My Photo

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.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

High School Football playoffs and Collinsville Turkey Trot

         Ive been in Bama for a little over 30 years and the annual Turkey Trot second Saturday in November was one of the best ever in my stay here. The Trot goes back to the 1920's, most likely My Momma saw her first one in when she was three years old. I have blogged before about the "wildly Flopping gobblers" as written up by a U Bama recruiter who passed on a train in the late 20s.

    Maybe it was the weather or Martha Barksdale's thousand dollar raffle for the Cricket Theatre that got folks out but it was a good one. James Payton had trouble getting a squealer for the greased Pig contest this year, but every thing else was rollin from the Chili Taste Test Competition, the Dog Show, the Cakewalk ( lost this year but got me an Italian Cream Cake last) to Jeff Graves Ribs fundraiser for the Athletic Club.

   And Martha had her History Museum open with Rebecca Brindley Clayton doing most of the chatting.....I didn't win the raffle but one a burger coupon a Big Jack on their roulette wheel of fortune. Lauren was there spinnin but she don't take books back to NACC lyberry.

   But the star of the show this year was Ronnie Osborne's group Still Kickin headlined by local Celebrity Tim Watson on the fiddle and his son on kick ass harmonica. Great job on Devil Went Down to Georgia and Tim said he played it six times a day for about ten years during his three decade stay around Nashville and the Grand Ole Oprey. My fave when it's just Ronnie o and group as Dwight Yoakm Fast as You complete with the Sic Em.

      Collinsville had a shot at the Bama 2a state Championship. Were about to score to go ahead 16-14 with a minute to go on Aliceville's 22 or so but the opposition picked off a pass and ran it back all the way. Payton Anderson of the intimidating Fyffe Red Devils broke his foot and they are half a team without him. Collinsville played them even for three quarters earlier in the  year. And Addison was to come to Collinsville this Friday were it not for the interception near the Mississippi line.

     The locals chartered a fan  bus for that trip

    Meanwhile the Mighty Indians, Top 50 all time High School Dynasty according to Max Preps, are still alive and face Byrnes this Friday at the cracker Barrel exit 63 on 85 in Upstate SC. Byrnes is the home of SC Gamecock's QB Bentley and where Marcus Lattimore played. I don't think Gaffney ever beat Marcus, but we beat em with Sidney Rice.

    Bear Bryant's great grandson went down against Tua's brother Friday night. I had planned to see the Tyson boy in Trussville but that chance has gone forever. They say he is tall but I never saw him in person.

    A kid Dylan Thomas I think his name was killed earlier this year in Zebulon, Pike County Ga. I lived there for two years some time ago and mourn their loss. Was a big story in Georgia this year. They were to play in Savannah last weekend after an overtime win ten days ago..

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Molly Worthen has advice for Furman Seeking Abraham

    After much attention to the yearlong Furman Seeking Abraham project--see previous blog--I was gonna hold off till the start of next year for next installment. But after some conversations the last four days coinciding with the arrival of the Fall 2018 issue of Christian Ethics Today and sterling most timely article by Molly Worthen I'm posting something now, with every intention of saying more in January.

      I have been a big fan of Worthen since reading her definitive work on inerrancy a few years ago, Apostles of Reason. In my view it was a devastating look at the bogus front Al Mohler, Adrian Rogers, and the right winger enthusiasts Paul Pressler and Paige Patterson used as a feint for the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention. 

     Now with some perceptions that initiatives like Furman's 2015 booklet Commemorating 50 Years of Desegregation at Furman and most recently the heralded Seeking Abraham look at the founding father's slaveholding and major influence in the Secessionist move in the South are also moving Furman rapidly away from the best of its Baptist history toward a secular,  identitly politics institution,  Molly Worthen's recent address could not be more timely

     I called the Baugh Center for Baptist Studies at Atlanta Campus of Mercer University this morning to alert them to some of the concerns at Furman. I take some comfort in new President Davis bona fides, her Baptist roots and her network of Administrators with shared time at Baylor, David Underwood now President of Mercer, and Randall Obrien, soon to retire at Carlyle Marney's legacy Carson Newman.

      As conversations have happened rapidly the last 17 days or so, I am a little relieved some of the alarms  Furman was racing downhill to be an entirely secular institution in just thirty short years since the official break with SC Baptists; some of those alarms have been calmed, suspicions tempered.

