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In the late 1960s, a retired businessman named John van Hengel established the nation’s first food bank after encountering a mother rummaging through a grocery store dumpster so she could feed her children. Twenty years later, the president of … more
Let’s just face it — when it comes to entertainment, I’m in the wrong era. more
While driving through downtown Jasper on Saturday morning, local residents may have noticed many unfamiliar faces, mostly dressed in bright colors and pushing strollers. This group wasn’t the oddest babysitter club ever assembled; it was most … more
My wife Jilda and I were slow in tying the knot back in 1974. I first met her before she was old enough to drive but didn’t date until May of 1968. We’d been dating three years when I got the “Greetings” letter from Uncle Sam. We grew … more
Ole Kirk Christiansen wasn’t trying to become famous when he started making wooden toys in 1932. He was just looking for a way to scratch out a living in the midst of the Great Depression. Christiansen had been a successful homebuilder in … more
Today I’ve been thinking about our friend, Louis. He is dying. He's almost 90 and in congestive heart failure. After surviving several bouts with cancer, a defective valve that could have been fixed several years ago is now beyond repair. His body … more
On April 27, 2011, I huddled in a hallway with my son as an EF4 tornado passed within a half-mile of us. At the first sound of wood cracking, my plan was to throw myself on top of him, shielding him from whatever the wind unleashed. Ninety miles away in Smithville, Mississippi, another mother stood in front of what was left of her house. Patty Parker had chased the mile-wide EF5 tornado from nearby Amory, where she was the executive director of United Way, to Smithville. When live power lines and debris made driving impossible, she abandoned her car and ran toward home in high heels. more
After moving into our neighborhood last spring, I received a postcard in the mail inviting me to join Nextdoor, an app describing itself as a private social network for your neighborhood. According to its website, Nextdoor “is the best way to … more
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