Let's clean out the notebook...
• Actor Creek Wilson ("Wounds," "Ma), who is from Jasper and now in his late 50s, spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Jasper Monday about his career. He still does local real estate on the side, but is flexible enough to be ready to go if a job comes up. He has agents and is even a member of the Screen Actors Guild. (The guild is a union, so that if a non-union film job comes up, he can't take it. They have a number of benefits such as helping unemployed actors and even helping actors in getting housing and retirement benefits.) He noted some scenes he has been in have been deleted, but he's paid just the same. One scene in a movie was deleted, but it was put on the DVD as a deleted scene, so he'll still get residuals.
Wilson - who is a character actor who gets billed for "bartender" or "liquor store bum," and such much of the time, noted a number of famous actors are pretty good guys who "put on the pants one leg at at time," noting he has worked with Octavia Spencer and James Cann. (Jeremy London has been a good friend to him over time.) He couldn't say enough about Will Smith, who came up to him on the set and introduced himself, and then the rest of the shoot would call out, "Oh, Mr. Willllllsoooon?" Smith could cut up one minute but, when the cameras rolled, knew his lines and was completely professional.
Wilson noted his claim to fame so far has been a Budweiser Super Bowl commercial where the company founder came to America in the 19th Century and was mocked by several on the street (including Wilson's clearly seen character, if briefly) for being an immigrant. The commercial came out about the time that Trump's immigration policies were starting. The next thing Wilson knew, his daughter was calling to say his commercial was being talked about on "The Today Show." A few days later, his daughter couldn't escape seeing her father on television.
He has played a number of bad men, but he has one project coming up on PureFlix, the Christian streaming channel, called "Gridiron Gospel," where he plays a good guy. (There is more about him at imdb.com.)
• By the way, it will be hard to forget the date for the Jasper Kiwanis Pancake Day, as it will be on Saturday, Feb. 29, due to leap year. Tickets are already being sold by members for the event, which will be held at Bevill State Community College in Jasper. Also, one may also note that the Rotary Club's Trivia Night will be the night before, Friday, Feb. 28, and they are trying to get teams signed up now.
• I was real thrilled to see that Brian Elliott, a Jasper mail carrier who goes to First Baptist Church of Jasper, has been called to be the children's minister of First Baptist in Cordova. Brian is one of the most genuine Christians I know and he has a real heart for Christ and for others, and I think children would love him. He is a real blessing to many people. They announced his call in church, brought him down to speak, and did a commissioning prayer for him.
• By the way, First Baptist also did something unique for the first time, and you would have thought Baptists like me would have figured this out before. During the Lord's Supper, they only passed through the congregation once. They put the cracker, or "bread," in one small cup, and stacked the juice cup on top of that, as there was just enough room for the cracker. That saved a lot of labor, as deacons usually for years made two passes to hand out both. (And frankly, it is probably more sanitary for flu season, as you probably have people fumbling their fingers through the bread plate before picking one up.)
• For those who have time to go to Montgomery, the Alabama Department of Archives and History have a free monthly "Food for Thought" Thursday lunchtime lecture series where you bring a brown bag lunch (beverages provided). Feb. 20 will talk about Margaret Murray Washington, "Tuskegee reformer," March 19 will look at Julia Tutwiler and April 16 sill examine the environmental history of the Civil War in Alabama. The full schedule for the year is at the department's website.
• The Jeff Sessions Senate campaign is touting a new internal poll showing Sessions with 43 percent of Republican voters in the Senate campaign; Bradley Byrne had 22 percent and Tommy Tuberville had 21 percent, showing Byrne has overtaken Tuberville since December. That, and a 72 percent positive image of Sessions in the poll, is impressive to me, even for an internal poll. (I do wish there was more independent polling in this race.)
• If some meeting stories seemed slow next week, it didn't help that they were quite full meetings - and that on Wednesday morning that week I tripped on the uneven sidewalk and fell on my hand, which bled something awful. I wound up at urgent care where, after a tetanus shot, they said part of it on my palm was a deep wound. The wrist also burn a lot as well, as that is a pretty sensitive area. So I've had to learn how to bandage that area and what to use, but the mornings felt like they were devoted to learning and tracking down the right materials. Between that and a pesky sinus drainage (which became so bad I finally gave in after weeks and used Zyrtec), plus what I went through on the eye surgeries, I would like to recall what it was like to be healthy.
• Let's hear it for the Carbon Hill Women's Club for trying to raise funds to help the Blue Gym in Carbon Hill. That facility could be very useful for the community, but it is going to take a long-term dose of tender loving care. The city has taken some actions, but it may take several entities to get it on track as it needs to be. I think the community should look at other resources, such as the Walker Area Community Foundation and the Cawaco RC&D Council for some aspects of the work.
• And then there is Kobe Bryant's death. I think it is always sad to see the death of a 41-year-old parent, incredibly successful, enjoying early retirement and new ventures, and being somewhat of a successful parent. Moreover, to see that man die with his young daughter and so many others in a helicopter crash is tragic. That tragedy doubles when you realize the icon status the man achieved in basketball, almost to the level of Babe Ruth with his final game. And Bryant was that rare athlete now who stays in a city his entire career, becoming a part of that community. I think that striving for excellence, the priority he had for his family and the loss of so much potential from Bryant and his daughter has touched this nation at a time when we need positive people to look up to, no matter your race, sport or age.