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.
Walter Patterson Herald ColumnistI think I will label this column “Some passing comments on our peculiar culture.”
ALABAMA VS. NOTRE DAME:
Did you happen to watch the most talked about football game of the decade last Monday night? Alabama destroyed the “Fighting Irish,” and as a matter of fact, the game was never in question from the get go. But a strange thing happened during this game that still has me scratching my head. The ESPN cameras panned the stadium and found Miss Alabama USA, Katherine Webb, seated beside A. J. McCarron’s mom. McCarron is the Alabama quarterback who is presently dating Miss Webb. Brent Musburger, the ESPN announcer commented that “the quarterbacks seem to get all of the good-looking women.” The feminists came up off of their toadstools and cried long and loud that this statement was sexist, undignified, and disrespectful of women. The howls were so loud that ESPN issued a written apology saying that Musburger did wrong and now understands what “it was that he did wrong.”
Well, I don’t understand what he did wrong. Katherine Webb, the 23-year old Miss Alabama USA, is a beautiful young woman. Brent Musburger was absolutely correct in pointing this fact out. If Musburger, age 73, was correct, why did ESPN issue an apology?
Was Miss Alabama USA offended by Musburger’s remarks? Absolutely not. In fact she said that she was flattered. I asked Miss Judy if she was offended, and her immediate answer was a resounding “no.” I ran into a friend of mine at the school Wednesday, and she started laughing. “I’m a conservative southern woman, so you know that I was not offended.” Then she gave me the money line: “If Notre Dame had played a better game, maybe Musburger wouldn’t have been looking for things to talk about.” I don’t think I can add anything to that observation. I’ll just say that Miss Webb is a very attractive young woman, and I don’t plan to issue an apology for saying it –ever.
If you are a practicing physician, you might want to take cover. The leftist (Democrats) may be coming for you sooner than anyone thought. The Marxists among us are now asking the question, “Why should a doctor make a profit for treating a sick person?” To the left, doctors make too much money. “Why should anyone get rich from treating sick people?” The left in this country would love to see all doctors working for a non-profit organization – like the government, for example. Expect the healthcare in this country to spiral down very quickly now that Obama has revealed his plans. I pray that you are a healthy person.
LOW INFORMATION VOTERS (LIV):
A new term has been coined this year, low information voters or LIVs. These are voters who pay little attention to what is going on in the country, yet when election time comes, they vote with their hearts rather than with their heads. For example, several LIVs have told me that “Obama cares.”
“About what?” I inquired.
“Does Mr. Obama know you personally?”
“No, but he cares about me, and that’s enough for me.”
The sad truth is that not only does Obama not know them, but he could care less about them. If he cared, this economy would not be in the shape it’s in, and people, even LIV’s, could find work and support their families.
Beginning on the 9th of January, the National Cathedral in Washington, D. C. will begin performing same-sex marriages. What a national disgrace. If I were an Episcopalian, I would immediately renounce my membership at the National Cathedral. Wait a minute; I think I may have experienced an epiphany. Since the U. S. Constitution is an “evolving document,” perhaps the Bible is evolving, too. I’m sure the liberals will tell us soon. Anyway, I would still resign.
PUBLIC SCHOOL EDUCATION:
This may be an oxymoron since there is a great deal of evidence to show that little or no education is going on in our public schools across this nation.
When I was at the University of Oklahoma taking management courses, I made friends with many young people who had children between the ages of 6 – 18. These young people lived in places like California, Utah, Georgia, Washington, D.C, and Nebraska. To a person, they were dissatisfied with the products that are being cranked out by our public schools.
For example, we asked several students what the difference was between socialism and capitalism. None knew the correct answer. Economics may be being taught in America’s public schools, but it is most certainly done with a bias for socialism.
Jamie Patterson Managing EditorMy husband Jason stood in silence as he looked over the new living room arrangement.
I have the luxury of having a best friend who also has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to interior design. She and I had spent the morning moving furniture around, shifting accent pieces and rearranging the whole design of the living room.
That was over a year ago, and Jason is still complaining.
“I sure would like to have a place I can sit my cup down again,” he said, huffing in his recliner.
Now mind you, there is a side table sitting between the two recliners in the room. I can sit my cups down next to me with no problem. But apparently, he has a problem with extending his arm to the left to utilize the table.
