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It was my very great pleasure this afternoon to serve a mint julep to my old friend (and friend of this blog) Franklin Evans, who flew into today from Philadelphia for the Walker Percy Weekend. There he is on my front porch, in the same rocking chair that’s on the cover of The Little Way Of Ruthie Leming, drinking a julep made according to Walker Percy’s recipe.

And here is is wielding Uncle Walker, the ice-smashing mallet Stephen Stirling made for me:

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Meanwhile, in New Orleans, the peerless raconteur and bon vivant Ken Bickford is busy practicing his julep skills for the weekend. He sent this photo from his backyard. If you’re going to be in town for the festival, you’ll really want to talk to Ken. Trust me. Seriously.

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As I write this, Julie is still at Market Hall, making ready. You have no idea how hard so many people have worked to make this thing happen. It is a labor of love. I tell you, when I think about all the people who are coming, and that one of them will be Mary Pratt Percy Lobdell, one of Walker and Bunt’s two daughters, I get all teary thinking about what a man her daddy was, and how many of us love him. I know she will see that.

And I hope we see you.