Today in Mississippi August 2022 Magnolia

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FOR MEMBERS OF MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC POWER

Teacher of the Year CHASING STORMS

AUGUST 2022

BLEEDING MAROON

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COMFORT

CASSEROLES


scene around the ‘sip co-op involvement southern gardening


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We can all make a difference

August means it’s time for both teachers and students to head back to the classroom. Mississippi teachers are the heroes of our education system. Our main feature this month is an interview with Mississippi’s Teacher of the Year, Skye Morgan. A U.S. history teacher at Petal High School and a member of Dixie Electric, Morgan is an excellent example of the kind of person that dedicates her life to improving the lives of Mississippi’s children. Although they may not have won any official accolades or had their names mentioned in the press, Mississippi is filled with great teachers like Morgan who work long hours to prepare students for life’s challenges ahead. Our main feature this month also highlight’s the state’s Parent of the Year, Tara Denevan. A mother of two students in the Oxford School District, Denevan reminds us that teachers aren’t the only adults in the community responsible for the education of our children. Ensuring academic success is up to all of us. I have three children. My wife and I both believe strongly in being part of the educational system as volunteers. Years ago, I helped coach the junior high football team. My wife was very active in parent/ teacher organizations.

Research correlates family engagement with student achievement. And it’s not just students who reap the benefits of parental and community volunteerism in schools. Volunteers receive recognition and respect from students and staff as well as the opportunity to develop new skills, new opportunities for networking, and new friendships. The volunteering opportunities for parents and community are many — mentoring, tutoring, fundraising, coaching, career education, extracurricular and community service activities, and assisting in school offices and classrooms. There is some role for all of us in the education of our community’s students. You can make a difference. You matter as much as our students. We hope you enjoy the August issue.

by Michael Callahan Executive Vice President/CEO Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi

Mississippi is... Sitting on the river bank with my family that I love, or listening to the sound of a lone dove. Hearing the crickets chirp during the night, or telling stories around the campfire light. Chasing the fireflies and putting them in a jar, while hundreds fly and light up from affair. Seeing a doe and her two baby deer crossing the road, or a truck piled high with pine logs as its heavy load. Watching beautiful sunsets in the western sky, an amazing background to church steeples rising high. Listening on Sunday morning as the church bell rings, waiting for the preaching of God’s Word the choir sings. Rivers, creeks, and streams to wade in, camp by, or fish, lots of good Southern cooking with love in each dish. Pine trees, corn fields, soybeans, and many a catfish pond, each a part of my Mississippi of which I am quite fond.

by Cheryl McGinnis, a resident of Tylertown, and a member of Magnolia Electric

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

Submit your beautiful digital photo of life in Mississippi to Today in Mississippi, news@ecm.coop

AUGUST 2022 | TODAY 3


in this issue

5

southern gardening Time for butterfly weeds

7 outdoors today

Boosting the eyes with binoculars

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

8

14 local news 20 feature

Mississippi Teacher of the Year Skye Morgan on the joys of shaping young minds

26 for the love of the game Mississippi State’s Rockey Felker

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on the menu Casseroles are the ultimate comfort food

The Official Publication of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi

Vol. 75 No. 8

OFFICERS Eddie Howard - President Randy Carroll - First Vice President Ron Barnes - Second Vice President Tim Perkins - Secretary/Treasurer Michael Callahan - Executive Vice President/CEO EDITORIAL STAFF Lydia Walters - VP, Communications Steven Ward - Editor Chad Calcote - Creative Director/ Manager Kevin Wood - Graphic Designer Alan Burnitt - Graphic Designer Courtney Warren - Graphic Designer Chris Alexander - Member Services Coordinator Steve Temple - Social Media Director Mickey Jones - Administrative Assistant EDITORIAL OFFICE & ADVERTISING 601-605-8600

Acceptance of advertising by Today in Mississippi does not imply endorsement of the advertised product or services by the publisher or Mississippi’s electric power associations. Product satisfaction and delivery responsibility lie solely with the advertiser. • National advertising representative: American MainStreet Publications, 800-626-1181

Circulation of this issue: 469,354

Non-member subscription price: $9.50 per year. Today in Mississippi (ISSN 1052-2433) is published 12 times a year by Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi Inc., P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300, or 665 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, MS 39157. Phone 601-605-8600. Periodical postage paid at Ridgeland, MS, and additional office. The publisher (and/or its agent) reserves the right to refuse or edit all advertising. POSTMASTER: Send all UAA to CFS. (See DMM 507.1.5.2) NON-POSTAL AND MILITARY FACILITIES: send address corrections to: Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300

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An aunt, a garden, and a saying

31

On the cover Teacher of the Year photo by Chad Calcote. Student Youth Tour photos by Kevin Wood and Justin Jaggers.

And we think you’re going to love ours. So let’s work together: As electric cooperatives, we were built by the communities we serve—and by members just like you. 4 TODAY | AUGUST 2022


Butterfly weed and related plants provide the primary forage for monarch caterpillars.

