Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gloria Christiansen, Hinds County Gazette, Christiansen's comments

First, I do want to apologize for last week ‘s column…it did rather ramble on. Everything I said, could have been said, in many fewer words. I just could not stop myself.

Last Saturday’s cannon painting, at the battlefield in Raymond, was called off on the account of rain….I had been so looking forward to painting a cannon…I want to have my picture taken while painting a cannon, as one component of Brain’s new scheme….

Why is it, we so captivated by our family members that lived way in the past, the long gone generations,? I wasn’t too interested in my family history until everybody was gone…and left boxes and envelops full of pictures of people and places, that no one alive can positively identify.

But now, that every body is gone…I am Suddenly interested in those people. Folks of eras past, appeared to have lived enormously interesting lives. Don’t you think? I catch myself wondering. “what the occasion was that drew them together when the pictures made? …Who are all of those people? Where was that picture taken….where did they come from? where did they go…. ?

I said that…to say this: Brain went to studying on this and has come up with a theory as to why. Brain says, what makes them interesting, is not what we know about them, but what we don’t know…

Stop and think about those folks who have died…even relatively recently, when their names come up in conversation….their reputations, more often than not are associated to just a very few antidotes, incidents unique to their lives. And those a small number of stories are repeated over and over….perhaps embellished on.

Brain saw this phenomenon as an opportunity to design an interesting life for him and I, for future generations to ponder over… And has hatched a plot to make us seem quite remarkable. Brain has been giving considerable thought on just how we will go about implementing this plan….Brain says it “It will easy…A piece of cake”.

Take for instance, the picture of me painting a cannon…of course, I will put my name on the back…but that’s all….Then let their imaginations go …

Brain is convinced, to make us appear very exciting, to future generations… we will only need a few carefully selected , and strategically placed photos, in amongst the hundreds of unmarked pictures in the attic…But, not too deep in the pile …not many have the stamina to get all the way to the bottom of the box.

I have a picture of my friend Emily, on my frige, holding a great, huge, big, long, dead snake she killed…I am going to see can Photo Shop, put my head on Emmy’s body….Me holding a snake, that will go along way toward making it come across…that my life might it’s thrilling, courageous moments….Don’t you think?

And to bring people around Edwards to remember us, after Brain and I are dead and gone …Brain says, we, instead of throwing our wine bottles in the trash… we are going to bury them…all around the yard….again not to deep. I bet Brain makes me dig the holes….

Love to all…call if you need me

Friday, September 18, 2009

"The week that was..."

One of the bullet holes...


Edwards Ministerial Alliance and C.U.T.E. combined meeting

Front Porch at Gibbs Grocery Learned. Mississippi

Steak Night at Gibbs

King Edward Hotel

Downtown Jackson Mississippi

Christiansen's Comments
Hinds County Gazette
September 17 2009

The tempo of life in Mississippi is picking up speed now….What with football season beginning, and so many of our community events are planned to take place in the cooler months…So from now until New years, we will have lots of events to chose from…we for sure can’t get to them all.

Then after New Years it dies back a bit until Spring. The coming of Springs brings another eruption of activity …and our calendars are once again get so full, we have to go to writing in the margins, with arrows looping around and pointing to dates, just to keep up with where we are suppose to be and what we are suppose to have in our hands when we get there.

I said that to say…I have had a full week last week, my first full week since last Spring…I’ll get the calendar and we will just take it day by day…want to?

Monday was Labor Day: I drove to Madison and had lunch with daughter and did a smidgen of shopping…bought some new towels…Lost my camera in the mall, when I discovered it an hour or so later we returned to the mall and it was right where I left it…
Tuesday: Remember back about a year ago, Dave Montgomery’s house, over on Montgomery drive, was broke into? Dave was home at the time, after an exchange of words, the intruder ran out, but he shot back in to the house? Well the intruder’s trial was Tuesday. ..I went to the trial.
The court house in Raymond is closed for renovation…so for the time being court is being held out at the penal farm….quite depressing what with the fences and the razor wire. Tuesday morning they picked the jury…I didn’t go for that part. The trial was to begin at 1’ was delayed for a short time…Something about the jurors lunch.

When the proceeding began to proceed, Dave could not go in the court room, because he was a witness, but I could and did. The judge was familiar face, Judge Breland Hilburn.

I sat down on the back row…sort of the back row…the court room is quite makeshift….but serviceable for sure. Anyway two young people came in and sat down on my bench…they were law students…an assignment from one of their professors was to observe 10 hours of trials, the month of September…trials with evidence.

This I found most astounding…They told me, they were are having a very difficult time finding trials to monitor. Now you would think with all the criminal activity reported on the local news shows…those young law students would have countless court cases from which to pick. .

What I learned was this, it is not that cases are not being dealt with…fewer cases are going to jury trials…, more and more defendants are choosing to plea bargain and plead guilty. Which in the end, was what happened in the case involving Dave …The young man plead guilty to 2 counts…which could net him 45 years in jail…..he is not but 20 years old. Very sad…..

Wednesday : I was in the MEA clinic…they were handing out face masks to those with coughs and sniffles…flu season is here.

Thursday; Morning I spent baking cookies for the families of Knox McGee Thomason, of Atlanta, and Elizabeth Camille Hale of Raymond. Knox McGee was born September 1, Elizabeth Camille was born September 9, I have to tell you ..I think Knox McGee is the coolest name ever! Lynn and Davis named him Knox after one of my favorite people, Knox “Knocky” Askew, the McGee is a family name on his great grandmother Cannada‘s side.

The time between cookies going in the oven and coming out …I spent on face book ….up loading pictures of my cookie baking….and seeing what my friends were up to…..I must say…the people I hang out with on Facebook post lots of stuff about their dogs….I guess it’s that birds of a feather thing.

Thursday evening: Tuesday, while in Raymond, I stopped in city hall to say hello to Isla and Brenda…Well! You all! Isla had an extra ticket to a Mississippi Heritage Trust event to be held Thursday, at the old train station, the event was to call attention to the 10 most endangered historic places in Mississippi …one of them being the Ebenezer A.M.E. Church, Raymond.

(Oh my word this is getting long…you can stop reading any time you like…it will not hurt my feelings…really it won‘t. But I am no quitter!!!… so I shall push on…..)

One component of that Heritage event was a tour of the King Edward Hotel, presently, being restored . Isla asked me did I want to go…I was so excited………the person she first invited was unable to go…I could not believe my good fortune! And I don’t mind being second choice, not at all…

I have long be fascinated by the King Edward…the stories I have heard of the events that took place there back in the day…Weddings, coming out parties and all such as that.

From the time we came to Mississippi in 1979, every few years a new scheme to save the King Edward was trotted out, we would get our hopes up and nothing would happen, until now. It is beautiful! It is going to a 136 room hotel, there will be apartments, and for those of us who are always looking for dinning opportunities there will be a coffee shop and a dinning room…December is the target date to open…I can’t wait!

Friday: I went to the grocery store. Friday evening, I met Isla and Suzanne Harpole in Learned for dinner at Gibbs Grocery, Friday night is steak night. You all it was packed, we had to wait for a place to sit… We didn’t mind waiting…I for sure didn’t have anything better to do then soak in the atmosphere. It is in an old store…the paint fell off years ago….the inside does not appear to have evolved a great deal over the years …same old counters and tables…

You don’t necessary eat at your own table. There may be two individual tables…Most squeeze around two long tables …I am thinking the tables where sit down to eat, are where back in the day, they placed bolts of fabric to be cut, they are quite long. And there is no air-conditioning aside from the front door standing open. But it is not hot…there are fans. Dinning at Gibbs is a grand experience!

Saturday: There are two newly formed groups in Edwards, C.U.T.E (Community United to Transform Edwards..or something close to that) And a Black /White Ministerial Alliance. Rev. Dean Rydbeck, pastor at the Edwards Presbyterian Church, asked if I would help serve lunch for the joint meeting…I recruited Suzanne Harpole to assist and off we went.

It was a pleasant meeting of about 20 sincere folks, whose purpose seems to be the opening up communication in Edwards…Between Black, White, our city government…all groups. The emphasis is on pray…if your plate is full, but you would still like to take part….place these groups on your prayer list.
Love to all

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Gloria Christiansen Edwards Mississippi

Ms Barbara

Crisis committee in action at the Edwards Methodist Church

Eat your heart out Delta laddies

Just an itsy bitsy part of the pewter that can be found around town.
Christiansen's Comments
Hinds county Gazette
September 3 2009

We have had the most delightful weather for August, it has been in the 80s, and low humidity. Usually in August it is humid, hot, and dry, the ground is cracked, the grass crunchy and brown and the air is so still ….not even a hint of a breeze.

I am ashamed to admit, in the past, there were some among us, (I may have been one) who actually wished for a hurricane to blow up from the gulf to give us some relief. We don’t do that anymore! Not since Katrina…What with All the suffering she caused.

Lately, it has been the kind of weather… I had been telling myself, when it comes, “I am going to get lots accomplished!” Well, I haven’t, I have just puttered around in the yard taking deep breaths and enjoying the pleasant weather.

I have had the Book, Being Dead is no excuse ..sub titled, “The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral” for along time. It was written by a pair of Mississippi delta ladies. I did not read it, I used it as an adornment, ( hoping to appear Southern.) The book has been at one time or another on every bedside table in this house…complete with a beautifully ribboned book mark. It recently came to rest on the table next to my bed. The other night I picked it up and began reading it. It is a fun book….Some of the tales they relate are similar to events that have transpired right here in Edwards.

I had not read the book because, I didn’t think we needed it…we have been performing perfectly satisfactory funerals meals, for years ,over here in Edwards, with out any advise. However, Our funeral meals are not nearly as pretentious as those in the book…What with all of homemade mayonnaise, the polished silver and crystal cut work bowls they talk about. Fact is, there just not that much silver….polished silver…left over here in Edwards.

But, we could, if called upon, without straining, simultaneously have a funeral, bridal shower, baby shower and a christening, and have each gathering served quite nicely, on the vast accumulation of the pewter…that lives on various pantry shelves in and around Edwards.

Our quintessential funeral hostess, is Barbara Pennebaker, I have worked with a lot of ladies in my time…Barbara is hands down the Best. Barbara does not under any circumstances panic…(Years ago, we had near crises conditions at one house where the meal was to be served, You all, the commode was very nearly ready to fall through the floor) Barbara, armed with only her abundant charm, soothing southern voice, and careful word choices…can take a calamity and turn it in to what feels like a grand “Southern Experience”

Recently I was going up the walk at the Methodist church’s fellowship hall …carrying a yellow fiesta ware canister full of sliced cucumbers and onions, my contribution to a funeral meal…Barbara jerked the door open, I could tell by the horror in her eyes…something BAD was wrong…and it wasn’t just the bright yellow canister I was carrying! (Perhaps on thinking it over… not best choice for serving vessel at a funeral.) Possibly the Yankees were at the back door? No…there was a dead mouse in the house…and she could not find it. Barbara was flustered …In fact far more anxious about the dead mouse, then she had been about the teetering toilet all of those years ago.

I have not read the entire book yet…so I don’t know if they have had to, on the day of a funeral, deal with a church fellowship Hall, thick with a foul odor, being emitted from a dead and decaying dead mouse.

Love to all and call if you need me

PS. Let me hasten to say this: there is absolutely nothing wrong with pretentious …some of us live and die by those great words of wisdom from Mick Jagger…“Anything worth doing, is worth over doing“….we love pretension! When we the one being pretentious…..But, it is just plain tacky when other folks are being pretentious…. Don’t you agree?