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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 27, 2009

Ashes to Ashes

Kudos to Robert Parham for having a site that traffics in Essays as sublime as this one.
And congrats to Joe Phelps, a better than average Baptist Preacher in Louisville, Ky.

Grandmother Mary Alice Helton Fox's Brother Uncle Herman, a Church of God Preacher said it another way about 9 years ago at the Helton Reunion at the Walden's Creek United Methodist Church about 7 miles Southeast of Pigeon Forge Tn.
He said the group gone on, most recently Billy (My Dad) is growing larger every year to the point they outnumber us left behind. And every day I yearn stronger to join them on the Other Shore.
And about 15 years before that I remember hearing his oldest brother Henry, talk about his remembrance back to 1910 when a Rebel Confederate Soldier had them marching out on the lawn.
He pointed out the window to an ever growing cemetery--see Ron Rash's Sunday August 1959.
As Papa Fox used to sing
There's a Grand and Glorious Thought that comes to Me
I'll live On, Yes I'll Live On.

And so we will as even now the great American Novelist that wrote of things foreign--otoh see Cormac McCarthy-- to most of the polite discussion at Walden's Creek, even John Updike has joined the Celestial Chorus.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Great Beef Tips and Russian History

Had some great beef tips at a good price for lunch and thought I'd make note of it.
Bill Glenn's Beef Tip Emporium, actually, Mtn Grill Restaurant in Dogtown or Ruhama, Alabama was the spot. About every six weeks on a Friday for lunch or until they run out, they get you full of Beef tips and rice for 3.99. If you can beat that price, please let me know.
He's only open on Friday and Saturday and Christmas by special appointment for Copeland's Bridge Baptist church and other groups. He and his staff do a good job with the regular fare, but this price and this item is up there with his Potato soup.
Even if you live in Nashville and are going to Birmingham on a Friday, it is worth going an hour out of the way. On the Lookout Mtn Parkway pretty much halfway between Ft. Payne and Collinsville or 3/5ths of the way between FPayne and Sand Rock or 1/3rd the distance to Centre, if you're going south.
Worth the ride over from Rome, Georgia, and Gadsden as well, not to Mention Guntersville, Alabama
Lot of history there as the proprietor is Mayor of Historic Sand Rock Alabama whose Ag teacher once interned for US Congressman Tom Bevill; and among Glenn's customers have been in recent past two folks who were present on the National Mall for the Obama Inauguration. A GOP Committeewoman was alleged to have dined there last weekend and she made it to the 2004 Inaugural when TExas shut down for a couple days and went to DC.
Right next door to the Restaurant is Ruhama School where Alabama Governor Don Siegelman gave a talk in 2003 in the presence of myself who asked a great question, and the Collinsville Librarian who didn't ask anything best I can remember.
Two Baptist preachers who have preached to United States Presidents have preached in the area. Well one President and two candidates.
Lamar Barden was interim at the Ruhama Baptist Church in early 90's. He had also been interim for President Carter at the Baptist Church in North George near Ellijay Carter frequented when fly fishing in those parts.
And my Dad was circuit rider to a couple Methodist Churches in the area. Fourth Sunday of August 1983, Billy Fox preached to George McGovern at Walden's Creek United Methodist Church outside Pigeon Forge, Tn for the Helton Reunion and then had lunch with McGovern with and his daughter and son in law and a bunch of Helton Cousins including Uncle Jack, Uncle Herman and Cousin Bush Helton, and Sam, Uncle Bill Helton's sons.
Uncle Bill Helton, born in the 1890's never owned a car, but slept most nightly more soundly than I ever have.
McGovern has written a book on Abraham Lincoln. I am trying to get a friend in South Dakota to get his autograph for my nephew Andrew was a remembrance of the day his Grandfather preached to him.

Which Brings us to an interesting discussion of Soviet Union History texts. I had occasion today to be reminded of it and want to bring it to a place for reference.

And that reminds me of Bob Dylan's son With God on Our Side, the second track in the credits of Oliver Stone's W; and that itself trumped by the first song which I will leave for you to discover for yourself with a possible followup blog.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Timothy George is no Abraham Lincoln

Return to this blog over the next few days as I refine my point.
The Dean of Beeson Div School of Samford University Timothy George, an apologist for the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention had this opinion piece in the Feb 8 Bham News

George has also mismanaged the legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in a pamphlet about abortion and the Holocaust disseminated by the Karl Rove agency of the Souther Baptist Convention the
For George to pass himself off as a fan of Lincoln nauseates me. I think I will write a letter to the Birmingham News; will share it here if I do with more links that shine light on the troublesome George.

Update: A director of Baptist Studies at Mercer U in Macon, Ga and recent PHD graduate in American History at Auburn, My friend Bruce Gourley who once had a phone conversation with Jennifer Wilkins of the Collinsville, Library--are you out there Annie Lucas Brown, are you and Mart Gray paying attention--has taken up the discussion at
Click on this title and follow it there as I try to make weight and substance for an intended response in the letters column of the Bham News:

Re: Timothy George is no Abraham Lincoln.
by Bruce Gourley on Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:17 pm
Lincoln is a historical figure with many (and varied) interpretations by historians, theologians and politicians. He was such a complex figure with evolving views of the issues of his day that it is easy to lay hold of a piece of Lincoln and appropriate him for one's own personal edification, philosophical bent, or political agenda.
I'm not surprised that a fundamentalist, Calvinist Baptist would pile on the Lincoln bandwagon during the current resurgent interest in the man. What is interesting is George's spin/wrap on Lincoln: "Lincoln's belief in the Bible, his reliance on prayer, his humility and acknowledgement of God's providential design in the tumult of history, and his call for national repentance and thanksgiving beckon us forward now as then."

