May 2022 Clarke-Washington

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Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News MAY 2022



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

Offshore ventures


VOL. 75 NO. 5



MAY 2022

Awards Day

Proud parents and grandparents celebrate their children’s achievements.


Teacher of the Year


It’s what’s for dinner


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

Snapper season opens this month in state and federal waters. Alabama is one of the premier places in the nation to land red snapper and other reef fish.

A lifelong educator from Auburn is working to inspire and motivate Alabama’s schoolchildren. Steak and burgers are just a few of the many ways to enjoy beef, which is second only to broilers as a top farm commodity in Alabama.



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

Each year, Clarke-Washington EMC provides this special opportunity to four students to learn about electric cooperatives. PHOTO: Danny Weston


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

Get our FREE monthly email newsletter! Sign up at MAY 2022 3

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Prioritize safety year-round Office Locations Jackson Office 9000 Highway 43 P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 (251) 246-9081 Chatom Office 19120 Jordan Street P.O. Box 453 Chatom, AL 36518 (251) 847-2302 Toll Free Number (800) 323-9081 Office Hours 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Friday (Drive-thru Hours)

Payment Options Mail P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 P.O. Box 453 Chatom, AL 36518 Office During normal office hours at our Chatom and Jackson offices. Phone (855) 870-0403 Online Night Deposit 24/7 at Jackson & Chatom

At Clarke-Washington EMC, we recognize Electrical Safety Month every May, but we also know the importance of practicing safety year-round. From our co-op crews to you, the consumer-members we serve, we recognize that everyone has a part to play in prioritizing safety. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, thousands of people in the U.S. are critically injured or electrocuted as a result of electrical fires and accidents in their own homes. Many of these accidents are preventable. Electricity is a necessity, and it powers our daily lives. But we know firsthand how dangerous electricity can be because we work with it 365 days a year. To me, safety is more than a catchphrase. As the general manager of ClarkeWashington EMC, it’s my responsibility to keep co-op employees safe. Additionally, we want to help keep you and all members of our community safe. That’s why you’ll see Clarke-Washington EMC hosting safety demonstrations at community events and in schools throughout the year, to demonstrate the dangers of electricity. We discuss emergency scenarios, such as what to do in a car accident involving a utility pole and downed power lines. And, we caution students on the dangers of padmounted transformers and overloading circuits with too many electronic devices. Electricity is an integral part of modern life. Given the prevalence of electrical devices, tools and appliances, I’d like to pass along a few practical electrical safety tips. Frayed wires pose a serious safety hazard. Power cords can become damaged or frayed from age, heavy use or excessive current flow through the wiring. If cords become frayed or cut, replace them, as they could cause a shock when handled.

Avoid overloading circuits. Circuits can only cope with a limited amount of electricity. Overload happens when you draw more electricity than a circuit can safely handle––by having too many devices running on one circuit. Label circuit breakers to understand the circuits in your home. Contact a qualified electrician if your home is more than 40 years old and you need to install multiple large appliances that consume large amounts of electricity. Use extension cords properly. Never plug an extension cord into another extension cord. If you “daisy chain” them together, it could lead to overheating, creating a potential fire hazard. Don’t exceed the wattage of the cord. Doing so also creates a risk of overloading the cord and creating a fire hazard. Extension cords should not be used as permanent solutions. If you need additional outlets, contact a licensed electrician to help. I encourage you to talk with your kids about playing it safe and smart around electricity. Help them be aware of overhead power lines near where they play outdoors. Our top priority is providing an uninterrupted energy supply 24/7, 365 days per year. But equally important is keeping our community safe around electricity. Visit our website at for additional electrical safety tips or call us at 1-800-323-9081 if you would like us to provide a safety demonstration at your school or upcoming community event.

Steve Sheffield General Manager

CWEMC App Available from the App Store and Google Play Bank Draft CheckOut Pay where you shop at any Dollar General, Family Dollar, CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens. 4 MAY 2022

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CWEMC SENDS FOUR HIGH SCHOOL JUNIORS TO MONTGOMERY In March, Clarke-Washington EMC sponsored four local high school juniors on an all-expenses-paid trip to Montgomery as part of the 2022 Alabama Rural Electric Youth Tour. The goal of Youth Tour is to help educate the students about electric cooperatives and Alabama’s history. Youth Tour also gives the students an opportunity to interact with elected representatives while making 115 new friends from across the state. “We are excited to sponsor our local students again this year for our Montgomery Youth Tour and also award them a $500 scholarship,” said Steve Sheffield, Clarke-Washington EMC General Manager. “It is an amazing opportunity for our students and allows them to learn about electric cooperatives and gain valuable insight into our state government and history.” This year’s youth tour delegates included Aja Barnes, McIntosh High School; Lauren Coaker, Jackson Academy; Reanna Johnson, Clarke Preparatory School; and Madeline Sanderson, Millry High School. Each student will Alabama Living

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receive a $500 scholarship to the college of their choice. The students arrived on Tuesday, March 15 and learned what it means to be a member of an electric cooperative, met new friends from across the state and ended the day with a game night. Guest speaker for the event was Cea Cohen-Elliot, who shared stories with the students about the importance of leadership and how the students can be leaders in their community.

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On Wednesday, the students participated in leadership and team-building activities during the morning session before splitting into groups for the Capitol steps picture. Clarke-Washington EMC delegates visited the Alabama Rural Electric Association (AREA) to learn more about electric cooperatives, power restoration and what it takes to become a linewoker and the other career opportunities at electric cooperatives. Students returned to hear from Beth Knudson from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) before ending the day with dinner and dance. To conclude the trip, students met with legislators and had the opportunity to ask many questions about current issues impacting our state. Lauren Coaker and Reanna Johnson were selected to represent Clarke-Washington EMC at the Washington D.C. Youth Tour. Unfortunately, this will be the third year that CWEMC has not been able to participate in the Washington D.C. Youth Tour due to the pandemic. In lieu of not be able to participate, Coaker and Johnson will receive an additional scholarship to the school of their choice.

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ALABAMA GARDENER’S CALENDAR Information provided by The Alabama Cooperative Extension Service. Find more at

May Fruits and Nuts

• Continue spray program. • Keep grass from around trees and strawberries. • Peaches and apples can still be budded.


• Newly planted shrubs need extra care now and in coming weeks. • Don’t spray with oil emulsions when temperature is above 85 degrees F.


• Now is the best time to start lawns from seed. • Water new lawns as needed to prevent drying. • Keep established lawns actively growing by watering, fertilizing, and mowing.

• Spray weeds in lawns with proper herbicide.


• Spray or dust for insects and diseases. • Fertilize monthly according to a soil test. • Container-grown plants in flower may be planted. • Prune climbing roses after the first big flush of flowering.

Annuals and Perennials

• Late plantings of bedding plants still have time to produce. • Watch for insects on day lilies.


• Summer bulbs started in containers may still be planted.

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


• Mulch new shrub plantings if not already done. • Avoid drying out new shrub, tree, and lawn plantings.

Vegetable Seed

• Plant heat-loving and tender vegetables. • Start cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and celery in cold frames for the fall garden.

Vegetable Plants

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

• Do not remove foliage from spring flowering bulbs.

June Fruits and Nuts

• Layer grapes and continue spray programs. • Thin apples and peaches if too thick.


• Lace bugs may be a problem on azaleas, pyracanthas, dogwoods, cherry laurels, and other shrubs.

• Lawns should be mowed weekly. • Planting may continue if soil is moist. • Continue weed spraying if necessary.

Annuals and Perennials

• Keep old flower heads removed to promote continued flowering. Plant garden mums if not already in.

• Water as needed. Fertilize now.

• For compact mums, keep tips pinched out.

• Keep long shoots from developing by pinching out tips.

• Watch for insects and diseases.

• Take cuttings from semi-mature wood for rooting.


• Follow a schedule of fertilization and watering.

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• Foliage may be removed from spring bulbs if it has yellowed and is becoming dry.


• If scale insects continue on shrubs, use materials other than oils. • Set houseplants on porch or outdoors in shade and pay close attention to the need for water. • If desired, air layer houseplants.

Vegetable Seed

• Plant beans, fieldpeas, pumpkins, squash, corn, cantaloupes, and watermelons.

Vegetable Plants

• Plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and sweet potato vine cuttings.

• Watch for aphids and thrips on summer bulbs.

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| Alabama Snapshots |

Awards Day

Kady’s first soccer award. SUBMITTED by Sandra Kiplinger, Union Grove.

