You know how you always tell your parents, “You really should write those stories down.”? Well, my friend’s dad has done that, and the stories in “Before and After” are fascinating. Woody Stanley, 93, was born in rural Colbert County, Alabama. He owned and operated several businesses and restaurants in the area and still lives there, where he’s just closing his latest venture — a restaurant-supply store. In his lifetime, as the book says, he’s gone from kerosene lamps and candlelight to TVA electricity, from mules and Model Ts to the space shuttle. Reading his book is like sitting down and talking to him and learning about the ways things used to be. Folks in this part of Alabama know him from the famous Woodymac Drive-In restaurants he owned from 1947 to 1968. Everybody went there for burgers and shakes. Even Elvis Presley ate there after his history-making concerts at the nearby Sheffield Community Center. You’ve got to read the book to find out what Elvis always ordered — and why! You need to read it, too, to see how Woody defused a potential racial conflict on a bus he was driving during World War II — before Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. Woody also witnessed Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s visit to the Shoals to announce the beginning of TVA. My friend, Susan, said her dad wrote the book in about a year on a yellow pad with a pen at the dining room table. “He was inspired to write it because of the history and changes he’s witnessed and because he wanted to share things that ‘people in the last 30-40 years wouldn’t know about’,” Susan said. The book is $24, including shipping. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to place an order or to pay by credit card with Paypal. Or mail a check to 1101 Brookford Place, Muscle Shoals, AL 3566. Or stop by Commercial Equipment Supply, 2613 North Jackson Hwy., Sheffield, this week to meet Woody as the store clearns out inventory with a yard sale, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday-Saturday. There are all sorts of great kitchen and restaurant items left – and Woody might even autograph a book for you!
Published by shoalswriter
I'm a freelance writer, editor and marketing consultant focusing on style, history, food and the arts in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. I'm also an adjunct journalism instructor and writing coach. My husband is a newspaper sports editor, and he and I are from middle Tennessee. Older Daughter and her husband, an artist and high-school art teacher, live nearby with our three young grandsons. Younger Daughter works in PR and event planning and also lives nearby. View all posts by shoalswriter