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From the Publisher


his month we share our magazine with our friends on Lake Burton, Seed Lake and Lake Rabun. Warmer temps arrive and the lake begs to be explored. Sunset boat rides, cocktail cruises and casting the line to catch a mess of fish... all great lake activities. The businesses that line the shores are open and ready to welcome lake residents. Thank you for all you do for Rabun County charities and students, your help is valued. This month we also celebrate dads. Most kids are kinda sure that their dad is not only bigger than yours, he is tougher and may even be a secret superhero. Whether you are a new father or the "grandaddy" of them all, you are special and loved. I must give thanks for my Heavenly Father, I love Him most! Enjoy the longer days and don't miss a single opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. Thank you for making our magazine part of your month! Welcome Summer! Thanks Tracy

June 2021 • Volume Eighteen • Issue Six Georgia Mountain Laurel Mailing: PO Box 2218, Clayton, Georgia 30525 Office: 2511 Highway 441, Mountain City, Georgia 30562 706-782-1600 • Publisher/Editor - Marketing - Tracy McCoy Art Director - Dianne VanderHorst Graphics - Lucas McCoy Marketing & Office Manager - Cindi Freeman Assistant Office Manager - D’Anna Coleman Writer - John Shivers Photographer/Writer - Peter McIntosh Contributing Writers: Emory Jones, Jan Timms, Lorie Thompson, Dick Cinquina, Kendall R. Rumsey, Tricia Moore, Brad Speed, Avery Lawrence, Liz Alley, Karla Jacobs, Sunny Volano LPC Copyright 2021 by Rabun’s Laurel Inc. All rights reserved. The Georgia Mountain Laurel Magazine is published twelve times per year. Reproduction without the permission of the publisher is prohibited. The publishers and editors are not responsible for unsolicited material and it will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication subject to GML magazine’s right to edit. Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, photographs and drawings. Every effort has been made to assure that all information presented in this issue is accurate, and neither Laurel magazine or any of its staff is responsible for omissions or information that has been misrepresented to the magazine. The Georgia Mountain Laurel maintains a Christian focus throughout their magazine. Rabun’s Laurel, Inc. reserves the right to refuse content or advertising for any reason without explanation.


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In This Issue Arts & Entertainment 14 18 20

Cover Artist – Lesley Weiss North Georgia Arts Guild – Carol Conti 2021 North Georgia Arts Tour

Outdoors 24 28

Adventure Out The Glory Days of Summer

A Taste 32 36 40

Bon Appetit The Family Table Lovin’ The Journey

Faith in Christ 44 46

Rabun For the Gospel River Garden

Health & Wellness 50 52 56

10 Questions with Dr. Thurmond Mental Health Pet Health

Mountain Living 60 64 68

Off the Beaten Path... Double the House... Jackie West

Life & Leisure 72 74 76

By The Way The Mountains Are Calling... Of These Mountains

Around Town 78 79 80 82 83

Hartford House Hamby Events Rabun County Parkbench Lake Burton Fun Run General Store

Yesterdays 84 88 10 GML - June 2021

Rabun County Historical Society – The Civilian Conservation Corps in Rabun County Foxfire – Burton: The Town and Its People

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Cover Artist - Lesley Weiss “Forgetting About Life for Awhile” at Nacoochee Lake Art Studio with Lesley Weiss by Tracy McCoy

away. Her grandma was teaching her to sew and Lesley loved learning and the time spent together. She remembers always enjoying art class in school and was drawn to creative projects. Lesley was also drawn to tennis and she was very good at it. Many years had passed since she sat beside her grandmother at the sewing machine. College, children and marriages. Her husband Doug Weiss was standing on stage with a guitar in his hands when Lesley first saw him. She agreed he was easy on the eyes but she was a young mother with a child to think about. After a few visits to the neighborhood restaurant where Doug played piano and guitar, the couple began to chit chat and that’s when that smile took on depth and she could see her future in his eyes. The greatest romance of her life was taking shape and that spark still surprises her today.


ho knew I would like Lesley Weiss so much? Maybe it was our Michigan connection, she and I both born and raised there. Or maybe it was that we both love art. Whatever it was I thoroughly enjoyed spending a couple hours with her. I can’t wait to share what I learned about Lesley and her Nacoochee Lake Art. Going back to her home just north of Detroit near Grosse Pointe, Michigan, Lesley remembers her first creative endeavors including a walk to her grandmother’s house a couple blocks

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Doug’s grandfather, Paul Weiss, started what would be the largest commercial rose growing facility in Michigan. The Weiss family’s business, Mount Clemens Rose Gardens, became known for their beautiful roses. After working in the family business for years, Doug found himself yearning for something different. He and Lesley had some friends living in Marietta, Georgia and the grass looked a little greener in the Peach State. They put their home on the market, Doug left the family business and they made the move south. They liked the southern hospitality, the generosity and kindness. Lake Lanier led the family to Flowery Branch where they made their new home. Lesley then traveled to VanDerMeer University on Hilton Head Island to attain her Tennis Instructor Certification. She began volunteer lessons for students at nearby Eagle Ranch, and at Lakeview Academy where her children attended school. Lesley inquired at Gainesville College about borrowing their courts for Lakeview’s use, which prompted the Continuing Education Department to invite her to teach a community tennis program. In addition, the academic division asked her to teach an accredited class for the P.E. Department. This turned out to be one of her greatest joys, sharing her skills with college students of Spring and Fall semesters for many years. “I like to think my class was the best part of their day. It was pure fun.” While at Gainesville College, Lesley took a class in Painting where she learned to make her own canvasses. Her interest in painting took hold, and she completed her Associate of Arts Degree.

The Weiss’ have three children, each with their own set of talents, experiencing success. They are spread from a few miles away to the other side of the country. There are two granddaughters who are a delight and so I asked, when you aren’t spending time with family or painting what do you enjoy? “Cooking! I love to cook,” she said with a spark in her eye. “I used to work at Williams Sonoma and rarely did I bring home a full check because I kept finding kitchen tools I couldn’t live without,” she joked. Lesley walks daily and that quiet time allows her time to practice mindfulness, enjoy the sights and sounds of the lake and its creatures. She is very close with her sisters and they have their own private Facebook page where they can stay in contact. Her favorite place to be is sitting beside her husband at their home by the lake, listening to him play, talking and laughing with him. “We have fallen in love with the people here and value the warmth they have shown us.” Life for the family was good and then the kids went off to school and retirement was staring them in the face. Doug just happened to be in the right place at the right time. A For Sale sign on the side of the road led him to turn in and look at what was known as “the Jackie West house”. Your classic original lake home but with gorgeous wormy chestnut and Kentucky Fieldstone. He brought Lesley back to see it and they decided It was a perfect fit. The home was in desperate need of a facelift and extensive repairs. The perfect project for this couple. The remodel turned out even better than they imagined and life on Seed Lake was grand. One evening while sitting on the deck overlooking the lake watching the “Cocktail Cruise”, Lesley thought about what these neighbors could see looking towards their boathouse. Noticing her boathouse was plain, she began ruminating about boathouse art. She envisioned pieces that could be switched out and they would add an element of interest to her boathouse. The first piece was a sunrise coming up over the lake. It was well received with boaters making their way over to express their appreciation for her art. This encouraged her to create more lake art. From ducks and birds to the boat paddles you see on our cover, Lesley’s collection kept growing. When her guitar pickin’ husband built a studio for her to paint in, he won her heart all over again. In her words, “Painting pulls me in to the moment, calm, and carefree.” I think this statement is shared by most artists and ultimately a large part of why they see everything as their next canvas. Soon word of Lesley’s art made it to town and that’s when local restaurants agreed to hang it in their spaces. Currently Lesley’s large-scale, vibrant art brightens up Rabun County at Currahee Brewing Co., Rumor Hazit, the Chophouse at LaPrades, the porch at Fromage and is featured this month at Fortify Kitchen & Bar. Her boathouse art works well for porch art, in homes and businesses. In addition to her art on wood painted mostly with layers of stain, you will find soft watercolors, and rich acrylic on canvas. Her sketch pad is full and she is working on a few commissions. She has named her art studio Nacoochee Lake Art Studio and that is how you will find her online or on Facebook by searching Lesley is also a member of the North Georgia Arts Guild. This year she had her booth at the annual Celebrate Clayton festival while Doug was on stage at the Rock House. June 2021 - GML 15

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North Georgia Arts Guild: Carol Conti – Versatile Art Teacher and Watercolor Artist


By Tricia Moore

ur featured artist for the month of June is Carol Conti, who has been a member of NGAG for the last three years. Carol’s lifelong love affair with art started at the tender age of four when her mother cut some geometric shapes from a candy box for her to play with, and she started arranging the shapes to create images she was familiar with - like houses and dogs. By the time she was in the third grade, she had decided on a career in art, stating that she wanted to be an art teacher when she grew up!

As a teacher of art, Carol has worked in and taught many different mediums, including watercolor, oil, acrylic, pastels and pottery. However, her medium of choice has always been watercolor. When asked why she chose watercolor as her favored medium, she said, “For me, the unexpected and ‘happy accidents’ of the medium give me an incentive to find a new way of solving a problem. The result might be something I never even considered.” While many artists see this difficulty in controlling the medium as a disadvantage, Carol treats it as something positive and beneficial and uses it to her advantage. Carol has 40 years experience as a teacher and has taught all ages of students in varied settings. As a school-based art teacher, she has taught in elementary, middle school, high school and college settings. Outside the school system, she has taught at art centers, private adult parks, workshops, and private lessons - which she still teaches. She earned her B.A. in Art Education at Southern Connecticut State University and her M.A.L.S. at Wesleyan University to prepare her for her career as artist and teacher. The subject matter of most of Carol’s work is landscapes, many with architecture as an integral part of them. When asked why this is her favorite, she explained that through this subject matter her work can express her delight in painting the illuminated and shadow areas. She continued by stating, “Whether it is light catching the peaks of the mountains or sunlight bathing the side of a building, I am fascinated with the effects of light on a surface and the shapes of color values juxtaposed to each other.” Artists through the ages have been fascinated by the effect of light on their subject matter, whether it be portraiture, still life or landscapes. But landscapes provide an opportunity and challenge that the others do not due to the everchanging natural outdoor light. Carol’s paintings express the excitement and enthusiasm with which she faces this challenge. In addition to her landscape paintings, Carol has explored other art styles, which led to her “Mandala Series.” She explained that the series was inspired by the mandala, which is a symbol of ancient India representing unity and

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

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wholeness. “The brightly colored shapes of plants, flowers and animals again reflect my interest in nature and light. Each shape interlocks and interacts with each other forming a never-ending design. From a distance, it is only a pattern but when you come close, the fun begins as the viewer interacts and finds the recognizable images,” Carol said. Carol has also been involved in the Macon County Art Association and Uptown Gallery on and off since 2005. When she moved permanently to Franklin, NC in 2016, she became more active and over the years has held the position of President and two Vice-President positions in this organization. When asked about her statement or philosophy regarding her love for and desire to create art, Carol’s answer gives us a wonderful insight into her as a person and an artist who uses her talent and skills to make the world a better place. “What is exciting to me,” she states, “is the process of creating an art piece. To have an idea and see it evolve on paper or canvas is so rewarding. Letting the piece go after completion for someone else to enjoy gives me great satisfaction. There is so much pain in this world, I feel God gave me this ability to create works of beauty so I can gift it back; whether the viewer experiences joy seeing my work or students forgetting their problems for a moment while learning to express themselves in a class setting.” June 2021 - GML 19

2021 North Georgia Arts Tour


ocal artists will be showing off their work during the 2021 Northeast Georgia Arts on June 11, 12 and 13th from 10am to 5pm each day. The self-guided tour routes visitors from the region through Habersham, Rabun, White, Towns, & Union counties in Georgia and the vistas and backroads of Clay County, North Carolina. Local participants in the tour include Butler Gallery; Lakemont Gallery; North Georgia Arts Guild; the Lotus Gallery and Art Center; Timpson Creek Gallery; Kingwood Resort and Winery; Fromage and Other Fine Foods and the Beechwood Inn in Clayton; Foxfire Museum & Heritage Center in Mountain City; Transformation Glass and Stonewall Creek Vineyards in Tiger. The Northeast Georgia Arts Tour offers an opportunity to stop at artists’ studios that are not normally open to the public, such as Transformation Glass studio in Tiger. Glass artist Kimberley Adams will be available to show visitors how she creates her glass art. Bruce Beckner, owner of Butler Gallery, has unique glow in the dark paintings to show you, and carries the work of 15 different artists. The Lotus Gallery and Art Center has contemporary and modern art, including paintings of very stylized art of women featured in their gallery. Foxfire Museum and Heritage Center will be having presentations and demonstrations on native plants during the arts tour. The Timpson Creek Gallery, west of Clayton, has many different artistic mediums, including pottery, wood, quilting, photography and jewelry. Lakemont Gallery has a wide variety of paintings, pottery, furniture, wood crafts from dozens of artists, and includes paintings by artist/ owner Virginia “Ginny” McClure.

