Today in Mississippi Nov/Dec 2018 Northcentral

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Periodical postage (ISSN 1052 2433)

News for members of Northcentral Electric Power Association


The house of 6,000 Santas


Admiration for two men of the bush


Recipes to shake up deer camp cookery



Today in Mississippi


November / December 2018

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November / December 2018


Today in Mississippi


‘Tis the season to celebrate the special joys in our lives eady, set go! The holiday rush is officially underway. The next several weeks will be a blur of busyness for many folks. There are family gatherings to plan, shopping to do, errands to run and special dishes to prepare—all on top of our daily routines of work, school and kids’ activities. At my house, my wife and I will have the annual “discussion” about whose holiday decorating style will win out: my over-the-top lights and tinsel versus her more restrained, traditional approach. The way I see it, this time of year is as much about fun as it is reverent. I know everyone under the age of 12 is with me on this. We parents, however, set the stage for our children’s perspectives and expectations of the holiday season. Our attitudes and behavior during My Opinion the holidays say to them, Michael Callahan “This is what it’s all about.” Executive Vice President/CEO Are we conscious of the mesElectric Cooperatives of Mississippi sages we’re sending? Are we too stressed out to keep things merry and bright? Even as my own three youngsters are not so young anymore, I hope it’s not too late for me to influence their thinking. These are a few things I hope they’ve picked up from our own family holiday traditions: • Thanksgiving is all about gratitude. Not food, football, hunting or shopping, as wonderful as these things are. Thanksgiving is a time to pause, reflect on the good things in our lives and give thanks to God. No matter who you are or what you believe in, this is


On the cover Santa may have a home at the North Pole but Linda Secovich finds him in flea markets and thrift shops throughout south Mississippi. She and her mother, Norma Jean Clinton, have amassed a collection of some 6,000 Santas. See a few of them in our story on page 4.

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a special day of reverence above all else. • Giving to others is one of the best ways to express gratitude, not only during the holidays but year-round. Charitable giving makes a huge impact on the well-being of a society, from alleviating hunger to disaster relief. I want my children to grow up to be generous in spirit as well as actions. While I pray they will never experience hardship, I hope they will never take their quality of life for granted. • The “success” of a family’s Christmas celebration is not dependent on material things. While we certainly want to please our children with gifts as best we can, maybe we should try to dilute the focus on materialism. For Christians, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, above all else. Then there are the outdoor lighting displays and decorations, the living nativities, the uplifting songs you hear only this time of year, downtown parades and little gifts of appreciation for, say, a teacher or a neighbor. I’d like to close by offering some unsolicited advice to all youngsters: Put the phone down at family holiday gatherings and talk with your relatives, especially those you rarely see. These folks probably have a lot of stories to share and would love to hear what’s going on in your life. Have real conversations, ask questions and share some laughs. Hug back when hugged. Show appreciation for gifts and food. Be thankful you have a life filled with people who love you. I hope your holiday season is joyful, fulfilling and meaningful. Have a happy Thanksgiving and a merry Christmas!

Today in Mississippi OFFICERS Randy Smith - President Keith Hayward - First Vice President Kevin Bonds - Second Vice President Eddie Howard - Secretary/Treasurer EDITORIAL STAFF Michael Callahan - CEO Ron Stewart - Sr. VP, Communications Mark Bridges - Manager, Support Services Debbie H. Stringer - Editor Elissa Fulton - Communications Specialist Rickey McMillan - Graphics Specialist Chris Alexander - Administrative Assistant Kevin Wood - Graphics Specialist


ON FACEBOOK Vol. 71 No. 11

EDITORIAL & 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. The publisher (and/or its agent) reserves the right to refuse or edit all advertising. • National advertising representative: American MainStreet Publications 800-626-1181 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300 Circulation of this issue: 438,721

The Official Publication of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi Today in Mississippi is brought to you by your member-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperative to inform you about your cooperative and its various services, including wise energy use. If you are not a member of a subscribing cooperative, you can purchase a subscription for $9.50 per year. Today in Mississippi (ISSN 1052-2433) is published 11 times a year (Jan.-Nov.) 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.

Mississippi is Oh, I can remember when... Gathering eggs still warm from the hen Sitting in Uncle Frank’s swing Listening to the mockingbird sing Watching the leaves fall with every little breeze Chores all done, taking my ease Yellow Sulphurs flitting about Hearing the cicada announcing, “I’m coming out” Watching the clouds darken to the south Hoping for a little rain, but not too much to flood us out. This is my Mississippi! – Norma Savage, Moss Point

What’s Mississippi to you? What do you treasure most about life in our state? Send your thoughts to Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158, or to Please keep your comments brief. Submissions are subject to editing for length and clarity.





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Today in Mississippi


November / December 2018


Santas (and counting)

By Debbie Stringer What does Santa Claus really look like? Is he a tubby old man in wire-rim glasses or a saxophoneblowing hipster? A kindly father figure or a bearded biker? These are but a few of the 6,000 interpretations of Santa (and Mrs. Claus) collected for decades by Dixie Electric Power Association member Linda Secovich and her mother, Norma Jean Clinton. Clinton, who loves to “junk” at thrift shops, purchased her first Santa “too far back to remember,” she said. “I’m pretty sure my first one came from a junk shop.” The collection eventually outgrew her house “so she boxed them up and brought them here,” Secovich said, referring to the home she shares with husband Charlie in Covington County. The collection remained packed away until the couple’s children left home. Then Charlie built shelves in a spare bedroom and out came the Santas. The items are grouped according to theme or function. There are patriotic, collegiate, nostalgic, singing and dancing, golfer, hunter, cowboy, comic book and snow skier Santas, to name a few.

