Page 1

from the Publisher C

hristmas may look a lot different than those of the past, we may open gifts that have been mailed through Facetime video calls or we may Zoom our family to say Merry Christmas instead of being able to hug their necks this year. Or you may opt to gather your family together in spite of the increasing Covid-19 numbers. Whatever you choose we hope that your holiday is bright and full of good cheer. Christmas is a special time that supersedes world circumstances. It centers around the birth of our Savior Jesus and the hope He offers to the world. This issue offers some recipes to try, takes a look at some incredible local art, and offers an adventure that includes a visit to the all new Shenanigans food truck for some of Inger’s specialties. We take a look around town at local business and we share with you some mountain history from the Rabun County Historical Society. Don’t miss the two outstanding homes featured in this issue.

December 2020 • Volume Seventeen • Issue Twelve Georgia Mountain Laurel Mailing: PO Box 2218, Clayton, Georgia 30525 Office: 2511 Highway 441, Mountain City, Georgia 30562 706-782-1600 • Publisher/Editor - Tracy McCoy Assistant Editor - D’Anna Coleman Art Director - Dianne VanderHorst Graphic Designer - Lucas McCoy Office Manager/ Account Executive - Cindi Freeman Account Executive - Melynda Hensley Photographer/Writer - Peter McIntosh Contributing Writers: John Shivers, Emory Jones, Jan Timms, Lorie Thompson, Richard Cinquina, CrystaI Youngblood, Susan Brewer, Kendall R. Rumsey, John Hutcheson

Please be kind and patient as we navigate Christmas together. Remember to love one another and to celebrate Jesus. It’s still the most wonderful time of the year and the story is still the greatest story ever told! Blessings to you & Merry Christmas Tracy

Merry Christmas from All at the Georgia Mountain Laurel

Copyright 2016 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.


GML - December 2020

December 2020 - GML 3

In This Issue

Arts & Entertainment 8 12

Cover Artist – Ali Wilkins North Georgia Arts Guild Kathy Beehler – Presence & Color in Portraits

A Taste 16 20

Bon Appetit The Family Table

Mountain Living 24 28

A House Worthy of Celebration Sitting Pretty on Top of the World

Faith in Christ 32 34

Rabun For the Gospel River Garden

Health & Wellness 38 42

Beating the Winter Blues Get Tested for COPD

Outdoors 44

Adventure Out

Around Town 48 49 50 50 51

Happy 25th Anniversary Crawford Art Gallery Christmas Celebrations Creative Framing – Preserving Your Treasures The Fireplace – Bringing Comfort and Warmth to the Home Infinite 30 – A Healthier You is on the Horizon

Life & Leisure 52 54

Of These Mountains By the Way

Yesterdays 56 4

GML - December 2020

Rabun County Historical Society Before Georgia Power, There Was Thomas E Roane: or How Clayton’s Lights were Turned On

December 2020 - GML 5


GML - December 2020

December 2020 - GML 7


ou’ve heard it said, “Do more of what makes you happy”. Then there’s this one, “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day of your life.” Most of us don’t figure these things out till later in life but I met a young lady this month who seems to have a clear path to her future and it looks pretty bright! Ali Wilkins was born and raised in Rabun Gap and graduated from Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School where she played volleyball. In fact her incredible ability on the volleyball court gained her an invitation to play for Berea College in Kentucky, where she began her studies in Applied Health Science. She later transferred to Piedmont College to be closer to home and to play volleyball. She is less than a year away from earning her degree. To work her way through school, Ali coaches volleyball on the side, works at Fortify Pi in Clayton, and is putting into practice the knowledge she has gained in college at Studio E in Clayton. This young lady is not afraid of hard work! Then, there’s her art. Ali always enjoyed art class. She is a doodler, loves crafts and art projects. She says she has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. She never entertained the idea of becoming an artist but her boss at Fortify Pi asked her to decorate the chalkboard sandwich boards with their daily specials and she far exceeded Shane’s expectations. Ali says that Shane’s belief in her meant so much. One business owner after another took notice and asked Ali to bring her artistic skills to their front windows.

On Our Cover: Ali Wilkins


GML - December 2020

Lotus Gallery owner, Lizzy Falcon, invited Ali to join a group of young artists who painted a large mural at her gallery in Rabun Gap. Ali’s whimsical, fun, happy art is taking Clayton by storm. When Madison’s on Main opened, Ali was commissioned to decorate their storefront and now she has a line of stickers available there. She is painting and lettering windows, painting murals, doing commissioned pieces for individuals and even has designed a few tattoos. She has a line of really creative zip code art that she customizes to include elements of your zip code. You honestly can’t go to Clayton without seeing Ali’s art. Ali and Grace Nolan, also an artist, love to paint together, share ideas and both artists are represented at Ladybug Landing in Lakemont. Ali calls her art stylistic and cartoony and that has become her signature style. When she isn’t working… not sure when that is… she enjoys a good dinner, hiking, hanging with her friends and spending time with Harry, her white Golden Retriever. She has named her art business Ali Wilkins Design and you are invited to follow her on Instagram and on Facebook. You are invited to reach out to Ali through Facebook with questions or comments. So, her energy is astounding, her courageous spirit and zeal for life are inspiring and her art makes me smile. That’s the idea behind her life thus far to help you be healthy, happy and to have fun doing it. December 2020 - GML 9

10 GML - December 2020

December 2020 - GML 11

12 GML - December 2020

North Georgia Arts Guild Kathy Beehler – Presence & Color in Portraits


By Susan Brewer

he December issue of the Georgia Mountain Laurel is a welcome celebration of traditional holiday messages. But here, get ready for something non-Christmasy… the dynamic portraits painted by artist Kathy Beehler. Her work is a celebration of individuals set in abstract fields of color. Kathy describes the origin of these acrylic works in this way: “The paintings you see here were all done at 3-hour workshops called “Studio Alive!” – they take place at The Bascom Center for the Visual Arts in Highlands. Before I leave for the meetings, I take the paper that I plan to work on and smear paint on the paper without thinking. That way when I get there I have several to choose from. I just grab one and start painting. I let that colored background guide me. It makes for interesting shapes and shadows and colors that I couldn’t plan otherwise. That’s my way of doing it.” The results, as you see, are bright and imaginative. Kathy paints in such a way that the paint is a record of Kathy’s gestures and movements. The brushwork—the physical act of painting—in this way becomes part of the subject matter in the paintings along with the sitters in the portraits. That’s pretty amazing! It’s like a memory we are invited to share. We can stand where she stood. You can almost feel it. Kathy also presents us with a single moment in time that reveals these women and men, characters all, and their expressive personalities full of energy and life—they seem to glow with it—while some are possessed by doubt or thoughtfulness or a quirk of character or stillness. The collection of emotions and states of mind is as varied as the subjects themselves. “Everyone has a presence, whether we know it or not. And I don’t think to myself when I’m painting, say, that this person is serene, but I do look for a tilt of the head, or the way the hair falls. It’s fun to try to capture the expressions. “I have loved taking part in the workshops so much, and missed them so much now. They have taught me about observation and really seeing what I’m looking at. The group size runs anywhere from five to six to as many as seventeen or eighteen people. That’s as many as the room will hold. It’s a nice energy because everybody has their own style and

