Tears and Laughter: What makes a good day good? 

We tell people all of the time to “have a good day.” I tend say have an “easy” day. Some people carry it so far as to say “have a great day,” but…I guess that is where I draw the line.  

It is a positive practice to be grateful for all days. Relish every hour you can because it’s all so very temporary, but even with the mindset of gratitude – not all days are great. 

With any luck and careful planning, most days are good. But some will be bad. Some will be awful. Some…you will literally just have to survive. You just have to live through them. 

It is often the bad days that help us recognize the goodness in ordinary days. If you are relatively healthy, not grieving the loss of anyone, and nobody close to you is in pain or suffering – it’s the start of a good day. Time teaches that to everyone. 

And sometimes, when you aren’t planning it and when you are least expecting it, a really great day happens. 

I had one of those days Monday. 

Once a year, for just over 20 years now, a couple of friends and I go Christmas shopping. We pick a city and a date, and we plan the thing all year. We send each other reminders for months in advance and do a countdown waiting for it to arrive.  

On that day, we always leave earlier than any of us are used to functioning, so nobody has enough coffee, sleep, or mascara. That is part of the fun, and so is the drive. We claim we have shopped the full radius around us, including so far south we could practically see saltwater.  

This year it was narrowed down to the Galleria, or Prattville. After much deliberation, Prattville won out because it is closer and we can take backroads the entire way. 

So Monday by noon we had blown through several stores, a flea market, and a few sips of Sangria. It had been so cold at the flea market that two of us began to experience the first stages of hyperthermia. There were still patches of snow everywhere. Our other friend said she would normally have been cold too, but due to hot flashes, she was comfortable. We had walked through old memories and talked our way back again. 

It was at one of our last stops for the day. The afternoon was ticking too quickly along, and I was making final decisions at the jewelry counter when out of nowhere a familiar voice behind me said, “Hey, your mom is in here somewhere.” 

It was my stepdad and he was motioning towards where she was when I saw her. She was just standing there, her back was to me. Sunlight was pouring through the overhead windows around her. 

They live far on the east side of Montgomery. It is not unusual for us to have our own day together, especially now that she is retired and my kids are older. But it was unusual for us to meet in such an unexpected way and place. It struck me later how lucky I was to have had such a simple experience.  

That was my final thought that night after the day was done and the trip complete. Not all days are great and are ever perfect. But every once in a while, like snow in South Alabama, they happen…and those are the ones we treasure forever.

Amanda Walker is a blogger and contributor with AL.com, The Thomasville Times, West Alabama Watchman, and Wilcox Progressive Era. Contact her at walkerworld77@msn.com or athttps://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist

Tears and Laughter: There is something about a small town Christmas parade 

The Thomasville Christmas parade was this week. We went. We almost always do. It’s tradition. We will go and stand in the middle of a closed-off Wilson Avenue with people we will recognize and know but haven’t seen in years.  

Together we will wait for the heavily adorned floats and firetrucks. Trinkets and beads and candy will rain down around us. We will feel the drums from the approaching marching bands. It all moves quickly forward, yet I like many, drift back in time. 

The sidewalks are very familiar to me in downtown Thomasville. They serve as a portal to what used to be. Part of the parade route was the way I walked every afternoon when I was in elementary school. I would walk downtown to where my dad’s truck would be parked at the old city hall on Wilson Avenue. He would get off from work with the city at 3:30. 

Every day there would be several of us walking together when we left the school, but before we made it to the bank at the corner of Alabama Avenue, everyone would have scattered, turning off on the streets they lived on. 

Sometimes, if I had saved enough break money, I would stop by Spink’s Drugstore and buy pretzels. Other times I would walk on down to the Dollar General and speak to Ms. Kat, the manager. It was still on West Front Street back then, diagonally across from Zeke’s Service Station. 

I used to love being downtown during Christmastime, especially on cloudy days. I’m sure it was just the colorful lights and the reflecting tinsel, but I always thought the spirit seemed especially bright when it was cloudy. I still tend to feel that way. 

For a game, we would try and avoid the cracks in the sidewalks. Over time, the repetition committed to memory the cracks, the streets, the houses, buildings, and storefronts. We knew the shortcuts, which buildings to cut behind to come out where we needed to be.  

The Christmas Parade used to be on a Thursday afternoon, shortly after school was out. That day, was the only day the sidewalks would be brimming with people. Everybody’s mama would be there, some of them trying to keep the little brothers and sisters we never saw while we were in school out of the street. 

