This essay is another tribute to a strong influence in my life.  CDS

Kitty Hortense Morris Davis was my paternal grandmother. Granny Davis.
She was born in Mt. Pleasant, Alabama in Monroe County on January 23rd, 1911. She married my Granddaddy in 1927. Grandaddy was a sharecropper. They moved from farm to farm to work in the fields. Granny always worked alongside Granddaddy.

In 1946 they purchased a farm. The farm was theirs-Granny and Granddaddy’s.
They raised cotton, corn and, of course, spent harvest time picking the crops by hand.Granny also helped take care of the hogs and cows they raised. They sold the farm in 1951. Granddaddy said he sold the farm because he couldn’t get Granny out of the fields. She was such a hardworking woman and working in the fields was backbreaking work.

In 1957 they moved to Mobile, Alabama-an area called Chickasaw. My daddy describes this change as culture shock leaving rural Alabama where they had a community of family and friends to this bustling port city where there were so many people. It all seemed quite chaotic to the quiet farm family from Monroe County.

My grandparents were determined and courageous people to make such a bold move.
They settled into the next phase of their lives. Granddaddy worked on a tugboat and Granny worked at home alone while he was gone. They had seven children one of whom died when he was nine years old.

When describing Granny it could be perceived that she was a submissive woman. She did not give her opinion. In most situations she yielded to other people. She was
quiet. Granny spoke when spoken to and exuded a meek demeanor. I only heard her raise her voice one time. She was about 5′ 4” and probably weighed 110 pounds. She appeared almost frail. If you didn’t know her you would think she needed extra care. But, I did know Granny and she had a spirit and a will as strong as steel. She had a stoicism about her. Emotions could not get in the way of life’s obligations. When her son died in 1937 Granny grieved, but she quickly retreated into the manual labor on the farm. When she moved to Mobile she took care of the children and their home while Granddaddy was away for weeks at a time. Neither Granddaddy nor Granny ever owned a car and neither of them ever learned to drive. Granny walked or took the bus when she needed to go to the grocery store or run errands. Friends and community were made through the church which was situated out the back gate behind their new home in Chickasaw and they soon became friendly with their neighbors.

The only time I ever heard Granny raise her voice or yell is when my Daddy and my uncle told her that my Granddaddy had a serious heart attack on the tugboat and was being transferred to the hospital in Dothan. She soon regained her composure. Granddaddy did not recover and he soon died. This was 1969. Granny continued being strong and resilient.

When my cousin, Les, and I were little Granny would keep us and cook delicious meals for us. At different times my other cousins and my little sister would stay with her. She had nine grandchildren as well as great-grandchildren. I always felt safe with Granny. Despite her stature, her attitude of strength surrounded us. Everything Granny did she did well. Her flowers always thrived. She embroidered and sewed pieces that exhibited the work of a skilled artisan. Cooking. Granny was an excellent cook. She could create a meal out of a few dull items. My favorite she always made for me was macaroni and tomatoes. This sounds ordinary, but Granny’s cooking was extraordinary. I still make a version of it today, though it never tastes like hers.

Some of my favorite memories are when Granny would come to visit us. She would let us sleep late and she always did our chores for us. She had a servant’s heart. She was not particularly affectionate, but doing these chores for us was her way of showing love to us. We watched TV shows together. Perry Mason, I Love Lucy and The Carol Burnett Show. She was always stitching something as she watched TV. She also read a lot. Mostly novels and romances, but she did occupy her mind.

What I learned from Granny is that being alone does not mean being lonely. I also learned that if I wanted something I could walk or use my resources to get it. She was a resourceful and self-sufficient woman. Even though her children would ensure her needs were met, Granny did not wait around for anyone. She did not wring her hands waiting.

My daddy would help her with projects around her house as would my aunts and uncles. But, Granny often liked to change her decor and where her furniture was in her house. She did not call anyone to help her move a bed or a chest. She did it herself! There were many times we would return on a visit and the entire furnishings in her house would be moved. Even after she moved into a senior living apartment we would show up and her chest of drawers would be moved to a different wall in her bedroom. Granny believed in the notion if you didn’t work hard you would be weak. I learned this from her.


Granny loved to shop and she wore suits and skirts with blazers. She loved a blazer! I think this was where I get my love of blazers. She had her hair done weekly and she always smelled so fresh. She would talk of coming from a poor farm family, but she said they knew how to use soap and water. They were always clean. Granny’s home and appearance were always in place and spotless.

Granny Davis was a strong woman who despite humble beginnings raised 6 children some of whom were college- educated and all were successful in their careers and business. Her legacy was a quiet strength, strong work ethic, and courage to move to a new place knowing no one and thriving while doing so. These were just a few of the values Granny Davis taught me.

