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The Laurel of Northeast Georgia July 2021 • Volume Eighteen • Issue Seven

A Note From Tracy… July brings to mind a celebration of the independence of America. We celebrate freedom and the value of every man, woman and child as equal and deserving of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. John Adams stated in letters to his beloved Abigail the following: “I am apt to believe that Independence Day will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this Continent to the other from this time forward forever more.” I agree with John and do enjoy such celebrations! You will also find many great recipes, adventures, beautiful homes, photography, newsworthy business features and even a look at another mountain home 9,000 miles away. God has blessed us with many faithful advertisers and readers who continue to support and appreciate our efforts to share our mountains. We wish you a happy and safe 4th of July, As always, thank you from the bottom of my heart,

Tracy The Laurel of Northeast Georgia Mailing: PO Box 2218, Clayton, Georgia 30525 Office: 2511 Highway 441, Mountain City, Georgia 30562 706-782-1600 • Contributing Writers: Emory Jones, Jan Timms, Lorie Thompson, Dick Cinquina, Betty Cobb, Dr. Mandy Pileski, Jaime Speed DVM, Dr. Sue Aery, Hailey Gross, Anna DeStefano

STAFF Publisher/Editor - Marketing - Tracy McCoy Art Director - Dianne VanderHorst Graphics - Lucas McCoy Marketing & Office Manager - Cindi Freeman Assistant Office Manager - D’Anna Coleman Writer - John Shivers Photographer/Writer - Peter McIntosh

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

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Outdoorsy 16 20 22 26 28 34

Better Fireworks Make it to the Market Sid Weber Cancer Fund Attract More Birds to your Backyard With Love from My Mountain Adventure Out

Arts & Entertainment 38

Cover Artist – Melissa Elzy

Around Town 42 44 44 44


Southern Cuisine 52 56

Big E Festival and Elvis Tribute Competition RM Heating New Location House of Hair Hangers Plus Opens

Laurel Homes

Bon Appetit The Family Table



This House will Scream “Gotcha” Home’s Mountain Charm Marries Past and Future

Faith in Christ 70 73 74 75

Rabun For the Gospel River Garden Life is a Blessing Flower Festival

Mountain Weddings 80 84


Peters’ Wedding Lee and Hailey’s Wedding Story Elisha’s Wedding



Live Healthy and Be Well 90 94 98 99

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy 10 Questions with Pet Health The Body Shop

Looking Back 100


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Rabun County Historical Society – Centuries of Travel Through the Rabun Gap By The Way - Rembering Uncle Ray Foxfire – Community Gatherings in the Mountains July 2021 - - 13

Celebrate Independence Day!

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Fireworks over Rabun 16 - July 2021

Fireworks over Burton

Better Fireworks Photos - Tips and Tricks by Peter McIntosh

Fourth of July fireworks are always fun, and even more fun if you can capture these pyrotechnical marvels with your camera. And when I say camera, I’m referring to both DSLRs and phone cameras. Here are some tips and tricks to help you take better fireworks photos. 1 - Use a tripod. This is true for both regular cameras and camera phones. You can shoot without a tripod but a steady platform increases your odds of getting a sharp image. (For cell phones there’s the Pedco Ultrapod 3 Lightweight Camera Tripod available on Amazon for about $20, and it comes with a cell phone clip.) If you’re in a boat, try to keep your camera as steady as possible. 2 - Think about composition. Something other than just starbursts. When shooting on one of our beautiful lakes, the boats in the water and the reflection of the fireworks is an obvious choice. In other locations, look for a foreground element that gives the image a sense of place. (Children’s silhouettes, friends in lawn chairs, etc.) Also consider horizontal versus vertical. Most fireworks photos are vertical but sometimes horizontal is a better composition. 3 - Focal length, zoom or wide angle? Typically wide angle is better as you can crop the image later should you desire. Wide angle images are usually sharper unless you have a very steady tripod. This is especially true for cell phones where zooming magnifies any camera movement. 4 - Shoot in manual mode. Manual exposure, manual focus.

Most newer cell phones have this feature. (Look it up on YouTube for your specific model) And turn off your flash! 5 - Set correct Aperture - F/8 to F/16. A smaller aperture increases the field of focus and helps with longer exposures. 6 - Shutter speed. Learn how to adjust this on the fly. Typically between 4 to 8 seconds will produce the best results. But keep in mind if you go to a longer shutter speed, you’ll want a higher F stop. (Smaller aperture) If you’re in boat, do the best you can with a faster shutter speed. 7 - ISO - Set you ISO to 100. Fireworks are bright so a higher ISO usually isn’t necessary. You can do this with most cell phones as well. 8 - Smoke direction. If your goal is to get the best fireworks photo possible, try to be upwind of the shooting location. It’s a best guess scenario, and sometimes it doesn’t matter, just something to consider. 9 - Have fun! Take lots of pictures, check your photos to make sure you’re not getting blown out highlights. And keep in mind my tips here are guidelines, not rules. Happy Fourth of July and enjoy the show! July 2021 - - 17

Fireworks over Dillard

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Big things are happening in

Lakemont, Georgia

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Independence Day Celebrations Lake Rabun July 4th Celebration Saturday - Rabun Ramble 7:30am to 9:30am, Fireworks at the Dam 9:15 pm Sunday - Wooden Boat Parade 10:30 am until Lake Burton Fireworks Boat-Accessible Fireworks Show - 9:30pm July 3rd at South End of Billy Goat Island Franklin’s All-American Independence Day Celebration Saturdy, July 3rd at 12pm 5 W Main St - Franklin, NC Dillard House 4th of July Celebration Sunday, July 4th at The Dillard House 768 Franklin Street - Dillard

Make it to the Market Summer in the Mountains means home grown tomatoes and fresh picked corn and where is the best place to find this freshness we crave - Your local farmers’ market. There, you not only can find fresh vegetables, but fresh baked goods, local honey, jams and jellies, herbal beauty products, maybe even some crafts and antiques. So as you’re out and about this summer be sure to stop by your local farmers’ market - you’re sure to find something. Clayton Farmer’s Market Located in the parking lot beside The Foodbank of Northeast Georgia Covered Bridge Shopping Center U.S. Hwy 441, Clayton, Georgia Saturdays 9 am-12:30 pm 108 Plaza Way Clayton, GA 30525

Community Market of Rabun County Located behind the Rabun County Civic Center under the Pavilions Saturdays, May 1st - October 30th, 9 am-2 pm For market info call 706-982-9432 W. Savannah St., Clayton, Georgia

July 4th Fireworks! Sunday, July 4th Starting at 9:45pm Celebrate our great country in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains with a fireworks display over Lake Chatuge!

Franklin Farmer’s Tailgate Market

Fireworks at Meeks Park Sunday, July 4th, 9:30pm Blairsville, Georgia Thurs, Fri, Sat & Mon 10 am - 5 pm Sun 1 pm - 5 pm 18 Sorgum Mill Drive, Lakemont, GA

Demorest Independence Day Celebration is on! Fireworks will be Sunday, July 4th

Jaemor Farm & Market

Highlands, North Carolina will be having Independence Day Celebrations and Fireworks July 4th from 10am to 10pm on Main Street Fireworks will start around 9pm

Osage Farms

July 8th Historic Lakemont Villagewide celebration July 17th, 9-4 Hometown Heritage Festival Franklin, North Carolina July 17th and 18th Sat. 10-5, Sunday 10-4 Butternut Creek Festival Meeks Park - Blairsville, Georgia July 23rd, 10am - 10pm Macon County Gemboree 1288 Georgia Rd. - Franklin, North Carolina 20 - July 2021

Located between 226 & 268 East Palmer St. Franklin NC (Macon County) Open Saturday mornings, 8 am - noon from April through October and 10 am - noon from November through March.

Hillside Orchard Farms Located at 5340 Cornelia Hwy Alto, GA 30510 Mon -Sat 7 am - 6 pm, Sun 1 pm - 6 pm Open daily 8 am - 6 pm May through October Located at 5030 US Hwy 441 North, Rabun Gap, GA 30568

Union County Farmers Market Located at 290 Farmers Market Way, Blairsville, GA Saturdays 7 am – 1 pm & Tuesdays 2 pm – 5 pm June 5 – October 30, 2021

Yonder Community Market Located at 151 Hillcrest Ave, Franklin, NC 28734 Online ordering is available beginning each Friday at 6 pm through Sunday at 6 pm. Orders received during this time will be available for pickup at Yonder Community Market Thursday evenings between 2 pm and 6 pm or Fridays between 12 pm and 6 pm. In Store shopping Wednesday - Saturday 12 pm - 6 pm

Sid Weber Memorial Cancer Fund It is a sad fact of life that everyone knows someone affected by cancer. The diagnosis is terrifying. The burden on the patient and family and friends can be immense. However, there are groups willing to ease that burden. The Sid Weber Memorial Cancer Fund is one of those groups.

Volunteers at 2020 Sid Weber BBQ

The fund was established in 2005, by family and friends of Sid Weber. Sid was a retired pilot known for giving a helping hand whenever he could. He lost his battle with cancer, but his legacy continues, through the fund established by his family and friends. Since 2005, SWMCF has provided more than $760,000 in aid to Rabun County cancer patients. Here’s how it works. In order to qualify for aid, a client must be a Rabun County resident and have a diagnosis of cancer. That’s it. No intrusive financial questions, just a quick application. Once approved, clients can receive up to $2200 for non-medical expenses. This includes rent, utilities, groceries, gas cards, etc. All payments go directly to the vendors. Clients and their families can focus on recovery, not whether the lights are going to stay on.

Donna and Randy Speed at the 2020 golf tournament

The fund has seen a decline in clients since the pandemic. Many people have postponed going to the doctor for checkups and cancer screenings. The American Medical Association estimates that as many as 10 million cancer screenings were missed during the pandemic. The American Cancer Society is encouraging people not to further delay getting screened for cancer, as early detection increases the likelihood of curing certain cancers. The pandemic changed so many things, but cancer never stops. SWMCF wants clients to know the fund is ready to help them. All donated money stays in Rabun County, with 93% going directly to client assistance, because the board is comprised of volunteers. All client information is kept confidential. However, sometimes clients do want to share their stories. Here’s what one SWMCF client had to say about their experience:

L-R Cami Francis, Treasurer; Milt Gillespie, Past President; Jennifer Arbitter, President; Dottie Haney, Corresponding Secretary

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“On March 25, 2020 my son had emergency surgery and we found out he has colon cancer. He spent two weeks in the hospital and then numerous trips for doctor visits and treatment. Someone told us about the Sid Weber Fund, and they have been such a blessing. They have helped with household bills, saving us money for our doctor bills. We are so thankful for the Sid Weber Fund that helps so

many people in our county. If you can possibly donate to the Sid Weber Fund, I know you would be blessed.” Another client, a single mother, said, “I hope I can express how much your gift of living expenses has meant to me and my son. Being diagnosed with cancer certainly changes your whole life. Being a full-time single mom and self-employed business owner, the financial strain has been my biggest hurdle. The fund made my life so much easier.” Rabun County native Jennifer Arbitter is the current president of SWMCF. “I can’t describe how fulfilling it is to be able to help members of our community. Whenever I tell people about Sid Weber and what we do, they are happy to help us. We have amazing support from Rabun County residents, businesses, churches and schools. Even during the pandemic, we received generous support. We have the money available to help those in need.” SWMCF has several fundraisers, including a July 3 BBQ and a golf tournament on August 18, both at Sky Valley. You can find out more information about the fund and their events on Facebook or their website: You can also make donations online or send them to PO Box 485, Rabun Gap, Georgia 30568. If you are a cancer patient and need assistance, call the fund’s client coordinator at 706-746-3350. Again, you only have to be a Rabun County resident with a diagnosis of cancer to qualify. The Sid Weber Memorial Cancer Fund is here to help.

