This story is a hoot. You will love it! The moral of the story is "nothing is free." Nancy Harris is the latest victim not to heed this long-proven fact. She "won" a two-night cruise for two from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Freeport, Bahamas, courtesy of her credit card. Joann Breland was excited to share this "freebee" with her lucky friend.

The flight from Jackson to Fort Lauderdale was their expense. They could have made a car payment with what it cost to rent a car to take them from the airport to the hotel.

They were shifted from the Ramada Inn to an unnamed hotel which was under construction, with hammers going way into the night.

While in Fort Lauderdale, the plan was to spend one day in Orlando touring the Holy Land Experience. It was closed on the day they had free. "We spent two days dragging around Fort Lauderdale. Went to Walmart and bought us a sun hat. The only thing that saved us from having to take the real estate "buy a condo" tour was that Johnie and Bob were not with us. Joann wanted to see the ocean, but we never did find it."

Come morning they boarded their cruise liner at 9:00 a.m. Breakfast was good. For lunch: hamburgers and hotdogs. Not the luxury ship cuisine you dream about. "I had planned to eat my way to the Bahamas," Nancy said, in all honesty. "Instead I lost four pounds."

They spent the day in their cabin, peering through a porthole, watching straddle jacks load barges. Finally, at 6:00 p.m., evening time, they set sail for Freeport. Their first meal on ship, "Let's try something different."

The duck was not a good idea. It was so cold in the stateroom, they could not enjoy the show, and much too windy to go on deck. "We went to bed and waked up in Freeport."

"Our accommodations at the Grand Lucayan were wonderful. We put our jackets on over our bathing suits and went to the beach where the water and sand were absolutely beautiful. We toured the Island on a tour bus with a wonderful driver who shared interesting stories.

"The school children wear uniforms which identify their schools. When he sees children not in school, he stops the bus, gets his stick out, loads the children on the bus, and takes them to school. The same thing on Sunday. He loads wandering children onto the bus and takes them to church."

Nancy's favorite parts of their stay in Freeport were the people and The Marketplace. "The people were so kind. Perhaps because we, tourists, are their livelihood, buying their wares. The open-air Marketplace reminded us of the Neshoba County Fair, with its colorful little booths. We got helpful hints on how to bargain for what we wanted to buy."

The best thing they had to eat in Freeport was called "Gelato," three scoops of ice cream for a cost of $9.00, plus $1.44 for gratuity, or scooping the treat into your dish. "Nowhere we went would anyone accept our cash on this "free trip." We had to put all our expenses on our credit card." The totals are in. Nancy's "free trip" cost her $1,847.05!


Valentine Day rang true for friends of Vonnie McCown as they gathered in Fellowship Hall at First Presbyterian Church on Valentine Day where Vonnie had created a Valentine party setting with a touch of spring.

She and Carolyn Emerson served their guests a delicious lunch of chicken enchiladas, pasta salad and fruit, completed with miniature pastries of chocolate/cherry and orange mousse and cranberry cheesecake.

Following lunch, with Rebecca McClain at the piano, Bevin Sistrunk led in the singing of hymns. A quote from Robert J. Morgan: "Hymns are distillations of the richest truths of God, versified, emotionalized, set to music, and released in the mind and from the mouth. They're miniature Bible studies that lead us effortlessly to worship, testimony, exhortation, prayer and praise."

Sharing the celebration of God's greatest gift of love with Vonnie and Carolyn were Sandy Lewis, Dot Lewis, Kay Hamill, Rachel Evans, Tommie Banks, Frankie Harpole, Velma Caviness, Bevin Sistrunk, Joanne Rossomainno, Rebecca McClain, Judy Mason, Billy Greenleaf, Helen Herrington, Olivia Herrington, Sara Hinkle, Ginny and Leia McCown, and Rebecca Barnett.


Tommie Price Banks could rewrite State Farm's ditty: "Like a good neighbor, the Baileys are there!" Laura, Chip, Elizabeth and Molley are the good neighbors you dream about, except they are for real. They maintain her yard, cater many of her meals, plus other little amenities.


Last Sunday proved a beautiful warm sunny afternoon for Elizabeth to ask Tommie over for a piece of birthday cake. SURPRISE! Tommie walked in on a birthday party in honor of her 80th birthday hosted by her "good neighbors."

Laura co-ordinated church neighbors, bridge club members, Meridian Little Theater travelers, and old-time friends and family for this surprise celebration.

In attendance were Frankie Price Harpole, Lorraine Harpole Blount, Rachel Evans, Doris Vowell, Janice Payne, Babs Kirkland, Pat Warren, Ray and Melissa Brown, Billie Sue Sanders, Suanne Pursell, Rebecca McClain, Velma Caviness, Alice Rowe, Rebecca Barnett, Suanne Williamson, Carolyn Dearman, Jan Williamson and Billy Greenleaf.


Judy Mason and I met Mike and Mitze Evans at Mississippi State University Tuesday evening and heard Dan Rather, CBS Evening News anchor from 1981-2005, speak at the University's Student Association's ongoing Global Lecture Series. I heard Helen Thomas (the reporter with the bright red lipstick who sat on the front row and always got to ask the first question at a White House news conference) at Meridian Junior College years ago. What I remember: "Miss Thomas, do you stand in awe of the president?" Her answer: "The president? No. The presidency? Yes."

What I will remember that Dan Rather said: "The goal of every newsman should be to be an honest broker of information." And I will remember that Tyler Moore was there. A student at the University presently; perhaps one of our country's leaders tomorrow.


Becky Smith Webb

March 20, 1952-February 18, 2014

Heaven is sweeter.