Maybe that’s why they call it the Heartland? (thoughts and photos from a small town that time is passing by…)

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Houston Mississippi

Here in Mississippi, Rebekah and I have been visiting in a couple of small towns. Calhoun City – where Polly‘s family are from, and Houston – where we are staying at the Bridges-Hall Manor, an elegant Victorian era B&B.

This part of north-east Mississippi is one of those areas that time is passing by. Not much active industry, independent farms long since gobbled up by the conglomerates, no roads of any size, shrinking populations, young people leaving and not looking back, town squares dominated by empty storefronts.

IMG_E0262 (2)Yet there is a love here for place that runs deep. Maybe the actual place, maybe the people, maybe more the way of life, most likely memories. A wistful wanting mixed with the resigned understanding that life is change and that time only moves in one direction.

Today, time stood still!

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picket fence in Calhoun City

For Saturday, though, time stood still. People brought in food that included every Southern delicacy imaginable. I’m talking fried chicken, corn bread, deviled eggs, stuffed pears, biscuits, fried okra, all kinds of salads, more breads, fresh vegetables, pickles, sweet tea, a dozen different pies, cakes and other sweets. Everything made by hand. A couple of million calories at least. Good grief!

Rebekah said it was reminiscent of all the best food her mama, grandmama, aunts, and cousins put together for family feasts in rural Georgia.

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writer Derek Maul lives, and works, and opines in Wake Forest, NC

If I learned anything in Mississippi this weekend I was reminded of how good, and generous, and open people can be to one another, that God’s good people are everywhere.

Good people, good food, good fellowship, and a good reminder that the roots of America run deep, nourished from the soil of hard work, loyalty, real faith, genuine love, and a richness of spirit that never quits.

Tender and generous hearts; maybe that’s why the call this The Heartland…

(photos from the Bridges-Hall Manor B&B):

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Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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