December 2021 Marshall-DeKalb

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Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News December 2021


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Manager Scott Bobo Co-op Editor Kelli Whorton

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

AREA President Karl Rayborn Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Law Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Danny Weston Advertising Director Jacob Johnson Graphic Designer/Production Coordinator Brooke Echols


The judges have spoken! Just in time for the holidays, we’ve got the winning recipes from our first Christmas Cookie Contest!

30 F E A T U R E S

VOL. 74 NO. 12


Christmas morning 9 The thrill and wonder of Christmas

morning, as captured in snapshots by our readers.

Alabama People 14 Gifted artist Clydetta Fulmer is

known for her God-given talent for creating lifelike sculptures of famous Alabamians.

Hosting houseplants 20 Tips for caring for your indoor

houseplants during the holidays and beyond.



340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 For advertising, email: For editorial inquiries, email: NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE:

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

D E P A R T M E N T S 11 Spotlight 25 Around Alabama 28 Outdoors 29 Fish & Game Forecast 30 Cook of the Month 38 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: ON THE COVER

Look for this logo to see more content online! Printed in America from American materials

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At 30 feet tall, the Christmas Pyramid in Cullman is the tallest structure of its kind in the United States. Read more, Page 12. PHOTO: LizzyPat Photos


ONLINE: EMAIL: MAIL: Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

Get our FREE monthly email newsletter! Sign up at DECEMBER 2021  3

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Providing Dependable Electricity at the Lowest Possible Rate

Board of Trustees District 1 Steve Henley

District 2 Jerry Scott

District 3 Terry Edmondson

District 4 Gene Hulgan

District 5 Terry Johnson

District 6 Briggs Patterson

District 7 Lavaughn Holcomb

District 8 Steve Davis

District 9 Bobby Weathers

Chief Executive Officer Scott Bobo

In case of a power outage, you may call us 24 hours a day: Call us (local) 256-593-4262 or toll-free 1-800-239-3692 Visit our website at Follow us on Facebook Instagram & Twitter

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Busy Is Therapy : Jean’s Journey Into New Adventures By: Hannah Hanson

a book her son had gifted her, “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch. Although Jean had read the book, over the next few days she read this book three more times. “It was like I heard a voice as plain as day telling me to read lines from this book as my talent.” Jean continued, “I felt it was the Lord telling me to do this pageant and use this as my talent.” In 2015, Jean, in her 70s, entered her first pageant, Ms. Senior Marshall County. Jean walked away with a crown and a new ambition. She continued her pageant journey and went on to earn the titles of Ms. Senior Boaz 2020-2021, Ms. Super Senior Marshall County 2021, and Ms. Super In October 2014, Ms. Jean Head was Senior Alabama 2021-2022. Her pagin Atlantic City supporting her friend eant experience kept her on the go, in a national beauty pageant. It was on she says. “My life is like a dream, as the way home from this event when I have gotten older, I stay so busy the Jean was asked by pageant director days fly by.” Dawn Hagstrom if she would be interJean believes “busy is therapy,” and ested in participating in upcoming since the passing of her husband, pageants. Gerald, in 2013, Jean has managed a Initially, Jean’s answer was no. Jean full schedule. A normal day for Jean had never participated in any type of always begins as it does for any true beauty pageant, so to start now was not something she had ever thought about. Dawn insisted Jean consider and sent an application home with her that day. Jean returned home and placed the pageant application on her desk, having her mind made up that she had no place in a pageant, mostly because she had no idea what she would do for the talent portion. “The talent portion of a pageant was what made me most skeptical. I had just watched a pageant, and I saw the talents of those women, which was mostly singing, and I knew I didn’t want to sing.” Jean said. Days passed by, and the pageant application lay on Jean’s desk next to

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“I want women my age to be inspired, and know they can try new things, no matter your age or experience. I want them to know it’s never too late to learn something new.”

“I often say, life is like a roll of toilet paper, the closer to the end it gets, the faster it goes!” beauty queen, getting up and putting on her makeup. Even on Thursdays, the “yard work” day, “I mow every Thursday; trim my shrubs and spray Roundup, work in the flowerbeds...I spend all day working in my yard,” Jean says. Between keeping the lawn manicured and sewing for the public, Jean volunteers a lot of time at her church. She creates bulletins, arranges floral decor in the sanctuary, and helps with Christmas decorations during holidays. Jean also serves as a group leader with Diamond Tours, organizing and planning itinerary for bus trips. Jean and Gerald have a son and daughter-inlaw and four grandchildren who reside in Charleston, South Carolina. Jean has made the long drive to Charleston many times to spend time with her family there. Alabama Living

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“I often say, life is like a roll of toilet paper, the closer to the end it gets, the faster it goes!” Jean laughs. She explains that as she has aged, she feels many senior women feel they are “useless” in society and viewed as if they can’t try new things or accomplish goals after a certain age. She is an example to follow when it comes to reaching goals and starting new journeys. She explained how keeping herself busy has been the outlet she needed that helped her cope with losing her husband. The self-confidence that comes with new adventures is unmatched and meeting new people has given her many new friends. Jean shares her hope for her peers: “I want women my age to be inspired, and know they can try new things, no matter your age or experience. I want them to know it’s never too late to learn something new.”

Jean has also published a book called Andrew’s Christmas Dream. DECEMBER 2021  5

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| Marshall-DeKalb Electric Co-op |

Merry Christmas From Our Family To Yours

Adam Armstrong Matthew Beam Scott Bobo Tim Brooks Chris Brooks Brandan Brown Brandon Burns Jamie Camper Brent Claburn Jessica Cooley Chris Cornelius Josh Creech Haley Crowden Heath Davidson Todd Dismuke Terry Duvall Sonya England Christy Farmer

Josh Galloway Andrew Giles Tyler Gillilan Tanner Greer Lloyd Hayes Hunter Higgins Donetta Hitt Cason Honea Shani Hughes Colby Kidd Kelli Knight Linda Lacks Hannah Hanson Eric Lester Lacey Lowery Connie Martin Tracy Massey Siera McWaters

Joey Miller Bryar Mintz Jennifer Oliver Zack Patterson Zach Peek Lawayne Perkins Roger Pike Alicia Powell Jason Proctor Maria Quintana Brandy Rojek Jennifer Rosales Daryl Ross Andy Siler Lee Walls Jarred Whitaker Kelli Whorton Will Wright

It may be cold outside but we will do our best to keep you warm!

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Boaz Christmas Parade The Parade is Friday, December 3, starting at 5:30pm. Lineup starts at 4:00pm. The 2021 Boaz Christmas Parade route has been changed; it will be going through Downtown Boaz for the first time in many years. Downtown Boaz is already looking great! We are so excited and we hope you are too. Make sure to share this with your friends and make a note of the route.

There are so many characteristics that we could name when thinking about an electric lineman. Hard working, team player, reliable, dependable, physically tough.... THE LIST GOES ON. If you really think about it, the same characteristics apply to a football lineman as well. Because of these characteristics and the position they are in, BOTH types of linemen can go unrecognized and unappreciated at times. We never want our MDEC Linemen to feel this way and we try in different ways to let them know how important they are and how we appreciate them. So with that effort in mind, our General Manger Scott Bobo, a former offensive lineman, decided that MDEC will recognize a high school lineman for all the same characteristics displayed by our electrical linemen. Week one and two were recognized in the October issue and 3-6 were recognized in the November issue. Pictured below are the lineman MDEC recognized for the final weeks 7-10. Congratulations to these gentlemen.

