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Georgia Mountain Laurel October 2021 • Volume Eighteen • Issue Ten

from the Publisher

Pumpkins and cider, it's that month! October ushers in cooler mornings and evenings and "bluebird days". It's mums and hayrides, sweatshirts and boots, fall festivals and falling leaves. Aw, the joys of autumn! In this issue you will find the incredible art of Lakemont Gallery owner Virginia McClure, recipes that you'll enjoy making for your family and stories that will make you laugh and maybe even cry. We strive to be an escape from the craziness of the world. A place you feel at home and maybe even that you are visiting with an old friend. We celebrate the people, places and things that make the mountains the best place to be! I hope that you'll enjoy your magazine this month and that you will thank the businesses that support us by supporting them. Find some fun, breathe deep the fragrance of fall and watch as our mountainsides become a work of art with shades of rich reds and yellows. Lauren DeStefano once said ""Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale." Enjoy! Tracy

Georgia Mountain Laurel Mailing: PO Box 2218, Clayton, Georgia 30525 Office: 2511 Highway 441, Mountain City, Georgia 30562 706-782-1600 • Contributing Writers: Emory Jones; Jan Timms; Lorie Thompson; Dick Cinquina; Deena Bouknight; Tricia Moore; Boyd Bailey; Jeff Fincher; Amanda Howard Pileski, PhD; Dr. Brad Speed; Mark Holloway; Liz Alley; Kendall Rumsey

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

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

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Arts & Entertainment 12 16

Cover Artist – Virginia McClure NGAG: Rodney Roe – A Memorium

Outdoorsy 20 26

Adventure Out Whipping The Okra

Southern Cuisine 30 34

Bon Appétit The Family Table


Looking Back 40 44

Rabun County Historical Society – Tales of Tiger Foxfire

Faith in Christ 48 50 52

Life is a Blessing – The Heart of a Foot Washer River Garden Wisdom Hunters – A Refined Faith

Laurel Homes 56 60 64

Live Here, With the World at Your Feet Summer Vibes on Lake Burton Rustic and Natural


Live Healthy and Be Well 68 72 74

Pink Is A Fall Color Too! Faith and Mental Health Pet Health - A Discussion on Vaccines

Just Thinking 78 82 84

Lovin’ The Journey My People By The Way

Around Town 86 88

Dr. Brad Speed Of These Mountains Fall Marketplace

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THE ARTS movement of my canoe. At first the canoe was just the vehicle to get to the pretty places to paint, but I gradually started including it in the paintings. Over the years it has been harder to get out in the boat and it has become very nostalgic for me, ever more wistful and seeing it ever more beautiful, perhaps as a symbol of my younger days.”  In the past 12 years, Virginia has for various reasons moved her gallery up and down historic Lakemont’s Old 441 main street a few times. However, Lakemont Gallery of paintings, pottery, furniture, wood crafts currently resides within a circa 1910 former post office. Joey Haban of Clayton and G&S Builders of Gainesville remodeled the gallery as well as constructed an upstairs painting studio. Virginia shared, “ My gallery and studio space influence both my psychological and physical energy. For the past years I have had a bit more gallery than I cared to deal with and very unfavorable studio conditions. Finally, I have the right combination of a tiny gallery and a custom-designed studio. I have shop windows so people can see inside the gallery when I am closed. I am only there on Saturday afternoons or by appointment now. My studio has wall space and high windows in the gables for excellent lighting and a gorgeous vaulted ceiling.”

Autumn Reflections

Cover Artist – Virginia McClure


By Deena Bouknight

aturated hues of orange and yellow mirrored in forestedged lake. Our beautiful cover image, Boatramp Beacon by Virginia McClure also graces the window of her Lakemont Gallery’s new location. Virginia settled in Rabun County in 2008, after visiting from her Athens’ home for many years in order to enjoy canoeing on the various lakes nestled in the Georgia mountains. She explained that the lakes are her muse and she moved to the area as soon as she had an opportunity. Many of her paintings are of water, conveying her fascination with movement and reflections. She is known for her depictions of canoes on the water. “The outdoors, and especially the lakes, are my connection to God and nature,” she said. “My preference has changed over the years. I used to really like mirror-still reflections, but now I like to see the water ruffled, sparkling in the wind or rippling with the

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The original painting featured on this month’s Laurel cover is 40”x 30” oil on canvas. Virginia noted, “I now look forward to painting large scale works and can stand and move about more comfortably on my new cushioned rubber gym floor. This is especially important as I am recovering from knee surgery and I have commissions for paintings that require I mostly stand. I geared everything towards that with a high drafting chair and taboret so that I can alternate sitting and standing with ease.” She looks forward to the future in her new space and plans to eventually begin teaching classes to aspiring artists who desire to learn core techniques and put brush to canvas. She pointed out that a next-door space is

available not only for when she teaches, but for the public to rent for classes and meetings. She reflected on her instructional background: “My mother painted with pastels so I got started drawing and painting with her, but I really disliked the powdery chalky sensation and dust, so I just went out and bought some oil paints and canvases and I copied some marine paintings out of the Sunday [newspaper insert] magazine. I went to art school at UGA, class of ‘74, at a time when abstract expressionism was the order of the day, so the main instruction I received was in figure drawing.”

She added, “I ended up living in Italy for 12 years where I was an English teacher, and when I returned home, I went for an MFA (‘89) at UGA, which was by then in the throes of postmodernism and conceptual art, so my insistence on painting landscapes was considered off theme, but they ultimately tolerated me. The university ended up buying some paintings from me, including a mural-size work that was part of my thesis project and is still on display on campus.” Even though she teaches, Virginia said she continues to participate in workshops to learn from other artists. “I take them partly for the information and partly for the fellowship. My strongest influences from workshops are Scott Christensen, and I currently have a phone coach in California, Stefan Baumann.” She provides her own artistic input when needed. “When young artists and their parents ask me which is the best way to go if they want to do traditional realism, I suggest that they attend an atelier and learn from an accomplished artist rather than falling in with the conceptual art that is the trend in the colleges now. I have heard contemporary art referred to as ‘post-skill,’ but if someone is asking me, I think they are looking for knowledge and skill rather than philosophical rambling and shock production.” In addition to her works at Lakemont Gallery, Virginia has a show at Lake Rabun Hotel. Visit or to learn more about the gallery and Virginia’s works.

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North Georgia Arts Guild Rodney Roe – A Memoriam By Tricia Moore


hysician, potter, musician, consummate blogger – these are all things that describe what Rodney Roe was, but only touch the surface of who he was.

Rodney Allen Roe grew up in Fort Smith, Arkansas. After earning an undergraduate degree in chemistry at Arkansas Tech, he went on to obtain his medical degree at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. He served in the military for two years, including a one-year stint in Vietnam as a flight surgeon. In 1975, Rodney went into practice as a pathologist, thus starting his 30-year career in the profession. His career as a pathologist ended for Rodney when he realized he was having vision problems. He was consequently diagnosed with ischemic optic neuropathy which eventually led to his becoming legally blind. However, it did not sideline Rodney. He turned his misfortune into an opportunity to expand on his artistic side by getting into doing his pottery (which had been an interest of his for many years) full time. Rodney created beautiful, wheel-thrown pottery, incorporating both geometric forms and the more complex forms found in nature. In a quote from Rodney in 2005 regarding his work as a potter, Rodney stated: “Never comfortable with the status quo, I was always experimenting with variations of form, texture and color attempting to create the things I imagine.” With a degree in chemistry, it seemed

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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only natural that he was drawn to mixing his own unique glazes as well. He often showed and sold his pottery at fine art and craft shows. In addition to being a visual artist, Rodney was also a musician. This interest started for him at the young age of 17 when he started playing a guitar. He has entertained many with his music, including performing at services for the UUF in Franklin, North Carolina, where he was a member. According to Randy Sells, president of NGAG, “The North Georgia Arts Guild was privileged to have Rodney do a program in 2014 entitled “A Musical Journey” in which he played and sang and reminded us of old musical traditions.” Lynn, Rodney’s loving wife of 54 years, stated that she and Rodney met while he was in medical school and she was studying to be a Psychiatric Technician. Their life together led them to live in many different areas of the country including Arkansas, Arizona, Tennessee and North Carolina before retiring to the mountains they both loved in Clayton, Georgia in 2008. They joined NGAG almost immediately after moving to Clayton and have always been active, valued members. They have two daughters, Rowan and Heather, both of whom live in Eugene, Oregon. Throughout their years together, Lynn and Rodney shared a love for art, taking many art classes together and separately over the years. Even though Lynn earned a degree in Jewelry Fabrication at Haywood Community College, she also ended up working in pottery, preferring hand built pottery to wheel thrown. Diagnosed around six years ago with merkel cell carcinoma, Rodney underwent immunotherapy for several years. Then he was diagnosed with small cell carcinoma of the prostate, an aggressive form of cancer resulting from exposure to agent orange during his service for his country in Vietnam. He was treated for this at Duke University Medical Center. The carcinoma ended up metastasizing to other parts of his body and sadly ended up taking his life on June 24, 2021. Rodney will be sorely missed by many and remembered for so much, including his creativity, his love of art, music, photography, and his Facebook blogs. But mostly he will be remembered as a

caring and gentle man who loved people, loved being around people and was always willing to lend a hand to help others. Randy Sells, a longtime friend and fellow member of the North Georgia Arts Guild said, “I remember Rodney as a wise and gentle soul. He was an accomplished potter and musician. My fondest memory is of Rodney strumming his six-string guitar as he sat on a park swing during our Art Tour show. His playing provided a magical musical accompaniment and invited visitors into Veteran’s Park as much as the art.” A Celebration of Life ceremony was held for Rodney at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Franklin, North Carolina on September 18, 2021. Donations to honor and in memory of Rodney can be made to “Caring House” in Durham, North Carolina.

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Cullasaga Falls

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Adventure Out – Backcountry Autumn Leaf Tour W

By Peter McIntosh

e’re hitting the road for this adventure, visiting numerous beauty spots, hiking trails and waterfalls. There’s plenty to see and the opportunity to do as much, or as little, hiking as you want. This is pretty much a pictorial article with driving directions only. For more information about individual trails, you can look them up, as these are all well documented destinations. And keep in mind this adventure is about the journey, so take your time and enjoy the autumnal splendor. Heading east out of Clayton on Warwoman Road, we travel 6

miles to Sandy Ford Road on the right. From here you can follow the signs to the Dicks Creek Falls trailhead. If your not up for hiking, continue along Sandy Ford Road to where it reaches the Chattooga River. A great sandy beach spot to get out and stretch your legs. Walk a short ways downstream and you can see a small cascade across the river. That’s Whetstone Creek in South Carolina. Now we backtrack out to Warwoman Road and continue eastward for a little under 8 miles, where we cross the west fork of the Chattooga River at Overflow Creek Road. (This is

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 website:

