Today in Mississippi September 2023 Northcentral

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Traveling in our back yard

Travel, by definition, is a journey to a distant or unfamiliar place.

That means traveling doesn’t have to be a trip to see the Pyramids in Egypt or taking the kids to Disney World in Florida.

Travel is about exploring somewhere new.

Mississippi is a place filled with fascinating locales. Our state o ers all kinds of day and weekend trips that make Mississippi ripe for expeditions into the heart of civil rights history, literature, and music.

Speaking of music, that’s how we decided to kick o our first o cial travel-themed issue with a September 2023 cover story on U.S. Highway 61.

A road trip down U.S. Highway 61 is both a literal and historical journey through music history. Nicknamed the “blues highway,” because of its twists and turns through the Mississippi Delta — the birthplace of the blues — Highway 61 o ers stops throughout the state that tell the story of American music.

Our story coincides with the recent opening

of a new exhibit at the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi in Cleveland. “Highway 61: Traveling America’s Music Highway” explores music sites and the celebrates the artists that played major roles in shaping America’s music history, according to Emily Havens, executive director of the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi.

So, make sure to keep a copy of the September issue (or visit our website, for our handy guide to some of the most interesting music history sites up and down U.S. Highway 61 for your next day or weekend trip.

Safe travels to you and yours.

Today in Mississippi wins two national awards

Today in Mississippi took home two National Electric Cooperative Statewide Editors Association “Willie Awards” Aug. 9 at the group’s 2023 business meeting in Arlington, Virginia.

Today in Mississippi won an Award of Excellence for “Best Digital Communications” for the statewide magazine’s website. The website was recently redesigned by Powerful Web to share magazine stories online.

Today in Mississippi Editor Steven Ward also won an Award of Excellence in the “Best News Feature – Less than 650 Words” category for his June 2022 story about a father and son who work for two di erent Mississippi electric cooperatives as linemen. The story — “Son follows in his father’s footsteps to become lineman” — profiles Dixie Electric Line Forman Jason Holder and his son, Dawson Holder, who works as a lineman for Southern Pine Electric.

The Willie Awards, which are held annually, showcase the best writing, photos, and design of statewide electric co-op magazines from all over the country.

They say Mississippi is the birthplace of the blues, Home of Elvis Presley and blue suede shoes. The beauty of a Delta sunrise, The pure innocence of an infant’s eyes.

The sweet smell of the flowers in a magnolia tree, The beautiful beaches and a Gulf breeze. Praise the farmers for growing our food, The tolerant teachers that teach in our schools.

Be thankful for the doctors and nurses that keep us well, The smile of a salesperson after a great sell. Be thankful for the fire and police departments that serve and protect, Whether putting our fires or sorting out wrecks.

There are a lot of great places to eat in our state, Not hard to find a place that serves a real blue plate. Give things to veterans for the years they serve, From all the armed services to the National Guard Reserve. There’s a saying, “time marches on,” I don’t think there’s enough time to see all the sights and sounds of this magnificent state.

What’s Mississippi to you? What do you treasure most about life in our state? Send your brief thoughts to Today in Mississippi, or mail to P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158 Submit your beautiful digital photo of life in Mississippi to Today in Mississippi, My Opinion
2023 | SEPTEMBER 3
Lydia Walters, VP of Communications for ECM, and Steven Ward, editor of Today In Mississippi.

Southern Gardening

The beauty of Southern Magnolias

Outdoors Today



the ‘Sip

The Official Publication of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi


Randy Carroll - President

Ron Barnes - First Vice President

Tim Perkins - Second Vice President

Brian Hughey - Secretary/Treasurer

Michael Callahan - Executive Vice President/CEO


Lydia Walters - VP, Communications

Steven Ward - Editor

Chad Calcote - Creative Director

Kevin Wood - Graphic Designer

Alan Burnitt - Graphic Designer

Courtney Warren - Graphic Designer

Chris Alexander - Member Services Coordinator

Steve Temple - Social Media Director



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.

We have the perfect day or weekend trip for you: Traveling Highway 61

On the Menu

The secret to a secret stash for (almost)

• National advertising representative:

American MainStreet Publications, 800-626-1181

Circulation of this issue: 483,947

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 o ce. The publisher (and/or its agent) reserves the right to refuse or edit all advertising. The magazine is published for members of subscribing co-ops. The magazine is a bene t of membership.

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

On the cover

Central Electric Power Association, Coahoma Electric Power Association, Coast Electric Power Association, Delta Electric Power Association, Dixie Electric Power Association, East Mississippi Electric Power Association, 4-County Electric Power Association, Magnolia Electric Power, Monroe County Electric Power Association, Natchez Trace Electric Power Association, North East Mississippi Electric Power Association, Northcentral Electric Cooperative, Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association, Pontotoc Electric Power Association, Singing River Electric, Southern Pine Electric, Southwest Electric, Tippah Electric Power Association, Twin County Electric Power Association, and Yazoo Valley Electric Power Association.

Vol. 76 No. 9
Leland bluesman Pat Thomas plays guitar at the Highway 61 Blues Museum. Photo by Chad Calcote.
in Mississippi
David Wallace is a
power kind of guy 8 20 31
recipes Mississippi Seen New tables, and old tables 10 8 20
News Feature
15 6
Issue 31 28 4 SEPTEMBER | 2023
In This


It’s no wonder Mississippi is called the Magnolia State. The Southern magnolia is an iconic symbol in our landscape and across the Southeast.

I have many great childhood memories of my sister and me climbing and playing in my grandparents’ large magnolia tree in their front yard. Its numerous, small-diameter branches made it a great tree to climb.

The Southern magnolia is a beautiful, classic evergreen magnolia with large, thick, glossy leaves. The individual oblong leaves are 5 to 8 inches long and feel leathery. The bottoms of the leaves are covered with a rusty brown fuzz.

6 SEPTEMBER | 2023 Southern Gardening
Southern magnolias are classic evergreens with large, glossy leaves. In the landscape, allowing the branches to reach the ground hides dropped leaves and seed pods

Magnolia leaves can be chopped with a mower and blown back under the branches to recycle nutrients. The incredibly tough, two-toned leaves are long-lasting accents that provide earthy and bold color to many floral arrangements.

The rich, rusty brown color on the back of the leaves makes them especially fitting for fall and winter color schemes in floral arrangements and wreaths. They also look excellent displayed alone in a vase.

Nothing describes the Southern magnolia better than its scientific name, Magnolia grandiflora. The flowers certainly are grand.

Magnolia trees display their creamy white flowers in late spring through summer, and you certainly can’t miss the cup-shaped blooms that reach up to 8 inches in diameter. Flower petals are thick and waxy and have a lemony fragrance.

After bloom, the flowers are replaced with cone-like seed pods. When these pods ripen, the large, red seeds are pushed out and add to the beauty of this tree. These woody, brown pods with bright red seeds also can be used in dried floral arrangements.

