Thursday, September 25, 2014

You Will FALL For These Wonderful Little Books Of Southern Poems !

Fall is here!
Who doesn't love to read? 
I know that I do !
Cooler days make it the perfect time to cuddle 
up with a good book....or two !
I have the perfect selections for you !
You will love my two wonderful little 
books of southern poems!
Some people love to sit in a swing or rock in a comfortable rocker.
Where is your favorite place to read?

a copy of my book, 
Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia ...

 Please Visit These Other Blogs on The Hop .....

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Love is in the air... It's My (REAL) Anniversary

Today is my REAL Wedding Anniversary.
My husband, James, and I were married on September 11, 1993 at the church of Christ on Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis , Tennessee.

I have told you in a previous post how James has all of these OTHER "anniversary" dates for us (anniversary of our first phone call, anniversary of our first date, anniversary of the date we got our marriage license, ect.) These are dates that he quizzes me on every year...and dates that I NEVER remember !!!
Unfortunately ...and sadly, terrorists made my wedding anniversary day one that I 
(and practically all Americans) will never forget ...9-11
On September 11, 2001 thousands of Americans lost their lives in a terrifying
terrorist attack on U. S. soil. 
Although, I celebrate a joyous occasion on 9-11, it is always bittersweet.

I am always telling everyone about how my husband and I met on a blind date. 

We actually did!!
One of my dear friends, who I had not seen or talked to in several years, called me up out of the blue one day.  She said that she had found the perfect man for me.
He attended the church in Martin, Tennessee, where her husband was the minister.
She told me that she had been watching him and he was THE ONE !

My thoughts/reply……….
"What's wrong with him?" ..."Why does he need to be fixed up on a blind date?" 

Knowing the ratio of eligible black men to women...especially in the church,
I thought it very odd that he might need a "hook-up".
Anyway, to make a long story short, she talked me into agreeing to a blind date.
On the day of the date, I made her stay on the phone with me until he arrived/ until I saw him, so that I could tell her what I thought of him. I wanted to let her know if I was going to have to KILL her or not !
I was looking out of the window, with phone in hand, when he drove up.  When he got of the car, I told her that she was safe and that I would not have to kill her. I told her that he was handsome and "FINE"....but rather short , it seemed, for my taste, Anyway, he was passable, we got off of the phone .
I thought that it was a terrible date. It was! I think we argued the whole time! I KNOW that we argued all through our lunch at Ryans Steakhouse.  

Evidently he saw things differently.
He asked me for a second date...and the rest, as they say, is history.

(In the poem I say we have been married 14 years.  
The poem was written in 2007. 
Now it is our 21st anniversary)

                Q:  What makes a marriage last? A:   REAL Love !

KIND SWEET WORDS from a dear, (male) Facebook friend on Anniversary post :

'Your love for each other shines through so bright in your poetry. But I can tell it shines every day, which only makes today that much more special. You are an example.'

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Today is National Book Lovers Day !

National Book Lovers Day is celebrated each year on August 9 (and sometimes on the first Saturday in November) . It is a day for all those who love to read . National Book Lovers Day encourages you to find your favorite reading place, a good book, rather it be fiction or non-fiction, and read the day away. 

Some ways to celebrate National Book Lover's Day include: 

1) Visiting your local library 
2) Rereading an old favorite 
3) Hosting a Book Lovers' party 
4) Contacting your favorite living author 
5) Giving the gift of books 

To purchase - Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia - A Life in Poems
                             CLICK HERE

                      To purchase - My Magnolia Memories and Musings in Poems 
                               CLICK HERE  -

Book Lover's Cakes

 Wedding Book Cake

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Today in 1965 LBJ signed the Voting Rights Act into 
law enforcing the 15th Amendment, prohibiting the 
use of tactics denying access to vote & targeting 
states with greatest discrimination.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


Congratulations to our new 
Miss Mississippi, Jasmine Murray !!! 
She was crowned Saturday night in Vicksburg!

