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What people, famous and infamous, have to say about Jim's works:

Learn more about Jim Reed!

"Your DAD'S TWEED COAT is the cat's pajamas! Bravo!"
-- Ray Bradbury, author

"Jim Reed's writing flows in the tradition of some of the best Southern writers. His gentle, but funny, personality shines through every page."
-- Allen Johnson, author

"DAD'S TWEED COAT was like dipping into my childhood...thank you for sharing these vignettes with me. I hope our paths cross again."
-- Bishop John Shelby Spong, author

"DAD'S TWEED COAT is a charming little book."
-- Abigail Van Buren ("Dear Abby")

"Jim Reed, I love your book. It is just wonderful...delightful! You are a fine writer...very touching!"
-- Fannie Flagg, author

"It's a lovely tribute and fun to read."
--Howell Raines, author, editor

"DAD'S TWEED COAT was, from beginning to end, one of the loveliest reading experiences I've had in a long time. Intriguing thoughts, eloquently expressed."
-- Robert Inman, author

"Thank you so much for your wonderful presentation. The entertaining stories that you related so effortlessly kept us spellbound. At times it was poignant, at times funny, but certainly it was NEVER boring."

--Rolaine Merchant

"I love your STICKY NOVELS. I read most of them out loud to Dail and a friend who came to dinner. My favorites: YOU-DAMN-REEKA, HOPE CHEST, SCRUNCH, PREMEDITATION."
--Ada Long, director, Honors Program, University of Alabama at Birmingham

"I enjoyed it. I was particularly fond of the many tributes to your dad. It is not common to find grown men unashamed to give some credit to fatherhood. It seems that as fathers we recognize how important we are in the lives of our children, but as men we often look at ourselves as 'self-made.'"
-- John Vielke

Thank you so much for How to Become Your Own Book! It's wonderful! I started to just peruse it -- but I literally (and literarily) couldn't put it down! I can't wait to tell others about it. It's an inspiring read for old-timers as well as new-comers. And I love your choice of quotes, especially those by Frost. I almost fell out of my chair when I read the quote on page 137 by Alex MacLeod! Thank ye!
--Charles Ghigna, author, poet

"Ya'll are gooder'n snuff!"
-- Group leader, Glen Iris School (commenting on Seasoned Readers performance of Jim Reed's SMALL TOWN RED CLAY TALES BOTH ACTUAL AND TRUE)

"DAD'S TWEED COAT is definitely a page-turner! It leaves me with the impression that, 'Yep,I've been there. I felt good then, and I'd like to go back again.' I've totally wrapped myself into DAD'S TWEED COAT. It feels good."
-- Marty Morris, author, actor

"It's a little book full of big ideas. I recommend it."
-- Phil Willmarth, editor, magician

"Thank you for bravely and dearly sharing yourself...DAD'S TWEED COAT manages to be intimate and universal at the same time. No wonder it is so meaningful to so many readers."
-- Martha Hunt Huie (Mrs. William Bradford Huie)

"Hey--outstanding. A note of appreciation for your valuable contribution to the Baldwin Writers Group annual Wordsmiths' Workshop. Thanks again for your insightful and entertaining discources for the would-be writers of Lower Alabama."

--R. Reilly Maginn

"Well Jim, Saw your response in the newspaper yesterday. Who could have guessed? Proud of you...once again. Thanks for speaking for many of us! You're the man!"

--Gail Daw, Birmingham

"I can only say that if indeed 'this small book evaporates into the ozone layer' then the ozone layer will only be improved by its addition and perhaps you will have solved the rain forest predicament once and for all...as far as I'm concerned DAD'S TWEED COAT is a Necessary Necessity (see page 116) for reminding us what is real and worthwhile in all of us. Thanks for writing it. It was and is...a good Reed."
--Faye Burgess

"In this high tech age, it is so easy to forget the really important things in life. Reed's observations are heartwarming, nostalgic and sometimes hilarious. It is truly a rare and wonderful gift to be able to give meaning to the most simple things in our world, but Jim Reed has it...it belongs in every home."

"I nearly ran off the road, driving along and listening to your (on WUAL public radio) story about the California Fashion Mall (see CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A DAY). Very funny!
--Martha Espy, City of Birmingham

"I enjoyed reading your book and could relate to many of the places you mentioned. I, too, grew up in Tuscaloosa (Holt High Class of 1950) and I went to school with lots of McGees and Herrons (various spellings).

