It doesn't surprise me when I read reports about how Mississippi is last in this and backwards at that. Reports likely written by folks who've never been to the Magnolia State.
On paper, Mississippi may seem like a lost cause or a worthless investment. Too hot, too unstable, and too backwards to be worth taking a second look.
She's so much more.
Being in the state this past week has been a rejuvenation of sorts. Mississippi's not just where my family and many friends live. She's not just where I experienced ten years in broadcast radio (my first career) and seven of my ten years in broadcast television. She's not just where I went to high school and college.
Mississippi's about real, lasting, and lifelong relationships.
Sure, I've made and am making many new friends in Maryland. Those are special relationships, too. Maybe it's just that relationships seems easier in the South. Southern hospitality is a real thing, and the pace is slower for a reason. Without all the running around, it's easier to connect with someone, share a meal, take a walk, go fishing or just take a drive. Political correctness and other walls seem to be in place in the North but are much harder to find in the South.
Overall, we can go through life and succeed at everything we set out to accomplish, but if our relationships with family and friends aren't strong - if we don't make time and invest in those people - we have accomplished nothing at all.