Jamie Patterson Managing EditorNow that deer season is over, maybe things can go back to being normal in the Patterson home.
Ever since November, things have been turned upside down as my husband Jason and our son James experienced their first hunting season together.
At five years old, James was allowed to go into the woods with his Daddy during the beloved “rut” and any other time to bag a deer.
But trust me, they left their mark the entire time.
Our house, that is usually very organized, was covered with a variety of hunting tools that I wasn’t allowed to touch. Now that the season is over, I can pack them away until another season.
The doe urine left on top of the microwave can be hidden back inside the drawer. The scent-hider-shampoo-goo can be removed from the shower caddy. The feathered urine “dragger” thing can hopefully be thrown away.
Hunting knives can be put on the top shelf. The skinning rack can be shoved into the storage shack. The antlers can be put away in the hopes that the chandelier, frame, or whatever other project Jason has in mind for them can one day be completed.
And my truck can be completely washed and detailed from loading, carrying and moving deer bodies around.
All jokes aside, hunting season really isn’t that bad for me. I actually enjoy seeing Jason getting that little skip in his step. And seeing James ready with his cap gun was kind of cute too.
Those two really enjoyed themselves this year. Being able to hunt together for the first time was truly a memory.
Complete with his toy gun and binoculars, James would walk side by side with Jason to hunt.
I know it truly was a bonding experience that Jason is looking forward to every year.
And I would be telling stories if I didn’t admit to enjoy my “girl time” while they were in the woods. Our daughter and Elsie and I had plenty of time were really able to bond while the boys were hunting.
Our mornings were filled with snack food, girl movies, hairstyles, baby dolls and cuddle sessions.
James calls it “chick stuff.”
But Elsie and I did show interest when the boys returned from their outings. If they bagged a deer, we took photographs of it. Elsie even tried to help clean one or two. And we all enjoy the fruits of their labor when we have smoked, grilled or fried deer meat to eat at supper.
The boys will hang their heads low as they pack away their hunting stuff. They will spend hours reading hunting magazines about what to expect next season. They will go outside and try to assemble that antler chandelier. And when the last package of deer meat is consumed, they might even shed a tear.
But don’t you go pitying the Patterson boys. They truly love to live off the land.
As soon as the deer stuff if put away, another season will begin.
I will have to dig rubber worms out of James’ pants before I throw them in the wash. Hooks will be found scattered along the kitchen counter. Poles will be sticking out of my back window of the truck. Rubber boots will be left on the porch. The old boat will be moved into my parking space. And the freezer will be stocked with anything that has gills.
Maybe when fishing season is over, things will go back to normal.
But judging by the little pink Cinderella fishing rod that recently appeared among the pile of gear in the corner, the boys might have a little company this year.
Walter Patterson Herald ColumnistIs it just me, but do you ever have the feeling that the world is spinning out of control? Every time I read the newspaper or listen to radio or watch a news program, I get the strange feeling that something is surreal about our present circumstances.
Over 8 million Americans are unemployed and can’t find work anywhere. I talked to a “Katrina victim” last week who had once been a TV producer. He is now a salesman. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that. Honest work is still good, but this highly trained individual had been forced to change professions in order to survive. No one seems to be too upset about the lack of jobs.
Gas prices are averaging $3.24 per gallon now. When Obama came into office in 2009, the price of a gallon of gas was $1.84 per gallon. No one seems to be too upset about the price of gas. Like I said, it is all surreal to me.
A Harvard professor, Dr. George Church, is seeking an “adventurous” woman to give birth to a Neanderthal cloned baby. Dr. Church “believes he can reconstruct Neanderthal DNA and resurrect the species which became extinct 33,000 years ago.” Talk about Jurassic Park. Tell me that these crazy thoughts are not coursing through the brain of a normal, supposedly intelligent, fellow human being. Does this not seem a little surreal to you?
Do you remember Thomas Malthus? If you ever took a course in botany, you will remember that he is the man who did the experiments on peas in order to determine how we inherit our genes. I can still hear the teacher talking about the red pea blooms, the white blooms and the pink blooms. It was all pretty interesting to me until Malthus became a little surreal. He was worried that the earth could no longer support a large population of humans. He claimed, “The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race.”
Enter that great thinker and profoundly misguided nut, Sir David Attenborough. “We are a plague on the Earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now.”
Right on cue, Paul Ehrlick, the doomsday biologist, stepped to the plate. “Nobody, in my view, has the right to have 12 children or even 3 unless the second pregnancy is twins.” He went on to say, “Reducing the number of people is still the answer to civilizations woes.”
After reading this, I concluded that I had entered another dimension and nothing was real. But the coup de grass was yet to come.
Japan has a culture that has endured for literally thousands of years. Change was brought about after World War II, but yet the people had customs and traditions that they followed. One of their traditions was to honor the elderly. The elderly had lived long enough to gain some wisdom and this wisdom could be passed on to the younger generation.
Taro Aso, Japan’s Prime Minister has declared, “Let elderly people hurry and die. I would refuse end-of-life care and would feel bad knowing treatment was paid for by government.”