I called Miss Riverland (Jasmine) and Miss Mississippi State, Laura Lee Lewis as the top two finalists before the pageant started on Saturday night.  I had pretty much concluded that by Saturday morning after seeing all of the preliminary updates.  
The pageant started at 8pm Saturday.  
Just after the program began, I posted my prediction on my Facebook page.  Then, a little while later I typed my same prediction in a private message to my friend : 8:15pm I wrote: " I'm thinking it's going to be between Miss Riverland - Jasmine Murray and Miss Mississippi State Laura Lee Lewis" I was having an ongoing pageant commentary throughout the pageant in private messages with this friend, who was not able to see the pageant from the beginning but was only able to see the last parts of it on the computer live feed. 

I was giving her frequent updates and my thoughts, as the pageant was going on ...and rehashing each segment with my mother during the commercials.

When I saw my top two selections in their evening wear that even made me MORE certain of my decision about what the outcome of the pageant would be. 
Jasmine's dress was banging !!! 
It was perfect for her...elegant and regal.  Miss Mississippi States's dress was absolutely UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!!!!! I posted on my Facebook page..."That dress is THE BOMB!!!!!! " I wonder how much THAT dress cost"!!!! 

8:34pm I messaged my friend : Miss Mississippi State had on a dress was every bit of $10,000...Had to be !!!! Of course, I had no idea how much the dress actually cost or what she might have paid for it .. But, if it didn't cost $10,000, it should have !!!! 
It looked like a million bucks and she looked like a million bucks in it !!!!!

Both girls, my Top 2 Picks,  are very talented and have lovely singing voices. Jasmine tied for first place with Laura Lee in talent in the preliminaries on Wednesday. 

Ultimately, though, it was the swimsuit competition that TOTALLY sealed it for me !!!!! There were some other girls that had some great bodies and looked amazing 
in those suits ...with FLAWLESS tans.  
 I commented on several of them on my Facebook page ... 

But ...when Miss Jasmine stepped on that stage THAT yellow bathing suit ..
It was ALL OVER!!! Check mate !!!! 
I think I actually said out loud "What the What??!!!!" 
She was stunning !!!!  I mean S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G!!!! She had been the Swimwear Preliminary Winner on Friday night. I sent a message to my friend about Jasmine : 9:17pm She just killed in a yellow bathing suit!!!

~ S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G! ~


TOP 5 for 2014 Miss Mississippi Pageant.
l to r: Caroline Conerly- Miss Deep South; Laura Lee Lewis-Miss Mississippi State University; Jasmine Murray-Miss Mississippi 2014 (formerly Miss Riverland);
Randi-Kathryn Harmon-Miss Historic South; and Jessica Terrill-Miss North Central Mississippi.

 I am so proud of Miss Jasmine and even more thrilled about it since I found out from my mother that Jasmine's grandparents and my parents were very close friends from WAY back. She said that Jasmine's grandfather would attend all of the many Alpha (Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity) meetings and parties that we frequently had at our house (in the 60's and 70's )...You can read about those parties in my poem "Alpha Parties" in my book Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life In Poems (page 38) I had not even known that little tidbit of info until Friday morning when I was taking my mother to her regular beauty shop appointment (same beautician for over 40 years) Whatever the cause may be, family friend or not, I am super proud to have Miss Jasmine Murray from Columbus, MS, as our Miss Mississippi ! Go Miss Mississippi ....Keep Rolling Along...all the way to that Miss America crown !!!

Sunday, Sept. 14 2014, is the date of the Miss America Pageant, which will be broadcast live from Atlantic City NJ.  It's on ABC-TV at 9pm (eastern time). 


Friday, June 13, 2014

Take a Bite Out of Summer (Southern Style)

With summer comes some of the best things to eat!  Fresh vegetables and fruit from gardens or the market, watermelons, strawberries. Of course, there are the sweet treats that are so yummy in the summer heat: ice cream, frozen yogurt, or snow cones.
Maybe there is a special treat you like to have each summer. That's what this hop is all about! And don't forget to stop by each blog below and see what little treats we're giving away! 
I'm sure summer will be even sweeter with these hot prizes!
Have fun hopping!

Summer is my favorite time of year! 
 I love everything about it...including the heat ! 
Some of my most cherished childhood memories are those from the summertime activities, growing up in the south. And, for me, as for most southerners, those memories usually involve food. 






DID YOU KNOW... June is National Iced Tea Month ! June 10th is designated as National Iced Tea Day!   Legend has it that a tea vendor at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis popularized the drink.  When visitors to the sweltering event turned down free hot tea, he ran it through iced pipes to chill the beverage. Southerners know a lot about iced tea ...and drink a whole lot of it, all year around, especially our beloved Sweet Tea!  It is usually served on any and every occasion that we can find an excuse for !  It is truly a southern staple ! 








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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Anthony Bourdain Discovers The "MUCH MORE TO MISSISSIPPI" In Parts Unknown Documentary

Recently, Mississippi was the point of interest for a CNN documentary in Anthony' Bourdain's Parts Unknown series.  I was thrilled !.  I was thinking, "Good!!! Maybe someone ELSE will shed some positive light into the darkness in the minds of most people, regarding my beloved Mississippi...and MAYBE they will listen !
"Of course, I had no idea if it would turn out to be more positive than negative...

But, I was hopeful."

Anthony Bourdain is an American chef, author, and television personality.  He is known for his 2000 book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, and in 2005 he began hosting the Travel Channel's culinary and cultural adventure programs Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and The Layover. 
In 2013, he joined CNN to host Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.

One of the preview ads reads: 
What does a world traveler like Anthony Bourdain think of Mississippi? Besides the fact he never did consider stepping foot in the state, but then discovered some of the last truly great American institutions. WATCH Bourdain's show "Parts Unknown" TONIGHT on CNN at 8pm (CST)

Anthony is from New York City and in a blog post he acknowledged the fact that most of what he thought, had heard or knew about Mississippi was negative. 
He wrote: "Let me be honest about this right up front: before I started traveling the world extensively, seeing many foreign countries and cultures very different than my own, I would never even have considered visiting Mississippi. As a New Yorker, with the drearily predictable worldview of my tribe, I took a dim view of Mississippi. Mississippi was the deep South. It was where they shot Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper in “Easy Rider”, wasn' t it? The history was not pretty—a fact reinforced by just about every film ever set in the state. It’s near the poorest performer on every metric of a state’s health: income, education, healthcare. " 

Mr. Bourdain was SO correct in stating that the negative, ugly images are the ones that are reinforced by just about every film ever set in the state. Actually, almost everything that anyone hears in the media is overwhelmingly negative, negative and more negative. 

At the beginning of the documentary, many disturbing images of Mississippi's past were flashed on the screen.  Sadly, these images are burned into the collective psyche of the world and are all that most Americans and outsiders hold on to about Mississippi. 
It almost seems that there is a belief that there is no room left for discussion or consideration of anything else on the subject. 

About the negatives, he states: "That's all I knew about Mississippi...and it never occurred to me to look further"  Anthony wrote in a promotional entry: I have long since learned to find myself comfortable in as “foreign” an environment as Saudi Arabia, Liberia, or Cambodia. Why can’t I get to know and love this part of my own country?  Particularly when what we love about our country—what is undeniably great about America, its most powerful and persuasive export and gift to the world—comes from the state of Mississippi. It changed the world like nothing else American. ( the music: blues and rock and roll ) As the journey begins, he asks, "Why can't I love this place" ?

I understand the question. It is generally, SUCH an unpopular stance to show love for Mississippi.

