The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

LSHS Class of 1977

Posted on | May 15, 2021 | Comments Off on LSHS Class of 1977

My old buddy Phil Underwood came to town Friday, and we got to hang out for a few hours, going out to eat pizza and then visiting with my youngest son and his bride. Phil and I graduated from Lithia Springs (Ga.) High School in 1977, and I hadn’t seen him in nearly 40 years.

Phil’s late father was pastor of the Lithia Springs Church of God, and Phil used to invite me to go to church with him, which was something of an educational experience for a Southern Baptist boy, because Church of God is what is known as charismatic — speaking in tongues, faith healing, etc. — or, as most folks call them, “holy rollers.”

As a preacher’s kid (“PK”), Phil got into a little bit of teenage rebellion, but nowhere near the level of juvenile delinquency of most of my childhood friends, so my folks liked him. We both played trombone in the school band until Phil got kicked out of the band at the end of our freshman year because he went riding in a dune buggy with some girls during a band trip to Florida. There was great irony in the fact that Phil was expelled from band while I, a genuine criminal, was not.

For many years, Phil was pastor of a church in Gwinnett County, Georgia, but since has become a consultant and motivational speaker and now lives in the Florida Keys where his neighbors include former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson. Phil recently published a book, New Every Morning: 30 Days of Reflections on the God Opportunities in Each Day, which you can (and obviously should) buy from Amazon.

Our visit gave us a chance to share old stories, and for me to explain to Phil how I went from working in a warehouse on Fulton Industrial Boulevard to being a local newspaper reporter and then, eventually, becoming such a nationally notorious person. Like the old hippie song says, what a long strange trip it’s been. And meanwhile . . .

Tonight, our blog’s resident aggregator and troll-smasher Wombat will be in town, and will be a special guest on The Other Podcast with John Hoge and Dianna Deeley — 7 p.m. ET — don’t miss it!



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