal is to adapt seamlessly and provide the same level of excitement, love and enthusiasm whether there are 8 or 300 guests on their very special day,” Meisenheimer said. Read about more creative milestone celebrations at invitationoxford.com and invitationmag.com.

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Grown

DEEMED ESSENTIAL BY THE STATE, FARMERS MARKETS AROUND NORTH MISSISSIPPI GIVE GROWERS A PLACE TO SELL RIPE PRODUCE, HANDCRAFTED GOODS AND MORE. WRITTEN BY MICHAEL A GIBSON MORRIS

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s summer begins, the bounty of northeast Mississippi will be ripe for the picking. Fresh from the field, fruits and vegetables will be as close as your local farmers market. “You can get locally grown produce straight from the field,” said Braddock Brawner, who helps oversee the Corinth Farmers Market No. 1 on Shiloh Road, which has been in existence for more than 30 years. “That’s the beauty of it.” Through the summer and into the fall, Corinth farmer Dee Suitor expects to have tomatoes, peas, green beans, okra, squash, cucumbers, eggplant, watermelon, cantaloupe and pumpkins for sale at both the Shiloh Road market and the other Corinth market on Fulton Drive. The growing season started early in the new year for Suitor, thanks to his greenhouse. Although the fields were too wet for planting in late February, Suitor was already working on spring and summer crops. Tomatoes were growing in his greenhouse with hopes of satisfying customers hungry for the first ripe tomatoes of the season. This year — perhaps more than ever — local farmers and small business vendors selling goods at the markets will appreciate the support of those hungry customers.

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Hyper Local Farmers markets are distinct from roadside produce stands. Hosted by nonprofit or government agencies, they bring together multiple local producers. In north Mississippi, farmers markets are primarily sponsored by Main Street associations and county extension service offices. To be sold at the markets, fruits and vegetables must be locally produced by the farmers. Under the guidelines governing farmers markets, the vendors can’t resell produce grown elsewhere. So, on opening day, don’t expect to find late summer vegetables that haven’t had time yet to grow in north Mississippi, said Craig Helmuth, assistant market manager for Tupelo Farmers Depot, which started in 1999. Not everything from the grocery store produce section translates for local farmers markets. “Nobody here grows bananas or oranges,” Helmuth said. The rules about what can be sold at farmers markets can vary. The Corinth farmers markets focus solely on produce. Many allow homemade canned goods and baked goods. The markets in Pontotoc


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and Fulton welcome crafters alongside farmers. The Tupelo Farmers Depot requires handmade goods to have some connection back to the farm. “We’re sticklers for that,” Helmuth said.

Growing Stronger

SHOPPING

Make the most of your shopping experience: Carry cash. Most farmers are not set up to take plastic. Bring your own bags to help reduce costs to farmers and help the environment. Savor what’s in season. Farmers markets have only what is grown locally and is ripe for harvesting. Ask questions. Farming is a labor of love, and the farmers want to share it with customers.

The modern farmers market movement is traced to the 1970s and has gained ground in Mississippi over the past two decades. According to the Mississippi State Extension Service, Mississippi barely had a dozen farmers markets in 2000. By 2018, there were 94 around the state. “People like to know where their food comes from,” said Patrick Poindexter, Alcorn County extension agent. “They are able to interact with these growers.” The atmosphere at farmers markets brings together people of all ages and backgrounds, and although people can shop quickly and leave, it invites people to linger. “The farmers market is such a melting pot,” Helmuth said. “It’s a social experience.” In past years, many markets have hosted cooking demonstrations, live music and children’s activities. Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, many of those plans are on hold this summer. Market managers say it’s more important than ever to make sure farmers and creators have local outlets. “We’re trying to cultivate our creative economy,” said Mary Jennifer Russell, who oversees New Albany’s Biscuits and Jam Market, which is shifting to a roadside stand setup this year so certified farmers can sell throughout the week.

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TIPS

See pictures from local farmers markets by visiting invitationoxford.com or invitationmag.com.


North Mississippi Fa r m e r s

M arkets *Dates may be affected by weather or public health guidance.