does their own thing. I love to paint the same thing as a bunch of different people because everybody’s interpretation is so unique and so different. I think we all need to express ourselves. “When I first started out many years ago, in my teens, I went into abstract art. It is very hard to do! Still, I do some of that now when I smear colors on before I begin to work, I don’t give it much thought.” Somewhere along the way – as she’s painting – the painting finds what it wants to say. The collection seen here hangs in an ample, open loft space that makes up Kathy’s studio/ gallery above the main floor in Kathy’s home. There they have plenty of room to breathe. During our visit, Kathy mentioned that she studied under two artists and in looking at their work, you can better understand the place Kathy is coming from when she paints. Marc Chatov is one. He’s a traditional portrait artist she’s taken several portrait classes with. See his beautiful works at The second artist is Karen Knutson. She paints contemporary semi-abstract paintings and she, like Kathy, is a colorist with a powerful sense of design. Her website is One of Kathy Beehler’s works was included in the 2020 South Appalachian Artist Guild National Juried Show in October and November of this year. Her works appear in locations in and around Clayton and have hung at the Hudson Library in Highlands, NC. You can see more of Kathy’s images online at which is affiliated with the Hudson Library. And you can find out more about “Studio Alive!” at Kathy’s email is The North Georgia Arts Guild is a growing collective of 100+ members who seek to celebrate the art and artists of our community. For more information – Susan Brewer has been writing articles featuring North Georgia Arts Guild members since April 2017. Email your comments/questions to her at December 2020 - GML 13

14 GML - December 2020

Bon Appétit Going, Going, ByGone………Finally!!!! Scarlett Cook


don’t think that anyone would have hurt feelings if 2020 were to quietly slip away. But after the year we have had of the virus, the politics, the hateful things that people have said and done, it is time to take a deep breath and remember what the season is all about – the birth of a baby in the most extreme circumstances that was sent to be our beacon in the dark. So go to your happy place in your heart and relax and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. This season may not look like those in the past but the new normal will work just fine if it only includes those relatives and friends that live close and the true reason for the season is first in your heart. These recipes make four servings each and can be doubled or halved depending on your size group. I had a friend tell me that she was going to make sure that she was awake at midnight on December 31st so she would know that 2020 was really gone! So make your resolutions for 2021 and two of the most important ones should be for more patience and kindness. The merriest of Christmases to you and yours and best wishes for a wonderful 2021! Rack of Lamb Serves 4 1 Rack of lamb – at least 8 chops – well trimmed 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar 2 Tablespoons olive oil 3 – 4 Sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme Preheat oven to 400˚. Line a baking sheet with foil. With a sharp knife cut a diagonal crisscross pattern in the outside layer of fat on the lamb. Rub the meat with the vinegar and oil and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature. Place in the reheated oven and roast for 15 minutes. Check the internal temperature of meat; if it is not between 160˚ 165˚ continue to cook until it reaches the correct temperature. Mashed Potatoes Serves 4 4 Large potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes 1 Stick unsalted butter, at room temperature 4 Ounces cream cheese, at room temperature 1/3 Cup sour cream Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water until tender, 20 – 25 minutes. Drain well and place in a bowl. Beat with an electric mixer, adding the butter a small amount at a time. Add the cream cheese and sour cream and beat until smooth. Season well. If not serving immediately, place the potato mixture in an oven proof dish, cover with foil and place in a 200˚ for 20 minutes.

16 GML - December 2020

Red Cabbage with Apples Serves 4 1 Stick unsalted butter 1 Large onion, peeled and sliced into thin rings 1 Head red cabbage, cored and cut into 1” wide strips 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into thin wedges In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage to the skillet and cook until tender but still crisp 4 – 5 minutes. Add the apples and cook them until just soft but not mushy 2 – 4 minutes. Serves hot or at room temperature. Broccoli with Browned Garlic Serves 4 1/2 Cup olive oil 12 Cloves of garlic, peeled 1 Large head of broccoli, cut into florets. 1/4 Stick of butter, melted Heat the oil in a heavy skillet, over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly until all the cloves are browned, about 6 – 8 minutes. Remove the garlic from the oil and set aside. Cook the florets in a large pot of boiling water just until tender, 3 – 5 minutes. Drain well. Toss with the melted butter. Arrange on a serving dish with the garlic as a garnish. Blueberry Crisp Serves 4 3/4 Cup plain flour 1/2 Cup sugar 1/2 Teaspoon ground cinnamon 3/4 Stick unsalted butter, cold 5 Cups fresh or frozen blueberries* Preheat oven to 375˚. Butter an 8” baking dish. Combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl; blend in the butter with a pastry cutter or your fingers until mixture is crumbly. Place blueberries in prepared dish and sprinkle the crumb mixture over them. Bake 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped topping or ice cream. *Any fruit will work in this recipe. Try it with a mixture of blueberries and peaches for a different taste. December 2020 - GML 17

18 GML - December 2020

December 2020 - GML 19

The Family Table


By Lorie R. Thompson

ow, what a year! 2020 has felt like a bad rollercoaster ride! The way we live has changed: Mask, handwashing, no traveling, and no big gatherings, to name a few.

Garlic, Cheddar Biscuit, and I will have a happy family. Add in Grilled Shrimp and Beef Tenderloin Skewers, served straight off the grill, and it sounds like a socially distanced, campfire, holiday feast!

The holidays will be different this year, too. In past years, Thanksgiving opened the holiday season, and through New Year’s, every weekend was full of parties with different groups of friends and family. That will not be the case this year. There will not be any big parties, so small, more intimate gatherings of our closest family will become more of a focus for us.

For the Clam Chowder, begin with 4-6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed into small bite-sized pieces. Or, use red potatoes and leave the peeling.

Making these small family gatherings memorable is paramount to me, along with keeping my family safe and virus free. With that in mind, I have been re-thinking our family Christmas party and the traditional holiday menu. The shrimp bowl and the Charcuterie Board, shared by all, are not in my plan this year. I want to offer food that feels like a celebration, but easier to serve, without so many hands in the dish. Weather permitting, we are having an outdoor party, centered around a bonfire. I am thinking of serving hot, rich food that you can eat while standing around the fire. Creamy Clam Chowder sounds perfect, served with crisp bacon and spicy Oyster Crackers on top. Paired with a hot from the oven,

20 GML - December 2020

In a stockpot, cook six pieces of good bacon until crisp. Remove from the pot and reserve the bacon to crumble on the soup when serving. Add 2 T of butter to the bacon drippings. Add one medium onion, finely diced. Saute’ 2-3 minutes or until the onion is getting translucent. Add two minced garlic cloves, 1 T of Kosher salt, and 1 tsp of Old Bay Seasoning. Add 3 T of self-rising flour. (self-rising flour makes a better roux than AP flour.) Cook while stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until the flour is golden in color. Add the juice from 2-3 cans of chopped clams, reserving the clams. Add 32 oz of chicken stock and the cubed potatoes. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Add the clams and a can of Evaporated Milk. Add pepper of your choice. Simmer for an additional 10-

15 minutes. Serve with the crumbled bacon and spicy oyster crackers on top and a Garlic Cheddar Biscuit on the side. For the Garlic Cheddar Biscuits, pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. In a bowl, mix 2 C of Bisquick with 2/3 C of whole milk. Add 1/2 C grated Cheddar Cheese. Drop dough by spoonfuls (9 biscuits in this recipe) onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 10 -12 minutes until the biscuits are brown. Melt 3-4 T of butter and add 1/2 tsp of granulated garlic powder and 1/2 tsp of dried parsley. Brush over tops of hot biscuits and serve warm. (Fun fact: My Uncle Mike Ramey still holds the Red Lobster record for eating the most Cheddar Bay Biscuits! I have forgotten how many it was, but be sure and ask Aunt Reba. She will remember. LOL)

December 2020 - GML 21

in the refrigerator. Turn the container upside down to distribute marinade on occasion—grill over hot coals. You can use pork tenderloin for a budget-friendly alternative. If using Pork tenderloin, alternate the pork cube with a red pepper slice and a pineapple chunk. These are delicious. Other ideas for serving food safely include drinks served in individual cans or bottles. Serve condiments in individual serving cups so your guest can pick them up with no sharing of utensils. Cupcakes or individually wrapped desserts are an excellent choice. (My family is getting Granny Ramey fried, dried apple pies) (shhh. it is a surprise!) One person (wearing gloves) will serve the soup, and the skewers will come straight from the grill to the guest plates.

