Poems, Prayers, And Promises

Our friendship is like the beautiful shadows of evening,
Forever growing, till life and it's light pass away....




S-Y-L-A-C-A-U-G-A, My Home town. Few could pronounce it none could spell it, so they gave it a number. It worked so well, they started doing it all over the country, and the zip code was born in Sylacauga. It is a rather large town now, but when I was growing up there it was a small country town. The largest industry we had was a 400-pound Avon lady. Our fire department consisted of one old brown dog. We didn’t get June bugs till August. If a long tail cat came through our neighborhood, he was a tourist. If you wore shoes, you were considered a sissy. Every boy had a slingshot and knew how to use it, for sport, and self-defense. All of us were poor but didn’t know it. I remember the second pair of shoes I ever had. Daddy took me into the shoe store and I tried on a pair of shoes. We were admiring them and I’ll never forget what the clerk said. He said “ Do you want to put the old shoes in the box or just slide them up your legs?

We didn’t get to have ice cream until it snowed. Most people shoveled their walks off, we ate ours off! We learned early, NOT TO EAT THE YELLOW SNOW! Sometimes we had to if we didn’t get much snow.

My kinfolks live in Sylacauga. Uncle Roy and Aunt Bertha, now Aunt Bertha was a rather large woman. She kinda looked like a T.V. walking down the street. Uncle Roy called her Chifferobe. I told him one day “Uncle Roy, a chifferobe is short and wide, and has short squatty legs and big ole drawers”. He said, “that’s your Aunt Bertha” Aunt Bertha loved shoes, in fact she would try on every pair in the store. One day she was trying on shoes and she looked down, the clerk helping her with the shoes was bald, she thought it was her knee, and being the modest person she was, she threw her dress tail over it, the clerk thought the lights went out and struck a match. And in Sylacauga, my hometown the term “HOT PANTS” was born.

Uncle Roy was the town drunk, his left arm was longer than his right, cause they were always dragging him home by his left arm. Aunt Bertha was always on a diet, she tried every kind of diet you could name. Uncle Roy said he liked the prune diet best. She didn’t lose any weight, but he always knew where to find her.

Cousin Leonard had never been out of Sylacauga, and he always wanted to see a big city, he was so disappointed, he was going to Birmingham and he came back. We asked him how he liked Birmingham, he said he didn’t see it, he said he saw a sign just as he arrived in the city limits that said Birmingham left, No need me staying so I came back home.

 Uncle Fred liked to play golf but he had a problem, he couldn’t see where the ball went. Someone told him Why don’t you carry uncle Phil with you, Uncle Phil has eyes like a hawk, He can see anything, Uncle Phil is 87. So uncle Fred carried Uncle Phil out on the golf course with him.

Uncle Fred drew back and hit that ball a mile. He looked at Uncle Phil and said, did you see where it went? Uncle Phil said I sure did. He said well where did it go? I forgot.

We haven’t seen cousin Eugene in a while, he won a trip to Mexico and he’s been down there ten years trying to win one back.

 My Bro in law Ed and nephew Lathan were the drinkers in the family. They were driving and drinking one day and Lathan said we must be getting closer to town, Ed slurred why? Well we’re running over more people.

Well that’s my hometown and I wish everybody could have grown up there.

Submitted by “G-Man”




Ode To Fat Daddy
By: E.S. Glosson

T'was on a frosty morn,
two buzzards bumped bottoms and Fat Daddy was born
His Mother said My Lord, no way
His Daddy said leave it alone and it might fly away
He grew six foot into the sky
I didn't know they piled it that high
They said it would get better when he began to mature
I knew it wouldn't, him being full of hoarse manure
It was fast cars and fast women till he met Trish
She floored him, no brag, she was some kind of dish
She married him for better or worse
He couldn't have done any better
She certainly couldn't have done any worse
You can pick your friends, but not your kin
But being a bro in law to him is truly a sin
He cusses, he swears, he has no class
He even threatens to whup my bony little @$$
Not long after the wedding, he had a son on his knee
I asked how? He said she stood under a certain tree
He's slow of foot and dense between the ears
and his I. Q. has gotten worse throughout the years
With all his learning and P.H.D.s
the boy can't even spell Hoop cheese
For a BMW, he used to pine
Now a good BM will do just fine
Yes, on his Mother's knee, a cake he did patty
There's no one in the whole wide world like
My Fat Daddy

Love ya "G-Man"



My Thoughts On My Day

Time Measures 62 Today, I Say 18

By:  Polly Bell Banks

July 27, 2001

Yesterday I was only 18, paused to take a short nap, and awoke to find that life had moved on leaving my youth behind and in its place an older,
wiser, more mature woman - wiser only by the hard, life lessons learned. 
I look in the mirror and think “matronly”.  
What happened to the girl that was and who still lives inside in my heart and mind? 
My thoughts are still young – I enjoy having fun – I love to laugh - and I still
look forward to tomorrow, but why can’t I move at the pace I need,
what caused this slowing of my step, where did all this gray hair come from?
I’m still young!  
I have a young heart that still hopes to find that one, lasting  love that has so far eluded me in all the years past. 
I still dream!   I still hope!   I still need! 
These are not an old woman’s thoughts! 
I idly hum the old song  which states that “love, like youth, is wasted on the young”. 
I believe that!  
We were in such an awful hurry to leave “youth” behind, and now we cling to those memories, thinking
that by owning them, we can go back. 
I just want to believe that I never left my youth.  I only changed the housing, not the engine which propels me.  
So what if my step has slowed!  Now
I have the time to treasure each moment and totally appreciate the truly important things in life – love,
family, sharing and giving, a beautiful sunset, a front porch swing, an evening with good friends –
those things that youth couldn’t slow down to appreciate. 
I don’t have to run the race anymore. 
I can just relax and enjoy the win!  
We have it all! 

I am Woman!   I am Free!

I am Young!   I am Me!




" Ode To Michael "
By: Kay Cheshire Cirlot

There was this certain something
that set him apart from the rest 
Perhaps it was his cool British demeanor
or that empty ring upon his chest
Or was it that spontaneous chuckle
that would catch him unaware
Perchance it was the call he made to me
as he strolled down the street in Brazil

Whatever it was, it captured my soul
so much so I could barely breathe
My heart on a string like a yo-yo
to delight him as it took wing
Did he think I was a little toy
to be kept in a box at night
That he could retrieve to play with him
when things weren't going quite right?

Had he only smelled the daffodils
as they blossomed in the spring
Or heard the distant whip-o-wills
from the meadows where they sang
But he never addressed the colors
in the autumn of our grays
He expected "fresh horses" from me
every - single - day

And yet, at night, in my solitude
when all around me is quiet
He comes and rests gently beside me
as I recall the magic of that smile
And I drift back again to a special time
when my world was filled with his light
And I am consumed with 'what might have been'
had he just had the courage to try

So fly away M' Darling
answer the fifes of the Siren's call
Fine-tune the patois of mariners
compromise an ancient tongue of Gaul
Shroud yourself in clever disguise
try them all on for the perfect 'sighs'
Squander your sunsets in search of gold
for it will surely warm you as you grow old

But should you find yourself alone again
and need a tourniquet for despair
Come swing in that swing again with me 
for alas, I wait for you there
To color my life with your intellect
as only you could do
To feel your breath upon my skin
Ah ! upon my skin ... just once, once again.

February 1, 2001


Goodbye, Eula
by Jimmy Holmes
July 21, 2001

They packed most of her life away in boxes today.
Some of it went to the municipal landfill.
Some it it went to her relatives.
But most of it is packed away in boxes,
Waiting for whatever its final disposition is to be.

Because she can’t do it herself.
You see, she, too, has been packed away in a box
At the Care Center,
Awaiting her final disposition.

Nowadays, that’s what we do with elders and their possessions ---
We pack them away in boxes out of our sight.

"Out of sight, out of mind."

And when the inevitable end comes,
We pack the elder away in another box,
And finally say "Goodbye."

The shame is that it would have been less hypocritical
To just say "Goodbye" when we packed her away
Into the box at the Care Center.

The joy is that God allows no box to hold a human spirit.




Last Poem
By; Charles Dean


Just this one bro, please post it
Yes, I'll quit, taper off bit by bit
Not cold turkey, but I promise you
Post this one, and another one or two

No, It's not a problem, I can quit
You sound as if I'm a poetry addict
I know, to you, it seems that way
But dang it all, I've got something to say

It's just that ideas and words spin through my head
So much, I can't sleep when I go to bed
Hugging the commode, oh please let me get through this
I'll never, never write another poem, I promise

I know I need help, this is a curse
Can't think of anything but another verse
I'll call a friend, I promise this time
Hey, Jimmy, can you spare a rhyme

I started out with one little poem
Before I knew, it had a life of its own
With a little help from my friends, I will quit
Hello, I'm Charlie, A recovering poetry addict




Sylacauga Connection

By: Charles Dean

This little ode is meant to be a roast,
But please accept it as a toast
To all that contribute to this site
For our enjoyment and delight

The comraderie is swell, made reunions a blast
Talking 'bout ole times and things from our past
How great is that? That was the plan
Way to go Bobby…you da man

This page has been great, don't you know
Filled with pictures, poems, and tales of long ago
The message board has everything, it's too much
Jokes, info, prayers, promises and such

Lest the site seem benign, For it surely is not
Peruse some history with me, It's been a riot
These are but a few of the things I've heard
While awaiting a reply to my post.. not a word

Have to admit, don't really give a dang
Just want some input from some of the gang
Don't get much, so now I'm freaking
Getting PO'de, in a manner of speaking

Been a quiet member of this little group
But listening intently to ES make soup
Said not a word, yet would've been fun
To tell him hamburger don't go in soup ,but on a bun

Followed Cubby closely, from Pyro
to Klepto, to Gyno, to Porno
But he's been cool, don't you think?
Give an addy, tell a joke, burn a bridge, then give a wink

Revisited the village with Jimmy Holmes
Amazed at the memories through his poems
Want to give him praise, yet I'm torn
Didn't he bring up the subject of fried cream corn

Heard 'fried cream corn' 'til it ran out my ears
Listened to ED's spear chuckers and q___rs
Gonna kick my butt, he may say
He don't know my grandma is a card toten member of the KKK

Now Lathan's always playing golf with a star
Writing tunes and strumming his ole guitar
With his songs came fame and glory
It's hard to believe, but it's a true, true, true story

Horace E has contributed a lot
Ask a question, he'll give it a shot
One of the notables from dairyland
If he can't answer it, his friend Old Fogey can

Chuck Jones plays the straight man for this motley crew
But heck he's just a child, what? fifty two
For as young as he is, he does a good job
Wasn't it him that explained what to do with the cob

Ah, Kay Cheshire, the girl Cubby blubbers about
What was it "Earth Angel" or "Twist and Shout?"
Did you read her really great poem, boy! gave me a rush
Walking barefoot down the road with a sweetgum tooth brush

Marilyn and Ivey, what a joy, that pair
After all the garbage, a breath of fresh air
Provided pics, pushed us to the reunion, too
Hey, ya'll didn't give more cream corn recipe's.. did you?

Polly Bell Banks came in and confirmed our fears
Is that what we really look like, after all these years?
Not to fret, Purvis came to the rescue
He can make our pic look like it use to

Kay Elrod's just as pretty as ever
Still talks a lot and is just as clever
Jimmy House drops in now and again
Hey Trapper John, where've you been?

Naomi keeps everyone in line 
With her comments from time to time
She looks great after all these years
Drives Polly and the rest of us to tears

Now see how attentive I've been
Know what was where both now and then
It's been fun traveling through these pages
Remembering times that will last for ages

Writing all this has been uplifting, yet draining
Think I might need some sensitivity training
Well I plan to do just that.. true confession
Just enrolled in Chucky's  politically correct, chat session

The Sylacauga connection has been great for me
Visiting old friends and all for free
If any of you has been ticked, you've taken the bait
Just talk to my old new best friends, Ed, Alan, and Buddy Pate


Dedicated to my Friend, Geraldine Morris, and her new Haircut
By: Polly Bell Banks

She left Bill's Dollar Store and ran up the street
Trying to reach the Post Office, its closing to beat.
She bought her stamps, but left her keys behind
So upon returning to her car could no keys find.

The doors were locked and she needed to see
If there in the ignition, her key might be,
But nightfall had come. It now was dark,
And the car was locked, its gear in park.

She needed some light to see inside
But saw no one to help, far or wide
So she searched through her purse to hopefully find
Something of use of any old kind.

In the bottom of her bag she found an old Bic
So she lowered her head and gave it a flick.
The next thing she saw was sure to amaze,
Her afro on fire in a big orange blaze.

She danced in place, slapping fire with her hand
Unaware of one rushing with a big water can.
Said she "White folks should know, now this is dire,
You don't throw water on a burning grease fire."

She smothered the blaze with the hem of her coat
Chances of saving her afro, now gone or remote.
She now sports a much shorter, simpler hairdo
Lucky to have hair at all from what it's been through.

May 2001



Note: This happened about 30, almost 40, years ago at the crossing at Busy Corner

The Crossing
In Memory of a Little Boy Named Ricky Johns and
My Mother, Polly T. Bell
By: Polly Bell Banks

Twelve year old boy, 
A million freckles on his face,
With an old man's eyes,
Too much of life already seen,
Too much, too soon.
Bicycle basket filled with papers
"Hey, Mister, you wanna buy an 'Anniston Star'?"
Now, one week 'til school starts,
Papers all sold today, time to play.
Play, play; ride, ride.
Melting ice cream cone in hand
"Pedal faster, you can make the crossing!"
Pedal, pedal; faster, faster,
Loose gravel, spinning tires,
"Wait, look out!"
Too late! The train! The end!
And my mother bought his burial suit
Instead of new jeans for school.



R. Purvis Walker

One decade for growin' and playin',
A second for maturin' friendin' and datin',
The third for lovin', weddin' and birthin',
A fourth for raisin' kids and payin' bills.
Five for dreamin' planin', and realizin',
A sixth for reflectin' and regroupin', 
Seven for retirin' and grandkiddin',
The eighth for rememberin' the sensations,
A ninth for carin' and forgettin,
Perhaps, a tenth for slowin' and prayin'
Hello, Willard Scott





(a song for my alter-ego)
by: Lathan Hudson

I was a pirate when I was a kid
I plundered and looted like good pirates did
I sailed the great oceans till the world became small
When I told my mamma, 'I've seen it all'

She said, "You ain't seen everything yet
More treasures lie waiting beyond the sunset
You may think this is as good as it gets
But you ain't seen everything yet"

I sowed my young oats so reckless and free
It was me for the ladies, the ladies for me
Racing through life with eyes open wide
Sometimes I'd hear it, a voice deep inside

Saying, "You ain't seen everything yet
In life there are deals & in life there are debts
You win when you leave with the fewest regrets
You ain't seen everything yet"
You ain't seen everything yet…You ain't seen everything yet
You can say that you've looked till there ain't nothing left
But you ain't seen everything yet…

She took her soft things from the top dresser drawer
Of our honeymoon cottage by the big ocean floor
I gazed in wonder at the prize I had won
When she dimmed the lights, my soul came undone

She said, "You ain't seen everything yet
Tonight's just the first night…Well, you know the rest
If you think our love is as good as it gets
You ain't seen everything yet"

We sowed our young oats so reckless and free
It was me for my lady - My lady for me
Now two brand new strangers with eyes open wide
Yell "Mama, Hey Daddy, would ya come look outside"

Saying, "You ain't seen everything yet
First one in line gets to swing on our swing set
There's a big world awaiting for us, you can bet
And you ain't seen everything yet"

I dreamed about heaven one star-studded night
St. Peter was locking the Pearly Gates tight
The streets were so shiny… the grass was so green
I told him 'This beats all that I've ever seen'

He said, "You ain't seen everything yet
These gates swing both ways…I can still let you in
You mortals think life is as good as it gets
But you ain't seen everything yet

…I was a pirate when I was a kid
I plundered and looted like good pirates did…


My best friend, Kay, and I will celebrate (?) our 62nd birthday later this summer so in anticipation I wrote the following to acknowledge the big event (otherwise known as Happy Social Security Year)!

By Polly Bell Banks

I'm wide awake. Can't sleep this night.
I'm filled with confusion, worry and fright.
Tomorrow's my birthday - my sixty second.
Am I getting old? Well, duh, I reckon.

The aging process is a sad disgrace.
Nothing seems to be in its original place.
I now have a mustache over my lip
And my belly swings freely between my left and right hip.

Wild hairs sprout from my big double chin
And large brown spots cover my wrinkled skin.
The back of my legs look like a Rand McNally map
And my once perky bosoms now lie in my lap.

It cuts off the air when I reach for my toes
As I struggle to cram them in "Big Mama" hose.
And my once agile fingers that flew over keys
Hang cramped and knotted down by my knees.

My teeth now sleep in a denture cup
Next to the Polygrip (if they loosen up).
I need longer arms if I want to read
And my hearing has gone completely "to seed".

And what ever happened to my long, flowing hair?
It's half fallen out and some spots bare.
And what's with this color anyway.
I want to be natural, but not mousy gray.

They've surgically removed most working parts
And I pop pills to replace them as each day starts.
Cholesterol clogs my arteries and veins
As my blood pressure rises, it never wanes.
I've traded my sports car for a 4-door sedan
And no longer cruise in search of a man.
I've replaced dances and parties with reading a book
I no longer have the energy it took.

