Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News December 2020
ELECTRIC MEMBERSHIP CORP.
Fruitcake’s enduring legacy www.cwemc.com
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Manager Steve Sheffield Co-op Editor Sarah Hansen 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.
Worth the drive
16 F E A T U R E S
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
ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL OFFICES:
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They come by land and water to dine at Off the Hook Marina and Grill in Chickasaw, as much for the delicious food as for the spectacular sunsets.
For some of us, the Christmas holidays mean taking a vacation, and of course, taking pictures.
Decking the halls Burr Industries of Andalusia is quickly becoming one of the nation’s leading wholesale holiday display companies.
beauty of orchids 18 The Holiday plants are more than just
Christmas cactus and poinsettias. To make the season sublime consider getting an orchid.
11 Spotlight 28 Outdoors 29 Fish & Game Forecast 30 Cook of the Month 38 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop
Few holiday foods either threaten or accentuate “peace on Earth, good will toward men” more than fruitcake, the cake of Christmas. Read more about this holiday confection on Page 12.
18 WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
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December 2020 3
D E P A R T M E N T S
ON THE COVER Look for this logo to see more content online!
VOL. 73 NO. 12 December 2020
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What a year: 2020 Office Locations Jackson Office 9000 Highway 43 P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 (251) 246-9081 Chatom Office 19120 Jordan Street P.O. Box 453 Chatom, AL 36518 (251) 847-2302 Toll Free Number (800) 323-9081 Office Hours 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Friday (Drive-thru Hours)
Payment Options Mail P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 P.O. Box 453 Chatom, AL 36518 Office During normal office hours at our Chatom and Jackson offices. Phone (855) 870-0403 Online www.cwemc.com Night Deposit 24/7 at Jackson & Chatom CWEMC App Available from the App Store and Google Play Bank Draft CheckOut Pay where you shop at any Dollar General, Family Dollar and CVS Pharmacy. 4 DECEMBER 2020
The year 2020 will be etched in history not only for the COVID-19 Pandemic, spring storms and election cycle but for its recordbreaking Atlantic Hurricane Season. I told a lot of people over the past couple of weeks that when Hurricane Laura was making landfall in Louisiana, I kind of leaned right (east) and thought we missed that one. And, when Hurricane Sally was making landfall in Baldwin County, I kind of leaned left (west) and thought we missed that one. One thing is for sure. We didn’t miss Hurricane Zeta. It placed a bead on CWEMC’s system several days before landfall and never changed course. The one thing that did change was the intensity. Several days out, Hurricane Zeta was still forecast to be a Tropical Storm at landfall. As landfall drew closer, it increased to a Category 1 hurricane and eventually reached Category 2 status by the time it made landfall over the marsh area of Louisiana. Louisiana seems far away but in terms of hurricanes and the east side (bad side) it wasn’t far from our system when it made land fall and it maintained its’ intensity as the eye crossed our four-county service area. I’ve worked a lot of storms over the years including Erin, Opal, Ivan, Arlene, Cindy, Dennis, Katrina and Nate just to name a few and I’ve always believed each storm has its’ own unique personality. Hurricane Zeta showed its’ unique personality as a fastmoving intense hurricane that impacted seven states in the southeastern US in barley a 24-hour time period leaving behind a path of destruction far inland that included hundreds of broken poles, thousands of downed trees and truck loads of damaged equipment. All 20,000 meters served by CWEMC were out of power following Hurricane Zeta’s passage. In fact, only five of the fourteen substations across the four-county service area even had service. But Zeta simply gave
co-op’s an opportunity to do what co-op’s do. And that is to come to each other’s rescue during times of need. I simply placed a call to the Alabama Rural Electric Association and asked for help and within minutes we had commitments from electric co-ops from several states. Our daily work force of 44 grew to approximately 400 over the next few days as crews worked long hours to safely rebuild and restore service to CWEMC’s 20,000 meters. I will be forever grateful to those who came to help us recover from Hurricane Zeta. Not only did we have great support from other co-ops across the country, we received an amazing outpouring of support from the communities we serve. I was reminded over and over again during this crisis what a great group of people we serve. Our members were out clearing roads and providing traffic control even while it was still raining. And over the coming days, they provided housing, food and laundry services to support the hundreds of workers on the CWEMC system. Visiting crews commented time and again that they had worked many storms across the country but they had never seen the kind of hospitality they received from the CWEMC members. Please allow me to express my sincere appreciation to all those who supported us during the restoration efforts following Hurricane Zeta. We will recover from the damage of Hurricane Zeta and its memory will fade in time. But I assure you, the memories of the many acts of kindness from our membership will last a life time. Thank you.
Steve Sheffield General Manager
Merry Christmas AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Clarke-Washington EMC offices will be closed Thursday, Dec. 24 and Friday, Dec. 25 for Christmas and Friday, Jan. 1 for New Years. We hope you have a safe and wonderful holiday! www.alabamaliving.coop
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| Clarke-Washington EMC |
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Clarke-Washington EMC conducted its annual meeting on Tuesday, October 13 at its headquarters office as a drive-through meeting and registered 2,935 members. Participating members received a $20 bill credit and were eligible for prizes. The first ticket drawn awarded the grand prize, a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, to Lorean Washington of Gainestown. Other winners of bill credits and gift cards were: True Light Baptist Church, John and Edith Adams, Cynthia Jones, Rita Wilson, Mathew Lasalle Williams, Union Baptist Church, Ethel Washington, Carrie Lee Hurd, Tecolian Fox, Michael and Darlene Jones, Fred and Annette Blount, Johnnie Newsome, Charlie Henderson, and Rosie Bell Davis. Rodney Harrison received 1,481 votes and Robert N. “Bobby” Farish received 1,222 votes in the election Alabama Living
for District 3. District 6 Board member Jessica Ross of Chatom and District 9 Board member Susan Davis of Franklin were elected by acclamation.
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| Clarke-Washington EMC |
roads, and wires tangled in fallen trees. The damage was widespread. Several CWEMC linemen compared Zeta to Ivan, and stated the amount of tree damage is far worse than Ivan. Clarke-Washington EMC completed the restoration process on November 10 to the cooperative’s meters that were not damaged and are able to receive power following the devastating effects of Hurricane Zeta.
ctober 28 is a night most of us will never forget. Hurricane Zeta made landfall in the Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 1 on October 26. Land interaction weakened Zeta to a tropical storm. As it moved into the Gulf of Mexico, Zeta began to strengthen into a Category 2 with 110 mph winds on its way to landfall in Cocodrie, Louisiana and our area in its path. Hurricane Zeta left a path of destruction as well as 100% of the Clarke-Washington EMC service area without power. CWEMC serves approximately 20,000 meters in Clarke, Washington, Wilcox and Monroe counties. As soon as it was safe to do so, crews began working immediately assessing the damage caused by this storm. Hundreds of poles lay broken on the ground, trees on
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Working alone, CWEMC would have spent months repairing all the damage. That’s where “cooperation among cooperatives” comes into play. Clarke-Washington EMC activated its response plan which included coordinating additional utility line crews to assist with power restoration through CWEMC’s statewide cooperative association. Nearly 385 lineworkers rushed to our aid from all over the country, in particular, co-ops and contractors from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee. We cannot begin to express our appreciation to these companies for sending these crews, and their families who generously did without their presence for days. General Manager of CWEMC, Steve Sheffield, stated “On behalf of all the linemen involved in the restoration process, I’d also like to express our gratitude for all the www.alabamaliving.coop
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community support we received. Many of the guys told me they had worked many storms over the years, but they had never seen the outpouring of support they received from the communities we serve.â&#x20AC;? Thank you to the communities for working alongside helping to put the pieces back together. Thank you to those who have provided gestures of thanks, housing, meals, and washing laundry. Thank you to the members for your patience and understanding in the aftermath of Hurricane Zeta. We are blessed with an outstanding team and a great membership. To all of you, we say a heartfelt thank you!