The grilled shrimp skewers are easy to make and are an excellent addition to any meal or serve as an appetizer. Use peeled and deveined shrimp skewering through two sides of each shrimp. Melt one stick unsalted butter with 1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning and 1 tsp Cajun Seasoning. (This is the same mix used for the oyster crackers. Just use the leftovers for them.) Brush the shrimp skewers on both sides with the seasoned butter. Grill until the shrimp are no longer translucent. These are perfect served straight off the grill with a lemon or lime wedge. For the Oyster Crackers, use the leftover butter mixture from the shrimp. Pour over the Oyster Crackers in a baking dish. Toss to coat. Place in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes and remove from heat. The beef tenderloin is a real treat. To prepare the beef, cut into 2x2 inch cubes. Season the cubes with salt, tossing to season on all sides. In a rectangular shaped dish, preferably with a spill-proof lid, make the marinade. Start with 1 T of Dijon Mustard, 1 T of packed brown sugar, 2 tsp of cumin, 2 tsp of granulated garlic, 1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes, juice of a lemon, 1/2 tsp of thyme and crushed rosemary, 2 T of Worcestershire Sauce, and 1/4 C of olive oil. Stir to mix. Skewer each meat cube placing a slice of red onion between each cube. Place in the marinade overnight. Keep

I hope that you will enjoy this season with your family and those you love most. Take precautions to prevent sickness, but don’t give up the time together. Celebrate Christ’s birth with the focus being on his great love for us. Enjoy this quiet season, making each moment with your family extra special. Create memories and traditions that last. Give your time and your best efforts to your family along with your love and praise. Share with them the good news of the most important gift of all, given 2000 years ago on a hill called Calvary. I wish you the best holiday season ever! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Bring on 2021! 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.

Merry Christmas and Happy Cooking! 22 GML - December 2020

December 2020 - GML 23

A House Worthy of Celebration By John Shivers


avor the magnificent colorful bursts of light silhouetted against the northeast Georgia night sky. Listen to the accompanying booms of narration. It’s a celebration, and from the oversized screened porch on the lake side of the home at 4740 Murray Creek Road on Lake Burton, you and your guests will have front-row seats to the annual fireworks displays from Billy Goat Island. You can also view the show from the level back yard, from the dug-out patio or the row of Adirondack chairs at water’s edge. But the good news is: when this is your home, these fireworks are just the tip of the gracious lifestyle iceberg. Here on this 1.84± acre fee-simple lot, every day is a cause for fireworks, as you’ll quickly discover. What’s not to celebrate? A prime Rabun County lakefront location. Seven luxurious bedrooms. Large spacious rooms with every bell and whistle you could envision in a house. An opportunity to embrace the “Burton experience.” You’ll experience lakefront living at its finest, with the backdrop of mountains and their four-seasonal views as an added plus. Talk about a win-win! This home is only four years old, but your first impression is one of pristine newness, a freshness that never ages. At the

24 GML - December 2020

same time, the nine foot ceilings… the interior shiplap sided walls… the casual yet elegant surroundings immediately clue you in: You’re at home. And what a life awaits you in this modern adaptation of a coastal farmhouse with subtle hints of classic antiquity. Outside, you’re reminded of a New England coastal cottage. This first impression is only reinforced by the covered porch, gables and dormers, dark-painted concrete siding, stone accents, and pristine white trim. The front garage and the paved drive and turnaround provide ample parking for family and guests, all conveniently adjacent to both the double glassed entry front doors and the kitchen. The near level lot, a real treasure in these mountainous parts, continues behind the house to water’s edge, where a spacious, covered patio and two-stall boathouse expand the lake living possibilities and enjoyment. This is definitely a property intended for all that a Lake Burton address promises. And then some. In addition to the seven bedrooms, two masters on the main level, and four on the terrace level, all bedrooms have their own en suite baths. A special plus on this lower level is the bunk room with sleeping for ten, and each bunk is equipped

with all the comforts of home, including individual reading lights. No detail has been overlooked. Powder rooms on both levels also add to the convenience factor, as does the second kitchen and the family recreation room on the lower level. A massive stone fireplace and a vaulted ceiling with antique beams anchor the great room. Light predominates everywhere, thanks to the decorating palette that centers around a white background, a shade that exudes warmth, a silent invitation to kick back and relax. Echoing that invitation is the screened porch on the main level, complete with fireplace, and the covered porch on the terrace level, with a shuffleboard court, hot tub, and easy access to the lake. The chef’s kitchen at one end of the main floor great room was designed for comfort, convenience and entertaining. White Shaker-inspired furniture quality cabinetry, solid-surface counter tops, top-of-the-line stainless steel appliances, and an oversized walk-in pantry are yet another reason to celebrate. Contact Agent Julie Barnett at Harry Norman, REALTORSŽ Luxury Lake and Mountain at 404-697-3860 or at the office, 706212-0228, for an opportunity to tour this listing and discover what the fireworks are all about. Reference MLS #8866976.

December 2020 - GML 25

26 GML - December 2020



December 2020 - GML 27

Sitting Pretty on Top of the World By John Shivers

28 GML - December 2020


nticipation was the theme of a particular ketchup commercial of the past, where everyone waited with bated breath for the first dollop of the desired red stuff to plop out of the bottle. That’s kind of how it is as you climb Tiger Pass Drive from Bridge Creek Road out from Tiger. Anticipation builds with each curve, each snippet of landscape you glimpse. Then, when you reach #490 with views that far surpass fantastic, you’re more than rewarded. From the waterfall-pond feature at the entry, beautifully designed and crafted by a local landscaper, to this paradise above the tree tops, it just doesn’t get any better. Whether you prefer the morning sunrises or the waning rays of evening light, you’ll find the best of both right outside your door twice a day. And there’s nothing prettier than the mountain mists that mingle with the light morning and evening. This home, on 10± acres truly represents life at its best at the top of the world. But best goes over the top when you discover that along with the elevation and views comes a four bedroom home just perfect for mountain living. Sometimes it pays to wait patiently to “ketchup” with the perfect home for you and your family, and this kingdom in the sky, with its multiple porches and decks, gives you so many different possibilities. What a home it is. Built in 2002 with 3,336 square feet on two levels, this family-centric home with fantastic privacy has recently been updated, ready for you and yours to move right in. The four bedrooms with great views and two and one-half baths make this house ideal for daily living, or as a get-away gathering place for family and friends. From the sunroom off the kitchen to the window-lined great room, to the beautiful, spacious, functional kitchen, with an oversize dining area included in vaulted great room, every inch of space is devoted to livability. Beautiful hardwood floors run throughout this area, while the bedrooms have carpeted floors. On the terrace level, there’s a den or family room with a free-standing gas log unit, a second kitchen, two additional bedrooms, an office or craft room that could do double duty as an additional bedroom, and a large workshop with both easy access to the rest of the lower level, as well as an outside doorway. The main floor kitchen offers generous cabinet and counter space crowned by solid surface tops, that include two appliance garages. An oversize island with a dining space only adds to the convenience factor, and a large pass-through to the dining room and great room makes it possible for the chef to cook and socialize. Stainless steel appliances make that task a piece of cake. A two car garage with an unfinished second level allow for additional storage today and expansion potential for tomorrow. Hardi-plank exterior siding, a new metal roof, triple-zoned climate controls, and a generator relieve the homeowner of many concerns, and leave more time for those breathtaking views and the lifestyle they represent. When asked, the current owners shared that one of the reasons they’ve loved this home so much is that it’s one of the few privately owned mountain tops in Rabun County, where so many of the mountains are part of the U.S. Forest Lands. Ready to move up to the top of the world? Think you can handle those awesome views? Check out MLS #8882372. However pictures don’t do this home justice, so contact Poss Realty Agent Gail Hopper at 706-490-2152 or Agent Rodney Hopper at 706-490-0701 or at the office at 706-746-5962. December 2020 - GML 29