The Southern magnolia can grow at a moderate rate to a height of 80 feet or more with a 30- to 40-foot spread. These trees form a dense, dark green pyramidal shape in the landscape.

Southern magnolia is native to the bottomlands and moist, wooded areas of the central and southeastern coastal plains.

They prefer rich soil with partial shade and, in nature, are usually understory trees. The Southern magnolia tolerates high moisture levels but not overly wet or swampy soils and prolonged flooding.

When grown as an ornamental, it is best to maintain the heavy-leaved limbs of the magnolia almost to the ground. Doing so will provide a place for the dropped leaves and seed pods to hide out of the way of mowing.

If you live in the South and your landscape doesn’t include a Southern magnolia, you’re missing out on one of the oldest and most beautiful blooming evergreen trees in existence.

2023 | SEPTEMBER 7
Southern Gardening columnist Dr. Eddie Smith, a gardening specialist and Pearl River County coordinator with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, is an internationally certified arborist, Produce Safety Alliance certified trainer, and one of the developers of the Mississippi Smart Landscapes program that encourages the use of native plants in the landscape. Southern magnolias bloom from late spring through summer with large, creamy white, cup-shaped flowers.
If you live in the South and your landscape doesn’t include a Southern magnolia, you’re missing out on one of the oldest and most beautiful blooming evergreen trees in existence.

Outdoors Today


The September dove opener typically marks the start of new hunting adventures. Often, families and friends gather for group hunts. After sunset, everyone reunites for a feast.

One of the most numerous game birds in North America, mourning doves number more than 400 million. One nesting pair of the highly prolific birds might raise up to six broods per year. Each clutch consists of two to four eggs. Sometimes, females even lay eggs in two nests at one time. Devoted parents take turns guarding the nests.

Resident mourning doves inhabit every Mississippi county. As cooler weather arrives, more birds migrate south into Mississippi from farther north to supplement the local population.

Doves like open fields, croplands, savannas, and pastures with nearby tall trees, fencerows, high wires, or other places that create perching areas where they can watch for predators.

Another species, Eurasian collared doves, arrived in this country from Asia about 40 years ago and thrived. Sportsmen can shoot the exotic birds without limit all year long and they do not count in the daily bag during dove season. Much bigger than mourning doves, collared doves grow nearly as large as park pigeons. A distinctive black neck collar provides the best identifying feature.

Mississippi hunters might also spot a few white-winged doves, especially in the southern counties. Native to the southwestern states and Mexico, white-winged doves began expanding their range northward and eastward in recent years.

The swift and agile fliers o er extremely challenging wing shooting and can embarrass even the most skilled shots with their aerial acrobatics. Mourning doves can exceed 55 miles per hour while performing maneuvers any fighter pilot would envy. In flight, their broad, elliptical wings make distinctive fluttering whistles, especially noticeable when the birds flush or land. This sound, along with their mournful signature cooing that gives them their name identifies the species.

8 SEPTEMBER | 2023

Doves like open fields, croplands, savannas, and pastures with nearby tall trees, fencerows, high wires, or other places that create perching areas where they can watch for predators. Sportsmen might spot them in forest clearings, but they don’t like thick tree canopies.

They also need to swallow grit to break up seeds they eat. The diminutive birds eat small seeds from sunflowers, millet, wheat, and wild grasses. To feed, doves prefer open bare ground with overhead cover to hide them from predators, especially hawks. For many sportsmen, dove hunting begins and ends in September, perhaps after only one day, but Mississippi o ers long seasons with liberal limits. The first split of the 2023-24 season opens Sept. 2 in the North Zone and runs through Oct. 15. The second split lasts from Oct. 28 through Nov. 26. The late split runs from Dec. 30 to Jan. 14, 2024.

The South Zone season begins Sept. 2 and ends Sept. 24. The second split goes from Oct. 7 to Nov. 5. The final split lasts from Dec. 23 through Jan. 28, 2024. Sportsmen can bag up to 15 birds per day in any combination of mourning and whitewinged doves.

The state established dove fields on many wildlife management areas. For zone boundaries, places to hunt, and more information, see wildlife-hunting/dove-program.

2023 | SEPTEMBER 9
John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer, broadcaster, photographer, and editor who lives in Alabama. An avid sportsman, he’s written more than 3,300 articles for more than 170 different magazines on a wide variety of outdoors topics. Contact him at

Scene Around the ‘Sip

David Wallace has all the power at Mississippi State University. Literally.

Wallace, a Mississippi State assistant clinical professor of electrical engineering, is the manager of the Paul B. Jacob High Voltage Lab at Mississippi State University. The lab — built in 1977 — is the largest university-based high voltage lab in North America.

As lab manager, Wallace can generate up to 1 million volts of AC and DC voltage, 3 million volts of lightning, and 300,000 amps of lightning current.

He can also generate rain showers and create salt fog conditions, solar radiation, and temperatures ranging from -103 to 347 degrees.

Not bad for a Lincoln County native and country boy who grew up on the lines of Magnolia Electric.

When he wasn’t playing church league softball, floating on the Bogue Chitto River, or hauling hay on the family farm, Wallace was a self-described “science nerd.”

“I was always reading and studying everything I could about science. I excelled in math and science throughout school. I would ask for electronic experiment kits and chemistry sets for Christmas. Science fiction always piqued my interest. I loved watching TV shows like “Star Trek,” “Dr. Who,” and “Battlestar Galactica,” Wallace said recently.

10 SEPTEMBER | 2023

Wallace said “Star Trek” got him interested in engineering.

“I loved the character of Scotty on the show. He was the ships engineer and would always work miracles to save the day. I always saw myself in the engineering field, being the one to innovate and create new ideas,” Wallace said.

The electrical side of the engineering came from his uncles. One uncle was an electrician who taught Wallace about the electrical trade while the other was closer to Wallace’s age.

“One day he shocked me with my grandfather’s old telephone and that got me interested in electricity. From there I started studying electricity, which lead me to discover Nicholas Telsa. And as they say, the rest is history.”

Inside the lab, Wallace tests electrical industry products to ensure they meet national standard requirements.

Wallace tests transformers, breakers, cables, insulators, switches, fuses, and crossarms. He also tests wind turbine blades, solar panels, and airplane panels.

Wallace’s work directly impacts the work of electric cooperatives and the linemen who restore power after outages.

“Most of the testing consists of subjecting the various products to high levels of voltage, current, and lightning to ensure they are reliable. I also provide testing services for the safety equipment that the linemen use such as their bucket trucks, rubber gloves, hot sticks, and rubber blankets,” Wallace said.

A large portion of the products that Wallace tests are components that make up the electrical grid, which feeds electricity to co-op member homes.

