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Plenty of good in the world if you look for it

Sometimes I forget how blessed I am to live in Mississippi. I was reminded this week when I called Lipsey School and a precious woman answered the phone.

The principal wasn’t available so I gave her my number and asked her to relay it to him if she got the chance.

“Yes ma’am,” she said.

Four syllables.

“I will.”

Three syllables.

Bless her heart. Mississippi drawls make my heart smile.

I think we need more heart smiling these days, don’t you?

In the past five minutes, while trying to look up the phone number for Lipsey online, I ran across several articles that I refrained from clicking on.

There are some things I just don’t need to know more about.

Like the woman who hacked off her ex-boyfriend’s mother’s head when she came to pick up his belongings. The woman’s grandson grabbed her phone and ran for help. It may have kept him alive.

Or the 50-year-old married grandfather — a teacher — on the run with his 15-year-old student. He’s accused of kidnapping her, though it appears she went willingly. His wife has filed for divorce.

Another story about a teacher has and even less pleasant ending. A husband with a history of alleged domestic abuse shot and killed his wife at the elementary school where she worked. And an eight-year-old student who was in the right place at the wrong time. The woman’s mother said she’d decided to get out of the marriage. It was too late. Her husband, a former pastor, killed himself.

I also saw that a Detroit woman was stabbed in the chest during a fight over a parking spot.

I see these headlines and it makes me angry, then sad, then bewildered. What is going on with people these days?

When did the world go bad?

I got a letter the other day. Printed with a school address in North Carolina. A child’s scrawl in pencil on the front directs the postman to our newspaper office.

The blue printed letter inside introduces me to Mason Yoncer, a fourth grade student in North Carolina, whose class is studying states. He’s chosen Mississippi, he tells me excitedly and throws in an exclamation point lest I disbelieve him.

His teacher, Mrs. Dodd, typed most of it, but Mason filled in the blanks. I can picture him moving his pencil slowly as he recited “Em-i-crooked letter-crooked letter-i-crooked letter-crooked letter-i-humpback-humback-i.”

I’ve said the same thing myself a gazillion times and still missed a few crooked letters when I was in a hurry.

I’m sure halfway through he wished he’d picked Ohio.

Mason is looking for anything representing the Magnolia State. That could be postcards, pictures, souvenirs, maps or anything someone might want to mail to him that would help him with his report.

I’m asking for your help. Send something to Mason Yoncer, please. The address is Charlotte Latin School, 9502 Providence Road, Charlotte, NC 28277. Let’s fill his teacher’s mailbox with Mississippi. Recipes for lemon ice box pies and biscuits, fried catfish and shrimp po-boys. Send him pictures of the Home Seekers Paradise sign, a menu from Bob’s with a chili stain on it. Send him some cotton, plucked fresh from a field. Or a candle that smells like magnolias or sweet tea.

I just know that whatever he gets, he’ll appreciate. And opening the mail will make a little boy’s heart smile.

Managing editor Donna Campbell can be reached at donna.campbell@dailyleader.com.