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Hats Off    |    by
Column dedicated to sharing news about community activities, service projects, and other events that are important to the life of the residents of our "mountain."

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published on 03/07/2005

Hats off….to the seasons of our lives

By staff writer

Mississippi River
What season of the year do you identify yourself with? Is it “Fall” with all its vibrant colors, warm days and cool nights? Or “Winter” with blustery cold temperatures, snow and winter sports? What about “Spring,” symbolizing new life with flowers, green leaves, and birds singing? How about “Summer,” those lazy hot days, sipping lemonade under the shade of an oak tree? I guess we are all a little of each season. I must admit that my favorite season is summer.

My least favorite is winter, especially January, February, and March. Something happens to me mentally and physically during that time of the year. I become sad and melancholy which modern medicine calls depressed. I used to wonder why I felt this way until I read recently that it might have something to do with my birthday coming in this time. And I used to fight it because there is such a negative connotation to being depressed. But I’ve also learned recently that fighting the feelings of melancholy do more damage to my spirit then “going with the flow” as they used to say. And so I welcome the season and take opportunity to renew my mind, body and soul.

I do this by taking a trip to my roots. I used to say I was going “home” to Baton Rouge, LA. But “home is where the heart is,” another saying, and my home is Signal Mountain, Tennessee. But Baton Rouge is where my sister lives and old childhood memories including school friends I still keep up with, and where my parents lived when they were alive. And so each year sometime in January or February I go back.

This January my sister and I changed the visit some by escaping to a friend’s lake house north of St. Francesville, LA. We stayed in the cottage next to the main house where her friend and husband stayed. The cottage had no telephone, television, or radio, and our cell phones didn’t work. But never fear except for the cell phones the main house had all the necessities including air-conditioning for the days and a fireplace for the evenings. We spent the days driving around the countryside between St. Francesville and Woodville, MS checking out the antique stores and eating in quaint restaurants some in local plantations all along the Mississippi River. And when not riding around, I rested in the luxury of a warm breeze while sitting on the front porch or out on the pier watching the wood ducks paddle by; smelling the wood burn from an outside fire a few doors over and listening to the music of a country station playing on a radio from a house across the lake. It was heaven!

And just when I thought it was over, we decided to take the ferryboat across the Mississippi River to New Roads, LA to visit my sister’s son and daughter-in-law and nine-month old grandson. The four o’clock ferry was pulling away as we drove up, so we were the second car on when the ferry came back. Doing so meant that we were facing backwards all the way across the river. About halfway out, a tugboat pushing a barge crossed in front of us. Not having seen it coming we were taken by surprise. And then we realized that the trip would have not been the same if we had seen the barge coming and wondered if we’d crash or who had the right-of-way. The trip would have been focused on the oncoming barge and not the view of the river.

Instinctively, we both turned to the West and looked to see if another barge was coming and instead we saw the most magnificent sun setting on the Mississippi River. We quickly took a picture. That sunset soon became a symbol for my entire weekend get-a-way. A beautiful sight for a perfect weekend! And so I returned to where my heart is, refreshed, renewed, and energized. Isn’t that what a vacation is supposed to do?