How Hank warmed our cold, cold hearts, with Grimsley Johnson Wednesday

April 21, 2012 4:56:56 PM

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The Friends of the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library concludes its series of April Table Talks with a presentation by award-winning columnist and journalist Rheta Grimsley Johnson. Grimsley Johnson, whose nationally-syndicated column appears weekly in The Commercial Dispatch, will focus her talk on her recently-published book "Hank Hung the Moon ... and Warmed Our Cold, Cold Hearts" (NewSouth, 2012). This "musical memoir" looks at the South of the 1950s and 1960s through the lens of the seminal songwriter Hank Williams. 

 

Currently based near Iuka, Grimsley Johnson has covered the South for over three decades as a newspaper reporter and columnist. Her columns embrace everything from national political issues to children's birthday parties, and everything in between. Her emphasis on "regular" folks keeps the commentary grounded, and in her talented hands, their stories come alive and powerfully connect with readers. 

 

Born in southwest Georgia in 1953, Grimsley Johnson soon moved with her family to Montgomery, Ala., where she discovered Williams' music was everywhere, "oozing out of honky-tonks and truck stops and car radios and black-and-white television sets." As a youth, however, she confesses, "You didn't crank up Hank when everyone else was playing Foghat." Only later, she writes, "when I had enough self-confidence to love my own family, to accept my own core" could she "admit to loving Hank." 

 

"When I see 'Fishtrap Hollow, Miss.,' as the dateline, I know the column is going to be a good one," said Friends member Jo Shumake of the author. "I enjoy reading everything she writes, but I find the ones based there particularly insightful." 

 

A Pulitzer Prize nominee, Grimsley Johnson has been recognized nationally for her newspaper commentary and human-interest reporting, and she has been inducted into the Scripps Howard Newspapers Editorial Hall of Fame.  

 

She is the author of several books, including "Poor Man's Provence" and "Enchanted Evening Barbie and the Second Coming." 

 

Doors at the library located at 314 Seventh St. N. open at 11:30 a.m. for those wishing to bring their lunch and socialize before the program begins at noon. The Friends will serve iced tea. 

 

Look for the next Table Talk series each Wednesday in June at the library. The Hitching Lot Farmers' Market and the Friends will co-host, and the focus is on good food, good eating and good recipes. For more information on the series, contact the Friends at book.talk@hotmail.com.