FLINCHUM: The following is an unrehearsed interview with former StateSenator Douglas Moseley who represented Adair, Casey, Cumberland, Russell, Clinton, Taylor, Wayne, McCreary, and Garrard Counties in the Sixteenth District between 1974 and 1987. The interview was conducted by Jessica Flinchum for the University of Kentucky Library Kentucky Legislative Oral History Project on Thursday, July 13, 2006 in Mr. Moseley's home in Bowling Green, Kentucky, at 9:30 AM.
[Pause in recording.]
FLINCHUM: Mr. Moseley, what is your full name?
MOSELEY: Douglas D. Moseley. And it's spelled M-O-S-E-L-E-Y. Uh, we'refrom--my family's from England. Moseley, England is just about twenty 1:00miles southeast of Birmingham. It's a little hamlet that, uh, is still there today and, uh, my folks came to Virginia. There's a Moseley, Virginia about twenty miles from Richmond and then they migrated down into North Carolina and through the Cumberland Gap up, uh, into the mountains and then down the Kentucky River to the Ohio and down the Ohio to, uh, Owensboro when it was called Yellow Banks and, um, one of my great, great, great, great, great uncles owned the tavern that the city of Owensboro was--or the county of Daviess--was established in. And, uh, my father was from Utica. He came here to Bowling Green in 1922 and, uh, went to school at Western and met my mother and they 2:00married in 1926. Now, while he was teaching school out at the Boyce Community from--uh, that's about five miles from here. I was born in 1928 on March twenty-fourth, which makes me seventy-eight years old this year, this past March, and, uh, I live within five minutes of where I was born and where my parents were married. Where my parents and grandparents and great grandparents are buried and, uh, so here at Plano, Kentucky is middle grounds between, uh, Bowling Green and Boyce. The two places that--where most of my life, uh, se--after 3:00retirement and before beginning my ministry--was lived. In between, I lived in places where I preached and taught, uh, mostly around Columbia, Kentucky which is seventy miles from here. Uh, my father was a teacher, my mother was a teacher, my wife is a teacher, uh, two of my children are teachers. I had two aunts that were teachers. All in all, between my wife's people and mine, we have over three hundred years of teaching--(both laugh)--in our background.
FLINCHUM: That's a lot of experience.
MOSELEY: That's right. Very little preaching in our background (Moseleylaughs) but that's what I've done. Um, did that answer the question? 4:00
FLINCHUM: Yeah. Where did you go to school and what colleges did yougo to?
MOSELEY: Well, I went Boyce School, Boyce grade school back when I wasa little child and then, um, my parents divorced when I was, uh, young and my mother felt that I should come to school here in Bowling Green, a thing which I did not want to do. I wanted to go to school out in the country and live with my great grandparents and I did that for a good number of years, uh, but I went here at the Bowling Green to the grade school some and then I went to junior high school in Bowling Green and was graduated from Bowling Green High School in 1945. Uh, I was the least likely person I suppose, in the class, to, uh, be recognized as 5:00an achiever because I graduated ninety-third in a class of ninety-seven and, uh, two of them below me didn't make it so (Moseley laughs) really it was ninety-third in a class of ninety-five. Uh, I was honored by my high school, however, a few years ago when I was elected to the Bowling Green High School Hall of Honor for various achievements and I think that's one of the highest honors I ever received. Um, I went to college at Western Kentucky State Teacher's College. I went off and on over a period of about six years because I was working and, uh, going to school part time and had to do that in order to, to get an 6:00education. Then in 1951--the fall of '51, Kentucky Wesleyan College moved from Winchester to Owensboro. Well, I had wanted to go to school at Kentucky Wesleyan and get my degree there since I was studying to be a Methodist minister and, um, so I transferred. I had a hundred and twenty-three hours at the time, I think, uh, less than a half a dozen hour--hours left for graduation but I wanted that degree from Kentucky Wesleyan so bad that I transferred over there and established residence and completed the--my Bachelors of Arts degree there in 1952. I didn't have any hope of going to cemetery--seminary because I just 7:00didn't have the money. I was pastor of a small church at Park City but I met a young lady, um, while I was in school at Kentucky Wesleyan and the night she was graduated from college, I went to her house and we, uh, we began to see each other and then a year later we were married and she came to live at Park City with me and immediately got a school teaching. She taught there for a year and the, the following summer I was going to, um, Atlanta for some, uh, training in ministry and while we were down there, we thought it would be a, a great thing if somehow I could find a church in Georgia and she could find a school 8:00in Georgia so that I could go to Emory University to get my master's degree in, in the divinity school there. Well, we were going down through, uh, Dalton, Georgia and I looked over in the yard there right next to the highway and it said, "District Parsonage"--"Methodist District Parsonage" it said. And I said, uh, "Well there's the home of the district superintendent," and she said, "Well, why don't we just stop and go in and ask him if there's anything here in this conference that, uh, might be available?" So, we just turned the car around and pulled up in his driveway and I knocked on the door and he came in, an elderly gentleman, I can't remember his name to this day, and I said, 9:00"I'm a Methodist preacher from Park City, Kentucky. I am a graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan College and I'd like to go to school at Emory University but I would have to have a church or churches that would help me and my wife would need a place to teach." And he said, "Well, I don't have anything in my district but I, I'll call