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From the Publisher I

sn’t it funny how the years change us. I hated grits at 9 years old but love them now. I loved listening to Donny Osmond in 1975 but couldn’t tell you a single song he sang if I had to. At 11 years old I could memorize my bible verse for Sunday School and always got a shiny gold star. Today I can’t remember why I walked into the kitchen. When I came to work for Rabun’s Laurel in 2004 what I knew about art would have fit in a thimble. Today I love art! I have had the pleasure of interviewing over 200 artists that have either been featured on the cover or inside of our magazine’s pages. A common thread is most of them cannot resist the urge to create. The act of creating soothes restless souls, calms busy minds and brings a general sense of peace, joy and accomplishment.

April 2021 • Volume Eighteen • Issue Four Georgia Mountain Laurel Mailing: PO Box 2218, Clayton, Georgia 30525 Office: 2511 Highway 441, Mountain City, Georgia 30562 706-782-1600 • Publisher/Editor - Marketing - Tracy McCoy Art Director - Dianne VanderHorst Graphics - Lucas McCoy Marketing & Office Manager - Cindi Freeman Assistant Office Manager - D’Anna Coleman Writer - John Shivers Photographer/Writer - Peter McIntosh Contributing Writers: Emory Jones, Jan Timms, Lorie Thompson, Dick Cinquina, Anna DeStefano, Tricia Moore, Kendall R. Rumsey, Russell Huizing, Lauren Shuman, Liz Alley, Joey Thompson

From turning bowls to capturing the flutter of a hummingbird’s wings, art makes our world a better place. This issue, coinciding with many local art festivals, celebrates the artist in all of us. Art can take many forms. Perhaps your art is to masterfully create a wedding cake that takes the bride’s breath away or maybe you are a chef that artfully creates your masterpiece in the kitchen. Whatever your talent don’t stop it, ever! Somewhere someone is looking at your art in awe. Heaven knows I am thrilled that spring has sprung! My favorite time of the year! This month I will thank God for the gift of grace through Christ. I will take a moment to reflect on his pain for my peace. Pain that he endured for us to know God and have eternal life. I am grateful that He loved us that much. So with that, I’ll leave you with the first verse that earned me that shiny gold star and changed my life forever. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 Happy Easter, Tracy

Copyright 2021 by Rabun’s Laurel Inc. All rights reserved. The Georgia Mountain Laurel Magazine is published twelve times per year. Reproduction without the permission of the publisher is prohibited. The publishers and editors are not responsible for unsolicited material and it will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication subject to GML magazine’s right to edit. Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, photographs and drawings. Every effort has been made to assure that all information presented in this issue is accurate, and neither Laurel magazine or any of its staff is responsible for omissions or information that has been misrepresented to the magazine. The Georgia Mountain Laurel maintains a Christian focus throughout their magazine. Rabun’s Laurel, Inc. reserves the right to refuse content or advertising for any reason without explanation.


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In This Issue Arts & Entertainment 12 14 18 22

Cover Artist – Anna DeStefano North Georgia Arts Guild GNPA - A Passion for Nature Fire and Light Glass Studio

Around Town 24 25 26 28 43

Celebrate Clayton is Back in 2021 Events at Half Mile Farm Mountain Laurel Festival Property Stewards Sisters on the Fly at Tiger Drive In

Outdoors 32

Adventure Out

A Taste 34 38

Bon Appetit The Family Table

Faith in Christ 42 44 46

Finding Peace in Pandemic River Garden Rabun For the Gospel: The Cure for the World

Health & Wellness 48 52

10 Questions for Cherisse Sansone, PT, MLD Therapy Techniques to Help Your Kids and Adolescents

Mountain Living

54 58 60

Mountain-made Architectural Marriage Wows! Breathtaking Mountain Life Awaits Ed West Connects People and Property

Life & Leisure 62 64 66

Of These Mountains By the Way What a Beautiful Mess I’m In.

Yesterdays 68 72 74 8

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Rabun County Historical Society: Remembering Rabun County’s Gristmills Foxfire: “A Quilt is Something Human” PS: Timeless Treasure

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Cover Artist – Anna DeStefano

Anna Writes and her Affirmation Photography™ Inspires...


ou might not expect a Georgia Tech honors graduate to build a successful career as a professional artist, but Anna DeStefano has found a way to do just that. After growing up on the South Carolina and Georgia coasts and then moving to Atlanta for college, she spent a decade working in Big Six consulting and Corporate IT, specializing as a senior technical writer. “Get a job where you can make a nice living,” her daddy told her. And she has. Just not for the last twenty years the way her father would have expected. People who excel at technical things aren’t typically seen as creatives. But Anna is not typical. And she has been blessed with one opportunity after another to lean into her creative side and watch it flourish, first as a best-selling novelist and now as an award-winning, fine art photographer. She married her college sweetheart, Andrew, right after graduation. When their son, James, came along it was a game changer for Anna. “I was determined to be as involved in his life as I could, so I left my corporate life behind and shifted my writing in a creative direction. I’ve always loved small towns, family connections and finding the good in every day—so I began telling stories that delivered that message. A cathartic, healing message that leaves the reader inspired,” she shared during our recent visit. And so began a stayat-home mom’s publishing journey. Her twenty-seven novel career started with Harlequin and Silhouette Romance. More recently she’s written larger, more mainstream novels for several New York publishers, all of them uplifting stories set in small towns, celebrating the enduring strength of families. Anna often escaped to Rabun County’s mountains to plot or finish a novel. Sylvan Falls Mill near the lovely Wolffork Valley was a favorite destination. A quiet bed and breakfast nestled beside a

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beautiful waterfall was the perfect retreat, immersing her in the nature that has been an inspiration her whole life. These visits started a love affair with our hills and valleys that she now calls home. The DeStefano family began their move to the North Georgia mountains in 2017. By then, Anna’s enthusiasm for hiking and exploring outdoors was thriving. Her connection to nature evolved into a passion for sharing the affirmation she found there. By the time her family settled permanently in North Habersham county near Tallulah Gorge, her “visual storytelling” had progressed from making photographs with her phone to using a simple point and shoot camera to mastering her first professional system. Image after image, it took her breath away—the magic she could convey with a single capture. From childhood, Anna’s instinct has been to see the silver lining in things. She’d found a new way to express that healing gift to others. Today, she considers the work she does behind the lens to be her “poetry.” With each image, she tempts you to pause for a moment. If you smile, breathe a little easier and feel hopeful as a result, her job is done. If she had to describe a central theme to her visual art, it would be “healing.” An aesthetic that hasn’t gone unnoticed. Her work has been featured by the National Wildlife Federation, the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation, and Friends of Georgia Parks

and Historic Sites, to name a few. She’s been shown in numerous Atlanta galleries and art centers, including the Hudgens Center for Art and Learning, the Callanwolde Fine Art Center, and the Chatahoochee Nature Center. When an art consultant offered to place her soft-focus flower images in Emory Healthcare spaces throughout Atlanta, Anna was thrilled. The opportunity for her work to benefit hospital patients and staff was the icing on the cake. As with her writing, she has no “formal” photography education other than attending workshops and working with professionals and more-experienced mentors. Anna trains tirelessly at her craft, though. Her analytical, problem-solving background helps tremendously. She takes pride in being a self-taught artist, as she learns every day how to better create visual stories that touch a viewer’s soul. Life is a series of discoveries, she’s found. The key to a more balanced existence is slowing down to savor each moment. She hopes to help you do just that. “When a creative person finds an outlet where she can convey her message, whatever it is, that’s a phenomenal opportunity. It’s a leap of faith for an artist to share

for reflection. Anna’s art features breath-taking moments that point us toward gratefulness. Anna’s photography is displayed at Timpson Creek Gallery west of Clayton, Georgia, near Lake Burton. You will find floral masterpieces there, like the Clematis on our cover, images of rusty, dusty vintage automobiles, modern abstracts, traditional landscapes and portraits of wildlife native to our area. Whatever tempts a viewer to look deeper and appreciate the blessings surrounding us. Anna prints her Affirmation Photography™ on canvas, acrylic and metal, in whatever size and medium promotes wellbeing in your space. “It still humbles me, each time one of my images becomes an inspiration for someone,” she expressed. Her website www. showcases her photography. Her novels can be found on Amazon (search Anna DeStefano), or you can learn more about them at And look for her P.S. (Post Script) articles regularly, at the end of our very own Georgia Mountain Laurel.

her gift. When the world embraces that offering, everyone wins. I’m inspired to work even harder to evolve my skills and my voice. As a result, hopefully, the message I share will release even more joy into the world.” Anna is a passionate person. Her enthusiasm is infectious, yet so is her calm nature. Twenty-five years ago, she discovered Yoga when she was pregnant with her son. She’s made it a daily practice ever since. The meditation she incorporates into her self-care led to publishing meditation guides that pair affirmational thoughts and quotes with her images—moments of peace to brighten your day. She shares short mindfulness videos on her blog and social media pages, offering reminders of life’s inherent beauty. In this busy world, we seem to run non-stop. Our daily work offers little time

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North Georgia Arts Guild Announces Booth at Butler’s Galleries By Tricia Moore


he North Georgia Arts guild is proud to announce the opening of its gallery booth at Butler’s Galleries in downtown Clayton. It has been a dream of the guild to have a space to display the artwork of its members for some time. The dream finally became a reality when Butler’s came under new management last year and the guild was offered the opportunity to rent a booth there.

A lot of planning and organizing and just plain hard work went into the transforming of the booth into an attractive display space designed specifically to showcase the work of NGAG artists. Donna Persinger, the guild’s 1st Vice President in charge of membership, volunteered for this challenging job. With the help of Kim Adams, she set about the task with a vision of what could be and a great deal of enthusiasm. Donna is a talented encaustic artist who has had a great deal of experience in running an artist co-op. She states that she was “eager to contribute to this venture,” and that, “it was a way of looking forward after a difficult year of dealing with the stress of

Tricia Moore is a retired teacher, having taught both English and art in public and private school settings. She is currently an active member of the NGAG and has held several positions on the board. With her background in both art and writing, she feels that writing the NGAG featured artist article in The Georgia Mountain Laurel is a good fit and something that she will greatly enjoy doing.

