The New Year was acknowledged in our neighborhood of Hurricane by fireworks and also other sound devices to celebrate 2021.  Looking back to my notes on past celebrations in the community, it consisted of the old-timers placing an anvil in the ground and then burying it.  Dynamite was used to create a din that was unbelievable plus an earth-shaking jar for windows following the detonation.  Of course, those that were not in the crowd wondered what on earth happened in this Hill Country hamlet.  Also there was a period of time that those in the local National Guard unit came through with noise makers during the 1960’s that they placed in the concrete culvert that ran under the highway by the stores and to the gymnasium.  As we lived nearby, it was also a loud, wakeup call for the New Year.  These high jinks were all in good fun in those days, but due to our current society’s uncertainty with terrorism, the loud explosions would be considered an endangerment for the community.  Happy New Year to all those that read the column each week! 

Birthday wishes are to those for January as follows:  Shirley Dowdy, Phillip Robbins, Phil Robbins, Faye Dillard, Francis Sneed, Mike Spears, Chipper Hicks, Jaden Ezell, Sallie Bee Weeden, Amy Clowers, Nancy Chism, Nelda Morgan, Kathy Montgomery, Danny Owen, Cohen Stubblefield, Willa Kate Stubblefield, Alter Burk, Brittany McGee, and Vickie Dyer.

Get-well wishes are to the following:  Ricky Lynn Hooker, Sr., and his wife, Phyliss Williams Hooker; Juanita Robbins, Sylvia Swords, Mary Graham, and Dewitt Stepp.

Anniversary milestones are to the following for January:  Steve and Betty Stubblefield, 43; and to Dan and Barbara Benefield of Lone Star, 63. 

Cousins, Harper, 9, and Maggie, 8, both bagged does during the Youth Day hunt at Little Kettle Creek in Lafayette Springs at the Hooker family deer camp with their dads.  Also recent hunting guests of Sophie and her dad, Cade, were the following for a New Year’s Day hunt as follows:  Eden, Ella Kate, Emma Claire, and Jenna, all of West Union. 

Stephen, Caroline, Autumn, and Asher Brents got out their telescope at Cane Creek to view the Christmas Star on December 21, 2020, as it had been 800 years or during the Middle Ages since it had appeared in the Southern sky.  We talked about it on Christmas Eve at the home of Cade Hooker and his daughters, Sophie, Ella, and Maggie, at Shady Oaks Farm, who hosted the Bud Graham family dinner, as I told them that I was at Lafayette Springs and had a blur-free view minus street lights in that “neck of the woods’ also.  Joining the group and the Brentses for steaks were as follows:  Faye G. Dillard, Freida G. Browning, Graden and Susan Hooker, Guide Browning, Braxton and Harper Hooker, all of Hurricane, and Lisa, Wilkes, and Anna Reese Bradham, all of Oxford. 

Several families in the neighborhood enjoyed the lights of Opryland Hotel in Nashville during the Christmas season.  Some of those travelers had just gotten home and the bombing of a downtown area there was very frightening.  Faye Dillard called to check on her Dillard-Busby nephews in Nashville, Tim and Barry, and they were ok.  I emailed cousins Melissa and Dr. Bill Norwood(also a Busby cousin to those in Nashville)in Murphreesboro, and they were ok as one of their son’s works at the Country Music Hall of Fame in the downtown area.  He was not at work since it was the holiday.  So we were very relieved that these family members were ok. 

Christmas Day guests at Little Kettle Creek Deer Camp were the following:  Aden Hooker and Ethan Eaton of New Site and all their Hooker kinfolks.  Aden bagged a nice 9 pt. buck during the afternoon hunt on Christmas Day, which was a repeat of the 2019 hunt on Christmas Day. We got a holiday break update on their Royals’ basketball teams there as the boys team is No. 2 in the poll, and the girls team is No. 4. 

Cade Hooker enjoyed a Mississippi Delta hunt and bagged a trophy 12 pt. while hunting with Danny Cobb of Etta.

Lisa and John Crouch had a tent outside their home for a family event.  Many of those in Hurricane tried to be outside if the weather permitted.  This pandemic has changed the gathering rules for sure.

We treated Harper and Braxton Hooker to Rafters Grill in New Albany following the Christmas holiday.  While there, we were joined by Sophie and Cade Hooker and Lisa Bradham as they were looking for a good burger and French fries after all the holiday food.  Then on New Year’s Eve, we treated Ella and Maggie to Outlaw’s in Thaxton.  It’s never easy to get all the six grandchildren in one place together; so we rotate invites as we are usually all together at one point to hunt at the deer camp.

Beth Hamilton of Jackson brought homemade Christmas treats to Faye Dillard in Hurricane as her mom, Betsy Hamilton of New Albany, prepared the cookies, bread, and the candies.  

