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From the Publisher Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope all of you are well and doing great. As I write to you snow is falling. Not a lot of snow, just a nice little dusting on a Saturday morning. I love to see snow fall but I like for it to melt quick and stay off the roads (guess that means I am getting old). As a kid growing up in Michigan I loved it and the more the better, but now that has changed.

Georgia Mountain Laurel February 2021 • Volume Eighteen • Issue Two 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 Photographer/Writer - Peter McIntosh Contributing Writers: John Shivers, Emory Jones, Jan Timms, Lorie Thompson, Richard Cinquina, Noel Shumann, Susan Brewer, Kathryn Revis Kendall R. Rumsey, Anna DeStefano, Becky Thompson

I can’t wait for you to delve in to this issue, the great recipes are there, the artists’ work are featured, a great historical article is in place, but there’s more. In this issue you will meet a lady who is a shining light, you will read a sweet love story, there are incredible featured homes to see and a couple of great articles that will make you laugh. Laughing is something we all need to do a little more of. Kindness is something that is in short supply these days and needed more than ever before. “Love one another” is the greatest commandment in the Bible and one we should practice. It is good for the recipient and the giver. Love is priceless and is good for the soul. This month is the love month, beyond your sweetheart, let’s love people, regardless. There are a couple of events featured in our pages this month, fingers crossed that they aren’t canceled. Check before you head out and please protect yourself and those around you, it’s the right thing to do. My daffodils are popping up and soon the groundhog will let us know when spring will arrive. I am ready for warmer temps now, but there’s still a little winter to go, so bundle up and keep the faith, spring is on it’s way. Thank you for spending some time with us, Tracy

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.


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In This Issue

Arts & Entertainment 8 12

Cover Artist – Grace Nolan North Georgia Arts Guild - Maria Castano

Outdoors 16

Adventure Out

A Taste 20 22

Bon Appetit The Family Table

Mountain Living 28 32

More Than a Cabin on the Lake, Much More Home Defines Lake Living at its Zenith

Faith in Christ

34 Remember 36 River Garden 38 Meet Pam - A Precious Angel

Health & Wellness 42

Fibromyalgia - The Invisible Disease

Life & Leisure 44 46 48 50

Of These Mountains Love North Georgia - The Right Time By the Way The Immortality of Youth

Yesterdays 52

Rabun County Historical Society Two Inns, A Farmhouse & A Summer House

Around Town - Affairs to Remember 56 58

Celebrate Clayton Art Festival Winterfest Arts Tour

An Afterthought - Page 59 6

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On Our Cover – Grace Nolan Art


race Nolan, a 2020 graduate of Rabun County High School is making a name for herself in the art community in Rabun County. Saying she always liked to doodle and draw, this new artist began during lockdown. She and her mom, Sarah, went to Walmart for essentials and picked up a few canvases and some paint to help pass the time. She did a few pieces of art and posted them on Facebook and got positive feedback from her friends and family. When well known artist and Lotus Gallery owner Lizzy Falcon reached out to Grace she was blown away. Lizzy invited her to come and help with a project she had going at her gallery for local artists. Lizzy has become a mentor to many young artists, encouraging them to pursue their creative side. “Lizzy has taught me some techniques and given me tips on starting an art business. She has been such a great influence on me and one of many who have inspired me to use art to express how I feel, like an outlet,” Grace shared in a recent interview. Her business is Grace Nolan Art and most of her artwork includes the moon. Nature and the heavens have always intrigued Grace, so she incorporates these elements into her art. “There is a mystique to the moon and I just believe there is a lot behind it,” she told me. Her crescent moon caught the attention of Moonrise Distillery who commissioned Grace and fellow artist Ali Wilkins to paint their logo on the side of one of their buildings. You’ll almost always find the moon in her artwork which has been featured at Lotus Gallery, in a show at the Kingwood Country Club and at her father, Jack Nolan’s Fortify Kitchen & Bar in downtown Clayton. Grace also sells her art at Clayton’s Community Market on Saturdays in the warmer months. Her presence on Social Media has increased her exposure as well and you can follow Grace on Facebook and Instagram (@gracenolanart). Locally


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you will find her art at Ladybug Landing in Lakemont, Georgia and Blue Ridge Toys on Main Street in Clayton. “I have a surreal vision for my art,” Grace told me. “I could not have gotten this far without the encouragement of others.” Surrealism is an art movement which finds magic and strange beauty in the unexpected and the uncanny, the disregarded and the unconventional. Grace’s art has depth and makes a statement. The unity of the Sun and Moon which is displayed in the painting on our cover this month was explained this way by the artist. “I always saw the sun and moon as opposites, two separate pieces. It occurred to me through my art that one needs the other and they are in fact connected beyond even what we can comprehend. One needs the other to be who they are. There is a magical unity that should be recognized,” she explained. I believe that each piece of art speaks individually to those who view it and Grace’s painting for me, expressed the human connection that is needed during these difficult times to bring the unity that we need to heal our nation. “I am so thankful for my family, friends, my mentor Lizzy Falcon, and my community for their constant support. I would not have been able to be where I am now without them,” Grace included. It was important to her to send that message of thanks. While art is a huge part of Grace’s life these days, so is her education. She is currently enrolled in Lanier Technical College and plans to become a Dental Hygienist. Her future is bright and we will be keeping our eye on her.

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North Georgia Arts Guild Reconstituting Frameworks: The Far Away Worlds of Maria Castano


By Susan Brewer

he work you see here is by artist Maria Castano, the newest member of the North Georgia Arts Guild. Her visual language is striking and richly detailed, otherworldly—exotic, like the life of Marco Polo, the Viennese merchant who trekked from Italy to the Middle East to China and back again in the 13th century. Maria’s works are inhabited by Middle Eastern and Oriental influences. Much like Marco Polo, Maria has traveled around the world to benefit her work. Until recently, home was in Vermont. From the north eastern United States, she has traveled around North America and further, to New Zealand, Australia, Asia, and Europe for art training, drawn by inspiration and fancy. Maria grew up in Plymouth County, Massachusetts in a small town south of Boston called Brockton. Her father was a leather cutter there in what was the shoe capital of the world. There were about a hundred manufacturing outfits in town and as a cutter he was on-call to all. His role represented

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the first step in goods manufacturing—everything from soles and bodies of shoes to purses… and later while working for himself, to washers for fancy drums. The list – the variety of things that he took part in manufacturing – is endless. And Maria’s art fortunes are heir to this work. She gathers things; she deconstructs them and then reconfigures them, these separate things from around the world together—imagining new ways things can be made to fit together—to tell the story about her family, her life, and her ideas. Unwritten there, too, are the careful questions she asks of the world she lives in. Here we see details of Mario Prada Walks Beneath Stars Of Murgia And Above The Egyptian Pyramids. That fir trim you see once edged the collar of a coat her mother wore. We see an image of a saint dear to her older sister who died. To these are added carefully dissected Italian embroidered silk shoes by Prada, as well as vinyl, Indian glass beads, a zipper—a very large zipper—plus counterfeit Chinese coins, Japanese silk, metallic paint, fittings, and screws. The visual journey is there for the taking. These ornaments are collaged – that is, glued or cemented – onto an assembled, two-piece board backing. (Maria spends a lot of time gluing things together.) Maria is a straight-up New England soul… kind, full of serious and practical virtues. In person, her mood is warm, light, infectious, and funny. A jazzy, small town woman and cosmopolitan lady with a passion for adventure—that’s what she is at heart. Her works take us where we would never visit without her, and it’s fun. We step out of our tidy, comfortable, known, easy-to-assemble worlds to visit her loves and curiosities and obsessions. If she had been allowed her druthers, she would have spent the last several years volunteering for the Peace Corps in Morocco, in northwestern Africa. She experienced a medical trauma that has made it difficult to do most things she did before and is now in Clayton near family. She just spent several weeks taking advantage of the artist-in-residence facilities at the Lillian E. Smith Center nearby. It allowed her to get back into producing new art works. She may be slowed down but she’s finally revving up her art engine and continuing her work here. New York art critic, Jonathan Goodman, described Maria’s art by saying that it maintains rigor and control while combining forms in intricate patterns that are both organic and geometric. Her works are densely packed with contrasting elements. You may enjoy the perfectly round shapes and triangles and other straight-edged stuff. But those abstract shapes are married to fluid, gestural, painterly, even calligraphic themes. The contrast is sharp. Maria is, too. If you are interested in finding out more about her work, you can email her at (“Marie in Morocco” dot com). 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 February 2021 - GML 13

