Tag: uplifting

Mama Confession

by Samantha Native  Christina Williamson Eads

There are days that feel so unproductive. 😣 Days that I accomplish nothing on my mile-long to-do list. I look around my house and see all that needs to be done – laundry to fold, dishes to wash, floors covered in toys and dust. Just to name a few.

I foolishly had many idealistic expectations when I became a stay-at-home parent. Our home would be spotless. I’d whip up a gourmet meal every night. I’d have time for cute Pinterest projects and reading and exercise. This hilarious list goes on (I’m literally laughing 😂). But the truth is, raising young children is no easy task! Who would have thought I wouldn’t have time to do things I want to do?! Even if those things are good, productive, necessary things like maybe take a shower or mop the kitchen floor. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Life isn’t always what you expect it to be, which is something I struggle with handling. But the Lord is teaching me so much through motherhood. Like having a grateful heart despite the challenges I face. Perspective is everything, and these boys won’t be babies for long. I will blink and Sam will be in middle school. Logan will be driving. 😭 They won’t need me as much. Or at least not in the same ways. Part of me is already mourning over this fact. But another part of me is looking forward to a little more peace and quiet. 😏

Until they grow up before my eyes I’m determined to spend each day soaking up the boo-boo kisses, adorable giggles, silly word pronunciations, and that precious sweet baby smell 👶🏼. Some days I might not get much done besides keeping these little boogers alive, but maybe that’s enough sometimes, because they are worth every showerless day. Every sleepless night. Every mess. Every tear. My own personal agenda doesn’t matter compared to these kids. Being their mother is at the top of my to-do list. And what a sweet, worthy task it is. 💙

Printed with permission

Christina grew up in Samantha.  She lives in Trussville, Alabama with her husband Dusty, and their two sons, Logan and Sam.  If her words encouraged you, please let her know by leaving comments below.

Mama Confession by Christina Williamson Eads

Sam & Logan Eads

by Norman W. Naugher

A while ago, we had the opportunity to visit with Norman and Nell Wright in their home.  They shared a wonderful written story of the life of Norman growing up in Samantha.  The writing is attached at the bottom of this page.

Playing dominoes with friends

Cowden home, old Byler Road (Old Highway 43)

The photos were captured on our visit.

 


“…This writing is dedicated to my wife, Nell, who almost had to get a knife and cut me open to extract these stories. To my son, Marty, whom she said would enjoy reading it, to my daughter, Jan, who keeps us all together, and my parents who had a hard time raising me…”  Click here to read Norman’s Story

If you enjoyed reading Norman’s story, please leave comments below and let him know.

 

Becky Williamson-Martin

Visit to Reed Mountain Awakens the Imagination

by Delbert Reed
 Reprint -- Published in The Northport Gazette, April 7, 2004

I had to go back to Reed Mountain in northern Tuscaloosa County last week. Something drew me there to stand at the old home place of my ancestors and look out on the wide, breath-taking vistas to the East and wonder about the history of the Reed family.

There is little left to prove that anyone ever lived at the site now except a few rocks, likely from the foundation or chimney, and a thriving wisteria vine, which was covered with bumblebees on the late afternoon that I visited.

I listened for sounds from the past, like the tolling of the old dinner bell or the chopping of wood, and I watched for wispy images of people I might know as the sun began to cast shadows on the hill, but there was none of either.

I could see, though, why someone would want to live on Reed Mountain. That spectacular view toward the faraway bottomland beside the small, clear stream below had me dreaming for a moment, too, although the place is generally poorly suited for farming in many ways. Those red-land hills and hollows are far more suited for hunting.

But my great grandparents Wes and Leona Reed raised 12 children to adulthood on the place and farmed a large area first owned, by all accounts, by Wes’s father Thomas Reed, the first Reed known to have settled in the country near Haygood Methodist Church. Thomas likely walked or rode a mule or wagon from Georgia if he was typical of the Southern Scots-Irish settlers. All I know of his wife is that her name was Parthenia Moore and that she was from the Moore’s Bridge area.

I imagined the large Wes Reed family meal time and wondered just how much food they had to grow and can to manage through the winters. I wondered just how many biscuits Omie, as Leona was called, had to cook each morning before sending her family into the fields.

Wesley Washington Reed was just 16 years old and Leona Elizabeth Davis only 15 when they married on December 16, 1886, according to family records. My grandfather Ellis, born on December 20, 1887, was the oldest of the children, and he was 25 years old when his grandfather Thomas Reed, born in 1847, died in 1913. The youngest child of Wes and Omie Reed was Elliott, born in 1907. Three children were born dead, including two after Elliott’s birth, and another died at age three.

A photograph of Wes and Omie standing together shows tanned and hard-working people, and a similar photograph of Ellis and my grandmother Viola is quite similar. They seem to be typical of the proud, poor, rural Southerners of the early 1900s.

My dad had an old scrapbook that included several old receipts showing purchases by Wes Reed from the late 1800s until his death in 1938. One was for a yoke of oxen for $30 on May 13, 1897; many were for fertilizer and taxes; one was for a one-ton Ford truck purchased from Tucker Motor Company in 1923 at a cost of $451.40; another was for $9 as “full pay for his child’s tombstone.” Wes had signed some of the notes and mortgages with an “X” for his mark, indicating that he could not write his name.

Unfortunately, there are few photographs of the Reed family from the early days, but there are enough to trace a family resemblance, and there are markers at Haygood Cemetery that help trace the family back in time.

Fortunately, though, the dinner bell from the old Wes Reed place survives today, thanks to the late Carl Harris. That same bell that called the Reed family from the fields or marked a death in the community rests safely in my storage shed, and I promise soon to display it proudly for the memories it holds, for the hands that rang it, and for those who heard it ring so many times.

“I heard that dinner bell ring at 11 o’clock every day for years,” Brazzie Taylor Rodgers said in recalling her years as a neighbor of the Reeds. “Omie always had dinner ready at 11 o’clock. Wes Reed was a good man,” she added. “He walked by our house early nearly every morning on his way to the store to get a box of snuff, and I was at his house the day he died.”

The old Reed place on Reed Mountain was sold many years ago to some large corporation, probably a timber company, and the old house destroyed. When I visited, the timber around the old house place had recently been cut, leaving the area scarred and ugly except for the view across the valley eastward.

But the Reed place was surely a glorious place once, with hunting dogs and teams of mules and oxen and cows and a large family to care for it all. I’d like to think Reed’s Mountain in the old days was much like the mythical Walton’s Mountain depicted on television and that the Reed family was just as happy and loving as the Waltons.

I’d like to think those 12 children grew up with good memories of life on Reed’s Mountain. And I wish I had thought to ask them to share them with me years ago. Now I can only imagine how it must have been.

(Originally Published in The Northport Gazette, April 7, 2004)

Samantha Living would like to thank Delbert Reed for sharing this story. We appreciate his journalism and interest in the Samantha Community. We invite your comments below or send them and any photos you might have to editor@samanthaliving.

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It’s the 4th of July – What Does that Mean?

Independence Day.  Barbeque, hot dogs, beach parties, baseball games, and fireworks.  But what does “Independence Day” mean?

The Fourth of July is our country’s birthday.  The day our country’s founders declared independence from Great Britain. This meant they would no longer follow the orders of Britain’s king. To do this was extremely dangerous. At the time, Britain had one of the world’s strongest armies, and to go against the king was a crime punishable by death. But the king’s laws were unfair, so our founders decided it was worth the risk of war to win the freedom to govern themselves. In 1783, the new United States won that war, which we now call the Revolutionary War.

Why does the flag have those stars?   At this time of year, American flags are easy to spot. Point one out to your grandchildren. Explain that each part of the flag stands for something. The 50 stars stand for the 50 states. The 13 stripes stand for the 13 British colonies, which declared their independence on July 4, 1776. It’s a symbol — a way to show the world what we stand for. It also shows that we are connected to one another — that we’re on the same team. And because the flag is special, we treat it with respect.