Winifred Akridge

"DAD'S TWEED COAT is a loving embrace from someone else's memories...it's portable and easy on your pockets...place it near your heart, it will warm and calm you."
-- Geoff Langdon, author

"Jim Reed's story ("Rip Reed Rides Again") really hit my memory button this time, because I was in broadcasting for over thirty years. First as a part-time DJ (that's disc jockey for you amateurs) and then program director, manager and owner of several stations. Hey Jim, remember 'The Green Hornet?'"
--David Robinson

"DAD'S TWEED COAT gave me insights into how life was in a kinder and gentler time in a home full of love, books, games and colorful characters."
-- Tim Baer, political consultant

"Much to my delight, I loved every word. Didn't want to put it down."
-- Mary Kay Remick, author

"Reed...makes us all stop and think about our lives. And more than that, he makes us want to write the stories of our lives as well."
-- Lynn Edge Reeves, author, editor

"With the publication of DAD'S TWEED COAT, you are now a writer's writer. You have arrived!"
-- Barbara Partrich, artist

"I really want to thank you for sharing a part of your life with me and many others. I'm still reeling from some of the stories. Thanks for putting into words a lot of the thoughts and feelings that I've wanted to verbalize...and for a lot of stuff I've not thought of before...thanks for being genuine and honest in your writing."
-- Anoop Mishra, consultant

"DAD TWEED COAT...has so much goodness and subtle humor and insight into minutiae and humility. It gently coerces the reader into thoughtful reflection. It is therapeutic."
-- William Gaunt, teacher

"DAD'S TWEED COAT is a delight! A southern journey through the eyes of a gentle, wise man. It was a fun and thought-provoking trip."
-- Teresa Thorne, author

"DAD'S TWEED COAT is really fine. It is a terrific book, and also a legacy. I treasure it."
-- Paul Zahl, author, priest

DAD'S TWEED COAT is "a book about what happens in the course of simply living life. It's full of the surprising, unexpected joys that just happen--if you pay attention." TWEED is "...nicely eclectic, too. It's gently written. It made me smile. And it make me think."
-- Susan Swagler, columnist

Enjoyed your Christmas story- it has so many wonderful nuances. Pity me, I have no grandchildren. So thanks for letting me enjoy yours through your story.

Merry Christmas,

--Betty Spence

DAD'S TWEED COAT "...is more about running your life. Or sparking your creativity. Or just taking time to smell a rose or two. Keep this book handy when you need to lift your spirits or get in touch with reality."
-- Ann Halpern, author, editor

"Your article about music and beautiful women (see MUSIC TO SWIVEL AND SNIVEL BY)...it was very entertaining."
--Alison Whitfield

DAD'S TWEED COAT "...is gentle and wonderful and full of wonders."
-- Patricia Bleicher, theologian

"This is a relatively small book packed with large insights. It's a great book to buy for yourself, but pick up several copies for giving to special people on special occasions--or no occasion at all."
-- Dwight Connelly, author, editor

"I couldn't put it down...a small joyful compact book packed full of fun, witticisms, homages...wonderful insight into human nature. I believe you'll feel a little bit better about yourself and your world after reading DAD'S TWEED COAT."
-- Robbie Willmarth, radio reviewer

"Just finished reading (DAD'S TWEED COAT) and will be re-reading it frequently--it's a winner!"
-- Bill Delp, author

"You can be sure I'll read DAD'S TWEED COAT again and again, and share it with my family, too. Thank you for the wonderful gift you have given to me and other readers."
-- Dorothy Croxton, author

"Thank you for the story describing some of your fond Christmas memories and the wonderful bevy of grandchildren."

