Take down the fishin’ pole

Ripples float endlessly across the lake as a large frog croaks in the distance.
The line running from the end of my pole drifts slightly with the light current pulling away to my left as the red and white float moves with the ripples.
I had spent much of my time working thus far in my first fishing adventure to bring the hook with the worm slid upon it into the drink.
My childhood adventures of fishing with my dad, especially early in the learning process reflected the scenarios of the episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” where “Howard Sprague” went fishing with Andy and the rest of the guys only to spend more time with his hook in a tree or his own pants than in the water.
In retrospect, my dad’s patience as he taught me the process and answered the questions the younger version of myself asked was amazing. Why do fish eat worms? Why do we have to put the hook through the worms, can’t we just throw them out and let the fish eat them? Why do we have a float on the line?
Why do I do better throwing the line behind me rather than in front of me?
These are just a few that I recollect in the process.
My father was someone much like myself – outdoor sports were not really his thing – but he felt it was important that I learned them, that we shared the experiences that he had shared with his father and uncles. There are lessons that are shared in the midst of the teaching that settle deeper beyond the immediate task at hand.
The bonds created between a father and son through positive joint experiences; respect for the world around us and the other people and creatures who share it with us; and an understanding about what is expected of you when you are a man.
I am so glad that he did take this time with me, oftentimes, it seemed strategically placed around tough points in my life when I needed the input, the lesson, the hope, the insights that he wanted to share.
Establishing the groundwork at a younger age, when the years passed allowed us a smoother path.
When as an older teen, I wished to push the bounds of our relationship by asserting my own authority on my life, we were able to work through those tense moments when I was spreading my wings, and make them teachable moments in the life experience. They added to our relationship rather than pushing us farther from each other.
Perhaps my father’s early passing set my prospective of our relationship forever in the nostalgia of my youth. We never really got to the good stuff of the best friend relationship that should have happened as time went on because he was still having to spend time being my dad. Not that such a role would have ever ended, but as I was able to take on more of the responsibilities for my life after college, I would have hoped that the lessons could have taken on a different form.
It is in this time of the year, that my father’s memory seems closest to me, because we shared so much in the summer months. I am thankful that God sent me to be in family where I had two parents who were present and participating. So many youths do not, and as the news of the world seeps into my life, I can’t help but wonder if a few more participating, present mothers and fathers would have prevented many of the headlines which plaque our country.
Are you present in your children’s lives? Are you teaching them the lessons needed? Do they respect other people, creatures, and cultures? If they don’t, may I suggest a fishing trip. There is something iconic and idyllic about those opening TV shots of Andy and Opie Taylor walking with fishing poles in hand along a country road. Funny how so many long for the simplicity portrayed. We may never have it, but it never hurts to take the walk.
“So, take down your fishin’ pole.”

Spittin’ for distance

I ran my hands slowly over the green skin stopping occasionally to bring together my index finger and thumb to flick the rind. I listened for that just right thump to tell me inside that the red fruit was perfect for eating.
I often heard boyhood stories of my father and his brothers about raiding a relative’s watermelon patch to “borrow” one on a hot summer day. Then they would carry it down and corral it in the creek where it would get it cool and later in the day, they would then go back and break it open and split it between them.
As they sat there filling themselves inevitably they would break into a seed spitting contest to see who could send them flying the farthest. Of course this had a mixed purpose, the next season, they may just find a vine with fruit on it growing right there by the creek.
Watermelons were one of bright spots buried within the summer heat and endless hours of work in the fields as the family scraped by on whatever was the crop that would bring the most return in the year. Whether, cotton, corn or tomatoes, the acres of rows seem to reach as far as the eyes could see and in with the summer sun beaming down, there seemed to never be an end to the tasks in front of them.
Perhaps that is why the kin folks forgave a little “borrowing” of watermelons to ease the load. Generally, they would get a good showing of whatever crop was being brought in on their table as well once the boys and their pa harvested.
As I pulled the watermelon off the table at the produce stand and put it in my car, I drove by the creek that my dad and uncles once put their pick. I could not hardly wait to get it home and get it cooled off so I could cut it open.
I had the salt shaker ready and waiting as later that evening I pulled it from the fridge and cut my first slice. I took it out on the back porch sat under the fan and took a big bite causing the red juice to run down my cheeks. With each bite, it seemed the sweetness got even better. I could not keep myself from spitting a few of the seeds for distance. Maybe next year, they will come up. Sure wish dad was here to spit along a few himself. He sure could make the distance!
May your summer be filled with the sweetness of great memories and wonderful times.

