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SIMPLE

PLEASURES
WE ALL HAVE LITTLE THINGS WE LIKE TO DO THAT GIVE US JOY AND
THAT DON’T HAVE TO COST MUCH, IF ANYTHING.
FIVE SOUTH MISSISSIPPI WRITERS GIVE US A NEW APPRECIATION
FOR LIFE’S SMALL DELIGHTS, FROM PLAYING WITH DOGS TO FINDING
HIDDEN TREASURE IN A JUNK SHOP.

O NE M AN ’ S T REASURE Got to admit it - I’m a junk store junkie. Nothing I like


better than a good Salvation Army or Goodwill in which
to prowl about and await the joy that comes from an
unexpected and sometimes rare find.
Since I own an antiques shop (actually my wife’s but
I might put in a day a week to keep the old hand in)
there have been times when a fairly valuable item might
pop up, but that’s not the main attraction. As I pass the
shelves of plastic knick-knacks and mismatched dishes,
while working my way back to the electronics depart-
ment of Beta VCRs and Commodore 64 computers, I real-
ize that each piece has a history quite apart from its man-
ufacture, its original purchase primarily resulting from
the what “seemed to be a good idea at the time” art of
buying.
But not everything is a loss. Books are recyclable, giv-
ing pleasure to successive readers with each turnover. At
a “twenty books for a dollar” sale at the local Goodwill, I
once bought 60 or so. The clerk lent me a shopping cart
to push them over to my car. As I live in a small town,
my wife got innumerable phone calls all asking at what
point did Louie become a bag man.
Since I’m a little short fellow, the clothing does not
ordinarily fit me. However, there was one time when I
spotted a pretty good pair of Levi’s hanging on the rack
for two bucks that appeared to be tailor-made. When I
went in the dressing room to try them on, I stuck my
hand in the pocket and out popped two dollar bills.
There appearing to be some sort of prophecy at work
here, I brought the jeans up to the counter and paid for
them with the newly acquired pocket change.
Try doing that at Macy’s.
- Louie Galiano

a cc e n t s o u t h m i s s i s s i p p i 11
T HE W HIRLING
T REAT M ACHINE

When I first moved out to Semmes,


Ala., I had access to several hundred
acres to ride my horse. The area was won-
derfully unpopulated. While I trotted
Miss Scrapiron or Mirage through the
woods, my dogs ran along with me and
got plenty of exercise. They frolicked in
the underbrush and swam in the lake -
the best doggy life possible.
When the county paved my dead-end
dirt road (which I fought tooth and nail)
the area became prime development.
Everything changed. So today, instead of
woodland rides, the dogs get exercise via
the “whirling treat machine.”
It’s a simple game, but one the dogs
never tire of. I stand in the center of the
yard with a bag of chicken jerky strips.
As I slowly spin in a circle, I toss the
treats as far away as I can while the dogs
P AGE T URNERS (there are six of them) run maniacally in
all directions after the treats.
I also bribe them to vault the horse
When I need a little comforting, I never fail to find jumps, balance on barrels, and leap
it in a book. I learned at an early age that reading through hoola hoops tied in trees in a
takes my mind from the concerns of the day and makeshift doggy gymkhana. It gives me
allows a welcome escape. During times of transition intense pleasure to see them play.
and uncertainty, the familiarity of a favorite author - Carolyn Haines
always bolsters me.
I recall sitting in one of the expansive, sunlit wait-
ing areas of M.D. Anderson with my mom, waiting on
the kind of news no one wants to receive from a doc-
tor. I was reading “Marley and Me,” by John Grogan
and sharing tales of canine misadventures with her.
We giggled and howled, in spite of dire circum-
stances. The book was there to comfort us both, and
I’ll never forget how grateful we were to have that
release.
Words inspire and strengthen me, encourage and
enlighten me. Books offer an opportunity to remove
myself from worry and stress, and that alone provides
both a physical and mental cushion against the rav-
ages of the day. Whether the book is an historical
work, classic fiction or humor, I can always find com-
fort in the pages of a captivating read.
- Kristen Twedt

PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY PHOTOXPRESS

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S CREEN G EMS
Old movies are like comfort food
for me. I’ve been a classic films fan
since childhood, and an aficianado of
all things Warner Bros. since high
school, when I had a big poster of
Humphrey Bogart on the wall of my
bedroom, right next to Peter
Frampton.
I rediscovered the magic of those
old black and white movies seven
years ago, when my mother was
dying of cancer. Getting lost for a
couple of hours in “Casablanca,” or
laughing at the screwball comedy in
“Bringing Up Baby,” took my mind
off my grief for a while. Lucky for
me, Turner Classic Movies obliged
by filling its schedule during those
months with dozens of old favorites
as well as some movies I’d been
wanting to see for years, like “The
Philadelphia Story,” and “The Shop
E YE ON THE S PARROW Around the Corner,” that are now
also must-sees whenever they air.
Even now, I find myself turning to
About a year ago, I decided I was going to read a good old movie when I need a little
through the entire Bible by committing a little time hug and there’s no one around to
each morning to the task. I say task because initially, give it to me. I love to watch new
my approach was more like a student attacking an movies, too, but when times are
assignment instead of a reader seeking joy. Along tough and I need an escape, I can
the way, a little divine intervention occurred. always find it in those flickering
Last summer, my husband installed a tubular black and white images on my TV
birdfeeder just outside our breakfast room window. screen. Bogey, Cary, Kate, the two
A couple of hummingbird feeders were already in Jimmys (Stewart and Cagney), Fred
place. A few days after he filled the feeders with and Ginger and Bette are always
seed and nectar, the birds took notice. As I sat at the there for me.
table reading my designated Bible chapters, God’s - Robyn Jackson
creation began to put on a show! I’ve watched an
assortment of hungry visitors—blue jays, robins, car-
dinals, even an occasional ruby-throated humming-
bird.
My morning Bible study is now a simple pleasure.
I look forward to a cozy ritual of sipping hot coffee,
reading God’s word, and watching the birds. Ethel
Waters made a lovely gospel hymn famous. “His eye
is on the sparrow,” she sang. Every once in a while,
mine is, too.
- Karen Blakeney

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