Jamie Patterson Managing EditorI was sweeping the floor when our son James can tumbling in the back door, out of breath and on the verge of being out of his mind.
“Momma, did you see that,” he asked, with his eyes about the size of baseballs.
Normally, I would have kept on sweeping. But something was out of place.
James was breathing in and out like a mad man. His hair was sticking out in all sorts of directions. His tan face had changed into a deep shade of red. Grass stains were all over his sweatpants. There was even a stick lodged in his shoelaces.
“See what,” I asked, putting my hand on my hip.
“Nothing,” he shouted, running back outside.
I looked out the window and saw my husband Jason standing there in a state of confusion. It was as of he was waiting on something.
I later found out that evening Jason was waiting on something....for me to ring his neck.
James had almost killed himself coming down the hill behind our house on his Big Wheel. And it was all Jason’s fault.
You can’t blame a kid for doing something ridiculous. They don’t know any better. But when a grown man still thinks like a kid, they deserve a good lashing sometimes.
I was cleaning the house, and the boys were outside tending to yard duty when I saw the accident happening before it did.
While Jason was raking leaves, James was barreling down a steep hill while driving his plastic Big Wheel.
Jerking the back door open, I yelled my typical-Momma warning.
“Don’t let him go down that hill,” I shouted to Jason. “He’s gonna flip and break his neck.”
“He’ll be fine,” Jason responded. “You worry too much.”
“Do what I said,” I said, closing the door.
What I said was not done because James did flip down the hill.
Going a hundred miles an hour down down that steep hill probably was a lot of fun, but it didn’t take long before his luck ran out.
On about the fifth trip down the hill the front tire fell into a hole created by a mole in the hillside. James went flying into the air, before rolling down the hill. He flipped forward with his feet over his head as he was thrown from his Big Wheel.
I didn’t see any of this because I had foolishly believed the boys were going to follow my orders and had returned to my sweeping.
Jason snatched James up, checked for broken bones, cuts to the head or any other serious injuries. He then dusted the boy off as if flipping down a hill at a high rate of speed was a perfectly normal activity.
When Jason wasn’t looking, James ran inside to me to see if I had seen his Evil Knievel stunt. He described the whole thing with great enthusiasm as if it were a notable accomplishment.
When I later discovered what happened, I gave Jason a lecture once James was tucked away in bed that night.
“I told you what would happen, but I am the one who doesn’t know what I am talking about,” I said. “When will you learn that mothers see things happening before they actually happen. I knew he was gonna come tumbling down that hill.”
Jason continued to blame the mole hole. He even had the nerve to say James “took it like a man.”
That is when it dawned on me that Jason must have had plenty of similar accidents when he was a child because he clearly wasn’t thinking straight. I am all for boys having fun, but when you start getting into the broken bones department...let’s tone it down a little.
I know James can’t help it if he does a couple of ridiculous tricks. He’s a boy, and that’s just what they do.
And considering I usually see Jason laughing right behind James and often actually participating during all these escapades...they must all be born that way.
Walter Patterson Herald ColumnistI heard the State of the Union speech last week, and I still don’t believe what I heard.
Talk about a disconnect. It is clear that Mr. Obama has been hanging around Steny Hoyer, a far-left Democrat from Maryland, and Nancy Pelosi, a leftist Democrat from California, too long.
Hoyer, earlier in the week, stated, “This country has a paying for problem, not a spending problem.” That great sage and political siren, Nancy Pelosi, stated, “We don’t have a spending problem, we have a budget-deficit problem.”
Now this might sound logical to a low information voter (LIV), but I must tell you as humbly and as honestly as I can that this kind of talk is emanating from two people who are either insane or they do not care if they lie in front of millions of Americans. No one, not even a liberal Democrat, can say with a straight face that what Hoyer and Pelosi said was logical or true.
The United States is undergoing an economic meltdown, and the Democrats don’t seem to see or care about what is happening. We are nearly $17 trillion in the red, and yet, Obama wants to spend even more. He used all of the “focus group” language in his State of the Union address to persuade the LIVs that more spending is the answer to our economic woes. The speech was filled with words or phrases like “level playing field,” “fairness,” “equality,” “safety net,” “government investments,” “ the rich need to pay their fair share,” “living wage,” “affordable health care,” “mean- spirited,” and “infrastructure repair.”
