Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News November 2017
Joe Wheeler Electric MEMBERSHIP CORP.
Look inside for your NEW JWEMC Co-op ConnectionsÂŽ Card! Check out the special insert for your card and 180 ways to start saving money today!
Manager George Kitchens Director of Communications Michael Cornelison 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.
How sweet it is
This month’s featured recipes all star the sweet potato, from casseroles to pies to even a Mediterranean-inspired dish. As you’ll see, there are many different ways to prepare and enjoy autumn’s heaping harvest of sweet potatoes.
VOL. 70 NO. 11 n NOVEMBER 2017
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Nearly every family has one, and our readers are sharing photos of some of their own heirloom quilts this month.
Civil War Museum
Alabama is home to what is believed to be the largest privately owned collection of Civil War artifacts in the country.
A new coloring book takes you on a journey through our 67 counties, from Autauga to Winston.
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In this issue: Page 11 Page 28
11 Spotlight 24 Gardens 29 Around Alabama 40 Outdoors 41 Fish & Game Forecast 34 Cook of the Month 46 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop ON THE COVER: Reenactors make history come alive for visitors to Fort Morgan on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Read about more of our state’s military history museums on Page 12.
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A view from the top
Odds and ends George Kitchens General Manager/CEO
Board of Trustees Charles Segars
Vice President District 7
Ricky Knouff District 1 Andrew McCay District 2 Joseph Dutton District 3 Jimmie Halbrooks District 4 Ray Long District 8 Shirley Livingston District 9 Milton Taylor District At-Large
Headquarters: P.O. Box 460 Trinity, AL 35673
256-552-2300 District Offices: Moulton:
641 Big Nance St. Moulton, AL 35650
700 Sparkman St. Hartselle, AL 35640
Sometimes you just have to cover several things in one story, and this is one of those months. First, with winter approaching, I want to remind all of you of the importance of getting a flu shot. It’s true that the vaccine may not cover every possible strain of the flu, but it will protect you from the ones most likely to impact our region. Health care professionals always tell me that taking the vaccine will not give you the flu because it is not a live virus. Yes, you may get a little achy, but you should do what you can to protect yourself and other family members. That includes washing your hands and covering your mouth when you sneeze and cough. Stay healthy! This month we celebrate our nation’s veterans on Friday, Nov. 10, the observance of Veterans Day. We all owe a debt of gratitude to our citizens, past and present who have served in the military. As the well-worn phrase states: “Freedom isn’t free.” The selfless sacrifice of many makes us a country, even with all of our faults, that is the best place in this world to live. Every one of my uncles served in the armed forces during World War II. My father served during the Korean War. Several of my cousins served in the Army, Navy and Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. My oldest son served in the
Army and was part of the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003. I have a close connection to veterans through my family. I’m sure that you do as well. To all of you who are veterans – Thank You Very Much for Your Service to Our Country! I appreciate you and what your service has done for our nation and me. As you might imagine, I read many different publications as a part of trying to stay abreast of things going on around the country related the electric industry. According to recent U.S. Commerce Department reports, 1.3 percent of consumer expenditure in August went to pay for electricity. In August of 1995, electricity represented 1.94 percent of all expenditures. This information came from the Public Utilities Fortnightly, a publication focused on utilities since 1928. And lastly, towards the end of this month, we will celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. The holiday has turned into something that our nation’s founders probably never thought about. They could never have dreamed about parades in New York City much less the whole concept of our football games. They would, however, recognize families gathered around a table expressing their gratitude for the blessing we have received from our Creator. I hope that God’s blessing will be on each of your
The JWEMC family wishes you and yours a happy Thanksgiving. Our offices will be closed Thursday and Friday, Nov. 23-24 in celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday. Should you need to report an outage please call 256-552-2300, text or email. The payment kiosk in all three locations will be available to take payments.
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Alabama Rural Electric Youth Tour Applications are now available for the 2018 Alabama Rural Electric Youth Tours, sponsored by Joe Wheeler EMC and the Alabama Rural Electric Association. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel, visit historic sites and interact with youth from across Alabama and other states. The Montgomery Youth Tour (MYT) will take youth from the JWEMC service area to visit our state's capital, where they will have the opportunity to see the rich history of Alabama, learn valuable leadership skills and meet with local legislators. The MYT will take place March 6 - 8, 2018. For the Washington D.C. Youth Tour, five participants of the Montgomery tour will be selected to join more than 50 youth from Alabama in our nation's capital. Once there the group will be part of a week long youth leadership conference and visit historic sites across the Washington D.C. area. The dates for this tour are June 8 - 14, 2018. The best part is, if you're selected, all expenses are covered. So sharpen up your pencils, dust off your keyboard and submit your application.
Visit jwemc.coop/content/youth-tour for more information and an application. Applications can also be picked up at one of the three JWEMC offices. Alabama Living
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Joe Wheeler EMC raises almost $13,000 to help
Putt Out Cancer
Thank You To All Of Our Sponsors!
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Joe Wheeler EMC would like to thank all of the sponsors and participants who helped make our annual golf tournament such a success. Because of their generosity, JWEMC was able to donate $12,934.85 to the American Cancer Society. One hundred golfers came together in August at the Deer Run golf course in Moulton to help "Putt out Cancer."
Neighbors helping neighbors, it's the cooperative way On September 11 Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida, leaving up to 15 million residents without power. In the true cooperative spirit, once the all clear was given for Lawrence and Morgan counties, JWEMC sent nine linemen to help get everyone back on. On September 12, linemen Kenneth Hanvy, Greg Boyles, Jeremy Henderson, Tim Gregg, Donald Orr, Sonny Blankenship, Stacey Wilson, Rex Asherbranner, and Jeremiah Engle were sent to aid Clay Electric Cooperative (CEC) in Northeast
Florida where more than 90 percent of its 170,000 members were left without power. They spent seven days helping to rebuild before returning safely home. Joe Wheeler EMC is proud of those who work so hard to keep the lights on. As part of the electric cooperative community, we are honored to send help to other electric co-ops whenever we can. According to the Alabama Rural Electric Association in Montgomery, Alabama cooperatives sent 215 men to Georgia and Florida to help in the recovery effort.
Social Appreciation Members of CEC took to social media to show their appreciation for the hard work our guys put in getting the power back on. Below are some of the messages they posted to the JWEMC facebook page. To read them all visit our Facebook page @JoeWheelerEMC.
Rex Asherbranner, Jeremy Henderson, Kenneth Hanvy, Tim Gregg, Jeremiah Engle, Stacy Wilson, Greg Boyles, Sonny Blankenship, and Donald Orr.
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Wayne Lindley retires after 33 years After more than three decades of service to Joe Wheeler EMC members, Wayne Lindley has moved on to a new phase of life, retirement. Wayne started working for JWEMC in August of 1984. He said he doesn't have any immediate plans, other than to rest. He has assured us he will find plenty to keep himself busy and will enjoy the extra time to spend with his family. Everyone here at Joe Wheeler EMC will miss having "PawPaw" around the office and we wish him the very best as he makes the most of his retirement.
Wayne, seated at center, was joined by family and friends to celebrate 33 years of service.
Your new one-stop location for everything Joe Wheeler EMC. MAKE PAYMENTS VEIW A REAL-TIME OUTAGE MAP
8 NOVEMBER 2017
READ BACK ISSUES OF ALABAMA LIVING FIND CO-OP NEWS AND INFORMATION
| Alabama Snapshots |
Billie Bailey’s “country decor” fan-design quilt from the 1980s. SUBMITTED BY Jackie Labriola, Wetumpka.
18-month-old David, dsitting on his great-gran MIT SUB lt. mother’s qui TED BY Kathy Crowder, Dothan.
Handmade by my great-grandmother,”Sally” Brundige. She called this pattern a double wedding ring. SUBMITTED BY Dianne Deshler, Oxford.
Icy Freeman with granddaugh ter Jennifer Brock and great-grandson Will Brock holding three of her quilts. SUB MITTED BY Andrew Brock, Boaz.
iversary, my For our 25th wedding ann me with this husband Oran surprised m all of our quilt made of photos fro SUBMITTED BY rld. wo travels around the z Boa , ms Ada a Alin
Sean Allen holding a quilt made by his mother, Maureen Strickling. SUBMITTED BY Kelly Mead, Wetumpka.
Submit Your Images! January Theme: “Alabama Sunrises” Deadline for January: November 30 SUBMIT PHOTOS ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop/submit-photo/ or send color photos with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at www.alabamaliving.coop and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos.
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| Power Pack | SOCIAL SECURITY
Understanding the government pension offset
etting ready for retirement requires evaluation of all your sources of retirement income. Even if you worked for the government and didn’t pay the FICA tax on your earnings, you may be eligible for benefits from your spouse’s work under Social Security. However, when you receive both your own non-covered government pension and a Social Security spousal benefit, your Social Security benefit may be reduced. The Government Pension Offset (GPO) reduces your Social Security benefit by twothirds of your government pension. Why are benefits reduced? Current law requires any beneficiary’s spouse, widow, or widower benefit to be reduced by the dollar amount of their own retirement benefit. For example, if a woman worked and earned her own $900 monthly Social Security benefit, but was due a $500 wife’s ben-
efit on her husband’s record, we couldn’t pay the wife’s $500 benefit because her own retirement benefit is the larger amount. Before enactment of the GPO, if the same woman was a government employee who didn’t pay into Social Security but earned a $900 government pension, there was no reduction. We would have paid her the full amount of wife’s benefit and she also received her full government pension. GPO ensures that we calculate the benefits of government employees who don’t pay Social Security taxes the same way as workers in the private sector who pay Social Security taxes. Applying the GPO in this example means since two-thirds of the government pension (2/3 of $900 = $600) is more than the wife’s benefit ($500), there is no wife’s benefit payable. If you take your government pension annuity in a lump sum, Social Security
will treat the annuity as if you chose to get monthly benefit payments from your government work. Payments from a defined benefit plan or defined contribution plan (e.g., 401(k), 403(b), or 457) based on earnings from non-covered government employment are considered pensions subject to GPO, if the plan is the employee’s primary retirement plan. To read more about GPO, review our factsheet, Government Pension Offset www.socialsecurity. gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf or visit www. ssa.gov/planners/retire/gpo.html.
Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at email@example.com.
Can rural Alabama benefit from community paramedicine?
ommunity paramedicine is an emerging healthcare profession where paramedics and emergency medical technicians also provide routine healthcare services. This concept has been used for several years in rural areas with a shortage of primary care services. Minnesota is a leader in this concept, signing a Community Paramedic Bill into law in 2011. Alabama does not have a rural community paramedic program, but does have three such programs in Birmingham, Mobile and Tuscaloosa. Initially, rural community paramedic programs expanded the services provided by rural emergency medical services (EMS) personnel to include outreach, wellness, health screening assessments, dispensing immunizations, disease management, mental health assistance, wound care, safety programs, properly taking medications, and assisting physicians in rural clinics and hospitals. This has provided needed primary care service in many rural areas. It also has the potential to better utilize the abilities of EMS personnel when they are not answering emergency calls and could provide additional revenue to help fund rural
Dale Quinney is executive director of the Alabama Rural Health Association, 1414 Elba Highway, Troy, 36081.
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EMS and decrease future health care costs. Community paramedicine also could decrease the excessive number of non-emergency ambulance transports to emergency rooms. The Alabama Legislature funded $500,000 through the Alabama Medicaid Agency for a pilot project involving the City of Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama’s College of Community Health Sciences for such a program. Through this pilot project, nurse practitioners or physician assistants ride with other first-responders on what appear to be non-emergency calls and offer treatment at the patient’s home. Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Service has provided highly innovative community paramedic service since 2014. The Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare) increased hospital responsibility in preventing the readmission of Medicare patients by adding provisions to the Social Security Act that restricted payments to hospitals for Medicare patients who had to be readmitted within 30 days following discharge. Hospitals have not traditionally served as caretakers outside the hospital, but are now placed in this role for Medicare patients. Several medical centers are using community paramedics for case managers for discharged, high-risk Medicare patients to assure that patient instructions are followed and decrease the likelihood of readmission. The City of Mobile Fire-Rescue Department is operating a community paramedic program to prevent such readmissions and
keep hospital beds available. This service involves assessment, taking vital signs, taking medications properly, following other physician or hospital instructions properly, etc. This service is being provided without reimbursement. The only other community paramedic program in Alabama is operated by Birmingham Fire and Rescue. This program is patterned after the rural community paramedic concept in rural Minnesota and seeks to prevent unnecessary emergency room visits and free hospital beds by preventing readmissions. None of the three community paramedic services serve rural areas. There are rural areas in Alabama that may benefit from having a community paramedic program. Several issues must be addressed before this can be done. There must be reimbursement by private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and other payer sources for services provided. Community paramedicine should not duplicate services better provided by others, such as home health. Additional training may be required for EMS personnel to expand health care activity. Providing routine healthcare services differs from providing emergency services and may require EMS personnel. Visit the Rural Health Information Hub at www.ruralhealthinfo.org and enter “community paramedics” in the search box. You can also contact the directors of the three programs in Alabama. www.alabamaliving.coop
November | Spotlight Who was your favorite teacher (and why)? They’re more than just instructors and paper-graders. Most of us can recall at least one special school teacher who not only made learning fun, but opened our eyes to new worlds in science and math, piqued our interest in literature and music, and inspired us to reach farther and do better, in school as well as life. Tell us about your most memorable teacher, in 250 words or less, and we may use your story for an upcoming issue. And if you have a photo of this teacher, we’d love to see that, too. Send an email to Allison Griffin at agriffin@areapower. com, or send it via mail to her attention at Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124. Deadline is Dec. 1.
This month in
Guess where this is and you might win $25! 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 Nov. 9 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the December issue. Contribute your own photo for an upcoming issue! Send a photo of an interesting or unusual landmark in Alabama, which must be accessible to the public. A reader whose photo is used will also win $25.
November 22, 1989 Nuclear physicist Kathryn Thornton became the first woman to fly on a military space mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery. Thornton, who was born in Montgomery and graduated from Auburn University, flew four missions and logged more than 975 hours in space, including 21 hours of extravehicular activity. While in space, she deployed satellites, conducted research, helped repair the Hubble Space Telescope, and tested systems for the construction of the International Space Station. Thornton received NASA’s Distinguished Service Medal in 1996 was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2010. She is one of six astronauts born in Alabama. http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-3743 ®
Submit by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124.
OCTOBER’S ANSWER Alabama dairy magnate and real estate developer George Barber commissioned artist Mark Cline to create several dinosaurs, and Cline supervised their installation at the Barber Marina on Fish Trap Road near Elberta in Baldwin County. Four dinos – a brontosaurus, T-Rex, stegosaurus and triceratops – grace the marina property. The dinos hang out in the trees, just off a small dirt access road. The random drawing winner for October is Michael Doyle of Marshall-DeKalb EC. NOVEMBER 2017 11
Sites and museums bring Alabama’s military history to life The National Veterans Shrine is located at American Village. PHOTO COURTESY AMERICAN VILLAGE
By Marilyn Jones
hroughout Alabama, museums and historic sites are dedicated to honoring military veterans as well as the state’s military history. Visiting parks, museums and attending re-enactments offer a look back in state and American history. From the Revolutionary War, Creek War and Civil War through World War I, World War II and more recent conflicts, military men and women are honored for their role in creating this nation and keeping it free. As we salute our veterans on Nov. 11, Veterans Day, Alabama Living is highlighting several veteran and military sites in our state. Dedicated historians, volunteers, collectors and public officials worked hand in hand to make sure this important history is not lost to the ages and that veterans are properly remembered for their sacrifices. Alabama Veterans Museum & Archives, Athens: A large exhibit area includes artifacts from the Revolutionary War to present day including uniforms, weapons, medals and photos. Guided tours are provided by local veterans. (256) 771-7578; alabamaveteransmuseum.weebly.com. 12 NOVEMBER 2017
Cost of Freedom Veterans Museum, Arab: Located in the former Arabian movie theater, displays are from American wars including the American Revolution and Civil War. Most of the exhibit is from Museum Director Gene Bishop’s private collection. (256) 797-1962. www.alabamaliving.coop
Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, Tuskegee: Moton airfield and two airplane hangar museums recount the history of African-American men and women who served as pilots, mechanics, technicians, radio operators, supply personnel, parachute riggers and more during WWII. The site includes several videos and a film chronicling their success. (334) 724-0922; nps. gov/tuai/index.htm. Veterans Memorial Museum, Huntsville: The Veterans Memorial Museum displays more than 30 historic military vehicles from World War I to the present, as well as photographs, artifacts, and other memorabilia dating back to the Revolutionary War and including the Mexican War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam, and present day. (256) 883-3737; memorialmuseum.org. U.S. Army Aviation Museum, Fort Rucker: Army aviation can be traced back to the Civil War, when both Union and Confederate forces used hydrogen-filled balloons to direct artillery fire. In 1909, the Army acquisitioned its first airplane from the Wright Brothers. The museum traces this early history up to present day with an impressive collection of military memorabilia. (334) 5982508; armyaviationmuseum.org. Battleship Memorial Park, Mobile: Tour the USS Alabama Battleship (celebrating 75 years of service), USS Drum and Aircraft Pavilion, see tanks and artillery, and military memorials. A new World War I exhibit is now open as well. (800) GANGWAY; ussalabama.com National Veterans Shrine, Montevallo: Part of American Village, the shrine is patterned after Philadelphia’s Carpenters Hall and honors veterans’ service and their sacrifice for America. Interactive media, artifacts and exhibits tell the story of these men and women and what they did for this country and what we owe them. The Veterans Register of Honor is also located here. (877) 811-1776; americanvillage.org.
Wayside Exhibits, strategically placed throughout the site, offer information about Moton Field, including the original air tower at Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site. Two World War II era training aircraft and a full-sized replica Red-tail P-51 Mustang are on display in Hangars No. 1 and 2 at the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site. PHOTOS BY MARILYN JONES
Blue and Gray Museum of North Alabama, Decatur: Believed to be the largest privately owned collection of Civil War artifacts in the U.S., the museum features swords, revolvers, muskets, uniforms, photographs and much more. (256) 350-4011; alabamacivilwarmuseum.com. (See story on Page 16.) Crooked Creek Civil War Museum, Vinemont: Crooked Creek Civil War Museum & Park is located on a battle site where Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and Union Col. Abel Streight fought in April 1863. Fred Wise and volunteers preserved the site and its history. 256-739-2741 Confederate Memorial Park, Mountain Creek: The site of Alabama’s only Confederate Soldiers’ Home, the 102-acre park includes a museum, historic structures, ruins and two cemeteries, which are the burial site of more than 300 Confederate soldiers. 205-755-1990; http://ahc.alabama.gov/properties/confederate/ confederate.aspx. Re-enactors fire cannon at Fort Gaines. PHOTO COURTESY GULF SHORES & ORANGE BEACH TOURISM
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Fort Morgan stands guard where Mobile Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico. PHOTO COURTESY GULF SHORES & ORANGE BEACH TOURISM
Fort Gaines, Dauphin Island: Standing at the eastern tip of Dauphin Island, soldiers had a panoramic view of Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The fort has original cannons, a blacksmith shop, kitchens, a museum and tunnels. (251) 861-3607; http://dauphinisland.org/fort-gaines.