Most gardens and landscapes are planned for either beauty or utility. A protozoan parasite of monarch butterflies known commonly as We want pretty places to live in and look at, and we like to eat fresh “OE” can live on the milkweed leaves and be transmitted to caterpilfruit and produce that we have grown. lars. In adult monarchs, high levels of OE have been linked to a variety But there are other reasons to prepare a garden or landscape. One of negative factors, including lower migration success, reduced body of the most fun and rewarding reasons is to make room for butterflies mass, and a shortened lifespan. and other pollinators. Today, If you decide to grow I want to talk about how tropical milkweed in your to make your landscape garden, you are advised to welcoming to monarch cut the tropical milkweeds butterflies. plants back to the ground to The monarch butterfly help prevent the spread of could be called America’s this parasite. Butterfly. Although it is The good news is that found outside this continative milkweeds die back nent, the North American after blooming, killing any monarch is one of the most parasites living on them. recognizable and loved Mississippi has up to 14 of all insects. The annual different milkweed species migration of the North that are native. That gives Asclepias tuberosa, a Mississippi native butterfly weed, usually produces brightorange flowers. This one growing along the Natchez Trace has red blooms. American monarch is one of us the ability to make a the most unusual, as it is the lot of habitat available to only insect known to make a monarch butterflies. Visit crosbyarboretum.msstate.edu/mississippi-milkweeds two-way migration, like that The Mississippi State of migrating birds. University Crosby Arborefor more about these native milkweeds. You probably easily rectum in Picayune has ognize the brilliant coloring been leading the way in of the large monarch butterflies. They have two sets of deep-orange promoting these lesser-known native species. In fact, that’s where wings with black borders and veins, and white spots along the edges. I learned about seven new-to-me milkweed species I’m growing As a caterpillar, it striped in yellow, black, and white bands and reach up this summer. to 2 inches long before it becomes a light-green chrysalis with tiny, yellow spots. As gardeners, we can help them the most at their caterpillar stage when they have voracious appetites. Butterfly weed, known scientifically as the Asclepias species, and by Dr. Gary related plants provide the primary forage for monarch caterpillars. Bachman In garden centers, you are most likely to find Asclepias tuberosa, a Mississippi native, and Asclepias curassavica, a non-native tropical plant. Gary Bachman, Ph.D., Extension/Research Professor of Horticulture at Tropical milkweed, which is the common name for Asclepias the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in curassavica, has the potential to cause problems because the plant Biloxi. He is also host of “Southern Gardening” radio and TV programs. doesn’t die back to the ground in the winter. He lives in Ocean Springs and is a Singing River Electric member.

AUGUST 2022 | TODAY 5


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I shamefully admit to being sluggish about getting a good binocular. I toyed with some small and inexpensive units early on, but these were less than satisfactory. That was long ago. Things have changed now, both in my eyes and in manufacture of the binocular. A serviceable and solid binocular is an implement that finds a great many uses. Obviously, those uses are primarily employed by outdoors types, but some magnification of vision can often be

A compact – 8X32; this is ideal for carry. A medium binocular that is easily carried – 8X42. The author’s biggest unit, yet not with a 50mm objective – 10X42. All have proven satisfactorily.

employed around the house. And with my eyes much older than I am, or so it seems, I always keep at least one binocular close. While I will not be able to go into an extensive list of details regarding what makes up a good binocular and certainly will avoid telling anyone what to purchase, I will try to highlight some of the finer points of the binocular. These points can be somewhat complex but are worth knowing. Nomenclature can be puzzling. Designations/descriptions are generally in “Xs” and millimeters. All must be understood. For instance, a binocular will be designated with something like 8X32. That simply means eight power (X) magnification and 32mm diameter of the objective lens, that lens out front. Or 10X50. Same concept. Magnification determines how “big” the object viewed is, and the millimeter marking suggests, as that millimeter increases, enhanced light gathering. There are other factors involved in

that latter, such as quality of and coating applied to the glass, but higher millimeter numbers generally mean a brighter image. There are three basic levels of binocular: compact, medium, and large. Compacts are generally 8X32 and are small and easy to carry. Medium span a range of designations, but 8X42 seems the standard. Large units are just that — large. They may carry a designation of 10X50 or even up to 20X50. These are often bulky and heavy around the neck if carried on a strap, but they can be purely superb. Fortunately, there are now several carry systems available to mitigate that heft, placing weight on the shoulders rather than the neck. All my trips to Africa found me Kinton used a binocular that with 10X42s medium sized. pushed close to the large size on all his Africa trips. And what does good glass Its designation was 10X42. cost? Sticker shock can enter the picture here. The best of the best, regardless of size, can be expensive — $1,000 and higher. But that doesn’t have to be. With advances in coatings and glass and stiff market competition, satisfactory binoculars can be had around the $150 mark. More is generally better, but the non-owner of a binocular must start somewhere. Read about, study materials, and choose wisely before buying. You will then enjoy the boost to those eyes.

by Tony Kinton Tony Kinton has been an active outdoors writer for 30 years. He lives in Carthage and is a Central Electric member. Visit www.tonykinton.com for more information.

Kinton’s top two choices and most often used: (L) Compact, 8X32; Medium, 10X42.

MAY 2022 AUGUST 2022| |TODAY TODAY 7 7


Their motto is “We are your calm during the storm.” by Steven Ward Every time a severe weather event stirs up in the state, a group of 35 Mississippi storm chasers volunteers their time to make sure the public has the latest information they need to be safe. “Storm chasers” is not a nickname or a figure of speech, either. “We do literally chase storms. Before a severe weather event, we look at forecast models and information from the National Weather Service and Storm Prediction Center to help determine the best place to stage ourselves for the storms to develop,” said Stan Dorroh, a 4-County Electric member who also serves as a volunteer member of the North Mississippi Storm Chasers & James Bishop Spotters group. The group has more than 70,000 followers on their Facebook page. James Bishop, vice president of the North Mississippi Storm Chasers & Spotters and also a member of 4-County Electric, said the group was founded by people with a passion for severe weather who wanted to use that passion to help provide lifesaving information to the public so individuals can take action to protect themselves and their families. “The workload can be pretty heavy in the days leading up to a severe event, especially during the event. The ones who will be chasing the storm are busy studying forecast maps to try and determine precisely where to go and making necessary plans to be able to chase,” Bishop said. “As our social media administrator, I am extremely busy publishing the graphics, disseminating information to our Facebook page and other sites, and answering questions from members of the public concerned about what may unfold.” Dorroh said storm chasing is dangerous work.

8 TODAY | AUGUST 2022


Follow the group on Facebook @NorthMississippiStormChasers

Stan Dorroh

“Storms can change direction without notice and, especially here in Mississippi, they often move more than 50 mph. They also tend to occur more at night. Another danger is that our terrain often severely limits our view of the storm. Combine all of those factors with the fact that we usually try to position ourselves within one to two miles of the storm/tornado, and it is very easy to find yourself in a very precarious situation,” Dorroh said. The response from the group’s Facebook followers has been enthusiastic. Dorroh said a recent video of a lightning storm in Union County received more than 45,000 views on Facebook. “I think it gives people peace of mind that they can watch from behind the scenes. People trust they can leave a message on our Facebook page and get a reply almost instantly, depending on how active the weather is. Most of the interaction comes at night when people will send a Facebook message to our page, asking if it is safe to go to sleep, or when they are awakened by a storm and want to ensure they are safe,” Dorrah said. Bishop said his group has a different approach than TV weather teams.