30 GML - December 2020

A Place of Hope By John Hutcheson Pastor, Tabernacle Baptist Church


ope––so many people looking for it but very few ever finding it because most are looking in the wrong place. They look for it in relationships––both proper and improper ones, material possessions, social status, financial stability, the dream job, substance abuse/addiction, and on the list goes. Hope is not found in any of those things. Hope is found in a Person, and His name is Jesus. The Apostle Paul wrote, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13 ESV). Christmas time of year is especially a time when people by the millions are looking for hope. One particular group of those looking for hope is foster children. They’ve been taken away from mom and dad, usually through no fault of their own, and life is hard, especially at Christmas time. Family traditions are gone because their family is ripped apart. They are in a different, and often new, environment. Many find themselves hoping their family will be back together by Christmas, but that is often not the case. Did you know that the State of Georgia has approximately 11,900 children in foster care as of July 2020? That is a 57% increase from 2013. On average, 18 children enter the Georgia foster care system every day. In Rabun County alone, 40

32 GML - December 2020

children live in 12 foster families. Others have been relocated to counties throughout Georgia, hindering family visitations and reunification. Adding further stress and pain to an already difficult life for these foster children is the fact that many loving, trained foster parents experience burnout. It is estimated 30% to 50% of Foster Care families leave the system from burnout, which adds additional stress to the system. These children, and their foster parents, need our help. That’s where Place of Hope North Georgia comes in, and where you can come in as well. Place of Hope North Georgia is a faith-based, non-profit organization providing resources for children who need familial, spiritual, and financial support because of abuse, neglect, or homelessness. Our primary focus is on children and parents in the Foster Care system of Rabun County. It was the vision of Clayton Baptist Church but has expanded to include people from other churches and the community. Clayton Baptist purchased a home adjacent to their property to be used for this specific purpose. Place of Hope (PoH) will offer four main services to foster children and families: 1) Transitional Foster Care for Rabun

County: PoH will provide a home and staff for transitional care of children who are removed from their birth family before a foster-family placement is finalized. This is often a one to three-day transition. 2) Respite Care for Foster Parents in Rabun County: PoH will provide a home and staff for respite services, allowing foster parents to bring their foster child(ren) for a brief respite (e.g. date night, weekend get-away) to help re-energize them for their important work as foster parents. 3) Family Visitations: Through a joint venture with Family Resource Center of Northeast Georgia (Clarkesville), PoH facilitates family visitations to encourage family reconciliation and parent/child healing. This has already begun. 4) Supply Closet: PoH offers a clothes and supply closet to DFCS as they relocate children into foster care and to foster care parents as they care for children. So how can you help? We are seeking to raise $250,000 to renovate the home and make necessary adjustments to it in order to meet the specific needs of these children. This will include five bedrooms, three bathrooms, space for visitations, a modernized kitchen, new windows, new roof, new electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems. It will also be ADA accessible. Beyond that there will be funds needed for an ongoing operating budget. Christmas is a great time of year to give to help support children in times of great need as well as supporting families who give of themselves sacrificially, both short term and long term, to love, care for, and encourage these precious and hurting children. While many can give financially, some also have skills to help with the house renovations. If you are willing to donate your time and skills, that will go a long way toward getting the house up and running. Our goal for that is the second quarter of 2020. Others can become trained and certified DFCS (Division of Family & Children Services) foster parents to help run the home. A number of people in our community have already expressed interest in helping in this capacity and are currently completing the training and certification required. But more are needed. Whether or not you can help in these ways, all can pray for these foster children and families as well as the birth parents and the unique needs and challenges they all face. They all need help and hope. So, let’s pray that the God of hope will fill them with joy and peace so they may abound in hope (see Romans 15:13 above). Donations can be made to A Place of Hope North Georgia and mailed to PO Box 933, Clayton, GA 30525. All donations are tax deductible. If you would like to help in any of the other areas mentioned please contact us at You can also visit our website at https://www.placeofhopenga. com and our Facebook page @ PlaceofHopeNGa for additional information and updates.

December 2020 - GML 33

34 GML - December 2020

December 2020 - GML 35

Clayton, Georgia

36 GML - December 2020

December 2020 - GML 37

Beating the Winter Blues By CrystaI Youngblood


always thought health coaching was a woo-woo subject until I found myself in the most undesirable place. I was at a point that I could not de-stress, lose weight or manage life. I felt unconnected to those closest to me and things were always rushing so fast, that I opened my eyes one morning and it was five years later. I felt out of control of not only my life, but my happiness, and my health too. There was no amount of self care that could save me. I was struggling, profoundly depriving myself of the happy moments in life without consciously knowing how to return. COVID has been a difficult time for sure, but what it did force upon me was a lot of time by myself, in my own thoughts. I learned so much about myself. I started tapping into my personal power and understanding what was fueling me and what was draining me. I did a self-assessment and decided I did not deserve to be this unhappy. It was time for a change and only I could make this change. I didn’t know exactly what to do, but I did know one thing, I could not keep going like this! If that isn’t a last resort of motivation, I don’t know what is.

Ten Tips to Beat the Winter Blues 1. Up your Vitamin D3 intake! It has been shown to affect your mood and improve your overall sense of well-being. A majority of people are deficient in Vitamin D3, especially in the winter months. Be sure to take it with Vitamin K for absorption. You can have your levels checked through a blood test, be sure to speak with your doctor. 2. Use light therapy or a sunlamp for as little as 15 minutes a day. This helps people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or just anyone who feels better in some sunlight. You can find SAD light therapy options (cheaply) on Amazon! 3. Take time to rest and hibernate. Go to bed early and get at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Avoid technology at least one hour before bed. Create a “bedtime” routine to let your body know it is time to begin winding down. 4. Eat hot meals or warming foods! You can add some spices to your meals or consume warming foods such as: soups, curries and stews! 5. When the weather permits, go outside to get sun and fresh air. This can be hiking, walking, even yard work.

38 GML - December 2020

6. Connect with the people who make you laugh! Humor and laughter actually help strengthen your immune system, trigger endorphins, boost your energy, AND has been known to protect you from the damaging side effects of stress! 7. Get in the hot tub or take a hot Jacuzzi bath, this is great for stimulating blood flow and helping you to relax. 8. Move your body every day. Do something that makes you sweat, get out of breath, or simply walk! Find the movement that works for you. 9. Update your wardrobe. Wear comfortable, vibrant colored clothes that make you feel cozy yet productive. The goal is to feel warm not dumpy! 10. Take up a new hobby or simply learn something new. Try learning guitar, a new language, or knitting. Really anything that you can look forward to and concentrate on. The goal is to learn, grow, and gain that sense of accomplishment through something new.

