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The Rundown 10/4/18

Good morning Tupelo! Today is Thursday, October 4th, 2018. It is the 277th day of the year, there are 88 days remaining. Next Monday is Columbus Day, so most of the schools in the area will be out, plan accordingly. There are 27 days until Halloween.
Here’s the WTVA – The Weather Authority forecast for the day and man, it’s going to be a rough one.

WTVA Weather
High pressure continues to build across the Deep South as we head into Thursday. This will lead to mostly sunny skies and little to no chance of rain in the coming days. We’ll start out our day with mostly clear skies and temperatures near 70. Throughout the day, we might see a few clouds here and there. But in terms of rainfall, expect none. Heat on the other hand will be plentiful. Highs climb into the lower 90s with heat index values mostly in the mid-90s.

Food Trucks

Mobile, Delicious, and Local
local MOBILE s setup at Midtown Point on Industrial with Philly Cheesesteaks & Patty Melts as the special. Big Bad Wolf Truck is at Tupelo Consignment Music 11-2 & Spring Street Cigars 6-9 Gypsy Roadside Mobile is at Best Buy out by the Mall with homemade pimento Cheesburgers and spicy crawfish nachos as their specials. Brunch Box Food Truck is in the shop for some repairs so he’s going to temporarily set up shop inside Blue Canoe today. Go show him some love.
Jo’s Cafe is in Smithville at the Trash to Treasures craft show. Share this with your friends in the area!
In Fulton, check out Beachum’s Food Truck for some oven fired pizza. They are on S. Adams St. Looking for some fish? Run by SHORT BUS Cooking beside Delaney’s Grocery.
In Pontotoc check out some awesome Japanese food at Goku Japanese Express on Reynolds St.

All this Month

On the 1st floor of City Hall, the Southern Lights Photo Exhibit is on display for the rest of the month, These are some amazing images of our community, please go check it out.
The Lee County Originals exhibit is still on display at Oren Dunn City Museum. Featuring information and artifacts on artists with Tupelo roots such as Elvis, Gene Simmons, Guy Hovis, Paul Thorn, and many others.

This Week

New water meters will be installed by McNeil Rhoads: Feemster Lake Road, Briar Ridge Road, E Main Street, N. Eason Blvd., Hillsdale Drive, Murphree Drive, Willow Road, Shady Acres Road, and Morningside Drive. Remember, all workers will be wearing identification showing them as McNeil Rhoads representatives.


It’s what we are here to do.
S.A.F.E., Inc. Northeast Mississippi will host a free community event on October 4th at Fairpark from 4-6pm. This event will help bring awareness during the month of October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This is a free and family-friendly event that will include activities for all ages. The event will include a balloon release, door prizes, a silent auction, food trucks, and games for the entire family. Music will be provided by DJ Kevin Russell. Come join S.A.F.E. to help bring awareness and prevent domestic violence.
Tonight at the Tupelo Furniture Market there is a First Responder and Law Enforcement Appreciation Supper. All Law Enforcement & First Responders are free to enter and enjoy. Everyone else is welcome to come, and donations are welcome. 6:00-8:00
October is Bullying Prevention Month, and HRC Mississippi and Toyota of Mississippi are partnering to educate our community about this vital topic. As an extension of the #LoveYourNeighbor project, we’re hosting an anti-bullying event on October 4th in Tupelo. Please join us for a community-wide training around preventing bias-based bullying with HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program. Welcoming Schools is dedicated to creating positive school climates for students across the country. In this training, you’ll learn the roles we all play in bullying, as well as how to be an upstander, foster ally behavior, and intervene in bullying situations. We look forward to working together to make our community a safe, inclusive place for all children. The event is at the Link Centre. 5:30-8:30

Live Music

Hey, Listen!
Tim Floyd and Eric Stogner will be at The Driskills Fish & Steak in Plantersville starting at 6:30 It’s Karaoke Thursday at Woody’s Tupelo Harper and Midwest Kind are at the Blue Canoe tonight starting at 7:30
Are there any events I have missed? Please let me know in the comments below. Same if I’ve made a mistake on one of the above.
I’ve (Joshua) been battling some sort of flu like thing this week, so I’ve been short on posts and made a few errors, I do apologize.
If you have an upcoming event, please let me know, and I’ll do my best to get the word out. You can PM me, make a note in the comments, or even set OurTupelo as a co-host on Facebook events.
Thanks everyone for helping to spread the word about these events, and have an awesome day.

