Today in Mississippi July 2020 North East

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Escaping WISH YOU

WERE HERE J U LY 2 0 2 0





on the menu

outdoo scene around the ‘sip co-op involvement


Seniors born before 1956 get new gardening medical southern alert device with no monthly bills ever

It’s just what seniors have been waiting for; a sleek new medical alert device with no contracts, no deposits and no monthly bills that instantly connects you to free unlimited nationwide help with just the push of a button for a one-time $149 price tag that’s a real steal after today’s instant rebate The phone lines are ringing off the hook. That’s because for seniors born before 1956, it’s a deal too good to pass up. Starting at precisely 8:30am this mor ning the Pre - Store Release begins for the sleek new medical alert device that comes with the exclusive FastHelp™ OneTouch E 911 Button that instantly connects you to unlimited nationwide help everywhere cell service is available with no contracts, no deposits and no monthly bills ever. “It’s not like old style monitored help buttons that make you talk to a call center and only work when you’re at home and come with hefty bills every month. FastHelp comes with state-of-theart cellular embedded technology. That means it works at home or anywhere, anytime cell service is available whether you’re out watering the garden, driving in a car, at church or even hundreds of miles away on a tour or at a casino. You are never alone. With just a single push of the OneTouch E Button you instantly get connected to free unlimited help nationwide with no monthly bills ever,” said Jack Lawrence, Executive Director of Product Development for U.S. based Universal Physicians. “FastHelp is a state of the art medical alert device designed to make you look important, not old. Old style monitored help buttons you wear around your neck, or require expensive base station equipment or a landline are the equivalent of a horse and buggy,” Lawrence says. “It’s just outdated.” Millions of seniors fall every year and spend hours lying on the floor helpless and all alone with no help. But seniors who fall and get immediate help are much more likely to avoid getting sent to a nursing home and get to STAY living in their own home

2 TODAY | JULY 2020

independently. Yet millions of seniors are still risking their safety by not having a medical alert device. That’s because seniors just can’t afford to pay the monthly bills that come with old style medical alert devices. That’s why seniors born before 1956 are calling to cash in the whopping $150 instant rebate before the 7 day deadline ends. So there’s no need to wait for FastHelp to hit store shelves later this year because seniors born before 1956 can get it now just by calling the toll free hot line printed in today’s newspaper to cash-in the $150 instant rebate before the 7-day deadline ends. If lines are busy keep trying, all calls will be answered. ■

■ FLYING OUT THE DOOR: Trucks are being loaded with a new medical alert device called FastHelp. That’s because now that nearly everyone is sheltered in place and doing all they can to keep safe, it’s critical that workers take every safety precaution possible to make sure these lifesaving devices get delivered to lucky seniors who call the National Rebate Center Hotline today. Everyone is calling to get FastHelp, the sleek new medical alert device because it instantly connects you to unlimited nationwide help everywhere cell service is available with no contracts, no deposits and no monthly bills ever.

HOW TO GET IT: IF BORN BEFORE 1956: To get the instant rebate call this Toll-Free Hotline: 1-866-211-6070 EXT. HELP2268 IF BORN AFTER 1956: You cannot use the rebate and must pay $299 Call: 1-866-244-3659 EXT. HELP2268 THE BOTTOM LINE: You don’t need to shop around. We’ve done all the leg work, this deal is too good to pass up. FastHelp after the $150 instant rebate is a real steal at just $149 and shipping and there are no monthly bills ever.

PROS: It’s the sleek new medical alert device that comes with the exclusive FastHelp One-Touch E 911 Button that instantly connects you to free unlimited nationwide help everywhere cell service is available with no contracts or deposits. It connects you to the vast available network of cellular towers for free so it saves seniors a ton of money because there are no monthly bills ever making this deal irresistible. Plus it’s the only medical alert device that makes seniors look important, not old.

CONS: Consumers can’t get FastHelp in stores until later this year. That’s why it’s so important for seniors born before 1956 to call the National Rebate Center Hotline within the next 7 days. For those who miss that deadline, the sleek little medical alert device will set you back over $300 bucks.

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outdoors today picture this my opinion

Island life

grin ‘n’ bare it

Thanks to HGTV I have lost 25 pounds! If that sounds a bit confusing, please allow me to explain. First, HGTV has a show called “Caribbean Life.” The show is fairly simple, people of all ages and walks of life decide that they are going to move to the Caribbean. They pick an island, meet with a realtor and explain what they want and what their budget is. Then, the realtor shows them three pieces of property and at the end you get to see if they bought anything. The show can be entertaining and the guests unrealistic.

But then I had a thought. What is the first thing someone must do in order to retire…. LIVE TO RETIREMENT AGE! Over the last year, I had really let myself go. I was approaching 350 pounds, had ceased all exercise activity and was beginning to have some health issues. All of a sudden, I had a vision of my wife sitting on a Caribbean island, feet in the sand, a local beverage in her hand and someone else sitting next to her. Well, the thought of my wife in the Caribbean with someone else, that was ALL the motivation I needed. I started walking, working out and Couple: “We want an open floor plan, watching what I ate. Heck, even my 2 to 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, a pool, a youngest child, Victoria, got involved. view and it must be ocean front.” She started finding and cooking CaribbeRealtor: “Ok, and what’s your budget?” an-style dishes for supper every night. I now have lunch at the table in my Couple: “$150,000. $200,000 max.” office, eating carrot sticks and Greek Realtor: (sits quietly while keeping a yogurt, while surfing on my iPad looking straight face, trying not to laugh while for places in the Caribbean. Doesn’t make thinking, “Oh my gosh, how did I get the food taste any better, I’m just disstuck with these goofy people.”) tracted. I have even planned my retireThe premise of the show is that anyone ment days. Mondays, Wednesdays and can live a Caribbean lifestyle, though not Fridays are golf in the morning days with afternoons at the beach. Tuesdays and all Caribbean lifestyles are equal. During Thursdays are for morning fishing and afthe COVID-19 lockdown, my wife and ternoon snorkeling. Saturdays, I will take I started watching old episodes of the the wife snorkeling in the morning with a show (there are 19). By the time we got packed lunch that we eat on a secluded halfway through the third season, my beach, followed by more snorkeling in the wife looked at me and said, “We can do afternoon. Sundays will be a day of rest. that.” “Do what?” I asked. “Retire to the Will we make it to the Caribbean, who Caribbean,” she answered. I sat there with knows? But at least we have a dream and a straight face, trying not to laugh while I’m trying hard to be around to see it. thinking, ‘who have I married.’ The countdown has begun, 10 years, Midway through season four we had 9 months and 23 days. a giant map of the Caribbean, a subscripI’ll send you a postcard. tion to International Living magazine and numerous articles and stats about the various islands. We even had the beginning of a “list” of what we needed. by Michael The island had to have an airport, with Callahan quick and easy flights back home. Executive Vice President/CEO I needed at least one 18-hole golf course Electric Cooperatives on the island. of Mississippi