What makes our country special?  That one thing that makes our country special is that it guarantees us certain rights, or freedoms.   We use these rights every day when we pray (or decide not to), read a newspaper, or meet and talk with friends. We can do these things because our country guarantees us the freedom to practice religion the way we want, say or write what we want, and go where we want.   These rights are spelled out in the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights. Which rights are most important to you?

What does the government do for us?  We pay taxes to our local, state, and national government so that, among other things, the government can build and maintain facilities that reflect our values. Education is important to us, for example, so we build schools. Safety is a priority for us, so we put up traffic lights. And we want open places where we can gather, so we set aside space for parks. It provides the people who help the community, including police officers, firefighters, crossing guards, librarians, postal workers, and sanitation crews.

What can we do for our country?  Our country is like a family: Everyone has to pitch in or it doesn’t work. As members of the U.S. “family” — in other words, as citizens — we all have certain responsibilities, like going to school, voting, and obeying the law.  Being a good citizen also means taking care of the country, by keeping it clean, looking out for people in trouble, and staying informed about the problems that we face. Of course, actions always have more impact than words, so set an example by dedicating some of your time to volunteering in the community.

What does it mean to be American?  In countries like China or Ireland, most residents share a common culture or ethnicity. But the United States is different. Here, what people share is a common idea — that people should have the freedom to live the way they want, and to work and earn money the best way they can. These freedoms have inspired people from all over the world to come to this country and become “Americans.” This is a profound idea many may never have considered and it should make us feel especially proud of our country, as well as more connected to other Americans of different backgrounds. It can also lead to a discussion about our own family’s journey to the United States. Why did your relatives come? Why did they stay? Every family’s story is part of the country’s story. Make sure you AND your grandchildren know yours.  Comments below.

God Bless America
God Bless Samantha

Happy 4th of July

Always keep “The Son” in your eyes.
Becky Williamson-Martin

Article Source

By Delbert Reed
(Reprint -- Published in Northport Gazette, June 4, 2003)

I saw the stranger walking through the mall and guessed correctly that he had a story to go with his black hat and clothes and guitar and that hungry look in his eye. I had seen plenty others like him plodding along Music Row and Broadway back in my Nashville days. And to tell the truth, I’d seen the same look in the mirror a time or two.

“I’m looking for some work playing and singing,” he answered when I asked if I could help him. “I need a job and I’m not able to do much of anything else.”

Jack McCaffrey is his name, and although he shows the wear and tear of hard times beyond his years, he hasn’t given up hope quite yet. But if it’s true that artists do their best work when they suffer, McCaffrey just might be about to write that hit song he has always dreamed about.

“I don’t like to play in bars, but I’ll play anywhere right now,” McCaffrey said. “I’ve got to survive. I’d play at the North Pole if the Eskimos would listen to me.”

A self-proclaimed poet, songwriter and musician, McCaffrey is 59 years old, with more hair on his chin than his head and a nasty cigarette habit. “I spent my last three dollars on cigarettes,” he admitted with a bowed head. “I know I shouldn’t be smoking; my brother died of lung cancer.” But on a hot summer afternoon a few days ago, cigarettes and music was about all that kept McCaffrey’s modest Tuscaloosa apartment from being a lonely place as we continued an interview started the day we met at McFarland Mall.

“I’ve written about 200 songs,” he said, offering to sing one for me he had written in 1982 while visualizing himself as a successful musician out on the road. “I wrote the song for my wife. It’s been ten years since I played it; I hope I can get through it,” he said before singing a not-so-bad little ballad with a few memorable lines about big dreams and a broken heart.

“I’m working on a contemporary gospel song with a blues beat now,” McCaffrey said as he sang a few lines of a song he called “Rock Me, Jesus.” None of McCaffrey’s music is recorded or written down. “It’s all in my head,” he said.

By my standards McCaffrey really can play and sing a little, and sometimes a little is all it takes if the breaks fall your way. Whether he can make it in Nashville or even Tuscaloosa could be simply a matter of luck, although McCaffrey has almost given up on giving Nashville a try.

McCaffrey carries a list of 150 songs in his guitar case and claims he can play and sing all of them on cue, although he had only one formal music lesson in his life. His songs cover 50 years of music and include rock, country, gospel or whatever else one would care to hear. He can also play several instruments, he says, “but I don’t really play the piano; I bang on it.”

“My grandfather, John Williams of the Samantha area just outside Northport, was my inspiration,” McCaffrey said. “He played the bass fiddle and sang bluegrass music. He claimed to have some Indian blood, so I claim to be half-Irish and half-Indian. I’m Irish enough to like a drink of whisky and Indian enough to go on the warpath,” he continued with a wry smile. “That’s why I don’t drink anymore.”

McCaffrey’s mother helped start him on his musical career by teaching him to play a ukulele at age seven. “I worried her to death with that thing singing songs I learned off the radio,” he said. “My older brother had a guitar, but I couldn’t get my hands on it until he joined the Navy in 1956. I taught myself to play and played a lot with a buddy named Ronnie Wheatley.”

McCaffrey and Wheatley played together for several years, working in Birmingham night clubs after working at EBSCO Industries together in the daytime. “We played every club in Birmingham in the sixties,” McCaffrey said proudly. Wheatley still works at EBSCO while McCaffrey is disabled, but they both still enjoy their music.

A Catholic, McCaffrey attends Holy Spirit Church and sometimes plays music at a local Church of God. “I don’t earn any money, but the Lord blesses me for it,” he said.

McCaffrey has children and grandchildren in Birmingham, where he spent several years in construction work, and carries their pictures in his guitar case. He is divorced from his first wife and separated from his second, something he finds painful to talk about. He has been in Tuscaloosa for three months.

“Here’s one of my favorites,” McCaffrey said, breaking a somber mood and patting a bare big toe as he played a current patriotic song made popular by country music star Toby Keith.

McCaffrey’s father worked in construction and moved a great deal, allowing Jack to experience life in Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina and even California, where he said he even attended school with some of the Mouseketeers of Walt Disney television fame for a while.

McCaffrey’s brother, John McCaffrey Jr., lived in the Samantha area on their grandfather’s old place until his death. His widow, Betty, still resides there, according to Jack.

Today, Jack doesn’t often dream of that elusive big break. He’s just hoping to find a paying gig so he can sing his songs and see better days. “If I don’t I’ll starve, he said without a smile as he gently strummed the guitar he was holding onto like it was his only friend.
(Northport Gazette, June 4, 2003)

POSTSCRIPT: I couldn’t help liking Jack McCaffrey, and his music, too, for that matter, and I visited him several times over a month or so. I even bought him cigarettes and a can of soup a couple of times when he ran out of money between disability checks. In an effort to try to help him, I bought a small cassette recorder and had him record some of his songs for me to take to a friend in Nashville who had connections in the music industry there. “If you see Martina McBride, tell her I love her,” he said as he handed me the tape a week or so later. I passed the tape along but never heard anything about it from my friend. I saw in the newspaper a year or so later where McCaffrey died, taking his songs with him except for a line or two I still remember from the one he wrote for his wife and the one I’m writing about his Martina McBride line. (Delbert Reed)



Samantha Living would like to thank Delbert Reed for sharing this story. We appreciate his journalism and interest in the Samantha Community. We invite your comments below or send them and any photos you might have to editor@samanthaliving.com

Historical Barbee School

From Delbert Reed.

Barbee School Reunion Offers a Lesson in History

(Written by Delbert Reed – Published in Northport Gazette, June 18, 2003)

Historical Barbee School

You’ve probably heard stories told by your parents and grandparents about how they walked three miles in the snow and rain to school as youngsters. If you haven’t, you should arrange to attend the next Barbee School reunion, where you can hear the stories of the good old days from those who lived them.

A small group of former Barbee School students gathered recently at the home of Nell Howell Sheffield in Northport to recall their times together as schoolmates at the former small elementary school near Northside High School. Those attending the May gathering included Sheffield, Mary Freeman Hagler, Clytee Rogers Holloway, Lowell Skelton, Faye Maddox Boone and John Aris Harris.

 
“I’ll bet no six people ever had a better time that we did,” Mrs. Hagler said of the reunion. We waited until most of us were gone before we started getting together, but if we can we’re going to get together again next year and reminisce some more,” she said. The Barbee reunions have been going on for six or so years and were started mainly by Loy and Woodrow Wilson.
 
Barbee School, according to history relayed by John Aris Harris’s son John, was named after James and Sarah M. Barbee, who settled in the area in 1818. The school was located about a mile west of Barbee Creek and about two miles west of Northside High School. It was formed in 1909 by the consolidation of Friendship School and the Deal School and closed in 1942.
Mrs. Hagler lived east of Barbee School on the Bart Brown Road for much of the time she attended the school 1932-38 and walked through fields, pastures and woods and even across a foot-log bridge across Barbee Creek to schools with siblings Otis, Clay, Martha and Ouida.
 
“We had some good times there,” Mrs. Hagler said. “We had a few fights, too, but not often.” Mrs. Hagler’s memories of her days at Barbee include the school closing twice because there was no money to buy coal for heat during the winter.

“They brought our teachers out from town on Sunday evening or early Monday morning and they boarded with my Aunt Ida Cabaniss across the road from the school during the week and went back to town on Friday afternoons,” Mrs. Hagler said.

The Barbee School remembered by most of the former students had three or four rooms with two grades in each room. Earlier, a one-room school had stood on the site, according to some former students. “I saw a picture of the old school and I’m pretty sure it was only one room,” Mrs. Hagler said. “It looked like an old crib.”

Mrs. Boone attended Barbee School for six years starting in 1933 and later graduated from Talladega High School before earning master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Alabama. She worked as a nurse and teacher until her retirement in 1990. Mrs. Boone has attended several Barbee School reunions and recalls elementary school friendships with Nell Howell Sheffield and Loy Wilson.
 
Skelton started school at Barbee in the mid-1930s and went there through the sixth grade before attending Etteca and Gorgas schools. Skelton’s brothers Adrian, Shorty and Gordon and sister Louise also attended Barbee, as did Skelton’s father Clarence. Skelton, retired from B. F. Goodrich after more than 42 years, is nearing age 75 and still has many friends from his days at Barbee.
  
Mrs. Sheffield lived less than a mile from Barbee School in what was known as the old Deal home during her childhood. The house, which burned in 1980, was located near one of the two stores her father (Paul Howell) operated for many years. “That old house was made from wide, hand-hewed planks; we wouldn’t have taken anything for it,” Mrs. Sheffield said.
            
“I remember my first-grade teacher was Miss Ruth Rice,” Mrs. Sheffield said. “She later married Horace Brown and we went to church with them at Chapel Hill Baptist Church. “Another teacher recalled by Mrs. Sheffield was Marian Scrivner, who boarded with the Howells.
            
“I remember Miss Rice giving us a picture to color in the first grade and I colored a woman’s hair green. Miss Rice said she had never seen a woman with green hair. Forty years later we saw a woman at church with green hair and she (then Mrs. Brown) remembered that fist-grade incident and remarked to me that we had finally seen someone with green hair.”
 
Mrs. Sheffield’s brother Paul B. Howell also attended Barbee for a few years. Both of them laster graduated from Tuscaloosa County High School.

Harris, a retired telephone company employee who lives in Moundville, attended Barbee for three years starting in 1938 when it had 30-40 students in six grades. He also attended Samantha and Gorgas schools “I still have my first-grade report card,” Harris said proudly. “I carried it to the reunion and my first teacher’s name (Margaret Tatum) is on it.”

Mrs. Holloway lived about two miles north of Barbee School at the head of Wolf Creek near Haygood Methodist Church and walked along a path through the woods and fields to school with friends from the Rice and Nuchols families.

“I can remember being freezing cold when we got to school and gathering around the pot-bellied stove to get warm,” she said. “It was hard living, but there were good days. Everybody loved everybody and everybody helped everybody else during crop time or sickness. We lost our farm and were sharecroppers some, but I’m proud of my raising,” Mrs. Holloway added.

Mrs. Holloway began work at Jitney Jungle Grocery in Tuscaloosa in 1956 and retired from Food World in 1991.

Most of the Barbee School students grew up on farms in the community and many of them came from sharecropper families left poor by the Great Depression of the 1930s, as Mrs. Hagler pointed out with pride.  
“I’ve lived a full life for a poor girl,” she said. “But I’ve had friends and people I cared about and who cared for me. What else do you need?

Samantha Living would like to thank Delbert Reed for sharing this story.   We appreciate his journalism and interest in the Samantha Community.  We invite your comments below or send them and any photos you might have to editor@samanthaliving.com

Submitted by Anita Bailey – Estel Williamson (Freeman) Barbee School 1936 (Anita’s Grandmother

The Barbee School which taught from first to seventh grade was located near Samantha in northern Tuscaloosa County from about 1907 to the early 1940s. After students completed the seventh grade, they were awarded diplomas and encouraged to continue their education. However, students who lived in the rural communities had farm and home responsibilities and transportation was mule or horse and buggy. Photo shows the graduation class for the 1913-1914 school year. The teacher, Annis Estelle Griffin, is on the back row in the white shirt. To her right is Carl Harris. To Harris’ right may be Paul Howell.Submitted by John N. Harris.

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Rt. 1, Box 152

by Becky Williamson-Martin

Apparently I have always had a love for or maybe taken ownership of the Samantha Community.  Recently, we did some remodeling on the home I grew up in. I came home one day during during the remodel and the carpenters asked me if I drew on the walls when I was a kid. Then they showed me the “art work” they found on the ceiling of a closet they were tearing out. 

Rt 1, Box 152, Samantha, Alabama 35482

While I do not remember creating this masterpiece, I do remember hiding in the top of that closet many times to try and scare my brother Ricky (pay back you know?). I also recall having a thing about drawing mailboxes as a little girl. Maybe that was a result of daddy always teaching us the importance of putting down roots.  

 

I often hear folks from the Samantha Community say they live in Northside. This is always a bit comical to me. Having grown up in Samantha and going to Northside School, I always think to myself, “do they live in the school”?   I guess younger folks don’t remember or those who moved here over the passed few years didn’t know this but before the postal service restructured everything our address was actually Rt. 1, Samantha, Alabama 35482. I still remember our address was Rt. 1, Box 152. It just sounds funny to me having grown up here when I hear people refer to Northside as the community.

Mailbox topper – “Johnny Williamson, Rt. 1 Samantha”

A few years before daddy passed away, I came to visit him and found him in the barn working on “something”.  During our conversation I noticed an old mailbox topper hanging on the barn wall.  It was covered with dust and spider webs.  He granted my request to take it home.  At that time, I lived near Lake Tuscaloosa.  I took it home and restored it and I proudly displayed it on my back porch, Johnny Williamson, Rt. 1, Samantha, even though I didn’t live in the Samantha community at that time.  My heart and all my childhood memories are still connected to Samantha.  I can’t help but think that mailbox topper had some historical value for daddy, too.  After all, he had kept it all those years.

I believe we should be proud of our roots. Even if some of the memories might not be good, where we came from helped make us who we are today and hopefully we learned from it all, even if we moved away.   So, for me, I am proud to say I’m from Samantha, Alabama and I live in Samantha, Alabama.  I am also proud to say I attended Northside School in Samantha, Alabama – home of the Rams.  After all, we do still have a zip code and a Post Office located on Northside Road.  What are your thoughts?  Comment below

Samantha Post Office, Samantha, Alabama

Always keep “The Son” in your eyes!
Becky Williamson-Martin

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Hope Chest and Father’s Day

I saw this post on Facebook this week.  Caption read  Remember the Hope Chest?   I remember the day daddy took me to Weems Furniture in Fayette to buy one for me when I was a young girl.  I still have it.  It no longer has a lid but I’m still using it.  It has had a purpose in my house since the day we brought it home.  Currently, I have it in the children’s corner of my house being used as my grandchildren’s toy box.