“We don’t tie ourselves down to particular regions like TV stations have to do. We will travel to where the storms are and provide that information to the local National Weather Service office,” Bishop said. The group also spends time answering direct questions from the public via their Facebook page. The group is affiliated with WTVA in Tupelo and provides weather coverage, photos, videos, and live streams for the station when they are near its coverage area. “Many people are justifiably scared of severe weather, especially if they have already lived through a traumatic experience,” Bishop said. “They know they can come to our Facebook page any time of day or night for the latest information. Our audience knows that the page will be updated, and that we have spotters/chasers and people watching to keep our community safe.”

AUGUST 2022 | TODAY 9


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The work electric cooperatives do to help keep power lines separated from plant overgrowth plays a major role in service reliability.

12 TODAY | AUGUST 2022


There’s more than one way to look at vegetation management. The work electric cooperatives and their contractors do to help keep electric lines and other equipment separated from plant overgrowth plays a major role in safety and service reliability. Maintaining clear rights-of-way (ROW) along power lines is vital tive, economical, and environmentally friendly. They are not harmful to a co-op’s ability to provide reliable service. It is also necessary to to humans, pets, or livestock. Managing vegetation in this way also maintain a proper distance between trees and power lines to ensure allows native grasses and wildflowers to grow, thereby improving the public safety. aesthetics and wildlife habitat along the ROW. Co-op members need to understand According to industry research, about that maintaining ROW is not an inconto 20% to 30% of all power outages are venience, it’s a necessity. Controlling related to vegetation. vegetation within the ROW floor assures Removal of tall trees and limbs near Communication is indispensable to safe access for employees when they are power lines also reduces risks of injuries successful vegetation management caused by accidental contact with troubleshooting outages and repairing programs. Stakeholders need to downed power lines. The overall result of energized powered lines. ROW maintenance is quicker restoration Mississippi’s electric co-ops regularly understand how vegetation of outages during storms. share information and updates on local management will benefit them, From mowing and brush work at ground vegetation management efforts to keep and that includes education on level to tree trimming near or above power the public safe and communicate how lines, Mississippi’s electric co-ops regularly tree and plant growth trimming increases how a vegetation management inspect and manage the landscape in service reliability. program minimizes the risk of and around their equipment. Effective “Communication is indispensable to tree-caused power outages. to prevent outages, minimize the threat successful vegetation management proof fire damage, and maintain access grams,” said Randall H. Miller, a vegetation and serviceability. management consultant. “Stakeholders need to understand how Clearing brush and other low-growing vegetation is accomplished vegetation management will benefit them, and that includes by a combination of bush-hogging and herbicide application. Co-ops education on how a vegetation management program minimizes use off-the-shelf, non-restrictive herbicides because they are effecthe risk of tree-caused power outages.”

From mowing and brush work at ground level to tree trimming above power lines, your local electric co-op regularly inspects and manages the landscape near electrical equipment.

AUGUST 2022 | TODAY 13


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Avoid distractions while driving Some temptations are hard to resist. While driving, we typically hear that “ding” on our phone, alerting us to a text or call coming through, and we sometimes feel the urgent need to check it. We know we shouldn’t, but we reason that we’re going to make an exception — just this once. So, why do we indulge in behavior we know to be wrong, dangerous and in many states, illegal? Call it hubris. According to AAA research, The reality is that using a most people feel they are phone while driving creates better-than-average drivers. Afterall, we have busy lives enormous potential for and are accustomed to injuries and fatalities. multitasking. But mounds of research and thousands of deaths every year prove otherwise. August is Back to School Safety Month. As a new school year begins with young drivers and school buses back on the road, we thought it would be a good time to remind folks of the dangers of distracted driving. The reality is that using a phone while driving creates enormous potential for injuries and fatalities. Distractions take a motorist’s attention off driving, which can make a driver miss critical events, objects and cues, potentially leading to a crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one of every 10 fatal crashes in the U.S. involves distracted driving, resulting in more than 3,000 deaths annually. We find this statistic heartbreaking considering so many of these accidents could easily be avoided if we’d simply put down our phones while driving. Distracted driving is considered any activity that diverts our attention, including texting or talking on the phone, and adjusting the

navigation or entertainment system. Texting is by far one of the most dangerous distractions. Sending or reading one text takes your eyes off the road for an average of five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. In addition to refraining from texting while driving, we can help keep the roads safe by moving over for first responders and other emergency vehicles. Additionally, if you see utility crews conducting work near the roadside, we’d encourage you to move over when possible and give them extra space to perform their work safely. At Magnolia Electric Power, safety is foremost in everything we do — for our employees and the members of the communities we serve. We routinely remind our crews of the dangers of distracted driving, and we hope you’ll have similar conversations with your teens who may be new to the roadways and are especially susceptible to the lure of technology. Let’s work together to keep everyone safe on the roads. Remember: that text can wait and waiting just might save a life.

Magnolia Electric Power will be closed Monday, September 5, in observance of The Call Center/a dispatcher will be on duty and crews will be on call throughout the holiday weekend. To report an outage, call 601-684-4011 or report it via the SmartHub app.

14 TODAY | AUGUST 2022


Smart thermostats are easy to program, can learn your preferences and set a schedule that automatically adjusts the temperature.

by Miranda Boutelle Heating and cooling account for about half the energy used in a typical home, so it’s a great place to use less energy. When used wisely, your thermostat can help reduce wasted energy. Here’s some information on thermostat types, common operational misconceptions, and best practices you can start today.