Mississippi is... It is the memory of hearing my daddy’s voice, and the sound of his laughter. It is the memory of hearing my grandparents letting the chickens out for the day. It is the memory of the sounds of family and friends gathering to bale hay or work in the garden. It is the memory of the sounds of the cows coming in from the field to be milked. It is the memory of the sounds of the family working together to gather and preserve food for the upcoming year. It is the memory of the sounds of kids and tired loved ones as they swam and bathed in the creek at the end of a long day. It is the memory of the sounds of frogs singing to bring on the rain. It’s the memory of the sound of a line being cast while Daddy and I fished in the Tangipahoa River. It is the memory of a cherished family friend telling stories and bringing everyone joy. It is the memory of the sound of the church bells ringing, signaling the call to worship. It is the memory of the sound of God’s children raising their voices to him in praise in that wonderful old church on the hill. It is the memory of the sounds of friends and families gathering together for Sunday dinner after church. It is the memory of the sound of a whippoorwill singing his song in the still night air. Mississippi is music to my ears that brings a smile to my face, joy to my heart and peace to my soul. by Mary Varnado Fouliard A native of the Mt. Zion community between Progress and Osyka.

What’s Mississippi to you? What do you treasure most about life in our state? Send your brief thoughts to Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158 or to

JULY 2020 | TODAY 3

in this issue

5 southern gardening

With flowers, it’s all about the colors

7 scene around the ‘sip A look at special people and places around Mississippi



outdoors today The power of smell and memories

12 local news

The Official Publication of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi

Vol. 73 No. 6

OFFICERS Keith Hayward - President Kevin Bonds - First Vice President Eddie Howard - Second Vice President Randy Carroll - Secretary/Treasurer Michael Callahan - Executive Vice President/CEO EDITORIAL STAFF Ron Stewart - Senior VP, Communications Steven Ward - Editor Chad Calcote - Creative Director/ Manager Elissa Fulton - Communications Specialist Rickey McMillan - Graphic Designer Kevin Wood - Graphic Designer Chris Alexander - Administrative Assistant EDITORIAL OFFICE & ADVERTISING 601-605-8600

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The Lee Tartt Nature Preserve is a tribute to conservation and a fallen hero

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24 on the menu

A July 4th cookout with red, white and blue

27 24

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mississippi seen

The magic and boom of fireworks

On the cover Bald Cypress trees in the Chakchiuma Swamp. Photo by Shedrick Flowers


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scene around the ‘sip co-op involvement southern gardening

One of the landscape views many gardeners ignore is the horizontal plane. Plants that create mats or carpets create a lot of interest and serve an important role in landscapes and gardens. Let’s look at a few of my colorful carpet favorites. In my opinion, vinca is one of those perfect landscape plants. It produces loads of color and handles the high heat and dry conditions of our Mississippi summers. One group of vinca I always recommend is the Cora vinca. These vincas have dark-green foliage that has a leathery look and texture, making the perfect background to show off a heavy production of colorful flowers. Upright Cora grows to about 14 inches tall with a wider spread, and it has colors of white, lavender, violet, strawberry and red. I like Cora Cascade vinca because of its heavy production of colorful flowers. Cora Cascade produces good-branching plants that spread up to 36 inches wide. It has a trailing growth habit perfect for displaying its big, showy flowers that come in colors of cherry, lilac, peach blush, polka dot and strawberry. 42nd Annual

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picture this my opinion grin ‘n’ bare it

Purslane is another plant that is perfect for carpeting many places in your garden. Purslane forms a dense mat of droughtresistant color. It also does great in small patches. Purslane is a tough summer plant for our Mississippi heat, and it has become one of my flowering favorites. The selections Yellow Pazazz and Tangerine Pazazz have a spreading habit that forms a carpet of succulent foliage and bright flowers. Purslane Fairy Tale Cinderella is covered with 1-inch, yellow-petalled flowers with pinkish-orange puffball centers. Ornamental sweet potatoes are perfect for laying a gorgeous carpet of vivid and attractive leaves. They are vigorous plants that produce thick mats of color. The Sweet Caroline series offers a wide selection of heartshaped and cut-leaf foliage in a variety of colors for the landscape. Foliage colors include purple, red, bronze and light green. Sweet Caroline selections Raven and Bewitched have dramatic black foliage. Since ornamental sweet potatoes can be vigorous, they may become unruly and overrun other plants. Simply prune back to keep them in bounds. Ornamental sweet potatoes perform best with consistent moisture. Be sure to water during dry periods to help maintain good plant health. Not all colorful flower carpets are horizontal. Tangerine Beauty cross vine is perfect to create a vertical carpet of color scrambling up and over an arbor or fence. It is simply covered in flowers. Tangerine Beauty cross vine is the well-behaved cousin to its rambunctious relative, trumpet creeper. The flower buds are a pinkish red and open into funnel-shaped orange, salmon and yellow flowers. The flowers bloom on old wood, so prune immediately after flowering if needed. There’s nothing like creating a floral carpet of color to create landscape interest. Now’s the time to be planting colorful, summer-season plants that will grow into a beautiful garden mat of color.

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by Dr. Gary Bachman Gary Bachman, Ph.D., Extension/Research Professor of Horticulture at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. He is also host of “Southern Gardening” radio and TV programs. He lives in Ocean Springs and is a Singing River Electric member.

