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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, December 31, 2015


  Don't have much to say about last year, but its the last day and deserves a little something on the record. I'm just lingering, sadly may be the upshot.

    Had a few moments and lot of thoughts. As has been routine for last several years, got in a few Sacred Harp events. Was in SC for three weeks mid summer. Summer mighta been unbearable if not for that.

      Turkey Trot in Collinsville was a delight and was proud of the Cricket Theatre for hosting an Auburn group back in October, I think it was.

     No book other than Rough Country stood out. Got my eye on H is for Hawk in the coming year.
     Saw Me and Earl in the dying Girl with my  Nephew, and liked Brooklyn over Thanksgiving. Spotlight was strong.

    And yesterday Ana Ularu was delightful on facebook with a dubmouth of Jack Nicholson in the Departed. We had a message exchange. Made my day.

    Joseph Morgan is now the editor of Southern Torch in Deekalb County Alabama. That is a matter of some intrigue.

    Life goes on. I'm concerned about my Country. I thought my generation coming out of Nixonland and Watergate and Viet Nam coulda polished things up a little but fundamentalist Baptists, the Tea PArty, Karl Rove and Fox News seem intent on FFin it up. Bonhoeffer calls it the politics of Stupidity.

    Had a few interesting conversations, got a used bicycle though emerging type two diabetes or arthritis in the legs means it aint what it used to be as Robbie Roberson says transitioning from the Old Time Religion into Night They Drove old Dixie Down in The Last Waltz.

   Was supposed to be at Bridges BBQ for breakfast this morn in Shebby NC but those plans with my brother came unhinged.

     Good metaphor for this last year, but I have a pulse and the Lord Almighty is in charge. As is professed in the movie Jude, we are the refuse, the offscouring. Good set up to see MacBeth which I hope Nick Saban and his Tide fans allow in a decent Theatre in Bama in January.

    Roll Tide. Actually I'm pullin for Clemson.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Traveling Home

    In the last several years I have posted many blogs about the Sacred Harp Singings. I attended my first one in August of 2006 best of my memory. Kiri  Miller of Brown wrote Traveling Home and has a picture about midway through the book near my home giving directions to the Piney Grove Singing where Bud Oliver, one time mayor of Collinsville, Alabama and a first name acquaintance of both President Bush 41 and JFK Defense Secretary Robert McNamara was a legend. He passed away a couple years ago.

If you can't click on this link, copy and paste for grand review of Kiri's book though I do take umbrage at the phrase "ignorant Hillbillies" though folks from Yale and Brown and Princeton who I've met in ten short years at the singings will profess is not the case now of the folks, some bunheaded they now sing with in DeKalb County , Alabama

    He and double first cousin S. T. Reed kept the Singing going for the last 60 some years. The two are double first cousins and I'm kin to all of them and ST's three sisters.

   Here is how I had it explained to me Sunday by one of the sisters at Jacks in Collinsville.

    The graves are in the Rocky Mount Cemetery if anybody wants to check.

    My great grandfather John Sanders Jordan had a sister named Louisa Jane born in 1836. John was born in 41 and his son my Grandfather James Columbus in 81.

   Louisa Jane married Nathaniel Reed who had a son William Tell --I guess named after the overture. "Telly" 's sister was Bud Oliver's Mother and Telly's children were S.T. and the sisters.

   Here are ST's sisters:   Lula Wagner, Sue Wills, Eulene Dobbs and Ardell Turnure, four sisters it turns out. Sue is a member of the Ruhama Baptist Church where Momma's first cousin Luther and Geneva Reed son Scott is the choir director. Two of his children are pharmacists, one in Fyffe. I think that's right

   So that's how I'm bloodkin to the heart of the Sacred Harp community of North Alabama and the world, cause Bud was international, and the movie Cold Mountain.

    Bud told me a great story about 2010. Grandfather Jordan had a brother, Roscoe, Uncle Rock who was Momma's favorite. I asked in my direct ancestry was active in the singings before my time. Bud said my grandfather came to a few, but Roscoe was a regular, came about every year. Said he wasn't much of a singer but did have a reputation.  Said back in the 30s and 40s they  called him Cake cause that's what he liked about it best, the dinner on the ground.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Collinsville's latest Brush with National Notoriety

