Thursday, October 23, 2008

Robert Jack Smith Alderman at Large

Robert Jack Smith Alderman at large passed away Saturday.

Cemetery Clean up Day...In Edwards

Sunday afternoon October 19, I write for the Hinds County Gazette the following:

We here in rural Hinds county are holding up well, considering all that is activities, we have been attending. The month of October is one, of perhaps only two, that the weather is reliability pleasant enough to plan large out door events for great masses of people. The Mississippi State fair, the Canton Flea market, the Old Court House Flea Market in Vicksburg, Raymond has just wrapped up two weeks of pilgrimage events. There have been country church homecomings, school carnivals etc.

Yesterday was Cemetery Cleanup Day here in Edwards. Our leader and chief organizer Mr. Knocky Askew earlier this month was having serious trouble with his back, he had pain that had become quite unbearable. So early on there had been a bit of panic regarding Cemetery Day, rampant speculating, questioning if Fall cemetery Day would even take place this time. And there was much whispering amongst us, wondering what would happen if Knocky could no longer over see the cemetery? What if his health forced him to hand over the plot maps? and that jig, constructed of 2x4s, used by the men digging the graves to establish the width and length of opening? It was undisputed that it would take a least three people to replace Knocky.
Knocky was in the hospital several days, and had a procedure to relieve the pain….We were all tickled when Knocky arrived, his son, Dan, brought a golf cart to the cemetery and from that golf cart Mr. Knocky was able to over see, advise and make suggestions on the work going on at all corners of the cemetery. The pain in Knocky’s back is still there quite a nuisance, it is a lingering, nagging pain, but, is no longer unbearable, Knocky Askew is a very special man.

Then yesterday evening the Dan Mashburns over in Bolton, held their much looked forward to, annual ‘Pig Pick’n’….many of the folks attending the Pig pick’n had also been to cemetery day, or the toured homes on Raymond’s pilgrimage.

There was no is complaining for sure…some as they were leaving the Pig Pick’n were already talking about the fish fry they would be attending come Sunday afternoon.

With Sadness in my heart I report:
Edwards Alderman at large, Robert Jack Smith, died Saturday…Robert Jack had been fighting cancer for a very long time. Mr. smith was an Edwards Icon, after retiring from Cal Maine, he was a familiar sight around town…if there was a water leak he was at the location watching, seeing that the job was job right.

Over the years Robert Jack was my go to guy at city hall….he never dodged me, and I could always get him on the phone and he listened until I had all my piece said…. and as far as I know, he never lied to me, he did not make promises he could not keep. Robert Jack will be missed, in fact I had been missing him for a while, I noticed he had not been at any of the recent water leaks…I meant to ask about him….I didn’t and now I am sorry…..I would liked to have told my friend good bye.

Love to all, call if you need me.

My grandson, Garrett, that was in the car wreck…he is doing ok…he has to go to rehab three times a week and he will not be able to go back to school until January…but he is ok…thanks very much for your concern and your prayers.

Friday, October 17, 2008

What Next!? 'Christiansen's Comments' Hinds County Gazette

Late Sunday afternoon October 12.….It was another beautiful day here in mid Mississippi…
I write this: for the Hinds County Gazette’s Christiansen’s Comments,
to be published October 16 2008

Last week, banks were failing, markets were crashing….not just here in the USA but all over the world. There were Many heroic attempts to fix the markets and financial system, so far none have worked. I feel sure by the time the stock market opens again on Monday… they will have come up with yet another scheme to test.

But I see some silver linings in this. First, I heard it said many times while watching this thing unfold on the TV, when talking about folks loosing their retirement money…. “ corporations only obligation to is their share holders” , They do not operate these multi billion dollar companies for the greater good of all…It is bottom line only. And that is how they should be managed. But did they forget ? It is not just the bizillionaires who have lost money buying stock. There were a lot of “Main Streeters” who have their pension funds, their mutual funds, their 401Ks invested in the markets. Maybe when this over, just maybe, Wall Street will consider Main Street when making investment decisions and chose less risky endeavors, for retirement funds….

Why did we let them do in the first place? Because we trusted these people, They knew what they were doing…they were the professionals. Fact is, there were a lot of snake oil salesmen out there and we bought snake oil, in the hopes of getting rich..
The good I see coming from this, we may become a more cautious nation….if we are told we are being sold a red, ripe, juicy apple but, it smells like a rotten egg,…we may stop, take a minute to ask our selves do we believe our eyes or our nose.
Second good thing I am thinking might come out of this fiasco is, we may take this country back to quality. All the “Experts” seem to agree that in the end it will be the consumer , that will bring America’s economy back to prosperity . But Since our money will be tighter , we may be more selective in our choices…we may no longer buy that expensive coffee maker that self destructs in a month or so. We may not want those slacks that pill when they are washed, the shoes that come unglued in the rain….the lawn mower that won’t crank etc. Therefore to sell us goods, companies may have to take a few dollars off the bottom line and put those dollars to work making/importing quality products.

