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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.

Monday, October 28, 2013

John H. Greene throws a One Hopper to Home Plate in 1965

      Well it's world series time and I'm excited about the Bosox cause my Dad loved em and he's gone so I'm watching for him. And out of nowhere Robbie McCraw of GHS tennis team of 69 facebooks a message to me he found a clipping on my days on the Lions Little League Team in Gaffney and I couldn't figure it out cause I wasn't much of a baseball player and the Gaffney Ledger notice reported I had a good outing.
    Which got me thinking about these things so I called John Greene, on the tennis team with me in high school who had some worthy outtings as a Little Leaguer to compare notes and get some names right on this and that team of 65.

    And he came up with this story. He's on the All star team in Centerfield  playing Union and Tommy Briitain later to anchor the Wofford Terriers football team as the Center and later than that chair the search committee for their Trustees and name the current President is in Right field, then the Methodist Preacher's boy. Danny Parker is pitchin and Chic Rogers is the manager of the squad. They're playing Union.
     Danny is about done in the 5th inning when the bases are loaded and long fly to Center. One Hopper and John, a lefty catches it on bounce and flings the runner out at home. Robb Sartor didn't even have to tag him.
    So Chic Rogers the manager says that boy's got an arm get him on the mound now to relieve Parker.
    So Greene comes in with the bases still loaded, got a good curve and can get the ball over the plate. He gets it over the plate where boy connects and gets it out to right where it goes between Brittain's legs. He spasms finds the ball and flings it to first base, and Robb is in the middle of hell breaking loose and JOhn is watchin all this chaos cause five minutes before then he's in an idyll with a good view out in Center. Greene is not covering Sartor behind home plate.
      Rob is flummoxed with the bad cutoff at first and after one run scores places pitch and catch with Greene who's still on the mound while all four runs score and Chic Rogers is cussin every father and mother in Cherokee County who conceived this squad of pretenders and this and that and yet to come.

   PS All this happened at the same location where 25 years earlier Shoeless Joe Jackson came over from Greenvile from the liquor store for an exhibition and hit a home run in Irene Park that to this day is still floating up in the air across the North Carolina line toward the Blue Ridge Parkway!

Friday, October 25, 2013

What Jesse Jackson means to me; for Lauren Cooley and Anne Coulter (maybe Mike Hubbard)

   A Facebook wall announcement at Furman University announcing Jesse Jackson's October 30 presentation there has drawn a lot of flack there, mostly it appears from chumps in the Tea Party in the region and lurkers who want to create a little mischief at my alma mater. But the current student leader of Furman's know nothing conservatives, Lauren Cooley of Ft. Lauderdale, took a shot at Jesse too. She hosted Anne Coulter on campus about three weeks ago.
    I have been fighting the good fight in the exchanges reminding the ignorant that Furman great Marshall Frady (FU 63) wrote a bio of Jackson and Jackson preached his eulogy in 2004 at Frady's untimely death. They had an agreement, whichever went first the other would be part of the rites.
   My friend Jim Pitts, longtime Furman chaplain, with T.C. Smith who crossed the Selma Bridge in 65 with Martin, read a note from Will Campbell at the funeral.
   Ms Cooley apparently knows none of this Furman history. Somebody ought to tell her and she ought to tell Anne Coulter because we don't know if Anne is a Virgin, now do we, we just don't know even after all those scurrilous things she said about the Senator from North Carolina.
      Some on Furman's facebook wall have pointed out Jesse Jackson is not a Virgin. But there are other stories about Jackson that like David in the Old Testament, raise his chances when he gets inside the Pearly Gates, and I'm convinced he will. Just see Paul Harvey's Moses Jesus and the Trickster.
     I wanted to start this blog. Come back for more Furman related stories about Jackson in a few days. Or check Furman University facebook wall. Jackson's eulogy for Jackie Robinson is already linked there.

  Part two. Here are a few high notes in addition to the remarks Jackson made in the Greenville News I will link. I am proud to have met Lucas Black of Speake Alabama when he was about 11 right after his appearance in Sling Blade. And just this spring Lucas did a great job as Pee Wee Reese in the movie 42. I think Lucas and Billy Bob and Jesse Jackson could be friends thought I'm sure their politics would differ on some issues.
    Furman historian Courtney Tollison has done a great presentation of Jackie Robinson's poor welcome to Greenville in 1961. Jesse Jackson was most likely on site for that occasion.
     My friend Sam Hodges of FU 77 interviewed Jackson for the Orlando Sentinel when Jesse ran for President in 88. Sam said Jackson was kind of difficult, but softened when the conversation got to Furman. Jackson told Sam about throwing basketballs back to Frank Selvy and Darrell Floyd when they practiced free throws on the Old Campus downtown; and how Bob King woulda loved to have had the Sterling High School phenom play football for Furman but the Baptists of the state weren't ready in the early 60's so King helped Jackson get a scholarship to Illinois, for which Jackson was always grateful.
    My friend from Gaffney, Fletcher Smith, was Jackson's Mother's longtime state Senator from the district near the old Furman campus in Greenville. And from Joe Crespino's Strom Thurmond's America which Jackson has navigated magnificently; Fletcher and I share a story from Gaffney when Strom appeared at the High School the first year of full intergration, the winter of 69.