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Attract More Birds to Your Backyard Basic tips for feeding wild birds

(Family Features)

With all the constraints people lived through in 2020, many turned to their own backyards – nature, in particular – for hope, solace, wonder and even entertainment. Despite the worldwide crisis, nature’s normalcy remained intact; flowers continued to bloom, bees continued to pollinate and birds continued to fly and forage food. Feeding birds can be enjoyable for any age group and provide stress relief for all who partake. A University of Exeter study, focused on nature’s impact on humans in suburban and urban areas, found lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress were associated with the number of birds people saw during afternoons at home. The benefits of birdwatching come from seeing lots of birds – quantity not “quality” – the study found. People “felt relaxed and connected to nature when they watched birds in their gardens,” researchers said. These feelings increased with the level of bird feeding in the yard. For millions working and schooling from home, this stress reduction was an unintended bonus. Data from 2020 shows sales of bird feed, feeders, nesting boxes and bird houses spiked as interest in backyard birds soared while people spent more time at home. Interest in birding isn’t slowing down. If you haven’t tried attracting birds to your backyard, now is a perfect opportunity to start. The experts at Cole’s Wild Bird Products Co. offer these bird feed and feeder basics to attract more birds to your backyard. Feeders A variety of bird feeder types placed at different heights attract more birds than one feeder featuring one seed type. Start with two feeder types that accommodate most feed options. Bowl feeders serve not only seeds but also dried mealworms, fruit and suet. An option like Cole’s Bountiful Bowl Feeder comes with an adjustable dome cover you can raise or lower to prevent larger birds and squirrels from getting to food and protect it from rain. Traditional tube feeders are all-purpose options for bird feeding, especially for small birds that cling. For example, the  Terrific Tube Feeder  is made with state-of-the-art materials to prevent warping and discoloration and includes a quick-clean, removable base to make cleaning fast and easy. Just push a button and the bottom of the feeder pops off for easy access to the inside. Rinse the feeder with soapy water, dunk it into a water-bleach solution at a concentration of 9-to-1, rinse, dry and reattach the bottom. Regular cleaning of feeders is essential for preventing mold, germs and disease.  Popular Foods Birdseed: Not all birdseed is created equal. Look for quality blends without cheap filler like red millet and oats. All-natural seed containing no chemicals or mineral oil is safe and more appealing to birds. Top seed picks include all-natural black oil sunflower and Cole’s “Hot Meats” (sunflower meats infused with habanero chili peppers that birds love and squirrels dislike). Or an option like Special Feeder blend, packed with favorites including black oil sunflower, sunflower meats and pecans, attracts the greatest number of wild birds. Offering a wide variety, Cole’s feed is researched and specifically formulated to attract certain bird species, the largest number of birds and the greatest variety of birds. Insects and Worms: A healthy, lush lawn is one of the best ways to feed birds that prefer insects and worms. You can supplement birds’ diets by serving dried mealworms in a packaged variety that’s easier to feed and less messy than live mealworms. Meal-

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worms are packed with energy and contain essential nutrients, fat and protein. Fresh Fruit: Apples, orange halves and bananas are favored fruits. Suet: Perfect for insect-eating birds, suet is a high-fat food that provides abundant calories, rich nutrition and is a high-energy treat. Using the right feeders and high-quality feed can enhance your backyard and entice more birds, bringing stress relief and enjoyment. For more information on attracting birds to your backyard, visit



With Love from My Mountain

Post card from Another Mountain

Hi Georgia Mountain LAUREL I sent you some pictures of Doi Pha Tang. This Mountain is located in Chiang Rai, Thailand which is about 9,000 miles from State of Georgia. Doi Pha Tang is home to several different Hill tribes. Looking out from the peak of the Mountain on a clear day one can plainly see Laos from Thailand, but in the early morning hours the Mae Khong river is often covered by a thick blanket of fog. The temperature here is cool throughout the year.

Piyalak Simon, a mountain lover who was working as Assistant Editor of Seventeen magazine

Piyalak Simon PS Doi means Mountain in Northern Thai (Lanna) Language.

Distance from Atlanta to Chiang Rai, Thailand ( by google)

Sunrise at Doi Pha Tang

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Publisher’s’ Note: When I was contacted by Piyalak, a fellow mountain lover. She proposed an idea that we allow our readers who live in other areas to share their mountain or home with you, our readers. I continued to see her photos and the statistics about her home and area and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I decided since the idea was Piyalak’s that I wanted to let her be first. In talking with her through e-mails I found out that she actually worked for Seventeen magazine in her home country. She now lives with her husband in the Atlanta area and part-time in Rabun too. I can’t wait to meet Piyalak when she is in Rabun. I invite other people who live in other parts of the country or world to share their home with us. Sharing the mountains we call home has always been the mission of the Laurel, but I find as much joy in sharing yours too.

In front of the small hotel where I stayed

Doi Pha Tang elevation is 5,909 feet

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Once used Military bunker at Thailand and Laos border

Trail to the peak of the Mountain

Students in elementary school at Doi Pha Tang come from many tribes who are all very poor. All kids walking from home to school by themselves, some more than 2 miles.

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“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” HARRY S. TRUMAN

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Shop, Dine...

Discover Clayton

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Adventure Out - Chattooga Cliffs Trail by Peter McIntosh

On this adventure we’re going to beat the July heat by hiking along the headwaters of the Chattooga River above the Bull Pen Bridge in North Carolina. This is a famous bridge among Chattooga River lovers. It’s an old steel trestle often referred to as the “Iron Bridge.” The view from the bridge is splendid looking north up the river into an area called the Chattooga Cliffs. And if you’re on the bridge you can look over the railing down to some remarkable water worn potholes. And if you want a closer look at this natural stone and water sculpture, you can access it via a side trail near the western end of the bridge. Do take time to check it out but please be careful. These rocks can be deceptively slippery. Now on to the trail. This somewhat rugged foot path follows the western side of the Chattooga River upstream intersecting a pair of loop routes. (You’ll understand quickly that the cliff mentioned in the trail’s name are on the opposite side of the river.) You could follow this path all the way to a parking area at Whiteside Cove

Road but many spots along this section are blocked by fallen trees which can make your hike tricky and ticky. On this trip we’re going to take the first loop option, which leaves the river and returns to Bull Pen Road just up the hill from the parking area. Sometimes this section is called the Chattooga Loop Trail. Starting out from the Iron Bridge, the trail is streamside with a lot of access points. This is a popular trail for trout fishermen and there are countless opportunities to scramble down to beauty spots along riverside. Soon the footpath then leaves the river and ascends a little way and then just a bit further returns to the waterway. In some places the river is flowing swiftly through rock boulders and at other times there are quiet still waters and nice sandy beaches. I have lots of favorite places along this trail and there are lots of places where you can access the river to cool your toes. Not too far in you’ll come to the side trail on the left, leading uphill continued

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

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and away from the river, back to the road. You can explore a little more of the trail if you want, and you can also skip this loop trail and just go back the way you came in. I’ll bet you see some nice side spots you missed on the way in. And keep in mind that this hike is about the journey and feel free to find your own special spot to stop and soak up the magic of the upper Chattooga River. Happy hiking. As our sweet mountain summer saunters by, here’s my poem for July: With water nice and cool like it came from a fridge, We start our hike from the famous “Iron Bridge.” It’s just the thing to give you a lift, A riverside hike anlong the Chattooga Cliffs. Getting there: From the intersection Hwy-64/ NC Hwy-28 in Highlands, North Carolina drive through main street until the road turns into Horse Cove Road (just past Mountain Fresh Grocery on the right). Drive for 4.5 miles down into the cove via a series of hairpin turns. Continue until you come to an intersection in the road with a wooden mileage sign. Turn right onto “Bull Pen Rd.” for 3 miles to the trailhead at the Chattooga River and Iron Bridge. There is parking along the roadside and at the trailhead. To see more of Peter’s photos or if you have a question or comment: And to learn more about how you can help protect the Chattooga River:

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On Our Cover

Melissa Elzey “For the love of it.” Born in McRae, Georgia in Telfair County, Melissa Elzey is now a resident of the mountains. There is just something about those south Georgia accents, isn’t there? They are as sweet as the tea with a Gone with the Wind sophistication. After her father, Jack McGinty passed away when she was 14 years old, Melissa and her mom made the move to Dublin, Georgia. Having a fascination with photography and having worked on school newspapers and yearbooks she planned to further that education. In 1977 Melissa took the photography course at North Georgia Technical College. She explored the world of Wedding Photography but found it can be very stressful. She found more pleasure in God’s beautiful creations: the landscape, animals and nature. Melissa was employed at an electronic company where she worked for 29 years. In that time she married and had a beautiful daughter and three grandchildren. She beams, like most grandmothers, when she speaks of them. After retiring, her marriage ended and Melissa decided to make the move to the mountains to be near her mother, Jan Rutland. She knew she would find peace and plenty of natural beauty to photograph here. What she didn’t plan for was finding a man who she adores and who cherishes her, but that is exactly what God had planned. Attending a bible study at Tiger Methodist Church with her mother, Melissa met Gary Elzey. The couple soon began to date and that included cameras and hiking, both of which she loves. Melissa needed a job, retirement didn’t suit her, she had always worked. She heard through her mom that Dr. Callahan was going to be the children’s dentist at the Rabun County Health Department and was in need of a dental assistant. Without formal schooling she was offered “on the job training” with Dr. Callahan and she accepted. A much needed relationship formed between them. Dr. Callahan became a mentor and father figure to her. In fact in 2016 Dr. Callahan walked her down the aisle when she married Gary Elzey, a former Rabun County Middle School and High School teacher who taught math, science and technology.

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When Covid-19 became a global pandemic, the Rabun County Health Department took on testing and later vaccinations. Melissa found herself working in many different roles, wherever she was needed. Aside from her work, Melissa is the event photographer for the Lake Burton Fun Run and the His Last Days drama as well. Along the way she has had opportunities to go on medical missions to Haiti with the Clayton Baptist Church. Anyone you talk to that has answered this call will tell you that it is life changing. The Haitian people are so grateful to learn about Jesus. They are in need of medical and dental care. They bathe in the rivers and wash their clothes there as well. The children have no toys or bikes. Families make do with very little. As most people do, Melissa came home with a new appreciation for the simple things. When it comes to cameras, she began with a Kodak 110, moving to Minoltas of which she has two, but today she shoots with a Canon camera. You can tell from her photography that she knows how to use it! On our cover is a shot of a hot air balloon that was at Julep Farms in Dillard, Georgia. The owners had the balloon there to take guests up for their first annual hot air balloon over Julep Farms. The lady in the balloon was there to celebrate her 90th birthday and her first time in a hot air balloon. It was a great capture and the colors are magnificent. Melissa has a portfolio that includes many waterfalls, rivers and mountain shots, but also photos from the Savannah Wildlife Refuge, Jekyll and Tybee Islands. Getting to know Melissa better was a pleasure as we sat chatting over coffee. Her eye for photography is exceptional and her editing skills are the same. I enjoy her photography, I find it comforting and the pleasure she takes in capturing them comes through. When I asked about websites and storefronts she smiled and said I don’t want to make it a job, that takes the joy out of it. “I do it for the love of it.” But, before you despair I did find that she has some photography at the Mountain Grill restaurant in Clayton. Located in the Depot Center at 677-C Highway 441 S. in Clayton. She also takes commissions and is available for event photography. Melissa can be reached by e-mailing

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The 17th Big E Festival The 17th Big E Festival & Elvis Tribute Artists Competition will be held at the Rabun County Civic Center in Clayton on August 6 – 8. The festival starts on Friday with a Meet & Greet from 5pm to 6pm in the downstairs Rock N Roll Café at the Civic Center. Concert begins at 7pm with World Champion David Lee from Birmingham, Alabama, and 2019 Big E winner Jacob Eder from Abbeville, South Carolina. David Lee won the Big E in 2003, then took the 2004 World Champion International Images of the King title in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2015, he was crowned the Ultimate Elvis Contest winner. He holds many titles including Canadian Grand Champion. Saturday at 1pm the ETA Competition begins with Robby Dean, Spirit of the King, as Emcee. This former Hollywood stuntman promises to perform his infamous version of Polk Salad Annie and challenges anyone to out-do him. A Youth Division has been added this year for ETAs under age 16. Adult ETAs from as far away as Australia will be competing. Elvis’ favorite foods, provided by the Friends of the Rabun County Library, will be available for purchase. Door prizes will be given. A SockHop Dinner will take place Saturday night at 7pm at the Civic Center Rock n Roll Café. This catered event will feature David Lee as Conway Twitty, Sean Michael as Johnny Cash and Jessica Nash as Patsy Cline plus other stars. A special People’s Choice Award, with all proceeds benefiting Rabun County Public Library, will be awarded. David Lee’s Gospel Brunch will take place Sunday at 11am at the Award Winning Clayton Café’ on Main St. Limited seating. For tickets www.bigefest. com or call 706-540-3915.