Dr. Mackey, he's closer to Atlanta, and ask him." So he called Dr. Mackey, the superintendent of that district, and, uh, Dr. Mackey had two churches and he said, "I'll give the young man his choice of, of either of them." And so I made an appointment over the telephone to see Dr. Mackey and when we got down there to Atlanta, we went out to Oxford, Georgia which was about twenty-five miles away and met with him and, uh, he offered me a church at Loganville or at Snellville and I said, 10:00"Which one's closest to the university?" and he said, "Snellville." I said, "Well, if you don't mind, that's the one I'll take then." (both laugh) Well, we hadn't gotten settled in until they--the superintendent--came to see my wife and offered, uh, her a job teaching school there at--teaching English at Snellville High School. So, uh, we spent, uh, two and a half years down there and I finished up my Masters in Divinity and, and, uh, before I got through, I was offered a church at Russell Springs, Kentucky and so the last semester of my, uh, university studies in Atlanta, I would come every weekend to Russell Springs and preach and visit and then go back to Atlanta and get there 11:00in Monday in time to go to class and then I did that the--my last semester in school, commuting, uh, over three hundred miles, uh, close to four hundred miles from Russell Springs to Atlanta and, uh, I was graduated there in 1958 then, and that's where I got my education, how, how I got started. I was not easy but I look back on it now as a great and challenging time that helped me to grow up and, um, I couldn't have done it though without the help of my good wife.
FLINCHUM: You mentioned earlier that you taught at Lindsey WilsonCollege at one time, when was that?
MOSELEY: Yes, um, when we moved to Russell Springs, and I became thepastor of the church there, uh, Lindsey Wilson College was fourteen 12:00miles away at Columbia and they needed an English teacher. So, the dean of the college called my wife and somehow he had heard about her and asked her if she would, uh, like to come to the college to teach English. She had, she'd been a Carnegie, Carnegie Fellow at, uh, Peabody College in, in Nashville which is now a part of Vanderbilt University. So her degree is a master's degree in English from Vanderbilt. She went to Lindsey Wilson and started teaching English and so she commuted two years while I served as pastor there, um, at the church and then, uh, they asked me if I would come and teach 13:00there, too. The church, uh, allowed me to go over there and, and teach three days a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the mornings teaching nine hours and, um. So I did that for two years and then we left Russell Springs and moved to Columbia and for the next ten years, she and I both taught there at the college. I taught religion and was chair of the Department of Religion there and she taught English and was chair of the Department of English. It was a small school but it, it grew, and it grew from--it was about six hundred students when I left, um, that was in 1970. Now, today the college has about 14:00two thousand students and is the fastest growing independent school in the, um--church college--in the, in the state. Um, that's how I got the--to Lindsey Wilson. And I taught a lot of preachers, a lot of, a lot of young men came there going into the ministry and I can look, uh, through the, uh, directory of our conference and pick out, uh, dozens of ministers that I helped train there at Lindsey Wilson in our Department of Religion. Some of whom went on to seminary, and some who didn't, uh, but they've all done--hopefully they've all done good, effective work. And after--well, well we built our home there 15:00in Columbia. After I left Lindsey Wilson College, in 1970, uh, I pastored different churches but I, I always had the feeling that, uh, a Christian ought to have something to say about politics. So, in 1970- -I guess it was in '71, I'm not--I forg--I don't remember what year we did the campaigning. I guess it was in '71, uh, I ran on the ticket with Tom Emberton and Jim Host. Tom ran for governor and Jim Host ran for lieutenant governor and I ran for the clerk of the court of appeals and we had a, a campaign all over the state of Kentucky. Uh, 16:00every, every member of that, uh, campaign team was in every county in the state and, uh, we spoke in every county. My opponent was Frances Jones Mills and she was a very prominent Democrat from Grey, Kentucky and had held public office before, I think. And she beat me like a drum. (laughs) I lost that race, as did Emberton and Host and all the rest of us and then, two years--three years later, I ran for the state Senate and was elected. My, my district included Adair County, which 17:00was the center of the district, and then nine counties, nine counties that either joined Adair County or, or, or were close enough to be in that district. It stretched all the way from Edmundton to, um, Pine Knott, those, uh, and all the counties in between including Casey, and Adair, and Russell, and Greene, and Taylor, Wayne, and Cumberland, and McCreary, and I--Clinton--I don't remember what all of them were but 18:00there were, all in all, there were ten counties in the district. The largest, uh, geographical county--uh, district in the state. And I, I ran, uh, six times in all, three--three times in the primary and three times in the general election and won each time and then I decided that, uh, if I had not proved that a person could be a Christian and, uh, win an election without buying it and could continue in office without, um, sacrificing his integrity, that a Christian could serve effectively as--in public office. If, if three terms in the Senate didn't improve it--didn't prove that--then one more term wouldn't make 19:00any difference. And so I just decided not to run again and my--the office wa--after I retired was won by Senator David Williams, who still serves in that seat today, and has since 1987, I think, and, um, and he is the president of, of the Senate, today. Um, that's about all I need to tell you. Do I need to tell you any more about how I got into politics?
FLINCHUM: What were some of your top priorities as a senator?
MOSELEY: Well, my top priority was to vote and support measures based20:00upon how they would help the people of the state and not on how they would help me, insofar as getting re-elected was concerned. I think, uh, it, it was my feeling then and it is today, that when a person in public office begins to, uh, determine how he's going to vote on an issue by whether or not it will help to get him re-elected, then he's served too long and he ought not be running for office. Um, and, and just as sure as I am alive, it's almost impossible if you stay there 21:00long enough, to not succumb to the temptation to vote in order to secure your position in office and nearly all of them do. Um, I didn't do that. I, I cast some votes that I knew were not popular votes but I thought they were the right thing for me to do. Walter Baker, of, uh, of Glasgow, Senator Baker, was also like that. He, he didn't vote to try to reassure his re-election. He tried to vote, tried to vote for those things that were good and right for the people of Kentucky. 22:00Okay, um, Joe Lane Travis was another one like that. He always voted what he thought was right, uh, and, and tho-- those were not all. I remember one time, in the legislature, a, a bill came up that anyone who was aware of the contents of the Kentucky constitution would know that the bill was blatantly unconstitutional. So I went to Tom Garrett, who was the floor leader at the time and I said, "Tom, you're, you're a lawyer, you know that this bill is unconstitutional," and he 23:00said, "Senator Moseley, if twenty Democrats say it's constitutional, it's constitutional"--(both laugh)--and the only thing that would, would keep it from being constitutional is if somebody brought suit and a challenged it in the courts and he said, "We're going to pass this bill and because we say it's constitutional. If anybody challenges it then the courts will determine"--
[Pause in recording.]
MOSELEY: The presidents, uh, that I appreciate the most in my lifetimehave been, um, Ronald Reagan and Harry Truman and for different reasons. Um, Reagan was a great president and Truman was a great president. The reason I liked Truman is because he was just, uh, what he was. You, you, what you saw was what you got. Uh, he was, uh, uh, 24:00fiercely partisan. He was Democrat, hair, hide, and tallow, but you always knew where you stood with Truman. He was not a, a man that, uh- -he wasn't two-faced. If he liked you, he liked you, if he didn't you knew it. And, uh, he won a lot of Republican support during the war years because they put country above politics and, uh, unlike the split that we have in our country today when people put politics, uh, before 25:00the welfare of their country. I liked Reagan because he just was, uh, he could get things done, and make people like it. He was firm, uh, he broke down Russian communism by simply, um, being absolutely firm in his dealings with them. They knew that if Reagan said that, uh, "If you do this, you'll pay the consequences," they knew that he meant business, and the wall came down and he said, "Mr. Gorbachev, take down that wall," Gorbachev knew that he was gonna either take down the wall or suffer the consequences and he tore it down. Uh, those are my 26:00two favorite presidents. Um, we've only had two--
[Pause in recording.]
FLINCHUM: --cut the tape off a couple times because electricity keepsflickering on and off, but uh, when it was off, we were talking about a couple of your favorite governors.
MOSELEY: Well, uh, of course Louis Nunn, I thought was an outstandingGovernor and it wasn't just because I worked in his administration. It was because I thought he did a lot for the people of Kentucky, and, uh, he, he was elected with the help of a lot of Democrats, including Governor Chandler and, uh, uh, and he was good to both parties, 27:00Democrats and Republicans. The people benefited from his, uh, term in office. Tom Emberton could have been elected, uh, governor had it not been for two things. One was they--the Ford-Carroll ticket ran on-- against the "Nunn Nickel" and they convinced the people that Louie Nunn had put a five cent sales tax on the people when in reality, the first three cents went on in 1960 under Bert Combs for the, um--for education 28:00and for the veteran's pension, they increased the sales tax three cents then. Nunn, in order to cover the deficit he inherited, had to add a two-cent sales tax and so, uh, Wendell Ford and Julian Carroll ran against Emberton on, on the basis of the "Nunn Nickel" and that became a by-word of the campaign, "Nunn's Nickel." And Emberton was--he ran a good race, and was not defeated by a very large, uh, margin but he got defeated nevertheless. Um, he would have made a good Governor. The, the Democratic governor that I have appreciated the most is because I 29:00don't know, well, he was, he was a good governor, but he was a personal friend of mine that was Julian Carroll. We, uh, we were together a lot and have had close personal associations and I just like him. And, uh, he came and spoke at my church and I have a good story in there about the time he came to Russell Springs to speak at my church there. Um, tho-- those are my two favorite Governors, in my lifetime, Nunn and Carroll. So you see I'm sort of bi-partisan.
FLINCHUM: Um-hm. Earlier you mentioned a story about, uh, HappyChandler and you said that was also in this book? 30:00
MOSELEY: That's also in the book. It's a good story about, uh,--and it,it tells you something of the character of Governor Chandler. He wa- -he could have, uh, been a great--vocalist. He was a great singer, had a great voice and he, he could have, I think, been an operatic tenor or baritone, you know. He just, uh, people loved to hear him sing and he would campaign singing in his--he, he would sing, "There's a gold mine in the sky far away and we'll find it, you and I, some sweet day and we'll sit up there and watch the world go by when we find that long lost gold mine in the sky." I heard him sing that (Moseley laughs) at 31:00the county fair in Russell Springs one time and, uh, then he was--his voice got him into trouble. He sang "My Old Kentucky Home" at the university basketball games.
FLINCHUM: The old version?
MOSELEY: The, the old version. Uh, he used the phrase--"Sun shinesbright on my old Kent-- 'tis summer the darkies are gay" and, uh, "weep no more my lady, weep no more today." He was, you know, he sang the old version the way Stephens Collins Foster wrote it. And it had been sung a, a thousand times but for some reason, because Chandler was Chairman 32:00of the Board, and se--because, uh, the race issue was strong at that time, they made a, a great outcry about his racism. Nothing could have been farther from the truth about Happy Chandler, he was not a racist. Um, he forced Branch Ricky to open up Major League Baseball--called him down to his home in Versailles and they sat out there in that little log cabin behind his--behind, uh, Happy's house and he said, "Now, I want you to open up Major League Baseball. If you can't do 33:00it with this young man, Jackie Robinson, you can't do it with anybody. Give the boy a chance," and so Branch Ricky opened up Major League Baseball for the blacks and you see today the result of it. The vast majority of, of players are black and the same--that overflowed into Major League Basketball and Chandler was the, the prime moving force in integration of major sports. Um, but when he sang that song, uh, it was considered offensive and he was forced to resign as Chairman of the Board--or from his position on the board at the University 34:00of Kentucky, which I thought was a great, great, um, disservice to the state of Kentucky and a lack of appreciation and a, and a total misinterpretation of the nature of Albert Benchman Chandler. He was not a racist and, um, where do we go from there?
MOSELEY: He was a good governor; Louis Nunn was a good governor.
FLINCHUM: He could sing and he could pray.
MOSELEY: He could sing--(Flinchum laughs)--and he could pray. But a lotof people would--if they didn't like him--they'd call him a hypocrite.
MOSELEY: But he was not, he was a sincere man. He'd come over to thele--to the Senate every session and he'd come in some day and sit 35:00in the, in his old seat in the, in the Senate for a little while, just to renew old acquaintances with folks there. And, um, I got a picture that I, that I, for--I love having. It shows me, and Governor Chandler, with him sitting in his old seat and me sitting there next to him talking, uh, just like, uh, I'd been the biggest Democrat in the Senate. (both laugh)
FLINCHUM: Earlier you were telling me about the time you went to visithim when he was sick.
MOSELEY: Yes. I went to visit him there in Versailles. I heard he wassick and so I went over from Frankfort and, uh, went up to the door, knocked and--he always called Mrs. Chandler "Momma." Momma came to the door and she called, uh, back to him, he was back in his bedroom 36:00and said, uh, "Happy," said,"Senator Moseley's here to see you." He said, he said, "Tell him to come on back." So I went back there in his bedroom, it was a huge bedroom, as big as this room we're in here now. It had a couch in it, a desk in it, and a big bed, and a couple of easy chairs, and, uh, it was just like a living room, bedroom combined. But you can get the details from the story in the book but the upshot of it was that after we had talked for a while, I said, uh, "Governor, this is not a political visit, or not a Senate visit," I said, "this is a pastoral visit. I'm here to see you, and see you and come and have a prayer with you because you s--been sick." He said, "Well, let's 37:00just pray," and so he--we, we've been sitting there on the couch and he was in his pajamas, in his robe. He just rolled off on his knees and started to pray. Well, I knelt down there by the couch with him and he prayed, and he prayed, and he prayed, and he prayed, and when he got through praying there wasn't anything le--left to cover. (both laugh) He'd had prayed it all and he said, "Amen." He said, "Preacher, I sure do appreciate you coming by to see me"--(both laugh)--and I left but that was--that's typical Happy Chandler, you know. He, he was great and good man. But Louie Nunn, I, I want to show you table he, that he gave to me when he was selling out and going up to Frankfort. He was leaving his home there in Glasgow. They were having a sale. I 38:00went over to just look. I didn't see, well really, I, I wanted to buy a, a big piano he had there that would, that was used for a desk but it went--it, it wasn't going to be sold so I just fooled around and, and finally we were back in the house and he said, "Preacher, I got something I want to give you," and he had a little wall with a bedside table and he said, "I just wanted to give you this," and he gave it to me and I still have it in my--in our guest bedroom. Um, he asked me one time--uh, he was having some guests come down to visit him there in Frankfort and he was going to give them presents and back then, the Jim Beam Whiskey bottles were collectors items, and he said, uh, 39:00he said, "Preacher," said, "what do you think about me giving these people these Jim Beam whiskey bottles, whiskey, these bottles of Jim Beam whiskey?" I said, "Well, you know, you want me to tell you really what I think, or what you want to hear?" He said, "Tell me what you think," and I said, "well, you, (Moseley laughs) you take the cap off of them and pour the whiskey down the sink and give them the bottle." (both laugh) He got a big kick out of that but I don't know what he did. I guess he gave them the, the, the bottles with the whiskey still in 'em because they'd be more valuable today as a collector's items-- [telephone rings]--if they still had the whiskey in them but he was just that kind of a man--[telephone rings]--um, one time while he was out in California, I was working there in the office and his sister, uh, 40:00was also there in the office and, uh, two or three others but he, he'd gone and it came to our attention that one of the leading members of his administration had gotten in serious trouble because he was fooling around with the wife of a very prominent man there in Frankfort. And if it had--and the man was hunting for this fellow, or her husband was hunting for this man with a pistol--was going to shoot him. Well, we managed to get the man out of town--sent him off up to Cincinnati 41:00and to just stay there until this blows over and called Gov--Governor Nunn out in California and told him. Well--(laughs)--he was so upset and angry over what had happened that you could have almost heard him without a telephone. (both laugh) He, he was just furious that, that one of his men would put the administration in jeopardy like that so he, he said, "You keep him out of Kentucky until I get back." Well, when he came back, he brought him in to the Governor's Office and fired him on the spot and, uh, nothing ever came out in the paper about it but he sent him back home and he said, "You just stay out of Frankfort and don't come back up here now or you--I don't want my, I don't want 42:00my administration disgraced." Now, that's the way he handled things. He just was, uh, uh--he wouldn't tolerate people doing anything that would bring disgrace to the Nunn administration, and I don't blame him.
FLINCHUM: Um, while the tape's going, I wanted to mention this bookthat we've been referring to titled There's More to Preaching than Just Preaching.
FLINCHUM: And you've written a couple of other books, too?
MOSELEY: Well, I've written one, uh, entitled A Table Speaks. You'llnotice, uh, on the front of it there, there's a painting of a table, and on the back is a picture of the table. That table was made up here 43:00in Smith's Grove, Kentucky in 1862--no 1882, I beg your pardon--by an old craftsman. He made it in his barn. And my great grandfather and great grandmother came from Boyce, Kentucky on a road wagon to Smith's Grove and bought that table to set up housekeeping with, out here at Boyce. It's gone through that generation and then my grandmother's generation and then my mother's generation and then my generation and now, the fifth generation, my daughter, has it in her home here in Bowling Green. I sat down and wrote a sort of a brief biography of 44:00my family, not so much dates and everything like that but personal experiences, just to give you--give the reader, um, insight into the character of the Lightfoot, Carver, Moore, Moseley generations and, um, when I finished it, I wasn't satisfied with it at all. It just was dry and, um, it didn't sing to me. So I sat down and took the prose story that I had written and rewrote it in poetry in un-rhymed iambic pentameter verse and there're, uh, I think seventy-six verses--no 45:00seventy-six pages in that book. It tells--and I gave the table the ability to communicate with me. It was like the table talking to me and as the table talked, I wrote down what the table said and it made um, um, an entirely different kind of piece of literature. Let me have the book just a minute. Um, I got a, a group of people, uh, one professor from Vanderbilt, one professor from Yale, and another from, uh--a different former president of Western Kentucky University, and a lot of people who were more than just folks that you'd commonly meet on the street--to read and critique this poem. And, uh, Dr. Ider--Ida 46:00Long Rogers, who was the post-graduate professor emeriti--
[Pause in recording.]
MOSELEY: --and so this eminent professor at Vanderbilt, Dr. Ida LongRogers, um, has a paragraph here in the very front of the book about what she thought about this book. And I prize that, uh, greatly and I hope you'll read it before you read the book. Uh, she's dead now, she died last year and, uh, there was a long article about her in the Nashville Tennessean. Uh, she was a very brilliant and eminent person 47:00and what she said about that book ought to make everybody want to read it.
FLINCHUM: I look forward to reading it.
FLINCHUM: And when I go back, I'm going to check and see if, if we'vegot some copy of these at UK. We need to look into that.
MOSELEY: Okay. That will be fine.
FLINCHUM: And you mentioned that one of the chapters in this book,There's More to Preaching than Just Preaching--
FLINCHUM: Has some of these stories about the time you spent in theSenate--the turkey story--
MOSELEY: The turkey story, and other things, um, the time the bishopcame up to visit, uh, and had prayer at the, at the, um, at the legislature and then I took him to Pete Flynn's bar for lunch. (both laugh) And then there's a story in there about, um, uh, two candelabras that I have here in my house that, uh, Pete gave me and the funny thing 48:00that happened with regards to them. But you read that rather than, uh, you--I assume you're gonna write some of this down or you just want-- you just going to use the tapes? Is that all you going to use?
FLINCHUM: The, the tapes will be transcribed and I'll, I'll make a notein my journal about these books, so--
MOSELEY: Well, will you, uh, will you add anything to the transcriptionof the tapes, or is it just what is going to be said?
FLINCHUM: It will be exactly what you've said, word for word.
MOSELEY: Well I've skipped over a lot of stuff--(both laugh)--that Icould have said thinking that--
FLINCHUM: --but I will, I will make a reference to the books, so thatwhoever reads it--the, the interview--
MOSELEY: --okay, well--
FLINCHUM: --can go to that.
MOSELEY: Well, the, the story of Happy Chandler and my visit to himwhile he was sick is in the section on prayer. The other stories are 49:00in the section on politics and there is, um, there's a story in the Russell Springs section about Julian Carroll coming there to preach at my church and, uh, how I would not allow the chairman of the Democrat Party to come to the luncheon because he didn't come to church. I met him at the door and of, of the Fellowship Hall and-- (laughs)--I said, "Charles, you wouldn't come to hear Julian preach, I'm not going to let you in here to the dinner," and he said, "I just got to see him, Doug, I got to see him." I said, "Well, you know that your brother Keith is uh, is uh, the treasurer of this church and, uh, and you're a big 50:00Baptist. If you'll walk over there and, and give your brother Keith fifty dollars uh, for, for a gift to this church, I'll let you in to talk to the governor." (laughs) He just pealed off two twenties and a ten and took them and handed them to his brother Keith, and I let him in--(both laugh)--to, to talk to Happy--to, to talk to Julian Char-- Julian Carroll, and--
FLINCHUM: If he'd have come to church, he wouldn't have had to payadmission.
MOSELEY: That's right. If he'd come to church--(Flinchum laughs)--andheard him that morning, he wouldn't have had to pay a dime. But Charles and I had a good relationship. There's stories in that book uh, about the practical jokes we played on one another over a five year period that are just hilarious and he's one of my good friends. He's dead now but, uh, I, I, I loved Charles Aaron, he was a good man. He 51:00lost a leg in the building of Wolf Creek Dam. He fell in front of, uh, of a--these big tractors. They ran over his leg and crushed it and it had to be amputated, um, but he, he was a hard working man, a good man. This--that story is in the section on Russell, Russell Springs. And scattered throughout that book, there are things that are interesting insofar as they or--oral tradition about Kentucky and political life and, uh, and I--let's see, I believe that this is the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, it doesn't have to be political does it? 52:00
MOSELEY: Well, um, then that entire book, every story in it is trueand, uh, the purpose of the book was to illustrate that the life of a, a minister ought not to be a dull and drab and dreary life. I can't think of anybody who's had more fun and had a more enjoyable life than I've had and so I decided to write this book, uh, and it, it tells just story after story after story of things that have happened in business and in politics, in education, in religion, in everyday life that are, um, all the stories are true and they're a part of, 53:00of the oral tradition. Um, the University of Mississippi, uh, their publishing house, uh, uh, their press would have published this book except, uh, I, I couldn't work out a deal with them that suited me and so I published it myself. They would have used it in their Folklore in the South series and I had a, uh, member of the, that--their committee had already committed himself that they, that they would publish it but I wouldn't agree to their terms because I wouldn't get anything to amount to anything myself and I wasn't in it to make money for me. Every dime of profit from that book and the other one has gone to, um, 54:00the children's orphanage at Versailles and the children's orphanage at Owensboro and to Kentucky Wesleyan and Lindsey Wilson College. And I was able to take all the profits then, that ordinarily would have gone to the University of Mississippi Press, I was able to put them--that money into these two schools and these two orphanages and there was thousands of dollars that they received that they would not have gotten otherwise. Um, so--but they, they would have published this book if I had been willing but I wanted the money to go someplace else and so I published it myself. It's folklore but it's true folklore. It's the way people in Kentucky, uh, live, it's how they have their fun, 55:00it's how they express their, their beliefs, it, uh, it tells a lot about, uh, the way, just the way people really live. You see, I wasn't just a preacher. I was, uh, sixty years now as a preacher, ordained preacher, but in that time I owned and operated two businesses, um, I was on the State Personnel Board, the State Parole and Probation Board, I worked for the Department of Parks, and I served three terms in the Senate, I taught ten years in uh, the--at a college and one 56:00year in the public school system and so there you have, you have a business man, a preacher, a politician, and a teacher, four careers in one and so all of these things are from life in general, education, politics, preaching, business, and the like. Some of the stories are just, um, beyond imagination but they're every one true and I called the names of the people involved, except in a few cases where I felt that the families might be hurt if I used the right name, um, but the stories are all true. That's in There's More to Preaching than Just Preaching. This one, A Table Speaks, is a true story in poetry of 57:00five generations. It has everything in it from murder, to the Night Riders, to marriage and, uh, um, divorce, family trouble, World War II, the Great Depression, the Great Drought of 1936 where nobody in Kentucky had a successful crop, um, the growing up of a, a young man raised by his great grandfather and great grandmother when--and that's me--when they took me, when, uh, I was five and a half years old and there, there were just slightly younger than Betty Jean and I are 58:00now, when they took this young man to raise, young boy to raise. You can imagine two people in their seventies trying to raise a five year old boy but that's how I, how I, how my life, you know, got turned in that direction and so that book is really as much a monument to my great grandparents and my grandparents and to other people who--in the family--were very helpful in raising me. It, it's a story that's--I think, needed to be told at least for my children, and grandchildren, and great grandchildren to understand where they came from. Um, so it, it's, it would fit right in to this oral history of Kentucky, because 59:00it's all in Kentucky. Anything else you want to ask me?
FLINCHUM: I'm sure there's much more that we could discuss but--
MOSELEY: Well, let, let me say one more thing. Um, my life has, has beena, a tremendously happy experience with my wife and with my family. I have never had a job that I didn't like. Uh, I never had a job that I, I didn't feel that I was successful at. I never had a job that I, that made me miserable. I've always felt that the two most important things in life were, one, your personal faith and it's got to be a genuine 60:00faith and the second thing is, the willingness to do a hard days work. If I had to choose between my children having a, a degree from the finest university in, in the country, on the one hand, and having a, a good Christian faith and a, and a willingness to do a hard days work, I'd choose the faith and the work over the education. Thankfully, you don't have to make that choice, you can have both, but that's how valuable I consider the combination of genuine faith and a willingness to work. And, and the lack of those two things, the lack of a genuine 61:00faith and the lack of the willingness to, to do a hard day's work are two of the things I think are the most detrimental things to our country today. We have lost our sense of shame, we have lost our, our sense of integrity and we've, we've lost our willingness to work unless it's something that we just particularly like to do. I remember when the Depression came on. My grandfather was working up at Western as a stonemason. A lot of the stonework that you see around the university up there was done by him. Well, they couldn't afford that, so he got laid off and he came, came home one Friday afternoon. He handed his 62:00pink slip to my grandmother. He'd been laid off and Depression was on, that was the only work--only income we had, and she just went to pieces. She said, "Sam, what are we going to do?" He said, "I'm going to go to work Monday morning." "But what are you going to do, I don't have--you don't have a job?" Well, on the next day, on Saturday, he took me, a little young boy, and we went down to a junkyard and he got an old wheel and some other parts, I didn't know what they were for, came back to the house and he built a wheelbarrow. Took some boards that we had there at the house and--saw, hammer, and nails and some steeples and other things he used and made a wheelbarrow. He got a couple bags of lime and on Monday morning, we set out around Bowling 63:00Green here in an area on the outsides--of course Bowling Green was much smaller then, it was maybe about population ten or twelve thousand but a lot of the outskirts didn't have sewage systems, they still had the outdoor toilet and so my granddaddy would go and knock on a door and he said, "I, I'm here to clean out your outdoor toilet," and if they hired him to do it, fifty cents or a quarter, whatever it was, we'd go around and, to the old outhouse, dig a hole off from it, uh, clean out all the human manure--(laughs)--and bury it, sprinkle water, I mean, sprinkle lime over the place where we buried it under the ground and 64:00sprinkled lime around under the toilet to keep down the odor and that was a necessary thing that people had to do, you know, to bury that. That was one of the most degrading jobs that you could imagine, going around and cleaning out other people's toilets. My grandfather taught me that there was no job too demeaning (clock chimes) that if it was a decent and honest job that you were too good to do. You did what you had to do if it was honorable and upright, uh, and you earned what you could earn. You, you didn't beg, uh, you didn't ask someone else to take care of you, you did it the best you could. He--I remember one 65:00time he said to me, back during the Depression, he said, "Son, if you can work for two dollars a day, you work for two dollars a day. That's good," and that was a good wage then. "But," he said, "if you can't, if you can't get two dollars a day, you work for a dollar a day, and if you can't get a dollar a day you work for fifty cents a day or you work for whatever you can. Because," he said, "if you don't work, when the day is over, you don't have that fifty cents, or you don't have that dollar. You have nothing unless you've worked and so it's better to work for fifty cents a day than to sit idle for nothing." That's a, that's a lesson that this, this country has lost and, uh, I think in the book A Table Speaks, it, it shows, uh, something of that 66:00willingness to work and willingness to have a faith to, to sustain you are the two most important things. Educations important but education without faith, and without the willingness to work hard, is just wasted and, uh, now I've gone to preaching instead of--(laughs)--but that's not folklore, that's just truth.
FLINCHUM: Sound advice.
MOSELEY: Well. I got called over to Union College, once, some yearsago, back about 1985 to look--to deliver their baccalaureate address. And, uh, I told a story. My, my baccalaureate address was not a learned effort to--(laughs)--show how smart I was--(laughs)--or 67:00anything like that. It was just a plain, down to earth talk about, uh, the future of the country and what's going to happen if the people of America did not demonstrate a willingness to self-reliant. And, um, I didn't get any standing ovations for my speech. I--they gave me an honorary doctorate--but at least they knew what one old country boy, not from the mountains but from the hill country, how he felt about what people had to do to keep this country alive and vital and that was to, to believe and to be willing to, to work and I told the story about 68:00my granddaddy cleaning out the toilets and about, uh, my grandmother quilting quilts and taking in washing and ironing to keep us alive and going when there wasn't much else for people to do. People can always find work if they're willing to work. What else you want to know?
FLINCHUM: Anything else you'd like to share?
MOSELEY: Well, no, um, I'm seventy-eight years old but I, I still workeveryday. I always got something to do.
FLINCHUM: You're on your fifth career, now, as a writer, an author,right?
MOSELEY: That's the way I like it. I've got another book coming out.You know, um, nobody ever amounts to much in life without the help 69:00of other people. There's no such thing as a self-made man. All of us have, uh, had to have help along the way and I learned sometime ago that a lot of people that I owed a great big thank you to, had already died and I didn't feel that I had been as, had expressed my gratitude to them as much as I wished. And so I decided to write a book about gratitude and in that book I'm going to try to, uh--or have tried, 70:00because there's a good bit of it already written--I've tried to say that certain people did certain things along the way that were very, very helpful to me and that I wanted, through this effort--through this book, which is entitled Gratitude--to say to people, don't ever forget to say thank you. Don't ever forget to express your gratitude to the people who've helped you because someday you're going to wake up and find out that a lot of them are dead and gone and you haven't really expressed it as much as you should and so this book is going to be an expression, uh, uh, of gratitude to everybody who's helped me live to be seventy-eight years old, and to become, oh, not a great man but to 71:00become a good citizen and, uh, and one who wants to treat his brothers and sisters right. And one who is extremely thankful for all of his years, and, uh, I, I can tell, just by the way I talk, that I'm not nearly as strong as I used to be but my mind is, uh, fairly alert and I intend to use it writing, and producing, and contributing as long as I can.
FLINCHUM: And I want to express gratitude for you taking the time to72:00share your story with me and the University of Kentucky.
MOSELEY: Well, University of Kentucky is a great institution. Um, Ihave a hierarchy of--(laughs)--in support of teams and the Big Blue rank right up there at the top. Of course living here in Bowling Green, if, if the University of Kentucky played Western, I'd have to root for Western. If, um, University of Kentucky played anybody else, I'd--(both laugh)--I'd root, root for the University of Kentucky.
FLINCHUM: I'll settle for that. (laughs)
MOSELEY: Yeah, well, I went, uh, I went to Western off and on forsix and then was a graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan but I follow the University of Kentucky basketball, and football with great interest 73:00and a great appreciation and, uh, it, it's a, it's our, what, what is it you call the, the, uh, the number--it's our number one school. Louisville is a city university. Western and the others are regional universities. University of Kentucky is a state university.
FLINCHUM: Thank you, very much.
MOSELEY: Tha--I thank you.
[End of interview.]