    Still it has registered with me what a magnificent job Furman historian Courtney Tollison did in the 2015 booklet on Desegregation at Furman as a tipping point in Furman's declining relationship with SC Baptists. The excerpt in the 2015 booklet is definitive, part of her dissertation for her Doctorate at USCarolina circa 2002.

    And on Nov 19 in a few weeks, newly Vanderbilt PHD, Furman undergrad Ansley Quiros book on the Civil Rights movement in Albany Georgia will include a tribute to three Great Baptists with Furman ties, Marshall Frady, Martin England, and a former pastor of FBC Newport Tn where I was born in 53 who was in Americus Ga during the Civil Rights upheaval there.

   At same time it is of concern several folks in key leadership positions at Furman are far short of a working conversational knowledge of Frady and England, their deep Baptist roots that made them champions in the Civil Rights era,  among others.

    In jest Ive been saying with all the statues recommended by the Seeking Abraham report, one should go outside Bon Secours Arena, site of the old Greenville Auditorium the Big Box Where Furman played its home Basketball games, a statue of Frady holding a Pepsi Cup for Jesse Jackson to spit in.

    Frady was a biographer of Jackson and they had an agreement whoever died first the other would do the eulogy. Frady Passed in 2004 and Jackson delivered the eulogy in Augusta Georgia, with former Furman Chaplain Jim Pitts in attendance with TC Smith on a mission from Civil Rights legend Will D Campbell to read a tribute for Frady.

    None of this, nor mention of Martin England as a courier of ML Kings letter from the Bham Jail are in the two booklets now promoted at Furman.

    England and TC Smith marched with King and the Civil Rights marchers from Selma to Montgomery, and Frady's legendary relationship with Jesse Jackson was well known in many circles at Furman till recently.

    So here is hoping the education goes both ways in the ensuing conversations as Seeking Abraham takes traction.

    More later.

     For further consideration, I am hoping whoever is key in Furman's direction whether the President's office, the Provost or the President of the faculty, when it comes to the difficult tension between diversity, identity politics and political correctness Furman will always have a place for the likes of Molly Worthen and this Pulitzer prize winner, and that pocket of enthusiasms will not be looked on as a stepchild especially with a heritage as rich as that of LD Johnson, Albert Blackwell, Martin England, Marshall Frady and their friends Will D Campbell and Carlyle Marney. What follows is quoted from James Wood recent review of Marilynne Robinson in the New Yorker: 

But Robinson is illiberal and unfashionably fierce in her devotion to this Protestant tradition; she is voluble in defense of silence. She loathes the complacent idleness whereby contemporary Americans dismiss Puritanism and turn John Calvin, its great proponent, into an obscure, moralizing bigot: “We are forever drawing up indictments against the past, then refusing to let it testify in its own behalf—it is so very guilty, after all. Such attention as we give to it is usually vindictive and incurious and therefore incompetent.” We flinch from Puritanism because it placed sin at the center of life, but then, as she tartly reminds us, “Americans never think of themselves as sharing fully in the human condition, and therefore beset as all humankind is beset.” Calvin believed in our “total depravity,” our utter fallenness, but this was not necessarily a cruel condemnation. “The belief that we are all sinners gives us excellent grounds for forgiveness and self-forgiveness, and is kindlier than any expectation that we might be saints, even while it affirms the standards all of us fail to attain,” Robinson writes in her essay “Puritans and Prigs.” Nowadays, she argues, educated Americans are prigs, not Puritans, quick to pour judgment on anyone who fails to toe the right political line. Soft moralizing has replaced hard moralizing, but at least those old hard moralists admitted to being moralists.
I do not always enjoy Robinson’s ecstasies, but I admire the obdurateness with which she describes the difficult joys of a faith that will please neither evangelicals nor secularists. Above all, there is the precision and lyrical power of her language, and the way it embodies a struggle—the fight with words, the contemporary writer’s fight with the history of words and the presence of literary tradition, the fight to use the best words to describe both the visible and the invisible world. Here, for instance, is how the narrator of “Housekeeping,” Robinson’s first novel, describes her dead grandmother, who lies in bed with her arms wide open and her head flung back: “It was as if, drowning in air, she had leaped toward ether.” In the same novel, the narrator imagines her grandmother pinning sheets to a clothesline, on a windy day—“Say that when she had pinned three corners to the lines it began to billow and leap in her hands, to flutter and tremble, and to glare with the light, and that the throes of the thing were as gleeful and strong as if a spirit were dancing in its cerements.” “Cerements,” an old word for burial cloth, is Robinson in her Melvillean mode, and is one of many moments in her earlier work when she sounds like the antiquarian Cormac McCarthy. But stronger than that fancy word is the plain and lovely “the throes of the thing,” with its animism and its homemade alliteration.


