Saturday, September 8, 2018

Burt Reynolds Was A Friend To Country Music


He was one of Hollywood’s most popular leading men during the ’70s and early ’80s, yet Burt Reynolds was a friend to country music.


Widely acclaimed as a landmark picture, the 1972 film, Deliverance, which co-starred Reynolds, is noted for the music scene near the beginning, with one of the city men playing "Dueling Banjos" on guitar with a banjo-strumming country boy, that sets the tone for what lies ahead. Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith wrote the original piece, "Feudin' Banjos" in 1955 and recorded it with banjo player Don Reno. Dueling Banjos” soared to #5 on the country charts in 1973 for Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell. The Deliverance soundtrack also includes several well-known country and bluegrass songs, like Old Joe Clark, Eight More Miles To Louisville, Farewell Blues, Earl's Breakdown, Fire On The Mountain, Bugle Call Rag, Mountain Dew and Rawhide.


In 1975, he starred in the picaresque film, W. W. and the Dixie Dance Kings. It abounded with country artists, including Jerry Reed, Don Williams, Mel Tillis and Roni Stoneman. Tillis sang "The Losing End," Conny Van Dyke sang "Harbor Lights" and Hank Locklin's "Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On," Jerry Reed sang "Blues Stay Away From Me," "My Bucket's Got A Hole In It" and the Stonewall Jackson hit "My Bucket's Got A Hole in It."


Jerry Reed became a close friend of Reynolds during the filming of W. W. and the Dixie Dance Kings and he tapped him for the 1976 movie, Gator, where he sang “The Ballad Of Gator McKlusky." That movie also featured “For A Little While” by Bobby Goldsboro.


Reynolds dated Tammy Wynette briefly during 1977, the same year that "Smokey & the Bandit" came out. It co-starred Reed and featured him singing the theme song, 'East Bound and Down.' The Smokey & the Bandit II soundtrack in 1980 featured 'Charlotte's Web' and "Do You Know You Are My Sunshine" by The Statler Brothers, 'Pecos Promenade' by Tanya Tucker, 'Tulsa Time' and "To Be Your Man" by Don Williams, 'Pecos Cowboy, Ride' and "Ride Concrete Cowboy, Ride" by Roy Rogers with the Sons of the Pioneers, "Here's Lookin' at You" by Mel Tillis and "Texas Bound and Flyin'" by Jerry Reed.


Reynolds scored two movie releases in 1977. The other one was "Semi Tough," which featured the music of Gene Autry, "Here Comes Santa Claus," "Don't Bite The Hand That's Feeding You," "Back in the Saddle Again," You're The Only Good Thing (That's Happened To Me), among others.


Reynolds co-starred with Dolly Parton in the 1982 musical comedy film hit, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, which included two of Dolly's compositions: "Sneakin' Around", which she performed as a duet with Reynolds and a reworking of her 1974 classic "I Will Always Love You," which topped the country chart in September 1982. Unlike the original version, the 1982 release crossed over to the Pop and Adult Contemporary charts as well.


The 1983 film "Stroker Ace" featured the Marshall Tucker Band songs, "Southern Loving" and "Victim Of Life's Circumstances." The Charlie Daniels Band sang the theme song, "Stroker Ace," Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers sang "What Have We Got To Lose" and Terri Gibbs sang "I Feel A Heartache Comin' On."

While Burt Reynolds did lot for country music and he did even more for the people who sang it. It was an ideal arrangement. For example, look what he did for Jerry Reed's career. But, look what Jerry Reed did for Burt.

Validation.


They weren't just co-stars. They didn't just sing in a Burt Reynolds movie. They were close friends. Just as Clint Eastwood had done in "Every Which Way But Loose," Burt made sure Mel Tillis made it into "Smokey and the Bandit II" and "Cannonball Run." He made sure Don Williams songs were on the soundtracks.

And what did Don Williams do for Burt Reynolds?

"Oh, and if you see Burt Reynolds Would you shake his hand for me And tell ol' Burt I've seen all his movies" "If Hollywood Don't Need You (I Still Do) by Don Williams

Validation.

Upon hearing about his death, Reba McEntire, who worked with Reynolds in the 1993 TV movie, "The Man From Left Field," tweeted, "My good friend has started a new journey. Rest in my peace, my friend. I’ll never forget the wonderful times we spent together."



Monday, September 3, 2018

Seeing God Through Joe Elmore


To the so-called believer who said he didn't see anything that said God was behind the finding of Pfc. Joe Elmore's remains:

You weren't there with us to witness seeing the hundreds of people who came to the side of the road to welcome Pfc. Elmore as we made our journey home with him. Some were dressed in their red, white and blue, some carried flags of all sizes, and some stood at attention to salute our hero soldier. Some clapped while others waved. Some even weeped.

Psalm 46:10 says "Be still, and know that I am God." Mary did just that. She prayed for 68 years that God would bring her brother home. All the while, she became resolute and unswerving in her task. Through the decades, she steadfastly persisted and as her faith became stronger, she undoubtedly grew closer to God. Mary learned to endure and, most importantly, she never gave up. A faith unwavering and unshakable, that was God working in Mary's life.