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9 AROUND TOWN House of Hair Salon Suites & Boutiques You can’t get more local than Ali James. The James family is at least 5 generations deep in Rabun County History. The entrepreneurial spirit runs in the family! Her father Dank James and grandfather Claude James (sounds like names from a legendary Western) are well known in Rabun. Claude owned The Clayton Market downtown. On her mother, Olivia Turner James and her maternal grandfather Dr. Richard Turner are known for making history in the medical field in the mountains. Ali is the owner of The House of Hair & Boutique off of Germany Road at 234 Ridgecrest Circle. When I went to visit the salon I turned into the driveway by her sign and found myself on a wooded path to a quaint home sitting in a clearing. I honestly felt like I was visiting a friend. The tranquility hits you as you exit your car and make your way to the porch. The House of Hair Salon Suites and Boutique was created in the home of Omega Keener built in 1934. It is warm and inviting. Clients wait in the glassed in porch surrounded by overstuffed chairs and plants and flowers and a splash of sunshine. Ali has her work area just off of what was likely Omega’s living room, but is now the boutique. Ali has nearly a decade of experience in the salon but says she was cutting her friend’s hair long before she even started studying to be a licensed Master Cosmetologist. She is adored by her loyal following. Ali has a son, Walker who plays basketball, football and runs track, keeping her busy. When she isn’t working or at a ballgame with her son, she enjoys the rivers and lakes. Ali likes to cook and host family gatherings too. When time allows Ali likes to hit the road and see the sights. She gardens, but it might be a stretch to say she loves it. She loves the fresh veggies! Regina Kiser, a native of Habersham County works in a space over from Ali’s. Regina has 28 years experience in hair styling and design. She has a well established business with clients who speak well of her abilities. Regina is married and a mother to two boys and grandmother to two more. When she isn’t working she likes to spend her time in the kitchen baking. She told me that if she wasn’t a hairdresser she would open a bakery, she loves it that much. Truly family is what matters most

to Regina and she makes time with her boys a priority. She likes every aspect of fixing hair and has loved working at House of Hair with Ali and Kim. Kim Karkotsky is a native of Woodstock, Georgia. She moved to the mountains two years ago to be nearer her mother and sister, Dana McFarland. Dana is the owner of Holistic Mountain Market in Clayton and Kim loves the ability to just spend time with her. Kim has a private entrance on what was probably Omega’s back porch. It is lovely with a lot of natural light and Kim has her own seating area for her clients there as well. Kim specializes in Balayage and precision cutting. She uses strictly L’Oreal Professional products for color and styling. She has a fun personality and a big smile and she adds to the feeling that you are visiting a friend. When Kim isn’t working she is hiking, kayaking or shopping! With almost 20 years of experience as well, Kim loves what she does and is an accomplished stylist. House of Hair Salon Suites and Boutique is celebrating their one year anniversary this month. “I had worked in a salon setting for several years before deciding it was time to open my own. “My mom had purchased Omega’s home a couple of year ago and it just seemed like a great spot for it.” Ali said. The home is in fact the perfect location, close to Clayton yet it feels, well “homey”. The boutique houses the work of select local artists, a line of jewelry by Kim, and a few gift type items for yourself or a friend. If you are looking for a great place to get your hair done this may be just what you are looking for. Any of the three professionals are an excellent choice each with their own line to schedule appointments. For Ali call 706-490-0550, for Kim call 678386-6012 and to reach Regina call 706-768-1064.

Hangers Plus It’s Your Clothing Store in Clayton Hangers Plus, now open in Savannah Place Shoppes, offers clothing that celebrates a woman’s curves. Most people know that the average woman does not wear a size 5, but finding clothes that compliment and satisfy her desire for trendy feminine fashions is no easy task. So when Virginia Stewart began feeling the stresses of the pandemic in her nursing career she began to explore the idea of something new. Having felt the need for a clothing store catering to women size 14 and up, she took a leap of faith and began the search for a location and she began shopping. Virginia possesses the ability to put an outfit together that combines,

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classic, trendy and flattering so it was a natural fit! Hangers Plus offers clothing, shoes and accessories as well as gifts and gift certificates. The store is located at the east end of Savannah Place Shoppes in the former Phoenix Jewelry space. The address is 91 East Savannah Street, Suite 404 in Clayton. You are invited to stop in and look around and certainly follow Hangers Plus on facebook where you’ll find previews of new items and great deals! For additional information please call 706-490-1296

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Today only happens once

Make it Amazing

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Bon Appétit

Welcome to Our Home By Scarlett Cook

After 2020 everyone is anxious to be out and about, and with a holiday around the corner you are probably going to have weekend guests. Who wants to be stuck in the kitchen when you could be drinking coffee and enjoying your guests? These recipes are mainly make ahead so you too can sip coffee while waiting on breakfast to be done. Best Waffles Ever Makes 4 2 Large Eggs 1/2 Cup melted butter 1 Cup milk 3/4 Cup buttermilk 2 Cups plain flour 1 Tablespoon sugar 4 Teaspoons baking powder 1/4 Teaspoon salt Assorted flavored syrups or jellies & jams Preheat oven to 200˚. Preheat waffle iron and spray with oil. In a medium bowl whisk eggs until foamy. Whisk in butter and both milks. Add sugar, baking powder and salt and whisk until just smooth. Pour batter onto waffle iron, close lid and cook until steam stops escaping. Place waffles on cookie sheet and keep warm in preheated oven until ready to serve. Serve with syrups or fruit spreads. Turkey Sausage Patties Serves 6 2 Pounds ground turkey 2 Teaspoons salt 2 Teaspoons black pepper 1/2 Teaspoon dried sage or to taste 1/2 Teaspoon dried thyme Red pepper flakes to taste In a large bowl combine all the ingredients. Heat vegetable oil in skillet. Scoop out about a tablespoon of mixture. Cook and taste to see if seasonings need to be adjusted. Form remaining mixture into 6 – 8 patties. Fry until golden brown on both sides.


the little


Baked Eggs Preheat oven to 350˚. For each serving: Butter ramekins or to make more servings butter muffin pans. Into each ramekin or muffin cup break one egg, season with salt and pepper and pour one tablespoon half and half or whipping cream over egg. Do not stir. Bake 15 – 18 minutes. To remove eggs, run a knife around the edge and scoop out with a spoon. Fruit Salad Assorted fruits* – bananas, blueberries, peaches, pears, apples, cantaloupe or honeydew melon cut into bite sized pieces about a cup per serving. Heat 1 tablespoon of raspberry jam per cup of fruit just until liquid. Place fruit on serving plates and drizzle jam over it. *To make this ahead of serving, drizzle lemon juice over cut fruit to prevent it from turning brown. Sour Cream Coffee Cake Serves 8 – 10 1 Cup chopped pecans 1 Tablespoon sugar 1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 Cups plain flour 1 Teaspoon baking powder 1 Cup unsalted butter at room temperature 2 Eggs 1 Cup sour cream 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract Preheat oven to 350˚. Butter and flour a tube or Bundt pan. In a small bowl mix pecans, 1 tablespoon sugar and cinnamon. In large bowl stir together flour, baking powder and salt. In large mixing bowl with mixer on medium speed, beat butter and remaining sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs on at a time. Reduce mixer speed to low and add sour cream and vanilla. Add flour mixture and beat at slow speed until just mixed well. Spoon half of the batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle nut mixture over batter. Spoon remaining batter over nut mixture. Bake until golden, about 1 hour. Let cake cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack, then invert onto serving plate.

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Dining in the

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The only thing I like more than talking about food is eating it. John Walters

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The Family Table By Lorie Thompson

I love camping. When My Uncle, JL McKay, was alive, he would organize family camping trips to Tugalo Lake. The entire clan would come! My friend, Charlie Burns, would join us and announce that for the weekend, his name was “Charlie McKay, Ramey, Thompson, Burns,” naming all of the families represented. Back in those days, access to Tugalo required a tough 4-wheel drive and a lot of effort to get to the lake, but very often, we would have the lake to ourselves. The weekend highlights would include fishing, storytelling around the campfire, great food, and lots of laughter. Our family still loves to camp. Mountain Man and I have changed our camping style over the years. We started in our 20’s with two backpacks. We migrated into Jeep camping a few years later and then into taking the pickup truck. After we had children, a camping trip required that we take the Tahoe and the truck pulling a boat full of gear to carry it all! We still camp, but now, our children have taken over “hosting” and bring most of the community gear and food. So, it is much easier for us to go and we are going more often. A large part of the fun of camping is outdoor cooking and sharing meals. When we have a large group comprised of several households, we share breakfast, cooking it in the camp. We all bring snacks and lunch items to share. Each family unit will provide an evening meal for everyone.  One of my favorite first evening meals is smoked brisket. I prepared it before heading to our campsite and keep it hot in a homemade “Cambro” until supper time. Paired with potato salad and a green salad, it makes a beautiful evening meal. Let me tell you how I made it.  Brisket takes some planning. It is a big cut of meat and takes time to prepare. I chose an 11.5-pound brisket that I bought at Sam’s Club. One day before your trip or serving date, take the brisket out of the refrigerator and allow it to come up in temperature. Rinse the meat in cool water and pat dry with a paper towel. Trim the thick areas of fat. Because of the very long cooking time, you should leave a good amount of fat on the meat but trim it up to a thinner line.  You can season with any seasoning you choose. If I am only making one brisket, instead of making a rub, I will sprinkle on the seasonings and then “massage” it into the crooks and crevices. Turn the brisket with the fat cap side down—season liberally with garlic salt, and pepper. Then add paprika, cumin, and brown sugar. Turn the brisket over and season the other side. (Add back a few pieces of the thin, fat trimmings on areas with no fat to keep it from drying out.) Make a “boat” out of double-thick heavy-duty

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aluminum foil, or use a disposable aluminum pan if it will fit in your smoker. Make certain your foil “boat” does not leak. The brisket needs the liquid for the long cooking time. My pitmaster, Mountain Man, chose to cook the brisket over cherry, but hickory or mesquite are good choices for beef, too. Smoke the brisket in the open “boat” for 10-12 hours at 200 degrees. (The 11.5-pound brisket, trimmed, was in the 10-pound range, which is small for a brisket. It cooked in this first stage for 9 hours.) Remove the brisket from the smoker. At this point, it should be in the 170-180 degree range. Wrap the brisket in peach paper, parchment paper, or brown paper for best results. Make sure your paper is food grade and non-waxed. I used parchment and then wrapped it again in brown paper. Place the wrapped brisket back into the smoker for 5-6 hours at 225 degrees. Remove and check the temperature. The brisket should be at 225 degrees. Allow the meat to rest, still wrapped in paper for at least 30 minutes before serving. If you are transporting the meat, as soon as it is off of the smoker, tightly wrap the paper-wrapped meat in aluminum foil and then wrap the package in a thick towel—place in a cooler sized near the meat package to hold for up to 4 hours. Do not open the cooler until serving time. Knowing how to slice the brisket is essential. The cut has two sections of meat. The “flat” is long and lean, and sitting on top of it is the “point”. It is easy to find the seam between the two and slice apart. The point will need to be sliced at an angle, cutting across the grain. It has more fat on it, and in my opinion, it is the best part of the brisket. Many people like the “flat” It is lean and easy to cut, once again, across the grain. 

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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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Serve the brisket with a vinegar sauce or an Alabama White sauce. Please let me know if you try it and enjoy it. I served this to my family with red dilled potato salad and a chopped kale salad made with craisins, blueberries, walnuts, blue cheese, and a store-bought lemon vinaigrette dressing. My family loved it!  Try your hand at the smoked brisket. It is worth the effort.  I wish you a happy July, full of starlit nights around a campfire and warm sunny days of floating in the lake with someone you love to talk with. 

Nothing Brings People Together Like Good Food

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This Home Will Scream “Gotcha!” By John Shivers

If curb appeal can grab a potential buyer, then the home at 393 Potomac in Stonewall Estates south of Tiger, off Old Highway 441, will hook you immediately. Then it gets better, because this quintessential mountain home delivers everything that first glimpses promise. Talk about immediately feeling connected and at home. The house gives the illusion that it’s always been a part of the property, as timeless as the majestic trees that crown the wooded lot. What’s more, you’ll find yourself yearning to be part of this setting. You realize you’re caught in the relaxed charm of the rough-sawnsided mini-compound. Immediately upon entering the great room you glimpse the one-of-a-kind stair railing fashioned by nature from a recycled tree limb. And that’s just the beginning. Sited on an almost one± acre lot with four-season views that are lagniappe to the deal, this home, suitable for year-round living, loudly proclaims itself family-and-friend-friendly. What’s more, the livability factor of this home is top notch both inside and out. Three structures unified by architectural detail and exteriors define home base at its best. In addition to the main house, with master and en suite on the lower level, there’s a spacious, fullycontained two bedroom guesthouse, and a freestanding double carport and workshop. All of this in an established neighborhood that emphasizes both stability and privacy. The lower level of the main dwelling defines what mountain living is all about, and contains the great room with a beamed, vaulted ceiling and a wood-burning stove. A dining space and a spacious kitchen with furniture quality cabinets, granite countertops, a large pantry and a full-complement of appliances boost the livability factor. A large master suite with generous closet space and a custom bathroom with an oversize shower, both accessed by sliding barn doors, further define livability. Also on this level, a sunroom lends itself to several different uses.

