This blog at its core is influenced by one of the strongest human desires…the quest for freedom. The freedom simply to choose, to do, and to say what you think is right. I admit I have been influenced by my upbringing, as I grew up in a rural county commonly referred to as “The Free State of Winston“.
This was an Alabama county whose citizens at the start of the Civil War desired to remain neutral and wanted the freedom for each to choose. Since that time, people from the county have always been viewed as a bit different from their southern neighbors. Harper Lee even comments on Winston County in “To Kill a Mockingbird”, speaking of Scout’s school teacher from Winston County: “Miss Caroline printed her name on the blackboard and said, “This says I am Miss Caroline Fisher. I am from North Alabama, from Winston County.” The class murmured apprehensively, should she prove to harbor her share of the peculiarities indigenous to that region. (When Alabama seceded from the Union on January 11, 1861, Winston County seceded from Alabama, and every child in Maycomb County knew it.) North Alabama was full of Liquor Interests, Big Mules, steel companies, Republicans, professors, and other persons of no background.”
Maycomb County was a fictitious county in south Alabama but Winston County in north Alabama was real and we all knew exactly what Harper Lee meant. The county’s unique legacy still lives within it’s sons and daughters and inspires me to choose freedom, even if that means being different.