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Hometown MADISON • 3

4 • MAY 2022


As I write this, it is a stunningly

gorgeous spring day and I’m all

up in my feelings of gratitude.

Moderate temperatures and bright sunshine give my heart and

soul a much-needed boost.

It also makes me appreciate the different seasons of life we

encounter as evidenced by the wonderful people we’ll meet in

this month’s issue—and all making an impact on our community.

We’re grateful for the young families that have put their roots down

in Madison to ensure that our best days are yet to come.

Of particular interest to me, personally, is the story of the

precious mother that created the group Too Soon. She and a group

of amazing women channeled their grief after losing children into

creating a beautiful place to remember and reflect on the lives that

were indeed taken too soon. The Madison Children’s Memorial

Garden was born and they raise money by selling bricks that are

engraved and permanently placed in the garden to memorialize

those that have gone before us. One of those bricks was purchased

in honor of my nephew—so I’m thankful for the effort they’ve made

to help families cope with such loss.

And finally, we offer our heartfelt gratitude for the law enforcement

agencies that make Madison one of the safest places to live in

Mississippi. We whole-heartedly back the blue at Hometown.

Thank you for your continued support. We hope you are all

healthy and happy and looking forward to summer as it’s barreling

‘round the corner. Enjoy!

– Mary Ann

ON THE COVER Madison Children’s Memorial Garden painted by Caroline Hodges



Tahya Dobbs


Kevin Dobbs


Mary Ann Kirby


Reader Spotlight 7

Hometown Family 10

Circle of Red 16

Kids Who Care 26

Too Soon 30

To Protect & Serve 36

Pickle Fest 44

Hometown on the Move 50



Brenda McCall



Caroline Hodges



Alisha Floyd



Tammy Haynes-Pecoul



Daniel Thomas




Othel Anding



Lexie Ownby

...see you around town.

www.facebook.com/hometownmadisonmagazine. For subscription information visit www.htmags.com or contact us at info@HTMags.com / 601.706.4059 / 200 Felicity Street / Brandon, MS 39042

All rights reserved. No portion of Hometown Madison may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. The management of Hometown Madison is not responsible for opinions expressed by its writers or editors.

Hometown Madison maintains the unrestricted right to edit or refuse all submitted material. All advertisements are subject to approval by the publisher. The production of Hometown Madison is funded by advertising.

Hometown MADISON • 5

6 • MAY 2022





Why did you decide to make Madison

your home?

I decided to move back home to Madison in May

of 2021 when I was offered a teaching position at

Madison Central High School. I have always wanted

to be a teacher, and teaching at MCHS had been a

dream of mine ever since I graduated from there in

2017. Not long after I accepted the position, I bought

a house in Tidewater, the neighborhood I grew up in

in Madison. Everything just sort of fell into place, and

this past year has truly been a full-circle moment!

How long have you lived in Madison?

I have lived in Madison for my entire 23 years

of life – except for the four years I spent in Oxford

while attending Ole Miss.

Tell us about your family.

I tell everyone that I am an exact blend of my

parents. My dad, Arthur, is a lawyer-turned-publicservant,

and my mom, Beverly, is a retired elementary

school principal. Not only have they fostered in me

a love for politics (from Dad) and public education

(from Mom), but they have been incredible role

models for what it means to wholeheartedly devote

oneself to leadership, community service, and

community involvement. I also have two younger

sisters. Anna is a sophomore at Ole Miss, and Avery

is a 10th grader at Madison Central (Yes, we go to

the same school. No, I don’t teach her. Yes, it is as

awesome as it seems).

Share some things you enjoy doing in

your spare time.

As an English teacher, I feel obligated to say reading.

I have recently been reading presidential memoirs

and biographies and have learned quite a lot of

American history along the way.

I also enjoy spending time at home, either

decorating and cleaning inside or getting the outside

ready for summer. My house is quite the fixer-upper,

so it seems there is always something to do. Next up

on my to-do list: plant hydrangea bushes.

I am also learning to grill, and I enjoy having my

sisters and parents over to my house for family dinners.

Where are your three favorite places

to eat in Madison?

Primos Café – Ever since I was a little girl, my

dad has taken my sisters and me to breakfast on

Saturday mornings. Primos in Madison is our favorite

Saturday morning stop. I also consider myself to be

quite the cheese grits connoisseur, and I swear theirs

are the best!

El Ranchito – AKA my family’s second home.

For as long as I can remember, my family has spent at

least one meal a week at “The Mexican.” We never

need a menu, our Christmas card hangs on their tree

every Christmas, and there is not a family event that

we haven’t celebrated with a meal at El Ran.

Cups Madison – I love the atmosphere and enjoy

popping in on the way to school for a blueberry scone

and a Capitol Street Latte.

Who is someone you admire and why?

I consider myself to be extremely lucky in that

I am constantly surrounded by admirable and

inspiring people – my coworkers and my family

members especially. However, I have found myself

recently inspired by Mrs. Charlotte Seals, the

superintendent of Madison County Schools.

She leads our district with grace, eloquence, and

a palpable compassion for students and teachers.

She has had to make many difficult decisions as of

late – from COVID-19 protocols to inclement

weather advisories. Her strength, determination,

and positive attitude through it all is so inspiring.

Plus, I think it is pretty awesome that we have a

female at the helm of our school district.

What are some fun things to do in

Madison on the weekends?

After our father-daughter Saturday morning

breakfast, I love to walk on the Natchez Trace Trail.

And I am a big believer in the power of retail

therapy. I enjoy shopping around town, whether it

be for new clothes, home décor, or my personal

favorite—new shoes!

I also enjoy supporting my students and

cheering on the jags, whether that be at football

games, basketball games, show choir performances,

or helping backstage with our annual beauty

pageant. There is always something going on at

MCHS, seven days a week!

Where do you see yourself ten years

from now?

This is quite the difficult question. Sometimes

I can picture myself as that old lady still teaching at

age 80, so I can totally see myself doing what I’m

doing now in 10 years. However, some days I think I

might like to do a complete career change and go to

law school or put my public policy degree to use and

get into politics. As my grandfather used to say…

“only God and Jesus know what the future holds”

and neither one of them have told me yet!

What is your favorite childhood memory?

Growing up, my mom was the principal at

Madison Station Elementary, so I spent a large

majority of my childhood at the school. I can vividly

remember spending afternoons and days on end

during the summer helping mom around the

building, helping teachers decorate their classrooms,

and playing school with my sisters. This place

became a sort of second home for me, and the

faculty and staff were (and still are) my extended

family. It was quite the preparation for what I’m up

to now, and I will always be grateful for the many

childhood memories made at MSE.

