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A Times-Herald Publication

The Alyssia Brantley

Issue Holiday Cupcakes Coweta’s Pawn Stars The Joy of Christmas Giving November/December 2011 | $3.95



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Aches, pains, pulls and strains. We speak the language of healing. For years, our team at the Piedmont Rehabilitation Center has been helping the people of Coweta County mend, heal, and recover. Our team of skilled and experienced therapists is trained to treat neurological, orthopaedic, women’s health, and balance-related conditions. We currently offer physical therapy and are expanding our services to include occupational therapy and speech-language pathology. Our services are delivered with the individualized attention and world-class care that you expect from Piedmont medical professionals. In August, we moved the rehabilitation center to a new location with increased space to better accommodate our patients’ needs. We are committed to providing care in an environment that helps our patients get stronger, feel better, and get back to the things they enjoy. For additional information on our new facility or to schedule an appointment, please call 770.254.3405.

Our new location: Piedmont Rehabilitation Center 20 Francis Way, Suite 300 Sharpsburg, Georgia 30277 770.254.3405

© 2011 Piedmont Healthcare 01959-0911



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Cancer Knows Many Faces ...and Radiation Oncology Services knows patients shouldn’t have to travel far for excellent cancer care. In fact, we know all about combining compassionate care with state-of-the-art technology in a warm, friendly environment. . . close to home.

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On Our Cover MAGAZINE Established 1995 A publication of The Times-Herald President Vice President Publisher Editor Art Director Contributing Writers

William W. Thomasson Marianne C. Thomasson Sam Jones Angela McRae Deberah Williams Amelia Adams, Nichole Golden, Holly Jones, Katherine McCall, Alex McRae, Tina Neely, Connie Singleton, W. Winston Skinner, Kenneth R. Wilson


Bob Fraley, Jeffrey Leo, Tara Shellabarger

Circulation Director Sales and Marketing Director Advertising Manager Advertising Consultants

Naomi Jackson Colleen D. Mitchell Lamar Truitt Doug Cantrell, Kevin Dickinson Mandy Inman, Candy Johnson

Advertising Design

Debby Dye, Graphics Manager Sandy Hiser, Sonya Studt


Diana Shellabarger

FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION, call 770.683.6397 or e-mail Newnan-Coweta Magazine is published bi-monthly by The Times-Herald, Inc., 16 Jefferson St., Newnan, GA 30263. Subscriptions: Newnan-Coweta Magazine is distributed in homedelivery copies of The Times-Herald and at businesses and offices throughout Coweta County. Individual mailed subscriptions are also available for $23.75 in Coweta County, $30.00 outside Coweta County. To subscribe, call 770.304.3373. Submissions: We welcome submissions. Query letters and published clips may be addressed to the Editor, Newnan-Coweta Magazine at P.O. Box 1052, Newnan, Georgia 30264. On the Web: © 2011 by The Newnan Times-Herald, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.

Alyssia Brantley, 5-year-old daughter of Robert and Kenya Brantley of Newnan, shows off some of our Thanksgiving and Christmas cupcakes. See page 40 for recipes. – Photo by Bob Fraley




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West Georgia Health Begins a New Era of Health Care Its been a year since the new South Tower opened at West Georgia Health in LaGrange. Now more of our comprehensive services are centrally located in our hospital, West Georgia Medical Center, offering convenient access to Emergency Services, Intensive Care, Labor and Delivery, and Cardiac Care. This reality took many dedicated people coming together- our employees and physician staff but most importantly the support of our community. We look forward to a bright future as we continue to grow with our community. y

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eautiful homes and cottages with acres of well-manicured grounds, wisdom and wellness classes, excursions, activities and spiritual services are only a part of what makes Wesley Woods so attractive. Transportation, housekeeping, maintenance upkeep and chef prepared meals offer active, involved retirees all the charm of a friendly neighborhood. Both you and your family will appreciate the peace of mind that comes with continuing care. Now is the time to secure your retirement future. The BeneďŹ ts of Continuing Care Our Continuing Care Retirement Community offers independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing care, all in one location, should your health needs change.

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Come to Wesley Woods. You’ll Love How You Live! Call 770-683-6833 to schedule a complimentary lunch and tour!


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FEATURES 16 THE MISUNDERSTOOD TURKEY Bryan Massengale, who raises turkeys, says these animals have a lot more personality than chickens do.

24 COWETA’S PAWN STARS While they aren’t quite ready to go head-to-head with the Pawn Stars in Vegas, Coweta pawn shop owners have colorful stories as well.


After spending the last few decades in the Atlanta area, Coweta writer and speaker Cathy Lee Phillips has come home to “reboot” her life.

40 CELEBRATE WITH CUPCAKES! This year we gathered recipes from some wellknown local cooks before baking and decorating batches of delicious holiday cupcakes!


From girlfriend gatherings to ornament and cookie swaps, learn how to decorate and celebrate with some new ideas for entertaining.


PHOTO CONTEST Amateur photographers are welcome to enter our 2012 Newnan-Coweta Magazine Photography Contest.

DEPARTMENTS 70 COWETA COOKS Memories of some long-ago Coweta Christmas celebrations are recalled with a memorable strawberry shortcake recipe.

74 THE THOUGHTFUL GARDENER Christmas berries, easily obtained at this time of year, brighten many holiday scenes.

80 LOCAL HERITAGE It’s the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, and we take a look back at how Cowetans celebrated Christmas during those years.

84 HOLIDAY GIVING Coweta County is always generous at this time of year. Learn about opportunities for giving to those less fortunate this holiday season.

64 LET’S GO FOR A CARRIAGE RIDE If Santa’s sleigh runs into problems this Christmas Eve, he can always get a loaner from carriage lover Al Lewis.

90 CANDLELIGHT TOUR Homes in Newnan’s historic Cole Town neighborhood are featured on this year’s Candlelight Tour sponsored by the Piedmont Newnan Hospital Auxiliary.






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Dr. Seeman is a graduate of Columbia University and Boston University School of Medicine. He completed his residency at St. Mary’s Hospital/Yale University School of Medicine and a fellowship at Griffin Hospital/Yale University School of Medicine Affiliated Hospital Program. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. Dr. Seeman has been in private practice in Carrollton since 1991. He specializes in esophageal reflux and colon cancer screenings.

Dr. Arledge is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a B.S. degree in Biology. He completed medical school at the Medical College of Virginia. He completed his residency at the Medical College of Virginia and his fellowship in Gastroenterology at the University of South Florida. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. He is also a Flight Surgeon rank of Major in the Georgia Air National Guard Savannah. Dr. Arledge joined West Georgia Gastroenterology Associates in September 2008.

Dr. Lucas is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana and University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago. She completed her residency and fellowship at University of Illinois Hospitals and Clinics. Prior to joining West Georgia Gastroenterology Associates in 2007, Dr. Lucas served as Medical Director of Liver Transplantation at University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine and at Rush University Medical Center. She is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. She specializes in diseases of the liver.



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{ From the Editor }

Holiday Sweets ne of the things I most enjoy about the holidays is trying new recipes. I actually start thinking about them in the summer, when we’re planning the Christmas issue of the magazine. By the time fall rolls around I’m armed with a huge stack of books and magazines featuring the latest trends in cakes, candies and cookies. And now cupcakes! Several years ago I began to notice our Christmas food features are often a big hit, so it’s fun to decide what sweet treat we’ll focus on baking and decorating each year. Last year was cookies, and this year it’s cupcakes. Do you ever watch TV shows like Cupcake Wars? They crack me up. Some aspiring cupcake master stands by in tears while a haughty judge says something like, “The cherry and pomegranate reduction was just a little too sugary, and I would like to have seen a bit more flavor in the ginger and powdered gold dust decorating the ganache on top.” All the while I’m thinking, “Dude, it’s a cupcake. Where I come from, we can slap them together in 30 minutes from a Betty Crocker cake mix and some canned frosting!” Hopefully we’ve hit some nice middle ground with the cupcakes featured in this issue of the magazine. The ones I made were decorated quite simply with piped frosting, colored sugar, sil-

Enter to win this copy of 2011 Christmas with Southern Living at


ver dragees and nuts. Art Director Deberah Williams went without sleep for two days so hers would be decorated to look like snowmen and Christmas trees and turkeys. In both cases, the folks at the office very much enjoyed taste-testing all the delicious results! One of the Christmas baking books I’ve enjoyed perusing this fall is the 2011 Christmas with Southern Living book, and we’re giving away a copy to one lucky reader at I hope you’ll visit and enter to win! Finally, I don’t want to let 2011 draw to a close without reminding everyone that our Second Annual NewnanCoweta Magazine Photo Contest is about to get under way (see page 94)! We wanted to announce it early so you can begin thinking about entering during all that time off you’ll get to enjoy over the holidays. May yours be the sweetest yet! Warmly,

Angela McRae, Editor



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s r t e o d od n u rkey Tu

The M is


By Alex McRae | Photos by Bob Fraley

omedian Rodney Dangerfield built a huge career around a single phrase: “I don’t get no respect.” Turkeys must feel the same way. During the holiday season the noble birds are spotted almost as often as churchyard manger scenes and fat men in red suits, but turkeys are mostly celebrated as the plump, juicy stars of holiday feasts. Some believe the birds deserve better. Including Coweta’s Bryan Massengale, who has raised more turkeys than some people have eaten


and says the birds’ appeal goes far beyond the table. “Turkeys can be very personable,” Massengale says. “They have a lot more personality than chickens do.” Massengale grew up on a family farm in Senoia that was home to cows, pigs, goats, horses and a few chickens. The chicken flock grew dramatically when Massengale was six years old and his grandfather passed away, leaving behind a huge flock of chickens to be tended. Massengale gladly took on the chore. “I enjoyed them,” Massengale says. “It’s therapeutic for me. I like the



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Five-year-old Collin Leavitt, 5, at top, cautiously checks out the turkeys at this year’s Coweta County Fair. Bryan Massengale, above, raises the turkeys.




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“Turkeys can be very personable,” says Bryan Massengale, who raises the birds. “They have a lot more personality than chickens do.”




