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Today is January 28, 2022

Mississippi Seen

A piece of Pearl Harbor history at home

By Walt Grayson

A piece of Pearl Harbor history at home

So, after the first of January, how long did it take before you wrote the correct year on your papers at school? Or finally put the right date on a check the first time?

Year-long habits are hard to break.

It’s funny the snippets you remember from childhood.

Daddy had a brother who lived with us off and on. I don’t remember much about him. But I vividly recall one day he grabbed a page of the kitchen calendar and announced he was going to make it into a new month and ripped it off. I wasn’t sure what to make of that. Can you do that? Does changing the calendar make time change? Or does the passing of time change the calendar?

Later, when I’d recall this episode, I figured it was probably the first of the month, anyway. I think all of his verbosity was an attempt to put one over on a little kid — that he had some superpower over time and the cosmos. Maybe it was even a subconscious rebellion over the inevitability of the passing of time. But he wanted to make it look like it was his idea. Like he controlled it instead of the other way around.

Another byproduct of time passing is museums. You don’t put new stuff in a museum. It has to age and take on the patina and esteem that only the passing of time can give it.

We were shooting another “Mississippi Roads” show the other day at the Laurel Veterans Memorial Museum. There are exhibits there from the Civil War all the way through both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, and more.

One of the artifacts they have is an actual piece of the superstructure from the USS Arizona that was sunk in the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 (80 years ago last month) that culminated in bringing the United States into World War II. When the Arizona Memorial was constructed in the 1960s, some of the superstructure was removed from the ship, and the Navy donated some pieces of it to qualified veteran’s organizations. One of those pieces is in Mississippi.

The wooden case in which it is housed is sort of a museum piece itself. The case was built by Ben Napier from wood removed from the deck of the USS Missouri, as well as Piney Woods pine from Mississippi. You will recall Ben and his wife Erin host the HGTV show “Home Town” featuring the fantastic renovations they have been doing with the homes and buildings in Laurel.

I suppose that’s another by-product of time passing — renovations. If time stood still, we wouldn’t need to remodel what deteriorated over time. But we might end up like “The Chronicles of Narnia,” where it was always winter but never Christmas. So, since it is going to happen anyway, enjoy the passing of time. Remember the things you choose to and impress your grandkids by making the month change every now and again.

 

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.” Walt is also a reporter and 4 p.m. news anchor at WJTV in Jackson. He lives in Brandon and is a Central Electric member. Contact him at walt@waltgrayson.com.

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