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Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News November 2019

South Alabama


Electric Cooperative

Their final resting place Veterans’ cemeteries honor those who served

Making Alabama

Traveling exhibit celebrates Alabama’s 200-year history

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.

Adventures in the Black Belt

The rich soil of Alabama’s 23 Black Belt counties has created an excellent habitat for deer, wild turkeys and other wildlife. The non-profit Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association continues to work to capitalize on that rich habitat for tourist dollars and economic development.


VOL. 72 NO. 11 n NOVEMBER 2019

POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014. ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION

AREA President Fred Braswell Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Law Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Danny Weston Advertising Director Jacob Johnson Graphic Designer/Ad Coordinator Brooke Echols Graphic Designer Chyna Miller



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


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2020 Youth Tour


More Space


High school juniors in Pike, Coffee or Crenshaw counties can apply today for the 2020 Youth Tour

SAEC’s expanded warehouse and truck bay will allow for employees to better serve members.

Time for apples

Now that the air is finally cooler, it’s the perfect time to enjoy some reader recipes using our favorite fall fruit.



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



WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop EMAIL: letters@alabamaliving.coop MAIL: Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

In this issue: Page 11 Page 28

11 Spotlight 29 Around Alabama 32 Gardens 34 Cook of the Month 40 Outdoors 41 Fish & Game Forecast 46 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop ON THE COVER: Carolyn Evans of Dadeville places a flag at the Fort Mitchell grave of the late husband of a friend. Evans’ husband is also buried at Fort Mitchell, near Phenix City. PHOTO: Jim Plott


Building a strong foundation David Bailey, General Manager

Board of Trustees James Shaver President District 2

Delaney Kervin Vice President District 5

Douglas Green Secretary/Treasurer District 6

Bill Hixon District 1

James May At Large

Glenn Reeder District 7

Raymond Trotter District 3

Ben Fox District 4

Some of our younger members might not remember the United States bicentennial in 1976, but our country’s 200th birthday is still clear in my memory. That year the U.S. Mint produced special bicentennial quarters, and I still remember saving every one of them I could find. In the hot summer of July 1776, men who would become known as the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. But they were also signing their death warrants. In their fight for independence from King George III and Great Britain, they knew failure would undoubtedly mean being executed for treason. A little over a decade later, on Sept. 17, 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed. It wasn’t a perfect document; nothing made by man is. But over the following centuries, amendments were passed to correct some of the document’s early errors, such as the 13th Amendment that outlawed slavery. The Constitution still serves as the foundation for how our country is governed. And in my opinion, this is the greatest country in recorded history. Right about now you may be asking yourself about the point of bringing up this history. Aside from the fact that I always enjoy sharing history with the readers of this column, I’d like to point out how the formation of the United States soon led to Alabama’s founding as a state in December 1819. If you do the math, you’ll notice that we are celebrating our own bicentennial this year. Throughout 2019 there have been numerous events across the state to celebrate this momentous occasion. In this month’s magazine, you can read about a couple of local ones in our community. Like our country, Alabama’s past isn’t perfect. But the great thing about both is that we are able to correct our mistakes and continue improving. I know I am very thankful to be from Alabama.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an SAEC magazine without an update about our new facility. Over the last several months, we have published a series of stories aimed at informing you, the member, about the new building. Our hope is to have it ready to serve you within two years. If you’ve driven past the site recently, you’ll notice there are already signs of progress. Like the U.S. Constitution when it was first written, you have to establish a good foundation to build something great on top of it. This month also marks the start of our annual Youth Tour process. If you know any high school juniors, please encourage them to apply for the tour. We have been fortunate to be represented by some wonderful young people in our community over the past few years, and I’m sure there are many more to come. That’s one thing we can be thankful for as we approach Thanksgiving, but there are so many others during the month of November. I’m thankful for great football games and for the start of gun season for deer hunters — and the head start bow hunters like myself get to enjoy. I’m also thankful for the fall harvest so important to our community. And I’m especially thankful for my family, the freedoms this country provides and the chance to honor those who protect them on Veterans Day. If you know a veteran, I hope you will take a moment this month to let them know how much you appreciate their service. I would personally like to thank my father, retired Lieutenant Colonel Joseph W. Bailey, for his long military service. Until next month, may God bless you and your family. 

HOLIDAY CLOSINGS: SAEC will be closing for the holidays to allow our employees time with their families. We will continue to monitor the system and be available to respond to any outages that may occur.




2020 Rural Electric Cooperative Youth Tour

Contact Information


Website www.southaec.com

Apply today

Students who are high school juniors in Pike, Coffee or Crenshaw counties are eligible to apply for the Youth Tour.


Ten students will be selected to attend the Montgomery Youth Tour on March 10-12, 2020. Students will visit with their state representatives, meet students from other cooperatives, visit Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, hear motivational speakers and learn about rural cooperatives’ role in the history of Alabama.


Of the 10 students selected for the Montgomery Youth Tour, two will be selected to attend the Washington, D.C. Youth Tour in June. Those two students will visit their national representatives and meet students from across the country. They will also visit monuments and get a firsthand look at our nation’s history.

Here's how to apply: For applications, students can visit www.southaec.com or talk to their school guidance counselor. The application and all supporting documents must be completed and submitted to their school guidance counselor or mailed to: South Alabama Electric Cooperative ATTN: Andy Kimbro P.O. Box 449 Troy, AL 36081 Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. An independent panel of judges will select participants from the qualified applicants based on their application and essay. Students will be notified by email if they have been selected for the interview stage. Interviews are Friday, Jan. 10, 2020, after which participants for the Montgomery and Washington tours will be selected. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with SAEC and the cooperative model to prepare for their interview. Based on the interview results, 10 students will be selected to attend the state Youth Tour in Montgomery, while two will be chosen to represent SAEC at the Washington tour.

Mailing address P.O. Box 449 Troy, AL 36081 Phone 334-566-2060 800-556-2060

Find us here:

Tf 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


From Alabama with love Postcards and heritage exhibits trace 200 years of state history Alabama’s bicentennial is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the history and progress of the 22nd state to join the United States. But for Ohio native Ruth Elder, it has also been a chance to learn what makes the state so unique. Elder is the cataloger at the Troy University Library. And in the years leading up to the bicentennial celebration, she also served as the researcher and writer for a traveling exhibit based on the university’s Wade Hall postcard collection. The collection of about 25,000 postcards includes 5,000 historical cards from Alabama ranging from the early 1900s to the 1960s. “The idea was to find things that were important culturally and historically to people from various areas of the state,” Elder says. “We made the exhibit flexible enough to go to places like the Capitol building or a town’s community museum. We wanted little towns to be able to participate in the bicentennial, too.” The exhibit highlights places like Troy and Tuscaloosa — Hall was an alumnus of both Troy University and the University of Alabama — as well as Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery, Mobile and Hall’s hometown of Union Springs. But in the course of her research, Elder also came across fascinating towns like Magnolia Springs, where mail is delivered by boat throughout the year, and Foley, which hides a secret tunnel underneath a historic hotel. She wanted to make sure smaller communities like these weren’t overlooked in the exhibit. 6 NOVEMBER 2019


Postcards depicting historical landmarks and streets from towns across Alabama were used at the Troy University Wade Hall postcard collection exhibit.

“We didn’t want the big cities to dominate,” she says. “There are little towns all over Alabama, and we wanted them to know we remembered them, too. They’re just as important to the founding of Alabama.”

Making Alabama The Alabama Humanities Foundation took a similar approach to building “Making Alabama: A Bicentennial Traveling Exhibit.” The exhibit, which recently made a stop at the Crenshaw County Development Authority in Luverne, has been moving around the state for 18 months. The goal is for it to be displayed in every county before arriving in Montgomery for the bicentennial. In narrowing down what information to include, AHF Director of Operations Laura Anderson wanted to touch on the major milestones people would expect while sharing stories that many of them might not know. “Making Alabama” emphasizes the history of education in communities across the state, including a surprising number of boarding schools and colleges in rural communities. Of course, the exhibit itself has also been an excellent educational tool. “We’ve had our school kids studying Alabama history, and so have civic clubs and just individual citizens who drop by and look at it,” says Robyn Snellgrove, president and CEO of the Crenshaw County Economic and Industrial Development Authority. “I’m so thankful we had the opportunity to host this so they didn’t have to drive somewhere else to see it.” Just as importantly, Anderson designed the exhibit to take a look at what we choose to remember in a section called “Public Memory.” “I think we learn a lot about ourselves when we look at what we have memorialized with public funds from one period to another,” Anderson says. “When you look at the things we built monuments to in the mid-1800s compared to the late 1900s and even into the 2000s, you see change over time. That tells us a lot about ourselves from one time period to another.” Alabama Living

Learning from the past As much as she enjoyed researching state history to build the Wade Hall exhibit, Elder’s favorite part has been seeing visitors connect with the historical images on the postcards. One man, while looking at a card featuring a courthouse where he and his sister used to play, noticed on the digital exhibit that his mother’s name was at the bottom of the postcard. “I like when people look at one of these places and say, ‘Oh, I remember when it was like this,’” Elder says. “It’s a great reminder to people, because some of these places don’t look like that or might not even exist anymore.” Even though the Alabama bicentennial is about looking back at the state’s history, Anderson hopes the “Making Alabama” exhibit will give people confidence when looking ahead. “We want people to be thinking about the future and looking at things like how we came to be, who the state was for and how our leadership has changed over time,” Anderson says. “When you think about where we’re headed in terms of our economy and social structure, we can approach the future from a more informed point of view. And we can feel really optimistic.” The “Making Alabama” exhibit is visiting Decatur and Tuscaloosa this month before concluding its tour in Montgomery in December. The Alabama Humanities Foundation plans to keep the exhibit in circulation into 2020. The Wade Hall touring exhibits that feature historical buildings and streets will be at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama in Troy from Nov. 12 to Dec. 20. Another traveling exhibit on tourism is at the Gulf Shores Museum and Thomas B. Norton Public Library from Nov. 14 through January 2020. 



