22 June 2011


The rabble did babble in pointless fury
As the problem lay ignored and still
Opinions launched in a chaotic flurry
Each intent to impose its own will
Argue and argue and argue some more
Seems so hard for sanity to avail
While all around the debating floor
Lay all the wreckage of an oft told tale
Everyone knew what must be done
But no one dared to do it
By hard dirty labor it must be won
But no one would see through it
“We must get to work!” they all cried
But no one budged at all.
‘Cause none of the leaders they espied
Did more than issue the call
Ever higher the rhetoric was raised
Epithets flying in bitter sad song
As though the force of will displayed
Were sufficient to right all that’s wrong
Then somewhere near the side a man
Stepped from the shadows to fore
He said not a word, & raised not a hand
To quiet the din and the roar
He just quietly picked up a tool
And weighed it in his strong grip
Selected a board and a nail and a spool
And a hammer to hang on his hip
Silently he started to build
Unnoticed by the great teeming row
His hand were calloused, his face was filled
With wrinkles,  yet strangely unbowed
He drove the nail and sawed the board
And soon had raised a wall
He asked no one to lift even a cord
Or help in any way at all
He soon was mocked and criticized
“How dare you start without us!”
They cursed and spit and spouted lies
“Don’t you know this is all about us?!?”
He paid them not a whit of heed
And kept his head bent to his work
He sawed and nailed, a steep price indeed
In sweat and blood and hurt
His attackers soon grew tired of him
“We’ll leave him here to rot!
“A model for fools, with wisdom slim!”
And they all walked away and forgot
But soon the man felt a soft breeze
Cooling the sweat on his brow
As a younger man quietly rolled up his sleeves
And set his hand to the plow
He said not a word, needed no inspiration
He simply took up the burden of toil
He followed along with no consternation
And didn’t care if his hands he did soil.
Soon other joined with no thought of gain
They had not a care for who might
Deride or applaud their efforts, not in vain
Tho’ they may be in some slacker’s dim sight
Their leader gave no indication
That he’d needed their help from the start
He simply worked with determination
And berated no one else’s small part
He did not command, no glory did sell
Certain that others like he would savor
The satisfaction of hard work done well
The peaceful sleep of an honest days’ labor
The work was not glamorous or high spoken
Few indeed noticed at all
He lost track of the tools that were broken
And hours spent sharpening his saw
The moral of my story ‘tis true
And not easily swept away
People will notice what you do
Long before they will hear what you say.
An old wise saying comes now to my mind
Though I’ve forgotten now just who ‘twas that said it
It’s amazing what will work out just fine
If you don’t care who takes the credit. 

10 June 2011

The Time Machine

He built himself a time machine
when he was only three
And only just beginning to think always first of “me.”
He thought “how fun to skip the baths, the broccoli, the chores!”
A veritable thinking prodigy, beyond all childlike mores.
“I’ll skip just little things,” he said, “like visits from my aunts
Unpleasant early bedtimes, and undesired naps.”
I’ll miss nothing important,” he thought with confidence sublime
Sure of where the grand devise could take him fro in time
When in three days his fifth birthday party would draw near
He slipped into his time machine and quickly disappeared!
When stepping out he heard his mother’s voice ring loud and true
“Hurry up or we’ll be late, we’re all waiting on you!”
After birthday then came Christmas, his presents lined the wall!
“Surely one less week of life doesn’t matter now at all!”
So he skipped twenty-one, twenty-two December, twenty-three, then twenty-four
And hopped out of his time machine to a bright, clear Christmas morn!
On to kindergarten he ran, and saw with envious eyes
How all the first-graders towered above all the lowly kids his size
“I’ll just skip half a year,” he said, “then make it up one day
When all the games will be for me more fun to get to play.”
So first grade came and first grade went, as grades are wont to do
But school felt more like punishment, confinement in a zoo!
He saw how junior high kids played at sports, all real not make believe
And temptation sore arose once more his little mind to deceive.
Then freshmen year, my God, which one of US would not skip past?!?
Missing out only on wedgies and noogies and sophmores’ scornful blast!
“If I’m ever to have any fun,” he thought, “independence, I must find!”
So he rode his time machine once more, into the graduation line.
He had to admit, college could be fun, “but always broke, are we!”
“A job, a JOB is what I must have to satisfy my need!”
So he skipped four years of college and began to interview
For jobs that seemed so exciting, and an office with a view!
Well, not so much a view, per se, but a window he could see
From his little cube, “fifth one on the left hand side, that’s me!”
He was on his way up, for sure, climbing corporate ladders tall,
But each time his ladder always seemed leaned against the wrong wall.
“I’ll skip just one more year,” he said “no more than two or three”
“I’ll have a much better job to start to raise a family.”
Then came the nights of crying babe, up at three, then again at five
He lost track of all the nights he skipped, waiting for new teeth to arrive
He read too many bedtime stories, and so he skipped that time, though only slight
Coming back just in time to kiss a sleeping toddler “good night.”
When time for t-ball came at last he found no fun or learning there
So let’s just skip on over “coach-pitch” to the real competition where
His talents would be more appreciated, a boon to his son’s coach
Only finding he’d skipped all the years he’d found a tedious reproach
He’d skipped out, too, on the love he knew he once saw in his young bride’s eyes
So the service papers and brand new locks were not a complete surprise.
The squabbles and lawyers and bitterness drove him to the brink of despair
Who can blame him for deciding to skip to the end of that affair?
The loneliness in his little shack was a deafening silent dread
With no more smeared hand prints on windows, or stale left-open bread
“Surely I’ll be happy when I can retire, with no more daily toil!
My son and daughter will by then have given me grandchildren to spoil!
Now the time machine lies dusty, an ill-fated, hateful thing
For when he added up all the life he’d skipped, it left him not one thing
He found he’d skipped so much of life, he was but twenty-three
Trapped in a body old and frail, ears deaf, no eyes to see
There was only one more destination the damned machine could provide 
So he entered that infernal box one last time, a one-way ticket to ride.