Nestled among the figurines are Santa-themed jewelry items, baby rattlers, flashlights, mugs, candles, kitchen ware, slippers, dog clothing, buttons, music boxes, outdoor decorations, even bathroom accessories. Most are mass-produced items, the kind that begin filling stores before Halloween. But some are one-ofa-kind, made by skilled hands. “The handmades are my favorite,” Secovich said, referring to the Santa images painted on crab shells, sand dollars, gourds and cypress knees; carved in wood; stitched into quilts; and crocheted into soft toys. A favorite figurine of this retired high school geometry teacher is her teacher Santa, standing before a class of pint-size Santa students seated at tiny desks. Some of the Santas sing or rap and swing their hips, to the delight of Secovich’s four grandchildren. One Santa takes a spin in a red lowrider. Romantic Santa smooches with Mrs. Claus, and devout Santa cradles baby Jesus in his arms. Strings of Santa-shaped lights and a Christmas

“I say my husband hunts deer and I hunt Santas.” – Linda Secovich

Linda Secovich holds two vintage Santas from the collection. tree sprinkled with Santa ornaments complete the festive year-round display. And it just keeps growing. Secovich and her mother still enjoy scouring flea markets and thrift stores together in search of secondhand Santas. “That’s where you find the most unusual ones,” Secovich said. She is frugal in her purchases, while her husband tends to splurge; he sprang for the brand-new biker and lowriding Santas as gifts for his wife. And he’s likely responsible for the camo-clad Santa. “I say my husband hunts deer and I hunt Santas,” Secovich said.

November / December 2018 I Today in Mississippi


Linda Secovich, right, and her mother, Norma Jean Clinton, have collected Santa and Mrs. Claus figures and decorations for some 35 years. The entire 6,000-piece collection fills a spare room at the Secovich house. Mother and daughter hold a whole-cloth Santa quilt hand stitched by Clinton.




Today in Mississippi


November / December 2018

Season’s festivities light up communities It's the time of the year when the sun sets earliest and the nights are longest and darkest. Inverness is just one of the communities spreading holiday light with some festive events. I suppose we could let our own brighter sides shine a little more, too. Might go better for us when Santa visits if we did. Photo: Walt Grayson


s. Jo was afraid I wouldn’t be able to stay awake driving because I was taking antihistamine. So when I went to Inverness to speak at their Chamber of Commerce “Person of the Year” banquet recently, she sent granddaughter Emily Ann along to make sure I stayed awake. It really was a delight riding with Emily. When she was just a little child she went with me all over the place doing stories for TV. But Mississippi then teenage Seen years hit and they get their by Walt Grayson own lives and you hardly see them again. But we had a couple of hours each way to recall our greatest adventures from her childhood, and also to talk over almost-grown-up stuff she’s going through as a freshman in college. We made it to the banquet early enough so I could visit with folks a bit. Emily got a glass of sweet tea and found our seats at the table. After a while I joined her. When I sat down she pointed to a gentleman across the room and said he had just paid her a compliment. He told her that she was the first teenager he had seen in a long time who politely sat at a table without fiddling with their cell phone. I noticed that she didn’t have her phone out. So I complimented her too on being mature enough to patiently visit with people and not rudely have her

head bent over and her thumbs flying across a keyboard flipping from app to app and sending texts to a hundred people. Emily sort of let the corners of her mouth curl up a bit as she giggled and admitted, “I don’t have any bars.” Inverness is planning a couple of Christmas events including “Follow the Star,” which is a walk-through-the-streets live nativity play, on Dec. 1 and 2. It reminds me of the outdoor “Passion Play” that First Methodist of Kosciusko does every Easter in downtown Kosciusko. One item of Chamber of Commerce business discussed before the awarding of the Person of the Year was who, how and when the luminaries would be set out and lit Christmas Eve on the main street and on down to the bayou. It is refreshing to see a community being a community, especially doing fun things during the holidays when life is supposed to be fun anyway. And when it is less than fun, other folks will put out enough decorations to make it colorful, at least. I remember our annual holiday excursions to see the floats on Deer Creek at Leland when I was growing up in Greenville. They are still there every year. And Indianola decorates Indian Bayou downtown, as I recall. Oh, by the way, I met Santa Claus a few weeks ago. It was while we were shooting a “Mississippi Roads” show at the Alice Mosley Folk Art Museum in Bay St. Louis. Bob McGraw walked in wearing a red shirt, longish white hair and a real beard. I immediately scurried over to him and told him I knew who he was and that I had been good. Bob told me he gets to play Santa a

great deal every year. He’s even been to Santa School. He says when he bumps into a real Santa in a store during the holidays while he himself is out of uniform, he runs up to him, hugs him and hollers, “Dad! It’s so good to see you again!” I hope you get to see everybody you

want to see over the holidays and your season is full of light. Walt Grayson is the host of “Mississippi Roads” on Mississippi Public Broadcasting television, and the author of two “Looking Around Mississippi” books and “Oh! That Reminds Me: More Mississippi Homegrown Stories.” Contact Grayson at

