“I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”
– Harper Lee, “To Kill a Mockingbird”
“It is easy to believe we are each waves and forget we are also the ocean.”
– Jon J. Muth
“As you discover what strength you can draw from your community in this world from which it stands apart, look outward as well as inward. Build bridges instead of walls.”
– Sonia Sotomayor
Tupelo – and North Mississippi – have been much in the national news the past several weeks.
First, someone shot an elephant named Carol who was visiting our city with Barnum & Bailey circus.
Friends from other places called or texted with inquiries: “Who shoots a circus elephant?”
Good question. Still no answer.
Then, an Elvis tribute artist was arrested and accused of sending poison-laced letters to members of our community – sweet Judge Sadie Holland, Sen. Roger Wicker and the president of the United States.
And again, friends from all over began texting – “What sort of people live up there?”
Days later, the tribute artist was free and suspicions gravitated to a Tupelo taekwondo instructor and former political candidate named James Everett Dutschke.
Northeast Mississippi and some of our residents remained high on the lists of favorite discussion topics of many, if not most, news, talk, entertainment shows on television, radio, Internet and in print.
My friends’ interest continued – “Again, what kind of folks live up there?” And even – “Don’t you think it’s time you move away from there?”
“And move where?” I countered. “To Jackson where you live? How many murders a day now?”
Truth is, all manner of humanity can be found in every corner of this crazy world of ours. Good people and those who are not so good.
The bottom line remains the same. People are people.
I was reminded of that last Wednesday as I spent a rare day away from my desk and toted a notebook and pen as I visited some really fine folks in Chickasaw County.
My friend Chip and I were riding the roads from Houston to Woodland and parts in between, in search of information for a future story.
Every person we met along the way answered our inquiries with patience and kindness. Good people all.
I’ve lived in several areas of this state of my birth, and I’ve met all manner of people.
In every city – small and large – in every state, Southern or other, there are people who will do stupid, often offensive, things.
But the good news is this: The majority of people are good.
And I find that especially true, right here in Northeast Mississippi.
Leslie Criss/NEMS Daily Journal