April 12 '08
Volume 619

Shannon’s Plaque Museum Honors Thaxton Native
Sammie, Jeannie, Shannon, Cary, BrendaThe caller ID feature of my home phone indicated the call was from Richard Jaggers. Upon answering the phone, I heard the voice of Sammie. I don’t recall the words verbatim, but when she asked had I heard about Shannon, I braced myself for bad news.

Shannon Carter and my dad were first cousins, the result of their respective fathers being brothers. Born in Thaxton, Mississippi, Shannon spent much of his life in Starkville, where he owned a thriving wood products business where his company manufactured grandfather clocks. Shannon is now widowed and living in an assisted living facility in Birmingham near where his younger daughter works.

Thankfully, there was no bad news. Sammie was calling to inform me that Shannon and his two daughters were coming to Pontotoc on Saturday and would be at the Post Office Museum for a recognition ceremony. Sammie wanted to let me know of Shannon’s visit, in case I was free to attend the ceremony. I thanked her for the information and shared I would plan to attend.

An hour or so earlier, my New York uncle, Lamar, had sent me an email asking for help in locating Liberty Hill Cemetery, the site where several of our Carter ancestors are interred. He had written that Shannon and daughter Brenda wanted to visit the cemetery and while Shannon, whose memory is failing rapidly, thought he could find the remote location, Brenda wasn’t so sure and had asked Lamar for help. There was nothing in the email stating the visit was planned for Saturday, else I might have been better prepared for Sammie’s phone call.

I found a couple of maps on the Internet and sent Lamar a response to relay to Brenda. I even offered my willingness to help her and Shannon find the cemetery if their planned visit coincided with me being in Pontotoc. After Sammie called, I sent Lamar another email stating I would be available to help them.

It was my understanding the recognition ceremony would be at 3:00 p.m. Saturday. Shortly before 2:30 p.m., Neal Huskison phoned to ask if I were going to the museum.

"Yeah, I’m going in a little while," I shared. "Are you?"

"Virginia and I are about to leave. I think they’re going to be there at two-thirty."

"Okay, I’ll leave in a few minutes."

Neal and Virginia pulled into a parking space in front of the museum just as I arrived. Several other vehicles were also present. As I exited my car, I saw Shannon and his daughters, Sammie Jaggers, Neal and Virginia, two children, and an elderly couple I didn’t recognize. We greeted each other before going inside.

Dick and Doris Hagans were the ones I didn’t know. Doris and Shannon are first cousins. Shannon’s mother and Doris’ mother were sisters. Thus, Doris and I are of no relation, save having a cousin common to both of us. Nonetheless, Dick and Doris are such nice folks I found myself wishing I could add kinship to the bond of friendship that was rapidly forming.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease are mental illnesses common among the elderly. I often wonder how confusing the world must seem to the sufferer of either illness. I’ve witnessed my mother-in-law slowly sink into a world where she’s no longer capable of verbally communicating her needs other than responding to a yes or no question. Shannon has lost some of his long-term memory, evidenced in the difficulty he had in remembering Neal and me, and his short-term memory is such that I noticed he continually repeated himself. I may personally be faced with something similar, and I can only hope my children exercise as much patience with me as I observed in Brenda and Jeannie.

Inside the Museum, Shannon seemed to enjoy revisiting the displays, many of which he had donated from the huge collection of memorabilia he once housed in Starkville. Martha Jo Stegall Coleman, curator, reminded him of his many contributions, including several display cases on the main floor. A number of photos were taken upstairs before everyone convened in the basement which houses the bulk of Shannon’s donations.

In some ways, Shannon reminded me of a kid at Christmas as he moved from "Blacksmith Shop" to "General Store" to "Dry Goods" and other rooms. He answered questions about different items, even explaining to Brenda how the egg candler worked.

