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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, August 30, 2013

Aderholt, Lankford, Baptists, Ignorance and Immigration Reform

    I talked to staff of three congressmen this morning. Left a note for Tuca of Brazil and Dallas Baptist Bible College at the Oklahoma office of ordained SBC minister James Lankford. Talked to young girl with an associates degree from Geraldine who is Joe Morgan's associate in the Gadsden Office of Robert Adherholt, my US Congressman here in NE Bama. Talked to Katie Anne of Cullman and UBama who is now on staff with Adherholt at D.C.; she took my friend Brooks Simmons place from Jasper. And I talked yesterday to Marianna of Clemson and Spartanburg Day School on staff with Trey Gowdy of the House Judiciary committee.
      Katie Anne didn't know who Judge Frank Johnson was. Nice girl but ignorant. I told her as kindly as I knew how I considered that pathetic. The Geraldine girl didn't know Frank either. I wonder who screens these people. I recommended for beginners Sam Hodges book for the Love of Alabama. An easy read and I don't think it too much to ask Congressional staffers with a college degree know a little bit about the history of the state they represent. Joe Morgan, do you hear me out there?

     My main point today in calling these people is the staff and the Reps--left Boone Tynard of Mike Hubbard's a couple messages too about voter Suprresion an the like--is to pass the word Miguel de la torre has a Christian justice template for immigration reform in his easily googled piece on flaws with the senate bill at And Willimon repents googling for ethicsdaily is stellar as well.

   All these reps wear their brand of their Christian Credentials on their sleeves. As I reported below I had a strong conversation with Trey Gowdy two weeks ago in Upstate S.C.

    Lets see what these politicians do at this moment. Hope you are following them closely.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Eulogy for My Father

> EULOGY, AUGUST 5, 1999
> by Stephen M. Fox
> My brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, I want to thank-you for coming to my father's funeral today.
> First, a poem by William Blake.
> Whate'er is born of Mortal Birth
> Must be consumed with the Earth
> To Rise from Generation Free
> Then What have I to do with Thee
> The Sexes sprung from Shame and Pride
> Blow'd in the Morn, in Evening Died
> But Mercy chang'd Death into Sleep
> The Sexes Rose to work and weep
> Thou Mother of my Mortal part
> With Cruelty didst mould my Heart
> And with false, self deceiving tears
> Didst Bind my Nostrils, Eyes and Ears
> Didst Close my tongue in Senseless Clay
> And me to Mortal Life Betray
> The Death of Jesus set me Free
> Then What have I to do with Thee
> In 1978 Carlyle Marney came to Gaffney, S.C. Marney was quite likely the most substantively influential Baptist minister of the 20th Century. He was a confidante of LBJ and the Watergate Senate Committee Chair, Senator Sam Ervin.
> He was in Gaffney to speak on integrity in the ministry.
> Many times what you are expecting to be profound turns out to be simple. The profundity is in the simplicity.
> And so it was with Marney that day. He said the key to integrity in the ministry is comparable to the point of Salinger's classic American novel, The Catcher in the Rye.
> A Catcher in the Rye is a person who is there in the rye field, and as somebody, overwhelmed by life, in flight, comes running through, the catcher catches them.
> About two years laters it dawned on me that what my hero Marney was saying was the key to ministry, My dad had instinctively been doing for 20 years. It was part of his nature.
> My Dad was a catcher in the Rye
> My Dad knew and loved the Scripture. He had a romance with the Gospel. In Jaunuary of this year he began reading the New Testament through one more time. The last visit I had with him and he could still talk, he said he'd made it to Revelation 5.
> It's okay he didn't get to the end, cause the next few chapters are pretty dense anyway and he could quote the last two by heart; and if by some chance he neede some help Monday evening the 2nd John the Revelator himself was there to read to him if he wanted.
> I can remember Hayesville, N.C.about 1961 when my dad was pastor of the Truett Memorial Baptist Church there. I was 8 yrs old and in the summer the little churches out in the hollers would have him up for Revival. I'd go with him a couple nights for the whole 1 1/2 hours--the good women and few men would sing hymns like "Living Under the Spout Where the Glory Runs Out", sing on for 45 mins or so while others stayed outside, smoked, dipped and talked about the crops--and he'd get to his good sermon toward the end of the ten days from Rev. 22:17, The Great Invitation. The Spirit and the Bride say Come, and He that is athirst say come. Whosoever will let him come and drink of the water of Life Freely.
> Even at the early age I had a vague, but powerful sense my Dad was part of something cosmic.
> The preacher here in collinsville, Brother John Morgan has been on a roll lately doing a great job with many of the parables. I'd go over about weds of every week and tell him a little about the sunday's parable and before I could get started he'd tell me the point. Like with the wheat and the tares, Dad said: "Let them grow up together and God will decide at the end what's what."
> The day after this year's All Star Baseball Game I went over to visit.
> It was a great game for him; there in Fenway Park, home of his beloved Red Sox, with his hero Carl Yazstremski there and Ted Williams. Dad called it: "a great moment in Baseball history". He watched it from a hospital room in Rome, Ga.
> The next day he was back home at Edna's and I was there to visit. I told him the scripture reading here at the Collinsville church had been pretty good lately and last Sunday it was from 8th chapter of Romans.
> He said read some of it to me. So I started: For there is therefore now no condemnation....He said read the 2nd. By the 4th verse he was quoting a verse ahead of me every verse. By the 10th I was crying and cried the rest of the way through the chapter.
> My Dad loved people and preached the Gospel. He was no respector of persons. His brother Prentice has said my brother Billy bore no malice toward any man.
> The heart of my dad's ministry was in Gaffney,S.C. and the issue of that 16 years, 1962-1978 was Race.
> When my Dad left Gaffney story got around that some nurses were talking at the local hospital and one said: "I hear Rev. Fox is leaving town; he was a good man." Black woman standing near them said: "You telling me. He came to my boy's wedding."
> His last sunday in Gaffney the congregation cut across all lines of social standing. A sister of a former president of the American Textile Manufacturer's Association was there, the wife of a trustee of the University of South Carolina and mother of a former USC student body president, the high school football coach who became the principal of the school was there as was my brother's life long friend and Harley riding buddy who said if it wasn't for Preacher Fox, I don't know where I'd be today. Craig Neal is here today as a pallbearer.
> My best friend in high school was from the country of India. He's now a doctor in Washington, D.C. I didn't know until 5 years ago it was my Dad who road with him to Greenville,S.C. to stand with him when he came a citizen of the United States.
> Twenty years later they're having commencement for Bible School about ten miles from here up in Dogtown, Alabama where my dad was pastor of the Walker's Chapel Methodist Church. 12 year old kid wanted to stand up that night and testify about what the week had meant to him. He had been a little bit of a character during the week; in fact they had to kick him out twice.
> But that last night he said I got a few things to say. A lot of people are saying that Preacher Fox is too old, I just want to say "He's my friend."
> We're here today because Jehovah himself came down to Rome Ga., to the Jitney Jungle in 1938 and called a fat boy who ran his sentences together, called him out to love people and Preach the Gospel and that's what my Dad did. He allowed God to make him into a Magnificent Ambassador for the cause of Christ, a member of the Royal Priesthood.
> And he's safe now. He's over there in the 11th chapter of Hebrews, a text he loved and preached from often, the Roll Call of Faith, the Lamb's Book of Life.
> He's there with Enoch and Moses and Noah. Over there with Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob and Rahab the harlot, David and Samuel.
> He's there with all the disciples and Paul and ST. Augustine and Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr. There with Dorothty Day, L.D. Johnson, Frank Harrington, Louie D.Newton, George Truett, Father Popielusko of Poland and Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador.
> He's there with my Grandfather and grandmother Jordan, W.D. and Mary Alice Helton Fox, my Mother Elizabeth Louise Jordan Fox, Virginia and Nolan Richey, Gordon Wood and Onre Fuller, Aunt Sara, Brannon Simmons, Edna's Mother, Mrs. Dempsey, the Trotters.
> He's there with Uncle Jess Neese and Suella and Brownlow Sams from Newport, Tennessee.
> Carley Stone from Erwin,N.C. and Andy and Mabel Padget, Guy Carter and Mason Hudspeth from Hayesville, N.C.
> He's there with Bill Thompson, S.C. Waldroup, Jimmy Richards, Sadie Kiser, Wayne Whiteside,Herschel Harris, Wilmon Wright and Raymond Parker from Gaffney. And some day soon, Esther Dawkins.
> From Alice Bell in Knoxville Emil Acuff and Lowell Wishart, and Troy Dyar are there with Pat's Mother and Father.
> Aubrey Dickens from Zebulon, Ga.
> And Dan Estes and Jane's Dad and brother the Scroggins from the
> Goshen tornado.
> He's there with them and people from the Walker's Chapel and Tucker's Chapel, and Lyerly and Euharlee and from this community in Collinsville.
> AT 8:30pm on Monday August 2 the gates opened wide and this geat cloud of witnesses said:
> But we're here now. And like David in the Old Testament mourning his son who died in infancy, he can't come to us, but we can go where he is.
> And that's what my Dad wants. He wants me, and his newest grandson Andrew, and Chad and Katie, and Jody and Robbie and Adam; and everybody in this room and everybody that everybody in this room knows,
> WHOSOEVER WILL, Come and Drink of the water of Life Freely,
> So that we can join the procession
> When Lo, there breaks a yet more glorious day
> The Saints Triumphant Rise in Bright Array,
> The King of Glory passes on his Way.
> From earth's wide shores from ocean's farthest coast,
> Through gates of Pearl stream in the countless host
> Singing to the Father, the son and the Holy Ghost,
> Allelulia, Allelulia, Amen

Friday, August 23, 2013

Ten Greatest Utterances of the 20th Century

Ten: Stephen Fox to Clark Price May 1970 down 5-0, 40-0 and a set in the first round of the state doubles tennis championship in Columbia, S.C.: "I think we can take em."

9.Delmar to Baby Nace Felson in Oh Brother: "Friend, some of your foldin money's come unstove"

8.Doyle Hargraves in Slingblade: "I'm the only sane sonuvabitch in here."

7.A neighbor early 07 "Toot your horn again, that's real purty music."

6. Jennifer Wilkins of the Collinsville Library: "Strike Four"

5. Paris Trout: "Twenty two fifty, that's a real number."

4.  Stewart A. Newman in Columbia S.C. 1956: "W.A. Criswell doesn't speak for me."

3. Judge Frank Johnson 1965, the Tuesday after the first attempt to cross the Selma Bridge when MLKing Jr was in his court on one side and George Wallace lawyers on the other and he faced Wallace baiting lawyers down and said:  "Any contempt or order to show cause is a matter between this court and the alleged contemptors."

2. MLKing, August 28, 1963: "I Have a Dream Today..........."

1. My Daddy, the Rev Billy Fox, preaching with passion calling on souls out of the anxious seat to the altar from his preferred text at the end of Revelations, the final appeal 22:17 which says:  And the Spirit and the Bride say Come, and let him that heareth say Come. And let him that is athirst Come. And whosover will let him take the Water of Life Freely!


Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Gaffney Indian Football

     I didn't play High School football. I played Trombone. But I grew up in a town that is legend for high School football. If Friday Night Lights to TV Series had been filmed in South Carolina, instead of Odessa and Midland Texas, it would been filmed in Gaffney.