JULY 2020 | TODAY 5

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mississippi marketplace on the menu outdoors today scene around the ‘sip picture this

my opinion Grammy museum exhibit celebrates

co-op involvement

southern gardening

grin ‘n’ bare it

by Steven Ward Both popular and critically acclaimed, young singer-songwriters Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Amanda Shires and Kelsea Ballerini will one day become country music legends. But the power and talent of women in country music is nothing new. The Carter Family, Patsy Cline, Kitty Wells and Mississippiborn Tammy Wynette are legends today that all played an instrumental role in filling in the pages of the history of country music. Right now through Dec. 13, the Grammy Museum Mississippi in Cleveland is featuring a historic exhibit — “Stronger Together: The Power of Women in Country Music.” The exhibit is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield Mississippi. “The exhibit takes visitors on a journey through the history of women in country music, from the early years and postWorld War II, to the emergence of Nashville as a country music mecca,” Grammy Museum Mississippi Executive Director Emily Havens said. “Women have played such an integral role in the development and longevity of country music, and we are thrilled to celebrate some of these trailblazing female artists with our new exhibit,” Havens said. The exhibit features artifacts from such celebrated female country artists as Maybelle and Sara Carter, Rosanne Cash, Caylee Hammack, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Patsy Montana, Maren Morris, Dolly Parton, Minnie Pearl, Margo Price, Taylor Swift, Kacey Musgraves, Kelsea Ballerini and Mississippi natives Faith Hill and LeAnn Rimes. Some of the artifacts featured are Taylor Swift’s vintage dress worn in her music video for “Mean,” performance outfits from Little Big Town’s Kimberly Schlapman and Karen Fairchild that were worn during the Dolly Parton tribute at the 61st Grammy

Awards and Maren Morris’ gown worn on the red carpet at the Grammy Awards. The exhibit also features photos, handwritten lyrics and instruments donated by the artists. Singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash lent one of her two Martin OM-28M acoustic guitars to the exhibit. “I mean I was over the moon when they (the Grammy Museum) asked me to be part of the exhibit. It’s a great honor. And that guitar, my signature Martin, I see it as an extension of me,” Cash told Today in Mississippi. Cash has owned two of the signature guitars since 2008. Although Cash said she doesn’t think about performers and musicians in terms of their gender, she said the exhibit helps to feature a greater array of great artists and performers to the public. “I don’t like subgroups. I don’t think of women as a subgroup of country music but it’s always good to draw attention to legitimate musicians. Cash said she has had younger songwritRosanne Cash ers reach out to her — including Shires, now a friend — and she did the same when she was first starting out. “Emmylou (Harris) was a mentor. Just the way she handled herself. I gleaned a lot from Emmylou. She was a great role model for me,” Cash said. Havens, citing feedback from visitors, said some of the favorite exhibit artifacts include Cash’s guitar and Dolly Parton’s outfits and banjo. Havens said it’s hard for her to pick out her own favorite part of the exhibit. “The entire exhibit is incredible, but if I had to pick just one, I would pick Faith Hill’s Grammy Award,” Havens said. “It is such an honor to have it displayed in this exhibit.”

The exhibit, which began in November, will run through Dec. 13, 2020. Regular hours: TUES - SAT: 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM SUNDAY: 1:00 PM - 5:30 PM Call 662-441-0100 or visit for more information.

The museum is planning to reopen on July 9. JULY 2020 | TODAY 7

Van Gogh, Monet and Degas: C E L E B R AT I N G T H E W E S T E R N C A N O N

Édouard Manet (1832–1883), On the Beach, Boulogne-sur-Mer, 1868. Oil on canvas. Photo: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

by Steven Ward “This is the first exhibition in a long time of such renowned Mississippians have a rare opportunity this year to see iconic French and Dutch artists in Mississippi. Many pieces from the paintings and sculptures created by seminal French artists of collection have never been on view the 19th and 20th centuries. The in the state previously,” said Betsy Mississippi Museum of Art (MMA) Bradley, director of the Mississippi in Jackson is hosting Van Gogh, Museum of Art. Monet, Degas, and Their Times: The collection features more The Mellon Collection of French than 74 paintings and sculptures — Art from the Virginia Museum of both monumental and intimately Fine Arts. scaled. The exhibit showcases major “This is the first traveling exschools of French art including hibition of the Mellon Collection Romanticism, Impressionism and Cubism spanning 150 years. This since Mrs. Mellon’s bequest to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in exhibition features artwork from 2014,” said Roger Ward, the mumodern French masters that are well known in the United States seum’s deputy director of art and programs. and the world, including Edgar Bradley said visitors can expect Degas, Eugène Delacroix, Edouard a trip to France through time and Manet, Claude Monet, Berthe the eyes of some of the most Morisot, Pablo Picasso, Henri important artists in history. Rousseau and Vincent van Gogh. “Since travel continues to be The pieces all come from Paul Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pensive (LaSongeuse), 1875. Oil on paper on canvas. limited, MMA is excited to transand Rachel “Bunny” Lambert Photo by Katherine Wetzel port visitors to Paris and the Mellon, among the most philanFrench countryside with this exhibition. Through equestrian thropic art collecting couples of the last century. The Mellons’ paintings, views of Parish urban cityscapes and landscapes of personal interests, commitment to modernism and prescient the French countryside, visitors will have a sense France in the collection strategies are evident in the grouping. 19th and 20th centuries, Bradley said. This exhibition was organized by the Virginia Fine Arts Bradley’s favorite piece in the exhibit is by Monet. Museum. Its presentation in Jackson is sponsored by the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation.


• Vincent van Gogh, “Daisies” • Claude Monet, “Field of Poppies” • Pierre Bonnard, “The Dining Room” • Paul Gauguin, “Still Life with Oysters”

• Edward Degas, “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen” • Vincent van Gogh, “The Wheat Field Behind St. Paul’s Hospital, St. Remy

“My favorite piece in the collection is Monet’s Field of Poppies, one of the world’s most famous paintings. The vibrant colors entice you to jump right in and stroll through the field. You can really imagine yourself enjoying the beautiful weather,” Bradley said. Entrance to the museum is free but the admission to the exhibit is $15 per person, $13 for advance purchase, $13 for seniors and groups of 10 or more and $10 for college students with school ID. The exhibit is free for museum members, children 5 and under and K-12 students on Tuesdays and Thursdays thanks to Field Co-operative Associations, Inc. and BlueCross BlueShield of Mississippi. The museum recently announced its plans to reopen after temporarily closing due to COVID-19. The MMA is slated to open in stages beginning July 1 with an initial members-only period and then is scheduled to open to the general public on July 8. The Van Gogh exhbition has been extended through Jan. 10, 2021. First responders and essential workers will be allowed free admission throughtout the exhbit. Bradley said the health of museum visitors will remain a top priority.