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North Georgia Arts Guild in Clayton will be in Butler Gallery and has a collective 100+ members who work in many different mediums: painting, fiber, photography, pottery, glass, and other fine crafts. They sponsor shows, field trips, workshops and participate in festivals. Kingwood Resort has a new winery where a tasting room features their very own line of Chechero wines, along with others from Currahee Winery. While there you can check out their selection of rehearsal, ceremony and reception venues and meeting spaces and the lodging available for groups. Their amenities on property include a beautiful 18hole golf course, indoor pool and outdoor pools, tennis courts, firepit areas and a full service spa. Southern Seasons Inn is a historic Georgia mountains bed and breakfast built in 1901 and is listed on the historic registry. The Inn has been extensively remodeled and is nestled on Asbury Street, a quiet side street within walking distance to Clarkesville’s historic downtown square. Stonewall Creek Vineyards features an estate grown and produced, dry white wine from 100% Traminette grapes fermented in stainless steel tanks. Open for patio service, they invite you to enjoy a glass of wine on their covered patio or near a cozy fire pit outside. Visitors have the opportunity to bring home specialty handcrafted work from painters, potters, folk art, jewelry, mixed media, metal, photography, furniture makers, fiber, wood and much more. In addition, they’ll have a story to tell about meeting the artist and the scenery they enjoyed on the drive. Follow the Arts Tour signs to 30 locations in Habersham, Rabun, White, Towns and Union counties in Georgia and Clay County, North Carolina. Map brochures are available at participants, local locations including regional and state welcome centers and online at For updated photos and links, visit the Facebook ngaartstour or Instagram nega_artstour for participating artists at each venue.

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Lake Trahlyta

Adventure Out

Three Lake Loop Trail Challenge


by Peter McIntosh

his is “The Lakes” issue of the Georgia Mountain Laurel and with that in mind our adventure this June is a three lake loop trail challenge. There are three loop trails, all circling state park lakes, all in northeast Georgia. And we get a quick waterfall visit as a bonus! The loop trails are at Vogel State Park, (Lake Trahlyta - 1 mile) Unicoi State Park, (Unicoi Lake - 2.5 miles) and Black Rock State Park (Black Rock Lake - .85 Miles) If you do all three, you will have hiked 4.35 miles total. And make that 4.5 miles if you take the recommended side trail to Trahlyta Falls at Vogel. Up first we’re heading over to Vogel State Park for a nice easy hike on the Lake Trahlyta Trail and a visit to Trahlyta Falls. The principle feature of Vogel State Park is Lake Trahlyta, (pronounced tra-leeta) named for a Cherokee woman who lived in these parts many, many years ago. To find out more about this woman, ask the nice folks at the visitor’s center. It’s a very nice visitor’s center that’s well worth visiting. (lot’s of cool stuff) Trahlyta Lake was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps back in

Trahlyta Falls the 1930’s. The park itself has a lot to offer, especially during the warmer months, and several trails of varying difficulty originate here. The trail around the lake is a one mile loop with lots of boardwalks and viewing spots as you circle the lake. Again, it’s very easy. There are interpretive markers placed along the trail describing the local flora and fauna. And there are two high points on this footpath, one being the view of the lake from the dam, which looks back at Blood Mountain in the distance. And do notice at the spillway, how the water is drawn from the lake, via a large siphon pipe that draws water from the bottom of the lake. This water is much cooler during the warmer months and makes for better trout habitat downstream. The other beauty spot is Trahlyta Falls which is just below the spillway. The falls are accessed via a well marked side trail, less than 1/4 mile in length, that descends to an observation platform at the base

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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of this small but very pretty cascade. It’s well worth a side trip. Now we get back on the road and head over to Unicoi State Park a nice and easy stroll on the Unicoi Lake Trail. This is a 2.5 mile loop trail that follows the shoreline around the beautiful 53 acre lake in Unicoi State Park near the alpine village of Helen. This trail is mostly level with a few small hills thrown in for good measure. In case you were wondering, Unicoi is a Cherokee word meaning

Unicoi Lake

Unicoi Floating Bridge continued

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Adventure Out

Three Lake Loop Trail Challenge

Black Rock Lake trail starts out at a fishing/observation platform, then takes you around the lake, over the lake on a small footbridge, then around crossing over two noisy streams feeding the lake, Greasy Creek and Taylor Creek. There are lots of benches along the way should you want to take a well deserved break as well as some picnic areas with charcoal grills. Three lakes, three loops, a great way to spend the day. Happy hiking! I’m not here to sing a tune but here’s my poem fore the month of June: With summer just beginning I suggest you avail, Three beautiful and invigorating lakeside trails. So no sitting around and acting all poopy, Let’s head to the lakes and get a little loopy!

hazy or fog draped, and I think these mountains are especially stunning when there is some fog clinging to the ridges. And there are lots of fishing/photography docks along this pathway giving you various perspectives of the lake. Two down, one to go! Our final trail in the lake loop challenge is the .85 mile trail circling Black Rock Lake in Black Rock Mountain State Park. This

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Getting there: From Hwy 76 W. in Blairsville, go south on Hwy 129 about 11 miles to Vogle State Park on the right. Follow the maps or use your GPS to take you to Unicoi and Black Rock. And while I always suggest getting and annual state park pass, a $5 one day pass will work at all three parks. For more information: 706-745-2628 706-878-2201 706-746-2141

The Glory Days of Summer By Karla Jacobs


f you were on Lake Rabun in the 1980s, you might remember us because we were a bit of a spectacle. Back then, the Ski Nautique was the hot boat to have—we didn’t have one, but they were popular on the lake—and water skiing and tubing were the main watersports (if you don’t count fishing from a bass boat as a watersport). Is there anything more satisfying than making a hard cut on a slalom ski and throwing a huge rooster tail? I don’t think so. When it came to group fun, though, we had the best contraption on the lake. It was a long, inflated tube with runners along the sides and handles on top for up to five people that was pulled behind a ski boat. It was bright yellow and looked like a giant banana. I think it was officially called a Wave Cutter, but we called it the Water Weenie. We rode that thing like there was no tomorrow. My dad comes from a large family, so we always had a houseful of guests in the summertime. We loaded up the Water Weenie with batch after batch of riders, and Dad pulled us for hours. The hardcore riders would offer up a challenge: “You can’t throw us off!” And so, the Water Weenie became a test of wills and skills for riders and driver alike. Dad started each trip by dragging us to the Big Basin. There were fewer boats on the lake back in the day, so there was plenty of room to maneuver. He started out with gentle “S” curves to make us have to shift our weight back and forth to keep the Weenie balanced. Remember, there were five of us on the thing at a time, so we all had to work together. Then he went with a sharper turn followed quickly by a sharp turn in the other direction to try to force us out of the wake. For experienced riders, this was no big deal because we had learned a trick to help us steer. We always put the biggest rider in the back, and his job—it was usually a guy—was to hold on to the back handle and hang his body off the back of the Water Weenie. He became a human rudder and gave us an advantage over the boat driver because we could better control the giant banana as it hurtled through the water. One of my cousins learned the hard way that when one is a human rudder, one must securely tie the drawstring on one’s swim trunks lest they be swept off by the force of the water going by. Swim trunks sink rather quickly. The turns got sharper; we got tired. From time to time, a wave would sweep over the front of the Water Weenie and

pluck off the front two riders. Sometimes we wouldn’t get the timing down on group leaning, and we’d all pitch over. When that happened, we’d climb back on, shake our fists at Dad, and yell, “You can’t throw us off again!” And it would start over. When we had the right combination of riders we could stay on forever, and Dad would have to reach deep down into his bag of tricks to tip us over. His piece de resistance was a maneuver that created a swirling mass of waves. He would drive the boat in a big circle for a bit and get the wake churned up in the middle. We had to lean hard to keep the Weenie upright, so as soon as he dashed across the swirling waves, if we didn’t read quickly enough, we got dumped into the water. There was one group of riders who managed to defeat the old man once, maybe twice, and we have taken our place in family lore as conquering heroes. It’s also possible he let us win. We went through at least three Water Weenies over the years, and Dad kept dragging us up and down the lake summer after summer until all the riders grew up and had things like school and jobs that kept us from gathering as often. Eventually, the last Water Weenie was retired when there was no one to ride it. When we gather today, we like to talk about the glory days on Lake Rabun and summers of being dragged behind a boat on a giant yellow Water Weenie. Precious memories that last a lifetime.

Karla Jacobs is a freelance writer, a soccer mom, and a community volunteer with deep family roots in the North Georgia Mountains. When not writing about pop culture, policy, and politics, she can often be found hiking backcountry trails with her family. She lives in Marietta, Georgia with her husband and their two teenage children.

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Bon Appétit

Pack the Car! Let’s go to the Lake By Scarlett Cook


ooray! We have made it to summer. With all the restrictions of Covid easing, it is time to get out and enjoy the sunshine. And what better way than to get out and eat in the great outdoors; even if it is only on your porch or deck. So with a little preparation, you can have your dinner on the way and still have time to read the latest bestseller.

Shrimp Salad and Pasta Serves 6

1 Cup bow tie pasta, cooked and drained 1 Pound shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined 2 Tablespoons pimentos, drained and chopped 1/4 Cup red onion, minced 1/4 Cup green pepper, chopped 1/4 Cup celery, chopped 1/4 Cup sliced black olives 3/4 Cup ranch dressing 1/2 Teaspoon salt 1 Teaspoon lemon juice

Cream Cheese Biscuits Makes 30 – 40

1/2 8-Ounce package cream cheese, room temperature 1 Stick butter, room temperature 1 Cup plain flour 1/2 Teaspoon salt Combine cream cheese and butter. Add flour and salt and mix just until combined. Shape into a 1 1/2 inch log and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Slice into 1/4” rounds. Bake at 400˚ for 10 minutes or until biscuits are light brown around the edges.

Toss all ingredients gently. Chill at least 4 hours.

Broccoli Salad Serves 8 Overnight Chicken Serves 4 1/2 Cup honey 1/3 Cup Dijon mustard 2 Tablespoons soy sauce 1 Tablespoon curry powder – optional 4 Chicken breasts Mix honey, mustard, soy sauce and curry powder (if using) Place chicken skin side down in baking dish. Pour marinade over chicken and cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. When ready to cook, turn chicken over and reseal with foil. Bake at 350˚ for 1 hour. Remove foil and baste chicken; cook 15 minutes more.

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Salad 2 Heads broccoli 1 Medium onion, chopped 1 Cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese 8 Slices bacon, cooked and crumbled 1/2 Cup raisins Dressing 1/2 Cup mayonnaise 1/4 Cup sugar 6 Tablespoons rice vinegar 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil Cut broccoli into bite sized pieces. Combine salad ingredients. Mix dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over salad and chill for at least 2 hours.

Baked Vidalia Onions* Serves 4

Ice Cream Cake Serves 12

4 Large Vidalia onions 4 Tablespoons butter 1 Teaspoon salt 1/4 Teaspoon pepper Parmesan cheese

1 Purchased angel food cake 1/2 Gallon chocolate ice cream, softened 1 1/2 Cups chocolate chips 1 Cup chopped pecans.

Trim and peel each onion. Cut each onion in quarters but don’t cut all the way through. Press 1 tablespoon butter into each onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; and 1 heaping tablespoon cheese. Wrap each onion in aluminum foil. Bake at 400˚ for one hour.

Slice cake into three layers. In large mixing bowl combine ice cream, chips and pecans. Place 1 cake layer on serving plate and spread with ice cream mixture and continue layering ending with ice cream layer. Freeze immediately and for at least two hours before serving.

*These can be prepared early in the day and refrigerated until time to bake. Or prepared and cooked early in the day and served at room temperature.

Happy Father’s Day Remember Dad on June 21

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Taste of the Mountains

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The Family Table By Lorie Thompson


ummertime is finally here! The official season begins at Summer Solstice, which falls on June 20th, but Memorial Day and June 1st mark the season’s opening for most folks.

June holds many great memories for me. I was a June bride. Mountain Man and I tied the knot on the shoreline of Lake Rabun on the evening of the Summer Solstice in 1980. For fortyplus years, Mountain Man has made jokes about our wedding day being the longest day of the year and the longest of his life. I laugh at his joke and take no offense. He does not enjoy formal occasions, yet, he went along with my plans to have a traditional wedding in front of family and friends. This was a testament to his love for me. He is still “going along” with most anything I want. Of course, I cater to him, too. One of the ways I do that is to cook his favorite foods. Fried fish will always be at the top of his favorites list. It is hard to find a great fried fish sandwich, so let me share how to make your own. Start with homemade tartar sauce. I have never found a bought sauce that is in the same league as homemade. It will only take a few minutes to make, but you should make it a day ahead or at least several hours before serving time. Mix 1 C of good quality mayo (Blue Plate is best!) with the juice of one half of a lemon, 2 tsp of dried parsley flakes, 2 T of dehydrated minced onions, 1/2 C of chopped sweet pickles, and 1/4 C of chopped dill pickles or dill relish. Stir together and taste. I often make it with homemade sweet pickles and add dried dill to the recipe in place of the dill pickles or relish. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

Prepare your slaw or lettuce for the sandwich before you start cooking the fish. Thinly shred lettuce or cabbage (your choice!) Toss in a bowl with a dash of red wine vinegar or rice vinegar, a shot of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Hold until serving time. You can use any fish. It is okay to use frozen but be sure to thaw before frying. Cooking time will vary based on the thickness of your filet. To prepare the dredge for the fish, mix 3/4 C of Cornmeal Mix, such as Three Rivers, Yelton’s, or Martha White with 1/3 C of self-rising flour. (The leavening agents in the meal mix and flour make a crispier crust) Add 2 tsp of Old Bay Seasoning and 1 tsp of Cajun or blackening seasoning. In a flat bottomed bowl or pan, mix two eggs and a teaspoon of water. Heat 1 1/2 to 2 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy cast-iron deep skillet or dutch oven, bringing it to 365 degrees. Use a thermometer if you have one. If not, look for the oil to start having “ripples” on the surface. Add a sprinkle of your dredge, and if it sizzles, the oil is hot enough. Start with

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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your oil slightly hotter than you will cook with to allow for the heat loss as you add the fish. The goal is to keep the oil in the 350-360 degree range. Pull each fish filet through the dredge pan, then into the egg wash and then, back through the dredge. Dredging before you add the liquid will help the crust to adhere and not fall off. Place the filets in the hot oil one piece at a time, being careful not to crowd the fish. After all the fish are in the pan, turn the heat to medium. Cook until brown on the bottom. Turn and cook on the other side. The fish is ready when it is brown, flaky, and solidlooking inside. Remove to a pan lined with paper towels to drain any remaining oil. Lightly salt with sea salt. Hold the fish under a heat lamp or in a warm oven until time to eat.

To prepare the sandwich: Melt a pat of butter on a griddle and warm both sides of a fresh bun. Slather the top and bottom bun with tartar sauce. Place a fish filet on the bottom bun. Layer the dressed lettuce or cabbage on top of the filet and cover with the bun top. If you like Hush Puppies, make the batter before you cook the fish. Fry them as quickly as the fish are out of the pan. To prepare, chop a small onion. In a mixing bowl, add 3/4 C of selfrising cornmeal mix and 1/4 C of self-rising flour. Stir in 1/2 tsp salt. Stir together with 1/4 C whole fat buttermilk and one egg. Add 1/4 C of beer if you have it; if not, add 1 tsp sugar. Mix all together, adding the chopped onion. Allow this to sit for 15 minutes or more. This mix will be a little bit softer than you expect. It will firm as it cooks. If the mix is dry enough to form a ball before you cook it, it will be dry-tasting when you eat it. Scoop the hushpuppy mix 1-2 tablespoons at a time into the hot oil. Fry in small batches until golden brown. My family loves hot pepper jelly with their Hushpuppies. Try it! This is a great meal to cook outside. You can make the components indoors and then fry the fish and hushpuppies outdoors. It is guaranteed to make Mountain Man a happy husband, and enjoying it outdoors will make it even better. I wish you a month of sunshine-filled days and cool, clear nights. Make this June a month to remember, full of beautiful meals enjoyed at your family table!

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Lovin’ the Journey Eat, drink and be merry! -Solomon By Mark Holloway


’ve never met a normal person who said “I hate food”. Truett Cathy once said, “Food is essential to life, therefore make it good.” You can read that quote in our little mountain town’s Chick-fil-A. I bet you love food. I bet you eat food. I’d even go out on a limb and say you enjoy food with people you like. Since the summer of 2018, we’ve had the regular pleasure of telling a certain group of people our restaurant suggestions. We own a very busy and booked Airbnb log cabin, My Mountain Escape. Two frequent questions our guests ask are: “What’s fun to do in the mountains?” and “Where’s a good place to eat?” If you know me, you know we’re a family of adrenaline junkies, outdoor crazies. So recommending fun things to do like trail running, rock climbing, mountain biking and waterfall exploring are easy targets. Something else that’s as easy as Joel’s pancakes at the Rusty Bike, is telling folks where to eat. Atlanta transplants can sometimes murmur that there aren’t a lot of restaurants here. I say ‘nay’ like a horse eating oats. Consider just how small our community actually is. Then consider how many great restaurants we have in such a tiny area. Recently the virus had Carol and me hold up inside like outlaws hiding from a posse. Mike from the Sunday Diner actually brought us dinner from the Diner, right to our door. It’s a good day when the owner delivers kindness

and food. Thanks, Mike. (Lots of folks brought us amazing food too. We thank the Lord for you all.) I’d like to tell you about my absolute favorites. My guess is this particular magazine will grace our cabin’s table and our guests can use this as a quick guide. I’m no chef like my son-in-law Bret, but I do know the two ingredients which make restaurants successful: really good food and a vibe to go with it. The vibe is created by great servers and an alluring atmosphere. First on the list is ‘mi casa afuera de mi casa’, my home away from home...Manriques. Best real Mexican food anywhere. Period. Mountain bikers and kayakers alike have this place pin dropped on their cellular devices. The Rusty Bike doesn’t need any more business. If Joel’s breakfast attracts any more people, a sheriff’s deputy will need to control traffic into his place. There’s a bicycle bell mounted by the front door. Please ring it a lot as you leave. You’re welcome, Mr. Johnson. (Actually, folks may come to see Megan.) Mama G’s is an Italian restaurant where the owners treat you like family. I’m convinced there’s a portly Sicilian grandfather cooking and singing loudly in the kitchen. He’s there. I know it. I’ve gone looking for him. Maybe he hides behind a huge pot of simmering spaghetti sauce. Paul and Erin love their craft. Love really is good food. Fortify Pi and Fortify are both ‘must visit’ places. So is the Clayton Cafe and Bonnie’s cheerful hospitality. The Lake Rabun Hotel and Brasstown Creek Gathering Place across the river also stay on our radar.

A year ago, Lee and her husband Jim launched the Blue Canoe as Covid was gripping our collective throats. Their indoor/outdoor-livemusic-nestled-on-the-backside-of-Burton lake vibe is fun. Their Cajun/French Creole food is over the top. They are thriving during this hard time. Fromage and Grapes and Beans deserve your attention too. So does the Valley Cafe and the Cupboard Cafe. The Clayton Pharmacy serves home cookin’ you will write home about. If you thought I’d forgotten the Universal Joint, I saved it for last. Malisha Rogers recently sat at our table and visited for a long while. She runs a great restaurant. Start with the U Joint burger. Thank me later. Their live music, fire pit, and street corner groove is the perfect evening out. I’ve got a lot of personal history there too. I once rode in a 108 mile bike race which started and ended at the restaurant. The temperatures never got above 42 degrees. The skies thundered and poured and even sleeted up on Hogpen Gap. When we rolled into town eight hours later, the U Joint was a shelter from the storm. All the other great restaurants deserve an honorable mention. But maybe this list will get you started. Let me first suggest you hike the Bartram, the Appalachian Trail, paddle the Chattooga River, climb the steps out of the Gorge, hike up on Rabun Bald, mountain bike White Twister and rock climb at Picken’s Nose. Then you’ll really be hungry. These amazing restaurants will gladly welcome you in afterwards. See you on the trail.

Mark and Carol Holloway own and are passionate about delivering excellent care to the homes and property of their clients. They are outdoor adventurers and love the thrills of rock climbing and hikes to waterfalls and exploring all of God’s creation. Mark can be reached by calling 706-490-7060.

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Downtown Clayton, Georgia

Shop - Eat - Stay - Play Visit Clayton Fun For The Whole Family!

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Invest in Someone, You Don’t Know How Far God Will Take It by Avery Lawrence – Pastor of Persimmon Baptist Church


e live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” ~ Mr. (Fred) Rogers Things have changed. Times have changed. We have changed. Or have we? I am so blessed to live in the North Georgia Mountains, a place where community really means something. Just this past Mother’s Day, in my sermon, I remembered and honored all of the ladies who were instrumental in my relationship with Jesus Christ. So many people have invested in me personally.

Growing up, both my Mama and Daddy worked full-time jobs. Daddy actually worked two. He would operate heavy equipment for the county during the day, and worked as a logger in the evenings and on Saturday. I remember taking supper to him and he would stop long enough to eat, then finish loading the log truck by the headlights. All of this would start again at the break of dawn. But on Sundays, he rested. He didn’t go to church, but he respected the Sabbath. When we (my brother and sister) were little, Mama would go to church sometimes, but not really on a regular basis. Every Summer though, there were a host of Godly women who would arrange to take us to Vacation Bible School. Sometimes, we would go to 5 or 6 different Vacation Bible Schools each Summer. Mama would rush home to make sure we were fed before we left. The ladies would come to the house 30 minutes or so beforehand to pick us up, and would bring us home each night. I still remember how good those Winn Dixie cookies and Kool-Aid tasted. My point in saying this, is they didn’t have an obligation to my family, but they saw a spiritual need in my family and they responded. They showed us love, compassion, and were doing their best to instill in us the love that only God could have for us. They taught us scripture and treated us like royalty. These ladies have become surrogate grandmothers to me. They have shed tears of sadness and tears of joy with my family throughout the years. They have lifted me up and encouraged me, while making sure I have stayed humble. More importantly, they have prayed for me and taught me how to pray. Most of these ladies’ husbands too, have been an integral

part of my spiritual walk with Jesus. These folks are MY heroes. Heroes of the Faith. (Carolyn and Doug Foster, Kay Jo and Curtis Moore, and Cheryl Hooper just to name a few.) Jane Henry was an IBM employee from Tampa, Florida. She and her husband bought some property near our family and built a vacation cabin. I don’t think she ever thought that she would change the world (at least my family’s world) with her kindness and love for Jesus. Jane and her husband, Joe, quickly became close friends of our family. She would take us to church, then take us to their cabin and fix the most exquisite lunches which included fresh buttered bread. We thought she was fancy! She would read us stories from the Bible and encourage us to memorize scriptures. She would offer us money when we memorized specific passages! We didn’t have a lot of money, so this was indeed a treat for us! She was wise beyond her years, and knew what Psalm 119:11 promised: Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. She was sowing the seeds of the Word in our hearts; casting her bread upon the water. Never once did she show my family anything but love, compassion, and support. She was the closest thing to an angel I had ever met! “Goodna Graysha” she’d say when something didn’t go as planned, but she never had a harsh or unkind word to say about anybody or anything. She truly followed in the footsteps of Jesus. She was a praying woman too. There was nothing too little nor too big to take to God. As I grew older and invited Jesus into my life as my personal Savior, she was the first one I needed to tell. As my spiritual life grew, along the way, I needed to keep Jane updated. She and her husband sold the house to fully retire in Tampa. As the years passed by, I felt the call to preach. Again, she was first on the list to call. It was as an adult, that I fully realized the impact she had on my life. Every time I talk to her, she tells me, “I still pray for you every day.” One of the greatest

Avery Lawrence is the Pastor of Persimmon Baptist Church. Avery is a native of Rabun County and has a great love for Jesus and passion to share the gospel. Avery is the assistant principal at Rabun County Middle School and is loved by all. He is married to Nawana and is step-dad to Casi Best, but more than that he is “Poppy” to Anni and Homer Liam.

