Fort Benning Posts

Some Place East of Fort Benning

 

 

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There is this red dirt drive just off the highway, some place east of Fort Benning, Georgia. If you are speeding or lost in dreams yet unrealized, you’ll surely miss it. You might not even notice the sign declaring Floria’s Folk Art Gallery. Or the circle-board painted blue declaring Jesus is Soon to Return. Drive by too quickly and you’ll miss entirely the Letter from Hell.

Back in 2007, the first time I met Floria, there was only a small sign outside the shop. If Floria hadn’t been wearing her signature floral hat and busily working on a project outdoors, I would have missed her then. Thankfully, I have mastered my mama’s technique of stopping on the dime and giving nine-cents change. That first time, I came away from Floria’s with a picture of an African American girl reading a book. It sits in the frame Floria painted atop a bookshelf in my office. It cheers me, that painting does, and serves as a reminder of the places I’ve been and the people I met along the way.

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In the Image of God

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My son called me from Winslow, Arizona. It’s one of several stops he’s making this week as he winds his way from Oregon to Georgia. He’s doing the reverse migration that his momma made. Stephan, who has grown up in Oregon, has accepted at job at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village.

Come Thursday, God willing and the Texas creeks don’t rise, I’ll be meeting him in my hometown. There are all kinds of reasons why I still consider Columbus home, even though I’ve lived as long in Oregon as I ever did in Georgia. I’ve spent years trying to understand why I feel like an immigrant to the Pacific Northwest. The simplest truth is that Columbus is the community that helped raise me.

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Coming to the Stage in 2016!

Springer. 2015. 1

 

A couple of weeks ago, I got a call from Georgia. I knew it was a Georgia phone number because of the area code. Although I did not recognize the number, I answered the call anyway. I was sitting in a hospital room at the time, waiting on the birth of a grandson.

Springer. 2015. Sign

 

Paul Pierce, the artistic director of Springer Opera House in Columbus, Georgia, my hometown, was on the other end of the line. I about fell out when Paul told me he had finished reading “Mother of Rain” and wanted to adapt it for the stage. Seriously. It was one of those out-of-body moments.

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After the Flag has been Folded: Excerpt II

Mama. Me. Daddy

Daddy’s last instruction to me was to stop crying because it upset Mama. I tried as best I could to do as Daddy had asked. But what he didn’t know then is that Vietnam would upset a lot of people. I learned at an early age to handle the burning things of life with mitts of silence. So for many years I didn’t talk about losing Daddy, about death, or Vietnam. I especially didn’t talk about such things with Mama. Yet, neither one of us could escape Vietnam’s far-reaching shadow. It was featured prominently in the nightly newscasts and in the daily papers. Political debates reached a feverish pitch once Fort Benning was selected as the site of the court-martial of Lieutenant William “Rusty” Calley Jr. for his role in the My Lai massacre.

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Adventures in Goodness: Best Ranger 2013

 

During the week in which two brothers gathered together the tools of destruction that would kill, maim and terrorize Boston, soldiers from around the nation gathered up their guns and ruck sacks and headed to Fort Benning, Georgia, to take part in a 60-hour marathon designed to showcase — or breakdown – their physical stamina, mental toughness, team’s tenacity, and character’s mettle.

The 30th annual Best Ranger Competition 2013 got underway Friday April 12 as participants for the Boston Marathon fueled themselves with carbs in anticipation of Monday’s run.

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