Corinth Farmers Market No. 1 (Shiloh Rd.) and No. 2 (Fulton Dr.) Open late May to Oct. 31, Monday-Saturday More info: Alcorn County extension office, 662-286-7755

Houston Farmers Market Pinson Square in downtown Houston Open May 30 to late July, Saturdays, 7-11 a.m. More info: Our Houston Farmers Market Facebook page

Tupelo Farmers Depot 415 S. Spring St. Open May 23 to fall, Saturdays, 6 a.m.-noon More info: tupelomainstreet.com/famers-market

Oxford Community Market Community Pavilion on University Open year-round, Tuesdays, 3-6:30 p.m. More info: oxfordcommunitymarket.com

Mid-Town Farmers Market Mid-Town Shopping Center | Oxford Open May 2-Oct. 31, Wednesdays and Saturdays, 7-11 a.m. More info: mtfarmersmarket.com

Off the Square Market Jefferson and Lafayette streets | Pontotoc Open early June, Saturdays, 7-11 a.m. More info: Pontotoc County Chamber Facebook page

Ripley Main Street Farmers Market 111 E. Spring St. | Ripley Open June 6, Saturdays, 7-11 a.m. More info: Ripley Main Street Facebook page

Iuka Farmers Market Location and schedule TBD More info: Tishomingo County Extension Facebook page

Biscuits & Jam Farmers Market Bankhead and Main | New Albany Open late May-Aug. 1 Monday-Saturday as a roadside stand More info: Biscuits & Jam Farmers Market on Facebook

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C L AY C O L E M A N ’ S B A R B E C U E B U S I N E S S M AY H AV E B E E N L AU N C H E D I N D E S P E R AT I O N, B U T I T Q U I C K LY B E C A M E — A N D C O N T I N U E S TO B E — A DELICIOUS SUCCESS STORY. WRITTEN BY LESLIE CRISS

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n late February, just before people began to quarantine because of COVID-19, small business owner Clay Coleman began planning. He spaced out the tables inside Clay’s House of Pig, his barbecue eatery. But when restaurants were notified they could only operate curbside service or pickup orders, Coleman gave thanks for his outside walk-up window. “That outside window was already established,” he said. “That saved us. That and lots of prayers.” Perhaps some of the most powerful prayers were sent up nightly by Coleman’s five nieces, ages 5 to 13, in South Carolina. “My brother called me early on to tell me they were all praying for the business,” Coleman said. “He’ll sometimes text me the girls’ prayers. They will melt your heart.” Five-year-old Ivy’s prayer one night in April was, “Dear God, don’t let Clay’s shop get canceled for that virus.”


In the early days of the quarantine especially, patrons of local restaurants reached out to help by purchasing takeout meals and gift cards to distribute to others for future use. Later, when some restaurants made the decision to close their doors until the quarantine ended, others remained open. C.H.O.P. was one of those. “We relied heavily on social media, advertising family packages for meals,” Coleman said. “We made every effort to show what we were doing, not what we were not doing.” Still, Coleman said he lay awake at night, his mind mulling multiple concerns. “I’d just keep thinking, ‘We survived today; will we tomorrow?’” he said. Facing uncertainties in the business world is not a new experience for Coleman. In fact, only three years ago, he found himself in a precarious position professionally. And no matter how many times he tells his story, his excitement remains as fresh as it was in its original telling. The owner of Clay’s Bait and Tackle on Veterans Boulevard in east Tupelo was on the brink of bankruptcy and trying desperately to decide what to do next. “I was laying awake at night, wondering how to survive running a bait shop in December,” he said. “I was overdrawn $1,503. I was staring at the ceiling, talking to God, trying to figure out what my next move was. “There were no booming voices, no miraculous answers, and I knew it would probably be my last day of being self-employed.” At the time, Coleman also did a little deer processing in the back of the bait shop, but it didn’t bring in a lot of money. “The day the bank was about to shut my bank account down, everybody I knew came in and bought a rod and reel, or ordered summer sausage and paid in advance,” Coleman said. Near the end of the work day, Coleman raced to his bank. He had to dig deep into his change bag, and his deposit was just a little more than $1,503. Continued on page 56

The outside walk-up window at C.H.O.P. (above) has been busy this spring serving up customer favorites including slabs of ribs, barbecue plates, nachos and the restaurant's signature barbecue baked potatoes, pictured opposite.

