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NOVEMBER 2017


CREATING PEACE OF MIND For over 100 years, Semmes Murphey Clinic has been a leader in neurological and spinal care. Our dedicated team of doctors provide cutting edge treatment options with compassionate, personal care. APPOINTMENT LINE: (901) 522-7700 WWW.SEMMES-MURPHEY.COM


NOVEMBER 2017

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ON THE COVER This issue celebrates local food and some unique people and places that love to share nourishment and joy with the community.

IN EVERY ISSUE 6

Letter From the Publisher

8

What’s Happening

10

Community Corner

12

In Season: Thanksgiving Tablescape

60

Out and About

64

Tupelo Spirit: Donna Wiggins

ANNOUNCEMENTS 14

Atkins and Cook

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FEATURES

EVENTS

16 Food for Thought

36

Tupelo Chili Fest

Growing Healthy Waves implements learning opportunities from school greenhouses to parent sessions on food choice.

38

Corinth Halloween

40

Tupelo Halloween

42

Imagine the Possibilities Expo

44

Tupelo Garden Club Luncheon

46

Tallahatchie Riverfest

48

Celebration Village

50

Saltillo Scarecrow Festival

52

Saltillo Wax Museum

A Mississippi Palate features recipes and works of art that celebrate the Magnolia State.

54

Healthworks! Benefit

56

CDF Fall Classic

32 Fired Up

58

Okeelala Festival

20 Off the Eaten Path In a town where there’s no shortage of dining options, these Tupelo restaurateurs are finding success in nontraditional ways.

28 The Beauty of Southern Cuisine

Scrap metal, forging equipment and imagination are all Rudi Hill needs to make his custom knives.


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28

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THE PUBLISHER

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here’s nothing I look forward to more than the holiday season and sharing delicious food with family and friends. But when I was growing up, my family didn’t always do traditional holiday meals. My grandmother never liked turkey and dressing, so when we gathered as a family for Thanksgiving, she usually served a deli­cious pot of chili for lunch and spaghetti or steak for dinner. Sometimes those unexpected meals can be the most memorable. It was with this thought in mind that we decided to find some of Tupelo’s most interesting foodies to feature in this food-themed issue, even though they don’t necessarily serve their fare from traditional restaurant spaces. Flip to page 20 to learn more about a bait shop that serves up barbecue, a DIY snow cone stand, a soul food restaurant that pays homage to family cooking, and the newest food truck on the block. All of them are in business to bring joy to people through their food. Meet Donna Wiggins (on page 64), who was similarly inspired this summer when she decided to bring a taste of her farm to folks at Diversicare nursing home, where she works.

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Left: The comfort food served at Aunt B’s is inspired by owner Thomas Woods’ mother and aunt. Right: A Mississippi Palate features recipes by chef Robert St. John and watercolor illustrations by artist Wyatt Waters.

Much to their delight, the residents helped shuck corn, shell peas, snap beans and more. Meanwhile, students at Lawndale Elementary School have just begun discovering food in a whole new way – by growing it themselves in a greenhouse they opened in September. Read more on page 16. Finally, on page 28, get a sneak peek at a beautiful new book by watercolorist Wyatt Waters and chef Robert St. John. Along with Southern recipes and colorful illustrations, the

two weave personal stories of their home state of Mississippi throughout the book. No matter what you have to eat this Thanksgiving, we wish you all a wonderful holiday. We are so thankful for our readers and advertisers – without each of you, this magazine wouldn’t be possible.

RACHEL M. WEST, PUBLISHER


publishers

Phil and Rachel West

editorial

EDITOR IN CHIEF Emily Welly CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Lena Anderson EVENTS EDITOR Mary Moreton STAFF WRITER Melanie Crownover SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR Katherine Henson COPY EDITOR Kate Johnson

advertising

ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS Alise M. Emerson Leigh Lowery Lynn McElreath Stacey Raper Moni Simpson Whitney Worsham ADVERTISING DESIGNERS Zach Fields Becca Pepper

art

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Hallie Thomas STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS Lisa Roberts Joe Worthem CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Kim Westhouse Whitney Worsham

production

PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Emily Suber

office

BUSINESS MANAGER Hollie Hilliard DISTRIBUTION Donald Courtney Brian Hilliard MAIN OFFICE 662-234-4008 ADVERTISING INFORMATION ads@invitationtupelo.com

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

PLEASE RECYCLE THIS MAGAZINE

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NOV. 15 - DEC. 15

11/16

Taste of Tupelo Community Development Foundation hosts Taste of Tupelo Presented by Barnes Crossing Auto Group, an expo featuring more than 100 businesses from various industries. Attendees must be age 21 or older. 5-8 p.m., BancorpSouth Arena. cdfms.org

11/17 & 12/8

Healthworks! Kid’s Night Drop off the kids (ages 4-12) for a night of fun activities and dinner. $15 per child or $10 per member child, if paid before day of event (add $7 for day-of registration). 5:30-8:30 p.m. healthworkskidsms.org

HOLIDAY EVENTS

11/18

12/2

The ninth annual season of Corinth’s monthly farmers market wraps up with a Christmasthemed event. Open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at the historic Corinth Depot. corinthgreenmarket.net

Fourth- through eighth-graders perform It’s an Okie Dokie Life, directed by Diane Ludt, and ninth- through 12th-graders perform Way Way Down East, directed by Shelly Slatter and Alicia Monts. Both performances take place at Church Street School. Meanwhile, Piped Piper hosts an arts-and-crafts shop fundraiser in the school for children to shop for Christmas gifts from 3 p.m. facebook.com/piedpipertupelo

Corinth Red & Green Market

11/19

Christmas Open House Downtown Tupelo retailers kick off the holiday shopping season. Noon-4 p.m.

11/30

Christmas Lighting

11/17-18

Dive-In Movie

The annual Christmas lighting of Ballard Park and the Oren Dunn Museum features school choirs, train rides, a visit from the Grinch and a toy exhibit at Oren Dunn. 6 p.m., Ballard Park.