Cedar Chest Daddy Bought me

Daddy was a man of few words most of the time, but he knew how to make the important things, the important things without having to talk about them.  As I recall, Mother mentioned it to him one Saturday morning that I wanted a Hope Chest.  It wasn’t uncommon for me to go to Fayette with him on a Saturday.  I would often tag along in his old dirty truck, smelling of diesel fuel and gasoline and sawdust on his Saturday errand day going to saw shops and tire stores.  We always stopped in somewhere for lunch.  I loved going to Lofty’s Cafe.  That was the best hamburger I ever had.  He would usually run into folks he knew and they would talk about “you momma and them”, gardening and logging.   This particular Saturday he “asked me” to go with him.   Our first stop was Weems Furniture.  He tells the sales lady we are there to purchase a “Hope Chest”.   She ushered us to the row of chests lined up on the side wall.   Some with dark wood, some with  padded lids,  some more “fancy” than others.  And there was this one, plain cedar chest at the very end, which is the one I liked.  He paid the lady and as the young man was coming from the back to load it, Daddy just picked it up and took it the truck.  I always thought he had the biggest muscles and he was always doing things like that to remind me.  🙂

Reliving my memories of Daddy and my cedar chest and it being Father’s Day stirred up other thoughts and sweet nuggets of precious memories of him.  It’s sort of funny how when you are living the moment it doesn’t seem significant at all, but later as you touch it again, you see (and feel) it differently.  For instance, Daddy, was always breaking or losing his reading glasses.  He would fall asleep in the recliner reading and sit on them or they would get crushed somehow.  He would repair them in his special way by tying whatever he had available to make them stay on his head.  14 pair of reading glasses were found in the house after he left us.  Some with those special ties.

Daddy’s Glasses

When I saw him wearing those glasses I would think it was funny or silly or wonder why in the world does he do that!  Now I have them all in his box that he kept notes with phone numbers or whatever.  I guess most people would have just thrown them away, but to me it’s a connection to him – sort of fills that “missing him” part in my soul.  It’s the “real” things he did that I love so much.  Those things that made him unique.

Another example of that unique repair work he would do, is his nut cracker.  He never enjoyed TV much so he often would crack nuts at night to be doing something productive waiting on the sun to come up.   A lot of men repair everything with duct tape.  Not daddy.  He used medical tape.  Probably because he had a lot of that on hand because he usually had some sort of injury.  LOL  He wrapped medical tape around the big nail and continued on with his cracking nuts.  I just couldn’t throw that away either.

Daddy’s Phone Books

Then there’s his phone books.  He wore  out some phone books I will tell you.  Proof that he stayed connected to folks.  He was interested in knowing about them.  He spent hours on the phone at night reaching out to his friends and turning strangers into friends.  He made opportunity.  (Galatians 6:10).

To those who still have your dads – I promise you that those things which you think embarrass you or cause you to shake your head or roll your eyes about your dad – those quirky things he says or does – will someday be a precious memory that you embrace and that you will long to relive.

To those who have said a temporary good bye to your dads, I ask you – “do you agree”?  Please feel free to share your memories in the comments below.

Daddy’s Glasses, Phone Books, Nut Cracker and hammer

The greatest man I ever knew!

by Becky Williamson Martin

In memory of Johnny Williamson (4/19/35-6/30/13)

Daddy in the swing on his porch

Daddy’s hands

An Uplifting Story about our Sister Community – Stonewall/Canaan

Stonewall Volunteer Fire Department Receives Donation

By DeWayne G. Guyton

Stonewall Volunteer Fire Department Receives Donation

Stonewall Volunteer Fire Department Receives Donation

About 5 months ago, Robert Mallory set out to improve the Stonewall Volunteer Fire Department located in the Canaan Community of Fayette County.  At that time, they were operating with a 1977 forestry issued truck that was costing more money to maintain and keep running that wasn’t readily available.  Their main pumper was a 1990 Ford that only pumped from one side and had constant transmission issues along with a water leak that forbid holding more than one half tank of water.

Mallory began sending out letters using a boundary from Nashville, TN to New Orleans, La to Mobile, Al and getting nowhere quickly.  One day, he decided to focus on the larger cities here in Alabama to see what was available. Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Mobile had nothing in surplus. Frustrated at the amount of work being placed and going nowhere, Mallory remembered he’d forgotten one particular Alabama City…Decatur. He sent an email to the Mayor, Tab Bolling who then forwarded the email to the Decatur City Fire Cheif, Tony Grande. Mallory was then informed there was, indeed, a truck that had been taken out of service and was being held in surplus. Grande was open about other departments who’d inquired about purchasing the vehicle for their own departments. Mallory informed Grande that Stonewall VFD was a small rural department with very little cash and pleaded with him the possibility of the City of decatur donating the apparatus.

Over a period of 4 months, Mallory remained in touch with Grande and Bolling and even sent letters to the Decatur City Council pleading with them to help Stonewall Volunteer Fire Department, who was struggling to keep their community Fire Department alive and running.

The Decatur City Council held a vote on May 1st to decide which city would receive the $50,000.00 truck. May 2nd, Robert Mallory received the news of a unanimous vote, 5-0, in favor of Stonewall Volunteer Fire Department receiving the truck as a donation to help the Canaan Community keeping them safe as well as seeing a reduction in their home insurance by living in a community that is now up to par on Fire Safety. Mallory and other members of the Stonewall Volunteer Fire Department made the trip the following Thursday to meet with the Fire Officials and the City Council to take ownership of their new fire truck.

A Good News Story by AM990 WLDX
– DeWayne G. Guyton

Northside Lady Rams Class 4A Champions 2017

Congratulations Northside Lady Rams Sofball Team and Coach Honeycutt for a great season and winning the State Championship.  You make Samantha proud.  Go Rams!!!

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Northside breaks through to win 4A championship

Northside Lady Rams 2017 4A State Champions

By Joey Chandler / Sports Writer/Tuscaloosa News

MONTGOMERY – Northside High School made head softball coach Tommy Honeycutt’s 600th career win a memorable one.

The Rams shutout top-ranked, Class 4A Westminster Christian – a program listed 14th in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 national rankings and 15th in the USA Today Super 25 rankings – 4-0 in the finals to win their first state softball championship.

Coach Honeycutt

It was a moment Honeycutt spent 20 years waiting for, and one he said he was happy to share with his daughter, starting shortstop Riley Grace Honeycutt, and the rest of his players.
“They believed in our program and they believed in our school and our community. Today, this is a culmination of what has been going on for a long time,” Honeycutt said. “These girls reading the paper tomorrow, and all those girls that played for us in the past, this is for Northside and we appreciate you.”

Tournament MVP Savannah Stamps recorded the final out on a strikeout. She struck out two batters and gave up four hits, going 4-0 on the mound during the state tournament and 34-10-1 on the season.
“It didn’t seem real. I thought it was a dream,” Stamps said. “I threw my glove and jumped around, hoping somebody would grab be.”
The Rams (43-17-1) scored three runs in the fourth inning. Savannah Tidwell smacked a home run over the centerfield fence. Then Alex Green scored on a throwing error and Carson Beatty hit an RBI single to give the Rams a 4-0 advantage. Beatty finished 3-for-4 and Tidwell went 3-for-3.

Posted in Tuscaloosa News Saturday, May 20, 2017

Source: AL.com

Congratulations Northside Class of 2017

Northside High School, Samantha, Alabama
Principal:  Mrs. Cindy Long 
Graduation Exercise: May 15, 2017 @ 7:30 p.m. in stadium 
Valedictorian and Salutatorian will be announced at graduation ceremony 

School Colors: 
Navy Blue, Columbia Blue and White 
Mascot: Ram 

Class Officers 
President: Stella Wilson 
Vice President: Anny Barrentine 
Secretary: Amber McCarley 
Treasurer: Karlie Colburn 
Parliamentarian: Samuel Newcomb
 
SGA Officers: 
President: Stella Wilson 
Vice President: Anna Barrentine 
Secretary: Samuel Newcomb 
Treasurer: Marian Bolin 
Parliamentarian: Karlie Colburn

2017 Candidates Listed Alphabetically

A Graduates Prayer

Father I have knowledge
so will you show me now
How to use it wisely
and find a way somehow
To make the world I live in
a little better place.
And make life with its problems
a bit easier to face. . .

