Reports Of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

27 08 2011

As I’ve said before I really like Mark Twain and I could really empathize with him and with his now famous quote that depending on who you ask went something like this, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”….I always thought that was a funny line but never more than today when I went to the reunion at the “Y” for folks from the Mill Village.

The reunion was just like I thought it’d be, lots of fun. Lots of reminiscing, great stories, lots of happy faces and enough good food to feed most of the football players and coaches in the SEC….:-) Some of the faces I knew but didn’t know the names to put with them but even as “shy” as I usually am I made it my business to ask who they were and introduce myself. I usually introduce myself  like this, “I’m Ralph Daniels brother”…That way if they don’t remember me or if they do and didn’t care for me much back when and might not even now, well everybody liked Ralph cause he was such a good basketball player. Of course I’m 62 years old now and I’m still using my brother’s accomplishments as a coverup for my past let us say “shortcomings” and I know fellow gardeners that it’s kinda childish to do it but I also know it works……:-)

Anyways I saw some folks I hadn’t seen in awhile and some of them I hadn’t seen since I used to see them walk in and out of  the mill years ago…Some folks I met today I’d heard about from stories about the Mill or the Mill Village from other folks but hadn’t met them personally before and it was nice to meet them now and put faces with stories. As usual I met some folks that even if I didn’t know they’re names, I knew what of kind of car they used to drive 30, 40, even 50 years ago. You see I may forget a face, I forget a name, but  I never forget a car, which might seem unbelievable to some of you fellow gardeners, it certainly puzzled some of the folks whose cars I remembered but had  to admit I’d completely forgotten their names…..:-)

I saw Charlene Glover, one of my favorite teachers who was the Master of Ceremonies of sorts today and called us all to attention to listen to Jimmy Marshall sing a song about the Mill and the Mill Village he wrote especially for the reunion. Now Charlene Glover did something I hadn’t seen her do in years and it tickled me to no end when she did it. She wanted quiet, she wanted our attention and buddy she got it…She didn’t even need to use a paddle which Derrick Evans suggested that she use if she felt she needed it to get our “attention”. It was like being in her class again after all these years, I tell you what it was fellow gardeners, it was a sure nuff treat for me…..

Well Jimmy’s song was just great and Jimmy has a great voice. He’s got a voice that’s just right for the kind of songs he sings and that’s a wonderful thing for a musician to have I think…..And Jimmy is not just a singer but a song writer, a musician and more than that he’s an entertainer, entertains folks when he plays and sings and entertains them just when he’s being Jimmy…

Oh and I finally met Jim Simmons. He lived not a block from the mill and I know where he lived cause every time we drove by his house when I was a young man my granny would always say, “that’s where Jim Simmons lives” He played football at the University of Alabama which around here is just about as good as being the first man to step foot on the moon but when you play for the University of Alabama nobody forgets your name, nobody. Can you name the first man who stepped foot on the moon? See what I mean?…..:-) I told him I saw him play football when he was in high school. My uncle used to take me to what they called the Turkey Bowl. A  high school championship game that Piedmont played in regularly when they had players the likes of Jim Simmons, Thomas Bible and Carlton Rankin….I didn’t even feel weird going up to Mr. Simmons and introducing myself and telling him about seeing him play all them years ago with my Uncle and how much I had always admired him, you see my granny would have been as proud of me for doing that, as proud as she was of Jim Simmons for being such a great football player and fine young man. He thanked me for coming over and telling him about seeing him play in the championship game and I started to thank him for not asking me if was Ralph Daniels brother but decided to leave well enough alone……..:-)

I saw some other folks I knew, C.T. Mobley. I always tell folks that C.T. is the only man I ever knew that was smiling every time I ever saw him and he didn’t disappoint me today either, he was smiling from ear to ear. I never in my whole life saw such a happy man.

I was sitting and drinking some sweet ice tea when I overheard somebody ask what “Meatball’s” name was, his first name. Every one in Piedmont knows his nickname and his last name too I reckon but only a “special few” know his real name and I was proud to interrupt and tell them I couldn’t help overhearing their conversation but “Meatball’s” real name was Terry……:-) I felt like I’d just told somebody I knew Minnesota Fats by his first name  (One of the great pool players of all time) or the Cincinnati Kid (One of the best fictional stud card players of all time) by his first name cause for me “Meatball” really was the Minnesota Fats and the Cincinnati Kid all rolled into one, well one “Meatball”……:-)

Like I said before it was a lot of fun and Linda and I had a great time. I heard all about the whistle at the mill and I finally found out what the “dog wagon” was, it was the food cart of sorts that went around on every shift at a certain time that had sandwiches, fresh sandwiches made right here in town. Not sandwiches in a machine that had enough preservatives in them to keep Pharaoh Ramses 3,000 year old mummified body looking like Brad Pitt’s does today….:-) Oh before I forget it let me tell you about the “reports of my death being greatly exaggerated”….:-)

Now I met somebody else who I’d not seen in a long time, someone I always loved dearly cause she was so sweet and kind. And because she was always so sweet and kind and I ain’t going to embarrass her here by telling you her name. Now what I’m going to tell you might or might not embarrass her but I ain’t taking no chances. I’ll tell anything on myself but I’d hate to tell something on somebody else and embarrass them. As for me? Well with the life I’ve led, I’m beyond embarrassment…..:-) So here goes.

I start talking to her and I get the feeling that she either doesn’t know exactly who I am or if she does she ain’t sure its me cause she thinks I’m DEAD…..:-) She said as much to me cause she said, “It wasn’t your brother Paul who died?”….:-) Well right away I see she thinks I’m Ralph and that Paul which is me is now dead and even more than dead I’m deceased…..:-) Well she says she was sorry she didn’t know who I was exactly but I could tell  she was still not sure if I was Paul cause she still thought I, Paul (me) was dead. Finally I asked her jokingly if she was disappointed that I was still alive and when I did she laughed so hard I just figured  everything was OK no matter what she thought or who she thought I was……Dead or Alive……:-) But it was still nice to know that the “reports of my death had been greatly exaggerated”……:-)

Next year they’re going to have another reunion and I hope we get invited to that one too….and this time I wish our Master of Ceremonies, Mrs.Charlene Glover, will just get our attention, quiet us all down and pass the microphone around to every person that wants to share either something they liked the most about the Mill or the Mill Village or maybe something they miss the most or something that meant the most to them, either about the mill, the Mill Village or any of the nice folks who lived around there or worked there. That would be a real treat….

And I’ll be there fellow gardeners, cause it was a great time seeing everyone today and it’ll even better next year I bet. I’ll be there. I’ll be there no matter how exaggerated the reports of my death are……Why I might even show up as my brother Ralph…..:-)

Paul From Alabama

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The Heart Of A Town

26 08 2011

Fellow gardeners two things I can promise you, one I ain’t going to ask you if it’s HOT enough for you, I been outside just checking on everything and it’s HOT enough for me and I bet it’s HOT enough for you too……:-) And two, I ain’t going to put together a hurricane emergency kit today or tomorrow or well anytime soon…..:-)

I been holed up today switching between the Weather Channel, CNN, FoxNews and MSNBC following every update, every gust of wind, every drop of rain, every change of storm track of Hurricane Irene…..I’ve been watching it so much and so closely that I’m starting to call my wife “Irene” instead of Linda…..:-) I keep hearing about a foot or more of rain falling, wind gusts of 110 mph and a storm surge that going to flood roads, beaches and everything else. Now I ain’t making light of what’s going on now with Hurricane Irene to my neighbors to the north cause it’s serious business for sure….

And I imagine it’s going to be about as bad as they’re saying though I hope they’re all wrong, all of them. Jim Cantore, Andrea Mitchell, Wolf Blitzer and Max Mayfield, the hurricane expert of all time and everyone else I’ve heard from today and yesterday and will hear from tonight and tomorrow and Sunday….But I’m afraid they’re not going to be too awful off target as to what them folks are in for up north….I reckon I’m hanging in there with all them folks in the path of Hurricane Irene and all them talking heads on TV talking about Hurricane Irene till she finally passes over Nova Scotia and is threatening Iceland and whatever is above Iceland…..:-)

But when I listen to the news on the TV all day about floods and rain and winds and storm surge and all I see when I went outside just now is my plants wilting in the sun, not a wisp of a wind and rain? Rain? Are you kidding me?…..I can’t hear the sound of the waves crashing against the shore and eroding the beaches cause when I walk on the grass in my backyard all I hear is crunching of the grass under my feet…..:-) It’s just weird fellow gardeners. Weird immersing myself in everything to do with Hurricane Irene when in reality the chances of Hurricane Irene impacting me over here on Second Avenue are pretty slim at best….

No matter though I’m going to keep watching Hurricane Irene updates and imagining rain and wind and storm surge even as I see the temperature gauge close in on a 100 degrees on the back porch and the wind gauge not even twitch a little bit and the rain gauge? I don’t even call it a “rain” gauge anymore, I just refer to it as “that thing over there”……:-)

But I’m thinking I’ll let the talking heads make it on their own for a few hours tomorrow. You see they’re having a reunion tomorrow at the “Y” and Linda and I were fortunate enough to be invited and we’re really looking forward to it. Folks getting together to celebrate everything to do with the Mill Village here in Piedmont.