Don’t get upset. I’m sure it’s just me. There is probably nothing to worry about. My brain is probably not functioning at full capacity. It probably doesn’t matter that all of the people I have mentioned are liberals.
Perhaps I’m just having a “surreal” moment.
Jamie Patterson Managing EditorI knew something was wrong when I saw the look on his face as he made his way toward the car.
Our son James usually comes out of his school grinning from ear to ear. He eagerly tells me what letter he learned for the day or what fun game he played on the playground.
But today, he had a frown. He kept looking down, and I could tell something was on his mind.
“Momma,” he said, almost scared to look me in the eye. “I got put on red today.”
The children in James’ class have a system to monitor their behavior. Their names are placed on either green, yellow or red based on their actions.
Naturally, staying on green means you were well behaved for the day and didn’t get into any trouble. Yellow means you messed up a little, but you were warned. Red means you misbehaved and you could get sent to the office for a spanking if your offense was a major one.
So, the idea of landing on “red” really had James in a concerned mood.
“Well,” I said, leading him to the car. “What did you do to get on red?”
“I was playing in the cafeteria,” he said, looking down.
He even had a note from his teacher inside his book bag. He was telling the truth. He misbehaved in the cafeteria. He had been warned in the past about acting up at lunch, but this was the first time he was put on the dreaded “red.”
I gave him a lecture on the way to daycare. I told him I was disappointed because he had managed to stay on green for so long. This was his first time on red.
James kept looking out the window. He told me he tries to be good but sometimes the other kids “make him” be bad.
It took all I had not to laugh. I had to keep my stern appearance, but it was funny to think how another person can “make” you get crazy in the cafeteria.
I told him he wouldn’t be allowed to play his video game that night, and he would have to apologize to his teacher tomorrow.
A few hours passed, and it was time for my husband Jason to pick them up from daycare. I wasn’t feeling well so I told him I would just meet them at the house.
The idea of landing on “red” was still heavy on James’ mind because it was the first thing he mentioned to Jason.
“Where’s Momma,” James asked, looking into the car.
“She was sick so she is at home,” Jason said.
“Well, she has something to tell you, and you’re not going to want to hear it,” James sighed.
To his credit, James once again admitted to his offense.
I will give him a few points for being honest. I never told on myself when I was coming up. I wouldn’t necessarily lie about getting into trouble, but I sure didn’t admit to it.
I have had notes stapled to my shirt from my teacher. When I came home with a ripped sweater from snatching the note off...then I would admit to something. But only if I got caught.
James actually took his punishment like a man, admitted his wrongdoing and awaited his sentence.
The next day, he was still so concerned about “the incident.” He assured us he would work his way back to the green level, and he would apologize to his teacher.
I know there will be plenty of more days of landing on “red” left in James’ life. There will be more lectures, more punishments and more promises.
But I hope he will be as honest about it as he was yesterday. I have my doubts, but that’s part of being a parent. You never know what kids are going to say or do.
But if he comes home with a ripped sweater, it won’t be too hard to figure it out.
Jason Patterson Editor & Publisher“Jason, do you really believe that stuff you’re writing.”
My friend was looking at me as if my answer would provide an assessment of my mental health.
He was referring to stories and columns we’d written in this newspaper celebrating the positive changes taking place in downtown Yazoo City and predicting even more good things to come.
I responded that not only did I believe it, but I regretted that I didn’t have the money to invest in one of the historic buildings myself.
“But everybody knows downtowns are dying everywhere,” he added before rolling off a list of towns in the Mississippi Delta that seem to have more empty buildings than taxpaying citizens. “People have been talking about revitalizing downtown Yazoo City since before you were even born. Face it, it’s a lost cause.”
My friend is correct that downtown areas are dying in dying towns, but they are also thriving in towns where people have a vision and there are enough people to support that vision. Greenwood, Vicksburg and Cleveland are examples that immediately come to mind nearby.
Historic downtowns that thrive will be those that have business owners who can change with the times and offer something that will attract people. Yazoo City is blessed to have some of those kind of people. It’s happening right now.
Our downtown is a perfect mix of landmark businesses that have built a tradition of great products and service like Anderson’s Jewelry, Arnett’s Jewelry and Black & White or Webb’s Pharmacy and Ferguson Furniture. It’s a place where you can find one-of-a-kind items at places like Grace Hardware, Cindi’s or Downtown Marketplace.
About the only thing missing in recent times has been a place to eat.
That’s no longer the case.
Thomas Johnson, who operated the popular Yazoo Market for years now, has now opened a business on Main Street. There probably won’t be an empty parking space in front of Tom’s on Main for awhile, but there’s plenty of parking in the lot behind the restaurant.
The thing that many Yazooans love about Johnson is that he isn’t afraid to try new things. His menu often features items you won’t find anywhere else locally, and I think that is going to be popular not only with locals, but also with the many people who visit downtown.
The word on Main Street is that another restaurant may also be coming soon.