“The testing I perform helps the manufacturers of the electrical equipment improve their product which in turn helps ensure that the components perform properly and provide reliable electrical service. In addition to testing the components, I also work with the electrical utilities in troubleshooting problems that arise in their systems.”

When he isn’t teaching electrical engineering classes or performing tests in the lab, you might catch Wallace on television. Since 2017, Wallace has been featured in approximately 40 episodes of “Strange Evidence” on The Science Channel. The show is like “MythBusters.”

The episodes with Wallace usually deal with high voltage and lightning phenomena. In those episodes, Wallace tries to recreate, within the High Voltage Lab, what is seen in featured videos to try and prove if what happened was real. He also provides commentary of the science behind the events.

Wallace is currently working on a project involving the protection of electrical equipment from the e ect of solar storms and electromagnetic pulses, also known as an EMP. An EMP is a brief burst of electromagnetic energy. Solar storms occur when the Sun emits gigantic bursts of energy in the form of solar flares. Solar storms and EMPs can a ect communications and the electrical grid.

“In some cases, these events can lead up to disruption in communications — TV, satellite, radio — and cause blackouts. I am working with the electrical industry to develop methods for protecting communication systems and the electrical grid from the e ects of solar storms and EMPs,” Wallace said.

For more information about the High Voltage Lab, visit

2023 | SEPTEMBER 11
The testing I perform helps the manufacturers of the electrical equipment improve their product which in turn helps ensure that the components perform properly and provide reliable electrical service.

For a complete list of hunting seasons, bag limits, and other legal restrictions, go to

Migratory Game Birds


Spring Turkey


Youth (Private and authorized state and federal public lands. Youth 15 and under)


Non- Resident (Public Lands)

Mar. 8 - 14

Mar. 15 - May 1

Mar. 15 - 31

& Ross’s: No limit White-fronted: 9 Brant: 3

One (1) adult gobbler or 1 gobbler with a 6-inch or longer beard per day, 3 per Spring season. Hunters 15 years of age and younger may harvest 1 gobbler of choice (any age) per day, 3 per Spring season.

One (1) adult gobbler or 1 gobbler with a 6inch or longer beard per day, 3 per Spring season.

* Non-residents Turkey Hunting on Public Lands: Non-residents cannot hunt any public land in Mississippi between March 15-31 unless drawn for either a Non-resident Public Lands Turkey Permit or WMA Draw Hunt.

*Sept. Canada Goose season is closed on Roebuck Lake in Leflore county.

***(Dove South Zone) Areas south of U.S. Hwy. 84 and east of MS Hwy. 35.

Small Game


**(Dove North Zone) Areas north of U.S. Hwy. 84 plus areas south of U.S. Hwy. 84 and west of MS Hwy. 35.

****The duck daily bag limit is a total of 6 ducks, including no more than 4 mallards (no more than 2 of which may be females), 1 mottled duck, 2 black ducks, 1 pintail, 3 wood ducks, 2 canvasbacks, and 2 redheads. The daily bag limit for scaup is 1 scaup per day Nov. 24 – 26, Dec. 1 – 3, and Dec. 9 – 17; and is 2 scaup per day Dec. 18 – Jan. 31.

The merganser daily bag limit is a total of 5 mergansers, only 2 of which may be hooded mergansers.

The coot daily bag limit is a total of 15 coots.

The possession limit is three times the daily bag limit for ducks, mergansers, and coots.

Shooting hours for all migratory game birds are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset, except for the Light Goose Conservation Order (see below).

Opossum, Raccoon, and Bobcat

30 - Oct. 31 (Food and sport) Nov. 1 - Feb. 28 (Food, sport, and pelt)

*****The Light Goose Conservation Order is a special opportunity designed to reduce the population of overpopulated snow, blue, and Ross’s geese when no other waterfowl seasons are open. This order allows for expanded methods of take that are not allowed during regular waterfowl seasons. To participate in the Light Goose Conservation Order, hunters need a valid Mississippi hunting license, state waterfowl stamp, and a free Light Goose Conservation Order permit number. Hunters can obtain a permit number by visiting

*On private lands and authorized state and federal lands only in those areas open for squirrel hunting.

12 SEPTEMBER | 2023 Mississippi’s 2023-2024
SEASON DATES DAILY BAG LIMIT POSSESSION LIMIT Sept. Teal Sept. 9 - Sept. 24 6 18 Sept. Canada Geese* Sept. 1 - Sept. 30 5 15 Woodcock Dec. 18 - Jan. 31 3 9 Snipe Nov. 14 - Feb. 28 8 24 Gallinules (Common & Purple) Sept. 1 - Oct. 1 Nov. 23 - Dec. 31 15 Singly or in aggregate 45 Singly or in aggregate Rails: Clapper and King Sept. 1 - Oct. 1 Nov. 23 - Dec. 31 15 Singly or in aggregate 45 Singly or in aggregate Rails: Sora and Virginia Sept. 1 - Oct. 1 Nov. 23 - Dec. 31 25 Singly or in aggregate 75 Singly or in aggregate Mourning and White-winged Doves (North Zone)** Sept. 2 - Oct. 15 Oct. 28 - Nov. 26 Dec. 30 - Jan. 14 15 Singly or in aggregate 45 Singly or in aggregate Mourning and White-winged Doves (South Zone)*** Sept. 2 - Sept. 24 Oct. 7 - Nov. 5 Dec. 23 - Jan. 28 15 Singly or in aggregate 45 Singly or in aggregate Crows Nov. 4 - Feb. 29 No Limit No Limit Ducks, Mergansers, and Coots**** Nov. 24 - Nov. 26 Dec. 1 - Dec. 3 Dec. 9 - Jan. 31 See below**** See below**** Geese: Canada, White-fronted, Snow, Blue, Ross’s, and Brant Nov. 10 - Nov. 26 Dec. 1 - Dec. 3 Dec. 9 - Jan. 31 Canada Geese : 5 Snow, Blue, & Ross’s: 20 White-fronted: 3 Brant: 1 Canada Geese : 15 Snow, Blue,
Youth, Veterans, and Active Military Waterfowl Days Feb. 3 - 4, 2024 Same as regular season Same as regular season Light Goose Conservation Order***** (Special Permit Needed) Oct. 1 - Nov. 9 Nov. 27 - Nov. 30 Dec. 4 - Dec. 8 Feb. 1 - Feb. 2 Feb. 5 - Mar. 31 No Limit***** No Limit*****
SEASON DATES DAILY BAG LIMIT Youth Squirrel* Sept. 23 - 30 8 Squirrel - Fall Season Sept. 30 - Feb. 28 8 Squirrel - Spring Season May 15 - June 1 4 Rabbit Oct. 14 - Feb. 28 8 Bobwhite Quail Nov. 23 - Mar. 2 8 Frog April 1 - Sept. 30 25/Night Raccoon July
Sept. 30 1 per Party/Night
5/Day; 8/Party No Limit Trapping Nov. 1
Mar. 15 No Limit
1 -



A legal buck is defined as having EITHER a minimum inside spread of 12 inches OR one main beam at least 15 inches long. How to estimate a 12 inch inside spread: How to estimate a 15 inch main beam:

12” Inside Spread

Estimating a 12 inch spread is accomplished by observing a buck’s ears in the alert position. When in the alert position, the distance from ear-tip to ear-tip measures approximately 15 inches. If the OUTSIDE of each antler beam reaches the ear-tip, the inside spread is approximately 12 inches. (Therefore, if the outside of both antler beams reach the ear tips, the buck is legal).

