Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News October 2021
A visit to Buc-ee’s Inside the 24-7 travel center phenomenon
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Mark Malone CO-OP EDITOR
Diane B. Hale 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.
20 F E A T U R E S
VOL. 74 NO. 10
4 Co-op Month
Democratic Member Control gives members a voice and a vote on how the co-op is run.
ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION
AREA President Karl Rayborn Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Law Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Danny Weston Advertising Director Jacob Johnson Graphic Designer/Production Coordinator Brooke Echols
Jesse’s Restaurant calls itself “one of the best kept secrets in the South.” That could easily be true. It anchors a street corner in one of Alabama’s tiniest towns, Magnolia Springs, and is itself a hidden gem.
Halloween events 16 Scare up some fun at Alabama’s haunted attractions this month.
We dig potatoes
Baked, roasted, fried, mashed or even cold in a salad, potatoes are some of the most versatile veggies you can find.
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D E P A R T M E N T S 11 Spotlight 25 Around Alabama 30 Cook of the Month 28 Outdoors 29 Fish & Game Forecast 38 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop ON THE COVER
Look for this logo to see more content online! Printed in America from American materials
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Alex McDonough worked this past summer at Buc-ee’s in Baldwin County where the fresh-cut beef brisket is a popular dining choice. Read more beginning on Page 12. PHOTO: EMMETT BURNETT
30 WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
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It’s a matter of (co-op!) principles Board of Trustees David Henderson Larry Godwin Randy L. Bailey Luke Freeman Roland Hendon Raymond C. Long Leo Bomian Danny Lacey Brad Gilbert 402 Main Street West P.O. Box 277 Rainsville, AL 35986 (256) 638-4957 fax www.smec.coop In case of power outages, you may call us 24 hours a day: Rainsville-PowellFyffe-Sylvania 256-638-2153 Bryant-Higdon-Flat RockHenagar-Ider-Pisgah 256-657-5137 Fort Payne 256-845-1511 Valley Head-Mentone 256-635-6344 Collinsville-Geraldine 256-659-2153 Section-Langston-Marshall Co. 1-877-843-2512
facebook.com/SMEC.coop 4 OCTOBER 2021
ACE Hardware, State Farm, Land O’Lakes, Southern States and Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative all share something in common: we’re all cooperatives. We may be in different industries, but we all share a passion for serving our members and helping our communities to thrive. In fact, all cooperatives adhere to the same set of seven principles that reflect our core values of honesty, transparency, equity, inclusiveness and service to the greater community good. October is National Co-op Month, so this is the perfect time to reflect on these principles that have stood the test of time but also provide a framework for the future. Let’s take a look at the first three cooperative principles. Voluntary and Open Membership Just like all co-ops, SMEC was created out of necessity to meet a need that would have been otherwise unmet in our communities. So in 1940, a group came together and organized our electric co-op so neighbors in our local areas could benefit. For a modest membership fee to the co-op, anyone could get electricity. Together they tackled a problem that they couldn’t solve alone. They worked together for the benefit of the whole area, and the newly established electric lines helped
power economic opportunity for all who received its service. While this history may be forgotten, key parts of that heritage remain the focus on our mission and serving the greater good. In this, we include everyone to improve the quality of life and economic opportunity for all the communities we serve. Membership is open to everyone in our service territory, regardless of race, religion, age, disability, gender identity, language, political perspective or socioeconomic status. Democratic Member Control Our co-op is well suited to meet the needs of our members because we are locally governed. Each member gets a voice and a vote in how the co-op is run and each voice and vote are equal. SMEC’s leadership team and employees live right here in the service area. Our board of trustees, which helps set long-term priorities for the co-op, also live locally on co-op lines. These board members have been elected by neighbors just like you. We know our members have a valuable perspective and that’s why we are continually seeking your input. We also encourage you to weigh in on important co-op issues and participate in co-op elections. Our close connection to our coop communities ensures we get a www.alabamaliving.coop
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| Sand Mountain Electric | first-hand perspective on members’ priorities. It enables us to make more informed decisions on long-term investments, such as equipment and technology upgrades. Members’ Economic Participation As a utility, our mission is to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy to members. But as a co-op, we are also motivated by service to the districts we serve, rather than profits. Members contribute equitably to and democratically control the capital of SMEC. At least part of that capital remains the common property of the cooperative. Members allocate
surpluses for co-op programs, initiatives, capital investments and supporting other activities approved by the membership. Because we are guided by seven cooperative principles, it’s not just about dollars – it’s about opportunity for all and being fair when engaging with our members. The cooperative way is a values-based business model. SMEC is a reflection of our local communities and their evolving needs. We view our role as a catalyst for good and making our corner of the world a better place.
Community born. Community led. YOU. Focused on YOU October is
National Co-op Month!
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Get familiar with cyber basics October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month At a time when we are more connected than ever, being “cyber smart” is of the utmost importance. This year has already seen more than a fair share of cyber attacks and breaches, including the high-profile attacks on the Colonial Pipeline and other critical infrastructure. Furthermore, as has been underlined by these recent breaches, cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated with more evolved hackers cropping up each day. Luckily, there are several steps that we can take on a daily basis to mitigate risks and stay one step ahead of malefactors. Here are a few quick tips: Enable multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds that necessary second check to verify your identity when logging in to one of your accounts. By requiring multiple methods of authentication, your account is further protected from being compromised, even if someone hijacks your password. In this way, MFAs make it more difficult for password cracking tools to enable attackers to break into accounts. Use strong passphrases/password manager. This may seem obvious, but all too often securing strong passphrases/password managers is overlooked. People spending more time online during the pandemic has certainly contributed to more bad actors prowling for accounts to attack. Using long, complex and unique passwords is a good way to stop your account from being hacked and an easy way of keeping track and remembering your passwords is by using a password manager. Perform software updates. When a device prompts that it’s time to update the software, it may be tempting to simply click postpone and ignore the message. However, 6 OCTOBER 2021
having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system on devices is one of the best defenses against online threats. So, don’t wait - update. Do your research. Common sense is a crucial part of maintaining good online hygiene, and an intuitive step to stay safe online. Do some research before downloading anything new to your device, such as apps. Before downloading any new learning app on your device, make sure that it’s safe by checking who created the app, what the user reviews say and if there are any articles published online about the app’s privacy and security features. Check your settings. Be diligent to double check your privacy and security settings and be aware who can access your documents. This extends from Google docs, to Zoom calls and beyond. For meetings on Zoom, for example, create passwords so only those invited to the session can attend and restrict who can share their screen or files with the rest of the attendees. Being cyber smart and maintaining stellar online hygiene is the best way to protect yourself and others from cyber attacks. No single tip is foolproof but taken together they can make a real difference for taking control of your online presence. Following these tips is also easy and free. By taking preventive measures and making a habit of practicing online safety, you can decrease your odds of being hacked exponentially and prevent lost time and money, as well as annoyance.
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| Sand Mountain Electric |
PASSWORD DOS AND DON’TS A strong password can make all the difference in protecting your personal information. Follow these tips for stronger passwords.
● Change the manufacturer’s Wi-Fi password on your router. ● Use two-factor authentication. ● Use unique phrases (like lyrics to your favorite song) to remember passwords.
● Don’t use common words or numbers like “password” or “1234.” ● Don’t use personal details like your date of birth in a password. ● Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.
October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Do Your Part. Be Cyber Smart.
October is National Co-op Month
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ARE HOME ELECTRONICS AND APPLIANCES
DRAINING YOUR ENERGY? If you collect your spare change in a jar, all those coins add up over time, usually to a larger amount than you expect.
Small amounts of consumed energy throughout your home add up as well, so plug “energy vampires” into a smart power strip that detects dormant devices or unplug items when not in use, especially those with illuminated controls.
TOP NINE ENERGY VAMPIRES TVS
GAME VIDEOSOLES CON
SURRO D SOUND SYUSN TEMS
ONE CELL PHB LET A T AND S CHARGER
Y STANDB KER A COFFEE M
SAT CABLEELLITE / BOXES
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| Alabama Snapshots |
Out riding one fall day and saw these pumpkins at a market place. SUBMITTED by Faye Massey, Russellville.
Raegan Kelso. SUBMITTED by Lori Kelso, Arab.
Walt Hardman gathering pumpkins from his patch. SUBMITTED BY Lance Boyd, Cullman. Love to make papier-mache pumpkins and share them with family and friends. SUBMITTED BY Robin McRae, Seale.