Week 7

Ashdon Cooley Sylvania High School Week 8

Joe Garcia Geraldine High School Week 9

Ethan Webb Valley Head High School Week 10

For any questions call the Boaz Area Chamber at 256-593-8154

Alabama Living

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Cade Williams Spring Garden High School DECEMBER 2021  7

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| Marshall-DeKalb Electric Co-op |

Employee Spotlight Haley Crowden C SR est.1942

How long have you worked at Marshall DeKalb EC? I have worked at MDEC for 3 years. Describe your primary job. I am a Customer Service Representative. I help customers by taking payments, answering questions they may have about their account, and establishing new members. What do you love most about your job? I enjoy getting to interact with our customers by being a listening ear because you never know who may just need someone to talk to! I love who I work with. They always make the days brighter! Tell us about your family. I have been married to my husband, Jeremy, for 7 years. We have a fur baby, Sophie. Where did you go to high school/college? I graduated from Crossville High School in 2009 and Gadsden State Community College with a paralegal degree in 2012. What are your hobbies? I love being outside! I enjoy riding side by sides, traveling, decorating, and being around friends & family!

Merry Christmas MDEC will be closed on Thursday Dec. 23 and Friday Dec. 24 in observance of the Christmas Holidays. We hope you have a Safe and Merry Christmas!

Who has inspired you the most to get where you are today? My parents! They have always inspired me by many things, especially their work ethic. They have always made sure my sister and I knew you must work hard for what you will have in life. Where is your favorite lunch spot/what do you do for lunch most days? Most days I go home and grab something to eat while playing outside with my dog. Where would you go on a dream vacation? I have traveled to several states and seen lots of beautiful places, but my dream is to go on a cruise to Alaska.

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| Alabama Snapshots |

Christmas morning

Clara Kelly learning it’s about His presence, not the presents. SUBMITTED BY Carolyn Gatlin, Opp.

r Shepherd ready fo Emma Claire and ris Ch by ED ITT ng! SUBM Christmas morni Mills, Prattville.

Dean and Wilder Coleman. SUBMITTED BY The Bevins Family, Daphne.

Gregory Augustus Wilborn (Gus), Christmas 2021. SUBMITTED by Jessica Wilborn, Fort Payne.

February theme: “Funny bumper stickers” Deadline to submit: December 31. Online: Mail: Snapshots P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 Alabama Living

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The wonder of Christmas in my gran dson’s, (Noah Kellner) eyes. SUBMITT ED BY Brenda Carlisle, Spanish Fort.

SUBMIT to WIN $10!

Include your social media handle with photo submissions to be featured on our Facebook and Instagram!

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 and Instagram pages. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to have photos returned.

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Spotlight | December Making healthy choices during the holidays

Governor’s mansion gets dressed up for the holidays The stately Alabama governor’s mansion, 1142 S. Perry St. in Montgomery, will be open to the public for Holiday Candlelight Tours this year. The mansion will be open for the holiday tours from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6, Dec. 13 and Dec. 20. The Neoclassical structure, designed in 1907, features a large two-story portico and 17 primary rooms, with a grand double staircase leading up from the entrance hall to the second level. It has served as the official residence of the governor and first family of Alabama since 1951. The self-guided tours are free but require a ticket to enter. Tickets are available at the Governor’s Mansion Gift Shop; for more information, call 334-834-3022, or send an email to Tours@

Letters to the editor

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

We reserve the right to edit letters for clarity and brevity.

Questions power for electric vehicles

In your magazine of September and November, articles were written about the coming of electric pickups and cars, touting them quite heavily. I’m not against electric machines but we are failing to tell the public the entire story. I’m certain a million units on the roads could not be handled by our electric grid which is under pressure currently, and where will we get the electricity to power these machines? Thinking that solar units will be enough to power this use is foolish. Wind farms have to be in areas where the wind blows consistently and this is limited. A wind farm is about 150 turbines with each turbine requiring 1.5 acres or about 225 acres for a farm. Each turbine takes about 80 gallons of highly refined oil or 12,000 gallons for a wind farm. Where is all of that oil coming from? The lifespan of a modern turbine is about 20 years and then what? They have to be taken down and the blades are not recyclable so off to a landfill they go. It is estimated that 500,000 birds are killed each year by turbines. The government is supporting this venture with your tax dollars. The American people deserve to know all the facts to make intelligent decisions. Gene Stewart, Foley

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Staying healthy during the holiday season doesn’t mean giving up all your favorite foods, but we can all look for some areas where a healthy choice works for us and our families. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Auburn University has some tips: Appetizers: Use whole-grain crackers with hummus as a snack or add unsalted nuts and black beans to a green leaf salad. Entrees: Be sure to trim the fat when cooking any meats. Also watch the amount of gravy and sauces. Turkey or a fresh ham are lean protein choices, but consider something out of the ordinary, like fish. Beverages: Try drinking water with lemon or lime or add a splash of 100 percent fruit juice to water to add a hint of sweetness. Unsweet tea with lemons and mint is a good choice. For healthy recipes and more ideas, visit

Whereville, AL Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer by Dec. 8 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the January issue. Submit by email: whereville@, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124. Do you like finding interesting or unusual landmarks? Contribute a photo you took for an upcoming issue! Remember, all readers whose photos are chosen also win $25! November’s answer: The Bird Dog Field Trial monument in Union Springs honors Bullock County’s status as a premier destination for sports hunting. The statue of an English Pointer was raised in 1996 to pay tribute to the members of the Bird Dog Field Trial Hall of Fame, whose names are engraved at its base. (Information from Encyclopedia of Alabama) (Photo by Allison Law of Alabama Living) Due to the late delivery of some November magazines, we extended the deadline for guesses an extra two days. The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Carol Sposato of Dixie EC.

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December | Spotlight

We’ve enjoyed seeing photos from our readers on their travels with Alabama Living! Please send us a photo of you with a copy of the magazine on your travels to: Please include your name, hometown and electric cooperative, and the location of your photo and include your social media handle so we can tag you! We’ll draw a winner for the $25 prize each month. Susan Dooley of Collinsville shared her magazine with President Lincoln when she visited Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. She’s a member of Sand Mountain EC.

Dave Flora and his daughters Olivia and Audrey traveled to the Panama Canal’s Atlantic entrance, Aqua Clara. The Floras are from Wisconsin but enjoy their condo in Gulf Shores where they are members of Baldwin EMC.

These three couples, all members of Coosa Valley EC, took their magazine to the Tropic Of Cancer Beach in Little Exuma Bahamas, where the Tropic of Cancer crosses the island. From left, are Tim and Jada, Larry and Karen from Lincoln, and Adam and Krista from Riverside. “We were there June 21,” reports Larry Phillips, “the longest day of the year! If we win, please donate our prize to the Coosa Riverkeeper who works hard to keep our Logan Martin Lake clean and safe!” You got it, Larry!

Jim and Yvonne Quinlan of Foley visited Longview, Texas, with their 1928 Model A Ford, along with 100 other Model A enthusiasts. They are members of Baldwin EMC.

Alabama Living

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Sponsored by


We admit, the November dingbat – a fall scarecrow – was mighty small, but more than 400 of you did spot him on Page 31, in the photo of our Cook of the Month, hiding in a potted plant. “Kathy Phillips didn’t mind sharing her cauliflower dish picture with the dingbat,” wrote Nora E. Taylor of Clarke-Washington EMC. Mary Gay of Falkville said we were “sneaky” hiding him there, and she had to find him with a magnifying glass! Zayne Gregory of Albertville said he found the scarecrow pretty quickly. “This is the first time that I have done this,” he wrote. “My grandmother told me about it and I found it on my first try of looking for it.” Good job, Zayne! Congratulations to our randomly drawn winner, Joe Wheeler EMC member Stephen R. Davis, who wins a prize package from Alabama Rural Electric Credit Union. This month, we’ve hidden a gingerbread man (not to be confused with the ginger cookies on Page 30!). Send us your guess by Dec. 8. By mail:

Find the Dingbat Alabama Living PO Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124


Take us along!

Find the hidden

Alabama Academy of Honor to induct new members The Alabama Academy of Honor will welcome members into the classes of 2020 and 2021 at a ceremony Dec. 9 at the Renaissance Hotel and Spa in Montgomery. The 2020 ceremony was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The inductees represent a wide array of leaders and industries. Class of 2020 honorees are former U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner, retired USMC Maj. Gen. J. Gary Cooper and Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson. Class of 2021 honorees are U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Huntsville attorney Julian Butler, former Alabama Supreme Court Justice John England Jr., former Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson, Grammy Award-winning recording artist Lionel Richie and UAB’s Senior Vice President of Medicine, Dr. Selwyn Vickers. The Academy bestows honor and recognition upon living Alabamians for their outstanding accomplishments and service to the state and the nation. Membership is limited to 100 distinguished Alabamians and all living governors. For more information about the event, visit DECEMBER 2021  11

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Towering Christmas Pyramid pays tribute to Cullman’s German heritage In America, Christmas trees usually symbolize the holidays. In Germany, the festive time of year includes a Weihñachts Pyramide, or Christmas Pyramid. Since 2019, the city of Cullman has observed the season with this lofty structure next to the Cullman County Museum to celebrate its German roots.

Cullman’s 30-foot-tall Christmas Pyramid proudly stands next to a statue of the city’s namesake, John Cullmann, who founded the town in 1873. PHOTO COURTESY CULLMAN COUNTY MUSEUM

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By Aaron Tanner At 30 feet tall, the Cullman Christmas Pyramid is the tallest Parks, Recreation, and Sports Tourism Marketing Consultant structure of its kind in the United States and resembles a ChristJasef Wisener says. During assembly, Jacobs decided to place the Pyramid in an area mas tree with its stacked decorated sections. Although traditionknown in Cullman as the German Corner by the statue of founder al table-top Pyramids have propellers that spin the tiers by heat John Cullmann and a replica of Cullmann’s home where the mufrom candlelight, the Cullman version turns by an electric motor. seum is located. His plan had full support from the museum after “Candle power is not possible with the large version and instead they considered the prospect of increased visitors who would see rotates by electricity,” Cullman County Museum Director Drew the Pyramid while learning about the city’s German history. “CullGreen says. Each of the Pyramid’s five tiers is beautifully decorated with man is incredibly proud of our German heritage, and the museum Christmas displays, including nativity scenes, nutcrackers and was completely on board with housing the Pyramid,” Wisener says. Thanks to word of mouth and being spotlighted in national angels, and a fourth one dedicated to John Cullmann, the founder of the North Alabama city, as a reminder of his hometown of publications, including The New York Times, Cullman has reFrankweiler, Germany. “One of the largest groups to immigrate ceived visitors from across the country to visit the Pyramid during to the United States is Germans,” the holidays. “National media has Green says. “Like Cullman, there helped a lot with the marketing of are many towns and cities around the pyramid outside the region,” the United States which were preWisener explains. The museum dominantly German for most of also boosted its visitor count, both their early history.” physically and on its Facebook Christmas pyramids originatpage, thanks to the Pyramid, and ed from the Erzgebirge region of even inspired a German-AmeriGermany in the 1700s as miners can couple to visit John Cullmann’s looked to make a living in response hometown in Germany. to the harsh winters and shrinking “Having the pyramid has mining economy through woodbrought many new visitors to the working. “The miners created toys museum to get more information and other household items and on the pyramid and Cullman’s became very skilled woodworkGerman heritage,” Green says. ers,” Green says. The wooden treaNot even Covid-19 hindered sures replaced mining as a source At night the lights and movement of the 30-foot-tall Christmas attendance last December, as Pyramid draw visitors to the heart of downtown Cullman. of income that continues today PHOTO COURTESY LYNDSEY McCORMICK many spectators saw the Pyramid with Christmas Pyramids found while participating in other virtual Christmas festivities. “Since the pyramid is located outside in in many countries and other rich Christmas traditions found in a large open area, the pandemic did not affect visitors who were areas settled by Germans. “The Christmas Pyramid expresses the asked to wear a mask and social distance,” Green says. This holiday Erzgebirge woodworking tradition and the love of the craftsmen season’s goal is to have physical celebrations, including a German for their homeland,” Green explains. Christmas Market, with last year’s safety protocols still in place. Bringing a German touch to Alabama “Hopefully, our Christmas in Cullman experience will be Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs met with a German couple – who in-person this year and as huge as we planned last year with the sold merchandise from their native country – about constructing a pyramid being once again the centerpiece attraction for the season,” Wisener says. Christmas Pyramid in 2016 after hearing about a similar attraction Those viewing the Pyramid seem to enjoy slowing down during in Fredericksburg, Texas, another town founded by Germans. After the busy holiday season and relishing in its beauty. Green is engetting full support from city officials, the couple put Jacobs in touch couraged that the skyscraping structure will help bring out everywith the same manufacturer in Germany that made the Christmas one’s Christmas spirit. “Everyone I talk to when the pyramid is Pyramid in Texas and had a Pyramid shipped to Cullman. Plant representatives traveled from Germany to Cullman and on display seems to become like a child again and bubble with showed city workers how to correctly construct, break down and excitement,” he says. store the Pyramid’s pieces. “The company sent over workers when For more information on the Pyramid and Cullman’s Christmas it was shipped to assemble it for the first time and to teach city plans, visit employees how to build it and take it down each season,” Cullman The Cullman Christmas Pyramid nicely complements the city’s annual Christmas tree.

Alabama Living

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| Alabama People |

Clydetta Fulmer

Commissioned to create Montgomery native Clydetta Fulmer, a nationally known sculptor, was on hand during the recent unveiling and dedication of her latest works, bronze busts of two Alabama pioneering women — suffragette leader Patty Ruffner Jacobs and civil rights and voting rights activist Amelia Boynton Robinson — at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. She has sculpted more than 100 specially commissioned pieces over the years, with more than 50 in public places, including the life-size statue of Rosa Parks in downtown Montgomery and Helen Keller as a child at the Alabama Public Library Service. Many of her works are on display at Faulkner University, while others are in private collections, including that of singer Amy Grant who commissioned Fulmer to create sculptures of her three children. – Lenore Vickrey Tell us a little about your background, where you grew up and went to school. I attended Alabama Christian Academy from the time I entered elementary school through my graduation from high school. My father, Clyde E. Fulmer, was the minister of the Capitol Heights Church of Christ for 33 years. Then he was the associate minister of University Church of Christ for ten years. My mother, Constance R. Fulmer, taught English at Alabama Christian Academy. After I graduated from ACA, I went to Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. There I received a B.A. with a major in Art. When did you realize your gifts as an artist, and specifically, as a sculptor? Did you begin creating at an early age? My family members said that I began drawing soon after I discovered the pencil. My parents and my sisters, Connie and Eunice, thought that I had artistic talent. My mother enrolled me in an art class when I was 9. Besides learning to draw shapes of objects, I learned the basic proportions in drawing the faces of people. When I was about 12, I learned to paint in oils. I learned to paint still life arrangements, flowers, and landscapes. When I was in high school, I began painting portraits. When I was a student at Lipscomb University, I took my first sculpture course. In that class as I was sculpting my first clay portrait sculpture, I thought I had found my medium. I liked the challenge of creating three-dimensional art. 14  DECEMBER 2021

