Local author recounts a decade of stories with the Thirteen



In March of 2007, local author Daniel Hughes was invited to join The Thirteen, a literary club that meets for dinner and discussion 13 times per year. He has compiled 10 years worth of the stories he wrote for the group into a new book Dinner Stories.

The requirements of membership, Hughes says in his book, were fairly light. Members were expected to write a paper, preferably an interesting one, each year, and to host a dinner. Additionally, at one of The Thirteen dinners over the course of the season, each member would be expected to either opine on a current event or review a recent book they had read.

Hughes has compiled these essays and publishes them, warts and all, as he wrote them for the group.

“As I prepared to pull the 10-year trail of papers into a book, I started to edit, refine, and maybe even improve each one. However, over time, I rationalized that it might even be better, and would certainly be easier, to add some pictures and, flaws and all, let each paper become a chapter just as it was delivered,” Hughes said.

Each chapter in the book is devoted to each of the 10 papers Hughes authored. Hughes said that what he found interesting in researching the topics of his essays was the surprising connections between events and historical figures. He also said he enjoys the opportunity of sharing with an audience, and now his readers, the lives of influnential but largely unrecognized figures in American history.

“I’ve not met many people who were familiar with Dr. Jane Wright and Gen. John Glover, who were subjects of two of my essays. Dr. Wright was an African-American female who was instrumental in the formative years of chemotherapy in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Glover was an incredible leader who shunned the spotlight, but nevertheless was instrumental throughout the Revolutionary War. Getting the chance to talk about these incredible people and share their stories is a great pleasure. I have always enjoyed stories in which people have struggled against tremendous odds and prevailed. Ultimately, this book is intended to convey what I think are some interesting and inspiring lives. It can be read anywhere, but it may be best read after dinner.

Hughes book, Dinner Stories is available on Amazon.com for $11.95.

All – Capital City Conference 2017 Volleyball Team


Carson Ann Crow


When St. James coach Karen Lee is analyzing Carson Ann Crow, she doesn’t spend time talking about the way the junior can improve her game. She’s already a well-rounded player who works continuously on her game.

“This is the only sport she plays, so she puts all her extra time and energy into this game,” Lee said. “She plays club ball and has really tried to perfect her skills. She plays all the way around – she’s effective on her outside hitting, she’s an effective server, she’s solid on defense. She had the most digs on our team. Just effective all the way around.”

Capital City Conference coaches agreed, naming Crow as the Montgomery Independent’s Capital City Conference Player of the Year for 2017. Crow was one of three first-team selections from a year ago that were named first team in 2017, along with Montgomery Academy’s Caroline Kirkham and Trinity’s Lucy Williams.

Montgomery Academy’s Morgan Karst, St. James’ Emily Poundstone and Alabama Christian’s Gracie Shaddix made the first team this year after earning honorable mention a year ago.

Crow had 468 kills, 22 blocks, 39 assists, 45 aces and 408 digs this season, a slight improvement from a year ago when she had 43 aces, 445 kills, 12 blocks and 356 digs.

More importantly, Crow was a catalyst on helping the Trojans earn the Class 4A state championship and earned most valuable player honors on that team as well. While Lee, the Capital City Conference Coach of the Year, and her Trojans would have been a success without Crow, there’s no doubt the do-it-all junior was the difference in bringing home a state championship.

“She is very instrumental all the way around the court,” Lee said. “She fills a position on the front court that we couldn’t do without her. She had a little over 1,300 attempts in her attacks, so we rely on her a lot on hitting. I put her in the back row to start our serve-receive because I know she’s going to do the job of getting us into our offense. She quickly rotates to the front but she starts in the back because her defense is so solid as far as serve-receive. She is someone I would not want to play without.”

Crow was joined on the all-CCC team by teammates Emily Olsey and Emily Poundstone. Montgomery Academy, which reached the 3A state finals before losing a heartbreaker to Bayside Academy, placed three players on the first team as well. Joining Kirkham were Morgan Karst and Ann Lucas Herrick.

Gracie Shaddix of Alabama Christian and Lucy Williams of Trinity rounded out the first team.



(Selected by coaches)

Carson Ann Crow, OH, Jr., St. James

Ann Lucas Herrick, L, Sr., Montgomery Academy

Morgan Karst, S, Sr.,

Montgomery Academy

Caroline Kirkham, OH, Sr., Montgomery Academy

Emily Olsey, S-MB, Jr.,

St. James

Emily Poundstone, S, Jr.,

St. James

Gracie Shaddix, OH, Jr.,

Alabama Christian

Lucy Williams, OH, Jr., Trinity Presbyterian

HONORABLE MENTION: Joy Bishop, MH, Sr., Trinity Presbyterian; Ansley Dean, MB, So., Catholic; Natalie Faulkner, S, Sr., Alabama Christian; LizAnne Livings, OH, Jr., St. James; Victoria Riley, MH, Sr., Montgomery Academy; Carli Schofield, MB, Sr., Alabama Christian; Annie Skoneki, OH, Sr., St. James; Mary Emily Taylor, S, Sr., Trinity Presbyterian; Melody Taylor, S, Jr., Catholic; Drue Walker, L, Jr., Trinity Presbyterian; Bailey Williams, MH, Jr., St. James


Carson Ann Crow, St. James

COACH OF THE YEAR: Karen Lee, St. James

From selfies to service

Dr. John Ed Mathison

By John Ed Mathison

The word “selfie” was the new word a couple of years ago.   It refers to how people take pictures of themselves.  It has become quite popular.  It has also become extremely dangerous.  In the first 8 months of 2016, 73 people died while taking selfies.  That’s up from 39 selfie deaths in 2015, and 15 selfie deaths in 2014.   The majority of people fell from buildings, mountains – others tried to take selfies on train tracks or while posing with fire arms.  Men accounted for 76% of the deaths.

Even animals are becoming fascinated with selfies.  About 6 years ago, a wildlife photographer was shooting pictures in Indonesia.  A crested macaque named Naruto discovered the camera and snapped a photo of himself.  The selfie was placed on social media and immediately went viral.  Interestingly enough, a discussion occurred about who owned the rights to his selfie.  The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have sued so that the monkey can get a percentage of profits he made from the selfie.

In October 2017, a teenage girl was taking selfies of herself at a Los Angeles art exhibit.  She posed in front of a row of pillars, accidently brushed one of the pillars, causing them to fall like dominoes.  She created $200,000 worth of damage.  The artist, Simon Birch, commented, “We trust people.”   I’m not sure if the exhibit will continue trusting selfies.

A Greek fable tells about Narcissus, a youth with extraordinary beauty, who became infatuated with his beauty.  He neglected the advances of Echo, and she died of love sickness.  Narcissus was punished by the gods by being made to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool.  He couldn’t get away from looking at his own reflection, and he grew weak, dying of love-sickness.

Narcissism is alive and well today.  Most of us just think too highly of ourselves.  If most of us could be bought for what we’re worth, and sold for what we think we’re worth – someone could make a fortune!  Derric Johnson said, “It’s amazing to see the number of people taking ego trips . . . with so little luggage!”

One piece of evidence of a selfish mindset might be the rise of “sologamy” – a new term that means marrying one’s self.  This trend comes from single people in Brooklyn and San Francisco who are marrying themselves.  They actually have full marriage ceremonies.  Erika Anderson, 37, recently invited friends and family to witness her tying the knot with herself.  She said, “It means that we are enough, even if we are not partnered with someone else.”

Some of these ceremonies have become quite expensive.  In September 2017, an Italian fitness instructor named Lura Mesi married herself in a very lavish ceremony.  This 40-year woman said she was just tired of playing the dating game.  She spent $12,000 to stage “my fairytale wedding – only without a Prince Charming.”

Selfies and sologamies are counter to God’s instructions for us.  Jesus was not interested in what He could do for himself, but what He could do for others.  He invites us into that same kind of lifestyle.  He said, “I didn’t come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).

Move from a selfie mentality to a service ministry!