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Covid.” Her vision was to “create the look of a professional gallery to show off the work of our wonderfully talented members – a bright, uncluttered space in which the artwork would be the focus.” She faced many challenges in this endeavor, including several hourlong trips from her home in cold and rainy weather. The securing of materials, painting, paneling one wall, creating a hanging system and appropriate lighting are just a few of the many tasks that were involved. In addition to the physical work required, Donna and Kim are responsible for the scheduling and coordinating of the artists who will be displaying their work in the booth. They came up with a plan to have guild artists display on a three month rotating basis. The booth opened in February featuring NGAG artists Joni Mitchell, Lewis Hinely, Mary Beth Stager and Kathy Ford with a display of greeting cards by Ann Thompson. As chairman of the guild’s Outreach/In-reach Committee, Kim Adams states that she became involved in this project because she feels the, “booth at Butler’s is one way we can reach into our organization and support our members.” She and her daughter Jordan have set up their own booth at Butler’s adjacent to the guild’s booth filled with a wonderful juxtaposition of Kim’s beautiful “hard” artwork of glass and jewelry and Jordan’s “soft” fiber art pieces. Kim’s vision for the guild booth in the near future includes adding more pieces of artwork from the artists who are currently displaying, adding membership forms and guild information and a notebook that contains bio pages of all of the members of the guild. Donna and Kim make a great team, working off of their individual strengths and experiences. They worked together on writing the call for artists and the random drawing that decides which of the guild’s artists will be featured in any three-month rotation period. Together they picked out the hanging system and lighting. With Kim’s knowledge of and experience with Excel, she was able to efficiently organize the artist list. Others who helped in getting the guild booth up and running include Kim’s daughter Jordan, Susan Markulis, Kathy Ford, Mary Beth Stager and Penny Bradley. Donna expressed her gratitude for all the help and support she received. The guild booth at Butler’s provides an opportunity for those in the community and visitors to the community alike to view and purchase original one-of-a-kind fine art and craft items. So please make sure you come visit the booth at Butler’s Galleries and enjoy the artwork of the very talented members of the North Georgia Art Guild.

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Finding Art

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A Passion for Nature By Anna DeStefano


Horace Hamilton

“I believe the world is incomprehensively beautiful— an endless prospect of magic and wonder.” ~ Ansel Adams

stumbled across Georgia Nature Photographers Association (GNPA) several years ago, while searching online for somewhere new to photograph. GNPA became my home and its members my “people” when I found myself welcomed, encouraged and inspired by creative spirits equally passionate about cherishing our natural world. As we’ve captured nature’s bounty together, these folks have become integral to the evolution of my artistic voice—inspiring me to spend the last few years serving in various GNPA volunteer, leadership and board positions, hoping to make a similar impact on others. I’m asked a lot how a novelist like me began walking the visual storytelling path of a photographer… I guess I don’t see the difference. Not deep down. I share what I love with words. I illustrate what’s in my heart through photographs. Lately, I find myself doing a bit of both at the same time, through articles such as this one. But it’s all about wanting you to experience the magic I do as I walk this world. And there’s so much about GNPA’s members that feeds into that positive, uplifting vision.

Jenny Burdette Photography

Take Jenny Burdette, for example. We photograph all over the southeast together. A little like Thelma and Louise, minus the unfortunate cliff-hanger at the end of each trip. She’s an award-winning bird photographer. One of the best I know. But for GNPA’s conservation committee, she’s become a liaison for Friends of Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites. She’s donated landscape and event images to them for years, as well as now doing commissioned state park shoots for the Department of Natural Resources. Yet despite her busy schedule, last fall she jumped at the chance to facilitate GNPA photographers donating over 700 state park images to Friends, for use in their print and online marketing. Horace Hamilton is someone we should all be lucky enough to meet and photograph with. He’s a former GNPA president and helped found my home chapter in Gwinnett, which has become GNPA’s largest. His work is phenomenal. His love for nature is unparalleled. He’s a soughtafter judge for juried exhibits and competitions, and he regularly conducts training classes and presentations—his favorites are when he shares his passion for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. But it’s in the field where I see Horace make his greatest impact. I’ve never encountered a more generous, patient, knowledgeable mentor who’ll stop what he’s doing for however long it takes to help someone puzzle through and improve a shot.

Stewart Woodard

Mary Jo Cox, like the rest of us, craves being outdoors photographing

Anna DeStefano lives in Clarkesville, GA, with her husband of over thirty years. She’s the nationally best-selling author of twenty-seven southern-set novels. An award-winning fine-art photographer, she’s roamed North Georgia and beyond for years, eager to share nature’s healing magic through her Affirmation Photography™. Explore Anna’s Heart Open blog and uplifting images at View pieces from her latest collections at Timpson Creek Gallery in Clayton, GA.

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Jenny Burdette Photography

Mary Jo Cox

more than just about anything else. Her specialty is bears and other large wildlife, and she’ll travel wherever to capture them. When GNPA needed a coordinator and guide for longer member trips to places like Glacier National Park, Bosque del Apache, Yellowstone, and Banff and Jasper National Parks in Canada, Mary Jo stepped in. She served as committee chair and later Vice President, so others could have the same experiences she has, far away from our own backyards. Stewart Woodard is one of the hardest working GNPA volunteers I know. And one of the gentlest, most caring souls I’ve encountered. Because of his lifelong love for nature and nature photography, his latest gift to our membership has been coordinating GNPA’s annual “Stand in Ansel Adams’ Footsteps” exhibit at the Hudgens Center for Art and Learning. This year over 130 black-and-white images are on public display through April 17th, juried into the exhibit by renowned photographer Charlotte Gibb—showcasing some of the truly remarkable work our members do.

Anna Destefano, Affirmation Photography

The generosity of these friends and mentors is only one of the reasons GNPA has become my creative touchstone. If your passion runs toward nature photography, make some time to experience for yourself the same community, encouragement and inspiration I’ve found. And if you see a bunch of us out in the woods, roaming with excited grins on our faces, cameras at the ready, know you’re always welcome to join us. The more the merrier. Let’s experience the incomprehensive beauty of our world together! Georgia Nature Photographers Association is dedicated to helping nature photographers of all skill levels grow in their craft and network with other outdoor photographers. Over 600 members participate in eight chapters throughout Georgia. Visitors are welcome at our monthly meetings. Members enjoy guided photography trips offered across the state, as well as larger trips and conferences organized several times a year. For more information, visit

Horace Hamilton

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Celebrate Clayton is Back in 2021! April 24th and 25th


ack and better than ever! On April 24 and 25, Clayton and Rabun County and the members of the North Georgia Arts Guild are proud and excited to bring you their popular, family-friendly outdoor art festival. The Celebrate Clayton Art Festival began in 1999 and continues to bring art and fine crafts to Rabun County. After so many long months indoors, it’s spring and we can finally get outside in the fresh air, enjoy budding trees, blooming flowers, and the fun happening in downtown Clayton. North and South Main Streets will be lined with the festive canopies of the juried Artist Market. Over 100 artists and artisans bring you the best art and fine crafts from across the region: paintings in every medium; photography; whimsical and functional pottery; folk-art; jewelry; wood working; furniture; glass; live plants; and gourmet snacks. You will see many new faces and old favorites. Visit and shop with them all and congratulate the award winners for Best in Show, Judges Choice, and Producers Choice. The strains of live music can be heard from the Rock House Stage all weekend. Relax on the Rock House lawn and listen to this year’s line-up of performers: Mat Fried, classic rock; Doug Weiss, old favorites; Sweet Charity, rock n’ roll; Cylvie Patterson, soft rock; Rabun Entertainers, flash mob; Connections Praise Band, contemporary Christian; Three-R-One, Christian alternative rock. Hank Belew once again is providing our sound system. Grab a snack or a meal! You’ll find great food at any of Clayton’s eateries, both on and off Main Street. Our restaurants offer

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Ali Wilkins

whatever you’re in the mood for: all-day breakfast; soup, salad and sandwiches; beer and pizza; fine dining and wine. You can eat indoors, outdoors or on-the-go. In Veteran’s Park, the 2021 NGAG Art Scholarship winners will host the high school student art exhibit. Although we will not offer kids an art activity this year, there will be booths with face painters, mountain musical instruments, and wooden toys. The 2021 Celebrate Clayton T-shirt is embellished with Diane Rush’s dazzling festival painting. Women’s sizes are in rich purple; men’s come in blue or red. Get yours at the information tent. Better yet, pick one up now at the North Georgia Art Guild’s booth (#6) at Butlers Gallery and wear it to show support for your community! No event of this magnitude can experience the success and longevity we have enjoyed since 1994 without the support of the community. We cannot thank enough the many volunteers who are dedicated to planning and working the festival year after year. The time and energy of every individual is needed and appreciated. The past generosity of the long list of local business sponsors and individual donors has ensured continued funding for the North Georgia Arts Guild’s scholarship and community outreach programs. Celebrate Clayton is  presented  by the North Georgia Arts Guild, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All donations are taxdeductible.  For more information, visit or contact Kathy Ford, Celebrate Clayton Chairman at 706-212-9958.

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Mountain Laurel Festival


n May 15th from 10:00am – 4:00pm Clarkesville, Georgia will be the site of the 59th Annual Mountain Laurel Festival. The Mountain Laurel Festival is a community event held the 3rd Saturday of May each year. Everyone is excited for the return of the Festival this spring after being cancelled last year due to the pandemic. This year, the Festival will see entertainment spread throughout the area with the addition of new demonstrations and exhibits along with all the wonderful vendors who attend each year. Plans are already underway to make the 60th anniversary, to be celebrated in 2022, reminiscent of the early years. Past festival visitors and participants with special memories are encouraged to contact the committee.

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The Committee hopes to introduce new vendors and exhibits into the Festival, all the while maintaining what has made it a success for many years. Returning favorites will be the Food Court area, local entertainment, Lions Club Parade, Deck-ADuck contest, the Soque River Watershed Association Fund Raiser Bass Kissing Contest and vendors offering a wide variety of local and handcrafted wares. The community is encouraged to participate in all aspects of the Festival and can learn more about the opportunities by contacting Trudy Crunkleton at tcrunkleton@clarkesvillega. com.

Property Stewards By Mark Holloway


etirement isn’t a life goal for me. I can’t speak for anyone else, but there’s too much ‘go juice’ bottled up inside. I’ve watched some folks leave their purpose behind when they walked out of the office for the last time. Some folks repurpose themselves. Some reinvent themselves. Some wilt. Change freaks some folks right out of their minds. Change was written deep into my young soul when my officer father’s military promotions moved us all over the globe. Change meant new languages, new friends, new ideas. Resisting change is as productive as holding back the tide. In 2007, we started our little company with some business cards and a humble pressure washer. Carol and I moved here with our two teenagers and began a new and wonderful life in these mountains. Our customer base began to quickly grow, assisted by the encouragement and mentoring of Mary Lou Falkenberry and Tracy McCoy. God’s kindness caused us not to participate in the coming recession. Soon, customers turned into 600 clients and we were graced by a diverse group of kind folks who would call often for many reasons and ways to improve their homes. By Spring of 2017, we had three clients whose homes we stewarded regularly. We had not pursued any of them. But we could see an even more financially stable future ahead. So I asked the Lord to send us a total of fifteen caretaking clients in His timing. By December of that year, fifteen families honored us with the trust of their homes. In eight short months, the Lord showed off his faithfulness.

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Years ago, we were very intentional about putting the word ‘stewardship’ in our company name. Our company would grow from Fresh Start of Rabun to Fresh Start Property Stewards. We added a South Georgia location managed by Rabun’s Zach Mathis, and our son Garrett started and owns his own Fresh Start Property Stewards of Oconee. And now, we leap across yet another milestone. We are franchising our company. Property Stewards is officially launched. I thought at 61 I’d be coasting towards a slower pace. But change happened. In a future column of mine I’ll unpack how the surprise of franchising happened. But for now, simply know it’s an adventure the Lord invited us into. He does that… a lot.

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Adventure Out

Clingman’s Dome By Peter McIntosh


e’re going to hit the road for our April adventure, visiting a spot that’s been closed for the winter season, opening April 1st. Technically the observation tower is open year round but the road leading to the tower closes for the winter. Our destination is Clingman’s Dome, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Clingman’s Dome is the third highest mountain in the eastern United States. Only Mount Mitchell and Mount Craig, both in North Carolina, are higher. Clingman’s Dome is the highest point on the entire Appalachian Trail. The mountain is 6,643 feet above sea level and there’s a modern observation tower on the top that puts you 50 feet higher. And this viewing platform offers a stunning 360 degree panorama of the Great Smoky Mountains. There are signs at each compass bearing, describing the mountains far off into the horizon. The mountain is named after Thomas Lanier Clingman, a North Carolina senator who explored the area in the 1850’s and was a staunch promoter of the mountains of western North Carolina. This is a popular destination in our nation’s most popular National Park, so you’ll be sharing the views with a few other folks. If you can arrange it, try to be there at sunset as the twilight views are unsurpassed. But busy or not, this place is well worth a visit at any time. And if you’re wondering how did the Great Smoky Mountains National Park get its name? The Smokies are named for the blue mist that always seems to hover around the peaks and valleys. The Cherokee called them “shaconage,” (shah-con-ah-jey) or “place of the blue smoke”

And yes there’s still time for my April rhyme: Springtime’s here so no need to be pokey, Let’s go on a trip high in the Smokeys. It’s just up the road, not too far from home, The beautiful mountaintop called Clingman’s Dome. Getting there: From downtown Clayton, it’s 80 miles to the trailhead and a very easy drive. Go north on US 441 following the signs to Sylva, Dillsboro and Cherokee. There are a few turns here but you stay on US 441 all the way up to Newfound Gap. From here turn left and go 7 miles to the parking area. I suggest making a day of it. Visit the fun souvenir shops in Cherokee, or try your luck at the Cherokee Casino’s gaming tables. And take your time stopping at the numerous overlooks along your way in the park as all these views are amazing. And do note that the road to the Clingman’s Dome is closed from December 1st to April 1st and other times if weather conditions dictate. On the web: Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

The trail to the top is a 1/2 mile paved footpath winding through a spruce forest, with benches every 1/10 mile to stop and catch your breath. The trail is steep but it’s not too bad a hike. And bring a sweater or windbreaker as it noticeably cooler at the top of the mountain. And while I encourage everyone to hike to the top, the views from the parking lot are worth the trip. There are picnic tables and restrooms at the parking area as well Happy Hiking!

Peter McIntosh is an accomplished professional photographer. His photography is displayed in collections across the country. His passion for nature and the outdoors is what fuels his column. His work is available as fine art prints. Peter offers one on one and small group instruction on camera operation and photography. To see more of Peter’s photos, or if you have a question or comment, visit Peter’s

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Bon Appétit

Hip Hip Hoorah! Spring Is on the Way By Scarlett Cook


opefully warmer and better weather is arriving soon. The flowers seem to think that spring is here; but I know that we have had snow as late as the middle of April so I hope they aren’t blooming too soon. These recipes will perk up your appetite; and may be a change from the heavy stews and soups that we all have been eating during this awful time. And if you see the Easter Bunny be sure to wear your mask, wave but don’t get closer than 6 feet.

Honey Chicken 6 Servings 1/2 Cup honey 1/2 Cup yellow mustard 1/4 Cup melted butter 1 Teaspoon thyme 4 Skinless boneless chicken breasts 4 Skinless boneless chicken thighs Preheat oven to 350˚. Grease 13” x 9” baking pan. Combine honey mustard, butter and thyme. Dip each chicken piece in mixture and place in prepared pan. Pour remaining sauce over chicken. Cover and cook for 45 minutes. Uncover and cook 15 minutes more.

Marinated Veggies 6 – 8 Servings 1 Cup olive oil 1 Cup white Vinegar 1/2 Cup red wine vinegar ¼1/4 Cup sugar 2 Teaspoons salt 3/4 Teaspoon black pepper 1 Garlic clove, minced 1/2 Cup chopped onion 1 Cauliflower, cut into pieces 1/2 Pound button mushrooms 1 Green pepper, seeded and chopped 1 Red pepper, seeded and chopped 1/2 Cup sliced black olives Combine oil, vinegars, sugar, salt and garlic in a saucepan; bring to a boil stirring constantly. Cool 5 minutes. Combine onion, cauliflower, mushrooms, peppers and olives in a bowl. Pour marinade over veggies and stir. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours.

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Sesame Bites Yields 5 dozen pieces 1 Loaf thinly sliced white bread 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened 2 Tablespoons chopped chives 1/2 Cup butter, melted 1/2 Cup sesame seeds toasted Trim crusts from bread; flatten each piece using a rolling pin. Combine cream cheese and chives. Spread mixture evenly on bread slices and roll each slice into a log. Brush each log with butter and roll in sesame seeds. Place seam side down on baking sheet; cover and chill. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350˚ and bake for 15 minutes.

Peaches and Cream Cheesecake 6 – 8 Servings 3/4 Cup plain flour 1 Teaspoon baking powder 1 Small box vanilla pudding mix 3 Tablespoons butter 1 Egg 1/2 Cup milk 1 Can sliced peaches, drained – with syrup saved 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened 1/2 Cup sugar 1/4 Teaspoon cinnamon 1 Tablespoon sugar Preheat oven to 350˚. Grease 8” cake pan. Combine flour, baking powder, pudding mix, butter, egg and milk in a mixing bowl; beat at medium speed until batter is smooth. Pour mixture in prepared pan. Arrange peach slices over batter. Combine cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons peach liquid in mixing bowl. Beat 2 minutes. Spoon mixture over peaches. Combine cinnamon and 1 teaspoon sugar; sprinkle over cream cheese filling. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature on wire rack. Chill until time to serve and refrigerate leftovers.

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A Taste of the Mountains

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The Family Table

Springtime! It is so good to see you!


ith the arrival of longer days and warmer weather, I start looking for fast and easy suppers that take little prep time so that I can enjoy being outside. Let me share two recipes with you that are fast to make and fabulous to eat! Today is my daughter-in-love Charli’s birthday. She requested shrimp, veggies, and trimmings for tacos. Joe will cook the shrimp and veggies on his Blackstone Griddle, and I am in charge of dessert. Charli loves chocolate. I am making Pot de Creme, a rich and decadent chocolate custard. Pot de Creme sounds fancy, which sometimes translates to hard to make, but not so with this dessert. In less than 20 minutes, plus the cooking time, you can have a fabulous dessert.  Prepare by chopping and weighing 5 ounces of high-quality semi-sweet chocolate (very important to use semi-sweet!) Chocolate chips from the baking aisle at the grocery store will give you a delicious Pot de Creme, but use the best quality you can get. Make sure to weigh or measure the chocolate as accurately as you can.  Heat a quart of water and hold it over low heat until you are ready for it.  Crack six eggs, separating the whites and reserving for another use. Place the yolks in a medium-sized bowl. Add 1/3 C of sugar to the yolks and whisk until the yolks and sugar are frothy.  In a medium saucepan, warm 1.5 C of heavy cream and 1 C of whole milk, adding the chopped chocolate. Stir over low heat, just until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Temper your eggs by adding a small amount of the chocolate and cream mixture while whisking. Continue to slowly add in the warm milk and chocolate until the eggs are up in temperature. Mix all of the chocolate and cream with the eggs and sugar and continue to stir. Add 1 tsp of vanilla and optionally, 1 tsp of espresso powder or instant coffee. Allow this mixture to rest for 10 minutes.  Place 6- six-ounce ramekins in a baking pan. Fill each ramekin equally with the chocolate mixture. Add hot water in the pan to reach half-way up on the sides of the ramekins. Cover each one tightly with foil—place in a 325-degree oven. Check at 45 minutes. The middle should be jiggly, with the edges somewhat firm. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Refrigerate before serving. They are better cold. Serve the Pot de Creme with sweetened whipped cream and raspberry sauce.  This sauce will be your go-to for dressing up simple desserts. It is marvelous with icecream or brownies and effortless to make.  In a medium saucepan, add a 10-12 ounce bag of frozen raspberries and 1/3 C of water. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Strain berries to remove some or all of the seeds as you please. Add the juice back to the pot and over low heat, add 3/4C of sugar. Allow the sugar to melt. Add 1 Tbsp of corn starch with 2 Tbsp of water and

Lorie Thompson is a REALTOR at Poss Realty in Clayton, Georgia. Her expertise in her industry is second only to her culinary talents. Lorie is a dynamo in the kitchen. Honestly if she prepares it, it will likely be the best you’ve ever had! Lorie and her husband, Anthony (Peanut), make their home in the Persimmon Community. She is the proud mother of Joe Thompson and Kendall Thompson.