New building’s expanded warehouse and fleet space will improve member service Many of the benefits of South Alabama Electric Cooperative’s new facility will be apparent to members as soon as they walk in the front door. Others, like expanded warehouse and fleet space, will exist behind the scenes but still make tremendous improvements to how the cooperative serves members. The new warehouse will more than double the available floor space, allowing materials currently stored outdoors to be secured inside. The new space will also be designed for forklift use, which will help employees move large materials more efficiently. “We had to modify the doorway to the current warehouse just to get a forklift inside,” says Ronald Wade, SAEC’s manager of engineering and operations. “The new warehouse will be tall enough to have a forklift moving around without worrying about running into anything.” The new facility will also add office space to the warehouse for employees who currently have limited room. There will be a dedicated foreman’s room where the heads of each team will have their own desk, along with offices for the engineering and construction superintendents. There will also be a dedicated meeting room for monthly safety briefings and any other training. “That additional office space is going to help us serve the members better because we’ll be able to carry on business about new construction projects without interference from other employees or conversations happening in the same office,” Wade says. Because the Rural Utilities Service requires SAEC to maintain all work orders and records of loan funds for 33 years, the new warehouse will even feature ventilation and storage to protect those records from deterioration. Meanwhile, the expanded fleet space will protect all of the cooperative’s vehicles and provide room for growth. The current facility only provides cover for 10 vehicles, meaning the majority of SAEC’s 37-vehicle fleet — and the materials they are loaded with — are exposed to the elements. “With the new facility, we’ll have enough space for all vehicles to park out of the weather and room for future growth of about another eight to 10 vehicles,” Wade says. The building is also designed to keep the flow of employee and member traffic separate, so members visiting the warehouse to pick up a new water heater or other equipment will not have to worry about being in the way of cooperative vehicles. The expanded space will also mean SAEC can have any necessary materials available when a need arises. “Having everything on hand without having to wait for it will be a big benefit for members,” Wade says. “We’ll be able to get jobs done in a more timely manner.”  8 NOVEMBER 2019

An architectural rendering shows the improvements that will be made to SAEC’s warehouse and truck bays.


| Alabama Snapshots |

On the Farm

Josh, Sam, Nate and Paul Redd on our poultry farm. SUBMITTED BY April Redd, Coker. Davis Hood giving “Moo” her daily hug. SUBMITTED BY Donna Wilson, Sulligent.

Hayley and son, Weston, walking in high cotton on the family farm. SUBMITTED BY Hayley Walters, Auburn. Wyatt catching hens. SUBMITTED BY Savannah Cooper, Robertsdale.

Indie, Axil and Touché enjoying the sunshine. SUBMITTED BY Miranda Byford, Hartselle.

Send us your “Our First Photo” with your spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, child or family! Deadline to submit is November 30. Winning photos will run in the January issue.

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

RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at www.alabamaliving.coop and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos.

Tom Mauldin hauling hay on his John Deere. SUBMITTED BY Sarah Mauldin, Florence.

NOVEMBER 2019  9

Spotlight | November SOCIAL SECURITY

Certain disability payments and workers’ compensation may affect your benefits

Many people working nowadays have more than one job. This means they have several sources of income. It’s important to keep in mind that having multiple sources of income can sometimes affect your Social Security benefits; but, it depends on the source. Disability payments from private sources, such as private pensions or insurance benefits, don’t affect your Social Security disability benefits. Workers’ compensation and other public disability benefits, however, may reduce what you receive from Social Security. Workers’ compensation benefits are paid to a worker because of a job-related injury or illness. These benefits may be

Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at kylle.mckinney@ssa.gov.

paid by federal or state workers’ compensation agencies, employers, or by insurance companies on behalf of employers. Public disability payments that may affect your Social Security benefits are those paid from a federal, state, or local government for disabling medical conditions that are not job-related. Examples of these are civil service disability benefits, state temporary disability benefits, and state or local government retirement benefits that are based on disability. Some public benefits don’t affect your Social Security disability benefits. If you receive Social Security disability benefits, and one of the following types of public benefits, your Social Security benefits will not be reduced: • Veterans Administration benefits; • State and local government benefits, if Social Security taxes were deducted from your earnings; or

November crossword We hope you enjoyed completing the October crossword! We did hear from a few of our readers that the type was too small to read, so we hope we’ve fixed that this month. This month’s puzzle has some references to Alabama’s bicentennial as well as some famous Alabama people and places. Enjoy! Let us know what you think at letters@ alabamaliving.coop. Answers on Page 45.

• Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You can read more about the possible ways your benefits might be reduced at socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10018.pdf. Please be sure to report changes. If there is a change in the amount of your other disability payment, or if those benefits stop, please notify us right away. Tell us if the amount of your workers’ compensation or public disability payment increases or decreases. Any change in the amount or frequency of these benefits is likely to affect the amount of your Social Security benefits. An unexpected change in benefits can have unintended consequences. You can be better prepared if you’re informed and have financially prepared yourself. Visit socialsecurity.gov/planners for information about your options for securing your future.

Across 1 First words of a famous Lynyrd Skynyrd song, ___ ___ Alabama 5 Hero of the Civil Rights movement, initials 7 Mountain Music or Feels So Right, for example 8 Alabama Governor, 2 words 10 Site of the US Space and Rocket Center Museum 15 Thought 16 Historic university founded by Booker T. Washington 17 Cheaha, for example, abbr. 19 Arts degree 21 Native Americans who originally occupied some of present day Alabama 25 Auburn coach ___ Malzahn 26 Stretch of coastline also called the Miracle Strip, 2 words 29 Target 30 Rapper prefix 31 Brothers who were the patriarchs of Alabama Sacred Harp music Down 1 Brown quickly at a high temperature 2 Ocean motion 3 Alabama’s Bicentennial cook book, 5 words 4 Magnificent tree: there are many in Alabama 5 Ava DuVernay’s Selma, for example 6 River craft to use on the Flint River, for example 9 Christmas time 11 ___ Alabama Battleship Memorial Park 12 Compete (for) 13 Element suffix 14 Baby sheep 16 Donald L. ___ Civic Center on the campus of FSU 18 Plate on a car 20 Request 22 Former Governor of Alabama in the early 20th century, Emmet 23 Walked in deep water 24 Tiara Pennington wears one as Miss Alabama 2019 27 First word in a Brazilian city 28 Can material

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November | Spotlight

Whereville, AL

Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer by Nov. 7 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the December issue. Submit by email: whereville@alabamaliving.coop, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124. Contribute your own photo for an upcoming issue! Send a photo of an interesting or unusual landmark in Alabama, which must be accessible to the public. A reader whose photo is chosen will also win $25.


This sculpture of Truman Capote’s hat and thick-rimmed glasses is just one of the art works in the Literary Capital Sculpture Trail project, which memorializes the many talented writers who have Monroeville roots. This sculpture, located at the southeast entrance of the Monroe County Museum, was created by Morgan Harrison. The trail was unveiled in April 2019, and all 14 sculptures were created by University of Alabama students. Learn more at monroevillemainstreet.com (Photo by Lenore Vickrey of Alabama Living) We received a sweet note and photo from Annalee Chance from Troy, above, a member of the South Alabama EC. She says she’s visiting all the counties in Alabama for her fourth-grade project and recently visited the Monroe County Courthouse and saw the statue. Thanks for writing, Annalee! The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Donna Carney of Black Warrior EMC. Alabama Living

Find the hidden dingbat! Our October dingbat, an orange pumpkin, was well hidden but most all of the nearly 1,000 guesses got it right. One reader claimed it was in an ad on Page 15, but remember, we will never hide it in an ad. Another reader saw the pumpkin on the left fender of the pink Volkswagen on Page 11. But the pumpkin dingbat was actually in a photo on Page 20, as part of the chair’s upholstery where Mae Robertson is sitting with her grandchildren. Marjorie Cook of Vernon, a member of Tombigbee EC, said it took her a long time to find it, but she did spot the pumpkin when she put her magazine in the sunshine. There must have been something in the cool fall air that inspired several readers to wax poetic with their submissions. From Susan Needham of Cullman EC, we got these verses: It’s October now, so It’s time for a scare The dingbat’s on page 20 On the front of Mae’s chair. And Eleonore Madigan of Dothan wrote: Leafed to page 20 when I saw The upholstery of the chair has a flaw In the shape of a round pumpkin Ah-ha! The dingbat for which I was huntin’ Congratulations to Terry G. Whittington of Ariton for being chosen as the correct guess winner! This month we’ve hidden a turkey. So quit your gobbling and get to looking! By mail: Find the Dingbat Alabama Living PO Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 By email: dingbat@alabamaliving.com

November 13, 1833

A dramatic meteor shower filled the sky with approximately 30,000 meteors an hour in an event remembered as the night stars fell on Alabama. The shower inspired the title of Carl Carmer’s 1934 bestselling book Stars Fell on Alabama, which related Carmer’s experiences in Alabama in the 1920s through the dramatized voice of a northerner. Part memoir and part cultural analysis, the book received high praise by The New York Times and the northern press. Many Alabamians, however, believed Carmer purposefully disparaged the state by focusing on negative aspects of its culture, including Ku Klux Klan parades, foot-washings, and voodoo rituals. www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1596

White House ornament commemorates helicopter housed at Fort Rucker Fort Rucker, Alabama’s largest military installation and home to U.S. Army Aviation, was the site of a commemorative event to celebrate the 2019 Official White House Christmas Ornament, which is in the image of a helicopter. The ornament commemorates President Eisenhower as the first sitting president to fly in a helicopter. Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company with a facility in Troy, has built the presidential helicopter since Eisenhower’s first use in 1957. Stewart McLaurin, president of the White House Historical Association, and Gov. Kay Ivey were on hand for the official presentation of the ornament at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker recently. The original VCH-34 Army One helicopter is housed there. Each year since 1981, the White House Historical Association has created the official ornament, which is American-made by a veteran-founded company. The ornament is $22.95 and can be purchased at whitehousehistory.org or by calling 800-555-2451. NOVEMBER 2019  11

Todd Newkirk looks over the graves at Alabama National. The cemetery was built about a decade ago to provide a central location to serve the Birmingham metro area and beyond.

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Final resting place Alabama’s four veterans’ cemeteries honor those who served

Story and photos by Jim Plott


ike soldiers at attention, battalions of white markers stretch out across the fields in perfect formation. Below them are soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen. They are compatriots linked by more than common soil. Some died in service; many others survived the decades before finally falling to old age. All sacrificed. Alabama has four cemeteries dedicated to the men and women who have worn American military uniforms. They are shrines and places of reflection to the people who fought at places like Chateau-Thierry, Iwo Jima, Normandy, Incheon, Saigon, Baghdad and Kabul. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs oversees Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo and Fort Mitchell National Cemetery near Phenix City. The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs manages cemeteries under the same VA regulations in Spanish Fort and Mobile, although the one in Mobile is at capacity and open only to surviving spouses.

