“Take another shot of courage. Wonder why the right words never come. You just get numb.”—Don Henley
By Ray Mosby
ROLLING FORK— Twenty-five years.
A quarter of a century. A third of the average lifetime. That qualifies as a milestone, I think.
At very least, that’s a large enough sample to be representative. That’s enough time to accumulate an awful lot of data and that is enough time to adequately test it.
So I think it perhaps time for some evaluation.
It has been 25 years since I gathered up what then constituted my little family and moved to a place I’d never really been, where I knew not one soul to try to do something that I was not at all sure would even work.
“The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, But in ourselves that we are underlings.”
ROLLING FORK — If we are going to consider ourselves and call ourselves “the civilized world,” then we are going to have to act like it.
My mother was a lot of things, some of them psychologically interesting, but she was also an English teacher. A good one. One that knew not only that words mattered, but that sometimes words mattered more than anything else.
And both she and my father shared a common belief that parents were obliged to instill in their children and reinforce through their own actions a simple and non-negotiable rule of behavior: females were both required and obliged to act like ladies and males were required and obliged to act like gentlemen.
“I’m not understanding really, what the big controversy is.”—Biloxi School District Supt. Arthur McMillan.
ROLLING FORK — Well, let me educate a superintendent of education.
In 1960, a very nice, quintessentially Southern lady named Harper Lee published what I believe to be one of the finest novels ever written about anything, and the finest novel ever written about the early 20th Century South. After her editor nixed two other would be titles, they both settled upon “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
It is a masterpiece. I have read it more than 20 times.
It won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature.
Two years later, it was made into a movie starring Gregory Peck.
It won the Academy Award for “Best Motion Picture.” I have seen it more times than I can count.
Last week some knuckleheads within the administration of the Biloxi School District pulled it from the 8th grade curriculum.
“A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than he does himself.” — Josh Billings
ROLLING FORK — I was going through some old papers last weekend when I came across something that figuratively knocked the wind out of me. Almost exactly 11 years ago this week, I lost a dear friend and memories of him flooded across my mind like a ship’s deck awash in an intemperate sea.
There’s a picture on my wall of my grandson when he was 10 or so, sitting on my deck, and behind him in the chair, head resting on his shoulder, is the great big, beautiful, stupid old Golden Retriever that dwarfed him both in that photo and in real life.
I felt anew the not properly describable ache that we humans associate with loss and the sometimes stereo system of my mind chose to play perhaps the best lyric from “Mr. Bojangles” that was appropriately perfect: “…his dog up and died. Yeah, up and died. After 20 years he still grieves.”