Aiming for progress, not perfection.

"...being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Philippians 1:6

Friday, September 08, 2006

from the archive: i left my blood in mississippi.

I Left My Blood in Mississippi
By Sarah Piland

I left my blood in Mississippi.

Well, more accurately stated it was forcibly obtained by a swarm of Delta mosquitoes.

Personally, I think they should be renamed something including the descriptions “poison-injecting” and “killer.”

Mosquito just isn’t vicious enough.

But no one asked me.

No kidding, I have welts the size golf balls on my feet and legs from these things.

There I was just dancing the night away to the strains of blues band Mississippi Slim at my good friend’s wedding.

I’m from Texas and we do things big, but this is ridiculous.

Speaking of Texas, I have always considered myself southern. Texas is south, right?

We’ve got the drawl, we say y’all, horses, cowboys boots, the whole bit.

But then I went to Mississippi.

Now if you know nothing of the south you probably imagine huge plantation homes, Spanish moss hanging from the trees and iced tea on the wrap-around porch.

You’ve got the iced tea part right, but where I was, in Cleveland, Miss., I didn’t see anything too Scarlet O’Hara to tell you the truth.

But it was undeniably southern. A kind of southern I don’t think I had a grasp of until I visited.

I wished I’d had my camera so I could have captured what I’m trying to explain.

It’s just in the air there – the extremely muggy, feel-like-you-ought-to-be-wearing-goggles air.

It’s in the soft, gentile smiles of the ladies – especially the one on the bride’s face. She was a stunning bride.

It’s definitely in the seemingly unprovoked exclamation of “Hoddy Toddy! Hoddy Toddy!” from the swarm of Ole Miss alumni running around – they were almost as plentiful as the mosquitoes at this party.

It’s just a kinder, softer more laid-back demeanor than any I’ve ever seen before.

We’re laid back in Texas, but it’s not the same.

We’re proud to be Texan! Ask us where we’re from and you’ll probably be sorry you did. You better hope you have a lot of time on your hands.

But you don’t have to ask these people where they’re from – they have Mississippi written all over them.

It’s like a different world. Things are simpler. Things are easier.

Now I know things are not always simple or easy for these people – especially in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

But from what I can see, it’s an attitude that’s always surrounding them – everything is going to be OK.

I hope I came back to Texas with more than just Mississippi Delta mosquito bites.

I hope I came back with a little bit of that “everything is going to be OK” medicine in my heart.

Heaven knows I could use a little bit.

It truly is healing.

i wrote this last september after my good friends natalie and damion brown got married. their one-year anniversary is nine days away on sept. 17. consider this an early anniversary celebration. despite the mosquitoes, it was a great time. their friendship continues to be a good time as well.

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