Today in Mississippi October 2022 Magnolia

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FOR MEMBERS OF ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES OF MISSISSIPPI

FROM THE DEPTHS TO THE STARS OCTOBER 2022

PICTURE THIS:

FUN ON THE WATER

PERFECT PUMPKIN

PLATES


scene around the ‘sip co-op involvement southern gardening


picture this my opinion grin ‘n’ bare it

Celebrating National Cooperative Month

October is known for Halloween, college football, and (hopefully!) cooler temperatures. But in the electric cooperative world, October is best known as National Cooperative Month. This is the month we celebrate the benefits and values that cooperatives bring to their members and communities. While co-ops operate in many industries and sectors of the economy, seven cooperative principles set us apart from other businesses: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; member’s economic participation; autonomy and independence; education, training, and information; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for community. Electric cooperatives play a vital role in shaping the local communities we serve. We think people prefer options and alternatives to “big box” businesses. The co-op business model is unique and rooted in our local communities. Co-ops help us build a more participatory, sustainable, and resilient economy. The electric cooperatives of Mississippi are proud to be part of America’s cooperative network, which includes more than 47,000 cooperative businesses. Electric co-ops here provide power for more than 810,000 members. Mississippi’s electric co-ops make up part of more than 900 electric cooperatives, public utility districts, and public power districts serving 42 million people in 47 states.

Here are a few interesting facts about National Cooperative Month. Minnesota was the first state to declare an official Co-op Month proclamation in 1948. Co-op Month has been a nationally recognized celebration since 1964, when U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman, a former Minnesota governor, proclaimed October Co-op Month. The first national Co-op Month theme, in 1964, was “Cooperatives: USDA Helps Build a Better America.” Every October, the U.S. Department of Agriculture releases its annual Co-op Month proclamation. Mississippi’s 25 distribution electric cooperatives are committed to ensuring each member is provided quality electric service at the least possible cost. And in the grand cooperative spirit, we will continue to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to common goals to help ensure a brighter future for Mississippi. We hope you enjoy the October issue!

Mississippi is... The Porch Swing There it goes back and forth, welcoming all who come on the porch. Young and old, the shy and bold, come sit awhile in the hot or cold. Close your eyes, and rest your toes, back and forth with nowhere to go. Squirrels that scurry, birds that sing, from this location you see everything. Out from the woods, who knows what surprise, maybe a deer, or old tight eyes.

by Michael Callahan

Winter or summer, whatever the season, the swing on the porch gives you the reason.

Executive Vice President/CEO Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi

by Bertha Armstrong, a resident of Byhalia and a member of Northcentral 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

Photo by Matt Bush/Southern Pine Electric

OCTOBER 2022 | TODAY 3


in this issue

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southern gardening Yellow flowers for all seasons

7 outdoors today

Spotted Bass in small streams

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

12 picture this 14 local news 20 feature Fun on the water

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The Official Publication of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi

Vol. 75 No. 10

OFFICERS Randy Carroll - President Ron Barnes - First Vice President Tim Perkins - Second Vice President Brian Hughey - 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

Tamales are a signature Mississippi food. We tell you who makes them, how to make them, and where to get them.

Circulation of this issue: 469,987

on the menu

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

A pumpkin pop quiz

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.

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On the cover

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Cassius Haynes, 33, holds a plate of Doe’s Eat Place’s tamales in front of the Greenville restaurant. Hayes has worked at Doe’s for 16 years. Photo by Chad Calcote.

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.

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So, what is involved in growing yellow The upright stems are sturdy enough to display the huge flowers, which can be flowers all year in most Mississippi gardens up to a whopping 9 inches across. The and landscapes? petal colors are bright and cheery, ranging Obviously, different plants need to be from sunshine yellow to warm oranges selected for the different seasons, so I’ve at the petal bases. Each flower has a put together a list of yellow flowers that delicious-looking, rich, chocolate-brown you can enjoy through the year. center cone. While I’m concentrating on yellow flowers, many of the plants on this list are Zinnias are great summer plants that effortlessly handle the transition to the available in a wide variety of other colors. fall season. This is not an all-inclusive list, but simply plants I like that are yellow and I think are They come with yellow blooms, as well as many other rich colors. Another plus good garden choices. for growing zinnias in the heat of the I’ve always loved the spring, when the summer is they require little in terms of garden starts to wake up as temperatures maintenance, just consistent fertilization begin to rise. Lady Banks rose, which blooms in late spring to early and moisture. A most welcome sight is the daffodils summer, is a low-maintenance rose that produces that start the color show in early spring. I like the Benary Giants, Magellans or clear-yellow flowers along arching, thornless stems. cactus-flowered zinnias best. All of these Like other plants that have a traditionplants display flowers up to 5 inches al color, a big, bright-yellow daffodil is in diameter. stunning. Unlike other bulb species, we can successfully grow daffodils across all For the late fall and winter months, you can’t beat the yellow colors provided by of Mississippi. pansies or violas. Lady Banks rose is a fantastic late spring, early summer choice. Except for extreme cold weather, both of these selections are tough, cool-season It’s an old, long-lived rose that dates color annuals. Traditionally, pansy flowers back to the late 1790s. It is considered a Coreopsis blooms in early summer. Native varieties have blotches, and violas are blotchy or Southern classic. This low-maintenance brighten up roadsides, but Coreopsis grandiflora is bicolored. But I’m leaning towards apprecirose produces clear-yellow flowers all more readily available in garden centers. ating the solid-colored flowers. Those withalong its arching, thornless stems. It is out blotches are referred to as being clear. classified as a climbing rose, but it is really After putting this list of yellow blooms together, I’m totally energized kind of a leaner. For a couple of weeks in early summer, I love seeing the native coto add more yellow to my home landscape, and you should, too. reopsis lanceolata grow along the roadsides. The bright-yellow flowers can really brighten trips around Mississippi. But when I consider coreopsis for my garden, I always lean towards Coreopsis grandiflora, which is more readily available in garden by Dr. Gary centers. As the botanical name suggests, these are commonly called big-flowered coreopsis. This plant has broad, lobed leaves with flowers Bachman that seem to float on long stems. It typically has a clumping growth habit in the landscape. Gary Bachman, Ph.D., Extension/Research Professor of Horticulture at My other go-to yellow summer flower is Indian Summer rudbeckia. the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in In 1999, this plant was selected as a Mississippi Medallion winner, and it Biloxi. He is also host of “Southern Gardening” radio and TV programs. He lives in Ocean Springs and is a Singing River Electric member. is a reliable perennial.

