695 Yazoo City
"Yazoo" is a native American word that means "river of death." Yazoo City, Mississippi is a tiny place near Jackson, and it has given us more good and bad folk than most anything else its size, which is something like 14,000 people, give or take. Haley Barbour the governor of the state is from there. Jerry Clower, the country music star is from there. So is Zig Ziglar, the author of self improvement books. And the jazz singer Della Reese. And former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy.
It's one of those places you couldn't get to or get out of, a real "you can't get there from here" town, no matter where "here" was. And it was one of those places you really shouldn't have gone to and couldn't wait to get out of. Many of the good ones did. And some of the bad ones. Travel is a bit easier now. Amtrak has a train from New York's Penn Station that gets there 29 hours later. Southwest Air can get you there for less money and in under six hours. Well, not exactly "there," but to Jackson, about 50 miles away.
If you're a tornado, you don't have to bother with travel schedules or trains or planes. You just go. And while Southwest is faster from New York LaGuardia, that's not usually the start point for a tornado. More like 100 miles down the road, then twists its way up (or down) Jerry Clower Boulevard, destroying most everything in its path. Including people. This latest one killed something like ten. Many of the rest are homeless or close to it.
This is the kind of place where old south landmarks mix with tumble down wooden houses. If you went through it last month and then again today, you might not notice the difference -- at least not when you got off the main drag.
And tornadoes don't discriminate. Your church may be your sanctuary, but the wind doesn't care. It knocked one church down -- nothing left standing but the communion table, under which one guy was busy praying for his life. Neither the life nor the table were taken up. Gotta figure the prayer was answered. But the walls? That's another story.
They don't name tornadoes like they do hurricanes. Maybe they should. In the scheme of things, this was no "Katrina" or "Andrew." But it was bad enough. Unlike Katrina, FEMA made it on site pretty quickly. And the rebuilding will spruce the place up. No consolation for the dead, though, or their families.
--Filling three tiny root cavities cost almost $500, about a week after a periodontal visit cost more than $200. You think health insurance is bad? Try dental insurance which pays for next to nothing.
--Now what would you pay? Dr. Kevorkian's "death van," a VW bus he used while helping with assisted suicides no longer is up for bid on E-bay, which pulled it off the site, citing a policy against "murderabilia." No worries, Dr. Jack fans, the owner still is trying to sell and has listed it elsewhere.
My good friend and former colleague Dianne Thompson-Stanciel has created a new website mostly for women of the age that will land you a right cross to the jaw if you try to talk with them about how young they are. Dianne is a perceptive, take-no-prisoners journalist of high integrity and high intelligence, now bringing her considerable skills to topics that should be handled by perceptive, take-no-prisoners journalists of high integrity and high intelligence.
It's called High Heels and Hot Flashes and if you click on the name, you'll get there.
I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®