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add to the berries. Continue to stir and cook for 3-4 minutes until the sauce is starting to thicken. Remove from the heat. Add 1 tsp of vanilla and 1 Tbsp of lemon juice or optionally 1-2 Tbsp of Gran Marnier. Serve each Pot de Creme with a few spoonfuls of the raspberry sauce and a big dollop of whipped cream. Your family will think you have been moonlighting at culinary school.  One of my fond memories of the 1980s in Rabun County was having lunch on Saturday with Henry Phillips at Henry’s Restaurant. Henry would open the restaurant for Saturday lunch and often was there before the rest of the family and crew. I would make a point to eat lunch with him. I always ate whatever Henry was having. Most Saturdays, we would have one of his famous Henry Burgers or a patty melt. A few times, we had Deer Hash. He made the hash using the leftover baked potatoes from the previous dinner service and roasted deer meat. He used lots of sage and black pepper, creating big flavors. It was wonderful. My recipe may not be as tasty as my recollection of Henry Phillips Deer Hash, but it will do in a pinch.  My family loves BBQ, and I often have leftover meat after a family get-together, and hash is a great way to use it. You can buy a pound of smoked pork or brisket from Oinkers or Tomlin’s if you don’t have leftovers.  Any potato will work for this recipe, including sweet potatoes. Peel and chop 3-4 medium-sized potatoes into small, equal-sized cubes. Chop one medium-sized white or red onion into cubes. Mince 2-3 cloves of garlic. Chop 1 pound of smoked pork or brisket.   It is important to use a large skillet. Crowding the potatoes will keep them from getting crip. Add 2-3 Tbsp of oil to your skillet and heat. Add the cubed potatoes with a sprinkle of salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes for sweet potatoes or 4-5 minutes for white potatoes, or until the potatoes start to crisp. Turn them frequently. Add the onion, along with 1 T of butter, lowering the heat to medium, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chopped, smoked meat, cooking 2-3 minutes or until the meat is getting crisp. Season it with sage and a sprinkle of cumin. Serve alongside garlic toast with a drizzle of your favorite BBQ sauce. Dukes Carolina Gold is particularly good with the sweet potatoes. Paired with a salad or slaw, this makes a complete meal in less than 20 minutes. Enjoy! Get outside this month and enjoy the beautiful weather. Both of these dishes would be great in a picnic basket. Make them up and take your family on a gourmet picnic adventure.  May God bless you and your family. Happy Spring!

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Finding Peace in Pandemic By Russell Huizing


s we come on a year of the Covid-19 pandemic, I suspect that we are all a bit fatigued by the impact that it has had on our lives. Whether through the piercing pain of a loved one who may have succumbed to its fatal touch or the numerous daily inconveniences that it continues to burden us with, we all want to get past it. And yet, while news is becoming more encouraging, here we are still under its grip. That realization causes in many a deep longing for a place where we can escape the restlessness that Covid-19 brings into our lives – we want a place of peace. Interestingly, Scripture will have nothing to do with stories that are uneventful or where everything goes well. Quite the contrary – the lives of Scripture are marked with sin, hatred, jealousy, greed, murder, lust, and a host of other sins mixed in with God’s love for His creatures. Each life then in Scripture becomes a story told by God with all the elements of reality that we are accustomed to. Dan Allender, in his book To Be Told, connects these stories with the pursuit of peace, or the Old Testament idea of peace called shalom. Allender says that all stories have four parts: Shalom, Shalom Shattered, Shalom Sought, and Denouement. We can see all four of these parts in the story of Joseph. In Genesis 37 we are introduced to Joseph who is living in shalom. Times of shalom are like the opening credits of a movie or the opening chapters of a book where everything is good, happy, and settled. In Joseph’s story, he is the favored son of his father, receiving all the love and attention that any son could want. Additionally, he is favored by God, who gives Joseph revelation through dreams and the ability to interpret the dreams of others. We see the same type of shalom described by God in Genesis 1 who looks over His whole creation and declares it very good. For Joseph, everything was very good. Shalom is shattered for Joseph by his 10 half-brothers, who are deeply jealous and resentful of the love and attention Joseph gets from their father. In a bitter rage, they take Joseph, throw him in a pit, and – over lunch – decide how they will kill him. Seeing an opportunity to get rid of him and make money doing so, they sell him off to slave merchants who are passing by. We often think of shalom being shattered by our circumstances not being the way we want. Yet in Genesis 2 and 3 we see the existence of loneliness and the presence of Satan and yet shalom had not been shattered yet. Shalom is shattered either by our own disobedience to God (like Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden, Gen. 3) or experiencing the disobedience of others (like Cain killing Abel, Gen. 4). Joseph felt the impact of his brothers’ sin against him, which shattered his shalom. In Genesis 39-40, we see Joseph seeking shalom. He is sold to Potipher and becomes his favored servant. However, through the lie of Potipher’s wife, Joseph is thrown into prison. There he becomes the favored prisoner. However, even though he gives comfort and assistance

to Pharoah’s most trusted steward who is in prison along with him, the steward forgets Joseph when he is freed. Joseph goes from the favored son to the favored servant to the favored prisoner to just being forgotten. No matter how Joseph seeks shalom, he never seems able to find it. This is the story of much of the rest of the Old Testament after Genesis 3. It is often, especially in the midst of pandemic, where we find ourselves as well. The final part of any good story is denouement (day-noo-ma). It is a French term meaning ‘the loosening of the knot.’ It is the part at the end of the very best movies or the last page of the very best books where you take in a deep breath and let it out because the story has come to a good conclusion. Eventually, the steward remembers Joseph in prison, when it is advantageous to the himself (Gen. 41). Joseph is called before Pharaoh to interpret his dreams and so impresses Pharaoh with not only the interpretation but his wise advice, that Pharaoh makes Joseph second in command of Egypt. We might think this is Joseph’s denouement but the story has never been about his status – it has always been about his family. When his brothers come to Egypt and could easily have felt Joseph’s vengeance for what they did, they instead find grace (Gen. 42-50). Joseph was able to be gracious because he understood that he was not the author of his own story – God was the author. And despite all the suffering that Joseph went through, he knew that God could take all that was intended for evil and author it for good (Gen. 50:20). This authoring for good does not mean that the evil is ignored or forgotten. We see this in the life of Jesus. If there was ever a shalom shattered moment it is Jesus on the cross (John 19). His resurrection represents the start of His denouement – and yet, the marks on his hands, feet, and side remain in His resurrected body (John 20:27). In fact, the entirety of Scripture has been the story of Jesus. Shalom was created by Him in Genesis 1-2. Shalom is shattered in Genesis 3 and throughout the rest of Scripture to the resurrection of Jesus, shalom is being sought. However, with the resurrection, Jesus becomes the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). If we want His peace, then we must have faith in Him that He is the only one who can truly bring shalom into our lives (Romans 5:1). His rule of shalom culminates in Revelation 21-22 where we find that Jesus has created a new garden for us to be welcomed back into, a new city of peace – Jerusalem – that is from heaven, a place where there will be no more sorrow, tears, or death. On that day, God will write the very last page of your book and you will read that page and – with a deep breath – know it is a good ending. But, immediately, he will grab a new, blank book and begin writing your sequel – an eternal, unending, presence in shalom that will never be shattered. If you long for that type of peace in the midst of pandemic, it can begin through faith in Jesus.

Dr. Russell Huizing is the Interim Pastor at the Sky Valley Chapel, where the church is gathering in person with social distancing or can be viewed online at He is also the Professor of Pastoral Ministry at Toccoa Falls College.

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Sisters On The Fly at Tiger Drive In Saturday April 24th 10 AM-12 PM


oin Sisters on the Fly at the iconic Tiger Drive In for a fun camper tour featuring over forty five unique campers and vintage trailers brought to you by Sisters on the Fly, the nations largest outdoor adventure group for women. Donations will be accepted at the event with all proceeds donated to Rabun Paws 4 Life, a no kill, non profit animal shelter. Puppies or older dogs may be present for adoption, depending on availability. Parking will be marked. It’s going to be fun!! The Tiger Drive-In is located at 2956 Old Hwy 441 S in Tiger, GA 30576.

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The Cure for the World By Joey Thompson


omething is wrong with the world today. That’s not just the opening line from an Aerosmith song. We all know it: pandemics, abuse, questionable politics, and loneliness. These things have defined not only the last year but human history as well. If we were to define what the problem is, what would it be? Also, what is the cure for what’s wrong with the world today? Some have suggested that mankind is being kept back from his potential. Well, our potential usually is toward what is bad and not good. Just give us some time, we will take something beautiful and mess it up. The best answer comes from the Bible because it tells us not just what has happened, but what always happens, and what will happen. The Bible has stood the tests of time and academic scrutiny. If you have not done your own research into what the Bible has to say, I encourage you to take up your own objective study to see if what the Bible says is true. There are 2 extremes we want to avoid when we are pursuing the truth. They are: Condemnation without investigation, and Exaltation without investigation. Don’t just discount the Bible without doing your own thorough investigation to see if what it has to say is true. The other extreme is just as bad: to take on a viewpoint about the world and hold it up to others without investigating to see if it is valid or not. Too many of us get our viewpoint from social media instead of an honest, objective look. Someone’s eternal destiny depends on it! Maybe yours! The Bible says that the world’s problems began with one man: our father, Adam. Romans 5:12 - Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—“ Adam was created by God. Therefore, he was perfect and sinless in the beginning. He was a historic person. Genetic testing confirms that our ancestry goes back to 1 male and 1 female. All of the world’s problems come from one man’s decision to disobey God. Check out Genesis 3. He has one rule! Don’t eat that! He was

not just the first person. He was also the first person to be held accountable for sin. Satan was the first to sin. Eve was the first person to sin. Adam was the first person to be held accountable for his sin because 1 Timothy 2:14 tells us that Adam knew full well what he was doing. He was not tricked. Of course, he tried to blame her. Men have been blaming women ever since, instead of taking responsibility. Death would take over. Both Adam and his wife were expelled from Paradise. Some would say God was mean and harsh. No, the exact opposite is true. He could have destroyed both of them and ended the human race. Instead, God chose to be merciful. The first kill took place not by man but by God when He killed an animal to make clothes for them. They would remember the mercy and kindness of God every time they looked at their clothes. What God told them would eventually happen. Both of them died as do all of us as their descendants. However, God promised that He would send One who would give us a way to escape death and the separation from God forever that would result: Jesus. Romans 5:11 - “And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” Jesus was like Adam. He was perfect. He never did anything wrong. He was historic. 1 Corinthians 15:6 says that more than 500 people saw Him after He rose from the dead. So, this means He was also first, the first Person to ever come back from death to never die again! “Those little arms in the manger will one day grapple with the monster ‘Death’, and destroy it.” Charles Spurgeon You see, Jesus overcame sin, death, and hell for anyone who would turn away from sin and believe in Jesus. We were at war. Jesus made a way for there to be peace with God through the cross. In order for there to be reconciliation, someone must surrender. The cure for the world today is not any of the cures offered today. The cure for the world is Jesus. He is coming back again to take over. He not only cures the world’s problems. He is the answer for my problems today. He gives me the hope, peace, confidence, power, and strength that I need. Will you trust Him today? We are here to help at

Joey Thompson is Senior Pastor at Clayton Baptist Church located at 87 South Church Street in Downtown Clayton, Georgia. Known for preaching the Word and loving God, he is crazy about his wife and family. Pastor Thompson is an avid Bulldog fan and is also a fan of Star Wars. For more information about CBC visit or call 706-782-4588.