I was there on that day when Mary and her husband, Buford, stood beside the casket that rested on the airplane's conveyer belt. I saw her weeping and I remembered how she had prayed all those years. That was my first glimpse of God in all His Glory that day.

I saw Him again after our motorcade turned onto Highway 111 from Interstate 40 at Cookeville and proceeded northward to U.S. 127 at the Kentucky state line and then on to the destination at Weldon Haddix Funeral Home.

Oh ye of little faith, you weren't there so you wouldn't have noticed, like we did, that the overwhelming majority of those folks standing alongside Highway 111 and U.S. 127 were born 'AFTER' Pfc. Joe Elmore had died in battle. Generations of people who never knew Joe saw God in all His glory that day. His message to the large crowds of people who came to see someone they never even knew was, "Look at what I did for his sister, Mary! If I can do this for her, imagine all the things I can do for you!"

I realize the family wouldn't have had to wait 68 years, and Pfc. Elmore's mom, dad, brothers and sisters would gave gotten to bury him, fully intact had his body been returned that December back in 1950, but then God wouldn't have been able to reveal Himself the way He did on August 15, 2018.

You see, God's ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. I believe God answered Mary's prayers so that He could be glorified. She was an example of Leviticus 10:3, which says "I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified."

Thousands of people saw God in all His glory on both television and in person the day Mary and her family brought Pfc. Elmore's remains home. I was honored to be there to witness it myself.

"For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen." - Romans 11:36

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Finging Joe Elmore


Mary Bowlin prayed for 68 years that her brother Joe's remains would be found. She was 15 years old when he was officially declared Missing in Action during the Korean War.

Joe Stanton Elmore, the son of Ambrose and Bertha York Elmore, was born in the Neathery/Cave Springs area of Clinton County, Ky on January 27, 1930. There is a group photo of Cave Springs School from 1939 that shows him at age nine standing on the back row. The school was located on Albany Landing Road. Later, his family would move to the Seminary community near there.

He was 20 years old when he decided to join the Army. According to Mary, he said, "I want to serve my God and my country." Before the war in North Korea, Joe had never been out of the state of Kentucky, except for the occasional trip to Byrdstown to see a picture show. He had been assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, where he eventually became Private First Class Joe Elmore.

In late November 1950, Joe and approximately 2,500 other U.S. and 700 South Korean soldiers, primarily infantry, artillery and tank units, assembled into the 31st Regimental Combat Team, which was deployed along the eastern shore of North Korea in the South Hamgyong Province. On the 27th, about 120,000 Chinese troops surprised 30,000 U. S. troops and a few troops representing the United Nations. A brutal 17-day battle in freezing weather soon followed. The Battle of Chosin Reservoir, as it came to be called, was fought between Nov. 27th and Dec. 13th. On Dec. 2nd, the 31st Regimental Combat Team, later called Task Force Faith, was destroyed. Pfc. Elmore was declared MIA on Dec. 2, 1950 and was presumed dead on Dec. 31, 1953.

Numerous remains of soldiers who died during the Korean War were eventually sent to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as The Punchbowl, in Honolulu, Hawaii where they were interred only to be exhumed and kept in a forensic lab in the mid to late 1990's, following the creation of the Korean War Missing DNA Project. In 1995, Mary and her sister, Lola Smith, who died in 2012, submitted their DNA to that project. The Army found Elmore’s remains five years ago and informed Mary that they were 99.9% sure the remains were that of her brother.

Finally, on July 5th, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency informed Mary that the DNA she and her sister had provided all those years ago was a 100% match to the remains that the Army had located. They had accounted for the remains of her long lost brother. After 68 years, Mary's prayers had been answered.

Joe Elmore's remains will be flown home on August 15th. On August 17th, he will finally be laid to rest near his family at Story Cemetery, on the same Albany Landing Road, where he had received his schooling as a child.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

"Sustained by God's Gace"


Mary Bowlin's story surrounding the discovery of her brother Joe Elmore's remains is one of faith, hope and courage, and belief in prayer. It is a testament to how God's grace sustains us.

Just like Pauline Conner, who had prayed for twenty-two years that her late husband, 1st Lt. Garlin Murl Conner, would receive the Medal of Honor seventy-three years after his heroic efforts during WWII, Mary prayed for 68 years that her brothers remains would be found. Both women were warriors far superior to any epic hero.

But, how did Mary and Pauline accomplish what they did? Through God's sustaining grace. "The gift of grace is so powerful. It brings endurance in the midst of the most difficult times. When everything is tearing at the seams and hanging by a thread, God is there, holding it tenderly - keeping our faith intact and offering to us everlasting hope." - Danielle Muñoz.("Understanding the Power of God’s Sustaining Grace")

Sustaining grace is described as grace given at special times of need, especially during adversity or suffering. The dictionary definition for grace is unmerited divine assistance. Isn't it awesome that God desires to do that for us? Grace is clearly expressed in the promises of God revealed in Scripture. (from the article "Grace" at faiththeevidence.com. "As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me. Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." Psalms 55:16-17, 22. The good news is that God is in the business of giving fresh starts to people. He gives hope to the hopeless. Direction to the directionless. Help to those who need help. God is always good, all the time, and God’s plans will always prevail, even when our plans don’t. (from the article "Grace" at faiththeevidence.com.

Evangelist Billy Graham once said, "The will of God will not take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us." Through it all, Mary and Pauline found God's sustaining grace. They prayed unceasingly, always beseeching God’s help and His mercy, and their prayers were answered. Both women are true testaments to what pertinacity, patience and prayer can do for us. Their stories are proof that we should never give up and we should certainly never stop praying. God works all things together for good for those who love Him. He hears our prayers and will provide all our needs in His time and according to His will.

While researching for this story, I came across a word that perhaps is not used in most folks' everyday vocabulary. That word is Pertinacity. It describes a quality of sticking with something no matter what. It's called persistent determination. People who have pertinacity won't give up. They stick with things doggedly. Pertinacity is a mix of courage and conviction. It requires a strong will and self-confidence. Pertinacity can also be called perseverance and resolution. It requires forbearance and a willingness to endure emotional pain and suffering. Mary and Pauline were delivered by God's sustaining grace.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

"The Cause For Which We Stand"


I often write stories about the Civil War. I love the history behind it all, especially the local history from Wayne County down to Overton County and all points in between. There is much to be learned about the Civil War here in our own backyards. Like all of you, several of my ancestors fought in the war, and like many, I had family on both sides, and in the weirdest corners, too.

My 3rd great uncle was the notorious guerrilla Tinker Dave Beaty, who fought strongly for the Union cause. My 2nd and 3rd great-grandfathers, George and John Boles, were part of his Independent Scouts. On the other side, My 4th cousin, Fountain Frost, rode with Beaty's arch nemesis, the notorious Confederate guerrilla, Champ Ferguson, who fought just as strongly for states rights and 'the southern way of life.' My dad's side of the family in Overton County was mostly aligned to the Confederacy. My mom's side of the family in Fentress and Wayne counties were mostly aligned with Abe Lincoln, who felt it was his sacred duty as President to preserve the Union at all costs.

Very ironically, George Boles, although not yet officially my 2nd great-grandfather at the time, is believed to have killed Frost in a skirmish near Gilreath's Mill, not too far from Holbert Creek, and halfway between Chanute in Pickett County and Pall Mall in Fentress County, Tennessee.

It was sort of like that in the American Revolution, family on both sides, except...it was the same guy.

We all know the story of Benedict Arnold, the American soldier who switched sides and fought for the British during the Revolutionary War. But, have you met Ed Wade? He was 8th great-grandfather born on my dad's maternal side. To be exact, he was Edward C. Wade, Sr., born in York County, Virginia on April 21, 1727, and whose father, Colonel Robert Wade had fought in the French and Indian War. Yeah, that guy.

Edward was a Captain in the British Army at the beginning of the American Revolution, but in 1777, he and one of his brothers, so the story goes, decided to switch sides and join the Virginia Militia. It was a strong commitment to freedom for the Wade family, because two of Edward's sons, Richard and James, were killed while serving with the 6th Virginia Continental Line in 1776. After the war, Edward migrated to Georgia. He died on Nov. 4, 1790 and is buried at Little Creek Church Cemetery in Greshamville.

Switching sides was perhaps by conviction, perhaps it was because of personal belief, or perhaps it was to align oneself with their friends and families. Perhaps it was about wanting to please God. Each side believed God was on their side, but both prayed to the same God and read from the same Bible. So, whose side was the Lord on? During the Civil War, President Lincoln suggested neither side could claim God’s special favor. “The Almighty has His own purposes,” he said. It wasn't 'whose side is the Lord on,' but rather, 'who is on the Lord's side.'

An interesting side note locally: Edward Wade's second cousin, Richard Wade, left Virginia in 1777, the year Edward's father died, and moved to Boonesboro, Ky to help Daniel Boone defend the frontier. In 1801, he moved his family to a part of Wayne County that later became Clinton County. Richard is buried at Cartwright Cemetery. Also after the war, Edward's first cousin, Elizabeth and her husband, Samuel Denney, migrated to Wayne County and they lived on Beaver Creek.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Hymn: God Leads Us Along





George A. Young was an obscure 19th Century preacher and carpenter who spent a lifetime serving in small rural communities. Often his financial support was small, and it was hard on his family. But through all the ups and downs his faithful wife never wavered in her loyalty to God and to her husband. After a long struggle, the family was able to move into their own small home (which George built himself). But then, on an occasion when George was away preaching, some local thugs—who didn’t like his Gospel preaching—set fire to the house, and it was totally destroyed. It was out of that experience that Young reaffirmed his faith in God by writing God Leads Us Along.

Tribute to a Kentucky Farm Boy