Monday, July 29, 2013


Several recent events (very close together...within the past 6 months) have reminded me of how temporal things in life are and how one should never get overly attached to material things or even to circumstances.

Anything that we have..even our very lives can be taken away/be gone in the blink of an eye.

We should always be thankful and grateful for each day and it's blessings.

The things that happened are not really big things..but just tugged at a place inside of me that had nostalgic feelings for them.

I presently live in the house that I grew up in.

In the front yard, right in front of a very large "picture" window was ( I hate having to say it in past tense ) a most beautiful pink dogwood tree.

My Dad planted it for my Mom because it was her favorite.

The tree was almost as old as I am ..almost 50 years old .

So many days in my youth, my Dad and I would sit on the couch near that picture window and look at the various birds gathered under the dogwood tree.

He would point out all the different ones and tell me all about them.

Every spring when Mom and I would walk around in the yard , we marvel over it's beauty when it was in bloom.

We did that just a few months ago.

We all loved that tree!

Last week it was blown down by a very strong wind/rain storm;
Winds speeds were reported at over sixty miles an hour!

Now our beautiful tree is gone and I (we) will never enjoy it's blossoms in the spring again.

I'm glad that I took lots of pictures in front of it (It was one of my favorite backdrops) ,so that I can look back on it's beauty and why we loved it so much !

Several months ago ,another strong storm downed a huge pine tree in the front yard. That tree along with about about 10 or 12 others were planted at our home right after we moved in (1965)

It's gone.

Dad would always love to look at the picture of me and my brother standing by the trees when they were just tiny little things.

I was probably 4 and my brother 7.

The trees in the picture are not even as tall as we were.

Now , the others that are left standing are well over 20 feet!

A few months before or after that... Can't really remember ...

We woke up to find that one of the brick columns with lampposts at the entrance of the driveway was completely demolished by some drunk or crazy driver that plowed straight through it .

Sometime in the middle of the night , they ran right through it.

When I walked down to get the morning newspaper ,bricks were everywhere...along with various car parts.

I really don't even know how they drove away or how they got away alive

(You wouldn't believe how fast and crazy people drive on country roads these days!)

That post , along with it's twin had been there since the house was built.

Well, now it's gone.

Unbelievably, the very same day that our precious tree was uprooted and broken , the house across the road from us burned to the ground!

The house has been empty for many years but I have such fond memories of the family that lived there when I was a child.

The house and that family were there before we moved in....probably early 50's .

When I got up early this morning I went outside to see the last of the super moon .

It was beautiful!

Then I glanced over a bit and saw a red /orange glow through the trees.

I thought that I was just seeing things or thought that there was a reflection of something there.

I had hubby to go check it out.

He came back and said that the house had completely burned down...just the last bits burning

I learned later that it must have started about 1 or 2 am or so and the fire engines and police were out there around that time. I heard nothing ! Hubby says I sleep through anything ! Well, he did , too !!!

The coals and random pieces of wood continued to burn/smoke well into the afternoon,

Now, the house is gone!

Nothing (material) last forever.

I must always remember to enjoy the beauty and blessings of each day .

The Nature Lovers poem and many more can be found in my book Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia- A Life In Poems

Both of my "little books of southern poems
are available on Amazon:

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Today is National Parents' Day.

In 1994 President Bill Clinton signed into law the resolution unanimously adopted by the U. S. Congress establishing the fourth Sunday of every July as Parents' Day.

The bill was introduced by Mississippi Senator Trent Lott (Wikipedia)

Lott served as a senator for the State of Mississippi from January 3, 1989 – December 18, 2007.

According to the National Parents' Day Coalition., the establishment of Parents’ Day was the result of a bipartisan, multiracial and interfaith coalition of religious, civic and elected leaders who recognized the need to promote responsible parenting in our society and to uplift ideal parental role models, especially for our nation's children.

Since the creation of this annual day of commemoration, local faith communities, elected officials and activists throughout the nation have creatively launched many activities around the theme of Parents' Day designed to celebrate and strengthen the traditional, two-parent family.

I am so thankful for my two-parent home, growing up and so grateful that I still have both of my parents.

They are such a large part of who I am and who I have become.

I dedicated my first book, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life In Poems to my parents.

The dedication reads:

This book is dedicated to my parents Dr. James Henry Neely and Mrs. Elaine Kilgore Neely

Thank you for giving me the two most important things you can give a child- ROOTS and WINGS.

So many of the poems in Reflections are directly related to or about my parents and the many lessons learned from them.

I cannot imagine a more wonderful upbringing than the one I experienced.

You can find these poems and more in my two "little books of southern poems"


Monday, July 22, 2013


I always call my books Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia - A Life In Poems and My Magnolia Memories and Musings-In Poems, "a celebration of the south and things southern". Through my poems, I attempt to give a positive glimpse into the southern way of life, rather than all the negatives usually portrayed.

