No Moon Pie museum, but Alabama fan shrine great substitute


Reggie ponder lifestyles chowan herald


By Reggie Ponder

Sunday, October 7, 2018

We were on vacation last week in Chattanooga, Tenn., and had every intention of visiting the Moon Pie museum while we were there.

But we didn’t make it.

That’s OK, I guess, because I expect we’ll be back — probably sometime next year — and will surely get to the Moon Pie headquarters on the next trip.

The place we did visit, however, was the Alabama Fan Club Museum in Fort Payne, Ala. I have loved the band Alabama from their first hits in the late 1970s right up to the present day.

“My Home’s in Alabama,” “Tennessee River,” “Mountain Music,” “Old Flame,” “Close Enough to Perfect” and “Dixieland Delight” remain among my favorite songs from the late 1970s and early 1980s, and really are some of my favorite songs from any era.

The museum was thoughtfully designed with fans in mind. A lot of what we saw wouldn’t have meant much to people who aren’t fans of the band, but as bonafide Bama-heads we found delights at every turn.

I got my picture taken in front of a wall with their gold and platinum records. Another photo shows their first 17 consecutive number one records in the background (they went on to have 21 consecutive number ones, which is still a record).

There were numerous items on display at the museum that I enjoyed seeing: guitars from the band’s early days, a van they used to tour in, photos from appearances at the White House, and stage outfits.

The most interesting bit of memorabilia to me, though, was lead singer Randy Owen’s FFA jacket from high school. Randy was a proud member of Future Farmers of America in high school, his father was a farmer, and he owns and helps operate a cattle farm to this day. His children handle the farm’s day-to-day operations when he is busy performing or recording.

What was most interesting to me about the FFA jacket was the informational note than accompanied it, which explained that Randy wore the jacket during the 1985 Farm Aid concert. The note goes on to tell how one review of the concert criticized his decision to wear the jacket, claiming he was “faking.”

It just goes to show how judgmental people can be. How can it be faking to wear your own clothes that you have had for more than a decade?

How was anything about the whole performance even remotely fake, as young men from farm families in Alabama sang in support of farm families who were struggling?

Reggie Ponder is a staff writer for The Daily Advance.