*Due to body size differences in the Delta Unit, ear-tip to ear-tip measurements are slightly larger compared to the other units.



The statewide bag limit on antlered buck deer is one (1) buck per day and three (3) per annual season. One (1) of these three (3) may have hardened antlers that do not meet the unit legal antler requirements on private land and Holly Springs National Forest. For youth hunters fifteen (15) years of age and younger, hunting on private land and authorized state and fed- eral lands, all three (3) of the three (3) buck bag limit may be any antlered deer. Antlered buck bag limit in the North Central Deer Management Unit (DMU) is one (1) buck per day and four (4) per annual season. No antler restrictionsapply to this DMU. All four bucks may have any sized hardened antlers.


Private lands: The statewide annual bag limit on antlerless deer is five (5). The antlerless bag limit for private lands in the North Central DMU is ten (10) antlerless deer per season. Antlerless deer are male or female deer which do not have hardened antler above the natural hairline. Only two (2) antlerless deer may be harvested from the Southeast Unit. There is no daily bag limit on antlerless deer in the North Central, Hills, and Delta units. Only one (1) antlerless deer per day may be harvested in the Southeast DMU.

U.S. Forest Service National Forests: The bag limit is one (1) per day, not to exceed five (5) per annual season except in the Southeast Unit, which is two (2) per annual season.

Gun (without dogs)

Gun (with dogs)

15” Main Beam To estimate a 15 inch main beam, the buck’s head must be observed from the side. If the tip of the main beam extends between the front of the eye and the tip of the nose, main beam length is approximately 15 inches.



permit, mandatory reporting, and CWD sampling required. Private Land Only.

16 - 23

24 - Jan. 17

Archery/Primitive Weapon Jan. 18 - 31

on private land, open public land, and Holly Springs NF. Weapon of choice may be used on private land with appropriate license.

Either-Sex on private land and Holly Springs NF. Legal Bucks only on open public land.

Either-Sex on private land and Holly Spring NF. Legal Bucks only on open public land.

Either-Sex on private land and Holly Springs NF. Legal Bucks only on open public land. Weapon of choice may be used on private land with appropriate license.


Bucks Only. Special permit, mandatory reporting, and CWD sampling required. Private Land Only. Oct. 14 -

Nov. 4 - Nov. 17

Either-Sex on private and open public land. Youth Season (15 and under)

Nov. 18 - Feb. 15

Gun (with dogs) Nov. 18 - Dec. 1

Primitive Weapon Dec. 2 - 15

Gun (without dogs) Dec. 16 - 23

Either-Sex on private lands and authorized state and federal lands.

Either-Sex on private lands. On open public lands, youth must follow below legal deer criteria.

Either-Sex on private land. Legal Bucks only on open public land.

Either-Sex on private and open public land.

Weapon of choice may be used on private land with appropriate license.

Either-Sex on private land. Legal Bucks only on open public land. Gun (with dogs) Dec. 24 - Jan. 17

Jan. 18 - 31

Either-Sex on private land. Legal Bucks only on open public land.

Either-Sex on private land. Legal Bucks only on open public land.

Weapon of choice may be used on private land with appropriate license.

Archery/Primitive Weapon

Feb. 1 - 15 Legal Bucks only on private and open public land.

Weapon of choice may be used on private land with appropriate license.

Spring Turkey

15 - May 1

One (1) adult gobbler or 1 gobbler with a 6-inch or longer beard per day, 3 per Spring season. Hunters 15 years of age and younger may harvest 1 gobbler of choice (any age) per day, 3 per Spring season.

METHOD SEASON DATES LEGAL DEER Archery Sept. 15 - 17 Legal Bucks Only. Special
Sept. 30- Nov. 17 Either-Sex on private land,
NF Youth Season (15 and under) Nov. 4 - Nov. 17 Either-Sex on private lands and authorized state and federal lands. Nov. 18 - Jan. 31 Either-Sex on private lands. On open
Antlerless Primitive Weapon Nov. 6 - 17 Antlerless Deer Only on private lands. Gun (with dogs) Nov. 18 - Dec. 1 Either-Sex on private land and Holly Springs NF. Legal Bucks
land. Primitive Weapon Dec. 2 - 15
open public land, and Holly Springs
youth must follow below legal deer criteria.
open public
15 - 17
Nov. 17
SEASON DATES BAG LIMIT Youth (Private and authorized state and federal public lands. Youth 15 and under)
Mar. 8 - 14
Spring Mar.
Non- Resident (Public Lands) Mar.
15 - 31 One (1) adult gobbler or 1 gobbler with a 6inch or longer beard per day, 3 per Spring season.
Small BAG
* Non -residents cannot hunt March 15dr mit
| 13
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Learn like we will live forever

September is in full swing, and school has begun. Not only are our young people being educated in schools around our community, many Northcentral employees also continue to learn through continuing education and training opportunities.

Technology abounds in the utility environment. Constantly changing technology requires constant training. As we are a service company first, many employees are a orded opportunities for in-depth communication and leadership. At Northcentral we embrace the thought that we must learn like we will live forever.

Just because students are returning to the classroom doesn’t mean that summer is over. This year is projected to be the hottest year on record. This translates into increased air conditioner use, which results in greater electricity consumption and elevated bills. These conditions often track into October, so keep your thermostats set at a comfortable, but responsible level.

Northcentral and TVA have partnered together to maintain reliability during this oppressive heat, but it comes at a cost. Pent up demand for electricity, fueled by a growing economy and increased need for electrification require more investment in generating and transmission infrastructure. Your electric cooperative has made a steady investment in distribution system

upgrades and maintenance. Many generation and transmission utilities that we and similar organizations purchase power from have struggled to make this investment due to pending federal regulations. The premature skuttling of some coal assets with a limited ability to replace them puts our ability to meet future needs at risk. I believe that we, working with TVA and other utilities, can close this gap; but I am concerned about the cost over the next several years. We’ll keep you informed on these matters as they develop.

All in all, it’s been a great, albeit hot summer. We have challenges now and in front of us. Let’s remember that we live together in a community that has an abundance of great happenings going on.

It’ll be alright. Summer will end. Fall will arrive. I promise. Stay safe.

