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Stories - Key To The City
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Jimbeau Hinson Day

Jimbeau Gets Key to City

Jimbeau's hometown of Newton, MS awards Jimbeau with the Key to the City of Newton and names a day in his honor.

I was born in Jackson, Mississippi but we moved to the sleepy little town of Newton when I was three or so.

To be perfectly honest, I spent most of my childhood there thinking that God had made some terrible mistake and had somehow planted me not just in the wrong place, but the wrong planet.

It would take years for me to understand that everybody has that feeling at one time or another. Trouble was, mine was constant.

It was not the fault of my hometown, I was just weird. So it was with pleasant surprise after eighteen years of living in the world at large, to have the Chamber of Commerce calling and wanting to give me the key to the city of Newton.

Mind you, most of my family had followed me to Nashville, so I hadn’t been back there in years. I was amazed at the destruction that the by pass and Wal-Mart had done to the downtown area. It was all but boarded up.

There was little fanfare but I’ve always had the natural ability to create my own. It was so hot that I decided to not dress for the occasion, just shorts and my hiking boots.

The radio station broadcast live from the truckbed they had set up in the middle of the street in front of the bus station.

I was tripping on the thought that I had taken a bus out of that same station to get to Nashville. There I was blaring out on the same radio station I had played on when I was a kid, every Saturday afternoon.

I saw many old High School teachers and classmates, a few old musicians, some radio personalities and long ago neighbors. It was a real rush back in time. I was more than honored by the event. It was one of those times when you keep pinching yourself to make sure it’s really happening.

Before we left town the next morning I took the flowers that the Chamber of Commerce had sent to my room and laid them on my Daddy’s grave. Tears flowed freely but they were not tears of sorrow.

I just felt he would have been proud of me and that was the perfect period to the ending of a lifelong sentence.

As I knelt there, I took the key out of it’s box in the vain attempt to show him.

Printed there were the words, "Solid Brass Bottle Opener."

I thought to myself…Well at least it opens something.


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