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gifts I have ever been given is the prayers of Godly people. You see, it was her investment in a little “hillbilly” family that caused the three children to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ...that caused my little Granny to start taking us to church on Sundays...that caused my mama to swallow her pride and to go to church without my daddy...that caused three children to witness and minister to their family...that caused my daddy to give in to his convictions and surrender his life to Jesus. Uncles, aunts, cousins, and neighbors were born again through the faithfulness and dedication of this woman. She will never know the full impact she has had in this world, but I am picking up the phone to call her now. Edit – As I picked up the phone to dial her, I had a horrible feeling. When I dialed her number, it had been disconnected. I searched for alternate phone numbers and finally reached her son Rodger in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee. Jane passed away on February 9, 2021. The words she left behind? “The love of my life is Jesus Christ and my most precious possession is my Bible which is the Word of God.” I sure wish I could have said goodbye, but the hardest goodbyes make the sweetest hellos. I will see her again!

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Ten Questions with Steve Thurmond, OD


layton Family Eye Care in Clayton, Georgia was first the practice of Robert Thurmond, OD. Today, the practice is in the hands of his son Steve Thurmond, OD. Dr. Thurmond has been an optometrist for going on five decades. He has a dedicated patient base and he now has cared for the vision of the grandparent, parent and children in many families. He is very knowledgable and a clear choice when we had vision related questions. You can count on the fact that you will get a thorough eye exam and you’ll be assisted in selecting the perfect pair of glasses or contacts. If you know Steve Thurmond you can also count on the fact that he will be cruising through Clayton to his office in an awesome sports car... Excellent taste in cars and excellent care for his patients… that’s Dr. Thurmond! GML: What is the #1 most important thing a patient can do to care for their eyes? Dr Thurmond: Eye protection and eye hygiene are often overlooked. I see a lot of people every year who did not think to put on the safety glasses and were injured. We should lubricate our eyes after we have been out in dust or pollen and wash around the eyes, especially at the lashes. A comprehensive assessment of the visual system is a good way to make a plan for your eye-care future. GML: Are there supplements that help eye health? Do you recommend them? Dr. Thurmond: No supplements have been shown by scientific evidence to improve eye health. The AREDS study by the National Institutes of Health has suggested that certain vitamins can slow down progression of age related macular edema, the entire study is available on Having said all that, I am in favor of using topical lube drops and antioxidant supplements can help overall health. That should all be coordinated through your Primary Care Provider. GML: What is the greatest advancement in eyeglasses since you opened your practice? Dr. Thurmond: In the last 50 years that I have worked with glasses, they remain much the same in appearance. Improvements seen in frame materials and better methods of fabricating lenses have brought increased clarity. Computer designed lenses and laser cutting the lens molds creates better surfaces. We now have more choices in lens materials, filters and coatings. GML: Explain astigmatism and how it affects a patient’s vision? Can it be fixed? Dr. Thurmond: Astigmatism is a refractive condition, it is not a disease. It means that the primary

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meridians in the eye do not focus at the same time. This can be caused by curvature of the cornea or the lens you were born with. GML: How important is an annual eye exam? Are you checking more than vision? Dr. Thurmond: Annual exams are not absolutely necessary for everyone. Age and general health influence that decision. Quite a few health conditions can cause vision changes or changes within the eye and can be detected by the eye care professional. I have diagnosed diabetes, MS, pre stroke, reactions to medications and brain tumors. GML: Are cataracts inevitable? Is this just a part of aging? Dr. Thurmond: Cataracts are very prevalent in aging populations due to exposure to UV light, environment, certain medical conditions and heredity. GML: Are more children needing vision correction due to their exposure to electronic devices? Dr. Thurmond: There is a lot of discussion in modern professional literature about increased myopia from excessive near exposure to

GML: What is the most recent advancement in the contact lens? Dr. Thurmond: New types of contact lenses are introduced all the time. They do not work for everybody. When there are multiple mitigating factors there are often compromises. We have to find the lens that best suits your individual needs. In my opinion the best thing to enhance the CL experience is the disposable lenses. Frequent changes mean you throw away the lens before it becomes a problem. GML: What about vision correction surgery, is it as popular as it once was?  Dr. Thurmond: Vision correction surgery is still popular and it has become safer and more precise. Find the surgeon who is experienced and can offer more than one option for your unique needs and eye anatomy. GML: Unrelated to vision, what are you driving these days? Dr. Thurmond: Red Corvette Stingray Clayton Family Eye Care is located at 50 Earl Street in Clayton, Georgia. To schedule an appointment or for other questions please call 706-782-3535.

Healthy and Well

electronic devices. We are careful to not overprescribe and increase the myopia.

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Does your child suffer from anxiety? By Sunny Volano, LPC


nxiety is quite a buzzword these days. Some anxiety is, in fact, beneficial. It helps you show up to work or school on time, pushes you to reach goals, and it protects you from danger. Anxiety disorders in children have been on the rise, and the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the numbers dramatically.

I remember as a child running through the neighborhood until the street lights came on and staying up late to watch questionable TV programs while eating a microwave dinner. Most parents would cringe at that today. The more recent generations are careful. They make their own organic baby food, always have kids within sight, and protect them from anything that might create negative feelings. Could our helicopter parenting and organic/sheltered/everyone wins approach be contributing? Possibly. It is worth noting that everyone learns from mistakes and saving them from any embarrassment or anxiety prevents them from learning how to manage it. The rise in childhood anxiety cases also correlates with the rise in social media use and the smartphone era. This correlation cannot be ignored, especially when an increasing number of published studies show the negative impact of social media on our mental health.  Smartphone applications are built to be addictive. Tech companies and app developers right now are designing tactics to keep users hooked. And what behavior is all this scrolling, posting and clicking replacing? Time spent with friends and family? Physical activity? Hobbies and passions? Teenagers across the world are living this experiment right now. Remember that limiting a child’s exposure to social media can be advantageous to their mental health. Social interactions are a valuable teaching tool.  What kind of anxiety is typical?  Being nervous about a new situation is completely normal and even protective. Life changes and transitions such as graduation or changing teachers are a time when it is natural to be anxious. Your child will need time to adjust and acclimate to any change. The first time they come in contact with a dog they might cower behind you, but it doesn’t mean they have a phobia. Being nervous about talking in front of a class is also pretty typical for a teen. It changes based on their developmental period. Nervousness might include: stomach ache, headache, fearful thoughts, avoidance or tearfulness. They should calm down with a little comfort and reassurance. The fear should subside and the more often they are exposed to it, they are desensitized. When should I worry it is more than typical?  If your child is not comforted or the anxiety continues or even worsens, it may be time to try a different approach. The school nurse might tell you that your child frequents their office for headaches or stomach aches. You might have an increasingly difficult time getting them out of the door for school. You might have even seen a physical reaction such as ongoing nervous gestures, rapid breathing, uncontrollable tearfulness, or even a color change. When it begins to impact their ability to go to school, do things they enjoyed doing before, or complete regular activities such as sleeping or eating, it is time to seek another opinion.  One of the most common things you will notice is their thinking patterns. A child with intense anxiety worries about things. Whether they obsessively have everything ready, organized and perfect, or they replay conversations or images in their heads over and over again. They might have trouble sleeping at night or eating regular meals. They might go to great lengths to avoid the thing they are worried about even if their actions do not make much logical sense. They might have trouble distinguishing what is illogical anxiety and what is truly a concern. 

After struggling with anxiety as a teen, Mrs. Sunny Volano became a counselor so she could help others overcome anxiety. She received a masters in Counseling from UGA in 2010 and became fully licensed in 2013. While she treats all ages and a variety of concerns, Sunny specializes in children and young adults with anxiety disorders. She also serves as a counselor for Rabun Gap Nacoochee School. Mrs. Volano lives with her husband, two children, four goats, nine chickens and two dogs in Rabun Gap. In her free time, she enjoys being outside and trying to practice what she preaches about living holistically.

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What can I do? Encouraging your child to talk about their feelings is step one. Vocalizing the issue can bring awareness to its extremity. On the other side of the spectrum, try not to “rescue” them. Helping them avoid the fearful situation actually makes it worse. It gives into their anxiety instead of teaching them to cope with the distressful emotion. Reassure them and let them know you are there to support them, but that they can handle it. To reiterate, anxiety is not something to steer away from. We all will feel anxious from time to time and learning to handle the distress is an important life skill. Remember helicopter parenting? We cannot prevent them from feeling any negative emotion. Resist the urge to save them.  The hardest part of an anxiety provoking situation is the time before the event. Try to eliminate this anticipatory worry — distract them, make them laugh, talk to them about their favorite thing, play a game. Remember that the only way a child learns to manage their anxiety is to expose themselves repeatedly until it no longer has control over them. Talk it through with them. Let them imagine the worst case scenario and then talk through what they could do to handle it should it ever happen.  The school counselor is usually the first line of defense. They see your child every day and in multiple situations. If the anxiety is severe, school counselors can provide referrals. Therapy can give your child tools to manage their anxiety. It can help them distinguish between unrealistic fears and the real ones. Our brains create a physical reaction: fight, flight, or freeze when facing danger. Our brains sometimes get mixed up and cannot tell the difference between the very real danger of a charging bear and the unlikely fear of dying in a hurricane.  What would therapy look like for an anxious child?  Therapy looks different for children. Even teenagers talk through things differently than adults. Various types of therapy have proven effective in the treatment of anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be effective in rewiring the brain to think differently. Exposure response prevention is the standard for any type of phobia. A variety of mindfulness or meditation techniques can be used to teach relaxation. Experiential options such as equine therapy, wilderness therapy, and yoga or dance can be transformative in gaining more connection with your physical body. Play therapy and art therapy can be used to process thoughts and emotions when you can’t find the words to talk through it. Ultimately, it’s difficult for most people to recognize that having no anxiety is not the goal of therapy, but rather finding a way to deal with the distressful emotion so it doesn’t take over your life. 

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Joint Health and Arthritis in Pets By Brad Speed


ow do you know if your pet is hurting? What do you see? How do they act?

injury rather than arthritis, and you Vet can help determine that. It is important not to assume your pet has arthritis while a treatable problem goes undiagnosed.

This becomes a difficult question for most pet owners. As humans, we tend to apply human behaviors to our animals, and often expect them to act like we do. This leads most people to play down their pet’s pain level.

Next, watch your pet’s weight. The number one contributing factor to bad joint health is weight. The one guarantee we can make in the Vet world is that if you get your pet to a healthy weight, they will move better. It is crucial not to lean on supplements and medications when your pet is clearly overweight, as this one factor can often keep pets from needing more and more meds.

A common visit we get in the Vet office goes like this: An older lab comes in for his annual visit. Let’s say he’s 10. His human mentions that he’s been “slowing down a bit”. He seems stiff when he gets up, and he doesn’t play as hard as he used to. As a Vet, we can see he has reduced muscle mass in his back legs. He bears most of his weight on his front legs. We begin to discuss arthritis and “bad hips”. When we start to mention treatments such as anti-inflammatories and joint supplements, we commonly hear, “well I don’t think he’s that bad yet, he still gets around pretty good.” A good bit of the time, that pet will then leave without further care. The dog in our example is clearly showing signs of pain, but the average person is not trained to see those signs. Most people believe that their pet will let them know when they are hurting. They are missing the signs that are already there. Of course we have our baby chihuahua’s that will cry if the wind blows the wrong way, but our Lab friend will never make a peep. The dog in our example will wag his tail and eat until the day he can no longer stand, but he will likely never whine or cry about his condition. It is important to recognize and understand the signs your pet shows regarding their joint health. If your pet is “slowing down” their joints are likely affected. If they have difficulty getting up, they are hurting. If they are losing muscle mass in a particular limb, front or back, they are hurting. If your pet is limping on a leg, they are absolutely hurting. These are the signs owners need to recognize. If you sit back and wait for a sign while these are already present, you are very likely missing some crucial opportunities to improve your pets joint health. First and foremost, go see your Vet. They have the ability and the training to diagnose exactly what is causing your pet’s pain. Occasionally, your pet could be limping because of a fixable

Good moderate range of motion activity is also helpful to joints. Unless your Vet tells you differently, it is almost always better to get your pet out and moving to keep arthritic joints healthier. It’s also a good idea not to let your arthritic pets “overdo it”. If they’ve been going hard all day, they are going to pay for that just like a person. Slow them down and let them rest accordingly. Consider anti-inflammatories. A common pattern we see is people turning down anti-inflammatories because of their effects on the liver or kidneys. What most people don’t realize is that your pet’s joints are likely to wear out long before the kidneys or liver. We have far more quality of life discussions over mobility than organ failure. If you use these medications responsibly, in accordance with proper meds, dosing, and monitoring by a Vet, they can literally add years to an arthritic pet’s life. Finally, consider joint supplementation. There are a variety of products and diets out there that provide mobility boost to joints when used properly and in conjunction with these other treatments. Think of these products like a person taking a multivitamin. You may not see a tangible improvement that day, but you will have more balance over time. There is so much that can be done for the average pet that is “slowing down”. The conversation starts at your local Vet, and continues at other professional resources, like Clayton Claws and Paws. The staff is well versed in products that can help your pets mobility and activity. Use these resources effectively, and your pet will be moving better in no time!

Brad is an associate Veterinarian at Rabun Animal Hospital. He graduated Rabun County High School in 2002, earned his bachelor degree in Animal and Dairy Science (2005) and then his DVM in Veterinary Medicine, both at the University of Georgia (2010). He lives in Clayton with his wife, daughter, son, and many 2, 3, and 4 legged animals.

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Off the Beaten Path, But What a Destination! By John Shivers

and small, and full-size motor homes. Two 14’ by 16’ garage doors open into two-story oversize bays, with room to park a tractor trailer, and paved driveway room outside to turn it around!


f you’re looking for a way to leave the world behind without having to forsake all the comforts of home, the 2.15± acre tract at 221 Frontier Road southwest of Tiger, Georgia definitely ought to be at the top of your list. Think of it as a doorstep to great hiking and outdoor activities. Nobody in northeast Georgia does great outdoors better than Rabun County! You’ll drive through National Forest lands that surround the property to reach this mini-back-to-nature compound that includes three structures, and sleeping space and storage area for man and all his toys: boats and kayaks, recreational vehicles large

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How you use this fantastic get-away that allows you to leave the world behind without having to rough it any more than you’d like, is your call. With two bedrooms and two baths in the main house, and a third guest suite with full bath and kitchenette in the 4,000± square foot garage, you can take advantage of short term rental opportunities. Occupy one space and rent out the other, or rent out both through airbnb when you’re not there. The garage features many hidden assets that only add up to a fantastic lifestyle. In addition to floors of reinforced, thickerthan-normal concrete, you’ll have no problem parking full-size motor homes or tractor trailers. A cargo elevator is at the ready

to haul small water craft and other outdoor toys to a second-level storage area. There’s water access in two areas and a wash-out station already connected to the on-site septic system makes washing out your RV quick and convenient. And when you get through with that task, the rockers on the covered porch will welcome your visit to catch your breath. An attached 1,500± square foot covered shed with full electricity provides storage for additional vehicles or even a second RV. Inside, beneath the second level storage area, a spacious, one-bedroom studio apartment complete with full bath, tankless water heater and kitchenette affords all the comforts of home. Use it for in-laws, guests, caretaker, rental-byowner, or even your own personal man-cave! Adjacent to the main dwelling that’s far enough away for privacy and close enough for convenience, there’s a detached, oversize two-car, fullyinsulated and heated garage that includes a workshop area and a pet kennel with direct access to the chain-link fenced yard. In addition to two comfortable size bedrooms and two full baths, the main cabin also includes generous amounts of covered porch space, an open deck and a hot tub. And when the weather gets too nippy to be comfortable outside, don’t think of it as retreat when you go back inside. A stone fireplace equipped with gas logs, master bedroom and en-suite bath with whirlpool tub, washer and dryer, a second bedroom, bath, small office or playroom area, and fully-equipped kitchen equate to warm and comfortable livability. There’s also a whole house propane generator, pristine landscaped grounds, and a great cell phone signal! Get your hiking boots ready and gas up the trail rider, then check out MLS #8964279 and contact Poss Realty Agent Chelsea Cohee at 706-9829677, or at the office at 706-782-2121. Mother Nature beckons, and there’s no better way to answer than by owning this custom property by local builder Greg Welborn.

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Double the House, Double the Livability

by John Shivers


hink of it as historic Lake Rabun meets contemporary European-inspired architecture and design, and the finished product is not one, but two unique, fee-simple Rabun County lake homes and a boathouse. You need look no farther than 27 and 51 Piney Point Lane in Lakemont to find this rare, double home opportunity. The lake’s historic Piney Point landmark is a sought-after location, and given the opportunity to get two adjacent homes for the price of one makes this a once-in-a-lifetime chance to own a piece of unique lakefront property. Throw in a boathouse and how can you pass it by? If you believe in the location… location… location philosophy of real estate, you’ve just found it. Don’t let this one get away! If early morning misty lake views are your idea of the ideal way to greet a new day, this eastern-facing .67± acre lot on Lake Rabun’s southernmost big basin will check one more box on your “must have” list. And each property offers a contemporary, open-concept style that translates into greater livability inside, creating the perfect foil to the outdoor possibilities. Combined, the two homes deliver three bedrooms and four full bathrooms, plus two bunk-rooms. The main house, a bungalow / cottage structure, is situated on a rise that ensures great views as well as a degree of privacy, and has been renovated and updated with painted wood ceilings, and hardwood floors. Finishes and furnishings practically scream European contemporary. A designer kitchen with solid-surface countertops, subway tile backsplash, and a large prep-eat-in island anchors the floorplan and opens into the living area. A wood-burning fireplace and built-in bookshelves combine to create a spacious but cozy place to chill out or to drop after a day on the water. Sliding glass doors lead onto a spacious screened porch with additional living and dining space that expands the home’s possibilities, and the seasonal views from this porch are breathtaking. The primary bedroom offers a walk-in closet along with a retro-bathroom, and French doors that lead out to a sundeck and outdoor shower. Completing this main house is the guest room, a bunk room with full and single bunks, and a shared bathroom. A foyer / mudroom lead into the main living area that is primarily an open concept floorplan. White on white finishes enhanced by the vaulted, beamed ceiling visually enhance the size of the living space. Outside, a hardscape fire pit further expands living and entertaining options. Stone steps and intentional landscape lead to the two-story, single-stall boathouse with adequate depth at 23 feet to accommodate a wakeboard boat. Named “R Lake,” the second home is a small, truly one-of-a-kind waterfront, two-story guest house that’s exceptionally contemporary in every design detail. The morning views from the loft bedroom and European bathroom guarantee a feeling that you’ve awakened in paradise. Floating stairs descend to the main living floor with a solid wall of glass that displays the lake’s landscape in various perspectives from many different angles. A galley kitchen and a wet bar off the living room flow into the lakeside deck where a fire table and a hot tub make this area perfect for entertaining. A double, full bed bunkroom and a bathroom provide additional sleeping space. Outside, a private enclosed shower room and a lower swim deck add still more options and versatility. This space is currently an enormously successful Airbnb rental. Agent Sarah Gillespie at Harry Norman, REALTORS® Luxury Lake and Mountain is ready to introduce you to these one-of-a-kind homes, MLS #8972339, and the lifestyle they deliver. Call her at 404-735-6157 or at the office, 706-212-0228. June 2021 - GML 65

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Jackie West

is in Her Element in Rabun Real Estate By John Shivers


hen Harry Norman, REALTORS® Luxury Lake and Mountain associate broker Jackie West first got her license to sell real estate in 1979, it was a different era. “Those were exciting times,” she says. “It was before computers, before fax machines, and we had to use carbon paper, because there were no copy machines.” Contracts were often singlepage documents. Fast forward to 2021, and while the level of technology in the business and marketing arena doesn’t even resemble those early years, for Jackie one thing hasn’t changed. The pleasure of helping to connect sellers with buyers and those same buyers with their dream properties is still just as satisfying now as it was 42 years ago. “You have to love what you do,” she says, reflecting on the many properties she’s represented down through the years. “Otherwise, it shows, and you won’t be authentic to your clients.” “I get excited,” she says, “when I get a referral from my old clients and customers. I love helping buyers find that little bit of heaven.” When Jackie first got into the Rabun real estate market, lake houses could be had for $60,000 and lots were $20,000 or less. Today those same lake homes can sell for a hundred times more than in the late 1970s, and land prices have appreciated accordingly. Today, Jackie wrestles with several factors that seem to impact the real estate industry across the country. “It’s a tough time today. Our inventory is the lowest I’ve seen it in my career.” She goes on to explain that a balanced real estate market is one that has a good inventory, low interest rates and a good economy. “The recession was long and hard on this industry, and before it ended, some REALTORS and builders and developers got out of the business.” For those who hung in there, it was a different landscape when the country finally emerged battered but not beaten. “It was,” Jackie notes, “the first time Rabun County property values dropped, and this was one of the toughest real estate markets around.” Based on her years of experience, Jackie believes the current seller’s market will likely continue for a few more years. Eventually, however, interest rates will rise, and a market correction will result. She doesn’t believe the impact will reach the extremes of the 2007 correction. In the meantime, she continues to connect people to their

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dreams in one of the best places on earth. When asked how she approaches that task, Jackie is quick to respond. “Listen closely to your buyers and sellers, know your market, take every opportunity to educate yourself, practice professionalism, have the right resources, and above all, be honest.” Against those precepts, Jackie West has built her career and her reputation since coming to Rabun County full time in 1976. Prior to that, she and her family lived in Atlanta, where she managed a 32-lane bowling alley, assisted by her husband, Hal, and children. When time allowed, they would retreat to a family-owned cabin on Seed Lake. Over time, they became so enamored with the Rabun experience, they purchased their own cabin in 1973. After three years, as their stays became longer than just a weekend, Hal and Jackie decided in 1976 to permanently relocate. They pulled daughter, Sandi, out of high school and transplanted her to Rabun County High School for her last two years, purchased the Lake Rabun Grocery Store, and settled in to make new lives for themselves. At the time, they had a son working in Atlanta, another son about to start college, and another daughter in college. In between running the store, which was a family operation just as the bowling alley had been, Hal began to put the real estate license he’d gotten in Atlanta to good use. And in 1979, with his blessing and encouragement, Jackie took classes and passed the state exam. “I thought he wanted me to help him in his business,” Jackie confesses, with her trademark laugh. “But when I finished, he told me I needed to go to work for someone else for the

experience.” She explains that her husband believed she would refuse to listen to him. So she went to work for Century 21, and several years later, in 1988, she got her broker’s license. In between, she and Hal opened their own agency, assisted by Sandi, who ran the office and kept everybody straight. In 1986 they affiliated with the Coldwell Banker brand. Following Hal’s death in 1991, she became managing broker. In 1998, the late Ed Poss purchased the business and Jackie and Sandi worked for him, until 2007, when the Harry Norman franchise came to Clayton. She’s been at home there ever since. Jackie was one of the founding members of the Rabun County Board of Realtors, and served as president in 1992. In 1992 and 1997 she was recognized as local REALTOR of the Year. In those early days, Rabun County real estate was seasonal. Thanksgiving to late April was a time to recover, plan, and gear up for another season. Autumn was the busiest time, and many days Jackie practically lived behind the wheel of her fourdoor Lincoln, only to return to the office to find more anxious buyer wanna-be’s waiting. “I loved showing property,” Jackie said, and leaves little doubt if she had it to do over that she would make any changes. There’s just something unique about knowing you’re where you’re supposed to be, and for Jackie, it’s in Rabun County.