Types of thermostats

Misconceptions about thermostats

Mechanical thermostats are easy to control by adjusting a dial or sliding switch. The downfall is you must make temperature adjustments manually, which is easy to forget. They are inefficient because they typically heat or cool the home beyond the set point. If your cooling is set to 72 degrees, a mechanical thermostat may actually cool your home to 70 degrees before it turns off, wasting energy. Then it might not come on again until the home reaches 74 degrees. That four-degree temperature change is noticeable and can lead people to adjust the thermostat setting down even more, which wastes more energy. Also, some mechanical thermostats contain mercury. You can determine that by removing the front plate and looking for small glass bulbs. If your thermostat contains mercury, replace it and find a way to properly recycle it. Digital thermostats are more accurate, efficient, and some are programmable, which is a great option for people who don’t have internet or don’t want their thermostat data tracked. Smart thermostats — which require an internet connection — are Wi-Fi-enabled and can be controlled using a smartphone app. Programming is easier, and you can track and manage use and temperature data. However, that data is shared with the manufacturer. Smart thermostats can learn your preferences and set a schedule that automatically adjusts the temperature. Some have geofencing, which adjusts the temperature based on the distance your smartphone is from home.

A common misconception is the higher you turn your thermostat up or down, the faster your home’s temperature will change. Turning your thermostat down to 55 degrees to cool your home faster is like repeatedly pushing the elevator button and expecting it to come faster. It’s likely you will forget you adjusted it and waste energy by over heating or cooling the home. Set your desired temperature for heating and cooling or program your thermostat so you don’t make extreme adjustments. Many people believe it takes more energy to heat or cool a house instead of leaving it the same temperature. The larger the temperature variance between inside and outside, the more energy your system uses. Setting your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees from its normal setting for eight hours a day can save up to 10% a year on your energy bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees in the summer when you are home and awake, and warmer at night or when away.

Use your thermostat to optimize energy efficiency and find a balance between comfort and affordability.

Best practices — Use these heating and cooling tips from the DOE to add efficiency and savings to your home: • Set it to 78 degrees in the summer when you are home and awake, and warmer at night or when away. Set your thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter when you are home and awake, and cooler at night or when you are away. • Upgrade to a programmable or smart thermostat that automatically adjusts the temperature throughout the day and when you leave the house.

• When on vacation, set your thermostat to 85 degrees in the summer and 55 degrees in the winter. • In the summer, fans allow you to set your thermostat about 4 degrees warmer without feeling it. Remember, fans cool people not rooms, so turn them off when you leave a room.

AUGUST 2022 | TODAY 15


The power of working together and how it benefits you As a member of Magnolia Electric, you can take comfort in knowing that you are part of a large network of power companies that work together to provide you with affordable, reliable power. Here’s how it works:

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Magnolia Electric and 10 other electric cooperatives across the state are partners with another electric cooperative known as Cooperative Energy.

Cooperative Energy operates the power plants that produce electricity, as well as the transmission lines that move electricity to you.

Because these 11 cooperatives are joined as one mutual source of power, your service is more affordable and reliable than it would be if each system operated alone.

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Cooperative Energy is part of MISO, an even larger network that joins it with other power companies in the U.S. and Canada. These companies work together to produce electricity for everyone from Mississippi to Manitoba at the lowest possible cost, and to make sure electricity is readily available.


by Katherine Loving

It’s no surprise that sensitivity to fuel costs and a growing desire for energy independence are driving innovation in electric vehicles. Similarly, these same factors are creating increased interest in electric farming equipment. Running a farm is traditionally dependent on oil and gas to keep the machinery operating. Fuel costs impact the bottom line of agricultural production and are a major driver of food prices and farming revenue. One major new change for farming equipment is the trend of switching fossil fuel-powered equipment to electric equipment. Electric tractors are now commercially available from multiple manufacturers as well as niche, electric-only companies. There are many benefits of replacing diesel motors with electric motors. Highly-efficient electric motors can operate at 90% thermal efficiency, which helps to provide cost savings over time, compared to diesel motors that operate at 30% to 40% thermal efficiency. But there are significant barriers to electric farming technologies. Electric tractors cost about a third more than traditional tractors. Battery life for electric tractors typically ranges from three to six hours depending Electric tractors are now commercially available from on hauling weight multiple manufacturers, like the John Deere SESAM shown here, as well as from niche, electric-only and workload, companies. Photo Credit: John Deere which can be a nonstarter for many larger farms where tractors are expected to run all day doing heavy-duty work. While battery life can be problematic, advancements have been made over the last few years. Some tractors can carry two batteries, allowing for a mid-day switch without returning the tractor to a charging point. At this stage of development, electric tractors are likely better suited to smaller farms or vineyards. There are additional electric equipment options available for the farm. Utility terrain vehicles tend to look more like their gas-powered counterparts in terms of capability and price, making them an

easier entry into electric equipment on the farm. The future of electrification on farms may be focused on renewable energy, either in the form of solar power or waste heat recovery systems. There is ongoing research into the feasibility of placing solar panels on farms coupled with a battery storage system, then using that system as a fuel source for electric tractor batteries. Solar power is already being used to directly power autonomous precision sprayers for row crops. There are still limitations on heavy-duty use of electric farming equipment, but research and development will continue until these electric technologies are on par with their diesel or gas counterparts. With more time and investment, electric farming equipment will likely become more widespread in the coming years. Katherine Loving writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Some farmers are making the switch to electric tractors, but many continue to utilize diesel-powered tractors. Electric tractors lack the battery power that many farmers need for a long day of working in the fields.

AUGUST 2022 | TODAY 17


by Susan Collins-Smith When temperatures rise, it’s not just humans who need to take precautions. Heat stress is just as serious and life threatening for pets as it is for humans. While both dogs and cats can get too hot, dogs are more susceptible to overheating, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. “Humans sweat to cool off, but dogs don’t,” said Carla Huston, Mississippi State University Extension veterinarian and professor with the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine. “Dogs cool themselves by panting and drinking water. They have a very limited ability to sweat through their noses and foot pads. When the outside temperatures are too warm and they don’t have access to adequate shelter and clean water, they can overheat easily.” Warm weather can be too much for dogs even when it does not seem that hot to humans. Use caution with dogs and limit their outdoor time if they do not have appropriate shade and cool, clean water when the heat index is 80 degrees and above, Huston said.