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Let’s Get Physical! 10 Questions for Cherisse Sansone, PT, MLD


herisse Sansone, PT, MLD is the owner of Mountain Physical Therapy in Clayton, Georgia and Franklin, North Carolina. Cherisse graduated from Western Carolina University in 2000. She specializes in Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Lymphedema. At her practice she and her staff offer Orthopedic Rehabilitation, treatment for neck and back pain, post surgical rehabilitation, joint replacement therapy and therapeutic massage. Cherisse is a Veteran of the US Army and an incredible human being. We are pleased that she would take time to answer a few questions for us about her specialty and her business. GML - What is Physical Therapy and what is its purpose? Cherisse Sansone - Physical Therapy is treatment involving a wide variety of rehabilitation techniques. It can involve rehabilitation of every part of the body from muscles, bone, nerves, lymphatic system. The purpose is if someone has trauma, surgery, stroke, or just wear and tear on the body, Physical Therapy can rehabilitate and get that person back to a level of function and the goal of staying independent and improving Quality of Life. GML - Why choose physical therapy care over another type of provider? Cherisse Sansone - Why should I try physical therapy over another type of treatment? I always say what works for one person may not work for you. I always recommend that you try a conservative approach before you try an aggressive treatment. Most people have imbalances within their bodies: weak muscles, muscles that are to tight, poor posture and body mechanics that lead to pain and break down of the tissue. This is where physical therapy can help, so that you can regain that balance and keep the body happy and functioning. GML - What kind of training does a Physical Therapist have? Cherisse Sansone - A physical therapist now has to complete a three year Doctorate Degree and pass the national exam. A physical therapy assistant must have a two year Associate

Degree and pass the national exam. We must take continuing education to stay abreast of the new and exciting techniques that come out within our profession. GML - Can my Physical Therapist provide me with a diagnosis? Cherisse Sansone - When a patient comes to physical therapy, that patient usually has been to a doctor which gives them a referral for PT. This referral usually has a diagnosis that states what the patient is coming to be treated for. Sometimes the doctor may just state for us to evaluate and treat. This means we will do an evaluation and decide the best plan of care for that patient. GML - What can I expect on my first visit? Cherisse Sansone - On your first visit you can expect to be evaluated. We will talk and gather your history about your problem. We will then run you through a series of testing and measurements to gain more information about your limitations; whether it be decreased strength, decreased Range of Motion, Pain, decreased Balance, any limitation that may be affecting your Quality of Life. GML - Is an at-home regime necessary to achieve optimal results? Cherisse Sansone - During your visits to Physical therapy I like to say we are going to find a recipe for you to perform a series of exercises. This plan of exercises will be given to you to perform at home which is so important for recovery. This is a maintenance program that will help keep your body from reverting back to why you came to physical therapy in the first place. GML - Is a referral from my Doctor necessary to begin Physical Therapy? Cherisse Sansone - A referral from your doctor is necessary if you want your medical insurance to pay for your treatment. Some people may opt for paying privately if they have extremely high deductibles and copays (Medicare is the exception to this).

Mountain Physical Therapy is located at 1218 North Main Street in Clayton, Georgia 30525. You may schedule an appointment by calling 706-782-2585. Their second location is 225 Riverview Street in Franklin, North Carolina 28734. Appointments and information are available by calling 828-349-6161.

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GML - Do most insurances cover Physical Therapy? Cherisse Sansone - Most insurances do cover Physical Therapy. Some insurances require Pre-Authorization. It’s always best to check with your insurance company and know your deductibles, copays, out-of-pocket expenses. GML - Why did you choose this occupation and how many years experience do you have? Cherisse Sansone - I have over 20 years experience being a physical therapist. I have specialized in treatment of Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation (urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, pelvic pain) for both men and women. I also treat lymphedema; which is a condition that comes from side effects of surgery from cancer: removal of lymph nodes, radiation, trauma, or some people are born with this condition. GML - Tell me a bit about Mountain Physical Therapy. Cherisse Sansone - At Mountain Physical Therapy we have two therapists; myself, a Physical Therapist and Desiree Cannon, a Physical Therapy Assistant and Tina Cooney, our Office Manager. Two locations: Clayton, Georgia and Franklin, North Carolina. We specialize in one therapist per patient during treatment so that the patient receives the quality care they deserve. We want our patients committed to returning back to their prior level of function and improving the quality of their lives with our help.

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Healthy and Well 50 GML - April 2021

Therapy Techniques to Help Your Kids and Adolescents By Lauren Shuman


hildren and adolescents are dealing with elevated levels of mental health issues and a need to further develop awareness and knowledge on how to handle these pressures. Along on the journey are the parents. Many are faced with difficult questions on what their first step should be for combating this new battle we find ourselves in. Hopefully, parents and other caretakers will find relief here as this article introduces the potential first step. Self-regulation is a term used in the school setting and the therapeutic setting. The main goal of self-regulation techniques and strategies is to aid individuals in controlling their mind, body, and actions. This simple break down can sound daunting for those wondering where to start. As you read, you will learn the 5 building blocks to achieve self-regulation for your child, adolescent and perhaps even yourself. These target skills are: 1) Emotional Recognition & Expression, 2) Situationally Appropriate Behavior, 3) Calming Strategies, 4) Thinking Strategies, and 5) Self Reflection. Think of these 5 target skills as steps. Each one should be mastered before moving on to the next. For example, one may not realize they are offending someone if they are unable to recognize disgruntlement in another’s body language. Let’s break it down.

Emotional Recognition and Expression What are emotions? What do they feel like? How do I recognize them? How do I express them to others? Situationally Appropriate Behavior What is the expectation in this situation? How does my behavior affect those around me? Calming Strategies Body Progressive muscle relaxation Deep Breathing Grounding Tension Release Yoga/Stretching Mind Guided imagery Replay a positive memory (Happy thoughts) Visualize a positive outcome Repeat a calming mantra Make a gratitude list

Thinking Strategies Flexible Thinking Can I see this in a different way? Rational Thinking Are there facts to verify my thoughts? Positive Self Talk Are my words and thoughts building me up or tearing me down? Perspective Taking How do others think and feel about this situation? Self-Reflection What was the problem? What emotions did I feel? Did I use appropriate calming strategies? Was my response appropriate to the situation? How did my response affect me? Affect others? What can I do differently next time? Now that you have the break down it is time to isolate those skills! Break down each target skill into attainable, isolated skills. This step-by-step process will help you identify what is mastered and what needs further attention. With younger children and young teens, it is important to practice these skills on the move! Children love games and movement so give them what they want. Manipulate classic games such as musical chairs, balloon tap, mini basketball, hot potatoes, giant dice, bowling pins, etc. Just have fun with it!

Ms. Shuman is the school counselor at Rabun County Primary School. She has a masters in Counselor Education from Georgia Southern. She also earned a Specialist degree from Capella University and is continuing to work on a PhD in Counselor Education. If you need more information on self-regulation strategies for your child or teen, contact Georgia Mountain Psychological Associates, Inc. at 404-291-4018. Website:

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Mountain-made Architectural Marriage Wows! By John Shivers


t’s a good thing the home at 735 Kennedy Mountain Road outside Clarkesville, Georgia has so many windows. It would be an absolute travesty to close out even one of the multiple views that surround this home, nestled in your own private, rural valley. Call it picture postcard caliber in so many different ways. A rare find, you might say, where traditional southern marries mountain rustic.

And what a fantastic finished product this home has become, both inside and outside. Situated on a rise at the end of the valley, reached by a meandering paved drive through the forested setting, this 6,249± square foot home is so much more than just a place to hang your hat. With seven bedrooms, there’s plenty of space for a large family – or a family with a large number of friends – to hang out in luxurious comfort. With 52± acres of rolling pasture and wooded hills, and burbling spring-fed streams and waterfalls, there’s generous room to indulge many different outdoor activities. Roam the walking trails, or take advantage of the lighted walkways to the waterfalls, and sit a while on the deck overlooking the larger waterfall. As an added plus, this address is very near Lake Burton and easily accessible to Helen, hiking, and more waterfalls. From the outside, the home, with its second level dormers, transom windows, multiple round columns and central doorway with fanlight definitely nods toward traditional southern architecture. But take a second glance, and see the stacked mountain stone front façade, and the horizontal siding and catch a glimpse of this home’s more rustic dimension. A discreetly-screened rocking chair front porch more or less ties together the two styles and equates to gracious southern living, with a decidedly northeast Georgia mountain flavor. Can it possibly get much better? Oh, yeah! While the home sits at the base of a mountain, access to the hills is encouraged, thanks to a pass-through between the detached two-car garage and second-floor house extension that ushers you into the back outdoor living area, and the wooded living room beyond. Be sure

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to check out the outdoor living area in the front yard with plenty of space to party around the fire pit. The main house features seven bedrooms, six full baths and one half bath, with an oversize master suite on the main level, with access to the back deck. There’s room for a comfortable seating area around the fireplace and an en suite bath with soaking tub and shower and double vanities. Exquisite custom design and features of the main residence include the grand two-story entry foyer highlighted by the circular staircase, breathtaking hardwood floors, cathedral ceilings, custom built bookcases, three fireplaces, large kitchen, and separate banquet-worthy dining room. The two-story stone fireplace in the family room is an eye-catcher. In the adjacent kitchen, solid-surface counters, walk in pantry, double ovens, dishwasher, refrigerator, and surface unit complete the generous-size space. An additional guest house complete with living room, kitchen, two bedrooms and full bath increases the living potential. The daylight terrace level with easy outdoor access includes a second kitchen, three additional bedrooms, a family room with a fireplace, and additional storage. Above the two-car garage you can have the best of both worlds as you work from home in the large office complete with an additional bathroom. Where else could you work with the rushing sound of your own stressreducing waterfalls in the background?