Sfox: And Gourley continues from there. Ihope you click on and follow the links and discussion there as I have just posted a most salient quote from Mark Noll that in January of 2006 was part of an essay published in the Centre Alabama Weekly Post that caught the attention of William Fortner, among others; another man who strikes me as never grasping Lincoln or Martin Luther King or recent Baptist history; but continues to sing in the collinsville Baptist choir like nobody's business.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Ron Rash's Sunday Morning 1959

August, 1959: Morning Service
Ron Rash
Beside the open window
on the cemetery side,
I drowsed as Preacher Lusk gripped
his Bible like a bat snagged
from the pentecostal gloom.
In that room where heat clabbered
like churned butter, my eyes closed,
freed my mind into the light
on the window's other side,
followed the dreamy bell-ring
of Randy Ford's cows across
Licklog Creek to a spring pool
where orange salamanders swirled
and scuttled like flames. It was
not muttered words that urged me

back to that church, nor was it
the hard comfort of pews rowed
like the gravestones of my kin,
but the a cappelia hymn
sung by my great-aunt, this years
before the Smithsonian
taped her voice as if the song
of some vanishing species,
which it was, which all songs are
years before the stroke wrenched her
face into a gnarled silence,
this morning before all that
she led us across Jordan,
and the gravestones leaned
as if even the dead were listening.

This poem takes me too many places, even in dreams to before I was born and Momma and her brothers James and William Sanders Jordan and sister Ruby Eugenia were singing quartet at Copeland's Bridge and all up and down Alabama HWY 11 churches from Hammondville to Spring Garden.
It takes me to my 59 when I would visit Collinsville and hear Jack Farmer and The Luther Reed Cousins Family; and maybe Evelyn Gilbreath.
And on over to Papa Fox's church in Georgia out the Kingston Highway where Sherman rode on the way out of his ten day stay in Rome on to Kennesaw and Atlanta- where I can hear Fred Kelly singin I Am Resolved No Longer to Linger, in the congregation behind me and Papa; or back to a visit where I was born outside Newport, Tennessee at Bethel Baptist; up a hill with a creek below over from Mose Freshour's place and up a dirt road where the 50's beauty Barbara Nease lived.
Her Mother's name was Sue Ella or Suella, I never knew which.
Or to Hayesville, North Carolina in the early 60's at George Truett's Memorial Church or on out little further to Shiloh, out on Tusquittee where the men stayed outside smoking during Revivals while the women sang and then came in for the Preachin.
I can hear the singing at the Helton Reunion on Walden's Creek halfway between Pigeon Forge and Chinky Pen, Tennessee in a valley just over from Cades Cove; a world Cormac McCarthy himself would write about, and in 1983 George McGovern, Nixon's opponent; McGovern himself showed up one fourth Sunday in August for the Worship Service and stayed for the singing.
Maybe in Gaffney when the whole Baptist Association would sing with the more well to do folks at First Baptist and Culis O Hayes, who had polio as a youngster would lead us all in what I came to know later in my world as an Upgrade into the Furman choral tradition.
Marshall Frady never mocked it and the New York City swells would say on his passing he was the greatest social justice journalist of the last half of the 20th Century.
So you don't mock it either cause as as Jim Dantz at the strong Baptist tradition church in Macon Georgia says it was the Resurrection Faith of our Forbears.
I know cause I heard my Cousin's daughter Dixie Lee Bearden Ford, Grandpa Jordan's--born in 1881; I heard her preach the Gospel just last Sunday at Williams First Baptist Church in Alabama within the distribution geography of the Anniston Star; and the day before that I heard Marian Wright Edelman--married into the Bobby Kennedy network--MRE whose Daddy like mine was a Baptist preacher in Gaffney, South Carolina; I heard her preach the Gospel at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.



Monday, February 02, 2009

Marian Wright Edelman and the Gaffney Connection

I met Marian Wright Edelman Saturday in Birmingham.
Shoulda known long time ago what a grand Historic figure she is, especially she was featured at Furman couple years ago.

But better late than never.
Turns out this Civil Rights legend and national political force has roots in my hometown of Gaffney, South Carolina, where her father was once a pastor.
Her husband, Peter Edelman, was a one time staffer for Bobby Kennedy.
It's all there at wikipedia if you want to take a look.

She was unaware of Tim Tyson and his essay on Gaffney in Jumpn Jim Crow, so I brought a little to my brief conversation with her as well.
She brought attention to her picture medallions of Sojourner Truth and Harriett Tubman who she said she wore to the Democratice Convention in Denver last summer where they all had a "marvelous time."

If you click on this link and scroll around, lot more links and anecdotes from a historic day in its own right Jan 31 in Birmingham, the day Stephen Curry also came to town.

Bham Baptist Covenant Event/Carter address video
by Stephen Fox on Mon Feb 02, 2009 3:14 pm
Mark has a good link at the Covenant site of this forum and I have some remarks there as well as link to bham news blog where lot of poison made the comment line.Looks like the reports outside of the Bham News are slow coming in.Looks like maybe Carter's entire address here: