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As I See It

hill country, texas — ‘Tis the season for the annual Texas deer hunt, and here I am secluded deep in the beautiful and rugged Hill Country.
And I do mean secluded.

Our camp is four miles or so from the public road, and then it’s another 16 miles beyond that to the nearest store. In other words, we are about 20 miles from the nearest gallon of gas.

Our club name is the Tri-State Hunting Club and has a total of eight members, with two members from Mississippi and six from South Louisiana. As for the name, we have members from Mississippi and Louisiana and we hunt in Texas, thus Tri-State. Actually, one of the Louisiana members retired last year and moved to Arkansas, so I suppose we really should change the name of the club — but no one seems to care much.

In addition to the gasoline and ice implications of being a long way back in the hills, we’re also beyond the reach of TV, radio, newspapers and the Internet for a whole week.

You could safely say we’re disconnected while we’re at the camp.
I call my wife every day on my cell phone, but I have to drive the four-wheeler to the San Antonio side of the hills to get service and it costs me about 10 bucks a call. I’ve learned to take the cell phone with me when I go to the deer stand and call her from there rather than having to make a separate 20-minute trek back up the mountain later.

For me, one of the chief virtues of deer hunting is the long hours of solitude. We have comfortable shooting house stands with swivel chairs and the hours are spent in relative comfort. I always carry a novel and a small yellow pad in case a profound thought should surface. Actually, I do a lot of reading and serious thinking while passing the hours. There’s comfort in knowing that, for the next three hours at least, no one is going to disturb me.

Lately, I have been thinking about what I should do with my investment in the Mississippi Business Journal so that I can retire one day. The problem is I want to sell while also retaining control. So far, I haven’t found a way to accomplish those opposing goals. However, I did scratch out a rudimentary plan for making the newspaper better in 2004. Maybe I won’t sell at all. Maybe I’ll be found someday with my lifeless fingers resting on the keyboard.

On this trip, I have seen dozens of deer, turkeys, wild pigs, hawks and an aoudad (an exotic wild sheep, native to northern Africa). I have enjoyed real conversation with friends. That’s “real” conversation, not the kind that’s timed to fit between commercial breaks on TV. I’ve helped my friends with their hunting chores and been helped by them with mine.

In short, I’ve had a blast out here.

What have I missed by being outside the reach of civilized communication? What price will I pay for missing a week’s worth of newspapers, CNN, e-mail and telephone calls. As best I can tell, nothing. We’re still at war in Iraq and Jackson still has only the “perception” of rampant crime and there’s apparently a racist lurking behind every bush. The stock market went up while I was gone and the trees on my little timber tract up in Leake County kept on growing. The Mississippi Business Journal was written, printed and mailed without any involvement on my part.

It’s easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of living that it‘s difficult to comprehend being out of touch for even an hour, much less a week.

In truth, I think it does us all good to just get away from time to time and spend time focusing on what is really significant in life. As my Christmas gift to you this year, I give you permission to treat yourself to a little quiet time in a secluded place where you can dream, scheme and plan your life while separating the significant from the unimportant and live better for having done it.

From all of us here at the Mississippi Business Journal, I wish you a joyous and blessed holiday. During this season of celebration, remember that giving gets more than getting gives. Please keep the men and women serving in our armed forces in your hearts and prayers this Christmas.

Thought for the Moment — Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. — Luke 2:11

Joe D. Jones, CPA, is publisher of the Mississippi Business Journal. Contact him at cpajones@msbusiness.com.

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