Iconic Timepiece Honors Iconic Character
By Mickey Howley
One of my all time favorite books is John Kennedy Toole’s “A Confederacy of Dunces”. Set in New Orleans in the early 1960s, the book opens with the lead character Ignatius Reilly waiting for his mother “under the clock” at the entrance to the D. H. Holmes department store on Canal St. (that’s New Orleans’s Main St).
Anyone who has lived in that city for any length of time knows that clock and location. It is an iconic downtown landmark, much more than just a rendezvous point.
Water Valley last week acquired a landmark clock for our Main Street. Dorris Crawford bought the clock now located at the north end of Railroad Park in memory of her husband, Brownie.
Many people in Water Valley have a Brownie Crawford story or two; here is mine. In late summer of 2003, I purchased 5 LSU versus Ole Miss football tickets. Three were for my NOLA buddy Ed and his wife and daughter, two for my wife and me. Ed and crew were going to come up and visit and see the game. Ed’s wife Roxanne is a diehard LSU fan. She bleeds purple. I like (not luv) the Tigers, don’t want to them to go to hell especially, but was more interested in seeing a good game.
Between late summer and late fall two things happened, Ed hurts his back and the LSU vs. Ole Miss turned from a game into The Game. So, Ed is not coming and I’ve got 3 extra hot tickets. At which point my neighbor Charles Sharp shows up. He and his buddy Brownie (along with all of Mississippi and Louisiana) are looking for tickets to the game. Would I have any? Always a sucker for a good buddy story, I sell him two at a non-scalping price.
On game day, walking to the stadium there are guys flashing five or six or seven hundred dollar bills for a pair of tickets. I’m thinking that’ll buy a good meal in Oxford, plus and better yet, a weekend on the coast, too.
I’m starting to think like a rebel, you know, to hell with LSU and take the money and roll. Little did I know then, but Brownie is walking with ticket in hand thinking pretty much the same thing. When I hear other people’s Brownie stories, it is often with the caveat that Brownie was “tight on the dollar and all about the money”. But I’m here to tell you that was not the case. Sure, he was a sharp businessman, but he put a lot back into the community. Much more than asked.
And just like I did, he thought about trading tickets for cold cash, that’s how his mind worked, but he knew somethings in life just don’t have a price and that game was one of them. So we did not cash in and saw the game and it was a classic one.
So Dorris, thanks for giving the City of Water Valley a great downtown landmark. It is an iconic timepiece in memory of an iconic guy.
How bout dem Saints, huh? That was another priceless game. From Archie to Deuce, there is a long connection between Ole Miss and the Saints. And there are two guys from New Orleans named Cooper and Eli who are going to ask their middle brother one question next time they see him, “Who Dat?”