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Born May 18, 1953; got saved at Truett Memorial BC in Hayesville, NC 1959. On rigged ballot which I did not rig got Most Intellectual class of 71, Gaffney High School. Furman Grad, Sociology major but it was little tougher than Auburn football players had Had three dates with beautiful women the summer of 1978. Did not marry any of em. Never married anybody cause what was available was undesirable and what was desirable was unaffordable. Unlucky in love as they say and even still it is sometimes heartbreaking. Had a Pakistani Jr. Davis Cupper on the Ropes the summer of 84, City Courts, Rome Georgia I've a baby sitter, watched peoples homes while they were away on Vacation. Freelance writer, local consultant, screenwriter, and the best damn substitute teacher of Floyd County Georgia in mid 80's according to an anonymous kid passed me on main street a few years later when I went back to get a sandwich at Schroeders. Had some good moments in Collinsville as well. Ask Casey Mattox at if he will be honest about it. I try my best to make it to Bridges BBQ in Shelby NC at least four times a year.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Billy Graham and Me

       I missed Billy by two days in 2000, likely his last stop at Bridges BBQ in Shelby North Carolina. I found out on Jan 5 he had been there on the 2nd, rough dates. In the 60s when we drove up from Gaffney his picture was on the wall with Jesse Helms. That about tells the story there but I have more.

     Al Mohler the fundamentalist traitor in the Southern Baptist Convention who flipped on Roy Honeycutt at Southern Seminary where Mohler became President told Bonhoeffer scholar and Baptist Minister's son Charles Marsh a few years ago most folks would be surprised how active Billy was behind the scenes for the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention.

    Still Graham has the tributes of President Carter at the Billy Gee Museum in Charlotte in 2007 and Clinton showed up too. Obama was the last to pray with him, but Franklin got Trump, helped get the pussy grabber elected so it's a mysterious world in the Baptist faith.

     Will Campbell's great friend at Furman LD Johnson was chair of the Billy Graham crusade in Greenville SC at Textile Hall in1966 where my Gaffney friend Steve Wright got saved. And a year later I saw Billy Gee again in Miami with Gregory Walcott at the SBC national convention in Miami.

   Never saw him again but did see Cliff Barrows while at Furman at Taylors Baptist and his son Buddy Mooned my sister's graduating class at Mars Hill in 1978. I was there but didn't see Buddy's Happy White Ass.

   So they had some fun along the way and it's hard to glue it down.

    Over the years I have talked to some of Billy's descendants, detractors and apologists. Ive Read Marshall Frady on Graham, paid for that biography in Knoxville in 79 and Still have my copy. Read Steven Miller on Graham and Nixon and my friend Randall Balmer easily googled piece Billy Graham and the Judgments of History.

    My Rhodes scholar nominee Friend and great Baptist pastor of my generation Richard Kremer who had the pulpit for a while at Charlotte's high dollar St Johns Baptist; we've talked about Billy too. Kremer as a high school student went several nights to the Montgomery Alabama crusade in late 6os of Billy's heyday.

   All the good things said about Billy now woulda been embraced by my grandfather WD Shorty Fox, a  prayer warrior with an 8th grade education who also prayed for me. So that's in my guts too; then again Billy hosted Nixon in Knoxville a few weeks after Kent State--Nick Saban was there--and Al Gore's father was purposely not invited.

      Like all of us Billy was a man of his time, The Cold War and only three TV networks with a captive audience. And he was Johnny Cash's friend and later a daughter was a good friend of Gaffney beauty Andie Macdowell.

    So I only saw him twice in person, barely missed him at Bridges but like millions of other southern white boys who followed him about 30 years, he was part of the extended family.

    I hope to keep talking to some later members of the family, maybe at Furman by Mid April.

     May he rest in Peace.

   But here on earth some of us in Jesus Name will give Franklin Hell till he comes around to better discernment.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Gowdy farewell interview on Fox, Bonhoeffer and Lincoln Not happy

   I think it was Feb 7 a Tuesday Martha MacCallum gave Trey Gowdy the most part of the hour for a farewell interview to the US House. She was quite lubricious, almost a nauseous look like Eddie Murphy's aunt in Nutty Professor talking about Oprah's Steadman.

   But it got worse. Gowdy the theological product of FBC Spartanburg SC where he shares membership with Billy Graham; the product of their Truth for a New Generation Conference stretched disbelief at the end. He invoked the names of Jesus Christ, Lincoln and Bonhoeffer as his guiding lights.

