Clarke washington emc july17

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Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News July 2017



‘Essence of Alabama’ See the winners of our first reader photo contest



Manager Stan Wilson 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 $6 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.

Happy 75th birthday, USS Alabama In 1942, teenagers danced to the Glenn Miller orchestra, a World War was under way, and a proud naval vessel took to sea. On Aug. 12. the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park will observe the 75th anniversary of the commissioning of its iconic ship.


VOL. 70 NO. 7 n JULY 2017


POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014. ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION

AREA President Fred Braswell Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Griffin Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Danny Weston Advertising Director Jacob Johnson Graphic Designer/Ad Coordinator Brooke Echols Communications Coordinator Laura Stewart



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Tips on how to save money on your electric bill during the heat of summer.


Museum of memories


Tomato time

Tim Hollis turned his childhood home into a museum of pop culture, from soda pop bottles and records to lunch boxes and toys from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

July is prime time for homegrown tomatoes. Cut a slice and dig in!



340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 E-mail:

Summer Heat


WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! ONLINE: EMAIL: MAIL: Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

In this issue: Page 9 Page 28

9 Spotlight 34 Gardens 29 Around Alabama 40 Outdoors 41 Fish & Game Forecast 46 Cook of the Month 54 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: ON THE COVER: Dianne Deshler of Oxford took this photo of a hummingbird during a light rain in her backyard. Deshler is one of several amateur Alabama photographers who entered our first photo contest. See more of the photos beginning on Page 12.

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Summer Heat OFFICE LOCATIONS Jackson Office 1307 College Avenue P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 251-246-9081 Chatom Office 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) Pay your bill online at

Summer has arrived and I think you can agree with me that summers in southwest Alabama are hot and humid. Because of our desire to be cool, our homes use more energy in the summer.

During these months your air conditioner has to work harder every time the temperature rises. Even if your central air conditioning was working fine at the end of last summer, it would be a good idea to call a licensed professional for a tune up. Early spring is the best time to schedule a professional to give your air-conditioner a oneover so any issues can be resolved before you are left sweltering in mid-summer. Did you know that in the typical U.S. home, over half of the energy bill goes toward heating and cooling? One of the most important tasks you can do to ensure air conditioner efficiency is to routinely replace or clean the filters. This can reduce your air conditioner’s energy consumption by at least 5%. Another thing you can do is to set the desired temperature at the highest comfortable setting. The more you adjust the temperature downward, the more it will cost to cool your living space. If you have ceiling fans, turn them

on. This will allow air to circulate and give your air conditioner a break. If you have a programmable thermostat and know how to properly use it, you can also save a few extra dollars by programming the temperature to change while you are away. For example, when you leave the house to go to work it can be set to increase the temperature by a few degrees and can also be set to lower the temperature by the time you return at the end of the day. So far this year, kilowatt hour (kwh) sales are 5.4% less than this time last year and 0.8% less than the budget. This is due to the mild weather we have experienced in the winter and the spring. The Fourth of July is a day we celebrate our nation’s independence. There are many citizens in this area who are actively serving our country, and we are grateful for their service as well as the sacrifice of their loved ones who remain at home. I also want to remember the veterans and those who have given their lives fighting for our freedom. I hope that you all have a wonderful and safe Independence Day. God Bless the U.S.A. Thank you.

Payment Methods Payments can be made at our Chatom and Jackson offices with cash, checks, debit or credit cards

Stan Wilson Manager of Clarke-Washington EMC

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| Clarke Washington EMC |

Independence Day The Fourth of July is celebrated with the fellowship of family and friends while enjoying some time outdoors.

such notables as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston and Benjamin Franklin.

Typically on the Fourth, we gather to grill out, eat homemade ice cream, and light up the sky with fireworks.

On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Lee’s resolution and on July 4th, Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, which had largely been written by Thomas Jefferson.

Through all the food, laughter and family celebrations, take the time to reflect on our country’s history and the steps our forefathers took to declare independence. Two hundred forty-one years ago, a group of men wanted to break ties with Great Britain and unite the 13 colonies. Richard Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee introduced the motion for independence at the Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House on June 7, 1776. Due to a heated debate, Congress postponed the vote and appointed a committee of five men to draft a formal statement justifying the break with Great Britain. The committee included

Alabama Living

The Independence Day that we celebrate did not become an official federal holiday until 1870. This holiday is more than just a day off work. It is a festive day we celebrate our nation's independence together. Whether you choose to celebrate the holiday by cutting into a ripe and juicy watermelon, making homemade ice cream, or watching local firework shows, your CWEMC wishes you a safe and Happy Fourth of July!

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ALABAMA The small community of St. Stephens, Alabama was once the center for political and commercial activity in the newly created Alabama Territory. From the beginning of St. Stephens in the 1790s to its decline in the 1820s, it was the site of a Spanish fort, American fort and trading post and the first Alabama Territorial Capital. Washington County was established as a county in the Mississippi Territory on June 4, 1800, making it the first county in what we know now as Alabama. Washington County was named, of course, after George Washington, the first president of the United States. Washington County’s original borders stretched from the Chattahoochee River in the east to the Pearl River in the west, the 32nd parallel to the north and the 31st parallel to the south. The area of Washington County was divided into what is now 16 Mississippi counties and 29 Alabama counties. Old St. Stephens was located on a bluff along the Tombigbee River approximately three miles north of present day St. Stephens. The Spanish had control of the fort established there by 1789. Americans poured into the area and Spain turned the fort over to the U.S. government on February 5, 1779. On December 18,1822, the General Assembly of the Mississippi Territory passed an act establishing St. Stephens as a town. However, the town had already been settled prior to that date. In 1815, the town of St. Stephens began to grow when the Mississippi Territorial legislature surveyed the town site and lots were sold. Following the Mississippi statehood in 1817, the Alabama territory was established and St. Stephens became the territorial capital. The town grew at an astounding rate and by 1818 over 500 homes and 20 stores had been established. 6  JULY 2017


Washington Academy was founded in 1811 and became Alabama’s first charter school. Tombecbe Bank was the first chartered in the state and was founded by Israel Pickens, who later became the third governor of Alabama. When the town of St. Stephens was at its peak, the first state assembly met and many Alabama residents believed the capital should be moved to a central location. Governor William Wyatt Bibb made the announcement in 1819 that the capital would be moved to Cahawaba. Losing the capital was not the only problem that faced St. Stephens. The development of shallow draft boats restricted travelers from venturing further upriver. Yellow fever outbreaks also proved deadly for some residents and it was decided that the location made this disease likely to recur. Several thousand people lived in Old St. Stephens and within two decades most residents who remained moved west to settle New St. Stephens. By the 1830s, the old town had become just a small village, and by the Civil War, Old St. Stephens was gone. In 1848, St. Stephens was selected as the county seat for Washington County. The Alabama Legislature authorized the construction of the St. Stephens Courthouse. The building served as the Washington County Courthouse for 53 years until the seat was moved to Chatom in 1907.

| Clarke Washington EMC |

Above, St. Stephens Courthouse that served as the St. Stephens Masonic Lodge No. 81.

The building also served as the meeting place for the St. Stephens Masonic Lodge No. 81 since the beginning of its organization in 1854. After the seat was moved, the Masons acquired ownership of the building and its property in 1910. Later, the building was donated to the St. Stephens Historical Commission, and in 2000 the Historical Commission restored the building for use as a visitor center and a local history museum. Today, Old St. Stephens sits within the confines of the St. Stephens Historical Park and is one of the most important archaeological sites in the state. Washington County’s Historical Society is working on making some updates on the St. Stephens Courthouse. The historical society serves to preserve the history of Washington County and to encourage the preservation of all historical places and artifacts within the county.

Left, Old St. Stephens Archaeology Trail at the St. Stephens Historical Park. Above, Map of Washington County in 1803.

Washington County Museum The Museum is located in the bottom of the courthouse in Chatom. The museum collections include antique cooking utensils, vintage clothing, military memorabilia and equipment used for farming and the timber and turpentine industries. An unusual and interesting artifact that stands out in the museum is a native canoe that was determined by The University of South Alabama to have been built during the Mississippian Period, about 1345 A.D. The canoe was discovered on the Tombigbee River in 1973 and donated to the museum by Robert Lee Grimes and J.J. Mason. You can view the canoe and many other artifacts reflecting Washington County's rich history Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

Old St. Stephens Day In 2019, Alabama will celebrate its 200th birthday. Alabama’s Bicentennial Commission is planning events leading up to the anniversary. In May, the celebration kicked off in Mobile. Another signature event for the celebration will take place in St. Stephens on Saturday, October 7, 2017 at the St. Stephens Historical Park. The opening ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. at the main stage. Historical presentations, re-enactors and vendors will be located throughout the park from 10:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. “Take Me Back,” presentations by local schoolchildren will be the central piece of the program. Children will dress in authentic costumes and present historical performances based on writings referencing the heyday of St. Stephens. For more information about Old St. Stephens Day and how you can get involved contact the St. Stephens Historical Park Director, Jennifer Faith, at 251-247-2622.

Alabama Living

Native canoe displayed in Washington County Museum. PHOTOS BY SARAH HANSEN JULY 2017  7

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JULY | Spotlight Pool safety more than just about knowing how to swim Swimming is a wonderful exercise and a welcome relief on a hot Alabama day. But each of us plays a role in preventing illnesses and injuries linked to the water we share and swim in. Chlorine and other disinfectants kill most germs, but some, such as cryptosporidium, can survive for days following recommended water treatment. If you’re participating in recreational water activities this summer, the Alabama Department of Public Health asks that you take a few steps to help prevent waterborne illness.

• Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea. • Shower before getting in the water and after swimming. • Do not swallow the water. • Wash hands before eating and after going to the bathroom. • Avoid swimming if there are cuts or abrasions on the skin. If someone sustains a cut on the skin while swimming, seek immediate medical care. • Take kids on frequent bathroom breaks. • Check diapers and change them in a bathroom or diaper changing area – not poolside – to keep germs away from the pool. For more healthy swimming guidelines, visit

Whereville, AL

Guess where this is and you might win $25! July 19, 1941 The Tuskegee Airmen, the nation’s first black military aviators, began training at the Tuskegee Institute’s Moton Field. Fighting America’s enemies abroad and racial injustice at home, nearly 1,000 pilots received training in Tuskegee. The airmen officially formed the 477th Bombardment Group and the 332nd Fighter Group, which flew a total of 1491 combat missions during World War II. They were awarded a combined 744 Air Medals, 96 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 14 Bronze Stars, 1 Silver Star, and 3 Distinguished Unit Citations. In 2007, Pres. George W. Bush presented a Congressional Gold Medal collectively to the Tuskegee Airmen.


Alabama Living

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 July 7 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the July issue. 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 used will also win $25. Submit by email:, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124.


The Coldwater Covered Bridge was built by a former slave around 1850 (although some sources say it was built as early as 1839), originally located over Coldwater Creek on what is now Airport Road along the border of Calhoun and Talladega counties, near the community of Coldwater. It’s currently located at the Oxford Lake and Walking Trail. (Photo submitted by Abigail Hill, Tallapoosa River EC). The random drawing winner is Jewel Jones, also of Tallapoosa River EC, who wrote to say that she and others used to play at Coldwater Creek as children (and she’s now 72 years old).

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Can I keep this benefit payment?


ocial Security is with you through life’s journey, securing today and tomorrow for millions of people. We know that reliability and dependability is an important part of your financial security. We use the same throughout the month eligibility rules for the first month’s Social Security check through the last month’s check, so it’s easy to know when checks are payable. If you meet all the requirements to receive benefits, Social Security pays your benefit after you have lived throughout the month. At 62, the first month many people are eligible for benefits may be in the month after their birthday. Social Security follows an English law that says you actually reach your age the day before your birthday. So, if you were born on the first or second day of the month, your first month of eligibility will be your birthday month. If you were born on any other day in the month, the first month you could receive benefits will be the month after your birthday month. When starting ben-

efits after age 62, people are eligible to be paid for the month they file, since they were previously age 62 throughout the month. An example of this would be: if Michael is born on June 1 or 2 and is age 62, the first month he will receive his benefit payment is July. If Michael’s birthday is any other day in June, the first month he will be eligible for benefits is July and his first benefit will be paid in August. If Michael starts benefits at age 63 and files in June, he can be paid for June in July. Benefits are always paid the following month for all types of Social Security benefits including retirement, disability and survivors. This does not apply to Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Being eligible throughout the month also applies to the month of death of a Social Security beneficiary. To be eligible for the payment, the person must have lived all month long to receive the payment that comes the following month.

That includes throughout the entire last day of the month. Your survivor may be eligible for a payment for the last month and should contact us at 1-800-772-1213. For information about applying for survivors benefits, visit our website at www. howtoapply.html. Understanding how the benefits are paid gives you a sense of certainty about your payments. You’ll know how to plan when starting benefits and what happens to the last check. We continue to secure your today and tomorrow by providing the Social Security information you need.

Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at


Drug-induced deaths increase by 250 percent in just 15 years


here would be great concern if we realized that the entire population of the city of Bay Minette or Greenville or 90 percent of the entire population in Greene County had died. These are close comparisons to the 8,081 Alabamians that were lost to drug-induced death or mortality during the years 2000-2015. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug-induced deaths include all deaths for which drugs are the underlying cause, including those attributable to acute poisoning by drugs (drug overdoses) and deaths from medical conditions resulting from chronic drug use (e.g., drug-induced Cushing’s syndrome). A drug includes illicit or street drugs (e.g., heroin and cocaine), as well as legal prescription and over-the-counter drugs; alcohol is not included. Drug-induced death and drug usage does not seem to be generating the attention in Alabama that is seen in many other states. This could be because the rate of drug-induced death has increased to where it now exceeds the motor vehicle accident death rate in 37 of all 50 states, but not in Alabama and most other southern states. However, without serious intervention,

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this will soon be the situation in Alabama. Alabama lost 232 residents to drug-induced death in 2000. By 2015, this had increased to 810, an approximately 250 percent increase. There were 962 motor vehicle accident deaths involving Alabamians in 2015. Alabama’s growing drug abuse crisis should be generating greater conversation and concern. Perhaps a high-profile drug abuse summit, bringing together many different community components and stakeholders, could help increase public awareness of the status of this peril. Perhaps information could be shared, needs identified, and a strategy identified to intervene in this destructive threat. There are interesting demographic features involving drug-induced mortality that can help in identifying where intervention may be needed the most. Several of these are as follows: Drug-induced mortality is significantly higher in north Alabama. The rate is 17.8 deaths per 100,000 standard population during 2012-2015 for residents of the 37 northern counties in the Appalachian Region. This compares to a rate of 12.4 in the 30 south Alabama counties that are not in

this region. Walker County has the highest rate in Alabama at 36.4, more than double the state rate of 15.9. St. Clair County also has a rate nearly double that for the state at 31.4. Escambia County has the highest rate among all south Alabama counties at 28.4. Drug-induced mortality is significantly higher among white residents. Nearly 84 percent of all victims during 2012-2015 were white. The rate for white Alabamians (19.5) is more than triple the rate of 6.3 for African American Alabamians. Drug-induced mortality is significantly higher among males. The rate was 18.8 for males, compared to 13.1 for females. Drug-induced mortality is significantly higher among those aged 25-54 years. The rates for those aged 25-34, 35-44, and 4554 were all considerably higher than those for other age groups.

Dale Quinney is executive director of the Alabama Rural Health Association, 1414 Elba Highway, Troy, 36081.

| Alabama Snapshots |

National monuments and landmarks

Chris, Isabella, Nicholas, and Sandra on an educational spring break to Washington, D.C.SUBMITTED BY Robin OSullivan, Dothan.

Mark and Karen Pumphrey and Kingston Miller in front of the Washington Monument. SUBMITTED BY Karen Pumphrey, Foley. Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. SUBMITTED BY Michael Cornelison, Trinity.

The Hoover Dam. SUBMITTED BY Travis and Nicole Presley, Uriah. Chimney Rock National Monument in Pagosa Springs, CO. SUBMITTED BY Faye Crews Massey, Russellville. North Bridge in Concord, Mass. The site of the first armed conflict that began the Revolutionary War. SUBMITTED BY John H. Allen, Huntsville.

Submit Your Images! September Theme: “Grandparents” Deadline for September: July 31 SUBMIT PHOTOS ONLINE: or send color photos with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

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 and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos.

Alabama Living

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2017 Photography contest winners Thank you to those who participated in Alabama Living’s very first reader photo contest! In the March issue, we asked you to submit photos that capture the essence of Alabama to our website. We received more than 125 photos that reflect the diverse geography and beauty of Alabama, taken in every part of the state – from the mountains in the north to the beaches and Mobile Bay in the south. The judges were Mark Stephenson, creative director at Alabama Living, and Michael Cornelison, former art director for the magazine, both of whom have taken multiple cover photos over the years; and Phil Scarsbrook, a professional photographer with more than 40 years experience who also takes photos for our annual Montgomery Youth Tour. We have plans to make next year’s contest bigger and better, so be sure to keep an eye out in Alabama Living early next year for details on the 2018 contest! We’ll also post other honorable mention photos on the magazine’s Facebook page over the next few months. – Allison Griffin

Forgotten ways: This was taken in Cleburne County near an abandoned farm. It signifies our past as a mostly agricultural society, raised on family farms, and how that has been largely abandoned and forgotten. Tony Coley, Oxford

Storm’s-a-c om built in the la in’: Our barn, te seen many st 1800s, has or the years. Th ms through e impending storm depic ts change in A the constant labama wea ther and change s in Melissa Welch our lives. , Wetumpka

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e rust End of the line: Th the at s on the boxcar ad ilro Ra xie Di of t Hear a, ler Museum in Ca off and how they trail just er, rn around the co ry sto a l tel to s seem st. of trips from the pa ille ttv Pra , wn Bro rd Richa

Geese and w in from a cove dmill: These geese fly on Lake Cat oma next to our ho use every da to a field fortunate to y. We are so liv blessed with e in a community that is an abundanc and nature. e Cathyrine Wea of wildlife ver, Cullman

FIRST PLACE Tropical mischief: Taken in 2014 at Cotton Bayou beach in Orange Beach as the outer edges of Tropical Storm Debby approached the coast. It shows the raw power and beauty of the weather along our beautiful Gulf coast. Bill Davis, Loxley

Alabama Living

JULY 2017 13

Cotton field sunset: I live near Grace Farms in the Boldo community in Walker County and love passing their fields and seeing the various seasons of planting. This photo is special because it is timeless. Gina Scruggs, Jasper

, od eatin’: This photo SECOND PLACE Go Ozark, captures the in taken on the square a longtime tradition flavor and culture of is vendor especially th of our town. I found ase n making the purch colorful and the ma ark Oz , eld ckfi Lu rol especially brave! Ca

y: Roundup with Dadd lee, As my daughter, My ive dr to d ea ah stepped ough cows and calves thr ily’s fam r ou on the gate farm, I thought the tiful scenery was so beau that I snapped a r the picture to remembe rson, moment. Joey Furge e Fort Payn

Perched on a po the male East st: The bright blue plumag e ern bluebird m akes it a favo of of bird-watch rite ers. Diane Des hler, Oxford

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this photo in the n sunbeams: I took THIRD PLACE Autum in Huntsville. It was the first time tain fall at Green Moun t a year after I out on a trail in abou oto ph a en into nature. I had tak t ou ck s great to get ba broke my leg. It wa Alaina Brown, Madison

Peaceful mor ni fog: A cold m ng is fog blankete ty d the Fairhope Municipal Pie r the early mor in ning in December 20 was quite take 11. I n with this view, as it was both mysterio us and serene. Tracie Clarke, Bremen

early May to Cahaba lilies: From haba Lilies late June, as the Ca s a flower joy en a bloom, Alabam ly a few show available in on d in fact an – S. U. places in the tac ec ular of ours is the most sp ham ng mi Bir all. Ty Dodge,

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Easley Covered Bridg e: I live very close to this bridge an d visit it daily. I can actually see it from my house, so it’s very special to me. It is the oldest an d shortest covered bridge left in Blount County. Susan Johnso n, Oneonta

s while trail Creek colors: I took thi Trails in ek Cre ck Bla running at king for loo s Gadsden. I’m alway ture, pic l fal ter wa or ek a nice cre s one. thi e tak d so I had to stop an az Bo , Matt Brown

Septembe r left our ho sunrise: We m morning a e early in the n gorgeous d saw this s The fog w unrise in Trinity. as the field a laying just over n was a perf d the cows. This e day. Leah ct start to our Grissman, Trinity

Editors’ note: The contest was open only to amateur photographers. First place prize is $100, second place is $50 and third place is $25. The other photos represent the honorable mention winners.

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Alabama Living

JULY 2017 17

The Battleship during wartime. PHOTO COURTESY USS ALABAMA ARCHIVES

USS Alabama ready for 75th anniversary celebration By Emmett Burnett


t seems like yesterday, or maybe not. But in 1942, teenagers danced to the Glenn Miller Orchestra, a World War was under way, and a proud naval vessel took to sea. The war ended and so did Glenn Miller, but the naval vessel is still here, still proud, about to celebrate 75 years, and you’re invited. On Aug. 12, USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park will observe the 75th Anniversary of the commissioning of its iconic ship. Details are being finalized at press time. But currently, the day starts with an 11 a.m. commemoration service in the Aircraft Pavilion. It follows with literally all hands on deck. Free admission, historical re-enactments by USS Living History Crew, Big Band concerts, and return visits from former crew18 JULY 2017

men will rule the day. “I liken the Living History Crew’s re-enactment of ship life to demonstrations at Colonial Williamsburg,” says Shea McClean, Battleship Alabama curator. “History becomes real. The interaction is amazing.” Interaction with those who were there is amazing too. “We won’t know exactly how many former crewmembers will attend,” adds Rhonda Davis, the ship’s director of sales and marketing. “But some have already expressed interest and intent to be here.” And as for us landlubbers: “If you have not seen the Battleship in a long time, or perhaps only been aboard once, this is a great opportunity to re-visit,” says McLean. “Some people are under the impression. ‘If you’ve already seen it, what’s changed?’” Plenty.

A USS Alabama crewman revisits the ship earlier this year and handles the same artillery gun he once used in battle, over 70 years ago. PHOTO COURTESY OF USS BATTLESHIP ALABAMA MEMORIAL PARK

The Battleship’s upgrades since your last visit include modernized facilities, interactive kiosks, and newly restored artifact exhibits from two World Wars. More are coming. Just in time for the anniversary – when a 680-foot fighting vessel was pronounced “battle ready.” Shea notes that for many, “The Battleship and our relationship to it is like New Yorkers who have never been to Statue of Liberty. But unlike ‘Lady Liberty,’ we are continuously changing and rotating exhibits.” The ship has shifted from tourist attraction to a restored-to-original-condition museum on water, which required tremendous research. The effort is justified. “It is a joy being here,” notes Battleship Park’s Executive Director Janet Cobb. “This is the best job in the world.” And emphasizing inclusion, she adds, “We all made it happen.” The journey was quite a trip. On Feb. 16, 1942, “The Mighty A” launched from the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Va. It was commissioned the following Aug. 16. During christening, Henrietta McCormick Hill, wife of the U.S. Senator from Alabama J. Lister Hill, broke a bottle of champagne over the ship’s bow. The bottle shards are intact and encased in the original braid, displayed onboard ship. In war, the ship earned 9 Battle Stars, led the American Fleet into Tokyo Bay, and earned the name “Heroine of the Pacific.” In retirement it earned the miracle of survival. “Most other ships of that era are no longer with us,” Cobb says. “Most were scrapped.” But not the Alabama. It is still with us, one of very few. Many reading this story are the reason why. In the early 1960s Alabama residents formed Alabama Living

the USS Battleship Commission to raise funds to save the maritime masterpiece from the scrapyard. Donations included over $100,000 from school children in nickel and dime donations. In return, child benefactors were given tickets for free admission. Over a half-century later, Battleship Park still validates those very tickets from 1960s grade school scholars. “We stamp their cards and give it back to the guests for souvenirs,” Davis says. In 1964 the ship was awarded to Alabama on June 16, turned over to the State on July 7, and towed from Seattle into Mobile Bay on Sept.14. Battleship Park opened Jan. 9, 1965. And it all started 75 years ago. Speaking at the Norfolk, Va., Navy Yard launch ceremony, U.S. Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox said, “As Alabama slides down the ways today, she carries with her a great name and a great tradition. We cannot doubt that before many months have passed she will have had her first taste of battle. The Navy welcomes her as a new queen among her peers.” Today, pointing out the galley entrance, surrounded by 44,000 tons of metal and very large guns, Cobb notes, “Our vision is to remind the people of Alabama, they brought it home. It is not a Mobile thing. It is not a Gulf Coast thing. It is a product of a statewide effort to save a namesake ship.” Her words about the “namesake ship” echoed remarks made by Navy Secretary Knox, 75 years earlier: “In the future, as in the past, may the name Alabama ever stand for fighting spirit and devotion to cause.” The name stands and so does the ship. Happy birthday, USS Alabama. Welcome aboard.

Champagne bottle used to christen the ship in 1942. PHOTO BY EMMETT BURNETT

Henrietta McCormick Hill, wife of U.S. Senator from Alabama J. Lister Hill, christens the USS Alabama in a 1942 ceremony held at Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, VA. PHOTO COURTESY USS ALABAMA ARCHIVES

The original ship’s crew, at the 1942 christening. PHOTO COURTESY USS ALABAMA ARCHIVES

USS Battleship Alabama, today. PHOTO BY EMMETT BURNETT

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A step back in time Man’s home is a personal museum of childhood memories


emember added in 2008. A plethora of old toys, lunch boxes, kids’ bubwhen songs ble bath bottles, records, children’s books and even an old 1980s were on clothing rack from the McDonald’s McKids campaign, which old 45s, when children eaHollis relocated from the Sears department store in downtown By Aaron Tanner gerly awaited Saturday morning Birmingham. Photos by Brad Daly for their favorite cartoons on netRemember Captain Kangaroo, Romper Room, Bozo the work TV, and Rock City barns domClown, The Flintstones and family shows like Hee Haw and Boinated the American roadside? Those nanza? Hollis has these items. Downstairs, you’ll find old grocery memories are items, cereal boxes, restaurant menus, captured inside tourist brochures, road maps, a replia time capsule ca of Hollis’ childhood bedroom and that is disguised as even a Christmas display with a giant a 1960s-era ranch animated Frosty the Snowman and a house off of Alabama moose with a rotating head. Highway 5 in the Walker After reading a magazine article in a County town of Dora. dentist’s office in 1981 featuring a man Tim Hollis is a writer who collected many of the same toys and collector who turned from Hollis’ childhood, Hollis was his childhood home into a eager to start his own collection in an museum of pop culture from effort to recapture his youth. children who grew up in the “I thought it would be fun to rebuild ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. the collection I had as a kid,” Hollis The tour begins in a room Tim Hollis gestures toward part of a sign from the Bob Sykes says. Although there are some items with souvenirs from Six Flags BBQ that was in Sumiton from about 1970 until the early 1980s. he wishes were in his collection, such over Georgia when the park first as a Mr. Do Bee tricycle from Romper opened in 1967. Also on display is the typewriter on which Room, Hollis gleefully says he has most of the items he had as a Hollis learned to type; a coffee table filled with his 29 books child in the museum. on pop culture and Southern tourism; and the computer Today, when he visits antique stores, he’s just looking for anywhere he crafts his next book. thing that catches his eye, or something that might make a good But the real magic is kept in the two-story addition that he display piece. But he’s not collecting nearly as much as he once Hollis’ parents’ bed, with his own Peanuts sheets and bedspread, which dates to about 1969.


did, due both to availability and affordability. “Compared to 10 or 20 years ago, there is much less material out there that I don’t already have,” he says, “especially for an affordable price. Back in 1985, I remember being able to buy metal lunch boxes for $2 each. Now the same lunch boxes would be $75.” Part of the excitement of his travels involves not knowing what specifically to add to his collection until he gets to a particular antique store. Surprisingly, many of his “finds” are as likely to come from the Midwest as the South, likely due to the relative wealth of that region of the country compared to Alabama in the mid-20th century. In the South, many children were lucky to have just one or two toys, he says. The seeds of Hollis’ passions were sewn by his parents, whose desire not to throw away things were likely born out of growing up during the Great Depression. His dad was an English teacher for the Jefferson County school system and would save things collected during family trips. Hollis’ mom saved many of his items from when he was a baby along with his early drawing and stories, some of which can be seen on the bulletin board in the museum’s basement. “Even as a kid, she was preparing me to have a museum one day,” he says. Though Baby Boomers are the target audience of this attraction, people of all ages enjoy visiting and interacting with Hollis and his treasures. Even the younger generations are able to connect with the Yogi Bears and Woody Woodpeckers of yesteryear. Hollis describes one young girl who was left speechless after taking the tour. “She thought the collection would be limited to a bookshelf, not a whole house.” Many children have complimented Hollis on his accumulation of his childhood

Alabama Living

e, from to p left: Am this little ong Hollis pig bank ’ collectio purchase ns are co d by Holl in banks, Birmingh is’ dad at including am when he was ju the Sears in down st town 3 or 4 years Bozo the old; seve clown fig ral u ri n es; Tony th and othe r Kellogg e Tiger ’s cereal keepsake s; soda bott le period-co s and their rrect cart ons; and a tro Muppet p ve of uppets.

me m orabilia. “They say we had cooler toys back then than what we have now.” Different visitors are attracted to different things in the museum, usually associated with happy memories of something that they played with as a child. Many Baby Boomers have the same experience as others who are their age, due to the limited entertainment options and more people spending time with family at home. “There were only three channels on TV at the time, so everyone watched what was on at the same time.” Although accumulating and maintaining the collection is hard work, Hollis takes pride in conserving these memories for not just him but for other people and for future generations. “I want to preserve everyone’s culture,” he says. At the moment, Hollis is meeting with different organizations who will continue preserving his collection after he is no longer able to run the museum. Tours are free but only by appointment and can be scheduled via email at

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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 “Selma: A Bicentennial History,” by Alston Fitts III, University of Alabama Press, 2016, $39.95 (history). The book is a revised and expanded version of Fitts’ history of Selma originally published in 1989, including new illustrations and details of events that shaped Selma’s growth and development from 1815 to the end of the 20th century. Fitts, a native of Tuscaloosa, served for many years as the director of information and principal fundraiser for the Selma-based Edmundite Missions, a Catholic organization.

“The Axeman of New Orleans: The True Story,” by Miriam C. Davis, Chicago Review Press, March 2017, $26.99 (true crime/history). Montgomery resident and Alabama Living contributor Miriam C. Davis brings to light the facts of a Jack-the-Ripper-style killing spree that terrorized New Orleans in the 1910s. For nearly a decade an ax-wielding killer preyed on Italian grocers in their homes at night, leaving his victims in a pool of blood. The book includes new evidence that the suspect most commonly tied to the case could not have committed the crimes and thus the real killer may never be known.

“Footprints in Stone: Fossil Traces of Coal-Age Tetrapods” by Ronald J. Buta and David C. Kopaska-Merkel, University of Alabama Press, 2016, $49.95 (natural history/paleontology). The book tells the story behind the discovery, documentation and preservation of the Union Chapel coal mine in Walker County, where footprints of primitive creatures in the dark gray shale give important information on the ecosystem that existed during the coal age, more than 300 million years ago.

“Mr. Brandon’s School Bus: What I Heard on the Way to School,” by Tom Brandon, NewSouth Books, 2016, $15.95 (humor). Teacher Tom Brandon drives his school bus twice a day in rural Madison County, Alabama, and over the 30 years of his career he’s heard some hilarious tales from the mouths of the schoolchildren he’s transported to and from Walnut Grove Elementary. The book is a compilation of those stories, some of which he previously documented on his blog,

“Historic Alabama Courthouses: A Century of Their Images and Stories,” by Delos Hughes, NewSouth Books, 2017, $25.95 (architecture/history). If you’ve ever been curious about the history of your county courthouse, this book could provide some fascinating details. Organized alphabetically, from the Autauga County Courthouse in Prattville to the Winston County Courthouse in Double Springs, the book features historical, architectural, social, legal and political information and photographs of more than 120 buildings. The author is an Auburn native whose previous book is “Lost Auburn: A Village Remembered in Period Photographs” (2012).

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Alabama Living

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Alabama Living

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| Alabama People |

Thom Gossom

Author, actor, Auburn fundraiser Alabama Living last talked to actor and author Thom Gossom in 2104 after the premiere of “Quiet Courage: The James Owens Story,” the documentary that chronicled his friend Owens’ journey as Auburn’s first black scholarship football player. Owens died in 2016, and it’s been almost 10 years since the publication of Gossom’s own memoir, Walk-On: My Reluctant Journey to Integration at Auburn University, about his years as the first black athlete in the SEC to earn a full scholarship and graduate from Auburn. But Gossom has stayed busy with his acting career, writing more books, and promoting his alma mater. Most recently, he chaired the Auburn Foundation which hit its $1 billion fundraising goal more than a year ahead of schedule, making Auburn the first university in the state to raise that figure. We talked to Gossom, 65, who lives in northwest Florida with his wife but frequently comes back to his native Alabama, as he was preparing to speak to incoming freshmen football and basketball players at Auburn. – Lenore Vickrey What’s been the reaction to the movie and the book? I was very proud of the movie. It was my tribute to James. I felt he deserved it. It was also the university’s tribute to James and that whole experience. It was a part of our history, of the black students who were there and the university as a whole. I felt the story needed to be told about life in the ’60s and ’70s. Was there a similar motivation for writing your book? Yes, if that book had not been done, that part of our history would have been lost. So yes, I knew I would write the book when I was at Auburn. I started saving things. I thought it was a historical moment. I was always a history buff. My intention was to write about that time. The reaction of the university and alumni has been very positive. The book has been passed around from grandparents to parents to students. It’s been 10 years and the book still sells. How did you come up with the idea for your “Slice of Life” series of books? They are labeled fiction, but how many of their characters are based on folks you’ve known? They are composite characters. Some are based on some of the things I’ve seen. As an actor, you have to be observant. You get your base of a character from something you see and build it from there. The first book has more things I’ve seen and maybe participated in somewhat. The second and third are 100 percent fiction. There’s another one coming out, “I’ll Take the Crumbs,” which will be more contemporary and futuristic. 26 JULY 2017

You’ve played characters onstage, in several TV shows, including “In the Heat of the Night,” “NYPD Blue,” and “Boston Legal” and in movies like “Miss Evers’ Boys” and “Fight Club.” What’s the most memorable role you’ve played? It was for an episode of “NYPD Blue,” “Lost Israel (1997.)” It won an Emmy award. I played the title character, a homeless man who lived in a park, and who did not talk. He was accused of raping, molesting and killing a little boy, something he did not do. He could talk, but he chose not to. It was a challenging role. For that entire time I was on set for nine days, I never said a word. A couple months ago, at one of the Auburn events, a guy came up to me and said, “I have every episode of ‘NYPD Blue’ and I’ve watched that one 4-5 times and I never knew that was you.” That was probably the best and hardest job I’ve ever done, but the most satisfying. You recently headed up a highly successful fund drive for your alma mater, Auburn University, which raised an astounding $1 billion. You and fellow actor and alum Michael O’Neill co-hosted a live show in support of the campaign in multiple cities across the country. Tell us about that. It was very strategic thinking on the part of the university. Having me as the chair doing these live events suited my skill set. It was something I believed in. We had a very creative communications team in the development department who would write great scripts for us. I got to tinker with it, to own the script, so it became me. It was just awesome. We felt very strongly, based on the wonderful job the development department was doing, that we would reach our goal ahead of time. Last I heard we were at $1 billion, 150 million. For me, it was knowing my history coming to Auburn as a walk-on, coming in during integration, being the first African American to graduate, the painful period, all that stuff, it was so gratifying and satisfying to be a part of something like that. Now I say, “We’ve done something that’s never been done before! What are we going to do for an encore?” What new projects are you working on? I’ve been talking to Michael O’Neill about working on a piece together called “Alabama Boys.” Basically it highlights our separate journeys together, including at Auburn and Hollywood. That would resonate. It would be something as a fundraiser for the university. I also have to finish the last book in the short story collection. And I’ve got a couple feelers out for film projects, waiting to see if they materialize. The last show I did for TV was “Containment” (2016), a limited series. So we’ll see what’s next. It’s been a great ride. I don’t want it to stop right now. now.

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July | Around Alabama vation concerns and threats. $5. For times and information, visit

Photo courtesy of City of Prattville.


Cardboard boat races are always a crowd favorite at the Fourth of July Celebration in Prattville.

Month of July, Wetumpka, Crepe myrtle show at Jasmine Hill Gardens and Outdoor Museum, featuring trees covered with brilliant flowers throughout the 20-acre property. Fridays and Saturdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays from 12-5 p.m. $10 adults, children ages 3-12, $6.


Gulf Shores, Salute to American Independence at Fort Morgan. Celebrate America’s independence with artillery firing, weapons demonstrations and special tours. Adults $7, seniors $5, children ages 6-12 $4, ages 5 and under free. Free for active military and veterans with military ID. 110 Highway 180.


Grand Bay, Grand Bay Watermelon Festival. 3-7 p.m. Monday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday. Food, arts and crafts, entertainment Monday plus free sliced watermelon, open car show and more Tuesday. Free Monday, $5 per car Tuesday. Grandbaywatermelonfestival. org


Childersburg, God and Country Laser Light Show at Desoto Caverns. Celebrate God and Country with the special Independence Day light show that takes place during each tour. For information on tours and tickets, visit





Chatom, Independence Day Celebration, Chatom Community Center, 233 Dixie Youth Drive, 5 p.m. Featuring live music by Cool Rayz, free activities including inflatables, water slides, balloon art, BMX stunt show, carnival rides, food, arts and crafts and more. Parking $1 per vehicle. Free. Gulf Shores, Independence Day Celebration at The Wharf, 23101 Canal Road, Orange Beach, 5-9 p.m. Annual family-friendly celebration with live animals, trampoline jumper, bouncy houses, surf simulator, rock wall, games, music and fireworks. Free.

Birmingham, Thunder on the Mountain, one of the largest fireworks displays in Alabama, will illuminate the skies above Birmingham’s Iron Man Vulcan. Free. Show lasts 20 minutes and will be choreographed to music. For viewing information, visit Eclectic, Fourth of July Blast. Take a spot on the grassy lawn at the AMP for the fireworks display. Gates open at 5 p.m. with music beginning at 6 p.m. Fireworks begin at 9 p.m. For information, visit, and for the lineup of bands and tickets, visit


Fort Payne, 34th Annual Sand Mountain Potato Festival. Celebrate our heritage with live music, arts and crafts, entertainment, games and fireworks. Begins at 10 a.m. and ends with a fireworks display.


Prattville, 16th Annual Independence Day Parade, BBQ and Fireworks. Parade begins at 9 a.m., followed by the Lion’s Club BBQ at Pratt Park. Features a patriotic program, children’s fun area, cardboard boat race at Pratt Pool and arts and crafts vendors. Fireworks presentation will be at Stanley-Jensen Stadium, 460 Doster Rd. Gates open at 6 p.m. with a concert by Creativity. Fireworks begin at dark. Free.


Cullman, Heartland Quilt Guild quilt show. Friday 1-5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m., East Elementary School gymnasium, 608 Fourth Ave. SE. “Quilting in Cotton Country” will feature vendors, donation quilt, door prizes and demonstrations of applique’, binding, hexagons, machine quilting and more. $7.


Millbrook, Radical Raptors at Lanark. Learn about birds of prey. Alabama Wildlife Center will be on site with its raptors. Learn about these creatures and their conser-

To place an event, e-mail or visit 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

Union Springs, “The Dreamland Bus” at The Red Door Theatre. A haunting play about the Bradleys of South Carolina, family and homecomings. For more information or for tickets, visit


Clanton, 7th Annual Chilton County Arts Festival. Fine hand-crafted art for sale. Clanton Performing Arts Center at Jeff Davis Community College, 1850 Lay Dam Road. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 205-245-9441,


Dothan, “Heritage Forums: Pen Strokes of Justice-Judge Horton and the Scottsboro Boys.” Presented by the Alabama Humanities Foundation’s Road Scholar, Rebekah Davis. Discussion on the history of the Decatur judge who overturned the jury’s guilty verdict levied against Haywood Patterson, the first defendant of the Scottsboro Boys. Registration required. Free with paid gate admission, $4 adults, $3 children, free for park members. Landmark Park Interpretive Center Auditorium, 430 Landmark Park Drive.


Hartselle, 8th Annual Cotton Pickin’ BBQ Festival. The competition is fierce and the flavors are rich as national award winning barbecue cookers will be cooking up barbecue ribs, chicken, pulled pork and more. Categories include Backyard and Pro. For fees and entry information, contact Danielle Gibson at Hartselle Chamber of Commerce, 256-773-4370.


Montgomery, Alabama Dance Theatre presents “Stars on the Riverfront” at the Riverwalk Amphitheater featuring over 50 dancers. For show times and more information, visit

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| Worth the drive |


Steaks and seafood star at Daleville mainstay

Story and photos by Lori Quiller


f you’re heading out for dinner in the Wiregrass, but you can’t decide between steak or seafood, at McLin’s Restaurant in Daleville, you don’t have to. McLin’s Restaurant opened in 1968 in the old Daleville Baptist Church building by Evelyn and James McLin, parents of the current owner, Ricky McLin. “My father had the idea to open the restaurant, but my mother was the mainstay here. This was her baby,” Ricky says. “She was the one who stayed here when the rest of us were out doing other things. She was the only one always here taking care of things, but it really is a family business. My mother worked here for about 42 years. My sister, brother and I have all worked here. My wife has worked here for about 35 years, and my son and daughter have worked here, too. I have a nephew working here now, and my granddaughter just started.” Until late last year, James McLin was a fixture in the restaurant as well. He would often be seen greeting customers as they entered, and sitting with them on the wooden bench beside the front door as they waited for a table. The family patri-

Address: 2 Old Newton Road, Daleville, AL 36322 Phone: (334) 598-2774

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“I feel like I’ve been blessed all my life. I had Christian parents who believed in serving good, quality food at a reasonable price, something that people can afford. That was my mother’s philosophy, and I think it still holds true today,” Ricky says. McLin’s Restaurant may have been his father’s vision, driven by his mother’s philosophy of great customer service, but it has been the life’s work of the entire McLin family that has kept the doors of the restaurant open for nearly 50 years. There’s a sign over the door that James McLin hung years ago to remind the family of the reason why those doors will remain open. It reads: “Thru these doors walk the finest people in the world, our customers. Thank you!” “My dad put that up over the door,” Ricky says. “We had a fire in 1993, and I really thought that was the worst night of my life. I had never been where I couldn’t take care of my family, but the Lord takes care of things. We were closed for four months, but we were able to expand during that time. We were worried whether the community would come back to us after being closed for so long, but they did…probably about 80-90 percent of them are still with us from back then. It’s a great feeling to know that our customers love us that much! My son has tried to get me to walk through the parking lot to see where all our customers come from. There are tags from Troy, Elba, Geneva, Florida. In my opinion, especially on the weekends, people like to go out and enjoy good food, so they don’t mind driving a piece to get it. That’s why we take great care in the food we serve. We want our customers to have a great meal every time they visit with us!” From left, Matt, Zach and Ricky McLin continue to operate their family’s restaurant.

McLin’s Restaurant

Closed Sunday & Monday Open Tuesday – Friday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Open Saturday 4:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

arch suffered a stroke after Thanksgiving, but the family said he is doing much better these days. As guests enter, they are asked to take part in a family tradition that is as old as the restaurant…signing the guestbook. “Our customers have become our good friends. We know our customers by their first names. My wife, for the 35 years that she worked up here, knew everyone by names, their children, she would send them cards on their birthdays, and my son is really good at that, too! I know a lot of our customers, but I don’t know as many as they do!” Ricky laughs. He can probably tell you his customer’s favorite meals as well. Although McLin’s has always been known primarily as a seafood restaurant, about 20 years ago, Ricky asked his father, who was a cattle farmer, about the possibility of serving a better grade of steak for the restaurant. His father suggested certified Angus beef, and the rest is history. “Shrimp, ribeye and catfish, in that order,” Ricky said. “But, it can vary from time to time.” Shrimp, ribeye and catfish aren’t the only delicious options you’ll find on the McLin’s menu. Southern fried chicken, livers and gizzards, flounder, oysters and scallops round out the menu. Appetizers of crab claws and onion rings will surely get your meal going in the right direction. For dessert, don’t forget the pie – coconut or key lime. But, you’ll probably be full, so get a slice to go. And, if you’re with a small group, no worries. There are several private dining areas where you and your guests can dine away from the two large dining rooms.


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Alabama Living

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| Gardens |

A medicine cabinet in your yard Growing and using medicinal plants


lants have been used for their medicinal qualities since the dawn of humankind, and even today many medicines we consider “modern” are still derived from plants — cough, heart and pain medicines among them. The convenience of these pre-processed modern meds makes access to them easier, but it also means that fewer and fewer people know the importance of plants in our pharmacopeia or how to appropriately and safely use plants to cure what ails them. There are, however, a number of Alabamians working hard to preserve and reclaim medicinal plant knowledge and, perhaps, put plants back to work for our health. Among them is Daryl Patton ( who lives in northeast Alabama where he carries on the work of his late mentor, the celebrated Appalachian herbalist Tommie Bass. There are also members of the Alabama Medicinal Plant Growers Association ( who are developing a medicinal plant economy for the state. I’m sure there are many others as well, and I welcome information about them from you readers! But the two I know best are Auburn-Opelika horticulturists Tia Gonzales, a regionally renowned expert on culinary and medicinal plants, and Dee Smith, the former curator of Auburn University’s Donald E. Davis Arboretum who has a deep interest and extensive training in using medicinal plants. I turned to them for a few recommendations about how we can make use of medicinal plants and they both agreed: medicinal plants are all around us. Though according to Tia all plants have medicinal qualities, many of the best are already planted in our yards (from rosemary to roses) or growing there as weeds (think goldenrod and dandelions).

Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@

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Of course, as with any medicine, it’s important to know what you’re using and how to use it, so before dosing yourself with any medicine, do your research. There are tons of resources in books, online and through workshops. You don’t, however, have to be an expert to use some of tried-and-true options, especially the culinary herbs that you may already be using in your kitchen. Here’s a list compiled from Dee and Tia’s perennial and biennial herb recommendations. The list includes just a few of the health benefits of these plants, though most have a more extensive repertoire. By the way, Tia and Dee suggest planting these in containers near the kitchen so you’ll have them at your fingertips. Chives are both easy to grow, drought tolerant and they can help with digestive issues, boost the immune system, improve vision and ward off heart and cardiovascular problems. Rosemary is also easy to grow but it can quickly outgrow small pots so plant it in a big one or try ‘Chef ’s Choice’, a new upright variety that is smaller and requires less space to thrive. Rosemary can boost memory, reduce inflammation, relieve pain, protect the immune system, stimulate circulation, and protect the body from bacterial infections and premature aging. Parsley is biennial so it must be replanted every two years, but it grows well year-round and is an especially great option for winter pots. It can help the body heal faster, aid in digestion, help prevent bad breath and reduce joint pain. Thyme, which can be used for respi-

ratory infections and also as a topical antiseptic, actually grows best in pots rather than in the ground. It is available in a range of flavors so you may want to try several varieties. Oregano can be used to treat respiratory, urinary and gastrointestinal tract disorders, menstrual cramps and can be used topically to help skin conditions such as acne and dandruff. Use Italian or Greek varieties for the best flavor. Mints come in lots of flavors, from peppermint and spearmint to lemon and chocolate mint. They are all easy to grow and can become a bit invasive if planted in the ground, so pots are ideal. They not only make great teas and flavorings, they are can soother a number of tummy issues and often have a calming, sedative effect. These are only a handful of options so spend some time exploring other medicinal plants and their uses and, with the caveat that you should use them all judiciously, you may soon be have a homegrown medicine cabinet just outside your door.

July Tips 

   

Water plants and lawns deeply but infrequently to encourage deeper root growth. Buy seed for late summer and fall vegetables and flowers. Plant late-season summer vegetables. Start seed for fall vegetables. Harvest summer vegetables and fruits daily, preferably early in the morning. Replenish mulch around shrubs, trees and in garden beds to help retain moisture in the soil, keep roots cooler and suppress weeds. Keep an eye out for insect and disease problems in the lawn, landscape, garden beds and on potted plants. Safely store lawn equipment and chemicals that may be harmful to children and pets. When working in the yard, stay hydrated and use sunscreen, insect repellent and wear protective clothing, hats and gloves.

Alabama Living

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By Thomas Kirk


The future of solar energy

he price of solar has fallen dramatically to become competitive with other generation sources. In 2015 and 2016, the United States installed more solar panels than in the previous 30 years combined. So how did we get here and, more importantly, what’s next? Solar power is actually a misnomer because it can refer to any power that comes from the sun. When people talk about ‘solar power’ these days, they usually mean photovoltaic, or PV, solar power. This is a specific physical phenomenon in which light strikes a material and causes an electric current. First discovered in 1839 by Edmund Becquerel, there wasn’t a practical application of this effect until Bell Labs realized silicon was a photovoltaic material and used it to make the first solar panel in 1954. At first solar panels were extremely expensive and only used for niche applications, such as satellites where the ability to produce electricity without fuel is extremely valuable. Gradually the price for solar declined, and solar panels were used for remote off-grid applications and eventually on-grid applications. Today many homeowners, companies and utilities have their own solar arrays, and many more are expected to be installed over the next few years. Let’s peek into the future at three different trends and technologies that could emerge: larger-scale solar installations (high probability); solar integrated into new building and home design (medium probability); and a dramatic technology idea of solar arrays in space (low probability). Large solar arrays, often referred to as utility-scale solar, already make up the majority of newly installed solar capacity. A moderately sized utility-scale solar array can be the equivalent of more than 1,000 residential solar arrays, and every year ever larger arrays are built. Currently, the largest solar array in the world is the Longyangxia Dam solar station in China that covers an area greater than 14,000 football fields. One of the biggest benefits of these

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systems is their cost per panel. Installing a large solar array is less than half the cost of putting it on your roof. As solar costs continue to fall and more utilities and other large players get involved, you can expect to see solar trending towards more of the larger arrays. Many companies have tried and failed to develop products that double as both a building material and a solar panel. Known as building integrated photovoltaics (BiPV), typically, these are either solar shingles or solar windows. The dream is a building material that costs the same as its non-solar counterpart, but also produces electricity. If the costs come down to this point, and as new houses are built, windows replaced or roofs redone, they could replaced by solar parts. This technology has recently gotten more attention from the media because Tesla is planning to begin selling solar rooftop shingles in April 2018. Lastly, one of the most spectacular ideas for future solar arrays is to put them into space. Large solar arrays would be blasted into space, self-assemble, then beam their power down to earth as microwaves or lasers. There are several advantages to this. First, without clouds or the earth in the way, these panels will produce electricity 24/7. Second, without an atmosphere in the way, more light would actually reach these panels, making them more productive. Lastly, the power could be sent anywhere in the world, as long as there is a receiving station. Many conceptual designs exist for this technology, and there are a number of companies around the world working on making this a reality, but the major problem is still the high cost of sending materials into space. Until Elon Musk develops a cheap, reusable rocketship, or the U.S. builds an elevator to space, this technology will remain just pie in the sky.  Thomas Kirk is an associate analyst of distributed energy resources for the Arlington, Va.-based National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Business & Technology Strategies (BTS) division.

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

Personalized tags his idea

I certainly enjoyed the article, “Rolling Billboards” (May 2017). The part about Alabama probably having more varieties than any other states was of particular interest. Our state is often slow to do things but when it does it is often in a big way. You see, I was the first to suggest to Gov. Wallace that we have personalized tags. Back in 1974, when I was with Southern Living magazine, I saw them on a trip to California. I wrote the governor about our state having them, suggesting that it could bring in additional revenue. I also asked if I could have AUBURN 1 and AUBURN U. He passed the suggestion on to the Revenue Department. At the time, the commissioner was Charles Boswell, the world famous blind golfer. I received a letter from him stating that the “California Tag” idea was not new and he gave several reasons why the Department of Revenue was opposed to the passage of a “Vanity or Prestige Tag” bill. I managed to talk to the governor and told him I was not trying to make a pun about Mr. Boswell’s disability but that his reasons were shortsighted. Additional expense in manufacture would be paid for in one year, and if 12 to 15 states already were doing it, the delay in identification must not be a problem. As I said, the state of Alabama is slow to come around but we did finally get the personalized plates. As you article points out, they have made a lot of money not only for the state but for many universities, organizations, charities and various causes. And by the way, AUBURN 1 and AUBURN U tags have been in my family since the beginning. William P. Capps, Hoover

Liked wedding column

I thought the column about all the falderol of weddings (Hardy Jackson’s Alabama, May 2017) was right on the mark. My mother, who was born in 1904, was married twice and both times these were low-key events. The first time was in her parents’ Kentucky country home and this was certainly a small affair. After that husband died, she met my father and their wedding was even simpler: a ceremony in the pastor’s study of a city church with one witness for the bride and another for the groom. My mother’s children from her first marriage didn’t bother to come, or weren’t invited--I never figured that out exactly--but I believe the intention was to keep the traffic down, so to speak; anyway, they went to the Saturday “picture show” instead. I never heard my mother whine that she never had a proper wedding. She was not a showy person. She had two good marriages which was the important thing. So much emphasis is put on elaborate weddings these days and so often the couple is soon divorced. I agree: Use your money more wisely. Gregg Swem, Union Springs Alabama Living

JULY 2017 37

| Consumer Wise |

A new home doesn’t guarantee energy efficiency By Pat Keegan

Kanyon Payne, a home energy rater with United Cooperative Service, uses an infrared camera to show consumers where energy losses are occurring. PHOTO CREDIT: UNITED COOPERATIVE SERVICE


I recently became a real estate agent and several of my clients have been asking about the energy efficiency of the homes I show them. Do you have any suggestions about energy-related questions I should help my clients consider before they purchase a home?


It’s great to hear that you want to help inform your clients. Many homebuyers A home’s insulation levels will significantly do not consider en- impact heating and cooling needs. ergy costs (such as PHOTO CREDIT: MATTHEW G. BISANZ electricity, gas and propane), which are significant expenses for any home. The average home costs approximately $2,000 in energy expenses per year. Think about how much money that is over the life of the home! Your clients’ preferences for the kind of new home they want to buy can have a strong influence on energy performance. For example, the size of a home is one of the most important factors that will determine energy costs. As square footage increases, lighting requirements increase, and more importantly, the burden on heating and cooling equipment increases. In general, newer homes have better energy performance due to advancements in building codes, but buying a new home does not guarantee efficiency. Building codes are not always enforced, and a minimum-code home is not nearly as efficient as homes built to a higher standard. For example, if energy efficiency or green features are a high priority for your clients, look for homes that have ENERGY STAR, Built Green or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications. Newer manufactured homes are typically much more efficient

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-forprofit electric cooperatives. Write to energytips@ for more information.

38  JULY 2017

than older manufactured homes but do not have to meet the same energy code requirements of site-built homes. Residents of manufactured homes spend about 70 percent more on energy per square foot of living space as residents of site-built homes. If your clients are considering a manufactured home, those built after 1994 or that have an ENERGY STAR label have superior energy performance. Once your clients are interested in a specific home, one of the first factors they should consider is how the energy performance of that home compares to similar homes. Although you may request electricity, natural gas or propane bills from the sellers so that your clients can estimate how much it will cost to heat and cool the home annually, this is not a precise measure of home energy performance. The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index is like a “miles per gallon” rating for a home that allows consumers to comparison-shop based on energy performance, similar to the way they can comparison-shop for cars. A certified RESNET Home Energy Rater will need to inspect the home and develop a HERS rating. This rating can be done during the inspection process, or you may request a HERS rating from the seller.

Hidden systems have the most impact

Although many homebuyers focus on energy features that have the strongest impact on the aesthetics of the home, such as windows and lighting fixtures, it’s the hidden systems like appliances that have the most impact on energy performance. Heating and cooling systems consume about half of a home’s energy use and are costly to replace. Here are a couple questions homebuyers should consider about heating and cooling: How old is the heating system? If the home’s heating system is more than 10 years old, it may be necessary to replace it in the near-term. What is the seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER)? Find out the SEER for the home’s air conditioning system. If the air conditioner has a SEER of less than 8, you will likely want to replace it. A home’s building envelope insulates the home’s interior from the outdoor environment and includes features like doors, walls and the roof. If the quality of the building envelope is compromised, it can contribute to higher heating and cooling costs. R-Value is the thermal resistance measurement used for insulation, indicating its resistance to heat flow. You may want to learn about the recommended R-value for homes in your region so you will have a general sense about the quality of a home’s building envelope. If your clients determine energy investments are necessary in a home they are considering, it can be helpful to call your local electric cooperative. Many electric co-ops can assist with energy audits and offer incentives for energy efficient heating and cooling equipment.



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| Outdoors |

Alabama sea monsters?

Large mammals roam coastal waters, but fear not!


saw it roll in the water and didn’t Recently, the U.S. Department of the rely upon people out fishing or boating to know what it was!” exclaimed the Interior dropped the status of West Indian report manatees they see. They also tagged agitated caller. “It came up right manatees from “endangered” to “threat11 of them and now track their movements ened,” but the animals remain federally next to my boat and was almost as big. It to study them. protected. The population of Florida manslapped the water a few times. We were In Alabama waters, boaters would most atees, the subspecies that visits Alabama, thinking of everything from a large alligalikely see manatees in the Dog River area or tor to a dinosaur, but I know it wasn’t an grew from a few hundred 40 years ago to other parts of western Mobile Bay, the Inalligator.” more than 6,600 today, says Jim Kurth of tracoastal Waterway or Perdido Pass. HowThe very excited caller described the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. About ever, some regularly visit the weedy bays nearly 14-foot-long animal as “looking 6,300 Antillean manatees, another subspeat the southern end of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. something like a giant beaver” with a large cies, exist in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Central “The Dauphin Island Sea Lab Manatee flat tail. It probably weighed more than a America and northern South America. “Many manatees live in and migrate Sighting Network is the first formal manton, but it wasn’t a dinosaur or sea monster through the northern Gulf of Mexico,” says atee sighting network of its kind using prowling coastal waters, not even a dinosaur’s relative, an alligator. The caller spotDr. Ruth H. Carmichael, a senior marine publicly reported sightings combined with ted a manatee, also called a sea targeted research efforts,” Hieb cow. says. “Since its inception, the Despite their impressive size network has recorded more and “dino-like” appearance in than 2,000 manatee sightings the water, these large, rotund from Alabama west through vegetarians do not attack peoTexas. The network also operple. ates the first manatee tagging “Manatees are herbivores,” program in Alabama using says Elizabeth Hieb, manager satellite GPS telemetry techof the Dauphin Island Sea Lab nology. We’ve identified at least Manatee Sighting Network. 30 individuals that come to the north-central Gulf Coast regu“The average adult can eat larly, but we might have up to about 100 pounds of plants per 100 manatees that come to Aladay. They are large animals, but bama. They’ve been seen as far typically not aggressive.” north as the Claiborne Dam on Manatees can exceed 13 feet Posing for a close-up! Researchers at MSN use photo-identification methods to identify individual manatees based on their unique scar patterns. the Alabama River near Monin length and weigh more than DAUPHIN ISLAND SEA LAB MANATEE SIGHTING NETWORK roeville.” 2,500 pounds, about as much scientist with the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. With no natural predators, a manatee as some cars. Unlike a walrus or sea lion, can live more than 60 years. Unfortunately, “Until recently, however, little was known manatees never leave the water. According boats hit many of these slow-moving creaabout this species outside of Florida.” to legend, centuries ago, some sailors even tures. Scientists identify individual animals To begin to learn more about where and described these plump animals as “mermaids” – probably after an extended periby their unique prop scars. Boaters should when manatees reside in Alabama waters, od at sea and numerous trips to the grog watch for manatees in coastal areas. A boatthe Dauphin Island Sea Lab established the barrel. er can much more easily avoid a manatee Manatee Sighting Network in 2007. “Not many people think about manatees than a manatee can dodge a speeding boat. Despite their blubbery appearance, man“Boats and boat propellers can be danatees do not like water colder than 70 decoming to Alabama, but this is their historgerous to manatees,” Hieb says. “Their grees. Like ducks, many manatees migrate ic range,” Hieb says. “Manatees are not just white scars from boat propellers are like northward in the spring (though much straying into Alabama waters. The same animals are coming here year after year. We’ve more slowly) and head south to warmer fingerprints with no two exactly alike. seen evidence of mating herds in Alabama Florida waters before winter. Most manaBoat with caution on our local waterways waters and animals actually raising calves.” tees that visit Alabama migrate up from the and give manatees space. The best rule of Crystal River or Tampa areas. thumb is to stay at least 100 feet away from “The warmer the water, the more likely them.” John N. Felsher is a people will see manatees in Alabama waTo report seeing a manatee or a collision freelance writer and ters, ” Hieb says. “Usually, they show up in with one, call the hotline at 1-866-493photographer who writes Alabama in late March and depart by early 5803, 24 hours a day. For more informafrom Semmes, Ala. Contact him through tion, see or visit the netNovember. The peak for manatee sightings his website at www. work’s Facebook page to keep up with the here is July and August.” latest sightings. Researchers at Dauphin Island Sea Lab 40  JULY 2017

Tables indicate peak fish and game feeding and migration times. Major periods can bracket the peak by an hour before and an hour after. Minor peaks, half-hour before and after. Adjusted for daylight savings time.

a.m. p.m. Minor Major Minor Major

JUL 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 AUG 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

--01:37 02:37 03:37 04:22 -12:52 01:37 02:22 03:07 03:52 10:22 11:52 --01:22 02:07 03:07 03:52 04:37 -12:52 01:22 01:52 02:37 08:52 09:52 11:22 --12:52 02:22 03:22 04:22 --01:07 01:52 02:22 09:07 09:52 11:22 ---01:22

Alabama Living

07:07 08:07 09:07 10:07 10:52 11:52 05:22 06:07 06:52 07:37 08:22 09:22 04:52 06:07 07:22 08:37 09:37 10:07 10:52 11:22 11:52 05:22 05:52 06:37 07:22 08:07 03:22 04:07 05:07 06:22 07:37 08:52 09:52 10:52 11:37 05:22 06:07 06:52 07:37 08:22 03:07 03:52 04:37 05:52 07:22 08:37 09:37

01:22 07:37 09:07 10:22 11:22 12:07 07:37 08:22 08:52 09:22 09:52 10:37 11:07 04:52 02:07 07:22 09:07 10:07 11:07 11:37 12:07 07:37 07:52 08:22 08:52 09:07 09:37 03:37 04:22 01:22 07:37 09:22 10:37 11:22 11:52 07:07 07:37 08:07 08:37 08:52 09:22 03:37 04:07 01:37 04:22 09:07 10:22

12:37 03:22 04:37 05:37 06:22 07:07 12:37 01:07 01:52 02:37 03:07 03:37 04:22 11:37 12:22 04:22 05:22 05:52 06:22 06:52 07:07 12:22 12:52 01:22 01:52 02:22 03:07 10:07 10:52 11:37 03:37 04:37 05:22 06:07 06:37 12:22 12:52 01:37 02:07 02:37 03:07 09:52 10:07 10:52 11:37 04:52 05:22 JULY 2017 41

| Safe@home |

Light up the skies safely this Fourth of July


hat would the Fourth of July be without cookouts, baseball games, and pyrotechnic displays in the night sky? But it’s easy to forget that fireworks are dangerous explosives, and carelessness could have deadly consequences. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that in 2015, about 11,900 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with fireworks. Children under the age of 15 accounted for 38 percent of the estimated injuries. The federal government long ago banned sales of the most dangerous fireworks to consumers, such as cherry bombs and M-80s. But sparklers, firecrackers, and other smaller fireworks remain legal in most states. Lighting your own fireworks is generally illegal in most cities and towns, but are legal in most unincorporated areas. The level of enforcement varies from one jurisdiction to another. There are other laws in Alabama as well: It’s illegal to explode fireworks within 600 feet of any church, hospital, public school or enclosed building, or within 200 feet of where fireworks are stored or sold. It’s also illegal to ignite or discharge a firework inside a car, or to throw one from a moving vehicle or at a group of people. To help make sure your holiday celebrations don’t end with

Michael Kelley is director of Safety, Loss Control and regulatory compliance for the Alabama Rural Electric Association.

42  JULY 2017

a trip to the emergency room, follow these safety tips from the CPSC: • Sparklers aren’t safe for small children. They burn at very high temperatures — up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to melt some metals — and can easily set clothes on fire. • Ignite fireworks in a clearing, away from power lines, homes, other structures, dry leaves and grass, and other flammable materials. Never light them in any type of container. • Keep a bucket of water handy in case of emergencies and for fireworks that fail to ignite or explode. • Light only one firework at a time, and don’t try to relight a “dud.” • Check instructions for storage, but generally keep fireworks in a cool, dry place. • Do not place any part of your body directly over fireworks while you’re lighting them, and immediately move away as soon as the device is lit. • “Homemade” fireworks kits are illegal. Never try to make your own. • After fireworks have completely burned out, soak them with a hose before throwing them in the trash to help prevent fires. And remember that during a drought situation, fireworks can cause fires that can spread rapidly. Have a water source handy to extinguish any small spark before it can spread. The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate, but we urge you to use caution with fireworks — and always look up for power lines before you shoot anything skyward. Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

It’s time to eat like a grown-up. favorite reci from Alabampes largest lifes a’s magazine tyle

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| Alabama Recipes |

Tomato Time By Jennifer Kornegay | Food prepared and photographed by Brooke Echols

Plump green globes are ripening to red. Get ready to make the most of summer’s tomatoes!


t its roots, Southern food is simple. Many of our regional favorites are pretty basic, but built on authentic ingredients and time-tested techniques. Perhaps the purest expression of this is a humble bite that requires three ingredients and two tools (knife and fork): a thick round of fresh-off-thevine, ripe-to-its-core, summer-sun-warmed tomato. Cut a slice, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then dig on in. Or take things a step farther. Spread a little mayo on two pieces of white bread, and tuck your slice in between them for a tomato sandwich. Kick the situation up one more notch with the addition of bacon and some lettuce, and you’ve created the classic BLT, in my opinion, the absolute best taste of tomato season. All of these applications use tomatoes raw, but you should definitely cook some too. In fact, heat increases the amount of lycopene, a key tomato nutrient, that our bodies can absorb. And with the diversity of this month’s reader-submitted dishes and the depth of tomato flavor they promise, you’ll likely find a few new go-to options to add to your tomato recipe repertoire.

46 JULY 2017

To chill or not to chill?

In recent years, a fiery debate erupted in the food world questioning the old adage “never refrigerate tomatoes.” After some back and forth and finally, some real research, the consensus now seems to be that sometimes you should and sometimes you shouldn’t. If you’ve got slightly unripe tomatoes on your hands, you want to leave them at room temperature. The cold of your fridge will halt any further ripening. If you’ve got perfectly ripe tomatoes, leave them out too, unless you think you won’t eat them within a couple of days. They will continue to ripen, and if left at room temp too long, will rot. Feel free to chill them to preserve them for longer. You may notice a less-than-stellar texture, but it’s better than finding them mushy and inedible.

The South's favorite fruit Tomatoes are put on a pedestal in the South; in some circles down here, they are hailed as the quintessential piece of produce in our region. But they are not exclusive to our area. They are grown (and enjoyed) all over the country, and in many other parts of the world. They’re an important part of food culture in Italy. They are the state vegetable of New Jersey — even though, botanically speaking, they are not a vegetable at all, but a fruit. And China is the largest producer of tomatoes, with India second and the United States coming in third. Alabama Living

JULY 2017 47

Cook of the Month Sara Jean Brooklere, Baldwin EMC

Sara Jean Brooklere has been making her Stuffed Tomatoes with Rice for several years, always to the delight of her family. She created the recipe by mixing and tweaking the ingredients of several tomato dishes she liked, including a few her grandmother used to make. “It’s just so good. I love it,” she said. It looks good, too. She pointed to its presentation as another reason it’s a favorite. “It’s really pretty on the plate and nice to serve to guests,” she said. And she offered this tip. “It’s a great way to use up all the tomatoes you get in summer, and you can use the really big ones, but I like to use smaller tomatoes.” She also encourages improvising to make the stuffing fit your tastes. “I actually don’t love garlic, so sometimes I leave it out, and the dish is just as delicious.”

Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho 2 1 1/2 1/2 1 3 1/2 1/4 1

cups tomatoes, chopped cup watermelon, chopped cup cucumber, chopped cup red bell pepper, chopped clove garlic tablespoons olive oil teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes cup fresh basil, chopped (plus more for garnish) teaspoon apple cider vinegar Sea salt

Stuffed Tomatoes with Rice 8 ½ 1 1 6 2 1 ½

medium vine-ripened tomatoes, cleaned cup rice medium onion, diced small garlic clove, minced (optional) slices bacon, chopped tablespoons minced sweet basil tablespoon minced parsley cup grated Fontina cheese or Romano cheese Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove the tops of the tomatoes and set aside for later. Using a small spoon, empty the contents of the tomatoes, discarding the hard core, into a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Once all the tomatoes have been emptied, sprinkle a pinch of salt around the interior of each tomato. Strain the pulp into the bowl and discard the seeds. Prepare the rice per the manufacturer’s instruction, cooking the rice for half the time stated on the instructions. When the rice has cooked halfway, empty the rice into the strainer and discard the remaining water. Set aside. In a skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, chopped onion, garlic and bacon. Sauté the ingredients until onion is translucent and the bacon has crisped. Add the strained pulp, basil and parsley to the pan and mix well. Continue cooking the mixture for 2-3 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat, add rice and mix thoroughly. Add the cheese and mix well. Add salt to taste. Line a baking dish with parchment paper and place the tomatoes into the dish. (May need to use aluminum foil to make tomatoes stand up). Stuff each of the tomatoes with a generous spoonful or two of the rice mixture until it begins to overflow from the tomato and then replace the tops on each of the tomatoes. Cover the baking dish and place on the center rack of the oven. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, uncover the dish and continue baking the tomatoes for 15 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and allow the tomatoes to cool 5 minutes prior to serving.

Tomato Gravy

Skillet Tomatoes and Zucchini

1 pound bacon or sausage 1/4 cup flour 1 pint fresh tomatoes, diced or 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes Splash of milk Salt and pepper, to taste

2 2 1 2 ½ 1 1 ½

Put tomatoes, watermelon, cucumber, bell pepper, garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes and basil into a food processor and process until smooth. Add salt and vinegar to taste. Serve garnished with more basil, if desired.

Cook the bacon in a deep iron skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate and keep the grease in the pan. Gradually stir in the flour so that no lumps form, then mix in the tomatoes, continuing to cook and stir until thickened. If gravy is too thick, add water a little at a time until right consistency. Remove from heat, stir in a splash of milk, salt and pepper to taste. Serve over hot, homemade biscuits.

Robin OSullivan Wiregrass EC

Kellie Petty North Alabama EC

Please send us your original recipes, developed by you or family members, and not ones copied from a book or magazine. You may adapt a recipe from another source by changing as little as the amount of one ingredient. Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year.

tablespoons butter or margarine small zucchini, sliced medium onion, thinly sliced medium tomatoes, sliced teaspoon garlic salt Dash of pepper cup mozzarella cheese, shredded cup seasoned croutons cup toasted pecans

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add zucchini and onion. Cook over medium heat until tender-crisp. Gently stir in tomatoes and seasonings. Cover and cook 3-5 minutes or until tomatoes are tender. Remove from heat and sprinkle with cheese and croutons. Cover and let stand 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Add toasted pecans and serve. Peggy Lunsford Pea River EC

Online: Email: Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 Please include a phone number and co-op name with submissions! Alabama Living reserves the right to reprint recipes in our other publications.

48  JULY 2017

Southern Tomato Pie

Tomato ‘n Cheese Bread

Italian Style Baked Tomatoes

Piecrust: 11/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons sugar 1 teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces 4 tablespoons ice-cold water Optional: Store bought piecrust

3 medium tomatoes, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick

1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach 2-3 large tomatoes, cut into 3/4 inch slices 1/2 cup dry Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs 1/2 cup chopped green onions (white and green parts) 3 eggs, beaten 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves 2-3 dashes hot pepper sauce (optional)

Pie Filling: 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 yellow or sweet onion, sliced thinly 2 teaspoons salt 11/4 teaspoons black pepper 4 large tomatoes, sliced thinly 1 teaspoon parsley 1 teaspoon basil 1/2 teaspoon thyme 1/2 teaspoon rosemary Topping: 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese 1 cup mozzarella cheese 1 cup gruyere cheese Prepare crust: In mixer, mix together flour, sugar and salt. Mix in butter 1 tablespoon at a time on medium speed. Add ice-cold water until combined. Do not over mix. Press dough in lightly buttered pie pan. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour. Bring dough to room temperature. Sprinkle dough with flour and roll out to 1/8-inch thickness. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Press dough in a 9-inch pie pan. Chill crust before baking to keep crust from bubbling. Also, you can place parchment paper on top with pie weights to keep from bubbling. Bake crust until lightly brown and cool completely. Filling and topping: Sauté onions in olive oil until tender, add salt and pepper. Thinly slice the tomatoes and pat dry with a paper towel. Layer the onions and tomatoes, sprinkling with parsley, basil, thyme and rosemary. Mix together the three cheeses with mayonnaise and spread or place on top of pie. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. Deborah Peek Sand Mountain EC

Bread: 2 cups biscuit mix 2/3 cup milk Topping: 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped 2 tablespoons butter 1 cup sour cream 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 11/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese Sprinkle of paprika (optional) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 13x9x2-inch pan with cooking spray. Combine biscuit mix with milk. Knead lightly on a well-floured surface. Roll out dough until a little larger than the dish. Press into dish, pushing dough up on sides to form a 1/2-inch rim. Arrange tomato slices evenly over dough. Sauté onion in butter until tender. Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, salt and Italian seasoning; add to onions and spread over tomatoes. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the dish. For extra color, sprinkle dish lightly with paprika. Bake 25 minutes. Serves 12.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 13x9inch baking dish. Cook spinach according to package directions. Drain well in a colander, pressing with paper towels to remove most of the liquid. Arrange tomato slices in a single layer in prepared pan. Combine breadcrumbs, green onions, eggs, butter, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, thyme and hot sauce (if using) in a medium bowl. Add spinach; mix well. Spoon equal amounts of the spinach mixture on top of each tomato slice. Bake uncovered 15 minutes. Serves 8. Janice Bracewell Covington EC

Mary Donaldson Covington EC

Coming up in August... Summer Salads!

Recipe Themes and Deadlines: Sept. Cheese, please! Oct. Pies Nov. Sweet Potatoes

July Aug. Sept.

8 8 8

Editor’s Note: Alabama Living’s recipes are submitted by our readers. They are not kitchen-tested by a professional cook or registered dietician. If you have special dietary needs, please check with your doctor or nutritionist before preparing any recipe. Alabama Living

JULY 2017  49

Southern Tomato Pie

Tomato ‘n Cheese Bread

Italian Style Baked Tomatoes

Piecrust: 11/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons sugar 1 teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces 4 tablespoons ice-cold water Optional: Store bought piecrust

3 medium tomatoes, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick

1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach 2-3 large tomatoes, cut into 3/4 inch slices 1/2 cup dry Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs 1/2 cup chopped green onions (white and green parts) 3 eggs, beaten 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves 2-3 dashes hot pepper sauce (optional)

Pie Filling: 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 yellow or sweet onion, sliced thinly 2 teaspoons salt 11/4 teaspoons black pepper 4 large tomatoes, sliced thinly 1 teaspoon parsley 1 teaspoon basil 1/2 teaspoon thyme 1/2 teaspoon rosemary Topping: 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese 1 cup mozzarella cheese 1 cup gruyere cheese Prepare crust: In mixer, mix together flour, sugar and salt. Mix in butter 1 tablespoon at a time on medium speed. Add ice-cold water until combined. Do not over mix. Press dough in lightly buttered pie pan. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour. Bring dough to room temperature. Sprinkle dough with flour and roll out to 1/8-inch thickness. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Press dough in a 9-inch pie pan. Chill crust before baking to keep crust from bubbling. Also, you can place parchment paper on top with pie weights to keep from bubbling. Bake crust until lightly brown and cool completely. Filling and topping: Sauté onions in olive oil until tender, add salt and pepper. Thinly slice the tomatoes and pat dry with a paper towel. Layer the onions and tomatoes, sprinkling with parsley, basil, thyme and rosemary. Mix together the three cheeses with mayonnaise and spread or place on top of pie. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. Deborah Peek Sand Mountain EC

Bread: 2 cups biscuit mix 2/3 cup milk Topping: 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped 2 tablespoons butter 1 cup sour cream 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 11/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese Sprinkle of paprika (optional) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 13x9x2-inch pan with cooking spray. Combine biscuit mix with milk. Knead lightly on a well-floured surface. Roll out dough until a little larger than the dish. Press into dish, pushing dough up on sides to form a 1/2-inch rim. Arrange tomato slices evenly over dough. Sauté onion in butter until tender. Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, salt and Italian seasoning; add to onions and spread over tomatoes. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the dish. For extra color, sprinkle dish lightly with paprika. Bake 25 minutes. Serves 12.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 13x9inch baking dish. Cook spinach according to package directions. Drain well in a colander, pressing with paper towels to remove most of the liquid. Arrange tomato slices in a single layer in prepared pan. Combine breadcrumbs, green onions, eggs, butter, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, thyme and hot sauce (if using) in a medium bowl. Add spinach; mix well. Spoon equal amounts of the spinach mixture on top of each tomato slice. Bake uncovered 15 minutes. Serves 8. Janice Bracewell Covington EC

Mary Donaldson Covington EC

Coming up in August... Summer Salads!

Recipe Themes and Deadlines: Sept. Cheese, please! Oct. Pies Nov. Sweet Potatoes

July Aug. Sept.

8 8 8

Editor’s Note: Alabama Living’s recipes are submitted by our readers. They are not kitchen-tested by a professional cook or registered dietician. If you have special dietary needs, please check with your doctor or nutritionist before preparing any recipe. Alabama Living

JULY 2017  49

Clarke-Washington Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.

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mini-split ductless heat pumps



wood burning heaters Clarke-Washington Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. 107 Jamison St., Jackson, Al 36545


Owner Alfred Marks • AL License# 84750

50 JULY 2017

Alabama Living

JULY 2017  51

| Our Sources Say |

Energy education


give a number of civic club presentations. I call them call my “Rotary Club talks.” I start each presentation by picking an unsuspecting victim and asking, “Where does electricity come from?” The answers vary, but the most common answer I get (about 30% of the time) is, “out of the wall” or “the switch.” I always follow up those responses with, “So how did it get into the wall?” The answers then become more logical as the victims think more about power lines and where the lines come from. However, about three years ago, one victim – a Rotarian – responded, “They put it in there when they built the house.” In elementary and high school, we were taught that electricity came from hydroelectric dams. I grew up in north Mississippi about 15 miles from Pickwick Lake, one of the lakes and dams the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) built to electrify the South. Pickwick Dam, with its locks and gates, was huge. I assumed it produced enough electricity to supply all of Mississip- Teachers from Alabama and Florida participate in hands-on activities at pi. I didn’t think any more about electricity than your energy education session. average Rotarian. electricity but all energy in the electric sector, the manufacturing I shouldn’t have been surprised a couple of years ago when sector, the transportation sector, the heating sector and all othChristi Scruggs in our Communications Department stopped me er energy uses. The numbers will be surprising to our children, in the lobby to tell me her son was being taught that coal and but more than 80% of the energy used in the world today comes natural gas had provided cheap electricity for years, but they were from fossil fuels, about 9% comes from nuclear, and the rest from now ruining the environment. In the future, electricity would different sources including renewables. My teachers would be be provided by solar and wind generation. After all, if I grew up pleased to know that hydroelectric power makes up the largest thinking all electricity came from Pickwick Dam and the average portion of renewable production. Rotarian thinks it comes out of the wall, then it is not a stretch To help the public understand the huge gap between where we for teachers to believe that all electricity in the future will come are in energy use and what our children are being taught, a few from renewables. of PowerSouth’s trustees encouraged us to start an energy eduFor many decades, electricity has been generated by coal and, cation program for the teachers in our service area. We engaged for a number of years, by natural gas. Electricity from fossil fuels the NEED Project, which was founded by scientists and educahas been cheap and has been the primary driver of our econotors who believe school-aged children should be better informed my. Cheap fossil-fuel generated electricity has also allowed all about the realities of energy sources and production. NEED is Americans to greatly improve their quality of life and to enjoy founded upon real science, not just political motivations. The the benefits of a modern society. Finally, abundant and affordable program is not anti-climate change or anti-renewables. It is not electricity has allowed America to separate itself from the rest of slanted toward fossil fuels. It is just the truth about energy and the the world and become a global superpower. Even the average Rocost of energy, today and into the future. tarian should know that fossil-fuel generated electricity has proWe just completed the first energy education session. We hostvided more benefit than harm. ed 284 Alabama and Florida school teachers for two full days. The people who write textbooks guided by the Common Core The NEED staff did an outstanding job of explaining the basics of education curriculum are more political than the average Rotarienergy use and production. The different sources, uses and costs an. Therefore, our young people are being taught that all electricof energy were explained in detail. The teachers were provided ity in the future will come from renewables. However, they are materials to use in their classrooms to provide their students the not being taught where energy really comes from today – not just real picture of energy today. The intent is not to arbitrarily promote the use of energy for political agendas. We merely want our children, who will be the leaders of tomorrow, to be knowledgeable of energy, use, production and cost to make informed decisions in the future. Also, we Gary Smith is President would like for them to be smarter than the average Rotarian. and CEO of PowerSouth I hope you have a good month. Energy Cooperative 52 JULY 2017

| Market Place |


30x50x10 with sliding door and man door.



Additional delivery may apply pending location.

270.776.7869 Alabama Living

JULY 2017 53

| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

Illustration by Dennis Auth

The great goat barbecue of 1962


here weren’t many “official” Independence Day celebrations when I was a

kid. At least not in my little town. What Independence Day celebrating was done, was done among little clusters of families and friends, and it usually involved pork, potato salad, deviled eggs, ice tea, and ice cream churned by the bigger kids. So, from my perspective, Independence Day was about eating. And of all those Independence Day feasts, the one that stands out above the rest was the great goat barbecue of 1962. Let me explain. To earn money for college I worked summers for the county engineers – the survey crew, the rod-man, the bush-cutter. This job put me in contact with road construction men, heavy equipment operators who moved from job to job, often taking their families along. That summer a whole bunch of them set up housekeeping at a knock-together trailer park just south of town. I got to know them on the job, and while we squatted together in the shade at lunchtime -- eating sandwiches from home or potted meat and crackers, a Stage-Plank for dessert, all washed down with an R-O-C 54  JULY 2017

Cola or a Big Orange. That was when they invited any and all county employees to join them on the 4th of July. “Everybody’s welcome. We gonna cook a goat.” Now friends, I was not unfamiliar with goats. My Uncle Dub raised them. I was not opposed to goat eating. So, I accepted the invitation. Then I began to have second thoughts. Did I really want to spend the day and into the evening with a bunch of trailer park goat eaters, folks whose lifestyle seemed pretty far removed from college-boy me. My hosts at the goat-cooking seemed like gypsies, rootless nomads who were here today and gone tomorrow. I wondered what I would find there. Wild women without inhibitions and jealous men with knives? Mamas fanning flies from the food while their kids played in the dirt? Or on the bright side, might I catch the eye of the beautiful teenage daughter of the top dozer man, a girl I had seen one day in town with the others. So, I went into the uncertainty. It was great. I got to be part of a real Independence Day celebration – independence from the job, independence from the boss, in-

dependence from the culture of shopkeepers who looked down on them, preachers who told them not to do what they enjoyed doing and creditors who’d take their car if they missed a payment. They were a community bound together, not by a place but by the experiences they shared. While the goat cooked slow and tender, the little kids played, the teenagers did what teenagers do, and the women laid everything out on tables made of boards set on saw horses. And because I was a worker from out on the job, I sat with the men, and listened to the talk, the stories, the lies (probably) and the lessons. And I ate. Good goat. Then as it got dark they put down six sheets of plywood, sprinkled corn meal on them, brought out an old record player, dimmed the lights, and everyone danced. And I got to dance with the dozer daughter.


Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at hjackson@

You say you need that recipe? When I set out to write the piece about the July 4th goat barbecue, I figured I should add a how-to-do-it recipe. Readers of Alabama Living are into recipes. So I checked with Joe and Sandra who live in Goshen, east of Luverne. They raise goats. Had 48 at last count. Sandra’s goal is 100. Surely they could tell me how to cook ‘em. But when I asked, I was told that they use their goats for land management – eating, not being eaten. “Cheaper than a bulldozer,” according to Joe. Other inquiries also came up empty, until I went to my go-to barbecue expert, John Shelton Reed, who guided me to his book Barbecue: A Savor the South ® Cookbook, which was published last year by the University of North Carolina Press. On pages 33-34, there it was. John was taught goat barbecuing by Hawley and Barbara Jernigan of the Seven Jay Ranch outside Mullin, Texas. Yep, Texas. The state that is home to 20 of the 21 U.S. counties where there are more goats than people, and where every year the “World Championship BBQ Goat Cook-Off” is held. Alabama has got some catching up to do. John offers his readers a “Protestant version” of a Mexican-inspired recipe, which includes brine soaking, rubbing, cooking, brushing, turning, glazing, until the meat is ready to slice or pull. For your convenience, and with John’s permission, the process is posted on So, get yourself a goat, and have at it. Just don’t expect to get it from Sandra and Joe.

Alabama Living

JULY 2017 55

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