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way they scratch around in the yard and the way the mamas call their babies and watch after them.” After he graduated from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College with degrees in animal science and livestock health, Massengale returned to Coweta County and managed Seven Oaks Plantation in Senoia for Ed and Delores Davidson, who raise polled Hereford cattle. Tending the herd of Herefords didn’t leave time for much else.

his wife Tonya wanted their children to experience the joy of raising birds and Massengale bought a starter flock of five chickens. He became active in the Chattahoochee Valley Poultry Association (CVPA), then brought back the long-dormant 4H Club poultry —Bryan Massengale judging team and became its sponsor. With the sponsorship and “Farming means giving your life up,” financial support of the CVPA, he says with a laugh. “I didn’t have Massengale and his father-in-law, time for poultry, that’s for sure.” Ricky Frost, began a poultry chain in But when Massengale married the 4-H poultry club which allows and started raising a family, he and youngsters to select a different breed

“It’s a big responsibility for the kids. When you’ve got to tend to these birds you don’t have much time to sit around and watch TV or get into trouble.”

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Kylie Alonso, 5, checks out one of the turkeys exhibited by Bryan Massengale at the Coweta County Fair.




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of bird each year and raise it from a hatchling to a specimen suitable for showing at the county fair. “It’s a big responsibility for the kids,” he says. “When you’ve got to tend to these birds you don’t have much time to sit around and watch TV or get into trouble. We teach the kids a little about the commercial side of the poultry business, but we mostly show them how to raise birds for backyard enjoyment. That’s something not many kids get a chance to experience any more.”

“Turkeys are real pleasant to be around,” he says. “They’ll act like a pet. When a turkey sees you or hears that door open, he’s coming.” Massengale says turkeys get so comfortable around humans they will often sit in their owner’s lap to —Bryan Massengale enjoy a tasty snack. They do have their shortcomings, of course. Three years ago, Massengale Massengale says turkeys are prone to added turkeys to the 4-H poultry attack shiny objects and warns that chain. He also started raising anyone who comes near a gobbler turkeys himself, something he while dangling a key chain or hadn’t done since he was “eight or sporting a watch or a piece of shiny nine years old.” jewelry is liable to get chased.

“Turkeys are real pleasant to be around. They’ll act like a pet. When a turkey sees you or hears that door open, he’s coming.”


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Coweta County 4-H Club member Jesse Robertson shows one of the turkeys at this year’s fair.


“They like shiny things and go after them,” he says. “I don’t know why. That’s just turkeys.” Massengale has heard about turkeys chasing family cats and a tale about the time a turkey got into a dog pen. Hours later, the dog’s owner found it quaking inside its dog house while the turkey preened in the pen. “The turkey wouldn’t hurt it,” Massengale says. “The dog just didn’t know what it was.” Massengale is now president of the CVPA, whose main project is a poultry show held each February at the Coweta County Fairgrounds. The show is now the largest in the Southeast, regularly attracting over 2,000 birds. Massengale says turkeyraising is growing in popularity, and he understands why. “They’re a little harder to raise when they’re babies, but they’re easier to work with and don’t mind being handled by the kids,” Massengale says. When he isn’t helping out with the CVPA or 4-H poultry chain or running his own business, Massengale Fencing, Massengale still finds a few spare minutes to enjoy his own birds. But never at dinnertime. Massengale eats turkey, but only wild birds and never one that he knows was raised by a friend. It’s understandable. Once you’ve spent some quality time with a turkey in your lap it’s hard to feel the same way about Thanksgiving dinner. “Turkeys are a little misunderstood,” Massengale says, “but they are really great birds.” NCM



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iÃ̏i`Ê ˆ˜Ê ̅iÊ …ˆÃÊ œvÊ 7iÃÌÊ iœÀ}ˆ>Ê œ˜Ê nnÊ beautiful acres is a school dedicated to children. ">ŽÊ œÕ˜Ì>ˆ˜Ê V>`i“ÞÊ ˆÃÊ >Ê ÜiVœ“ˆ˜}]Ê ˆ˜VÕÈÛiÊ i˜ÛˆÀœ˜“i˜ÌÊ܅iÀiÊV…ˆ`Ài˜Êi>À˜ÊLiÌÌiÀÊLiV>ÕÃiÊ̅iÞÊ >ÀiÊÛ>Õi`]ÊÃ>vi]ʘÕÀÌÕÀi`]Ê>˜`ÊV…>i˜}i`° iÌÊ œÕÀÊ ÃÌÀœ˜}Ê >V>`i“ˆVÃÊ >˜`Ê v>“ˆÞÊ >̓œÃ«…iÀiÊ Ãˆ“«ˆvÞÊޜÕÀÊÃi>ÀV…ÊvœÀÊ>Ê}Ài>ÌÊÃV…œœ° œÀÊ “œÀiÊ ˆ˜vœÀ“>̈œ˜Ê œÀÊ ÌœÊ ÃV…i`ՏiÊ >Ê «iÀܘ>Ê ̜ÕÀ]Ê «i>ÃiÊVœ˜Ì>VÌÊ̅iÊ`“ˆÃȜ˜ÃÊ"vwViÊ>ÌÊÇÇä‡nÎ{‡ÈÈx£Ê œÀÊ>`“ˆÃȜ˜ÃJœ>Ž“œÕ˜Ì>ˆ˜°ÕðÊ









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: s e i r o t S & s r a St t a k o o L A WN

A P S ’ A T E W CO

y b Frale o B y b Photos leton | g in S . nie J By Con

ick snakes and false teeth are not your average pawn shop inventory items, but once upon a time, Tony Tucker had both in his possession. After closing Tucker’s Merchandise and Pawn on the day he bought a snake from a customer, Tony gathered a few employees to watch it eat a mouse. Surprisingly, the snake seemed uninterested in the meal. Tony set the rodent free when he discovered it still alive the next morning and figured the snake just wasn’t hungry. A curious buyer relieved Tony of the snake, but soon after reported its demise, attributed to a rare reptile disease. However, Tony’s moneymaking odds weren’t as good in the false teeth transaction, as the owner passed away before settling up on the 24 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE



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Snakes and false teeth are just a few of the more colorful items Coweta “Pawn Star” Tony Tucker has had in his shop in Grantville. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011 | 25



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loan. Despite Tony’s valiant effort to get them to the family in time for the funeral, the poor man was buried without his teeth! Pawn shops—and the stories surrounding them—have gained new attention, compliments of cable television’s Pawn Stars and Hardcore Pawn shows. Coweta County shoppers will be pleased to learn there are several locally-owned pawn shops to visit, perhaps even for holiday shopping. Though not as extensively stocked as TV’s Las Vegas

Despite Tony Tucker’s valiant effort to get the false teeth to the family in time for the funeral, the poor man was buried without his teeth! or Detroit stores, you’ll still find some unique and valuable items at a fraction of the cost versus new (4080 percent off retail). “It’s not as glamorous as the shows—we don’t have appraisers on staff and we don’t have a waiting line to come in,” Anne Marie Rowe of Gentry Pawn says, laughing. “But, those shows have been good for business. People who wouldn’t have considered darkening the door come in now.” Pawnbroking dates back more than 3,000 years to ancient China and to Greek and Roman civilizations. Queen Isabella of Spain reportedly pawned some of her jewels to finance Columbus’ trip to America, and there’s even reference to the practice in the Bible’s Book of Deuteronomy. The universal advertising symbol of western pawn 26 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE



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Automotive and sporting equipment, guitars and CDs, above and opposite, are pawn store staples.

shops, created originally for ease of identification by a largely illiterate population, is three gold globes suspended from a bar. Pawn shops are technically part of the financial industry and exist to lend money to people, using valuables for collateral, at a state-

regulated interest rate. Jill Abraham of Abraham’s Gun and Pawn said, “We’d rather people come back to retrieve their things. But, as you can see, there is plenty of stuff that has not been picked up.� Newnan Plaza Pawn’s Emory Bray says more people buy jewelry

and firearms than anything else. Those items are inventory staples in other stores, too, but you’ll also spy items ranging the alphabet in all stores: appliances, band equipment, bikes, bowling balls, cameras, CDs, computers, DVDs, hot plates, Hoveround wheelchairs, iPods, golf

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Serving Coweta and surrounding areas with emergency and non-emergency transportation via our stretcher ambulances. We also provide wheelchair transportationZLWKFHUWLÀHGYDQV Ambulatory transports are available via Hunter Taxi.

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Anne Marie Rowe, here with husband Adam Rowe, says Gentry Pawn in Newnan isn’t quite as flashy as the store on TV’s hit show Pawn Stars. But even here in Coweta, she says, shops sometimes get items such as Tiffany jewelry and Rolex watches.

“It’s not as glamorous as the (TV) shows—we don’t have appraisers on staff and we don’t have a waiting line to come in, but, those shows have been good for business.

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clubs, Georgia Bulldog collectibles, GPS units, guitars, ladders, lawn mowers, locks, motorcycles, night-vision cameras, pet crates, pool sticks, printers, silver platters, ski boots, speakers, sports memorabilia, tires, tools and NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011 | 29



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Gary DeGeorge Jr. and Sr., above, work at the Trading Post Pistol and Pawn, where they say some customers visit the pawn shop once a week and others as many as several times weekly in search of the new and different.

