Northcentral Electric Power Association
Creative play 4
Bill Bannisterâ€™s handmade wooden toys
14 Holiday cookbook benefits special-needs camp
Periodical postage (ISSN 1052 2433)
15 Family store famed for history, special burger
2 I Today in Mississippi I November/December 2012
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November/December 2012 I Today in Mississippi
Our work powers more than life’s conveniences our electric power association sells a product that you can’t see, hear or touch. What you can see, however, is the positive, lasting impact our service and commitment have on your quality of life. In this season of giving, I like to reflect on the innumerable ways we work for the betterment of life in the communities we serve—throughout the year. Some are obvious; some you will rarely see or hear about. Our best-kept secret is the extent to which we are engaged in helping Mississippi grow and prosper. In communities throughout the state, we are leaders in local efforts to bring in new jobs. We are constantly working behind the scenes to promote Mississippi as a great place to do business. For decades, we have been a significant force in attracting new employers to the state. One of their basic requirements in considering a site for a new plant or building is the availability of a reliable, affordable source of electric power, and on that we deliver. We work to keep electricity affordable in part by monitoring legislative proposals that could cause the cost of electricity to rise. This “watchdog” effort benefits everyone we serve, from rural homeowners to major manufacturers. On the local level, we devote every working day to serving members. Our offices are busy places, where members come to meet with a person to take advantage of services or resolve problems. And our line workers—our less visible work force—stand ready to respond to your service emergency needs, day or night. When electric power association employees can see the positive effects of their work at the end of the day, they are motivated to do even more. There is a real relationship between job satisfaction and the feeling of doing good in the world. Just ask the Mississippi lineman how he
On the cover Should Santa need help in his workshop this season, he would do well to request toymaker Bill “Papa Bill” Bannister. At his home workshop in Jackson, Bannister builds action and beauty into every toy, including this 1946 Woodie car and cricket pull toy. See story on page 4.
My Opinion Michael Callahan Executive Vice President/CEO EPAs of Mississippi
felt helping victims of Hurricane Sandy regain their electric service—and some sense of recovery. Talk to the electric power association volunteers who traveled to a Guatemalan village to upgrade a primitive, dangerous and unreliable electrical system, and to train the local linemen. These Mississippi volunteers were so moved by their experience that they literally gave the Guatemalans the fire-retardant shirts off their backs, and threw in some tools, too. Nothing is more rewarding than the knowledge that we are making significant contributions to other people’s lives. Electric power associations were created by local volunteers who stepped forward to organize a cooperative and build an electric utility from the ground up. The cooperative tradition of leadership and service is even stronger today. Working in partnership with our members, our impact on Mississippi is huge, our service integral to its economic well being. Our product is electricity, but our mission is the betterment of your quality of life in Mississippi. And that should be obvious.
We wish you and your family a joyous and meaningful holiday season!
Today in Mississippi
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The Official Publication of the Electric Power Associations of Mississippi
EDITORIAL OFFICE & ADVERTISING Today in Mississippi (ISSN 1052-2433) is 601-605-8600 published eleven times a year (Jan.Kevin Doddridge - President Acceptance of advertising by Today in Nov.) by Electric Power Associations of Brad Robison - First Vice President Mississippi does not imply endorsement Mississippi, Inc., P.O. Box 3300, RidgeWayne Henson - Second Vice President of the advertised product or services by land, MS 39158-3300, or 665 Highland the publisher or Mississippi’s Electric Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, MS 39157. Randy Wallace - Secretary/Treasurer Power Associations. Product satisfaction Phone 601-605-8600. Periodical and delivery responsibility lie solely with postage paid at Ridgeland, MS, and EDITORIAL STAFF the advertiser. additional office. The publisher (and/or Michael Callahan - Executive Vice President/CEO • National advertising representative: its agent) reserves the right to refuse or Ron Stewart - Senior Vice President, Co-op Services National Country Market, 800-626-1181 edit all advertising. Mark Bridges - Manager, Support Services POSTMASTER: Send address changes Jay Swindle - Manager, Advertising Circulation of this issue: 442,379 to: Today, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, Debbie H. Stringer - Editor Non-member subscription price: $9.50 per year MS 39158-3300 Abby Berry - Communications Specialist Visit us online at Rickey McMillan - Graphics Specialist www.todayinmississippi.com Linda Hutcherson - Administrative Assistant
The setting sun glows through the clouds on a recent autumn afternoon at the Mississippi River bridge in Natchez.
Mississippi is . . .
Mississippi is experiencing the peaceful feeling with the certain change of each season: Bursting blooms of spring, sweet sunrays of summer, Deep breaths of fresh fall air, cozy cuddling in frosty winter. It’s knowing your heritage is a four-generation family that loved the Lord and respected the land With plant, harvest and renewal. It’s watching the flurry of busy activity among squirrels, local birds and unidentified migratory species on the feeders. It’s not having to explain to others around you why you talk the way you do. Everyone knows the meaning of “mash the button,” “tote the groceries” and “fixin’ to.” —Jean Sauls, Columbia Mississippi is a beautiful, peaceful daily drive to work on the Natchez Trace. I work in Lorman and drive a few minutes from Church Hill. Instead of traffic tie-ups, I can relax and enjoy God’s little secret hideaway, with colorful trees, deer, turkey and songbirds. —Lynda O’Quinn, Church Hill The leaves of fall are dancing in tune with nature’s plan. They flutter and fall and drift about over yards and roads and land. They shout to us of summer’s end and coming cooler days, And gently cover us all around in thankfulness and praise! —Deanna Kirk, Winona
What’s Mississippi to you? What makes you proud to be a Mississippian? What do you treasure most about life in our state? Send your thoughts to Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep your comments brief. Submissions are subject to editing.
Today in Mississippi
No batteries? No problem Bill Bannister’s toys are powered by imagination
By Debbie Stringer Bill Bannister’s handmade toys have no sound effects, flashing lights or electronic controls. Or batteries. Yet they can pull a load of lumber, haul coal or move passengers—with the help of a child’s imagination. Working in a small shop at his home in Jackson, Bannister designs and builds “Papa Bill’s” all-wood toys. His work is distinguished by its fine workmanship, durability and natural wood colors. A single toy may be made of a dozen different kinds of wood, carefully selected for their color and grain. Bannister shuns wood stains, preferring clear polyurethane and lots of sanding to produce smooth, shiny finishes that enhance the natural colors and iridescence of the wood. Bannister’s toys seem destined for display. But he insists he builds them to endure the rough play of youngsters. These are hands-on toys that can survive at least one childhood, and maybe more. “Sometimes it’s hard to convince customers they are meant for kids,” Bannister said. Bannister ventured into woodworking about 12 years ago when he built his first piece of furniture. His inspiration was the discovery of Norm Abram’s “The New Yankee Workshop,” an instructional woodworking show on public television. “For three months or so, I watched every episode. Then I went out and bought
some shop tools. “I ordered a butler’s tray table kit from Abrams, but this is not the first thing you need to start with,” he said with a wry smile. Bannister finished the table with its hinged top Bill Bannister and found he enjoyed the process as much as the results. Soon he was devoting off-hours from his job as a transportation refrigeration mechanic to building furniture of his own design. “If I wasn’t at work, I was in my shop.” The home he shares with his wife, Marsha, is filled with furniture Bannister has built through the years. His toy making was prompted by the births of the couple’s five grandchildren. Bannister admits his first project was almost his last: an elaborately detailed bulldozer with a low-boy trailer, built from plans. Its construction was painstaking. Each segment of the bulldozer’s two tracks was individually crafted for an exact fit. Yet Bannister persisted. Now he builds World War I biplanes, helicopters, trains, Le Mans-style race cars, Conestoga and buckboard wagons, antique cars and trucks, pull toys and games. Bannister continually improves his designs based on
Bill “Papa Bill” Bannister, left, builds timeless toys for all ages at his home in Jackson. Each piece is made from a variety of hardwoods to achieve a colorful effect. His train, above, is made of hard maple, walnut, elm, cherry, cocobolo, poplar and dark mahogany.
his own grandchildren’s experiences in playing with them. “What’s really fun is to have a child come up and grab one of the race cars, or an airplane. They just fall in love with it, and want to play with it then and there,” Bannister said. The magic of these handmade toys works on grownups, too. Few can resist trying out the cricket pull toy. Bannister enjoys the challenge of designing, so he welcomes custom orders. For one customer, he designed a foot-long wind surfer, with a tall cypress sail and three rudders. For a customer wanting a gift for a law enforcement officer, Bannister recreated the 1935 Ford black-andwhite police cruiser in wood. It is the only toy he has ever painted. “I told them, it’s very hard for me to paint this,” he said with a laugh. Bannister’s stockpile of wood planks is his version of an artist’s palette. A wide variety of wood types is represented, including oak, hickory, bird’s eye maple, wal-
The zebrawood in the tail section of Bannister’s helicopter, left, and in the seats in his 1935 Ford sedan, below, reveal how carefully he considers the direction of the wood grain when cutting pattern pieces. Other woods used in the ‘copter are oak, cherry, walnut and maple; in the car are hard maple, alder, cherry and royal mahogany.
