COLUMN: Of pumpkins, blueberries and other fruity things

Tupelo reader Jean Kirk asked why the big water tank on Highway 6 between Oxford and Pontotoc is named “Punkin,” even though it’s not anything like pumpkin-colored and doesn’t look terribly huggable.
I’d like to tell you it’s because of the local legend of unrequited love between a Chickasaw princess and her Scots-Irish suitor, whom she adoringly called “Punkin” because of his shock of hair the color of a gourd’s guts, but I’d be lying.
The Punkin Water Association is named for nearby Pumpkin Creek, which also gave its name, by way of some “close enough” attempts to pronounce and spell it, to Punkin Road.
Mrs. Kirk didn’t ask why Pumpkin Creek is so named. Maybe there was a Chickasaw princess … .
n The subject of cremation came up recently at work. Co-worker 1 liked the cost savings of cremation but would like to have a viewing. Co-worker 2 said that was commonly done, with the cremation taking place afterward.
“So you use, like, a loaner casket?” Co-worker 1 asked.
Co-worker 2 said that, no, an inexpensive coffin is used for the viewing and then is included with the body in the crematorium.
The rest of us didn’t respond so graciously. Given our laughter, I think No. 1’s question generated the specter of knocking on a closed coffin to ask the occupant if we might borrow it a while.
n Most varieties of blueberries and peaches grown in Northeast Mississippi will be around in quantity for only a couple of more weeks. Stock up now at a local orchard or farmers’ market – and, if you have any inkling that the vendor didn’t grow what he’s selling, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Local producers are almost always happy to say where their farm is, how long they’ve been growing, what varieties they grow, etc. They may even offer pictures of their farm or, in rare circumstances – because farm schedules are critical – a visit.
n Judge Sotomayor responded during her confirmation hearings that she didn’t remember there being any Supreme Court cases that ever dealt with the right of self-defense. The latest issue of “Page Nine,” a newsletter by attorney Alan Korwin, listed 14 such cases, dealing with questions such as the duty to retreat, reasonable fear, the elements of self-defense, rights pre-existing before the Constitution and reasonable force.
I think maybe Judge Sotomayor is “blessed” with a very selective memory.

Contact Daily Journal reporter Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or Read his blog at

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