Buc-ee’s convenience store sits outside Athens, Alabama, like a giant squatting beaver.
This food stirs up a lot of memories. Because that’s what good barbecue does. It makes you remember.
The first thing you should know about me is that I am very nosy person. I get this from my mother. I have my black belt in rubbernecking.
“I am a little old woman who lives in an assisted living facility…” her email began. “I had a baby when I was fourteen…” she wrote.
“Hello?” said a girl’s voice. “Someone told me your husband worked on old cars?”
Our plane touched down in Birmingham at about 7 p.m. The captain said, “Welcome to the Magic City, we hope you’ve enjoyed your flight.”
A look of wistfulness comes over the face of the young woman making my sandwich at a New York deli counter. “Birmingham,” she said. “I’m from Birmingham. I was born there.”
The young woman cutting my hair goes by the name Shelby. She is as country as a collard, with an accent like Ribbon cane syrup.
I love cornbread. I was raised on the stuff, just like everyone else in America.
The church is gone. All that remains of the Reformed Presbyterian Church is a log pile and some crumbled bricks. You can’t even tell it was a church.
The kid is an artist. He stands behind the flat top grill, flipping eggs. I am at your quintessential American eatery. It’s raining. But it’s warm inside. And I’m happy here.
The dusk is reflecting off Douglas Lake. I am nestled in the French Broad River valley, seated on the porch of a log cabin, watching the Great Smoky Mountains continue to be Great.
Heaven is real. Sometimes it’s hard for us to see it. Sometimes the pain of life can make you blind.
Avondale Park was a glorified zoo. A rest home for animals. There wasn’t much going on in Avondale. People paid a few pennies to see Miss Fancy eat hay and make poop.
The first concert I ever saw was the Oak Ridge Boys. I was 2 years old. Mama took me. I pooped my diaper while they were singing “Elvira.” My mother changed me at the foot of the stage as I was singing at the top of my voice. One of the Oak Ridge Boys gagged, mid-song.
‘Twas a Christmas tree lot in Alabama. It was the kind of operation that does business in the parking area of a major shopping complex.
"The whole WORLD can’t be wrong about Santa, can they?"
I thought to myself about how lucky I am to live in a place called Magic City. Because it really is.
Becca is 10 years old. She waits for me patiently outside the restaurant because—big surprise—I am late for our meeting. I will be late for my own cremation.
It’s only college football. It’s not real life. It’s just college-age kids on a field, wearing shoulder pads, trying seriously to give each other concussions. It’s just a game.
I don’t engage in controversy. But sometimes I have to. And this is one of those have-to moments.
Earlier this morning, I was on a radio show. The host drilled me with loaded questions. It was a disaster. I was supposed to be plugging my new book, instead the host was asking slanted questions about hot-button, divisive topics.
This week, my wife and I visited the Callahan School for the Deaf & Blind with our dog. We were running late. Our vehicle squealed into the parking lot on two wheels.
God bless the people of this fine state. God bless the memory of Hank Senior. And God bless Alabama.
The hotel parking lot. Early afternoon. He was packing his truck. Slamming toolbox lids. Reorganizing luggage in the rear cab. Iowa plates.
Today, I am no longer the little boy whose father died by suicide. I am a man now. A man whose life ambition is to help others who have fallen.
The first thing you should know about Joseph is that he isn’t an optimist. In fact, he has no faith in this world. And he has even less faith in people.