Le Mans-style race car
Hand-sanding is an important step in the process of achieving a smooth, glossy finish that enhances the woods’ natural colors. Using a fine-grit sandpaper, Bannister sands the fuselage for one of his World War I-era biplanes, below.
nut, cherry, lemonwood, purpleheart and mahogany. “You can get any color of wood you want: red, green, blue, black, yellow, brown—and it’s all natural color.” A couple of coats of polyurethane on the finished toy intensifies the colors and makes them “pop,” Bannister said. Although he produces many toys in a limited number of designs, no two are alike; each is made unique by variations in wood types, color and grain pattern. Bannister is obsessed with wood grain. It was the beauty of perfectly aligned wood grain in hand-built furniture that first sparked his interest in woodworking. In building toys, he strives to make even the smallest joins invisible by carefully aligning the grain of neighboring pieces of wood. Or, he may use a wood with a prominent grain such as zebrawood to create decorative effects, like stripes on car seats. In 2010 Bannister became an exhibiting member of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi. The guild awards membership only to artisans whose work meets high standards for artistry and craftsmanship. Now through Dec. 27, Papa Bill’s toys are being featured once again in an art exhibit at the Mississip-
pi Library Commission in Jackson. Last year’s MLC show nearly sold out, to his surprise. That left him scrambling to build more toys for his booth at the Craftsmen’s Guild’s Chimneyville Crafts Festival, also in December. “I went into panic mode, but I managed to get about 40 boxes of toys made for Chimneyville. I sold all but one box,” he said. After this year’s Chimneyville show, Bannister’s pace will slow a bit. Winter is the time to ponder new toy designs. “I’ll sit out there in the shop and put down ideas I’ve had during the year. Then I’ll start experimenting to see how they look.” Toy sales have allowed Bannister to scale back his employment to a part-time job at a local home improvement store, so he can spend more time working in his wood shop. When one is engaged in an enjoyable, creative activity, it’s easy to lose track of time. Some nights, his wife will call to remind him to come to bed. “I’ll be concentrating on a something and I just lose myself. I’m relaxed and listening to music. To me, that’s my therapy. I can go out in the shop after a hard day at work and it’s just me and the toys.” Contact Bill Bannister at 601-624-6620 or email@example.com. See more of his work at the Chimneyville Crafts Festival, Nov. 30 - Dec 2 at the Mississippi Trade Mart, in Jackson. Details are available at www.mscraftsmenguild.org. For information on the Mississippi Library Commission show, and the opening reception on Nov. 27, call 601-432-4111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
1919 Model T pickup truck
Today in Mississippi
Today in Mississippi I November/December 2012
Low water level a boon to river fossil hunting he coming winter rains will probably put the Mississippi River back up to normal stages. But it has been awfully low this summer, at or below record lows in many places, and this after record high water on the Mississippi just last year. It is amazing to stand at the edge of the river this year and imagine back in April of 2011 there would have been 50 feet of water over your head at that same place. The contrast from last year to this is without comparison in the recorded history of the Mississippi. River buffs will tell you that while the extremely low water might not present the best conditions for the towboat industry, it is excellent for relic hunting. And this has been a banner season for finding ice-age fossils along what would normally have been the submerged banks of the Mississippi River. I was in Greenville a few weekends ago for the first annual Delta Tamale Festival and dropped into Jim’s Café
Mississippi Seen by Walt Grayson
downtown on Washington for breakfast. Gus Johnson, the proprietor, sat down at my table as I worked over my omelet and we got to talking about the river and the extreme levels between
last year and this. Gus started telling me about all the finds collectors are turning up this year. He showed me a couple of the specimens he’s found over his years of collecting. He keeps them in the front window of the café. There is a huge vertebra from some extinct animal, and then a rock with what Gus calls a monkey paw on it. I have no idea what it really is. Neither does he. But it is a fossil of some kind. Gus directed me to Puddin’ Moore’s
Puddin' Moore of Greenville can explain the difference between a mammoth tooth and a mastodon tooth. This is a mammoth tooth he is holding. He pulled it from a gravel bar of the Mississippi River during his years of river exploring. Photo: Walt Grayson
shop in what used to be the pressroom of the Delta Democrat Times back when it was still on Main Street next to the levee. Puddin’ has a remarkable stash of fossils of Ice Age animals he has found in the river over time. Jawbones, skulls, vertebra, mammoth and mastodon teeth, and all sorts of other bones. George Phillips, the fossil expert from the Mississippi Museum of Natural Sci-
Join Walt and many other Mississippians as they open their life albums and share their memories in words and photographs. This collection from the readers of Today in Mississippi prompted Walt to pull related tales from his vault of experience, collected while living in and traveling throughout his home state. “Oh! That Reminds Me: More Mississippi Homegrown Stories with Walt Grayson” will be a valued Christmas gift, and the book is sure to become a collector’s item.