--Sam Knowlton

"DAD'S TWEED COAT is so good, you'll want to grab someone and say, 'You've got to read this.' It's a savvy celebration of STUFF."
-- Herb Neu, author, editor

"I loved it! Every chapter was beautifully written. What a beautiful thought about 'the butterfly's cough.'"
-- Betty Simpson, rare book dealer

"Thanks, much thanks for your dear, warm wondrous 'The Man Who Met Ray Bradbury Tomorrow.' It brought tears to my eyes! Bless you! Much luck always!"
--Ray Bradbury

"Every now and then, an author comes along with the unique ability to take the ordinary, little things that we all experience each and every day of our lives, and make them appear extraordinary. Jim Reed is such an author."
-- New South Magazine

"As always, you were informative and entertaining. This time you were also inspirational."
-- Candy Gutierrez, civic leader

"The gentle and personal stories will warm your heart, bring back childhood memories and leave you wanting more."
-- Benson Bolling, book dealer

"It was a pleasure to go thru DAD'S TWEED COAT. The book was so interesting that I missed, rather forgot, my dinner appointment. Please register my order for your next book provided the same is published within 2 years as I am well nigh 80 and may not survive beyond the 2 years!"
-- Pama Primlane, editor

"A book-in-progress that anyone can participate in. Reed speaks frequently on the subject, HOW TO BECOME YOUR OWN BOOK. After reading DAD'S TWEED COAT, that's exactly what you'll want to do."
-- Authors' Voices: Home of the Virtual Book Tour

"I don't have a favorite story. They're all my favorite. Sometimes you get a very unexpected gift at Christmas. This was mine."
-- Dianne Kurek, civic entertainer

"I was savoring (in my mind) your lovely Christmas story, particularly its originality, and how little of what we see is original today."
-- Frank Hinckley, retired, USAF

"Great Haiku--gesundheit! You may have started a new tradition--German AND Japanese in a single poem! Love it!"
--Charles Ghigna, writer.

"Your talk crystallized something...I wrote something from the heart and had it recognized. It was a moment that changed things and capturing those moments is an art that touches people. And I want to do more of it."
--Karla Conway, writer.

"Members told me how much they needed to hear what you had to say. Thanks for taking the time."
--Adam Kelley, public relations.

"(Your) description was just right. It captured the spirit we have always felt perfectly. We appreciate (your) sharing with the rest of us."
--Mary Lynn Bates, Birmingham

"I really enjoyed the Sticky Note novels. Nothing breaks the writer's block more than removing the length requirement for me!"
--Chris McCaleb, filmmaker, Chicago

"I especially enjoyed reading about your wrestling match with the hole punch and printer. How familiar that sounds..."
--Glenda Harbison (after reading NIGHT OF THE LIVING LUDDITE on this website)

"I greatly enjoyed STICKY NOVELS. A truly original idea and form...they are kind of prose Haiku. Something about the shortness helps you see differently."
--Allen Johnson Jr.

"Your pieces are so evocative. I read them all!"
--Paul Zahl

"Jim's essay (on racism) was a warm start on a cold morning!
--Ada Long, educator

"Thanks for sharing. Warm piece!"
--John Northrop, educator

"Thanks for that (article)...sometimes we all need to be reminded."
--Sam Hill, attorney

"Great column...I'm always accused of living in the past. I just create my own present! As I see it!"
--Georgia Meyer

"We have had so much fun telling the story about you and Arthur("My Bodyguard")! Thanks for reappearing in Arthur's life!!!!!"

--Mrs. Arthur Voss

"Thanks for this (essay on racism) to me. I really enjoyed it!"
--Nanci Turner-Shults, psychologist

"Yesterday, several of the students were starting to fuss with each other...one of the more attention-seeking and disruptive students was getting on everyone's last nerve. We were sitting in a circle around the table and I pulled out Jim's (essay on racism, "Rearranging the Deck Chairs") and read it. I ended the essay by saying this is why we meet in art therapy group each day. You could have heard a pin drop. It changed the spirit and mood of the group. Thank you for all you are and all you do."
--Annette Reynolds, therapist/teacher

"Thanks for sharing (your) thought provoking tribute."
--Joseph Walker, minister, civic activist

"Thanks for this. Jim's message is inspiring and so true...if only more believed or would take a chance on getting to know 'those other people.'"
--Jess Marie, performance artist

"Thank you, beloved friend...I just rejoice in how good this (essay on racism) is!"
--Patricia Bleicher, theologian

"What a beautiful message! Thanks for sharing it."
--Lynda Law Harrison, World Health Organization Collaborating Center

"Wow! There you were, on the Opinion Page of the Birmingham News, shining like a jewel in a firmament of racism, anti-Americanism and pundit senility. Nice piece...it was a relief to read something other than the tired, unoriginal, borrowed, boring bleating of the pundit hacks who 'grace' the News' editorial pages."
--Frank Hinckley

"I sure did enjoy the story. Makes me appreciate all our old ornaments that much more, especially the ones I've broken and the ones the kids have broken over the years."