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Dick’s Creek Ledge

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a few miles beyond Hale Ridge Road with the waterfall signs. We’ll get to these places but this is the scenic route.) Overflow Creek Road parallels the west fork for some way, with lots of camping spots here and there, as well as places to do a boat/raft/canoe put-in. A little over a mile in, we cross back over the west fork. This is a lovely spot with short trails on either side of the bridge if you want to do some river photography. From here the road gets a little bumpy but you can still drive it in a car if you go slowly. About 2.5 miles past the bridge we come to hiking trail signs at John Teague Gap. To the left is an unmaintained trail leading to Rabun Bald. (This is a very difficult trail) To the right is the trail to Three Forks, a somewhat difficult trail the leads to the confluence of three streams, Holcomb Creek, Overflow Creek and Big Creek, which come together to form Chattooga’s west fork. It’s been a while since I’ve been on this trail so I can’t report on it’s condition. On up the road a few more miles we come to the intersection with Hale Ridge Road. The trailhead to Holcomb Creek falls and Ammons Branch Falls is here. The sign is missing but the trail is easy to spot. Continuing on, we’re now on Hale Ridge Road. A couple of miles up is a Bartram Trail crossing. To the left leads to Rabun Bald, to the right it’s 4 miles to the Osage Overlook on

Whetstone Creek

West Fork Chattooga

Lakemont, Georgia

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OUTDOORSY the Dillard - Highlands Road. We stay on Hale Ridge Road, it soon becomes a paved road, until it dead ends at the Dillard - Highlands Road. (After all this adventuring, you may need to restock your supplies. There’s a Dollar General right across the street from this intersection.) Now we turn right and head up to Highlands, North Carolina. (From here on, it’s not exactly “backcountry” but work with me please.) Along the way to Highlands we pass two overlooks, the Osage Overlook and the Blue Valley Overlook. Both are lovely so check them out. As we near Highlands you see a sign on the right for Glen Falls. It’s an interesting waterfall in that you start out at the top of the falls looking out. When we reach Highlands, we turn left at the light, heading west on Hwy 64 towards Franklin, North Carolina. 2 miles down this highway on the left is Dry Falls, which you can walk underneath, and 5.5 miles beyond Dry Falls is Cullasaga Falls, which can be seen from the highway. There’s also Bridal Veil Falls on this road, a small waterfall you can drive under. From Franklin, you can loop back to Clayton for a post adventure celebration. Happy leaf peeping! As the fall colors become sublime, here is my autumnal rhyme:

Dry Falls

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Through the woods and o’er the river, An autumn tour that really delivers. Miles of scenic splendor that’s sure to please, Falling water and falling leaves.



Whipping The Okra

Whip It, Whip It Good!


By Tracy McCoy

e leaned in close and in a half whisper he said, “Tracy, I am worried about my wife.” With genuine concern I said, “Why?” what’s going on. “Well”, he continued, “the other day she put on her garden boots and she walked towards the garden.” I was puzzled that he was concerned by that, she’s been going to the garden since early late April. “Why did that concern you?” I asked this husband of 60+ years. “Well, she cut a hickory on the way”, he continued. “I thought she’d surely lost her mind and next thing I knew my beloved was whipping the Cow horn okra!”

“That’d make a good article for your magazine,” the gentleman said. I agreed that this might be something you should know. If not for this year, certainly for next year. I had to know more so I researched this old timey practice. Turns out it is a thing! Whipping the okra puts the plant under stress (most of my whippings did the same to me) and they do produce more. Seems okra is not the only plant that benefits from the practice; you can do the same to your tomato plants. They will indeed put on more blooms. Fruit trees benefit from it as well. The plant feels “attacked” and puts more effort into producing to ensure it survives. Pruning has a similar effect My head turned to the Mrs. and I asked the question that but it seems that folks believe that this aggressive treatment is on the tip of your tongue. “Why would you do that?” She is more effective. Of course you don’t want to “cut the plant proceeded to tell me that she had heard that if your plants are down” you just want to let it know you mean business. not producing, you have to whip them. Now, I’ve had more than a few whippings in my life and it’s true it usually straightened So, when I announced I would be sharing this information with me right out. As she continued my mind imagined her walking Laurel readers, the sweet lady with the hickory said, “Don’t between the rows of okra swishing that switch. “It worked, she tell them it was me.” So I will protect her identity. Remember said, the next time I cut the okra we had more to cut,” the man’s this next year when your okra is not bearing or your tomato wife said. blooms are scarce. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

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Clayton, Georgia

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Bon Appétit – Fall has Arrived! by Scarlett Cook


ooler weather has arrived and with it a full slate of fall activities. Football, cheerleading, band practice and all the other things are clamoring for your time. Here are some easy recipes that can have dinner on the table in under a half hour. And in just a few short weeks you will regain that hour that you gave up in March; think carefully about how you want to spend it!

El Paso Chicken Serves 4 3 Cups corn chips, finely crushed 1 1/2 Teaspoons chili powder 1/2 Teaspoon onion powder 1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder 4 Boneless & skinless chicken thighs 4 Boneless & skinless chicken legs 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise Combine corn chips, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder. Rub chicken with mayonnaise; dredge in corn chip mixture. Place chicken in a 13”X 9” X 2” baking dish. Cover with waxed paper and microwave on HIGH for 18 minutes; (rotate dish after 9 minutes if your microwave doesn’t have a turntable.) Cover chicken with aluminum foil when done and let sit 5 minutes.