He begins in Jackson, the capitol of Mississippi,  with a walk down Farish Street. 
He spent much of the time in various parts of the Delta and in Oxford.  Some of the topics that he explores throughout the documentary were: Soul Food ...Southern Food....Country Cooking, Juke Joints, Blues, The Delta Sense of Community The strong literary legacy Oxford..Faulkner..Writers..The Square .

All throughout , there was a strong emphasis on our music and our food.  Being a chef and a food, connoisseur he was definitely in the right place. Traveling in Mississippi, you KNOW he did a lot of eating ! He loved the hot tamales and even ventures to eat a pig ear sandwich ! and said: It’s everything...we love about bacon, the texture...mix of fatty, lean...Oh that’s good!"- 

Of course, he only scratched the surface of all that Mississippi has to offer Overall, I enjoyed the show and said so. I definitely thought that it was more positive than negative. One of my Facebook friends commented on one of my posts: I personally was a little offended by the "negativism". He could have done a better show being more positive about MISSISSIPPI! It's no wonder we can't get out of the past, no one lets us! 
My reply:| I know what you mean . Overall, I was pretty pleased. It could have been MUCH MUCH worse it usually is!!! I guess we can be thankful for small favors because he did highlight some good things!  Few do ! So you see EXACTLY why I do what I do ..and am SO passionate about it.

As soon as it ended my husband said, "How can you cover Mississippi without covering Tupelo...Elvis" ? (Proud wife moment ) I smiled and thought to myself: "He has been taught so well..and knows just what to say !"  

PND: You know the story of how we had a heart to heart talk a few weeks into our marriage where I told him ..if our relationship was going to stay on track there were two things he had to KNOW/REMEMBER... 
#1 I'm a STAR (Yes, Me...PND) 
#2 Elvis is still the King Of course, Elvis was not left out when they were discussing the music. And, near the end of the documentary when he was in Oxford talking to a group of writers,  he asked..If there were a statue or monument erected to represent and symbolize Mississippi...who or what would it be . They all said in unison: Elvis ! 

Following the show, in a post on his blog Anthony wrote: We sure as Hell didn’t “explain” Mississippi in this episode. I doubt I left the state much smarter than I entered it. It’s not a representative overview of “what you should know or see while in Mississippi”. But I hope that viewers will get a taste of a uniquely beautiful place –where some of the last of some truly great American institutions are still alive. Where you can hear the blues performed where it was born—in exactly the same surroundings, the same kind of bar, as when it all began. Where you can have an irony free pigs ear sandwich that will make you weep for joy.


Monday, May 12, 2014

There's MORE to the the "Mississippi Story"

People are always talking about how 'ignorant', 'uneducated', 'depressed' and 'deprived'
people (especially black people) in Mississippi are/were.

But there is MORE to the "Mississippi Story" than people know or want to hear.

My grandfather (my mother's father ) from little Mantee , Mississippi attended and graduated from a private high school in Arkansas . He went on to attend and graduate from prestigious Tuskegee Institute (May 1930).   He came back to Mississippi where he taught and was the principal of a school.  His mother, my great grandmother, was a teacher.   She and her husband owned 100 acres of land ( which is still in the family -heir property of my Mom and her siblings)  His aunt owned a store in Mantee.  My father (from West Point,MS ) graduated from Kentucky State with a dual major of Chemistry and French then graduated from Meharry Medical School in Nashville , TN . He was a captain in the Air Force and Air Force surgeon. He returned to Mississippi and practiced medicine for 35 years in Tupelo.

My aunt (my father's sister) says that at one time there were 4 (black) doctors who lived on their street when they were growing up.   My mother graduated from Tennessee State University and was a teacher ...her mother was a teacher ...and her mother's mother was a teacher.

I repeat: 'There is MUCH MORE to the 
"Mississippi Story" than people 
know or want to hear.'

Guess what???!! I tell those stories...
through my poems ! 

NOTE: I was recently thrilled to find my grandfather's college diploma. May 29, 1930 Tuskegee Institute.   It is VERY tattered and torn...but still a GEM