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Month: April 2018

Fleeting moments along the Mississippi

Fleeting moments along the Mississippi

Today, I am trying something a wee bit different. There are so many pictures that fleet through my eyes on my daily walks that can never be photographed. There are so many emotions and learnings; I could write for 10 hours a day and still not capture the potent impressions that I experience daily. So today, I’m sharing a brief glimpse of what’s struck me during my time in Mississippi. ______________ White-pillared houses Shadows on Main Street Hours chime from…

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My first Crawfest: To suck or not to suck?

My first Crawfest: To suck or not to suck?

When a friend heard I was going to the first annual Crawfest fundraiser in Laurel, Mississippi, home of HGTV’s “Home Town,” she said, “Make sure you look in the pots…everyone cooks them so differently.” As a novice to the world of crawfish and craw eating, it felt easy enough.  There were 21 amateur and professional competitors. Families from near and far came to share their secret recipes and cooking styles and well, honestly, just hang out and celebrate their culinary…

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Yay!!! A rural town on the upswing!

Yay!!! A rural town on the upswing!

Welcome to Laurel, one of the few thriving rural towns in Mississippi (and, well, America). I’ve added the next level to GOING RURAL. Now that I’ve gotten my bearings and seen the challenges, I’m going to small rural towns, ones NOT near freeways or airports, that are succeeding to see what they are doing differently. My definition of “thriving” is evolving. Currently, I think it should mean that the community is economically stable, progressively vital and communally healthy. Laurel is…

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A quick skip to Hattiesburg

A quick skip to Hattiesburg

Yet another amazing day in Mississippi. Generosity abounds in this incredible state!!! I started my day in Laurel, one of the few rural towns that is self-sustaining. Then I headed to Hattiesburg and was gifted with this amazing room. If you are ever here, check out the Bay Bed and Breakfast. It’s an amazing home built in 1904 with a porch that is the most “Southern” place I’ve hung out yet. The owner, Joyce, is yet another driven Mississippi woman. I…

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For the love of Winston

For the love of Winston

I have been greeted with such generosity since returning to Mississippi, especially in Natchez. One of the “gifts” I received was the opportunity to wander with this gentle, sweet and wonderfully tolerant being. I came to Natchez exhausted and spent. The week before, I had gotten triggered by some of the disturbing actions of this complicated state…and ended up here. I will be forever grateful to Haley for her kindness and generosity. It’s given me a much-needed chance to rest and…

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Our saviors—if we listen

Our saviors—if we listen

I realized this week that I’ve actually been “on the road to America” for some time now. It all started back in December of 2016 when I found myself at Standing Rock. Last spring I went to mining towns in West Virginia. And then, last fall, this chapter began with high school students sending me to places they felt important throughout the country. It’s odd how, when we follow a trail, our curiosity and purpose can bring us to a…

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Meet Haley

Meet Haley

A couple weeks ago, after seeing one of Natchez’s ever-popular re-enactments (this city loves re-enactments of all sorts—I hear there is even one hosted by the cemetery!), I met Haley at a pub/fancy tavern. We talked briefly, and she offered me a place to stay. Just like that, a stranger offering to help a traveler. I already had a place for the moment but was touched by her offer. That’s the kind of generosity people share in Mississippi. But that…

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Sometimes there is little more…

Sometimes there is little more…

As of today I have been gone 4 1/2 weeks. I’ve only traveled about 4,100 miles, but it seems like I’ve been gone forever (in a good way) and traveled to the other side of the world. For the last few days, thanks to a generous gift from a stranger, I have finally been able to be in a town to rest, wander, wonder and write. Over the last month, my eyes have been so wide open. Today they need…

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Where have all the flowers gone?

Where have all the flowers gone?

I posted this on Facebook the day after my flowers along the river’s edge ranked high with “likes.” This got two. It doesn’t have the same curb appeal as poppies at sunrise and, yet this is the other “bookend” of Mississippi life. Beauty and despair live hand in hand in the corner of the nation. Until 2001, this building was an active plant. Before that it was the old Armstrong tire factory from 1936 to 1986. In its prime, it…

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Preacher, teacher & powerful business maker

Preacher, teacher & powerful business maker

Know this woman: Robbie Frudge.  Two weeks ago I met Robbie at the Small Farmers Conference. She was a vendor there to promote a few of her small businesses. First off, I can’t even count how many she has—it feels like at least a dozen. But somehow, like most women I meet in Mississippi, she seems to juggle all that, her husband and baby and also be a preacher at her parents’ church.  That’s just a bit about her. Now…

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