A Harley and an ice cream cone

One never knows from where your positive influences in life might come.
When I was an overweight teen on my first real job at the Dairy Queen, a man rode into my life on a black Harley Davidson to take a job as store manager who would widen my prospective on the world.
Ed Cross fit all the stereotypes a young teen might associate with a biker in the 1970s, long hair, wearing black leather and hanging out with other biker friends.
All I had seen of bikers in my life to that point were film depictions which left some initial fears and concerns on what to expect. Ed changed all those early misconceptions for me. He was a hardworking, caring individual whose laughter and jokes filled the hours of our work environment with a positive spirit.
His strength which carried an air of fear associated with it, kept a bunch of male and female teenagers as well as adults in line keeping food going out the windows from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
Ed taught me business tools which I have used throughout my life – doing product inventories, placing warehouse orders, counting cash register tills, and making deposits. I watched and assisted him in fixing equipment of all kinds to help us keep operating.
I saw him work double shifts when others were not available. I watched him reach out to help young people among our staff who were going through a tough time in their lives and who felt they could not turn to anyone else.
A few days ago, I learned that Ed passed away and it brought back memories of all the laughs, all the lessons learned and the hours spent together making an honest living. Without Ed, my early music career would have never flourished. Because of him and our store owner Joe Wyche, I seldom worked a Friday or Saturday, allowing me the opportunity to tour and appear around the country while keeping a steady income.
I think, at least I hope, Ed knew all the difference he made in the lives of us Dairy Queen kids. If there is someone who has made a difference in your life, I hope you will take the time to share with them the impact they had.

Film DVD – Randall Franks – Still Ramblin’ plus Trail of the Hawk – Ramblin’ “Doc” Tommy Scott

16498f5a1f4257ce9721b478a7f5a200Still Ramblin’ plus Trail of the Hawk – Randall Franks hosts and directs


Randall Franks hosts and directs Still Ramblin’ plus Trail of the Hawk
The story of Ramblin’ “Doc” Tommy Scott America’s Last Real Medicine Showman

Hosted & directed by TV star Randall Franks – Still Ramblin’ follows Ramblin’ “Doc” Tommy Scott’s unique career from the foothills of Georgia to stardom through interviews, rare photos, and never before seen film footage and western Trail of the Hawk

Randall Franks, Tommy Scott and his Hollywood Hillbillies, Frankie Scott, Sandra Scott, Gaines Blevins, Eddy Williams and Luke McLuke. Yancey Lane, Betty Jordan, Dickie Jones, Lafe McKee among others.

Ramblin’ “Doc” Tommy Scott’s (1917-2013) Last Real Old Time Medicine Show reached its 110th year in 2000 and celebrated on PBS in 2001 for with the release of Still Ramblin’ plus Trail of the Hawk.
The documentary “Still Ramblin’” gives a unique look at the life of America’s Last Medicine Showman. It follows his career from the foothills of Georgia to his days at the Grand Ole Opry and in Hollywood. Through interviews, still photos and never before seen film footage, writer/director Randall Franks includes greats like Roy Acuff, Stringbean Akeman, Sunset Carson, Carolina Cotton, Col. Tim McCoy Charlie and Bill Monroe, Lash LaRue, Minnie Pearl, Al “Fuzzy” St. John, Curly Seckler and many more.
“I just got the video back. Watching it brought back so many great memories of good times and old friends,” Scott said.
“Still Ramblin’” also features the digitally-restored anniversary edition of the western drama “Trail of the Hawk” featuring the music and comedy of Tommy and his Hollywood Hillbillies, Frankie Scott, Sandra Scott, Gaines Blevins, Eddy Williams and Luke McLuke. “Trail of the Hawk” was the directorial debut of Academy Award nominee Edward Dymtryk. The film, which was based on a James Oliver Curwood story, also featured western stars Yancey Lane, Betty Jordan, Dickie Jones, Lafe McKee among others.
Franks said, “It took us 2½ years to complete this project but it was more than a century in the making.” Franks, a former co-star of TV’s “In the Heat of the Night,” hosts the project which will run in PBS syndication around the country.
“All my life, I heard of “Doc” Tommy Scott. I had the pleasure of meeting him around seven years ago and have since been a guest star on his stage show. He is surely one of America’s greatest treasures,” he said.
Actor Tommy Barnes of Nashville has worked on countless projects including Tom Hank’s “The Green Mile.” He edited “Still Ramblin’” at his High Moon studios. ”It has an abundance of rich pictures . There was so much amazing color home movie footage,” Barnes said. “As a western fan what impressed me the most was that Tommy had home movie footage of his daughter playing with Lash LaRue. As a child, I sure would have liked to have done that.”
In 1936, Scott joined “Doc” Chamberlain’s Medicine Show, founded in 1890, when it rolled through Toccoa, Ga. When Chamberlain retired, he gave Scott the medicine and the show. As one of country music’s first generation of stars, he began recording for RCA in the 1930’s.
He performed as a regular on some of the South’s biggest radio shows from WWVA Wheeling, West Virginia to WSM’s Grand Old Opry in the early 1940’s joining stars like Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Bill Monroe, Ernest Tubb and Pee Wee King. Scott said, “We played live on many stations and by transcriptions on the powerful Mexican stations like XERF Del Rio, XEG Monterey, Old Mexico.”
Like many of the stars of his era, success came from a combination of factors: the new medium of radio beamed their live performances all over the country; the popularity of new hillbilly records which started in Atlanta in 1923 with Fiddlin’ John Carson and film “Soundies” which showed fans what their favorite singers from radio looked like on the silver screen.
He benefited from all of these mediums, but his most lucrative medium was touring with his stage show. Scott said, “We kept the show on the road almost 350 days a year.”
Scott’s stage show has taken many names in it’s long history. The Georgia Peanut Band and The Hollywood Hillbillies are a couple of them. He has even run several shows at one time featuring different stars. It is this dedication to the public that has put his show in more different towns than any other entertainer. He has walked on stage for more than 29,000 performances in front of more than 25,000,000 paid admissions.
In the days when westerns were king of the silver screen, fans could have not only seen him on screen in musical films like “Southern Hayride,” “Hillbilly Jamboree,” and “Hobos and Indians,” but for their 25 cents admission children catching a Saturday matinee at the Wink Theater in Dalton or the Tivoli in Chattanooga could have seen him live and in person with his whole show. “We played so many of those theaters, three to five shows a day. Sometimes more than 200 in one year,” he said.
Scott’s status as a treasure is evidenced by many accolades, including his recent nominations for the National Heritage Award, his 1976 placement in the Country Music Foundation’s Walkway of Stars and the 1996 – 2008 Georgia Music Hall of Fame exhibit, the museum’s largest.
Scott, who counts appearances on television with Johnny Carson, Oprah Winfrey, David Letterman and Walter Cronkite, was also a pioneer in that medium hosting two of television’s first country music shows, “The Ramblin’ Tommy Scott Show” and “The Smokey Mountain Jamboree.”
With over 500 recordings to his credit, his chart success with included three titles “Rosebuds and You,” “Dance With Her, Henry,” and “Mule Train.”
He wrote around 300 of his recordings including “Rosebuds and You,” recorded by numerous artists, and the bluegrass standard “Rainbow of My Dreams” popularized by Lester Flatt. While Lester Flatt, of Flatt & Scruggs, is considered the author of “Rollin’ In My Sweet Baby’s Arms,” Scott said, “Lester and I many times had a friendly discussion about who adapted the folk song first.”
In the seventies, when Suffolk marketing launched selling albums on television, Tommy Scott, Boxcar Willie and former Scott show alumnus, Slim Whitman reached an audience of millions in their homes.
Scott’s unique career spanned eight decades.

Music DVD – Atlanta Live

Atlanta Live DVDMusic DVD – Atlanta Live

$25 Donation

Share America Foundation DVD features Randall Franks and his band in 2008 performing You Better Get Ready, This Little Light of Mine,  In the Garden,  Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,  The Old Black Fiddle, Interview,  and Amazing Grace

Musicians: Randall Franks, Mark Bramlett, Barney Miller,Bill Burdette and Bill Everett

To receive a copy of “Atlanta Live” DVD featuring Randall Franks and his band sharing an interview about Share America his work in television, and performing six songs, send a tax deductible gift to Share America Foundation, Inc. of at least $25 and request Atlanta Live

