Jimmy Reed

Jimmy Reed is an Oxford, Mississippi resident, Ole Miss alumnus, Army veteran, former Mississippi Delta cotton farmer, and retired college teacher.
Jimmy's latest book, One Hundred by Five Hundred is available at Amazon.
His collection of short stories is available via Squarebooks.com, telephone 662-236-2262.

Most Recent Articles by Jimmy Reed:

The Craziest Pilot Who Ever Flew

Mar 21, 2018 — Jimmy Reed

The Craziest Pilot Who Ever Flew
When the caller asked if I would fly to the Gulf Coast and get his dead brother, I didn’t know what to say.

“He died while vacationing, but the local ambulance company charges too much for the trip,” he said. “If you’ll do it, I’ll rent the airplane and pay you $100.”

His offer came at an opportune time. I had completed every student pilot requirement but one — a cross-country flight requiring a refueling stop and an airport attendant’s signature in my logbook. I promised to meet him the next day.

I Won’t Die Sinning

Mar 12, 2018 — Jimmy Reed

I hope to die praying
Shortly before sundown, we drivers finished cultivating my father’s Mississippi Delta cotton fields, and no sooner had we parked our tractors than a long, steady, soaking summer rain began drumming on the shed’s tin roof — just what the bolls needed to finish filling with fiber.

As the thirsty earth drank its fill, we knew this downpour wasn’t just a “sharrain” (Dad’s way of saying “shower of rain”), but what he called a “sho-nuff, chunk-floatin’ crop maker.”

Can And Will

Mar 2, 2018 — Jimmy Reed

Can And Will
At her country store, Maya Angelou’s grandmother tolerated a few customers who were chronic complainers, but no matter how tough things got, her outlook on life remained positive, and she instilled that attitude in her granddaughter.

Once, when a bellyacher entered the store, she told Maya to listen. Sure enough, he whined about everything — work, weather, and so on. After he left, Maya’s grandmother spoke words of wisdom that became a guiding principle of Maya’s life:

A Crawfish Cook Calamity

Feb 20, 2018 — Jimmy Reed

A Crawfish Cook Calamity

That warm, spring Mississippi Delta Saturday was ideal for doing anything outdoors, but the calamitous way it turned out was less than ideal.

When it comes to preparing delicious, deep-south cuisine, nobody outperformed my lifelong best friend and mentor, the old black man known affectionately by all as Jaybird. When we asked him to boil several hundred pounds of crawfish, he said, “Sho’ — get the water boilin’; let’s enjoy some country-style cuttin’ up.”

“Tio Amo”,  Two Words that Lasted a Lifetime for my Grandparents

Feb 10, 2018 — Jimmy Reed

Ti Amo
Pietro Menotti stood on a ship’s deck among throngs of weary, penniless immigrants like himself. Staring into the haze of a hot summer day, he saw the first of two women who would determine the course of his life.

She was the mighty lady with a torch whose message to foreign lands had attracted millions: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The Mother of Exiles brought tears to Pietro’s eyes. Another woman brought his heart into his throat. She was the petite, raven-haired beauty standing next to him on Ellis Island. The name on her tattered suitcase was Videlma Zepponi. In his eyes, she was an angel sent to earth by the God they both worshipped. 

You’ll Love Flying The Pup

Jan 30, 2018 — Jimmy Reed

You’ll Love Flying The Pup
Inflated egos are dangerous. When my flight instructor certified that I was a licensed pilot, my ego and I were flying high … too high, as was made terrifyingly evident the day I flew the Pup.

Elliott, a student pilot, was constructing an ultra-light, tube-and-fabric, aircraft known as the N3 Pup, and asked me to go with him to look at one that was completed.

The Pup resembled my airplane, a J-3 Piper Cub, but was much smaller — indeed tiny. After discussing its construction, Elliott asked Susanne, the owner, about its flight characteristics.

Slick Willy

Jan 20, 2018 — Jimmy Reed

Slick Willy
In barbershops, even the most sanctimonious listeners accept professional grade lying as entertaining tall tales.

One day, while Larry the barber clipped the white scraggly hackles festooning my haggard old head, he related a tall tale, after which one of the waiting customers said, “Reed, you make a living out of lying by writing stories that never fall within the realm of truthfulness; tell us one that will top Larry’s.”

“I’ll bet the cost of this haircut that he can’t,” Larry boasted.


Jan 10, 2018 — Jimmy Reed


Wintertime winds are brutal in the Mississippi Delta. They are soaking with humidity, and howl unchecked across ironing-board flat fields. Delta folks call these winds “cuttin’ body hawks.”

At daybreak one freezing January morning, the body hawk unleashed its full fury upon us two duck hunters: my lifelong best friend and mentor, the beloved old black man everyone called Jaybird, and me.

Just as we stepped into a field of rice stubble in which we had built a blind, I looked down and spotted a shivering puppy, crying pitifully. He resembled a Doberman pinscher — solid black with rust-colored jaw patches and feet, and a long nose. When I squatted before him, his dull, mucous-clouded eyes, filled with fear and hopelessness, looked straight into mine.

It Is Well, It Is Well, With My Soul

Dec 24, 2017 — Jimmy Reed

Holis Ibsen
In the wee hours of the morning on December 2, 2017, Annabelle, the “baby” of our three daughters, completed the most trying ordeal of her young life. Our baby had a baby!

However, the young woman lying in the hospital bed was not aglow with her usual gorgeous good looks. Instead, she was the picture of utter exhaustion. Her golden blond hair was soaked with sweat, dark circles sagged beneath her eyes, her cheeks were devoid of color, and her lips still bore the grimace of pain. Thirty-one hours of agonizing labor failed to deliver the baby, and it had to be taken by Caesarian section.