Grant me faith and courage
and put purpose in my days
And show me how to serve Thee
in the most effective ways
So all my education,
my knowledge, and my skill
May find their use fulfillment
As I learn to do Thy will . . .
And may I ever be aware
in everything I do
That knowledge comes from learning –
And wisdom comes from you.


					
		

Shepherd Hill Opry Welcomed Guy Penrod

Samantha, Alabama – Guy Penrod sang to 600+ guests at Shepherd Hill Opry this past Saturday.  During his concert, which was very relaxed and intimate, he called his wife, Angie, on the phone to wish her a Happy 32nd Anniversary.   Angie kidded him about celebrating their anniversary with new friends while she

Penrod calls his wife Angie during concert

was home planting flowers.  The crowd applauded when he bragged on how blessed he was to be married to “a good country girl”.

Penrod is one of the most in-demand touring artists in Christian music. His DVD, The Best of Guy Penrod is certified platinum by the RIAA.  A vocal powerhouse, Penrod travels throughout the U.S. and abroad in addition to making multiple media appearances including radio’s “The Mike Huckabee Show,” RFD-TV’s top-rated “Larry’s Country Diner” and one of North America’s most popular Christian television programs “100 Huntley Street.” Additionally, Penrod hosts DayStar Television’s Emmy Award-winning “Gospel Music Showcase” program.

Known for his country styling, Penrod’s music has been applauded in the Gospel as well as country formats.  He has appeared on “The Grand Ole Opry” and on numerous country recordings.  His Hymns recording (Gaither Music Group/ Servant Records), debuted at #1 on the Nielsen SoundScan Southern Gospel retail chart and became the top-selling southern Gospel album of 2012.  In 2011, he became a Texas Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee; and he was inducted alongside the Gaither Vocal Band into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2014.

Penrod certainly worked his charm on the crowd in Samantha.  In addition to his beautiful voice, he has a wonderful repore with everyone he meets and you know immediately that he practices what he preaches – “loving folks”.

The band had some technical difficulties and Penrod asked to borrow a car to “run to Eat My Beats”.  Without hesitation, a volunteer handed him the keys.  It had a full tank when he returned, she said, “and it was probably on fumes when he left in it with all the running around getting ready for the event”.

Representatives from The Good Shepherd Foundation, who sponsored the event, said folks have already been inquring about when Penrod will be back to Shepherd Hill Opry.

Shepherd Hill Opry was built in memory of Johnny Williamson by his children on the property where he

Guests enjoy the sounds of Guy Penrod

called home and created deep roots.  Concerts are held throughout the year.  Well-known Nashville artists Lulu Roman (former Hee Haw Star), Allen Frizzell (Lefty Frizzell’s younger brother), Marty Raybon (lead singer with Shenandoah), Clinton Gregory Bluegrass Band, Jennifer Brantley, Gerald Smith, and Addison Johnson have performed at Shepherd Hill Opry as well as Donnie Lee Strickland and Shannon Knight formerly with The Gaithers in addition to many local artists.  To find out more about Shepherd Hill Opry, visit the website at http://www.goodshepherdfound.org/shepherd-hill-opry.html or by calling (205) 233-3794.

Samantha’s Boone Brothers Once Made Baseball History

By Delbert Reed

I stumbled across a couple of names a year or so ago that brought back old and pleasant memories.  The names were “Ike” and “Dan” Boone, former University of Alabama athletes who went on to make a little professional baseball history.

I immediately recalled that my dad mentioned the baseball exploits Ike and “Dan” from time to time when I was a youngster.  Having grown up in the same community of Samantha in northern Tuscaloosa County as the Boone boys, Dad had idolized the brothers during the 1920s and 1930s just as I idolized Northport’s Frank Lary of the Detroit Tigers during the 1950s.

Formally, the “Boone boys” were James Albert and Issac Morgan Boone, Jr., the youngest of four sons of Mr. and Mrs. Issac Morgan Boone Sr.  James Albert actually had the family nickname of Jim Bert but picked up the nickname of Daniel, or Dan, as a student at the University of Alabama and it followed him into his professional career.  Issac Jr. was always known as Ike.

James Albert, born in 1895, entered the University of Alabama in 1915 and played football and baseball for the Crimson Tide, earning All-Southern honors as end in football in 1917 and serving as captain of the 1918 baseball team.  He was described in the University student yearbook Corolla as “a quiet, lanky Ichabod full of grit and fight.”  Another comment said James Albert was once injured in a football game against Vanderbilt and had to be physically restrained by doctors and teammates to keep him from returning to the game.

Alabama baseball teams of 1917-18-19 won SIAA championships with the Boone brothers, Joe and Luke

James Albert Boone in Cleveland

Sewell and Riggs Stephenson – all future major league players – among the team stars and and Lonnie Noojin as head coach.  James Albert was a pitcher and outfielder while Ike was an outfielder.

As outstanding right-handed pitcher, James Albert signed a professional contract with the Atlanta Crackers in 1919 and posted a 16-7 record with Atlanta before joining the Philadelphia Athletics at the end of the season.  In six seasons as a minor league pitcher, Albert was 72-64 with a 2.81 earned run average in 168 games.  He spent four stints in major leagues, playing with the Detroit Tigers in 1921 and the Cleveland Indians 1922-23 before spending another decade as an outstanding minor player and manager.  He had an 8-13 record in the major leagues with 25 strikeouts and two shutouts in 162 innings pitched.  As a member of the Cleveland Indians in 1922, he again played with former Crimson Tide teammates Joe and Luke Sewell and Riggs Stephenson.

Boston Red Sox Photo

James Albert gave up pitching to play first base and outfield when he joined High Point, North Carolina, in the Piedmont League in 1926 and soon became the greatest hitter in league history by winning four batting titles in five and a half seasons in the league.  He also served as player/manager of the team 1927-1931.

James Albert and Ike teamed up to make baseball history in 1929 by hitting a combined 101 home runs.  Ike hit 55 in a record shattering season with the San Francisco Missions of the Pacific Coast League while James Alert hit 46 with High Point.

James Albert became player/manager of the Charleston, West Virginia, Senators of the Middle Atlantic League in 1932 and led the team to the league championship with 17 home runs, 92 runs batted in and a .349 batting average.  He hit three home runs in the first game of the league championship series to help his team to a 6-2 victory on the way to a four-game series sweep.  He ended his professional baseball career after the 1933 season.  In 14 seasons (1919-1933)  James Albert played with nine minor league teams, compiling a .356 batting average in 1,336 games with 214 home runs and 851 runs batted in.

Ike, two years younger, joined his brother at Alabama in 1917 and also played football and baseball.  He was elected captain of the 1918 football team but the season was canceled due to World War I.  He also served as president of the A-Club and Pan-Hellenic Council.  Ike played end on the 1919 football team that posted a 9-1 record while scoring 280 points and allowing only 22.  James Albert, after playing his first season of professional baseball in the summer of 1919, served as an assistant coach on the 1919 football team.

Ike began what some have called minor league baseball’s most outstanding career ever in 1920 when he signed with Cedartown, Georgia, after graduating from the University in the spring of that year.  He hit .403 in 72 games with Cedartown in 1920 before moving to New Orleans of the Southern Association in 1921, where he won his first minor league batting title with a .389 average.

After appearing in only two games with the New York Giants in 1922, Ike played for San Antonio of the Texas League in 1923 and claimed another batting title with a .402 average while also leading the league in hits (241), doubles (53) and runs batted in (135).  He is the last player in Texas League history to bat over .400.