Determined to resolve my own issues, I enrolled in multiple health, fitness, and wellness programs to help me connect the missing pieces I needed for a resolution to take place. Two months into my health coach training, I left my career to pursue building my own company. There was an instant peace the moment I stepped into who I was meant to be. The education I invested in taught me how to de-stress, lose weight, manage life, and most importantly teach others how to do the same. As a Health Coach, I understand the weight and frustration of feeling like there is more out there for you, but not knowing where to turn to or how to get started. That’s why my core mission is very simple: give ALL of my clients the education around wellness, tools and resources that they need to feel healthy, happy, and fully capable of managing life’s pressures. It is my goal to offer an all around approach to health and wellness. The mental shifts in my programs are the most important part of the education that I can provide. This is where we focus on creating sustainable change through the formation of “better habits”. Without this, it is very unlikely for change to take place, much less last. Truth is, people know what to do, but struggle to make it happen for themselves. People need the right system, the right support, and the right accountability to achieve sustainable success. This is where I feel that my programs can help people obtain their wellness goals and connect the missing pieces in their lives. If you are interested in working with me or just tips on increasing your own wellness head to www.crystalyoungblood. com and check it out! I look forward to connecting with you and discovering how healthy you truly can be.

Crystal Youngblood is an ICF Certified Health Coach and Life Coach who positively impacts the lives of everyone she works with. Her goal is to help people become the healthiest, happiest version of themselves free from everyday stressors. She assists people with stress management, education around nutrition and fitness, lifestyle, performance and motivation through her multitude of programs. She is passionate in helping people find the right balance for them to create sustainable healthy change and contribute to the eradication of lifestyle diseases to make our planet a happier, healthier place.

Healthy and Well

December 2020 - GML 39

40 GML - December 2020

December 2020 - GML

Get Tested for COPD: Your Lungs Will Thank You


f you’re often short of breath during everyday activities, your chest feels tight, or you cough a lot, you may be chalking it up to getting older, having allergies, or being a smoker (now or in the past). Fortunately, there’s a way to know whether something more may be at play. Consider getting a lung function test to find out if you have a serious condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. Knowing the cause of your cough and breathing problems will not only help you manage your symptoms – it’ll help you feel better, too. COPD includes two main conditions – emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It’s usually caused by cigarette smoking or breathing in other irritants, such as dusts or chemical fumes. In a small fraction of people, a genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency plays a role in causing COPD. More than 16 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD, and millions more have it but don’t know it, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). COPD doesn’t have a cure at the moment, but if you seek advice from a health care provider and get diagnosed early, you can slow down this progressive disease. During your appointment, your provider will talk to you about your symptoms and your medical history then listen to your breathing. He or she also may recommend one or more tests to help diagnose COPD.

Spirometry: A Lung Function Test The main test for COPD is called spirometry. During this test, a technician at your health care provider’s office will ask you to sit down and put a clip on your nose, so you can breathe only through your mouth. The technician will then ask you to put your mouth around a mouthpiece, which looks like the mouthpiece on a snorkel. It’s connected to a machine that

42 GML - December 2020

(Family Features) Photo courtesy of Getty Images measures how well you breathe. The technician will ask you to take in a deep breath then blow all of your air out as fast as you can. You’ll repeat that a few times. It’s painless, but it does take some effort. Your provider will use the test results to determine how healthy your lungs are, if you have COPD and how serious it is, or if asthma or other conditions are causing your symptoms. Spirometry can also help your provider know if you have COPD before you even have symptoms, so if you’re concerned about your lung health, consider getting a spirometry test. Ask for a lung function test if you: Are over age 40 Are or were a smoker Feel out of breath often Bring up a lot of mucus when you cough Have already been diagnosed with a lung disease Have AAT deficiency Are concerned about your lung health Another factor to consider when assessing your lung health is COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus that has spread throughout the world. Unlike COPD, COVID-19 causes abrupt coughing and trouble breathing, so your health care provider may want to test you for it. If you have a chronic lung disease, such as COPD, and get infected with COVID-19, you are at higher risk of getting very sick. COVID-19 can affect your respiratory tract (nose, throat, lungs), and possibly lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease. For more information on COVID-19, visit NHLBI’s Learn More Breathe BetterSM program provides free educational resources about COPD, videos on spirometry, and more. Find them at

Dr. Wilbanks

December 2020 - GML

Adventure Out Currahee Mountain by Peter McIntosh


o welcome our new friends at Currahee Brewing Company and the food and fun spot next door, Shenanigans, we’re hiking up Currahee Mountain in Toccoa. This was the mountain that was the training ground for many of the brave men that took part in the D-Day invasion. The mountain was made famous in the 2001 HBO production, “Band of Brothers,” which chronicled the exploits of Easy Company, the 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, who parachuted behind enemy lines in the early hours of D-Day in support of the landings at Utah beach. And if you saw that miniseries, you know these men trained at Camp Toccoa, and trudged up and down Currahee often, and with full packs and a rifle no less. But before setting off on your trek, I want you to get a little background on these American heroes by visiting the nearby Currahee Military Museum in Toccoa. The museum is located in the old Railroad Depot, which was the starting out point for all the arriving recruits. There is an $8 dollar fee to visit the museum and well worth it for anyone interested in military history. The numerous displays, maps and artifacts really bring this story to life. And the nice volunteers working there will give you directions to the Currahee Trail, about 6 miles away, and answer any other questions you may have. There’s also a gift shop offering books, tee shirts and other various military items.

44 GML - December 2020

Now in “Band of Brothers,” the soldiers often referred to Currahee Mountain saying “three miles up, three miles down,” but techincally the trail is 2.7 miles each way. It’s called the Colonel Robert Sink Memorial Trail, named after the unit’s commanding officer. And the trail is also a forest service road, FS 62, which means you could drive to the top if so inclined. But if you hike it I think you’ll get a better feel about what it was like for the brave young men preparing to go to war. The first two miles of the trail are easy with a few gentle ascents and descents. But it’s the last 1/2 mile where you pay your dues, climbing steadily to the top. You come to a spot with some exposed rock that’s been spray painted by folks, over and over. This is the best view although it’s not the very top of the mountain. The top of Currahee is covered with a cluster of cell towers, radio antennas and microwave repeaters, not much to look at. But from the overlook near the painted rocks is a splendid view to the north and to the east. On a clear day you should see many of Rabun County’s mountains, Black Rock, Screamer and Rabun Bald but it was hazy when I visited so I can’t say for sure. Now after your adventure, celebrate you journey with a fresh, hand crafted beer at Currahee Brewing Company on West Savannah Street in Clayton, across from the courthouse, and check out the very fun offerings next door at Shenanigans. And the amazing cuisine from their food truck. You’ll be glad you did. (See their ad on page 18) Happy Hiking

‘Tis the end of the year and my December Poem is here: We’re retracing the steps of heroic soldiers, Up to a mountaintop with spray painted boulders. Then back into town for food, fun and beer, A great way to share some holiday cheer. Getting there: From Clayton, go south on Hwy 441 for 19 miles to the Hollywood intersection. There’s an Exxon and a Kangaroo here. Turn left on Hwy 17A and go 10 miles to Toccoa. Entering the town, Hwy 17A bears off to the right but we continue straight on N. Alexander Street for 1/4 mile until it dead ends at train depot and Currahee Military Museum. Currahee Mountain Trail: Cross over Railroad tracks and turn right, heading west, on W. Currahee Street. Stay on this road for a little less than 6 miles until you reach the trailhead. For more information: or call: 706-282-5055 To see more of Peter’s photos of if you have a question or comment:

December 2020 - GML 45

46 GML - December 2020


Art by Ali Wilkins

Around Town

Crawford Art Gallery • Christmas Events • Creative Framing • The Fireplace • Infinite 30 In the Mountains

Happy 25th Anniversary


Crawford Art Gallery!

ime flies when you’re having fun, just ask Broderick and Michele Crawford. It has been 25 years this year since Broderick picked up a paintbrush full time and it’s been both fun and exciting. Known for his intricate skills as a jeweler, no one was surprised to see the same attention to detail in his artwork. Broderick’s art includes trout, birds, landscapes, scenes from rural life, and historic locations around the area. Not only is he a gifted painter, he is an award winning carver. He has received dozens of awards for his art over the years, including a dozen First Place finishes and two dozen Second Place awards. He competes in the Federal Duck Stamp competition each year finishing as high as fourth. His favorite accomplishment was winning the Trout Unlimited design for the state of Georgia car tags. Michele Crawford has been by Broderick’s side from day one, establishing herself as one of the area’s finest photographers, capturing the Appalachian culture, natural beauty and wildlife. She also frames Broderick’s and her art and offers framing to their customers. The Crawfords are dedicated to conservation and work and donate to organizations such as Trout Unlimited. Visit Crawford Art Gallery at 108 North Main Street in Clayton, Georgia. For additional information call 706-782-8379 or visit their website at

48 GML - December 2020

Mountain Country Christmas in Lights 2020 is a holiday treat for the entire family at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds in Hiawassee, Georgia. The fairgrounds will be transformed into a spectacular and magical holiday light show, with special Christmas music provided by local churches, art & craft vendors, holiday food, hot chocolate, and of course a visit and pictures with Santa! Hours are 6pm-9pm every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, November 26 - December 26, 2020 (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). Gate Admission: Under 12 Free; 12+ $6 per person Free Parking. No Pets Allowed. for more information. ______________________________

CHRISTMASFEST ChristmasFest returns to Historic Downtown Toccoa, Georgia on December 4th from 6pm to 9pm. Bring in the holiday season with your friends at Main Street Toccoa as. Enjoy the dazzle of lights on the Courthouse Lawn, ice skating as part of Toccoa on Ice, a Live Nativity, Carriage Rides, Craft Vendors and Food Vendors, the Festival of Trees, and more! The event kicks off with the magical Lighting of the Tree. From there, stroll down the street and enjoy the thrill of the Christmas season and make sure to stop for a nice, warm cup of hot chocolate as you stroll. The Spirit continues on Saturday, December 5th at 4pm with the Toccoa Christmas Parade. Toccoa on Ice - $5 per person (includes skates). Come back each weekend in December to enjoy ice skating (weather permitting). For more information about ChristmasFest and Christmas celebrations in Toccoa, Georgia call 706-2823309. ______________________________

Christmas in Downtown Cornelia Downtown Cornelia will host a special night of Christmas Celebration December 5th, 6-9pm. “Downtown Christmas” will have hayrides through its spectacular light display, kids crafts, and live entertainment by Premier Dance Academy, Whistle Top Brewery and Fenders Alley. Enjoy the holiday market filled with local vendors while roasting marshmallows or taking a ride on the new pedal pub as you indulge in Hot Apple Cider or Hot Cocoa. The city and all of the local businesses are planning a lively and exciting night for people of all ages! Admission and most activities for “Downtown Christmas” are free. Hayrides are $1 each. For more information call 706-778-8585 or www.discovercornelia. com


A Downtown Clarkesville Christmas The Christmas Seasons begins in Clarkesville on December 1st at 7pm with the Annual Habersham County Christmas Parade in Downtown Clarkesville, Georgia. Then on December 12th 6pm-8pm Clarkesville Main Street presents A Downtown Clarkesville Christmas at the Gazebo in Clarkesville. Come for the Music and the Lights, Pictures with Santa, Have some hot chocolate or roasted marshmellows. Stores in the downtown area will be open late for your shopping convenience. For more information call 706-754-2220. ______________________________

Blairsville Christmas Celebrations On December 4th and 5th The Union County Civic Center will be filled with home based vendors offering unique Christmas gifts. Hours will be 11am-7pm on Friday the 4th and 11am-5pm on Saturday the 5th. On December 5th the celebration begins with the Holly Jolly Christmas at the community center in Blairsville. There will be Breakfast with Santa, pictures, train rides and more, all practicing social distancing.

Holiday Events

Mountain Country Christmas in Lights continues

Also on December 5th 10am-3pm will be the Kris Kringle Market at the Farmer’s Market in Blairsville. For more information about these events call 706745-5789. ______________________________ The Town of Franklin presents ... WINTER WONDERLAND 2020 December 5th - 5pm to 8pm On December 5, 2020 the Town of Franklin will be decked out and lit up. Downtown Merchants will be open late, many with “Living Windows Displays of the Season”. Santa will also be paying a visit to Downtown Franklin and will visit with young and old alike. The Gazebo on the Square area will be transformed to provide you with many different photo opportunities. The additional decor will definitely add more sparkle to your holiday season! Due to COVID-19 and the safety of all involved, this year’s Winter Wonderland has been modified. Facemasks and Social Distancing required. For more information, call 828-524-2516

December 2020 - GML 49

Creative Framing – Preserve Your Treasures


here they are, stuck up on a shelf in the closet, or in a box under the bed, your mementos. Those family heirlooms that you will always keep but never get to enjoy. Don’t they deserve more? Here’s a great idea, gather those special items that mean so much and take them to Janice and Kris at Creative Framing in Franklin. Let them look at what you have and work with you on the best way too display your treasures. Maybe it’s your mom’s things or your father’s, either way these things framed are preserved for future generations and a nice addition to your home. Christmas is the perfect time to do a keepsake memory box for that someone special. It might memorialize a person, but it can also celebrate an event for instance a wedding, high school prom, military career, sports achievements. Whatever the case may be, it will be a treasure. The ladies at Creative Framing have decades of experience framing and offer many options to match your décor and accommodate your budget. They will work to ensure that you get exactly what you are looking for and will likely exceed your expectations!

So drag that box out and give Janice and Kris a call. Their number is 828-349-4468 and they are located at 482 Depot Street in Franklin, North Carolina. When you go plan enough time to look around because you’re going to want to do just that and expect to find something you can’t live without, because you will. Follow them on Facebook and visit their website

Bringing Comfort & Warmth to the Home


he Fire Place in Clayton, Georgia, opened in 2000 by Lyle and Barbara Powell, is a Hearth retailer, specializing in fireplaces, gas logs, wood stoves, parts and accessories. Offering quality heating options to their customers for eleven years, Lyle and Barbara made the decision to retire. Their daughter and son-in-law, Bill and Susan Swager took the business over and moved to Clayton. Bill shares, “Without Lyle and Barbara we would not be in business today. Susan and I are so thankful for them. We also thank our customers. We realize the trust they put in us and know how valuable that is. We truly bring warmth and comfort to their homes through the hearth!” The Swagers are now engrained in the community having made many friends and are great supporters of the Rabun County Wildcats. The Fire Place recently relocated to 128 Duvall Street, Suite G, in Clayton. They are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays from 8am – 5pm, Wednesdays from 8am – 4pm and Saturdays by appointment. You can call 706-782-1864 for more information or visit their Facebook page.

