Thurman Chunn is perhaps the most sought after man around the fairgrounds. He cannot hide. He traded trucks because his old blue one made such a loud and distinct noise that there was no way he could slip through the Fair neighborhoods without being stopped by distraught cabin owners with a plumbing problem, an electrical problem, whatever. Jean Myer even made him a disguise by cutting holes for his eyes and nose out of a brown paper sack, but to no avail. Thurman always gets caught!

Saturday afternoon, Feb. 24, Thurman was caught in the nicest kind of way. He and Carol Spears were united in marriage at the Burnside Auditorium with the Rev. John Stephens officiating in the company of family and friends. "We've known each other all our lives," they told me, having just returned from a honeymoon trip to Tennessee. All kinds of good wishes are extended to Carol and Thurman by their many, many friends.

The Cole House is home to Linda and Carson Waltman, and "We live it, we love it!" they told me. "The work part comes easily," but they welcome input on ideas for happenings at The Cole House which was built in 1916 and was home to the Everette S. Cole, Sr. family. "We invited Laura Cole Thrash, Joe Vines and Allen Hardy for dinner for the purpose of throwing around some ideas. We couldn't believe it. They came up with ideas faster than we could write them down!"

That describes the feeling I had on my first visit to The Cole House last week while talking with Linda and Carson and their daughters, Anna Waltman and Sara James. I was overwhelmed, delighted and proud of the accomplishment their "dream come true" had brought to realization in Philadelphia. Always one of Philadelphia's most beautiful and prestigious homes, The Cole House is now a Philadelphia treasure, a synonym of charm.

One such idea suggested was the Bridal Expo the Waltman's hosted at The Cole House last Sunday afternoon. They saw this as an excellent way to network local businesses for each of their benefit and at the same time, offer a service to our community. Some 20 vendors answered Linda and Carson's invitation to join in the Bridal Expo. To music provided by Allen Hardy, brides-to-be and an estimated 200 guests enjoyed the displays set up in the home by Allen Hardy, D.J.; The Floral Studio, The Added Touch, Scott and Tammy Bounds, photography/videography; Wright Griffis Photography, Shop on the Corner; Tammy Shepherd, Creative Memories; Patricia Wilson, Mary Kay consultant; Philadelphia Printing, Faulkenbery's Bridal, Alexander's Flower Shoppe, Steve's on the Square, The Potting Shed, Flowers from the Heart, Linda Hardy wedding cakes, Bon Appetite, Beverly Terry wedding cakes; Magical Moments, Dot Schmid Photography, Bobby's Jewelry and The Cole House Bed and Breakfast.

Each vendor presented the brides-to-be with gifts. Laura May and Daniel Robinson were the lucky winners of a night in their backyard Honeymoon Cottage awarded by The Cole House.

Brides-to-be who registered at the Expo included Hailey Brewer, Stacy Skinner, Heather Williams, Misty Baysinger, Kelsie Brantley, Reagan Melton, Brandi Hopper, Annaliese Kiepe, Katie Anthony, Amber Clay, Candace Copeland, Kim Fitzhugh, Laura May, Marley Smith, Stephanie Anderson, Chazz Thompson, Rachel Webb, Ashley Kilpatrick, Aimee Baugh, Joni Wilson and Laura Wooten.

How did this dream of Linda and Carson's begin? "We've been in the food business for 20 years," they told me. "Having a bed and breakfast has long been our dream, but we could never have done it without Ronnie and Michelle Jones. After purchasing the house from the Cole family, Ronnie and Michelle were insistent that the integrity of the home be preserved." Up and coming events scheduled at The Cole House are Jill Martin/Cassidy Byars wedding reception, Ginger Vowell/Jordan Flake wedding and reception, Anna Waltman/Aaron Graham wedding reception, 50th anniversary dinner, rehearsal dinners, bridesmaid luncheons/teas, Neshoba Central class reunion and business breakfasts/lunches.

The wedding reception of their daughter Anna and Aaron Graham on March 22 is special on the agenda for her parents. "We are so proud of our girls," "they told me. "One is our pride and the other our joy." Anna and Aaron will be moving to Plano, Texas after the wedding where Aaron will work with the police department. Sarah and Kyle James live here in Phialdelphia where Sara is manager of Kademi and Kyle in charge of Integration Technology (computers) at East Central Community College.