Several dads would be helping drive the floats and keep everything and everyone moving forward in an orderly fashion. Grandparents would be there too, including my own from both sides of the family.  

I can’t remember when the parade moved from Thursday afternoon to Saturday before evolving into an evening event that includes a downtown stroll. It has been a nice change. It allows for more mingling…and shopping at downtown businesses. 

But every year, when we all line up shoulder-to-shoulder on Wilson Avenue waiting, it’s just like they are there again. At moments, their energy feels as strong as the beat of the drums in the band. 

I guess that is why most all small towns have a Christmas parade. They allow for memories and feelings and festive walks back down the sidewalks of time.

Amanda Walker is a blogger and contributor with AL.com, The Thomasville Times, West Alabama Watchman, and Wilcox Progressive Era. Contact her at walkerworld77@msn.com or athttps://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist

Tears and Laughter: What Wilcox County can learn from the allegations against Roy Moore 

Well, I for one completely underestimated Roy Moore. I mean, I figured once he was elected Senator that he would keep Alabama in the headlines and popular with the late-night comedy circuit, but I never imagined it would begin so soon. 

I’m still not sure what to make of Brother Roy with his cowboy hat and his little .22 short he seems to like to showoff, riding to the polls on his horse…it was all a bit much for me, but I’m a fairly conservative girl. And honestly, I was put off by the Ten Commandment saga years ago. I’ve always been a Christian. I love Jesus. But Moses was able to carry the first copy of the Ten Commandments down the mountain. Roy Moore’s monument weighed over two tons. There may have potentially been a hint of overcompensation. He had it installed during the dark of night. A Christian television ministry videoed the entire event, but he failed to mention it to any of the eight associated justices. 

It all came down to the August deadline, and by late August it is very hot in downtown Montgomery – but there were men laid out on the hot asphalt in protest wearing suits and ties. Other men were up praying, women were standing around holding signs and sweating and fanning. Many of them had their children with them to witness this huge spectacle. 

I was watching from my kitchen on a TV on top of my refrigerator, and I just remember thinking how Chief Justice Moore was not being asked to destroy the monument. Nobody was telling him he had to go sink it in the river. There were no requests to make the words on it null and void. He was simply ordered by a federal judge to move it out of the state Supreme Court Building because it endorses religion in a government establishment which is not permissible. 

The monument now rests in a hallway of The Church at Wills Creek for the residents of Gadsden to visit and appreciate. Time will tell how the people of Alabama will judge the Judge in this most recent controversy involving allegations of inappropriate contact with underage girls back in the 70’s. But there is a lesson in this for Wilcox County. 

When the Washington Post article was first published there were immediate calls for Roy Moore to step down. Maybe some of the calls were too quick because there, of course, should be some form of investigation rather than a rush to judgment – especially taking into account the concerns of some regarding timing and the current political climate. Roy Moore continues to say he has no plans to quit. He claims he is an innocent man, and that he will be suing all of the women involved, including the latest who he denies even knowing.  

The calls for him to disqualify himself came because anyone who has had sexual involvement on any level with an underage girl is disqualified from serving in public office. In other words, if the chairman of your county commission was a teacher who had a relationship with a student – and after an investigation, his teaching certificate was revoked and he was fired – that simultaneously disqualified him to hold public office, even if his name stayed on the ballot. 

That kind of behavior says a lot about a man. It says a lot about the men who serve alongside him too. Their prior knowledge, their acceptance, and their silence speak for them. Only weak people follow a disqualified leader. Strong ones demand accountability. 

Amanda Walker is a blogger and contributor with AL.com, The Thomasville Times, West Alabama Watchman, and Wilcox Progressive Era. Contact her at walkerworld77@msn.com or athttps://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist

Tears and Laughter: School is starting, time to think and be kind 

She says she likes where I live because it’s green and country and different. She says she thinks she wants to live in Florida one day when she is older. She likes palm trees and sunsets and she thinks she remembers being happy there once when she was younger. It was the last time she remembers seeing her dad. And she thinks her mama might have been happy there too…for a little while. 

She has a natural ear for tone and can change pitch effortlessly with her voice. She was singing with my youngest daughter in the backseat of my car. They are both 13, both are about to enter the eighth grade, and they know every song on Sirius. 

She likes to talk about Broadway shows I know nothing about, so I just listen. She does a Donald Trump impersonation about “the wall” and will start an impromptu slogan and commercial over any sign that catches her attention. I told her she should study broadcasting after she graduates. She laughed. She doesn’t take compliments well.  