Fort Toulouse – Fort Jackson Park, Wetumpka: The site features 1751 Fort Toulouse, Creek Native American houses and the partially restored 1814 American Fort Jackson built during the Creek War. The annual Frontier Days event will be Nov. 1-4. (334) 5673002; https://fttoulousejackson.org.
Fort Mitchell, Russell County: The 1813 fort was built during the Creek War of 1813-1814 under the command of Gen. John Floyd. The park features a reconstructed fort, burial grounds, a museum and a restored 19th century log home. 334-855-1406
Fort Morgan State Historic Site, Gulf Shores: The masonry fort was built between 1819 and 1833 to stand guard where Mobile Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico. Playing a significant role in the Battle of Mobile Bay in August 1864, it was also used during the Spanish American War, World War I and World War II. (251) 540-7127; fort-morgan.org.
Relics from varying wars are displayed at Veterans Memorial Museum. PHOTO COURTESY HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU
Alabama Veterans Museum is located in Athens. PHOTO COURTESY ALABAMA VETERANS MUSEUM & ARCHIVES
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Fort of Colonial Mobile, Mobile: The Fort guarded Mobile and its citizens for almost 100 years, from 1723-1820. The fort had been built by the French to defend against British or Spanish attack on the strategic location of Mobile Bay as a port to the Gulf of Mexico, on the easternmost part of the French Louisiana colony. (251) 8023092. http://colonialmobile.com Aliceville Museum, Aliceville: Although there are displays highlighting other facets of local history, the main exhibit features relics from the WWII Aliceville Prisoner of War Camp. This is the largest collection of WWII POW memorabilia in the United States. The museum also honors veterans from WWII through current conflicts by showcasing artifacts including photos and documents donated by those who served. For more information: (205) 373-2363; email email@example.com. We should never forget what our veterans — past and present — and our enlisted military personnel did and continue to do for our nation. A visit to one of these sites offers a look at their dedication in an insightful way. www.alabamaliving.coop
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Blue and Gray Museum is a must for Civil War
By Aaron Tanner
Robert Parham, curator of the Blue and Gray Museum of North Alabama, talks about some of the displays at the museum, which is believed to be the largest privately owned collection of Civil War artifacts in the U.S. Below, figurines are on display, some of which are for sale. PHOTOS BY MICHAEL CORNELISON
ocated along the Tennessee River in the northern part of Alabama, Decatur was an important river port and railroad hub during the Civil War. Relics from that turbulent time in America’s history can be found in historic downtown Decatur at the Blue and Gray Museum of North Alabama. From weapons to supplies to uniforms, the items on display at the Blue and Gray Museum are believed to be the largest privately owned collection of Civil War artifacts in the United States. Attached to the museum is a store where authentic Civil War relics can be purchased. Museum Curator Robert Parham proudly claims his museum offers more for the visitor to see and experience than typical Civil War museums found at major battlefields such as Antietam, Shiloh or Vicksburg. “There is more stuff at our museum than the other battlefield museums,” Parham says. “A lot of people comment about how much we have.” Although a majority of those who visit the museum have a 16 NOVEMBER 2017
vested interest in the conflict between North and South, even those who may not be interested at first usually leave the museum with a deeper interest in this particular era in the long history of our nation. Among the weapons in the collection are swords, revolvers and pistols, muskets and carbines. One of the guns on display is a precursor to the sniper rifle called the Whitworth. While most bullets fired from rifles during that era traveled only a distance of 400 yards, bullets from a Whitworth could travel on average a distance of 800 to 1,000 yards. Parham says the record distance for a bullet fired from a Whitworth was in Decatur and traveled 1,200 yards. “Imagine putting twelve football fields together end to end, that was the distance a bullet from a Whitworth traveled,” he says. He adds that those wanting to join the Confederate sniper team had to prove they could shoot a Whitworth before being given the responsibility of fighting on that particular
squad. There are other types of guns on display, including a Colt .36-caliber carbine, of which only 150 were made during the Civil War, and a Barnett Naval Gun, which was used by the Confederate Navy. Also on display is the gun carried by Union Gen. Joseph K. Mansfield, who was killed in the bloody Battle of Antietam in September 1862. Also here is a sword carried by Alabama Union Cavalry Lt. Col. Orzo John Dodds, who went on to have a political career after the war. Those interested in artillery shells should pay attention to several cannonballs that were discovered in and around Decatur that are displayed behind glass cases. Because there were fewer in circulation, Confederate weapons are The Whitworth riﬂe, shown in display above, is a precursor to considered more valuable today today’s military sniper riﬂes. The Whitworth bullet, at right, was than Union weapons. able to travel longer distances compared to bullets fired from There are non-weapon items other riﬂes of the Civil War era. PHOTOS BY AARON TANNER too. Actual voting tickets for both The museum’s artiJefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, and President facts originally belonged Abraham Lincoln are here. Photography buffs will especially like to Robert Sackheim, the carte de visite photos, a style of small photograph used in the who helped oversee the 1800s, of both Confederate and Union generals and politicians. aerospace program at Models and replicas of historic Marshall Space Flight ships are on display at the Center in Huntsville bemuseum. fore retiring in 2006. Sackheim developed an interest in the Civil PHOTO BY MICHAEL CORNELISON War while an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, a state with several Civil War battlefields that is steeped in the era’s history. Collected over the years, Sackheim’s collection includes items he bought and some that were unearthed on private property; it is illegal to dig for artifacts on land owned by the National Park Service. Sackheim was running out of space in his house and was eager to share his collection with the public. He spoke with Parham, who sold Civil War collectibles; the two shared a passion for history of the era. “They would talk for hours,” says Sackheim’s wife, Babette. Parham convinced Sackheim to put his collection on display in downtown Decatur. “Why have all this stuff if you can’t see it and enjoy it?” Parham says. Sackheim remodeled an old antique mall to house the museum, which opened in 2007, in hopes of educating future generations about a conflict that deeply divided a nation that was less than a century old at the time. Although Sackheim passed away in 2013, Parham maintains the museum and gives narrated tours of the different displays. His vast knowledge surpasses what a student might read in a school textbook: Be prepared to spend a few hours or even come back for multiple visits to learn about an important chapter in our nation’s history. For more information on the museum, located at 723 Bank St. in Decatur, see www.alabamacivilwarmuseum.com or e-mail Parham at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alabama Living
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A coloring book journey through the state Story and photos by Lindsay Miles Penny
riter and illustrator Laura Murray always knew she wanted to be an artist. From sketching porcupines as a child, to an extensive 15-year career working in all facets of the graphic design, marketing and print industry, Murray eventually developed her company, Alabama Pen & Paper, and most recently, created Amazing Alabama: A Coloring Book Journey Through our 67 Counties. The one-of-a-kind book features line drawings of the iconic and lesser-known sites from each Alabama county. Companion text, authored by Murray, identifies the pictured elements, giving an educational snapshot of the unique locations, landmarks and traditions across the state for adults and children alike. “Two years ago, my husband and I were at the Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery, and I was on a mission to find a state of Alabama coloring book, but there wasn’t one,” Murray says. “I went back home and threw together five or six pages of what I thought an Alabama coloring book should have, and sent it to my friend at NewSouth Books in Montgomery. Within five minutes, she emailed me back saying, ‘We love it and we want to see more!’”
Travel, photos and research
Although not an Alabama native, Murray, an Auburn resident, quickly developed a love for the state she now calls home. The creation of Amazing Alabama involved many miles of travel through the byways of the state, photography and research. “For the most part, I started researching a county by going to the Encyclopedia of Alabama,” Murray says. “We are so fortunate to have such a neat and diverse online resource. If I were stumped about what to include for a county, I’d contact historians and friends all over the state. Several counties evolved a couple
of times after I would visit them in person or decide something should be added from my research.” The release of the book coincides with two significant bicentennial celebrations: the 2017 anniversary of Alabama becoming a territory and the 2019 anniversary of Alabama becoming a state. “Not only is Alabama geologically diverse from the beaches to the Black Belt to forests, but Alabama is home to a lot of firsts,” Murray says. “A lot of neat stuff has happened here, from the Muscle Shoals Sound to Jesse Owens to the Civil Rights movement – Alabama is really a special place, and it has become so special to me.”
Laura Murray combined her experience in the print and digital worlds to create her first published coloring book.
18 NOVEMBER 2017
NOVEMBER 2017â€ƒ 19
Though it’s her first published coloring book, Murray has drafted many coloring pages through the years. “Before I began my own business, I decided to take a summer off from work to spend more time with my kids, and really decide what I wanted to do with my life,” Murray says. “I began drawing coloring sheets for my girls, and loved it so much that I started Alabama Pen & Paper, designing coloring sheets, note cards, stickers – anything you can color.” Murray credits her father, to whom the book is dedicated, for instilling a love for exploring new roads and finding the quirks and hidden gems of the state. “Growing up in Athens, Ga., my dad could turn a weekend trip to the driving range or county dump into an epic adventure,” Murray says. From drafting the concepts to selecting the book’s paper, Murray had a hand in overseeing full production.
