Home » OPINION » Columns » JACK WEATHERLY — Seersucker days: Is it me, or is it just the infernal heat?

JACK WEATHERLY — Seersucker days: Is it me, or is it just the infernal heat?



There must be an explanation for the strange things that have been happening across our state.

A lone 61-year-old man sent Camp Shelby, with its thousands of soldiers, into red alert.

The photo on the front of The Clarion-Ledger shows an officer  throwing down on the suspect sitting on the ground, leaning against the back bumper of his pickup, and looking bewildered.

The Associated Press quotes the man’s son as saying that the pickup “explodes every time someone shifts gears and steps on the gas.”

Of course, there was Fort Hood and Chattanooga, but the initial reports were that the man was unarmed. Imagine that in Mississippi.

Some explosions, presumably backfiring, were heard outside the base last Tuesday, which just happened to be the day that political primaries were held across the state.

A long-distance truck driver R-U-N-N O-F-T with the Democratic primary for governor, to borrow a phrase from that great Mississippi film “O Brother Where Art Thou?”

He didn’t even vote. Didn’t even have a con-stitioncy, as Gov. Pappy O’Daniel  of “O Brother” would say, at least not one that political scientists can name.

The most popular theory is that his name was the first one on the ballot. Victory by alphabetization.

Something more than politics or a gun-shy culture is afoot here.

It must be the heat.

I turn to seersucker, that miracle fabric, and that helps me.

But we can only take so many 100-degree days. Then we start acting strange and seeing strange things.

I even imagined that The New York Times published a front-page story complimentary of  Fox News’ conducting the Republican presidential debate.

Heat does strange things to you.

I’ve seen it before.

In 1980, I was working for the Arkansas Gazette, a good newspaper with sharp, or at least cynical, reporters and editors.

E-ver-y single day of the month of August broke 100. Large oak trees withered for lack of water.

Then one day, black clouds rolled in. The heavens rumbled. The Arkansas Gazette Building in downtown Little Rock shook.

The cynics were pressed against a large window on the second floor, like kids at a candy store in a bygone era when candy was not viewed as poison.

And then the rain came. Bless-ed rain.

A cheer erupted from the knot of people at the window.

Unmitigated joy.

Another movie comes to mind.

Ever see “The Rainmaker” with Burt Lancaster? There was a turrible drought in Kansas. People were desperate.

Up pops Bill Starbuck.

Starbuck cranks up his rain machine and goes through his bombastic routine.

No clouds and no clouds, day after day.

He had to refund what he had been paid.

Until the rain did come.

“Ha-HA!” Lancaster-Starbuck said in that toothy smile that only he could deliver, “Give me back my HUNDRED BUCKS!”

The other night a dark locomotive of a storm system rumbled through Hinds County.

But the long ghost train carrying its precious cargo moved on down the line, leaving me holding the garden hose.

Here we are waiting at the station . . . for something. A rainmaker?

» Contact Mississippi Business Journal staff writer Jack Weatherly at jack.weatherly@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1016.


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