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Hank Williams, tribal election see big turnout

This past weekend, fans of Hank Williams poured in to Georgiana, our neighboring town about an hour away up Interstate 65, to salute the renowned singer and songwriter.

AlabamaNews.net reported several bands took the stage for the annual festival, including Mickey Gilley and Jett Williams, the daughter of Hank Williams. The festival attracted visitors from across the south, creating a big tourism attraction for Georgiana. People attending say there are several reasons why they keep coming back to enjoy the festival and the Hank Williams Museum every year.

I remember hearing my Dad’s brother, who was a Georgiana L&N Railroad agent, telling of seeing Williams perching on the depot platform and writing what he thought were “poems.” In reality, these poems could have been some of Williams’s early songs. My uncle revealed that young Williams would either walk or hitchhike from his small community south of Georgiana.

Williams died at the young age of 29 in 1953. He died in the back seat of his limousine en route to a performance.

Some fans also took time to pause in remembrance of Grand Ole Opry star Billy Walker whose life was snuffed out ten years ago just ten miles from Georgiana in Fort Deposit. Walker’s wife and two of his band members were also killed in that vehicle rollover. They were traveling home to Nashville following a performance in south Baldwin County.

Well, the Creek’s had a very successful tribal election and memorable reunion this past weekend. Newcomer Dewitt Carter captured an “at large” bid and Eddie Leon Tullis grasped most votes for the treasurer’s post. Incumbent David Gehman led in the race for secretary but was forced into a runoff with oncoming contestant Charlotte “McGhee” Meckel. The runoff is set for Aug. 6.

Carter is regarded as highly articulate and possesses an impressive business record. Eddie’s name has been in the forefront for many years. I remember his early years when he helped lead the fight for Creek recognition. Gehman is recognized as an accomplished airplane pilot while his rising competitor is ascending in popularity in tribal circles.

Do you remember those cloak rooms we used in schools back in the 1940s and 1950s? It was a closet type room built into each classroom. We hung our coats and jackets there and we place our lunches on the upper shelves. The room was also used to store coal pails, brooms and cleanup items.

I enjoyed going into the cloak room just to get a whiff of the lunch bag aromas. Each student brought his and her own lunch. One classmate had a very unique sandwich. It was a big biscuit filled with Irish potato slices. His lunch was neatly wrapped in newspaper.

Some classmates brought biscuits filled with fat meat. Now this meal really, really smelled good. There were sweet potato sandwiches but I was always partial to my baloney sandwiches which my mother prepared a couple times each week. Many of us brought pints of milk which stayed remarkably cool on that long upper shelf.

As stated one brought his lunch wrapped in newspaper and others used brown paper bags. Several had nice lunch boxes while other used syrup buckets. One boy brought his lunch in a meal bag and another boy carried his biscuit inside a pocket in his jacket. I had a Pinocchio lunch pail and one of my friends had a Roy Rogers pail.

One day after recess a girl scampered out of the cloak room screaming and yelling “an animal is on our food shelf”. A couple of us ran into the room to find out the problem. One boy took a broom and knocked it to the floor then ran out holding a man’s hair piece. It belonged to our basketball coach. We often wondered why he wore a cap much of the time. He did a better job than Pat Sajak concealing that bald head.

In 2010 Lawrence and Doris Cooper sold their grocery store in Bratt. The couple were in business for 54 years. His store was not only noted for its groceries and gasoline but it was a central meeting place for the entire Bratt community. I remember the success of one of his newspaper ads back in the early 1950s. He advertised cube steaks @ ten cents each with a five dollar grocery order or a complete fill up of gasoline.

I understand the store is now back in business and doing quite well. One friend told me he often pops in for a noon snack and cool drink.

In 2010 also we said goodbye to Barbara Billingsley, the TV mother of the popular show “Leave It To Beaver”. This show depicted the typical American family, unlike some contemporary TV shows that promote divorce, gay life styles and single parents. Hugh Beaumont starred in the role as the father on the show. He also is remembered as “Superman” and chief detectives in earlier movies. Prior to the movies he was a licensed Methodist minister.

Next week we will have more news from years gone by.

Contact Lowell at exam@frontiernet.net.