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Each one a specialist. Each one a neighbor. All at Grants Ferry. University Physicians at Grants Ferry provides exceptional care close to home. With more than 20 specialties and the latest technology all in one location, you can rely on University Physicians for treating your entire family. From family medicine and cardiac care to sports medicine and neurology, our specialists can treat your medical concerns. University Physicians at Grants Ferry is committed to outstanding care and is backed by University of Mississippi Health Care – the state’s only Academic Medical Center. So no matter what your health care needs may be, you can always rely on the expertise of University Physicians. Shouldn’t your doctor be a University physician? For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 888.815.2005. To request an appointment online, visit

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Grants Ferry 4/25/11 8:21 AM


Honoring a Hero... On April 16, 2011 thousands of Rankin County citizens lined HWY 471 from Pinelake Church into downtown Brandon all the way to New Brandon Cemetery on Star Road to honor and show their respects for fallen Marine Staff Sgt. Jason Rogers. It was an amazing scene as hundreds of Patriot Guard Riders, local law enforcement and family and friends escorted Rogers on motorcycles to the cemetery. One thing is for sure, the people of Rankin County support their own. We really are one big family. (Inset photo top left - The Brandon Fire Department showed their respects by hanging this giant American flag across the procession route in downtown Brandon to honor Rogers.) PHOTO BY GREG PEVEY, Pevey Publishing, LLC



hot & spicy... Crawfish are now in season and nothing hits the spot on these beautiful spring afternoons than hanging out with friends and family and enjoying this cajun cuisine. Crawfish farming has developed into the largest freshwater crustacean aquaculture industry in the United States. Louisiana leads the nation, producing more than 90% of the domestic crop. More than 1,600 farmers produce crawfish in some 111,000 acres of ponds. More than 800 commercial fisherman harvest crawfish from natural wetlands, primarily the Atchafalaya Basin. The combined annual yield ranges from 75 million to 105 million pounds. The total economic impact on the Louisiana economy exceeds $120 million annually, and more than 7,000 people depend directly or indirectly on the crawfish industry. - PHOTO BY GREG PEVEY, Pevey Publishing, LLC



BED OF ROSES... These Lady Banks Yellow Roses at the home of Brenda Horn in Pearl, stretch an amazing 17 feet along the back-side of her home and extending close to 6 feet into the yard. What started as two plants has grown into a massive wall of roses with hundreds and hundreds of blooms each Spring. - PHOTO BY GREG PEVEY, Pevey Publishing, LLC



rankin LIVING

Volume 1, Issue 4 May/June 2011

Published by Pevey Publishing, LLC Publishers Greg & Mendy Pevey Guest Columnist Gunter Pevey Contributing Writers Edward Early, Greg Pevey, Natalie Winningham Contributing Photographers Greg Pevey, Inky the Clown, Blue Haven Pools & Spas, Natalie Winningham, University Physicians Advertising Sales Greg Pevey - 601-503-7205 Mendy Pevey - 601-941-1323 Tyra Murphy - 601-454-1021

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Visit our Website at To Contact Rankin Living > LETTERS, STORY IDEAS AND PHOTO SUBMISSIONS • Email Rankin Living at or mail to Rankin Living Magazine, 405 Knights Cove West, Brandon, Mississippi 39047. Letters should include writer’s full name, address and home phone number and may be edited for clarity and space.

Your ad will be seen in Rankin Living Magazine. Call today to reserve your space in the July/August issue at 601-503-7205 or email us at 8 - RANKIN LIVING

Join us on Facebook. Rankin Living Magazine™ is published bi-monthly by Pevey Publishing, LLC to promote Rankin County, it’s residents and businesses in an informative and positive manner. We welcome contributions of articles and photos; however, they will be subject to editing and availability of space and subject matter. Photographs, comments, questions, subscription requests and ad placement inquiries are invited! Return envelopes and postage must accompany all labeled materials submitted if a return is requested. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The opinions expressed in Rankin Living Magazine are those of the authors or columnists and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, nor do they constitute an endorsement of products or services herein. We reserve the right to refuse any advertisement. Pevey Publishing, LLC is not affiliated with any community organization. Subscriptions are $24 (1 year, 6 issues). Make checks payable to Pevey Publishing, LLC and mail to: 405 Knights Cove West, Brandon, MS 39047 or subscribe online at

Pevey Publishing, LLC Rankin Living Magazine 405 Knights Cove West • Brandon, MS 39047 Phone: 601-503-7205 • Fax: 601-992-2885 email:

10 14 28

Contents Features

32 The Clown Next Door

14 Making us Crazy for Crawfish

The new Berry’s Bugs in Pearl is the areas hottest spot for fresh crawfish and other gulf specialties

18 Pearl’s Crown Jewel Family owned Crown Jewelers in Pearl has been a staple in the community for almost 25 years with no plans of slowing down

22 Backyard Oasis

A Q&A with Mississippi’s favorite joker Inky the Clown

36 Rankin Health

University Physicians: Providing specialized care in Rankin County


Departments 10 Scenery of the Season

A look at Springtime around Rankin County

Blue Haven Pools & Spas in Flowood can transform your backyard into your personal vacation retreat

16 New to the Area?

28 Debbie Thornton

who are new in the county

Blonde moments and divine revelations


Important area phone listings for those

40 On My Mind...

Guest commentary by Gunter Pevey

On the Cover: It’s Springtime in Rankin County. Get out and enjoy! - Photo by Greg Pevey RANKIN LIVING - 9

scenery of the season Old Fannin Road Farmer’s Market offers a wide variety of beautiful flowers, plants, fruit and produce perfect for the spring season


t’s time to get out in the yard and dig up all those weeds as warmer weather is here to stay. At Old Fannin Road Farmer’s Market, between Lakeland Drive and Spillway Road, you can get just what you need to change your yard from ‘drab’ to ‘fab’! Beautiful flowers and plants abound as you can get everything you need to spruce things up around your home. Also available is fresh produce from gardens and farmers across the county. You can also find Mississippi made products from molasses, pepper sauce, candy and more. Make sure to stop by as you prepare your home for a gettogether with friends or a Mother’s Day or cook-out in the backyard. Nothing is more welcoming and relaxing than spending these warm sunny afternoons in the backyard surrounded with beautiful plants and flowers from Old Fannin Farmer’s Market open Monday - Saturday 8:am - 6:00 pm and 12:00 to 6:00 on Sunday.




scenery of the season

Springtime is one of the most beautiful times of year here in Rankin County. We hope you enjoy some of the colorful scenery from around the area. We just couldn’t pass these up as we drove around the county. Go out and take a drive and absorb this amazing place we call home!


local flavor

Crazy for

Crawfish Pearl’s new Berry’s Bugs is the place to be for fresh crawfish, shrimp and other Cajun treats STO RY a nd photos by greg peve y


uck the head and pinch the tails! Berry’s Bugs in Pearl is the place to be this Spring and Summer for the most delicious crawfish, shrimp and more in the Rankin County area. Opening just a few weeks ago, Berry’s Bugs has brought a missing element to Pearl and Rankin County and it couldn’t have come any sooner. You just wish it would have. Located on the corner of Service Drive and Barnett Drive (across from Walgreens on Hwy. 80) Berry and Lori Link decided it was time to fulfill their dream of opening up a quaint little eatery serving delicious Cajun specialties. 14 - RANKIN LIVING

Whether you want to buy a bag and cook them yourself or sit down and relax and enjoy the perfectly seasoned critters, Berry’s will quench your craving for crawfish and fun. Berry drives down to south Mississippi to pick up hundreds of pounds of live crawfish and shrimp for you to enjoy every weekend. “There has never really been a sit-down type restaurant in our area that people could go to on a regular basis to enjoy what we have to offer here,” says Berry. “We wanted to give people an alternative to just stopping somewhere and buying live crawfish out of the back of a truck. You never know how fresh they are and they are generally much more expensive.” “I have my own style of cooking crawfish. There is really an art to it. We offer a really spicy flavor for some and a more mild version for others. But we guarantee they will have flavor. They won’t be bland like some places offer. Flavor is what you’re really looking for.” We were able to experience Berry’s Bugs first hand a few weeks ago and I’ll admit, it was great to hang out with a few friends and enjoy some really good cajun-style food in a casual atmosphere. Berry’s plans are to open on a daily basis very soon. But for now you can stop by and try it for yourself Thursday through Saturday, Noon 8p.m. and Sunday from Noon until they sell out. The menu is simple really, crawfish, shrimp hush puppies, corn on the cob, sausage, etouffee as well as snow cones. But that’s what you are coming for anyway. They don’t spend time on other things to take away from their specialty. They serve what they do best. You can even buy a few hand-made decorations for your home at Berry’s as well. Decorated with a Mardi Gras feel, Berry’s is sure to become a new hangout for locals across the area. Located directly behind Cool Fuel Market, you can always find your favorite beverage to enjoy with your meal. So this weekend if your feeling the urge to get out and enjoy the weather. Stop by and visit Berry’s Bugs and bring a few friends. It’s reasonably priced, easy to get to, hot and delicious for the whole family. - RLM


new to the area? Here are some important phone numbers and information you need to know to help you get settled in. UTILITY HOOK UP Anyone establishing residency in Rankin County must contact E911 at 601-825-1499 prior to getting any utilities connected. Once this procedure is completed and your address is certified, you will be given a form and then you contact utility companies for service.

CABLE TELEVISION Comcast Cable.............................. 800-266-2278

ELECTRIC Central Electric................................ 601-829-1201 Entergy...........................................800-368-3749 Southern Pine Electric.................... 601-824-7070

GAS Atmos Energy Services....................601-961-6900 CenterPoint Energy........................ 601-936-0222 Willmut Gas & Oil Co...................... 601-939-3275

TELEPHONE AT&T..............................................888-757-6500 Windstream Mississippi................ 866-445-3402

GARBAGE COLLECTION If you establish residence within a municipality, you will need to contact city hall for garbage collection dates. If you are located outside a municipality call: Rankin County Waste Management..... 601-825-9213

DRIVER’S LICENSE Motorists must obtain a Mississippi driver’s license within 60 days of moving to the state. You will be required to surrender your out-ofstate license in order to obtain your new MS license. If you have an unexpired out-of-state license, only the written and eye test are required and may be taken at the following Rankin County locations: Pearl - Troop C Building 3158 Hwy 468 Pearl, Mississippi........................... 601-420-6342 Richland Examining Station 442 Highway 49 South Richland, Mississippi......................601-939-4217 For additional information, contact: Mississippi Department of Public Safety 601-987-1212 or

AUTO, TAG & STICKERS New residents must purchase Mississippi auto tags within 30 days of establishing residency. Rankin County Tax Collector Office Rankin County Court House Annex


Brandon, Mississippi.......................601-825-1467 A tag must be purchased for a new car within five (5) WORKING DAYS of purchase. These tags must be renewed each year on the anniversary date. If you move to Rankin County from within the state, keep your old tag until it expires.

AUTOMOBILE INSPECTION STICKERS An inspection sticker is required on all automobiles. There are many inspection stations (garages and service stations)throughout the county. The yearly cost for this inspection is $5.00.

VOTING QUALIFICATIONS A person must be registered 30 DAYS prior to an election in order to vote in Mississippi or Rankin County and must: • be a citizen of the United States • be 18 years of age on or before election • be a resident of the election precinct for 30 days

VOTER REGISTRATION A person can either register within the city of his residence or at the following location: Rankin County Courthouse Circuit Clerk’s Office Brandon, Mississippi Phone: 601-825-1466 Registration at either location will ensure dual registration for municipal and countywide election.