She is ambitious and expressive and prettier than she can allow herself to accept right now. Prettier than she has been told. She has bright eyes and clear skin – barring a couple of childhood freckles fading fast across the bridge of her nose.  

She makes too many self-deprecating comments. Old words seem to play like a tape in her mind, ruminating. They interrupt her sometimes, even when she is miles away and smiling. She is tenderhearted and will stand-up for others quicker than she will defend herself. 

Our route out of the city took us by her school. It is a magnet school. She starts back in a few days. I asked her if there was anything she needed to do in order to get ready. She said it wasn’t anything you could prepare for. It is just something you have to make yourself do.  

She said she wishes she never ever had to go back. “Not because of the work,” she quickly added. “I can do the work. It’s just the people.” She offered no further explanation.  

We passed a church with a sign out front that read “Black lives matter here” beside a small rainbow flag. “Look at that,” she said. I guess it is okay for anybody to go to church there. I like that. Everybody ought to be able to worship don’t you think?”  

I nodded, although I really hadn’t given it much thought. I was still just listening. We were at a crawl in traffic. There was an accident ahead of us on the Interstate. We were two miles out from our exit. 

“You know my mom has been staying at the women’s shelter, right?” 

I nodded. I did know. 

“Well I hear she has started going to church some too and I figure that can’t hurt, do you?” 

She waited for an answer. A nod wouldn’t do.  

I told her not to worry, that one of the greatest mysteries in life is how God can take the most complicated of problems, even the ones people can’t see any solution to, and working them out for the good. 

Content with my response, she settled back, and they started singing again.  

For her sake…I just pray I’m right.

Amanda Walker is a blogger and contributor with AL.com, The Thomasville Times, West Alabama Watchman, and Wilcox Progressive Era. Contact her at walkerworld77@msn.com or athttps://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist

Tears and Laughter: Know what you love, and be willing to run to it

I have written before about teaching writing class and how one of the initial exercises is to have the students write a short, simple essay about their own self.

Five paragraphs.

It is supposed to be easy and serve as a transition into writing about others in second person, but there are always those who seem to draw a bank. They stare into space like they have been asked to describe a stranger.

This is sad to me. One of the many responsibilities we are charged with as parents – and teachers too to some extent – is to help our children to know who they are as individuals.

This is not the same as teaching them. You can’t teach them who they are the same way you can teach concepts. You might be able to teach them who you are, and in that you can influence what they accept or believe, but as for who they are as God naturally made them, it is something they have to discover and allow to develop.

It is why we introduce them to a myriad of books and activities. It is why we take them on trips and encourage them to play sports and take art classes, music classes, and dance.

It is why we let them have hamsters, take them to reptile farms, and start stamp collections we know they will never continue. We do it so they can learn what they like and equally important, what they don’t.

Knowing what they like helps them know what to choose, it helps them know what they want, what suits them, how they tick, how they learn, what they are attracted to and why it is the are drawn to it.

It is how they identify their strengths and weaknesses. Talents, skills, and boundaries. It is how they grow into their purpose, just through knowing who they are and what they like. And writing five paragraphs about it should not draw such a void.

And it is not just children. There are grown people who take six months to pick out a paint color or what dress to wear to the next low country boil because they don’t know what they like. They are too worried about what other people might think or what color their mother would have preferred rather than just walking straight in and saying this it, this is me.

I met a little girl this week who I don’t think is going to have any trouble with the personal essay one day. I say I met her. I never caught her name. She fluttered through our day like a butterfly.

I had taken my youngest daughter to the Tickled Pink Petting Zoo that was visiting Thomasville. She was waiting to hold a python. She is 13. She is shy and creative, smart, and intuitive. She has a heart for animals, all of them, and most small children.

She did not pull away when a little redheaded girl sporting a hot pink tutu ran up to her after recognizing her favorite characters on her shirt. She leaned in, pointing to each with one hand and calling them by name, while holding McKenzie’s long hair out of her way with the other.

She ran back to her mother as quickly as she had appeared, but she left me thinking maybe we should all try and be more like her. Know what you love, and when you see it, run to it.

Amanda Walker is a blogger and contributor with AL.com, The Thomasville Times, West Alabama Watchman, and Wilcox Progressive Era. Contact her at walkerworld77@msn.com or athttps://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist

Tears and Laughter: The Purse Policy

If there’s anything I sometimes try to be…it’s agreeable. And currently, I’m trying.