Anna Carder is a senior at Athens High School. Her junior year in 2021 she was given 6 softball awards. SUBMITTED by Panda Carder, Harvest.

Proud of my grandson, Parker Reidinger! SUBMITTED BY Debra Brooks, Bryant.

Alexis Dunn received an award for A-B honor roll. SUBMITTED by Nicole Dunn, Clayton.

July theme: “Kids at Summer Camp” Deadline to submit: May 31 Include your social media handle with photo submissions to be featured on our Facebook and Instagram! Alabama Living

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

McKenna Veca, age 4, won a trophy at her preschool athletic award day. When we asked her why she received the trophy she said, “I guess I’m good.” SUBMITTED by Dees Veca, Gulf Shores.

SUBMIT to WIN $10! 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. MAY 2022 9

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Spotlight | May AREA honors Speaker of the House

Cogongrass campaign addresses threat to Alabama Cogongrass – a federally regulated noxious weed – has infested more than 75 percent of Alabama’s counties, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) and poses a real danger to agriculture and natural ecosystems. Cogongrass chokes out forests and hunting lands, threatening habitats. It inhibits the growth of other plants and ruins pasturelands, as livestock have trouble eating or digesting it. The weed is also highly flammable and increases the risk of wildfires. The cost to eradicate it is high, exceeding $300 per acre, or $60 million in taxpayer dollars. It’s difficult to control due to the ease with which it spreads along rights-of-way. The ADAI has launched a social media campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of cogongrass, and landowners are encouraged to recognize this threat. Because cogongrass contaminates machinery, clothing, soil and vehicles that come in contact with it, no attempt should be made to remove it. Rather, it should be reported immediately to 334-240-7225. Learn more at

The Alabama Rural Electric Association presented Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Mac McCutcheon with its Bill Nichols Award for his contributions to the rural electrification program in Alabama. AREA Vice President for Public Affairs Sean Strickler, right, was on hand to help present the award to McCutcheon at AREA’s 75th Annual Meeting in Montgomery in April. The award, named for former Congressman Bill Nichols, is presented to an individual who “has demonstrated a substantial willingness to go beyond the routine call of duty in furthering the principles and progress of rural electrification.” McCutcheon, who represents portions of north Alabama not served by cooperatives, was nevertheless a champion of all cooperatives statewide and was instrumental in passage of legislation critical to the industry.

Find the hidden dingbat! We received lots of correct guesses for the “Find the Dingbat” contest in April’s magazine in which we hid a pretzel on the front of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival building, pictured on Page 16. Myra Fowler of Crane Hill wrote that “I would need a pretzel to help me get through an English class if we were studying Shakespeare, now that I’m 81 years old!” And Doug Lee from Vina in Franklin County told us he was “surprised my wife Cindy didn’t find it – she loves pretzels!” Mary Sharpe of Andalusia wrote that when her husband couldn’t find it, “I took care of business!” Although the dingbat on the theater complex “at first looked like a clock,” she said, “with bifocals it was the pretzel.” Chesteen McWhorter of Crane Hill also thought at first it was a clock. “But after a second look, and a very close look, sure enough, a pretzel. I still had doubts so I looked up the website showing the theater and there was no pretzel. Bingo!” Congratulations to Barb Brauer of Millport, our randomly drawn winner, who wins a prize package from Alabama One Credit Union. This month we’ve hidden a motorcycle, in honor of National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, so happy trails and good luck! Sponsored by By mail: Find the Dingbat Alabama Living PO Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 By email: 10 MAY 2022

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This photo was taken June 2, 1943, when the German prisoners of war arrived at Aliceville in west Alabama. PHOTO COURTESY OF ALICEVILLE MUSEUM

Former Alabama WWII POW camp comes to life May 13-15 Camp Aliceville in Pickens County was one of the largest prisoner-of-war camps in America from 1943-1945, housing more than 6,000 mostly Afrika Korps prisoners. To help tell the story of this little-known piece of war history, the town of Aliceville will put on a period accurate re-enactment of the WWII prison camp May 13-15. Re-enactors are welcomed to portray German Gen. Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps (an expeditionary combat force of the German army) and Luftwaffe POWs as well as American military police and Alabama State Troopers. Several children and grandchildren of former POWs are planning to attend. When the first German prisoners arrived on June 2, 1943, the people of Aliceville turned out to watch. For this re-enactment, townspeople will dress in 1940s styles and line the route of the march as POW re-enactors are brought in by truck. For more on this event, visit

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May | Spotlight

Whereville, AL

Take us along! We’ve enjoyed seeing photos from our readers on their travels with Alabama Living! Please send us a photo of you with a copy of the magazine on your travels to: Be sure to include your name, hometown and electric cooperative, and the location of your photo.We’ll draw a winner for the $25 prize each month.

Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative, if applicable. The winner and answer will be announced in the June issue. Submit by email:, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124. Do you like finding interesting or unusual landmarks? Contribute a photo you’ve taken! Readers whose photos are chosen also win $25. April’s answer: This metal bull, located in front of the Pike County Cattlemen’s Association building on U.S. Highway 231, was created by Larry Godwin, an artist/metal sculptor who had a small studio south of Brundidge. Godwin created the bull as a marketing tool for Bob’s Feeds, a store owned by his father, Bob Godwin. (There were two stores – one in Brundidge and one in Dothan.) After the Brundidge store closed, the bull was parked at Larry Godwin’s studio. Betty Hixon, longtime president of the Pike County Cattlewomen and one-time president of the state cattlewomen’s association, had an idea that the bull would be good to use in parades and other events as a promotion for the cattle industry. She and her husband Bill Hixon (a former trustee of the South Alabama Electric Cooperative) convinced Larry Godwin to allow the association to use the bull. The bull was “retired” around the year 2000 and has been at home in Cattlemen Park ever since. “That is probably one of the most photographed things in Pike County,” says Don Renfroe of the Pike County Cattlemen’s Association. Check out the state and Pike County groups’ Facebook pages to learn more. (Photo by Mark Stephenson of Alabama Living) The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Connie Robertson of Baldwin EMC. Alabama Living

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Cindy Onica of Gulf Shores and Baldwin EMC, visited St. Ignace, Michigan. The Mackinac Bridge, which connects Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas, can be seen in the background.

Tommy and Kaye Hall of Evergreen, members of Southern Pine Electric Cooperative, camped in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming last September. “Lying in the tent at night you could hear the bugle calls of the male elk,” Kaye writes. “In the mornings , we awoke to 28 degree temperatures and beautiful scenery of the geysers, waterfalls and all the other attractions Yellowstone had to offer.”

Steve Jones of Orange Beach, a member of Baldwin EMC, traveled to Ketchikan, Alaska, for his first post-COVID cruise.

Larnell Merchant and Marie Coker, members of Marshall DeKalb EC, took their magazine on a trip to Hawaii in October 2021.

Alabama’s primary election coming up The 2022 general election is in November, but the important primary election is May 24. The Alabama Rural Electric Association, which publishes Alabama Living, encourages our rural and suburban consumer members to take an active role in the political conversation this year, and to make their voices heard. There is much at stake this year. The offices on the ballot include federal (a U.S. Senate seat and all seven U.S. House seats); state (governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, auditor, secretary of state, treasurer, various circuit and district court seats and others); and several county-level offices. The voter registration deadline for the primary is May 9; the last day to apply for an absentee ballot by mail is May 17. The primary runoff election, if necessary, will be June 21. The general election is Nov. 8. For more information, see the secretary of state’s website at sos. and MAY 2022 11

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essential dishes


every should know how to make

By Jennifer Kornegay


he Alabama Tourism Department’s “100 Dishes to Eat Before You Die” round-up presents some of the tastiest bites being served at restaurants around Alabama. But while our state has no shortage of locations to enjoy a delicious meal out, we’ve also got a hefty helping of outstanding home cooks. For our kitchen wiz readers, we’ve created another Alabama-food-focused collection. We enlisted the help of several Alabama food aficionados (chefs and restaurant owners, writers and a foodways expert) and asked them to share their

picks for dishes that Alabama cooks ought to have in their recipe repertoire. Read on for the Essential Alabama Dishes list we compiled with their input. But note: We’re not claiming these are our state’s only powerful or popular foods; they’re just a few mouthfuls out of a deep and wide pot. Also note: We don’t think you should make these dishes just sometime before you die; we think you should find an appealing recipe in one of your cookbooks, (or get on Google) and get cookin’ right now!