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Rabun Bald

Adventure Out Romantic Overlooks: Rabun Bald and Sunset Rock By Peter McIntosh


ebruary is Valentine’s month which is why every year at this time, I like to visit a romantic location, a beauty spot to share with your special someone. And this year we’re visiting two lovely locations with amazing vistas, one that requires an invigorating hike and one that’s super easy. Our destinations are Rabun Bald and Sunset Rock. Up first is Rabun Bald, Georgia’s second highest mountain, 4,696 feet above sea level and one of the crown jewels of the Southern Appalachians. The hike is about two miles each way. (I would describe this trail as moderate to slightly difficult.) From the trailhead at the end of Kelsey Mountain Road, the trail follows an old logging road, ascending gently on the western side of the mountain. After about one mile the road ends at a clearing that is also an intersection with the Bartram Trail. Passing through some boulders, the trail

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now becomes a true footpath and ascends a bit more steeply. There are a few switchbacks and a couple of spots that may require a little scrambling but this is still a moderate hike. After a mile of upward climbing on the Bartram Trail comes the big payoff. And I do mean big. There is a stone tower at the top of the mountain, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps back in the 1930’s. This was the base of a fire tower but now the tower has been replaced by a wooden platform which provides a stunning 360 degree panoramic view. And the deck boards on the tower run almost true north and south so it’s easy to get your bearings. Just below you to the east is the unspoiled beauty of the Chattooga River watershed. Still looking eastward, the bold granite face of North Carolina’s Whiteside Mountain is a prominent feature as are the other rock walls of the Blue Ridge Escarpment stretching into the distance through Sapphire Valley. Looking to the north you’ll see the saddle shaped Scaly Mountain with the Cowee Mountains off in the distance. Turning to the west now, we see Sky Valley

just below and Black Rock Mountain and Tiger Mountain just across the way. Far off in the distance is Tray Mountain, another one of my personal favorites. This is a splendid spot to watch the sunset any time of year, so, after familiarizing yourself with the trail on your first visit, go back again with a headlamp so you can enjoy the twilight and hike out safely. Our second beauty spot is Sunset Rock in Highlands, North Carolina. The official name is Sunset Rock at Ravenel Park, property owned by the Ravenel family who donated the land way back in 1914. It’s now cared for by the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust. From Horse Cove Road, it’s a 6/10 mile hike up a gravel road if you want to get a little exercise. Otherwise you can do as most folks do and drive up to this spot which offers stunning views of the Southern Appalachians as well as the little hamlet of Highlands down below. (If you choose to drive up, please don’t block the road.) There are two nice benches facing west as well as plenty of good spots to relax and catch a sunset. Sunset Rock is a romantic spot to be sure but don’t get too amorous as this is a popular place for folks of all ages. Happy hiking!

Getting there - Rabun Bald: From US 441 in Dillard, turn right (east) on Georgia 246. There is a sign pointing to Sky Valley and Highlands, North Carolina. It is 4.1 miles to Old Mud Creek Road. Turn right (water wheel and store at corner) and travel 2.9 miles through Sky Valley to Kelsey Mountain Road, a narrow, steep paved road on the right; there is a forest service sign that says Rabun Bald Trail. It’s two-tenths of a mile to the trail head. And don’t forget a windbreaker or fleece pullover or both. It can be windy and cold on the tower, even when it’s warm everywhere else. Getting there - Sunset Rock: From Main Street in Highlands at the intersection of Hwy 28 and Hwy 64, go west on Horse Cove Road 4/10 mile. Parking is just across from the Highlands Nature Center if you choose to hike, or just follow the road, but don’t block anyone when parking please. To see more of Peter’s photos or if you have a question or comment:

And now without further ado, here’s my poem for month number two: Grab you coat, your hat and some good hiking shoes, We’re going to places with sweet mountain views. With air fresh and clear, and vistas so fine, Two great spots to share with your Valentine.

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Bon Appétit Hope is on the Way By Scarlett Cook


opefully we are beginning to see the light at the end of the pandemic or at least a glow.

The month of February is for lovers or for those that you hold near and dear. Make this dinner and you will certainly feel the love when you serve it. Love to all of you; cause don’t you think that everyone could use a little love now? Dilled Shrimp 4 -6 Servings

1 3/4 Pounds large shrimp, uncooked and unpeeled 1 Teaspoon minced garlic 2 Teaspoons minced onion 2 Tablespoons butter 1 Tablespoon olive oil 2 Tablespoons lemon juice 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill 1/8 Teaspoon salt 1/8 Teaspoon pepper Peel and devein shrimp. Sauté garlic and onion in butter and oil in large skillet until tender. Stir in shrimp; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Add lemon juice, dill salt and pepper. Serve hot or cold.

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Potato and Green Bean Casserole 6 -8 Servings 1 Large onion, sliced 1 Red pepper, seeded and cut into strips 2 Cloves of garlic, minced 3 Tablespoons butter 1/4 Cup plain flour 6 Small baking potatoes, peeled and sliced 1 Can French style green beans, drained 2 Cups shredded Swiss cheese 1 Cup half-and-half 1/2 Teaspoon rosemary 1/2 Teaspoon salt 1/4 Teaspoon pepper Preheat oven to 375˚. Spray a 13” x 9” baking dish with Pam. Sauté onion, pepper and garlic in butter for 3 minutes. Add flour; cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Spoon half of onion mixture in bottom of prepared pan. Layer half of the potatoes, beans and cheese over onion mixture. Repeat layer of onion mixture and potatoes and green beans. Combine half-and-half with spices and pour over vegetables. Cover and bake one hour. Uncover and sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese and cook 10 minutes.

Black Eyed Pea Salad 6 -8 Servings 1/4 Cup rice wine vinegar 1/2 Cup red wine vinegar 1/4 Cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar 1/4 Cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 3/4 Teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste) 1/2 Teaspoon salt 3 Cans black eyed peas, drained 1 Small jar diced pimientos, drained 1/2 Cup chopped purple onion Combine vinegars, sugar, oil, pepper flakes and salt in a bowl; stir until combined. Add peas, pimientos and onion and stir. Cover and chill at least 3 hours. Ice Cream Pie with Meringue Pecan Crust 6 – 8 Servings 1 Egg white, at room temperature 1/4 Cup sugar 1 1/2 Cups chopped pecans 1 Quart vanilla ice cream, softened (or any flavor) Preheat oven to 400˚. Butter sides and bottom of a 9” pie pan. Beat egg white at high speed; gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until stiff peaks forms and sugar is dissolved. Fold in pecans. Spread mixture in prepared pan. Bake 12 minutes. Cool completely. Spread ice cream over crust; cover and freeze until ice cream is firm.