Edgar Degas, At the Milliner, ca. Oil on canvas. Photo by Travis Fullerton

Visit for more information.

Edgar Degas, Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, model executed ca. 1880 (cast in 1922). Bronze, cloth skirt with tutu and satin hair ribbon. Photo: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

JULY 2020 | TODAY 9

mississippi seen events


on the menu

scene around the ‘s co-op involvement

southern gardening


mississippi is...

mississippi marketplace u outdoors today d the ‘sip picture this my opinion ement


grin ‘n’ bare it waters earlier that spring. It was the refreshing aroma of the river’s Oh, for an onomatopoeia related to smells. These words are trickle over aging oaks that had fallen prey to a gnawing widespread for their intended use regarding sounds, but the current on the off-side of that flow. It was concept as it pertains to smells is somethe occasional breath of honeysuckle what limited. wafting on a morning breeze. It was the You know that word, onomatopoeia. smell of excitement and tranquility and Perhaps you recall it from a long-ago expectation. It was the smell of peace. English or literature or writing class. And there are many other sensory sigFormed from two Greek words — onnals from my seven decades of growing oma, which means name, and poiein, and processing and filing away. Some of which means to make — onomatopoeia these courted a singular sense; others is basically a word that, when used in Water and woods combine to provide a wide assortment of aromas. came through combinations of two or speaking or writing, mimics the sound more. The green, stinging smell of sage being described: bang, clang, splash, from downslope, this seeping through swoosh. Clever devices for adding spice nostrils begging additional oxygen in the to communication, these words with the High Country. The odiferous stimulation of hard-to-pronounce designation are. an autumn wood, fresh from a pre-dawn It is reasonable to conclude that any splattering of cool rain. The drone of or all five senses can often be related a small-farm tractor, its turning-plow and play a role in recall. Something we releasing from captivity those rejuvenattaste may trigger memory of something ing aromas of freshly disturbed dirt. we saw, and so on. It was such an occurThe fluffed feel and clean fragrance of rence that spurred the thought for this Slough water has a pungent but pleasant odor. It is one sure to maintain a hold in memory. hand-picked cotton bathed in sunshine column. Just recently, a cardinal singing and piled high on a ragged wagon. is what I heard, but the smell of a specific setting from childhood And there was my mom’s rattling about the kitchen and her came to mind. It is in the description of this smell that I badly soft humming that always permeated the secret period between need a proper and handy onomatopoeia. sleep and waking and that scent of biscuits baking before a day My dad and I were paddling a battered wooden boat up a of farm chores that hold a permanent place inside memory. These section of the Pearl River, this section generally known as the Old sounded and smelled like security. Like home. Straight. Actually, my dad was paddling; I was piddling. Impeding more than assisting I would guess, but my dad was gracious. I heard a bird. I had definitely heard this sound countless times before, but the urge to know what it was had never pricked me. “Red bird,” he said when I asked. Obviously, the cardinal, but it was red bird to him — all his life. And as influential as that identification was, it was the smell of the Old Straight that clung tenaciously by Tony Kinton to my remembering. It is still there, more than 60 years from that paddling, piddling sunrise river trip. Tony Kinton has been an active outdoors writer for 30 years. He lives How do I describe that smell? Pungent, but certainly not unin Carthage and is a Central Electric member. Visit for more information. pleasant. It was decaying leaves and slough mud drying from high

JULY 2020 | TODAY 11


Strength IN

Keith Hayward talks leadership, community and advancements in technology by Elissa Fulton Since 1938, North East Mississippi Electric Power Association (NEMEPA) has operated as a member-owned electric cooperative and is guided by Seven Cooperative Principles. General Manager and CEO Keith Hayward takes these principles to heart and prides himself on being a community man. After all, one of those key principles is Concern for Community. Hayward grew up in Oxford and attended Oxford High School. His mother owned a clothing store on the Oxford Square and his father was a civil engineer and local farmer. As a lady of the community, his mother obliged him to assist with activities related to the Garden Club. He modestly puns that he can “wrap a mean Christmas gift, or work on a combine. Whatever is needed.” Hayward is no stranger to hard work. Although he was often rewarded during his school years by skipping end of the year exams due to his perfect attendance record, he never received recognition for

his ‘perfect attendance’ as he was regularly needed on the farm to plant soybeans during those final days of school. After high school, Hayward remained in Oxford and attended The University of Mississippi. “I had received a small scholarship for the chemical engineering program at Ole Miss,” said Hayward. “I was good at chemistry in high school, but I didn’t like it in college. A friend of the family talked me into going to the electrical engineering school.” While at Ole Miss, Hayward served as the educational director for new members at his Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house. This was just the beginning of his community service. After college, Hayward accepted a job in Tupelo and was enjoying his new career when he was approached by, then manager, Bill Lovelady to come back to Oxford and work at NEMEPA. Out of respect for the family friend, he met with Mr. Lovelady to discuss a future with the

electric cooperative. Not really knowing much about the electric power industry, and dedicated to his new career in Tupelo, he didn’t have any expectations about returning to Oxford. However, the prospect seemed like something he would enjoy, and it would give him the opportunity to resume working on the farm with his father. In 1988, Hayward returned to his hometown. After Mr. Lovelady retired, Bob Collier became the general manager and gave Hayward the opportunity to oversee the field crews. As a 27-year-old college grad, he was thrust into a world of experienced line workers that were expected to follow his lead. “You’ve got to be pretty tough to make that work,” he said. “But through the years, I took pride in making their world a little better. I didn’t try to tell them how to do their jobs and I expected them to be honest with me about what they needed to do their jobs well. I believe that the employees are the crutch of any organization. That was true then, and it’s certainly true today.” The 1994 Ice Storm was a huge challenge for Hayward. He had just taken over the role of construction supervisor when the biggest disaster to hit NEMEPA happened. He went from supervising a normal staff to supervising more than 300 employees and contractors. “It was really bad,” he said. “We lost 100% of our system and worked 36-hour shifts just to get a little power back on, only to lose it again. It took 23 days to get everyone’s power back on.” Hayward learned a lot about the importance of maintaining rights-of-way during that time. The northeast region of

Mississippi is very hilly with an abundance of trees and it makes maintaining the power lines very difficult. In fact, approximately $2 million is budgeted each year to maintain clear rights-of-way. “We’ve had issues with rights-of-way in the past,” Hayward said. “It seems year-after-year the climate is changing — the weather is getting wetter, trees are growing faster and members don’t want their trees cut. But we’ve been really aggressive with our rights-of-way in the last few years. Our job is to maintain the power lines and rights-of-way maintenance is essential.”