Thursday, November 01, 2018

SEC Legends Doug Dickey and Vince Dooley congratulate the Collinsvillle Panthers 1968

        Ive been meaning to tell this story for about three years, hoping to get paid about 200 dollars for it but the county papers don't have the sense to offer some chump change that will sell extra copies all by it's lonesome.

     My key source on this tale is Jerry Traffanstedt of the Collinsville Traffansteins, the brother of the mayor and twin of Town Force Jane Simpson.

    Jerry T was a tenth grader the fall of 1968 when they played Valley Head. They play again tonight but it was the game 50 years ago I'm talking about.

   According to Jerry, VH was loaded. Their QB Charles Carden, later to marry into the the august Gilbreath Clan and their Grain Silo downtown Collinsville, was sought after all over the South. Noonie Guinn was also on the team who went to Purdue and seven other players got college Scholarships that year 68-69 At Valley Head.

     VH was about 5 TD favorites. Doug Dickey head coach of Tennessee where Carden later matriculated for one year, and Vince Dooley of Herschel Walkers Georgia Bulldogs were in town scouting Carden.

   But the scrawny Panthers of Collinsville, only one senior on the team, put up a fight, a valiant effort and only lost 21-7.

   In a highlight of that squads year and lifetime, both Dooley and Dickey came on the Collinsville bus after the game to give them applause for their valiant effort being such underdogs.

    Also on the team with Jerry Tee that year was Sammy Pinto Beene, a Tenth Grader. I asked Several of his sons if he ever said anything about that game. Pinto, an unassuming fellow to this day, the boys say never said much about anything. Most he said about his HS career is people thought he was faster than he actually was; as I said an humble fellow.

    He was kind a slight likely less than 140 pounds if that in his playing days. The wind couldn't put up much of a resistance and he sailed right through apparently when he had the ball.

   Others on that team were Johnny Mack Edwards who had three boys who all went to Auburn, one of whom made the squad as a walkon and another coaching tonight for the Panthers, known to attend some summer Coaching Clinics with the Furman staff.

   James Spade and Curtis Williams were two Black players on that team a couple years after integration for Collinsville, and I think Jerry said a Bobo was the QB.

  Collinsville has only lost one game this year, blowing most teams away in the first quarter like Bama. Tonight should be No different, but nobody is expecting the likes of Dickey and Dooley in town tonight.

   I have contacted Furman about Myles Underwood, distant kin of Willie who was at Clemson on the field the night of the Woody Hayes incident in the Gator Bowl. I think Danny Ford was coaching that year, in fact almost sure of it.

     And telling Carson Newman about Caleb Jones the Shane Barkley's kid.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

My Dad's Red Sox rollin in the World Series

  I've made several blogposts the last few years about my Dad's love for the Boston Red Sox, Carl Yazstremski,  and Leon Culberson who he said almost married his sister Aunt Virginia. Leon, Dom Dimmagio and the 46 Bosox are part of baseball lore told well by David Halberstam in the Teammates. My Dad passed in 99 so he never got to see the Bosox break the Series Curse. I remember seeing FFn Bucky Dent rip his heart out in 78 and it was some time in there, was it Buckner when the ball went between his legs. That coulda been the early 80s.

   Leon's grandson Charlie now plays for the Braves and had a glorious playoff with the Dodgers last year. This year with the Braves he faced the Dodgers and did okay.

    Walker Buehler played at Vanderbilt coming out of Clay County HS in Kentucky. I think he overlapped a year with Yaz grandson Mike. There was a natty in there somewhere. That year 14 or so I tried to get the Red Sox 1a team at Fluor Field to host Vandy and the Citadel. If they woulda pulled it off you coulda had the grandson of Yaz and the great grandson of Shoeless Joe Jackson of the Citadel on the same field. My alma mater Furman woulda rounded out a tri fecta.

   My nephew took Jon Lester's wife to her Jr Prom at Wade Hampton High. But that was before she met Lester and he went to the Cubs. Just random and I won't be speaking to my nephew for a while anyway maybe past Christmas.