We used to have a cotton mill here in Piedmont called Standard, Coosa, Thatcher and before that I think it was called Coosa Manufacturing and like a lot of mills in the south and elsewhere a community grew up around it, homes, stores and schools…..I reckon the Cotton Mill, the people who worked there and their families were as close as anything to being the “heart” of the town….I know I always thought of them as that….When I was a kid and worked in my families clothing store (I use the word “work” loosely though) I remember seeing lots of the folks who worked in the mill come in and trade with my folks….I got to know who was who, and what shift they worked.

I always thought of the Cotton Mill as this big humming machine inside a big brick building that covered several blocks of our small town….You see I had to use my imagination cause I never even walked inside the Mill, never even peaked in a door or a window, though I wish I had now…The main thing I remember about the Mill other than all the folks who worked  in the there and their families who came in my folks store was when I started “going to town”. Circling the Dairy King and Coffee Cup in your car was “going to town”. And when you’d head to the Dairy King you’d ride by the Mill and when you did you might see the shift change and if you did you’d see all the folks crossing the street to get to their cars to go home after their shift was over or you’d see them crossing the street from the parking lot to the Mill to begin their shifts, either way you stopped your car and waited till all the folks had crossed the street….You stopped and waited out of respect….

I know lots of folks miss the Mill, the city administration does, I reckon they miss the taxes the Mill paid into the city, the Mill was a valuable economic part of our town… And the owners of the stores in town miss the Mill too, I reckon they miss all the folks who worked at the Mill who shopped at their stores.

But I miss the Mill cause I miss the beating “heart” of the town…..I miss the humming machines inside that big brick building I never even saw inside of….I miss the folks who I stopped for who were crossing the street to go to work to earn money to send their kids to college or buy them a car and just to buy the necessities of life. I surely do miss the people who lived in the Mill Village and worked in the Mill for so many years and I miss everything they were to this town….You see every town like every person has to have a “heart” and it’s a shame Piedmont lost its “heart” when the Mill closed and it’s never been the same since….

I don’t mean it’s “dead” cause it lost it’s “heart”e cause it isn’t…And I don’t mean that Piedmont isn’t a good town now or that it won’t be even better in future, but it’ll never be the same for sure…..I reckon I just mean fellow gardeners that I miss the Mill, the Mill Village and the folks who worked in the Mill and their families and who were the lifeblood of this town for a long, long time…..They were the “heart” of this town….

Paul From Alabama

Addendum:

Now I re-read my little story just now I got the feeling that you might get the feeling I was saying that everyone that worked in the Mill or that lived in the Mill Village on the day the Mill closed just disappeared like a magician makes a shapely, scantily clad woman disappear out of a box she just stepped into on stage, not hardly that fellow gardeners….:-) You see they’ll be all kinds of folks that still live in the Mill Village or used to live there coming to the reunion tomorrow at the “Y”. The children or grandchildren or even great grandchildren of folks who either worked in the Mill or lived in the Mill Village will be there…..And they’ll all be getting together tomorrow to share a good meal and reminisce about when the Mill and the Mill Village were the “heart” of this town…..I can’t wait till tomorrow to hear all the stories ….And on the way to the “Y” tomorrow to go to the Mill Village reunion, when I get to the cross walk in front of the old Mill I’m going to stop for a moment…Stop out of RESPECT….

Paul From Alabama





Brilliant Ideas or NOT

11 08 2011

Cars riding around Piedmont 24/7 365 days a year. Town full of cars full of people with cash in their pockets. There's a fortune to be made with the right man with the right idea at the right time.

I’ve got a brilliant idea to make a fortune, wanna hear it? It’s not a pyramid scheme, stock swindle or a gold mine up in Borden Springs. Nope it’s a money maker if ever there was one and if my grandfather or even my father had implemented my idea (if they’d known it) well I wouldn’t be going through my wife’s purse to find money to buy Black Kow Composted Cow Manure I can tell you that……:-) I’d be so rich I could buy my own cows……:-) And it would all come from the fortune my grandfather and father would have made if they’d only had my vision, my foresight. But I must admit though my vision turns out to be a just a little bit late. You see my idea is a great one and a sure thing but its about 40 years too late…..Darn it!!!…..:-)

You see Piedmont at one time was a bustling little town. Cars parked all along the streets, cars riding around town constantly, from early in the morning till late at night. I know, instead of being inside working helping my father at the Fair Store I was standing outside on the sidewalk in front watching all the traffic go by….Usually all my friends riding by who parents worked 5 days a week and didn’t run a clothing store that was open on Saturdays, so while all my friends rode around town on Saturday I was “working” at the Fair Store, well in all honesty I was  “working” on slipping out and riding around town with my friends for one round around town or if I was lucky and could get away with it, a couple of hours of rounds around town……:-)

But that ain’t your problem, that was mine and besides it has nothing to do with me being the richest man albeit from my inheritance in Piedmont, in Calhoun County, maybe the WORLD….:-) So before you fellow gardeners ask me to get back on topic and stop going on off on tangent after tangent that has nothing to do with the title let me just blurt out my idea for all of you to consider…..I don’t mind sharing a good idea with my fellow gardeners and I know you wouldn’t mind loaning me a small sum of money before the fall plant sales start at the plant nurseries this year but that’s a subject for another little story or a personal phone call or visit from me to you……:-) OK ready? Good.

