Before the first kickoff of the college football season, many Southeastern Conference fans break out the cold beer, hot wings, redneck caviar and corn chips. In our house, Fred breaks out the pretzel bag, and I break out the Dirt Devil.

When I told Daddy I was devoting a column to doppelgängers, he asked, “So you’re writing about ghosts?” Darn his vocabulary. The man completes the Sunday New York Times crossword in ink, for Pete’s sake.

Most everybody knows where you stand on important things such as football, politics and religion. But Big Blue was different. He didn’t practice what the Rev. Dr. James A. Mootauchy Jr. aptly dubbed “Bumper Sticker Religion.”

For the past five years, my family has had a time to question, cry, pray and worry after my baby brother was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor. It also was a time to marvel at the brave, good humor of our sweet James – husband, father, son, brother, deacon, musician, prankster, business leader and friend to all who knew him.

Maybe it’s my imagination, but I believe we have a certifiable feud playing out on the rights of way of I-20, in and around exit 147 between Birmingham and Atlanta. One day, the word “Brompton” is marked out. A few days later, it’s back ...

Marie hit an all-time high on the sublime-to-ridiculous continuum last week. What tipped her over the top of the silly scale was a text inviting several of her weight-conscience girlfriends to join her in a Groupon deal for a fat farm retreat.

Whether true or stretched to the point of absurdity, most fish tales begin after the catch is reeled in. Southern men, storytellers by birthright, tend to stretch their fish tales and associated fish tails longer in direct proportion to the stretch of time between the catching and the telling.  

Fred occasionally takes a buddy with him to fish at the lake. One of his buds is my Uncle Norbert (Nert for short), a retired preacher from Georgia. Fred had been telling Nert all about the ‘Leven Dollar Store for some time, but Nert remained skeptical.