It might come as a surprise for people to know that some of the biggest fans and supporters of my books are NOT from Mississippi....or even from the south!.
Yes, I do write exclusively and extensively about my love for the South, but I never try to bash the North or any other region.

I have a dear Facebook friend Debra Estep from Ohio, whom I became acquainted with, through a mutual Facebook friend and fellow Mississippian, Cyrus Webb.

She read the poems and the books and loved them.
She liked the messages that I was trying to convey.

Now, very frequently, and totally out of the goodness of her heart and her generous spirit, she makes graphics to go with my poems to enhance increase my ability to attractively share them and to increase the likelihood that others will share them.
The beautiful water color magnolias on many of the poem graphics that I post on Facebook are her original artistry!
She did a beautiful watercolor bottle tree painting for my Bottle Tree poem ...and later told me that she had never even HEARD of a bottle tree, before !
She also did an absolutely amazing painting of Elvis' birthplace home . 

(You can see some of these pictures below.)
I tease Debra all of the time about being Undercover Southern ! LOL!
I want to send a big Thank You to her and to all of my non-southern Facebook friends and book supporters !

You're wonderful ...and very much appreciated ! 

This is the BEAUTIFUL watercolor in process for my Bottle Tree poem, 
lovingly done by dear friend Debra Estep in Ohio !

Monday, July 15, 2013


I absolutely love magnolias. They are truly breathtakingly beautiful flowers.
The magnolia is the state flower of Mississippi and the magnolia tree is the state tree...thus the name "The Magnolia State".
When choosing a name for my books of poetry, all about my love for Mississippi and the south, I could not help but use magnolias in the titles and for the covers..
After all, I am a very proud Mississippi Magnolia Girl !

For months, I've been begging my son Henry to draw a magnolia flower for me to use for promotional cards and ads for my books!
He FINALLY did .... in his own sweet teenage time !!! LOL!!! (age 14)
Recently, I woke up with a beautiful magnolia picture on my computer.
I was taken aback and so thrilled !
I love /loved it !!!
Very soon, I plan to use it on some of my business cards and eventually print some note cards.
It is perfect for both!
Henry is a wonderful little budding artist !
Well I guess I shouldn't say little ,..because he's 6 feet tall .
And, I guess, I should say James .....because that is the name he calls himself, now.. LOL!!
Anyway...Here's to the new JHD Designs ...James Henry Dorsey Designs !
I am looking forward to great things from this young man ! 

James Henry Dorsey - Artist

There are many varieties of the magnolia throughout Asia and the Americas. Although it is one of the oldest plants in existence, it wasn't called the magnolia until the 18th century. Long used for medicinal as well as ornamental purposes, the magnolia is now one of the most popular plants in the world
The magnolia is one of the oldest plant species, with fossil remains dating back 36 to 58 million years ago. The magnolia developed long before bees did, so beetles pollinated the flowers. Therefore, the carpels of the magnolia flower are relatively sturdy, to protect against damage from crawling and eating beetles.
Magnolias have been cultivated in Asia since the 7th century and used for medicinal reasons since 1083. To the ancient Chinese, the flowers of the "Yu-lan" variety (Magnolia denudata), also called the Jade Orchid, were considered a symbol of purity, and they were grown in temple gardens since the 7th century (Wikepedia)



Mississippi's state flower, the magnolia, was chosen by school children of the state in November 1900.
It is recorded that 23,278 children voted and that the magnolia blossom
received over half of these votes.
The cotton blossom, promoted by the Mississippi Federation of Women's Clubs,
placed second and the cape jasmine placed third.
Magnolia blossom - 12,745 votes. Cotton blossom - 4,171 votes.
Cape jasmine - 2,484 votes  



Monday, July 8, 2013


"Little Milton" (September 7, 1934 – August 4, 2005) was born James Milton Campbell, Jr., in the Mississippi Delta town of Inverness and raised in Greenville . By age twelve he had learned the guitar and was a street musician, chiefly influenced by T-Bone Walker and his blues and rock and roll contemporaries. He became an electric blues, rhythm and blues, and soul singer and guitarist, best known for his hit records "Grits Ain't Groceries" and "We're Gonna Make It."


Though I never met Little Milton personally, I am very close friends with his youngest brother, John Campbell, who I met when I was in high school. (early 80's).
We have a long history. John was very instrumental in encouraging and helping me to get my first book, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia, published. (2008) .
In the foreword of of the book, in describing how the published book finally came about...
I wrote: In my late teens. in the early 80's John Campbell came on the scene in my life , in the form of a coach and teacher with john Campbell Productions, a modeling troupe and sort of finishing school. John influenced and affected how I saw myself as far as the talent that I had inside , my potential and the heights to which I could soar. John saw greatness inside of me and encouraged me dream big ...really big and to go after those dreams . He even had his own dreams for me and would often convey them in long heartfelt rap sessions on his couch . He would tell me about his life growing up in the Delta, about ideas for inventions that he had, and about traveling on the road being the personal valet for his big brother Little Milton, a famous blues singer.