OCTOBER 2022 | TODAY 5



They are often tiny and tangled. Knowing of and locating them is eclipsed only by the difficulty of getting to and fishing for them. But they are there — nondescript, overlooked, driven over via bridge or culvert, and seldom noticed — waiting. Their allure is Bass such as this can hardly resist a simple captivating once it is spinnerbait. allowed voice, and the opportunity to creep into the wanderlust of adventure seekers. These brooks are the Knights and Ladies-in-Waiting of streams, kind and unassuming. Their rewards can be monumental. The above paragraph brings attention to those small creeks scattered about the countryside. They have names but fail to rise to the meritorious acknowledgement as do their larger offspring. But it is those smaller trickles we focus on here. They are significant, at some point joining with others of their kind and/ or singularly spilling into those more demanding and well-known flows. And since streams are inextricably bound to fishing, let’s talk that subject — fishing. It is now glorious October, and this month and those small streams meld into the perfect mix for some simple but explosive action. Spotted Bass are the other players in a grand autumn drama. Spotted Bass, also known as Kentucky Bass, can be found in small creeks — and rivers — and virtually lead the way in grit and aggression. They strike with fervor; they battle with enthusiasm. They are abundant, cooperative, and delightful. They are not restricted to large impoundments or prodigious rivers. In fact, it seems that foot for foot of the miniscule waters that make up the tiny and tangled, Spotted Bass outnumber the Largemouth.

Mentioned in the second sentence was the fact that getting to those streams is often difficult. That part is enhanced by the fact that most of these bodies of water wend through private land. Permission must be in place before venturing there. If public launch locales are available, anglers can potentially slip a canoe or kayak in with no legal issues. Even so, if the streams won’t accommodate watercraft, wading A young Conner Herrington, is the only way. Still, now with a son of his own, displays a dandy bass caught the fishing is worth in a tiny stream. the effort required to do it. And what tackle is preferred? Casting rigs for the most part. Spinnerbaits or other offerings that run beneath the surface. Throw to submerged logs, deep holes, and cross-current where a sunken sandbar drops quickly to deeper pools. It can all be productive in October, the leaves changing color and the temperature moderating. Now is a grand time for small streams.

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.

OCTOBER 2022 | TODAY 7


Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday talks to Aerographer’s Mate 2nd Class Kevin Rolka in the oceanographic high bay of Fleet Survey Team headquarters during his first visit to Naval Oceanography and Meteorology Command at Stennis Space Center. The Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command directs and oversees more than 2,500 globally-distributed military and civilian personnel who collect, process and exploit environmental information to assist Fleet and Joint Commanders in all warfare areas to make better decisions faster than the adversary.

8 TODAY | OCTOBER 2022

by Steven Ward The John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County is known for its contributions to rocket engine science and NASA spaceflight programs. However, it’s unclear how many people realize the base is also home to one of the most U.S. Navy Rear important U.S. naval operations Admiral Ron Piret in the world. The Naval Meteorology & Oceanography Command, known more commonly as Naval Oceanography, is headquartered at Stennis and operates survey vessels and unmanned underwater vehicles to gain and utilize oceanographic and acoustic knowledge that helps prepare naval forces for warfare. U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Ron Piret is the commander of Naval Oceanography and is the highest-ranking military officer in the state of Mississippi. “Naval Oceanography’s 2,500 sailors, scientists, engineers, and technicians work in over 20 STEM fields that start on the ocean floor and end to the farthest known star,” said Lt. Cmd. Robert Dixon, Naval Oceanography’s public affairs director. “Our work ensures that the U.S. Navy and Department of Defense have the freedom of action below, on, and above the sea to deter aggression, maintain freedom of the seas, and win wars.” Dixon said before any ship sets sail, submarine dives, or plane takes off, Naval Oceanography has done the work to ensure that the environment is safe, secure and can be used to the U.S. Navy’s advantage over potential adversaries. Naval Oceanography has hundreds of hydrographers, the largest collection of hydrographic talent and expertise in the world, at Stennis Space Center. Hydrography is the science of surveying and charting bodies of water.


“Hydrographic survey, and the resulting provision of nautical charts, is the fundamental component which enables our surface and submarine fleet’s unprecedented freedom of maneuver and global access,” said Matthew Borbash, deputy hydrographer of the Navy. Naval Oceanography operates out of 60 locations around the world and has 14 subordinate commands. The command operates six oceanographic survey vessels, Fleet Weather Centers in Norfolk, Virginia and San Diego, California, a Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center, and a U.S. Naval Observatory. Naval Oceanography maintains and operates an inventory of nearly 200 unmanned underwater vehicles. The unmanned vehicles range from deep sea 6,000-meter vehicles to ocean gliders that collect data within the water column to remotely operated surface vessels, but they all aid in enhancing & U.S. NAVAL METEOROLOGY safety of navigation OCEANOGRAPHY COMMAND for the fleet. “Our team has developed expertise in unmanned operations over the last two decades. We’ve been using unmanned systems not only to sense the ocean and collect data, such as conductivity, temperature, and depth — which we can then turn into sound propagation models in the ocean — to surveying the ocean floor collecting boundary conditions,U.S. not onlyNAVAL for navigation purposes, but also to & METEOROLOGY use in modeling ocean dynamics for safe fleet operations,” Piret said. OCEANOGRAPHY COMMAND Piret also said the command is involved with geological work. “It’s not well known that we have the only operational geology

AG3 Kevin Rolka showcased Fleet Survey Team’s unmanned surface vehicle called the Teledyne Z-boat to a Pearl River Community College student as part of the school’s STEM club.

lab in the Navy at Stennis Space Center. We’re experts in analyzing bottom sediment and how that sediment moves, which is critically important when it comes to understanding how a mine on the seafloor would be best detected if it’s been buried,” Piret said. Dixon said the command has been working hard on making sure #ItStartsWithUs more people in Mississippi and around the world understand what goes on at Naval Oceanography. “Naval Oceanography’s 14 commands have grown their social media presence, put out weekly press releases, and attended dozens of community relations events over the last year in an effort to educate and highlight the important work our 2,500 sailors and civilians do for the public we serve. Our leadership at all levels have become more engaged with their communities and grown their partnerships as a way to build awareness of not just the work we do, but of the opportunities in uniform and out of uniform to those with STEM backgrounds.” #ItStartsWithUs

