Thursday, June 26, 2008

Last Stand at the Magic Bus

I don't think I can continue on this 'site. I don't like it much. I don't want to quit blogging, but this 'site makes it a bit difficult to be innovative. My new 'blog 'site is

I hope you'll continue to drop by and say hello.

The Uncle Dave Macon Festival will be posted on that 'site (once it gets here).

I gotta go. I'm watching Rain Man. Ray's going nuts because of the smoke detector.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

RC & Moon Pie Festival, June 21st, 2008, Bell Buckle, Tennessee

So we ended up in the cultural epicenter of middle Tennessee this past weekend--Bell Buckle, Tennessee. I know the name ranks alongside Bucksnort, Finger, and Sweet Lips, Tennessee (all real towns, I assure you), but it really is a pretty sweet place--real sweet. It's the home of the infamous Webb School, a private school that has cranked out all sorts of important people in history ("one of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong," he sings). It's also the home of the Bell Buckle Cafe, a sweet little dive that's just a hair better than Miller's Grocery in Christiana, another whistle-stop town on the same rail-line. The most prestigious event that calls Bell Buckle home is the annual RC & Moon Pie Festival. 10,000 people descend on this small town raising the population to 10,053 if only for a day.

I heard about the festival when I moved here a few months ago. Few people know about my obsession with Moon Pies, so I'm sure my eagerness to go surprised the folks who were sarcastically informing me. Of course I'll go! I wouldn't miss that for the world. After all, I missed the cornbread festival down in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, near Chattanooga. I thought I was going to cry when I found that out. I wasn't about to let this cultural event go by. So, like an old man on his second marriage, I cherished what was in front of me because I can't change what I'd missed out on in the past.

To make up for cornbread, I embraced Moon Pies.

Here's the sign:

While the festival is for both RC and Moon Pie, I think RC gets the shaft. Most of the advertising and gimmicks had to do with the MP. There were a few RC deals, but not many.

Here's a pic' of some good ole boys under the gazebo:

They had me at the Braves cap, but then they threw a Hound Dog and a Kentucky Mandolin in the mix. It was nice. All they lacked was a good, well-timed bassist. I was leery when I first heard them, but then I saw that they were playing in B. The mandy-man didn't even need a cheap banjo capo to make up for the painful pinky stretches that come along with the dreaded B key. Good livin'. Good stuff.

Yep. It is what it is. She's about to baptize the Twinkie in a full-immersion, baptizo, Holy Ghost, funnel cake batter vat. It's a part of a Hostess Mission effort. They've converted I don't know how many Twinkies. Praise God for the second birth!

This is a lost art, isn't it.

Droves, y'all. They came out in droves with sweat, fanny packs, and an extreme penchant for the chocolate, banana, vanilla, or strawberry sandwich of the gods. They danced for her, sang for her, and bought wares in her honor.

See what I told ya? All the attention for the the Moon Pie, but no RC to be found. I guess they should realize that they're in Sun Drop country. That's my poison.

Okay, I gave in on a couple things. I don't why it's this way, but the two most unlikely places for something hot to eat are a hot, nasty amusement park and a summer festival. Why, oh why, Lord, do I continually drift toward a hot corndog at these places? This one was a footlong. A crunchy, brown, buttery cornbread placenta with a long, hot, swollen peice of meat resting inside. It was good, but let me tell you something: it was nothing compared to what I have next for you. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

There it is, just below the paragraph below the paragraph below the paragraph below this paragraph.

The holy grail. King Tut's tomb. The nasty scraps from the Nag Hammadi. What do they all have in common. They pale in comparison to what I found. For some people it's a detestable pile of cholesterol, fat, grease, and carbs. Edible death. But for me, it's a heavenly mixture of everything that's good about our country. In the South, we will fry a turd if we had the leg strength to squat over the fry daddy. In fact, if it wouldn't burn so badly, we'd sit there reading the local Swap Shop paper until we got an unsightly fry-daddy ring on our butts and our legs go numb. If we'll do that, you know we'll fry a Moon Pie.

Of course, the South is the home of Ted Turner, the undisputed King of overdoing it, so we can't stop at frying the blasted thing. We have to sprinkle it with powdered sugar and drizzle a warm stream of thick chocolate syrup over the top.

All that for mere sock change: $3.00. You can't beat it with a stick. Besides, if you did, you'd get bark in the marshmallow, and there's no need in adding fiber to this mix.

The boy in the hat participated in the Moon Pie Toss (which is what I was about to do at home from all the grease in the fried one I had). He was standing by his pie when his brother came up and tried to eat his. As would naturally occur, a fight ensued. I would have scuffled, too. No way would I give mine up. I would have hit that little boy, too! Right in the mouth.

So much attention for the Moon Pie. I tried to make the RC feel better about himself. All those 'roids will make one feel a little inadequate already. He didn't need the pressure of having to live up to the attention bar raised by his festival-mate. Although, I need to come to the Moon Pie's aid on this one. You really can't fry an RC. That would just be unhealthy. All that sugar!

These lonely steel bars forever separated by thickheaded slabs of wood are heading toward Christiana and on up to Murfreesboro.

We'll be in Murfreesboro next. Yes, I know I live there, but there's another festival coming--Uncle Dave Macon Days. It's a banjo player's paradise in the old Cannonsburgh Village held in honor of the great Uncle Dave Macon (surely that was obvious).

This Friday night, Karen and I are headed to the Oaklands Mansion down on North Maney for a WSM premiere of the new documentary about the festival. I'll try to update you on that one.

My church is hosting a table at the ministry fair on the Sunday of the event. And you better believe I'll be in the audience when they honor John Rice Irwin, founder of the Museum of Appalachia (pronounced by those in the know "ap-puh-latch'-ya," and by ignorant yanks "ap-puh-lay'-shya"), and Bobby Osbourne, a sweet tater-bug picker from Kentucky.

See ya soon!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Elvis and God: Ruminations on Omnipresence

I was watching Dancing with the Stars last night with Karen. I don't mind the show. After all, there aren't that many shows with good looking women who don't wear much that my wife actually wants me to watch with her. I watched it with her last year, too (Go, Helio!). I'm not a Priscilla Presley fan at all (even though I like fans), but I couldn't help but let my mind wander (as I wander) to her past. I mean, what a woman! She was married to the greatest rock and roll icon the world has ever known to date. She had the man's child! When I visited Graceland with my wife, mom, aunt, and cousins, I was visiting Priscilla's house! That plane across the street, that was hers, too. The name Elvis is almost like Jesus in that you would just feel weird about naming your child that. It's like the name has been retired or something. The only Elvises I ever met were old and had the name well before the King had it.

Elvis's influence is unbelievable. If you were looking for it, you would see it everywhere, I'm sure. He was so influential that here we are, however many years later, and we're watching some woman dance on primetime television simply because she was married to him.


The great modern theologian, George Strait, has a pretty stellar song out now called "I Saw God Today." I don't know that he's ever made a bad one (song that is [black gold, Texas Tea]). It's not hard to figure out: the speaker had let life pass him by, and he, for the first time, saw something that opened up a new world to him--the one where God is everywhere and in everything.

That's no new sentiment (Of course, there is nothing new--even pointing out the fact that there is nothing new is not new).

Quick trivia:

Who wrote the line "I find letters from God dropt in the street"?

[do do do do do do do, do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do, do do do do do do do] (Jeopardy!)

Let's see what you wagered . . . $10,000?! Now, let's see your answer . . . "Who was Walt Whitman?"

And that is correct!

Song of Myself! Some people try to say that God he was referencing was not the Christian God, and I say that's bullcrap. Half of the allusions in his work are Biblical! He knew exactly what he was saying. Just because he was gay didn't mean he was an atheist. His point in that line is amazing. I mean, what do you drop in the street? (Nothing, I hope, you litterbug, you [friendly punch to the chin]) But, seriously, we drop our trash and our surplus in the street. Stuff we have so much of that we don't think anything about dropping it. Litter is everywhere! Walt was saying that he saw God absolutely everywhere!

God's influence is everywhere. God created the world millions of years ago (or thousands, if that makes you feel better about yourself), and here we are discussing God however many years later. The Bible is filled with people who are only famous because they were associated with God. The book of Job shows God explaining his influence, and Paul told us in Romans that nature is dripping with evidence of God's existence and methods. God is so prevalent in this world, according to Paul, that we don't even need scripture to understand salvation or God's presence. That's rather extensive.

George Strait, Walt Whitman, and Paul all saw God everywhere.

You can, too.


Next week: Part two of this discussion - "Sophie Neveu's Patriarch: The Realization of Our Spiritual Being"

Friday, February 08, 2008

My One-time Plea

This has never really been a political 'blog so this is a bit new for me.

I can't sit by saying nothing knowing that this, my one media outlet, was not used to urge my readers to consider voting for one of the finest men in our country - Barack Obama. I won't harp on it, but I have included his moving speech, aptly titled "Yes We Can," below. Take the thirteen minutes it lasts to watch and be motivated.

I love him because he makes me want to be a better American, citizen, and person. He is the perfect person for the job of representing that which is in our country's best interests, and his leadership will compel those who are truly ready to be proud of our nation again. This is my generation's first shot at being able to support a man who will be remembered alongside our country's greatest presidents: Washington, Lincoln, T. Roosevelt, FDR, JFK, Obama.

The time for change is now. The audacity of hope is an American right. The president that will help our country back onto the road to world diplomacy, fiscal responsibility, economic safety, and a revival of the innate pride in who we are, is Barack Hussein Obama.

"In the unlikely story of America, there has never been anything false about hope."

Saturday, February 02, 2008

News to Me

To me, the worst part of something good is the end. There have only been a few great books that I can honestly say should never have ended. Anderson Cooper's Dispatches From the Edge and almost anything Dan Brown has written will always be on my list of books like that. All the great elements of substance and technique combine to form what seems to be the perfect world, even if the stories describe a less than perfect world. I'm starting to think that way about Lost, too. I can't imagine having to say goodbye to Jack, Kate, John, Sawyer, et al. I just don't want to do it, but I know that it will soon happen.

All of that to say this: Karen and I are nervously excited to announce that we will be moving to the next phase of our life together beginning March 1st. I have accepted a position with the Kingwood Heights church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. As the new associate minister I will be spearheading the new small groups and local evangelism ministries to help connect that congregation both internally and externally. It's a big job and a big move and we are ready to grasp it with open arms.

The peripherals will be wonderful. Not only will we be working with a wonderful group of friends, but we will soon be able to begin more grad' work, Karen on her PNP, and I on my Ph.D. Also, we will be in a far more centrally located place in regards to all of our family members.

Yes, it seems as if this is going to be a move that is as close to perfect as is possible, but there is at least one down side: leaving Florence and the Macedonia church.

Karen has lived in Florence all of her life. Even during her brief stint at Freed-Hardeman University she was home almost every weekend. In fact, when we married in 2003, I helped her move out of the very room she occupied when she was an infant. Macedonia taught her about her God and helped her become the incredible woman she is today. She's watched it grow, split, grow, split, move, split, and grow again. She's seen the world and brought the hope within to people in that world through several mission trips that were based out of the Macedonia congregation. She also married her husband (that's me) in the very sanctuary in which we worship every Sunday there at Macedonia.

For me, I've never lived in one place as long as I have lived in Florence. It's become a home to me. I love going to places all around this county and knowing names and faces who know me. I love going to Macedonia and feeling as if I am a part of a family. I love standing on the stage in the sanctuary and leading my friends in worship. I love knowing that the very place I stand is the spot on which I vowed to my wife that I will love her as Jesus loved his people.

While we appreciate the experience that we've had with Macedonia, we know that it's time to move on and create new experiences with our new family at Kingwood. Macedonia has been an incredible story that we wish didn't have to end, but just like any great book or story, if you don't allow the end to take place when it's necessary then you'll never discover that there's another book or story that will leave you with the same feeling.

Who knows? Maybe this next story will be the one that doesn't need to end.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Gods on a stage.