If you could give us one encouraging

quote, what would it be?

My grandmother had this quote framed and

hanging in her house, and I now have it hanging in

my classroom. It is an awesome reminder to both

me and my students that success is so much more

than a letter grade or a paycheck:

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect

of intelligent people and the affection of children;

to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure

the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate the beauty;

to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit

better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or

a redeemed social condition; to know even one life

has breathed easier because you have lived. This is

to have succeeded!” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hometown MADISON • 7


Summer Visiting Exhibit

May 14 – Sept. 4


TM & © 2022 The Jim Henson Company. All rights reserved.


601.981.5469 | Jackson, MS











MAY 20








8 • MAY 2022

Pickle Fest

It’s kind of a big dill

June 11


Hometown MADISON • 9

10 • MAY 2022



Tell us about your family.

Todd - likes anything involving the water, sunshine, and

activity…fishing, boating, working in the yard. Most mornings

you can find him at the gym and most evenings you can find

him coaching a sport. He loves his weekly men’s group and on

the rare occasion he sits down long enough, he likes a good book.

Elizabeth - likes a good workout, a good lunch with a friend

and makes it a point to find time to read. She is also always up

for anything involving sunshine and the water and enjoys

coaching volleyball in the evening. If hanging out with Dolly the

sheepadoodle counts then that might be her favorite hobby!

Isabelle - 18, freshman at Ole Miss, member of Chi O sorority,

received a full scholarship to study elementary education. She

loves getting to spend time with her friends in Oxford as well

as back home in Madison when she visits from college

Selah - 14, 8th grader at MRA. Member of the volleyball team,

track team, JV dance team and Junior National Honor

Society. Plays club volleyball, which is her biggest passion!

Loves to bake and cook.

Kain - 12, 6th grade at MRA. Plays baseball, basketball, and football.

Also known around MRA as the varsity football team manager.

Plays select baseball with the Madison County Thunder. Likes to

hunt, fish, and ride the 4-wheeler when he can! And he loves going

to Starkville to see Mississippi State baseball games.

Dolly - female sheepadoodle 4 years old. Eats, sleeps, and follows the

family around for attention.

Hometown MADISON • 11

How did you meet and how long have you been married?

Elizabeth Todd was contacted by my family and our church to

renovate my parents’ home. My dad sustained an unexpected

accident and their house needed to be ADA compliant. At the

time, I was working for my dad and had to run by their house to

do something on his Quickbooks while Todd’s crew was working.

So, our very first encounter was when I walked up to Todd and he

says “Hey! I’m Todd!” to which I replied, “Hey, I’m Elizabeth.

Did y’all cut off the internet?” Thankfully, he didn’t hold it

against me and actually asked for my number! We developed a

deep and genuine friendship, then I woke up one day and realized

I couldn’t imagine life without him. Falling in love with him was

easy, making up for my first impression was not!

Who is the financial manager in your home?

Todd I would say that it’s equally shared. I am the more longterm,

disciplined thinker and planner. Elizabeth has to do more

of the day-to-day managing of finances with groceries, activities,

etc. Neither of us had a big jumpstart in life, so we feel the weight

of managing finances while still being generous in our giving.

Elizabeth Agreed, and while I handle the day-to-day finances,

I do defer to Todd on anything financial outside of our “norm.”

He’s so much better than I am at managing that!

Todd- At that point, I had met the rest of Elizabeth’s family. And

even though she wasn’t too happy about the inability to get her

work done without internet…I thought she was the most beautiful

girl in the world. Over time, while I was working at her parents’,

she came by a few more times and we struck up a friendship and I

got her number. Over the next few months, we became close

friends and ultimately fell in love. So, I guess you could say she

had me at “did you cut off our internet?”

Do you allow time with your spouse for a date night?

We truly do our best to get date nights in, but like most parents,

it’s really hard when you have children involved in so many

activities! We travel with Selah for volleyball and with Kain for

baseball, so weekends are almost always out of the question. Lately

we’ve made it point to do more lunch dates and coffee time in the


What brings you the greatest joy as a parent?

Todd My greatest joy as a parent is also my greatest stress, that is,

molding and shaping the children to be productive, hardworking,

God-fearing adults one day. Watching those things come to

fruition in their daily activities makes my day brighter.

Elizabeth My greatest joy is seeing our children become whoever

God created them to be. That sounds really cheesy, but they are

at the age now where we talk to them about being prayerful and

seeking the Lord about His plan for their life. They have all begun

to flourish in ways I couldn’t have possibly dreamed for them.

What’s a quick go to meal that isn’t fast food?

And who does the cooking?

Elizabeth Omelets! If we have omelets for dinner, they know

I’m being lazy that day. I cook almost every night, although

Todd grills a lot in the warmer months. Healthy eating and living

is a huge priority in our family, so cooking at home is a way I can

support that priority in our house.

When your children were younger, what was your

discipline philosophy?

Todd In my opinion, the main reason for undisciplined and

defiant teenagers is parents’ inability to be consistent and they

become lazy. Therefore, it’s not the child’s problem it’s the


Elizabeth My philosophy is essentially the same no matter the age

of our children. Set clear expectations and consequences up front

and then discipline immediately and let it match the issue at hand.

One caveat would be that I try to have the wisdom to know the

difference in defiance and a mistake. Our kids think we’re strict

and I’m totally ok with that!

12 • MAY 2022

What do you see in your role as the greatest benefit

to your family?

Todd I think my biggest “role” is that I’m a steady voice, strong

backbone, and solid provider for my family. But I believe the

biggest benefit to my family is that they are my ministry in my

call as a Christian to love God and love others, and I strive for

them to be a reflection of that in me.

Elizabeth My biggest role is to make sure my family always feels

loved, supported, encouraged, and pointed towards Christ in our

home. But I firmly believe that the biggest benefit to my family in

that role is for the kids to see how much I love their dad and

prioritize our marriage. My prayer is they carry that into their

own families one day as spouses.

How long has Madison been your home?

Todd 23 years

Elizabeth 15 years

What are some of your favorite things about

Madison County?

Our very favorite thing about Madison is the people! People care

about where they live, they love their families, and their values are


How do you spend your summer breaks?

We don’t really have summer breaks. We chase kids to sporting

events and camps all summer while still both working. Although

most summers we do squeeze in a family vacation at some point!

What accomplishments make you proud during your

time living in Madison?

Todd The relationships that I’ve built in business, at church,

at the ball field/gym, and at the kids’ school have allowed me

to accomplish a huge goal of mine, which is to build good solid


Elizabeth I coach volleyball at MRA, I’ve worked in the nursery

at our church, I’ve coached in the Madison Ridgeland Youth

recreational league, I worked for several years at the Madison

County Chamber of Commerce, and I have helped with things

like working backstage in the school play or being a room mom.

