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Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News October 2020

Arab Electric COOPERATIVE

Electric

COOPERATIVES of ALABAMA

Mayberry memories Flavors of the Black Belt

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ARAB

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General Manager Stacey White

ALABAMA LIVING is delivered to some 420,000 Alabama families and businesses, which are members of 22 not-for-profit, consumer-owned, locally directed and taxpaying electric cooperatives. Subscriptions are $12 a year for individuals not subscribing through participating Alabama electric cooperatives. Alabama Living (USPS 029-920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office. POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014.

Whistling ducks

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F E A T U R E S

VOL. 73 NO. 10  October 2020

foliage 9 Fall The rich colors of fall leaves are

spotlighted in this month’s reader snapshots.

ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION

AREA President Fred Braswell Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Law Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Danny Weston Advertising Director Jacob Johnson Graphic Designer/Ad Coordinator Brooke Echols Digital Media/Graphic Designer Michaela McMeans

Common south of the Rio Grande, black-bellied whistling ducks greatly expanded their breeding range northward and eastward in recent years. Now many of them breed in the United States, including parts of Alabama.

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Black Belt tastes

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Haunted fort?

“Flavors of the Black Belt” Trail will help you eat your way through the locally produced food products of Alabama’s Black Belt counties.

A ghost story in time for Halloween: Did you know Fort Morgan on our Gulf Coast is considered one of the most haunted places in Alabama?

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ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL OFFICES:

340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 For advertising, email: advertising@areapower.com For editorial inquiries, email: contact@alabamaliving.coop NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE:

American MainStreet Publications 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181 www.AMP.coop www.alabamaliving.coop

D E P A R T M E N T S 11 Spotlight 28 Outdoors 29 Fish & Game Forecast 30 Cook of the Month 38 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop

USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311

u

ON THE COVER Look for this logo to see more content online!

Printed in America from American materials

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One of many barn quilts on the Barn Quilt Trail at the home of James Lelton Parker. Pictured are the great-great grandchildren of Mr. Parker and the late Elva Ruth Parker “Granny Bo.” Carson, Harper & Hollis Hinds; children of Bradley & Rebecca Hinds of Arab.

22 WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

ONLINE: EMAIL: MAIL:

www.alabamaliving.coop letters@alabamaliving.coop Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

Get our FREE monthly email newsletter! Sign up at alabamaliving.coop October 2020  3

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Board of Trustees Charles W. Whisenant President District 8

Charlie Griffin Vice President District 6

Communication Stacey White, General Manager

Bill Stricklend Treasurer District 4

Dianne Prestridge Secretary District 3

Janet Bright District 1

Chris Hemphill District 2

Tyler Barnes District 7

Nathan Clark District 5

Most people think about speech when they think about communication, but there are many other ways we can also use to communicate with each other. Facial expressions, gestures, using hands, writing, drawing and eye contact are a few. The dictionary defines the word communication as means of sending or receiving information, such as telephone lines or computers. Being able to communicate effectively is perhaps the most important of all life skills. It is what enables us to pass information to other people, and to understand what is said to us. Communication, at its simplest, is the act of transferring information from one place to another. As we at Arab Electric move forward with technology, it is more important now more than ever to have an updated phone number to communicate with you, our Member. Just one of the reasons we need your updated

phone number involves maintenance or planned work. We currently have the opportunity to call you in advance to help you prepare for a planned outage. Another reason for needing your updated phone number is that we will soon have the option for texting information about outages. Getting us your updated phone number can save you time and aggravation. From time to time those planned outages are necessary and, while they can be inconvenient, if you know about it ahead of time, it could be less inconvenient and less stressful. And, don’t worry. We don’t share your information with anyone, nor do we sell your information. Times have changed and we need your help to keep up with them. Please call us and ensure we have your updated phone number in the event we need to contact you.

Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month

Ty Smith District 9

331 S. Brindlee Mtn. Pkwy P.O. Box 770, Arab, AL 35016 256-586-3196

The average household owns 24 electronic products, which account for roughly 12% of home energy use. When shopping for electronics, consider purchasing ENERGY STAR®-certified products, which can be 70% more efficient than conventional models. Source: energystar.gov

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| Arab EC |

Employee Spotlight Terry Cain, Meter Specialist & Collector How long have you worked at Arab Electric Cooperative? 1 year at AEC/ worked as a contracted employee for many years prior at AEC. How many different positions at AEC have you held? Two. Meter reader & Collector. What do you love most about your job? I am blessed to work for this organization. Everyone from the board of directors to the officers whom I report have treated me wonderfully. It is just a pleasure to come to work each day. Where did you go to school? Holly Pond/St. Bernard College as well as courses from University of Alabama. What are your hobbies past & present? Playing with & catering to the grandchildren and occasional wood working. Tell us about your family. Wife of 48 years Donna Cain, two children and five grandchildren What do you plan to do when you retire? Travel/ Enjoy life & family. Of all the employees at AEC past & present, who has inspired you the most in doing your job? I can’t pick just one, but I am most appreciative to Kellie Garrett, Stacey White, Tammy Stone, & Wayne Mahathey. They have all helped me tremendously not only as an employee but also as a contractor prior.

Congratulations to Karen Smith on winning the 1996 Ford F-150 at our annual meeting. Shown with Ms. Smith is AEC employee Kellie Garrett. Alabama Living

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| Arab EC |

Harper, Carson and Hollis Hinds, great-great grandchildren of quilter “Granny Bo” Parker, stand by the new barn quilt on the side of their great-great grandfather’s barn at 169 Parker Road in Union Grove. Their parents are Bradley and Rebecca Hinds of Arab. 6  OCTOBER 2020

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| Arab EC |

Grandmother’s favorite quilt design adorns family barn During her growing up years, Pace Parker Whitaker spent every summer with her grandparents, Ruth and James L. Parker (“Granny Bo” and “Pa,” to her) of Union Grove. “They were my babysitters,” she recalls. She spent many hours with her grandmother learning how to quilt. “Her sisters and neighbor ladies would come by and quilt, too. I was the only grandchild, so spoiled was not the word!” Granny Bo passed away in 2019, but thanks to the Alabama Barn Quilt Trail, her favorite quilt design, the double wedding ring, lives on. Mrs. Whitaker got the idea to memorialize her grandmother’s love for quilting after taking a barn quilt painting class offered by Alabama Barn Quilt Trail members with her mother, Marcia Parker of Guntersville. “The more I learned about barn quilts, the more intrigued I became,” she says. “Come to find out, they have barn quilts all over North Alabama.” She got in touch with Dale and Lisa Robinson of Florence who have been involved with the trail for several years. “I talked to my Pa about it and asked if he would be interested in a barn quilt, and he liked the idea. I told him it could be in memory of Granny Bo, and he said, “ ‘She would have liked that.’ ” Mrs. Whitaker applied to be part of the trail, submitting a photo of her grandparents’ barn on Parker Road. She told the Robinsons she wanted the quilt to be mainly pink, her favorite color, with teal and purple for accent colors. She wanted the design to be the double wedding ring, the favorite of her and Granny Bo. As the design took shape, “They sent pictures throughout the process. I cried when I got the final picture,” she says. “It is 100 percent what I wanted it to be.” The design was painted on metal and sealed with PPG paint to ensure a long life. The 8’ by 8’ structure was hung on June 13 on the barn where her Pa once raised cows and now keeps his tractor and trailer.

Alabama Living

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“It was a hot morning,” she recalls. “My daddy, Lonnie Parker, Lisa and Dale and my friend Kathy King hung it; we could not have done it with one less person. We worked well as a team and got it up there. Pa was proud. ‘Man, that’s pretty!’ he said. “Now when I Iook at it, it takes me back to my granny and my childhood,” says Mrs. Whitaker. “I was very proud to be able to do this, not only as a memory to my Granny Bo, but also as a tribute to my Pa. He is a wonderful man and has always been a very special part of my life.” The Alabama Barn Quilt Trail was established to encourage drivers to take the scenic route on their travels, and learn more about the state’s rural, agricultural and artistic heritage. The barn quilts honor families, hobbies and the beloved pastime of quilting.

The Alabama Barn Quilt Trail was featured in the April 2019 issue of Alabama Living and is available online at bit.ly/colorfultreasurehunt. For more information, visit alabamabarnquilttrail.org.

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| Your Arab Co-op EC | |

CO-OP MONTH FILLIN-THE-BLANK Did you know October is National Co-op Month?

Complete the fill-in-the-blank activity below to learn about a few ways co-ops are unique! Use the word bank if you need help.

1. Co-ops and their members work together toward a common ____________. 2. Co-ops are ____________ organizations, so they understand the communities they serve. 3. All co-ops operate according to the same set of seven cooperative ____________. 4. Concern for ____________ is the seventh cooperative principle. 5. Co-ops don’t have customers; we have ____________. 6. Co-ops are ____________ by the members they serve.

WORD BANK

LED LOCAL

GOAL PRINCIPLES

MEMBERS COMMUNITY

Answer Key: 1) goal 2) local 3) principles 4) community 5) members 6) led

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| Alabama Snapshots | 1.

Fall Foliage

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3. 1. Cullman county in 2018. SUBMITTED BY Debby Boyd, Addison. 2. Cades Cove 2019. SUBMITTED BY Charlene Coleman, Brewton.