A conversation starter
“Working on Amazing Alabama really combined my experience in the print and digital worlds,” she says. “I wanted a nice, thick paper that could be colored on without bleeds. I painted the
20 NOVEMBER 2017
front cover and helped with the book’s layout.” To create the pages, Murray began using a notepad, pen and pencil, and scanned her sketches to her computer. To achieve the clean, crisp lines she preferred, she used a graphics tablet, digitally drawing with her pen and pencil. Initial design for the book began in May 2016 and the final drawing was sent to the publisher in January. “It’s so neat to see folks flip through the book and find their home counties,” she says. “It’s definitely a conversation starter, and can even be used as a travel journal. My goal is to visit the counties I have not been to yet, and color them as I go.” Murray says a coloring book journey through Georgia is in the works. “I’ve already started Georgia,” she says. “It’s quite a bit bigger than Alabama with almost three times the amount of counties, so it will take longer to complete, but I’m working on it.” Amazing Alabama is $9.95 and available at all major book retailers and in bookstores and gift shops across Alabama. The book is also available directly from the publisher, NewSouth Books, at its Montgomery location, newsouthbooks.com/ amazingalabama, or by phone at (334) 834-3556.
NOVEMBER 2017â€ƒ 21
| Alabama People |
A lifetime of giving back One of Alabama’s most generous philanthropists is Ben Russell, the chairman of Russell Lands, Inc., the state’s largest recreational development company, and grandson of Russell Corporation founder Benjamin Russell. He and his wife, Luanne, founded the Children’s Harbor on Lake Martin in 1989, where seriously ill children and their families can come for rest and restoration in a 66-acre picturesque and safe environment. In 2001, they opened the Children’s Harbor Family Center in Birmingham that provides counseling, education and other services for chronically sick children and their families. The center is connected to the state-of-the-art Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children, to which the Russells donated $25 million. Alabama Living got to chat with Russell recently at his office in Alexander City. – Lenore Vickrey A lot of folks know you for the philanthropic work you’ve done. What motivates you to give back? I’ve thought about that. Other than that it sort of seems natural, I told Jim Ray (longtime former director of Children’s Harbor) that only a thin veil separates those fortunate of us from those who are the opposite…. Fortunate people are able to have more things than they can get around to. I enjoy children, of course, and I relate to children as everybody does. I’m just fortunate to be able to do that. What entity have you been most involved with? That would have to be Children’s Harbor. We planned for it to be a recreational center for children because the site lent itself to that. It’s (become) an activity center for numerous child care groups, and then of course came the Family Center in Birmingham. Now with the new hospital, everybody gets to walk right past our doors. Obviously there are needs that are interminable. You can’t do half of what needs to be done. But you’re doing so much! Well, it’s been a blessing. People have come around to support it. It’s a thing that will just go on. That’s what I think is really an accomplishment.
PHOTO BY DANNY WESTON
I wonder what kind of state Alabama would be without people like you. Oh, I think they’d get along fine.
22 NOVEMBER 2017
At Children’s Hospital, you and you wife have been quite generous in building a wing there named for your grandfather. How did that evolve? I’d been on the board up there and that’s the greatest organization you’d want to work with, and the most appreciated. Everywhere I’d go, people would speak to me about that. That’s how we knew our counseling service was needed, because you know when kids are sick, there are family problems, the dad loses his job, and so on. And for indigent people who are just barely getting by, it’s crucial. At any rate, our involvement through them was a natural. And your grandson was treated there. Yes, after the new hospital had been open two or three months, Benjamin (Hendrix) was diagnosed with lymphoma. He’s an only child of our only child (their daughter, Adelia). But luckily he’s completely over it and has turned into a fine young man. He holds a number of state records in powerlifting. He’s a small person, but he’s the strongest guy on the football team (at Benjamin Russell High School). He worked up here in the summer, physical type work. He’s all fired up about football. Speaking of football, I know you’re a big Alabama football fan. I went to Mercer University first, then Alabama. We go to about three games a year now. Unlike our competitors, we claim not to get “Auburniacal” about that! It’s predominantly Auburn fans around here and some people are pretty serious about that. Russell supports Auburn a lot. It’s a good relationship. But I just love to tell Auburn jokes! (To cover all the bases, under construction on the Russell Lands property is a clock tower named “Benny Chimes at Timer’s Corner.”) I understand you’re also a pilot, a painter and an author. My mother was an artist. I like to sketch trees, that’s just a hobby. The book I wrote is “The Author.” I wish I’d put a question mark at the end of the title, because the question is, who wrote that part? It’s about a novel within a book, about a plot by the Russians to hide bombs in the United States. I published it myself. I still like to write. (An employee notes in our interview that it’s not unusual to see Russell working on the property, sometimes late in the afternoon.) Someone was driving by late one Sunday afternoon and passed an old guy operating a piece of equipment on the side of the road. They said, “I thought Russell Lands was a pretty upstanding organization. Do they have indentured servants or something? This poor old guy was getting off that bulldozer, his clothes were nasty, and he looked about 80 years old. What kind of organization is that?” me! Well, that guy was me!
NOVEMBER 2017 23
| Gardens |
Harness the sun to extend the fun
Cold frames offer opportunities for year-round gardening
ne thing we have plenty of here in Alabama is sunlight, and while it may seem like too much of a good thing during the summer, it’s a valuable fall and winter resource for gardeners, especially those who know how to harness its warming rays to extend the length of their growing season. Sunlight is, of course, vital for photosynthesis, but it also helps protect plants from cold temperatures by warming the air and soil around them. Greenhouses, hoop houses (also known as high and low tunnels) and row covers are often used by larger-scale growers; however, because these structures tend to require more space, installation effort and investment in materials, they are not always suitable for home gardeners. Cold frames, on the other hand, are versatile little greenhouses that can be easy and fun to install and then used for starting seed, hardening off seedlings, extending the growing and harvest season of a variety of food crops and protecting dormant or tender plants and cuttings from cold weather. At their basic level, cold frames are simply low-lying, enclosed spaces that are either sunk into the soil or filled with a growing media and then covered with transparent roofing that allows sunlight to radiate in and warm the air and the growing media inside the enclosure. Ready-made cold frames can be purchased at many garden centers or online (prices range from less than $50 to more than $400); but they are also easy do-ityourself projects that can be built using
Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@ gmail.com.
24 NOVEMBER 2017
inexpensive (or practically free if you use recycled items) materials such as lumber, hay or straw bales, cinderblocks and old bricks for the enclosed area then top that with plastic sheeting, Plexiglass or old windows and storm doors. Like so many things in the garden, the options are as unlimited as your imagination and pocketbook. Looking for ideas and inspiration or plans for building a cold frame? Check out the plethora of ideas online or at your local garden center, library and Alabama Cooperative Extension Service office. Or ask your experienced gardening friends for advice. They might just have a cold frame in the yard to show you. As easy as they are to build, however, there are a few things to keep in mind as you install a cold frame. Here are the main considerations. Ideally, a cold frame should be located in an area protected from strong winds, preferably against or near a wall with southern or southwestern exposure. The growing media inside the cold frame should be rich in plant nutrients, debris-free and well-drained. Consider soil testing it to make sure it meets the needs of the plants you’re growing. Lumber to build the enclosure should be creosote-free; try to use woods that are naturally weather and rot resistant, such as cypress and cedar. Lumber can, however, be treated with a non-toxic wood preservative or stain. A cold frame’s transparent cover should be either hinged or removable so that it can easily be opened to regulate temperatures, improve ventilation and allow easy access for planting and harvesting. An inexpensive garden thermometer, which can cost as little as few dollars depending on how fancy you want to
get with the technology, is a worthwhile investment for a cold frame to monitor temperatures inside the enclosure. By following these basic guidelines (and your inner do-it-yourself muse), you can have one or more cold frames ready in no time this fall. And if you already have a cold frame or decide to build one, tell me about it (and send a picture) by emailing me at email@example.com. I’d love to see what you’ve created! Speaking of emails, several astute readers noticed that the fruit pictured in last month’s column as a pawpaw was actually a papaya. To learn more about pawpaws (and see photos of them) check out the North American Pawpaw Growers Association at https://ohiopawpaw.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ NorthAmericanPawpawGrowers.
Put away and carefully store unused pesticides and other garden chemicals and power equipment. Test and begin amending your soil. Apply mulch to newly planted trees and shrubs and tender perennials after the first frost. Plant beets, carrots, radishes, garlic and asparagus. Plant pansies, sweet peas, poppies, snapdragons, larkspurs and delphiniums. Plant woody shrubs, vines, trees and roses. Keep bird feeders cleaned and filled. Take advantage of end-of-season sales on gardening equipment and supplies. Begin making a list of upcoming winter gardening programs to keep you occupied during the cold months ahead. www.alabamaliving.coop
NOVEMBER 2017â€ƒ 25
| Consumer Wise |
Switch things up with stylish, efficient lighting for your home By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen
After 20 years with the same lighting in our home, it’s time for a change. I’ve done some research and there are so many types of light fixtures and bulbs it’s making my head spin! How can I select something practical, affordable and efficient?
