27 June 2019

Newton BOC to Vote on Nelson Heights Property Acquisition TONIGHT

Though tabled until August at its last general meeting, County NOW Set to Pay Upwards of 70% Over Appraised Value TONIGHT at a Special Called Meeting



Staff Reports

Believe it or not, the BOC's Special Called Meeting tonight at 6pm (June 27, 2029) is to reconsider the purchase of  the J.C. Henderson/Rising Son Church property in Nelson Heights.  At the last regular meeting on June 18, the BOC voted to table this acquisition and take it up again at their August BOC meeting.  However, it seems that the Chairman has already signed a contract or agreement to buy the 1.9 acres for $30,000, despite the independent appraisal values being $17,000 and $19,100. So, the county legal folks think the BOC has to vote to overturn the contract and that will take a 4 vote majority!  Well, that is not likely to happen, especially with J.C. being allowed to vote even though he has a clear conflict of interest.  Every other commissioner would have to vote to void the contract!   Commissioners Mason and Cowan are unlikely to vote down the contract so the  purchase may very well go forward without a huge public outcry!

This is a legal quagmire because there is  a strong argument that the contract is invalid because it was not approved by a majority vote in a public meeting (see the Ga Law below).  However, there is apparently provisions in other laws that give some validity to the chairman's actions.  This seems unreasonable especially since the commissioners said publicly that all the facts were not brought out in their Executive Session. 

The real question is whether this purchase is in the best interest of the public. The answer is NO for the following reasons:

1. The 1.9 acres is not needed because there are 14 acres of land  currently owned by the county immediately adjacent to the proposed acquisition. This is adequate acreage to expand park facilities in District 4. See attached photo.

2. The price of the property is significantly  higher than the appraised value (ed. note: almost 70%!).

3. The county is buying property from Rising Son Church, where Commissioner Henderson is or was a deacon and the CFO  (as of 2016) of their legal identity. Rising Son church participated in a scheme that cost the county $11,000 when the county purchased land from it earlier. The church also owes another $3,000 in unpaid rental fees for use of the Nelson Heights Community Center. These amounts must be deducted from any purchase of land from the church in order for taxpayers to be made whole. 

4. Last, but not least, the agreement  to purchase this property is invalid because it was not approved by the BOC in a public meeting. In fact, the reverse happened in that the purchase decision was tabled.

Without a public outcry, this will be another boondoggle that wastes SPLOST funds that belong to all taxpayers and only benefits the church and Mr. Henderson. The $30,000 can be used to develop more recreation opportunities on the existing county land.


50-14-3 Portion of Open Meetings Act

In an executive session, a governmental entity can:

(E) Enter into an option to purchase, dispose of, or lease real estate subject to approval in subsequent public vote.
No vote in executive session to acquire, dispose of, or lease real estate, or to settle litigation, claims, or administrative proceedings, shall be binding on an agency until a subsequent vote is taken in an open meeting where the identity of the property and the terms of the acquisition, disposal, or lease are disclosed before the vote or where the parties and principal settlement terms are disclosed before the vote;

###

21 June 2019

TPC "Gone Fishin'"; Odds & Ends & What's Comin' Down the Pike

By MB McCart, Ed.

Peace Out! For 9 days. 


It's that time again, friends.

TPC done be on BREAK, tho!!!

Consider this an open thread. Please comment, we'd like to know your thoughts on things...Really!

I'll be thinking about you people whilst eating fresh seafood, drinking heavily, working on a real estate textbook & digging the toes in the sand. Y'all try not to spill anything on the carpet when I'm gone & we'll see you good people on the 30th of June with a big (;-)), thick, juicy, throbbing & pulsating Sunday Edition for your reading pleasure.

