My top stops at the Ole Brook Festival

Published 11:41 am Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Acclaimed Southern writer Rick Bragg has aptly pointed out that young men today can play 5,000 video games but cannot sharpen a pocket knife. It is a sad commentary on the state of things. We all know that real men carry pocket knives.

Or Leathermans, if they are citified.

I would go a step beyond guy gear and delve into that other tried-and-true gender indicator – purses. (Handbags if, again, they are citified.)  I’ve noticed lately that more and more young girls have the gall to go in public without them. Who knows where they’re stashing their driver’s licenses? My generation, thankfully, has better sense. We insist on practical models with side compartments and regular straps, not “cross body” ones. We don’t just say bigger is better, we buy it. My current purse, for instance, could double as an onboard carryon, diaper bag or hiking backpack. Its sole purpose in life is to hold stuff – lots of it – which is a very womanly thing to do.

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So when Saturday dawned bright and beautiful, I could make my rounds at the Ole Brook Festival confidently, without fear of where I would put my finds. I had a purse – a real one, not clutch or one of those wristlet things. That’s also why I can share a list of my top stops at the OBF here and ladies who refused to carry purses can’t. They are probably too tired from making trips back and forth to their cars to think about making a list of anything.

Checking out the Arts

Daughter No. 1 scored a sentimental pencil drawing of Ole Towne (First Presbyterian Church), the spot where she was married. I enjoyed flipping through notecards depicting other local scenes, courtesy of Connie’s Sketches of Maurepas, Louisiana.

Making the Papes

Ever watched the Disney musical, “The Newsies,” in which a young Christian Bale talks about “making the papes”? We found our chance to be on the front page of the Daily Leader at their fun photo booth at the corner of Cherokee and South Whitworth. 

Wiping Up a Deal

Sure wish I could remember the name of the lady who made and sold me the new tea towel gracing my kitchen counter, but I can’t, and I lost her card. The piece is imprinted with a water-color likeness of Mississippi, complete with a cotton boll. It’s a beauty.

Getting Derailed

We had the granddarlings in tow, so the kiddie train was a big draw. Waiting there for that four-row conveyance to return to eight-rows worth of ready riders was the hottest I got all day, though.

Beating the Season

Guess who’s already got her ornament for the annual Christmas swap? Hannah’s Hangers from Jackson had more than personalized hangers; they had the cutest painted block deer heads and Christmas trees around. Good thing I bought some to keep for myself.

Settling on Fig Preserves

My husband lingered long at one of those tasting booths, finally deciding (on a second walk-by) it should be fig preserves topping his biscuits for the foreseeable future. Congratulations, Ole Homestead of Gilbert, Louisiana.

Grabbing a Snack at Janie’s Pastry Shop

Janie told me she and her crew baked up 75 dozen of their famous iced cookies for festival goers, and my family certainly did our part to make a dent in them. Mid-afternoon found us at a table by the window ready to enjoy a few of their red, white and blue “39601” versions and some prime people watching. But first I had to find my GermX. Any woman worth her salt keeps hand sanitizer on her person, don’t you know, even if it’s in the abyss of her purse, hiding somewhere under a jar of preserves and an imprinted tea towel.    

Wesson resident Kim Henderson is a freelance writer who writes for The Daily Leader. Contact her at