“I liked it just the way it was until ya’ll came in here and moved everything around,” he said. “I need to have some input next time.”
I would love to see what Jason would come up if I allowed him to decorate our home. I let him have one exception in our sitting room, and now there is a giant deer head staring at you from above the fireplace.
This is the same man who would like to have two matching camouflage recliners in the living room. You know, in case we ever need to blend in with our surroundings while we are watching television.
He has photographs and blueprints drawn out of an antler chandelier he would like to construct one day. He even wants to wrap our front door with antlers to give it an “outdoorsy” feel.
Decoration elements like this would work perfect in a log cabin or at a deer camp. But I am just not seeing his vision in our 1950s cottage.
My Paw Paw also had a “vision” when it came to decorating.
Growing up, he always had a series of reminders in our house, letting visitors know that he was a hunter.
It was a different era then. Paw Paw brought home the bacon so Maw Maw kind of had to let him decorate some. She had her antiques, but there were clear traces of him scattered throughout the house.
There was the classic living room lamp with three stuffed squirrels on it. The squirrels were mounted up a wooden stand that led up to the lampshade.
Then there was the gigantic ox horns above the television set. These things were so massive that they were not safe to hang up on any wall. Trust me, I know. That thing came crashing down on my doll house one night with me barely escaping. The horns went back up, but Maw Maw told me never to play there again.
Deer heads were everywhere in our home. And there was a gigantic bass mounted as well.
But the most orignal “man piece” I have ever seen was found in an old photograph I discovered.
Paw Paw had taken the hooves of a deer and made a gun rack out of them. I am not making this up.
Placed upon a wood board, two hooves were placed across it. When entering the Jackson home, you could hang your weapon or even a jacket on Bambi’s feet.
That must not have lasted very long because I never saw it. But the photograph proves it existed.
So, I guess I should let Jason dream a little. I might even be able to live with camouflage recliners or even an antler chandelier.
But I’m drawing the line at furniture made from feet.
“Hey, that’s pretty neat,” Jason said, looking at the photograph of Paw Paw.
I just hope he doesn’t get any ideas.
Walter Patterson Herald ColumnistThose of you who read this column knew that the United States was not going over the “fiscal cliff.”
Every politician in Washington was playing a game for the people back home, and this includes our two distinguished senators. They can now claim that they did all that they could, but they had to vote for more “pork” in order to save this country from a financial meltdown.
The House played the game to perfection. The congressmen argued, put themselves in front of any TV camera they could find, pretended to negotiate, rung their hands in mock desperation, then voted to increase taxes by $41 dollars for every $1 in cuts.
I wish that all of us common folk could make deals like this. But, alas, all we can do is work a little harder and dig a little deeper. Taxes are going up, and you will see that reality in your next paycheck.
The country went over the “fiscal cliff” months ago. The vote in the House on New Year’s night just added one more exclamation point at the end of the sentence. The Speaker of the House, John Boehner, had already fulfilled his role by morphing into the worst negotiator in the history of Speakers.
He played his role as far as he needed to, and then turned the whole process over to Harry Reid, the Senate Majority leader. When all was said and done, this country had picked up another $3.6 trillion in debt. That will bring the U. S. indebtedness to $20 trillion in the very near future, and Obama wants more.
When this country goes “belly up,” and it will just as sure as the sun rises in the east, what do these politicians think will happen to them? Back when a government “shutdown” was threatened, Obama gave that famous speech where he warned the Republicans that “all that stands between you and the pitch forks is me.” My question now is,” Will Obama be enough?”
A study of history reflects what happens when a country can no longer pay its bills. Things become ugly fast.
With the dollar worthless, what will the people do? How will they get food? How will they pay for the things that all of us must have to survive?
The government will no longer be able to pay for any type of social program which includes food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, farm support, medical services, the military, government workers, and a police force.
Whom will the people blame?
If I were a senator or congressman, I think I would be contemplating making advance preparations to get out of the country. People who have labored and saved their entire lives are not going to sit by idly and see their life’s work go down the drain.
The Democrats have instigated a “scorched earth” class warfare attack. They, and they alone, have turned the poor against the successful, and they have successfully divided the classes so that Americans have now formed a circular firing squad.
