By Carole McReynolds Davis
May I introduce you to Miss Holland Layne Davis, who is our future “Miss Bully Belle.” Several years ago our Mississippi State University honored women co-eds by giving us a second mascot, “Miss Bully Belle.” She was the partner to our first mascot, “Mr. Bully.” We loved our two bulldogs spelled, “Bulldawgs” and pronounced with the very Southern drawl of dragging out the “o” which became a “w” instead. “Miss Bully Belle” hung around for a few years all dressed up in very feminine maroon and white cute, stylish, lovely outfits. She suddenly disappeared, and she became invisible completely from all our sporting events.
I found a new and future “Miss Bully Belle” who is the daughter of our second son and his wife. Both are graduates of the MSU College of Business. My husband and I are the very proud grandparents of Holland.
Holland's third grade teacher, Mrs. Robinson asked her class in Kingwood, Texas to pick out a university that one day they would like to attend. Holland chose MSU, and suddenly she became, “Miss Bully Belle” ringing her cowbell respectfully with great gusto and pride. I called Holland to congratulate her and ask her for a phone interview to write a column. She agreed and was very surprised and honored.
Holland was born nine years ago on Dec. 23 in Joplin Mo.,” and raised in Kingwood, but her heart is shaped just like a white magnolia flower, and her soul really belongs in Mississippi. She is busy out recruiting eastward toward the western part of the USA in the big state of Texas for future Bulldawgs and “Bully Belles.” She is the number one recruiting officer in our Houston/ Kingwood area of our MSU Alumni Association. In fact, McReynolds and Gayla just attended an MSU Alumni Meeting in Houston, and they got to meet MSU head football coach Dan Mullen and shake his hand.
One-hundred fifty years ago our land-grant universities were born. MSU is a very proud land-grant university. In 1862, American newspapers were full of reports from the battlefields of the Civil War, but there were other events that year that would forever change the nation. This year universities in every state are celebrating the 150th anniversary of one of those events. On July 2, 1862 President Abraham Lincoln sighed the Morrill Act, and his signature began the process of making higher education possible for all the sons and daughters of all Americans.
Generations of our family have attended and graduated from MSU.
Holland's own great-great-great grandfather, Wiley Bartley Pearson, helped build Lee Hall, the oldest building on the MSU campus. He also helped build the twin towers on our MSU campus. Her great-grandfather, John Andrew McReynolds, II was a 1930 MSU graduate. Her grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins are all MSU graduates. Her maternal grandparents are, Lynn and Myron Johnson are also Starkvillians who are just as proud of her as we are. We all dearly love Holland very much. Her roots grow deeply in our MSU ” Maroon and White” soil.
Mrs. Robinson suddenly saw Holland's hand being held high as she waved it for attention, and with great enthusiasm and excitement she said, “I am very interested, I and want to do my research writing about my university because I really love this university.” I will design and create a big poster telling everybody about where I want to go one day when I get all grown up cause I'm going back home to Mississippi. I want to become college student, and a real “Bully Belle!”
Holland is a stunning, striking looking, beautiful icy-blue eyed, freckled-faced little girl with a million-dollar smile. Her daddy, McReynolds is our second son, and her mother is Gayla. McReynolds and Holland were in a grocery store shopping one day together. McReynolds was waiting in line to be checked out, and suddenly began to talk to a complete stranger. Suddenly he felt a nudge on his sleeve. He leaned down to see what Holland wanted to whisper in his ear. She said, “Daddy, you can not talk to that lady because she is wearing a blue and red Ole Miss tee shirt, and we are MSU fans!”
May I present to you the real Holland Layne Davis. Her great dream and passion in life is to write and wants to major in journalism at MSU. She loves and uses her imagination and said, “ I imagine stories and novels in my own head lots of the time. I enjoy writing, singing, dancing and playing the piano.”
Let's share her creation of her very own work we received as an e-mail on our computer of her huge framed poster titled, “Why I'm Interested In Mississippi State University."
At the top we spot the big “M” logo of MSU. She has staggered each written page so that it gives us a contrast and a neat design which is eye-appealing, in the middle is her main theme on the written poster. Right above this is the decal of our Bulldawg. Let your eyes go to part of the map of the United States of America. It is marked showing exactly where Starkville and MSU are located in regard to Kingwood, Texas.
Each smaller white poster is carefully framed with a border of maroon ruffled ribbon of the Bulldawg paw prints. She framed the entire poster in an attractive gray wooden frame to give it stability to carry to school, and to keep it later in her room on her wall forever as her very own artistic creative painting.
Now, look at Holland herself. He has those sparking bright big icy- blue eyes her hair is pulled back in a silver head band that is also sparkling with silver stones. Look at her very sweet angelic million dollar smile. See her stylish maroon and white tee shirt with the tie died hot pink, yellow, lime green and turquoise blue portrait of our MSU Bulldawg on it. This photo was made by her mother in their kitchen in Kingwood.
There are now tears in my own eyes as I take great pride visually seeing how my very own granddaughter, Holland took her own artistic talent, and on paper created and answered with words, pictures and symbols her own presentation. Like the song she sang to me over the telephone, Holland looked into her own mirror and dreamed of one day attending the university of her choice majoring in journalism. I have always believed the greatest legacy any of us ever leave on this place we call Earth are our children.
Carole McReynolds Davis is a local artist. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org .