Alabama Living

Burials and headstones at all the cemeteries are free for the veteran, spouse and dependent children. That includes in-ground casket or cremation burials or in a columbarium for urns containing cremated remains. “Everything from the gate to the headstone is free. That saves a family anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000 at a minimum,” says Todd Newkirk, assistant director at Fort Mitchell and interim director at Alabama National. Newkirk, scanning the pristine grounds of Alabama National, believes there is a more plausible explanation why service people choose to call a veterans’ cemetery their final resting place. “You are among your brothers and sisters at arms,” Newkirk says. “You are a veteran, and this is a place that honors veterans 24-seven. And as long as there is a United States of America this place is going to be taken care of. People are going to be here every day, all day taking care of the cemetery.”

Reminders of sacrifice

Air Force Lt. Col. Kenneth Bourland was the first active-duty service person to be buried at Alabama National, which was dedicated in 2008. The Birmingham native, who flew numerous helicopter missions in Iraq, died in February 2010 when the hotel where he was staying during a humanitarian mission in Haiti collapsed during an earthquake. He was survived by a wife and two sons, then ages three and one. “Our daughter-in-law was the one that made the decision whether he would be buried at Arlington National Cemetery (near Washington D.C.) or here,” says Bourland’s mother, Adrienne Bourland. “I am very glad she made the choice for him to come back to Alabama. It has allowed us be involved in the ceremonies and the activities.” Adrienne Bourland and her husband live in nearby St. Clair County and remain members of a volunteer support staff that helps conduct special ceremonies at the cemetery on Veterans and Memorial hol-

NOVEMBER 2019  13

Local veteran groups display the colors at the groundbreaking of a scenic overlook at Alabama National.

Overlook planned for National Cemetery

ed in 2008 and 2012, respectively, to meet the burial needs of World War II and Korean War veterans. All three cemeteries adjoin historical grounds. Alabama National is adjacent to American Village, an educational facility that contains replicas of historical structures. Fort Mitchell National Cemetery abuts a replica of Fort Mitchell, an early American outpost and a link to the Federal Road which opened Alabama to early settlers. The Alabama State Veterans Memorial Cemetery is near Fort Blakely, which was the site of the largest Civil War ‘I see America here’ battle fought in Alabama. Fort Mitchell National was established Each cemetery conducts commem31 years ago at the urging of the late U.S. orative ceremonies on Memorial Day Rep. Bill Nichols and state Sen. Joseph and Veterans Day, and many lay wreaths Smith of Phenix City, on the headstones at both of whom conChristmas. Those certended that Alabama emonies are generally deserved a national conducted by support cemetery. Their arcommittees, vetergument was fortified an groups and Scout by the fact that Fort members. Benning, Ga., lies just Newkirk, however, across the Chattasays he can’t help but hoochee River. reflect on the sacrifices “Mr. Joseph Smith provided by those enwas actually the first tombed every time he person buried here,” Bob Barefield of the Support drives in the entrance. Newkirk says. “He Committee for Alabama National “This is the best job actually died before it Cemetery addresses a group for the I ever had in my life,” opened, and his wife groundbreaking of the scenic overlook. Newkirk says. “I did had him disinterred 21 years active duty in (from another cemetery) and reinterred the Air Force and 15 years as a civilian in here.” the Army and so it is special to me. I see Alabama National and Alabama State America here. I see my brother and sisters. Veterans Memorial Cemetery were creatIt’s just an honor to be here.” idays. Kenneth Bourland’s family has also moved back to the Birmingham area from Florida where they were living at the time of his death. Alabama headstones, carved from Sylacauga marble, include a person’s name, rank, branch of service, date of birth and death and a symbol of religious belief. “The last two or three spaces are for an optional inscription that the next of kin is able to select,” Newkirk says. “They can put whatever they want on those lines as long as it is appropriate.”

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An artist rendering of the overlook at Alabama National. The overlook, above Shoal Creek, is being built through private donations and is expected to be complete in January.

By January, families of veterans buried at Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo will have a place to gather and reflect on the cemetery grounds while their loved one is being interred. The Support Committee of the Alabama National Cemetery broke ground in September on a wooded overlook above Shoal Creek at the edge of the cemetery. The volunteer group, which provides programs at the cemetery and assists survivors of veterans with burial needs, undertook the project in January 2013 when it began raising private donations for the structure. Bob Barefield, SCALNC chairman emeritus, says burial regulations don’t allow graveside services and families are limited to the time they can spend at an outdoor shelter (conducting what serves as a graveside service). “Families are having to leave and then come back to visit the gravesite after interment,” Barefield says. “Once this is available, this will be a place where they can go and quietly reflect not only the tragic side of losing a loved one, but the better side because that overlook is so serene and so peaceful that it makes you think of better times.” www.alabamaliving.coop

Alabama Living

NOVEMBER 2019  15

The Black Belt’s rich soil creates a special place for sporting adventures By John N. Felsher


ourished for centuries by several rivers depositing nutrient-rich black, loamy soil, the Black Belt region extends across 23 counties in central Alabama. That fertile soil created outstanding agricultural land, but also created excellent habitat for white-tailed deer, wild turkeys and other wildlife. Although hunters and fishermen frequently visit the region, area residents wanted to do more to promote it. In 2009, they formed a non-profit group called the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association to collectively promote the special region as a destination for hunting, fishing, canoeing, camping, hiking, birding and other cultural, artistic or historic endeavors. “About 10 years ago, a group of dedicated

conservationists with a passion for hunting and fishing came together in an effort to stimulate economic growth in Alabama’s Black Belt region,” says Thomas Harris, president and founding father of the ALBBAA. “The Black Belt hasn’t been as successful with industrial recruitment when compared to other areas in the state, so it made perfect sense to capitalize on the abundance of natural resources that are readily available here. Tourism is a strong contributor to economic development, and we set our goals to collectively promote and brand the region as an outdoor destination. The results of our recent economic impact study proved that we were right on target.” The ALBBAA enlisted the help of noted sporting personalities Ray Scott, foundA hunter prepares to take a shot at a rising covey of bobwhite quail. Although most people come to the Black Belt to hunt white-tailed deer and turkeys, the area also offers quail hunting and a variety of other sporting opportunities. PHOTO BY TODD SAUERS

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Alabama Living

NOVEMBER 2019  17

er of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, and Jackie Bushman, founder of Buckmasters. Both men grew up hunting the Black Belt. Scott, Bushman and others hosted television commercials and promotional videos encouraging people to visit the region. In addition, the association and its supporters aired TV commercials in 93 major markets across 32 states. The association even published a coffee table book on area hunting and fishing heritage and traditions, which will be available for purchase this month. “Our partnerships across the region continue to grow and strengthen,” says Pam Swanner, who has served as the ALBBAA director for nearly 10 years. “Many projects have been conducted or are in the development stages with other organizations, such as the Chambers of Commerce, tourism councils, Black Belt Treasures, Alabama Tourism Department, Alabama State Parks and many others. More than 137,000 outdoor enthusiasts nationally receive monthly newsletters sharing outdoors news about the Black Belt.” In addition, ALBBAA cultivated relationships with major media associations to bring in writers and broadcasters from around the country to experience hunting in the Black Belt and fishing for largemouth bass, crappie, catfish and other species in area rivers and lakes. These journalists published numerous articles and aired multiple radio and television broadcasts throughout the nation. People took notice. “Our web traffic steadily increases each year,” Swanner says. “From January to August 2019, we’ve seen a 228 percent increase in the number of inquiries over the same period last year. We also ramped up paid Google ads and social media advertising, plus facilitated our photo contests through our website. These efforts drew more traffic to the website, which resulted in more inquiries. Our Facebook followers now number almost 20,000.”

Alabama hunters enjoy one of the longest turkey seasons in the country; most are harvested in the spring season. PHOTO BY TES RANDLE JOLLY

Big economic impact

When people visit the Black Belt for whatever reason, they contribute to the local, regional and state economies. According to the 2018 Economic Impact Study on Hunting and Fishing in the Black Belt, spending by sportsmen in the area increased by 18 percent since 2011. The study also shows a 29 percent increase in salaries and wages earned by people in the area, which resulted in a three percent increase in state and local tax revenues during the

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Outdoors enthusiasts can find many lakes and rivers in the Black Belt region where they can enjoy canoeing and other aquatic sports. PHOTO BY PAUL BROWN

same period. The total economic impact by hunters and fishermen in the Black Belt increased by 13 percent since 2011. About 1.2 million hunters and fishermen spent $3.2 billion in Alabama pursuing their favorite sports in 2018, the study revealed. This created 73,553 jobs. About 364,000 of those sportsmen spent 8.2 million man-days hunting or fishing in the Black Belt. Although the 23 Black Belt counties comprise just one-third of the state, 42 percent of all hunting expenditures in Alabama occurred in the region. “The steady growth we see in sportsmen and women visiting the Black Belt to pursue their outdoor adventures is encouraging and reinforces our commitment to the initiative,” Swanner says. “It’s validation that we must continue building on that momentum so that we are always moving the economic needle forward to give area residents a better quality of life.” Many people hunt or fish locally, but more than half of all sportsmen, 51.6 percent, spent at least one night away from home to hunt or fish in 2018. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of non-resident sportsmen, 78.6 percent, stayed overnight in Alabama, but so did 43.5 percent of resident hunters and fishermen. About half of the overnighters stayed on property they own or lease, but the rest had to find lodging. More than 80 percent of all hunt lodges in Alabama sit in the Black Belt. Many visitors to Alabama bring their families and stay several days. Besides hunting or fishing, people might visit other area attractions. While away from home, these people not only pay for lodging, but also buy food, fuel, supplies and other items, not to mention non-resident hunting and fishing licenses. Non‐resident sportsmen spent nearly $108 million to hunt or fish in Alabama in 2018. Two-thirds of all non-resident hunters coming to Alabama visit the Black Belt. About 29 percent of non-resident anglers fished in those counties. While regional lodges offer excellent hunting opportunities for deer and other game, many sportsmen prefer to do it themselves. Some better wildlife management areas include David K. Nelson near Demopolis, Lowndes near White Hall, Barbour near Clayton and Oakmulgee near Selma. People can also hunt some smaller Special Opportunity Areas. See outdooralabama.com/ hunting/special-opportunity-areas. These efforts reach more than hunters and fishermen by encouraging eco-tourism, canoeing, birding, hiking and other activities in the region. The association also worked to create a leisure market program called “Feed Your Adventure – Flavors of the Black Belt Trail” to encourage people to sample such locally made items as cheese straws, cookies, pepper jellies, rubs and sauces, savory and sweet pecans, sausages, baked goods, craft beers and spirits plus many other items. To find out more about the Black Belt, visit alabamablackbeltadventures.org or search for “Alabama Black Belt Adventures” on Facebook. www.alabamaliving.coop

Alabama Living

NOVEMBER 2019  19

Always keep a safety line attached to your full-body harness when you are climbing up and down a tree.