--Roy Yarbrough, jazz bassist

"Your narrative was comforting and is in keeping with the way the world should be. Thanks for sharing."
--Gary Dobbs

"I enjoyed ("Rearranging the Deck Chairs") so much, very fitting for our time. If the world could seek understanding in place of the 'hatred' of what we don't understand, we could have a 'world' circle."
--Georgia Meyer, editor, BOOK DEALERS MONTHLY

"Thank you so much! We have had the best time with this story!" (The story is "The Bodyguard.")
--Charlotte Voss

"This is amazing and so wonderful!" ("The Bodyguard")
--Nancy Reeder

"I was touched to tears while I was reading some of your diary entries and your letter to Fred Rogers. The simple truth of daily life and its value and meaning is found in your writing."

--Marion Noble

"I enjoyed your comments at our Penwomen meeting yesterday, especially the idea that each short story or vignette creates its own universe."

--Susan Murphy

"Thanks for the memories jim, a pleasant interlude in what is looking like a stressful day."

--Fran Sharp

"Very nice piece you wrote (and Mr. Rogers' reply).

--Donn Albright, author and bibliographer to Ray Bradbury

I appreciated, more than you will understand, your letter to Mr. Rogers and his reply to you. He was one of my heroes, a brilliant gem."

--Bill Garove

"Lovely letter..having just had an encounter with a New York hyper-aggressive bully, your sentiments are all the more appreciated. I'd urge you to stay the way you are but there's no need--thankfully, you're not going to change."

--Philip Willmarth

"Thank you for the gentle voice you project for gentle behavior and thank you for your gentle spirit that underlies who is you. I am encouraged by your path."

--Philip Lasater

"Oh, Jim, that is so wonderful. Thanks for sharing it with me."

--June Cunniff

"Today in heaven, it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. With gratitude for good examples."

--Pat Bleicher

"Thanks...you made me remember how much Captain Kangaroo meant to me. My mother always let me watch that show and we talked about him often."

--Tim Baer

"What a wonderful correspondence, both ways. How nice of you that you made this connection. And made my day."

--Ada Long

"That's very lovely...thanks!"

--Lori Johnson

"As always...I hear your voice clearly, both figuratively and (almost) literally. And may I say 'amen.'"

Teresa Thorne

"Jim -- Thanks for your story, I'm going to share it with my daughter."

--Allen Barra, author, columnist

"You captured what many of us felt this morning when we heard the sad news of Fred Rogers' death. I, too, loved him. He helped keep the little kid in all of us alive. The highlight of watching the Rose Bowl parade this year was seeing him and Art Linkletter riding together in that wonderful old convertible, smiling and waving in the sun, reminding us all that the world can still be a very loving neighborhood, indeed."

--Charles Ghigna

"Am very sad today about Mr. Rogers and this made me smile."

--Mary Ann Smith-Janas

And I thought the first issue of BAR (Birmingham Arts Review) was terrific. There were two poems in particular that I loved. One was "The Sistine Chapel as Graffiti" (by Jim Reed) and the second was "The Worry Doll" (by Jessica Baxter).
--Charlee Jacob

"My little girl Shelby told me she made a new friend last night named Jim (Reed) and she told him she wanted to be a writer and he told her to write in her journal every night and if she couldnt stop she was a writer. She was so excited!!!!" (Jim was quoting author Charles Ghigna, better known as Father Goose.)
--Wendy, Birmingham, Alabama

WOW! Jim, that's great! I think every bit of that needs to be said (re: Jim's article, NEIGHBORHOOD TERRORISTS), and I'm glad you've got the courage to say it. It may make people think twice about a lot of things they do.
Thank you!
--Matt, Birmingham, Alabama


Jim Reed has a habit of writing each day -- often on just scraps of paper and such. Dad's Tweed Coat is a collection of some of those essays and life's observations. The blend of southern humor and wisdom makes the forty-eight essays worthy of sharing.

"Wearing Your Memories," is a tender reflection on wearing his father's tweed coat and the memories it brings him.

"The Write Right Rite," tells of the joy and power of diary writing, where lies and fancies can become history in the hands for a future historian reading your thoughts as fact.