Cornbread In 2014, cornbread was finally and officially elevated to the place of prominence it has long held in many a Southern food lover’s heart (and stomach). That year, it became Alabama’s state bread, beating even the showy biscuit for the title. And yet, it’s still a humble dish, relatively cheap and uncomplicated to make, rarely adorned with more than butter. The hardest part may be deciding which version of cornbread to go with. There’s more than one type, and some debates on what constitutes “authentic” cornbread can get as hot as the cast iron skillet your grandmother used for hers, but for our purposes, we’re including any kind with cornmeal as the majority grain. Bob Carlton, a veteran journalist who writes about food for, This is Alabama and The Birmingham News, included cornbread on his list of iconic Alabama foods along with an admonishment for those who are cornbread-challenged. “If you don’t already know how to cook cornbread, you need to rectify that situation right now,” he says. “A wedge of hot-out-the-skillet cornbread smeared with a melting pat of butter brings back memories of my childhood, and no home-cooked Sunday dinner is complete without it.” His mention of how memory can factor mightily in the foods 12 MAY 2022

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we cherish mixes well with Lisa Thomas-McMillan’s thoughts on a different kind of cornbread, the fried cornbread fritters that topped her list of essential Alabama dishes. The owner of Drexell & Honeybee’s in Brewton — a “pay what you can” restaurant feeding the needs of its community (featured in the Dec. 2018 issue of Alabama Living) — believes that fritters often draw curious diners precisely because they’re a bit different from what some are used to. “Just the idea that it is not a muffin or a hunk of cornbread makes people anxious to try fried cornbread fritters,” she said.

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West Indies Salad You can make a diverse array of dishes with fresh Gulf coast crabs: fried and sautéed crab claws, crab cakes, herb-laden crab stuffing and creamy crab bisque. But to enjoy this saltwater species in a more unadulterated form, you want West Indies Salad. This simple but scrumptious delight — mounds of silken crabmeat lightly embellished with vinegar, onion and oil — is a uniquely Alabama item, having been created at Bayley’s Seafood Restaurant in Theodore (right outside Mobile) in the late 1940s. According to chef Jim Smith, owner of Mobile’s The Hummingbird Way and former executive chef for the State of Alabama, West Indies Salad is the dish that immediately comes to his mind when asked, “What should any cooking Alabamian know how to make?” “Alabama crab is such a great ingredient and always a show-stopper,” he says. “West Indies Salad was created in Theodore and highlights the sweetness and delicate nature of Alabama crab.” He noted it can be enjoyed with nothing but crackers or as an accompaniment to other dishes, like a green salad or gazpacho. Lucy Buffett – coastal Alabama native, chef, cookbook author and owner of Lulu’s restaurant in Gulf Shores – agreed with Smith, calling West Indies Salad a “quintessential” Alabama dish. Like Carlton and cornbread, Buffett has a personal affinity for this food. “An Alabamian came up with it, so that’s an important thing,” she says. “But for me, it’s just been a part of my life since I was a kid.” Her parents took her and her siblings (including famous musician Jimmy) to Bayley’s when she was growing up. Both her grandmothers routinely whipped it up at home. “They were great cooks!” she said. “My mom, not so much, but she could make West Indies Salad. I learned from them; it was one of the first dishes I made when I started cooking. And it’s the recipe that I make for my siblings when they come to visit. That’s what they want; it tastes of home.”

Lulu’s West Indies Salad Makes 4-6 Servings (reprinted with permission) 1 pound fresh jumbo lump blue crab meat ¼ to ½ cup medium Vidalia (or sweet) onion, sliced paper thin, in half moon shape 1/3 cup vegetable oil 1/3 cup white vinegar *Important: 4-5 ice cubes placed in a measuring cup, then filled to 1/3 cup with cold water 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

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Place half of the crabmeat gently on the bottom of a glass bowl or plastic container. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Cover crab with a layer of onion. Repeat these steps with remaining crab, onion, salt and pepper. Pour oil, vinegar, ice water and ice cubes over crab. Cover and marinate for at least two hours. When ready to serve, shake bowl gently or if using a seal-proof plastic container turn upside down and back upright to gently mix salad. Correct seasonings. Serve with saltine crackers. LuLu Clue 1: It really is this easy, and the ice cubes are crucial. Don’t ask me why, but when I haven’t included them, the dish just doesn’t taste the same. LuLu Clue 2: I use jumbo lump even though it is expensive. You can use regular lump crab, but you must carefully and delicately pick through it for shells.

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Lane Cake In stark contrast to a cobbler or West Indies Salad, the Lane Cake takes some serious kitchen skills. This layered dessert is labor intensive, but those lucky enough to have tasted it say it’s all worth it. Chef Smith calls it a dish all Alabamians “should be proud of ” when explaining its place on his list of essential dishes. “This cake was invented in Alabama by Emma Rylander Lane in Clayton in the 1890s, and she won many awards for it in her time. The cake is also famously mentioned in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird.’” His rendition of the classic is a chiffon cake topped with an icing that’s heavily spiked with bourbon, plus pecans, coconut and raisins. “The Lane Cake is always a conversation starter and is a great cake for Alabamians to make at home,” Smith says. Like several of the other foods on our list, the Lake Cake is also “certified Alabama;” it’s the state cake, enshrined as such in 2016. While Blejwas didn’t include the cake with her choices for essential dishes, it did make it into her book, where she highlights its place of prominence in our history and even how it was one ingredient that helped women’s independence rise to new heights near the turn of the last century. Lane Cake baked by Karen Preuss of Fennel & Figs Bakery, Montgomery. PHOTO BY BROOKE ECHOLS

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Lane Cake (This is THE original 1890s recipe!) By Emma Rylander Lane Batter For Cake 8 egg whites 1 cup butter 1 cup sweet milk 2 cups sifted sugar 3¼ cups sifted flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 tablespoon vanilla

Filling 8 1 ½ 1

egg yolks large cup sugar cup butter cup raisins, seeded and finely clipped 1 wine-glass good whiskey or brandy 1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift the flour and baking powder together three times, cream the butter and sugar until perfectly light, add to it alternately, little at a time, milk and flour, until all are used, beginning and ending with flour. Last, beat in the well whipped whites and vanilla. Bake in layers, using medium sized pie tins, with one layer of ungreased brown paper in the bottom of each tin. Filling—Beat well together eight egg yolks, one large cup of sugar, and half a cup of butter. Pour into a small, deep stew pan and cook on top of the stove until quite thick, stirring all the time, or it will be sure to burn. When done and while still hot, put in one cup of seeded and finely clipped raisins, one wine-glass of good whiskey or brandy and one teaspoon of vanilla. Spread thickly between the layers and ice. It is much better to be made a day or two before using. My prize cake, and named not from my own conceit, but through the courtesy of Mrs. Janie McDowell Pruett of Eufaula, Ala.

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Alabama Living

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Fruit Cobbler

Mac and Cheese There is nothing specifically “Alabama” about mac and cheese except maybe its ubiquity at eateries around the state ranging from the humble to the fancy and fine. And at every place and in every home, the favored recipe is likely different. It must be cheesy and creamy, of course. But after those requirements, opinions vary on what earns the “best” mac and cheese that superlative. Are only elbows appropriate? Should there be a breadcrumb topping? Is cheddar the preferred cheese? (It begs another question too. Often residing alongside collards, black-eyed-peas and more on “veggies” menus at Alabama meat ‘n threes and barbecue restaurants, is mac and cheese vegetable? Alas, most experts say, no.) Thomas-McMillan says it’s unfair to relegate mac and cheese — which easily made its way onto her essential dish list — to the side-dish group; she claims it can stand alone as an entrée. “Every Alabamian should know how to make mac and cheese. I am talking about the gooey, creamy, it’s-the-cheesiest mac and cheese. It is such an eye-pleasing, warm, comforting dish, that, by itself, can serve as a meal.” she says. “At Drexell & Honeybees, we make ours with eight different cheeses, and what people love about it is when we dip it up, it fights to stay in the pan with those long silky threads of melted cheese hanging on.”

Like West Indies Salad, a fruit cobbler is a simple dish, easy to make and even easier to eat. You can use pretty much any fruit as your filling, but to make it a truly Alabama fruit cobbler, you should opt for either blackberries or peaches. As the state’s official fruit, the blackberry is bona fide. But the peach has equally impressive credentials. It’s the official state tree fruit and is the pride and joy of an entire Alabama county — Chilton — where multiple peach orchards produce the prized blushing orbs. Blackberry cobbler was first on the essential dishes list of Emily Blejwas. While the director of the Alabama Folklife Association and author of The Story of Alabama in Fourteen Foods has expertise on our state’s foodways, she admitted she doesn’t really cook. And even though she does love to bake, she’s not yet made a blackberry cobbler. But she loves to eat it, and she’s now growing her own blackberries, which she says will one day soon end up in a cobbler. “A couple of years ago, my husband planted a blackberry bush that blasts us with berries early on, then gives a handful every day in August, like a sweet afterthought. I pick them in the evening when I let the chickens out,” she says. “Since I’ve not yet made my own cobbler, I’ll offer my friend Meredith’s mother’s advice: ‘Don’t be scared of it. It’s just biscuits. Just berries and sugar and biscuits.’ Pretty soon I’ll find the courage and make one.” Carlton had cobbler among his picks too, but he is team peach. “Since Alabama is blessed with the sweetest, juiciest most delicious peaches on the planet — God bless you, Chilton County! — it would be a crying shame if you didn’t have a homemade peach pie or cobbler in your recipe repertoire,” he says.

Honorable Mention:

Peanut Butter Pie Emily Blejwas knows as much about Alabama’s food culture, particularly its history, as just about anyone, and she argued that peanut butter pie deserves a place on the essential dishes list, not for the pie part, but for the peanut and its association with an Alabama VIP – the brilliant and trail-blazing scientist George Washington Carver. While head of Tuskegee Institute’s agricultural school, Carver made massive contributions to the crucial industry, inventing hundreds of uses for common crops like sweet potatoes and soybeans and of course, peanuts. “I love this dessert because George Washington Carver is my all-time hero, and everything peanut reminds me of him,” Blejwas says. “I visited Carver’s birthplace in Missouri this summer, and it was the most hallowed ground I’ve ever walked.” 16 MAY 2022

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Alabama Living

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| Worth the drive |

Gadsden eatery offers cultural twist on Mexican street food By Jennifer Kornegay


ost Alabama cities – even small lived in mega food cities like Chicago,” he a new take,” he says. He’s equally proud of towns – have at least one Mexican says. “That all comes together in this.” the Cantina’s cocktails. restaurant. Quite a few have more The ingredient list for each dish is short. “Every cocktail is freshly made with all than one. Gadsden, in the state’s northeast Most tacos are built with a handful of bafresh ingredients, not mixes,” he says. All sics (but all fresh and most, made from corner, has more than 12. And five of those margaritas are made to order with the powerful zip of fresh-squeezed juices. scratch): meat, cilantro, onion (raw or are within five miles of S-Á Cantina, which His emphasis on fresh comes from workpickled) and a sauce or salsa resting in a fronts Broad Street (the main drag) in the ing in the restaurant world for more than soft corn tortilla. Almost every taco can city’s charming downtown. a decade, doing marketing and managebe served instead as a bowl, which elimiEven though his spot also specializes in nates the tortilla and layers the fillings on ment for multiple Hispanic restaurants, Mexican food, S-Á Cantina owner Aaron top of black beans and cilantro-strewn rice. and seeing how quality ingredients elevate Disouryavong is fine with all the competition. That’s chiefly because he believes “I wanted all the food to be simple, clean any type of food. Owning his own eatery his business stands apart. “S-Á is kinda and flavorful,” he says. “I like that it is a bit has been a dream for a long time, and he unique,” he says. “I try to be pretty authenhealthier and think my customers do too.” realized it with a Tex-Mex spot he opened tic but with the twist of a few other cultural The best sellers so far are the pork belly in in Grant, Ala., a few years ago. But S-Á infusions as well.” and duck in both taco and bowl form, with Cantina is the embodiment of the concept He opened S-Á Cantina in 2021, that’s always been in his mind. and with a quick glance at the “This is what I’ve always wanted to do,” he says, “and I felt like menu, the difference is clear. While Gadsden would respond to it and it includes “south of the border” support it.” standards like tacos and quesadillas, S-Á’s versions venture beyond Disouryavong’s been loving seasoned ground beef and chicken a lot of what goes on in the Cantina’s open space, as he interacts and incorporate influences from with diners happily munching on other cuisines too, with offerings his food while seated at polished like tender duck tucked with melty wooden picnic tables against the salty cheese into a crisp quesadilla backdrop of vibrant murals. and roasted cauliflower cozied up He also relishes the relationships to slices of soft avocado and bits Almost every taco at the Cantina can be served as a bowl, with that food can forge; his desire to reof sharp onion in a taco. There are fresh fillings layered on top of black beans and rice. ally know and please repeat guests nachos spiced with chorizo and PHOTO COURTESY OF S.A. CANTINA was part of the inspiration for the cooled with crema, charred and restaurant’s name. “In the beginning, I steak a close second. Disouryavong has a cheesy elote (Mexican street corn) and had a partner for this venture, and the S-Á tough time picking his personal favorite. “I homey tamales too. part was our initials. But by the time we love the mahi-mahi and shrimp tacos, but The duck has roots in Disouryavong’s got ready to open, he had moved on,” Dialso the pork belly,” he says. “Oh wait, actuAsian heritage; he’s half Laotian. “I make ally, it’s the duck tacos. I guess I like it all.” souryavong says. “But I realized when you a tamarind-paste-based glaze and marinate the duck in that, then cook it on the One other aspect also makes the Cantina say it, it sounds like ‘ese’, which is Mexican grill and caramelize it before shredding it,” distinct: Disouryavong’s “no substitutions” slang for ‘hey brother’ or ‘hey friend,’ and he says. All the recipes are his. While Didirective, which he often has to explain but I felt like that meaning fits this place and souryavong is not a professionally trained is eager to defend. “I put so much time into my passion. There’s never a moment when cook, he’s drawn on extensive travels, his the recipes to ensure every element works I don’t want to come to work, to meet the experience in the restaurant biz and his just right together,” he says. “It’s important diners and serve them something fresh and own tastebuds. “I’ve traveled all over Mexto me that people experience the flavors as good.” ico and to multiple metro areas and have I designed it. That’s why I put it clearly on Aaron the menu and online, so people know beDisouryavong, who fore they order. ” It’s been a sticking point S-Á Cantina is half Laotian, l for a few people, but he says most seem to Gadsden 519 Broad Street infuses the dishes get it. Gadsden, AL 35901 with Asian-inspired seasonings and 256-438-5296 Pushing people to expand their palates foods, as well as a bit is one element of his food philosophy flavors from his Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and part of why he’s so proud of S-Á. “I love extensive travels. Monday-Thursday and Sunday; encouraging people to try something new PHOTO BY 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday or something somewhat familiar but with JENNIFER KORNEGAY 18 MAY 2022

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Alabama Living

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| Gardens |

Learn to use bonsai as horticultural art

Doug Unkenholz, president of The Alabama Bonsai Society, and Anika Cook Paperd, ABS vice president, will be among the bonsai enthusiasts exhibiting their plants and sharing their passion at ABS’s annual spring show, to be held at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens on May 14 and 15. PHOTO BY KATIE JACKSON


very plant has a story. Bonsai trees, however, have at least two. So says Alabama Bonsai Society President Doug Unkenholz of Homewood, Ala., who, like many of his fellow bonsai growers, is as passionate about creating these diminutive works of botanical art as he is about sharing their stories. According to Unkenholz, the first story every bonsai tells is the account of what each grower has done to create the plant’s unique beauty and style, a story that typically spans decades. “The other story is about what each tree hopefully imitates in nature,” Unkenholz says. Imitating nature — or more precisely capturing a scene from nature in a miniature tableau — has been the primary goal of bonsai growers for thousands of years. The practice began in China around 700 AD when the elite of Chinese society began collecting specimens of trees and, using meticulous pruning and cultivation techniques, created living small-scale replicas of the trees each representing the spiritual and magical qualities of nature. When the method spread to Japan, it evolved into the art of bonsai, a Japanese term that means “a tree planted in a shallow container,” a horticultural art rooted in the meditative rituals and beliefs of Zen Buddhism. Those same techniques are still used today by bonsai masters and amateur Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at

