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Old 07-11-2008, 06:21 PM
Location: Alvarado, TX
2,917 posts, read 4,699,991 times
Reputation: 802


A little background, first. I wrote this little ditty in April of this year. While there is a lot written, I only scratched the surface, heck, I could still be writing on it. I sent this via PM to Sam I Am, and was requested to post it here. So, there you have it. If you wish to forward it, please do so, but please leave it intact, i.e., it's copyrighted by moi.



Where IS the Mississippi Delta?
by Kent Fletcher © 18 April 2008

There was a discussion or debate going on over at USADeepSouth.com yesterday concerning the location of the Mississippi Delta. There have been descriptions about where the boundaries are, as far as that region in Mississippi is concerned, excluding of course those cities and towns clearly not in the Delta, but on the fringes, in the hills and down-river from Vicksburg.

Some people give credit to David Cohen as he described the Delta best in the lines (and I cannot directly quote) that the Delta begins in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, and ends on Catfish Row in Vicksburg. I do know where the Peabody is physically located, and it ain't in the Delta, neither. As far as Catfish Row, I have no idea, but I'm sure someone can or will tell me?

I believe the Delta can only be recognized by folks who were born and raised in the area, or have lived there a mighty long time. The countryside, while plainly boring without end for miles and miles of farmland with an occasional sprinkling of shotgun houses or farm maintenance buildings, is unique. In my own short lifetime, the once grand forests which spread across the land are now dwindling rapidly to the farmers' plows in the quest for more agriculturally producing lands. The timber brakes which surrounded my hometown, like Old Hickory for instance, are long gone. Old Hickory was a place I remember my brother, Jack, going to along with his friends to do boyish things. Honestly, that's about all I remember about the place, other than it kinda skeered me as a little boy.

The last time I was home I made a special trip over to the riverside, up toward the old Session's Towhead Island my father leased for hunting and pig-raising. I couldn't access the old river bank because of a gated hunting club, but I already knew the chute was cut off from the main river many, many years before. But I did drive south on the levee for several miles, stopping, taking pictures of the still-somewhat-pristine woods abutting the levee. It was interesting to see the borrow-pits and the wildlife on its edges. And it was really quiet, very pleasant. Even my pooch enjoyed the ride.

Several years ago, well, maybe 10 years ago, a ferocious but deadly quiet ice storm literally tore down the old and ancient oak trees which lined most of the city streets of Cleveland, Mississippi, along with any other trees as well, such as pecan, pine, willow -- whatever stood upright. Some new trees have been planted, but the present generation will never see the grandeur of those old and majestic ones. The ones which could not be saved were torn asunder by the city crews and private citizens alike. The wood was most likely dumped, but I would hope some folks recovered as much of all that oak as possible and built or made things of it to pass on to future generations. Who knows?

The Mississippi Delta has remained the same for generations, yet it has changed, too. New industries come in every now and then, only to close up shop after a period of time, leaving behind memories of better days. The shotgun shacks on the large farms -- plantations, if you will -- are becoming scarcer every trip I make there as the roads are improved and better wages are made in the towns and in the factories which pop up. WalMart is taking over all the old K-Mart and Gibson's chains, and one can get danged near anything needed there from food to auto care, from flowers to pantyhose. It's a wonder any of the mom-and-pop stores can hold their own any more.

So, back to the question at hand: Just Where Is The Delta?

On a literal line, it IS that area from the Mississippi-Tennessee line in far Northwest Mississippi to the bluffs at Vicksburg, where the Yazoo River empties into the Muddy Mississippi, and it abuts the hill country of Mississippi, and of course the Mississippi River, as well. Figuratively, though, the Delta is ingrained in the minds of people, in their pasts, for the ones of us who originated there. The Mississippi Delta I remember is one of bitterly cold winters on occasion and excruciatingly hot and humid summers with no wind to feel for days on end. It is one of wonderful heat in the winter, and blessed air conditioning and fans in the summer. It is one of beautiful colors in the fall and the promise of spring-time flowers. It is one of bountiful game to hunt, fathers and sons, and sometimes mothers and daughters acting as a unit in the love of the outdoors including fishing and photography.

The Delta has been blessed to have generated singers of all genres, from opera to rock-n-roll, from blues to gospel, from country to pop. The Delta also has produced a plethora of writers, including Shelby Foote, Walker Percy, W. A. Percy, and Tennessee Williams. Of course, there are many more writers of fame, including John Ramsey Miller and Thomas Harris.

The Delta is: Dinner on the grounds; June brides; family reunions; Delta Council; graduation dances; a steakhouse outside Leland; cropdusters; swimming in irrigation ditches in the hot, hot summertime; fishing with a cane pole; watching towboats on the Mighty Mississippi; spring thunderstorms; cotton blooms; skeeters; fresh home-grown tomatoes; grandparents; front porches; beautiful lawns; golfing with friends; cypress stands; beautiful women, both young AND mature; reading a good book with a glass of iced tea at hand; lazy Sunday afternoons; loggerhead turtles; huge alligator gars; alligators, too; black moccasin snakes; pickin' pucons; old train tracks; grass snakes; king snakes; tree frogs at night; a fawn just out of sight; a flight of ducks or geese way high, quacking or honking; bar mitzvahs; Chinese New Year; homecoming; Cross Tie Festival; peaceful evening walks in neighborhoods; parties of all sorts; parties for any reason; backyard grilling or barbecues; kids in a park having the times of their lives; beautiful old churches; life-long friends and neighbors. You name it, the Delta has got it.

So, while I no longer live there, it seems as though I've never left, for when I return, with just a small tad of imagination I can remember the things from long ago and can foresee a continuing bright future for those who remain and who believe in the land they live in, in the land they call The Delta.

Make no mistake about it, there is but one Delta.
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Old 07-11-2008, 10:51 PM
Location: El Paso, TX
5,080 posts, read 9,664,139 times
Reputation: 1105

There ya go. Or look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mississippi_Delta
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Old 07-12-2008, 12:13 PM
Location: Alvarado, TX
2,917 posts, read 4,699,991 times
Reputation: 802
Originally Posted by Muhnay View Post
A slight problem with this here map: The boundaries are really, really skewed for the Delta, showing the region actually reaches Jackson, which it does not, and far into the Hill and Pine regions as well, which it does not. A better one is this, from the same website: Image:Mississippi Yazoo Delta.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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