- LOCAL ADVERTISER -
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770-385-3060
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Odds & Ends 

Contrary to maybe what some are thinking, I haven't run pieces for Don T Floyd or Fleeta's east ward council campaigns like the ones I did for Horton & Johnston's mayoral ones, because they apparently didn't do press releases (Amateur Hour @ The Apollo, anyone? JS). Don actually referred me to the Citizen's article when I contacted him. Pssst...Apparently, they apparently interviewed him. You can search for that on your own; I won't be sharing links to that publication or that other paper (the one that collects blood money every month from the Newton Co., you know...).

What's Coming Down the Pike? 

Well, you know, a little bit of this & a little bit of that. The usual.

And count on the full monty that first week of July - pieces from Da, Perrin, Kayla (finally!), Alisa & - last but certainly not least - Ms. Bess.

(((and they neither necessarily support and/or endorse anything of yours truly, either; apparently some folks don't get that)))

Hope all is lovely out there, friends. Until next time!

Your Friend,

MB McCart 



P.S. It's going to be an exciting time the next couple of months. I've got $20 on Fleeta NOT qualifying come August; hell, I'll run against her if need be...

20 June 2019

Ronnie Cowan Key to Newton BOC Passing Record-Breaking Budget & Tax Increase; Nelson Heights Property Acquisition Tabled

By MB McCart, Ed. 

Despite likely finishing the current year with a $2 million surplus and bringing in an extra $3 million in revenue due to extremely high assessments, the Newton Co. BOC decided in its last general meeting against providing tax relief to its taxpayers & in a tied vote that was decided by the Chairman of the Board, Marcello Banes, approved a behemoth $68.87 million budget which will see most all Newton Co. property owners dealing with their highest tax bills ever. 

An attempt at a substitute budget based on a lower millage rate (13.2 vs 13.44) presented by Stan Edwards, 1st district Commissioner, couldn't get a second. Nancy Shulz, BOC 3, voted with Edwards against the higher budget while Demond Mason (BOC 2) & Ronnie Cowan (BOC 5) voted for it. And then, as mentioned previously, Banes broke the tie in favor of the tax increase.

A fair number of folks in the community were rather miffed with Ronnie Cowan, a Republican, for voting for the higher tax. 



Ronnie Cowan, BOC 5

Here's what Mr. Cowan had to say: 


I have been very concerned that the cities and county's inability to agree on the Service Delivery Plan is going to adversely affect the revenue stream in the budget. Unlike the cities, the county, as an extension of the state government is very dependent on the grants received through the Department of Community Affairs. According to our finance director, approximately 2.5 million of the county's  revenue is from grants. I voted for the budget, mostly because after all the discussion, I'm not sure the SDS will be agreed upon and          we will have to go to mediation. It has to do with the issues raised and the current climate of city and county relationships throughout Georgia. 

I have heard that there's been some bumps in the road with the service plan agreement, but, to me, it sounds like the previous arrangement wasn't the most equitable, especially as it relates to the City of Covington; regardless, several other folks I've spoken with say that something will be worked out & the county's revenue stream would not be impacted.

Cowan, ever since first elected, has always been cautious & deliberate, so none of this should come as too great a surprise, but still...pretty disappointing. 


As one local politico put it: 


There were obviously some cuts that could have been made to reduce the budget and decrease the millage rate from 13.44 to about 13.2, which Edwards wanted. Most citizens could have found several hundred thousand dollars of waste, starting with Sheriff Brown's $25 million budget- such as trimming the $360,000 for Tommy Craig, $335,000 for private auto shop repairs and the $1.03 million for overtime...
|||||||

Nelson Heights 

Fortunately, the acquisition of land in Nelson Heights was tabled, for now at least. There were concerns from some about not having any type of master site plan & more concerns about the fact that both appraisals done came in under $20,000 while the BOC was wanting to pay $30,000. However, it was brought to this publication's attention that a land acquisition for up to $40,000 was included in the last SPLOST; however, there's no law that says the county has to, and ultimately it's up to the BOC to decided whether or not to spend that money.