If this remarkable property, MLS #8915350, would work for your family, contact Agent Jennifer Kyle at Harry Norman, REALTORS® Luxury Lake and Mountain at 706-968-2255 or at the office, 706-212-0228.

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Breathtaking Mountain Life Awaits


he house situated on more than five acres on the side of Rabun Bald Mountain in Sky Valley, GA has a most appropriate address: 211 Upper Scenic Drive. The address is the first tipoff to the breathtaking, four-season views off three sides of this property, that are a perpetual part of the deal with this beautifully maintained tri-level home. Nestled among the laurels and overlooking spectacular long distance vistas, with 3,600± square feet, this home is ideal for yearround living. Within two hours’ easy driving distance from Atlanta, this home also makes a great get-away for both family and friends. Sky Valley is nestled in a mountain valley with elevation numbers

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in the 3,000± foot range. Talk about being high on the mountain! The naturally-maintained area around the house is the setting for some fantastic beauty and some equally fantastic living. There are several spring heads on the property, and while the setting is natural, paved roads make for easy access. An outdoor fire pit is a pull for outside living, and sets the tone for some memorable living inside. While the home is built into the mountain side, the main floor is on ground level, with a covered porch that conveniently welcomes you and your guests. Just look for the totem pole with the chainsaw carved bears, and you’ll know you’re in the right place! With four total bedrooms, three full baths and one half-bath, there’s ample room for many warm bodies to live and love doing it. Check out the oversize master suite on the main level – room for a king size bed -- complete with en suite bath that includes an oversize shower with multiple heads, a jetted soaker tub, double vanity space with hammered nickel sinks, and enclosed toilet space. His and her closets complete the suite. Elsewhere on the main floor is a generously-sized laundry room with cabinet storage and sink. The kitchen, with an above-average amount of counter and work space includes a large island with pull out breakfast bar. Furniture style cabinetry in an antique white finish, some with glass fronts, make an ideal place for the resident chef to work and enjoy those famous views at the same time. Hard surface counter tops and a full complement of stainless appliances make meal prep a snap. Immediately next to the kitchen is the dining room and just beyond the covered upper porch that runs the length of the house. Can you say, “alfresco dining at its finest”? The great room runs the entire length of the house, anchored by a wood burning stone fireplace guarded by yet another bear. Hardwood floors run throughout the main level. Two large carpeted bedrooms and a shared bath are on the top level. Interior walls are finished in neutral earth tones, and the many windows and numerous skylights flood the home with natural light. Downstairs is a daylight level self-contained studio apartment that could be used as an in-law suite, for older adult children who’ve returned home, or as Airbnb income potential. This space has its own outside entrance right off the ground level driveway. Also on this level is the mechanical equipment, storage space and room for a workshop or hobby space. Outside is a double detached garage space, and there’s parking for several vehicles at the same time. A covered porch expands the living potential on the terrace level. If the possibility of high living high on the mountain, with daily views to enjoy besides, appeals to you, check out MLS #8936215. Contact Poss Realty Agent Sarah Branch at 404-788-6884, or at the office at 706-746-5962. Co-listing agent is Penny Ramey 705-4901610 at Poss’ Clayton office.

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Ed West Connects People and Property by John Shivers


or long-time Rabun County Realtor Ed West, his love affair with land began as a small child growing up in Sautee-Nacoochee in White County. His father, O.B. West, Jr. was a farmer, and Ed’s upbringing was typical of a farm child’s life. His mother Merle was a Copeland before she married O.B. with ancestral roots in the Darnell family. These families were deeply planted in Betty’s Creek in northern Rabun County. Ed says it always felt like home, because of the kinfolks who lived there. “We were always visiting Betty’s Creek.” Little did he dream that someday he would be one of the senior real estate professionals in the same county where his mother graduated from Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School, and from the school’s junior college. She taught in a one-room school in the Germany Community, and after her marriage, was a teacher in Sautee. While teaching at the Sautee school Mrs. West taught all three of her sons. Ed and his brothers were taught the value of a good education older brother Benton graduating from Georgia Tech, younger brother John attending Emory University and Ed a graduate of the University of Georgia. The boys worked alongside their parents. Ed, however, with the exception of a couple of small detours, is the only one who never totally lost his connection with land. Benton went on to become an airline pilot and John was an orthodontist. Ed graduated from UGA in the 1966 and invested two years of his life in the U.S. Army. He served as a Infantry Army Officer in Southeast Asia. After mustering out, he went to work in sales for a business machine company in Albany, Georgia. That’s when his career path and his life-long love for the land converged. Even then, he couldn’t see the big picture. “I’ve always had an appreciation for the land,” he says. “Being raised on a farm probably had a lot to do with that.” During those years Ed had been systematically buying up small parcels of raw land. “It was dirt cheap back then, and you could usually get owner financing.” But buying land caused him to want to learn more about the many legal aspects of property acquisition. To scratch that itch, he enrolled in a real estate class. At that time, he was just seeking knowledge, which he thought would give him more expertise in buying property, and he would be able to feel more confident in his dealings. At the conclusion of that course, another career path began to emerge. The impetus was the insistence of his real estate instructor, that he should take the state board exam to become a licensed real estate agent. “He said even if I never used it professionally, the license would be a good thing to have.” It turned out to be one of several good pieces of advice Ed received down through the years, and one that he has never regretted heeding. His life was about to come full circle. The late Ed Poss, who pioneered licensed real estate sales in Rabun County, encouraged the newly-minted agent to come hang his license in Rabun County. “Being the good salesman he was,” Ed explains, “he convinced me to ‘just move on up here and help me sell real estate.’” Ed and his family, were sold. Ed Poss was working solo out of a one room rented office in Clayton. “When I started, if we needed privacy, one of us would go outside and write up a contract on the hood of a car.” He points out that contracts then were single page documents, compared to eight or nine or more pages today. And Ed wrote those contracts. In the 1970s Lake Burton cottages sold for under $10,000, and average homes fetched prices ranging from the mid to upper $20,000 range. Mountain property could be had for $200 to $300 an acre. “Even then,” Ed says, reflecting on his career, “one of the most rewarding aspects of being a realtor was meeting new and wonderful people, many of whom became long-lasting friends. Listening carefully to buyers, their concerns, and learning exactly what they were looking for,

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left everyone with a rewarding experience.” In 1974, Ed West opened his own real estate company, Ed West Realty in Clayton. Today his company has offices in Clayton and in Sky Valley, Georgia. Other rewards have been his development of subdivisions, where young families could raise kids in good communities, close to schools. “Deerfield” on Seed Tick Road south of Clayton, with twoacre lots, underground utilities, wide paved roads, and affordable pricing is one of the projects he and Denise, who works in the business with him, have to their credit. The majority of those parcels were sold to local residents. They also developed spec homes in Sky Valley in the early 2000’s, where Denise’s background in home and interior design plugged into the Ed West Realty success story. Today Denise manages the firm’s Sky Valley office. “We’re fortunate to live in probably one of the best places in the U.S., and the major migration of people from larger cities to these northeast Georgia mountains is changing housing dynamics right before our eyes.” Ed credits this migration for a shortage in local housing inventory, where building isn’t keeping up with the demand. The Wests have four children and ten grandchildren, most of whom live close enough to be convenient. They enjoy watching the grandchildren’s many activities, but confess that Covid-19 has curtailed much of that for the past year. They look forward to being with them more in the coming months, and Ed’s bucket list calls for him to get back on the golf course. That is, when he’s not matching other families with the home of their dreams in Rabun County.

April 2021 - GML 61

Of These Mountains I’ve Become an Old Fart Before My Very Eyes by Kendall R. Rumsey


once was cool. I remember when I was on the cutting edge of everything pop culture, style and knew all the words to the best music…. today, I’m just an old fart wondering what happened.

Now instead of bouncing out of bed ready to take on a new day, I crick and creak and limp to the bathroom each morning, longing for the hour that I can return to my warm bed and have another restless night of sleep interrupted by a couple of pee breaks. I try to keep it cool and pretend like I can have a conversation with millennials, but I can’t. I have no idea what being “lit” is all about, in my mind it takes me back to my 20’s after being over-served in a bar, or what I do with the gas logs in my fireplace. I have no idea what a “Lizzo” is, I wonder what monarch deemed Gaga a Lady and I was taught in 2nd grade that the Weekend had an “e” after the “k.” When I was a young whippersnapper, if I wanted to tell somebody something, I would call them on the phone connected to a chord in my house, meet after class or in the breakroom or for those supersecret nuggets of info, I may slip someone a note. Now, you slide into someone’s DM’s, but which DM? Is it my Snap, my Twitter, my Insta or if it’s someone my own age it may be my Facebook or a text? Sweet Baby Jesus, if I have to learn anymore apps for someone to tell me something my head may pop off! These days we stream everything we watch; I can even watch a whole tv show on my phone…. HELLO, I am old, I have old eyes, I can’t watch TV on my phone, I’ve got my characters set at the XL setting as it is, just so I can read those texts from old people like me!