The Rundown 9/29/18


Happy Saturday! Today is Saturday September 29th, 2018. It is the 272nd day of the year, and there are 93 days left. Halloween is only 31 days away, so get that costume ready and stock up on candy. Get some for the kids too.


It’s Saturday in Tupelo, so that means Tupelo Farmers’ Depot is going on till noon.

This is the last day to support your local cosplay club, the Socially Awkward Timelords cosplay club, during their Book Fair at Barnes & Noble (Tupelo, MS). Go by anytime and tell you cashier you are supporting the club. A portion of those proceeds will go to the group, and help them continue to be creative and crafty.

It’s that time again!🎃 Mask Family Farms PUMPKIN PATCH 🎃 will be opening this Saturday sept 29th at 10am and they cannot wait for everyone to come out, have some fun and see what all they have added to the farm…the corn maze, a huge jumping pad and a new members of the petting zoo are just a few things you don’t want to miss! Share the fun with friends and family!
In New Albany, a Pet Costume Parade is happing at the Tanglefoot Trail starting at 11:00.

Both Southern Housing & Comfort Homes are having a huge open house today. If you are in the market for a new mobile or modular home, go see these folks, they will take care of you.
Approximately 2.5 miles in length, the Music Bend Nature Trail snakes through the wooded area along Mud Creek and marks the spot young Elvis Presley used to swim. It’s located in east Tupelo with two entrances on Veterans Boulevard – one at the dog park; the other across from the fire station. If you haven’t visited this “hidden” gem in our community, now is the time. Join Keep Tupelo Beautiful as we cleanup the Music Bend Nature Trail and plant additional native species shrubs and trees (plants that are indigenous to our area) along the trail. This is an all day event.
Barnes & Noble (Tupelo, MS) today, have your young ones listen to “I Am Neil Armstrong” during story time. 11:00 & 3:00

Church Street School K-6th graders are encouraged to come out and audition for Elf Jr. the musical. Plenty of awesome roles and singing for everyone to have a role. 2:00

Farmhouse Tupelo present an Open Trunk Show featuring the jewelry of MADE IN THE DEEP SOUTH. 4:25-7:25

The Real Pop Culture 100th Episode Celebration Arcadia comics & collectibles Toys & Comics feat: author Lyn Seal Gibson, from The “Twisted Southern Horror Queen Horde” John Gibson Blender of Whiskey, Cars & Cigars. Live broadcasts from The Edge Radio US and Real Pop Culture. live music from Robbie Ross of Seeking 7 Seven Prize Package giveaways (including a Deadpool mask) award winning cosplay characters Batman, Red Hood, Ant Man, and The Wasp The Adrian’s Fury Dragster will be parked out front for photo opportunities! Refreshments provided while they last.
At Sportscards, they are having event 2 of the prerelease preview tournament for Guilds of Ravnica Magic: The Gathering expansion set. The format is Sealed and the entry fee is $30. 1:00-6:00

Husband and wife artists, Tim Kinard and Elizabeth Owen, have created their own pottery and ceramics business: OK Clay Shop. Please join them for the grand opening/open studio night. Parking is limited, so this will be more of a come and go type of event. There will be drawings throughout the night of those who stop by for some special gifts. 4:00-8:00

Tupelo already has some hot night time spots. Here’s a new one for you. Prime Time Bar & Grill is having a PRE-Grand Opening Kick Back tonight. They are at 2207 McCullough Boulevard, and are offering free food and drinks during the event. Must be 18 to enter, 21 to drink and have a valid photo ID. 8:00-2:00AM
Downtown Tupelo, Court Street in particular, is the spot to be tonight. Why? Secret Art Show!! These spontaneous events feature local artists and give you a chance to mingle with some great people. Starts at 8:00