Seated: Shannon, Brenda - Standing: Cary, Wayne, Paige, Sammie, Jeannie, Virginia, Neal, Doris, DickAround three o’clock Martha Jo and Sammie asked Shannon’s immediate family to gather for the recognition ceremony. With Shannon, Brenda, Jeannie and Cary, all standing in the doorway of the General Store, Martha Jo thanked Shannon for his generous contributions that had helped get the Pontotoc County Museum get started. After reading the inscription on the plaque, Sammie Jaggers, presented it to Shannon explaining that it would be permanently hung on the exterior wall of the General Store to honor him.

The inscription on the plaque is as follows:

Shannon E. Carter was born in Thaxton, Mississippi to Ernie and Moss Carter. He graciously donated the items in the General Store and Blacksmith Shop as well as tools, farming implements and other items to our museum. Mr. Carter worked with wood in the furniture industry and had his own company Carter Wood Products in Starkville. This plaque is in appreciation to Mr. Carter and his family for helping get our Town Square Museum started. ~ From the Pontotoc Historical Society

Shannon smiled appreciatively and commented, "That’s really nice. Thank you."

In the Annals of Carter History, it was a proud moment, and I savored it. After a lot more pictures were taken, we left the museum in search of Liberty Hill Cemetery. That’s a story unto itself and will be shared in subsequent issues of this newsletter.

Adventure Concludes Fishing Trip Finale

After a hard day of fishing and a hard time trying unsuccessfully to find a steakhouse, I was more than ready for a night’s rest. I slept soundly for the first few hours but awakened myself while turning over. The red numerals on the clock radio were hard to read without my glasses, but I could make out the time as three o’clock. I had almost drifted back to sleep when Gordon Sansing rolled onto his back and immediately began to snore.

I was wide awake and lay there wondering how long Gordon’s snoring would last. After twenty minutes or so, he snorted loudly enough to wake up and roll onto his side. I drifted back to sleep, but caught myself awakening and checking the time hourly until the preset alarm turned on the radio at six-thirty. The Black gospel music was more than I could tolerate for the early hour, so I turned off the radio.

After listening to sounds coming from the hallway, I surmised Lee was making coffee. Not wanting to be the last person out of bed, I got up to see if the coffee was ready. It was, but I wasn’t ready for it; talk about an eye-opener!

"This coffee is bad strong," I complained to Lee.

"I like it strong," he responded. "I only added one scoop more than usual."

"Well, this is more like espresso," I insisted. "And it’s bitter."

After about the third swallow, I could drink it without wincing.

We could have eaten some of the snacks we’d brought for the fishing trip, except we opted to leave the coolers on the pier at the lake. So, we sat around the great room, sipping coffee and enjoying the relaxing atmosphere.

About eight-thirty or nine, Jim mentioned getting the flat tire on the boat trailer repaired. I tagged along with him while Lee and Gordon made plans to return to the lake.

About the same time, the director of the retreat, James Ray, stopped in to introduce himself and ask if there was anything he could do to help us with the flat. Jim explained we were in need of a lug wrench that would fit the wheel nuts. J.R., as James is known, directed us to the maintenance building. J.R. explained he had a speaking engagement at Delta State University later that day and needed to leave shortly. Jim and I searched the maintenance building for the tools we needed and took them to the boat trailer.

J.R. had found a can of ‘fix-a-flat’ and was almost through airing up the tire. Jim and I took the boat trailer to Kosciusko and left it at a tire store for fixing, before stopping by the grocery store for a few supplies and food items we needed for lunch. We returned to the retreat. We gathered and loaded the few fishing supplies we had brought from the lake the previous evening, returned the tools to the maintenance shop, and were on the lake around ten-thirty.

Fishing was even poorer than the previous day, and at noon, the four of us left the lake to begin preparations for lunch. Lee had cleaned the fish at lakeside the previous evening, and we had refrigerated them overnight. Lee washed and cut the bell peppers, yellow squash, and broccoli, all items Jim and I had purchased at the grocery store. I sliced and buttered a loaf of French bread before wrapping it in aluminum foil to heat on the grill.