But no, we now stream entire seasons of tv shows over a weekend, but which of the 500 channels or 30 different streaming services is it on? I can’t keep up with Netflix or Hulu or YouTube or Amazon or Disney + or Peacock or whatever the next new thing is. What was wrong with ABC, CBS, and NBC? Remember when we had three channels and you had to get up to change the channel? What about J.R., we had to wait months just to find out if he was going to live or die. This past year, I’ve watched that poor Handmaid get captured, electrocuted, escape, come back, escape again, help all the other Handmaids escape and the last I saw her she was laying in the woods after getting shot…… that streaming stuff may be good for binging, but I worry about that poor handmaid laying out in the woods with a bullet in her, she’s been laying there for months, someone hurry up and find her so she can get bandaged up! Don’t even get me started on food. These days folks go online and order a week’s worth of meals, all specially prepared by Chefs, made with all-natural ingredients and perfectly sectioned out for one sitting with no leftovers. You just microwave and eat it. HAHA, all you fancy foodies don’t have anything on us, we had that too, it was called a Swanson’s TV Dinner that you had to put in the oven, because we didn’t even have a microwave, and it was awful! I’m sure all this stuff that is supposed to make life easier is a good thing, but it just makes me feel old as dirt. As much as I hated having to be the one to get up and change the channels for my daddy to choose what we watched, I miss those days. No fancy chef will ever be able to make a meal like my mama and if I want to listen to a one named singer, I’m going with Elvis or Cher and no matter how cool you are, if you can’t spell your name the way I learned it in elementary school, you are just not that cool! All you young folks keep on watching TV on your phone and sending Snaps and Insta, but before you know it, you are going to be like me…. just an old fart, worrying about that Handmaid laying out in the field bleeding and looking at stuff shaking your head, watching the clock until you can get in bed at 9:30 and creaking and cracking, limping to the bathroom in the middle of the night to pee.

Kendall Rumsey is a resident of Clayton, Ga. He is owner of the lifestyle brand Of These Mountains and author of the blog, Notes from a Southern Kitchen. A native of Rabun County, Kendall has extensive marketing experience and a deep appreciation for the mountains. His store, Of These Mountains is located in Clarkesville, Georgia. OTM includes apparel, local art, gifts and promotes the lifestyle afforded residents of these mountains. You may also shop online at Visit his blog for more of his writing.

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By The Way

The Wit, Wisdom, and Wonder of the Southerners by Emory Jones


love language. I always have. But of all the languages in the world, I love Southern speach most of all.

Of course, we Southerners do use the language differently from our northern counterparts. But that’s not a bad thing. Down here, we’ll name a dog Rooster, and a cat–well, we don’t always name cats–but when we do, it’s a humdinger. Now that I think about it, my grandmother once had a cat named Humdinger. Or maybe that was her shotgun. Heck, we’ll even name our cars if you don’t watch us. We dress up our speech by describing water as “tooth-cracking cold” and a passed-on possum as being “graveyard dead.” We’re a polite people, too. In fact, “don’t sass your mama” were the first words many of us ever heard. And Elvis was right: “ma’am”

and “sir” really do belong behind “yes” and “no.” We wave a lot too. Even if we don’t know you, we’ll still throw up our hand when you pass. Folks from off don’t always understand Southern speach, and I blame Hollywood for that. “Y’all” is the word the movie people stumble over most. In spite of all my yelling at the television, they still don’t understand that you don’t use y’all when you’re talking to just one other person! Plus, if it’s four or five people it’s “all y’all.” That ruffles my feathers to no end. I’m not sure they even want to get our dialect down. I mean, Julia Roberts is a Georgia girl, but the way she talked in Steel Magnolias was down-right disturbing, bless her heart.” Like a lot of people, one of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t record the many words of wisdom my grandmother and grandaddy passed along. I would have done that, too, if tape recorders had been invented back then. But I can still hear Granddaddy telling me things like, “Never hit a man with glasses. If you’re going to hit him, hit him with a baseball bat.” He also said, “Remember, you can go anywhere you want as long as you look stern and carry a clipboard.” That advice has served me well, both on the job and off. Grandmother said several things that stuck with me, too. One was, “The way some people find fault, you’d think there was a reward for it.” And “Love is not only blind, but it’s pretty often deaf and dumb, too.” One of her other favorite sayings was, “The love of a girl is like the morning dew. It’s as apt to fall on a rosebud as it is a cow pile.” For some reason, that’s one of my wife’s favorite sayings. Although Grandaddy didn’t have enough cash to pay attention, he also mused, “Remember son, a rich person is nothing but a poor person with money.” I’m not really sure what that means, but you sure do sound wise when you say it. Of course, not everything I heard was wise. Some sayings are about as useful as a steering wheel on a mule. For example, Grandaddy always said that money can’t buy happiness. Maybe not, but money has certainly brought me several short bursts of joy on a couple of occasions. I would write more about that, but the editor tells me I’m out of space.

Emory Jones grew up in Northeast Georgia’s White County. After a stint in the Air Force, he joined Gold Kist as publications manager. He was the Southeastern editor for Farm Journal Magazine and executive vice president at Freebarin & Company, an Atlanta-based advertising agency. He has written seven books. Emory is known for his humor, love of history and all things Southern. He and his wife, Judy, live on Yonah Mountain near Cleveland, Georgia.

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What A Beautiful Mess I’m In. by Liz Alley


irty fingerprints on white cabinets means my granddaughter has been helping in the kitchen.

Burnt lasagna in the bottom of the oven from the meal I cooked for my kids, grands, sister and niece. A mound of towels and sheets after a week-end where guests’ laughter filled the house. Glasses rimmed with different shades of lipstick, scrapes of paper with rows of numbers scattered on the kitchen table from the weekly Saturday evening card game. Little clumps of red mud from my son in law’s boots reminding me these are the sons I thought I’d never have. Tattered hymnals stacked by the backdoor to remind me to sing to my mother. A row of tiny “O’s” under the ottoman where my grandson lost some Cheerios. Droopy flowers dying in a vase that I can’t bear to throw out because my daughter left them there for me. A rusted firepit blocking my garage door until I can turn it into a planter. A wheelbarrow full of weeds from a flower garden that looks relieved. Stacks of clothes to step over in my closet because I lost a little weight. Sheets in a pile by the washer because the fresh ones are on the bed. Streaky windows on display, backlit from a brilliant sunset. Scribbled stacks of paper on the sofa about my thoughts on Lent and Easter. A smattering of leaves fallen from my favorite houseplant. A rolling ball of yarn to make a crocheted scarf. A stack of books in my bicycle basket to donate to the little library down the street. A purse filled with all manner of unneeded things except that tube of the perfect shade of lipstick. Muddy boots on the back porch that have trampled through job sites for my new design jobs. My umbrella dripping on the floor from the rain that watered my grass. A front door that needs painting which means I have a house. A checkbook that needs balancing which means there’s some money in the bank. Phone calls to return means I have a family and friends. When the day is done with little rest, I’m reminded I live in a beautiful mess.

Liz Alley was born and raised in Rabun County in the city of Tiger. She loves to write. She is an interior designer specializing in repurposing the broken, tarnished, chipped, faded, worn and weathered into pieces that are precious again. She is the mother of two daughters and has two grandchildren. She divides her time between her home in Newnan and Rabun County.

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Remembering Rabun County’s Gristmills: Overshot Waterwheels, Tolls and Moonshine By Dick Cinquina

Grist mill on Warwoman Creek, began as Captain Beck’s Mill, later operated as Wilbanks Mill and Darnell Mill


orn has been the main crop of Rabun County farmers since the first white settlers arrived over 200 years ago. Gristmills were built by Rabun farmers to grind the county’s corn harvests into meal for bread, grits and hominy. The output from gristmills also was used for something more potent than Johnnycakes. Virtually every Rabun community, from Persimmon in the west to Pine Mountain in the east, had its own gristmill. They had to be located within easy distance of farmers, because poor roads, more aptly called rutted wagon trails, made for slow going even in good weather. They became impassable quagmires when it rained. As an important part of their communities, gristmills became centers of village life as people waited for their corn to be ground into meal. Flumes and Overshot Waterwheels

Barker’s Creek Mill is located at the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences. They still grind whole wheat flour, cornmeal and grits.

The 27-foot wheel at Sylvan Falls is believed to be the largest east of the Mississippi.

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Rabun County’s water-powered gristmills were built on strongly flowing streams such as Persimmon and Warwoman creeks. Water from the stream was conducted by a wooden flume to a large, vertically-mounted overshot waterwheel. A

Dick Cinquina holds graduate degrees in history and journalism, making his work for the Rabun County Historical Society a natural fit for his interests. He is the retired president of Equity Market Partners, a national financial consulting firm he founded in 1981. In addition to writing monthly articles for the Georgia Mountain Laurel, Dick helped produce the Society’s new web site and is involved with the renovation of the group’s museum. After vacationing in this area for many years, he and his wife Anne moved to Rabun County in 2018 form Amelia Island, Florida.

continuous series of blades or paddles were mounted around the wheel. The power of water falling onto the blades pushed the wheel forward, causing it to rotate. In some cases, mill ponds were created by damming a stream. A narrow mill race was dug to channel water from the mill pond to the waterwheel. The rotating waterwheel turned wooden shafts and gears that transmitted power to grooved millstones. From a hopper, corn kernels were fed into the upper rotating millstone. The lower grooved millstone was stationery. The action of the upper stone against the lower stone ground the corn into corn meal. Only corn kernels dried to the hardness of pebbles could be ground. Wet or freshly harvested corn had to be dried for about two months before it was ready for milling. Millers cut and shaped their own millstones, each weighing a ton or more. Depending on the amount of usage, millstones could last up to 10 years. However, the grooves in the stones had to be sharpened periodically with a pick. It could take days to sharpen both millstones. Adjusting Millstones for Meal, Grits and Hominy The gap between the two millstones could be adjusted to control the fineness of the ground corn. When moved as close together as possible, the result was finely ground corn meal for bread. Successive adjustments to widen the gap between the millstones resulted in more coarsely ground meal for grits and hominy. Farmers did not pay their miller in cash. Instead, a miller’s toll was collected. In Rabun County this toll ranged from an eighth to a tenth of the corn meal that was ground. Millers were never lacking for bread, grits and hominy. It took upwards of an hour for a water-powered mill to grind a bushel of corn. It is claimed that slow grinding results in better tasting corn meal. Twentieth century mills powered by motors can grind a bushel of corn in a matter of minutes, but in so doing, the meal is heated. Some say this imparts an odd taste to the corn meal.