North Carolina

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By The Way

Farewell to Cunningham By Emory Jones


guess I always knew it had to happen.

Because, to be honest, I’d seen the signs coming since the first time my pet pig, Cunningham, saw his name in the newspaper. His head got a little bigger every time that happened. And then, when my book about him and his friends came out with his picture on the cover, well, that little ole pig’s head swelled up like…well, like a big ole pig’s head. It wasn’t long until he started wearing imitation gold chains and even had a ring put in his nose. Then he began staying out at night, staggering home late, often smelling like a pigsty. I tried to talk to him, but he can be so pig-headed. Once he started getting letters from the Amalgamated Swine Talent Agency in Hollywood, I knew it was just a matter of time. So, I wasn’t surprised a few weeks ago when I awoke to find his bed made, his little artist beret missing, and all the canned corn in the pantry gone. My cousin Wayne saw him hitchhiking over on Highway 985, but by the time Wayne could circle back, Cunningham had flagged down a big rig hauling livestock to the West Coast. I don’t know what kind of person would pick up a pet pig wearing a beret with a gold necklace chain, a nose ring, and smelling like a pigsty, but apparently, they’re out there. I know he made it to Hollywood because last week he sent me an eight-by-ten glossy of himself. I have to say he looked good. Cunningham even signed it and had his agent write a little note that read, “We had a great run, but let’s face it, you were holding me back. I hope you understand—a pig has to fly.” I’ve heard through the grapevine that Cunningham has a parttime job rooting out weeds on Miss Piggy’s estate, but I can’t confirm that. I also heard he’s on a waiting list for the Pig N Whistle drive-through on Hollywood and Vine, which would be

good since that’s where lots of pigs get their start out there. I know that’s where Arnold from Green Acres was discovered. I guess Cunningham has had some success landing roles. Last night, I caught a glimpse of him in the new documentary, A Pig’s Story.” He was “Dead Pig Number Three.” It was a small role, but he played it well, and I have no doubt that he’ll be “Dead Pig Number One” in no time. Say what you want about him, but the pig’s got talent. I wish Cunningham all the best in Tinsel Town. After all, we’ve had some good times together ever since I picked him up hitchhiking on 285. I’ll never forget our trips to the horse races, Rock City, and to his art lessons in Helen. I noticed Cunningham left his pet rock, Hudson, behind, too. So, I guess that little rock is my responsibility now. Lord knows, my wife would just toss him away. We both cope with Cunningham’s departure in different ways. I sigh a lot, but she sings. In fact, she’s been singing ever since she found out the pig left, bless her heart. Anyway, keep an eye out for Cunningham on the big screen this summer and fall. I hear they’re doing a remake of Babe. He’d be perfect for playing a “heavy” in that! I will miss him, but he did leave me an autograph copy of “Cunningham and Other Pigs I have Known” on my nightstand. At least we have those to remember him by. Emory Jones started writing columns about his so-called pet pig, Cunningham, after reading a blotter item in the White County News a few years back. Since then, he’s written numerous accounts of Cunningham’s adventures. Although Cunningham is retiring to Hollywood, Emory will continue writing monthly pieces for this magazine. Farewell, Cunningham. We will miss you.

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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The Mountains Are Calling and I Must Go… by Liz Alley


or the first time in my life, the mountains and I have been at odds with each other. They called but I did not go. This separation was different than when I left for college, those were carefree days of finding myself, while knowing the mountains were there if I needed them. This time, I wasn’t sure the mountains would be the same after a self-induced estrangement. I wasn’t sure if I’d find comfort in the sturdiness of Tiger Mountain or in the sun’s shadows in the valley of Pleasant Place Road or even in the fact that the little blue house in Tiger was safe and secure holding the place where I grew up. What to do with all these emotions? What to do with the feeling that the mountains were somehow responsible for dad’s garden not being plowed with neat rows of silver queen corn shimmering in the hazy sun? How could I escape the knot in my gut knowing my mother wasn’t nestled safe in her home at the foot of the mountain in Tiger? I was wrestling with the mountains and I turned my back on them until I was trumped once and for all. It was my dad’s death that forced the standoff to end. When my mother got COVID-19 in September of last year, survived it, then survived the rehab that went with it, my siblings and I decided the best place for her to recover would be my sister Lisa’s house, just a few miles from me in Newnan. Something happened mentally to me when Mom was not in Tiger anymore, something closed up in me and I couldn’t bear the thought of the mountains without my parents. I longed for them, my parents and my mountains, but I could not seem to reconcile them in my mind. When Dad died and I drove from Newnan to Tiger, I kept rearranging the words that looped through my head by Emily Dickenson “Because I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me; The carriage held just me and him and immortality.” I rearranged the words to “Because I could not think of death, it finally forced me to see; That the carriage held just him and Dad and immortality.” And, I was reminded mile after mile of the words by Markus Zusak “Death waits for no man – and if he does, he doesn’t usually wait for long.” “How” I wondered “will the mountains receive me? Will their shadowy

memories overtake me? Will the familiarity overcome me? Will the cross that’s backlit against the inky dark sky of Black Rock Mountain be the refuge as promised?” The jig was up, it was time to go home. Instead of Tallulah Falls being the point where my anxiety from the city begins to dissipate, this time it was the point where my anxiety began to mount. I decided to turn by Goats on The Roof, not ready to go by the old homeplace yet. As I made my way up the incline to Tiger, I pulled over at the top of the hill to gaze from a distance at the back of our old house. “Speak to me,” I whispered and the breeze picked up, rolled through the valley and lifted the hair off my face in what felt like a gentle touch. I glanced at the small tattoo on my wrist with the word “Hireath” a Welsh word meaning “nostalgia for lost places”. This word seems to be the story of my life, perhaps it is the story of all lives. The day we buried Dad was rainy and cool. Out of a fourteen day stretch, that was the only day for rain. It seemed appropriate for broken hearts, that Dad’s funeral was when the sky was crying, instead of on a bright sunny day. I fell into the nest of my family, into the solace of the people in Rabun County who I love, into the warmth of fried chicken and the fellowship hall at Tiger Baptist, into the bugle that echoed off the mountains at the graveside and into Tiger itself where Dad was received back into the earth. I fell and I fell and I fell until the ache began to lessen on the winding roads of Wiley, the reflections in Lake Burton and the fields of Dillard. I like to think of Dad fishing on a beautiful mountain lake in Glory or walking among rows of Silver Queen corn made of gold, which surely The Lord in all His wisdom would have in heaven. I imagine Dad sitting down to a meal with biscuits piled high on a platter and red tomato slices with a dollop of mayonnaise, The Lord would surely want this to be a part of heaven too. Whatever heaven is like, it would have to be an even better version of Rabun County, where God has done some of his best work. Until I get there, I’m glad the mountains still call me and I’m glad they are still home.

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

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Of These Mountains

Summer Memories on the Lakes By Kendall R. Rumsey


rowing up, one of my favorite family activities was when my dad would ask, “do y’all want to ride around the lakes?” Mama and I would always chime in with an enthusiastic

Upon arrival, I would make my way to the lake to swim with my friends. The day would usually culminate in a cook-out and boat ride.

These family drives usually happened on Sunday afternoons after Church. We would pile into the car; sometimes my brothers would join us, but usually it was just us three.

I learned to waterski behind the Rogers’ boat. Shaky at first but then as my confidence grew I was able to cross wakes, eventually ending up on a slalom and spraying big waters as I sped across ice cold Burton.


During these drives we would talk; Daddy would tell us about the new houses being built and who would be moving in. It was on one of these drives that my parents told me a story that blew my mind. They knew how much I loved the lake, its peaceful sunrises, the excitement of boats bouncing in the wake and the serenity of fishing in a cove; lake life was in my blood. On this particular day as we rode along, daddy nonchalantly said “Ken, did you know we almost moved to the lake once?” “Ummm, no I didn’t and, why didn’t we?” I responded in shock at his comment. With a sly grin, he responded “your mama didn’t want to.” At this point Mama chimed in and stated without any apology. “There was no way I was going to move to the lake and drive three boys in and out of town every time you needed to be at an activity.” Daddy said, “and now you know why we don’t live on the lake.” Jokingly I told my mama, I wouldn’t be able to forgive her for that decision. She let me know quickly that she didn’t need my forgiveness.

We had other friends on the lakes that we would visit. One of my favorite spots was a tiny old cabin, set within a cove that was owned for generations by our friends the Pyshers. Dale and Jane were some of my favorite people. Dale with a sly sense of humor and Jane with mom-like hugs and snacks, their house didn’t feature a boat, but instead, waste level waters that fish swam in just off the shore. I would sneak out onto the rickety old dock and hang over, touching fish as they swam by. On many occasions, I would wade into the waters, carefully placing each foot so as not to fall on the algae covered rock. During these times, I would laugh with joy as the small fish would swim around me and nibble on my toes. I am reminded of a late-night adventure at the Pysher’s when the night skies lit up as a full lunar eclipse passed over Burton. I was spending the night at their lake cabin and Jane let me stay up late into the night to watch the skies change. I was only 10 or 11, but I remember that night and look back on it with excitement. As I grew older, I began to branch out on my own and spend weeks on end with friends on Lake Rabun.

Driving around the lake, was a bonding time for our family. I enjoyed the moments we had there.

My brother had a college roommate who had a brother my age. His family had a large cabin on Rabun and they would invite me to come spend time with them during the summer.

Sometimes we would pack a picnic or just happen to stop in at friends’ lake homes as they were enjoying the day’s activities. Our drives would usually last well into the evening.

There were six of us all about the same age and we would spend our early teen years on the dock laughing, swimming in the icecold waters and riding up and down the lake for hours on end.

One of our favorite stops was our “in-town” neighbors, the Rogers. They also had a lake home that was built within a multifamily compound.

We all became very proficient skiers during those summers. My favorite time to ski, was early morning. During early morning adventures, we would ski in blue jeans as the waters were so cold.

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

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The early morning outings before the multiple boats were cranked for the day would be highlighted by waters as smooth as glass. Sliding along the smooth wake in those early morning runs was the perfect time to practice our skills and stretch the limits of our ability. I loved those days on the lake and the adventures I had with my friends during those teen years. Today, as I look back on my lake days, I am grateful for the kindness of friends who would open their doors to me and allow my lake life adventures to become memories that will last a lifetime.

Lakemont Cycle

I think back on the long rides, the picnics, boat rides and laughs shared on docks and remember them with fondness. For those of us who were fortunate enough to grow up in the mountains of Georgia, living life to the fullest in the Cabins and Coves of Burton and Rabun, the memories that we created and the friendships developed there will never be forgotten. Today, especially at this time of year, I often think back on those days of a youth filled with abandon and smile to myself knowing that those days helped shape my life. It isn’t out of the ordinary that I get into my car on a Sunday afternoon and “ride around the lake,” in appreciation for the life that those waters created for me. June 2021 - GML 77

HARTFORD HOUSE Defines Custom by Tracy McCoy


OW!” was all I could think, as I entered the doors of Hartford House, a custom home furnishing manufacturer in Alto in Habersham County. I was there to meet Sarah Smith, CEO, to tour her operation. Two thoughts flooded my mind: I should have listened to the little voice that had urged me to stop many times before, and I questioned what piece I’d commission for my own home. As I looked around, the title of the article I’d write settled in my mind. Inspiration ramped up in the wood shop where sawdust was flying, saws were humming, and obviously experienced workers were crafting memorable pieces of furniture. “Randy has been working with us for thirty years.” Sarah indicated a man totally invested in his work. We moved to the finishing room, where still more professional hands were staining and assembling. The fragrant wood and stains was intoxicating.

