Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Those Tornadoes You Read About. . .

They were big, numerous, and devastating. Debris hurled for miles. People huddled where they could: bathtubs, basements, closets. "Came so fast, I didn't have time to put a pillow over my head."

W are accustomed to expecting tornadoes in the spring. Sometimes they pass over, other times they skip here and there without damage. Mississippi has lots of land filled with trees, not a clear, open landscape. And when there is a warning, we spend more time at the television set or huddled near the radio than at any other time, sometimes hundreds of times during the season. I've been known to usher my parents and children into closets, fully clothed, pillows nearby to put over their heads, water and food nearby. All the while Dad relaxes in his comfortable chair watching the weather news. Rarely perturbed, at times he laughs that I've taken such measures. I recall putting my 80-year-old parents in the bedroom closet while I was sitting in a hall closet and hearing them, like children, after 30 minutes, whisper, "Can we come out now?"

When the kids were small, we donned our rain gear and headed out to the "gully" a depression in the wooded area behind our house. At the time the ground was clear of leaves and debris and seemed safe enough. Today they laugh at the many times we sat out there. We should have had a clubhouse, they say, since we visited so often.

But you never know.

A local columnist of our newspaper, Rick Cleveland, summed up Yazoo County like this:

"The people of Yazoo have endured the Civil War, the great flood, a deadly yellow fever epidemic, the Great Depression, numerous tornadoes and a fire that burned most of downtown Yazoo City to the ground.

Often described as half hills and half Delta, Yazoo County is 100 per cent tenaciously durable. Folks here have to be."

Recently, Mississippi was considered top of the line in charity work. We believe in giving until it hurts. We furnish clothing, food, home items to anyone who needs help. Neighborhoods band together to help local small organizations by collecting shoes, clothes, hygiene products, water, or whatever is requested. We furnish homes and wardrobes for those in need. So helping those stricken with the loss of their homes is nothing new for fellow Mississippians.

The above map shows how the line of tornadoes--28 in all--ravaged its way across western and then east. Our home is located at the dot. We were fortunate to have intermittant rain. Now it's time to go through our closets and find good clothing we no longer need and give to the needy.

We take care of our own.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

April in Missisippi

We are luxuriating in 80-degree weather: warm days full of sunshine, soft breezes, outdoor dining, and no mosquitos. Those bugs don't bother us until April begins to leave and we welcome May. So I finally get to enjoy sitting outside on the neglected patio more now than any other time of the year. I glance around in silence and see our old azalea bushes still flowering.
A walk into the front yard and we are greeted by a Grandfather Greybeard waving with his beard in full form. We decided to plant a few more of them this year since they are so graceful, but the local nursery we use couldn't obtain seedlings.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Let's Go Back to 1950

Don't let the title fool you--I'm talking about FOOD. Back then I was a twig, always able to eat or drink anything, like chocolate milk shakes with French fries, and never gain a pound. I didn't have to check labels either. Nowadays here's what's happening:

R all our married life has been a rare reader, until now. He reads labels, food advice, checks the Food Network, and like a parrot from the moment he gets up chants what he's read or heard, oftentimes challenging me. He still weighs 130 pounds, I've added a few pounds; he thinks he should remind me to stay healthy. Here's a sample of what I hear daily with my responses in parentheses:

"Check your vitamins, are you getting too much copper, zinc?"(Of course not, I read, too)

"Did you know that you should consume only cereal with 2 grams or less? Isn't that in your bowl higher? Hmmm. Indeed, you can't be eating this stuff!" (I don't eat Rice Krispies often, Hon.)

"Have you taken your vitamins today?"( I don't need to be reminded. I'm a big girl.)

"Did you know the Mediterranean diet is best for us?"(You're just finding out about that one?)

"Why don't you serve more salads and greens?" (You don't want a salad every day and the lettuce wilts!)

"Did you know we shouldn't eat too much red meat, stay with fish and chicken?"(You should be swimming or clucking by now to know that answer!)

"Are you still ordering the salmon capsules?" (You're taking them, aren't you?)

"Get rid of those canned goods, they're not healthy." (Not until we've eaten all the contents.)

"We need more frozen veggies ." (Take out your ice cream containers and walnuts and we'll have room.)

"Why don't you buy fresh foods? (I don't like what is sold in our chain grocery stores.)

"You mean you went all the way into town to buy organic food?"(What other option do I have?)

"How much did this organic cabbage cost? (I'm not telling.)

"You've got to quit eating so much sugar. Don't eat that muffin!" (Here, take half and we both can enjoy it.)