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This weekend, three more southern boys were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. To say that we grow them tough here in the south is an understatement. The list of our southern boys who have gone on from college, not only to play in the pros, but to be the best on the field, should make all southerners proud.
I thank God for the book, Woodlawn by Todd Gerelds. Not only do we read about how lives were changed and relationships were healed during the racially tense days that were the 1970’s, but in this book the rest of the world can see the strides that were taken by one southern gentleman to change the dogma that could have crippled the South. Just as the title reads, there was one hope, one dream and one way for a high school in Birmingham, Alabama to set the stage for integration.
Todd Gerelds, the author of Woodlawn, lives in Birmingham, Alabama with his wife Jennifer Morgan Geralds and their four daughters Morgan, Bailey Kay or “BK”, Alli and Maggie Leigh. He is the son of legendary high school coach, Tandy Gerelds and grew up learning about life through football stories, football practices and games. He was kind enough to share a few thoughts with me about his life, the movie, the book, and life in the South.
In addition to his four daughters, the Gereld’s family also includes a Maltese named Roo, a Tabby Cat named Hunter, an African Bullfrog named Chunk, a ball python named Bagel and 2 Gerbils that he couldn’t remember the names. Todd enjoys cooking, reading, cycling and exercise. He has been trained as a storm spotter and is very interested in weather and storms.
When I asked him to share what he loves about the south, he had this to say,
I love the people because they are generally very hospitable and neighbors seem to want to help each other. When I choose a southern destination, I’m torn between the Panhandle, Destin/30-A area, and the mountains of East TN and Western NC. I also love the city of Nashville.
I am a big fan of Auburn University and their sports teams.
Speaking of sports teams, I asked Todd, “Can you describe the South’s love of sports and how it is incorporated into our family life?”
I think many southern people have traditionally had fewer entertainment and sports options. Many southern cities don’t have professional sports teams, nor access to many of the vast array of cultural/entertainment options some of the larger metropolitan areas have. Traditionally, we have developed an allegiance to our local college teams. Families have often utilized college sporting events as family get-togethers. As a result, the bond with these teams grows incredibly strong over the passing generations. It truly becomes a part of the family. We tend to incorporate sports and eating in an amazing way. I believe the south has revolutionized the concept of tailgating.
Speaking of tailgating, what is your favorite southern meal?
I love fried chicken, creamed corn, pinto beans, and any kind of greens.
What southern saying do you hear yourself saying that your parents used to say?
Running around like a chicken with my head cut off!
Do you have a favorite southern author/book?
I am a big fan of Andy Andrews, and really love his book, “The Noticer.”
In Woodlawn, the testimony of your father’s conversion is very powerful. Would you like to share anything about your personal walk of faith?