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The Family Table By Lorie R. Thompson


ebruary is a strange month. The weather can be wild, mild, or both in the same week. It always keeps us guessing. The month is full of odd holidays. It starts with a weather-predicting groundhog, followed by a day of candy hearts, and red roses, followed by a celebration of dead presidents. While a little weird, I like February. My son was born in February, and I count that day as one of the best in my life. Mountain Man and I usually take a week off work in February and travel somewhere warm, and I look forward to that Winter break. So, February, with all of its weirdness, ends up being a favorite month for me.  If you catch a bad weather day that you are staying home, instead of the traditional milk sammich, buy the ingredients for my delicious Hillbilly Gumbo and make a day at home a celebration.  Let me tell you about Hillbilly Gumbo. I put everything in it except the kitchen sink, and it is delicious. This Gumbo is not a traditional recipe. Tomatoes, Kielbasa and Creole Seasoning are my additions. The Creole seasoning is herb-based, and the Cajun seasoning is pepper based. I like them together. I watched many episodes of Justin Wilson’s cooking show, but I know this is like someone from NYC telling me how to make great grits. Oh well, my Hillbilly Gumbo is delicious, if not authentic. Any Gumbo recipe starts with the roux. It requires flour, oil, and lots of time stirring while it melds into a deep, dark base note for the Gumbo. Begin with 2/3 C of vegetable oil and 2/3 C of self-rising flour. Traditional recipes call for all-purpose flour, but the self-rising flour makes a better gravy base.  For the Roux: Add the flour and the oil to a heavy pan and cook while stirring over low heat until it reaches a dark caramel color. Plan on 30 minutes or so of stirring. The darker you make the roux, the less thickening power the flour has. While 2/3 C seems like a lot of flour, it will not make the Gumbo too thick.  To the dark roux, add 2 C of chopped onions, 1 C each of the following: carrots, celery, and green peppers. Cook until the vegetables are starting to get soft. Add 1 T of diced garlic and cook for 2-3 additional minutes.  Clean 3-4 chicken thighs, removing the skin and the meat from the bones. Cut the chicken into small bite-sized pieces and add to the pot of vegetables, browning for a few minutes. You can add the bones in for the flavor. Remove them before serving. Add 1 pound of sliced smoked sausage. Andouille is traditional, but Kielbasa is easy to find and a good choice. Add a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, a 32 oz bag of diced, frozen okra, a 32 oz box of chicken stock, and 2 C of water.  Add 2 T of Cajun Seasoning and if you have it, add 1 T of

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Creole Seasoning. I like them both, but if you only have the Cajun, that is fine. Let the Gumbo cook for 30 minutes over medium-low heat. Then, turn the heat to very low and let it simmer for another hour. Before you are ready to serve, bring the Gumbo back up to a slow boil and add a package of frozen crawfish tails. (you can buy the crawfish tails in the freezer section at any grocery). Simmer the Gumbo for an additional 5 minutes. Taste for seasonings and add extra Cajun seasoning, salt, cayenne, or hot sauce to your liking. 

as Three Rivers or Martha White Buttermilk, start with 2 C of the meal mix in a large bowl; add 2 1/2 C of whole buttermilk and stir until it is well blended. Add 2 C of sharp cheddar cheese and stir in. Heat a 10 inch, well seasoned, black iron skillet with 1/2 C of vegetable oil until the oil is hot. Pour most of the oil into the cornbread mix, leaving 1-2 T of oil in the pan. Stir the cornmeal mix until the oil is incorporated. Cut a whole onion into very thin slices. Place the skillet back on to medium-low heat, add 1 tsp of cornmeal to the pan, and

Add a pound of small to medium-sized shrimp. Stir the shrimp into the Gumbo. As soon as the shrimp are no longer translucent, turn off the heat. Serve the Gumbo over rice with a sprinkle of Gumbo File seasoning. Gumbo File is ground sassafras leaves and adds an authentic taste and is a natural thickener for the broth. On a side note, fry the chicken skin you removed and use it as a crunchy topping for the Gumbo.  I have another variation of cornbread for you. I saw this somewhere last year, but I can’t remember where. I have made it several times, and it is delicious. Using a cornmeal mix, such

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evenly spread it. Allow the cornmeal to slightly brown and turn off the heat. This helps keep the onions and cornbread from sticking. Place the onions around the pan, keeping them in a single layer. Gently pour the cornbread mixture over the onions, trying not to displace them. Cook in a preheated 450-degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven. Using an off-set spatula or knife, loosen cornbread around the edges and raise to make sure it is not sticking. Invert it onto a plate. Delicious served with the Gumbo and rice. I hope you will enjoy the month of February. Celebrate each of the weird holidays with gusto. Watch the Groundhog Day movie and the forecast by Punxsutawney Phil for the upcoming spring weather. Buy someone you love a candy heart and some red roses and see what that gets you. Celebrate George, Abraham, and other dead presidents and their contributions to creating our Nation. Try my Hillbilly Gumbo. It is a little weird and wonderful and will fit right into February.  God bless you and those you love at your family table!

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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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It’s More Than a Cabin on the Lake. Much More! By John Shivers


n the early days of life on Rabun County’s lakes, the shorelines were dotted with small, rustic structures that provided a different lifestyle, a chance to “rough it” in comfort, and with a sense of adventure. During the summer months, kids flocked to this northeast Georgia corner to spend weeks at camp, where they stayed in rustic cabins and experienced all of the outdoors that the area had to offer. The property at 37 Stillhouse Road outside Lakemont, in the southern end of the county, harkens back to those halcyon days. Now it’s your chance to claim that simpler, enjoyable lifestyle with not one, but two small, modern cabins that are long on character and livability. As you approach the larger of these two structures, you truly feel like you’ve stepped back into Lake Rabun’s past. The roughsawn siding that was once so prevalent on lake houses sets the tone, accented by the laurel-wood railings on the porch. The barn door at the entrance, and the custom screen door with the canoe and oar design, clues you in that while this property is simple in concept, it’s anything but cookie-cutter. It’s a chance to grab a piece of Rabun lake property that can serve as a stepping stone to something else down the road. The larger of the two cabins has 660± square feet on three levels, and you can easily sleep six to eight people comfortably,

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with double sleeping areas on the upper floor. The home’s oversize bathroom and shower on the main level extends the cabin’s hospitality and comfort quotient. The main sitting area anchored by a wood-burning stove fills one end of the main floor. Full size appliances in the efficient country kitchen make meal prep a snap, and the four-season porch offers spacious dining opportunities, as well as a secondary sitting area. And check out the storage area located on the cellar level. Only steps away from the main cabin is a second rustic structure complete with a screened porch that expands both seasonal living and sleeping space. Your guests will find all the comforts of home, including a full bath with shower and a kitchenette, living and sleeping area. Outside, on the heavily-

wooded eight-tenths± acre corner lot, is a large outdoor pavilion, Use it as covered cookout and dining space, park your golf cart, or four-wheeler under it, or use it as a carport. There’s ample parking for several vehicles for the convenience of you and your guests. There’s plenty of space here for the kids to play, whether they’re six or sixty. Who can resist a trip to camp, which is what it will be like when you leave the city behind on Friday and head to your cabins in the mountains. Ownership of this property includes use of the community boat house and docks, with space to park your boat. Thrown in at no additional charge are beautiful four-season views, along with great swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding and picnicking on one of north Georgia’s most pristine lakes. In short, this folksy, comfortable cabin marries the charm and pleasures of yesterday with the modern amenities we all want when we go camping today. But opportunities like this are few and far between, and the chance to snap up a piece of Lake Rabun’s lifestyle doesn’t come along every day. Harry Norman, REALTORS® Luxury Lake and Mountain Agent Evelyn Heald represents this opportunity to step back in time, GMLS #8851211. Now’s the time to make your plans to go to camp by contacting her at (cell) 404-372-5698 or (office) 706-212-0228 for more information and an opportunity to see this listing.

Ownership of this property includes use of the community boat house and docks, with space to park your boat. February 2021 - GML 29

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Home Defines Lake Living at Its Zenith By John Shivers


ne of the best things about living at the lake are the magnificent views where water meets forest and delivers four unique seasonal vistas, also known as “candy” for the lake-living eyes. In the recently refurbished contemporary home at 4030 Highway 197, Clarkesville, it doesn’t matter which room you’re in, the landscape that is Lake Burton at its finest is looking back at you. This home features board-and-batten exterior accented and enhanced with native stone. Searching for a home that can accommodate guests and flow the traffic for those great weekend house parties? Or do you need a home for a large family that’s suitable for yearround living? This five bedroom lodge on two levels with paved driveway and generous wrap-around deck and patio space checks all the boxes inside and out. It’s easy to live and entertain in this home, whether it’s for Christmas dinner or a Labor Day cookout. And from the porches on the lake-side of the house, you’re within sight of the waterfront, where a swim dock and two-story, two-stall boathouse only add to the livability factor. From its vantage point on a rise overlooking the lake, this home is sited on 3.47± acres against a backdrop of trees, and the lawn slopes gently toward Highway 197. It’s super convenient to access the dining and shopping opportunities in either Clayton or Clarkesville in only a matter of minutes.

