Minding my business & observing that of others

Published 11:08 am Saturday, June 18, 2022

By Robert Smith

I was thinking of blueberries, which was unremarkable because I was at the Blueberry Jubilee in Poplarville. The annual Blueberry Jubilee, held in June, is one of those small town festivals with this one having as its theme the sweet purple berries. This particular festival is high on my list of such events.

Blueberries remind me of businessman Bob Lawhon on whose property we would pick blueberries in such abundance that we filled 5-gallon buckets. The buckets were green plastic pickle buckets we got from McDonald’s. (Back then McDonald’s gave them away with lids!) Blueberries also remind me of Jimmy Robinson who asked me to place some beehives near his bushes for pollination to increase his yield.

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Later, when I went back to retrieve my hives he told me about his grandson. The bees chased the boy so he jumped into the pond to get away. When the boy presented himself in the kitchen to his grandmother, he was wet and covered with bee stings. She said to him, “I told you to quit throwing rocks at those beehives!” Mr. Robinson took it all in stride as was his nature. This is the same Jimmy Robinson who compiled A Pictorial History of Sandersville, Mississippi in a single volume.

But mostly when I think of blueberries and the festival I think of a phone. It was exactly twenty years ago this month, in 2002, that my family found a blue cell phone lying on the ground as we were leaving. At that time I knew nothing about cell phones and did not own one. The next day one of my children scrolled through the phone and I called the number corresponding to MAMA in an effort to return it. A lady in Poplarville answered and was not aware that one of her three sons had lost his phone. I explained to the woman how we had come to possess the phone, and how the phone was being used as an object lesson to teach my children not to keep things not belonging to them. Through a process of elimination the mother concluded which of her sons had lost the phone. Our friendly conversation led this stranger to unexpectedly share her heart with me. Without going into great detail, I’ll just say, amid much crying the distraught parent confided that her son’s girlfriend was pregnant and he wished to marry her. Her son had taken a job and wanted to do the right thing, but his girlfriend refused to marry him. She was thankful to speak to a Christian about this matter and asked me to pray about it. Soon the son called to thank us for finding his phone and offering to return it by mail.

Even today, when I see all those purple balloons along the streets, I recall this special story.