2023 | SEPTEMBER 15 For more information about Today in Mississippi, contact Michael Bellipanni at 662.895.2151. NorthcentralEC @Northcentral_EC @Northcentral_EC

Olive Branch Chamber o� Commerce presents the 2023 & Job Recruitment Event

Olive Branch Chamber of Commerce presents the 2023

Branch Chamber o� Commerce presents the 2023 & Job Recruitment Event

& Job Recruitment Event

October 11, 2023 9:00am—3:30pm

October 11, 2023

9:00am—3:30pm Held at:

October 11, 2023 9:00am—3:30pm Held at:

& job recruitment event

October 11, 2023 9:00am—3:30pm

Held at:

Whispering Woods Hotel & Conference Center

Whispering Woods Hotel & Conference Center

Whispering Woods Hotel & Conference Center

October 11, 2023 9:00am – 3:30pm

Whispering Woods Hotel & Conference Center

Þ Discover new Business Opportunities

Þ Discover new Business Opportunities

Þ Discover new Business Opportunities

Þ Perfect venue to showcase your business/products/ services to other vendors & local residents

• Discover new business opportunities

Þ Perfect venue to showcase your business/products/ services to other vendors & local residents

Þ Perfect venue to showcase your business/products/ services to other vendors & local residents

Þ Gain exposure for your business

• Perfect venue to showcase your business/products/services to other vendors & local residents

Þ Gain exposure for your business

Þ Gain exposure for your business

• Gain exposure for your business

Þ Learn about other products & services in the community Þ Network with key business professionals

Þ Learn about other products & services in the community

Þ Learn about other products & services in the community

• Learn about other products & services in the community

Þ Network with key business professionals

Þ Network with key business professionals

• Network with key business professionals

For more info: Olive Branch Chamber of (662) 895-2600 Fax (662) 895

For more info: Olive Branch Chamber of Commerce (662) 895-2600 Fax (662) 895-2625

For more info: Olive Branch Chamber of Commerce (662) 895-2600 • Fax (662) 895-2625 •

For more info: Olive Branch Chamber of Commerce (662) 895-2600 Fax (662) 895-2625

For more info: Olive Branch Chamber of Commerce (662) 895-2600 Fax (662) 895-2625

Held at: Whispering Woods Hotel Conference Center Branch Chamber o� Commerce presents the 2023 & Job Recruitment Event Discover new Business Opportunities Perfect venue to showcase your business/products/ services to other vendors & local residents Gain exposure for your business Learn about other products & services in the community Network with key business professionals For more info: Olive Branch Chamber of Commerce (662) 895-2600 Fax (662) 895-2625 October 11, 2023 9:00am—3:30pm Held at: Whispering Woods Hotel & Conference Center Olive Branch Chamber o� Commerce presents the 2023 & Job Recruitment Event Þ Discover new Business Opportunities Þ Perfect venue to showcase your business/products/ services to other vendors & local residents Þ Gain exposure for your business Þ Learn about other products & services in the community Þ Network with key business professionals

Re rement Tatum Celebrates

“A first impression is a lasting impression.” We cannot think of a more fitting quote by screenwriter Andrew Kaplan, to describe the way that Patty Tatum approached her day-to-day interactions with everyone that walked through the doors of Northcentral Electric Cooperative. For almost 18 years, she was the first face that you encountered with a warm greeting as receptionist for the cooperative. Patty began her career with Northcentral on October 2, 2006.

Family, friends, and fellow employees gathered for a reception on Aug. 4, to celebrate Patty’s career on her last day before retirement, which also happened to be her birthday. She was presented with a retirement gift as Northcentral General Manager and CEO Kevin Doddridge spoke in her honor, “Patty has always been the first person you encounter at Northcentral. You could always count on that being a great impression, whether it was a first-time visitor or a familiar face.”

The Northcentral family wishes Patty all the best in her well-earned retirement!

Notice of Rate Action

Northcentral Electric Cooperative’s Board of Directors voted in their May 31, 2023, meeting to adopt a retail rate increase which will result in an overall increase in revenue of 1.5%. This rate increase will become e ective with the first billing on October 1, 2023.

Northcentral’s rate regulator and wholesale power provider, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), has approved the recommendation by Northcentral’s management of the rate increase to meet the cooperative’s revenue requirements. The rate increase is directly attributed to an increase in wholesale power costs to the cooperative.

2023 | SEPTEMBER 17


Free energy from the sun and lower electric bills… Where do I sign up?

The benefits of installing rooftop solar panels may seem like a no-brainer, but the reality is, not every home (and homeowner’s situation) is always right for solar. There are several factors to consider before pulling the trigger on a rooftop solar system, like determining if your home will receive enough sun to achieve your goals, finding the right contractor, negotiating contracts, and other important details.

Here are eight questions to consider before installing rooftop solar panels.

What are my goals?

If your primary goal is to save money on electric bills, you may be able to achieve this through an energy audit from your co-op, which can identify areas of the home for maximum energy savings.

Is my roof suitable for solar?

Your roof should be in good condition before installing solar panels. If your roof is old and in poor shape, it may need to be replaced before panels can be mounted. Additionally, your roof should receive a lot of sun to make the most of a rooftop system. Consider how much sun (and shade) the roof receives and if any trees will need to be removed.

How long will I own the home?

If you’re considering rooftop solar, you’re likely planning to stay in the home for several years. But if you plan to sell the home at some point down the road, consider that not all potential buyers will want to maintain a rooftop solar system. If you enter a contract to lease the system, carefully review the terms and what those mean if you decide to sell the property.

Lease or purchase?

Purchasing a rooftop solar system outright is expensive, which is why many homeowners opt to lease their solar panels. However, federal tax credits can help cover some of the costs for a new system, up to 30%. Regardless of how you decide to finance the solar system, make sure you get several quotes from qualified contractors.

Can the contractor provide up-to-date documentation?

It may seem obvious but be sure to request proof and documentation of the contractor’s licensing, permitting, and other

credentials. Comb through company reviews, check the contractor’s status with Better Business Bureau, etc. — do your homework on the front end before signing a contract. Solar scams are very common, and you want to be careful.

Does the contract seem reasonable and fair?

If you decide to hire a contractor to install rooftop solar, carefully read the fine print of the contract. Do the system performance calculations seem realistic? Does the project timeframe sound reasonable? Negotiate the contract terms to fit your goals and needs.

Who will maintain the solar panels?

Determining who is responsible for maintaining the solar panels will depend on who owns the system. If you lease the system from a solar installer, it may be their responsibility. Periodically, solar panels need to be cleaned as dirt and debris can impact panel productivity. Parts may also need to be replaced, so it’s important to know who will take on these responsibilities.

How will I work with my co-op?

Finally, but equally important, you should contact Northcentral Electric Cooperative before installing solar. The system must be connected to the electric grid, so you’ll need to sign an interconnection agreement. We can walk you through the steps, including how solar rates and fees work.