I would say I am most proud that I have been able to serve and

contribute to our Madison community in various ways!

What drives you to have the job that you have?

And what do you do for a living?

Todd I am co-owner of two Madison County businesses,

Crosstown Builders and Superior Foundation Services. What

drives me is that I get to create, build, repair and renew homes

and buildings in Madison County and along the way make

friends who become like family.

Elizabeth I work with the American Red Cross as the director

of service to armed forces and international services. Essentially,

it’s my team’s job to ensure our military men and women and

their families are taken care of. What drives me is giving back

to those who have given everything for me and my family to

have the freedoms we have.


What’s your favorite thing to do

as a family?

Izzy Anything really that we are getting to

do all together, especially vacations or going

out on the boat.

Selah Family vacations!

Kain I like celebrating holidays all together.

What your favorite restaurant?

Izzy Aplos or Volta in Oxford

Selah El Ranchito

Kain Bulldog Burger

What’s your favorite TV show?

Izzy Friends

Selah I don’t watch TV!

Kain Friday Night Lights

Hometown MADISON • 13

14 • MAY 2022

Hometown MADISON • 15

The Metro Jackson American

Heart Association’s “Circle of Red”

is a passionate group of women

and men who have the influence

and resources to significantly impact

the health of Mississippians. A social

circle grounded in advocacy for

women’s health issues and fueled

by a passion to empower, educate,

and save lives, the Circle of Red is a

network that teaches women and

men to love their hearts and take

active steps to protect them. These

members are active ambassadors

and supporters of the American

Heart Association’s mission to be a

relentless force for a world of longer,

healthier lives.


of RED

To become part of this dynamic

group, contact Katherine Byrd at


or 601-906-8596.

16 • MAY 2022

Individuals who join the Metro Jackson “Circle of Red”

make a generous contribution and serve as an

ambassador with a dynamic group of advocates

who stand behind the women they care

about – wives, mothers, daughters, family

and friends – while influencing and inspiring

our community.

The 2022 Circle of Red is chaired by Amanda Fontaine,

a native of Brandon and the executive director of the

Mississippi Association of Broadcasters. Amanda is joined

by an amazing committee of volunteer leaders in our

community who help to recruit new members to join the

circle. This year’s committee members are Leigh Ann Ross,

Tammy Phillips, Laurie Cutrer, Jamie Woods-Dull, Joni McClain,

Lisa Comer, Mackenzie Henry, Allison Muirhead. First Lady Elee Reeves,

Emily Speed, Erica Reed, Margaret Moody, Carolyn Erwin, Rebecca Haas,

Suzanne Thigpen and the late Mary Lee. The ladies were hosted recently

by First Lady Elee Reeves at the Governor’s Mansion for a photo shoot styled

by Beyond Expectations in Flowood.

Metro Jackson American Heart Association

to host annual Go Red for Women Luncheon

For the first time in two years, the Metro Jackson Go Red for Women Luncheon will be held in

person on Friday, June 10, 2022 from 10:30am to 1:00pm, at the Sheraton Flowood The Refuge

Hotel and Conference Center. Dr. Leigh Ann Ross is this year’s chair for the luncheon. Leigh Ann is

the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and Chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the

University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy. Go Red for Women event guests can participate in

free health screenings, interactive health stations, group photo opportunities, and other activities

from 10:30am until 11:45am and the ticketed luncheon program begins at 12noon.

The luncheon will showcase the stories of local survivors and feature a fashion show of area

heart disease survivors – men, women, and children – modeling clothing from local Metro

businesses. Event sponsors include Mississippi Baptist Medical Center, Merit Health Heart,

St. Dominic’s, Atmos Entergy, and Community Bank.

This year we will also be celebrating ten local women that have been part of the American

Heart Association’s inaugural “Women of Impact” Campaign this spring. These outstanding

women have each made a significant impact for the betterment of our community.

Collectively, they have raised funds to support the mission of Go Red for Women.

The American Heart Association’s signature initiative, Go Red for Women, is a comprehensive

platform designed to increase women’s heart health awareness and serve as a catalyst for

change to improve the lives of women globally. While nearly 80% of cardiac events can be

prevented, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women, claiming the lives

of one in three women. The American Heart Association believes losing even one woman

is too many

For sponsor or ticket information for the Go Red for Women Luncheon, go to event.gives/goredjxn

or contact the Go Red for Women Director Katherine Byrd at katherine.byrd@heart.org

or 601.906.8596.

Hometown MADISON • 17

Alissa Hebert Wallace

US Dept of Veteran Affairs

Allison Muirhead

Allison Muirhead Photography

Amanda Fontaine

MS Association of Broadcasters

Ann Barnes

Prime Care Nursing

Brenda Barron

Professional Staffing Group

Brian Fenelon

The Fenelon Group

Cindee Herlocker

Edward Jones

Cindy Carraway

Carraway Construction

Dr. Deborah Minor


Dr. Dotie Jackson

MS Premier Plastic Surgery

Dr. Erica Bass

MS Premier Plastic Surgery

Dr. Joyce Wade-Hamme

Tri County Pulmonary & Sleep

Dr. Kellan Ashley


Dr. Leigh Ann Ross


Dr. Loleta Kellum

Molina Healthcare

Dr. Michael Maples

MS Baptist Medical Center

Dr. Myrna Alexander Nickens


Dr. Natasha Hardeman

Lakeland Premier Women's Clinic

Dr. Rebekah Moulder

St. Dominic Family Practice Associates

Dr. Rishi Roy

Advanced Vascular & Vein Associates

Dr. Tamika Bradley

Dr. Terica Jackson

Baptist Premier

Elee Reeves

First Lady of Mississippi

Emily Speed


Erica Reed

Jackson Medical Mall Foundation

Jamie Woods Dull

AllPro Clean

Jan Collins

Madison County Business League & Foundation

Janet Harris Janie Jarvis

The Bridal Path

Jeannie Robinson

EMC Insurance Companies

18 • MAY 2022

Jeff Speed

Speed Commercial Real Estate

Jennifer Boydston Johnson

Roberts, Bridges & Boydston, PLLC

Joni McClain

McClain Lodge

Kim Stonecypher

Stonecypher Consulting, LLC

Laurie Cutrer


LeAnne Brewer

Millsaps College

Mackenzie Henry

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare

Maggie Clark

Maggie Clark Media Services

Michael Parnell

UnitedHealthcare of Mississippi, Inc.

