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

South Alabama Electric Cooperative

www.southaec.com

School’s out Teachers and students remember landmark Banks Middle School building

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SOUTH ALA.

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Manager David Bailey Produced by the staff of South Alabama Electric Cooperative 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.

Preserving the history of Black baseball

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VOL. 74 NO. 6

F E A T U R E S

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Welcome aboard

6

Class dismissed

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

More than 1,700 signed baseballs are among the many exhibits housed at the Negro Southern League Museum in Birmingham, the largest collection of Negro League materials in the world.

JUNE 2021

Tim Sanders joins SAEC board of trustees as representative for District 7. Community reflects on landmark Banks Middle School building while looking forward to new campus.

Blueberry season 44 Blueberries are in ample supply this

month. Enjoy them fresh or in one of reader-submitted recipes!

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ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL OFFICES:

340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 For advertising, email: advertising@areapower.com For editorial inquiries, email: contact@alabamaliving.coop NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE:

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

D E P A R T M E N T S 11 Spotlight 29 Around Alabama 42 Outdoors 43 Fish & Game Forecast 46 Cook of the Month 54 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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The Banks Middle School building has been an iconic part of the Pike County community since it opened in 1937. It was demolished in March to make way for a new Banks School campus. See story, page 6.

44 WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

ONLINE: EMAIL: MAIL:

www.alabamaliving.coop letters@alabamaliving.coop Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

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Appreciation for those who serve

t

David Bailey, General Manager

Board of Trustees James Shaver President District 2

Delaney Kervin Vice President District 5

Douglas Green Secretary/Treasurer District 6

Johnny Garrett District 1

James May At Large

Tim Sanders District 7

Raymond Trotter District 3

Ben Fox District 4

Each June I find myself thinking about two dates. The first is June 6, better known as D-Day, and the second is Lineman Appreciation Day, when the state of Alabama recognizes our electric lineworkers. When it comes to the first, there are few moments that have impacted me as much as visiting Normandy as a young Army brat. As a child, I remember picturing comic booklike battles taking place on those beaches. But as I matured, I learned that war isn’t like it’s depicted in comic books. I think of those soldiers hunkered down in their Higgins boats as they made their way toward the shoreline, praying they could overcome the obstacles ahead of them. I often think about what must have been going through their heads in those moments. Were they thinking about their families back home, wondering if they would see them again? Did they long to go hunting or see their kids play a ballgame just one more time? I don’t know but I thank the Lord that they did track forward and were victorious. Some of them were fortunate enough to make it through and enjoy those simple pleasures again. But others never made it home and are still entombed in the military cemetery at Normandy. I am honored they served and will always be proud of the bravery they showed on those beaches. In this time in our country, we have a growing number of people bashing our country and its history. While I would be the first to admit our country is no utopia, I would challenge anyone to name a country greater than the United States of America and find a group of people who fought harder to preserve freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for their loved ones. It’s our charge for us to learn and educate others of the historical truth about our country. When you know the truth, then you will not fall into the non-truth statements being spoken against our country. It’s no different in knowing the truth about your faith. The second day I think of at this time of year is Lineman Appreciation Day. If you

Thank you for POWERING our lives. 4  JUNE 2021

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want to hear a great tribute to linemen, I would recommend giving a listen to the Glen Campbell classic “Wichita Lineman.” In it, he sings about these tireless men and women who have dedicated themselves to a life of being always on call. They may be pulled away from their families in the middle of the night or asked to work in the wind and rain. Linemen do all that and more to restore the electric service on which we have all come to rely. It’s a great career and a rewarding one. But it is also incredibly demanding, and even with all the safety measures our crews take, it can be dangerous. After all, there are not many second chances when it comes to electricity. Even with all the work I have put into my career in the electric industry, I would never compare myself to our linemen and the commitment they show each day. It is a difficult job, and all too often a thankless one. So I would like to show my appreciation to our linemen at SAEC, as well as those serving all across the country. Please when you see our lineman in the field or in the community, thank them for their work at your cooperative. It means more than you think! Some of our members may have also noticed that we have a new trustee this month, Tim Sanders. I encourage all of you to take some time to read about him in this magazine and get to know the man who will be representing the people of District 7. For my part, I can say that Mr. Sanders has shown great humility in taking on this new role, and I have no doubt he will serve our members well. I also hope that this column will inspire some of our members to take a deeper look at the history of our country. It’s a topic I am passionate about, which is why I take every opportunity I can to teach our members about the proud past of both our electric cooperative and our nation. We can learn a lot from our own history, and I encourage each of you to educate yourself rather than let someone else do it for you. n

Lineman Appreciation Day is June 7

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Living to serve

SAEC SAECService Service Area Area LOWNDES

Sanders looks forward to bringing his farm-grown managerial skills to the board.

on the Coffee Baptist Association’s finance committee and is a deacon at Roeton Baptist Church in northern Coffee County. “I enjoy doing things for the community,” Sanders says. “I have a lot to learn about electric cooperatives, but I want to find ways to help all the members of the cooperative.” Sanders believes his greatest attribute may be the managerial skills he has developed while running a farm since 1980. He currently operates seven chicken houses, farms peanuts and cotton on about 600 acres of land and owns about 80 head of cattle. The farm also produces its own hay. A lifelong resident of District 7, Sanders attended Troy University and studied business before going into farming full time. He is married to Cindy, a teacher who retired from the Enterprise City Schools system but who now works on a contract basis for Ozark City Schools. The couple have two daughters, Abbey and Callie, and one granddaughter, Willow. n

£ ¤

China Grove

Sanders brings ‘humble’ spirit to SAEC board If Tim Sanders ever needs a boost of energy, he recalls how South Alabama Electric Cooperative linemen approach their jobs. “When they’re called, they put in the work. They are dedicated,” Sanders says. “They inspire me to be dedicated, too.” Sanders brings that spirit to the South Alabama Electric Cooperative board of trustees as the new District 7 representative. The board approved his selection in April following the recent retirement of Glenn Reeder. “He’s very humble, and he’s very willing to serve the members of SAEC, which I think is one of the greatest attributes to have in an electric cooperative trustee,” says David Bailey, SAEC’s general manager. Sanders has a track record of serving his community. A farmer in the northern Coffee County community of Frisco, Sanders is on the advisory committee of First South Farm Credit, a cooperative financial institution that helps rural communities in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. He also maintains a role

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COFFEE

Contact Information Mailing address P.O. Box 449 Troy, AL 36081

Website www.southaec.com

Phone 334-566-2060 800-556-2060

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Find us here:

Payment Options SAEC App Available from the App Store and Google Play BY MAIL P.O. Box 449 Troy, AL 36081 WEBSITE www.southaec.com PHONE PAYMENTS 877-566-0611, credit cards accepted NIGHT DEPOSITORY Available at our Highway 231 office, day or night PAYMENT POINTS Regions Bank - Troy branch Troy Bank and Trust - all branch locations 1st National Bank of Brundidge and Troy First Citizens - Luverne branch Banks Buy Rite - Banks Country 1 Stop - Honoraville IN PERSON 13192 U.S. 231, Troy, AL 36081 Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Questions? For questions concerning Capital Credits, contact: capital.credits@southaec.com For questions concerning Billing, contact: billing@southaec.com For questions concerning Construction, contact: construction@southaec.com Alabama Living

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SCHOOL DAYS Community remembers old Banks Middle School The old Banks Middle School building was an iconic landmark in this small Pike County community. The school, which opened in 1937, has been taken down for a newer, bigger Banks School that will accommodate kindergarten through eighth grade on one campus when it opens for the 2022-23 school year. While the beloved building will be missed, administrators, teachers and parents are universal in their resolve that Banks has been, is now and will continue to be a special place to learn and grow. Banks School principal Shantell Rouse, a relative newcomer as she wraps up her third year, says it “didn’t take long” to confirm that feeling. “The school is the heart of this community, and the community supports it,” Rouse says. “They love the school. It goes back from grandparents. It’s generation after generation. It’s amazing to see how the community feels about this school. Their response to anything that I need here is just amazing. “One of the teachers can ask for something and the parents are going to provide it. This year the fifth grade wanted to have their Behavior Day with a Mardis Gras theme. It was amazing what the parents brought in. Field Day, the same way.” 6  JUNE 2021

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‘The hub of the community’

Karen Smith retired after 41 years in teaching — 31 of those in Pike County and the last 27 at Banks. Her husband, Randall Smith, went to school at Banks. “There are people who moved here just so their children could go to school at Banks. We’re like family — children that you’ve taught, and you taught their parents,” she says. “Over the years when we’ve had these studies done, the only thing parents wished was that it went through high school.” Laura Ellis is the reading coach at Banks’ Bethel campus —they call it the “little school” because it is home to kindergarten through third grade — and has been at Banks for 29 years. “This is the hub of the community,” Ellis says. “My daughter was 18 months old when I came to Banks. She’s 30. She had her first Fall Festival in that old building. All the programs and big events we bussed our kids from the little school for every Honors Day, Field Day, everything.” She noted that Banks is unique in Pike County in that it is a true community school. “Our parents love the fact that we know the name of every child in this school,” Ellis says. “This afternoon in the car line,

I will have former students and grandparents picking up their kids. They laugh at me when I get my walkie-talkie and start calling out names just by seeing the cars. If you’re not from here, you become one of us really quickly.”

Past and future

The feelings for the school and its ties to the community seemed to grow even stronger when Banks had a community walkthrough at the old building before its demolition. “I knew that everybody loved Banks,” Ellis says. “But until we had that open house … I still have chill bumps. It was humbling to see how much people loved the school and still loved it. The memories are deep and they’re strong.” Principal Rouse just shook her head in amazement. “I had no idea we would have that many people come through here,” she says. “We had over 500 in two days. We did a Saturday morning session and a Sunday afternoon. Saturday was really good, and we just assumed we wouldn’t have that many Sunday. It was just as crowded, if not more.” Former Banks students brought their families. Rouse said she was glad she was www.alabamaliving.coop

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there, but added she didn’t need to be. Former students were happy to take the lead, showing kids and grandkids their old classrooms. One grandfather showed his family where he worked in the cafeteria to pay for his lunch. “The people were there with their families. This was their building,” Rouse says. “I just sat back and enjoyed watching people take so much pride in going through the buildings and sharing their memories. One couple had been married 50 years. They skipped the junior prom, got married and have been together ever since. It was wonderful.” The sentiment for the old building was evident. But it was time for something better — and bigger. Rouse says she is eager to have all of Banks School on one campus. The additional classrooms, STEM labs, a Bobcat News Room, choir room and meeting spaces will be even more welcomed by the students and the community. “Don Renfroe, a former student, said if it’s the best thing for the kids, let it go,” Ellis says. “That’s the way you have to think about it. We’re preparing them for jobs that don’t exist yet. So we’ve got to be able to keep up, at least, with what it is here now.” n

Over 500 people visited Banks Middle School for a final walkthrough in March.

Alabama Living

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Isabell Boyd Mayor

Doug Holland District 1

Latisher Hall District 2

Margaret Ross District 3

Byron Gaynor District 4

Marilyn Rodgers District 5

BRUNDIDGE u o y r o f g n i t wai is

The mayor and council of the City of Brundidge welcome you to stop by for a visit. Enjoy the unique small-town atmosphere in a community where everyone knows their neighbor.

www.brundidgealabama.com 8  JUNE 2021

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| Alabama Snapshots |

Pool Day!

William Diamond, Reagan Diamond, Ashleigh Lane, Riley Lane, Kyleigh Lane, Camden Lane and Carson Diamond. SUBMITTED BY Stacey Diamond, Grady.

Socz loves lying on her float and hanging at the pool. SUBMITTED BY Cyndee Helms, Deatsville.

Emma enjoying a pool day. SUBMITTED by Nicole Dunn, Clayton.

