A snow-cone is a paper cup of crushed ice flavored with fruity very colorful liquid flavored sugar syrup.
Suddenly, your mouth and teeth become snow-cold. It’s summertime in good old Mississippi, and it is sweltering in the month of August. This heat is oppressively and intensively awful outside, causing people to say, “This summer in Starkville is absolutely the worst we have experienced in a long time.” or “Baby, its hot outside.” It is without a doubt snow cone season, so let’s go down the street and get us a snow-cone right now.
It was early in the morning on June 8, 1995, that I headed down the street from our home to the parking lot of now Dirt Cheap in the shopping center right across from Starkville High School to the cutest little white and red-trimmed doll house called Cajun Sno. The red color was around the front top entrance way and window shutters with the railing of two steps leading up to the top red step, which led you to the two windows where you gave your order. The logo was a cute red crawfish which had personality plus too. There was also the cutest little child’s red plastic matching chairs. It was simply inviting to anyone to just sit and enjoy. Feel the cold ice and syrup as you slurp and it drips down your chin, and a few pieces of sweet ice end up in your mouth. The heat is melting that snow cone faster than you can eat it. I knew that I was going to experience a divine and delicious day ahead of me. I popped up my portable easel, placed my art supplies in their outside spots for the day ahead, and I was in heaven.
Why in the world was I there at this spot? I love the color red. Have you ever heard that people who love red have outgoing personalities? I was outgoing that day for certain. I was out in the sweltering heat with a colorful red umbrella as my only shade standing and sitting in the middle of a hot concrete covered ground as my only carpet. Why did I leave a cool air-conditioned home when I could hug that cool air-conditioner all day long? A red trimmed doll house was begging me.
This tiny little doll house building would become my heavenly spot as I began to sketch, paint and play with all the colors on my palette. When you were a child and would get out your coloring book, did you not hear the words, “Now remember, don’t color outside the lines.” Come on now, we are outside to play today, and to have fun is to color outside the lines. Let your fingertips and your brushes and color crayons skip and dance right outside those lines. Doing just this lets you be free and live a little. Just color your day every day outside the lines. Dare to break those rules, and I just bet you will live and love a little today if you try it. Be yourself and live life to its fullest.
Who owned this cute little doll house business? John Richared Lee, II, known simply as Ricky Lee. He was named for his daddy, John Richard Lee, I, who later died in a tragic car accident on December 29, 2010 near the Oktibbeha County Lake. He was 85 years old. Ricky’s mother is Kathryn (Kitty) Lee, 82, who survived the accident. Both were wonderful beautiful people and fine parents. Kitty Lee is the sweetest, loveliest, and spunkiest Starkville lady. She is adorable and so much fun. Kitty worked with lawyer William Ward for 35 years. She was a cracker-jack legal secretary. They have three children, Ricky, Debbie, who is the city accountant in Starkville’s City Hall, and Peggy Lee Carson, who works as the head administrator for the Gulfport hospital. John and Kitty were the grandparents to three grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Ricky Lee died at the age of 50 in November of 1998. He was loved so much by everyone who knew him. Hundreds attended his visitation and funeral. Ricky’s two children are Kathryn Lee and John Richard Lee, III (Trey). Kathryn helped during her college years at his Cajun Sno, which was established on April 12, 1994. Ricky sadly did not live to see his three granddaughters and two grandsons. Ricky was a U.S. Army Green Beret and served this country as a parachute jumper, jumping out of the helicopters onto the hard ground over and over again. He hurt his hips, and suffered damage. Ricky had to have his hips replaced and one hip was replaced twice. He worked offshore in Alaska and in Texas.
Ricky’s short life of only 50 years was lived in great hip pain, but he always smiled and kept on plugging along every day. He loved and adored people, and people loved Ricky Lee in return. He practiced and believed the Golden Rule. The whole town of Starkville loved Ricky, and Kathryn and Trey had a brass plaque placed on the wall by the front table by the door down town in the Starkville Cafe’ which reads “Ricky Lee’s Table.” This shows their deep love for their daddy as they honored him with this special unique gift. All day long he would bring to my easel snow cone after snow cone, which kept me cool and encouraged me to keep on keeping on as I sketched and painted. This was sweet of Ricky. He seemed to enjoy having me as his special guest that morning and afternoon slurping the ice cold snow cones and painting.
Let’s together share this painting. There is an extra special surprise almost hidden away from our sight. Find it. She is a two-year-old girl sitting in the tiny plastic red chair at the child’s red table almost in the bottom middle of my painting. See her? She is Miss Katherine McGinley. She along with her parents and older sister appeared just in time out of nowhere to give life to this scene. Guess what flavor she chose? Katherine said, “I want a rainbow snow cone.” She was just adorable. She was the tiny doll that I desperately needed to place in front of the dollhouse, Cajun Sno (spelled without the last letter, “w” of snow). Guess what? I just saw Katherine McGinley recently at the event our community awareness of safe biking called “Ban for Jan.” It was a support ride through Starkville for Jan Morgan and her husband, David Morgan. Jan was in a bike wreck recently and she was injured badly at Cedar Bluff.
It was a quiet Sunday morning. Katherine’s daddy, John McGinley, and his wife and older daughter were there, too. In fact, John McGinley spoke to us about bicycle safety. I got to talk to the now grown-up Katherine. She told me she was a Starkville Academy graduate and was a MSU college student. She is beautiful with light brown eyes. I hugged and thanked her for being my model so many years ago. She and her family are all precious people.
The little snow cone doll house stood all alone in the parking lot. I left this canvas white with a touch of dark green mixed with a yellow and lime green tree to the far right side of the canvas. The darkest part of the parking lot is the right side, also. The tin roof looks almost like a thatched roof top. The brown wood around the top of the roof area and the bottom around the posts look as if it all has a neat fence around it. It gives closure to the building, and the gray porch and the concrete blocks holding it up as its foundation is cute. It is portable trailer type of structure. It was moveable much like a trailer, but looked like a house.
As I along with you, look now as my viewer, squint your eyes like an artist does to see the contrasts of light and dark. Ricky is coming towards us with a paper cup filled to over-flowing with crushed ice and the colorful rainbow flavoring of sticky sweet syrup melting quickly into the bottom of that paper cup. Better slurp it down fast, or it will melt into colored water. I silently thanked Ricky for hosting me all morning. I can still see the Cajun Sno doll house when I pass by its home where it use to live. You, too, can see it.
The spirit of Ricky Lee is still there on that Louisville Street concrete spot. Ricky loved life, people, and he helped everybody all the time. I say right now to Ricky, “Thanks.” We miss you, and we love you.
I can see the ice melting as I tip the paper cup, and I feel it dripping down my chin to my neck. It feels so sticky yet so sweet.
Color outside the lines. Forget those silly rules. Be yourself, be creative, and do your thing. It’s sno-cone season.