MAIL-IN VOTER REGISTRATION Applications may be obtained from the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office, 601-359-6357, local post offices or local libraries. Following completion of the application, it must be mailed to: Rankin County Circuit Clerk P.O. Box 1599 Brandon, Mississippi 39043

MARRIAGE LICENSE License issued after a 3 DAY waiting period for receipt of blood test results from an approved Mississippi lab. Proof of birth date and results of blood test must be made within 30 days of application. No license issued for party under 21 years of age except with parental consent. For more information, contact: Rankin County Courthouse Circuit Clerk’s Office Brandon, Mississippi 39042 Phone: 601-825-1466

SOCIAL SECURITY Social Security Administration McCoy Federal Building 100 West Capitol Street Jackson, Mississippi 1-800-772-1213 General information call: ................601-965-5731

RANKIN COUNTY HOSPITALS Crossgates Rivers Oaks Hospital.......................................... 601-825-2811 River Oaks Hospital.........................601-932-1030 Woman’s Hospital at River Oaks.......................................601-932-1000

RANKIN COUNTY LIBRARIES Brandon Public Library................... 601-825-2672 Florence Public Library................... 601-845-6032 G. Chastain Flynt Memorial Library.............................. 601-919-1911 Pearl Public Library........................ 601-932-2562 Pelahatchie Public Library.............. 601-845-6032 Puckett Public Library.....................601-825-6801 Reservoir Public Library................. 601-992-2539 Richland Public Library....................601-932-1846 Sandhill Public Library....................601-829-1653

CITY HALLS Brandon City Hall............................601-825-5021 Florence City Hall........................... 601-845-2462 Flowood City Hall........................... 601-939-4243 Pearl City Hall................................ .601-932-3500 Pelahatchie City Hall...................... 601-854-5224 Puckett City Hall............................. 601-825-8074 Richland City Hall........................... 601-932-3000

EMERGNCY In case of emergency......................... ...... Dial 911

LAW ENFORCEMENT Brandon Police............................... 601-825-7225 Florence Police............................... 601-845-7508 Flowood Police............................... 601-932-5400 Pearl Police.................................... 601-939-7000 Puckett Police................................ 601-825-8074 Rankin County Sheriff.....................601-825-1480 Richland Police................................601-932-3100

CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE Rankin County................................ 601-825-2268 Flowood......................................... 601-932-8007 Pearl............................................... 601-939-5883


local biz Aarron, Jay and Jim Eutzell are always available to help you with your jewelry needs.

Pearl’s Crown Jewel

Family owned Crown Jewelers in Pearl has been a staple in the community for almost 25 years with no plans of slowing down




very community has businesses that people just know are always there for them and are willing to help them with their needs. The City of Pearl is no different. Crown Jewelers, owned by Jim Eutzman, is one of those places. Located on Highway 80, near the Pearl/Brandon line, Crown Jewelers is a landmark in the area serving not only Brandon and Pearl but the entire county. From fine diamonds and watches to major and minor repairs, Crown will take care of you with a smile and make you feel at home in the process. The funny thing is, Jim was not even looking to get into the jewelry business until a chance meeting at church swayed him to get involved. “In 1975 we were living in Mobile and after church one day a gentleman walked up to me

and tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘the Lord told me we were going to go into business together,’ and I said who are you and what business are you talking about?” Eutzman says with a laugh. The gentleman was Joel Clark who was just getting into the jewelry business himself and was about to move to Jackson and open Clark Jewelers as we know it today. At the time Jim told him he felt the jewelry business was not his calling right now. “Joel kept calling me once or twice a year asking me if I was ready to get on board with him. He took me to several jewelry shows and finally 10 years later I called and told him ‘I’m ready if you are.’” Jim was currently working for Sears and began to feel it was time for him to move in another direction.

Jim worked with Joel for two years and felt that if he could work with Joel for two years and learn the business that he would open a business of his own. Well, that’s just what Jim did. In 1987 he opened up Crown Jewelers. “We had half of this store when we opened and in 2005 we doubled the size of this location into what we have today.” “It wasn’t easy at first and we had to advertise a lot to let people know we were here and now we have over 10,000 people on our mailing list. We try to keep up with the times. We’ve invested in some state-of-the-art equipment as well as the new CounterSketch which is a fantastic jewelry design machine that the customers can actually come in and design a one-of-a-kind ring for someone they love.” There are always ups and downs in the retail business, but God has blessed Jim and somehow they managed to pull through these difficult times. On staff they have four jewelers and they are working as hard as they can to keep up with the increased flow of business. One thing that is different about Crown Jewelers is their motto “you have to pay for it, we have to make you happy”. That’s very important to Jim to offer quality customer service to his patrons. Jim’s wife daughter and two sons also work here and they are very important to the success of the business. “I owe all of our success to the Lord. We put a little sign in the window saying that we take prayer requests. I bet we have gotten 3,000 to 4,000 prayers requests over the past few years. People come in and say they left a request a year ago and God answered their prayers. Some people come here and not their church to put requests in. It’s special to us that we can do that for people.” Crown Jewelers is so much more than just a jewelry store. Jim has made efforts to be a part of this community in so many different ways. Caring for the customer has made the location a valuable asset to Rankin County and seeing a family business succeed for so long shows the quality of their merchandise and service they offer makes everyone feel special. - RLM RANKIN LIVING - 19

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Find OPPORTUNITY. Register May 26th for MC Accelerated Degrees! Ready to advance your career and enrich your life, but need evening class hours and convenient locations? With the Mississippi College Accelerated Degree Program, you’ll find that and more. Call 601925-3979 or visit to learn more about our indepth and in-demand programs: - Accounting

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REGISTRATION: MAY 26th, 2011 Clinton Campus – Self Hall, on the Mississippi College campus in Clinton Flowood Center – Across from Lowe’s on Lakeland Drive

Classes begin June 2nd.




LIVING A sneak peek at the July/August issue

High School football is just around the corner!

SPORTS, FITNESS & Back to school Special stories on area sports figures, High School athletes...



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Blue Haven Pools & Spas in Flowood can transform your backyard into your personal vacation retreat b y gre g p eve y


pending time in the backyard with family and friends is a tradition everyone enjoys, especially in the South. You get a chance to unwind and relax from the stress of the day-to-day hustle and bustle. There is a trend however, that most people are taking advantage of these days and that is making their backyard not just a place to hang out but a place to go on vacation. With gas almost $4.00 a gallon in Rankin County, making a trip to the beach or other distant places is becoming more and more of a challenge for families to partake in. So what is the next best thing? Building a pool for the family and making it such a beautiful setting, that you would rather stay home anyway. Randy Cavanaugh at Blue Haven Pools and 22 - RANKIN LIVING

Spas in Flowood took the time to talk with us and tell us that pools are a great alternative for the family as opposed to dealing with the headaches of planning a vacation and breaking your budget in the process. “People now days have so much going on in their lives that even finding the time to go on a vacation is stressful enough.” says Cavanaugh. “We can build you a pool in a timely manner and give your family a place they can go to relax, spend time together and even make some great family memories.” “Looking for something to invest in for your home can be stressful. You have heaps of options to consider. But for some, the first thing that comes into their head is building a pool. This can be a great choice because of the long

Pictured in this story are just a few samples of some of the beautiful pools built across the Jackson/Metro area by Randy and his crew at Blue Haven Pools & Spas.

term benefits that you can get out of it,” Randy says. “What we can do here at Blue Haven is walk with you through the whole process of building the right pool for your home. Blue Haven can build for you, a pool that fits your specifications and we will put our heart in soul into the project. I never want to build a pool for a customer that I would not want to have in my own backyard. There are companies out there who drive around in a truck and don’t even have an office in our area. You really need to stay away from those types of builders. We have an office here in town and we always have a person here, even myself, who will take the time to talk with you and make sure you are getting what you are paying for.” RANKIN LIVING - 23

Aside from the money that you need to consider at first, you also have to take note of its maintenance. It is like knowing the worth of your project as time goes by. Through your strict observance of proper pool maintenance, you can preserve the quality of your investment through time. It is like taking good care of your investment. “Taking care of a pool is not the hassle it used to be 10-15 years ago.” Randy emphasizes. “It has really become quite simple. You used to have to buy pounds and pounds of chlorine and special tablets to control the levels of your pool. Now you can go to just about any home and garden store and buy the proper chemicals for practically nothing.” If you are going to ask about its benefits, there are too many to mention. One of these is the idea that you can save a lot from not going out on a vacation or renting a place if you want to swim or hold a pool party. You can be a host and use the private pool instead. People who love to hold special get-togethers can use their pool as an added attraction for the party or event that is about to be held. Not only that, if you have a lot of kids, especially younger ones, having a swim on the weekend is a great form of bonding with them. You don’t have to call a resort or drive to the nearest community swimming pool just to get a swim. Just walk out into the backyard and dive in! 24 - RANKIN LIVING

Building a pool at home is a sure investment that can boost the property’s market value. Even if you have to spend a little extra money, you are guaranteed to reap the rewards later on. In fact, benefits can be enjoyed for a lifetime. If you just follow proper pool maintenance and safety precautionary measures, your pool will definitely last for ages. Even your grandchildren will be able to enjoy the pool in the future. Pools are not just an additional attraction at home anymore. They allow the homeowner, as well as his loved ones, to stay fit and healthy.

You are encouraged to observe a healthy lifestyle these days. Therefore, thinking about building a swimming pool is a good choice for smart homeowners. When you decide, give Randy a call. He will gladly help you plan your new favorite summer destination. - RLM You can contact Randy Cavanaugh at Blue Haven Pools and Spas at 601-664-0199 or visit them online at


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Debbie Thornton: Blonde Moments and Divine Revelations

Story by Natalie Winningham Photos by Greg Pevey


rowing up in Vicksburg, Debbie Thornton says she never felt smart, never finished anything and never thought she was capable of anything special. Prone to what she describes as anger, bitterness and controlling behavior, she remembers her early years as restless and unfulfilling. After being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) fifteen years ago, the attractive blonde sees her younger self with kinder, more forgiving eyes. Today, the former caterer is a smart, capable deal-closer. Her business, Another Blonde Moment has been featured nationally. Her cookbooks have been in 2000 stores in 48 states and parts of Canada. But that is just the beginning. Thornton’s first book is Any Blonde Can Cook: Two Hundred 69 Ways to a Man’s Heart. Its “blonde, A.D.D.-friendly” format is meant to keep the highly-distracted cook on task, in focus and in control. The recipes include a short list of ingredients. Each step begins with an action in bold letters. And the book is published in large print, “in case you have blonde moments and lose your glasses all the time like I do!” she quips. Any Blonde Can Cook was actually inspired by Thornton’s “blonde moments” and fondness for cooking. “I had so many blonde moments that my husband told me I needed to be writing them down,” she recalls. “For example, back when hair extensions first became popular, I decided I wanted some. Right after I had them put in, I accidentally melted the plastic part of the extensions into my hair while sitting in front of a fireplace! “And I’ve done other things,” she freely admits, “like the times I backed out of the garage with the garage door still down, ran into a sliding glass door, fell through the ceiling, broke my nose with a candle and caught myself on fire while cooking. TWICE! It was a part of my everyday life. I knew I couldn’t be the only one!” After taking on several jobs, including caterer, cheerleading coach and candy bar salesperson, Thornton never finished college but developed several practical skills, including determination, flexibility, creativity and an eye for opportunity. These allowed her to capitalize on her ideas, recruit a few partners and start a business in 2003. “Another Blonde Moment started with me looking for a place for people to write down their blonde moments. I was wanted to see if anyone else had the same kinds of things happening in their lives,” she says. “I loved to cook so I decided when my son went off to the University of Alabama that I would do him up a cookbook of all of my recipes. But then I started thinking that other people like me could benefit from this, too. And maybe they would buy it. So, I put the recipes in A.D.D. form 28 - RANKIN LIVING

(step by step by step). Then I thought about all those blonde, brunette and redhead jokes that people had been emailing me, and we decided to add a little humor while people were cooking.” The results were unexpectedly positive with a second printing ordered less than a year after Any Blonde Can Cook debuted. More cookbooks followed. Any Blondette Can Do It: Cooking from A to Z with A.D.D was printed in 2005. How to “Meat” a Blonde, Brunette or Redhead: A Dating and Cooking Guide followed in 2007. And Anybody Can Cook in a Crockpot: Slow Cooking Your Way to Heaven was released in 2009. New product ideas quickly followed, because consumers wanted more than just cookbooks and vendors wanted more items to create larger displays of Thornton’s merchandise. She met their demands with blonde themed aprons and t-shirts as well as novelty items like Melted Ice Cubes (bottled water), Liquid Brain Brew (coffee) and gourmet seasoning mixes


