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Out On The Mudline

Cows Believe Grass Greener Over Fence

By W. P. Sissell

The Other Side of the Fence

This time of the year when the grass is really green everywhere, it seems that some animals— like some humans see the grass on the other side of the fence as being better than on their side.

I had one rule when I was in the cattle business – any mamma cow that crawled through, under or over the fence—even when the next field was winter oats or wheat – she needed to belong to someone else. I had one that would absolutely lie down and worm her way under a fence. I had some good cows that suddenly belonged to someone else.

Have you noticed how green the world has suddenly become in the last few weeks –no, just days. Millions of tons of vegetation has been added to the world with the growth of the plant foliage that captures the light of the sun and through the process of photosynthesis stores elements found on this earth in food for use by “US.”

The Pan Gens

Nannette and I belong to the Panola County Genealogy Society (The Pan Gens). We try not to miss any of the meetings which take place monthly. The monthly meetings include a program usually given by some member. These are interesting as was the one this month given by long time friend Monty Randolph. Monty used a book, Native American Places names in Mississippi by Keith Avaca as a source for the many Native American names we have in our state. Mr. Avava lives in Starkville. If your library doesn’t have the book they probably will get it for their shelf.

Native American Names

We use those words as a part of our language. For example I have used the word panola and you will note that I do not capitalize it this time. This is the Native American name for cotton.  When Monty does the program he usually involves several of us in the presentation, if possible. This time he had fun, as he usually does, with me, his brother George and several others. The three of us attended Mississippi State at the same time. As he proceeded he said that both Bill Sissell, George Randolph and I (himself) should know the meaning of the next word, tilled ground, for all three of us had plowed a mule along the banks of Yocona River. Yocona (Yoconapatawa) means tilled ground in Native American. That happened to be one of the words that I did not know. Many of the words I knew because I have an atlas of the county roads of all the counties of the state, a publication of the State Highway Department.

Another that I did not know was Otuckalofa which thundered past my childhood home almost yearly. The Native American name, Otuckalofa, means Chestnut. This came about probably because there were many Chestnut trees along the Otuckalofa drainage basin  There were still many Chestnuts in those hills when we got what we called the Cottner place. In the early days of our country the Chestnut was a major part of the forests of the eastern part of the nation. My office mate at Northwest, Chad Williams, and I had several native Chestnut burrs in the office which we called Porcupine eggs—facetiously. As the trees on the Cottoner place succumbed to the blight, Dave Folson cut and split them into posts. I used the last one of those posts as a corner post on the place in the Delta.

Yalobusha, that I have known for many years, in Native American means muddy tadpole or tadpole place. I have known that one because President James K. Polk had a plantation on the Yalobusha River and I have a genealogical, not blood, connection with James K. Polk.

Tallahatchie means River Town and this comes from the Cree rather than the Chickasaw or Choctaw as do many of the others.

I do wonder about Chief Hotophia (for hotophia means grasshopper). Our farm today is astride Hotophia Creek. Just over McFarland Ridge lies Hobuck, Native American for castrated male.   Bynum, which runs into Yocona from the north side is a family name from an early settler.

More Birds

On March 31, as Nannette and I admired our Azaleas on the north side of the house, through the window, a tiny bundle of energy—a hummer showed up—as busy as the bumble be on the other side of the bush.  We immediately checked the supply of sugar. This morning the little fellow, a male, was at the feeder outside Nannette’s kitchen window.

Thank you for the many calls and encouragements. Our hope for you is that you have a great week.  A special note of thanks to Ms Betty.  You expressed our sentiments almost precisely.  The Bradfords and the red Crepe Myrtle would have been beautiful—maybe the powers that be will alternate red and white Crepe Myrtles.  You can reach me most of the time at 23541 Highway 6, Batesville, MS 38606 or 662-563-9879.

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