Fewer sports teams, concern about tornadoes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 16, 2015

This unusual warm weather has south Alabama folks somewhat concerned about tornados. If you remember, it was a “Christmas tornado” that caused a lot of damage in Mobile a couple of years ago. In fact, it was only a few months ago that repairs to Murphy High School, severely damaged by that tornado, were completed.

And, we also watched on TV that dreadful tornado slashing into Tuscaloosa and other north Alabama cities. My granddaughter Jordan, her friend, Sarah Beth Davis (Rev. and Mrs. Don Davis’s daughter) and a few other University of Alabama students took shelter on the advice of some other students on the street who apparently saw the dark clouds coming toward them. They went into the bathroom of a wellness building and heard the crumbling noise of the storm which passed almost on top of them. In fact, the wellness center received major damage, but the bathroom stayed intact. No injuries were sustained, but my granddaughter’s apartment received damage and her automobile windshield and two other windows were blown out.

A lull of about one hour occurred without having phone contact with the girls. When contact was made, it was evident the girls were in state of shock, some even confused but, thankfully, were OK.

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As tragic as the event was, I could not help being impressed with Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter Maddox. His articulate and professional manner gave one the impression that “things would be alright.” His descriptive manner of speaking was most impressive. It was good for the nation to see and hear this man because he projected a professional image that all Alabamians can be proud of. If ever there is a college for mayors, he should be one of those men in charge. Let us not forget our own mayor, Jim Staff, who also reflects tremendous professionalism in his duties. It is good to have mayors like this who are highly respected and who are endowed with gifted speaking abilities.

Ironically, my wife had talked about revisiting Tuscaloosa. I wanted to go back and have a look at the apartment house I lived in back in the early 1950s. I wanted go by the radio station I worked at part time when I was a student. And, I wanted to have lunch at “Pugs,” the popular campus restaurant. But, those places are no longer there based on a Google Internet search. Pugs, by the way was torn down several years ago, however. I am waiting for Google Street Scene to update these other locations and, perhaps, I can hopefully find them among the wreckage. I wonder, too, if those black cows still camp out on those dark roads and highways at night in and around Greensboro, Thomaston, Dayton and other towns leading to Tuscaloosa.

Hackleburg, located south of the Florence-Muscle Shoals area, was one of the most tornado devastated towns. My work would sometimes take me to this town on my trips to Tupelo, Miss. and Lawrenceburg, Tenn. Hackleburg is the hometown of Sonny James, a popular crossover vocalist in the 1950s and 1960s. Two of his hit songs were “Young Love” and “Christmas in Dixie.”

Churches throughout our area are filled with beautiful Christmas music during this special time of the year. I am sure all our churches have talented and gifted singers and musicians. Regretfully, I am unable to hear all of them as I would like to write about them. But, I do want to mention one who sang at our service last Sunday. Skyler Allen, the talented and artfully endowed son of Dot and the late Rev. Dewitt Allen, rendered his version of the song, “Sweet Little Jesus Boy”. I marveled at the resonant quality of his voice and how he appropriately worked the microphone. Nothing “throaty,” nothing forced were detected in his delivery. Even his falsetto tones were emitted with ease and appropriateness. Yes, it was so refreshing to hear and embrace talent like this. By the way, I understand this dedicated man was responsible for that beautiful Brooks float in the Christmas parade.

I am still scratching my head about these junior college consolidations. I am particularly interested in what will happen to their respective sports teams. I surely hope they do not consolidate them into one “big” team. My goodness, when my three sons played baseball at Faulkner they always looked forward to games with Jeff Davis in Brewton and Southern Community College in Monroeville. WOW, if they put all these schools together there would be no schools left to play each other.

In some news from 1966, Otis (Pee Wee) Stacy was named district 7 constable By the Alabama governor. He filled the vacancy held by Houston Wolfe. Wolfe was named Atmore chief of police replacing John Hammac, who was appointed deputy state fire marshall.

Ray Lambert, a very community minded businessman, was elected president of the Atmore Saddle Club.

And, while traveling up Highway 21 toward Monroeville, you would see those four word signs “Madam Cochise-The Palmist.” Business was apparently good for this lady because she ran Ads in the Atmore Advance for several years.