Another good thing might be….When the dust settles, the big companies may see they have to do better with their customer relations… They may have to take some dollars off the bottom line and hire a few more people to answer the phones…knowledgeable people who can actually help.…I for one ,am sick and tired of being left on hold for great lengths of time and in the end there is no resolution to my problem.

The forecast is many businesses are going to fail before this thing is resolved…..I have great hopes those who are left will be better…perhaps put some effort in to training their workers so when we ask a question, somebody.. some where in the building will have an answer…companies, the Wal-Marts, the home depots, the phone folks, etc have not treated their customers well…but we like trained rats have kept buying…if they didn’t have what we needed, we bought what they had…and made do the best way we could.

Maybe the companies left standing ,… Will go back to basics, sell what they know…I do not need my grocery store to sell TVs….or my drug store to sell clothes.

Young people do not remember , back in the day , a man could make a living for his family working in shoe store, selling shoes…A shoe store sold shoes…that’s all they did, I don‘t think they even sold socks…..they fitted the shoe to your foot…if your heel was narrow you could get shoes to fit! A man could make a living pumping gas and fixing tires. …and mamas stayed home. Those days are gone for good I am afraid, I was just pointing out far the pendulum has swung….jobs that are looked down on now ….Jobs nobody wants…. not that many years ago, men could earn a living wage doing. “Pride goes before the Fall“ any job may look good before this thing is runs it‘s course.

Even the most optimistic economists, business reporters and Wall Streeters, are saying it is going to take a very long time to come out of this financial muddle, some predicting as long as a decade. Wall Street and Main Street are in for some tough times
Only the Lord knows for sure what the out come will be.

Who knows, I may have to take in boarders…instead of having some one clean my house, I may be out on the street looking for a job cleaning a house. Maybe I will have to raise chickens and sell eggs…. No matter what happens, I pray I do not become a whiner…. I can’t stand a whiner.
Call if you need me

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Raymond Mississippi Has it going on!!!!

October 7 lecture by author Minor Ferris Buchanan
on his book
Holt Collier,His life, His Roosevelt, His Hunts And The Origin of the Teddy Bear

Hinds County court House In Raymond, Mississippi

Prominent Raymond Citizen, Fred Brooks enjoying the reception after the Lecture At
The home of Mayor Isla Tullos....

Author arriving at the Mayors beautiful home on the Square.

For more information on other planned events visit the Friends of Raymond at

Monday, October 6, 2008

Wall Street Main Street

Just Beyond my shrubs is Main Street, Edwards Mississippi

Christiansen’s Comments
Hinds county Gazette 10-09-08

America’s economic crisis has been…..well, it is like a train wreck you know what’s fixing to happen, is going to be horrific…. you don’t want to watch, but you can’t help yourself. ….I was glued to the TV Friday as the House of representatives were getting ready to vote on the Bail Out Bill. Before the vote the chatter from the TV commentators and politicians was mostly positive, this bail out is just what the nation needs…..the stock market seemed to agree….the Dow was on the rise …over 200 points. An exuberant news person on the floor of the stock exchange, alerted us that when there were enough votes to pass the bail out package, “there will be a great cheer from the traders“ , because this is the medicine Wall Street needed to save us all!

I was bothered, as I watched, waiting for the vote, by all of the folks who were saying “There is a disconnect between Wall street and Main Street…Main street Just doesn’t get it!” they were bellowing this because the polls showed voters were outraged by the Bail Out Bill.
As I am not Wall Streeter, so I must be Main Street, and I am the first to admit, I am not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but I did pass high school Latin…which is no small accomplishment! And because of Brain’s experience with Latin, Brain believes, if somebody had taken the time to explain to me just how this Bail Out plan was going to work, I could have understood.

Some these people said, that Main Street would get on board when they couldn’t get a car loan, or a mortgage. Another guy suggested that if Main Street didn’t cooperate they would be in soup lines. Now there were conflicting ideas on what Main Street should do….One guy said, if the consumer didn’t start buying again soon or this Bail Out would be for not. …another opinion was belt tightening was in order.

And when oil prices began to drop, the folks on the TV screen (By this time it was unclear to me who were reporters and who were Wall Streeters,….everybody behaved as though they had a dog in the hunt, there was not much impartial reporting happening) They were seeing the price of oil dropping as a bad thing. If you remember not all that many days ago rising oil prices was a bad thing…because the consumer had to buy high priced gas, therefore he did not have as much money to spend on goods…Boats, cars and all of those ship loads of stuff coming from China…inflation was on the way!!!

I did learn something about short sellers by watching the TV all day Friday. I had heard the term but did not have a clue as to what short selling was all about. But what I learned has me scratching my thick head. As I comprehend it , short sellers borrow stock, millions of shares… they then sell that borrowed stock in hopes of driving the stock price down, they then turn around and buy back the stock, at the lower price and they have made a profit!! There is some question if maybe short selling has had something to do with the volatility, Wall Street has been experiencing….well duh! Short selling has be suspended for a time…

In the same short selling conversation …the subject of Hedge Funds came up…hedge funds are designed to make money in an up market or down market, they were skimpy with the details as to how they manage that seemly impossible feat. But they did hint that these hedge guys are a stealthy, sort of the Darth Vaders of the financial world….And they did warn , if hedge funds start crashing, we haven’t seen nothing yet.

As I continued to watch the events of the day unfold, there was “Breaking News” … two banks Citi and Wells Fargo are in a fight, they are both wanting to buy a failed bank, Wachovia, a bank that has billions in bad debt,…..Now to me and my financially unsophisticated self, that just don’t make good sense…..unless the buyer winds up getting great piles of tax payer money…tax free …..because of this bail out package….

The vote finally came….I did not see the predicted cheer…when the vote was over and Wall Street had been bailed out,. What I did see was the traders immediately turned from the giant TV monitors, and began selling stock …the market had been up, going in to the vote, but, after the vote it began to tumble. At the end of the day the Dow had dropped 157 points. The TV people were at a loss to explain the happening at the stock exchange…some began to speculate that this 700 billion was not enough.

I am not clever enough to know if the congress has done the right thing by passing this Bail out Bill. But I do know money has not been the answer to fixing our public schools…seems no matter how much money is poured in to the school system….the situation just gets worse.

In light of recent events, I thought of Dolly Parton and words she spoke years ago, I think maybe on the Johnny Carson show, …Dolly said, “If we don’t humble ourselves, the Lord will do it for us.”

From this financial crisis may come the humbling of America.

We have had a fantastic ride….we may now have to pony up and pay for that ride.

Love to all
Call if you need me.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hinds County Gazette...Christiansen's Comments..Thursday October 02 2008

HCG October 02 2008
The week has not been uneventful. As you know the first of presidential debates between Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama was held at Ole Miss this past Friday, and because of the debate, Thursday and Friday’s classes were canceled, giving the kids a four day weekend.

So, because of the debate, Grandson Garrett, a freshman at Ole Miss, left Wednesday afternoon to come back to Madison to see his folks, somewhere around Durant his car left the road and rolled over ten times…I don’t know who was counting, but there were lots of witnesses to the accident, one man told Angela, Garrett’s car looked like a crushed coke can. Garrett’s car thankfully did not roll in to the path of any other vehicles, his was the only car involved.

The first lady who got to him, happened to be a nurse, she asked Garrett his name…he didn’t know it...but he asked the lady if she would call his mother, he was able to tell her the phone number, but did not know his name, Bless his Heart……many kind people stopped to help Garrett.

Well, I was already out done with John McCain for saying he was not coming to Mississippi for the debate. We in Mississippi may not be up to snuff on the latest fads and fashions and we may not be as sophisticated as they are in McCain’s home state of Arizona or his place of employment, Washington DC ….but , we of the South, what we do know, is our manners and we know it is just rude, not to show up, when your hosts have gone to so much trouble, not to mention the expense.

What time you show up for a Mississippi event you have been invited to, well, that is another story, because, rules of etiquette differ depending on what part of Mississippi you happen to be in…. you can, I am told, show up late in the social circles of North Jackson, quite late in fact. However, here in Edwards we expect you to be on time, if you are late, we will be polite, but you run the risk of not being invited again.

When I got the news of Garrett accident, I stated out loud, “McCain better come to Mississippi or I am really going to be mad!” He did come, the debate took place, I did mean to watch, but I was exhausted and fell asleep. Why is it that sitting at a hospital, doing nothing, makes you so tired, and sitting on the front porch, doing nothing is so relaxing?

They brought Garrett back to Jackson, to the University Hospital Wednesday evening, Thursday morning, he went in to surgery, when I walked in to the hospital I did not know what I would find. Garrett is an only child, so I fully expected to find his mom and dad, crying, wringing their hands, and puddles of tears on the waiting room floor. But they weren’t… they were thankful, no news from the doctors put them in despair…Garrett was in surgery 5 hours, every update that came out of the surgery room, they were more thankful….he had an injured shoulder and his arm had to have a steel plate, it was broken so badly…Garrett may have to have another surgery…..But no matter, they smiled happily and thanked God.

Angela and Kenny had their boy…Their boy was broken and bruised…But, their boy was alive….Many mommies and daddies go to bed every night, their hearts filled with memories of a child that is no longer with them.
Love to all

Saturday, October 4, 2008