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: Talking trash in Wilcox County 

Several residents in several areas of the county had their trash picked up late this past week. Some didn’t have it picked up at all. Some had neighborhood dogs strew it all along the roadway and many at this point are wondering exactly what in the hell is going on with the garbage.  

Wilcox is not known for being good at managing water and trash services. Lamison still doesn’t have county water, but there has been progress overall. When I first moved here in 1996, there was no trash pick-up. There were huge dumpsters placed throughout the county and that is where everybody took their garbage. The county would empty the dumpsters on a routine basis, but not before they were overflowing and you could tell when you were passing them in the dark. 

So it was a great day in Wilcox County when pick-up service started. There have been different contracts along the way with different companies. The county of course also made an unsuccessful attempt at handling it themselves, but the latest contract is with Advanced Disposal.  

In last week’s column, I mentioned that Advanced Disposal was threatening to suspend services if payment was not made. The county owed Advanced $266,000, not including what they will be billed for October. They paid $80,000 on Friday, October 13 and another payment of $40,000 was expected to be paid as of Friday, October 20. In an email, Advanced Disposal communicated to the county commissioners, “The money should be on hand as customers have been paying for services.” 

Chairman of the commission, John Moton, Jr. responded, “I do understand his stance and agree that the money should be on hand but due to their over-billing and 18 to 20% nonpayment on the west end of the county; unfortunately the money is not on hand. In the past we’ve had to use monies from the general fund to cover short falls in solid waste. Our general fund can’t afford to do this and continue to make payroll til January.” 

He described it another way in a private message sent to me by a reader who had both been questioning me and messaging Chairman Moton. I don’t know that she meant to send me his reply, but in it he was more than generous in explaining the math behind the money. “I am the chairman of the commission and have no more access to county funds than you do. The Advance Disposal account is behind because: 1.They have been over-billing us by 700 customers @ $14+ per customer and we just found that out after we got a new solid waste officer to finally do a house count. 2. There are also 714 nonpaying customers that we pay for every month because they refuse to pay and we have not been able to force collections.  3. There are over 400 SSI customers exempted from payment and we are forced by law to pay $14+ per month for them. Now let’s do the math: 1114 nonpaying customers + 700 customers overbilled by Advanced Disposal = 1814 payments per month by Wilcox County (you following me?) 1814 x $14.35 = $26,030.90 x 12 months = $312,320.80 per year extra payment by Wilcox County. So as you can see; the only thing that’s being misused is Wilcox County. Point Blank. Period!!!” 

The vice-chairman, Bill Albritton, wishes to assure the public their garbage service will continue and that Advanced Disposal has no plans of discontinuing pick up as long as the county is making an effort to get current and keeps in communication.

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: Wilcox didn’t get near first at everything last without poor leadership 

In all of the years I have been writing about Wilcox County I have learned that no matter how low the county ranks or how obvious the ineptness becomes, there will always be somebody wanting to speak in defense of local leadership. Everybody seems to be related, and there may be an unhealthy mix of cronyism. All anyone who is curious needs to do is look around. 

Every school in the county has challenges on some level. Two public school students have taken guns to school in less than a month. A fifth-grader at J.E. Hobbs Elementary threatened to shoot her teacher, and a 17-year-old was arrested for carrying a deadly weapon at Wilcox Central High School – for protection.  

Last week four vehicles were broken into at Roland Cooper Boat Ramp and a bomb squad out of Montgomery was called in to check out a suspicious package in a car parked at a gas pump at the QV. It was not a bomb and the QV did not blow up. It was drugs. Just the week before the QV had its glass doors shattered in the night for a pack of Newport’s. There was also a fatal hit and run in McWilliams, a man found dead beside his car on Highway 5, and two men found dead from gunshot wounds in Pine Hill. 

All this was happening while the entire country was flying flags at half-staff and the Wilcox County courthouse didn’t have one. There was a public outcry and a flag was erected the next day and has flown sporadically since, but leaders in a county where Uncle Sam pays for half of the groceries shouldn’t have to be reminded to fly the flag in front of the courthouse. 