“I keep lists of what people are looking for, and I call them when items become available. ” —Al Abraham, Abraham’s Gun and Pawn

TV sets, to name just a few. “We don’t know what’s coming,” Rowe said. “Every day’s different, and that’s the fun of it. It’s just not like the TV show. No one should come in here thinking we have a case full of Tiffany jewelry. Have we taken Tiffany jewelry? Absolutely. Have we taken Rolex watches? Yes. But … we don’t have any in here now.” 30 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE



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he best toys often aren’t the toys, but the box they came in. Throw out the batteries, which you never have enough of anyway, toss in a child’s imagination, and there are no limits. Welcome to our world. We’ve dug to China, nearly blew up a waverunner, sunk a catamaran and have a dog that thinks she can fly. Yet we’ve also faced death far too soon. We needed more time. But through countless bonfires and some sage advice from talking animals, we know God is still in control. Using wit, wisdom and lots of prayer, Winters highlights life with the Little Black Dress and the SONS of Thunder; a journey similar to your own. You’ll also find some of their favorite recipes scattered throughout. We all know the kitchen is central to every home, and you’ll discover great stories tag along with each recipe - each a celebration of food, family and friends.


veryone Needs A Sam focuses on mentors – those individuals whose lessons last a lifetime. And tied to that is finding true friends – the ones who grab their own swords and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you as you face your giants, whatever they may be. The book also looks at the Biblical command to seek wisdom and guidance from other Godly individuals. The book’s title is taken from a character in the Lord of the Rings, and shows what a true friend is and how to be one yourself. More importantly, it shows you how to change the world and find the “Ultimate Sam.” The study guide is an in-depth workbook designed to help readers find loyal friends and mentors. Equally vital, it helps readers learn how to be the same to others. The “Sam” series is designed for Life Groups, Bible study and also individual devotions.

John Winters is available to speak at churches, civic groups and businesses on the value and role of mentors and how to seek and find wisdom and guidance from others. Please contact him at

To purchase autographed copies of Winters’ books, please visit And to follow along on the journey with The Dress and the SONS, please stop by NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011 | 31



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Sports memorabilia regularly shows up in pawn shops, those on TV as well as those in Coweta County.




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Don’t let the bars on the windows (for insurance requirements) or any preconceived notions about safety deter you from venturing inside a pawn shop. The environment is safe and clean, though a little cluttered in some stores. Most shops utilize surveillance cameras, require identification to pawn, and report everything bought to county and city police. “There is not a high percentage of stolen property recovered at pawn shops,� Rowe stated. “That is a huge misconception!� “Some people stop by weekly, sometimes several times a week. Some are looking to see what we have new and some are looking for that one particular item,� said Gary DeGeorge Jr. of the Trading Post Pistol and Pawn. Al Abraham agrees. “I keep lists of what people are looking for, and I call them when items become available. If people don’t see it, they’ll ask. It’s an ‘old school’ mentality—people still like to be waited on. They like to feel you care whether or not they come back.� Most pawn shops value their customers and would never knowingly buy or sell a defective item. DeGeorge said emphatically, “We’re local people who contribute heavily to our tax base; we live here, people know us, and we’re very honest.� Still, buyers should remember to inspect all pawn shop items thoroughly before purchase. There are no refunds and items are sold “as is.� This holiday season, Coweta’s own pawn stars know that shoppers who come by will uncover both some great deals and fascinating stories! NCM

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Cathy Lee Phillips

nspirational writer, speaker and singer Cathy Lee Phillips has returned home to Newnan. After graduating from Newnan High School, LaGrange College and Scarritt College in Nashville, she worked in Christian education and penned several successful books, including Silver in the Slop, Gutsy Little Flowers, and Aging, Ailments and Attitudes. She recently sat down with Newnan-Coweta Magazine to talk about what she’s been up to and why she’s glad to be back in Coweta. 34 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE



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After vowing never to marry, you wed Jerry Phillips in a big spring wedding in 1986, only to later lose him when he died following a heart transplant. How did that lead to your writing career? I don’t think anything will (ever) affect me in the way losing Jerry did, and my plan at the time was to stay in bed for the rest of my life. I did that for a while. I was very depressed and unhappy and not understanding why things had happened. I was 35, pretty young to be widowed. I thought to God, “I’ve been doing what You asked all these years. Jerry was a minister, I’m the educator, and I don’t understand this.” We never do, and I’ve learned to stop asking. Even in the midst of that depression, there was time for thought. God was working with me even then, because one of the first revelations I had was if you ask “why” questions the rest of your life you’re never going to get anywhere. So start asking “how.” “How can I use what has happened and better myself and hopefully better other people?” I got out of bed and started writing. Was that therapeutic? It was at first. I tell people now, “I will tell you anything about me as long as it will help somebody.” By making peace

Rev. Dr. Jerry Phillips performs an infant baptism at the St. Joseph's Hospital Chapel on Easter Sunday 1990 while he was still awaiting a new heart. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011 | 35



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As early as age 8, Cathy Lee Phillips knew she wanted to be a writer. Her books include lots of stories about growing up on a farm in Coweta County and the many friends she still has here. At right, she shoots hoops at Madras Elementary.

with what has happened to us in the past and finding a way—“How can I use that?”— that’s how we take the baggage, the “slop,” and go forward. For me, life is about overcoming. It’s about loss, because I lost focus and grounding and the one person truly that loved me … so I felt like I was just climbing back, and all of these ideas came and eventually turned into stories. I knew from the time I was eight years old I wanted to write.

Your books all feature Coweta stories, including one about getting your first bra while a student at Madras Elementary. Is “The Bra of My Dreams” still one of your most requested stories? It is THE most requested story, still. I speak predominantly to women’s groups, and every woman has a bra story, because I think I’ve heard most of them! Inevitably those that wanted a bra didn’t need it, and those that needed it didn’t want it.

At eight? Were you keeping a journal? Just writing stories, or what had happened, because things were bad in our family, which I don’t mind anybody knowing. I found a loft in a barn where we had milk cows. We lived on this huge farm and I loved exploring. I found this ladder one day attached to the side of a wall, and I climbed up. It was this wonderful room with a big window in it. Nobody knew about it but me. So that room became my first office. 36 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE

a great honor,” and I said “GIT OUTTA HERE!” So the first you heard of this was when you learned you’d won? Exactly. I write the words and the books and where they end up and how they affect others and even me, I don’t even know a lot of times. It let me know there is life after grief, that I’m glad I got up and started writing, because that was a meantto-be thing, like, “See? This is what you are supposed to do.”

In 2009 you were named Georgia Author of the Year by the National League of American Pen Women. How did getting that award affect you?

You’ve called your recent move home to Newnan part of your “rebooting” effort. What do you mean by that?

Thinking they were calling me to speak for them, I was getting all the details and the lady said “No, you’re the honoree.” I said “For what?” and she said “We have selected you as our Georgia Author of the Year.” Most people, I can imagine, would say, “Well, I thank you for that fine affirmation of my work,” or “What

There are times, if you have a computer, you are giving it too many commands at one time or it has too much information to process or there’s a virus. The computer freezes and says “I don’t know which way to go.” You get nothing. So you hit Control-Alt-Delete and reboot. I realized I was as confused by a lot of



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things as that computer, and I had a virus. I found out I was severely anemic, and then I developed MRSA, the antibiotic-resistant, flesh-eating super staph infection. I had to go through a lot of testing and discovered I have an immune disease. At the same time the economy was going south. I started getting fewer invitations to speak, and when I got invitations they weren’t paying as much. My income was going down and my medical bills were going up. I took a parttime job in a church. After discovering I had this immune deficiency, my doctor told me I could no longer have a part-time job. I was working too much, doing too much, under too much stress, not resting, and life was catching up with me.

est wishes extends its warm orters and to our many supp nty citizens for all Coweta Cou y Season and a blessed Holida Year! a prosperous New

Coweta Community Foundation, Inc. is a publicly-supported, 501(c)3 organization that exists both to maintain the charitable intent of donors and to act as a catalyst to help focus local philanthropy on our community’s changing needs. To submit year-end, tax-deductible donations to specifically benefit your local (Coweta County) area arts, education, environmental, health and welfare organizations, to request that a CCF Board member speak to your organization, or to learn more about the Coweta Community Foundation, please visit our website.

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I sat in his office and he pulled up his chair and said, “Let’s talk a minute. What is your biggest stress?” I said, “In my life? Losing my husband. Now? My house. It’s lost value and I owe more than it’s


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really did rally around her. I just think of what that woman might be doing if she hadn’t heard me share. It’s a humiliating and embarrassing kind of thing, but happened. You have to Alter your plans—for me, the best place to do that’s the altar, “ar.” Then Delete. I had to delete a house, 2,400 square feet that I wasn’t using, most of it, but I was heating it and paying for it and cooling it. So I just sat down and I did Control-Alt-Delete and realized that before my C-drive, I guess my Cathy-drive, booted up again, there were some things that didn’t need to be included. The virus is going to be there, but I need to control it better. And you need a time of rest. A computer, you have to let rest for a few minutes before you turn it back on. You might have to do that two or three times but the bottom line is, you are making major changes. Financially, things are bad, but it’s like a big ship that’s going to have to have time to maneuver and turn around. Cathy Lee Phillips speaks at a women’s conference.

worth, and if I can’t have a part-time job, how will I pay for this house?” He said, “Let the house go. I will put it on a prescription pad if you want me to. It is not worth your health.” He said, “I’m (in) infectious disease. If you’re diabetic and you don’t take care of yourself, if you get a foot problem, I might have to amputate a toe or a foot. I do it to save the life. I hate telling people that, but you have to deal with what you’ve got. I’m telling you to amputate your house.” I just put all this into the analogy of a computer and rebooting. I thought OK, we hit Control-Alt-Delete. We don’t know in the morning what’s going to happen in the next 5 minutes, so we’re not in Control.You have to spend a lifetime “altering” your plans. Sometimes you have to take a deeper look, and that’s what this doctor was telling me. Eight to ten hours of sleep, diet high in protein. More than anything I had to get rid of some stress. That was further damaging the immune system.

What do you like best about being back in Coweta? My friends. I’m on Facebook, and that put me back in touch with lots of friends here in Newnan. They’re still a great group, a great support system, so if I’m going to reboot let’s go to a place that’s familiar. My friends made suggestions, kept me upbeat, let me know I was not a failure because I was losing my house.This could be a brand new beginning, and it is. I hate moving. I was a Methodist minister’s wife, and they move every few years. Friends did that for me because I was on the road speaking and would never have made any deadlines. The day I moved, a friend from Newnan, Jeff Perry, came and was like the foreman, drove the truck. There were probably, throughout the day both in Atlanta and here, maybe 50 people, probably 10 or so I didn’t even know, but they were friends of friends. For me, my friends are my family. You’ve got some good friends.

