Friday, July 28, 2006

World exposure for Senatobia!

Ok, well maybe I'm a little more excited than most of you will be, but…

We had a blues legend who lived here, named Jessie Mae Hemphill. She died last Saturday. We'd already gotten calls from the Associated Press wanting to know what information we had, but it was early in the week and we had none. I did work up a story, though, because my predecessor LaJuan had interviewed her in 2003. I also used a picture that LaJuan took.

Well, this afternoon I got a call from ABC World News in Washington. They wanted pictures of Jessie Mae! I told them we had one, and that they could use is as long as they gave credit. I emailed the picture, along with the information.

So, long story short, apparently one of our pictures is going to be on ABC World News Tonight! Around here, it comes on at 5:30. We won't be home, because we're going to Memphis to the Orpheum Theater for an old movie for Amanda's birthday. (They show old movies there during the summer - this week its one of the "Thin Man" movies. We're all into old movies!) I called Jason and asked him to set the DVR.

I'm so happy LaJuan did that interview! And took that picture! And that I got to talk to a real, live newsperson from Washington. I mean, that's different than the newspaper from two counties over calling to ask permission to run somebody's grandkid's picture who was in 4-H, right?


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much Mel for sending my photo of Ms. Jessie Mae to them. What a character that lady was!! Do you remember the day I went over there? You were already at the Democrat I think.
I had wanted to interview her for quite some time, and Sherman (the blues guru) got me an interview. I had to ride to Ms. Jessie's in Sherman's awful truck, and we had to stop at KFC and get her some chicken before we got there. She and Sweet Pea (her boon companion) were there-- Sweet Pea under the chair or in her lap of course.
I talked to her for a good two hours I think. She told me all about her life, and her blind blues playing grandpa Sid Hemphill, her failed marriage, her playing outside in the alley when B.B. and Albert King would walk by, her getting ripped off by the record companies, her friendship with Bonnie Raitt, and ever so much more. Much much more than would fit on a 3/4 page in the Democrat.
I had to brush her hair before I took that picture, because she was vain about the way she looked. I brushed her hair and helped her get fixed up to her satisfaction.
I had met her at the Sunflower Blues Festival, and again when I photographed Slick Ballinger for the first time, but sitting in her house on that winter day, is a day I will never forget. I am a lucky person-- I interviewed Jessie Mae Hemphill, Othar Turner and Napoleon Strickland... Three blues legends. They are all gone now, to their rewards, but their music will live on forever, I hope.
My wish for you is that you can have some of those magical experiences that will stay with you forever like mine have and will with me.

Love you little friend! You and Mandy are very special to me.


Melissa said...

Well, I hope so, because lately all I've been getting are the county fruitcakes!

Seriously, thanks for the kind words. This is a job where you get to meet some of the most interesting people in the world. Yes, I remember the stories you had to tell when you got back from that interview! Between her and Carabelle Buford Butler, it's a wonder you were ever in the office at all!

Anonymous said...

LOL!!! ain't that the truth if I have ever heard it!!! Enjoying the blog a lot. Brittany and Job had the most beautiful wedding I think I have ever seen. It was a celebration of their love, and their commitment to each other, and to God. Just lovely.

Talk to you soon, LaJuan