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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.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Little Billy said "fox"

  Little Billy is my brother's second grandson, officially William Calhoun Chastain. But I call him little Billy. He'll be two in February. Thanksgiving night I was trying to read him a book without my reading glasses and when I would say an animal he would punch a button that made the animal sound. The sounds were new for me and I asked what that was and he said "fox".  My Dad and his Dad WD Shorty Fox would be so proud. Others say they'd heard him say it before but how can we know for sure.

    Well I heard it my own ears. Was a highlight of my 2016 Thanksgiving. Truly enjoyed the family even though some of em, well hell, most of em voted the wrong way; but we didn't talk about it. My sister laid out the ground rules in a ride through North Georgia Saturday. At one point we were just 40 miles from Hayesville NC birthplace of George W. Truett great friend of Woodrow Wilson. Wilson had some faults as Patrick Phillips points out in Blood at the Root but I have to believe Truett leaned a little further forward than Wilson. Else Stewart Newman woulda told me and Newman said "WA Criswell doesn't speak for me!!!""

   And strom Thurmond heard him.

    Marsha and I clipped a little of Forsyth too. The lynchings of 1912 Phillips talks about.

    At Thanksgiving we played Rook, gin rummy and Sorry. My sister in law Melissa poisoned the Sorry game with whispers to lil mac about who to send back to start but Melissa and I are getting along better than ever and that's good news. Little Parks and I threw the ball some. They're all solid and Marsue Clary liked their picture on the swing on the front porch on facebook.

   She knew My Momma and Daddy in Gaffney.

   Sunday Morning I went to church and sang on a pew with my sister. Saw Ms. Jo Cobb who went to Agnes Scott. She understands things.

    The right Rev John Adams of Shelby NC, earned doctorate from Baylor, one of Furman's most adept products in the pulpit of the 80s classes used as his text the opening chapters of the life of Martin England. That brought tears to my eyes as I know the story well. There is a picture of me and Martin and 24 odd other people in prayer in a circle in the dining hall at Furman in the 1972 Bonhomie. Jim Pitts, the son of Nixon's barber, longtime Chaplain at Furman is in that picture too. He was in church Sunday. He didn't know I was there. I texted him "I know that Man Martin England".

   Pitts texted back: "This morning John Adams told Jasper England rescue from the Wahalla Depot by a black man, a freed slave right after the Civil War. That's a story with roots and relevance"

     We are now in the Age of Trump. Pitts knew some of the same folks Ive come to know. LD Johnson, Will Campbell, Marshall Frady, Jesse Jackson, James Dunn, Stewart Newman.

   I love my family. I am not afraid. I don't want to be an asshole but I'm not gonna be quiet. God Bless the United States of America.

    PS. Today on facebook  I told Clyde Mayes, Furman basketball great and  Kay Brumbach whose Dad's name adorns the legendary football stadium at Gaffney High School about the new book on Martin England, By Love and by Faith. If your church library don't have a well read copy then your church and its lyberry as we say it in Alabama aint worth a damn. Google Wipf and Stock, Martin England. Read the blurbs and endorsements. I'm calling Senator Jeff Sessions office Monday and whispering a few prayers in his staffers ears.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving 1967

      I remember it something like this. My Dad the only driver family then had picked my brother and sister up from school cause they got out earlier. He checked me out about an hour early from Gaffney High, my freshman year on a Tuesday and we challenged the six hour drive to Rome Ga.

   I don't remember if we still had to go through Greenville on 29. I don't think so as with a few breaks around Commerce Ga we got to Atlanta where we went north on 75 just a little but had to go over to Marietta about where the Krystal was and get on 441. My Dad was always frazzled by then, Atlanta traffic and station wagon full of family and he challenged Atlanta traffic instead of going with the flow. We get a pack of Krystals. 441 traffic was always bad and we still had the Big Chicken to navigate in the dark, later I learned to be famous cause that was about where Leo Frank was lynched in 1915 and the ancestors of the Blue Blood Big Rocker Brumbee family helped orchestrate the whole deal.