IN TIME FOR HOLIDAY GIFT GIVING Please send _____ copy (or copies) of “Oh! That Reminds Me: More Mississippi Homegrown Stories” at $34.95 per book (includes sales tax, shipping and handling). Name ____________________________________________________ Mailing Address_____________________________________________ City______________________________ State____ Zip____________ Make check or money order payable to Today in Mississippi and send to: Mississippi Homegrown Stories I P.O. Box 3300 I Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300
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ence says there was a huge extinction of most of North America’s mega-mammals about 10,000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age. Mammoths, mastodons, North American camels, saber tooth tigers and the like would have been included. Over time their bones have been washed from wherever they were over the mid-continent into the gravel bars of the Mississippi River. Phillips says a lot of collectors brought specimens to the museum for identification this year, things they collected in areas normally under water. Plus, the excessive currents during the flood last year swept the sand from some of the bars, leaving the fossil-holding gravel beds exposed. I managed to find one little old fossil while out on a sandbar picnic while in the Delta. But it was way older than the Ice Age bones a lot of folks are coming up with. Now, before you wander over to the Mississippi to see what you can find, let me tell you what Daddy told me when I was a boy growing up in Greenville: “That river will kill you.” And to underscore that, Greenville writer Shelby Foote once wrote that the river will kill you a hundred different ways. So be careful, lest some relic hunter years from now finds the fossil of someone who was out trying to find fossils. Walt Grayson is the host of “Mississippi Roads” on Mississippi Public Broadcasting television, and the author of two “Looking Around Mississippi” books and “Oh! That Reminds Me: More Mississippi Homegrown Stories.” Contact Grayson at email@example.com.
November/December 2012 I Today in Mississippi I 7
What Mack taught Mr. Roy haven't been up to writing this column because it is an emotional topic for Roy and me. I finally asked him to tell me from his heart what Mack, our Australian sheep dog, commonly called a blue heeler, meant to him. Mack was Roy's outdoor companion. It was a tough task, since Mr. Roy hasn’t been able to talk about Mack since he passed away over a month ago. Those who have a special love for their animals will understand. It all began in 2000, just before Thanksgiving. In fact you may remember I wrote a column called “A Man and His Dog,” soon after Mack settled in with us. I included it in my book. The dog came to us in poor condition. He appeared to have been hit by a car. Roy took him to our local veterinarian and asked him to fix the dog up and find him a good home. The tide changed when the vet said that he was a good dog, a blue heeler, and was about 2 years old. He said the heeler could have fallen out of a truck. The vet put a collar and tag on him. So my partner brought him back home. On the way he said to the dog, “I think you look like a Mack.” That name stuck.
For a week or so we nursed him back to health and fell in love with him. He seemed to understand everything we said. During this time we tried to find his owner. Well, as soon Mack got well he disappeared. Roy was sad, but he thought he probably went back to his original home. However, a woman called who Grin ‘n’ lived a couple of Bare It miles from us on by Kay Grafe Fig Farm Road. She said the collar had our phone number and the dog was sitting on the side of the road, watching every vehicle that passed. We brought him back to our house, but he continued to go back to the same spot each time we brought him home. We guessed that was where his original owner had left him. Finally, we gave up, when the woman said she’d feed him. The day before Christmas of 2000 Roy opened the back door and there sat Mack. His eyes were saying, would you give me one more chance? And we did. Roy and I loved him and he loved us for 12 years. Below, I have
written what Roy told me Mack taught him: Mack wasn’t just a dog, he was one of my best friends; we had a special bond and he taught me some important lessons about life. He taught me by his loyalty and love that friends and family are so important. Even when they don’t act the way we think they should, we need to be patient, loyal and loving. On days when I thought I was too busy to spend time with Mack, he would still look at me and grin (he could truly grin from ear to ear) and wag that stub of a tail. He taught me that everyone needs a job to do, that they want to do it properly and need to be appreciated for their work. Since I had sold my cows before Mack came to live with us, he took on the task of taking care of our cats and kept an eye on us. He tried his best to keep us safe. The cats adored Mack, even though he would scold them if they got out of line. They are still grieving his death, as we are. He was unselfish, not jealous of anyone or other animals who passed through our lives. Over the 12 years Mack was with us, we kept an inside dog. Mack loved each of these pets (Dixie Belle and Sugar) and would greet them every morning with a kiss. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we humans had no jealousy or envy of other people? The loss of Mack has also made me
The cats seemed to adore Mack, even though his blue heeler’s herding instinct was to keep them in line.
more aware of how hard our pets love us. They don’t expect much, but a few kind words and a few loving pats every day. That means a lot to them. When we fed Mack, he never took a bite before he looked directly at us. He waited for us to say, “That’s Mack’s dinner,” before he began eating. I also thought he was thanking us before he ate. We miss you Mack, and I know without a doubt that when we get to heaven and see the Rainbow Bridge, you will be standing there with a grin from ear to ear. Then you will give us several loud barks to say, “Isn’t this great...we can be together for eternity.” Kay Grafe is the author of “Oh My Gosh, Virginia.” To order, send name, address, phone number and $16.95, plus $3.50 S&H to Kay Grafe, 2142 Fig Farm Road, Lucedale, MS 39452.
