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Today is November 22, 2019

Mississippi Seen

Fall’s falling dominoes

By Walt Grayson

Fall’s falling dominoes

While visiting with friends at Singing River Electric in Lucedale a few years ago, I saw this cornucopia downtown. Hopefully, all of Lucedale, Singing River and all of the rest of us experience the abundance the autumn harvest cornucopia symbolizes. Photo by Walt Grayson.

Like stacked dominoes, when you thump the first one the rest of them quickly topple over, autumn is just like that. It seems the year just drags along until the State Fair. Then thump — down goes the Fair. And it bumps Halloween, which bumps Thanksgiving, which bumps Christmas. (And yes, I realize Christmas is actually not in autumn, but just let it ride this time.)

I was at opening day of the Fair this year, which also happened to be the hottest October day ever recorded at the Jackson Weather Service. After making a couple of loops up and down the Midway doing live shots for Channel 12 in Jackson and shooting video for a story to air later, I wanted to get a t-shirt proclaiming “I Survived The Hottest Day Ever At The State Fair.” But I settled for a cinnamon roll instead.

You bump into nice folks at the Fair who want to tell you hello and may even suggest a story or two. I love to stop and visit. One lady asked me something I get asked a lot. She wanted to know what part of the state I find most interesting. And there is no single answer. I have really never been anywhere in the state that I didn’t like — all for different reasons. And which direction I’d strike out on any particular day probably depends on various things — like what mood I’m in, even the time of year it is.

Well, since we are halfway through our “dominoes,” the Fair and Halloween behind us with Thanksgiving and Christmas still to come, I tend to think about simpler times and long ago places this time of year. The reason for that is we spent some of our Thanksgivings and Christmases at Grandmother’s house in Itawamba County when I was a child. And the “old folks” gathered there tended to talk about even older times. I can’t remember a single story they told, but the overall sense of security and a sense of belonging and of being a part of a place and family still come back, especially this time of year.

For 20 years I fought with a wood-burning heater in my house because Grandmother had wood heaters in her house, and I was trying to recapture that feeling. But muddy floors from hauling in firewood and a chimney that never did draw correctly bumped us over to gas logs a while back. Hit the remote and instant ambiance!

But if I were to strike out for someplace in Mississippi this time of year, it would be up northeast somewhere. Since all of my childhood sites up there have since then been remodeled, nowadays I’d try for someplace like an old cabin at Tishomingo State Park where I could build a wood fire and have a screen porch — and there I would swing and be thankful for the family I had and the sense of belonging they gave me. Happy Thanksgiving.

Walt Grayson is the host of “Mississippi Roads” on Mississippi Public Broadcasting television and the author of two “Looking Around Mississippi” books and “Oh! That Reminds Me: More Mississippi Homegrown Stories.” Contact him at walt@waltgrayson.com.

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