Our grandchildren AnnaBeth Aaron, Grayson Aaron, Liam Mixon, and Ansley Mixon on vacation in Orange Beach. SUBMITTED by Stanley and Laura Diane Aaron, Bay Minette.

My granddaughter, Kady. SUBMITTED by Sandra Kiplinger, Union Grove.

Submit “Nap Time” photos by June 31. Winning photos will run in August.

SUBMIT to WIN $10! Alabama Living

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

Rusty Rush and Leah Bishop at Playa del Carmen, March 22, 2020. SUBMITTED by Leah Bishop, Arab.

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.

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Spotlight | June

Broadband bill passes Alabama House and Senate

Support Sweet Grown Alabama farmers markets

The Alabama Legislature gave full approval to SB215, also known as the broadband expansion bill, which will help bring high-speed broadband internet services to Alabama’s underserved areas. The bill establishes a grant program and creates the Alabama Digital Expansion Authority, which will plan and oversee the expansion of broadband. It could issue bonds of up to $250 million to finance eligible projects; the state currently funds $20 million per year to a broadband grant program. High-speed internet isn’t available in large swaths of the state. The pandemic revealed just how much Alabamians need access for education, work and telehealth. The legislation was supported by the Alabama Rural Broadband Coalition, of which the Alabama Rural Electric Association is a member. AREA publishes Alabama Living magazine. (Information from Alabama Daily News)

A trip to the farmers market is an easy way to buy a variety of locally grown vegetables and fruits and meet the farmers who grow your produce. Make plans to support Sweet Grown Alabama farmers markets this spring and summer at 25 locations statewide. Sweet Grown Alabama is a non-profit organization that enhances marketing opportunities for farmers by connecting retailers and consumers to Alabama-grown foods and other agricultural products. Visit SweetGrownAlabama.org to find all sorts of resources, including a harvest calendar for fruits and vegetables; farmer spotlights; and recipes supplied by Sweet Grown Alabama members. The site also lists the names, addresses and contact information for its Alabama growers and producers.

‘The Miracle Worker’ celebrates 60th season at Ivy Green The beloved play “The Miracle Worker,” which tells the early childhood story of Helen Keller, will be produced on the grounds of Ivy Green in Tuscumbia on Friday and Saturday evenings, June 11 through July 17. The play by William Gibson tells the story of Keller, who was left blind and deaf after an illness as an infant. An intelligent child, Keller was frustrated with her inability to communicate with her family. Her parents found help with teacher Anne Sullivan, who arrived in Tuscumbia in 1887. She was able to reach Helen as no one else could. The original water pump where Helen learned her first word, “water,” is still on the grounds of Ivy Green, where Keller grew up. Seeing her story come to life, literally in Helen’s own backyard, is an experience like none other. Gates will open at 7 each evening, with the show beginning at 8 p.m. Concessions will be available during intermission. Prices are $15 for reserved seating and $10 general admission. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling the Helen Keller Birthplace at 256-383-4066. For more information, visit HelenKellerBirthplace.org. 10  JUNE 2021

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

Appreciated Hardy Jackson's column on dogs I just read your story, “In Memory of Dogs,” in the May magazine. So sorry to read about Bo’s crossing the Rainbow Bridge. Sounds like he led a happy and full life. If there are no dogs in heaven, I don’t want to go. I’ll just cross the Rainbow Bridge and live out eternity with my dogs (and cats). I hope I deserve the love and loyalty they have all given to me. Thanks for writing the article. And I hope you lied again about not getting another dog. A rescue would be a good choice and Bo would like that for sure! Allen Cotton, Verbena I just want to say how much I LOVED your article. It brought tears to my eyes.  I can so relate to it.  I have lost more dogs than I want to count (we have a large pet cemetery in my back yard). At this time, I own six dogs, all rescues. All different breeds.  I so agree, I wish humans had more of the animal compassion.  Thank you for sharing this story.    Jo Ellen Weldon, Valley Read more letters on Page 38 www.alabamaliving.coop

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June | Spotlight

Take us along!

Whereville, AL

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: mytravels@alabamaliving.coop. Please include your name, hometown and electric cooperative, and the location of your photo. We’ll draw a winner for the $25 prize each month.

Cherie Cochran Connell of Hamilton visited the Roosevelt Arch, dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903, marking the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park. It is the only entrance that is open year-round. She is a member of Tombigbee Electric Cooperative.

Grace Skinner and Virginia Taylor from Hamilton recently visited the North Pole, Alaska. They are members of Tombigbee Electric Cooperative.

Linda Selby of Daphne, a member of Baldwin EMC, took her magazine on a trip to the Everglades National Park.

Mark and Lisa Van Zweden are pictured atop the Hakkoda Mountains in Aomori Prefecture, Japan, “the snowiest place on earth.” The snow-covered trees in the background are called snow monsters.  “We love Japan but our home’s in Alabama!” they say. Their home is in Pine Level where they are members of Central Alabama EC. They live in Japan during the school year while Mark teaches at Misawa Air Base.

Find the hidden dingbat! More than 700 of you correctly found the bicycle parked in front of Pruett’s BBQ last month. And many of you, including Sherron Crabtree of Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative, wrote that the bicycle’s owner obviously had good taste and decided to stop in and eat there, based on the appetizing photos of the barbecue and chicken fingers on Page 24! Phyllis Fenn, a member of Dixie Electric Cooperative, said she hoped the bike rider was inside “enjoying the sweet potato fluff,” named one of the “100 Alabama Dishes to Eat Before You Die.” We get entries from readers of all ages, including Beau Sams, 10, and Sybil Alabama Living

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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 June 7 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the July issue. Submit by email: whereville@alabamaliving.coop, 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! May’s answer: This full-scale replica of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is the centerpiece of the Liberty Bell Garden at the American Village in Montevallo. It was made for the 250th anniversary of the original and was cast by Skylight Studios Inc. of Massachusetts from a mold made from the original bell. (Photo by Lenore Vickrey of Alabama Living) The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Bill Byrd of Wiregrass EC.

Lee Sams, 9, of Madison who read their grandmother’s magazine; and Jenna Kate Crutchfield, 8, of Eutaw. Keep up the good reading, kids! Virginia Scroggins, age 71, of Opelika, told us this was the first time she had found the dingbat after searching each month. She got a bit of help when her cat, Sugar, jumped in her lap and put her paw on the picture!

By mail:

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

By email: dingbat@alabamaliving.com

Lindsey Sullivan of Baldwin EMC wrote us a poem: BBQ’s my favorite But I like catfish, too. But riding on my bicycle’s My favorite thing to do. Alabama Living must Have been thinking of me ‘Cause on Page 24 in May I could get all 3! Congratulations to our randomly drawn winner, Tim Trushaw of Dothan AL, who is a member of Wiregrass Electric. Tim says "Pretty slick putting it in the photo of Pruetts Bar-B-Q at the top of page 24." This month we’ve hidden an ice cream cone, so start looking and send us your guess by June 7. JUNE 2021  11

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Noccalula Falls is a city of Gadsden showpiece. PHOTO SUBMITTED BY CHRISTINA RICHARDSON

Falling for

waterfalls Visitors to Alabama’s cascading waters are setting records 12  JUNE 2021

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F

rom gurgling brooks to raging rivers, we fall for waterfalls and there is probably one near you – Alabama has hundreds. Here are seven; some are famous, and others should be. But first, heed advice from waterfall experts: If possible, call ahead and check conditions. During dry periods, some waterfalls cease falling. Another tip – safety first, as a waterfall is not a water park. It is nature. Be careful, obey the rules, have fun, starting with these: Little River

The waterfalls of Little River Canyon are little only in name. Our search starts with Fort Payne’s big three: Little River Falls stands 45 feet high, and over centuries carved the canyon it inhabits. Second, Martha’s Falls is a mini-waterfall and a favorite swimming hole. Last and largest is the seasonal (not often flowing in summer) Grace’s High Falls, 133-feet high, the tallest waterfall in Alabama. Height is not the only record Little River Canyon and falls have set. Attendance is setting records. “2020 was our biggest year ever,” recalls the site’s superintendent, Steve Black. “Last year we brought in about 800,000 visitors. That’s about a 100,000 increase over 2019.” The most popular of the three is the namesake, Little River Falls, easily accessible by foot. Visitors tread boardwalks splitting into two routes. One is for people with difficulties maneuvering down steps. The other route leads hikers along scenic-rocky paths. The other two falls also await explorers. The trek is a bit longer to the overlooks, but the jaw-dropping vistas are worth the hike. But before assuming Daniel Boone mode, take note: During peak flow times, usually winter or after heavy rain, the timid becomes a tempest. Stay at least 50 feet from the turbulent waterfalls’ edges (required by law). One misstep could send you over the falls, becoming one with nature.

Noccalula Falls

A city showpiece, Gadsden’s waterfall namesake has a heart-tugging tale. Legend says Noccalula was a young Indian maiden in love with a local brave. Her father disapproved. Dad promised his daughter to another suitor in a neighboring tribe. Rather than marry someone she did not love, Noccalula leaped to her death into the waterfall. Her statue stands atop the fall, depicting the event. But on a happier note, more than 200,000 people visit Noccalula Falls annually. “It is popular because of easy access and it is beautiful, and offers a one-of-a-kind experience,” notes Christina Richardson, Noccalula Falls supervisor for the city of Gadsden. “In addition to viewing, you can hike behind the waterfall.” Noccalula Falls is packed with entertainment venues. The 500 acres includes a train ride, pioneer village, botanical garden, campground, 18-hole mini golf course, a playground, and 15 miles of hiking, biking, and running trails. Unfortunately, the petting zoo suffered a devastating fire on May 2, and many of the animals were lost. As of press time, the Gadsden Fire Department is investigating the cause of the blaze. Meanwhile, the statue of Noccalula gazes down the 90-foot column of rushing water. While teetering on the waterfall’s ledge, her likeness teaches us a lesson in love: Look before you leap. Alabama Living

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PHOTO SUBMITTED BY CHRISTINA RICHARDSON

PHOTO SUBMITTED BY STEVE BLACK

By Emmett Burnett

DeSoto Falls

PHOTO SUBMITTED BY BRITTNEY M. HUGHES

One of Alabama’s largest and most visible, DeSoto Falls cascades over the A.A. Miller Dam before pouring 90 feet into a gorge below. Pro tip: DeSoto Falls is one of many waterfalls in DeSoto State Park. “Many people don’t realize DeSoto Falls is one piece of the park’s 3,580 acres,” says Brittney M. Hughes, park naturalist. “There are falls galore most of the year in the main park area as well.” DeSoto Falls is one of Alabama’s most popular tourist destinations. “To avoid crowds, visit during the winter. That would be your best bet,” Hughes says. “The busiest times for the picnic area are summer and fall weekends. If you visit during those times, go in the early morning or late afternoon.” In addition to picnicking, DeSoto Falls and DeSoto State Park feature guided paddle trips, kayak rental, zip lining, fishing, and mountain biking. However, as stated in their website, kayaking over the falls is not permitted. For those desiring to paddle a personal watercraft over a 107-foot wall of water, seek elsewhere. Also seek help. There’s got to be a cure. JUNE 2021  13

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Moss Rock Preserve and Falls

“Are you kidding me?” explorers often say on their first visit. “This is not a city park.” Yes, it is, but not just any city park. Moss Rock Preserve and Falls might be the best kept secret in Hoover. Hiking, rock climbing, rare plants, and waterfalls are nestled in 349 acres within Hoover City Limits. The secret is out. “It is great for an afternoon hike or allday adventure,” says Hoover resident and photographer, Ty Evans. “It has good trails, easy to walk, and not far from the parking area. Lots of local residents park and hike for a quick retreat or long lunch break.” Others stay longer. Ken Wills is president of Friends of Moss Rock Preserve. “The preserve has rare plants, which change colors – golds and deep blues – with the changing seasons. It’s beautiful,” he says. “As for the falls, the middle of winter to late spring usually results in the best water flow.”

