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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.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Furman, Clemson sponsor Great conference/Rash and Robertson

I wanted to go but not gonna make it. May be having an appendectomy instead. Been a great year and the fun isn't over yet.

But for what coulda been, I add my applause to this effort:
(from the Greenville News by Furman Proff O'neill

'Our Past Before Us' seeks to uncover a usable historyThis week's conference will help interpret the Upstate's past so it can better map its future.Published: Thursday, March 8, 2007 - 2:00 am By Stephen O'Neill
Today, Friday and Saturday, the red hills of the South Carolina Upcountry will give up some of their secrets, telling about the Cherokee and the Catawba, about Pitchfork Ben Tillman and Ben Robertson, about African-Americans in slavery and freedom, about baseball on the mill hill and an auto industry in the Upstate 85 years before BMW, about the forgotten costs of urban renewal and economic development, and about music, transportation, religion, Reconstruction, industrialization and literature.
These topics and others will anchor a three-day interdisciplinary conference, "Our Past Before Us: The Search for the South Carolina Upcountry," that will seek to uncover a usable past by framing questions about the Upcountry's history in ways that will offer insight into the origins of present-day challenges. Events are designed to attract a wide audience and to generate dialogue among scholars, the public, civic and political leaders and the media. The conference is sponsored and hosted by Clemson and Furman universities and by the Upcountry History Museum and the Greenville County Library System, with funding from the Humanities Council of South Carolina. The conference is free and the public is welcome.
The conference's quest to tell about the Upcountry's history is timely, if not overdue. First, we know too little about this region's past. Within the state, the history of Charleston and the Lowcountry has overshadowed the stories of people and places above the fall line, which are no less important or interesting. Moreover, the Upcountry's successful efforts to reinvent its economic future, while paying dividends, have too often prompted citizens and leaders to look ahead but neglect what the past might tell us.
In preparing for this conference over the last year or so, scholars have already discovered new evidence about our past and new ways of understanding and describing Upcountry history. This conference will help the community at large -- its leaders and ordinary citizens -- consider and perhaps re-evaluate how our history has shaped who we are in the present. In that way, this conference seeks to map the past so that we may travel more sure-footedly into the future.

The keynote speakers are some of the most accomplished scholars and writers working in Southern and South Carolina history. University of Illinois historian Orville Vernon Burton, native of Ninety Six, will speak on historical memory and Gov. Ben Tillman. Other speakers over the course of three days include Charles Reagon Wilson, who is editor of the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture; Theda Perdue of the University of North Carolina; unofficial dean of Upcountry historians, Furman's A.V. Huff; novelist Ron Rash; Lacy K. Ford Jr. of the University of South Carolina; John David Smith of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Bernard E. Powers Jr. of the College of Charleston; and David Carlton of Vanderbilt University.
The conference also includes undergraduate sessions at both campuses and a History Fair on Saturday that showcases 15 local historical organizations that will have artifacts on display and books for sale.
Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher and theologian, once wrote, "Life is lived forward, but understood backwards." The Upcountry of South Carolina has shown time and again the ability to move forward, especially in terms of economic progress. In the transition from Old South to New, Upcountry civic leaders built an industrial future of textile mills on the ruins of a faltering agrarian economy.
In the 20th century, local business visionaries foresaw a textile economy undercut by foreign competition and helped reinvent a diversified economy of international businesses and global connections. Yet, amidst these successes, the Upcountry has too often been unwilling or uninterested in learning some of the hard lessons its history might have revealed.
Like elsewhere in the South, the Upcountry was slow to see the justice at the heart of the civil rights struggle and reluctant to address some of the unfortunate but obvious social and environmental consequences of industrialization. The Upcountry has also lagged behind other regions in preserving its historic buildings and in planning intelligently for growing suburbs, traffic and population. This conference hopes to remind folks who will listen that we need to understand backwards, so that we may move forward equipped with a bit more knowledge, intelligence and humility.
For information about the conference schedule and the session locations, please see on the Web:

Sessions 7, 8 and 9 seem to be the heart of the matter.

Here on Friday Morning in Alabama, I am indeed saddened, almost heartbroke I did not make it up. I am familiar with the novels--have one autographed--and poetry of Ron Rash. Here is a jewel from Ben Robertson who shares locale with Rash and who was the muse for the complementary half of the explorations last night.

Small farmers typically lived in a tight commmunity of kin and distant kin. Ben Robertson, in Red Hills and Cotton, wrote of his own kin in the Piedmont region of South Carolina:
Most of my kinfolks, when I was growing up, were located on Pea Ridge between Glassy and Six Mile Mountains, on a long rise of fine cotton country between two lonely spurs of pine-grown granite--we lived and some of us still live in the winding open valley of a river called Twelve Mile. The rest of our kinfolks live to the west of us; they have their houses along both banks of the river Keowee.
Robertson also gives us a good insight into the values of small farmers:
We are farmers, all Democrats and Baptists—a strange people, complicated and simple and proud and religious and family-loving, a divorceless, Bible-reading murderous lot of folks, all of us rich in ancestry and steeped in tradition and emotionally quick on the trigger." He also observed that "we believe in self-reliance, in self-improvement, in progress as the theory of history, in loyalty, in total abstinence, in total immersion, in faithfulness, righteousness, justice, in honoring our parents, in living without disgrace. We have chosen asceticism because all our lives we have had to fight an inclination to license--we know how narrow the gulf between asceticism and complete indulgence; we have always known much concerning the far outer realms, the extremes. We have tried throughout our lives to keep the Commandments, we have set for ourselves one of the strictest, sternest codes in existence, but our country is Southern and we are Southern, and frequently we fail."

And here, from a Sept 2006 blog at this site is a poem by Ron Rash

Rash from Eureka MillThe Last Interview
That's an early portrait on the wall,
painted the year I graduated fromPrinceton University,
the yearI took my first trip to the continent,
a disappointment, except for the wines.

But I digress. You spoke of exploitation,
the working man's abuse by men like me.
If they were so abused
why don't they goback
to the farms they flee to work in mills,
become Vanderbilt Agrarians
quoting Cicero as they slop their hogs.

In thirty-four when the Union leaders came
and promised everything they could, then more,
my workers stuck with me.
My workers knewI'd take care of them.
Eureka ranwhen other mills shut down.
I took a loss so they could have some work.
Noblesse obligeis an idea we still live by in the South.
All Men Created Equal? Yes, perhaps
but see how soon we sort the top ones out.
Watch any group of children,
they have leaders,followers and stragglers.
It does not changeas they grow older.
No one questions rankin war or politics
so why not business.

Don't think that I am stupid.
I see your penhasn't moved since this interview began.
You'll slant what I have said to fit your needs.
I know how writers work, their luxury
of always being outside looking in,passing easy judgments
while they risknothing of their own, mere dilettantes.
Your words mean nothing to me.
I know the truth.
I gave them more than they ever had before.


Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...


What's the deal with

I haven't been able to access the site for several days! I'm in withdrawal from my baptist news.

6:41 PM  

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