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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, 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.




Blogger foxofbama said...

Here is what Jim Dant of Highland Hills BC in Macon, Ga said about resurrection faith in his Feb 9 Sunday School lesson in the January issue of Baptists Today:

Quoting Dant:

...The poor farming and mill community in which I was raised clung faithfully to the notion that Resurrection faith was real. They believed and sang that the realities of this world--the sufferings of this world--were not the final reality. I've heard their perspective criticized through the years. They've often been relegated to the mindless masses that allow religion to become the proverbial opiate and the "sweet by and by" an aesthetic for their pain. I, however, prefer to believe that they simply trusted their resurrection faith they professed. That's what saintly suffering can do for you.

3:57 PM  

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