Are you from Dixie

I’ve been feeling some Southern nostalgia for the past couple weeks, and one of my favorite all-time, any-genre musicians is Jerry Reed. Mind you, I’m  not a diehard Country Music fan, but I go on Jerry Reed binges. I had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Reed at the Morgan County Fair several years back, to give a date to the performance, he was promoting his role as Coach Red Beaulieu in The Waterboy, which was about to hit the theaters. I have a hard time picking a favorite Jerry Reed song, with Amos Moses being pretty high up there, but today I want to talk about Are you from Dixie (‘Cause I’m from Dixie too).

One thing I didn’t know until I wanted to write this post about is just how old that song is. According to the greatest source of information on Earth, the song was written in 1915 by Jack Yellen and George Cobb. Here is one of the earliest recordings of the song:

I had no idea the song was almost one hundred years old. There have been several artists who’ve recorded a version of it over the years, but in my biased opinion, Jerry Reed’s rendition is still the best.

Madison Belles

This past Saturday my oldest daughter and I were both in our town’s Christmas parade; Abby on her Girl Scout troop’s float, and me as a part of American Legion Post 229’s color guard. Behind me in the lineup were some of the most beautifully dressed young ladies I’ve seen. Assuming they were “Southern belles”, they tinkled along (apparently wearing bells) behind me for the length of the parade route. They were emaculately dressed in antebellum style dresses and wearing what appeared to be winter shawls on this not-too-cold Alabama evening.

Photo © Madison Weekly News

Having young daughters, I can imagine they would love to casually stroll through town in their antebellum finest, so I did a little research on who they are. According to the Madison Weekly News:

The young ladies of the Madison Belles bring the art of antebellum charm and wit, southern hospitality and historical authenticity to events in the Madison area.

Dawn Johnson, proprietor of Southern Traditions, a wholesaler of customized fine linens for the home, first organized the Belles in 2009. The Belles have since become ambassadors that represent Madison City in the best way possible.

The Madison Belles have been seen around Madison at events such as Connect 2011, the Madison City Street Festival and Parade, Bark in the Park, The Lighting of the Lights at city hall, and the First Lady’s Annual Tea.

“Being a Madison Belle is a part social, part charitable and part learning experience,” says Johnson. “These girls aren’t just fluff, they have to know their history.”

More information on the group is listed on the Southern Traditions website. Apparently there is quite a selection process to become a Madison Belle. Given my oldest in first grade, she has quite a few years to prepare.

I’m a big fan of the Antebellum era, minus the slavery. I think it was the high point in Southern culture. It was at this time that Southern honor was at its apex. In some areas of the South, you can still experience the hospitality that we have historically been known for. That’s what I like about anachronistic groups like the Madison Belles. They encompass all those good things we want to hold onto. I hope that someone in town can develop a male counterpart. Maybe then we can slowly, but surely restore that rich Southern heritage that seems to be so sadly diminished today.

A great piece of commercial property for sale in Double Springs, Alabama

For anyone interested in a great business location in Double Springs, Alabama, my in-Laws, Sam and Lavonia Taylor, are looking to sell their business so they can retire:

Commercial Property for Sale: This property is located at 14405 Highway 278, Dou…: This property is located at 14405 Highway 278, Double Springs, AL 35553. It has been the home of Taylor Tire and Service Center for many ye…

If you’re looking to set up shop in western Alabama, this is a great location. It’s right on Hwy 278 and not too awful far from Corridor X (I-22) which will connect Memphis to Birmingham.

Double Springs is a quiet little town near the Sipsey River, and is the county seat of Winston County, which has the notoriety of having attempted to secede from the state of Alabama during the Civil War to form the Free State of Winston. Just out of town is the location of the amphitheater that used to run the play The Incident at Looney’s Tavern, that told the story from the Civil War. Unfortunately, hard times and a down economy caused the amphitheater to close a several years ago, but I’m sure its owners would entertain the idea of selling it to the right entrepreneur as well. Here’s a link to what its website used to look like about a decade ago when I maintained it. Some of the links may be broken, as is often the case with sites archived by the Way Back Machine. Double Springs is a nice, quiet town with good schools, great people, and an interesting history.

The buildings on the property have a long history that I don’t know all of. I’ve heard stories of how the main building used to be a roadside cafe when it was owned by Sam’s father Louie. I think that was in the Fifties and Sixties. As a tidbit of trivia, Louie Taylor was an Army cook during WWII. Sometime later, the business was converted to Taylor Oil, the precursor to Taylor Tire and Service center. Many of the older residents in town still refer to it as Taylor Oil. It was in 2000 that I became familiar with the business, when I started dating my wife, Jill. As I’m sure is the case of most geek son-in-laws, I became the tech support for the business. The main building houses the office, some storage space, and the shop, with a back bay high enough to change tires on trailer trucks. The great thing about the building is its versatility. You’d have to see it to appreciate it, but you really could reconfigure the building to suit several different purposes.

So, if you’d like more information, you can email [email protected], or call either 205.489.5293 or 205.272.0236.