"Did the Earth Move For You?" Describe a phone conversation between Jim and his wife Liz after she experiences her first earthquake in California. She is happy to return back to tornado alley. Of course, this was written before Alabama had it's own quake in 2003.

"The Tanning I Deserve." Everyone makes "to do" lists, but Reed makes a list of things to avoid during summer -- such as: sucking in his gut at the beach as a female walks by or reading anything called blockbuster.

Dad's Tweed Coat is done in gift book format, and I'm sure those receiving it would read it with a smile.
--Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews

"Great story, Jim. Really recalls the old days." ("Magic Act")
--Liz, Ann and John Packard

"After braving the Pell City K-Mart today then reading your story, I promise myself to be kind to the season, and, even more important, allow it to be kind to me!"

--Paula Pointer

"Really like this one ("Magic Act"). My son, Kirk, was a magician from age 10 on so I am forwarding this to him....our four boys also went as a group Xmas morning to acquire their loot with eyes closed, hand on shoulder of brother in front, and then breaking into a run when they spied their presents."
--Frances Heyne

"You're really special Jim Reed (after reading "Magic Act").
--Jim Smither

"Thanks for the laughs, Barbara. Your brother (Jim Reed) is a great writer. By the way, thanks for sharing his book with me. I enjoyed it a lot."

--Gail R. Perkins

"I read with pleasure your article about Bob Hope. I was a Hope fan, too. I particularly liked his sassiness and the fact that he mainly made fun of himself."

--Carolyn Young

"I enjoyed your article in the Birmingham Free Press about the DART trolley. I just got off and they were having Crazy Church with some guy yelling in the rear."
Don McFall

"I really enjoyed listening to you tell the numerous stories on audio. The stories/ideas are incredible...I really enjoyed Did I Ever Tell You? Was It As Good forYou? Hotter Than... Here! Life Is an Open Book........I listened to many of them over and over.........
--Scott Davis, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

"I am a new monthly contributor to Down South, Old Tennessee Valley and Yesterday' s Memories. I just wanted to write and tell you how much I enjoy reading your stories included in those magazines."

--Sandy Driver

"Am enjoying the Christmas stories. You should be reading them on the radio, rat now. Tis the season."
--Phil Willmarth

"You do this so well, Jim. Strike that right note, and so effortlessly."

--Suzanne LaRosa

"Thank you for the class at Comer school. I enjoyed it very much."
--Bonnie Phillips

"Thank you for the wonderful Thanksgiving poem. I can smell the slightly damp earth and the slightly damp, sweaty little dog, two of my favorite scents. If it smells like autumn, I'm happy."
--Melinda Dickinson

"A very good poem! ("Field of Dogs") Very good. It rings my particular childhood chimes."
--Allen Johnson Jr.

"Thanks. I'll read this to my family tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving!"
--Toni Tully

"We’d like to escape all the hoop-la of the holidays on a sparsely populated Caribbean island…..but haven’t been able to do it yet! LOVED your “old but ever-current” story! Thanks for sharing it!"

--Diane Wood

"Beautiful, Jim. You brought tears to my eyes. And made me think, into the bargain."
--Ann Bryant

"I LIKE THIS VERY MUCH." ("Field of Dogs")
--Evelyn Hurley

"Wow! You and Charles Dickens are the most prolific writers I’ve encountered."
--Suzy Long

"Thank you for the wonderful stories! They captured my Mother's sweetness and the JOY of Christmas' past!"
--Janice Cook

"Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings for the season. Happy Holidays."
--Rebecca Mitchell

"Excellent piece! ("My Beautiful Santas") I read it Sunday in the paper. You contribute so-o-o-o much to our thought process. My belief is, That’s what great authors do!!!"
--Sharon Childs-Long

"What fun to read your story. I called my 90 year old Mother to read it to her. She is in a nursing home and not doing well, but you brightened her day, which means you brightened mine. Merry Christmas. Don't forget the raisins."
--Susan Reeves

"I read your column in the newspaper this past weekend. Enjoyed it immensely."
--Yvonne Crumpler

"Loved this thought. Also want to tell you that I really enjoyed listening to you speak at the last AMP meeting (been meaning to write and tell you this for a month!). Anyway..it's great to hear such refreshing and timely ideas."

