April 2023 Clarke-Washington

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April 2023 Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News Beautiful Table Settings Alabama group goes international A tale of two cities and their plays ClarkeWashıngton ELECTRIC MEMBERSHIP CORP.


Steve Sheffield

Co-op Editor

Sarah Turner

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.

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Worth the drive

Cafe Acadiana in Silverhill is consistently ranked in the top restaurants in the state. We decided to give it a try and found that its unique blend of Cajun and Creole cuisine definitely makes it worth the drive.


Our linemen

We’ll be celebrating our linemen the week of April 18, so our Snapshots page is devoted to them this month. 18


Tale of two cities

Tuscumbia and Monroeville are two cities whose two locally produced plays bring the state national acclaim.

Making biscuits

Our Alabama cooks can make delicious biscuits, and some, like our own Brooke Burks, even use biscuit dough to make other treats.

18 34 VOL. 76 NO. 4 APRIL 2023 DEPARTMENTS 11 Spotlight 29 Around Alabama 34 Cook of the Month 40 Outdoors 41 Fish & Game Forecast 46 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop 24 APRIL 2023 3 WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop EMAIL: letters@alabamaliving.coop MAIL: Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117 May Eason, founder of the
Beautiful Table
and silver. Story and cover details beginning on Page 12.
Settings Facebook
sets her Easter
with a
china, crystal
PHOTO: Brooke
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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

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P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545

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Chatom, AL 36518


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Fuel diversity is essential to the future of reliable electricity

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” This popular adage is often used in conversation or a story when someone is about to do something foolish or risky. If they heed this advice, it means they did not commit to “one basket,” but instead hedged their bets with multiple options.

This strategy is how I describe PowerSouth’s common sense approach to the current energy transition. PowerSouth is our wholesale power provider. We know that consumer interest in renewable energy continues to grow. We’ve now seen this trend in south Alabama with the recent construction and startup of the Wing Solar Field in Covington County.

Recent innovations and advances in renewable energy technologies have led to sharp decreases in costs, making renewables more feasible, accessible and scalable. Over the last few years, PowerSouth has adjusted our fuel mix by utilizing renewables and plans to add more solar, nuclear and gas to its energy mix over the next year.

Nationally, there is increasing reliance on renewable energy sources at the same time that we’re seeing fossil fuel plants taken offline, often ahead of schedule, such as the former Lowman Power Plant in Leroy, Alabama. Additionally, we’re seeing more pressure on the electric grid due to the increasing frequency and intensity of severe weather events and rising electricity demand.

Competing pressures

So how do we reconcile these challenges of grid pressure and a changing fuel mix? Solar and wind energy are certainly beneficial for the environment, but they are limited resources because the sun does not always shine, and the wind does not always blow. In fact, using wind for electric generation does not work at all in our area. We simply don’t have enough wind to make it work. Our primary responsibility is to provide electricity 24/7 to you and our community. To do this, we need reliable sources of power that will meet all the peaks and valleys of on-demand energy in our connected world.

So where are we netting out? That’s where our familiar adage comes into play. While utilization of renewables is increasing, we still need to incorporate other forms of energy in the mix to ensure reliable service. Remember, solar and wind are intermittent power sources. This fact, coupled with the growing demand for renewables, creates its own challenges.

That’s why PowerSouth has spread its eggs into multiple baskets. There is great value in maintaining a diverse mix of fuel sources— fossil fuels, nuclear, solar and renewables to ensure reliability, resiliency and meet the growing demand for electricity.

Reliability also means repairing and replacing utility equipment to prevent wearand-tear, ensuring our equipment can withstand severe weather. We are laser-focused on providing our members with reliable, affordable energy. That’s why fuel diversity— or placing our eggs in multiple baskets—is essential to reliability.

The bottom line

Lowering the overall carbon footprint in this country means we’re going to electrify more and more of our economy. Solar and wind power are an important part of a broader energy portfolio, but they are not available 24/7. In today’s ever-connected world, people need power around the clock.

As our nation increasingly depends on electricity to power the economy, Clarke-Washington EMC is working to anticipate, plan and respond to market trends and policy shifts. That’s how we can power your home and our economy, while continuing to serve as your local energy provider.

4 APRIL 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop


Clarke-Washington EMC line crews have one of the most dangerous jobs in the nation. These dangers increase when they are working along the roadside. Do your part to protect them. If you’re driving and see crews working on the side of the road, slow down and move over. It’s the law. More importantly, you’ll help ensure those lineworkers return home safely to their families and continue to be there when you need them.

As you’re driving, stay alert. If you come upon roadside crews and cannot safely move over, slow down to at least 20 mph less than the posted speed limit. If you fail to do this, it can put workers at risk.

Protect our lineworkers. They are on the job for you, ensuring reliable power. It’s another way your hometown electric cooperative is always here for you.

One of our very own, Jermarka Williams, was featured on the National Rural Electric Association (NRECA) materials for Lineworker Appreciation Day!
Alabama Living APRIL 2023 5





What is your favorite food or meal?

My wife’s broccoli casserole.

What is a fun fact about you?

I enjoy working on computers.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like riding ATVs with my family.

What is your dream vacation?

An all-inclusive trip to Hawaii.

What is your favorite food or meal?


What is a fun fact about you?

I played baseball in college.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy duck hunting and playing golf.

What is your dream vacation? A trip to Montana.


What is your favorite food or meal?

Chicken tenders with crinkle cut french fries and honey mustard.

What is a fun fact about you?

I enjoy playing slow pitch softball with friends.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to repair big trucks and spend time with family.

What is your dream vacation?

All-inclusive trip to the Bahamas.

Alabama Living APRIL 2023 7


This month, we’re recognizing lineworkers for the amazing job they do to make sure we have electricity! Think about all the ways you use electricity every day. Do you use a phone, watch TV, play video games or turn on lights? You’re able to do all of these things because of lineworkers.

Below is space to write a short thank you note to your local lineworkers. Write your note, then ask an adult to help you send it back to us so we can share it with our crews.

Send your note to the mailing address below, or you can drop it off at the office. Clarke-Washington EMC P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 WE OUR
8 APRIL 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop

Honoring Our Linemen

“Dad’s favorite hat/cap” |
June theme:
Deadline: April
Restoration work following Hurricane Ian. SUBMITTED by Wiregrass Electric Cooperative.
| Alabama Snapshots | Online: alabamaliving.coop | Mail: Attn: Snapshots, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124
Ryan Alexander and daughter Harper at Community Helper Day. SUBMITTED by Arab Electric Cooperative. First crew sent to assist Central Alabama EC following January 2023 tornado damage. SUBMITTED by Coosa Valley Electric Cooperative. Linemen waist-deep after Hurricane Sally. SUBMITTED by Baldwin Electric Membership Cooperative. Linemen Austin Gibson and Clark Kilcrease at the World of Works Career Expo in Andalusia SUBMITTED by Covington Electric Cooperative.
RULES: Photos submitted for publication may also be published on our website at alabamaliving.coop and on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to have photos returned.
Heath Davidson, Lucas, Lilly and Ty. SUBMITTED by Marshall DeKalb Electric Cooperative. My daddy Kenny Harrell retired from Clarke-Washington EMC with 35+ years of service. SUBMITTED by Taylor Powell, Coffeeville.
Alabama Living APRIL 2023 9
This is an oil painting of linemen at dawn. SUBMITTED by Johnna Bush, Grove Hill.

Powerful winds cause damage, topple power lines

A powerful storm system with severe winds and heavy rain ripped through the South on March 3, causing damage to structures and power lines throughout the northern part of Alabama.

Three people died in Alabama from fallen trees, according to press reports. A 70-year-old man was killed by a falling tree in Talladega County while sitting in his truck, the local coroner said. A 43-year-old man in Lexington died after a tree fell on him, according to the coroner in Lauderdale County. And in Huntsville, a man was cleaning up tree limbs when a tree fell on him, police said.

There were about 72,000 power outages in Alabama due to the storm. As always, Alabama’s rural electric cooperatives were ready to help sister co-ops restore power.

Tombigbee EC, which serves Marion and Lamar counties and a small portion of Fayette County, received help from Central Alabama EC, Black Warrior EMC, Covington EC, Coosa Valley EC, Clarke-Washington EMC and Tallapoosa River EC.

Joe Wheeler EMC, which serves parts of Lawrence and Morgan counties, received help from Wiregrass EC, Clarke-Washington EMC and Tallapoosa River EC.

Cullman EC, which serves parts of Cullman, Morgan, Lawrence and Winston counties, received help from Coosa Valley EC and Marshall-DeKalb EC.

Restorations in some cases took several days due to the extensive damage, and we thank the crews who worked tirelessly and safely to turn the lights back on.

Online dashboard offers info about public health issues

The Alabama Department of Public Health has launched the Alabama Health Dashboard, which offers quick and easy access about Alabama’s highest prioritized chronic health issues and demographic information.

The dashboard is part of the department’s efforts to provide residents with up-to-date information about their health outcomes. The dashboard was developed through a collaborative process involving internal data collection and community-driven feedback.

In this release, data has been collected for the years 2018, 2019 and 2020. Several data sources were identified to demonstrate the health status of Alabama residents within each of the 10 health indicators. Those include behavioral risk factors, demographic, birth and death data. Tables and statewide maps detail specific areas experiencing higher rates of poor health outcomes and social vulnerability.

For additional information, visit alabamapublichealth.gov

April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month

More than 16,000 people are living with Parkinson’s Disease in Alabama, with more than 800 diagnosed every year. Alabama residents with Parkinson’s can connect to education and resources to live a quality life with PD through social connections as well as online resources and person-centered care navigation sessions.

The Parkinson Association of Alabama has launched a new online resource center at www.parkinsonalabama.info. The site allows PAA to extend its rural reach and offer equitable access to resources and care.

A care navigation session with the PAA offers a Parkinson’s expert to guide the newly diagnosed through the resources they need and that matter most to them.

For more information, visit parkinsonalabama.com

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 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative, if applicable. The winner and answer will be announced in the May issue.

Submit by email: whereville@alabamaliving.coop, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124.

Contribute a photo you took 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.

March’s answer: Rooster Hall is one of the oldest and most historic buildings in Demopolis. It was built in 1843 by Presbyterians of Demopolis using locally made bricks. It served as their sanctuary until after the Civil War. During Reconstruction, a garrison of federal troops, stationed in Demopolis, moved the county seat from Linden and used this building for a courthouse. The county seat returned to Linden in 1871 and the building was turned over to the city, which leased it in 1876 to the Demopolis Opera Association. The Opera House closed its doors in 1902, and since then the building has served as City Hall, a fire station, a meeting house, voting station and office building. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on Oct. 29, 1975. (Photo and information courtesy of Rural SW Alabama; visit ruralswalabama.org) The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Adam Smith of Arab EC.

10 APRIL 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop Spotlight | April

Find the hidden dingbat!