Now Piedmont had cars riding around town just about 24/7 365 days a year. Am I right or am I right fellow gardeners? Of course I’m right. I’m always right except those few times that my wife might bring to my attention some slight thing I might by chance get wrong….:-) And now for my money making and sure thing if ever there was a sure thing idea. The Fair Store with a drive-in window!!!! (The Fair Store is a clothing store my family owned for over 80 years, from 1911 till 1995 or so.)

I know, I know what you’re thinking, “Paul From Alabama that is brilliant idea and we just can’t understand why you don’t live on an estate on Long Island next to Woody Allen or Carrot Top and drive a Rolls Royce with ideas like that, though that one is 40 years too late” And fellow gardeners I couldn’t agree with you more. I should be living on an estate even if it’s only on Second Ave. here in town. I could buy my neighbors house, tear it down so I could build a garage to hold all my garden tillers and Roll Royces.  Yes fellow gardeners I certainly deserve the good life and a drive-in window at the Fair Store would have been the ticket to my fortune. Even if I had to share a little bitty bit with my brother and sister and even had to buy my mother a one bedroom efficiency apartment two or three miles from the beach at Gulf Shores while I’m was luxuriating at my Second Avenue estate here in Piedmont…..:-)

Think of it, all those cars riding around in a circle around town all the time, every day with every car full of people with pockets full of money just hankering to wear the latest fashions from the Fair Store.!! And when a few selfish, self-centered people like my little brother Ralph parked their cars all day from morning till night in front of the Fair Store so you couldn’t even get a parking place to park to come in and shop, well they’d be this convenient drive through window and you’d pull up and yell out what you wanted, what size, what color and how many of each and I’d go get it, bag it up for you or even wrap it if it’s a gift (at a small extra charge of course..:-)) You’d stop at one window to order your clothing and pick it up at the next drive-in window and at a third drive-in window you’d pay for your purchase. Why if it’d help increase sales I’d have a ATM machine at fourth window for you shopping convenience….:-)

Fellow gardeners I can smell all that cash in the bags as I carry all them night deposits to the Farmer’s & Merchants Bank every night. Yes that’s my idea and it’s like all my ideas, brilliant. Well all my brilliant ideas that are brilliant except those few ones that aren’t, you know, aren’t brilliant…..:-)  Sorry what’s that you say? “Paul From Alabama what use is an idea to make a fortune when you have it 40 years too late?” A fair question fellow gardeners and well you have a valid point and the more that I think on it the more I think my idea won’t ever come to fruition and I’ll never live on an estate on Second Ave. or tear down my neighbor’s house for a garage to house all my garden tillers and Roll Royces. But here’s my other idea and it can be implemented right now and before you know it I’ll be rolling in cash and Black Kow Composted Manure. Ready for my idea? Here it is. Phone booths. Yes that’s right, little booths with a folding door in it and maybe part metal and part glass so you could see out of it. And what you do is when it rains or it’s cold or its hot as, well it’s hot. You’d be in an air conditioned or heated, dry, comfortable environment all the time during your phone call!!

Prototype of my "brilliant" idea for a phone booth for cell phone users. Pretty good idea huh?

“But Paul From Alabama, there has already been phone booths with phones in them but they’re out date now, passe’, old technology, a thing of the past”…….Good Lord fellow gardeners, I know that. I’m not stupid. I’m crazy but not stupid. I don’t mean phone booths with phones already in them. Of course not. I mean phone booths without phones so you can step inside and use your cellphone in comfort, air conditioning in summer, heat in winter and out of the rain in inclement weather……I tell you fellow gardeners I can smell the bags of cash now as I take them down to Farmer’s and Merchant’s Bank for my night deposit. Wait a minute. That might not be the cash I smell, darn it fellow gardeners. It’s the Black Kow Composted Cow Manure……Never mind…..