When John left Tupelo, many years elapsed and we lost contact. Fate saw fit that our paths should cross, again. After living in Memphis for almost 20 years , I moved back to Tupelo in August 2007. By chance, I saw a familiar face on a book signing announcement in the newspaper. It was my old friend John ! John and I reconnected at a book signing for his first book "Daydreaming On My Cotton Sack" at Reed's Gumtree Bookstore in Historic Downtown Tupelo. (December 2007) After the signing, I talked to John about my writings and showed him my folder full of poems the next day. He said that we should definitely do something with them . Only two months after that fateful meeting, I had a published book of my own! Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life In Poems was published in February 2008, exactly one year from the time that I wrote my first poem.

Here's a copy of Reflections displayed on the shelf after my first book signing signing at Reed's Gumtree Bookstore in Tupelo.

Reed's Gumtree Bookstore in Tupelo

Reflections and my second book, My Magnolia Memories and Musings In Poems are available at Reed's Gumtree Bookstore and Barnes and Noble in Tupelo.
They are also available online from Amazon and Barnes and Noble .
Of course, any local bookstore can order them for you !  



Saturday, July 6, 2013


Today is National Fried Chicken Day !

It is a day set aside to celebrate /appreciate the wonderful taste of fried chicken.
Fried chicken, often referred to as Southern Fried Chicken in the United States is the meat of the chicken dipped in a breading/batter mixture and then deep fried.
The breading/batter seals in the juices and absorbs the fat for flavor. 

For southerners, fried chicken is a favorite anytime dish !
We love fried chicken ! From a big country breakfast to a special meal dinner for invited, guests to a fun picnic in the park, fried chicken fits the bill .

Southern fried chicken is historically an African -American dish. The preparation of fowl using frying was relatively unknown among Europeans settlers of the United States , but was common in West Africa . Africans who were enslaved and brought to the Americas brought this method of food preparation with them . (Wikipedia)

Enjoy more southern poems:

Monday, July 1, 2013


These days, it seems as though people try to make almost everything in life a black or white issue.
It simply is not the case. 

Recently, I received a message in my Facebook message box which said :
Ms Dorsey you post many folk life photos but I have yet to see you post any of Black Folk Life in Mississippi?????

One of my first thoughts was: "You must have missed a whole lot of my posts/pictures."
I posted a response on my page which included some of the following statements:
EVERY single thing that I post has something to do with some some aspect of MY own life experiences. Many of my posts are pictures to go along with poems from my books, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia : A Life In Poems (MY Life..the life I know about ! ) and My Magnolia Memories and Musings- In Poems (emphasis on MY)

If I am not mistaken,.,and I don't think that I am..I do qualify as :Black Folk" LOL!!!
If I don't qualify, my parents will be VERY disappointed !!! Please don't tell them !!!LOL!

Most of the pictures that I post are of southern scenes and scenery ...fields, landscapes, old buildings, barns, farm life, farm animals , front porches, ect.
Those type of pictures are certainly not a black or white thing "
They are a "southern thing".
Southern is NOT a color.

When I am posting, I am never thinking of reflecting or appealing to black or white..
It never entered my mind to categorize the type of things that I post in terms of color.
I don't know if the roosters or the cows or pigs are supposed to be black or white folk life pictures but they are what I know about my country life upbringing.
From all of the feedback that I receive, it seems, that a lot of people, both black and white had the very same upbringing .

I post a goo gob of down-home , country style food pictures !!!
I really didn't know how obsessed I was/am with food until I started reading my own poems! Almost every other one of them has something to do with food!! LOL!!!
I don't think of the food items that I post in terms of a black or white thing.
Anyone should be able to see that it's a very Southern thing!

And, I must repeat, Southern is NOT a color !

Judging from all of the requests that I get to repost so many of the food recipes and pictures, it seems that a whole lot of people, both black an white love the same kinds of food that I love to eat and grew up on.

In general, I post a whole, whole lot about loving and the South.

Is that a white folk thing or a black folk thing ???
No , it's a Southern thing !
We LOVE our South.   We love our "southern" !
Southern is NOT a color !

I received so many positive responses from Facebook friends on that initial post saying that one of the reasons that they love my posts is because I don't make them into a black or white thing.
Of course, I will continue doing just what I do ...
Always, Always....Celebrating the South and things Southern
Until Next Time..  Love, Peace...and Chicken Grease ! 

Join in on the celebration !
Enjoy more southern poems: