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Reunion season in Mississippi

By By Bobby Rushing / guest writer
July 28, 2002
Mississippi, Saturdays and Sundays, July and early August. They send out a deep South calling across the states to come … Come Home!
The watermelons are ripe and full of sweet juice. The tomatoes are plump, acidly and deliciously red. There will be boiled and fried okra, Grandma's great dish of scraped, white field corn, eggplants and fried green tomatoes, fresh peas, butter beans, the standard Southern delicacy of crisp fried chicken, fried apple tarts, chocolate cake, and on and on.
How could you possibly miss it, short of being paralyzed and restricted to travel?
More you ask?
Gallons of cold, iced tea, home-turned vanilla ice cream, iced down and ready, snap beans with new potatoes, and cucumbers, sliced and soaked in a little vinegar, salt and pepper.
Did I just hear someone mention that word that you want forget at this time, "diet"?
What's happening, you ask, as if you couldn't possibly guess?
The reminder calls and letters have been long sent out. It's family gathering time! Reunions! Picnics! Dinners-on-the-ground!
Loved-ones are returning to the root place of their being. Grandpas, grandmas, brothers, sisters, cousins both near and distant, mamas and daddies, and of course, most importantly, those precious new babies who have come into the fold since the last summertime get-together.
Aunt Sybil is anxious to parade around and proudly show off her new grandson. Jerry finally got married and has his new bride with him. Dear old Uncle Marcus has passed, God bless his soul. He will be remembered when the list of the lost loved-ones is read.
It will surely be sweltering hot, with a number of funeral home fans rocking side to side to cool the sweaty faces of those who show physical evidence of over-enjoying all the aforementioned Southern delicacies much too often for the past few years.
Where are we?
Some are under picnic shelters at the park. Some out on the tree-shaded lakeside of Okatibbee. At Clarkco Park, Dalewood, Dunn's Falls, but the majority are most likely gathered in Grandma's backyard.
Wherever we are, we have come to talk, to listen, to laugh and possible shed a tear in remembering times of our earlier "wonder years." We have come to make a fuss over the new babies, to ask about each other's health conditions, describe our "operation" to whomever will listen, brag on our job promotion, our loss of weight, and lots of just idle chatter.
Are you here?
Did you answer the "call" and come "home" this hot Mississippi summer to reminisce, to share your joys and sorrows, to love and to be loved at close range once again with your relatives who have all come "home" from scattered parts of the country?
May we live to once again come back on another hot, sweaty July in Mississippi, wipe our brow, swat a few insects that are wanting to share our picnic delicacies, smile and give thanks for our freedom, our loved ones, and to He who watches over all of us.
Jerry and his young wife will be bringing that new baby to show us all. Maybe Aunt Alice's young daughter will bring her new husband for all of us to meet and critique.
Are having, or did you have, a great time?
Home. You made it, one more wonderful, sultry summer down South.

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