PHOTO BY TY EVANS

Chewacla State Park

Something doesn’t feel right at Chewacla State Park. Oh, it feels good – hiking forest trails and climbing rocks at the foot of a cascading waterfall. But it doesn’t feel like this 696-acre wilderness is 15 minutes from downtown Auburn. It is. “I can have a fancy meal at one of Auburn’s fine restaurants or attend an Auburn University sporting event and within 15 minutes, be back here. It does not feel like you are so close to town,” Park Manager Joshua Funderburk says. Chewacla’s waterfalls include natural and man-made. A most popular natural one is around 20 feet tall. It is one of the smaller tributaries in our list which allows a more up close and personal experience. The trails to and from the scenic falls include a 26-acre lake, swimming areas, birdwatching, forest walking, rustic camping to easy living cabins with electricity and TV. About 30 miles of hiking and biking trails are available including paths leading to the falls. Chewacla offers the best of both worlds: A wilderness wonderland six miles from Jordan Hare Stadium. PHOTO BY MARK STEPHENSON

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Dismals Canyon Rainbow Falls

Quite simply one of the most eerily beautiful places I have seen. You descend the Phil Campbell, Alabama, canyon by stairway. Almost immediately you hear the sound of roaring water and then, wow, there it is. Under a canopy of jungle-like trees, framed by minivan-size boulders is Rainbow Falls. Sprays bouncing off the prehistoric tributary project rainbows in the mist. Hence the name, “Rainbow Falls.” The vista is accompanied by visitors’ oohs and ahhs. For a moment in time we forget about COVID-19. God is in control and He loves color. Other falls cascade down mammoth rocks throughout the canyon too. Camping and cabins are available and so is a restaurant and gift shop. Plan on spending the morning or afternoon to fully explore. Rainbow Falls’ creation took a million years. You can spare three hours.

PHOTO BY EMMETT BURNETT

Mardis Mill Falls

The final venture is a little waterfall hidden off 546 Mardis M i l l Road in Blountsville. Mardis is not famous like state neighbors Noccalula and DeSoto. Nor is it a big waterfall, about 35 feet wide, the width on Grave’s Creek. The falls’ water pours down 16 feet. “But it is a beautiful, restful place,” adds Ty Evans. “Just park and walk a short trail.” Nearby are various covered bridges, including Horton Mill Bridge, built in 1935. At 70 feet above Little Warrior River’s feeder bends, it is the highest covered bridge above a waterway in the U.S. Save the bridge for last. Visit Mardis Falls first. Like the other six, Mardis Mill Falls pleases the eye, lifts our spirits, and calms wayward blood pressure.

PHOTO BY TY EVANS

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urviving a

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By M.J. Ellington

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ooking at a year of unbelievable pandemic, health care providers in rural Alabama say the crisis shows how vital rural hospitals and their medical communities are to the health of rural Alabama. Three health providers tell how Alabama provides care in complicated times, including one nurse who worked in a hospital COVID-19 unit until she got the virus.

A race to save a life

Safiya Johnson, of Selma, is a registered nurse who worked at a Montgomery hospital and became ill with COVID-19 in October. A long-haul COVID survivor, she was hospitalized multiple times and twice intubated. She and her mother, who serves as her caregiver, advocate for more medical services for rural areas. PHOTO BY JULIE BENNETT

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When Selma resident Safiya Johnson thinks about COVID-19, she can look in the mirror and find someone hit by the pandemic. A registered nurse, Johnson worked at a busy Montgomery hospital COVID unit from March 2020 until she became ill in late August. “Because I had worked around it and with it as a nurse, it was no surprise,” she says. When the mild symptoms she had for a few days worsened and Tylenol would not bring her fever down, she headed to the hospital in Selma. A couple of days later, she was on a ventilator, in a medically induced coma and headed to University Hospital at UAB in a special COVID ambulance staffed with a doctor and nurse. Johnson has little memory of her weeks at UAB, but she has constant reminders that COVID-19 can leave debilitating symptoms long after the virus leaves the body. Some of her aftereffects, termed post-COVID or long-COVID syndrome, include difficulty walking and diminished feeling in hands and feet. Johnson still requires some help dressing, eating and doing other tasks most people take for granted. But she no longer walks with a walker and is beginning to drive short distances again near her home. Johnson said while she was in intensive care at UAB, she stopped urinating and was put on dialysis. “They never expected me to come off of dialysis; they told me that,” she says. Then in late January, she started urinating again. By testing her urine analysis and potassium levels, her doctors determined that she no longer needs dialysis. Johnson’s mother, Marilyn Simpson, helps with daily living tasks, including driving her to appointments. Johnson wonders what would have happened if the hospital in Selma had not had a connection to UAB that helped her transfer to a special COVID treatment facility rapidly. She wonders what happens to people in rural Alabama who don’t have a nearby hos-

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g a COVID year in rural Alabama pital, health insurance, access to specialized care or transportation. She is grateful that Baptist Medical Center East, where she worked in Montgomery, still pays for her health insurance coverage and that the company provides occupational and physical therapy. She plans more schooling for a degree as a nurse practitioner.

Community deserves honest communication

people in rural areas will take advantage of the services and convenience of their local hospitals. “We depend on the volume of service and appreciate and need for people to use our services,” Grimes says. COVID funds paid for things that Grimes said would be unaffordable otherwise. They include hazardous duty pay for employees during the worst pandemic weeks, a portable x-ray machine, and negative pressure machines to direct air flow that helps control the virus. The facility also used COVID funds for testing sites and now conducts multiple drive through COVID vaccination clinics around the county. “It has been a tough year for everybody, but we have put our all into caring for each other and our communities,” Grimes says.

In Chatom, Washington County Hospital and Nursing Home CEO Teresa Grimes said the pandemic hit her town of 1,200 hard, affecting the hospital and adjacent nursing home in spring of 2000. Grimes said the response of people in her town and county meant a lot. “COVID proved that rural hospitals and healthcare providers are Physician’s heart in rural vital, critical infrastructure,” Grimes says. health care In Brewton in Escambia County, The hospital shut down “anything Dr. Marsha Raulerson, a semi-rethat was elective,” to focus on patients and staff dealing with COVID, tired pediatrician, divides her time Grimes says. During the worst between treating 100 special needs weeks, area churches organized children and volunteer advocacy for nightly prayer walks and brought better health policy for children and snacks for healthcare workers. Dr. Alabamians living in poverty. Steve Donald, the facility’s medical A proponent of telemedicine and director, temporarily shut down his increased broadband technology to private medical practice to focus on Dr. Marsha Raulerson, a semi-retired pediatrician, offers connect rural doctors and patients hospital and nursing home patients telemedicine options for her patients and their families. to services elsewhere, Raulerson PHOTO COURTESY MARSHA RAULERSON and staff, she says. began offering telemedicine options “As painful as it was, we were honfor her patients and their families. est about what was going on,” she says. The facility did daily upHer newest program is part of Pediatric Access to Telemental dates on Facebook detailing how many residents and employees Health Services, or PATHS. The Department of Mental Health had the virus, as well as when someone died. - Children’s of Alabama grant program increases the capacity of primary care providers in rural Alabama to diagnose, treat and Federal funds helped fill gaps manage mental health conditions in children and teens. Federal COVID relief funds have not made the facility wealthy, Raulerson came to Brewton with her husband, a nephrologist but Grimes said they helped make up revenue lost when elective recruited to fill a south Alabama physician gap in care for kidney medical procedures and services temporarily stopped. She hopes diseases and related conditions.

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Washington County Hospital and Nursing Home CEO Teresa Grimes and Medical Director Dr. Steve Donald say the pandemic hit their area hard, affecting both the hospital and the adjacent nursing home in Chatom.

She thought the couple might stay a few years. The quality of life drew the family in spite of the fact that a critical federal formula means physicians in small towns get paid less than doctors near large medical centers. Alabama has the lowest federal reimbursement rates for services to Medicare patients in the country and physician pay is tied to the reimbursement rate, she says. Raulerson says over 40 years, she’s seen young doctors come to the small city for a few years then leave for a practice linked to a larger medical center for better pay. Nurses also leave for the same reason. The physician drain in rural communities is concerning, she says, but if the federal reimbursement rate is not changed, perhaps a lower tax rate for doctors there could be considered, she says. “People like me, we have the same training but the pay is different because we are in a small town,” she says. “I have been extremely lucky because my husband is a medical inventor and he had a number of patents.” The patents gave the couple the financial means to live comfortably with small town doctor income and send three children through college. While people may wonder if the federal COVID and economic recovery relief funds would help rural hospitals and providers, Raulerson says when the federal government ordered hospitals and care providers to stop all routine services and procedures to slow the pandemic in spring 2020, the financial hit affected them all. The COVID funds just help fill the financial hit of that period. Raulerson is an advocate of Medicaid expansion in Alabama to help people in rural communities be healthier with access to regular care and boost the local economies. But she believes the COVID experience had some positive impact. “Our hospitals will be better prepared for any future pandemic,” she says.

PHOTO BY SARAH HANSEN

Challenges in Alabama’s rural areas Even before the COVID-19 pandemic virus shut down life as usual around the world, Alabama’s rural health care system faced constant hurdles. Figures from the Alabama Hospital Association explain how. The rural population tends to be older and fewer people have health insurance to pay for care. They often delay care and then use the hospital emergency department for care because there’s no other choice. Alabama is one of only 12 states that did not expand Medicaid, the federal health coverage for the lowest income people. Without health coverage, there may be no way to pay the bill, leaving hospitals with debt for the care. 18  JUNE 2021

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A federal formula that determines Medicare payments for hospitals and health providers sets lower reimbursement rates for rural hospitals and health providers than in larger cities. The result is that 87% of rural hospitals operate in the red. Two federal changes during the pandemic show possibilities that Alabama could make to reverse the downward trend for rural health care funding. The American Rescue Plan Act will increase Alabama funding by $940 million over two years and could be used to expand Medicaid; and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act temporarily increased the federal reimbursement rate for health care providers. www.alabamaliving.coop

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Museum preserves history of Black baseball in Birmingham Story and photos by Jonathan Shipley

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here were stars on the field. There was a constellation of young men eager to play and pursue their dreams of glory. The year was 1920. The place was Birmingham, Alabama. The players were members of a newly-formed team, the Birmingham All-Stars. They were a part of the new Negro Southern League. The players, those dream chasers with balls in mitts and bats on shoulders, included men with last names like Zigler, Pickens, and Juanelo. They played brightly, those stars on the grass. Fans from far and wide, Black and white, came to cheer them on to victory against the likes of the Montgomery Grey Sox and the Knoxville Giants; the Nashville White Sox and the Jacksonville Stars; the Atlanta Black Crackers, the New Orleans Caulfield Ads, and the Pensacola Giants. The Birmingham All-Stars, changing their names to the Black Barons after a white Barons team was already in existence, ended the season with 43 wins and 39 losses. It wasn’t good enough for any sort of playoff run or championship, but shine they did for the city of Birmingham. Those stars’ lights have not dimmed thanks, in part, to Dr. Layton Revel, the founder and executive director for the Center for Negro League Baseball Research and the guiding hand in the creation of Birmingham’s Negro Southern League Museum. The materials in the museum are owned by Revel. The museum is a non-profit that works in conjunction with the city of Birmingham to bring these valuable materials to the general public. “What you see in the museum is less than 10% of the collection,” Revel says. “I do 30 to 40 hours a week researching Negro League baseball. You could say it’s a passion of mine. It’s an obsession.” For only 10% of his collection, the museum’s display cases are chock full of rare and one-of-a-kind items.

