Monday, April 03, 2006

1100 Dozen Doughnuts

Well, I never knew what it looked like to have 1100 Dozen
Doughnuts in one spot until last Friday.

We have a history teacher here at Olive Branch High School.
Like me, he is a first year teacher and a Rebel Fan. He
teaches just two doors down from me. He and his wife are
expecting their first baby boy at the end of April. About
two months ago, they discovered that the baby would be born
with a heart problem. It would be as if the baby would be
born with only half a heart. The baby will be delivered in
Ann Arbor, Michigan where he will have to have extensive
surgery. So, I decided that something needed to be done to
help him out. I approached the administration about the
idea, and we decided on a doughnut sale. So, another
teacher and myself headed the doughnut sale. I told
everyone that I wanted to sell at least 1,000 dozen
doughnuts. Most people believed that it would never happen.
Well, it did. In fact, we sold 1,100 dozen doughnuts. We
raised over $4,300!! The difficult job was finding a system
to give out 1,100 dozen doughnuts in a 1 hour and 50 minute
window. But, we pulled that together, and it worked
beautifully. In addition, the community was very supportive
of the drive. My kids got actively involved, and they
enjoyed it greatly. It really was nice to see a school and
community pull together and help a teacher in need. In
addition, I felt good because I knew that I had help a
fellow teacher, and more importantly, a friend.

My Mississippi

I Am Mississippi

I'm the land of the Choctaw
The hills of Vicksburg, and a cross-cut saw

Dinner on the ground and a muscadine vine
I'm a longleaf pine, and Mississippi's on my mind

I'm a banjo pickin' and all night sings
Azaleas a 'bloomin' in Ocean Springs

I'm a Gospel Singer and the old folks at home
And I'm the eagle on the top of the capitol's dome

I'm coffee in the morning and an ole smoked ham
Cathead biscuits and blackberry jam

I'm a Mississippi moon, a dusty Delta Dawn,
B. B. King, Magnolias in bloom

I'm an antebellum home on the Natchez Trace,
A rusty plow on the old home place

I'm Walter Payton catchin' a pass, Elvis Presley,
Coon hounds and bird dogs and tea of Sassafras

I'm Miss Mississippi and all her glory
I'm William Faulkner as he writes a story
I'm Jimmie Rodgers, the Singing Brakeman
John C. Stennis, a southern statesman

I'm the Mississippi River as it rounds the bend
I'm Gone with the Wind, y'all come back again

Well, I'm everything good you have ever dreamed about
Hush yo' mouth, I'm Mississippi
I am the South

These are the words that help me to describe Mississippi. Whenever I read this poem, I feel pride for the state that I love so dearly. In the words of native Mississippian Morgan Freeman, “I did not choose Mississippi, She chose me.” I am proud that Mississippi chose me. I love Mississippi. I was fortunate enough to be born in the great state of Mississippi, a place that is rich in history and culture. My great-great-great grandfather originally came to the area in the early 1800s after living in Nashville, Tennessee for a brief period to help build the Tennessee State Capitol. He chose Mississippi for its fertile soil and most importantly, its people.

Recently, Mississippi was devastated by the damaging effects of Hurricane Katrina when it came on shore near Waveland, Mississippi. Entire communities were wiped off the map. Mississippi was not often featured on the news. Why, you may ask. The reason why is because Mississippi takes care of itself. We do not sit and think that all is lost. Instead, we chose to help ourselves. Although Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the nation, we are the most giving state. We help ourselves. Even more importantly, we help our neighbor. Even when times are bad, Mississippians take great pride in their state and culture.

Mississippi has so much to be proud of. From the birthplace of Rock and Roll with Elvis Presley in Tupelo to the Birthplace of the Blues in the Mississippi Delta, Mississippi has a great legend of musicians. The Father of County Music, Jimmy Rogers, is from Meridian, Mississippi. Famous blues musicians such as B.B. King and Muddy Waters began their careers in their native Mississippi. Stars such as Faith Hill, from Star, Mississippi, and Charlie Pride, from Sledge, Mississippi, dot the Mississippi map with their careers.

Stars such as Morgan Freeman, Oprah Winfrey, Gerald McRaney (Major Dad), Jim Henson, and James Earl Jones are just a few that call Mississippi home. Mississippi produced some of the most beloved authors of our times. Literary legends such as Eudora Welty, William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, John Grisham, and Willie Morris wrote about their beloved Mississippi. In fact, we could say that Mississippi made them famous.

Mississippi has contributed so much that has benefited the nation and world. The first successful heart and lung transplant was performed at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. Coca-Cola and Pine-Sol were invented in Mississippi. The method of case law that is practiced throughout the nation was developed at the 4th oldest law institute in the nation at the University of Mississippi Law School.

Mississippi is also home of some of the richest agriculture in the world. What other state can claim to have so many capitals? From the Watermelon Capital in Water Valley to the Sweet Potato Capital in Vardaman, Mississippi produces some of the finest agricultural products the world has ever seen. Belzoni, Mississippi is known as the Catfish Capital of the World because 70% of the nation’s catfish comes from that area. Cotton is still a major crop in the Mississippi Delta, especially in the Cotton Capital of Greenwood.

From the gentle rolls hills of Mississippi to the vast beautiful Mississippi Delta, Mississippi has something that is sure to satisfy anyone’s appetite. At the end of the long day, take a stroll across the sunny beaches of the gulf coast or sit under a shade tree at Rowan Oak. At any rate, take your shoes off and stay awhile at a little piece of heaven here on earth.