Michelle Dunn

Advanced Vascular & Vein Assocaties

Mike Barkett


Missy McMullan

Pam Ware

First Commercial Bank

Peder Johnson

Rashida Walker

W Real Estate, LLC

Rebecca Haas

Talking With Toddlers

Rebecca Martin


Rhonda Moore

Sandy Stonecypher

Sheramie Shore

New York Southern Style, LLC

Suzanne Thigpen

Tammy Phillips

Community Bank

Tina Lakey

Meshelle Rawls

Foundation for the MidSouth

Patti Daly


Samantha Lofton

Barnett's Body Shop

Hometown MADISON • 19

onal Resources


iness Banking


Other Real Estate

ess Checking

Business Credit Card BusinessPlus Business Online Banking

ess Mobile Banking Payables/Receiveables Fraud Prevention

ant Card Services Liquidity Management Group Banking Payroll Card

iness Borrow

ess Loans Commercial Real Estate Loans Agricultural Loans


ealth Management


is an



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Member FDIC.

tact Us


20 • MAY 2022

Hometown MADISON • 21


Madison Salutes


Gene Waldrop

for 50 Years

of Service

On April 7, on the anniversary of his 50 years of service, the City of Madison and the

Madison Police Department hosted a surprise reception for Chief Waldrop. Special

guests/speakers included Captain Stephen Patrick, Retired Captain Victor Smith, FBI

Law Enforcement Specialist Christian Murray, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Mack

Dimachkie, Chad Dixon and Jimmy Nichols from Congressman Michael Guest’s office,

Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler, Major Robert Sanders, and Brother Jerry Dillon. A special

thank you to Wholly Smokes cooking team and the MPD Police Ambassadors for

serving lunch, and to Liz Hanners, Jo Luby, Brittany Mayfield, and Amy Cummins for

the special parts they played in putting the event together—and keeping it a secret!

22 • MAY 2022

Recognition Ceremony

Jill Ford of the Mississippi House of Representatives,

and Walter Michel from the Senate side of the legislature

were presenting. Jill Ford presented the resolution on

the floor of the House on March 24, 2022. Mayor Mary

Hawkins Butler was present and spoke, along with

Assistant Chief Robert Sanders. Chief’s Waldrop’s family

was present - wife Debbie Waldrop of 46 years, daughter

Rossie Medlin, granddaughter Allisen Grace Medlin and

grandson Jakeb Medlin.

Hometown MADISON • 23

24 • MAY 2022

Hometown MADISON • 25

26 • MAY 2022


Ainsley Ruhl

Susan Marquez

Ainsley Ruhl has a big heart for helping

others. “I think that comes from a situation that

happened when she was eleven years old,” her

mom, Allison Ruhl, explains. “Ainsley’s father

died when she was eleven, and she is the oldest

of three sisters. Right away she stepped up to

help me with cooking, cleaning, and laundry,

as well as helping with her younger sisters. One

of her most positive characteristics when she was

growing up was seeing what needed to be done,

then stepping in to help. Ainsley’s nature is to be

a helper. For her, part of the solution to any

problem is to help other people.”

Now a senior at Madison Central, Ainsley is

looking ahead to the future. “I’m not sure where

I’m going to college, but I do know I want to

major in political science or public policy. I’m

thinking I may want to go to law school after

college.” If her college years are anything like

her high school years, Ainsley is going to be busy.

A student athlete, Ainsley has played varsity

volleyball since her sophomore year. She was on

the junior varsity team before that, and she also

plays club volleyball. In addition to volleyball,

Ainsley has been involved in several clubs at

school, most of which are service oriented clubs.

“I am the Madison Central representative

for the Crown Club, and I served as the vice

president last year.” Ainsley also volunteers as a

mentor for an elementary school student. “It’s

a program through the school system where a

senior high student is paired with an elementary

school student who may be struggling.” Ainsley

was paired with a student at Madison Station,

where she attended elementary school and

where her mother taught school. “I was paired

with a first-grade student, which is so special

because my mother taught first grade. And I am

mentoring at the school I attended, so that makes

it extra special for me.” Ainsley says she visits

the school every other day and works with her


When she first went to Madison Central,

Ainsley says that she didn’t want to be a small

fish in a big sea. “Madison Central has such a

large student body that it would be easy to get

lost. I wanted to get connected right away, and

service clubs are a great way to do that. Through

my participation in service clubs, I’ve made some

of my best friends, and I have the satisfaction of

being connected with my community.”

Outside of school, Ainsley is a member of the

Mayor’s Youth Council where she participates

in service projects for Madison the City. “I was

a member of the Junior Ambassadors for the

Madison the City Chamber of Commerce last

year,” she says. Church is also a place where

Ainsley finds a way to be of service. “I’ve been

an acolyte at St. James Episcopal Church since

I was seven or eight years old,” she says. “I help

with communion and other parts of the service.

I enjoy being an active part of the church service.”

Ainsley has also enjoyed camping, something

she has also done since she was seven years

old. “I attend Strong River Camp and Farm in

Panola County each summer,” she says. “My

mom’s family grew up going to the camp. Now,

I have too. I have been a counselor-in-training

since I was thirteen, working with the collegeaged

counselors. It’s something I really enjoy.”

Being a good manager of her time is one of

Ainsley’s keys to doing as much as she does.

“By nature, I am a procrastinator,” she admits.

“I’m not very good at time skills, but I work at it

every day. I make a to-do list, so I have a visual

on what I need to do and when. That has been

especially helpful since I’ve had a heavy class

load the past couple of years. It’s important to

get all my assignments in on time.” Ainsley says

that luckily, she is a night owl, which works to

her advantage. “I have a lot of time after school

to get everything done.”

She must be doing something right because

Ainsley is a member of the National Honor

Society. She says she will miss her sisters,

Ella (a junior at Madison Central) and Reese

(an eight-grader at Madison Middle School)

when she leaves, but she is looking forward to

going to college and getting involved there.

Hometown MADISON • 27

28 • MAY 2022

Hometown MADISON • 29

30 • MAY 2022



Losing a child is something

that is nearly impossible

for any parent to endure.

Keeping a child’s memory

alive after they have passed

away is important to the

healing process.

Madison Children’s Memorial Garden

Susan Marquez

Hometown MADISON • 31

The parents in the Too Soon group in

Madison have created a place of peace to

remember their children in the heart of the city.

The Madison Children’s Memorial Garden is

located on the south side of Strawberry Patch

Park, near the chapel. “It was the last of several

locations that the mayor took us to see,” says

Christine Kelly, one of the mothers who

spearheaded the project. “We looked at spots

at the Simmons Arboretum and at Liberty Park,

but we knew when we saw this spot that it would

be the ideal place for the garden. This is a park

many of our children have played in, and it’s a

special place in our city.”

Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler is pleased

with the project. “I know of no other city that

has a memorial garden like this for children.

It pulls at my heartstrings to see mothers and

fathers grieving. When one person hurts in our

city, we all hurt. It is wonderful to see families

have a place to come together to remember their

loved ones, and to pray. I feel such a sweet spirit

in that place.”

The garden grew out of a conversation

between Cordie Rodenbaugh and Donna

Yowell. Cordie was making a memorial garden

in her backyard where she could remember her

son. She consulted with Donna, a Madison

resident who founded the Flower Growers of

Mississippi and serves as executive director of

the Mississippi Urban Forest Council, about

flowers for her garden. Rodenbaugh was inspired

32 • MAY 2022

and felt that a public garden should be built to

remember lost children. She formed the Too

Soon group as a way for parents sharing a

similar tragedy to support each other through

the healing process.

The Madison Children’s Memorial Garden

features a large fountain surrounded by a brick

walkway. Families can purchase a brick which is

engraved with the name of a child who has

passed away. An archway marks the entrance to

the garden off the walking trail at Strawberry

Patch Park. There are benches where parents can

sit and pray while remembering their child.

“This garden means so much to me,” says

Mel Lanke. “My son is buried in Alabama, but

I can come here anytime I want and see his

name on our brick. That is comforting for me.”

The bricks help fund the garden, which is still a

work in progress. “We have had people purchase

a brick on the anniversary of a child’s death, or

on their birthday or other special day,” says Lynn

Wilbanks, a founding member of the group.

Several people and organizations have

participated in making the garden a reality. The

Junior Auxiliary of Madison County and CNN

Railroad donated funds to help purchase plants

and trees. Other fundraisers were held, including

grilled chicken dinners by Madison resident Billy

Boykin, which has raised over $13,000 for the

Memorial Garden.

The late Miriam Ethridge worked with the

group to design and plant the garden. “I’m pretty

sure Miriam had her hands on almost every plant

in this garden,” says Christine. “We also

worked with Alan Hoops, the city’s director

of environment and design, and Gary Tolbert,

superintendent of parks in Madison.”

There are special events at the garden,

including a “sip and see” at Christmas. “There

was a Christmas tree with ornaments for all

the lost children,” Christine says. “And families

often gather to remember loved ones on their


Lynn Baney says that the garden is a special

place for her to remember her son, as it is for

others who have lost a child. “It’s for everyone,

not just moms,” she says. “Dads and other family

members have suffered a tremendous loss as well.

There is a tab on our website for donations to be

made to the city, which will be directed to the

garden,” she continued.

The Too Soon group also has workdays

where anyone can come help. “We do a workday

once a month,” says Kim Kelly. “We encourage

anyone who would like to work in the garden to

come join us.”

Lynn says she is so thankful for the memorial

garden. “While no parent will ever be fully

healed from the loss of a child, this helps with

the healing process. Being close to nature helps

bring us closer to God, and we feel closer to our

children when we do something with purpose.

This helps the community remember our

children as well.”

Visit madisonchildrensmemorialgarden.com

“While no parent will ever

be fully healed from the

loss of a child, this helps

with the healing process.

Being close to nature helps

bring us closer to God,

and we feel closer to our

children when we do

something with purpose.

This helps the community

remember our

children as well.”

Hometown MADISON • 33





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Highland Village



The District at Eastover



Banner Hall



Colony Crossing



34 • MAY 2022

Hometown MADISON • 35

To Protect

& Serve

Law Enforcement Week

May 11-17

Susan Marquez

Jan Collins, director of the

Madison County Business

League and Foundation,

has coordinated the

county-wide effort for

Law Enforcement Week

since 2011.

“We do this annually,

because we wanted to do

something collectively to

recognize our police and

sheriff’s department. Each

municipality in the county

plans their own events.”

This year, Law Enforcement Week is scheduled for May 11 through 17. The main

event for the week in Ridgeland will be an assembly at the police department on

Wednesday. Chief John Neal, Assistant Chief Eric Redd, Ridgeland Mayor Gene

McGee, and Ridgeland Chamber President Ray Balentine will read the names of

fallen officers, followed by a balloon release. A reception will follow the ceremony.

“Each officer in the Ridgeland Police Department will receive a goodie bag with

items donated by Chamber members. “The goodie bags are always a hit with the

police force,” says Chamber Executive Director Linda Bynum. “We try to get things

they’ll use and enjoy, like lip balm, hand sanitizer, granola bars and other snacks,

gift cards at local coffee and donut shops, pocket hand warmers and much more.

It’s fun to imagine them taking the bags home and looking at all that is inside.

We hope it makes them feel appreciated because they are.” Breakfast, lunch, and

dinner are provided to on-duty officers during the week. “Some businesses have

the meal catered, while others will do a cook-out at the police station.”

The Ridgeland Chamber continues to honor their police department throughout

the year. “We have an officer of the month program,” explains Bynum. “Our members

contribute to provide the officer of the month with a $100 gift card and Fleet Feet

Sports provides one pair of shoes each month to the honored officer.” Money is

also raised for an annual gift to the police department.

36 • MAY 2022

Front L-R: Julene Stewart, Madison County Chamber; Kristy Daniels, PriorityOne Bank; Jan Collins, Madison County Business League & Foundation; May McCarty, Canton Toursim

Back L-R: Lisa Williams, City of Gluckstadt; Chris Chapman, Ridgeland Tourism; Linda Bynum, Ridgeland Chamber of Commerce; Amy Cummins, Madison the City Economic Development

“We depend on Chief Neal to let us know what they need,”

Bynum says. “In the past we have given holsters for tasers,

and custom-made bulletproof vests. This year we are raising

money for a device called a Guardian Angel that clips to the

officer’s uniform. The device has LED blinking lights to help

officers be seen better, particularly at night. We are proud

of our fundraising efforts to show our men and women

in blue we appreciate, care, honor, and respect them by

purchasing something for the department that will be

beneficial and meaningful.”

Hometown MADISON • 37

In Madison, Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler has signed a resolution to declare May 11

through 17, 2022 Law Enforcement Appreciation Week. “We are proud that Madison

the City has been deemed Mississippi’s Safest City. Our chief of police, Gene Waldrop,

is celebrating thirty years with the City of Madison, and fifty years in law enforcement.

I have learned that what works best in building a department is to take the politicians

out and let the professionals take care of things. That’s what I’ve done, and it has worked.

Blue runs deep in our city, and funding law enforcement takes top priority in our budget.”

During Law Enforcement Week, the police station will be lit in blue. “Our men and

women in blue will be honored throughout the week for their dedication and service,”

says Hawkins Butler.

Canton officials will reach out to officers

to distribute goodie bags during the week

to show their appreciation for the work they

do. “Law Enforcement Appreciation Week

has grown over the years,” says Collins.

“It is great time for citizens to show their

appreciation. Several schools in the

county write notes to the officers, and

groups will take food to the police

station. We certainly encourage

everyone to take the time to let

a law enforcement officer know

they are appreciated.”

38 • MAY 2022

Madison County

Law Enforcement

Appreciation Week

May 11-17, 2022

Join us in a county-wide week of celebration and commemoration of the outstanding work of

the municipal and county law enforcement officers and first responders in Madison County!

We invite our business community, schools, churches, organizations, and individuals to

participate in recognizing our law enforcement officers for their dedication and commitment

to the protection of the citizens of Madison County.



Paint the County Blue — Display blue ribbons on your home, school, church or place of

business, or wear a blue ribbon throughout the week.

Back the Blue — Wear blue to school, church, or business and offer discounts to law

enforcement officers.

Day of Prayer — Recognize our law enforcement community during church services and

pray for their safety.

Thank an Officer! — Celebrate and remember fallen officers by releasing balloons and

holding candlelight vigils.

Celebrate the Blue — Show your appreciation of officers by hosting a luncheon,

breakfast, dinner or other treats.

Social Media — Be sure to share your law enforcement appreciation with posts, videos

and photos on social media. #backtheblue





Hometown MADISON • 39

For those who are called

to serve and protect

our communities, the

risks are many and

the rewards are few.

Yet, without their dedication, our

communities would be in chaos.

A special week is set aside each May

for citizens to show their appreciation

to our law enforcement community.

Law Enforcement Week was started by

President John F. Kennedy as a way

for schools, churches, organizations,

businesses, and individuals to

participate in honoring our

men and women in blue.


Gene Waldrop

✪ 50 years in law enforcement

✪ Madison Police Chief 1992 - present

We at Hometown Madison

offer our heartfelt gratitude for

the law enforcement agencies

that make Madison one of the

safest places to live in Mississippi.

We whole-heartedly back the blue!


John Neal

✪ 34 years in law enforcement

✪ Ridgeland Police Chief 2015 - present

40 • MAY 2022


Wendell Watts

✪ 25+ years in law enforcement

✪ Gluckstadt Police Chief February 2022 - present


Otha Brown

✪ 28 years in law enforcement

✪ Canton Police Chief 2014 - present


Arty Girod

✪ 43 years in law enforcement

✪ Flora Police Chief 2016 - present


Randy Tucker

✪ 28 years in law enforcement

✪ Madison County Sheriff 2012 - present

Hometown MADISON • 41

5th grade





campus tours begin January 2022.

Contact Tracie Mallard, Director of Admission, at 601.939.8611 or

tmallard@jacksonprep.net, for details on the application process.

42 • MAY 2022

Hometown MADISON • 43

44 • MAY 2022

In a pickle about something to do this summer?

Lucky for you, the third annual Pickle Fest is planned for June 11

at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum.


According to Justin Nipper, the event

started as a joke, but quickly developed into

a wonderful family-friendly event. The origins

of the event are pretty simple, actually,” says

Justin, who serves as both the marketing

director and events coordinator for the


At a staff meeting in 2019, a staff

member with the last name “Pickle” gave

the museum’s director at the time an idea.

“He joked that we should have a pickle

festival,” says Justin. But the joke was on

the director. “He said it in front of the right


The idea took off and the first Pickle

Fest was held at the Museum that year.

“It actually ties in perfectly with what we

do here at the Museum,” Justin says.

“The festival highlights fermenting, pickling,

and canning food, which one hundred

percent ties in with our agricultural mission.

It gives people an opportunity to enjoy a

fun outdoor event, and in the process, they

can learn something, which also is part of

our mission.” Pickling and canning have

long been methods of preserving foods.

With more people planting home gardens,

there is an increased interest in preservation

methods to enjoy the harvest all year.

Justin came on board at the Ag Museum

in 2020, and due to Covid, the event was not

held that year. “I took over the event in 2021.”

The first couple of years the event was held

from 10am to 3pm, but that will change this

year. “To offset the summer heat, we are

kicking the event off at 3pm and going to

8pm,” Justin explains.

Pickle Fest will offer something for all

ages. Outdoor activities will include water

slides, an inflatable obstacle course, and live

music on a main stage. Combined with the

children’s activities will be a farmers’ market.

If you relish fermented foods and other

items, you won’t want to miss the market.

“This year we are partnering with the

Magnolia Market, and in addition, we will

have over thirty vendors returning from last

year selling canned and preserved foods,

crafts and more,” Justin states. “The vendors

will be located inside our two largest

buildings where it will be nice and cool.

We will also have educational demos on

the ground to teach those in attendance

how to can and ferment foods.”

No festival is complete without a

contest, and the Pickle Fest will deliver

with a pickle eating contest and pickle jar

packing contest, complete with prizes and

the distinguished honor of being the person

who can eat the most pickles or pack the

most pickles into a jar.

The Mississippi Agricultural Museum

Foundation is the primary sponsor for the

event. Other sponsors include Visit Jackson,

Cathead Distilleries, and Southern Beverage.

Admission to the event is $8 for ages 3 and up.

All the regular museum attractions will be

open, including the Children’s Barnyard and

Small Town, Mississippi.

For more information, call 601-432-4500 or

email msagmuseum@mdac.ms.gov.

Hometown MADISON • 45

Pickle Cheesecake


• 1½ c. crushed pretzels

• 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325°. In a medium

bowl, combine pretzels with butter

and stir to combine. Press into the

bottom of a 8” or 9” springform pan

and set aside.


• 2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese,

softened to room temperature

• 1 (10 oz.) log goat cheese

• ¾ c. sour cream

• 1 Tbsp. pickle juice

• 3 large eggs

• ½ c. freshly grated


• 2 c. finely chopped

pickles, divided

• 3 garlic cloves,


• 2 Tbsp. finely

chopped dill, plus

more for garnish

• 2 tsp. kosher salt

• 1 tsp. red pepper flakes

• ½ tsp. onion powder

• Freshly ground black pepper

• Toasted bread, for serving

In a large bowl, combine cream

cheese, goat cheese, sour cream and

pickle juice. Using a hand mixer, beat

until smooth. Add eggs one at a time

and beat until fully incorporated.

Add parmesan, ½ cup chopped

pickles, garlic, dill, salt, red pepper

flakes and onion powder. Season

with black pepper and fold until all

ingredients are evenly incorporated.