That's it for now. 'Til next time...

-
MB McCart 

19 June 2019

[Perrin Lovett] - Ebola! Ebola Who? Ebola for Your Tasty Ethnic Food, Amerika!

Does anyone remember why the people elected Donald John Trump as the 45th President back in 2016? If I remember correctly, and there’s been a few beers, if you know what I mean, the Red State meat and potatoes crowd was all fired up about banning bumpstocks at home and decriminalizing sodomy abroad. The rally chants are coming back to me now: “Lock that stock!” and “Drain the Prolapse!” Yeah, that was it. Those were the major planks along with, naturally, another false-flag-based war, this time with Iran. Let’s us pause just a minute, here and now, to thank almighty Moloch for the continuing blessing that is John Bolton.

If there was one thing that the good and wise voters did not want, it was any attempt to make America great again. For starters, such a scheme would require making America American again, and that just ain’t happening. The people enjoy the changes unfolding these past fifty years, and they intend to keep getting them, good and hard. It’s not like anyone supported a literal, physical wall between them and the incompatibles and unassimilables of the world. Who’d pay for that? Mexico? Geeze.

And, the changes come, every month and every day. The numbers are so vast, and the reporting so lax, that it’s a little hard to keep an accurate count. But! It appears that each year something like 1,000,000 - 1,500,000 illegal aliens, almost all from non-Western backgrounds, flood into the Imperial Homeland (formerly, “America”). That estimate is quite similar to the number of legal aliens, most of whom also of non-Western origins. I don’t have time, just now, but someone should point out that Emanuel Celler, Phillip Hart, Ted Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson were full of shit and nothing else.

Last week, if one wasn’t paying attention to the CIA-Mossad “torpedo” mine attacks in the Gulf of Oman, then one might have read about the most recently arrived of our vibrant pot-luck dinner guests, 300-500 “refugees” from the Congo (average IQ, 76) and Angola (average IQ, 68).

These (fighting age) men, women and children were rounded up by the Border Patrol and then immediately (and illegally) released into the waiting arms of various Judeo-Christian, Churchian charities (all likely funded by George Soros). The base virtue-signalers from the house charity of the Church of Luciferianity promptly shipped them off here and yon across the lower Forty-Eight, to those places with the best and most lucrative welfare systems. Portland, Maine, your shipment is inbound.

The newcomers, from the Ebola capital of the World, want more than the free stuff. Okay, they mainly came for the free stuff, but they’ll happily exchange the lower intelligence, violent propensities, and backwards ways for it. And, they really want to live in a place that feels like home. (DO NOT ask, Then, why the hell did they leave home?). The Congolese, for instance, want to settle in places that already have substantial populations from the Congo. Places like Portland. That way, you know, they don’t have to learn a new language, learn new customs, think critically, or otherwise assimilate. The main problem they have is that, with their restrictively low intellect, they can’t figure out where these places are or how to get to them. But, that’s why we have Catholic Social Services.

Wikipedia


Now, now, yes, I’ve heard all the excuses of justification and apology. A few of the more prominent ones, I’ll address:

There’s: “This is part of the diversity, which is our greatest strength.” These people, who couldn’t make an ounce of positive difference in the lands they came from, will somehow make a difference, here. Right.

How about, “Amerika is a nation of immigrants!” Bullshit! George Soros wasn’t born for sixteen years after the Pilgrims landed, and there were no Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish relocation charities anywhere in the hemisphere at the time.

Or, “Hey! Something about a poem on a statute or something.” Ha! Poems, like Constitutions, are living, breathing things that change constantly. And, I note that not one of the “refugees” yearns to be free. Eat for free, yes (...despite the rolls of $100 bills...).

And, the one that I can only ever imagine spoken with a lisp, “All that TASTY ETHNIC FOOD!” Hey, buddy, given where these folks are coming from, it’s safe to assume they see you and your soy-based comrades as the tasty ethnic food. Either stay out of Portland, or, if you must go there, have the common courtesy to wear some hot sauce and mayonnaise.