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With the master suite on the main floor, and the great room with its vaulted ceiling that is the better part of the 1,526± square feet of heated space on the top level, this is a house designed for casual yet gracious living. A neutral color scheme atop dark stained, random-width wood floors on both levels, tongue-and-groove paneling and shiplap ceilings set the stage. Numerous sliding doors on both levels connect the inside with the outside just steps away. A large stone fireplace in the great room offers comfort on chilly winter nights and is the focal point of this multi-

functional living space. A two-car carport on the back side with easy access to the kitchen and great room and additional paved parking space make it a snap to park the crowds. There is a generous size yard, but much of the lot is left in its natural state, offering both beauty and low-maintenance convenience. With furniture quality cabinetry, the generous size kitchen provides ample cabinet and workspace, hard surface countertops, a center island and a breakfast bar adjacent to the large dining room, making it a breeze to feed two or twelve or more. The complement of stainless appliances includes an electric surface unit, double ovens, side-by-side refrigerator, dishwasher and microwave. Each of the four bedrooms on the terrace level has its own en suite bathroom, and easy access to the covered patio just outside. There’s also a powder room / laundry room combination, and generous closet and storage space on both floors. A partial canopy roof atop the boathouse makes it convenient to enjoy the lake and all the activities that populate this beautiful waterway, and expands the relaxation space. This home is ideally located near Moccasin Creek State Park, and the former site of the historic LaPrade’s Marina & Fish Camp that was once a famous Rabun County destination. Families with school-age children should check out the two prestigious private schools and the excellent public school system available in Rabun County.

If you looked in the dictionary for the definition of “ideal” lake home, this home should be alongside. Check out MLS #8902076, then contact Poss Realty Agent Carolyn Bacon at 404-375-0700 or at the office at 706-746-5962.

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Meet Pam

A Precious Angel By Tracy McCoy


y life has not been easy at all, but today I have joy in my heart. The Holy Spirit lives in me. I love my job and all of the angels I get to see each day. I’d live right here if they’d let me,” said Pam, when I visited with her recently. I told her that a half dozen people had mentioned her to me but I already knew that she was special. It shines through her smile and her kind words. So in this issue I want to introduce you to a very special lady. Her name is Pam Motes and she works at the Chechero Recycle Center on Highway 76 East. She is always smiling and willing to lend a helping hand. “I love to work. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop and I am not going to give him room,” she told me. Pam has worked at the recycling center for 11 years. She works Thursday – Sunday each week. She is a mother to five children, three sons and two daughters. She has 19 grandchildren, 18 girls and one boy. You’d never guess it, but she is now a great-grandmother to a sweet baby boy. Pam grew up and lived most of her life in Gainesville, Georgia. She moved to Rabun County in 2006 and recognizes what most of us know, “This is God’s country.” She has found treasure in what others saw as trash and has “upcycled” many pieces and created what she calls Clayton’s Botanical Garden. She has saved yard art, angels, pots and other things to decorate the garden. She planted perennials around the edges of the fence that enclosed what some consider just a place to dump their trash. Pam truly feels that this is her home away from home and what does she love most about her job? When I asked that question this was her response. “Talking to my angels, my Kingwood family. We have laughed, cried and prayed together here. I am always happy to see my precious angels. That’s why I wanted to make it pretty.” With tears in her eyes she told me about two of her “angels” who bought a board and painted it with Clayton Botanical Garden and brought it to

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her. She hung it on the fence over the angel statues that sit among the flowers. “It warms my heart and means so much to me that they would do that for me.” “Before I went on the weekend shift I worked six days a week and they’d have to tell me to go home.” Pam shares her home with her husband Robert Watkins. For Christmas she told him not to buy her pots and pans cause, “I can’t cook worth a flip”, so he came in with a cordless tool set. She was extremely happy with that but even more overjoyed when he bought her a backpack leaf blower. Pam is one of a kind, a precious soul who loves everybody. She said, “I am so blessed!” Rabun County is blessed to have someone like Pam. “Our trash compactor is emptied three times a week and so is the cardboard container. Sunday is our busiest day here, but I love being busy,” she told me. I am not surprised that the Chechero site is that busy. I look forward to seeing Pam when I take my trash. She is always out there working hard, helping people get their things out of their cars, sharing her big smile and kind words. She asked me to share this with you, “Thank you to all my little angels and God bless you all.” Some people just deserve to be recognized for what they contribute to the world. I am sure you aren’t surprised that she was amazed I’d choose her. God really gave the world a blessing when he created Pam.

Let all that you do be done in LOVE 1 Corinthians 16:14

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‘’Fibromyalgia” The Invisible Disease By Kathryn Revis


f you grew up in Rabun County, you may have undoubtedly been the victim of a “Snipe Hunt”. Briefly, a “Snipe Hunt” entails being sent out in the dark, with a bag, to catch a Snipe In this particular scenario, the Snipe is a nonexistent animal whose description varies. In a Snipe Hunt you are left alone in the dark. Imagine enjoying the company of your children and grandchildren; when out of the blue, you begin to ache and hurt from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. You suddenly feel extremely tired and feel as though you have the flu. You no longer feel like playing with your grandchildren and they don’t understand why and neither do you! If you experience widespread aching muscles and joints, insomnia, depression, tender points on your body, irritable bowel syndrome and brain fogginess, you may be experiencing symptoms of Fibromyalgia. These are just a few of the numerous, and varying symptoms of Fibromyalgia. Just as the legendary snipe defies a succinct description, so does the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. The important difference is a Snipe is nonexistent while Fibromyalgia is very real. However, diagnosing Fibromyalgia can be just as elusive as the legendary snipe. While many individuals may experience different symptoms, there are enough common symptoms, when considered along with an individual’s history and physical, to lead to the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. There is not a single test or tests that diagnosis Fibromyalgia, rather, it is really a diagnosis of exclusions. Since many of the Fibromyalgia symptoms can be the same as other diseases; these other diseases must be ruled out. Traditionally Fibromyalgia has been diagnosed by identifying certain “Trigger Points” (tender points) in specific areas of the body which elicit pain when palpated. It is estimated that Fibromyalgia affects an estimated 5.8 million Americans Fibromyalgia predominately affects women but can also affect men. You might be asking, “What is Fibromyalgia?“ When you get injured, nerve signals travel through your spinal cord to your brain. It is a warning that something is wrong and you feel pain. However if you have Fibromyalgia you experience these painful sensations even when you are not sick or injured. Some doctors think that individuals with Fibromyalgia may have a “glich” in their transmission of pain from the body to the spinal cord and brain. Perhaps those individuals may have more cells that carry pain and fewer cells that slow pain signals? Pain is intensified in

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these individuals and this is real! The quality of life for these individuals is reduced as with any chronic illness. What causes Fibromyalgia has not been proven scientifically. It is thought many factors could causes one’s body pain signals to react abnormally. Genes are a possible factor as Fibromyalgia tends to run in families. I know of two sisters, both diagnosed with Fibromyalgia by different doctors who would have bad flares on the same day. Other painful conditions like arthritis or infections can increase your chance of getting Fibromyalgia. It is thought by some that emotional or physical abuse or PTSD can be culprits causing or contributing to Fibromyalgia, as is depression and anxiety. Also lack of exercise can be a factor contributing to this condition. So what is the treatment for Fibromyalgia? The treatments are varied and are mostly based on the individual’s personal symptoms. The first objective is to find the right doctor who has knowledge of Fibromyalgia. It is most important to find a doctor who believes and empathizes with the pain associated with this condition; and who is willing to work with the patient to find the best treatment for their symptoms. Finding the best possible treatment for an individual can be long and arduous for both the individual and for the doctor. It is believed that a multi-disciplinary approach is the most effective means of treating Fibromyalgia. This approach includes Medication, Alternative Remedies, and Lifestyle Habits. The FDA has approved three Drugs that are thought to help the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. These are Cymbalta, (an antidepressant), Savella, (which affects certain chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters) and Lyrica (pregablin) which is an antiseizure. Of course, like any drug these drugs come with side effects and risk and should be closely monitored by you and your doctor. In addition, complementary therapies that may prove effective include physical therapy, diet, chiropractic, massages, dietary supplements and exercise. Alternative therapies might included acupuncture, herbalism or homeopathy. Center to all these treatments is stress reduction as stress is a common thread among Fibromyalgia suffers. Joining a support group online or in person and having your family understand and empathize with your symptoms can be most helpful in preventing your “feeling alone in the dark”. Kathryn Speed Revis is a retired Registered Nurse with a lifetime of experience teaching and practicing nursing in some of Georgia’s finest hospitals. Her articles are intended to offer practical advice on facing health conditions and living your best life.