Watch Jaws while floating in Tupelo Aquatic Center’s Elvis Presley Pool in an inner tube. Must be 13 or older to attend. $10 per person; pre-registration required. 6:15-8:15 p.m. Friday; 5:15-7:15 p.m. and 7:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday. swimtupelo.com

12/1

12/7-10

12/2

Disney on Ice brings Frozen to BancorpSouth Arena. Tickets $18-$63. 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. bcsarena.com

Tupelo Ballet performs the holiday classic with live accompaniment by the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. Call 662-844-1928 for ticket information. 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Tupelo High School. tupeloballet.com

Frozen

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69th Annual Christmas Parade Tupelo’s Police Athletic League coaches, students, staff and volunteers serve as grand marshals in this year’s Christmas parade. 7-9 p.m., downtown Tupelo.

The Nutcracker

Pied Piper Players Christmas Plays

12/5-31

Corvette Christmas Tupelo Automobile Museum will be decked out with twinkling lights, decorated trees and 1950s and ’60s Corvettes. Admission $10 adults; $5 children ages 5-12. Open 9 a.m.4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday; noon-4:30 p.m. Sunday. tupeloautomuseum.com

12/7-9

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Tupelo Community Theatre presents a holidaythemed play based on Barbara Robinson’s 1971 book about the Herdmans, six delinquent children who are unexpectedly cast in a Sunday school Christmas play. Directed by Christi Houin. Tickets $20 adults; $10 students. 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Lyric Theatre. tct.ms


TUPELO/LEE COUNTY HUNGER COALITION written by Melanie Crownover

Solving area food insecurity is the goal of the Tupelo/Lee County Hunger Coalition. Anchored by the city’s CREATE Foundation affiliate and the United Way of Northeast Mississippi, the fledgling group held its first meeting in May. More than 100 people attended, most of whom were concerned citizens, food pantry volunteers and organization leaders ready to face the problem together. “The numbers are staggering: 19.2 percent of our citizens are food insecure – that’s one in five,” Melinda Tidwell, president of the United Way of Northeast Mississippi, said. “Our partnership food pantries distribute 1.2 million pounds of food a year, but it would take 3 million to meet the needs we have here.” After the first meeting, CREATE donated $10,000 to the Mid-South Food Bank in Memphis to earmark more food specifically for the pantries in this area. Ideas from the second gathering led to amplified efforts by a group of local attorneys to install food closets at schools for teachers to discreetly distribute donations, as well as ways to more efficiently manage food pickup and deliveries from the MSFB. Joining the coalition is a choice of conscience for many, such as Dr. Dick White, chief medical officer of North Mississippi Health Services. “This is what you know you should do for your neighbor when they’re hurting,” he said. “We want to coordinate the programs already there, create new resources where they’re needed and make access more available.” To learn more or get involved, contact melinda@unitedwaynems.org.

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A PARTNERSHIP WITH TUPELO BLOGGERS tablescape by Katie Pannell photographed by Joe Worthem

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all is an ideal time of year to gather with family and friends around a beautifully decorated table. Katie Pannell, a local elementary school educator, mother, and contributor to Tupelo Bloggers, enjoys creating a special tablescape inspired by autumn and the Thanksgiving holiday. She uses natural elements, textured fabrics and embellished gourds to make her table pretty and festive for family and guests. Here’s how.

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Begin with a variety of small pumpkins and gourds. “These can be embellished with glitter tape, some type of glue adhesive, glitter – anything you want that can dress them up and give them a new look,” Pannell said.

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Use a pretty piece of pottery to add depth. Or try using small boxes or even a stack of books hidden underneath a textured fabric to add height in places.

Bring in additional elements such as cotton or foliage to add to the overall natural look. In addition to pumpkins and gourds, Pannell’s tablescape includes green moss, fronds from a fern and sedum clippings in glass vases.

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Candles can be a nice addition too; just make sure they are not close to the other pieces when lit. Or try using flameless candles to achieve the same ambience safely. Remember that if you make the decorations too high or wide, they could obstruct guests’ view across the table.

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Make it a family project. “My daughter helped with this project; I love having her or my son help when possible,” Pannell said. “It gives children a sense of ownership in a project and helps them get even more excited about a gathering of family and friends.”

Katie Pannell is the assistant principal at Pierce Street Elementary. She has served in various roles in the Tupelo Public School District since 2005. Her husband, Jason, teaches at Saltillo High School. They have two children, John and Elizabeth. Katie is active in Sanctuary Hospice Junior Auxiliary, Tupelo Community Theatre and First United Methodist Church.

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY LAUREN WOOD PHOTOGRAPHY

ANDREA MADISON ATKINS & TYLER DAVID CRAIGHILL COOK

avid and Amanda Atkins of Tupelo are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Andrea Madison Atkins, to Tyler David Craighill Cook, son of David and Suzanne Cook, also of Tupelo. Madison, a graduate of the University of Mississippi, is now a dance instructor at North Mississippi Dance Centre. She is also an employee at Reed’s Department Store and VOW. Tyler graduated from Blue Mountain College and is now an employee at Renasant Bank in New Albany. He is also umpire-in-chief with Tupelo Parks and Recreation. The couple will exchange wedding vows at Sadie Holland Farm Chapel on May 5, 2018. Afterward, they will celebrate their marriage with family and friends at All Saints’ Episcopal Church.

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Holiday Hours

MON DAY- WEDN ESDAY 10: 00- 6: 00 THURSDAY & FRIDAY 1 0: 00- 7: 00 SATUR DAY 1 0 :0 0 -6 : 00

662-365-0111 • 104 West Main Historic Downtown Baldwyn November 2017 | INVITATION TUPELO

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food â thought

Growing Healthy Waves continues to thrive by implementing learning opportunities, from interactive school greenhouses to parent sessions on food choice. written by Melanie Crownover photographed by Joe Worthem

The Sprout House, a working greenhouse that will function as an interactive-learning classroom, opened at Lawndale Elementary in September. The greenhouse is a product of Tupelo Public School District’s Growing Healthy Waves program, which has also facilitated student taste tests, educational sessions for parents, cafeteria salad bars and learn-and-grow school gardens.