      For one Lincoln is the subject of a four part biography by Sidney Blumenthal who Gowdy demonized in the Ben Ghazi hearings. Ive read most of the first two installments. They are sterling. Gowdy is no Lincoln heir, in fact he is not even of the plateau of Blumenthal who he deplores. Gowdy could learn a lot from Blumenthal.

     But his greater blasphemy is with Bonhoeffer. His FBC Sburg conference have hosted the discredited Constitutional and American founding father's "scholar" David Barton--see the Baptist global news link on Barton; they have also hosted the bonhoeffer impostor and Trump apologist Eric Metaxas.

    Upshot is time for Furman and Wofford, historic Baptist and Methodist institutions in Gowdy's district to have shared conferences on Bonhoeffer and the blashphemy Gowdy and the TFNG conferences  is making of his legacy.

   Bring Baptist Ministers son and authentic Bonhoeffer scholar Charles Marsh to campus. Have Furman grad Karen Guth who wrote the easily googled Christian Century piece Claims on Bonhoeffer back to alma mater where her Father Jim Guth is a poli sci proff legend.

    A Recent book  How Democracies Die by Harvard scholars, endorsed by Fareed Zhakaria (sp?) is in play in this matter. Call Gowdy out.

   I've had enough of this sham.

Monday, February 05, 2018

My response to Trump SOTU; Tipping Points

      Yep you can hear me online from my live call in January 31 on the 1A Program on NPR. I called in as Stephen from Collinsville to talk about Trump and DACA and him calling Crimson Tide Heisman Trophy Winner Derrick Henry a son of a bitch in Huntsville Alabama last fall.

     Our Senior Senator Richard Shelby invoked "tipping points" for his rationale not to support Roy Moore in the US Senate Race. Can Shelby, big friend of the University of Alabama, whose wife teaches at Georgetown, who is a "Legend" of the University and very proud of its nationally recognized Honors Program not invoke the same tipping points re the current President of the United States who called a Heisman Trophy Winner of Nick Saban's Crimson Tide a Son of a bitch for not seeing the NFL National Anthem morass the same way Trump has and Sean Hannity have demagogued it.

    Will Shelby join the Honors Program at U Bama in a group read of the new Book How Democracies Die and see if they together don't come to the same conclusion as the authors that in Trump world we have regressed to George Wallace's 60s Bama, the Louisiana of Huey Long, the Father Coughlin world Sean Hannity now imitates and the McCarthyism that move Eisenhower to take Ole Joe to the Woodshed.

     Let me back up a little cause Ive about jumped the shark. How did I get here.

      Well I'm almost 65 now and It's way past time I stand with the folks Ive talked about a good bit of my life as the ones I most admire and the moments they stood tall. I've talked a lot on this blog about Judge Frank Johnson and how he told Wallace's lawyers in 65 the matter of contempt is for this court to decide, not the alleged contemptors.

    Stewart A Newman stood behind the sacred desk in Columbia South Carolina in 1956 after Criswell told the Babdist preachers you wouldn't call a chigger a chiggerow now would ya. Newman spoke to to say: "WA Criswell doesn't speak for me.

   Newman visited our house in Hayesville, NC in 1960. And if 1977 at the Shoneys in Gaffney we had a good chat with my Dad.

     I texted the good chaplain, the right reverend Jim Pitts a few days ago to try one more time to get it right about the EA McDowell award in Charleston SC circa 1974 after then Governor Jimmy Carter gave the final address to the SC Southern Baptist State Convention.

     Pitts presented the award that day to his great friend Martin England a co founder of the Koinonia Farms the Furman graduate who couriered Martin Luther King's Letter out of the Birmingham Jail in 63 to its almost instant international acclaim.

    In a serendipitous moment in 74 somebody said let's have lunch. And they did.

    So If I am gonna champion these people, not to mention Marshal Frady and Will Campbell, Bonhoeffer and Civil Rights scholar and fellow Baptist preachers son Charles Marsh--google his religion and politics essay on guns and the NRA-- and call Viola Davis and now Eric Motley heroes and Rosa Parks and Maria Moreno; I guess its time to make certain to Donald Trump and Nick Saban and Paul Finebaum and the boys at the Shed in Collinsville, Alabama--some of them my friends--just where I stand on these matters.

    Tell Will Ainsworth and Rick Burgess and Don Crawford and Cliff Simms in the White House and Jeff Duncan in the US House I said so.