2021 YEAR IN REVIEW

2021 YEAR IN REVIEW

UxS

U.S. NAVAL METEOROLOGY & OCEANOGRAPHY COMMAND

2021 YEAR IN REVIEW UxS

#ItStartsWithUs

UxS

UxS

UxS

210,036 NM Traveled by T-AGS

1,005 Personnel Deployments

5,996 RFS/RFI from the Fleet

23,767 Ice Reports & Products

127 Tropical Systems Tracked

1,359 Deployments of Unmanned System

900 OPS & Exercises Supported

9,669 Environmental Intel Reports

111,021 NM Traveled by UxS

2.3 Billion Supercomputer Core-Hours

234,621 Weather & Climatology Reports

UxS

425,052 Forecast Model Runs

UxS

UxS

OCTOBER 2022 | TODAY 9 UxS


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1. Ainslee at the beach, by Ann Moss of Laurel; Southern Pine Electric member. 2. Lucy and Bully, by Lynn King of Carthage; Central Electric member. 3. Colt and Gennings Stewart, by Lisa Stewart of Magee; Southern Pine Electric member. 4. A boy and his dog, by Emily Nichols of Tylertown; Magnolia Electric member. 5. Alexis Smith, by April Smith of Carson; Pearl River Valley Electric member. 6. Fishing, by Belinda Ryan of Biloxi; Coast Electric member.

12 TODAY | OCTOBER 2022

7. Emmie, by Roy Lemmermann of Ocean Springs; Singing River Electric member. 8. Jackson and his dog, Opie, by Rachel Bennett of Tylertown; Magnolia Electric member. 9. Baby in the water, by Carolyn Holifield of Ellisville; Dixie Electric member. 10. Girl and her fish, by Stacie Ponthier of Carriere; Coast Electric member. 11. Making a splash, by Tory Evans of Hattiesburg; Pearl River Valley Electric member.


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12. Kids in the pool, by Sandra Shaw of Pontotoc; Pontotoc Electric member.

18. Fishing by Betty Ellis of Hattiesburg; Southern Pine Electric member.

13. Rachel the diving dinosaur, by Jessica Cleveland of Union; Central Electric member.

19. Banks napping, by Beth Johnson of Philadelphia; Central Electric member.

14. Cousins, by Michael Waltman of Moss Point; Singing River Electric member. 15. Brooklyn Jenkins, by Anita Nobles of Petal; Dixie Electric member. 16. Henry Cottrell, by Susan Cottrell of Olive Branch; Northcentral Electric member.

20. Sliding, by Kacie Jenkins of Carthage; Central Electric member. 21. Madelyn, by Becky Coleman of Hazlehurst; Southwest Electric member. 22. Lane and his catch of the day, by Adrienne Scarbrough of DeKalb; East Mississippi EPA member.

17. Fun on the Mississippi Sound, by Marvin Howard of Meadville; Magnolia Electric member.

OCTOBER 2022 | TODAY 13


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MEP gives back to local communities

Magnolia Electric Power serves six counties in southwest Mississippi: Pike, Walthall, Lincoln, Lawrence, Franklin, and Amite. Within those counties, the cooperative serves 32,765 meters (30,578 residential). By all definitions, Magnolia Electric is a cooperative by the people, for the people. The cooperative principle “Commitment to Community” is a core value, as the cooperative has given abundantly to the community since its inception in 1938. “We believe in the seven cooperative principles and want to give back to the local communities we serve,” said Heather Atwood, manager of human resources. Today, some of those efforts include toy drives, food drives, blood drives, and various other fundraisers. Magnolia Electric’s annual community service activities include:

Cooperative Day of Service

American Cancer Society, Relay for Life

Each January in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Magnolia Electric employees participate in the Cooperative Day of Service, a day when electric cooperatives across Mississippi join together to benefit the individual communities they serve. For the past two years, Magnolia Electric has hosted a food drive as part of the event. In 2022, more than 200 pounds of food was collected and donated to the local Salvation Army and the Walthall County Food Pantry. Atwood, who oversees the food drive, said, “To know we are helping our friends, neighbors, and members provide food for their families is so impactful. Food drives make all the difference to those in need.”

Magnolia Electric contributes an annual monetary donation to the American Cancer Society and forms a Relay for Life team that participates in local events. Employees Anthony Hughes, Dunaway, and O’Brien have shined in their service to the group. Hughes served on the Pike County Relay for Life committee for 20 years in addition to serving as chairman of the local committee for five years. Dunaway served on the Pike County committee for eight years, serving as the Magnolia Electric team captain since 2002 and as a co-captain with O’Brien since 2012.

Sweetheart Baby Shower Two Magnolia Electric employees, Kristy Dunaway and Angie O’Brien, have organized a Sweetheart Baby Shower for the Crisis Pregnancy Center for the past two years. Employees donate baby items and money for expectant moms and their babies. The center, located in Pike County, serves multiple counties within Magnolia’s service area.

14 TODAY | OCTOBER 2022


Blood drives Magnolia Electric has/will host four blood drives in 2022 to benefit local patients. In years past, the drives have supported specific local patients to increase their blood reserve. “We have seen an increase in the critical need for blood donors in the last couple of years,” Atwood said, emphasizing how close to home it has hit to the company. “We’ve had three employees with family needs for blood supply in the last year alone.” The cooperative received the Mississippi Blood Services Top 20 of 2020 award for the state of Mississippi in blood drives.

Fundraiser for Children’s Advocacy Center For the past two years, employees Haley Shepherd and Hughes coordinated a fundraiser for the Children’s Advocacy Center. Last year, a “Pie-in-the-Face” contest raised more than $400 for the center. This year, Shepherd, Hughes, and Luis Ybarra organized a raffle with several prizes that raised $1,700 for the center.

Christmas in July for Toys for Tots In July 2021, Magnolia Electric started hosting a Toys for Tots campaign in addition to the usual December drive. The additional month yielded double the number of toys previously provided for the Marine Corps toy drive.