We enjoyed hearing from all our readers who had fun hunting the green crayon in last month’s magazine. It was hidden pretty well, we admit, but nearly 200 of you correctly found it on Page 30 tucked in the hands of one of the Lee County Master Gardeners. Shawna Garrett of Grant wrote us that she searched diligently for the crayon, got her husband and parents to help her, and her mother finally found it. “We got a magnifying glass to make sure that was what we were looking for,” she wrote. “It was by far the most challenging search I’ve seen. Once I saw it, I couldn’t unsee it!” Faith West Ward said she had to go through the magazine twice before finding the crayon, and was thankful we reminded everyone not to look for it on Pages 1-8 or in an advertisement.

Sara Trucks of Springville said she is a new reader to the magazine, but “truly fell in love with it when searching for my very first dingbat. I had no luck for several months, but now that I’ve

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. Be sure to include your name, hometown and electric cooperative, and the location of your photo.We’ll draw a winner for the $25 prize each month.

Kenny and Sandy Williams, members of Tallapoosa River EC, recently took their magazine along on a work trip to Vicksburg, MS, on the Mississippi River. Kenny is captain of the Viking Mississippi cruise ship and Sandy is a watchman in charge of security. Both work for Viking Cruise Lines.


Abby Castleberry and her parents, Stephen and Carrie of Rainbow City, recently took a trip to Las Vegas, then on to the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon, and finally Zion National Park before returning home. They are members of the Coosa Valley Coop.

gotten the hang of it it’s the first thing I do. Before reading the first article, I HAVE to find the hidden object. This one wasn’t as easy as the last two months, but I finally found it. Nice hide!”

Congratulations to Bill Cash of Arab for being chosen as our randomly drawn winner of a gift card from Alabma One Credit Union for March. This month, we’ve hidden a picture of Uncle Sam to remind you that tax day is April 18. Good luck!

Sponsored by

Page 26 in the March edition of Alabama Living, a listing of legislators by co-op area, contained inaccurate information for some cooperatives. A corrected version of the listing appears on Page 22.

Alabama Living APRIL 2023 11
April | Spotlight
Shemeika Brock of Loxley, a member of Baldwin EMC, traveled last June to the Acropolis museum just below the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. Michael and Tabatha Smith of Rainsville, members of Sand Mountain EC, took their magazine on a recent trip to Pearl Harbor. Anita West sent this photo of herself along with Greg and Allison Powe and Heather Davis from a trip to the “Mighty Five” in Utah. The group, members of Cullman EC, hiked The Narrows in Zion National Park. Michael and Pattie Ridgeway from Abbeville, members of Pea River EC, were glad to have their magazine while waiting for the ferry to return from Labrador, Canada. David and Sue Eckman of Elberta, members of Baldwin EMC, took their magazine to Rawson Square in Nassau, Bahamas, last fall.

Setting a beautifultable

Popular Alabama-based Facebook group keeps tradition alive

Beautiful Table Settings group member Sandy Tatum sets her Easter table with a mix of Wedgewood dinner plates and Schumann Bavaria reticulated salad plates, complimented with pale pink goblets from Hobby Lobby. PHOTO BY SANDY TATUM

When I was in college, and some of my classmates were preparing to get married after graduation, the talk often centered around choosing and then registering for the right “pattern.” One for your “good” china and crystal, another for your “everyday.” One for your silver and stainless, and if you were really serious, your table linens. This exercise was usually promoted by mothers and grandmothers eager to ensure that their family tradition continued to the next generation.

If memory serves, the favorites in the 1970s were the colorful Lenox Autumn or its simpler sister, Lenox Eternal, with its demure band of gold encircling the edge of the plates and cup. While I was not heading down the aisle myself, I dutifully bought my share of plates and glasses for my engaged girlfriends. It would be another 10 years before I found myself facing my own such choices.

For members of the popular Beautiful Table Settings Facebook group, however, the world of coordinating patterns of china plates, crystal goblets, linen napkins and silverware is second nature. In fact, it’s addicting.

“I found my tribe,” says Jill Haisten of Montgomery, one of seven members who helps administer the group for Wetumpka resident May Eason, an avid collector of china and glassware who founded the group in September 2019. “I can look and appreciate and enjoy without having to own it.”

Eason, a Wetumpka resident whose 1830s home is a showcase for her collections of vases, pitchers, bowls and Victorian-era containers, was in another similar Facebook group when she decided to start her own. She told her friends about the page, and then

May Eason of Wetumpka founded the Beautiful Table Settings Facebook group in 2019, and it has grown by about 1,000 members every week. On the cover: are Lady Carlyle dinner plates by Royal Albert and Chatsworth production salad plates, cups and saucers made in Singapore. The sterling goblets were found at an estate sale and are monogrammed, she says, with the initials of her “make believe great-great aunt.”

those friends invited their friends, and the group began to grow. Membership really took off when the pandemic hit in March 2020.

“When I joined it had less than 1,400 members,” remembers Kathie LeDrew of Foley. During the pandemic, “People weren’t eating out, they were confined to their homes and trying to find something to do.” The Facebook group of members who shared photos of their decked-out dining room and kitchen tables became a source of happiness for people weary of sickness and negativity.

At presstime, Beautiful Table Settings had close to 164,000 members and that figure grows by about 1,000 every week, with people from across the United States and 90 foreign countries. “It’s unreal,” says LeDrew. Geographic boundaries disappear when you’re talking Fostoria cake plates and Battenburg lace.

The premise is simple: Set a table, then post photos of your tablescape so others can see and comment. The page rules are also simple but firm: Be nice with your comments. “We don’t allow anything about politics or religion,” Eason says. “This is about table settings only. My motto is, ‘If you can’t say something nice, keep scrolling.’”

Many posts are seasonal, with members pulling out dishes and tablecloths to celebrate spring, Easter, then summer, fall, football season, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and on it goes.

Creativity and tradition

“It’s a creative outlet,” says Sandy Tatum, 81, of Prattville. “I used to draw and paint, and now I just set tables!” Like many other members, she keeps a table set with china, linens and tableware in her house.

Gaines Rogers helps his mother, Erin Rogers, set a table with Christmas Tree by Spode at their home. “He loves Christmas and Christmas trees,’” says Rogers. He was given the china by his godmother who wanted him to have something special when he grows up. “He know this china is his and he gets to take it with him when he’s an adult.”

Alabama Living APRIL 2023 13

“It’s a southern tradition,” she says. “I had an aunt that loved to set tables like that, and I also learned that if I keep my table set, I won’t pile junk on it.”

To keep things interesting on the page, Eason designates certain days for certain posts. Tuesdays are for members to post something they want to sell; Wednesday is for telling what they’re searching for. Thursdays might be for telling what they’ve learned from BTS or what they like to collect.

“We try to keep it fun,” she says.

The popularity of the page has been so strong that it spawned another related page, Beautiful Table Settings Magazine, in December 2021. Editor Kathy Waldrop, who lives in Centre, was a loyal page member for several months when she came up with the idea of creating an online magazine. She recruited volunteer writers and contributing editors from the site who could write about topics of interest, from the historical to the practical (such as how to properly take photos of your table setting).

On “Magazine Worthy Wednesdays,” people are invited to submit photos in keeping with that month’s themes, such as Easter, spring, gardens or others, for members to vote on.

At month’s end, she tallies up the votes, with the top 16 making it into the magazine and the top vote-getter winning the cover spot.

Why the interest? Waldrop can think of three reasons: “It’s a rarity. People are not accustomed to seeing gorgeous table settings. When a new member sees these tables, they’re astounded. Then they start reading and following the comments. Also, it helps us have more respect for our forefathers, who did this all the time. And there’s the camaraderie! People get to talk to each other about their china. It’s so much fun.”

Friendship and learning

Meeting other members in the group is one aim of the BTS Bash, which was held in March in Wetumpka. The inaugural event last year drew some 500 attendees from all over the country, Eason says, including New York and California. Members this year shopped at 25 different vendor booths and heard tips from experts in table and floral design, including representatives from Replacements Inc., the world’s largest retailer of china, crystal and silverware, experienced a mini-Antiques Roadshow, and heard presentations on linens, accessorizing and napkin folding.

At the first Bash, Eason says people who had only known each other online were so excited to meet in person that they brought each other gifts.

Sandy Tatum has been impressed by how people respond to each other. “What appeals to me is the kindness,” she says. “If somebody says they need something, two or three will send it to them free of charge.”

Kathie LeDrew especially likes the learning aspect of being a part of the Facebook group. “Like placement, where the knife and fork go, where glasses go. I save every chart that’s posted because they’re all a little bit different,” she says. Growing up with five children in her family, they used jelly glasses at their meals, while her

Top: To dress up a table, May Eason places her Wallace Rose Point silver spoons in a pink Depression glass bowl. Her cream and sugar bowl are are Mason’s Strathmore.

Jill Haisten enjoys setting a festive table, even if it’s just for herself. Shown here are Italian made plate and charger by Vietri, Violet sterling flatware by Wallace.

14 APRIL 2023
PHOTO BY BROOKE ECHOLS PHOTO BY JILL HAISTEN Sandy Tatum created a sunflower themed table using dinner plates from TJ Maxx (“I use them often because so much of what I have goes with it,” she says.) The salad plates are Spode Blue Italian. PHOTO BY SANDY TATUM
Alabama Living APRIL 2023 15

mother saved the fancy glasses for entertaining. Today, LeDrew likes to entertain with her items she picks up at estate sales, on eBay and at antique shops, and she keeps a table set for the seasons at her house.

“For people who haven’t been interested in china long enough,” adds Tatum, “it’s a good learning experience.”

“Everybody’s got such different ideas and taste,” notes Haisten. “We learn from each other.”

Eason encourages people to mix and match their china patterns. A white dinner plate provides the perfect frame for a decorative salad plate in another design, for example. “I pick up things I like and I just mix them,” she says. She and her husband enjoy shopping estate sales and thrift shops. “I have over 100 different sets of china, but they’re not all complete.”

The power of a decorated table

“A lot of people keep their table set,” says Eason, even if they’re not planning to eat there. A beautifully set table “looks inviting. You can just enjoy it while you walk by, and it doesn’t cost anything.”

Group member Erin Caden Rogers of Deatsville says she enjoys “dressing” her table because “I feel like it is almost like dressing myself. It reflects my creativity, my mood. I love a theme and I also love the classics.”

She grew up in Sheffield in northwest Alabama in a household

where her mother often entertained and “every meal was eaten on a real plate.” At 41, Rogers is among the younger members of BTS, and it saddens her that more young brides apparently aren’t interested in acquiring their own fine china. Even the small-town stores that used to cater to brides seem to be closing, she notes.

A mother of three boys, she uses her table settings “as a way to show love for others. It’s also a way to remember. My sterling is my grandmother’s Strasburg by Gorham, engraved with a B for her maiden name. My boys and I polish silver together, and it’s a way to tell (family) stories and history. My crystal was a gift from my mother-in-law and that’s a special thing.”

Haisten caught the home goods bug from her grandmother who used her silver every day. “I came by it honestly. I never sat at my grandmother’s table without there being china and silver on the table,” she remembers.