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THANK YOU! CLARKE-WASHINGTON EMC MEMBERSHIP, COMMUNITIES, ORGANIZATIONS AND FAMILIES ALABAMA
Alabama Rural Electric Association Baldwin EMC Better Safety & Training Central Alabama Electric Cooperative Cherokee Electric Cooperative Covington Electric Cooperative DBW Consulting Dixie Electric Cooperative Harper Electric Pea River Electric Cooperative PowerSouth Energy Cooperative Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative Southern Pine Electric Cooperative Tallapoosa River Electric Cooperative Wiregrass Electric Cooperative
Escambia River Electric Cooperative Glades Electric Cooperative Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative Talquin Electric Cooperative West Florida Electric Cooperative
Boone Electric Cooperative Callaway Electric Cooperative Citizens Electric Corporation Co-Mo Connect Consolidated Electric Cooperative Crawford Electric Cooperative Laclede Electric Cooperative Lewis County REC Macon Electric Cooperative Osage Valley Electric Cooperative Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative SEMO Electric Cooperative Three Rivers Electric Cooperative United Electric Cooperative, Inc. Webster Electric Cooperative West Central Electric Cooperative
NORTH CAROLINA Lee Construction
Pickwick Electric Cooperative Upper Cumberland EMC
Flint Energies Grady EMC Middle Georgia EMC Okefenoke REMC Snapping Shoals EMC Three Notch EMC
Kenergy Nolin RECC South Kentucky RECC Warren RECC West Kentucky RECC
8â&#x20AC;&#x192; DECEMBER 2020
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| Alabama Snapshots |
The Village in Gatlinburg last Christmas. Beau (3), Trent (5), Seth (7). SUBMITTED BY Brittany Keith, Ider.
Debra, Barcia, Peggy and Panda. Sisters on vacation in Orange Beach, AL. SUBMITTED by Panda Carder, Harvest. David and Angie Jones, vacation in Pigeon Forge , 2019. SUBMITTED BY David Jones, Wetumpka.
Santa Grover out on Lake Jordan. SUBMITTED by Nan Butler, Titus.
Mike and Jennifer Johnson, John and Lindsey Woodall, Michael Johnson and Catie Sanders. Christmas at the Ark. SUBMITTED by Jennifer Johnson, Wetumpka.
Submit “My kid’s art” photos by December 31. Winning photos will run in the February issue. SUBMIT and WIN $10! Online: alabamaliving.coop
Mail: Snapshots P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
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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 | December 2020 a challenging tropical storm season for Alabama co-ops Late October’s Hurricane Zeta continued an extraordinarily active tropical storm season for many electric utilities in the Southeast. Several times over the late summer and fall, the rural electric cooperatives in the southern part of Alabama were either repairing damage to their systems or sending help and supplies to sister cooperatives. Hurricane Laura made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana, as a category 4 storm Aug. 27. More than 1 million people lost power after the storm. Hurricane Sally, a category 2 storm, made landfall around Gulf Shores on Sept. 16. Damage to the Gulf Coast region is estimated at $5 billion. Hurricane Delta and its remnants produced heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama after it made landfall Oct 9. These three storms required a six- to seven-week restoration process, with crews working an estimated 70,000 hours in some devastated areas. But that wasn’t the end of the season. Hurricane Zeta made
Letters to the editor
E-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
I enjoy your magazine so much. I was wondering if anyone else noticed the levitating biscuits on the cover of the September 2020 issue? At first glance, it looks like Brenda Gantt is holding the pan of biscuits, then you see both hands. Martha Poole Grant Editor replies: Yes, Martha, we agree it looks like the pan is suspended in the air! But Allison Law, who interviewed Brenda, says she was definitely holding the pan very carefully in her right hand covered with a potholder, because it was right out of the oven and hot!
I would like to thank you for the well-deserved article dealing with the WW II veterans (November 2020). It is indeed a privilege to share memories with those men and women who have served our great country...when many of them were little more than children themselves. There is a small, antique village up near Muscle Shoals that is run by Louise and L.C. Lenz. In it is a small, old and original church which has a wall of honor that houses pictures of any American veterans that one wishes to post there. It is a permanent memorial to the world dealing with our past service people. The pictures of these WW II veterans belong there. Faye Harris and Norma Winters Hamilton
Happy Holidays! 10 DECEMBER 2020
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landfall Oct. 28 in Cocodrie, Louisiana, but brought substantial rain and wind damage to southwest and central Alabama. It was the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the continental U.S. that late in the season in over 100 years. Zeta knocked out power to roughly 130,000 cooperative members in Alabama, with some co-ops comparing its damage to that of Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The safety staff of the Alabama Rural Electric Association (AREA) started the process of mutual aid – coordinating assistance from both in-state and out-of-state cooperatives – even before Zeta made landfall. Six states and more than 50 cooperatives sent more than 450 men to Alabama to help restore power after the storm moved on, and all of Alabama’s cooperatives sent help as they were able. Finally, on Nov. 11, the last crews were released to go home as the restoration process for Zeta was completed. Alabama’s co-ops are grateful for the help of linemen and other support personnel who worked long and hard hours throughout the season, and did so safely.
Find the hidden dingbat! Our readers had no trouble finding the Dingbat in November’s magazine, as the cornucopia (horn of plenty) was clearly visible on Page 28. As with every month, many of you sent us poems you were inspired to write, including Susan Needham of Hanceville, a member of Cullman EC: From turkey and dressing To pumpkin spice latte, The holidays are upon us To celebrate our way Whether you’re all by yourself Or in a group that’s great, Check out the cornucopia In the picture on Page 28. Robert Barrentine’s granddaughter, Katie, from Wiregrass EC, often helps her grandfather find the dingbat. She wrote to us, “Your Alabama Living magazine is super fun and interesting and I love it! Thanks to everybody who takes part in the magazine and WEC!” And Wanda Day of Brewton from Southern Pine EC, sent us a long poem, “Thanksgiving Memories,” which we don’t have room to print, but she did add, “I love the search for the dingbat, and in searching, there are a lot of good stories and recipes to read.” That’s the idea, Wanda! Congratulations to our winner, Brenda Gaines of Addison, a member of Cullman EC. This month, we’ve hidden a candy cane, and remember it won't be in an ad or on pages 1-8. The deadline is Dec. 4. Good luck and Merry Christmas! By mail: Find the Dingbat Alabama Living PO Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
By email: email@example.com
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December | Spotlight
Whereville, AL 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 Dec. 7 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the January issue. Submit by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, 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. November’s answer: This unique fiberglass sculpture, located at the Grand Bay Welcome Center, is one of a series created for the OysterTrail, an educational and public art treasure hunt created by the Mobile Bay Oyster Gardening Program throughout coastal Alabama. The project was designed to raise awareness of the importance of oysters in restoring Mobile Bay. This oyster, “Sweet Home Alabama” by artist Lucy Gafford, features Alabama personalities and attractions on both sides. It was sponsored by Alabama’s hospitality industry. (Photo by Lenore Vickrey of Alabama Living) The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Paul Tate of Pioneer EC.
Pike County celebrates the season with Christmas in Ansley Enjoy a holiday experience at this year’s Christmas in Ansley event, with family-friendly activities and vendors at the holiday market. The event is held at 7441 County Road 1101 in the Ansley community in Goshen, Alabama. A Christmas light display features a drive-through and walking portion, and will be open from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. each night through Dec. 31. There’s no charge for viewing the display, but donations are welcome. A special holiday market will kick off the season from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 5 with several vendors, including woodworking, personalized items, treats, jewelry and more. Santa Claus is set to visit at 4 p.m. that afternoon. The entry fee is $2 or one non-perishable food item. For the latest updates, search “Christmas in Ansley” on Facebook, or call 334-372-1029. Alabama Living
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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: email@example.com. 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.
Douglas McDaniel of Fairhope took his copy of the magazine on a trip to Fort Collins, Colorado, to help his daughter move into housing at Colorado State University. “I had Alabama Living to pass the time,” he writes. He is a member of Baldwin EMC.
Sarah Sealey took her copy all the way to Nu’uanu Pali lookout in Oahu, Hawaii. She lives in Gilbertown and is a member of Black Warrior EMC.
Janie Whelton of Foley visited San Jose, California, before the pandemic and had just received her magazine from Baldwin EMC. “I read it on the plane, and my daughter-inlaw and I tried a recipe from the magazine while I was there. It’s a great publication.” She visited a museum in downtown San Jose featuring art glass sculpture.
Kenneth Shaw of Rockford showed off his copy of Alabama Living while on a ferry boat crossing from Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island in Gulf Shores, Alabama. He is a member of Central Alabama EC.
