Performances at the historic Ellis Theater in downtown Philadelphia are scheduled for Friday, March 8, 7 p.m., Saturday, March 9, 2 p.m. and 7 pm, and Sunday, March 10, 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for non-members of the Arts Council, $10 for members and $5, two years to 12th grade. For more information, call 601-656-9838. Don't miss the fun, and at the same time, contribute toward the renovation of the Ellis, our treasured landmark.


The following is "grandmother news." Now I ask you very confidentially, who had more fun, the grandmother or the grandson? Pete Peebles recently celebrated his sixth birthday. His parents, Ben and Ashley Peebles, picked him up after school on Wednesday and left town with a very excited little boy. Their destination: Disney World in Orlando, Fla.! Their first stop was Universal Studios, Harry Potter being the main order of business. Could it get any more exciting!

Oh, yes. Friday night, Ben received another big surprise. A knock at the door, and who was standing there, but his grandparents, John and Susan Burt! Poppy and Oos had flown down to surprise Pete and enjoy Disney World with him.

In the words of Oos, "For the next three days, we enjoyed every aspect of all the Disney parks - Hollywood Studios, Epcot, the Animal Kingdom and the Magic Kingdom. We left no ride unridden and took great advantage of late-night Magic Kingdom hours on Sunday - returning to the hotel room at 2 a.m. Monday morning. Pete loved all the fast rides, saying, "That was super awesome!"

Pete's final surprise came Monday night when told he would get to fly home with Pappy and Oos the next day. Straight from the heart of a grandmother, "It was a trip filled with memories that will last a lifetime!" And it did not end there. Once at home, Pete relived the excitement of the trip with his Mamaw and Papaw, Debbie and Ricky Peebles.


We join Bill on the first part of his holiday which begins in Myanmar (Burma). "I arrived mid-morning in Yangon's surprisingly modern airport. Making sure I had all my documents in order, I made my way to the "Visa on arrival" counter. The only thing I could read on the documents was my name. The travel agent said to have a six passport photo. The process went smoothly. I gave them the twenty dollar bill with the document, They stamped my passport and motioned for me to move to the exit. They didn't need or want those photos - whew, that was easy.

Before taking this trip, I knew practically nothing about Myanmar, except that at one time it was called Burma. These countries frequently change the name of not only the country, but cities and streets as well. There was some trepidation on my part about making this trip. I knew of the years of political unrest and fighting, and had been told by one person in our government "to be careful." No one said "don't go." (We are prompted to ask, "Would it have mattered?")

A beautiful Canadian lady with whom I had traveled in the Himalayas re-assured me with a brief positive description of her trip in Myanmar, as well as e-mailing me her photo album. First Lady Hilary checked it out before Obama's visit to Myanmar last November, making him the first sitting- president to visit Myanmar. After his visit, some of the trade sanctions were lifted and all the prices went up. I also learned that Hand of Hope (Joyce Meyer) had checked it out, and a mission is planned in Myanmar in December.

As I walked into the lobby of the airport, this beautiful young Burmese lady rushed up to me, holding a sign with my name on it, and in perfect English, welcomed me to Yangon. She was to be my guide for the next several days, and in spite of the fact that I could not pronounce or remember her name, we got along fine.

Burma had been a British colony for almost one hundred years up until the second World War. They were invaded by the Japanese who forced the British out. and held the country for about three years until the end of the war.

The British returned, but a people's revolution in 1948 gained them their independence, and the British left again. Since then, the country has been under the control of a communist-style military government. In 2010, a revolution, led by the daughter of the general who led the revolution in 1948, took control, and they now have a quasi democratic system.

The hotels where I stayed were beautiful and modern, and without a doubt, up to American standards. The food was excellent. At this point, you cannot use credit cards, but as the international trade sanctions are lifted, that should change.

Myanmar is a Buddhist country, with 90 percent of the population adhering to the teachings of Buddha and worshipping his image. The people are warm and friendly, and seemed to be glad to see tourists, of which there did not seem to be many. The ones I saw were from France and Germany. The tourist attractions are Buddhist related - pagodas and monasteries.

Buddhists believe in reincarnation. To make sure that their next life will be better than this one, they are instructed to build up merit in this life. You do that in many ways, such as praying before images of Buddha, making offerings to Buddha, such as fruit, flowers, burning candles, and also giving money and jewelry. Offerings of food and money are given to monks and nuns.

We visited one monastery which housed a thousand monks, some as young as five years old. They start their day at 4 a.m. with prayers and chanting. Breakfast and lunch are their only meals - nothing is eaten after twelve noon. Oftentimes you see them walking in the streets with a bowl under their arms. People line the streets to put offerings in their bowls."

When Dr. Molpus speaks, one listens. He does truly know of what he speaks. He has been there. Join "Friends" next week as Bill moves on to Mandalay.


Lorene Pinter Hutchinson celebrated her 80th birthday on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013. This is no small feat considering the fact that she was the fourth child born to Roman and Myrtle Pinter, sandwiched between nine brothers! Seven of Lorene's brothers, Billy, Marvin, Wendell, Dorman, Wayne, Tommy, and Ernest, were at the party to wish their "Sis" a "Happy Birthday." Her brothers, Harlan and Clayton, are deceased.


Family members gathering at the Neshoba County Coliseum and enjoying lunch together with Lorene and her brothers included Rita Beckham, Tanya Heath, Isaiah Beckham, Brenda Pinter, Kathy Pinter, Pauline Pinter, Neva Pinter, Janell Buntyn, Robin P. Altman, Dale and Gail Alford, Jeremy, Brice and Brady Alford, Katie and Addyson Alford, Shirley Warren, Voncile Parker and Margie Owens. Special friends in attendance were Thomas Jones, Max and Pat Chisolm, Ray Fleming, Bobby Anthony, and Barbara Ann Thaggard.