Even today, Haisten, who loves to entertain, also takes the time to set a nice table even if it’s just for one person, herself, for dining on her outdoor patio. Like many members, she has her grandmother’s wedding china as well as her own from the early 1970s. “Over time you get tired of it,” she says, and you can always add new pieces and change things up.

Besides, there’s always your Facebook BTS family who needs to see your latest creation. And it works both ways. Online, says Haisten, “I can look and appreciate without having to own it.”

16 APRIL 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop
A black and white Colonial toile tablecloth provides the background for Kathie LeDrew’s black chargers, gold rim Victoria Austria dinner plates, Okwan hand-painted salad plates from Japan, Weston Lily Pad dessert bowls, and Luminarc Optic Swirl wine glasses with onyx black stem. PHOTO BY KATHIE LEDREW Using the same blue and white checked chargers, May Eason can change the look of her kitchen table by replacing oriental design salad plates with lemon motif melamine plates. In the background are just some of her extensive china and glass collection. PHOTO BY LENORE VICKREY Group members like Jill Haisten like to have table linens like this vintage dinner napkin monogrammed to match their special china plates. The plate is by Taylor Smith Taylor, part of an antique set that belonged to her niece’s grandmother.

A tale of two cities, and their plays

What are the odds that two of America’s most beloved plays originated and are performed in the same state? Of course we speak of Alabama’s theatrical duo of distinction: “The Miracle Worker” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Together, they are Tuscumbia and Monroeville’s tale of two cities. Each play features a strong female child leading role – Helen Keller and Jean Louise “Scout” Finch. Both shows are performed – at least partly – outdoors, on sites where the story occurs. And each play evokes goosebumps.

Let’s look behind the curtain at Alabama’s plays of world renown.

The Miracle Worker

Tuscumbia’s deaf blind girl who sees with her heart is the epitome of triumph over tragedy.

“The history of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan is one of amazement,” says Jonathan Moore, who plays Helen’s father, Captain Arthur Keller. “It is indeed a miracle. Before Helen Keller, people either lived with being deaf and blind or they were committed to an asylum,” Moore adds. “Annie gave Helen’s life a meaning and purpose.”

Darren Butler, who directed Tuscumbia’s play for about two decades, agrees. “This is more than a play,” the Orange Beach resident says. “For many, it is a pilgrimage. Helen and Annie redefined how we treat those with special needs.”

Preseason auditions are held annually to select the cast. Adult actors often reclaim their roles but child actors, especially those portraying Helen, are good for about two years because, well, they grow up.

“The amount of rehearsals depends on how many new people we have,” says director Caroline Self. “Much emphasis is placed on the actress who plays Helen. I played her, and understand how hard that role can be. We are asking a child to take on huge responsibilities.  She is working with adult actors in live theater.”

Butler agrees: “We are looking for a girl who can keep her eyes still. We have to trick the audience into believing she cannot see or hear. Helen has no lines except ‘wa-wa.’ But inside her mind she is running internal dialogue.

“We want a girl who can tell the story through facial expressions and body actions.”

Not every child can play the key role but Lillie Meyer can. “It is an honor to portray Helen Keller,” says the 12-year-old actress.

Performed on the lawn of the Keller’s home, Ivy Green, Helen discovers “wa-wa,” as water trickles over her fingers from a world-famous pump. The prop is literally a hundred yards from the real one. In the iconic scene, water not only drips from the

pump, it tears in audience’s eyes.

Lillie makes it look easy. It is not. She notes, “In rehearsals and research, I discovered how to portray the movements and facial expressions of a blind and deaf person.”

“One of the hard parts is learning  how to be slapped,” she explains, referencing the “fight scene” between Helen and Annie Sullivan. “Knowing you are about to be slapped but not flinching, takes practice but it’s vital.” A blind person about to be slapped would not flinch, and therefore, neither can Lillie.

Every act, mannerism, and movement is scrutinized to the last detail. The playwright insisted on it. Caroline Self and Darren Butler had the opportunity to meet ‘The Miracle Worker’s’ creator, William Gibson, in his Massachusetts home. Gibson considered Ivy Green to be hallowed grounds.

“He told us ‘The Miracle Worker,’ performed at Helen Keller’s home, must be the best here, as in any place in the world. For this is where it all happened,” recalls Self, about Gibson’s beliefs. “I never want the cast to forget that. We walk the grounds and tour the house before starting rehearsal to connect the story to what we are telling.”

Jonathan Moore notes, “Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan are more than historical figures. They are heroes. Therefore, we want to create the best product we can.”

Appreciative audiences say thank you – some while wiping their eyes.


“The Miracle Worker,” June 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24; July 7-8, 14-15. (No production June 30 - July 1); Friday and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; gates open at 7 p.m. Reserved seats, $20; groups of 20 or more, $17; general admission, $15 For more information, visit helenkellerbirthplace.org

18 APRIL 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop
The scene most closely associated with “The Miracle Worker,” with Jaidyn Quillen as Annie Sullivan and Lillie Meyer as Helen Keller. PHOTO BY MARY CARTON
Alabama Living APRIL 2023 19

To Kill a Mockingbird

Two of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” text messages buzzed throughout Monroeville. “You will never guess who is here,” was a common post, as news spread. Seated in the audience was J.K. Rowling.

The author of the Harry Potter books was in town to enjoy the work of another famous author, Harper Lee. At the show’s end, Rowling vanished before most people knew she was there. But “To Kill a Mockingbird” remains and always will. Once you see it you never forget it.

One does not just “see” Monroeville’s play, one experiences it. “’ To Kill a Mockingbird’ is an immersive experience,” says play director Carly Jo Martens, who as a child played main character Jean Louise “Scout” Finch. “I’m not trying to toot our own horn, but Monroeville’s version is like no other.”

Kathy McCoy, the play’s first director, starting in 1991, adds, “It is a little bit magical, especially sitting in the Old Court House Museum where the story unfolds.”

The play starts outdoors in an amphitheater setting. In the second half, cast and audience enter the Old Courthouse Museum’s court room for the famous trial scene. Jury members are chosen from the audience and on with the show.

Carly notes the courtroom trial scene is difficult because it is uncomfortable. “Watching the trial you want to see justice,” she says. “You want to see Mayella Ewell testify, ‘This is not what happened!’ But she never does.”

“ To Kill a Mockingbird,” often required reading in middle school, has a dark side. Like the book, the play is a delicate balance of a child’s interaction with adult drama.

“When casting for Scout, I have a conversation with child applicants,” notes the director Martens. “For many children, the only acting experience they have is church plays which are usually sweet and happy. But ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is not sweet. It is bittersweet.”

Martens continues, “parents must know that Scout has a lot of lines. The actress portraying her needs to read the script daily.” Like “The Miracle Worker,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” depends on the crucial role of a child actress.

Kathy McCoy recalls the early days. “At first we were concerned

how local people would react,” she notes, about the play’s initial performances. “Over the years the show became accepted. The town became an ambassador for the play.”

Monroeville’s performance is entirely volunteer area actors. “I did not want professionals,” McCoy recalls. “Part of the play’s charm is using amateur – but excellent – actors cast right here in Harper Lee’s hometown.”

The cast has also taken the show on the road, including Washington D.C., Chicago, Hong Kong, England, and Israel.

“I recall a performance in Jerusalem,” notes Monroeville’s Dot Bradley, who plays Calpurnia, the housekeeper. “During the show a guy in the audience keep wiping his eyes. After the performance, he came up to me, weeping, and said, ‘I’m sorry.’

“I told him, ‘Sir, don’t apologize for what you did not do. This play reminds us to respect yourself and respect others. So stop the tears.’ We hugged and he left.”

In 1962, Birmingham native Mary Badham played Scout in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the movie. At age 10, with no previous acting experience, she was nominated for the Academy Award’s Best Supporting Actress.

But in that same evening, the Oscar went to another child actress, Patty Duke, for her performance as Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker.”

Years later, both Patty Duke and Mary Badham attended the Alabama plays they became famous for. Thousands continue to do so.

Everyone interviewed for this story agrees, until you have seen these plays in the towns where they happened, you have not truly experienced them.

Yes, the rockets of Huntsville, the sea ports of Mobile, and industries of Birmingham, draw global recognition. But two small towns, Tuscumbia and Monroeville, put Alabama on the world’s stage.


“To Kill a Mockingbird,” April 14 – May 20.See website for specific dates and times. www.tokillamockingbird.com

For more stories and history,

read Monroeville and the Stage Production of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” by John M. Williams. A cast photo of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” taken at Monroeville ‘s Old Courthouse Museum, where the play is performed. PHOTO COURTESY OF KATHY MCCOY Jeff Kirkland, director of member services at Southern Pine EC, in costume as Mr. Cunningham, with his daughter Maegan as Scout in 2019. PHOTO COURTESY OF JEFF KIRKLAND From left, Everett Price as Atticus Finch, Lesley Coats as Mayella Violet Ewell and Dennis Owens as Judge Taylor perform “To Kill a Mockingbird” in the Old Courthouse Museum in Monroeville.
Alabama Living APRIL 2023 21


A version of this chart which was published in the March 2023 Alabama Living contained some incorrect information. The chart below is a corrected version.