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Orange – Almond Salad Serves 4 – 6 1/3 Cup vegetable oil 3 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar 1 Tablespoon sugar 1/4 Teaspoon salt 4 Cups chopped Romaine lettuce 1 Large can Mandarin orange segments, well drained 1/2 Cup dried cherries or cranberries 1/4 Cup sliced green onions 1/4 Cup slivered almonds, toasted Combine oil, vinegar, sugar and salt in a jar and mix well. Chill at least 2 hours. (Or make the night before.) Combine lettuce, oranges, cherries (or cranberries), onions and almonds. Add dressing and stir gently. Spanish Rice Serves 4 1/2 Cup chopped green pepper 1/2 Cup chopped onion 1 Garlic clove, minced 1/2 Teaspoon dried basil 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil 1 Cup uncooked regular rice 1 3/4 Cups water 1 Large tomato, peeled and chopped 1 Teaspoon salt 1/2 Teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 Teaspoon chili powder Put green pepper, onion, garlic, basil and oil in a 2-quart casserole dish. Cover with plastic wrap and vent to allow steam to escape. Microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes or until veggies are tender; stirring after one minute. Stir in rice, water, tomato, salt, cumin and chili powder. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 4 – 5 minutes or until boiling. Microwave on MEDIUM 12 – 14 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Blender Chocolate Pie Serves 6 2 (12-ounce) Packages semisweet chocolate chips 4 Eggs 2 Tablespoons Grand Marnier (or orange juice) 1 1/2 Cups whole milk 1/4 Cup plus 2 tablespoons strong coffee Frozen whipped topping, thawed Combine chips, eggs and Grand Marnier (or orange juice) in blender. Combine milk and coffee in pan; cook over high heat until thermometer registers 180°. Remove from heat. Pour hot liquid into blender; process at high speed for 2 minutes. Pour into 6 dessert glasses and chill overnight. When ready to serve, top with whipped topping.

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A Taste of the Mountains

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The Family Table By Lorie Thompson


ctober! ‘Tis the season of perfection in the mountains. It offers a feast for the eyes on the mountainsides and one for the palate at the local produce stand. If you visit Osage this month, you will probably see me there. October is my “squirrel” month as I put away produce for the coming Winter. Mountain Man and I grow a garden every year. Sad to say that this Summer, weeks of rain and then a broken leg and ankle for Mountain Man spelled disaster for the garden. We salvaged the potatoes. A couple of rows of “grabbling potatoes” left in the ground to mature turned out to be more than 250 pounds. I canned 21 quarts to have on hand for quick suppers and stored the rest of them. Baby Girl cut trails through the weeds, and we salvaged spaghetti squash, peppers, and some okra. Overall, the garden was not a complete waste of effort but nothing like what we would have had if Mountain Man had been able to work it and Mother Nature had cooperated. The failed garden, combined with the late Spring freeze that killed off my fruit tree harvest, has my canning shelves a little bare this year.

So, I am off to the Farmer’s Market for my Fall bounty. I will be hunting apples for Apple Butter, butternut squash to eat now and for storage through the winter months, Scaly Mountain’s fall cabbage, which makes the best sauerkraut, jalapenos for cowboy candy and pepper jelly, and tomatillos for salsa verde for the freezer. October will be a busy month for me in the kitchen. Some of my favorite foods to cook for my family in the Fall include Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, Candied Sweet Potatoes just like my Mama made them, and a beautiful Oven Roasted Salmon. Each month I ask Mountain Man what I should make for my Laurel article, and he always answers that I should make fried sweet potatoes. He wants me to share that recipe with you so that he will get to eat them. So, here is my Mama’s Fried Sweet Potato recipe. Peel and slice 3-4 sweet potatoes. (The food processor makes slicing the sweet potatoes very easy.) Over medium heat, melt 3-4 T of shortening in a cast iron or a non-stick skillet. Add potatoes to the shortening and cook until they are browning and starting to get soft. Turn gently, trying not to break the slices. When the potatoes are soft, add 4 T of salted butter and ¼ C of white sugar,

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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distributing the sugar evenly over the pan. Turn the heat up to medium-high, allowing sugar to caramelize, turning as needed to prevent burning. Enjoy! While you have the food processor out, try these easy-to-make Brussel sprouts with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce. Trim the hard end from the Sprout and remove any blemished leaves. Slice in the food processor or with a knife. Add a thinly sliced red onion. Place sprouts and onions on a baking sheet in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil, tossing to coat. Salt the sprouts. Roast in a preheated 425-degree oven for 25 minutes, looking for the sprouts to start browning. Add 2-3 T of Thai Sweet Red Chili Sauce, tossing sprouts to distribute evenly. Roast for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

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continued from pg. 35

The Oven-roasted Salmon came from a recipe that Chef Jeri Pfifer taught in the French Bistro cooking class at John Campbell Folk School. If you have an opportunity to take her class, Chef Jeri’s course will take your cooking skills to a whole new level. I have modified her recipe to make it a little weeknight friendlier. Ovenroasted salmon is a family favorite at my house, and I have made it often over the years. Start by chopping a large sweet onion. Saute’ the chopped onion in an oven-proof skillet in 3 T of butter and a light sprinkle of salt. When the onions are translucent and soft, crumble very fine, one full sleeve of crackers into the onions. (I used a gluten-free table cracker) Place the pan into a preheated 450-degree oven for five minutes. In a small bowl, blend 1/2 C mayonnaise, 1 tsp sugar, and the juice from one lemon. Chef Jeri adds 1/3 tsp lime oil. It is worth the purchase of the oil if you plan to make this often. It is still a great recipe if you don’t have the oil.

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Place a fully thawed salmon filet on a sheet pan. Top with the flavored mayonnaise, and then top with the cracker and onions. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until the fish flakes with a fork. This is a great dish to serve paired with a big salad for dinner guests or a family meal. October brings a special gift this year. I will be turning 60 years old, and that offers a great excuse to have a party! Our kind of party will include an outdoor campfire, folding chairs on the creek bank, and our family and best friends to share in the food and fun. Mountain Man is already planning what he will be smoking and grilling for the celebration. He offered to take me out for a fancy dinner or on a weekend trip, but spending time with my loved ones is what I treasure, and there is no better setting for a celebration than a creek bank in October in the mountains. I hope you will enjoy these recipes with your own family. Plan a family day outdoors and sit on the side of a creek bank with someone you love. Happy Fall!