I joined the ranks of those in foreclosure. By being open with this, I know I have helped people through foreclosure themselves because they think “OK, it happened to you, it can happen to me.” One woman came to me at a speaking engagement where I mentioned this. She had been living in her car for three weeks and was terrified someone would find out. We talked, she went to her pastor and the church 38 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE

I have fabulous friends. NCM Cathy Lee Phillips has also agreed to be a Contributing Writer for Newnan-Coweta Magazine, and her articles will begin in the January/February 2012 issue. For more information visit



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Celebrate with


Five-year-old Alyssia Brantley, daughter of Robert and Kenya Brantley of Newnan, shows off some of our Christmas cupcake creations! 40 | NEWNAN â&#x20AC;&#x201C; COWETA MAGAZINE



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This year, the Newnan-Coweta Magazine staff decided to focus on cupcakes for our holiday treat baking. If you havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t noticed, these classic sweet treats are everywhere these days, from hit TV shows to bakeries to parties galore! We asked four local women known for their baking skills to share some of their favorite cupcake recipes with us and then decorated the treats to celebrate the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. As our office can attest, the results were incredibly delicious!




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Red Velvet Cupcakes

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins, about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese 1/2 stick butter 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar

By Susan West, Newnan baker known to friends as “The Cake Lady” 2-1/2 cups plain flour 1-1/2 cups sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 1-1/2 cups vegetable oil 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature 2 large eggs, room temperature 2 ounces red food coloring 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla with a handheld mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.


In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.



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Maple Nut Goody Cupcakes

Beat only until just blended. Spoon the mix into the paper liners, about 2/3 full, and bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely, then fill and frost.

Filling 1 cup of heavy cream, whipped 4 ounces of soft cream cheese, well beaten 1 teaspoon of orange extract Fold together the whipped cream and cream cheese, then add the orange extract. Fill a piping bag fitted with a metal tip with the filling. Push the tip in the middle of cooled cupcakes and squeeze to fill just until the cupcake puffs. Set aside.

By Teresa L. Carter, Owner, Southern Touch Catering 1-1/4 cups butter, softened (do not use margarine) 1-1/4 cups Crisco, softened 1 teaspoon of orange extract 2-1/4 cups of sugar 4 large fresh eggs 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 cup of buttermilk at room temperature Filling (recipe below) Frosting (recipe below) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 (12cup) cupcake pans with paper liners. Beat the butter and Crisco until well blended and smooth. Add the orange extract and continue beating, then add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Finally, add the eggs one at a time and beat until a nice yellow color forms. Next, add salt and soda to the flour and stir to blend. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the beaten butter/sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour.


Frosting 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened 4 to 5 cups of powdered sugar 1/3 cup of real maple syrup (do not use pancake syrup) 1 teaspoon of cream, or as needed 1 cup of walnuts, chopped Beat first 4 ingredients well, adding more powered sugar or cream as needed. Pipe frosting on the cupcakes and top with walnuts. Yummy! A drizzle of syrup looks pretty too.



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Hummingbird Cupcakes

vanilla, pineapple, chopped pecans and soft bananas. Ladle batter into paperlined muffin cups sprayed with nonstick oil, 3/4 of the way full in each cup. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and remove cupcakes from muffin pan. Place cupcakes on wire rack to cool. Spread cooled cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkle with finely chopped pecans.

Cream Cheese Frosting

By Patty Gironda, Casa Bella B&B owner and host of TV show Home at Last 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon 3 eggs, beaten 1 cup vegetable oil 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple (do not drain) 1 cup chopped pecans (reserve some for garnish) 2 cups ripe bananas, mashed Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil. Mixing by hand, stir until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in


1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup salted butter, softened 16 ounces sifted powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Combine cream cheese and butter, beating until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.



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Fudge Filled Cupcakes

By Barbara Wetherington, Powersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Festival Vice President 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened 1/3 cup sugar 1 egg 1 cup (6-ounces) chocolate chips, divided 1 package (18.25-ounces) yellow cake mix, mixed according to package directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin tins with paper baking cups. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese, sugar and egg until creamy. Place 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high power for about 30 seconds, or until melted. Beat the melted chips into the cream cheese mixture. With a spoon, stir in the remaining chocolate chips and set aside.


Fill the baking cups 2/3 full with the prepared cake batter. Drop a heaping teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture into the center of the batter in each cup. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cupcakes comes out clean. Frost as you like. These are wonderful and can be made with fudge cake mix if you want a double chocolate treat! NCM



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Saturday, November 19th

Candlelight Holiday Sip and Shop – 5:00-9:00 p.m.

Sunday, November 20th

Holiday Open House – 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Thursday, December 1st

Mingle with Kringle – 3:00-5:30 p.m. Meet Santa and Friends before our Christmas Parade Annual Christmas Parade – 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 17 & 24

Santa on the Square – 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. W W W. D O W N T O W N L A G R A N G E . C O M



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Advancing the possibilities. Closer to home.













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Serendipity’s all about the monogram!

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51 New Hutchinson Mill Road LaGrange, Georgia 30240 (706) 882-6525

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DOWNTOWN LAGRANGE CANDLELIGHT HOLIDAY SIP AND SHOP Sat., Nov. 19 • 5-9 PM Start your holiday shopping in Downtown LaGrange! Wine and beverage tasting hosted by downtown merchants.

Downtown LaGrange Development Authority 706-298-4532


If the Shoe Fits Repair It! Judy Pruitt 1685 Vernon Rd. • LaGrange, GA 30240 2 Blocks from Hospital • 706-884-4180 HOURS: Tuesday-Friday 9AM-5PM

Sun., Nov. 20 • 1-5 PM

Water Wells • Water Pumps Water Treatment Geothermal Construction

Holiday sales and fabulous food with a surprise visit from the North Pole! Shops and restaurants will be open.

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Thurs., Dec. 1 Visit with Santa and his North Pole friends before the parade from 3-5:30 PM followed by the tree lighting. “A Perfectly Painted Christmas” Parade will be led by 2011 Grand Marshals Oliver and Annie Greene, beginning at 6 PM. 706-298-4532 706-884-8671 52 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE

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A Taste of Lemon Restaurant & The Lemon Tree Shoppes Sunday, November 20, 2011 • 12:00-5:00 PM Lunch from 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM • Reservations Required q

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Sat., Dec. 3 • 7:30 PM Kick off the holiday season with the LaGrange College Singers, directed by Debbie Ogle, as they perform in this annual worship service.

Callaway Auditorium LaGrange College Music Department

SANTA ON THE SQUARE Saturdays, Dec. 17 & 24 11 AM - 2 PM Bring the family for lunch, shopping and plenty of holiday cheer!

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{ Tina’s Tips}

It’s the most

Wonderful time of the year Story and photos by Tina Neely

It’s the most wonderful time of the year It’s the hap-happiest season of all With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings When friends come to call It’s the hap-happiest season of all!




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love Christmas: the birthday celebration of our Savior and a time for gathering with friends and family and carrying out timehonored traditions. For me and a group of very special friends, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a time for making traditions of our own. Getting together with some of my closest, truest friends and celebrating who they are and what they mean to me makes the traditions, simple as they are, all the more special. We have a great time, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t spend a lot of money, nurture the relationships between each other and our children, and enjoy the happiest season of all. We have several holiday festivities on our calendars you might want to put on yours!




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Christmas Luncheon We kick off the season in November with our church Christmas Luncheon. Tables are decorated, friends are invited and we catch the Christmas spirit. This year I went “green,” literally, with our table. After a visit with friends Joe and Deena Almon, I came home with amazing ideas, table arrangements and a car full of natural beauty. Beautiful slices of tree trunks, stacked upon each other, lined the center of the table, topped with vases of flowers, berries, evergreen and holly, candles, magnolias, pomegranates and citrus. I carried the church decor straight home and adorned my dining room table to enjoy later at our dinner and yearly ornament swap.

Friends enjoying Tina Neely’s “green” Christmas decor, at right, include Michele Chester, Robin Baker and Mary Beth Muzio. Opposite at far left is the whimsical aqua and red table Tina decorated for her twin daughters and their friends to enjoy.




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Enjoying the lights at Callaway Gardens are, front from left, Lydia Grace Harrell, Elizabeth Neely, Will Cornwell, Hannah Neely, Mallory McDonald, and at back, Emilie Baker, Grayson Cornwell, Jackson Neely and Carson Baker.

Callaway Gardens I don’t know about yours, but my children love to look at Christmas lights. What better place to do that than Callaway Gardens? We get bundled up, make reservations online, and head to Callaway with blankets, hot chocolate and kids in tow. Riding the trolley (it’s more fun that way), we can see the lights better, snuggle


a little closer and sing a little louder. The children enjoy sitting with their friends and deciding whose favorite light display is best. If you can go early, visit the horticultural center for some amazing Christmas card picture backdrops of poinsettias and Christmas trees.



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At a girlfriends’ Christmas gathering are, front from left, Robin Baker, Tina Neely, Brooke Harrell, and at back, Michele Chester, Jennifer Stalnaker, Mary Beth Muzio and Ada Cornwell.


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Cookie & Ornament Swap I love ornaments! I get them everywhere I go, all year long, and I love how most of them recall a place we’ve been or the friend who gave it to us. And to prepare for all the parties where a homemade dessert is required, a cookie swap is perfect. My friends and I combine the two and have dinner with a cookie and ornament swap. We bring a dozen cookies per person attending, an extra dozen for sampling, one beautifully wrapped ornament and a heavy appetizer. We have an amazing dinner of delicious food, and for dessert a sampling of Christmas cookies or candy. After dinner we fill our baskets, giving us plenty of treats for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, teacher treats and holiday snacking. Then we each draw a number to begin the ornament swap “dirty Santa” style, where you go in order by number drawn and can steal the best ornament until it’s “frozen.” You know you’ve picked the best one if yours is frozen first!