Three Festi iv ve Experiences in Meridian

ppi ip ssi Meridian, Missis

Lazy Acres In Ligh htts . . . One of Mississippi’s brightest and best light displays

also has Mississippi’s largest hand-painted nativity scene. Visit with the elves in Santa’s workshop, view the farm animals, take in the beauttiful light displays as you celebrate “It’s It s a Red Flannel Christmas” . . . it’s truly a South th Pole adventure ture. Tre ees Of Christmas a att Merr re ehope . . . will celebrate 50 fabulous years decked

out in it its ts fines fin st h holiday ollida idaay attire ttire in including lu g special memories and futuristic creations. Take a guided tourr of Anteebeeellum mM Merrehope errreehope op (circa (c ca 1858) andd Victorian FF.W. Williams (circa 1886) hist h toric ic homess too see s 50 exquisite xquisittelyy deco decorated treees and seasonal delights. San ntta’s Chr C ristmas Factory . . . Snow flurries urries falling ng – plus lus Christmas Train an

rides des – pl pluss Hoolid dayy Spirit pirit eq equals q ls San qual qu nta’s a’s C Ch hrisstm mass Factory. F ctory. ry. y Tour the historic oric Soulé oulé Steam St m Works in downtow wn nM Merridiian deecorate a ed with w h th houssand a ds of lights and nd toys ys for this family amily-friendly ndly eeven nt.

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November / December 2018


Today in Mississippi



8 I Today in Mississippi I November / December 2018

Admiration on a distant continent ieter still wears the same hat he was wearing when I first met him quite a few years back. But as for that, so do I. I suppose we both discovered that a good thing serves well and is not quickly supplanted. In stature, my brief 5’9” surpasses his by a good 4 inches. Otherwise, we could wear the same clothes. Pieter walks with an unusual gait but covers an inordinate amount of real estate just the same. In fact, it was Pieter I was struggling to follow when I had a Outdoors first hint of heart issues. We were on Today the tracks of by Tony Kinton waterbuck—then that frightening chest disturbance. But even minus a blocked widow maker, I’m not sure I could have kept that steady, rocking pace. I had failed to do so two years prior when I was a healthy specimen. And there is William—lanky, younger. I met him three years after I met Pieter. He is Pieter’s brother; both live on the property of and work for my PH friend Louis Steenkamp of Sofala Safaris. William glides when walking, an air of dignity present in every step. And like Pieter, he follows spoor in adroit fashion. A defined track here; a bent blade of grass there. It is said about men of the bush such as these two that they can track a bird across the sky an hour after that bird has passed. Hyperbole for sure, but not by much. Purely incredible they are. Pieter and William are part of the Sotho group (pronounced Sue-too). They are from the northern region of South Africa—Limpopo Province— where their tribe is known as the Pedi or Bapedi. They speak Sepedi. This is a dialect of the language known as Northern Sotho. Since I struggled for some time trying to learn Spanish and still know only enough to get hurt, I find it captivating


to encounter individuals who are bi-lingual or even multi-lingual. Pieter and William are so equipped. They can go from their Sotho dialect to Afrikaans with ease, and William is quite proficient with English as well. However, due to his rich, lyrical South African accent, I find myself asking him to repeat what he said far more often than he has to ask the same of me. He seems to understand Mississippi English just fine.

was. Louis interpreted and I responded. Louis then interpreted to Pieter, who simply hung his head and wagged it side to side. Turns out Pieter was a year older! I never concluded if his head wagging was an effort to commiserate or one of disgust that an old man such as I would fly halfway around the world to crawl through African thorn bush. And I recall once when I sat at midday and watched William painting a portrait. Really, he was not painting; he was cleaning out the fire pit. He had a wheelbarrow, a worn shovel and a rake. Every move was fluid. He scooped, smoothed, raked and studied the situation. When he finished the pit was a thing of beauty, even without the mystique of fire that would come at sunset. William, as it

William, left, and Pieter are quite amazing. They have my admiration. Photo: Tony Kinton

And this past June, I discovered that Pieter was beginning to venture into English. Reticent among the Englishspeaking contingent, he would try only a word or two along. One day at the end of my Cape buffalo hunt, he looked at me and said, “Knife.” I unsheathed my skinning knife and handed it to him. He responded with a quiet “Thank you.” It is intriguing to me that when these men speak English, they do so with exactness. Subjects and verbs agree. “Saw” is not erroneously replaced by “seen.” “He and I” are never stated as “me and him.” I chuckle often when I remember one early encounter I had with Pieter. He was sitting in the back of a hunting truck and in Afrikaans asked Louis how old I

turned out, was an artist. Amazing it is that these men, like many from my childhood, take whatever

tools are available and accomplish impressive tasks. From plumbing to various equipment repairs, they get things done. Immediately after I took my buffalo this past June, Louis contacted Pieter and William; they arrived within the hour. They had a ragged trailer behind a tractor and nothing inside that trailer but two posts and a chain hoist. Pieter backed up to the buffalo and William unhooked the trailer. The two of them lifted the tongue, setting the back of the trailer on the ground inches from this 1,600-pound bull. They then put one post under the trailer tongue to keep it in that posture and the other behind the wheels to prevent them from rolling. The hoist was then tied to the tongue and the chain run to the buffalo. Slow and deliberate it was, but an hour later they had the buffalo in that trailer, though it was still slanted tongue upward. It then became apparent that the chore was not fully completed. Pieter kicked the post away and motioned for us to gather around that tongue. We dangled from it to upset the weight and watched as that trailer and buffalo slowmotioned into position. Willian quickly attached trailer to tractor and they were off, back to Sofala’s skinning shed a couple miles up the two track. I left Africa June 8. Before I did, however, I located Pieter and William. I thanked them, shook their hands and said goodbye. I will likely never see them again. But the 10 years or so of acquaintance with these two have left a powerful impression. My admiration remains. Tony Kinton has been an active outdoors writer for 30 years. His newest book is “Rambling Through Pleasant Memories.” Order from or Kinton’s website:

