Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gotta Tell You A Story

First let me describe what you are seeing. The historic Noxubee County Jail in Macon Mississippi was converted some years ago to a public library. Up stairs was the gallows.
Just a quick note about the history of the area. Noxubee in Choctaw means something like "stinking water or odor of dead fish." The Noxubee River runs just outside the town. Hold on, I've got to tell you a true story about an ole boy I met.
Just about fifteen miles S.W. of Macon is an old meeting ground of the Choctaws. It was here that the white man stole thousands of acres from the Indians at the "Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek" just prior to the trail of tears removal. The time was somewhere around 1832 give or take year or two. Now for my story. This ain't no shit. My friend J.W. who retired a few years ago told me this story about himself and a friend.
It seems that J.W. and his buddy were drinking and having a high old time at the Southern-Air Club which is on the West side of the Tombigbee River in Columbus. Tombigbee in Choctaw means "Box Maker" probably a crude box for carrying the bones of the singing people's ancestors. Anyway these ole boys were starting to feel real bullet proof after midnight. This was back in the spring of 64. It was Saturday night, actually Sunday morning. J.W. had a 63 Plymouth which he says "was purdy fast." Around 1:45, am one of them came up with the exceptional idea of setting a land speed record to New Orleans. Grown men do their most rational thinking in these situations. So J.W. said they lit out at 2:00 am straight up. He said, "I looked at my watch right after they slammed the jail door behind me in Macon. It was 2:20.
His car was impounded inside a chain link fence next to the jail. He described the events just after daylight.
"They come to my cell with some kinda bologna and eggs or sump'um. I could'nt eat that stuff. They didn't put my buddy in jail, I was the one DUI, and goin' too fast. He was leaned up against a tree on the other side of the chain link fence. I hollered down to him and ast him to go and get me some cheese and crackers or sump'um cause I was starvin. Directly he come back with some crackers of some kind. He'd throw them crackers up to the winder and I was missing most of'um. Them crackers wus fallin' on the ground whur my car was impounded. There was two or three German Shepherd dogs down there. Ever time I'd miss a catch, it'ud fall down amongst them dogs. They'd growl and fight over that stuff, you never seen the like. I looked like a damned monkey with my arm run through them bars tryin' to catch that stuff."
Now J.W. didn't tell me how or when he got out, or if he ever caught a cracker. The story was always ongoing.
He lives in Louisville. That's Louis-ville, not pronounced like the town in Kin-tuck-ie as the native Americans would say. Now Winston County didn't sell beer so J.W. would have to go to Noxubee County to get a couple of six packs. They could take the highway around through Starkville to Brooksville and Macon or they could take a gravel road through the river bottom and save several miles. One Saturday J.W. and his buddy decided that they were thirsty. A trip to Noxubee county had to be made. Now again, wise men think alike and fools seldom differ. So after days of spring rains, these ole boys made the decision you would expect. Yes they took the short cut across the river bottom.
"We got over there in a that river bottom. Tha road was bad. We sunk down to tha frame on that ole truck. We messed around there and decided to walk to some body's house and git'um to pull us out. We got this ole boy over there with a tractor. He hooked on and yanked the bumper clean of tha truck. Finally he got us out. I ast him how much we owed him. He said ah bout five dollars. I give him our beer money. We come on back home. HEY! that ain't the only time I crossed that bottom. I remember being out in front of the truck with a pole, feeling around to see how deep the water wus. My wife would be drivin' and them kids would be cryin' and takin' on. Boy it was sump'um."
"I used to wake up on Sunday mornin' and there would be knuckle bumps all over my ole head. One morning I was shavin'. I had a little ole cut on my lip a while back that was healed up. I messed around there and hit sump'um with tha razor. I pulled it out and it was a little piece of asphalt."

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bring Up The Twelve Pounders

bring up the Twelve Pounders!