Live Music Tonight

Chance Stanley is at Shade Tree Lounge from 8:00-10:00
Sean Austin is at Stables Tupelo 9:00-12:30
Bikini Frankenstein is at The Thirsty Devil 9:00-1:00
Ben Millburn and Sunglass Mustache are at the Blue Canoe 8:00-11:00
Mary Frances Massey is at Romie’s Grocery starting at 7:00
The Link Centre is having their Monthly Music Mix tonight, featuring Jazz with Michael Jefry Stevens and Brian “Breeze” Cayolle
Eric Stogner is at Kinfolks in Saltillo 7:00-10:00
Up in New Albany, its time for the Tallachie River Fest. Here’s a quick look at the music line up tonight:
5pm Cannibal Kids
6pm Forest Fire Gospel Choir
7:15pm Kali Shore
8:30pm Sundance Head

This is all I’ve been able to find so far, I’ll post any more events I come across later in the day.

Hey guys, do you like these posts? Want to see more of them? Like and share the posts, and the page so we can get the word out to more and more people, and get them to these amazing local events. I plan on making an announcement on Monday about something exciting. Heck if I finish it up, I may announce it before then and just post it Monday.

If you have an event you would like shared, or know of one, please let me know by sending me a message, tagging Our Tupelo in the event, or even setting us a a co-host!

Have an amazing weekend and an Awesome day!

The Rundown 9/28/18


Good morning Tupelo! Morning posts have been missing this week, had to work on the ole roof with all the rain. Back on schedule today.

Today is Friday, September 28th, 2018. It is the 271st day of the year, and there are 94 remaining. There are 32 days until Halloween, so keep your eyes on this page for the Haunted House Announcements.

Here’s a copy&paste of WTVA – The Weather Authority’s forecast.

We will begin with partly to mostly cloudy skies this Friday morning. And a few areas of fog will be likely, especially in our northern counties. But as we advance through the day, the fog gets out of here and most of the cloud coverage does as well. In terms of rainfall, we should stay dry. Highs will be pleasant as we will maintain a light northerly wind. Temperatures will begin in the upper 50s to lower 60s, eventually climbing into the upper 70s and lower 80s by the mid-afternoon. Skies should be mostly clear to partly cloudy Saturday morning with temperatures dipping into the upper 50s and lower 60s again. Then as we head through the day, we’ll remain mostly sunny. Again, rain will stay out of the forecast all day long with highs reaching into the lower and mid-80s. We continue to see sunshine into Sunday with dry conditions. But temperatures will heat up a bit more. We’ll start out in the lower 60s again. However, by the afternoon, we will see highs reach into the mid-80s again. Scattered showers and storms return into Monday with the inflow of humidity. Highs will be a bit cooler as a result of the added cloud coverage. We’ll begin with temperatures in the upper 60s before climbing only into the lower 80s by the afternoon. Tuesday will bring a few isolated showers and storms. But they shouldn’t be as widespread. Highs reach into the upper 80s. By Thursday, we’ll be drying out in terms of rainfall. But the heat and humidity lingers with mostly sunny skies and highs in the upper 80s. Some may even approach 90 during the second half of the work week.

It’s Food Truck Friday!!!!

Looking for some grub? Want a ton of options in one spot? Head on down to Fairpark and enjoy the tastes of our friends in their mobile kitchens. Who’s there?
Brunch Box & Fire & Smoke BBQ/Catering LLC & Gypsy Roadside Mobile & Indulge Mobile & local MOBILE & MS Edible Bliss & Big Bad Wolf Truck & ShannAgainS (the fashion truck)
Are you stuck on the south side of town? Go see Jo’s Cafe for something awesome. They are set up across from the walking track at the NMMC Wellness Center
On the west side of town? Head over to get some authentic Mexican street food with our buddies at Taquería Ferrus, between Computer Universe and & Choice Pawn Tupelo
In Pontotoc? Goku Japanese Express has you covered, they are on Reynolds St.
In Fulton? Your still good! Beachum’s Food Truck on Adams and SHORT BUS Cooking by Delaney’s Grocery are cooking some serious grub.