Complacency often leads to tree stand accidents

Story and photos by David Rainer Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources


he Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division’s Hunter Education Program wants to teach old hunters new safety tricks. Actually, these are not new safety tricks, but experienced hunters seem to be failing to follow them, according to last year’s hunting accident reports. During the 2018-2019 hunting seasons, 15 treestand accidents were reported, and more than half of those individuals were age-exempt from having to complete a hunter education course. Of the five who did take the hunter ed course, all under the age of 40, only one was wearing a full-body harness when the accident occurred. “That full-body harness probably saved his life or saved him from serious injuries,” says Marisa Futral, Hunter Education Program Coordinator. “He fell asleep in his stand, but he lived to see another day. “Three of the 15 accidents were fatalities. Still, a lot of these injuries could have been 20  NOVEMBER 2019

prevented with a full-body harness.” Those born on or after Aug. 1, 1977, must complete the hunter education course before they can purchase a hunting license. But Futral urges everyone who plans to pursue game this fall to take the hunter ed course. For information on hunter education courses, visit outdooralabama.com/ hunting/hunter-education-alabama. “Even if you are grandfathered in, there’s always something you can learn,” she says. “I’ve noticed over the years that the hunters who don’t have to take the course are the ones having the accidents. “I think the mentality is they’ve been hunting their whole life and get complacent. But those older hunters could learn a lot by taking the hunter education course, which is a lot more than firearms safety. The No. 1 hunting accident is falling out of trees. That is covered extensively in the hunter ed class.” Of the three fatalities, none were wearing

a full-body harness. Two of the fatalities were using climbing stands, while the other was in a hang-on stand. The accident reports indicated one fatality occurred when the hunter was using a climbing stand and was about 21 feet off the ground when the straps on the stand broke. The other fatality using a climbing stand also fell 21 feet when rusty connectors broke as he was sitting in the stand. “One of the problems is that people aren’t inspecting their equipment before they climb,” Futral says. “You cannot leave your stands in the woods all year and expect them to be safe.” Futral also stresses that hunters should be connected to the tree in some way when they are climbing and descending the tree. Several accidents have occurred when hunters have been wearing safety harnesses but fell going up or coming down the tree. Several products are available that keep hunters attached to the tree at all times. www.alabamaliving.coop

WFF Hunter Education stresses the following 11 guidelines for using a treestand safely: Always use a pull-up rope to raise your firearm into your hunting stand.

T Always wear a safety harness, also known as a fall-arrest sys-

tem, when you are in a treestand, as well as when climbing into or out of a treestand. Statistics show that the majority of treestand incidents occur while climbing in and out of a stand. T A safety strap should be attached to the tree to prevent you from falling more than 12 inches. T Always inspect the safety harness for signs of wear or damage before each use. T Follow all manufacturers’ instructions for use of a safety harness and stand. T Follow the three-point rule of treestand safety. Always have three points of contact to the steps or ladder before moving. This could be two arms and one leg holding and stepping on the ladder or one arm and two legs in contact with the ladder

before moving. Be cautious that rain, frost, ice or snow can cause steps to become extremely slippery. Check the security of the step before placing your weight on it. T Always hunt with a plan and, if possible, a buddy. Before you leave home, let others know your exact hunting location, when you plan to return and who is with you. T Always carry emergency signal devices such as a cell phone, walkie-talkie, whistle, signal flare, PLD (personal locator device) and flashlight at all times and within reach even while you are suspended in your fall-arrest system. Watch for changing weather conditions. In the event of an incident, remain calm and seek help immediately. T Always select the proper tree for use with your treestand. Select a live, straight tree that fits within the size limits recommended in your treestand’s instructions. Do not climb or place a treestand against a leaning tree. T Never leave a treestand installed for more than two weeks since damage could result from changing weather conditions and/or from other factors not obvious with a visual inspection. T Always use a haul line to pull up your gear and unloaded firearm or bow to your treestand once you have reached your desired hunting height. Never climb with anything in your hands or on your back. Prior to descending, lower your equipment on the opposite side of the tree. T Always know your physical limitations. Don’t take chances. Do not climb when impaired by drugs, alcohol or if you’re sick or unrested. If you start thinking about how high you are, stop climbing.

Firearms safety

Always be aware of what is downrange beyond your target before firing.

T Alabama hunters also had several firearms-related accidents

during the 2018-2019 season with three fatalities and two non-fatal incidents. T Two of the fatalities were self-inflicted. One was in a shooting house when the accident happened. The other occurred when the hunter fell, and his handgun discharged. One fatality occurred when a hunter was mistaken for game. T One of the two non-fatal accidents happened during a dove-hunting outing. The shooter covered another hunter while swinging on a dove. Failure to check beyond the target, a deer, resulted in the second non-fatal accident. T When I write about having a safe and enjoyable hunting season, I always list the 10 commandments of firearms safety: T Treat every firearm as if it is loaded. T Control the muzzle of your firearm. Keep the barrel pointed in a safe direction; never point a firearm at anything that you do not wish to shoot and insist that your shooting and hunting companions do the same. T Be sure of your target and beyond. Positively identify your target before you fire, and make sure there are no people, livestock, roads or buildings beyond the target. T Never shoot at water or a hard, flat surface. A ricocheting bullet cannot be controlled. Alabama Living

T Don’t use a scope for target identification; use binoculars. T Never climb a tree, cross a fence or jump a ditch with a loaded firearm.

T Store guns and ammunition separately. Store firearms under lock and key, and use a gun case to transport firearms.

T Make sure your barrel and action are clear of all obstructions.

T Unload firearms when not in use. Never take someone else’s word that a firearm is unloaded. Check yourself.

T Avoid drugs and alcohol when hunting or shooting. Even some over-the-counter medicines can cause impairment.

NOVEMBER 2019  21

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Alabama Living

NOVEMBER 2019  23

| Worth the drive |

Belly up to the buffet at the Roadkill Café

The Roadkill Café is off the beaten path and draws patrons by word of mouth.

Story and photos by Emmett Burnett


o paraphrase a popular jelly commerAn accidental name cial, “With a name like ‘Roadkill’ Roadkill Café’s roots trace back to the it’s got to be good.” In Elberta, property’s 1989 purchase. Owner Ala., it is. and Elberta resident Marvin WilA classic dish at the Roadkill The diner has a fan base liams leased the building out Café: homecooked fried from across the street to as a restaurant. But in 1999, chicken, corn, mashed potatoes, across Canada. The unhappy with the diner’s green beans and biscuit. restaurant’s fried quality, Williams refused chicken – beto renew the tenant’s loved bird of lease. In the summer Baptists – is of 2000, a new restauserved dairant opened with the ly as are Williams family in delectable charge. But it needpork chops, ed a name. country fried Marvin’s son and steaks, and a current co-owner/ host of downmanager, Mike Wilhome, small town, liams, recalls: “Getbig taste entrees. ting the restaurant Red beans and rice, ready to open was catfish and mullet, sauhard. It was in terrible sages, biscuits and gravy, condition. Dad jokingly butterbeans and cabbage, wrote on a piece of cardfresh veggies, vats of banana board, ‘Roadkill Café’ and pudding, and more are offered taped it to the front window.” either daily or on designated Marvin’s wife saw the makeshift days. sign and with alarm proclaimed, “Y’all It is said that Roadkill Café’s all-youwill NEVER call this place ‘Roadkill Café!” can-eat buffet is possibly the best $11 investNever say never. Next summer Roadkill Café ment in Baldwin County. But I know what you’re will be 20 years old, and so will the name. thinking: “Okay, the food sounds good, but what’s up with that Mike took the reins in 2005 upon his dad’s request. “He asked me name, ‘Roadkill?’” Fair question. to watch the place while he was in Hawaii for a week’s vacation,” the Let’s put your concerns to rest. There is no roadkill at Roadkill son recalls. Mike still watches it. Café, so take your armadillo au gratin business elsewhere. Here is The day starts about 4:30 a.m. when the stoves are fired up. Evthe story of a beloved restaurant, exemplifying hospitality, serverything is hot from the kitchen and ready for serving by 10:30 a.m. ing great food, and named for woodland creatures who left this until closing at 12:30 pm. That’s right, on most days you have two world with tire tracks. hours dine time. Make it count.