I'm somewhere between menopause and total senility
And sex has been traded for peace and tranquillity.
I've given up cheesecake and anything sweet
For a bowl of oatmeal or warm cream of wheat.

But the aging process does hold a nice surprise.
I'm now perceived as sage and wise.
I'm no longer carded at the liquor store
And with the senior discount, I can eat much more.

I've never be able to remember a name,
But now I get away with it. It's sort of a game.
And driving's more fun, no big deal!
Boy, do they move over, with a gray head at the wheel.

I get moved ahead in the checkout line.
They expect us to die at any old time.
And when they think each day may be your last
You can take the only piece of whatever's passed.

You can manipulate your children if you play it right.
Say "You just go on. I GUESS I'm all right"
As you clutch your chest and turn quickly away.
Yeah, you'll have them with you for another day.

So maybe this birthday won't be so bad.
Could be the best one I've ever had.
Hey, I might have more fun in store,
Think I'll sign up for twenty more.

Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday to me. 
Happy happy, happy happy, happy birthday to me.
May 2001


By Polly Bell Banks, SHS Class of 1957

Reuben ruled the halls with a hand of steel
While "Fess" pushed the band with maniacal zeal.
Velma threw erasers to show participles dangle
And Naomi posed problems too hard to untangle.

There was Rosary's senior project to carefully read,
From Chaucer to Shakespeare with incredible speed.
Bobby Holmes sung the praises of the State's "Big Jim"
Just to make Mrs. Heaslett go ballistic on him.

Mrs. LeBron tried to develop our creative side,
While Beth and her books gave us a place to hide.
From Mrs. Holley we learned the mystery of Trig.
While Elizabeth Hilt taught on preserving a fig.

Tom and Louis turned young boys to men
While Lanette tortured girls in the high school gym.
Those are but a few of the legends I knew
Who helped me then and saw me through.

It seems all girls were named either Pat or Sue.
There was Lovvorn, Cook, Nivens just to mention a few.
We had only one Nina, one named Pearl
But all were pretty - the 50's girl.

We wore only dresses, no pants, please!
And skirts were so modest, well below the knees.
Hoops and crinolines were worn under skirts,
And ropes of long beads hung over boatneck shirts.

We wore oxfords and loafers and ballet shoes.
No sneakers allowed, were the "don'ts" and "do's".
We wore stark white socks with a wide, fat cuff.
One thickness of them was never enough.

We wore our hair natural, before "teasing" was in.
And set it at night with water, rollers, and pin.
In spring we bleached a platinum streak.
No parent would allow it. We had to sneak.

The SHS boys dated the younger girl
While the Comer guys gave our seniors a whirl.
There was Pat and Tommy, Sue and Ted,
And Anne with Gene, Allen, or "Red".

There were those gorgeous boys from 55
Who won the State and kept football alive.
There was Byron, Wendell, Ralph, Casey, and Earl
And they turned the heart of many a young girl.

There was Donnie the "preacher", Walton the "DJ" guy,
Bobby the "mouth", and Arnold the "shy".
Guys named "Coot", Rooster", "Monk", and "Big Shot"
Can't remember them all - I forgot a lot.

Remember Ross Blocker and his big, golden Merc
And Gene Williams' hardtop that came down with a jerk.
There was "Fig" and his car called "The Little Blue Goose",
And continental kits which served no use.

We learned to "twist". We danced the "bop".
We hit the "Rec" for the weekend "hop".
We circled the Forks and the Dairy Queen,
But mostly preferred the White Midget scene.

We burned old tires on the Village's Twin Street
And egged passing cars on the Ft. Williams beat.
We threw cherry bombs in Mrs. Looney's yard.
Getting in trouble was never too hard.

We drank sodas at Hagan's, ate burgers at Dixie.
Annette was a mouseketeer; Peter Pan, a pixie.
Elvis was new. They called him "The King".
But personally I preferred Mathis to sing.

Movies were shown at the Comet, Martin, or Ritz
Now on the spot where the Library sits.
Stanton's took the place of the Woolworth store
And you enter LaCosta though the old Leader's door.

THE BANK now sits where Sears used to be
Across on the corner from the old A&P.
Elmore's is now Charlies; Hagan's, Miss Kitty's.
A lot of changes within our fair city.

So I'll end my travel down memory's road
And teenage wild oats long since sowed.
How quickly the years passed from the 50's 'til now.
But anyway we made it though I know not how!

April 2001



Midi Playing "Forever Young"
By Rod Stewart