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The second level of this fantastic home has two large bedrooms, a bathroom with tub-shower combo, generous storage, and is ideally laid out for easy daily living for a family with children, or for empty nesters, who occasionally need additional sleeping space. Outside living is as good as it is inside, with generous deck space, perfect for enjoying the hot tub that anchors one end of the deck, or enjoying a cookout with family and friends on another level of this sprawling outdoor porch. The home’s ridgeline lot hosts plenty of deer, even an occasional bear, and the entire package literally lures you into restful moments. This home with its comfortable “cabin in the woods” ambience offers so much when friends come calling. What’s more, there’s a generous amount of paved parking. The adjacent carport and climate-secure workshop space gives you several options. Use it for hobbies, storage, housing for your yard tools or even as a potting shed for the resident gardener. The flexibility factor for this home is fantastic. The main house itself with three bedrooms and two baths is ideal for the average family. But perhaps your needs go beyond that. Aged parents? No sweat. They can have their space and privacy and you can have yours, yet still be close enough. Adult children who need to move home? You can house them. Or utilize the guesthouse as space for caretakers or as a rental space. If you’re ready to be grabbed by a home you’ll know you’ve got to have, check out MLS #8970348 and contact Poss Realty Agent Scott Poss at 706-490-2305, Agent Nic Poss at 706-982-0872, or at the office at 706-782-2121. You owe it to yourself to see this property firsthand.

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Home’s Mountain Charm Marries Past and Future By John Shivers If four bedrooms overlooking pristine mountain views of the historic Sautee Valley whet your appetite for a mountain home, read on. Would three full designer baths with heated floors, plus outdoor space that drastically expands the interior 2,000± square feet of living space further attract you? Then keep reading, because this newly-remodeled home at 630 Seye Wailo Trail outside Clarkesville, Georgia may just be calling your name. But get ready, because this home is a study in contradiction, and all of that contradiction adds up to a truly one-of-a-kind home that delivers big when it comes to having “a place in the mountains.” While the classic design of the home anchors it’s heritage, the contemporary style inside is totally 2021, with potential for years to come. The home’s dovetailed log corners, and the deep exterior color that blends and complements the heavily-wooded 3.38± acre lot delivers a most traditional first impression. Inside, however, the palette takes a 180-degree architectural turn, where sleek, white shiplap walls, light natural colored floors, and clean, fresh lines deliver a refreshed way of living, mountain-style. Originally built in 1991, this log cabin has been totally renovated, with a professional eye toward current design trends and quality finishes and perks. From the new landscaping, outdoor entertainment areas, and the new pavers that lead to the front porch, nothing inside or out has been overlooked or omitted, to bring this home into the 21st Century. Sweeping glass entry doors on the front screened porch beckon one and all to enter into the great room. A corresponding set of

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doors on the opposite wall contribute both to the light and airy sensation that permeates the entire home, and provides access to the rear screened porch that greatly expands the living and entertaining area. Immediately off the porch are 180 degree four-seasonal views that make the fantastic morph into “out of this world.” A large fireplace centrally located in the great room divides the living area from the minimalist-designed kitchen with an island and Kitchen-aid® appliances that give the chef everything he or she needs to prepare meals for any occasion. Adjacent is a built-in coffee bar with an under-counter refrigerator. Space for every day dining will accommodate eight, but there’s ample space to seat more diners. The main floor owner’s suite accesses the rear porch, and includes a walk-in closet, double vanity, soaking tub and separate shower. The main floor guest room has access to a separate bath, and also opens onto the porch. Upstairs there’s a family room, and a guest bedroom with two queen size beds, and a bunk room with four twin beds that share a full bath. The porch provides multiple lounging areas, a gas fire pit, and additional dining area. Built-in ceiling heaters make it possible to use this area for much of the year. And right outside in the level side yard, a second fire pit, a double hammock, trampoline and grilling area greatly expand the living and entertainment possibilities. While the privacy and the beauty found on this property are big positives, driving time from Atlanta is less than an hour and a half, and you’re only fifteen minutes from LaPrade’s Marina on Lake Burton. To make the fantastic even better, all the furnishings are available, for a negotiated additional amount. Move on this now, and you can host friends and family to a humdinger of a Labor Day weekend. Agent Leigh Barnett at Harry Norman, REALTORS® Luxury Lake and Mountain can introduce you to this unforgettable home, MLS# 8978635, and its breathtaking views and laidback lifestyle. Call her at 404-9313636 or at the office, 706-212-0228.

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Remaining Patriotic in the Looming Shadow of Persecution If I were to ask any group what has changed in the last fifteen months, I would get a list full of changes, “because of COVID”. We have seen unprecedented change in the last year. Some changes have been great, while others not so great. One change I have wrestled with the most has been some of our government’s flagrant opposition to the people’s freedom of gathered worship. A freedom so dearly fought for in the founding of our nation that it made its way into our founding documents. In fact, freedom of worship was one of the core reasons so many early colonists left Great Britain. Religious freedom was the very thing at stake when The Church of England instituted The Act of Uniformity. This act prescribed that any minister who refused to conform to the Book of Common Prayer by St Bartholomew’s Day 1662 should be ejected from the Church of England. After this, over 2000 Puritian preachers were expelled from their pulpits, in what is now known as “The Great Ejection”. This effectively meant that unless a minister submitted to a state sanctioned gospel, he could not freely preach. It was this event which coincided with increased state sanctioned persecution that forced many to leave for the new world with the hope of exercising liberties endowed by the Creator.

The Great Ejection along with the scenes of preachers publicly tortured unto death were ingrained in the minds of the people living in the new world. Similar to how people speak of the day Kennedy was shot or of 9/11, the colonists would have shared stories of these events for generations. The people wanted freedom of expression, and the only way they knew to achieve this freedom was to separate from the totalitarianism and corruption present within the nation of Great Britain. This desire for a free nation fueled the drafters’ zeal as they penned words which declared our nation’s independence. They are clear as we read their words today, “We hold these truths to be selfevident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…” The interesting point here is that the drafters of the Declaration of Independence did not create these freedoms of which they wrote, they only recognized and sought to protect the rights as given by the Creator. So, how should Christian citizens of the United States express devotion and virgrous support for our nation as that nation falters to protect our freedoms for which it was founded? The early Christians did not get off easy when it came to supporting the Roman Empire in the time of Nero. Peter exhorts the Christians of

Will Griffin is the Director of Adult Discipleship and Digital Ministries at Clayton Baptist Church. He and his wife Ashley are lifelong citizens of Rabun County.

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Rome to live distinctly from those other citizens around them. In the opening of his first letter, Peter refers to his audience as “aliens”. In 1 Peter 2:11, Peter “[urges them] as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul”. Later, Peter drives the nail home with this passage, “Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God. Honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17, NASB). He advocates for living within the present governmental institutions, even though the lives and livelihoods of Christians were at stake. Peter even calls on the Roman believers to show honor to the king, yes even Nero! But, Peter does not speak of outright conformity. He encourages them to live as outsiders. If the Christian citizens of Rome were encouraged in this way, how would God encourage us to live in this present situation? Further, this call is not unique to citizens of Rome. Through Jeremiah, God encourages the people of Israel to set roots into the places they find themselves exiled. Specifically He encourages them to build houses, plant gardens, take wives, have generations of offspring, to seek the welfare of the place God has sent them, and to pray on its behalf (Jeremiah 29:4-7). One should be reminded, these were exile cities, not exactly friendly territories. So how much more should we as citizens of these United States of America do these same things within and for our own country? We are undoubtedly called to support the nation in which we reside, especially the one of which we are citizens. Paul makes a very clear statement that “whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgement.” (Romans 13:2 NASB). But, this is not blind submission to every governmental presence or policy. This comes after Paul has clearly laid out the Gospel. Christian submission to Government is an outworking or a fruit of the Gospel. There are such cases where government policy hinders the free work of the Gospel. In such cases we as Christians are called to accountability to God. In these cases we are called to respectfully or civilly disobey the governing authorities. This is demonstrated to name one example in Acts 5:29, “We must obey God rather than men.” Some well known writers of history have offered good examples to follow, Francis Schaffer makes some good points on Civil Disobedience. But as one writer frames the question, “ The problem is not whether to disobey the government when it demands disobedience to God, but whether the Christian citizen is obligated to force the government itself to stop disobeying God” (McQuilkin, Roberson and Paul Copan, An Introduction to Biblical Ethics: Walking the way of wisdom. 3rd ed. Intervarsity, Downers Grove. Pg. 563). Ultimately, patriotism is not mere nationalism. We are not looking for a utopian America. We are looking to the coming of the perfect Kingdom. No matter who is in office, or what the current policy is, we as Christians can see how God is using the present governmental institution for His own glory. Patriotism is one method God calls us to give Him glory for what He has done and is doing with the institution of government. As we Christians are great patriots, we will seize hold of great opportunities to point to the one True King!

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Life is a Blessing, or is it? By Tracy McCoy

Have you ever thought that maybe life is not always a blessing? I’ve been writing this column for 15 years. In fact this July issue marks my 15 year anniversary as the owner and publisher of this Laurel. Most days I am joyful or strive to be but in recent years that joy comes and goes, but hasn’t that been the case with most of us? The world is a madhouse right now. Never have I witnessed such craziness in my lifetime. Let me state that this is not a political column this space is used to share the only answer I am sure of. Jesus. He told us that troubles will come. Life is messy sometimes. Tempers flare, feelings override logic and hearts are broken. Depression and anxiety are being experienced by children and seniors and many in between. I myself have had a lifelong battle with depression but 2020 was my tipping point. I had to find some help, and I did, but people, life is just plain hard some days! Let’s look at what Jesus himself said about the troubles we will face. In John chapter 16 verse 33 He said, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!” When I read those words it’s like the ending of the movie when the good guy prevails and the bad guy dies or is put in jail. Guess what, that’s pretty much how the story is going to unfold (read Revelations). Jesus also questions why we worry. I am a professional worrier. Like I’ve thought about starting a business as where you could call me and tell me your troubles and because I am so good at overthinking and worrying myself sick I take on your stuff so you can live your life. Uh, I am really just kidding but you know what, Jesus already did that too. He said this about your burdens and mine… “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28 So knowing that the victory is already His and He walks beside us daily and can handle the load, why do we still worry? I think that it comes from being human and that there are so many things that take our eyes off of the One who holds the peace we seek. Now before we go any further I want to make it clear that I have a chemical imbalance in my brain and I found that I needed medication to enable me to think clearly. I am NOT saying what has been said to me, “If you were are a better Christian, you would not feel sadness or worry”. The truth is that sometimes God gives doctors the answers we need. I am however talking about the joy and peace that is added to our lives when we stay focused on our Savior. Like Peter when he jumped out of the boat, it wasn’t until

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he looked down that he sunk. I think that says keep your head up believer and focus on Me. I’ll lead you and walk your most troublesome paths with you. Troubles will come but I got this! I noticed while reading the Psalms that David was just like us. One day he was on top of the world and the next he was lamenting, filled with fear and anxiety. The world can be a tough place and with tensions running high it’s even scarier, but remember this verse in Colossians chapter 3 verse 15 “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” I am learning to practice gratefulness and I am an admitted work in progress. I am however forgiven and free. Not perfect, yet striving to be Christlike. I realize that when life overwhelms me, I can always run to my Heavenly Father. He knows me best. In Hebrews 13:6 the writer says “So we can confidently say,  “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Many years ago a gentleman I met in the grocery store was talking to me about a trial he had faced. Unbeknownst to him I was in a time of trial. He quoted this scripture to me and I’ve never forgotten it. I hid it in my heart and have used it again and again. Another verse I try to keep ever present is this one in 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” How powerful is that? The God of the Universe cares for you and me. He loved us enough to send Jesus to take our sins and cast them as far as the east is from the west. If you haven’t had that conversation with Jesus yet, you should. The one where you admit that you have sinned and you are sorry. He is so ready to forgive those sins and be your Savior too. He loves you so much more than you could ever imagine. He wants us to trust him, to experience His peace that really passes all understanding. This peace is there even in those darkest hours. Sometimes I am like Peter and I look down at myself and doubts fill my mind but my heart knows that I can reach out and take His hand and I am rescued. A friend whose husband had been battling Covid-19 and was very ill never lost sight of where her and his help would come from. Over and over she posted updates and always she said these words, “God is our Resource. So true, friends, so true. Is life always a blessing? I think it is.

Love and peace to you all!