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November / December 2018


Today in Mississippi I 9

Christmas memories, again! few days ago Mr. Roy and I were holding our daily afternoon meeting, and he was giving me his activities report, when I said, “Well, it’s almost time to write a column again.” He smiled. “Since this is November it must be your annual holiday column.” I said, “Yes, and I’ve written so many over the years, I’m about out of ideas. Can you remember something that happened to you that my readers might enjoy?” “Give me some time to think about it and I’ll come up with something.” Mr. Roy is an engineer by profession, but he does have some “cultural” talents, and over the years he’s helped me with editing. Mr. Roy was born in Lucedale and helped in his daddy’s Chrysler/ Plymouth business. Many people stopped by and sat around telling stories, especially during the holidays. My house


was across the street from the business where he worked with his dad, when school wasn’t in session. A great way to meet my future husband. The next afternoon when I handed Mr. Roy’s coffee cup to him, he said, “You know, I looked back at some old holiday columns and you have just about covered every aspect of Thanksgiving and Christmas. But, when I think of the holidays, my mind skips from one memory to another. So much

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of the Christmas holidays are our memories of them. So, you tell me some of your fondest memories and then I'll share mine.” “Oh, my!” You shouldn’t have asked that. It will take a book to cover the shenanigans that I thought up during my childhood days...and even during my grownup years. Grin ‘n’ “One of the Bare It many Christmases by Kay Grafe I spent at my Daddy Tom and Big Mama Tyner’s house, I told my cousin Ferrell, who was a year younger, that she had to stay in bed until I awoke so we could see our toys at the same time. I’ve always been a late riser, even on Christmas. So my idea was to get some thick, wool crochet thread and tie our ankles together so if she tried to beat me out of bed, I would wake up. I woke up alright...on the wood floor with her. Not a way to start the day Christ was born, crying our eyes out.” Mr. Roy said, “I can just imagine the two of you on the old wood floor. Now, some of my favorite memories are the years we checked the list of needy families from our church and gave our daughters money to purchase gifts for the children, while we shopped for the adults. We bought some clothes for the

adults and food for the families. On Christmas mornings we delivered all of this to their homes. It still brings tears to my eyes to remember how happy they were, especially the children. “Now, we fill up shoe boxes for the Shoe Box Ministry overseas and choose a couple families from the Angel Tree and go shopping. I know our Methodist church always gives food to families in need year-round. Yet, the Christmas season is special for everyone.” He sighed. “I'll always remember Christmas mornings when our young daughters ran downstairs where we were waiting by the Christmas tree, and jumped from one toy to another. To think about that makes me feel so happy, yet also sad that those days are over. “But the one thing that gives me so much peace and comfort are my memories of sitting in our church at the Christmas Eve communion service. I still like to look up at that beautiful old sanctuary ceiling. And again this Christmas Eve, as ‘Silent Night’ is sung, I’ll look up and remember when I sat there as a little boy with my mother and father and little brother; such good memories. And I’ll look up again and remember you and me and our two little girls celebrating Christmas Eve here and singing ‘Silent Night.’ “Those memories are so special. And I look forward to our daughters, their husbands and our grandchildren being with us as we celebrate the birth of our Lord. I am so thankful for these memories.” There is little that I can add to those Christmas memories, except to say that Mr. Roy and I sincerely appreciate our faith and family and friends, especially during this holiday season. As Santa says, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.” Kay Grafe is the author of “Oh My Gosh, Virginia.” To order, send name, address, phone number and $16.95, plus $3.50 S&H to Kay Grafe, 2142 Fig Farm Road, Lucedale, MS 39452.



Today in Mississippi


November/December 2018

For more information on Today in Mississippi, contact Michael Bellipanni at 662-895-2151.

2018 Christmas Parades and Events N 19th Annual Southern Lights Thursday, November 22 – Monday, December 31 Drive through the 116-acre park with 500,000 twinkling lights. Cars can tune to five FM radio stations playing Christmas music as they ride through the park. Don’t miss the Christmas Tree Farm synchronized to music by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Proceeds benefit local charities. Sun-Thurs 6-9 pm; Fri-Sat 6-10 pm. $10-cars; $15-vans and hayrides; $25-buses; $5-motorcycles. Closed Christmas Day. Location: Central Park on Tchulahoma Rd. between Goodman and Stateline Rds. or 662-890-PARK.

N Olive Branch Christmas Parade Saturday, December 1, 2 p.m.

Will follow traditional parade route: Cockrum Street to Goodman and Pigeon Roost.

N Southaven Christmas Parade

Friday, December 7, 6:30 p.m. on Main Street, Highway 51 and Stateline Road.

