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NAT’L – FEATURE – The Guns of Alexander (Possible Subscription)

I’m motoring down Route 98 on my yearly trek to the triannual Alexander Gun Show, held in the Alexander volunteer fireman’s hall. I’m croaking, blissfully off-key, to the music of Gram Parsons, the Florida trustfund Harvardian (one semester) who countrified the Byrds and sought to bring together hippies and rednecks and truck drivers and churchgoers and groovy chicks under his Cosmic American Music banner. It’s a dream still worth dreaming. When Gram wasn’t getting high with drug buddy Keith Richards (and rolling the Stones toward their ‘Wild Horses’ country way-station) he was singing with utter conviction such songs as the Louvin Brothers’ ‘The Christian Life’, which fellow-Byrd Roger McGuinn twanged with a trace of mockery on the band’s landmark album Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Parsons was not one of those 1960s Southrons who expatriated and then slagged on the rubes he left behind; he sometimes performed in front of a huge Confederate flag, rather in the ecumenical Dixie Pride spirit of the New Left’s Southern Student Organizing Committee, whose logo featured clasped black and white hands over that now-vexing vexillum. I don’t see any rebel flags in Alexander — this is the North, after all, and it was Lincoln country in 1860 — as I pass the tables laden not only with guns (typically older Winchesters or Remingtons, not school-shooter specials), but also fishing tackle, ammo, books about the hobby and knives. (Knives for hunting, that is, not stabbing Londoners.) Missing, alas, is Shep, my oldest friend in the world, who inherited the table his late father had manned for half a century.  [full article]

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