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There are 1,768 signed baseballs at the start of the exhibit. Revel says, “I’ve interviewed all but six of the players who signed them.” One man who signed a ball, Otis Williams, played but one Negro League game in the 1930s before getting injured, ending his career. Another man, old and enfeebled by a stroke, was so proud to be remembered, he signed a baseball, too. With shaky hands it took him a half hour to sign a ball. Revel says, “I wouldn’t sell that ball for a million dollars.” Also on view in the museum: Satchel Paige’s game used uniform. “I’ve sat on Satchel Paige’s porch,” Revel says. “I’ve been in Cool Papa Bell’s house. I’ve been to Bullet Rogan’s house.” Bullet Rogan’s pitching jacket is on display. Willie Wells’ game used uniform can be seen, as can the oldest known Negro League contract and the oldest Negro League trophy. There are seats in the museum from Atlanta’s old Ponce de Leon Park. Louis Santop’s bat, nicknamed “Big Bertha,” is on display. All told, it’s the largest collection of Negro League materials in the world.

proud. Honored that they’re remembered for what they did and that it was important. That it is important to preserve this history and their stories.” Birmingham’s baseball story is a rich one. It spans further back than 1920. That’s one of the reasons Revel decided to place the museum in Birmingham – the richness. Firstly, the Birmingham Black Barons had the most Negro League seasons than any other team in the nation. It operated from 1919 to 1964. Players included Hall of Famers Satchel Paige, Mule Suttles, and a young Willie Mays. Famed country singer Charley Pride played for the Black Barons. Not only was the city home to the Black Barons, the city sent more players to the Negro Leagues than anywhere else in America. In fact, the state of Alabama sent players to the Negro Leagues more than any other. Monte Irvin (born in Haleburg), Tubby Scales (from Talladega), and a player from Mobile named Hank Aaron all played stellar ball in the Negro Leagues. “The best players came from Birmingham,” Revel says. What’s more, the city is home to Rickwood Field, the oldest proGuests can swing a bat at the entrance of the Negro Honored to be fessional baseball park in the U.S. Southern League Museum. remembered Opened in 1910, it was home for BarIn the 1980s Revel went to a reunion of Negro League players on and Black Baron games. It is currently the home of the Miles in Kansas City, Missouri, home of the Negro Leagues Baseball College baseball team. Museum. Revel met Buck O’Neill, the famed Kansas City Mon“It’s important to know our history. To know who we are and archs first baseman and manager in the Negro American League, who we can be,” Revel says. Take that man Pickens from the 1920 who told him that there were, maybe, 250 Negro League players squad. He is still alive, at least in hearts and minds. Satchel Paige, left alive and that the memorabilia (bats and balls; jerseys and the legend, will always be a legend. And the kids holding baseball cleats; posters and paraphernalia) were mostly all gone. There was bats by the front entrance of the museum, are wide-eyed, stars in not much tangible material of the Negro Leagues that remained. them. “I went home,” Revel says, “and thought that can’t be right.” Through his research, which he does with like-minded individFor more information on the museum, visit www. uals like assistant Cam Perron, he’s found 700-plus previously unBirminghamNSLM.org discovered Negro League players. He approximates that there are Rickwood Field is the oldest professional baseball park in the U.S. and has maybe 200 players still living today. He says, “Of everyone we’ve served as the home park for the Birmingham Barons and the Birmingham contacted, almost universally, they’re incredibly gracious and Black Barons.

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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 bookshelf@alabamaliving.coop. Due to the volume of submissions, we are unable to feature all the books we receive.

Alabama Justice: The Cases and Faces that Changed a Nation, by Steven P. Brown, The University of Alabama Press, $49.95 (history/law) Unknown to many, Alabama has played a remarkable role in a number of Supreme Court rulings that continue to touch the lives of Americans. The book identifies eight landmark cases that deal with religion, voting rights, libel, gender discrimination and other issues, all originating from legal disputes in Alabama.

James Hoban: Designer and Builder of the White House, by Stewart D. McLaurin, White House Historical Association, $49.95 (history) The White House is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world, yet little is known about Hoban, the man chosen by George Washington to design and build it. The book is an anthology with contributions from the world’s most knowledgeable Hoban scholars. The author, an Alabama native, is the president of the White House Historical Association.

The Wife Upstairs: A Novel, by Rachel Hawkins, St. Martin’s Press, $27.99 (mystery/thriller) In this modern retelling of the Gothic classic Jane Eyre, kleptomaniac Jane moves to a neighborhood of McMansions in Birmingham, works as a dog walker and meets handsome, wealthy widower Eddie. Both Eddie and Jane have their secrets: Eddie’s wife died in a boating accident – or did she? And is Jane really Jane? The author of several YA books is a native of Dothan and lives with her family in Auburn.

One of His Boys: The Letters of Johnnie Pickle and His Mentor, George W. Carver, by John H. Pickle Jr., NewSouth Books, $17.95 (educator biography) George Washington Carver is remembered in part for the many products he derived from the peanut. Less well known is the multitude of students Carver took under his wing over the years. The book is the story of the mentorship of Johnnie Pickle, who was inspired to follow in Carver’s footsteps after witnessing first-hand the Wizard of Tuskegee’s wisdom.

The Essence of Nathan Biddle, by J. William Lewis, Greenleaf Book Group Press, $27.95 (fiction) Protagonist Kit Biddle is a rising prep school senior who finds himself tangled in a web of spiritual quandaries and intellectual absurdities. His angst is compounded by a psychological burden: his intelligent but unstable Uncle Nat has committed an unspeakable act. Kit is forced to confront the issues that plague him in this coming-of-age tale. The author grew up in Mobile and lives in Shoal Creek, a suburb of Birmingham.

Abandoned Coastal Defenses of Alabama, by Thomas Kenning, Arcadia Publishing and the History Press, $23.99 (photographic history) The book is a guided tour through Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines, the retired guardians of Alabama’s Gulf Coast. For nearly 200 years, these forts have stood stubbornly between the Yellowhammer State and a sometimes hostile world beyond.

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SOCIAL SECURITY

Eligibility for spouse’s benefits

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ocial Security helps you secure today and tomorrow with financial benefits, information, and tools that support you throughout life’s journey. If you don’t have enough Social Security credits to qualify for benefits on your own record, you may be able to receive benefits on your spouse’s record. To qualify for spouse’s benefits, you must be one of the following: • 62 years of age or older. • Any age and have in your care a child who is younger than age 16 or who is disabled and entitled to receive benefits on your spouse’s record. Your full spouse’s benefit could be up to one-half the amount your spouse is entitled to receive at their full retirement age. If you choose to receive your spouse’s benefits before you reach full retirement age, you will get a permanently reduced benefit. If you wait until you reach full retirement age to receive benefits, you’ll receive your full spouse’s benefit amount, which is up Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at kylle.mckinney@ssa.gov.

to half the amount your spouse can receive. You’ll also get your full spouse’s benefit if you are under full retirement age, but care for a child and one of the following applies: • The child is younger than age 16. • The child has a disability and is entitled to receive benefits on your spouse’s record. If you’re eligible to receive retirement benefits on your own record, we will pay that amount first. If your benefits as a spouse are higher than your own retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits that equal the higher spouse benefit. For example, Sandy qualifies for a retirement benefit of $1,000 and a spouse’s benefit of $1,250. At her full retirement age, she will receive her own $1,000 retirement benefit. We will add $250 from her spouse’s benefit, for a total of $1,250. Want to apply for either your or your spouse’s benefits? Are you at least 61 years and eight months old? If you answered yes to both, visit ssa.gov/benefits/retirement to get started today. Are you divorced from a marriage that lasted at least 10 years? You may be able to get benefits on your former spouse’s record. You can find out more by visiting ssa.gov/planners/retire/ divspouse.html for more information.

June crossword Across 1 Alabama song “Dixieland ____” 5 Alabama Crimson Tide SEC college basketball Player of the Year in 2021, ____ Jones 8 Tigers and the Tide, for example 9 County that’s home to Logan Mountain Lake, 2 words 11 Type of dressing 13 Italian restaurant staple 15 Santa’s collaborator 17 County that’s home to Cheaha Mountain 21 Deer species being re-introduced to Alabama 22 “If ___ told you once ...” 23 Sushi bar order 24 Ozark is its county seat 25 Airport board abbreviation 28 Cold, as a drink 30 Popular Birmingham restaurant 33 Hive resident 34 Biscuit go-with 35 50s blues great, ____ Washington, born in Tuscaloosa Down 1 Web address component 2 Profit from instruction 3 Former Auburn football coach, ___ Malzahn 4 Institute founded by Booker T. Washington 6 Alabama player who was drafted by the Tennessee Titans, Rashaan ____ 7 He might serve an Alabama Slammer 10 Betting limit 11 R&B and pop singer born in Eufaula, Alabama, Martha ____ 12 “American Idol” winner from Birmingham 14 It is better fresh 16 Creator, star and producer of “The Guild” TV show, born in Huntsville, goes with 29 down 18 Renovated 28  JUNE 2021

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19 20 25 26

by Myles Mellor

Zilch Time just before an event Goes out as a tide Part of a foot

27 29 31 32

Money See 16 down Very, very long time Kilogram, for short

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June | Around Alabama

5-6

Maplesville Outdoor 3D Archery Tournament, hosted by Chilton County Bowhunters. No admission charge for spectators; $15 fee to compete. All ages welcome. 317 Co. Road 214, Maplesville. 334407-1630.

10-11

Cullman 20th annual Cullman Touring Farms for Kids, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., ages 7-13. Two days of farm tours in Cullman County. Food and T-shirts will be provided. Parents are welcome to attend The Hank Williams Festival in Georgiana is an but may need to annual family-friendly event that celebrates the drive separately. $25 spirit of the late country legend. per person. Contact the North Alabama Agriplex at 256-297-1044 or visit agriplex.org Mobile Wonderful Wednesdays

JUNE

at Bellingrath Gardens and Home. This weekly series will begin June 2 and continue through July 28. The series will help gardeners make the most of our extended growing season. Bellingrath.org or call 251-459-8864.

4-5

Georgiana 42nd annual Hank Williams Festival, 127 Rose St. Gates open at 2 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday. Among the musicians set to perform are T.G. Sheppard on Friday and Mark Wills on Saturday. Food and arts and crafts vendors will be on site. The museum will also be open for tours. Weekend pass is $40; Friday only is $20, and Saturday only is $30. HankWilliamsFestival.com

4-5

Haleyville 9-1-1 Festival, 911 21st St. The first 9-1-1- phone call was made from Haleyville on Feb. 16, 1968. This festival honors all police, fire and emergency personnel and includes a street dance on Friday, and a parade, arts and crafts, car show, food and children’s activities on Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. Free. HaleyvilleChamber.org

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Statewide Free Fishing Day. Each year, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources designates a free fishing day for the public to fish recreationally in public waters without a fishing license. Fishing in a private pond requires pond owner’s permission; some piers may also require fees and permits. OutdoorAlabama.com/fishing/ free-fishing-day

18-19

Marion 26th annual Marion Rodeo, Perry County Cattlemen’s Ralph Eagle Memorial Arena. Gates open at 6 p.m.; children’s events begin at 6:30, with the rodeo at 7:30. Event is sanctioned by the Professional Cowboys Association and produced by the 3R Rodeo Company of Jemison. 334-410-0748.

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Brewton 40th annual Alabama Blueberry Festival, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Jennings Park. Free. Arts and crafts, antique car show, children’s area, live entertainment and plenty of blueberry ice cream, cobbler and crunch. Search for the event’s page on Facebook.