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Alabama Living

NOVEMBER 2019  25

Ironically, even though it’s about 16 miles from Gulf Shores, Roadkill is not a beach tourist attraction per se. “We are not on the ‘beach highway,’” Mike says, referencing nearby State Highway 59, the Foley - Gulf Shores connection. “Beach travelers don’t see us, so they don’t know we are here.” But everybody else does. The dining room seats 92 and averages 70 to 100-plus visitors daily during its twohour-per-day operation, Sunday through Friday. Sunday’s closing is a bit more lenient – around 1 p.m., to accommodate after-church seating. Roadkill does not advertise except for word of mouth, customer testimonials, and snowbird referrals. The street-facing banner sign above the front door, “Roadkill Café,” turns heads as well. “People tell me they have driven by this place for 10 years,” Mike says. “They were curious but apprehensive about going in something called, ‘Roadkill.’” But once you’re in, you return – often. “We have been coming here at least twice a week for years,” says frequent customer Brenda Myers of nearby Foley, about her visits with her husband John. “The country

fried steak is great. Don’t miss it.” The menu is advertised exclusively on an in-diner chalkboard. Keep your social media, for in here, chalk rules. Thursday is butterbeans and cabbage day. Fridays are set for catfish and mullet and chicken is daily. For more information either call ahead or heed the chalk. Explaining the charm of Roadkill Café, Brenda Myers notes the restaurant’s draw is beyond good food. “Mike and the people here are just so nice,” she says. “After one visit you are family. By the second visit you and everyone working here are on a first name basis.” Brenda adds with a laugh, “All the waitresses are sweet and sassy.” Thirty minutes after opening, the seating area is full. Happy patrons surround the buffet stations supporting the twin peaks of fried chicken and pork chop mountains and trimmings. Servers offer an insider tip: “Our chicken is delicious but so is our banana pudding. Save room!” She’s right. I did. Shakespeare once scribed, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” In Elberta, that rosy name is Roadkill. Above, Mike Williams, co-owner of the Roadkill Café, stands by the chalkboard menu with today’s specials; Left, hungry patrons fill up on country cooking at The Roadkill Café, which is only open at lunchtime for limited hours; below, a mountain of the restaurant’s famous fried chicken.

Roadkill Café

25076 State St. Elberta, AL 36530 251-986-5377 Hours: Sunday: 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday; 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; closed Saturday.

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Alabama Living

NOVEMBER 2019  27

28  NOVEMBER 2019


November | Around Alabama

Photo courtesy of National Peanut Festival.


The National Peanut Festival attracts 200,000 fairgoers over its 10-day run.


month, Montgomery, “We the People: Alabama’s Defining Documents,” a Bicentennial exhibition of our state’s six constitutions, will be on display beginning Nov. 3 at the Alabama Department of Archives and History, 624 Washington Ave. wethepeoplealabama.org.


Gulf Shores, 12th annual Oyster Cook-Off and Craft Beer Weekend at The Hangout, 101 E. Beach Blvd. Craft Beer Festival is 6 to 11 p.m. Friday and will feature live music. Oyster Cook-Off begins at 11 a.m. Saturday. Live music throughout the day Saturday. Hangoutcookoff. com.


Arab, Cherokee’s of Alabama 19th Annual Fall Indian Powwow. Arab National Guard Armory, Highway 69 West. Vendors, arts and crafts, demonstrations all three days, Native American dances and drumming on Saturday and Sunday. Grand entry is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 12 to 5 p.m. Sunday. All dancers welcome. Trade blanket at 7 p.m. Saturday. Free admission; bring blankets and chairs for this outdoor family event. Contact Mystic Gazer, 256-590-8109.


Dothan, National Peanut Festival. 5622 Highway 231 South. Each day of the largest peanut celebration in the world will have live music, agriculture events and midway rides. For a complete list of daily events and admission prices, visit nationalpeanutfestival.com.


Greenville, Butler County’s Bicentennial Celebration. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Confederate Park/ Pioneer Cemetery. Speakers, performances, historic “in costume” dramatic reading, Boy Scouts’ flag ceremony, patriotic songs, traditional music, history displays, tours of local churches, the Ritz Theater and Pioneer Cemetery, and children’s hands-on discover history area. 334-382-6959 or email anniecrenshaw@centurytel.net.


Fitzpatrick, Pumpkin SMASH. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Dream Field Farms and Pumpkin Patch. Enjoy a family fun day with the cow train, farm critters, jump pad, boating and concessions and pumpkin demolition. There will be a variety of ways to smash the leftover farm pumpkins, as well as those brought by guests. $8 admission; half price if you bring your own pumpkin. Email Jennifer@dreamfieldfarms. net to bring your own destruction apparatus. Dreamfieldfarms.com.


Pike Road, Pike Road Arts and Crafts Fair, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the historic Marks House. More than 250 vendors will sell unique arts and crafts in time for Christmas shopping. Special children’s activities and plenty of food vendors. Pikeroadartsandcraftsfair.com.


Dixonville, fourth annual LaRae Harvest Festival and Dixonville 200, a cultural heritage celebration of this Escambia County community. Special guest will be area

native William Lee Golden of the Oak Ridge Boys. Agricultural displays and booths by FFA chapters, vendors with Alabama-made products, artisans, a 5K race and fun run and good Southern food. Local singers and musicians and a performance by Bo Bice, an Alabama native and “American Idol” runner-up. 464 Highway 41 South. Search “LaRae” on Facebook.


Beatrice, Monroe County Museum’s annual Cane Syrup Makin’ Day, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Rikard’s Mill. The mill will be transformed into a pioneer village as history is brought to life by rural heritage demonstrators. Food vendors will be on site. $5 per person, seniors and under 12 $3. 251-575-7433 or email mchm@ frontiernet.net.


Sylacauga, Cancer Outreach and Community Hope (COACH) Holiday in the Country. Stewartville Volunteer Fire Department, 41 Old Coleman Road. All-you-can-eat pancakes from 6 to 10 a.m. for $6; vendor market from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be a holiday chili cook-off and a holiday doggie pageant at noon. All proceeds benefit cancer patients in Coosa County. 256-496-2548.


Orange Beach, Chalk Art Festival, Main Street at the Wharf, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bring the fall season to life with your colorful ocean-themed creations. You can start your own sidewalk masterpiece for $5 or stand by and watch the pros create works of art. Alwharf.com.

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

Florence, W.C. Handy Birthday Celebration, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Celebrate the birthday of the “father of the Blues” and enjoy a musical performance, refreshments and free admission to the W.C. Handy Home, Museum and Library, 620 West College St. 256-760-6434.


Prattville, Holiday Open House, 1 to 4 p.m. at the Prattville Creative Arts Center and Gallery. Stop by for light refreshments and find unique items for your Christmas list. 334-595-0854.


Millbrook, Emmy Awardwinning actor Ed Asner in a one-man staged reading, “A Man and his Prostate,” 7:30 p.m. Recommended for ages 18 and up. The Millbrook Theatre, 5720 Main St. millbrooktheater.com.


Hartselle, Southern Market Days “Flannel and Frost” Vintage Market, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sparkman Civic Center. Farmhouse décor, handmade items and unique finds. Santa will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. 256-773-2581.


Alpine, Art Extravaganza at Plank Road Station, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. All types of artists display and sell their wares at this event, which includes down-home entertainment and cooking. Highway 21 in the Winterboro area at the Aljerald Powers Memorial Lodge. Plankroadstation.com



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

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NOVEMBER 2019  29


| Alabama People |

Jessica Meuse

Playing with her whole heart Singer/songwriter and guitarist Jessica Meuse always gets a reaction when she’s introduced as a native of Slapout, Ala. “People are like, ‘wait, what?’” she laughs. She’s back home in the tiny Elmore County town, continuing to write songs and perform. Meuse is best known for reaching the top four in season 13 of “American Idol,” and became the first person in the history of the show to perform her own original song during the finals. Her first full-length album, “Halfhearted,” was released in 2018, and she’s planning to record again in 2020. We asked her about her upbringing and her experience in Hollywood. – Allison Law Talk about growing up in small town, rural Alabama. How did it shape you as a musician? I’ll be very honest with you, I was not the most accepted kid in school. I was actually bullied quite heavily. Music was the thing that I had when I went home. When everyone else was at prom, I went home and practiced, and I ended up teaching myself guitar. … I also got into violin – that was actually my first instrument. I auditioned for the Montgomery Youth Orchestra, and I worked my way from the back to the front. … I think I was so dedicated to my craft and being better and always learning because I wasn’t accepted by my peers. It forced me to focus on something that actually made me happy. Do you still play violin? I do. I’m rusty, don’t get me wrong. You can tell when I play that

I was once a lot better than I am now. … I know this is weird, but I play it mentally a lot, so I think about it in my head. I also taught myself piano. Anything with strings, if you hand it to me, I can figure it out. Most folks know you were on “Idol,” but you went on “The Voice” first. Yes. In 2012, I was on “The Voice” season 3, and nobody turned around. It was not good feedback. It was very negative toward me. … I remember getting on the plane (to Hollywood), and thinking, “I’m going to make it.” You get out there and you realize, it’s so cutthroat, it’s so hard core, and I felt for the first time, I’m not going to make it. My hopes got totally shot to the ground. So I went back home, and I was in college full time, and I kept working on my degree and I kept singing. I just don’t have the “give up” bone in my body. I just can’t do it. Then came “American Idol.”  It was very surreal to keep getting through and hitting my goals. I tried to take the most constructive criticism from the judges. Not opinions, those are two different things.  My favorite judge was Harry Connick Jr., because he had the most technical stuff. My violin and classical music background allowed me to understand what he was saying. So he helped me the most as an artist. Then, boom, top 4, and I was like, I didn’t see that coming.  Do you keep up with any of your fellow contestants? One of my buddies is (fellow Alabama native) Bo Bice. I know Taylor Hicks too. We’re all buddies. Bo’s really a good dude. I love him to death. We actually did a duet on “Halfhearted,” called “Without You.” We work together with the Helena Miracle League. What other charitable causes do you support? I have a handful of very, very, very important causes to me. One of them is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Sometimes I work with the Children’s Cancer Association, and the LA Children’s Hospital. Just kids in general, since they’re our future, I want to do what I can to help them and show them that the world is good. The other cause is domestic violence. I’d been looking for this cause for such a long time, because I’ve been through my own stuff, and I’ve never talked about it and I feel like it’s time to. (She recently played at a kickoff party for FavorHouse of Northwest Florida, a shelter for domestic violence victims.) What’s next for you? I’m always writing, because anytime there’s an experience or something I can live through, (I like to) write it out in a way that will hopefully inspire others. A lot of my music is about finding your inner strength of being tough, even when you don’t feel it. There’s always a song to write.   

Follow her on her website, jessicameuse.com, and on her Facebook page. Interview edited for length.

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| Gardens |

Need holiday gifts?

