Thursday, February 23, 2017

Pushing Spring

Meeting People of Substance...

I know. It's still winter and will be for another month, but on these warm days interspersed with Southern Winter temps in the 50s and 60s, when they rise into the upper 70s, I can't help but think of Spring. The daffodils are already blooming in my back yard, which makes me feel that it's pushing into spring. It's a kind of feeling of renewal, and it seems that all of a sudden, I've begun another round of meeting people.

It was my pleasure one night at Harvey's restaurant to see Fred Kinder and his partner Ralph Null come into the restaurant. I knew them both on sight from their various appearances in the Commercial Dispatch. I had been wanting to meet them both since I first arrived here in Columbus in late May of 2016. As people here know, Fred Kinder was the recipient of the Book of Golden Deeds award in 2016, presented by the local chapter of the National Exchange Club. These are the kind of substantial, inspirational people I've been wanting to meet.

The National Exchange Club – a service organization with 700 clubs and more than 21,000 members throughout the United States and Puerto Rico – celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011. Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Michigan by businessmen who wanted to “exchange” ideas on making their community better, the Exchange Club moved its headquarters to Toledo in 1917. For a hundred years, Exchange Club volunteer efforts have supported the needs of the country and of local communities, making it the country’s oldest American service organization operating exclusively in the United States. Its second oldest club is the Exchange Club in Toledo, Ohio formed in 1913. (source: Wikipedia)

The fortuitous meeting at Harvey's led to invitations from Fred and Ralph to visit in their home, and then on another night to meet a group of men from the area who meet weekly at Zachery's, a local cafe.

In March my twin calico girls will be a whopping one year old, and now, any time I go through all my pictures of them, it's almost melancholy to see the two pint-sized squirts running through the house like they own the world and then seeing them now, each a gallon of cat. But they bring to mind life burgeoning as spring does.

And on the home front, pushing spring and its renewal, my partner is set to close on his house in Columbus next month, sell his house in Mesilla, NM, next month, and close on an apartment complex in Las Cruces, NM. These things need to unfold like clockwork, however, and he will be under stress to get all the loose ends tied up. All I can do from this end is make room in my house for the furniture he will be shipping to Columbus—that is if he isn't quite ready, when the movers come to send it to the house he's buying. At least when he gets here, he won't have to blaze a trail as I did, and I'm hoping with the renewal that spring offers is a renewal of his life's options in a less stressful place.

The post's video is of Eden Brent (born 16 November 1965 in Greenville, Mississippi[1] She is an award-winning American musician on the independent Yellow Dog Records label. A blues pianist and vocalist, she combines boogie-woogie with elements of blues, jazz, soul, gospel and pop. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Tragedy Strikes

Five hundred dollars later...

The other day I was looking at a house that my partner was interested in buying, a beautiful 1920s house up in the hills close to downtown Columbus. In fact, he put an offer on it that day, shortly after I gave him my report, and the good news is the offer was accepted. This has solved our on-going problem of finding a suitable house for Cliff to buy when he sells his house in New Mexico. And in fact, also, he has sold that house. We've had a series of good steps being accomplished in his work to move here. We're each going to have a house, because we're not ready to merge our cats—all three calicoes, but my two girls are young whippersnappers and Julia (our long-term cat who now resides with Cliff) is a senior citizen. We do not feel that she would welcome the young-uns, and we don't want to make her feel displaced.

Anyway, when I was ready to leave and go take a look at another house, my car would not start. I called a towing service (real nice young man who grew up here and had quite a few good things to say about Columbus) took me to the car care place I've used before, called Precision Tune and Auto Care, located up on Highway 45 next to the local Applebee's. I was there a couple of hours before they determined that it was the starter, but that they would not be able to get it until the next day, which left me needing a rental car. That turned out to be fairly inexpensive because of my insurance coverage and I got a discount.

But the starter and sundries, along with labor at the car repair place was not cheap. I didn't expect it to be, so add that to the rental car, and I was out over $500. It was not really a "tragedy" in the classical sense of drama, but it was more than a simple inconvenience.

Once again, I felt I was treated well and fairly by all concerned here in this beautiful, friendly, and busy small town of 24,000. At least I can feel spring coming on as February wanes. By May, Cliff should be here, and we can continue our lives together. He will have a beautiful house to enjoy in his post retirement, a chance to destress after several long years of a thousand cuts.
WCBI Television in Columbus, Mississippi, provides a short history of Columbus's very own university, established in 1884, the first university for women in the state. It is now co-ed:

Friday, February 3, 2017

An Evening Out in Columbus, Mississippi

The Screening of Michael Williams' The Atoning...

I started my evening out with a stop at Books & Boards bookstore - Three Sisters Pie Company, for a couple cups of coffee and what the pie company calls a pie-ette. This one was pecan. I needed to bolster my appetite so I wouldn't be tempted to snack on popcorn and sodas at the theater.

The Malco Cinema in Columbus, Mississippi, held a 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. screening of the new film, The Atoning, by Michael Williams , on Thursday, February 2nd, to a sold-out crowd. This 90-minute feature length film is Mr. Williams' second such endeavor. In the coming days, the film will be shown at film festivals in Starkville, Mississippi and Oxford, Mississippi.

Synopsis from the Shendopen web site:
Vera, Ray, and Sam, a seemingly normal family, are haunted by more than mere ghosts. The lingering horror of their past threatens their ability to function as a loving family until they become enlightened by a mystical encounter. From that moment on, they’re thrust into a horror worse than anything they’ve ever experienced. Personal demons manifest and tear the family apart from the inside out as they come to terms with their past. 

I don't want to give anything away about the film, but I can say that it was thoroughly enjoyable with surprising plot twists and back-of-the-neck, hair-raising moments throughout the film. As with a new screening, there was audience participation, and Michael and his team of actors conducted a Q&A after each of the two screenings. As you will discover from the Shendopen web site, work is currently being done on a film The Hidden Few by Michael Williams and executive producer Michael LaCour. Nothing yet on what this latest film is about, but I plan to check it out when there is a screening.

My bad, but I didn't stick around for the Q&A, because I left home at 5 p.m. and it was approaching 9 p.m. by the time I left the theater. I wanted to stop in at The Elbow Room Lounge. I hadn't planned on eating, but when I arrived, I decided I would get one of the bar's signature pannini sandwiches and a Henry's hard orange soda. Barbara was there, the owner of the pub, and a two-man band was rehearsing for the next night's show, so between eating, talking with Barbara, and listening to the musicians, I spent a final hour of what was a great night out.

While it has taken me almost nine months to make acquaintances and to know people on sight and by name,  when I'm out and about, I feel that I am slowly fitting in to the community. Both my partner and I are frankly on pins and needles about his eventual move to Columbus, but boy do I have a lot to show him when he gets here.

And then, of course, there are the jazz/blues festivals held on the riverwalk in Columbus I'm looking forward to attending—with Cliff, who loves jazz.