Sarah is comfortable and engaging, and insisted on knowing my story. Then I listened closely to her own journey. It’s easy to understand how she can connect with customers, and bring realization to their fondest dreams. The collection of fabrics, finishes and hardware that Hartford House offers provides yet more customization, and my mind wandered. More family heirlooms than we can count have passed through Hartford House doors since 1988.

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In 2007 the store on the hill overlooking Highway 23 caught on fire, resulting in near total loss. But as she stood in front of the devastation, Sarah told her grief-stricken employees, “We all need to go home and get a good night’s sleep. We’ll meet tomorrow for breakfast and make plans for our future.” The business was reborn, and if you know Sarah, you understand why. An old, discarded piece of furniture ignited the love affair this former banker had with wood, when she was just a teenager. As she stripped the peeling paint, and sanded to reveal the rich oak that lay below, something settled in her soul. “I will design and build furniture until I can’t build anymore,” she has vowed. And those words demonstrate both a dedication and work ethic learned from her pharmacist parents, working with them in the family-owned pharmacy in Jefferson, Georgia. They taught her how to engage, build relationships, and to make “it” happen, by being genuine, honest, and determined. It’s easy to understand why custom work is her forte. But before there was Hartford House, Sarah studied philosophy of religion, literature and business. Subsequent work in banking allowed her to trade her MBA for an MRS degree, when she married Allen Smith. And when her three children arrived, she gave motherhood the same degree of dedication she’d given to college and banking. “As soon as my first child was born, I knew I wanted to stay home and raise my children” She invested in her children, teaching them as much as her parents had taught her. Sarah’s long-held dream had been to build and design custom furnishings as an entrepreneur, working for herself. When the family moved to Habersham in 1979, she was very involved raising the children but by 1988 she and they were ready to pursue her dream. Local flooring retailer Melvin Anderson had an empty building and offered it to Sarah. The Smith family took

a leap of faith. The children 10, 12 and 14 were the perfect ages to work in the store. Hartford House was born. What had been only a dream rapidly became reality, but it was anything but simple. Establishing a business is hard work, but Sarah was wellversed in transferring vision into action. Then in 1991, Randy, her longest tenured employee, walked through her door. With their combined talents, business took off. The idea that customers could provide a sketch, a picture of their idea and see it completed only weeks later, in their choice of wood and finish, was a big hit. Word spread. Sarah’s heirloom furniture harkens back to the piece that started this love affair. But no matter the style, quality is never compromised, promises are kept and expectations realized. Sarah searched for and engaged two manufacturers of custom upholstered furnishings to give her customers more flexibility and selection. With Sarah’s expert assistance, Hartford House customers can literally custom furnish an entire home from Hartford House, including fabrics, details and finishes. Sarah will also assist in designing complete rooms, and Hartford House art and accessories are unique and extensive. Whether classic is your style, if you’re loving the popular farmhouse look, or if contemporary better fits your taste, look no farther than Hartford House. Their line of candles and home fragrances are most alluring, and, ironically, the day of my visit the “aroma of the day” was named Lake Burton. The next time you pass Hartford Home Furnishings… STOP. Visit them, share your sketch, or just your vision, and let Hartford House take it from there. Look for them at 126 Anderson Cir, Alto, GA 30510. If you have questions or need more info, call (706) 778-3449 or visit

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oger and Laura Glenn moved to Rabun County full-time in September of 2020. They were looking for a new mission. Roger was on his ‘terminal leave’ after thirty-one years of service in the United States Army and the couple was excited to begin their life in the North Georgia Mountains as Realtors® at Poss Realty. But they wanted to do something special for the community. “Life is a team sport. In my view, success is defined by whether you focus on yourself or choose to help others. A servant’s mentality isn’t just a catchy management phrase. It’s a moral obligation. We chose real estate given that we could partner, and spend time working together after all those years spent apart. But we wanted to do something special to help recognize the natural beauty and extraordinary people that define what is most special about Rabun County,” says Roger. “We were brainstorming ideas to help spread the good news about Rabun County and focus on the special places, businesses, people and organizations in the community. We knew we wanted some sort of web or social media site dedicated to Rabun. A couple of days later, the National Association of Realtors announced their strategic investment in a young company that marketed turn-key community websites to real estate professionals, and it didn’t take long before we were signing the contract for what is now the Rabun County Parkbench site.” ( Scott Poss helped Laura and Roger make plans for how they could utilize the site and reach organizations to feature on the website (and their YouTube channel). By December, they were shooting their first video feature with Dolly Ramey at Your Time Fitness in Clayton, and since then they’ve done almost sixty videos/features in less than six months. They also have shot a couple of special features for Explore Rabun, and recorded a couple dozen videos for Celebrate Clayton. We asked Roger about how they select the organizations they feature and got a surprising answer. “Well, we’ve asked businesses that we were familiar with as customers/patrons, but the majority have been organizations that we learned about through social media or who reached out to us through the website and asked to be interviewed. We try to mix larger, established organizations with some very small or new businesses. Our goal is to help them tell their story to people who live in, or love (his word for visit) Rabun County.” He says initially some people are suspicious that they were selling the service and that it would be expensive. But as he explains, the cost is ‘very reasonable’.

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“It’s a free community service. Nothing, nada, zip, zero. There is no revenue model for the features or advertising events, news, or offering discounts (deals) on the website. We’ve underwritten 100% of that cost,” stated in his disarming, animated fashion. I asked them why. “I’m very transparent and unapologetic that this website helps us get our names out there as real estate agents, but the bigger purpose is supporting the community. Every real estate agent in the county benefits from the story of Rabun being told to others - whether it’s to help inform, educate or promote. That’s why we’ve tried to include people and organizations like Chad Nichols and the Rabun County Sheriff’s Office. We’ve been overwhelmed at how appreciative businesses are - especially small businesses who have very limited budgets. It quickly became exactly the type of mission and service to the community that we could pour our hearts and souls into, and as a result we’ve met some amazing people and been embraced by the community.” Roger is generally very understated regarding his military career, but when pressed he’ll let Laura tell you that he’s a decorated combat veteran who retired only after a chronic back disease made further service impossible. He retired at the rank of Colonel with two overseas deployments (Iraq and Guantanamo Bay) and a slew of medals including the Bronze Star. Service is not only something he’s used to, it’s his source of inspiration. His enemies and choice of weapon has changed, but his tenacity and energy are simply channeled toward other challenges. His desire is that the couple can use this website to serve the people of Rabun County to include its future citizens and visitors. He looks forward to telling the story of more businesses, to include some of the lesser known history of the county, and helping to focus the community on solving some difficult issues like the Aging population, poverty, and the digital divide. You’ll likely see him at some point, wearing his signature brown leather hat and carrying his tripod, en route to doing another interview. But if you ask him the secret to the quality content they’ve produced, he’ll quickly site the video editing skills of Laura and the attention to detail she puts into every feature. She uses a software application to edit the raw videos and add pictures, other videos and even music. The finished product is something most organizations share on their own web and/or social media sites and they take advantage of the other features - like the ability to promote a local event, announce something newsworthy, or offer a discount to customers. The sites subscriber base has grown significantly, but the Glenns are looking forward to cooperating with other local organizations like Forward Rabun, the Clayton Tribune, and this magazine to help brag about Rabun County and let people know what’s going on. He calls this concept ‘cross-pollination’ or simply ‘synergy’. When Laura and Roger aren’t helping people sell or buy a home or land around North Georgia or making one of their trademark videos, they enjoy a range of outdoor activities, spending time with friends and family, and attending local events where they can enjoy themselves even if they find it very hard to resist snapping a few pictures and/or recording a short video. In a short period of time, Rabun County has gotten into their DNA, and we’re sure glad this retired Military Police officer and his wife decided to make this their new home.

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2021 Lake Burton Fun Run


he Lake B u r t o n Fun Run was founded in 1984 by Robert Nichols to raise money for Wildcat Volunteer Fire Department. Since 1984, the Fun Run has grown from 85 participants to over 1,000 participants each year. The Fun Run begins at Moccasin Creek State Park and travels 2 miles along scenic Highway 197 beside Lake Burton to the finish line at LaPrade’s Marina. In 1998, the course was certified by USA Track and Field to allow runners to use their times from the Fun Run to qualify for sanctioned events. Participants of all ages and from various areas run in the Fun Run each Fourth of July weekend. Since founding the Fun Run in 1984, Robert Nichols has emphasized that the event has “taken on a life of its own.” The loyalty and support of the runners, volunteers, sponsors, LaPrade’s Marina, and Moccasin Creek State Park have made the Fun Run a Lake Burton tradition unlike any other. The Fun Run is a family friendly event where moms and dads can be seen pushing strollers alongside world class runners. Each year the Fun Run Board of Directors, an all-volunteer board, designs a t-shirt and plans the event. The finish line of the Fun Run provides runners and spectators the opportunity to visit with several vendors from the Lake Burton area, many of which are sponsors of the Fun Run.

Major sponsors of the Fun Run include LaPrade’s Marina, Springer Mountain Farms®, Georgia Power, Lake Burton Civic Association, Georgia Mountain Laurel Magazine, Harry Norman Realtors, and WCON Radio. Thanks to the support of our sponsors and runners, the Fun Run has donated thousands of dollars to support the three Lake Burton Volunteer Fire Departments, Rabun County Search and Rescue, and the Rabun County Sheriff’s Canine Corps. The 2021 Lake Burton Fun Run will be held Saturday, July 3th at 9 a.m. Online registration is ongoing, so be sure to register today. If you would like more information on the Fun Run or are interested in joining the Fun Run board, please visit www. and be sure to follow the Lake Burton Fun Run on Facebook and Instagram.

Tallulah Point Overlook becomes The General Store Mary Beth Hughes and Tallulah Point Overlook found a new home last summer. The General Store is Mary Beth’s new location at 100 Main St in Tallulah Falls, Georgia. The new location offers a nice big porch full of colorful rockers for “sittin’ a spell” and they are still scooping the delicious ice cream. You will still find novelty toys, local art and pottery, souvenirs, postcards, the candy you grew up with, bottled sodas, fresh fudge, t-shirts, unique home décor, handmade jewelry and more. This store is truly a step back in time! July 4th weekend, Bluegrass Saturday evenings start back right across from The General Store. So make plans to grab an RC and Moon pie and listen to the music. Mary Beth would love to see you! For more information visit their Facebook page, or call 706-7544318

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Hamby Events – Breanna Matheson Allow Me to Introduce Myself…


seed was planted in my soul while I worked alongside my sister and mother to plan my sister’s wedding.

Six years ago I did something my future self would be overjoyed about; I decided to pursue my dream of becoming an event planner. Now, I will never go back! Let me introduce you to Hamby Events and myself, Breanna Matheson. Hamby Events is a full service wedding and party design and coordinating business serving the Southeast

I am a UGA Public Relations grad with over six years of experience in the industry. Because of my experiences I pride myself in being knowledgeable in many parts of the event industry which is valuable to my clients. I have worked in various positions for multiple venues, hosted events as a freelance coordinator, and worked with, as well as, learned from some of the most amazing people in the industry. It is my passion to push the creative limits to help create the most memorable events for all of my clients! My greatest loves in life are southern living, concerts, and event planning. It is my hope that my clients walk away from their event with and overwhelming joy and the sense that there is not a single thing that could have been any better.” Before you begin planning your special event give me a call. I’d love to make it seamless and special for you. I invite you to visit my website or find us on social media @hambyevents or send an e-mail my way June 2021 - GML 83

from the Rabun County Historical Society

Reforestation, Roads, Telephones and Four Camps The Civilian Conservation Corps in Rabun County by Dick Cinquina


ranklin Delano Roosevelt assumed the U.S. presidency in 1933 at the depth of the Great Depression. National unemployment stood at a staggering 25%. FDR’s landslide election was a plea for help from a desperate and demoralized nation. Upon being sworn into office on March 4, 1933, FDR launched what became known as “The Hundred Days,” a whirlwind of New Deal legislation aimed at alleviating the misery caused by the Depression. The Emergency Conservation Work Act (ECW) was one of the first pieces of legislation FDR submitted to Congress. It would recruit hundreds of thousands of unemployed young men into a peacetime army and put them to work on conservation and other land improvement projects around the nation. CCC or Roosevelt’s Tree Army The ECW bill was sent to Congress on March 27. It was passed and signed into law by FDR only four days later on March 31. The act created the Civilian Conservation Corps, better known as the CCC. Considered one of FDR’s pet projects and sometimes called “Roosevelt’s Tree Army,” the CCC was mandated to recruit 500,000 men by July, 1933. Enrollees were to be 17 to 21; unmarried; unemployed members of families on relief or eligible for public assistance; not enrolled in school; in good physical condition; and “of good character.” They would be paid $30 a month or $1 per day. Of that, $25 was to be sent home to their families and $5 kept for spending money. The U.S. Army was tasked with recruiting and processing recruits as well as running the CCC camps.