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Sterling Jones, center, receives the Mississippi Council of Cooperatives Distinguished Service Award. This is the highest honor given by the council, which represents more than 50 cooperatives serving throughout Mississippi. Presenting the award are Billy Bridgforth, left, loan officer at Staplcotn, and Ron Stewart, senior vice president at the Electric Power Associations of Mississippi. Bridgforth and Stewart are directors of the council.
Today in Mississippi I November/December 2012
Our next Picture This:
The Colors of Nature Whatever the season, brilliant color abounds in nature. For our next Picture This reader photo feature, we want your photos of eye-popping color in nature, whether from wildflowers, autumn leaves, sunsets, butterfly wings or other things. Photos selected for publication will appear in the January 2013 issue of Today in Mississippi. Submissions must be postmarked or emailed to us by Nov. 30. Photographers whose work is selected for publication will be entered in a drawing for a $200 cash prize, to be awarded in December 2013.
printer’s standards.) • Please do not send a photo with a date on the image. • Photos must be accompanied by identifying information, including photographer’s name, address, phone and electric
power association (if applicable). Include the name(s) of any recognizable people in the picture. • Prints will be returned if accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. We cannot, however, guarantee their safe return through the mail, so please do not send irreplaceable photos.
How to submit your work Mail prints or a photo CD to Picture
This, Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300. Email photos (attached to your email message) to firstname.lastname@example.org. If submitting more than one photo, please attach all photos to only one e-mail message, if possible. Questions? Call Debbie Stringer, editor, at 601-605-8600 or email questions to email@example.com.
Requirements • Photos must be the original work of an amateur photographer (of any age). • Photos must be in sharp focus. • Prints and digital files are eligible. • Digital photos should be high-resolution JPG files (use the “high quality” setting on your digital camera). Please do not use photo-editing software to adjust colors or tones. (We prefer to do it ourselves, if necessary, according to our
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Today in Mississippi
Plan for fall blooms to welcome butterflies t requires planning in the spring, but one way to add color and life to fall gardens is to welcome butterflies. Butterflies are among the most entertaining creatures. If you plant the right flowers, you leave an open invitation for them to visit your garden. Butterflies are still around as we move into the late fall, and they are hurriedly investigating the flowers blooming in gardens. Butterflies that most commonly visit latefall gardens are orange fritillary Southern and yellow sulGardening phurs. Even by Dr. Gary Bachman day-flying moths such as the sphinx moth and hummingbird moth flit from flower to flower in the fall. Nearly everyone enjoys watching butterflies, and gardeners can include plants in their landscapes that will attract them. The majority of plants that attract butterflies share two characteristics: tubular flowers and shades of red.
Tubular flowers are capable of holding quite a bit of nectar. This is part of Mother Nature’s grand plan. Nectar is simply sugar water produced by the plant; think of it as an energy drink for butterflies. As a butterfly uses its proboscis—which is like one of those curly straws kids use—to probe for nectar, it picks up pollen and transfers it to the next flower visited. The pineapple sage is one of the best flowering plants to attract butterflies in the fall. Although flowering starts in the summer The yellow, red and orange nasturtium flowers attract butterflies to this cascading vine. Photo: MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman months, it intensiBecause of its foliage color, it is best to fies in autumn and continues until the until the first hard frost. plant Golden Delicious in at least partial first hard frost. Another great fall-flowering plant for I think one of best varieties of pineap- shade. Butterflies can’t resist its firebutterflies is nasturtium, which shouts engine-red flowers that contrast with the out for attention with its flowers colors ple sage to plant in your garden is Golden Delicious. The chartreuse yellow bright foliage. Pineapple sage begins of yellow, red and orange. Since butterflowering in late summer and continues foliage really shines in the garden. flies have the ability to fly in multiple directions and sometimes hover a bit, having plants such as nasturtium whose flowers cascade is ideal. Climbing nasturtium varieties can reach more than 6 feet tall. Keep the plant dense by pruning the vining stem tips. Pinch the faded flowers to promote more flowers. But the flowers are edible, so there shouldn’t be any faded blooms to pinch off. Consider planting low to high, like in a stadium. This will allow butterflies to access all of the flowers and let you sit in the front row to watch the action. I’ve named just two of the fall butterfly-attracting plants for your garden and landscape, but there are literally hundreds of blooming plants that attract butterflies. Creating a nectar-filled garden during the spring and summer will certainly put the welcome mat out for these acrobatic garden clowns and give us autumn entertainment. Dr. Gary Bachman is MSU horticulturist at the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi.