with names like Bleached Blonde Chili. Orders poured in from vendors and from the website at www.anotherblondemoment. com. The demand became so high that Thornton, who mostly worked by herself, finally outsourced the shipping and handling of cookbooks to Quail Ridge Press in Brandon. “You would think I would be happy with that success,” says Thornton, “but I just couldn’t find peace. When I started Another Blonde Moment, it was all about surviving financially. Then I started to see financial rewards where I could help provide and put my children, Dakota and Chelsea, through college. I was finally able to buy STUFF that I had never been able to buy that I thought would make me happy, BUT I was never happy. I had so much pain and drama, which I caused with my tongue, my pride, my selfishness, my jealousy and my manipulation. I don’t think I ever had peace. “For 47 years, I thought being a Christian meant believing in Jesus, going to church, giving money, and being kind to others. But I was not a true Christian,” Thornton reveals. “I was manipulative, controlling, angry, bitter and even verbally abusive to my children. When people would talk about ‘knowing God,’ I didn’t know what that meant.” During this time, Thornton experienced tremendous frustration which she describes as a self-perpetuating cycle of negative emotion. When she finally sought peace, she discovered 30 - RANKIN LIVING

that she could not find the solution on her own. “After I had my last Incredible Blonde Hulk moment, I said, ‘OK, GOD. I can’t do this by myself.’ I wanted something different,” she continues. “I believe God heard that prayer and put people in my life to help me find my way. “I can remember when we were building our house at Lineage Lake in Flowood and I found out—while standing on the dirt where our front porch would be—that the only houses around us belonged to Baptist preachers. We were Episcopal. So, I called my husband Terry and said, ‘We are not living here! We are moving I am NOT living across the street from two Baptist preachers!’” One of those preachers was Chip Henderson of Pinelake Church in Brandon. And, though she initially wished them away, Thornton could not have foreseen the impact that he and his family would have on her and her business. She now credits them and her neighbors with starting her on a path to life-changing transformation. “Moving across from the Hendersons, I saw that they walked a different kind of Christian walk and really lived what they believed. Chip’s wife Christy loved me unconditionally when I was not loveable, and I saw that a Christian CAN have a sense of humor. They made me realize that I was free: the price had been paid. I always knew that in my head but I didn’t know that in my heart.

“You see God absolutely put us in this neighborhood. My other neighbor, Anne Marie Tipton, loved on my children. She prayed for them and loved them while I was trying to experience this newfound life. I would depend on her as my prayer warrior. I can remember

Debbie with mentor and daughter Chelsea

the times she would say, ‘Could you be more specific on what I need to pray about?’ I was thinking, ‘Just pray.’ Little did I know. “Then Anne Marie and I did a Kay Arthur bible study that another neighbor, Melissa Bailey had begun and that is where I met Amy Murray who is my everyday mentor. I throw blonde things at her at what I am reading and she sharpens me. Sometimes I think she really is blonde because she understands me so well. “My daughter Chelsea is also one of my mentors. That may sound weird, because the child is supposed to look up to the parent. But I look up to her and have learned so much from her. She has a peaceful and calming nature. She had peace when, for a long time, I didn’t. “All I knew was that I wanted the peace

Christy, my neighbors and Chelsea had, but I didn’t know how to get it. I remember Chip saying, ‘Just be obedient and read His word.’ But I just knew I was NEVER gonna be able to understand the Bible because I had NEVER read an entire book. And even if I read it, I was NOT going to understand the Bible. So…for one year I journaled everything I read. I would write out questions about what I had read and work it through in my spirit.” This part of Thornton’s spiritual awakening resulted in a two-year hiatus from Another Blonde Moment. During this time, she immersed herself in Bible study and worked hard to understand and apply what she learned. Soon, she realized that her personal transformation would also lead her business in a new

direction: one of ministry and service. “I would get sooo excited when I knew God had allowed me the understanding in my heart. It was a Blonde Aha moment. That is when I knew my next cookbook had to have scripture in it: because if I could understand and get people to pick up the Bible and read, then God could give it to anybody. So I prayed, ‘God, however You want me to do this I will.’ “I had no idea where I was gonna start because I didn’t know God’s Word, but He was teaching me. So for every Scripture I read, I would write my blonde A.D.D. interpretation in a short poem. My brain remembers rhymes. Blonde… YES…. but that is when I was able to understand what praise Him meant because I knew it didn’t come from me. Now, I love reading His word and I love love love it when God gives me acronomns when I read His word!” Thornton enthuses. “I LOVE acronyms, because that is the way my blonde A.D.D. brain understands.” Inspired by her newfound understanding, Thornton incorporated Scripture and devotionals with recipes in Anybody Can Cook in a Crockpot: Slow Cooking Your Way to Heaven. It was published in 2009, and Thornton has started working on a new book. “The new cookbook is Any Blonde Can D.I.E.T. Cooking and Weighting for Him,” she explains. “D is Direction which is His Word. I is the Ingredient which is Christ. E is the Experience and the T is the Transformation.” With a renewed spirit and sense of mission, Thornton views her business in a totally different light. “Another Blonde Moment is my personal and business life and my spiritual life. It really is a lifestyle. Do I get it right everyday?” she reflects. “No. But nearly every day, I have peace. It took me a long time to find it, but now I have peace. “This isn’t just a job to me anymore,” she continues. “It’s really NOT work. I have taken the pressure off of myself. It’s not about the money. It is about helping women who have struggles, because I have experienced just about all kinds of pain. I now don’t have to do it by myself. God is with me and I love waiting to see how He shows up. As a matter of fact I have had more patience when I ask Him, ‘God, what do you want me to do with this company? I want to know when You don’t want me to do this anymore. “I used to think that success was about how much stuff I had or how much money I could make. Now, success to me is experiencing GOD—when I can really listen to what He tells me through His word and receive the fruit of His Spirit. I love when he blesses me with His fruit because for 47 years I tried to have something, but I never knew what that something was,” she concludes, “until I began a relationship with Him.” - RLM


off the beaten path

The Clown Next Door A Q&A with Mississippi’s favorite joker Inky the Clown Story by Natalie Winningham Photos courtesy Inky the Clown