Paul From Alabama





Happy Birthday To My Linda

11 08 2011

The Most Beautiful Flower In Our Garden

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The Old Allison Theatre

4 08 2011

The Old Allison Theatre - Showing Quality Entertainment Like "The Bellboy" with Jerry Lewis, No "Dr. Zhivago" for us....:-)

Don’t you just hate it when folks send you an email, a personal email sharing some of their thoughts or experiences, funny ones that is and then some jerk like me uses them in a story in his own blog and then doesn’t even credit the person who sent the email with the memories in the first place?  Me too, that’s why I’m going to relate to you some stories about the old Allison Theatre in Piedmont, Alabama today that are mine and mine alone and some other day I’ll share those from other folks with you..You see like my mother, God Bless her, I don’t throw NOTHING away……:-) I got the first email I ever got when I got online in 1994. It was from a professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University, Israel Finkelstein. Some kids had heroes like Mickey Mantle, Pete Rose, Whitey Ford, Denny McClain, Joe Namath, Leroy Jordan or Engelberg Humperdink but me? Paul From Alabama, my hero was a Professor of Archeology of Ancient Israel, Israel Finkelstein…..You got your heroes, I got mine, so quit laughing fellow gardeners, its beneath you……:-)

OK again I’ve forgotten what I was talking about oh yeah, the old Allison Theatre. Now it was one of those old time “walk in” theaters with only “one” screen, “one’ bathroom per gender.  Folks didn’t know what unisex was back then but of course I did, it’s when a man wear women’s underwear, you know he’s a unisex kinda guy…….:-) Well so much for gender and now more of the Allison Theatre and all the characters that used to frequent that establishment, myself of course I put at the head of the list. When it comes to being a character I have no peer unless it was Skeet Grissom or Napoleon Bailey. Napoleon Bailey, he wasn’t any relation to Napoleon Bonaparte no matter you heard before, he wasn’t even French Napoleon Bailey wasn’t, he was from down near the Mill Village……:-)

“For God’s sake Paul From Alabama, you going to tell us about the old Allison Theatre or aren’t you?” Don’t get your panties in a wad fellow gardeners or your unisex “drawers” either…..I’m getting ready to start my little story right now. Ready, set, go……..

Now the Allison theater, when I knew it, was owned by Arnold Woolf and the cast of characters who were ushers or bouncers or strong arm men who kept the kids from burning down the theater on Friday nights or Saturdays was like a whose who of Piedmont. Doug P., who had the prettiest hair since Elvis. If Elvis had had Doug P.’s hair he’d have really been a big star…….:-) Now Doug P. always brought his date for the evening to the theater with him. Now I’m talking about 1955 till it closed in the late sixties I guess or early seventies.. And his date whoever she was for that particular evening all had one thing in common, THE BIGGEST HAIR YOU HAVE EVER SEEN IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE……:-) They were always good looking, don’t get me wrong but what hair on them gals…….:-) Now Archie R. was another usher I remember vividly, he was OK, as long as you didn’t have any explosives with you and were planning on setting them off in the theater, well Archie didn’t care what you did……;-) His policy was live and let live, you do what you want and I’ll set in the back of the show and sleep……:-) I mean fellow gardeners how many times can you watch “Beach Blanket Bingo” without wanting to kill somebody…….:-) Now last but not least was Cecil P, he later became a Piedmont policeman, so his experience as an usher at the Allison Theatre was good training for him in such things as ‘crowd control’, ‘shop lifting’ in this case stealing popcorn from folks who left there’s in the seat when they went to the “restrooms” and keeping riff raff out of town like the riff raff he’d try to keep out of the theater when he was an usher at the Allison Theatre. I always wanted to become riff raff myself but my granny kept so a close watch on me it was years later before I could aspire to be riff raff but finally I made it…:-) OK so much for the ushers at the Allison Theatre….

Now another thing they had at the Allison Theatre that I just loved was a wooden marquee billboard kind of thing that had coming attractions on it and on the back side of it a place to prop one of your feet on and stand behind it and take in all the sights and sounds of another day at the Allison Theatre. When I had my hair like Elvis’ back in 1959-62 or so I hungout with the older guys in front of the old Allison Theatre with my foot propped up on the back of the marquee billboard. Now one particular day I was standing out there with this other guy who was way older than me and he was right out of  James Dean movie too. Me and him stood out there I bet for 4 hours just staring at cars going by and kids coming in and out of the theatre. Now when these two really nice looking girls came in walking together arm in arm well I just had to comment on how sexy they looked with their tight sweaters and skin tight peddle pushers on…..That was the first thing I’d been brave enough to say in the last 4 hours and as luck would have it, my luck that is, right after I made that comment about those girls as they walked into the theater this guy with arms like ArnoldSchwarzenegger and hair like Bobby Darin says to me and I quote, “that’s my sisters you’re talking about feller, and if I was my little brother Benny, I’d knock your teeth out but I reckon you didn’t know who they were so just keep your mouth shut about my sisters and we’ll get along fine”……:-) Well fellow gardeners we did get along fine from then on cause I never opened my mouth up the rest of the day and that was the last time I stood in front of the “show” (the Old Allison Theatre) with my foot or any other appendage of mine propped up anywheres……:-) From then on, well for awhile anyways I just sat down inside and watched the movie……:-)