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Everyone’s favorite holiday punchline By Emmett Burnett
here is no middle ground with fruitcake. You either love it or hate it. Indeed, few holiday foods either threaten or accentuate “peace on Earth, good will toward men” more than the cake of Christmas. Alabama is no exception. For fruitcake connoisseurs, it is confectionary nostalgia, a reminder of relatives and friends together at Christmas. But detractors see an ominous comparison. To them, fruitcake is like their relatives, a family of nuts embalmed in booze. Scorned or cherished, whatever your feelings towards fruitcake – when done right it is a delicacy and done wrong it is a roofing shingle – all agree, it is a survivor. Examples of “done right” include Whaley Pecan Company’s line, Alabama Fruitcake (alabamafruitcake.com), launched in 2019. In 2020, the cloud of COVID-19 slowed but never stopped it. “We hunkered down, weathered the storm and are looking forward to the holidays,” says Melissa Boatner, fourth generation in the Troy, Alabama business her great-grandfather founded. There is always a demand for fruitcake and has been for centuries. The yuletide treasure’s origin references ancient Rome with
its pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins, mixed into barley mash. Honey, spices, and dried fruit were added during the Middle Ages. Today fruitcake is popular in more than 20 countries. Australians, New Zealanders, and Bulgarians eat it year-round. Most countries partake of fruitcake during the Christmas Season – except Ireland where it is consumed during Halloween. And only the United States ridicules it. “We think it started with Johnny Carson,” says Cullman resident Elliott Morgan, whose family business once made and shipped fruitcakes by the thousands from Selma, Alabama, to the world. “Carson joked on ‘The Tonight Show’ that every slice comes from an original giant cake and is passed around year after year.” The joke continued with “The Tonight Show” host Jay Leno. It took an Alabamian to set the record straight, proving “The Tonight Show” was nutty as a … OK, that’s too easy. Monroeville’s Marie Rudisill wrote the book, Fruitcake. “She was invited on ‘The Tonight Show’ to promote it,” recalls Gail Deas, director of development of the Monroe County Museum
Marsha Meeks shows off fruitcakes fresh from Whaley Pecan Company’s kitchen. PHOTOS BY EMMETT BURNETT
Learn more online: Priester’s Pecans:
Whaley Pecan Company:
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in Monroeville. Leno dubbed Rudisill (also Truman Capote’s aunt) the “Fruitcake Lady.” The name stuck. On Dec. 14, 2000, before a national audience, the Monroeville native instructed Leno and Mel Gibson on the art of making fruitcake. And indeed, it is an art. “A good one is an expression of love and abundance,” says Isabelle Kyrk, creator of mondofruitcake. com. “It takes a lot of money to make a good one,” the Chicago blogger adds. “Fruit, nuts, and alcohol are expensive. A baker must be committed to the expense and time before taking it on.” Cliff Burkett, manager of Priester’s Pecans (priesters.com) in Ft. Deposit, adds, “To me, the most difficult part of making fruitcakes is the chopping. The ingredients are too gooey for a food processor and must be hand chopped.” It is a sizeable task indeed for the store that will sell about 1,000 fruitcakes during the holidays. Priester’s has a six-person fruitcake team from October to early January. “Baking temperatures are critical,” adds Morgan. “Everything has to be just right. If the oven heat is too high – even by a few degrees – pecans and fruit will burn and the batter’s moisture evaporates. If the temperature is too cool the eggs won’t cook.” Recipes vary depending on the cake type, but Morgan suggests aging the cake a minimum of two to three days – 10 to 15 are better. Then open the cake and marinate with preferred alcohol as pecans and fruit dance with glee. Close it and let the cake sit an additional two to three weeks during the miracle of fermentation. “Refrigerated, a fruitcake can last 6 months to a year or more,” Morgan adds. “It will still taste like just made.” As for jokes and ridicule about fruitcake – that’s just nutty. “I don’t get it,” says Burkett. “The ones I’ve had were well made and delicious. I don’t understand the joke.” Kyrk agrees and explains two misconceptions: “One, some people think fruitcake is dry, hard, and brick-like. Not true. It is moist, delicious, and full of fruit, nuts, and good things.” She continues, “Two – nobody likes fruitcake. Again, not true. Lots of people love it.” Kyrk, a Chicago area resident, laments that good fruitcake is not readily available outside the South. That is not the case in Alabama. “It’s a southern tradition,” notes Deas of Monroeville, home of the annual November Fruitcake Festival. “Years ago, everybody made fruitcake for the holidays. For many even today those recipes are handed down through generations.” And the legacy continues in Alabama, with bountiful bakeries like Troy’s Whaley Pecan Company. Retired now, Elliott Morgan sold his family’s recipe to the state’s pecan legend. There is joy in the Wiregrass. Whaley’s has been in the pecan business since 1937. The Morgans have made fruitcake since the 1950s. Behold the perfect marriage. “We were delighted when Elliott offered his family recipe,” said Whaley’s Melissa Boatner. “We are dedicated to keeping that same quality.” Quality abounds – just follow your nose. Before startup, Whaley’s baked fruitcake test batches. “The smell was wonderful,” recalls Boatner, about the euphoric aroma seeping in Pike County. Troy’s fruitcake bliss is available at its company store and website. Also available forever in Alabama are Christmases with fruitcake, so don’t go nuts. Alabama Living
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If you want to make your own holiday fruitcake, Alabama Living partner Brooke Burks from The Buttered Home blog shares this easy favorite from her files.
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature 1 cup sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 4 large eggs 1 and 1/4 cups self-rising flour Zest of one lemon 4 ounces dried cherries, halved 7 ounces mixed dried fruits – dates, raisins or whatever dried fruits you prefer 1 teaspoon sugar Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter and line the base of a loaf pan with baking parchment paper. In a large bowl, add the one cup sugar, butter, salt and vanilla extract. Whisk or beat the ingredients together until pale and creamy. Add the eggs to the bowl and mix together until combined. Add flour into creamed mixture. Add the dried fruit to the bowl, and then add the lemon zest. Using a large spoon, fold the fruit into the batter, taking care not to over-mix. Sprinkle top with one teaspoon sugar. Bake for 1 hour 25 minutes. Cool in pan for 20 minutes and turn out. DECEMBER 2020 13
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A 34-foot lighted tree dominates the amphitheater at the Wind Creek Casino in Atmore. PHOTOS COURTESY BURR INDUSTRIES
Andalusia company decks halls across Alabama By Stephanie Snodgrass
he holidays are all about making memories. For one Andalusia family, it’s a mission they’ve taken to heart. Whether working with their company, Burr Industries, or watching families build memories while visiting one of their countless holiday creations – for Justin and Sarah Sightler, it’s all about creating family tradition. And while the Burr Industries name might not sound familiar, odds are you’ve seen their work. Burr Industries is quickly becoming one of the nation’s leading wholesale holiday display companies. Their work is featured in the annual Christmas scenes in cities and towns across the state, including Andalusia, Brewton, Atmore, Opelika, Elba, Luverne, Auburn, Foley, Birmingham and more. Over the years, pieces have gone as far as Canada, South America, Hawaii and Dubai. “When you begin a business, you dream about what you can accomplish,” Justin says. “But when you see families loving what was created by your team, that’s what fuels us to continue improving each day.”
In the mid-1970s, Alabama’s economy was changing from agricultural to industrial. Many farmers converted cotton land to planted pines or pastureland. Others shifted to soybeans and other cash crops. Roger Sightler, the founder of Burr Industries and longtime cattle farmer, recognized the need to keep his crew employed between harvests. He took a hobby started in his
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barn to the next level in 1975. “Dad’s first piece he ever made still hangs in my office,” Justin says. “He saw a need for quality décor and started with pine burr wreaths. Then, he moved on to vine deer, Santa sleighs and nativity scenes using natural elements from the farm. He started going to ‘market’ in Atlanta and Dallas and made some great connections to build a network of distributors.” In the mid-1980s, the company created its iconic building-sized red Christmas bow, which is now the company’s staple product. From there, the inventory, staff and client base grew. In 2012, after operating his own local business, Justin, a 2006 Auburn graduate, and his wife, Sarah, became the owners at Burr and began to focus on growing the business.
Lighting the way
The Burr Industry catalogue now features signature Burr bows, fiberglass ornaments, Christmas trees, greenery and elaborate lighted holiday designs. “It really is a niche that we fill,” Justin says. “We are always looking for new ideas and educating ourselves on how to take a concept into reality. We are surrounded by talented people, and they are the key to our success.” In its beginning, work was done with a handful of employees. Today, the roster has grown to more than 20 full-time workers. As seasonal
Sightler family: Justin and Sarah Sightler and their three children, Emma, Callie and Anderson. www.alabamaliving.coop
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work comes in, that list grows by another appreciated – especially considering their 12 to 15, who all work five days a week to families get to enjoy the fruits of their labor meet the company’s growing demand. during Andalusia’s CandyLand experience “We work very hard to create an envithroughout the month of December. For those unfamiliar with the monthronment where people don’t have a job long Christmas celebration in Andalusia, with Burr Industries, but a career,” Justin the concept began in 2013 by its Chamsays. “When our people are successful, ber of Commerce and features “snow,” ice we’re successful.” skating and tubing, a cottage village on The Sightlers believe in keeping it in the the Court Square and, of course, holiday family when it comes to hiring. On staff is light decorations created by Burr IndusJustin’s brother-in-law, Zach Jones, who is tries. The free event earned the city recresponsible for leading the company’s dayognition in Southern Living and Country to-day operations and product developLiving magazines and continues to draw ment. Sarah joined the staff in January as a tens of thousands of people to the small project manager, and her dad, David, runs A Burr Industries holiday display at The Wharf in Alabama city. It is open every weekend in the shipping warehouse. Justin also has Orange Beach. December. plans to employ his three kids on the bow “I can’t describe the feeling knowing our people helped to crefloor as soon as they are “table height,” he says. ate – and continue to help create – so many memories,” Justin Getting ready says. “It’s not only for themselves by creating those pieces (at Although 2020 presented numerous challenges for most small CandyLand) with our own hands but also knowing that we had businesses, the company was able to pivot and overcome setbacks. a part in bringing so much happiness to all those children. It’s The campus grew with new buildings, managers, and machinery, something we are very proud of.” paving the way for new products and opportunities for growth. The same can be said for those visiting Brewton’s Nutcracker “And, thankfully, a global pandemic can’t cancel Christmas,” Holiday event, Wind Creek Casino in Atmore and OWA in Foley, Justin says. also during December. Their products are also featured across the In October, production began for the holiday season. Giant orcountry in various lightshows, botanical gardens, zoos and other naments dot the grounds, while production crews were sweating holiday events. in the lingering summer heat. Orders come in every day from “Every year, our people work so hard to take those visions that clients looking forward to carrying on Christmas traditions for our clients have and transform them into something that people their families, visitors, and residents. can enjoy,” Justin says. “We are grateful for the opportunity we For those on staff locally, they know that their hard work is get every year, and we look forward to what the future holds.” These red fiberglass Christmas ornaments are constructed using a giant mold in the Burr Industries Andalusia facility.
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| Worth the drive |
Creekside cuisine is served with a scenic sunset at Off the Hook Story and photos by Emmett Burnett
hickasabogue is different. Creek? River? Bayou? It has been called all three. Regardless the name, the massive tributary winding around Chickasaw, Alabama has a common denominator – Off the Hook Marina and Grill, as unique as the creek bank it sits on. The former boat parts storage building on 621 North Craft Highway offers seafood, steaks, sandwiches and more — the food has a following. Loyal customers are friends. New customers are friends who haven’t met yet. They come by land and water. “Nobody comes in here a stranger,” laughs Chickasaw regular Raymond Norman. “We won’t let them.” Creek vessels, small and large, dock in back. Crews disembark to pick up orders or remain onshore, mingling with the land people who drive here. Rivaling its signature dishes in popularity is the outdoor dining room, the Sandbox, overlooking Chickasabogue Creek. And when they say “sandbox,” they mean a really big one with picnic tables under bright red and blue umbrellas, shading from summer sun by day and just cool to sit under by night. Off the Hook is at its best at sundown. “We have the most spectacular sunsets,” notes restaurant General Manager Buffy Eilers. And as if by cue, golden rays of sun transform to deep blues of dusk over shimmering waters. On the Sand-
box stage, singer-guitarist Elaine Petty croons, “Nothing’s gonna be by the book, here at Off the Hook.” The restaurant’s main building is temporarily closed due to COVID restrictions, so everyone dines in the adjacent Sandbox. Everyone loves it. One would expect this eatery – with cinderblock walls, cement floors, and a parking lot that on occasion becomes one with the creek – would serve food as off the hook as its name. One would be correct. Creekside cuisine is fine. Mobile Bay Magazine ranked Off the Hook as having one of South Alabama’s “7 Best Burgers You’ve Never Had.” Eilers says, “Actually it’s a fancy meatloaf sandwich topped with our homemade mac-n-cheese and dressed with chipotle mayo.” The bountiful burger literally has a fan club. About a dozen other sandwiches, burgers, po’boys, nachos and more are served, including the Holy Cow. It is so named for a 6-ounce ribeye topped with peppers, onions and parmesan cheese with homemade horseradish on a warm hoagie. A first-timer’s initial taste is often followed with a positive two-word review: “Holy cow!” Hence the name. Seafood offerings feature entrees noted as not only delicious but seriously fresh. How fresh? “Our Gulf Shrimp didn’t have a care in the world yesterday,” states the menu.
The outdoor dining area, the Sandbox, features live music, audience karaoke, bingo and beautiful sunsets.
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Two favorites at Off the Hook are the Holy Cow sandwich – a six-ounce ribeye topped with peppers, onions, cheese and homemade horseradish – and the shrimp dinner.
Another staple is “Creek Trash,” a mountain of tortilla chips covwater,” Eilers says. “We had not planned on a full-service restauered in chopped ribeye steak. You heard me – ribeye steak, as in rant.” The Sandbox eating option came later. Guests had an option not ground beef. It is layered with black beans, black olives, lettuce, of indoor or outdoor dining and one day they will again, when days tomatoes, white queso, and cheddar of COVID-19 pass. Phone-in pickups cheese under a net of sour cream with and deliveries are also available. salsa and jalapenos on the side. At 5 p.m., the dinner menu comes Everybody has food favorites. “Mine out as the sun sets. During the evening is the Buffalo Chicken Totchos,” cusan array of features – live music, automer Norman says, describing chickdience karaoke, bingo, and occasional en breast sautéed in homemade buffalo surprises – entertain guests. “Last Sunday a server took the stage and sang sauce on a bed of tater tots and melted cheese. John and Lorna Marchiolo ‘Proud Mary,’” Eilers recalls. “Not many from nearby Satsuma are undecided. places let you do that.” “The steak is delicious,” John notes and Off the Hook is only open Friday-Sunday. Special events are often smiles, “but everything is excellent.” planned, such as New Year’s Day’s “GaEverything is homemade. Meats are tor Plunge.” On Jan. 1 in the dead of a cut, salads prepped, and seafood simmered onsite. Omelets are available The picturesque back entrance of the Off the Hook Chickasaw winter, behind the restaurant, volunteers jump into the friganytime and are beloved during Sunday Marina and Grill, on Chickasabogue Creek. id waters of Chickasabogue as hardy brunch. souls. They exit the waters as blue Smurfs. The fun and food loving atmosphere has been a mainstay since The restaurant’s July 4 and New Year’s Eve parking lot fireworks opening in 2016. Co-owners Kate Anderson and Dr. Thomasina show is one of Mobile County’s best. Other events and activities are (Thomi) Anderson-Sharpe originally intended Off the Hook to be updated regularly and posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page. a get-it-and-go sandwich stop. Customers had other ideas. Eilers credits the fun atmosphere to Off the Hook’s guests and “We placed tables outside because patrons wanted to sit by the the staff ’s personal touch. “It’s just a happy place to eat good food,” she notes. Servers ask your name. There are no table numbers. “We Off the Hook Marina and Grill want your first name. I want to know you by name, not a number.” 621 N. Craft Highway (Highway 43) Tonight my new best friend, server Jay Prince, knows my name. Chickasaw, AL 36611 She returns with a Holy Cow sandwich, a side of boiled shrimp, 251-422-3412 and a cheerful “Here ya’ go, Emmett.” Holy cow indeed. Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday; Another night on the waters of Chickasabogue. The sun is setChickasaw closed Monday-Thursday ting and the food is great because life is good on the creek, when Search for their page on Facebook you’re off the hook. Alabama Living
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| Gardens |
Orchids for the holidays and beyond
oinsettias, Christmas cactuses, amaryllises, paperwhites and other traditional holiday plants make the season bright, but to make the season sublime, consider getting an orchid. Orchids belong to one of Earth’s oldest and largest flowering plant families, Orchidaceae, which includes an estimated 25,000-30,000 naturally occurring species and more than 100,000 developed hybrids. Though often thought of as tropical plants, orchids are actually found on every continent except Antarctica, including here in Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Alabama, which is home to more than 50 native species. Compounds found in various orchids have been used for eons in perfumes, medicines and as spices (vanilla, for example, is derived from a commercially grown vining tropical orchid). But they are also treasured for their exquisite blooms, which come in a phenomenal array of colors, sizes and shapes. Once considered exclusive, hard-to-find plants, a number of different orchid types (genera) are now readily available at floral departments and garden centers across the state and nation, and they have a lot to offer. Not only are their allergen-free blooms long-lasting (most last for weeks, some for months), with proper care the plants will live — and rebloom — for years to come. While orchids have a reputation for being difficult to manage, according to orchidist (yes, that really is a word) Joel Pittard of Auburn, they simply need what every
plant needs — proper levels of light, water, nutrients and temperatures. “If you get those right, it’s not a big deal,” he says, something’s he’s learned over some 15 years of orchid growing, an interest that began when Pittard attempted to bring a few spent orchids back into bloom. His efforts were only mildly success-
DECEMBER TIPS • Protect holiday plants from extreme temperatures and water as needed.
