Friday, April 22, 2016

The Patriot

Presenting a new friend in the Black Belt area, I call him "The Patriot'.  I mailed his photo to him, and he called to thank me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I Will Never Tire

  I will never tire of meeting the kindest people down in the Black Belt area of AL. Daryl sat at the car wash waiting for a car to pull in and be detailed. He lit up when I approached (even without my car) and was so gracious. I have always found the residents of Selma, AL receptive to my camera and I send a photo back to those who want one. SO...Daryl, this will go in the mail this week and I look forward to another chat.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Grumpy Dog, Wetumpka, AL

Grumpy Dog!  I never post about food! (almost never!) On the way to check out old property belonging to a  DEAR friend of mine, I could not help myself! I had a menu in my pantry with Grumpy Dog's selections, and although not on my list of healthy foods to eat, I had to indulge! My hot dog did not disappoint! Try it for yourself when you head in that direction.

While you are there, check out the beautiful church, bridge, and old jail in the area.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The 50th Anniversary Selma to Montgomery March

I walked alongside thousands in the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery, AL march for voter's rights. The march started at St. Jude, but I caught up at the Mildred St. crossroads and walked to the capitol.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Half my Age and Twice my Size: THE BULLY

I don't have a large blog following. I write primarily for myself to document my stories.

 So, I have a dream too.

This weekend I sat on a panel for IAMMORETHAN. The whole production was for 'reconciliation'. I was the only white person on the panel. Every person was considerate and kind in spite of our culture.

 But……I went to Selma Saturday for the bridge crossing event. The crowd was immense and I opted to wait awhile for the line into the event to settle. At least 3 hours after arriving, during which I met and photographed locals and visitors, I decided to get in the event line to hear Obama's speech. Almost at the gate after standing in a civilized line for over an hour, a young woman half my age and twice my size, decided to bully me. She stood a foot taller than me (you could have put 2 of me in her clothes). She used the force of her body to move me out of her way. She pushed and shoved me with tremendous force, causing me to move other people over. The only thing on her mind was herself.  I would almost call the line I now stood in a mob. She was rude, and she was a bully. I doubt that her Mother taught her this type behavior. As a Mother, I would have been ashamed of my child had she treated anyone like this. It was so upsetting, I left the event and came back home without going in.

Where does reconciliation begin? My dream is that it starts with every person, black and white.
I read Martin Luther Kings Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech this week. Maybe we should all read it. Maybe the bullies out there should read it.

I might add the Golden Rule, 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'

Friday, January 16, 2015

Why Do I Always Want to Cry

Today I used my spa gift certificate, a Christmas present from my husband.  As I turned onto the Interstate to head to the spa, I saw a homeless man walking on the state road from where I turned. We waved to each other, smiled, and I was gone. A moment in time when I had an opportunity to reach out escaped me as I merged into the 70 mph traffic. I regretted that I had no warm blanket or food and water to give him. My heart is always grieved when I see these desperate men treading down the road with only a backpack. Where were his family, his home and warm bed to sleep in? Where was my survival kit full of bottled water, packaged nourishment, and a clean warm blanket to help him get through another freeze as he traveled to who knows where? This put a damper on my luxurious day. I simply wanted to cry.

Check Point: tomorrow I'll work on getting a supply to keep in my car just in case I get another opportunity to reach out.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Down by the Tombigbee

A spontaneous outing down through the Black Belt Region, deep into the lonely ribboned backroads of hill and dale did not disappoint.  Through at least 4 counties we traveled in marvel at the beautiful crops, scarecrows, landscapes, magnificent pecan groves and railroad tracks. Our heartbreak was seeing the dried up towns and poverty along the way. Shacks and unkept trailers, empty stores and peeling facades in once pretty little thriving communities were all evidence of our vanishing South. A highlight was seeing a National Landmark from the mid 1800's kept intact.

Our destination was the Tombigbee River area and a quaint and thriving Fish Camp mentioned in the Garden & Gun magazine in the list of 100 foods to eat in Alabama restaurants in a year. Ezell's sits on a lonely road tucked under the Tombigbee in the middle of nowhere. Kudzu is the vine that covers the windows and logs are the main architectural interest. Rockers fill the porch and deer trophies line the entry hall. Fish mounts deck the walls and there's evidence along the way that hunting land abounds in the area.

I love the Black Belt Region and exploring it has become a way of life. It has such rich history and one need not travel too far to find interesting people, extreme poverty, simple living and beautiful land.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

POSTED: Pull Your Pants Up!

There's a great happening in Montgomery, Alabama, as Michelle Browder works with the youth in the inner city! 'No More' is the call emphasizing that these young people break the chains of mental slavery, low self esteem, failing in school, using the 'n' word, suicide, and the list goes on! I loved this sign as I walked along the bank of the Alabama River: Pull Your Pants Up! Check it out at

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Free at Last?

 I never got his name, and wouldn't put it in print anyway. He was free at last after being in Level 4 (restrictive lockdown) prison for 7 years. The white man needed a job and fortunately several employers were "looking at him", maybe giving him a chance to renew his life. I see this almost every week as I meet men who now have freedom from jail/prison and are struggling to find a job. They often stay temporarily at Salvation Army, or drift into the city and right back out. How would an employer know if he could count on the guy? How could the new guy in town find stability, housing, training? I need to do some research on my city's half way house!

  I've watched for many years as Jesse's Place and Jimmie Hale Mission in Birmingham, AL rehab women and men in a significant way. I've visited both places and believe in them both. We have a few places in Montgomery that reach out, but I'd especially love to see a Jesse's place here. There are too many women who are homeless, a heartbreaker in itself. I'd love to see the churches of Montgomery (many) open their doors to the homeless on cold nights. There are beds available in several ministries (God bless them), but too few to accommodate the vast numbers. Where is my part in this? Maybe I'll approach my own church!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Trucker's Chapel Alabama

I was privileged to meet Reverend Bill Maddox last weekend on a back roads photo shoot. He was in the process of moving from his present location of 4 years to a site down the road a few miles, still in the Black Belt. His ministry was founded in Selma in 2000. Reverend Maddox worked in the transportation industry for 41 years so has a special rapport with fellow truckers. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wash Day

I have not photographed poverty in the Black Belt region in awhile, but took an afternoon to make an outing with my camera. It did not take long to find what I was looking for. A cloudy day, with rain on the way caused surprise as I happened upon a young woman who had just hung out the wash and was sitting beside her trailer. I'm always nervous to cold call but on this occasion I could stand near the street and shoot the scene with her permission. (I'll take her a blanket on my next shoot). As she graciously stepped inside her home, my emotions of gratefulness for what I have over powered me as I began to capture the incredible yard of overwhelming "stuff". The eyes are the windows of the soul and no photo can take in all my eye saw and my heart felt in those 15 minutes I shot. The furious dog in the shabby trailer next door created a ruckus and the neighbor appeared to see what the problem was. (I am always creating a fuss). Finishing my photo opportunity, I backed out of the make shift driveway and headed on with a watchful eye and heavy heart. "Look to your neighbor", I say. There are so many needs.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Real Truth about Real Love by George Drain

I am privileged to serve breakfast alongside Chaplain Browder at the Montgomery Rescue Mission several times a week and through his ministry I met George Drain, Friend of God for Almighty God, poet, musician, singer, songwriter. I am honored to present  his first poem.

The Real Truth about Real Love

If it ain't right, it ain't meant to be. If it
don't last, it will come to pass.

When two people are real with each
other and they both love from the
bottom of their hearts, it will be real and
it will last forever and we both know
that is a very nice start.

Learning to love each other has been
with us always in the past, and it's still
with us even now and we both know
that's going to last.

People who don't care for each other
should care from the bottom of their
hearts. It will be real and it will last
forever and we both know that's how
caring really starts.

The feelings that we should share
together will be like the lights
showing from Heaven. It will be real
and it will last forever and forever is
why we start

If it ain't right, it ain't meant
to be. If it don't last it will come to pass.

written by George Drain, copyright
No part may be re-produced, but copies of George's poetry may be purchased

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Montgomery Area Food Bank

Today I was at Chaplain Browder's Montgomery Rescue Mission. "Chap" serves breakfast to inner city folks 5 mornings a week. I usually help in the kitchen on Mondays but today I helped on Tuesday. I was surprised to see a large group of people lining up outside the kitchen to receive numbers and grocery bags. Montgomery Food Bank arrived with an amazing supply of food to give away to the less fortunate. They set up in the Rescue Mission driveway on the top of wooden racks and let the first-last numbers come into the area to receive. This made me so happy that my new city does something so remarkable for the poor.

 You can donate to this food bank by going to their website:

 You can read more about the Rescue Mission at:

Sunday, June 23, 2013

New Restaurant in Town

I happened across a new place to eat in the Black Belt Region and fell in love. It isn't open yet, but it will serve the youth of its community as well as the diners. I spoke with the owner who has reached out to the kids who "want more". After speaking with her, I hope to get on board with her Dad's ministry to feed the hungry breakfast every morning from 7-8AM. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Foot of the Black Belt

I have never seen more beautiful land than here in the bottom of this region of the Black Belt....rolling hills, vast farmland, beautiful skies, and well preserved homes. I set out to explore with only iPhone camera in hand and after a Saturday cell phone adventure, returned home with a slew of pictures to edit.

So many of the small towns sit and wither away but many thrive. There is great poverty scattered amongst lovely plantation homes and one can count on passing a church almost on every mile of the backroads (another shoot, another Saturday).

 Flags and tributes to fallen soldiers on this Memorial Day weekend were everywhere for the 300 plus miles I traveled today in the hopes to know my state even better. My quest was successful!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

What Inspires You?

A new question to think about! In small letters someone has written their answer, "The South". Someone else has answered Alcohol, another has mentioned Yoda.
Photographed in the Black Belt region, the picture speaks a thousand answers.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Panhandlers

Marjorie, Duck, and Jeremiah

They all have something in common: panhandling. It seems that everywhere I go someone begs for money. It's hard to know what is a real need, so this time I took Duck to the chicken place and bought his lunch. He looked like he had not eaten in days. Marjorie's husband, on dialysis,  got a beautiful new blanket from my gift collection, thanks to my generous girlfriends who keep me stocked. Jeremiah wanted $12.50 to stay overnight at Salvation Army. Although I did not give him the money, I am doing some research on how to provide a bed for those who need one without handing out cash. 

Monday, February 4, 2013