CEO Keith Hayward and Marketing/Communications Specialist Tracie Russell talk with an attendee at the Ole Miss Green Week.


In 1936, members began meeting about forming the electric cooperative. By 1938, power was flowing through the lines and North East Power became one of the pioneer cooperatives in the country. Although today, there are more than 900 electric cooperatives that stretch from coast-to-coast, the first electric cooperatives in the country were formed right here in Mississippi in Alcorn, Pontotoc and Monroe counties. Mississippians have always been pioneers in innovation and the new broadband initiatives are no exception. In early 2019, the Mississippi Legislature passed the Broadband Enabling Act that would allow the 25 electric cooperatives in Mississippi to provide high-speed internet service through affiliate companies. As Mississippi lags near the bottom of states with reliable internet service, Hayward was part of a group that lobbied to provide this vital and much needed service. “We were hearing horror stories from our membership about outrageous data plans through cellular providers just to receive some type of internet service. We have a major university in Oxford and there was a thirst for reliable service. People were asking us to get involved but we couldn’t because of the prior law. Once the law was changed, we immediately began the exploration of it. We began grant applications early on for government subsidies.” As a progressive leader, Hayward has served on many boards and committees in the electric industry. One such committee is the Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) committee through the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). This committee is made up of interested parties across the region and the valley who try and assist TVA in determining future generation needs. Hayward has served on two of those committees and he quickly realized, that if done correctly, he could save his members more Continued on next page

JULY 2020 | TODAY 13

money on broadband than he ever could through electric rates. With a reliable fiber-to-the-home network, members would no longer need satellite and cable packages and could easily save $50-150 per month on entertainment packages alone through streaming services. The fiber-to-the-home would also increase home values and increase productivity for teleworkers and online students. As phone providers continue to abandon poles and wired connections for voice over air such as the 5G network, electric cooperative managers and CEOs are starting to realize

that maintaining poles and wire really fit the cooperative business model. “Back in the 1930s, when we were running electricity to the homes, a lot of people said they didn’t need it and didn’t want it,” said Hayward. “But today electricity is not a luxury but a necessity. I think fiber-to-the-home is the same thing today. I think that over the next five years things are really going to change; it will become another utility and we are best suited to provide it.”


Hayward is constantly working on behalf of the NEMEPA members and for rural disadvantages. In November 2019, Hayward testified before Congress with U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith on behalf of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) about the 2018 Farm Bill and the need to connect rural America to modern technology. He is also very supportive of community service. “I’m very big on having our employees go out and be involved in the community,” he said. “Our board has complimented us about our membership holding us in a much higher regard than they did just 10 years ago. We’ve increased our exposure and we’ve increased our presence by keeping them informed and providing them with technology, assistance with outages and various programs. We are not an electric company; we are a service company. We provide a means for our members to buy electricity through a generation facility, TVA. We don’t make the commodity; we just transfer it.” Although NEMEPA is not in a position to give grand monetary donations, they support the local community by volunteerism. “I have a great staff here,” said Hayward. “I get compliment after compliment on the professionalism and the courtesy that they show from the front office, to the linemen, and anyone that goes onto someone’s property.” During the COVID-19 crisis and economic shut down, NEMEPA and other utilities ceased cut-offs for those experiencing economic hardship. Although the bills are now being collected, the cooperative is working with its members who have fallen on hard times. “Although the bills have to be paid, if our members are struggling, we will work with them,” said Hayward. “We also have local charities that we are working with to aid those who have fallen victim to the economic crisis. Our members want to pay, some of them are just having a really hard time right now.” Hayward has made a lot of strides for the cooperative during his leadership. Through late nights, frequent travel and serving on various committees, these are just a few of the ways he is dedicated to the employees and members and works hard to make life better for them. “I could have gone off and done anything,” said Hayward. “I always said I wasn’t going to stay around here, but I realized that I was born and raised in this town and in this community. It is just woven into my being, and hope that my legacy will be that I left it better than it was when I got here. As a hometown guy, my hope is that I have provided something with my knowledge and my drive and given back to my community. That’s all I could ever ask for.”

Strength IN Employees from North East Mississippi Electic Power Association tour the St. Jude Hospital.

14 TODAY | JULY 2020



June 9, 2020 was a very important day for NE SPARC and North East Power. The wonderful folks at Calvary Baptist Church now have a super affordable, super reliable, 100 mbps connection to the internet. Our NE SPARC team is excited that months of hard work are finally paying off. Our first zone, Brittany Woods B214, is now up and running. We are actively running services to homes and will begin scheduling home installs over the next several weeks. NE SPARC will be front and center in bridging the digital divide in our area. The ability for all of our members, regardless of location, to have access to high speed broadband is so important today. Our team will not stop until all of our members are able to take service if they so choose. Additional fiber zones will be opening soon for members to sign up and select a package.

NE Sparc Update Now installing NE SPARC service in Brittany Woods B214 Fiber Zone, as Lafayette Springs 224 nears completion. Here are the directions for acquiring broadband service: Step 1: Pre-register for service All zones within North East’s service territory are currently in pre-registration. Visit and input your name, email and service address for us to contact you. Step 2: Register for service Once fiber construction for your zone nears completion, we will contact you through the email information you entered in Step 1. At this time, you will be instructed to register for service. Members within your zone will have the ability to choose the internet and voice package of your choice. Step 3: Accounts set up After you register for service, a NE Sparc member service

representative will contact you to set up account information. Step 4: Scheduling of installation After your account set-up is complete, our fiber installation partner will contact you to schedule your service drop and inhome installation. Step 5: Installation Our fiber partner, National-On-Demand, will send a crew to your house to install the fiber from our fiber enclosure to a location near the meter base on the side of your house. Once this is complete, a home installer will visit your home to install the remaining fiber and start up and test the Wi-Fi equipment in your home.