• Plant shrubs, roses, fruit and nut trees and spring bulbs.
• Mulch tender or newly installed plants. • Start seeds for cool-season vegetables. • Plant pansies and other cool-season annuals. • Keep bird feeders and birdbaths full. • Make an end-of-year donation to a gardenrelated nonprofit.
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Above, a screened porch overlooking a lake provides an ideal environment for Joel Pittard’s orchid collection. Below, a lovely Psychopsis orchid.
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ful until he and his late wife, Ann, became a couple. Ann, who sadly passed away in June, lived in a house with a large screened back porch overlooking a lake, which proved to be an orchid-growing paradise. The two began going to orchid shows and sales, and soon reached the porch’s orchid capacity. At Ann’s suggestion, they built a small greenhouse near the edge of the lake where they could care for and propagate an ever-growing collection. Though some orchids are easier to grow than others, Pittard says most simply need access to plenty of indirect sunlight, moderate temperatures and weekly or bi-weekly watering. It’s the watering that can be tricky. “Orchids are usually killed because they get too much water,” he says, which is often a problem because of how they are potted. Most orchids are epiphytes, or “air plants,” that take their nutrients and water from the air and surrounding environment rather than from soil, so they don’t really even need a pot to grow. However, storebought plants are usually produced in plastic liners filled with loose bark which are then sold in decorative, often nondraining containers. If water collects in the container’s base, those air-loving roots will die, but that’s easy to fix. “Just take the orchid out of the pot, water it thoroughly and let it drain before putting it back into the pot,” Pittard says. Happy, healthy orchids are also more like-
Pittard and his late wife, Ann, built a backyard greenhouse when their orchid collection outgrew their house.
ly to rebloom, the frequency of which varies among orchid types. For example, Pittard said the elegant moth-like Phalaenopsis orchids so common in stores will bloom for a long time but may have only one bloom cycle each year. On the other hand, Dendrobiums, another readily available orchid with flowers that come in a diverse array of shapes and colors, often have several bloom cycles in a single year. Though they can rebloom on their own, sometimes orchids need a bit of coaxing — usually with a well-timed dose of fertilizer and a period of cooler temperatures. Pittard said the American Orchid Society’s website at www.aos.org has a wealth of beginner-level information on how to bring orchids into bloom as well as links to local orchid societies, shows and sales, all of which mean those orchids you get or give this holiday season can provide sublime joy all year long. www.alabamaliving.coop
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Bookshelf In this periodic feature, we highlight books either about Alabama people or events, or written by Alabama authors. Summaries are not reviews or endorsements. We also occasionally highlight book-related events. Email submissions to email@example.com. Due to the volume of submissions, we are unable to feature all the books we receive.
Daniel and the Serpent’s Abyss, by Nathan Lumbatis, Dove Christian Publishers, $13.95 (YA Christian fantasy) Six months after his last quest, 15-year-old Daniel awaits his next mission – to save his friend Raylin from the enemy – but the quest seems doomed from the start. Will his faith in God save them? The novel explores forgiveness, faith, and the empowering role of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life. It is the third in the Sons and Daughters series. The author lives in Dothan.
Down Along With That Devil’s Bones: A Reckoning with Monuments, Memory and the Legacy of White Supremacy, by Connor Towne O’Neill, Algonquin Books, $24.20 (historical study) A chance meeting with supporters of monuments depicting Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest in Selma inspired the author, a journalist, to take a deep dive into American history and the still-raging battles throughout the South. Originally from Pennsylvania, O’Neill now lives in Auburn and teaches at Auburn University.
Just Jones, by Andy Andrews, Thomas Nelson publishing, $24.99 (fiction) The third book in The Noticer series, this is a stand-alone novel following the character of Jones, a mysterious elderly man with endless wisdom who always seems to show up exactly when he’s needed most. The author lives in Orange Beach and is a motivational speaker who weaves life lessons into tales of adventure and intrigue.
Magic City Rock, by Blake Ellis, Arcadia Publishing and The History Press, $21.99 (music) Birmingham’s rock scene has maintained a punk rock ethos while also appealing to a mainstream audience, thanks to DIY clubs and alternative radio support. From local legends like Hotel and Telluride to national sensation St. Paul and the Broken Bones, the author, who is from Alabama, tells the story of the city’s stamp on the history of modern rock.
Not One of Us, by Debbie Herbert, Thomas and Mercer, $11.99 (thriller) Thirteen years ago, Jori Trahan’s boyfriend vanished. Now, after moving back to Alabama to care for her ailing grandmother and autistic brother, she comes face-to-face with the deadly mystery behind his disappearance. The author lives in Alabama; the book will be released Feb. 1, 2021.
The World Through the Dime Store Door, by Aileen Kilgore Henderson, The University of Alabama Press, $24.95 (Alabama memoir) In the 1930s, the rural South was in the throes of the Great Depression; farm life was hard, but a timid yet curious teenager thought it worth recording. The author kept a chronicle of her family’s daily struggles in Tuscaloosa County alongside events in the wider world she gleaned from shortwave radio and the occasional newspaper.
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| Consumer Wise |
to an efficient attic By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen
’m convinced we could reduce our high heating bills if we add more insulation to our attic. How do I make sure everything’s done right? It’s great that you’re focused on your attic, as this is often the area you can get the most bang for your buck on energy efficiency investments. Insulation is actually just one part of the energy-efficient attic puzzle. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you prepare to make your attic more efficient.
Step 1: Sealing
Step 1: Sealing
Attics are often the place where warm air leaks out of the home in winter or into the home during summer. Trouble spots include anything that comes through the attic floor, such as recessed lights, the chimney, the attic hatch and pipes, and ducts or wires coming through the attic floor. It’s best to properly seal these trouble spots before adding or improving the insulation. Invest a small amount of money in the necessary supplies, like caulk, expanding foam or weather stripping, to seal any air leaks in your attic.
Step 2: Ventilation
Step 2: Ventilation
Step 3: Insulation 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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Many attics are under-ventilated, which allows moisture and heat to build up. Moisture causes harmful mold and wood rot. During the summer, a poorly ventilated attic is prone to overheating, which can bake shingles and shorten their life. During the winter, a warm attic can melt snow on the roof, causing it to run into your gutters and then freeze, causing ice dams. Proper attic ventilation lets air flow from a low point to a high point. This is usually done by installing soffit vents and insulation baffles around the perimeter, plus vents near the peak of the roof. If there is no way to install enough attic ventilators, an attic fan can be installed to provide mechanical assistance to exhausting overheated air.
Step 3: Insulation
The three main types of insulation for attics are loose-fill, batt and rigid. Whichever type you have, it needs to provide a highenough level of insulation for your region, measured in R-value.
Batt and rigid insulation will often have the R-value printed on them. Loose-fill, which is blown in, is the most common for attic floors, and its R-value is approximately its depth in inches multiplied by 2.8. Generally speaking, your attic should have 14 to 24 inches of loose-fill insulation if you live in a northern state and 11 to 14 inches if you’re in a southern state. You can find the recommended level for your region at www.energy.gov. If you have loose-fill insulation that is less than the recommended amount, you should be able to simply add more on top of it, as long as there aren’t any moisture, rodent, ant or termite problems. If your existing loose-fill insulation was installed before 1990, it could be Vermiculite, which may be contaminated with asbestos. Asbestos can cause cancer when particles are released into the air, so it’s a good idea to have the insulation tested. If it’s contaminated, have it removed by a professional before beginning work. Remember to seal and insulate any walls in the attic that border conditioned space, such as skylight openings. Some of these steps can be challenging, so consider hiring a professional contractor. If you’re a DIY pro and decide to do some of the work on your own, be aware of potential hazards. Disturbing old wiring can cause shorts in your electrical system, and roofing nails will often pierce the attic ceiling. Another danger is stepping off the rafters. Years ago, I (Pat) decided to do some work in my own attic on a hot afternoon. The heat must have gotten to me because I slipped and crashed through the attic floor. My daughters were quite surprised to see their dad’s legs dangling from the ceiling, with broken sheetrock and insulation everywhere. What a mess! First and foremost, always remember safety when tackling projects at home. We hope these tips will help you take the next steps to a more energy-efficient attic. This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen of Collaborative Efficiency. For more information on ensuring an energy-efficient attic, please visit: www.collaborativeefficiency.com/energytips. www.alabamaliving.coop
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Social Security benefits increase in 2021
early 70 million Americans will see a 1.3 percent increase in their Social Security benefits and SSI payments in 2021. Federal benefit rates increase when the cost-of-living rises, as measured by the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index (CPI-W). The CPI-W rises when inflation increases, leading to a higher cost-of-living. This change means prices for goods and services, on average, are a little more expensive, so the COLA helps to offset these costs. January 2021 marks other changes that will happen based on the increase in the national average wage index. For example, the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security payroll tax in 2021 will be higher. The retirement earnings test exempt amount will also change in 2021. You can read our press release for more information at ssa.gov/news/press/factsheets/colafacts2021.pdf. Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christmas Across 1 Christmas season 3 Christmas spiced ale 9 David Copperfield’s field 10 One of Santa’s reindeer 11 Medical show 13 White coat in winter 14 Patriot’s org. 17 Log for the Christmas season 19 Tear open, as a present perhaps 21 Foot, for short 23 The lead reindeer in song 25 Spider’s handiwork 27 Mashed potatoes go-with 28 Christmas dinner bird 30 Jewish end of year holiday 32 Plunked oneself down 36 Pilot’s announcement, briefly 37 Small child 38 4-sided top used by children to play games during 30 across
We will mail COLA notices throughout the month of December to retirement, survivors, and disability beneficiaries, SSI recipients, and representative payees. Want to know your new benefit amount sooner? You can securely view and save the Social Security COLA notice online via the Message Center inside my Social Security in early December without waiting for the mailed notice. If you don’t have an account yet, you will have had to create your account by November 18, 2020 to receive the COLA notice online this year. my Social Security account holders can opt out of receiving a mailed COLA notice and other paper notices that are available online. You can choose text or email alerts when there is a notice in Message Center by updating your Preferences at ssa.gov/myaccount/opt-out.html so you always know when we have something important for you. Be the first to know! Sign up for or log in to your personal account today at ssa.gov/myaccount. Choose email or text under “Message Center Preferences” to receive courtesy notifications. This way you won’t miss your online COLA notice! You can find more information about the 2021 COLA at ssa. gov/cola.
by Myles Mellor
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Munchie in a brownie, perhaps Beside Artist’s support Just out of the oven Dollar currency abbreviation
33 Location word 34 Keg opening 35 NFL scoring play, abbr. Answers on Page 37
Down 1 They’re found on gift tags and presents 2 Drink garnished with nutmeg 4 Swiss mountain 5 Ginger ___ 6 “Monsters, ___” (2001 Pixar film) 7 Keeps drinks cold 8 Presents get stored under them 12 Nurse, abbr. 15 Sweet and tasty Christmas food 16 Pot top 18 Baseball arbiter, for short 20 Serves, as syrup 21 Dried fruit 22 Race an engine 24 Horse food 26 DECEMBER 2020
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| Outdoors |
Oft-maligned black drum provide exciting action at little cost
ld concrete piltoric looking when they ings placed to get really big. It’s not prevent shoreunusual to catch drum line erosion along a weighing more than 40 canal created stair-step or 50 pounds. It’s a great structures that made fish for kids to target. convenient places for They have a blast fighting big drum.” a boatless angler to sit Anglers occasionaland fish. Breaking a blue ly catch drum on lures, crab in half, I tossed one but the big bruisers typchunk into a deep hole ically want meat. Live and waited. or fresh shrimp, clams, Before long, the reel squid, small baitfish, began clicking. Moments later, it started fish chunks and other singing as 50-poundmorsels make excellent test braided line sizzled baits. Above all, though, from it. Soon, I battled the barbel-chinned behemoths love to crunch the leviathan in a spirited fight before landing crabs. a black drum topping “Drum really love 40 pounds. I tossed the Dustin Bounds shows off a black drum he caught. When temperatures drop, large black crustaceans,” Weaver other crab half into the drum congregate in big numbers in deeper holes. PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER says. “We don’t catch as same place. Minutes latmany drum on live poer, I battled the first drum’s twin. gies or other baitfish. For targeting black drum, I definitely stick Many Alabama anglers dislike the big, ugly, noisy fish. Relatwith fresh crustaceans.” ed to redfish, also called red drum, black drum are habitually igMany anglers clean their catches on docks and toss scraps into nored because many people believe they don’t measure up on the the water. Crabs come to feast upon the scraps. Drum gather to dining table. Large ones can become wormy, but small ones taste eat the crabs. For huge drum, use a whole fresh crab. Keep the top delicious. shell attached, but crack it to let the savory juices ooze out. “Drum are edible fish, particularly young ones up to a couple Half a crab can prove irresistible for drum. First break off the of pounds,” says Dr. Bob Shipp, a renowned Alabama marine biclaws. Then, remove the top shell and toss it into the water for ologist and author of Dr. Bob Shipp’s Guide to Fishes of the Gulf of chum. Next, break the remaining body into two approximately Mexico. “Many people call these puppy drum. These fish are often equal halves. Run a hook through the meaty part so that the point offered as a replacement for red drum because red drum are genexits out a leg hole. Drum might also slurp small live crabs hooked erally unavailable commercially. Larger fish are especially prone through the back near the rounded swimmer fins. to be wormy, although this doesn’t pose a health problem, only an In the right spot, action can come fast on big ravenous fish. aesthetic one.” Jetties like those at Perdido Pass near Orange Beach and similar When temperatures cool, drum action heats up along the Alstructures that mark deep passes or channels make outstanding abama coast. During the fall and winter, giant drum commonly places to look for drum. That area also offers good bank fishing drop into the deepest holes they can find in passes, ship channels access. Drum also gather around bridge pilings. or coastal rivers. In these holes, they frequently gather in great “Drum tend to hang around structure, such as bridge pilings, numbers and can provide anglers fishing from docks and seawalls rock jetties, wharves and docks,” Weaver says. “Sometimes, currents scour out deep holes around bridge pilings. Those holes tackle-busting action on monster fish for little cost. Black drum around pilings are excellent places to tempt black drum. We also can weigh more than 100 pounds. Robert Dean Disney holds the catch drum around the bays and in the canals. Look for deeper Alabama state record with a 61-pounder. holes that have some type of structure.” “Sometimes in a marina, we’ll look down and see huge drum Anglers with boats can also find big drum around gas wells moving along the bottom looking for something to eat,” says Mike and other structures in Mobile Bay. The Dixey Bar area in Mobile Weaver, who guides out of Orange Beach. “They can be prehisBay can hold giant fish. Also try fishing near any sunken boats, artificial reefs or oyster reefs anywhere along the Alabama coast. In the right spot at the right time, anglers can often land several John N. Felsher lives in Semmes, Ala. Contact him through Facebook. reel-screeching line pullers quickly without breaking the budget, with or without a boat. 28 DECEMBER 2020
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DOUG HANNON’S FISH & GAME FORECAST 2020-21 DECEMBER
Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th
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Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
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EXCELLENT TIMES A.M.
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 10:06 - 12:06 10:42 - 12:42 11:30 - 1:30 A.M.
