If I were to tell you there is a man in Alabama in the United States who has based his humanitarian work on a popular song sung by supporters of a football club in England (that’s soccer for my American friends), and who has never once visited the U.K.- let alone the city that made it famous- you’d probably shake your head and ask why.
This story is for the Reds in Liverpool who put their hearts and souls into a team and city, and a mindset that has taken root around the world and in my head and my…
161 years later we are still fighting the Civil War
I was born in Walker County, Alabama in 1978. This was only 9 years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and only ten years after The Fair Housing Act of 1968, which was supposed to end discrimination in renting and selling homes.
I used to look at those black and white photos and think all of that was ancient history. But, as William Faulkner once wrote, “The past isn’t dead. It’s not even past.”
The official end of the Civil War happened at Appomattox Courthouse on April…
“Once they banned Imagine it became the same old war it’s always been.
Once they banned Imagine it became the war it was when we were kids.”
I watched Mike Cooley sing these lyrics from atop a small trailer in a union hall parking lot in rural Brookwood, Alabama on May 22nd, 2021. It was part of a fundraiser known as Alabama Strike Fest for striking miners at the UMWA Locals there. It was also his last song for the day and the end of the festivities.
Back in 2017 I was working in West Africa in Ghana and listening…
“…dreaming backwards can carry a man through some dark rooms where the walls seem lined with razor blades.”
― Rick Bragg, All Over But the Shoutin’
In 2016 I ran into my father on a visit to my mother back home. We hadn’t spoken since a family funeral in 2006 and I was fairly agitated about the encounter. He was clear headed and I had obviously caught him on a day where he hadn’t smoked anything or had been eating percocets. I was cordial. He acted as if we talked every day.
Five more years would pass before we would…
“Oh, death. Won’t you spare me over ’til another year?”- Traditional American Folk Song
I’ve been a bit existential as of late and considering my mortality, and the mortality of my friends and family. Maybe it is from listening to the brilliant podcast, The Lucky Ones, by Dale McGowan. Maybe it’s the daily updates on deaths of note I get from my good friend, Mitch Alday. Long before the days of Mobituaries from Mo Rocca there were Omitchuaries on my Facebook timeline.
Maybe it’s the multiple car crash I was surrounded by on Interstate 26 in South Carolina last month…
Alarm Bells: Meatpacking Plants and Covid-19
Author’s note: This piece started out as an informative piece on meatpacking plants, and how and why the Covid-19 virus is spreading rapidly through the workers in the plants. It has evolved into an investigative piece as well, with workers throughout Alabama reaching out to me to sound the alarm bells on what they are seeing inside the plants. Far away from the media appearances — where we are shown measures that are supposedly being taken in some plants— there a much different story in other facilities. There is also an environmental issue related…
Muck City to Mar-a-Lago: A Tale of Palm Beach County
Author’s note: I wrote this in January of 2018 to submit for consideration for publication, possibly at The Bitter Southerner. I never finished editing it, and set it aside to continue work on other writing projects. I just rediscovered this piece and, with the subjects I wrote about now facing further hardship in the Covid-19 pandemic, it seems timely to share this. Here it is unedited as I’m now busy on mutual aid efforts with our nonprofit here in Alabama working in similar communities.
Hope y’all enjoy it.