10 Today in Mississippi
You’re more than a meter, YOU’RE A MEMBER! For more information on Today in Mississippi, contact Janis Greene at (662) 895-2151
of abor L Love By Janis Greene In the kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms and more, Santa, snowmen and elves can be found from ceiling to floor. Nutcrackers, puzzles, the Peanuts gang and reindeer, even Mr. Bingle has a special place in all this Holiday Cheer. Angels, snow globes, candy canes and a sweet Grinch, everything you can imagine, placed in each square inch. Green, blue, silver, gold and white, Christmas trees in every shape, color and height. Trains, wreaths, ribbons, gingerbread men, short and tall, the Fleming home is filled with joy and Christmas spirit. Their labor of love to share with all. When you enter the holiday home of an Olive Branch family, you feel like you’ve literally stepped in Kris Kringle’s own home and holiday wonderland. Dave and Gladys Fleming love Christmas. They love decoGladys and Dave Fleming rating for Christmas and love sharing Christmas with others. Their home is decorated from top to bottom, literally, during the holiday season. It all began about 35 years ago when they lived in Texas. The Flemings realized that many senior neighbors didn’t have anyone to share Christmas with. They invited them over for a Christmas open house to have a little camaraderie and share their decorations. The next year, folks were calling, asking “When was the open house to be held?” and “Could they bring a dessert?” Since that first open house, Dave and Gladys have added more and more to their Christmas decorations
and have continually held a holiday open house for all ages, but especially with seniors in mind. Years ago, when they moved to Mississippi, they decided to keep the tradition going. The decorations have increased over the years through
It’s a labor of love; and they love sharing it in hope that it brings happiness and some of the Christmas Spirit to others.
Gladys’ keen ability to shop after Christmas sales and gifts from loved ones. Each year they seem to find the perfect place to add something new. The Flemings do all the decorating themselves. Due to the magnitude of seasonal trimming, every year they begin a little earlier than the last putting up trees and other adornments. Each room in the house is adorned with multiple trees and decorations. This year, the home has over 40 trees, each with a different theme. It isn’t uncommon to look up and see little elves joyfully “playing” on the ceiling light fixtures. Open house has grown to several times during the season. The couple who loves Christmas so much love to share their holiday heaven with others. The Flemings feel this is their ministry to share with others, especially seniors. Needless to say, it’s a lot of work decorating for the Christmas season in this way, especially for over 35 years. Both Dave and Gladys just say, “It’s a labor of love;” and they love sharing it in hope that it brings happiness and some of the Christmas Spirit to others. Christmas Open House will be held this year on November 24 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., November 25 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and December 16 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 662-895-9595. A $5 donation is requested. All proceeds are given to the Senior Ministry of the First Baptist Church in Olive Branch.
November/December 2012 Today in Mississippi
Northcentral Electric Power Association will be closed • Thursday, November 22 and Friday, November 23 for Thanksgiving; • Monday, December 24 and Tuesday, December 25 for Christmas; and • Tuesday, January 1 for New Year’s Day
Northcentral Electric wishes you and your family a safe and happy holiday season! Northcentral Electric is proud to be a drop box location for Toys for Tots again this year. Please bring an unwrapped toy and drop in the Toys for Tots collection box at our office. Other drop box locations and events can be found at midsouth.toysfortots.org. Help make this a special Christmas for the kids.
For emergencies after hours, weekends, and holidays, call
Today in Mississippi I November/December 2012
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November/December 2012 I Today in Mississippi
Tents: Structures good for the spirit always sleep best in a tent. house, the sweet aroma of grass drifting Few there are, or so it up to comfort us. That grass served as seems, who share this possi- our mattress. I have not been without at bly misplaced least one tent since. enthusiasm, but When I look into this capfor me there has tivating lure I have for tents never been any question. I and attempt to analyze it to always sleep best in a tent. some degree of satisfaction, Why that is so I cannot this in an effort to confirm say. In fact, I am not comthat I possess a measure of pletely sure. Perhaps the reasanity, I must admit to a son trails back to some much-maligned need for Mississippi Bedouin spirit of being escape. There are scoffers at Outdoors mobile or some Bohemian such thinking and practice, by Tony Kinton propensity to be something you know. I simply listen quior someone who shuns conetly to them and then go formity. Could be, but these traits spend a night in my tent. appear a bit radical for me. You see, I And do I come away from these menam fully domesticated in most of life. tal ramblings and searches for purpose But there remains a strong urging that convinced that I am indeed sane? places me in a tent many nights in any Certainly! I am more persuaded each given year. Not as often as I would like time I do so. And that generates even at times, but these wilderness wandermore desire to set up a tent. ings are numerous. A tent is home durThere are also sensory stimuli coming such sojourns. mon to tent camping that are far more My infatuation with tents and other concrete than some obscure need. More similar canvas structures goes back to tangible, if you will. There is beauty, this childhood. I fashioned overhead concoming in large part through symmetry. trivances from practically anything I When I set up camp, or more appropricould find lying around. And I slept in ately when several of us similarly afflictsome of these. I actually got my first real ed individuals set up camp, we strive for tent when I was 12. It was a pyramid rig symmetry, organization. No hodgewith a big flap door that could be podge of scattered items; everything has stretched into a canopy. This unit served a place. And all looks pretty much the me well and was regularly packed with same: white canvas tents and cook squirming and excited young boys canopies. Each in its designated spot, camping in the pasture behind our barn. evenly spaced from another of its kind. Grand evenings these were, with us All supported by peeled pine poles, not curled under quilts dragged from the aluminum or fiberglass.
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There are blacksmith-made fire tools on which hang buckets and pots, these tools and the blacksmithing courtesy of my friend Neal Brown. There are also ornate masts, made by that same blacksmith, that hold candle and oil lanterns. And while the odd folding chair or table from a big-box store can be seen now and again, the gradual switch to handmade oak furniture and cypress cook boxes is near complete. This is all quiet, natural beauty that refreshes the battered spirit like nothing else can. And then there are the sounds. No better way can be found to listen to a cricket chirp or an owl hoot or a coyote yap. Some of these, such as the chirping cricket, may be only inches away from the ear that hears it. But it is still removed by a canvas wall and holds no threat of taking up residence in your sleeping bag. These sounds, all common to night, lull me off to a pleasant and relaxing state that is too often hard to acquire otherwise. Come daylight the sounds change. But they are abundant just the same: a squirrel barking or shaking a limb, loosing dew drops that spat gently onto the
The perfect camp: from left, a canvas cook shelter; a David Ellis (Cowboycamps.com) canvas Range Tent; a camp “shower” to block cold winds come bath time; another Ellis Range Tent. A pleasant and relaxing setup for woods camping. Photo: Tony Kinton
canvas dwelling; a turkey gobbling in the distance; a deer blowing and stamping in disgust at the hulking white edifice and the noxious smell of humanity; wild geese on a morning sun en route to some faraway environ; the brisk, sharp chirp of a cardinal in search of breakfast. A tent is perfect for absorbing and enjoying such sounds. Perhaps these are some of the reasons I remain enamored of tents. They are good for the spirit. Day, night—each is equally enchanting. And I am once again reminded that I always sleep best in a tent. Tony Kinton has been an active outdoors writer for 30 years. His books, “Outside and Other Reflections,” “Fishing Mississippi” and his new Christian historical romance novel, “Summer Lightning Distant Thunder,” are available in bookstores and from the author at www.tonykinton.com, or P.O. Box 88, Carthage, MS 39051.
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Today in Mississippi
Country Caramel Cobbler
ooks C RECIPES FROM FEATURED COOKBOOK:
‘Showing We Care With Holiday Fare’ We all have our favorite recipes for special occasions, the ones we depend on time after time to make our celebrations special—and goof proof. But what do others serve at Thanksgiving? What’s a fun dish for New Year’s Day? And how can we spice up yet another family reunion potluck? “Showing We Care With Holiday Fare,” the third cookbook from Mississippi Toughest Kids Foundation, is an all-new collection of appetizers, sweets, entrees and sides. Each chapter presents recipes for a specific holiday or event, including the recipes reprinted here. There’s even a chapter called “A Party Anytime.” Cookbook sales help support Mississippi Toughest Kids Foundation’s effort to create a full-accessible, year-round camp facility for children (and adults) with serious illnesses and physical, mental and emotional challenges. The goal is to build and maintain a camp where children with special needs can enjoy recreational activities and making new friends in a safe environment staffed by medical professionals. To order, send $15 plus $3 S&H per book to Mississippi’s Toughest Kids Foundation, P.O. Box 520, Crystal Springs, MS 39059. For more information, call 601-892-1117. For information on Mississippi’s Toughest Kids Foundation, visit www.MTKFound.com.
Crock-Pot Candy 1 (16-oz.) jar dry roasted peanuts, unsalted 1 (16-oz.) jar dry roasted peanuts, salted 1 (12-oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (12-oz.) pkg. milk chocolate chips 2 planks white chocolate bark, broken into pieces
Put ingredients in order listed into a 4- or 5-quart Crock-Pot. Cover and cook 3 hours on low. Do not remove lid. Turn off cooker and let cool slightly. Mix thoroughly and drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper. Let cool completely. Makes about 120 pieces. Store in covered container.
1 stick butter 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups sugar 3/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla 1 1/2 cups brown sugar Chopped pecans for topping 1 1/2 cups hot water
Melt butter in a dish about 7 by 11 inches. Mix flour, sugar, milk and vanilla; pour on top of butter. Do not stir. Sprinkle brown sugar and pecans on top. Do not stir. Pour hot water on top. Bake at 350 F for 35 minutes.
Wild Rice and Turkey Casserole 1 cup white rice, cooked 1 cup wild rice, cooked 2 cups diced turkey breast 2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese 12 oz. evaporated milk
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper 2 eggs, beaten 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a 8-by-12-inch or 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Combine rices and spread evenly over bottom of dish. In a large bowl, combine turkey, cheese, milk, bell peppers, eggs, salt and pepper. Spoon over rice. Bake 45-55 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean and top is lightly browned. Sprinkle with parsley. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Note: Very good served as a side dish with turkey. Look for frozen or canned cooked wild rice at the grocery store.