01 June 2011

"I Love Me Some Rednecks!"

Moulton [AL] Advertiser

Loretta Gillespie

May 7, 2011

"Most all of us around here have born the brunt of remarks from people outside Lawrence County about being   rednecks. Well, I'm here to tell you right now that I love me some Lawrence  County rednecks!

Rednecks have Polan chainsaws, bulldozers, four-wheelers and big ol' trucks - and they know how to use 'em. They aren't afraid of getting dirty or of hard work.

As soon as the wind died down, they were the first ones out there, clearing the roads for emergency vehicles to get to where they needed to be. They were standing up to their knees in debris so that people could get out of their driveways. They were checking on neighbors who lived in the hardest hit areas where cars and normal vehicles didn't stand a chance.

If you were the victim of the storm and found your driveway miraculously cleared, you can thank a redneck. If you have a brush pile a mile high and you didn't do it yourself, you can thank a redneck. If someone brought you a shirt to put on your back that day, or hauled your furniture to a storage facility, you can probably thank a redneck.

Those good ol' boys waded through water filled with gas and glass, nails and torn tin roofs and no telling what else to offer assistance to people stranded in the rubble of their homes. They wore camo jackets and John Deere caps, spit tobacco and more than likely did a little cussing, but they got the job done, and they are the ones who are still out there cutting up trees and burning brush long into the night, just as they have been ever since the storms hit.

They didn't wait to be asked...they just 'got 'er done' in the true sense of the phrase. They didn't stand around jawing and waiting for someone else to take charge, they went to work doing what they do best - moving earth, pushing aside massive trees with root systems as big around as a VW, and tossing aside boards with splinters the size of kitchen knives.

And they did all this without any thought of their own comfort or safety. They put their scuffed cowboy boots and worn work boots on the ground and tread across roof beams and unsteady  floors to make sure there was no one left inside the wreckage of everything from two –story brick houses to mobile home and barns. They already had a flashlight and a pocket knife with them.
They rounded up their neighbor's cattle and horses and coaxed kittens out of trees where the wind had tossed them and they cried like babies when they found someone's hunting dog broken and bleeding.

They waded into poultry houses and caught terrified chickens, and tossed mountains of dead ones onto piles to burn. They began to hang tarps and nail plywood over broken windows to save their cousins and other kin folk's belongings. They didn't stop for hours on end, hooking chains to cars, trees and any and everything that had landed helter-skelter as the tornados tore through.
Rednecks just show up   when there is work to be done. They drive up and with a silent nod, they just pitch in, salvaging refrigerators and hooking up generators. They don't care if they look cool and they don't have to shave before they leave the house. They are tough as nails and love their mamas fiercely. They still say 'Yes, ma'm' and 'No, sir,' to anyone older than they are. They eat cornbread and pinto beans and drink tea so sweet a spoon will stand straight up in the glass. They sweat and swear and have grease under their nails sometimes. They can deliver a calf and half an hour later be sitting in church, scrubbed to a fare-the-well. And did they ever save the day when the thunder rolled and the lightning flashed and the wind knocked down the houses where they were born.

They don't do it for the glory, and wouldn't dream of taking a dime for it, and are sometimes even offended if someone asks how much they are owed 'cause that's what rednecks do - they drive loud trucks, bobcats and front-end loaders, they crank cantankerous chain saws and they know the feel of rope burns and blistered faces. They get those red necks from the sun beating down relentlessly as they labor in the dust and smoke from all the brush fires. They think sun-screen is for sissies and they don't worry much about anti-bacterial soap or drink fruit- flavored water.

Give me a Lawrence County (or any Alabama county) redneck any day when trouble comes – when fences get blown over and the lights go out, and there are trees and houses strewn like  matchsticks as far as the eye can see, what in the world would we do without these Alabama rednecks? 

Thanks to all of you dear rednecks, you deserve medals for what you have done in the past few weeks. And don't you think the world didn't notice, they did. In fact, somebody is probably writing a country song about you as you read this."