omewhere, in a peaceful community on the Ross Barnett Reservoir, lives an ordinary citizen of Rankin County with over thirty years of experience in the entertainment industry and a penchant for juggling flaming torches in the front yard (“Hey, clowns have to practice, too,” he says.). Rankin Living Magazine recently had the opportunity to sit down with Inky the Clown and talk with him about his unique line of work. The results were humorous and insightful. Rankin Living Magazine: Tell us a little about yourself, Inky. Where are you from and when did you become a clown? Inky the Clown: I grew up in Ashland, Massachusetts. As far back as I can remember, I’ve always liked being funny. In 1980, me and two friends started a street performing comedy group called PLAYgerism. The first week, I worked clowning on the side of a highway waving at cars, my dad hired me to perform at a 4th of July Parade, and I got my picture on the front page of the local paper! It was a great start! RLM: How did you get the name Inky? Inky: When I was but a little clown, my dad owned a printing company in Massachusetts. His father owned it before him, so I came from a family of printers. But I wanted to join the circus or at least make people laugh, so in homage to a great family business, I named myself INKY! I did get a fantastic deal on my business cards. RLM: Did you go to clown school? Inky: I did not go to clown school…although school is where I learned to be a clown. 32 - RANKIN LIVING

RLM: Since you didn’t have formal training, how did your clown character develop? Who or what were your main influences? Inky: The old Inkster’s persona keeps developing year after year. I look at myself as a silly, wise-cracking clown, like a Stand-Up Clown Comedian for children. The list of inspiration is endless: Tim Conway, Jonathan Winters, the Marx Brothers, Slap Happy (a street performing group from Boston), Grover from Sesame Street, Topo Gigio from the Ed Sullivan Show, etc. Some clown influences include Lou Jacobs, Emmet Kelley, Freddie the Freeloader(Clown by Red Skelton), Bozo, Charlie Chaplin, etc. It also helps that I come from a very funny, sarcastic family. RLM: You mentioned other clowns. What types of clowns are there and which kind are you? Inky: There are basically three types of clowns. The White Face is an elegant, artistic clown—sort of the aristocrat of clowns—with white makeup covering all exposed skin. Then there is the Auguste Clown. “Auguste” is German for “foolish.” This is the most comical of

all clowns with big actions that thrive on slapstick and highly colorful makeup. And last but not least, ME—the Tramp/ Hobo/Character Clown—usually the brunt of the joke, the one that receives the pie to the face from the White Face or Auguste. The makeup is a sooty vagabond look with a painted beard, exaggerated mouth and eyebrows. The costume is baggy and worn out. The Tramp/Hobo Clown is considered the only true American clown. The other two originated in Europe. I like to think of Inky as a Tramp clown with an Auguste mood. RLM: Very interesting. How long does it take you to dress like a tramp? Inky: Hey now, there’s no need for insults! Oh, you mean the clown… From start to finish, it takes about an hour to transform from Mild Mannered Rankin Resident to Super Clown! It takes about three hours if I try to get dressed in a phone booth. RLM: And how long does it take for you to put on all that makeup? Inky: It’s a tattoo. Actually, I was about to ask you the same question. Um…what?? Hey, you started it.

RLM: Tell me about your costume. Inky: My whole outfit, including the tie, is custom tailored and designed by Kalvin Klown. It’s very exclusive. RLM: And your mismatched striped socks? Inky: Yeah, those too. And they are matched…by smell!    RLM: What might a person expect to see during one of your performances? Inky: I’ve created my own little One Clown Circus! I call it Inky The Clown’s Half Ring Circus! There’s juggling, magic, comedy and clowning with lots of audience interaction with volunteers and patter back and forth. A true little circus experience! RLM: What are some memorable gigs you have done in the past? Inky: I was doing some hospital visitations on the Children’s Floor with a couple of other clowns here in Mississippi. We had visited a few rooms, you know, having a fun time. The next room we went into, there was a little boy lying in a bed hooked up to tubes everywhere— tear-filled eyes, gazing straight ahead. I introduced myself and proceeded to perform for him, juggling balls and then scarves. No reaction. Then I did several silly magic tricks and dusted his head with a bright orange feather duster I keep in the brim of my hat. Still no reaction. So, I juggled some more and then gave him a magic wand coloring sheet, which I handed to his mom. Well, we were pretty limited in how much stuff we could bring into a hospital room. Soon, I ran out of things to do, so I told him goodbye. When I got to the door, I heard a little strained voice behind me say, “…Thanks, Inky.” It doesn’t get any better than that. On a lighter note, I was performing at the Dixie National Rodeo for their Children’s Day. I was juggling bowling balls at the end of my show. As I roll around on stage trying to pick RANKIN LIVING - 33

up three bowling balls, I do the classic clown gag of my pants falling down. The pants-falling-down gag is probably as old as clowning itself. At no time do you see any skin. Stripe clown socks up over my knees and big clown panties hanging over that. Right when I got to the point where my pants fall down, I look into the audience and see a little girl in the front row slap her forehead and say, “Inky, we’re only children.” I don’t usually lose my composure in front of an audience, but I had to sit there and laugh for a moment. Needless to say, I gave up doing the pants-falling-down clown classic. RLM: How do you keep your act fresh? Inky: I’m constantly learning new juggling tricks, adding new magic tricks, learning new balloon sculptures and tweaking old gags to make them new again! Some gags and tricks I’ve been doing for over 20 years! If it works, it stays. No one would want Santa to shave his beard! I also build most of my props which keeps it different and fresh. I really enjoy designing and building props. RLM: What is your most dangerous trick? And do you have a favorite? Inky: During my show I juggle axes, knives, torches and bowling balls! All of which are in the dangerous category. I also juggle clubs on a Rola Bola. The Rola Bola is a board that you balance on a big tube. And then you jump up on it and balance yourself and juggle! My favorite trick is what I call “Birdie Bag.” I try to make a live bird appear out of an ordinary brown paper lunch bag! It doesn’t always come out the way I’ve planned. The Birdie Bag trick has been in my show since the beginning. RLM: Have you ever injured yourself during a show? Inky: Yes, I was doing a show in Canton at an elementary school. While juggling axes, I caught the wrong end and cut my hand. Looking down, I realized the clown was bleeding! Luckily it was the end of the show so I waved goodbye with my other hand and walked off stage. I don’t think any kids noticed, although the first three rows did faint simultaneously… RLM: How do you handle a tough crowd? Inky: First, I try to incorporate them into the show. Let them realize we’re all here to have some fun. If that doesn’t work…I release the KRAKEN! RLM: What do you like most about being a clown? Inky: The Laughter!! I love making people laugh. It’s great to look out into a crowd and see a diverse group of people all laughing at the same time! Young old, etc. Much like in the movie Monsters, Inc., laughter has a lot of energy! RLM: What skills make a clown successful? Inky: Humor, humor and humor! That’s what clowns are here for. You can add all sorts of things: juggling, music, magic, mime, bal34 - RANKIN LIVING