All this month

The Kate Freeman Clark exhibit continues at the GumTree Museum of Art
Oren Dunn City Museum presents “Lee County Originals” and featuring recording artists with Tupelo roots, including Elvis Presley, Jumpin’ Gene Simmons, Guy Hovis and others, and Paul Thorn.

Tupelo Automobile Museum is the home of some of the greatest looking cars around. Go Check them out!


Today is the last day of the Book Fair benefiting Socially Awkward Timelords cosplay club at Barnes & Noble (Tupelo, MS). Go on over, meet some great people who use their sewing, crafting, and maker skills to express themselves in a unique way. Be sure to mention that you are supporting the club when you check out.
Community Development Foundation is holding a Ribbon cutting for Fleet Equipment at 55 Wallace Rd. in Belden at 11:00


It’s #NationalDrinkABeerDay and that means it’s time for Tupelo Craft Beer Ale Trail 2018. Join us for a progressive beer tasting in beautiful and historic Downtown Tupelo, sponsored by Clark Beverage and FNB Tupelo! You’ll begin by picking up your beer glass and event map at FNB Tupelo located at 165 S Commerce Street in Fairpark! Shop around and taste all different types of beer from different breweries at our participating merchants! Participating Merchants include: Tupelo Community Theatre, LA Green, Spring Street Cigars, Caron Gallery, MLM Clothiers, Blairhaus, The Main Attraction, Reed’s, Kermit’s Outlaw Kitchen, Tupelo Hardware, Tupelo2Go, Swirlz, About the South. After the tasting is complete, the party continues at the new Farmhouse location located at 530 Main Street starting at 7:30 PM and will be sponsored by Farmhouse and Sweet Tea & Biscuits Cafe! Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2018-tupelo-ale-trail-tickets-49430769763 and also at the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association office located at 108 S Broadway Street.

You’ll also find Big Bad Wolf Truck beside Spring Street Cigars tonight during the Ale Trail, 6:00-10:00

If you want something to drink, but aren’t into beer, head out to Queen’s Reward Meadery and join Brunch Box to combine food and mead. You’ll be glad you did. 5:00-8:00PM

The Link Centre is hosting two separate events tonight.

Downstairs in the Black Box Theatre, you can find Inkfest. We are so excited to welcome back last year’s UnSlam Winner, Writeous Soul to do a double feature with Asia Rainey! The closed mic list features an awesome lineup of artists who have become a part of the spoken word family through Sessions Open Mic. Get ready for an amazing night! 7:00PM-until

Over in the Reception Hall with entrance on the back side of the Link Centre across from the Police Athletic League, the Southern Progressive Alliance for Exploring Religion / Spafer are presenting a study on the Gospel of Thomas. Discovered in 1945, this event sheds light on a different view of the study of christianity. The event starts at 7, and happens again tomorrow.

Sportscards is having a Guilds of Ravnica Prerelease #1 Starts at Midnight Friday Night Entry fee is $30 Format is Sealed. This is a new feature set/expansion of the Magic: The Gathering collectable card game.

Live Music Tonight

Twenty2Seven is at The Thirsty Devil
Seed Tick Road is at Nautical Whimsey
Hannah Roye and Karly Clayton are at Sydnei’s Grill & Catering in Pontotoc
Blue Canoe has Jake Odin & The Marching Band
Legends Sports Grille in Fulton has John Major
Skip Oliver is at Stables Tupelo
Forklift has Brian Nickels
Million Dollar Quartet (Touring) is at the BancorpSouth Arena
I think I may be missing a few bands tonight, so if I find them, I’ll add them later today.

Friday Night Football

Tupelo is at Columbus
Saltillo is hosting Layfette
Shannon is hosting Caledonia
Mooreville is hosting Pontotoc Centeral
South Pontotoc is in Amory facing Hatley
Itawamba Agricultural HS is hosting Amory HS
Baldwyn is in Sarah MS facing Strayhorn
Mantachie is at Alcorn Central
Booneville is at Kassuth
Okolona is hosting Smithville
Belmont is hosting North Pontotoc

Let me know if I missed a game in the comments.

Guys, have an awesome day!