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3. Changing of the seasons. SUBMITTED BY Arthur J. Davis, Bay Minette. 4. Golden leaves at Birmingham Zoo. SUBMITTED BY KJ Sharpe, Andalusia.

Submit “Christmas vacation” photos by October 31. Winning photos will run in the December issue. SUBMIT and WIN $10! Online: alabamaliving.coop Mail: Snapshots P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Alabama Living

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RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at alabamaliving.coop and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to have photos returned.

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Spotlight | October

Whereville, AL

A grateful young person in Louisiana made a hand-written thank-you note for a line crew from Marshall-DeKalb Electric Cooperative, based in Boaz.

Alabama co-ops help others hit hard by hurricanes Hurricane Laura made landfall Aug. 27 as a category 4 storm and caused widespread damage to western Louisiana and eastern Texas. The storm caused massive damage to electric transmission structures and caused a system-wide outage that knocked out electricity to more than 1 million people. In true cooperative fashion, Alabama’s rural electric cooperatives made arrangements even before Laura made landfall to help restore power after the storm. More than 175 men – mostly linemen, but also mechanics and warehousemen – from 14 Alabama cooperatives drove to Louisiana with needed equipment as soon as the storm passed and set to work. The Alabama co-ops traveled to Beauregard Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BECi) based in DeRidder, Louisiana, to join more than 1,000 linemen to restore power to the co-op. All 43,000 members were without power; the co-op had more than 5,000 broken poles on its system. Safety is always the top priority in any restoration effort, so several members of the safety staff of the Alabama Rural Electric Association (AREA) went to Louisiana to help the crews work safe and stay healthy. (AREA publishes Alabama Living.) For the crews, the 16-hour days are long, the weather is hot and humid and the work is difficult. But restoring electricity to people who have not had it for weeks lifts the crews’ spirits, as do the expressions of gratitude – sometimes hand-written cards, or snacks or water – they receive from thankful residents. The crews were still working in Louisiana when Hurricane Sally formed and strengthened in the Gulf of Mexico, with a path that directly impacted Mississippi and Alabama. The Alabama cooperatives brought their crews back to the state to be ready to respond to outages caused by Sally. BECi completely understood the need for the crews to prepare to help their own members and was grateful for their assistance. As this issue was going to press, co-ops in southwest Alabama had requested help as Sally was set to make landfall, and several crews coming back from Louisiana volunteered to help those co-ops before heading back to their homes in other parts of the state. We’ll have more on the response to Hurricane Sally in the November issue of Alabama Living. 10  OCTOBER 2020

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Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer by Oct. 7 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the November issue. Submit by email: whereville@alabamaliving.coop, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124. Contribute your own photo for an upcoming issue! Send a photo of an interesting or unusual landmark in Alabama, which must be accessible to the public. A reader whose photo is chosen will also win $25. September’s answer: The Waldo Covered Bridge, built in 1858, is 115 feet long and located in the Waldo community in Talladega County. Also known as the Riddle Mill covered bridge, it is the second-oldest covered bridge in Alabama and was constructed to allow commercial and private traffic across Talladega Creek. (Information from Encyclopedia of Alabama) Photo submitted by Tammy Riley of Southern Pine EC. The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Donna Hill Grice of Arab EC.

Take us along! We’ve enjoyed seeing photos from our readers on their travels with Alabama Living! Please send us a photo of you with a copy of the magazine on your travels to: mytravels@alabamaliving.coop. Please include your name, hometown and electric cooperative, and the location of your photo. We’ll draw a winner for the $25 prize each month.

Brothers David and Samuel LoDuca took their copy to the United States Military Academy at West Point, where Samuel reported to USMA as a new cadet in the class of 2024! Their parents, Paul and Summer LoDuca, are members of Baldwin EMC.

Vicky Hollenbeck of Wetumpka visited the Kansas City Zoo with her favorite magazine. She is a member of Central Alabama Electric Cooperative.

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October | Spotlight Letters to the editor

E-mail us at: letters@alabamaliving.coop or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Required reading

Your article in the September issue (“Getting a second opinion,” Hardy Jackson’s Alabama) was one of my favorites! The last two sentences were powerful! “Though Methodism is fine for me, I always like to get a second opinion.” Of such an attitude, religious toleration is born. This article should be required reading in every college (and high school) history class. You are an especially gifted writer and I look forward to your articles each month. Thank you for sharing your God-given talent with us! Jackie Campbell Somerville

Distressed by photos

Was amazed to see that in the latest issue not one single individual was pictured wearing a mask. So sorry to see you do not support the curbing of COVID-19 in our great state. I am a 77year-old customer and was deeply distressed that you show such a callous attitude towards this serious virus that has in some way affected all the citizens of Alabama. Roy Gamble Flat Rock Ed. note: Many of the photos in the September issue were taken before the statewide mask directive was in place and indeed, be-

fore the COVID-19 pandemic was known. We at Alabama Living comply with all directives of the Governor regarding the pandemic and agree with you that we must work together to curb the spread of the virus in our state.

Disputes football stats

The article by Brad Bradford (August 2020) had Tua Taguvailoa being the number 1 efficiency rating and Joe Burrow being number 2. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Only one player in NCAA history barely beat Joe with almost an 78% efficiency and Tua was not even close. Tua did not receive the Heisman, Unitas Gold Arm, Davey O’Brien, Lombard, Maxwell, Walter Camp, Manning and AP National Player of the year awards, Joe Burrow did! Yes, I’m an LSU alum living here in Alabama and I have followed LSU since I was 5 in 1953. And OBTW, your prediction will be way off the mark! Raymond G. Dougherty Decatur Brad Bradford responds: Using the football database final rankings as of January 13, 2020, my article stated passing efficiency: Tua 206.9, Burrow 202, Jones 186.8. Burrow WAS the best in the SEC. That was not up for debate. It had to do with Mac Jones' rating and returning as the starter. Burrow threw for 5,671 yards- 1st by far; threw for 60 touchdowns/1st by far, completion percentage of 76.3/1st. Passing efficiency takes into account completion percentage, touchdowns thrown, interceptions, yards per completion, touchdown percentage. If the article had stated anything except passing efficiency, I would send a retraction. I stand by the above stats.

Find the hidden dingbat! More than 600 of our readers found the hidden pencil on the red placemat on the table in the photo on Page 17 in the September issue. Apparently the freshly sharpened pencil inspired some of our younger readers who may have been looking forward to using their own pencils when they got back to their school classrooms. Robert Barrentine of Wiregrass EC wrote us that as soon as he got the mail, “the first pair of hands on your Alabama Living was my granddaughter’s, Katie Voncile Adams. I laughed, for in three minutes she found the pencil.” Kathy Hickman of Greenville, a member of Pioneer EC, had help from her granddaughters as well: “It was so fun letting them find it.” We got a few more poems, including this one from our prize winner, Ian Shreve of Hartselle, a member of Joe Wheeler EMC. Ian, who is 9 years old, even set his poem, written in couplets, to music! “If you have a piano and a person who can read music (like myself) then you can listen to it,” he wrote. Alabama Living

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When I had seen The magazine, I found the pencil (Without a stencil!) As I have now seen On page seventeen. This pencil is new, Used just a few. I had such great fun Searching for this one! As I have now seen On page seventeen. Congratulations, Ian! We appreciate all the letters we get from our readers of all ages! This month, we’re hiding a candy corn. Good luck! The deadline is Oct. 7.

By email: dingbat@alabamaliving.com

By mail: Find the Dingbat Alabama Living PO Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 OCTOBER 2020  11

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Mayberry town barber Beloved character lives on, thanks to tribute artist By Jeremy Henderson

Allan Newsome pretends to give a haircut to a young fan held by David Browning, a now-retired Barney Fife impersonator. PHOTO BY HOBART JONES

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ll of a sudden Allan Newsome’s wife, Jan, will point at him: community of “The Andy Griffith Show” aficionados large enough “There — you’re doing it right now!” to spawn multiple annual fan events, a dozen or more books, a He doesn’t hear it. In his mind, when he gets back from popular Bible study curriculum (born in Huntsville’s Twickenham a Mayberry Days event and it’s time to hang up the coat and put Church of Christ), and even an upcoming quasi-documentary of away the scissors, that’s it. He’s back to being regular old Allan sorts (which Newsome stars in). He is, to reference a Season Two Newsome, a 54-year-old Huntsville man with a mustache that he’s classic, a keeper of the flame for fellow fans, having maintained had since high school, an IT guy at Redstone Arsenal who happractically every major Griffith fan site for more than 20 years, pens to run a couple of personal including WeaversDepartmentStore.com, an online emporium websites on the side, not a barbershop. (named for Aunt Bea’s favorite But he’s outnumbered. His son place to shop) of Griffith kitsch Adam swears he hears it, too.  and collectibles that is currently They’ll all be at the dinner table pushing a line of “The Andy Griffith Show”-themed coffee and baor on the couch and Allan won’t con. Jan handles the orders.  even be talking about the show. And, of course, there’s his podIt might just be a quick comment cast, “Two Chairs No Waiting,” about the weather, or something another Season Two reference. he saw on the news that he can’t He’ll be recording the 586th epwait to forget, and Jan will stop isode tonight. Should be a good him and say, “Now, come on, Allan. That sounded just like him.” one. There’s been a bombshell He’ll laugh. Sometimes he’ll development in the mystery of argue. Hey, if it’s true — if he oc“Nice Dress Nellie,” the nickname casionally forgets that he’s not on Newsome visits with Betty Lynn, who played Barney Fife’s girlfriend, of a recurring show extra. A fan PHOTO BY HOBART JONES stage and lapses back into charac- Thelma Lou, on “The Andy Griffith Show.” claims to have a solid lead on the ter — then, well, that just comes woman’s last name. That may not with the territory. That’s what sound quite as thrilling as when nearly three decades as the world’s premiere (and only, as far as he Allan got the guy in Indiana to isolate and reverse the audio of the knows) Floyd the Barber tribute artist will do to a man.  rewinding tape recorder in Season One’s “Mayberry on Record,” Allan Newsome is one of the top powerbrokers in a thriving but it’s still pretty sensational stuff.  12  OCTOBER 2020

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Allan Newsome at a Mayberry Days event parade. PHOTO BY JAN NEWSOME

But his greatest contribution to the culture, by far, is Floyd Lawson, the Mayberry town barber.

In the beginning

It all started in 1994. He was at Mule Day in Gordo, Alabama, and a group went out to eat, David Browning included. Until his recent retirement from the impersonation circuit, Browning was the king of Griffith tribute artists. His spot-on Barney Fife was a must-have at Mayberry meetups for 30 years. So, they’re all just waiting for a table, quoting the show to each other, doing voices and everything like always, and Allan does Floyd’s “Bobby Gribble hates Emma Larch” routine from the “Case of the Punch in the Nose” episode. He nailed it. Browning loved it.  Not long after that, Allan and Jan were at the Mayberry Squad Car Rendezvous in Bradford, Ohio, a town that boasts a full-sized replica of Wally’s Filling Station. And, of course, Browning was there.  “He kept getting me to come over and talk to people like Floyd,” Allan says. “Then he took me aside and said ‘Hey, you want to dress up and come to Mount Airy as Floyd for Mayberry Days?’” Mayberry Days is the big one. It’s held every year in Andy Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina, which has capitalized on the show’s phenomenal syndication success by billing itself as the real-life Mayberry. The Snappy Lunch diner downtown? It’s actually mentioned in an episode. And of course, so is Mount Pilot, Mayberry’s slightly larger sister city. Only, on an actual map, it’s Pilot Mountain, southeast of Mount Airy by 11 miles. Griffith pilgrims can visit the Andy Griffith Museum, tour the town in a vintage squad car, pose in a replica courthouse, and yes, have their bangs trimmed at Floyd’s Barbershop. The town’s official website is VisitMayberrry.com, and you don’t have to scroll far to find a photo of Allan Newsome. He thought dressing up for that event would be a one-time deal. Instead, he’s become a fixture. You don’t come back from Mayberry Days without a selfie with Allan Newsome.   Allan got hooked on “The Andy Griffith Show” while a student at Auburn in the late 1980s. He’d seen it before heading off to college, obviously, but something about the simplicity of it, and the clockwork regularity — 5 p.m., 10 p.m. — seemed tailor-made for an electrical engineering student trying to keep sane between exams.  “We’d need a break from studying and you’d just pop some popcorn and sit down and watch ‘The Andy Griffith Show,’” Allan says. “It would just relieve some of the stress that you had from just trying to do all that dadgum homework.”

Reminders of home

Plus, it reminded him of home. He’s from Henegar, a DeKalb County town of 3,000 people or so. Aunt Bea’s friends — Clara Edwards and Myrtle? They might as well have been ladies from his church. And he can’t watch an Ernest T. Bass episode without thinking of this one farmer down the road he’d see as a kid. Allan’s dad, Wayne, laughs at that one. “Yeah,” he says, “that’s a pretty fair assessment.” Wayne and his wife Ann still live in Henegar, and, yes, they now hear traces of Floyd in their son’s voice, too. The first time Wayne met Allan’s alter ego was at a Huntsville Stars baseball game years back. Allan and David Browning were both there, in character, as part of the team’s perennial “Mayberry Night” promotion. “I said ‘I can’t believe I sent him to Auburn to do that,’” Wayne laughs. “It just didn’t seem like him. He’s always been a matter-offact guy, but to see him as Floyd, it’s like a totally different person. Alabama Living

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But he loves it.” that’s what he’s gathered from watching the show. And the more Allan stuck with, the more it Wayne may not know that the new kid in town made sense. What he said about seeing Henegar framed Opie for busting the streetlight with in Mayberry, and vice versa? Wayne sees it, too. an apple rather than a rock — that would have He still sees it. knocked him out of the Mayberry Days trivia “Allan grew up in that type of town. It’s still preliminaries in a heartbeat, I told him — but a Mayberry town,” he says. “No one locks their he’s definitely a fan. doors. Everybody’s friendly. Everybody knows “Oh yeah, it still comes on, it’s a great show,” he everybody. And, yeah, we definitely have a few says. “Mayberry is just the place you want to be.” characters around here.” Exactly, Allan says. That’s the reason the show If we’re talking Mayberry parallels, Wayne ac- Newsome “trims” a fan’s hair for a endures. It’s not just because it’s good. It’s because tually might be one himself.  it’s an escape to simpler times. In 2020, that’s photo at a Mayberry fan event. For starters, he was police commissioner for a something that grows more valuable by the day. PHOTOS BY HOBART JONES short while in the ’80s.  Almost by the hour.  “We had more than one police car, though,” he says. “We had But it sure is hard on his ties.  two or three.” “A lot of times we don’t even call him on doing the voice anymore, but that’s the other thing he does now,” Jan says. “He fiddles He also even used to own Stone’s Department Store, which with his ties all the time, just like Floyd.” might as well have been a Weaver’s come to life, he says. At least

Floyd (Allan Newsome) and Barney (David Browning) ride in a Mayberry fan event parade.

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Alabama Living

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| Worth the drive |

By Jennifer Kornegay

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labama’s Black Belt region is so named for the fertile soil blanketing its gentle hills and flatlands, earth that yields bountiful crop harvests and abundant outdoor pursuits. But the people here are as productive as the land; their creative talents and hard work have thrived for generations and resulted in a wealth of handmade and handcrafted delights. Now, everyone can explore the area thanks to the recently created “Flavors of the Black Belt” Trail. The Trail helps people take a self-directed trip to basically eat their way through the Black Belt, with a booklet highlighting restaurants, cafes and shops that sell locally made food products. It is an initiative of Black Belt Adventures, a tourism marketing organization that works to bring more visitors to the area, and director Pam Swanner explained how the Trail developed from a board member’s observation. “Board member Dexter McLendon, mayor of Greenville, noted that there are many small-batch, hand-crafted foodstuffs and drinks created by the locals throughout the region that deserve recognition,” she says. That sparked the idea for the Trail and its focus on the region’s resourcefulness in the form of the flavors it has fostered. Black Belt Adventures, as well as the multiple restaurants, shops and makers included on the Trail, hope it will entice people to go get a taste of the area – and spend money. Amber Anderson, owner of and baker/cook at FPH Bakery in Union Springs, has already seen some traffic from the Trail. “I have reopened (after COVID-19 mandated closings), and things are getting somewhat back to normal,” she says. “I’ve had more and more people from out of town who’ve not been here before, and I think some of that is due to the Trail.” The bakery and other stops on the Trail have booklets for customers to grab, and Anderson says they’re flying out the door, noting that almost everyone coming in is taking one when they 16  OCTOBER 2020

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PHOTO COURTESY ALABAMA BLACK BELT ADVENTURES.

The “Flavors of the Black Belt” Trail has a handy guide booklet that features a smorgasbord of things to see, do and, of course, eat. And it’s not just restaurants featured. The Trail places equal emphasis on the region’s bakers, brewers, coffee roasters, sauce makers, candy creators and more, plus the markets and shops that sell their wares. There’s never been a better time to take a backroads trip and discover some of the region’s culinary and cultural character. Here are a few highlights from the Trail to help you find your favorite flavor.

FPH Bakery, Union Springs

This café in downtown Union Springs is beloved for a bevy of baked goods made by owner and self-taught baker and cook, Amber Anderson. Her homey offerings like chicken salad, a variety of soothing soups and comforting casseroles draw hungry diners come lunchtime. www.alabamaliving.coop

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Alabama Living

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leave. Swanner echoed Anderson. “We’ve already had to replenish the Flavors Trail booklet in several of the retail locations,” she says. Anderson is thrilled FPH Bakery was included. “I think the Trail is a great thing; I think it encourages people to get out and about in the area, and it helps small businesses like us that are off the beaten path a bit,” she said. Another stop on the Trail, Jefferson Country Store in Marengo County, definitely falls into the “off the beaten path” category, and owner Betsy Compton Luker is also proud to be a part of the Trail. “We love that we’re included, and so do our customers,” Luker says. “It’s fun because it is validating to them. They say, ‘Hey. This place we love is as great as we think it is.’” Chef David Bancroft, who owns barbecue joint Bow & Arrow plus the fine-dining institution Acre, both in Auburn, praised the Trail and Black Belt Adventures’ overall mission and efforts. “I think it’s a great idea and believe it can help businesses, which need help especially now,” he says. “I love the organization and all that they do. I’m such a big believer in getting outdoors, connecting with that

heritage and discovering all of the Black Belt’s great resources.” While the initial launch of the trail was delayed due to COVID-19, Black Belt Adventures is turning the pandemic-related travel restrictions to its advantage, promoting the Trail as a “backroad” trip that offers a safer alternative to some other types of travel. “Road trips have regained popularity, and the Black Belt region is the perfect destination to fulfill that demand,” Swanner says. It won’t cure COVID, but simply wandering is a pastime Bancroft believes can address a lot of what ails society today. “So many people think the world is what exists on that little screen in their hand,” he says. “But it’s not. The world is down that dirt path, along that trail, waiting at that little farm stand.” Everyone hopes the virus won’t forever dictate our future, and Luker is optimistic, sharing encouragement to fellow business owners whenever she can. “I know it’s been hard for people in our business, but I just want to tell others to keep going, keep digging down to find your strength,” she says. “There are so many great flavors in our area and in our state to experience, and the more we focus on that, I think we can make it.”

PHOTO BY LANA POUNCEY.

Bates House of Turkey, Greenville

This spot is the restaurant arm of Bates Turkey Farm. Opened in 1969, as its name suggests, this eatery focuses on the farm’s fowl, its menu stacked heavy with gobble, gobble good selections like smoked turkey sandwiches and turkey salad.

Gaines Ridge Dinner Club, Camden

Jefferson Country Store, Marengo County

The small white wooden building on a rural highway has been meeting the needs of its community for more than 50 years, and today, Betsy Compton Luker and her husband Tony are at the helm, still providing everyday essentials (bread, milk, hoop cheese, snacks) as well as local products like honey and more.

A historic setting and historically delicious food await diners at this Black Belt institution. Housed in a circa 1827 home, the Gaines Ridge Dinner Club has been serving up simple yet special fine-dining dishes since 1985.

Priester’s Pecans, Fort Deposit

Mel’s Dairy Dream, Monroeville

Black Belt Treasures, Camden

Not far from the old courthouse so tied to one of our state’s most iconic books, To Kill a Mockingbird, Mel’s Dairy Dream sits on another site of heritage, the spot where the childhood home of Mockingbird author Harper Lee once stood.

Doughnut King, Eufaula

There’s nothing fancy here, but the variety of glazed, iced and filled snacks you’ll find in this east Alabama favorite are definitely fit for royalty.

Pop into the Priester’s Pecans shop and go nuts. You can buy raw and roasted pecans, chocolate-covered pecans, pralines, pecan brittle, pecan logs, pecan-studded divinity and more. Find a bevy of Black-Belt-made items all in one place at this charming store. Stock up on homemade jellies and sauces as well as rich cheese straws.

SweetCreek Farm Market, Pike Road

Find the tasty fruits (and veggies) of area farmers’ labors and love at this bustling farm stand: fat scarlet tomatoes; pale yellow squashes; fuzzy, fragrant peaches; and sweet, seedy muscadines.

Download a copy of the “Flavors of the Black Belt” Trail brochure at alabamablackbeltadventures.org/flavors/ 18  OCTOBER 2020

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Alabama Living

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| Gardens |

Cultivating the curative powers of plants D

uring these past months of uncertainty and stress, many of us have come to appreciate the restorative power of plants. It’s an appreciation worth cultivating. That’s because plants have so much to offer us. The simple act of tending them in our own yards and houses or admiring them in the landscapes around us is quite therapeutic, but the plants themselves are also filled with curative compounds. Most of us know that such beloved herbs such as mint, rosemary, sage, lavender, basil and thyme have both culinary and medicinal uses. However, we may not know that ornamental plants (camellias, roses, hollies, as well as annual and perennial flowers, grasses and the like) also possess medicinal properties. Nor might we realize that common “volunteer” (some would say “weedy”) native and non-native plants — from pine and sweet gum trees to goldenrod, dandelion and chickweed — have redeeming medicinal uses, too. In fact, according to medicinal plant expert Tia Gonzales, “You can’t walk outside your house and touch a plant that doesn’t have some medicinal properties. It’s just a matter of learning to recognize and appreciate them.” As a horticulturist, herbalist and manager/curator of Auburn University’s Medicinal Plant Collection, Tia has a deep understanding of, and contagious passion for, the curative powers of plants. And this year in particular, can’t we all use a dose of plant medicine? That’s why I asked her to suggest a few helpful medicinal plants that all of us can easily grow and use. Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@gmail.com.

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Naming just a few isn’t easy, but Tia narrowed it down to these five plants, all of which can be used to brew simple teas for the treatment of insomnia and anxiety, common problems especially during these stressful times. Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata; also known as maypop) is native to Alabama and grows well pretty much anywhere. It has beautiful flowers, is a host plant for Gulf fritillary butterflies and bees love it, too. Catnip (Nepeta cataria), a member of the mint family, tolerates a wide range of growing conditions and can be grown in beds or containers; however, if you want to keep the cats out of it, Tia suggests planting it in a hanging basket. It’s also great mosquito repellent. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), another mint family member, is also easy to grow and it can repel mosquitoes. In addition to using it as a tea, Tia said it’s ideal for use as a relaxing bath that calms anxious adults and wound-up children. Lavender has many fine qualities, but it can be hard to grow in Alabama unless you use Lavandula x intermedia varieties and cultivars, which are suited to our soils and weather. Once established, though,

Passionflower

it’s beautiful and can be used for teas, as a f lavoring, for aromatherapy and as an essential oil. Chamomile is commonly used as sleep-promoting tea, but it has many other uses, including lightening and conditioning hair. Plants may be of German (Matricaria recutita) or Roman (Chamaemelum nobile, also known as English and Russian chamomile) lineage but both can be grown in Alabama. However, Tia said they don’t like the heat and will do best in cooler seasons. To learn more about growing and processing these and other medicinal plants, Tia suggested two books: Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech and Rodale’s Twenty-first Century Herbal Guide by Michael Balick. Auburn’s Medicinal Plant Collection garden is currently closed for relocation but when it reopens, Tia will host frequent talks, tours and plant sales, details of which will be posted on its Facebook page.

OCTOBER TIPS • Plant cool-season vegetables such as leafy greens and root crops.

• Plant shrubs, trees and spring-blooming bulbs.

• Collect and save seed from your favorite flowers, herbs and vegetables.

• Clean and store summer gardening tools and equipment.

• Refresh mulch around trees and shrubs. • Keep bird feeders and baths full.

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CALL FOR ENTRIES Alabama Rural Electric Association’s

11 Quilt Competition th

Our 2021 theme is: First responders

Mail, or E-mail form below for your entry package. Deadline to submit quilt square is January 29, 2021.

Name:_________________________________________________ Address:_______________________________________________ City, State Zip:___________________________________________ Mail to: Linda Partin AREA E-mail:_________________________________________________ 340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117 Phone:_________________________________________________ Cooperative:____________________________________________ or Phone: 334-215-2732 E-mail: lpartin@areapower.com (The electric cooperative name on front of this Alabama Living.)

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Ghosts, spirits said to wander the grounds at Fort Morgan Jeff Rodewald, historical interpreter at Fort Morgan, hears many visitors say they have experienced ghosts and spirits at the former military outpost.

By Marilyn Jones

A

s the days shorten and Halloween approaches, there are always whispers on the wind of ghosts lingering in cemeteries, houses and public buildings. Fort Morgan, a masonry fort located along the Gulf Coast at the mouth of Mobile Bay, is considered one of the most haunted places in Alabama. Here, it is said, linger the ghosts of long dead soldiers and other wandering spirits. “As I walk through the tunnel to enter the fort, I get a feeling that I’m entering hallowed ground,” says Fort Morgan tour guide Jeff Rodewald. Construction on Fort Morgan began in 1819. Completed in 1833, the fort was named to honor Revolutionary War hero General Daniel Morgan. “As I learn the history of the fort, where the soldiers stayed, where they ate their meals, and where they went when they were wounded, (I often) visualize and feel the camaraderie and the pain of every soldier,” says Rodewald.

Apparitions and screams

Many guests say they believe there are spirits and ghosts still present in the fort. It’s easy to time travel as you walk through the massive archways along the same corridors where soldiers lived, worked and died for just over a century. On one particular summer night at dusk, Rodewald was stationed in a back room of the fort near a row of casemates (an armored structure where guns are fired). Dressed in a period soldier uniform, his assignment was to tell visitors about the deaths in the fort from the time of construction to its closure after World War II. According to Rodewald, three young women entered the candlelit entrance and stopped to take a picture of the doorways that run through five of the casemate rooms. “They are toward the end of the group coming in … Just as one of them is in the process of taking the picture one of them shouts ‘did you see that?!’ The other two say, ‘yes!’ “They pull the picture up on their phone and sure enough, there is an orb-like object in the photo,” he recalls. “They ask me if anyone else is back here. I tell them we are the only people in this part of the fort. … They are a little spooked with what just happened,” he says with a smile. “I cannot explain what they saw, 22  OCTOBER 2020

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PHOTO COURTESY GULF SHORES AND ORANGE BEACH TOURISM

but they saw something!” There have been many sightings over the years. The old barracks are said to be one of the most haunted portions of the fort. In 1917 a prisoner hanged himself there. According to many reports, you can still hear the hanging man cry late at night. Visitors say they also hear footsteps and have been touched. During the Civil War, a bomb went off in a room of the fort killing several men. Visitors say the men can still be heard screaming. The most witnessed manifestation is a young woman. She was attacked sometime during the 19th century, and it is believed she still roams the fort and grounds looking for her attacker.

Civil War and beyond

The fort was seized by State of Alabama troops in 1861. Turned over to the Confederate Army, the fort served as the first line of defense for the city of Mobile and provided protection for blockade runners entering the bay. In 1864, Union naval forces fought their way past Fort Morgan and defeated a Confederate naval squadron, and the fort’s 581 men were forced to surrender. During World War I, 2,000 troops were stationed at the fort. Many of these men trained on the new artillery weapons that were becoming commonplace on the battlefields of France. With the end of the war, Fort Morgan’s garrison was steadily reduced and in 1923 the post was ordered closed. In 1941, the U.S. Navy reoccupied the post to renew the fort’s coast defense mission. In July 1944, Fort Morgan was abandoned for the last time and its role in America’s coast defense officially came to an end. If you go: The fort is located 23 miles west of Gulf Shores. Although the fort is open for tours, due to COVID-19, the museum is closed and in-person programs and events have been canceled. For additional information, visit fort-morgan.org. www.alabamaliving.coop

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Alabama Living

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Famous

Across 1 Alabama author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Fannie 4 Alabama civil rights leader recently passed, born in Troy, John ____ 8 North Alabama’s mascot ___ III 10 Alabamian lead singer for the Commodores, first name 11 Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who writes about Alabama, Rick ____ 13 Acronym for computer ports 15 Fly catcher 16 Lead singer of the Alabama band, Randy____ 20 “Love __ love you, baby” 21 Gymnast’s need 22 Fraternity word 24 Troublemaker 25 Artur ____, he served as Democratic member of the US House of Representatives for Alabama’s 7th congressional district 27 Creeping plant 28 Raise 29 Alabamian who sang “When a Man Loves a Woman”, Percy ____ 31 Sweet Home Alabama movie lines: “What would you want to marry me for anyhow? (Melanie) “So I can ___ you any time I want” (Jake) 33 Play part 35 Famous chef with a restaurant in Foley, Alabama, ____ Deen 37 Horse lodging 39 Atmosphere, prefix 40 Coach who took the Tigers to a National Championship, Gus 24  OCTOBER 2020

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Alabamians

Down 1 Alabama’s 50th Governor, Jim ____ 2 Days past 3 Alabama’s Pine ___ Recreation Area, a favorite with hunters 4 __ and behold 5 Former Miss Alabama who married A.J. McCarron, Katherine ____ 6 Montgomery native and lead singer for Styx and Damn Yankees, Tommy ___ 7 Alabama blues great, Cleo __ __ McGee, 2 words 9 The in Spanish 12 Obtain 14 Eastern European 17 “Boulder to Birmingham” singer, ____ Harris 18 Short sleep 19 Parcel carrier 22 Alabama writer and humorist, Kelly 23 Alabama singer who was famous for his big hit “In the Midnight Hour” Wilson _____ 24 ICU attachments, abbr. 26 Colbert County city, ____ Shoals 30 Motown great, ___ Ross

by Myles Mellor

32 Crimson Tide’s record breaking head coach 34 Senator’s six years, say 36 State with the motto “We dare to defend our rights.” (abbr.) 38 Nurse, for short Answers on Page 37

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Seven mistakes that can upend your retirement Pursuing your retirement dreams can be challenging and mistakes can cost time and money. Here are seven big mistakes to avoid when preparing for retirement: 1. No Strategy: The biggest mistake is having no strategy at all. The goals you set for yourself should be attainable; and how can a goal be attainable without a strategy? A goal without a strategy to reach is like a car with no motor. Creating a strategy will increase your potential for success, both before and after retirement. 2. Frequent Trading: Fear of missing out (FOMO) on the next “hot” investments often leads to despair. Create an asset allocation strategy that is properly diversified to reflect your objectives, risk tolerance, and time horizon; then adjust based on changes in your personal situation, not due to market ups and downs. 3. Not Maximizing Tax-Deferred Savings: Workers have tax-advantaged ways to save for retirement. Not participating in your employer’s 401(k) could mean that you’re leaving money on the table in the form of employer-matching contributions. 4. Prioritizing College Funding over Retirement: Your children’s college education is important, but you may not want to sacrifice your retirement for it. There are loans and grants for college, but not for your retirement. 5. Overlooking Healthcare Costs: Extended health care is an expense that could derail your financial strategy for retirement if you are not prepared for it. 6. Not Adjusting Your Investment Approach Well Before Retirement: The last thing your retirement portfolio can afford is a sharp fall in stock prices and a sustained bear market at

the moment you’re ready to stop working. Consider adjusting your asset allocation before tapping into your savings to avoid selling stocks when prices are depressed. 7. Retiring with Too Much Debt: If too much debt is bad when you’re making money, it can be treacherous while living in retirement. Carefully consider managing or reducing your debt level before you retire. Alabama Rural Electric Credit Union is proud to offer Alabama ONE Wealth Advisory to our members! We offer comprehensive financial advice to help you plan for the future, invest, or maximize growth potential. Interested in our TEAM’s expertise? Contact them at (205) 341-0108 or at WealthAdvisory@AlabamaONE. org and visit AlabamaONEWealthAdvisory.com to set up a free consultation.

Tyler Foster Director of Wealth Advisory

Securities and advisory services are offered through LPL Financial (LPL), a registered investment advisor and broker/dealer (member FINRA/SIPC). Insurance products are offered through LPL or its licensed affiliates. Alabama One Credit Union (AOCU) and Alabama One Wealth Advisory are not registered as a broker/dealer or investment advisor. Registered representatives of LPL offer products and services using Alabama One Wealth Advisory, and may also be employees of AOCU. These products and services are being offered through LPL or its affiliates, which are separate entities from and not affiliates of AOCU or Alabama One Wealth Advisory. Securities and insurance offered through LPL or its affiliates are: Not Insured by NCUA or Not Credit Union Not Credit Union May Lose Any Other Government Agency Guaranteed Deposits or Obligations Value

SOCIAL SECURITY

Replacement Social Security cards now available online

T

he Social Security Administration introduced the expansion of online services for residents of Alabama available through its my Social Security portal at socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security, announced that residents of Alabama can use the portal for many replacement Social Security number (SSN) card requests. This will allow people to replace their SSN card from the comfort of their home or office. “We are here to serve the public and this option helps us improve service by offering a safe, secure, and more convenient choice for doing business with us online,” Commissioner Saul said. “I am pleased to offer Alabama residents the added convenience of replacing a Social Security card through the my Social Security portal.” The agency is conducting a gradual rollout of this service; Alabama is one of the many states, including the District of Columbia, where this option is available. Throughout 2020, the agency plans to continue to expand the service option to other states. Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at kylle.mckinney@ssa.gov.

Alabama Living

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This service will mean shorter wait times for the public in the more than 1,200 Social Security offices across the country and allows staff more time to work with customers who have extensive service needs. U.S. citizens age 18 or older and who are residents of Alabama can request a replacement SSN card online by creating a my Social Security account. In addition, they must have a U.S. domestic mailing address, not require a change to their record (such as a name change), and have a valid driver’s license, or state identification card in some participating states. my Social Security is a secure online hub for doing business with Social Security, and about 51 million people have created an account. In addition to Alabama residents replacing their SSN card through the portal, current Social Security beneficiaries can manage their benefits online—change an address, adjust direct deposit, obtain a benefit verification letter, or request a replacement SSA-1099. Medicare beneficiaries can request a replacement Medicare card without waiting for a replacement form in the mail. Account holders still in the workforce can verify their personal earnings history and obtain estimates of future benefits by looking at their Social Security Statement online. For more information about this new online service, visit socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber. OCTOBER 2020  25

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| Consumer Wise |

How to make your basement or crawl space more efficient By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen

Q:

I’ve heard that energy can be lost through my home’s basement. Is that true? If so, what can I do to make by basement more efficient?

A:

Yes, basements can account for a large portion of your home’s energy use, especially in colder climates. More importantly, basements are often a key area when you’re looking to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Crawl spaces can also waste energy, so we’ll address ways to improve the efficiency of those areas as well. Moisture is a common problem in basements and crawl spaces, and can lead to mold, rot and lowered effectiveness of insulation. It should be noted that as you make efficiency improvements, you can solve moisture problems, but you could potentially make them worse if you’re unsure of the work you’re conducting. Look carefully for signs of water damage or moisture buildup, such as rotting wood, mold, a stain on a wall or floor or a musty smell. Any untreated wood in contact with a cement floor or wall could be rotting. Search online for “test basement walls for moisture” and you’ll find a simple test you can conduct yourself. Crawl spaces can be muddy or even have standing water in them if gutters or the slope of the landscaping drains in the wrong direction. Once drainage problems are solved, the crawl space should have a ground vapor barrier. Before making improvements, you should also consider whether radon or carbon monoxide could be a problem. If you live in an area where radon has been a problem, you should conduct a radon test through a licensed professional or purchase a DIY home test kit. Carbon Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. Write to energytips@collaborativeefficiency. com for more information.

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An unfinished basement provides great opportunities for improving ductwork and insulation. PHOTO COURTESY INTIAZ RAHIM

monoxide problems can be deadly. If you have any type of combustion occurring in the basement or crawl space, whether it’s a furnace, water heater or even a fireplace, make sure they have adequate ventilation and that you have working carbon monoxide detectors nearby. If you have a forced-air heating system, your basement or crawl space is abundant with opportunities for improving ductwork. Unless you’re in a newer home or the ductwork has been tested and sealed in the last decade, your ductwork is likely leaking. Sealing these leaks helps your system distribute air more efficiently and should make your home more comfortable. The best way to seal ducts is with duct mastic. Metallic tape is the next best solution. Do not use duct tape. An energy auditor or HVAC professional can test your home’s ductwork and identify any leaks. As you look at the ductwork, ask yourself if rooms throughout the home are heated or cooled unevenly. If so, you’ll want to enlist the help of a professional. Sometimes minor modifications to the ductwork can make a big improvement in comfort. You’ll find lots of air leaks in basements and crawl spaces, particularly where pipes and wires enter or exit the space. Air often enters the home around the sill plate, which sits on top of the foundation. If you can get to the sill plate, apply caulk around it. You can also increase efficiency by sealing any gaps or leaks around basement windows. Insulation is an effective tool for reducing energy use and improving comfort, but the applications are quite different in basements and crawl spaces. In both cases, the insulation strategy and the installation must be done correctly to prevent mold or exacerbate moisture problems. The place to begin in basements is the rim joist, which is right above the sill plate on the top of the foundation wall. Rigid foam board can be carefully fitted between the joists. Insulated basement walls make a room more comfortable. If you’re building a new

home, there are advantages to insulating the outside of the foundation wall, but this isn’t practical for most existing homes. You can insulate the inside of the foundation wall if you’re sure moisture is not leaking through the wall from the outside. Experts do not recommend fiberglass insulation in contact with the foundation, which was a common practice for decades. Instead, they prefer sprayed-on foam or rigid foam board applied directly to the foundation wall. A wood-framed wall can be butted up against the rigid foam and insulated with fiberglass or mineral wool batts. The bottom plate of the wall, which sits on the concrete floor, should be pressure treated wood. There are two ways to insulate crawl spaces. Over the past several years, the most common approach was to insulate under the floor with fiberglass batts. This allowed the crawl space to be vented to the outside, which alleviated any moisture buildup. If all the right moisture control and drainage steps have been taken, the crawl space can be unventilated, and the insulation can be applied to the foundation walls instead of underneath the floor. That said, there are pros and cons to this strategy, so do some research online or consult with a local expert. Here are a few additional ways you can save energy in your basement: • Insulate the hot water pipe exiting your water heater; • Install LED light bulbs; • Replace appliances that are located in the basement (like water heaters, washers or dryers) with newer, energy efficient models. As you can see, there are several steps you can take to make your basement or crawl space more efficient. If you’re unsure about any of these steps, be sure to talk to a professional first. This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen of Collaborative Efficiency. For more information on making your basement more energy efficient, visit: www. collaborativeefficiency.com/energytips. www.alabamaliving.coop

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| Outdoors |

Odd ducks

Unusual game birds becoming more common in U.S.

S

ounding like whistlers look more like squeaky wheels an ibis than a duck. They needing grease, make strong, slow wing about 50 noisy longbeats unlike the frenzied necked birds with promiflapping of other ducks. nent white wing splotches They also frequently land circled overhead as we on dry ground like geese crouched in our blind. and stand straight upright Responding to our whiswith their long necks extling calls, the birds began tended. to settle into the waters Hunters can add them just outside our decoys. to their bags during the Even some veteran waduck season, but they terfowlers looking at that might vanish before the same flock might whisseason even begins. Localper, “What in the world is ly common in some areas that? Is it legal?” during the September teal Common south of the A black-bellied whistling duck sits in a decoy spread. Native to Mexico, they breed in season when they are not parts of the United States including Alabama, but winter in Mexico, Central and South Rio Grande, black-bel- America. Legal to hunt in Alabama during duck season, they head farther south when legal to hunt in Alabama, lied and fulvous whistling cold weather hits and often disappear from Alabama before the season opens. most whistlers disappear ducks greatly expandbefore the general duck PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER ed their breeding range season opens in Alabama. northward and eastward in recent years. Now, many of them breed When cold weather hits, whistling ducks head south into Mexico, in the United States, including parts of Alabama. Large numbers Central and South America. However, during warmer years, some live in eastern Texas, southern Louisiana and parts of Florida. might stay around long enough to give Alabama waterfowlers an They occasionally visit California, Arizona, Georgia, South Caropportunity at a different species. olina, Missouri, Tennessee and even stray as far north as Quebec, “Usually, we see whistling ducks in Alabama during the summer breeding season,” Maddox advises. “Throughout the year, Canada. they gather in large flocks, maybe more than a thousand birds, but “Whistling ducks are becoming more common in the United States,” explains Seth Maddox, the Alabama Department of during the spring and summer, they’re secluded. A pair breaks off Conservation & Natural Resources top migratory bird biologist. from that large group and try to find their own little territory to “They’ve been expanding their range for several years. In Alabama, build a nest and raise their young. As the weather starts to cool, whistling ducks are only found in the marshes along the coast. most whistling ducks migrate farther south to spend the winter. They typically hang around rice agriculture and we just don’t have They don’t tolerate cold very well.” a lot of that in Alabama.” Whistling ducks feed mainly on agricultural crops, particularly Formerly known as tree ducks, whistling ducks look like no rice. They also prefer seeds and grasses, but may eat aquatic vegetation, insects, snails and other invertebrates. Because of their fondother North American waterfowl. Well adapted for perching on ness for crops, they often hang around grain elevators, agricultural branches, both species can land in trees and often congregate in fields and even frequent golf courses or other suburban environs. woody backwaters. They also thrive in marshes, rice fields and Someone spotting a flock of whistlers in an agricultural field might coastal prairies. Highly gregarious, the birds may become quite stop to ask the farmer for permission to hunt the birds eating up numerous in local areas and commonly gather in large flocks. all of his or her profits. “Both species look similar,” Maddox advises. “They are a little As duck hunting becomes tougher across Alabama, most watersmaller than a mallard, but bigger than most other ducks. They act fowlers would welcome an increasing whistler population expandmore like geese. A black-bellied whistling duck is more likely to ing its range. These flavorsome birds make an excellent, tasty and go in trees than a fulvous. Fulvous are a more caramel color with welcome addition to a daily bag for any duck hunter lucky enough a little bit of black on them. They have a light gray or blueish bill to spot them during the season. Perhaps soon, Alabama waterfowland legs.” ers will no longer ask, “What’s that?” With elongated necks and their long legs trailing behind them, The Alabama duck season opens Nov. 27-28 and again from Dec. 5 through Jan. 31, 2021. Sportsmen lucky enough to spot one, or a thousand, of these odd game birds, can add them to their daily John N. Felsher lives in Semmes, Ala. bag limit of six ducks, but limits vary for some species so check Contact him through Facebook. the regulations. For more on Alabama duck hunting, see www.outdooralabama.com/seasons-and-bag-limits/waterfowl-season. 28  OCTOBER 2020

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DOUG HANNON’S FISH & GAME FORECAST

2020

OCTOBER

Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa

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NOVEMBER

EXCELLENT TIMES A.M.

1:18 - 3:18 2:06 - 4:06 2:54 - 4:54 3:42 - 5:42 4:30 - 6:30 5:18 - 7:18 6:06 - 8:06 6:54 - 8:54 7:42 - 9:42 8:30 - 10:30 9:18 - 11:18 10:06 - 12:06 10:54 - 12:54 NA A.M.

MOON STAGE

PM

1:42 - 3:42 2:30 - 4:30 3:18 - 5:18 4:06 - 6:06 4:54 - 6:54 5:42 - 7:42 6:30 - 8:30 7:18 - 9:18 8:06 - 10:06 8:54 - 10:54 9:42 - 11:42 10:30 - 12:30 11:18 - 1:18 12:06 - 2:06 FULL MOON PM

GOOD TIMES AM

7:45 - 9:15 8:33 - 10:03 9:21 - 10:51 10:09 - 11:39 10:57 - 12:27 NA 12:33 - 2:03 1:21 - 2:51 2:09 - 3:39 2:57 - 4:27 3:45 - 5:15 4:33 - 6:03 5:21 - 6:51 6:09 - 7:39 AM

PM

8:09 - 9:39 8:57 - 10:27 9:45 - 11:15 10:33 - 12:03 11:21 - 12:51 12:09 - 1:39 12:57 - 2:27 1:45 - 3:15 2:33 - 4:03 3:21 - 4:51 4:09 - 5:39 4:57 - 6:27 5:45 - 7:15 6:33 - 8:03 F PM

Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

11:30 - 1:30 NA 1:06 - 3:06 1:54 - 3:54 2:42 - 4:42 3:30 - 5:30 4:18 - 6:18 5:06 - 7:06 5:54 - 7:54 6:42 - 8:42 7:30 - 9:30 8:18 - 10:18 9:06 - 11:06 9:54 - 11:54 10:42 - 12:42 11:30 - 1:30

11:54 - 1:54 DST Ends 12:42 - 2:42 1:30 - 3:30 2:18 - 4:18 3:06 - 5:06 3:54 - 5:54 4:42 - 6:42 5:30 - 7:30 6:18 - 8:18 7:06 - 9:06 7:54 - 9:54 8:42 - 10:42 9:30 - 11:30 10:18 - 12:18 11:06 - 1:06 FULL MOON 11:54 - 1:54

5:57 - 7:27 6:45 - 8:15 7:33 - 9:03 8:21 - 9:51 9:09 - 10:39 9:57 - 11:27 10:45 - 12:15 11:33 - 1:03 NA 1:09 - 2:39 1:57 - 3:27 2:45 - 4:15 3:33 - 5:03 4:21 - 5:51 5:09 - 6:39 5:57 - 7:27

6:21 - 7:51 7:09 - 8:39 7:57 - 9:27 8:45 - 10:15 9:33 - 11:03 10:21 - 11:51 11:09 - 12:39 11:57 - 1:27 12:45 - 2:15 1:33 - 3:03 2:21 - 3:51 3:09 - 4:39 3:57 - 5:27 4:45 - 6 ;15 5:33 - 7:03 6:21 - 7:51

Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo

17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

1:06 - 3:06 1:54 - 3:54 2:42 - 4:42 3:30 - 5:30 4:18 - 6:18 5:06 - 7:06 5:54 - 7:54 6:42 - 8:42 7:30 - 9:30 8:18 - 10:18 9:06 - 11:06 9:54 - 11:54 10:18 - 12:18 10:42 - 12:42

1:30 - 3:30 2:18 - 4:18 3:06 - 5:06 3:54 - 5:54 4:42 - 6:42 5:30 - 7:30 6:18 - 8:18 7:06 - 9:06 7:54 - 9:54 8:42 - 10:42 9:30 - 11:30 10:18 - 12:18 10:42 - 12:42 11:06 - 1:06 NEW MOON

7:33 - 9:03 8:21 - 9:51 9:09 - 10:39 9:57 - 11:27 10:45 - 12:15 11:33 - 1:03 NA 1:09 - 2:39 1:57 - 3:27 2:45 - 4:15 3:33 - 5:03 4:21 - 5:51 4:48 - 6:28 5:09 - 6:39

7:57 - 9:27 8:45 - 10:15 9:33 - 11:03 10:21 - 11:51 11:09 - 12:39 11:57 - 1:27 12:45 - 2:15 1:33 - 3:03 2:21 - 3:51 3:09 - 4:39 3:57 - 5:27 4:45 - 6 ;15 5:11 - 6:41 5:33 - 7:03

The Moon Clock and resulting Moon Times were developed 36 years ago by Doug Hannon, one of America’s most trusted wildlife experts and a tireless inventor. The Moon Clock is produced by DataSport, Inc. of Atlanta, GA (www.moontimes.com), a company specializing in wildlife activity time prediction. Alabama Living

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| Alabama Recipes |

TRADITIONALLY

Southern Food styling and photos: Brooke Echols

Chicken and Dumplings

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www.alabamaliving.coop

9/17/20 11:49 AM


“W

hen I’m really hungry, I want Southern food,” cookbook author Nathalie Dupree writes in her introduction to Cooking of the South, “because I know it will fill me up.” Food like fried chicken, collards, turnips and cornbread. Homemade biscuits, butter beans and peas. Peach cobbler. All washed down with sweet iced tea. The kind of meal your Southern grandmother may have fixed, possibly using food straight from her garden, or bought fresh at a local farmer’s market. For Leo Maurelli, director of culinary operations at the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center, real Southern cooking isn’t so much about a particular food, but more about seasonality. “If someone makes a pot of greens, or a tomato sandwich, it’s because those things are fresh,” he says. “It’s a very vegetable-heavy cuisine, and we just benefit from a having an overabundance of foods in season.” Southern cooks for generations used what was available to feed their families, and still do. While readers didn’t send us any recipes for fried chicken (maybe they didn’t want to give away their culinary secrets), they did share some favorite casseroles and main dishes that could bring a Southern touch to your table. Add your own favorite fresh vegetables, and you’ll be able to easily satisfy your craving for good old Southern cooking. And don’t forget the sweet tea. – Lenore Vickrey

Cook of the Month Kathryn Torres, Dixie EC Growing up, Kathryn Torres of Montgomery remembers her mother made dumplings the way many cooks have done, by dropping balls of dough into hot, simmering chicken broth. “That’s what I fixed for my kids,” she says, but in later years after her children had grown and left home, she wanted a more noodle-type dumpling. She looked at different recipes, finally tweaking them and coming up with her own version to suit her husband and herself. “It’s popular with us,” she says. “It’s popping up every few weeks” on the dinner table. She prefers the rich taste of chicken thighs for their flavor, rather than chicken breast, and likes to add parsley on top “to give it a little pop of fresh.” - Lenore Vickrey

Chicken and Dumplings 4-5 chicken thighs 1 small bag baby carrots 1 large sweet onion, chopped 2 celery stalks, chopped 2 bouillon cubes, chicken flavor 1¾ cups flour, plus extra for dusting 1/3 cup shortening ½ teaspoon baking powder ¾ cup milk ½ teaspoon salt Fresh parsley, for garnish Salt and pepper, to taste Simmer chicken thighs, carrots, onion, celery and bouillon until thighs are tender. Remove bone and skin and break thighs up. Return to broth. Form dumpling dough with flour, shortening, baking powder, milk and salt. Mix into a ball and roll out onto a lightly floured surface to about ¼-inch thick. Cut into bite-sized strips. Bring broth and thighs to a slow simmer and drop dumpling strips in. Let dumplings simmer 15-20 minutes. Season all with salt and pepper, finishing with fresh chopped parsley. Alabama Living

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Photo by The Buttered Home

Southern Coca-Cola Cake is a beautiful scratchmade dessert. It is also what we consider to be an heirloom recipe. It is one that you will want to pass on! We take the best ingredients and combine them with Coca-Cola and make this decadent dessert.

Southern Coca-Cola Cake Cake: 2 cups plain flour 2 cups sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon Brooke Burks 1 cup butter 1/4 cup cocoa 1 cup Coca-Cola (I used Coke Zero) 1/2 cup buttermilk 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla Icing: 1/2 cup butter 1/4 cup cocoa 1/2 cup Coca-Cola 3-4 cups confectioners sugar Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x13inch pan with cooking spray. Mix first 5 ingredients (dry) together and sift well. Set aside. In a medium boiler, add butter, cocoa, Coca-Cola and buttermilk. Heat until butter is melted and mixture just starts to bubble. Let cool for 5 minutes. Add to dry mixture and mix well. Lightly beat 2 eggs and add to cake mixture as well as vanilla. Mix well and pour in prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until knife or toothpick comes out clean. Do not cook more than 35 minutes, because you want the cake to be moist. Allow cake to completely cool before icing. In a medium boiler, add butter, cocoa and Coca-Cola. Heat on medium heat until butter melts and mixture starts to boil. Only boil for about 1530 seconds and remove from heat. Add in confectioners sugar and mix well to get out any lumps and icing reaches desired consistency. OCTOBER 2020  31

9/17/20 11:49 AM


Refrigerator Pickles

Southern Chicken and Cornbread Dressing

Southern Chicken and Cornbread Dressing 2 1 4 1 6 1 1 1 2 2

cups cornmeal cup self-rising flour teaspoons baking powder small whole chicken eggs cup buttermilk cup butter, melted large onion, diced cans cream of celery soup cans cream of chicken soup

Note: I make my cornbread usually the day before I cook my dressing. Cornbread Instructions: sift cornmeal, flour and baking powder together and set aside. Beat all 6 eggs, add in buttermilk and melted butter mixing well. Combine this mixture to the dry ingredients. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Pour batter in and bake until bread is golden brown, usually about 30-40 minutes. Dressing Instructions: boil chicken, saving broth and deboning meat when it is cooled. Set aside meat and broth to mix in later. Sauté diced onion in a small amount of butter until it starts turning translucent, set aside. Crumble cornbread into a large bowl and add in deboned chicken, sautéed onion and canned soups. Add in broth by the capfuls until desired consistency (very wet) is reached (it takes several, usually at least 5 ). Mix well, making sure all is combined. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately one hour or until golden brown, making sure not to overcook or dry out.

Best Potato Salad 6 eggs 10 red potatoes 1 cup mayonnaise ½ cup ranch dressing 1/3 cup dill pickle relish 2 tablespoons yellow mustard 1½ teaspoons salt ¼ teaspoon black pepper 1/8 teaspoon paprika 1/8 teaspoon celery seed 1 onion, chopped 1/4 cup pepperoncini, optional Place the eggs into a saucepan in a single layer and fill with water to cover the eggs by 1 inch. Cover the saucepan and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and let the eggs stand in the hot water for 15 minutes. Pour out the hot water; cool the eggs under cold running water in the sink. Peel and chop the cooled eggs. Place the potatoes into a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and refrigerate until cold. Peel and cube once cold. Stir together the mayonnaise, ranch dressing, relish, mustard, salt, pepper, paprika and celery seed in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs, potatoes, pepperoncini and onion; stir until evenly mixed. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Joe Piper Marshall-DeKalb EC

1 1/3 teaspoons turmeric powder 1 1/3 teaspoon celery seed 1 1/3 teaspoons mustard seed 4 cups sugar 4 cups vinegar ½ cup salt Fresh cucumbers, sliced Onion, sliced Green bell peppers, sliced Red bell peppers, sliced Orange bell peppers, sliced (optional) Yellow bell peppers, sliced (optional) Mix first six ingredients and heat. In a wide-mouth gallon jug, pour this mixture over layers of sliced cucumbers, sliced onions and sliced bell peppers. Make sure your lid is sealed well and turn the jug from side to side to slightly blend the ingredients. Refrigerate for approximately 24 hours for best results. You can cut back on the array of bell peppers; the extra color and flavor just add to the pickles. Store pickles in refrigerator for a quick snack with a sandwich or as a side with pinto beans or cornbread. My guess is 32 servings. Georgia Hampton North Alabama EC

50

$

Cook of the Month Prize!

Themes and Deadlines: January: Winter Greens | October 2 February: Chocolate | November 6 March: Jams, jellies, marmalades | December 4

3 ways to submit: Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: recipes@alabamaliving.coop Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 Please send us your original recipes (developed or adapted by you or family members.) Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” once per calendar year.

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www.alabamaliving.coop

9/17/20 11:49 AM


Chocolate Sour Cream Turtle Cake 1 4 1/2 3/4 3/4 1 1/2 1 3/4 ½

box Pillsbury butter cake mix eggs cup sugar cup water cup canola oil small box vanilla instant pudding mix bag chocolate chips 8-ounce container sour cream cup pecan pieces, chopped jar of caramel sauce

Mix cake mix, eggs, sugar, water, oil and pudding mix together. Then add 1/2 bag chocolate chips and sour cream. Spray a Bundt cake pan with nonstick spray, spread chopped pecans evenly on bottom of pan, then pour 1/2 jar of caramel on top evenly on pecans. Pour cake batter on top of this and cook until light golden brown or toothpick comes out clean when stuck in cake. Cake will not jiggle when done. Cook at 310 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on oven.

Chicken Casserole

Tomato Gravy

3 cups cooked and frozen chicken strips, thawed 11/2 cups baby carrots, cut into small slices 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes 1 small Vidalia onion, chopped 1 can cream of mushroom soup 1 cup milk 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided 1/2 teaspoon each salt ½ teaspoon black pepper

1/4 3 1 3

Mix chicken strips, baby carrots, potatoes, onions, cream of mushroom soup, milk and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese; add salt and pepper. Pour into a 9×12-inch baking dish. Sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella cheese on top. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

cup chopped onion tablespoons bacon drippings tablespoon flour or 4 fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped 1 cup water Salt and pepper, to taste Sauté onion in bacon drippings. Add flour and brown. Add tomatoes (with their juice) and stir until gravy thickens. Add water, a little at a time, and cook until gravy is thickened to your likeness. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mary (Cathie) Donaldson Covington EC

Naomi Tidmore Joe Wheeler EMC

Trina Mitchell Franklin EC

Mail order form and payment to: Best of Alabama Living Cookbook P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124-4014 COOKBOOKS @ $19.95 EACH:

Cookbook

TOTAL ENCLOSED: $

(Shipping included)

Name: Address: City:

State:

Zip:

Phone Number:

Alabama Living

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34  OCTOBER 2020

LOCAL ADS OCT20.indd 2

www.alabamaliving.coop

9/16/20 5:11 PM


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Alabama Living

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| Our Sources Say |

Use EnergyRight during challenging times F

all is a beautiful time in the Valley, when leaves turn vibrant colors and we have a hint of coolness in the air. With temperatures soon dropping, it’s a great time to think about how to keep electric bills low, as we turn up thermostats to stay comfortable and warm in our homes and businesses. Many people are experiencing financial and other hardships as a result of the pandemic, and we understand that money saved on utility bills is especially important during challenging times. At TVA, we want to do all we can to help those in need, and our EnergyRight® programs are among the ways we can lighten the increased financial burden COVID-19 has brought to people across the Valley. To help you learn about nocost and low-cost do-it-yourself energy saving strategies, TVA’s EnergyRight team is offering free virtual Home Energy Workshops. You will hear from energy education specialists who can help you determine what is driving your home’s energy costs and guide you through the steps you can take, such as installing insulation, weather stripping, duct sealing and energy-efficient lightbulbs to save on your utility bills. You will have a chance to ask questions and complete a brief survey to receive a free Home Energy Starter Kit to help get you started. To view a list of available dates and times, visit www.energyright.com/residential. It’s easy to register! And we haven’t forgotten about your little ones. We recognize that parents of young children are coping with a unique set of challenges, as educators plan for the remainder of the school year. In some cases, schools and parents are experimenting with hy-

Kevin Chandler is general manager, Alabama District Customer Service, for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

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brid learning plans, including virtual and in-person classes. To help support your children’s education and provide them with some entertainment, TVA’s EnergyRight team has developed an opportunity for children. An expert facilitator, along with a colorful cast of Energy Monsters, leads children on a live and interactive adventure to teach them where energy comes from, the ways we use energy in our lives every day, and how they can help their families save energy and money around the house. For a list of convenient dates and times and to register, check out www.energyright.com/residential. In addition to these free workshops, complete our online DIY Home Energy Assessment to find out where you could be losing energy and money in your home. Move room to room, and answer simple questions about your home’s energy use. Receive a free customized report with energy efficiency recommendations, plus a free energy-saving kit delivered to your door. As part of this program, EnergyRight and your local electric cooperative make it easy to find a trustworthy contractor to complete your home energy upgrades. Hire with confidence when you find a TVA-approved contractor through our Quality Contractor Network (QCN). And as businesses look for ways to create safer, more welcoming environments for their customers and employees, many are looking at Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses and bacteria. UVGI uses UV-C light which is a short wavelength ultraviolet light that has germicidal effects, and can be used in a variety of ways for disinfection. TVA recognizes the social health benefits of UVGI technology and our EnergyRight team is offering standard incentives for duct-mounted UVGI systems. To learn more about this technology and other resources for businesses, go to www.energyright.com/business-industry. www.alabamaliving.coop

9/15/20 3:26 PM


| Classifieds | How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office): December 2020 Issue by October 25 January 2021 Issue by November 25 February 2021 Issue by December 25 Ads are $1.75 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis; Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each. Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to hdutton@areapower.com; or call (800)410-2737 ask for Heather for pricing.; We accept checks, money orders and all major credit cards. Mail ad submission along with a check or money order made payable to ALABAMA LIVING, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124 – Attn: Classifieds.

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Answers to puzzle on Page 24

Alabama Living

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| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

Down the primrose path They passed an ordinance in the town, They said we’d have to tear it down, That little old shack out back so dear to me. Though the Health Department said, Its day was over and dead, It will stand forever in my memory. That Little Old Shack Out Back “Ode to Little Brown Shack Out Back” by Billy Edd Wheeler When I was a boy my grandmother lived in an Elmore County farmhouse without indoor plumbing. But she had a state-of-the-art outhouse, with a concrete floor and a real porcelain potty built in over the hole in the ground. The trail out to it was christened “the primrose path.” It was in that quiet spot, Daily cares could be forgot, For it gave the same relief for rich and poor. But it did not last long. A few years later she got indoor plumbing. The privy became a storage shed. But the memory lingered. Now it was not a castle fair But I could plan my future there, And build my castles to the yellow jacket’s drone. I could orbit round the sun Fight with General Washington, Or be a king upon his golden throne. Outhouses have played a varied and significant role in the history of the South, but never was there one as important as the privy visited by Georgia Gov. Gene Talmadge. Talmadge had built a career on rural support (“I get my votes where the streetcar don’t run”) and though his demagoguery was losing its appeal in some quarters, the smart money said he would continue to win. Then along came a spider. The story goes that Gene and his driver were heading down to a South Georgia political rally when nature called. So, he told the man to pull over at the first farmHarvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at hhjackson43@gmail.com

38  OCTOBER 2020

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house so he could use the outback facility. The driver protested, said they’d be in town soon and he could find one there. But Gene was always about being one with the people and figuring you could not be closer to that constituency than when you use the same outhouse, he insisted they stop. So they did. And Gene went down the path. And returned rubbing his rear. “A black widow spider bit me,” he reported. He made it to the rally but was in too

much pain to give the crowd what it came to hear. It was downhill from there. Soon his campaign began to fall apart. He lost. Historians blamed Talmadge’s defeat on a host of issues but Ol’ Gene knew the real reason. Years later he told the victor, “You never would have beat me if that spider hadn’t bit me.” Looking back into Alabama’s political history, I have to say that a few outhouses like that one and a few well-placed spider bites might have made this a better state. Georgia is just lucky, I guess. www.alabamaliving.coop

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Profile for Alabama Living

October 2020 Arab  

October 2020 Arab