18 TODAY | AUGUST 2022


The following protocols can help keep pets cool when temperatures rise: • Provide unlimited access to fresh water and shade. • Exercise dogs in the cooler parts of the day. • Stay off hot surfaces, such as asphalt, when exercising dogs. Hot surfaces can cause serious burns to their paws. • Never leave a pet in a vehicle, even for a short time. Temperatures in vehicles can rise to dangerous levels within minutes. • Talk to the pet’s veterinarian about whether to trim or clip a dog’s coat and whether to use sunscreen on the pet. If sunscreen is used, be sure to use products specially formulated for pets. • Keep them free of parasites, including fleas, ticks, and heartworms. Discuss the appropriate products and dosages with the pet’s veterinarian.

Heat injuries in pets can range in severity from heat stress, which is the least severe, to heat stroke, which can be very severe and lead to death. Early signs of heat stress in dogs include excessive panting, excessive drooling, anxiousness, restlessness, bright-red gums, and unsteadiness. Animals showing signs of heat stress should be kept rested, taken inside, or cooled off, and given plenty of water. The more serious signs of heat stroke can include pale gums, unsteadiness, tacky or dry snout and mouth, vomiting and diarrhea, nonresponse to the owner or commands, and collapse. If dogs experience any of these symptoms, get emergency veterinary care immediately. In cats, heat stress can cause restless behavior, panting, drooling, moist or sweaty paw pads, and excessive grooming as they try to cool off. Collapse, seizures, and death can occur if the cat cannot cool down. Another summertime danger for dogs is blue-green algae. “Pets should not be allowed to drink from or swim in lakes or ponds that may be contaminated by blue-green algae blooms,

which are bacteria called cyanobacteria,” Huston said. “These algae can be toxic and result in fatal poisoning.” Contaminated water usually has a foul odor, may appear green with a bluish tint, and could be covered with thick, slimy algae, she said. Treating pets for external parasites will help keep their skin and haircoats healthy and maintain their ability to protect against temperature extremes and other potential injuries. Medications for fleas, ticks, and heartworms are just the first step in protecting pets from parasites. Depending on where a family lives, it may also be necessary to treat the yard and other areas that pets frequent to successfully control fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. “Not allowing pets inside the house is the surest way to avoid having fleas inside the house, but not all pet owners favor this method,” said Blake Layton, Extension entomologist. “Whether or not pets are allowed inside, the first step in flea control is to treat pets with an effective and appropriate on-pet treatment.”

AUGUST 2022 | TODAY 19


Photos by Chad Calcote

20 TODAY | AUGUST 2022


by Steven Ward There was a time when all Skye Morgan thought about was Back then, the last thing she wanted to be was a teacher. designing sets on Broadway. “I wanted to get as far away from high school as possible. I was That changed after a former theater teacher asked Morgan if she always interested in production, so I pursued a Bachelor of Fine would fill in for her as a long-term substitute when the teacher was Arts degree with an emphasis in production-scenic design and out on maternity leave. lights/sound from The University of “I thought she was crazy for Southern Mississippi and had all intenasking, as I was a challenging kid. tions of pursuing that as my career,” I thought there was no way the Morgan said. I am so grateful for all of my high school principal would even let me. But I Her stint as a substitute changed did it and loved it! I was sad to give her direction. teachers who did not give up on me and it up when she returned,” Morgan Although she attempted to work in poured into me regardless of my attitude the theater, the work wasn’t as fulfilling said recently. Today, Morgan, 39, is a U.S. histoas her time in the classroom. or behavior. They saw potential in me ry teacher at Petal High School and “Weirdly enough, I felt I was being I did not see in myself. It is because of is Mississippi’s Teacher of the Year. called back to the classroom. So, I The annual Mississippi Teacher pursued an alternate route licensure them that I am what I am today. of the Year program — put on by and Masters of the Arts in Teaching the Mississippi Department of Education — recognizes exemplary from USM. Luckily, a principal took a shot on me and here I am,” teachers in the state who inspire students, demonstrate leadership Morgan said. both inside and outside the classroom, and serve as active mem“I am so grateful for all of my high school teachers who did not bers of the community. Morgan received a $5,000 stipend and will give up on me and poured into me regardless of my attitude or share her expertise through various presentations and activities. behavior. They saw potential in me I did not see in myself. It is Morgan, who is a member of Dixie Electric, will represent Missisbecause of them that I am what I am today.” sippi in the National Teacher of the Year competition. Morgan said she is especially indebted to her high school speech Morgan, who had a grandmother and aunt that were educators, and debate coach and theater teacher, Kelly Garner. The two were said she had a hard time focusing when she was in high school. close in high school.

Skye Morgan (left) chats with school counselor Emily Calcote in the Petal High School library.

AUGUST 2022 | TODAY 21


Morgan, who is married and has an 8-year-old son, grew up in Petal and is now teaching in her hometown school district. “It is so weird, but amazing to be back at my alma mater teaching. I was able to teach side by side with my AP European history and AP U.S. history teacher before he retired.” When asked what the toughest part of teaching is, Morgan said there is not enough time in the day to complete the things that teachers need to complete to be perfect. “We have a tough time prioritizing what has to be done and what can wait until the next day or over the weekend. I don’t think that is going to change. Teaching comes with a large workload. It’s important that we don’t put unrealistic expectations on ourselves to think that we can complete that workload every day. It’s important that we focus on the kids and don’t lose sight of why we do what we do,” Morgan said. The best thing about teaching? “The kids! I don’t think there is anything in the world better than getting to spend your days with the joyful laughter of kids. They are our future, and we are trusted to teach, support, and mentor them into adulthood. Kids are spontaneous, funny, curious, and energetic. Every day is a different day, so it doesn’t get boring,” she said. “What other profession do you receive artwork and thank you notes from those that surround you? Well, in teaching that is quite common. The kids appreciate and love you. They show that appreciation every day.”

My goal is that students can see the connection between what happened in the past to current developments and policy decisions. Relevance is key in the history classroom — when students are able to make connections in the past to current issues, that is when you see the light bulbs go off.

(From top to bottom) Counselor Emily Calcote talks with Skye Morgan in Calcote’s office. Petal High School Head Principal Tyler Watkins meets with Skye Morgan in his office. Skye Morgan and Petal High School Athletic Director Wendy Hogue discuss the upcoming school year.