Tom’s on Main is the latest business to open in one of the colorful buildings downtown belonging to Paul and JoAnn Adams.
Paul and JoAnn have proven to be visionaries downtown. When they started renovating those old buildings I heard more than a few people opining that they were wasting their time and money investing so heavily into an area that seemed to be long past its prime. Today TCTI Fitness has a very enthusiastic local following, the No Smoking Smokehouse is the place to be for special events and Delta Darlins recently relocated to Main Street. Quaint Corners has opened right next door and has quickly developed an enthusiastic following for its art classes.
For the first time in a long time there is some serious positive momentum in downtown Yazoo City thanks to the efforts of a lot of people who care enough about this community to invest their time and money here when in many cases it might have been easier to pull out in search of greener pastures.
The ones who truly believed are finally starting to reap the benefits, and that’s something that all Yazooans should be proud to see.
Jamie Patterson Managing EditorIt was almost as if history was repeating itself.
As I welcomed another year on my birthday last Monday, the state of Mississippi welcomed in a harsh winter storm whether it wanted to or not.
On the day I was born, 31 years ago, there was also a state of panic in the place of my birth. A major ice, slush, snow, etc. storm hit Natchez on Jan. 14, 1982.
As soon as the freezing rain and piles of snow began to accumulate, so did my mother’s choice to head to the hospital to give birth to her first child.
Jamie Lynn Kemp was born at 3:17 p.m., a healthy and happy baby.
But the events that led up to that moment weren’t such a blessing.
Granted, I am going by hearsay since I obviously have no recollection of these events. But considering more than one relative has shared the story, almost to the exact detail...it’s safe to say it’s true.
And before I begin the events of the day, I can’t help but think of the saying “country came to town” because when the Jackson family arrived, they let the whole town know about it.
My Momma first went into labor during the early hours that morning. She got to the hospital just fine that day with no episodes, no dramatic events, nothing out of the ordinary. She was just a first time mommy, ready to meet her baby.
The phone calls began to circulate among Momma’s family.
My Paw Paw picked up the telephone on the first ring that day. He was already up to keep an eye on the weather. A winter storm was barrelling into Adams County, and he wanted to be prepared.
Some say women are the only ones who get excited about babies. But Paw Paw was the exception.
“Earlene,” he yelled at the top of his lungs, slamming the phone down. “Get out of the bed. Rhonda is going to have the baby...right now.”
Running through the house, Maw Maw said he took down an entire wall of pictures trying to put on his coat. He burned his hand as he poured his Thermos up with scalding coffee. He even called his neighbor to let him know the good news.
Maw Maw was slipping on a sweater hat when he pulled the truck right up next to the bedroom window and let the horn ring out into the entire community.
Kingston Road was iced over, and there were a few bridges he had to cross. Maw Maw said he had a crazy look in his eye.
“We gotta go,” he said, trying to balance his Thermos and smoking pipe on the steering wheel. “Those babies....they come when they are ready. They don’t wait around.”
Maw Maw said she prayed the entire way into town, but they safely made it to the hospital.
Clear across the county, my Aunt Sonya and Uncle Herbert got the same call.
“Herbert,” my aunt yelled, throwing on a pair of shoes that didn’t match. “Get the car running. Rhonda is having the baby.”
“Why don’t we just wait and see what the weather is gonna do,” Uncle Herbert asked. “We won’t be able to do anything. She might in labor for hours. Let’s just wait an hour or so.”
“I’m going without you,” she said, grabbing her purse. “Rhonda needs me.”
Uncle Herbert said he didn’t argue with her. He didn’t even try to stop her. He knew it would be useless. He sat back in his recliner with his cup of coffee as he heard the car’s belt squeal down Pine Ridge Road.
I would like to tell you that Aunt Sonya made it safe like Paw Paw did. But that won’t be the case.
She made it into town, but right at the intersection going into the hospital, she had an accident.
She rear-ended another car. And not just any car...a shiny BMW.
In a panic, she sweet-talked the BMW owner into exchanging information. I’m not sure whether he felt sorry for Aunt Sonya trying to get to her sister or whether he thought she was crazy.
Aunt Sonya sped up the emergency ramp that led to the hospital. Yeah....the ramp that was iced over from the winter storm.
She began to slide sideways. Then she started sliding back down it again.
Once the car came to a stop, she just left it there. Right in the middle of the emergency ramp. A Lincoln with a huge dent in the front from her accident just sat there.
Hospital employees tried to stop her. She just threw her keys at a medic and told him to do what he wanted with it.
“My sister needs me,” she shouted, running into the hospital.
My family waited six more hours for me. Uncle Herbert even made it up there with a few hours to spare.
It may have been embarrassing at the time. An older man dressed in overalls with a Thermos of coffee, a burn on his hand, a pipe in his mouth busting through the door. A half-crazed woman with mismatched shoes and a smashed car outside.
But they were the folks who welcomed me into the world. And with such an enthusiastic greeting, I had to have known that I had arrived to the place where I belonged.