Add half cheese mixture to pan and

smooth into an even layer. Top with

an even layer of 1 cup chopped

pickles, then top with the rest of the

cheese mixture. Smooth top and

bake until slightly golden on top

and set in the middle, 45 minutes to

1 hour.

Remove from oven and let cool

completely. Cover and chill in the

refrigerator for at least 2 hours, up to


When ready to serve, top with

remaining pickles and dill for

garnish. Serve with crackers or

toasted bread.

Serves 10-12

Dill Pickle Martini

• 2 cups ice

• 1 ½ ounces dill pickle juice

• 4 ½ ounces vodka

• 2 dill pickle spears

Pour ice into a cocktail shaker; pour

dill pickle juice and vodka over the

ice. Cover the shaker and shake

vigorously for about 20 seconds;

strain into martini glasses. Garnish

each cocktail with a dill pickle spear

Serves 2

Pickle Pops

• 2 ¼ c. pickle juice

• 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

• ½ c. pickle chips

In a large liquid measuring cup,

whisk together pickle juice

and sugar. Place a few pickle chips

in each Popsicle mold then pour in

pickle juice mixture. Cover and add

popsicle sticks. Freeze until solid,

4 hours. Run warm water over

molds to loosen popsicles and

serve immediately.

Serves 10

46 • MAY 2022

Dill Pickle Guacamole

• 3 avocados, pitted and mashed

• 2 Tbsp pickle juice

• ½ cup chopped pickles, plus more

for garnish

• ¼ red onion, finely chopped

• 1 garlic clove, minced

• 1 Tbsp chopped dill, plus more

for garnish

• ½ tsp. red pepper flakes

• Kosher salt

• Freshly ground black pepper

• Corn chips for serving

Mash avocados to your desired

consistency. Mix in remaining

ingredients. Garnish with chopped

pickles and serve with corn chips.

Serves 6-8

Dill Pickle Dip

• 16 ounces cream cheese, softened

• 9 ounces dried beef, chopped

• 16 ounces baby dill pickles

• Crackers for serving

Using a mixer, beat cream cheese

until smooth. Fold in pickles and

dried beef. Chill until ready to eat.

Serve with crackers.

Bread & Butter Pickles

• 20 cups sliced cucumbers

(about 12 medium)

• 3 cups sliced onions

(about 4 medium)

• 1 medium sweet red pepper, sliced

• 1 medium green pepper, sliced

• 3 quarts ice water

• ½ cup canning salt

• 6 cups sugar

• 6 cups white vinegar

• 3 tablespoons mustard seed

• 3 teaspoons celery seed

• 1½ teaspoons ground turmeric

• ¼ teaspoon plus ⅛ teaspoon

ground cloves

Place cucumbers, onions and peppers

in a large bowl. In another large bowl,

mix ice water and salt; pour over

vegetables. Let stand 3 hours. Rinse

vegetables and drain well. Pack

vegetables into eleven hot 1-pint jars

to within ½ inch of the top. In a

Dutch oven, bring sugar, vinegar,

mustard seed, celery seed, turmeric

and cloves to a boil. Carefully ladle

hot liquid over vegetable mixture,

leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove

air bubbles and adjust headspace,

if necessary, by adding hot liquid.

Wipe rims. Center lids on jars; screw

on bands until fingertip tight.

Place jars into canner, ensuring

that they are completely

covered with water. Bring to

a boil; process for 10 minutes.

Remove jars and cool.

Makes 11 pints

Fried Pickles


• ¼ cup mayonnaise

• 1 tablespoon drained horseradish

• 2 teaspoons ketchup

• ¼ teaspoon Cajun seasoning

Mix and set aside.


• Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying

• ½ cup all-purpose flour

• 1 ¾ teaspoons Cajun seasoning

• ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning

• ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

• Kosher salt

• 2 cups sliced dill pickles, drained

Heat 1 inch peanut oil in a pot over

medium-high heat until a deep-fry

thermometer registers 375. Whisk

flour, Cajun seasoning, Italian

seasoning, cayenne pepper,

½ teaspoon salt and ½ cup water in a

large bowl until smooth.

Spread the pickles on paper towels

and pat dry. Add half of the pickles to

the batter and toss to coat. Remove

from batter using a slotted spoon,

letting the excess drip off, and add to

the oil one at a time. Fry until golden

brown, 1 to 2 minutes; remove with

a slotted spoon and drain on paper

towels. Return the oil to 375 and

repeat with the remaining pickles and

batter. Serve immediately with the

prepared sauce.

Makes 4 servings

Overnight Pickles

• 1 cup fresh dill sprigs

• 2 cloves garlic chopped

• ¼ cup chopped onion

• 3 cups thinly sliced small


• 1¼ cups water

• ¾ cup white vinegar

• 1 tablespoon honey

(or granulated sugar)

• 1 tablespoon kosher salt

• ⅛ teaspoon black pepper

Place dill, garlic, and onion in a

large mason jar. Fill jar to top with

cucumbers. Place water, vinegar,

honey, salt, and pepper in small

saucepan over high heat. Whisk until

the mixture comes to a boil. Pour

hot liquid over cucumbers. Cool

slightly, then place top on jar and

refrigerate overnight before serving.

Store in the refrigerator.

Hometown MADISON • 47

CALL NOW: 601-401-3299






48 • MAY 2022

Hometown MADISON • 49





Just an afternoon ride over some delta roads –

that was what I believed to be our afternoon

plans, but I had no idea what was to transpire!

My date pulled over on the side of a gravel road and with only

soybean fields to witness, asked me, a sophomore at Delta State,

to marry him. It was far from a tropical setting and void of

candlelight ambiance, but the sparkle in my engagement diamond

transformed that delta road into a location that was akin to sacred.

50 • MAY 2022

Now, several decades later, my husband and I make occasional pilgrimages to the

campus, the town of Cleveland, and the surrounding interests.

Join us as we give you a preview for a memorable road trip experience that takes you

through miles of fertile, delta flatlands and into Cleveland, the true oasis of the delta.

First, it’s probably best to plan your arrival any day of the week except Mondays. Long,

delta weekends sometimes need Mondays for regrouping time.

A modern downtown hotel, appropriately named The Cotton House, would be a great

choice for a stay located in the middle of this delta oasis. Its five floors rise like a skyscraper

in the delta flatlands. For arrivals around noon, a lunch at Delta Meat Market will set the

stage for a great visit. It’s a locals hangout conveniently connected to the lobby of the hotel.

