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Today is May 23, 2022

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Pineville Day: Where everybody knows everybody

By Walt Grayson

Pineville Day: Where everybody knows everybody

I have a brother-in-law who grew up on Long Island, New York. As we were journeying across the state to grandma’s years ago, he told us the towns where he lived were so close together, people considered a 10 or 15-mile trip a long way to travel. A couple of years ago, we flew over Long Island on our way into New York. As we passed over, all I saw down below were endless houses. I can see what he meant about towns being close together there. Your next-door neighbor might live in a different city from you. 

I was thinking about his sardine-can landscape the other day on my way to Pineville Day in Smith County. Mississippi’s countryside is anything but cram-packed unless you’re talking about cows or timber.  

Pineville Day is an annual celebration that started out as the grand opening of the newly enlarged Pineville Store six years ago. There’s been a store where Highway 501 intersects with Smith County Road 504 for decades. Elzie Nelson built the first one. Terry Hammons owns the Pineville Store now. He and his wife expanded it to become a community asset six years ago. The site features gas pumps, a cafe, a bait shop, a convenience store, and a feed store. Their grand opening was so popular, they continue it as an annual event today.

 A couple of things impressed me at Pineville Day. The antique car show for one. There seemed to be a disproportionate number of pickup trucks in the show. But this is rural Mississippi after all. As we were looking over a red ’67 Chevelle, a fellow said to me he’d love to have a dime for every dollar put into these cars. Having weened myself off of old pickups several years ago myself, I wish I had a dime back on every dollar I put into my trucks. But you have to have some reason to get out of bed on a weekend besides cutting the grass.

I asked Terry how he managed to get such an impressive collection of cars for Pineville Day. He chuckled and said he knew most of the people who owned them. That’s the thing about rural Mississippi. Even though your neighbors may live miles away, odds are, you know them. You probably know them well enough to ask a favor now and again.

The other thing that impressed me about Pineville Day was the entertainment. The band, David and the Giants performed. They had some rock hits back in the day. Now they play Christian rock music. Although I guess they are as old as I am, they are still good!

So, I asked Terry how me managed to get a known-name band for his Pineville Day. He said, “Oh, they are my second cousins.”

So, I guess it is true. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. And in Pineville, it seems like everybody knows everybody.

 

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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