In late September

students sat at the ready, awaiting their introduction to a learning space they’ve been imagining for months: Lawndale Elementary School’s new greenhouse. The third- through fifth-graders had been watching patiently from the time a crew broke ground near the campus playground in the spring of 2017 until the last plants were situated in the fall. Tours of the green space couldn’t come quickly enough after officials cut the ribbon on opening day. “Having a controlled environment like

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that to study is an exciting thing because they get to see the processes up close over time and really get into it,” fifth-grade science teacher Rachel Beasley said. “There’s a much deeper understanding and better retention from handson learning like this. The great thing is, they’ve been constantly asking when they would get to go inside it since construction started.” This interactive-learning classroom, which students named The Sprout House, came courtesy of grant money from Toyota and the Boerner Be Wild Foundation; however, Tupelo Public School District’s Growing Healthy

Waves (GHW) program headed the project from start to finish. The 36-by-48-foot sanctuary for STEMbased activities is a milestone for the Tupelo Public School District (TPSD) program, which focuses on bringing better nutrition and healthy-food education to the area, but it’s only one of many victories for the district. The first win was getting a Food Corps Mississippi service member in 2013 after a year of lobbying. The contract pairs a worker with a district to help up to three schools implement healthier nutrition programs, and TPSD must


Food Corps Mississippi workers help advance the goals of the Growing Healthy Waves program.

reapply annually. It has gained approval each year since. The district pays for the worker through nutrition department funding, but the outof-pocket cost is more than recouped in the form of grants for projects and fresh foods awarded to GHW. Since the program’s inception, its productivity within the district has been staggering. GHW has held countless student taste tests and Parent Academy healthy-food sessions within the schools served, installed salad bars at both Parkway Elementary and Joyner Elementary, and implemented learn-and-grow gardens at all K-2 schools in the district. “We want to make a difference with our youngest students to change their palates early on, show them the science behind healthy foods in the classroom, give them a chance to try foods they may not have seen at home, and then show their parents how to deal with raw vegetables to get them on the dinner table more often,” program director Donna Loden said. “It’s a multidimensional approach.” They’ve also partnered with the University of Mississippi dietetics program to bring interns to the schools on two-week rotations to work with staff and students on nutrition projects. One intern held a session on nutrition for

JasonWarrenAssociates.com

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We want to see better

nutrition and education about healthy choices for all students in our state. We’ll do what we can to spread what we’ve learned to help as many as we can.

-Donna Loden

Donna Loden, pictured in red, works with students in The Sprout House, the new greenhouse at Lawndale Elementary. Students named the greenhouse through a contest that helped build excitement about the project.

the football team. Another trained TPSD staff on the subject. Yet another intern developed a marketing packet for GHW. Loden is currently in talks with Mississippi State University about committing their dietetic students to a similar partnership. Experts from the MSU Extension Service already work with TPSD food educators and students at Lawhon and Milam through the program. The primary focus of Food Corps is to bring nutritional education to K-6 schools, yet GHW has made a point to reach out to Tupelo’s older students as well. The organization partnered with the high school culinary class,

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which helped prepare foods for elementary students to test. And a group of seniors took on a GHW project to provide plants for the new greenhouse by sowing 2,000 plants at Native Son Farms in spring and then transferring them to Lawndale in the fall. In addition, Loden is assisting Tupelo middle and high schools in employing grants they recently received to build their own instructional gardens. The group’s efforts have not gone unnoticed beyond the city, either. Last year, GHW won a Governor’s Award of Distinction from the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education.

Loden also works regularly with other districts throughout the state to improve their services through her role as the teacher representative on the board of the Mississippi Farm to School Network and as a speaker at educational conventions for STEM instructors. “For Growing Healthy Waves, our aim is to constantly look for ways to better what we’re doing and make the program sustainable,” she said. “Outside of that, this isn’t just about one city. We want to see better nutrition and education about healthy choices for all students in our state. We’ll do what we can to spread what we’ve learned, to help as many as we can.”


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Off æ Eaten Path 20 INVITATION TUPELO | November 2017

In a town where there’s no shortage of mouthwatering dining options, these Tupelo restaurateurs are finding success in nontraditional ways. written by Melanie Crownover photographed by Joe Worthem


During the past year, Clay Coleman (pictured above) has transformed half of his bait-and-tackle shop into Clay’s House of Pig. C.H.O.P. serves barbecue Coleman cooks in a smoker built by his father, using a homemade rub and sauces that he and his family have perfected through years of award-winning performances at barbecue competitions.

Clay’s House of Pig

There’s a good reason the interior of Clay’s House of Pig on Veterans Boulevard may not exude typical restaurant ambience: Mere months ago, this popular lunch stop served only as a bait-and-tackle shop. Fishing rods, lures and hooks still fill one half of the store. The other half is populated by a stand-up cooler, a handful of booths and tables surrounded by empty pegboard walls, and the irresistible scent of well-smoked pork. The casual atmosphere is part of how C.H.O.P. operates. “It was strange to me at first when I saw barbecue at a bait shop. Then I tasted it and was hooked,” customer Robert Carnathan said. “I’m in here at least twice a week and haven’t made it through the whole menu because I keep getting stuck on one item or another.” The quest to try it all is understandable with a menu that includes such items as barbecue bologna, barbecue nachos, spareribs, the ¾-pound “Porkus Maximus” sandwich, and a “Tap Out” baked potato laden with barbecue and white queso. Clay Coleman has run a reliable supply store for fishermen in this location since 2009.