loons. But the main goal is to make ‘em laugh! RLM: Are there any local or statewide clown organizations, and if so, are there any local branches? Inky: There are a few national and international clown organizations. The old Inkster belongs to Clowns of America International and The International Jugglers Association. The Clowns of America’s local chapters are called Clown Alleys. When I first moved here in 1982, Mississippi had a great little Clown Alley which I became a member of and later the president. In 1984, the Mississippi Clown Alley performed at the Mississippi pavilion at the New Orleans World’s Fair and Expo! It was a great time and the first time I had been to New Orleans. RLM: Where and when was your first booking in Rankin County? Inky: One of the first shows I ever performed in Mississippi was at Pearl Day 1982. It was a fun gig! And I got my picture in the paper too: Focus Rankin County. I did perform at Pearl Day about 10 years after that but have not done it recently!?  Hello Pearl - give me a call! RLM: What do you like about living in this

community? Is it clown friendly? Inky: I love living in Rankin County! I live in the Reservoir area. Very quiet and peaceful but just minutes away from everything a clown needs! You can see Inky clowning around all over Rankin County! Every year I take my little Half Ring Circus to many of the Rankin Libraries for their Summer Reading Programs. Sometimes you can catch me out at Miskelly’s making balloons.  And I just entertained at the grand opening of Java Ink over in Pearl! A clown’s work is never done! RLM: Do you ever plan to retire? Inky: Retire!? I am retired! This is the best “job” I have ever had! I am truly blessed that I get to “clown around” for a living. I get to go out and make people laugh on a weekly basis. And the best part is I get to write “CLOWN” under “occupation” on my tax returns! RLM: Thank you for a delightful interview, Inky. This has been very informative. I have one last question for you: How many clowns will actually fit in a car? Inky: All of them. - RLM

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rankin health

University Physicians: Providing specialized care in Rankin County Story by Natalie West Winningham


or years, residents living near the Ross Barnett Reservoir have had to travel outside of Rankin County for specialized medical care. With the addition of University Physicians at Grants Ferry and University Physicians Women’s Specialty Clinic, access to comprehensive care has become even more readily available.

University Physicians is the state’s largest medical group. This network of physicians includes 450 doctors representing over 125 specialties and seeing approximately 600,000 patients at various locations. University Physicians at Grant’s Ferry is the only facility in Rankin County providing a broad spectrum of care in primary specialty areas of medicine to the general public under one roof. Similarly, University Physicians Women’s Specialty Clinic at Mirror Lake offers access to medical and surgical specialties for women in 36 - RANKIN LIVING

a unique setting exclusive to Rankin County. As affiliates of University of Mississippi Health Care, patients at both facilities have access to new advances in research, technology and patient care and even have an opportunity to participate locally in research through the state’s only academic medical center. Dana Habers, Chief Operations Officer of University Physicians, explains, “University Physicians at Grants Ferry is what is called a multi-specialty ambulatory clinic with 24 different areas of specialized medicine represented

Christopher F. Lee, MD is an Otolaryngologist specializing Head and Neck Surgery.

by our physicians. “At The Women’s Specialty Clinic at Mirror Lake, many of the doctors who see patients in their primary specialty fields at Grants Ferry travel to the Mirror Lake facility to provide care to patients in areas of subspecialty,” Habers continues. “Having all of this under one roof is so much more convenient for our patients.” The 5000+square foot facility features open waiting areas, a large welcome center for patient sign in and information, spacious exam rooms outfitted with a central data sharing system and security features designed to protect patient’s privacy. “Demographic research indicated that Rankin County was the best place to build these two clinics. We recognized the need to build these facilities in Rankin County, because the area has grown so much and because many of our patients were traveling from this area to University Medical Center in Jackson for care,” Haber explains. “Grants Ferry is the biggest investment we’ve made in a new facility. The purpose of this clinic is to make the expertise of University Medical Center more readily available and to serve the needs of the community where patients live. The response from the community has far exceeded our expectations,” says Haber. “We are genuinely glad to be here.” “University Hospitals and Health System will provide additional medical support services,” she adds. “Rankin County residents can expect rapid, convenient service at the Grants Ferry clinic with the added confidence of knowing that they have access to the Medical Center campus for health issues that require more complex care.” The $14 million, 50,575 square foot clinic opened in July 7, 2010, and includes an onsite lab, imaging department and a 1,797-squarefoot physical therapy gym. A full range of outpatient physical therapy and occupational therapy services is also provided. University Physicians-Grants Ferry is located at the corner of Lakeland Place and Plaza Drive in Flowood and houses primary care and other specialty services, including allergy, ophthalmology, cardiology, and obstetrics and gynecology. UP’s Women’s Health Clinic, which provides general obstetrics and gynecology care, moved to University Physicians at Grants Ferry when it opened in July. Women who require more complex care can be referred to University Physicians Women’s Specialty Clinic at Mirror Lake. The two locations are just six miles apart. Habers also said the Mirror Lake location enables physicians to reach more patients and to improve the level of service University of Mississippi Health Care provides. “Having this dedicated space for the women in our community encourages their continuity of care and their sense of security and stability in a healthcare system that can go from basic annual exRANKIN LIVING - 37

