January 2020 Clarke-Washington

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




From Alabama to Hollywood, and back home A visit with movie and TV actor Michael O’Neill

Green Leaf Grill

Diners at this Mentone restaurant can enjoy the coziness of a log cabin fireplace .



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

24 F E A T U R E S



AREA President Fred Braswell Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Law Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Danny Weston Advertising Director Jacob Johnson Graphic Designer/Ad Coordinator Brooke Echols Graphic Designer Chyna Miller ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL OFFICES:

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

American MainStreet Publications 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181 www.AMP.coop www.alabamaliving.coop USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311


Our first photo

A new year brings firsts, so what better time to look at some ‘first photos’ submitted by our readers.


Alabama People


Souper duper

Wanda Battle uses storytelling and song to teach the next generation about the civil rights movement.

We love soups and stews any time of year, but cold weather months just seem to lend themselves to a bowl of homemade comfort food.

Printed in America from American materials


D E P A R T M E N T S 11 Spotlight 29 Around Alabama 34 Cook of the Month 40 Outdoors 41 Fish & Game Forecast 46 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop ON THE COVER

Look for this logo to see more content online!

VOL. 73 NO. 1 n JANUARY 2020

Actor Michael O’Neill, a familiar face on TV and movie screens, enjoys coming back home to his family in Alabama, including walking with his dog, Sloane. PHOTO: Jeff Raese

34 WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop EMAIL: letters@alabamaliving.coop MAIL: Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

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

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 143 Chatom, AL 36518 251-847-2302 Toll Free Number 1-800-323-9081. Office Hours 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Friday (Drive-thru Hours)

PAYMENT OPTIONS Mail P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 P.O. Box 143 Chatom, AL 36518 Office During normal office hours at our Chatom and Jackson offices. Phone 855-870-0403 Online www.cwemc.com Night Deposit 24/7 at Jackson & Chatom CWEMC App Available from the App Store and Google Play Bank Draft



E-bill notification and payment is mighty convenient I must admit, and many of you know me well enough to know, that I’m usually not the first one to adopt new technology or rush to purchase the latest gadget. In fact, I’m known to be late to the game and when I do make a move, I tend to use it way past its useful life. However, I recently signed up for ClarkeWashington EMC’s E-bill notification and I’d encourage all members to take advantage of the service. Often times around my house, I’m either out of town or we’re just too busy to check the mail or, in some cases, it rides around in the floor board of the car way too long. Well, E-bill notification fixes all those issues. I simply receive an email on my phone that my bill is now available. You simply open the email and can see how much your monthly bill is. If you want more information, you can log into your account from the email and see an electronic version of the bill. It looks exactly like the one you receive in the mail and you can print a copy if you like. You will receive the notice of the bill earlier than you will receive the paper copy of the bill in the mail. And, with an online account, you can always log in and look at the bill or pay it online if you like with a debit card, credit card or e-check. Online payments are convenient and work great but there is a small fee charged by our vendors that is passed along to you. I don’t like paying the fee so I have my account on bank draft which makes it even easier and it doesn’t cost any extra. The

payment always drafts on the 10th of each month and you don’t have to worry about mailing or dropping off the payment at the office and it’s always paid on time. I also have my account set up on levelized billing which helps smooth out the amount you pay each month rather than deal with a higher bill caused by extremely hot or cold weather. Our levelized option averages the past 12 months of your bill so you’re always paying an average bill each month. It’s not the same amount each month but is always a true average of your bill. I must admit, the process to set up the online account was a little bit aggravating but it is a one-time thing and works great once it’s set up. If you need help setting it up or just want more information about E-bill notification and online bill payment, just call or stop by the office and we’ll be more than happy to help. We’re always working to better serve our members whether it is through system maintenance, system upgrades and construction or electronic bill presentment and payment. I hope you will take advantage of this new opportunity as we begin a new year and I hope you have a great 2020.

Steve Sheffield General Manager




| Clarke-Washington EMC |

CAPITAL CREDITS In December, $580,000 in capital credits were returned to members who received electric service from the cooperative during the year 1989. Clarke-Washington EMC has one of the best records of any electric cooperative in the state in returning capital credits and has returned more than $9 million. We are very proud of this tradition and plan to continue it in the future.

Spain Morris reviews capital credit checks.

Clarke-Washington EMC is a non-profit corporation. Therefore, any money that is left over after all the expenses have been paid is returned to our members. The money that is left over is called capital credits. The capital credits are credited to members’ capital

credit accounts based the purchases from their cooperative. This money is used by the cooperative as working capital for a period of time and may be returned to the members. Cooperatives are a special kind of business because they are owned by the people that receive service from the company. Receiving capital credits from the cooperative is just one of the many benefits of being a member owner of the cooperative. If you were a member of the cooperative during 1989 and you did not receive your capital credit check, please contact our office.

CWEMC Pays Property Taxes In December, Clarke-Washington paid $375,281.14 in ad valorem taxes in Clarke, Washington, Wilcox and Monroe counties. The taxes are based on the assessed value of property, plant and equipment the cooperative owns in each county. The largest tax amount was paid to Washington County Revenue Commissioner, Mary Ann Dees.

Steve Sheffield pays Clarke County property taxes to Emalie Smyly.

Polly Odom pays Washington County property taxes to Kitty Grimes.

Art Dees pays Wilcox County property taxes to Sonia Young.

Art Dees pays Monroe County property taxes to Alexis McPherson

The cooperative paid $172,196.80 in taxes based on the assessed value of the cooperative’s assets in that county. Taxes paid to other counties included: Clarke, $162,631.54; Monroe, $20,380.64; and Wilcox $20,072.16.

Alabama Living

JANUARY 2020  5

| Service Awards Dinner |

2019 Service Awards





Thank you for your service and commitment to Clarke-Washington EMC members. 6 JANUARY 2020


| Service Awards Dinner |







Alabama Living

JANUARY 2020 7

| Clarke-Washington EMC |

ARE YOU A K-12 EDUCATOR? If you are a K-12 educator interested in teaching your students more about energy, EMPOWER is for you. This Energy Education Workshop provides an exciting opportunity to learn about electric generation and distribution, with a focus on energy education and fun ways to integrate it into your classroom, using curriculum designed for your students. Other benefits: • Continuing Education Credits for each participant who completes the workshop. • Excellent materials, including a NEED Science of Energy Kit, a class-set of NEED Energy Infobooks (at grade level), access to all NEED Curriculum Guides and supplemental resources. • Opportunities to network with fellow educators.

Learning about Energy can be Energizing!

REGISTRATION DEADLINE JANUARY 31, 2020 *limited availability


Interested? Please Contact Sarah Hansen at CWEMC 1.800.323.9081


APPLY TODAY! The youth tour is open to high school juniors in the ClarkeWashington EMC area. Students can view the Youth Tour brochure online and apply at cwemc.com. Applications and essays are due by Jan. 15 at 4:00 PM. 8 JANUARY 2020



| Alabama Snapshots |

Our first photo 1




4 1.

My granddaughter, Kady, with her first furry friend, Bella. SUBMITTED BY Sandy Kiplinger, Union Grove.

Children, animals and even some grown-ups love playing in the rain and mud. Send us your favorite rainy day photos!

2. Big brother Kole holding his little sister Harlee for the

Submit “Playing in the rain” photos by January 31. Winning photos will run in the March issue.

3. First photo of my daughter Harmony and son Marshall,

Online: alabamaliving.coop Mail: Snapshots P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Alabama Living

RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for

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

first time. SUBMITTED BY Kandice Sanford, Crane Hill.

after he was born. SUBMITTED BY Amy Mosley, Loxley.

4. This was our first photo taken at The Sandbar in Selma, which is where we met. SUBMITTED BY Virginia and Gary Haugen.


James and Sammie Jo Shipman on their wedding day, Sept. 22, 2019. SUBMITTED BY Edwienna Shipman, Marion. JANUARY 2020 9

Spotlight | January Co-ops’ rural electrification trip to Bolivia rescheduled Volunteers from five of Alabama’s rural electric cooperatives were originally scheduled to travel to Challapata, Bolivia, in the fall to bring power to about 60 households that have never had electricity. Due to political unrest and uncertainty about potential transportation disruptions, executives with National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)’s international affiliate, NRECA International, decided to postpone the trip. The political and security situation is now stable, and the volunteers from Alabama are again getting ready to travel to the rural, mountainous area of southwest Bolivia. The team plans to leave in late January and return in early February. NRECA International works with cooperatives to bring electricity to people in developing countries, and has worked with the Alabama Rural Electric Association (AREA), which publishes Alabama Living, on this project. Look for more about the project in an upcoming issue.

RURAL Act passage will help electric cooperatives The U.S. House passed the RURAL Act just before Christmas, protecting more than 900 electric cooperatives throughout the nation from the risk of losing their tax-exempt status when they accept government grants for disaster relief, broadband service and other programs that benefit co-op members. As of press time, the U.S. Senate was poised to pass the bill, and President Trump is expected to sign it into law. U.S. Reps. Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, and Adrian Smith, R-Nebraska, were the lead sponsors of the RURAL Act, which had wide bipartisan support. Lawmakers passed the popular legislation in the final hours of the 2019 session as part of a larger tax and spending bill that funds the government through September 2020. “I serve communities across Alabama’s Black Belt that face persistent poverty,” Sewell said in an interview this fall with electric.coop. “They depend on these rural electric cooperatives for reliable electricity and broadband service, and they are particularly vulnerable to anything that would increase price. These are basic necessities. Rep. Terri Sewell “The tax-exempt status of the co-ops really ensures that these families get the critical services that they need.” The bill’s passage fixes a problem created in 2017 when Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which redefined government grants to co-ops as income rather than capital. That change made it difficult for many co-ops to abide by the 15% limit on non-member income to keep their tax-exempt status. The RURAL Act once again exempts grants from being counted as income and is retroactive to the 2018 tax year. Without the fix, some co-ops would have had to start paying taxes this spring after receiving grants in 2018 or 2019 to repair storm damage, bring high-speed internet to rural communities or invest in renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs. Many co-op leaders feared they would have to raise rates for members to pay the new taxes. 10 JANUARY 2020

Hunting, fishing had $3.2 billion impact in 2018, study says Hunting and fishing in Alabama during 2018 had a $3.2 billion economic impact on the state, according to a report. The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association (ABBAA) shared that number and others at a recent news conference. Pam Swanner, director of ABBAA, said the report underscores the economic importance hunting and fishing has on Alabama’s economy, especially in rural Alabama’s Black Belt region. The report, which Southeast Research compiled for ABBAA, found: • Spending by sportsmen and women supports 73,553 jobs • Salaries and wages: $1.1 billion • State and local taxes generated: $185 million • Contribution to Alabama Education Trust Fund: $84 million • Total number of hunters: 535,000 • Total number of anglers: 683,000 • Hunters spent more than 14.3 million days hunting in Alabama • Anglers spent close to 10.9 million days fishing in Alabama • Alabama residents accounted for almost 91% of the total spending on hunting and fishing in the state. Story courtesy of Alabama News Center

Take Alabama Living with you and you might win $25! During 2020, we’re looking for photos of our readers with a copy of Alabama Living on their travels. Send us a photo of yourself, or other family member, holding a copy of everyone’s favorite magazine while you’re on vacation. To give you an example, here’s Roland Hendon with his copy next to a vintage 1957 Ford while traveling in Havana, Cuba, last year. Hendon, who lives in Mentone, is a member of the board at Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative in Rainsville. Send your photo, name, address, location of the photo and your co-op name to: Mytravels@alabamaliving.coop. Deadline for the February issue is Jan. 8.

Alabama Music Hall of Fame inductions set for Jan. 25 Four Alabamians will be inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame on Jan. 25 at the Marriott Shoals in Florence. This year’s inductees are: Gary Baker, songwriter, producer and bassist from Sheffield; Mervyn Warren, five-time Grammy Award winner from Huntsville; Elton B. Stephens, businessman born in Barbour County who was instrumental in the rebirth of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra; and Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton, Montgomery native and rhythm and blues musician. Induction is reserved for a select few Alabamians who have made exceptional musical contributions throughout their careers. The first induction was held in 1985 and occurs every other year. For more information, visit alamhof.org or call 256-381-4417. www.alabamaliving.coop

January | Spotlight

Find the hidden dingbat! We know we promised not to make our last dingbat very hard to find, but several of you were stumped anyway. The gold Christmas tree was not in a photo in December, but it was the “A” in Alabama Recipes heading at the top of Page 34. Some of our readers wrote us that they spotted the tree in the plate of spaghetti on Page 30. Now, our friends at Terranova’s restaurant don’t normally garnish their dishes with trees, but we can see where you might think a sprig of parsley might be a tiny tree. Another reader saw the tree in the sourdough bread on Page 13. A few other readers thought the tree was on the shirt of one of our Elf on the Shelf subjects on Page 9. There’s indeed a tree on the baby’s shirt, but not the gold one we hid. Therese Harrison of Falkville, a member of Joe Wheeler EMC, said she usually finds the dingbat pretty quickly but this one took her several days. “Almost every page had gold tones on it,” she noted. “This one was definitely the hardest yet.” Her comment is a good reminder to our readers: The dingbat will look exactly like the one on this page, not a different color. This month we’ve hidden a snowflake. If we get a good snowfall in January and you’re snowed in, take that time to have a cup of hot chocolate, prop your feet up, and look for snow… inside your pages of Alabama Living! Send us your answer by Jan. 8. Eleonore Madigan of Dothan, a member of Wiregrass EC, penned another poem for us, drawing a tree for the “A” in Alabama: Page 34, Alabama recipes came with a twist Showing the dingbat that I almost missed Looking at gumbo which is not my tradition, Beef tenderloin is what I do envision. But what I foremost want to say… I hope y'all have a happy holiday Followed by an overflowing horn of plenty In the New Year of 2000 and 20. Happy New Year to you, too, and to all our readers who enjoy finding the dingbat every month! Congratulations to Emma Burnette of Brantley, this month's winner. By mail: By email: Find the Dingbat dingbat@alabamaliving.com Alabama Living PO Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Letters to the editor

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

Lullabuddy article boosts sales

We were in California for the last three weeks with the grand babies. One morning, I logged in to check on things at Amazon and my Amazon store was sold out! Then I went to my website store and saw SO MANY purchases from Alabama. The only thing I could think was that the article in Alabama Living (October 2019) must have been published. I went looking and found it and it is wonderful. Thank you so much! Alabama Living

Whereville, AL Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer by Jan. 8 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the February issue. We would also appreciate any information you may have about this landmark. Submit by email: whereville@alabamaliving.coop, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124. Contribute your own photo for an upcoming issue! Send a photo of an interesting or unusual landmark in Alabama, which must be accessible to the public. A reader whose photo is chosen will also win $25.


James Edwin Horton (1878-1973), a circuit court judge in Limestone County, gained renown for his decision to set aside the verdict and death sentence of Haywood Patterson, one of the nine men accused of raping two white women in 1931 in the notorious Scottsboro Trials. Horton felt the verdict was not supported by substantial evidence. He did not win re-election; even though his ruling meant the end of his public career, he spent his remaining years practicing law, farming and raising award-winning cattle. This statue of Horton was dedicated in October 2017 in Athens, Ala., in front of the Limestone County Courthouse. The photo was taken by Lenore Vickrey of Alabama Living. The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Regina Mack of Covington EC.

I have gotten some wonderful press in my time, but never have I had an article lead to so many sales. I have sold hundreds of Lullabuddies all over the Southeast in just a couple of weeks and the sales keep coming in. Thank you so very much for your wonderful article and for this amazing magazine. People are writing me telling me how much they love the Lullabuddy and how they always read about the best things in Alabama Living. I am really amazed and happy! Thank you again, Mae Robertson, Birmingham JANUARY 2020 11


By Alec Harvey


ad it not been for a speech that Michael O’Neill gave to his “I had just finished my last final and was well into a keg of beer,” fraternity, he probably wouldn’t have been an actor. O’Neill says with a chuckle. “He had heard the address. He said, He wouldn’t have been Special Agent Ron Butterfield on ‘Son, I think you should try acting before the corporate structure “The West Wing.” Or Sen. Mitchell Chapin in “Tom Clancy’s Jack snaps you up.’ I’ll never forget that. I got in my car two weeks later Ryan.” Or the mass shooter Gary Clark, and drove to Hollywood.” perhaps the most memorable guest charWorking with Geer and his daughter, acter ever on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Not to Ellen, at their Theatricum Botanicum, mention all the roles he’s played in movies he’d soon learn that Geer didn’t single him such as “Seabiscuit,” “Transformers” and out – “I must have heard him say the exact “Dallas Buyers Club.” same thing 100 times to other people,” he But after O’Neill, who was about to says – but it didn’t matter. His trajectory graduate from Auburn University with a was set, and it was going to be played out degree in finance, delivered an address to on stage and screen. a national Lambda Chi Alpha gathering in O’Neill toiled away for years, first in Los Muncie, Indiana, he got a call from a fel- O’Neill plays Chaplain Kendricks in the critically Angeles and then in New York, where he low fraternity member – Will Geer, who acclaimed feature film, “Clemency,” which won studied at the famed Neighborhood Playwas one of TV’s biggest stars at the time, the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize. It house, worked off- and off-off-Broadway starring as Grandpa on “The Waltons.” and “did whatever I needed to keep body opened in theaters Dec 27. PHOTO COURTESY OF NEON

12 JANUARY 2020



Alabama to

Hollywood, and back home New generations are discovering tv and film actor Michael O’Neill

and soul together.” O’Neill says. “New generations are discovering it now.” And then, 25 years after launching his unlikely career, the White In 2010, O’Neill took on another role that viewers still rememHouse came calling. In 1999, O’Neill auditioned for “The West ber, and it took its toll on the actor. In a four-episode arc on “Grey’s Wing,” a new series created by a young writing phenom named Anatomy,” he played a man seeking revenge for his wife’s death Aaron Sorkin, and it didn’t go well. by going on a shooting rampage through“You didn’t change Aaron Sorkin’s out the series’ Seattle Grace Hospital. In a words, and I stumbled and messed up the memorable season finale, Clark confrontaudition,” O’Neill recalls. “Chris Misiano, ed Patrick Dempsey’s Derek Shepherd. the director, stepped in and said, ‘Oh, I “It was very difficult, and I needed some gave you the wrong direction there,’ and he therapy after it,” O’Neill says. “It’s still paingave me another chance.” ful.” That second chance would prove to be Moving back to the South O’Neill’s big break. He made his debut By that time, O’Neill had married, and as Special Agent Ron Butterfield in “Mr. he and his wife, Mary, an attorney and sisWillis of Ohio,” the award-winning series’ O’Neill as Senator Mitchell Chapin in Season 2 ter of actor Michael O’Keefe, were raising sixth episode, and over the course of the of “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” which premiered their three young daughters in Marina Del next eight years, he’d appear in 15 more. Oct. 31 on Amazon Prime. Rey, California. “I get recognized for it all the time,” PHOTO BY SARAH SHATZ/AMAZON VIDEO Alabama Living

JANUARY 2020 13

“My wife turned to me in our kitchen one day and said, ‘We’re moving to Birmingham,” he recalls. “My career was at a pretty decent place, and my family was at a pretty decent place. We had chosen to homeschool our girls, and she said our girls were curious and wanted to go to school and there was nothing in California to suit them. Los Angeles is an image-driven city, and adolescent girls don’t need image-driven issues. We had dear friends in Birmingham that we visited a lot, so my girls knew it more than other cities.” So eight years ago, the O’Neills packed up and moved to Mountain Brook. O’Neill, a Montgomery native who had grown up during the civil rights movement and didn’t have fond memories of his home state’s racial history, didn’t know what to expect, but he has been pleasantly surprised. “It’s friendly and smart and I think progressive in some ways,” he says of Birmingham. “You have a lot of people in Birmingham who have repatriated there for the hospital industry, the banking industry, the restaurant industry. It’s a wonderful city.” And their daughters have thrived. Their oldest, Ella, graduated summa cum laude from Auburn in December, and her father gave the commencement address. His younger twin daughters, Annie and Molly, are in school at Rhodes College and California Polytechnic State University. Moving to Alabama didn’t mean O’Neill put his career on hold. “Sometimes I need to be in Los Angeles or New York,” he says. “I go for extended periods of time.” The past year has been particularly busy, with O’Neill appearing in three feature films – “Clemency,” “The Stand at Paxton County” and “Indivisible” – and, among other series, the second season of “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” on Amazon. Most recently, he has been in Savannah, Georgia, filming the first episodes of his new NBC series “Council of Dads,” which will

premiere in March. Based on the book by Bruce Feiler, it’s about a young father, diagnosed with cancer, who puts together a group of six friends to help raise his daughters. “I feel like I’ve been waiting on this one for 25 years,” O’Neill says. “It’s really, really powerful. I’ve done a lot of characters that have driven people apart, and this one may bring people together.” O’Neill has appeared in more than 100 TV series and movies, playing senators, FBI agents, fathers, chaplains, disturbed killers – a wide array of roles. “There are certain things I won’t play,” he says. “I won’t play a racist, and I won’t play a guy who hurts a child.” “Council of Dads” has already joined a list of O’Neill’s favorite projects. “Clearly Butterfield in ‘The West Wing’ is a favorite of mine, and ‘Seabiscuit’ was really important to me because I had three small children at the time,” he says. “I loved ‘Transformers’ for a different reason – I had never done one of those big, big films, and it was just a lot of fun. ‘The Unit’ meant a lot to me, because of the proud tradition in the South of serving in the military.” That array of roles means that O’Neill gets recognized often. “There are a lot of ‘West Wing’ or ‘Seabiscuit’ or ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ fans,” he says. “My wife sees it more than I do. What happens a lot is that people confuse me for someone they know because I’ve been in their living rooms. There’s a lot of that.” And that’s just fine with O’Neill, who might never have gone into acting at all save for that kind word from Will Geer. “I never thought this would happen, and the only part that I envisioned was that it would be better for me late than early,” says O’Neill, who turned 68 last May. “That seems to be what’s happening now. It was a busy year, a really busy year, and I’m thankful. I’m grateful they’re letting the old guy run.”

From left, the cast of “Council of Dads”: August Richards as Dr. Oliver Post, Clive Standen as Anthony Lavelle, Michael O’Neill as Larry Mills. The NBC drama premieres in March. PHOTO BY QUANTRELL COLBERT/NBC

14  JANUARY 2020


Alabama Living

JANUARY 2020  15


Helping women grow family trees and legacies Story and photos by Katie Jackson


amily forestlands don’t just grow trees, they grow family legwho owned long-held family land in Mississippi, was busy caring acies — inheritances that, if managed well, can be sustained for her sick husband when a kind-seeming man befriended her. for generations to come. Before long, the gentleman offered to help Barlow’s grandmother What happens to those legacies, though, if family forestland is make a little extra money by arranging the sale of timber from her passed on, but forestland management know-how is not? family property. That’s been a puzzling question for generations of families, and Barlow, who was working on a forestry degree at the time, it’s been particularly vexing for women who, all too often, inhercautioned her grandmother against the sale, but to no avail. “My it family land without the benefit of family land-management grandma said, ‘No, no, he’s a good boy and he’s going to do me knowledge. Luckily, it’s one of many questions being answered by right,’” she recalls. Alabama’s ForestHER program. He didn’t do Barlow’s grandmother “right.” Instead, he cut the ForestHER is a woman-focused workshop series designed and timber indiscriminately, making a mess of the property and then led by Auburn University Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Professor making himself scarce. “We later found out he was a timber buyer Becky Barlow, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System forestry who didn’t represent her; he represented the mill, but she didn’t specialist who knows firsthand the challenges women forestland know that,” Barlow says. owners can face. Providing hands-on training While there are many experienced female land managers in the According to Barlow, this is a common mistake made by forest state, it’s quite common for women with little, if any, experience to landowners, both female and male, if they don’t know the true valbe thrust into managerial roles. That’s because family land manue of their land and trees or know how to negotiate timber sales. agement has traditionally been under the purview of the menfolk, It’s one of many potential pitoften leaving the womenfolk falls that Barlow addresses in less, if at all, engaged in the ForestHER workshops, the first process. of which was held near BirSince women typically outmingham in 2017. live men, that arrangement “We had no clue if anyone is — and always has been — would show up,” Barlow said problematic for the wives, of that initial two-day session. daughters, sisters, mothers and However, nearly 30 women — female cousins who inherit reand one very brave man — did sponsibility for land, but not come from Alabama, Georgia, the knowledge or connections Tennessee, Mississippi and as they need to carry on the land’s far away as Michigan to learn legacy. It can also be a probmore about the basics of forest lem for the growing number of management. women who are creating their The workshop provided own legacies by investing in Becky Barlow, professor of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn and an ACES forestry specialist, explains how to measure the diameter of a hands-on training in such vital forestland. forestry management skills as These two groups are among tree to members of a 2019 ForestHER class. how to read a topo-map, use a compass, measure tree diameters the growing number of land-owning women in the U.S., which and heights, estimate forest inventory and much more. It also indoubled from 11 percent of all landowners in 2006 to 22 percent in cluded outside speakers ranging from consulting foresters to ex2013 and continues to rise. Whether these women come into land perts from USDA’s National Resources Conservation Service, the management roles by choice or by chance, however, they all need Alabama Forestry Commission and Alabama Department of Connetworking and educational opportunities. Finding those opporservation and Natural Resources. tunities and resources can be a challenge, especially for women According to Barlow, these speakers represent a crucial comwho aren’t familiar with the lay of the land or feel out of place in a ponent of forest management. “Landowners usually have multiprimarily male-dominated industry. ple objectives for their land, ranging from harvesting timber and This need has spurred the creation of numerous woman-fohunting to environmental and historical preservation and more, cused forest and woodland landowner programs across the counso they need a team of people with a broad range of expertise to try. Here in Alabama, where two-thirds of the state’s 23 million answer their questions.” acres of forestland is family-owned, Barlow and her Extension Since that first workshop, Barlow has taken the forestry basics colleagues recognized a similar need and created ForestHER, the course to locations across the state. She has also expanded Foridea for which sprang from Barlow’s own experience in her home estHER programming to include shorter workshops focused on state of Mississippi. specific topics like tree thinning, controlled burning, wildlife and “It started with my grandma,” Barlow says. Her grandmother,

16 JANUARY 2020


While there are many experienced female land managers in the state, it’s quite common for women with little, if any, experience to be thrust into managerial roles. pond management, forest history and much more. agement plan.” That plan has helped the Kinstleys gain Alabama ForestHER workshops not only build knowledge, they also help TREASURE and Stewardship Forest certifications and also helped women refine their vision as landowners. Take Donna Kinstley, for them refine and, in some cases refocus, their land management example. Kinstley and her husband, Anthony, own and manage a strategies. 130-acre piece of land in Blount County. “The other thing is more intangible: to make the best of what we “As long as I can remember, we dreamed of having property do have,” she continues. “We don’t have a lot of knowledge, monoutside the city,” Kinstley says. It took them a long time, and a lot ey or even perfectly compliant land, but we can, and have, made of Sunday scouting drives, but improvements that are signifithey finally found and bought cantly impacting the wildlife as this property, located a little well as people who enjoy this over an hour from their home property.” in Hoover, in 2013. According to Barlow, those With help from such organikinds of takeaways, which are zations as the ADCNR and the unique to each participant, are Alabama Forest Owners Asat the core of ForestHER. Its sociation, the Kinstleys began goal is to help participants enmaking basic improvements vision the future of their land to the property, which they use and give them the confidence for hunting, outdoor education to pursue that vision. Ultimateand as a spiritual retreat for ly, that may mean Alabama’s family and friends. According female — and male — family to Kinstley, however, the huge forestland owners can grow not turning point for their proper- ForestHER participants practice using a clinometer, a device that allows just trees, but family legacies. ty came from her ForestHER foresters and forestland owners to measure tree heights without having to climb the trees. workshop experience. To learn more about ForestHER “I had two big takeaways from that ForestHER workshop,” Kinand upcoming workshops, go to aces.edu/blog/topics/forestry/forstley says. “The first was, it inspired us to work with the Alabama esther-workshops/, contact your local Cooperative Extension office Forestry Commission to create a working wildlife habitat manor email Barlow at rjb0003@auburn.edu.

Seeing the forest and the trees is a big part of the ForestHER program, but it is also a chance for forestland owners to connect with other women -- and men -striving to better manage and sustain family forestland and family legacies. Alabama Living

JANUARY 2020 17

How electric vehicles will shape the future of driving P By Paul Wesslund

redictors of future auto and energy forecasts say that by the end of this new decade, some versions of electric vehicles (EVs) could account for half of auto sales in the world. The trends that could lead to those projections include better battery technology and a rising interest in energy efficiency for buses, rideshare vehicles and even electric scooters. EV sales jumped an incredible 75% from 2017 to 2018, according to the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers, but by the end of 2018, EVs still only accounted for less than 2% of the overall vehicle market. But auto companies see those small numbers as an opportunity for growth. Around the world, they are investing $225 billion over the next three years to develop more EVs. Industry groups report that manufacturers are now offering more than 40 different models of EVs, a number expected to grow to more than 200 over the next two years. An analysis by the J.P. Morgan investment firm sees traditional internal combustion engine vehicles falling from a 70% share of the market in 2025 to just 40% by 2030.

tricity produces less greenhouse gases than other forms of energy, especially with the increasing use of renewable power sources to generate electricity. The ACEEE study cites transportation as a sector of the economy that could produce the biggest gains in energy efficiency, mainly due to a shift toward EVs. The study says, “Electric vehicles are generally more efficient and have lower emissions than gasoline or diesel internal combustion engine vehicles. Thus, operating costs are typically lower for electric vehicles.” While efficiency and environmental concerns provide reasons for EV growth, it also helps that they’re getting cheaper. A lot cheaper. One of the biggest costs of an EV is the battery, and fierce competition is driving down prices. The incentives for researchers and manufacturers to lower costs have reduced battery prices about 15% a year for the past 20 years. As a result, the cost of the battery has dropped from more than half the cost of an EV four years ago, to one-third today, and is expected to be down to about one-fifth the cost by 2025, according to the research firm BloombergNEF.

The efficiency of electricity

Electric buses, scooters and ridesharing

What’s powering those predictions is the worldwide interest in the related desires for less pollution, higher efficiency and greater economy. A study by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) concludes that elec-

As battery prices drop, they get better. In the case of a battery, better means they last longer, which addresses one of the biggest roadblocks to more people buying EVs.

EV Market Growth Electric vehicles (EVs) accounted for just 2% of the 2018 vehicle market, but EV sales increased by 75% from 2017 to 2018—a significant jump. 18 JANUARY 2020

Source: Alliance of Auto Manufacturers


Alabama Living

JANUARY 2020 19

There’s a term for the concern that an EV battery will run out before you’re done driving for the day—range anxiety. But batteries can now provide a range of 200 miles before needing a recharge, well above the 40 miles a day that most people drive, even in rural areas. Which brings up another roadblock to EVs—how you charge them. One easy place to charge an EV would be in your garage overnight, and your local electric co-op can help you with advice on how to do that. There are different ways to charge your car, from a standard outlet, which takes longer, to higher-voltage techniques that might require an upgrade your co-op can help with. Electric co-ops around the country are also helping to install charging stations around the country— another factor people will want available before buying an EV. That number is growing as well. The Department of Energy reports that in the past two years, the number of EV charging stations in the U.S. has increased from 16,000 to 22,000. Experts expect some of the strongest growth of electric transportation to come in specialized uses that could expand to wider acceptance. Bloomberg expects that by 2040, 81% of municipal

bus sales will be electric. Ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber are another expected market. More than a billion people around the world use ridesharing services and the stop-and-go nature of rideshare driving could make the greater efficiency of EVs attractive to those drivers. New technology also brings unexpected uses. One industry writer says a new electric scooter with a range of 75 miles and a top speed of 15 miles per hour could change what we think of as a vehicle. As the Bloomberg study concludes, “Electrification will still take time because the global fleet changes over slowly, but once it gets rolling in the 2020s, it starts to spread to many other areas of road transport. We see a real possibility that global sales of conventional passenger cars have already passed their peak.” Paul Wesslund writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape.


Taking a look at the cancer trilogy: Prevalence, cause and prevention


irst of all, Happy New Year! Now to continue with our discussion on cancer in our pets. Previously, I’d talked about the prevalence and causes of cancer. As this is not a scientific article, I will keep it simple, but let’s focus on cancer prevention. • Avoid cancer prone breeds. This is not to say that mixedbreed dogs do not get cancer; they do, but why stack the odds against us? • Spay and neuter your pets at the proper time. This will eliminate chances of testicular cancer and greatly reduce chances of breast cancer. • Keep your cats indoors. This eliminates the chance of them fighting with a cat that is positive for feline leukemia. The transmitted virus can cause cancer in cats. • Reduce the number of chemicals in your life. The best deodorizer for your home is the open window (unless you live next to a chicken house!) Avoid plug-ins, scented candles, chemical cleaners, dryer sheets, etc. • Avoid smoking, especially indoors. This can increase the chances of nasal cancer in dogs and lymphoma in cats. • We know that in humans, processed meat increases the chances of cancer. Avoid giving your pets processed meat. • We think it’s best if you can cook for your pet, but that may not be practical for most people. An easier idea would be to add cancer-preventing veggies and fruits like steamed or sauGoutam Mukherjee, DVM, MS, Ph.D. (Dr. G) has been a veterinarian for more than 30 years. He works at his home as a holistic veterinarian in northeast Alabama. Send pet-related questions to drg.vet@gmail.com.

20 JANUARY 2020

Editor’s note: Third of three parts

téed broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and fresh blueberries and apples to existing dog food. We make that in a slow cooker and freeze away in yogurt containers. If you’d like more guidelines, email me. Choosing the “best” off-the-shelf pet food is a challenging task to say the least! We intend to tackle that in a future issue. • If you are one of the rare and brave few who cooks for your pet, here comes a controversial suggestion! Avoid animal products as much as possible! In our case, we cook organic vegetarian meals for our dogs. We have to use meat for our cats, though, as they are obligate carnivores. Consult with your veterinarian on how to make a balanced meal. • This last point may be one of the most important. Keep your pet skinny. Obesity is second only to smoking as the biggest preventable cause of cancer in the U.S. Clients are always asking how much their dog should weigh. It’s not just the pounds, it’s the shape of the pounds. We should be able to see their ribs when they are turning and stretching their sides. We should not be able to see their ribs when they are standing straight; that is too skinny. Before we part, one more thing. Two years ago, I started writing this column with the hope of bettering the lives of dogs and cats around us. My great lamentation is that people who read my articles probably do not need to read them and people who need to read my articles probably do not read them. If you are reading this article, you probably do not have an unprotected animal outside in the cold. Please keep an eye out for dogs and cats who are left outside without proper protection in this cold. Spread the word. If you can afford to, please help out your neighbor with a shelter for their dog! www.alabamaliving.coop

Alabama Living

JANUARY 2020  21

| Alabama People |

Wanda Battle

Carrying King’s legacy forward Through her position as tour director at the historic Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in downtown Montgomery, Wanda Battle has the unique opportunity to share the message and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who pastored there from 1954 to 1960. It is a responsibility she takes seriously, and her talks are informative and full of history; but her tours are also engaging and enjoyable and begin (and end) with hugs and selfies. Her energy, joyful personality and love for people is infectious and undeniable. – Allison Law You grew up in Montgomery? I absolutely did. I was born Sept. 11, 1956, so I was born two months before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled bus segregation unconstitutional in Alabama. This was toward the end of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. My parents worked in the boycott, and (my family) has always been active in the civil and human rights movement. In 1965, when I was 9, I remember very clearly the Selma to Montgomery march. I wasn’t old enough to be in the march. But I remember March 24, 1965, when all the celebrities – Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter, Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, Leonard Bernstein – played at the Stars for Freedom rally at St. Jude (which helped encourage the marchers to continue their journey toward the Capitol). I remember, a white guy put me on his shoulders so I could see the concert! I can still envision what that looked like, up on his shoulders, watching all of those stars. The atmosphere that night was so magnetic. It was so much energy, a momentum that could not be stopped. When Dr. King was killed April 4, 1968, my mother moved us away to Atlanta in August of that year. I completed high school (there) and graduated from Spelman College in 1977. When did you come back to Montgomery? In December 1994. My third husband got me back home, and he passed away 8 months after we got here. I understand (now) why God had him to bring me back home. For such a time as this, this work that I’m doing here at Dexter, it’s like the answer to all of the challenges and all of the journey getting here.

where they are. That’s another gift God has given me, the gift of teaching. Almost everybody in my family has the gift of teaching. We love sharing information and making it relatable. I’ve always had a creative mind when it comes to teaching children. I sing songs, or I engage them, to ask them questions about things to see what they know. That singing is a hallmark of your tours. I started singing on the tours because during the civil rights movement, prayer and singing were essential to Dr. King’s leadership. Whatever he did, he was going to pray and he was going to sing freedom songs. I started trying to bring some of that experience to visitors. But also, it gives them a sense of, where are we taking this love? This movement that represented love and struggle and victory and sacrifice. What do we do with it? Does it ever get old, doing these tours? (Philosopher and activist) Cornel West said it two years ago when he came here to speak at Auburn. He said “to do this work, you’ve got to pour it all out. You can’t leave anything left.” Many nights we go home, and we are so tired. Because when you are laboring doing spiritual work – it’s called tourism ministry here at Dexter – when we get home, it’s like physically we feel tired. But in the spirit, it never gets old. What happens every day is nothing short of miracles, of meeting all of the wonderful people and the interactions that are so diverse and varied. That’s why I take so many photographs!

Talk about your work at Dexter. I have such a rare opportunity here in this position as tour director and a tour guide here at this church, which represents humanity of all people and respect, and affirmation of every diversity of person, and to honor and value what everybody brings to the table. This place represents that. It’s like God put me here. … The nonviolent movement of love and unity still continues. But it’s not about being in a protest with a sign. It’s about a lifestyle, it’s how we live every day, with the people in our homes, how we treat people in the community. How do we think about people of different diversities. It challenges all of us to be better, or to try to want to be better, if we choose to. Please understand, I said the word “choose.” Every day, every one of us are choosing how to live this life with one another. I choose to love, forgive, be kind. I choose to be joyful. You relate so well to children and young people. How do you do that? Whenever I have children around me, I go into kids’ world. I go 22 JANUARY 2020


Alabama Living

JANUARY 2020  23

| Worth the drive |

Green Leaf Grill chef keeps things simple, fresh and local

Story and photos by Liz Young


immy Rogers grew up in a family that spent most of their time in the kitchen cooking great fresh food. “Dad and I would dream up new recipes all the time,” says Rogers, and the typical feast included the harshest of food critics made up of grandparents, aunts and uncles. It was their opinion that mattered most and trained Rogers in cooking the best food possible. Growing up on nearby Sand Mountain, Rogers spent a good deal of time in Little River Canyon and Mentone. Returning to the area for a high school reunion renewed his appreciation for the beauty of the area. “I was pleasantly surprised that Mentone had remained as I remembered — serene, natural — like time stood still.” Then the perfect opportunity presented itself for Rogers to move back to the area, bringing with him his signature down-home style food. “I wanted to show Mentone what I learned about serving great food: fresh and simple.” He partnered with the owner of Green Leaf Grill and fell right into place in the small town with a

population of just over 300 residents. Green Leaf Grill, named for the natural refreshing surroundings, is located in the Log Cabin Craft Village on the main drag in Mentone, the quirky, artsy town atop Lookout Mountain in the foothills of the Appalachians in northeast Alabama. Built in the 1800s — and originally an American Indian trading post — the log cabin that is Green Leaf Grill maintains its naturally rustic charm with a nod to a past unchanged over time. Rogers is known as a “famed local cook” with a huge following who serves up authentic Southern fare at a more-than-reasonable price. “We enjoy being able to offer a simple bowl of pinto beans and cornbread for $2.95 as well as the higher-end $28 Fresh Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes made from Alabama wild caught jumbo lump crab meat when in season,” says

Mentone’s beloved local chef Jimmy Rogers on the front porch of the Green Leaf Grill Fresh from North Carolina, Rogers’ Rainbow Trout is a customer favorite.

24 JANUARY 2020

Rogers maintains a cozy atmosphere in the historic log cabin by keeping the fires stoked on a chilly day.


Green Leaf’s Bama Grown Fried Catfish Sandwich was named best sandwich in the state of Alabama by People magazine.

Rogers. Starting with a hand-written menu, Rogers “put it all out there” for his customers to decide on what to include on the final printed version. And decide they did. If you poll visitors, you’ll immediately start a serious discussion over what to order. Included on that must-order list are BLTs, fried green tomatoes, the Greek pork chop and the cheeseburger, to name a few. But hands-down, the catfish tops the charts. Green Leaf serves its farm-fresh catfish three ways — Southern fried, blackened or grilled — techniques that named Rogers’ catfish as Bama’s Best Catfish in 2018, a contest sponsored by the Alabama Catfish Producers that included over 200 entries. “It was an honor to be a finalist, but winning is just a dream come true,” says Rogers. “I was born and raised eating catfish. It’s always been on my menu, and it’s our best-seller.” And the awards keep rolling in. In 2019 Green Leaf Grill was named Best Restaurant in DeKalb County. In a recent issue, People magazine listed the Green Leaf ’s Bama Grown Fried Catfish Sandwich — served on sourdough bread with tartar sauce, lettuce and tomato — as the best sandwich in the state of Alabama. “We take pride in offering well-prepared traditional American comfort food that brings folks back,” Rogers says. Speaking of bringing folks back, Rogers reports that at any given time, not only do you find a good number of locals, but visitors drop in from all over the world. He is constantly amazed at the “variety of people our little town attracts” and as an example tells of a diner from Redding, Calif., who shook Rogers’ hand upon leaving, thanked him for his meal and said that was the best trout he had ever eaten. “That’s Rainbow Trout fresh Alabama Living

A staple side-item, the fried green tomatoes are high on the list of “do not miss” recommendations.

from North Carolina,” Rogers told him, thrilled that yet another customer made the trip to Green Leaf and was pleased with his find. Reportedly the Rainbow Trout is a close contender to the top-spot catfish. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday and during the day on Sunday, Green Leaf — a member of Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative — serves guests outside on the dog-friendly porch with a shaded view of the local shops, or inside where diners can enjoy the coziness of a traditional log cabin. Rogers keeps four fireplaces stoked during the cooler months. Drinks — family-friendly in a non-alcoholic way — are served in Mason jars. And within the tight-knit eclectic community of Mentone, Rogers is somewhat of a hero. Firemen and policemen — regardless of where they serve — always get a 20 percent discount. Veterans eat free on Veterans Day, as well as the widows of veterans. When asked about the typical high-stress life of a chef, Rogers maintains that the rewards far outweigh the challenges of running a busy restaurant six days a week. “It makes me happy to see folks enjoy a meal made as fresh and as local as I can get it. Seeing smiles on customers’ faces when they take that first bite — that’s what it’s all about.” And with a wink Rogers added, “And honestly, this is my social life. My customers are my connection. I wouldn’t live life any other way.” No doubt that an outing to Green Leaf Grill might just make you a friend of Jimmy Rogers for life.

Green Leaf Grill

6080 Alabama Highway 117 Mentone, AL 35984 256-634-2110 greenleafgrillmentone.com Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday


JANUARY 2020 25

Home cooks show off Crock Pot skills


argaret Goins of Montgomery got an extra special birthday present this year. Goins won first place in Alabama Living’s annual “Crockin’ It” cooking contest at the Alabama National Fair last fall. The competition just so happened to fall on her birthday. The judges loved her Crock Pot Pecan Pie recipe, which features Alaga syrup (one of the rules of the contest is that each recipe must feature at least one Alabama-made ingredient). Goins has been entering cooking contests at the Fair since 2004, and each year she enters nearly all the contests held at the Creative Living Center. She says she has a wall in her home that’s full of ribbons, and the last time she counted she was up to 53. She’d heard a friend talk some time ago about a Crock Pot dessert and decided to try one this year. (Desserts aren’t new to the competition; in fact, the 2016 winning dish was called Rocky Road Dessert.) Goins says she plans basically all year for the recipes she’ll enter in the fair competitions, since she enters so many. “I’ve got plenty of testers around,” she says. No doubt that makes her friends and family happy! – Allison Law

From left: The “Crockin’ It” contest third-place winner Felicia Moore; Lenore Vickrey, editor of Alabama Living magazine; second-place winner Tif Smith; Deborah Paul, director of the Creative Living Center; first-place winner Margaret Goins; and Huey Thornton, 2019 Alabama National Fair president. PHOTO BY ALLISON LAW

3rd Place

Felicia Moore, Hope Hull

Sticky Spicy Slow-Cooked Ribs

2 racks pork ribs Salt and pepper 1 13-ounce jar apricot preserves 1 cup ketchup ½ cup yellow mustard ½ cup soy sauce 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo, finely chopped Alaga hot sauce, to taste 3 tablespoons corn starch

Cut the ribs into two rib pieces, season with salt and pepper and put in the slow cooker.

1st Place 1 3 1 2 /3 1 1 /2 1

Margaret Goins, Montgomery

Crock Pot Pecan Pie

uncooked pie crust eggs cup sugar cup Alaga dark syrup cup chopped pecans cup margarine, melted teaspoon vanilla

26 JANUARY 2020

Spray Crock Pot with nonstick cooking spray. Place pie crust in Crock Pot and press the edges about a half-inch up the sides of the pot. In a mixing bowl, stir the remaining ingredients until well mixed. Pour on top of the pie crust. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours.

In a bowl, mix the preserves, ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, garlic, chipotle peppers and hot sauce. Pour over the ribs. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or 3 to 4 hours on high. When the ribs are cooked, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove ribs from the slow cooker to an oven pan. Remove the meat juices to a skillet on medium heat; add corn starch and cook until thickened. Brush the ribs with the sauce every 10-15 minutes, until the ribs are glazed and sticky, about 45 minutes. Serve with extra sauce.

What’s in a Name?

Most of us use “slow cooker” and “Crock Pot” interchangeably, but not all slow cookers are Crock Pots; it is the brand name of the first slow cooker on the market. Invented in the 1940s and first introduced in the 1950s under another name, it became the Crock Pot when the company Rival bought the invention and re-introduced it in the 1970s. Crock Pots proved instantly popular, but then, in the 1980s, sales waned when microwaves became the latest kitchen rage. Now they’re back in style. In the last decade, all brands of slow cookers have enjoyed a surge in sales. Some figures state an increase in overall sales of more than 65 percent since 2008. —Jennifer Kornegay www.alabamaliving.coop

2nd Place

Tif Smith, Montgomery

Slow Cooker Oxtail Stew

4 pounds oxtail /2 cup apple cider vinegar 2 tablespoons olive oil Salt and pepper to taste 2 medium leeks, sliced white and light green parts only 1 onion, chopped 2 tablespoons minced garlic 1 cup red wine 1 can stewed tomatoes 5 tablespoons tomato paste 3 cups beef stock 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 2 sprigs fresh thyme 2 sprigs fresh rosemary 2 bay leaves 4 medium carrots, sliced 2 sticks celery, diced 4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped ¼ cup all-purpose flour 1 cup frozen peas 1 can corn 8 shakes Alaga hot sauce ¼ cup Alaga dark syrup Freshly chopped parsley to garnish


In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the oxtail and add to the skillet and sear on each side for 2-3 minutes. Transfer beef to the slow cooker. Add leeks, onion, garlic, red wine, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, 3 cups beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or high for 2 to 3 hours or until the meat falls off the bone. Strip the meat from the bones and discard bones and any excess fat. Add carrots, celery and potatoes. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or until the vegetables are fork-tender. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and 1/2 cup stew broth. Stir flour mixture into the slow cooker along with the frozen peas, corn, hot sauce and syrup. Cover and cook on high heat for an additional 30 minutes or until thickened. Serve immediately with parsley garnish.

Clean the oxtail by rinsing them and let them sit in water with the apple cider vinegar for about 30 minutes. Take out of water and let drain, then run them under water again.

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Social Security benefits increase in 2020


ach year, we announce the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). By law, federal benefits increase when the cost of living rises, as measured by the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). Usually, there is an increase in the benefit amount people will receive each month, starting the following January. Nearly 69 million Americans will see a 1.6 percent increase in their Social Security benefits and SSI payments in 2020. Other changes that will happen in January 2020 reflect the increase in the national average wage index. For example, the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security payroll tax will increase to $137,700 from $132,900. The earnings limit for workers who are younger than “full” retirement age (age 66 for people born in 1943 through 1954) will increase to $18,240. (We deduct $1 from benefits for each $2 earned over $18,240.) The earnings limit for people turning 66 in 2020 will increase Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at kylle.mckinney@ssa.gov.



Across 1 Festival Alabama introduced to the western world, 2 words 6 Alabama Hall of Fame congressman, __ Bevill 8 First names of the “man with the velvet voice,” born in Montgomery, 2 words 9 Home run great born in Mobile 10 Ava Maria ___ in Cullman, Al 12 Champion of the blind, born in Tuscumbia, Helen _____ 14 Lawn action 16 Tide receiver who was the 2014 top receiver, first name 17 Cheerleader’s cheer 19 Song by the musical group Alabama, 2 words 20 Park or Broadway 21 There’s a monument to this destructive insect in Enterprise, Alabama 24 Slip into 25 Yep’s opposite 27 All-time great Tiger, all-star in football and baseball Down 1 City where the world’s first trolley system was introduced 2 7:4, for example 3 Sundial number 4 Tractor trailers 5 Conasauga ____ field 6 Mariner 7 Butterfly that is Alabama’s state insect 11 Unit of electrical resistance 12 White wine aperitif 13 ___ Martin Lake 15 Soul music great who grew up in Prattville, first name 16 The rocket for the historic spacecraft ____ 11, was built in Huntsville 28 JANUARY 2020

to $48,600. (We deduct $1 from benefits for each $3 earned over $48,600 until the month the worker turns age 66.) In December 2019, we posted Social Security COLA notices online for retirement, survivors, and disability beneficiaries who have a my Social Security account. You will be able to view and save future COLA notices via the Message Center inside my Social Security. You can log in to or sign up for a my Social Security account today at socialsecurity.gov/myaccount to get more information about your new benefit amount. You can choose to receive an electronic notification by email, text, or both ways under “Message Center Preferences.” Our notification will let you know that a new message is waiting for you. We will not send any personal information in the notification. The Message Center also allows you to go paperless by opting out of receiving agency notices by mail that you can get online, including annual cost-of-living adjustments and the income-related monthly adjustment amount increases. The Message Center is a secure portal where you can conveniently receive sensitive communications that we don’t send through email or text. More information about the 2020 COLA is available at socialsecurity.gov/cola.

17 18 20 21

Losses, in accounting, 2 words Run smoothly James Center or Bill Harris ____ Former Alabama Governor, ___ Riley

By Myles Mellor

22 ___ Gatos or Angeles 23 Sr. military rank 26 Purchase order, abbr. Answers on Page 45 www.alabamaliving.coop

January | Around Jan. 24 with supper and stories at the We Piddle Around Theater in Brundidge and moves eight miles up the road to the Trojan Center Theater on the campus of Troy University for three storytelling concerts on Jan. 25. For tickets or more information, call 334-344-0639 or visit piddle.org.


Guntersv il le, Eagle Awareness Weekends at Lake Guntersville State Park. Live bird demonstrations and programs by notable speakers and guided field trips for viewing eagles in their natural habitat are the highlights of these weekends, which continue into February. alapark.com.

25-26 The “Masters of Soul” review celebrates the music and style of Motown Jan. 16 in Enterprise.


Gulf Shores, New Year’s Day Polar Bear Dips. Take a dip in the Gulf of Mexico at noon to ring in the new year at the Flora-Bama, the beach’s most famous bar. Those who fully submerge will get a free draft beer and free New Year’s lunch. For a more family-friendly event, head to the Hangout for the 9th annual Kiwanis Polar Bear Dip. Party begins at 11 a.m. with live DJ, beach bonfire, games and entertainment, with the dip beginning at noon. Both events are free. Florabama.com and TheHangout.com.

out the Christmas season and ushers in the new year. There is no electricity or heat in the 100-year-old church in order to create the atmosphere of an old-time Christmas worship service. Piddle.org.


Gulf Shores, Art Market, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Gulf Shores First Presbyterian Church. Dozens of fine artists gather to demonstrate, display and sell their work. Live music and children’s art activities. GulfCoastArtsAlliance.com.


Montgomery, wreath-laying at Hank Williams’ gravesite, Oakwood Cemetery Annex at 10 a.m. Music will continue at the Hank Williams Museum, 118 Commerce St., until 1 p.m., where a New Year’s lunch will be served. 334-262-3600 or TheHankWilliamsMuseum.net.

Decatur, Festival of the Cranes at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. Free event features storytelling, photography workshops, music, live raptors, children’s activities, films and thousands of Sandhill crane and the endangered whooping cranes. FriendsOfWheelerRefuge.com.

4, 11, 25



Dothan, Bird wo r ksho ps at Landmark Park. The topics are birds of prey with Jatin Patel, bluebird populations with Dr. Gary Manfready, and hummingbirds with Fred Basset. All workshops begin at 10 a.m., are free with gate admission, and will be presented in the Interpretive Center Auditorium. Registration is required; landmarkparkdothan.com.

Mobile, Viewing the winter sky program at Bellingrath Gardens and Home. Come for an evening of stargazing with members of the faculty in the physics department at the University of South Alabama. Bring binoculars and flashlights. 5:30 to 7 p.m. Admission included in regular gardens admission price; registration requested. 251-459-8864 or bellingrath.org.



Brundidge, Old Christmas at Clay Hill, Clay Hill Church. This non-denominational lamplight service of scriptures and songs closes

Enterprise, “Masters of Soul,” a Motown review, 7 p.m. at the Enterprise High School Performing Arts Center. The tribute

show is a celebration of the music of the iconic Motown artists of the 1960s, including the Temptations, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Smokey Robinson and more. Advance tickets are $30 adults, $10 for students. CoffeeCountyArtsAlliance.com or 334-406-3787.


Pelham, Birds of prey programs at the Alabama Wildlife Center. Two programs: 1 to 2:30 p.m. and 3 to 4:30 p.m. Both will feature live birds from AWC’s Education Ambassadors Program. One of the monthly Exploring Natural Alabama events. Free with paid admission to Oak Mountain State Park. 205-663-7930.


Montgomery, Harlem Globetrotters “Pushing the Limits” world tour, 6 p.m. at Garrett Coliseum. The Globetrotters have entertained audiences for 93 years, showcasing their amazing basketball talents in a family-friendly entertainment show. Tickets start at $20; visit harlemglobetrotters.com


Foley, national tour of the long-running comedy “Menopause the Musical” at the OWA Theater. VisitOWA.com/ tickets or call 251-369-6100.


Troy, Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival. Donald Davis, Josh Goforth, Bil Lepp and Barbara McBride Smith will be featured this year. Event opens on

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.

Alabama Living

Dothan, Art auction and exhibit sponsored by the Sisterhood of Temple Emanu-El. Preview begins at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 25 with refreshments and auction at 7:15 p.m. Second look from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 26; bagels, coffee and juice will be served. $10 in advance, $12 at the door. 188 N. Park Ave., Dothan. 334-792-5001.


I r o n d a l e , Birmingham Feline Fanciers CFA Allbreed Cat Show. Zamora Shrine Temple, 3521 Ratliff Road. Breeds from around the country will compete for titles; vendors will have items for sale, and local rescue and humane organizations will have cats and kittens available for adoption. $8 adults, $5 seniors, $4 children under 10. BirminghamFelineFanciers. com.



Monroeville, Genealogy and history workshop. The Monroe County Museum will host its 19th annual event from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Old Courthouse Museum on the square in downtown. Coffee and light refreshments provided. Pre-registration is suggested; $25 workshop fee. Email Nathan Carter at mchm@frontiernet.net or call 251-575-7433.


Wetumpka, Jasmine Hill Gardens tour, 10 a.m. Participate in the history and beauty of Jasmine Hill Gardens with a tour led by Jim Inscoe. Tour included in the price of admission. JasmineHill.org or 334567-6463.

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JANUARY 2020 29


| Gardens |

Cultivating your garden’s story:

Think character, setting and plot


very garden has a story. Each gardener helps write that story, one chapter at a time. I know this because, after more than four decades of tinkering in and writing about gardens, I have observed one universal truth: Gardens don’t just grow plants, they grow stories. Think about it. No matter its age, size, style or purpose, every garden has a backstory, and, regardless of their horticultural skills or intentions, everyone who tends a garden shapes its narrative. I’m not alone is noticing this connection, either. As Eudora Welty once said, “Gardening is akin to writing stories. No experience could have taught me more about grief or flowers, about achieving survival by going, your fingers in the ground, the limit of physical exhaustion.” With that in mind, here’s an idea to get this new gardening year (and decade) off to a storied start: Be the author of your garden’s story, even if it’s just one chapter in a never-ending story. And whether your garden’s story is rooted in just-the-facts history or in imagination-run-wild whimsy, you can create or influence its arc by focusing on three essential story-crafting elements: character, setting and plot. Start by making a list of all the characters that play a role in your garden. The humans, wildlife, pets, plants and even the structures, physical features or microclimates that inhabit or impact your garden will be your story’s heroes, villains or bit players. The setting, of course, is the place where your story occurs, so describe your garden as it exists in the present — its size, terrain, Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@gmail.com.

30 JANUARY 2020

Garden story prompts Need a prompt for your garden story? Here are a few themes that may trigger your imagination and can influence choices of plants, design, accents and other garden elements.

 The Bard: focus on Shakespeare’s stories or his era

 Wild Things: focus on wildflowers and    

wildlife, including pollinators and beneficial insects Story Time: focus on a beloved book or tale Good Sporting: focus on specific sport or team Full of Flavors: focus on specific foods and drinks such as pizza, salad, tea or lemonade Kids’ Play: focus on educational or imagination-provoking topics like alphabets, numbers, dinosaurs, fairies and zoo animals

plants, soils, landmarks, temperature ranges, lighting, view and the like. You may also want to describe the way it looked in the past, especially if you’re writing a garden history, but you definitely want to describe how you hope the setting will change as your story progresses. The plot (as in plotline, not garden plot) is the general premise of your garden’s story, the structure that outlines the story’s arc and timeline from beginning to middle to end. It’s also the place to establish two other vital parts of any good story structure — conflict and resolution. Figure out what problem needs to be solved and how your characters will resolve it. If all this seems daunting, don’t succumb to gardener’s block. Just start filling up a page with your dreams, concerns and ideas. Whether your “page” is a cocktail napkin, notebook, computer file or a mo-

bile device app, the important thing is to collect concepts, images, aspirations, inspirations or even random thoughts into one central, easily accessible location. Need inspiration for your garden story? Take a stroll through a public garden, the woods or around your neighborhood, or browse through books, catalogues, magazines and websites for ideas. If you need further inspiration or structure for your ideas, consider focusing on a specific theme for all or part of your garden story and use that theme to influence your setting and characters (choice of design, plants, containers, accents and garden art). And always remember this writing truth — everything is material!

JANUARY TIPS  Start a new garden journal and revisit last year’s notes.

 Order seeds and bulbs for spring planting.  Plant bare-root trees and shrubs.  Water newly planted trees and shrubs and other established plants if winter rainfall is scarce.  Prune most trees and shrubs except early spring bloomers such as forsythia and quince.  Start seed for early spring crops.  Plant hardy, cold-tolerant vegetables and cool-season flowers such as pansies and snapdragons.  Keep bird feeders and baths clean and full.  Pull weeds as they emerge.  Add compost and other amendments to garden beds.  Sign up for gardening classes or Master Gardener programs.


Alabama Living

JANUARY 2020  31

| Consumer Wise |

Start the new year right with energy savings By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen


A neighbor claims they were able to cut their energy bills nearly in half. Is that even possible? What would I have to do to get there? It sounds like it would take a lot of time and money.


The story you heard is not far-fetched. We’ve been involved with energy efficiency programs that have achieved those kinds of results. Let’s talk about some energy-saving measures you can do right away and how you plan for greater savings down the road.

Dial in savings.

Maximize the heat you’ve got.

Now: Look around each room and make sure the vents and radiators aren’t blocked by furniture or other objects. If the floors feel cold even when the room is warm, put down area rugs for additional warmth. Open curtains and blinds to let the sunshine in, and close them at night. Later: Enlist the help of an energy auditor or HVAC specialist to test for duct leakage and ensure your whole system is balanced and running efficiently.

Make bright moves with your lights.

Now: The obvious first step is to make sure lights are turned Now: The first place to start is your home thermostat. In most off when they’re not in use. You can do this manually or employ homes, the largest portion of the energy bill goes toward heating one of many automated strategies. If you’re still using incandesand cooling. Setting back your cent bulbs, you could switch thermostat by 7 to 10 degrees the five most-used bulbs to for eight hours a day can save LEDs and save about $75 per you up to 10% a year on heatyear. LEDs last much longer ing and cooling. In the winter, and use about one-fourth as you could aim for 56 degrees much energy. Prices on LED at night and when no one is bulbs have decreased in the at home, and 68 degrees when past few years, and you can you’re up and around. If you’re save more if you buy them in used to a warmer house, it may packs. mean throwing on a sweater Later: Over time, plan to or pair of slippers. It should replace all your old incandesbe noted this tactic is not as cent bulbs, and consider smart effective for some homes with lighting options that can be radiant heat systems. programmed to turn off when Later: Make sure to adjust a room is not in use. your air conditioning settings next summer. If you have a Eliminate drafts. For maximum efficiency, your fridge should be between 38 to 40 manual thermostat and don’t degrees, and the freezer compartment should be set to 5 F. Now: Look carefully around always remember to adjust it, PHOTO COURTESY MARCELA GARA, RESOURCE MEDIA your home for signs of air consider purchasing a smart leaks. If you have a gap under thermostat, or at least one that’s programmable. an exterior door, you can block it with a towel or better yet, install some weather stripping. Make sure windows are sealed with Set refrigerator and freezer temps for efficiency. caulk, and you can also seal areas around plumbing and wiring Now: Make sure your refrigerator and freezer aren’t set to a penetrations. colder temperature than needed. The fridge should be at 38 to 40 Later: Have an energy auditor do a blower door test, which is degrees and the freezer compartment should be 5 degrees. If you the best to identify all air leaks. have a separate chest freezer, set it to 0 degrees. Also check your water heater setting. You should aim for a setting of 120 degrees. Taking some of these easy steps now should provide some Later: Old refrigerators and freezers can use a lot of electricity. quick energy savings. To save even more, you’ll need a plan that If yours was made before 1993, you can save upwards of $65 a includes the “later” steps we’ve shared above. An energy audit can year with a new ENERGY STAR® model. If you eliminate a second help you determine a much better plan, and your electric co-op refrigerator or freezer, you can save even more, especially if they may be able to provide an audit or recommend a qualified local are stored in your garage. auditor. Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. Write to energytips@collaborativeefficiency.com for more information.

32  JANUARY 2020

This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen of Collaborative Efficiency. For more information on starting the New Year right with energy saving, please visit: www.collaborativeefficiency.com/energytips. www.alabamaliving.coop

Alabama Living

JANUARY 2020  33

| Alabama Recipes |


Soups and stews are comfort-food heroes, ready to rescue your menu and rid you of undue kitchen stress.


hile the phrase “comfort food” usually conjures up something different for every different person, at least in general, casseroles have a strong claim to the throne when it comes to reigning over this category of cuisine. And yet another food group is equally soothing and definitely deserves consideration if you’re after a meal that will alleviate hunger and provide the simplicity, scrumptiousness and satisfaction that can bring on repose and relief: soups and stews. Soups and stews are often incredibly easy to make; many recipes call for just throwing a list of ingredients in a pot. And that’s one single pot, meaning less clean-up. This equals less stress, and therefore, more comfort. Soups and stews are highly customizable. Hardly any ingredient (other than some liquid) is essential, so feel free to leave out what you don’t want. And there’s not a lot of cooking chemistry going on (not like baking), so you can also usually add veggies, seasonings or whatever else you wish. That means they’re also a great vehicle for using up leftover bits of peppers, onion, spinach, rotisserie chicken, cooked rice or noodles and more. That’s contentment, and in this case, it’s



Cheesy Chicken Noodle Soup

served very conveniently in a bowl. And there’s a good reason chicken noodle soup is the No. 1 non-pharmaceutical “cure” for colds and other minor ailments: soups and stews are not just comforting, they’re cozy. They can actually warm you up from the inside out, and somehow, that physical sensation spreads to your soul, leading to a sense of wellbeing that we’re always craving, but especially when we’re sick. Now, this full-body warming can make soups and stews a tricky dish to deal with in Alabama. Thanks to more warm months than cool and weird weather that can sometimes be hot even when it ought to be cold, you may think the good feelings promised by soups are only enjoyable part of the year. Not true. With a little planning, you can comfortably indulge in their comfort at any time, regardless of the temperature. If we get a winter where the mercury hits the 70s, just pull out your summer shorts before dinner. Got a hankering for minestrone in May? No problem. Just crank up that AC to compensate. Whenever you decide to relax with some soups and stews — and surely this month is on your list — dive into these reader-submitted recipes.

Cathy’s Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup 1 pound ground chuck 4 medium bell peppers, diced 1 46-ounce can tomato juice 1 16-ounce can diced tomatoes 2 cups beef broth 2 teaspoons basil 1½ cups white rice, cooked 1 onion, diced 1 cup whipping cream Salt and pepper, to taste Garlic powder, to taste 1-2 teaspoons cornstarch and equal parts water (for thickening)


to our new Alabama Living partner:

The Buttered Home

This month, we’re pleased to announce a partnership with one of our favorite food bloggers, Brooke Burks. Brooke is a home cook, recipe developer and dog lover who may be obsessed with her pressure cooker. Born and raised in South Alabama, Brooke shares her passion for cooking the old-fashioned way - with her blog, The Buttered Home. Taught by some of the best Southern cooks she also calls her family, she loves sharing with others how to make the kitchen the heart of the home. The Buttered Home specializes in home cooked, scratch-made recipes that preserve cooking methods we hold dear in the South. Brooke will be featuring some of the recipes you enjoy from our printed pages on her blog, so check it out at thebutteredhome.com. -Editor

Cook meat, drain if needed. Add peppers, tomato juice, diced tomatoes, beef broth, basil, onion and spices. Bring to boil then simmer until peppers are tender, at least one hour. Mix small amount of cornstarch dissolved in small amount of water to creamy consistency and add to soup mixture. Add whipping cream and cooked rice. Cook, covered, on low heat for one hour. Serves 18-20.

The Buttered Home was built on SOUP! We love everything about it. This Steak and Potato Soup has a soul-warming quality like no other. A totally scratch-made soup with a roux base, it features so many flavors to delight your taste buds. Grilled steak adds a tad of fancy to the silky texture of the potatoes that have bathed in the roux base, along with garlic and a slight bit of heat from the red pepper flakes. We finish it off with some really good cheddar and garnish with parsley and green onions. Your heart and soul will be renewed with the warmth of this soup! For more great recipes, visit us at thebutteredhome.com.

Barb Walker Coosa Valley EC

Steak and Potato Soup

Chicken Stew 1 large hen 2 pounds onions 5 pounds potatoes 2-3 cups whole kernel corn 2-3 cups lima beans 1 gallon tomato juice Salt and pepper, to taste 1 tablespoon sugar, optional Boil hen until tender, remove from broth and remove skin and bones. Break or cut chicken into small pieces. Return to boil and add diced onions. Boil slowly on medium heat for 30 minutes. Add diced potatoes and ½ gallon tomato juice. Salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer for one hour. Add lima beans, corn and remaining tomato juice. Simmer. Taste and if too acidic, add the sugar. After cooling, this freezes well in meal-sized portions. Brenda Wilkinson Covington EC

Alabama Living

Soup for the Soul

1 4 2 2 ¼ ¼ 2

pound sirloin or bottom round steak, grilled or pan seared and cubed medium potatoes, peeled, cubed and cooked tablespoons butter tablespoons olive oil cup diced onions teaspoon red pepper flakes tablespoons minced garlic Salt and Pepper to taste 2-4 tablespoons plain flour 2-4 cups cooking liquid from potatoes 2 cups milk ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese Extra cheese and green onion for garnish Photo by The Buttered Home

Prep by cooking steak and allow to rest before cutting. Peel, cube and boil potatoes until soft. Drain, saving cooking liquid. In a large soup pot, melt butter and oil at medium heat. Add in onions, salt and pepper and cook until soft. Add in garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for no more than one minute. The garlic will burn quickly so cook just until fragrant. Add in flour and a soft paste or ball will form. Cook for just a minute or two more. Add in potatoes and stir to coat well with the flour mixture. Slowly add in 2 cups of the potato cooking liquid and whisk until it starts to thicken. Reserve the rest to thin soup to your liking. You can leave potatoes chunky or use and immersion blender to blend until desired smoothness. Slowly add in milk and continue to simmer until it reaches desired consistency. Can thin with potato liquid if soup is too thick. Should really only take about 15-25 minutes on medium heat to thicken. Add in steak and cheese and simmer until heated through. Garnish with more cheese and some green onions or parsley and enjoy! JANUARY 2020 35

Creamy Zucchini Soup

Beef Carrot and Potato Stew

Marilyn’s Brunswick Stew

6 1 3 1 1 1 1

3 2 4 1 4 2 2 1 1 ¼ 2 ½ 1 3

1-2 pounds chicken or turkey 1-2 pounds beef or venison 1-2 pounds pork roast 2-3 cans diced tomatoes 1 32-ounce bottle ketchup ¾ cup apple cider vinegar ½ cup Worcestershire sauce 1 pound onions, chopped 3 pounds potatoes, chopped in large pieces 1½ cups sugar ½ cup lemon juice 1 pint white or green peas, cooked 1 pint green butter beans, cooked 1 quart creamed corn (2-3 cans) 1 tablespoon tabasco sauce 1 tablespoon each: salt, pepper and garlic (or to taste)

cups zucchinis, thinly sliced package dry onion soup mix tablespoons butter cup water can cream of chicken soup cup milk cup half and half milk Salt and pepper, to taste

Melt butter and add onion soup mix, water and zucchini. Simmer 30 minutes. Mash coarsely. Add remaining ingredients and heat to a simmer. Hilda Fowler Pioneer EC

Cheesy Chicken Noodle Soup 3 chicken breasts (bone-in, skin on) 2½ quarts water, salted 1 10.5-ounce can Campbell’s cream of chicken soup 14 ounces Velveeta cheese, cut into small chunks 1 5-ounce can Carnation evaporated milk 3 tablespoons butter 1 large sweet onion, chopped Salt and pepper, to taste 8-ounces spaghetti noodles, uncooked

ribeye steaks onions chopped large carrots, peeled and chopped pound Yukon potatoes, chopped cloves garlic, minced cups Pinot Noir cups beef broth cup water 12-ounce can tomato paste cup flour tablespoons balsamic vinegar tablespoons dried thyme tablespoon sugar tablespoons olive oil Salt and pepper, to taste

Cut the ribeye steak into cubes. Pour the olive oil into a large soup pot set on medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the steak and add to the pot to brown. Stir in beef broth, balsamic vinegar, onions and garlic. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook until vegetables soften. Sprinkle in the flour and stir, then add the tomato paste, wine, water, sugar and thyme. Bring to a boil then cover with a lid on low heat for 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes. Kirk Vantrease Cullman EC

Cook chicken in salty water until very tender. Strain broth into a second large pot; reserve 1 cup for later. Break noodles into pieces and add to strained broth, cooking until almost tender. Meanwhile, remove skin and bones from chicken and shred. Sauté onion in butter until tender. Add in Velveeta cheese and 1 cup of reserved broth, stirring over medium heat until melted and combined. Add cheese mixture, condensed chicken soup, evaporated milk, and shredded chicken to cooked noodles with broth. Salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer until done. Additional broth or water can be added to make a thinner consistency.

Pizza Soup

Wanda H. Stinson Pioneer EC

Teresa Pogioli Baldwin EMC

2 2 20 1 ¼ ½ 2 1

28-ounce cans pureed tomatoes 14.5-ounce cans chicken broth fresh basil leaves, finely chopped cup heavy cream cup butter or margarine cup onion, chopped cloves fresh garlic, minced pound cooked Italian sausage, sweet or spicy 1 13-ounce jar marinara sauce

Mix all ingredients and cook on very low heat 2 hours or in crock pot 6 hours, stirring often. Garnish with shredded mozzarella. Serve with garlic toast.

Cook meats in water to cover until it falls away from bones. Remove the bones and skin, strain the broth. Shred meats and add it to the broth with the vegetables and seasonings. Cook for 2 hours over low to medium heat. Cook’s note: I chop onions and potatoes in large pieces and microwave for 1 minute prior to adding to stew. Merilyn W. Griffin Southern Pine EC



prize and title of


of the


Themes and Deadlines: April: Pimento Cheese | Jan. 10 May: Avocados | Feb. 7 June: Potluck | March 13 Please send us your original recipes (developed or adapted by you or family members.) Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year.

3 ways to submit: Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: recipes@alabamaliving.coop Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

36 JANUARY 2020


Hominy Stew 1 1 ½ 1 1 ½ ¼ 1 1 ½ 1 1

cup chicken stock 4-ounce can hatch green chilies cup yellow onion, chopped 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained 15-ounce can hominy, drained teaspoon chili powder teaspoon garlic powder cup smoked sausage, cooked and diced 15-ounce can pinto beans, undrained cup shredded Colby Jack cheese tablespoon pickled jalapeno peppers, diced tablespoon pickled jalapeno pepper liquid Optional: sour cream

Combine stock, green chilies, onion, tomatoes, hominy, chili powder and garlic powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer, stirring gently. After 5 minutes, add sausage, pinto beans, cheese, jalapenos and jalapeno liquid. Continue simmering, stirring gently, until heated through. May garnish with additional shredded cheese, diced jalapenos and sour cream.

Cook of the Month

Robby Griffiths, Baldwin EMC Necessity is the mother of invention, and one winter Saturday when Robby Griffiths noticed his tummy rumbling and turned to his pantry for help making a meal quickly, he ended up creating his Hominy Stew. “I had been staring at this can of hominy in my pantry for weeks, wondering what to do with it, and that day, my hunger figured it out,” he said. He also had some veggies that he needed to use up, so he just started chopping them and throwing them in a pot with the hominy, and it turned out great. It’s now a go-to soother in his house for multiple reasons. “It is savory with just the right amount zing from the various peppers, and then you’ve got sausage and cheese in there, and you can’t go wrong with those,” he said.

the best of

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

COOKBOOKS @ $19.95 EACH: (Shipping included)


Name: Address: City:



Phone Number:

Alabama Living

JANUARY 2020 37

ALABAMA BOOKSHELF In this periodic feature, we highlight books either about Alabama people or events, or written by Alabama authors. Summaries are not reviews or endorsements. We also occasionally highlight book-related events. Email submissions to bookshelf@alabamaliving.coop. Due to the volume of submissions, we are unable to feature all the books we receive. Amazing Alabama: The Bicentennial Edition, by T. Jensen Lacey, Moon Howler Publishing, $25.95 hardback (Alabama history) Author Lacey, an English teacher at Robertsdale High School, covers all 67 counties with details, historical oddities and tales about the state, designed to be a “tourable history,” with a digital section with links to sites and attractions within the state. The book, the fourth in Lacey’s “Amazing America” series, includes a foreward by Gov. Kay Ivey. Jessie’s Hope, by Jennifer Hallmark, Firefly Southern Fiction, $9.99 paperback (romance/inspiration) Years ago, an accident robbed Jessie Smith’s mobility, stole her mother and alienated her father. Determined to heal from her past, Jessie initiates a search for her father as she prepares to marry her high school sweetheart. The author lives in Alabama, and the novel was inspired by the author’s father, who lived his life physically challenged, and her days spent in the farmlands of northwest Alabama. The Old Federal Road in Alabama: An Illustrated Guide, by Kathryn H. Braund, Gregory A. Waselkov and Raven Christopher, The University of Alabama Press, $24.95 paperback (history) Forged through the territory of the Creek Nation by the U.S. federal government, the Federal Road was developed as a communication artery linking the east coast with Louisiana. The book is a guidebook for those who want to explore and know more about the storied gateway that made possible Alabama’s development. Alabama: My Home Sweet Home! By Charles Ghigna, illustrated by Michelle Hazelwood Hyde, Whitman Publishing, $14.95 hardback (children) The book takes little ones on a journey through Alabama, from Huntsville to the Gulf. It’s narrated by Camellia, a little Alabama black bear cub. The black bear is the official state mammal, and the camellia is the official state flower. A Clinician’s Guide to Caregiving, by Jerome Houser, B.Sc., M.A., D.C., Derek Press, $19.95 paperback (health/self-help) This resource tool for a caregiver focuses on several areas, including developing caregiving skills, managing a patient’s financial and health records, monitoring a patient’s health, communicating with health professionals and protecting the caregiver’s health. The author lives and works in Stevenson, Ala. Miss Ella and the Turtle People, by Linda B. Schmitz Spangrud and illustrated by Linda-Bell Schorer, Canoe Tree Press, $12.99 (children) The author and illustrator live on the Gulf coast and are volunteers with Share the Beach, Alabama’s sea turtle program. The book is designed to acquaint children with the effort to protect and enhance the sea turtle population on Alabama’s beaches. Alabama From Territory to Statehood, NewSouth Books, $26.95 paperback (history) This unique book compiles illustrated articles from experts on the history of the state’s formative years. Conceived, written and designed for Alabama Heritage magazine, the articles in this collection cover topics ranging from early settlements and Native American removal to border disputes and prospecting. Among the contributors are noted historians Wayne Flynt, Leah Atkins and Mike Bunn.

38 JANUARY 2020


Alabama Living

JANUARY 2020 39

| Outdoors |

Brian Barton, a Tennessee River guide, shows off a smallmouth bass (left) and a largemouth bass (right) he caught while fishing on Pickwick Lake near Florence, Ala. PHOTOS BY JOHN FELSHER


rom a hundred yards away, we could feel the awesome power of the churning white water rushing through two gates of Wilson Dam at Florence, Ala. Moments later, as the current steadily pushed the boat downstream, we each felt power of another sort as large fish inhaled our enticements. “Current is essential to catching fish on Pickwick Lake,” says Brian Barton, a fishing guide from Muscle Shoals. “I firmly believe that the current coming out of the dam overrides any other factors such as the moon phases, barometric pressure or anything else. Anyone fishing when the dam is not generating current is not fishing at the prime time.” On the downstream side of Wilson Dam, Pickwick Lake runs about 53 miles along the Tennessee River into Mississippi and Tennessee. While the reservoir can produce monster largemouth bass, Pickwick offers anglers outstanding lunker smallmouth bass action. The lake also produces big spotted bass and other species. Smallmouth prefer more current and rocks than weed-loving largemouths. The best smallmouth fishing on Pickwick Lake usually occurs below Wilson Dam. Here, the river rushes through several channels pockmarked by numerous rocky shoals, islands, sandbars and other obstructions. When the dam gates open, current dislodges creatures from their hiding places and kicks off a bass feeding frenzy. Many anglers exclusively fish for smallmouth and largemouth bass with artificial baits. But nothing looks better to a hungry bass than what it already wants to eat and expects to see. Before each trip, Barton throws his cast net to catch live shad. “Fishing with live bait is a highly effective way to catch both big largemouth and smallmouth,” Barton says. “I prefer to fish with threadfin shad, but I’ll use whatever we can put in the baitwell. We can catch fish with this method all year long if we can find good bait, but the prime time for catching big bass on the Tennessee River with live bait is from October through March.” With the current rolling, Barton hooks live shad onto the lines as we drift down the river. However, he wants to stay within a few hundred yards of the dam. When fishing with live shad, Barton John N. Felsher lives in Semmes, Ala. Contact him through Facebook.

40 JANUARY 2020

Anglers tempt bass with live bait on Pickwick Lake generally uses no weight, but sometimes attaches a small split-shot sinker to the line to hold the bait near the bottom in swift current. Ideally, the bait should hover just off the bottom and move downstream at the same speed as the water flow. “Most people think fishing with live bait is ‘idiot fishing,’ but there’s a little bit of art to it,” Barton says. “I match the weight to the current flow. I want the bait to flow along with the current just off the bottom. If I use too much weight, it will stay hung up. If I don’t use enough weight, the bait will float above the strike zone.” For the best results, drift baits close to rock piles, sandbars, humps, fallen logs or other current breaks that might hold fish. Pickwick Lake even contains some ancient, now submerged, Indian mounds. Smallmouth and largemouth bass both tend to hide behind such obstructions and face upstream waiting to grab any temptations washed toward them. When they see something they like, they dash out into the current to snatch those succulent morsels before returning to their lairs in the relatively slack water behind the structures. When the dam doesn’t generate current, Barton frequently anchors around shell mounds, rock piles, old jetties or other structures that might attract fish. Where the ranges of northern and southern species overlap, Pickwick fishermen using live bait might catch a dozen or more different species on any given day. Almost every predator in the lake readily devours shad. Besides smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass, anglers might also catch freshwater drum, flathead, blue or channel catfish, black or white crappie, white bass, hybrid bass, striped bass, possibly even a walleye, sauger, yellow perch or other species. “One of the great things about fishing live bait on the Tennessee River is the variety of fish we might catch,” Barton says. “We’ve had many days where we’ve caught smallmouths and largemouths, plus seven to nine other species. When fishing live shad, we never know what might be biting on the other end of the line.” Anglers could also use these methods to catch bass in any Tennessee River tailrace or other places with a little current. Check the Wilson Dam generation schedule at www.tva.gov/Environment/ Lake-Levels/Wilson. For area information, contact the Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau (colbertcountytourism.org) or Florence-Lauderdale Tourism at visitflorenceal.com. www.alabamaliving.coop

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

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

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

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






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

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

11:33 - 1:03 NA 1:09 - 2:39 1:57 - 3:27 2:45 - 4:15 3:33 - 5:03 4:21 - 5:51 4:48 - 6:19 5:09 - 6:39 5:57 - 7:27 6:45 - 8:15 7:33 - 9:03 8:21 - 9:51 9:09 - 10:39 9:57 - 11:27 10:45 - 12:15 11:33 - 1:03 NA 1:09 - 2:39 1:57 - 3:27 2:45 - 4:15 3:33 - 5:03 5:09 - 6:39 5:57 - 7:27 6:45 - 8:15 7:33 - 9:03 8:21 - 9:51 9:09 - 10:39 9:57 - 11:27

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



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

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42  JANUARY 2020


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| Our Sources Say |

Inconvenient energy realities


very week it seems another city or county announces that they will no longer allow new natural gas connections or mandate that their energy providers – electric utilities, natural gas suppliers and transportation companies – must provide carbon-free services by a certain date not too distant into the future. People want to believe so badly that we can replace fossil fuels, so they abandon common sense and believe any scheme that promises carbon-free energy. They want a miracle solution to the carbon issue so badly that they are willing to ignore the laws of physics and energy. They are willing to believe that energy and fuels can scale similar to the computing technology that has driven economic growth over the past couple of decades. The carbon issue will not be resolved with magic dust or dreams. A true answer to the carbon issue will require real solutions that will dramatically change how we live our lives, how society operates, and that conforms to the laws of physics. To better explain the challenges of a carbon-free economy, I have included a summary of some of the realities underlying the carbon issue made by Mark P. Mills in his report for the Manhattan Institute, “The New Energy Economy: An Exercise in Magical Thinking.” Mr. Mills is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a McCormick School of Engineering Faculty Fellow at Northwestern University. These thoughts are his and not mine, although I agree with them. 1. Solar and wind energy supply about 2% of global energy. That 2% growth in renewable energy required more than $2 trillion in cumulative global spending. The next 98% renewable growth will be more expensive. 2. If the world’s four billion people currently living in poverty increase energy use to just one-third of Europe’s per capita use, global energy demand would rise by an amount equal to twice America’s annual total consumption. 3. A 100 times growth in the number of electric vehicles would result in 400 million electric vehicles on the roads by 2040 but would only displace 5% of global oil demand. 4. Renewable energy would have to expand 90-fold to replace global hydrocarbons in two decades. It took a half-century for global petroleum production to expand 10-fold. 5. Replacing U.S. hydrocarbon-based electric generation over the next 30 years would require a construction program building out the electric transmission grid at a rate 14-fold greater than any time in history. 6. Since 1995, total world energy use rose by 50%, an amount equal to adding energy demand twice as high as the United States’ total annual energy demand. The large majority of that growth was served by fossil fuels. 7. Storing two days’ worth of U.S. electric demand in batteries would require 1,000 years of production by the world’s largest battery factory, Tesla’s Gigafactory. 8. Over a 30-year period, $1 million worth of utility-scale solar or wind produces 40 million and 55 million kWh, respectively. A $1 million investment in shale oil produces enough natural gas to generate 300 million kWhs. 9. It costs less than $0.50 to store a barrel of oil or its equivalent in natural gas, but it costs $200 to store the equivalent energy

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative.

44 JANUARY 2020

of a barrel of oil in batteries. 10. The shale revolution collapsed the prices of natural gas and coal, the two fuels that produce 70% of U.S. electricity. But electric rates haven’t gone down, rising instead 20% since 2008. Direct and indirect subsidies for solar and wind consumed those savings. 11. Politicians and pundits like to invoke “moonshot” language. But transforming the energy economy is not like putting a few people on the moon a few times. It is like putting all of humanity on the moon—permanently. 12. The common cliché: an energy tech disruption will echo the digital tech disruption. But information-producing machines and energy-producing machines involve profoundly different physics. 13. If solar power scaled like computer-tech, a single postagestamp-sized solar array would power the Empire State Building. That violates the laws of physics. 14. If batteries scaled like digital tech, a battery the size of a book, costing three cents, could power a jetliner to Asia. That violates the laws of physics. 15. There will be no digital computing-like 10 times gains for solar technology. Physics limit production from solar cells (the Shockley-Queisser limit) at a maximum conversion rate of about 33% of photons into electrons. Commercial solar cells today are at 26%. 16. There will be no digital computing-like 10 times gains for wind technology. Physics limit production from wind turbines (the Betz limit) at a maximum conversion rate of 60% of energy in moving air. Commercial turbines currently achieve 45%. 17. There will be no digital computing-like 10 times gains for battery technology. The maximum theoretical energy contained in a pound of oil is 1,500% greater than the maximum theoretical energy contained in the best pound of battery chemicals. 18. About 60 pounds of batteries are needed to store the energy equivalent of one pound of hydrocarbons. 19. At least 100 pounds of materials are mined, moved and processed for every pound of battery fabricated. 20. Storing the energy equivalent of one barrel of oil, which weighs 300 pounds, requires 20,000 pounds of Tesla batteries ($200,000 worth). 21. Carrying the energy equivalent of the aviation fuel used by an aircraft flying to Asia would require $60 million worth of Tesla-type batteries weighing five times more than that aircraft. 22. It takes the energy-equivalent of 100 barrels of oil to fabricate a quantity of batteries that can store the energy equivalent of a single barrel of oil. 23. A battery-centric grid and car world means mining gigatons more of the earth to access lithium, copper, nickel, graphite, rare earths, cobalt, etc.—and using millions of tons of oil and coal both in mining and to fabricate metals and concrete.

Totally replacing fossil fuels with renewable resources will not be nearly as easy as many would lead you to believe. It will cost more than you pay today – very likely a lot more. There will be no breakthrough carbon-free technology unless there is an advancement in nuclear power not imagined today. The fact that we want it will not make it true. Mr. Mills recognizes the challenges and the hype. I hope it helps you understand the challenge, and I hope you have a good month. www.alabamaliving.coop

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| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

Illustration by Dennis Auth

Riding the Alabama range together

Hoppy, Gene and Me We taught you how to shoot straight –Roy Rogers, “Hoppy, Gene and Me” oday some folks wax nostalgic about the joys of childhood in the semi-rural South of the 1950s, but let’s not overdo it. “We made up own games” was not easy in towns that were short on inspiration. However, saving many of us from deathby-boredom was our weekly escape into the cool, dark confines of the local movie


Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University and a columnist for Alabama Living. He can be reached at hjackson@cableone.net.

46  JANUARY 2020

theater where for the price of admission (10 cents) we could take our bag of popcorn (5 cents) and a Coke (5 cents) and be transported into a western world so exciting that what else could we do but spend the rest of the week recreating it as best we could with broomstick horses, cap pistols (double holster) and what other cowboy accoutrements we could cobble together. It was on those Saturday afternoons that pre-teen boys (mostly) found their first heroes, men like Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy, and Gene Autry, straight shooters who did not clutter our minds with moral ambiguities and anti-authority attitudes that were common in the decade that followed. We knew they were the good guys be-

cause they sought justice, did what was proper and always were victorious. It might be overstating things, but I think members of the B-Western, Saturday matinee generation learned as much about right and wrong from those afternoons as they did from the teachers who schooled them during the week. Saturday was market day in communities like mine, the day when country folks came in to “trade.” They brought their children, my classmates, who had spent after-school hours doing farm chores. Their reward was the dime for admission and the dime for popcorn and Coke. Come Monday, at school on the playground we reenacted what we had seen on the screen two days before. Then I turned 12, a landmark year. I was on the cusp of manhood, or so I thought. But when I got to the theater, the Saturday after my birthday, I faced a dilemma. A child of 11 was admitted for ten cents. For a young adult of 12, it cost a nickel more. Would I confess my age, give up my Coke or my popcorn, and pay the 15 cents the theater was due? Or would I “forget” to tell them? How would they know? I still looked like the 11-year-old I was the week before. I could get by

with it. But I didn’t. I ‘fessed up, paid the honest price, and as I sat in the dark, Cokeless, I swear I heard my heroes say, “Well done, partner.” Yes, stories from the silver screen, Now most of them forgotten Double feature Saturdays With Hoppy, Gene, and me. Well, not forgotten. Not entirely. If you want a reminder of how these heroes shaped generations of American children, seek out a copy of Alabama author Jim Vickrey’s “Roy, Rocky and Red Ryder; Hoppy, Durango, & Mo[o]re,” which has just been published by Dorrance Publishing. www.alabamaliving.coop

Alabama Living

JANUARY 2020  47

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