50 GML - December 2020

A Healthier YOU is On the Horizon New Location in Rabun!


hen Infinite 30 came to Clayton the program changed many lives with 1,000s of lbs and inches shed. Men and women across the region found themselves not only shrinking in size, they enjoyed many other health benefits. Benefits such as better sleep, less acid reflux, a reduction in hormone related issues such as night sweats and mood swings. Many were taken off of medications needed to control blood glucose and blood pressure. Overall it was a success! When the program ended at Clayton Health and Fitness, it was picked up by their program facilitator Mandy Holland Laws. Mandy, a resident of Franklin, North Carolina moved the program to Franklin and while many Rabun residents continued, the distance may have been a hindrance to some. So, we are pleased to announce that Infinite 30 In The Mountains has a Rabun location for the convenience of their members. The new location is located next door to the LAUREL office in Mountain City, Georgia. The address is 2511 Highway 441 North, Clayton, Georgia. Mandy and her staff are open on Tuesday and Wednesday each week. You can meet with your coach face to face (masks are requested, but not required), or a Zoom or Facetime meeting are also options. Contactless signup is also available with your kit being shipped too you. They are really working to accommodate their clients and make the journey to better health as easy as can be. Supplements and healthy snack options are available in the new location as well. It’s simply a win-win for all to have locations in Franklin and so near Clayton. With the new year approaching and the extra pandemic pounds most of us are carrying, it’s a great time to get started or re-start the program. Give Mandy a call at 828-3712359 to get the ball rolling towards a healthier 2021!

December 2020 - GML 51

Dear Santa, By Kendall R. Rumsey


ey Santa, it’s been a while, but my mama always told me if you believe in Santa Claus, he is real. Well, I have never stopped believing.

Even though I haven’t sent letters or visited you in a mall in many years, I’ve always believed in your spirit and the promise of Christmas morning. With that said, Santa, I’m writing you this year because I really think we could all use your help. It’s been a tough year around here Santa. We all went into 2020 with a lot of optimism and just couldn’t wait for the dawn of a new decade. Well, things were going well for the first few weeks and then we got a hard slap of reality and realized things can change in an instant. Santa, I realize you don’t have a lot of control over diseases, not to mention pandemics that affect the world, if you did, I’m sure you would have handled all that type of stuff years ago.

But in the Spirit of Christmas, Santa, I think you can help mend some hearts. This year so many people have been hurt, they have lost people they love and not been able to be with them. Folks have suffered alone when they needed others the most. Santa, give these people a bit of extra special love this year, let them know they are held up by their family and friends and memories will never fade. During 2020, we saw waiters and bartenders and business owners and retail workers, suffer from shutdowns and uncertainty. Santa, if you could, give them a little extra this year. Show them that they are the backbone of our country and help them to know they are appreciated. Moms and dads found out this year just how hard teachers work. Santa, an additional red apple on the desk of every teacher sure would be appropriate and for some, maybe a bottle of wine or bourbon, make that happen please! Mr. Claus, we have always known that our first responders and medical personnel were heroes, but there has never been a year when that was more evident. The saints have put their lives on the lines for ours, they have worked long hard hours and seen things most of us couldn’t handle. When you are handing out extra stocking-stuffers, these kind folks deserve an abundance, make sure they feel the love and appreciation, but Santa most of all, take care of these folks, we need them, special angels that protect us all. Santa, as important as all these requests are, we really need some big gifts this year that probably won’t fit in our stockings. You see Santa, pandemics aren’t the only thing ailing our land. We have become a nation that no longer loves each other, kindness has been thrown out the door and our ability to hear each other’s pleas have all but diminished. While we have seen the very best of our world this year, we have also seen the worst and most days it seems like the bad is winning. Santa, if you could, please sprinkle some of your magic across our land and bring back our kindness, give us back our love of neighbor even when we disagree and teach us to listen again. Having an opposing viewpoint doesn’t mean someone is our enemy, it just means they think differently than we do, Santa, please help us remember this. I remember when I was a kid and wrote you every year, I got most of the things I asked for, so Santa, this year I’m asking for a biggie and I am reminding you, I still believe. Santa bring us all a bit more grace. A grace that can see through the challenges we will face in 2021, a grace that hears more and tries to understand more, Santa, bring us a grace that will bring back the unity that once carpeted our lands and a grace that is needed to move us forward. Well Santa, that’s about it. I really hope you can help me out this year and if you do, I know 2021 will be a whole lot better than 2020 was! Your Friend, Ken P.S. Tell Mrs. Claus hello for me and I’ll have milk and cookies at my house for you and carrots for the reindeer! 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.

52 GML - December 2020

Furniture Barn Furniture Stripping, Reenishing and Repair Chair Caning

4488 Georgia Rd. Franklin, NC


December 2020 - GML 53

to Edinburgh. I guess she wanted to surprise me on my birthday by making ole Cunningham famous, bless her heart. The only problem was, she forgot to purchase the pig a roundtrip ticket. And so, Cunningham is now known all across Scotland as “pig number two.” He would have been pig number one, but they’d already decided the first glow-in-the-dark pig would come from the Loch Ness area, and you really can’t blame them for that. I knew Cunningham had been missing for several days, but that wasn’t unusual. One time, he left for a month, but that was before Judy had him neutered. In order to make sure Cunningham got home safely, I called the Scottish Embassy in Highlands.

By the Way

When Scottish Pigs are Glowing By Emory Jones


may have dreamed this due to a late-night slice of overspiced pizza, but I’m pretty sure I heard on the news that Scotland has beat us in the global race to make pigs glow in the dark. As I understand it, Scottish scientists accomplished this by injecting jellyfish DNA into pigs. Don’t ask me what DNA is, but that’s what they did. And my pet pig, Cunningham, is one of those three little pigs. It happened like this. When my wife, Judy, heard that scientists at the Castlebay Research for Agricultural Productivity (CRAP) were looking for volunteer pigs for this “glow in the dark” project, she filled out some forms and shipped him off

“Hello,” I said, politely. “Is this the Scottish Embassy in Highlands?” “Howfur did ye git this batch?” asked the man who answered the phone. Having taken Scottish in high school, I knew that meant “How on earth did you get this Embassy’s number?” He hung up before I could tell him it was listed in the yellow pages right next to the Embassy Suites Hotel. It took several tries to get him to pick up again. So, when he did, I got right to the point. “You people made my pig glow in the dark. My wife set the whole thing up as my birthday surprise. Now I want you to send him back home where he belongs.” “Say whit?” he inquired, all innocent-like. “My pig,” I said again. “You made him glow in the dark. Now he needs to come back home.” “Na we didnae,” he said, denying the whole thing. “Yes, you did. I’m pretty sure I saw it on the news.” “Listen,” he said confidentially. “Th’ goal ‘ere insae juist tae mak’ pigs look gallus under a black light, althoogh that is pairt o’ it. It’s mostly tae demonstrate that th’ active transgenic technique wirks ‘n’ kin be dane efficiently via th’ deoxyribonucleic acid o’ jellyfish.” “I don’t care,” I said firmly. “I just want my pig back. And he better not show up with an accent, either.” “But ye Americans ur years behind us in th’ glowing-pig race. He’ll ne’er glow in georgia th’ wey he kin glow in Glasgow. We’ll mak’ him famous.” “I’m dialing Highland’s mayor right now.” I wasn’t, of course. I didn’t even know if Highlands had a mayor. Still, my stern tone must have caught someone’s attention, because even though the Embassy man hung up on me again, a drone dropped Cunningham off at the house just after midnight.