--Kathy Dunlap

"Well said!" (re: "Santa" story)
--Charles and Lotte Keller

"hohoho jim and thanks for the story. santas ARE all around! always the milk and cookies, i remember - my mother has saved a letter that i wrote santa to accompany her milk and cookies stating (in parenthesis) that 'personally i don't like mom's cookies that much'... something about maybe feeding them to the reindeer - ha!"
--Scott Gordon

"Nice Santa Claus story."
--Clarke Stallworth

--Luther and Esther Smith

"Beautiful story. Thanks, Jim. And may your Christmas be bright, merry, and full of the meaning you learned as a child. And follow that with a wonderful New Year."
--Arden and Mary Faith Moser

"Thank you, Santa Jim! Wonderful story!" ("Santas")
--Martha Huie

"Beautiful story!" ("Santas")
--Margaret Hutton

"Thanks for sharing your stories. And thanks especially for the stories in "Christmas Comes But Once a Day." When a small group of my international students asked me what Christmas really means for Americans, I took them to the BAA gallery to see the artists' rendering of your stories. And it was there that I remembered: it's all about Santa Claus! Christmas brings out the child in all us--the innocence and sense of wonder. The Magic."
--Nancy Abney



"Thank you so much for sharing this. It is beautiful and so true!"
--Cindy Hughes

"I believe! I believe! And what fun it is to believe."
--Evelyn Hurley

"I can't imagine that you haven't received dozens of personal replies to this ("Santa") message, and hope you will accept one more. These communications from you...always work to quiet my soul. I'm so busy most days it takes a few minutes for the words to take effect, and yet they always do. You're a fine storyteller, it's most true. But that we need these stories may be even more true. Thank you for them."
--Suzanne La Rosa

"What a wonderful story !!! ("My Beautiful Santas"). I was seven years ahead of you but was still in the same gentle world as you -- neighbors who knew each other , and most particularly, knew the kids running everywhere -- people who were doing the best they could do -- and i truly believe were people whose actions and thoughts were colored by the Great Depression to a degree we now find difficult to understand -- a subject so painful it was just not discussed with the children."
--Elsie Busby

"This is a beautiful story, Jim, really touching."

--Suzy Long, Portland, Oregon

"I LOVE this. ("My Beautiful Santas")YOU are a Santa.Thanks so much for sharing -- Merry Christmas!"
--Irene Latham

"Wow! How beautiful." ("My Beautiful Santas")
--Mary Ann Smith-Janas

"I enjoyed your Thanksgiving remembrance. It brought back memories of making things out of paper."

--Sue Brannan Walker, Poet Laureate of Alabama

"Dear Jim. I sat up and read most of Tweed Coat last night, and now I know you. I enjoyed it very much. you write so easily and from the heart."

--Jane Trechsel, actress, Birmingham, Alabama

"Jim, thank you for this beautiful story." ("My Beautiful Santas")
--Cherri Harris

"Thanks for the Plastic Santa story. I had one of those things scare me to death as I walked into the CVS pharmacy the other day. That 4' plastic Santa was automatically clicked into merry motion when my stroll passed over the invisible censor. It made my skin crawl, like he was sent there by Chucky (the little horror movie doll)."

--Christine Barrett, artist

"Thanks, Jim, for your story about Santas. It contains wisdom for the new year and I appreciate your reminder to keep my eyes open for those Santas who come into my life!"
--Paula Pointer


To Mr. Reed:

E'en though we were so very few
(not even enough for a quorum to do)--
with apologies to the "Rules of OrderING,"

I'm sure you'll be glad to know
that your name will be saved
for posterity in our club's
historic minutes!

On December the tenth in two thousand and two
the Eleanor Hord Club was in sort of a stew;
only six of its members came to the meeting,
hoping to lunch and extend a warm greeting
to Mr. Jim Reed, the man of the hour,
speaking on Christmas and holiday lore.
Dylan Thomas's "A Child's Christmas in Wales"
was one of his most poetic tales.

But filled with the joy of Christmas season,
We kept our minds on this special reason;
We'd have our lunch and enjoy the chatter,
Skip the "minutes" and what else didn't matter.

So we gathered around in the cozy "Brown Room,"
Admiring the table decoration in bloom
placed there by President Carter (Lenore)--
Bryant said "grace," who could ask for more?

We thanked Mr. Reed; and he kindly conceded
"this casual respite" was just what he needed.
And though the attendance was only seven,
We enjoyed the meeting and adjourned at one-eleven.

