• Music Rooms

    The older I get, the more I appreciate past spaces. Rooms have a certain and specific “energy” to me. It’s a feeling I get when I walk into a space in which I have spent a lot of time. Recently, I visited my childhood home. My brother and I walked around the house that our mother built the year after our father passed away. Each room felt as if they carried memories and energies that were decades old. There were certainly meaningful remembrances that were brought to the surface during that visit.

  • Radio Days: Living the Life

    The three biggest inanimate loves of my life have been – movies, music and football. The longest lasting of those relationships has been music.

    I was given my first 45 single when I was 5 years old. It was Herman’s Hermits’ “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter.” My second 45 was the Beatles “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” I wish those two were reversed because I would love for my first musical purchase to have been the Beatles. But to a preschooler in 1965, there was no difference between the Beatles and Herman’s Hermits.

  • Friday night flicks/lights

    In 21st century life, there aren’t too many settings in which punch is served. Today, punch is strictly a church party offering. Years ago my grandmother and her friends owned elaborately decorated sterling silver and crystal punch bowls. They were brought out at bridge clubs and sewing circles and loaned out for weddings and receptions.

    Those days have gone. Most punch bowls in use today are made of glass and come from the party rental store.

  • A Hillendale Christmas

    There are two types of families during the holiday season: those who eat dinner on Christmas Eve and those who save the big meal for Christmas day. I come from a Christmas Eve dining tradition. My wife and her family ate the holiday meal on the following day. Marriage is about compromise, give and take, share and share alike, in sickness and in health, till death do us part (read: battle it out and argue early on until one of you gets his or her way). Ten years ago, I won the when-do-we-eat-the-big-Christmas-meal discussion.

  • It's still a Beautiful Day

    It was a time before Ebay, Amazon and Etsy. Wal-Mart was holed up in northwest Arkansas and Target was just an insect repellent. Musicians sang without the help of auto-tune and electronic synthesizers had yet to replace the Hammond B3 organ. James Bond and Maxwell Smart were the only people capable of communicating on handheld devices. Hi-fi stereos and televisions were oversized pieces of living room furniture. We lived with rabbit ears and static, and all of the local radio stations signed off at midnight.

  • An obvious partnership

    Most of the restaurant concepts I have been a part of have been collaborations between myself and, at least, one other person. Whether it was with menu, atmosphere, concept or culture, I have always found that working with someone else towards a common goal is enjoyable, rewarding – both personally and professionally – and successful.
    Nowhere has collaboration –  in my personal life and professional career – been more gratifying, fulfilling and outright fun than the working partnership with my best friend and renowned watercolorist, Wyatt Waters.

  • Gone, but not forgotten

    Recently I wrote a column on restaurants that had long since closed in this area. I received a lot of email and social media traffic that focused on those restaurants and the memories they stirred in local residents.

    While discussing that column during the few past weeks the conversation often turned to various businesses that used to operate in Hattiesburg, but have long-since closed. Many of those businesses defined my youth.

  • 'Burgs own Renaissance Man

    On July 5, we lost a Hattiesburg legend, Nick Kolinsky. 
    There are a lot of people who could tell Nick’s life story better than I, but there is probably no one – outside of his immediate family – who respects the lifetime achievements of Nick Kolinsky more than me.
    I am a restaurant guy. I am a bar guy. Nick Kolinsky was one of the forefathers of those businesses in this town, and this passing leaves a huge void in our profession.
    Nick Kolinsky was a South Mississippi Renaissance Man before South Mississippi Renaissance Men were cool.

  • RSJ’s Long-Gone Restaurant Top 40

    Recently I discovered a Facebook fan group that focused on the restaurant history of Hattiesburg. People who had joined the site were discussing restaurants that had long since closed in this area.

    I started thinking about the restaurants that I grew up eating in and realized that my love for the foodservice business started at an early age.

  • Stronger, stranger, sweeter

    The other day I was speaking to a newcomer to Hattiesburg. He commented on the pollen that rolls like yellow clouds across our roads in springtime. He had never seen anything like it. I took the opportunity to roll out my primer-sales pitch for our area.
     Hattiesburg and the Piney Woods region were the last patch of soil settled east of the Mississippi River. Our forefathers came to this pine-clotted area, hatchet in hand, and fought ticks, horseflies, panthers, rabid raccoons, malaria, encephalitis, Lyme disease and a few dozen other insect-borne ailments along the way.

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