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Nolen, Miss. Community Now Sylva Rena

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone. hope you’re having a good week.  
Last Saturday night  I drove out to Sylva Rena to get a couple of Gene’s great burgers to take home and I remembered some  research about that community several years ago.  
In the early 1900s it had a shopping center and post office called Nolen.  There was also Fair’s store with a hitching post in front and a large block of wood to help boys lead a mule up and mount as a majority rode a mule with no saddle and a rope across his neck with a basket on one end and a  can on the other to fill with kerosene, usually called “coal oil.” Most of the cans had long since lost their stopper, but a corn cob served just as well.
Like most stores of that era, it had a pot bellied stove in the rear which was a gathering place in cold weather.  
As I waited for my order, I sat at one of the empty tables chatting with Loretta and thought about how it must have been a 100 years ago. Back then nobody had heard of a burger, but for a nickel you could get a can of sardines or a slice of cheese and they would throw in a hand full of crackers from the barrel.  Since they didn’t have anything to compare it with, it was probably a real treat for them. Today there is a bench like those that once were in the park for the smokers or those waiting for their orders.  
The only thing similar to that when I was a kid was the Peoples Wholesale where there were two butchers blocks with a slab of fat back on one and a hoop of cheese on the other near the large stove.  
Like the stores of old, the usual crowd lounged around swapping yarns and even eventually buying something.
Elmer Higginbotham was always in the center and I’m sure many of those stories wound up in the column he wrote for many years in the Oxford Eagle.  I’ve often thought if he had met an agent to guide him, he might have been  a published author.
Higginbotham had the ability to connect with people. For example, when he talked about blowing the horn to call in the dogs from a fox hunt,  they had been there and done that. The animal rights people would have loved him when he wrote several columns defending the red fox from bird hunters who wanted to eradicate them because they were wiping out the quail population. He pointed out that chicken snakes ate more quail than the foxes, who hunted small rodents as their primary source of food.   
I’ve been reading with interest the pro and con letters about Walmart and I compliment David for fair and balanced reporting.  Like the radio talk shows, they may not influence the situation one way or the other, but people feel better after venting.  
On a personal note I want to thank everyone for the concern for my recent injury. I’m happy to report that I’m regaining mobility in my arm thanks to a great orthopedic doctor and the excellent follow up therapy with Cornerstone.  
In the very near future my plans are to continue one on one interviews which I’m lining up now. Let me hear from you as I always welcome the input. My email address is still or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, TN 38101 and have a great week.

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