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I still occasionally paint or draw a commissioned portrait. I always enjoy those experiences too, and I find the change of medium a refreshing change of pace, but I’m always drawn back to sculpting portrait sculptures in clay for bronze. I’ve read where you require a year’s lead time to create a lifesize sculpture. Tell us a little bit about that process. I build a framework out of wood attached with metal braces. That framework is called an “armature.” I add clay to the armature and gradually build a clay form and then develop a likeness of my subject. When the clay sculpture has been approved, someone from the foundry comes to my studio and makes a mold of latex and plaster. Wax is poured into the mold. I go to the foundry and inspect the wax and correct any imperfections. The wax is melted out of the shell. That is why it is called the “lost wax” method of bronzing. Then molten bronze is poured into the ceramic shell. The shell is broken away. The bronze sculpture is sandblasted and sprayed with chemicals to achieve the desired finish or patina. Then the sculpture is waxed and delivered. What has been the most challenging commissioned work you’ve done? There are so many different kinds of challenges involved with each work. I suppose the most difficult challenge happened in 1991, when my studio was struck by lightning and burned. The studio was declared a total loss. The building’s burning roof collapsed on a full-length life-sized statue I had just finished. I had to rebuild the statue and the studio in the course of that one commissioned work. By the grace of God, I have been blessed with the patience, perseverance, and perspective that I need to gradually move through each difficulty to come to the completion of each of the commissions that I have been given. When you are not working, how do you like to spend your time? I like to talk with family members and friends. I enjoy the beauty I see in nature, and I like to make photographs of forests and meadows and lakes and beaches and flowers. I enjoy arranging flowers and caring for plants. I have taught a ladies’ Bible class for many years. Studying the Bible and teaching it is a special joy.

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Alabama Living

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Stitch in time

Opelika woman embroiders history into art By Katie Jackson


One that especially intrigued Snelling was the huge Pepperell istory may be made one moment at a time, but Abby Mill building, which had been shuttered since the early 2000s. Snelling is capturing it one stitch at a time. Though the abandoned structure burned to the ground in 2013, Snelling, who grew up in Montgomery and Birmingham looking at its photo Snelling could imagine its former presence on but now calls Opelika home, is founder of Grey House Embroidery, a fiber art business that uses needle and thread to record what was by then a vacant lot. She wanted to capture it and other architectural history. It’s an idea that sprang from Snelling’s shared parts of Opelika’s textile history with her own needle and thread, passions for history and embroidery, and one that began to take which posed a bit of a challenge. shape in 2018 after Snelling and her brand-new husband, Garri“Most traditional embroidery is very delicate and free-form son, moved into a charming grey house in historic Opelika. with lots of curved, flowing lines,” she says. To embroider buildings, however, required the use At the time, Abby was on a year-long hiatus from her classes at of straighter lines and finding Auburn University and had lots of time on her hands. Garrison, ways to highlight the textures, who worked from home, suggested she needed a hobby, so Abby colors and fine details of these took up embroidery. Though she had dabbled in needlecrafts with old structures. “Figuring her grandmother, Abby out how to add those dehad a lot to learn, so she tails using thread, which began to teach herself using YouTube videos and is pretty much two-dimensional, was like solving a other resources. puzzle.” “It was so relaxing, and I Snelling had the solufell in love with it,” she said. tions to that puzzle at her Soon Abby and a friend fingertips. Embroidery were gathering at the grey employs several basic house to do craft nights stitches — chain, feather, together. As they worked, back, running, and French their conversations often knot among them — but turned to discussions about also an array of other, how they could weave their more intricate stitches, beloved hobbies into a all of which can be used business; but just what that to create different effects. business might look like In addition, embroidery was unclear. thread, often called floss, An idea began to take comes in hundreds of colshape, though, after Abby ors that can help reproreturned to school in 2019 duce the nuanced colors of to complete her history Abby Snelling creates embroidered works of architectural art, including the old Pepperell Mill building in Opelika, through her business, Grey House Embroidery. each structure. degree and undertook a PHOTOS BY TESSA BATTLES Through trial and error, senior project focused on Snelling began creating works of historical art, beginning with the Opelika’s history as a textile town. Already well established as a iconic image of the smokestack and water tower. She then began cotton shipping town, its textile manufacturing story began in creating pieces of other buildings, including the long-gone Clemthe early 1900s when local investors pooled their money to build ents Hotel, a newly constructed Art Haus nonprofit building and the Opelika Cotton Mill. By the mid-1920s, after town leaders the storefront of Griff Goods, a sustainable clothing shop located convinced textile giant Pepperell Manufacturing Company (later in historic downtown Opelika where Snelling works part time. known as WestPoint Home) to come to town, Opelika was a textile manufacturing hub and remained so for another half century Eventually, Snelling wants to create enough pieces for a show to or longer. highlight the past of this vibrant little town she has come to love. “I learned a lot about Opelika’s history through that project,” Through Grey House Embroidery, Snelling creates commissioned pieces, most recently capturing images of buildings on the Snelling says. She also became intrigued by the remnants of its campuses of Auburn, Florida State and University of Southern textile history, such as a handsome old mill smokestack and water tower that still stood in Opelika. She also found photographs California. She also teaches embroidery one-on-one and in workshops. (To learn more, follow her on Facebook and Instagram @ of many long-gone buildings representing that history, some of greyhouse_embroidery.) which were featured in the 1978 film “Norma Rae.” 16  DECEMBER 2021

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Alabama Living

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Bookshelf In this periodic feature, we highlight books either about Alabama people or events, or written by Alabama authors. Summaries are not reviews or endorsements. We also occasionally highlight book-related events. Email submissions to Due to the volume of submissions, we are unable to feature all the books we receive.

The Speckled Beauty: A Dog and his People, by Rick Bragg, Knopf, $20.58 (pet

grief/humor) The Pulitzer Prize-winning author from Alabama shares the story of how his life – full of uncertainty from a cancer diagnosis, chemo, kidney failure and recurring pneumonia – was transformed by his love for a poorly behaved, half-blind stray pup. Written with tenderness and sorrow, but also humor and grit, the book captures the devotion between two damaged creatures who need each other to heal.

Deep South Dynasty: The Bankheads of Alabama, by Kari Frederickson,

University of Alabama Press, $39.95 (history) From Reconstruction through the end of World War II, the Bankheads served as the principal architects of the political, economic and cultural framework of Alabama and the greater South. As a family, they were instrumental in fashioning the New South and the 20th century American political economy. This biography examines the complicated and evolving world of three generations of the Bankhead family of northwest Alabama.

A Culinary Tour Through Alabama History, by Monica Tapper, Arcadia Pub-

It Should Not Happen in America: From Selma to Wall Street – A Journey of Fire and Faith, by Richard Scrushy, NewSouth

Charlie Brown’s America: The Popular Politics of Peanuts, by Blake Scott

In Harm’s Way: A History of the American Military Experience, by Gene

Books, $27.95 (memoir) The book details the events surrounding the legal battles of Scrushy, who in 2004 was one of the South’s wealthiest men and CEO of one of America’s most profitable health care corporations. Scrushy was indicted on federal bribery and mail fraud charges and found guilty in 2006; he was sentenced to almost seven years in federal prison. He maintains his innocence, and in his book claims that “corruption and vice embedded in the American legal system must stop.”

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Ball, Oxford University Press, $34.95 (cultural history) For nearly 50 years, Peanuts was a mainstay of American popular culture. Most readers associate the comic strip with the innocence of childhood, not social and political turmoil. The author, an assistant professor of history at Huntingdon College, combs through thousands of fan letters, interviews with Charles Schulz and behind-the-scenes documents to reveal that Schulz used the strip to project his ideas and comment on the rapidly changing politics of America.

lishing, $21.99 (gastronomy history) This gustatory journey through Alabama history seeks to capture the lives of regular people, not celebrities, who lived in different eras. The author, a historian from Alabama, says it’s a snapshot of the lives of people from the past, using the physical connection to food. Each location highlighted – Gaines Ridge, the Grand Hotel, and Belle Mont mansion, to name a few – had to be historically significant, providing a tie to the diners who came before us.

Allen Smith, David Coffey and Kyle Longley, Oxford University Press, $44.99 (military history) Covering air, land and sea power, the book provides a synthesis and analysis of America’s wars and military policies from colonial times to the 21st century. The book covers political and diplomatic challenges, social and economic changes, philosophical and ideological debates and technological advances, but focuses on the experiences of American people at war. Coauthor Smith is an Albertville native and earned three degrees at Auburn University.

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| Gardens |

Hosting houseplants:

Indoor plant care for the holidays and beyond


already have a houseful and now more are coming. I don’t know where I’m going to put them all!” When a friend made that comment to me recently, I thought she was talking about an overabundance of holiday guests, then I realized she was talking about plants. It’s a conundrum many gardeners face this time of year, especially those of us who have beloved potted plants that live outside most of the year but must come inside for the winter. Just as we get Caring for your houseplants can reduce stress levels. them settled in their favorite indoor overwintering spots, more few suggestions. plants — the holiday kind — begin to ar• Do a quick background check on unrive, which means we have to make room familiar plants. How much light and for all these houseplant “guests” and still water do they need? Can they tolerate have room, and time, for the human ones. particularly warm or cool rooms? Are It’s a good problem to have. After all, they potentially poisonous? houseplants give as much as they take. • Use this information to match plants They add beauty and warmth to the décor with rooms — for example, sun-loving and many infuse the house with pleasant plants typically do best in rooms with floral and evergreen scents. Caring for and south-facing windows while shade-lovsharing company with houseplants also ing plants prefer interior rooms or ones helps reduce physical and mental stress with only filtered light. levels, which we all can appreciate during • Group plants with similar needs in the the holidays. same area. This helps ensure the room But indoor plants can also add to our can meet their temperature, humidity stress, particularly if they’re messy guests and lighting needs and can also make that drop their leaves, needles and blooms watering and other maintenance chores everywhere or leave water stains on floors, more efficient. tabletops and other surfaces. Some may • Potentially toxic plants should be also have toxic qualities, which can pose placed out of reach of children or ania threat to people and pets, and others can mals, or, if they’re too dangerous or too be demanding and persnickety about their much trouble, send them packing. lodging arrangements. • Place water-tight and sweat-resistant Luckily, there are ways to make plant plant bases or trays (boot trays are guests feel at home without spending all great for this) under the plants and our time worrying after them. Here are a don’t rely on decorative foil wrappers often used around holiday plant pots to contain excess moisture. Be sure to Katie Jackson is a freelance wipe up any spills as you water, too. writer and editor based in • Invest in a mobile planter or plant Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at stand. These make it easier to move large plants or large groupings of plants 20  DECEMBER 2021

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around in the house, move them outside for a bit of fresh air on particularly pleasant winter days and can also facilitate moving them back outdoors this spring. • Don’t forget to invite culinary plants into your home. Citrus trees and perennial herbs such as rosemary make lovely houseguests. Many annual herbs, leafy greens, microgreens and a surprising number of small fruits and vegetables can also be grown indoors in the winter using DIY or purchased garden kits. Lots more information on growing and caring for indoor plants is available through books, online resources and local and state experts such as Alabama Cooperative Extension agents, Master Gardeners and local botanical gardens and nurseries. Make sure you’re getting advice and information from credible sources so you and your houseplant guests can enjoy one another’s company throughout the holidays and beyond.

DECEMBER TIPS • Add a couple of inches of mulch around

trees, shrubs and tender perennials, especially if they’re newly planted. • Give or buy holiday plants that can be transplanted into the landscape such as azaleas, hydrangeas, hellebores and rosemary plants. • Plant spring-blooming bulbs and bareroot trees, shrubs and roses. • Pull up young seedlings of weedy or invasive trees and shrubs, such as privet and mimosa. • Add compost and other amendments to garden beds. • Plant cool-season flowers, herbs and other crops such as leafy greens, beets, onions and radishes. • Keep bird feeders and baths clean and filled.

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Social Security survivors’ benefits explained


e are here for surviving family members when a worker dies. In the event of your death, certain members of your family may be eligible for survivors’ benefits. These include widows and widowers, divorced widows and widowers, children, and dependent parents. The amount of benefits your survivors receive depends on your lifetime earnings. The higher your earnings, the higher their benefits. That’s why it’s important to make sure your earnings history is correct in our records. That starts with creating a my Social

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

December Across 1 Reindeer transport 4 Christmas songs 9 The Saint who gave his name to Santa Claus 10 Stone used for chess sets 11 __ __ King (dish), 2 words 13 “White Christmas” coat 14 Yuletide, for short 16 Final 19 Potato, in slang 20 “____ Night” traditional Christmas carol 23 Male turkey 24 Puppy bark 27 Popular Christmas dinner, 2 words 28 Athens, Ala. Sippin’ ____ Festival 30 Alabama’s official state cake, 2 words 32 Coats a cake 36 Luxurious sheet material 37 State whose official drink is Conecuh Ridge Whiskey Down 1 Christmas present bringer 2 Enthrall 3 What a yule log does 5 Morning time, abbr. 6 Tree decorations 7 Number of geese a laying, in the Christmas song 8 Enjoys the taste of 12 Actress Michele of “Glee” 15 Saint, for short 17 Winter month, abbr. 18 Poinsettia flower, for example 19 Present for a child 21 Little one 22 Sold it ___ song, (very little) 2 words 25 Here, in Spanish 26 ____ noir wine 27 Nut that is one of the ingredients in 30 across 29 Oscar __ La Renta 30 Dieters’ concern, abbr. 31 ____ Sedona car 24  DECEMBER 2021

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Security account at A my Social Security account is secure and gives you immediate access to your earnings records, Social Security benefit estimates, and a printable Social Security Statement. The Statement will let you see an estimate of the survivors benefits we could pay your family. You may also want to visit our Benefits Planner for Survivors to help you better understand Social Security protections for you and your family as you plan for your financial future at planners/survivors. Please visit or read our publication Survivors Benefits at for more information. You can also help us spread the word by sharing this information with your family and friends. Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by e-mail at


by Myles Mellor

33 Financial adviser, for short 34 Stress relief location 35 Alabama neighbor, abbr.

Answers on Page 37

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December | Around Alabama


Loxley Christmas parade, 6:30 p.m. Parade will travel down Highway 59 and end at Municipal Park. After the parade will be the first Christmas in the Park, with a tree lighting ceremony, caroling, live nativity scene, Christmas village with elves, food trucks and children’s activities. Search for both events’ pages on Facebook.


Tuscumbia Christmas at Ivy Green, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Holiday decorations adorn the historic birthplace of Helen Keller. Sponsored by the Council of Local Garden Clubs. 256-3834066. Nativities of different cultures will be on display at the Interfaith Nativity Exhibit in Montgomery.

DECEMBER Various dates Warrior Wonderland Under

Warrior. The cave at Rickwood Caverns State Park is transformed into an underground winter wonderland. The gift shop will be decorated and offer unique gifts, ornaments, snacks and hot cocoa. Event is from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on various dates; visit for the calendar of available dates.


Pike County Christmas in Ansley, 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., 5735 County Road 1135, Troy, Ala., 36081. Drive or walk through a Christmas light display over eight acres. Donations appreciated. Santa will be there at 5 p.m. Dec. 4 and 5:30 p.m. Dec. 18. The Holiday Market at Christmas in Ansley will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 4, 7441 County Road 1101, Goshen, Ala. 36035. $2 or a non-perishable food item to enter. Search for the event’s page on Facebook.


Arab Christmas in the Park. More than two million lights set Arab City Park aglow; free admission. From 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights through Dec. 18 is Santa in the Park, in Arab’s Historic Village. Events feature St. Nick along with Santa letters, entertainment, ornament decorating, train ride, food and more. Search for the event’s page on Facebook.

world and music by local musicians. Hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Email


Montgomery 51st annual Gem, Mineral and Jewelry Show, Garrett Coliseum. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Adults $2 or $3 for weekend pass; under 18 free. Free parking, free door prize ticket with each paid adult admission.


Demopolis Christmas on the River. Jingle Bell 5K run/walk, barbecue cookoff, Fair in the Square in historic downtown, day parade, and a nautical parade and fireworks along the Tombigbee River highlight this event that has continued to grow since its inception in 1972. or find the event’s page on Facebook.


Moulton Lawrence County Christmas on the Square. Tree lighting ceremony begins at 6 p.m. There will be a special countdown ceremony, entertainment and other surprises. Search for the event’s page on Facebook.


Eufaula 15th annual Christmas Tour of Homes. 1 to 5 p.m. Eight homes, $40; individual home tours, $6; after hours at Shorter Mansion, $25 (Saturday only). Complimentary tickets for active or retired military and veterans.

Centre Women’s Club of Weiss Lake annual tour of homes. Cherokee County Country Club, 1 to 4 p.m. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at any home, the Chamber of Commerce or club members. Visit the Women’s Club of Weiss Lake on Facebook.





Montgomery Interfaith Nativity Exhibit, 1 to 8 p.m. at 3460 Carter Hill Road. Free. Nativities from cultures around the

Enterprise Wiregrass Community “Messiah” Sing-Along, a rendition of Handel’s most beloved work. 6 p.m., First Baptist Church of Enterprise. Community sing-along with featured soloists, and orchestra and chorus. Donations appreciated.

Gulf Shores Baldwin Pops Holiday Concert, 7 p.m. at the Gulf Shores Cultural Center. Search for the event’s page on Facebook.

To place an event, e-mail or visit www. 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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Bay Minette 39th annual Christmas Fest, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Courthouse Square. Christmas parade at 4:30 p.m., followed by a Modern Eldorados concert.


Wetumpka Christmas on the Coosa celebration. Character breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.; Gold Star Park stage entertainment begins at 11:30 a.m.; antique car show at 12 p.m. at the Depot; and wakeboarding show at 4 p.m. Night parade begins at 6 p.m. Evening concludes with a fireworks show. Search for the event’s page on Facebook or visit


Orange Beach Flora-Bama’s Annual Santa Drop, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Watch Santa skydive onto the white sandy beach before he sets up for photos with fans. Prior to his 12 p.m. arrival, there will be live music featuring holiday tunes for children, face painting, juice and sweet treats. Free.


Dothan Victorian Christmas at Landmark Park, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Free. Listen to Christmas carols and visit with Santa. Snacks, arts and crafts, music, wagon rides and handmade decorations. A circuit riding preacher will deliver a holiday message.


Birmingham Birmingham Boys Choir 44th annual Christmas Concert, 7 p.m., Wright Center at Samford University.


Spring Garden Rock Run Christmas Parade, 2 p.m., rain or shine. Lineup begins at the Rock Run Church. 256-447-7366.


Mobile MoonPie Over Mobile New Year’s Eve Celebration. Ring in the new year with firework shows, live entertainment and the famous MoonPie Drop at midnight. Search for the event’s page on Facebook. Call or verify events before you make plans to attend. Due to the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, some events may change or be canceled after press time. DECEMBER 2021  25

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| Consumer Wise |

Where can you find the most home energy savings? By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen

Loose-fill insulation is the most common and preferred method of insulating your attic floor. Notice the baffles near the attic perimeter that allow air to ventilate from the eaves into the attic space.


Our energy bills seem higher than they should be, but I’m not sure where to start looking around my home for opportunities to save energy. Do you have any suggestions?


That’s a great question. There are many products and services that claim to provide maximum energy efficiency, so it can be challenging to know where to start. Fortunately, our monthly bills can help identify areas for the most energy savings. For the vast majority of homes, the months that require the most energy use are in the winter and summer when temperatures are most extreme. Just total up your average energy use for the months when you use the most energy, then subtract the average amount you use during “shoulder months,” when you’re barely using your heating or cooling system, typically during fall and spring. The most likely reason for the difference in energy use is heating and cooling your home. If someone says switching to a new heating or cooling system could save you 20%, they likely mean you can save 20% on heating or cooling costs, which are a portion of your overall energy costs. Every home is different. For example, there’s a small percentage of homes that include uncommon energy uses like a well pump, swimming pool or a home business that requires more energy than heating or cooling. But typically, heating and cooling your home are by far the largest energy uses. Sealing air leaks is often the least expensive energy-saving measure that delivers the most bang for your buck. The second most cost-effective way to cut heating and cooling costs depends on your situation. Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. Write to for more information.

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If you have an older propane or oil furnace, replacing it with an energy efficient heat pump might be your best investment. If you already have a relatively efficient furnace or air conditioning unit, insulating your attic could be the next most cost-effective measure, followed by insulating exterior walls or the crawl space or basement. Replacing windows is a high-priority project for many homeowners, and new windows can certainly add value to your home. However, this can be a costly project, making it difficult to justify solely based on potential energy savings. If your windows are old and leaky, it could be worth the investment. Do your research upfront so you fully understand the costs of the project. After you’ve found ways to reduce your heating and cooling costs, where else should you look for energy savings? Your next largest energy use is likely water heating. A few low-cost measures like repairing leaky faucets and insulating the first 6 to 10 feet of hot water line could deliver significant savings. Installing energy efficient showerheads can save water and reduce energy use. Check out Consumer Reports for reliable comparisons and reviews of energy efficient showerheads. If your water heater is more than 10 years old, it’s likely time to consider how and when to replace it. You can purchase a traditional water heater that uses the same fuel you’re using now. But there are several other options, including heat pump water heaters, tankless water heaters and even solar water heaters. Be sure to do some research before your water heater breaks so you know about your options. Appliances and lighting account for a smaller portion of your energy use. As you replace older appliances and lighting, look for options that include the ENERGY STAR® sticker. You should also review energy use information found on the EnergyGuide label. We hope this information will help you start to identify areas to save energy at home. Consider enlisting the help of an energy auditor who can provide an overall assessment of your home’s efficiency.

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| Outdoors |

Technology allows anglers to stalk individual fish


nglers used depth finders for decades, but with technology easily locate individual fish they want to catch and drop lures alavailable today, fish can’t hide. most on their heads. Depth finders, also called fish finders, grew out of the “It can be disorienting at first and takes some practice getting sonar technology used for anti-submarine warfare during World used to it,” says Dan Dannenmueller, a professional crappie anWar II. Essentially, a transducer shoots sound waves through the gler from Millbrook. “We’re used to seeing left is left and right water. When those waves hit a solid object, they “echo” back to is right. Until people get the hang of it, they have to bend their the receiving device on the unit. The unit then processes the data brains around it. The technology gives the number of feet away and displays an image on a screen for anglers to see. from the transducer, but what’s on the screen is not necessarily Sonar technology advanced giant leaps since the old flasher the direction of the fish from the boat.” units available decades ago. Today, units can do so much more Experienced pros like Overstreet or Dannenmueller can usuthan simply locate the bottom of a lake or river. Many high-tech ally target any fish they wish to catch by watching the bait as it units can now display incredibly detailed information about what sinks or runs through the water, even though the true direction lurks below. Anglers can even look at fish swimming around a of movement could differ greatly from the screen image. Once brush pile or other strucpeople figure out exactly ture and target a specific what they see, and more one. importantly, where they On a recent trip to the are looking, they can maAlabama River in Elmore neuver a bait close to any County, I had an opporfish they want to catch and tunity to experience the even watch it bite. Garmin Panoptix Live“LiveScope has enScope system. While this hanced my fishing because technology created an imnow I don’t have to guess age just by sound, we could where the fish are,” Dan“see” individual fish in real nenmueller says. “When time. On the screen, catwe get to a brush pile and fish looked like catfish and find out where fish are recrappie looked like crappie lating to that cover, I place complete with moving fins rods in holders to get baits and tails swishing back right on the fish. I don’t and forth instead of just an need to use as many rods as electronic blip. It looked before. We can see where almost like a video. the bait is hanging in the “Garmin LiveScope water and see fish come up technology is for- Dan Dannenmueller, a professional crappie angler from Millbrook, Ala., shows off and hit it. Sometimes, we ward-looking sonar that’s a crappie he caught while fishing at Lake Jordan near Wetumpka, Ala. With highget so glued to the screen refined to the point where tech electronic gear, anglers can find more fish and zero in to catch them. watching fish come up and PHOTO BY JOHN FELSHER we can actually see individhit the baits that we forget ual fish moving around,” to set the hook!” says Gerald Overstreet Jr., a professional crappie angler and guide Locating fish does not automatically mean catching them. Anfrom Gainestown. “We can see individual fish and identify many glers still need to convince them to bite their offerings. Somedifferent species in the water by their shapes. It’s really changed times, anglers can watch a large crappie approaching a bait and the way many people fish.” even gingerly tasting it. An angler only relying upon the sensitiviWith the transducer mounted on the trolling motor, the beam ty of the rod and line might never know a strike occurred. goes in whichever direction the motor points. I found it very Anglers who find fish that refuse to bite could mark that place. confusing at first. A fish observed on the right side of the screen Let that spot rest a while and try again later. When approaching wasn’t necessarily swimming to the right of the boat. Everything the spot again, use the trolling motor sparingly and only for didepended upon the direction the transducer faced at that morectional control. Shut it off at a distance. Make long casts to the ment. However, pros accustomed to using this technology could honey hole. Anglers can use this type of technology to catch crappie and practically any other species. The Garmin Panoptix LiveScope John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer who lives in sells for around $1,500, but anglers will also need a sonar unit to Semmes, Ala. He also hosts an outdoors tips show for WAVH FM display the images and a trolling motor. Good sonar units start at Talk 106.5 radio station in Mobile, Ala. Contact him at j.felsher@ around $300 but could cost thousands. Pick the one that works or through Facebook. best for you and your budget. 28  DECEMBER 2021

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

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



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

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


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

4:21 - 5:51 5:09 - 6:39 6:45 - 8:15 7:33 - 9:03 8:21 - 9:51 9:09 - 10:39 9:57 - 11:27 10:45 - 12:15 11:33 - 1:03 NA 1:09 - 2:39 1:57 - 3:27 2:45 - 4:15 3:33 - 5:03 4:21 - 5:51 4:48 - 6:28 5:09 - 6:39 6:45 - 8:15 7:33 - 9:03 8:21 - 9:51 9:09 - 10:39 9:57 - 11:27 10:45 - 12:15 11:33 - 1:03 NA 1:09 - 2:39 1:57 - 3:27 2:45 - 4:15 3:33 - 5:03 4:21 - 5:51 4:48 - 6:28


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

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

The Moon Clock and resulting Moon Times were developed 40 years ago by Doug Hannon, one of America’s most trusted wildlife experts and a tireless inventor. The Moon Clock is produced by DataSport, Inc. of Atlanta, GA, a company specializing in wildlife activity time prediction. To order the 2021 Moon Clock, go to Alabama Living

AL STATE DEC21.indd 29

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| Alabama Recipes |

Christmas COOKIES T

Food styling and photos: Brooke Echols

he first Alabama Living Christmas Cookie contest generated a variety of recipes from our readers, from fruitcake cookies, to tea cakes and brickle, and even a gluten-free cookie. Our office staff pitched in to bake a dozen of the entries, and then judged the contest in October. Although it was a tough job, they managed to choose three winners. Congratulations to Karen Turnquist, who won $100 for first place for her “Big Soft Ginger Cookies;” Mary Grace Miller, whose “Lemon White Chocolate Cookies” won her $75 for second place; and Gabrielle Russell, who took third place with “Peanut Butter Blossoms” and won $50. Special thanks to Lorelei Weston, daughter of our art director Danny Weston, who helped with the baking. –Lenore Vickrey

Lorelei Weston helped bake cookies for the contest.

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Alabama Living Creative Director Mark Stephenson, left, and Sean Strickler, vice president of public affairs for Alabama Rural Electric Association, helped judge.

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And the winners are... First Place:

Big Soft Ginger Cookies Karen Turnquist, of Vinemont, a retired waitress who grew up in Texas and now calls the Cullman area home, has been baking since she learned how to make biscuits from her mother when she was “itty bitty.” A member of Cullman Electric Cooperative, she's made these soft ginger cookies for several years, back when her youngest son, who’s now grown, was in school and she baked cookies for his class parties and other events. Although the cookies are moist, if you want to make them even more so, Karen suggests adding ¼ cup cream cheese to the dough.

Big Soft Ginger Cookies 1 stick butter 1 cup sugar ¼ cup molasses 1 large egg 21/4 cups flour 2 teaspoons ginger ½ teaspoon cloves 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon salt In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine flour, ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ground cloves. Add to creamed mixture slowly. Mix well. Roll into 2½inch balls and place on a cookie sheet 2-inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees until puffy and lightly brown, 10-12 minutes.

Alabama Living

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Soft, " chewy and not too sweet " DECEMBER 2021  31

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2nd Place:

Crispy Lemon White Chocolate Cookies Mary Grace Miller of Paint Rock found her winning recipe in a holiday cookbook several years ago and “I sort of tweaked it. Sometimes I’ll put powdered sugar in it before or after, and you can put pecans in it or cranberries,” she says. A member of North Alabama Electric Cooperative, she estimates she makes the cookies two or three times a year. “I love baking,” she adds, having operated her own café/ snack bar at the Arab Livestock Market for 10 years. She didn’t make her cookies for the café, but her homemade chicken salad was a very popular item on the menu.


“T he lemony flavor was refreshing…”

Crispy Lemon White Chocolate Cookies 1 box lemon cake mix 3 eggs ½ cup oil 1 12-ounce bag white chocolate chips Heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix dry cake mix, eggs and oil. Add chocolate chips. Roll dough in balls and place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes.

Christmas Crunch

I don’t know about you, but I have been anxiously counting down the Brooke Burks months until this month’s magazine! For lots of reasons, but seeing the winners of the Cookie Contest will be one of the highlights of the holidays for me and my girls. We started a tradition when they were very young cooking Christmas goodies to give to co-workers, family and friends. We look forward to trying all of the cookies in this very issue. Another thing we like to do is make other goodies to have on Christmas Eve. One of our favorites is this Christmas Crunch. This holiday season, make a date and tradition with the ones you love to pull out this issue, have some fellowship with this Christmas Crunch, and bake some of these delicious cookies submitted by the best bakers in the world who just happen to be from Sweet Home Alabama! 32  DECEMBER 2021

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8 2 1/2 1/2 4 1 1/2 1/2

cups Quaker Oatmeal Square Cereal cups chopped pecans cup brown sugar cup light corn syrup tablespoons butter teaspoon vanilla teaspoon baking soda teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a large roasting or baking pan, mix cereal and chopped pecans. In a microwave safe bowl, combine butter, brown sugar and corn syrup. Heat in the microwave 11/2 minutes. Carefully remove and stir to combine. Return to the microwave and heat in 30 second intervals, stirring after each time, until boiling. This usually takes about 3 intervals for me, about 11/2 minutes. While still boiling, carefully remove from microwave and add salt, vanilla and baking soda. Stir well. Mixture will sort of bubble up and change color. Pour over cereal and pecan mix and stir well to coat. Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Pour onto a large sheet pan to cool. Snack mix will harden as it cools. Break apart and store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

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3rd Place:

Peanut Butter Blossoms Gabrielle Russell of Andalusia found her recipe online, but it called for candy pumpkins placed in the middle of the cookie. She decided to replace the pumpkins with Hershey kisses, and now she makes the cookies every holiday season. “I don’t do anything special,” she says, adding that she unwraps all the kisses while the cookies are baking so she’s ready to pop them on top when they come out of the oven. She is a member of Covington Electric Cooperative. Interestingly, this recipe won the 1957 Pillsbury Bake-Off for Freda Smith of Gibsonburg, Ohio.

Peanut Butter Blossoms



to the winning

Cook of the Month!

Please send us your original recipes, developed by you or family members. 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. To be eligible, submissions must include a name, phone number, mailing address and co-op name. Alabama Living reserves the right to reprint recipes in our other publications.

Themes and Deadlines: March: Irish Dishes | December 3 April: Pecans | January 7 May: Beef | February 4 3 ways to submit:

Alabama Living

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Online: Email: Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

cup Crisco butter flavor shortening ½ ½ cup Jif creamy peanut butter ½ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed ¾ cup sugar, divided 1 large egg 2 tablespoons milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1¾ cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 48 Hershey kisses Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar and ½ cup sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Beat egg, milk and vanilla into mixture. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Add gradually to creamed mixture, beating on low speed until blended. Shape into 1-inch balls, roll balls into remaining cup sugar. Make all 48 cookie balls to divide equally in size. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Top each cookie with a chocolate kiss immediately after removing from oven, pressing down firmly so cookie cracks around the edge. Let cool completely.


A “ classic holiday memory cookie” DECEMBER 2021  33

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34  DECEMBER 2021

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| Our Sources Say |

Community Care Fund highlight: together with Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative, funding was provided to the Community Action Agency of Northeast Alabama to help members with utility bills and food assistance.

Community Care Fund helps during the holidays and beyond H

olidays and celebrations are a time when we can think with gratitude about the blessings and good fortune we’ve experienced, even as we cope with life’s challenges. Many Alabamians either know someone close to them, or have struggled themselves, with extra hardships brought on by the pandemic. The good news is that many of those impacted the most have been able to turn to organizations for help during their times of need, thanks to the support of local power companies in partnership with TVA. With the Community Care Fund, established in April 2020 and continued through October 2021, 15 local power companies in Alabama matched funds with TVA for a contribution of $232,500 to 50 charitable organizations. Beginning in November, TVA has continued the Community Care Fund with additional available matching funds available through October 2022. We’ve also expanded our giving guidelines to help organizations within the following pillars: • Education • Diversity & Inclusion • Health, Hunger, and Housing • Workforce Development & Training • Community Enrichment • Arts & Culture • Disaster Relief & Emergency Response • Innovation & Technology

Among the vital organizations helped by the Community Care Fund this year is the Community Action Agency of Northwest Alabama, whose mission is “to reduce the causes and adverse consequences of poverty and to empower low-income individuals, families and communities to achieve self-sufficiency through advocacy, resource utilization, and service delivery.” This agency helps people who need utility and housing assistance, and administers other programs like Meals on Wheels of the Shoals and parenting programs. They are located in Franklin, Colbert and Lauderdale counties. The Community Action Agency of Northeast Alabama, which serves Blount, Cherokee, DeKalb, Jackson, Marshall, and St. Clair counties, also benefited from Community Care Funds. This organization similarly helps people in need pay their bills and secure housing. Their Community Action partnership has evolved to include programs for child and elder care, education, job training, weatherization assistance and other programs. From local agencies like the City of Arab Emergency Relief Fund, Inc., to chapters of the United Way, such as the United Way of Marshall County, Community Care Fund dollars fed families, educated children and helped care for the elderly. As the new year approaches, we understand that COVID-19 has lasting impacts – especially for people who have lost loved ones. We look forward to partnering with local power companies in 2022 to extend and expand our assistance efforts.

Kevin Chandler is general manager, Alabama District Customer Service, for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

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| Classifieds | How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office): February 2022 Issue by December 25 March 2022 Issue by January 25 April 2022 Issue by February 25 Ads are $1.75 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis; Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each. Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to; or call (800)410-2737 ask for Heather for pricing.; We accept checks, money orders and all major credit cards. Mail ad submission along with a check or money order made payable to ALABAMA LIVING, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124 – Attn: Classifieds.

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DECEMBER 2021  37

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| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

Aunt Anne, Daddy and raisins H

ere comes the final rush to get those special gifts for family and friends. In my family, on my Daddy’s side, the most special gift of all was a box of raisins. Still on the stems. The tradition began in the 1930s. Depression was in the land. Even though Christmas was lean in the Jackson household, mother and father (my grandmother and grandfather) found a way to put an orange or apple in the toe of each stocking. Fruit was a special treat. And for his baby girl, my Aunt Anne, her father always had a box of raisins, still on the stems – which was about the only way they came back then. Year after year, no matter how hard things were, on Christmas morning the raisins always appeared. Even when sickness forced her Daddy to quit work, even as his health failed, he managed to get the gift for his little Anne. It was the bond between them. Then he died. Aunt Anne was a teenager and the only one of the children still at home. My father came from college to help with the arrangements and when he tried to comfort his sister, she put her head on his chest and sobbed, “No more raisinson-the-stems.” The bond was broken. Only it wasn’t. When Christmas came, the raisins were there. My Daddy, her big brother, had gotten them for her. The next year, the same. So it continued. When my Daddy went off to war he asked my Mama to take some of her precious ration stamps, buy raisinsHarvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at

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on-the-stem, and send them to a now grown-up Anne, so she would know that her brother remembered. Every year, no matter where he was or what he was doing, my Daddy would go out, find the raisins and send them to his sister. There wasn’t anything particularly ceremonial about it. The raisins were not gaily wrapped and handed to her at a family gathering. The gift was quietly sent and quietly received. I doubt if any of their brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, nieces and nephews ever knew. It was just between them, and because it was, with a bit of Christmas memory, it could also be between daughter and her Daddy as well. I am not sure when I learned of the tradition. Certainly it was after I was grown up and gone away. Aunt Anne told me the story. And when she did, it came to me why, among the Christmas delights scattered

about our kitchen when I was a child, the stuff bought to make the fruitcake cookies and such, there was always a box of raisins-on-the-stem. And then I knew why the box disappeared with the other ingredients, though the raisins never appeared in the goodies my Mama baked. Daddy had sent them to his sister. Daddy did this for 70 or more Christmases. Until he didn’t. Daddy died on Dec. 18, 2010. But the tradition did not die with him. My Mama, despite all that was going on, found raisins-on-the-stem, wrapped them and sent them. Today, Daddy, Mama and Aunt Anne are no longer with us. But if Heaven is anything like I hope it is, come Christmas morning there will be raisins-on-the-stem under Aunt Anne’s tree. And the rest of the family will be there with her to celebrate.

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