Ike was called to Boston at the end of the 1923 season and had four hits in 15 at-bats.  He returned to the Red Sox in 1924 and 1925.  He hit .337 with 13 home runs and 97 runs batted in in 1924 and hit .330 with nine home runs and 68 runs batted in in 1925 before being shipped back to the minor leagues due to what one story described as “a lack of speed and below average fielding.”

After hitting .380 in 172 games with the San Francisco Missions in 192, Boone spent 1927 as a utility player with the Chicago White Sox.  He returned to San  Francisco in 1928 and in 1929 won the Pacific Coast League Triple Crown with a .407 batting average, 218 runs batted in and 55 home runs.  The record-shattering season included 323 hits and a professional baseball record 553 total bases, with 49 doubles and eight triples added to his 55 home runs, in 198 games.

Ike Boone at UA, circa 1919

Ike was on his way to a similar season in 1930, hitting .448 and 98 runs batted in in only 83 games, before being called back to major leagues with the Brooklyn Robins for two seasons.  All told, Ike spent all or part of eight seasons in the major leagues, compiling a .321 batting average with 371 hits, 26 home runs, 177 runs scored and 194 runs batted in.

Boone played with Toronto of the International League 1933-36, and was player/manager of the team 1934-36.  He won the league batting title with a .372 average in 1934 and was voted the league’s most valuable player as he led his team to the lague title.  He managed the Jackson, Mississippi, Senators in 1937 in his last season in professional baseball.

Overall, Ike won five batting titles in four different minor leagues.  His .370 lifetime minor league average was a record.  He was inducted into the International League Hall of Fame in 1957 and in 2003 was elected to the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame.  He lived in Northport after retirement from baseball and died at age 61 in 1958.  James Albert Boone died in Tuscaloosa on June 11, 1968, at age 73.  A surviving daughter of James Albert Boone, Betty Jane Jackson, lives in Steele, Missouri.

James Albert and Ike were among 11 children of Issac Morgan Boone Sr. and Norma Lee Boone.  The boys were George, Will, James Albert, and Issac Morgan.  The girls were Ethel, Leona, Norma, Adalee, Micah, Margaret and Virginia.  George, Wiley and Issac all served in the Navy during World War I.  James Albert also attempted to join the Navy, but failed the physical.

According to George Boone’s son, B.E. Boone, who lives in the Samantha Community today, the elder Boones recognized the value of education early on and donated ten acres of land to Tuscaloosa County as the site for the old Gorgas School in about 1914.  They also saw that all their children graduated from high school and had the opportunity for a college education,  B.E. Boone said.

Baseball talent has continued to run in the Boone family through the years.  Joe Parsons, a son of Adalee Boone, played baseball at Gorgas High School and at Livingston University while Gary and Larry Mims, grandsons of Ethel Boone, played baseball at Northside High School and at the University of Alabama.

This article appeared in May 3rd, 2017 Edition of The Northport Gazette.  Reprinted with Permission

Information about Reed Family Requested

Dear Samantha Living Readers,

imageI am new to Samantha and I just discovered Samantha Living.  I don’t yet have a story to tell but I am working on one. I live on land owned by the Reed family and have been doing research on them.  Etta Reed by all accounts was a kind and wonderful woman. One of 15 children.  She passed away in 1976 and was still living pretty much as a pioneer woman. My home was built on her homestead site by her great nephew. If you or any of your readers know of this family I would love to have information. I have been able to trace them back for many years and they came to this area in the mid 1800s. Thanks for reading. My home is on Reed Mountain Road and based on stories from my son in law it is named Magnolia Hill – Etta’s Place. Thanks for your site. I retired here six years ago after living all over the country.  I love this area and want to learn all of its history.

Regards, Jo Anne Gentine

Please send information to gentinej@aol.com, put in comments below or email to editor@samanthaliving.com

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Story of Two Sons

I once heard the story of two sons who had a father who was a criminal and ended up in jail.

One son grew up to be a doctor.

The other grew up to end up in jail himself.

A psychology student was doing a term paper on how children who grow up in the same house, with the same rules and same daily lives could turn out so differently.  He interviewed both of the sons and asked each of them the same question:

 “What do you think is the primary, contributing factor of where you are today?”

They both gave the same answer, “With a father like mine, how else could I have turned out?”

So you see – in the final analysis it was their own behavior, choices and attitude that made them who they had become as men – not their father.

One son decided he would follow in his father’s footsteps.  The other son made up his mind he would not.

Make good choicesWe can blame every one of our problems on everyone in the entire world, but in the end, it is our own behavior that will either make us or break us into becoming the person we need to be.

 

Formula  to Know Right from Wrong taken from Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges:

  1.  Is it helpful – physically, spiritually and mentally?
  2. Does it bring me under its power?
  3. Does it hurt others?
  4. Does it glorify God?

Samantha Living

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Faith, Family and Farming: Growing up in Samantha

By: Brooke Hughes Snipes

Naomi Judd once said, “In life you have to have roots and wings.” Growing up in Samantha, Alabama, I was given both of those things. I was shown how to use my wings to fly and make my own way in the world. I also had roots that taught me that sometimes going home is the only cure for your problems. My name is Brooke Hughes Snipes, and I was born and raised in the Samantha community. My family has been living here for three generations and has made a living farming cotton, corn, and soybeans. My granddad is Floyd Hughes Jr., who has made a huge impact on the community and in my life. He has always instilled in me the three f’s in life: faith, family and farming. These three things have had a huge impact on my life and shaped me into the person I am today.

My Granddad, Floyd Hughes, Jr. And I at my wedding November 2013

My Granddad, Floyd Hughes, Jr. And I at my wedding November 2013

I grew up in a way that would be foreign to today’s generation of young people. My summers were spent playing outside in the clubhouse built for my sister, cousins and me. We would spend hours building onto our club, where many tears, fights, and laughs took place. In the afternoons, we would gather underneath Granddaddy and Grandmother Faye (Momma’s) tree to shell peas or shuck corn. At the time, I thought it was boring and a waste of time, but now I understand that we were learning much more than how to prepare food. That’s the thing about grandparents; every task always comes with a free life lesson. On hot summer days we would go to my Mama Charlotte and Papa Norman’s pool for a swim. They too are longtime residents of Samantha. My Mama Charlotte was born and raised in Berry, Alabama but she will be the first to tell you that she is a Ram fan.

In the fall my grandmother Faye would load us up in their Dodge Ram (that they still drive to this day) and take us to the cotton field to watch my granddad Floyd, my dad Barry and Uncle Bryan pick the cotton fields.

My Granddad, Floyd Hughes, Jr. In his cotton field in Samantha, Alabama

My Granddad, Floyd Hughes, Jr. In his cotton field in Samantha, Alabama

We would spend hours picking cotton by hand, riding in the cotton pickers, running the packing machine, and jumping into big piles of freshly-picked cotton. It felt as though we were jumping on clouds. As a child, I thought nothing was more beautiful than a cotton field, and at twenty eight I still feel the same way. Weekends were always filled with cheering for Toybowl football, showing sheep for 4-H, playing softball, or spending time playing on the farm. The I-phone and social media generation of today will never understand the fulfillment that comes from fishing in a pond, playing in a creek, or spending time around animals.

Sundays were all about church. My whole entire family (which was 15 people at the time) would sit on the same group of church pews Sunday after Sunday. We would sing songs together from the Baptist Hymnal. Even today with the Contemporary music that is popular in most churches, I prefer the classic gospel. After church we would all go to my grandparents and eat lunch, and on special occasions we would enjoy homemade ice-cream. Easter was something that we looked forward to for months because my grandmother would take my sister and me to town and buy us matching dresses. Today in our twenties, my sister and I still coordinate our Easter outfits.

Throughout high school, cheerleading filled up most of my time. Now as an adult when I watch my younger brother, Mason, play for the Rams, I still remember the feeling I had on Friday nights when I stepped on that field. Football at Northside is about much more than playing a game. At Northside football is what brings people together. I remember looking up in the stands on Friday nights and thinking how blessed I was to be a part of this community, one that was really more like a huge family. Some of my friends growing up hated that small town feeling of everyone knowing everyone else. I, however, loved that feeling. I loved the fact that complete strangers would run into me and tell me that I looked just like my mother, or that people I met could still remember my dad’s first truck: a 1981 red and white Chevrolet that he still owns to this day.