Advanced Disposal is threatening to discontinue garbage pick-up starting next week if the county doesn’t pay the approximate $200,000 owed for services already rendered. There are questions as to where collected funds were distributed if not to Advanced, but even with all of this going on the Wilcox County Commission is yet to meet in October. 

The last meeting was a called meeting held back on September 29 – a Friday – at 5:00 pm, the time set by Chairman John Moton, Jr., who then did not show up. It was a necessary meeting because a county budget had not been a priority, yet had to be passed by the October 1 deadline. 

Three of the four commissioners who did attend the called meeting adopted the same budget as last year, minus the salary for the license inspector. This move eliminated the job held by current Wilcox County coroner, Mark Ramsey. It was a needed position for the county in that one of the responsibilities was to require mobile home owners to purchase current decals, but no citations have been written in over a year. The position held an annual salary of over $40,000 and no money was coming in to offset the cost. Past attempts to fire Ramsey were unsuccessful due to the saving votes of Chairman Moton together with Commissioners Ricky Powell and Charles Lawson. 

A regularly scheduled commission meeting should have been Monday, October 9, but since it was Columbus Day the chairman again changed the meeting to Tuesday at 5:30, and again he was a no show. Powell and Lawson weren’t there either. They are balking. They want the decision to remove the license inspector position reversed. Their absence was no coincidence. It was just another shining example of their poor leadership.

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: Bunches of banana spiders hanging out in Alabama this year

Just to be clear, I am writing about the banana spiders found in the southeastern region of the United States. They live as far north as North Carolina and as far west as Texas.  

I am not referring to the banana spider of Central and South America that is venomous and will chase people. 

There are those who believe the banana spider arrived to our area aboard banana boats as they docked at the port of Mobile years ago. But experts claim Mobile had banana spiders long before the banana boats sailed. 

The banana spiders we have in Alabama are also called Nephila, or golden silk orb weavers…among other things. 

When the sun is shining right, you can see the yellow hue of their webs. And they don’t build shabby webs. I saw a small limb dangling from one after the last rain. This year they seem to be everywhere. 

I have been keenly aware of one in particular because I had been playing limbo with one of them since early July who had built a face-level web on the porch off the side entrance of the garage. 

I don’t know why I didn’t just get rid of it. But I didn’t, and wouldn’t you know it, an even bigger one built another web higher above the first in the far right corner. They became known as Spider #1 and Spider #2. I would go out just to speak with them and check out their webs. 

Spider #2 must have been from a long line of fine web weavers. She didn’t just build a sturdy flat web. She built lean-tos off each side. This was maybe a way to catch more food, because you could tell by looking at her that she liked to eat.  

I suppose the extra webbing could have also served to protect her center web from the wind, yet what it did not shield her from was certain other predators. I got out of my car one day and Spider #3 had abruptly arrived. I don’t know the full story, but bad things happened. All that was left of Spider #2 were eight legs still floating in her well-built web. 

After that I felt hard toward Spider #3. I wouldn’t even speak. I would walk underneath her stolen web like she wasn’t even up there. I even warned Spider #1 – who I had become friendly with at that point – to be very leery of Spider #3 – especially when she started adding on another addition to the web in #1’s direction. 

Then it happened. I went out to see Spider #1 and she was gone. Just gone. No sign of struggle. No evidence of foul play. No note. 

That is when I really started being more open to getting to know Spider #3. The new routine became for me to walk out to see her, and then I would reach up and tap her web a couple of times. Sometimes she would just keep picking at her weaving, and sometimes she would charge down the web at me and I would run off squealing. 

So really, it doesn’t make any sense at all for me to miss her quite as much as I have noticed I do since I went out Friday morning and found she was gone.  

I feel like Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web.

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: Irma evacuees welcomed with Alabama heart and hospitality 

If you woke up in Alabama this morning and have a Florida or Georgia tag on your car, God bless you.  

I will venture to guess we’ve probably spent a little more time vacationing in your states than y’all have in ours. And, I’m sure you’ve all heard how we are all rednecks and aren’t good at math, but being Southern neighbors the way we have been all this time makes us somewhat similar by nature one would think.  

Georgia has Six Flags and Callaway Gardens. They have Atlanta and that zoo you can roam through in a car. And Florida is Florida. Everybody loves Florida. But Alabama has some sights too, I assure you.  

And not to get particular right off the bat, but both of you do have those horribly immoral lotteries. Now personally, I drive to Florida usually once a week to buy tickets, but a lot of people think I am likely going to hell. I would drive to Georgia, if it was a closer. I can be in Century, Florida in an hour and 35 minutes. That’s on backroads with no stops. 

Sometimes, I will go to McDavid, Florida to get tickets, because I like to drop by and make a small donation to the Poarch Creek Indians in Atmore. But if I’m craving Fancy Ketchup from Whataburger, then Century wins out.  

As a state though, Alabama does not believe in gambling. It is wrong. We are agriculturally based and have four casinos, and a few dog tracks but we do not believe in casting lots.  

We also have a few schools Georgia would tear down, but still, we choose not to participate in the devil’s silly number games. 

Of course it has been brought up in discussion on the floor of the State House, and it’s a little funny, but our legislator’s cannot decide what to do with the revenue a lottery would generate. But I’ve already mentioned how we are not widely known for our mathematical abilities. We don’t have to be. Our state is good at football, and we have big hearts. 

Our states have hurricanes in common. We know the power they can hold and the destruction they can bring. The havoc and despair they leave in their wake. 

We understand fear, anxiety, and the stress uncertainty can bring. We know what tired means. 

We know how being stressed and tired can wreck a person’s patience. Tempers flare, and words can fly, and tears will spill easy when you wake-up in a place you probably never even intended to visit, worried about the place you call home. 

We understand, and we want to help. Everyone comes together in times like these. There isn’t a town in Alabama that isn’t willing to help evacuees from Hurricane Irma. Schools and churches have opened as shelters. Motels and campground have welcomed people. Communities are planning and cooking hot meals. Alabamians are offering what they have to people who had to evacuate too quickly to remember to pack everything. Sometimes the simplest of needs being met, like being handed fresh towels or a hot cup of coffee, can make grown women weep. 

Neighbors love one another. We are eager to help. Don’t hesitate to ask during your brief stay, and may God comfort and keep each of you as you return safely home.

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: If your town is not painting rocks, your community is missing out on the fun 

Often times in downtown Camden, there is no one out. The sidewalks are empty and so are the streets, except for the occasional car passing through.

Of course there are other times when it is busy. Early in the day when people are out running errands and working, and especially at the first of the month. On parade days the sidewalks will be crowded, and again when Santa rolls in on a firetruck during the annual Christmas in Camden festival.

And sometimes the courthouse square looks like a farmer’s market with people milling around. You can’t pick up a bushel of purple hull peas and a couple pounds of shrimp fresh from the gulf for supper when you bail out of most courthouses. But in Wilcox, you can get tomatoes and local honey too. Camden is protective of its farmers. Anyone visiting, or anyone who is lost and finds themselves at the junction of Claiborne Street and Highway 265, is encouraged to stop and thump the watermelons. But often there are just vacant parking spaces and silence under the shade of the old pecan tree.

That was until these last few days when things have started to change. I parked on Claiborne Street beside the Veteran’s Monument Park Friday and immediately a truck pulled in and parallel parked behind me. A young girl jumped out of the passenger side door. She was grinning and started running. I watched her grab a painted rock like it was a baton in a relay race. All in one movement she swooped up the rock and headed back to the truck.

Her mom was smiling as she pulled away, and in seeing them happy I noticed that I was smiling too. I was clutching three painted rocks and had intentionally waited for them to drive away before I got out of the car so as to not give away the locations. I was about to hide one at the Veteran’s Monument and the others across Broad Street at the courthouse and library.

I had seen different articles and news features about the Kindness Rocks Project. I know Andalusia is rocking and Prattville is participating as well as Monroeville. Several towns are, but I thought little of it really…because I live in Camden.

Specifically, I live about eight miles out from Camden in Canton Bend – which adheres to the Alabama River and connects to Possum Bend on one end and Millers Ferry on the other – but we all have Camden addresses.

The creative rock project initially began in Memphis, Tennessee. While the process of painting the rocks as well as finding the rocks can be an introspective process, the goal was simply to inspire others – both through the art on the rock and through the random act of kindness. Anyone who finds a rock is encouraged to share a picture on Facebook, then keep it or hide it again.

The local Alabama Camden Rocks page started on July 5. Within days sidewalks were filled with those young and young at heart. I’ve never witnessed anything so simple and positive bring a community together so quickly.

Neighbors have gathered kids together to paint rocks, along with church youth groups. Even during summer break a crowd of students got together to paint and hide rocks. Creative adults – some hesitant at first thinking they were too old to play – have joined in on the fun too. Toddlers, guided by their mothers and grandmothers holding their chubby hand, have in the other their own creation to hide in exchange for a find.

There have been painted turtles and puppies and lady bugs. There have been signs, scriptures and emojis along with messages and symbols of hope. Several posts of found rocks say, “This made my day!” Or, “I needed to see this today.”

Kindness, it turns out, is contagious. And it can bring joy to the emptiest of places.

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: Get yourself ready girls, it’s time to let your inner redneck shine 

Prepare yourselves ladies, auditions will be held August 5 at the Elks Lodge in Huntsville for a new reality show, “Redneck Housewives of Alabama.” Seldom have I been more excited or overqualified.

The casting call is open to women over 21 who are housewives in Alabama. It is acceptable to have a part time job or “somewhat” of a career.

It is in your favor, it seems, if your social circle includes other housewives who enjoy gossiping, backstabbing, and overreacting. Who go to church twice a week and know how to cuss well. It also helps apparently if you are full-on crazy, openly dysfunctional, and drink too much both publicly and privately.

Not that the show will be all fun and games and thrift shops. According to the website, redneckhousewivesofalabama.com, “if you or your friends are battling with suicide, divorce, broken relationships, bankruptcy, infidelity, family feuding, alcoholism, deadbeat dads, and foreclosures and you are a true southerner then this may be the show for you.

I don’t want to be picky, but redneck women prefer the word Southerner to always be capitalized. It just allows a wink of respect toward the Southland and looks better on paper. Besides, it’s not unusual for the average redneck housewife to be juggling a handful of issues on that list at any given time and nobody will ever know anything about any of it. She’ll just keep right on bouncing the baby and planning a beach trip without ever skipping a beat because that’s what strong Southern women do.

Women interested in applying for the show should make a video and upload it to Youtube. Include the link to your video in the online application, along with your resume, photo, and a paragraph explaining what makes you more of a redneck than your neighbor lady with all the cats, or the woman down the road that is fond of raising chickens and making her own beer.

In the video, you should look the way you want to appear during filming. Wear the clothes, make-up, and hairstyle that you would wear if you were to be chosen to be a part of the show. Clothing needs to be “appropriate,” so you will want to make sure and have the proper balance between eye liner and cleavage.

As for serious competitors, I would suggest taking it a step further. If you own your own bass boat, hunt hogs on a regular basis, carry a pistol in your purse, or have a coon hound as a house dog, don’t be shy about it.

Cast members will be paid and the pay will vary based upon roles. Filming is scheduled to begin in September and will run through October, falling right in the heart of college football season.

The Huntsville based producer of the series, Helen Evans LLC, has not yet secured a network deal for the show, but hopes one will follow once the series is filmed.

Many television viewers have questioned what show, if any, could fill the vacancy left in prime time ratings since the exit of Bill O’Reilly from Fox News. I think we may have just found the answer.

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