What’s a Fiber Zone? A Fiber Zone is a geographic region or footprint that generally follows North East power lines. Our fiber system is being designed and built according to zones. We use zones in order to design a system that is robust and that can effectively serve the members within each fiber zone’s boundary. North East, along with all of its fiber partners, are in the process of designing and constructing several zones as part of Phase I of the total project. We are working very hard to get fiber installed as quickly as possible for each zone in Phase I.

16 TODAY | JULY 2020

of more

in season ahead by Derrill Holly Government meteorologists say atmospheric conditions are ripe for an above-normal season of storm activity in the Atlantic Basin and predict 13 to 19 named storms with sustained winds exceeding 39 mph. Six to 10 of those storms could reach hurricane strength of at least 74 mph, and three to six could pack sustained winds of 111 mph, achieving major hurricane status. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its annual forecast May 21. Co-op mutual aid coordinators meet each year in Biloxi to discuss last year’s storm season and how responses can be improved, said Gerald Gordon, vice president of safety and loss control for the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi. “These individuals represent 25-35 states and thousands of cooperative employees that are ready to respond to the call for assistance,” Gordon said. “He added that each request for help goes to statewide organizations and is then fulfilled by assisting states. “Now is the time to get prepared,” warned Gerry Bell, lead hurricane season forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. NOAA and the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies released a report this spring linking warming earth surface temperatures to increasing tropical storm intensity. The study, covering a 39-year period ending in 2017, suggested a worldwide shift toward more tropical weather systems that achieve major hurricane intensity.

While the global rate of storm severity increase was about 8% per decade, “the greatest changes are found in the North Atlantic, where the probability of major hurricane exceedance increases by 49% per decade,” the report states. NOAA forecast greater potential of hurricanerelated havoc to occur well inland from where a system makes landfall, even as storms are downgraded below hurricane strength and winds subside. “A slow-moving tropical storm can produce 9 to 15 inches of rain over a large area,” said Bell. Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are encouraging coastal residents to act now to prepare for potential hurricane evacuations because of concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. “There’s always a challenge meeting shelter needs during and after a major hurricane,” said Carlos Castillo, FEMA acting deputy administrator for resilience. “Social distancing and other CDC guidance to keep you safe from COVID-19 may impact the disaster preparedness plan you had in place, including what is in your go-kit, evacuation routes, shelters and more.” In April, meteorologists from Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project predicted above-normal storm activity as well for 2020. The preseason CSU forecast of 16 named storms included eight reaching hurricane strength and four expected to achieve major hurricane status. Derrill Holly is a staff writer for NRECA. JULY 2020 | TODAY 17



by Steven Ward Local artist Robin Whitfield, who landed in Grenada in 1996 to paint murals for a public school, had never spent time in a swamp before walking from her home studio to the urban forest. “It captivated me from day one. I would explore the area every day, slowly learning the names and relationships of the plants and animals there,” Whitfield said. She “fell head over heels for this special and magical place” and became an Audubon Master Naturalist soon after. Today, Whitfield is the director of the Lee Tartt Nature Preserve, the name of the acreage which was previously called the Chakchiuma Swamp Natural Area. The preserve is a bottomland hardwood forest featuring a series of interconnected oxbow lakes known as the Chakchiuma Swamp. The city-owned property’s westbound boundary is Highway 51 and the northern boundary is Highway 332 leading to the 18 TODAY | JULY 2020

Grenada Lake dam and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers floodplain property known as the Haserway Wetland Area. The preserve provides a constant feast of caterpillars for birds year around. Notable summer birds are the prothonotary warbler, summer tanager, white-eyed and yellow-throated vireo, northern parula, yellow billed cuckoo and snowy egret. Notable winter birds are the hermit thrush, wood duck, brown creeper, red crowned kinglet and yellow-bellied sapsucker. The year around residents include barred owl, red shouldered hawk, northern cardinal, turkey vulture and woodpeckers — pileated, red bellied and downy, Whitfield added. The caterpillars fill the preserve with butterflies and moths notably zebra swallowtail whose host plant is pawpaw, gulf fritillary whose host plant is passion vine and luna moth whose host plant is sweetgum. “The oxbow lakes are cut off from the river keeping them cool and clear most of the year,” Whitfield said. And it wouldn’t be a swamp without turtles, frogs, fish and reptiles. photo by Marianne Todd


magical P L A C E

The preserve currently has duty, he liked to hand fish short walking trails in three in the Yalobusha River, locations, an observation deck overlooking the swamp according to his brother, Keith Tartt. and oxbow lake access for paddlers. Whitfield’s volunteer When he was on duty, he worked as a special agent for group, Friends of Chakchiuma Swamp, is working with arthe Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. A perfect shot, Keith chitects to create a masterplan that will feature a handicap Tartt said, his brother was also a member of the Mississippi accessible interpretive trail, three Department of Public Safety SWAT miles of walking trails, boardteam. The 44-year-old law enforcewalks through the wetlands and ment officer was shot and killed in grasslands, quiet nature viewing It captivated me from day one. February 2016 when he and other benches, a natural children’s play I would explore the area every authorities responded to a domestic area and a classroom size pavilion. day, slowly learning the names dispute at a home near Iuka in Whitfield said visitors come to Tishomingo County. and relationships of the plants the preserve for many reasons but An armed man was holding his and animals there. the swamp itself seems to be the wife and 10-year-old daughter in a main attraction. Guests sit on the observation house and he refused to come out after more deck or float in a kayak. They fish, paddle, than six hours of hostage negotiations, according take photographs, paint, go birding and set up to reporting by the Associated Press. picnics in the preserve. Tartt was one of four officers that went inside The preserve was named after James Lee when the man and police officers started shooting Tartt, who was passionate about the outdoors. at each other. Lee Tartt was shot and killed that A Grenada native, he grew up on a farm and day. The other three officers were injured. loved hunting and fishing. When he was off Continued on next page