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As-Fabulous-As-You-CanMake-It-For-$3 I love to give friends something to show how special they are to me, but because there are so many of us and because times are difficult for so many, we keep our gift-giving budget to a minimum. It is so much fun and can get so creative. We meet at a local restaurant and bring gifts thoughtfully made or purchased with love, for $3 or less, one for each friend. After dinner, we begin the gift exchange. One person takes a turn and hands out her gifts. It becomes quite entertaining to others in the restaurant as they hear “Awwwww, I love that! How did you make that? You’re so creative!” over and over again. We shop, craft and plan for this all year. Last year I made cute picture frames from 2 x 6inch nails and magnets painted red with white dots. These sell in eclectic stores for over $30 but cost only time and a few dollars each to make. They were a hit and inspired the other ladies. We’ve gotten holiday cookie cookbooks, monogrammed Christmas towels, personalized CDs with pictures from girls’ trips, bracelets made by children met on summer mission trips, heating pillows handmade with corn—every year trying to top last year’s super cheap but super creative gift. Christmas is a wonderful time to share with family and friends. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy your yearly traditions. And if you don’t have any special ones, use one of ours and start your own. If you have a great one that you enjoy, please share it with me. I’m always looking for another great reason to get together with family and friends! NCM

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By Alex McRae | Photos by Bob Fraley

ore Christmas wish lists are delivered by smartphone than snail mail these days, but some things haven’t changed. Santa still checks to see who’s naughty and nice. His elves still work overtime to fill all the orders. And every year, without fail, Santa delivers the goods. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Ever since Rudolph joined the crew, the reindeer have done fine, but Santa’s toy-stuffed sleigh is always at risk of breaking down. It happens. But if Santa’s ride needs repairs while he’s crossing Coweta County, all he has to do is dial up Al Lewis and the jolly old elf will be back in business faster than you can say “Ho, Ho, Ho!”


Lewis has one of the area’s most extensive collections of horse (or reindeer)-drawn carriages and says several could serve as Santa’s backup. “You bet we’ve got something that would work,” Lewis says. “I’ve had every kind of carriage and sleigh you can think of, and we’d get Santa back in business fast.” Lewis was born in Chattanooga and moved to Atlanta at age three. He spent his childhood summers visiting family in Tennessee and couldn’t stay away from the mules and wagons. “I got carried away with it,” Lewis says. “There was nothing I liked more than driving those wagons.” Lewis graduated from Atlanta’s Tech High School, served as a Naval officer during World War II, then



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If Santa needs a back-up for his sleigh this year, Al Lewis of Coweta says he has the goods to help him out.




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Clockwise from top: Stored in one of Al Lewis’ barns are some of his many carriages; a child’s wagon; and a carriage like this one may have once delivered mail in the Handy community.




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returned to Atlanta and earned a degree in civil engineering from Georgia Tech. He was a successful homebuilder before starting a 28-year career with Fulton Federal Savings & Loan. He eventually moved the family to a small farm in south Fulton County that had plenty of room to raise saddle horses and Shetland ponies. One day he drove past a Union City antique shop displaying old-fashioned horse-drawn carriages. Lewis bought three broken-down buggies and hauled them home. Lewis had never repaired a carriage, but he soon got his new rides in running order. Then he bought a harness, hitched up a saddle horse to a wagon and crossed his fingers. “I said ‘giddyup’ and he did,” Lewis says. “I was lucky. I had no

idea you’re supposed to train a horse to a vehicle. I learned that later the hard way. But that first old horse, he pulled that wagon and did fine with it.”

Lewis and his carriages are in great demand and have appeared in countless local parades. Lewis became active in the Carriage Association of America and started dashing across the country to buy, sell or just admire carriages of every size, shape and description. Once the family moved to Coweta in 1980, Lewis had even

more room to store his growing carriage collection, a treasure trove of rolling stock ranging from working wagons to goat carts to a horsedrawn mail wagon and a fabulous gypsy wagon that would turn heads at any campground in the country. Lewis and his carriages are in great demand and have appeared in countless local parades. He also used one of his carriages to deliver the traditional champagne thirstquenchers to spectators who stomped divots during halftime at a north Coweta charity polo match. Lewis says judging by the crowd of men who hopped on the carriage to pass out the bubbly and the “four or five” women who rode up top to toast the action, his rolling refreshment stand was a smash hit. “Everybody had a lot of fun with it,” Lewis says.



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Al Lewis shows his colorful gypsy wagon, above, and its interior, above right. At right is one of the barns on his property.

A formal carriage, above, and a hearse, at right, are part of Al Lewis’ collection.




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Hauling champagne is nice, but Lewis is also prepared to furnish the perfect ride for delivering that precious Christmas Eve cargo. Lewis has owned several sleighs and says it takes only one ride to understand the attraction. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nothing like riding in a horse-drawn carriage,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Whatever Santa needs to get around Coweta County, I guarantee we can fix him up.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Al Lewis so quiet gliding across the snow itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like being in a sailboat. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no rattle or clatter and I can see why Santa likes to travel by sleigh.â&#x20AC;? Lewis once slipped a set of wheels on a sleigh, packed it with festively-wrapped boxes and drove it in a local Christmas parade. The kids loved it. Lewis did, too. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Everybody loves to see a sleigh because it reminds them of Christmas,â&#x20AC;? Lewis says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always a big hit.â&#x20AC;? No matter how the weather turns out on Christmas Eve, Lewis is ready. He has sleigh runners that can be adapted to fit several of his carriages and wheels that can keep a sleigh rolling on a snow-free day. As long as Al Lewis is around, Santa wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get stalled in Coweta County. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Whatever Santa needs to get around Coweta County, I guarantee we can fix him up,â&#x20AC;? Lewis says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We know how important Christmas is to all the children around here.â&#x20AC;? NCM

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{Coweta Cooks }

An old family photo shows Katie Arnall Freeman, at left, and her twin brother Frank.




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“ To Myself and Others” By Amelia Adams | Photos by Bob Fraley

ur world drifts into seasonal celebrations as friends and family gather to relish holiday occasions. Beckoning the past, we echo traditions whether in decoration, food or gifts. A small, aged notebook lay in my hands recently as I read the amusing cookbook of the late, vibrant sprite, Katie Arnall Freeman. Born into the large Newnan household of Henry Clay Arnall in 1885, Katie and her twin Frank experienced youth in a new century’s entrance. Even after the great war, Arnall siblings continued to live under their childhood roof on College Street. When Miss Katie’s brother Alton returned home, he brought daughters Mildred,

always known as “Bunny,” and Myrtle. After their mother Susie Willcoxon’s death, Katie mothered the young girls, a role which never abated. The small town atmosphere after WWI contrasts greatly with the present. Successful families employed ample staffs to care for a home and its inhabitants. Such was the world of Miss Katie Arnall in 1921 when she married attorney Alvin Hubbard Freeman. Life at newly constructed 25 College St. was commodious, aided by butler/chauffeur Aaron Harden, maid Panny Brown, and cook Bessie Frazier, whose husband’s taxi brought many of the domestics to work. Later, Frank Frazier would serve as Jeep driver to famed general George Patton. In 1926, Miss Katie assembled a




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in preparing bandages, as well as comforting the suffering of others. Miss Katie’s schedule began with daily directions for Aaron, Panny and Bessie. After dressing in her “morning clothes” and applying some of her signature White Shoulders fragrance, she would go about familiar activities. After lunch, she undressed for a two-hour rest and rose midafternoon to take Vintage silver pieces are from the estate a drive or ready of Katie Arnall Freeman. herself for family notebook of recipes and related and friends to drop by. Late-day dress household tasks. The entire text is was splendid as she put on her finest typed, possibly by her husband’s clothes and jewelry from diamond secretary. Origins are often given with watch to brooch in readiness for adjectival appraisals, “good” or “fine.” receiving. If she took a drive, white Directions on dressing a turkey, gloves always covered her diamonds. making a cleanser for woodwork, Christmas at “Aunt Katie’s,” steeping wine, and stirring up an most notably for her nieces and arsenic laden ant poison also dot the nephews, was a sumptuous affair. notebook. Humorously, the ant Red-berried hollies were her poison notes in all caps, “IT WILL favorite choice of POISON PEOPLE AND ANIMALS decoration. Before dinner, as well as ants.” Miss Katie served After a mere decade, Alvin Grasshoppers to the Freeman died, leaving Miss Katie adults, quite a lark in bereft, so much so that her niece view of her strong Myrtle, husband Emil Mann, and Central Baptist roots. daughter Susie moved in with her for In addition to the a year to lessen the sorrow. Clad only familiar turkey and in mourning black, Miss Katie dressing were multiple received a balm in becoming a meats numbering meat hospital gray lady, with activities that loaf, roast beef, ham, as required her “hands on” participation well as scalloped oysters. 72 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE

Side dishes of sweet potato souffle, corn pudding, green beans with pearl onions, and peach pickle congealed salad would dominate, accompanied by piping hot rolls. Although familiar holiday cakes would be in evidence, Miss Katie always served strawberry shortcake. One can imagine what an exciting change of mood this bright dessert would offer in midwinter. For the base of the sweet, a sponge cake would be readied. Like the French, a Southern cook found this variable layer appropriate for tipsy squire or frozen ice cream cakes.

Christmas at “Aunt Katie’s,” most notably for her nieces and nephews, was a sumptuous affair.



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Miss Katieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sponge Cake 6 eggs, separated 2 cups sugar 2 cups sifted flour, divided 10 tablespoons boiling water 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 quart strawberries Additional sugar, optional 1/2 pint sweetened whipped cream Beat the yolks with the sugar until pale yellow in color, which should take about five minutes. Beat the whites until large peaks form, and fold them into the former mixture. By hand, add 1 cup of the flour with the boiling water in stages by tablespoons, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix very well and slowly add the other cup of flour, which has been sifted with the baking powder. Flavor with vanilla.