Our community is small; so the Neighborhood Watch effort is a benefit for all of those that participate.  If you see any suspicious activity around the store, the community center, the churches, or the fire or water departments, make sure you alert the authorities.  One is often afraid to report unusual activity on the parking lots or public places or by homes, but if it is out of the normal routine, go ahead and make that 911 call.  You will find a helpful person manning the department call system even if it turns out to be a non-threat to the community.  Sometimes it pays to be observant in Hurricane.  

Betty Stubblefield enjoyed a birthday visit with Jimmie G. Warren at her Warren Lane home during a recent sunny day as they sat outside in the sunshine.  Jimmie recently celebrated her 86th birthday on December 28.  Her sister, Frances Sneed of Tupelo, will be 90 in January.  They are the daughters of the late Charlie and Ozella Dorrough Graham of Hurricane.

A detour took me back home on the 23rd of December.  As I entered the driveway, I noticed all the ‘granddogs’ lined up by a big box near the carport(three German-wire haired pointers, two Labs, and a sheepdog and a partridge in a pear tree(just kidding about the partridge)that were looking expectantly at me for help.  I went to the box, and a business had sent a large, honey-baked ham for a gift to the family.  Angels were watching over that box as the usually feisty and the hungry dogs line up for extra food at Googoo’s.  I retrieved the box that had a cooler inside the carton; so that made the ham easy to transport to my destination.  Just saying to you delivery guys, make sure it is not on the ground because that could have been a Christmas feast for the canines.

Our community was deeply saddened by the death of Shelia Baker Owen, the wife of Danny Owen, as they resided at their Byrd’s Creek home near Horton on Hwy. 346.  Shelia was a retired teacher from NPAC and New Albany High School as she had 33 years of teaching expertise in Math.  After her teaching career, she joined the Pontotoc County Sheriff’s Office as a Resource Officer in education and served the county for 14 years.  Other civic endeavors included the Pontotoc Woman’s Club and the NPAC PTO.  She was a member of West Heights Baptist Church and enjoyed her Sunday school group there as well.  A graduate of IJC, BMC, and the University of Mississippi, she was in the first group of teachers that began the 1971-2 school year at NPAC following consolidation of the Pontotoc County Schools.  She and her family enjoyed tailgating at Ole Miss and all activities at the university.  Survivors include the following:  a son, Dan Owen(Jordan); and a grandson, Baker Owen,4, all of New Albany.  She was preceded in death by her parents, Novel and Millie McCarver Baker, longtime, country store owners near the Buchanan exit.  Interment was in Ecru City Cemetery.  A host of McCarver and Baker cousins will miss Shelia as well as her former, school colleagues and students, and her friends.       

A belated expression of sympathy is extended to the family of Greta Farley Logan, the wife of Bro. Wayne Logan of Wells Road, near the Sand Springs community.  Greta was the daughter of Bro. Earl and Betty Farley of Myrtle and a substitute teacher at SPAC at Springville.  Also survivors include her children and grandchildren as follows:  daughters, Ashley Logan, Kala Logan, Hanna Logan, and Liz Logan, and one son, Kyle Logan; three grandchildren, Mercy, Boaz, and Lily Logan; and one sister, Michelle Bray.  She will be missed by her family and her friends in Hurricane.  Interment was in Warren Cemetery near Sand Springs.       

It is with joy and with anticipation each year as holiday cards arrive with new photos of families that have sent cards throughout the last forty-nine years to our home.  It is a chance to see their children and their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren progress as the years have gone quickly by.  Cards came from Ohio, Tennessee, New Mexico, Colorado, Mississippi, Washington, D.C., Texas, NYC, and Oklahoma.  Finally, a Christmas package mailed on December 15, made it from Ohio with a beautiful red, fur scarf arrived on December 31.  It will wear beautifully in January and February as well as Betty and Jim Pierce sent the gift with a photo of their patio wreath layered in a couple feet of snow as their home is in the vicinity of Lake Erie. The usual Tucson bound pair in late December opted to stay home this year due to the pandemic.  Betty is the daughter of the late Dewitt and Thelma Montgomery Swords of Shady Grove and a 1966 graduate of Hurricane High, who has missed her usual holiday journey to the county.  Love is to Betty and Jim from all the kith and the kin in Hurricane as they read the column each week.   

Isaac Brock performed the “Carol of the Bells” on the piano on December 20 at Hurricane Baptist, and his teachers would be so impressed with his delivery of the holiday favorite.  His practice and his devotion to the music were evident with his performance.  He is the son of Bro. Philip and Perri Brock and is the grandson of Bro. Malcolm and Dorothy Brock, all of Hurricane.  Due to the pandemic, the usual Christmas program of the children was not presented; so this was just such a blessing to the listeners on our church radio station, 90.1 FM, that you can listen to on the church parking lot during each service time.

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