Instead of moving forward as we should by insuring opportunities for all, the Democrats have worked the populace into such frenzy that everyone is suspicious of everyone else. The so-called “rich” are not the problem. The government could take every dime they have and it would pay for running this wasteful government for 11 days. Is running the government an additional 11 days enough to hate successful people? Shouldn’t every American aspire to be successful – and yes, rich?
Perhaps John F. Kennedy said it best when he said, “Ask not what your country do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Sadly we live in a day and time where half of the population has it hands out, and our government happily fills them.
We are at a turning point in our history. Not since the War Between the States has our country been so divided. What is worse, the “real fiscal crisis” that is about to occur is going to change this country into Greece or worse, a third world country where all of us subsist on our own ability to scrounge food, medicate ourselves, and live a life of drudgery and despair.
We need heroic leaders who will put the welfare of the American people above their lust for power and personal ambition. We need leaders who will step up to the plate and declare that enough is enough.
We cannot continue this reckless course of spending money we do not have. This insanity must stop.
There will be pain, but let me assure you now that the pain will be much less than the pain of an economic collapse.
Jamie Patterson Managing EditorAfter a night of pizza and fireworks, the Patterson family welcomed in the new year with the arrival of 2013.
The next morning, I was ready to take on the world with a new perspective, a few new resolutions and a new attitude.
For some unknown reason, I began to knock down every item I had on my to-do list around the house.
I cleaned all the bathroom cabinets out first. I now know what happens to Pepto- Bismol after a few years buried inside a medicine cabinet, and it’s not very pretty.
Then I began to throw away all the junk tucked underneath our bed. It was no man’s land under there with dust bunnies that had transformed into dust dogs and about four years worth of recycled Christmas bags.
At the end of the day and with a belly full of peas and cabbage, I surveyed our hard work around the house. There were still a few junk drawers to tackle, but overall our mission was accomplished.
We began the new year with a new slate around our home. Clutter was attacked, junk was thrown away and order was restored.
Let’s just see how long it lasts.
But as I was cleaning up around the house on the first day of the new year, sadness also popped up every now and then.
Cleaning up our Christmas decorations, I found a wrapped box underneath the tree. Coated with a deep purple and blue canvas, the gift tag shined through like a candle.
It was a gift I had purchased about two months ago for my Aunt Sonya. Sadly, she died only a few days before Christmas. I was never able to give her the present.
My eyes began to tear up. Not only because her death is still close to home, but because it was the first time I had really put a lot of thought into her Christmas gift.
It was easy to buy a collectible or knick knack for her. But it was the first time that I went out of my way to get something that would comfort her, especially during her time of illness.
Moving onto other areas of the house to clean, I opened a drawer that I had shoved several photographs to make room for mantle decorations.
The first one I grabbed was an older photograph of my Maw Maw and Paw Paw. They were in their 20s. Paw Paw was in his Army uniform, and Maw Maw had a head of freshly set curls.
I put the picture back to original spot. It was also in 2012 that we buried my Maw Maw. She died last January.
Paw Paw died almost 20 years ago, but I still have never got over it too.
Grabbing a feather duster, I began to hit a few areas around the house. It didn’t take too long for me to make my way to a cabinet that holds all of Jason’s “man stuff.”
Amidst the arrowheads, bullets and hunting calls, there sat a simple photograph of his Granny, Sue Richardson.
Granny was in the middle of a conversation in the photograph, but you could tell she was standing in her kitchen. It was the place where Granny made you feel most at home. With the smell of homecooked meals and an open table, she made anybody feel like family.
She also passed away in 2012, only a few weeks after my own Maw Maw.
That evening as I went to bed, I began to think about all the loved ones we lost in 2012 within our family. And they were all people that had a presence...a presence that you can just tell is no longer there.
There were empty seats at the table this holiday season. You almost felt like they were in the other room.
But the one thing that offered me hope during that tough time of cleaning up was gazing upon the photographs of our children.
Our son James was beginning to look like a little man. And our daughter Elsie was beginning to grow her hair into a small ponytail.
Those images of their smiling faces put a smile on mine.
You never know what life is going to throw your way. You never know when your ride is over.
But its those young faces that carry on the memories, traditions and life.
It’s in their faces that you see the future.
And you can’t help but smile.