It is a personal choice for a woman, the purse she carries. And a girl just knows her bag when she sees it. It is kind of like picking out a pet. There has to be a connection…a certain style or something that looks good being carried and yet still looks good riding shotgun beside us.

There are as many shapes and sizes of purses as there are women. I prefer mine to be, like my car and shoes, black. And maybe women who only want to carry lip gloss and a debit card can manage with the cutest of tiny purses. Something like you would take to a casino where all you need is an ID and a ticket. But usually, women of a certain age need a big-ass purse, and I am one of these people.

It is all very organized and necessary. I know because, as I mentioned, I am trying to be agreeable. I just dumped it all out on my bed and tried to edit it down to fit into something someone in middle school might carry. I stuffed it all in and it was so tight I couldn’t fit anything more in or search for what was already there.

I have bragged before about how Camden is blessed with four dollar stores. If you live here and raise a family here, you may order all of your clothes and shoes and exclusive bedding online and you can buy most everything else out of town when you are on your way home from the doctor or headed to buy lottery tickets, but you will still find yourself frequently shopping in the local dollar stores.

I’m sure the cashier felt obligated to tell regular customers about the new purse policy. She told me she was trying to tell everyone with “big bags” because she was about to hang a sign on the door banning them.

She apologized and seemed to search for an explanation before saying the store’s inventory had been audited and they were within $150 in losses away from every employee being fired.

I told her I understood her position. And I do. But the purse policy causes another set of circumstances for women. Just taking in a wallet causes a problem with break-ins being common. Leaving purses in cars is not recommended, if you intend to keep the purse and your back windshield.

A wallet is easy to grab, and more difficult to keep an eye on than a purse. You can’t sling it over your shoulder and have both hands free to shop with. You either juggle it, or leave it in your shopping cart and gamble with it being stolen when you look away.

It is not just a problem at this one store in Camden. It is a problem plaguing retailers nationwide.

Across the parking lot another store has been remodeled. A customer commented to a cashier there about how the new layout would make it easier to see down the aisles and maybe would deter shoplifters. The cashier quietly replied, “I don’t think there is anything that can stop that.”

Shoplifting overburdens police and weighs down courts. It costs communities the taxes lost, and it costs the store both in retail loss and security expenses, which inevitably costs customers more. And while I am trying to be agreeable, I can’t help but feel as if the thieves are winning.

Amanda Walker is a blogger and contributor with AL.com, The Thomasville Times, West Alabama Watchman, and Wilcox Progressive Era. Contact her at walkerworld77@msn.com or athttps://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist

Tears and Laughter: Two men in the Black Belt, 2017 

The focal point of my backyard is a ten acre pond. Before it was a pond, it was a cotton field. You can’t tell it just by looking anymore, but through the woods is an antebellum home that once oversaw it. It still stands silent and majestic. Its walls don’t talk at all.

We could ride over to the river. We could be there within five minutes and from a secluded cliff we could look down at the sparkling Alabama that once brought people in and carried away bales of Black Belt cotton. But the proof of it now lies beneath a watery grave and can only be seen in black and white pictures.

It was the black fertile soil that invited in agriculture and helped fuel it. This region was once the wealthiest in the nation. It was home to affluent men and accomplished women. They wore the finest of dresses and slept on the best of linens and furnished their homes with elaborately handsome furniture.

None of this remains. Only in fragments and pieces. In busted-up sets of dishes forgotten about in old china cabinets. What wealth remains in Wilcox County has more to do with pine trees and paper than the cotton plant.

The one way in, one way out road I live on is named after the son of a slave. Perry Johnson is said to have fathered 23 children, though a set of twins passed away at birth. Most of my neighbors, practically without exception are the sons, daughters, and extended relatives of his children.

There is calm here now. You can feel it in the evening shade. Even the spirit in the air seems to whisper peace. But I’m glad the ground can’t talk. I know what was witnessed here and mirrored everywhere. You just would never know by the terrain.

Growing up I didn’t expect that I would ever live on a farm. I was not a member of the FFA. And maybe in retrospect, I should have been. It’s no secret that I have a fair amount of “Green Acres” in me. Usually my responsibility when it comes to farming is to stay out of the way. I’m too sensitive for some parts of it, and other parts can be tedious and unavoidably dangerous.

Such was the case this past Saturday morning, as it became clear that a first time mother cow needed help delivering. She had become panicked and unpredictable. It was more than one man could safely handle.

A neighbor came over and helped. These two men have helped one another many times over the past 25 years. They have prepped gardens that fed their families and other families. They have shared pears, pecans, Catawba worms and catfish. There has been an exchange of a couple of pet kittens and puppies along the way.