   Yeah that's me talking on the radio from Collinsville Alabama where my Mother's family goes back to the 1840s and and I'm proud of her.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

True Blue Plainview Basketball, a Strong and Urgent Case

   Oh wanted to preface all this by saying the School supe and his trustees should be at NACC March 16 to hear Furman novelist George Singleton and Appy State's Mark Powell. Powell has written a political thriller about South Carolina's Dark Corner, Trump Country, Wahalla, Oconee County and environs that has a lot in common with Sand Mountain. Bring the two fellas who helped Robbie Coker turn the wheel on the Gun raffle after Christmas. In tandem with NPR 1a program panel about Appalachia Monday should be an educational experience for all as Will Ainsworth of nearby Marshall County runs for Lt Governor. Who knows, Will may be at the game Jan 25!!!!

    Update Jan 18. Plainview has fallen to 417 at Max preps from their high of 82. They have a good program for a 3a school, even outstanding in that category but top 100 in the nation was pushing it a little. They lost their second game to 5a Wenonah recently and there is no way they coulda hung with the Gaffney Indians Threepeaters of the first decade of the 21st Century or even the LJ Peak years.

   A friend talked to James Worthy of the Lakers on Monday at the Memphis Westin. Worthy remembered playing Gaffney at Ashbrook Gastonia in 77. I was there. The traveling Indians packed it out. I don't think Plainview coulda hung with the Indians that year either.

   Jan 25 against Guntersville and the Mercer signee should tell the tale, little more definition for Plainview in the scheme of things.

  I'm just hoping the Collinsville Panthers can beat the legendary Heather Mayes, coach of the True Blue Girls in the weather delayed finals on Monday; and Austin Posey plays respectable if they get past Fyffe for the panther cats; that is if we navigate Blanton Jones and Banks tonight against Crossville.  

   Stay tuned on this blog, more updates later.       

 I saw what quite likely was the best basketball game played on Sand Mtn Alabama December 28 a few weeks ago. Wanted to write about this earlier but have had some logistical problems gettin online to kick in 2018.

     Plainview, the home of Jeremy Pruett, new head Coach of UTenn by way of Hoover HS, UGA and on the side line with Nick Saban himself Sunday night for the Halle Tua game is ranked nationally in 3a HS basketball this year. Dec 28 they played South Atlanta--yes an all black team from inner city Atlanta vs Lilly White Sand Mtn--in a Holiday tourney on Sand Mtn.

    South Atlanta was last year's Georgia 2a champs. And their coach is a Stetson grad and been with the program for 19 years.

   I threw in with the people of color and sat beside the father of an assistant coach for South Atlanta during the game in a section with some local scouts of other high schools. It was a delightful evening and very much a class act of HS basketball.

      Plainview was ahead most of the game playing Coach Coker's Princeton style of chess match, pass till you find the open three and pop it. Came to learn one of this trey specialists Koby Tinker is the grandson of Wallace Tinker who held Pistol Pete to 32 back in the late 60s when Auburn played LSU.

      And a few days later had some dissenters of my naming this the best game ever as a revenant said the Sylvania Squad of 73 or so, Murdock and his boys all 6 fot 3 and taller averaged 100 points a  game before the three.

   And of course there was the run of Solomon Stanton and the Dutton Brothers on the mid 90s who owned the local county tourney on the same court Blue played South Atlanta Thursday couple weeks ago. I was reminded of one game in the 90s I attended, they called out constables from three jurisdictions, county state and and city cause the atmosphere in the gym among the fans was gettin pretty intense.

    But this game on the 28th was a cut above.

    Atlanta was never far behind and went ahead with 4 minutes to go and won by 8, the only blemish on Plainview's record to date this year.

    Much more later with revisions to this intro to come. Was interesting raffle for guns during the three game evening. Optics were a little incongruous to say the least, but Robbie Coker, a former Assistant at Ole Miss, is trying to build a program best way he can. A leading young Republcan from Blue Plainview, Jordan Doufexis is aware and we are hoping Will Ainsworth and John Federico join the conversation with Bonhoeffer scholar Charles Marsh, but more about that later.

   Do check on this blog next week for more color commentary and historical anecdotes about Dekalb County basketball which reaches further than you may think: Darryl Strawberry, Patrick Ewing and Dale Ellis, for instance.

     We aint provincial no more. least wise basketball.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Cow Shots, 2017 the Year of Trump and other travesties

       Aunt Ina was rooted in Benton Tennessee on 64 between Cleveland and Murphy North Carolina. I will get to that story soon about the Hokes Bluff basketball team and a halftime shot from Mid Court yesterday at the Towns County Ga Battle of the states; a good metaphor for this year of Trump.