Leftover luggage gets new life Magnolia Electric employee Liz Spears led a luggage/backpack drive for foster children who are displaced and transitioning to a foster home. As a result, several suitcases were donated to the Pike County Children Social Services.

Pinktober at MEP Each October, the cooperative designates a day for employees to wear pink in honor or memory of those with breast cancer. Dunaway coordinates the day and raises money for the cause all month long. Funds are raised through a silent auction and raffle benefiting the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Youth leadership Magnolia Electric has hosted Cooperative University each fall since 2004. Cooperative University is a unique leadership experience for select local high school juniors. Approximately 20-30 students participate each year and learn about electric cooperatives. Following a judging and interview process, two students are selected to represent the cooperative for the following year. The two students then travel to Jackson for a workshop coordinated by Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi and later join other students from across the nation on a weeklong trip to Washington, D.C. Both trips are once-in-a-lifetime leadership opportunities fully funded by Magnolia Electric. Lucy Shell, manager of member services and communications, oversees this program.

United Givers Employees make payroll contributions to the United Givers Agency on an annual basis. The money remains in southwest Mississippi to aid 11 local charities and organizations. Shell said, “As you can see, Magnolia Electric’s contributions to our communities are widespread. Our members who are primarily residential, many times join in and support our fundraisers. We are so thankful for their help, too. You certainly grasp that from all our community service activities — it’s neighbors helping neighbors. And isn’t that what cooperatives are all about?”’ This article was written by Tonya Williams, communications facilitator with Cooperative Energy, a generation and transmission cooperative headquartered in Hattiesburg.


by Susan Collins-Smith The rollout of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline offers more hope to individuals dealing with mental-health-related distress. That population includes farmers and farm workers, who are among those most at risk for suicide and mental health distress. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, male agricultural workers have the fourth highest suicide rate among men in all industries.

Mississippi leaders and advocates for public health and mental health have rallied around the new 988 suicide crisis line resource,” Buys said. “The new number makes it easier to remember how to get in touch with someone if you or someone you know or love is in crisis. “Being at risk of losing the family farm or thinking you could lose it is a tremendous amount of stress,” said David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “There are legitimate reasons why people in agriculture are struggling: economics, weather, equipment issues, long hours and difficult work, among other challenges.” A national poll by the American Farm Bureau Federation in 2019 confirmed that about two in five farmers and farm workers reported experiencing increased stress levels and more mental health challenges since 2014. Buys said the new 988 number is an important resource for all Mississippians, including farmers and farm workers who live and work in rural areas of the state. Many of those areas have limited access to mental health resources. “Mississippi leaders and advocates for public health and mental health have rallied around the new 988 suicide crisis line resource,”

16 TODAY | OCTOBER 2022

Buys said. “The new number makes it easier to remember how to get in touch with someone if you or someone you know or love is in crisis.” The 988 lifeline is a nationwide network of 200 crisis call centers operated and funded locally. It functions through the hotline formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and aims to strengthen and transform crisis services across the nation. “Ideally, 988 will become as recognizable a resource for behavioral health and substance abuse crises as 911 is for medical crises,” said Wendy Bailey, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. “With time, we are hopeful 988 will reimagine the way crisis services are provided in the U.S. and in Mississippi, but we know this system transformation will not happen overnight,” she said. “We are grateful for everyone who is working to make the launch of 988 a success and look forward to the continuing work that we know is ahead of us.”

Rural adults identified medical issues as one of the top influences on farmers’ mental health in a recent national poll by the American Farm Bureau Federation. The rollout of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline offers hope to farmers, who have the fourth highest suicide rate among males in all industries. (Photo by MSU Television Center/James Parker)


How 988 Works Each call center is staffed by trained crisis counselors 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Anyone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts, substance use, a mental health crisis, or other type of emotional distress can call, text, or chat with a counselor. Individuals who are concerned about a loved one or friend can also call the lifeline. Text and chat are also available. Mississippi has two Lifeline call centers, which have one of the top 10 highest answer rates in the nation. When a call is placed, the caller will hear a greeting message while the call is routed to their nearest state call center based on area code. Once he or she answers, a counselor will listen to the caller to identify the problem, provide support, and share resources if needed. If the nearest call center is unable to take the call, it will be routed to a national backup call center. Crisis call centers provide services in English and Spanish and translation services for over 250 other languages. Currently, text and chat are available in English only.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org.

What 988 Means for Mississippi Bailey said she is excited for what the launch of 988 means to Mississippi. “Each life lost to suicide impacts families, friends, and entire communities,” she said. “988 is now another way to help us prevent these losses. Since the Lifeline began in 2005, it has served as an invaluable resource, providing free and confidential support to those in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.” The Mississippi Department of Mental Health worked diligently in the last several years to increase the state’s Lifeline call center answer rate. Additionally, they have focused on improving access to the state’s two crisis service programs: the Mobile Crisis Response Teams and Crisis Stabilization Units. “This includes having statewide mobile crisis response teams provided by the Community Mental Health Centers and enhancing the funding and training for those teams over the last year,” Bailey said. “We also are working to develop formal protocols for dispatching these teams when calls come to 988 and a face-to-face response is necessary.”

OCTOBER 2022 | TODAY 17


by Paul Wesslund

Did you know one of the most cutting-edge places for technology is right up the road at your local electric cooperative? That’s right! Innovation isn’t happening just in computer labs or on satellites rocketing into space. Electric co-ops lead even the highlytechnical electric utility industry in such fast-changing areas as renewable energy and installation of smart meters that allow the more efficient use of electricity. While it may seem surprising to think of your electric co-op as a high-tech leader, it’s part of a way of doing business that has been finding new approaches to solving modern problems for nearly 100 years.

18 TODAY | OCTOBER 2022


In fact, electric co-ops were originally created to solve one of the most basic and complex of needs and desires — making light out of darkness. That legacy still works today, and it’s why time is set aside each October to recognize National Co-op Month. It’s a reminder that business succeeds not just through competition, but also through cooperation.

Electric co-ops stand out in many areas of the electric utility industry. They lead the way in community solar—an initiative in which the co-op builds a solar array that is supported by interested members buying shares of the project.

As a result of the member-owned cooperative form of business, co-ops stand out in many areas of the electric utility industry. They lead the way in community solar — an initiative in which the co-op utility builds a solar array that is supported by interested co-op members buying shares of the project. Electric vehicles are getting a boost from co-ops as well, with many placing charging stations in public parks and other rural locations.