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Change of plans Continued from page 55 Before he gave up on his business entirely, Coleman cooked up a plan based on one of his favorite pastimes: cooking barbecue for friends and family. It was a plan that would take every cent he made that spring in the bait shop, but Coleman hoped it might be worth the risk. C.H.O.P. — Clay’s House of Pig — started off quietly, with little fanfare and no fancy feast. It all began with nachos, and some of the best Boston butt around. Coleman started cooking butts at 3 a.m. on May 14, 2017. Between 11 a.m. and noon, he had one customer. He posted a video of the barbecue nachos on Facebook about 11:45 a.m. The phone started ringing, and orders were placed for what callers had seen online. “Within 15 minutes of posting the video, we were bombarded with orders,” Coleman said. “Sales lasted about two weeks from that first video.” Then came the potato video, featuring gargantuan baked potatoes loaded with queso, jalapenos, bacon, barbecued pork and a tangy sauce. The video got 40,000 views in a week.

Joe Tanner is the store manager at C.H.O.P.

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Visit invitationoxford.com or invitationmag.com for the recipe for Clay Coleman's spicy Brisket Chili.


HAVE A SEAT Much of the business in the early days was called in and picked up. But there were customers who chose to eat at C.H.O.P., and they happily ate wherever they found space. “Eight guys ate on the chest freezer,” Coleman said. “It looked like they were hunkered down at a hog trough.” Little by little, Coleman made additional seating available for his customers. He brought lawn chairs from home, and more times than Coleman can count, when he had a need, it was quickly and often inexplicably filled. “Not a chair matches another chair,” Coleman said. “And no one cares.” It works — because people come for the food. The nachos and baked potatoes remain the menu favorites, but Coleman’s repertoire is much more extensive these days. He has barbecue sandwiches, brisket, ribs, street tacos and belly buttons, which are caramelized pork belly. He goes through 96 Boston butts and 250 to 300 pounds of rib tips each week. “Everyone has their own favorite thing on the menu,” he said. “My very favorite may be a big, old barbecue bologna sandwich. I have one at least once a week.” In those early days, Coleman arrived in darkness at 3 a.m. to start his grills and then head home to Jinnie, his wife of 28 years, and youngest daughter, Emma, late in the day. The Colemans are also the parents of Cody and Shelbie. Coleman, though proud his plan is enjoying prodigious success, quickly gives credit where due. “I’m just managing chaos,” he said. “I’m a one-trick pony. I just barbecue. But I hired some people who have 75 tricks and are better than me at every station.” Joe Tanner is store manager; Rich Barnes is kitchen manager. And Jinnie Coleman serves as her husband’s biggest supporter, he said. She is also his CPA and “bookkeeping ninja.”

FAMILY AFFAIR It could be said that barbecuing is in Coleman’s blood. The Dyersburg, Tennessee, native grew up watching his father grill. As a kid, he held wrenches while Dennis Coleman built a grill from a 55-gallon barrel. He also watched his father make rubs and sauces. There’s a lot of family tradition cooked into the menu items at C.H.O.P. There’s a rub that started off as a creation of Coleman’s father; the potato salad recipe, tweaked by Coleman, belonged to his mother, Becky; and the slaw is a cross between his mom’s and his wife’s recipes. “When I nailed it, I nailed it, and I put it on lockdown,” Coleman said. “I am as happy as I’ve ever been in life. I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had as an adult. I’m tired, stressed out, but having a ball.”

Taking it on the Road

Clay Coleman's next adventure in barbecue is a C.H.O.P. food truck.

Clay Coleman has been keeping a secret. Hidden behind his restaurant on Veterans Boulevard in Tupelo, is a shiny, black 1989 Chevy truck. The vehicle, which resembles a UPS truck, is a work in progress, but Coleman can hardly wait to unveil his new food truck. He found himself thinking about the possibility of additional C.H.O.P. restaurants in other places. Then he decided it would be easier to try out new venues if his business was mobile. He hopes to test the markets in places like Oxford, especially on game days, and Nashville, during music festivals and other big events. He’s even considering catering. Coleman’s plans to debut his truck at a Food Truck Friday at Fairpark.

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Making the

Most of it FROM DECORATING UPDATES TO OUTDOOR IMPROVEMENTS, THESE RECENT DO-IT-YOURSELF PROJECTS WILL BE ENJOYED FOR YEARS TO COME.

PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

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Continued from page 58

BRICK MADE BETTER

COZY QUILTS

Kellye and Chet Abraham are both Tupelo nurses whose work hours decreased periodically during the quarantine. They used the spare time to paint the brick exterior of their nearly 2,400-square-foot home. Chet also built and hung new shutters. The couple, married 19 years, has three children.