Raspberry Spinach Salad 4 cups fresh baby spinach, torn 4 green onions, chopped 1/2 cup pecans, chopped 6 oz. frozen raspberries 4 oz. feta cheese
Dressing: 1/4 canola oil 1/3 cup raspberry vinegar 3 Tbsp. raspberry All Fruit preserves 1/4 cup sugar
Combine spinach, onions, pecans, raspberries and feta cheese; cover and chill. Combine dressing ingredients and chill. Pour dressing over salad just before serving.
Peggy’s Pound Cake 1 (18.25-oz.) box Coconut Supreme cake mix 2/3 cup sugar 2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream 4 eggs 1/2 tsp. vanilla Confectioners’ sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine cake mix and sugar with mixer. Add oil, sour cream, eggs and vanilla; beat 2 minutes. Pour batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake 45 minutes. Do not open the oven. Remove from oven to a wire rack. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired. Yield: 12-16 servings
Calvin’s Pecans 1 egg white 3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla 5 cups pecans
Beat egg white until stiff. Fold in brown sugar, vanilla and pecans. Spread on cookie sheet and bake at 300 F for 15-20 minutes.
Heavenly Hot Chocolate Mix 5 cups nonfat dry milk powder 2 cups confectioners’ sugar 2 cups instant chocolate drink mix 1 cup powdered nondairy creamer
1 cup malted milk powder 1 cup chocolate malted milk powder 1/2 cup baking cocoa
Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. To serve, put 1/3 cup mix into a mug and add 3/4 cup hot water; stir until blended. Dry mix can be stored for about 2 months.
Today in Mississippi
Corinth’s famous burger Historic drug store dispenses
By Nancy Jo Maples A bar stool in Corinth is calling my name. It has a red vinyl seat covering and sits among a line of stools at the serving counter of Borroum’s Drug Store. The store features an old-fashioned soda fountain that dishes out Blue Bell ice cream and other food items, including its famous Slugburger. The Slugburger contains a deep-fried pork patty served on a hamburger bun. It’s been around since the store’s earliest days and originally cost 5 cents. Back then, “slug” was a slang term for a nickel and spawned the burger’s name. Because the Slugburger is such a symbol of the store and the city, Corinth celebrates each July with the Slugburger Festival. Live outdoor musical concerts and a carnival entertain crowds. This past summer marked the event’s 25th year. Ice cream and burgers aren’t the only draw to Borroum’s. Routine rounds of morning coffee and conversation pull in patrons who Customers of Borroum’s Drug Store in Corinth can enjoy a want to know about famous Slugburger, top, while anything brewing in catching up on local happenCorinth. ings. History buffs will appreLocals make up the ciate the store’s displays of majority of customers, artifacts and memorabilia. Borroum’s is the state’s oldest but a nice number of operating drug store. Photos: diners falls into the Lex Mitchell tourist category. Some wander in while visiting Corinth for its Civil War buffet of history. Some travel to the city for other reasons and some come here just to see this store. The store is a museum in itself with displays of Indian artifacts and nostalgic pharmaceutical memorabilia. Today it reigns as the state’s oldest operating drug store.
As the name implies, it is first and foremost a pharmacy. Dr. Andrew Jackson Borroum opened the store 1865. He had served as a physician in the Confederate Army during the Civil War and treated Union soldiers after they took him captive. Upon his release he traveled by horseback toward his hometown of Oxford but stopped in Corinth to visit a doctor he knew. That doctor convinced Borroum to remain in Corinth to practice
medicine. He stayed. In his physician practice he found it necessary to make and dispense medicines. That evolved into the opening of the drug store, which is now operated by the seventh generation of Borroums.
Andrew Jackson Borroum’s portrait hangs beside the portraits of two other family druggists, and these paintings are showcased on a wall amidst other historical artifacts. Four members of the Borroum lineage have been pharmacists, including the current owner, Camille Mitchell, who operates the store with her son, Lex Mitchell, and his wife, Debbie. Borroum’s Drug Store represents a good destination for a Mississippi bucket list. Other places across the Magnolia state beckon me to develop a bucket list of my home state’s attractions. I’m interested in places you have lived, visited or simply hope to see. It’s a big state with numerous hidden adventures that give my bucket list endless possibilities. Your suggestions might become future features or be published in a listing. Contact me by traditional mail or email at the addresses below to share your ideas. Meanwhile, I hear the voice of a red stool at the counter of a historic soda fountain calling my name. Borroum’s Drug Store is located at 604 Waldron St., Corinth, MS 38834. Learn more at www.borroumsdrugstore.com. Writer Nancy Jo Maples can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter. Or write her at 188 Ernest Pipkins Road, Lucedale, MS 39452.
Today in Mississippi
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