ClarkeWashıngton ELECTRIC MEMBERSHIP CORP.
The Civil War: Letters, memories and myth
Alabama has 2nd largest collection of first president’s memorabilia
Stan Wilson CO-OP EDITOR
Rick Norris 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. AREA cooperative member subscriptions are $3 a year; non-member subscriptions, $6. Alabama Living (USPS 029-920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office. POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014.
ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION
AREA PRESIDENT Fred Braswell EDITOR Lenore Vickrey MANAGING EDITOR Allison Griffin CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mark Stephenson ART DIRECTOR Michael Cornelison ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Jacob Johnson ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Brooke Davis RECIPE EDITOR Mary Tyler Spivey
VOL. 68 NO. 7 JULY 2015
5 New Meter Installation
A new metering installation begins on CWEMC lines.
14 A teapot started it
Did you know the second largest collection of George Washington memorabilia in the country is right here in Alabama?
Alabama author Frye Gaillard used letters from family members who fought in the Civil War to frame the conflict though a very human lens in his new book, Journey to the Wilderness. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: Mark Stephenson
34 Summer sandwich
When the weather’s hot, cooking a meal can be a chore. Sometimes a tasty sandwich is all you feel like preparing. Ripe tomatoes make a delicious summer sandwich, as do the other recipes our readers submitted.
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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
Oﬃce Hours 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Friday (Drive-thru Hours) Pay your bill online at
Payment Methods Payments can be made at our Chatom and Jackson oﬃces with cash, checks, debit or credit cards Our Customer Service representatives can accept payments over the phone using a credit or debit card Stan Wilson Manager of ClarkeWashington Electric Membership Corporation
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Our Youth Programs Have Always Been Important to Us At Clarke-Washington EMC we talk a lot about the services we provide to you, our members—home energy audits, convenient billing options, and events like our annual meeting and other activiti es. But many of our valueadded beneﬁts are directed at our younger members. It’s important that we support our young folks, not only to enrich their lives, but also to instill in them the importance of cooperative membership. Aft er all, these youngsters will one day become community and possibly coop leaders. For high school seniors, we oﬀer a college scholarship in the amount of $1,000. I know this is of great value not only to the student but also to the parents. We want to reward excellence and make it a little easier for our members to aﬀord college or technical school. James McIntyre from Coﬀeeville was our winner this year. Congratulations, James! I also want to congratulate my own grandson, Will West, who graduated this year. Keep up the good work, Will! High school juniors have the opportunity to attend the annual Rural Electric Youth Tour, where we send 2 students to Washington, D.C., on a week-long educational excursion every June. We also send 4 students to Montgomery for the Alabama Youth Tour in March. This year we had about 100 applications. Look in this publication for an opportunity to apply later in the year.
And for our younger, school-age children we oﬀer electrical safety demonstrations and school visits. If you would like more information on this or to schedule a visit please contact Rick Norris, our Member Services Director. You can contact him at 246-9081 or email@example.com.
“...many of our
value-added benefits are directed at at our younger members.” We also support local charitable organizations like Relay for Life and United Way, to name a couple. CWEMC also works with the local 4H programs such as the Junior Livestock Show and Sale and the Pig Squeal program. We strive to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve. Outreach programs to our younger members is just one of the ways CWEMC is trying to make a diﬀerence. Thank you.
CWEMC Begins Installation of New Metering System In the May edition of Alabama Living, we talked about replacing a 15-year-old metering system in parts of our service area. We have now started the actual changeout of the meters.This new updated system will be able to read the meters using a radio frequency and antennae. The old system was read using the power lines. At top right, CWEMC employee Dale Newton is shown installing and programming one of the new meters. Below is a close-up of one of the new meters. We plan to install around 6,000 meters in Clarke and Washington counties over the remainder of 2015. This metering system will increase our efficiency not only in metering but also in operations and billing.
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Bill Bumpers Retires After 42 Years CWEMC Line Crew Foreman Bill Bumpers retired in June after 42 years of dedicated service to our membership. Billâ€™s absence will be felt on several levels. His expertise in construction, metering, operations and trouble-shooting made him an extremely valuable employee and asset to the cooperative. He will be missed as an employee. He is deeply respected not only by coworkers but also by the community. He was always helpful to the younger linemen, and when asked, they could all recall several instances when he patiently taught them how to do something. He will be sorely missed as a coworker and friend. We are happy for Bill, but hate to see him go. Enjoy your retirement, Bill, you certainly earned it! Left: Bill shaking hands with Operations Director Steve Sheffield at his retirement breakfast.
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A Change for the Better It’s the little things When it comes to energy efficiency in the home, sometimes small changes can make a big impact. A small, unglamorous task like changing the filters on your HVAC system makes your unit run more efficiently – keeping your house cooler in the
summer and warmer in the winter. It also saves money. And the savings gained from having your system run more efficiently can be applied to more fun or entertaining pursuits that your family can enjoy together. The lowdown on dirt As you move around your home, you drive dust into the air from carpets, furniture and drapes. Regardless of where it comes from, dust and dirt ALABAMA LIVING
trapped in a system’s air filter leads to several problems, including: • Reduced air flow in the home and up to 15 percent higher operating costs • Costly duct cleaning or replacement • Lowered system efficiency
Making the switch Now, that you know the facts, it’s time to get busy changing or cleaning the air filter in your heating/cooling system. Many HVAC professionals recommend that you clean or change the filter on your air conditioner or furnace monthly. It’s simple and easy, and in many cases, it only takes a few minutes. Filters are available in a variety of types and efficiencies, rated by a
Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV). MERV, a method developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, tests filter effectiveness. The higher the MERV number, the higher the filter’s effectiveness at keeping dust out of your system. While most types of filters must be replaced, some filters are reusable. And don’t forget about the winter months. Your heating system needs to work as efficiently as possible to keep you warm, and a clean air filter helps it do just that. Heating and cooling professionals recommend turning your system off before changing the air filter. Make sure that the arrow on the filter – which indicates the direction of the airflow – is pointing toward the blower motor. When you’ve made the change, turn your system back on. A teachable moment Beyond saving money and improving the air quality in your home, changing your air filter is a great opportunity to teach your family more about energy efficiency. Consider getting everyone involved, and the entire family will learn how simple changes can make a big difference. JULY 2015 7
2015 Town of Chatom’s Independence Day Celebration
Chatom Community Center Friday, July 3, 5 p.m. FREE activities including: Live music by “Cool Rayz,” inflatable water slides, trackless train, temporary tattoos, balloon art by SUNSHINE the clown and FIREWORKS! New this year: “The Swing Ride,” “The Swinging Pirate Ship,” and “The Sweeper”! Fireworks start at 9 p.m. Admission is FREE! Parking is $1 per vehicle. Bring your lawn chairs There will be food and arts and crafts booths. For more information contact Fran Thornton at 251-680-3075 or firstname.lastname@example.org 8 JULY 2015
Safety tip: Beat the heat Alabama’s summer climate, with its extreme temperatures and high humidity, can lead to heat-related illnesses and deaths if not treated, according to the Department of Public Health. Remember these guidelines: Stay hydrated (with water, not alcoholic or caffeinated beverages); slow down (reduce strenuous activities in the hottest parts of the day); stay cool (wear lightweight, light-colored clothing); provide plenty of shade and water to livestock and pets; and don’t leave children or pets unattended in vehicles. When it’s 95 degrees outside, your car can heat to 124 degrees in just 30 minutes.
Summertime on Sand Mountain Northeast Alabama is rich in its diversity of agricultural products, and the Sand Mountain Potato Festival pays tribute to the farmers who grow them. The daylong festival starts with a parade at 10 a.m., July 4 in Henagar, with food vendors, craft vendors, games and music all day. This 33rd annual event is free and culminates with a fireworks show at dark. Call 256-657-6282.
Alabama products win magazine’s awards Southern Living, long known for its accomplished test kitchens, recently taste-tested more than 300 of the newest artisan products to find the best Southern-made foods. Several Alabama items made the list (for more information, see the special food issue of Alabama Living in August): • Front Porch Special, a blend from Piper and Leaf Artisan Tea Co., Huntsville (winner) • Goat Cheese Cheesecake, Belle Chevre, Elkmont (winner) • Sweet Garlic Vinaigrette, T. Lish, Birmingham (runner-up) • Wicked Pickle Chips, Wickles Pickles, Dadeville (runner-up) • Organic Sprouted Gluten-Free Yellow Corn Grits, the Sprouted Flour, Fitzpatrick (runner-up) • Highbrow Cold Brew Coffee, Huntsville (runner-up) • Beer Vinegar, Back Forty Beer Co., Gadsden (runner-up) • Buddascotch-Oatmeal Southern Style Bite Size Cookies, G Momma’s, Selma (runner-up)
Waters open for red snapper, triggerfish Alabama’s waters will open for the recreational harvest of red snapper and gray triggerfish from July 1-31, according to a news release from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Marine Resources Division. The daily bag limit will be two red snapper per person and two gray triggerfish per person. The minimum size for red snapper will be 16 inches total length, and the minimum size for gray triggerfish will be 14-inch fork length. Federal waters remain closed to private recreational anglers for red snapper and gray triggerfish harvest during the July season. For more information about reporting red snapper harvests, log on to www.outdooralabama.com.
Want to see more events or submit your own? Alabama Living
Visit www.alabamaliving.coop to submit an event and view our calendar or email an event to email@example.com.
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Half a century of help with Medicare On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare into law with these words: “No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that they have so carefully put away over a lifetime.” For 50 years, the Medicare program has provided essential health care services for millions of people who are age 65 or older, disabled, or have debilitating diseases. Without Medicare, many people would not be able to pay for hospital care, doctor’s visits, medical tests, preventive services, or prescription drugs. Your Medicare card is the most important piece of identification you own as a Medicare beneficiary since medical providers will request it when you seek their services. If you need to replace a lost, stolen, or damaged Medicare card, you can do it online with a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Requesting a replacement card through my Social Security is safe, convenient, and easy. Going online saves you a trip to your local Social Security office or unproductive time on the phone. Request your replacement Medicare card the
easy and convenient way — online — and you’ll get it in the same amount of time as you would if you applied in an office or over the phone — in about 30 days. Fifty years ago, Medicare didn’t have as many options as it does today. As the largest public health program in the United States, Medicare includes four parts to keep you covered: • Part A is insurance that covers inpatient hospital stays, outpatient care in nursing facilities, hospice, and home health care. • Part B includes medical insurance for doctor’s services, medical supplies, outpatient care, and preventive services. • Part C is a Medicare advantage plan that allows you to choose your health care coverage through a provider organization. You must have Part A and Part B to enroll in Part C. This plan usually includes Medicare prescription drug coverage and may include extra benefits and services at an additional cost. • Part D is prescription drug coverage. There is a separate monthly premium for this plan; however, people with
low resources and income may qualify for the Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug costs from Social Security. Visit www.socialsecurity. gov/prescriptionhelp to see if you qualify. A recent survey to Medicare beneficiaries asked: Why do you love Medicare? One person stated, “It gives peace of mind not only for seniors, but for veterans and disabled as well.” Another satisfied recipient replied, “I most likely wouldn’t be alive today without Medicare.” These are just two of the millions who endorse Medicare’s half-century strong success story. A For more information about Medicare, visit www.medicare.gov. As Medicare celebrates 50 years, Social Security commemorates 80 years. Learn more about Social Security’s 80th anniversary at www.socialsecurity.gov/80thanniversary.
Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by e-mail at kylle. firstname.lastname@example.org.
State’s electric utility linemen honored for their service at Capitol ceremony Alabama’s electric utility linemen often work long hours, doing potentially dangerous work in remote areas. And they are always on call, 365 days a year. To honor their service and hard work, the Alabama Rural Electric Association (AREA), with help from Alabama Power Company and the state’s municipally owned electric utilities, sponsored the second Lineman Appreciation Day on June 1. Linemen from all over the state came to the state Capitol to be recognized. Cull10 JULY 2015
man Electric Cooperative president and CEO Grady Smith gave a heartfelt and personal talk, recalling his early career as a lineman. Alabama Emergency Management Agency (EMA) director Art Faulkner talked about the role of linemen in times of disaster, and AREA director of safety Michael Kelley, himself a former lineman, gave his perspective on the work and service of Alabama’s linemen. State Rep. April Weaver, R-Alabaster, was the sponsor of the 2014 resolution
that created Lineman Appreciation Day. She recalled her grandfather, who was a lineman, and what his work meant to her. Members of the local media covered the
event, and all linemen were invited to AREA afterward for lunch and cake. Visit www.alabamaliving. coop to see more photos and video from the ceremony. A
Linemen from across the state gathered June 1 at the Capital for Alabama Lineman Appreciation Day.
Keeping your home clean helps protect your family All of us want our bacteria can contaminate homes to be a healthful cutting boards, knives, environment for our and food preparation families, and it’s easier surfaces. Rinse all fresh to keep allergies and fruit and vegetables infections at bay by being under running water, aware of potential sources and use different cutting of illness. Good cleaning boards for raw meats and practices and safe food vegetables. handling help keep your Cook food long home from becoming a enough and at a trigger for allergies or a temperature high enough source of infection. to kill the harmful Year-round allergens b a c te r i a t hat c aus e typically come from foodborne illness. Cook an indoor source. The poultry to at least 165 most common types are degrees F, ground meat dust, mold, and pet hair to 160 degrees F, and or dander. Dust mites Clean kitchen surfaces before, during and after preparing food. steaks and chops to 145 thrive in mattresses and degrees F. Don’t rely on want to disinfect for an extra level of bedding. When their color alone; hamburger droppings and remains become airborne, protection. Disinfectants are specifically meat can turn brown before it’s safe to eat. your natural filtration system feels under registered with the U.S. Environmental Minimizing the time foods are held in the attack. Also, mold fungus flourishes in Prote c t ion Agenc y and cont ain hazardous temperature zone will lessen the dark, damp areas, so be sure to clean ingredients that destroy bacteria and other chance of acquiring a foodborne illness, so often. Many people are allergic to a germs. Check the product label to make refrigerate foods promptly. A protein found in pet dander or saliva. sure it says “Disinfectant” and has an EPA Some simple actions such as washing registration number. Auburn clothes frequently may help, depending In the kitchen on what particular allergies you have. student In the kitchen, foodborne illnesses can is summer make your family very ill. Those at greatest In the bathroom risk are infants and young children, intern In the bathroom, routinely clean and disinfect all surfaces. This is especially pregnant women, older adults, and people important if someone in the house has a with weakened immune systems. Clean stomach illness, a cold, or the flu. Experts surfaces before, during, and after preparing Alethia S. Russell, a senior at make a distinction between cleaning and food—especially meat and poultry. Use Auburn University, is working on disinfecting. While cleaning removes paper towels that can be thrown away, the staff of Alabama Living as an germs from surfaces, disinfecting actually cloth towels that are later washed in hot intern this summer. Russell, who water, or disposable sanitizing wipes that destroys them. will graduate in August with a bachCleaning with soap and water to both clean and disinfect. elor’s degree in journalism, is helpSponges are especially problematic, remove dirt and most of the germs is ing write articles, design advertising usually enough, but sometimes you may because they hold moisture and can spread campaigns and performing other unsafe bacteria. The preferred method to communications-related tasks durclean them is by mixing 3/4 cup of bleach ing her internship. with one gallon of water, then soaking the A native of Gadsden, she is active sponge for five minutes. Sponges also can Jim McVay, Dr.P.A., is in her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, director of the Bureau of be cleaned with a regular dishwasher load and has helped with orientation of Health Promotion and on “heated dry” setting. Chronic Disease of the new students and as a parent counWhen preparing food, wash hands and Alabama Department of selor during Camp War Eagle. A Public Health. food contact surfaces often. That’s because Alabama Living
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War, and the way we remember it
By Allison Griffin
Thomas and Marianne Gaillard, the great-greatgrandparents of writer Frye Gaillard. Thomas was the family patriarch and was too old for service, but four of his sons would go on to fight in the Civil War.
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he American Civil War, one of the darkest periods in our country’s history, is for most of us relegated to history books and Hollywood films, which often break it down into political, racial or economic terms. But a new book, released to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the end of the war, frames the conflict through a very human lens, based on letters written by those who lived with its very tragic consequences. Author Frye Gaillard of Mobile, like many Southerners, grew up with the notion that the Civil War was a sort of glorious lost cause -- “we, being the South, might have lost, but we fought so valiantly.” Gaillard is a student of the history of the South who’s also written several books about its past, its culture and its music. But Gaillard also has a unique perspective on the Civil War: He had a grandfather who lived to be 103, and whose mind was lucid till the very end. That man, Samuel Palmer Gaillard, was born in 1856, so he very literally remembered the Civil War. Samuel Gaillard was an Alabama lawyer and a natural storyteller, and he found an appreciative audience in his young grandson. He recalled the war in a very painful way -- his father, his uncles and a cousin were all killed in the war. Frye Gaillard grew up with these stories and was always intrigued with that part of our history, but his adulthood was soon overshadowed by yet another painful period. He became a journalist and spent many years covering the intense years of the civil rights movement. Yet his grandfather’s stories were always with him. A few years ago, he started thinking about how some of his relatives had saved the letters written by family members during the Civil War -- some of whom were fighting, and some who were home awaiting news from the front. He gathered as many of the letters as he could, these verbal snapshots of a long-ago time, and found that they were in some ways more in line with his grandfather’s memories than with some of the books he’d read. “Even though they did refer to the heroism and honor of Confederate troops, they also were filled with a sense of loss and a sense of tragedy,” he says. Alabama Living
At right, Samuel Septimus Gaillard, the author’s great-grandfather. Left, Franklin Gaillard, standing between his wife, Tattie, and niece Catherine; seated in front are Franklin’s sisters, Lydia, Betsy and Nan. Franklin was a Southern patriot who was killed at the Battle of the Wilderness.
A new life for old letters
The letters became the basis for the new book, Journey to the Wilderness (NewSouth Books, $23.95), which helps reveal, through the words of those who lived it, the pain and very real sense of despair that settled over the South during the Civil War. Gaillard relied on the work of professional historians to provide the context for this book, which is more in the realm of a memoir than a history textbook. He and his grandfather were close, and the war touched Samuel Gaillard personally. The letters made it easy to humanize the story; in fact, the process of going through the letters was somewhat painful. “It didn’t seem like it was very long ago, when you have these words from those days right in front of you,” he says. “And having known somebody personally who, even though he was a child, literally remembered that period of time, made it more real and more personal too.” The title has a double meaning -- “wilderness” as a metaphor for the wilderness of war, but also as a nod to his ancestor, Franklin Gaillard, who was the family’s most prolific letter writer and who was killed at the Battle of the Wilderness in May 1864. Wilderness was a particularly gruesome battle; the woods caught fire, and many of the wounded soldiers were burned alive. “I think that, in a way, we owe these ancestors a realistic compassion for what they went through,” Gaillard says. Beyond all of the political issues of the war, slavery chief among them, the story is really one of tragedy for both sides, and should be remembered that way, Gaillard says. “I think we owe it to the people who lived in those times to recognize the pain and the tragedy that they were forced to contend with.” A
Author, teacher … and songwriter collaborator Frye Gaillard, writer-in-residence at the University of South Alabama and author of several books about Southern culture and history, has also branched out into contemporary music. He’s not a singer, but he’s teamed up with some talented Southern singer-songwriters to pen lyrics to their music. Gaillard says he’s always been intrigued by what he calls the literature of the songwriter, looking at song lyrics as poetry. His partnerships have included singersongwriters Anne E. DeChant of Nashville; Davis Raines, a former prison guard and Alabama native; Kathryn Scheldt, a Fairhope native; and Pamela Jackson, a native of Auburn who is also now in Nashville. The songs are often partly or mostly complete by the time Gaillard gets involved, so he may contribute a verse or two. But that’s OK. “It’s a chance to get out and use song lyrics to look at things that matter to people,” he says. “And it’s fun.” He’s toured recently with all of those artists -- doing readings, playing music and telling stories -- usually playing to small venues in intimate settings. “People wind up with these programs, listening to music in a slightly different way, maybe a little more attentively, to what it’s really saying,” he says. “It’s fun to see that, because their enjoyment of the songs seems to go deeper.” Alabama native and author Frye Gaillard talks about his latest book, Journey to the Wilderness: War, Memory, and a Southern Family’s Civil War Letters, in the offices of his publisher, NewSouth Books in Montgomery. AUTHOR PHOTOS BY LLOYD GALLMAN
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Story and photos by Emmett Burnett
ere’s something you probably don’t know about George Washington: He was buried twice. Our first president’s interment was in 1799 but in 1831 he was exhumed from the badly deteriorating family vault and moved to a better-constructed brick enclosure. Here’s something else you don’t know: His casket liner was cut into sections and sold as souvenir pieces. One of those pieces is in Columbiana, Alabama. The casket remnant is part of a thousand-artifact display of America’s First Family, housed in the Karl C. Harrison Museum of George Washington, the second largest collection of the Washington’s personal belongings outside of Mt. Vernon. And how did Shelby Country become its home? “I’m probably asked that every time someone walks in,” smiles Donald Relyea, the museum’s curator, guide, and student of all things Washington. “Most of our advertising is word of mouth so most people have no idea what is in here or how much.” It all started with a teapot. In the early 1980s, Shelby County resident Charlotte Smith-Weaver presented a teapot to a local appraiser for authentication. She said the small shiny vessel had been handed down through her family. Charlotte was the six generation granddaughter of Martha Washington. The teapot was real, her story true, the appraiser amazed. And then his eyes widened when Charlotte said that she had much more of George and Martha’s things. Bust of the nation’s first president greets visitors.
It all started with a teapot
Alabama is home to 2nd largest collection of Washington memorabilia 14 JULY 2015
Local banker Karl C. Harrison heard the news. Charlotte was at a point in life where she was ready to share her family’s legacy. In the mid-1980s banker Harrison obtained her entire collection, placing it in the city’s public library. Suddenly, the little building of books was crowded with reading rooms, children stories, and treasures from the father of our country. But in 1988 Harrison added an auctioned bonanza of more Washington wonders. The building was packed and could hold no more. “He made a large purchase of Augustin Washington’s (George’s half-brother) estate, from a Kentucky auction,” noted Relyea. “But it was too much and too delicate to safely display in the library. It just would not fit.” In 2000, the Karl C. Harrison Museum of George Washington was installed in the library’s new wing, custom made for a president’s legacy. It showcases items of awe, including a 207-piece set of Minton porcelain, Sevres vases, circa 1785, and an 1805 walnut games table. There are tools, pots, pans, Washington’s handwritten letter to President James Madison, the scribed ponderings of British Army officer and Washington nemesis, Charles Cornwallis, an original 18th century sketch for Mt. Vernon’s landscaping, and more – approximately 990 more. Ironically, everyone enjoys the display except its driving force. Karl C. Harrison died three years before the museum opened and never saw his namesake. But the Shelby County banker would have loved it and so would the first president. “I think Washington would be pleased that so much of his things were saved,” said Relyea. “He was very systematic and never discarded things.” Regarding his personal life: “Washington was a true friend but very difficult to develop a friendship with,” Relyea explained. “He Fine china from the Washington estate graces the table.
held himself aloof. He analyzed people before trusting them.” He probably would have hated Facebook. And forget what you heard about that cherry tree chopping business. “It probably never happened,” smiled the curator. “The story is part of an 1800s biography, written by Mason Weems. The author couldn’t find much information about Washington Martha Washington’s 1783 prayer book. as a young man so he made it up, including the part about chopping down a cherry tree.” The legendary presidential wooden teeth? Not a splinter of truth. “Most dentures were made of ivory and occasionally from other people’s teeth,” said Relyea. “However,Washington had dental problems. He started losing teeth during his 20s. By the time he was sworn in as president he had one tooth left.” Which may explain his tight-lipped dollar bill expression. “He probably never skipped a coin across a river either,” noted the museum’s host. “Washington was very frugal. He would never throw money away.” And wife Martha was no shrinking violet. As Relyea explains about the first lady, “She was a remarkable woman. Her first husband died, leaving her the wealthiest widow in the Virginia Colony. She controlled 18,000 acres of land and was a shrewd businesswoman for almost two years before marrying George.” The museum has Martha Washington’s prayer book, published in 1783 and still legible. It sits near 1774 unblemished French porcelain. The oldest relic on display is the hand-scribed will of Colonel Daniel Parke, written in 1710. His grandson, the wealthy Daniel Parke Custis, was Martha’s first husband, who died and left her loaded. And in a glass case prominently displayed for Columbiana and the world is the little teapot that started it all, when Martha Washington’s decendant asked for an appraisal. A The Karl C. Harrison Museum of George Washington, 50 Lester St., in Columbiana, is adjacent to the Mildred B. Harrison Regional Library. It is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. For more information, visit www.washingtonmuseum.com or call 205-669-8767.
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An undated photo of the Birmingham Black Barons, one of the most successful baseball teams in the Negro Leagues. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CENTER FOR NEGRO LEAGUE BASEBALL RESEARCH
Reclaiming history Negro Southern League Museum will honor baseball’s past By Ryan Whirty
t’s been a long, long wait, but on July 4 — the most American of holidays — Birmingham resident and former Negro Leaguer Ernest Fann will finally get to see the story of segregationera, African-American baseball come to life. That’s when the state-of-the-art, interactive, multimillion-dollar Negro Southern League Museum that’s been in the works for five years will, at long last, hold its grand opening. After years of budget delays and controversy surrounding its possible competition with the long-established Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, the project sponsored by Birmingham Mayor William Bell will come to fruition. “I’m very excited,” says Fann, a native of Macon, Ga., who settled in Birmingham after his playing career. “It took so long. There’s no museum that can tell the story of black baseball like it really was than this place. It’s going to be amazing. People will get to see the long history of the Negro Leagues, and I’m very glad to be a part of it.”
Alabama has actually played a major role in the history of African-American baseball. The state’s largest city was home to one of the Negro Leagues’ oldest, most storied franchises, the Birming-
ham Black Barons, which for decades was the deep South’s black baseball jewel. The Black Barons won multiple Negro American League pennants with rosters that featured dozens of AfricanAmerican hardball stars, including, in the late 1940s, a young prospect named Willie Mays. The area was also the home of arguably the country’s best, most talent-laden and vigorously competitive urban industrial leagues, which launched the professional baseball careers of dozens of African-American players. “There’s more to the history of black baseball than just the Negro Leagues,” says Dr. Layton Revel of the Center for Negro League Baseball Research, who personally donated tens of thousands of artifacts and pieces of memorabilia to the new museum. “A lot of the industrial teams were proving grounds for players. What we’re saying is that it’s an important part of the history. You can’t forget the grass roots, where these guys started.” But it wasn’t just the Magic City that featured prime black baseball in the decades before Jackie Robinson broke the Major League color barrier. There were also squads like the Montgomery Grey Sox and the Mobile Black Shippers and Black Bears. In fact, Mobile turned out to be a key locus of African-American hardball activity,
The Negro Southern League Museum, which is adjacent to the Birmingham Barons’ home at Regions Field and across First Avenue South from Railroad Park, was still under the final construction phases in early June. PHOTOS BY ALLISON GRIFFIN
Read a longer version of this story at alabamaliving.coop
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not only by hosting such quality semipro teams like the Bears and the Shippers, but also serving as the hometown of the one and The new museum is planned to feature only Leroy “Satchel” a theater, a restaurant and an outdoor Paige. Paige was the terrace. first Negro Leaguer PHOTOS BY ALLISON GRIFFIN inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and many baseball historians consider him the greatest pitcher in the sport’s history, black or white, regardless of time period. Paige grew up and earned his spikes in Mobile with another Negro League legend from the city, Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe, one of black baseball’s most colorful, versatile, active and longestliving personalities. Radcliffe, who died in 2005 at the age of 103, earned his nickname by catching one end of a doubleheader, then pitching the second game on the same day. When asked by author Brent Kelley in 2000 whether he considered himself a pitcher or a catcher, Radcliffe’s answer probably echoed the feelings of countless Negro Leaguers. “It didn’t make no difference,” he said, “just so we won.” Alabama also gave birth to several other Negro League greats and Baseball Hall of Famers, like hulking power hitter George “Mule” Suttles. Then, of course, there were the two ’Bama natives and home run kings who began their careers in the Negro Leagues before moving on to greatness in the Majors — Mays and Henry Aaron. But a slew of other, less-heralded Negro League legends came from the state, from both major cities and tiny towns scattered across the landscape.
Making a dream a reality
The fact that the project has survived several funding hiccups points to the determination of those involved, including the dozens of players who gather in Birmingham each spring for an annual Negro Leagues reunion and who, like Fann, have eagerly and patiently awaited the realization of the facility. But financial difficulties weren’t the only problematic facets
of the project. When Revel and city officials first announced the effort, representatives from the existing Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City expressed concern that the Alabama institution would constitute a rival that could possibly draw attention, visitors and business away from the NLBM. But since then, any conflicts between the two facilities appear to have been smoothed over, thanks to assurances from Bell, Revel and others that the new Birmingham museum would serve a totally different purpose than the NLBM, which is much more national in scope than the Alabama-based facility. The new museum has been funded by a mix of charitable fundraising, private donations and public funding — the Birmingham City Council, for example, approved a $2.8 million appropriation to the effort last year. Through it all, everyone involved in the museum and the annual reunion has said the facility and festivities come down to one thing — celebrating the courage, passion and playing abilities of the men (and occasionally women) in Alabama who populated all levels of African-American baseball. “You set a standard that sent other players on to the Major League,” Bell said at a news conference last year while surrounded by former Negro Leaguers. “This is a great day, just the beginning.” Bell made those comments as the fifth annual Negro Leagues reunion was getting underway last year. This year’s event was held May 25-27, and like clockwork, Ernest Fann was in attendance. Fann said he’s encouraged by all the youngsters who attend the reunions and get a chance to talk with former Negro Leaguers about the players’ experiences on and off the diamond. “It’s good for them to know who we are and what we did,” he said. “It’s a good chance to educate the kids.” A
New book looks back at Negro Southern League The Negro Southern League became a valuable feeder of young players to the Negro National League and Negro American League, giving starts to future baseball legends Leroy “Satchel” Paige and Willie Mays. Now, The Negro Southern League: A Baseball History, 1920-1951, (McFarland and Co., 276 pages, $39.95) by retired journalist and freelance writer William Plott of Montevallo, tells the story of this minor league, which sent a number of players – some found in cotton fields, some in steel mills -- on to the higher level of pro baseball. The league gave a home to professional baseball in cities that couldn’t support teams at the Negro National League level, with teams in New Orleans, Montgomery, Nashville, Pensacola, Knoxville, Jacksonville, Birmingham and Atlanta. During its history, more than 80 teams were members of the league, representing 40 cities in a dozen states. In the end, only four teams remained, operating more as semipro than professional teams. 18 JULY 2015
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Each month, we offer a summary of recent books either about Alabama people or written by Alabama authors. Summaries are not reviews or endorsements. We also occasionally highlight book-related events. Email submissions and events to email@example.com.
Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee, HarperCollins, July 2015, $27.99 This newly discovered novel is the earliest known work from Monroeville native Harper Lee, who penned the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, To Kill a Mockingbird. According to the publisher, it was originally written in the mid-1950s and was the first novel Lee submitted to the publishers (before TKAM). Its discovery in late 2014 set the literary world on fire. “I was surprised by the announcement on Feb. 3 of a second novel to be published. Not that there is a second novel, but what it is,” said Nancy Anderson, associate professor of English at Auburn Montgomery who has extensively studied Lee and TKAM. “I expected a second novel to be ‘The Reverend,’ the nonfiction novel about the series of murders in Alexander City in the 1970s.” Lee traveled to Alexander City in the late 1970s to research that book, but no manuscript has ever been found. Anderson, like other TKAM scholars and readers alike, is eager for the new work’s release, but hopes readers will put the new book in the proper context. “I do hope that readers and reviewers remember that it was a first draft of TKAM, even if the publisher has labeled it ‘a sequel.’ It is a sequel in chronology -- Jean Louise returning to Maycomb in the 1950s to visit her father. Harper Lee has called it ‘the parent’ rather than the sequel.” Anderson also hopes the new book will shed light on questions raised by TKAM. “For example, readers have always wondered how old Jean Louise is when she is recalling her childhood in TKAM. Now we may have the answer to that question: if ‘Go Set a Watchman’ is the plot rewritten for TKAM, perhaps this is Jean Louise in the 1950s recalling her childhood,” Anderson says. She’s tempering her excitement with a small dose of reality. “I am excited about the release and cannot wait to read it, but I am also being realistic in reminding myself not to expect another TKAM.” Mildred Budge in Embankment, by Daphne Simpkins, Quotidian Books, January 2015, $11.50 This second full-length Mildred Budge novel follows the retired school teacher and full-time church lady as she leads her fellow church members to safety after the car in which they were traveling wrecks on a desolate road. The journey is not just a physical one; she experiences new spiritual adventures as she continues to “work out her salvation” within the context of friendships and church relationships. In the Land of Cotton: How Old Times There Still Shape Alabama’s Future, by Larry Lee, NewSouth Books, Spring 2015, $7.95 The early 19th century was a time of prosperity in Alabama, thanks in large part to the bountiful cotton that fed the hungry mills of England. But the cotton culture valued manual labor over a keen mind; this mentality, the author says, trapped thousands of Alabamians in a cycle of poverty and lack of education. Author Lee is an expert in rural development who is interested in education issues.
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Enjoy state’s official fruit while at its peak By Alethia Russell
une and July are prime picking season for a fruit that’s rooted in our Alabama hearts: the blackberry. Although the origins of the blackberry are unknown, it is believed it originated in Asia, Europe or North or South America. Most of the berries we consume in the Southeast are grown from a breeding program based at the University of Arkansas and other universities in the Southeast. Once these seedlings go public, nurseries and home gardeners can take up the hobby of raising these beauties to their peak. Blackberries are not widely grown in the state, but Alabama’s legislature declared the blackberry as the state fruit in 2004, at the request of Fairhope Elementary School faculty and students. Teachers Susan Sims and Amy Jones noticed Alabama laid no claim to a fruit of its own like our neighboring states, and set out to fix that. They researched the fruit and received the backing of then-Sen. Bradley Byrne and State Rep. Randy Davis to help push it through the Senate. (Alabama’s official tree fruit is the peach, recognized as such in 1949.) The good news is that you can grow them yourself in your backyard garden. The health and wellness benefits blackberries provide are more than enough incentive to invest. Blackberries are low in sodium and calories, and are rich in bioflavonoids and Vitamin C. The dark color of the fruit indicates it has one of the highest levels of antioxidants in fruit. Tea drinkers use the leaves of the fruit for added flavor or as a therapeutic drink. Just mask the bitterness with a little honey and sip away. The leaves have also been used to treat gum inflammation.
Blackberries are a low maintenance fruit with many health benefits.
co-owner of Petals from the Past Nursery in Jemison. “You can grow blackberries without a lot of fuss,” Powell says. “So we have a lot of home gardeners who like to grow them in their gardens because you don’t have to deal with a lot of spray programs. If you can give them sunshine, and plant a good variety and fertilize twice a year, you’re good.” Blackberries should be planted in early spring, preferably one month to one month and a half before the last frost of the winter. It prefers acidic or neutral soil for growing. Soil pH should range from 5.5 – 7.0. Pests can build up in soil over the years, so avoid planting blackberries in an area ‘If you can give them sunshine, and where other plant a good variety and fertilize brambles twice a year, you’re good.’ have grown t o pre ve nt The plant has proven to be a low main- contaminating the plant. These plants tenance and attractive addition to vege- will not produce fruit the first year, but table gardens, according to Jason Powell, with proper maintenance they will pro-
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duce fruit the following year. Gardeners should fertilize as early as possible in the spring and maintain the bushes with trellises. With proper growing supervision, a blackberry bush can last anywhere from 15-20 years. Here are a few tips for growing blackberries at home: II Blackberries are self-fruitful: This means you can plant one variety of blackberry and there’s no need for another plant for cross-pollination. II Fertilizer is important: Blackberries need proper soil nutrients to grow. Alabama soil typically cannot provide these nutrients on its own. Proper fertilizing and maintaining mulch around the base of the plant will keep weeds and grass from sapping nutrients from your berries. Also avoid planting in sandy or heavy clay soil. II Walking on sunshine: Blackberries require a minimum of five hours of sunshine per day. Water them once or twice a week as needed to maintain www.alabamaliving.coop
by what type of bearing they produce. Primocane bearing varieties grow the canes and fruits on the same cane during the same year. Jim Pitts, director of Chilton County Research and Extension Center, suggests that the Natchez variety is the best non-thorny variety suitable for home gardening. Visit your local hardware store or nurseryman and ask about the variety best for your gardening needs.
After all your hard work, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. When your berries begin to ripen, try to pick them every three to six days and enjoy them alone or in pies, jams or jellies. If not, the birds will have fun eating your berries. A Alethia Russell, a senior at Auburn University, is a summer intern for Alabama Living.
Magic Blackberry Cobbler moisture and sun balance. Be sure to give them at least an inch of water in drier periods. II Growing Room: The easiest way to grow blackberries at home is in a standard 10-foot row with a trellis. Blackberry bushes are naturally climbing plants. II Know what you grow: Blackberries are also referred to as caneberries, bramble, brambleberries, etc., because they grow in thorny and thornless varieties. But they are also classified
1 stick butter 1 cup self-rising flour 1 cup sugar 3/4 cup milk 1 quart blackberries 3/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a 2 quart baking dish melt butter in oven. Remove from oven. In a separate bowl mix flour and 1 cup sugar until well blended. Add milk and mix until blended. Pour this mixture over butter but DO NOT STIR. Pour blackberries over this mixture but DO NOT STIR. Sprinkle 3/4 cup sugar over berries but DO NOT STIR. Bake, uncovered, for 45 to 50 minutes. It should be brown when done. Serve warm.
Kimberly Baugh, North Alabama EC From the Alabama Living recipe archives. See more recipes at alabamaliving.coop.
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A day in the life and a life of dedication By Lacey Rae Sport
he red barn in the background is weathered, its tin roof discolored. A late summer sun is outlining the barn and its surrounding trees as the breeze ruffles through the branches. His jeans are worn but his light blue and green striped shirt is pressed to perfection. He places his sunglasses on his head to reveal bright eyes, set in tan skin, slightly crinkled from sunny days and countless smiles. Hearing his voice, the cows shift to-
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wards the fence. Every morning and every afternoon, Mahlon Richburg makes the rounds to feed his cattle. The 63-year-old leaps onto a nearby trailer where cotton seeds are piled as high as Richburg is tall. With one effortless swoop he fills a bucket. He walks through the gate to feed the cows, leaving it open behind him. As the seed echoes in the metal trough, the cows eagerly push their way up to it. Standing comfortably in their midst, he casually reaches over to pat a
heifer’s back. She has a shiny black coat like the rest, except for one pink bald spot about the size of a man’s hand. When she was a calf, Richburg explains, she was caught in a green briar bush that scraped and scarred her back. He had to nurse the calf back to health. For weeks he picked her up in the pasture, carried her to her mother, and helped her milk. Although he claims no partiality toward any one of his cattle, this yearling is alive only because of Richburg’s care and dedication.
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Not only is he dedicated to his cattle, but, for decades, he was dedicated to his students. Richburg, or “Burg” as they called him, taught Agriscience Education at Auburn High School before retiring in 2013. He talks about his former students like most people talk about their grandchildren, with detailed descriptions and an air of pride. Ethan Stanley, a former student, says Richburg was the most memorable teacher he ever had. “Burg had a way of making his students want to work hard at what they do,” Stanley says. “[Hard work] is a virtue that is very prevalent in agriculture and definitely was so in his classroom. He made you want to figure out how to do things right.” Another former student, Tiffany Godfrey, says, “Burg is still to this day my biggest inspiration. He encouraged me to be the best I could be.” She remembers how Richburg went to Hardee’s for a $1.72 cinnamon raisin biscuit and coffee every morning. He still continues that tradition. Occasionally, he sees former students and remembers each one. Driving through another pasture, he points out different cows. They do not have names, only numbers. Nevertheless, Richburg can spot one 100 yards away and immediately recognize its number, as well as its mother’s number and calf ’s number.
Richburg’s voice is gentle. His words, dripping in wisdom, come straight from experience. Although retired, he is still teaching. Before starting his career as a teacher, he earned his degree in agricultural education at Auburn University. Richburg moved to Auburn in 1969 to attend the university after graduating from Luverne High School and never left the area. While sitting in a freshman English class one day, he met his wife, Mary. According to Richburg, he was trying to watch workers fill in the horseshoe in the stadium through the window, but there
was a girl in the way. “And, as Paul Harvey says, ‘You know the rest of the story.’” They were married in 1972. Mary was an elementary teacher for 17 years before becoming a counselor in Auburn public schools for 23 years. She retired in 2013 as well. “I said, ‘Well, you know I’ll do this four or five years then do something else,’” Richburg says about his teaching career. “Forty years later we retired from education.” Through an open patch in the trees, the sunlight shines through his truck windows as he enters the third pasture. “Bingo,” Richburg says. There is a newborn standing under its mother, only a few hours old. Of course he knew the mother’s number before he walked up to her. Holding the fuzzy, black calf between his legs he quickly tagged its left ear. Surprised by the piercing it bucked and bellowed. Richburg held on and talked to him until he calmed down, then let him go back to his mother’s side. Exiting the fields, he locks the metal gate behind him. He drives back to the barn, a darker red now that the sun is setting. Tomorrow morning after breakfast at Hardee’s Richburg will start his routine again. As Paul Harvey says, “You know the rest of the story.” A
Lee County farmer Mahlon Richburg makes rounds every morning to feed his cows.
PHOTOS BY LACEY RAE SPORT
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Around Alabama JULY 3 • Deatsville, Boston Butt Sale. Lightwood Volunteer Fire Department will be selling whole Boston Butts for $30 and whole racks of ribs for $20. Pick up will be Friday evening at the LVFD, 6250 Lightwood Road. Contact: Daphne, 334303-1750 or 334-569-2264. 7, 14, 21, 28 • Opelika, Summer Swing Concert in the Park, Opelika City Park, 7 p.m. Fedoras on the 7th, Crossroads on the 14th, Muse on the 21st and James Brown Trio on the 28th. No admission charged. For more information, call 334-7055560. 8, 15, 29 • Theodore, Wonderful Wednesdays at Bellingrath Gardens and Home. Discussions and demonstrations on growing succulents, forming a garden that can attract and protect bees, butterflies and other essential pollinators, and how to create a moonlit garden. Visit www.bellingrath. org to see the schedule and call 251-973-2217 to register for your favorites.
15 • Monroeville, Scenes and Stories of Monroeville: A “To Kill a Mockingbird” Workshop in the Old Courthouse Museum, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Part 1: Growing up with Harper Lee, Part 2: Race Relations in the 1930’s. Admission is free to the public. SARIC credit awarded to teachers. Seating is limited and pre-registration is recommended. For more information or to pre-register, please contact Wanda Green at the Monroe County Heritage Museum at firstname.lastname@example.org or 251-575-7433. 17-19 • Dauphin Island, Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo. The Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, a project of the Mobile Jaycees, is billed as the largest fishing tournament in the world, attracting more than 3,000 anglers and 75,000 spectators. The 3-day event features 30 categories with prizes awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in all categories. For ticket information and schedule, visit www.adsfr.com.
10-11 • Andalusia, World Championship Domino Tournament at the Kiwanis Fair Complex. Playing dominoes in this tournament guarantees fellowship, fun and competition. Round robin tournaments will be held each afternoon on Friday and Saturday. www.worlddomino.com. 10-11 • Clio, Alabama’s Quasquicentennial Celebration. Friday 6-10 p.m. at the Fairgrounds pavilion; local entertainers will provide a mixed musical selection. No admission charged, but donations appreciated. Saturday’s events will begin with a parade downtown at 9 a.m. and then the day’s events will move to the Clio Fairground. Vendors will provide a variety of crafts, food, and novelties. Contact email: chaps9.11.2014@gmail. com. 10, 17, 24 • Dothan, Animal Adventures at Landmark Park, 10 a.m. Special one-hour educational programs for children ages five and older. Reservations required. Free with park admission. For more information, call 334-794-3452. www. landmarkparkdothan.com.
18 • Somerville, Pine Ridge Cruise-in for Special People, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Lots of door prizes, including cash prizes and Grand Prize 350 Chevy engine. Family friendly event, kids activities, open rain or shine. $20 registration fee. Contact: Dylan Jackson, 256-778-9999. 18 • Wetumpka, River and Blues Music and Arts Festival in downtown Wetumpka. Featuring artists: Rockin’ Dopsie and the Zydeco Twisters, SIMO, John Bull, Honey Tree Band, LittleLee, The Lo-Fi Loungers, Ed Pickett, Andrew McCarter, Polar Opposites and Davis Nix. www.riverandblues.net. 18-19 • Mentone, JulyFest Arts and Music Festival. Brow Park, Saturday 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. A community of artists and skilled craftsmen from throughout the region
will assemble to display their works of visual art, pottery, sculpture, wood, paper, basketry, fiber, photography, glass, jewelry and fine crafts of all description. www.mentonearts.org. 22 • Monroeville, Monroe County History Bus Tour beginning at the Old Courthouse Museum, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Attendees will learn about events and visit sites that focus on early Alabama history, including the Indian Territory era, pioneer settlement, and the significance of the Federal Road, mill towns, and steamboat traffic on the Alabama River. Teachers are given first priority, but the general public is also welcome for a charge of $10. Seating is limited and pre-registration, no later than July 10, is required. Contact: Wanda Green, 251-575-7433 or email@example.com to pre-register. 24 • Rogersville, Rollin’ on the River. Joe Wheeler State Park, 6-9 p.m. Call 256-247-5461 or visit www.alapark.com/joewheeler. 24-25 • Cullman, Threads of Time Quilt Show at East Elementary School. Presented by Heartland Quilt Guild. Friday, 1-5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Raffle quilt, demonstrations, paper piecing, working with wool, applique, and binding. Admission: $5. Information: Sandra Tucker, 256339-6379. 26 • Hacoda, Veterans Celebration at Hacoda Baptist Church. Join us as we salute our veterans in a service of worship and celebration. Contact: Pastor Bob Cox, 334-449-1227 or Jeep Sullivan, 850-326-1771. AUGUST 4 • Mobile, Crime Prevention 5K Run benefits Mobile Police Department. Race starts at Bienville Square at 6:30 p.m. Contact: Peggy Olive, 251-401-8039, or mlolive@ bellsouth.net.
To place an event, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. or visit www.alabamaliving.coop. You can also mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; Each submission must include a contact name and phone number. Deadline is two months prior to issue date. We regret that we cannot publish every event due to space limitations. Alabama Living
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JULY 2015 29
Tim Fey shows off a bowfin he caught. PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER
Primitive predators are always on the prowl By John N. Felsher
t the drop-off edge, a cloud of brown silt suddenly erupted as a huge green head snatched the bass lure, throwing spray into the air as if someone threw a brick into the water. The powerful fish headed deeper into the channel, straining the line nearly to the breaking point. “I think we got this tournament won,” the angler shouted enthusiastically to his partner. “Get the net. This one’s a monster. It must be … nuts, another mudfish! Never mind the net.” Many anglers give a similar reaction when a mudfish or bowfin strikes. Anglers also call them grinnel, dogfish, cypress trout, cottonfish (because of the texture and flavor of its meat) and many other names unfit to print. Although some people eat them, many people describe the flavor of bowfin as something akin to eating wadded cotton soaked in swamp mud. Louisiana Cajuns call them “choupique,” an Anglicized version of a French translation of the Choctaw Indian word “shupik,” meaning mudfish. No matter what anyone calls them, these amazing fish date back to the Jurassic Period about 150 million years ago. The only surviving representative of a primitive order, these fish witnessed the extinction John N. Felsher is a freelance writer and photographer who lives in Semmes, Ala. He co-hosts a weekly outdoors show that is syndicated to stations in Alabama. For more on the show, see www.gdomag.com. Contact him through his website at www. JohnNFelsher.com
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of the dinosaurs and the giant mammals of the Ice Age, yet they remain unchanged. They survive because they can live practically anywhere and often inhabit the most stagnant waters. Their swim bladders can serve as primitive lungs, allowing bowfins to breathe air and live in the foulest places. Bowfins can remain alive for long periods out of the water as long as they remain moist. People sometimes find them alive in semi-dried ponds resembling little more than mud puddles after a drought or when a falling river drains backwaters. Farmers even reported plowing them up alive in wet fields after floods. “Bowfins can live in muddy backwater areas without much oxygen much better than most other species,” says Chris Greene of the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries in Montgomery. “Bowfin is a native fish found throughout Alabama. They are more common in swampy backwater areas with a lot of shallow vegetation throughout the state.” Although most anglers hold them in low regard because of their unsavory reputation on the dinner table, these large aggressive prehistoric predators can provide incredible sport, particularly on light tackle. Long and cylindrical with a rounded tail and an exceptionally long dorsal fin, a bowfin looks similar to an eel, but thicker with greenish-brown scales and a huge head with a mouth full of sharp teeth. Vicious predators, bowfins eat almost anything they can catch and frequently devour small fish, crawfish, frogs, salamanders, snakes and small animals, but few people intentionally fish for them. “Bowfins hit hard and can put up a
good fight, but are not normally targeted,” Greene says. “They can grow pretty big. It’s not uncommon to catch bowfins in the 5- to 10-pound range all across Alabama. Anglers mostly catch them by accident while fishing for bass or something else. Some archers target them in backwater areas.” A bowfin may grow about 12 inches in its first year and live more than 30 years. The world record topped 21 pounds. Some larger specimens exceed three feet in length. Big bowfin can challenge any type of bass tackle and may hit anything that might tempt a largemouth bass. Bass anglers catch them on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and Texas-rigged plastic worms. Bowfins also hit jigs dropped into thick cover, particularly around weeds or wood. Crappie anglers often catch them on live shiners. Bowfins might even hit nightcrawlers and other baits used by anglers targeting bream or catfish. Since they can breathe air, bowfins thrive in rivers, quiet swampy backwaters, shallow ponds and lakes full of submerged aquatic vegetation all across the state. Flowing with muddy rivers and laced with numerous backwater bayous, creeks and sloughs, the Mobile-Tensaw Delta creates the perfect habitat for bowfins and probably holds the largest population in the state. Bowfins also thrive in the Alabama, Tombigbee, Black Warrior and the Tennessee river systems among other places. Almost any warm, sluggish creek, bayou, canal or reservoir in the state probably holds a population of these fierce living fossils. After fighting one, release it to fight again tomorrow. A www.alabamaliving.coop
Got an outdoor/hunting product or offer a service that people need to know about? If so, this space is where you should be advertising.
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
17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
01:37 06:52 08:52 01:52 02:22 07:22 09:22 02:22 02:52 08:07 09:37 02:52 03:37 08:52 10:07 03:22 09:37 04:22 03:52 10:37 11:07 05:22 04:22 11:07 - - 06:37 01:07 11:52 - - 07:52 03:22 12:37 - - 08:52 08:22 04:37 01:37 09:37 09:52 05:22 02:52 10:22 10:37 05:52 03:37 11:07 11:22 06:22 04:37 11:52 12:07 06:52 - - 05:22 07:37 12:22 12:52 06:07 08:07 01:07
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 06:52 08:37 01:52 02:22 07:52 09:07 02:22 03:07 08:37 09:52 03:07 09:37 03:52 03:52 10:22 11:07 05:07 04:22 11:07 - - 06:22 01:07 11:52 - - 07:37 06:52 03:37 12:52 08:52 08:52 05:07 02:07 09:52 10:22 05:37 03:07 10:37 11:07 06:07 04:07 11:22 11:52 06:37 04:52 11:52 12:22 06:52 - - 05:37 07:22 12:22 12:52 06:07 07:37 12:52 01:22 06:52 08:07 01:22 01:52 07:22 08:22 01:52 02:22 08:07 08:37 02:22 08:52 02:52 09:07 02:37 09:37 03:22 03:07 09:22 10:37 04:07 03:37 09:52 - - 05:07 12:22 10:22 - - 06:22 02:52 11:22 - - 07:52 08:07 04:07 12:52 09:07 09:37 04:52 02:22 09:52 10:22 05:22 03:37 10:52 11:07 05:52 04:37 11:37 11:52 06:22 - - 05:22 06:52 12:07 - - 06:07 07:22 12:52 01:07 07:07 07:52 01:37 01:52 07:52 08:22 02:07
Alabama's largest consumer publication is offering premium advertising space next to our Outdoors section But hurry because space is limited! THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO REACH MORE THAN one MILLION readers every month. Advertise with us and see WHY ALABAMA LIVING IS THE BEST READ & MOST WIDELY CIRCULATED MAGAZINE IN THE STATE OF ALABAMA. Still thinking about it? Consider this:
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85% of our readers have read 4 out of the last 4 issues they’ve received
48% of our readers own a garden 85% of those garden owners purchased maintenance items last year 41% own more than 3 acres of land Contact Jacob Johnson 800.410.2737 email@example.com JULY 2015 31
Worth the Drive
Step back in time at Five Points Dairy Bar By Jennifer Kornegay
n 1931, the infamous trial of the “Scottsboro boys” contributed a dark chapter to our state’s story and put Scottsboro, Alabama, in a harsh spotlight. But it’s shaken off that past, and today is a thriving little city. More than 1 million visitors a year flock to find treasures at Unclaimed Baggage, a store that sells the contents of foreverlost luggage at discount prices. Folks also search for old, odd and just plain interesting items at one of the country’s longestrunning trade days, held for almost a century on Sundays around Jackson Square. Anglers and boaters enjoy the bountiful population of big bass and sparkling waters of Lake Guntersville. But there’s more to this spot in the northeast corner of Alabama than history, unique shopping opportunities and lake living. It’s got a sweet side too, and you can get a cold, creamy taste of it at Five Points Dairy Bar, an ice cream stand founded in 1941 that still looks pretty much like it did when walk-up lunch counters and “dairy bars” were a common sight across the American landscape. Giant cones with swirls of vanilla soft serve and a vintage snowman signal passersby from the flat-top roof, which shades the order window, a few chairs and a hot pink picnic table. Duck under it to escape the heat and give the menu board a read. Craving a juicy cheeseburger? A fried bologna sandwich or a patty melt? You know you want a sundae or maybe a banana split, too. How about an old-fashioned float? When you’ve decided, approach the window and a friendly face will greet you as it slides open. “What’re you having?” it will ask. Jennifer Kornegay is the author of a new children’s book, “The Alabama Adventures of Walter and Wimbly: Two Marmalade Cats on a Mission.” She travels to an out-of-the way restaurant destination in Alabama every month. She may be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Dairy Bar is a popular spot and has been since it opened more than 80 years ago. Darryll and Loria Carroll Flowers are the current owners and have been running it with the help of their daughter Amanda for the last two years. “The place has such a history behind it,” Loria says. “We have one couple, and they’re in their late 70s, and they come here from Birmingham every few months. The man proposed to his bride decades ago on a bench we still have sitting out front.” She The Five Points Dairy Bar looks much like it did when it was founded in 1941. has her own fond memories, too. “I remember coming here as a kid, and back over to the window, knock on it if then there was seating inside. The original you must (but you shouldn’t need to alert the attentive staff), and order a blueberry solid cedar cooler is still here.” Others reminisce about being brought milkshake. It’s not the best seller – that’s the peato the barbershop that once occupied the small building next to the Dairy Bar. nut butter shake made with the Dairy Bar’s “They’ll tell me that their parents prom- recipe hailing back to 1952 – but it’s diised them a Dairy Bar ice cream cone if vine. Plump blueberries are blended with they behaved during their haircut,” Loria soft-serve vanilla ice cream and milk to create a thick shake that’s not too sweet says. but packed with a blast of pure berry freshness. If you go for a banana split, you’ll find it topped with “wet walnuts,” something Loria explains most places don’t do anymore. “We soak the nuts in syrup,” she says. “It’s a great addition.” There’s even ‘50s music playing under the overhang, and a black and white photo of Marilyn Monroe stuck to one of the windows, completing the trip back in time. “It’s just a special place that has been a part of a lot of people’s lives,” Loria says. “And a new generation is loving it now.” A “Our cheeseburgers are our best seller,” she adds. I get fresh beef ground every day, and your burger is made when you order it. I never use frozen meat, and we never make them ahead.” So be prepared to wait 15 minutes or so for yours. If you didn’t order an ice cream treat before, and even if your stomach is telling your brain that it is satisfied, walk
Five Points Dairy Bar 807 E Willow St. Scottsboro, Alabama (256) 574-3171
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JULY 2015 33
Sandwiches Alabama Recipes
When you think of a summer sandwich, what comes to mind? A juicy Alabama tomato, sliced on white bread with mayo, just says “summer” to us. And how about a glass of iced tea (sweet, of course) to wash it down?
You could win $
Upcoming recipe themes and deadlines are: September Tailgating July 15 October Homemade candy August 15 November Brunch September 15
34 JULY 2015
online at alabamaliving.coop email to email@example.com mail to: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
PHOTO BY MICHAEL CORNELISON
The Merriam-Webster definition of a sandwich is “two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between.” Such a simple thing, but with oh so many possibilities. From a simple deli turkey sandwich to a gourmet panini, one can make almost anything into a delicious sandwich. I hope you’ll find some inspiration from our reader-submitted recipes. Don’t forget to send your favorite recipes for our upcoming themes!
Mary Tyler Spivey
is a graduate of Huntingdon College where she studied history and French but she also has a passion for great food. Contact her at recipes@ alabamaliving.coop.
Want to see recipes, feature stories, and other Alabama happenings during the month? LIke Alabama Living on facebook and don’t miss anything!
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.
Cook of the month:
Meat and Nut Rolls
Katye Delashaw, Dixie EC
11/4 pounds ground round 1 pound tube hot breakfast sausage (Jimmy Dean brand recommended) 1 onion, diced 1 cup chopped pecans 1 can cream of mushroom soup 1 can water 1/3 cup sliced black olives, cut into smaller pieces 1 teaspoon chili powder 1 teaspoon garlic powder 2 packages sub rolls, Cobblestone Mill recommended
Fried Green Tomato Sandwich 4 medium green tomatoes 8 slices of bacon 4 slices of Swiss cheese Ranch dressing Vegetable oil Salt Pepper Flour 8 slices of ciabatta bread Slice green tomatoes 1/4 inch thinck. Salt and pepper each side. Let sit for 15 minutes. Fry bacon, drain and break slices in half. Coat green tomato slices in flour. Fry in vegetable oil until golden brown on each side. Place fried green tomato slices on slice of toasted ciabatta bread. Top with slice of Swiss cheese and strips of bacon. Coat top slice of ciabatta bread with ranch dressing. Place on top, dressing side down. Makes 4 sandwiches.
Jalapeno Popper Sandwich 4 slices bread 2 slices of Big Slice Jalapeno Cheese Slices 1 small jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced 2 cheese singles 1 egg 3 tablespoons milk 1/3 cup finely crushed pretzels 4 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided Fill bread slices with jalapeno cheese slices, sliced jalapeno peppers and cheese singles to make 2 sandwiches. Whisk egg and milk in pie plate until blended. Dip sandwiches, 1 at a time, in egg mixture, then in pretzel crumbs, turning to evenly coat both sides of each sandwich with egg mixture and crumbs. Melt 2 teaspoons butter in medium skillet on medium heat. Add sandwiches; cook 2 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Add remaining butter to skillet; turn sandwiches. Cook 2 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown and cheeses are melted. Jackie Harbin, Arab EC
In a large skillet or pan, brown ground round, sausage and onion together; drain. While the meat is draining, wipe out the pan. Over medium heat, put pecans, soup, water, olives and spices in the same pan and stir to combine. Add the meat mixture and heat through. Turn off heat, leaving pan on stove eye. Cut bread rolls in half and scoop out the middles. Fill bread shells with meat mixture and place cut side up in a baking dish. Put in a 350 degree oven until hot – 20 or 30 minutes. Enjoy! Freeze the remaining sub rolls for the next batch. Sandra Lee, Baldwin EMC
Stuffed Sub Supreme 2 large loaves of uncut French bread Sliced cheese, your choice 1 pound Italian sausage, cooked 1 pound ground beef, cooked One onion, cooked Bell pepper, cooked Cook sausage, beef, onion and pepper together. Drain any grease. Cut loaves in half lengthwise. Hollow out and save soft inner parts for another use (like dressing or bread pudding). Line tops and bottoms with slices of cheese. Fill bottoms with scoops of meat/onion/pepper mixture. Place tops on. Wrap in foil. Bake on baking sheet at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Slice and serve. You may wish to bake only one and to freeze the other or share it as-is with someone who needs a quick meal. These sandwich subs go well with a pot of soup or a large salad.
The Ultimate Catfish Cheese Sandwich 4 5-6-ounce U.S Farm-Raised Catfish fillets 11/4 cups of your favorite spicy catfish breader 3 jumbo eggs ½ cup of ice-cold dark beer ½ cup of buttermilk Peanut oil for frying 8 slices of Texas toast 16 slices of pepper jack cheese Jalapeno Tartar Sauce ½ cup pickle relish ¼ cup chopped onion ½ teaspoon garlic ½ cup seeded jalapenos 2 cups light mayonnaise 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 1 lemon for juice and zest 1 teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon dill 1 teaspoon sugar Make the tartar sauce first so it can mellow in the refrigerator. Place pickle relish, onion, garlic, and seeded jalapenos in a food processor and finely chop. Drain off any liquid. Add this to mayo, mustard, juice and zest from the lemon, black pepper, dill, and sugar. Stir thoroughly until smooth and chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make batter by mixing 1 cup of breader with eggs, beer and buttermilk. Batter should be drippy not stiff. Coat fillets in dry breader on a plate and then dip in the batter. Place battered fillets in hot oil (375 degrees) Temperature is critical; if it’s too low fillets will be greasy, not crispy. Fry for 8-10 minutes until brown. Fish will float partly out of the oil when done. While fish is frying, toast bread lightly in toaster and place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Place two slices of cheese on each piece of toast and cook in oven until bubbly. Drain oil off fillets on paper towels. Place fillets on cheese bread, spread chilled tartar sauce over fillets and top with second piece of bread. Add slice of tomato and lettuce if desired. Gregory N. Whitis state specialist/Extension aquaculturist Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Jennifer Dansby, Covington EC Alabama Living
JULY 2015 35
Making your own terrarium takes just minutes, once you’ve assembled all the ingredients: a clear container, pebbles, perlite, soil, seeds (or tiny plants) and water. PHOTO BY ALLISON GRIFFIN
Terrariums are easy, fun project for summer – or any time
ack in April I had the pleasure of giving a program to a gathering of Alabama Rural Electric Association spouses, a charming group that listened attentively as I waxed on and on about how everything old really is new again. Case in point: terrariums. I’m old enough to remember back to the 1970s when terrariums were all the rage. And nowadays they, like macramé and fondue, have made a comeback, so I took a stroll down memory lane and tried making one for myself. Not being a particular adept DIYer (do-ityourselfer — my daughters and I have a longstanding joke when we see something cute in a store: we could make that ourselves … but we won’t), I wasn’t sure how well this project would work for me. But it turned out to be such fun, and it is a perfect indoor project for this time of year. For those who don’t know, terrariums are little gardens first developed in the mid1800s by botanist Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward, who was actually studying insects in glass jars when he discovered that a fern spore in an unattended jar had germinated and was thriving even though the jar was closed. This discovery not only proved to be a great system for transporting plants across long distances, it also became all the rage in Victorian times. A closed terrarium works by creating its own microenvironment within a clear glass container, which allows sunlight to enter but also traps the moisture created by the plants and soil to create a self-watering system within the containers. Open terrariums work similarly, though they may require more frequent watering to keep them moist and thriving. Closed terrariums work best for tropical plants that thrive in humid, protected enviKatie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@ gmail.com.
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ronments, such as ferns, mosses and orchids. Open terrariums can be used for a variety of other plants such as cacti and succulents that prefer dry, arid conditions or herbs and other hardy, small plants.
To create your own terrarium:
• Choose any clear glass container — from canning jars to a fish bowl to any decorative glass container that strikes your fancy. • Cover the bottom of the container with an inch of pebbles, small rocks, or marbles to create a drainage system for the plants’ roots. • Top the pebbles with a thin layer of activated charcoal or perlite. • Top that with a layer of sterile potting soil (or cactus or orchid soil mix if you’re using these plant species) that is deep enough to comfortably cover and nestle the roots of the plants you are using.
Once you’re through planting and arranging the terrarium, add enough water to the container to moisten the soil mixture, then cover the container if you’re making a closed terrarium. Set the terrarium in a spot where it gets plenty of filtered sunlight. Open terrariums can be exposed to more direct sunlight, but closed terrariums can overheat if they receive too much direct sunlight. Check the terrarium once a week or so to make sure the soil is relatively moist and add a sprinkling of water if needed. A good sign that you need to add additional water to a closed terrarium is a lack of condensation on the surface of the glass or signs of wilting in the plants. If a closed terrarium is beginning to develop mold on its sides, leave it open for an hour or so to let some of the condensation escape. Other than that, there is little maintenance required for terrariums and they truly are easy and fun to make, so much so that you may want to create a whole collection of them in different sizes and styles. After all, you’re only limited by your imagination. A
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JULY 2015 39
Safe @ Home
Staying safe around electricity after the storm By Allison Griffin
A crew from Central Alabama EC works to clear trees from a closed section of highway in Houston County in April. PHOTO BY ALLISON GRIFFIN
hen the fierce winds of a major storm begin to die down, line crews from Alabama’s rural electric cooperatives are already in motion, preparing to head out into areas littered with downed trees and power lines to restore power your homes and businesses. After the storm has passed and the power’s out, it’s tempting to set off in the car and look at damage. But if local law enforcement or elected officials have asked motorists to stay off the roads, there’s a reason. Michael Kelley, AREA’s director of safety, took me to the Wiregrass Electric Cooperative area in late April after unexpectedly strong storms broke more than 60 power poles and left nearly 13,000 without power in Houston and Geneva counties. It was gratifying to see the cooperative spirit at work as linemen from other Alabama co-ops came to help the Wiregrass crews, who were working day and night to clear roadways and reset poles. But sightseers can hamper workers. “We understand that it’s hard for people to get information during a disaster, to find out which roads are closed and which ones are open,” Kelley says. “Still, obeying road closure signs and law enforcement is important for line worker safety.” In general, the safest place to be during times of disaster is at home. On that April trip, Kelley and I saw several lines that were hanging low across the road, which can be more dangerous than ones on the ground. He says a vehicle with a ladder rack, for example, can grab a low-hanging line and pull a worker off a pole. Or a lowhanging line may still be energized. Alabama’s “Move Over Act,” which requires motorists to vacate the lane closest to an emergency vehicle or slow to a speed that is less than 15 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit, also applies to utility workers and their vehicles.
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Other questions and answers from Kelley: What if I encounter a downed power line? • Do not attempt to move a downed line, or anything that is in contact with the line. • Be aware of where the line is, and always maintain a safe distance away from the wire – at least 10 feet. • Report a downed line to your local utility. If it’s on fire or sparking, call 911. • When you call, have a street address available, or in a rural area, either a mailbox number or a mile marker. What if my car contacts a power pole or a downed line? • Stay in the vehicle if at all possible and call for help. The only time you should exit the car is if it is on fire, or there’s a danger that it will be engulfed in water. • If you must leave, jump with both feet together and avoid contact with the car and the ground at the same time, in case the car is “hot.” You do not want to be a path of electricity from the car to the earth. Shuffle away from the car. Other safety reminders: Keep a basic disaster supply kit at home. Even if power is restored quickly, hazardous conditions may keep you from leaving your home. A few basics include three days’ worth of non-perishable food and a gallon of water per person per day for three days. Find a complete list at www.ready.gov. If you have a generator, make sure you have enough gasoline on hand to run it. And make sure it’s properly set up away from the house and garage, and only plug in appliances directly to the generator. Use extension cords that are large enough to carry the electrical load that you will put on the generator. A www.alabamaliving.coop
JULY 2015â€ƒ 41
ATTENTION HVAC, PLUMBING, ROOFING, LANDSCAPING, CONSTRUCTION, AUTOMOTIVE, HEALTHCARE, INSURANCE, FINANCIAL SERVICES, IT & TELECOM, MANUFACTURING, ETC. As a local business, you may not need to advertise to the entire state. But what about the 15,000+ consumers in the Clarke-Washington EMC market? Alabama Living, the state’s largest publication, is offering this page to the first local business that wants to stand out from the competition and put its product/service in front of Clarke-Washington’s members.
This page will be gone fast. It’s eﬃcient and eﬀective marketing. Call 800.410.2737 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Our Sources Say
Coach Bobby Wroten
n African proverb states, “It takes a village to raise a child.” That is true. But within the village are people that take more interest than others in raising the children. They give of themselves to the people of the community and raise the children of the village. As you have read here before, I grew up in Corinth, Miss., in the 1960s. It was a great time and place to grow up. One of the reasons it was a great place for a young man was the YMCA (which we all knew as the “Y”) and the Y Director, Bobby Wroten, who we all knew as “Coach” Wroten. Corinth’s youth programs were run through the Y. But the Y served a much greater purpose than the local sports programs. It was the place young people — especially young men — gathered year round. We played organized baseball, football and basketball. But we also played unorganized sports like corkball, pool, ping pong and tether ball in addition to pick-up baseball, football and basketball. I was at the Y regularly from the time I was 7 until I graduated high school. The Y was Coach’s kingdom. He resolved all disputes. He was the prosecutor, judge and jury of all offenses. He was also the head cheerleader and surrogate father for many of us. I first met Coach when I started playing organized baseball in 1960. He was young then. He was a terrifying figure to a shy 6 year-old. I still remember his confident manner and high-pitched voice as he directed practice. He hit balls to us until we were worn out. He dared us to complain. As I grew older and without a consistent father figure at home, Coach took a greater interest in me. I became more accustomed to him and came to admire his no-nonsense style. There was no doubt in his decisions. We held Coach out as the ultimate authority on all athletic issues and many others as well. When I was 13, Coach hired me to work the field, umpire youth games, cut grass and clean up around the Y. He paid me $15 a week. It was a king’s ransom. When I was 16, he hired me and three friends to work the Don Blasingame Baseball League (10-12 years). We started at 8:00 each morning and worked until all games were over, usually around 10 p.m. We made $50 a week. We were the envy of all boys because we worked for
Coach. He also hired me to referee football in the fall and basketball in the winter when high school sports didn’t interfere. I worked for Coach until I graduated high school and left for college. Once I left, he hired my younger brother, Bob, to take my place. Coach was a tough man. He didn’t accept excuses and he had high standards. He was loyal to his friends. If you worked for him or if he liked you, he backed you to the end. I remember him taking on angry parents in the stands and coaches on the field standing up for his boys. Afterwards, one-on-one, he might tear you up and provide a stern lecture on how you should have handled the situation, but he protected you from everyone else. Coach let you know what was expected. No one received a free pass. If you messed up, he let you know. He demanded a lot, but he gave a lot. He helped raise the Linder brothers, the Roberts brothers, the Martin brothers, the Lewis brothers and many more that passed through the Y. He provided structure, discipline and accountability for many young men that otherwise would have little or none. Almost all of them grew up to be successful and productive. Coach had faults. He worked to rid children of color from the Y. That was the practice in pre-integration days, and Coach supported the cause. He was often moody, short-tempered and brash. At times he had good reason. He was a severe diabetic. He lost an eye playing corkball with a group of guys at the Y. He fell down a set of stairs and cut a foot that remained an open wound for more than a decade. Yet he was always there for us. He had two sons slightly younger than me who were raised at the Y with the rest of us. However, the long hours and time spent with others took a toll on his marriage, and he was divorced after I left for college. Coach died Dec. 14, 1990. Even though he has been gone 25 years, I still think often of all I learned from him and how much better I am because he took an interest in me so many years ago. I still think of how much he invested in the children of his village. I know he is smiling down on all his boys. All villages need someone like Coach Wroten. I hope you have a good month. A
Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative
44 JULY 2015
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Fun at the Lake 1. Baylor’s first time to ride the tube with Toni at Smith Lake. SUBMITTED BY Casey Brooks, Horton. 2. Paula, McNeil and Andrew Beaseley kayaking at the lake. SUBMITTED BY Peggy Danley, Grove Hill. 3. R a d l e y a n d C a s e H o l l a n d . SUBMITTED BY Lakesha Holland, Red Bay. 4. Cade Cooper and Stetton Hill having a blast on Smith Lake. SUBMITTED BY Dee Dee Cooper. 5. Garry Cox crappie fishing on Lay Lake. SUBMITTED BY Sonya Cox, 46 JULY 2015
Arab. 6. Chloe is ready for a boat ride. SUBMITTED BY Peggy Burdette, Alabaster. 7. Rece and Cade Rooker with “Little Buddy” at Smith Lake. SUBMITTED BY Larry Dozier, Cullman. 8. Fishing at Lake Jordan with friends. SUBMITTED BY Lanier Vance Lora, Wetumpka. 9. To prove he’s not so old, Paul Townes III waterskis every year on his fourth of July birthday. SUBMITTED BY Shelly Friedrich, Falkville.
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Published on Jul 2, 2015