We all have a common heritage in Hurricane as most of the early settlers of our community that was named Esperanza, supposedly titled that for a Chickasaw princess with a name of Spanish origin that translates as “hope” into English, arrived in the land area known as the Chickasaw Cession in 1836 as part of the exodus from the Eastern seaboard of the United States as this population started the westward migration for land expansions as the young nation was out-growling the original 13 colonies. The tales of virgin forests and uncultivated lands lured those farming pioneers or even plantation owners from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia to our “neck of the woods” as our hamlet abuts three counties that includes Pontotoc, Union and Lafayette. Still the gateway to our neighborhood is the Mud Creek bridge on Hwy. 346 as in those early days, the Native American travelers traversed this creek via a giant, white oak by running their ponies across the tree felled by nature, and it spanned the waterway that was called “achuba” by the First Americans as the traditions established for the upcoming New Year’s celebratory foods, customs and drinks incorporate a mixture of English, Scottish, Irish and Native American traditions and even superstitions for a successful entry into the New Year 2023! So get out those ‘Hoppin’ John‘ recipes and incorporate a common core of black-eyed peas, rice, a ham hock or thick, bacon slices, a touch of local greens for prosperity and tomatoes for health, plus put a dime in the pot for luck in finances for the person that is served the money. The completion of a true, Southern meal is hot, honey-baked cornbread as this is also seen as a touch of gold as that is always good in one’s financial outlook. So enjoy these dishes throughout the week as a big, Dutch oven will feed “Kith and Kin” from January 1 on Sunday ‘til’ “Doomsday” as that also tells of a continuance of holiday leftovers In the Deep South! Enjoy!
Terri Smith(Roger) hosted a birthday party for her dad, Coach Zane Hale, on December 21 at the Smiths’ home on Hwy. 346. She related that she and Scott Hale (Connie), her younger brother, had thoughtfully reversed the candles to “38” and earlier in the year that they had celebrated their mom, Glenda White Hale, in the same way as her candles were “18” as the siblings enjoy their family milestones’ celebrations joyfully. Grandchildren attending were as follows: Trae Smith, Bro. Easton Smith (Suanna), Ainsley Hale and Noah Hale. The latest edition to the Zane Hale family is that of Darden Jade Smith, their first great-grandchild, a beautiful addition, for sure, on November 22, 2022.
Ronnie and Lawanda Hale and Jessica Hale attended an Indiana Pacers game last week as they were in the neighborhood for the Hoosiers Classic at Knightstown. Everyone enjoys that classic basketball movie “Hoosiers” that told of a small town’s win in the State Tourney there. The gym is now a museum, and the venue is used for the tourney today to show how facilities were in that era and to show younger generations how great their gymnasiums are today with central heat/air. Also a nod of approval is to the town of Thaxton in Pontotoc county that has preserved their gym for the community to continue to enjoy events by keeping that gleaming, hardwood court in “Blue Devil” paint In pristine condition for the center court and the goals’ lanes. You walk in and immediately smell that old leather from the basketballs that would become a deep, tobacco brown after continued use plus the floor-mop product used brings to one’s mind “back-in-the-day” memories. Due to economic conditions in the small schools in the “Hill Country” in North Mississippi, a new gymnasium was coveted as often local citizens and students devoted their time, their talents, and their own money to build a new venue. Bring on the county tournaments in January as the old schools still celebrate this rich heritage and tradition for “braggin’ rights” until the next basketball season. Let the January basketball season begin!
A new addition to the family of Rusty and Beverly Montgomery Cummings at Friendship that enjoyed their Christmas holiday gathering was their great-granddaughter, Maely Ann McBrayer, the daughter of Bailey and Katie Henry McBrayer of Ecru and the granddaughter of Stephen and Crystal C. McBrayer, also of Friendship. Their granddaughter, Brooke McBrayer, a freshman at ICC, was home for the holidays also as she was a President’s list scholar
for the fall semester. A post-holiday duck hunt had their grandson, Jack Cummings, a sophomore at NPAC that plays baseball and football, and his dad, Chad, duck hunting in Arkansas. Beverly is one of those old Hurricane All-Stars in basketball that is like me and the next teammate mentioned as we have trouble covering all of the sports of our families as we have had several generations involved in North Mississippi athletics. I waited patiently to wear her basketball suit number as I coveted it from fifth grade to my junior year in high school as it finally came to me via Marquetta as I had inherited hers until then. Life has come “Full Circle” in sports via our children or grandchildren and now the great-grandchildren loom on the horizon. Life is good!
Nelda Burchfield Morgan of Hernando enjoyed having her children, Emilee McClure(Greg) of Mobile, and their daughters, Marilyn, Nora, Alice and Ella; and Ed Morgan(Pamela)of Hurricane and their children, Jordan, Jace and Julie, at her home for Christmas Eve.
Stephen Brents bagged a trophy 10 pt. buck in his Cane Creek neighborhood. Caroline called me to find ‘Colty’(her childhood nickname for him that we dropped)quick; so I did locate Rio, a German-wire-haired pointer that tracks in several states, and Colt Hooker, to retrieve the errant, runaway buck. Yes, I considered taking Minga, but she is still in basic training and has been a quick study in tracking, but you can’t risk missing a trophy. All ended well as the news spread quickly via social media now. These hunters in the South and the Midwest are serious in retrieving their game.
It’s so nice to live in the countryside and still hear the bells or chimes on Christmas Day at Hurricane Baptist. Once the sounds were only heard in the city at the larger churches like First Methodist in Pontotoc. During the Bible Conference, the gracious ladies who prepared the daily meals for the guests, took meals to the poll workers on Tuesday at Hurricane Community Center. There was a collective thank-you note penned by Marquetta Spears of Pontotoc for the group who served 12 hours for the election and welcomed the delicious and hot food on a December day as well as the sounds of the Christmas season playing in the church’s steeple that was heard by those eating nearby. Also I was sitting in the church parking lot listening on that afternoon to the carols before the evening meals, and I waited until the music was completed as it was so serene and thoughts about the growth and the foresight of the leaders to provide modern facilities for the congregation sank in. The last fifty to sixty years have changed our small, hamlet’s church into new facilities for the sanctuary, the fellowship hall, and a prophet’s chamber as well for guest preachers as we were hosting the 60th anniversary celebration of the conference. Time marches on, and there are a few homes and Sand Springs Church remains the same across from the old cemetery of the same name, and it is adjacent to the new Warren Cemetery on Todd Road. My own childhood home was built in 1962 as that marked the first conference date and is located next door to the church. I am so thankful that the Phillip and Courtney Robbins family will enjoy that same home as they have renovated it, as we the Norwoods did, and we welcomed four visiting preachers that year to the new house that was the modest and modern, brick home of that era of my late parents, Sis and Warren, as they were children of the Great Depression and were teens during WWII in Hurricane and Etta, respectively.
Finally, the shady playgrounds of giant oak trees at the old school and on the old churchyard were blown away in 1971 forever changing the community’s landscape for this resident since the early 1950’s.
Graden and Harper Hooker attended the book signing for author, Tom Hooker of North Carolina, a native of the Thaxton community, at the Town Square Museum in Pontotoc. His maternal grandparents, the late Martin and Annie Hale Coleman, resided in Hurricane as his parents were the late J. C. Hooker of Thaxton and his mom, Burnett Coleman Hooker, now resides in Tennessee and is an active, nonagenarian in her new church and community. Harper announced that they bought me three, new books to read by the author, and I assure you that I will enjoy them.
Roger and Terri Smith hosted the Christmas dinner for the family of the late Basel and Ora Montgomery Hale at their Hurricane Road home that was decorated in beautiful, seasonal wreaths with red ribbons and accents. Surviving of the four sons of the Hales are as follows and attending the event: Zane Hale (Glenda) and Jack Hale (Jo) of New Albany. Also attending were Bobbie Hale (the widow of Charlie Eudean) and Shirley Hale (the widow of Joel Hale) of Pontotoc.
Most of the first cousins were there as well as the great-grandchildren. The new family addition that is a great-great grandchild, Darden Jade Smith, attended with her parents as well, Easton and Suanna, as a delicious meal was enjoyed by the family.
Our family regrouped on Christmas night at the cabin as we had a steak cookout at Little Kettle Creek Cabin in Lafayette County as it was a change for the palate due to an overload of the traditional ham, turkey, chicken and dressing, and assorted sides and desserts of Christmas Eve, and also they had attended varied holiday dinners in the area. Aden and her Cartwright family of New Site left for a holiday trip to the Smoky Mountains and found that elusive snowstorm there on Christmas Day. Then Anna Reese and Wilkes caught a flight to Montana to complete their holiday events. A variety of hunting adventures have also been on the other grandchildren’s agendas with a duck hunt in the Delta for Sophie Hooker and Judd McGee and a duck hunt for Braxton Hooker in Louisiana. The ‘grandarlins’ are a bunch of “rolling stones” that keep the roadways and the airports busy as well as the old folks! Two minor accidents occurred In the neighborhood as Sophie bagged a doe with her car and will be seeing the repair shop. Also Harper was in a fender-bender near Oxford that had a group of cousins and the mom walk away ok as the car looked totaled as we happened upon the scene and were greatly relieved as we had to turn around in the interstate and retrack to their side if 278/6. By the way, we were met on December 23rd with a light dusting of snow at the cabin. Then on the 26th, our annual shopping trip was canceled due to snow and ice on I-22 in Collierville, TN and the Olive Branch area. Saved me a lot of money, but the kids always want a trip there or a “White Christmas” is their other greatest wish. It’s snowed all around, but really all we experienced was the deep, bitter cold that makes me glad that I live in the Deep South.
Kagen J. Ezell, the grandson of Jack and June Ezell, was on the President’s List at ICC for the fall semester. He is the son of Brian and Kim Ezell of Esperanza Road.
Abby Waldron, the daughter of Bro. Clifton and Cindy Waldron of Benjamin Road, was a Dean’s List scholar at ICC for the first semester.
Wendell and Lynn Hale Russell of Sand Springs celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary on December 30.
Jimmie G. Warren (the late Ward) and their children, Rita Hill (Howard) andJeff Warren (Ruthie), all of Pontotoc, celebrated their traditional, Christmas Eve gathering at her home on Warren Lane in Hurricane. Grandsons are Attorney Lee Hill (Jessica) and their children, Parker, twins, Michael and Elly, of Madison, and Benjamin Hill (Brittany) and their children, Cora and Cooper, of Pontotoc.
Oh, dear me, I faked a headache during the Texas Tech-Ole Miss game on Wednesday night as I kept getting texts and calls from the Warren-Graham families from Sweetwater to Lubbock, Texas. I admitted that I was a sore loser, (getting old), but I answered gracefully and rallied the following morning with “Remember the Cotton Bowl 2004” as I still wear that cap to reunions. Also I enjoyed a host of conversations that I don’t normally talk to as they just had to get caught up with Susan and everybody in the vicinity of Oxford. Those Texans love their football teams! By the way, the entire, little town of Loraine, Texas, or known as Grahamville, Texas, all attended the 6A State Finals at AT&T Stadium in Dallas as their small, high school student body bowed out in the title game for the State Championship as someone sent that there were 37 boys in the high school student body, and all played on the team. The current mayor of Loraine is Irene Graham, the widow of Ken Graham, who is the son of Shirley Graham and of the late Clay Brooks Graham.
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