     Jackson does not get a free pass from me. I was greatly disappointed in his backing of Street James in Newark against Corey Booker in 2002. See the Oscar Nominated doc Street Fight on That one. And whatever misgivings Marshall Frady had about his friend Jesse, I share those too.

    Jesse has fault the Good fight. He has had more than his share of miscues along the way. But when his time comes, he will be welcomed home by Martin and Rosa, Fannie Lou Hamer, Martin England and Max Heller, Gordon Blackwell and T.C. Smith.

    God Bless Jesse Jackson

Monday, October 21, 2013

On Bama House Speaker Mike Hubbard and Evil

  At the Football contest Friday night between Collinsville and Gaylesville I got word Mike Hubbard the speaker of the Bama House had dispatched some badge brandishing state officials to my vicinity, even my front yard to ask a few questions. I wasn't home so apparently they talked to some folks in town. Of the three I got word of none said they were scared of me and I can't think of any reason they should be of my 25 years in town here.
    I don't know what the secret is as I provided Hubbard's staff and facebook wall more history than your average person would be curious about with references to my blog here and facebook. Most time when I called his staff I told Boone Kinard who I was; and back about five months ago I had a delightful conversation with Rachel Adams new to the state in his communications office.
    I differ with Speaker Hubbard on voter suppression and state sponsored prayer in schools; especially as I consider the demagogic way he is using them as a political strategy to keep his tea party base aroused. And to me there is something ungodly in his immigration bill. On that I think it safe to say recent UMC Bishop Willimon as well as Samford theologian Fisher Humphreys in his new book on same suggest.

     Today I got an email from retired religion proff Albert Blackwell. He linked an October 18 blog for me, his beatific thoughts after a lifetime of consideration on the nature of evil.

     As a member in good standing at FUMC Auburn, I think Hubbard can learn something from my Harvard Div Scholar. As Fleming Rutledge, the great Episcopalian pulpiteer has preached, often it comes down to a small twist, a lack of "insight". It's the difference between Francis Schaefer and Pulitzer Prize Winner and John Calvin scholar Marilynne Robinson. In Alabama it's the distinction between Judge Frank Johnson and Mike Hubbard or Governor Bentley; between Jeff Sessions and Wayne Flynt or Tom Corts.

     I got a little emotional waiting on a late lunch at Cracker Barrel thinking about it all morphed with memories of my Dad's time in Gaffney. I saw a good Baptist, one of my Dad's friends, Herman Edge, the bivocational associational missionary for Cherokee County Alabama when my Dad was on the earth. My Dad died in 1999. Saw Herman on the porch at Cracker Barrel. He's 87 now. They used to talk about Jesus and Baptists. Called my sister to tell her about it.

     Was free associating in my mind, thinking how I would approach Dr. Blackwell--a man closest in my experience to meeting the Apostle Paul or Abraham Lincoln if not Bach--and his blog if I were to reference it in say a Homecoming for Bethany Baptist church where my Dad was senior pastor for 16 years in South Carolina. Would be something like Jody Powell's story: "Evil, Hell I've seen it with my own eyes."

    So Speaker Hubbard, you got nothing to fear in Stephen M. Fox other than hopefully a political reversal in the state that birthed my Mother. As Wayne Flynt who you know well at Auburn has said there is a great struggle for the soul of Alabama. And unless you have a Damascus Road experience, Mr. Speaker, I hope you ultimately lose.

    In the meantime while you wait on the  the link I leave with my apology in a few minutes on the Facebook page of Auburn University's Living Democracy Project, consider this grand blog of the 18th of Albert Blackwell:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bobbly Welch: "We Got Liberals"; Landmarks Dekalb Annual Meeting

   Sunday Octo 13 I attended the annual meeting of the Main Historical chapter of Dekalb County, Alabama: Landmarks. Judge Randall Cole made the presentation this year and I was surprised about his honesty with local history, especially some Civil Rights incidents of the 60's. Ft. Payne HS admitted ten people of color in 65, remarkable for Alabama.
    As part of his presentation he named locals who have made a name for themselves outside the county. Among those was Mr. Howard who debated Clarence Darrow and ran as a Populist for President of the United States calling for the impeachment of
Grover Cleveland; a man who headed the Kennnedy Rocket Center in Florida, and of course the Alabama mega country group with Mark Herndon.

    He did not mention Bobby Welch who was baptized in the waters of FBC here by Dan Ireland. Bama's blue nose for a good bit of the last quarter of the 20th Century. Ireland helped obfuscate some of the real issues of fundamentalism in the state.

   Welch was a local part of a big puzzle that Jon Appleton speaks to in my earlier blog today.

    In an evangelism conference on a Wednesday afternoon of the Kansas City SBC in 1984 the 1,000 or so preachers were getting rabid. One journalist noted that Bobby Welch got to a microphone and shouted, Fellows "We got Liberals," What are we gonna do about it.

     So the dying vestiges of the Birch Society mentality giving birth 20 years later to the tea party had a strong in the flesh carrion call in Bobby Welch. In that sense when grouped with like minded Jerry Vines not far away in Rome Georgia, Welch mighta been key leader in a movement much more influential even if in a nefarious way than the celebrities Judge Cole named Sunday.

   The Vietnam Vet, rascal of a football player in the early 60s for the wildcats before he got right with Jesus for better or worse child of Ft Payne deserves notice and exploration. There is an easy wiki google of the SBC "conservative resurgence" if you want to look. Here's hoping that serious historians with the Landmarks group will study this review by Mark Noll of a few years ago:

  And make sure the local library, even the Jennifer Wilkins branch in Collinsville has copies of my friend bio of President Carter when it comes out April of next year.

Mike Hubbard and Jon Appleton, Two distinct visions for America

   If you know Jennifer Wilkins, Gloria Morgan, Sandra Killian or Rebecca Clayton please bring this blog to their attention. They are from Collinsville Alabama, leaders in the community but have never to my understanding been able to distinguish between the likes of our Bama Speaker of the house, known to Baptist Joe Scarborough of the FBC Pensacola Florida, and Bo Jackson; and a real Christian of the life of Jon Appleton. Especially a Baptist Christian as they have proven on several occasions to various degrees not to know a Baptist from a Hole in the Ground.

    So here is an aid. Jon Appleton's great grandfather's picture is in the Overstreet Room in the narthex of the Collinsville Baptist Church where my Mother was baptized in about 1936. Bonhoeffer drove through town in April of 1931 and my Grandfather ran as a Lincoln Republican for School Superintendent in 1931.

  I attended the annual meeting of the DeKalb County Landmarks Historical Association and heard a fine presentation by Judge Randall Cole. Sunday I heard stories that Rebecca Clayton would have summarily ruled out of order.

  More about that later in a blog about former SBC president Bobby Welch, Ft Payne native.

   But for now Pastor Emeritus of FBC Athens Georgia from a column Jan 28, 2005 Athens Banner Herald. In May of 2010 Appleton was the honored guest on a Sunday morning at FBC Ft Payne as part of their year long anniversary celebration. I don't think Welch was invited.

   Jon Appleton:
           Christian Right Holds GOP Future

  Congrats to the GOP, national statewide and local. The era of your ascension has arrived. As you now manipulate the takeover to entrench your destiny, I raise to you a flag of caution. The power you now exert is a gift to you of the religious right. Without them you would not be.
    Already you have compromised and deleted proven tenets of the GOP wooing them under your pennant. Should you presume you now have a happy and satisfied ally, your assumption is wrong. You know you are "in" because of them. Thus become accustomed not in just tipping your hat toward them--because their agenda is at its beginning. They were invited to "the party" and they will be the last to leave, after you. The day will come when their decisions are your decisions. Some of you will be strong to withstand. However, should you choose to fight their agenda, they will pronounce you dead, politically. And, you will be.
   Let me give to the strong a word of hope. My dad was an old fundamentalist--not the lower case f--Baptist preacher in Alabama. In the early 60's he and I were listening to the godfather of fundamentalists Baptists. Halfway through the great Texan's (W.A. Criswell) sermon, my dad retrieved his hat from under the pew, stood and walked toward the exit. Concerned, I followed, overtaking him at the door.
   I asked him if he were okay and he loudly said "No"! Then, pointing to the pulpit, he said: "That man is confused; he thinks he is God."

     Two decades later when the fundamentalists had indeed taken over the Southern Baptist Convention, my dad--81 at the time-said to me. "Should you live as long as I have you will no longer be a Southern Baptist."
    I asked why and he said: "They are not who we are. They have a different agenda."
   Well, I'm still a Baptist, no longer a Southern Baptist. Indeed their agenda and their maniacal fanaticism, by which they fight to win is not who I am.
   Though now alive and well you GOP enjoy "the party". However be cautious as some of you already are the walking dead. However once you are expurgated from their web, there will be a glorious resurrection for you and a renewed sense of freedom from manipulative government.
   The religious right has a right to be, however, I have exercised by right not to so be as prescribed by it.
    Soon, you will note that your foe will not be so much across the aisle, as seated among The Party. Then, you must decide your will to be repressed or to be free.

   As For Me I will enjoy Freedom!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Traffic Court, Usury, Bham News and Dekalb County Alabama

    Back in late March I contracted pneumonia. I toyed with it for three weeks and didn't get any better. My sister showed some hospitality and I went to Upstate South Carolina for three weeks till I turned the corner on my ordeal, watched the Tsarnaev Brothers and the Boston Marathon and came back to Alabama on or around May 5.

    For about six weeks it did not dawn on me my car tag had expired. Make that a couple months as I met Governor Bentley in July in Ft Payne and I think the authorities reminded me in Ft Payne between the Library and 2nd Baptist church. I thought I was getting a warning but it turned out to be a 200 dollar fine. I went to the registrar as instructed thinking some sensible person would show some mercy and understanding re pneumonia and near flawless record as a citizen in Alabama for 25 years. As soon as I could make the trip to Ft Payne to get my tag renewed I did so and paid the customary 15 dollar fine in addition to renewal fee.

    About three weeks ago I went to traffic court where the judge refused to hear my plea about pneumonia and solid citizenship. The fine was discarded but in a catch 22 I was hit to three dollars less in court fee or about 197 dollars. Penalty for paying on time was thirty five dollars, an amount I think the Old Testament of the Bible would call usury.

     This morning I heard a conversation by John Archibald of the Bham News of how the court system is operating in Alabama now under our Deacon Southern Baptist Governor Tea Party Apologist Bentley, a former parishioner of Rick Lance at FBC Tuscaloosa.

     Here is a link to Archibald's conversation this morn on WBHM and following a testimony from Rome Georgia in the Tribune Letters yesterday:

In the chat above Archiblad segueways from Joe Reed into how the court system now penalizes the poor.


LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Local traffic court system a gross violation
by H.J. Clay, Armuchee
a day ago | 395 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations  | email to a friend | print
I recently had the unique and rare (for me) opportunity to attend our traffic court to plead my traffic citation. Now, it’s been quite a while since I’ve had any instruction in civics and the traffic “court” sure was an eye-opening experience.

The police officer was not present in “court” for me to be heard. The judge appeared to have no authority to reduce or dismiss any citations without, in his words, hearing the officers’ version or viewing the tape of the incident.

In order for that to occur, a not-guilty plea had to be recorded and your case went to a higher court which, after sitting in TC for two hours, would have required another reassigned date and more time off work. For me, that $100 fine was not worth the aggravation of sitting through another court session.

If a higher court is required in order to face your accuser, why not skip TC and go straight to a higher court, or realign TC to where the accuser must also be present?

But that, they will say, will take too many officers off the street. A couple solutions: 1) grant the TC judge the authority to dismiss or downgrade a citation at his discretion or 2) allow a citizen to plead not guilty and go directly to a higher court.

The way TC is currently being conducted in the Rome-Floyd court system is, in my opinion, a gross violation of our constitutional and personal rights.


Read more: - LETTER TO THE EDITOR Local traffic court system a gross violation

Friday, October 04, 2013

Samford Lectures: Mendacity, Mike, Billy and President Carter

  Weds and Thursday I attended three lectures at Samford presented by my friend Randall Balmer of Dartmouth. It was his third appearance at Samford over the last 15 years.

    Check his website; and check links and commentary on his appearance in the history room of

    In the 3pm lecture yesterday I broached Bama Speaker Mike Hubbard's name as continuing to practice the politics of "mendacity" Balmer so carefully laid out in his history of how tax exemption for white flight academies in Mississippi in 69 and then Bob Jones University in fights in the 70s were demagogued by rightwing forces as they found ways to galvanize fundamentalists of the religious right, what Paul Weyrich saw as a sleeping "giant" waiting to be awakened.

   From Tax exemption Francis Schaefer called Weyrich and with Bob Billings politicized abortion. All chicanery, all in an effort of the Devil.

     Mike Hubbard continues to practice the same kind of politics here in Bama. May God have Mercy on His soul.

   Also see Samford public facebook page and links at to feature today in the Birmingham News.