   We'll see.

       I want the Sox to win, and my friend from Gaffney Grady Sizemore shared the outfield, well switched out with Jackie Bradley Jr in 2010; Grady Jr hit a home run first at bat that season and I thought he was on the road to redemption glory after a great decade with the Indians and then some rehab. But he faded in a few years jumped around to other clubs but they can never take his glory of the Indians away. Grady the father was a year behind me at Gaffney high, in the Band but he played baseball, even a little for Mars Hill College.

    But Walker Buehler of the Dodgers is my storyline this year. Against the Braves he walks a pitcher that was one for 53 on the year at bats and the next dude hits a grand slam. Place is going crazy. I thought a great baseball moment.

    Then he gets on the mound with the Red Sox and Jackie Bradley Jr stares him down like Jackie Robinson dancing off third toward the plate. Buehler comes unraveled again and baseball mayhem follows.

    Maybe I got it wrong. I think Buehler danced on Verlander, that was it. In any case here we are, Buehler is up tomorrow night and we'll see if Clayton Kershaw has any redemption left.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Furman looks at the slave holding founders; Baptists again in play

    For the last year Furman has taken a strong look at the founders Richard and his son James Clement, the first president, and their slaveholding and the theology and cultural apologies they developed to influence the south into righteous satisfaction they were doing God's will.

    I will post a link from circa Oct 17 Greenville Journal that will do justice to the initiative. This blog will focus on some of the drama that has become part of the conversation and the possibility of a poison pill in the report that has raised the suspicions among some pockets, precincts of the community, myself included.

   I want to say at the outset, face value this looks to have been a very worthwhile endeavor. There is some peer pressure from the likes of UVA, Harvard and others caught up in diversity--not a bad word--movement in higher education, but I have learned a good bit from the 40 page report and the nuances and frames, insights have been invaluable as Furman is not only my alma mater but Gaffney SC my hometown thus state as from third grade in 62 to the families leavetaking in 78 Ich bin Carolina Cracker!

     The poison pill is underdiscussion. I'd heard chatter but I understood clearly in a rollout Sat morning on campus library Homecoming day with about 15 folks in the room there is some discussion with the recommendations the longtime seal For Christ and Learning may be replaced with Furman's sister Judson College Seal that does not have Christ in the motto in any form, on the Cross or Resurrected.

    What follows for now are copies of some facebook posts I have made beginning with this morning on Furman's Main Facebook wall.

   Greenville Journal article should google up for Unearthing the Past, Furman reckons .

     And here are my posts on Furman facebook wall this morning.

I was in a group of about 15 folks in the Library Saturday morning for the rollout of the Slavery Justice initiative. Fascinating report but I fear there is something of a poison pill in the recommendations that would in effect remove Christ from the University Seal. I posted my concerns on the facebook wall of Brandon Inabinet. We remain facebook friends but he deleted my comment. I also shared my concerns on the wall of the New Baptist Covenant which had their tenth annual gathering last week. You can click over to their wall and see my comment in the Ruby Sales thread. Furman certainly is part of a big historical movement as Ms Sales is quoted with the following: “I submit to you today that the story has not been told – that the South has a rendezvous with destiny, that the whole struggle for human and civil rights will be fought in the South,” said Sales. “It will be the battleground for human and civil rights in the 21st century.”

Stephen M. Fox And at Furman, you can not disconnect Civil Rights from names like TC Smith, Marshall Frady, Martin England, LD Johnson, Will D. Campbell and Carlyle Marney and I see NO enthusiasm for celebrating their contributions as Baptists in the current Furman conversation and that saddens me..

Interest elevates at Furman

by Stephen Fox » Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:36 am
Latest post on facebook quoting myself

There seems to have arisen a misunderstanding of my use of the term poison pill. The term was never uttered in the meeting Saturday morning or in any conversation I can remember to date about the report. The term is mine after Ive thought about the presentation Sunday and the many conversations I had since then and a few before to describe the concern about the seal. I wanted to do my best to be as clear as I could about that. Thanks. Looking to see how this concern plays out with the New Baptist Covenant and wider Baptist progressive Movement given well aware of the 1990 breal with the SC SBC, Furman will forever be known as a Historically BaptistCollege and the virtues of that history should be proclaimed as broadly as the current gut wrenching over the apologists for slavery of the founding fathers. Going forward maybe somebody can channel Marshall Frady much better than my capacity, in the interest of Transparency and I find many suspicions about that in the chatter this process has evoked. Thank you, Proud to be a Paladin and Jesus knows that and many Furman folks now in heaven if I could be so retrograde at this juncture to utter such arcane phrases, callin on the name of the Lord and what not.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Three new books for Gaffney High School

   Last Friday was Gaffney High School Homecoming. I hope to be the guest speaker for seven minutes at the Traditional two hour long assembly 2021 my class 50th but that's three years away.