Health and Wellness

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Rewriting the Story Kendall R. Rumsey

I lost 70 pounds a couple of years ago……. Oh, how I wish I would have kept that up! What would have happened if I had kept working on that book I was writing, the one I sent into a couple of publishers and got a rejection on. What would have happened if I had sent it to just one more publisher? Life’s little regrets or “what if’s” often seep into my psyche, I wonder what could have been, would have been, it’s a constant nag in my brain.


o you ever look back on things in your life and wonder, “if I had done it differently how would things have worked out?”

Maybe I’m weird, but I think about this kind of stuff all the time. If I had listened to my mama and practiced my piano, I would probably be able to sit down today and just play. Watching someone play the piano looks so relaxing to me, I wish I had listened to my mama. What if I had eaten my vegetables as a kid, today I would probably like broccoli and collards and green peas, but nope, I didn’t eat them back then and still don’t today. As a teenager, I loved being in plays and musicals, anything artistic, but I was afraid of the name calling associated with it, so I didn’t participate as much as I wanted. Who knows, today I could be a Broadway star or touring the world as a great singer…. yeah, probably not, but it’s fun to imagine! Back in my 20’s when I had the chance, what would have happened if I had gone out on one of the political campaigns across America, fighting for what I believed in. Well, I could be President….. but who wants that? I let silly disagreements and misunderstandings come between me and the love of my life, I think about this one often. Back in the 90’s when my hair was just starting to thin, what would have happened if I had bought that new stuff called Rogaine I was hearing about?

But usually, when I get into one of those places, the reality of a pretty good life creeps in. I can’t play piano and will never star on Broadway; thank God, I will never be President, but I’ve had many victories in other ways. Yes, I’m back to being fat and have a hairline like a cue ball, but that’s OK, in my life’s story, I’ve had it pretty good. I have a wonderful family and friends who love me, I have a business that excites me constantly and believe it or not, I was even elected to public office, not once but twice. “What ifs” are a pain; they get in the way. As I grow older, I am trying my best to think about the good things I have built for myself. It’s not always about being the biggest and best, sometimes it’s just good to try, fail, try again, and keep trying until you succeed. I think that is where I am in life today. Now accepting where I am in life doesn’t mean I’m going to stop dreaming. Those dreams are what keeps us alive, but I dream differently now. I dream about the happiness of those I love, I dream about ways to help others and dream about ways to make life a bit easier for my community. I’m going to keep dreaming and hopefully not live a life of regrets, but an appreciation of all the great things I have in life. I think it’s OK to look back, but also look forward and appreciate what we have, at least that is what I plan on doing.

Kendall Rumsey is a resident of Clayton, Georgia. He is owner of the lifestyle brand Of These Mountains and author of the blog, Notes from a Southern Kitchen. |

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Love North Georgia

The Right Time by Anna DeStefano - Photos by Kevin Croom

It’s always time for love. It’s never too late for your next great adventure. Man wasn’t meant to be alone...


write about relationships, and I thought I understood sayings like these. Then I met a 90+ year old gentleman, spent precious time listening to his story, and I realized how much I had to learn about loving with my whole heart. If you’re a Rabun County native, especially if “back in the day” you attended Rabun County High School, the name Clayton Croom will sound familiar. He invested twenty-five years of his life after he and his wife, Vanita, moved here, teaching chemistry and physics and physical science. Vanita taught music in the local elementary school and later became a librarian. They were active in the community, put down spiritual roots at Clayton Baptist Church, started and raised their family, and had a blast loving the dickens out of their adopted North Georgia home. Afterall, they’d met as teenagers in Hendersonville, North Carolina— another small mountain town not so very far away. Rabun County seemed familiar. It was a good place full of good people. It was exactly what they hadn’t realized they were looking for. Locals may remember Croom’s Grooms—a group Mr. Croom sang with around town, Vanita accompanying them at what he jokingly calls “no talent” shows. Over the years, Vanita’s gift with the piano was much sought after. Former students regularly turned up, asking her to play at their weddings. Mr. Croom told me dozens of wonderfilled stories like these, reminiscing with pride about his bride and their rich life together. Good times and bad, they found a way to have fun. They lived their Rabun County life to its fullest. They made a lasting impact on their community. If you’re from these parts, you’ll also know that after forty years of marriage Mr. Croom lost his dear Vanita. Which for a while put a seeming end to this local love story. How do you go on, after your reason for going leaves you? But hearts as open as Mr. Croom’s, I’ve found, aren’t easily silenced. Which means he had one more amazing story to tell. And to share it, I’ll need to take you all the way back to the beginning. Enter Ms. Elizabeth Freeman, whom Clayton calls “Lib,” so I will, too.

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Those of you who are familiar with Mr. Croom will know that he and Lib have been “courting” for going on twentytwo years now, he tells me—twentyfour years, Lib corrected, when I spoke with her. All of it long-distance. You see, Lib still lives in Hendersonville, where they both grew up and she never left. She’s one of the few natives to the area who has stayed. She met her beloved husband there, and they raised their close-knit family there, their kids and grandkids settling nearby. Lib reminisced with joy about her late husband, Mr. Ogilvie Freeman, Jr., and their shared passion for family and community and their local church (Mud Creek Baptist, by the way, where years ago Clayton and Vanita first met). Lib’s in her nineties, the same as Clayton. And like him, she’s left her enduring mark on the “small” place she calls home. Separately, they’ve created legacies that will long outlive them. Their life’s work by some counts was done. Until one day around the dawn of the new millennium, something miraculous happened. As it turns out, Mr. Croom and Lib attended the same high school. Back then, Clayton might have looked her way once or twice, he remembers. But according to Mr. Croom, if he knew what was good for him, looking was all he could do. Because Lib was dating another young man who’d recently returned from World War II. Lib had noticed Clayton as well - and thought him handsome and popular and a nice boy from a nice family. But he’d been a grade ahead. And by then, he was already courting Vanita. Now, let’s fast-forward something like fifty years and set a new stage. These small-town hearts had never really met. Yet they had so much in common, they’d later described their instant connection as “scary.” A connection that began at a high school reunion over twenty years ago, because Lib took a chance and said to a handsome man, “I bet you don’t remember me.” “Lawd a’mercy, Yes! I remember you,” Mr. Croom replied to the beautiful lady before him. He’d talked himself into driving over to Hendersonville that weekend, to “rub elbows with some old folks.” He hadn’t really

felt like going. But it was high time he got out and about. Lib had been low that morning as well. She almost hadn’t made it herself. But suddenly there they were, sitting at a picnic table in a beautiful park, surrounded by mutual friends and sharing old times. A sense of rightness and belonging made the world seem lighter. Neither of them had been looking for a new blessing. But there it was, the feeling that something wonderful might once more be possible. Mr. Croom asked for her address, which she freely gave. By Monday there was a letter in Lib’s mailbox, inviting her to call him collect at his home, and to join him at another Hendersonville reunion the very next Saturday. Both of which she did, taking tentative steps toward a new relationship still going strong today, despite their advancing ages, more than a few medical issues, and the added worries of Covid-19. I adore second-chance love stories. And I’ve enjoyed hearing about Clayton and Lib’s adventures together. Lib loves music, too - one of their many shared interests. And she loves to dance. Mr. Croom not so much, back when they first began dating. But off to the Grove Park Inn they went with friends, for big band weekends. And off Clayton went to take lessons, so he wouldn’t embarrass his new lady. Lib tells me they’ve travelled to Europe and Hawaii. Mr. Croom says they’re involved in each other’s church groups, with him driving back and forth often between Clayton and Hendersonville, and Lib doing the same when she could. And each time they visited, friends

and family would welcome them to stay, so their commitment to their shared faith was never in question. The trust they’ve forged is an inspiration. Yes, they’ve faced devastating losses. But as a result, they understand the value of true companionship. The pandemic has made phone calls the only they way can connect these days. So, they call. Every evening. They can’t fathom missing a single chance to check in and catch up and just listen. They’ve never married. Neither could move away from their families and communities. But distance hasn’t dimmed the unconditional devotion they feel. That’s the thing, I’ve learned, about folks who’ve once loved deeply. They’re more likely to lose their hearts again. It’s a risk, caring as much as Mr. Croom and Lib do. But what an adventure to find another wide-open heart to treasure. What a blessing, to become vulnerable again and discover that you’re cherished in return. And that’s the thing, I guess, about time. When it gives and things are going well, you can find yourself struggling to handle the abundance. And then time can shift and bottom you out until you’re certain you’re done. There’s nothing left inside to offer. Until one day when you least expect it, no matter your age or if you’re ready, it’s the right time for something new. Something miraculous, if you’ll take the chance. Another lifechanging journey of the heart you hadn’t even realized you were looking for…

