Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Speaking my mind.

I recently had a facebook “friend” tell me to post and not worry because real friends could handle it. Well, she later unfriended me because I posted what I felt and she thought I was to “fluffy” because I avoided hateful political and religious speech. She’s a tolerant liberal don’tcha know?  I’ve had facebook friends tell me that we shouldn’t abort babies because it’s unchristian. But, at the same time take kids off Medicaid and bomb kids in the Middle East because Christians shouldn’t interfere with the government don’tcha know?

I was raised as we say in the south “In the Church.” My grandmother who pretty much raised me was Church of God of Prophecy. My grandmother on my dad’s side was Southern Baptist. They agreed on what Christians call the absolutes of the faith. The virgin birth, born again and tithing. They disagreed on the gifts of the  spirit and the ability to “backslide” or once saved always saved. But, their faith was sweet. Their savior wasn’t a politician. The Jesus I grew up being taught about was a wounded and humble savior. He was with the downtrodden and the widow and the orphan. He was a friend to the poor and a stumbling block to the rich and powerful.

Back before it was politically correct and before and during a governor foolishly standing in a school house door I remember something from my childhood. Right there in the “deep south” of Gadsden, Alabama at the Church of God of Prophecy. So long ago that I barely have memory of it. A black choir came to visit that little white church. Did they rock? Lord yes. Did they worship? Lord yes. Did everybody shout with the Holy Ghost and did they have as we say in the south “dinner on the ground” together ? Good Father God YES! Did they all become more tolerant and become good liberals in the heart of Dixie? Hell to the NAH! But, they did come together and they did show a little Jesus that day.

So some of my more religious friends wonder why I don’t feel the way I used to feel about  the faith. Well, to be honest some of y’all act like a cult. You worry so much that you are going to insult an old man in the sky that you walk around with a stick up your butt all day and forget where ya came from and who you really are. You talk about a meglo maniac who wants to know if you have thought of sex or said a bad word that day so he can send you to burn forever. A place where you look down and see “sinners” in torment and shout praises to a very human ego maniac all day. Then you wonder why people don’t find it very attractive?  Your Jesus is used to justify a man who publically humiliated a disabled man and has cast widows and orphans into the street and you say he’s a “man of god” and will bring god back to America. Really? I don’t think the Jesus of the suffering and the one who said if he ask for your cloak hand him your coat too would be very welcome in Trumpland.

Saying what you really think can get you in trouble. I’ve seen tolerant liberals with their silly Obama worship want to cast me out of the club. I’ve seen big tough conservatives want to beat me up because I disagree with their religion and their politics.

I have Zero problem with fiscal conservatives who think we have too much government spending. I may or may not agree but I have zero problem with them. But, the ones who proclaim Christ. Those who would cut Medicaid and deny medical care to cancer patient’s and heart patients. Those who would call the fetus holy while denying basic care to the child once it’s  born. Those? Hell yeah I have a problem with them. Your God’s waaay to small for me to worship.

I’m not an atheist and I’m not an agnostic. I’ve been to far down the road and have actually had some things happen that I can’t deny and I hold them as precious. But, I’m not leaving my brain at the door. I’m not lockstepping with Franklin Graham and by the way it’s lovely how he just found the Lord in time to take over the mega organization of Billy Graham Ministries. Am I judging him? By their fruit you will know them. He’s in bed with the GOP and I hate to shake ya but GOP doesn’t stand for God’s Own Party. So, the hypocritical liberal lady that wanted me to be honest with my feelings? Well, I don’t argue on facebook. I don’t yell at my friends. But, this is my blog. I run my mouth about feelings and rock music and books and even religion. This is where I speak my mind. Nobody has to read it and it doesn’t come up in a rant in a newsfeed.

But, as always if you do read it I am honored. Agree or disagree I’m just honored that anyone would take the time to read a rant or an opinion that I post.



Thursday, January 19, 2017

I"m just sittin here

Ever wonder what it would be like to just sit down and talk with Jesus? Now, maybe you don’t believe in Jesus as a historical reality. I do but you don’t have to for this to work. Maybe, you don’t believe there’s only one way to heaven, virgin births or dead bodies rising out of graves and just knitting back together via some kind of unknown spiritual alchemy. That’s okay too. I’m not a fundalmentalist these days either. As a matter of fact I keep a lot of what I think to myself when it comes to religion. I cringe equally at the pronouncements of zealous religious people and zealous atheists. Actually, I’ve come to the conclusion that reincarnation best fits the available information that I have. I have thought this and wrestled with this since the early 80’s while still maintaining my Christian identity. But, I’m not interested in convincing or putting my inner journey on trial for anyone else’s judgement, amusement or salvation. I’m not interested in proving anything.

I love meditation. I struggle with it often. It’s hard (even for me) J to let my mind go completely blank. Now my wife might disagree with that last part. But, when I meditate all of a sudden I have to pee. NEVER FAILS. My head itches, my arm is asleep, my leg feels heavy , every car that passes sounds like a jet taking off. But, every once in awhile I get still. I breathe. I just be. I think that if I can just get quiet enough. If I can just be still and listen. Look, right there where my third eye is supposed to be in the center of my forehead. I know you laugh but if I can just….

So, Steve how are you doing? It’s okay you are in a holy place. Only you and I have the right to be here. Sit down right there. It’s your spot. Now, it’s been what 60 years since you started out on this particular journey? Me: Well it’s actually over 59. No need to rush. J  

Oh, right. What’s time anyway? Now, I know it’s been a little hectic for you at times. I know you didn’t always get everything perfect and I know you haven’t always been treated perfectly. But, I do want you to know that the things you get right carry more weight on the scales of life than the things you get wrong.   Me: Whew, that helps. I can name several things I’ve gotten wrong since I got up this morning.

This social work thing still getting to you?  Me: Yeah, it is. I started out a little right wing and then after seeing so much oppression and sickness and poverty I started leaning pretty far left wing. But, lately seeing so much whining and blaming and not taking responsibility I’ve started to go back a little more center. Still there’s that time I passed the Mexican border for instance. It looked horribly poor over there. I couldn’t imagine blaming anyone for trying to get their family across the border. Also, since that time we almost lost our own home and I wasn’t sure how I was going to buy food and medicine and my child has asthma and I knew we were not lazy or sorry or leeches. But, we needed help. Hearing some of my right wing friends talk about Christ in one breath and letting children drop off Medicaid with the other was frustrating.  I’m to the point now where I just want to go out into the woods by the river and build a cabin and drink coffee in  the morning and tea in the afternoon and my inner 19 year old wants to smoke a doobie and just let the frickin world go by.

Yeah, it’s tough. Still, you enjoy that sunrise and I know you were awed by that moon the other night. I  also know your heart went out when you saw what happened to that child while working at DHR. You have a good heart and I know that could have made you more cynical.  Me: It’s just that I learned long ago that God isn’t a cosmic Santa Claus and there are times when crap happens. But, I get the feeling that right there in the midst of the pain and misery and evil that you are still there. I don’t see hopelessness. I see evil that is temporary. I see heart wrenching soul sucking hell that is still overshadowed by the hope that this is a pale shadow of a greater reality.

Yeah, nice words but it still hurts. People seem to forget the take up the cross part. No matter what you believe there aren’t any magic beans to save you from the world.

Me: Yeah, I sometimes think about how Christ showed (no matter your religion) that this world is so precious that the “Ground Of All Being” would take on flesh to participate in it. Yet, it so pales to the reality of who and what we really are that he would lay the flesh down in pain and move on to a better place in the eternal journey. It gives me hope even though I’m sure I’m a heretic to the fundamental Christian and a fool to the atheist.

Yeah, well have ya looked at what I was to the leaders of the temple? Don’t worry about it. You have to be honest with yourself. After all you can fool mankind but in your heart when you are alone at night you can’t escape what you really believe.

Me: You know there are times when I don’t really  buy into the personal daddy in the sky. But, there are other times when I really need to just sidle up beside you and rest.

It’s okay. You can relax here. You  can pull up beside me and just rest.

Me: I will. I really will.

I love you.

Me: I count on that. I count on that big time!


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Things I think I think.

Things I think I think:

1.       One of These Nights is the album I would want to have with me if I could only have one album with me on a desert island. It’s the Eagles and it’s one of those teenage angst memories for me. I got the 8 track of this one lonely winter night in my youth and drove around and listened to it for hours.

 One of these dreams
One of these lost and lonely dreams
We're gonna find one
One that really screams…Eagles


2.       Stephen King is the greatest and most unique writer of his generation. Luckily for me I already was a voracious reader from my youth. I say that because in high school for a lit class I was made to read “ Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens. I remember thinking “if this was the first book I had ever read. It would have killed the love of reading right then and there. Sorry, it’s just true. However, if as a young person 100 years from now I was made to read “The Stand” by Stephen King as an example of mid to late 20th Century Literature I might just develop a taste for reading. Sometimes our schools and institutions take the most amazing things and make it as dry as dust and then wonder why our youth are stupid. Our youth aren’t stupid. Their often bored.

 “Show me a man or a woman alone and I'll show you a saint. Give me two and they'll fall in love. Give me three and they'll invent the charming thing we call 'society'. Give me four and they'll build a pyramid. Give me five and they'll make one an outcast. Give me six and they'll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they'll reinvent warfare. Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.”
Stephen King, The Stand


3.       I really want Midnight Train to Georgia to be played at my funeral. Seriously.  The beat the incredible voice of Gladys Knight and the harmony of the original Pips. I had a friend who once said life is like a bus. At the last stop you get off. But, I think life is more like the midnight train. At the end you go home and find yourself after all.

He's leaving
On that midnight train to georgia
(leaving on a midnight train)
Oh yeah
Oh y'all
Said he's going back to find
(he's going back to find)
A simpler place and time…Gladys Knight


4.    Clint Eastwood movies are the most visceral or gut kicking. Who doesn’t at one time or another wish they could just deal out sweet justice to the bullies and bad men. Give the woman hitters and child abusers and the oppressors their due. As we say in the south “Give your heart to Jesus cause your ass belongs to me.”

Get your popcorn ready.


5.    Remember to breathe. Life goes so fast. I remember two ladies from a long time ago talking one day at work. I worked for Etowah County Tax Assessor back in those days. These were “friends” but they really talked at each other. One day I  remember one of them regaling her friend with some bit of her life that was fascinating to her. But, her friend could barley stay still with the urge to relate something “more important” from her own life. When the first lady finally stopped talking? Her friends response was “Okay” and then she launched into the tale she had been waiting to relate with barely any real understanding of what her friend had just said to her. We talk at each other and over each other. If I can just get you to listen I’m sure I can MAKE you understand why my politics, religion, outlook on life and death are true. So, I’ll wait and maybe the other person will shut up and I can lead them to see “the truth.”


people have more fun than anybody, except for horses, and they can't.”…Needful Things..Stephen King.



Anyway, just ramblin. I hope 2017 brings all who read this (and especially me) all the good things and hope of the year and the years ahead. God Willing.



Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas 2016

Christmas these days is kind of like going on a vacation to a sunny beach if you’re originally from the north. You see all these pictures and videos of people having fun and only have a week and you have to rush from “fun to fun.” After all you paid your money damn it and everybody says it’s a blast so ya gotta go. Every day and every minute.  But, the truth is somehow it’s just not quite matching up to the reality of it.

 It’s not that the beach isn’t pretty and the ocean isn’t awesome. It’s just that I don’t have time to “look and ponder it.” I gotta rush and have fun don’tcha know?  Christmas is kind of like that. I see it on t.v. The gorgeous white bread or Cosby families with happy smiles and toys piled high and driving  the brand new vehicle to grandma’s house over the snow.

Now, I’m southern so driving over the snow hasn’t been much of an issue in my life during Christmas. But, the snow on T.V. is never slick. Nobody runs off the road and nobody worries if they can afford the heat or groceries next week. Now, I’m not saying I want to see a commercial about poverty. I’m like everybody else. Maybe if I don’t look at it it’ll go away. But, still. If you’ve lost someone and if maybe Aunt Alice is really not jolly this year and forgot to watch for that patch of ice and broke her hip…well that’s not the American dream either. 

Hey, remember that time the Brady Bunch had a death in the family and Carol had a spot on her breast and they didn’t have medical insurance? Oh, me neither.  But, remember that time the Cosby kids were having to duck behind the couch right in the middle of the Christmas meal because the gang bangers were shooting up into the sky because it was cooler than fireworks and Rudi got wounded?

Oh yeah, right. Me neither.

So, all I’m saying is it’s great to post how happy you are on facebook. Although, I really don’t care if you had taco’s before bed last night. Someone, somewhere might. It’s not hurting anyone that’s for sure.

But, if like me this season brings some bittersweet memory and you at times just wish it would be over. If you wonder why all your friends on facebook have the biggest, bestest, greatest families and relationships  ever. If you wonder when that old friend from school that wasn’t born rich or snotty became such a comfortable religious cold hearted conservative or the formerly conservative type who loved Jesus became a know it all liberal pompous ass. Well, I wonder myself. 

So, from my scroogy little heart I say Bah Humbug. But, from my inner soul I say Thank God for another year. Another day. Another chance to get it right or at least better. So, celebrate family and loved ones and friends. Even celebrate what you had for dinner last night and I’ll be glad to look at the screen shot of your coffee shop Pumpkin Spice Caramel Swirl Latte. J

But, my heart goes out to those who are lost (not in a religious sense) this year and this season. Those who don’t have cousins by the dozens and Christmas hams. Those who miss a touch or smile and long  to just “go back” for a minute.

God Bless you. God bless us everyone.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What comes before.

 Some songs stay with me through this life. 

Gladys Knight and The Pips “Midnight Train to Georgia.” The first note Gladys hits and I’m on that train. The lyrics of Hank Williams “I’m So Lonesome I could Cry” I can hear the birds and the insects on a summer’s night in the south. The sky turning purple and the stars coming out. A train off in the distance and wondering where is it going. Long lost loves and youth.

Songs take me back to certain periods of my youth…Warm smell of Callitas “Hotel Califorinia” certainly brings the smell of a certain plant to mind on a crazy night or several from my misspent youth.

The Wild and Rainy Night from “The Long and Winding Road” by the Beatles brings back a certain memory to me.

So even though I’m not one of those people who constantly listen to music. I am one of those people who are part of the pop music rock and roll generation. Many of my memories are tied to music and certain lyrics can bring back my 16th or 18th, 19th or other early years.

I was thinking of a song that isn’t a widely known song and it was one I discovered somewhere right before I turned 25 years old. Actually, it was right about the time my spiritual journey was considering different options and truths from my previous strict Christian upbringing in the (cue deep narrator voice here) The Deep South. I don’t know why but some national broadcasters who have probably never been south of Nashville love to say it that way. The Deep South! Do ya hear it? Oh well, I digress.

Anyway, Stevie Nicks from a solo album released around 1981 called Bella Donna recorded a very nice acoustic laden song called “The Highway man.” It wasn’t a top ten or chart soaring song. I never hear it mentioned in the same breath as her old Fleetwood Mac work or her later duets with male singers including Don Henley. But, I think it’s one of the best she’s ever done.  Now, I don’t pretend that I know what Stevie Nicks was thinking when she wrote the lyrics. I googled it and it does appear that she wrote the lyrics herself. So, I’ll put my own slant or the meaning I’ve most often put on the lyrics myself. Just for fun and also just as my own thought experiment. This is the best I can remember from all those years ago as far as the way I was thinking and why the song stayed with me.




Alas he was the highwayman
The one who comes and goes
And only the highway-woman
keeps up with the likes of those
And she in all her magic
With hands as quick as light
Took him to be a challange
And went into the night


Stevie as some people around my age might remember was rumored (falsely as far as I’ve been able to find out) to be a “White Witch.” So magic and having magic in her hands and person fit my image of her and of the feminine back then. The highwayman was the eternal male searching and maybe not always finding his soul mate.

And he in all his glory
Was far ahead of her
But she was never sorry
For wishes that would burn
Enter compitition
She chases beneath the moon
Her horse is like a dragonfly
She is just a fool


But, the female is wiser and more compassionate. More in control of her emotions. She knows it’s an eternal dance and not going to be solved in one lifetime. But, still she keeps on.  I could see the full moon and the eternal dance as youth and desire collided with realism and physical limitations.

And she wonders is this real
Or does she just want to be queen
And he fights the way he feels
Is this the end of a dream


I’ve often thought of Christ in the garden. Not the Sunday school version. But, the human version. Is this real? Am I just fooling myself? What is life and what if anything really comes after? The human condition. We know we are meant for eternity. But, we just can’t quite really believe it.

And then he sees her coming
Heartbeats on the wind
Considers slowing down
But then he could never win
And she out in the distance
Sees him against the sky
A pale and violent rider
A dream begun in wine


So there  they are. Two people, two souls running through another part of the eternal journey.  It’s always night time in my visions of this song. Always a full moon and a sky full of stars. Warm wind blowing and white horses running.

And she wonders is this real
Or does she just want to be queen
And he fights the way he feels
Is this the end of a dream


She’s full of magic. But, like all sane beings she’s also full of doubt. He’s unsure of what this is. Maybe, it’s all just for fun or maybe it’s all terrible.

A dream as the thunder wakes her
And her highwayman disappears
On a life already lived before
In eyes welled with tears

That sense that this is an eternal dance. The wheel turns and the sense of having been somewhere before. Having already won or lost before.

Today and still today they ride
Will they ever win
He the glory...
She the love...
And still they try again
He the glory...
She the love...
And still they try again
He the glory...
She the love...
And still they... try... again...

Again, and again and again. Sometimes finding the thread but often times not. New wine into old wine skins and life goes on.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Coffee, Jesus and Me.

I have always had this inner dialog going. Ever since my childhood. Prayer came naturally to me. But, so did just talking to myself. I try not to slip or do it out loud. I still remember a teacher telling me with some alarm that my six year old was "talking to himself." Gasp. I told her that was a sing of intelligence. :-) Oh well, some people have no imagination.

What follows is not  the same as my prayer life or meditation. But, sometimes I wonder what would it be like to pour myself a cup of coffee and just open up to the universe? To God? Now, I'm a liberal Christian to say the least these days. But, my background and my  touchstones are still very much in the Christian tradition even if I'm a little left of center and a little heretical these days. So, the following is my dialog or my coffee with Jesus.

It got a little intense at times and I had to kind of back away from some stuff. But, would anybody really expect anything less? I mean how much concentration on universal issues can a person stand at one time? Me? I think I'll relax and think about classic rock albums next time. :-)

Me: It’s been a little while since we talked much. I do a lot of meditation these days and try to find my center or being.  I don’t worry about one size fits all religion much. But, every once…

 Jesus: “I know, every once in a while you need to feel the humanity of the divine more than you need the eastern concept of void or nothingness.”

Me: Something like that. I was sipping coffee the other day and thought of a web cartoon called Coffee with Jesus. I thought well that might be a good thing to schedule.

Jesus:“Might be. But, as you know I don’t always schedule these things in “Oith time.”  J

Me.: I love it when you do my favorite Bugs Bunny with the lines with  the correct accent from my childhood Saturday morning cartoons.

Jesus: “ I know.” "I love to see you laugh.

Me: Oh God, I love it.

Jesus: "Hmmm.”

Me: Sorry, I meant Oh Gosh. J

Jesus"OF course you did.”

Me: So, I was thinking about life the other day. I have my own opinions ya know. Well, I do. But, anyway I always see people saying they believe in God but once someone dies? Even if they were 95 and had dementia the first thing people say is: So Sad. But, if we really think we are continuous beings then is it really sad?

Jesus"The universe is kind.” “Love never fails.” Need anymore slogans to get you through the night?

Me: So, I gotta wait and see? Well, the way I suspect the universe is, I have to wait and see again?

Jesus: “Here’s the thing. Remember the way the Sunday School folks tell the “Temptation thing? I mean in that one this dude ( we call Satan) comes up and I have a Superman “S” on under my cloak. So, I immediately know who he is and I have all this information. So, I say (Cue Charleston Heston voice) “Get Thee Behind Me Satan.” Then her runs off and the angels come down on their snowy wings and I’m good.

Me:  Not that simple huh?

Jesus: "Is life ever that simple?”

Jesus: “think of it this way.” You’re hungry and cold and maybe the money is getting low. Maybe, you didn’t get the girl or the boy depending on who you are. You’ve lost family and friends and you are doubting the very existence of a creator or reason for the universe.  Then you start to “think” Now maybe these are your own thoughts or maybe they come from somewhere else. Doesn’t matter. It’s going on in your head and you have to deal with it.

Me: You mean you don’t get to see the guy in the red suit and the pitch fork? You have to battle your own inner demons? Your own thoughts and fears of oblivion and just being here one minute and gone the next?  Was it  worth it? Was it long enough? Did I get my share of money, sex, love, health? What happened to the golden years?

Jesus: “That and more.”  Thoughts like am I crazy? Did I really think I saw a vision of Moses? Did I really think I was somehow close to God and able to move mountains with the faith of a mustard seed? Is this all there is? What did I miss? What did I lose? Why not just say #$%^ it and be done with it?

Me: Yeah, something like that. Did you just cuss?

Jesus: “That was more you than me but, you get my point.”

Me: So the Sunday school version is a little simplistic huh?

Jesus: "Do you want to really know the cost of life on this planet? How it really works? Do you really want to know about crosses and wars and hate?”

Me: Ya know, I think I’d rather just sing “Jesus loves the little children” and be done with it.

Jesus: “Yeah, most people would.”

Me: “Well, how about that Crimson Tide?”

Jesus: “Think about what you just said?”

Me: Ooops. Sorry.  :-o

Jesus: “It’s okay. I know you’re from Bama.” J

Me:  I had a dream once. You remember? I was standing on the shore of a really freezing river. There you were with me. At least it seemed to be you. But, there you were on the other side. You know how dreams are. So, I had the thought “Jump in.” But, I said: If I jump in I’ll freeze to death. I’ll die. Then I had the thought: Go on. Jump in. I did.

Jesus:“I do remember.” Your body was dying wasn’t it?

Me: It was freezing to death. It was dying.

Jesus: “But, what about you?

Me: My spirit was soaring. It was awesome. I was so elated and words are hard to come by to describe it. My spirit was or “I” was alive. Home.

Jesus: “Many times it works like that.” The body is dying but you will come to a place where you are soaring. 

Me: I look forward to it and dread it at the same time. After all. Those thoughts which may be mine or may be from somewhere else. It doesn’t matter. It’s going on in my mind. Doubt and fear and old prejudice and weakness and worry.  When does it stop?

Jesus: "Well,  there’s  this river. But, I have to warn you. It’s mighty cold.

Me: One more sip of coffee and I think I’ll be ready for the day. Can we do this again?

Jesus: "Anytime.”  You want to talk about football next time?

Me: I guess not.  But,  it would be easier.”

Me: Say, I don’t have to go searching for my cross do I? Still time right?

Jesus: "Well, no you don’t have to search for your own cross.” Time? Well, time is relative.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Scary Stories and Fun times.

{This is the evening news, let's go now to our field reporter
Renaldo Riviera, this is Renaldo Riviera on the banks
Of the stinky muddy river with Mr. R.V. Frisbee
Who claims to have witnessed something truly fantastic
Mr. Frisbee could you tell us what you saw}….”I saw Elvis in a U.F.O….Ray Stevens


I have fun with pop culture. UFO’s and the X-Files and Stephen King novels and Ancient Aliens and the Annunaki.  It’s kind of funny because some of my love for horror and the off beat comes from my country music loving Bible belt mother. I remember as a kid watching those old b-movie’s on Dialing for Dollars such as “The Colossal Man” and other sci fi  movies. When Christiopher Lee or Vincent Price horror movies were on at the drive in we were there. Dark Shadows? I rushed home to see the latest adventures of Barnabas and the Collins Family.


{Yeah, I's just hunkered down over there puttin' a stink wad
On my trot line and the short hairs just stood straight out
On the back of my neck and I turned around
And there's this big orange thing with them purple lights on it
Come swoopin' over them pine trees
And just hovered over the Winnebago there}


Old horror comics along with my super hero and Archie comics as a kid kept me entertained. I remember watching “The Haunting” in the original black and white as a kid. Scared the yell outta me. But, I loved it. I swear those statues in the garden moved.


{Inez run out, throwed a skillet at it and then she scissored
And run back in up on the hide-a-bed
'Bout that time a little trap door opened up
Little stair steps come down
And this little pink bald headed guy stuck his head out}


Yep, fun and getting scared combined. I needed a night light. But, at the same time I couldn’t wait for my next “scary fix.”


{Now I'd seen that movie 'Clost Encounters'
I just walked on over there big as Ike and looked up in there
And there he was, there who was?}

I saw Elvis in a U.F.O., sittin' there with Howard Hughes
I saw Elvis in a U.F.O., Jimmy Hoffa was in there too
I saw Elvis in a U.F.O., singin' them rhythm an' blues
An' Liberace was there an' he had on a pair of Imelda Marcos shoes


My family was also full of stories. Two that I remember well. One from my mother’s mother who was blued eyed and of Irish descent. One that reminded me of my Granddaddy who was Dutch-Cherokee decent.  My Grandmother told the story of an aunt who didn’t like her when she  was a little girl. So, as the story goes way back in the early part of the last century. The aunt died. My grandmother is playing in the big old house. She hears something on the stairs and looks up. There’s her aunt. The aunt says “Mozelle (which was my grandmothers name) I’ve been waiting a long time for this.” I was so young I don’t remember  the rest of the story. But, it was chillingly good. I was really scared and really anxious to hear it again.

Then the other story concerns the town of my birth. Gadsden, Alabama has a natural waterfall. It’s called Noccalula Falls. This is the way the adults in my family tell it:

A long time ago there were two tribes living in the area. One was a noble Cherokee tribe and the other was a more war like tribe. The Cherokee Chief had a beautiful daughter named Noccalula. She fell in love with a handsome brave of her own tribe. However, her father promised her to the son of the chief of the war like tribe to ensure peace for his tribe. Noccalula being in love was distraught. So, rather than marry a man she didn’t love. She cast herself off the rocks of the falls. But, late at night. When  the moon is shining and the night is still. You can hear her crying and if you look close you can see her sitting on a rock combing her long black hair as she weeps for her lost love.

See? Wonderful stories and a little bit of terror thrown in.


 “There is nothing in the dark that isn't there when the lights are on.”
Rod Serling


I saw my own ufo not so very many years ago. I’m in my backyard in Northport, Alabama. I see a craft going slowly across the sky. It’s a clear warm southern night and I look for the red lights of a plane and listen for the engine. I don’t see any red lights or hear anything at all. But, it just stops. Dead still. I think well an ordinary plane doesn’t just stop. So, it must be a helicopter. Except it isn’t making a sound and there are no landing lights. No, chop, chop, chop sound of propellers and it’s dark and most copters aren’t flying around the outskirts of Tuscaloosa/Northport at this time of night. I yell for Cindy but she’s in  the middle of a t.v. show and says “If they land or abduct you let me know.” Sheesh, everyone’s a skeptic. Anyway, all of a sudden it makes a zig zag pattern in the sky and moves off. What was it? Aliens? I’m skeptical. But, I keep looking in case it/they come back.


Nothing was a-gonna drive me away
When I seen something that give me the creeps
Had one big eye and two big feet
I stood right there and I did the freeze
It did the stroll right up to me
Made a noise with its feet that sounded like a drum
Said "You gonna be here when the morning comes?"
"Say yes, I'll be here when the morning comes
I'll be right here, I ain't gonna run
I bought this house, now I am boss
Ain't no haint's gonna run me off….Haunted House..Roger Miller? Not sure of the original writer or performer but I remember the song.


Haint is my grandparents North Alabama Appalachian word for ghost.  It’s what my grandmother said when she saw the ghost or “haint” of her aunt.

Anyway, I love it all. From the old giant ants and spiders of 50’s sci fi to the vampires and werewolfs of old Universal and Hammer Films. Nothing like a good scare. Nothing like a good story. Especially if the grownups swear it’s true. All true. The 10 year old in me loves it. As Uncle Stevie (my favorite author) says:

There’s something I want to show you, something I want you to touch. It’s in a room not far from here….Night Shift.

Not long until Halloween. I  can’t wait.  Did I ever tell you about the time I watched “The Haunting” adapted from the book by Shirley Jackson?