Tokens: don’t be deceived by the smallness of the word.
Reminiscent of a tiny, plastic disc–stand-in currency–used to make some small purchase, or a gesture made for the sake of appearances, the word takes on a richer and deeper meaning in the context of that delightful mixture of music, mirth and musings that is the Tokens show, Lipscomb University professor Lee Camp’s “Prairie Home Companion”-like, live radio-style brainchild. The show, now a widely-recognized thread running through the fabric of the Nashville entertainment scene, is no counterfeit coin.
Tokens transcends mere entertainment, ascending instead to the level of education, even enlightenment.
Fortunately, nobody had rescinded my diploma. Neither had I landed in one of those fish-out-of-water, “impotence” dreams where the hapless, middle-age man, who has long since forgotten the difference between a sine and cosine, is thrown into an advanced geometry class full of National Merit Scholars.
Instead, I visited Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, where nine black students, aka the “Little Rock Nine,” dared to enter her shiny portals of learning in September, 1957, thereby ending ending racial segregation in Little Rock public schools. They were blocked on the first attempt by Arkansas National Guardsmen acting under orders of Governor Orval Faubus who had sworn not to allow the black students to enroll.
People look at you kind of strange when you tell them that you shelled out good money to attend something called a “Christian Scholars’ Conference” and that you actually enjoyed it. Reactions can range from “What’s a guy like you doing in a place like that?” to “Well, la-de-da!” But believe me, after a long season of Tim James political TV ads and rootin’ tootin’ “Ag Commish” wannabe viral videos, I was ready for a little more “la-de-da” in my life.
You know Eyegal and me–liberal arts geeks to the core. An itch like that doesn’t always get scratched sufficiently in a high tech town like Huntsville, Alabama.
Pardon me, but does the goofy-looking nerd in the suspenders and top hat reading Mother Goose look like the type of guy who would strike fear in the hearts of murderous Ku Klux Klansmen?
Um, no, I don’t think so.
And if you had asked any of us who attended Harding University in the early 1980s the same question and what we thought of the future prospects of Jerry “Boo” Mitchell, first-class clown, favorite chapel announcer and author of the somewhat subversive “Fifth Column” which appeared weekly in the school newspaper The Bison, we would have likely laughed and said something like “high school speech teacher,” or “radio talk show host,” anything, really, other than the Civil Rights version of Gabriel Van Helsing.