Lee T A R T T


The woman and her daughter escaped the home alive. The armed man holding them there was shot and killed by police during the standoff. How the preserve became named after Lee Tartt, involves someone who remains anonymous to this day. The Friends of Chakchiuma Swamp wanted to save the acreage from inclusion in a citywide timber harvest. An anonymous donor loaned the group $300,000 to win the bid in the timber sale purchasing all of the trees in the 300 acres, Whitfield said. He then offered half of it back as a matching donor so every time someone donates, 50 cents is added to every $1. The deal paved the way to a 60-year lease of the property with the city. Keith Tartt said one of the conditions of the deal by the donor was to name the preserve after his brother. The preserve was named after Lee Tartt in 2018. When asked what Lee would have thought about the naming of the preserve, Keith Tartt recalled his younger brother’s personality. “I’m sure he would have been proud. But Lee was a very humble person. He was a quiet guy. He liked to be in the background. He didn’t toot his own horn,” Keith Tartt said. After Lee Tartt died, his brother was going through his things and came across a box. Inside were all kinds of law enforcement awards he never told anyone about.“He won the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Agent of the Year award twice. Once posthumously. He won an award of valor twice

20 TODAY | JULY 2020

too, once also posthumously,” Keith Tartt said. Keith Tartt, a member of the nature preserve’s board of directors, said he hopes that the future of the swamp area becomes part of city plans for downtown Grenada’s revival. “It’s all part of a bigger vision and this would add a nature presence which would be vital for the community,” Keith Tartt said. Whitfield said the mission of the nature preserve is “conservation through creativity, curiosity and community connection.” “Through all that we have experienced as an organization and with observations of nature our motto is ‘everything is connected.’ Events, workshops, partnerships and conservation workdays are how we fulfill our mission,” Whitfield said. Whitfield said she finds a few minutes or a few hours to spend at the preserve every day. “I never tire of seeing what’s different from the day before and making new connections. I have never been disappointed in a visit and have always left with abundant gifts, Whitfield said. “While wandering around I think things like ‘wow! There’s my favorite flower!’ or ‘that is the most amazing tree I have ever seen!’ or ‘Does it get any more peaceful than this moment?’ Considering I have these thoughts everyday about totally different things, the only conclusion I can draw is that my favorite part of the preserve is simply having the privilege of being there in that moment.” Visit or call 662-230-0368 or email for more information.

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1. Two Mississippi River bridges in Natchez, by Kelsey Bass of Smithdale; Magnolia Electric Power member.

7. Bay St. Louis train bridge and harbor, by Joe Swaykos of Pass Christian; Coast Electric member.

2. Early morning turkey hunt at Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, by Grant Hartman of Collinsville; East Mississippi EPA member.

8. Waveland beach, by Heather Atwood of Tylertown; Magnolia Electric Power member.

3. Roosevelt State Park, by Melissa Loper of Brandon; Central EPA member.

9. Mississippi Coast Lighthouse, by Rhonda Drummond of Greenwood; Delta Electric member.

4. Watching the birds and waves in Biloxi, by Rashonda Waldrop of Purvis; Pearl River Valley EPA member. 5. Gulf Islands seashore, by Rebekah Pope of Ocean Springs; Singing River Electric member. 6. Flint Creek Water Park in Wiggins, by Teri Trotter of Byram; Southern Pine Electric member.

22 TODAY | JULY 2020


10. A full moon at Cat Island, by Carol Terrrell of Ruleville; Delta Electric member. 11. Sunset at Biloxi beach, by April Ray of Decatur; Southern Pine Electric member. 12. On the Fair River in Lawrence County, by Tim Lea of Monticello; Southern Pine Electric member

12 10















13. Possum Walk Trail in Logtown, by Cathy Boyet of Pearlington; Coast Electric member.

19. Sunset over Mississippi River at Natchez, by Kathy Tourne of Carriere; Coast Electric member.

14. The banks of Bear Creek at Tishomingo State Park, by Jason Heavner of Oxford; North East EPA member.

20. Swimming at home in Carriere, by Lisa Treuting of Carriere; Coast Electric member.

15. Horn Island on the Gulf of Mexico, by Debbie Scott of Pascagoula; Singing River Electric member.

21. Gulf Coast, by Trish Little of Magee; Southern Pine Electric member.

16. Kayaking on the lake at Little Black Creek in Lumberton, by Teresa Adams of Picayune; Coast Electric member.. 17. Sunrise in Biloxi, by Alan Hofstetter of Gautier; Singing River Electric member. 18. Rocky Springs along the Natchez Trace Parkway, by Perla Ruby Arellano of West Point; 4-County Electric member.

22. Horn Island camping trip, by Amanda Norris of New Augusta; Pearl River Valley EPA member. 23. Arlo Wilkinson having fun at Middlefork Creek in Franklin County, by Daisy Arnold of Meadville; Southwest Electric member.

JULY 2020 | TODAY 23

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July 4th celebrates the birth of American independence. Traditional festivities range from fireworks, parades, concerts and cookouts. This summer will be anything but conventional as our communities continue to work together to socially distance and slow the spread of COVID-19. Our outdoor gatherings may be more intimate, but that doesn’t mean barbeques are off-limits. Enjoying a wholesome meal cooked outside at home can boost your physical and mental health. Incorporate these simple tips to enjoy a fun, flavorful, and nutritious patio meal. Your Mississippi farmers and fishers need you now more than ever, so be sure to think local when you shop for lean proteins. Processed meats like hot dogs, sausages and some red meats are high in saturated fats and sodium, which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. Make the switch to leaner cuts of beef such as the eye of round, sirloin, or skirt steak. Choose 80 to 95% lean ground beef or turkey for burgers. Make your ground meat budget and nutrition go further by adding in black beans, kernel corn, or finely grated zucchini or carrots to patties, meatloaves, spaghetti and tacos. A cookout isn’t complete without side dishes. You can focus on our patriotic colors, red, white and blue, during July, 24 TODAY | JULY 2020

and be surprised by the variety of foods and the wealth of nutrition each color offers. Mississippi gardens are brimming with red produce like beets, radishes, peppers, onions, potatoes, rhubarb and tomatoes. Red fruits include cherries, raspberries, apples, strawberries and watermelons. Bring white produce to the table with cauliflower, garlic, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, potatoes, turnips, white corn and white beans. Using the color blue loosely, and including those that are purplish-colored, too, gives you more options like blackberries, blueberries, eggplants, figs, grapes, plums, potatoes and raisins. Upgrade your side dish recipes to include more hearthealthy ingredients. Remove or reduce saturated fats by substituting plain Greek yogurt for mayonnaise. Instead of sugary baked beans, try white corn and bean salad or a tri-colored potato salad. Choose a variety of seasonal vegetables marinated with herbs and olive oil. Grill whole carrots, or make vegetable kebabs using cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and onions brushed with a vinaigrette dressing. A fresh fruit salad or Smith County watermelon is a refreshing way to add something sweet to any meal. Get outside, light the grill, and enjoy a meal fit for a celebration.