I met and visited with Sam Roskin of Seattle, Wash. He and his wife, Josie, were guests for the evening. They had flown into New Orleans, rented a car, and after having made stops in Baton Rouge, Natchez, Port Gibson and Laurel before coming to Philadelphia, had plans to visit Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery as they made their way to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and back to New Orleans. I can't imagine them having a more pleasurable nor hospitable visit anywhere than the one they were enjoying on the depot hill in Philadelphia.

While picking up a sandwich at Main Street Junction I visited with Margaret and Dwight Barrett and their son, Walt, who was visiting them for the weekend. This provided the perfect opportunity to catch up on Margaret and Dwight's children. Walt lives in Meridian where he is in charge of the computer system for the Lauderdale County/Meridian Public Library. His hobby of collecting antiques is reflected in his home, and his beautifully landscaped yard is reminiscent of his grandmother, Mrs. Cross Savell.

Chuck and his wife, Linda, live in Caledonia. Chuck is in the business of tanning furs at Barrett Furs, Inc. in Columbus, while Linda works as a registered nurse at Baptist Hospital in Columbus. Their daughter, Allison, a summa cum laude graduate of Mississippi State University where she was a drum majorette with the band, is in her first year of law school at Ole Miss. Clare is a freshman at Ittawamba Junior College where she is a freshman twirler with the marching band and a member of the stage band.

Reene and her husband, Mike Bennett, live in Columbus where they are active in the Columbus pilgrimage. Reene who works at Weyerhaeuser's Paper Complex is making plans to join her husband in the retirement status soon. Will they all be at the Fair? "Oh, yes, they wouldn't miss it," Margaret told me. "Allison, who was doig some tutoring at Missisippi State last summer, drove back and forth every day."

Congratulations to Shelby and Jill Kirkland Daniel of Tupelo on the arrival of Sam Kirkland Daniel who was born Feb. 19, 2008. Sam's big brother, Mason, who carries his "bibbet" (blanket) everywhere he goes, was thrilled that "Little Old Bitty Sam" arrived with a "bibbet" on his head. Pictures of Sam with the "bibbet" on his head are available upon request if you run into Grandmama Babs or Granddaddy Wayne.

In other baby news, Billie Latting wanted to share news she had received that Bill and Barbara Jim Turner have twin sons Van and Tal, who are being welcomed by their big brother Brown. Bill is the son of former Philadelphia residents, the late Jerry and Frank Turner. Billie and Albert became friends with Barbara Jim's parents, Bob and Betty Brown, while in the insurance business.

We have read and heard so many wonderful stories since Katrina about people who have worked tirelessly and endlessly to help bring normalcy back to the Gulf Coasta. This story has a name. That of R.B. Marshall, the son of our Lucy Hays who now lives in Jackson. Quoting from Biloxi First United Methodist Church's 2008 February Messenger:

"It was overhead once that the Disaster Recovery effort mounted by our church is by far the greatest mission this church has ever attempted or accomplished.

"R.B. Marshall was the key figure who organized and managed this remarkable effort. The Disaster Recovery Team members served as site hosts, office assistants, team liaisons, bookkeepers, "gofers", construction supervisors and occasional cooks - whatever was needed.

"R.B. has a masters degree in industrial engineering and he's also a certified property manager. His strong work ethic coupled with an engineering and project management background equipped him for this monumental task. A stint in crises management and involvement in the massive Kuwaiti oil spill during Desert Storm also provided skills and abilities he was able to put to good use at this time.

"R.B.'s genuine distress for people so tragically affected by the storm nurtured his Christian concern fortheir wellbeing."

His pastor, Gary Thompson, added: "Let me add my profuond gratitude to R.B. for his amazing and selfless work for the last two and a half years. Our recovery program would not have been possible without him. He put in untold hours and gave himself unrelentingly to the work. R.B. has now agreed to work as a fulltime volunteer for the next year to help us get our new location up and running!"

Native Philadelphian Keith Wells, who now lives in Biloxi and attends First Methodist there, wrote: "FUMC Biloix would not have had a disaster recovery program without R.B. Marshall. Like most folks after the storm he was making things up as he went along. He was just better at it than most. I have worked with many church based recovery programs since I started working for the Conference Disaster Recovery program. I have not found any that have the scale and effectiveness of our church or lasted as long.

"FUMC Biloxi has a name in the recovery business they can be proud of. In my opinion, our good name in that field is due primarily to R.B. Marshall. He was the right man at the right time."

Thank you, Lucy, for sharing this wonderful story with us.