Jamie Patterson Managing EditorAs the temperatures begin to settle down and fall makes her debut, I welcome her with open arms.
I wish I could run outside and give Mother Nature a giant bear hug.
The fall season to me is a time of outside fun with cool temperatures. It’s an afternoon of football and tailgating food with friends and family. It’s candles with pumpkin and spice scents. It’s colorful potted mums on front porches.
But most importantly, my most dreaded enemy begins its hibernation until the next summer season.
The horrible, aggravating, spiteful wasp will tip its hat to the world and make its cowardly exit from my world.
I have written several columns in the past about my personal war against wasps. Many readers have even contacted me with solutions to get rid of the pesky insects from my home.
We have tried everything in the Patterson home, but it seems like we have a wasp killing daily during the summer season.
The wasps must have shelter in our attic or through our vents because I kill about five a day. I have actually seen them fly out of my vents, right towards me.
And I swear I have spent over $100 on wasp spray because I am too chicken to get to close to them. I will spray them in the kitchen while I am standing in my living room.
We had to take the kids for a Sunday drive one time because I fogged the house out with poison trying to kill just one wasp.
And my husband Jason shares my feelings toward the evil creatures. He’s just more aggressive in his attack. He sits and waits outside on the porch to spray an unsuspecting wasp nest. I have watched him from the window before. He will slide over the hood of his truck, spray a nest and then roll behind his boat to prepare for his second attack.
But as I stick my tongue out to the loner wasps who are making their way to their “safe zone” for the fall season, I must admit that I was attacked this week.
It’s almost as if this wasp was determined to give me a final farewell with kamikaze effort in our home.
I was taking James his supper plate the other night. Balancing a plate of corn dogs and strawberries (I know it’s an odd combination) and a cup of milk, I made my way towards him.
And then I felt it. A powerful sting on my right leg.
“Something just bit me,” I shouted, hitting my leg with my free arm.
Whatever was up my pants leg just got more angry because then I felt another stink, not once, but two more times.
I flung the supper plate on the floor. The milk cup almost took out a window.
I began hitting my pant leg and running towards the bedroom, yanking my belt off my pants.
Jason comes running out of the kitchen, totally clueless about the spectacle unfolding before his very eyes.
His son stood confused among smashed corndogs and splattered strawberries. His wife was kicking her pants off, waving her arms around, and screaming towards the bathroom.
When Jason finally made it to our bathroom, I was laid out on the floor. My pants were shoved by the door, as I sat in my underwear with my right swollen leg getting larger by the minute.
“Something bit me,” I yelled.
Jason immediately started searching my pants to see if it was a spider.
“I see what it was,” he said, holding the pant leg up.
A neon red wasp was sitting and waiting for his next victim. Jason immediately killed it with such passion that I was reminded of a war film.
I took some medicine and put on my pajamas. My leg was swelling up and was itching pretty bad, but I survived the sneak attack.
“How did it get up your pants leg,” Jason asked, still confused by the scene that just unfolded.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I hate those things. It’s like they are out to get me.”
As I made my way to my recliner, bruised and recovering from battle, James made his way over to me.
My young son must be worried about me. He has come to give me a hug or to tell me it will all be better.
“Momma,” he said, looking up. “You dropped my strawberries, and you need to come pick them up.”
My face dropped and I issued the “Momma” look. He quickly made his way out of the room to pick up his own strawberries.
I sat in my chair next to the window, looking outside at the cool wind pick up a few leaves.
As I welcomed fall silently, I noticed a wasp sitting on the edge of my porch. It looked as if he was watching me. And then he flew away, perhaps deciding it’s best to live to fight another day.
He must know about what happened in here. I bet they are planning their second wave for the summer season.
Until we meet again. Hopefully I will be ready.
Jamie Patterson is the managing editor of The Yazoo Herald. She can be reached at 746-4911 or by sending an email to
Jason Patterson Editor & PublisherYazoo history may record them as the “do nothing” board.