      But it was not all a travesty. On the whole a hopeful 64th year for me with early elderly aches that somedays are getting my close to low ambularity long time before I should be having these kind of troubles giving all the walking and bicycle riding Ive done in better days.

    Had a little something almost every month in Stevie World to look forward to in 2017 if you leave that bastard Trump out of the Equation.

     In January had a good day in Rome Ga, two good days. Went over to hear Patrick Powell talk about his book Blood at the Root at Berry and then back again a couple weeks later to hear Kate Campbell in concert. Had a Schroeders Deli Hoagie Carmichael on both occasions.

   I got newly elected DeKalb County School Supe Jason Barnett on NPR 1a program to talk about his experience of 16 years at Momma alma mater and the matter of DACA. And we were ratified in December with the Two one hour segments on NPR This American Life about nearby Albertville Alabama and Immigration. Marshall County's Will Ainsworth LT gov candidate and tight with Marco Rubio has some explaining to do if he continues to call himself a Christian and I intend to give him as many opportunities to do so this coming year.

     In May went to Easley SC to see my nephew Andrew Graduate from High School. He's a fine young man and Karen Ellers brought her new husband Jerry to his graduation luncheon though she did sabotage my table's conversation and Lynn Arve will tell you as much.

   I ate some Bridges BBQ on that trip.

   Attended some good Sacred Harp singing including a first at Dutton which I think I wrote up somewhere on this blog.

    Highlight of my year was the Truett Celebration in Hayesville. See my blog of late October, early November on that one.

    And then Andy's Wedding Nov 4 was unforgettable. After a series of deliberations late August after they had been notified the first of the year the Deacons at Collinsville Baptist reversed course and allowed me on the property of the church where my Mother was baptized for the first time in ten years for Andy's wedding to Melissa Layow. She did justice to the corset and her Momma and Kyle from Michigan were proud, Fez was proud, her Dad and Andy's Dad and I chatted while Melissa took an hour down by the creek for pictures and the honorable Russell Sam Beene, screenplay collaborators were in the wedding party to honor our fellow founding member of the Collinsville film society and there is a picture on facebook to prove we were there and there was a back up Italian Cream Cake and it was just wonderful.

     Thanksgiving and Christmas trips to the Upstate were memorable and great fun with my brother's newly minted grandsons who turn 3 and five this year. Last Friday I just missed Furman President David Shi by about two minutes at Furman Judson on Main Bookstore by the Westin South Main Greenville SC. Went back Tuesday and got a History of Alabama for Martha and the Collinsville Historical Association.

    Basketball has kicked in and Ive seen two Christmas tourneys in two states in two days.

   As for that sonuvabitch Donald Trump--see Huntsville Alabama ralley for Luther Strange, see what Norm Ornstein had to say on Cspan at the Miami Dade book festival. I'm with the honest conservative Ornstein on that one, and Garry Wills and Marilynne Robinson so I am in good company.

      Got a good reading list for the new year. Have gone deeper in the word with new late year considerations on the Communion of the Saints, Momma, Dorothy Day and Teresa of Lieux and did a good job with the Hallelujah Chorus annual end of service sing at FBC Easley SC.

   So 2018, I'm ready as I'll ever be.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A list of Billys

  My Dad is the Number One Billy but I was thinking lately of all the Billy I can name.

   This is a fun blog. I may change the numeration the ranking and add some here and there. Feel free to contact me if you have any nominations.

  Billy Alderbridge. Pearl Harbor Day. Heard about him last week on Ga NPR Two Way Street. More on Billy later  Latest Billy to cross my Path

   Billy Donegan: One year Furman netter but made his mark. A Few years ago I asked the Furman Legend, Coach Scarpa if he could remember the one year notable from 74. He said how could anybody forget Billy Donigan. He was there with a cousin whose Name I will remember soon. Beat the number three player as a freshman and never could understand why he couldn't start the next match as Number Three

  Billy Savoy: Does anybody know him

  Billy White Shoes Johnson

  Billy Paultz

   Billy Sunday Birt

   Billy Preston

   Billy Shears

   Billy the Kid

  Little Billy Cal Chastain

  Billy D. Fox

   Billy Idol

  Billy Jack

   Billy Donigan

    Billy Sunday

   Billy Graham

   Billie Jean King

   Billie Holiday

   Billy Bob

   Billie Jo McAlister.....You know her, she jumped off the Tallahatchee Bridge June 3 or a few days earlier, The third was just another dreary dusty delta day

  Billy Martin

  Billy Crystal

   Uncle Billy Sherman

  Charming Billy, the Alice McDermott creation

   Billy Dean Blanton

Billy Bolin

  Billy Thompson

Billy Lewis of Slabtown


   I'm just startin. Do you know a Billy?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A friend in the Bush White House

        Eric Motley drops in on Maya Angelou a few years before she passed away in Greensboro NC at Wake Forest.  He falls on his knees in honor and wonder at getting to meet in the flesh this great Poet, American icon. She says, get up son, none of us who have survived Montgomery, bow to anybody. Story will bring tears to your eyes. Google it at Huffington Post.