Music DVD – Concert of Celebration

Concert of Celebration DVDMusic DVD – Concert of Celebration

$25 Donation

Share America Foundation, Inc. features in the 2012 release a cast of music stars and legends Starring Randall Franks with Guest Stars (In order of appearance) Paul Brown, The Marksmen Quartet, John and Debbie Farley, Ramblin’ “Doc” Tommy Scott, and Luke McLuke, Curly Seckler, Charlie “Peanut” Faircloth with the Trust Jesus Singers, Chubby Wise,  David Davis, Johnny Counterfit, Gary Waldrep, Barney Miller, Jeff & Sheri Easter, Bill Monroe and The Blue Grass Boys, Butch Lanham, Doodle and the Golden River Grass,  Dale Tilley, Jesse McReynolds, Johnnie Sue, and Nelson Richardson. Two Hours of Entertainment, 29 Musical Performances including these favorites and more:
Ain’t Gonna Study War ♫ Amazing Grace ♫ Grandpa Was A Farmer  ♫ How Great Thou Art ♫ Wayfaring Stranger ♫ Crying My Heart Out For You ♫ You Can’t Stop Time ♫ Lord, I Am Coming Home ♫ When the Saints Go Marching In ♫ Golden Slippers ♫ Farther Along ♫ The Way Is In God’s Hands ♫ The Other Side of Heaven ♫ Cripple Creek  ♫ In the Garden ♫ Swing Low, Sweet Chariot ♫ You Better Get Ready ♫ Back Up And Push ♫ When They Ring Those Golden Bells for You and Me ♫ What a Friend We Have in Jesus ♫  The Old Gospel Ship ♫ Meet Me in Heaven ♫ I Want to Go There

Two Hours of Entertainment, 29 Musical Performances featuring a host of stars raising funds for the Share America Foundation, Inc. available for a $25 donation.

Music DVD – Precious Memories

PreciousMemoriesfrontMusic DVD – Precious Memories

$20 Donation

International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame Legend Randall Franks leads a cast of talented performers sharing sacred sounds of bluegrass, country and Southern gospel for a new DVD.

“This program highlights some wonderfully talented entertainers who have been so gracious to support our efforts to encourage youth helping us raise funds for scholarships,” he said.

“Precious Memories” was filmed live from the stage of the 166 year-old Ringgold Depot in Ringgold, Ga.


International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame Legend Randall Franks leads a cast of talented performers sharing sacred sounds of bluegrass, country and Southern gospel for a new DVD.

“This program highlights some wonderfully talented entertainers who have been so gracious to support our efforts to encourage youth helping us raise funds for scholarships,” he said.

“Precious Memories” was filmed live from the stage of the 166 year-old Ringgold Depot in Ringgold, Ga.

The project features performances by Franks, “Officer Randy Goode” from TV’s “In the Heat of the Night;” Southern gospel performers Tim Owens and Journey On, and Calvary’s Blend; bluegrass guitarist Butch Lanham; country vocalist Johnnie Sue; and two Share America scholars – pianist Ryan Stinson and banjo player Cody Harvey of Mountain Cove Bluegrass.

The 18-song collection includes some great standards such as “Precious Memories,” “Amazing Grace,” “Just a Closer Walk with Thee,’ “Old Time Religion,” and “The Old Gospel Ship.”

“The gathering also recognizes the contributions of one of our founding directors – the late Joe Turner who made such a difference in the lives of so many youth and is also dedicated in memory of the late director Gene Lowery,” Franks said.

To raise awareness of the release, Share America has released two recordings, “Precious Memories” and “The Purple Robe,” featuring Independent Country Music Hall of Famer Franks to bluegrass and gospel radio stations through AirplayDirect.com.

The DVD, produced in association with Peach Picked Productions and Tim Witt Studio of Rocky Face is a fundraiser for the Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship Fund. The Share America Foundation, Inc., a Georgia non-profit, presents scholarships to talented musicians who excel in the Appalachian musical arts. Share America hosts 10 fundraising concerts annually at the Ringgold Depot.


