red clay ponderings

Hmmm… what shall I ponder on today?



“Come on home man.” George Floyd

For a little while, in the last week of May, we were all together. We were on the same team. Not for Covid19, but George’s Team.

We stood together, against dirty men.

In particular, we formed a line of solidarity against a dirty man wearing blue. Most of us agreed that there are bad men in every profession… preachers, lawyers, doctors…all professions are laced with evil humans. But this time, it was a man who had taken a vow to serve and protect. And we served witness to his evil intentions. Through the camera lens of a seventeen year-old girl, from where she stood on a sidewalk in Minnesota, we, the whole world, watched that dirty slug murder a defenseless man.

I cried when I heard George’s heartbreaking whimper for “mama”.

We hear about the murders in Chicago. We say we want something to be done about the statistics, but we go about our business and we wait for the next news cycle. It was different with George. We watched his murder, as it happened. It wasn’t just numbers in a news ticker. We saw life leaving a man. We heard him plead for breath.

We heard him say the words of a dying man, “mama”. And it did something to us. It changed us.

I’m angry. We are angry. And my gut reaction is the cop (he doesn’t deserve to be called “officer”), should be charged, tried and sentenced to serve his time in General Population, in the roughest prison Minnesota has to offer. Wherever that may be.

It felt like hope, in our brief moment… when we stood together, in the same battle, on the same field. Unified.

But then the looting began. The violence against innocent people was broadcast live, just as it had been with George. But we didn’t have sympathy for the violence. The violence feels like a another violation against George.

We watched mobs working in an animalistic frenzy, stealing from people who had nothing to do with the murder of George Floyd. Fighting each other. Attacking innocent bystanders.

Property was burned.

All in defamation of George.

We’re not all on the same battlefield any longer. That solidarity ended when men and women decided to behave criminally. When they chose to hurt innocent people.

I am still defending George Floyd.

I am still calling the cop a cold-blooded murderer.

But what’s happening in Minnesota has nothing to do with George Floyd.

No matter how anyone tries to paint it or tell the story, the looting and violence in Minneapolis is about criminals taking advantage of a man’s death. It’s about benefiting themselves, not fighting for justice.

This is violent criminal behavior being perpetrated by criminals, against people who have done no harm.

If the rioters are truly fighting for justice for George, why aren’t they protesting at the police stations? Or their Governor’s mansion? The state capitol?

The riots are not about George.

It’s about taking what doesn’t belong. It’s about getting away with stealing new TVs and cell phones.

MLKjr brought change without stealing. Without hurting others.

Without violence.

Without riots.

Animalistic behavior will not change anything. And it will not help the loved ones of George Floyd.

The rioters, and those defending them, further degrade George as a man. They disrespect him as a human.

And that is repulsive.

✨ Dear Floyd Family,

My heart is broken for you.

I am praying for you. May you find peace in your memories, and comfort in God’s love.

I’m am praying for justice.

May it be swift.

In Sympathy,


* George pleading for an end to violence.

Mary Frances

In the fall of 1979, twelve year-old Mary Frances Stoner stepped off her school bus and minutes later was kidnapped, from her driveway.

She was driven away from her home, raped and murdered.

Her story is on Shotgun Road Podcast. The title of her episode is:

November 30, 1979

Incidentally, the actual road… Shotgun Road.. is just a couple miles from the location of her kidnapping and murder.

Shotgun Road Podcast can be found on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and most other podcast platforms.

It Was A Dark and Stormy Night….oh, wait.

When I was a kid, I looked forward to spending a week or two every summer with my aunt and uncle. My family lived in what I considered the “Boonies” of Cherokee County; but my aunt and uncle had moved from Cherokee to the big city of Cartersville. They lived on Douglas Street. My visit to Cartersville had all the makings of a great summer. Everything I needed was within the traveling distance of my bare feet.  Their house was a stone’s throw from Main Street; three blocks from the outdoor Olympic sized pool at Cartersville High School, and just a skip and a jump from the Iced-Slurpees of a convenience store on Tennessee Street. An old, wood-framed store was located a street or two behind their house.

 One afternoon, early into the visit of the summer of my twelfth year, my aunt sent me to the old store to pick up something she needed…most likely a Coca Cola.

Entering the ancient structure, my nostrils were greeted with the musty odor of old things. Once the screened-doors of the old store creaked to a close behind me, and my eyes adjusted to the dimness, I found it was a place I liked. The older man who owned the store kept a good selection of penny candy on hand and my Aunt Mae had told me I could buy some.

I enjoyed the independence and responsibility my aunt entrusted to me. I relished the idea of doing such a grown-up thing as walking to the store alone. But, the getting there that gave me trouble.

To get to the store, I had to walk run past a time worn, ivy covered house. The two-story home loomed eerily over the corner of Douglas and Carter Streets. At the corner, I had to pass immediately in front of the house and then turn left onto Carter Street. This journey that took me toward the rear of the shaded property.

Even on the brightest, sunniest, 100° days, there was something dark about that place. Bone chilling quakes rippled through me as I neared the house. No matter how many times I walked to the store, I could never shake the freezing fear I felt when I was near the house. Instinctively, I found myself avoiding the sidewalk in front of the house. Crossing to the other side of Douglas Street, turning left on the far side of Carter Street and then zig-zagging back when I was a safe distance from the “spooky’ house, made me feel somewhat protected. Holding my breath the whole time. 

Even now, more than four decades later, I can drive past the place and remember the coldness I felt there, on hot summer days. 

 This past Valentine’s Day, someone on Facebook posted this question: “Anyone know where the house is in Cartersville that is on the Travel Channel tonight?”

I scrolled down and saw that someone had posted an article with a photo of the house. My spooky house.

Turns out, in the 1930’s,  the area of the sidewalk in front of the house had been the scene of a murder. Which led to a kidnapping and a hanging. The murdered man was the Chief of Police of Cartersville….he had been seeing to the arrest of young black man. aged twenty-two years. While the young man was frequently incarcerated, the Chief would send for the prisoner’s beautiful, nineteen-year old wife. And so it went.

One night, the young man escaped and he and his brother drove to the home of the Chief, presumably to bring his wife home. She had confided in him, the details of the Chief’s despicable behavior.

When the brothers arrived at The Chief’s residence, he came outside. He was not willing to peacefully let the girl go. An argument ensued, and somehow the Chief’s gun wound up in the hands of the escaped prisoner.

The gun was fired. The Chief died on Douglas Street, in front of the house… (in the very spot where I had #fullbodychills on hot summer days).

The young man was arrested and jailed. A couple of nights later, local citizens kidnapped him from the city jail and lynched him in downtown Cartersville.

The young bride, fearing retaliation from the friends and family of the Chief, was afraid she would be killed as well. (she believed they would murder her before knew they would let anyone know what their Chief had been doing with the nineteen year old, black wife of his prisoner), She fled town and was never heard from again.

(This is the condensed version of the story, if you prefer to read more about the incident, I’ll post a link to an article written by local attorney Tony Smith. He quotes local historian Ed Bostick, author of “Lynchings in Bartow County” for the Etowah Valley Historical Society. He quotes and names many other local residents. You can read the full account of the murder of Cartersville Police Chief Joe Ben Jenkins, by scrolling down to “1930” at this link: ) Thank you Phil Bridges for the link.

No matter how you feel about ghosts, haints, haunts, ghouls and lingering spirits….I know I felt something cold and creepy on that street, four decades after the tragic events which unfolded there.           

 Thank you for reading,    Danita



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