“Shop” your garden! I f you’re trying to find locally sourced, distinctive and affordable gifts this holiday season, here’s an idea: “shop” your garden. Gardens are, after all, about as local as you can get, plus they are stocked with gift ideas likely to suit everyone on your shopping list. For example, foodies will relish fresh herbs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and edible flowers and seeds that may still be growing in your garden. Use herbs, edible flowers and fall fruits and vegetables to make batches of giftable jams, jellies, pickles, oils, vinegars, sauces, salsas and the like. You can also use them to create herbal teas, seasoning mixes and rubs, simple syrups, juices and ciders, or use them to infuse garden flavor into baked goods and liqueurs and other spirits. If fresh items are unavailable, those canned, dried, frozen or fermented vegetables and fruits you put up this summer will be equally appreciated. Pamper someone on your gift list by using herbs, flowers and other garden crops to make soaps, scrubs, lotions and bath oils and salts. Or use them to create useful products such as sachets, potpourris, air freshening sprays and other household and cleaning supplies. For the decorator types on your list, leaves, flowers and seeds make beautiful dried arrangements or can be pressed to create frameable botanical art. They can Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@gmail.com.

32  NOVEMBER 2019

also be used to embellish or imprint candles, stationery, stepping-stones, clay pots, journals and much more. Vines can become wreaths, baskets and sculptures, and foliage and flowers can be used to wrap or decorate holiday gifts. Nature lovers will likely appreciate crafts and decorations made from cones, acorns, nuts, leaves, bark and dried produce (think okra and gourds, for instance) gathered from your garden and yard. For bird and wildlife lovers, many of those same items can be turned into wildlife feeders such as cones rolled in suet, nut butters and seeds. For sustainability-focused folks on your list, upcycle old rakes, shovels, trowels and other garden tools into holiday decorations or year-round yard art. Gently used tomato cages can be woven with foliage, lights, ribbons, vines and other adornments to create a festive holiday tree. Silverware, dishes, chains and even plastic bottles and other household items can be repurposed into wind chimes, rain chains, plant markers, birdfeeders and more. Use your DIY and craft skills to revive old baskets, watering cans, buckets, wheelbarrows, pots, aprons and work shirts into something fun and functional. Or go uberDIY and build potting or park benches, plant stands, cold frames, trellises or bird houses and pollinator hotels as gifts. Need gifts for fellow gardeners? That’s really easy! Share mature plants, rooted cuttings, seeds and bulbs from your garden, or use extra herbs, succulents, cacti and other plants to create terrariums and potted plant collections. And you can re-

ally thrill them with a bag — or truckload — of pine straw, leaves or compost. If your garden’s giftable stock is low at the moment, no worries. Give IOUs for future harvests of flowers, herbs, produce, seeds, bulbs and cuttings as gifts. You can also make a gift of your gardening knowledge by offering to advise or mentor a novice gardener or by volunteering your muscle and time to help cleanup someone’s garden and landscape. Better yet, invite someone into your garden for a visit or a little quiet time. Need more ideas or inspiration? Look for local workshops, or find ideas and instruction online, in magazines and in books such as The Crafty Gardener: Inspired Ideas and DIY Crafts from Your Own Backyard by Becca Anderson or Gifts from the Garden:100 Gorgeous Homegrown Presents by Debora Robertson.

NOVEMBER TIPS • Plant cool-season annual vegetables and flowers.

• Water newly planted shrubs and

perennials, especially if the weather is dry. • Test your soil. • Sow wildflower seed. • Divide perennials. • Prepare irrigation systems and gardening tools and equipment for winter. • Use fallen leaves as mulch or add them to compost. • Cut back on water for houseplants.



Taking a look at the cancer trilogy: Prevalence, cause and prevention


hat causes cancer? Many things! Probably the most important factor is genetics. Certain genetic makeup has us more susceptible to having cancer. We all became more aware of genetic mutations for cancer as Angelina Jolie tested positive for breast cancer mutations and went through a double mastectomy. These mutations tend to run in the family, like from grandmother to mother to daughter. Luckily for humans, as we marry out of a close genetic group, genes get diluted and reduce the risk for cancer. Unfortunately, we do the exact opposite in pets. By selectively breeding, we amplify some of the harmful genes over generations. Only by inbreeding we create a “breed” and inadvertently concentrate these cancer-causing genes. Examples will be boxers with mast  cell Goutam Mukherjee (Dr. G), DVM, MS, PhD., has been a veterinarian for more than 30 years. He owns High Falls Holistic Veterinary Clinic in Crossville. Email questions of general interest to drg.vet@gmail.com.

Alabama Living

tumors, rottweilers with osteosarcoma, golden retrievers with blood vessel tumors, and so on. However, the genetic codes do not tell the whole story! Just because a mother had breast cancer does not mean that the daughter will get the same. A boxer dog may carry the genes for mast cell tumor, but that does not necessarily mean that she will get cancer. Beyond genetics, lifestyle, nutrition and many other factors play a role in the expression of a gene. My father’s family has a long history of lung disease, but by not smoking, I can reduce my chances of getting asthma. Our internal hormones can be counted as influencing factors. In humans, 80 percent of the breast cancers are estrogen-progesterone dependent. Similarly, unspayed dogs have a higher risk of breast cancer. Interestingly, viruses can also cause cancer, like feline leukemia in cats; 30 percent of cats infected with feline leukemia virus will develop intestinal cancer.

Editor’s note: Second of three parts Environmental factors also come into play in the expression of cancer genes. These factors include the food we eat, the air we breathe and even radiation from the sun. As an example, white cats and dogs are prone to skin cancer from lack of protective melanin on their skin. Second-hand tobacco smoke can cause oral squamous cell carcinoma in cats and nasal cancer in dogs. Some herbicides are implicated in bladder cancer in Scottish terriers. One study from Italy showed that dogs living in the industrial areas had an 8.5 times higher risk of developing lymphoma than those living in urban areas. Another similar study found that tonsillar squamous cell carcinoma was 10 times more common in animals living in cities than in those living in more rural environments. All these evidences suggest that there may be link between different chemicals and cancer in pets. So what do we do? Stop eating, drinking and going outside? Wait for the next installment in January.

NOVEMBER 2019  33

| Alabama Recipes |



hen we think of fruit and fall, apples often come to mind. Most varieties are ripe and ready in autumn, getting plucked from rows of trees covering orchards from late August into November. This harvest has tied them to many of the dishes we enjoy during this season. Classics like caramel and candy apples are quintessential treats found at fairs; apple pies often make appearances at Thanksgiving feasts. Yet, unlike some other produce that we Southerners like to stake a regional claim to, apples are grown widely across the globe. According to the U.S. Apple Association, in the United States, apples are grown commercially in 32 states but are grown in some form in every single state. Outside our country, China is the world’s top producer, followed by the United States. Other spots high on the list include diverse locales like Poland, India, Russia, Italy, France, Chile and Turkey. In fact, apples are so ubiquitous, they are often used to represent “fruit” in general. And this familiarity has made them a favorite character in multiple myths and legends across cultures where they are attached to concepts like youth, beauty, friendship, luck and even immortality. In our country, the apple’s key place in phrases like “apple of my eye” and “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” (pointing to the fruit’s powerful health benefits) makes further positive connections. But the apple has a dark side too. We talk of “bad apples” and how just one can ruin everything. In some legends and stories, apples are agents of discord and envy and have been employed in treacherous schemes (remember that poisoned apple in Snow White?). And even though the Bible does not name the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden as an apple, it’s what we often see depicted and what many of us visualize. These things directly conflict with the apple’s other attributes, begging the question: At its core, is the apple good or evil? Neither. It’s a piece of fruit, folks. But a big bite into a crisp, fresh apple is good, and the addition of the apple’s sweet and sometimes tart taste to a variety of dishes is a good thing too. So, check out this issue’s reader-submitted recipes, leave judgement out of it and get your apple a day any way you can.

34  NOVEMBER 2019


Apple-Pecan Pork Chops

Apple and Pear Taco

Easy Apple Crisp for Two

4 2 1 1/2 2

2 2 1 1 1 2 1 ¼ 15 2 4

3 2 2 2 1/4 1/2

boneless pork loin chops, cut about 1-inch thick tablespoons butter cup (about 2) red apples, cored and thinly sliced, skin on cup pecans, chopped tablespoons packed brown sugar Salt and pepper, to taste

Trim fat from chops. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; set aside. In large skillet, melt butter over medium heat until it sizzles. Add sliced apples; cook and stir about 2 minutes. Push apples to the side of skillet. Add chops; cook about 4 minutes total, turning chops on each side to sear; move apples aside as needed. Spoon apples over chops. Sprinkle with pecans and brown sugar. Cover. Cook, covered for 2-4 minutes more until chops are done. Serve chops topped with apple slices and cooking juices. This dish goes well with cooked white rice or mashed potatoes, and a green vegetable on the side. Jackie Whitehead Baldwin EMC

apples (any variety) pears lime tablespoon sugar teaspoon cinnamon teaspoons butter, divided tablespoon heavy cream cup strawberry jam drops Tabasco sauce tablespoons tequila pieces flour tortilla (or 8 small)

Peel, deseed and slice the apples and pears. Place them in water with a squeeze of lime juice. Strain the fruit, combine with sugar and cinnamon. In a pan, melt 1 teaspoon butter and cook the fruit for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove fruit from the pan and reserve. In the same pan make a strawberry sauce: add a teaspoon of butter, a tablespoon of heavy cream, the strawberry jam, Tabasco sauce and tequila, cook in low heat until smooth. Roll each tortilla with ¼ of filling. Plate and decorate with the strawberry sauce. Sharlene Parker Baldwin EMC

medium Gala apples, cut in chunks tablespoons white sugar tablespoons margarine tablespoons brown sugar cup all-purpose flour teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the apple chunks in a greased 6-cup baking dish, and cover with the white sugar. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl until the mixture looks like meal and spread it over the apples. Bake until bubbly, about 35 minutes. Serve warm and top with ice cream if desired. Sheree Powell Central Alabama EC

Recipe Correction! Our featured Cook of the Month recipe for October was a Cream Cheese Cornbread. It is a delicious recipe as is, but we received many concerned calls and notes about the absence of cornmeal in the ingredients. It should have read "1 cup self-rising cornmeal," not flour as originally listed. Thank you to our many loyal readers for bringing this to our attention. Easy Apple Crisp for Two

Alabama Living

NOVEMBER 2019  35

Smoked Turkey and Apple Panini

Fresh Apple Cake

Apple Dumplins

2 cups sugar 1½ cups cooking oil 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 eggs, beaten well ½ lemon, juiced 1 teaspoon salt 3 cups flour 1¼ teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon nutmeg 3 cups fresh apples, peeled and chopped 1½ to 2 cups pecans, chopped

1 tube crescent rolls 2 medium-size tart apples, peeled and quartered 1 cup sugar 1 cup orange juice 1 stick margarine Cinnamon

Combine sugar, oil, vanilla, eggs, lemon juice and salt in a mixing bowl. Beat well. Mix flour and baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add to sugar mixture and beat again. Add apples and pecans, mix well. Bake in a tube pan that has been greased and floured for 1½ hours at 325 degrees. Caramel glaze: 1 cup sugar ½ cup buttermilk ½ teaspoon baking soda 2 tablespoons corn syrup ½ cup butter ½ teaspoon vanilla extract Combine ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil over low heat and boil 10 minutes. Pour over hot cake. Charlotte Graves Sand Mountain EC

Unroll crescent rolls and separate into 8 triangles. Microwave apple slices for 3 minutes. Remove and put 1 apple slice on each crescent triangle. Pinch edges to seal. Place in greased 8-inch square baking dish. In a small saucepan, bring sugar, orange juice and margarine to a boil. Pour over dumplins (dumplins will float to the top). Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream or Cool Whip. Eva Wright North Alabama EC

A Fat Doctor’s Apple Pie 1 1 ½ 3 1 ½

stick butter cup flour cup brown sugar ounces cream cheese teaspoon cinnamon cup pecans, chopped

Mix together the butter, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, cream cheese and pecans. Form mixture into a roll like refrigerator cookies. Chill for 2 hours.

½ cup raisins 4 or 5 medium-size apples 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 cup sugar Slice apples and arrange in a glass baking dish. Sprinkle cinnamon, raisins and sugar over apples. Slice the refrigerated roll into rounds and place over apples. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Lexie Turnipseed Dixie EC

Smoked Turkey and Apple Panini 1 1/4 1 1/4 4 4

Granny Smith apple pound smoked turkey thin-sliced deli meat Vidalia onion, chopped cup mayonnaise slices Provolone cheese slices sourdough bread

Peel and chop onion then sauté in a skillet with a little oil until onions are soft. Mix sautéed onions and mayonnaise together in a small bowl. Core and thinly slice the apple, leaving the skin on. Start heating up the panini press or George Foreman Grill. Spread onion mayonnaise on the sourdough bread. Then add the smoked turkey, Provolone cheese and apple slices making 2 paninis. Place paninis on the panini press or George Foreman Grill, close lid and cook 5 minutes then serve. Kirk Vantrease Cullman EC

36  NOVEMBER 2019


Cook of the Month

Laurie Creech, Central Alabama EC Laurie Creech likes apples; she likes them so much, she bumped up the quantity of apples called for in a recipe she got from a friend at church to create her Autumn Squares. She also added more cinnamon. But she doesn’t love all apples. She prefers them cooked and cooked in something sweet. “I like them hot and gooey, like in a pie or any dessert, like these bars,” she said. She’s been making her Autumn Squares for about 15 years, and while she bakes them year round, she particularly enjoys having them on hand for Thanksgiving. “They’re delicious, but they’re also really quick and easy to make, so I like making them for the holidays,” she said.

Autumn Squares 4 eggs 2 cups brown sugar 1 tablespoon butter 1½ cups all-purpose flour 1½ teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup pecans, chopped 1½ cups chopped apples Confectioners sugar and cinna mon, for dusting on top

Cream sugar, butter and eggs. Beat in vanilla, flour and baking powder to creamed mixture. Add pecans and apples. Pour into two 9-inch pans and bake at 350 degrees until done. Cool and sift powdered sugar and cinnamon on top. Cut into small squares to serve.

Mail order form and payment to: Best of Alabama Living Cookbook P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124-4014

The Best of

COOKBOOKS @ $19.95 EACH: (Shipping included)


Name: Address: City:



Phone Number:



prize and title of


Alabama Living

of the


Themes and Deadlines:

3 ways to submit:

Feb.: Pork | Nov. 8 March: Peanut Butter | Dec. 13 April: Pimento Cheese | Jan. 10

Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: recipes@alabamaliving.coop Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Please send us your original recipes (developed or adapted by you or family members.) 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.

NOVEMBER 2019  37

| Consumer Wise |

Six efficient holiday gifts to give (or keep!) By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen


With the holidays approaching, I’m starting to think about unique gifts for my family and friends that won’t use too much energy. Can you share any ideas?


Solar backpack. Price: $30 to $325: Walking or biking to the office, the field or a mountain lake? It may sound crazy, but you can actually make the most of the sun’s energy with a solar backpack. These handy devices collect and store enough electricity to power a phone, tablet or even a laptop. The solar panels stitched onto the back of the packs are flexible and waterproof. Best of all, they have all the features and functionality of their traditional non-solar cousins.


It’s always a great idea to give energy efficient gifts! Here are a few ideas based on a range of prices. You might even want to keep one or two of these for yourself!


Smart power strip. Price: $15 to $100: Smart power strips are the perfect gift for your tech-savvy family members and friends because they’ll likely need the extra outlets for their many devices. Smart power strips give more control than traditional ones. By plugging the main hardware item, such as a computer or monitor, into the master outlet, you can easily control the rest of the devices. When that main device is turned off, everything else plugged into the strip also powers off. Some smart power strips can also be operated through a remote control or smartphone app, and some include programmable timers.


E-bike. Price: $250 to $9,000: Electric bikes, or e-bikes, are regular bicycles with an electric motor that can be engaged as needed. E-bikes are becoming increasi n g l y popular with people who face challenging terrain, bike to work and don’t want to work up a sweat, or perhaps find regular cycling too physically challenging. Studies also show that e-biking can bring many of the same physical benefits as non-assisted pedaling. They even come in foldable versions. One downside is they are heavier than regular bicycles.


Smart thermostat. Price: $30 to $600: A smart thermostat can adjust the temperature by learning your energy use habits over time, which saves you money and keeps you more comfortable. It can also be controlled through a smartphone app. Just make sure you’re going to use all of its functionality before taking the leap. 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.

38  NOVEMBER 2019


Electric scooter. Price: $80 to $3,000: The $49 foldable, foot-powered scooter that exploded onto the scene a decade ago has grown up in a big way. In some larger cities, electric scooters are now available to rent at various locations, found and paid for via app. Or you can buy one to use for your daily commute

or as a fun way to simply scoot around t h e neighb o r hood. Higher-quality versions will have longer range, larger tires and better suspension – along with a higher cost, of course. The catch is that they’re still largely confined to paved surfaces.


Energy efficient tablets. Price: $40 to $4,000: You may already have at least one tablet in your home, but have you considered how energy efficient it is? Try this: Instead of using your TV to binge that new show, consider an ENERGY STAR-rated tablet, and you can use seven times l e s s power! Simply look for the ENERGY S TA R label when you’re shopping for new tablets.

Looking for an efficient gift that costs practically nothing? Enjoy a good book and a cozy evening at home, which requires no energy use at all. Don’t forget to put on your favorite sweater and pair of fuzzy slippers so you can lower the thermostat a couple of degrees. Now that’s an energy efficient evening worth repeating! This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen of Collaborative Efficiency. For more information on energy efficient gifts, please visit: www.collaborativeefficiency.com/energytips.


CECIL PIGG STEEL TRUSS, INC. P.O. BOX 389, ADDISON, AL 35540 cecilpiggsteeltruss.com

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Alabama Living

NOVEMBER 2019  39

| Outdoors |

A chance to touch (and fire) pieces of history


hen he was just out of high school, my father, Henry what they want to shoot, instructors make those firearms ready, “Hank” Felsher, enlisted in the Navy as a 17-year-old kid load them and put them on a bench rest so the customers can and served as an aircraft gunner in the Pacific during shoot them comfortably.” World War II. He never said much about combat except, “I really Many people visit LMMG to celebrate a life event, such as a liked firing the machine guns.” milestone birthday, anniversary or retirement. Corporate groups When I visited Lake Martin Machine Gun in Eclectic, I finally come as a team-building experience. Some people just want to understood exactly what he meant. I grew up firing all kinds of fulfill a “bucket list” experience or perhaps honor a departed vetfirearms, but never felt such sheer power and exhilaration from eran loved one. any gun until I squeezed the trigger on a .50-caliber machine gun, “All kinds of customers come see us,” says Jodi McGirt, David’s just like the ones my father shot daily 74 years ago. wife who serves as an instructor and range safety officer. “Many Dubbed “Ma Deuce,” the Browning M2HB first entered service of them never held a firearm or fired one. Some people are afraid with the U.S. military more than 80 years ago and remains a frontof guns, but our primary focus is for everyone to have a safe, enline powerhouse today. Few people outside of the military ever get joyable experience. Even people who are hesitant to shoot always to fire such a gun – until now! have a ‘thrill grin’ of satisfacEstablished in 2016, Lake tion afterward.” Martin Machine Gun allows Jodi grew up with a father customers to legally shoot a and brothers who hunted, but .50 caliber warhorse and sevshe wanted more. She became eral other historic and modern an NRA-certified firearms fully automatic firearms. The instructor and founded the list includes some veterans of Lake Martin chapter of A Girl both sides during World War & A Gun Women’s Shooting II such as a Thompson subLeague (www.agirlandagun. machine gun, M-1919 .30-calorg). This organization helps iber machine gun and some women shooters advance to legendary German firearms whatever skill level they wish among others. to attain. “The genesis of the shooting “I started shooting as a perexperience was to bring some David McGirt, owner of Lake Martin Machine Gun in Eclectic, shows his sonal desire to learn more and firearms from history back to wife, Jodi, how to operate a Browning M2 .50 machine gun. This type of get more comfortable with fireheavy machine gun has been used by U.S. military forces for more than life and allow people to expe- 80 years and is still in front-line service around the world. arms,” she says. “It grew into a rience shooting those firearms desire to share that knowledge PHOTOS BY JOHN FELSHER in a safe, educational environwith others, especially women. ment,” says David McGirt, owner of Lake Martin Machine Gun Many women might be intimidated going into a large gun shop (LMMG) and a former Marine Corps fighter pilot. “Most people to purchase a firearm. One of the classes I teach is about how to only see these firearms behind glass in a museum or on TV and select the right firearm for each individual. Our objective is to in movies. On TV and in the movies, they are not represented improve skills for self-defense or competitive shooting and get accurately.” women familiar with firearms and how to use them.” Private citizens can legally own automatic firearms if they go People can also shoot their own rifles and pistols at the Elmore through the appropriate background checks and obtain proper County range and buy ammunition on site. Eye and hearing prolicensing as required by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms tection are available for people who do not bring their own. and Explosives. Since LMMG completed the necessary legal pro“Elmore County is honored to be home to a place where peocedures, people who visit the range can simply pick out whatever ple can actually touch history,” says Cary W. Cox, of the Elmore guns they want to shoot under the watchful eyes of trained range County Economic Development Authority. “The sounds, smell safety officers and instructors. and excitement of firing fully automatic firearms is not something “Because of the licensing we have, we can allow people to shoot that translates well into words or video. People must experience our firearms in the safe environment at our facility,” McGirt says. it.” “These firearms belong to us. We are not selling them, but merely On this month of Veterans Day, remember those who served. renting an experience to people. When customers arrive, they’ll To make an appointment to visit Lake Martin Machine Gun, see get a little history lesson on the firearms. When customers decide lakemartinmachinegun.com or call 888-660-6462. John N. Felsher lives in Semmes, Ala. Contact him through Facebook.