But the biggest innovation is simply the co-op itself, and the notion of a utility with only one mission — to make life better for its members, who are also its customers. Electric co-ops didn’t spring from a national directive or organization. They are truly homegrown products of what local people wanted for their community. Electric co-ops first started forming as early as 1914, and the formation of the REA in 1935 helped smooth the way forward. But it was local community initiative over the next three decades that finally brought electric service to nearly everyone. The story of electric co-ops is of a true grassroots movement of unique, homegrown organizations. The one characteristic that applies to all of them is that they care for and listen to the local members they serve. For electric co-ops, one size does not fit all — it’s the local community that’s in charge. In recognizing that every one of us is different, co-ops make both an electric connection, and a human connection. And that’s a truly powerful innovation.

And just as co-ops first brought electricity to unserved rural areas nearly a century ago, today many of them are working to bring high-speed internet service to their local communities. In the early part of the last century, America’s cities were being transformed by this new thing called electricity. But outside the municipal boundaries, people could only look with envy at the glow from over the horizon. Setting poles and stringing power lines miles outside of town for one or two customers was deemed too expensive. Luckily, go-getters in America’s rural communities believed they could solve the problems that kept the power companies from connecting them to modern society. They called their friends and neighbors together and started forming their own utilities. They were community-based organizations, democratically-run, not-for-profit businesses called cooperatives. Today, there are more than 900 electric co-ops in the U.S. It wasn’t easy, especially at first. They got a huge boost when, after getting the attention of some key politicians, the federal government created the Rural Electrification Administration (REA). The REA made loans available, helping finance expensive utility construction. It provided technical consulting, developing engineering techniques to carry electricity longer distances. The agency drew up model co-op bylaws and even went on the road with tent shows to demonstrate how to use the latest conveniences like electric ovens and washing machines.

Electric co-ops were originally created to solve one of the most basic and complex of needs and desires — making light out of darkness.

OCTOBER 2022 | TODAY 19


by Steven Ward

Just like fried chicken, catfish, and biscuits, tamales are a signature Mississippi food. You can buy them from restaurants, street vendors, gas stations, and folks who prepare them in their own home kitchens. hile many tamales are filled with chili-spiced Lasseter also said the state’s history with tamales goes back ground beef, some cooks use pork or turkey. to the U.S.-Mexican War 100 years earlier, when U.S. soldiers How Mississippi became synonymous traveled to Mexico and brought tamale recipes home with them. with tamales is up Others argue that tamales date to the for debate. Mississippi culture of mound-building The Southern Foodways AlliNative Americans. ance, a nonprofit institute at the Tamales are a staple in the MisSome hypothesize that tamales made sissippi Delta, where they are often Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of their way to the Mississippi Delta in the served as appetizers with saltine Mississippi, and the Viking Range Lasseter said. early twentieth century when migrant crackers, Corporation created a deep dive “Delta tamales are smaller than laborers from Mexico arrived to work Mexican or Latin-style tamales and are oral history on tamales in 2005, “The Hot Tamale Trail.” the cotton harvest. African Americans usually made with pork and cornmeal “Some hypothesize that tamaand wrapped in corn shucks,” she said. who labored alongside Mexican les made their way to the MissisAccording to the SFA oral history, sippi Delta in the early twentieth some boil their meat, while others simmigrants recognized the basic tamale century when migrant laborers ply brown it. Some people use masa, ingredients: corn meal and pork. from Mexico arrived to work the while most prefer the rough texture of cotton harvest. African Americans corn meal. Most wrap in corn shucks, who labored alongside Mexican migrants recognized the basic while a few have turned to parchment paper. Many season the tamale ingredients: corn meal and pork,” said Mary Beth Lasseter, meat and the meal, as well as the water used to simmer the interim co-director of the Southern Foodways Alliance. rolled bundles.

20 TODAY | OCTOBER 2022


Jewel McCain, owner of Original Sollys Hot Tamales in downtown Vicksburg, uses corn husks to wrap her tamales. McCain, 72, bought the Washington Street restaurant from her mother — May Belle Hampton — after the original owner, Henry Howard Sollys, left it to Hampton following his death in 1992. Hampton and her family were close friends of Sollys. Sollys, who died at 101, was a native of Cuba and moved to Vicksburg in 1939 – the same year he started making and selling tamales from a pushcart. McCain, who started working at the restaurant in 1982, said Sollys gave her the recipe for his tamales before she took over the operation 10 years later. “He was a hobo and rode the trains when he was young. During one of his stops, he saw a man with a broken arm selling tamales out of a cart,” McCain said. Sollys, who needed a job, asked the man if he needed help. One day, the man went to the doctor and told Sollys he would finish making his tamales when he got back. In his absence, Sollys prepared the tamale meat. When the man came back from the doctor, he tasted the meat and said, “Who made this?” From that time on, Sollys started making the tamale meat. Original Sollys Hot Tamales has had visitors over the years from all over the country. There’s a U.S. map filled with push pins from visitors on the wall inside the restaurant’s tiny dining room. In 1997, The Smithsonian Institution invited McCain to Washington, D.C. to put on a tamalemaking demonstration during the 31st Festival of American Folklife. Even today, McCain said she gets visitors at Sollys who said they saw a segment on the restaurant during an episode of “Delicious Destinations” on The Travel Channel. What makes Sollys tamales so special? “It’s the chili blend we use in the beef. The spices. We order it from Texas,” McCain said. The other special ingredient is something “Papa Solly” used to call, “liquid gold.” “That’s the beef kidney fat. We use it in the meat and the corn meal. Everything begins with the fat,” McCain said. McCain, who arrives at Sollys most mornings at 4:30 a.m. to make the tamales, said she makes about 75 dozen a day and sells more than 2,000 tamales a week.

Jewel McCain, 72, is the owner of Original Sollys Hot Tamales in downtown Vicksburg.

Photos by Chad Calcote and Steven Ward

A pot of steaming tamales at Original Sollys Hot Tamales.

