Every morning when I get up and go to work, I often pass by Troop C in front of the prison where people are tested for their driver licenses. There is often a big long line stretching out into the parking lot at least one hour before opening. Even with all the advances that have been made in processing driver licenses, people are still left standing in the cold.
Things have gotten more complicated since that day when I went to get my driver license in 1983 in Tennessee. I was 16 years old and I was nervous as I prepared for this rite of passage of getting my first driver license. I passed the written test which was on paper; kiosks hadn't been invented yet. My vehicle passed inspection; the brake lights worked. I got into the car, let the examiner get in, buckled up, pulled out of the parking lot, proved I could come to a complete stop at a stop sign, got on the interstate, got off the interstate, returned to the parking lot and received my driver license. Then my parents wouldn't let me drive for the next four months.
Life is tough when you're 16 years old.
I have driven all over the country in the decades since I began my driving experience. Never had an accident. Been pulled over a few times, but never given a ticket. Even though I've tried to drive safely, I have sometimes had some close calls with careless drivers and reckless drivers and carelessly reckless drivers. Nothing like that experience of having to make a split second decision to avoid an accident because someone is not paying attention.
Driving habits have changed in the last 40 years. In the morning people are in a hurry to get to where they don't want to go, such as the workplace. It's much the same routine in the afternoon rush hour.
Road rage has become more common on the roadway in the last 20 years. Driver in a vehicle accelerates and cuts off another driver. A horn is blown. Someone yells the old familiar profane syllables or other common expletives. Universal hand gestures are exchanged, but I reckon that's better than gunfire. Traffic continues on. The local constabulary does not see the incident. They do not appear unless there is an accident or a speed trap or a driver license checkpoint or a president or presidential candidate needs an escort and traffic needs to be backed up for a few hours.
I still remember my experience back in 2014 when I exchanged my Alabama driver license for a Mississippi driver license. I entered the building and encountered a state trooper who clearly did not want to be there. That's okay. I didn't want to be there either.
I stated my business, used the touch screen computer and went to sit down and wait and wait and wait for my number to be called. I had my eyesight tested. They transferred my motorcycle privileges from my Alabama driver license; I don't know how to ride a motorcycle, but Alabama was giving this privilege to everybody back in 1986, so Mississippi gave it to me. They asked me if I wanted to register to vote; I declined so I could avoid being called for jury duty. They took my picture and sent me on my way with an eight year driver license which I plan to renew sometime in the future online.
Even though the facility was overcrowded, I was impressed with the way they sent people where they needed to go as quickly as they could. People in need of taking a test would go into a separate room and take the test on a kiosk. Others would go outside and take a drivers test. I'm grateful I didn't have to take a written or a driver test.
I stepped outside and went to get my car inspection permit. I pulled into this garage and the mechanic on duty slapped an inspection sticker on my windshield. I paid my five dollars and I was on my way. I guess he didn't notice or didn't care that I still had my Alabama license plate on my car.
I went to get my license plate and paid an exorbitant amount of money for my license plate in cash. They don't accept out-of-state checks from local banks. Finally, I was licensed and registered to drive as a resident of Mississippi.
There is so much that goes into getting a driver license in the State of Mississippi. One would think that by earning a driver license, one would remember that there are traffic laws that need to be obeyed and followed to operate a motor vehicle safely. Too many drivers ignore these traffic laws and drive their cars without fear of impunity.
I've seen cars pass on the double line on a country road, involve themselves in near miss head on collisions in the same lane, tailgate, pass on the right shoulder of an interstate, speed up a small hill to the point of going airborne, pass a car only to slow down and make a turn in front of the same car, blow a horn or lean on a horn at a whim, speed up and run a red light with reckless disregard for human safety, burn rubber spinning back wheels in circles or donuts at the end of a road, hit a ditch and flip over. This is my experience while driving in Mississippi, and I think we can do better.
So many drivers in Mississippi are in need of a refresher course on driver safety. A Mississippi Driver's Manual is available at the Flowood Library. A free Driver's Ed Program is offered at cmrls.driving-tests.org.
This morning I passed by Troop C Driver License Headquarters. I saw people standing in line to get their driver licenses, talking to each other and staring at their cell phones.
Will successful candidates for driver licenses learn that when they sign a driver license, they are signing an agreement that they will obey the traffic laws? Will new drivers realize that driving is a privilege and not necessarily a right?
Let's have a safe driving experience as we get ready for the summer travel season.
Wednesday, May 15
Tuesday, May 7
All CMRLS Libraries will be closed Monday, May 27th for the National Memorial Day holiday. Business hours will resume Tuesday, May 28th.