Ava Henderson with her grandparents, Jean and Robert Henderson at Boo at the Zoo in Birmingham.SUBMITTED BY Jilda Henderson, Cullman.
Daddy and Ezra sit down for a break from all the fun at the pumpkin patch. SUBMITTED BY Jonathan Hibbert, Montgomery.
Submit “Christmas Morning” photos by October 31. Winning photos will run in December. Online: alabamaliving.coop Correction! A September photo of Landry was submitted by Memory Bush of Luverne, not Vanieca Akins.
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Mail: Snapshots P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
Ryder is not sure what to think about the scary pumpkins. A good boy nonetheless! SUBMITTED by Beth Jones, Enterprise.
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 alabamaliving.coop 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. OCTOBER 2021 9
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Spotlight | October 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
Appreciated pet column
I have recently begun to read your column (“Pet Vet,” September 2021) and think it serves a very necessary purpose. Most people have pets and as a longtime board member of the Bullock County Humane Society I know what a problem stray, abandoned and abused dogs are, and the irresponsible and often heartless people responsible for their suffering. I also am painfully aware of the unending battle to get folks to see the importance of spaying and neutering. We are a poor, rural county but we do have a very successful humane society--more so than any of the surrounding counties including Montgomery, which has so many dogs and cats to care for they can’t keep on top of the situation. We regularly participate in the animal rescue relay transports to provide adoptive homes for dogs and cats in other parts of the country, and we do as much spay/neuter as our budget allows. And we’re essentially a no-kill operation. Thank you for your valuable—and I’m sure much read—column. Gregg Swem, Union Springs
Riding the backroads
Alabama cooperatives assist sister co-ops in Louisiana The storm-weary Louisiana coastal areas took yet another punch with Hurricane Ida, a category 4 Atlantic hurricane that made landfall Aug. 29 with winds up to 150 mph. After the storm moved inland, the Alabama Rural Electric Association (AREA) started coordinating crews from Alabama coops who could send mutual aid. Alabama co-ops sent more than 100 employees, including linemen, right-of-way and safety personnel to Washington-St. Tammany EC in Franklinton, La. Ida left 98.4% of its meters without power, snapped or brought down 500 poles, and damaged more than 5,100 miles of line. Central Alabama EC, Clarke-Washington EMC, Covington EC, Marshall-DeKalb EC, Pea River EC, Pioneer EC, South Alabama EC, Southern Pine EC, Tallapoosa River EC and Wiregrass EC sent crews and materials to Franklinton, and AREA provided safety staff to help keep the crews safe. Joe Wheeler EMC sent help to the South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association (SLECA), based in Houma, La., and Baldwin EMC, Pea River EC and Wiregrass EC sent help to DEMCO, a co-op outside of Baton Rouge, La. “Morale of the linemen is at a high, because they know they are there to help the residents of these devastated areas,” says AREA safety specialist Jeff Whatley, who spent several days in Louisiana. “This is what they love to do and what they truly enjoy being a part of. “The residents are so gracious and appreciative of the work the linemen are doing for their communities.” 10 OCTOBER 2021
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Thanks for the beautiful article “Backroads Explorer” (August 2021). I don’t really remember when I fell in love with riding backroads but it’s been a favorite activity for many years. I wanted to tell you how our family endured the lockdown of 2020. We would watch church online on Sunday morning. When service was over my husband and daughter would hop in our station wagon with picnic packed and take off from our home in Cullman County. We picked a different direction each week, North, South, East or West. The rule was dirt roads only, as long as possible. We would ride for several hours each Sunday. We saw some beautiful sites and enjoyed each other’s company. It is a memory I am so grateful for! We picnicked at little churches, school playgrounds and creek side and it tasted better than the finest restaurant! Samantha Law, Fairview
Aim for mindful, not mindless, eating How many times do you sit down with a snack in front of the television, computer, or phone? Before you know it, an entire snack has been consumed without even thinking or really tasting the food. That is how easy mindless eating can happen. Here are a few tips to help on a mindful eating journey, courtesy of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System: • Remove all distractions while eating. Focus on your food and the company around you. • Slow down, don’t rush through the meal. Make sure to set aside at least 20 minutes to eat a meal. • Take time to focus on different flavors and textures of food. Focus your thoughts on the quality of the food versus quantity. • Listen to your body for hunger and fullness cues. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. • Choose foods that fuel your body. Take the emphasis off of what you can or can’t eat and focus on supplying your body with a variety of foods. www.alabamaliving.coop
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October | Spotlight Find the hidden dingbat!
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 Oct. 8 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the November issue. Submit by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124. Do you like finding interesting or unusual landmarks? Contribute your own photo for an upcoming issue! Remember, all readers whose photos are chosen also win $25! September’s answer: This small Gothic Revival style church is St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church at Gallion, Alabama, and is a frequent subject of artists and photographers. The church was built in 1853-1854. The design of St. Andrew’s is attributed to Richard Upjohn, the prominent New York architect. The church was added to the National Register of Historic Places on Nov. 7, 1973 and declared a National Historic Landmark the same day. (Photo and information courtesy of RuralSWAlabama.org) The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Vivian Rawlings of Clarke-Washington EMC.
Take us along!
Sherman Chow took us along to Valley of Fire State Park near Las Vegas, Nevada, where bighorn sheep roam. He and his wife are members of Baldwin EMC and they live in Fairhope.
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“It’s hammer time!” declared reader Don Lee of Vina, a member of Franklin Electric Cooperative, one of 450+ correct guessers for September’s dingbat contest. Don correctly found the hammer hanging up with several other tools in the photo of the snake removers at work on Page 32. Cary Evans of Clanton reported that “my mother found it first and said, ‘It would be just like someone with a great sense of humor to put it on a snake page; most people dislike looking at snakes so the entry level might go way down.’” Our entries were about the usual number, although some readers claimed to find the hammer in a tree and another said it was in a man’s pocket. Barbara Carver of Bridgeport, a member of North Alabama Electric, wrote: “I found your hammer right where you left it, hanging on the wall with all the rattlers around. No wonder you forgot where you left it!” Congratulations to this month’s randomly drawn winner Stephen Davis, a member of Joe Wheeler EMC. Remember, the dingbat won’t be on Pages 1-8 or in an advertisement. This month we’re hiding a black cat, so good luck and don’t be a scaredy cat! Deadline is Oct. 8.
Thanks to J. Reid of Arab, who submitted a photo of her neighbors, Raven and E.J., who found the dingbat in their magazine from Arab Electric Cooperative.
Find the Dingbat Alabama Living PO Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
By email: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, hometown and electric cooperative, and the location of your photo and include your social media handle so we can tag you! We’ll draw a winner for the $25 prize each month.
Marsha Edhegard of Ozark took her magazine along for a trip to the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. She is a member of Pea River Electric Cooperative.
Charlene Bert of Marbury, a member of Central Alabama EC, is a big fan of Laurel, Mississippi and of Alabama Living!
While visiting her grandchildren in Virginia, Katherine Dasinger took her magazine to Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia. She is a member of Wiregrass Electric Cooperative. OCTOBER 2021 11
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Beaver fever A road trip to Buc-ee’s is an experience like no other
Story and photos by Emmett Burnett
he lobby is indicative of fine art. Depictions of Old West vistas adorn the walls. Polished porcelain and chrome accentuate gurgling waters. And that’s just the restrooms! You should see the rest of Buc-ee’s! What’s this, you say? Have you not experienced Buc-ee’s of Baldwin County, with 52,000 square feet of floor space, 120 gasoline filling spots, and restrooms cleaner than a church picnic?
Follow me but be advised: First timers can be overwhelmed. Taking in the sights, aromas, and crowds often evokes sensory overload and spontaneous smiles. Slow down, relax. It’s time to smell the brisket. Alabama’s first Buc-ee’s opened in January 2019 off of Interstate 10, exit 49, Baldwin County. The store was the Texas-based company’s first venture outside the Lone Star State. It wasn’t lone for long. The second Alabama Buc-ee’s opened January 2021 in Leeds (Jefferson County). Other sites are in the works for Auburn and Athens. So many Buc-ee’s. So little time. Meanwhile, back on the coast: “We examined every conceivable factor,” says
John Taylor, director of operations north, discussing Baldwin County’s location decision. “Based on research, which included proximity to Gulf beaches and I-10 traffic, we determined Central Baldwin County was a good spot. We were right.” Due to company proprietary information, Taylor and the store’s general manager,
Buc-ee’s iconic and often photographed red truck, filled with beaver dolls.