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23-Aug. 1

Gulf Shores 6th annual Alabama Seafood CookOff at the Lodge at Gulf State Park. Four chosen chefs will cook up seafood dishes with local product; the winning chef will compete in the Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans. EatAlabamaSeafood.com Tuscumbia Hellen Keller Festival. Historical tours, entertainment, arts and crafts, kids’ activities, athletic events, car shows and more. Some events are free; others require $5 admission, but children 10 and under are free. HelenKellerFestival.com

25-26

Columbiana Liberty Day Festival. Music, food trucks, arts and crafts vendors, children’s activities, car show, hot dog eating contest, parade down Main Street and a fireworks show. Free. Event began in 1986 as a celebration of the Statue of Liberty and has evolved into a two-day, family-friendly event. CityofColumbiana.com

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Chatom 33rd annual Indian Artifact Show, Chatom Community Center, 222 Dixie Youth Drive. 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free. This event is typically in February but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact Bimbo Kohen for info: BimboKohen@outlook.com

26-27

Guntersville Guntersville Lake Hydrofest, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. In addition to competitive boat racing, there will be activities for children and events in surrounding towns. For tickets and more info, visit GuntersvilleLakeHydrofest.com

JULY

3

Anniston Noble Street Festival, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pro bike racing, children’s races, KidZone, live music, local cuisine and more to benefit Calhoun County Relay for Life. Search for the event’s page on Facebook.

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

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Decatur Spirit of America Festival and Fireworks Show, Point Mallard Park. Annual Fourth of July celebration, featuring live music, family games, sports tournaments, food and craft vendors and fireworks. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 3 and 12 to 9 p.m. July 4. Fireworks begin around 9 p.m. SpiritofAmericaFestival.org

Florence W.C. Handy Music Festival. Details are still being planned; follow the event’s Facebook page for updates.

SUMMER Statewide “Water/Ways,” a traveling exhibit that explores the role that water plays in human society and culture and the importance of protecting this critical resource. The exhibit is made possible by a partnership between the Alabama Humanities Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution Museum’s Museum on Main Street program, which gives access to the Smithsonian for small-town America. The first stop is June 26 at Oakville Indian Mounds Education Center in Danville; the second is Aug. 20 at Guntersville Museum. Alabamahumanities.org and MuseumOnMainStreet.org

Aug. 20-21

Russellville 40th annual Franklin County Watermelon Festival. Music, contests and entertainment, as well as arts and crafts, 5K run, antique car and truck show, festival foods, tractor show and of course watermelon. Follow the event’s pages on Instagram and Facebook.

Call or verify events before you make plans to attend. Due to the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, some events may change or be canceled after press time.

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7

Alabamians developed the Saturn V at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. PHOTO BY MARILYN JONES

innovations by Alabamians By Marilyn Jones

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t takes a special kind of person to see a need and create something to fulfill that need. Every object and concept had its beginning. Who came up with the idea and carried it through to completion? There are many inventive Alabama residents. Think about Saturn V and all the men and women who developed it at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. The Saturn V was a rocket built to send people to the moon. It was the most powerful rocket that had ever flown successfully.

Auto safety

Mary Anderson was no rocket scientist, but she invented something every driver depends on when they get behind the wheel. Born in 1866 in Greene County, this unassuming inventor is responsible for the windshield wiper. While on a 1903 trip to New York, Anderson saw a need. While riding a streetcar on a snowy day, she watched the agitated driver stick his head out of the window and, at times, stop the vehicle to get out and clean the windshield in order to see where he was going. When she returned to Alabama, she drew up a design for a window cleaning device to remove snow, ice, or sleet from a streetcar windshield. She was awarded a patent on Nov. 10, 1903. Unfortunately, at the time, no one understood the value of her vision. When the patent expired in 1920, she had all but given up trying to market the device. By this time, automobiles were common, and the demand for the invention skyrocketed. But Anderson removed herself from the fray, allowing corporations and other business 30  JUNE 2021

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people access to her original conception. She never made any money from her invention. Once the patent expired, the auto industry started using her basic design. She was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2011. Seventy years later, George F. Kirchoff, a laid-off rocket engineer, started thinking about using some of the same ideas he learned in his former profession to improve auto safety. Although airbags were not a new concept, early designs lacked a mechanism that could inflate the bag quickly. They also lacked a reliable detection mechanism to indicate when to deploy. The Birmingham native came up with a system that would inflate an airbag in milliseconds — enough time to cushion someone during an accident — and received numerous patents for the airbag system components. Because of his success, automakers began to offer airbags in vehicles by the mid1970s. Today they are standard equipment on new cars and trucks. www.alabamaliving.coop

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Robert Jemison Van de Graaff invented the Van de Graaff Generator in PHOTO COURTESY MCWANE SCIENCE CENTER 1930.

Turning 20 this year, Wikipedia attracts more than 15 billion views from PHOTO BY MARILYN JONES visitors the world over every month.

The physicist and the chemist

Vinyl and Wikipedia

Robert Jemison Van de Graaff of Tuscaloosa invented the Van de Graaff Generator in 1930. Better known as the device that makes your hair stand on end, the generators are actually used primarily as DC power supplies for linear atomic particle accelerators used for nuclear physics experiments. They are essentially two generators in series and can produce about 15 million volts. Once an Alabama Power Company engineer, the physicist and inventor found widespread use for the generator, not only in atomic research but also in medicine and industry. Many medical breakthroughs can be traced back to Alabama including those of Percy Julian. Born in Montgomery in 1899, the grandson of a former slave, Julian is responsible for synthesized physostigmine for the treatment of glaucoma and synthesized cortisone for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Julian fought through Jim Crow restrictions to graduate from DePauw University in Indiana as valedictorian, earn a master’s degree from Harvard University, and achieve a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Vienna. He also invented a special foam that extinguishes gasoline and oil fires. He received dozens of honors over the course of his career, and after his death, for his scientific work. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1990.

Waldo Lonsbury Semon invented vinyl used for a myriad of things, including record albums. PHOTO BY MARILYN JONES

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Waldo Lonsbury Semon was working for the B.F. Goodrich Company as a researcher when he invented plasticized polyvinyl chloride, known as vinyl. It is the second most-produced plastic in the world. Today, hundreds of products are made from vinyl, including r​ ecords, floor tiles, and surface coatings. The Demopolis native was one of the nation’s most prolific chemists, creating more than 5,000 synthetic rubber compounds over his long career. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame at age 97. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Wikipedia. As a child in Huntsville, Jimmy Wales’ mother bought him a World Book Encyclopedia set and he never forgot the wonder of all that knowledge in one place. After graduating from Auburn University and the University of Alabama, he and Larry Sanger co-founded Nupedia as a peer-reviewed online encyclopedia. From that sprang the nonprofit Wikipedia, which allows the public to access and edit all of the information. Today Wikipedia exists in 300 languages with 55 million articles. Each month, it attracts more than 15 billion views from visitors the world over. The site is still being maintained voluntarily, with more than 250,000 contributors. Alabama has a lot to be proud of. There are many inventors in this state — past, present, and future. As they say: “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Information from National Inventors Hall of Fame, NASA, Encyclopedia of Alabama, OnlyInYourState.com, and Britannica.com

www.alabamaliving.coop

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| Worth the drive |

TV chef brings his

superhero concept By Allison Law

N

to the Shoals

orthwest Alabama is home to an eclectic mix of good restaurants (and we’ve featured several of them in Alabama Living magazine). The upscale, fine dining at Odette and George’s Steak Pit; the unparalleled views at the 360 Grille; the relaxed vibe under the rock at the Rattlesnake Saloon – each offers a unique culinary experience, either with food or atmosphere (or both). Add Superhero Chefs to the list. The Tuscumbia restaurant, a colorful addition to the historic building facades you’d expect in a downtown area, opened in 2019 to great fanfare in the “quad cities” area. Its unique name and concept – urban, eclectic fare with a Southern twist, with decor and entree names that pay tribute to some of America’s most beloved comic book characters – set it apart from just about anything else.

Its atmosphere and concept (built around a breakfast menu) are untraditional, as are some of the offerings: The Sub Zero Pancakes (blueberry hotcakes with lemon mascarpone sauce between) are a top seller; The Juggernaut is a red waffle sandwich with fried chicken, egg over hard, pepperjack cheese, “candy’d” bacon and honey. About as untraditional as its founder, executive chef Darnell Ferguson, who brought the concept from his home base of Louisville, Kentucky, to Tuscumbia, population 8,400, which some might consider an unlikely spot to grow the franchise. 

‘Good guy with a good story’

But for owner and entrepreneur Larry Lewis, Superhero Chefs is a perfect fit for his hometown. Lewis is the CEO of BizTech, Huntsville’s

oldest business incubator. A client wanted Lewis to meet this chef from Louisville who wanted to open a restaurant in Huntsville. Lewis wasn’t interested in restaurants at the time “because restaurants don’t make money.” But a visit from Ferguson changed Lewis’ mind. Ferguson came to Huntsville and did a tasting, to which Lewis and his wife, Kim, were invited. “My wife fell in love with the food. He’s a good guy, with a good story.” Originally from Ohio, Ferguson developed a love for cooking as a teenager, and was inspired by celebrity chefs like Emeril Lagasse, who were able to fuse their culinary talents with big personalities to create TV magic. Ferguson went to culinary school in Kentucky and was hand-picked to travel to Beijing, China, to cook for Team USA at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

The “Supercakes” are three pancakes with layered fillings. The Reese’s Cup version features peanut butter between each layer. PHOTO COURTESY SUPERHERO CHEFS

Owner Larry Lewis.

Superhero Chefs creator Darnell Ferguson.

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www.alabamaliving.coop

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Alabama Living

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Above, Superhero Chefs is a colorful anchor for downtown Tuscumbia. PHOTO BY ALLISON LAW Left, the Roll Tide burger and its friendly foe, the War Eagle burger, are favorites from the lunch and dinner menu.

The skills he showcased there earned him the nickname “Superchef ” from his fellow student chefs. But back in the U.S., a series of bad decisions threatened a promising career. He went to jail several times for selling drugs, was evicted and homeless for a time, and was unemployed for a year. Eventually, he resolved to focus on his food, start going to church and get serious about his life path.  He started doing pop-up breakfasts in the kitchens of Louisville restaurants that served lunch and dinner; the success of those breakfasts earned him some attention and led to his first Superhero Chefs restaurant in Louisville. Ferguson’s unique style for combining foods and flavors, his attention to detail in food presentation and his big smile have made for a successful combo and multiple restaurants. That success earned notice from some of the heavy hitters in the culinary TV world: He’s been featured on “The Rachael Ray Show” (where he met Lagasse), “Guy’s Grocery Games,” “Beat Bobby Flay” and most recently, on two seasons of Food Network’s “Tournament of Champions,” a head-to-head competition show featuring some of the country’s best chefs. He’s produced his own cooking videos and is eager to continue developing the TV side of his career.

Superhero Chefs

Tuscumbia 104 S. Main St. Tuscumbia, AL 35674 256-320-7502 Superherochefs.com Hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday

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Home in the Shoals

Businessman Lewis knew Ferguson’s concept would work in north Alabama. Though Lewis is based in Huntsville, his hometown is Tuscumbia, and he still has a home there. “I said (to Ferguson), hey, you’re going to be one of 20 restaurants opening in Huntsville in 2019,” Lewis says now, referring to the booming growth in the Rocket City. “But if you come down to the Shoals area, you will stand out. So we convinced him to come to the Shoals to look around.” Ferguson did a tasting at the Rattlesnake Saloon for area leaders and toured the area. The historic building that now houses Superhero Chefs in downtown Tuscumbia had been vacant for a couple of years, but everyone involved saw potential. “There was a definite vibe. I love the people there, love them to death. It’s a good place with good people,” Ferguson told al.com in 2019. Lewis bought the building in April 2019, and Ferguson brought a team of people down to completely renovate the space and hire and develop the staff. Superhero Chefs was open by the summer. “It was extremely fast! It was crazy!” Lewis says today. Ferguson actually relocated his family to the Shoals area for the first year the restaurant was open, getting to know the area and the residents. Everything was going well until March 2020, when COVID-19 forced all restaurants to change their way of doing business. Like other places, Superhero Chefs pared back the staff and went to carryout only, but not at nearly the volume they were expecting (and needed) for a busy summer tourist season. 