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 10:42 - 12:42 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 10:06 - 12:06 10:42 - 12:42 NA 1:06 - 3:06 1:54 - 3:54
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 10:30 - 12:30 11:06 - 1:06 FULL MOON 11:54 - 1:54 PM
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 11:06 - 1:06 NEW MOON 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 10:30 - 12:30 11:06 - 1:06 FULL MOON 12:42 - 2:42 1:30 - 3:30 2:18 - 4:18
GOOD TIMES AM
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 4:33 - 6:03 5:09 - 6:39 5:57 - 7:27 AM
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 5:09 - 6:39 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 4:33 - 6:03 5:09 - 6:39 6:45 - 8:15 7:33 - 9:03 8:21 - 9:51
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 4:57 - 6:27 5:33 - 7:03 6:21 - 7:51 PM
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 5:33 - 7:03 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 4:57 - 6:27 5:33 - 7:03 7:09 - 8:39 7:57 - 9:27 8:45 - 10:15
The Moon Clock and resulting Moon Times were developed 40 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, a company specializing in wildlife activity time prediction. To order the 2021 Moon Clock, go to www.moontimes.com. Alabama Living
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| Alabama Recipes |
the comfort spice 30â&#x20AC;&#x192; DECEMBER 2020
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ne of the treats that baker Karen Preuss remembers from her childhood is buttered toast, topped with sugar and cinnamon. “It was my favorite thing as a child,” says the owner of Fennel & Figs, a Montgomery-based bakery. “I would make it in the toaster, then put the butter, cinnamon and sugar on top.” The smell of cinnamon brings back thoughts of her grandparents and childhood, “so it’s very familiar and comfortable.” Amber Anderson, owner and baker of FPH Bakery in Union Springs, agrees. “You think about cinnamon and it gives you that homey, warm feeling.” Both bakers love to use cinnamon in the food they prepare, from baked goods to spice blends to savory dishes such as chili and stews. “It’s a versatile spice,” says Preuss, “and everyone thinks about it this time of year. It’s a ‘warm’ spice, so even if you’re not baking, it brings a warmth of flavor to whatever you’re making.” The fun thing about cinnamon is that it comes from the bark of a tree, she notes, “and some products also use the leaves.” Indonesia, China, Vietnam and Sri Lanka are the main producers of cinnamon, which can be bought in ground form or in sticks, which come from the inner bark of the tree which is dried and cut for sale. Anderson says while cinnamon rolls are a top item at her bakery, she also does a bread pudding with a bourbon sauce and cinnamon is a key ingredient. Her lunchtime pork tenderloin has a fig sauce spiced with cinnamon. “I also put a pinch of cinnamon in chili,” she says. For a “wow” factor, she sprinkles cinnamon on top of her apple spice cake. Her snickerdoodle cookies, everyone’s favorite cinnamon-based cookie, are a big seller. Preuss uses cinnamon in her granola, cakes and muffins, and makes a line of spices, many of which, such as baharat (a Middle Eastern spice blend) include cinnamon. “Almost every spice blend from the Middle East has cinnamon in them,” she says. “It’s also a key ingredient in chai.” So pour yourself a cup of mulled cider, add a cinnamon stick, and sit by the fire. Or channel your inner child and make some cinnamon toast. You don’t have to wait for breakfast to be comforted! -- Lenore Vickrey
Monkey Biscuit Bread is a sweet treat that I’ve been making since I was a kid. Biscuit pieces are rolled in cinnamon and sugar and baked with a caramel glaze. You can cut it like a cake, or pick at it by the piece. It has a warm cinnamon flavor and you make it with homemade biscuit Brooke Burks dough or store-bought canned biscuits. Either way, you’ll love its simple goodness. For more recipes, visit thebutteredhome.com.
Photo by The Buttered Home
Monkey Biscuit Bread Biscuit dough: 4 cups self-rising flour 1/3 cup Crisco shortening 1/3 cup cold, cubed butter 2 cups buttermilk OR 4 cans prepared biscuit dough 3/4 3/4 1/2 2
cup butter cup brown sugar cup sugar teaspoons cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare homemade biscuit dough and flatten to a disc. Cut into small 3/4 inch squares. If using prepared biscuit dough, cut each biscuit into 4 pieces. In a shallow bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon. Roll each biscuit piece in sugar mixture to coat. Layer biscuit dough into a well-greased cake pan in two layers. In a small boiler, heat butter and brown sugar until combined. Bring to a soft boil and boil for 1 minute. Pour over biscuits in cake pan. Reserve 1/4 of mixture for when cake is done. Bake 35 minutes until brown. Cool in pan for 20 minutes and turn out onto cake plate. Drizzle remaining brown sugar and butter mixture over the top. Slice and serve or pick apart to eat!
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PHOTOS BY BROOKE ECHOLS
Kat's Apple Cake 3 2 2 1 1 3 1 3
eggs cups sugar teaspoons vanilla extract teaspoon cinnamon cup cooking oil cups Pioneer Baking Mix cup chopped pecans cups chopped tart apples
Gramma's Cinnamon Rolls
Rolls: 2 tablespoons shortening 4 tablespoons white sugar 1 cup hot water 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast (or 1 tablespoon jarred yeast) 1 egg, beaten 1 teaspoon salt 23/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup sugar 2 heaping tablespoons flour 2 heaping tablespoons cinnamon 1 level teaspoon nutmeg ¼ teaspoon salt 8 cups apples, sliced or diced Butter 1 pie crust 2 teaspoons milk
Filling: 1/4 cup butter, softened 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1 tablespoon cinnamon 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Reserve ¼ cup sugar mixture for topping. Combine 8 cups apples with remaining sugar mixture. Generously butter a 9x13-inch casserole dish. Pour the apples evenly into the dish. Place a pie crust over the apples. Wet the top crust lightly with 2 teaspoons of milk and then sprinkle with ¼ cup reserved sugar-cinnamon mixture on top. Bake at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes.
Rolls: In a large bowl, mix the shortening, sugar and hot water. Allow to cool to lukewarm and mix in the yeast until dissolved. Mix in egg, salt and 21/4 cups flour. Allow to rise for 1 hour, then punch down and knead in about 1/2 cup of reserved flour until dough is soft, and no longer sticky. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to an 18x12-inch rectangle. Filling: Spread softened butter on top of dough and sprinkle brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecan mix on top of butter. Carefully roll the dough along the long side and cut into desired number of rolls. Place rolls in a greased casserole dish and let rest 15-30 minutes or refrigerate overnight. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Top with icing, if desired.
Beat eggs well, add sugar and mix well, add cinnamon and vanilla. Alternate baking mix and oil and mix well. Fold in apples and pecans until well blended. Bake at 350 degrees in greased and floured Bundt pan for 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when tested. Let cool briefly and turn out. Add topping below, if desired.
Icing: 1 cup powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 tablespoon milk
Topping: 1 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup evaporated milk 1/2 stick margarine
Meaghan Bartlett Mole Baldwin EMC
Mix and boil 5 minutes; pour over cake while warm. Ronnie Crocker Cullman EC
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Add vanilla to powdered sugar and stir together until smooth. Slowly add milk while stirring until desired consistency is reached.
Jane Kendrick Coosa Valley EC Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisin Cookies cup canola or vegetable oil 3/4 1/4 cup packed brown sugar 2 eggs 3/4 cup 2% milk 1 box spice cake mix 21/2 cups old fashioned oats 11/2 cups raisins 1 cup dried craisins, chopped 2 teaspoons cinnamon sugar 2/3 cup chocolate chips 1 cup pecans, chopped In large bowl, beat oil and brown sugar with a mixer until blended. Beat in eggs, then add milk and stir well. In another large bowl, combine oats and cake mix. Stir well. Gradually add this to the brown sugar mixture and mix well. Fold in raisins and dried craisins, cinnamon sugar, pecans and chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool in pan 1 minute, then cool on wire racks. Makes approximately 7 dozen cookies. 5½ dozen if making larger cookies. Suzy Shepherd Pioneer EC www.alabamaliving.coop
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Cook of the Month Mary Dell Chism, Baldwin EMC
Honey Bun Cake
The key to this month’s winning recipe for Honey Bun Cake is to serve it warm. That’s coming from someone who knows, Mary Dell Chism of Northport and a member of Baldwin EMC, who has made the cake countless times since 1999. “I always make it on Christmas morning. It’s a tradition. When we were having Sunday School class and we would bring different refreshments, everyone always wanted me to bring the Honey Bun cake. It’s good for brunches and it’s usually a hit wherever you take it.” (If you can’t serve it warm, pop a slice in the microwave.) Mrs. Chism says her recipe is somewhat similar to the “Sock It To Me” Cake recipe that was popular years ago, but she changed it up by using buttermilk instead of sour cream. She also likes to use an 11x15-inch pan rather than a 9x12-inch pan, “because to me it’s better if it’s a little thinner.” When she was working on site at The Westervelt Company in Tuscaloosa, she brought the cake for employee birthday celebrations, and the larger pan yielded more slices. (She has been working at the company for 59 years, and now is able to do so remotely). She also notes that while the recipe calls for raisins, they are optional, since some people don’t care for them. And even though the icing uses two cups of confectioners’ sugar, she plans to try substituting Truvia confectioners’ sugar sweetener, which would make it more acceptable for those trying to cut back on sugar. – Lenore Vickrey
Cook of the Month Prize!
Themes and Deadlines: March: Jams, jellies, marmalades | December 4 April: Eggs | January 1 May: Sugar-free/diabetic friendly February 5
3 ways to submit: Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: email@example.com 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.