N Horn Lake Christmas in the Park Saturday, December 1, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Latimer Lakes Park. Stationary Holiday Displays, Christmas Tree Lighting, Christmas Carols, Hot Chocolate and Cookies! Santa arrives between 5:30 p.m. – 6:00 pm. Join us as we celebrate the Christmas season by taking a stroll through our newest event sure to please all ages!

N Holly Springs Christmas Home Tour

Saturday, December 1, 10 a.m., and Sunday, December 2, 5 p.m. Launch the Holiday Season with this special holiday tour of 7 homes in this historic city, decorated in Christmas splendor, to reflect the joyous yuletide celebration. Sponsored by Marshall County Historical Museum, 220 E. College. For tickets or more information, contact the museum at 662-252-3669 or online at

N Holly Springs Christmas Parade Saturday, December 1, 5 p.m.

N Hernando Christmas Parade Monday, December 3, 6:30 p.m. Parade begins at corner of Mt. Pleasant Extended and Commerce Street, traveling down Commerce Street, around the courthouse square and ending at the Hernando Baptist Church

N Byhalia Town Hall visit with Santa Saturday, December 8, 4:30 p.m.

N Byhalia Christmas Parade Saturday, December 8, 6:30 p.m.

N Byhalia Light Up the Town Lighting Contest Friday, December 14, 6 p.m.

A message from the CEO We’re thankful for your

Membership Kevin Doddridge General Manager/CEO

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” In the spirit of this quote by author William Arthur Ward, we’d like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude for your membership in our electric cooperative. Because of your connection to Northcentral Electric Power Association, we are able to make our community a better place. During this season of giving thanks, we think it’s important to let you and other consumer-members of Northcentral Electric know just what an impact you have on our co-op and the greater community, likely in ways you may not even realize. As a part of the cooperative business model, one of our core principles is “Concern for Community.” While our priority is always to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy, we view our role in the community as a catalyst for good. Because we are locally governed by members of our community, we are able to get a first-hand perspective on community priorities. We are thankful our co-op directors who are members of our cooperative and our communities. They carve out their personal time for serving on our board and attending industry-specific education and training classes. This investment in time results in better informed advisors that serve the co-op’s interests in a way that our consumermembers expect and deserve. On a more personal note, we appreciate the countless acts of kindness our lineworkers and other employees receive when they are working in severe weather and dangerous conditions. Our employees are thankful for your patience and consideration when we are trying to restore power during challenging situations and prolonged periods. Northcentral Electric was originally established 68 years ago to bring electricity to our area when no one else would. The cooperative is a reflection of our local community and its evolving needs. Together, let’s continue making our corner of the world a better place. We can’t do it without you, and for that, we’re thankful for your membership.

Happy Holidays

November/December 2018


Today in Mississippi

from the very merry team at

Northcentral Electric Power Association! WE WILL BE CLOSED Nov. 22 and 23 for Thanksgiving, Dec. 24 and 25 for Christmas, and Jan. 1 for New Year’s Day. For emergencies after hours, weekends, and holidays, call 662-895-2151 or toll free


May the closeness of friends, the comfort of home, and the unity of our nation, renew your spirits this holiday season.

REMEMBER! Safety never takes a holiday. CHECK OUT OUR PODCAST


Video and audio episodes can be found on Apple podcasts, Podbean, and our social media channels.

We’re coming soon to Spotify!





Today in Mississippi


November / December 2018

Cool-season dianthus lasts through spring love the annual color we can grow all winter in most of our Mississippi gardens and landscapes, so I’m going to spend a few weeks concentrating on cool-season color. Dianthus is my first choice for fall color. In my coastal Ocean Springs landscape, the dianthus I’m planting now will carry through until spring for an outstanding color display. Planting in the fall allows for a robust root system to develop through the winter, and it results in a beautiful and colorful display next spring. We all know there will be days and nights with freezing temperatures. During these colder periods, any open flowSouthern ers will be damGardening aged. Depending on by Dr. Gary Bachman how low the temperature gets, even the foliage will start to turn purplish. I like to think of it as the leaves shivering a bit. In the southern half of the state, the plants recover from these brief freezing bouts to bloom again. In northern Mississippi, you must provide some protection from cold weather for fall dianthus plantings, or you may simply replant next spring. I adore the Telstar series of dianthus. Their great colors range from carmine rose, pink and purple to one that is almost red. There are a couple of pretty bicolors that are called picottees. Telstar is the perfect choice for mass planting in the landscape. These are uniform growing, have a sturdy habit and get only about 10 inches tall and wide. Another good choice is the Super Parfait series. Super Parfait dianthuses are indeed super, and they are cold weather tolerant, as well. This group is known for its compact size and large blossoms that reach 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter.


