Problems can wait until after lunch, music

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Columbus Day.

Given the tumult of the times, it’s fair to wonder whether if Chris had a crystal ball he might have turned around mid-Atlantic and declined to get discovering this new world. Or maybe he did have a crystal ball — and maybe he saw to it that the continents in this hemisphere would be named not for him, but for cartographer Amerigo Vespucci. How do you say, “I’m not taking the rap for this,” in Spanish?

Regardless, even in the face of a contentious election and financial tumult we can — and we should — retain optimism.

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It may be trite, but there’s never been a time in any nation’s history when pondering all the problems wasn’t a sure way to get ulcers. And, at least in the United States, there’s never been a time when optimism and a sense of community has failed to help us be more “centered” in dealing with our problems.

A real success story in Vicksburg that continues to make inroads in helping us understand who we are — as well as creating a lot of smiles — is the Southern Cultural Heritage Center.

Long, long ago — and I was on the first board of directors in 1992 — the vision was that the former St. Francis School and Convent Complex would become a place of learning, enrichment, study and fun. As a confession, let me say that I lacked the patience of others who hung in there through not-so-good years and had faith better years would come.

They’re here, and the fall lineup arranged by director Annette Kirkland, is an example.

Starting Friday at noon there will be a series of five “Classics in the Courtyard” events featuring entertainment and meals.

Here’s the roster:

• Friday: Celtic and folk music by Nicholas and Julia Blake, with lunch by The Ware House Sports Bar & Grill.

• Oct. 24: Classic pop, gospel and country favorites by the Bro. & 2 Sisters Trio, with lunch provided by Horse Face Harry’s Cafe.

• Oct. 31: Celtic and Spanish music by Sandy Shugars and Joanne Ryan, with lunch provided by Goldie’s Express.

• Nov. 7: Classic country and pop favorites by Jim Robinson and Maria Adona, with lunch provided by Unique Impressions.

• Nov. 14: Classic pop and originals by Lee H. Abraham and the Boone Brothers, with lunch provided by Walnut Hills.

I’ve eaten at all the restaurants except The Ware House, and the food will be good. I’ve heard all the musicians except the Bro. & 2 Sisters Trio, and I know the entertainment will be good.

There is a charge — $7 — and SCHF needs to know how many lunches to order, so people are asked to call 601-631-2997 by 5 p.m. on the Thursdays before each event.

When I read the first story about the “classics” series in The Post a few weeks ago, I immediately knew I would make an effort to be there every week. I’ve been fortunate to attend all sorts of day and night events at the complex at Cherry and Crawford streets for the past few years — not all of them by any stretch of the imagination — and I can say this: I’ve never been disappointed.

I also know that not everyone — school teachers and so many others — can leave their workplaces during the noon hour.

That, however, does not diminish the fact that adults need “recess,” too. We need to know the other people in our town. We need to see and appreciate their talents. It builds us up to know who we are.

After some music, some lunch, some laughter, we can all go back to home or work. The problems we left for a while will still be there. So will the challenges we face as a city, state and nation.

We’re fortunate to have SCHF has a refuge of learning and enrichment. We should all use and support the organization, and appreciate how it makes us a better town.