She Comes In Colors

Saw this “double rainbow” featured on Our Tupelo recently :
All The Way…
Ever wonder what it takes to make a rainbow? You need rain, you need sun and you need someone to observe it – and they all need to be in the right orientation. You are more likely to see a rainbow when the sun is low in the sky (sunrise or sunset) with the sun at your back and rain out in front of you. Because the different colors (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet) that make up sunlight travel at different speeds when moving through water, raindrops act like little prisms and cause the incoming sunlight to bend and break into its component colors. In fact, the sunlight undergoes two refractions – entering and leaving the raindrop – and one reflection before heading in the direction of the observer.
(check out this link for a more in depth explainer https://www.atoptics.co.uk/rainbows/primrays.htm)
Because red bends less than the blue end of the spectrum, you need to look at a droplet higher in the sky for the red light to hit your eye. Blue light, which bends more when moving from air to water and vice-versa, can be seen from drops lower in the sky – hence, the ROYGBV ordering of the colors (outside to inside) of a primary rainbow. (Here is a second link with even more science about how your position effects what you see when you see the secondary bow)
A double rainbow (often called a secondary bow) is a result of two reflections that occur within the raindrop. The second reflection results in a reversal in the order of the colors when compared to the primary bow.

Hurricane Lane’s Silver Linings


During the day on Friday, Lane rapidly weakened from hurricane to tropical storm as the storm encountered increased wind shear as it approached the Hawaiian Islands. In addition to weakening the storm, these shearing winds will steer the storm westward over the weekend. You can look at the 5 p.m. HST forecast track for more information.   Hawaiians, especially on the windward sides of the mountains, are not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination. Heavy rainfall will continue to fall for at least the next 24 to 48 hours as the storm makes its turn and continues to weaken to a tropical depression. As I poked around looking for interesting information on this storm, I came across the NOAA Twitter feed, which included some really cool footage of a hurricane hunter aircraft entering the eye of then-Hurricane Lane (at Category 5 intensity) on August 22.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Lane has me reliving some meteorological memories. The video above made me think of my friend, Buzz Bernard. Buzz used to be a forecaster at The Weather Channel, and I would speak to him frequently when I was working at USA TODAY (The Weather Channel provided the data for our full-color weather map). After Buzz retired, he took up writing full-time. His first novel? Eyewall It’s a thriller that involves a hurricane hunter aircraft damaged on its way into a tremendously strong hurricane — the question is, will the crew be able to fly the wounded craft out of the storm? If you are inclined to pick up a copy (it really is a good read), you may notice a character named Robbie McSwanson. Wonder where Buzz got the name for him?

Hurricane Lane Churns Up Meteorological Memories


Hurricane Lane, currently bearing down on Hawaii, is rightfully grabbing the weather headlines and reminded me that I promised to write a blog entry about weather – hopefully to become a regular feature on OurTupelo.com.

My own experience with hurricanes takes me all the way back to before I even have memories. I was born in 1970 in Harrisburg, PA – my first home was just blocks from the Susquehanna River. The slow-moving remnants of 1972’s Hurricane Agnes dropped 15 inches of rainfall on Harrisburg from June 20 through June 24, 1972 (https://www.weather.gov/ctp/Agnes), flooded the first floor of the Governor’s Mansion (also just blocks away from our home on Logan Street) and forced my parents to evacuate and stay with family in New England.

It is tough to wrap my mind around the potential of the 30 to 40 inches of localized rainfall that will fall across parts of the Hawaiian Islands as a result of Lane’s similar slow motion.

Long after my experience with Agnes, I wound up studying meteorology (my master’s degree is from Penn State University) and making a career of it (6 years as a TV weatherman and 4 years as assistant weather editor at USA TODAY). I was relatively new at the paper in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina (which made its first landfall in South Florida on August 25 and its second devastating landfall along the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coasts) grabbed national headlines.

A few years later in 2008, with Hurricane Gustav (https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tcr/AL072008_Gustav.pdf) churning in the Gulf and bearing down on New Orleans, I was assigned to cover the storm (https://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-08-31-gustav-sunday_N.htm). The day I arrived in New Orleans, I attended a press conference in which the city’s mayor, Ray Nagin, determined to prevent the chaos that occurred during Katrina, said the following, “Tonight you need to be scared; you need to get out of New Orleans now.”

