July 31, 2003 – Getting ready for the Neshoba County Fair, in progress this week, has never been very well coordinated. It really begins in the spring when we check for winter damage from rain, freezing temperatures, and insect damage. Then nearer to fair time the place is cleaned, the dirty linen carried home from the previous fair is returned, and cooking begins at home.
Two weeks ago Jo Ann began with casseroles, with me using a new chopper that looks like a serrated biscuit cutter, in a plastic bowl containing onions and celery.
Cabin co-owner Sid Salter had a crew of helpers turning mattresses and making beds, sweeping and vacuuming the red clay dust that permeates every
crack and pore, and wiping and dusting all exposed surfaces. Repairmen were called in to check two refrigerators that might have been on the blink.
In all it was a relatively easy startup—at least there is yet no major repair like the time we were invaded by carpenter ants, and the time we had
water damage from runoff from neighboring cabins and had to put vinyl siding on the length of the cabin.
For me finding a place for kidney dialysis was a factor, which was finally arranged through the Oxford unit I regularly go to three days a week.
We tried to get in at the dialysis center on the Choctaw Reservation, about three miles away through the country, but were advised they did not take
“transients,” so we opted for Louisville, some 40 miles up the road. Chief Phillip Martin got me in, but the staff wouldn’t give me a date or time.
Jo Ann also got some conditioning on being outside in the heat and humidity when 4-1/2-year-old granddaughter Samantha Adams spent several days with us, most of which she wanted to spend in the swimming pool.
She averaged three times a day, with Jo Ann as the life-guard and companion about one-half the time, when older granddaughter Abby and friends and or Renee Whitten who was giving Samantha swimming lessons—consisting primarily of convincing Samantha to put her face in the water and blow bubbles—weren’t there.
Samantha learned to float, to swim with very little assistance, but with a relatively dry face. She may be little but she is as stubborn as her mother and grandmother.
I advised Jo Ann that with her pool time and daily walks, of which I tag along for one of her four laps around the neighborhood—when it’s not too hot—she should be in fine shape for the hardships of the fair.
She assured me she probably wasn’t.
I knew better than to argue.
Samantha was staying with us while her mother Deanna and brothers Zachary and Eli were house hunting in the Newnan-Carrolton area of Georgia where Michael has transferred with Southern Pipe of Meridian from the Tupelo office.
Zachary, whose birthday usually falls during the fair, will be treated to a cake and such as he plans to spend the better part of the second week there.
We always come back to Bruce on Sunday to see that the Journal gets published on time, even though Jo Ann and I have very little to do with it now, and return late Tuesday night or Wednesday. I have dialysis in Oxford on Tuesday but my 3 hours and 45 minutes hooked to the mechanical kidney is usually over in the middle of the afternoon, so we should be on schedule getting there for the night entertainment.
On arrival Tuesday night the Wednesday lunch panic begins, for there will be more than 100 coming through the serving line. There are usually more on Thursday, including a lot of media folks, a lot of politicians who want to be exposed to the media folks, and a host of Sid’s and our friends ranging from classmates, former students, and just folks we know and who know us and who want to see the politicians and media folk.
We left for the fair after dialysis on Thursday before the fair, with my next scheduled treatment to be in Louisville on Saturday. Jo Ann, who usually drives me to Oxford on Tuesday and Saturday, with son-in-law Joel McNeece filling in on Thursdays, is being difficult about the Saturday drive, for it conflicts with arts and crafts sale at the fair.
Personally I felt it would be an excellent time for her to miss, but I may well be on my own.
I have argued that I could and can drive myself, but there are days, especially when there is an inordinate amount of fluid to be removed my blood pressure drops and I’m not too steady on my feet for a few minutes. We plan to lobby with the chief for the use of his facility next year. After all Jo Ann is from Winston County and has some claim to a Choctaw bloodline.