  I guess all small towns sooner or later get mentioned somewhere. But Collinsville has had its share over time. A few days ago Martha Barksdale of the History Museum said Irby Hall got the Turkey Trot to the Notice of the National Geographic in 1929. Not sure about that but she's working on it.
   Everybody should read the Alabama History Quarterly piece on Trade Day, I think first published in 84. Rucker Agee coming threw on the train just in time to see the "wildly flapping gobblers" at the mercy of some 40,000 who had come out of the local hills is a gem.
   Collinsville has been in Nat Geo in 75, saw that one with my own eyes. And a big picture book had a picture of Trade Day in the 90s. Two documentaries featuring Collinsville have been on statewide TV, the Soccer team winning state championship got some publicity.
     Rick Bragg's piece on Trade Day is still an easy google at Southern Living. Dietrich Bonhoeffer came through town on HWY 11 in late Spring of 1931 and Hank Williams passed through town on his last drive. William Moore walked through town in April of 63 and was assassinated just five miles inside the Etowah County Line going South. LA Times wrote that up in 2002.
    But the latest is Paul Theroux in Deep South. Great Book if for noting else getting me thinking about Faulkner again. The Chapter on the "Fantastification " of Southern Literature is priceless, as is look at Bama FAns and the Sororites at Bama trouble with race.
     But Collinsville is in there too, if just in passing. Page 162. Same motel Brett Morgen stayed in when he did his doc in 92 Blessings of Liberty before he took on the Chicago Ten, Mic and the Rolling Stones and got to be friends with Robert Redford for The Kid Stays in the Picture and On the Ropes.
    Brett stayed in the same place before international traveler spent the night a few years ago.
    I wish Paul had gone on in to town. Though I've had my differences, he coulda toured Martha's History Museum. It is Spotless if a little provincial but to be applauded as is their work with the Town Clock and Cricket Theatre.
    Heck the local preacher had three sons who went to Duke and UVA and Yale.

    So we can hang if you just get to know us a little better.

   Even so woulda been hilarious if he had interviewed Jennifer Wilkins at the Library. Another priceless moment, this one he missed.

    Read the book. Some good stuff in there.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Bill Hull and the "Impossibles"

   In the fall of 2002 I attended a lecture at Samford University by my Friend Randall Balmer who now teaches at Dartmouth. At the time a Samford Student and I were working on a screenplay with a fictional character in the downline of the famous evangelist Billy Sunday fast forwarded to the days of the Hippie Community in Atlanta and the Janis Joplin concert of July 5, 1969. It's good stuff and still worthy of consideration of Brad Pitt to help us produce.

   Balmer read and said it was the stuff of genius grinding in as it did provocative thoughts of Harold Bloom in his classic The American Religion.

    Bill Hull was there that morning in the audience sitting about halfway between me and my collaborator one row back and across the chapel.

    In the October issue of Baptists Today Bonhoeffer biographer Charles Marsh's uncle Fisher Humphreys reviews the last book of Hull. In many circles Hull  is something of a Lincolnesque figure and I do not have the rank to say otherwise.


   However as reviewed by Humphreys I think Hull's take on Timothy George and the Tom Corts solution to the divide in Baptist life is sophomoric and na├»ve to the bigger reverberations of the fundamentalist takeover in the SBC. Both Corts and Hull are honorable men but I'm convinced bringing George in as head of Samford Divinity school was monumental mistake.

   Though he hasn't weighed in on this matter, Marsh's segment on the politics of stupidity in his bio of Bonhoeffer would've been educational for Hull as the Tea Party movement is lesser by degree though quite comparable to what Bonhoeffer resisted in the 30s in Germany. Nothing in Humphrey's review suggests Hull considered that aspect of the Baptist mess.

    George is small piece of the political puzzle as its comes to be in Alabama, but now there is almost nobody with any sensibility and sizable following to contest the religious political ideology of of Briarwood  PCA Church, The Church of Brook Hills which for all practical effect is Crawford Broadcasting and Yellowhammer news at Prayer and the good ole boy sophomoric mush of Rick and Bubba and Scott Beason.

      Though not named I imagine among the list of the "impossibles" Hull thought he outwitted in the Baptist conversation were James Dunn, Cecil Sherman, Bill Leonard, Stewart Newman, LD Johnson, even the better inclinations of Corts himself if you consider Corts and his wife dalliance with Baptist Church of the Covenant when it first called Sarah Shelton as pastor and where Humprheys has been long time pastor.

    I Plan to read Hull's book soon. The ongoing conversation will be interesting. But as I have thought for the last 30 years and continue to be convinced the ongoing thinking of Bill Moyers and his ilk is wiser and larger framed than this well meaning though provincial and narrow assessment of Hull.

    See the recent piece by Moyers on the debacle of the GOP, the Marilynne Robinson conversation with President Obama in New York Review of Books and the Garry Wills review of Robinson in same.