Hometown MADISON • 51

Now for the shopping! Downtown is laid out like a lengthy strip mall

with shops hosting varieties of merchandise. Shop from one end to the other,

cross over the tree-lined walkway that’s interspersed with flowers, sculptures,

and arbors, and follow the shops on that street from end to end. You won’t be

disappointed, and you’ll find the residents and business owners friendly and


When you need a sitting break, get in your vehicle and take a driving tour

through the Delta State University campus. Don’t leave until you stop and

tour the Grammy Museum, a state-of-the-art creation that’s added fame to

the university and its Cleveland hometown. You can also get on the mailing

list for information of upcoming events and artists.

There are several restaurant choices to close out your day. If you would

like a preview of selections, go to visitclevelandms.com/dining.

On day two, start your morning with coffee and a croissant or sweet

pastry across the street from the hotel at ZOE, a ministry-based coffee shop

with all proceeds going to missions. The relaxed atmosphere and tasty treats

add to the unique design and flavor of the shop.

Your delta visit wouldn’t be a complete experience without a pottery

excursion to Peter’s Pottery in Mound Bayou and McCarty Pottery in

Merigold where lunch is served in The Gallery. The two destinations

are close in proximity and about a twelve-minute drive from Cleveland.

Tour their variety of creations that are internationally recognized and

synonymous with the Mississippi Delta.

Cleveland, Mississippi, is a town where there’s always something

going on. According to the events calendar, every weekend hosts events -

from planetarium shows to museum events at the Grammy and Railroad

Museums. There are concerts and festivals spotlighting beers, burgers, and

music for multiple tastes. Cleveland is so close to other Delta attractions,

like the Kermit the Frog Museum in Leland, BB King Museum in Indianola,

and the Baby Doll House in Benoit, and has the hotels and restaurants to

make it the perfect place to stay during a trip to the Delta.

52 • MAY 2022

The winter highlight is “50 Nights of Lights” from

mid-November through New Years. It’s one of the best

Christmas events in Mississippi, lighting up Cleveland’s

historic downtown with over a million twinkling lights

along with enormous Christmas light displays.

When I left the north Mississippi hills for Delta State,

I couldn’t understand the love that the residents had for

their expanse of flat lands. I was told, “You have to be

from the Delta to love it.” The years have proven that

statement flawed. Visit Cleveland, the Delta oasis, and

experience a people rooted and growing like the vast fields

that encircle it.

Go to the website, at visitclevelandms.com, to plan

your dream getaway now. It has a list of itineraries from

Cleveland that include shopping excursions, girlfriend

getaways, romantic trips and family trips, not to mention

one of the items that people from all over the world visit

the delta to learn about: The Blues. There are over 50

blues markers within 45 minutes of Cleveland, and you

can find them all on the website.

Hometown MADISON • 53

The CHALKBOARD Madison Schools

Madison Central

Madison Central High School hosted its annual Beauty and Beau pageant the week of February 7.

Friday, February 11 was senior night.

Senior Beauties

Back L-R: Sally Claire Stockett, Abby Gables, Sarah Kate Killens, Savanna Elmore, Kendall Starkey, Sarah Liza Stockett.

Front L-R: Lily Linton, Savanna Phung, Most Beautiful Adya Praveen, Maddie Rives, Nora Beth Thomas.

Senior Beaus

Back L-R: Eli Tillman, Bennett Kelly, Mason Mayo, Youssef Tuwahni, and Simon Tipton. Front L-R: Cannon Bosarge, Carter Dickey, Most Handsome Landon Parrow,

Colin Opdyke, JT Evans, and Canaan Mercer. Not pictured are Jake Cook, Mack Gorton, Ross Highfill.

56 • MAY 2022

Junior Beauties

Back L-R: Claire Ulmer, Olivia Davidson, Kinsley Wilson, Mattie Dupuy.

Front L-R: Bergen Bianchi, Anna Kaden Thomas, Cameron Rainey, Avery Brady.

Junior Beaus

L-R: Hunter Beach, Truitt Mayhue, Kamden Boyd.

Most Handsome Landon Parrow

and Most Beautiful Adya Praveen

Sophomore Beaus

Back L-R: Reese Moseley, Ford Stewart, Ty Miller, Camden Hood.

Front L-R: Cole Flesher, Will Brown, George Tickner.

Sophomore Beauties

Back L-R: Brooke Bumgarner, Dixon Shirley, Ella Peyton Allen, McKinley Mohead, Addison Reeves.

Front L-R: Brittan McFadden, Annalise Kirk, Nataleigh Nix, Avery Johnston, Emma Raush.

Hometown MADISON • 57

TheTime COIN

Camille Anding

We have a tendency to relate months of the year

with special or sad memories. Birthdays, anniversaries

and deaths make indelible marks on months for all of us.

May has a lot of special, celebratory marks for most people. The April showers do bring

May flowers, and that makes me very happy! The extreme heat and humidity of our South

aren’t totally cranked up, and the flowers take advantage of it.

My own flowers that I plant and stoke Miracle Grow to begin to “flaunt their wares” and

spread their beauty during the spring growing season of May. The roses are temporarily free of

the humidity-induced diseases, and the deer aren’t hungry enough to invade our back yard.

I tend to associate May with awards days, graduations and clean-out-desks-and-lockers

month. It meant the light at the end of the tunnel for me when I taught school, and as a student,

it meant summer paradise was next.

Mother’s Day falls in the month of May and continues to make this month special. There

have been times that I’ve felt like the memorial date tries to press us into a commercial mode,

but there’s no denying that mothers need a special recognition day.

It was during my childhood, but I still remember the excitement of Daddy carrying us to

Van-Atkins Department store in New Albany to buy Mother a gift for the big day. I always went

to the jewelry counter and picked out a new pair of earrings - blue ones - her favorite color.

That was long ago. I still miss Mother and think of her several times a day. Little did I realize

what an impression she was making in my life. I press blouses the way she taught me, I add

extra butter to recipes like she taught me, I love jonquils the way she loved them, I remind

myself to write thank-you notes the way she did, I enjoy family members singing like she did,

I appreciate the stage like she did, I pray for VBS like she did, I teach Sunday school like she

did, I soothe little grandchildren’s boo-boos like she did, I TRY to make apple pies like she did,

and I try to love my family like she did.

So many visit the cemetery on Mother’s Day because that’s as close as they feel they can be.

I just carry her memory with me and thank God for her influence in my life and look forward

to our reunion day. Who knows what month will hold that special event?

58 • MAY 2022

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and preventive cardiac care through lifestyle support,

minimally invasive treatments and in emergent situations.

When you put your heart in our hands, you get the

benefit of skilled, experienced cardiovascular specialists

and Merit Health Heart’s collaborative approach to care.

To learn more, visit MeritHealthHeart.com

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.

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