I did most of the normal things that girls do growing up like sports, beauty pageants, and school clubs, but the hobby that affected my life the most was hunting. My granddad Floyd put a gun in my hand for the first time and taught me how hunting is about time, patience, and respect just like life. My granddad is the only person I have ever seen who can read the newspaper, crunch on an apple, and unwrap candy in the shooting house and still kill a deer. I, however, sit completely quiet and see nothing but squirrels; that’s just how it goes. I wouldn’t trade the days I have spent hunting with my granddad for anything in the world though. My grandparent’s generation is a walking book of knowledge that I love to explore. There is something amazing about hearing about how my grandparents first met, that my granddad broke down on the way to a date and stood my grandmother up, or that they share the same love for Johnny Cash’s music as I do. Looking back on my almost thirty years of life, I feel very blessed not only to have my family, but the family that is made up within my community.

If I am ever blessed with children these are the main things I would teach them: 1. to get outside and enjoy nature; it’s hard to beat a snow white cotton field or autumn in the South, 2. to always count your blessings, because there is always something to be thankful for, and 3. To spend as much time as you can with your family, especially your grandparents. They are the best teachers, motivators, and friends. As far as my roots and wings go, they have both made an impact on my life. I’m glad that I learned to fly. I left my hometown, graduated from the University of Alabama, got married and on my honeymoon even swam in the clear blue waters of the Caribbean. But as the saying goes, “There is no place like home.” It turns out that my roots were stronger than my wings, and my husband and I are getting ready to build a house on a hill overlooking quiet, simple Samantha. And if I ever do have kids and grandkids of my own, I will I pass along what my granddad told me that it takes to build a successful life in the country: a little faith, a little family and a little farming.

Brooke Hughes Snipes –Samantha Living, Guest Contributor
tbhughes1@crimson.ua.edu

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Simple Doesn’t Mean Easy

This newspaper clipping was found in my daddy’s things after he passed away.  It is not dated, but I remember sending it to him when I lived in Kentucky.  It is also torn – the missing word in the caption is “Liberals”.  It is from The Daily Independent in Ashland, Kentucky.  I haven’t lived in Kentucky since 2008 so it was written sometime prior.   The article captured my attention because Daddy always taught us this concept when approaching a seemingly difficult task or problem.  He would say something like, “It’s simple.  You just have to make up your mind to it.   Now that doesn’t mean it’s easy.  But it’s simple.”

Now, Daddy referred to himself as a liberal because to him a liberal was someone who gave selflessly and generously and walked with those  who were different (some might say undesirable, neglected, downtrodden, brokenhearted).  He said Jesus Christ was a liberal.  And he was right in that sense.  Chuck Swindoll used the following quote by Charles Thomas (C.T.) Studd in a message I listened to this week about how it does no good to shine a light in the light – light is only seen in the darkness: “Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell”.  When I heard this statement, I immediately thought of how Daddy lived his life.  He sort of ran a rescue shop in a sense.  The interesting thing is though, those folks often came to his door.  It was not unusual to drop by daddy’s house in the middle of the day (a rainy day) and find several of daddy’s friends gathered around him having a deep theological discussion.  They came to him because at some point he had touched them in their world – in their daily, normal walk of life and they knew he cared.  Sometimes, Benny would get to listen in on the conversation.  He would tell me, “We had church at your dad’s today”.

When I read this article, memories flooded my mind of the many  long telephone conversations daddy  and I would have when I was in Kentucky, about life and about God and daddy would share his deep revelations about a certain scripture.  I also thought about how much truth there is in the words of this article.

If we can just take away the labels of liberal vs. conservative, left-wing vs. right-wing and simply look at the truth.  Simple solutions to complex problems.  “You might as well pull up your boot straps, and…”,  more words from daddy.  There is so much news inundating us every second of every day about how our government is corrupt and what all the politicians need to do.

CHANGE DOESN’T START AT THE WHITEHOUSE – IT STARTS AT MY HOUSE!  And then in our own communities.

Let’s look for simple solutions, even if they are hard and let’s make our homes and communities better.   My community, Samantha, Alabama has it’s problems just like everywhere else in the world, but there is NO WHERE in the world I would rather be.

Always keep “The Son” in your eyes,

Becky Williamson-Martin

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What Happened to Sundays?

design-2Several weeks ago we traveled to North Alabama on a Sunday morning to visit Benny’s Mother who was very sick.   This time of year I enjoy seeing how other folks have landscaped and manicured their yards, taking note of the beautiful flowers, trees and gardens. Normally, we would have been at church on a Sunday morning and  periodically I would  look at the clock and think about what my church family was doing at that particular time (in Sunday School or getting ready for worship).  As we traveled along I started thinking about Sundays and how different they are from my childhood.  Sundays are the only day I EVER remember my daddy lying on the couch.  He would fall asleep reading the paper after we got home from church.  Sometimes we would visit family, make homemade ice cream and have a washtub full of iced down Coke, Grapico and Orange Crush for the whole gang.

So many folks along our way that day were mowing their grass, working on their car, plowing their gardens or doing what I call “Saturday chores”.   Some church parking lots were full, some had few cars and one was completely closed and the grass was grown up around it.1605e7c15864e8f54febc9b46dc61a0d What happened to Sundays?  Can’t we check out of our daily routine just one day to give honor and thanks to our creator?  To worship Him and rest our bodies and minds as He has instructed us to do?  After all, since He created us He knows what our bodies, minds and emotions need. What I observed that day made me sad.  Partially because I am guilty of abusing sacred Sundays, but mostly because I felt grief in my heart for the utter disregard we give to The Lord and what He has asked of us.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not legalistic about performing needed tasks on Sunday, but His Word instructs us to remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy and to rest.  That’s only 52 days out of 365.

This past week, I was searching for 7th Heaven on Dish so I could set the DVR to record.  When my granddaughter, Dakotah, comes to visit she likes to watch it and somehow all of the shows had been deleted.  Ironically, the episode I “stumbled” on was an episode about Sundays.  This is worth a watch.  Lucy says, “We work 7 days a week or at least on the go 7 days a week and yet we wonder why people need drugs to relax.  Could it be that we have lost 52 days a year to relax and enjoy our families?…Stressed, tired, irritable and no time to do the things I need to do and no time to do the things I want to do. We have lost our Sundays forever unless we make an effort to reclaim them.”

suppose every generation longs for the “good ole days”.  I’m no exception.  How do we reclaim Sundays?  It’s really very simple – we make a conscious decision to do so.  Now simple doesn’t mean easy.  Change is NOT easy.  It’s like telling a drug addict to stop using.  Yes simple – not easy.  Sunday-Dinners

It would be very interesting to hear how our neighbors and friends spend their Sundays today compared to Sundays from years past and how they line up with God’s word.  Do you catch up from the past week?  Do you prepare for next week?  Do you attend church?  Do you break bread with family?  Do you visit the sick?  Do you pray?  Do you reflect?  Do you work?  Do you mow your lawn?  No judgements please, just your personal activities of today and yesterday and your thoughts on Sunday.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!!

Always keep “The Son” in your eyes!

Becky Williamson-Martin

Oregonia Baptist Welcomes New Pastor

Jimmy Holliman

Jimmy Holliman, Pastor, Oregonia Baptist Church – Samantha, AL

54 year old Jimmy Holliman accepted the call to preach at 52.   With such a strong passion for evangelism, he thought that was God’s plan for him.  He didn’t think he was being lead to pastor a church,  until Oregonia called and he felt the Lord was leading him to accept. Jimmy says he grew up in church, but as is the case many times, life takes over and he was out of church for 18 years.   He started working at Phifer Wire on the Sunday crew and before he knew it church and God were gradually pushed to the back.   But God had plans for Jimmy and He sometimes uses different interests to draw us back to Him.  Jimmy says his church started picking guitars on Sunday nights and he had an interest in learning to play so he started going, then back on Sundays.  When asked did he learn the guitar, he responded, “I laid the guitar down and picked up my Bible”.  He says he still wants to learn to play the guitar but for now his focus is on winning souls to Christ.