- all the horses are dead here, sir

bring'em up by mule then

- all the mules are dead here, sir

well bring'em up by hand, boys

- all the battery men are dead here, sir

well I need them Twelve Pounders

- there ain't no artillery left here, sir

Lyrics by: Paul Kennerly from "White Mansions"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Moon Shot

I took these five or six years ago maybe longer. Olympus OM1 fully manual with tripod, cable ,and 400 speed film. Sorry, I kept the good ones.
Now I remember why I like film. There are some really beautiful streaks in some of these shots that digital just won't make.
Is photography fun or what!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

High Flight

High Flight

If any of you remember President Regan's speech after the crash of the Challenger, the click above may be interesting.
His speech writer Peggy Nunan being a voracious reader pulled a line from this and made it immortal.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008


These relics just north of Vicksburg may or may not go back to 1863, but they did remind me of the area's history. Gen. Sherman burned so many homes in and around Jackson that it was called Chimneyville for decades. Meridian got the same treatment. Vicksburg didn't celebrate July 4th for 89 years. Theis pyromania was just a dress rehearsal for Billy's march to the sea.

Well so much for Independent Sovreign States. Hey we tried to warn you but you kept shooting at us.

Lets raise a toast to our Masters in Washington.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Check On The Hog

It has either been raining for days here in Mississippi or cold. It snowed in Jackson, Slidell, and Baton Rouge this week.
It's been several days since I have cranked up my little Harley (If I haven't told you my daughter and son-in-law got it for me as a birthday present two years ago) Now my kid is very special, not to mention, how many sons-in-law would give an old grump ass a gift like this? Yeah no kidding.

Anyway I went out into our closed in garage this afternoon and turned on a portable heater while I fetched Christmas decorations from the attic. After looking past boxes labeled "kitchen stuff" for an hour, I came down for a break. My wife sent me back up there and I decided to open boxes regardless of their markings. Sure enough, I peaked in expecting to find a spatula and there they were, little green thingy doos, and blue rinky dinks, yes sir, yes sir, three boxes full. How's that for a run on sentence Billy Faulkner?

So, with honey doos over I uncovered "Red Molly." When a man pulls the covers off Red Molly and his eyes lock on her luscious curves his heart beats a little faster. If this doesn't cause the pulse to quicken in a male, he must be a golfer or worse. Men give her longing glances when they think I don't see. Some would take her from me in a second, others are afraid that she may be too much to handle.

I pressed the garage door button (actually I mashed the button) we don't press anything here in the South, not even shirts, anyway, backed her out in the driveway, pulled the choke (fuel enricher) and hit the button. She came alive. By the way I got her name from a Richard Thompson song called " 52 Vincent", a British made Vincent Black Lightning 1952 model. His girl was a sexy red head named Red Molly wearing black leather. I'm pretty sure most young people know the song. If you haven't, find the song and tell me this isn't one of the best guitar players you've ever heard.

With the rich fuel Molly talked fast like she'd had the most wonderful dream. She warmed up to me as I held her close.

In a couple of minutes she was warm enough to push in the choke and she smoothed out. Those Vance and Hines pipes rumbled more quietly. Man, she whispered softly, begging, begging me to run away with her. It happens every time we meet. She's a seductress, a siren. But it was just too cold today. The wife and I had to visit neighbors bearing goodies.
Beneath the covers she settled in quietly. I promised that I would be back for her.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Shout It From The Mountain Top

This is a photo from the top of Cheaha Mountain in East Central Alabama near Anniston. (Cheaha State Park)Cheaha is a Creek Indian word for pain.

It seems there was a brave named "Turns His Head" who was cracking hickory nuts between two rocks, holding with one hand and smashing with the other. No one knows exactly what happened. Witnesses said the last they saw of him, he was going over this point at a full run Screaming the word.

Others say it was that cheap scratchy wool loin cloth he traded for. coupled with an infestation of chiggers while picking black berries that drove him over the edge.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Can you dig it?

To the left is an old shovel. They started out as steam shovels. This one is gas or diesel. Note the operation is all done with cable. This was long before hydraulic pump operated like today. My guess is that the one above is a huge cauldron for molten steel that could be dumped. The bottom looks like an ore carrier.
See the previous posting for the story.

Ah Sweet Home

This is a picture of Sloss Furnace. Birmingham Alabama was once a great steel town. My understanding is that there was an abundance of coal in the area. This made a perfect situation for making steel since iron ore was abundant as well. Sloss glowed bright red with magma-like steel.

There is a town in the area named Bessemer. Bessemer is actually a method of making steel. There is an iron statue in the city of Birmingham. It's called Vulcan, "god of fire" or something of the sort. It's the largest cast iron statue in the world.

It amazes me how man learned to make bronze and more so that he advanced to make iron.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Flood of 1927

I was traveling up Highway 61 Wednesday, The Blues

Highway through the Mississippi Delta. Off to my left I caught sight of this house. I was three hours away from home and clouds were coming in but I had to get closer and get a picture.

In 1929 or was it 1927the Mississippi overflowed its banks. Water was several feet deep all across the Delta from south of Memphis to Vicksburg. Those who could, fled on trains, wagons, automobiles and on foot. Others were caught in the rising water. I don't know the death toll. I am told that eventually the levees were blown further to the south in order to give relief to miles and miles of Delta to the north. People waited for days on tops of houses. Some huddled on little humps of high ground though I haven't seen any high ground.

I guess "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" or the Odessey gave us a visual glimpse.
When I saw this beautiful home, I knew immediately what it was all about. You may ask, "Why would anyone live in a place like this?" Some of these farmers own huge plantations. They do very well. Where I'm from in the West Tennessee rolling hills the soil is six to twelve inches deep. Below that is sub-soil or parent material, that is, if you give it a few thousand years, it may become rich soil in the right conditions. In the Delta the soil is dark, rich and deep. It has floated down from many states in North America, a little of Minnesota, Iowa, Kentucky, and Montana, to name a few. I watched a backhoe once dig out a ditch on a pipeline there. It was over twelve feet deep and the soil at the bottom of the hole was just as rich as the soil at the top! There is something beautiful about the Delta in the fall.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Beautiful Town

I passed through Canton Mississippi Tuesday. It's s beautiful little town. Since much of the downtown area hasn't changed much in the last fifty years it has been the perfect place to make movies about the old south and what is perceived by the rest of America as the new South. A Time To Kill, and Oh Brother Where Art Though among others had many scenes shot in Canton.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Elvis Spotted in Gordo

Word has it that Elvis was spotted again in Gordo Alabama. Gordo is a raging metropolis just across the state line. The traffic light works except for the yellow that has a bulb out. Local people are keen on the fact that when no light is on, it means yellow and don't get pulled over. Poor travelers have a difficult time. The mayer says it's just not safe to fix the light at this time. It would be too dangerous to put up a sixteen foot step ladder in the middle of U.S. 82.

Dora Lee Biggs told my wife about the sighting. It seems that he was spotted on a bench outside the Gordo Grind, that's a foo foo coffee bar in a portable shed next to the quick stop. They have learned to combine Maxwell House and Folgers coffee with a just a shredding of sweet potato delicately floating on the surface. People in west Alabama are nuts over it. They're comming from Mississippi now. The line was backed up the other day all the way to Gene's saw shop and hog feed.

Anyway Dora said that Elvis was wearing overalls. It seems that his belly hasn't shrunk so he was wearing them with the buttons loosened on both sides to let some air circulate. What caught her attention was his workshirt with the collar turned up. Then he whipped out a little sack of groceries and made up a peanut butter and nanner sandwich right there. Well, that really got her interested cause she knows his favorite food. She said there was no doubt when he reached in and pulled out his upper denture to lick off the peanut butter stuck on them because she saw his big ring that he always wore on his right hand. Before she called my wife she rushed over to the pawn shop to see if that big ring under the glass was the one off his other hand but she said it turned out to be one of those Cupid Zarcondoms.

Dora said, " it was like one on them aberations cause he wudden there the first time she walked over to the liquor store."