After storms they have worked together with other neighbors to cut fallen trees from the one way in, one way out road we all live on. If time allows, they will help one another again, both as neighbors and as friends.

They reminded each other of this assurance as they shook hands Saturday morning.

I don’t think they have ever noticed their hands aren’t the same color. It’s just not something that matters to men in the Black Belt.

Amanda Walker is a blogger and contributor with AL.com, The Thomasville Times, West Alabama Watchman, and Wilcox Progressive Era. Contact her at walkerworld77@msn.com or athttps://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist

Tears and Laughter: Let’s not mess with Alabama swamp people

At some point this attraction, or jealousy, The Daily Show has toward the state of Alabama is necessarily going to have to be addressed. I don’t know if it’s healthy anymore.

I think they want to be more like us. We seem to know how to have more fun than they do. We are happy and content and comfortable with Jesus while they are stuck up in New York City polishing their big apples and wishing they were down in Dixieland.

Like most Alabamians, I don’t typically watch The Daily Show. The fact that Alabamians don’t watch the show is what made them to decide to produce this whole “Alabama Week” series in the first place. They claim they want to get to know us better, but that’s not it. They were just put off because we would rather watch sharp dressed men squawking for ducks on Duck Dynasty than The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

Maybe Trevor Noah should host the show from a duck blind. It might help ratings. Then again, people in Alabama tend to value their 10 o’clock time slot, so it would need to be seriously entertaining to compete.

I have followed the first two nights of the “Alabama Week” series and have been neither impressed nor repelled. It is difficult for correspondents unfamiliar with Alabama to accurately portray our culture, the issues we find important, or who we are as people. It’s as if they are coming in wanting to dislike us, but once here they are realizing they don’t hate us after all.

At the end of the first or the four-part series, correspondent Desi Lydic offered a half-ass prayer asking God to help her with her struggle to believe in Alabama. She admitted she had held a lot of preconceived notions about people here. She thought we were all real “swamp people.”

I take it that correlation refers back again to the ratings between Duck Dynasty and The Daily Show, but what’s wrong with swamp people? Come to Alabama. Conduct your interviews. As far as politics go, hey – there are no holds barred. It’s pretty much the same with religion, because we know God has got us. But…don’t make light of Alabama swamp people. They are some of the best of us.

Those overpriced, ridiculous jeans at Nordstrom’s designed to look muddy are probably trying to emulate swamp people. If things turn stormy, if the situation suddenly shifts and reality gets really real – if the power goes and cell batteries die and no one can post prayer requests on Facebook. If destruction surrounds and strength and perseverance are required to start again, it will be swamp people who rise like a phoenix out of the wetlands. Swamp people are survivors. They know how to live off the land and water, and most of them tell better stories than The Daily Show.

The Mobile-Tensaw River Delta consists of almost 260,000 acres of swampland making it second in size only to the Mississippi River Delta. The Daily Show crew should go have supper with some of these characters of the swamp. Catch a sunset. Listen to the hush between day surrendering to night. Chirping birds and daytime buzzing subside to silence before a cadence of frogs and crickets play against a damp breeze, drowning out all but nature.

Alabama has its problems. Our swamp people aren’t one of them.

Amanda Walker is a blogger and contributor with AL.com, The Thomasville Times, West Alabama Watchman, and Wilcox Progressive Era. Contact her at walkerworld77@msn.com or athttps://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist

Tears and Laughter: Why Governor Ivey still calls Camden home

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (Alabama.Gov)

Within minutes of Kay Ivey’s being sworn-in as Governor last week, there were requests for comments out of Wilcox County.

Ivey was raised in Camden. She graduated from Camden High School before attending Auburn and launching herself into a life that has included many successes. She was a high school teacher, bank officer, and state treasurer before becoming the first Republican woman in Alabama history to hold the office of Lieutenant Governor. She won re-election in 2014.

She is only the second woman to serve as Governor of Alabama, and the first to rise through the political ranks on her own. Yet no matter when or where along her life’s path, Kay Ivey has never been shy about calling Camden home.

She knows Wilcox County is not without its challenges. It competes back and forth with Sumter on being the poorest county in the state. Wilcox has always held the highest unemployment rate in the state. And the public school system has a record of graduating too many students who are not prepared for even entry-level position with the lowest of skill requirements.