Before

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Nancy Beard taught herself to quilt when she was pregnant with her son Lee, now 22. She’s not kept count of the quilt tops she’s pieced through the years, but she recently finished two that she refers to as her COVID quilts. Beard has found time to work on the quilts even though she’s a registered nurse at North Mississippi Medical Center. She enjoys piecing quilt tops because she can pick it up for 15 minutes or spend all afternoon on it.


OUTDOOR ESCAPE

NEW FACADE The latest in completed projects at the Mooreville home of Heather and Steve Pike is a renovation of their fireplace. Most of the work was done by the Pikes, including removing the stones and completing their first tile job. Heather found the new mantle at Joyful Creations. The couple, married 19 years, spent one week on the project.

Before

Time in quarantine gave Oxford’s Josh White the opportunity to complete a project he’d started a year earlier by building a deck and two platforms. This year, he added railings, stairs and a magnificent screened-in tree house for his three sons. Josh did not work alone: His wife of 15 years, Mary John, supervised. The project took two weeks to complete.

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FOR THE BIRDS

Nicole and Jason Brunner, owners of Brunner Heating & Air in Oxford, saw a picture of a chicken coop/garden and were inspired. They bought a pair of Orpington chickens, then Jason spent two days building the coop, and Nicole painted. The Brunners and their five children have planted a little of everything and now have five chickens and lots of fresh eggs.

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Wide-Open

Outdoors GET OUTSIDE AND EXPERIENCE THE BEAUTY OF NATURE IN NORTH MISSISSIPPI. PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

Wall Doxey State Park

Located just 7 miles outside of Holly Springs, Wall Doxey State Park is centered around a 60-acre spring-fed lake. Originally developed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the park includes a 2.5-mile nature trail, a picnic area and disc golf courses.

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Puskus Lake A recreation area in Holly Springs National Forest, Puskus Lake is a remote and quiet 96-acre lake stocked primarily with largemouth bass and bluegill. Facilities include 19 campsites, 13 picnic sites, a boat ramp, fishing piers and a onemile hiking trail.

Arkabutla Lake Arkabutla Lake is a reservoir located southwest of Hernando on the Coldwater River in DeSoto and Tate counties. In addition to boating and fishing, the land surrounding the lake is used for horseback riding, hiking and biking. The recreational area also includes facilities for camping, swimming and picnicking.

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Sardis Lake At more than 98,000 acres, Sardis Lake is a destination for fishing and boating in north Mississippi. Recreation areas around the reservoir also offer opportunities for hunting, camping, hiking, mountain biking and picnicking.

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Tishomingo State Park

In the foothills of the Appalachians, near the Mississippi-Alabama border, Tishomingo State Park claims the highest natural point in Mississippi. In addition to hiking and bouldering, visitors can enjoy rappelling off the point of Jean’s Overhang. Located on Bear Creek, a tributary of the Tennessee River, Tishomingo also has a small lake where people can canoe, kayak and fish. Dating to the 1930s, camping cabins and other park facilities are built from local stone, and the park also features a historic trapper’s cabin.

Visitors should contact specific locations before visiting as facilities such as visitor centers, interpretive centers, museums, field offices and select recreation facilities, including campgrounds and beaches, may be temporarily closed.

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Holly Springs National Forest One of six national forests in the state, Holly Springs National Forest covers portions of Benton, Lafayette, Marshall, Tippah, Union and Yalobusha counties. Its 155,000 acres of national forest land boast small lakes and pine forests in a habitat that encourages native plant species to thrive. Visitors will find trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding, and some of the lakes offer fishing and swimming.

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1. Chicory Market employees 2. Katherine Lovelace, Teresa Griffin (manager), Linda Henry, Passion Gipson and Shanika Marshall 3. Halley Lewis and Jason Dickey 4. Madalyn Red 5. Kimberly Cook and Loretta Collins

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1-4. Bubba Gross, owner of Southern Craft Stove + Tap in Oxford and Tupelo, helps bring donated meals to essential workers at Baptist Memorial Hospital. 5. Terry Marion, Nancy Gilliam, Kim Foster and Geneva Osborne serve lunch to a Tupelo student. 6. Terry Marion 7. Jim Yates offers a meal to a Tupelo student.

