By Mickey Howley
I’m a big fan of the smoothness coming up from the new asphalt laid on Main Street. My old pickup hardly squeaks as we glide serenely on the satin black surface. It is like black ice without the sliding.
My brother made the observation on his first trip up here 12 years ago–yes, this is far north for him—that “the roads are like ice.” What Charlie meant was unlike in south Louisiana, where the roads are built on semi-liquid muck and suspension shops are lucrative businesses, the roads in our part of Mississippi are smooth. Relatively speaking. And I can tell you having driven to Detroit and back last month, it is not any better as one rolls north. Enjoy the wide expanse of Main for the moment and the pure smoothness of the roll.
In Pine Valley last week at the arts and music fest there, the backdrop for the stage was a painted canvas from the class of 1949-50. On the canvas were the names of the local businesses. It made me think that it is the local businesses that have consistently supported the town as the town has supported them. I think the biological term for that arrangement is “symbiotic relationship.”
Last Tuesday in Tupelo at the Mississippi Heritage Trust conference (MHT is part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation) Water Valley received an award for Community Renaissance. The award is not for one thing in particular. Rather it is for long-term collective effort with tangible and measurable results. Most important perhaps is the intangible positive shift in attitude. It has been a collective effort to bring downtown back to the point where people visit when there is not an event. Just to see and be and check it out. The buzz is because something is happening in Water Valley. Visitors are nice, but not the real point. The point is the town is good for the folks who live here. The very core of this renaissance is commercial buildings are being and have been “fixed.” Returned to modern functional use and still keeping their historic character. Businesses, many new or newer, are in those buildings. And the town supports those businesses. That’s the reason for the statewide award. It is that symbiotic thing.
Wilbur Herring was back at the Farmers Market last Saturday. He seemed nicer than I remember, but still has plenty opinion in him. More importantly Carline Herring was there with lots of stuff including some of her fried pies. Everyone has his or her own definition of earthly paradise, but a bite of a hot peach pie certainly is a part of mine. Stop by this Saturday morning from 8 to 11 and check out the action under the big magnolia. It is a great way to start off a summer weekend in the Valley.