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Today is May 9, 2021

Mississippi Seen

Happy -hopefully- New Year

By Walt Grayson

Happy -hopefully- New Year

Many years ago, a “must have” talk show guest this time of year would have been a psychic predicting things coming up in the new year. Some of their predictions were pretty funny. Perhaps the most famous psychic of the late 20th century was Jean Dixon. She predicted World War III would break out in 1958 and the Russians would be the first to land a human on the moon.

My younger brother has been in broadcasting in Memphis for many years. He told me that one of those psychic telephone outfits was running ads on his radio station years ago and they called him while he was on the air and wanted to know when their next commercial was going to run. He told them, “You tell me…”

I don’t think anyone in late 2019 could have possibly, in their wildest dreams, seen 2020 coming. What a ride! Here’s hoping that 2021 is the big change that we are counting on it to be.

Back in the old days when you could still have big family gatherings for the holidays, Mama told me she preferred company at New Year’s rather than Christmas. I never asked her why. I suspect I knew. Christmas takes care of itself. Christmas is packed with plenty of trappings: food, lights, decorations, music, presents (if you’ve been good) and always people. But New Year’s was just a big blast at midnight followed by a huge black hole of the unknown. Company on New Year’s Day gave her something she could look forward to. No wonder people want predictions — they want to feel like they have some kind of grip on what’s coming next.

Well, I’m not a psychic. But let me tell you what I hope is coming up in 2021. I hope the vaccine works and people will take it. Let’s start getting the pandemic out of our lives and into the history books. I hope Mississippi will take advantage of some progressive legislation we set in motion in 2020 and build on it and take the rest of the country by surprise while they are still bickering over leftovers from 2020. Let’s woo some industry and educational opportunities here that never gave us a second glance before.

Mainly, I hope all of us will rediscover the rich culture we have in Mississippi. Much of what the rest of the world sometimes takes credit for has roots in the hearts, souls and creativity of our people. Music and literature are good examples. The inspiration for that culture and art comes from where we live — both geographically and who we are individually.

So, here’s to 2021. Hopefully, by the end of the year we will be using our face masks as dust rags and social distancing will go back to meaning how far you stay away from people you don’t get along with.


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.” He lives in Brandon and is a Central Electric member. Contact him at

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