ams to complicated pregnancy and postpartum services,” she said. On June 14, 2010, University Physicians Women’s Specialty Clinic opened its doors and began seeing patients. Haber notes, “Women’s Specialty Clinic is as much an asset to UMC as it is to the surrounding area, because it offers us an opportunity to truly get out in the community that we serve and provide the full range of services traditionally found in the hospital setting.” Dr. Michelle Owens, assistant professor of obstetrics-gynecology, said that moving the services previously based at the Medical Center unites women’s specialty care under one roof and puts them closer to the referring physicians in the community to build collaboration and communication. “We have fantastic subspecialists here who have essentially been sequestered in the hospital,” Owens said. “I think as the Medical Center is changing and we are reaching out to partner more with the community, this falls right in line with that mission.” Owens, who is also Interim Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is very proud of the level of care provided by Women’s Specialty Clinic. “We have the state’s only doctor specializing in adolescent gynecology, Dr. Harriette Hampton, right here in Rankin County,” she says. “And there is important work being done here by Dr. Sheila Bouldin on menopause and Dr. Jermaine Gray, a specialist in vulvar disease, and Dr. Bill Cleland, a specialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility.” In addition to the highly specialized services provided by the physicians at Women’s Specialty Clinic, patients have the opportunity to take part in research and clinical trials associated with University Medical Center. Currently, Women’s Specialty Clinic is helping to recruit local participants for a National Children’s Study. “The focus is on Hind’s County and a few other metro area zip codes,” explains Owens. “This is a 21-year comprehensive study regarding children’s health. There is no primary disease focus.” Instead the study, will measure genetics and environmental factors on the overall health of a child over the span of 21 years, providing a wealth of information that will be used in the future to develop new treatments for issues common to this specific geographical area. “The partnership between the clinics at Grants Ferry and Mirror Lake as well as their association with University Medical Center allows us to treat the whole patient,” Habers emphasizes. “Sometimes, we have what we call Grand Slam Days in which an entire family comes into see us and have all of their appointments together on one day. Providing that level of convenience and care is exactly why we are here.” - RLM 38 - RANKIN LIVING

Dr. Michelle Owens specializes in Maternal-Fetal medicine at the Mirror Lake Plaza location

Dana Habers, Chief Operations Officer of University Physicians and Bob Brown, Associate Director of Ambulatory Operations at the UP Grants Ferry



601-932-8007 RANKIN LIVING - 39


Grad Night Revelations

PEVEY Guest Columnist


PUBLISHERS NOTE: B.K. Sanchez has taken a leave of absence this issue as he is off in meditation on a sandbar somewhere along the Pearl River to fill his mind with new wisdom. We look forward to his return in the July/August issue. 40 - RANKIN LIVING

t’s almost summertime again, and the living is not quite so easy. With everyone stressing about college and last minute class assignments, no one has really been able to take in the full effect of the coming events in our lives. Soon, we seniors will graduate and go on to live out the rest of our lives. Some of us may be going to college or maybe jump right into the workforce, but one thing is sure: life as we know it is about to change in a way that is utterly unimaginable. We will no longer have that protective (albeit overbearing at times) coating on our lives which we refer to as “parental supervision” and we will be forced to start taking complete responsibility for our own actions. While the increased amount of independence is certainly a breath of fresh air, it is still a little frightening to think “Wow, if I mess up, I won’t have someone to fix it. I am on my own.” Sure we won’t be completely on our own because our parents won’t leave us high-and-dry like that, but it is still going to take a lot for them to intervene. Now along with their absence comes the absence of their greatest asset: the “limitless” pocketbook. We will now have to earn our own money and save up for the things we want. The biggest source of excitement, though, is just the thrill of going somewhere different and experiencing new things. For those of us going off to college, we are extremely anxious about what adventures and experiences we will have in a new town surrounded by new people. Who will we meet? What will we do? Where will we go? All of these questions and more fill our heads whenever our thoughts start to drift away from our monotonous classwork. Even those of us who are not going to college and just aching to get out of town are faced with similar questions. A close friend of mine is excited simply because he knows he doesn’t have to write any more papers or deal with the same schedule anymore. He may be setting himself up for future disappointment in that aspect, but whatever makes him happy, right? Actually, isn’t that why we are trying so hard to make something of our lives in the first place? It’s just another attempt for us to find that oh-so-difficult thing to obtain we know as happiness. We think that doing something different, going somewhere new, meeting new people, etc. will somehow make us more content with our lives than we previously were. It certainly is a lovely thought, and it may last for a while, but; in my opinion; true happiness does not last. In order for something to be considered the peak of

anything, it must take a downturn, as with everything in life. This is not to discourage or upset anyone, but merely to advise those that find themselves in truly happy moments to take advantage of their fortune and revel in it while they can. That is why the time shortly after high school is so important. It is one of the few times in our lives where we can truly appreciate the happiness that comes with newfound freedom. We are allowed this precious time to enjoy ourselves and do what WE want for a change, and this experience gives us a great sense of euphoria that is unmatched in many ways. Everyone has their own way of celebrating this feeling. Some people take this time to relax and soak it all in, some take it to the extreme and try things they have never done before to see if they have what it takes to experience something different, and some (like me) take this opportunity to think on the situation and relay my thoughts on the matter through the use of my generous dad’s magazine column. Hopefully I am not the only one who enjoys my journalistic entries in here. All-in-all the times we seniors are about to face will be the most important times of our lives. The experiences we will have will be the ones that shape us into the people that we are going to become in the “real world” and we are all hoping that they are predominantly good ones. One thing is for sure, though: we will laugh, we will love, and we will live. - RLM Gunter Pevey is a Senior at Northwest Rankin High School and will be graduating in May with honors. He will be attending the University of Mississippi in the Fall majoring in Journalism and minoring in Psychology.

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An emergency chest pain center, where treatment begins before you even arrive.

As part of an accredited Chest Pain Center, our team follows protocols that are designed to reduce time for diagnosis and response. For example, UMHC’s collaboration with paramedics allows lifesaving preparations to be made in advance of the patient’s arrival. This supports quicker treatment during the critical window of time when the heart muscle can be preserved. University of Mississippi Health Care’s Chest Pain Center is part of the state’s only Level � Trauma Center and Mississippi’s only Academic Medical Center. This exceptional level of care is delivered with equally exceptional commitment by our nationally recognized emergency medicine physicians and cardiologists. Our physicians have the training, insight and technology to provide innovative treatment to our heart patients every day. Heart disease is lifelong. At University of Mississippi Health Care, so is our commitment to finding better ways to manage it. To learn more, call 888.815.2005 or visit American College of Cardiology Foundation NCDR® ACTION Registry® Get with the Guidelines 2010 Gold Performance Award Recipient

Rankin Living - May/June 2011