(ODD)yssey, Blog Post

This tiny town is home to the Great Pumpkin weigh-off

Allardt, Tenn., a tiny spot on the map I’d never heard of before this year, has an amazing claim to fame: It is the home of the official pumpkin (and other giant veggies) weigh off. We were passing through on a short road-trip when we noticed a really cool water tower in Allardt and, of… Continue reading This tiny town is home to the Great Pumpkin weigh-off

Southern Thing Column

Rules of the Banana Sandwich are simple and finite

The column excerpted below originally appeared on It's a Southern Thing. To read the column in its entirety on SouthernThing.com, click here. Banana-and-mayo sandwiches are one of God’s simple pleasures: Cheap, easy to make and filled with that tangy-sweet combination that makes your mouth happy. Do I care that non-Southerners poke fun at this creation… Continue reading Rules of the Banana Sandwich are simple and finite

(ODD)yssey, Blog Post

This Alabama cemetery has a memorial to 5 doctors who died in epidemic

As we continue to live in the strange conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to tell the story of the heroes of Alabama’s yellow fever epidemic of 1888. The current situation gives us some idea of what medical personnel faced more than 130 years ago, although yellow fever spread differently and the virus was… Continue reading This Alabama cemetery has a memorial to 5 doctors who died in epidemic

Southern Thing Column

Let’s not judge 2020 too harshly; after all, someone invented Golden Girls masks

The column excerpted below appears on It's a Southern Thing. To go to the full column now, click here. Poor 2020. We need to stop blaming it for all our woes. But here we are nearing the halfway point of the year and already its reputation is so damaged it’s unlikely to recover. Sure, we’ve… Continue reading Let’s not judge 2020 too harshly; after all, someone invented Golden Girls masks

Blog Post

That time I interviewed Coach Pat Dye for my book about Auburn

Yesterday, the Auburn University family lost one of its legends, Coach Pat Dye, who died at age 80 after being hospitalized for kidney problems and was diagnosed with COVID-19. In 2011, I was honored to interview Pat Dye at his office at Auburn University, where he still did administrative work, for my book, “Hidden History… Continue reading That time I interviewed Coach Pat Dye for my book about Auburn