OK one more memory of those “sexy” girls……About two weeks later they both sat right behind me in the show and one of them leaned over and asked me if I wanted to sit with them, can you believe my good luck fellow gardeners? I knew exactly what I was going to do right away, I smiled at them and said, “thanks but no thanks I got to get me something to drink” and I got up and hung out in the lobby till the movie was nearly over, ain’t no way I was going to ever sit, stand or even touch one of them girls with their brother still on the loose keeping an eye on me and his other brother Benny who was going to knock out my teeth as soon as he found out how sexy I thought his sisters were……..:-) Oh well so much for love…….:-)

Another thing about the “show” was the restrooms. Now I say “restrooms” but anybody who “rested” there was either a masochist or a psycho, not only did it smell to high heaven, it kinda reminded me of the barn they used to keep the milk cows in on the kibbutz (farm) I lived on in Israel. Now the “gentleman” who hung out there in the men’s “restroom” were about as scary as the monsters on the movie screen were downstairs……I remember this one “gentleman” Eugene, he was credit to the human race if ever there was one and I’m sure some folks thought I was too, a credit to the human race, but nevertheless I always thought whatever I was, whatever I did I was sure ahead of the game compared to Eugene. You see Eugene was about as mean as anyone I ever run into. And I’ve run into my share of not so nice folks in my travels, but nobody compared to Eugene….and whenever I had to go use the “urinals” at the Allison Theatre,  one thing you could always count on, Eugene would be in the “restroom” harassing some kid trying to pee. If I couldn’t “hold” it in anymore I’d have to go up stairs to the “restroom” and run the gauntlet of Eugene and a few other characters who always had knives hanging out of their back pockets, a sure sign that you wanted to walk as quick as possible past those “gentleman” do your “business” and get the hell out of there…….:-) Excuse my language fellow gardeners but if you seen those guys I saw up there all the time you’d use worse language than that…:-)

Now about the sweetheart of the place, Nettie Woolf, she ran the concession stand and if there was a sweeter somebody ever, well I never ran into her. Nettie would fill your box of popcorn to overflowing every time and always kept fresh popcorn in the machine going all the time. I ate so many Babe Ruth candy bars from the concession stand there that it’s a wonder I got any teeth left in my head…..And Nettie, if you didn’t have enough money she’d give it to you anyways and you’d pay her “next”time…..I know she must have spent a fortune buying kids who had no money something to eat cause maybe it took all they had just to go to the movies even when it was 10 cent for a show. Imagine that fellow gardeners, 10 cents to see a movie, 10 cents to sit and be entertained all day long. Cartoons, a short subject and the movie, most times a double feature. My favorite movie of all time was a  3-D scary movie called  “13 Ghosts”. Lord I loved that movie, I still got them 3-D glasses around here somewheres, like my mother I don’t throw away anything either…..:-)

I saw enough Bible classic movies there over the years that I feel like I know Samson, Delilah, David and Bathsheba and Moses personally and we are on first name basis…..:-) I saw Frankie Avalon nearly kiss Annette Funicello so many times I got to feeling sorry for Frankie. I don’t think they ever “consummated” their relationship before they got married, in fact I doubt they ever “consummated” their relationship after they were married…..:-) Frankie’s love luck was so bad on screen, I can only imagine how bad it must have been in “real” life…..;-)

I saw so many Elvis movies there so many times I got thinking I could sing and play the guitar too……:-) Now my favorites were monster movies on Saturday. Godzilla, Rodan, you name it, it showed at the Allison Theatre. If any of them monsters had ever gotten loose in Piedmont, well it would have been the worst thing to happen to Piedmont since Urban Renewal……:-) And one more thing before I forget it. The night we snuck in jars of lightning bugs into the show and let them loose in the theater during a movie. It was one of the highlights of my criminal career and one of the things I’m most proud of….:-) Fellow gardeners, if you’d seen them lightning bugs flying in front of the screen, like trails of rockets flying through the air. Like an artillery bombardment from the First World War…..It was a day I’ll never forget, a day to quote President Roosevelt, “a day that live in infamy forever”……:-)

Paul From Alabama

Addendum:

For those of you who remember the old Allison Theatre in Piedmont or even a small town theater in your hometown. Please share any of your memories right here where the comment section is below this story. I know some of you have memories of the old Allison Theatre, more than I’ve conjured up here and better ones I’d venture to say. Please share them with us if you don’t mind and are of a mind to…..The old Allison Theatre held lots of good memories for lots of folks, not just of the movies we saw there but the characters that hung around there too. The romances we saw up on the movie screen and the romances some of us had ourselves smooching in the back row of seats. My little sister would say today to those folks, “Hey get a room why don’t ya?”….Well little sister I’ll tell you why not, cause the show was the only place we had to go to back in them days……:-) OK I won’t ask you again but this one time. Let us hear your stories of the old Allison Theatre too…..