This is an excellent question because we often take lighting for granted. We choose fixtures and bulbs without thinking through some of the more important issues, such as specific lighting needs of the room, how fixtures work together and how to save money on energy bills. Saving energy starts with choosing the correct bulb. Efficiency standards for incandescent bulbs between 40 and 100 watts, which took effect in 2012, led to the halogen bulb (also known as energy-efficient incandescent). These bulbs are at least 25 percent more efficient than the old incandescents. The other two common types of household bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs), are even more efficient. Energystar.gov estimates that you can save $75 a year by replacing the five mostused incandescent bulbs or light fixtures with ENERGYSTAR-certified LED or CFL lighting. Of the three types, LEDs tend to save more money over the long run, and LED prices have decreased in recent years. A downside of CFLs is that they contain a small amount of toxic mercury that can be released into your home if one breaks. When you’re considering which type of bulb to buy, consider both watts and lumens. Watts indicate how much energy 26 NOVEMBER 2017
(and therefore, money) is used to produce light. Lumens indicate how much light the bulb produces. A handy comparison is that an 800-lumen bulb is about equal to the amount of light from a traditional 60-watt incandescent bulb. Lumennow.org offers an excellent guide to understanding bulbs. Bulbs also give off different colors of light, known as color temperature. If a bulb burns out—or in the case of an LED, as it dims over time—it can be challenging to find a replacement that matches other lights in the room. If the variation bothers you, you may want to purchase and install bulbs of the same brand and wattage for the entire room or area at the same time. Installing dimmers instead of on/off light switches is a good way to save energy while giving you greater control of the amount of light in the room. Not all bulbs are dimmable, so be sure to check the label on the bulb. It’s worth considering whether you have the right number and the right location for light switches. We recommend hiring a licensed electrician if you decide to install new lighting and switches. Now that we’ve covered bulbs, let’s move on to fixtures. Different types of fixtures have different functions. Ambient lights such as sconces and glass-covered fixtures provide gentler overall lighting, while directional fixtures such as pendants, desk lamps and track lighting provide task lighting that focuses on areas where work is done. Not all bulbs can be used in an enclosed fixture or work outdoors. As you choose a light fixture, make sure it can provide the correct level of brightness, with an appropriate size and number
The right mix and strength of ambient and task lighting will result in the best illumination with lowest energy use. COURTESY PIXABAY.COM; CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE
of bulbs. It can be disappointing to install a ceiling light with the style you love, only to realize it doesn’t provide enough light for the room; or the opposite, that your room is flooded with too much light, which also wastes energy and money. It’s not a good idea to mix bulb types in a fixture, as the excess heat from an incandescent or a halogen light can diminish the performance of an LED. The Lighting Research Center website (http://www.lrc.rpi.edu/) provides a resource page with many sample lighting layouts for every room in the home, which you can find by entering the phrase “lighting patterns for homes” in their website’s search engine. Home décor sites like Better Homes and Gardens, Real Simple, HGTV and similar sites also give excellent lighting explanations, plans and ideas. It’s always a good idea to check with your local electric co-op as they may offer energy audits or lighting product rebates. With a little planning, you can have a well-lit energy efficient home you’ll enjoy for years to come!n 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 consumerowned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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Alabama Historical Commission and Alabama Bicentennial Commission Invite you to celebrate the
300th Anniversary of Fort Toulouse Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017
Special commemoration of the 300th anniversary will be Nov. 4th during Alabama Frontier Days Nov 1st-4th â€˘ 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson Park, Wetumpka, Ala. 2521 West Fort Toulouse Road, 2 miles West of Hwy 231 NOVEMBER 2017Jackson is a historic property of the Alabama Historical Commission. For information, www.alabamaliving.coop Fort28Toulouse-Fort call 334-567-3002.
November | Around Alabama the Holidays” 2017 Craft Show. Over 30 local crafters, door prizes, 1st and 2nd edition cookbooks. $5. Proceeds benefit local charities. Wetumpka Civic Center, 410 South Main St. Thursday 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. 334-201-1817
9-12 Photo courtesy of Bellingrath Gardens.
Fairhope, Fairhope Film Festival. Four days of entertaining and award-winning films screened throughout Fairhope. Notable foreign and feature films, documentaries and shorts. fairhopefilmfestival.org.
Stockton, Stockton Sawmill Days. Celebrate Stockton’s history and heritage as home of the first sawmill in Alabama. Teams hitch and pull logs and participate in log-rolling, pole climbing, cross-cut sawing and boom walking. Watch basket making, spinning, weaving, quilting, blacksmithing, syrup making, gristmill, and Indian camp. More than 70 exhibits featuring folk art. Live Oak Landing, 8700 Highway 225. Visit stocktonsawmilldays.org
Bellingrath’s 54th Annual Outdoor Cascading Chrysanthemums will be Nov. 4-20 in Theodore.
Month of November, Dothan, Retired Military Appreciation Month at Landmark Park. In appreciation of our military’s service to our country and our community, Landmark Park is holding several special offers for retired military this month. Retired military members who join Landmark Park in November will receive $10 off any membership level. Retired military and their families are invited to visit Nov. 11-13 for free. Nov. 18 will feature free ice cream from the Martin Drugstore for retired military and their families, and free Digitarium Planetarium Programs on Nov. 25 (show times are 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.) landmarkparkdothan.com
Wetumpka, Alabama Frontier Days at Fort Toulouse. Demonstrations and period entertainment including fife and bagpipes, stomp dance, hide tanning, flint knapping, archery, blacksmithing and firing of flintlock muskets and cannon. 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Students $7, adults $8, 5 and under free. 334-567-3002, fttoulousejackson.org
Beatrice, Cane Syrup Makin’ Day at Rikard’s Mill. Rikard’s Mill will be transformed into a pioneer village as history is brought to life by rural heritage demonstrators. Watch the old-fashioned process of syrup making. Food vendors available. $5 seniors, and 12 and under $3. Museum members free. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Gulf Shores, Gulf Shores United Methodist Church Mother’s Day Out and Preschool hosts its ninth annual fundraiser, “The Harvest – A Festival of Gifts.” Proceeds benefit the Mother’s Day Out and Preschool
program scholarship fund, and half of the proceeds will be donated to hurricane relief. Features local artists and crafters selling their original and homemade creations, silent auction and the sweet shop, featuring sweets made by local bakers. 9 a.m.-3 p.m., 1900 Gulf Shores Parkway, 478-955-8586
Theodore, Bellingrath Gardens’ 54th annual Outdoor Cascading Chrysanthemums. Hundreds of colorful displays through-
out the gardens. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. bellingrath.org
Huntsville, Twisted Fork Vegan/ Vegetarian Festival. Features lectures, vendors and exhibitors related to the vegan/ vegetarian lifestyle. Free samples, food, children’s area and entertainment. email@example.com
Wetumpka, Charis Crafters “Home for
Veterans Day events around Alabama Nov. 11 holds a special signiﬁcance for many people, especially our veterans. Join them in these celebrations honoring their patriotism, willingness to serve and the sacriﬁces they have made.
Birmingham, National Veterans Day Parade, Downtown, 1:30 p.m. nationalveteransday.org Mobile, Veterans Day Concert at the USS Alabama Aircraft Pavilion. Features the Mobile Symphonic Pops Band. Free. 7 p.m. ussalabama.com Montgomery, Veterans Day Celebration at Riverwalk Stadium, 200 Coosa St. 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Nov. 10. visitingmontgomery.com
To place an event, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. or visit www.alabamaliving.coop. You can also mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; Each submission must include a contact name and phone number. Deadline is two months prior to issue date. We regret that we cannot publish every event due to space limitations.
Orrville, West Dallas Antique Tractor, Car, Gas Engine and Craft Show. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Vintage tractors, antique and classic cars, blacksmith, arts and crafts, music and food vendors. 90 Church Street South. Orrvilletractorshow.com
Cullman, Vinemont Band Boosters Arts and Crafts Show. Seventy vendors with handmade items and gifts. Free. Entertainment by local band students. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Cullman Civic Center, 510 Fifth St. SW.
Foley, Baldwin County Boss Babes and Genesis Church present the 2017 Holiday Market. More than 50 vendors with handmade crafts, retail items and gifts. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Genesis Church, 3100 S. McKenzie St.
Troy, Alabama Cornbread Festival. Arts and crafts, pageant, horsedrawn wagon rides and cornbread tasting benefiting local non-profits. Pioneer Museum of Alabama, 248 Highway 231 N. $10, 10 and under free. Begins at 9 a.m. pioneer-museum.org
Prattville, Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration, Downtown Prattville. Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. with music and dancers. Tree lighting at 7 p.m. Visit with Santa from 7-8 p.m. 334-595-0854
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NOVEMBER 2017 29
| Worth the drive |
Karma is both instant and brewed at Cullman coffee house Karma’s Coffee Shop is located in downtown Cullman.
By Jennifer Crossley Howard Owner Katie Fine opened Karma’s in 2015 in downtown Cullman. PHOTO BY JENNIFER CROSSLEY HOWARD
PHOTO BY MARIAH WALKER
Noely Skinner is a regular visitor to Karma’s. PHOTO BY MARIAH WALKER
30 NOVEMBER 2017
PHOTO BY MARIAH WALKER
arma’s Coffee House is, as the motto goes, “where good people come for good coffee.” It is also where they come on a rainy late summer afternoon, to get a shot of caffeinated comfort to keep going after lunch. The Cullman coffee shop, open since 2015, sits in a brick building on First Avenue northeast downtown. With its exposed brick walls, humble platform stage and large picture windows overlooking lonely railroad tracks, the environment beckons customers to sit and daydream. A record player spun a new John Mayer song while a tall bookshelf holding works by Joan Didion and Gabriel Garcia Marquez waited for readers to turn off their cellphones and just be. There’s far more than coffee here. In fact, there are four kinds of chicken salad to suit every taste: Southern, Honey Pecan, Old-Fashioned and Buffalo. Old-Fashioned has crushed pineapple, grapes, almonds and celery. “Honey Pecan and Buffalo are tied,” owner Katie Fine says, as far as local preferences. The menu offers flatbread sandwiches as well as grape salad, homemade macaroni, protein bites, cookies, scones and sausage balls. House specialties include the Kurt Cobain, named after the late Nirvana singer. The coffee drink comes with chocolate and an extra shot of nut toffee. Bullet-proof coffee is still in high demand along with acai bowls, which Fine added this summer, that often sell out. “Crazy enough, my husband suggested we do sausage balls, and they have become the most popular thing,” Fine says. You can order a bottomless mug of coffee or stick with Fine’s recent choice, a fuss-free cup of strong, black brew. After indulging in specialty drinks for years, she had to go back to the basics. “I really love the sweet stuff,” she says.
Where regulars are like family
Fine studied rehabilitation and disabilities at Auburn University and interned at United Way before deciding a desk job was not for her. Her fond memories of working at coffee houses and restaurants in Cullman inspired her to open Karma’s with a financial backer. “Being around a coffee shop is not like anywhere else,” Fine says. “Your regulars kind of become family.” Her business embraces warmth over the stark modernity in so many chains. Cushioned chairs and couches fill sitting areas instead of hard metal chairs, and there’s a children’s corner with chalk tables, books and toys. She painted the walls in pleasing jewel tones and works almost every day, fixing orders along with her employees. Fine has nine employees, an accountant, a social media employee and two kitchen workers. “It’s more (work) than people think,” she says. “More often 12 hours than not.” She uses local sources for her ingredients, including sausage from Fudge Family Farms in Madison and beans from Vienna Coffee Company in Maryville, Tenn. Friends told Fine to name her shop after herself or use java in the name. She decided to go with a simple philosophy of doing good to others and then receiving like in return. “I’m just a big fan of people, and I believe people should be nice to each other,” said Fine, who was leaving on a mission trip in a few days. Karma’s Coffee House 103 1st Ave. NE Suite 140, Cullman, AL 35055 Hours: 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 6:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday; 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday karmascoffeehouse.com
Letters to the editor E-mail us at: email@example.com or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2017 • 9 AM TO 4 PM • CHILDREN 12 AND UNDER FREE
Live Oak Landing, St. Hwy. 225, Stockton, AL (approx. 0.7 miles north of I-65) • www.stocktonsawmilldays.org — www.facebook.com/StocktonSawmillDays
Sponsored by Baldwin EMC and Overseas Hardwood Company.
Step back in time to the big woods and learn how logging was done with draft animals • Listen to great music • Meet folk artists and folk life demonstrators • See professional lumberjacks perform • Enjoy food cooked over open fires • Witness log-rolling • Pole climbing, cross-cut sawing • Boom walking and other feats performed by professional lumberjacks • See a Woodmizer saw in action • Living history demonstrations • Over 70 exhibits • Ride the river with Delta Safari • Sawmill Days is a fun and educational experience for all ages • Live music performed throughout the day by Delta Reign, the Chastangs, and other musical artists. Lawn chairs welcome. The event is hosted by Stockton Heritage Association Inc. Proceeds support the Stockton Heritage Museum and other preservation activities of the Stockton Heritage Association.
Thank you so much for the comic relief you provided in your breast cancer story in Alabama Living (“Hardy Jackson’s Alabama,” October 2017). I have a mother who lived to be 96 after having survived breast cancer for 40 years. Needless to say, the breast cancer didn’t take her either! My 45-year-old daughter has just passed her 8th year of being a survivor! In our family we have always enjoyed laughter - especially during trying periods. Love and appreciate your sense of humor! Lala Funderburg Monroe, La. Just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed the story in the October issue. Aunt Roscoe brings back fond memories of my grandmother, Nora Ezell, who also was a breast cancer survivor. She, too, had a radical mastectomy in the late 1960s (she passed in September of 2007) and fashioned her version of a falsie. The similarities are astonishing because my grandmother was also a seamstress and world-renowned folk art quilter. Thanks for the memories! Beverly Smith Tuscaloosa
Thanks for conservation article This is to express appreciation for the article featuring the history of conservation law enforcement in Alabama (Outdoors, October 2017). Mr. Felsher accurately described how game wardens become part of the fabric of Alabama communities. As conservation officers, we are exceptionally proud to remain a relevant government service in safeguarding the public and their wildlife resources. Thanks for sharing our story with your readers. Kevin Dodd Executive Director Alabama Conservation Enforcement Ofﬁcer Association
NOVEMBER 2017 31
ALABAMA BOOKSHELF In this periodic feature, we highlight books either about Alabama people or events or written by Alabama authors. Summaries are not reviews or endorsements. We also occasionally highlight book-related events. Email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org Due to the volume of submissions, we are unable to feature all the books we receive.
Sixteen and Counting: The National Championships of Alabama Football, edited and with an introduction by Kenneth Gaddy, University of Alabama Press, $24.95 (sports) The book features dramatic accounts of every University of Alabama National Championship football season, recounted by noted sports writers, players and Alabamians.
Once You Know This, by Emily Blejwas, Random House/Delacorte Press, $16.99 (middle grade readers) Eleven-year-old Brittany knows there has to be a better world out there. At home, her granny is sick, her cat is missing, thereâ€™s never any money, and a little brother to worry about. Once she starts believing in herself, she realizes what has always seemed out of reach might be just around the corner. The author lives in Mobile and the novel is set in part in Montgomery.
Grandeur of the Everyday: The Paintings of Dale Kennington, University of Alabama Press, $29.95 (art) The book is a lavishly illustrated overview of the life and work of realist painter Dale Kennington, who called Dothan home for most of her life. The book features more than 85 of her most renowned works, and has an introduction by Daniel White, an interview by Kristen Miller Zohn and an essay by Rebecca Brantley.
An Irresistible History of Alabama Barbecue, by Mark R. Johnson, Arcadia Publishing and The History Press, $21.99 (food) From Muscle Shoals to Mobile, Alabamians enjoy fabulous barbecue. In the 1820s, however, a group of reformers wanted to eliminate the Southern staple because politicians used it to entice voters. The author traces the development of the stateâ€™s famous food from the earliest settlement of the state to the rise of barbecue restaurants.
Archipelagoes of My South: Episodes in the Shaping of a Region, 1830-1965, by J. Mills Thornton III, University of Alabama Press, $59.95 (Southern culture) This collection of essays by historian Thornton, a native of Montgomery, represents 45 years of reflection on the central problems of Southern history, bound together by a common concern with defining the crucial interaction of race and class in the formation of Southern politics and life.
32 NOVEMBER 2017
For Rent or Sale
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| Alabama Recipes |
How Sweet It Is
Editor | Jennifer Kornegay Food stylist and photographer | Brooke Echols
plump turkey, its skin golden brown and crisped by either hot oven air or scalding oil, is the undisputed star of the Southern Thanksgiving table. A chorus of side dishes circles it, and the queen of these backup singers is usually some iteration of the sweet potato casserole. With the inclusion of sugar and sometimes, a crowning cloud of mini marshmallows, the orange tuber’s inherent subtle sweetness is amplified to an intensity that really should land this dish on the dessert table. When given some thought, the addition of marshmallows to the sweet potato casserole is especially odd. Sure, particularly around holidays, we sometimes glaze ham with brown sugar or maybe molasses, but we don’t usually embellish vegetables or other savory foods with candy. We don’t top baked potatoes with gumdrops. We don’t stuff our turkeys with jellybeans. So where did the sweet potato casserole with marshmallows come from? It isn’t a Southern invention. Despite its prevalence in our feasts to celebrate an attitude of gratitude, it originated as a marketing ploy of a marshmallow maker in Massachusetts in the early 1900s. The company was looking for a way to boost sales of its brand new treat by disseminating recipes for the home cook that called for marshmallows as an ingredient. This type of sweet potato casserole, today a beloved Thanksgiving tradition in our region, is actually corporate propaganda cloaked in the seemingly innocent pleasure of puffed-sugar fluffs. And, after its initial introduction, it was eaters in the Northern United States who gave it the popularity that pushed it to “classic” status. So, if you enjoy this addition to your plateful of turkey-day foods, thank a clever marketing mind. If you don’t like it, blame the Yankees. (And rest assured, we’ve got many recipes sans marshmallows for you in this month’s recipes.)
34 NOVEMBER 2017
To see more recipes, check out alabamaliving.coop!
Does your family prefer marshmallow topping, crunchy pecans or are you a family divided? If you’re ready to shake things up a bit, check alabamaliving.coop for a few traditional and some not-so-traditional sweet potato casserole recipes.
Editor’s Note: Alabama Living’s recipes are submitted by our readers. They are not kitchen-tested by a professional cook or registered dietician. If you have special dietary needs, please check with your doctor or nutritionist before preparing any recipe. Alabama Living
NOVEMBER 2017 35
Sweet Potato Crunch
Sweet Potato Biscuits
1½ cups plain flour ¾ cup finely chopped pecans ¾ cup margarine, melted
1 can Grands Flaky Biscuits 1 package sweet potato patties 1 stick oleo 2½ cups water 2 cups sugar 2 tablespoons white Karo syrup Cinnamon, for sprinkling
Filling: 3 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed 1⁄3 cup sugar 3 tablespoons butter 1 teaspoon vanilla Topping: 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened 2 cups powdered sugar 8-ounce container Cool Whip Additional chopped pecans In a bowl, combine flour and pecans. Stir in margarine. Press into a greased 13x9inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. In another large bowl, add sweet potatoes, sugar, butter and vanilla; stir until smooth. Spread over crust. For topping: Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth. Fold in Cool Whip. Spread over filling. Sprinkle with pecans, if desired. Refrigerate overnight. Yield about 12-16 servings. Peggy Key North Alabama EC
Melt oleo in a 9x11-inch baking dish. Heat water to a simmer; add sugar and Karo syrup. Mix and boil for 10 minutes. Pull biscuits apart into halves. Place one sweet potato patty between two biscuit halves. Crimp edges together and place in dish of melted butter. Pour hot sugar mixture over biscuits. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes or until golden brown. Shena Blocker Covington EC
Candied Sweet Potatoes 5 or 6 medium sweet potatoes 1¾ cups Dr. Pepper 1¼ cups sugar ¾ stick butter ¾ teaspoon salt Parboil sweet potatoes for 10 minutes. (Cook’s note: I like to bake them for better flavor.) Slice sweet potatoes and place in baking dish. Combine all re-
Did you know?
Plenty of people down South use the name sweet potato and yam interchangeably. But that’s not actually accurate. The yam is a different vegetable, a starchy root native to (and mostly grown in) Africa that despite also being a tuber is not even related to the sweet potato and is rarely found in American grocery stores. Anything you see labeled “yam,” including items in the canned goods aisle, is probably a sweet potato.
Sweet potatoes are a big crop in the South. North Carolina leads the belowthe-Mason-Dixon-line states in total harvest of the vegetable, bringing in more than 1 billion pounds in 2014 and averaging almost 60 percent of the nation’s supply. California comes in second place, but then things turn south again, with Mississippi in third and Louisiana coming in fourth. Alabama ranks a very respectable fifth (although we have to share that spot with Arkansas).
36 NOVEMBER 2017
maining ingredients in a saucepan and boil for 10 minutes to create a syrup. Pour syrup mixture over sweet potatoes and bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, basting sweet potatoes several times. Juice will not be very thick. Joyce Mathis Tallapoosa River EC
Yummy Yam Bread 2 medium sweet potatoes, baked and mashed ¾ cup melted butter 1 egg ½ cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring 1 cup self-rising flour 1 8-ounce can of crushed pineapple, undrained ¾ cup chopped nuts or raisins Powdered sugar, for dusting the top Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour mixture into two greased loaf pans or one tube pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar. (Cook’s note: Adjust baking time to pan size and desired doneness.) Peggy Lunsford Pea River EC
Southern Sweet Potato Pie 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes 2 eggs, beaten 12⁄3 cup sugar ¾ cup evaporated milk ½ cup butter, melted ¼ cup light corn syrup 3 tablespoons flour ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg Pinch of salt 9-inch unbaked pie shell Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl until smooth. Pour into pie shell and bake for 55-60 minutes. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a dash of ground nutmeg. For a more dense pie, use 1½ cups mashed sweet potatoes instead of 1 cup. Charlotte Graves Sand Mountain EC
Cook of the Month: Courtney Walker, Dixie EC
Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potatoes 2 large sweet potatoes, halved ½ teaspoon each: cumin, coriander, cinnamon and smoked paprika (or regular paprika) Sea salt to taste Squirt of lemon juice, optional 2 tablespoons olive oil
Garlic Herb Sauce: ¼ cup hummus Juice from half a lemon 2 tablespoons dried dill or to taste 2 teaspoons minced garlic Water or unsweetened almond milk (enough to thin it out) Sea salt, to taste
“It was actually an accident,” said Courtney Walker of her Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potato recipe. It was a happy accident though. She makes baked sweet potatoes a lot, and one night, was eating one with another dish that had her tomato and parsley topping on it. “I got a mouthful of both, and I loved the combo, so I decided to create a dish around that bite,” she said. The result is her healthy, filling side that can actually be an entire meal. “With the hummus in the sauce, it really satisfies your appetite,” she said. And she encourages people to play with the flavors to find what they like best. “You can add or take away the amount of garlic, and the optional toppings are truly optional,” she said. “But, they are really good.”
Optional toppings: ¼ cup diced tomatoes ¼ cup chopped parsley 1 or 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice Chili sauce, to taste and add fresh garlic
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Rinse off potatoes, dry and slice each in half. Combine cumin, coriander, cinnamon and smoked paprika. Sprinkle lightly over cut side of potatoes, adding a squeeze of lemon juice if desired. Place face down on pan and rub with oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Cook for 30-40 minutes until soft. While the potatoes are roasting, prepare your sauce. Add all sauce ingredients to a bowl and blend well. Only add enough water or almond milk to thin it out, but be careful not to make it runny. Taste and add ingredients to your preference if needed. (Note: if you don’t like hummus, substitute with tahini.) Prepare the parsley-tomato topping by tossing all ingredients together. When potatoes are cooked and tender, mash the center down, top with the sauce and garnish with the tomato topping. Sprinkle with a little more dill or lemon if desired.
Themes and Deadlines January: Crockpot | Nov. 8 February: Spicy Foods | Dec. 8 March: Honey | Jan. 8
Calling all home cooks! It's time to spice up our recipe selection and you could be a winner! We are looking for fresh, creative recipes from readers just like you. In addition to our monthly Cook of the Month prize, beginning in January, all cooks who submit a recipe will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a gift basket full of Alabama Living merchandise. Take a look at our upcoming themes and send in your favorite recipes today! (see rules below)
Submit your recipes! Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: email@example.com Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
Coming up in December... Edible Gifts!
Please send us your original recipes, developed by you or family members, and not ones copied from a book or magazine. You may adapt a recipe from another source by changing as little as the amount of one ingredient. Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year. One gift basket winner will be drawn monthly at random and each name will be entered only once. Items in basket may vary each month. 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. Alabama Living
NOVEMBER 2017 37
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| Outdoors |
u Warrior Hunts help heal invisible wounds
aut with anticipation of action, combat veterans entered the brush with weapons loaded and ready. Moments later, they began firing, drawing first blood this day. No, this action didn’t occur in combat thousands of miles from home. These warriors were hunting quail and pheasant near Birmingham, but they really gathered for the camaraderie and healing through hunting. Not all war wounds leave visible scars. “Warrior Hunts engage combat veterans in nature through hunting, fishing and camaraderie with fellow warriors,” says John Nolan, founder of Warrior Hunts. “Our mission excites positive change in the lives of our heroes. For me, the hunting is a byproduct of the camaraderie that we get by hunting together.” Nolan served 20 years in the Air Force before retiring in 2012 as a master sergeant. He spent much of his career serving with Special Forces overseas. Soon after retiring, he met Charles Jones, who served with the 5th Special Forces in Vietnam and earned a Purple Heart for wounds and a Bronze Star. “The Vietnam generation realizes that when men and women come home, they need that camaraderie and that time,” Nolan says. “Just being kind to a veteran helps fight a battle you don’t even know is going on. It doesn’t take a lot to say ‘thank you’ and it really goes a long way. That’s where the healing really starts.” Jones owns 3PJ Outfitting in Ashville, Ala. and has access to bird hunting operJohn N. Felsher lives in Semmes, Ala. He’s a professional freelance writer and photographer with more than 2,500 articles published in more than 150 different magazines. Contact him through Facebook.
40 NOVEMBER 2017
ations. Nolan knows many warriors who would benefit from an outdoors adventure. The two veterans teamed up for a new mission. Nolan finds warriors who would enjoy a weekend of hunting and camaraderie. Jones enlisted his friends, Scott and Elizabeth Deuel of Stick Lake Hunting Preserve (sticklakehunting.com) in Springville, Ala. and Mike McClendon with the nearby Heart of Dixie Hunting Preserve, who can offer the vets places to hunt. “These hunts are not just a ‘thank you,’ but also a healing process,” Jones says. “It’s not only a healing process for them, but for me. I was an Army Green Beret in Vietnam. These events have helped me to heal a lot of wounds from that war.” Each year, Nolan brings some warriors to Alabama where they spend a few days walking the fields behind trained bird dogs. At night, everyone gathers in the lodge to eat their fill of home-cooked food and swap stories. “We’ve been able to put more than 400 warriors and their families into nature in Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas and other states since 2012,” Nolan says. “Spouses, children and caregivers are included whenever possible. Anytime we can bundle conservation, love of nature, veterans getting outdoors with their families and helping others, that’s a good thing.” On this hunt is Air Force Master Sgt. Ismael “Ish” Villegas. A combat controller, Ish accompanies ground forces to communicate with aircraft putting bombs on target and bringing in needed supplies. He is the only Air Force member currently on active duty to earn two Silver Stars, the third highest combat citation. He earned those medals for bravery under fire in Afghanistan. Each year, Warrior Hunts also invites a Gold Star family member. A military tradition dating back to World War I, families
Take a closer look at Warrior Hunts online at alabamaliving.coop
John Nolan, Brent Sibley and Ismael “Ish” Villegas prepare to fire at a rising pheasant during a Warrior Hunt event near Springville, Ala. Warrior Hunts bring combat veterans on hunting and fishing trips in several states. PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER
place a blue star in their window for each loved one serving in uniform. Unfortunately, they swap the blue star for a gold one when a family member dies in service to the country. “Gold Star status is something that no family wants to achieve,” Nolan says. “The Gold Star families paid the ultimate price for freedom. They gave the nation a loved one.” Warrior Hunts invited Brent Sibley as the Gold Star family member for this hunt. Brent’s son, Staff Sgt. Forrest Sibley, was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan in 2015. The 31-year-old Air Force combat controller earned four Bronze Stars for valor under fire and two Purple Hearts for wounds received. On the evening before the first day of hunting, Jones and Nolan presented Sibley with a flag that flew over the Capitol building in Washington D.C. in honor of his son. “We want to let these warriors know that we honor what they did for their country,” Jones says. “We want to give them a weekend of relaxation and hunting. They don’t have to pay a penny for it. People can hunt these preserves other days, but for three days each year, we set aside the lodge and the properties to honor our nation’s heroes.” People can help the warriors by donating cash, ammunition, hunting equipment and other supplies to Warrior Hunts or similar organizations. Even better, people can donate their time to help veterans heal their physical, mental and emotional wounds. On this Veterans Day, think about those who served or still serve and their families who also sacrificed or our freedom. For more information on Warrior Hunts, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or see www.warriorhunts.org. Contact Jones at 205-915-5305.n www.alabamaliving.coop
Tables indicate peak fish and game feeding and migration times. Major periods can bracket the peak by an hour before and an hour after. Minor peaks, half-hour before and after. Adjusted for daylight savings time.
a.m. p.m. Minor Major Minor Major
NOV. 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 DEC. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
10:16 10:46 11:16 11:46 07:16 08:01 08:46 09:31 10:31 11:31 --12:16 02:16 03:31 09:31 10:31 11:16 -07:31 08:31 09:16 10:16 11:16 --01:31 03:16 09:01 09:46 10:31 11:01 11:31 07:16 08:01 08:31 09:01 09:46 10:16 11:01 11:46 -02:01 08:01 09:16 10:16 11:01
04:46 05:31 06:01 06:46 12:16 12:46 01:16 01:46 02:16 03:01 03:46 05:01 06:16 07:31 08:46 04:16 05:16 06:01 06:46 12:16 01:01 01:46 02:46 03:31 04:31 05:46 07:01 08:01 04:16 05:01 05:31 06:16 06:46 12:01 12:31 01:01 01:31 02:01 02:31 03:16 04:01 05:01 06:31 03:31 04:31 05:16 06:01
04:01 04:31 04:46 -12:16 01:01 01:31 02:16 03:16 05:31 09:01 08:16 08:31 02:16 02:46 03:16 04:01 04:31 12:01 12:46 01:31 02:31 03:31 05:16 07:01 08:01 01:46 02:16 02:46 03:16 03:46 04:16 -12:16 12:46 01:31 02:16 03:01 04:16 09:31 11:46 12:31 01:16 02:01 02:46 03:31 04:16
10:46 11:16 11:46 05:16 05:31 06:01 06:16 06:31 07:01 07:31 12:31 01:16 01:46 09:16 09:46 10:16 11:01 11:31 05:01 05:46 06:31 07:16 08:01 09:16 12:16 01:01 08:46 09:31 10:01 10:31 11:01 11:31 04:46 05:16 05:31 06:01 06:31 07:16 08:01 05:31 06:46 07:46 08:31 09:16 10:01 10:46 11:31 NOVEMBER 2017 41
42â€ƒ NOVEMBER 2017
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| Our Sources Say |
Answering the call
ong before he cast such a huge shadow on and off the playing field for the Alabama Crimson Tide, legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant was breathing new life into the football fortunes of Texas A&M. Before coaching at Texas A&M, he also had successfully revitalized football programs at Maryland and Kentucky. But one day, in 1958, he resigned as coach of the A&M Aggies. Why? He said “mama called.” His Alabama alma mater had called him to become the head coach of the Crimson Tide. The proud football tradition that Coach Bryant and others had helped foster in the 1930s had fallen on hard times. Help was needed. And he accepted. Mama called.
Co-ops answer the call
Earlier this summer co-ops not only in Alabama but across this great nation received a similar call. Sister co-ops in Texas and Florida desperately needed their help. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma had sav-
Phillip Burgess is Communications, Government Relations and Conferences Director for the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association.
44 NOVEMBER 2017
agely made landfall, leaving hundreds of thousands of residents without electricity. The devastation was horrific. Power poles had been pulled from the ground and broken into pieces. Power lines lay in a jumbled mess in rural and urban areas alike. Besides suffering the heartbreak of losing their homes and possessions, co-op members there had no electricity to help them as they sought to begin the recovery process; the grim reality was that power wouldn’t be restored for a long time. The cooperative response in Alabama and elsewhere was like that of Coach Bryant. They answered the call. Those pleas for help were met with a large army of cooperative crews. They dispersed across the rugged landscape and began piecing together the damaged power systems. They worked in swamps, often chest deep in water, and withstood unbearable heat, mosquitoes and other pests. They worked late into the humid nights only to put on their climbing gear the next morning and go at it again. Approximately 5,000 cooperative workers from nearly 25 states converged on the hurricane impact zones to assist with restoration efforts. Throughout the course of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the entire cooperative family in Alabama and around the country united with the singular goal of restoring power. At the end of the long days of work, these heroes rested in school gymnasiums, churches or even in their trucks. Local volunteers helped feed them.
Independent, but connected
Even though your cooperative is an independent entity, it is connected with other co-ops if the need arises to share resources, information and manpower. This isn’t anything new. In fact, co-ops have long relied on one another to get power restored in the face of natural disasters. This cooperation is partially the result of “mutual-aid agreements,” which work just as the name implies. Every co-op has an emergency plan, and part of that planning includes these agreements that provide a unique and an effective approach to emergency management and disaster recovery. When disaster strikes, co-ops can quickly deploy support staff and equipment to emergency and recovery zones to help sister co-ops restore power. There’s another reason why cooperatives so efficiently respond to disasters. Because the national network of transmission and distribution infrastructure owned by electric cooperatives has been built to federal standards, line crews from any co-op in America can arrive on the scene ready to provide emergency support, secure in their knowledge of the system’s engineering. Cooperation among cooperatives is a guiding principle for a good reason: It helps make everyone’s jobs easier and their lives better. Moments like these should make members proud to be a part of a cooperative family that works to help each other in moments of need. It’s another example of the cooperative difference. www.alabamaliving.coop
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| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |
Illustration by Dennis Auth
ne thing leads to another. Last month I wrote about Aunt Roscoe and her “falsie.” Aunt Roscoe lived down on the Gulf Coast with Uncle Leon. Their home was back on the bayou, where Uncle Leon fished for mullet. With a cast net. Mullet are plentiful, pretty easy to catch, and when fried fresh, they are as good as anything you can pull out of a river or pond. If you go to the “Redneck Riviera” in search of redneckery, you won’t find much of it among the high-rise condos, gated communities, and upscale eating establishments that serve stuff sautéed. However, if you go to a place where fried mullet is on the menu, there is a good chance redneckery is lurking about. Now some say the mullet is not a fish at all. Back in the 1920s, three men were arrested for fishing for mullet without a license. They got themselves a lawyer who knew something about mullet and together they devised this defense. “My clients,” the lawyer told the jury, “cannot be convicted for illegal fishing because a mullet is not a fish. It is a bird.” Then he brought in a biologist who testified that in his professional opinion,
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only birds have gizzards. The jury, carefully selected to include at least a few men who were familiar with mullet, knew that a mullet had a gizzard. So, it followed logically that a mullet could not be a fish. It had to be a bird. Not guilty. Uncle Leon would have applauded the verdict. According to family lore, he would go down to the bayou with his cast net and bring home fish for frying. Now I don’t know how much you know about fishing with a cast net, but it is critical that when you cast the net, it flares out in a circle so you can catch as many fish as possible. There are many ways to accomplish this, but old-timers like Uncle Leon used a technique that involved holding one edge of the net in your teeth. The trick was to release that edge just a click after throwing so that the net forms the circular pattern so admired by cast net aficionados. It took some coordination, but Uncle Leon had it down pat. Unfortunately, Uncle Leon, like so many of his class and circumstance, did not practice good dental hygiene. So, in the fullness of time, he began to lose his teeth. Unwilling to spend the money to get professionally crafted dentures, he
bought a set of choppers at a local store and went about his business. Which included casting his net for mullet. You can see where this is heading. He went out on the bayou as he always had. Took up the net as he always had. Put one edge between his teeth, as he always had. And threw, as he always had. Only the false teeth did not release as his real teeth had. So net, with teeth attached, flew out into bayou. Not in a neat circle, but in an embarrassing splash that scared off any mullet that happened to be nearby. Uncle Leon hauled in the fishless net. Put his teeth back in his mouth. Hung the net in the shed. And never took it out again. “As ye sow, so shall you reap.”
Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at hjackson@ cableone.net.