Our Gift to the Community and to Our Many Friends Beyond Submitted by Betty Cobb

Warm days and cool evenings in the north Georgia Mountains. Summertime has arrived. Come celebrate with us! It is our 14th annual Flower Festival. Our theme this year is God’s Creation “Behold, I Make All Things New”. The Festival will take place July 9th & 10th, 9:30am – 4:00pm at St. James Episcopal Church located at 260 Warwoman Road, Clayton, Georgia. Come early and enjoy the morning demonstrations: Friday at 10:30, Forging the Forest Apothecary with Cara-Lee Langston. Saturday at 10:30, A tisket, a basket with Bev Mannes. We are delighted to have Cara-Lee Langston joining us. She is a South African-born nutritionist, herbalist, wellness cook and educator. She holds an undergraduate degree in Exercise Science from Georgia State University, a Certificate in Medical Herbalism from the Botanologos School of Herbal Studies, a Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Integrative Health from Maryland University of Integrative Health, and is a Certified Wild Mushroom Food Safety Specialist. Cara strives to build relationships with local farmers and engage community interest in integrative health and wellness. We are always happy to have our own very talented Bev Mannes who will be with us on Saturday. Bev has loved arranging flowers since she was a little girl growing up in her dad’s flower shop in Holland, Michigan. What she learned in combining colors and varieties of flowers has carried over into her art quilts. Teaching people to repair computers puts her at ease when speaking and demonstrating arrangement techniques using creative containers and designs. As you enjoy the flower arrangements depicting many of God’s Creations, take a few minutes to reflect on “All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful: The Lord God made them all”. The wonders of God’s creation are all around us, we just need to look for them. Experience one interactive exhibit and try to identify as many plants named for God’s creatures as you can. Look for everything from monkey grass to birds of paradise. The honey bee and honey have significant meaning in religion and are often mentioned in

the Bible. Honey bees have been the official insect of Georgia since 1975. The mountains, trees, the galaxy and a miniature garden will all be represented in floral arrangements. We will surprise you with many more. Leave with a new appreciation, and a heightened awareness of the wonders that surround us every day. “God in his heaven, all’ right with the world”. Tour our lovely gardens while visiting our campus. They are planned and cared for by volunteers and considered sacred. The Mission Of Saint James: To worship God, renew our hearts and minds, and serve others.

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Macon County, North Carolina

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Love, North Georgia Perfect Peace By Anna DeStefano

Photos By Christa Rene Photography

Life’s best gifts can be the ones we least expect. When you’ve known someone for years, through bright highs and deep lows, and then you watch a miracle bloom for your friend… Well, for a writer, that’s the good stuff. Which means I’m back, sharing another North Georgia love story that I trust will bring a smile to your heart, the same as it did mine. Greg Peters is active in much of our community’s day-to-day. Around these parts, it’s hard to find a person who doesn’t know him. Whenever my husband and I are on the hunt for something or someone in particular and we need a trusted recommendation, “We should ask Greg,” comes up nearly every time. Not just because of who he knows. But because of how much he cares about people, and the wellbeing of this beautiful area we call home. My first introduction to Greg was through the Golden Memories Auction Company, which closed its doors in Mountain City not too long ago. Over the years, I’ve gotten to know him better, as well as his kids. Greg’s tight-knit family helped inspire the small-town and several of the characters in my next novel. And I was blessed to have met his first wife, Susanna, before she left this world in October 2019, far too early for those who loved her.

Which is why, when my husband and I touched base with Greg six months or so ago, it came as a bit of a surprise when he said he had a special lady to introduce us to when we stopped by. We’d gotten in the habit of meeting with Greg from time-to-time, either for lunch somewhere or for breakfast at the Rusty Bike, to talk about real estate or just to catch up. 2020 and pre-covid-2021 had been an active, keeping-busy season for him. Work and family and community commitments kept him content, filling days that might otherwise have been lonely. But there were also the hours at night after he returned home, he later told me. And the quietness he’d once shared with a person who loved and knew him better than all others. Still, he wasn’t looking for a new relationship. It was too early. And he was too busy.

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That is, until a trusted friend spoke of a beautiful lady from Greenville in similar circumstances, who might be a perfect match for Greg. Susan Keith’s beloved husband had died three-and-a-half years before. She, too, kept busy with work and an active family. She didn’t want another long-term commitment-of-the-heart. Losing her spouse after a prolonged illness had been difficult. She had all the time in the world now to travel and love on her girls and grandkids. Why rock the boat? “It’s funny, how God’s gifts can hit you from out of nowhere,” Susan would say to me, after Greg introduced us and I knew I had to tell their story. “One minute you’re on a blind date that you’re certain won’t amount to much. The next, everything you think is “enough” falls away, and your world shows you exactly what you hadn’t realized you’d been missing…” Susan and Greg described their first date to me: finding someone with a beautiful heart that seemed to fit, in every way that mattered; the sense that God was driving their instant connection; how each thing they had in common seemed to build on the last, until their “quick” lunch turned into three hours. She was in between trips. He was equally tied up with his own life. But suddenly, they found themselves in the middle of something they couldn’t deny. So, they made time to meet again. It was just right, when they were together, the way they felt the same about family and faith, community, relationships, and life in general. Greg, who never has trouble sleeping, tossed and turned for a week. When they were apart, he longed to see her again. There was a basic understanding there; a bedrock connection that kept drawing him back. Of course, they were worried about how deeply they were starting to care for each other. Yet there was also a sense of peace. “For God has not given us the spirit of fear…” (2 Timothy 1:7), was the scripture they mentioned as we talked about those early weeks. This was quite possibly the greatest gift of their new lives. Were they ready to receive it? Not overthinking things would be key. Considering a serious relationship so quickly was out of character for them. Family and friends must have thought so, too. Something almost too good was crashing over their lives. It would have been easy to talk themselves into not trusting it. Susan, who doesn’t typically journal, began writing things down so she could process her thoughts. Silly tidbits at first: like how they both liked hamburgers with only ketchup on them; or that she eats cottage cheese with her fruit, the same as Greg’s mother had. Reading back through the memories, she can also see how their time together became more meaningful by the visit. After their third date, she drove away in tears, deeply moved, but not certain she was ready for more.

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Then Greg became seriously ill with Covid-19, and any hesitation evaporated. Susan remembers praying, thanking God for the seven weeks He’d given them together. What a priceless gift. Greg found himself thinking that maybe it was his time to go. And then the doctor asked him what he wanted to see when he got out of the hospital—and Greg instantly thought of Susan. What did he want to do? Simplifying his life and focusing on what was most important came to mind—and again, Susan. Once he made it home, they sat on the swing outside his house and talked, the conversation more serious than before. He showed her a ring he’d bought and began discussing forever, asking her if she’d consider sharing it with him. She loves how he talks and listens to her, she’s told me. And when they were falling in love, how she could see her faith and the work she does for the Lord continuing to grow with Greg. As a couple, they’d make an even bigger impact, and they discussed that a lot. Merging their sprawling families would be key, and difficult at first. To begin with, Susan would have to move away from her girls in Greenville. Yet gathering all the parts of their lives together and building a new one would create room for even greater blessings. It was clear they were being led to believe that. Their first marriages had been filled with the perfect peace loving the right person, created just for them. That intimacy of sharing a life, becoming one, was possible again. So, was it a risk they’d be taking, committing to each other—or a step forward in faith? I’m sure you’ve guessed that Greg and Susan did decide to marry— on February, 6th of this year, at the Gassaway Mansion in Greenville. They’re now settling into Rabun County, anxious to see what God has in store for them. They’re exactly where they’d never dreamed they’d be again, and it’s an inspiration. Some would call their story a miracle. I suspect Greg and Susan would say their love was simply meant to be. And from this new beginning, I’m learning to stop overthinking my unexpected blessings. To put less stock in how life is “supposed” to turn out. To be more open to opportunities beyond my plans. Especially when the possibilities seem too good to be true…

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

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Lee & Haley’s Wedding Story By Haley Gross

Our story started in 2015 on a college trip as blind dates, where we met and kissed for the very first time. It was on that trip that we realized one of our core common threadsLake Burton. It was where we both spent our summers growing up alongside family, where we transitioned from dating to being in a relationship over six years ago, where we got engaged, and most recently shared our first look before being married! Although we didn’t know each other growing up, we share the same fond memories of grabbing ice cream from the marina, going wakeboarding behind the boat, and being flung off the tube!  At our wedding, my mom (Neva Logan) told the story of my first trip to Lake Burton as a baby, the summer of 1996. Shortly after being born, I was taken to the ICU for several days after undergoing surgery for a congenital disease. The following summer, my mom and dad rented a tiny cabin by Laprade’s and laid me out on the dock to heal my postsurgery scars. When my mom tells the story, she always says how I had the biggest smile on my face in that moment- the moment I first experienced the joys of Lake Burton. And, that was just the first of many summers spent by the  water. Shortly after my parents purchased their first home on the lake, where we have since enjoyed countless summers of tubing wipeouts, sunburnt noses, and lakeside sandwiches. Lee’s family history with Lake Burton dates back even farther. Almost 35 years ago, his grandparents (Carl & Ann Gross) built their family home on the lake. Over the years that home has seen four generations of the Gross family, with the youngest now just learning to swim, as Lee did 25 years ago. Over the years, the big red house by the bridge became the place the family would gather each and every summer, bringing together cousins, brothers, and children alike. As you can imagine, Lake Burton holds a very special place in each of our hearts. So, as my mom tells it, when I told her about this new guy I met at college, who just so happened

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to have a house on Lake Burton, she just knew it was going to be a love blessed in Heaven. And, as moms always are- she was right. Over the next six years, Lee and I shared our most special moments by the lake. It was where Lee asked me to be his girlfriend, where he asked me to marry him, and most recently where we shared our first look before the wedding. During our first look, we shared a private reading of our vows and practiced our first dance on top of the boat house, where we were honked at and cheered on from boats passing by- classic Lake Burton hospitality for you! We took the boat out for a spin and enjoyed a peaceful moment together on the water. Before heading back for the ceremony at Chota Falls, we filled two pitchers with lake water to use for a water unity ceremony. The pitchers were placed on the altar and guests were asked to write their prayers for the couple onto dissolvable slips to drop in, creating a water that was blessed by the wishes of our friends and family. During the ceremony, we combined the pitchers of water into one big bowl, signifying our forever bond, before washing our rings and hands together, signifying a release of any past baggage or doubts. After the I-Do’s, the big bowl was poured into the waters of Chota Falls, sending our blessings back into the mountain streams surrounding Lake Burton.

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“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

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Life is a journey

not a


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A Match Made in Heaven by Tracy McCoy

“I Have Found the One My Soul Loves” – Song of Solomon 3:4

The first time I laid eyes on this bride, she was a little girl. A sweet little curly headed girl visiting the beauty shop with her momma. She was as feisty as her mom would let her be. Adorable for sure. Her mother was one of a kind, everyone knew her and loved her. So what is a child to do who lives in the shadow of a rockstar mom like Gail Thompson Ramey and a steadfast father like Edwin Ramey? You become a shining star just as bright and beautiful with a steadfast spirit. Elisha (affectionately known as Leesh) Ramey is always smiling and the same every time you cross her path. She is as tough as a pine knot and still feisty when it calls for it. God surely knew exactly the kind of guy who could win her heart. Justin came into her life at just the right time. To say that Elisha has faced challenges is a gross understatement. She has always landed on her feet even if she had to crawl first. She was in the

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perfect place to watch God unfold her future. Had it been another time, she might have missed it, but as they say, God’s timing is perfect. She and Justin had met through an app for singles. Becoming friends first through chatting, they agreed it was time to meet. So, the first date included an invitation to come to enjoy supper with Justin and his son, Desmond. It went very well and catapulted this long overdue romance into overdrive. “I pretty much knew that night after we played long into the evening, that I was going to marry him,” she told me. “The next day, I left for the beach and when I returned we spent the day together. He met my dog and my daddy. When he got along with both, I knew that God had answered my prayers for a wonderful and Godly man to come into my life.” When it’s right, it’s right and you know it and there is not much

sense in wasting time. Elisha knew that Justin was the one and he knew he could not let this woman get away. They were together every spare minute and Desmond was the icing on the cake. “I never imagined that I would be blessed with a family of my own and be able to give love to someone like I can with him,” Elisha told me when we chatted. Justin loves the adventures that life with Leesh includes. He knew what the first step was… to ask her daddy if he could marry her. Once that was done, a ring was purchased he just had to wait for the perfect opportunity. In early February Edwin suggested the three go down to Water Gauge on the Chattooga River. So Elisha, Justin and Desmond took off. When they arrived they walked the shore. Justin commented on how beautiful the river was and Elisha agreed. When Justin didn’t respond she turned around and saw Justin on bended knee with a ring and heard the words, “will you marry me?” The answer was a yes that no doubt scared the fish!

me that ‘when you meet the man God has made for you, you will know it and nothing on Earth will be able to stop you from being together’, we both know that the hardships and pain of the past were worth it to find and love each other for the rest of our lives,” she shared. Family and friends joined this new family as they began their life together and an outdoor reception lasted into the late afternoon. The new couple jumped on the back of a flat bed pickup and journeyed off into their new life. I forgot to share with you that the only thing bigger than Elisha’s heart are her dimples. With a grin from ear to ear she left the farm Mrs. Higgins and is excited to spend the rest of her life loving these two fellas. Cinderella ain’t got squat on Leesh!

