ERROL CASTENS: Playing catch-up on a few items

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

If you’ll be so indulgent, we’ll catch up on a few items that I wish I’d gotten to earlier.
One was the 15th annual Marshall County Forestry Association Field Day. Nearly 150 people attended the event at JA-BAR Timber Farm near Byhalia.
The field day focused on raising pines in bottomlands, with tour stops to study pine beetles, woodland ecotypes, forestry herbicide use, wildlife management and prescribed burning. Sheriff Kenny Dickerson’s catfish dinner was a hit.
Marshall County may not be where you live, but this group’s presentations are worth the drive. To be notified of their events, call (662) 252-3541.
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On the subject of forestry, let me interject a crucial reminder: NEVER take the first timber purchase offer that comes knocking on your door. It’s a good way to lose a devastating amount of money, and it happens frequently.
If you have timber and any inkling that you may want to sell it, contact a registered forester. His or her expertise will pay for itself many times over.
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Memory Makers just turned one year old. The group in Oxford is one of several respite programs in the region for people with memory loss.
Emily Fox, a staff member, says Memory Makers draws people together: “These people have become my friends and family.”
Estella, a participant, said her son’s and daughter-in-law’s attentive care had left her with too little to do until she came to Memory Makers.
“I think all good things come from God, and this is one of the good things that come from him,” she said.
Herb, another participant, can always be counted on for a witty quip. When asked recently what he likes most about the program, he said, “We have a lot of fun, and the food’s not bad, either.”
For all the challenges that its participants and their families face, Memory Makers work hard to make each session a cheerful experience.
When my dad, also a participant, noted the duty of being cheerful despite the disease they face, Dianne Arnold reminded the group, “At Memory Makers we talk about encouraging one another and trying to use all the skills that we all still have left.”
“Alzheimer’s is not a disease of the soul,” program director Jenny Gordon said. “We can still enjoy art and music and people.”
Dianne added, “The person with Alzheimer’s is still in there, even at the very last stages. They have a soul, and they have feelings.”
The Memory Makers volunteers and staff must really believe that. Lucille, the newest participant, said that being part of the twice-weekly party “makes you feel like you’re really somebody.”
Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at

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