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Each Christmas, Alvin Freeman purchased a handsome silver object for his wife. After his death, Miss Katie continued the tradition, with a slight change: she engraved the sentiment, â&#x20AC;&#x153;To Myself, From Myself.â&#x20AC;? Although this inscription might be considered eccentric, Miss Katie knew that the silver would filter down to her heirs, whose amusement in her words would continue as well. Toward the end of her life, Miss Katie provided a beautiful pecan orchard and its lands on North Highway 29 for the construction of The Heritage School, which many of her relatives would attend. As a school day ended, Aaron would drive Miss Katie in her Buick Roadmaster down the curved road of its campus. Slowly observing the children, Miss Katie waved her small, white-gloved hand. The drive, like the silver, spoke of her love of family; but the actions also prove: â&#x20AC;&#x153;To Myself, For Others.â&#x20AC;? NCM

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{ TheThoughtful Gardener }

Christmas Berries Story and photos by Katherine McCall




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Yes! The magic had invaded the rectory. He could smell it as he walked in the door, the permeating fragrance of fir and forest and freedom, which refused to be lost among the smells of baking bread. He felt fairly lifted off the floor.” —Father Tim’s Christmas thoughts, from A Light in the Window by Jan Karon

ther than people, nothing brings vitality to a room like living material. Graceful form and vibrant color, growth of a seed into a plant or a bud into a bloom, fragrance intensified by heat and lifted on the air, the feel of woody stems, prickly thorns, velvety petals, and even the presence of living things—ants, beetles and spiders—all testify to “aliveness.” Like Father Tim, we come into a room and are greeted by the effervescence of evergreens or bright red holly berries sparkling from a silver bowl mingling with the conversation or quietness of the evening, and are reminded of Christmases past. How meaningful and satisfying to have memories built on the reality of Life and all it represents.




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Holly plants are a tangible link to the past and serve to remind us what and why we are celebrating. The lustrous, evergreen leaves and vibrant berries which enliven the bare winter landscape have made the holly an important winter symbol throughout time. As early as 1000 BC, followers of Zoroaster were known to use the holly as a symbol of goodness and a protection against evil. The Celts also used boughs of holly as a talisman to ward off evil and to bring peace. Supposedly, soldiers carried the custom to Rome and holly was used

widely during the celebration of the winter solstice. After the birth of Christ, Christians adopted the holly as a symbol of the death and resurrection of Christ. The prickly leaves represent the crown of thorns and the berries symbolize Christâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

blood shed for mankind. The genus Ilex contains more than 400 species of holly, existing as evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs. English holly, Ilex aquifolium, native to Europe, is the most recognizable and ornamental with its classic pointed leaves and deep red berries. Native hollies, such as I. opaca, I. vomitoria, I. decidua and I. verticillata perform better in our Southern gardens. American holly, Ilex opaca, was reported in the South as early as 1564. James R. Cothran in Gardens and Historic Plants of the Antebellum South states that George Washington




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and Thomas Jefferson both had plantings of the holly which was â&#x20AC;&#x153;frequently used in antebellum gardens, where it was prized for its formal elegance as a specimen, a topiary plant, or a clipped evergreen hedge.â&#x20AC;? American holly is an evergreen tree that can reach up to 50 feet with glossy leaves and claret berries. I. vomitoria, also called the yaupon holly, was brewed by native Americans to produce a strong regurgitative ceremonial drink and by early settlers for a milder and more pleasant drink called yaupon tea. This holly is a smaller evergreen tree or shrub with varieties that produce red or golden fruit. Two deciduous natives that provide sprays of the vermillion berries in the winter are Ilex decidua, commonly known as possumhaw, a tree, and winterberry, Ilex verticillata, a shrub. Most hollies are dioecious, which means the male and female reproductive organs are carried on separate individual plants. Fruit is produced on the female plant

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if there is a male plant nearby (within 200 feet) to pollinate it. Overall they prefer slightly acidic soil that is well-drained and mulched although winterberry grows best in swampy areas. Some shade is tolerated, but fruiting is more prolific in full sun. See specific requirements for the species and cultivar picked to determine the ideal growing conditions. Archibald Rutledge in his essay â&#x20AC;&#x153;A Plantation Christmasâ&#x20AC;? recounts the unparalleled splendor of a full grown holly in the forest as he searched for a Christmas tree for the house: â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;holly yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; that yearâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;that is, the crop of holly berries was unusually good. Under a shadowy canopy of live oaks we came to a holly tree some thirty feet high, heavy-foliaged, perfect in symmetry, cone-shaped, and ruddily agleam with berries. Its clean bole shone like silver. Out of this tree we flushed a horde of robins that had been feasting on the berries. The scarlet of their breasts blended with the brightness of the berries.â&#x20AC;? He and his companion cut the holly, for he felt that â&#x20AC;&#x153;Christmas deserves such a tribute.â&#x20AC;? Enrich your Christmas season with the gift of real greenery that brings life and significance into your home and is worthy of Christmas. NCM

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Local Heritage }

Christmas in Civil War Days By W. Winston Skinner

he sesquicentennial of the Civil War is here. Jan Bowyer and her busy committee have already scheduled and mounted events related to the milestone. As Christmas approaches, I began thinking about what the holiday was like 150 years ago. Christmas in Civil War days has been in my thoughts before. A little over a year ago, John Todd invited 80 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE

me to speak at the Christmas dinner of the Sharpsburg Sharpshooter, Camp 1729, Sons of Confederate Veterans. About 50 people—ranging from youngsters to retirees—were there for a great covered dish meal. Anne Vaillancourt shared a charming exchange of letters between Robert E. Lee and three little girls, who feared Santa had permanently passed Southern children by. The general, in a missive apparently

dating to 1867, assured the sisters Santa was “a good friend”—one Lee held “in high respect.” For my program, I shared excerpts from The Children of Pride, a superbly annotated collection of letters from before, during and after the Civil War written by a coastal Georgia family. In a letter on Christmas Day, 1861, Charles Colcock Jones wrote to his father from the military camp where he was



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Anne Vaillancourt reads the Robert E. Lee proclamation at a past Christmas dinner of the Sharpsburg Sharpshooter, Camp 1729, Sons of Confederate Veterans.

then stationed. Two years later, Mary Mallard wrote from Atlanta to her mother about spending “a quiet, pleasant day” with her aunt on Christmas. They had enjoyed “a fat turkey,” a gift from a fellow church member who was shortly departing to her father’s home in LaGrange because “it is so difficult to get provisions” in Atlanta. The entries for 1864 make no mention of the holiday at all—


following the devastation of war at the coastal plantation. There was this Christmas Day entry: “At breakfast two Yankees rode around the lot but seeing nothing to take went away.” While the war certainly affected Cowetans, their experiences were different. Union troops spent little time here and left a trove of antebellum homes in Newnan unscathed. Newnan was a hospital town, which impacted the focus and celebration of the holidays. Local historian Elizabeth Beers— in a talk sponsored by the local Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee earlier this year—related there was a celebration for wounded soldiers convalescing in Newnan at Christmas in 1863. Women of the town brought turkeys, chicken, vegetables and pies. “Miss” Elizabeth also noted Fannie Beers, a nurse in the local hospitals, wrote of “an ownerless piano” commandeered and played for special occasions. No doubt holiday carols were among the tunes played on that instrument of questionable origin. It is hard to learn much about what the blessed season was like for Cowetans during those four years.

Written histories reveal little. W.U. Anderson in his 1880 history of the county wrote generally of conditions in 1862: “Our county began to feel the pressure of the war, and many seeing hard times while their husbands, fathers and sons were in the war …” Coweta Chronicles relates little specifically about Christmas, but does reveal some facts that would have impacted the holy season. Jesse

Campbell, pastor at Newnan Baptist Church, left his pulpit “to enter the war as a volunteer evangelist, serving for four years,” Chronicles noted. College Temple, the female college located in the neighborhood where I now live, continued classes at least through commencement in 1863. The class that year patriotically made their graduation dresses of



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homespun. Isora and Rebecca Burch, sisters from Thomasville, were among the graduates. Both must have socialized with local folksâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;maybe at a Christmas party?â&#x20AC;&#x201D;since they spent their adult lives in Newnan. Rebecca married my great-great-grandfatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s brother, a merchant named John Alfred Hunter. The Newnan Herald, the first newspaper to be started in Georgia after the Civil War, published its first issue in September 1865â&#x20AC;&#x201D;months after the warâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s end. At Christmastime in 1865, there were signs of Yuletide hopeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;mixed with grief and the tragic elements of war. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We trust God in his providence will not again curse earth with another year accompanied with so many

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While the war certainly affected Cowetans, their experiences were different. Union troops spent little time here and left a trove of antebellum homes in Newnan unscathed. Newnan was a hospital town, which impacted the focus and celebration of the holidays. miseries as the year now closing,â&#x20AC;? the publishers wrote. An advertisement with the heading â&#x20AC;&#x153;Christmas Is Coming!!â&#x20AC;? hawked a variety of wares for Jones, Cates and Companyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;sugar, cheese, mackerel, crockery, yarns, axes and tobacco. T. and D. Swint & Co. offered the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Late Arrival of New Goodsâ&#x20AC;? in time for Christmas including â&#x20AC;&#x153;gentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; fine felt, fur and cashmere hatsâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;ladiesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; hoop and Balmoral skirtsâ&#x20AC;? as well as black cloth suitable for the mourning required in those days. The newspaper and histories are largely silent about the experience of black Cowetans in those days. I expect Christmas in 1865, even if lacking in presents, was a time of joy for those delivered from slavery. Their gift that year was one of the greatestâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;freedom. That world was quite different from ours, but its happenings shape the Christmas of today. The 1865 Herald noted: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Time ... regardless of the changes, past, present and prospective, moves on.â&#x20AC;? NCM

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Turning holiday woes into the

he season of gift giving in Coweta will kick off on Nov. 29 with the 28th annual Christmas in Newnan Can-A-Thon. The Can-A-Thon, which is used to stock the Coweta Community Food Pantry year-round, collected more than 289,000 food items last year, and this year organizers hope to collect even more. Can-A-Thon food items and cash equivalents donated on this day are


used to stock the Coweta Community Food Pantry, which helps Cowetans in need all year long. Public drop-off points will be manned in downtown Newnan and downtown Senoia on collection day. Volunteers will be on hand to unload donationsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;all you have to do is stop and let volunteers do the work. The Newnan drop-off, at North Court Square, will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Senoia drop-off



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point, at the intersection of Main and Seavy streets, will be manned from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Donations can also be brought directly to the food pantry, located at 320C Temple Avenue, in the same building with One Roof Outreach. Donations are being accepted at Coweta County schools in November. All kinds of non-perishable foodâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; not just canned goodsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;are needed. However, no donations can be accepted of home-canned food or anything packaged in glass, for safety purposes. Monetary donations are welcome as well. They allow pantry workers to buy exactly what is needed after the bounty of the Can-A-Thon begins to wane the following summer and fall. For purposes of the can total, monetary donations are calculated at three items per dollar. You can also make donations to the pantry by sending a check or money order, made payable to the Coweta Community Food Pantry, to P.O. Box 916, Newnan, GA 30264. For more information, call 770-6837705.

