Saturday, October 6, 2007

Mitt, Mormons, Moses, and Muslims

Interesting article here by Jay Cost, affiliated with RealClearPolitics.com on a yet-to-be delivered speech in which Mitt Romney intends to defend his Mormon faith. (It quotes an earlier column by Bob Novak.) Both Novak and Cost anticipate that the speech will be an attack on anti-Mormon bias.

The Whited Sepulchre opinion on Romney is as follows: Romney has proven that someone with red(neck) state policies can get elected in a blue(blood) state. He has money to burn. He's an ok, if slightly robotic, speaker. He saved the Utah Olympics. He's made a lot of money. Like most Mormons, he works hard.

But Romney subscribes to a belief system based on the idea that Joseph Smith found some gold plates buried in upstate New York, carried them to his house, put a blanket across the room so nobody else could see the plates, put on a pair of magic Ray-Bans, and with help from these supernatural sunshades was able to translate "The Book of Mormon" to a neighbor. Because the neighbor, unlike Smith, had the ability to read AND write.
According to Mormons, your ranking and status level in eternity depends on whether or not you believe this.

What is disturbing about this to many of Romney's potential Red State constituents? Well, most of them subscribe to a belief system that claims God took a liking to various Nomadic Tribesmen, all of whom lived in a small corner of what we now know as the Middle East. Not just any regional farm-team god, but THE God chose these Tribesmen as His favorites. THE God didn't just give them some puny little gold plates, he gave his rules to them chipped in stone. God took a personal interest in all of their laws, battles, and dietary habits, and inspired these tribesmen to write a collection of stuff which was kept as an in-house proprietary document for years.
Then there were about 400 years of God-silence.
Until He inspired a lot of other writings, which, a few centuries later, got enough votes from various church committees to be known as "Bible". THE God didn't inspire anyone in East Asia, South Africa, Europe (outside of Greece and Italy), Australia, or North and South America. These huge areas of the world had their own little district deities, some of whom were confused with THE God, but they never produced anything but regional best-sellers. THE God only speaks to Middle Eastern Tribesmen. No revelations from upstate New York allowed.
Many Christians believe your body temperature in eternity hinges on whether you believe all this.

So Mitt Romney has an obvious conflict with many Red-State religious groups (which tend to be more devout than their Blue-State equivalents.) Many commentators are making comparisons to the situation faced by Kennedy because of his Catholicism. Granted, Kennedy was running as a Catholic in a predominantly Protestant nation, but most Protestants understood Catholicism. Protestantism is a Catholic splinter group. Protestants have simply rejected a few Catholic doctrines without adding too many others, except for a delightful acceptance of birth control.
A case can be made that Mormonism is a Protestant splinter group. But Joseph Smith added enough additional wood to create a new tree. And the tree is growing. Mitt Romney will be many voters' introduction to the works of Smith and his church.
Our next President will have to deal with the aftermath caused by some people from yet another belief system. They attacked us on 9/11, and if we're to believe what they say and write, they attacked because we don't subscribe to the writings in another book.
Yes, we're in an undeclared war with groups who believe in "The Koran" (A.K.A. Quran or Al-Qur'an).
"Muslims believe the Koran to be the book of divine guidance and direction for mankind and consider the text in its original Arabic to be the literal word of The God, revealed to Muhammad over a period of twenty-three years and they view the Qur'an as God's final revelation to humanity", to borrow Wikipedia's carefully crafted statement. I apologize for not downloading any pictures of the moment of Muhammad's moment of Divine Revelation, but to depict The Prophet in art or imagery is a capital offense in The Muslim Rigamarole, and I don't want to go the way of Theo Van Gogh or Salman Rushdie. To be martyred while killing infidels, according to Islamic Fundamentalists, is the fastest way to paradise.
The number of virgins you get to deflower in the next life depends on whether you believe this.
I could go further into parsing the differences between the Shia and Sunni Muslims who are having a high old time killing each other, and us, in Iraq. I'm sure the authority of God-inspired books is a contributing factor. But that would belabor an already exhausted point....
Mitt Romney is about to make a major statement deploring anti-religious bias, but bias against his book in particular.
A cynic would say that the time might be right for not less anti-religious bias, but more. Equally distributed.
"Beware The Man of One Book" - St. Thomas Aquinas

Friday, October 5, 2007

Despair


Australian Road Trains

You'll start seeing these soon. They got started during WWII, hauling fuel across the Australian outback. Since most of the Australian population lives within 10 miles of the beach, it doesn't make sense to restrict a rig to a sleeper cab with only one 53' trailer.

The typical Road Train setup is at least three 44' trailers. The max is six. Any rig pulling that many trailers probably has to go to a parking lot to turn around, and probably has a bigger carbon footprint than Al Gore's house. But it's cheaper than fuel and drivers for 6 rigs. Notice the heavy duty business on the nose of the tractor in this pic. It's the equivalent to the cow catcher on a locomotive.
Click here to see the entire article. I've copied a few of the Australian Road Train FAK's, complete with Aussie spelling and grammar, which is instantly recognizable since it's worse than mine. These guys have 14 hour shifts, half hour stops, no speed limit at all on cars, and a major kangaroo problem....



How many Kilometres do we drive a day?
We drive about one thousand kilometres a day this takes around fourteen hours, you have to keep in mind that we do not have many little towns to go though we drive hundreds of kilometres between towns and no big highways with lots of cars. I never worked out how many kilometres we drive a year but we do a lot.
How fast do we drive? There is a speed limit for all heavy
trucks of one hundred kilometres per hour, but most drivers do about one hundred a ten kilometres per hour. As we are in the middle of no were their are not many police to stop you, plus there is no speed limit on cars at all.
How many days do we work?

Most drivers work on a two weeks driving and one
week off at home. Each day we drive about fourteen hours with short half hour stops about every five hundred kilometres.
Where do drivers sleep? Most drivers sleep in the sleeper
cabs of the truckThese days a lot of trucking companies run what we call two up, that’s were each truck has two drivers one will drive wile the other driver sleeps in the sleeper cab of the truck.
What sort of problems do we have? The worse problem we
have driving in the Outback is hitting wild animal and livestock. If you look at a photo of our truck you will see the big bull bars on the front of the trucks. We hit lots of Kangaroos which can be as tall as a man some people think they are small, but they will do a lot of damage to a car or truck. There are more kangaroos now than there was a hundred years ago, because water is pumped up from under ground to water cattle so the kangaroos have bred like wild fire.

Prediction: You'll see something like this in the U.S. within 10 years. Sooner if fuel prices keep going up.

You heard it here first. Unless you read a LOT of logistics magazines.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Places to take the kids in East Fort Worth ! ! !

A driver from St. Louis recently told me more than I wanted to know about how much there was to do near his home. He said he lived near the Gateway Arch, could walk to the Mississippi River, ate lunch in exotic casinos, and conveyed the impression that everything in his life was superior to the blight and devastation surrounding the Fort Worth warehouse where I was working that day.

He has nothing.

Had I been thinking clearly, I would've sent him to a vital but neglected attraction in my beloved East Side. I've never seen the busloads of retired Yankees or Japanese Industrialists stop by Shannon Rose Hill Memorial Park for a photo-opportunity on their way to Billy Bob's, but they are a tasteless bunch and wouldn't appreciate the significance of this historic site anyway.


Go to Shannon Rose Hill Memorial Park on East Lancaster, just outside Loop 820. Turn in, and follow these directions. They'll take you to the final resting place of one of the few spectators along Kennedy's parade route who definitely wasn't involved in the assassination: Lee Harvey Oswald.


Beside Oswald's final resting place, there's another plain grave marker with the name Nick Beef. Follow the link to learn about who is NOT buried in Nick Beef's grave. (Hint: It's not Nick Beef.)

"Lee Harvey was a friend of mine,
He used to take me fishin' all the time.
He used to throw a ball to me when I was just a kid,
They say he shot the president, but I don't think he did.

Well, I've seen that picture of him holdin' pamphlets and a gun,
And there's shadows pointin' every which way, but only just one sun.
Someone faked that photo and then snuck away and hid,
They say he shot the president, but I don't think he did."
-Bennison/Cotton

Lee Harvey Oswald - sacrificial lamb, patsy, martyr, and East Fort Worth resident since 1963.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Sorry I was late, traffic was a nightmare

This is an example of what our newest employee, Robert Crump, went through at his previous job driving for the U.S. Army. We're glad to have him in one piece, driving with us. At least he now knows who is shooting at him....
video

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Shameful Revelations

I generally prefer obscure, roots-oriented alt-country music to any other variety. But my musical tastes run far and wide.

One of the greatest musical evenings of my life was in a Fort Worth club called The Wreck Room, listening to a band called SplitLip Rayfield, who feature a standup bass made from an old Ford gas tank strung with Weedeater line.

I've sung in three fully-orchestrated performances of The Brahms Requiem. One of them was in the original German. No big deal in Fort Worth, but a huge deal for someone from Drew, Mississippi.

I've heard Charlie Robison in concert 9 times. The same Charlie Robison who recently wrote a song entitled "New Years Day", which has references to Totally Inappropriate Entertainment In Mexico and Dancing with Cross-Dressers.

I can almost guarantee that I was the only graduate in the North Sunflower Academy class of 1979 who owned a "Never Mind The Bullocks, Here Come The Sex Pistols" 8-track tape (now worth about $30.00 to collectors.)

You probably get the idea by now. I don't spend too much time looking through the "Adult Contemporary" section of the music store.

Mrs. Whited Sepulchre recently bought a CD that I would ordinarily avoid at all costs. Just because of the title. Just because of the image surrounding this particular performer. (I will admit to some reverse snobbery when it comes to my music, and deep down I probably believe that if 9 out of 10 Minivan Drivers like something, it's probably not very good.) Plus, you can't leave this performer's stuff on the dashboard of your pickup if you work in shipping or manufacturing. You would be shunned, and sent to a rehab where they strapped you in a chair and forced you to listen to Hank Jr. and Tejano all day until you regained your manliness

This is a CD of 1970's cover songs. I'm not going to tell you who the singer is yet. I've kept it at arm's length for about a week. Blame it on an involuntary reflex that made me zone out whenever Mrs. Whited Sepulchre played it in the car. But then my daughter, of all people, downloaded it to her IPOD, or sucked it into her Facebook, or MySpaced it to her itunes (whatever the kids do these days....) and she was playing it again in her car tonight. These arrangements of these songs have gotten into my head and refuse to leave. Because (ahem) they're really good.

The CD has songs like "Bridge over Troubled Water". "It Never Rains in Southern California". "Sorry Seems to Be The Hardest Word". Plus a lot of new versions of acoustic, almost-unplugged, much less schmaltzy versions of this guy's older hits.

Lordy, this is embarrasing. Please, please, please remember that I own almost everything that Bob "Minnesota Mud Throat" Dylan ever recorded, so don't hold this guilty pleasure against me....

Yes, friends, I'm ready to make an official position statement. Barry Manilow - The Greatest Songs of The Seventies is one of the best things I've heard this year. The unplugged version of his 70's hits all have great arrangements - even "Copacabana" has an interesting Flamenco guitar thing going on. "Even Now" is totally reborn without all the overproduced bombastic mess going on in the background.

The only song that really doesn't work is his duet with Melissa Manchester on Carole King's "You've Got A Friend". That's the one track that makes you want to go listen to the original. Or the James Taylor version. Or the 1976 Sing 'n' Celebrate Songbook version.

Ok, there it is. I've said it. It's totally geeky music that all the Soccer Moms love. And I really like it, too. This Barry Manilow CD is really, really good.

I'm so ashamed....We deeply closeted Manilow fans take so much abuse... You know Axl Rose, lead singer and rock demigod from Guns 'n' Roses? Here's what happened when he went public with a Manilow admiration....


Rose....describes his childhood in mostly angry terms. He speaks of physical and sexual abuse, of a mother who was never there for him, of a stepfather who whacked him for singing along with Barry Manilow's "Mandy."
Well, confession time is over. I'm going to take the guitar out on the deck and write a two-chord song about Hawg Hunting.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

That is SO unfair to men

Here's a link to an article in Today's Startlegram....The article refers to a somewhat controversial concentration of classes at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. (Disclaimer: I went there for about a year in the mid-80's, and bailed out due to a Personal Theological Crisis and a strong influence from The White Elephant Saloon in the stockyards.)

Star-Telegram.com 09/30/2007 Guys, too, should know how to make house a home

The classes combine a "Biblical" study of homemaking with traditional Home Economics classes (nutrition, interior design, clothing design, etc.) The program has been widely ridiculed as a pre-feminist throwback to the 1950's.

Here's a quote from the article, in case you don't have time to open the link:

"My problem with Southwestern Baptist, however, is not the school's decision to elevate homemaking to a college degree. Anyone who has served as family CEO knows the varied proficiencies required. My beef is the lack of inclusion.
The seminary should open the program to men. The future fathers of America should also master the duties of a household. What better way to strengthen families?"

-Ana Veciana-Suarez

Ms. Veciana-Suarez has taken a long hard look at Southwestern Baptist Theological Semitary, AND SHE SEES A LACK OF INCLUSION IN THE WOMEN'S STUDIES PROGRAM? ? ? ?

Lord Jesus, come quickly.

Does Ms. Veciana-Suarez not know that The Throwbacks who now run SWBT Semitary won't allow women to preach? That they won't even allow women to teach men? (Disclaimer #2: Mrs. Whited Sepulchre is a Youth Minister. And a good one.)

I think Ms. Veciana-Suarez would visit Afghanistan and criticize the Taliban for not allowing men to wear Burkhas.

I grew up with no female ministers/preachers. The general attitude was much like Samuel Johnson's famous quip: "A woman preaching is like a dog walking on its hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."

But I want to think I've grown a little since then. Despite what The Apostle I-Don't-Like-Women-And-I-Never-Got-Married Paul had to say.

Total unwavering loyalty to what you learned sitting in your Mother's lap has never moved the human race forward a single inch. (Disclaimer #3: The Mother of The Whited Sepulchre, who grew up Southern Baptist in the Deep South, has now asked a woman minister to preach her funeral. The Mother of T.W.S. is almost 70, and she's still growing and evolving. Lesser people give that up in their twenties.)

Just when I think I've gotten those people at that glorified Witch-Doctor Academy out of my head, just when I get to where I can ignore them, they do something to make me totally nuts.

Reasons To "Vacate The Pulpit"

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Well.....
Like the Calvinist said after he fell down the stairs, "I'm glad that's over with."

Fort Worth's Broadway Baptist votes to keep pastor
from The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
and a similar story from the Dallas Morning News Religion Blog

I'm a member of a study group called "Exploring The Christian Faith" at Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth. We don't hesitate to ask the hard questions. Very few answers are provided. We're just about to finish a series called "Living The Questions". We'll probably do a book study next.

If you've lost touch with your faith, or lost interest in traditional answers to Christianity's difficulties, come join us. There's been some recent controversy about our studying some of the theologians listed in the Spiritual Advisors blogroll to your right. Borg in particular. I hope we're over it now. (See the Star-Telegram link above.)

In the last few months, I've learned that Freedom of Religious Expression is a valuable thing. Lord have mercy, I love this class. All points of view are respected. No one believes me, but meeting in that room is the most Libertarian hour of my week.

If you want to join us, we meet at 9:30 in Room 306 every Sunday morning. 305 West Broadway, Fort Worth, TX 76104.

Drew, Mississippi

I'm throwing this into my archinves, just in case the New Orleans paper doesn't keep it online....

The hometown Archie once knew is no more
by Billy Turner, Staff writer
Saturday January 26, 2008, 9:54 PM
DREW, MISS. -- Looking on this football field on a cold, gray day, with the clouds pumping in from the north, one can't help but marvel at how far it is from this Delta town in Sunflower County to Phoenix.
But if there was a starting point for the Manning clan's legendary football career, with three NFL quarterbacks, two of whom will have played in the Super Bowl in back-to-back years, it was this football field. The baby of the bunch, Eli Manning, will quarterback the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII on Feb. 3.
This day, however, beyond the muck and the muddy unpaved road that surrounds what was once called Beef Maxwell Field, near the large brick buildings that serve as public housing in this quick breath of a town that it is said holds 2,000-plus residents, there are children playing outside. An ice cream truck roams the streets of the complex, and it is playing tunes, cheery tunes, calling for children to run to it.
The football field's bleachers seat maybe 300 and it has a "press box" that couldn't possibly hold the press or much of anything else. The stadium is behind the grass-covered baseball field where Manning played.
As visitors walk the warped bleachers of the football field, the ice cream truck plays, "It's a Small World, After All."
In this town, that surely is the case, still.
But there is nothing particularly cheery about the song this day.
"It's kind of sad up there, isn't it?" said the town's most famous former resident, Elisha Archie Manning III.
Times and towns change.
"When we grew up there, I had no complaints at all. You could keep your house unlocked and your keys in your car. That was a long time ago. I remember that sometimes convicts would get out from Parchman, which is but eight miles down the road. But my daddy (Elisha Archie Manning II, whom everyone called Buddy) always said, 'If they come this way, they ain't stopping in Drew.'¤"
This is a piece of poor Americana, where the surrounding land is as flat as unleavened bread and farming is about all that is left.
At one point, Drew had more cotton gins than any town in America. Now, there's one. There's some corn, some beans, but mostly, there's no business.
It's a place where desegregation fought its way into town 40 years ago at the high school, and almost immediately the town's white residents headed to North Sunflower Academy, re-creating segregation in another form. Today, the high school where Archie Manning walked the halls, where he first scrambled out of trouble on the football field, where he learned to bat left-handed, is made up of 90 percent African-American students. Residents said "they" do what they do and "we" do what we do.
The truth is, this town, that piece of Pleasantville Manning remembered, where sodas were drawn at the drugstore and Sunday school was a part of every week, , that place where a high school quarterback became Archie Manning to the world, no longer exists.
"It really doesn't," said Mary Frank Wise, at 79 years old a longtime resident and member of the Chamber of Commerce. "I still have hope, hope that every day I can make it better."
If you can't find anything else vastly different, this football stadium is symbolic of that change. It once was filled as Manning was rolling out right and either passing or galloping down the field. This season, the stands were nearly empty on Friday nights, and the team needs new equipment, players said.
You ride into the city today, turning onto Main Street a mile or so from Highway 49 West up from Yazoo City and you're struck by the juxtaposed elements of Drew.
On Main Street, there are women playing bridge in the back of the Main Street Deli and Gifts. A couple of distant cousins to the Mannings, Sandra and Joanne, are there. Joanne's daughter, Cathy, was second-runner-up to Miss America awhile back and that's how Joanne is introduced, the mother of.
Joanne said she's in the running for a couple of Super Bowl tickets, but it has nothing to do with her name. She entered a contest at a casino. She said she would never dream of calling Archie and asking for some help with tickets.
A Lexus sits comfortably outside the strip that, according to Archie, used to be completely filled and beautiful. Today this street is being refurbished by Drew Enterprises and the Chamber of Commerce. Wise and her husband, Billy, who recently bought the house where Manning grew up, are key parts of that rebuild.
This day, the eight women were playing cards on two tables as their fur coats rested on a nearby stool.
Four blocks down Main Street, on the way in from 49, two trailers are dilapidated. A house with a muddy front yard has six dogs, two of which have recently had pups. On the highway, a pig hangs from a tree by its feet, as the blood flows out of its body. It will be processed after hanging there a day.
No sign of Manning tribute
You can travel all over town in a few minutes, since it is only 1.1 miles square, and you will find sections of homes that are government-owned, houses that have sold for $6,000 to $8,000 in the past year and some that would go for more than $120,000, residents said.
But nowhere will you find a sign that recognizes Archie Manning, who left here to go to Ole Miss. His mother, Sis, stayed here until she died on Dec. 30, 2000. His sister, Pam, moved to Oxford, Miss., after their mother's death. Archie sold some farming land, and that was all the ties he had left to the town.
If you want to find a sign that says something about the man named by a newspaper as the favorite athlete in Mississippi history, you better bring it with you.
Signs? Signs that this is the birthplace of the NFL's First Family, the place where back-to-back Super Bowl quarterbacks Eli and Peyton used to come during summers and play at old Drew High School?
There was one years ago that said "Home of Archie Manning" and underneath it read, "Land of the pretty girls."
It fell down years ago, and nobody ever bothered to put it back up, Joanne Manning said.
"That never bothered me," Archie Manning said. "I've never tried to be a hero in Drew, Miss."
Now there's a large green sign at the edge of town that tells everyone this is the "waterfowl capital of the state." Ducks have beaten out football, apparently, in the scheme of things.
"My husband (Jeff Andrews, a Drew dentist and head of Drew Enterprises) and I were talking the other day, and he said, 'You know, we ought to change Park Avenue or something and name it for Archie.' We should," said Penny Andrews, who works for the Chamber of Commerce.
The search for Archie
With about an hour left in class on a Wednesday afternoon, four Drew High School students were asked where one could find evidence that Archie Manning went to that school.
A short teen named Deirjohn Williams said he thought there was a picture on the wall, and he was more than willing to look rather than go back to whatever class he had temporarily escaped. He looked around at graduating classes of all-white students from the early 1960s to graduating classes from the late ¤'60s with black students dotted throughout the photo. He said it might be in a conference room, and he skipped inside. No go. Not there.
Asked if the students think anything about Eli Manning being in the Super Bowl next weekend, Williams said, "Hey, we don't think nothing about Archie Manning because he doesn't want to come back here."
Carlos Lakes said, "He tells people he isn't even from Drew."
That, however, is not accurate.
"I get back up there as much as I can, but I don't make a big deal about it. I don't call ahead," Manning said. "I get up there when I'm nearby and I slip in and go to the cemetery or whatever. We've got a place in Oxford, but we only got up there twice this fall. I just don't have time. When anyone asks me where I'm from, though, I say Drew. I don't even say New Orleans."
Manning still hunts a lot in the area with friends, and he came to the 25th reunion of his high school class. He said he hopes they have another soon. You have to have two or three classes together, the school was so small, and getting everyone together isn't easy.
Bloodlines run deep here. The Mannings have a section of the Drew Cemetery, where headstones for Archie's parents, grandfather and uncles rest.
In the book "Manning," which Peyton and Archie did with author John Underwood, Peyton Manning talked about a visit with his father to Buddy Manning's grave after Peyton's rookie season in Indianapolis.
Said Peyton: "He got a little emotional telling me about it. ... He said what a shock it had been ... Then he said he knew his dad loved him but had never told him so, and I was reminded how often he tells us -- Cooper and Eli and me. How he never ends a telephone call without letting us know. How he's always been there for us."
Those graves are well tended . You see from where the name Eli comes, from the Elisha Archie Manning line. You see from where the name Peyton comes, from John Peyton Manning, an uncle.
But at the high school, there is little evidence they ever went to school there.
Still, the students (Williams, Colton Lakes, Carlos Lakes and Quinterius Polk) help search, and the picture of the 1967 class is found and there's Manning, smiling broadly.
Dorothy Burton, the school's retired principal, said the fact the kids don't know where Manning's picture is located is not unusual.
"When the schools integrated, the white kids went to North Sunflower Academy and the white teachers followed," Burton said. "The kids who remained didn't keep up the legacy very well.
"Besides, these kids don't care anything about Archie Manning. They love Peyton and Eli."
Said Manning, "I get that a lot."
'My mother was special'
The Manning house, the home where he grew up, the place where his father committed suicide when Archie was about to become a junior in college, is on the corner of Green and Third, across the street from the high school.
The little clubhouse in the back that used to have a sign that said, "No girls allowed," still stands, but is in disrepair. The house was actually three that were pulled together, dragged in from the fields to become one. Inside, it is wood, all wood, from the floor to the ceiling.
Archie's mother Sis lived there until she died.
"As all our mothers are, my mother was special," Manning said. "She pretty much ran the town. She was a legal secretary for the three lawyers in town and she worked until she was in her 80s."
Billy Williams, who lives a few blocks away from the Manning house and who has collected what memorabilia there is in town, said Sis was a wonderful woman who refused to leave the town.
Williams kept things like the cast that Manning wore in a game against LSU after he broke his arm during his senior year at Ole Miss, a cane that Archie used after breaking an ankle in the eighth grade, programs from the only time Drew ever celebrated Archie -- Feb. 27, 1971 on Archie Manning Day -- and tons of other things. He donated those things to the drugstore.
Williams has plenty of things packed away.
For example, one Christmas before Ole Miss played Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl after Manning's junior season, he decorated his yard in Ole Miss Christmas things including a sign that read, "Weather forecast, cold, hog-killing weather." The Mannings loved it.
In a letter from Sis Manning to Williams in the year she died, she wrote, "Drew has been good to me and I say thank you each day for my life and being fortunate to spend the happiest part of my life here."
"Growing up in Drew was wonderful," Archie said. "I wouldn't trade it for anything. But the town has gone through a lot over the years."
The house has much of the original wood, and Archie's 10-by-10¤½ room had a built-in desk that would swing shut. In his parent's room, there are two built-in beds. Wise has placed two Ole Miss pillows on the bed, the first of many Manning-related items to come, she hoped.
Archie didn't know the Wises were doing this, but he instantly remembered Mary Frank.
He used to come by Mary Frank and her husband J.C. White's pharmacy downtown every day.
"He would get a chocolate milkshake," said Wise, who married Billy Wise 14 years ago when her husband died.
Archie was baptized at the First Baptist Church, which is next to the First United Methodist Church, when he was 13. He got a pin for attending 13 consecutive years of Sunday school in that old brick church.
"I remember my son Robert and Archie were baptized the same day," Wise said. "I remembered about halfway through the service that I forgot to give Robert a towel. I worried about that the rest of the service, but afterward, he just said, 'I used Archie's.'¤"
"That was just part of it when we were growing up," Archie said.
Staying put in Drew
It was a cold evening, with a little light slipping through the thick air from a couple of lightpoles, and Evelyn Primer, a lifelong Drew resident, sat in a car that was billowing smoke out its tailpipe. The car was parked next to The Corner Store, the sort of a place that has a bar in the back. Young men stood outside in the bitter cold, some getting belligerent as the night went along, shouting at the car.
"Don't worry about them," Primer said. "There's just no jobs around here. There's no work. If people want to find jobs, they have to go to Cleveland or somewhere else. They're just drinking."
Primer, slim, with dark skin and hair pulled tight, a gold left front tooth and two missing from the front of her mouth on the bottom row, smiled a bit when asked why she would stay here.
"My mama and daddy are sick. Somebody's got to take care of them."
So she stayed, in a town that according to the 2000 census, has a median household income of $19,167. Forty percent of the population was below the poverty line.
The mayor, Jeffrey Kilpatrick, called Archie last year and asked if he would help with setting up Girls and Boys Clubs. Manning said he would.
"They tried to get things set up," Wise said, "but none of the parents would help chaperone the kids and eventually they shut it down because the kids were too rowdy."
But the town darn sure knows who Eli Manning is, and everyone in this town said they would be watching the Super Bowl, including Primer. The kids at the school all talked about being excited Eli is in the Super Bowl.
Still, you can't get an Eli Manning jersey anywhere around this town or even in sporting goods stores in Cleveland, 12 miles away.
Eli mania hasn't surfaced, just yet. But "my daddy is a big Colts fan because of Peyton," Deirjohn Williams said.
"Sis used to tell me all the time that you hadn't seen nothing yet, that Eli was going to be better than Peyton," Andrews said.
So, it's Eli's time to shine.
Everyone knows it.
"Tell Eli if you see him to send us some jobs," Primer said, and she cackled.
She asked for money for a drink, pocketed a $5 bill and walked back into The Corner Store.
It was another dark night in Drew, which is a terribly long way from Phoenix..
Billy Turner can be reached at bturner@timespicayune.com or (504) 826-3406.