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JACK WEATHERLY — Let the sun shine in


I caught a patch of sun in a corner of our courtyard at home last weekend. The sun was low but healing.

I was the last in our family to catch whatever it was, flu or old-fashioned cold and fever.

What had made it worse was the interminable rain. Day after day with no letup.

Sun we take for granted, and can do without it for a while, but not forever.

There were other “solar” moments during my extended holiday break.

I met Felder Rushing in the canned vegetables aisle at Kroger.

As a man in a brimmed gardening hat passed by, I said, “Are you Felder Rushing?”

He stopped, smiled and said yes.

I told that we try to catch his show every Saturday morning on public radio.

And that when my wife sends him a question by email, we appreciate his thoughtful promptness in responding.

But, really, what was the host of the Gestalt Gardener, lecturer, author and free spirit, doing in Kroger? It’s a bit of an overstatement, but it seemed like a little miracle amid the mundane.

“We thought we’d stay in and make a pot of vegetable soup,” he told me on that particular rainy day.

But, I thought to myself, you’re Mr. Horticulture who drives his famous green pickup and, pushing 67, looks for all the world like an aging hippie.

Canned vegetables?

“What are you looking for?” I asked.

Sweet corn, he said.

Funny thing, I just happened to be looking for sweet corn myself.

“My wife wanted white,” he told me, though he may have said yellow. “But I told her there is no difference between white and yellow,” just the color.

Why? I asked.

“Because the horticulture gods decided there would only be two,” he said with a smile, which, by the way, never left his face as we chatted.

I asked him if I could take his picture.

Yep, he said, let’s do a selfie.

I had never intentionally done one of those, to be honest.

He even had to coach me a bit.

After he flipped his hair from beneath the collar of his jacket and from underneath his hat, I took the photo.

Note to self: smile when you do a selfie, especially when your captive subject is smiling.

I bade him goodbye and he headed on down the aisle.

Note to self: look for the sun. It will appear.

I don’t know whether Peggy Noonan has a sunny disposition. But she had been President Ronald Reagan’s speech writer.

Reagan was conservatism with a smile.

She still packs a punch, whether the line at the end of a joke or a shot to the solar plexus. These days, she’s an op-ed contributor for The Wall Street Journal.

She is her own woman. Listen to this quote from her post-Reagan years, and surely after his demise.

“The battle for the mind of Ronald Reagan was like the trench warfare of World War I: never have so many fought so hard for such barren terrain.”

Ann Coulter, the right-wing iconoclast, could write for the oft-scowling current president, Donald Trump, though what a job that must be, or for any position in the White House.

Noonan writes in her latest op-ed piece about one of the Newest Left’s latest targets on an endless list. Nothing is safe.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” a classic novelty love song that has been around for 75 years, has been deemed by the thought police to be sexually aggressive in the wrong way.

“The song flirty and humorous, a spoof of the endless drama between men and women,” Noonan says.

But the #MeToo movement sees its lyrics “as somewhat rapey,” Noonan writes. So drop it from playlists and otherwise ban it, they insist.

Such neo-puritanism is a threat to creativity and freedom of expression, as Noonan sees it. Me too, if I can use that phrase without getting in trouble.

Sun can energize and disinfect. Ouch, that sounds clinical.

Let’s try a song that emerged from another social upheaval: “Aquarius” (otherwise known as “Let the Sunshine in” from the musical “Hair”) which is a mere 50 years old.

I feel energized now that I have found a publication that absolutely thrills me.

It’s the weekend edition of The Wall Street Journal, with its generous array of delicious, thought-provoking pieces, rather than efforts to inhibit thought, which has contaminated even long-established publications that used to have a steady hand at the helm.

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


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