OCTOBER 2022 | TODAY 21


The 2005 oral history reported that Greenville had more hot tamale restaurants/food stations than any other city in Mississippi. The most famous of those isn’t even most well-known for tamales. Doe’s Eat Place has a national reputation for their mouthwatering and mammoth steaks. Founded in 1941 by Dominick “Doe” Signa, Doe’s is run today by his two sons, Charles and Doe Jr., and their two sons, Charles Jr. and Doe III. “I’ve been here my whole life,” Charles Signa, 75, said while sitting inside the family restaurant on Nelson Street. “People come for the steaks. Tamales are a side. But I would say people come for both the steaks and the tamales,” Doe Signa III said. Doe Signa III said he loves their tamales and could eat them every day. “I definitely eat more tamales than steaks when I’m here,” Doe Signa III said smiling. While the food is the main attraction at Doe’s, the restaurant’s atmosphere draws diners from all over.

Charles Signa, 75, is one of the co-owners of Doe’s Eat Place in Greenville.

People come for the steaks. Tamales are a side. But I would say people come for both the steaks and the tamales,” Doe Signa III said. Doe Signa III said he loves their tamales and could eat them every day.

Longtime Doe’s Eat Place employee Cassius Haynes works on that day’s batch of tamales.

Doe’s could be described as a “joint.” Tables form a small dining area around the kitchen, which sits center stage in the restaurant. Charles Signa Jr. remembers a time when Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones flew to town just to eat at Doe’s. “We were very busy. A full house. And Jerry Jones shows up and asks for a table. I told him I was sorry, but I would have to put him on a waiting list,” Charles Signa Jr. said. “He waited for 20 or 30 minutes, and we got him seated.” Later, after Jones and his party had finished eating, he put a $20 bill on the table as a tip. “I told him $20 was enough for some gas, but I could use a $20 million contract to come and play for him,” Charles Signa Jr. said. Jones laughed and left. Turns out, Jones had given a $100 bill to every employee in the restaurant. The tamales are made with ground beef from the steaks, beef kidney fat, corn meal, and spices. Unlike Sollys and a lot of Mississippi tamale spots, Doe’s wraps their tamales in parchment paper instead of corn husks. continues on page 24

22 TODAY | OCTOBER 2022


MEAT FILLING 6 to 8 pounds boneless meat (pork shoulder, chuck roast, or chicken) ¾ cup vegetable oil ¼ cup chili powder 2 tablespoons paprika 2 tablespoons salt 2 teaspoons black pepper 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper 1 tablespoon onion powder 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon ground cumin

Cut the meat into large chunks and place in a large, heavy pot. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the meat is very tender, about 2 to 2 ½ hours. Remove the meat and reserve the cooking liquid. When the meat is cool enough to handle, remove and discard any skin and large chunks of fat. Shred or dice the meat into small pieces. There should be about 14 to 16 cups of meat. Heat the vegetable oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Stir in the chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder and cumin. Add in the meat and stir to coat with the oil and spices. Cook, stirring often, until the meat is warmed through, about 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

CORN HUSKS While the meat is cooking, soak the husks in a large bowl or sink of very warm water, until they are softened and pliable, about 2 hours. Gently separate the husks into single leaves, trying not to tear them. Wash off any dust and discard any corn silks. Keep any shucks that split to the side, since two small pieces can be overlapped and used as one.

CORN MEAL DOUGH Stir the corn meal, baking powder, salt and lard together in a large bowl until well blended. Gradually stir in enough warm liquid to make soft, spongy dough that is the consistency of thick mashed potatoes. The dough should be quite moist, but not wet. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth.

8 cups yellow corn meal or masa mix (available in most grocery stores) 4 teaspoons baking powder 2 teaspoons salt 1 2⁄3 cups lard or vegetable shortening 6 to 8 cups warm meat broth (from cooking the meat)

ASSEMBLING THE TAMALES Remove a corn husk from the water and pat it dry. Lay the husk on a work surface. Spread about ¼ cup of the dough in an even layer across the wide end of the husk to within 1 inch of the edges. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture in a line down the center of the dough. Roll the husk so that the dough surrounds

the filling and forms a cylinder or package. Fold the bottom under to close the bottom and complete the package. Place the completed tamales in a single layer on a baking sheet. Repeat until all dough and filling is used.

COOKING THE TAMALES To simmer: Stand the tamales upright, closed side down, in a large pot. Place enough tamales in the pot so that they do not fall over or come unrolled. Carefully fill the pot with enough water to come just to the top of the tamales, trying not to pour water directly into the tamales. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the dough is firm and pulls away from the husk easily and cleanly, about 1 hour.

To steam: Stand the tamales upright, closed side down, in a large steamer basket. Cover the tamales with a damp towel or additional husks. Steam the tamales over simmering water until the dough is firm and pulls away from the husk easily and cleanly, about 1 to 1 ¼ hours. Serve tamales warm, in their husks. Remove husks to eat. Source: Southern Foodways Alliance

THE SOUTHERN FOODWAYS ALLIANCE For more information about the alliance’s hot tamale oral history, visit southernfoodways.org/oral-history/hot-tamale-trail/

OCTOBER 2022 | TODAY 23


Because of the prevalence of tamale places in Greenville, on July 18, 2012, Greenville was named the “Hot Tamale Capital of the World.” Plans for the inaugural Delta Hot Tamale Festival were put in motion then, said Deanne New, marketing coordinator of Main Street Greenville. The festival is held every October. This year the festival is slated for Oct. 14 and 15. Since that time, the festival has grown from a one-day event that drew about 5,000 people to downtown Greenville to a 2-day festival featuring three music stages, a tamale-eating contest, a tamale-cooking contest, parade, and family carnival. “Since the first festival, many tamale novices have become fully-operational tamale vendors, increasing the number of tamale restaurants locally and regionally,” New said. Different vendors will be selling tamales on Friday and even more on Saturday. “But to get a taste of a variety of tamales, tickets to Flavors of

the Festival are a must. This event pairs eight of the tamale vendors’ creations with craft beer. In the past, we have seen traditional Delta-style tamales, traditional Mexican-style tamales, and then creations featuring everything from wild game to dessert tamales. Tickets for Flavors of the Festival always sell out and will be available on our website in the weeks leading to the festival,” New said. Annually, Greenville sees visitors from all over the world, but last year’s event brought over 32,000 people from four countries and 16 different states. New said the festival is “a giant reunion of Deltans who come home to remember the flavors of their childhoods mixed with a whole new crop of tamale-lovers wanting to experience the history and culture of the Delta through the sights, sounds, and tastes of the festival.” “You can find a crowd as diverse as the types of tamales available, and while the stories are fascinating and the food is phenomenal, the company you’ll find at the Delta Hot Tamale Festival is second to none,” New said.

Hicks’ World Famous Tamales

Doe’s Eat Place

Big Apple Inn

305 S. State St. Clarksdale 662-624-9887 Facebook: Hicks Tamales

502 Nelson St. Greenville 662-334-3315 Doeseatplace.com

509 North Farish St. Jackson 601-354-9371 Facebook: Big Apple Inn

Original Sollys Hot Tamales

White Front Café/Joe’s Hot Tamale Place

Tony’s Tamales

1921 Washington St. Vicksburg 601-636-2020 Facebook: Sollys Tamales

24 TODAY | OCTOBER 2022

902 Main St. Rosedale 662-759-3842 Facebook: White Front Café

6961 Old Canton Road Ridgeland 601-899-8885 Tonystamales.com


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Send us photos of you or your family having fun at a high school or college football game. Or send us action photos of the players on the field. 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: November 30. Select photos will appear in the January 2023 issue.

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with Rebecca Turner

A pumpkin pop quiz Is a pumpkin a fruit or a vegetable? A pumpkin is a fruit simply because anything that starts from a flower is botanically a fruit. In Mississippi, farmers start planting pumpkin seeds in early to mid-July, depending on the variety, to ensure the perfect pumpkin for picking in a pumpkin patch or carving for Halloween.

Are pumpkins healthy to eat? Yes! Pumpkins are low in calories and rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them incredibly healthy to eat. The phytonutrients in pumpkins can boost your immune system, protect your eyesight, reduce your risk of certain cancers, and promote heart and skin health.

Can you bake with regular pumpkins? Yes, but it’s a hassle! Most pumpkin varieties will bake, but they’re very stringy, bland, and watery. The best baking pumpkin varieties are smaller with sweet and smooth-textured flesh. Unless you want to go the extra mile, utilize canned pumpkin puree for baking. Pumpkin puree acts as a sweetener, provides moisture, and can be an adequate fat substitute in anything from muffins to soups. But pumpkin is unlike other baking ingredients, be careful not to misuse it. Avoid using pumpkin puree as a blanket substitute for sugar and butter. Instead, use pumpkin puree in recipes that call for it, or look for recipes that use applesauce as their moisture and fat and substitute the pumpkin puree 1:1 for the applesauce.

28 TODAY | OCTOBER 2022

Can you use pumpkin pie filling in place of pumpkin puree? No! Make sure you are reaching for pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling for baking. Every can of pumpkin pie filling has different amounts of sugar and spices. Typically, you’re adding that to the recipe already, and you won’t know how to adjust. If you accidentally grab pie filling instead of puree, turn it into pie using the recipe on the back!

Are pumpkins good for wildlife? Yes! Many Mississippi wildlife enjoys pumpkin flesh and seeds. Toss pumpkins into the woods instead of into the trash. Just be sure not to feed animals old painted pumpkins, which can be toxic.

This fall, whether you bake with pumpkins or not, visit a Mississippi pumpkin patch or corn maze and share your new pumpkin knowledge with neighbors on a hayride!


Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes Perfect for fall parties! To make standard-sized cupcakes, just use a traditional muffin tin and adjust the time for baking. INGREDIENTS 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice blend 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup canned pumpkin puree 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1 large egg 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 tablespoons orange juice pulp-free Sprinkles (optional garnish) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 24cup mini muffin tin with paper liners.

Add flour to the pumpkin mixture and stir with a fork or whisk until moistened.

Mix flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Mix and set aside.

Use a tablespoon to fill prepared muffin cups about 3/4 full.

Combine pumpkin puree, sugar, egg, oil, and juice in a large bowl. Whisk until just blended.

Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, checking for doneness with a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake.

Remove cupcakes from muffin tin and allow to cool completely on a wire baking rack before decorating. Best with homemade or store-bought cream cheese frosting!

No Bake Pumpkin Pie This recipe works in layers, making two pies. You’ll need to make them in advance because the pies will need a few hours in the refrigerator to set. INGREDIENTS 1 can of pumpkin puree 1/2 cup sugar 8 ounces cream cheese softened 2 8-ounce containers of whipped cream 1 tablespoon cinnamon 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice 1 3.4-ounce box instant vanilla pudding 1 cup milk 2 pre-made crusts (9-inch crust)

Bottom Layer: Add cream cheese, sugar, and one 8-ounce tub of whipped cream to a bowl and blend well with mixer. Evenly divide the mixture into your crust covering the bottom. Middle Layer: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk pudding and milk and stir until thick. Add in canned pumpkin puree and spices. Whisk till blended. Evenly divide the pumpkin pudding mixture on top of the bottom layers. Top Layer: Use the second 8-ounce container of whipped cream to evenly top the pies.

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.

Refrigerate for at least an hour before eating so the pie has time to set completely. Sprinkle with cinnamon before serving for added flavor and fall flare!

OCTOBER 2022 | TODAY 29


mississippi seen

mississippi is...

events

mississippi marketplace on the menu outdoors today Events open 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 Magnolia State Gem, Mineral, and Jewelry Show. The Gulf Coast Military Collectors & Antique Arms The Mississippi State Fair. Oct. 6 through Oct. 16. myartifacts opinion co-op Nov.11-13. Pascagoula. Friday and Saturday from 10 Show. Oct. 28 and 29. Biloxi. Historical from Jackson. Mississippi involvement State Fairgrounds. This year, the fair will kick off with a ribbon cutting ceremony open to the public at 11a.m. Oct. 6, at Gate 1 on the corner of Jefferson Street and Amite Street. The Great American Wild West Show will take place daily at 5:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m., with additional performances at 2 p.m. during the weekend. The show will be in the Mississippi Frontier Village with the pig races, petting zoo, pony rides, train depot, rattlesnake show, and other activities. Four nationally recognized artists will perform on the Budweiser Main Stage: Scotty McCreery, B.o.B., Midnight Star, and Bobby Rush. Admission to the concerts is free with regular fair admission. Local artists and bands will perform on the Main Stage throughout the duration of the fair. The Mississippi State Fair Talent Show takes place Friday, Oct. 7, and Saturday, Oct. 8, at 6 p.m. in the Coliseum. New this year is the 2022 Little Miss Mississippi State Fair beauty pageant taking place Sunday, Oct. 9, at 9 a.m. The Ag Expo with the Genuine MS Store will be located inside of the Trade Mart. Returning to the Equine Center on the first weekend of the State Fair is the X-Treme Bull Riding Fall Nationals and the Tri State Rodeo. Gate admission is $5 per person and a parking fee of $5 per car. Children aged 6 and under will be admitted free. Admission is free every weekday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., except on Monday, Oct. 10, Columbus Day. Details: mississippifairgrounds.com.

