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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 www.clsnet.org 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, December 30, 2013

What does L. J. Peak Know?

    I went to the Dorman Classic in Spartanburg S.C. Dec 28 to see my hometown Gaffney Indians play Effingham County--just a little north of Savannah--in a Christmas Basketball tournament. L J Peak of Gaffney is ranked 59th in the country and a fellow from Eff County , JaKeenan Gant, is number 50; Peak already signed with Georgetown and Eff with Mizzou.

      Georgetown is a serious institution. I know Peak will be focussing on basketball and dreams of the NBA. Still as an ambassador of my hometown I hope he learns something there. Most likely President Obama will see him play in the next two years. I've already called the White House and telling them Peak is coming. I'm gonna call my acquaintance Derrick Harkins of the 19th Street Baptist Church as well. I want Peak to go  hear him preach some.

   I've never met Peak, just seen him play. Was gonna approach him Saturday but wasn't in the flow of things after a pretty emotionally exhaustive contest he found himself in.

   What does Peak owe a trombone player who is a basketball fan. Well I was a white boy during integration of the public schools so I have some skin in the game. And my friend Johnny Dawkins wrote the Hero Who Couldn't Read, an ABC Afterschool special starring Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Peak brings more to the table for sure than Dawkins star in that special but he owes us and Gaffney, most of all himself, purpose to come away from Georgetown more than a better free throw shot, which he's got to work on. Smile there, LJ.

    In the last couple weeks I've seen the ESPN 30/30 docs about Ernie Grunefeld and Barnard King's experience at U Tenn in the 70s. Learn from them. Learn from Maurice Clarett's experience at Ohio State I watched last night. Be an example these last months in Gaffney. Roll back on the video games and down time with rap music and prepare with stuff that will get you on a path to big picture wisdom. When you and the Indians win the State Championship in Columbia, And you will, in a couple of months, ask a reporter if he's read Lincoln's Long Game in the New Republic by Delbanco. It's an easy google.

    Why go hear Harkins. Well Harkins was on panel with an august group two years ago on the NPR Diane Rehm show talking about the Marilyn Robinson Prize Winning novel Gilead. Peak needs to listen to that conversation and read the book before he goes to meet the President. The President likes the book. I've seen his top ten. I bet money my friend Schuyler Foster has read it. BMW sent GHS 72 grad to South Africa at the end of apartheid. She went in a plant and said take these cartoons down, My People can read.

      See Twelve Years a Slave. Be aware Greenwood native Tomiko Brown Nagin is on faculty at Harvard now with Walter Johnson who wrote the River of Dark Dreams. Find a copy of the movie Blood Done Sign my Name by Tim Tyson and know this Duke proff wrote an essay about the dynamiting of the House on College Drive in 1956.

     Take more than a basketball with you when you meet the President and Pastor Harkins. You owe me and Johnny Dawkins, Barty Sides, Ulysses Dawkins, Willie Jefferies, Donnie Ray Littlejohn and Elnora, Schuyler Foster and Sidney Rice, even Wayne Whiteside. Make us proud on the court and off.

    And Congratulations and God Bless you and all the teammates and support staff in the community that helped offer you this grand opportunity.

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