   And then later I tried to Understand Nelson Price religious and political bent bordering on the Birch Society and the takeover of Shorter College, but I digress.

    We'd get to Nanny and Papa's about 8 pm if we were lucky. Dad would be shot but Momma would hit second wind to reinforce the kitchen patrol with Nanny for Thursday to come.

    Paul Simmons and Aunt Kat would come up on Thursday morn and Aunt Nita and her branch would be there for dinner or come in later that evening. On a great together Uncle Fremont would find a way to get down from DC and that was the best Rook games with a foursome always going with my Dad and Uncle Free and Papa and Paul Simmons and me and Tim Wood itching to get in.

    Uncle Paul sold Hush Puppy shoes from the Merchandise Mart downtown Atlanta but traveled all over. Got a new Cadillac every three years or so for that big trunk to haul all those shoes around and a tax write off. Kept Aunt Kat dressed in style.

    Waitin on Thanksgiving Dinner I'd often be sittin on the front screen porch with Papa, WD Shorty Fox. When he'd come up the little drive off Dykes Creek on Morrison Campground Road he'd say, Here comes Paul Simmons and that big Fine Car.

   Papa would work me and my brother on Wed and Thursday morning. Cutting firewood, serious if he rigged up the big saw behind his tractor.  There are a couple pictures, my skinny brother about 8 years old and me shooting a bee bee gun, and Nathan and some friends up by the haystack but that coulda been taken in 71. I was thin, pants too big in the waste and my windbreaker from Sears in Spartanburg or the Rome Pants factory downtown where Mr. DeDaubalier was still giving my Dad some discounts from working there in the 40s after he left the meat market at the Jitney Jungle.

    Nanny put the food on the table. Liked to be in charge of everything. Momma helped with the pecan and chocolate pies. Giblet gravy was perfect, and seemed like always enough dressin. Everybody packed it away.

  Depending on the Wood schedule we'd usually leave Friday Morn and go over and see Momma's brother and sister in Collinsville, Alabama a leisurely jaunt of about an hour 20 minutes from five miles east of Rome. Most times through Cedar Bluff on the north route but occasionally through Cave Spring. Any option we were in Centre Alabama in 40 minutes with a wondrous view of the lake to mystify in the dark. More on that aspect of the trip in a few days.

    Everybody was alive then. Nobody started dying with that round of family for another 12 years and then it was one every two years including my Mother in 1988.

   Looking forward to seeing my Brothers three brand new grandsons in Upstate SC. Will tell them some of the stories if I get quality time. Some of their parents are already coming around to Rook including Marsha's one and only Andrew who graduates from High School in May. I think he and Brinkley or Billy Lewis are gonna come to Collinsville, Alabama if I am still there in three years. We'll ride around and talk about some things.

Oil is the New Cotton on the Plantation; Hoschild on Gaffney's WJ Cash

    Ive had a spike in page views the last several days. So come back to this post after Thanksgiving as I hope to add to this kerygma of a thought.

   Yesterday I spot read some of National Book Award nominee Hoschild's Strangers in Their Own Land. The analysis of my hometown Gaffney SC's WJ Cash was beautiful. It brings together a lot of loose ends I have been speculating on for some time about the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention that has now landed us in the era of Trump and Trey Gowdy.

     Paul Pressler's Exxon Oil and shenanigans with the SBC networked to the legacy of Jesse Helms tobacco and cotton. Gonna be substantive if I do the matter justice. Biblical proportions focused on Baptist strife ripe with Birchers, Tex Regulars, demagogues and Lee Atwater's "nigger memo" from Robert Wuthnow's Rough Country.

   Big gap between Pressler and Helms and the vision and concern of Ken Burns and John Grisham last week on NPR diane rehm show,

     Talked to a staffer today on NC US Senator's DC Office. Talked to him straight about my Daddy and Randall Lolley, UNC Chancellor Bill Friday and the nomination of Senator Sessions for Atty General. Nice Fellow. He heard me out. Also some interesting exchanges on the facebook wall today with Bill Ivey of Alabama, basketball coach, on Sessions. Some may want to look at that or the history section of forums

   And then there is the remote possibility of an afternoon two panel event at Furman University late January early Feb to usher in the era of Trump.  Keep an eye on the facebook wall of Christian Ethics Today to see if that takes traction.

    Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless the United States of America.

Link to great article on Gaffney's  WJ Cash who is the focal point of Hoschild's chapter History Revisitted 1860s and 1960s

Friday, November 18, 2016

Top 15 political events associated with Gaffney SC in the Mid 20th Century

   The Trump Disaster had me thinking too much about politics the last two weeks. My way of getting back to some normalcy, always elusive, is to get "out there". So here some serious, some obviously facetious are the pretty much definitive top 15 Political Incidents related to Gaffney SC from roughly 1940- 1978

     Fifteen:  Chicken Jolley attended Sunday services at Bethany Baptist Church--Billy D. Fox, Pastor-- on Wilkinsville Rd circa 74 as part of his reelection campaign to SC State Senate.

     14. The "incident"  at the Gaffney Post Office circa 65

       13. Roger Smoak introduces tennis to Gaffney High Athletic Program the fall of 68

      12.The school board transition from year 67-68 to 68-69. The arrival of Vince Price on a board chaired by Waite Hamrick helped smooth Cherokee County's acceptance of Brown V Board in the face of devotees of  George Wallace and Strom Thurmond's Choice Plan

     11. Strom Thurmond's wife Nancy hat blows away in the wind at Limestone College roughly April 68

      10 Stephen Fox and Roger Milliken Jr become good friends the summer of 1970 working at Sunny Slope peach Shed. Roger came to the house on Sundays for friend chicken and I saw his house in Spartanburg and his Dad's pictures with President Nixon.

     9.The 1956 bombing of the Doctor's house on College Drive, later occupied by one of Gov Riley's best childhood friends Don Gannt

     8 Libby Mitchell elected President of the GHS Student Body. Later after Furman to marry an Arkansan with close ties to the Kennedys and herself to run for Governor of Maine.

     7. Gaffney beauty Andie Macdowell stars with Bill Murray in Ground Hog day, I think in the 80s. Murray goes on to be part owner with Bill Veeck's son of the Charleston Riverdogs and ralley the Chicago Cubs to World Series History, a good omen for Hillary Clinton that didn't take

     6  John Hamrick in 1974 as president of the American Textile Manufacturers Inst has private audience with President Ford in San Francisco. In 1976 Billy Graham and Ford get Yankees 2nd Baseman, Mickey Mantle's great friend Bobby Richardson to run for US Congress but Bobby is shot down by a question by Stephen Fox on Brown lung at a meeting in the old Bernanke Drug Store across from what was Merchants and Planters Bank

     5.Bob Peeler meets with Karl Rove and ten others at the Hyatt in Greenville to go negative on John McCain to abet the comeback and eventual Presidency of George W. Bush. Peeler later spotted in a PBS documentary on the SC Primary coming from behind a curtain to stand with Bush on the night of W's Comeback.
    4. Fletcher Smith of the same 1970 GHS Class as Peeler is campaign manager for Joe Lieberman in the 2004 SC primary but in2008 his horse Gov Richardson of New Mexico had faltered and Smith was sought by Hillary and Obama camp. Fletcher was on the way to Columbia to have a 20 minute one on one meeting with Hillary when Obama called him on his cell phone about the Clinton exit, maybe Newberry.

    3. Strom Thurmond rides his horse in the initial Peach Festival Parade featuring Stephen Fox Get it On Trombone Band and Star Trek's Shatner as Grand Marshall

    2.  Marian Wright Edelman, mentor to both Bobby Kennedy and Hillary Clinton spends summers with her Gandfather, a former slave, pastor of Thicketty Creek Baptist Church just off 29 on way to Cowpens.

   1. Wilbur J Cash, baptized at Cherokee Ave Baptist Church, in 1939 or so publishes his legendary book The Mind of the South. 75 odd years later Hal Crowther in John Grisham's Oxford American Magazine celebrates the book with a sardonic review of two books one which takes issue with the Daughters of the Confederacy, their perversion of the History of the Civil War now embraced by Donald Trump's Presidency and his lackeys Jeff Sessions, and Steve Bannon and David Barton who buttresses the "biblical" world view of Trey Gowdy's FBC Spartanburg.