15th March 2020 CDS

A Little More On Roy Moore (Godly By What Standards)

Written by Cookie Stoner

I find it extraordinary of all the information that has been reported about Roy Moore and his relationships only one woman in his age group has come forward to say she dated Moore – Jennie Klingenbeck. By Moore’s own account he met Kayla Kisor in December 1984 at a church Christmas party. She had recently separated from her husband and had a 1-year-old daughter. According to his autobiography, “So Help Me God” he was 37 and she was 23. He described himself as distracted by Kayla as he read aloud a Christmas poem he had written because he recognized her and wondered if she was the same woman he had watched “years earlier” at a recital at Gadsden State Junior College. Years earlier? How many years? She was 23 at the time Moore met her. three years previous would mean she was about 20 and he was about 34. five years previous means she was about 18, and he was about 32.

Roy Moore graduated from West Point, served in Viet Nam, and then returned home to attend the University of Alabama Law School. Other than Klingenbeck are there any women in his age group who will come forward to report they dated? I have only heard that Moore sought out much younger women (socially and culturally unacceptably younger even by 1970s standards regardless of Alabama State Auditor Jim Ziegler’s recent bizarre references to Old Testament cultural/marital customs as an excuse for Moore’s behavior) perhaps for a life partner. One he could groom and train perhaps? If Moore had never left a small community where he had limited options to meet women his age I could maybe understand some of his dating choices. It is not a crime to be with someone younger if both are at the age of consent. You fall in love with the person not the age. However, Roy Moore was known for always being interested in women significantly younger than he was.

West Point was an all-male institution when Moore attended. Perhaps he concentrated on his studies and did not date anyone – a southern boy in a new environment. But, when he was in law school at southern university campus did he date any of his peers? Or, even those undergrads who were a few years younger? Where are the women he dated from the time he was 20 to the time he was 37 years old? Seventeen years with the exception of the time he was in Viet Nam and Klingenbeck. There are many accounts of his predatory behavior, but not one that I have seen that says, “Hey Roy and I dated for a while, and it just didn’t work out. We grew apart.” Not one. Even Klingenbeck said they only briefly dated. Moore finally found his younger woman in Kayla. The “Godly” man met the married woman in December 1984. Her divorce was final in April 1985, and they married in December 1985.

He was “Godly.” She was married. Separated, but still married. Yes, when a marriage is over it is over and sometimes a person is just waiting on a piece of paper, but Moore has always veiled his politics in religion. The Ten Commandments have always been especially important to him. His religion seems to be very black and white. The Bible. The infallible word of God. By his own admission, he was breaking the 10th Commandment. “Thou Shalt Not Covet.” Even when I read Moore’s words about how he could not stop thinking of Kayla, he was not only coveting his neighbor’s wife; he seems to be lusting after her. I have no judgment about relationships in or out of marriage. But, I do find it very offensive when a politician, a judge, or a person who can use his power to affect so many lives gets a pass because he is a “Godly” man. Well, God can have him. He is not “Godly” by my God’s standards.

Eat One More Pickle You’re Gonna Get Sick


The Summer of 1968 was miserably hot and humid just like it was every summer growing up in Alabama.  But, Summer of ’68, I remember that one well.  Mother didn’t make me wait til June to go barefoot.  Since the temperature was warm on Easter of that year, she let me kick off my shoes after family pictures.  Dr. Martin Luther King had been killed on April the 4th.  I was sad because Loey, Lois Mae, my grandmother’s maid told me a man had shot him outside of his motel room. The day after Dr. King died I knew something was different.  That day we took Loey home just like we did every day.  We always drove right up to her house.  Loey told my Nana, “Stop right here, Mrs. Brewer.  You don’t need to go all the way over to my part of town.  It ain’t safe for you.  Just let me get out here and walk the rest of the way.”  Her large dark eyes were fixed and determined; they were sad and concerned.  I don’t remember Loey getting out of the car that day, and I don’t remember driving to her house.  Time just stopped. How could a man stand there in front of the big window to his motel room holding onto the railing just get killed?  How many times had my daddy driven our car up to the spot in front our room and gotten out and walked up the stairs?  Would they kill my daddy?  Loey told me not to worry that Dr. King was trying to help her people and my people didn’t like it.  I didn’t know we had different people.

Before school ended we played in my grandparent’s yard playing freeze tag and feeling the cool grass under our feet.  Mr. Rogers, a man who worked for my paw paw, lived with his mother, Grannie Rogers, near my grandparents home. They weren’t related to us, but she was always Grannie Rogers to us.  Paw Paw took care of Mr. Rogers.  Let him work when he was able.  When he wasn’t drunk.  I didn’t know what drunk meant, but I did know it wasn’t good.  I knew he stunk like overripe food and sweat.  I didn’t know that was the alcoholic smell of beer seeping out of his pores.  Grannie Rogers would spit into a metal vase.  It looked like something that should hold flowers.  I didn’t know any women who spit, so I would visit Grannie Rogers because she looked like a gnarled up witch spitting her special powers into her magic vessel.  My family did not look down upon Mr. Rogers or Grannie Rogers.  My grandparents were benevolent people who were always helping others.  I just thought they needed us.  I didn’t get too close for fear that she would cast some spell on me.  I had a morbid fascination with both of them.  I was taught that ladies sat up straight and didn’t spit unless it was the bathroom sink when you were brushing your teeth.  

The Rogers lived next door to a family I don’t remember who they were, but they had a son a few years older than me.  I was over there one day the beginning of the summer, and he took my hand and put it on top of his jeans where I knew I didn’t want to be touching.  I jumped up and took my hand away.  I wasn’t even afraid.  I remember thinking what an idiot to think I would want to do that.  I never told anyone, and I never went back.

June came, and my family and I went across the bay to my grandparent’s beach house in Bear Point, Alabama.  Bear Point was the setting for the idyllic childhood unless you are a precocious 6-year-old aware of the unrest around you. I played with my cousins and aunts who were close to my age.  We sang songs. This was the summer at Bear Point that my first brush with addiction surfaced.  We always had snacks in the summer.  We didn’t snack a lot during the school year, but in the summer we were allowed to snack.  I loved dill pickles.  I remember walking down to the beach and sharing a jar of pickles with my aunts.  I ate one and then another.  I picked up another one, and my aunt said, “if you eat another one, you’re gonna get sick”  I ate it anyway.  I got sick. 

We all went down to the pier to jump and swim.  One of our friends did a back dive off the pier and came back up.  Her face was bleeding, and we had to call an ambulance.  Her face had brushed the post of the pier, and the barnacles lacerated her face.  There was lots of chaos and screaming.  I never got near the barnacles after that. 

The Vietnam war was in full swing, and every night we said our prayers.  We always prayed for the boys overseas and asked God to bring them back home safely. We had family and friends who were fighting in the war.  Parents all around me were worried about their sons. 

The Easter season was supposed to be about hope and the summer about bare feet and the beach. Fathers were not supposed to be dying. People shouldn’t have been killing people who were different.  Old ladies were not supposed to be frightening children.  Young men should not have been preying on little girls. Soldiers needed to come home safely.  Bear Point was not about blood and ambulances.  I should have learned that one more is too many.    

People, Meetings, and Moments

Yesterday I got caught up in the madness.  I spotted four photographers waiting outside the Crosby Street Hotel in SoHo.  So, I had to participate in the crazy.  The crazy of waiting for a celebrity to emerge.  As I was waiting I met Zee.  She is a realtor who works around the corner from the hotel.  She stopped and talked to my fellow celebrity stalkers and, yes, she stayed a few minutes.  But, being the New Yorker that she is she went back to work.  She has seen this crazy before.  Celebrity sightings and those who wait for them.  I gave her my card; told her to text me her number and if a celebrity worth mentioning appeared, I would text her a picture.  She soon returned to her office and texted me.  The text read like this.  “Are you “the” Cookie Stoner?  I read an article about you last year regarding performing legal marriages regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.  Bravo!! Proud to be able to say I met you!”  In a bit,  Zee returned to the mass of photographers and stalkers.  The crowd had grown.  I was still there.  I was committed.  Zee explained that when I gave her my card she remembered that name, Cookie Stoner.  She had heard it before.  She then checked her email and, yes, she had sent the article Catherine Godbey had written in the Decatur Daily in November 2015 about me as a wedding officiant to a New York friend of hers.  Zee and her friends here in New York were thrilled to see such progress in Alabama.  Wow.  Just wow.  I am so grateful for the life I get to live.  I am grateful for my place in this Universe.  There is power in the Universe.  Sometimes being a part of the madness shows us our place in this wonderful world.    Z and me!



Morgan ❤️’s Alabama, Drive-By Truckers & Billy Reid

Today I wandered into a wonderful place of healing in Brooklyn, Maha Rose. I met a sweet girl named Morgan Murray. Upon hearing my accent and learning I hailed from Alabama, she expressed her love of the Drive-By Truckers and Billy Reid clothing.  She left L.A. as a designer and took a cross-country trip to Florence, AL where she considered settling down, but her path wound up taking her to NY and she works at Maha Rose.  She was bright spot and a welcome spirit for me today! I’m continuing to connect to wonderful people.