54 GML - December 2020

He looks good—in the dark, anyway. I was afraid that drone noise along with the pig’s bright green glow might wake my wife up, but I guess it didn’t. Otherwise, she would have said something. Believe me. 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 five books, including The Valley Where They Danced; Distant Voices: The Story of the Nacoochee Valley Indian Mound; a humorous history book called Zipping Through Georgia on a Goat Powered Time Machine; White County 101 and Heart of a Co-op--The Habersham EMC Story. 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.

December 2020 - GML 55

Rabun County Historical Society

Before Georgia Power, There Was Thomas E. Roane: Or How Clayton’s Lights Were Turned On By Richard Cinquina


Rabun County mountain man from Tiger, Thomas E. Roane, was not an electrical engineer. In fact, he had no college education at all. But that did not stop him from engineering and building the first power generating system to bring electricity to Clayton back in 1914.

electric lights became a major selling point for hotels in their advertising. Demand Exceeds Generating Capacity

Demand for electricity ultimately outstripped the supply generated by Roane’s tiny power plant. As reported by That was the same year Georgia Railway and Power the Clayton Tribune in July 1927, “Mr. Roane, owner and Company, the predecessor of current-day Georgia Power, manager of the local plant, realized some time ago that he started generating hydroelectric power in Rabun County was not able to supply the demands on his plant for electric with the completion of its current and proceeded Tallulah Gorge dam and to make arrangements power plant. However, with the power company not a single kilowatt of (Georgia Power) to connect that electricity benefitted with their lines at Lakemont Rabun County. All of and draw from them the electricity generated enough juice to supply the at Tallulah Gorge was demand.” Lakemont was transmitted to Atlanta to the site of Georgia Power’s power Georgia Railway’s Terrora hydroelectric plant. electric streetcar system. The July 1927 article But due to the efforts of proudly concluded: “In Thomas Roane, homes fact, we are now connected and businesses in with the Southern Power Clayton were able to turn Companies (the parent of on the lights. Georgia Power) and have as much electric power as any one has at any other place.” Electricity Comes to Clayton in 1914

Tom Roane, on the left, and his family at their home in Tiger

Roane established Clayton Light and Water Works Company in 1908 to build a hydroelectric plant at the base of a small waterfall on Stekoa Creek, a few miles south of Clayton. The force of the falling water turned a turbine that powered a generator to produce electricity. Roane used his untutored knowhow to engineer and build the entire system.

Clayton Light and Power Sold to Georgia Power

Roane sold his Clayton Light and Water Works Company to Georgia Power in 1928. The Clayton Tribune wrote in December of that year: “Mr. Roane began the service here some fifteen years ago as a pioneer, and though without much capital, he has made a success of his undertaking even in the face of what sometimes looked like insurmountable By 1914, the small Stekoa dam and powerhouse were obstacles. He deserves a great deal of credit for his initiative completed, and poles had been erected and strung with in the matter of giving Clayton light and power when it was wire, connecting the generating plant with more than 50 so much in need of it.” businesses and residences in Clayton. The town was on the The article added “it is rumored that they (Georgia Power) grid. will build new lines and otherwise make improvements of Among the beneficiaries of electricity were the hotels that the system. At this time, they are installing meters wherever lined Main Street as a result of the tourist boom brought they are furnishing current…” by the Tallulah Falls Railroad earlier in the century. Having

56 GML - December 2020

Roane Enters Telephone Business Thomas Roane’s entrepreneurial drive was not restricted to electricity. He also purchased Rabun Telephone and Electric Company in 1918, which provided phone service to Clayton businesses and residences. To improve service, he and Charles E. Cannon constructed a building on East Savannah Street in 1924 to house a new telephone exchange. Cannon used the remainder of the building’s space for offices and storage for his mercantile business. That building is now the site of the White Birch Inn. Roane sold the company in 1927 to Western North Carolina Telephone System, which was a subsidiary of the Bell Telephone Company. In June of that year, the Clayton Tribune reported: “All the old poles and wires have been torn down and an entirely new system will be installed. New poles and leaded cables are being placed on the main streets. A new switch board will be installed also.”

Roane’s hydro power plant at the base of a small waterfall on Stekoa Creek

Two-Digit Phone Numbers In August 1927, the Clayton Tribune reported that many Clayton businesses and homes now had two-digit telephone numbers. Some of the numbers included 24 for the Green House Hotel, 29 for the Blue Ridge Hotel, 45 for the Bynum House and 16 for T.E. Roane. The Tribune’s phone number was 21. The article encouraged readers “to use the phone to let us know of any news that the paper should have.” When speaking with the operator to make a call, readers were instructed to “Use the number. Not the name. Get the habit.” Estatoah Hydroelectric Plant in Dillard Meanwhile, in September 1928, a group of citizens agreed to build a hydroelectric plant to serve Dillard and the surrounding area of northern Rabun County, including the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School. The engineering company of J.B. McCrary, a local resident, built a dam and powerhouse at the base of Estatoah Falls on Mud Creek, between Dillard and Sky Valley. Rabun Land and Water Company, which owned and operated the Estatoah hydroelectric facility, inaugurated electrical service to Dillard in early 1929. Miniscule Generating Facility The Estatoah plant was tiny. It generated only 240 kilowatts of power. By comparison, the Nacoochee hydroelectric plant, the smallest of Georgia Power’s six hydro facilities on the Tallulah and Tugalo rivers, generated 4,800 kilowatts of electricity at that time. In fact, everything about the Estatoah facility was miniscule. The masonry dam on Mud Creek, which was only 12 feet high and 50 feet long, impounded a small pond. The powerhouse totaled 400-square-feet.

Kilowatts Are Your Servants An advertisement in the Clayton Tribune told readers why they needed Estatoah electricity in no uncertain terms. “The kilowatts you hear so much about are YOUR SERVANTS…Let these silent and unobtrusive servants work for you. They’re always ready to leap to the task. They never rest or talk back. They’re tireless, day and night, Sundays and holidays, every hour of every day of every year.” Who wouldn’t want a servant like that? The Estatoah plant was sold to Georgia Power in 1960. The utility continued to operate the facility for 55 more years before it was taken out of service in 2015 due to its minimal power output and high maintenance costs. The plant was officially decommissioned in 2019. Barry Brookshire, manager of Georgia Power’s North Georgia Hydro Group, told the Clayton Tribune that Estatoah in its final years, “was more a novelty than an effective means of power distribution. It might produce enough electricity to run two modern households for a day.” New Deal’s Rural Electrification Agency Clayton and Dillard were the exception and not the rule when it came to electrification. Rural areas of Rabun and other northeast Georgia counties remained without electricity for decades to come. In 1936, New Deal legislation established the Rural Electrification Agency or REA, which loaned money to cooperatives to run power lines into rural areas. Founded in 1938, the Habersham Electric Membership Cooperative (EMC) was funded by the REA to bring electricity to rural portions of Habersham, Rabun, Hall, White, Stephens and Lumpkin counties. Power started flowing in 1939, and the Habersham EMC is still serving customers in these locales.

Continued... December 2020 - GML 57

Rabun County Historical Society


Lanterns and Lightning Bugs Despite progress made by the REA, it was years before this area was completely electrified. In 1972, power lines were finally extended to Tate City, just over the Rabun line in Towns County. It was not all that long ago when candles, kerosene lanterns and lightning bugs lit the night. 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 www. 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.Â

58 GML - December 2020

Merry Christmas from Georgia Mountain Laurel

December 2020 - GML 59


Profile for The Laurel of Northeast Georgia

Georgia Mountain Laurel December 20  

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded