By Anne McKee / guest columnist
The Meridian Star
In Mississippi, folks often complain about the weather – one day requires air conditioning and the next day we find ourselves hovering around the fireplace. Ah, the spice of life – the unusual never allows boredom. And so it is during the days of December – decorate the tree with sweat upon the brow; shop-till-you-drop wearing layers and layers of clothing in order to withstand the coldest day of the year. We just laugh and say, “That’s Mississippi!”
Yes, Mississippi – our Mississippi has never claimed to be humdrum. I mean who has the time? My December calendar filled many months ago – yours as well, I’m certain. So much to do, to see, to enjoy, places to go and people to love, making memories and the joy of it all during these precious days of December.
One December surprise – Mississippi Magazine published my story in their Holiday issue, just out on the stands and delivered this week to their regular subscribers. The story is published on the “On Being Southern” page and entitled, “Christmas with Miss Betty Lou.” I was very surprised my story was selected for the Holiday issue because the competition is fierce – any and all free-lance writers’ dream that their work might one day appear in this prestigious publication.
You see I had given up since I had submitted the piece last January. By August, I was certain “Miss Betty Lou” was in the rejection pile. I think she made the December issue because she was not humdrum. Miss Betty Lou Calvert was my grandmother’s cousin and a true southern lady – unfortunately, the true southern lady is a dying breed.
Another December surprise – I was invited by the Mississippi Reading Association Annual Conference to entertain as a keynote speaker and as well a concurrent session presenter, which I entitled, "I’m All About Mississippi."
The conference was held this year at Beau Rivage on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Wow – what an honor! 2012 marked the 42nd annual conference with the theme, "Reading in 3-D; Daring to Dream, Deciding to Dig Deeper, Delivering Independence."
Dr. Suzanne Hawley served as the conference chairman. She volunteered to chair this spectacular conference in addition to her “regular” job of superintendent for Quitman School District. As a veteran of many conferences, I can testify to the rigors of organizing and accepting the heady conference responsibilities — “the buck stops here.”
Dr. Hawley and many volunteers presented an annual conference that advocated the importance of the common core values of reading, comprehension, and having fun while learning — all important. I was honored to be included with such a worthy organization.
During the days of December 2012, I am very grateful to have the opportunity to once again play Mrs. Claus, the lovely and gracious “darling” of the North Pole. Also, again this year, I will portray Cousin Jingle Jangle for pre-K and kindergarten students. As you might remember from earlier columns, Cousin Jingle Jangle, Santa’s cousin, of course, brings all of the latest news and interesting tidbits from the North Pole for the little ones.
She also has a list of important stuff from Santa; such as (1) Are you sweet to your brothers and sisters? (2) Do you listen to your teachers? (3) Do you hug your granny often? If you would like a visit from Cousin Jingle Jangle for your favorite pre-K or kindergarten, call me (601) 681-8525. I am honored to portray this never-humdrum character as a volunteer during December for my community – a community that supported my work throughout the year.
Oh, the days of December. I is with great excitement that I congratulate Casey Null, cultural affairs coordinator for the city of Meridian, and Meridian Main Street Executive Director John McClure, plus many volunteers for organizing all of the outstanding Merry Meridian festivities, for the great attendance, the variety of entertainment, staying on top of the publicity and promotionals that must be included for successful events, such as Merry Meridian.
Below are listed upcoming events:
Dec. 6 – 12, 7:30 p.m. Meridian Little Theatre presents “Sorry Wrong Chimney.”
Dec. 6 – 9, Singing Christmas Tree, 24th annual event, Highland Baptist Church.
Dec. 8, 7 p.m. – Meridian Symphony Orchestra presents Peppermint Pops.
Dec. 17, 7:30 p.m. – MSU/Riley presents John Tesh Big Band Christmas
Additional upcoming events:
Dec. 7-9, 6-9 p.m. — Bethlehem Revisited. First Assembly Church, Highway 19 North, Meridian.
Dec. 7, 5:30-8:30 p.m. – Holiday Art Reception, Lucas Road Art Gallery, downtown Meridian.
Dec. 23, 10:30 a.m. – “Night of Miracles” children’s play. Liberty Baptist Church, Highway 493.
Humdrum, never during the days of December — the time will slip away too quickly. Most importantly, celebrate the birth of Jesus, and be sure to support your favorite organizations and events. Remember, each one worked many hours to prepare just for you – the community of Meridian.
During the days of December, there is only one drum that is significant:
“The Little Drummer Boy” (in part)
Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,
So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.
Then he smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.
—Katherine Davis, Henry Onorati, Harry Simeone, 1958
Anne B. McKee is a writer and storyteller. Visit her website at www.annemckee.net.