Brainstorms 10/12/2017

Ferrin Cox

Thursday, Oct 12,2017

Last weekend while we were worrying about a little ole hurricane coming in off the Gulf of Mexico, our fellow Americans in California were facing massive and deadly wildfires. Still ongoing as we type these words on Tuesday morning, the out-of-control forest fires are destroying some of the most pristine landscapes and charming homes in the United States as they rage across the Napa Valley area, not to mention the lives being lost.

This week’s column would be incomplete without noting that Monday was the birthday of Elba’s James E “Big Jim” Folsom. The late Elba native was born on the family farm, north of town and grew up in Elba, near what is now Dorsey Trailers. He went on to serve as Alabama’s Governor from 1947 to 1951 and from 1955 to 1959. The house in which he was born was moved to Elba several years ago and is now sitting next to the old Coffee County jail. An official marker notes the historic facts attached to the old house. Plans continue to evolve on efforts to restore the house. We feel honored to have stood, as a child, with mother and listened as he politicked for his very first term in office and then much later to often sit with the then blind ex-governor, eat fresh pound cake cooked by his sister, and listen for a couple of hours at the time to tales from his storied life and governmental experiences. I recall mother’s comments as to why she juggled four small children in that crowd of eager listeners. She correctly predicted that the man would make history in Alabama and she wanted her children to have first hand knowledge of it all. Even though we, as the oldest, are probably the only one of the four to recall any of those days, it is a cherished memory.

A memory from a later Folsom campaign visit to the very same spot prompted a dream of “being just like Jim Folsom”. Oh not the politician or great speaker or anything like that but he stood on the back of that flatbed truck and drank a half gallon of buttermilk at one “turn-up”. We always loved buttermilk and wanted to do the same thing! Of course the politician in him explained where he stopped up the road at “Aunt Susie” somebody’s house because he had heard she had the best buttermilk in the county. That drew a rousing cheer from the crowd but our only interest was learning to down a half-gallon of fresh buttermilk. Oh, we still drink some store bought buttermilk occasionally but never reached that little boy’s dream plateau with our buttermilk drinking.