This Paradox’s Blog

Posted in alabama, author, short stories, short story, writer

Story About a Chicken

story about a chicken

 

He was raised on a farm, and tilled the land. Working from sun up to sun down, one of those types. Taught by his mother to pray everyday. As a boy, they barely had enough. The garden was their bounty.

The dust and dirt, he worked. At the age of fifteen, he fell off the tractor and it ran over him, breaking his hip. Round here, fifty years ago, you didn’t go to the doctor. Not for a broken hip. You get up and make it work.

Over time the pain faded but he carried the limp with him the rest of his life.

Fresh back from the war, he met a woman. She looked like Olive Oil. She was nervous and wrought with grief. She carried a baby on her hip and one followed along behind her. As they walked down the road, the child wandered off, never to heard from again. I don’t know her name. No one does.

They married and raised the baby in a necessarily cold home. Ederd got a check and still worked. They always had a garden. Dot helped work it. She toiled over the rows and canned so they would have enough for the winter. She was too afraid to drive to town.

Ederd’s limp got worse. Soon he began sitting outside. Staring over the garden, into the sunset. He couldn’t walk anymore and repeated that routine for a couple of years.

His mean old neighbor gave him a chicken. A cocky little rooster that would sit with him and peck the ground around him. The chicken chased visitors away and was proud of himself. He was too small for the cock fights, but he didn’t know that.

One day, Ederd went to bed. He had one thing on his mind, and one thing only. He was going to die.

Ederd refused food and water. Soon he began to smell. The stench filled the house. But, you better not call the doctor.

He got what he wanted. Seems like he always did.

He called on me before he died. But, he never said why.

The same day the coroner came to peel him from the bed sheets, the rooster also died. Call it a coincidence if you want. They weren’t buried together. But that chicken gave up the spirit on the self-same day.

 

Jamie Godwin

Posted in alabama, country, country music, entertainment, Keepingitreal, leadership, women, women leaders, women in business, lyrics, music, realwoman, tennessee river, Uncategorized

Used to be Radio Host

I left my position as founder of ACR and Radio host of this internet radio station last year. I have been a music lover since childhood and actually tried to play my mama’s acoustic 50’s Gibson SG as a teen.

When my friend from Texas asked me if I wanted to be involved, I thought it would be fun. He lived in Waco at the time and wanted it to be a country music station. I said sure, I’ll help however I can and began producing my own show. The idea of American Crossroads Radio was pretty simple. We discussed how it would be older county and developed a Gospel show for Sundays. We kept it old-timey sort of for a while.

My show though, was to be unique. It was to play hand picked songs by me and include my commentary and stories. I had complete creative control.

First we started out with a three hour time slot on Friday night, then later, due to my other obligations, dropped it down to one hour and it played several times every weekend.

At first it was pretty easy to find songs I liked to play and could come up with something to say to introduce myself to the listening audience. I’m pretty adorable and have intentionally kept my southern accent just the way it is.

After a few shows, I noticed something.

I noticed that it was becoming increasingly difficult to fill 1 out of every 5 songs with a female voice. I thought that wasn’t too much to ask for: one song in every block I produced.

So, I had to dig. I wanted to stay true to the vision of ACR and play older classic country as much as possible but still retain my own creative integrity. I started pulling from other genres to fill the need.

County has always been played in my life in Alabama. I was familiar with the current country music attitude towards women. You hear it in almost every song: “tan legs, get in the truck, drink this, let’s kiss under the moonlight.”

Honestly, we’re more than that.

My friend that invited me to join for no other reason that he believed in me then began cutting me down and calling me names because I chose to play female songs from other genres to fill the gap while he began playing the newer country music.

You can bet I researched Country Music Hall of Fame,  and I was dismayed at the number of strong female role models in comparison to the male inductees.

There’s ya something to think about while you’re driving down the dirt road with the windows down. What kind of message are we sending to the women and young girls?

The last straw was when I played Alicia Keys and was ridiculed. I love her.. and I walked away from ACR. How’s that for full creative control?

I actually had so many listeners at one point my show shut down the TuneIn App, which is really cool so if you’re one of my radio show listeners – THANK YOU!!!

BUT…

How did the fifties way of thinking about women never change? Why is it so hard to change it now?

Jamie Godwin, used to be radio host, now one of the owners at Riverbank Productions.

www.riverbankprouctions.com

Let’s make some good music.

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Posted in alabama, lyrics, music

That Ain’t My Idea of Free

I not only like to think about songs as what they say but also the coinciding philosophy behind it. “Free Bird” the Lynyrd Skynyrd power ballad is no different in this way. As the most requested Rock song of all time, we all know it. We all love it. Who doesn’t like “Free Bird?”

Let me introduce my view of “Free Bird.” In my opinion it is just like Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken.” Do you know the meaning of the most recited at graduation poem? I blogged about it three years ago and have been holding this one in for about that long.

Read my article about “The Road Not Taken” here.

Hint: the roads are the same.

Robert Frost The Tricky Devil Genius

In “Free Bird” ohmygosh. Listen to the song. Listen to the music and the whining of the guitar. The actual lyrics. Allen Collins, lead and acoustic guitarists’ girlfriend, Kathy, whom he later married, asked him, “If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?” Collins noted the question and it eventually became the opening line of “Free Bird.” Then Van Zandt took it and wrote the rest of the song in 4 minutes. That just poured out of him like he personally knew the lamenting.

If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me
For I must be travelin’ on now
There’s too many places I got to see

If I stay here with you girl
Things just couldn’t be the same
‘Cause I’m as free as a bird now
And this bird you cannot change
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
And the bird you cannot change
And this bird you cannot change
Lord knows, I can’t change

Bye and bye baby, it’s been sweet love, yeah yeah
Though this feelin’ I can’t change
Please don’t take it so badly
‘Cause Lord knows, I’m to blame

And if I stay here with you girl
Things just couldn’t even be the same
‘Cause I’m as free as a bird now
And this bird you cannot change
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
And the bird you cannot change
And this bird you cannot change

Consider this: In the first stanza he’s worried about being forgotten. Says he “must” go, places he’s “got” to see. Not he doesn’t care, wants to go, wants to see…

Second: He’s convinced that things couldn’t be the same if he stayed anyway. Sounds like he’s again worried, like he doubts his ability to make her happy. Then, goes on to say he’s “free” and can’t change-not won’t – and calls upon the Lord, the almighty himself, to back him up.

Third: Tells his love bye. Again, he’s worried about how she is going to taking it. He can’t change and it’s all his fault.

Fourth: “FREE” and you can’t change him.

Really, free means it has to be that way? He can’t change it? She can’t change it? Its sad and lamenting and heartfelt. He’s a slave. “Free” is ironic. Just like in Robert Frost’s poem, its not even understood cause nobody reads.

Jamie Godwin

Firekeeper

Posted in alabama, blog, buckspocket, Cherokee, documentary, entreprenuer, Keepingitreal, leadership, women, women leaders, women in business, mountains, realwoman, small town usa, stateparks, tennessee river, the grove oak store, trail of tears, usa

Cherokee History: We’re Still Here

Have you seen my Cherokee version of the Gadsden Flag?

GADSDEN FLAG HISTORY

Gadsden began his rise to prominence as a merchant and patriot in Charleston. He prospered as a merchant, and built the wharf in Charleston that still bears his name. He was captain of a militia company during a 1759 expedition against the Cherokee.

By 1775, the snake symbol wasn’t just being printed in newspapers. It was appearing all over the colonies: on uniform buttons, on paper money, and of course, on banners and flags.

The snake symbol morphed quite a bit during its rapid, widespread adoption. It wasn’t cut up into pieces anymore as in the Ben Franklin cartoon depicting the colonies and their need to unify.

Gadsden_flag_of_the_left

It was usually shown as an American timber rattlesnake, not a generic serpent. Further exemplifying the power of the United States. We don’t know for certain where, when, or by whom the familiar coiled rattlesnake was first used with the warning “Don’t Tread on Me.”

don__t_tread_on_me_by_vekticolor-d4w6gro

BUT….

As you may know from my recent snake slaying, I don’t like snakes and I ain’t afraid of them either. I killed one the other day, cut it up, and skinned it.

The flag, now often used as a symbol of the American Tea Party Movement or to represent Libertarians, was once used to rally early Americans to battle the Native Americans, knowing the importance of a unified front, to dismantle the Cherokee people. The old “Divide and Conquer.”

NOW FOR SOME CHEROKEE HISTORY

In 1819, the Cherokee began holding council meetings at New Town, at the headwaters of the Oostanuala (near present-day Calhoun, Georgia). In November 1825, New Town became the capital of the Cherokee Nation, and was renamed New Echota, after the Overhill Cherokee principal town of Chota. Sequoyah’s syllabary was adopted. They had developed a police force, a judicial system, and a National Committee.

In 1827, the Cherokee Nation drafted a Constitution modeled on the United States, with executive, legislative, and judicial branches and a system of checks and balances. The two-tiered legislature was led by Major Ridge and his son John Ridge. Convinced the tribe’s survival required English-speaking leaders who could negotiate with the U.S., the legislature appointed John Ross as Principal Chief. A printing press was established at New Echota by the Vermont missionary Samuel Worcester and Major Ridge’s nephew Elias Boudinot, who had taken the name of his white benefactor, a leader of the Continental Congress and New Jersey Congressman. They translated the Bible into Cherokee syllabary.

