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As Time Goes By With Rich O'Brian: The Dream Unfolds, Part 4

By Rich and Dianne O'Brian

November 8, 2023

Our Odyssey continues. If you do not happen to read this column regularly, let me say that each week we will present a part of the journey that Dianne and I made recently. This is number four in the series.


Phenix City, Alabama! Often, when I mention the name Phenix City, the reactions are varied. One might say, “Oh you must be mistaken. It’s spelled ‘Phoenix.” To which I will reply, “You know, I actually lived there, and the spelling is Phenix.”

Or there are those, having heard of the city’s dubious reputation, are surprised that I had served a church there. They usually refer to the 1954 brutal slaying of Democratic nominee for state attorney general, Albert Patterson.

When I arrived on the scene several years after that terrible incident the citizens there were still licking their wounds.

Many years ago, I came down from my ministry in Wilmington, Delaware to speak at a church near Monroeville, Alabama. As it happened my host held a daytime job, leaving me with time to keep myself occupied. I had just purchased a copy of a novel titled “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.

So I spent all of my extra time engrossed in that novel. I was pleased to learn that the book was based on the life of Harper Lee who grew up in Monroeville. In the book Harper Lee set her story in a town called Maycornb. But, of course, Maycornb had identical twin known as Monroeville.

Now fast forward to the day of our visit. Dianne and I took note that Monroeville had wrapped its arms around the courthouse in which Harper Lee’s fictitious attorney Atticus Finch plied his trade. In fact, the sign outside the courthouse has a line that reads, “Home of the World’s Most Famous Courtroom.”

The next leg of our motor drive was to have included a stop in Mobile and Gulf Shores, but unfortunately, due to the shortness of time, it was necessary to head north and omit that part of our planned trip.

Just a note to the guys in our area. Remember Fight Club on Tuesday, November 14th at JJ’s Restaurant, 6:30 pm.

Next week I’ll be writing from here in The Garden of Eads about our next stop. Join Dianne and me, please.

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