Thursday, October 20, 2011
Glorious October weather in Mississippi
Ah, glorious October in Mississippi. Is there any finer weather in the world?
April and October are simply spectacular in Mississippi. I’d be hard pressed to tell you which one I enjoy more. And now Daylight Saving Time lasts all the way to November!
April has the burgeoning promise of new life and summer fun. October has the wistful joy of fall and the excitement of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
This October has lived up to its billing with seemingly endless sunny, clear days.
My goal in October is to take the old sailboat out, an increasingly challenging event to pull off with schedules packed full of events and children’s activities.
I had a sail planned this past weekend, but it fell through minutes before my father-in-law Bob Knight called to tell us he was on his way.
Bob aka “Night Train” is quite a character. Born and raised in Taylorsville, he has never met a stranger and is one of the most spontaneous souls I’ve ever met.
At an early age, Bob developed a love for flying, which he still does professionally. Bob’s hijinks and exploits are legendary across the Mississippi landscape. His redheaded grandson Lawrence takes after him.
After many years and many tales, Bob has reached a point in life where he lives day to day and appreciates every moment. He is quick to laugh and full of humility and perspective.
The next thing I knew, we had a multigenerational crew at Sakura Bana: 14-year-old John Emmerich, 13-year-old Lawrence Emmerich, Bob Knight and his wife Linda, Donna Knight and her 22-year-old son Connell, who had just been admitted into UMC medical school.
As the laughter and conversation flowed, we chowed down on raw fish. Who would have figured sushi would be so popular in Jackson? I marvelled at my company and how I had watched each person at the table grow and develop over the last 20 years. Can time really pass that fast? How could these little babies be adults? Where does the time go? How precious it all is.
After dinner, we joined Ginny at the JA-Prep game. We were immediately greeted by cherubic Ruth, face painted, smiling hugely, running this way and that with her adorable friends. Everywhere around me were faces of friends and acquaintances.
At this point I must add the following note: If there is a greater concentration of beautiful women in the world than at the Prep-JA game, I am not aware of it. We Mississippi men don’t realize how lucky we are.
Ole Miss was recently voted the “most beautiful” campus in the United States and surely JA and Prep are huge contributors to this status, so I bet my opinion on this matter is pretty accurate.
And the beauty on display is not simply one of shape and form, but of style and effort. Mississippi women simply have an elegant sense of beauty that accentuates everything they do. My hat is off to y’all.
Speaking of “y’all”: Please make an effort to avoid the disgusting Yankee phrase, “you guys.” I am simply amazed how often I hear “you guys” come out of the mouths of true Southerners who should know better. “You guys” is something Guido in the Mafia would say. I cringe every time I hear it.
In contrast, “y’all” is grammatically correct, structurally efficient, beautiful to the ear and gracefully Southern.
After the game, we sat in the backyard at brother-in-law Terrell Knight’s house soaking up the perfect temps and talking endlessly. Saturday night, Ginny miraculously whipped up an impromptu dinner party at our house.
Dottie Cole, my mother-in-law, joined us, as did Lucy Tucker, now a busy sophomore at Ole Miss. Wasn’t it just yesterday that Lucy Tucker was a cute 10-year-old girl with nothing better to do than hang around our house and run errands with me?
Jim and Emily Cooper joined us. Jim is like a surrogate brother to Terrell and Ginny, and the laughter and stories about growing up in Taylorsville went on for hours. One thing about the Knights and the Emmerichs. We can do some talking. It was a miracle the neighbors didn’t complain or at least insist on joining the party. As usual, Ginny’s food was beyond compare.
Then Sunday night, I stopped by to check on my mom, Celia. Turns out cousin Mary Elizabeth and Patrick Cochran stopped by with 3-year-old Jack. My little girl Ruth loves Jack, so I called her to come over. “Why don’t I bring over the steaks in the fridge,” Ginny suggests. Before you could say Jiminy Cricket, I was sitting in my mom’s backyard hammock, watching the steaks grill, mesmerized by the beams of a blazing full moon behind two gigantic loblolly pines. Moonlight in the pines.
Never did make it out to the boat this past weekend. But it seems October weekends just naturally fill up with good people and fun times no matter what the plans.
God never promised us paradise on earth. But there are fine October nights in Mississippi where it seems darn close.
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