Whittle: Am I bona fide?

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By Dan Whittle

Am I “bona fide?”

Some say I’m a bona fide Baptist since I was baptized in the Missouri Bootheel’s snake-infested ‘Second Ditch’, and my brother’s grandmother was a foot-washing Baptist.

But some of my present-day church-going brothers may be questioning my personal “bona fide” Baptist-to-the-bone claim to immortality.


Because on certain Spring-like Sunday mornings I like to go early to Rutherford County’s historic rural and remote Kedron United Methodist Church that dates back to the 1800s. Not for the history, but for the homemade sausage, biscuits and the larruping good thickening gravy. The type I grew up on back in the cotton fields of youth.

Oh, I also like visiting with my “bona fide” meddling Methodist buddies, to wit, Lytle Hodge and Danny Fraley. Not for their religious beliefs, but for their fellowship … and the food doesn’t hurt.

Burp, and pass the biscuits, please!

But now a truly good to the bone “bona fide” judgmental Baptist brother has proclaimed with purified certainty: “Whittle, you’re ‘bona fide’ OK, as in a back-pew seated, ‘bona fide’ to the bone back-sliding Baptist!!”

In doing “bona fide” research to verify once and for all whether I’m truly “bona fide,” I found out that I’ve been miss-presenting “bonafide” for years as one word in my newspaper stories and columns.

Mr. Webster has verified that true “bona fide” journalists know that “bona fide” is officially two words, not one.
Does that mean up to now I’ve not been a for real qualified and “bona fide” newspaperman?

So I asked my most “bona fide” favorite newspaper publisher of all time, Sir Ron Fryar: “Am I a verified for real ‘bona fide’ newspaperman?”

“You’re definitely ‘certified,’” Publisher Fryar ordained.

Now that I may have my “bona fide” spiritual Baptist friends stirred up because I like to break bread and share fellowship with some Methodists, let’s talk some “bona fide” politics here. Amen!!

In reading a recent edition of a Tennessee newspaper, I ran across a story with a partial headline - “Disavowed Democrat” – about a man the Tennessee Democrat Party claims is not a “bona fide” party man.

Now I’m thoroughly confused about my own political pure “bona fide-ness” since in all honesty I would have voted for Democrat Harry S. Truman for U.S. President if I’d been old enough at the time.

But since I did actually vote for Kennedy, Nixon, Carter, Gore, Clinton, and Reagan, I’ve got to ask self: “Am I a ‘bona fide’ Democrat or Republican?”

“Pub” Fryar probably offered the most grammatically-correct opinion about whether or not I’m a “bona fide” American political party man.

“You’re definitely certified,” Pub Fryar proclaimed emphatically.

With that I’m going to take an aspirin, since I’ve got a head-ache trying to cipher whether or not I’m “bona fide.”

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Dan Whittle
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