Plans were made for a simple and sweet wedding at Branches and Vine Farm owned by Wayne & Malivia Swanson. The farm is a perfect wedding venue for both small and large weddings located in Rabun Gap, Georgia. Elisha’s wedding coordinator Whitney Kelly helped her get everything ready. “Three months to plan a post-Covid wedding was exciting and so fun.” Meanwhile her dad prepared to walk his beautiful daughter down the aisle. The wedding was planned for May 22nd. The weather was perfect and the guests were seated. Justin was waiting for his bride when she stepped into the doorway of the barn as beautiful and radiant as he’d ever seen her. The wedding was precious and included a special chair with roses and an embroidered hankie in remembrance of her mother. The fragment of Gail’s favorite t-shirt sewn into the lining of her wedding dress and the assurance she could feel that her mom would have loved Justin and Desmond. “Mama always told

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Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Georgia Mountain Psychological Associates, Inc. By Dr. Mandy Pileski , PHD

Photos by Beth Loveland

“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” Winston S. Churchill As a kid growing up in Rabun, I loved attending the rodeo and watching my friends (the Beck girls) barrel race at the old arena by the rec field. I just knew I could not go an entire lifetime without having a horse of my own, but my dad was/is a cattle farmer with the belief that horses cost too much and bring too little profit. I guess the flashy lights of the big city and a desire for independence redirected my goals as a young adult away from the simple pleasures of farm life and the satisfying smell of horses. It was not until 2012 when I was at a professional onsite visit for an eating disorder treatment center outside of Chicago that I was introduced to EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) and developed a plan to merge my two great loves in the service of helping others. At the time I lived in Baltimore, so this probably seemed a longshot, but I made a promise to myself that I would find a way to make it happen. After several moves, job changes, and successfully establishing a psychotherapy practice in Rabun, I decided to begin taking steps toward certification. I purchased a horse and signed up for EAGALA training because

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these seemed like logical steps toward my dream, and I could figure the rest out later. I learn by doing rather than seeking understanding in advance. It’s like being told directions to a game, something in my brain just shuts off because I would rather learn by seeing the process unfold and practicing some trial and error. Is this not how we do most things in life, if we are honest – Marriage? Parenting? Career? In training to be a psychologist, they don’t wait until you complete 5 years of graduate school. You are thrown in with clients 2nd semester…So yes, you read and gain the proper education and supervision along the way, but experience is your best teacher. Why would entrepreneurial endeavors be any different? Pursuing a business dream is not like putting a puzzle together – we don’t need all the pieces to get started. Also, if we hesitate too long, the opportunities and/or challenges that provide THE path to our dreams may no longer be available. A lot of things happened in my life in 2020 (as I’m sure was the case for most), and it looked a whole lot more like a challenge than an opportunity…but I kept my Faith that if you work hard to reach your destination (even when you don’t know the route or the specifics of how it will unfold), you will be successful. It’s now Summer 2021, and my equine therapy farm has been open seven months. I knew this form of psychotherapy had potential, but I am amazed at the opportunity for growth these magnificent animals provide. Effective Progress Quickly Individuals who may not feel comfortable with the thought of traditional talk therapy (e.g. adolescents, trauma survivors, military veterans) may find equine assisted psychotherapy less threatening and more inviting. Even individuals open to therapy oftentimes carry protective human defenses that make deep therapeutic work challenging. The horses and everything else in

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9 LIVE HEALTHY & BE WELL the farm environment (fencing/structures/ shelter/other animals) serve as a somewhat projective assessment and intervention, thus limiting interference from defenses. Also, because it is outside the client’s personal experience, greater perspective on one’s life and ways to address obstacles becomes clear. As a result, EAGALA therapy also accomplishes in a shorter period what can take much longer to achieve in talk therapy. Client Centered In therapist training programs, client centered approaches consisting of basic helping skills and more humanistic approaches are taught first. We learn early on clients are the experts on their experiences and rarely benefit from advice – which they probably already receive from friends and family. The EAGALA model highlights the importance of the foundational principle of client focused psychotherapy. Therapists focus on use of “clean language” – which is only use of the client’s words and personal experiences to facilitate understanding and change.

Mindfulness Practice Mindfulness is an approach that has gained popularity over the years. In talk therapy, I utilize Acceptance and Commitment therapy where mindfulness is the tool which allows individuals to relate to their thoughts/feelings in more effective ways. Mindfulness, however, is much more an experiential practice than a theoretical idea that can be cognitively learned. Horses’ ability to be at once fully present in their bodies, in their environment as well as in the moment, facilitates mindful meditation by giving us a perfect example to follow and to focus on.

“...horses are keenly aware of emotional energies...”

Emotional Attunement of Horses Horses, as prey animals, have more highly attuned senses than humans. Humans may mislead other humans (even therapists) regarding their emotions and intentions, but horses are less apt to be misled. Horses are keenly aware of emotional energies and sense what we’re feeling, sometimes better than we do. Talk therapy can easily devolve into an intellectual discussion, whereas equine therapy keeps clients present in their bodies and with their feelings – which is extremely important for processing and learning to cope with difficult life experiences.

Dr. Amanda Howard Pileski is originally from Rabun County and recently moved back to raise her 3 children (ages 6, 3, and 2) and provide affordable psychotherapy to the underserved communities of Northeast Georgia. She received a bachelors degree from the University of Georgia in Psychology, a master’s degree in School Counseling from Georgia State University, and a doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She has worked in various college counseling centers, hospitals, and in private practice. In addition to her private practice in Rabun, she also provides geriatric psychological services to several Pruitt Health locations in North Georgia. Dr. Pileski is a strong generalist, but also specializes in treating eating disorders and bariatric surgery patients. She strives to help others know the joy and empowerment of living mindfully and appreciatively with food and their bodies. For an appointment, contact Dr. Pileski @ 404-291-4018

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9 LIVE HEALTHY & BE WELL Talking with Monique Petteys, FNP-C Recently we sent a list of questions to Monique Petteys, FNP-C about women’s health. Monique is part of the team at The Women’s Center at Life Point Medical located at 189 Bo James Street, Suite 105 in Clayton, Georgia. Her expertise in women’s health makes her a outstanding resource for our community. We appreciate her willingness to take the time to provide such in-depth answers. We know you will find this valuable. If you are interested in setting up an appointment with her please call 706-250-7306 Laurel: What are the elements of gynecological care and what services are offered at The Women’s Center at Life Point Medical? Monique: Gynecological care is a branch of medicine that treats female reproductive organs and sexual health issues. This includes Pap tests, breast exams, cancer screenings, contraceptive counseling, sexually transmitted disease screenings, and vaginal infections. It also includes management and diagnosis of hormone problems, pelvic pain, menstrual problems, ovarian cysts, and other reproductive organ disorders. At The Women’s Center we provide these services and offer a holistic, whole woman approach to any women’s health concerns. We can also refer to more specialized care should it be necessary. Laurel: At what age should a female start seeing a gynecologist? Monique: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist recommends girls start gynecological care between ages 13-15 years old, although usually a pelvic exam is not needed at that time. Current recommendations recommend pelvic exams and breast exams start at 19 and Pap smears start at age 21. A young woman’s first visit is a good time to privately discuss puberty, hygiene, mental health, contraception, sexually transmitted diseases, or any other concerns. Laurel: Is there an age or a circumstance when an annual exam is no longer necessary? Monique: Although routine Pap smears are no longer necessary at 65, we still recommend annual exams for all ages. At The Women’s Center we perform whole preventative annual wellness exams for women of all ages to ensure all necessary screenings and immunizations are up to date.

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Laurel: What new advancements have been made in birth control? Monique: Since the induction of the Affordable Care Act, birth control has become more affordable and more easily accessed than ever before. Women of childbearing years now have more options than ever to prevent unintended pregnancy or to tailor their family planning needs, with more on the horizon. Today there are over the counter options or emergency birth control that are easily accessed without a prescription. Advancements have also brought more options than ever before in types of oral contraceptives, shots, implanted contraceptives, hormonal and non-hormonal intrauterine contraception (IUD), and also vaginal rings, jelly, and barrier devices (like male and female condoms and diaphragms). Current research is under way also investigating a new once-amonth progestin only pill that appears to be as effective as daily pills. The invention of fertility tracking phone apps has also been great for those who prefer to not to use or cannot use hormonal methods. Laurel: Oh those hormones! How can women best keep hormones balanced and working for them, not against them? Monique: Hormone problems can be common anytime, but especially in the extremes of our reproductive ages. Hormone imbalances can lead to mood changes, fatigue, weight gain, decreased sex drive, skin and hair changes, changes in bowel movements, urinary problems, muscle and joint pain, and sleep

changes. If any symptoms are severe, it is always best to see your healthcare provider to discuss them and rule out medical conditions that could be causing symptoms. However, there are natural ways to help keep hormones as balanced as possible. You’ve heard it over and over again, but exercise and weight control is key! Aim to get at least 30 min of exercise 5 days a week, even if it’s just a long walk. Managing stress through meditation, physical activity, yoga, massage or relaxing music is effective at lowering cortisol levels and also increases quality of life. A healthy balanced diet high in fiber, low in refined sugars/ carbs and high in protein and healthy fats also helps keep hormones in check. Consistent sleep patterns are also very important. Again, if any symptoms are very bothersome feel free to make an appointment and we can discuss how to get you feeling back to your normal self as soon as possible. Laurel: What is the difference between synthetic hormone replacement therapy and bio-identical hormones? Monique: Synthetic hormones (standard HRT) are produced from animal parts or urine and are deemed close enough in molecular structure to work for human hormone replacement. Bio-identical hormones (BHRT) are made from plants and they are synthesized to identically match hormones produced by our bodies. Laurel: What are the risks vs benefits for each? Monique: Benefits of hormone replacement include decreased symptoms of menopause and prevention of some long term degenerative diseases including some types of cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cognitive decline from dementia. It also can help preserve lean muscle mass, and vitality, and improve libido. Benefits of synthetic hormones are they are generally less expensive and are controlled by the FDA. However, HRT with oral estrogens has in studies been shown to increase risk of blood clot and stroke. BHRT has the benefit of decreasing this possible risk via different delivery methods and also it is a “more natural option”. BHRT is generally made by compounding pharmacies. Benefits and risks of both HRT and BHRT can also differ based on delivery method.. ie, oral, transdermal patches or creams, vaginal, injectable, or pellet therapy. Whether you decide to go with standard HRT or BHRT it is important to discuss options with a healthcare professional. There are benefits and risks to both and these can depend on the age when initiating therapy, prior medical history (certain cancers, fibroids, migraines, stroke, blood clots, etc), and body composition. BHRT and HRT should be tailored individually based on the patients goals, symptoms, and also risk vs. benefit. Laurel: What role do injectables play in women’s health? Monique: Many women come to their healthcare provider wanting to look and feel their best. Injectables like Botox and Xeomin can help these goals. I just want my patients to feel like a million buckswhen they walk out of my office. If injectables help them with this then I’m happy to use my expertise to provide that service!

Monique: Sexually transmitted diseases, now termed sexually transmitted infections, are very common. Most people will get one in their lifetime They can be acquired skin to skin, or via oral, vaginal and anal sex. The best prevention is abstinence but there are more practical alternatives. Women should know that there are vaccines that can prevent Hepatitis B and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV is the virus that causes cervical cancer. It is recommended that all girls receive their first vaccination between ages 11 and 13; anyone can get that vaccine that is under age 26. I have also always recommended to my family practice patients that boys get the vaccination as well. Mutual monogamy can also be preventative. Other ways to decrease risk of STI’s is to limit sex partners and use condoms correctly. Laurel: Should all women be tested for STD’s even if they have no symptoms? Monique: First and foremost, if you are sexually active with a new partner you should get screened for STI’s. Many are asymptomatic but can cause serious health consequences. The CDC recommends testing all sexually active women under 25 annually for chlamydia and gonorrhea. Patients this age of both sexes carry the largest new diagnoses statistically. Also women who are sexually active over 25 with new or multiple partners should be tested annually, also all pregnant women. HIV screening should be done at least once in women aged 13-64 and all women presenting for STI screening. Trichomonas should be tested for in high risk areas or in women w/ multiple partners or those w/ HIV. Cervical cancer screening (Pap smears) should be performed every 3 years in women aged 21-29 w/ cytology alone.. Women ages 3065 every 5 years with HPV testing (co-testing). Hepatitis B screening and syphilis should be performed in all high risk women and pregnant women. Hepatitis C screening should be performed once in all women born between 1945 and 1965. Laurel: What do you want our readers to know about the Women’s Center at Life point Medical? Monique: I would like our community and readers to know that our team is here for all your women’s health needs and concerns. This clinic has been a dream come true for me and I hope to keep expanding our services in the future. As a woman, I know it can be extremely anxiety-inducingto walk into a new office and discuss delicate issues such as mental, sexual, and hormonal health. My goal is for you to walk out of our door a satisfied, empowered woman confident in your own skin and choices! If I can’t help you out I will find someone who will. We look forward to serving you!

Laurel: What can a woman do to protect herself from STDs and what preventive measures are available?

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Noise Phobia By Jaime Speed, DVM Summer….the time for swimming, barbeques, family time…. and the time for thunderstorms and fireworks. Your pet may have issues with storms and fireworks because noise phobia is a common problem in household pets. This fear can develop from any noise including thunder, gunshots, fireworks, garbage trucks, car alarms, or vacuum cleaners. Phobias can be passed down genetically, develop from a lack of socialization during key learning periods, come from a bad experience, be exacerbated due to underlying illness, or develop with aging. There are certain breeds, such as herding breeds, that are more susceptible, and females are more commonly affected than males. Furthermore, dogs with separation anxiety are more likely to develop noise phobias. Signs of anxiety can range from mild, such as clinging to their owners, hiding, licking their lips, yawning, and hypersalivation, to severe signs such as trembling, barking, destroying items, or inappropriately eliminating.

Treatment of noise phobias requires a multi step approach. No single treatment is likely to be successful. The basic formula is Avoidance of fear + Behavioral Modification + Anxiolytics. Some examples of anxiolytics include

herbal supplements and compression therapy. L-Theanine has been found to decrease anxiety in cats and to decrease fear behavior in dogs. Alpha-casozepine is a cow milk derivative that has shown to lower stress related urinary tract disease in cats and reduce fear of strangers in dogs. Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense have improved mood disorders and protect the brain from the effects of stress. Compression clothing, such as the thundershirt and T-touch wraps can be quite beneficial for many animals. Calming music, white noise, massage, and acupuncture can also be beneficial. Examples of products that help to calm your pet include Composure treats, Solliquin chews, Adaptil collars and diffusers, Feliway sprays and diffusers, Ear muffs, and calming caps. CBD is commonly marketed for pets but at this time none of the recent legalization efforts have included pet products. Quality control is lacking at this time for these products, and the proper dose is simply found by trial and error. Your Veterinarian is not legally able to recommend these products yet. Research is currently being done on these supplements in pets regarding safety and efficacy and your Veterinarian will advise you once more is known. In cases of noise phobia, planning for noisy events is key. Speak to your veterinarian about whether prescription medications may be appropriate for your pet. It is helpful to do this weeks before an event takes place so you have time to test the medications. On the day of the event, secure pets indoors and use a leash if taking them outside for a potty break. Make sure they have an identification tag or collar with your phone number. Provide a safe retreat, such as a crate, a favorite bed, or a closet where they feel safe. Allow your pet to choose this spot. You may consider playing music with a regular beat to disguise loud bursts from fireworks or thunder. Close the blinds and ideally keep them in an interior room. Provide extra water during these times as they often drink more when they are nervous. Give rewards during the event by playing with his favorite toy, giving him a puzzle to do,

Jaime Speed, DVM is part of the team at Rabun Animal Hospital in Mountain City, Georgia. Originally from West Virginia she attended UGA Veterinary School where she met her husband Brad Speed, DVM. She is the owner of Claws & Paws Pet Boutique on South Main Street in downtown Clayton, Georgia.

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or giving another high value treat to help him associate good things with the noise. Finally, chewing is a stress reliever in dogs, so provide something for them to safely chew during this time. A major component of managing noise phobias is the behavior of the owner. It is important to maintain control of these situations and behave in a manner that supports your pet rather than adding to the problem. One of the most common mistakes made in managing noise phobias is when we “coddle” our pets. We want them to feel safe, so we hold them, pet them, give extra attention, and even allow them to break rules. The more we make a big deal out of storms and noises, the more we will reinforce the behavior in our pets. Although it feels counterintuitive, trying overtly to comfort your pet will end up making the fear worse. Instead, focus on staying calm and controlling the situation. Much like children, our pets will take emotional cues from us, and the calmer we remain during a crisis, the better they will respond. Next time that thunderstorm rolls in, pick up the ball and play some indoor fetch instead of hiding under the covers with your pet. You will be amazed over time how much it can help. There are plenty of ways to help pets manage through their fears during this rather loud time of the year. As always, start with your Veterinarian to get the best plan for managing the overall problem. For all the rest, be sure to stop by your local pet boutique for all your toy and supplement needs.

The Body Shop By Dr. Sue Aery Aery Chiropractic & Acupuncture When your car sputters a bit or leans to the right when driving straight, what do you do? Yes, you call the body shop or garage and make an appointment to have the engine checked and the wheels aligned. Of course you do! When your foot hurts or you begin limping, or you have a cough, what do you do? Often, you just leave it alone to see if it gets better. Now, I am not an alarmist, but there are many parallels to taking care of your body vs. taking care of your car. We, as humans, have an engine, a computer and “wheels” that make us move. Just as we would take our car in for an oil change, it is so important to do the same for your body. Keeping your engine running clean is equivalent to putting the right nutrition and lubricants into your own system. This basically represents what you eat and the supplements that you take to keep your “engine” running clean and efficiently. Now, when it comes to our “wheels”, let’s take an example. A bum knee, for instance, can really wreak havoc with the rest of the body structurally. Knee pain can lead to foot and ankle pain, hip pain, and even low back pain, leading to sciatica, or pain down the leg. Often times, in my office, I finally see someone after they have been suffering for weeks and months with pain that does not get better!!! If we only took the same care of our body as we do our car.  Think now about what maintenance care might look like for your body. Getting your joints and spine checked on a regular basis has so many positive benefits not just how you move, but how you function. A spinal adjustment can positively affect your nervous system (the master control or computer), your breathing and your heart function (these are both autonomic functions controlled by your nervous system and brain), and your immune system (this handles pain and inflammation as well as your natural defense). Knowing all of this, doesn’t it make perfect sense to take the same care of your body as you do your vehicle? Maintenance care is so easy and, in the long run, can help to slow the aging process, allow you to move more comfortably with confidence, and it really helps to keep the wobble out of your walk! PAIN FREE!

Dr. Sue Aery is the owner of Aery Chiropractic and Clayton Ortho Stem at 91 East Savannah Street, Suite 202, Clayton, Georgia. Appointments are available through online booking at or or by calling 828-200-4476. Hours and availability are also posted on the websites. 

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9 LOOKING BACK Centuries of Travel Through the Rabun Gap From Mississippians and Explorers to a Turnpike and Railroad By Dick Cinquina - from the Rabun County Historical Society Geography is a key factor shaping the development of a country or region. As an island nation, England turned to the ocean and became the world’s greatest maritime power by the eighteenth century. American pioneers saw the endless flat expanses of the Great Plains and turned it into the country’s breadbasket. On a still smaller scale, Rabun County’s history has been shaped by the only natural gap in the southern Appalachians, the Rabun Gap. Not to be confused with the unincorporated town of Rabun Gap, this passageway through the Blue Ridge Mountains in northern Rabun County provided a relatively easy way for Native Americans, European explorers, settlers and soldiers to travel between Georgia and North Carolina and Tennessee. The gap also facilitated construction of Rabun County’s first north-south road as well as a railway that ran from Cornelia to Franklin, North Carolina. For these reasons, the Rabun Gap has been likened to a centuries-old transit corridor.

A map showing a depiction of the various trails used by Native Americans

Mississippians and Cherokee The Mississippians, a Native American mounding building culture, are the first documented people to have traveled through the Rabun Gap, although earlier Eastern Woodland tribes preceded the Mississippians in this area by thousands of years. An archeological survey was conducted in 1998 in preparation for the widening of Highway 23/441 to four lanes. Shards of pottery uncovered at a site between Clayton and Tallulah Falls were identified as late Mississippian from A.D. 1300 to 1500. A small mound in Dillard also attests to the Mississippian presence in Rabun County. Given this evidence, the Mississippians likely traveled the length of this county through the Rabun Gap.

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

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The Cherokee, who had four settlements in Rabun County, traveled on a network of trails that converged at The Dividings in present-day Clayton. A trail leading north from The Dividings passed through the Rabun Gap, taking Cherokee travelers to North Carolina and Virginia.

Explorers and Settlers Legend has it that the Spanish explorer and conquistador Hernando de Soto and his army marched from Florida through the Rabun Gap into North Carolina in search of gold in the 1500s. However, the first fully documented account of a European passing through the Rabun Gap came from Sir Alexander Cuming in the 1730s. He was on a mission to form an alliance between the Cherokee and the British for trading and military purposes. He traveled from Charleston to Cherokee villages around what is now Lake Keowee in South Carolina. From there he journeyed to the northwest corner of the state, crossed the Chattooga River and came to the area around Clayton. Cuming then passed through the Rabun Gap on his way to Cherokee settlements in Franklin, North Carolina and Tennessee. The Rabun Gap also funneled the earliest white settlers into Rabun County and adjacent areas in the early nineteenth century. Scots-Irish in Pennsylvania initially migrated south to Virginia and North Carolina. Many continued moving farther south into Georgia through the Rabun Gap.

Entrance to the unfinished Stumphouse Tunnel on the Blue Ridge Railroad route in South Carolina

French and Indian War The Cherokee allied themselves with the British during the French and Indian War of 1754-1763. Cherokee war parties from Georgia traveled through the Rabun Gap on their way north to the Ohio Territory to battle the French and their Native American allies. Around 1760, a combined British-American army of 1,600 soldiers from Charleston marched on a Cherokee trail along Warwoman Creek and proceeded north through the Rabun Gap to forts in North Carolina and Tennessee. Starting in 1776, the Cherokee, again allied with the British during the Revolutionary War, and used the same route through the gap to raid villages in North and South Carolina.

Turnpike Road A Tallulah Falls Railroad passenger train passing through the Rabun Gap north of Mountain City

The Georgia legislature appropriated funds in 1827 to improve a north-south

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route through Rabun County that was formed by the junction of two existing wagon trails at Clayton. One originating in Walhalla, South Carolina crossed the Chattooga River, followed Warwoman Road to Clayton and then turned north, passing through the Rabun Gap on its way to North Carolina. A second road ran south from Clayton, crossed the Tallulah River at Crane’s Ford near Lakemont and headed to Clarkesville. The north end of the improved road was a point on the North Carolina state line marked by a locust stake, causing the road to be known as the Locust Stake Road. By the early 1840s, people from neighboring counties accounted for much of the traffic on this north-south route. However, they contributed nothing to the road’s maintenance. To make all users pay for upkeep, the Georgia legislature in 1845 chartered the Rabun Turnpike Road Company, which converted the Locust Stake Road into a toll road. Private parties that owned the turnpike were responsible for collecting tolls and maintaining the road. One tollgate was located at Crane’s Ford, the other at the North Carolina state line. Tolls varied from one dollar for a wagon team of six horses, mules or oxen to two cents for each head of hogs and sheep. The toll road company was disbanded in 1887. Tallulah Falls Railroad tracks and the highway passing through the Rabun Gap in front of Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School

Blue Ridge and Tallulah Falls Railroads

Railroad builders also sought to capitalize upon the Rabun Gap. Former U.S. Vice President and South Carolina firebrand John C. Calhoun was a promoter of the Blue Ridge Railroad in the 1830s. His idea was to build a major freight route connecting the port city of Charleston with Cincinnati on the Ohio River. The proposed route was to pass through Clayton and proceed north through the Rabun Gap to North Carolina. Work began on the railroad in 1854, but, as a result of the Civil War, the Blue Ridge Railroad was abandoned and never completed. Unlike the Blue Ridge, the Tallulah Falls Railroad was built and used the Rabun Gap as its route through the Appalachians in Rabun County. Established in 1887, the 58-mile short line ran from Cornelia, Georgia north through the Rabun Gap and then to the line’s northern terminus in Franklin, North Carolina.

The Rabun Gap has afforded travelers—from Native Americans and European explorers to soldiers and railroad passengers—a passageway through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Rabun County for thousands of years. In so doing, this natural mountain gap has had a significant impact on the history of northeast Georgia.

Learn more about our history by becoming a member of the Rabun County Historical Society. Membership and complete information about the museum are available at You also can visit us on Facebook. Following an extensive renovation and development of important new exhibits, our museum at 81 N. Church St. in downtown Clayton reopened on June 11. The Society is a not-for-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, making membership dues and donations tax deductible.