Randall Franks – Mountain Opry Memories

Mountain Opry Memories cover4Randall Franks – Mountain Opry Memories

$16 Donation

Randall Franks Mountain Opry Memories from Share America Foundation/Crimson Records
Musicians included on various performances:  Randall Franks – Fiddle & Guitar Terry Hatfield – Guitar, Brian Blaylock – Mandolin,  Stacy Wilcox – Banjo, Randy Pryor – Bass, Tom Adkins – Fiddle, Ken Holloway – Guitar,  John De Grote – Bass, David Davis – Mandolin, Charlie “Peanut” Faircloth – Harmonica, Charles Chambers – Guitar,  Joe Chambers – Guitar, Rocky Ramsey – Guitar, Gary Denham – Bass, Jimmy Givens – Banjo, Merielle Flood – Bass, Cody Harvey – Banjo, Mike Holloway – Bass, Wil Markham – Fiddle, Colin Mabry – Guitar,  Tyler Martelli – Harmonica & Mandolin, Austin Adkins – Guitar
Fire on the Mountain – 1999 *, Send Me the Pillow – 1999, A Tunnel Runs Through It – 2001, Crawdad Song – 2003 *, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot – 2001 **   with David Davis,  Boil Dem Cabbage Down – 2001 *, Sparta Impound Blues  – 1999, The Old Black Fiddle – 2001 *, Sweet Woman Blues – 1999, Faded Love – 2001, Red River Valley – 2003 *, The Kind of Love I Can’t Forget – 2001  with Peanut Faircloth, Turkey in the Straw – 2001 *, Foggy Mountain Breakdown – 2010  with Mountain Cove Bluegrass,   Ya’ll Come – 1999, Orange Blossom Special – 1999

Randall Franks shares impromptu music recorded live at the Mountain Opry on Signal Mountain in Tennessee near Chattanooga in this recording produced by Tom Adkins and Tom Morgan to raise funds for the Share America Foundation, Inc. Available for a $15 donation.


Randall Franks – An Appalachian Musical Revival – Live at the Ringgold Depot

AppalachianwebRandall Franks – An Appalachian Musical Revival – Live at the Ringgold Depot

$18 Donation

An Appalachian Musical Revival Live at the Ringgold Depot
Share America SAF101  (2008)
Randall Franks
With Four Fold, Buddy Liles, The Marksmen Quartet, Barney Miller, The Smoky Mountain Boys, The Southern Sound Quartet, The Testimony Quartet, Voices Won, Walnut Grove Bluegrass Band, The Watkins Family, Garrett Arb, Brady Hughes, John Rice, Deborah Taylor, Calvary Strings, Mt. Peria Baptist Church Male Chorus, Ringgold United Methodist Church Chancel Choir
Must Be A Reason – Randall Franks with The Watkins Family
Everywhere I Go – The Testimony Quartet
Old Country Church – Walnut Grove Bluegrass Band
Going Home – Four Fold
Uncloudy Day – Garrett Arb and Randall Franks
When God Dips His Pen of Love in My Heart – Ringgold United Methodist Church Chancel Choir
Walkin’ Along the Old Church Road – Garrett Arb
You’re Never Alone – Buddy Liles
An Appalachian Musical Revival Live at the Ringgold Depot con’t.
Way Down Deep in My Soul – The Marksmen Quartet
Wagon Tracks – The Marksmen Quartet
Jesus Loves Me – Brady Hughes
Have You Heard the News – Mt. Peria Baptist Church Male Chorus featuring Mose Lumpkin
New Manna – Calvary Strings
Ten Thousand Years – Barney Miller
The Glory Train  – John Rice and Randall Franks
This Is the Day the Lord Has Made – The Southern Sound Quartet
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing – Deborah Taylor
Back Then – The Smoky Mountain Boys
Roll Back the Stone  – The Watkins Family
In the Garden – Randall Franks and Voices Won

Share America Foundation in association with Crimson Records presents Randall Franks and list of music stars at the 2008 for An Appalachian Musical Revival Live at the Ringgold Depot to raise funds for the Share America Foundation, Inc. Donation of $18

Randall Franks – Golden River Fiddlin’

goldenriverRandall Franks  – Golden River Fiddlin’

$14 plus $2 S&H

Golden River Fiddlin’

Available in Crimson Records CD
Randall Franks and the Golden River Grass
John “Doodle” Thrower, James Watson, Wesley Clackum, Gene Daniell, and guest Sue Koskela
Crimson RG 2760 (1989)
featuring Ragtime Annie, Maiden’s Prayer, Back Up and Push, Precious Memories,
The Pilgrimage (to Bethlehem) (Randall Franks), Durham’s Bull, Old Rosin the Bow
Faded Love, Mississippi Sawyer, Orange Blossom Special

Randall Franks shares a collection of Southern folk fiddle favorites performed with the Golden River Grass.