Sorting cans and checking for expiration dates at the downtown Newnan drop-off for a past Can-A-Thon are, from left, Justin Fernander, Joel Prock, Tre Wheat, Cheney Thomasson, Aleisha Khan and Lydia Powell.

Volunteers Micheal Holland and Bill Sears sort food items collected at the Can-A-Thon for the Coweta Community Food Pantry. The pantry shares space with One Roof outreach.




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Volunteers Alma Duke and Henry Smith accept some of the approximately 100 hardback books donated by Scott's Book Store and its customers last year for the Department of Family and Children Services' Project Joy. "It just makes us feel so good," said store owner Earlene Scott. The annual project provides Christmas toys and books for children in DFCS custody.

ach Christmas, volunteers with the Coweta County Foster Parent Association help collect toys for needy children through Project Joy, and once again they are counting on the community to be generous


with donations. Volunteer Frances Smith said gifts for teens are always needed since people sometimes forget about getting gifts for these older children. For teen girls, for instance, someone could purchase pierced earrings or a small item of jewelry. Books and MP3



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players are ideal gifts for teens, but even a small gift card for $5 or $10 is also welcome, Smith said, noting that volunteers do not accept cash donations. While teens can be hard to shop for sometimes, children are pretty easy to shop for. “You can just about give them anything and they’ll be happy,” Smith said. She noted, however, that Project Joy almost never has enough black baby dolls to meet their needs. “If we get any, it’s a miracle,” she said. “That is just a big need for us.” Among those helping Project Joy

this year will be one of Santa’s helpers, who goes by the name “Santa Paul.” He is collecting items for children in both Coweta and Fayette counties at his workshop at Thomas Crossroads. While he’s there for appointments with those who have booked a portrait session with Santa, he is also offering his workshop as a drop-off location for those wishing to donate toys. For more information on Project Joy, call Frances Smith at 770-6839217. For information on toy drop-offs with Santa Paul, visit or call 678-340-5193.

One of Santa’s helpers this year, “Santa Paul” is accepting drop-offs of toys for Project Joy at his workshop at Thomas Crossroads.




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Harley-Davidson enthusiast Steve Adams presents Deanne Kwon and Linda Kirkpatrick with toys for Community Welcome House.

roviding a refuge for families damaged by domestic violence brings questions on how to change the dynamics of the violence around to nurture and love. For that reason, the Community Welcome House in Newnan, a safe haven for women and children, seeks gifts that will help meet this goal. Director Linda Kirkpatrick said suggested gifts include child-friendly dictionaries; jigsaw puzzles for all ages, which would have moms and children working together, as well as the “Puzzle Buddy” portable jigsaw mats; books with different levels of crossword puzzles, mazes and word searches; domino sets; a world map; inspirational books for the Welcome House book club; and crafts of all kinds. For more information or to donate, call 770-3040966 or e-mail




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Thousands of toys were donated by Cowetans last year when Toys for Tots and Bridging the Gap partnered in a 2010 drive. From left are Tim Coleman, pastor of Brown's Mill Church; Alison Wallace, director of Bridging the Gap; and Frances Todd, a volunteer computer wizard. The local Toys for Tots coordinator, Hank Berkowitz, says donors may visit for local drop-off information.

he Marine Corps Toys for Tots program will again be collecting toy donations this Christmas. Coordinator Hank Berkowitz says new, unwrapped toys for children through age 13 are needed. Donation boxes for the toys are available at Edward R. Jones offices, Canongate Golf, Atlanta Fitness, Walgreens and Publix stores. Donations may also be made at the city and county fire departments. For more information, visit and click on “Toy Drop-Offs,” then select the “Georgia” and “Coweta” tabs. NCM




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75 East Broad St.

Cole Town site of this year’s

Candlelight Tour By Nichole Golden | Photos courtesy of Hugh Maddux

he late Victorian-style home of LaVann and Chuck Landrum of Newnan could easily be a historical show home with its cove ceilings, elaborate moldings, numerous fireplaces and large wraparound porch. But it’s not like living in a museum for the Landrums and their four teen-aged children. “It’s a family home for us,” said LaVann Landrum. They have lived in the circa 1905 house since June 2000. The 2011 Candlelight Tour of Homes, an event of the Piedmont Newnan Hospital Auxiliary, will feature the Landrum home at 75 East Broad St. and four other historic jewels in the Cole Town district. The Landrum home was built for R.D. Cole Jr., president of Cole Manufacturing. It is situated on a 2.6-acre lot featuring a beautiful garden and fish pond.


“We spend a lot of time there,” Landrum said of the garden. One of the family’s favorite traditions has been a Monday pizza night at the gazebo. Landrum most enjoys “the spaciousness of the rooms” and the details put into the home’s molding. “It’s a privilege” to live in a historic home, Landrum said. “It’s a huge responsibility. There’s always work to be done.” The home has seven fireplaces and an elevator. When the family first moved to the house, they discovered a hand-written list of telephone numbers behind the elevator phone. Landrum said in the 1940s, the home’s owner, Mrs. Blackburn, was stuck in the elevator for several hours. After that experience, she had a phone installed and kept the list of numbers behind the phone. Blackburn was responsible for other changes to the home including cabinets in the dining room, removal of pocket doors and the addition of a bay window. The window provides a beautiful view of



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79 East Broad St.

18 Robinson St.

the Tree of Heaven, which is a “spectacular” jade tree. “I love that tree,” said Landrum. “It has a beautiful symmetry about it.” Landrum said the garden itself has a lot of Japanese influence, perhaps added in the post-World War II years. The Landrums opened their home this year to film crews working on the movie Joyful Noise starring Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah. “We got to meet Dolly Parton and Kris Kristofferson,” Landrum said. The movie is set to be

released in January of 2012, and she is looking forward to seeing their home on screen. Candlelight Tour guests will see the Landrum home beautifully decorated for the event, which is Dec. 2 from 4-9 p.m. Other homes on the tour include the renovated Victorian home of Suzanne and Jim Markel at 78 East Broad St.; the Mikie and Greg Gause home of the Painted Lady Period at 18 Robinson St.; the Craftsman home of Leslie and John Young at 79 East Broad St.;




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12 Robinson St.

78 East Broad St.

and the English-style cottage of Ron and Sandra Camp at 12 Robinson St. All of the homes were built between 1890 and the early 1900s. Cole Town was named for the R.D. Cole Manufacturing Company formed in 1850. Many members of the Cole family as well as company employees owned homes in the district. “We’re really excited about it,” said Tour Chair Sue Livingston of the Piedmont Newnan Hospital Auxiliary. Livingston said proceeds from the tour will help fund scholarships and auxiliary-supported


hospital projects. Tickets for the tour are $12 in advance and $15 the evening of the event. Tickets may be purchased in advance at Scott’s Book Store, Morgan Jewelers at Ashley Park, Piedmont Newnan’s gift shops, and the Coweta County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The historic Railroad Depot, 60 E. Broad St., will also be open during the tour with refreshments and free parking, Livingston said. NCM



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2011 First Place Winner

Inside a Sunflower by Oliver Albrecht

Announcing our Second Annual Photo Contest If you're like most of us, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll spend part of your holidays looking at pictures taken over the past year and resolving to organize them better. We'd like to help! Instead of merely organizing your old


photos, how about entering one of them in our Newnan-Coweta Magazine Photo Contest? Winners will receive a cash prize ($100 for first place, $50 second, $25 third) and publication in the March/April 2012 issue of the magazine.



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Other winning entries in last year’s photo contest included, clockwise from top left, Asheville’s Black Balsam Bald by Kevin Smith; Flower & Bee by Dave Sodko; Cowboy Cousins by Shana M. Cooper; and Humming In by Marie Umbach.

2012 Photo Contest Rules • Each entry must be taken by a current Coweta County resident who is not a professional photographer, defined as someone who makes more than half their income by taking photos. The person entering the contest must have personally taken the photo and cannot submit a photo someone else has taken. All ages are welcome to enter. (Employees of The Times-Herald and NewnanCoweta Magazine and their immediate family members, as well as freelancers who have worked for either publication, are not eligible.) • Each person may submit one photo on any subject of their choosing. People, pets, landscapes and vacation spots are all ideal subjects for photos.

Please include the title of your image. • Photos may be submitted by several methods. High-quality print copies or images on CD may be mailed to “Photo Contest, c/o Newnan-Coweta Magazine, P.O. Box 1052, Newnan, GA 30264” or delivered to our offices at 16 Jefferson St. in downtown Newnan. High resolution images may also be e-mailed to All should be identified as entries for the Newnan-Coweta Magazine Photo Contest and include the photographer’s name, address, phone number and/or e-mail address. Photographs will not be returned. • Entries must be received at our offices by 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20, 2012. NCM






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Bookshelf }

A Good Hard Look By Ann Napolitano Penguin Press, $25.95 Reviewed by Holly Jones “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.” These words belong to Flannery O’Connor, a lady who knew odd. She wrote it, she lived it, some might say she craved it. One of the characters in Ann Napolitano’s novel A Good Hard Look happens to be Flannery O’Connor. In her book, Napolitano gives readers a window into the final years of Flannery’s life, but it is by no means a biography. Flannery is one of many characters in the spider web Napolitano has spun in Milledgeville, Ga., where Flannery lived. Yes, Napolitano accentuates the oddness Flannery loved, but A Good Hard Look is a book about truth, and how individuals—including Flannery— face it in their lives. Two central characters are newlyweds Melvin and Cookie Whiteson. Melvin grew up in New York and is having a hard time acclimating to smalltown life. He wants to enjoy the relaxed pace, but Cookie has plans. She sees their life as Milledgeville’s version of the Kennedys of Camelot, and she wants Melvin to step up. 96 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE

Another character is Lona Waters. Lona’s favorite time of day is the hour before she picks up her daughter from their friend Miss Mary’s house. It is Lona’s only solitary hour, when she can smoke—cigarettes or pot—and be herself, not someone’s wife, mother or seamstress. When Miss Mary asks Lona to give her son Joe an afternoon job, Lona thinks she’s lost her only joy. Flannery is resigned to her deteriorating health, but wants to leave a legacy. She’s determined to create one with her writing. She misses New York and her life there. With Melvin’s arrival—and his agreeing to give her driving lessons—she sees a glimmer of that life. The spider web Napolitano builds with these characters is a tenuous one. They interact, but what binds them are the threads of sanity, happiness and hope they have for their lives. None of the characters are truly happy at the beginning of the story, but all hold fast to the possibility the future might bring. It is when these threads of hope snap that readers truly see the strength of the characters. “The writer can choose what he writes about but he cannot choose what he is able to make live.” Flannery O’Connor lives on in these words, her work, and now she lives on in Napolitano’s A Good Hard Look.

Burnt Mountain By Anne Rivers Siddons Grand Central, $26.99 Reviewed by Holly Jones Shorts, swimming, hiking, games and bonfires—what do all these words mean to you? If summer camp didn’t immediately spring to mind, you are forgiven. With the holidays rapidly approaching, most of us are thinking about family dinners and decorations, not bug repellant and sunscreen. Thayer Wentworth, the main character in Anne Rivers Siddons’ latest novel, Burnt Mountain, can’t escape summer camp. The good and the bad in Thayer’s life are tied up in summer camp, and she’s pretty sure the bad can’t get much worse. When Thayer was nine, her father and grandfather were killed driving home from a camp.

When she was 12, Thayer started going to summer camp herself. By the time she is 17, camp changes her life. That summer, Thayer is a camp counselor at Sherwood Forest and she meets Nick Abrams, a counselor at the nearby boys’ camp Silverlake. The teens spend every moment they can together, and when Thayer returns home from camp her mother and grandmother determine she is pregnant. Thayer’s mother takes her to a doctor where—unbeknownst to Thayer—she receives an illegal abortion. She also contracts a life-threatening infection afterwards. Because she has not heard from Nick or even been able to tell him about the pregnancy, she loses her will to live. It is Thayer’s grandmother who brings her out of the depression. And it is Grand who promises Thayer a chance to rebuild and redefine her life in college away from home and her domineering mother. Thayer does rebuild her life, even finding love again. In her last quarter at the university, Thayer meets and—five months later—marries Dr. Aengus O’Neill, a professor of Irish literature and folklore. Aengus is magical and mystic, and nothing like the down-toearth guy Nick had been. So it sounds like Thayer has escaped the bad that surrounds her summer camp experiences, right?



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{ Index Not quite. This is an Anne Rivers Siddons book, after all. When Aengus is invited to work with a summer camp in the mountains near the place Thayer’s father died and starts spending more and more time up at the camp, Thayer starts getting nervous. When Nick suddenly reappears in her life, she doesn’t know what to think. Fans of Siddons’ books know to expect the unexpected, and what is more unexpected than a book about summer camp with winter approaching? With Burnt Mountain you’ll enjoy the trip.

The Night Train By Clyde Edgerton Little, Brown and Company, $23.99 Reviewed by Kenneth R. Wilson In his 10th novel, Clyde Edgerton transports readers to rural North Carolina during the spring and early summer of 1963. Attitudes about segregation are changing, but the civil rights movement is a distant backdrop as two teenage boys—one black, the other white—find common ground in music. The fictional town of Starke, N.C. is a place where the railroad tracks mark the color line and divide the community into black and white. On one side, Larry Lime Nolan, a black teenager, dis-

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covers jazz and aspires to play piano like Thelonious Monk. On the other side of the tracks, Dwayne Hallston becomes obsessed with James Brown’s Live at the Apollo album. Both boys work at a furniture refinishing shop owned by Dwayne’s father, where their discussions of music lead to a broader friendship. Like most authority figures in the book, the boys’ foreman at the furniture shop, Flash Acres, disapproves of their friendship and tastes in music. A musician himself, Flash plays country music and auditions as a solo act for The Bobby Lee Reese Show, a local country music TV program. When his vehemently bigoted mother suffers a stroke and requires a caregiver, both must face the reality that people, regardless of color, are dependent on one another. Despite the serious subject matter, Edgerton weaves quirky characters and folksy humor into an upbeat story. Larry Lime takes piano lessons from a hemophiliac musician known as the Bleeder. And, Dwayne wants to borrow Larry Lime’s trained dancing chicken when he appears on The Bobby Lee Reese Show which is hosted by a dogfood-eating comedian. The boys also come up with a plan to scare a movie audience by dropping a chicken from the theater balcony during Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. While participating in another familiar childhood adventure, the boys innocently cause a stir in their small town when Larry Lime is discovered hiding in the trunk of Dwayne’s car at the drive-in movie admission gate. But change appears inevitable when Dwayne and the Amazing Rumblers finally perform on a local TV program. For those old enough to remember what it was like to shoot cans in the back yard with a .22 rifle, go to the drive-in movies with a high school sweetheart, and listen to their favorite album for the first time, Edgerton’s novel is a treat. It gives January/February 2012 Ad Deadlines readers a chance to remember the Published: January 6, 2012;the door simple pleasures of youth, when life A copy of this book will be among Contract Ads: November 16, 2011; had less to do with fighting about prizes given away at our Tea for Toys on Dec. 2. New Ads: December 2, 2011. Call 770.683.6397 the politics of the day and more See page 42 for more details! for details and advertising information. about living. NCM NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011 | 97



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{ I am Coweta }

Meghan Grantham By Nichole Golden | Photo by Bob Fraley Meghan Grantham, admired by friends for her creative flair, is a graduate of Auburn University. That’s where she met husband Jason, a fellow textile engineering student. Grantham also received her MBA from Auburn. She worked in the corporate world for five years and is now a stay-at-home mom to their three children, Olivia, Garrett and Lucas. How long have you lived in Coweta? We have lived in Newnan for 11 years. It’s funny, but we chose Newnan as our home off a map. It was central to our jobs which took us in opposite directions. We didn’t know a soul at the time, but once we found a church it began to feel like home. What kind of creative projects do you enjoy? I love crafts and home improvement projects. My role as Creative Activities Director for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) allows me to use my creativity to develop crafts for our Moms to do at the meetings. It brings me such joy to share ideas with other women that can be done on a budget. Often I see an idea on a blog or Pinterest (my latest addiction) and think “I can do that.” A few years ago my husband and I bought a house and completely renovated it. Since there was so much that needed to be done with the house, we had to come up with budget friendly ideas such as spray painting light fixtures. We found many of the materials we needed at the Habitat ReStore in Newnan. You would be amazed how a coat of paint can completely transform an old piece of furniture or kitchen cabinets. What are your hobbies? I am passionate about reading and go through a book every week or so. I also enjoy gardening and working in the yard with my family. Spending time with friends is a must for me, and when I had more free time I loved to scrapbook. Lately I’ve been trying my hand at blogging to chronicle our home renovation ( What does your family enjoy doing locally? There are so many fun activities in Coweta. We attend almost every downtown Newnan parade. The fireworks show is always great as are Market Days and Taste of Newnan. We take the kids to the parks and pools in SummerGrove and enjoy eating out. During the summer months we frequent the theatres for the kid’s movies and the libraries. What are your holiday traditions? Since having kids we now stay home and are establishing our own traditions by taking pieces from each of our families. I must say that the tradition of lights on the house came from my husband’s side of the family. Each year we let the kids pick out a Hallmark ornament that they hang on their own tree. Jason and I get an ornament as well that goes on our larger family tree. We all get a new pair of pajamas to wear Christmas Eve and open gifts on Christmas Day. We don’t focus so much on Santa and tons of presents as we do celebrating the birth of Christ. This is the most important tradition we hope to pass along to our kids. NCM 98 | NEWNAN – COWETA MAGAZINE



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Left - Right: Jena Parks- Branch Manager, Lakeside Branch Theresa Davis- Branch Manager, Temple Avenue Branch Pam Clemons- Branch Manager, Court Square Branch Anne Bell- President Cindy Smith- Branch Manager, Jefferson Street Branch Kim Resmondo- Branch Manager, Senoia Janette Morrison- Branch Manager, Thomas Crossroads Branch

Powerful growth and exponential success. At Bank of Coweta, we employ the best and the brightest to help you accomplish more than you thought possible. Bank of Coweta, a division of Synovus Bank, offers your business a community focus paired with proven stability, deep resources and the power to grow. From competitive business checking and money market accounts to online treasury management tools that put you in charge of your money, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re ready to put our experience and expertise to work for you today. Visit us online or stop by any of our conveniently located branches. Jefferson Street 110 Jefferson Street Newnan, GA 30263 770.253.1340

Lakeside 37 Lakeside Way Newnan, GA 30265 770.254.7979

Temple Avenue 192 Temple Avenue Newnan, GA 30263 770.253.9600

Court Square 36 South Court Square Newnan, GA 30263 770.253.9400

Senoia 7817 Wells Street Senoia, GA 30276 770.599.8400

Thomas Crossroads 3130 East Highway 34 Newnan, GA 30265 770.254.7722 Bank of Coweta is a division of Synovus Bank. Synovus Bank, Member FDIC, is chartered in the state of Georgia and operates under multiple trade names across the southeast. Divisions of Synovus Bank are not separately FDIC-insured banks. The FDIC coverage extended to deposit customers is that of one insured bank.

Newnan-Coweta Magazine, November/December 2011  

The Christmas Issue of Newnan-Coweta Magazine

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