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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.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gaffney (SC) Ledger on Obama Inauguration

Cody Sossamon finished Gaffney High School two year ahead of me. Me, 71 and Cody 69,.
Cody's Dad who was publisher of the Ledger before him was an all American Center at U South Carolina and player pro football couple years in the 50's for the New York Giants.
Just two weeks ago here in Alabama I was telling a good friend of the brother of former Clemson Coach Danny Ford--native of Gadsden, Al--some colorful stories about the Ledger and Clemson.
Mr. Sossamon was a trustee at USC as was one of Cody's sisters if I am not mistaken. All the more interesting for me to find his oped piece on the Obama inauguration a little curious.

Cody's Mother and her great friend Mrs. Reaves, sister of former Prez of the American Textile Manufacturers Inst President John Hamrick attended the final service of my Dad at Bethany Baptist Church in 1978 in a transitional neighborhood of Gaffney.
My Dad had great affection for Louis and Kat Sossamon and Mrs. Reaves and I have every reason to believe the feeling was mutual. I was in the choir the last Sunday and couldn't see Ms. Sossamon and Ms. Reaves. I asked Dad how they took it; he said they were crying the whole time.
The final essay of Jumpn Jim Crow, about Dynamite, is about an incident in Gaffney in 1956; written by Tim Tyson now semi famous for his memoir about a small town in North Carolina, Blood Done Sign my Name. A few chapter prior to Gaffney and the Dynamite story is phenom of an essay about race and the textile politics of Upstate South Carolina in the days of Olin D. Johnson of Spartanburg.
I could go on all afternoon; for the time being will say, with the affection I carry on for Cody's folks and Ms Reaves and the 2nd and third generation and all of Gaffney black white, pink and turquoise; I think Cody's appreciation for the Inauguration is a little dismissive.
Still I know Gaffney ain't an easy place, and all the colored folks aren't Saints. Even so maybe some discussion little later on in the year is in order.
From the Bama neighbor of the Uncle of Tyrone Nix, former Defensive Coordinator for Spurrier's edition of the Gamecocks; here is to hoping Cody may take a look at Jumpn Jim Crow and Blood Done Sign my Name and maybe gain a little more substantive appreciation of this remarkable moment.
Even so I join him in hoping for all our Sakes Obama's tenure is a successful one.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Buried Aunt Katherine today

My Dad's 2nd oldest sister.
Six Children only two left now, Prentice and Juanita.
Aunt Kat came after Aunt Virginia, then my Dad, the Fremont; all gone now.

Lot of family stories told again, and my brother and sister, joined cousins Tim and Vicky, and Tim's wife Shirley to sing Beulah Land as Aunt Katherine asked.
Proud of my second Cousin Ken who gave a strong testimony about his character of a Grandmother, Aunt Katherine.
If you live in Alabama, North Carolina, Georgia or East Tennessee in the last 100 years, one of us knew somebody who knew you, cause as they say of some clans, we never met a stranger.

Katherine Fox Simmons

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friends going to Obama's Inauguration

My friend Todd Heifner and his son Graham are going to the Obama Inauguration. They will be accompanied by Mart Gray and his son John.
Mart is great friend of Annie Lucas Brown and serves on a state library committee with Collinsville Librarian Jennifer Wilkins.

I don't know who Ms Wilkins voted for but I have for some time thought it would be interesting to have her have a public discussion with the likes of Brown and Gray and Matthew Morgan of just what we can expect from our Librarian and the new Library and a political vision for the most ethnically diverse town in the state.

Both Heifner and Gray have in the past worshipped at Collinsville Baptist Church; but with the loss of Matthew Morgan to the Methodists and other changes in the last four years, it is hard to understand just what the notions of Collinsvlle Baptist now are, or what they have in common with New Testament Christianity, or where it intersects with any of young Graham Heifner's notions about evolution for our country toward the common good.

Todd and Graham got a segment last night on Channel 13 in Huntsville. I hope this video works when you click on:

Also attending will be 11 graders from Guntersville High School as reported by Huntsville Station WAFF.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Barmen Declaration and Snyder Memorial; Shoah and Southern History

January 6 my friend John Killian, 2nd VP of the Alabama Baptist Convention posted a blog on the Movie the Valkyrie:

An intense discussion has developed there between myself and a Sunday School teacher at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville North Carolina. June 1, West Point Chaplain John Scott will become Pastor at Snyder one of the more influential CBF congregations in North Carolina.
In the comment line of Killian's blog I quoted a Baylor PHD student, Aaron Weaver, about Killian's views of what he calls the influence of Liberal theologians.
Lot of things come in to play here, from the legacy of Jesse Helms, to how deep understanding of the major currents of Southern culture and Baptist faith are in what passes for progressive Baptist congregations like Snyder--Jerry Boykin, great friend of SBC president Bobby Welch, spoke to 300 last year at Snyder--Dawson Memorial, and Hayes Barton where Helms was lifetime member and where his funeral was held.

This blog is a work in progress some come back often for the next few days as I add links.
One I think this blogpost as well as the Bham Baptist Covenant Jan 31 to which I have invited Killian; a great framework for this discussion are not only the current movies Valkyrie and more significantly The Reader with Kate Winslett; but Princeton essayist Nell Irwin Painter.

From Painter, to UVA's Charles Marsh, to Mercer's David Gushee; lot here for all to chew on.

The Painter link--once there scroll down to page 34 for her essay The Shoah and Southern History.

Embedded in this post at, just a click away.

Re: John Killian's Valkyrie Lessons for Humanity

And Direct link to Nell Painter's work most appropo for the Birmingham Baptist Covenant conveners and platform and workshop personalities:,M1

And Damon Linker on Neuhaus as improper conflation for the Holocaust here:

Damon Linker on Abortion politics champion RJ neuhaus

Thursday, January 01, 2009

McIntyre and Snipes; Passage from Serena

Page 300:

"I heard your preacher was out in his cabbage patch the other evening," Henryson said to STewart. "He must be doing some better."

"He is but he still ain't of a mind to say much. His Aunt got him a funeral to preach over in Cullowee, figured it would cheer him up a bit, but he just shook his head at her."

"Well there aint nothing like somebody laid in the ground to cheer a fellow up," Ross said.

"It used to done him that way," Stewart said. "He told me once the only thing he hated about dying was he wouldn't be around to preach his own funeral."

Snipes eyes were still closed as he spoke.

"That's another example of the duality of man, you're speaking of Stewart. We want what's in this world, but we also want what ain't."

"I don't quite get your meanin," Henryson said to Snipes.

Snipes turned his head a few inches to address Henryson, the foreman's eyelashes fluttering a few moments like insect wings vainly attempting to take flight.

"Well I'm too tuckered to explain it right now."