22 APRIL 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop
Arab Electric Cooperative Inc Senator Arthur Orr 3 Clay Scofield 9 Garlan Gudger 4 Representative Scott Stadthagen 9 Wesley Kitchens 27 Randall Shedd 11 Franklin Electric Cooperative Senator Representative Larry Stutts 6 Jamie Glenn Kiel 18 Clarke-Washington EMC Senator Greg Albritton 22 Rob Stewart 23 Representative Brett Easterbrook 65 Kelvin J. Lawrence 69 Thomas Jackson 68 Baldwin EMC Senator Greg Albritton 22 Chris Elliott 32 Rob Stewart 23 Vivian Davis Figures 33 Representative Donna Givens 64 Jennifer Fidler 94 Brett Easterbrook 65 Frances Holk-Jones 95 Alan Baker 66 Matt Simpson 96 Thomas Jackson 68 Shane Stringer 102 Covington EC Senator Will Barfoot 25 Josh Carnley 31 Donnie Chesteen 29 Representative Jeff Sorrells 87 Rhett Marques 91 Chris Sells 90 Matthew Hammett 92 Black Warrior EMC Senator Gerald Allen 21 Rob Stewart 23 Greg Albritton 22 Bobby Singleton 24 Representative Ron Bolton 61 Thomas Jackson 68 Bill Lamb 62 Kelvin J. Lawrence 69 Brett Easterbrook 65 A J McCampbell 71 Prince Chestnut 67 Curtis Travis 72 Joe Wheeler EMC Senator Arthur Orr 3 Larry Stutts 6 Garlan Gudger 4 Representative Parker Moore 4 Scott Stadthagen 9 Ernie Yarbrough 7 Randall Shedd 11 Terri Collins 8 Cullman EC Senator Arthur Orr 3 Garlan Gudger 4 Representative Ernie Yarbrough 7 Corey Harbison 12 Scott Stadthagen 9 Tim Wadsworth 14 Randall Shedd 11 Sand Mountain EC Senator Steve Livingston 8 Clay Scofield 9 Andrew Jones 10 Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter 24 Ginny Shaver 39 Wesley Kitchens 27 Wiregrass EC Senator Billy Beasley 28 Josh Carnley 31 Donnie Chesteen 29 Representative Rick Rehm 85 Rhett Marques 91 Paul Lee 86 Steve Clouse 93 Jeff Sorrells 87 South Alabama EC Senator Will Barfoot 25 Josh Carnley 31 Billy Beasley 28 Representative Kelvin J. Lawrence 69 Chris Sells 90 Berry Forte 84 Rhett Marques 91 Marcus Paramore 89 Southern Pine EC Senator Greg Albritton 22 Josh Carnley 31 Rob Stewart 23 Representative Brett Easterbrook 65 Chris Sells 90 Alan Baker 66 Matthew Hammett 92 Thomas Jackson 68 Tombigbee EC Senator Garlan Gudger 4 Greg Reed 5 Representative Tim Wadsworth 14 Tracy Estes 17 Kyle South 16 Cherokee EC Senator Andrew Jones 10 Keith Kelley 12 Representative Mack Butler 29 Ginny Shaver 39 Marshall DeKalb EC Senator Clay Scofield 9 Andrew Jones 10 Representative Brock Colvin 26 Mark Gidley 29 Wesley Kitchens 27 Ginny Shaver 39 Pioneer EC Senator Rob Stewart 23 Will Barfoot 25 Representative Prince Chestnut 67 Chris Sells 90 Kelvin J. Lawrence 69 North Alabama EC Senator Steve Livingston 8 Clay Scofield 9 Representative Ritchie Whorton 22 Wesley Kitchens 27 Mike Kirkland 23 Pea River EC Senator Billy Beasley 28 Josh Carnley 31 Donnie Chesteen 29 Representative Berry Forte 84 Marcus Paramore 89 Rick Rehm 85 Steve Clouse 93 Coosa Valley EC Senator Lance Bell 11 Randy Price 13 Keith Kelley 12 Representative Mark Gidley 29 Randy Wood 36 Craig Lipscomb 30 Corley Ellis 41 Barbara Boyd 32 Susan DuBose 45 Ben Robbins 33 Jim Hill 50 Steve Hurst 35 Central Alabama EC Senator April Weaver 14 Will Barfoot 25 Rob Stewart 23 Clyde Chambliss 30 Representative Troy Stubbs 31 Kelvin J. Lawrence 69 Ben Robbins 33 Reed Ingram 75 Van Smith 42 Ed Oliver 81 Russell Bedsole 49 Jerry Starnes 88 Prince Chestnut 67 Dixie EC Senator Will Barfoot 25 Jay Hovey 27 Kirk Hatcher 26 Billy Beasley 28 Representative Reed Ingram 75 Pebblin Warren 82 Patrice McClammy 76 Jeremy Gray 83 Joe Lovvorn 79 Berry Forte 84 Ed Oliver 81 Tallapoosa River EC Senator Randy Price 13 Billy Beasley 28 Jay Hovey 27 Representative Steve Hurst 35 Chris Blackshear 80 Bob Fincher 37 Ed Oliver 81 Debbie Wood 38 Jeremy Gray 83 Joe Lovvorn 79 Berry Forte 84 TO CONTACT LEGISLATORS Email via www.legislature.state.al.us | House: (334) 261-0500 | Senate: (334) 261-0800
District District District District District District
Alabama Living APRIL 2023 23

Deliciously Cajun, Creole and more in Baldwin County

About 16 miles from Foley, Silverhill is a community of 700 residents. If you would like to meet them, be at Café Acadiana at noon. Most of them are either there or will be. They gather at the town’s landmark restaurant. Critics praise

Not bad for a restaurant that will be 10 years old in September.

“We have been blessed with accolades,” says Gerald Ardoin, Café Acadiana’s owner, head chef, greeter and server, who performs all four functions simultaneously while being interviewed.

“I do what it takes,” Ardoin says with a smile. “I am here every day. I love my business and enjoy our customers. I try visiting our

When they are busy, which is generally on days ending in Y, Ardoin joins the crew, waiting tables and working the kitchen. His wife, Christina Ardoin, tends the restaurant on Friday nights. Ardoin also credits his employees. “I have a fantastic crew. They cook, handle all the tickets, grilling, and lots of behind-thescenes work. Most of our staff has been here at least two years.

The work, as noted by the restaurant’s owner, is deliciously different. Culinary Cajun, Creole, seafood, steaks and more, served exclusively at Café Acadiana. “We offer unique things here,” he notes. “Many of our menu items cannot be found anywhere else in South Alabama other than us, right here in Silverhill.”

The lunch menu includes Flounder Pontchartrain, a fabulously flat fish lathered with in-house shrimp and crawfish cream sauce. Other dishes include fried shrimp and crawfish etouffee, mahi Orleans, and blackened tilapia. An assortment of Bayou burgers and sandwiches are available, including the Bama Burger, the War Eagle, Crazy Cajun, and the Shrimp Opelousas Sandwich.

There are also daily lunch specials. Today’s features blackened chicken alfredo, pork roast, and hamburger steak.

The dinner menu takes it up a notch with signature specialties: Boudreaux’s Burrito (crawfish, shrimp, and crabmeat stuffed in a tortilla with all the trimmings), Crab Cake Pontchartrain, Fried Boudin Balls and Catfish Gerald

Do not leave without ordering the 12-ounce angus ribeye steak, topped with crawfish etouffee or shrimp Opelousas. One bite of this Cajun concoction can make an Alabama fan

“We also sell a lot of platters,” notes server Kati Fontenot,

www.alabamaliving.coop | Worth the drive |
Story and photos by Emmett Burnett Christina and chef Gerald Ardoin in the lobby of Café Acadiana. A crab cake and gumbo pair are among the popular items on the restaurant’s menu.

embracing plates laden with seafood as she weaves in and around tables.

“And we go through a lot of crabcakes,” Fontenot adds. Locally harvested Gulf blue crabs are a crustacean elation, topped with shrimp and crawfish cream sauce. The sauces are made by Ardoin every morning, before the restaurant opens. He also prepares red beans and rice, crawfish etouffee and seafood gumbo.

Customer satisfaction is high. “When I leave the table there is nothing left from my order but the tails,” claims Keith Felcyn, a Missouri vacationer. He shows his clean plate that once held fried shrimp but now is a pleasant memory. “I come back for the quality and variety.”

A lifetime of Louisiana cuisine

With 40-plus years of experience in Cajun creole cuisine, Ardoin brings South Central Louisiana’s recipes to South Alabama. His epicurean journey began in 1979, in Opelousas, La. Working at his father’s restaurant, Ardoin’s Seafood, the son learned all aspects of the restaurant business. “I’ve been doing this since I was 16,” he says.

After his father retired in 1995, Ardoin opened his own Opelousas restaurant, Café Acadiana. The name (pronounced A-K-D-ana) reflects the Louisiana region and the culinary world in which he grew up.

But Gerald and Christina learned of central Baldwin County on a Gulf Shores vacation. After selling his hometown restaurant in 2003, the couple moved to Alabama’s Eastern Shore. They rented a house in Fairhope and ultimately discovered Silverhill.

“We thought it was a quaint, wonderful town,” he recalls. “We were right.” The couple purchased a house in Silverhill around 2004 and have been here ever since.

After leaving his Louisiana home and café for Baldwin County, Ardoin worked for US Foods for about 8 years. But he missed the restaurant business.

“I had my eye on a small diner here in town,” he says. “After watching five or so restaurants open and fail in that building, I told Christina, ‘I think I’m going to buy that little restaurant.’ She looked at me like I was crazy but said, ‘Okay.’”

Thus was born the restaurant of renown in a tiny community with many fans.

After six months of remodeling, on Sept. 3, 2013, Café Acadiana – the Silverhill version – opened for business. It was packed from day one and remains so today. “Every year we have been open, we have a record year,” Ardoin says.

The recipes are from Gerald, his father, and traditional Acadian fare tweaked Ardoin style.

Café Acadiana has 26 tables, seats 96, and does so often. There is an occasional line at the door, but do not be discouraged. The wait is short and always worth it.

With so many nearby beach restaurants available, the couple are grateful so many choose their place. Their message to patrons is merci beacoup, mes amies! (thank you my friends.)

The feeling is mutual. Café Acadiana’s followers loyally return, from Silverhill and beyond.

Café Acadiana

16137 Silverhill Ave., Silverhill AL. 36576

251 945 2233

website: datsgoodyeah.com

Hours: Sunday and Monday: Closed

Tuesday 11 am – 3 pm

Wednesday – Saturday: 11 am – 8:30 pm

Silverhill l

26 APRIL 2023
Clockwise from top: Shrimp Opelousas is a favorite appetizer. Server Kati Fontenot with an order of crab cakes and ribeye steak with trimmings. The ribeye steak covered in shrimp and crawfish sauce is a customer favorite. Chef Gerald Ardoin in front of the restaurant in the small town of Silverhill.
Alabama Living APRIL 2023 27

How we protect you from misleading advertising and communications

Social Security works with the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to protect you from scams that use Social Security as bait.

Section 1140 of the Social Security Act allows OIG to impose severe penalties against anyone who engages in misleading Social Security-related advertising or imposter communications. You can review Section 1140 at ssa.gov/OP_Home/ssact/title11/1140.htm.

For example, the OIG may impose a penalty against anyone who:

• Mails misleading solicitations that appear to be from or authorized by Social Security.

• Operates an imposter internet website or social media account designed to look like it belongs to or is authorized by Social Security.

• Sends emails or text messages or makes telephone calls claiming to be from Social Security.

• Sells Social Security’s free forms, applications, and publications without our written approval.

• Charges a fee for a service that Social Security provides free of charge without providing a clearly visible notice that Social Security provides the service for free.

If you receive a misleading or suspicious Social Security-related advertisement or imposter communication, please let us know immediately. Try to capture as much information about the communication as you can.

Here’s what you can do:

• For suspicious websites or social media accounts, please take a screenshot of the page. Please note the website address or social media link – and how you came across it.

• For emails and text messages, please capture the entire message and any message links.

• For U.S. mail solicitations, please retain the complete communication, including the outside envelope and all inserts.

• For telephone solicitations, please note the caller identification phone number and any company name or call back number that the caller or recorded message provides.

You can help us stop misleading advertising and communications. We encourage you to report potential scams to the OIG at oig.ssa.gov. You can also call our fraud hotline at 1-800-2690271 or send an email to OIG.1140@ssa.gov

This information will help OIG locate the source of the suspicious solicitation or communication. You can also check out our publication, What You Need to Know About Misleading Advertising, at ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10005.pdf.

Please share this information with friends and family and help us spread the word on social media!

28 APRIL 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop SOCIAL SECURITY Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at kylle.mckinney@ssa.gov. Answers on Page 45
April crossword
Across 1 Springtime Alabama attraction: _____ Gardens and Home in Theodore 7 Hesitation sounds 9 Alabama’s largest manmade lake, overlooked by a charming bed and breakfast 11 Cirque du Soleil show in Vegas 12 Hit the shore, as a wave 15 Alabama Gulf Coast’s “City of Spirit” on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, 2 words 18 Teacher’s assistant for short 19 44,000 acre man-made Alabama water body: a great place to visit in spring, Lake 22 Fictional Alabama town and a flower, ____bell 24 Huntsville _____ Garden 2 7 Majestic 30 Canyon in northern Alabama: a gorgeous natural conservatory 32 Nature preserve in Pinson, Turkey _____ 34 Circumference ratio 35 Flower part 36 “In ___, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love,” Tennyson Down 1 __ Al, the Tide’s mascot 2 Golf courses 3 Cocktail addition 4 Dish 5 Tuna type 6 Welcome word 8 Romantic symbol 10 Faucet 13 Parent and teachers org., abbr. 14 Walked slowly 16 “Wheel of Fortune” request, 2 words 17 Tuscumbia-born lady who was a champion for the blind, first name 20 See again 21 New, prefix 23 And so on, abbr. 25 Dut ies 26 Alabama’s Guntersville or Weiss 28 Water carrier 29 Small unit of measurement (abbr.) 31 Everything 32 It’s produced in Vance, AL 33 Very long time

Around Alabama

15-16 Decatur Morgan County Master Gardeners’ annual plant sale, Point Mallard Pavilion. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. MorganCountyMasterGardeners@gmail.com

21-22 Jemison Antiques in the Garden, Petals From the Past. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Vendors with antiques, crafts and collectibles. Food vendors will be available. 16034 County Road 29. PetalsFromthePast.com

22 Coffeeville Coffeeville One Community’s Spring Fling. Coffeeville High School, 22974 Alabama Highway 69. Vendors, games, food and fun for children. All proceeds go to community center development. Event is rain or shine. 251-769-0346.



Ozark Crawdad and Music Festival, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. This annual event celebrates the history of the city and region, featuring the area’s most famous regional dish as well as local music acts throughout the day. Pony rides, bouncy houses, petting zoos and more for children. Arts and crafts and festival foods. 334-774-2618.

1, 15, 22, 29 Pell City Walking tours through downtown Pell City sponsored by the Pell City Historical Society. First tours begin at 10 a.m. each Saturday in April (except Easter weekend). Register at City Hall, 1905 1st Ave. North. The 11th annual statewide walking tours are promoted by the Alabama Tourism Department. Follow the Pell City Historical Society Facebook page for more information.

3 Pell City Pell City History Day at the municipal complex, 1000 Bruce Etheredge Parkway, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. For more information on this meet and greet, follow the Pell City Historical Society Facebook page.

14-15 Talladega April in Talladega, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Friday features historic home tours in the Silk Stocking District; Saturday highlights the Cars of Many Colors Museum, a free self-guided tour of some of Talladega’s historic vehicles, narrated by the collector. For more information on these and other activities, visit AprilInTalladega.org

15 Montgomery Flimp Festival 2023, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free. This art festival is a day dedicated to stirring the creative spirit and igniting the imagination, perfect for families and children. Local artists will engage with visitors while demonstrating their artistic styles. Mmfa. org

22-23 Cullman 39th annual Bloomin’ Festival Arts and Crafts Fair, on the campus of St. Bernard Abbey and Preparatory School, 1600 St. Bernard Drive SE. More than 150 booths will feature artists demonstrating and exhibiting their handcrafted works. Admission is a $10 donation; children 5 and younger free. Show is a fundraiser for the school. BloominFestival.com

22-23 Enterprise Piney Woods Arts Festival, Enterprise State Community College. This juried arts and crafts show features more than 50 vendors, including artists, jewelry makers, dancers, poets and musicians, plus food trucks, a Civil War living display, a children’s fun center and car and truck show. Free. Sponsored by the Coffee County Arts Alliance. 334-406-2787 or visit CoffeeCountyArtsAlliance.com

29 Cullman Relay for Life, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Depot Park. All are invited to support the fight against cancer. helen@ weltimail.com


LaFayette 27th annual LaFayette Day for Valley Haven School. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. around the courthouse. Arts and crafts, antique cars, children’s games and rides, a motorcycle ride, live family entertainment, a variety of food and more. No admission charged. For more information or to register for craft show or car show, email valleyhaven@valleyhavenschool.org

15-16 Fort Deposit 51st annual Calico Fort Arts and Crafts Fair. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. More than 100 exhibitors in this outdoor show on six acres offers fun for all ages, including live classic country music, food, story tellers, free petting zoo and ceramics. Proceeds benefit community projects. Admission $10 adults and $2 ages 2 to 12. Each year the Fort Deposit Arts Council gives $2,500 in awards to exhibitors. CalicoFort.com


Loxley 34th annual Baldwin County Strawberry Festival, Loxley Municipal Park. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Carnival features rides and midway rides for all ages. Also an antique auto show, exhibits and live music, as well as food options and, of course, strawberry shortcake. BaldwinCountyStrawberryFestival.org


Lake Guntersville Art on the Lake, showcasing fine artists and craftsmen from around the Southeast. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Food vendors, outdoor games and rides and a bake shop. Guntersville Recreational Center, 1500 Sunset Drive. Admission is $2 for ages 13 and older, rain or shine. Event promotes the arts while benefiting a scholarship program for local high school graduates. ArtonthelakeGuntersville.com

To place an event, e-mail events@alabamaliving.coop. or visit www.alabamaliving.coop. You can also mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; Each submission must include a contact name and phone number. Deadline is two months prior to issue date. We regret that we cannot publish every event due to space limitations.



Dothan sixth annual Butterfly Fling to benefit Chrysalis, a Home for Girls. 2 to 4 p.m., Landmark Park. Family event includes crafts, activities, playground, full park admission and individual butterfly release at 3:30 p.m. Each butterfly is $10 in advance, $12 day of event. ChrysalisHomeForGirls.org


Valley 47th annual hike/bike/run, 7 a.m. EDT. A day of events including a 1- or 5-mile hike, a children’s bike ride, a trike and stroller walk, a 10-mile bike ride and a one-mile, 4K or 5k run. Can do more than one event. Participants in the events pay a small registration fee. Prizes and t-shirts to participants. Food and children’s activities available. Event begins at the school, 6345 Fairfax Bypass. Email valleyhaven@ valleyhavenschool.org


Alabama Living APRIL 2023 29
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The Flimp Festival offers lots of interactive activities for children. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MONTGOMERY MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS

Leaving a lasting legacy

Everyone leaves behind a legacy of one sort or another, but few people can claim the recognition that Dr. Bill Berry has achieved. His long career of leadership in education and community service has earned him an enduring place in the history of Mentone.

Raised in that scenic town atop Lookout Mountain, he comes from a family that values public service. His father Jim served for 30 years on Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative’s board of directors; his mother Marjorie worked for 25 years as a nurse at the hospital in Fort Payne.

Berry began his long career of working with young people at Camp Laney in Mentone. After completing undergraduate degrees in education at Samford University, he took a teaching position at Moon Lake Elementary School. Founded in 1911, the school had long been more than just an educational facility – it was the hub of community activities for many Mentone residents.

After 13 years in the classroom at Moon Lake, Berry then served for 13 years as the school’s principal. After retiring from school administration, he spent the next 15 years as office manager at nearby Camp DeSoto.

When Moon Lake was closed in 2021 by the DeKalb Coun ty Board of Education, Berry was commissioned by the Mentone Town Council to lead a study group to develop recommendations for the best possible uses of the campus and its facilities. It was a great opportunity to think creatively about how to turn what would otherwise become a depreciating liability into a vibrant, viable asset for the community. A sound plan would also enable the preservation and maintenance of Mentone’s historic landmark.

After several months of the study group’s research and delibera tion, it was decided that former classrooms would be leased to art ists and craftspeople, the school’s cafeteria would be converted into a restaurant, and outdoor spaces would be developed for public use. Moon Lake Elementary became Moon Lake Village in July of 2021, and all available spaces were quickly occupied.

At the core of the main building, a partition was removed joining a classroom to a small auditorium. The newly creat ed space is available for group meetings and local events. Aptly named the “Bill Berry Community Room,” his legacy will remain at the heart of Moon Lake Ele mentary School.

What made the Moon Lake campus unique?

The incredibly high level of parental involvement and community support was a hallmark of the school across the decades, always providing for the school’s needs and ensuring its remarkable academic successes. I always thought of Moon Lake as “the little school that could,” and I was never wrong! Now this same can-do spirit lives on in the successful evolution from school to village, allowing the campus to continue touching the lives of Mentone’s people in a unique way.

Mentone has a reputation as an artist’s community. How did this impact the school?

Moon Lake drew from the skills of a wide variety of creative citizens, ranging

from the creation of a butterfly garden designed by Mentone’s Rhododendron Garden Club to the provision of an art and music teacher funded by the nonprofit Mentone Educational Resources Foundation. Extensive hand-painted murals sponsored by Camp DeSoto adorned all four cafeteria walls from floor to ceiling, and local artisans and musicians frequently shared their talents for classes and events.

What were the biggest challenges and rewards of leading Moon Lake?

The biggest challenge was maintaining the vintage main building, but this challenge was far outweighed by the reward of working alongside the community to double the campus acreage and then to add numerous new buildings, including a long-awaited library that has been designated as a public library since the school’s closing.

What is your passion outside of your work in education?

My greatest personal passion is independent international travel, and so far I’ve been blessed

| Alabama People | Bill Berry

Alabama’s electric utility lineworkers to be honored

The men and women who work around the clock to keep the lights on for all Alabamians serve on the frontlines of our nation’s energy needs. On April 18, the Energy Institute of Alabama (EIA) will celebrate these workers who work in challenging and often dangerous conditions to keep the lights on.

The EIA and representatives of its members, including the Alabama Rural Electric Association (AREA), Alabama Power, the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority, the Electric Cities of Alabama, PowerSouth Energy Cooperative and Tennessee Valley Authority, will gather along with elected officials to honor them as part of the National Lineworker Appreciation Day at Dixie Electric Cooperative in Montgomery. The national commemoration is celebrated around the country each April.

More than 2,000 electric utility lineworkers are employed by EIA member utilities across the state. While keeping the power grid up and running is part of their everyday jobs, a lineworker’s skill and hard work are put to the test when severe weather strikes.

“Whether they’re restoring power after a major storm or maintaining critical infrastructure to our electric system, linemen are at the heart of everything we do,” says Karl Rayborn, president and CEO of AREA. “They’re ready to get the job done, day or night.”

During the week of April 18, keep an eye out for #ThankALineman on social media channels and show your appreciation for the men and women who light our lives.

Alabama Living APRIL 2023 31 Licensed and Insured New Right of Way clearing Reclaiming Existing Right of Way Forestry Mulching (334) 818-0595 htcompanyllc@gmail.com
Lineworkers in attendance for the 2022 Lineworker Appreciation Day held at Dixie Electric Cooperative in Montgomery. PHOTO BY MARK STEPHENSON

April is the month for tree hugging

Trees give us so much — food, shelter, oxygen, beauty and a host of other physical, psychological, economic and social benefits — so it seems only fair that we give them a hug every now and then. And April, the month in which we commemorate Earth Day (April 22) and Arbor Day (April 29), offers us an excellent excuse to embrace our trees, at least metaphorically.

In many communities around the world, Arbor and Earth Day celebrations involve tree planting activities, but here in Alabama, April is a bit beyond our prime tree-planting window. In fact, we celebrate Arbor “Day” during the last week of February, which is at the tail-end of our best tree-planting weather (mid-December through February depending on where you are in the state).

Yes, we can plant trees now — just be prepared to water them throughout the summer — but in lieu of planting, there are plenty of other things we can do this month and year-round to care for our existing trees, especially those trees living in compromised settings, says Alabama Cooperative Extension’s statewide Community Forestry and Arboriculture Specialist

According to Brodbeck, while trees in roomy yards and public parks tend to fare well, those in more urbanized settings face challenges. “As you move toward a spectrum that is more and more urban, the

space for trees becomes more and more limited and the environment, especially the soil, becomes altered,” he says.

These factors can significantly shorten the lifespan of a tree resulting in the premature loss not just of their beauty but also of their ecosystem services, which typically are provided by trees with larger canopies. Still, no tree can live forever, so how do we find a balance?

According to Brodbeck, it’s by protecting the trees we have while planning and planting for the trees of the future. For new plantings, that means always choosing tree species that fit each site’s space, sunlight and soil requirements and using best planting and maintenance practices. For established trees, it means paying attention to their needs starting with a thorough annual inspection.

“Walk around the tree and look for evidence of root heaving, decaying fungal bodies at the base, lightning strikes or cracks on the trunk and cracks or decay at unions of major scaffold branches,” he says. “Also look at the canopy. Trees die from the tips of branches in toward their center so a tree that is starting to decline will have dead branches at the tips.”

If a tree shows signs of trouble, many of those problems can be solved with a little expert help, including correctly diagnosing the problem before treating it and using proper pruning practices. Improper pruning can not only ruin the look of a tree, Brodbeck says, it can create opportunities for rot and disease to enter a tree and effectively cut its lifespan in half. That’s why he always recommends using a certified arborist to prune landscape trees, to help evaluate health issues and to assess threats

posed by dead or dying limbs and trees.

“Anytime you are asking someone to prune a tree or do any type of health care or risk evaluation, you need to make darn sure they are certified,” he says. “If not, you are solving one problem in the short term and creating three new ones in the long term.”

It’s a great return on investment, he says, and a great way to show your trees some love — in effect, give them a hug.

To find a certified arborist in your area go to treesaregood.org/findanarborist For additional expert tree advice, visit the ACES website (aces.edu) or check with your local ACES office. Your local municipality may also have an arborist, forester or horticulturist who can help. Alabama also has two Plant Diagnostic Laboratories, one at Auburn and one in Birmingham, that can identify many disease and pest issues on trees and other plants.


 Prune summer-blooming and most evergreen shrubs.

 Wait to prune spring-blooming shrubs until after they bloom.

 Start planting spring and summer annual flowers, herbs, summer bulbs and vegetables.

 Plant new perennials and divide old ones as needed.

 Move houseplants outside when risk of hard frost has passed.

 Keep those bird feeders and baths clean and full.

 In need of advice? Call the Master Gardener Helpline at 877-252-4769.

32 APRIL 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop | Gardens |
Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@gmail.com.
Alabama Living APRIL 2023 33


Cook of the Month, Jean Estes

Jean Estes is known throughout Chambers County for her homemade cakes, but don’t expect to see any of those recipes in the pages of Alabama Living. “I sell my cakes and don’t share those recipes,” says the Wadley resident who’s been cooking since childhood. “I cooked my first cake when I was 9 years old.” Her grandmother taught her how to make a white cake with chocolate icing and she hasn’t stopped cooking since. Her prize-winning biscuit recipe, which uses yeast, is one she is happy to share. “This is the recipe I use when I do catering,” she says. “That sugar activates the yeast.” She got the original recipe from a friend but adds, “I changed the ingredients around to suit me. I make up my own recipes.” And White Lily flour is a must for all her recipes, she adds. She calls this recipe “Jean-O’s Yeast Biscuits” because that’s the name her nieces gave her years ago. Retired from Russell Corp. in Lafayette, she also worked for the Chambers County Board of Education at Five Points Elementary School, where she baked cakes and cookies. Now she stays busy catering meals and weddings, and her kitchen is busiest during November and December when she bakes up to 60 cakes.

| Alabama Recipes |
Food styling and photos: Brooke Echols

Cook of the Month:

Jean D. Estes, Tallapoosa River EC

Jean-O's Yeast Biscuits

1/4 cup warm water

1 package yeast

2 tablespoons sugar

5-6 cups White Lily self-rising flour, sifted

2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup Crisco vegetable oil

Mix pack of yeast and warm water in a small bowl. Mix well and then, stirring well, add sugar. Set aside. In large mixing bowl put flour. Add buttermilk, oil and yeast mixture, stirring well. Pour onto a floured cloth or mat. Work a little bit of flour into the dough untill not sticky. Flatten to about 1/2-inch thick and cut biscuits out. Place onto a well-greased cast iron pan and bake at 425 degrees until golden brown. You do not have to use all the dough. It will keep 7 days in refrigerator in an airtight container to bake biscuits another day.

Coming up next...

July theme is Pears

Deadline to enter is May 5

More upcoming themes and deadlines:

September: International Dishes | June 2

October: Pumpkin | July 7

Visit our website: alabamaliving.coop

Email us: recipes@alabamaliving.coop

USPS mail: Attn: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Cook of the Month wins $50! Recipes can be developed by you or family members. You may even adapt a recipe from another source by changing as little as the amount of one ingredient. Chosen cooks may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year. To be eligible, submissions must include a name, phone number, mailing address and co-op name. Alabama Living reserves the right to reprint recipes in our other publications.

Flaky Pesto Biscuit Bites

1 stick butter

1 can flaky biscuits

3 tablespoons store-bought pesto sauce

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place whole stick of butter, all the cheese and pesto sauce on a baking sheet and bake until butter is melted, a few minutes. Stir pesto sauce into cheese/ butter mixture. Separate the biscuits and cut each biscuit into fourths. Roll the biscuit pieces in the melted butter mixture until coated. Bake for 8-12 minutes. Serve with a side of marinara sauce if desired.

Cullman EC

Bunny Biscuits

1 cup plain yogur t

1/2 cup milk

1 stick butter, softened

1 egg

11/2 teaspoons bak ing powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour, white or wheat

1/4 cup carrot, finely chopped

11/2 cups broccoli, finely chopped (or "riced" broccoli)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor, puree the yogurt, milk, butter, egg, baking powder and salt. Add the flour and veggies. Pulse until combined. Using all the batter, spoon 12 dollops onto a cookie sheet and arrange each into a bunny shape (round face + long ears is easiest). Or just keep them in circles. They will still be Bunny Biscuits, since rabbits eat vegetables! Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. Baking time will depend on how many biscuits you make and how big you want them to be. If you make mini-bunnies, check them after 15 minutes.

Robin O’Sullivan

Wiregrass EC

Cream Biscuits

11/2 cups self-rising flour

1/2 pint whipping cream

1/4 teaspoon bak ing powder

Mix all ingredients quickly. Knead slightly. Cut and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Makes small biscuits used by caterers or regular size biscuits for breakfast. If making small biscuits for shower or parties, add meat or cheese to biscuit.

LaCretia Bevel

North Alabama EC

Alabama Living APRIL 2023 35

Did you know that biscuit dough is really a very versatile dough? You can use it to make so many other great things. We love to mix some up and make these beautiful, old-fashioned hand pies. Mix up your biscuit dough, cut them out with a large cutter and add your favorite pie filling and you have a delicious treat with very little effort. While traditional hand pies are normally fried, we make them a teeny, tiny bit healthier by baking them. They come out perfect every single time! For more recipes like this, head over to thebutteredhome.com.

Old-Fashioned Hand Pies

2 cups self-rising flour

1/4 cup cold butter, cubed

1/3 cup ice water

1 egg and about a tablespoon of water (for egg wash) Pinch of salt

1 cup fruit filling of choice

For glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 to 4 tablespoons milk

Mix flour, salt and butter until it looks like small peas. Add in the cold water until a loose dough is formed. Press it together on a floured board and form to a disc. Roll out your dough, fold over itself and in half and roll out again. Do this fold method two more times and roll out your dough to 1/4-inch thickness.

Cut with a large cutter and spoon in fruit filling. Seal edges with a fork and use a small knife to vent each hand pie. Brush with a little egg wash and bake for 20-30 minutes at 375 degrees. You can sprinkle them with powdered sugar or make a glaze by mixing the confectioners’ sugar with milk, or just leave them plain!

Mayonnaise Biscuits

1 cup self-rising flour

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

2/3 cup milk

Combine ingredients. Spoon into greased muffin tins. Bake at 425 degrees until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Yield: 6 biscuits. May be doubled, tripled, etc. for larger number of servings. Works extremely well in stoneware muffin pans.

Sherry Phillips

Central Alabama EC

Monkey Bread

3 10-count cans of biscuits

1 tablespoon cinnamon

½ cup sugar

1 stick oleo

1 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons water

½ cup nuts, optional

Combine cinnamon and sugar. Quarter biscuits. Roll quartered biscuits in cinnamon and sugar mixture. Place biscuits in a greased Bundt pan. Melt oleo; add brown sugar and water. Boil 2 minutes and pour over biscuits. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Optional: place nuts in the bottom of pan before adding biscuits.

Wanda Monk

Cullman EC

4 Ingredient Biscuits

2 cups self-rising flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 8-ounce package cream cheese

½ cup milk

Mix flour and baking powder; cut in cream cheese to form crumbly mixture. Pour in milk, stirring until dough holds together. Pat dough about ¾-inch thick on floured surface. Cut out 10-12 biscuits with a cookie cutter or the top of a glass. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 1215 minutes. Cook’s note: use only regular cream cheese as the light variety will produce a lumpy biscuit. Also, try different add-ins like grated cheese, grated orange zest or lemon peel, dried cranberries, raisins or miniature chocolate chips.

Peggy W. Key

North Alabama EC

36 APRIL 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop
Photo by The Buttered Home
Alabama Living APRIL 2023 37

Easy behavior changes to save energy

Q:I want to lower my energy use, but I don’t know where to start. How can I find out how much energy I use? What are some ways I can save energy without spending a lot of money?

A:You can change your energy use by changing your behavior.

When looking at electric bills, many people focus on the total dollar amount of the bill. When trying to manage your energy costs, I suggest changing your focus to energy use.

While you don’t have control over the cost of the energy, you can control how much energy you use.

Set goals

Instead of thinking about your bills in terms of dollars, think about them in terms of kilowatt-hours. A kilowatt-hour is the unit of energy used for most electric bills. Review your monthly kWh use to get an idea of how much you use every month.

Once you’ve reviewed your energy use, set goals for the next month. Try to use less energy than the month before, and check your results on your next bill.

Know when to use less energy

Some electric utilities offer time-of-use rates, which means electricity costs are dependent on the time of day. This pricing structure more closely reflects the cost to electric utilities and helps consumers understand that energy costs more when the demand for it is higher.

Even if your electric bill does not include time-of-use rates, it can be beneficial to delay energy-intensive chores or tasks to when demand is lower. Peak hours are typically in the morning as we prepare for work and in the evening when we get home and start preparing food and turn-

ing on entertainment devices. Doing laundry and running the dishwasher are easy activities to delay until after peak hours.

Power “off” for energy savings

When looking for energy savings, remember that “off” is the most efficient setting. Turning off lights is a classic strategy, especially if your lighting is incandescent. Consider switching to energy-saving LED lightbulbs.

Computers and gaming systems can waste energy even when in sleep mode. The higher the wattage and the more hours the device is on, the more energy used. Laptops use the least energy, followed by personal computers at about 200 watts. Gaming consoles typically use less energy than gaming PCs. Don’t forget to turn off the monitor as well.

You can lower your energy use even more with smart power strips, which cut power to devices that are not in use. Many electronics continue to draw power even when they are turned off. This could add 5% to 10 % to your monthly bill, according to the Department of Energy. Installing smart power strips is an easy way to ensure devices are completely turned off and not drawing power.

Adjust the temp

When it comes to lowering your energy use, the settings on your thermostat are another great place to check. Keep in mind, the weather affects your electric bill for heating and air conditioning.

The closer you can keep the indoor temperature to the outdoor temperature, the more you will save. You want to protect your home from damage in extreme heat and cold, but if you can turn the temperature down a few degrees in winter and up in summer, you will save on energy costs.

Ensuring your filters in your heating and cooling system are clean is an easy way to keep your system maintained and operating efficiently. Adding annual servicing by a professional maximizes the efficiency and can lengthen the life of your system.

Understanding your energy use and making small adjustments to your routine will help you reach your energy use goals.

38 APRIL 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop | Consumer Wise |
Miranda Boutelle is the chief operating officer at Efficiency Services Group in Oregon, a cooperatively owned energy efficiency company. She has more than 20 years of experience helping people save energy at home, and she writes on energy efficiency topics for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. Ensuring the filters in your heating and cooling system are clean is an easy way to keep it maintained and operating efficiently. PHOTOS COURTESY MARK GILLILAND, PIONEER UTILITY RESOURCES If you can turn the temperature down a few degrees in winter and up a few in summer, you will save on energy costs. Computers and gaming systems can waste energy even when in sleep mode. Be sure to power down these devices and turn off the monitor.
Alabama Living APRIL 2023 39

Conservation efforts save wild turkey populations

Every spring, Alabama sportsmen hunt wild turkeys, a tradition stretching back to the earliest colonial days and eons before with Native Americans. However, this tradition almost vanished not so long ago.

Great flocks of wild turkeys once roamed vast forests stretching across most of North America. Faced with such abundance, people shot turkeys for food whenever they saw one. The meaty birds provided a steady source of protein for settlers moving ever westward.

But by the early 20th century turkeys became rare in many places. The birds also faced extreme habitat loss. From the end of the Civil War to the 1930s, timber companies sawed great swaths through virgin old growth forests and swamps to satisfy the lumber hunger of a growing nation. They left little behind except stumps and dirt.

“Habitat destruction, unregulated hunting and market hunting led wild turkeys to near extinction in Alabama and across the country,” explains Steve Barnett. “In the early 1900s, it was estimated that around 10,000 wild turkeys remained in Alabama.”

Barnett worked nearly 33 years as an Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries biologist before retiring in 2019. For part of that time, he served as the state Wild Turkey Project Leader. From 1986 to 2006, he participated in turkey restoration efforts. Even after retiring, he still helps part-time with the state Upland Game Bird Program.

In 1900, fewer than 100,000 eastern wild turkeys remained in the nation. Some states lost their turkeys entirely. Alarmed sportsmen banded together to demand stronger hunting and conservation laws. Turkey populations slowly rebounded. In 1940, about 11,000 turkeys called Alabama home. Still more needed to be done.

“The conservation movement led by hunters, landowners and state wildlife agencies, who knew we needed to reverse course, eventually attained effective legislation,” Barnett says. “The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937 provided states with an 11 percent federal excise tax placed on sporting arms and ammunition and matched with state license dollars. This provided crucial funding for managing wildlife resources.”

Some states tried releasing pen-raised turkeys, but those didn’t live long in the wild. Clarke County and a few other places still held turkeys. In 1943, Alabama began relocating wild turkeys from places with sufficient birds to places with good habitat, but few or no turkeys. Over the years, groups like the National Wild Turkey Federation and others assisted.

“Turkeys lived in scattered pockets across the state,” Barnett says. “The swamps along the Alabama and Tombigbee rivers and other less accessible landscapes, such as the Appalachian Mountains in eastern and northeastern Alabama, still had turkeys. A somewhat isolated population remained in and around the Bankhead National Forest in Winston and Lawrence counties.”

To relocate birds, teams first needed to capture them alive. For this, they baited an area to attract turkeys and waited. Once a flock began eating the bait, they fired cannons that carried nets over the birds.

“The advent of the cannon net was a game changer and provided the advantages of camouflage, portability, multiple catches and quick set-up,” Barnett says. “The net could be folded accordion style and camouflaged with hay or leaves. Into the cannon, we inserted three heavy projectiles attached by cables to the leading edge of the net. We angled the cannon to fire over the bait. To fire the cannon, we placed black powder charges underneath it. A wire led from the blind to each charge. We set off the charges with a 6-volt battery. Sometimes, it took days for turkeys to return to the bait site. Some turkeys escaped the deployed net.”

Over the years, the state captured about 2,000 turkeys and released them in 46 counties. Most came from places now called the Fred T. Stimpson Special Opportunity Area and the Upper State SOA. Trapping and restocking peaked in the 1960s and 1970s, but continued through 2006 when healthy, sustainable populations thrived all over Alabama. Turkeys now occupy every county.

“The Alabama wild turkey restoration program was very successful over the course of six decades,” Barnett says. “We should be ever grateful for and admire those early pioneers of wild turkey restoration in Alabama. It was with a cooperative spirit along with hard work, long hours in turkey blinds and unrelenting dedication that forged the path to success. Key people who helped bring this most noble bird back from the abyss included Jim Davis, Eugene Widder, Huey Dykes and Fred Pringle.”

For hunting season dates, zones and other information, see outdooralabama.com/seasons-and-bag-limits/turkey-season

40 APRIL 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop | Outdoors |
John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer who lives in Semmes, Ala. He also hosts an outdoors tips show for WAVH FM Talk 106.5 radio station in Mobile, Ala. Contact him at j.felsher@ hotmail.com or through Facebook. Youngsters watch while a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation releases a turkey. Such releases helped to rebuild the Alabama wild turkey population. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL WILD TURKEY FEDERATION


P.O. BOX 389, ADDISON, AL 35540

WE SELL: Steel Trusses • Hay Barns Lumber • Equipment Sheds Building Material Packages Painted Metal • Work Shops Insulation • Kneebraces

Galvalume Metal


256-747-8178 •




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 2023 Moon Clock, go to www.moontimes.com.

Alabama Living APRIL 2023 41
2023 EXCELLENT TIMES MOON STAGE GOOD TIMES APRIL A.M. PM AM PM Mo 17 8:30 - 10:30 8:54 - 10:54 2:57 - 4:2 7 3:21 - 4:51 Tu 18 9:18 - 11:18 9:42 - 11:42 3:45 - 5:15 4:09 - 5:39 We 19 10:06 - 12:06 10:30 - 12:30 4:33 - 6:03 4:57 - 6:2 7 Th 20 NA 12:06 - 2:06 NEW MOON 6:09 - 7:39 6:33 - 8:03 Fr 21 12:30 - 2:30 12:54 - 2:54 6:57 - 8:2 7 7:21 - 8:51 Sa 22 1:18 - 3:18 1:42 - 3:42 7:45 - 9:15 8:09 - 9:39 Su 23 2:06 - 4:06 2:30 - 4:30 8:33 - 10:03 8:57 - 10:27 Mo 24 2:54 - 4:54 3:18 - 5:18 9:21 - 10:51 9:45 - 11:15 Tu 25 3:42 - 5:42 4:06 - 6:06 10:09 - 11:39 10:33 - 12:03 We 26 4:30 - 6:30 4:54 - 6:54 10:57 - 12:27 11:21 - 12:51 Th 27 5:18 - 7:18 5:42 - 7:42 NA 12:09 - 1:39 Fr 28 6:06 - 8:06 6:30 - 8:30 12:33 - 2:03 12:57 - 2:27 Sa 29 6:54 - 8:54 7:18 - 9:18 1:21 - 2:51 1:45 - 3:15 Su 30 7:42 - 9:42 8:06 - 10:06 2:09 - 3:39 2:33 - 4:03 MAY A.M. PM AM PM Mo 1 8:30 - 10:30 8:54 - 10:54 2:57 - 4:2 7 3:21 - 4:51 Tu 2 9:18 - 11:18 9:42 - 11:42 3:45 - 5:15 4:09 - 5:39 We 3 10:06 - 12:06 10:30 - 12:30 4:33 - 6:03 4:57 - 6:2 7 Th 4 10:54 - 12:54 11:18 - 1:18 5:21 - 6:51 5:45 - 7:15 Fr 5 NA 12:06 - 2:06 FULL MOON 6:09 - 7:39 6:33 - 8:03 Sa 6 12:30 - 2:30 12:54 - 2:54 6:57 - 8:2 7 7:21 - 8:51 Su 7 1:18 - 3:18 1:42 - 3:42 7:45 - 9:15 8:09 - 9:39 Mo 8 2:06 - 4:06 2:30 - 4:30 8:33 - 10:03 8:57 - 10:27 Tu 9 2:54 - 4:54 3:18 - 5:18 9:21 - 10:51 9:45 - 11:15 We 10 3:42 - 5:42 4:06 - 6:06 10:09 - 11:39 10:33 - 12:03 Th 11 4:30 - 6:30 4:54 - 6:54 10:57 - 12:27 11:21 - 12:51 Fr 12 5:18 - 7:18 5:42 - 7:42 NA 12:09 - 1:39 Sa 13 6:06 - 8:06 6:30 - 8:30 12:33 - 2:03 12:57 - 2:27 Su 14 6:54 - 8:54 7:18 - 9:18 1:21 - 2:51 1:45 - 3:15 Mo 15 8:30 - 10:30 8:54 - 10:54 2:57 - 4:2 7 3:21 - 4:51 Tu 16 9:18 - 11:18 9:42 - 11:42 3:45 - 5:15 4:09 - 5:39 We 17 10:06 - 12:06 10:30 - 12:30 4:33 - 6:03 4:57 - 6:2 7 Th 18 10:54 - 12:54 11:18 - 1:18 5:21 - 6:51 5:45 - 7:15 Fr 19 NA 12:06 - 2:06 NEW MOON 6:09 - 7:39 6:33 - 8:03 Sa 20 12:30 - 2:30 12:54 - 2:54 6:57 - 8:2 7 7:21 - 8:51 Su 21 1:18 - 3:18 1:42 - 3:42 7:45 - 9:15 8:09 - 9:39 Mo 22 2:06 - 4:06 2:30 - 4:30 8:33 - 10:03 8:57 - 10:27 Tu 23 2:54 - 4:54 3:18 - 5:18 9:21 - 10:51 9:45 - 11:15 We 24 3:42 - 5:42 4:06 - 6:06 10:09 - 11:39 10:33 - 12:03 Th 25 4:30 - 6:30 4:54 - 6:54 10:57 - 12:27 11:21 - 12:51 Fr 26 5:18 - 7:18 5:42 - 7:42 NA 12:09 - 1:39 Sa 27 6:06 - 8:06 6:30 - 8:30 12:33 - 2:03 12:57 - 2:27 Su 28 6:54 - 8:54 7:18 - 9:18 1:21 - 2:51 1:45 - 3:15 Mo 29 8:30 - 10:30 8:54 - 10:54 2:57 - 4:2 7 3:21 - 4:51 Tu 30 9:18 - 11:18 9:42 - 11:42 3:45 - 5:15 4:09 - 5:39 We 31 10:06 - 12:06 10:30 - 12:30 4:33 - 6:03 4:57 - 6:2 7


Information provided by The Alabama Cooperative Extension Service. Find more at www.aces.edu/


Fruits and Nuts

• Season for strawberry planting continues.

• Start spray program for all fruits

• Plant raspberries and blackberries and continue budding apples and peaches.


• Prune spring flowering shrubs after flowering.

• Fertilize azaleas and camellias.

• When new growth is half completed, spray all shrubs with a fungicide.


• Planting continues.

• New lawns may need supplementary watering.

• Also, fertilize at 3- to 6-week intervals.

• Keep ryegrass cut low, particularly if overplanted on bermuda lawns.


Fruits and Nuts

• Continue spray program.

• Keep grass from around trees and strawberries.

• Peaches and apples can still be budded.


• Newly planted shrubs need extra care now and in coming weeks.

• Don’t spray with oil emulsions when temperature is above 85 degrees F.


• Now is the best time to start lawns from seed.

• Water new lawns as needed to prevent drying.

• Keep established lawns actively growing by watering, fertilizing, and mowing.


• Watch for insects and diseases.

• Keep old flower heads removed.

• Plant container-grown plants for nurseries or garden centers.

Annuals and Perennials

• Plant early started annuals or bedding plants from nurseries or garden centers.

• Divide mums or root cuttings. Dig and divide dahlias.


• Avoid cutting foliage of narcissus or other bulbs until it has turned brown naturally.

• Plant gladiolus, fancy-leaved caladiums, milk and wine lilies, and ginger and gloriosa lilies.

• Feed bearded iris with superphosphate and spray for borers.


• Spray camellias, hollies, etc., for scale insects.

• Carefully water new plantings of shrubs and trees.

• Pinching out tips of new shoots promotes more compact shrubs.

Vegetable Seed

• Plant tender vegetables such as beans, corn, squash, melons and cucumbers.

• Plant heat-loving vegetables in lower south Alabama.

Vegetable Plants

• Plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, sweet potatoes, and parsley.

• Spray weeds in lawns with proper herbicide.


• Spray or dust for insects and diseases.

• Fertilize monthly according to a soil test.

• Container-grown plants in flower may be planted.

• Prune climbing roses after the first big flush of flowering.

• Annuals and Perennials

• Late plantings of bedding plants still have time to produce.

• Watch for insects on day lilies.


• Summer bulbs started in containers may still be planted.

• Do not remove foliage from spring flowering bulbs.

• Do not let seedheads form on tulips and other spring flowering bulbs.


• Mulch new shrub plantings if not already done.

• Avoid drying out new shrub, tree, and lawn plantings.

• Delay pruning of fruiting shrubs such as cotoneasters, pyracanthas, and hollies until after flowering.

Vegetable Seed

• Plant heat-loving and tender vegetables.

• Start cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and celery in cold frames for the fall garden.

Vegetable Plants

• Plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and sweet potatoes.

Alabama Living APRIL 2023 43

Reality Check

Cambridge University Dictionary defines “Reality Check” as an occasion that causes you to consider the facts about a situation instead of your opinion, ideas or beliefs.

Reality, like politics, is mostly local. If we don’t experience something with our own senses or in our own lives it is not real. We spend most of our lives avoiding Reality Checks. For instance, many people believe the world was mostly at peace before Russia invaded Ukraine. Some people still believe the world is at peace because peace is all they experience. Those beliefs belie the reality that in addition to U.S. involvement in the Russo-Ukrainian War, we are or have been involved in the Iraqi, Afghanistan, Persian Gulf, Yemen, and Somalia conflicts and more around the world in recent years.

The feeling of global harmony is supported by a narrow view of a lack of military conflict in our lives. Many people have little knowledge or appreciation of global conflicts unless a family member or friend is involved or killed.

The relative ease of our lives, and the lack of external reality, influences our thinking on nearly all issues. My last two articles have covered the future of electric reliability.

Almost everyone takes reliable and affordable electric service for granted because it is all they know. Too many accept the misguided belief that traditional electric generation resources can be replaced by other resources, like renewables, with no detriment to reliability, service, or cost. Too many also believe the electric grid is invulnerable to focused physical attacks.

There are many who need a Reality Check, especially idealistic environmentalists, politicians and community organizers who have no practical understanding or basic knowledge of the fragility of the electric industry and grid. These are the same individuals making Net Zero Carbon and Green New Deal propositions.

Disruptive, unreliable electric service may already be reality for California residents; or for those who lived in Texas during 2021’s Winter Storm Uri; or for the people who endured rolling blackouts in freezing weather over Christmas. For the rest of us, rolling blackouts, the inability to heat our homes, the lack of hot water and television and internet – those are just remote inconveniences that happen to other people who aren’t as smart or lucky as we are. However, just because something hasn’t happened doesn’t mean that problems are not on the horizon. We are all likely in for a harsh Reality Check on electric reliability if current policies to retire reliable fossil generation units and replace them with intermittent renewables are not changed, and quickly.

The PJM Interconnection, a Regional Transmission Operator that manages the electric grid in the northeast area of the U.S., issued a report titled Energy Transition in PJM: Resource Retirements, Replacements & Risks on Feb. 24, 2023.

The report focuses on generation resource adequacy through 2030. The report highlights four trends that pose reliability risks due to a potential timing mismatch between resource retirements, load growth, and the pace of new generation additions.

Trend 1: PJM’s long-term load forecast predicts demand growth of 1.4% annually over the next ten years, totaling up to 24 gigawatts (GWs) by 2030, because of governmental policies to transition to greater electrification requirements and the influx of large data centers.

Trend 2: Utilities are expected to retire 40 GWs of coal and natural gas generating capacity, or 21% of PJM’s current generation capacity, by 2030 because of government and private sector policies. Despite 290 megawatts of generation projects in the PJM queue, 94% of the projects in the queue are renewables and the historic rate of renewable project completion is 5%.

Trend 3: The report confirms that 1 megawatt of renewable capacity cannot fill the reliability void sacrificed by 1 megawatt of retiring fossil fuel generation. Multiple amounts of new renewable generation capacity will be required to replace the retiring reliable fossil fuel generation because of the intermittent and limited-duration nature of the renewable resources.

Trend 4: Projections indicate the current pace of new generation entry will be insufficient to keep up with expected retirements and demand growth by 2030. The completion rate of new projects, from queue to steel in the ground, would have to increase significantly to maintain the required reserve margins.

What does all this technical electric utility language mean? It means: Electric loads in the PJM region will grow, existing reliable fossil fuel plants will be closed because of policy pressures, much more renewable generation will be required to replace retiring fossil-fuel units, and not enough new generation will be built to maintain reserve margins. That means the people in PJM’s region will be subject to power outages and blackouts by 2030.

PJM, the organization that operates the electric grid and is responsible for electric reliability in the northeast, clearly says a Reality Check is needed for the people it serves. When the local lights go out - reality sets in.

I pray it goes a different way, and I hope you have a good month.

44 APRIL 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop | Our Sources Say |
Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative.

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Of poetry, and lessons learned from Dad

April is National Poetry Month. I learned early to love poetry. My father had a library of books he particularly liked. From the time I started reading, he gave me free run of it.

Though my mother was not sure that all of his books were appropriate for adolescent me, Daddy believed that “you can’t read yourself into trouble,” an opinion tested when Mama caught me reading God’s Little Acre. Another story for another time.

Among the books of which both he and Mama approved were volumes of verse, which I read so often that I committed my favorites to memory.

When I was in my teens, I worked with Daddy measuring cotton acreage for the government, and as we drove from field to

field he talked and I listened. I learned later how few kids that age got to spend oneon-one time with their fathers and what a rare experience that was. Often, when the conversation dragged, and even when it didn’t, he would quote verses he loved.

Often, they were humorous little ditties:

“Of all the fish in the ocean, The funniest is the bass.

It climbs to the top of seaweed trees, And slides down on its . . . (get ready)

Hands and knees.”

You weren’t expecting that, were you?

Neither was I.

So, Daddy and I shared a laugh.

Not all his poems were full of chuckles. One of his favorites, and one he quoted at length, was “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert Service.

Filled with dark doings – a burning body rising from the coals and such –“Sam McGee” is not a poem for everyone, as I soon learned.

It happened when my fifth grade teach-

er told our class that anyone who selected a poem and read it to us during “nap time” would get extra points when grades were calculated. I decided to give it a shot.

And so it came to pass that when the class lay down, I rose and read.

The class loved it.

The teacher?

When I got to the part where McGee’s corpse sizzled in the fire, the expression on her face told me that the “extra” awaiting me was not the extra for which I hoped.

When my classmates went out to play, I was kept behind and told that my father would hear of my transgression.



The guy who introduced me to McGee.

True to her word, she told him.

And that evening, when I got home, Daddy gently reminded me that some people did not appreciate literature the way he and I did.

There are worse things a boy can learn from his father.

46 APRIL 2023 www.alabamaliving.coop | Hardy Jackson's Alabama |
Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at hhjackson43@gmail.com Illustration by Dennis Auth

Happy Easter!

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