Paying Tribute: A Visit with Hank and Audrey Williams

Paying tribute. It’s something I’ve always liked to do. Whether it’s having one of the person’s favorites, whether it be candy or food. To physically visiting their grave and having a chat with them for a bit.

Yes, I know that the actual person isn’t lying beneath that cold hard stone, only their Earthly body, but their soul, the part of a person that actually makes a human who they are, resides in Heaven.

Last Sunday, my girlfriend and I exchanged gifts at my house a day after Christmas because we were both busy with family on Christmas Day, which is completely and totally understandable.

After we exchanged gifts, we went to eat sushi at Rock N Roll Sushi in Montgomery, because it’d been a while since we had both had sushi and we like it, so why not?

Soon, after we had finished eating sushi, we headed to Oakwood Annex Cemetery in Montgomery to visit with believe it or not, not just one but two country music legends.

One who is considered by many to be the Father of Country Music, Hank Williams Sr., and his wife, Mrs. Audrey Mae Sheppard Guy Williams.

Not many people know this, but Hank and Mrs. Audrey met in Andalusia late summer of 1943, but didn’t marry until December 1944. It’s also believed that by the time they both passed away, Hank of course long before Audrey, the couple was actually divorced.

Of course, Hank Williams is best known as the father of Hank Williams Jr., but he also had an adopted daughter named Lycrecia.

Lycrecia is the daughter of Audrey Mae Sheppard Guy Williams and James Erskine Guy, her full name is Lycrecia Ann Guy Williams.

She was born August 13, 1941, but not long thereafter, Mrs. Audrey and Erskine divorced that same year and Hank adopted Lycrecia some time between 1943 and 1953, so she refers to old drifter as “daddy”.

As my girlfriend arrived at the final resting place of the two legends, I felt the wind die down and I approached the graves.

Now, these aren’t your usual small, intimate graves. These graves feature large headstones and raised concrete slabs.

I sat down on a bench next to Hank’s resting place and listened to his hit song “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” after the song ended I heard a train whistle off in the distance. It was as if Hank could hear his music being played.

Nearly 68 years after his untimely death, the spirit of old Hiram King “Hank” Williams is still searching for a way to get to that New Year’s Day 1953 show that he never made it to.

Rest In Peace, Hank and Mrs. Audrey Mae Sheppard Guy Williams, we miss you both.

Oh When the Saints Go Marching in: Mardi Gras set to Return to Birthplace in 2022

2021 was definitely weird when it came to Mardi Gras parades. As parades were halted in the City of Mobile, Alabama and several other cities around the state and nation that celebrate America’s Biggest Party that is Mardi Gras.

But rest assured, Mardi Gras will return to its motherland officially on February 11, 2022, when the Conde Cavaliers roll down Mobile’s parade Route A at 6:30pm.

On February 12, 2022, at 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., the Bayport Parading Society, Mystic DJ Riders, and the Pharaohs, Conde Explorers will bring their party down Route A.

Some of the more notable parades take place on February 18th, and 19th. As the Order of the Inca strolls down Route A at 6:30 p.m. on the 18 while the famed Mobile Mystics, Mobile Mystical Revelers, and the Mobile Mystical Friends come down Route A in the Azalea City at 2 p.m. on the 19th.

On Sunday February 27, 2022, also known as Joe Cain Day 2022, Joe Cain’s Merry Widows will begin the procession of Old Slac down Route A and finally end the procession at Cain’s resting place in Mobile’s Church Street Graveyard.

Mardi Gras 2022 behinds officially, on January 29 and ends on Fat Tuesday, March 1.

Laissez Bon Temps Rouler, Mobile!

The Good Times Won’t Be Rolling in 2021: Multiple Mardi Gras Organizations Cancel Parades/Balls Amid Pandemic

The streets of Mobile, Alabama, will see a lot less traffic during the 2021 Mardi Gras season as multiple parading societies have called off parading festivities.

It was reported Monday afternoon that the Coronation of King Felix wouldn’t happen in 2021 due to the pandemic. That’s not the only thing Mardi Gras parade and ball canceled in the Mobile area in 2021.

16 additional parades and balls have put a halt to 2021 events. Included in those cancellations are the popular Mobile Mystical Revelers, the Crewe of Columbus, the Order of Inca, Krewe of Marry Mates, and more.

I wouldn’t be shocked if more parading societies made cancellation in the coming days. It seems it’s only a matter of time until the Mystics of Time and the Joe Cain Parade are called off.

But one thing’s for sure, Joseph Stillwell Cain, Jr. will still be parading around Church Street Graveyard when night descends on the City of Mobile.

For me, this is a bit personal.

For as long as I can remember, I have attended Mardi Gras parades in the City of Mobile. Many fun, memorable memories echo through my head when I think of the times I’ve had during Mardi Gras and the friends with whom I spent those times. It’s a sad day for restless revelers like myself, and I’m sure Joe Cain, the Father of Mobile Mardi Gras is rolling over in his grave down on Church Street right about now.

Don’t worry Joe, the 2022 Mardi Gras season will only be that much more special.

It has also been announced that the City of New Orleans, Louisiana will not allow Mardi Gras parades in 2021, according to New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

The cancellations in Mobile mark the first time since 1857 that the festivities have been canceled.

Resting Respect: Paying Visits to Some of the South’s Most Influential Figures

Perhaps you were watching my travels throughout this great State of Alabama this weekend on Facebook.

You may wonder what I was doing, you may also wonder what made me pay visits to the many statues and gravesites in multiple cities.

Well, since sports have been basically nonexistent since mid-March, I have come across a newfangled hobby, touring cemeteries; both virtually and physically to pay respects to those that are no longer here in bodily form, but rather in the presence of God.

On Saturday, I visited a statue dedicated to the memory of Booker T. Washington, a mid-19th-century and early-20th-century social reformer, who believed in hard work, and self-education.

On Sunday, Dad and I took a family friend with us to Mobile, Alabama, to visit multiple cemeteries with several early-Mobile notable figures.

Our first visit Sunday, was to the notoriously haunted, Church Street Graveyard, where the man who created a Mardi Gras Revival in 1866 and 1867, is buried.

Perhaps you’ve heard of him, Joseph Stillwell “Joe” Cain Jr. while in Church Street Graveyard, we saw the famous Boyington Oak that stands just outside the Northwest corner of the 19th-century New England churchyard-style cemetery atop the grave of Charles Robert Stuart Boyington, a mid-17th-century printer and gambler, whom moved to Mobile in search of a better life than the one he had experienced in his hometown of New Haven, Connecticut.

Mr. Boyington, allegedly had become friends with Nathaniel Frost, whom owed him money from one of their poker games but refused to give Boyington the money.

As a result, Mr. Frost would be stabbed, robbed, and left for dead inside of the Church Street Graveyard.

Mr. Boyington would be framed as the suspect, taken into custody, and hanged in 1835. According to legend, his last words, as his feet dangled from a tree at Oakleigh, which is now historic landmark, were “A tree will grow from my heart to prove my innocence.”

After our stop to visit Alabama’s third-most haunted burial ground, the three of us made our way to the 120-acre Magnolia Cemetery just down the road, to pay respects to Confederate States Army General Braxton Bragg, whom I claim is my namesake. We also saw numerous graves of confederate soldiers.

Next, we travelled to the 19th-century, Saluda Hill Cemetery, in Spanish Fort, Alabama, to visit the grave of Zachariah Godbold, the only known Revolutionary War veteran buried in Baldwin County, Alabama.

Moral of the story, pay respects to those that came before anyway you can, you never know what you’ll run across in the process.

Church Street Graveyard sign.
Joe Cain grave, Church Street Graveyard.
Joe Cain and I in Church Street Graveyard.
The haunted Boyington Oak, Church Street Graveyard.
Confederate Monument, Magnolia Cemetery.
General Braxton Bragg and I.
Our Confederate Dead, Magnolia Cemetery
Zachariah Godbold, Revolutionary War veteran, Saluda Hill Cemetery, Spanish Fort, Alabama.
Booker T. Washington statue, Tuskegee University.

A Budding Rivalry: Wetumpka Travels East to Rival Opelika for Fourth-Consecutive Road Game

In recent years, this game has lived up to all of the hype surrounding it. Every single bit of the hype. Basically, if you attend this game, you’re almost guaranteed to witness an instant classic and we will talk about that later in this article.

Glancing At the Opponent:

Opelika is led by second-year head coach, Erik Speakman, who came to Opelika in 2018 and led the Bulldogs to a 7-5 record. Through the first three games of 2019, Speakman’s Bulldogs are 3-0 with wins over Callaway High School (GA), 10-7, Auburn High School Tigers (AL), 21-13 and Selma High School Saints (AL) 23-7. 2018 marked Coach Speakman’s first year as a high school coach in Alabama.

Inside the Series:

Although this series dates back 81 years, to 1938, it didn’t become the budding rivalry that it is today until recent years, 2016, to be exact. Despite dating back 81 years, these two programs only have a handful of clashes, five to be exact. In the last three meetings since 2016, games between these budding rivals have been decided by a slim margin, in fact, the largest margin of victory over the last three meetings is a whopping two points which belongs to Wetumpka from their most-recent clash in 2018. Today, the 2018 meeting in Wetumpka stands as the Indians only win through the first five games of the series.

The 2019 renewal of the limited rivalry is set for 7pm at Bulldog Stadium in Opelika, Alabama, on the campus of Opelika High School.

Picture: Tiffany Singleton.

Tribe Continues Season-Opening Five-City Road Trip with Trip to Calera

The 2019 season has begun in an unusual fashion, as it has taken the Wetumpka Indians (1-1) from Central Alabama to Southern Alabama to Southeastern Alabama and Wetumpka will continue to follow the warpath up north to Calera, Alabama in week three of the season. From there, the warpath will take them over to Eastern Alabama to Opelika in week four and then lead them back up north to Jacksonville, Alabama, before leading them back home to Central Alabama and the friendly confines of Hohenberg Field in week six. But for this week, we will focus on Wetumpka’s first trip to Northern Alabama in 2019 against the Calera Eagles.

Glancing At the Opponent:

Through the first two weeks of the 2019 season, the Calera Eagles (1-1) have split their first two contests. Outlasting the Pelham Panthers (0-2) 27-20, in week one. Last week, the Eagles fell victim to the Pell City Panthers (1-1) 27-21. Calera is led by first-year head coach, Trey Simpson. Simpson is in his first year in the Eagles’ Nest and is also in the first year of his career. Through his first two games as head coach his team is (1-1) and is being outscored 48-47. So far in 2019, Calera is scoring an average of 24 points per game, while the Indians are averaging 38 points per game.

Gridiron History Between the Programs:

Calera has faced Wetumpka once just before, that meeting came on September 7th, 2018, in Wetumpka, where the Indians raced past the Eagles by a final score of 34-14.

The Weeks Leading Up:

In the weeks leading to this matchup, the Eagles went (1-1) defeating Pelham in Week 1 (27-20) and falling to Pell City (27-21) a week ago.

As for Wetumpka, the Indians defeated Fairhope in Week 1 (35-24) and fell to newly-combined Dothan High (54-41) last week.

Kickoff is set for Friday, September 6th, 2019, at 7 p.m. in Ricky M. Cairns Memorial Stadium in Calera, Alabama.

Wiregrass War: Wetumpka Continues Road Trip With Visit to Dothan Friday Night

We’re now a week into the 2019 high school football season and Wetumpka (1-0) is coming off a confidence-building win over Fairhope (0-1) in the season-opener. But many hope the Tribe can take the many positives that were taken from the season-opener with them down to Dothan, Alabama this Friday.

A Glance at the Opponent:

The Dothan High School Wolves (0-1) are in their first year of existence after conjoining former rivals Dothan and Northview, resulting in the change of mascot. 41 years ago, Dothan and Northview were merged prior to separating and fielding two separate football programs. The Wolves are led by first-year head coach Smitty Grider. Overall, Grider is in 15th year of coaching at the high school ranks. Prior to landing in Dothan, he led the Hazel Green Trojans to a (4-7) season in 2018 and falling to Oxford in the first round of the 6A playoffs by a final score of 42-14. Before going to Hazel Green, Grider piloted the Park Crossing Thunderbirds from 2014 to 2017, resulting in three playoff appearances in four seasons as Park Crossing’s pilot and three consecutive region titles from 2015-17. Prior to making the trip to Montgomery, Coach Grider led the Beauregard Hornets from 2006-13. Grider’s career record is 111-50.

Gridiron History Between the Opponents:

The Dothan Wolves (0-1) and Wetumpka Indians (1-0) have never met under the current moniker in the two programs storied history.

Week 1 in Review:

Wetumpka (1-0): Used late plays Friday night to come out of Fairhope victorious 35-24.

Dothan (0-1): Had their game against Clay-Chalkville postponed until Saturday. But that didn’t help the Wolves much as the Cougars ripped apart Dothan 37-14.

Game time is set for 7pm between Dothan and Wetumpka Friday night at Rip-Hewes Stadium in Dothan, Alabama.

Pictures: Tiffany Singleton

Graphics: Amelia Nettles.

Unfinished Business: Wetumpka Football travels to Battle Fairhope in 2019 season-opener

After nine months of dealing with heartbreak at the hands of the Saraland Spartans on November 30, 2018 in the Class 6A State Semifinals, Wetumpka is staring down the barrel of what they hope is another memorable season in 2019. Today is the last day of the offseason for high school teams around the state of Alabama, starting tomorrow, every team in the state has the same record and equal chances of making it to Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium for the State Championship game. This will be the second-straight year that Auburn’s Jordan-Hare has hosted state title games, due to renovations taking place at The University of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium.

A Glance at the Opponent:

The Fairhope Pirates are led by fifth-year head coach, Tim Carter. Over the past four seasons at the helm in Fairhope, Carter is 23-19. Carter arrived at Fairhope after parting ways with 7A powerhouse, Auburn High School following the 2014 season. In 2018, the Pirates finished the season with a 7-4 record including a trip to the Class 7A state playoffs before being ousted from the playoffs at the hands of Auburn High, a school that Carter is very familiar with. The Fairhope Pirates participate in Class 7A, Region 1 of the AHSAA

Gridiron History Between the Opponents:

Wetumpka and Fairhope have only collided on the football field a total of two times, with the first coming on November 7, 2007 in Wetumpka. The Indians dismantled the Pirates in the first round of the 2007 Class 6A State Playoffs, 62-35. In the most recent meeting in 2018, Wetumpka toppled Fairhope 35-14 on August 24, 2018 in Wetumpka. This will be just the third all-time meeting between the two programs on the gridiron. The 2019 season kicks off on Friday, August 23rd, 2019 at 7pm from Fairhope Municipal Stadium in Fairhope, Alabama.

(Photo: Amelia Nettles)

Braves fall 9-4 to Philadelphia, Take Series 2-1, Head to Washington

Coming into this weekend series against the Phillies, Atlanta was fresh off a two-game sweep courtesy of the Kansas City Royals. However, the Braves looked to be in mid-season form during the weekend in Philadelphia or what some may call “pre All-Star break” form. Friday night, Atlanta picked up a much-needed 9-2 win and on Saturday, the bats came to life and the Phillies never really had a chance from the start. Winning Saturday’s contest 15-7. A big part of that was an Ozzie Albies 3rd inning grand slam. The slam was Ozzie’s 15th homer of the year. Even though the Braves couldn’t win on Sunday, I think you have to feel really confident taking two of 3 from Philadelphia and head to Washington D.C. with a series win. Atlanta is now (62-44) on the year and 5.5 games ahead of Washington. One big impact was Ronald Acuña exiting the Sunday game with neck tightness and gave way to Charlie Culberson. Brian Snitker said Ronald Acuña “checked out good, we’ll just wait until tomorrow to see how he feels.” Snitker also said he thinks there is a chance that the All-Star center fielder could play on Monday night in Washington. On to Washington, my friends! Monday’s game will feature Dallas Keuchel taking the mound for Atlanta and Patrick Corbin getting the nod for the Nationals. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05pm CT from Nationals Park in Washington D.C.

Picture: The Sports Herald-Morganton.

Atlanta Boasts Best June Record in Majors

We’re almost done with the month of June, as we have now reached the 26th day of the sixth month of 2019. The month of June has been a very, very productive one for the Atlanta Braves. In fact, they have a record of (17-6) this month, which ranks as the best June 2019 record in the entire league. Through 23 games in 26 days, not including tonight’s game at Chicago, the Braves offense has been absolutely deadly, launching 48 baseballs into stands all across the country. According to 680 AM The Fan’s Kevin McAlpin, the last time the Braves hit more long balls in a month came in July 2006 when they launched 50 homers. According to him, the franchise record for home runs in a calendar month is 55 which was set back in May of 2003. Who knows, with four more days left in the month of June and five more June games left to play including tonight’s game, Atlanta is just 7 homers away from tying the franchise record for home runs in a calendar month and 8 away from setting a new franchise record for homers in a calendar month. There’s still time to set a new record. Even though June is winding down, it can be done. I’ve seen crazier things happen. Tonight’s game at Chicago will feature Dallas Keuchel on the hill for Atlanta and Yu Darvish will get the call for the Chicago Cubs. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05pm ET.

Picture: Atlanta Braves Twitter.