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 women’s fiction novels. You might say she’s addicted to happily ever afters. She’s excited to be telling local love stories now, and to visually share her passion for the enduring magic of small-town life through her award-winning Affirmation Phtography™. Visit Anna’s Heart Open blog at to explore uplifting messages of reflection and peace. February 2021 - GML 47

By The Way Cunningham Nominated for Pig of the Year Award By Emory Jones


s you know, the Pig of the Year award is handed out on National Pig Day which happens every March 1st. I was afraid this year’s event might be canceled due to COVID, but apparently, it doesn’t affect hogs all that much.

I checked two different funeral home calendars, and they both indicated the celebration is still on for 2021. Unfortunately, National Pig Day falls on a Monday this year. I hate it when that happens. So does my pet pig, Cunningham. Of course, he can’t tell Monday from Tuesday, but I still feel bad for him. The problem with National Pig Day falling on a Monday is all those big pig parties people throw the weekend before. After so much celebrating, many folks won’t show up for the serious events that make Pig Day special. Like the hog calling contest, for example. This year’s event could be momentous for Cunningham. You see, not only is a book called Cunningham and Other Pigs I Have Known coming out about him and some of his buddies, but he’s once again been nominated for the Pig of the Year award. That’s mostly because of his volunteer work in mud research. I think Cunningham has a real shot this year. Mud is all the rage in Europe. Although winning the award would be nice and all, the pig is more excited about the book. So are his mama and several hundred cousins in the Midwest. And they should be. I mean, how many pigs have had books written about them? Other than Wilber in Charlotte’s Web and that unauthorized autobiography of Miss Piggy that came out last year, I can’t think of any. If Cunningham wins, they’ll present the award on the official holiday, most likely in Washington or Des Moines. They rotate it every year, weather permitting. National Pig Day is about those socials, pig parades and even feasting. In fact, many BBQ joints are open 24 hours straight just for the event. People celebrate all sorts of ways—even decorating their houses for it. I did that once. My wife, Judy, won’t let me do it again, though. But National Pig Day is about more than just having fun. It’s a time to reflect and think about pigs. Last year, I attended a lecture where a pigologist from Peoria explained how the United States is falling behind in the world pig race. Hopefully, the numbers have changed some, but he said China is in first place with 446,422,605 pigs. The United States comes in second with only 65,909,002. I’m pretty sure he counted them personally. Anyway, we have some catching up to do. This is a serious situation. Because our country once went to war over a pig. It was just a brief clash between us and England, but still…. It started in 1859 when an American shot and killed an English pig on a British-held island near Washington State. In the end, though, the pig was the only casualty.

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But this year’s event will be even more impressive if my pig brings home the bacon by being named Pig of the Year. If he does, I’ll bet they make him Grand Marshal of Peoria’s Pulled Pork Parade. And if they do, who knows where that might lead?

While Cunningham and Other Pigs I have Known will not be available for Groundhog Day, it will be out in plenty of time for National Pig Day. Visit (after February 15th) to order your copy. 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, with a sixth coming out this winter. 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.

“I am rather inclined to silence, and whether that be wise or not, it is at least more unusual nowadays to find a man who can hold his tongue than to find one who cannot.” - Abraham Lincoln

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The Immortality of Youth By Noel Shumann


ts funny how your life can change in an hours’ time.

We had a home on the Gulf of Mexico and owned and raced Hobe Catamarans. When visiting, my kids loved to sail. Being of the age of 18-21 and of the knowledge of sailing a boat, I let them sail alone without out Old Dad supervising.

On this day, Mike and Noel Jr. had two friends and the four were going sailing. After I thought what was a successful check of life jackets and no alcoholic beverages, I sent them on their way and wished them well. Their one rule was to keep the boat in sight, so I did not worry. The boys agreed and off they went. An hour passed, and I thought I was keeping track as the boat had a bright yellow sail. I totally relaxed when the sail came into view about a half a mile from the beach. I was assuming they would be home soon but when they did not land at our place, I figured they headed for friends or pretty girls down the beach. About 20 minutes later, one of the sons of a friend of ours came running down exclaiming that our sailboat had landed by their beach house and there was no one on it. So much for not worrying! I ran up the beach to try and figure out what happened. Both the jib and the main sail were set as if it was under full sail, basically the boys must have been trying to get full speed out of the boat. I had binoculars and was quickly checking the horizon and could find no sign of the boys. I knew they had gone out of sight which probably meant they were at least three miles from shore. That is a long swim! My hope was that knowing the general direction they had been sailing in we could retrace their course. At this point, my worry meter was going through the roof. With the help of my young messenger, we quickly brought the boat about, and I was under the most important search sail of my life. After sailing about a mile out, we could not see anybody swimming in the water or any other boats. It took us about another 20 minutes of being under full sail to see my first possible “man overboard”. It was my son, Noel Jr., an FSU swimming team member and probably the strongest swimmer of them all. All the sudden he was waving his arms and pointing out further to sea. I yelled at him and he indicated the general direction as to where the other three were. He anxiously explained that one of them could not swim well. He said, “go find them and don’t worry about me. I will swim into shore”. The only reason I agreed is because a 16-foot catamaran could not really hold more than four people. I battened all the sails to generate as much speed as possible. In about 20 minutes of fast sailing, I found them! A Hobe is a fast boat; they used to advertise them as being fast enough to pull a water skier. To my relief, I found three scared boys treading water in the ocean. In hindsight, their running joke about JAWS was no longer funny! That was a happy three guys! My one big question was how the boat ended up on shore without them. Surely, they did not jump off the boat with the sails set! I noticed there was a lot of chatter when they got on the boat. They were breaking records in their word counts. I learned from raising the first six kids that when they had a close call, they talked a lot, usually avoiding the truth at hand! Nerves will do that to you! After we made it ashore, we struck the sails and I still did not have my answer. I once again asked how you ended up in the drink (the ocean) and have the boat sail on without you. Mike, my oldest, began to describe a “King of the Boat” story which became a contest of who was the strongest among the four boys. Most of the boys were football players and humility was not their strong suit. In their pursuit of royalty, they all four went into the water at the same time. They had the boat for a minute but then realized how fast it would sail and they could not keep up. When they all let go to talk for a second the boat just sailed off towards shore, another moment of brilliance. I just shook my head as I realized that if the boat had been turned 180 degrees it never would have made it home and perhaps ended up in Mexico. That could have been thousands of miles away! That was the first time they had even thought about that. I could see a shiver come to each of their bodies. To tell you the truth, I had a good shiver too. Don’t worry, Noel Jr. made it home long before us! To the one boy who could not swim well, you can’t come back until you take some swimming lessons!

Noel Shumann is a REALTOR, an author, a speaker and quite the entertainer. He is an excellent writer and the best part is, his stories are true. Noel and his wife Terry lived in Rabun but currently reside in the Atlanta area.