Then before our speaker could get out of sight,
We said, "Merry Christmas" to all
and to all a "Good Night."

(Dorothy Underwood is secretary of the Eleanor Hord Literary Club of Birmingham, Alabama, founded more than a Century ago! Jim Reed presented their 2002 a.d. Christmas program.)

"I truly loved this ("My Beautiful Santas"). Thanks for reminding me that Xmas still deserves to exist, even though I've turned into Scrooge. I just wish it could be more about the children and the needy. It is so wonderful being a child at Xmastime. My parents likewise gave me the greatest gift, that of an innocent childhood filled with wonder."

--Mary Kate



Some words on Jim Reed

By Melinda Dickinson

He's a man of his word and, as is obvious in his Reed Books, Museum of Fond Memories, the words of a good many others as well. Jim Reed is a writer, reader, proprietor of a one-of-a-kind bookstore-museum-curiosity shop, gentleman philosopher (the best kind), poet, activist in the furtherance of decent behavior (once known as race relations), and a whale of a nice guy. This is not a reference to physical girth; instead it speaks directly to his zest for life, intellectual curiosity, and generosity of spirit.

Makes you want to meet him if you don't already know him, doesn't it? Well, you should. You'll enjoy the experience.

His background certainly seems normal enough - born and raised in Tuscaloosa, one of five children, happy family life with loving relatives and friends and plenty of red clay dust into which to dig one's toes on a hot summer afternoon. Except that four out of the five Reed children, T.R., Rosie, Barbara, and Jim, grew up to be artists, and Jim describes his mother as "an unsuspecting writer." So the undeniable love of words and images and the means of exploring the world through art were either inherited or there's something in the water south of here. I would point to the water if the fifth Reed child, Ronny, had not turned out to be an accountant. DNA has quirks. Water doesn't.

Of the many talents Jim has, the one he exercises most frequently is writing. As far as I am concerned, the world is a better place because of it. His essays, articles and stories are alike only in their excellence, for he has obviously spent much of his life as an experience sponge, soaking up color, detail, sounds, scents, textures and ideas. These he draws upon readily, spilling out prose on various surfaces including sticky notes. As a matter of fact, he's written two books on sticky notes. Not about sticky notes, on them. They're entitled, appropriately enough, Sticky Novels, and Stickier Novels.

One thing to understand about Jim Reed, the writer: He writes constantly, if output is any measure of effort. He is a contributor to, among many, many others: The Birmingham News, Birmingham Magazine, Snakeskin, Birmingham Free Press, Tuskaloosa Magazine, Old Tennessee Valley Magazine, and Down South Magazine. (For the full and very impressive list, go to jimreedbooks.com .)

In addition to countless articles, there are books. Wonderful books that make you think and smile and sometimes sniffle. One such gem came to light in 1998, when Dad's Tweed Coat: Small Wisdoms, Hidden Comforts, Unexpected Joys was published. It has been followed by Christmas Comes But Once A Day; Not Another Poetry Book (Another Poetry Book); Inward Tales: Dancing Around Race, Racism and Racists; How to Become Your Own Book; and Small Town Red Clay Tales, Both Actual and True. There are others, too, but some writers find it depressing to type long lists of accomplishments of other writers.

Remember, he does all this writing in addition to running a retail emporium, editing the Birmingham Arts Journal, being active in various downtown business community projects, speaking to civic, arts, and professional organizations around the country, and dispensing encouragement to those who need it. (Frequently other writers.)

Of course, Jim is not all work and words. He's also husband, father and grandpere to a growing family of third-generation artists. His wife, well-known marketing guru Liz Reed, is currently getting her degree in Art in UAB's honors program, starting a new business (Alabama Marketplace, an online gift site), and being the guiding force at the Birmingham Art Association. This is all by way of saying that if you're thinking of trying to keep up with these people, forget it. There are overachievers and then there are Reeds.

The remarkable thing about Jim, though, is that he never gives the impression of being rushed, harried, stressed, all those bywords of busy people. He exudes an aura of - well, intrinsic Jim-ness, with a ready smile, the friendliness of the born storyteller, a generous spirit, and the insatiable curiosity about people, things, life, which make him the fine writer he is. Reed is writin' and that's good by me.


Learn more about Jim Reed!