The People of America


Fayette, Alabama-Ed Wilkinson specializes in beautiful rock fire places and chimneys and also builds houses with cypress siding.


Times are changing.

In this new century it can be hard to find people to talk to in small towns on weekends.
Years ago people living out in the country, especially those living on working farms, would make a weekly trip to town to buy  groceries and do other shopping or just socialize.
First came television. Then state laws that required stores to be closed on Sundays (sometimes called “blue laws”) were largely eliminated. This was followed by the growth in the number of chain stores, including Dollar stores are scattered across America.

Now I am finding many small town downtown stores – where they still exist – hang their “closed” signs on the front door late on Friday afternoons and the stores remain closed on Saturdays.

Out on the highways the fast food places and chain stores are open seven days a week,many well into the evening.

So I was pleased to find Ed Wilkinson in Fayette, Alabama. He was helping a client and friend, a  shop owner, load clothing into her car for an evening fashion show.
Ed is a licensed contractor, and his beautiful dry stacked stone fireplaces and chimneys (he showed me pictures) are among his specialties. He also has used Cyprus as the exterior siding on new houses. Heights don’t bother him. He had a picture of a 104 foot (ten story) radio tower that he had to climb.
“A monkey can do what I do – he just doesn’t have the money,” he quips.

I asks him about the the courthouse with its shining dome that looked like gold. After Fayette burned in 1911 the large courthouse was built in a year for $56,000. Later, when it was remodeled, it cost $4 million and took two years to complete the job, he said.

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