And, there you have it. Between the Congo (76 IQ = “dull”) and Angola (68 IQ = “clinically retarded”), there’s only about 112 million potential new Democratic voters. This year. Next year, Ebola, war, terrorism, and violent crime aside, there’ll probably be 125 million. If they all come in, this year or next, with that thrilling, easily won, and totally not fabricated war with Iran in progress, you probably won’t even notice.


Just to be on the safe side though, carry some hot sauce and other condiment packets on you when you go out. Trump 2020: Make America Ethnic Food Again!

18 June 2019

Newton Co., About to Levy Its Largest Tax Increase in History, Set to Buy Its 4th Parcel in Nelson Heights

By MB McCart, Ed. 

Concerns Abound Regarding JC Henderson's Involvement & the County's Past Track Record

At its general meeting this evening (6/18/19), it is on the agenda for the Newton Co. Board of Commissioners (BOC) to look at purchasing approx 1.9 acres of property from Rising Son Christian Church in Nelson Heights, right across from the Nelson Heights Community Center on Laseter St. Newton Co. already owns approx 11 acres where the community center sits, as well as two nearby parcels pushing 3 acres.

The concerns of many have to do with the questionable past actions of the county as it relates to property in this area as well as Commissioner JC Henderson & Rising Son Church. From a TPC source:
According to the county's 2016 Forensic AuditRising Son Church and Mr. Henderson were involved in a  very questionable land sale to the county in 2014, aided by former county attorney Tommy Craig (see excerpt from the report below).   Rising Son Christian Church and Commissioner Henderson were said to have financially benefited from  that land transaction.  At that time, Mr. Henderson was an officer in both the church and  Nelson Heights Community Services Inc., a non-profit organization.  The allegation was/is that in 2014 Mr. Henderson's non-profit organization sold the 0.63 tract, across the street from the subject tract, to Rising Son Church, which on the same date sold it to the county, with a $11,237 unsatisfied lien attached.  Mr. Craig was the county attorney that presumably approved the county's taking possession of a flawed title.   Has that lien been satisfied by the church or Mr. Henderson so that the county has a valid title?   In addition, as of March 2016 Rising Son Church owed the county back rent of $3,000 for use of the Nelson Heights Center according to the forensic report. Has that debt been paid?
Several important questions there.

Another question is this - the purported price to purchase is 25% higher than the fair market value per the Newton Co. Tax Assessor. Has an appraisal been done to justify this sales price?

Commentary

With the multitude of concerns about the financial state of the county as well as looking at a record-breaking budget & the county's biggest tax increase in its 199-year history, it seems as if this would be an irresponsible financial decision for the county to make, and that's without even getting into the concerns related to Henderson, the church or previous head-scratching decisions made by previous editions of the BOC.

The county needs to table this decision until more information can be gathered.


 
As always, thanks for reading.

- MB McCart


17 June 2019

[Bess Tuggle] - Memoirs of Surviving Children: Felony Caving in Walker Co., GA

Pettijohn’s  Caves are absolutely beautiful.  I know this because I’ve seen them.  I climbed in the front part of the cave - I also never want to set foot in Walker County, Georgia again.  My oldest, Thing 1, decided we should go on a camping trip.  Not just camping, but he wanted to take his Mama caving.  That was really not a good idea.

We loaded my old Sable with all the camping gear and up the road we went.

Thing 1 drove, but there was a rule with the Sable:  “Don’t put your foot in it!”  He forgot that rule.  The throttle cable was held together with airplane wire and a spare nut.  I’m not joking, but it worked!  It was also a royal pain if you got too heavy on the gas pedal and made it slip out.

A couple hours from home, Thing 1 got heavy on the gas pedal.  To the side of the road we went.  It took about another hour, with Mama on her back, head under the dash and feet over the back of the driver’s seat to fix it, but carry on we did.

We –finally- made it to the camp site!  I threw up the tent (I was an expert by then), put on our helmets, and into the cave we went.

For anyone that doesn’t know, at pushing 50 years old, dealing with mud and slimy rocks is not a good match.  I promise you.

  I got pulled out (yes, -pulled-) and cooked a good meal over the campfire while the boys’ played.  Thing 4 turned out to be “Spider Monkey.”  He made it down to the bottom, found places his brother had never seen, and came back up with a muddy smile on his face!

The next morning, after the big guys slept in the tent, Thing 4 and I slept in the Sable, we decided to try it again.  We all walked up the trail and Thing 4 dove into the cave before we could get close.

The Department of Natural Resources was closer, though.  Right behind us, in fact.  

We got arrested.  At least the three of us above ground did.  It’s the only time in my life I ended up with a warrant.  Charges: Felony caving.  There is no such thing as Felony caving, but that didn’t help a lot with the legal fees.  If there was any such charge the only one guilty would have been my youngest, Thing 4.  He was the only one in the cave.  The DNR said they weren’t going to give him a ticket because he was so young.  

Our camp was packed up, and home we came.  Thing 1 was stuck in Walker County jail for a couple months.  He was on probation, so they kept him, and Newton County wouldn’t provide transport for over 75 miles.  He did learn how to make jail hooch out of fruit juice and biscuit crumbs though.

Once back home, we -finally- got all the charges dropped.  It didn’t help that Walker County “lost” all the tickets, but our records were cleared.

Nope, I’m not a felon.  Not yet, anyway.      

- Bess Tuggle


City of Covington Council Meeting Tonight. June 17, 2019. 6:30 PM

AGENDA
CITY OF COVINGTON
COUNCIL MEETING
JUNE 17, 2019
6:30 PM


1. Call to order, invocation, and Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS
2. Discussion of the minutes from the Regular Council Meeting held on June 3, 2019.
NEW BUSINESS
3. Discussion of changes to the agenda.
4. Public comments for any item not on the agenda.
CONSENT AGENDA
5a. Approval of license for alcoholic beverages for Beer and/or Wine Retail Amenity only for:
Living Roots Home D├ęcor
1114 College Ave
5b. Approval of request for road closure on June 22, 2019 for the Juneteenth Parade.
5c. Approval of request for road closure on September 15, 2019 for a car show to raise funds for Officer Matt Cooper.
6. Discussion of public hearing concerning an application for a Special Use Permit to allow catering services in the Neighborhood Mixed Use zoning district at 4152 Washington Street.
7. Discussion of DCA 2019-2020 Classic Main Street MOU.
8. Discussion of bids for Town Branch at Legion Field Project.
9. Discussion of bids for Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) for the Electric Department.
10. Discussion of sole bid for Council/Court Room Conversion Project.
11. Discussion of First Amendment to IGA with Newton County for E-911 Services.
12. Discussion of IGA with Newton County for the provision of Geographical Information Systems.
13. Discussion of IGA with Newton County for the provision of Parks and Recreation Services.
14. Discussion of Consecutive Water System Intergovernmental Agreement.
15. Discussion of IGA with Newton County for the Square Park.
16. Public comments.
17. Comments from the City Manager.
18. Comments from the Mayor and Council.
19. Adjourn.

16 June 2019

Mayor Ronnie Johnston's Press Release Announcing His Candidacy for Reelection



*Ed. note: the following is a press release provided to TPC from Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston who has officially declared his candidacy for reelection. I plan on interviewing Mr. Johnston soon, as well as both of the other declared candidates for Mayor of Covington, so be on the look out for those future pieces. As always, thanks for reading. - MB McCart

||||||| 


Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston has announced plans to seek a third term as Covington’s Mayor. Johnston began by stating, “It has been an honor serving the citizens over the past 2 terms.  When looking back over my time in office, seeing how far Covington has come from where we started is astonishing. The groundwork has been laid for life changing opportunities for our citizens,” Johnston said. “If we don’t capitalize on that groundwork, we will have left so much on the table.”

Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston


“During my time as Mayor, we have seen tremendous investments by businesses that are coming to Covington to bring jobs for our citizens.  My primary focus as Mayor has been to focus on eradicating poverty and ensuring anyone who wants a job can have a good one. That mission will continue as we work on improving the living standards of everyone.” Johnston said.

Johnston’s past two terms have seen unemployment in Covington drop by over 10 percent and the average median household income has risen by over $20,000. “These successes have led to us going from having a surplus of housing in the city, to us now concentrating on ensuring our citizens have quality options for housing,” said Johnston.

“There are so many other great things we have seen during my time as Mayor. Like the revitalization of the Square, Legion Field and the start of Central Park,” Johnston said. “The Highway 278 Community Improvement District (CID) has started breathing new life into the 278 corridor.  Kroger’s recent announcement to start a nearly $1 million renovation this summer is a great example of this progress.”

Johnston was also instrumental in the process of ensuring the Covington Police will soon have a new state of the art station.  During his tenure, the police department has also seen the addition of seven new police officers. The Covington Fire Department has also seen improvements during this time with the addition of a new fire truck.  “Supporting first responders and citizens' safety is a priority” stated Johnston.

Johnston chose to make his declaration on the weekend we honor our fathers as a nation and honoring in particular his late father Dr. John C Johnston. Johnston said, “My role as a father and grandfather motivate me to keep our community moving forward.  We owe it to our children and grandchildren to continue to make Covington an even stronger community. There are four generations of Johnston’s that currently call Covington home, and I want to make sure the fifth generation is proud to call Covington home also.”

The mayor invites citizens to share their dreams and visions with him and is available on his cell phone at 770-262-1001. If you prefer email, please send to rjohnston@cityofcovington.org

###



15 June 2019

BLU MAXX Live Tonight at Five O'Clock - Jeff Hay Tribute Show

The Boys Will Be Hitting the Stage at 9:30 TONIGHT!!! -- SAT. JUNE 15th -- at Five O'Clock Sports Bar & Grill

Legendary local band, Blu Maxx, has wowed audiences again & again throughout four decades with their high-energy, kick-ass Rock 'n' Roll music. Tonight will be a first for the band, the first time playing a show since original member Jeff Hay passed away after his courageous battle against cancer. Tonight's show is a tribute for Jeff & his memory. 


Blu Maxx back in the day

From fellow original member & Blu Maxx Drummer, John Riley: 

Jeff had a wealth of friends. Always full of energy and doing for others. He not only had a heart for music, he had a heart for people. That’s what made people love him so much. We miss his laugh and his funny antics but his spirit will always stay with us and alive and well in Blu Maxx. 

The lineup for tonight's show: 


Jeff Autry - Guitar 
Tommy Forgay - Keys
John Riley - Drums
Paul Arredondo - Bass
Ruud Cooty - Vocals

Jeff Hay Tribute Show



This promises to be a helluva night, friends. BLU MAXX live at Five O'Clock Sports Bar & Grill. Saturday June 15th. 9:30PM.
Don't Miss it! 

Visit The 5 on Facebook!
7189 Turner Lake Rd
770-385-3060



13 June 2019

[Ellis Millsaps] - Son of a Preacher Man: Ch V; Pt II

Son of a Preacher Man: A Rock And Roll Cowboy Grows Up Southern Baptist

Chapter V, The Lake of Fire and Brimstone, Part Two



As I’ve said. I'd attended scores of revival services before the summer of ‘57, revivals whose raison de etre was to rack up enlistees for God's army. The major recruitment tool was to make sure the potential soldiers knew they would certainly die and go to hell if they didn't enlist. It said so right there in God's word. (I'm not so sure about that, having read the whole thing from start to finish twice. The only reference I recall from the New Testament, aside from the wacky Book of Revelations, is the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, the main thrust of which is what comes around goes around.)  I'd heard many an altar call, took pride in my father's successes, but none of that applied to me. It applied to sinners and I thought I'd been a pretty good boy up to that point.


