The News Down South

And now this week’s news from the part of the world home to NASCAR and double first names:

First: Nauvoo, Alabama. A fleck of ketchup on the map. A place 284 residents call home. Which isn’t enough to fill up a Cracker Barrel.

On Monday night, the Nauvoo Church of God caught fire, and it smoldered for two days. Volunteer firefighters — men with their doctorates in hay baling — were unable to extinguish it.

Church members gathered to watch the fire. They cried. Embraced. Everyone agreed that, though it hurt to watch memories burn into soot, it was only a building. They care more about people than replaceable buildings.

This is Nauvoo, not Birmingham.

Next, meet two-year-old Aaliyah, a toddler with enough sass to give you whiplash. This week, she dialed 911 and told emergency operators she had a dire emergency. “I can’t get on my pants,” said Aaliyah.

Greenville County Sheriff deputies responded to the situation. Deputy Martha Lohnes found the toddler galloping around with one leg in her pants. Aaliyah’s dumbstruck father, who was about as helpful as a rudder on a duck’s ass, surrendered the wardrobe struggle hours earlier.

County officials comforted the traumatized man. Once Aaliyah’s pants were on, she attempted to persuade officials to buy her free ice cream with, “that fudgy stuff.”

Her chances look promising.

Now to Nashville. Joseph Buford, a seventy-one-year-old who spent his life paying bills, and raising kids, just learned to read.

Until now, the heavy equipment mechanic wasn’t even able to decipher his own mail. “I felt like there was something wrong with me,” said Buford. “Like the world walked off and and left me behind.”

Buford decided to change all that. After hours of bone-hard study, and plenty of cussing, the lessons from a local reading center paid off. And when Buford first realized he could read, he said, “I jumped up and ran through the house. It made me cry. To be like everyone else for once.”

I’ve said it before. I don’t care a thing about scandals, or mudslinging political news. The truth is, I don’t much care for the things reporters tell me I ought to. But Joseph Buford reading Dr. Seuss for pleasure?


This world hasn’t gone to the dogs just yet.