Darrell Cunningham walks out of his home dressed in white beekeeper’s equipment. He waltzes over to his hives. He may use smoke to calm the hives, but his bees are so gentle that he may forgo this step. He starts singing, belting in his backyard, “I’d start walking your way, you’d start walking mine, we’d meet in the middle, ‘neath that old Georgia pine,” by Diamond Rio; or maybe singing one of his own singles, like his song, “Bee Man.” When he reaches for the lid on the hive, his voice softens as he greets his bees with a, “Hey, Babies! How y’all doin’?” before continuing his gentle work, chatting with the bees in a tone that can only be described as having been dipped in honey.
Richard Tucker was born and raised in Tupelo, and grew up fishing in nearby areas. This pastime turned into a passion, which soon spiralled into tying his own flies.
“It was just kind of a natural progression from getting into fly fishing and trying to learn more about the sport,” he said. “Especially trout fishing, because the flies were not readily available, and so I just tried to figure out how to do it.”
G | Mike Bailey has been practicing his craft since the early 2000s. Since then, he has become a member of the Mississippi Craftsmen’s Guild, and his pieces can be found scattered about Mississippi, sold from stores in the Smokies and sitting in homes as far as Italy and Spain.
Leah Beasley is the Deputy Athletic Director of External Affairs at Mississippi State University. For Beasley, who played softball at Louisiana Tech University, it all started while she was earning her MBA from La Tech. Through a graduate assistance program, she worked for her school’s athletic department. At the time, there wasn’t a marketing team for their athletics, so the position was largely, “F.I.O. – figure it out.” Come 2013, she saw an opportunity to work in the SEC, and took a job at State, and has been there ever since. Before her current position, she was the game-day producer for State’s football games. Now, she and her team oversee everything fan-related: From ticket sales until the final whistle blows and the last fan leaves the stadium, Beasley’s department is involved in it all.