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Today is July 12, 2020

Grin 'n' Bare It

My last story

By Kay Grafe

Kay Grafe
Kay Grafe

Last month, I submitted a letter of resignation to Michael Callahan and the Board of Directors of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi. I started the letter by quoting a passage of scripture that has taken on a new meaning in the past year for Mr. Roy and me. The great book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible states: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens.”

It makes me so sad to say goodbye to you, my faithful readers of “Grin ‘n’ Bare It.” My first column for Today in Mississippi was published in the January 1995 issue. That equates to 25 years and almost 300 stories. And, I enjoyed writing each one of them. I believe that you and I connected immediately, because I began receiving letters and emails telling me that you had the same experiences or felt the same as me. I can honestly say that over these past 25 years I received only one letter from a reader that was critical of something I wrote. And that was because the article concerned a “hot topic,” global warming. I am sure that not all of you agreed entirely with all of my views, but you kindly tolerated them.

Also, many times I wrote tongue in cheek, which I am sure confused a few people. My mother-in-law once told me that she liked my stories, she just did not understand them.

My goal has always been to entertain and encourage people to lighten up. A few of my stories were sentimental, but the main thing was that they were true life happenings. I am an animal lover, so many of my stories were about the antics of one of my cats or dogs. And I know you liked them, because they initiated the greatest reader response.

Mr. Roy and I are now both in our 80s, and you don’t know how I hate to say that number. I am so proud of the new magazine format for Today in Mississippi and that makes my decision even harder. But I also know that with the new format, it is also time for new ideas and new topics. I believe that the future is bright for Today in Mississippi and for Mississippi’s electric cooperatives. Don’t worry about Mr. Roy and me; we still love to travel and do new things. And we have our family, and our first great-grandchild was born in February. We’ll stay busy.

Over these 25 years, I was frequently invited to speak to civic organizations, women’s clubs, business associations and church groups. I loved speaking all over Mississippi and especially meeting many of my readers in person. If I have any regrets, it is not being able to answer all of your kind letters I received. Please forgive me for this. On one of our many trips, Mr. Roy and I were hiking in the Smokey Mountains when we met a family on the trail with teenage children. We both noticed that before we passed, the children were pointing at us and talking excitedly. As we passed, one of the children asked, “Are you Grin ‘n’ Bare It?” I said, “Yes, I am.” And we stopped and visited with this wonderful family from the Gulf Coast.

My stories and speeches have always stressed having a good attitude, so I want to leave you with this advice. We are all occasionally faced with unwanted changes, unexpected challenges and unpleasant surprises; but I believe that things work out best for those who make the best out of the way things work out.

Before I close, I must thank two people that were instrumental in hiring me to write my columns for Today in Mississippi. Jack Ware, our good friend, was general manager of Singing River Electric Cooperative in 1995, and he convinced Hobson Waits, CEO of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi, to give me a chance. Thank you, Jack and Hobson. I also want to thank my husband and best friend, Mr. Roy, for his love, patience and encouragement.

I love you, my readers, more than you will ever know. It is my prayer that God will richly bless each one of you.


Kay Grafe is the author of “Oh My Gosh, Virginia.” She lives in Lucedale and is a Singing River Electric member. Contact her at

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