Paul From Alabama





The Cemetery At Borden Springs

3 08 2011

                                                                                       

                                                                                     

The Cemetery At Borden Springs

Cemeteries, when I think of cemeteries I don’t think of the people buried there as dead so much as I think about them in life. I used to go up to the cemetery at Borden Springs a good bit, the one belonging to the Church of Christ. Usually during the week when nobody was around. Now I ain’t a member of the Church of Christ up there or any other church, though I been to as many churches over the years as synagogues, Jewish places of worship. But the cemetery at Borden Springs is very special to me cause the folks that are buried up there, their physical remains that is are buried up there, well the folks buried up there are special too me. And when I go up to the cemetery it’s kinda like visiting my friends when they used to live in their houses, houses that I knew so well, as well as I knew the folks who lived in them…..If that sounds crazy, well fellow gardeners I been called worse than that before, heck my wife called me something worse just the other day when I broke her, well let’s not talk about that and maybe she’ll forget it and forgive me while she’s at it too…..:-)

But getting back to the cemetery, I never been scared of them, if its dark at midnight or first thing in the morning. I mean my granny always told me that, “it wasn’t the dead folks you need to worry about Paul, you don’t ever have to be scared of them. It’s the bad ones, the mean ones still running around you need to keep an eye on”…And she was right, my granny, she usually was right, except the time she told me,”You are as perfect a little boy as ever was and you’re going to grow up to be a perfect little man too”… Well she turned out to be wrong about that fellow gardeners, she missed that one by a mile……:-) But hey love is blind they say and in my granny’s case, well she was plum blind as a bat when I it came to her little grandson..God Love Her.

Now crazy or not. You know crazy is in the eyes of the beholder, kinda like beauty is. I used to go on one of my Jeep rides or hikes to the Rock House up on the back side of  Oakey Mountain (1932 feet high) well backside of Oakey depending on which a way you was looking….:-) And on the way back I’d stop at the cemetery to tell my old buddies Morris Hackney or Paul Lorrens or Leon Lorrens or any of my old friends or even acquaintances, about what I’d seen that trip up there that day. Any deer I seen and old moonshine stills I’d never run up on before, any hawks a flying around, any special birds I heard singing, sounds I’d heard while just standing still or sitting down up there on some ridge or creek side in some deep dark hollow….You see there’s lots of interesting sounds to hear in the mountains around Borden Springs, folks just don’t slow down enough to stop and listen to them. More’s the pity, their loss too. I’ve heard some beautiful things up in the mountains around Borden Springs, Oak Level and Esom Hill. I reckon some folks just “hear” better than other folks…..:-)

I got one more thing to tell you about in this little story of mine about the cemetery at Borden Springs, the Church of Christ and the folks who went to church there. I was riding in my Jeep one Sunday and by mistake, not thinking I rode up when there was a covered dish or some kind of eating and socializing event under the roofed area where the tables were. Now I knew some of the folks there and some I didn’t know on a first name basis but I’d venture to say fellow gardeners that everyone sitting there eating that day knew me. Let’s just say I was a “regular”, not at church mind you but I was regular site around Borden Springs back in the days, everyday……:-) Now I hope folks looked on me as hawk flying around, looking at all the trees, the wildlife, the creeks, the streams,the clouds above him but I sure hope they  didn’t think of me as a Buzzard though……:-) Flying around looking for easy pickings. It would break my heart to know that. I figure the ones that knew me knew what I was up to and knew I was just enjoying the area up there. I didn’t want to steal anything, burn anything, destroy anything, malign anybody or anything. I just wanted to be part of what all they had up there on my own terms but without hurting or taking anything from anyone else. Only thing I ever wanted from them folks up there was their friendship or I’d even settle for a wave howdy when I drove by, which I usually got from everyone. But I wanted none of their land on the cheap or their money (unless I won it fair and square in a 5 card stud poker game up there at someone’s house who will remain anonymous…..:-) Like I said I just wanted to feel I was a part of all that was up there, if only a small insignificant part…..and what happened next made me feel like I’d just won a million dollar hand at the poker game up there.