40  NOVEMBER 2019



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

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


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 Su Mo Tu

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








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

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

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

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






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

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

9:09 - 10:39 9:57 - 11:27 10:45 - 12:15 11:33 - 1:03 NA 1:09 - 2:39 1:57 - 3:27 2:45 - 4:15 3:33 - 5:03 4:21 - 5:51 4:48 - 6:18 5:09 - 6:39 5:57 - 7:27 6:45 - 8:15 7:33 - 9:03 8:21 - 9:51 9:09 - 10:39 9:57 - 11:27 10:45 - 12:15 11:33 - 1:03 NA 1:09 - 2:39 1:57 - 3:27 2:45 - 4:15 3:33 - 5:03 5:09 - 6:39 5:57 - 7:27 6:45 - 8:15 7:33 - 9:03 8:21 - 9:51 9:09 - 10:39

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



The Moon Clock and resulting Moon Times were developed 36 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 (www.moontimes.com), a company specializing in wildlife activity time prediction. Alabama Living

NOVEMBER 2019 41

Celebrate the holidays in


You don’t have to go far to get the Christmas spirit. Visit downtown this December for the Annual Christmas Parade and City Lighting.

Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 6 p.m. For more information, call 334-735-2306.

STAY CONNECTED WITH THE SAEC APP Staying on top of the latest news and events can be challenging. But thanks to the SAEC app, keeping pace with your cooperative has never been easier. The app links you to everything you need to know about the latest cooperative news, outage updates and the status of your own electric account.  My Account — View your account information and manage account settings.  Pay Now — Make a payment wherever and whenever you want.  Messages — Get important information from SAEC about your account or the electric system.  View Outages — See where currently reported outages are and if an outage has been reported in your area.  Report Outage — Let us know about a new outage in your area.  Contact Us — Quickly find our phone number and directions to the office.  Follow Us — Visit our Facebook page for even more news and updates about your cooperative.

The SAEC app is available on the App Store and the Google Play Store. HOW TO DOWNLOAD FROM THE APP STORE: To download our mobile app on your Apple device: 1. Tap the App Store icon. 2. Tap the Search button. 3. Type “SAEC Connect” in the search field. 4. Download SAEC Connect.

Alabama Living

HOW TO DOWNLOAD FROM THE GOOGLE PLAY STORE: To download our mobile app on your Android device: 1. Tap the Google Play icon. 2. Type “SAEC Connect” in the search field. 3. Download SAEC Connect.

NOVEMBER 2019 43

| Our Sources Say |

The mission and the message I

get a number of responses and comments on the articles I write for Alabama Living. The overwhelming number of comments are supportive and complimentary. However, others are critical of the content and, sometimes, personally demeaning. For example, one reader writes, “Month after month, I read Gary Smith’s editorial with a sigh and eye-rolling. But, enough is enough. Stop giving this guy a platform! It is a disgrace that he has a position of power and is using his influence to perpetuate misinformation and antiquated ideas. Gary Smith’s writing is idiotic.” Another reader writes, “He is a coal promoter and denies global warming exists. Therefore he is stupid and a liar! Stop spreading YOUR lies Mr. Smith, as Alabamians deserves better than you!” Finally, another reader writes, “You’re the sort that gives capitalism a bad name. Profits and moola rule your thinking and as Freud said, ‘Sanity is the ability to face reality.’” Those are harsh indictments from people who have never met me and have no idea of the challenges we have at PowerSouth – and that the electric utility industry, in general faces. I assure you that we face the realities of providing reliable service every day.

The Mission

PowerSouth is an electric cooperative formed 78 years ago to provide the wholesale power requirements of its distribution members (customers). Our mission remains to provide safe, reliable and affordable electric power to our members. PowerSouth has no stock, and its only investors are those members to whom we provide electric service. Representatives of those members serve on the PowerSouth Board of Trustees, set the policies that guide PowerSouth’s business and that set the rates for the electric power they receive. We are a true cooperative, not-for-profit, and owned and governed by those we serve. PowerSouth’s members provide service to some of the poorest counties in the United States. We and our members invest in those communities to promote economic development, create jobs and improve the lifestyle of the people we serve. We do all we can to build the infrastructure in our service area to improve quality of life for the people that live there. Our employees live in those communities, and many of them contribute in their free time to the communities’ success. Electric cooperatives have made tremendous investments in rural America. Cooperatives are much different than for-profit businesses. Any savings and profits are passed on to our members. Likewise, cost increases are passed on the members. Our incentive is completely aligned with our interest in providing safe, reliable, affordable electric power to our members.

The Message

Cooperatives are governed by elected representatives of their members. Electric cooperatives provide electric service for all members, but because of the nature of electric service it is very difficult to provide all members exactly what they may want, including a selection of generation options. PowerSouth will close its coal plant at Leroy, Alabama, next October. We are building a new natural gas plant, which will be more environmentally friendly. Also, even though we will continue to pay for the coal plant, the addition of the natural gas plant will not increase our cost of service. We are also installing solar generation, not for environmental reasons, but because solar generation is cheaper than some forms of generation, at least while the sun is shining. However, solar is not the only answer to safe, affordable and reliable electric service, regardless of how much you or I may want it to be. The demands on the electric grid are constantly changing, and solar does not react to the changes. Providing reliable electric service every second of every day is a very complex and difficult challenge. The sun does not shine all the time, and batteries, at this time, are not an affordable solution. Some responsive generation resource is required for reliability. We have no bias for or against electric generation from coal, natural gas, wind, solar or any other source. However, we do have a bias against uneconomical or unreliable generation resources. Personally, I have no economic interest in using any form of generation over another or in the profitability of PowerSouth. PowerSouth has no stock; therefore, I receive no stock options like executives with publicly traded companies. We return excess margins to our members and have no profits, so we have no profit-sharing plan. I have never been compensated by PowerSouth in any way other than a straight salary. The message of my articles is that the proposals of many politicians to resolve climate change will not be free and will increase your cost of electricity, regardless of your beliefs about climate change. You may be well off and not care about higher costs; however, many of your fellow members are working hard to make ends meet, and affordability is their highest priority. People do need to know there are consequences for actions and non-actions. PowerSouth’s mission of providing safe, reliable and affordable electricity for the rural areas of Alabama and northwest Florida serves all of our members well. It would be great if everyone could have exactly what they want. To support one’s opinions with the use of personal derogatory criticisms is just mean-spirited and offensive. I truly hope you have a good month.

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative.

44 NOVEMBER 2019


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Musical Notes

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Alabama Living

NOVEMBER 2019 45

| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

The Box eterans Day. My Father landed in Europe in the fall of 1944, went into the line, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and was there when Germany surrendered. He never talked about it, much. So my memories of his war consists of fragments of a few stories, the V-mail he sent Mama, a little journal which he kept, and the box. As long as I can remember, the box was on a shelf in a bedroom closet. It was wooden, and you can tell from the finish it was military issue. It was just big enough to hold what Daddy put in it when he came home. Once they were souvenirs. Now they are memories that I inherited, with the box, when Daddy died. There is a metal-cased New Testament and an English-to-German phrase book, handed out in full anticipation of invasion and victory. A few German coins and insignia from a German uniform. There is a German paratrooper knife, a remarkable bit of Teutonic engineering designed so that with the flip of the wrist out comes a double-edged blade for cutting the chute-lines when you hit the ground. And folded into one side is an awl-like metal rod, the size of a pencil, tapered to a sharp point, which Daddy once said could be used with lethal efficiency by the man from whom he took it. And a Nazi banner. Bright red still after all these years, with the white circle in the center and in that a black twisted cross, the swastika. The banner was one of a hundred or more that hung from light-poles along the main street of a town Daddy “liberated.” Even today, by itself, more than half a century later, it evokes an involuntary shudder, just as it was meant to. But of all the things in the box, the one Daddy always paused over is the Jugend knife. About the size of what I strapped on my belt when I was a Boy Scout. As decorative as practical, it was the sort of Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University and a columnist for Alabama Living. He can be reached at hjackson@cableone.net.

46 NOVEMBER 2019

Illustration by Dennis Auth


thing that might be given as a prize in some contest or competition. Like the banner, it still has its luster – the black enamel sheath and handle, and on the pommel, the same contorted symbol. Hitler Jugend. Hitler Youth. “I took it off a boy no older than you,” my Daddy told me when I was hardly in my teens. “He and some others his age had been sent out to dig fortifications. This and a shovel was all he had.” I didn’t ask if any were killed. I didn’t want to know. And I don’t think he would have wanted to tell me. Not the way he looked at me then. Like a father wondering what he would

have done if that boy was his boy? But these are my memories of his memories. I don’t know why my father kept these particular souvenirs – likely they were not chosen so much as blundered upon. He also sent home a picture, a watercolor, he found rolled up in the gutter of a shelled street. It hangs in my office today. We owe a lot to our veterans. We need to honor them. And remember what they did for us. And do what they want us to do. Which in my father’s case, is to do what we can to keep from creating any more veterans. Now that would be a tribute. www.alabamaliving.coop

Profile for Alabama Living

November 2019 South Alabama  

November 2019 South Alabama