We made it through Mothers’ Day, completed the Graduation Section, which was included in last week’s edition, and then graduation was held Friday night. Was so sorry that I didn’t get to attend. Heard that it was a very nice event. We had one graduate from Woodland Hills, Jaclyn Swinkowski, and a reception was held for her last Tuesday.
Jim and I were invited, but didn’t get through with the paper in time to attend. Sounded like we missed a great party. Congratulations to Jaclyn and all the other graduates.
As I went to Larson’s for what I thought was my last time for the week, a cute little Boy Scout was near the door selling discount cards to aid in funding their many projects. I purchased one and one of the discounts was $5 off a purchase of $50 or more from Larson’s. Still had the card in my hand when I checked out, so I told the checker,” I’ll use this, since I will probably not remember to bring it again.” Coming on home I began thinking, “I didn’t contribute to the Scouts, Don Larson did”. Next time I see a Scout, I have to donate at least $5. If you have not purchased one of these cards, do so, they are for a good cause and also provide some wonderful bargains for you. Did have to make another trip to Larson’s Sunday morning before church—needed another loaf of sandwich bread. Scouts were not there—I’m sure they were in church.
Jim arrived Monday night, came to work with me on Tuesday and he seems to still fit right in with the newspaper staff. He’s been running errands, reading proofs, and doing most anything needed to produce a newspaper. I was always told that the ink gets into your blood and you never lose it. Jim seems to prove this true. He has had a bit of journalism practice through the years though, having written a couple of text books, some publicity articles for the school and even written a few articles for surrounding papers in the southern New Mexico area. It has been so much fun having him here for a few days. We’ve talked, eaten, and even done a few things that needed his attention.
Jim joined his Memphis in May barbecue cooking team on Thursday. They had a great time but didn’t take any first place wins. On Friday the weather got so bad that the park was shut down. Some of the judging was cancelled and had to be repeated on Saturday, making a shamble of their scheduling. Celeste had flown in on Thursday and got to experience her first Memphis in May.
Because of my still ailing knee, we didn’t go up. However, Jim brought Celeste and his long-time friend (back to Eastman days), Greg Lisemby, down to the Cole home for a family dinner on Sunday. They only got to stay a few hours, but it was wonderful getting to hug Celeste and Greg. I’ve always said if my children just come and give me a hug and have to return home it would still be great—Celeste proved that Sunday. She had a terrible time getting home. Weather caused many flight delays and she got home in the wee hours and had to go to school Monday morning. Jim will be with me until Wednesday morning and then he will drive home.
For a one day notification, we had a great turn out of family. Three uncles and an aunt, along with their spouses; four first cousins; and four second cousins were present. Jim was pleased that so many thought that much of him. I burst his bubble though—told him they didn’t come to see him they came for the food. Uncle Bill says, “Yes any excuse will do for a party.”
We had the traditional southern spread—peas, lima beans, creamed field corn, fried okra, creamed potatoes, sliced tomatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon, pot roast, baked ham, chicken tenders, cornbread, and biscuits. Desserts were icebox lemon pie, chocolate pie, carmel cake, and real banana pudding. That Bill’s description of correctly made banana pudding (cooked vanilla pudding — not instant). We all ate too much. When we tried to get Greg to eat dessert he says, “I’ve had mine, a second helping of corn and fried okra.”
Caroline got to play with Celeste and they always enjoy each other—you really can’t tell whether they’re grown-ups or children. Caroline’s latest is that she told her MeMaw that she was going to have to go to the school she doesn’t like. Jimmie asked where the school was and Caroline says, ”The one that is south of us, that school called State.” Asked why she wanted to go to State, her answer was, “I plan to be a veterinarian and I know that is the best school for that in Mississippi.”
Now this is from a four year old. Know that Steve Cummings is going to enjoy this one, maybe he can find some scholarship money.
Monday Jim and I had a little legal business, so we just walked to our destinations. First was a trip to Mechanics Bank to check out our lock box. Surprisingly, we found the documents we thought were lost. I could not find my box key anywhere and Jim remembered he had taken it to New Mexico. Since Celeste was flying in he called her and she brought it to us—told the folks at the bank we had to have the key flown in.
A little advice though, we found that if your key is lost the only way into the box is to drill the lock and this is probably expensive. We put mine in what we hope is a safe place that we all can remember. Jim had not been in the newly renovated bank building and was impressed — said this looks like a big city bank. Then we began remembering the old bank, the one the building just renovated replaced. It had no offices. President Eddie Blackmur’s desk was in the southwest corner of the big room, Vice-president, Earl Fly’s was in the northeast area of that same room, next to the teller’s cages, where Charley Langford, W. C. Quinn, and a lady (neither of us could remember) occupied. Mrs. Pete Green was the secretary and probably all of these folks did the bookkeeping. Quite a difference in less than 50 years.
From there we walked to the courthouse. Jim says I can’t believe this terrain has changed so much. Even though I’ve been here through all that change I have trouble remembering how it was originally. We needed the chancery clerk’s office and Jim started up the steps to the front door and would have entered the door on his right. I caught him and we went to the new chancery clerk’s quarters. He later toured the courthouse and was impressed with the renovations there—I had to come back to work. He later went up to Trent Howell’s office and found lots of changes in that area of the Valley. Shelley and Trent took care of all our problems and we do appreciate all the fine professional folks we have in the Valley—we are blessed.
Monday night we went up to Oxford. So many family members and friends had told Jim that he really needed to see the changes there. We walked around the square and I window shopped, he shopped in Off Square Books—one of his favorite places in Oxford—and as usual found a few volumes he just could not go home without. In the used books I found a copy of Tom Sawyer, about the vintage we grew up with, and a copy of The Citadel, comparable to my high school book. Didn’t buy either of these because Ed’s copies are probably on our bookshelves.
Then we picked a place to eat and found it was out of business. Second choice was Old Venice, where we’d eaten many times in years past. Remembered that we always loved their food and memory did not fail us. I had chicken fettuccine and Jim had a crawfish sandwich. Both were delicious. However, my pasta dish was no better than Home Town Pizza’s Chicken Parmesan—different, but no better. Jim and I both watched as the pizza came out and Jim had had Home Town’s last week and he said it was super—don’t have to go out of the Valley to get pizza. We also have Larson’s and Shell with fine pizza.
We’d eaten lunch at B.T.C. and Jim had “The Amy,” which he proclaimed “amazing.” Even though the food was great at B.T.C., the best part of our time there was the entertainment—Snooky Willams is one of the best story tellers in the world and we could have listened to him much longer. Jim’s sandwich at Old Venice came with fries, which neither of us ate, but we did taste them—they were very good. But the best fries are in the Valley are regular fries at Nallie’s. I’ve never had better spicy fries than those from Bayou Kitchen & Grill—and their hamburger is the best I’ve ever eaten. I could fill the whole column with comments on the great food in the Valley.
Strolling the Valley and Oxford with Jim was so much fun—wish he could stay longer—but he has to go back to Celeste and New Mexico come Wednesday.