22 TODAY | AUGUST 2022


Morgan has been teaching since July 2010. Like most first-time teachers, the first couple of years were rough. Morgan was slated to teach a few classes of 8th and 9th grade history and a section of theater during her first year. Two days before school started, the principal called her and asked if she could teach 11th grade, state-tested U.S. history. “I am always up for a challenge, so I said yes. It was a challenge. I had classroom management issues and had to study every night just to get through the next day. I found myself crying most days after the students left for the day. I was so scared that I was going to let them down. The U.S. history test in Mississippi is the last state test that stands between students and graduation. I was so scared that I wasn’t doing enough to prepare them,” Morgan said. Turns out, that group of students had the highest U.S. history state test scores in Mississippi that year. Morgan said that occurred not because of her skills, but because of the bond she created with her students. “It’s very easy to get caught up in wanting to do everything perfect. That’s just not realistic and honestly there is no perfect way,” Morgan said. Morgan said there is something “magical” about teaching history. “My goal is that students can see the connection between what happened in the past to current developments and policy decisions. Relevance is key in the history classroom — when students are able to make connections in the past to current issues, that is when you see the light bulbs go off. That is when you hook them! I want my students to leave my classroom feeling empowered and ready to participate in their local, state, and national community,” Morgan said. “Our country’s fragile system is only as strong as our citizens are knowledgeable to participate in it. If my students leave my classroom a little more interested in what is going on around them, I feel that I’ve done my job.” Morgan’s platform as the state’s Teacher of the Year is just that — teaching students the skills “necessary to participate in our complicated and fragile democratic-republic.” Morgan said it’s rewarding to watch her students learn, grow, and become successful. “I am my happiest when a former student drops in to talk to me about college or their career.”

Oxford School District mom Tara Denevan was named the state’s 2022 Parent of the Year by the Mississippi Department of Education. Denevan, who has two children in the district, first volunteered in 2012 when her oldest child entered Pre-K at Bramlett Elementary School.

Today in Mississippi asked Denevan why she thinks it’s important for parents to volunteer at their children’s schools and how to go about getting involved. “Even if it is simply reading to your child’s class or going to sit with them during lunch, just show up and be present. I feel like being involved helps parents to form a true connection within the school. Having that connection with your child’s teacher lets your child know that you are there , you are involved, and you are invested in their education. If you can’t be involved at school, be involved at home. Help them with their homework, read to them, send notes to their teac hers — whatever you have to do to show your child that you care.”

first time, “For parents entering school for the PTO (Parent ded drea that at stop to you e I encourag e. I promise you, hous open at Teacher Organization) table ey, they truly want mon your for g askin just there ’t they aren child’s teacher, even if to help you get involved. Talk to your e are, more than likely, you aren’t involved in the PTO. Ther classroom. If you can’t the in with things that you can help if they need supplies her teac your ask on, pers in be there go with you to child your Let s. or other classroom item love doing this Kids in. them bring and s item the purchase involved be to nt pare the and and it is a way for them at the school.” ent pres be to g havin nt pare the without

AUGUST 2022 | TODAY 23


by Abby Berry

The dog days of summer typically bring the warmest, sultriest temperatures of the year. Even if you’re a summertime enthusiast, it’s important to stay cool during extreme heat. According to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC), more than 700 people die from extreme heat every year in the U.S. Factors like obesity, age, and alcohol intake can impact how a person reacts to extreme heat. High humidity also contributes to heat-related illness because we don’t sweat as quickly — meaning our bodies can’t release heat as fast — when humidity levels are high. Remember to look after those who may need extra help. People 65 years of age or older are at greater risk of heat-related illness, so check on your senior neighbors and friends. Children under the age of 2 and pets are also more susceptible to heat stroke. Never leave a child or pet in a vehicle, even if only for a minute. If you work outdoors, use a buddy system to monitor your co-workers (and have someone do the same for you!). Heat-induced illness can happen to anyone, even to those who are perfectly healthy. If you’re outdoors during extremely warm weather, monitor how you’re feeling, stay hydrated, and keep an eye on those around you. Abby Berry writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Take extra steps to cool off, keep hydrated, and stay informed. Here are five tips recommended by the CDC to help you stay cool during extremely warm weather: 1. Stay in an air-conditioned home or building as much as possible. Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when the sun is hottest. If your home is not air conditioned, call the local health department to locate public facilities or shelters. 2. If you must be outdoors, wear loose, light-colored clothing and apply sunscreen often. 3. Drink more water than usual. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more. 4. Take cold showers or baths to cool down. 5. Avoid using the oven or stove to cook. These appliances add heat to your home. Try using the microwave or a slow cooker instead.

Stay cool during extreme heat • Limit outdoor activity • Stay hydrated • Check on friends and neighbors who are at greater risk 24 TODAY | AUGUST 2022


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Fun on the Water

We want to see photos of you or your family having fun on the water. Whether it’s fishing, swimming, water parks, or boating, send us your faves. The photos must be high-resolution JPG files of at least 1 MB in size. Please attach the photo to your email and send it to news@ecm.coop. Each entry must be accompanied by photographer’s name, address and co-op.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: August 31. Select photos will appear in the October 2022 issue.

26 TODAY | AUGUST 2022


Former Mississippi State quarterback Rockey Felker bleeds maroon and white. Felker grew up in Brownsville, Tennessee, but every Saturday he would listen with his dad to Bulldog football on the radio with Hall of Fame announcer Jack Cristil. “Somewhere around the third grade or so, I remember sitting with my dad listening to the MSU game on the radio, and it clicked with me then that he was a big Bulldog fan and that was what I was supposed to like,” Felker said. His dad, Edwin ‘Babe’ Felker who was originally from Corinth, Mississippi, grew up a Bulldog fan. Felker grew up in football crazy Brownsville where his dad was an assistant football coach. “It really could not have been a better place to grow up and especially, to play high school football. The community was very much involved in supporting the team. Friday nights were special in Brownsville,” said Felker. Haywood, Felker’s local high school, had one of the best football teams in the state. The Tomcats were ranked in the Top 10 for 15 consecutive years — 1957 to 1971. Rockey started at quarterback as a sophomore and helped engineer a 29-game winning streak during his final three seasons as the Tomcat signal caller. Rockey, an all-state quarterback and five-sport letterman, was getting interest from Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt. “I visited around, but I think in my heart, I always saw myself playing for MSU.” “Looking back, I think we helped turn the history of Mississippi State football in the right direction,” Felker said. The Bulldogs were 4-7 his sophomore year and then recorded a 4-5-2 mark in Coach Bob Tyler’s first season. In his 1974 senior season, Rockey led the Bulldogs to a 9-3 record and a Sun Bowl win over North Carolina. The Nashville Banner named him their SEC Player of the Year. “I enjoyed college football. I knew in my heart that being a coach

