Opinion
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Check out the music library on my phone and you’ll find everything from Hank Williams, to Kenny G, to Quiet Riot, to Demi Lovato, and the Mississippi Mass Choir. But country is my music genre of choice, probably because of all those years I spent riding around with a beer-drinking, cigarette-smoking dad who tuned in to stations that played Charlie Pride and Waylon Jennings and Glen Campbell and Loretta Lynn as we drove aimlessly through the Delta countryside. more
May is National Barbecue Month. Or, as I like to call it, Holy Month. On a recent conference call with writers across the country, I explained how you can take the topic of barbecue and teach … more
We weren’t lifelong friends. In fact, we only met in person twice and spoke by telephone once. But Richard McCasland made a difference in my life. more
Last week we spoke about balancing work and rest. Some people are workers. Others are resters. Some of us who have a hard time sitting still want to know more of this word – “rest.” It rolls off the tongue with ease. Such a peaceful and beautiful word, yet so elusive. Like an ivory-billed woodpecker in the bottoms of Monroe County. more
I know people who work all the time. For them, it’s a source of pride. I’m not one of those people. The kind who takes pride in it, anyway. Two weekends ago I found myself collapsed in a reclining chair, depleted. There is no other word. No energy in any limb, barely able to think, and honestly on the verge of tears. In the preceding weeks and days leading up to that weekend, I’d spread myself so thin, tried to complete so many things, there was just nothing left. Zero. It happens several times a year, and I’m working to fix it. more
Have you heard the news? You know all the great names. Tyson, Truett Cathy, Colonel Sanders. The three may be the Great Triumvirate of the chicken business. I’m thinking the name Watkins would look good among them. That’s right. We’re getting in the chicken business in Round Bottom Valley. more
Religion is a slippery slope. I’m going to write about it, anyway. We’re becoming close enough friends now, you and I, that we can discuss these things in a civil manner, and still walk away friends. If ever there was a warning sign pointing to the breakdown of an idea the New Testament gospels say is vitally important to a life of faith, this is it. The birthplace of community is dwindling in numbers across the Christian landscape. It’s the Church. more
It’s not the homecoming he planned, but the circumstances surrounding his return give Richard McCasland a point of view he’d never much considered about his hometown. The former Mountain View … more
In 1963, someone decided it would be a dandy idea launching a down-home festival. They were right. more
If the opportunity passes us by, we will have only ourselves to blame. It was right there in front of us in plain view on the calendar for 148 years. more
As was (and is) the case with many hardworking families in rural America, a big part of my ancestry comes from Ireland, and from the UK - not people of distinction, mind you. Just hardworking folks who came to the US looking for new opportunities, and the chance to fulfill some dreams. It is the essence of America, I believe. This welcoming national spirit on which our country was founded. more
It happens every year at the end of basketball season – a painful empathy for players as their seasons come to a close. more
One of the things an outsider coming into Mountain View learns quickly is that music is serious business around here. There are especially strong opinions about the purest forms of music that define folk culture. more
It’s early March, a hint of spring is here and a time I look forward to….high school basketball state tournament. Schools and their sports teams have had a challenging school year trying to keep healthy in a pandemic. Many fans, like me, are grateful to be able to watch games on YouTube or other socially distanced platforms. Yet it’s still not quite the same as seeing your friends, family, and neighbors all together supporting the local team. more
I couldn’t have been more than 7 years old when I noticed that spring season that my parents had a few seeds left over from their garden-planting that April. I asked if I could have the spare seeds, and they were glad to oblige, I’m sure, wondering what a 7-year-old would ever want with seeds for squash, cucumber, purple hull peas, and lettuce. Heck, at that age, I didn’t even really like any of those things. more
This week, just a few thoughts and observations, and a project particularly where I could use your feedback. more
We’ve taken one of the most beautiful things in all of commerce, and like most other successful initiatives, turned it into a cookie-cutter enterprise stamping it into existence at the edge every small town across the South. Oh, how I miss the old-style, mom-and-pop general store. more
There’s a funny nameplate on my desk that reads: “I’m kind of a big deal.” But the truth is, down deep, I’ve never been that much about self. Not that it’s some admirable attribute of a sweetheart of a guy. I’m a live-how-you-feel kind of guy who doesn’t hide his emotions well, but ideas like self-love and self-care just never lined up with my personality. more
It’s hard to overstate the significance of an issue now before the Stone County Quorum Court that at least one justice calls “contentious.” While alcohol sales and wet-dry issues across the state are, indeed, historically contentious, they carry significance well beyond the moral dilemma most frequently debated. more
It looked like a duck. It quacked like a duck. But it wasn’t a duck. more
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