John Ayers was a handsome man. He  looked a lot like Fess Parker, my hero Davy Crockett. I had a little yellow 45 of “The Ballad of Davy Crockett.” I have no idea now what was on the B side.) The Reverend Ayers would later get exposed, like Jimmy Swaggart and many others, as a philanderer.


He was handsome, and I heard later from my father that he had a crooked right index finger from a football mishap so that when he pointed at you he might have intended to point at someone else.


Maybe it was the crooked finger or maybe the Davy Crockett resemblance, but the first night of the revival he was pointing at me, a six-year-old, telling me that if I didn't come down to the front of the church, confess my sins and publicly accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I was doomed eternally to a lake of fire and brimstone, which he described in lurid detail.


That was what he said-- come down here and fess up-- but I well knew it meant come down front, get down on your knees and we'll take turns praying over you until we let you up and then maybe the shouting starts, followed by being hugged and kissed by a series of snuff dipping old women.. The lake on fire and brimstone was a long way off but this other hell was right here and now.


So I wasn't going down there for that, but the next night he told a story about a kid he knew-- and I was to learn over the years that a lot of preachers seemed to have known this kid-- who told him he wasn't ready to accept Jesus that night. He had lots of time for that. On the way home this young man died in a car wreck, and Preacher Ayers could only hope that somehow he had found Jesus on his walk to the car.


They gave the Invitational, probably “Why Not Tonight?”, and I trembled with fear. Both hells were imminent. It was pick your poison.


For a year I lived in fear of satanic torture. I didn't think about it most of the time, but I did look both ways when crossing the street and every time I heard an Invitational I quivered, and when I lay me down to sleep I knew that if I died before I woke it was curtain number two.


Fear haunted my church-going until the following summer when my parents and I went to a revival service at the Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta. The evangelist was someone Daddy particularly admired, and he must have been good because he scared me so much my mother finally noticed.  I'm sure that before that time it hadn't occurred to my family that at age seven I had reached the” age of conviction,” ( I never told them about the year I’d spent in fear of hell) but when my mother and I got in the car she asked me if I'd ever felt the need to answer the altar call. I said yes and started crying. She prayed and asked me if I accepted Jesus as my savior and I got saved right then in the backseat of a 56 Dodge.


When my father finished up his preacher talk with the other preachers he came out to drive us home and my mother gave him the joyous news. I don't remember what he said but I'm sure he was pleased, his pleasure possibly tempered by his unawareness that I was old enough to need saving.


I remember that he stopped on the way back to Holly Springs and bought me a Coca-Cola, the six-and a-half ounce returnable bottle kind, and I remember vividly how refreshing it was.


I felt supremely happy, not happy that I was going to heaven but relieved that I wasn't going to hell.


Damn, I'd beaten both hells!


From what I’d heard of heaven it was preferable only to the alternative. It would be boring-- no cowboys or saloons-- but I wouldn't have to be burned alive for eternity.


It's like the old joke where the preacher asks the congregation who wants to go to heaven. Everyone raises their hand except old Mr. Jones.


When the service is over the preacher takes Mr. Jones aside and asks,” Brother Jones, don't you want to go to heaven when you die?”


Mr. Jones looks relieved.” Oh, when I die, yes pastor. I thought you were getting up a load to go right now.”



This is my oldest sister Joyce about to be baptized by my father. She appears to be about ten, eleven. That would make this sometime during WWII. Beside her is my cousin Madeline and an unknown male waiting to take the plunge. On the far shore my sister Clara observes.