INGREDIENTS ¼ cup blueberries, fresh ½ cup cauliflower florets, halved ½ cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved ½ cup feta cheese crumbles (optional) spinach leaves 2 tablespoons, dressing of choice Using a wide-mouth mason jar, assemble your salad. Add the desired dressing to the bottom. Sturdy vegetables like cauliflower and tomatoes go in first. Next, add a layer of spinach, followed by chickpeas and feta crumbles — another handful of spinach, followed by blueberries. Fill the mason jar to the top with spinach. When ready to eat, shake the mason jar to cover the content with the dressing. Eat from the jar or transfer to a plate. Make several ahead of time for the week.

INGREDIENTS 3 pounds (about 4 cups) small red, white and purple potatoes, halved 1 tablespoon dried parsley (3 tablespoons fresh) 1 teaspoon dried dill (1 tablespoon fresh) ¼ cup chopped red onion ¼ cup white wine vinegar 2 tablespoons olive oil 4 tablespoons stone ground mustard ½ teaspoon of salt and pepper (or to taste) Place halved red and white potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring potatoes to a full boil and boil for 13-15 minutes or until potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork. Drain potatoes, pat dry with a paper towel and transfer to a large bowl. To avoid purple or blue potatoes from bleeding onto the others, boil separately, using the same instructions for the red and white potatoes. While cooked red, white and blue potatoes are cooling in a large bowl, form the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together parsley, dill, onions, vinegar, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over slightly warm potatoes and gently toss to cover. Serve potato salad warm, room temperature, or chilled. *Look for the tri-colored baby potatoes or purchase 1 pound bags of each. This recipe still works well with single colored potatoes, too.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Rebecca Turner is an author, registered dietitian, radio host, television presenter and a certified specialist in sports dietetics with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A lifelong Mississippian, she lives in Brandon and has spent the last decade offering no-nonsense nutrition guidance that allows you to enjoy good health and good food. Her book, “Mind Over Fork,” challenges the way you think, not the way you eat. Find her on social media @RebeccaTurnerNutrition and online at

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mississippi marketplace The 30th Bruce Sawmill Festival, July 10Many planned summer events were canceled because of the COVID-19 crisis, so we have onDowntown the menu outdoors today 11, Bruce. Bruce Square. The had far fewer events to feature in this space as a result. As more areas of Mississippi open back up and groups and organizations feel comfortable about holding public events, we event features a 5K run/walk, arts and intend to include those details here. So,this if you have an upcoming event for August and scene around the picture crafts, food vendors, and a car, tractor, and ‘sip September, please email the details to motorcycle show. Live entertainment on theco-op Cannon Motors entertainment stage my opinion involvement starts Friday at 6 p.m. and starts back at 9 a.m. Saturday and runs through to Saturday night with the headliner band, The Jason Miller Band. Details: 662-983-2222.

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The 42nd Mississippi Watermelon Festival, July 17-18, Mize. Proceeds go to the Mize Volunteer Fire Department. Country singer Colt Ford performs Saturday at 8 p.m. Gates open Friday at 3:30 p.m. and Saturday at 8:30 a.m. See display advertisement on Page 5. Details: 601-517-3510.

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They would let us climb up on the roof of the house the night of July 4th to watch the fireworks over Lake Ferguson from the Greenville waterfront so we wouldn’t have to go down there. We lived a mile or so away, as the crow flies. Getting to go up on the roof was an adventure for us kids. The big fireworks show was the culmination of the 4th. It started off pretty much like any other summer morning. Help mama, take out the garbage, watch my little brother. But the day set itself apart after lunch. An ice cream freezer or two (depending on whether we had company or not) would come out and the ice around the drum was salted. By midafternoon, the cranks started getting harder to turn; a sure sign that the cream inside was just about right. Then someone would start hauling out the watermelons that had been chilling in wash tubs since midmorning. There is no sound like a ripe watermelon being stabbed with a butcher knife and then splitting open. And there is no smell like the instant sweetness in the air that follows. Fireworks for us didn’t have to wait until dark. We’d pop our own firecrackers any time. As a matter of fact, it didn’t wait until the 4th. We would have already been popping them for days in advance. Supper might be hamburgers or hot dogs. And then we’d hear the first “boom” from the waterfront and scamper to the roof. Some of the rockets didn’t fly too high and we’d just see a flash in the sky like heat lightning from where they had exploded below the tree line. But some of them would climb and climb and climb and then pop into a big dandelion seed puff of light way up there.

Why is that so exciting to see when you are young? And then all too soon came the fireworks. The whole sky would light up with explosions all over at once. We could hear the faint car horns of approval from the waterfront all the way to our roof. We carried some of that over into adulthood. While the “old folks” were still here we’d go to mama and daddy’s for the 4th, sometimes. Usually we’d all congregate at an aunt and uncle’s house down the street. There would still be ice cream — with an electric freezer by then — and watermelon. We could hear fireworks all over, from the kids in a nearby neighborhood, mostly. And then after dark, the big “boom” of the serious rockets over the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway a mile or so away from where mom and dad had moved after all of us left home. This year? I’ll swing on the front porch after dark and listen to the small snaps and pops in the neighborhoods around. And wait for the big “boom” from the Barnett Reservoir — a mile or so away. Happy 4th everybody.

by Walt Grayson 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.” He lives in Brandon and is a Central Electric member. Contact him at

JULY 2020 | TODAY 27


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