I live in small-town Alabama. Let that sink in; “Slick Vic, the Chicago Chick” has been rooted in Northwest Alabama for over thirty (30) years! Why? How? What?!!
My deceased husband, Bob, was reared in the Shoals, community. Comprised of four small towns, the Shoals include Florence, Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia, and Sheffield, where Bob grew up, When our budding teenage daughter was in the urban distress of Virginia Beach, we initiated a geographical cure to small-town living in Muscle Shoals, the smallest, youngest city of the Shoals. It worked! Our daughter and son could relax in the comfort of family unity and relative peace of close-knit friends.
I now live in Florence, the largest of the Shoals cities. My friends and family can not believe I am still here, but beyond the peace of raising our kids in a small town, there are other perks, especially at this age.
I love my hometown Chicago and can’t wait for annual visits and travels to other cities, even abroad. However, when I come back to my home in Florence, I know I can fill a prescription 10 minutes flat; I personally know my banker, pharmacist, and police chief. No lines, traffic, or high levels of crime. For me, it’s just easier…for about three months; after that my stomach starts to grumble and I have to get away and find what I crave – an array of culture. We have a few galleries and festivals, but I need a bit more to feed my appetite. I’m not alone. Many folks from here travel far more than I, and most folks I have attracted from here are like-minded about art, spirituality, and politics.
Yes, I said it. Not everybody from Alabama voted for Mo Brooks or Tommy Tuberville; there are plenty of folks that want this state to grow in all areas, and they even vote progressively. However, the truth is that as a state, we are at the bottom of the barrel, and it’s up to us to get us out and to move us forward, first in mind, then in action. How?
I am too old to be out there in the streets with my daughter protesting. They march and I’m ready to crawl. (A lifetime resident, Glenda Williams, and I were talking. She remembers making a stand at the Colbert County Courthouse. We both recounted that we had our time during the Civil Rights Movement.) What I can do is write about what I see and encourage all I know to do what we can. If we chop the Alabama mountain of fear into molehills, little by little we can move the needle forward.
- It takes courage to rage against the backward machine in Alabama. Let’s help our candidates out. If he/she believes in a new Alabama, we can do all we can to support the candidate and run our mouths about policies that serve us all. Speak change into existence.
- If you experience bigotry, say something. Join Project Say Something and call out the roots of racism right here in the Shoals and nationwide. Call, write and do what you can to contact government officials. We can’t have our government dog-whistling racist tweets and rallying against the Constitution. Steve Marshall. John Merrill, Mo Brooks, Tuberville.
- Write and call to pressure Kay Ivey about that bill supporting Confederate monuments. These sordid figures do not represent who we should be.. We don’t have to protest physically; let your voices ring out for justice.
- Mr. K and I traveled to Tennessee to buy lottery tickets…along with a bazillion other folks from AL. Call, write, pressure Representatives to come out of the Neanderthal ages. Legalize the lottery. I mean, it ain’t like we don’t need funding for education; we are dead last in the nation’s ranking.
- Support events that promote cultures other than your own, and bring someone who hasn’t experienced other cultures with you. Go to festivals and galleries.
- Y’all wanna’ know where Aretha, Percy, Wilson Pickett, and the Rolling Stones used to record to get the funk they needed? Muscle Shoals!! Visit one of the famous studios; catch The Midnighters blues band wherever they are playing. This was the home of the Father of the Blues, WC Handy; see his home museum. Learn about indigenous ceremonies, drumming, and much more at the CORE Center. A tribute to his Yuchi ancestor, Tom’s Wall is a must-see. Browse to see what the Tennessee Valley Museum of Art has scheduled. See works by Alabama artists like Charlene Carter and many more.
- Robert Trent Jones golf courses are big in Bama too. (‘Better call Chicago golfer, Tyrone Banks).
- Social media is a strong collaborator. Post your views and visions for Alabama on your page. #forward #2021
I don’t envision Alabama tossing out its charm, (Mr. K here is from here too), but I want us to come into this century with ideals that are inclusive and receptive to change. I ain’t walking or running, but I’m writing and talking change for where my feet are planted – the red clay of Alabama. What?!
There isn’t a day that goes by without someone exclaiming, “Thank God, I woke up this morning!.” I’m screamin’ the same thing. I am also screamin’ that I want to leave a legacy of expansion and growth in this place where I am living my senior years. Do it for your grands. Wherever we live, we are blessed to be able to do what we can to make a change. Remember, to move a mountain, moving every molehill counts.
“It’s all good/God/love” – Victorine
© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.
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Author of Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.
“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”
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