When he augmented his normal merchandise with a convenience store warmer full of his own smoked-barbecue sandwiches, his business changed forever. “I’m a one-trick pony, but it must be a pretty good trick,” he said. “We’ll have cars lined down the street and people out the door at both windows every day at lunch. I only smoke enough for that day, so when we’re out, the party is over until tomorrow.” Coleman acquired his prowess with a smoker through genetics and years of dedication. He and his brother watched their dad build a smoker out of a 55-gallon barrel when Clay was 6; then they helped pull off a win over the current Memphis in May champions at a local competition three years later. Weekends charring meat over the fire, both at home and for judges, became a long-standing tradition. That family history is reflected in the cooking at C.H.O.P. Not only is the smoker he works at the shop his dad’s newest 10-gauge steel creation, but the homemade rub and sauces are also family stock developed and tweaked through years of experience. Coleman decided to bow out of the competition world when local reaction led him to

turn half of his bait shop into a restaurant. “You can’t eat a trophy, and a trophy doesn’t smile and appreciate what you cooked,” he said. “I wouldn’t hesitate to take our ribs or butt to competition anywhere. I’d just rather make something good for people and see them enjoy it. Ninety percent of the butt you’re eating here was chopped within 15 minutes of going on your plate – people can taste that.” The response to Coleman’s barbecue – and to his promotional video antics on Facebook – was so overwhelming that in August he had to cut inventory in half at the bait shop to make room for tables and chairs. He is considering adding brisket to the menu and Saturday hours to the schedule to appease the crowds. “Things should get pretty interesting around here when the fishing business picks back up in the spring,” he said. “I may either have to add on to the place or find a larger spot to hold us.” C.H.O.P. is open Monday-Wednesday from 11 a.m. until the meat runs out, and on Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Place catering and pickup orders by calling 662-840-7980. Find out about current specials on Facebook @C.H.O.P.BBQ. November 2017 | INVITATION TUPELO

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Brunch Box

J.D. Dill and Lakyn Jackson wanted to give the city a new taste of what a food truck can do when they opened Brunch Box in September. “Connie’s [Fried Chicken] has been the top rung of local breakfast for so long in my book, and we love the local freshness you get with an outfit like KOK,” Dill said. “That’s kind of our loose model. We want to reach a whole new demographic with farm-fresh ingredients, a quality menu and food truck convenience for the most important meal of the day.” The pair, who primarily sell at Fairpark for the time being, revamped a 1990 Chevrolet Grumman as their ride. They outfitted the former armored truck with the modern necessities of a restaurant kitchen, plus a flat-top grill, a convection oven, a hot dog grill and a coffee construction area. The menu comprises an ever-changing array of made-from-scratch breakfast and lunch offerings based on local harvests. The chive turkey sandwich, breakfast taquitos and steak-and-egg Philly cheesesteak are just a few customer favorites. The couple seek out local sources for most of their produce and smoke their own meats. They also offer morning specialty drinks made from organic coffee beans that are ethically sourced and roasted in small batches by Earth Bean in California. Jackson creates her own seasonal organic cane sugar-based syrups for the brews. Current flavors include lavender, pumpkin, caramel, and white or dark chocolate. “You can tell a difference in the flavors, just like with our food,” the self-taught barista said. “If you get a pour-over or cold-brew with conventional grounds, there’s a lingering aftertaste. Organic coffee is hard to find, but this doesn’t clog up your palate.” Brunch Box’s official hours are 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, and 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The truck also serves late-night customers 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday. For daily locations and specials, text “brunch” to 51660 or check the truck’s Facebook and Instagram posts @brunchboxMS. Place pickup orders by calling 662-260-2454.

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Brunch Box, a new addition to Tupelo’s growing food truck scene, serves specialty coffee drinks and breakfast and lunch dishes that feature local ingredients. Owners Lakyn Jackson and J.D. Dill, pictured above, also serve late-night customers Thursday-Saturday nights.


Director Sharon Long | Assistant Director Tracy Peters

Live Music by the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra

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Aunt B’s Soul Food

Thomas Woods is quick to say he comes from a family of cooks, but the two who have influenced him most are his mother and his Aunt B. Their recipes fuel his restaurant on South Green Street. “My mom learned to cook for a crowd when my grandmother died because she was the oldest of a family of nine siblings,” he said. “I remember being amazed watching her bring golden cornbread in a cast iron skillet off the pot-bellied stove we had burning wood and coal when I was young. Now that Aunt B is the only one of her sisters still with us today, she makes sure we do things right around here.” Woods turned his talent for making food at gatherings with his seven siblings into a fulltime profession more than four years ago. His buffet-style establishment prepares the downhome flavors his family loves with the same methods he learned while watching his mom in the kitchen, only this daily get-together is for the public. Regulars rave about the variety of country selections that rotate on the daily menu, from the neck bones, baked or fried chicken, and country-fried steak with gravy to the side items that can make a vegetable plate. Whether the choices of the day include purple-hull peas, mustard greens, macaroni and cheese, or candied yams, Woods and his staff of four make sure there is plenty of fresh home cooking to tempt patrons. While takeout lunch plates from Aunt B’s are a treat, leisurely meals in the dining room could end in song. Tucked away in the corner of the eating area is an impromptu stage set with an amplified guitar, bass, bongos and a microphone for any talented visitors to use. “We’ve had a little of every kind of music in here – gospel, blues, country,” Woods said. “We set up on Sundays to make it taste like an old-fashioned Sunday dinner, and it just makes it even better when we have a quartet or random person come add some music to it.” Aunt B’s is open 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Catering is available by calling 662269-3923.

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Thomas Woods, pictured top, was inspired by his mother and his Aunt B when he opened his Tupelo restaurant, where he not only serves up homemade country soul food but also encourages patrons to get up and perform.