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Buc-ee’s on a summertime Friday.
Floyd Freeman, cannot reveal how many visitors Baldwin’s Bucee’s receives daily. But both look at each other, then look at me, and collectively smile, “It’s a lot.” Many take selfie pictures with the statue of the store’s mascot beaver. In fact, so many pose with the bronzed rodent of renown, some company officials believe it is the most photographed statue in Alabama. On a pedestal 300 miles north, Vulcan shakes his fist in jealousy. Now comes the fun part: Walking in. “You can almost tell a new visitor just by looking at their expressions,” Taylor says. “Their eyes get really big and mouths open wide.” He laughs, “I’ve heard them say, ‘this is amazing.” Indeed, it is. Buc-ee’s has about 250 employees. Ninety are here on this Friday morning. My first question is, what is the busiest day? “All seven,” Freeman answers. “It takes an army to keep Buc-ee’s operating 24/7. Behind the scenes, supply trucks roll in almost every hour of every day. We have a master plan devised for everyday and plan for the unknown and unexpected.”
Taking it all in
await. In this store area, toys are in abundance, many exclusive to Buc-ee’s. Kids love it. It doesn’t take long to notice the mascot beaver is everywhere – on coffee mugs, T-shirts, stationery, even carved in chocolate. People often ask, “So, what’s the story with the beaver?” First, it is more than a mascot. The Buc-ee’s beaver is like Mickey Mouse with an overbite. The store and critter have been inseparable since day one. Buc-ee’s is named after the company co-founder’s pet dog, Buck. As for the mascot, the co-founder is Arch Aplin III, also known by his childhood nickname, “Beaver.” The rest is history. We move next to what many claim is Buc-ee’s star attraction – the food. “TRU (Texas Round Up) is where the action is,” notes Taylor, as beef carving station employees work their magic. “Our barbecue sandwiches are a staple.” “Brisket here!” shouts Alex, my new best friend who doesn’t know me. He slices, carves, and crafts a slab of sizzling beef. Turkey, sausages, burritos, chicken, and most everything else is prepared fresh, on A shelf of beach-related items on sale during the summer shift. beckons beach goers.
Pro tip 1: Before entering, know your Buc-ee’s. Here is the Baldwin County store’s layout: Facing the entrance, the right side is gifts, clothing, home decor items, seasonal merchandise, jewelry, wedding presents, one-ofa-kind items, and more. It is not what one expects from other Interstate travel centers. Shelves here are continuously restocked, refreshed, and updated. Almost every customer visit is different, especially with seasonal items. The store even has a line of Christmas ornaments for a holly, jolly Buc-ee’s. “You can buy really nice things here,” Freeman says. “We have items you would proudly display at home, wear, or give as gifts. We have a lot of high-end items – not convenience store kind of stuff.” On the left is affectionately and informally titled “Buc-ee’s World.” T-shirts, glassware, toys, swimsuits, coffee mugs, key chains, beaver dolls, and anything with the company logo on it, Alabama Living
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Pro tip 2: Do not leave Baldwin County without Buc-ee’s Rhino Taco: sausage, beans, eggs, potatoes, cheese, and green sauce, which at 6 a.m. defines breakfast.
Nearby is the great wall of jerky, proclaimed “World Famous.” Varieties are sold in bags or custom cut at the nearby counter. A store favorite is the Bohemian Garlic. Delicious. Today, a Buc-ee’s employee, Thomas, offers samples on request and answers questions for those who ponder jerky – and who among us hasn’t? Also in the food arena is “Sweet Street,” and yes, it is as good as it sounds. Vats of cashews churn while coated with cinnamon. Chocolate is molded into bricks and pieces. Pecans roast to golden tans. As an added customer bonus, inhaling the aroma is free. A confectionary favorite is in-house fudge. “Try this,” employee Jennifer says, offering a freshly made batch of chocolate perfection. Customers line up. OCTOBER 2021 13
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Some varieties of Beaver Nuggets and other snacks. Beaver Nuggets fly off the shelves almost as fast as Buc-ee’s employees can restock them.
John Taylor, operations director-north, left, and Baldwin County Buc-ee’s general manager Floyd Freeman with the Buc-ee’s truck.
Of course, the Buc-ee’s experience is not complete without a bag of Beaver Nuggets – puffed corn bathed in honey/cinnamon and kissed by angels. The typical roadside convenience store image of pork skins and coffee made fresh – two days before you got there – is shattered at Buc-ee’s. On the contrary, this fare is restaurant quality, but ordered to go. There is no in-house seating for dining. They don’t have room. World famous … restrooms? Buc-ee’s also has a unique attraction not usually seen in public venues: “World Famous Restrooms.” People visit the store’s wash rooms if they need to or not. They want to see how clean it is and are not disappointed. It’s spotless. Each restroom is staffed by employees, 24 hours a day, cleaning and polishing, all day.
Just as one begins the Buc-ee’s experience by having a picture made with the beaver statue outside, one ends the journey, with a selfie at the old red truck, inside. “Actually it’s a metal shell, made in Texas, and sent here,” Taylor says with a smile. “It’s not really a truck, nor for sale, although we’ve had people try to buy it.” The day is done. With arms laden with Buc-ee’s logo T-shirts, brisket sandwiches and beaver dolls, I approach the checkout counters. Over 30 people are in my line, yet it moves out in 15 minutes. These employees know their stuff and smile while doing it. The parking lot capacity is 400 vehicles. It is often full. A steady stream of cars roll in, equaled by a steady stream exiting back to I-10. The continuous parade of patrons in and out never ends. For as Buc-ee’s website proclaims, “The Beaver Never Sleeps.” Indeed, the Buc stops here.
Employee Jennifer offers freshly made fudge.
Employee Thomas serves up jerky, which comes in a variety of flavors.
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Thrillers, haunts, frights
Scare up some fun at Alabama’s haunted attractions By Emmett Burnett
appy Halloween (Cue the spooky creaking door hinges). Beyond these cobwebbed thresholds are opportunities: ghostly encounters, mysterious rooms, and perhaps memories of an old ghoul friend. A haunting we will go, in October, but first, take note: COVID conditions, weather, and other factors may alter schedules so check before visiting your favorite spooky destination. Also, some haunts might be a bit scary for young children, so use discretion. Read on to learn more about the best of Alabama’s things that go bump in the night.
3150 Lee St., Pelham Warehouse31.com
Nightmare at 3008
1731 Decatur Highway, Fultondale Nightmareat3008.com Nick and Lori Bryan’s Nightmare at 3008 is known as the “Haunt with a Heart.” Its charitable endeavors include a food drive on Nov. 4-5 with cash and canned items donated to Fultondale’s food bank. But the haunt with a heart makes yours beat faster. The Nightmare includes two indoor main attractions and an outdoor trail. One theme is a post-apocalyptic underworld. Occupants seek refuge below earth from the blistered surface above. It is not going well. In total, about 30 to 60 scary-costumed actors await your presence at Nightmare’s venues. Some are still alive. Characters in various states of goriness scream, moan, and shriek as you walk by, often briskly. “We are a touch haunt,” says Lori. “But for guests not wanting to be touched, we offer chicken sticks.” Actors see the sticks and comply with its unspoken message, “do not touch me for I am chicken.” 16 OCTOBER 2021
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Pelham’s house of horror gave the heebie-jeebies to thousands last year. “We have a little of everything,” notes owner Jason Sills. Gruesomely costumed characters meander through 50 scenes of terrifying good times. The merry mayhem occurs in a former lumber supply warehouse turned horror abode in 2013. As for the cast, these folks are not shy. “We don’t want to invade people’s space but we are definitely in your face,” Jason says about the creature crew. Typically one walks through the facility in about 30 minutes – “or faster,” he laughs. “Depends on how fast you run.” The signature attraction is Rigamortis – a traditional haunted house with hightech special effects. Other venues include the 3D Experience, Escape Room, and Lights Out Lantern Night. Pro tip: Visit with someone you can outrun. If monsters give chase, they will catch your friend first.
A Literary Nightmare In a Dark, Dark Wood Ina Pullen Smallwood Memorial Library 224 Grant St., Chickasaw 251-452-6465
How cool is it being immersed in a storybook, right? Not so fast. For starters, these novels are authored by the likes of Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe. Tales of horror come to life with you in a supporting role. A fundraiser for Chickasaw’s public library, past thrillers included such greats as The Fall of the House of Usher and Dracula. In recent years, guests met the incarcerated Hannibal the Cannibal Lecter, so jailed because he enjoys people of good taste, sometimes with ketchup. Each scenario offers interactive and sometimes embellished scenes. One guide this year is Little Red Riding Hood, who leads the gullible (that would be you) to grandma’s house. But as Chickasaw Library’s Director and Operations Coordinator, Amber L. Johnson, says, “Little Red isn’t little anymore.” Amber adds, “Red takes the approach, ‘if y’all end up being eaten by the Big Bad Wolf don’t blame me. You should have listened.’” Other scenes include the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Pet Cemetery, and other tomes of terror. For those preferring a milder alternative, a hayride is offered through the friendly streets of Chickasaw, a Big Bad Wolf Free Zone. www.alabamaliving.coop
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Spooktrail Haunted Maze
With 31 years in operation, Spooktrail Haunted Maze is one of the longest running fear factors of its kind in Alabama. Visitors also come from Tennessee, Mississippi, and elsewhere to unite for fright. They are not disappointed. Site owner “Spook’’ explains the unwritten mission statement: “This is a quarter-mile long maze through the woods in an old junkyard and we try to scare you.” Mission accomplished. The trail takes about 20 to 30 minutes. One meanders through a green forest on a black night. You are not alone but might wish you were. Lurking nearby are an array of monsters and misfits. “We consider what we do here as a family haunt,” Spook says. “If you want your whole family scared, bring ’em in.” The usual suspects are there – vampires, zombies, and goblins of note. Concerning intensity, Spook notes, “We try to customize the experience to the groups coming through,” - perhaps less intense for the timid. Spooktrail offers a discount to the adventure in exchange for a canned food item to benefit Forever and Always Patriots’ food pantry.
Arx Mortis is one of the most detailed haunted houses in the U.S. The complex, including a 50,000-square-foot facility of monsters galore, is about 10 miles from Florence, in – wait for it – Killen, Alabama. The detail and special effects rival Disney World’s. Sheri Grosso, who co-owns the hobgoblin-infested property with husband Vinny Grosso, explains, “Each room takes you through scenarios as the story unfolds.” Guests walk through dungeons, prison, insane asylums, cemeteries and evil doctors performing dubious experiments. Two main venues are available. One features live actors. “It is rated 5 skulls in the fear factor,” says Sheri. The other is an encounter hosted by animatronics (think of Disney’s Hall of Presidents with fangs). “It’s scary too, but not as frightening as the live action,” adds the owner. ‘I’d give it a three to four skull rating.” From funny to frightful, haunted adventures await discovery across Alabama. Be safe, have fun, and if things become too scary, wave your chicken stick.
17327 Highway 269, Mile Marker 24 Quinton facebook.com/SpooktrailHauntedMaze
Mountain Creek Trail of Fear 1802 County Road 23, Verbena Trailoffear.net
The woods of Verbena reveal many secrets along its path in the Mountain Creek Trail of Fear. Joe and Jackie Wilson’s ominous foot path and hayride have delighted and frightened thousands who keep coming back for more. “We want to scare people but as part of having a really good time,” notes Joe. His wife Jackie chuckles, “there’s a lot of spookies in the woods.” Preparation begins in August for the October spectacle as laser lights, fog machines, and props are strategically placed for maximum boo factor. Trail of Fear is two segments: A walking trail where one strides and a hayride journey through creepiness. Both are chilling good times on 35 acres. Encounters feature a maze, Clown Town, an old barn, doll house, tunnels, and other pursuits if you dare. The woods host many creatures along the path. Ready or not, here they come.
The Haunted Chicken House 7522 Hwy 431 Heflin Thehauntedchickenhouse.com
An ominous presence lures visitors to Heflin, Alabama. Behold, the Haunted Chicken House, where the cluck stops here. Guests are lured to a flock of fright. Inside are costumed evil clowns, mad scientists, and swamp creatures of dubious character. They join forces for good times, a great scare, and live chickens. Be warned, this is not poultry in peril. These yardbirds are not frightened. You are. Eighteen rooms of horror, each with a different scene and theme, interact with the brood – your brood, not the chickens.’ “I’ve seen a 4-year-old girl laugh all the way through it,” recalls site owner Dan Hopkins. “I’ve also seen grown men tremble.” Dan adds, “Last year was our best ever. We had over 13,000 visitors.” He advises, “come early.” The closer to Halloween the larger the crowd, which enters the 440-foot long chicken coop one small group at a time, about 5 minutes apart. The Haunted Chicken House is a fundraiser for the area’s emergency response team, Hollis Fire and Rescue. 18 OCTOBER 2021
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4051 US 72 Killen Arxmortis.com
Pope’s Haunted Farm 450 Lee Road 724 Salem Popeshayride.com
This east Alabama Halloween tradition celebrates its 28th year of “terror at every turn,” and owner Troy Pope and his team change it up every year. The haunted hayride is about a mile and half long, with scary scenes and sets and state of the art animatronics. Then there’s a haunted barn, where 8-10 people go through without a guide; there’s also the haunted forest, outside through the woods, which features more “chicken outs” for those who can’t make it through, the website says. Troy says it’s a “PG-13” kind of frightful, “but we try to make it as chilling and thrilling as we can.” Why keep it going this long? Pope and his team have a passion for Halloween, he says, with great family and friends and people who come back every year. He says it takes about 180 people, including dozens of live actors, to put on the event, and the planning for it is year-round. www.alabamaliving.coop
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| Worth the drive |
A hidden gem with a leisurely vibe
The Farmer’s Chopped Salad is a bowl full of freshness, but the bright pink beet-pickled eggs are a true treat.
Jesse’s owners Angie and Steve Coltharp with Jesse’s executive chef Laurence Agnew.
The patio area of Jesse’s Restaurant offers outdoor seating with a view of Magnolia Springs’ lovely old oaks.
Story and photos by Jennifer Kornegay
esse’s Restaurant calls itself “one of the best kept secrets in the South.” It anchors a street corner in one of Alabama’s tiniest towns, Magnolia Springs, a small enclave (pop. 723) that’s sitting in the shadows of more crowded coastal locales like Fairhope, Orange Beach, Gulf Shores and Foley and is itself a hidden gem. Jesse’s also shares its hometown’s ambiance. Time seems to slow down in Magnolia Springs, perhaps lulled by the shade from the area’s many and ancient live oaks. Or maybe it’s simply keeping pace with the lazy current of the Magnolia River as it flows through town. Whatever causes it, this leisurely vibe outside permeates the walls of Jesse’s and is your first clue that your meal will provide much more than food. You’re greeted with a hospitable hostess smile as you stroll into the white clapboard building, an area landmark opened in 1922 as the Moore Bros. Store, which sold general provisions for the community. In 1998, it became Jesse’s Restaurant, and the eatery’s founding owners named their new establishment in honor of Jesse King, a beloved shopkeeper from the general store known for his 60 years of dedication. Owners Steve and Angie Coltharp bought Jesse’s in 2012 with the vision of consistently delivering not just delicious dishes but memorable moments, too. “Our goal from the beginning was to be a destination restaurant,” Steve says. “We’re really creating a whole experience here.” Both she and Steve were working in the restaurant biz in Colorado before looking to move closer to Steve’s parents who’d retired near Magnolia Springs. When they saw Jesse’s up for sale, they jumped on it. And thanks to their food-service backgrounds, they had a good idea what it would take to make their dream of outshining competitors and becoming a truly special spot a reality. The recipe starts with service, which despite Jesse’s languid atmosphere, is perfectly timed: not too fast but certainly not overly slow; attentive but not overbearing.
14770 Oak Street, Magnolia Springs, AL 251-965-3827 • jessesrestaurant.com Lunch hours: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Appetizer hours: Monday-Saturday, 3 p.m.-5 p.m. Dinner hours: Monday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday, 5 p.m.-10 p.m. 20 OCTOBER 2021
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The next - and essential - element is the food, and the Coltharps took a bit of a leap when they reimagined Jesse’s menu. “What they were offering before was kind all over the place, so we wanted to focus it and go with a steakhouse theme,” Steve says. Angie jumps in: “People said we couldn’t do that down here, that everyone would just want fried seafood. But I knew we could if we did it right.” “Right” means dry and wet-aged steaks — including bone-in cuts — offered with “enhancers” like silky bone marrow butter, a whiskey glaze or crown of jumbo lump crab meat; just-off-the-boat fish like pan-seared snapper with truffle whipped potatoes and an onion-spinach saute; and the best supporting ingredients available, plus expert preparation. “We get fresh fish every day,” Steve says, “so we do at least three fish specials every night.” “We use local vegetables and items at their peak,” Angie adds. Chef Laurence Agnew, who is a recent addition to Jesse’s, is simpatico with Steve and Angie’s definition of doing food right. “Seasonal and fresh is my philosophy,” he says. “I love using products that reflect the area.” The menu usually sees major changes quarterly, but Agnew is always tweaking. “I make little additions and deletions based on what’s at its best at that time,” he says. The Farmer’s Chopped Salad, a selection from the lunch menu, sounds simple enough but aptly showcases the above sentiments, with its super fresh and crisp veggies, pungent blue cheese, crunchy onion straws and a shockingly pink beet-pickled egg (which adds a hint of sweetness not found in the standard boiled version), all dressed in a creamy, vibrant herb dressing made in-house. The final element of the “experience” is the atmosphere. It goes beyond promoting relaxation to fostering a feeling of community. “This place has always been a gathering spot, and that has not changed. The town is tight-knit, and we love being a part of that,” Angie says. “We have a lot of regulars, including one who remembers coming to the original general store when he was a kid.” Ensuring each diner’s time at Jesse’s is an event to savor is a labor of love for Angie and Steve, one that gives them the same rewards they provide their guests. “I love the hospitality aspect, forming those relationships with our guests,” Angie says. “I mean, I love beautiful, quality food, but it’s not just about that.” “When you stop by a table and see happy guests and get those compliments on the food, service and atmosphere, it makes it all worth it,” says Steve. So worth it, that the Coltharps plan to open a second location in Fort Morgan on the bay in the spring of 2022. www.alabamaliving.coop
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| Gardens |
Leave the leaves
Fallen leaves provide all kinds of environmental benefits
o rake, or not to rake, that is the question. And the answer may surprise you. For generations, it was common practice to not just rake fall’s fallen leaves, but also remove them from the landscape, especially from lawns and manicured areas. Raking has also always been critical for two autumnal traditions — leaping into leaf piles and earning allowances. Over the last decade, however, more and more folks have adopted a “no rake” approach to fallen leaves, not because they’re lazy but because they’ve discovered that money actually does grow on trees. Granted, dead leaves can’t be deposited in a bank, but they can be “banked” in the ecosystem, and saving leaves leaves money in the bank, or at least in the wallet. According to microbiologists, ecologists, soil and turf scientists, horticulturists, entomologists, ornithologists and other experts of the natural world, there’s treasure in those leaves. That’s because fallen leaves provide an array of services to our world. For example, fallen leaves provide habitat for many small but helpful organisms such as microbes and earthworms. These creatures return the favor by providing environmental functions like breaking down the leaves and aerating the soil. Insects also set up housekeeping in dead leaves, including such beloved insects as fireflies, butterflies and moths, many of which rely on leaf litter to complete their life cycles. In addition, birds and other wildlife species use fallen leaves for food, shelter and overwintering. The leaves themselves are also beneficial, adding nutrients and organic matter back to soils as they decay and providing Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at email@example.com.
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natural mulch that help suppress weeds, retain soil moisture and protect plants from cold temperatures. And leaves do all that for free, which means we don’t have to spend our money on water, fertilizers and mulching material. Admittedly, there are times when leaves must be managed. For example, allowing thick layers of dead leaves to pile up for long periods of time can smother the grasses and plants beneath the pile and promote disease and pest issues. However, this problem can often be solved by mowing the area to chop leaves into smaller pieces and redistribute them more evenly across an area. There may also be reasons to completely remove leaves from some areas of the landscape, but even then, there’s no need to bag them up and toss them out in the trash. Instead, use them in other parts of your yard and garden or to make compost, or offer them to local gardeners, municipal compost and recycling programs or to friends and neighbors who need bedding for chickens and other livestock.
Still have questions about whether to rake or not? Lots of answers and guidance can be found through many conservation, gardening and environmental organizations groups and through Cooperative Extension experts and local municipalities. As a start, check out Alabama Extension’s “Recycling Leaves” article at aces.edu. Armed with this knowledge, the question may no longer be whether or not to rake, it may be whether you even need a rake.
OCTOBER TIPS • Prepare garden tools and storage areas for winter storage.
• Plant trees, shrubs and spring-blooming bulbs.
• Plant carrots, onions, leafy greens, strawberries and herbs.
• Divide overcrowded perennials. • Get a soil test. • Keep bird feeders and baths cleaned and filled.
• Plant a winter cover crop in vegetable beds. www.alabamaliving.coop
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Are you ready for retirement? Social Security can help
e take pride in having provided vital benefits and services to this great nation for 86 years. America has a diverse population with a variety of needs. To meet those diverse needs, we’ve created web pages that speak directly to groups of people who may need information about our programs and services. These pages are easy to share with friends and family on social media. Here are just a few resources that might help you or someone you love: • We proudly serve wounded warriors and veterans, who made sacrifices to preserve the freedoms Americans treasure. Many veterans do not know they might be eligible for disability benefits from Social Security. Please share this page with them to make sure they get the benefits they deserve: ssa.gov/people/veterans. • Social Security plays an important role in providing economic security for women. Nearly 55 percent of the people re-
Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October Across 1 Halloween shout (3 words) 7 Street, abbr. 9 Moved fast 11 “____ the 13th” movie 12 Higher 13 You have to wear a costume for this Halloween get-together 15 Biblical suffix 16 Black wood 18 Bottled spirit 20 Snake 22 “Twilight” character 24 Dorothy’s aunt in “Oz” 25 Cpl. or sgt., abbr. 27 They are carved up at Halloween 28 She’s lazy in the kitchen? 29 Former partner 30 Frightening 32 Vampire’s attack 36 Halloween lighting (3 words) 39 Fjord country, briefly 40 Title for Evil or No 41 Nightfall 42 A bad omen, when they’re black 43 Get scared Down 1 Halloween treat (2 words) 2 Lucky nationality 3 Awful guy 4 Jack 5 Touring vehicle, abbr. 6 ___ Van Winkle 8 Frisbee, e.g. 24 OCTOBER 2021
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10 13 14 17 19 21
ceiving Social Security benefits are women. A woman who is 65 years old today can expect to live, on average, until about 87. A 65-year-old man can expect to live, on average, until about 84. With longer life expectancies than men, women tend to live more years in retirement and have a greater risk of exhausting their sources of income. Women often have lower lifetime earnings than men, which usually means lower benefits. Women need to plan early and wisely for retirement. We’re here to help with valuable information. Please share this page with someone who needs this information and may need help planning for their golden years: ssa.gov/people/women. • Do you know someone who is just starting their career? Now is the best time for them to start preparing for retirement. Social Security benefit payments provide only a portion of retirement income. Those starting their careers should begin saving early to have adequate income in retirement. Please share this page with a young worker you know: ssa.gov/people/earlycareer. These are just a few of the web pages tailored to specific groups’ needs. You can check out our People Like Me home page at ssa. gov/people to see all of them.
Horror movie monster Golden animal for the Chinese Keepsake Sweet potatoes Lures into evil Rep’s opposite
23 Part of a skeleton 26 Golden state, abbr. 28 They can cause screams at Halloween 31 Angel food ____ (dessert) 33 Halloween fliers
by Myles Mellor 34 35 37 38
Night stay places Like the night Head __ head Required to open a bank account 40 Gala
Answers on Page 37 www.alabamaliving.coop
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October | Around Alabama
Ozark Claybank Jamboree Arts and Crafts Festival, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in downtown Ozark. Food vendors, arts and crafts, live music, children’s activities and more. Ozarkalchamber.com
Hoover 58th annual Bluff Park Art Show, The Park at Shades Cliff, 517 Cloudland Drive, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Live music, food trucks, handmade art from regional artists and interactive hands-on activities for children. Bluffparkartassociation.org
Montgomery Holiday Market, the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl. 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. This annual shopping extravaganza features more than 70 merchants from across the Southeast. Hosted by the Junior League of Montgomery. Tickets $5 to $40. See the event’s page on Facebook.
Millbrook Angelfest 2021, held at St. Michael and All Angels’ Episcopal Church, 5941 Main St. Favorite vendors as well as new special new vendors this year. Local artisans will have items for sale; also a silent auction. Homemade goods at the bake sale and pre-ordered Boston butts available. Food trucks will have lunch options. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Search for the event’s page on Facebook.
Dothan Fall Farm Day, Landmark Park, 430 Landmark Drive, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. See how peanuts were harvested more than 100 years ago, as well as cane grinding, syrup making, butter churning, soap making and other traditional farm activities. Music, antique tractors, wagon rides and a large quilt display. LandmarkParkDothan.com
Stapleton Stapleton Bluegrass Festival, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Stapleton School, 35480 Harriot Ave. Food trucks
and family-friendly activities; bring blankets or lawn chairs. $10 adults, $5 children ages 5 to 12. Performers include The Amanda Cook Band, Dave Adkins, The Cotton Pickin’ Kids and more. Event benefits the town’s elementary school. StapletonBluegrassFestival. com or find the event’s page on Facebook.
Mobile Boo at Bellingrath, Halloween fun in the gardens, 3 to 6 p.m. Shop with local vendors, purchase dinner and snacks from food trucks, and of course trick or treating. The movie “Hocus Pocus” will be shown on the great lawn from 7 to 9 p.m. $16 adults, $10 ages 5 to 12. Bellingrath.org
Troy Oktoberfest, downtown Troy, 2 p.m. A day full of live music, TVs for football, food and drink specials at downtown eateries, inflatables and games for children. Search for the event’s page on Facebook.
To place an event, e-mail email@example.com. 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.
Prattville 40th annual Spinners Arts and Crafts Show, 390 West Sixth St. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Arts and crafts vendors, antique car and motorcycle show, jack-olantern contest, drawing for a quilt, entertainment, food alley, activities for children, door prizes and baked goods for sale. Free. Search for the event’s page on Facebook.
Cullman Fifth Annual Bernard Blues and BBQ arts and crafts festival, on the grounds of St. Bernard Abbey and Prep School. More than 125 artisans from across the Southeast, plus live music, a children’s area and the south’s finest barbecue. Prizes of more than $12,000 will be awarded. Admission donation requested. Proceeds benefit St. Bernard Preparatory School. www.stbernardprep.com 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.
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| Consumer Wise |
Which heat pump option is right for my home? By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen
I’ve heard heat pumps can be a good alternative for heating my home, but it looks like there are several types available. Can you explain a few of the most common options?
I think it’s a good idea to consider a heat pump for your home. The technology has improved a lot over the past 1020 years and is likely to be at least 20% more efficient than what you have now. Heat pumps can also cool your home during summer months, which is an added value! Newer models of heat pumps can operate effectively in sub-zero weather, but sometimes they do so by switching to electric resistance mode, which is much less efficient. In a colder climate, it may be worth investing in a dual fuel system where propane or another fuel provides supplemental heat on extremely cold days. Here are a few situations where you might use the different types of air-source heat pumps.
1. Ducted heat pump
• If your home has a forced air furnace, a centralized airsource heat pump can work well. A compressor outside your home that looks like an A/C unit is connected to your home’s existing duct system. Like your furnace, the temperature is controlled through one main thermostat. This is a solid solution if your system has quality ductwork that heats and cools every room evenly, which is rare. • Ductwork in most homes is not designed to heat or cool every room evenly. Long supply runs provide little air to some rooms, and it’s typical for some rooms to lack return air registers. Also, ductwork is often leaky, which creates comfort issues. If leaky ducts are located in unheated areas such as crawl spaces or attics, it will increase your heating and cooling costs. Poor ductwork will render any kind of central heating or cooling system much less effective. Some HVAC contractors can repair ductwork problems if the ductwork is accessible. • Heat pumps vary in efficiency, and this is measured in two ways. The Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) rating measures heating efficiency and the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating measures cooling efficiency. The minimum ratings for a new heat pump are HSPF 8.2 and SEER 14. Heat pumps with the ENERGY STAR®-rating are significantly more efficient than the minimum standard. The quality of the installation also matters, and some contractors will have more experience and training than others. Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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A homeowner shows off his energy efficient ductless heat pump. PHOTO COURTESY MARCELA GARA, RESOURCE MEDIA
2. Mini-split heat pump
• If your home does not have ductwork or the ductwork is poorly designed or leaky, a ductless mini-split heat pump might be your best bet. With a mini-split heat pump, tubes connected to the outside compressor carry refrigerant to one or more air handlers, which are mounted high on a wall to distribute air. Thermostats regulate each air handler, providing control of different zones in the home. • In climates that don’t experience extreme cold, a ductless heat pump could supply all the heating and cooling in a small home. They are often used in combination with a central heating and cooling system. Ductless mini-splits are an excellent option if you don’t have central air ducts, your ducts are leaking or you only want the new ductless heat pump to heat or cool part of the home.
3. Geothermal (or ground-source) heat pump
• Several feet underground, the temperature remains constant year-round, typically between 45 degrees and 75 degrees F, depending on latitude. Heat is transferred into or out of the ground by pipes buried in a loop 10 feet underground or drilled up to 400 feet into the earth. The pipes carry water to a compressor, which uses a refrigerant to transfer the heat to or from your home’s ducts. • A geothermal heat pump system is extremely energy efficient since the earth’s temperature is warmer than the outside air in the winter and cooler than the outside air in the summer. But I should note this efficiency comes with a high price tag, which is the initial cost to install the pipe loop or drill the hole for a vertical pipe.
I hope this information provides a good starting point in your research of heat pumps. Check with your local electric co-op for additional information and guidance. If you have a qualified energy auditor in your area, an audit could be a great next step, especially if it includes a duct leakage test. Then you’ll be ready to reach out to contractors and request a few quotes. Good luck! www.alabamaliving.coop
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| Outdoors |
Anglers will soon see rainbows at Gadsden park
ost Alabama anglers have probably never seen a wild “People are really excited to hear about another opportunity rainbow trout, much less caught one unless they fished to fish for trout in Alabama,” Stump says. “We are seeing tourists in a tank at a sporting show. come to town, spend the night and fish. People are coming from Native to western states including Alaska, the colorful fish all over the Southeast, not just Alabama, to fish for trout. We’re now occur in most northern states and extend as far south as the selling more permits each year.” Ozark and Appalachian mountains. Rainbows like cold water and To fish Black Creek, anglers need to buy the regular Alabama can’t handle hot Alabama summers. state fishing license, plus a trout permit from the city of Gadsden. The state does regularly stock trout in the Sipsey Fork of the Money raised by the sale of trout permits allows the city to buy Black Warrior River northwest of and release more fish. Anglers Birmingham. Cold water coming fishing Black Creek must use only through the dam off the bottom fly tackle with barbless hooks on of Lake Lewis Smith keeps trout artificial baits and must release happy even during an Alabama all the trout they catch until the summer. The state has seasonalspring. After the water warms sufly stocked trout in other places, ficiently in the spring, the city will like Walker County Public Fishallow people to keep up to five ing Lake near Jasper. Other than trout per day. those places, avid Alabama trout “Local fishery biologists tend to fishermen must go to Tennessee think that the trout do not hold or northern Georgia as the closest over the summer here because the places to catch wild rainbows. water gets too warm, but I’ve seen For the past two years, the city pictures of people with trout in of Gadsden has been stocking the the summer,” Stump says. “I think multi-hued fish in Black Creek, a few of them might survive all which runs through Noccalula year. The system has some pools Falls Park. Black Creek eventualdown in the gorge that are shady ly flows into the Coosa River. The all day long. They might get in idea of releasing trout in Black that water and stay there, but we Creek came from local fly anglers, haven’t done a biological survey like the members of the Rainbow of it.” Fly Fishing Club, who travel freTo reach the creek, anglers quently to pursue their favorite must hike down a trail to the sport. gorge. People can bring waders to “We have a local fly-fishing outfish in the creek if they like. If not, fitter, Rainbow Fly Shop, and a rethey can find many places to fish ally active group of fly fishermen from the bank or boulders. The An angler shows off a rainbow trout he caught. Not native to in Etowah County,” says Hugh A. Alabama, rainbow trout can’t live in warm water. The city of Gadsden best fishing typically occurs closStump III, executive director for annually stocks trout in Black Creek, which runs through Noccalula est to the falls. Greater Gadsden Area Tourism. Falls Park, for people to catch during the fall, winter and spring. “The gorge is pretty deep,” PHOTO COURTESY GREATER GADSDEN AREA TOURISM “We have many local fly-fishing Stump warns. “It’s a bit of a hike enthusiasts who travel often to down there, but that’s part of the fish in other states. Some people thought that Black Creek might adventure. It’s a very scenic place. In the future, we might add a be able to hold rainbow trout, so we tried it and it worked! In set of steps going down into the gorge to make it a little easier. November 2019, we bought about 1,000 trout and released them That way, people won’t have to struggle carrying a rod and tackle at the falls so people could fish for them.” box while hiking into the gorge. It’s not an easy walk. We’re just The fish did well, and the city released more hatchery-raised really excited about giving people something else to do in Gadsrainbows in the 10- to 12-inch range into the creek in November den. That’s a good thing.” 2020. They plan to do the same this year to give local residents Anglers can buy city trout permits at the Noccalula Falls and visitors additional sporting activities. Campground office or online at flyfishgadsdenal.com. Permits cost $9 a day, or $11 for three consecutive days. Anglers can also buy a season permit for $30. John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer who lives in Semmes, Ala. He also hosts an outdoors tips show for WAVH FM For more information, contact Greater Gadsden Area Tourism Talk 106.5 radio station in Mobile, Ala. Contact him at j.felsher@ at 256-549-0351 or 888-565-0411. Visit greatergadsden.com or hotmail.com or through Facebook. look up their page on Facebook.
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DOUG HANNON’S FISH & GAME FORECAST
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EXCELLENT TIMES A.M.
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 A.M.
9:18 - 11:18 10:06 - 12:06 10:54 - 12:54 NA 12:30 - 2:30 1:18 - 3:18 1:06 - 3:06 1:54 - 3:54 2:42 - 4:42 3:30 - 5:30 4:18 - 6:18 5:06 - 7:06 5:54 - 7:54 6:42 - 8:42 7:30 - 9:30 8:18 - 10:18 9:06 - 11:06 9:54 - 11:54 10:42 - 12:42 NA 1:06 - 3:06 1:54 - 3:54 2:42 - 4:42 3:30 - 5:30 4:18 - 6:18 5:06 - 7:06 5:54 - 7:54 6:42 - 8:42 7:30 - 9:30 8:18 - 10:18
8:54 - 10:54 9:42 - 11:42 10:30 - 12:30 12:06 - 2:06 FULL MOON 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 PM
9:42 - 11:42 10:30 - 12:30 11:18 - 1:18 12:06 - 2:06 NEW MOON 12:54 - 2:54 1:42 - 3:42 1:30 - 3:30 2:18 - 4:18 3:06 - 5:06 3:54 - 5:54 4:42 - 6:42 5:30 - 7:30 6:18 - 8:18 7:06 - 9:06 7:54 - 9:54 8:42 - 10:42 9:30 - 11:30 10:18 - 12:18 11:06 - 1:06 FULL MOON 12:42 - 2:42 1:30 - 3:30 2:18 - 4:18 3:06 - 5:06 3:54 - 5:54 4:42 - 6:42 5:30 - 7:30 6:18 - 8:18 7:06 - 9:06 7:54 - 9:54 8:42 - 10:42
GOOD TIMES AM
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 AM
3:45 - 5:15 4:33 - 6:03 5:21 - 6:51 6:09 - 7:39 6:57 - 8:27 7:45 - 9:15 7:33 - 9:03 8:21 - 9:51 9:09 - 10:39 9:57 - 11:27 10:45 - 12:15 11:33 - 1:03 NA 1:09 - 2:39 1:57 - 3:27 2:45 - 4:15 3:33 - 5:03 4:21 - 5:51 5:09 - 6:39 6:45 - 8:15 7:33 - 9:03 8:21 - 9:51 9:09 - 10:39 9:57 - 11:27 10:45 - 12:15 11:33 - 1:03 NA 1:09 - 2:39 1:57 - 3:27 2:45 - 4:15
3:21 - 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 PM
4:09 - 5:39 4:57 - 6:27 5:45 - 7:15 6:33 - 8:03 7:21 - 8:51 8:09 - 9:39 7:57 - 9:27 8:45 - 10:15 9:33 - 11:03 10:21 - 11:51 11:09 - 12:39 11:57 - 1:27 12:45 - 2:15 1:33 - 3:03 2:21 - 3:51 3:09 - 4:39 3:57 - 5:27 4:45 - 6 ;15 5:33 - 7:03 7:09 - 8:39 7:57 - 9:27 8:45 - 10:15 9:33 - 11:03 10:21 - 11:51 11:09 - 12:39 11:57 - 1:27 12:45 - 2:15 1:33 - 3:03 2:21 - 3:51 3:09 - 4:39
The Moon Clock and resulting Moon Times were developed 40 years ago by Doug Hannon, one of America’s most trusted wildlife experts and a tireless inventor. The Moon Clock is produced by DataSport, Inc. of Atlanta, GA, a company specializing in wildlife activity time prediction. To order the 2021 Moon Clock, go to www.moontimes.com. Alabama Living
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| Alabama Recipes |
Photos by Brooke Echols
hether you like them baked, mashed, grilled, roasted, in potato salad, or au gratin, potatoes are one of the most versatile vegetables you can put on your plate. They’re also nutritious, being a good source for fiber, “which is important for digestive health and can help you feel full and is beneficial for heart and gastrointestinal health,” says Katie Funderburk, an extension specialist in nutrition with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. “One small potato with the skin on provides about 10 percent of daily fiber needs.” Potatoes are also naturally fat free, cholesterol free, and low in sodium, an excellent source of vitamin C, and those eaten with the skin are a good source of potassium, according to Potatoes USA, which represents 2,500 potato growers and handlers across the country. White potatoes aren’t much different from sweet potatoes in the nutrition they provide. “The big difference is that the sweet potato is an excellent source of Vitamin A,” says Katie. “The orange coloring of the sweet potato comes from the plant pigment beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant that our bodies turn into Vitamin A. Beta carotene and other antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables can decrease your risk of heart disease and certain cancers.” The recipes sent in by our readers showcase the variety of ways you can enjoy your potatoes, from breakfast to dessert! For more recipes, visit livewellalabama.com or potatogoodness.com/potato-recipes.
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Potatoes are one of the most versatile vegetables. Truthfully, nothing beats just some good old ks Bur Brooke mashed potatoes. Here, we show you how to jazz them up and make them a dish that everyone will love. WARNING! These fancy mashed potatoes may also make folks fall in love with you too! This is the first side dish I ever fixed for my husband of now 26 years. So simple, yet so delicious!
Photo by The Buttered Home
Garlic Mashed Potatoes -3 pounds white potatoes, peeled, cubed and boiled 2 3 tablespoons butter 8 ounces cream cheese 8 ounces sour cream 2 teaspoons garlic powder 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper Dried parsley or green onions, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil and drain potatoes. In a large bowl, mash potatoes until desired consistency is achieved. Add butter, cream cheese and sour cream. Mix well. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder, mixing well. Pour into a greased 9x13-inch casserole dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Garnish with dried parsley or chopped green onions.
Cook of the Month: Teresa Hubbard, Franklin EC Teresa Hubbard, an aide for special needs students at Russellville Middle School, got the idea for her “Potato Surprise” recipe after seeing a similar recipe in an AllRecipes magazine a few years ago. “They had a recipe in there for loaded potatoes with bacon, onions, celery and leftover potatoes and cheese,” she says. The mixture was fried as patties, but she modified the recipe using flour tortillas and adding in sausage, red bell pepper, cumin and chilies. The “surprise” dish was a hit with her sister and nephews and her sister encouraged her to send it in for this month’s contest because it was so good it might win. She was right!
Potato Surprise 1¼ cups leftover mashed potatoes (that were prepared with salt, margarine and milk) 1 cup hot pork sausage, cooked and crumbled ½ cup red bell pepper strips, chopped 1½ teaspoons ground cumin ¼ cup onion, chopped 3 tablespoons diced green chilies, drained 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese 1 large egg 11 8-inch flour tortillas Cook sausage and drain off grease. In a bowl, stir together mashed potatoes, sausage, pepper strips, cumin, onion, chilies and cheese, stir well; beat in egg. Place ¼ cup of potato mixture, just below center of tortillas; fold up bottom edge, fold over left and right sides and fold top down. Rub water on tortillas to seal seams together. Fry tortillas in deep hot oil 375 degrees 1-2 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Yields 11 servings.
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Herbed Potatoes ¾ ¼ 1 ½ ¼ ¼ 2 6
Potato Chip Cookies
Potato Chip Cookies 2 cups butter, softened 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 3½ cups all-purpose flour 2 cups potato chips, crushed ½ cup pecans, chopped Cream soft butter, sugar and vanilla. Add flour in small amounts. Fold crushed potato chips and chopped pecans into the batter. Scoop dough 2 inches apart on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Lexie Turnipseed Dixie EC
cup butter cup celery, minced teaspoon oregano teaspoon salt teaspoon garlic powder teaspoon black pepper medium onions, sliced baking potatoes
Melt butter in a skillet, add celery and sauté about 10 minutes. Stir in seasonings. Set aside. Cutting not quite through, slit each potato into ½-inch slits. Place each potato on sliced onion on top of a sheet of foil, large enough to wrap a potato. Pour about 1/6 of butter mixture on each potato. Bring edges of foil together and seal securely. Bake it your preferred way. Potatoes are done if soft when lightly squeezed. Cooking tips: charcoal grill over medium coals approximately 60 minutes; conventional oven on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for 60 minutes; crock pot potatoes can be stacked, baked 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Karyl J. Stockinger Pea River EC
Potato Breakfast Bowls Per person: 1 potato, cubed 2-3 small okra pods 1/2 small onion 1 mushroom, sliced 1 handful of spinach leaves 2 eggs Salt, ground cayenne pepper, garlic powder and rosemary, to taste Olive oil
to the winning
Cook of the Month!
Please send us your original recipes, developed by you or family members. You may adapt a recipe from another source by changing as little as the amount of one ingredient. Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year. To be eligible, submissions must include a name, phone number, mailing address and co-op name. Alabama Living reserves the right to reprint recipes in our other publications. 32 OCTOBER 2021
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Pour enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a skillet and turn on medium heat. Cut potato into ½-inch cubes and add to skillet. Slice okra into ¼-inch pieces and add to skillet. Cut slice of onion, then cut into 8 pieces like a pizza, and add to skillet. Slice mushroom into thin slices and add to skillet. Add spinach leaves and cover. While veggies cook, whisk eggs with salt, powdered cayenne, garlic powder, and rosemary. When spinach leaves are wilted, and a fork easily pierces the potatoes, add the egg mixture, stirring occasionally until dry. Serve with whole grain toast. Jennifer Fleming Baldwin EMC
Potato Stuffing 1 3 5 4 3 1/2 1
medium onion, chopped celery stalks, chopped tablespoons butter slices whole wheat bread, torn into pieces cups cooked mashed potatoes teaspoon dried sage tablespoon dried parsley Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large pan, sauté onion and celery in butter over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in bread, potatoes, sage, parsley, salt and pepper. Grease a medium sized casserole dish and add stuffing mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour or until top is slightly browned and crispy. Great for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Also, a perfect side dish with meatloaf. Janice Bracewell Covington EC
Themes and Deadlines: January: Homemade Breads | October 1 February: Chicken | November 5 March: Irish Dishes | December 3 Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: email@example.com Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
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Give a 12-ISSUE gift subscription to
Recipient’s Name:_____________________ Street:_____________________ City:_______________________ Zip:________________________ Phone:_____________________ E-mail:_____________________ RETURN WITH $12 CHECK PAYABLE TO
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MAIL TO: Alabama
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Payne Land Preparation, LLC
is a family owned and operated company. We use a John Deere 333D track loader with a 5’ wide rotating drum mulching head that has carbide teeth for mulching brush, vegetation and up to 6” diameter trees. Located in Jackson County and servicing all of North Alabama Our Services include but are not limited to: • Clearing over grown fence rows • Trails • Pastures • Shooting lanes • Property lines • Hunting areas • Fire breaks • Access roads • Right of ways • Tree tops left over from property that has been previously logged • Real estate tracks and future home sites. Why choose Payne Land Preparation, LLC? • We treat your land as we do our own!
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Using a rotating drum mulcher benefits your land by: • Clearing down to surface of soil • Leaving roots intact to hold land and soil structure minimizing ground disturbance and erosion • Left over mulch helps prevent regrowth and returns nutrients back to soil • No brush piles, no burning or haul away • Improve the value and looks of your property We also offer stump grinding and backhoe services.
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9/14/21 1:38 PM
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| Our Sources Say |
Alabama has many historical treasures; let’s work together to preserve them
TVA Volunteers monitoring a Tribal Site.
he Tennessee Valley is rich in Native American history. With more than 20 federally recognized tribes that call the Valley their homeland and more than 12,500 reported Native American archeological sites on TVA property, it’s not uncommon for hikers and even property owners to stumble across an artifact — and be tempted to keep it. For Karen Brunso, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer and citizen of the Chickasaw nation, this is the equivalent of finding, taking and selling a tribal artifact. “Pottery shards are our grandmothers’ dishes; stone tools are our grandfathers’ tools,” Brunso said. “And if someone takes a sacred item, it’s the same as looting a church. Tribal artifacts are not a cool way to own a piece of history, they’re pieces of history that tell a story – our story.” In addition to eliminating a piece of history, Stacye Hathorn, partner to TVA’s Cultural Compliance team and state archaeologist for Alabama, said that removing an artifact from an archeological site in particular can impact the integrity of the entire site; meaning that they can no longer identify what the location was used for historically. “Not everyone gets to write their history in books, but everyone gets to write their history in the soil,” Hathorn said. “Even the flakes left over from someone carving an arrowhead can help us determine if the site was a simple campground or a war site. But if the arrowhead is missing, we’re missing a very crucial piece of the puzzle. Unless we find other artifacts deeper in the soil of the site,
Kevin Chandler is general manager, Alabama District Customer Service, for the Tennessee Valley Authority.
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we won’t be able to tell that story correctly.” Since archeological sites are non-renewable resources, even professional excavation projects require calculated measures and thought. For the past six years, TVA has been partnering with the University of Alabama’s Office of Archeological Research to analyze and catalog artifact collections that were gathered from the Guntersville, Wheeler and Pickwick basins in the 1930s and 40s. The artifacts, which range from pieces of Native American life to European trade goods, were collected by TVA and University of Alabama archeologists and researchers before the sites could be impacted by construction of the dams. So, what should you do if you find an artifact – either on TVA property or in your own backyard? According to TVA senior specialist archeologist Erin Dunsmore, the answer is simple. She notes that it could be illegal to dig in these sites, especially if you find a burial site. If you find an artifact, do the right thing and don’t touch it — leave it where it is. Then, she recommends that you follow these steps: Take a picture of the item just as you found it. Remember the precise location, so you can report it with the photo to Dunsmore and the team via email at culturalresources@ tva.gov. If you see someone illegally digging for artifacts on TVA property, contact the TVA police at 855-476-2489. If you find an artifact on your own property, it’s best to stop what you’re doing and contact your state archeologist or email the address above. TVA’s team can help you contact the correct authority. NEVER post about your findings on social media because it gives dishonest people the opportunity to steal and loot. Let’s work together to help preserve history and show reverence for Native American tribal heritage. www.alabamaliving.coop
9/13/21 10:56 AM
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| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |
Illustration by Dennis Auth
lections. As regular as clockwork we have them. And as regular as clockwork our great republic survives. The peaceful transition of power that occurs when one person or party loses and the victor takes its place is a wonderful thing to behold. I grew up with small-county politics. My family was part of what was sometimes called the “Courthouse Gang.” Finding myself on the inside of this political culture, I was privy to many things that greased wheels to victory on election night. Like “walking around money.” This was money paid to key individuals in the rural communities scattered around our county. They might be owners Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at email@example.com
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of cross-road stores, who provided commodities and credit to would-be voters, and to whom those voters owed a favor. They might be preachers or teachers from rural churches and schools, churches and schools that were always short of funds. They were respected folks who would “walk around” and spread the word that certain candidates were more acceptable than others. “Walking around money.” Now you don’t hear much about it anymore. At least not in the county where I grew up. At least not since 2006. That year the campaign was so bitter that candidates and their supporters began claiming that their opponents were using “walking around money” to actually buy votes. Fearing the consequences, folks who once welcomed “walking around money” had second thoughts about the practice.
The election that year coincided with the celebration of the 20th anniversary of my Daddy’s Poutin House, his outback retreat where he and his friends met to cuss and discuss whatever was on their minds. All his old political allies were there that evening -- except for one. The festivities were already under way when the last showed up. Someone asked him, “Where you been?” Knowing he was among friends, the late arrival replied, “Trying to pass out ‘walking around money’.” “How’d it go?” “No one would take it.” As an incredulous silence settled over the group he added, “When folks won’t take ‘walking around money,’ what’s America coming to?” Shaking heads and silence. Like so many things that have been part of Alabama politics, “walking around money” was no more. Probably for the best. www.alabamaliving.coop
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Thank you for reading
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