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Two Inns, A Farmhouse & A Summer Home:

Rabun County Houses Listed on the National Register of Historic Places By Dick Cinquina for Rabun County Histoical Society


abun County is host to four houses on the National Register of Historic Places. Two became inns, or boardinghouses as they once were called, as a direct result of the Tallulah Falls Railroad. One is a farmhouse, serving as a vivid reminder of how poor, subsistence farmers lived in the Georgia mountains in the late nineteenth century. Another is a vacation home harkening back to the time when Rabun County was becoming a summer retreat for wealthy city dwellers, again due to the railroad. Each property is unique, but all four share a common element: they tell important stories about the history of Rabun County.

The York House The York House, located off U.S. 23/441 in Mountain City, was listed on the National Register in 1992. Dating from the 1880s and steadily enlarged over the years, it is an example of a log cabin evolving into a Victorian inn. The York House also is important as an inn that benefited from the tourist boom generated by the Tallulah Falls Railroad.

Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed his 14 slaves, but most chose to stay with Gibson. He deeded a 40-acre tract to his 14-year-old granddaughter Mollie in 1873. In the 1880s, she married William Terrell York, a former Confederate soldier and Clayton’s sheriff at one time. For their home, the couple lived in a log cabin. It is not known if they built the cabin or if it already existed on the property. Over time, they operated a 400-acre farm on additional land purchased from Hiram Gibson. The log cabin was enlarged, the façade was covered with pine plank siding, and tenant cottages and various outbuildings were constructed. Surveyors for the Tallulah Falls Railroad, which eventually would be extended northward from Tallulah Falls, began staying at the York home in 1896. This marked the beginning of the home as an inn, the York House. The inn flourished once the railroad reached Mountain City in 1906. A stop, called the York Siding, was built near the York House, giving passengers convenient access to the inn. In 1907, an L-shaped addition to the house was built to accommodate more guests. Literature from the York House around this time described the inn as “the large, ideal country home with a farm run in connection with the house…” Amenities included “tennis courts, mountain spring water, large verandas…and a new system of hot and cold waterworks on each floor.”

The York House, photo 2013 The York House was once part of a 1,000-acre farm owned by Hiram Gibson, a South Carolina plantation owner. He purchased the land in 1851 and moved his family and slaves to the site, making him one of the few slave owners in Rabun County.

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The Yorks, who had become known as “Little Mamma” and “Papa Bill,” operated the inn during the summers until 1916 when their daughter, Fannie York Weatherly, and her husband, George, took over. Following the Weatherlys, the York House remained open under the third generation of the York family and later by other owners. The York House currently is undergoing renovations by its new owner, the Old Edwards Hospitality Group.

The Henry and Rosie Kilby House Located on Tumbling Waters Lane in Rabun County’s Persimmon community, the Henry and Rosie Kilby House was built in 1898. Listed on the National Register in 2005, the house and barn are fully intact examples of a subsistence family farm that is emblematic of the way people once lived in the Georgia mountains. The I-house architecture of the Kilby home also is noteworthy since that type is seldom is found in this state. Henry Kilby’s grandparents moved from North Carolina to settle in Persimmon in the 1860s. Henry married Rachel Rosetta (Rosie) Justus in 1895. In 1898, they built their house and barn on 50 acres. The couple acquired additional land over time, eventually expanding the farm to more than 160 acres. Corn was the principal crop, both as food for the family and their livestock.

William E. and Sarah Dillard Powell House

A capable and industrious man, Kilby earned badly needed cash from a variety of activities. He built a blacksmith shop; castrated livestock, cats and dogs for his neighbors; tanned leather from the cattle he butchered; and sold shoes made from his own leather. Kilby also built and operated a gristmill on Persimmon Creek. The Depression ‘30s had little impact on the family since the Kilbys were relatively self-sufficient. They produced most of what they needed and bartered for the rest. Henry Kilby died in 1937. Rosie and her children continued to run the farm and gristmill. She lived much as she did when the house was first built in 1898. The home never had indoor plumbing, electricity or a telephone. Wood was the only fuel for heating and cooking. Rosie Kilby died in 1950 in her nineties.

Asbury and Sallie Hodgson House

The Kilby’s heirs sold the home, whose new owners electrified the house. However, they eventually moved out and used the house to store hay. Without occupants, the house fell into disrepair. Catherine Sale and Susan Rogers bought the Kilby house in 1961. It is currently owned by Camp Ramah Darom.

The William E. and Sarah Dillard Powell House Built in stages between 1882 and 1940, the Powell House is located on Boxwood Terrace in Dillard. Listed on the National Register in 2008, it is one of Rabun County’s early boarding houses from the summer vacation era ushered in by the Tallulah Falls Railroad. The architecture of the house reflects its transformation from a single-family farmhouse into a much larger structure to accommodate summer tourists. The house also is associated with two prominent local families. James Dillard, son of John Dillard, one of Rabun County’s earliest white settlers, is the first recorded owner of the property. He began Continued... February 2021 - GML 53

Rabun County Historical Society - Two Inns, A Farmhouse & A Summer Home operating the boardinghouse after the death of her husband in 1932 and built one final addition in 1940. At Sallie’s death in 1962, the house passed to her eldest daughter, Francis (Fannie) Powell, who operated the boardinghouse for the next decade until ill health forced her to close the operation. It was Fannie who called the house Boxwood Terrace due to the boxwood landscaping around the house. After Fanny’s death, the house was deeded to a granddaughter of Sarah Powell, who lived in the home until 1997. During this time, the house fell into disrepair. It was sold in 1998 and then again in 2008. The current owners have renovated the house, using it to host guests and special events. Tallulah Falls Depot deeding parcels of his land to his children in 1856. W.F. Dillard, his son, received a significant share before marching off to war in 1861 as part of Stonewall Jackson’s brigade. He left behind two sons and an expectant wife. Killed in action in Virginia, Dillard previously had instructed his wife to name a daughter Sarah Catherine. As it turned out, a daughter was born, and she was known as Sallie her entire life. Sallie’s mother inherited all of W.F. Dillard’s holdings, but upon her death, the land passed to trustees of the local Methodist church. To receive her share of the inheritance, Sallie had to wait until she was 18. In the meantime, Sallie married William E. Powell in 1880, a third generation Rabun County farmer from the area around Burton, which now lies under Lake Burton. In 1881, she finally received 135 acres from her father’s estate. The Powells built their home in 1882 about a half-mile south of a cluster of buildings that constituted the town of Dillard. The family’s main problem was the absence of cash, since the Southeast was still gripped by a post-Civil War economic depression. To augment the family’s meager farm income, Sallie decided to take in boarders. She took her plan a step farther by capitalizing upon the tourism boom generated by the Tallulah Falls Railroad. Having been extended to Tallulah Falls in 1882, the railroad provided tourists from Atlanta and other cities with a much faster and more convenient way to visit the north Georgia mountains. Sallie would make the 40-mile round trip by horse and surrey to the Tallulah Falls train depot to pick up summer tourists and carry them back to her home. As tourism continued to grow, the Powell’s had built a two-story addition to their house by 1890 to increase its occupancy. The railroad reached Dillard in 1906. Sallie’s guests could now disembark nearby, avoiding the long surrey ride from Tallulah Falls. By 1915, business was so good that the house was enlarged further, including a one-story addition able to seat 40 diners. Plumbing was added to the house around 1925. Sallie continued

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Asbury and Sallie Hodgson House Listed on the National Register in 2011, the Asbury and Sallie Hodgson House is located on White Street in Dillard. Built in 1908, the Hodgson house is an early summer home dating back to the time when Rabun County was becoming a popular resort area for city families throughout the Southeast. A one and onehalf story Georgian-plan house, it is virtually unchanged since the time it was built. The home retains its original materials and Georgian floor plan, consisting of four first floor rooms divided by a central hallway. It has remained in continuous use by the family that built it. Asbury Hodgson came from a prominent Athens family. Instrumental in developing railroads serving Athens, he also was president of the Southern Manufacturing Company. Asbury was mayor of Athens in the late 1880s. After his first wife died in 1872, he married Sallie Paine in 1892, which made Asbury the brotherin-law of another wealthy Athens resident, John Richards White. Sallie and Asbury purchased a cornfield from the Dillard family and built their summer home in 1908 with views of the Dillard valley and surrounding mountains. This was typical of wealthy city families, who wanted to escape the summer heat and such diseases as yellow fever and malaria. For these reasons, Rabun County became popular with Athens and Atlanta families. Asbury was diabetic and an infrequent visitor to the Dillard home. After he died in 1913, Sallie continued to spend summers there. She was known for hosting prominent Athens families and serving lavish meals. It was said that sellers of produce, meat and fish packed her driveway with their wagons every morning. With Sallie’s death in 1938, the house passed to her stepdaughter and son, who would spend summers in Dillard for decades to come. They sold the house in 1970 to Malcolm and Bernice White Richardson. Bernice was Sallie Hodgson’s great-niece. At the time of the sale, the house was in severe disrepair with the

