Taking a couple of weeks off refreshed me. Along the way, I had some interesting experiences and met some nice people.
Caruthersville has a surprisingly deep well of talent. Not only can we claim established artists, Gary Lucy and Pennie Brantley, we can also claim bragging rights to well-known comedian and actor, Cedric the Entertainer. It doesn't take long, after meeting him, to realize that he is, certifiably, one of the good guys.
Someone else I met recently is a gentleman named Benny Bell. I've always been partial to the dance arts and was glad when my son decided to study dance for a few years. It's good to see Mr. Bell battling his way back from injuries. I hope to see you dancing again, though perhaps not quite so dramatically, and inspiring another generation of male dancers.
Alongside the artists, dancers, and actors, we also have a fair number of published writers. Ann Stokes (born a slave) contributed to Federal Writers' Project: Slave Narrative Project, Vol. 10 written and compiled from 1936-1938. One of our current City Councilmen, Josh Rittenberry, has written three books and is working on a fourth. His books can be found on Smashwords. Our librarian, Teresa Tidwell, is in print. You can find her on Amazon. And I have a book of meditations through Blurb.
We can also call R&B, Soul, and Jazz singer Donna Hightower our own singer/songwriter who recorded on the Decca and Capital labels. Miss Hightower also had a successful career in Europe. She passed away in 2013. Also in the music scene from Caruthersville is Reggie Young, a leading sessions musician who has recorded with Elvis, Herbie Mann, Dionne Warwick, and Johnny Cash, just to name a few. At 81, Mr. Young is still making music in the Memphis area.
Also to be noted is the screenwriter, Wendell Mayes. While not born in Caruthersville, he almost was since he was born in Hayti, right next door. That is close enough to claim bragging rights. His first writing credit was the Billy Wilder film, "The Spirit of St. Louis". Not too shabby for a first film credit. He also wrote, "Anatomy of a Murder" for which he received an Oscar nomination in 1960. His name can be found on many notable and recognizable film titles including The Posidean Adventure (the original). Mr. Mayes died in 1992.
And, finally, while not an entertainer, I had to include James Oliver, because I just think this is a really big deal. Mr. Oliver (born in 1914) was a zoologist, herpetologist, and educator who served as director of the American Museum of Natural History - NYC, directed the New York Zoological Park (now the Bronx Zoo) and was director of the New York Aquarium. Mr. Oliver passed away in 1981.
While busying myself learning about C'villes many notable individuals from the past I also managed to finally get myself back upstairs. Moving is hard work and for me, boring work. Sorting, organizing, and tossing is a seriously boring business. This is especially true because of the neverendingness of it. Yeah, I made up that word and told spellcheck to ignore it. Anyway . . . fortunately, since moving here, shopping has slowed considerably. My love of thrifting is pretty much a thing of the past and this makes the Pirate very happy.
I continue to learn that plans can be changed in an instant when a 100% chance of rain in pronounced (NOT predicted) and then turns into a piffle. I've also learned that it's a good idea to call ahead to the produce businesses to make sure they are actually opened. I've gone on produce trips twice now and both times left disappointed. Thank you, rain, for delaying the bounty that is peaches and pears.
The best part of this little break, however, was my growing acquaintance with fireflies. They have been stirring up a lot of desert night skies memories and I believe I'll be writing more about that next week.
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