A phone call from my friend Jean Bailey Kirk early last week brought kind words and a gentle reminder.
She was happy to read in this space last Sunday about an adventure my niece and I had in the summer of 2014 while spending time at Quail Hills Plantation in Yalobusha County.
What was to be a quick trip to the Coffeeville Piggly Wiggly one afternoon ended up as several perilous hours in which we dealt with tornadic activity, downed trees and some thick Mississippi mud that held my car captive overnight.
Quail Hills Plantation belonged to John Bailey, a well-known quail hunter and the father of Jean and her sister Joanne, who were the famous Bailey twins of Coffeeville. The 2,000 acres were left to his daughters after Mr. Bailey died.
Jean had been with us at Quail Hills that summer and she wanted to jog my memory when she called.
“You left out part of the story,” she said with a laugh.
I did. And since she brought it up, I’ll take that as her permission to tell it.
Niece Bailey and I were unable to get back to the lodge because of fallen trees, and with the car ultimately stuck in deep mud, we waited, as daylight slipped into dusk, for help to arrive.
It finally did. Sister Beth and friend Cheryl, driven by Quail Hills resident Tina, had left the lodge to find and rescue us.
Left at the lodge alone – and without any electricity – was Jean Bailey Kirk.
By the time we all got safely back to the lodge, it was dark. And if you’ve never seen darkness in the country, then you’ve never really experienced darkness.
As we neared the lodge, it was clear the power had not yet returned.
But as the lights of our vehicle burned through the darkness, another pair of headlights met ours.
Someone was sitting in a white car parked with ignition on in front of the lodge.
Friend Cheryl jumped out of one car and went to investigate the other, where she found Jean Bailey Kirk, sitting in a locked car, listening to Ole Miss and Texas Christian University play baseball.
Cheryl jumped into the passenger seat to listen to the game. The rest of us went inside.
Later, lights back on, the baseball fans came into the house, happily Hotty Toddying that Ole Miss had won.
Cheryl looked a bit pale as she told us Jean had not been alone in her car when Cheryl joined her.
One half of the Bailey twins jumped to her own defense.
“Everybody was so worried about y’all stuck in the mud, and they just all got in the car and left me here,” she said. “So, I got in my car with my daddy’s loaded shotgun, locked the doors and listened to the game.”
A woman’s got to do what a woman’s got to do.