THEN…

In 1829, gold was discovered at Dahlonega, on Cherokee land claimed by Georgia. The Georgia Gold Rush was the first in U.S. history, and state officials demanded that the federal government expel the Cherokee. When Andrew Jackson was inaugurated as President in 1829, Georgia gained a strong ally in Washington.

In 1830 Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, authorizing the forcible relocation of American Indians east of the Mississippi to a new Indian Territory.

Andrew Jackson said the removal policy was an effort to prevent the Cherokee from facing extinction as a people, which he considered the fate that “the Mohegan, the Narragansett, and the Delaware” had suffered. But, there is ample evidence that the Cherokee were adapting modern farming techniques. A modern analysis shows that the area was in general in a state of economic surplus and could have accommodated both the Cherokee and new settlers.

The Cherokee brought their grievances to an US judicial review that set a precedent in Indian Country. John Ross traveled to Washington, D.C., and won support from National Republican Party leaders Henry Clay and Daniel Webster. Samuel Worcester campaigned on behalf of the Cherokee in New England, where their cause was taken up by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

In June 1830, a delegation led by Chief Ross defended Cherokee rights before the U.S. Supreme Court in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia.

In 1831 Georgia militia arrested Samuel Worcester for residing on Indian lands without a state permit, imprisoning him in Milledgeville.

In Worcester v. Georgia (1832), the US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall ruled that American Indian nations were “distinct, independent political communities retaining their original natural rights,” and entitled to federal protection from the actions of state governments that infringed on their sovereignty. Worcester v. Georgia is considered one of the most important dicta in law dealing with Native Americans.

Jackson ignored the Supreme Court’s ruling, as he needed to conciliate Southern sectionalism during the era of the Nullification Crisis. His landslide reelection in 1832 emboldened calls for Cherokee removal. Georgia sold Cherokee lands to its citizens in a Land Lottery, and the state militia occupied New Echota.

The Cherokee National Council, led by John Ross, fled to Red Clay, a remote valley north of Georgia’s land claim. Ross had the support of Cherokee traditionalists, who could not imagine removal from their ancestral lands.

The Treaty of New Echota was a treaty signed on December 29, 1835, in New Echota, Georgia by officials of the United States government and representatives of a minority Cherokee political faction, the Treaty Party.

The treaty established terms under which the entire Cherokee Nation ceded its territory in the southeast and agreed to move west to the Indian Territory. Although the treaty was not approved by the Cherokee National Council nor signed by Principal Chief John Ross, it was amended and ratified by the U.S. Senate in March 1836, and became the legal basis for the forcible removal known as the Trail of Tears.

After news of the treaty became public, the officials of the Cherokee Nation from the National Party representing the large majority of Cherokee objected that they had not approved it and that the document was invalid. John Ross and the Cherokee National Council begged the Senate not to ratify the treaty (and thereby invalidate it) due to it not being negotiated by the legal representatives of the Cherokee Nation. But the Senate passed the measure in May 1836 by a single vote. Ross drew up a petition asking Congress to void the treaty—a petition which he personally delivered to Congress in the spring of 1838 with almost 16,000 signatures attached. This was nearly as many persons as the Cherokee Nation East had within its territory, according to the 1835 Henderson Roll, including women and children, who had no vote.

Benge Detachment passed through the present community of Grove Oak in
northeast Alabama in the fall of 1838. A few years ago the Alabama Chapter of the Trail
of Tears Association, under the guidance of Gail King, placed a sign in this small Sand
Mountain community marking the original path taken by more than
1,000 Cherokees. Unfortunately, someone stole the sign, much to
the disappointment of Jamie Godwin, who owns the Grove Oak
Store nearby.
Ms. Godwin, an artist and author, couldn’t wait for another
sign to be erected, so she painted a large replica on the side of
her building. Also a preservationist, her store is near Buck’s
Pocket State Park, a pristine area in Marshall, DeKalb, and
Jackson Counties. Due to a lack of funding for park staffing, some vandalism has
occurred there, including some damage to what is known as Cherokee Cave. Ms.
Godwin is leading an effort to protect the cave from further damage, and to prevent
dumping and vandalism.
Buck’s Pocket contains a large rugged gorge that served as a haven for some of
the Cherokees who managed to escape removal.

Credit : Alabama Chapter of the Trail of Tears Newsletter

Around here, in Northeast Alabama, we Cherokee remain. We are the remnants who still reside on our ancestral land. We still watch over it. We still protect it.

You can’t starve us out, and you can’t make us run. We stand here, regardless of our poverty, regardless of our not being recognized, regardless of accolades or criticism.

We see the truth being scattered and lost as dust in the wind and wonder if something can’t be done. We escaped removal, we are Cherokee. We’re still here.

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For me, simply living everyday is in its own way a small act of rebellion.

I’ll write more later on the history of the Cherokee.. It should be remembered. It should be taught. Share this and tell everyone I ain’t afraid to go after a snake.

Jamie Godwin

Cherokee Landowner of Cherokee Ancestral Land and “We The People- A Documentary” Director, a documentary about the Native struggle that still continues today in the Dakotas and all over the U.S.

Posted in alabama, art, blog, creative, Uncategorized

A Light to Rule the Day

Art Explained

The first painting I created was thought of one night while I was writing my second novella. This piece titled “A Light to Rule the Day” focuses largely on the sun. The sun is a life giving tool that measures time for us. As you can see the sky is several shades and doesn’t indicate whether or not it is sunrise or sunset. This is purposefully done meaning to coincide with our human existence where early life is oftentimes similar to later life. The road is ones individual life and the confusing dead tree with green grass point to the changing seasons that continue but do not affect the sun, or the inescapable eventual death. The other trees represent the friends we lose along the way. In the far right, you see a building. This building would be a place of work, and is reminiscent of a tombstone.

A Light To Rule The Day By Jamie Godwin Brooks

Posted in alabama, blog, disaster relief, leadership, women, women leaders, women in business, nature, small town usa

Shelter from the Storm

 

 

100_0911

 

I closed my store, the Grove Oak Store, way out in the middle of nowhere today because of the threat of severe weather. We here in North Alabama are no stranger to tornado outbreaks. Just like all over the state, we know the threat is real.

As self appointed mayor of my small town, I have been working for over a year to raise awareness and funding for a tornado shelter here in my small hometown.

I was told it would take $100,000, and so far, I’ve got $400.

Someone told me yesterday that I look tired. I guess I am tired. I guess I’m tired of not being listened to. I guess I’m tired of being blown off.

We know a tornado is bound to hit Grove Oak again. One destroyed my father’s house when I was a child,here in Grove Oak, and there have been several since then that have wreaked havoc on this small mountain farming community.

Out here, to the best of my knowledge, Grove Oak has 1,200 residents. Hey, we matter.

And it’s not a matter of “if” a tornado will do damage again, it’s a matter of “when.” This we know. This I know.

For years I have volunteered to help clean up debris, deliver survival supplies to victims, cook and cry with those effected by Mother Nature’s fury. For years I have been a safety and preparedness advocate, speaking out on the importance of preparing for the storms.

I have spoken to the county’s Emergency Management Agency multiple times about this issue. I have hosted a fund raising concert to try to come up with the funds. I have asked our state representative recently for help.

I take it seriously and have the land to put it on, thanks to the local fire chief.

So, how do we get things done when we’ve been working for years with no results?

Maybe I am tired, but I sleep well knowing I have done everything in my ability to prepare for the worst here in my home town and for my home town.

If a tornado wipes us off the map today, I’ll help with the clean up. I’ll hold your hand. And even though I may be tired, I won’t give up.

Jamie Godwin

 

Posted in Science

Outer Space

I was having a discussion about space with my three sons. I wanted to make sure they knew about the NASA taking pictures at the event horizon a few days ago and talk about what amazing things might be found out by the data gathered. How the definition of planets might change, and the possibility of planets out there that could sustain life.

I said to them, “A black hole is a rip in the fabric of space and time.”

My youngest, 8-year-old Canaan, said “Like little Jimmy went through space and ripped it.” Little Jimmy is a mischievous boy character they tell stories about. Little Jimmy is always messing things up.

Then Canaan says “What if on the other side of the black hole there is a place with no time.”

Y’all, let that sink in.

We talked about how black holes are so dense not even light could escape them. B brought up the fact that whatever NASA sent to study the black hole could likely be torn to pieces.

I said, “True, that’s possible.” Then I said “Hey, what is the color black? Isn’t it all the colors combined?”

We all agreed that yes, that is what black is. So, I say “Instead then, of looking up at the night sky and thinking of it being filled with vast nothingness, let’s think of it as all the colors. All the colors combined.”

All the colors. Not void. Not colorless.

Think about that the next time you gaze up at the night sky.

We also talked about life-sustainable planets, and the possibility of them being out there, exactly what the meaning of “life” is, building on the previous discussion I blogged about how fire could be considered a living thing. See that here Tending the Fire

A and B had plenty to say about orbits and axis’ and temperature variations of some planets. How they didn’t really care about life on other planets as much as if human life could be sustained there and agreed that that was most important in the search.

Kids, aren’t they amazing?

Here’s my art piece I finished a few months ago “The Other Dimension.”

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Can you figure it out? I’d love to hear what you have to say. Send me an email Jamielynngodwin@gmail.com.

Jamie G