Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Dear Family Feud Contestant......

Jo Beth, a Facebook friend of mine, posted that she was home watching Family Feud during lunch today and one of the questions was......"Name a place that people hate to admit they are going".  Well, the first contestant rang his buzzer and answered loudly and confidently, "Mississippi"!!!

Ok, I'm sorry....but if you will all allow me to ascend onto my soapbox for just a minute and address the contestant, I would be so appreciative.  (Joni steps upon the soapbox and begins.)

Mr. Family Feud contestant, we would like to invite you to our beautiful Mississippi. As a matter of fact, it would be our pleasure to have you.  Come on down and when you leave from wherever you're from, maybe you could give Morgan Freeman, Sela Ward, Oprah Winfrey, Shephard Smith, Robin Roberts, Tavis Smiley, and Cat Cora a ride.  I'm sure they'd like to come home for a visit......I mean, they probably wouldn't want you to tell anyone that y'all are headed to their home state, because.....well, that would be embarrassing.  Oh, and don't forget to pick up our man, James Earl Jones.  Boy, is he gonna give you a talkin' to in that Darth Vader voice of his for running your mouth about his Mississippi. 
Maybe when you get here, you could help us try to sound out some of the big words in these books by of our native authors, William Faulkner, John Grisham, Eudora Welty, and Tennessee Williams.  It may take us a year or two to finish one with our 2nd grade educations and all, but we're a determined people.  We've been a-waitin' on someone like you to come help us with our readin'.   

We might even get the generator cranked up when you get here, so we can turn on the transistor radio and listen to some of our homegrown music.....a little Jimmy Buffett, Paul Davis, Faith Hill, Mickey Gilley, LeAnn Rimes, Hayley Williams of Paramore, Bo Diddley, and that cute, little fella from Tupelo, Mr. Elvis Presley.....oh, and Jimmy Rodgers, the father of country music, and B.B. King, King of the Blues.  I'd hate to have to tell Mr. King what you said about his homeland.  He would not be pleased....not one little bit.  There's no tellin' what he might do to you with that guitar of his.  Yeah, we're the birthplace of country music and the blues. Maybe we're singing the blues because of people like you, Mr. Family Feud contestant.  Being misunderstood makes for good music, I reckon.        

We're not real bright down here, but somehow we managed to contribute a few things to the world.  Maybe you've heard of Pine-Sol, sweetened condensed milk, MTV, Netscape, nystatin antibiotic, Fed Ex, Peavy Electronics, and Barq's Root Beer just to name a few off the top of my head.  

Viking Appliances are made here, but we just export those 'cause we stick to them wood burning stoves.  Shoot, them fancy kinds are just too dad-blasted complicated for us.

We're known as the cotton capital of the world and the world's largest pecan nursery is here, too.  You say "pee-can", we say "puh-con".  Maybe we'll whip you up a pecan pie when you get here.  We're also the catfish capital of the world with 70% of the world's farm raised catfish coming from right here.  We'll fry you up a mess of 'em....maybe some hushpuppies.  It'll be so good, it'll make you wanna slap yer Mama.  We may be the fattest state in the Union, but if your food tasted like ours......well, we'd like to see you try to stay trim.
We were the first to bottle Coca-Cola. The first nuclear submarine was built here.  First lung transplant.  First to have a state funded college for women.  First to form a PTA.  4-H Club started here.  First to have a system of junior colleges.  And all space shuttle engines are tested at our John C. Stennis Space Center.  So, there. 

The founder of the American Family Association, Don Wildmon, is from these parts, too.  We're kind of proud of that since we're all about family down here.  You know us.....we try to always keep it in the family in Mississippi and marry our cousins and brothers.  The straighter the family tree, the better is what we always say.

We've got potters and painters and artists galore.  Walter Anderson and Peter Anderson did their thing on our sod.  Franke Keating was one of ours.  Too many to name, really.  I guess you've got to pass the time in this embarrassing place somehow.  The arts are as good a way as any.

If Mr. Zig Ziglar was still here, he'd likely give you a motivational speech on not talking out of turn about the place where he spent his childhood. 

We even had one of our boys go up in one of them there space rockets.  Mr. Richard Truly.  You ever been picked to ride in a rocket ship, sir?  I didn't think so.  Not many astronauts have time to be on Family Feud

We've had more Miss Americas than you can shake a stick at, too.  We could've had more if only we'd had them fitted for shoes before the pageant.  They looked mighty "purty", though.  We can grow some good lookin' girls down here in this humid heat.

A feather in our cap that we don't like to talk about too much is that the patent holder for the soft toilet seat lives in Columbus.  If we ever get an indoor toilet down in this neck of the woods, I sure want to try one out......'til then, we'll just head out to the outhouse with the Sears Catalog.  I think you'll find the facilities sufficient, though, when you get here. 

Jim Henson was one of our boys.  When we can get our rabbit ears pointed just right on top of the console TV, we can get the Muppets comin' in pretty clear.  He was a talented man, for sure.     

We like to play ball down here too, sir.  We've grown a lot of big names and still are.  Maybe when you come, we can have a pick up game of football.....just you against some of our Mississippi sons, Archie Manning, Brett Farve, Steve McNair, Marcus Dupree, and Jerry Rice.  They may be getting older, but, survey says, they'll wipe the floor with you......and Mr. Walter Payton.....well, he would've beaten the tarnation out of your sorry tail for talking about his home. 

It's hard to believe, but the only city in this here United States of America to be sanctioned by the International Theatre and Dance Commission to host International Ballet Competitions is Jackson, MS.  Ain't that somethin'?  I reckon them folks must think we have a little something going for us.  We put on our best pair of overalls when them ballerinas come to town. 

If you fall on hard times while you're here, we'll probably dig in our pockets to help you out of your pinch, even if you did bad mouth us.  We may have the lowest income level in this country but we're #2 in charitable giving.  Hmmm.....the irony.

Yeah, if you ever make your way down here, you'll likely be treated kindly, because that's how our mamas taught us.  They taught us that because it's written in the Good Book and since Mississippi has more churches per capita than any other state, we have plenty of opportunity to hear what it says about all that.  I suppose we'll just keep on turning the other cheek and going the extra mile.  They don't call us the Hospitality State for nothing, you know.

Yeah, we've got some blemishes, but I bet your state does, too, Mr. Family Feud contestant. 

So, do come on down, ya hear?.  Just don't tell anybody where you're going. 

You'll be all the better for paying us a visit. 

We won't tell a soul you were here.           


  1. Oh, You Are Good! Well done, Joni!

    I grew up in Southern California, and went to a Bible School is Michigan. I sang in the choir and we traveled to many churches to sing. It always amazed me when people would actually say to my face, "I didn't know there were any Christians in California." And they weren't kidding.

    It amazes me how people can't see the richness of all the areas of our country. Every area has great things about it. What was that man thinking?


    1. Oh, well, Deanna! As long as we're happy where we are, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. Thanks for reading and always encouraging me, Deanna!

  2. I learned a lot from this post about your home state, Mississippi. Very interesting, like a history lesson. Every state has something to offer, is what I think. Thank you Joni! Kathleen in Az

    1. You're exactly right, Kathleen! I'm glad you learned a little something about our state, which only gets bad publicity. :)

  3. Mississippi is a wonderful place to live and thank you for pointing out the talent that has come from more item of interest from the cover of Sports Illustrated, October 12, 2014:
    MISSISSIPPI MAYHEM.. Mississippi State University AND University of Mississippi

    1. You are so right, Pam! I forgot that little nugget! That won't soon be forgotten in these parts, will it? Thanks, Pam!!