Rock crusher used for paving roads, near Camp Tree on the Coleman River from the Green family and set about building the camp. It was ready in two weeks. Joining Camp Warwoman within several weeks were Camp Tree (F-5) located at the confluence of the Coleman and Tallulah rivers in the Persimmon area; Camp Lake Rabun (F-9) situated in Lakemont; and Camp Gafton (F-10) built on Lake Burton near Moccasin Creek. Each camp housed approximately 200 men. An enlistment was for six months but could be renewed three times for a total service period of two years. Many men did exactly that.

Four CCC Camps in Rabun County

Spartan Living Conditions

Within a week of the CCC’s creation, Rabun County sent a delegation to Washington requesting a camp for the county. The delegates must have had political clout, because they returned with news that Rabun County would be home to not one but four CCC camps.

Like most CCC camps, living conditions in the Rabun County camps were spartan. The men slept in tents before open bay barracks were built. The barracks were heated by a potbellied stove. The camps also included a large mess hall, motor pool, infirmary and recreation hall. Clothing and all necessary gear were furnished by the government.

On Tuesday, May 16, 1933, the first men arrived at Camp Warwoman (F-6), located near the site of the check-in station of the Warwoman Wildlife Management Area in eastern Rabun County. Forty-three recruits and several army officers pitched tents on property purchased

The Rabun County camps also had classroom buildings. According to a November 1933 Clayton Tribune article, “…the boys can secure the essential rudiments of a beneficial education. Of course, reading, writing and arithmetic will be taught, but there also will be courses in

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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economics, history and civics.” There also was vocational instruction in such areas as auto mechanics, cabinet making and radio technology. Giving Hope to the Unemployed A July 13, 1933 Clayton Tribune article wrote poignantly about the men in the county’s CCC camps: “Out of Cities and Towns they have come. Men and boys from Main Street, men and boys out of work, struck down by the depression, who for two years and more looked in vain ‘just around the corner,’ who sought without success to earn their daily bread by the sweat of their brow. At last a little hope dawned. A faint star appeared on the horizon.” Another July 1933 Tribune article stated: “We think that President Roosevelt will be proud of us and our camps and we want the residents of Rabun County to know that our boys do not come under the quoted remarks of Governor (Eugene) Talmadge as Bums and Hoodlums.” Talmadge was opposed not only to the CCC in general, but to AfricanAmerican recruits, in particular. Racism Affected African-American Enrollment Under Talmadge’s direction, the state of Georgia quickly found a way to prevent African-Americans from participating in the CCC. Although black unemployment was twice the rate for whites, Georgia listed all blacks as employed, disqualifying them from CCC enrollment. As the director of the Georgia CCC stated, “It is vitally important that negros remain in the counties for chopping cotton and for planting other produce.” June 2021 - GML 85

In May, Roosevelt threatened to withhold the CCC money that would pour into Georgia. Governor Talmadge relented and agreed to let African-Americans enter the program but only if they served in separate camps. FDR went along with this segregated arrangement. Of the 116 CCC camps eventually established in Georgia, 19 were designated SCS, the “C” standing for colored. Reforestation Roads


Meal time at Camp Gaften on Moccasin Creek


Rabun County’s forests had been decimated by decades of clear-cut logging, causing widespread soil erosion and stream siltation. The county’s four CCC camps were heavily focused on reforestation to eliminate these problems. In addition, 6,000 acres of existing timber stands were improved, and hundreds of acres of white pines were pruned to protect what had become an endangered species due to over-harvesting. Prior to the CCC, most of Rabun County’s roads were passable only during dry weather. Even moderate rain turned roads into muddy quagmires. The CCC improved and graveled more than 1,100 miles of roads in the county. In addition, 150 miles of new roads were built, including: Warwoman Road from Clayton to Pine Mountain (near the intersection of Walhalla Road); Plum Orchard Road in Persimmon; Patterson Gap Road in Rabun Gap; Bridge Creek Road in Tiger; Wolf Creek Road in Lakemont; and Hale Ridge Road from Warwoman Road to Scaly Mountain and Rabun Bald. Stringing Telephone Lines from Trees To facilitate the fighting of forest fires, 40 miles of telephone lines were strung from trees, enabling men in fire lookout towers to quickly alert ranger stations. The CCC carved the trail to the summit of Rabun Bald, where it built the fire tower that still stands. Miles of other trails also were built and maintained. In addition, the CCC built the Warwoman Dell Picnic Area and fish hatchery.

Firetower on Rabun Bald constructed by CCC men, photo 1939

The CCC camps also benefited Rabun County by purchasing milk, butter, vegetables and fruit from local farmers. Food purchases were spread across many farms, increasing the value of the camps to the entire county. A Rollicking Dance at Camp Rabun Camp recreation included baseball, basketball and boxing. The men were allowed to attend Sunday church services in Clayton. Parties at the camps with townspeople were not uncommon. A Clayton Tribune article from November 1933 reported that “Camp Rabun, F-9 of the C.C.C. at Lakemont, was host to many Friday night at a hilarious and toothsome barbecue and shuffling dance. Some three hundred attended and the copious appetites and lingering departure spoke well of a romping and rollicking success.” Virtually every CCC camp, including Rabun County’s, was closed within two months of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Manpower and government spending were redirected completely to the war effort in Europe and the Pacific. The CCC had a profound and enduring impact on Rabun County. The land was reforested and managed. Soil erosion was largely eliminated. Roads were built and improved. Telephone lines were strung. Forest fires were fought. But most important of all, unemployed young men were given hope for a better future. That was, after all, the greatest contribution of the New Deal. Learn more about our history by becoming a member of the Rabun County Historical Society. Membership and complete information about the Society are available at The research room will be open on June 5 from 12:00-3:00 p.m. The museum room will re-open on June 11. You can tour the museum Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 am-3:00 pm. Admission is free. You also can visit us on Facebook. The Society is a not-for-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, making your membership dues and donations fully tax deductible.

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“Burton: The Town and Its People” Adapted from the Foxfire Magazine, Fall/Winter 1991 and Foxfire 10 Original article by Chastity Grant, Lori Lee, and Ashley Lesley Edited by Kami Ahrens

Rock clean up from dynamite shot at dam construction site


any do not know that a town once lay beneath the deep waters of Lake Burton. The Burton area was located along the east and west sides of the Tallulah River. The town was described by Mrs. Willie Elliott as a “wide place in the road with an iron bridge crossing the river.” The iron bridge was built in 1902. It was located just above where Dick’s Creek enters the Tallulah River. Now, on any weekend during the summer, you will find the lake teeming with boaters. Most visitors who enjoy the recreation Burton offers do not realize the history beneath the lake. But when we have a dry spell and the lake goes down, boaters can look down through the quiet water of Lake Burton and still catch a glimpse of the old iron bridge.

Old Burton school and church

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Reverend James E. Turpen, Sr. was the grandson of J.E. Harvey—the local entrepreneur who made the land purchases for Georgia Power in anticipation of the dam construction. He recalled that, “Whenever the land acquisition was going on, not all the land was bought. Some land was actually traded for it. I think it was

common for people to swap land for land…there was a little more security in [land] than having the money.” Dr. John C. Blalock was one of three interviews done with folks who lived in Burton and Powell Gap before it was flooded. “I guess I’m the oldest man living that’s from Burton. [I was born] June 24, 1894. We lived a mile above Burton. We had a boardinghouse up there. My father was the merchant in a store about a mile above the Burton post office. We must have had about 2,500 acres across there and up across the river. We didn’t know anything about [them buying up the land for the project]. I’ll give you the exact way it was bought, every bit of it. The power company first sent up three surveyors, all graduates of Tech, and surveyed all of this. The surveyors stayed at our [boarding] house two or three months—all the time they were doing it. The government was having it surveyed on account of the water works, and so on and so forth. That’s all they ever told anybody. We never did know any different about that. [After the survey], old man Harvey went to Clayton and [checked the] county digest and found out what everybody paid taxes on. This was about 1910 or 11. I never will forget when he come riding in. Old man Harvey just walked in and said, ‘Mr. Blalock, I want to buy you out.’ He told Dad that he was working for the government and they wanted to buy the property for some utility. Mr. Harvey said, ‘You can live here the rest of this year.’ Said, ‘We want your property next year.’ And Dad told him, ‘I’ll take $9,000 for it.’ Didn’t think he’d buy it at all. I never will forget. I was just standing there listening at it. And Harvey says, ‘That includes both sides of the river and your store.’ Dad thought he got rich when he got $9,000. He had $4,000 in it. He just thought he’d make a price that would bluff him, but if he’d known what he was doing, he could have got $25,000 easy.” According to Dr. Blalock, it didn’t take Mr. Harvey long to travel to every house in Burton. “In one day, he had gone to every house and made them an offer. Everybody was pretty well satisfied [for] this reason. Nearly every one of ‘em got a pretty good profit on what they thought the land was worth. But there wasn’t much [choice]. We didn’t move until the next year. Nearly all of us back there left in the same year. We moved to Tiger, Georgia, and built a big old white two-story house.” Mrs. Willie Elliott, Dr. Blalock’s younger sister, shared her experiences as well: “All I remember was that they didn’t tear down the house; it was left standing. We took all the belongings of course. I remember my father making the remark that they moved out the last load of furniture just before it got high enough to flood what he had in the wagon. [No one refused to move]. There wasn’t no such thing. It was covered in water and there wasn’t no way to help it. There was no way to make a living, even if they’d left the houses on the side of the ridge somewhere, if all their land was covered. June 2021 - GML 89

There was no way out of it. I reckon my daddy was fairly well satisfied, but hundreds of them never were. It just ruined their lives.” Virgil Craig, who lived in Powell Gap, worked on the dam construction in the early 1910s. “Dad had a little farm down there. I don’t remember how much land my family had then; the lake covered it up. That’s what they done, you know. Water came to about eight feet over where we lived on a high place. [My dad] took the money [that the power company gave him for his land] and went to Chechero and bought another homestead. All the rest of the people in the community done the same—one here and one yonder, to and fro. They just took up their beds and walked. In the Burton settlement, there was big farmland, [but the power company] scared them out. They just about cleaned this place out; they wasn’t nobody left much. That was it.

Early stages of Burton Dam construction, 1918

I started [working on the dam] in 1916. I worked in the rock quarry a long time. First they started drilling. That took a long time. They drilled both sides of the river to see what kind of foundation they had. It was rock bottom. They went in and drilled and drilled, filled the rock full of powder and blew it up, and we had to get in there and clean it up and get that rock out. It was dangerous.” The dam was completed in 1919 and the reservoir in 1920. Ever since the flooding of Burton, legends have sprung up around the lost town of Burton and what lies beneath the dark waters—many of which are harmless: “Divers have been down salvaging things and stuff and they come up and swear they’ll never go down again, and say they saw catfish as big as people. The divers at Anchorage and La Prade’s [boat docks], when they come in, they’ll be there just swearing that they’ll never go back down again. The catfish are so big they’re scared of ‘em and they’re bigger than they are. Big as a grown man.!”

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Singing convention at church in Powell Gap

Let us know your stories of Burton, and be sure to take pictures if you ever catch one of these monster catfish!

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Profile for The Laurel of Northeast Georgia

Georgia Mountain Laurel June 21  

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