Jamie Patterson Managing EditorThe teacher gave me a stern look when she handed me my report of the War of 1812.
I knew it only meant one thing that dreary day years ago at Natchez High School.
“I expected more from you,” Mrs. Minor said. “I can tell you just rushed through this. Take your time next time.”
At the top of my page there was a huge red “F” complete with a circle. Mrs. Minor even put a frowning face at the top.
Going over my report, Mrs. Minor also added a few question marks, corrected names. She even put “where are you going with this” on one paragraph.
Shoving the paper into my book bag, I took a huge sigh. As much as I tried to act like I wasn’t worried about grades, I really did care about them. I usually made all As, but I hid them from my classmates. For some reason, I was almost embarrassed by it.
But a “F”? This was a first, and I didn’t like it at all.
And the fun didn’t stop there. Mrs. Minor insisted that we take our reports home to get them signed by our parents.
“We haven’t done that since elementary school, Mrs. Minor,” Scott yelled from the back of the class.
“I know, but maybe it will motivate some of you to care about your work,” she said, sliding her glasses over her head. “And don’t think about trying anything sneaky. Conferences are next week, and I will be sure to bring it up.”
I have heard that many parents don’t go to teacher conferences today. But 12 years ago at Natchez High, most did go. More importantly, my mother did.
I debated on what I was going to do all day. I just knew Momma would kill me when she saw that bad grade.
I could fake an illness. But then Mrs. Minor would tell her about the poor report at their conference.
I could get my aunt to sign it. But then she would run and tell Momma as soon as I left the room.
I could beg Mrs. Minor to rethink her request. But then she would probably bring up the spit paper war that occurred last Friday after the highly motivational pep rally.
And worst of all, I knew that Momma would ground me for the weekend. I had my heart set on going to Amber’s pool party.
And there was no way around Momma when she grounded you. She took up all car keys and canceled all her plans to make sure you stayed at home.
I finally came to a decision on the way home from school. I would forge her signature. I have seen it enough to know how she does her name. I had it down to the little loop she does on her “K.”
If Mrs. Minor brought it up during the conference, the signature would be so good that maybe Momma would believe it herself. Perhaps it was a paper she forgot about.
It’s amazing how smart teenagers think they are when they are really missing a few screws in their great plans. But at the time, I thought I had it under control.
That night in my room, I practiced a few lines on a blank piece of paper. It took a few minutes, but I had it down perfect. With confidence and gusto, I signed that report like I was signing the Declaration of Independence.
I almost skipped down to the dinner table that night. I had everything in order. I even reminded Momma about the conference next week with sheer confidence, almost to the point of arrogance.
I almost came out of my skin with excitement when she told me she changed shifts at the hospital that night and was working the graveyard shift. She wouldn’t even be able to attend.
I hopped into bed that night with such relief that I slept like a baby. The next morning, I came down with that same excitement. Everything was working out as I planned, and I would be able to enjoy sheer teenage bliss this weekend at Amber’s party.
I even took the time to iron my navy blue school uniform shirt. And I never iron.
Grabbing my book bag, I looked for Momma to tell her goodbye. I was actually going to arrive at school early to hand over my report to Mrs. Minor.
“You got something you want to tell me,” Momma asked, looking over her coffee cup.
My heart sank to my feet. My stomach began to toss and turn. I think I even broke out into a sweat. Anytime mothers ask that question they know something.
“No,” I whispered. “Why would I have something to tell you?”
“Let me ask you again, Jamie Lynn,” she responded. “Is there something you want to tell me.”
I was doomed. She asked me for a second time and called me by my first and middle name. That’s never good.
Throwing my book bag on the ground, I pulled up a chair at the table. It was like one of those old police dramas that come on the television.
“What do you know,” I asked.
Within seconds, Momma grabbed a load of crumpled up papers and placed them on the table. It was all the sheets of paper I spent all afternoon practicing her signature. Apparently, I didn’t shove them in the trash far enough, and she found every single one when she took out the trash.
“It’s funny how all of a sudden you have taken an interest in my signature,” she said.
Yes, I was grounded. No, I didn’t go to Amber’s party. Yes, Momma saw my failing report. And, yes, she moved her shift around just so she could make the conference.
That day taught me two things: be honest and never think you can pull one over on Momma.
Momma came to visit me last night, and she asked me to fill out a check for her. I grinned at myself when I even signed it for her.
I haven’t lost my touch.
Jason Patterson Editor & PublisherSome members of the Yazoo City School Board have had some harsh words concerning this newspaper’s coverage of proposals for the district’s upcoming budget.
Everyone is obviously entitled to their own opinion, but we stand behind our coverage of the issue. Superintendent Dr. Arthur Cartlidge and others made a big deal of the fact that the district hasn’t officially asked for a millage increase, but merely submitted a proposal that would require one.
That is exactly what we reported.
The district submitted a proposal to city officials, and the Mayor and Board of Aldermen were concerned that it would require a second consecutive tax increase. The two boards were set to meet on the matter in two weeks, and we considered it our duty to inform the public so that they might have a chance to attend that meeting if they would like to have some input in the matter. It is, after all, their money being discussed.
Our efforts to contact school officials for comment on the matter last week were unsuccessful because they were attending workshops. We also noted that in our coverage.
It was important to us to get the story out in time to allow citizens time to prepare for the upcoming meeting. Working people are often most interested in tax matters, and it’s not easy for them to attend meetings during work hours without advance planning. That’s a topic for another day, but I don’t think it’s a good thing that so many important public meetings are held during normal business hours. It prevents many citizens who might otherwise be able to contribute meaningful input from attending.
But getting back to the subject of the school’s budget proposals, the matter is too important to leave the public out of the conversation. I have a great deal of respect for both Mrs. Lula Starling and John Wallace, but I think they took the matter personally instead of looking at it as a matter of keeping the public informed. We reported the facts that were available and encouraged the public to attend the meeting.
If a genie appeared from a lamp at City Hall and said he’d grant three wishes related to attracting new business and new residents to our community, the first two would probably be improving our schools and lowering our taxes. Unfortunately no amount of wishing will make these things happen. It’s going to take a lot of work.
The more people who get involved with that effort, the better.
Who knows? Maybe most Yazooans think that spending more money is the answer to the problems facing our schools and will gladly part with the extra tax dollars it will take.
I strongly doubt it, but we’ll never know if we don’t at least involve them in the conversation.
There’s still a chance for that to happen. The meeting between the Mayor and Board of Aldermen and school officials about the upcoming budget has been rescheduled for Aug. 3 at 1 p.m. at the meeting room of the Yazoo City Police Department.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 24 July 2012 19:50)
Jamie Patterson Managing EditorAs I turned my truck off, I was anxious to get inside the house and get comfortable.
My afternoon interview had went later than I had expected, and I was ready to throw my shoes off and fall into my recliner. With the approaching rain clouds and thunder rolling across the hills, I even debated on relaxing on the front porch.
Entering the back door, I instantly knew that might not be happening.
The kitchen looked like a war zone. Broken pieces of colored chalk and markers without their tops littered the floor. The placemats from our dining room table were sticking out from underneath the fridge. There were empty Tupperware containers scattered all over the counters. The fluorescent light above kept flickering like something out of a horror movie.
Continuing to make my way around the clutter, the dining room was in the same condition. Hunting magazines were thrown all over the dining table. Wrinkled shirts were dangling from the back of the dining room chairs. A spare shoe was alone in the baby’s highchair. I stepped on a dirty spoon on the way to the living room.
And in the living room? Monster trucks, airplanes, baby dolls, a playhouse and stuffed animals covered every inch of the floor. There was a container of pistachio pudding on the side table. The spoon used to eat that pudding was on top of my oriental rug. More hunting magazines were thrown on the coffee table.
And then there was my husband Jason. He was sprawled out on the couch with a dazed look in his eyes. He looked like he had been attacked by a wild animal. His hair was sticking straight up in the air. His eyelids looked like they weighed a ton.
“Thank God you’re home,” he said, with barely enough breath to muster a sentence out.
Looking around at the mess of what was once a clean home, I realized one important detail was missing.
“Where are the kids,” I asked.
“James is watching a movie in his room,” he said, easing off the couch. “Elsie is asleep. She just went down.”
“What’s wrong with you,” I asked, putting my purse down. “What happened in here.”
I quickly began to pick up the toys and put them in a basket. I gathered up the assortment of chalk pieces and markers off the floor. The magazines were piled together on the book shelf. The laundry was placed inside the hamper. I threw the food containers in the dish washer. And I put the placemats on the table.
Within minutes, the mess was clean and all was calm.
“The kids went crazy,” Jason said, picking up the pudding-covered spoon. “James started throwing stuff around. Elsie is out of control.”
Elsie, who is 14 months old, has the ability to “lose control” in the presence of her daddy. My little dumpling causes sheer havoc when I leave her alone with Jason.
“I had some pudding for them, and I left the bowl here on the table,” Jason said. “James called me from the bathroom so I ran in there. When I got back, she was shoving the leftover pudding in her mouth. Then she picked up the phone and smeared the pudding all over it. And she made a phone call.”
I was baffled. It amazes me how when I have both of the kids alone with me, we don’t have these “issues.” But when poor Jason has them alone, it looks like a bomb exploded in the house.
I hate to admit it, but it is funny to me to see how exhausted and confused Jason looks like when I return home.
Now mind you, with this particular episode, I wasn’t that late getting home.
We had only parted ways an hour...yes...an hour. Within an hour, our son and daughter were able to empty every art collection onto the floor. They were able to throw a magazine collection into the ceiling fan. They were able to devour an adult-sized helping of pudding and spread the little bit left over on the TV controller and Jason’s phone. They stripped themselves of their clothing and tossed them like Mardi Gras beads around the house. They got every single toy they own and planted them in the living room.
And they were able to start a movie with popcorn and be put down for the night.
It’s amazing how fast and destructive these little creatures can be in an hour.
The fun stopped that night when I got home. It was time to get down to business.
I immediately made James tidy his room up. I sneaked a peek in on Elsie. I did a quick load of laundry and made James’ supper.
I let Jason relax. He had a busy hour filled with art projects, streaking moments and pistachio pudding vandalism.
And he handled it quite well. He handled it like a daddy.
Walter Patterson Herald ColumnistIf you own a gun, you should be concerned. If you enjoy hunting, you should be concerned. If you enjoy recreational shooting, you should be concerned. If you own a gun for home protection, you should be concerned.
“Why?” you ask. There is a simple reason. The United Nations is at this very moment debating the Arms Trade Treaty.
This conference began on July 2, and will end on July 27. President Obama has already pledged support for this treaty as has Hillary Clinton. Hillary has pledged that she will personally put relentless pressure on the Senate to ratify this treaty.
Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton are strong proponents of gun control. They would like to wipe out the Second Amendment to the U. S. Constitution and confiscate all of your rifles, pistols, and shotguns. Heretofore, this has been an impossible task since a little thing like the Constitution prevents them for enacting such a draconian law.
But now they think they have found a way around the Constitution. It is labeled the Arms Trade Treaty. If this treaty is passed, then the United States will be obliged to confiscate all small arms because of our desire to protect “human rights.” Yes, my friends, the confiscation of your shotgun or rifle will ensure that human rights are guaranteed here in the “good ole USA.”
Will this treaty be ratified? Who knows? With this bunch of Democrat misfits in the Senate, who knows what will pass. With Hillary Clinton twisting their arms and threatening to expose some of the things in their backgrounds, how many senators can withstand the pressure? Then there is Barack Obama. His style is the “Chicago Way.” What threats can he use to get his Democrat cohorts’ minds right? We have a serious problem, and as of yet, none of this has made the mainstream news channels.
Slowly but surely, American’s freedoms are being taken away. Slowly but surely, the rights guaranteed by the Constitution are being taken away. For years, the leftist, socialists, and communists have wanted to confiscate Americans’ guns. Now, an opportunity has presented itself, and the Democrats are jumping on the bandwagon with both feet.
Mr. Obama is presiding over a nation in decline. Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, proclaimed this to the world in a recent interview. Far from being the only superpower on earth, America is fast becoming a nation that resembles France or Spain where a huge number of people are being supported by the government, and where unemployment is high.
Sometimes I wonder how the American Revolution happened. When Americans felt oppressed, they revolted against King George and the English. They paid a heavy price in blood and treasure, yet they prevailed.
The president and congress are governing against the will of the people, yet I see very little evidence that the people are fed up. Obamacare passes and is then held constitutional, and about all that we can do is say “it’s too bad.” Has apathy become our new best friend?
There are some helpful signs, however, that a mini-revolution is occurring. Several Republican governors have vowed to curtail Medicaid expansion as required by the law. The Supreme Court did rule that states could not be penalized for refusing to implement this section of the law. States that implement this expansion of Medicaid will soon find themselves unable to pay for any other service but Medicaid.
Forced gun control, forced socialized medicine, forced carbon taxes, all disapproved of by a wide majority of the American public, will soon be the order of the day. Productive members of society will be assigned the task of supporting those who refuse to work. The government will soon learn that this forced arrangement is like a bad marriage. It just won’t work.
We are in serious trouble. If the UN has its way, the “man” will be around soon to collect your guns. When that happens, America will be something that none of us recognize. We, as a people, will be relegated to “serf status”, no longer citizens with guaranteed rights, but a people who depend entirely on an all-powerful government. My guess is that about 50 percent of the people will like this arrangement – for a while. But then, my friends, it will be too late. We won’t be able to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Russia and China will love it.