When Jim had told me about our meal plans in the days prior to our fishing trip, I had expected us to eat fried fish. I’m not sure who decided to change the menu to grilled fish, and I can’t say I was delighted when I was told of the change. However, food, while a necessity, was not a primary consideration for my joining with friends for a fishing trip. Anyway, grilled fish is better than a cold sandwich.

Lee brushed olive oil on the vegetables and sprinkled them with seasoning that’s normally used for meat. The brand of seasoning is 2 Brothers and is one that I began using almost two years ago. I had not considered using it on vegetables, but it worked quite well.

When the food was ready, it was blessed before we loaded our plates. As I recall, everyone took second helpings, and when the eating was done, the grilled food had all been consumed. We gave the remaining uncooked fish filets to a couple of volunteers camped nearby, who seemed appreciative.

At two o’clock we were loaded and ready to leave the retreat. Ours had truly been a fishing adventure, and it had been filled with moments of adversity similar to the hardships faced by the American pioneers of old. We’d had wagon wheel troubles (boat trailer tire), confronted unknown territory (searched for the steakhouse), braved the elements (cold and wind), all in the name of realizing a dream. Granted, our dream was hardly as grandiose as that of the pioneers, but we found fulfillment in our accomplishments, and our days of fishing and fellowshipping with one another left our spirits refreshed. In fact, we enjoyed our adventure so much that we hope to have another one, perhaps before next spring.

Boss Appreciated Bob McGehee

The Retail Technology Department for the Southeast Region of SUPERVALU had an outstanding fiscal year that ended February 23, 2008. There are only four of us in the department, Dana – Quincy, Larry – Atlanta, Wayne – Indianola, and Bob McGehee our boss in Atlanta. We met our budget and then some, reaching a milestone considered unreachable by many ten years ago when profitability was mandated for our department.

While it’s not uncommon for bosses to express appreciation for those they supervise, it is most unusual to find appreciation being channeled upstream. When it became evident in early February that our department would break prior records, Larry Schmitt conceived the idea of "doing something" for our boss.

Larry phoned me to ask what I thought of getting Bob an engraved pen, something along the lines of that which he had done for us about three years ago. I liked the idea and so did Dana Houston. Larry began the process of selecting a Cross pen and getting it engraved. As we gave the opportunity more thought, additional ideas surfaced, including a luncheon to honor Bob and to also present him a certificate of appreciation.

Wayne, Bob, Dana, LarryWhen Larry shared his plans with the Vice President of the Southeast Region, he found an encourager and co-conspirator to help bring the plan to fruition. VP, Bill Chew, had a fake meeting memo distributed to various department heads requiring their attendance. Dana and I made plans with Larry for him to slip us undetected into the office a half-hour prior to the meeting.

The plan was to have all the department heads to arrive simultaneously for the meeting, but Bob showed up five minutes early to spoil our efforts of a complete surprise.

He still couldn’t figure out what was happening and asked, "Is somebody retiring?"

As the others arrived, Larry announced the nature of the meeting and catered lunch. Larry did a good job in sharing our reasons for honoring our boss and presented him the engraved pen. He then asked me to present the certificate of appreciation signed by the three of us who report to Bob. Bob was almost speechless, something quite uncommon for him, but he managed to graciously thank us for our thoughtfulness.

We held a short meeting after lunch in Bob’s office where we discussed plans to assure we meet budget for this fiscal year. I doubt we’ll reach any milestones this year, but I’ll bet SUPERVALU will have something nice to say about our efforts at year’s end.

Bodock Beau Laughs For Ladies

A housework-challenged husband decided to wash his sweatshirt.

Seconds after he stepped into the laundry room, he shouted, "What setting do I use on the washing machine?"

"It depends," his wife replied. "What does it say on your shirt?"  

He yelled back, "University of Oklahoma "

And they say blondes are dumb...


"It's just too hot to wear clothes today," Jack says as he stepped out of the shower. "Honey, what do you think the neighbors would think if I mowed the lawn like this?"

"Probably that I married you for your money," she replied.

Contributed by Ken Gaillard


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