Friday, May 21, 2010


This past Sunday, we had a Bird Family reunion at my parents' house in Big Cove. It was great to see a lot of family who we don't see very often. There were, I guess, between 200 and 300 people there. My great-grandfather, Wiley Bird, had ten children - nine who lived into adulthood and had children; and several of those had a lot of children, including my granddaddy, Walter Bird, who also had ten children. And several of his siblings had very large families too. So that just makes for a BUNCH of cousins! Here are a few pictures. 1 - Uncle Daniel & Aunt Pauline Bird. This is my granddaddy's brother. He is ninety-six years old! Aunt Pauline will be 90 this year; and they will soon celebrate 72 years of marriage! Wow!

2 - Granddaddy's living brothers, Uncle Lester, Uncle Daniel, and Uncle Willard. Aunt Estelle and Aunt Rocine weren't able to make the reunion this year; and I was so disappointed not to see them.

3 - My dad's living brothers and sisters. Standing: Nancy, Ronald, & Kevin. Seated: Phyllis, Jane, Peggy, & J.W.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


just sigh...


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Good-bye, Wezy...

Our precious little cat, Wezy (Mackenzie's spelling, pronounced Weezy), was killed this afternoon. I hate getting pets because I get attached and then they die. Now I'm not one of those crazy people who grieve over a pet like it's a human or something; but I am sad that Wezy's gone. I was just petting her and loving on her a little bit last night. And my heart REALLY breaks for Mackenzie. Wezy was HER cat; and she loved her so much! Kellie plans to tell her when she picks her up from school this afternoon; and I know it's going to be a tearful evening at the Byrd House. To make matters worse, Makayla JUST got a new kitten last night - that looks JUST like Wezy! It's actually Wezy's half-sister.

Here's Wezy's obituary...

Wezy Byrd
FLAT ROCK – Wezy Byrd died Tuesday, May 18, 2010, a victim of vehicular homicide. She was about ten months old. A short graveside funeral is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon with Shannon Byrd, her owner’s daddy, officiating.
Wezy was a very loving, playful cat; and everybody who saw her considered her one of the most beautiful felines they had ever seen. She had been a member of the Byrd household since August 2009.
Wezy is survived by her owner, Mackenzie Leigh Anne Byrd; her owner’s sister, Makayla Kellie Lorene Byrd; her owner’s sister’s kitten, and Wezy’s half-sister, Angelica “Angel” Byrd; her mother, Momma Cat; and host of other extended family and friends.
Wezy will lie in repose this afternoon at the home of Momma Cat’s owner, Emmery Brown, in Flat Rock, Alabama. Interment will take place at the holler behind the Byrd House. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to your local animal shelter.

Friday, May 07, 2010

New Harmony...

This week I had the honor of photographing some of my best friends and one of my favorite gospel groups of all time – New Harmony, out of Huntsville, Alabama. I’ve known most of these guys for my entire life and have had the fortune of calling them close friends during that time. The four “core” (original) members of the group have been singing together since they were probably like five years old. Most anybody who reads my blog probably knows them; but just in case you don’t, let me introduce you to the group. Standing at camera left is the group’s pianist, Chad Cantrell. Ain’t he pretty? :) Not only is Chad one of the absolute best pianist I’ve ever seen sit at a keyboard, he also genuinely one of the most naturally nice people I have ever known. He’s always been the same – just a great, great guy. Next to him is my brother-in-law and favorite bass guitarist, Dustin McKenzie. The dude is smooth on them strings; and don’t tell him I said this (since he’s my brother-in-law and all), but I think he’s a pretty cool dude overall. And then standing next to him is one my best friends and business partner (he put the Brant in BrantDale Music Publishing Company), Dustin Kelly. Dustin played the piano on our Not Another Tear project and is one of the most talented people I know. And besides that, he’s one of the most giving, considerate, and caring people I know. If you have a friend in Dustin Kelly, then you’ve got a FRIEND. Kneeling at camera left is Dustin’s twin brother, Justin Kelly. Justin stood in my wedding and used to hang out at my house a lot when we were young and single. He’s hilarious! If he can’t make you laugh, then you better check your pulse because chances are, you’re dead. I love him – another great, great friend! Seated just above Justin is Erica Davis. She’s a cool chick who puts her heart into her great singing. She sings the high part with the group, and the girl can rocket. But my favorite feature of hers would have to be her husband, Todd! :) Another one of my best friends! He’s not in the group; but I would be remiss in not mentioning his name at least once in this post! :) Seated next to Erica is Cassie McKenzie. Cassie is married to Kellie and Dustin’s first cousin, Clint; and she recently recorded with us on our project. I pick on her a lot; but the girls’ got a voice with a heart to match it – big! We love Cassie and were so glad she helped us with our tribute to Alvie! And then last, but certainly not least… ladies and gentlemen… make welcome THE Joe David Cantrell! One of my favorite singers, one of my favorite people – Joe David and I have been together though a lot of blessings and a lot of trials. He sang at my wedding, and if I die before him, he’ll probably sing at my funeral. He has such a gift – I’m not even sure he realizes the full potential in it himself… in fact, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t. He’s helped me out so many times when I’ve had a bad day or just needed some encouragement. He just one of those people who can make you smile when you don’t feel like smiling. So anyhow, that’s New Harmony. If you’ve never heard them – find a singing they’re going be doing, and go. You will NOT be disappointed! And BE SURE to get one of their new CD’s!!! It’s going to be awesome (just like their past two have been); and besides sounding AWESOME, it’s going to LOOK great too! :) Seriously, I could go on and on and wouldn't be able to say enough good about them - I love them all very, very much!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Another Saint Gone Home...

I received word this morning that a dear friend, Sis. Edna Earl Jones, went home to be with Jesus; and while I sit here with tears in my eyes, I know it’s not for the loss of Sis. Edna – it’s for the rejoicing I have in her hope. Her husband, Bro. Will Ed, left this world just a few years ago; and I remember having the same rejoicing for him. This is why – they were probably some of the poorest people I’ve ever known. People say that they’re poor; but they have fine homes, nice cars, and good clothes. None of that describes Bro. Will Ed and Sis. Edna. I remember when I was a kid they lived in one of those old houses around the Dairy Farm in Big Cove. They were in rough shape then – just a cabin. Today, they look like nobody has lived in ‘em for 100 years. Their circumstances in life were so very different than probably anyone who’s reading this post; and for those of you who knew them, you know what I’m talking about. But, oh look what they’ve traded for a mansion! With their passing, my mind runs to the riches they have now inherited. The pleasures in life that they never had anyway, are no match for the untold beauties they are now a part of. Just fourteen years ago, they came in and received salvation and then struggled on through life. Bro. Will Ed finishing his course first, and then Sis. Edna Earl’s battle ending today. I feel so blessed to have known this precious, precious couple; and I hope that when my race on earth has ended, my friends can have the hope for me that I have for Bro. Will Ed and Sis. Edna Earl. I will never forget them; and hope to see them someday in a land where there’ll be no poor folk!