As with any major home project, do plenty of research upfront, and contact Northcentral if you have questions or decide to move forward with installation.

Abby Berry writes on consumer and cooperative a airs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

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A road trip down U.S. Highway 61 is both a literal and historical journey through music history

Route 66, the storied American highway that connected Chicago to Los Angeles beginning in 1926 and ending with its decommissioning in 1985, found its place in popular culture in the early twentieth century through songs, television programs, and books that inspired countless cross-country road trips.

But a di erent federal route, one also canonized in contemporary works of art yet less well known, deserves at least as much recognition for its contributions to American music and culture.

U.S. Highway 61, which parallels the Mississippi River from New Orleans to Minnesota — and nicknamed the “blues highway” for its 200-mile run through the heart of the Mississippi Delta, birthplace of the blues — has been referenced by blues artists since the genre exploded into the public consciousness.

Roosevelt Sykes recorded his “Highway 61 Blues” in 1932, and artists like Son Thomas, Honeyboy Edwards, Big Joe Williams, and Mississippi Fred McDowell have all recorded songs about 61. It even inspired Bob Dylan’s classic 1965 album, “Highway 61 Revisited.” Today, much of the corridor’s music history is preserved thanks to museums and historical markers that line its path through Mississippi.

20 SEPTEMBER | 2023
Photos by Chad Calcote


On the banks of the Sunflower River in the upper Delta, Clarksdale became a major center in the cotton trade in the 1800s. A community of Black sharecroppers numbering in the thousands gave the city its artistic soul through blues music, which developed from field hollers into a distinct form of expression.

According to legend, seminal blues artist Robert Johnson was a pretty good guitar player until one moonlit meeting at an unnamed Delta crossroads, assumed in modern times to be the intersection of Highways 49 and 61 in Clarksdale. There, he traded his soul for the wicked talent listeners can hear on “King of the Delta Blues Singers,” a compilation of his recordings made in the 1930s.

According to legend, seminal blues artist Robert Johnson was a pretty good guitar player until one moonlit meeting at an unnamed Delta crossroads, assumed in modern times to be the intersection of Highways 49 and 61 in Clarksdale.

By then, many Black sharecroppers working on farms such as Hopson Plantation were taking the Illinois Central railroad north to find work in cities like Memphis, St. Louis, and Chicago. Bluesmen Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker and others weren’t far behind, taking their rural Delta blues to Chicago where its electrified version became the sound of the city’s south side. Today, that railroad depot houses the Delta Blues Museum.

2023 | SEPTEMBER 21


Forty-some miles south of Clarksdale, thousands of Black farmers lived and worked on Dockery Plantation, another key location in the development of the blues. Here, just outside of Cleveland, early blues pioneer Charley Patton, along with Tommy Johnson and Roebuck “Pops” Staples, later of the gospel group The Staples Singers, woodshedded the music that became known as the blues. Dockery was also a popular stopping point for traveling musicians.

In 2016, the Recording Academy recognized Mississippi’s contribution to popular music by dedicating the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi in Cleveland. The center not only celebrates the music that came from this region through exhibits and artifacts, but also inspires new generations of artists through interactive educational programs.

The museum’s latest exhibit, “Highway 61: Traveling America’s Music Highway,” takes visitors from Congo Square and Preservation Hall in New Orleans up through the Delta, Memphis, and St. Louis, following the journeys of musicians who met and exchanged ideas along the Blues Highway. Curated and designed locally as part of the 50th anniversary of the Recording Academy’s Memphis chapter, the exhibit displays artifacts such as handwritten lyrics, instruments and outfits from artists including Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Son Thomas, and Conway Twitty.

“This exhibit is really one of a kind, and takes visitors on a journey down what could be considered music’s most important and famous road,” says Emily Havens, executive director of the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi. “It explores music sites and celebrates the artists that played major roles in shaping America’s music history.”


Down the road in Leland, bluesman Pat Thomas — son of James Henry “Son” Thomas, who first recorded in 1968 and toured the world — is sweeping the entryway to the Highway 61 Blues Museum on North Broad Street. Billy Johnson, who runs the museum, has had a lifetime backstage pass to the blues and the artists who came through his parents’ drug store during its heyday here.

“They sold Marine band harmonicas, Stella guitars, and picks and strings,” says Johnson, while Thomas picks a blues tune on an acoustic guitar for a couple visiting from Israel. The walls are lined with memorabilia and photographs captured by Bill Steber and Johnson himself, a testament to several decades spent in the blues. Displays include the Peavey Razer guitar played by T-Model Ford, who lived in nearby Greenville, and a door signed by Johnny Winter, whose family owned a business in town.

Nearby on McGee Street, a Blues Trail sign marks where Ruby’s Nite Spot once stood. Run by Ruby Edwards in the 1940s and the 1950s — before she bought Club Ebony in Indianola, which recently reopened as part of the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center — the Chitlin’ Circuit club hosted acts including Little Richard, Ike Turner, and Little Milton.

22 SEPTEMBER | 2023
Pat Thomas, son of Son Thomas, poses with a couple visiting from Israel to the Highway 61 Blues Museum. The GRAMMY Museum in Cleveland Mississippi showcases their latest exhibit, “Highway 61: Traveling America’s Music Highway.” A blues marker sits in the lot of the famous Ruby’s Nite Spot. The lot, now empty, was the site of the club that hosted many great blues acts such as Little Richard, Ike Turner, and Little Milton.


Farther south in Natchez, established in 1716 by French colonists at the site of a large Native American settlement, blues and jazz musician Bud Scott found fame in the early 20th century, followed by harmonicist Papa Lightfoot in the 1940s and the Ealey Brothers in the 1960s. You’ll find Mississippi Blues Trail markers for all three, but the city’s most famous entry in blues history arrived via tragedy.

The Rhythm Club on St. Catherine Street was an important stop on the Chitlin’ Circuit, the informal network of mostly Black-owned clubs where African Americans could safely gather for food, fellowship, and entertainment during the Jim Crow era in the U.S.

On April 23, 1940, hundreds of revelers at the Rhythm Club were dancing and enjoying music performed by Walter Barnes and his Kings of Swing orchestra when a fire erupted and quickly engulfed the building. More than 200 people died in the fire — including Barnes and his bandmates, who kept the music going in hopes of calming those trying to make a swift but orderly exit — and the tragedy became known as the Natchez Burning.


The Delta may end at Vicksburg where the hills meet the Mississippi River, but the music that made Highway 61 famous continues. Old 61, now known as Washington Street and the business spur of the current highway, draws visitors to the blu s and riverfront of downtown Vicksburg. A 300-foot-long series of murals along the Yazoo River canal tell the region’s history — and one in particular celebrates the life and music of native son Willie Dixon, pictured playing upright bass guitar at the storied Blue Room club.

“Willie Dixon is legendary,” says Shirley Waring, president of the Vicksburg Blues Society and a Blues Hall of Fame ambassador, as she pulls onto Willie Dixon Way a few blocks south of the mural. “He wrote over 500 songs, and most rock bands are influenced by him.” Dixon’s music heavily influenced 1960s British Invasion bands like The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Cream, as well as American groups like The Doors and The Grateful Dead, all of whom performed or recorded his songs.

Nearby on Washington Street, Michel’s Music still sells blues records and musical instruments, as it has since opening in 1962. Founder Michel Fedell grew up with Dixon along Main Street, where they played in the neighborhood streets and made music together. In his later years, Dixon frequented the music shop when he was in town.

“Willie was amazing,” says Timmie Fedell, Michel’s wife who still operates the shop today. “He used to come in and jam with us, and we’d get a group of people to come play with him. He’d try to teach people di erent licks.”

Pictures of Dixon and artists like Tyrone Davis, Little Milton, and Johnnie Taylor now line the walls at Michel’s Music, and a guitar autographed by Dixon rests in a display case near the performance stage, where Fedell keeps an old wooden stool he used when he played here.


2023 | SEPTEMBER 23
Shirley Waring, president of the Vicksburg Blues Society, stands beside the marker for The Blue Room. Willie Dixon, a legendary bass player from Vicksburg is remembered through his large mural on the Yazoo River Canal wall.
Looking to make your own journey down Highway 61? Visit for a complete list of historic blues stops along Highway 61.
Timmie Fedell, wife of Willie Dixon’s childhood friend Michel Fedell, stands in Michel’s Music.

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Scattered throughout our state, you’ll find unique and surprising landscapes that will inspire your sense of adventure. Red Bluff, Mississippi’s “Little Grand Canyon,” is just one such place. Here, cliffs were sculpted out of the native red clay soil by eons of erosion, creating stunning views of the Pearl River valley below. Discover this and other travel experiences at


Red Bluff | Marion County, Mississippi

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What a wonderful way to celebrate all you have to be “ ankful” for!

On the Menu

with Vicki Leach

Secret stash recipes for the (almost) fall

Happy (almost) fall, y’all! We are coming up on my favorite time of year. Football and tailgating, the smell of a well-tended fire in the fireplace, or maybe a fire pit surrounded by friends in the backyard, and the holidays! School starts back. We plan mightily for our kids’ activities and fill our calendars with ALL the things. But, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are just around the corner, too, and that alone combines to make a busy time of year. A little advanced planning is crucial to ensure your holidays aren’t spent with you constantly in the kitchen while the rest of your family and friends are enjoying each other’s company. Make a habit of picking up a few extra items every time you go to the grocery store. Use those things to stock an emergency party pantry. Herbed cream cheese, artichoke

Pesto and Artichoke Dip - 3 Ways

hearts, frozen phyllo shells, frozen pu pastry, maybe an extra pound of shrimp, a couple of packages of diced ham, and a couple of boxes of specialty crackers are the beginnings of a ‘secret stash’ that can mean the di erence between throwing something together at the last minute or throwing yourself into the car to run out and grab something for unexpected visitors. Keep a list of what you have on hand and a separate recipe file just for party pantry staples. Create an o -limits space in your cabinets to store your stash and voila! You are the instant hostess-with-the-mostest. Being just a little prepared will help you create holiday memories where you are a participant, and not an overworked spectator. I’m sure you have tons of ideas yourself, but here are a few of my crisis pantry recipes to get you started.

This dip is versatile in that it can be baked then served with chips, or can be portioned into frozen phyllo cup, or rolled into palmiers and baked. Using the entire jar of pesto and the whole can of artichoke hearts will double the recipe. Make it all up and keep it a week or two to have as a quick and easy party starter.


½ cup jarred pesto

Heaping ½ cup quartered artichoke hearts

½ cup grated Italian-style 5 cheese blend (in the shaker container)

¼ cup mayonnaise

Throw all the ingredients into the food processor and pulse on and off to combine well. Can be used as desired, but here are a couple of ideas:

1. Pour into a greased casserole dish and bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes until bubbly around the edges. Serve hot.

2. Fill frozen phyllo shells with a rounded teaspoon of mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes until slightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.

3. Roll out a sheet of frozen puff pastry on a lightly floured countertop. Spread mixture evenly over pastry. Roll up each side into the middle and cut across into half-inch slices. Place on lightly sprayed baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly browned.

28 SEPTEMBER | 2023


Party Ham Ball


2 8-ounce packages of diced ham (small diced)

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon grated onion (optional)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened as needed

2 cups chopped pecans

Mix ham, mayonnaise, cream cheese, and onion (if using) together. When well combined, form into a ball, and roll in chopped pecans. If ball is too soft, throw in the fridge to harden a bit before rolling in pecans. Make the whole thing, divide in half, and serve one now and have one for later.

Cranberry Brie


8 ounces Brie

Scant ½ cup dried craisins

Scant ½ cup chopped pecans

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons honey

Trim rind from top of Brie, leaving about ¼ inch border. Place on a pretty microwave-safe pie plate.

Combine craisins, pecans, and brown sugar in a bowl. (I usually chop these together a little bit using a hand chopper, but it isn’t necessary.) Sprinkle about ¼ cup of the mixture onto top of the Brie. Microwave at high for 1 ½ to 2 minutes, until cheese is softened and beginning to melt. Serve with your favorite crackers. Four to 6 servings.

Goat Cheese Crostini


1 French bread baguette (cut into 1/2” slices)

Drizzle bread generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt and coarse black pepper, and toast at 425 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.


2 ounces softened goat cheese (just cut a small log in half)

2 ounces softened cream cheese (cut in half, then half again)

Combine cheeses well. Spread each crostini with softened cheese mixture. Top with a little dollop of fig preserves. Sprinkle a little bacon on top and serve. These are forgiving, and adaptable. When you slice a baguette, toast all the slices, pull what you need for your appetizer, and freeze the rest for your next party. Keep some real bacon bits in the freezer to make for quick cooks.


Vicki Leach is a full-time chef/culinary instructor at Mississippi State University in the Department of Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion. She teaches Science of Food Preparation, Foodservice Organization, and Quantity Food Production. She also serves as the food service coordinator for First Baptist Church in Starkville, where she attends with her husband, Rob. She has four children and five grandchildren, and lives in a 130-year-old farmhouse that speaks to her old soul. She still has the first cookbook she ever owned.

Preparation, Foodservice Organization, and Quantity Food Production. She also serves as

2023 | SEPTEMBER 29
Party Ham Ball



Trades Day Flea Market/Farmers Market. Sep. 9. Oct. 14. Nov. 11. Ovett. (Second Saturday of the month.) Downtown Ovett. 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Vendors are welcome and lots are free. Details: 601-817-1092 or email at

Barnyard Marketplace. Sept. 9, Oct. 14, Nov. 11, and Dec. 9. Poplarville. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Come shop the field of vendors, including crafts, food, plants, boutiques, specialty items, jewelry, handsewn purses, baked goods, woodworks and more. 295 Buck Kirkland Rd. Details: 504-234-3579 or

Clarke County Farmers Market. Sept. 16, Oct. 21. Quitman. Every third Saturday thru October. 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lots of fresh produce, food vendors, and arts and craft vendors. Mark Carter Park on East Franklin Avenue. Sponsored by the Clarke County Chamber of Commerce. Details: 601-776-5701

The Annual Faery Court Masquerade Ball: Court of Atlantis. Sept. 16. Biloxi. Escape the monotony of everyday life and immerse into the magic of costume. Immersive event based on stories of fantasy and wonder, Celtic faery lore, and Mardi Gras tradition. Adults 18 and up only. Costume or formal attire required. From 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Gruich Community Center, 591 Howard Avenue. VIP tickets $70. Table of 8 $640. General admission tickets $45. Ticket sale is Sept. 3. No tickets at the door. Fundraiser for Whisper of Hope. Details: 504-701-9994 or 228-280-3461. Visit

Brother’s Keeper Ministries Fall Catfish Fry. Sept. 22. Poplarville. Fish take-out meals will be served 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Cost is $15. The meal features Mississippi-raised

fried catfish, coleslaw, baked beans, hushpuppies, and a dessert. During the fish fry, Mary Beth Magee will be on-site to autograph the brand-new edition of “Chicken Soup for the Soul, Get Out of Your Comfort Zone.” The price of the book is $16 and is a fundraiser for BKM’s food pantry ministry. 208 N. Main Street. Details: 601-795-3173. (Call on Tuesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

The 31st Clarke Fest. Sept. 23. Quitman. Archusa Water Park, 540 County Road 110. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Car show, entertainment, Miss Clarke County pageant, fishing tournament, arts, crafts, food vendors, and kid’s zone. Sponsored by Clarke County Chamber of Commerce. Details: 601-776-5701.

Mississippi Pecan Festival. Sept. 29, 30, and Oct. 1. Richton. Held at Fulmers Farmstead. Featuring a talent show, prettiest rooster contest, mule pull, stock dog demonstrations, old engine demos, a live farmstead reenactment, more than 250 craft vendors, bluegrass music, food, and fun for all ages. Details: 601-310-9598.

Picayune Writers Group Writer’s Symposium. Sept. 30. Picayune. This year’s theme is “How to write what you know: Merging personal knowledge and experience with research for stringer writing.” Sessions will include talks by local writers Grace Booth, Mary Beth Magee, Kathryn J. Martin, Laura Anne Ewald, and others. The symposium will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Crosby Memorial Library. Admission is free and includes a continental breakfast and lunch. There will also be a drawing for books by the local authors. Although pre-registration is not required to attend, it is required to be part of the drawing. To register, send your full name and email address to with the subject line, REGISTRATION. Details: 518-586-6843.

Mississippi State Fair. Oct. 5-15. Jackson. Nationally recognized musical and comic artists will perform inside the Mississippi Coliseum including country music star Josh Turner, Mississippi native and winner of “The Voice,” Todd Tilghman, R&B singer Cupid, country artist ERNEST, comedian Rita Brent, Motown and R&B legends The Commodores, Mississippi native Kayla Berry, and Grammy-nominated Christian artist Jeremy Camp. The fair will also host a talent competition that will allow winners and runners-up to vie for a chance to win a VIP Executive Producer audition for “American Idol.” Details:

44th Zonta Arts & Crafts Festival. Oct. 7. Pascagoula. Opening ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. Food and family fun until 5 p.m. Delmas Avenue. Details: 228-229-9908.

Landrum’s Homestead Fall Festival. Oct. 14 and 15. Laurel. On Oct. 14, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct.15, from noon to 5 p.m. Step back in time for a walking tour of the past. Working homestead with over 85 buildings, ole tyme games, demonstrations, wagon rides, woodcarving, blacksmithing, shooting gallery, gem mining, cake walk, and scavenger hunt. Beautiful fall photo spots and homemade ice cream. 1356 Highway 15 South, Laurel. Admission: $15. Children 3 and under are free. Details: 601-649-2546 or

Trip to Israel. Oct. 27 to Nov. 5. Ronnie and Beverly Cottingham host the trip to the Holy Land. If you’ve ever dreamed of literally walking where our Lord walked, this trip is for you! Details: 601-770-1447.

30 SEPTEMBER | 2023
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We just wrapped up reporting from the Neshoba County Fair for WJTV. It was hot, but that’s nothing new. In fact, there’s not much new at the fair at all. I think that’s the attraction — it doesn’t change much from year to year. The lifestyle of the week of the fair is about what it was 50 years ago. There is comfort in the stability of something that stays the same when hardly anything else does anymore.

I think that’s why it was a jolt when Miz Jo told me our granddaughter Taylor and husband Michael were getting a new dining room table and o ered us the old one, and she wanted it. I could visualize it fitting in our dining room perfectly. The only problem— it would replace our old table.

The old one is the first table I ate a meal from after I graduated out of the highchair. I have no idea how old it is. Older than I am for sure.

It’s an oak pedestal table. With the leaves inserted, it sat my whole family. Mamma sat at the foot, when she sat. Most of the time she was picking something up or putting something new on the table. She did that three times a day — every day. We all sat at the table and ate. It was a long time before TV trays came along at our house.

Daddy sat at the head of the table. He read a chapter from the Bible every morning at breakfast. He worked for my aunt and uncle. My uncle got the idea that he didn’t need daddy anymore. So, one morning before breakfast he called daddy and fired him. Needless to say, it was a shock. But dad took up his Bible and read his chapter that morning, anyway. It just so happened to be Luke 6, where it reads, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you and pray for those who mistreat you.” My family’s life may have been entirely di erent had that verse not been in the reading that day. Daddy lived it. Everything turned out okay for us in the long run.

I remember the Rook games after church Sunday night at that table with church friends coming over for co ee. Christmas card addressing, homework being agonized over, stories told, and laughter.

I got the table when dad and mom moved to a smaller house and bought the furniture from the folks who moved out.

For years, the only times we ate at the table would be Thanksgiving and Christmas. I never read the Bible to the family from it. Maybe I should have.

The old table is in the garage now. I’ll cover it with a sheet of plywood and use it as a work bench. The one from the grandkids looks grand. It will catch the mail every day when I come in. Can’t wait to eat a meal o it. How long is it until Thanksgiving?

2023 | SEPTEMBER 31
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
The lifestyle of the week of the fair is about what it was 50 years ago. There is comfort in the stability of something that stays the same when hardly anything else does anymore.