     Three or four years ago Scott Wright wrote a book about the Sand Rock HS, Alabama football team, Fire on the Mountain about how a 1a School took the state title in 85. Recently sports writer in Spartanburg S.C. wrote a book about the Vikings Tradition. No diss on either school but Gaffney has a tradition out of a Hardscrabble textile town that had a pocket of arts and inspiration in Limestone College and a strong tradition in public school education.
    Add the race mixture, somebody can get the exact percentage but at least 35 percent of color, take the story through integration and could be remarkable book indeed. From the Galloping Ghost, through the legendary--I know I'm using the word a lot but It is all Legendary--Bob Prevatte and Wayne Whiteside era, with tribute to Willie Jefferies At Granard, through Johnny Dawkins, Donnie Ray Littlejohn integration era with the assistance of Danny Parker, Jimmy Baker moving the ball and Billy Bolin, Webb Pierce and Robb Sartor opening holes in the line for them to run through on to the Magnificence of Sidney Rice in the early 21st Century and you got a book.
   I'm nominating Tommy Martin and Fender Brown to cowrite the deal if they're game. Tommy already has a great intro to a chapter with his story about going to the Thanksgiving afternoon games in the 50s with his Dad.
    Here's the kicker. Recently there has been some bubbling up of great anecdotes on the Gaffneyites group Facebook Page. Just a couple days ago Bob Bland, QB 72 put up a pic of him holdin for a Baker field goal attempt, the first soccer style kicker to do such according to Bland.
    So, time for a file dday of voluntary memories and anecdotes about gaffney heroes and color commentary from the stands. Have  a field day at the Gaffneyites page with stories and we'll see if Martin and Brown are game. Should have this deal kicked out by March of next year. At this point just a matter of collection and editing. All I ask for this great idea is Gaffney's Cracker Barrel, Chic Fil A, McDonalds Fatz, Agegean deli, Brannons Fish Fry andlet me think of 7 more dining establishments go by the Chamber of Commerce and leave 15 dollar coupons with Pam Foxx for me as an appreciations of my contrtribution to this grand tradition. I'll take a 50 dollar coupon from Cracker Barrel as I can redeem it in other states(ha) Oh, one from Bridges in Shelby, not far up there. I'll take 22 from them, two visits, large tray with a side of slaw and sweet tea. Of course the hush puppies are on them.
    And in honor of trombone players everywhere-how can you have a pep ralley without a good trombone section,--27 percent of proceeds from the book after Brown and Martin get their cut, go the Gaffney Inidan Band with special allocation to the Trombone Section!

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Auburn, Democracy, Immigration Reform and Tolerance

   Recently Mary Snow, Auburn Living Democracy gal in Collinsville served notice on the Collinsville facebook wall of that group--they have several walls as almost daily reports in the Birmingham News--she would not "tolerate" my exploration of the roles of the town librarian and one of her trustees on that facebook wall.
   This rising sophomore at Auburn has made several interesting reports online in many venues about her stay to date in Collinsville.
    To date she has made no exploration taken no examination to my knowledge on the elephant in the room immigration reform. Such a piece that talks to Speaker Hubbard of the Auburn network, to Ms Wilkins, to the study clubs to the leaders of the Historical Association, to the Ministerial alliance would be interesting indeed.

     At some point the enlightened Christian community of Alabama must ask the question can it Tolerate all this energy, this commotion, this attention given to a project that on the face of it has the promise of much merit, if it cannot examine immigration reform in the most ethnically town in the state where reportedly half the members of the state championship soccer team this year are undocumented.

    And yes Ms. Snow, that includes an examination of the views of Ms. Wilkins and Myles Smith, as well as the economy of the Frog Pond and surrounding housing and realty transactions including Guatemalan churches.

   Ask Dr. Wilson, Wayne Flynt, even General Krulak at Bham Southern or Brandt Ayers what they think about it, toleration and the Frog Pond Economy.

Here on a tangential matter is a link to my July 3 piece in the Ft. Payne Times Journal concerning the Colllinsville Historical Association; make that coming soon