It was a surreal experience driving my rental car through the deserted streets of the French Quarter. The one hotel that was still operating housed mostly journalists and armed private security guards hired by banks downtown. One restaurant remained open in the French Quarter and most grocery stores were closed. Looking back, I realize that I was woefully underprepared had the storm made a direct hit on the city. Fortunately, the storm jogged to the west and produced minimal damage for New Orleans, making landfall near Cocodrie, Louisiana on Sept. 1.

Whether fleeing Agnes with my family or making the choice to cover Gustav, I’ve always been fortunate to have a place to go in the face of these storms – evacuation was always be a possibility. Riding out a storm has got to have a different feel on an island – whether it be Puerto Rico during last year’s Hurricane Maria or the current situation in Hawaii — especially for those living in flood-prone areas and unable to evacuate to safer locales. The danger simply cannot be overstated and perhaps the wording in the forecast discussion from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center says it all – “Excessive rainfall associated with this slow moving hurricane will continue to impact the Hawaiian Islands into the weekend, leading to catastrophic and life-threatening flash flooding and landslides.” Here’s hoping that loss of life and damage to property can be held to a minimum.

Do you have some experiences with hurricanes or other tropical weather to share? Feel free to comment.

Elvis may have left Tupelo, but his soul stayed there

This story is our weekly ‘Sip of Culture, a partnership between Mississippi Today and The ‘Sip Magazine. For more stories like this or to learn more about The ‘Sip, visit thesipmag.com.

Take advantage of a special 2-for-1 subscription offer and explore a ‘Sip of the South with The ‘Sip’s print edition.

Even when a glitzy career carried Elvis Presley in private jets all over the world granting him access to virtually any vacation spot he could imagine, his Mississippi roots had the power to call him home.

“Tupelo is the soul of Elvis. It really is,” said actress Allyson Adams, daughter of late Academy Award-nominated actor Nick Adams. Allyson, in Tupelo for the 19th Annual Elvis Festival June 3, reminisced about her father’s friendship with Elvis. Nick Adams also starred in ABC’s late-1950s television series The Rebel.

“The birthplace and the people here really portray that and share that with people from all over the world,” Adams said.

Her father and Presley struck up a friendship in Hollywood after Presley recognized Nick, despite his minuscule role in Rebel Without a Cause (1955).

“Elvis could make you feel like a million bucks,” Allyson Adams said during a panel discussion at the festival led by Tupelo native Tom Brown of Turner Classic Movies.

Adams did not realize the extent of that friendship until decades after her father’s death when she uncovered a manuscript he had written, The Rebel and the King. A first-person account of their friendship, the book recounts eight days Presley spent in Memphis with Nick Adams just before Elvis’ 1956 Homecoming Concert at the Tupelo Fairgrounds. Forty-five years later, Adams published her father’s work.

“The people here are very generous with their love of Elvis and sharing stories and making people feel really comfortable,” said Adams, who signed copies of the book as part of the festivities.

Jim Beane is one of those generous people. A lifelong Tupelo citizen, owner of BBQ by Jim and an Elvis Festival volunteer since its inaugural year in 1998 Beane has a few Elvis stories of his own.

“I saw Elvis when I was growing up here in Tupelo. He would come in and out of the Lee Drive-In,” Beane said.

The drive-in movie theater, then owned by the Heard family, was located on Robert E. Lee Drive and operated from the 1960s until the 1990s. According to Julian Riley, historian and author of The Roots of Elvis Presley, the King visited the drive-in not to catch the latest blockbuster, but for another — very secretive — reason.

“This was in the ’70s,” Riley said. “After Janelle McComb met Elvis, she kind of mothered him.”

McComb, a native of Tupelo and eventual chairperson of the Elvis Presley Memorial Foundation, was a lifelong family friend of the Presleys. And, though Presley was in his 30s at the time, his lifestyle in the early 1970s warranted a trustworthy and protective mother figure. His own mother, Gladys, had died in 1958.

After Elvis won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 1971 — the first rock and roll singer to do so — the following years were a roller coaster. His divorce from Priscilla Presley was finalized in October 1973, the same year Elvis performed 168 concerts — his busiest schedule ever. Three albums recorded between 1975 and 1977 — Promised Land, From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee and Moody Blue — reached No. 1 on the country chart. For his gospel recordings, Presley won a second and third Grammy in the category for best inspirational performance for He Touched Me (1972) and How Great Thou Art (1974) .

In the midst of all this, Presley knew he could call on McComb, who knew the Heards well.

“They had a house out at Lake Piomingo,” Riley said of the Heards. “If (Elvis) wanted to spend some time alone, he would call Mrs. McComb, who would get the key from Mr. Heard, and Elvis would come by and pick it up.”

Lake Piomingo, named for Chickasaw Chief Piomingo, is northeast of Tupelo fewer than 10 miles from the Elvis Presley Birthplace, now a museum for visitors to learn about Elvis’ early life in Tupelo. In addition to being a recreational hot spot, Lake Piomingo is home to a private, residential community.

“We’d see his F-150 white Ford pickup and two guys pull up to the front, and that was the advance security,” Beane said. “Then you see three Cadillacs go in, then maybe a pickup or two with bags, and we’d say, ‘Well, Elvis is in town.’”

According to Riley, Elvis wouldn’t go many places without that entourage — not even out to the lake for a getaway.

“Usually he didn’t go anywhere without that group of friends of his. They were kind of bodyguards and there to make sure nothing would happen to him,” he said. “When he needed some time alone, that’s where they’d go. They’d go out there and spend time fishing and water skiing, swimming and just hanging out. And nobody would even know they were there.”

No one except for, on occasion, people like Beane.

“People didn’t see him a lot in Tupelo, but I know he was here,” he said. “A lot of the times, you’d know after the fact that he had been here. He’d come in on Monday and stay until about Friday before everybody got back.”

Though the Heards are no longer living, their lakefront cabin still stands.

“He used to come out here to get away sometimes,” said Wayne Fitzner of the Lake Piomingo Residents Association and owner of the house since 2006. “And he’d go over to our neighbors’ house on either side, and he’d borrow their pontoon boat.”

But, according to Fitzner, the house has become unrecognizable from its original form over the decades.

“It’s completely different from when Elvis stayed here,” he said. “In some areas, there were like four layers of linoleum, so that tells you how many times it’s been remodeled.”

Though the neighbors Elvis would have been in contact with have died over the years, stories of the King in his hometown live on through people like Beane and fellow Tupelo citizens. And, to Adams, that’s the real magic of the Elvis Festival.

“There’s pictures of my dad with Elvis on this Harley, and I’ve literally met the woman in the background of the picture. So you meet the actual people. That’s what’s so incredible,” Adams said. “It’s much different than Graceland in that way. It’s like two sides of Elvis. So the Tupelo side, I always say, is the soul.”

And that connection to people and place — which brought Elvis home for refuge in the 1970s — still lures hoards of fans to the North Mississippi town in early June of each year.

“I think he’s done a lot for Tupelo,” Beane said. “I think the thing is that he came from nothing and built up to what he was — a great entertainer. I think that’s a big thing.”

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Tupelo’s Paul Thorn Returns to His Roots

Thirty years ago last month, Tupelo songwriter/singer Paul Thorn climbed into a boxing ring in Atlantic City to fight his childhood idol, Roberto Duran, he of the famed Hands of Stone.

It was a seminal moment for Thorn, one he does not regret – despite all the blood.

“Duran whupped me,” Thorn said before a recent appearance in Meridian. “He whupped me good. He was a better man.”

The fight went six rounds before Thorn’s corner threw in the towel. Both fighters were taken to the hospital for stitches and treatment. They rode together, side by side, in an ambulance.

Inside Thorn’s bloodied head, a light went off. “That showed me I wasn’t going to become a champion,” he said. “I was a good fighter at a certain level. I won at the state and regional levels in Golden Gloves. I had skills but I didn’t have that super skill it takes to be a world champion.”