But don’t think you’re out of luck if you can’t find these named series. This weekend, I bought some really nicelooking generic dianthuses at the garden center. Dianthus has a uniform growing habit that makes it a perfect mass planting choice. For best performance, always plant in full sun in well-drained soil. Dianthus is susceptible to root disease problems and doesn’t like wet feet. This is a concern in Mississippi’s cool, wet falls and winters. Dianthus is also a great choice for colorful combination containers. Try pairing with pansies and violas for a great cool-season container. Cool Wave pansies have an improved, trailing growth habit that makes them fantastic spiller plants for containers. All dianthuses are moderate to heavy feeders. At planting, place about a tablespoon of a good, slow-release fertilizer in the planting hole, and then supplement monthly with a water-soluble fertilizer. To encourage more lateral growth and more flowers, pinch or prune back the plants a couple of inches after the first flush of flowers. Many people I talk to are surprised that dianthus flowers are edible, just like pansies and violas. Gather the flowers, gently wash them and pat dry. Softly pull on the petals to separate

November / December 2018


Today in Mississippi I 13

Fall-planted dianthuses carry an outstanding color display through spring. In north Mississippi, a little cold weather protection is needed. Photo: MSU Extension/Gary Bachman

them from the base. Add the petals to any fresh lettuce or fruit salad. Be careful when selecting plants for edible flowers from the nurseries and garden centers, as you don’t know how they have been treated during the production phase. But you can easily grow dianthus from seed. This way you can

grow exactly the varieties and colors you want. Dr. Gary Bachman is an associate Extension and research professor of horticulture at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. He is also host of “Southern Gardening” radio and TV programs.

50 T Trees o Christmas will celebrate of 50 fabulous years decked out in 5 its fineest holiday attire including sspecial memories and futuristic c creatio ons. Take a guided tour of Antebellum Merrehope (circa 1858) aand Vicctorian F.W. Williams (circa 11886) historic h homes to see 50 e exquisi itely decorated trees and sseason nal delights.

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Today in Mississippi


November / December 2018

Apricot-Pecan Deer Camp Muffins

Recipes from

‘The Ultimate Venison Cookbook for Deer Camp’ Spending time at a deer camp is a memorable outdoors experience, says Harold Webster Jr., and camp meals should be just as enjoyable. But some camp cooks could benefit from a little more instruction in cooking techniques—and encouragement to try new recipes. For those folks Webster created “The Ultimate Venison Cookbook for Deer Camp.” Webster aimed to develop and adapt a wide variety of recipes to avoid mealtime monotony at camp. His recipes keep pantry items to a minimum (or call for easily obtainable ingredients) and were written to be useful even for “Bubbas and Bubbaleens” who may not normally cook at home. Above all, Webster strives to help

hunters get more from their harvest: a bounty of meals enjoyed among friends. The cookbook presents 300 recipes. Several of the chapters are devoted to a specific cut of venison—steak, loin, tenderloin, ground, sausage, etc. More recipes follow for marinades, sauces, appetizers, soups, stews, chilis, salads, vegetables, casseroles, sweets and much more, including the recipes reprinted here. The book is illustrated with color photographs of recipes and scenes from hunting camps. Webster also shares cooking tips and stories about hunting and history, making his book as fun to read as it is useful. The cookbook is available in retail stores and may be ordered from Great American Publishers, in Brandon. Price for the 288-page softcover is $21.95. Get details at 1-888-854-5954 or

Cornmeal-Crusted Black Bean Chili 2 Tbsp. olive oil 1 lb. ground venison ½ cup sliced fresh mushrooms 1 cup minced onion ½ cup diced green bell pepper 2 cloves garlic, minced ½ cup diced red bell pepper 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced 1 (14-oz.) can beef broth 2 (15-oz.) cans black beans

1 (28-oz.) can whole Roma tomatoes, quartered 2 cups water, divided 1 ½ Tbsp. chili powder 1 tsp. ground oregano 1 bay leaf Ground red pepper to taste Salt to taste 2 (8.5-oz.) pkgs. Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, plus ingredients to prepare

Heat olive oil in a large ovenproof pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add venison and mushrooms, and cook until venison is browned. Add onion and green bell pepper, and sauté until onion is just clear. Add garlic, red bell pepper and jalapeños, and sauté for just a few moments. Add beef broth and scrape the bits from the bottom of the pot. Add beans, tomatoes, 1 ½ cups water and spices. Remove from heat. Remove bay leaf. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare corn muffin mix according to package directions, but do not bake. Dilute ⅓ cup corn muffin mix with remaining ½ cup water. Stir into chili broth. Spoon on remaining prepared corn muffin mix so that it floats on top of the chili. Cover pot and bake 20 to 40 minutes or until cornbread is slightly browned and crusty. Serves 4 to 6.

10 paper muffin cup liners 1 cup buttermilk 1 cup bran 1 ½ cups unsifted all-purpose flour 1 tsp. baking soda ½ tsp. ground cinnamon ¼ tsp. salt 1⁄3 cup butter, softened

½ cup sugar 1 large egg 1 tsp. vanilla extract ¾ cup chopped dried apricots ½ cup chopped pecans, walnuts, hickory nuts, hazelnuts, almonds or a combination

Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray insides of paper liners with nonstick cooking spray and place into a muffin pan. In a small bowl, combine buttermilk and bran and set aside. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and set aside. In a large bowl, by hand or with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract; beat until well blended. With mixer speed on low, add flour and buttermilk mixtures to butter mixture. Beat just until batter is blended. Stir in apricots and nuts. Spoon batter into muffin cup liners. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Remove liners from muffin pan and allow to cool 5 to 10 minutes. Remove muffins from paper liners. Makes 10.