     I called to leave a message for Tommy Martin but he was in the office early. Turns out he is of the class of 63 five years after his oldest sister, a classmate of Libby Harrill Mitchell, a Furman grad who became LT gov of Maine and ran for Governor.

    She would be a great speaker also but this was her year.

    Tommy has a younger sister Kathy who went to Furman, GHS 68. So Tommy tells me it's a family reunion for them as they cover the fifths. 

   Was also a big day for Limestone which used to be a mile from my house. When they got a good surface on their tennis courts I spent a lot of time there hitting the wall. Limestone looking at a new ten million dollar library by 2020. Tommy said they visited the impressive complex at Young Harris as they were envisioning.

   Rahul Mehra was back in town, the College of Charleston grad of Distinction. His father taught Biology at Limestone, something of a legend if not an icon.
     Rahul is doing well in Tampa but can't pay for the new library all by himself. Help him out if you can.

      But back to Gaffney High. Had a delightful conversation with Karen Mabry Denton, GHS 94 or so and GHS Libraria.  She is Barry Denton's daughter in law. She said she's good, Rahul and I don't even have to make a pledge, to get my suggested books.

    1. Jill Lepore new history of America. A Thousand pages with a spotlight on James Madison's slave Billy, and later the Birch Society marinated Phyliss Schlafly, a Jezebel with great influence who worked in the shadows with Pressler and Patterson and the residues of the White Citizens Councils in the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention.

    2. Joe Crespino's Strom Thurmond's America. I recommend it as does David Shi, a friend of Gaffney's Jackie Queen from their football days at Furman and former chair of the History Department at Davidson.

    3.  Frye Galliard's Hard Rain. See my blog review about three posts down. Frye himself read it and liked it. I call Joe Kennedy's DC office yesterday and told them of Frye's affection for Bobby, Joe's grandfather and the Gaffney connection through Marian Wright Edelman. They're gonna read my blog too, possibly Joe himself. But more importantly I think Frye a shoe in for the reference shelves in Joe Jr's DC office.

   Bill Moyers was right when he sent me a note in 88 that said People like me make a difference; because I do.

     As I hope to tell the third generation at GHS in 21: Remember Flight, Because the Bird is Mortal.


Thursday, September 20, 2018

New Best friends in Alabama

     If you hang out in the right places you never know with whom you'll strike up a conversation. Over the years within a couple miles of my home Ive become acquainted with Brett Morgen--7 Emmy nominations Monday night for Nat Geo's Jane and he gave a speech, Casey Mattox of the Koch Foundation, Wayne Clanton who witnessed the 1957 fight against Sand Rock in the Old Gym, Billy Ferguson who reffed Charles Barkley's HS all star game, All American Raymond Weaver and his daughter Susan. And coming through town before I was born were Hank Williams and in 1931 when Momma was seven, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

    Yesterday at Jacks, Exit 205 on 59 I strike up a conversation while Fox News is on the Big Screen and come to find out I'm talking to the daughter and grand daughter of University of Alabama President Sayers of the 60s. We exchange info and I have some new best friends. I told them about Frye Galliard's new Book Hard Rain, Marie Griffith's Moral Combat, some insights on Frank Johnson and a good Kenny Stabler Story.

    Next time they come through, hopefully on a Thursday, I think they are a certainty for Martha's history museum downtown across from the Cricket Theatre.

     Next fall, if things play out favorably, maybe they can come back up to here Brett Morgen talk about his adventure in Collinsville in 92 in the renovated Cricket Theatre.

     Six Months ago and once since struck up a conversation with a truck driver who has come back home to Ringgold Georgia just up the road. He was in LA in the 60s and drove for a wealthy man who was good friend of Sharon Tate. Said she was as down home as she could be, not a hint of pretension, and more beautiful in person than on screen.

    Talk to people. Most have a good story to tell.

     Robert Grainier and Kootenai Bob. Get to know them in Denis Johnson's Train Dreams.