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By The Way

Remembering Uncle Ray By Emory Jones

I’ve been fortunate enough to know and love several members of what, thanks to Tom Brokaw’s fantastic book, will forever be remembered as “The Greatest Generation.”

Commander. Ray laughed when he told that story and said he saluted as they passed by, even though none of them ever saw the General.

One of those has been weighing on my mind a lot lately. When I was a boy, my uncle, Ray Meaders, would show me the place on his farm where he was working when somebody came to say that I’d been born.

Ray grew chickens for 63 years in houses he mostly built himself with those strong working man’s hands. Hens lay eggs every day, so he worked seven days a week practically his whole life. If he ever took a vacation, I never knew about it.

Ray held on to memories as if they were gold. When anyone wanted to know something about a long-gone friend, family member, or property line, someone always said, “Ask Ray. He’ll know.”

In the 1950s, Ray found and embraced something he loved almost as much as his family. That was the Habersham Electric Membership Cooperation, where he served as a director for nearly six decades.

When Ray Elisha Meaders was born, his mother, Ruth, named him after her brother, Raymond Kincaid, who’d just died from a heat stroke while scything hay on a farm near Murphy, North Carolina.

His only regret about that was missing two board meetings. One he forgot; the other time, he was in the hospital, and “the nurses wouldn’t let me leave.”

She told her son he was named for the finest man she’d ever known, and she expected him to be no less. From then until Ray Meaders died, just four days shy of his 92nd birthday, he never let his mother down.

His HEMC service stemmed from his memory of electricity coming to his family’s farm in the 1940s. Ray said serving the HEMC was his way of paying the co-op back for his mama not having to lug spring water anymore.

Ray’s daddy was Wiley Meaders, a farmer and potter. Pottery, plowing, and picking cotton by hand gave Ray a legendary work ethic. In fact, the phrase, “Ray Meaders is the hardest working man I ever met,” is the one I’ve most heard said about him. The second is what a good man he was.

Of course, Ray always joked that they had running water long before they had electricity, saying, “We’d run to the spring to get a bucketful and then run back to the house with it.”

This reliable farm boy from Mossy Creek left White County, Georgia, for the first time in 1943 when he joined the army. Like most veterans of that era, Ray never talked much about his army days. But he did tell me once that he still remembered the eyes of the German pilot he shot down as the man’s plane strafed their unit. Once, while hauling vital gas to the Battle of the Bulge, Ray’s outfit met General Eisenhower’s convoy. The General’s party pulled over because fuel trucks out-ranked even the Allied Supreme

Uncle Ray had a special love for rabbits. That’s because he credited rabbits for keeping his family from starving during The Great Depression. The rabbits he and his brother caught in rabbit boxes were, more than once, all his family had to eat. He once told me that, for the rest of his life, he always sent a silent “thank you” toward every rabbit he spotted. And Heaven help any boy who ever harmed a rabbit on his farm. It’s hard not to miss someone who remembered where he was when you were born and who cared about even the rabbits.

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

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“Corn Shuckin’s, Candy Pullin’s, and Ice Cream Churnin’s: Community Gatherings in the Mountains” Adapted from the Foxfire Magazine, Spring/Summer 1971 and The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery Original article by Laurie Brunson Edited by Kami Ahrens

Summer is always full of picnics, parties, and community gatherings. Here in the mountains, community gatherings were extra special, as most folks lived miles apart from each other. Even seemingly dull occasions, like shucking corn or building a house, became excuses to hold parities with their neighbors. Florence and Lawton Brooks remember that “everybody was invited. Wasn’t nobody skipped. They invited the young and old. They all come together. And you never seen such corn shucks in your life. And if we got done at midnight or somethin’ like that, why we’d have a big dance from then on to towards daylight. We never counted non on sleepin’ that night. No way when we was havin’ them big corn shuckin’s ‘cause we knowed it’d take th’biggest part of the night. They’d just pile up their corn in their barnyard, y’know, instead of puttin’ it in their crib. And then they’d ask all their neighbors around to come in. And they’d always bury a drink right in the middle of that pile and pile their corn on top of it. Then we’d have t’shuck all the corn to find it. We’d shuck all night. Then sometimes they’d have it where the man that found the first red ear got to kiss the prettiest girl, and sometimes he’d shuck like the devil tryin’ to find a red ear of corn. It was funny because back then that was the worst thing a boy and girl could do, would be caught kissin’! ‘Bout all the way we had of havin’ fun was at them shuckin’s, but I thought it was mighty nice of them to have things like that. I wish they’d have ‘em now back like they used to.”

hundred bushels—and put it in a crib shed. On a certain day, they’d have a corn shuckin’ and get all the neighbors from everywhere to come in here. If we had ‘em like they used to, we’d have every one of you young’uns come down here and we’d have the best time. They’d always come at dinner time—some of them before dinner. Well, they’d sit down to eat, and then they’d go on to shuckin’. Sometimes they’d shuck ‘til twelve at night before they’d ever get up, and sing and holler and hoop and all the devil! And they’d take the shuck and hide people in ‘em and do ever’thing. Why they had every kind of fun in the world. That made people love to go to ‘em.”

Aunt Arie Carpenter said her father would always “raise a big crop of corn—maybe two Lawton Brooks

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Candy pullings were another way that communities turned chores into entertainment. Every year, folks would come together to press sorghum cane and boil the juice down to thick syrup (you can still find sorghum syrup at most small grocery stores in the mountains!). The last little bit of syrup would be saved back and turned into a candy. Ada Kelly said “when they made syrup, the last run of the syrup they’d cook up a whole lot of, and they’d cook it down ‘til it got real thick. And just along toward the last before it got ready to take up, they’d put some soda in it. I really don’t know what that did to it, but it seemed to make it get whiter or something. And a boy and a girl would usually butter a dish and cool it off some and then get it up in their hands, you know, and work it ‘til they could get it in a ball. Then the boy would get at one end and the girl at the other, and they’d pull backwards and forwards ‘til they got it so it’d pull out in great long pieces. Then they’d divide some of it and pull it out in long

pieces sort of like stick candy and lay that out on a platter or somethin’. When it got cold, you could just take a knife and crack it all, and it’d be sort of like yellow stick candy. It was real good. And they always had boys and girls doing it together. That was all the fun there was in it.” And of course, no summer would be complete without hand-churned ice cream! Before electricity, ice cream was hand-cranked while ice was continually added around the outside to keep it cold. For anyone that’s made ice cream this way, you know it can be a tedious and grueling process that can wear you out. At ice cream parties, people would share the work and all take turns cranking the churn. Harriet Echols remembered that “we had ice cream parties usually on Saturday night. See, most everybody had four or five cows, and we’d make boiled custards (you know, that’s fixed with milk and eggs and sugar and flavorin’, and it’s delicious; but where you put a lot of eggs in it, it’s so rich you can’t eat much of it.), and we’d get about five ice cream freezers and invite the youngsters in, and we’d get in the parlor and get around the organ or piano and sing and play games. See, we didn’t have anywhere to go. And that’s what we did for our recreation was our parties. And we had our singing’s, and we’d meet during the week and we’d go to prayer meetin’ on Wednesday night and sing and practice songs for the choir and for church on Sunday. And then on Saturday nights, we’d have our ice cream supper. And three or four of the girls would get together and make five or six cakes, and we’d have cake and ice cream.”

Sorghum Boiling

This simple ice cream recipe comes from The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery. Try making it at your next outdoor gathering!

Hand-Freezer Ice Cream* 2 quarts milk

Making Popcorn Balls

2 to 3 cups sugar 2 tablespoons vanilla Crushed ice Rock salt Pour milk, sugar, and vanilla into the freezer container; cover, then pack the freezer with ice and salt. Turn the crank slowly at first, faster as the mixture thickens. Crank until it’s almost too hard to turn. Eat right away, as it doesn’t keep well. *An electric ice cream churn may be substituted for a handcrank turn, but alter the recipe to fit the size of the bucket if necessary. A 4-quart churn is recommended. Variation 1: You may also add 2 beaten eggs to the milk mixture before putting it in the freezer. This will make the mixture more custard-like. Variation 2: Add 1 cup of any mashed fresh fruit, such as strawberries, peaches, blueberries, blackberries. For chocolate, you may add ½ cup cocoa to the sugar before adding it to the milk.

Candy Pulling

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Adam’s Hearing Aid Specialists – 96 – Alpha Delta Kappa Scholarship – 45 Amrine’s Equipment Rentals – 64 – Andy’s Market – 54 - Around Back at Rocky’s Place – 40 – Atlanta Fine Homes | Southeby’s – 31 – Battle Branch Baptist Church – 73 – Bella’s Junction Cafe – 48 – Belle & Barn Co. - 32 - Berkshire Hathaway Home Services – 24, 25, 27 – Bethel & Co, LLC – 47 – Bill’s Aluminum Products – 78 – Blossman Gas, Appliance & Service – 64 – Blue Ridge Honey Company – 58 – Blue Ridge Music – 87 – Butternut Creek Festival – 45 – Christine’s Home Decor – 14 – Claws & Paws Pet Boutique – 98 – Clayton Farmer’s Market – 86 – Clayton Health and Fitness – 96 – Clayton Paint & Flooring Center – 23 – Clayton Pharmacy – 33 - Clayton Welding & Supply Co – 14 – Community Market of Rabun County – 58 – Creative Framing – 76 – Dakota Freeman Enterprises – 64 - Deal’s Appliance & Service – 82 Dillard Methodist Church – 71 – Dogwoods – 15 – Dosher Physical Therapy – 96 – Emery’s Wood Works – 64 – Emory Jones, Author – 102 – Eric Watson, P.A. - 10 – Erwin Heating and Air – 48 - Farm Bureau Insurance – 79 - Fire & Light Glass Studio – 41 – Funkiture Studio & Gift Shop – 40 – General Store – 48 – Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds – 45 – Georgia Mountain Homebuilders – 36 – Habersham Medical Center – 93 – Hamby Events – 79 – Hangers Plus – 79 - Harry Norman Realtors Luxury Lake & Mtns -1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11 Hartford House – 18 – Hillside Orchard Farms – 55 – Hollybeth Organics – 32 – Hometown Heritage Festival – 76 - House of Hair – 49 - Jack’s Upholstery – 66 – Ladybug Landing – 19 – Lake Burton Fun Run – 45 – Lake Homes Realty – 37 – 106 - July 2021

Lakemont Cycle Studio – 19 – Lakemont Gallery – 19 – Life Point Medical, LLC – 96 – Madison’s on Main – 33 – Mama G’s Italian Restaurant – 55 – Metro Water Filter of the South 66 – Michael’s Screen Service – Mossy Rock – 76 - Mountain Aire Cottages & Inn – 46 – Mountain Feathers Custom Framing – 40 Mountain Lakes Medical Center – 97 – Mountain Lawn Care – 86 Mountain Springs Spas and Pools, Inc – 50 – Mountain Streams Real Estate, Inc. - 87 – Mountain Works Construction – 43 – Native American Craft Shop – 46 – North Georgia Arts Guild – 40 – Northeast Georgia Heating/Air – 10 – Of These Mountains – 41 – Ogram Interior Design – Oinkers Restaurant – 58 - Peter McIntosh Photography – 31 – Porch Living 24/7/365 – 21 – www.rabunbuilders/ Poss Realty - 47, 49, 59, 60-61, 65, 66, 67, 107-112 – Rabun C&D, LLC – 78 Rabun Flooring – 46 Randy’s Steel & Welding Supply – 78 – Reeves – 33 – RM Heating & Cooling – 64 – RM Rose Distillery – 55 – Shield Realtors – 50 – Sky 96.3 and Real Country 100.3 – 50 – Sky Valley Country Club – 48 – Smith & Ramey Plumbing, LLC – 87 Smitty’s Spirits – 55 - Smoky Mountain Tubing – 46 – Soque Artworks – 40 – Stateline Spirits – 54 Sunshine & Sawdust DIY Studio – 49 - Ten Roof with Countryside Creations – 46 - The Attic Antiques – 76 - The Classy Flea – 76 The Cutting Edge Salon – 79 The Dillard Market – 78 – The Farmhouse Market – 54 – The Firewood Company – 47 – The Lotus Art Center – 40 - The Orchard – 14 – The Proper Pub – 58 - The Summer House by Reeves – 77 – Tiger Drive-In – 46 – Tiger United Methodist Church – 73 - Timpson Creek Gallery – 41 – Tyler’s Services, LLC – 48 Wilbanks Smile Center – 83 – Wiley Church – 71 – Willow Valley RV Resort – 15 – Wood’s Mercantile – 51 – Yourtime Fitness – 79 –

Profile for The Laurel of Northeast Georgia

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