     So When a friend called a month ago to tell me Eric had just left Birmingham after a book signing of his new memoir, I was already pretty much all in.

      I've never met Eric Motley but I feel like I know him well. We recently became facebook friends. He is a great friend of mutual friends Todd and Brad Heifner through days at Samford University and we both held the late President Tom Corts in highest esteem. Eric as good friend of my cousin Wendy Skelton  Whitley gave my Dad's sister Juanita a personal tour of the White House late in the Bush 43 administration.

     And though Motley's coming of age story is a good 20 years after mine, his wondrous story of development in a strong caring black community just north of Montgomery, Madison Park, mirrors many of the stories I heard from my friends of color in the first years of integration, late 60s, early 70s in Gaffney South Carolina.

     Motley's new book is blurb endorsed by folks across the spectrum from Laura Bush to Henry Louis Gates to Stephen Carter and the head of the Aspen Institute for which Eric now works, Walter Isaacson.

     This review will have a second part with reservations about the evolution of the Bush dynasty, the presidential family that landed Motley with the Aspen Institute, but this first round will resist hagiography with glowing, sincere promotion of this magnificent success story of a black man from the deep south.

      Motley had a caring community and a bicycle. Naturally he ingratiated himself to older folks in the community and before long women had made him the DUK, the Designated University Kid. They singled him out for books cause that was his inclination and special instruction. A white elementary school teacher Mrs. Mayes saw his gifts and carted him all over Central Alabama for public speaking contests. He came by piano and voice naturally.

    A few chapters later, still about twelve years old young Motley is in the downtown Montgomery Library on a Saturday afternoon for his twice monthly hour that usually turns into ninety minutes visit while his grandfather waits in the parking lot. In one scene it's like the third generation sequel to Miss Jane Pittman, he looks over and sees an aging man in a wheelchair reading. Governor George Wallace and young Motley make eye contact before closing hour.

     You can't make this stuff up.

       At Samford President Tom Corts took him under his wing. Corts is a special story in his own right. Handsome fellow what you think a President of a Baptist college should look like the last quarter of the 20th Century he always spoke to my Dad by name and they talked about their mutual acquaintance from Wingate in NC, Everett Chapman who was gifted in the pulpit.

     When Motley was a freshman at Samford spring of 93 , in my 40th year I attended an Inquistion of Corts by leftover Birchers and their friends. It was like the first cousin of Judge Frank Johnson or a great grandson of Abraham Lincoln was on trial by this near 1,000 member mob of Baptist preachers. More about that in the 2nd installment of this review.

   Gotta say now Corts at one point when Samford was in the throes of the Baptist fundamentalist fight on liberal arts and everything else they could spin as liberal; Corts thought I had planted a provocative piece in the Wall St. Journal. Was not me but wish I coulda claimed that on my resume.

     Motley leaves Samford, Birmingham and Bama in 96 and goes to Scotland to Study. From there he gets a big thumbs up from the Tutweilers of Alabama and next thing he knows he's in the Bush 43 White House.

   And from there to the Aspen Institute where he is now.

   This is a remarkable story. Luck and the fates have been with Motley thus far but he brought a lot to the table, and as his theme, his testimony shouts out, it was a community in Madison Park Alabama who didn't believe what Jim Crow told them about themselves, but like the themes in Paul Harvey's Moses, Jesus and the Trickster, gave at least one 1990s member of the talented tenth the confidence and determination to find a way out to dance on the Big Stage.

     I called Gaffney High School the day I got my copy of this book, a few days after emotional reads from my friend Todd Heifner on the phone. I told them to get this book for the HS library and have the Honors History students read it. Cause my great friends the third year of integration in 1971, in the yearbook where I have my proudest picture with soon to be Montreal Olympian Charles Foster, the father of the BEST consensus MLB player first decade of the 21st Century, Grady Sizemore Jr; the daughter of the doctor for whom the legendary football field is named--and it is legendary; we didn't do our moment in the South's great drama without unspoken hopes folks like Eric Motley would some come along after us.

    And he did.