Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Sid Salter: Monumental Void Left by W.B. "Snooky" Williams

Yeah, I know that this is the last column I have before the Mississippi U.S. Senate runoff, but the truth is I really don’t have much more to say about a race that I’ve been writing about all these many months. I think I’ve said my piece on that subject.

 The runoff has been a mud fest that threatens to render both Republican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democratic challenger Mike Espy unrecognizable. Here’s some advice: Remember who you believed these two Mississippians were prior to the last month and vote accordingly. Because neither of them are what they are being accused of being over the last month.

Instead of another long screed on the Mississippi senate campaign, I’m going to write about something far more interesting, enlightening and inspiring – the life and home-going of my longtime friend and fellow Philadelphia native Merrill Binford “Snooky” Williams of Water Valley.

The Lord called Snooky home last Tuesday after 87 years of vibrant life and only a scant few of physical decline and suffering. His bright but easily diverted mind was sharp until the end. And like every good actor, “Snooky” left the stage with the audience wanting so much more.

For the record, Snooky spent the better part of the last decade battling cancer. The cancer robbed him of his physical strength and stamina, but it never touched his legendary sense of humor or his propensity to empower and encourage those in his orbit.

He and his family were our neighbors on Founder’s Square at the Neshoba County Fair. My friend Gale Denley and I were latecomers to the Square when we bought our original cabin from the Bruner Trapp family, but we had both known Snooky for years prior to that fateful transaction. Along with the late George Mars, we enjoyed each other’s company at the Fairgrounds immensely.

Snooky and Mary Lou, his lovely wife of 60 years, were without the Pied Pipers of the north side of the Square and marvelous hosts to thousands of Fair visitors. They developed a deep interest in the Thacker Mountain Radio Hour in Oxford. Soon, it became their mission to bring that Mississippi Public Radio weekly live show to regular performances at the Fair.

The Williams’ had long hosted large lunches on political days and large weekend parties, but that shifted after Thacker Mountain evolved to hosting the entire show’s company prior to their performances. It became a reunion of sorts and was a simply unique event. Snooky and Mary Lou were very much the patron saints of Thacker.

When I was in the midst of the worst chemotherapy for my cancer treatments in 2017 at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, Snooky was battling his own cancer at NMMC as well. He came to see me – thin, pale, and emaciated from his long battle – but with a smile on his face and a couple of jokes that I really needed to hear.

We embraced and both shed tears. He whispered: “Don’t you ever quit. You can do this, I know you can.” Snooky made it to the Fair that year. I didn’t. It would be Snooky’s last visit there. This past summer, I made it back to the Fair and was so sad when I learned that Snooky was unable to attend.

To say that I loved “Snooky” is an understatement – but then, who didn’t? He never met a stranger. I honestly never heard him say a mean thing about anyone. He was a carrier for kindness, decency and charity. God gave Snooky so many gifts, but chief among them was empathy. He felt the joys and sorrows of others and was able, most often, to share them without judgment.

Good Lord willing, I will return to the Fairgrounds next summer. George, Gale, and now Snooky are gone. What a void Snooky leaves in that experience for all of us who knew him!

But as at his wake, he would have us continue. Prior to his death, he schemed to have business cards printed to be given out at his funeral on Saturday. On one side was his name and the dates of his birth and death. On the other, a color photo of him smiling and tipping an outsized hat on the porch of his Fair cabin that read: “See you later…Snooky.”

Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at


Anonymous said...

Good column.......well done.

Anonymous said...

After all of the negative campaigning I don't want to vote for either of them. The campaigning makes it sound like one is a racist hick who doesn't have a lick of sense and the other is a criminal that should be in jail.

Anonymous said...

“Said my piece”. He really wrote that?

Anonymous said...

M. B. "Snooky" Williams
Sept 27, 1931 - November 13, 2018

To know him and Mary Lou, you experienced grace and love. Snooky "both collected and shared his friends" and I am honored to have been one.
From one of the lunch bunch...

Anonymous said...

M. B. "Snooky" Williams Sept 27,1931-Nov 13,2018
To know him and Mary Lou, you've experienced grace and love from them to those around them.

Snooky did indeed "Collect and share his friends." I'm honored to be among them.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS