Grandpa had a huge scuppernong arbor at his house. Some bronze, some purple. I loved them. And it was this love that took me one day to Perdido Vineyard, just off I-65 at the Perdido exit in Baldwin County.
Little did I know that not only would I find scuppernong wine, but I would find Jim Eddins as well.
That was years ago and while my wine supply is exhausted right now, Jim certainly isn’t. And his words of wisdom show up in my in-box regularly. I read each dispatch carefully because Jim is a wise man. A native of Baldwin County, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy long ago, spent years in the Marines and has been an engineer for decades.
Here is part of his last email……
“In my 23 years of teaching in community colleges and four-year colleges, I have seen teachers from outside Alabama give up on our southern culture and go back north. I recall a conversation with a young, very capable teacher, on this exact subject, but despite arguments to the contrary, the teacher left in frustration. We need teachers that have a vested interest in our children, communities and culture. We have to grow the educators from within the system. Local family, community, dedication and pride are powerful motivators to make Alabama progress. The idea that you have to seek talent from outside, has a long history of failure at great expense. Check the history of this in Mobile and Baldwin County systems and others.”
Members of our state school board and a heap of legislators would be smart to listen to Jim’s words. Better yet, they would benefit from stopping by his vineyard to get some of his home-grown advice. And while there, I would appreciate you picking up a bottle of scuppernong wine for me.