With community support, the restaurant was able to stay open until restrictions on in-person dining were lifted. The restaurant’s booths, each with a different superhero icon, as well as the villain-themed bar (even the drinks are named for the bad guys), are once again filled. There’s a back patio space that can accommodate live music. But the big draw is the food. Operations manager Jaelin Kinnaird says Ferguson’s approach is fine dining at an affordable price in a family-friendly environment where “the food looks as good as it tastes.” Besides the extensive breakfast menu, the lunch/dinner menu features a variety of specialties, burgers and sandwiches and salads. Kinnaird says the best seller is the War Eagle Burger, with sweet onion jam, smoked gouda cheese, sweet habanero pickles and “candy’d” bacon. (Not to worry, Bama fans: The Roll Tide Burger is topped with hot crab spread and pulled pork with a sweet and sour glaze.) The go-to appetizers are the Southern Egg Rolls, stuffed with mac and cheese, housemade greens, fried chicken and sweet potato sauce. Kinnaird says for those who are overwhelmed by the menu, he first asks, “Are you sweet or savory? Because we offer the best of both worlds.” Lewis and others hope this investment in downtown Tuscumbia will lead to others, and he and other partners have ideas in the works. “The whole idea is to try to generate traffic (here,)” Lewis says. “It’s a beautiful downtown. You’ve got the nice part at the end of Main Street here. … It just needs business and entertainment to draw people in.” www.alabamaliving.coop

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Alabama Living

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Letters, continued from Page 10 Veteran thanks restaurant The restaurant you featured this month (May 2021) was Pruett’s BBQ in Gadsden. This restaurant is every bit as good as your article says it is. However, there is something they do which should be applauded. Each year on Veterans Day (November 11) they feed any veteran who comes in. All you have to do is come to the restaurant and they will feed you. You can order any item on the menu at no charge. As a veteran myself, I would like to say thank you to the wonderful people at Pruett’s. You will never know how much we veterans appreciate your kindness. Steve Terrell, Hokes Bluff

And I thought I was poor

Ken Stewart with his dog, Callie.

Appreciated column on dogs, cont’d Yes, dogs do have souls, I know for a fact! Last year I lost our eight-year-old Aussie, Callie, to cancer.  She was a rescue  and she saved us more than we saved her. A few weeks after she had passed, I was sleeping and she came to me in a dream.  When I saw her, I hugged  her so hard that I woke myself up and that’s when I saw this small orb of light move from just left of my head up and to the right and vanish.  To make sure I wasn’t still asleep, I reached over to the nightstand and touched the radio there. I’ve been reading books by Michael Newton, Ph.D, (Destiny of Souls).  He states that in a deep state of sleep, a person’s mind can be receptive to communications with souls.  This is what I believed happened to me. Callie came back one last time to say bye to me. So yes, dogs do have souls and perhaps Bo will pay a visit to you, too. Sleep deeply and hope. As my wife is fond of saying about dogs: “They are all different and they are all good.” Ken Stewart, Somerville I have experienced the same loss. I lost all four Great Danes within a month. They were animals I shared my life with. Companions that never lost their love for me. My oldest male I told secrets to and will never share with anyone or thing in my life again. Those who don’t think they have souls have never looked into their eyes. I love all that you say and express. May God find a way for my true friends to meet me at the gate of heaven. Charles Mulvey, Gulf Shores You know dogs go to heaven ‘cause they do not have any original sin. My Daddy used to say, “Give a dog your heart and one day he will break it.” He always had a dog or two. Great story. The best part of Alabama Living is always at the end.  Charlie Runnels, Mentone 38  JUNE 2021

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I really appreciate receiving Alabama Living; I read the articles cover to cover. I especially like Letters to the Editor and Mr. Jackson’s stories. I believe we so often take for granted the heating and cooling of our homes and do not appreciate the hard work involved in providing this much under-appreciated service. When I was a child, our house did not have air conditioning. Like many families, we used a window fan to provide a quick refreshing breeze on those hot summer days and nights. In the winter, our house was kept warm from the old gas furnace that was built in the middle of the floor on the first level. Our family slept on the upper level of our two-story house and on most cold winter night’s that old furnace kept us warm. I suppose we all took for granted from where the electric came to run the fan, and the gas that kept the old furnace operating, or the hard work by others to insure the same. I thought for the longest time we were poor. I remember other families having air conditioning, but not ours. As I grew older and set out on my own, I began to realize we were not poor. Air conditioning was a luxury and my parents had provided us children with everything we needed. I do admit, I sure learned to appreciate the luxury of that window fan in our boy’s room. My Dad, at the age of 83, wrote the account of his life as a child growing up during the Depression in the hollows of Kentucky. I want to share a few of his words. I believe his life as a child is the true meaning of poor. Dad was 15. His mother had passed, his father was bedridden from a stroke. Dad became the head of his family. He had to move his father from what he called the “holler house,” to a home closer to town. His words after finding their new home: “I opened the door and hit was not in bad shape. Hit had a couple of winders knocked out and had a few holes in the floor but I knowed I could fix hit up real good. I found some old boards in the yard to cover the holes in the floor. I put plastic over the winders. The house had wires runnin in hit but did not look safe. We did not have fancy lamps to make light anyways. We used oil lamps for light and an old pot belly stove for heat.” Dad had many stories that brought tears to my eyes. I believe in his heart he wanted to make certain his children never had to live the life he had, as a child. I have all my Dad’s stories to remind me that I have never been poor. Today we have all the luxuries of life and I feel we take this for granted. I thank all your employees for the hard work they do to provide us with our air-conditioned and heated homes. Dean Stevens, Foley www.alabamaliving.coop

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Alabama Living

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| Gardens |

Nature sitting:

Ideas for kid-friendly activities outdoors over, they’d pour out their finds, count their booty and compare their treasures with one another. Nature Art: Using empty boxes, craft paper and school glue, garden hunt items and other outdoor treasures became fairy and gnome houses and stunning works of collaged art.

I

’ve always known that gardens are good for children, but last spring and summer I discovered they are also good for grandmothers. Limited school and daycare options in 2020 gave me a chance to spend lots of time with my six grandchildren who, at the time, ranged in age from 1 to 9. While I never kept all six at once without adult backup, I often had four of them all to myself at a time and my primary goal, other than keeping them safe, was to keep them engaged with something besides electronic gadgets. Indoor crafts, games and even yoga (those sessions were particularly hilarious) helped, but the best option proved to be spending time outside. Sometimes sprinklers and wading pools were involved, or I’d pay each a small stipend to help fill bird feeders, pull weeds, plant herbs and flowers and perform other kidsafe gardening chores. Most often, however, we would explore and turn that exploration into a game or project. Here are a few that required little to no equipment or supplies. Garden Hunt: Each carrying a repurposed paper gift bag (I knew I was saving them for something), the kids and I wandered around my yard collecting random items such as pinecones, leaves, moss, feathers, rocks, flowers and the like. Once the hunt was Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@gmail.com.

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Yard Spy: A walk around the yard, my neighborhood or a local park became an I Spy game for spotting birds, insects, trees, flowers and other natural wonders. We’d research them as we went. (Yes, a cell phone was involved with that project.) Stick Houses: We collected fallen sticks and branches and stacked or lashed them together with string to make lean-tos and forts. (No, they were not up to code, but they were safe.) It’s probably obvious that I had no idea what I was doing, and the results weren’t always idyllic — sometimes the forts collapsed, sometimes the heat or bugs were more than any of us could bear and there were often fusses among the grands that required me to totally abandon my unflappable, doting grandma persona. Still, we apparently made good memories because now when the kiddos come to visit, they often ask to be outside. They also accidentally learned about plants, animals, life cycles, and even such basics as math, science, colors and more.

JUNE TIPS • Plant seed and transplants for summer

vegetables such as beans, corn, southern peas and melons, tomatoes and peppers. • Keep an eye out for insect and disease problems on all plants and treat as needed. • Water lawns only when the grasses show signs of drought stress. See guidelines on the aces.edu website. • Keep an eye on water needs for potted plants, which dry out faster in hot, dry weather. • Mulch newly planted trees and shrubs to reduce water loss and protect roots from heat stress. • Plant seed for heat-loving annual herbs such as basil, dill and parsley and for most perennial herbs such as sage, rosemary and thyme.

It proved what Susan Forbes, outreach liaison with the multi-faceted gardeningfocused nonprofit O Grows in Opelika, recently said to me: “Everything you need to know about life, you can learn from a garden.” I’m taking Susan’s words to heart as I head out into the garden this summer with the grandkids, though I will also have longer, better researched list of ideas that I’ve gathered from a variety of sources. If you’re a parent, grandparent, caregiver or educator looking for ideas, check out the resources below. And share your own with me at katielamarjackson@gmail.com or on Alabama Living’s Facebook page (@ AlabamaLivingMagazine).

RESOURCES

Local botanic, public and community gardens, parks and wildlife centers often have children’s gardening and outdoor programs and resources; local schools may also have summer gardening programs. In addition, try these: • Kids Gardening, a national nonprofit providing resources for educators and caregivers: KidsGardening.org • Junior Master Gardener programs, available in many Alabama counties through the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Aces.edu/blog/topics/outdoor-education-4-h/junior-master-gardener • The Garden Club of Alabama has a variety of project ideas for kids on their website, GardenClubofAlabama.org • Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots: Gardening Together with Children is one of several award-winning and idea-filled books by Sharon Lovejoy, all of which are chock full of ideas and inspiration. www.alabamaliving.coop

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| Outdoors |

Mobile to host hunting, fishing expo

T

he spring turkey season ended in early May and the new Young callers can join the competition. Those 10 years old or fall hunting seasons won’t begin until September, but that younger compete in the Poult Division. Callers between the ages doesn’t mean the people of Alabama can’t enjoy some activof 11 and 15 years old compete in the Junior Division. The Interities associated with hunting – and fishing too! mediate Division includes people 16 to 20 years old. People of any The inaugural Southeastern Hunting and Fishing Expo will take age can compete in the Amateur Division if they haven’t won a place 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 11 and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 12 at the previous championship. Mobile Convention Center, One South Water Street in Mobile. “One of the most popular and fun events for people to watch Held in conjunction with the iHeart Media Group and the is the Two Man Team Challenge,” Weiss says. “In this challenge, Mobile Sports Authority, the expo will feature exhibits from vartwo people get on stage and act out two scenarios. One will be a ious sporting companies displaying their products and services. spring scenario and the other fall. The team must act out for the In addition, some hunting judges, who will be behind celebrities will be on hand a curtain. They will have to to sign autographs and talk sound like a group of turabout hunting. The list inkeys in those scenarios.” cludes “the Turkey Man,” Tickets cost $10 per Eddie Salter of Enterprise, person at the door, and with Eddie Salter Game children 12 and younger Calls. Preston Pittman of are free. Fans who want to Preston Pittman Game watch the calling contest Calls in West Point, Miscan get into just the comsissippi, and others will petition area for free. Expo also attend. ticket holders can tour the “We’ll have game callers exhibits and watch the calland companies coming ing contest at their leisure. in from different states,” “We’ll have many of the says Kenny Weiss, a noted top turkey callers in attenturkey caller from Mobile dance,” Weiss says. “They and one of the event orare all very approachable ganizers. “We’ll have some so people can talk to them. fishing product compaEddie Salter will emcee the nies, but the focus will be calling contests.” more on hunting. Some The World Turkey Callhunting and fishing guides ing Championship began will be there so people can in Mobile with the first arrange for outdoors trips. event held on Jan. 4, 1940, People should be able to but it went elsewhere for pick up some good deals at decades. Weiss was inthe Expo.” strumental in bringing While all that takes place Doug Max uses a box call to bring in turkeys while hunting near Uriah, Ala. Max the contest back to Mobile will be one of the judges for the World Turkey Calling Championship to be held in on the first floor of the conjunction with the Southeastern Hunting and Fishing Expo in Mobile. in 2019. Weiss and other convention center, turkey event organizers planned PHOTO BY JOHN FELSHER callers will be competing to hold the calling champifor prizes and bragging rights on the second floor of the building. onships in conjunction with an expo in 2020, but with the panDuring the World Turkey Calling Championship, callers from demic, that event never happened. “This will be the first year for the Expo,” Weiss says. “When I around the country will compete in various skill competitions. brought the World Turkey Calling Championship back to MoLike in the Olympics, individual callers could possibly win multibile in 2019, I knew that we needed to have something else than ple championships in different calling events. just a turkey calling contest to draw people. I came up with the “We’re actually holding two different turkey calling champiidea of trying to put on an expo. I didn’t have enough time to do onships simultaneously,” Weiss says. “One is the World Turkey both so I went to iHeart Media and the Mobile Sports Authority Calling Championship. The other contest is the World Friction for help to put on an expo. I’m asking everyone to come out and Calling Championship in which callers must use friction-type support the Expo and the turkey calling contests. We need the calls like slate or box calls, but no mouth calls.” attendance so the city will see that this is something people want to see happen.” John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer who lives in Semmes, Ala. He also hosts an outdoors tips show for WAVH FM Talk 106.5 radio station in Mobile, Ala. Contact him at j.felsher@ hotmail.com or through Facebook.

