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Colorful Politicians Always A Part Of Mississippi

By Charles Cooper

    Hello everyone, I hope you’re having a good week. This spring weather is really great and, for some reason, it reminded me of a joke that the late Minnie Pearl once told.  

    She said, “A feller told me I was like a breath of spring. Well he actually said I looked like the end of a hard winter.” I hope this really is the end of a hard winter. It looks as if we’re going to suffer another summer of political campaigns.  

    At least this year we can tell the Democrats from the Republicans. The Democrats are saying, “Things could have been worse.”

    The Republicans are asking, “How?”

    The Democrats have figured out how the President can help them in November. They’re going to ask him NOT to campaign for them. I always ask old friend, Jim Allen, to critique any comments of a political nature.  He’s a good friend and a good man in spite of the fact that he’s an ex-politician. When I started writing this column nearly 10  years ago, I naively stated that I would try not to write about politics and religion.  

    That proved to be impossible because in one of my early columns I wrote about Brother Bob Myers. The rich history of our churches in Water Valley and surrounding area is too much a part of our heritage to ignore.              The South in general and Mississippi in particular have had such a long list of colorful politicians that it would have been shameful not to write about them. I’ve done some research on writings of Mr. W. A. Nolen and thought you might get a laugh out of some of them.  

    Joe Slack, who was running for the legislature, once spoke in Coffeeville and was charged by his opponent with being a railroad lawyer.

    He admitted it and said that it proved that the railroad wouldn’t hire a fool to represent them. Dr, J.M. Wells practiced medicine in Pine Valley and never wrote a prescription, but filled his own from his bag. A side bar to this – Dr. Mathis in the Orwood community did the same and he rolled the doses into small bits of paper and he only had one arm.      The beloved doctor, S.E. Cooper once worked in his brother’s machine shop before attending medical school. A side bar to this – when I was a small child, Dr. Cooper’s wife met #4 in Oakland to bring the brother home for a visit. She had a wreck on Hwy. 32  and the brother was killed.  

    I remember Dad taking me to Busby’s Chevrolet to see the wrecked car, a maroon 1933 Chevrolet. This is really freaky,  Uncle Charlie Badley, Aunt Ada, Bev, and I were coming back from a visit to Oakland and we came upon a wreck at the very same spot and one man was killed – in a 1933 Chevrolet.  

    I digress as you’ve come to expect every week. I remember Mr. Nolen, a frail kindly old gentleman with a keen sense of Water Valley history. My first years in school we had to buy our school books. Mr. Nolen’s store sold them and Hamric Henry’s  brother, Louie, had his first job there as a teenager before going on to become a prominent doctor in Memphis.  

    Mr. Nolen also wrote that a Captain S.B. Hervey attended his first football game in Oxford and came back to his store about when the game was to have started and when asked who won he replied that they had never begun playing but got into a fight and he left to keep out of  trouble.

    Did you know that the town of Grenada was once in Yalobusha county?

    Did you know that Enid was once the largest cotton market  in the South and was known as Harrison, Station?

    I have to close this week’s column on a serious note. Bob Mathis who was raised in Water Valley and many will remember him working at the Simmons store during high school has been diagnosed with cancer and is starting treatment. Bob is a Christian and will appreciate your prayers as he goes through this difficult time. When I get his address I will include it so that any of you who want to send him a card can do so.

    Bob, you are on my prayer list already and I hope for the best.  As for the rest of you  readers. my email address is or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, TN 38101 remember your input is always welcome, and  have a great week.

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