Jimmy enjoys being involved with  Dax Lancaster’s  Yet there is room tent ministry.  (Missionaries to the USA, preaching the gospel of The Lord Jesus Christ to the lost in the highways and hedges and pointing them to a local church.)

Jimmy is a Bi-vocational Pastor.  He works for Main Street Development.    He has been married to his high school sweetheart, Dianna Holliman for 33 years.  Dianna works at the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse in the Tax Assessor’s office.   He attributes the staying power for their marriage to “knowing the Lord and divorce is just not an option.   When two people get married they become one – you won’t have a whole person if you split them in two.”  They have one daughter,  Misty Herring.

Jimmy would like to invite everyone to attend Oregonia’s  revival July 31-August 5.  Ben Watson will be bringing the message Sunday morning and Sunday night.  Brandon Vaughn will be bringing the message Monday-Friday.  Services start at 7:00 p.m. with special music each night.   Oregonia Baptist Church is located at 20369 Oregonia Rd.

Jimmy can be reached at (205) 242-0604.

Oregonia Baptist Church

Oregonia Baptist Church

Jesus in a Box? – A Samantha Landmark

imageStanding in line at the Dollar General in Samantha can be entertaining at times, and this particular day was no exception. I overheard a couple of fellas who had not seen each other since high school catching up. “Hey man, where are you living now?”  “Oh, I live about one mile down that road in front of the Jesus statue.” I thought about that conversation on my way home and as I turned into my drive I stopped at the statue in my yard and thought about the story behind this local landmark. After the death of my grandmother, Pealie Mae Williamson, in February 1998, my daddy, Johnny Williamson, was inspired to create a representation of the 23rd Psalm. It was her favorite scripture. A Cypress log was chosen for The Good Shepherd Statue because of the longstanding belief that the Cypress is the “gopher wood” (or kopher, which is the Hebrew word for waterproof) that Noah used to build the ark. Daddy worked alongside his longtime friend and local artist/sculptor, Willie Logan, to carve the 6-1/2 foot statue of The Good Shepherd.

It’s sort of amusing how you can become so accustomed to something that you no longer see it, or think about it. This statue has just been part of the normal landscape in my daddy’s yard for years. But, a few years ago I started noticing it when I would visit him. I developed a desire to know and understand what he saw, what his intentions were, and how he viewed The Good Shepherd Statue. I began to ask questions, and we spent hours sitting in the rockers on daddy’s front porch, shelling peas or peeling apples, as he tried to teach me.

Shelling peas with daddy on his porch

Shelling peas with daddy on his porch

Finally, after a ton of my questions, he said, just read, Joshua 4. You see, my father was a great teacher, but he didn’t just simply give you all the answers. He was a deep thinker and that is what he wanted me to do: think about it, ponder on it, dig for it, and come to know it on my own. Local newspapers had done some articles in the past on the statue, and I dug them up. He had told those reporters, “The Statue is a testimony of my faith. It isn’t meant to be an idol. You don’t worship it, but it gets people to think and do good deeds.” Hmm, Good deeds. Well, I had certainly seen him do many good deeds over the course of my life. Time and time again, I saw my daddy give to others. He was selfless. I don’t recall ever hearing him say he wanted anything for himself. Giving to others was always on his mind. And somehow, he managed to know what their needs were.  A friend told me once, “your daddy was like a magnet, you just wanted to be around him.

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Daddy had a heart attack in March (2013) and died four months later. I had the privilege of living in his house with him during those four months. During many long nights, when he couldn’t sleep, he talked intently about life, pouring story after story into my heart and life that I will never forget. A few weeks after his death, I was looking through his books and found A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller. I could feel my daddy’s big hands on the book as I opened it. Reading this book helped me connect the dots of what daddy had tried to tell me and it gave me a new understanding of The Good Shepherd. I went back and read Joshua 4. This time I really read it with my heart’s ears. Joshua 4 teaches us to set up memorials as a testimony of what God has done and so that our children and others will ask us “what does this mean”? If provides an opportunity to tell others about Jesus – to tell our story. Since 1999 when it was erected, The Good Shepherd Statue has caused much conversation. Some understand it, some don’t. It has certainly fulfilled it’s purpose of setting down stones as memorials according to Joshua 4. Folks from all over the United States stop by to see it and take pictures. The sheep was stolen once, but thanks to some good Samaritans it was returned to it’s place next to The Good Shepherd Statue.  Some call it Jesus in a Box. Daddy never really liked that term. He would say, “everyone knows it’s not Jesus, and you cannot put Jesus in a box”. If you are ever traveling along Highway 43 in Samantha, you are welcome to stop and pay a visit. Check in on Facebook. Take pictures and ponder the meaning of The Good Shepherd.

His sheep know His voice.

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Ricky Williamson talks to Sheriff’s Deputies after they returned lost sheep to it’s place beside The Good Shepherd Statue

Always keep “The Son” in your eyes.

Written by Becky Williamson-Martin beckybamagal@gmail.com

Original printed March 2014 in Druid City Living

Links:

The Good Shepherd Statue at Pawpaw Johns

The Good Shepherd Foundation

The Little Closet Community Food Pantry – Samantha, Alabama

Shepherd Hill Opry

Articles connected to The Good Shepherd Statue

A Note of Thanks

I generally don’t like “blanket” thank yous but I’m breaking my own rule. Thanks to everyone for all the phone calls, visits, gifts, songs, texts, cards, food and well wishes for my birthday. It was truly a great day of celebration. I am truly blessed with amazing friends and family. I feel so loved. I used to fib about my age and unlike most women who say they are younger than they are, I would tell folks I was 10 years older so they would think “dang she looks good for that age” LOL. (Yep vanity). But as the years have mounted up it’s hard for me to say I’m 66 so the time has come for me to be honest and honestly I have trouble remembering my real age now. Isn’t that ironic? Fortunately, vanity has faded AND I appreciate more of the real things of life now. SO, as I start day 2 of year 56 I vow to stay in the moment more and capture more of these days that are zooming away at such a fast speed.

I saw a sign in a gas station recently that said “free gas tomorrow”. It might take you a minute to let that sink in. There will never be any free gas at that station because tomorrow will always be today. So the moral of the story – BUY YOUR GAS TODAY!!! The future is simply history of all the todays. Whatever each day brings, whether circumstances are good or not so good, I will give that to My Savior, Jesus Christ – who holds it all in His Hands. All my gifts come from Him – even you, my friend. Happy 4th of July.

Always keep “The Son” in your eyes.  Becky Williamson-Martin image

Welcome to Samantha Living – A Shared Community Adventure

Welcome to Samantha Living.  We hope you enjoy our adventures in this wonderful community we share.  We will post stories about neighbors, family and friends.  Some things that are going on now and some things that are from the past.  History teaches us – about life – about our heritage.  An old proverb says, Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunters.   Let’s be historians for the lions. We invite you to join in the conversation.  Give us ideas of subject topics to discuss or stories to pursue.  We also invite guest contributors.  We would love to have you write your own memories or share what you are doing in our wonderful little community in Samantha, Alabama.  None of us are getting any younger, you know.  And we all have those special community leaders who have impacted our life or we know have contributed to the betterment of our community.  We want to hear about them too.  Let’s highlight them while they are still with us – while they can enlighten us on life.  Email your story to editor@samanthaliving.com Let’s provide something good.  With so much negative stuff in our world, a little uplifting story can go a long way.  Even stories of struggle that brought healing or goodness to your life can be encouraging to others. Let’s be encouragers!  Let’s start now.  Check back with us often.  We hope to spotlight a family soon and learn about their piece of history in Samantha, Alabama.

Always keep “The Son” in your eyes.

 

 

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