was what I wanted to do,” said Felker. The Cincinnati Bengals drafted him in the 10th round of the 1974 NFL draft, but his coaching aspirations won out. Felker began his coaching career working on Bob Tyler’s staff at Mississippi State. He worked on the MSU staff as an offensive assistant until 1979 when Tyler resigned. Rockey then made assistant coaching stops at Texas Tech, Memphis State, and Alabama. “I really was fortunate to coach under Coach (Ray) Perkins at Alabama. It was a great opportunity for me,” said Felker. After his third year on Perkins’ staff, Felker received the call to return home to MSU. So, in 1986 he returned to Starkville as head coach of the Bulldogs, replacing Emory Ballard. At only 33, he was the youngest head football coach in the nation. “It was a dream come true and something I thought about a lot,” said Felker. Felker led the Bulldogs to a 6-5 season with big I enjoyed college football. I knew wins over Tennessee and Syracuse in in my heart that being a coach his rookie season. was what I wanted to do. Unfortunately, the program he inherited was in bad shape and the next four seasons were lackluster. He resigned after the 1990 season. Before returning to Starkville in 2002, Felker and his family made stops in Tulsa, Arkansas, and then back to Tulsa. Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill, who had replaced Felker in 1990, brought him back to Starkville as the coordinator of football operations. Felker worked for Sherrill, Sylvester Croom, Dan Mullen, and Joe Moorhead. Today, he is still associated with Bulldog athletics in various roles. Felker’s football achievements led to his induction into three sports halls of fame — the Mississippi State University Sports Hall of Fame, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Felker’s wife, Susan, died in 2019. His three sons are all involved in the ministry.

by Dale McKee Dale McKee is a Waynesboro native who has been writing sports in Mississippi since 1973. He is a member of Dixie Electric. Contact him at ddmckee18@yahoo.com.

AUGUST 2022 | TODAY 27


with Rebecca Turner

Search online for a casserole recipe, and you’ll discover an avalanche of options. You’ll find curated lists of casseroles that showcase the best, the easiest, and the most family-friendly, to name a few. There is a casserole option for every meal of the day, including dessert and side dishes galore. Unlike other recipes, casseroles alone can feed the whole family, can be frozen for later, or delivered to a neighbor in need. Casseroles got the name from the French word that describes the large pan with a glass top often used to cook them. At its core, a casserole is a one-pan dish made from starch or grain, meat, and

vegetables. Most recipes call for some form of dairy to add texture and creaminess from milk, whipping cream, cheese, butter, or all of the above. Despite the French term, slow-cooked, layered dishes can be found in cultures and cuisines across the globe. Nevertheless, every good Southern home has a go-to casserole recipe and is always on the hunt for more. You can reduce waste by preparing a standard-sized casserole and pouring it into two smaller dishes. Cook one and freeze (or share) the other. And, when gifting a casserole, go ahead and attach the recipe. You know they will want it!

INGREDIENTS 1 pound lean ground beef ½ cup chopped onion 1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni 1 medium tomato chopped 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce ½ teaspoon seasoned salt 1⁄8 teaspoon pepper 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

28 TODAY | AUGUST 2022

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8-x8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray set aside. Cook ground beef and onion in a large skillet over medium heat, until beef is browned, and onion is soft; drain. Cook macaroni according to package directions and drain. Spoon macaroni into the prepared

pan and spread beef mixture and chopped tomato on top. Pour tomato sauce over beef and sprinkle with seasoned salt, if desired, and pepper. Top it with cheese and cover loosely with foil; bake for 35 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges of casserole are bubbling.


INGREDIENTS 3-4 cups of cooked pasta (any style) 1 jar of pasta sauce (or use homemade) 1 small bag of shredded mozzarella cheese 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning 1 container of fresh sliced mushrooms 1 yellow squash 1 zucchini Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Wash and quarter your squash into even pieces. Add prepared vegetables and mushrooms to the baking dish and season with 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning and sprinkle with salt (optional). Add in cooked pasta and pour pasta sauce over the mixture. Generously cover the top with shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until bubbly and the vegetables have softened.

INGREDIENTS 1 3 1 1 2

large eggplant sliced into ½” thick rounds large eggs cup breadcrumbs cup shredded Parmesan divided teaspoons Italian seasoning

½ teaspoon salt Ground black pepper 1 24-ounce jar marinara sauce 2 cups shredded mozzarella 1⁄3 cups thinly sliced basil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line the baking sheet(s) with parchment paper and cover with nonstick spray. In a bowl, whisk together breadcrumbs, ½ cup Parmesan, Italian seasoning, and ½ teaspoon salt. In another bowl, whisk eggs.

remaining 1 cup of sauce. Top with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup parmesan, and remaining fresh basil. *You can certainly add more cheese if you prefer! Bake, uncovered, until the top is bubbly and golden, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Dip eggplant into the egg wash, allow excess to drip off. Then coat with the parmesan mixture over each side of the eggplant slice. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat to coat all eggplant slices. Spray tops lightly with cooking spray. Bake until soft inside, and golden and crisp on the outside, about 30 minutes, flipping around the 15-minute mark. In a baking dish (8x8 or 9x11), add 1 cup of marinara and spread evenly. Add an even layer of baked eggplant slices. Add another 1 cup of sauce and spread evenly over eggplant slices. Add 1 cup mozzarella, ¼ cup of the remaining Parmesan and ¼ cup fresh basil. Top with another layer of baked eggplant slices and spread on the

by Rebecca Turner 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 www.RebeccaTurnerNutrition.com.

AUGUST 2022 | TODAY 29


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mississippi marketplace onopenthe menu outdoors today Events to the public will be published free of charge as space allows. Submit details at least two months prior to the event date. Submissions must include a phone number with area code for publication. Email to news@ecm.coop. Events are subject to change. scene around the ‘sip picture this Holy Land Trip. Nov. 25 to Dec. 4. Ronnie and Waynesboro Farmers Market. Sep. 3 and Oct. 1. The World of Marty Stuart. Now through the end of Beverly Cottingham are hosting a trip to the Holy Waynesboro. A free event for vendors and patrons. the year. Jackson. The exhibit will debut at the Two my opinion co-op involvement Land. This will be their 20th time to host trips to “the Livestock, produce, canned goods, baked goods, Mississippi Museums downtown. “The World of Marty Stuart” explores Stuart’s life and his legacy of collecting country music’s stories. The exhibit includes hundreds of items never shown before in Mississippi, including Marty’s first guitar, original handwritten Hank Williams manuscripts, guitars from Merle Haggard and Pops Staples, costumes from Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, personal items from Johnny Cash, including his first black performance suit, and much more. 222 North St. No. 1206. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Details: 601-576-6934.

and crafts. 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. 3849 Hwy 63. Details: 601-410-1001.

land of the Bible.” If you’ve ever dreamed of literally walking where our Lord walked, this trip is for you. Sponsored by Jus’ Jesus Ministries, Incorporated of Lucedale. Space is limited. Details: 601-770-1447.

southern gardening3rd Annual Faery Court Masquerade grin Ball. ‘n’Sept.bare it 24.

Laurel Little Theatre’s “Something Rotten.” Aug. 5 -Aug. 7. Laurel. Set in Shakespearean times, two brothers hilariously create the world’s first musical comedy. Laurel Arabian Theatre. 408 5th Ave. Details: LaurelLittleTheatre.com or call 601-428-0140. 55th Annual Gospel Singing Jubilee. Aug. 20. Magee. Featuring The Lefever Quartet, Tim Frith & The Gospel Echoes, Revelations, and Four Kings. Magee High School auditorium. 501 Choctaw St. 6:30 p.m. Details: 601-906-0677 or 601-720-8870. Mossy Oak Show & Shine Cruise. Sep. 3. West Point. Mossy Oak Mall. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. $20 entry fee. Cash prizes. Fundraiser for St Jude Hospital. Presented by Southern Cruisers Car Club of Mississippi. Details: 662-574-2678.

Biloxi. Court of the Dark Fae Wildlife Fundraiser. Costume or formal attire required. Immersive event based on Venetian tradition, fantasy stories, Celtic faery and goblin lore, and stories of fantasy and wonder. Between the sea and the land, under the ancient live oak trees, between the worlds, the veil is open for one night. 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library, 2244 Beach Blvd. Limited VIP tickets $70 or table of 8, $500.General admission pre-sales tickets $45. General admission at the door tickets $55. Details: Faery-ball.com or call 228-280-3461. Bluegrass in the Park. Oct. 22. Quitman. Sponsored by Friends of Clarkco State Park. Entertainment will include Bound & Determined of Northport, Alabama, Answered Prayer Gospel Band of Brandon, and Tyler Carroll and Pineridge of Quitman. Bring your lawn chairs. Concessions for sale by Friends of Clarkco State Park. Entry fee is $2 per person. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Clarkco State Park, 386 Clarkco Road. Details: 601-776-6651.

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As I walked outside to feed the cats this morning, it felt like I was treading water because the humidity was so high. It was even hard to breathe. Immediately, what came to mind was something one of my aunts told me one hot summer years ago. She said that grandma told her that the older you get, the more the heat and the cold hurts. She said when grandma told her that, she couldn’t imagine what she was talking about. But now she knew. Well, several years later, I know, too. It’s not like it was when we were kids and would ride our bikes downtown on a hot afternoon to see if the time and temperature sign on the bank had hit 100 degrees yet. Nowadays, I don’t particularly want to ride in a car when it’s Nowadays, I don’t particularly that hot, much less on a want to ride in a car when it’s bike. But when you’re that hot, much less on a bike. a kid, little things like But when you’re a kid, little heat bubbles don’t phase you. things like heat bubbles We’ve started out don’t phase you. this summer with the weather set all the way up to broil. That reminded me of a family story that I have told before, but not lately. However, this seems the summer to repeat it. After dad retired, he and mom moved into the little house right across the road from the house where mom grew up. Mom’s oldest sister, Captola (Aunt Cap) and Uncle Red lived in the old home place. Another sister, Aunt Ermie, and Uncle Lloyd lived down the road. In an area in-between the three houses, every summer the three couples — mom and dad, Aunt Cap and Uncle Red, and Aunt Ermie and Uncle Lloyd — would grow the finest garden in Itawamba County. Then a heat wave and drought arrived.

Now, that kind of weather isn’t uncommon in Mississippi. But it usually breaks after a few days or a week. But this heat spell just stayed. Pretty soon, Aunt Cap reached back into her Baptist roots and diagnosed the problem as being, “sin in the camp.” Now, the whole Southeast was in the same shape, but the root was someone living on that hilltop was not right with God. And it wasn’t going to get any better until they straightened out. (Maybe that’s why they used to have revivals in summer. To break heat waves!)

Anyway, they drug hoses out, watered, and wore hats and wrapped wet towels around their necks as they worked. And if the sun wasn’t blistering enough, Aunt Cap blistered them with “sin in the camp, sin in the camp.” Until one weekend Aunt Cap and Uncle Red went out of town to Birmingham. And while they were gone, it rained 3 inches on that garden. There was never another mention of “sin in the camp” again, except from Uncle Lloyd. Every time the garden started getting dry, from then on, he’d suggest to Aunt Cap that maybe she needed to go to Birmingham again.

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.” Walt is also a reporter and 4 p.m. news anchor at WJTV in Jackson. He lives in Brandon and is a Central Electric member. Contact him at walt@waltgrayson.com.

AUGUST 2022 | TODAY 31


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