Keep the Rez Beautiful Nature Walk
Are you ready to spend time in the warm summer sun after spending months inside this past winter? Join us Wednesday, May 15th from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., as we kick off the summer with some outdoor fun. We will tour the Reservoir Botanical Gardens with Jeannine May from Keep the Rez Beautiful. Along the way, we will see the many different kinds of natural habitats that the Botanical Gardens have to offer. Feel free to bring your own binoculars to view the many animals and plants.
High Noon Book Club
Join us Thursday, May 16th from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., for another exciting lunch hour of fine dining and fine literature as the High Noon Book Club has its May meeting! We will be having a "Book Report" meeting. All participants are encouraged to read the book of their choice and then give a brief summary of it and tell why they liked or disliked it. All ages are welcome and encouraged to bring their own brown bag lunch. Deserts will be provided.
Monday, May 6
Bowls are the star of this month's Simply Crafts program, Tues. May 7 at 6 p.m.! Come make decorative bowls using balloons!
How fun and easy! Just blow up a balloon, tie it and glue on festive decorations! Then deflate the balloon and voilà, a creative bowl!
There will be an assortment of colorful items to choose from such as beads and buttons. If you want, you can even paper mache the balloon and then paint on your favorite color(s)!
Hey, it's a free, adult program that lets your creative, artistic juices soar!!!
You just can't beat that, right? RIGHT!
Remember the Simply Crafts program, at the Pearl Public Library, is every first Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m.
Keeping in line with colorful creations how about painting glasses. That's what this month's How-To Tuesday program on May 21 at 6 p.m. is all about! The sky is the limit, so let your imagination go wild! How-To Tuesday is every Thursday of the month at 6 p.m.
Don't miss out!
We'll see you there!
Thursday, April 25
Tuesday, April 23
Families are invited to join the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program at their local CMRLS Library. The 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program is a nationwide challenge that encourages parents and caregivers to regularly read aloud to their children. By reading just one book a night, and it is okay to repeat books, families can reach the 1,000-book goal in three years and provide their children with essential early literacy skills.
Wednesday, April 17
Mugshots Trivia, an exciting contest where patrons gather to test their intellectual skills, meets at Mugshots Restaurant in Flowood, MS once a month, every third Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. to play for Mugshots Restaurant gift cards.
First prize winner will receive a $15 gift card. Second prize winner will receive a $10 gift card. Third prize winner receives a $5 gift card. Fourth prize winner will receive the satisfaction of playing the game while eating good quality food.
As for myself I receive practice in front of a live audience with my public speaking skills. Don't worry. Unlike some of the generals and colonels I knew in the Army, I try to speak well and say something. I try not to waste time and I get to the point.
People gather for the free family fun and with a coupon enjoy free Rotel Dip.
Mugshots Trivia is a library outreach program. It can be a challenging game to play for patrons, but it is also a challenging game to prepare for.
I am one of two branch managers with the responsibility of providing a reasonably challenging trivia game that is both intellectually stimulating and fun.
On my team I have a trivia gamemaster available to assist me in preparing the questions. These questions are often seasonal. For example, last night the theme was Easter, so Easter-related questions were asked. I never knew the Easter Bunny originated in Germany. I review these questions to determine the level of difficulty. I don't want anything too hard or too easy. Everyone needs a reasonable chance of getting the question correct.
The trivia questions are incorporated on a Power Point slide presentation to be displayed on a monitor. It's easier if people can read the questions.
I take a voice amplifier speaker system and attach it to my belt. The Loft, where the game is played, can be noisy with people talking downstairs and music and sports games playing in the background. I also tend to be soft spoken.
"Testing, Testing." The patrons give me a thumbs up letting me know they can hear me.
Then the game begins.
I ask the questions and give everyone time to answer on a slip of paper. I gather the slips of paper and hand them to my assistant. She compiles the score.
At the end of the game we generally know who the winners are. But, sometimes we have a tie and have to have a Bonus Round of questions. First team to get a question right wins.
At the end of the contest people continue with their meals and enjoy the Mugshots Restaurant atmosphere. I pack up my belongings and start to move towards the exit. As I leave the Loft I talk to a few people, but I want to leave everyone to enjoy their meals.
It is astounding that we can get so many people out on a Tuesday night to come and test their intellectual prowess.
A question comes to mind on what we can do to grow this program further.
Should we offer bigger prizes? Should we change the location? Should I ask Miss Mississippi to come and read the questions?
We continue to look for new and innovative ways for our patrons to enjoy their Tuesday evenings at Mugshots Restaurant.
Wednesday, April 10