Remembering The Fallen: Memorial Day 2020

So often, we as Americans, see this holiday as a time for barbecues, parties and so much more.

But the fact is, we fail to realize that all of that can wait for another day.

Memorial Day is a time of remembrance. A time to remember and honor the countless members of the Armed Forces that didn’t make it home to their loved ones.

The ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice while fighting to ensure the freedom that we all enjoy today.

This Memorial Day, take a moment to remember the real reason for this day, the real heroes.

The ones who gave their lives so selflessly just so that we could live free lives.

God Bless.

Now is When We as Humans Need to Put Aside Any Differences We May Have and Do as God Calls His People to Do

It occurred to me recently, that there have been a lot of good things done in this world ever since this pandemic started.

People are helping people, they are giving to the less fortunate, delivering supplies to people’s houses etc.

Last night, a friend of mine who is in a nationally-touring band went live to address this pandemic, the effect that it has had on him and the other guys in the band.

But he said one thing that really hit home. “Put aside any differences that we may have and go help somebody in need.”

Basically what he was saying is, this is the one time in our lives that we are all struggling with the same thing.

As he spoke, I could hear God guiding his every word. You see, even though his band is unable to tour for the foreseeable future, he hasn’t let that get in the way of being the kind-hearted human that he is.

God calls us all for different things at some point in our lives. But right ͏n͏o͏w, I believe He is calling us to seek Him and He will guide us through these dark times.

I believe He is using this as a wake-up call for all of us. The kind of wake-up call that we’ve needed for hundreds of years now.

I have a feeling God is telling us, as a nation, to grow closer to Him and we will be perfectly fine.

If you have a neighbor, friend, etc. that can’t afford or is unable to get the essentials that they need now, do what God calls us to do and help them out in any way possible.

It’s time to stop being so self-centered and start looking out for those around us that need our help.

‘If You’re Gonna Play the Game Boy, You Gotta Learn to Play it Right’ Saying See You Later to The Gambler

Saturday morning, I received the notification that “The Gambler” Kenny Rogers had passed on to Heaven at the age of 81.

Rogers, a Houston, Texas native pumped out hit-after-hit during his 60-year career as a country music singer.

A few of those hits were “The Gambler”, “Islands in the Stream”, a duet with Dolly Parton, “Coward of The County”, “Golden Years” and so many more.

Kenny was active as a country music singer from 1957 to 2017. Throughout his career he shared stages with some of country music’s biggest names.

See you later Gambler, you will definitely be missed but never forgotten.

Picture: Rifnote

I’m Coming Back Home: If a Place Could Talk, I’d Talk to This Place for Hours on End

There are very few places where I can go and feel like I’ve escaped reality for a few hours.

In fact, there is one place in particular that I go to, not just because it’s a baseball diamond, not because there’s a press box here, not because I frequent this place a lot during this time of the year. But, because it’s the place where my dream of becoming a broadcaster came true.

What’s that place, you ask? That place is Bazemore Field, named after the late, great, Coach Stokely Bazemore, a highly successful baseball coach at my alma mater during his time at Wetumpka.

All my life, my family has called me ‘Little Stokely’, not because I’m a baseball coach, definitely not because I’m good at math, but because I remember statistics just like he did and because I often sit with my left leg over my right, just like he did.

So, it’s only fitting that my dream came to fruition here. Not only did my dream come true here, I also have countless memories here ranging back before my career as a broadcaster came to be.

I’ve been behind the microphone at Bazemore Field and several other places, not just in Wetumpka over the past six years, but none of them have quite felt like home like “The Baze.”

My dad often tells me stories of his playing days under Coach Stokley Bazemore and they never get old.

Coach Bazemore had a speech impediment from what I understand, but even with that. People loved him.

I never did have the honor of meeting Coach Bazemore, but I did attend his visitation in 2008, which was in the high school Commons area, which also serves as the lunchroom.

His casket sat right in the middle if the Commons above the top step right in front of the library.

I have a feeling Stokely Bazemore and I would have become fast friends, although he probably would’ve cussed me out over my math skills, which are lacking.

In fact, the highway leading to the school and baseball field is named “Coach Stokely Bazemore Highway” in his honor.

For almost seven years, my voice has been heard through the speakers at Bazemore Field and I have no doubt that Coach is sitting in Heaven tapping his foot and doing his famous hand gesture, where his finger tips would meet each other when he was in deep thought, which chalk dust on the seat of his pants.

I like to think that he would be beaming ear-to-ear knowing that “Pahma’s” son was calling the games at the place named after him.

Pahma was his nickname for my dad, but he couldn’t say his R’s.

This coming Saturday, three days from now, I will start my seventh season as baseball broadcaster when Wetumpka kicks off the season at home against Benjamin Russell and Sweet Water at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Don’t worry coach, I’ll be home soon.

Third picture: AHSFHS.org.

Five Minutes of Prayer: Wetumpka, Alabama, One Year Later

This time a year ago, i was unsure of what to expect, meteorologists had been talking all week about possible tornadoes in Central Alabama.

They mentioned that they could be life-threatening, so I was preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best.

That afternoon, the skies were covered in clouds that you would only see in a horror movie. I grabbed the dogs, my brother, and his girlfriend, and we sprinted to the hall bathroom.

My dad wasn’t home, he was eating at a local sports bar called “Coaches Corner” or just “Coaches” to the locals.

Just as the three of us and the dogs were able to get the bathroom door closed, the wind began to pick up, throwing things around outside.

It was at this time, that I was sure that the tornado would hit our house, so I did what any Christian would do, I closed my eyes and began to pray.

I prayed to God for about five minutes, I prayed for my hometown, my family, co-workers, and friends. But most of all I prayed that He would keep us all safe and unharmed.

After five minutes of praying, I opened my eyes, and everything was eerily silent and still.

The maximum wind speed just five minutes earlier was 135 miles-per-hour, the damage path length, 18.18 miles.

One historic church in the heart of downtown was, for the most part, completely destroyed.

Another church just a few yards away, had it’s steeple swallowed in the wind, the senior center was demolished, and so much more was destroyed, including homes.

But by the Grace of God, nobody was killed and only four people were injured.

Be thankful for what you have and the history that your hometown has. It can all be changed in just five minutes.

Picture: First Presbyterian Church of Wetumpka built back in 1836.

Picture: God appears in the clouds above First Presbyterian as people pray. This was one of very few things left of this historic church.

‘Hank, Let’s Talk about Your Daddy’: A Day With The Lonesome Cowboy

It was a dreary and briskly cold December day in 2016, around 5 p.m., and I had known that Hank Williams Sr., was buried in Montgomery for years, but had never gotten the opportunity to pay a visit to the man who is quite possibly, the most famous country music singer still to this day.

So I got a hair of the dog, and decided to travel to Montgomery to visit the sacred gravesite of the legendary Hank Williams Sr.

As I rode to Montgomery, I listened to the lonesome-bluesy voice of The Drifter all the way to his grave.

When I arrived at his headstone, I stepped out of the car, I Saw The Light played on the radio, and suddenly, chills were sent spiraling down my spine.

For I knew just who was lying six feet below that cold, concrete slab, but I had never witnessed it first-hand before.

I looked up, gazing at the name on that tall, ghostly-grey headstone where the name of the country music pioneer is chiseled.

Then, I looked down at the base of his marker and noticed what looked like Hank’s famed cowboy hat.

I looked to my left, and there was Mrs. Audrey Mae Sheppard Williams, the wife of The Drifting Cowboy.

Time seemed to stand still for just a moment as I was in the presence of a legend and his wife.

I was standing just feet away from the man that brought country music to life.

Hank, let’s talk about your daddy, tell me how your mama loved that man, we won’t talk about the habits, just the music and the man.

Second picture: New York Times.

Tennessee to Top Miraculous Turnaround Season with Trip to Gator Bowl to face Indiana

It’s no secret that Tennessee got off to a rough start to the season in 2019, but in their last seven games, the tables turned. The last seven games saw the Vols go an unforeseen 6-1.

On Sunday, it was announced that Tennessee (7-5) would be heading to Jacksonville, Florida’s TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.

Head coach Jeremy Pruitt’s Volunteers will face the Big Ten’s Indiana Hoosiers, who will come into the January 2, 2020 bowl game at (8-4).

The 2019 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl will be the 75th anniversary of one of college football’s most-storied, prized bowls.

The meeting between Indiana and Tennessee in Jacksonville, Florida, will be just the second all-time meeting between the two programs, with the only previous meeting coming in the 1987 Peach Bowl on January 2, 1988, with Tennessee coming away victorious 27-22.

This bowl appearance will be Tennessee’s 53rd postseason appearance all-time, which is sixth in college football history.

The Volunteers have been to six previous Gator Bowls, with this being their seventh appearance.

Tennessee’s in the Gator Bowl is 4-2, with their most recent trip to Jacksonville coming in 2015, when the Volunteers toppled the Iowa Hawkeyes by a final score of 45-28.

Prior to that, Tennessee beat Virginia Tech in the Gator Bowl in 1994, lost to Texas Tech in the Gator Bowl in 1973, lost to Florida in the Gator Bowl in 1969, beat Syracuse in the Gator Bowl in 1966, and beat Texas A&M in the Gator Bowl of 1957.

Can the Vols make it 5-2 all-time in the storied Gator Bowl?

Find out January 2, 2020 at 6pm CT on ESPN.

Picture: (UTSports.com)