Months after Board Attorney Sarah O’Reilly-Evans offered the Mayor and Board of Aldermen examples of ordinances dealing with dangerous dogs from around the state, not one member has even made a proposal.
With some citizens begging for protection and numerous complaints of problems with unsecured pit bulls and other potentially dangerous dogs around the city, the best the board can do is schedule a work session.
That suggests that they haven’t taken a second look at the ordinances O’Reilly-Evans presented. I studied ordinances and even offered my analysis within the same week. I certainly don’t expect the board to agree with all of my observations, but I do expect them to at least examine the material enough to form an opinion of their own.
After this much time, the suggestion of a work session (no firm date was set, by the way) is just sad.
It would be one thing if this was an issue of no consequence, but it could literally be a life or death matter. Ward 4 Alderman Aubry Brent Jr. has pushed the issue, but he has been alone in his stand.
In a recent column I highlighted the number of vicious pit bull attacks around the nation this year. It was just a sample of the reported incidents designed to show that it can happen to anyone anywhere.
We are especially sensitive to the issue here at The Yazoo Herald because we’ve experienced the problem firsthand. A pit bull in the neighborhood that frequently escapes from its yard has on more than one occasion showed up growling at our employees. Once I caught it hiding at the corner of the building growling at an approaching customer. If we had not taken action, who knows what might have happened?
On that occasion we called 911 only to be told that animal control was gone for the weekend. On another the dog was gone by the time the officer arrived, and he informed us that there was nothing he could do.
Several times the board has heard from a lady who lives in fear of pit bulls allowed to roam free in her neighborhood by irresponsible owners.
What if something happens to her or anyone else in Yazoo? Will a work session be needed to come up with an excuse? How will the city deal with the litigation that is sure to follow?
The best argument that I’ve heard against creating a new ordinance, and I still am convinced that tougher rules are required to deal with a problem that didn’t exist at the time the current ordinance was established, is Alderman Jack Varner’s statement that the city should just enforce the existing law.
That would be a great start, but when is it going to happen?
Jamie Patterson Managing Editor“We need to try to get somebody to watch the kids during the last weekend in September,” I shouted to my husbandJason, as I walked into his office.
“Why,” he asked, looking up from his computer. “What’s going on?”
“Squirrel season starts,” I said, with a twinkle in my eye.
While my eyes were twinkling, Jason’s eyes were rolling.
“You’re funny,” he said, as I made my way out of his office.
But I continued to daydream about the experience.I tried squirrel hunting for the first time in my life last year. Granted, I missed everything I tried to shoot. But I loved every minute of it.
With September in full swing now, I am ready to get back to the woods and show Jason how it’s done.
Hopefully, this year I will get at least one of those critters.
Squirrel hunting is a family tradition that I want to carry on and pass down to my own children, James and Elsie.
My grandfather, James Jackson, was the best squirrel hunter in three counties. He lived and breathed squirrel hunting.
According to one family legend, he killed one by throwing a rock at its head.
During squirrel season, Paw Paw was hardly ever at home. And when he was, he was dressing squirrels and making supper with his prize.
“Fire up the stove,” he yelled, holding two hands full of squirrels.
I am sure there was a bag limit, but it wasn’t always “acknowledged” on Jackson family land. Paw Paw looked at as he was providing for his family. If the whole Jackson clan came overfor supper, eight just wouldn’t be enough.
It truly was a family event. All the men would come to our house and drink about a gallon of coffee. Then they would take off before the sun was good and up.
Then they would all return with more squirrels than I had ever seen in my life. Setting up tables under the carport, the men would get to cleaning their game.
I wasn’t often allowed outside during that time.
“They are liquored up on their pride and Lord knows what else,” Maw Maw said, shutting the screen door.
But I would sneak out ever so often to see what was going on.
Then the men would barge into the kitchen, and Paw Paw would usher Maw Maw out of her territory. The kitchen was Maw Maw’s land, but not on “squirrel day.”
Paw Paw would roll his sleeves up and get to work. The other men would gather around the kitchen table, ready to get started on their second pot of coffee.
Paw Paw was an excellent cook. He wouldn’t admit it, but I think he enjoyed being in the kitchen.
“You know why I am a good cook,” he asked. “Because in the Army, they would send you to the mess hall to work when you got in trouble.”
As I raised my eyebrows, he would start to grin.
“I got in trouble a lot,” he smiled.
Paw Paw could fry, roast or just about anything else he wanted with squirrel. But what he really liked to do with his squirrel was cook it in a pressure cooker.
Maw Maw would make a batch of biscuits, and everybody would fill up on tender meat, gravy and biscuits. We’d top it off with a piece of red velvet cake and a cup of coffee.
It truly was a fun time in my life during squirrel season. The house was filled with laughter, food and life.
It almost killed Paw Paw when the doctor told him he had a tumor on his spine. In order to remove it, he would be paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair.
It was a hard pill to swallow for Paw Paw, whose life revolved around family, hunting and fishing.
During the last years of his life, Paw Paw and I would take a stroll down our road every morning. I would ride my bike alongside his wheelchair.
There was a spot by the road that had a clearing on the side. You could sit in the clearing, by the edge of the woods, and watch nature in all her glory.
Leaving my bike on the ground, I would sit crosslegged next to Paw Paw...and listen.
We wouldn’t speak, just listen to the woods.
But every now and then, I would see him pull his arms up like he was holding a shotgun. He would making a firing noise towards a tree in the distance.
Then a squirrel would take off running up the tree.
Even with an imaginary gun, those critters knew he was there.
The guns that my Paw Paw used in his life were passed down to me, every one of them. I am proud to own the ones that he used particularly for squirrel hunting.
I plan on using them this season when I try my hand at squirrel hunting once more. And I will pass them down to my son, Paw Paw’s namesake.
I didn’t have any luck last year, but I didn’t have Paw Paw’s gun either.
Maybe he will take a minute to look down from Heaven and help me aim just right.
Walter Patterson Herald ColumnistClint Eastwood’s little skit at the Republican National Convention has sparked an avalanche of comments, both positive and negative. The mainstream media pounced on Eastwood declaring that he was an old man who had clearly lost his mind. I’m sure that most of these media types did not know before the speech that Eastwood was a long-time conservative. But “Dirty Harry” held nothing back.
When I saw Eastwood walk on stage, I immediately thought that he was going to give a conventional speech, one where he stood at the podium and read from a teleprompter. But that was not to be. Shortly after he began, he looked over to an empty chair and addressed it as though Obama himself was seated there.
The performance was hilarious – and creative. Soon, the audience was doubled over with laughter, and Eastwood had made his point. Not only is Obama an “empty chair,” he is also an “empty suit.”
“We have 23 million people unemployed in this country, and this is a national disgrace,” he declared. Who could disagree? The opening day of the Democrat National Convention saw the national debt top $16 trillion. This is money that your grandchildren and mine will have to repay. According to Bloomberg News, every family in America now owes more than $136,000 to the government in order to retire our debt, and this is money that the government has absolutely no hope of collecting.
Eastwood continued. “We own this country. Politicians are our employees. If they can’t perform, we have to let them go.” These are simple truths that clear-thinking Americans instinctively know and understand. The president has not done the job we hired him to do; consequently, we must let him go.
The Democrats, even four years after he left office, want to blame George Bush for our economic problems. They won’t tell the truth and confess that the recession was caused by Democrat policies governing the housing market. Bill Clinton and Janet Reno forced banks to lend money to people who had no means of paying the money back. As a result, the housing market collapsed, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were left holding the bag for billions of dollars, and the house of cards began to crumble. Probably the most culpable Democrat in this financial collapse was Barney Frank, the far-left Democrat representative who headed the House Banking Committee. Everything this man did – everything, assured that the housing market would collapse. President Bush warned this dullard no less than 17 times that if changes were not made, an economic recession was unavoidable.
But back to Eastwood. Everything that Obama did as president made the situation worse. Instead of solving the financial crisis, he insisted that Obamacare be enacted into law with its 21 separate tax increases. Of course, the trillion dollar stimulus failed along with the bailout of the automobile industry. General Motors owes more than $25 billion to the government with no hope of paying it back. What Obama did was simply postpone the inevitable – and nationalize the automobile industry. Have you seen GM’s stock price lately? Have you noticed the price of gasoline? All of these disasters can be laid at the feet of Mr. Obama. Americans have elected an inexperienced man to the most demanding job in the world. Obama simply cannot fill the presidential chair. It is much too big.
Actors memorize lines for a living. Eastwood had memorized his carefully. He said exactly what he intended to say the way he intended to say it. He suffers neither from senility nor from Alzheimer’s. He was funny. He was entertaining. He was brilliant. Most of all, he put Mr. Obama in a place where Americans know he should be – in an empty chair.
Bravo, Clint Eastwood. Bravo!
Jamie Patterson Managing EditorIt has been about a month since James started his first day of school.
I am starting to get used to all the routines, procedures and other things that go along with “school days.”
I have also quit crying to myself as I watch him slowly walking into school building with his little book bag that takes up his entire back.
I get almost as excited as he does on Fridays to dress him up depending on the theme that goes with the football game that night.
I also look forward to seeing his week’s worth of lessons each Friday, complete with wiggly letter-tracings and colorings.
But what I really seem to enjoy the most are the talks he and I share on our way to and from school each day. Some of the things he is starting to ask bring a grin to my face and a break from the daily grind of deadlines, news articles and page layouts.
James is full of questions now, and I try to find the right answers to all of them.
“Why do we have to take naps,” he asked.
“So you will get your energy up for a big day,” I replied.
Looking out the window with a very concerned expression on his face, I could tell he was really thinking about my answer.
“But I have enough energy,” he said. “So, I don’t need naps.”
“Well, if you don’t rest, you start to become moody,” I said.
“What’s moody,” he asked.
“It’s how you act when you start feeling tired and you start acting bad,” I said. “You start to get cranky, and you don’t listen very well. And you overreact with stuff Daddy and I tell you.”
James began taking his finger and tapping it on his chin as if he was really thinking about his response.
“I don’t get moody,” James said. “Maybe you and Daddy should take naps.”
I give him a look over my sunglasses and explain to him that’s not how it works. He grins and tells me it should be the way it works.
We both start smiling at each other, and he moves onto to other questions.
Where do bears live?
Do astronauts live on the moon?
Why do I have to wear a seatbelt?
If Elsie is a girl, why does she look like a boy?
Can I pretend to be a coyote?
Why did the dinosaurs die?
Why did God make holes?
Daddy says he is the boss. What’s a boss?
I really like answering that last one.
Some of his questions are actually pretty funny, and I try to answer each one to the best of my ability.
But explaining things like meteors, tornadoes and the eating habits of a grizzly bear can get pretty tough sometimes.
And James has gotten into the habit of asking the same questions over and over again.
I try to be patient and answer each and every question because I know my own mother went through the same thing with me.
I can remember asking hundreds of questions about space, if toys came to life, why bullies pick on you and if you could drink pop candy with soda pops.
But every now and then, I can tell you where James gets a lot of his questioning skills from these days.
What kind of hairdo is that?
How can I be of assistance?
I wasn’t listening. What did you say?
Why can’t he wear camouflage to church?
What’s up with your head? Are those curlers?
Where’s the remote?
Where did you stash my new hunting magazine?
Why do you move everything?
What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?
What do you mean, we have to entertain?
What’s the point of having placemats if I can’t eat on them?
Do we have to go?
Do we really need to buy all this?
These are questions I am bombarded with regularly by my husband Jason. I am sure James picks up them from time to time.
And usually a heavy sigh and a slight shake of my head answers the questions for him.