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1. Corey Williams, Rochelle Harwood, Allen Brown and Keith Edwards 2. Josh Miller and Jess Carter 3. Tony Halcin, Justin Wilson, Will Tidwell, Bill Rodela and Tim Ware 4. Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill 5. Cathead Distillery’s Comfort & Mercy hand sanitizer. In April, the City of Oxford partnered with the Jackson distillery to package its sanitizer and distribute it in the community. 6. Ben Requet 7. Mollie Woodhouse 8-11. Lafayette County first responders took part in many birthday parades while residents were under orders to stay at home. Pictured are birthday parades for Hannah Kate King and sisters Eva Kate and Eleanor Mitchell.

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1. Dr. Jeremy Graham 2. Theresa Roseberry 3. Patton Bennett and John Parvin 4. Lynn O’Brien 5. Hannah Thompson 6. Andrew and Jessica Mathias with Dr. Catherine Phillips 7. Kenisha Campbell, Paula McLarty, Marti White and Mary John White 8. Mary John White 9. Jacob Rowland and Eli Johnson 10. Tonya Carlock, Elaine Prillhart, Carol Upton, Madalyn Carter and Leigh-Ann Croder 11. Joyce McCain and Nicole Ryan 12. Barbara Jones and Patrick Emerson

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HEALTH CARE WORKERS S p e c i a lt y O r t ho p e d ic G roup

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C h a ne y ’s P h a r m a c y

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Re l i a s H e a lt hc a re

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1. Jennifer Cochran, Victoria White, Charlsi Allen, Annette Morgan, Allisa Hood, Lindsey Lee and Savana Armstrong 2. Melanie Sharp, Ashden Grimes, Dr. Phillip Sandifer, Caroline Stinson, Jennifer Anderson, Jordan Ciaramitaro and Miranda Bennett 3-4. North Mississippi Medical Center and Relias Healthcare employees 5. Lori Elliott 6. Carrie Cooper

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HEALTH CARE WORKERS No r t h M i s s i s s i p p i Me d ic a l C e nt e r, Tup e lo

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Ba ld w y n Nu r s i n g Fa c i l it y

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P u l mo n a r y C o n s u lt a nt s , Tup e lo

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1. Sonya Phillips helps COVID-19 patient Charlotte Knight connect with family through technology. 2. Ashley Frazier with a donation of disinfectant spray and wipes from North Pontotoc Elementary School teachers Angie McDonald and Kimberly Ball. 3. Lowell Walker and Don Simmons from the NMMC Pastoral Care Department hold a Blessing of the Hands for COVID-19 staff members. 4. Jason Terry, Shasta Hollins and Allen Ricks 5. Dee Dee Bates 6. Bamby Petty 7. Gwen Renfrow 8. Darlene Paden and Kiedra Knox 9. Barry Keel and Bertha Matthews

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N M MC We s t Po i nt

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N E I G H B O R M AG G IE

INTERVIEWED BY LESLIE CRISS

C A R RO LL |

PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

T

ippah County native Maggie Carroll was recently the recipient of rousing applause and a standing ovation from employees and staff members of North Mississippi Medical Center. The occasion? The 52-year-old Carroll was the first COVID-19 patient on a ventilator to be released from the Tupelo hospital. Carroll, a Cotton Plant resident and a cashier at Dirt Cheap, entered the hospital March 26. She was hospitalized 22 days and was on a ventilator 13 of those days.

Q: When did you first notice you might be

experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus and what were those symptoms? A: On March 26, I got up to go to work, and I had chest pain and was having a hard time breathing. I didn’t think about it being one of the signs of the virus. But I went to the emergency room in Ripley to get it checked out, and I’m glad I did. I was taken by ambulance to NMMC.

Q:

How did it feel to be hospitalized, all alone with family and friends unable to be with you? A: I had never been hospitalized before so I didn’t know what to expect. It was lonely, but the phone calls helped.

Q:

When you were placed on a ventilator, were you afraid you might not leave the hospital alive? A: I don’t have any memory of being on the ventilator, but I know I must have been scared and put it in God’s hands. Because of His grace and mercy, He brought me through.

Q:

Describe the feelings you had the day you were wheeled out of the hospital, surrounded by applause, to go home.

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A:

I was very emotional and happy that I made it out. I was overwhelmed by the staff cheering for me. I want to thank everyone that took care of me at NMMC.

Q: What words of wisdom would you share

today with people about the seriousness of the virus?

A:

I just want to encourage everyone to take it seriously. Please, wear your masks and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. It might not affect you, but you can affect someone else and contribute to their illness and possible death. This virus is serious, and I want you to take it seriously. Think of your family, your friends and yourselves.


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