The Weavers Shed at the Hambidge Center, photo 1950s woods encroaching on the front porch. The Richardsons performed extensive repair work and allowed the Hodgsons to continue spending summers there. The property passed to Malcolm Richardson’s son in 1987. Remaining in the same family for well over a century, the house retains both the physical appearance and ambience of one of the earliest summer homes in Rabun County. Other National Register Listings in Rabun County The Tallulah Falls depot of the Tallulah Falls Railroad was listed on the National Register in 1988. Built in 1913-1914 to replace the earlier station that was destroyed in a fire, the depot is one of only two remnants of the railroad in Rabun County. The other consists of five concrete bridge piers in Lake Tallulah. The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences on Betty’s Creek Road west of Dillard was listed in 1982 as rural historic district. Mary Hambidge founded the center in 1934 as a place where local women could utilize their talents at spinning and weaving. This 600-acre tract includes nine artist studios, a working grist mill, a weaving shed turned into a gallery and a modern pottery facility. Rabun County’s seventh listing on the National Register is a Native American mound near the Little Tennessee River in Dillard. Surrounded by farm fields, the mound was built by a Mississippian tribe, probably as a burial site or platform for religious ceremonies. The location of this mound cannot be disclosed due to the risk of desecration. 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. February 2021 - GML 55

Celebrate Clayton Art Festival Back & Better than Ever! April 24th and 25th


oday it may be cold, damp, and dreary, but before you know it, Spring will greet us with sunshine, fresh air and daffodils. Best of all, Celebrate Clayton returns to Main Street in downtown Clayton. After these long months at home, aren’t you ready for a change of scene? It’s time for you, your friends and family to get out and safely enjoy our town. Presented by the North Georgia Arts Guild, this popular family-friendly event welcomes you to stay all day or all weekend. Looking for the perfect gift or a pick-me-up? Browse the Artist Market where 100 artists and artisans will exhibit their original art and fine crafts: paintings, pottery, photography, jewelry, knives, leather goods and more. As always, there will be face painting and many other kid-friendly booths. Getting hungry? Food stands will be scattered up and down main street offering sweet and savory fare. Ready for a break? Take a seat on the lawn and enjoy live music from the Rock House stage. The North Georgia Arts Guild is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Festival proceeds fund scholarships for artistically talented high school seniors, and art programs for the community. Your support and sponsorship help to continue the NGAG Scholarship and Outreach Programs.

If you wish to exhibit at Celebrate Clayton, visit celebrateclayton. com/apply. The application deadline is March 1st. To support your community as a sponsor or volunteer, contact Kathy Ford, Celebrate Clayton Chairman, at 706-212-9958.

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WinterFest Arts Tour


autee Nacoochee, GA: Unicoi State Park & Lodge, Helen Arts & Heritage Center, and Sautee Nacoochee Center announce the 2021 WinterFest Arts Tour. The weekend of festivals includes 145 artists at 3 locations over 2 days for 1 ticket price. WinterFest dates and times are Saturday, February 13 from 10AM until 5PM and Sunday, February 14 from 10AM until 4PM, so there is no rush to see everything in one day. And, treasures found on Saturday may still be available for purchase on Sunday. WinterFest is an interactive, move at your own pace event that is set in the winter beauty of Northeast Georgia. At all three locations, local and regional artists will display and demonstrate their skills and bring to life new and exciting pieces. Food vendors and live music are present at some sites. There is no charge for the festival at each venue, but a multipart ticket may be purchased to enter to win one of three Grand Prizes valued at $250 and above. The ticket is $10 per person or a book of five tickets for $40. To be eligible for one of Grand Prizes, the ticket must be stamped at all three locations. While a fundraiser designed to support the educational efforts of the Sautee Nacoochee Cultural Center, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, WinterFest is an important economic driver for White County, Georgia during an otherwise quiet time of year. The event is coordinated by the Sautee Nacoochee Community Association and funded in part by the White County Commission, a Vibrant Communities Grant from the Georgia Council for the Arts, a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and the Sautee Nacoochee Corporate Partners ProgramTM. The Fireside Arts and Craft Show at Unicoi State Park and Lodge is in its 46th year and has artisans that have attended the show

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since its inception 45 years ago. Fireside will host more than 50 artisans and crafters in 2021. Experience a mixture of heritage, art, and fine craft at the Alpine Winter Festival at the Helen Arts & Heritage Center. ​The Center’s heritage museum presents the “Story of Helen”. Over 50 artists are represented in the galleries. The artists at the Sautee Nacoochee Art Festival come from Georgia, the Carolinas, Florida, Tennessee and Alabama. All of the 40plus artists who participate are juried, ensuring the best original local and regional artwork. Because of COVID-19, and the concern about social distancing, the Hop On - Hop Off coach service will not be available for the 2021 WinterFest. Free parking is available at Unicoi State Park & Lodge and at the Sautee Nacoochee Center. The timing of WinterFest could not be better for visitors. It occurs over President’s Day Weekend, which in 2021, is also Valentine’s Day Weekend. Information about and tickets for WinterFest Arts Tour are available at or by calling 706-878-3300. COVID-19 safety protocols will be practiced at all three locations. Festival-goers will check-in at their first venue and have their temperature taken. Contact tracing information will be taken, then a wristband will be given to indicate that the person has checked-in. Masks and social distancing are encouraged at each venue. The Sautee Nacoochee Center is a member-based organization serving White and Habersham Counties and all of northeast Georgia. Its mission is to value and nurture individual creativity, along with the historical, cultural and environmental resources of the Sautee and Nacoochee Valleys and surrounding area. For more information, visit or call 706-878-3300.

An Afterthought

Winter Bluebird, © 2021 by Anna DeStefano, Affirmation Photography™


ever forget to dream, to nurture hope, to carve out space in your heart for faith to thrive. These are the things that come to mind when I meet a bluebird.

All over Georgia, year around, Eastern Bluebirds go about their business, unaware that they’re a symbol of good things to come. They’re focused instead on exploring open spaces rimmed by fertile oak and pine, on the hunt for their next meal or perch or nesting site. Their favorite haunts are fields and orchards—the latter of which I call home. At least I live near enough to an orchard that serene moments like this one are common. If I let myself be still and listen just down the road from my home, something good invariably finds me. I’m told that bluebirds mean happiness and prosperity and renewal. Is that why spotting one in the winter leaves me dreaming of spring? They’re said to herald the arrival of knowledge and new beginnings and victory over uncertain times. Maybe that’s why, as 2021 evolves, featuring a bluebird seemed right for February’s “Afterthought.” He’s magnificent, so proud and sure. There’s peace in that calm gaze. I can almost feel his confidence. A bird’s existence can’t be easy. Yet he pauses for his portrait, perfectly content. Life is good, he seems to be saying. It’s meant to be good. Just let things be good for a while. Don’t worry so much about what happens next. Most mornings, I take my quiet time outdoors for a walk. I almost always see a bluebird, soaring impossibly fast for a creature so fragile. They move with unchecked abandon—a living inspiration to nurture that same joy within myself. Bluebirds remind me to be still and listen, to fly free and sure. I smile every time I discover one. And then I breathe a bit easier. I believe a bit deeper. I make just a little more space in my heart for those new beginnings to come... Anna DeStefano is 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 more inspiring images of reflection and peace at View pieces from her latest collections in person at Timpson Creek Gallery in Clayton, GA. February 2021 - GML 59

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Profile for The Laurel of Northeast Georgia

Georgia Mountain Laurel February 21  

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