AL STATE DEC20.indd 33
Cake: 1 box yellow cake mix 1 cup buttermilk 4 eggs ¾ cup oil ½ cup sugar ½ cup pecans, chopped ¼ cup raisins, optional ¾ cup packed brown sugar 4 teaspoons cinnamon Icing: 2 cups confectioners’ sugar 2 tablespoons milk (more if needed) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Combine cake mix, eggs, buttermilk, oil and sugar; pour into prepared 11x15-inch pan. Mix pecans, raisins, brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over cake batter and cut through with a knife to swirl. Bake at 350 degrees until cake tests done (30–35 minutes). For the icing, combine confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla; punch holes in top of cake and spread mixture over hot cake to glaze. Serve warm. Serves 15–18.
Mail order form and payment to: Best of Alabama Living Cookbook P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124-4014 COOKBOOKS @ $19.95 EACH: (Shipping included)
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| Tallapoosa River |
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11/19/20 4:55 PM
| Our Sources Say |
The Circle continues I
have written about the Circle of Life a few times through the years in articles mainly focused on the deaths of my Dad and Mom and births of my grandchildren. Those articles discussed the expansion of our Circle of Life as we grow older and the intersection of our individual Circles with those of others as our lives became intertwined. I was reminded of the Circle of Life as we finished the final steps of the hardest and saddest decision of my working career – closing the Lowman Power Plant in Leroy, Alabama at the end of October. Lowman was a coal plant on the Tombigbee River that generated affordable electricity for the people of rural Alabama and northwest Florida for more than 50 years. More importantly, it employed many people, allowing them to support their families, send their children to college, and support their communities. I joined Alabama Electric Cooperative (AEC) in 1989, at age 35. Lowman Unit 1 was 21 years old, and the larger Lowman Units 2 and 3 were about 10 years old. My initial impression was that Lowman was an old plant, about worn out. I didn’t realize it at the time, but later learned Lowman was actually pretty young for a coal plant and had a lot of life left. The Lowman Plant employed approximately 185 employees at its peak. Many of those employees were hired when Lowman 2 and 3 were added, and they were roughly my age. My Circle of Life and the Circles of those employees became more intertwined when I became CEO in 2000. Lowman was AEC’s primary source of electricity from 1980 until 2000. Power was purchased from other utilities, but the largest majority of electricity to serve AEC’s distribution members for those decades came from Lowman. Lowman and the people who ran it were AEC’s most valuable assets, and the members’ cost of service rose or fell based on the success and costs of the Lowman Plant. The initial AEC Risk Assessment after I became CEO indicated the greatest risk the organization and its members could experience would be an extended loss of the Lowman Plant. The estimated cost of the risk was bankruptcy of the company. Lowman and its people earned their keep over the years. The company grew with the reliable and cheap electricity generated by Lowman. Wholesale power costs to our members dropped from
1986 until 2000, as the members grew their service areas with cheap electricity from Lowman. Wholesale power costs dropped consistently until Lowman became fully loaded in the late 1990’s, and AEC added new generation at the Vann and McIntosh Plants. Still, Lowman continued as a valuable resource even as AEC (renamed PowerSouth in 2008) added other generation resources and diversified its generation portfolio. Lowman was the only PowerSouth plant that ran reliably through the 2014 Polar Vortex. Over the past 20 years, it provided cost stability as natural gas prices rose and fell. Lowman was closed because legally managing water and coal ash under the Coal Combustion Residual (CCR) Rules promulgated by the EPA became impossible. The Lowman name and legacy will continue to live on with a new, large natural gas combined cycle plant that is being constructed on the site. Sadly, many of the loyal, committed employees that I first came to know in 1989, and some hired since then, will not continue with PowerSouth. Natural gas plants require fewer employees than coal plants, and there is no longer a need for about 80 of the people employed at Lowman. Some, like me, are at retirement age. Unfortunately, some are not. My Circle of Life is closely tied with the Circles of Lowman employees. My success at PowerSouth has been dependent upon their success. Now my Circle and the Circles of many of those employees leaving PowerSouth are separated. It is sad for me to realize my Circle will never again be as close with those employees as it was before the end of October. I am proud PowerSouth has been able to provide good wages and benefits for its employees through the years. I am proud of all the things we accomplished together. I am also glad the PowerSouth Board provided generous severance packages for those employees leaving PowerSouth. I have learned that all things change with deaths of family and friends. Our Circles of Life change. That doesn’t mean I have to like those changes. I thank those departing employees for all they have done for PowerSouth. But more importantly, I thank them for their friendship. I wish them happiness and peace in everything they do. I will miss my friends. I hope you have a good month.
Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative.
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| Classifieds | How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office): February 2021 Issue by December 25 March 2021 Issue by January 25 April 2021 Issue by February 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 firstname.lastname@example.org; 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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- Owner rented (251)604-5226 GATLINBURG – DOWNTOWN LUXURY CREEKSIDE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6 – email@example.com, (256)599-5552 COTTAGE FOR NIGHTLY RENTAL at “THE PATIO at SMITH LAKE” - has boat dock-fire pit, wood, picnic area, gorgeous views, evening outdoor lighting, Grill, Big Screen TV, outdoor covered area for sitting, incredible sunsets-30 min from Cullman or Jasper-1 hour from BHAM or Huntsville - $155.00 per night - The Patio at Smith Lake (FB) – (256)318-4555 Pam Dodd LAKE HOMES / CABINS – Verified Owners. No Booking Fees. ALAVHR.com MENTONE, AL LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN COTTAGE RENTALS – Best brow views, River Front – cottagesofmentone.com, Call or text (504)4818666 PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – Owner rental – 2BR / 2BA, wireless internet, just remodeled inside and outside – (334)790-0000, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.theroneycondo. com PET FRIENDLY – Save $$$ by booking directly from Verified Owners. ALAVHR.com GULF SHORES GULF FRONT – Some Winter dates open – 1BR / 1BA and also 2BR / 2BA, both directly on the beach. Awesome views and access – (256)352-5721, amariewisener@gmail. com
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MAIL TO: Alabama Living 340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117 ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop DECEMBER 2020 37
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| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow – somewhere else
rowing up in South Alabama, every winter I found myself wishing that I lived up North, up where snow fell and Christmas was white. My parents did not share my desire. They had dealt with a Kansas winter while Daddy trained to defeat Hitler, which he did in the snow during the Battle of the Bulge. They wanted to get home where feeling could return to their fingers and toes. Over the years, I have found many Alabamians who wished for a winter wonderland. Until they got one. Like those who weathered the great storm of 1963-64. I was ringing in the New Year with a cousin in Rayville, Louisiana. The plan was that I would ride the bus to Meridian, Mississippi, change buses, and ride on to Grove Hill. Then we got a call from my Daddy. He Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at email@example.com
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had learned from highway patrol friends that the weather was turning bad, that it might snow, and that bus travel could be canceled. He told me that he would drive up to Meridian and collect me for the trip home. He would come in our farm truck, a Chevy pickup with mud-grip tires. He loaded cement blocks into the bed for more weight and better traction. Comewhat-may, he was ready. I arrived in Meridian right on schedule, and as I walked from the station to my waiting father the snow began to fall. Big, fat flakes, the likes of which I had never seen. I piled in the truck and we headed south, listening to radio reports of roads and bridges closing. Bridges were the most troubling because with snow on top and cold air beneath, bridges iced over quickly. Daddy selected a route that was a little longer but crossed fewer streams. Meanwhile, the snow piled up until all we could see of our two-lane road was the crest in the middle and the tracks of a truck
that had taken the route before us. We put our tires into that rapidly filling trail and followed its path. Behind us came Highway Department crews, closing bridges just as we got across. If we had started a half-hour later, we would have been stuck in Mississippi. I did not have time to enjoy the beauty of the landscape. Even when I wasn’t taking my turn driving, I watched the road, looking for that patch of ice that might send us spinning into the ditch. Every so often we would stop so I could chip the ice off the wipers, which were in tatters when we got home. Yet home we got. What normally would have taken just over two hours, took at least four – four slow, tense hours. But at home Mama had a hot meal waiting for her tired men. The next day I walked through the woods behind our house and enjoyed the beauty of it all. And vowed not to get into an automobile again until it melted. That was enough snow-driving for me. www.alabamaliving.coop
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CALL FOR ENTRIES Alabama Rural Electric Associationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s
11 Quilt Competition th
Our 2020 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (The electric cooperative name on front of this Alabama Living.)
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