Few counties more thoroughly represent the natural beauty Alabama has to offer. Wilcox’s agricultural roots gravitated out from the majestic Alabama River, but not everything here is beautiful. Headlines out of Wilcox are often critical and riddled with crime and corruption. The crime is usually domestic related. The corruption is so common it is easily ignored.

Being a quiet, rural community has not made Wilcox immune to societal issues. Substance abuse is a problem, as are broken homes, poverty, and hopelessness. They seem to progressively connect and have become a subculture present in the shadows.

Outsiders have long questioned why even the smallest of populations choose to stay in a place haunted by its past, while forgotten by time. But if you are of here or from here, you feel a connection to land and place. It is a lot like loving a person. You begin to understand why the weaknesses exist, you learn to accept aspects you can’t understand, and you value what remains. The energy that holds people here, is the same spirit that compels visitors to stay, and convinces those whose life’s work has taken them away to forever call it home.

Kay Ivey knows there are rare flowers still blooming in lonely yards along Broad Street. She knows garden spots where there are no longer gardens. She remembers people’s pets by name, and can practically recite the menu at both GainesRidge Dinner Club and Larry’s Drive In.

The kind of governor she becomes will be determined in time. We will leave that for the historians and critic to debate at a later date. They can one day word it however they will, and Wilcox County will still be proud of Kay Ivey. We appreciate that when we hear her speak publically, we can recognize snippets and syllables spoken in our own distinct dialect.

It reminds us. And it reassures our children that even with the challenges rural Alabama communities face, there is no bounds holding anyone back at the county line.

I guess it is fairly simple for everyone to understand why the residents of Wilcox County are proud of Governor Ivey. What may be more remarkable is how she continues to be so proud of us.

Amanda Walker is a blogger and contributor with AL.com, The Thomasville Times, West Alabama Watchman, and Wilcox Progressive Era. Contact her at walkerworld77@msn.com or athttps://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist

Tears and Laughter: Other reasons Alabama may be the most stressed state in the nation

The personal finance site, Wallethub, has found Alabama to be the most stressed-out state in the nation. Being defensive about Alabama the way I am my first impulse was to try and disagree with the study’s findings. They claim Alabamians are stressed because we don’t have easy access to mental health care, have – on average – lower credit scores, and don’t get enough sleep at night.

Alabama hasn’t had all that much money since cotton was king, so I can’t imagine that people’s credit scores are keeping them awake at night. But in regards to our mental health I am going to have to unfortunately beg Wallethub’s pardon. Exactly what are they implying by reporting that a majority of people in Alabama need mental help? Because I think it comes across a touch strong.

Just because it has been well-documented and reported that our governor has frequently in the recent past few years taken leave of his senses doesn’t mean the rest of us need professional help. Unless you consider the fact that the majority of us voted his craziness into office, twice.

I guess we do have every right and excuse in the world to be a little stressed. We are a little angry too. What should have been the best of us, has failed us. Our leadership has been embarrassingly corrupt. We are all capable of accepting that this is not the first time there has been some physical action take place in the governor’s office. Many rumors of adultery have breezed through the halls of the capitol building before during previous administrations. But some of the details that have emerged from the Bentley-Mason affair have made even the most seasoned and worldliest of us either blush, or cringe.

And it wasn’t even so much about the affair. It was what it took to facilitate it. It was accusations of using public office for personal gain, violating the Ethics Code, and misusing campaign funds that made an investigation to prove the affair necessary.

It is abundantly clear now. To repeat it in detail would be redundant, but an enormous amount of time, resources, and energy were spent serving and protecting a relationship that never should have been allowed to evolve into what it became. All of that money, time, and effort should have been channeled toward the problems facing this state and the issues directly affecting the quality of life for Alabamians.

He seemed very sincere and comfortable lying to everyone – his wife, his family, her, her family, us, our families. He spoke calmly and reassuringly. He had learned the skill of making eye contact while lying. He was convincing and confident, and rightly so I suppose. For so long, it worked

Governor Bentley’s impeachment proceedings were cut short Monday by his resignation, Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey was dutifully sworn-in as Governor, and Easter Sunday is waiting to greet us at the end of the week. Maybe through grace we as a state will somehow find hope within all of the disappointment. Maybe this public shame will serve as a reminder as to why not to make certain choices. Otherwise, Wallethub could be right, most of us are going to need mental health help if we want to ever trust again. Or is the stressful part…that we did.

Amanda Walker is a blogger and contributor with AL.com, The Thomasville Times, West Alabama Watchman, and Wilcox Progressive Era. Contact her at walkerworld77@msn.comor athttps://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist