Growing up in Alabama, one of my family's annual rituals was to travel to Fayette County for "Decoration Day," the annual May sojourn to the Oswalt family graveyard to adorn the final mortal resting places of those gone before.
There was preaching, singing and eating and much "Bless your heart."
But it must be said that all was not warm and fuzzy.
It was a true miracle that no one died of food poisoning from eating potato salad that had been left to marinate in the scorching late spring sun. And it was also a great wonder that no one suffered toxic shock from overexposure to Aqua Net ( the official hairspray of the Southern Baptist Convention).
God be praised.
But the best part of Decoration Day was traveling to my Aunt Addie and Uncle Bill's house for a healthy dose of what Addie called, "Davis Creek culture."
There, my great aunts and uncles and cousins from the South side of the family tree hugged and laughed and ate.
Then the women adjourned to the kitchen, the men to the porch. I knew life had changed when I was welcomed to the porch. Football was talked here and politics and food and current events. And there was remembering, of old politicians and of "The War," of gridiron greatness and the news of the day.
The men spoke of times-- glorious days before PACs and consultants and Chris Matthews and Ann Coulter-- when candidates needed only a few tools to campaign. A flatbed truck, a bluegrass band, a firm handshake and a strong stump speech, along with the courage of conviction to look a fellow in the eye and ask for his vote, was enough.
The time always dried up before the conversation. Then there was more hugging, more sweetness, and another small bite to eat before hitting the road home. The aroma of coffee and hydrangeas hung in the air.
It is in the spirit of Bill and Addie's porch that this blog launches. All are welcome here to talk football and faith and politics and family and news of the day. The only rule here is the Golden one: Treat others as you would wish to be --with civility, respect and kindness.
This porch, I hope, will be as I imagine Atticus Finch's would be: Open to all, save the Bob Ewells of the world. There is no place for them here.
I hope you find this humble effort worthy of your time. Pull up a chair and visit a while.