As I saw I’d driven up at the wrong time and didn’t want to interrupt a gathering like that with my presence but  one of my old friends hollered at me to come on over. I turned off my Jeep and got out and went over to say howdy. He gave me a glass of sweet iced tea before I could even say no thanks….I wouldn’t stay to eat anything cause I knew it just wasn’t Kosher let’s say for me to be there, though I was tickled to death I’d been invited to. You see I was a Jew. A Jew in a 100% Christian community, and a Jew who though it didn’t have anything to do with me being Jewish, I was an outlaw of sorts, well I was an outlaw to the core come to think of it…..I was in a business that folks up there aren’t ignorant of but that I knew a lot of the folks sitting at that table under that roof didn’t approve of at all. And for that reason and that reason only I was ready to go before I even sat down. But them folks at that table, they never even made me feel a bit unwelcome. Not because I was of a different religion than them or that I was involved in illegal activities right up to my ears at the time that like I said, most of them folks didn’t want to have anything to do with…..That day, and every day ever after I felt like I belonged up there and was welcome, welcome anywhere. I had friends up there already but I’m talking folks from all over the community now, regular hardworking folks, not outlaws like me. I’ll never forget what that glass of sweet tea at that covered dish dinner that day meant to me. It meant everything……

Paul From  Alabama





Borden Springs Revisited

3 08 2011

Old Post Office At Borden Springs Photo by Kenneth Hedgepeth from the "Lorren And Related Research Pages" Webiste

A little small town story for small town folks from around here or anywhere really….Here’s what you need to know before you read it if you ain’t from around “here”. Borden Springs is a beautiful, very small community in the mountains of northeast Alabama near the Georgia line, it’s famous for good moonshine and lots of it, it’s also known for its beautiful surroundings and the friendliest folks you’ll ever meet. Friendly if you’re friendly, if you ain’t, friendly that is, well fellow gardeners, you’re on your own…..:-)

"MERSER" store later bought by J.W. SADLER (SADDLER) This photo was also provided by Nina (Bischoff) Friend. Photo and caption from the Lorren and Related Families Research Pages. By the way, Nina Bischoff is now my (Paul From Alabama's) friend too. This store is located in an area of Borden Springs known as Palestine.

I got a friend on facebook who I know in “real” life too….:-)  Her name is Chris and in a conversation posting she said,”to this day I have not been to Borden Springs. I need to come up and roam the area.” If you ain’t been to Borden Springs, then you ain’t really lived life to the fullest yet. New York? A nice place to visit, might not want to live there though. Washington, D.C.? Who wouldn’t want to live in a town with all our hardworking Senators and Congressman bickering all time? Well come to think of it, I wouldn’t……:-) Paris? I don’t do escargot’, and I don’t do snails either it’s kinda like eating squid…….:-) But Borden Springs?…..Ah, now that’s a place you can sink your teeth into, wander around in, nice and quiet, friendly, available high speed internet, no traffic, the trains not only don’t run on time, they don’t run anymore at all, so no waiting at train crossings……:-) Chief Ladiga Trail, Pinhoti Trail, Terrapin Creek, springs and streams a plenty, “wildlife” and there’s animals too……..;-) Used to be a lot of “refreshments” available that had been aged almost a week or more, but no more, sorry. But at Slaughter’s Grocery and Emporium up the road piece just over the Georgia line in Esom Hill there’s a wide selection of legal beverages and if you have any money left you can buy a lottery ticket…..:-) I mean where else in the world can you find all those amenities…I’ll tell you where? Nowhere. And that’s why Borden Springs is the best place in the whole world to live and I hope not a single person believes me and doesn’t even consider moving there cause if everyone moved to Borden Springs well you might as well live in New York or Washington D.C. or Paris or God forbid, even Cedartown, Georgia……:-)

The Old Lorren Store/House The store was located across the road from the old Lorren house. To the right of the photo and not shown was a gas pump. The front of this building was the store section and located to the back part of the store was a living area. A bedroom was located in the back and to the left in this photo. The section that juts out to the right was the kitchen area. Photo and caption from the Lorren and Related Families Research Pages.

The old Borden Springs Hotel - An old postcard "photo"

Nina wrote: "Found this picture in my mother's old pictures and thought you might like to have a copy (yes indeed, I would...thank you, Nina). This is the waiting area for the Seaboard Train that went through Borden Springs. My mother was a post master there and back in the 1950s as children we would go down there and watch my mother hang the mail sack on a tall pole....the train man used a long hook to snatch the mail bag off the pole and the train never stopped...just kept on going. My sister and I played inside the building as kids but I don't ever remember during our childhood...of the train stopping to pick up passengers.......the buildings must have been used in the earlier years when visitors were coming and going to the Borden-Wheeler Hotel, and the train stopped in Borden Springs." (Photo and caption is from the "Lorren and Related Families Research Pages")

I just love Borden Springs, the area and the people and their history, as anyone who reads my little stories knows. I wish it was all just like it was years ago and all the people I knew back then were still riding the roads, working or playing in their gardens or yards, sitting on their porches or up in the mountains but they aren’t. And all I have and other folks like me have are the memories. But like someone from Piedmont once told me, “memories are a stored treasure” or something like that, but I knew what she meant and she was right too…..

Paul From Alabama