Along with her husband Ken, who never left her side during the painful ordeal, we stood silently as she lay in troubled sleep. Finally, her eyes flickered open and she greeted us with a weak smile.

Good Will To All

Dec 17, 2017 — Jimmy Reed

Good Will To All
That cold Christmas Eve, my boyhood best friend and mentor Jaybird leaned on the porch rail of his home, looking across Mississippi Delta cotton fields he had worked in since he was a boy.

In moon-blanched stillness, the fields were taking their winter rest.

Conquer Yourself First

Dec 7, 2017 — Jimmy Reed

Conquer Yourself First
Many lessons my boyhood best friend and mentor Jaybird taught me seemed foolish at the time, but along with me they matured, and now serve as guideposts in my life. One of those lessons was about kindness.

Jaybird believed that no act of kindness, however small, is wasted. Even so, the old black man sometimes displayed a less-than-kindly nature when the actions of others angered him, but if I was close by he did his best to respond in a civil manner.

On one occasion, when he reacted to a neighbor’s offending remark with a mere shrug of the shoulders and a smile, I commented that I would have reacted in a manner similar to the offender’s.

The Most Perfect Christmas Gift

Nov 27, 2017 — Jimmy Reed

The Most Perfect Christmas GiftStanding at the post office window, I placed the tattered Bible in a box, but before sealing it, I lay my hand on the little black book … and remembered.

The book and I have always been together. Periodically, when its spine and pages separate, when handling has marred the cover’s gold lettering, I mail it to a bindery.

There’s No Such Thing As Good Gossip

Nov 16, 2017 — Jimmy Reed

There’s No Such Thing As Good Gossip
Recommending a book he had just finished, a friend said, “You will love it. The author rattles skeletons in the closets of some well-known folks. The juicy gossip it contains has made the book a bestseller.”

His comment confirms what we all know: With shameful regularity, gossip attracts even the most virtuous souls, and for those of us nowhere close to being in the most-virtuous-souls category, its appeal reaches intoxicating proportions.

A Blessing Above All Others

Nov 6, 2017 — Jimmy Reed

Thanksgiving, A Blessing Above All Others
For progressive secularists, mendacious media milquetoasts, Hollywood’s hedonistic heretics, and self-proclaimed, politically elite glitterati — who not only refuse to recognize Thanksgiving as a reaffirmation of faith in God, but also strive to impose their non-belief on those who do — this uniquely American holiday is nothing more than a time to oversleep, overeat, overspend, and over-party.

How sad. How wrong. How sinful. To those heathenish, unholy hellions, I speak one word: Freedom.

Socialism’s Big Lie

Oct 27, 2017 — Jimmy Reed

Socialism’s big lie
After witnessing how mendacious, megalomaniacal dictators Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin used linguistic trickery to tout “the greatest good for the greatest number,” thereby manipulating whole nations of people into accepting increasingly oppressive levels of collectivism, author George Orwell focused his inimitable satirical skills on debunking the type of social injustice they promoted.

In Animal Farm, Orwell anthropomorphized barnyard creatures to demonstrate how evolution from a progressive welfare state to totalitarian tyranny is a self-replicating cycle. He did so by endowing animal characters with a skill authoritarian autocrats hone to perfection: making lies sound incontrovertibly truthful.

Their Just Deserts

Oct 18, 2017 — Jimmy Reed

French physicist Blaise Pascal once wrote, “This letter is long because I hadn’t the time to make it short.”

Even though Pascal’s comment seems contradictory, it isn’t, as demonstrated in great short stories that have withstood the test of time by delivering essential elements — time, place, setting, plot, and characters — in a minimum of words.

Mohican Molly

Oct 8, 2017 — Jimmy Reed

When Molly asked what she must do to become a Mohican, chief Deadly Dagger laughed in her face.

“Females cannot join the Mohican club,” he said. “We are male warriors! You are nothing but a girl. Even our own sisters are forbidden membership in this band of men who are fearless in battle and give no quarter to enemies.”

Pointing upward, he said, “That tree house is our sacred meeting place. No female foot has ever sullied its hallowed floor. Girls are beneath our manly stature. Depart from my presence!”

You’re An Insolent Jerk!

Sep 28, 2017 — Jimmy Reed

Nowadays on many college campuses, if a teacher is not a secular progressive liberal new-world-order globalist, his colleagues may view him as a pariah. If he is a pro-life, pro-America, anti-political correctness, Southern white heterosexual male capitalistic Christian conservative, as I am, they will likely view him as a walking hate crime. 

Toward my college teaching career’s end, I learned how true this was after scolding a wimpy, coddled kid for disregarding my insistence on punctuality, preparation, proper classroom behavior, and attire.

He complained to his father, who complained to my supervisor, who called me on the carpet and warned me that if I didn’t go along in order to get along, he would issue me a pink slip reading, “So long.”


Sep 18, 2017 — Jimmy Reed

In T. S. Eliot’s poem, “The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock,” the narrator, Prufrock himself, deals with a number of problems aging men face, and toward the end of the poem, ponders two of them.

Speculating on ways to disguise the fact that his plumage is thinning, he asks, “Shall I part my hair behind?” And because his bowels — no longer young and supple, but rebellious toward any foods less milder than corn flakes, asks, “Do I dare to eat a peach?”

The Dunleithians

Sep 7, 2017 — Jimmy Reed

The word “boondocks” describes most Mississippi Delta locations, especially Dunleith, where I grew up. Its remoteness provided an ideal environment for a secret society known as the Dunleithians.

To attain membership in this exclusively male warrior cult, boys must complete several grueling requirements. First, they had to read The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn and pass an oral examination administered by the club’s elders, all fifteen to eighteen years of age.