Below are excerpts from my upcoming book, The Extortion of Forgiveness: "August twenty-second of 1998 was a perfect day for a perfect couple. I stood with my closest family and friends, about to make Kristi my wife—not far from the cramped, campaign office in "Old Germantown" where we'd first met. We were about to exchange vows—in sickness and in health—for better or for worse. I knew what better meant, but worse – that I could not imagine. Not that day. Yet the vows we made before God ended up making us face the ultimate test, when “worse” would be defined years later." "Where exactly did our ball of yarn - our marriage begin to unwind? That’s hard to say, but my lack of patience and inflated expectations of how our life should have been scarred and wounded both of us. Instead of light scratches, our injuries turned into deeper wounds, the kind that are hard to heal and easy to reopen and inflict greater damage each time. Maybe it was my constant pursuit to build a perfect life on an imperfect foundation, with imperfect materials, all handled by imperfect people."
Author's Note: If you haven't done so already, read the prologue to the story here. The entire book will be released soon but because so many have asked, here is another chapter. Chapter 1 - Political Seeds I’m not sure who first coined the well-known phrase, “You can’t take the politics out of politics,” but I’ve repeated it thousands of times. Like it or not, politics plays a pivotal role in our daily lives, and for those of us who choose to be involved, it’s a lifestyle — not an occupation. My immediate family was always politically engaged despite the fact neither of my parents held elected office or were involved in day-to-day political activities. My paternal great-grandfather, W.D. Jopling, nicknamed “The Old Red Fox,” held multiple offices in McNairy County, Tenn., concurrently in the mid to late 1800s, serving as Constable and Justice of the Peace. He was the Brigadier General of the local confederate militia from 1860-1862, however, after the battle of Shiloh, Union troops occupied most of Tennessee for the remainder of the war. Blessed to be born and raised in the South, I originate from a long line of what were commonly known as “Dixiecrats,” [...]
Authors Note: This is the Prologue of my book, The Extortion of Forgiveness. As the chapter title explains, it was a beginning in many senses, as well as an end. It's been over six and a half years since I typed the first word but now I believe I've found a stopping point - not an end - but a place to stop and rest. I hope you enjoy and feel free to share the link to my website. I'll have the following chapters out soon. *** The Tennessee state capitol sits at the highest elevation point in downtown Nashville. Its strategic location used by Union soldiers during the War Between the States remains the center of political power in Tennessee. Its commanding structure boasts stone columns and ornate marble floors—something its architect, William Strickland, was so enamored with he insisted on being buried within its walls upon his death. I dreamed of serving in the capitol for many years; its historic sense of wonder was never lost on me even as I made the weekly 200-mile drive from Memphis to Nashville. I still got goose bumps whenever it came into view. In April 2009, I was in the middle [...]
Here is a link to a piece I wrote at OneSouthernMan this morning about the upcoming Jockeys & Juleps derby watch party on Saturday, May 7 benefitting Southern Reins. I feel safe in saying outside of Churchill Downs, the Jockeys & Juleps event in Memphis is THE place in the south to watch the Kentucky Derby. Tickets are $100 and will help hundreds of children and families better deal with their physical and emotional challenges. Thanks to Kirby Dobbs Floyd, Courtney Smith, Bridgette Ternary, Kim Jordan and group of their dedication and hard work putting this event together. Oh, and don't forget to wear proper "derby attire." Visit Oak Hall in Memphis and they'll help you pick out some bold racing colors.
February 17 has turned out to be a significant day in my life. It doesn’t rate as high as the birth of Jesus my birthday or the birth of my children, but through the years much happened on this particular cold and dreary day that has helped shape my life. Below are some of the significant events and the lessons from this day I’ve learned. Events: February 17, 1898 – my maternal grandmother, Pearl Roan, was born in Eva, Alabama. She passed away of cancer when I was 12 and from her I inherited my black hair (now salt & pepper) a desire to open presents early only to expect another on the actual present-giving day and the desire to pinch pieces of chocolate to see what’s inside before eating one. February 17, 1980 – one of my best friends during our senior year in high school, Michael Franks, died in a tragic accident when his truck hit a tree on his way home. We had been hanging out at a friend’s house and unlike most of us, he had not had a single beer, as was our routine on a small town Saturday night. However, it was me who [...]