all periods and wars — Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam bought, sold, traded, and exhibited. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 28. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 29. Joppa Shriners’ Center, 13280 Shriner’s Blvd. Take I-10 exit 41 (Wool Market/Shriner’s Blvd.) between Biloxi and Gulfport. Go north to the 4-way stop, then continue north 1/4 mile to the Joppa Shriner’s Center on the right. Admission is $7. Details: 228-224-1120.

southern gardening

Craft Fair and Bake Sale. Oct. 8. Brandon. The craft fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Nativity Lutheran Church, corner of Crossgates Boulevard and Old Brandon Road. Offering is welcome. Door prizes, multiple vendors, Nativity’s famous baked goods and food at lunch. Start your holiday shopping early with hand-crafted gifts. Admission is free. Church proceeds to benefit social ministries such as: Harbor House, Center for Violence Prevention (Assistance for Abused Women & Children), Rankin County Human Resource Agency, Mississippi State Hospital, VA Volunteer Services, Habitat for Humanity, Stewpot, and the annual Live Nativity Scene. Details: 601-825-5125. Barn Sale. Oct. 21 and 22. Purvis. Antiques and collectables for sale from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Barn Sale Auction on Friday night at 5:30 p.m. More than 90 collectors with antiques and unusual items for sale. Concession stands sell breakfast and lunch. Parking is $2 per car. Good for both days. 4799 Old Highway 11. (Oak Grove) Details: 601-818-5886 or 601-794-7462. 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.

30 TODAY | OCTOBER 2022

a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Jackson County Fairground Civic Center. Exhibits, demonstrations, and educational resources. Fossils, gem stones, jewelry, and supplies will be on sale. Details: 601-947-7245 or www.mgcgms.org

grin ‘n’ bare it

Byrd’s Chapel Annual Fall Festival. Oct. 29. Carriere. Crafts, food, and auction. 26 Byrd’s Chapel Road. Details: Pam Farr at 601-799-6606 or Mae Smith at 607-875-9008. Soule Live Steam Festival. Nov. 4 and 5. Meridian. America’s last intact steam engine factory. Beltdriven machine shop in operation. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum, 1808 4th St. Admission is $10. Students free on Friday and $5 on Saturday. Details: 601-693-9905 or soulelivesteam.com

Turkey shoots: Nov. 12 and Dec. 17. Jackson County. Shoots begin at 9 a.m. and end at 1 p.m. Daisy Masonic Lodge No. 421, 25700 School House Road. Vestry. Drive 14 miles north of Vancleave off Hwy 57. Details: 228-383-2669. Purvis Street Festival. Nov. 12. Purvis. Crafts, food, entertainment, car and truck show. Main Street. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Details: 601-543-9815. Holy Land Trip. Nov. 25 to Dec. 4. Ronnie and Beverly Cottingham are hosting a trip to the Holy Land. This will be their 20th time to host trips to “the 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.


Hanging on the side of the pantry in our kitchen is an old Kellogg crank telephone. The photo that accompanies this article was taken with a modern telephone that usually “hangs” in my shirt pocket. Times change! I bought the old crank phone years ago to try to atone for one of my childhood acts of stupidity. My grandfather, for whom I am named, Walter Cummings, had the telephone exchange at Ratliff in Itawamba County in the early years of the 20th century. The switchboard was upstairs at his house. The house is still there. It’s just up the hill from the Ratliff Community Center. It’s where my mama was born. She always wanted to ride by When I was just a kid, I it when we visited Oak found one of those old Grove Cemetery. I’ve never Kellogg crank telephones been inside. But I’ve heard tucked away in a dark stories about granddaddy’s telephone company closet at the top of the when it was there. stairs at grandmother’s Granddaddy used his house in Fulton. children as operators. Mama’s oldest sister, Aunt Cap (who would have been nine years old at the time. Mama wasn’t born yet) used to tell us that back in 1910 when Halley’s Comet came around, people were in a panic. They thought it was the end of the world. She said you should have heard them on the telephone; women saying they were going to sell everything they had and move away. It dawned on me after years of hearing this story that granddaddy’s kids were listening in on phone calls! So, I confronted Aunt Cap about it one day. She never denied it. Her excuse was, “Well, they hadn’t invented radio yet.” When I was just a kid, I found one of those old Kellogg crank telephones tucked away in a dark closet at the top of the stairs at grandmother’s house in Fulton. I foolishly asked if I could have it. I was way too young for such a treasure. Back before realizing there is more to a thing than just “the thing” itself. Grandmother said yes.

We took it back home to Greenville. I don’t think it lasted a year. We’d turn the crank and make it ring. Then one day an older cousin convinced me we should take it apart so we could play with the magnets. I have no idea what ever happened to those magnets. The last time I saw its case, the wood had weathered, and it was on top of daddy’s old scrap lumber pile. So, decades later when I found this almost-identical telephone I bought it out of respect for my granddaddy’s telephone venture a nd to replace the phone I lost to childhood before I developed a sense of tradition. The telephone-comet story came to mind again a few weeks ago when we were back at Ratliff and Oak Grove Cemetery for my brother-in-law’s funeral. I was asked to say a few words. And seeing as how family members were there who are scattered literally from the west coast to the east coast and most of whom would never be back in Mississippi, I wanted to tell them a little about the area, and the family they were a part of. The telephone story was one of the tales I told them along with more serious stuff. I didn’t tell them the part about me taking granddaddy’s old telephone apart. Seeing those young faces hit home that, times do change. We are the “old folks” now. But the old ways stay with us, too. For instance, we still “hang up” our phones after a call, even though there is nothing on a modern telephone to “hang up,” anymore. Except for tradition.

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.

OCTOBER 2022 | TODAY 31


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