I was prescient by three days on the magnificence and timelessness of  Cash. See my blog on Hoschild.

 Here is a beautiful piece from the early 90s on Cash with added value evaluation of textile mills that were to disappear within a decade of Rubin's look back.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Molly Hillary and Molly

    Come back to this blog between now and January. I hope to make it better and add a little but want to get started today.

   In meantime read away at these 16 writers at new yorker. Good Stuff there

    Will have that link later.

    I think it was October 27, a Thursday Hillary and Michelle Obama spoke at Wake Forest University. A lot of Wake Forest Baptist Div students were in the audience that day and Hillary was 11 points ahead in national polls. Lot of recent Baptist history in North Carolina was about to get redeemed, the ghost of racist Jesse Helms was on verge of finally being put to rest and everything Randall Lolley and UNC Chancellor Friday fought for at the old Seminary, the witness of Frank Porter Graham and Stewart Newman was about to be honored.

     The next day Comey made his flawwed statement about new emails and Trey Gowdy and Fox News was back in play.

    That helped usher in the Tragedy we are all faced with. But for a moment, the Baptist aspect of the Tea Party and Alt Right and Trumpism was about to be changed in the twinkling of an eye. 

     In the spring of 94 best I remember I caught a ride to Louisville Kentucky and while there interviewed Baptist great Molly Marshall who was in process of being removed from the faculty of Southern Baptist Seminary because she was a woman. Her accuser Albert Mohler a few years ago boasted on the role Billy Graham played in the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention, giving him platform, agency, status to fire Marshall.

    On that day in 94 Marshall told me a story of being on panel with Hillary Clinton and others at Princeton a year or so earlier, and Pat Robertson was on panel. Molly hit Pat with a "zinger", Hillary caught her attention and gave her a wink and a thumbs up.

    Among other things lost last Tuesday, setbacks was the world of Molly Marshall and female Baptist witness in a Hillary administration. Hillary had flaws, but to elect a "pussy grabber" with 80 percent of the evangelical vote was not the work of Jehoval in the world. You will never convince me of that.

    Google Tupelo Hassman open letter to Jeff Sessions, roughly translated p grabber, or Kitty Fights Back. It's stout, this woman who got national attention a few years ago with her treatise on the power of the Girl Scout manual.

      White male America as represented by JD Vance in Hillbilly Elegy and Hothschild in Strangers in Their Own Land had their grievances and Clinton did not appeal, did not engage that conversation successfully. It might have been impossilbe given the endless, ceasless nightly lies and distortions of Fox News and true believers like my Uncle Prentice, who once championed the causes of Randall Lolley and Carlyle Marney. 

   Prentice boasted that his well to do Senior Adult Sunday School Class at Aberdeen NC Baptist, all 27 voted for Donald Trump.  What a traitor is he and his kind, like Rick and Bubba and Trey Gowdy and the rest of the world of David Barton.

    Last weekend on NPR I heard a story of ten years ago of young girls, ten or eleven or so in AFGHANISTAN  who wore the veil and the burka to school but once they got there took them off and enjoyed being alive, giggling and the joy of being human at that age. One girl said she loved school. She said when you get education, when you get those words and thoughts in your brain and in your heart, They (the taliban) cannot take that away from you.

     Like the young slave woman in EL Doctorow's The March, free and alive pickin cotton in South Georgia where Massuh can't touch her; Well the Bible says the Taliban and Donald Trump and Steve Bannon and Trey Gowdy and David Barton and the alt right, they are temporal, hopefully no more than four years.

     I forgot Molly Worthen. Her piece of how Trump Played in North Carolina is in last weeks' NY Times.

       Trump and assholes, what else can you call assholes but assholes like Rick and Bubba; their ignorance and provincial bait will not win. Ten year old girls in Afghanistan know that. Hillary and Molly and Molly suffered a setback, but they did not lose. America lost on November 8, 2016