Captain Beck’s Mill on Warwoman Creek Although firm documentation is lacking, the gristmill that once operated on Warwoman Creek off Sandy Fork Road is believed to date back to the 1840s. Known as Captain Beck’s Mill, it was built by one of Rabun County’s few slaveholders, Samuel Beck. He moved to the county from South Carolina in 1822 and became captain of a company of volunteers that fought in Florida’s Seminole wars in 1837-38. A substantial landowner in the Warwoman Valley east of Clayton, Beck was bestowed the honorary title of “Colonel” after the war. He was elected as one of Rabun County’s delegates to Georgia’s secession convention in Milledgeville in 1861. Although a slaveholder, Beck was a Unionist, who initially voted against secession. But under intense pressure, Beck ultimately changed his vote. Operation of Captain Beck’s Mill, which also housed a sawmill, continued after Beck’s death in 1876. The mill later was destroyed by a flood on Warwoman Creek. Dixie Wilbanks eventually restored the gristmill, operating it as Wilbanks Mill for 27 years. Grinding Corn for Moonshiners In a 1973 Clayton Tribune interview, Dixie wryly said, “I shouldn’t maybe tell you this, but on occasion we’d grind malt (for moonshine). ‘Course, I never took no toll for it. I never had to buy no liquor, either. Those guys who I ground the malt for usually kept me supplied…The sheriff has slowed folks (moonshiners) off now, and it’s been a good while since I ground corn for anything but bread.” There can be no doubt that moonshining on the scale once practiced in Rabun County would have been impossible without gristmills like Dixie Wilbanks’. CONTINUED...

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Rabun County Historical Society Dixie also talked about how the government made it difficult for traditional millers. “Government got too strict…They wanted you to purify it (cornmeal) and put stuff in it (vitamins) that people didn’t want. Folks wanted bread to taste like bread. I didn’t put it in. Warn’t no use. People wouldn’t eat it if I had.” He reminisced that back in the day, nobody ate “store-bought bread. Corn meal was good enough for us all. We made hoe cakes, Johnny cakes, pone bread, lots of different ways to cook cornbread.” Dixie retired in 1968. The mill was destroyed by a flood in 1973 and stood idle until it was restored in 1980 and resumed operation as the Darnell Mill for several years. The mill currently is in a state of near-collapse. Largest Overshot Waterwheel East of the Mississippi Built in 1840, Sylvan Falls Mill served residents of Wolffork Valley for nearly 100 years. The mill’s original wooden waterwheel was replaced in 1952 by a 27-foot-diameter, 10,000 pound steel wheel that was fabricated in Tennessee in 1929. This overshot wheel is believed to be the largest east of the Mississippi. It is powered by water from springs atop Black Rock Mountain. The mill has been renovated and converted into the Sylvan Falls Mill Bed & Breakfast. Dickerson Mill was a second gristmill that served Wolffork Valley. Built in 1926 by Bill Dickerson on Keener Creek, the waterwheel also powered a sawmill. The mill now is part of the landscaping of a private residence. Barker’s Creek Mill at Hambidge Center Barker’s Creek Mill, located at the end of Betty’s Creek Valley outside Dillard, was built in 1944 to meet the needs of the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences, an institution founded by Mary Hambidge in 1934. The mill was built on the site of an earlier mill that served the community since the time of the first white settlers in Rabun County in the 1820s. The mill operated until the end of World War II when it fell into disrepair. The renovated mill reopened in 1975 but was again idled in 1986 for major repairs. Since 1991, Barker’s Creek Mill has been milling whole wheat flour, corn meal and grits. The slow speed and small output of water-driven gristmills rendered them obsolete in the age of large grocery store chains. Unable to compete with high-volume, power mills, Rabun’s many gristmills ground to a halt. Memories of picturesque mills with their slowly turning waterwheels live on as remembrances of an idyllic past. And moonshiners are among those who have lamented the demise of the community gristmill.

Learn more about our history by becoming a member of the Rabun County Historical Society. Membership and complete information about the Society are available at You also can visit us on Facebook. Our museum at 81 N. Church St. in downtown Clayton currently is closed while undergoing an extensive renovation. However, the building is open from noon to 3 on Saturdays for people interested in researching county and family histories. The Society is a not-for-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, making your membership dues and donations fully tax deductible.

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“A Quilt is Something Human” Adapted by Kami Ahrens Quilts were handmade by people for people. Every phase of their production was permeated by giving and sharing, from the trading of scraps and patterns and the actual production in “bees,” to the giving away of the final finished work; quilting is a human activity in its essence. There is something about a quilt that says people, friendship, community, family, home, and love. Originally the plan for this project [in 1968] was to find all the patterns that were native to this county. That soon proved to be impossible, for quilt patterns were like ballads: they moved constantly from community to community over surprisingly great distances. Farmers’ journals, newspaper columns, and even quilt pattern companies spread them even farther. Most patterns also have different names, making their origins difficult to trace. The 1960s saw a dramatic revival of interest in textile arts like quilting. One explanation might be the statement made by Mrs. Claude Darnell: “There’s lots of people that wants to go back to the old times.” Basically, the quilt itself consists of a bottom lining, a stuffing of cotton or wool, a top lining, and the top itself. The top is made of a number of squares joined by cloth borders or directly to each other. These squares are usually made up of the same pattern, but can be made by different individuals. In 1968, Foxfire student Emma Jean Buchanan witnessed the most popular way of putting a quilt together: the quilting bee. Each woman that gathered at Mrs. Maggie Vinson’s home had previously completed at least one Dutch Boy or Dutch Girl square. The squares

Edith Darnell with her quilt had all been gathered up, and by the time the women arrived, they had been sewn together into the completed top. Emma Jean wrote down some of her observations: “The women sit around the quilt laughing and joking as if it isn’t a job at all. They never seem to get tired or want to go home. They all seem so content. The gossip is flowing as if I weren’t even around. This is my first quilting, so I sit there in amusement not knowing what will happen next. As I watch them making the final stitches I wonder just why would these women spend their time quilting when it’s cheaper to buy a blanket? Might it be that they quilt just for the social enjoyment?” We asked Edith Darnell the same question: “It helps bring people together when they have quiltin’. It just seems like lots a’pleasure. You’re quiltin’, you don’t know you’re quiltin’—a’talkin’ and a’quiltin’ too. And y’have lunch. I used t’enjoy goin’ t’the quiltin’s.” Some of our other contacts remembered quiltings from their youth: Margaret Norton: “People would work all fall piecin’ quilt tops, and when they got ‘em all pieced, they’d invite in all the neighbors and have a quiltin’ and that quilt would be for th’person that invited ‘em in. And whoever they had th’ quiltin’ for furnished all of ‘em dinner. If it was at your house and it was for you, you’d furnish th’ whole dinner—even if there was twenty women there. They could quilt one out in a day, easy. Lots of times we’ve had quilts out at breakfast and quilted two.” Marinda Brown: “People used to get together and they’d just put up one. They could make as many days out of it as they wanted to. They’d piece one for one family, set in and draw another one for another family, y’know; just kind of kept it goin’.” Annie Perry: “They had quiltin’s, but I never could quilt. My stitches

A quilting bee held in the Foxfire classroom

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were so long you’d have to keep your toenails broke off t’keep from getting ‘em hung! People were neighbors. They all helped each other to do things. If you got anything to do now, you do it yourself or you let it go undone—whichever you want to.” The most captivating custom, however, as mentioned earlier, was that of the Friendship Quilt. This could be any pattern, but each woman often embroidered her own name on the square. Ada Kelly told us: “The girls had a custom of making Friendship Quilts. One person would keep on ‘til she had enough blocks to make a quilt and then all those girls would get together and quilt that quilt. And the one that started it around got the quilt. That was a very common thing in my girlhood days. A name was supposed to be put on the quilt of everyone that pieced a square and they valued them. It was a keepsake really.” Such quilts were made by the ladies of the community whenever a young person from that community got married; when a neighbor lost his house by fire; for a newborn child; or just for a keepsake. When a boy became a man, he sometimes received one too. Edith Darnell said:

Connie Burrell with her grandmother’s flower garden quilt

“We made ‘em along when the boys was about your age. You know, everyone sent out a square and everybody’d piece one for it. Everywhere the square went, everybody pieced one to go with it. When they got the quilt done, all that pieced the square went and helped quilt it. Then they’d wrap [the boy they did the quilt for] up in the quilt when they got it done.” Fancy or plain, however, the fact remains that quilts seem to us symbolic of some of our finer human qualities. Perhaps this revival of interest is a hopeful sign for us all. Visit to see some of Foxfire’s own quilts! Adapted from the Foxfire magazine, vol. 3 no 3, 1969 pg. 5-7, 44-49 and vol. 5 no 1&2, 1971 pg. 101

Foxfire students with antique friendship quilt

Quilt patterns that were used by many quilters Foxfire contact Margaret Norton at a quilting bee

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Timeless Treasure - by Anna DeStefano


“Ford Shine,” © 2021 by Anna DeStefano, Affirmation Photography™

ature is a patient teacher. Steadfast, she waits, whispering of renewal and endurance and other essential truths. Years ago, I fell in love with abandoned spaces such as historic barns and timeless treasures like this vintage Ford. I gaze into their worn faces and marvel at what remains.

Nature, bless her, nurtures these left-behind objects. We move on for newer and better. She works her magic on our history. Painting with her unique palette, she beguiles us into turning back for just a moment, before yesterday fades completely. Think of the aged wood of your grandparents’ porch, where folks once rocked and swapped simple stories. When I discover long-abandoned buildings, those soft, steady voices return to me. My heart skips a beat as I lean in to understand their timeless wisdom. It’s the same when I explore an automotive salvage yard. I lose myself for hours, searching for weathered patina, old paint and chrome left to the mercy of time and exposure. Each relic was once someone’s every day. These crumbling memories are a marvel now. And I find myself wondering about my own simple story. What will it mean to the next generation, or the next? How much of my living will last, scarred and roughed up? Will others see a bit of their own mortality reflected in its faded glory? For a photographer who trades in landscapes and wildlife and healing images of flowers, rusty “car art” might seem an odd obsession. But for me, nature’s voice rings true even here, her message clear and strong. There is undeniable beauty in the day-to-day, even as time marches forward. We all face the same realities in the end. We are remarkable, even after we’re broken. And NOTHING left behind is ever truly forgotten. Not to those of us searching for the next spark that will set our imaginations free... Anna DeStefano is a best-selling novelist and an award-winning fine art photographer who lives in Clarkesville, Georgia. Her visual stories of healing and hope evolved from her passion to uplift and encourage. Her Affirmation Photography™ is placed regularly in private collections and healing spaces, including Emory Healthcare locations throughout Atlanta. Explore Anna’s Heart Open blog and images of reflection and peace at www. View pieces from her latest collections in at Timpson Creek Gallery in Clayton, GA.

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Profile for The Laurel of Northeast Georgia

Georgia Mountain Laurel April 21  

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