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For more information, call Weiss at 251-605-6077 or send him an email at kennyweiss73@yahoo.com. www.alabamaliving.coop

5/18/21 10:13 AM


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2021

JUNE

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

17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

JULY

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

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

EXCELLENT TIMES A.M.

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

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

MOON STAGE

PM

5:42 - 7:42 6:30 - 8:30 7:18 - 9:18 8:06 - 10:06 8:54 - 10:54 9:42 - 11:42 10:30 - 12:30 12:06 - 2:06 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 PM

5:42 - 7:42 6:30 - 8:30 7:18 - 9:18 8:06 - 10:06 8:54 - 10:54 9:42 - 11:42 10:18 - 12:18 10:30 - 12:30 12:06 - 2:06 NEW 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 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

GOOD TIMES AM

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

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

PM

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

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

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 |

It's

Blueberry berry

season

Grow your own, or buy local for a fresh seasonal treat

T

om McMillan knows his blueberries. He once grew blueberry bushes on 30 acres of his land in Escambia County and headed up the county’s blueberry growers association. “Now I’m more of a hobby farmer,” says the Brewton businessman, but he’ll still have plenty of berries to sell at the upcoming Alabama Blueberry Festival this month (see story, page 45). Blueberries grow well in acidic soil, he says, and they like piney woods, which are abundant in Escambia County and much of South Alabama. “You see pine trees, and you’ll see blueberries,” he says. “The best thing you can do is mulch them with a lot of mulch and that protects the roots. They don’t require a lot of fertilizer. Really, the less you do to them, the better off they are.” Growing your own blueberries isn’t hard, but it’s recommended you plant more than one bush so they cross-pollinate with each other and set fruit. Blueberries generally come in the middle of May and bear fruit until early July. “By about the 4th of July they’re pretty much done,” says McMillan. He grows mainly the Climax and Premiere varieties at his Knapdale Farms, named after the region in Scotland where the McMillan clan and his ancestors are buried. If you’re not able to grow your own, no worries. Blueberries are abundant in Alabama this time of year, and are available at farmer’s markets, grocers, curbside stands and you-pick farms. Find locally grown blueberries through Sweet Grown Alabama’s website: sweetgrownalabama.org/find-sweetgrown. However you get your blueberries, you’ll want to try some of our reader-submitted recipes that show how versatile this fruit can be.

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B

lueberries are the perfect fruit. In a world of endless dessert options, cake ranks close to the top. Cakes can be made so many different ways and to fit so many levels of sweetness. So what makes this month’s recipe for BlueBrooke Burks berry Cake almost perfect? We took a standard vanilla cake recipe, added blueberries and a little lemon to it and the result was a perfect recipe. Recipes are meant to be owned, modified and given new life, to be handed down from one generation to the next. For years, people have taken something good and made it great. We hope you do the same with this recipe and it becomes an heirloom in your family as well!

Blueberry Cake 1/2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2/3

cup butter, softened cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon for berries tablespoons lemon zest teaspoon vanilla cups self-rising flour, divided into 13/4 cup for cake and 1/4 cup for berries teaspoon salt cups blueberries (thawed if using frozen) egg cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix berries with 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Set aside. Cream butter, lemon zest and sugar with a mixer until smooth. Add egg and mix well. Mix in vanilla well. Add flour, salt and buttermilk and mix well. Gently fold in blueberries. Grease loaf pan well. Pour cake into prepared pan. Bake 60 minutes. Cool 15 minutes in pan. Turn cake out and allow to cool 5 to 10 minutes more. Slice, serve and enjoy!

Alabama Living Photo by The Buttered Home

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Blueberry Festival returns The Alabama Blueberry Festival returns Saturday, June 19, marking the 40th year of the festival in Brewton. The Greater Brewton Area ChamBlueberry Crunch will be among ber of Commerce had the treats for sale at the festival. to cancel the festival last year due to the pandemic, but organizers are looking forward to welcoming crowds back this year. Originally begun by the local Lions Club and Kiwanis Club to promote blueberry growers in the area, the festival grew so large that the chamber took over its administration, according to Judy Crane, executive director. The event usually has about 120 vendors, but because of the need for social distancing, booths will be spaced out and there may not be as many, she says. But there will be plenty of arts and crafts booths; a classic car show featuring Dennis Gage, star of “My Classic Car” on YouTube; children’s activities including a rock wall, inflatables, and obstacle course; live entertainment, and of course, blueberries. Blueberry bushes will be for sale, as will blueberries grown by local businessman Tom McMillan (see story, page 44) on his Knapdale Farms. Blueberry ice cream, made just for the festival by Cammie’s Old Dutch Ice Cream Shoppe in Mobile, will be available by the gallon or in cups. Local cooks will make large batches of blueberry cobbler and blueberry crunch desserts, and other food vendors will have their specialties available.

Details: Alabama Blueberry Festival Saturday, June 19, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jennings Park, 201 St. Nicolas Ave., Brewton brewtonchamber.com/Blueberry-Festival or on Facebook; (251) 867-3224

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Cook of the Month: Olivia Vacalis, Baldwin EMC This month’s winner, Olivia Vacalis of Fairhope, grew up in “a foodie family” in Mobile, where her father was a wholesale grocer with family roots in Greece and her mother was a wonderful Southern cook. “We always had unusual foods you couldn’t find in the grocery store,” she remembers, including a half-gallon jug of feta cheese swimming in brine. “She (her mother) would throw feta in a lot of stuff,” says Olivia, not just salads. One day she made a blueberry pie and tossed a handful of feta cheese on top. The family liked it. Then, years later, Olivia was making her own blueberry pie and didn’t have enough feta, so she added goat cheese. “It just kind of evolved from that,” she says. “The feta makes it creamier, and the goat cheese gives it the tang.” The pie is a perfect use for summer blueberries, which are plentiful at farms in Baldwin County, and you can serve it warm, at room temperature or cold. She recommends a homemade pie crust. “The real secret, though, is the basil,” she adds. She cuts up fresh basil leaves until it looks like enough, and the added spice is the perfect complement to the fruit and cheeses. – Lenore Vickrey.

Blueberry Goat Cheese/Feta Pie Crust: 11/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon Crisco 3 tablespoons cold water Cinnamon sugar, enough for dusting Cut the shortening into the flour/salt mixture. Add cold water. Mix with hands and roll out into a 9-inch pie crust. Pierce the bottom of the pan in several places with a fork and sprinkle a little sugar and cinnamon over the bottom. Filling: 1/2 cup goat cheese 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles 1/2 cup heavy cream 1 large egg 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup flour Generous dash of salt 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or more, to taste) 3 pints fresh blueberries Mix it all together until well blended. Pour into homemade pie crust. Topping: 1 cup coarsely chopped almonds 1/2 cup sugar 1/3 cup butter Melt the butter. Add sugar and almonds. Spread over top of blueberry/cheese filling. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 45 minutes. Pie may be a little runny when first taken out of the oven but will firm up as it cools. Chill in fridge for several hours before serving or can be served at room temperature once it firms up.

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Photo by Brooke Echols

50

$

to the winning

Cook of the Month!

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

Themes and Deadlines: September: My grandparent's favorite dish | June 4 October: Potatoes | July 2 November: Cauliflower | August 6

3 ways to submit: Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: recipes@alabamaliving.coop Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 www.alabamaliving.coop

5/18/21 10:13 AM


Easy Blueberry Beach Bars

Blueberry-Pineapple Cobbler

1 tube crescent rolls (8 ounces) ½ cup sugar 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened ¾ teaspoon almond extract 1 pint fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained right before using 2 teaspoons of turbinado sugar, for topping

2 cups self-rising flour 2 cups sugar 2 cups milk 1 stick butter or margarine, melted 1-1½ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen 1 10-ounce can crushed pineapple, do not drain

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X11-inch pan with butter. Place half of crescent rolls in greased pan and press seams together to make a solid sheet. Mix ½ cup sugar, cream cheese and almond extract until creamy. Spread evenly over crescent dough. Lightly press blueberries into cream cheese mixture. Place remaining crescent dough over blueberries, pinching seams together to make top crust. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of turbinado sugar. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Yield: 16-20 bars. Nancy Sizemore Baldwin EMC

Blueberry Crisp 4 ½ 2 2 ½ ½ ½ 2 6

cups blueberries cup sugar tablespoons cornstarch tablespoons lemon juice cup rolled oats cup all-purpose flour cup packed brown sugar tablespoons pecans, chopped tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 1 ½ quart casserole dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Spoon into the casserole dish. In the same bowl, mix the oats, flour, brown sugar and pecans. With a fork or pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles meal. Sprinkle over the berry mixture. Bake for 45 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbling. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. Peggy Key North AL EC

Mix together the flour, sugar and milk; set aside. Melt one stick of butter or margarine in a 9x13-inch pan while preheating oven to 375 degrees. Pour flour mixture over melted butter. Add blueberries and pineapple. Bake for 3545 minutes. Beth McLarty Cullman EC

Blueberry Pound Cake 1 4 2 3 1 1/2 1 2

cup butter, not margarine large eggs cups sugar cups all-purpose flour teaspoon baking powder teaspoon salt teaspoon vanilla cups thawed blueberries

Grease a 10-inch tube pan. Cream 1 cup of butter, adding 2 cups of sugar. Add eggs one at a time and vanilla. Combine 3 cups flour, baking powder and salt. Beat well. Take off mixer and fold berries into batter. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes at 325 degrees. Rita Miller Pea River EC

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Photo by Brooke Echols

Angel Blueberry Delight 1 1 1 1 1

can blueberry pie filling container Cool Whip 8-ounce package cream cheese cup confectioners’ sugar pound cake

Cut the pound cake into squares and put in a large bowl. Whip the cream cheese in a bowl until soft and then mix in the cup of confectioners’ sugar. Mix together with Cool Whip until creamy. Pour the mixture over the top of the pound cake pieces. Pour the blueberry filling over the mixture. Julia Fleming Covington EC

A nutritional treat Blueberries are: • Low in fat and sodium • 80 calories per cup • A good source of fiber, vitamin C, and are high in manganese, which helps the body process cholesterol and nutrients such as carbohydrates and protein. Some studies have shown blueberries to be an effective source of antioxidants which can neutralize free radicals that can lead to cancer and other age-related diseases. Source: U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

Alabama Living

Angel Blueberry Delight

Freezing blueberries Generally, it’s recommended that you not wash fresh blueberries before freezing them. For more details on freezing your berries, visit the Alabama Cooperative Extension System page: aces.edu/blog/topics/ food-safety/freezing-summers-bounty-of-fruits/ JUNE 2021  47

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| Consumer Wise |

Drilling Down:

Four efficient cordless tools for Dad Q: By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen

A cordless drill is one of the handiest tools for home projects. PHOTO COURTESY CHARLES & HUDSON

A rechargeable string trimmer is quieter and more energy-efficient than a gas-powered model. PHOTO COURTESY MIKITA TOOLS

A rechargeable flashlight can bring full light into small spaces. PHOTO COURTESY BRAD THIESSEN 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 energytips@collaborativeefficiency. com for more information.

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Rechargeable tools help avoid the risk of a cut cord, which can bring a shocking end to a home project. PHOTO COURTESY BRAD THIESSEN

With Father’s Day approaching, the kids and I are thinking of getting my husband some rechargeable power tools. Do you have any recommendations? When is the extra cost of cordless worth the investment?

efficient and quieter. You can find a variety of models between $50 and $150, and it’s worth paying a little more to get a highly rated model that will last longer.

A:

Leaf blower - If the father in your family uses a gas-powered leaf blower, you can do him (and your neighbors!) a favor by giving him a cordless leaf blower, which is more energy efficient, much quieter and less polluting.

Power drill - As one of the most-used

Flashlight - LED technology is amazing––today’s LED flashlights can produce 20 times as much light as the old incandescent ones. And they come in a variety of options, from tiny key chain lights to headlamps to waterproof spotlights. A flashlight can usually give better light than a cell phone, especially if you’re working in a tight space like under a sink. A flashlight often comes as part of a cordless tool set, or you can buy a single unit that recharges using a USB port on a charger, a USB wall socket or a mobile phone battery. Batteries make cordless tools possible. Lithium-ion batteries are more expensive, but they’re gaining popularity because they hold a charge longer. They also have a longer life, but they still degrade over time and may need to be replaced in about three years. It’s worth buying a reputable brand of cordless tools so you can be confident you will be able to find a replacement battery. Lithium-ion batteries should not be disposed with trash because they are a fire hazard and contain toxic chemicals. Your local waste disposal service can provide information on how to dispose of these batteries properly. It goes without saying, but these cordless tool gift ideas aren’t just for dads. All DIY enthusiasts would enjoy any of these gifts and hopefully put them to good use! I hope this information helps you choose the right cordless tools for your husband so he can enjoy using them for years to come.

Great idea! If your husband enjoys tackling home projects, rechargeable tools are an excellent gift idea. Rechargeable cordless tools are worth the investment when the corded version is the least convenient option. For example, a power drill is something you usually move around with and often use outside, so a cordless drill is much more convenient and a worthy investment. On the other hand, a table saw is usually not the first choice of cordless tools because it doesn’t need to be moved repeatedly during a home project. Quality cordless tools are usually less expensive if you buy them as part of a set instead of one tool at a time. And since each line of tools uses a unique battery, you can’t mix and match between brands. So, it may cost less in the long run to buy a cordless starter kit with a few helpful tools and a battery, then add tools to the set as needed. Here are a few cordless tools that the father in your family should love! power tools, a drill should be everyone’s first cordless tool. Using a corded drill can mean constantly moving the cord around furniture, other tools or your own feet, which can be dangerous. Cordless drills are so easy to use, and the technology has improved so they have more power and hold a charge longer. Light-duty drills are smaller and less powerful but easy to use for smaller projects.

String trimmer - A string trimmer

is a quick way to trim weeds and grass near walls, bricks and rocks. If your family uses an old gas trimmer around the yard, it’s time for a change. Two-stroke engines pollute the air and require regular maintenance. Electric trimmers are more energy

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SAEC awards scholarships to local students For more than 80 years, South Alabama Electric Cooperative has prided itself on giving back to the community. One of the biggest ways this is accomplished is by awarding scholarships to deserving high school seniors. This year was no different, as SAEC awarded 18 scholarships of $1,000 through the Electric Cooperative Foundation. The scholarships are awarded to students who are planning to attend an accredited four-year college, junior college, technical school or vocational school.

ADDISON CLAIRE GARROTT Pike Liberal Arts

MAKENNA HAILEE FAULK Zion Chapel High School

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“These students are the future of our area and our cooperative,” says SAEC General Manager David Bailey. “South Alabama Electric is proud to help them get a head start on the next chapter of their life.” SAEC has numerous programs designed to help the community grow and thrive. For more information on these programs, and how to apply for scholarships next year, visit southaec.com/community-involvement. n

MORGAN CELESTE BUNDY

JAKARI LARENZEN THOMAS

JACOB ARON HELMS

JaSHON DYRELL MCKEE

Pike Liberal Arts

Zion Chapel High School

Charles Henderson High School

Luverne High School

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5/21/21 10:01 AM


LANCE CHRISTIAN THIERFELDER

MACY BLAKE MANSMANN

LAUREN REESE HUDSON

ALLY-ANNA OUTLAW

DAVID LANDON THRASH

SAVANNA REECE JOHNSTON

WILLIAM PATRICK DAVIS

THOMAS REID COMPTON

JOSEPH DOUGLAS RILEY

LUCAS JOHNSON KILCREASE

LEAH GRACE QUALLS

WILLIAM JOHN SNYDER

Highland Home High School

Carroll High School

Luverne High School

Brantley High School

Alabama Living

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Highland Home High School

Ariton High School

Crenshaw Christian Academy

Goshen High School

Brantley High School

Ariton High School

Crenshaw Christian Academy

Goshen High School

JUNE 2021  51

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| Our Sources Say |

We bought our ticket I

spent my 13th summer with cousins in Cincinnati. It was my first time away from home and a great adventure. Also, my hometown, Corinth, Mississippi, was revamping its youth sports programs, and there was no baseball to keep me home that summer. In addition to playing baseball with my cousin Jimmy Crabb, I learned about other places in the world and made a lot of new friends. I still recall afternoons at the ballpark two blocks away from the house, Cincinnati Reds baseball on television, and sodas (they were always “Cokes” in Corinth, regardless of the brand, but are called sodas north of the Mason-Dixon line) at the Pony Keg. My cousin Jimmy was what we called a hellion. He welcomed every challenge. He was outgoing, athletic and a daredevil. He never backed down from anyone and was always the first one into anything. He was only six months older than me, but his personality and his turf mandated that he be the leader of our little group. His personality led to one of the most memorable events of my life. One Saturday afternoon we went to Coney Island, near downtown Cincinnati. Coney Island is gone now, replaced by a newer amusement park, King’s Island. But in 1967, it was a very popular place and had one of the largest roller coasters (sometimes called pippins after the historic Zippin’ Pippin in Memphis, Elvis Presley’s favorite) in the country. Named “Dip the Dips,” it was a huge wooden frame structure that stretched far into the sky and made many dives, twists and turns. The cars roared like thunder as they fell straight down from the heavens. Of course, Cousin Jimmy led me straight to the pippin. I was a small town country boy who had seen roller coasters at the county fair, but only those that could be disassembled and moved on trucks. I had never seen or even imagined the monster that loomed in front of us. With Jimmy’s insistence and the ignorance of youth, we bought our tickets and got into line. When we moved onto the loading platform, Jimmy insisted we sit in the front car. As we were getting into the car and pulling the bar back, Jimmy said, “the front row is better – no one will throw up on us here.” As we pulled away from the platform launching my virgin trip off the earth, I wondered what Jimmy had gotten us into – a monster roller coaster that you needed to sit in the front seat so no one would throw up on you. And then it got worse, as we rose higher and higher and then fell like a rock for what seemed

hundreds of feet…only to rise again and fall again, to rise again and fall again and twist and turn violently. I still remember the initial free fall. I had never experienced anything like it. All I could do was hold on, catch my stomach in my throat, squeeze the bar close, listen to Jimmy scream and pray it would end soon. I recalled the fears and apprehension of my first roller coaster ride when I heard President Biden’s recently released Infrastructure Plan that mandates the electric utility sector be carbon-free by 2035. Along with that mandate, President Biden also calls for incentives to phase out gasoline-powered vehicles in favor of electric vehicles – all of which must be powered from carbon-free resources by 2035. The electric utility industry emits about 25% of the carbon emitted in the U.S. and the transportation sector emits 29%. Therefore, the Biden math is that within the next 15 years, the electric utility industry will absorb the transportation sector’s emissions and reduce more than half of today’s U.S. carbon emissions through transformation of electric generation sources to carbon-free production. Despite some of the comments about my articles, at PowerSouth we know electric generation and the difficulties of maintaining a reliable electric grid. The grid has shown its fragility over the past two years with extensive blackouts in California, Texas, and other states. Without a major technology breakthrough, it will be very, very difficult, if not impossible, for electric utilities to generate carbon-free electricity for current loads, much less add the burden of the transportation fleet, by 2035. Nuclear units cannot be brought on line that quickly, and there will not be enough solar power and batteries to power the grid. Not all areas have wind, and there is insufficient transmission capability to move the wind to eastern population centers. PowerSouth’s new natural gas combined-cycle plant is also designed to burn hydrogen, but utility-scale hydrogen to run numerous power plants is decades away. A carbon-free electric industry and a carbon-free transportation fleet in 15 years is a near-impossible challenge. Which brings me back to Coney Island when I was 13. We bought our ticket and approached the apex of the ride. I have the same feeling I did then. All we can do is hold on and pray it ends soon--and before anyone throws up on us. My stomach is already rolling, but at least Jimmy is not screaming. I hope you have a good month.

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative.

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| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

Illustration by Dennis Auth

A father and son moment

W

hen it comes to being a father, I feel I have done my share. Yessir, I am the father of three – two girls and a boy. In many ways this gender division made life easier for me. Growing up, when the girls had a problem, they naturally sought advice from their mother. When my son was young, this approach also worked. When he came to me with a “what to do” dilemma, I was able to solve his problem by simply advising him to “do what Mama says.” Now some may disagree, but I believed that I was being a good father, preparing my son for living in a world where the order of things was determined not by some natural, rational calculus but by a feminine formula the logic of which is beyond the mind of man. But my son, young and full of himself, struggled with this concept. So, I told him a story. Once upon a time there was a man who lived in California. He was an upright man, and eschewed evil. One day he was walking on the beach, and the Lord appeared to him and said: “You have been a good man, upright and eschewing and all

Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at hhjackson43@gmail.com

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that, so I will grant you a wish, whatever you want.” And the man replied, “I love to surf. And I have always wanted to surf in Hawaii. But I am afraid to fly and I get seasick, so I have never crossed the ocean. Can you build me a bridge to Hawaii?” And the Lord frowned. “Yes, I can. I am the Almighty. Lord of Lords. Very God of Very God. All that stuff. I can do anything. Omnipotent. That’s me. A bridge to Hawaii? Sure. But I was hoping for something a little more to the benefit of mankind. Something that would make life better for others. Why don’t you take another shot at it?” And the man, feeling a bit ashamed, paused. Then, suddenly it came to him. And he asked of the Lord, “Enable me to understand women.” And the Lord God Almighty looked down and said: “You want that bridge two lanes or four?” And my son, the scion, flesh of my flesh, looked at me in a way he had never looked before, looked at me and said, “You mean even God . . .” And I said “yes.” And the years between us fell away and we were one in our confusion. Every father should have a moment like that. If you have a son, Father’s Day might be a good time to give it a try. And if you have daughters, ask them to help you. They already know the answer. www.alabamaliving.coop

5/17/21 3:44 PM


Illustration by Dennis Auth

Alabama Living

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Profile for Alabama Living

June 2021 South Alabama  

June 2021 South Alabama  

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