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bonsai growers alike who spend years creating what Unkenholz described as “the illusion of a mature tree.” This is accomplished by pruning the roots and twigs of a normal-sized tree or shrub (not a special dwarf or miniaturized variety) to limit its size (typically no more than four feet in height) and sculpt its shape and form. Any branching, small-leafed woody plants (jade plants, azaleas, Japanese maples, beeches and short-needled pines to name a few) can be used to create bonsai trees. Aside from their diminutive size, what sets bonsais apart from other sculpted plants is that they are grown outside but in containers (a similar tree grown in the ground is called a “niwaki”). Those containers, which are filled with a specialized growing media (usually an inorganic substrate such as perlite, lava rocks or even kitty litter), are essential to the art and story of each plant and are chosen to complement the plant’s aesthetics. In addition, stones, mosses, driftwood and other ornamental elements are often added to the display to further the chosen motif. Though the process may sound daunting, growing bonsai is not so much difficult — according to Unkenholz all you need is a seedling, a vision and plenty of patience — as it is a long-term commitment. Each plant requires years of careful pruning, shaping and attention to their water, light and nutrient needs before their inner bonsai shape emerges. And, because they are a form of living art, bonsai trees are never finished. But helping write and then constantly revise a bonsai’s story is well worth the effort and is a pro-

cess that Unkenholz said can be relaxing, meditative and extremely gratifying. “It makes me feel closer to nature,” he says. If the idea of creating a bonsai story appeals to you, lots of resources are available. One is the ABS’s upcoming annual spring show, planned for May 14-15 at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ auditorium. This event offers a chance to see (and buy) a stunning array of bonsai plants, containers, tools, and soil mixtures as well as mingle with bonsai growers and see live demonstrations by a bonsai master. (For more information about the show, search AlabamaBonsaiSociety on Facebook.) The ABS, which is based in Birmingham, also hosts monthly meetings and occasional workshops for its members as do Alabama’s two other bonsai organizations, The Living Art Bonsai Society in the Huntsville/Decatur area or the Azalea City Bonsai Society based in Mobile.

MAY TIPS • Divide overcrowded bulbs and perennials. • Plant summer vegetables such as okra,

sweet potatoes, corn, melons and tomatoes. • Fertilizer and water shrubs and lawns as needed. • Plant warm-season annual flowers. • Keep outdoor equipment in top running order. • Keep an eye out for pests and diseases on fruits, vegetables and ornamentals. • Celebrate Love a Tree Day (May 16) or Composting Day (May 29). • Enjoy the yard and garden before temperatures heat up.

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| Alabama People |

Kimberly Johnson

Inspiring and motivating Alabama’s children Kimberly Johnson, a lifelong educator and study skills teacher at Auburn Junior High School, is finishing her term as Alabama’s 2021-2022 Teacher of the Year, for which she served as a full-time ambassador for education. This school year, she made presentations to principals, gave keynote addresses, judged contests and met oneon-one with individual teachers, all in the name of improving educational opportunities for students and teachers alike. After high school, the Anniston native earned a degree in communications, but realized she wasn’t cut out for journalism. She started substitute teaching after college and found her calling. “I loved reading, writing, and especially working with young people,” she says. She and her husband Jeffrey have made their home in Auburn for the last 18 years. They are proud of their three children – Jouri, 24, Jaden, 20, and Jayme, 14 – but she’s also proud of her “school family,” to which she will return when she completes her term as Teacher of the Year this month. – Allison Law Let’s start with where you grew up, and about your family? I grew up in Anniston, Ala. I am a church girl. I grew up attending Greater Thankful Missionary Baptist Church – the definition of a neighborhood/family church. My entire family attended the same church – all four grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins. My parents, Nelson Christian, Sr. and Sophia Christian, were middle school sweethearts and will celebrate their 52nd wedding anniversary this year. I have a younger brother, Nelson Christian, Jr. My mom was in the first integrated graduating class at Walter Wellborn High School. What is your educational background? I was a quiet student who read a lot and was always a people pleaser, so my teachers liked me and school was fun for me. In junior high, I was encouraged by Mrs. Mary Waldrep (one of the kindest, sweetest teachers to walk the earth) to try out for the cheer team. There was no black representation in my grade. I had absolutely no experience, but she would stay late to practice with me. I made the team in 7th grade and was the only black cheerleader on my team 7th through 12th grades. That experience was one that made my family and community proud, but it also instilled in me lots of foundations that I stand on today. • We have to truly see our students to understand and nurture their potential and possibilities. • Representation matters. • Kindness, care, and time are what students remember from their teachers. • I can do anything! I may have to work longer and harder than the next person, but if I am willing and have the desire to accomplish a feat, I can do it.

I loved writing and excelled in English classes. I wrote for my high school newspaper and was encouraged by Mrs. Ruth Mitchell, my 7th and 12th grade English teacher, to explore journalism. Did you always want to be an educator? I attended the University of Alabama and graduated with a degree in Communications/Public Relations in December 1994. I wasn’t passionate about working as a newspaper journalist, and I ended up substitute teaching right after graduation. Teaching was my calling! I loved reading, writing, and especially working with young people. I applied for graduate school within months of subbing. I moved to Huntsville in 1996 to complete a fifth-year master’s program in English Language Arts education at Alabama A&M University. You’re a study skills teacher at Auburn Junior High. Tell me about that subject, and is that a subject you wanted to teach? I taught English Language Arts to eighth-graders for 18 years. I thought I would retire an eighth-grade English teacher. I love connecting with students and helping them to make sense of the world around them through reading and writing. In study skills we focus on goal setting, time management, and motivation. There’s lots of time for group discussions about any topic – school or life related. I spend a great deal of time building a classroom community or safe-space. We also work on building and strengthening reading and math skills through practice and online work. Finally, I provide one-on-one tutoring and help to my students so they can keep up with assignments for their core classes. Tell us about this past year. I had the opportunity to spend this school year sharing my unique experience as an educator with others while at the same time serving as the representative for all public educators across our state as the 2021-2022 Alabama Teacher of the Year. As the state teacher of the year, I am the applicant for National Teacher of the Year. They have announced the four finalists and unfortunately, I am not one. With that said, I am a part of the 2022 National Teacher of the Year Cohort sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) where all of the nation’s state teachers of the year meet and collaborate and travel together. I have truly tried to take in the experience and enjoy every moment. It is an honor of a lifetime, and I truly appreciate every hard-working moment of it. What has been the most gratifying part of your Teacher of the Year experience? Hopefully my words of love, encouragement, and infinite possibilities turning into action.

22 MAY 2022 Do you know someone who’s worthy of an “Alabama People” interview? Tell us at

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Alabama Living

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You and your family may be eligible for increased benefits


e know your circumstances may change after you apply — or become eligible — for benefits. If you, or a family member, receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), certain life changes could increase your benefit amount. As part of our Potential Entitlement initiative, we want to help you identify where you might qualify for a higher benefit. For example, you may be entitled to higher benefits based on your own earnings record or someone else’s record. Some of the life changes that could possibly increase your benefits include the following scenarios: • If your spouse or ex-spouse dies, you may be eligible for a higher survivor benefit based on their earnings record. The death of an ex-spouse may entitle you to a higher survivor benefit even if you are already receiving a survivor benefit on another spouse’s record. We encourage you to read our publication, Survivors Benefits, for additional information at • If you are receiving Social Security benefits based on your spouse’s work and you worked and earned credits, you may be Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at


Down 1 Beautiful 2 ____ puffs 3 School support group, abbr. 4 Unexpected 5 Place for an outdoor BBQ 6 Soft sofa accessories 7 Hanging decorations 12 Wood floor material 13 Short sleep 16 Key time period for accountants, for short 18 Brandy flavor 20 Neat 21 A picture in a photo album is one

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We continue to focus our Potential Entitlement initiative on people who face barriers. These populations include older people, children with disabilities, veterans, SSI recipients, and people with limited English proficiency. We are proud to say that since we started the initiative in 2017, our efforts have resulted in approximately $553 million in retroactive and total monthly increased benefits paid. Check out our Explore the Benefits You May Be Due page at for more information on any additional benefits available for you and your family. You can use your personal my Social Security account to check your benefit and payment information – along with your earnings record. If you don’t have a personal my Social Security account, you can create one today at! Please share this information with your friends and family — and post it on social media.


Across 1 Getaways 6 Persian or Siamese 8 “Born in the ___” (Springsteen song) 9 Green jewel 10 Flowers for mom 11 Recliner part 12 Wilson of “Wedding Crashers” 14 Fresh wood scent 15 Con’s vote 17 Word of appreciation 19 Art pieces 22 Yes in Spanish 23 Essence 25 Southwest, abbr. 26 Cadillac __ Ville 28 Fitness destination 29 Ghirardelli or Godiva 30 Back in time 32 A Starbucks card would buy you this 33 Approval word 34 Blue color

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eligible for a higher retirement benefit based on your own work. You can view our Retirement page at • If your deceased adult child provided at least half of your support, you may be eligible for a higher parent’s benefit based on your child’s work history. Our publication, Parent’s Benefits, includes information you may want to consider at pubs/EN-05-10036.pdf.

23 Flower part 24 Card game 25 Beauty bars

by Myles Mellor 27 Pour out from 28 Precious stones 31 Alabama neighbor, abbr.

Answers on Page 37

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MAY | Around Alabama


The Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic takes place at Point Mallard Park in Decatur. PHOTO BY MICHAEL CORNELISON



Frisco City 12th annual Mother’s Day plant sale, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday at the gazebo in Jones Park. Around 2,000 plants will be ready for sale. Fundraiser for Revive Frisco City, dedicated to the improvement of the Monroe County town. Search ReviveFriscoCity on Facebook.


Fairhope Barnwell Community Crawfish Derby 2022, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Oak Hollow Farm, 14210 S. Greeno Road. All you can eat crawfish, live music, Kentucky Derby watch party, silent auction and more to benefit restoration of the Barnwell Community Center, a historic 1918 wooden schoolhouse.


Cullman Cullman Strawberry Festival, Depot Park. Free event with live music, craft vendors, fun and games, Doggy “Pawgeant,” baking competition, food and locally-grown strawberries.


Abbeville 14th annual Yatta Abba Day Festival, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This community festival features entertainment, vendors selling arts and crafts, food, cool treats, jewelry, kids’ toys, decorative items and more. Yatta Abba is the Creek Indian expression for “Grove of Dogwoods;” Abbe Creek derived its name from the Indian word, and hence the town’s name. Search YattaAbbaDay on Facebook.


Foley 18th annual Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival, OWA Parks and Resort. More than 55 balloons will participate at dusk and dawn, weather and wind permitting. Schedule: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, balloon glow and entertainment. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, arts and crafts vendors, children’s activities and live entertainment.

Arab Poke Salat Festival in historic downtown, 10 a.m. Local artists and crafts people as well as entertainment, food trucks and more. Visitors can watch demonstrations by artisans, participate in community art projects and visit a variety of quaint shops. Search PokeSalat on Facebook.


Decatur Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic, Point Mallard Park. Hot air balloons, a balloon glow, live music, motorcycle show, antique cars and tractors, arts and crafts, fireworks and other family fun. Free admission and parking.


Troy Thunder on Three Notch, Pioneer Museum of Alabama, 248 U.S. Highway 231 North. Two days of living history, including re-enactments of the last two battles of the Creek War of 1836 that were fought near Hobdy’s Bridge on the Pea River. Battles between militia and Native Americans at 2 p.m. each day. 334-566-3597.


Union Springs Chunnenuggee Fair, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. along Prairie Street, centered around the courthouse. Juried arts and crafts show, live entertainment from local and regional singers and bands, made-from-scratch cake sale, children’s games and rides and plenty of food.

Dothan A Night at the Park, Landmark Park. This camping adventure for families features a night walk through the park, hay rides, s’mores, Nerf war, water balloon battleship and tent camping. 4 p.m. Friday through 9 a.m. Saturday. $20 for park members, $25 for non-members. Food included. Families are responsible for their own tents, sleeping bags and camping gear.




Henagar May on the Mountain Bluegrass Festival, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Henagar City Park at the Cabin. Free; bring a lawn chair to enjoy a full day of local and professional bluegrass music and free food. 256-657-6282.



Pell City, 10th annual Logan Martin LakeFest and Boat Show, Lakeside Park. South’s largest in-water boat show; test drive boats on Logan Martin Lake. Live music entertainment, vendors and food. Search loganmartinlakefest on Facebook.

Bessemer QuiltFest 2022, presented by the Birmingham Quilters Guild. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Bessemer Civic Center. Judged quilt show, 300+ quilts, vendors, guild boutique and more. Silent auction benefits Lakeshore Foundation. or 985-788-3015.

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.

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

Follow Alabama Living on Twitter @Alabama_Living

Annual photo contest coming up!

Photo by Gary Waters, honorable mention, 2021 contest. Alabama Living

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Our readers impressed us last year with the quality of their entries in Alabama Living’s annual photo contest, which runs in the August issue. Start thinking now about the 2022 contest, because we want to see more of your awesome photos! First-place winners receive $100, and those photos plus other honorable mentions will be profiled in the magazine. Photos must be uploaded to our website, (no hard copies accepted) beginning May 1. The categories this year are People, Animals, Alabama Travels and Seasons. Complete rules will be posted on the website. In the meantime, start planning which photos you want to enter! MAY 2022 25

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| Consumer Wise |


ideas for summer energy savings By Miranda Boutelle

Q: A:

What steps can I take this summer to keep my home cool while saving on my energy bills?

A hot home and high energy bills can take away from summer fun. Here are 10 tips to prepare your home for high summer temperatures.

Service your AC unit

Air conditioning (AC) units work by moving air over fins or coils that contain refrigerant. When the coils or fins get dirty, the unit doesn’t work as well and uses more energy. Whether you have a portable unit, central AC or a ductless/ mini-split, get your system ready for summer by cleaning the filter, coils and fins. If you are tackling this yourself, always disconnect power to the unit. Central AC systems have two sets of coils: one inside and one outside. Both should be cleaned annually. If you hire a professional, they can check refrigerant levels during the process.

Seal your window AC unit

If you have a window or portable AC unit that vents through a window, seal the area between the window sashes. Water heater pipe insulation is a great way to seal this spot. It’s available at your local hardware store and is easy to cut for a snug fit.

Thermostat settings

Keeping your thermostat at the highest comfortable temperature will save you money. If you aren’t home during the day, increase your thermostat 8 to 10 degrees. There’s no need to cool an empty house.

Keep your cool

Before heading to the thermostat, turn on a fan in the room you’re in, change into lighter clothing and drink something cool. This may be enough to make you comfortable without spending more to cool your home. Finding the balance between comfort and savings is key.

Lock windows

Add curtains to your windows that you can pull shut during the hottest times of the day to block out sunlight. PHOTO COURTESY MARK GILLILAND, PIONEER UTILITY RESOURCES

typically the least-insulated surface in a room. Add weatherstripping to form a tight seal and curtains you can close during the hottest times of the day to block out the sun.

Cook al fresco

Keep your home cool or your AC from working overtime by cooking outside. My grill has an extra burner on the side that lets me do stovetop cooking outside, too.

Add insulation

Even in the summer, adding insulation can keep your home more comfortable and save energy used by your air conditioning system. As a general rule, if you can see the joists in the floor of your attic, you need more insulation.

After opening your windows at night or in the morning to let in fresh air, ensure your windows are closed and locked. This reduces gaps that allow air to flow through and cause drafts. If your locks don’t form a tight fit, add weatherstripping. Most products are easy to install.

Turn off gas fireplaces

Weatherstripping and curtains

Add shade outside

Covering and sealing windows may seem like a wintertime efficiency practice, yet these help in the summer, too. Windows are Miranda Boutelle is the director of operations and customer engagement at Efficiency Services Group in Oregon, a cooperatively owned energy efficiency company. She also writes on energy efficiency topics for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56% of the nation’s landscape.

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Reducing the amount of heat entering your home can keep it cooler, especially if you don’t have AC. If you have a gas fireplace, your pilot light lets off a small amount of heat into the room. Consider turning it off during summer months. Several years ago, we planted a hedge on the south side of our home. I was surprised by how much cooler it made the house in the summertime. Planting trees and shrubs strategically around your home can shade the roof, walls and pavement, reducing heat radiation to your home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, tree-shaded neighborhoods can be up to 6 degrees cooler in the daytime than treeless areas. Before buying a tree or shrub, check with your city or utility about free tree programs. Applying a few of these ideas to your home will help keep you comfortable and provide summer energy savings.

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Alabama Living

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| Outdoors |

Offshore ventures

Snapper season set to open for summer fun


he 2022 red snapper season will generally follow the same “People will need to keep a descending device rigged and ready rules as last year. The season opens in state and federal wawhile fishing,” Bannon says. “To return a fish to the water, attach ters on May 27. Recreational anglers will be able to keep the fish to a descending device on a line and lower it back down. snapper from 12:01 a.m. each Friday through 11:59 p.m. each It has an adjustment where a person can set the depth. Release Monday until the season closes. the fish back at the depth where it was caught. We want to make “We don’t shoot for a target ending date because of too many sure fish get back in their acclimated depth quickly to help with factors involved in when the quota can be reached,” explains Scott barotrauma.” Bannon, director of the Alabama Marine Resources Division on People must report all their red snapper, greater amberjack and Dauphin Island. “People can fish for snapper each Friday through gray triggerfish catches through the Snapper Check program. This Monday until it looks like the quota will be met. I anticipate the helps fisheries managers keep track of the quotas and health of the season will probably stay open for 30 to 40 fishing days or about resources. One person can report the entire catch for everyone 10 weekends if the fishing effort is on a vessel. Seasons, sizes and daily creel limits for various species average and the weather stays favorable. If the weather turns bad, differ so always check what’s legal we encourage people to wait until before keeping any fish. the weather improves.” “Snapper Check is extremely For the past two years, the Naimportant to us,” Bannon says. tional Oceanic and Atmospheric “Also, when the boat comes back Administration Fisheries alloto the dock, people might see an cated Alabama a quota of about MRD staff person. Those people 1.12 million pounds. Bannon says are conducting dockside surveys. the poundage this year should be Take a few minutes to answer their about the same. Last year, anglers questions. It helps us develop a fell slightly short of the quota. snapshot of what fishing looks like “In 2021, Alabama recreationin Alabama. We also encourage al anglers landed about 952,000 people to use a free app called Fish pounds, but the season was open Rules. It geolocates people and tell 124 days,” Bannon says. “Last year, them what the limits and seasons we had some challenging weather are for that location.” early in the season so not as many Skyrocketing fuel prices could people went offshore. As we prodiscourage some people from gressed into the year, fishing efforts heading offshore or limit the number of trips they make for snapper. dropped with school openings, etc. Despite the smallest coastline on We were open an extraordinary the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama esnumber of days and didn’t close the tablished extensive artificial reef season until late December.” Red snapper prefer deep water. zones in offshore, nearshore and When fish come up from the botinshore waters to attract and hold tom too fast in deep water they fish. This makes Alabama one of could suffer “barotrauma.” Some- David Sikes prepares to land a red snapper while other anglers fish the premier places in the nation for more snapper during an excursion in the Gulf of Mexico south thing similar occurs to divers re- of Orange Beach, Ala. to land red snapper and other reef PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER turning to the surface too quickly. fish. Fortunately, some artificial They can suffer “decompression sickness” or “the bends” when reefs sit close enough to shore that smaller boats can reach them trapped gases in their bodies expand as pressure decreases. without burning excessive fuel. For years, anglers would use venting tools, hollow needle-like “We have arguably the world’s largest and best managed artificial reef zone,” Bannon says. “We have about 1,100 square miles of devices to puncture the fish and let excess gases dissipate to alleviate that pressure before releasing the fish. New this year, the reef areas including multiple artificial reef zones relatively close to federal government requires that anglers use either a venting tool shore. We expanded the artificial reef zones by 110 square miles or a “descending device” when releasing deep-water fish. in 2021 by deploying 456 offshore reefs and some other inshore reefs. There’s an area south of Dauphin Island called the bridge rubble that’s very popular and relatively close to shore.” John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer who lives in For Snapper Check information and to keep up with landings, Semmes, Ala. He also hosts an outdoors tips show for WAVH FM see 106.5 radio station in Mobile, Ala. Contact him at j.felsher@ faqs. For reef information and locations, see outdooralabama. or through Facebook. com/saltwater-fishing/artificial-reefs.

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Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu

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We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th

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

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




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

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



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

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



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

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

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 2022 Moon Clock, go to Alabama Living

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| Alabama Recipes |

Beefing it up Food styling and photos: Brooke Echols


or sheer deliciousness, it’s hard to beat the aroma of a juicy steak or hamburger cooking on the grill. Steak and burgers are just a few of the many ways to enjoy beef, which is second only to broilers as a top farm commodity in Alabama. In fact, ground beef was the most popular type of this popular meat submitted in recipes for this month’s “Cook of the Month” contest. Our friends at the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association weren’t surprised to hear that, as “Ground beef accounts for more than 50 percent of all beef sales in the U.S.,” says Kayla Greer, director of communications. “It’s certainly the most popular cut!” Ground beef is also probably the most versatile cut, as you’ll see in the reader-submitted recipes ranging from chili, to meatballs, to soup and stroganoff. A beef cow has several cuts of meat to appeal to a variety of tastes and menu options, from chuck, sirloin, round, shank, flank and brisket to the numerous cuts of steak alone, from Porterhouse to filet mignon. Beef remains a top choice for protein as part of a healthy, balanced diet: a 3-ounce serving of beef provides more than 10 essential nutrients, and about half your daily value for protein, according to the website, The site also has dozens of recipes for all cuts of beef, as well as nutrition guidelines and safety tips on cooking and storing beef safely. Beef Oxtail Stew

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Cook of the Month:


eef is one of our favorite staples at The Buttered Home. There is no end to what you can do with it. It’s a versatile and delicious addition to any meal! This month, we’re sharing one of our Brooke Burks favorite ways to make it. It is simple, yet complex in flavor and its easy on the waistline, too! Pair it with a salad and you have a well-balanced meal of lean proteins and healthy veggies. And if you want to not be concerned with all that business, it sure serves up nice with cooked pasta, a toasted open-face bun or even delicious homemade mashed potatoes!

Hamburger Skillet with Mushrooms and Spinach 1 ½ 8 2 4 2 ¼ ¼ ½

pound lean ground beef cup chopped onion ounces sliced mushrooms tablespoons minced garlic eggs, beaten cups fresh baby spinach teaspoon salt teaspoon pepper cup grated parmesan cheese

Brown meat and drain. Cook onion and mushrooms until softened. Return meat to pan. Season with salt, pepper and garlic. Clear space in the middle of pan. Add eggs in that space. Cook eggs until firm, pulling in some meat mixture a little at a time. Mix well once eggs are cooked. Add spinach and fold in. Cook until wilted. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Photo by The Buttered Home

Kirk Vantrease, Cullman EC Beef Oxtail Stew 12 3 3 1 1 32 1 1 12 1 1/4 2 3 1

beef oxtail cuts carrots, chopped celery, chopped red onion, chopped cup mushrooms, chopped ounces beef stock cup water cup Cabernet Sauvignon wine ounces tomato paste stick butter cup flour cloves garlic, chopped tablespoons canola oil tablespoon dried thyme Salt and pepper, to taste

Dust the oxtail with flour and place in a large skillet with the canola oil on medium-high heat. Turn the oxtail to get a good sear on them. Remove the oxtail and place into crockpot. Add carrots, onions, mushrooms, celery and butter to the skillet and sauté until tender. Pour veggies into crockpot and add beef stock, water, wine, tomato paste, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook low and slow for 8 hours. Stir every hour.

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

Themes and Deadlines: August: Peppers | May 6 September: Finger Foods | June 3 October: Sweet Potatoes | July 1 3 ways to submit:

Alabama Living

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

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Beef Stroganoff

Porcupine Meatballs

Beef Barley Soup

16 ounces lean ground beef 8 ounce box Banza noodles 1½ cups Primal Kitchen Foods Cashew Alfredo Sauce 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard 2 stalks green onion, sliced using only the green portion Salt, pepper, and garlic salt, to taste

1-2 pounds ground chuck 1 box beef flavored Rice-A-Roni Salt

½ pound ground beef 2½ cups cold water 1 14.5-ounce can stewed tomatoes 1 cup carrots, sliced 1 cup mushrooms, sliced ½ cup quick-cooking barley 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 teaspoon oregano ½ pound Velveeta, cubed

Sauté ground beef in pan on medium heat until meat is cooked all the way through, about 5-7 minutes. While meat is cooking, boil a pot of water and cook Banza noodles. If you've never cooked with these before, they cook a lot faster than regular noodles. They only need to boil about 3-4 minutes. Stop once they get soft or they will become mushy. Strain and rinse noodles with water. Dump noodles into pan with cooked ground beef. Add in Primal Kitchen Sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon, and salt, pepper and garlic salt to taste. Mix until warm. Top with sliced green onion. Optional: Fresh parsley also goes great on top. Kelli Bettridge Baldwin EMC

Beef Vegetable Soup 2 32 2 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 1

pounds ground beef ounces tomato juice packs Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix large onion, diced large potatoes, diced carrots, diced 14.5-ounce can lima beans 14.5-ounce can Veg-All 14.5-ounce can cut green beans 14.5-ounce can corn 14.5-ounce can green peas

Cook ground beef with onion over medium heat until done, drain. Add tomato juice and soup mix, stir until combined over medium heat. Add all canned vegetables including water. Add fresh potatoes and carrots. Stir until thoroughly combined. Cook over medium-low heat 30 minutes without lid. Serve with your favorite cornbread recipe. Iris C. Holley Cullman EC

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In a large bowl, combine Rice-A-Roni and ground chuck. Mix together very well. Form into 1-inch balls. Add 3 tablespoons of corn or vegetable oil into a large skillet or Dutch oven. Place meatballs in the oil one at a time until the bottom of the pan is covered. Brown on both sides until all meatballs are browned. Add 3 cups water and packet of seasoning from Rice-A-Roni. Stir gently until mixed well, making its own gravy. Wanda Monk Cullman EC

Brown ground beef; drain. Stir in everything except cheese. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Uncover and stir in cheese until melted. Colleen Vines Joe Wheeler EMC

Bean Burgers 1 pound ground chuck 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 cup Glory Goods seasoned south ern-style great northern beans, completely drained and mashed with a fork ¼ cup Rotel diced tomatoes, completely drained 1 large egg, slightly beaten ½ cup Panko Japanese style bread crumbs 4 slices American cheese singles 4 hamburger buns Optional toppings: ranch dressing, lettuce, remaining Rotel tomatoes, onion and bread and butter pickles Spray grill with cooking spray. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. In a bowl, stir together beef, cumin, mashed beans, tomatoes, egg and Panko crumbs. Divide mixture into four portions and shape into patties. Let patties cook 5 minutes before trying to turn them over. Grill until a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees. Top each patty with one slice of cheese and remove from grill. Grill buns until toasted 1-2 minutes per side. Yield: 4 servings. Note: must use Glory Goods northern beans. Teresa Hubbard Franklin EC

Bean Burgers

Want to know more about Alabama beef cattle?

Visit the MOOseum in downtown Montgomery, 201 South Bainbridge St. More than 5,000 school children tour the MOOseum every year and learn about the state’s cattle industry. Learn more at the-mooseum.

4/13/22 11:47 AM

Alabama Living

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CWEMC Statement of Non-Discrimination

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident. Person with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202)720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877 8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, Found online at http://www. and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington D.C. 20250-9410 or Fax: (202) 690-7442 or Email: USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month Even in summer months, adding insulation to your attic can keep your home more comfortable and save energy used by your cooling system. If your attic insulation is level with or below your ceiling joists (meaning you can easily see your joists), you should add more. If you can’t see any of the ceiling joists because the insulation is well above them, you likely have enough insulation. Attic insulation should be evenly distributed with no low spots. Make sure the areas along the eaves are adequately covered. Source:

CWEMC offices will be closed Monday, May 30 for Memorial Day. Clarke-Washington EMC extends our appreciation to all those who have given their lives in service to our country.

Alabama Living

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| Our Sources Say |

Relatively easy I

refereed high school basketball games while attending the University of North Alabama (UNA) in the mid-1970s to help pay my way through school. Rogers High School, just north of Florence, didn’t have the best basketball teams, but it was always a good environment to call games. I also played baseball at UNA with two friends from Rogers High School. My experience seeing different communities where I refereed basketball (and visiting my friends) led me to know something about the community of Greenhill, Ala. That brings me to Jason Isbell, one of my favorite musicians. Despite my leaving Florence three years before Jason was born, I was first drawn to his music because I learned he was from Greenhill and attended Rogers High School. After that, I found I liked his music and the meaning and depth of his lyrics. One of his better songs, in my opinion, is “Relatively Easy,” which has a strong melody and meaningful lyrics. The refrain changes slightly after different verses in the song, but imparts the same message: You should know compared To people on a global scale Our kind have had it relatively easy And here with you there’s always Something to look forward to Our angry heart beats relatively easy Still compared to those A stone’s throw away from you Our lives have both been relatively easy Take a year and make a break There ain’t that much at stake The answers could be relatively easy By the time you read this I pray the war between Russia and Ukraine will be over and, at minimum, a troubled peace will prevail over the earth. Few of us have faced adversity as Ukrainian people have over the past six weeks. Can you imagine one day working, shopping, watching movies, eating in restaurants, taking children to school, and otherwise living your day-to-day life

and the next day your home destroyed by missiles, loved ones killed, your children’s schools destroyed and your life wrecked? Of course you can’t. Nor can any of us. In Jason Isbell’s words, compared to Ukrainian suffering, our lives are relatively easy. Even as we are shocked and enraged watching what the Russians have done to innocent Ukrainians, our angry hearts beat relatively easy. However, I am reminded of our people who are a stone’s throw away and closer to home. Some across the United States, and in our communities, have not had the same advantages as others. Poverty is still oppressive in some parts of Alabama and Florida. We need to work together to help improve education in our states, build a greater rural health care system, and create better employment opportunities for our people. We face serious challenges in regards to relieving poverty issues. They must be addressed for all of us to move forward together. So Jason Isbell’s lyrics are right - compared to those a stone’s throw away, our lives have been relatively easy. It is our responsibility to improve the standard of living for those close to home. We are all very fortunate to live in a free country that is strong enough to allow us not to be concerned about our homes and communities. We are fortunate our country has an effective military protecting us against threats of invasion from foreign enemies. We are blessed to know the benefits of freedom and to know this is the best place in the world to live. At least for today, our lives, families, homes, and jobs are not in jeopardy. But that doesn’t mean it will always be that way. The Russian and Ukrainian war should put many things in perspective. Our lives have been relatively easy. We should work to ensure our country remains strong and provides us protection in our lives so we can help others. As good as Jason Isbell’s lyrics are, I disagree with these lines: Take a year and make a break/ There ain’t that much at stake. There is too much at stake to take a year off. We must work to find answers. But, answers to a peace between the Russians and the Ukrainians, how we cure poverty in our own communities, and how we solve other problems in the world will not be relatively easy. I hope you have a good month.

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative.

36 MAY 2022

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| Classifieds | Vacation Rentals

How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace

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| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

Illustration by Dennis Auth



hink about it. How many friends from then and now do you know, or have you known, by their nicknames? Some of those nicknames could be logically explained and were proudly carried. My grandfather was Harvey Hardaway Jackson Sr. He stood 6-feet, 6-inches tall, and in his prime weighed close to 300 pounds. Or so I was told. I never knew him, but pictures confirm that he deserved the nickname “Big Harvey.” According to family lore, some Catholics in Montgomery heard of this giant playing football at Holtville High. They wrote none other than Knute Rockne at Notre Dame, who replied that he wanted such a man to play for the “Fighting Irish.” The Montgomery Catholics took the scholarship offer to my grandfather, who got out a map, and found South Bend, Indiana. It was a long way from Slapout, Alabama, so he took a job as a rural letter carrier and married my grandmother. With that decision, the family’s future was sealed. Harvey Sr., begat Harvey Jr. who begat me, Harvey Hardaway Jackson III. Then they had to decide what to call me. For various reasons, “Three,” “Trip,” and “Tray” were rejected, for which I am forever grateful. Then someone said, “Why not Hardy?” and with no other acceptable alternative, that is who I became. Growing up, I discovered that many of my friends went by nicknames. William was Billy, John was Johnny, and Howard became Bubba.

Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is retired Professor Emeritus at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at

38 MAY 2022

AL STATE MAY22.indd 38

Even the girls were nicknamed. Elizabeth became Liz or Betty. Patricia was Patty. The list is long, but my favorite was Mary Charles, who everyone called “Charlie.” There were nicknames that harkened back to incidents the nicknamed would just as soon forget. I had one of those. It was given to me by my coach, Hannis G. Prim. Like most coaches in small schools, Coach Prim coached the three sports we played, taught boy’s PE and an occasional social studies class. He was also responsible for the upkeep of the dressing rooms, the gym and the playing fields. Now some of us believed that he used those classes to identify and recruit students for his teams. We also believed that he used those classes as unpaid labor for whatever needed doing, be it sodding the football field, laying out the baseball diamond, or waxing the gym floor. Then one day, when he was calling us out for a particularly unpleasant task, I protested: “I can’t, coach. I’m too delicate.” You can see it coming, can’t you? The next day, as he was dividing up the duties, Coach Prim called out those words that would follow me for the rest of my high school athletic career. “Delicate,” he barked as he looked at me. “Get over there and . . .” I cannot recall what I was ordered to do, only that I did it. And from that day forward, as the seasons changed from football to basketball to baseball, I was always “Delicate.” Fortunately, few folks in the community knew of the nickname and those who did never burdened me with it. As for my coach, after I graduated, we became good friends. Whenever I was home from college, I would drop by to visit him. When I did, it was always “Good to see you, ‘Delicate’.” Then we would sit and talk. Next to my father, Coach Hannis Prim was the greatest influence in my growing-up life. And I am not too delicate to admit it.

4/13/22 11:47 AM

AL STATE MAY22.indd 39

4/13/22 11:47 AM

AL STATE MAY22.indd 40

4/13/22 11:47 AM

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