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Snowie Shaved Ice

Snowie Shaved Ice was a secondary venture for Angie and Craig Moore. The duo first brought their school bus full of flavor to the area three years ago, an attempt for the fulltime teacher and carpet cleaner to fund their daughter’s competitive cheerleading pursuits. “I knew that Snowie was the best brand in the business because my uncle had a stationary bus in Chattanooga for 13 years,” Craig said. “I remember his brothers laying into him about his little business every holiday, but after a while, I started thinking maybe he was the one who had something figured out if he was only having to work seven or eight months a year.” The Moores bought their bus from the Salt Lake City company, which makes an assortment of vehicles and flavored syrups for independent vendors around the country. The couple purchased a second unit to deliver their goods to the public last year – an open-air kiosk with two flavor stations to serve more customers at once, a useful feature at large events like fairs, tournaments and festivals. The Moores’ “make your own” setup allows customers to create their own combinations from a selection of flavors such as wedding cake, sour grape, tiger’s blood and cotton candy. How many pumps of flavor a cone gets is up to the customer’s personal taste. “We get as much out of it as our customers do because we see them at their happiest, no matter their age,” Angie said. “You won’t ever see a sad face with a snow cone. We did an event at ICC, and it was the funniest thing to see these big, tough college football players running toward our truck like excited kids.” Serving snow cones for local schools is one of Snowie’s longest-standing and fastestexpanding commitments. Schools from Tupelo and Lee County, and as far away as Prentiss County, hire the bus as a sweet incentive for students to work hard on schoolwide Advanced Reading goals or particular tests. “Since we only charge a flat fee for parties, our snow cones can be a great fundraiser for schools, churches and other organizations,” she said. “We give 25 percent of the money we make back to them for letting us come out.” Find the Moores’ next stop on Facebook @Snowie Shaved Ice. To book Snowie, contact 662-255-7639 or snowieofms@yahoo.com.

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Children and adults alike come running when they see the Snowie Shaved Ice truck, much to the delight of owners Angie and Craig Moore, pictured top left. Snowie, which is open year-round, can be found at large public events as well as private parties and fundraisers.


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the beauty of

SOUTHERN CUISINE

More than just a cookbook, A Mississippi Palate features Southern recipes along with works of art that celebrate the Magnolia State. written by Ginny Cooper McCarley

watercolors by Wyatt Waters


A Mississippi Palate: Heritage Cuisine and Watercolors of Home isn’t the first collaboration between chef, restaurateur and author Robert St. John and watercolorist Wyatt Waters, but the book is definitely their most personal. St. John and Waters, both Mississippi natives and residents, are proud to showcase their home state in their fourth book together, which hits shelves this month. “We are two of Mississippi’s biggest cheerleaders,” St. John said. “We love this state and the people of this state, and that made it a very easy project. It’s sort of a love letter home, even though we’ve never left.” The 136-page book contains 105 recipes, each with a Mississippi connection. There are basic staples, such as roasted corn, biscuits and fudge cake, alongside adventurous dishes like deer sausage and duck jambalaya, and blackened Gulf fish with crawfish and andouille maque choux, two of St. John’s favorites from the collection. The book also contains quotes from notable Mississippians, including actor Gary Grubbs, musician Cary Hudson, and former William Morris Agency executive Sam Haskell, on their thoughts and views about the state. In a recipe for shrimp and grits, St. John credits Oxford restaurateur and chef John Currence with making the dish a popular dinner entree in the state. “(Shrimp and grits) really started at Chapel Hill at Crook’s Corner (where Currence worked as a chef ). He brought that dish to Mississippi and really brought it to a wider

Wyatt Waters included his painting of Tupelo’s historic Lyric Theatre in A Mississippi Palate. Several of the artist’s watercolors are showcased in the book, along with Robert St. John’s Southern recipes, including one for “Murph’s Grits,” named for St. John’s friend Steve Murphey, a Tupelo native.

acclaim,” St. John said. “He’s the one that really brought it here and got it started.” Currence also made an appearance in the MPB television show, Palate to Palette, a sixpart series that debuted on Oct. 12. The show, which airs Thursday nights at 7 p.m. through Nov. 16, follows St. John and Waters as they eat and paint their way through the state, including a stop at Currence’s Oxford home, where the chef cooked for the duo. Deciding which dishes to feature in the book was a struggle for St. John until he took a cue from his collaborator, who kept his inspiration close to home. “Finally I just decided, Wyatt’s doing paintings that are Mississippi to him, so I did recipes that are Mississippi to me,” he said. It was Waters’ atypical choices that originally drew the two together. After looking through Waters’ book Paintings Home, St. John was impressed with the landmarks Waters included from his town, Hattiesburg.

For Waters, choosing what to paint for the book was a process of discovery. “My main belief is that art is about discovery,” Waters said. “The only way to discover things is to get lost. This book is about Mississippi, so I had to go back and re-mine (my home state). Mostly it’s about discovering and shooting from the hip.” Waters, whose father taught Mississippi history, has been exploring the Magnolia State since he was a child. “(My father) would drive us around the state and explain the sights and their historical significance,” Waters said. “At the time, I imagine it was not that interesting, but I have found, as I’ve grown, those stories inform my paintings. “I have heard it said that everyone has a book inside of them,” he continued. “It is the story of their lives. This is more specifically that story of my life. I hope people find those things that they can identify with in our book. I hope November 2017 | INVITATION TUPELO

29


they can see their lives as well. It is a shared history, and I believe it is what helps connect us.” Waters and St. John will be signing copies of A Mississippi Palate at 11 a.m. Dec. 18 at Reed’s Department Store. For more information on the book, visit amississippipalate.com.

BBQ Shrimp and Grits From A Mississippi Palate: Heritage Cuisine and Watercolors of Home recipe by Robert St. John

BBQ STOCK ½ cup dry white wine 2 cups water 2 Tablespoons Creole seasoning 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 Tablespoon paprika 1 Tablespoon minced garlic ¼ cup whole-grain mustard 1 bay leaf 1 Tablespoon hot sauce 1 Tablespoon liquid crab boil   Bring all ingredients to a boil, and remove from the heat. Stock may be made ahead of time and will hold for a week in the refrigerator. Makes 3½ cups.  

BBQ SHRIMP 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 pounds fresh Gulf shrimp (31/35 count), peeled, butterflied and tails removed 2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms 1 cup caramelized onions 1 Tablespoon Creole seasoning  2 cups BBQ Stock (recipe above) 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold   Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, and cook until almost done, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, onions and seasoning, and continue cooking another 3 to 4 minutes. Stir the BBQ Stock vigorously, and add to the pan. Allow to reduce by half, then add the cold butter, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until fully incorporated. Distribute evenly over bowls of Garlic Cheese Grits.

30 INVITATION TUPELO | November 2017

GARLIC CHEESE GRITS 1 Tablespoon bacon grease or oil 1 Tablespoon minced garlic 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups milk 2 cups chicken broth 1 cup stone-ground grits 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning 1 teaspoon hot sauce 6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese 4 ounces cream cheese

Melt the bacon grease over low heat in a 1½-quart saucepot. Add the garlic and salt, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, being careful not to brown the garlic. Add the milk and broth, and increase the heat. Bring to a simmer, and slowly pour in the grits. Lower heat, and cook the grits for 15 minutes, stirring often. Add the remaining ingredients, and stir until the cheeses are melted. Serve immediately.


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Scrap metal, forging equipment and imagination are all Rudi Hill needs to make his custom knives. written by Melanie Crownover photographed by Joe Worthem

32 INVITATION TUPELO | November 2017


Rudi Hill, pictured, handcrafts knives out of scrap metal. He taught himself to use a forge to make a variety of blades, first from discarded railroad spikes and then using other pieces of metal. For now, knife-making is a hobby for Rudi, but his unique blades have become sought after among friends and family.

T

his is the first time Rudi Hill’s home shop in Old Union has seen a proper fire in months. Between the Mississippi summer heat and his propane forge’s 2,300°F threshold, knife-making is a venture best left for cooler weather. With blacksmith tongs, Rudi drops a metal bar into the open forge, extracting it only when it’s a fiery red. Then he moves the metal to the anvil, working it up one side and down the other with staccato blows from his hammer. As he gets a rhythm going, glittering sparks spray with each hammer tap and settle in shards of cooling metal on the floor. When the bar he’s working begins to turn gray as it cools, Rudi swiftly moves it back to the fire for another round. The tool resembles a knife blade more with each repeat trip. “The good thing about metal is it forgives,” he said. “If I get to a point and don’t like it, I

can always undo what I’ve done in the fire and start again. And there’s no right or wrong with making blades. It’s just what comes out of your head and what comes out of the metal.” Like many others interested in the trade, Rudi began his knife-making experience by transforming a railroad spike – an affordable and widely available piece of metal – into a blade. He invested in a forge, an anvil and a fistful of other tools to try his hand at the craft just over a year ago. The rest was a guided experiment. Rudi taught himself the art of the forge with a lot of online research and a few tips from his older brother, Rodney Hill, who has been making nonforged knives for 15 years. “It’s amazing what he’s learned in such a short time,” Rodney said. “His craftsmanship is great, and he’s so meticulous and precise with it. I’d like to say I’ve shown him a couple

of things, but he’s really caught on to what he makes on his own.” Rudi’s blades start off as discarded items, such as railroad clips or old horseshoeing rasps, as well as scrap metal, including the standby scrap 5160 spring steel he regularly buys from a local distributor. He taught himself to whittle his own wooden handles and found an internet source for premade sheaths. The final creations are just as varied as their origins. Rudi’s stockpile of wares includes kitchen utensils such as a “Boston butt buster,” reminiscent of a guillotine blade, practical spatulas and blunted mayonnaise spreaders. His knife collection also boasts a selection of hunting and skinning blades, drop points, curved blades and notched backs. His most unique models include his spike-backed “Arkansas gator blade” and a double-sided “Zombie knife” made from a crosscut saw blade. November 2017 | INVITATION TUPELO

33


“Some makers only work with new metal or certain kinds, or they use power hammers to muscle through the work. I’m more into taking something old and giving it a new purpose the old-fashioned way.” -rudi hill

Rudi Hill uses a forge that reaches 2,300°F to heat pieces of scrap metal he plans to transform into knives. Once the metal is hot, he uses other tools to bend and sharpen the blades into the creations he has envisioned. He began making knives a little over a year ago.

Rudi made his first knives primarily for family members such as his brother, later selling a few to his extended social circle and donating his products for charitable benefits.

34 INVITATION TUPELO | November 2017

“I’m looking forward to doing some custom orders, but it’s just been me and my imagination so far,” Rudi said. “Some makers only work with new metal or certain kinds, or

they use power hammers to muscle through the work. I’m more into taking something old and giving it a new purpose the old-fashioned way.”


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View more photos at invitationtupelo.com.

TUPELO CHILI FEST Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association hosted the 18th annual Tupelo Chili Fest Oct. 13. The festival included lunch, live music and a chili contest. Participants were encouraged to dress in costume. photographed by Lisa Roberts

Jenny Jones, Ellora Dey, Tom Booth and Greg Conwill

Tim, Carron and Jon Wooten with Brad and Mickie Scott

Shanta Jones, Laura Kramer, Leigh Ann Mattox, Alex Farned, Deana Carlock and Shelia Runnels

Meagan Wilder, Jordan Elrod, Kim Slaughter, Jennifer Tucker, Adam Simmons and Jason Pellum

Tonia and Wayne Edwards with Chad and Trish Arnold, Valerie Smithey, Donna Stevens and Anna Grace Tanner

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CORINTH HALLOWEEN CELEBRATIONS Local Corinth Halloween celebrations took place Oct. 28-29. Events included historic cemetery tours at Corinth City Cemetery and children’s activities at Corinth Care Garden. photographed by Whitney Worsham

Alicia Pressley-Moss and Chastity Clay

Jodie Fiveash, Amy Mercer, Heather Rhodes and Peggy Wilbanks

Brandi and Audrey Butler

Bowlin and Bo Butler

38 INVITATION TUPELO | November 2017

Mark Boehler and Judy Glenn

Scott Smith and Branson Bolden

Ron Renfrow with Addison and Scarlett Sanders

Johnson Anderson and Joyce Clark

Kate Walker Williams, Blakley Fowler and Avery Richards

Katty and Pierce Albarracin

Jennifer Gresham and Dave Irwin


Tommy and Marea Wilson

Jessica and Carson Calvery

Bryan Clausel and Nick Bain

Mary Russell with Lilly and Lucy Smith

November 2017 | INVITATION TUPELO

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View more photos at invitationtupelo.com.

TUPELO HALLOWEEN CELEBRATIONS Local Tupelo Halloween celebrations took place at various locations Oct. 26. The events included music and food at Rocktoberfest and trick-or-treating at Ballard Park. photographed by Lisa Roberts

Autumn, Zachary and Isabella Felton

Christian and Becky Sheffield with Barbara Eaton, Melonie McCarley Counce and Leigh George

Karen and Raven Pifer

Tracy and Iris Dillard

William Dexter and Meredith Martin with Amanda and Jason Hayden

Brittany Harris and Draelyn Robbins

J.D. Dill and Mitch McCamey

Beverly Crossen, Ashley Prince and Rachel Alford

40 INVITATION TUPELO | November 2017

Camron McKinney with Jaycee and Lauren Ivy


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View more photos at invitationtupelo.com.

IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES EXPO CREATE Foundation hosted a career expo Oct. 3-5 at BancorpSouth Arena. The event featured interactive activities related to 18 career pathways for more than 7,000 area eighth-graders. photographed by Lisa Roberts

Christian Byrd and Cody Taylor

Jesley Wages, Kelsey Treadaway, Kirsten Hall, Trad Bell and Chris Clayton

Fallon Parker, Emmy Moyer and Olivia Grantham

42 INVITATION TUPELO | November 2017

Andrew Richter, Diego Gonzalez, Daniel Vazquez, Chalino Rios and Edgar Gutierrez

Montana Bullwinkel and Molly Keener

Jordan Cunningham, Lewis Hollaway and Brenan Vasilia

Emma Hill, Jay Marshall, Elisabeth Bailey and Tabitha Hall

Dorretha Robinson and Ebony Smith

Caylie Pugh and Teresa Wilbanks

Anna Beth Brown with Allyson and Caroline Speck

Zaleria Young and Nicajuh Greer


November 2017 | INVITATION TUPELO

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View more photos at invitationtupelo.com.

TUPELO GARDEN CLUB LUNCHEON Tupelo Garden Club hosted A Fresh Take on the Holidays luncheon and floral design program Oct. 24 at St. James Catholic Church. Floral designer Sybil Sylvester was the featured speaker. photographed by Lisa Roberts

Gay Abney, Sallie Kate Ray and Hart Quinn

Sybil Brooke Sylvester and Shelia Champion

Wanda Todd and Frances Foy

Catherine Mize, Michelle Hutto, Mimi McGraw and Tricia Cockrell

Debbie Waterer, Liz Edwards and Jeanine Gregory

Lisa Thomas, Suzanne Lindley and Amy Crawford

Kala Meyer, Elizabeth Hamm, Missy Bagley and Becky Rollins

Beth Eckard and Nancy Presley

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View more photos at invitationtupelo.com.

TALLAHATCHIE RIVERFEST Tallahatchie Riverfest was held Oct. 6-7 in downtown New Albany. The festival featured food, regional artists, street music and a kids’ carnival. photographed by Lisa Roberts

Hannah Cummings and Corrin Taylor

Lauren Paige Hamilton and Alleigh Hall

Alana Holguin and Taylor Rumsey

Lily and Logan Voyles

Maggie Burnett and Jeremy Cummings with Vickie and Victoria Vaughan

Evelyn Siddell and Alice King

Katie Rowan and Rhonda Carter

Matthew and Alex Clements with Deuce, Tyler, Asher, Myles, Hannah and Matthew Ring

Jeremiah Lockaby and Shelby Rumsey

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SANCTUARY HOUSE CELEBRATION VILLAGE The 16th annual Celebration Village was held Oct. 18-20 at Tupelo Furniture Market. Proceeds from the event benefit Sanctuary Hospice House. photographed by Lisa Roberts

Gina Dunnam, Amy Forrest, Tina Franks and Pam Fair

Devin Whitt, Angie Flurry, Misty Swindle and Sarah Lowery

Martha Clay, Emily Gray, Sheryl Blackburn, Judy Robbins and Ellen Roberts

Marquette Spears, Alli Coker, Graham Lyons, Marsha Carnes, Pat Mance, Shea Marcum and Emma Katie Wise

Keri McMillin and Brandi Carter

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Melba Williams, Roxy Weathers and Ivy Dees

Shannon and Paige Wood

Bethany Kitchens and Robin Bounds

Annette and Ricky Kimbrell


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SALTILLO SCARECROW FESTIVAL Saltillo Main Street Association held its annual Saltillo Scarecrow Festival Oct. 1. The familyfriendly event included arts and crafts vendors, food, games and a costume contest. photographed by Lisa Roberts

Evan and Lila Key

Diane Cullum and Ava Little

Nicole and Chloe Rabenda

Scottie Thompson and Roper Hines

50 INVITATION TUPELO | November 2017

Amy Parker, Austin Ross, Ethan Benefield, Mary Carver Repult and Emma Cate Sparks

Hunter and Olivia Williams with Tollie Grace Beasley

Jim, James and Sonya Smallwood

Dawson and Ashley Enis

Susan Echols with Gerald and Dianne Powell


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View more photos at invitationtupelo.com.

SALTILLO FOURTH-GRADE WAX MUSEUM Saltillo Elementary School fourth-grade students staged a wax museum Oct. 3 celebrating the state’s 200th birthday. Students dressed up and shared stories as various historical Mississippi figures. photographed by Lisa Roberts

Bennett Oliver, Carson Glidewell and Korbin Sheffield

Rylan Richey and Braxton Rogers

Preston Clark and Braxton Sandlin

Caden Caldwell, Juliana Hagan and Torrance Ford

Avery Little, Addie Kesler and Landyn Rose McMillan

Bennett Buse and Andrew Visentin

Paisley Phillips, Austin Cherry and Breman Carter

Riley Hallmark and Mircle Hollimon

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HEALTHWORKS! BENEFIT WITH STEVE HARVEY Comedian Steve Harvey performed a live show Oct. 13 at BancorpSouth Arena. The invitation-only benefit was a thank-you for donors to the children’s health education center. photographed by Lisa Roberts

Phyllis Daniel and Louise Gambrel with Tyra and Juanita Floyd and Janette Kirk

Michael and Emily Addison with Mary Morgan and Taylor Burks

Paul Mize and Jesse Bandre

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Adam, Shane and Drew Homan with Weston Kingsley

Bob and Faye Weatherly with Jean and Edward Hill

Madison Mitchell, Maddie Garvin, Rebekah Wilson, Tracy Williams, Julia Monts and Bri Chaney

John and Marsha Tapscott


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View more photos at invitationtupelo.com.

CDF GOLF AND TENNIS FALL CLASSIC Tupelo’s Community Development Foundation hosted its Golf and Tennis Fall Classic tournament Oct. 12 at Tupelo Country Club. photographed by Lisa Roberts

Zane Poland and Amanda Angle

Hank Hutto, Louis Lee and Chris Rogers

Becca Heyer, Loren Duke and Tia Goodwin

56 INVITATION TUPELO | November 2017

Justin Duke, Paul Mize, Mike Armour and Mark Monts

Brad Kellum, J.P. Rhea, Jim McCullough and Ben Beavers

Scott Milam with Heath and Wally Davis and Michael Jackson

Molly Lovorn, Amy Speck and Maddin Hutto

Jackie Newell, Angelia Thomas and Kellie Mathis


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View more photos at invitationtupelo.com.

OKEELALA FESTIVAL The 38th annual Okeelala Festival was held Oct. 7 in Baldwyn. The event included craft vendors, live music, food and children’s activities. photographed by Lisa Roberts

Nan Nanney and Kathy Lindsay

Jameson Woodard, Brett Horner and Nathan Boone

Mollie McKay and Madee Dugger

58 INVITATION TUPELO | November 2017

Mika Jean and Heather Underwood with Susan Barker and Tammy Bullock Rutherford

Landry, Kelly and Lakelyn Summers

Jantzen Woodard, Rustin Roberts, Crosby Clayton, Erin Wiggington and Abby Hannon

Maylee Dugger, Lane Boozer and Kenzie Pennington

Sydney Griffin and Chloe Nanney


November 2017 | INVITATION TUPELO

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View more photos at invitationtupelo.com.

OUT AND ABOUT INSTALLATION FOR THE MARY STUART CHAPTER OF THE D.A.R.

DOGTROT HERITAGE FESTIVAL

Ruth Brunner, Virginia Chambers and Cynthia McNamara with Jennifer and Ashley Chambers, Shelia Moore, Sarah Harris, Helen Shelton and Maggie Saunders

Susie Dent, Della Poston, Rae Mathis, Tony Parker and Boyd Yarbrough

NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI ROSE SOCIETY ROSE SHOW

Lavonne Glover and Tracy Proctor

Jeanine Gregory, Nancy Andrews and Tracy Kramer

TUPELO POLICE ACADEMY BLUE STEEL CHALLENGE

Lance Miller and Will Morgan

Charles Sumner, Larry Brymer and Dawn Magers

60 INVITATION TUPELO | November 2017

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH

Stanley Huddleston, Christi Webb, Jim Hood and Amanda Fredrick

DOT COURSON ART GALLERY OPENING

Stapleton Kearns with Dot and Jackie Courson

Marc Hanson and John Adkins

GUMTREE MUSEUM OF ART MEMBERSHIP LUNCHEON

Amy Hudson, Kristi Lake and Kathryn Barrow

Betty Harris, Linda Sullivan and Joan Ball


PAUL THORN RECEPTION AT GUMTREE

JOYNER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL NATIONAL WALK TO SCHOOL DAY

Julia Monts, Lennox Koon, Chloe Wester, Janie Buckley and Kim Burleson

Barbara Fleishhacker, Paul Thorn and Susan Parker

Joyner Elementary School students, parents and teachers

ROBINS STREET ART STROLL

Doyce Deas and Keith Henry

Donna McCormack and Barbara Eaton

OUT OF THE DARKNESS WALK FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION

Team Red Tribe

Roxanne and Kevin Cuttill

James Estes and Daniel Robbins

Vicki Ratta and Tanya Mays

SCREENING OF TV PILOT DPW AT THE LINK CENTRE

Emily Stephens, Drew West, Chelsea Little and Grace Polite

Dylan Sullivan, Madison Nanney, Telexus Miller, Dylan McCalla, Chelsea and Victoria Page

November 2017 | INVITATION TUPELO

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DONNA WIGGINS interviewed by Melanie Crownover photographed by Joe Worthem

This summer, Diversicare nursing home administrator Donna Wiggins brought joy to elderly residents by sharing crops from her fiveacre garden with them.

Q: What led you to bring the garden to work? A: I’ve only been administrator here a year, but I’ve been in long-term care since 1986. I’d seen this kind of activity work at another facility, just not like this.

Q: What did the residents do with the crops? A: It was something different every week. We shelled peas, snapped beans, made tomato sandwiches and more. I would pick a truckload of something about 5 in the morning before I came to work and have a line of people waiting for me at the door to see what I’d brought.

Q: How big was the reaction? A: We started in June with shucking and silking corn. You wouldn’t think that would be a big event, but it drew out people who normally stay in bed and don’t participate in group activities. It ended up a three-day event instead of one because they had such a ball. That first day I brought 400 stalks. The next day I brought more and then more, until they’d cleaned 2,000 ears of corn. We let them boil some and shared the rest with the staff and community.

Q: Why do you think this appeals to residents? A: It’s a tie to something familiar that reminds them of home, something from their former life that they can remember while they’re doing it. It’s also a work-related activity that makes them feel more productive. We figured it would probably draw more women since that was a job they usually handled back when they were young, so we were surprised by how many men came out. They were all smiling the whole time they were working.

Q: Will you do it again? A: I’m already planning to plant a little more of everything next summer to bring in enough.

64 INVITATION TUPELO | November 2017


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