Simmered T-Bone Steak with Lemon-Mushroom Sauce 3 Tbsp. lemon juice 4 venison T-bone steaks, cut 1 inch thick Salt and pepper to taste 1 tsp. bacon drippings 2 Tbsp. minced green onions ¼ lb. mushrooms, sliced thin ½ clove garlic, minced fine

½ cup plus 1 tsp. red wine, divided 1 tsp. meat extract ½ bay leaf 1 tsp. all-purpose flour 1 tsp. butter, melted Chopped fresh parsley

Pour lemon juice over the steaks and let marinate 10 minutes. Drain. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat bacon drippings in a heavy skillet over high heat. Add steaks. Brown 4 minutes on each side. Remove steaks and set aside. Sauté green onions in pan drippings until lightly browned. Add mushrooms and garlic, and sauté for a few minutes more. Add ½ cup red wine, meat extract and bay leaf; bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. Put steaks in gravy and heat 3 minutes. Place them on a preheated platter and keep warm. Whisk together flour, butter and remaining 1 teaspoon red wine. Thicken gravy with flour mixture. Pour some of the gravy over steaks. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve remaining gravy on the side. Serves 4.

Lemon Juice and Peanut Oil Marinade ½ cup red wine vinegar ¾ cup teriyaki sauce ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce ½ cup peanut or canola oil

1⁄3 cup lemon juice 5 garlic cloves, minced 2 Tbsp. dry mustard

Mix all ingredients and pour into a 1-gallon zip-close plastic bag. Place venison into bag, mix well and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours.

Breakfast Casserole with Dinner Roll Topping 1 lb. venison sausage 1 (8-oz.) can refrigerated crescent rolls 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese 1 small onion, chopped

4 eggs, lightly beaten ¾ cup whole milk ¼ tsp. salt ¼ tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F. Brown sausage in large skillet and drain excess fat. Press crescent rolls into bottom and up sides of a greased 9x13-inch glass baking dish, pinching to seal. Layer with sausage, cheese and onion. Combine eggs, milk and seasonings; pour over casserole. Bake 20 minutes or until eggs are set. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 4.

Kitchen tips • Keep your cutting board from skidding while slicing or chopping foods by placing a slightly damp dishtowel or a mousepad beneath the board. • Use a clean pair of rubber dishwashing gloves for working with raw ground meat to make burgers, meatloaf, etc.

November / December 2018


Today in Mississippi






Today in Mississippi


November / December 2018


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Type or print your ad clearly. Be sure to include your telephone number. Deadline is the 10th of each month for the next month’s issue. Rate is $2.50 per word, 10-word minimum. Mail payment with your ad to Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300. Have any questions? Phone 601-605-8600 or email

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November / December 2018

Next in “Picture This”

Kittens I Submission guidelines • Photos must be in sharp focus. • Photos must be the original work of an amateur photographer (of any age). • Photos may be either color or black and white, print or digital. • Digital photos must be high-resolution JPG files of at least 1 MB in size. (If emailing a phone photo, select “actual size” before sending. We cannot use compressed photo files.) • Please do not use photo-editing software to adjust colors or tones. (We prefer to do it ourselves, if necessary, according to our printer’s standards.) • Photos with the date stamped on the image cannot be used. • Each entry must be accompanied by the photographer’s name, address, phone number and electric power association (if applicable). Include the name(s) of any recognizable people or places in the picture. Feel free to add


THINK SAFETY when you need to use an extension cord

Kittens may be the best photo subject of all. They’re funny, cute, beautiful, mischievous, playful, cuddly and curious. Send us your photo(s) of one or more kittens, and be sure to include their name. Selected photos will appear in the January 2019 issue of Today in Mississippi. Submissions must be emailed or postmarked by Dec. 3.

any other details you like. • Prints will be returned if accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. We cannot, however, guarantee their safe return through the mail.

I How to submit photos

Attach digital photos to your email message and send to If submitting more than one photo, please attach all photos to only one email message, if possible. Please be sure to include all information requested in the guidelines. Or, mail prints or a CD to Picture This, Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300. Photographers whose photos are published are entered in a random drawing for a $200 cash prize to be awarded in December 2019. Question? Contact Debbie Stringer, editor, at 601-605-8600 or

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Today in Mississippi





Today in Mississippi I November / December 2018


Want more than 437,000 readers to know about your special event? 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. Send to Mississippi Events, Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300; fax to 601-605-8601; or email to Events are subject to change. We recommend calling to confirm details before traveling.

“Gulf of America” Art Exhibit, through Nov. 22, Long Beach. Sixty watercolor paintings of gulf scenes by Bay St. Louis artist Herb Willey. University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Library. Details: 228-214-3450. “In the Dark” Exhibit, through Dec. 31, Jackson. About the unseen creatures and insects active at night. Admission. Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. Details: 601-5766000; Trees of Christmas at Merrehope, Nov. 16 - Dec. 29, Meridian. Daily tours of antebellum Merrehope and Victorian F.W. Williams homes featuring 50 decorated trees. Opening gala 6 p.m. Nov. 15. Details: Lazy Acres in Lights, Nov. 22 - Dec. 25, Chunky. Light display, special activities. Drivethrough Monday -Thursday 6-9 p.m; wagon tours Friday, Saturday 6-10 p.m. Admission. Lazy Acres Christmas Tree Farm. Details: 15th Annual Christmas in the Park, Nov. 22 - Dec. 29, Collins. Drive-through display of lights, nativity, life of Jesus displays, animated displays, more. Free admission. Open Thurs., Fri., Sat. only, 5-9 p.m. Bettie D. Robertson Park. Details: 601-765-6012;

Santa’s Christmas Factory, Nov. 24, Dec. 68, Meridian. Tour decorated historic Soulé Steam Works, Christmas train rides; 4-8 p.m. Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum. Details: 601-693-9905; Coast Chorale Concerts, Nov. 25, 4 p.m., Christ Episcopal Church, Bay St. Louis; Dec. 7, 7 p.m., Main Street United Methodist Church, Bay St. Louis; Dec. 11, 6:30 p.m., Diamondhead Community Church, Diamondhead; Dec. 14, 6:30 p.m., Most Holy Trinity Church, Pass Christian. Free. Details: 238-324-8213. Christmas Parade: “Once Upon a Christmas,” Nov. 29, Carthage. 6 p.m. Details: 601-267-9231. Homestead for the Holidays, Nov. 29-30, Jackson. Photos with Santa and Rudolph, carousel and train rides, story time with Mrs. Claus, hands-on historic crafts, music, breakfast sampler; 5-8 p.m. Admission. Miss. Agriculture Museum. Details: 601-432-4500; Old Towne Christmas Tree Lighting with Santa, Nov. 29, Olive Branch. 7 p.m. City Hall. Details: 662-893-0888. 42nd Chimneyville Arts Festival, Nov. 30 -

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Dec. 1, Jackson. Featuring the work of Craftsmen’s Guild of Miss. artisans, plus fine artists and photographers. Preview party Nov. 29, 6-9 p.m. Admission. Miss. Trade Mart. Details: A Magical Visit with Santa, Dec. 1, McComb. See Santa, elves and Mrs. Claus. Christmas villages display, magician, visits to 1914 rail post office car and red caboose; 1-4 p.m. Free admission. McComb Depot. Details: Ballet Magnificat!: “Light Has Come – The Angels’ Story,” Dec. 1, Hattiesburg. Ballet depicting salvation story from angels’ perspective; 7 p.m. Admission; benefits Christian Services’ Meals on Wheels. Saenger Theatre. Details: 601-582-5683; A Walk in the Woods Art Event, Dec. 1, Kiln. Potters, canvas artists, weavers, spinners and fabric artists demo and sell works; 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; 22591 Rue La Terre. Details: 228-2554019. “Together for Christmas” Tour, Dec. 1, Meridian. Jonathan Wilburn and The LeFevre Quartet; 3 p.m. Meridian Temple Theatre for the Performing Arts. Details: 800-965-9324, 601-416-1630. Pine Belt Holiday Expo, Dec. 1, Hattiesburg. Shopping, food, holiday decor ideas, children’s activities, more; 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Free admission. Historic Train Depot. Details: Breakfast with the Grinch, Dec. 1, Natchez. Two time slots: 9 and 10:45 a.m. Admission. Duncan Park Canteen. Details: 601-442-7061; Facebook: Junior Auxiliary of Natchez MS. Live Nativity, Dec. 1-2, Brandon. Manger scene with stable animals; 6-8 p.m. Free admission. Nativity Lutheran Church. Details: 601-825-5125. Philadelphia Gun Show, Dec. 1-2, Philadelphia. Neshoba County Coliseum. Details: 601-319-5248; Dinner Dances, Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, Gulfport. Dinner, 7 p.m., dance 8-10 p.m.;

casual dress. Admission. Amour Danzar School of Ballroom Dance. Details: 228-324-3730; GFWC-MFWC Florentine Clubs 22nd Annual Christmas Tour of Homes, Dec. 2, Florence. Tour homes decorated with the Christmas spirit. Admission. Details: 601-8456662. Christmas Tour of Homes, Dec. 2, Wiggins. Tour six decorated homes; 1-6 p.m. Garden Gate Garden Club event benefitting community beautification projects. Admission. Details: 601-928-7370, 601-928-3267. Christmas in the Orchard, Dec. 6-8, 13-15, 20-22, Richton. Carriage rides, hayrides, carolers, music, live music, more; 6-9 p.m. Free admission. Fulmer’s General Store. Details: 601-964-8222; 155th Anniversary of the Battle of McLeod’s Mill, Dec. 7-9, Leakesville. Living history displays/demonstrations, period music and dancing. Free admission. Green Park and Leakesville landing of Chickasawhay River. Details: 601-395-2383. Carols of Christmas, Dec. 7, 8, 14, 15, Collins. Walk-through exhibit of Christmas trees inspired by hymns and seasonal songs; live entertainment. Free admission. Williamsburg United Methodist Church gym. Details: Life of Christ, Dec. 8, Monticello. Drivethrough event with life presentations of scenes from birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; CD with readings and music provided; 5-8 p.m. Free admission. Atwood Water Park. Details: 601-587-3007. Sturgis Community Christmas, Dec. 8, Sturgis. Vendors, pageant, Mr. & Mrs. Claus photos; 9 a.m. Details: 662-418-5538. The Talleys Concert of Christmas Music, Dec. 9, Osyka. Gillsburg Baptist Church; 6 p.m. Love offering. Details: 601-248-7387. Repticon, Dec. 22-23, Southaven. Vendors offering reptile pets, supplies, equipment, plus live animal seminars. Admission. Landers Center. Details: 863-268-4273;

November / December 2018


Today in Mississippi



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