He proposed 29 new spending programs that if enacted would cause our national debt to skyrocket and result in catastrophic destruction to an economy already reeling from his socialist economic policies. Naturally, he claimed that none of these programs would cost a dime, but when have you seen a government program come on line without huge tax-payer funded “investments.” The answer, of course, is that you never have and never will. Like Pelosi’s and Hoyer’s statements, his, too, are totally illogical.
Obama failed to mention that when Obamacare is fully implemented that, according to the Internal Revenue Service, the average family of five will pay $20,000 per year for coverage.
Obama failed to mention that if you are a smoker, then a $4700 penalty will be added to your insurance premium. If you work for a tobacco company, I suggest that you find other employment – like “smuggler,” for example.
Obama said, “If you like your doctor, you can keep him.” “If you like your insurance plan, you can keep it.” Both of these statements are as true as Pelosi saying, “We don’t have a spending problem, we have a budget-deficit problem.” I have a feeling that when the bill finally comes due, the “low information voters” will simply blame George Bush – not Obama. They fail to realize that Obama’s policies are destroying the economic fabric of this country.
Obama failed to mention that 11,629 people go on food stamps each day. Over 7,000,000 individuals will lose their health insurance coverage when Obamacare finally kicks in. He touted “clean energy” and “global warming,” but he conspicuously failed to mention that gas prices are the highest they have ever been this early in the year. The United States has more oil than Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, yet this administration is clinging to the already scientifically refuted notion of “global warming” or as the leftist say, “climate change.”
Obama spent as little time as possible talking about the economy and employment for Americans. Since he has not produced any job growth, he recognizes that this discussion would not be helpful to his radical agenda.
Our economy is in a downward spiral. We do have a “spending problem and a budget deficit problem.” The Democrats who say otherwise are doing permanent and perhaps irreparable damage to this country and to its people. We simply cannot continue on the track we are on. The good news is that the American voters are beginning to get the message. According to Gallop, over 65 percent of the American people think that the country is on the wrong track; 57 percent disagree with Obama on taxes; 65 percent disagree with Obama on the budget deficit; 60 percent disapprove of the way he is handling the economy.
The only problem is that the low information voters (LIVs) still blame George Bush. It is just a fact of life that some people will believe anything.
Jamie Patterson Managing EditorThe Patterson home was filled with chatter this week as we prepared for Valentine’s Day.
My husband Jason sneaked around getting presents and other tokens of love.
Our daughter Elsie tried to steal every piece of candy she found, even though I had a secret stash especially for her.
And our son James helped with all the necessary preparations for his party at school.
He was very excited all week about the party that would be held with his classmates last Thursday. From packing goody bags with treats to filling out Valentine cards to making cupcakes with Momma and Little Sister, James was all about the “day of love” this week.
And his little mind is starting to get more curious about the emotion of love, romance and all that comes with it.
“What does breaking up mean,” he asked, as we made our goody bags for school.
I shot Jason a look across the table. I wanted to smirk, and Jason was already making a face.
“Why,” I asked, grabbing another chocolate heart. “Did somebody break up with you?”
Apparently, a little girl in James’ class “broke up” with another little boy. I’m sure it was a very difficult experience for the five-year-old lovebirds.
Jason and I laughed a little as we explained to him what it meant. I think he was more confused than when we started.
“I’m learning all about the gossip of a kindergarten classroom,” I told Jason, as James made his way to his room.
And just last week James asked me about the woes of a broken heart.
We were listening to a song about a man who was down on his luck because his true love ended the relationship. It was a typical “my lady left me and my dog died” tune. The main line of the chorus was even “I would be sad because you left me all alone.”
That got the wheels in James’ head turning.
“Momma, is he serious,” James asked. “Is he really that sad.”
“I guess so,” I responded, looking in the rear view mirror at him. “His girlfriend left him, and he really is sad about it.”
“Why doesn’t he just follow her,” he asked.
I smirked as I explained to him how it usually doesn’t work that way.
Being a mother and extra nosey, I playfully asked James if he had his own girlfriend yet. It seemed like the perfect time to ask.
“No,” he said, looking out of the window. “I ain’t got time for all that.”
It took all I had not to erupt into a fit of laughter.
“You will change your mind about that one day,” I said.
It struck me as kind of cute how James is starting to wonder about “romance,” and apparently how he “doesn’t have time for it.”
When I was a little girl, I had a different crush every week or so. And half the time, the boys were more interested in bugs, slime and other gross things. They really didn’t have time for us girls, and we never could figure out why.
And then I became a teenager, and it was a whole different ball game. Boys began to think about girls constantly. It was always girls and gasoline.
For now, James isn’t too worried about it. He has hunting, fishing, rough housing with his Dad and other things to worry about.
And during those occasional times when he snuggles with me as we watch television, he doesn’t have a clue that he already holds one girl’s heart in the palm of his hand.
Jamie Patterson is the managing editor of The Yazoo Herald.
Walter Patterson Herald ColumnistDo you ever wake up in the middle of the night thinking about one of your favorite high school teachers?
Perhaps you wake up thinking about a teacher who was not your favorite, the one that stayed on your case and made you study.
Teachers, whether we like it or not, have a great influence on the lives of their students. I can think of several who taught at Anding High School who somehow penetrated the density of my brain and gave me academic skills that I still use today.
Mrs. Crisler, for example, taught typing. Throughout college and graduate school, I used this skill almost every day. The good thing about it was that I didn’t have to pay someone to type my papers.
Coaches have enormous influence on the individuals they coach, especially young men. High school is when a young man comes of age, and a coach is usually the authority figure who makes the most difference.
When I was younger, I doubted the value of high school sports, but as I have matured and as the years have passed, I have changed my mind. Sports are important to all students, but they are especially important to young men.
I learned at Christmas that one of my former coaches had died, Coach Wendell McDowell. Coach McDowell was the assistant football coach and the head basketball coach at Anding High School in Bentonia. He also taught chemistry.
One day in chemistry lab, the assignment was to produce hydrogen. Coach McDowell lectured us on how to accomplish this task before he issued the lab equipment. He emphasized that hydrogen, when mixed with oxygen, produced water, but it did this when it exploded.
Soon, Watson “Bo” Warren, Pricilla O’Neal Martin, Kenneth “Poochie” Ketchum, and I were at our stations blending the proper chemicals to produce a small amount of hydrogen. In a few minutes, we could demonstrate that we had produced hydrogen by lighting a match and holding it to the end of the test tube. There would be an abrupt “puff” as the hydrogen exploded, and there would be a drop or two of water remaining in the test tube.
This was fun. What would happen if I collected a lot of hydrogen?
I soon had a five gallon glass jar in hand, and I was determined to find out. None of my lab partners, Warren, Martin, and Ketchum bothered to tell me that I should run this by Coach McDowell before I proceeded.
Soon I began collecting hydrogen in this enormous jar. About the time I thought the jar was full, Coach appeared at our station. “What are you doing, Patterson?” was his question. “Collecting hydrogen, Coach. I want to hear a big bang.”
With that statement, Coach McDowell cleared the lab. I don’t recall him ever scolding me or pointing out how dangerous this idea was perhaps because he concluded that I was too “mentally challenged” to benefit from a scolding. I never heard that “big bang” that I thought I wanted to hear, and that’s a good thing, thanks to an alert Coach McDowell.
We played a basketball game on Friday night, and if memory serves me, we won. When we showed up for practice on Monday, Coach told us to hit the football field. We ran, rolled on the ground, sprinted 40-yard dashes, ran backwards on the balls of our feet, and did all kinds of weird things for about two hours. We had a large squad, and for the life of all of us, we could not figure what we had done wrong.
Years later I learned why he had worked us so hard. We had too many players on the team. He wanted to run some off so that he could spend more time with his talented players.
Well, he tried, but failed. Not a single player quit. Country boys are like that.
Coach McDowell passed away on October 22, 2012. Three years ago, he visited Jerry and Lynda Burton’s home near Dover, and I had the opportunity to renew old acquaintances.
Time had taken its toll, but still, his mind was as active and as sharp as it was 50 years earlier. We had a great time recalling our time together and the fond memories we shared.
Then he left as quickly as he had come. He had made his mark. His work was finished.
But I had learned one important final lesson: he appreciated us as much as we appreciated him. He will be missed. May he rest in peace.