Thorn fought three more fights, won them all, but he knew – Duran had showed him – he had no real future in the fight game.

So he went back home to Tupelo, went to work in a furniture factory and began writing songs and learning to perform them. The son of a Pentecostal preacher, he had grown up in a house where the devil’s music – rock and roll, rhythm and blues, etc. – was taboo. His music was the gospel music he sang and played in his daddy’s churches, both black and white. As a child, he hid his two rock and roll albums from his parents. Now, the devil’s music was becoming his life.

That life has come full circle recently. Thorn and his band have recorded their first gospel album – “Don’t Let the Devil Ride” – and you can see how it happened in the documentary “Paul Thorn: The Making of …” on Mississippi Public Broadcasting at 8 p.m Monday night, May 7.

This isn’t just any gospel album. Thorn and his band are joined by the Blind Boys of Alabama, the McCrary Sisters, Bonnie Bishop, and the horns section of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. The album was made at famed Sam Phillips Studios in Memphis, FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala., and Preservation Hall in New Orleans.

“I always wanted to do a gospel record,” Thorn said. “It’s an homage to my upbringing. Growing up, I sang gospel music and played the tambourine in my daddy’s churches and listened to gospel music at home. Going to church, singing with black people, singing with white people, I learned how to play music. It’s in my heart. It’s my roots and my foundation, and it had to be done.”

Thorn has dedicated the album to his mother and father. Yes, he said, they approve.

Thorn, now 53, has grown a huge fan base around the country, recording 11 albums over the past 21 years. His lyrics often have been compared to those of his musical hero, John Prine.

Of Prine, Thorn says, “He’s the best of the best. He’s a sweetheart. He’s my favorite songwriter. His songs are so powerful. He is so tuned into human feelings. That’s why his fans stay with him for life. He’s the Muhammad Ali of song writing.”

Thorn’s not bad either. You go to one of his concerts and you quickly learn that the audience knows all the words and doesn’t mind singing along. And Thorn, who still looks like he could go six or seven rounds, always regales his fans with stories that relate to his songs.

Recently, he told the story about writing the song “Viagra” with some help from his father, the Pentecostal preacher.

His father, he said, came up with the idea of rhyming Viagra with Niagara.

“My father is a wonderful man of God, but he is not a fully developed song writer like me,” Thorn said, smiling.

In the song, Thorn rhymes the words “failure” and “genitalia.”

“Now, see, that was me,” he said. “Failure and genitalia. That’s song writin’.”

There’s much humor in Thorn’s songs. There’s also no shortage of strippers, desire, lust, sin and salvation. Thorn has lived it all. And lived to write and sing about it.

And, yes, he said, he still loves boxing.

“Watch it every chance I get,” he said. “I love the sport. I wasn’t able to become a champion, but I fully understand the skill and courage that it takes.”

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Fitness Friday With Chelsea Chapman


Welcome to Fitness Friday on OurTupelo! My name is Chelsea Chapman, otherwise known as StaxFitness. I have been a Personal Trainer for nearly six years now and have loved every second of it.

As a trainer, my philosophy for training is simple: I train you for life.

Why, you ask? There are so many limits the human mind puts on what we think we are capable to do and to not do with our bodies. We also live in a society where you are to do and not to do certain things when it comes to being “healthy” — most of which are extreme and unnecessary.

Not everyone can Intermittent Fast, not everyone can Keto, not everyone can make it to the gym for 2 hours, not everybody likes to run, not everybody wants to lift a house — but that’s great, because that means we are our own individuals. But we can all take simple steps to simplify our life and create the best and healthiest versions of ourselves!

When asked to do these Fitness Friday articles, I was thrilled, because I’m about to give you my insight on simplifying Health and Fitness — by using the KISS method (Keep It Simple, Silly).

Over the next few weeks, we will cover several different topics that I will poll from each week from my Facebook Page, so feel free to come give your opinion in the upcoming polls! I look forward to hearing from you!

Chelsea Stacks
StaxFitness - Formulated to be different Personal Trainer Services: Individual, Small Group, Bootcamp