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Rabun County Historical Society Tales of Tiger – Chief Tiger Tail, Fruit Jars and Brothels By Dick Cinquina

Clyde’s Tourist Camp, circa 1947

Massee Apple Packing House, circa 1940


ocated three miles south of Clayton, Tiger is home to about 400 people, give or take. Nestled at the foot of a cone-shaped, 3,000-foot mountain, the village is a tranquil place. But it wasn’t always that way. Tiger has a colorful history that belies the town’s diminutive size.

Tiger’s history extends back to the time of Cherokee trails. A north-south trail ran up the middle of Rabun County, the approximate route of today’s Highway 23/441. A second trail crossed the Tallulah River and ran eastward to a crossing on the Chattooga River. Tiger was settled at the intersection of these Cherokee trails. Tiger was and remains today a crossroads town. Tigers or Chief Tiger Tail The naming of the town also goes back some 200 years. There are two possibilities, according to lore and legend. English settlers, who allegedly had served with the British army in India, heard roaring and screeching from a nearby mountain that reminded them of Bengal tigers. Although mountain lions were the source of the roaring, the settlement and mountain nevertheless were named Tiger. A second version of Tiger’s history claims the town is named after Chief Tiger Tail, who ruled his Cherokee tribe from a settlement on the mountain. Since no record exists pertaining to the origin of the town’s name, take your pick about which story you choose to believe. By the mid-1800s, Tiger had become a trading post town. Mule-drawn covered wagons from Hiawassee crossed Davis Gap (along presentday Davis Gap Road between Highway 76 West and Bridge Creek Road) carrying foodstuffs to Tiger. These goods were sold or bartered

for shoes, cloth, furniture and other items that were hauled back to Hiawassee. The year 1904 is a key date in Tiger’s history. That was when Tiger was chartered as a city and the Tallulah Falls Railroad came to town, having been extended north from Lakemont. The railroad opened Tiger to the outside world and spurred its growth. County Seat Election Given its location at the geographic center of Rabun County, Tiger thought it, not Clayton, deserved to be the county seat. A Clayton Tribune article from October 24, 1907 reported that 40% of Rabun County’s qualified voters had signed a petition calling for the relocation of the county seat to Tiger. Accordingly, a referendum that December was scheduled to vote on the matter.

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 from Amelia Island, Florida.

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Legend has it that a Tiger voter riding on horseback to his voting location fell drunk from his horse and missed the critical vote. That missing vote, so the story goes, enabled Clayton to win the election and remain the county seat. A darker version of this story claims that Clayton partisans plied the Tiger voter with alcohol to keep him from voting. Moonshine in Fruit Jars Although it lost the election, Tiger continued to prosper due to the

making it nearly impossible for the police to follow him. A third “entertainment center” also opened that included a restaurant, hotel, and, you guessed it, liquor, gambling and a brothel. The good times in Tiger had a run of about 20 years. World War II effectively brought down the curtain on Tiger’s days of bright lights and vice. Quiet returned to the town. Tiger Drive In The Tiger Drive-In opened in 1954. It became the center of Tiger’s

Texaco Station at the four-way stop at Bridge Creek Road and Old 441, Massee Apple Packing House and Tiger Mountain in the background

Tiger Depot and community well, circa 1910

impact of the Tallulah Falls Railroad, which made two stops a day at the town. Products could now be shipped easily and inexpensively to and from the town. Mason or fruit jars comprised a significant portion of the freight dropped off at Tiger. In fact, so many were unloaded that the Tiger depot became known as “Fruit Jar Station.” It was no secret that the jars were not intended for canning tomatoes or strawberry jam. Moonshining was Tiger’s (and Rabun County’s) biggest business back in the day. Fruit jars were the bottles of choice for brewers of illicit corn whiskey.

social life until closing in the early 1980s. The drive-in reopened in 2004 at its old location at the intersection of old Highway 441 and Syrup City Road. The Tiger Drive In is still showing movies under the stars from March through November.

The prevalence of moonshining also is reflected in the name of one of Tiger’s streets: Syrup City Road. During World War II, sugar, a key ingredient in the making of moonshine whiskey, was tightly rationed. With little sugar available, corn syrup was substituted. Syrup mills kept moonshiners well supplied. Liquor, Gambling and Brothels Tiger’s heyday came in the 1920s and 1930s. A small army of workers built and operated Rabun County’s hydroelectric facilities, several of which were in close proximity to Tiger. The railroad also employed many locals for its operation and maintenance. All of these workers wanted something to do in their spare time. One establishment, located near the site of Tiger’s current post office, gave the workers what they wanted: liquor (even though Rabun County was dry), gambling and a whorehouse. A second, located at the present-day site of the Rabun County Senior Center, soon opened that provided the same attractions. The owner of this establishment was said to have owned five identical cars. When he would leave, all five would drive away at the same time but in different directions,

Tiger’s economy suffered twin hits in the early 1960s. The Tallulah Falls Railroad went out of business, making its final run in 1961. Tiger’s economy declined in the absence of freight service. The second blow landed several years later when construction of the new Highway 441 was completed. It completely bypassed Tiger, leaving what is now called Old 441 a lightly trafficked byway. With tourists and commercial trucking no longer passing through town, Tiger was left a shadow of its former self. Today, Tiger is a crossroads village with some attractive homes, a few small businesses, a senior center, two vineyards and some farms. It is a quiet town. But on some nights, you still might be able to hear the music and revelry echoing from the brothels of bygone days. Learn more about our history by becoming a member of the Rabun County Historical Society. Membership and complete information about the Society’s museum are available at The newly renovated museum at 81 N. Church St. in downtown Clayton, which houses the Southeast’s largest collection of Tallulah Falls Railroad artifacts, is open Thursday-Saturday from 11 to 3. The Society is a not-for-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, making membership dues and donations tax deductible. Visit us on Facebook.

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Mary Carpenter during an interview with Foxfire student

“It ain’t a story, it’s the truth!” A Bewitching Tale from the Foxfire Archive


ou’ve heard of “turn on a dime,” but what about the phrase “churn on a dime”? Oddly enough, in the Southern Appalachians, it was a common to stick a dime—back when they were made of real silver— underneath or inside your butter churn as you beat cream into milk. Believe it or not, this practice was tied to regional folk beliefs about witchcraft. In 1973, Foxfire students met with Mary Carpenter, who was a born storyteller. She shared her very own experience with a witch who enchanted her cow: “It ain’t a story, it’s the truth! It’s really the truth, as if I’m sittin’ in this chair—and I am! We had a jersey cow and she gave real rich milk. Well, I milked and I had a big churn, and every day I churned. So, I went to churn one day and there wasn’t nothin’ in the churn but bluish-looking water—like whey on buttermilk. It looked like curdled up stuff in that milk. Well, I couldn’t imagine what had happened to my churn. I didn’t use it at all, afraid it might hurt the family. I went to the spring box that night to get my milk—we had a big wooden box made in the spring, you know, where the water runs through it at one end and out the other. I went and picked up a jug and it looked the same way. When John got home from work, I said to him, “John, there’s something wrong with our cow’s milk.” I said, “Won’t you look at this?” He said “I wouldn’t use that.” 44 - October 2021

I said I wasn’t going to and went and poured it out. The next day, it was the same way. Well, I went down to [see] John’s mother and daddy. I thought maybe they’d know something about it. We was cookin’ supper and granddaddy was sittin’ in the front room, and I said “Grandma, I want to tell you somethin’.” She said, “What?” And I said “There’s somethin’ wrong with my cow’s milk.” I said, “I can strain it up and it’s just bluelooking water and it looks like curdled up cottage cheese or somethin’ and the churn is the same way.” She said “How long has it been that way?” “Oh,” I said, “For three or four days we ain’t had no milk, I’ve been pourin’ it out.” Well, grandad was listenin’ to me and he spoke up. He said “Mary, maybe your cow is bewitched.” And I went between the door of the kitchen and the living room, and I said “What’d you say grandad?” He said, “Maybe somebody bewitched your cow.” I said “What’s that?” He said “There is witches.” I said “There are?” And he said “Yes.” And grandma, she said, “It might be your next door neighbor.” I said “Well, what’ll I do?” Granddaddy said, “You put your milk in the churn, and put you a dime in it and churn on it. And the witch will come.” I said “What’ll I do when it comes?” He said “Just churn on.” He said “They’ll want to borrow you three things. I don’t know what they’ll be, but they’ll be three things they’ll ask

for. And if you don’t let them have nothin’, then that’ll break the bewitchin’ on your cow.” I said, “Well, I’ll try it.” And grandma said to me, she said “If you put a broom under the door and they step over the broom, that’ll break their witchery ‘til they can’t never bewitch nothin’ else.” Now this is the truth if I ever did tell it. I come on back home [and told my sister,] “Come up tomorrow, I’m goin’ to churn on a dime to see if the witch is comin’.” So over about one o’clock, [my sister] come. I had a little old porch and where the step was, [my young’un] Marvin had a broom and he crawled up under there and put a broom across the doorway where the witch’d have to step over to come onto the porch. Well, I went to churnin’ and Marvin, he comes runnin’ to the door and he says “The witch is a’comin’!” And so they quit playin’ their ball to watch and see her come over the broom. Well, she didn’t come over the broom. She knowed that broom was there. [Instead,] she come right around the edge of that porch. I had a chimney and a fireplace. She come right up next to the wall and pick up that big skirt and step right over that banister around my porch. [My young’uns], they seen she didn’t cross the broom, so they run and got another one and put up under the house here. If she went back out the door, she had to go over it. So they put one under the door there. Well, she sit there and I’d already hid everything I had. I thought maybe they’d want to borrow it. I carried it in the back room, stashed it on the bed, and covered it up. She couldn’t see that I didn’t have it.

dinner, I ain’t got a bit of cornmeal. He’s goin’ to go to the store this evenin’ and get some.” And she sit there, and she sit there, and then she said, “Well, I guess I better go.” I said, “There’s no need for you to hurry.” I just kept a churnin’, you know. And folks, she set there like she’s scared to death. Now I was lookin’ at my sister, but she didn’t say a thing. I just kept a churnin’ right on. Well, she got up and she walked out on the porch. And instead of goin’ out to the end and goin’ down the steps at the end of the porch, she caught a hold of the porch post and swung her way off of the side of the porch. And on up the road she went. And never before had she ever been to my house. I know her! Never before had she ever been to my house or anybody else’s. But what she said, she was raised to go out the same door she come in. But she knowed that broom had been put up under the house. She’d have to cross it. Well the next day, I strained my milk and it was as good as ever. I wrote my grandma a letter and told her my cow was good, I churned on the dime, the witch had come, and I didn’t let her have anything. The milk was good. Now that’s the truth. I never did think anything about [witches before]. But I do know that there was something wrong with that milk. And after I churned on that dime, it was alright. So that does prove there’s something to it.”

Well, she wanted to borrow some salt, and I said “I don’t have a bit.” Sat there a bit and said she wanted to borrow some coffee. I said we ain’t got a bit of coffee. I said when they quit at the sawmill, John’s goin’ to the store to get some. She sit there and talked on a while, then she wanted some cornmeal. I said, “I’m sorry, I had to cook biscuits for

The Foxfire program supports local youth through student enrichment programs, preserves Southern Appalachian culture with community-based cultural preservation projects, and maintains a 106-acre museum and heritage center for the public to enjoy. The Foxfire Museum and Appalachian Village is located at 98 Foxfire Lane, Mountain City, Georgia 30562. There are 20 historic log structures along a half-mile walking trail. For more information call 706-746-5828 or visit

Mary Carpenter working in her garden

Mary Carpenter with her dogs

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Clarkesville, Georgia

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Life is a Blessing The Heart of a Foot Washer By Tracy McCoy


o you reflect the heart of Christ? Are you a foot washer? God commands us to love one another again and again in scripture. He tells us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us (Luke 6:31). We all want to be treated well but are you willing to or able to show kindness and love even to the unlovable? How can we know Him and yet not obey these commandments. (Luke 10:27)

A humble heart kneels and washes feet, it offers encouragement, it forgives, it forgets, it helps, it serves and it lives to do so. Not for notoriety or praise, not for gain but because that heart is driven to serve by a love for the one who gave His life. (Matthew 6:1) Not even because the God of the Universe expects it from us but because He lives within us, and it comes naturally. His nature within me is the only reason I am capable of such love. I am human and I lose focus at times, we live in a society that screams it’s all about me! If I don’t take care of myself, who will? We have to look out for number 1, right? No is the short answer. It ‘s not about you, it is all about Jesus. If He loves you how can I reject you? How can we as Christians mistreat others? There are great injustices daily all around the globe, human trafficking, domestic violence and abuse of children, killing of innocent people and babies. Jesus says “What you do unto the least of these you do unto me.” If we stopped even just for a second before we act to see the face of God before we speak unkind words, act selfishly, hurt or wound others would it change the way you behave? When we put our needs above the needs of others, we do not honor our Creator. To serve others is to serve Him. (Matthew 25:40) Christ Jesus is our example, His life on earth and even unto death on a cross was dedicated to seek and to save those that were lost. Our Savior was a foot washer, not prideful but full of compassion and love. Agape is a Greek term for one of the four types of love in the Bible. Jesus Christ showed this type of love and commands his followers to do likewise. (John 15:13) In Matthew 11:29, Jesus advises “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Another Greek term used by Christ to describe His own heart is Tapeinos meaning humble. If we lived our lives with a humble heart, showing love to all we encounter, remember even to the unlovable how might we change the world? Oh that they might see Him reflected in His people. I want to serve, I desire to be like Christ so that others may see His love and allow it to change their lives too. Be a blessing!

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Season’s change but God remains the same

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A Refined Faith by Boyd Bailey


he Lord’s love can remove layers of cynical residue from your faith and buff it back into a bright belief.”

“See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction” (Isaiah 48:10).

Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. Daniel 12:10

Does your faith tend to be purified or tainted during a tension filled season? Are you able to see the bigger picture of how the Christ wants to cleanse your character or are you resistant to repentance? Clarity comes with genuine confession of sin. Your increased fear of God decreases your fear of man. A heart like a once shiny penny can dull from life’s hard lessons. Faith’s luster is gone, but the Lord’s love removes layers of cynical residue and buffs it back into bright belief.

My wife Rita and I attended an interesting weekend for our high school reunion. We recounted memories of teenage shenanigans and experienced the challenge of reading name tags (bad handwriting and poor eyesight!). What struck me to the core however, was what I will attempt to describe as three types of faith conditions I encountered with our former classmates. My goal is not to put people in a box but to outline spiritual realities that seemed to describe all of us. I observed for two nights a faith that was either retired, tired or refined. I say retired faith because where belief may have captured the imagination of a child for a time, father time moved on to other adult fantasies. No spiritual vibrance in those retired from the faith. Similarly, tired faith looked sad. A life on the anvil of adversity had a beaten down belief. These faces etched with fatigue wondered if faith was relevant to their overwhelming needs. But the countenances of refined faith beamed with contentment and gratitude: serving the poor, caring for the sick and dying, and mentoring young couples was codified on their life resume of faithfulness. To those whose faith was refined by fire, loving Jesus and others was the norm. Daniel describes a hard situation that dumbfounded the faithless but brought understanding to the wise through a purifying process. This man of prayer was very aware of what it meant not to bow down to the idols of culture, but to remain faithful in the worship and service of Almighty God. An intellectual steeped in integrity, Daniel confounded the King and his minions by not being intimidated into compromise, but to give 100% to God. His faith was refined by fiery trials. 

Is your faith tired, unable to serve and give anymore? Take your fatigued faith to your heavenly Father and ask Him to rejuvenate you. Rest and renewal are fulfilling fruits of a full faith. Use a crisis of faith to deepen your trust in Christ and grow you closer to those who love you most. The pressure to bow to other gods will always goad the faithful to give up on God. The wise refuse to. A refined faith proves its genuineness through praise and glory to Jesus! It shines for Him. “These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith— of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:7). Prayer Heavenly Father, during the challenging times refine my faith and grow my faithfulness, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen. Application What challenge am I experiencing that is painful but is an opportunity for me to allow the Holy Spirit’s cleansing power to make me more like Christ? How does the Lord want me to respond? Related Reading Job 23:10; Psalm 66:10; Proverbs 17:3; James 1:1-5

Boyd Bailey is the founder of Wisdom Hunters, Inc. and author of our daily devotionals. By God’s grace, Boyd has impacted wisdom hunters in over 86 countries across the globe through the Wisdom Hunters’ daily devotionals, blog, and devotional books. For over 30 years Boyd has passionately pursued wisdom through his career in full-time ministry, executive coaching and mentoring. Since becoming a Christian at the age of 19, Boyd has begun each day as a wisdom hunter, diligently searching for Truth in scripture, and through God’s grace, applying it to his life, and now sharing that with thousands of others. Boyd Bailey is the founder of this ministry and he was kind enough to allow us to share this one with our readers. Visit or find them on Facebook @wisdomhunters.

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Franklin, North Carolina

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Live Here, With the World at Your Feet By John Shivers


he grand lodge at 409 Kelsey Mountain Road in Dillard appears so much a part of its heavily-wooded, rhododendron-laced surroundings, you’d vow it had somehow been dropped in from above. And if you’re looking for the cat-bird seat, this home, with massive expanses of glass, delivers incredible mountain views of Blue Valley and North Carolina.

This four-season home at 3,000± feet elevation delivers up the snowy vistas of winter, the lush beauty of summer, and the colorful spring and fall panorama with equal panache. Whether you’re leaned over the railing of the expansive, three-sided deck, gazing far into the blue-hued distance, or if you’re inside, out of the elements, that view is a daily part of living with the world at your feet. With close proximity to both the Rabun Bald Trail and the legacy of the Bartram Trail, this beautiful mountain mansion is the epitome of the word abundant. The initial curb-appeal impression is delivered by the serpentine beauty of a split rail fence lined with plants that leads to the rustic covered entrance. And on those cozy winter nights around the Vermont Castings wood stove and the real stone chimney that soars into the farthest reaches of the vaulted ceiling, it’s a case of abundant ambience.

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This 3,200± sq. ft. home on three levels boasts more than the standard number of windows, the better to marry the inside with the outside, and usher in those fantastic seasonal views. The exceptionally high vaulted ceilings, exposed beams, large decks, some covered to shelter from the elements, and generous main floor areas easily accommodate the crowds and flow the folks for parties and holiday gatherings. The interior of this interesting home, with the custom layout, is a study in the artistry of wood, accented by laurel wood railings and warm and durable hardwood floors throughout the main and lower level. The upper level is carpeted. This is a home designed for gracious living and entertaining, whether it’s family for Christmas or the gang for a July 4th cookout. In the conveniently situated kitchen just off the great room, granite counters top the natural wood cabinets and house the black appliances that make meal prep comfortable and convenient. The galley style layout, open on both ends, is a great chef’s space, and backing up those culinary efforts is the oversize, adjacent walk-in pantry. Whether it’s Eggs Benedict for a few, or scrambled eggs for the masses, go ahead and ring that dinner bell. With four spacious bedrooms, two upstairs with a bath, and two on the main level, with two baths, you can sleep the crew with ease. The main floor oversized master suite features a wall of glass doors that open onto a portion of the covered deck and usher in more of those fantastic views. The en suite bath has granite countertops, a tile walk-in shower and separate jetted garden tub, and ample closet space. The lower level, with its many windows, brings the view into a flexible space that can be used as a separate den or office. The Trane HVAC system is relatively new, and the large, encapsulated walk-in crawl space offers great climate controlled storage. This mountain tract is actually two adjacent parcels consisting of 1.55± acres and .42± acres, that add up to an unbelievable opportunity very near the Georgia-North Carolina border, where you’ll find paradise-like living nestled ‘mongst the rhododendron and natural foliage. Ready to live the extraordinary life this unbelievable mountain lodge delivers? Contact Scott Poss to check out MLS #9029457. You can reach him at 706-490-2305, or at the office at 706-746-5962.

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Summer Vibes on Lake Burton By Jef Fincher, Lake Burton resident

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” Plato


ne good thing to come out of the current Covid pandemic has been a new style of entertainment on Lake Burton. Literally, ON the lake. Out of fear of Covid and out of a need for social distancing, the idea of “Summer Vibes” found its genesis. By the end of summer 2020, organizers had offered several lake concerts including the talent of resident artist Tim McCabe. The grand finale featured the music of Banks & Shane, a group most every resident on the lake grew up listening to, while making great memories in the process. Imagine the emptiness of one’s life without music. No memories of that first dance, that special guy or girl, romance, that first kiss, the memories of driving in your car with the music turned up loud. Remember listening in your room, your parents yelling at you to turn it down? Just about every human feeling or emotion can be

Banks & Shane in concert. Photo by Jef Fincher

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expressed and remembered through music. Music is both personal and corporate, shared and deeply guarded, for music holds the joyful memories, as well the disappointments that come from living. Music is the mediator between the spiritual and sensual life. Beethoven In every heart there is a room a sanctuary safe and strong to heal the wounds from lovers past Until a new one comes along Billy Joel Summer Vibes began with a cello concert performed by Henry Stubbs on a pontoon boat in the middle of Lake Burton. The celebration of Lake Burton’s 100th year anniversary, with the Banks & Shane concert and fireworks, provided the inspiration to move

Atlanta Swing Orchestra had the lake rocking! Photo by Jef Fincher

Common Ground making music on the lake. Photo by Jef Fincher

Social distancing and still having a great time at the Memorial Day concert with Livin’ Large at Sunset Point. Photo by John Heinen

towards a larger offering. With funding from the Lake Burton Civic Association and leadership from the Clayton Rotary Club, the 2021 season became a reality.

music can produce. A great big shout-out to the new friends that hosted the concerts from their boathouses, and Uri Woodruff who engineered the sound. Thanks for the memories inspired by our entertainers this year.

With a sound system capable of producing concert quality sound reproduction and a budget to bring in quality entertainers, Summer Vibes is evolving into a new tradition on the lake. There will always be challenges in producing music in an outdoor setting with an audience on the water. Fortunately, we were able to get in seven of eight concerts, despite the ever-present summer thunderstorms. We are learning our lessons and adjusting for the next season. Summer Vibes is well on its way to becoming an annual source of great memories on Lake Burton. A variety of music genres are showcased, and we have moved the concert locations around the lake to make them more accessible for the residents. The photos capture some of the sights of this year’s concert, while the music heard and enjoyed are held in memories that only live

Banks & Shane groovin’ overlooking the water. Photo by Jef Fincher

Sweet Charity Living Large Tim McCabe Betty Seni The Atlanta Swing Orchestra Common Ground Banks & Shane Lake Burton Fireworks, Hal Rhoad, for the pyrotechnics Due to rain, we missed The Foxfire Boys and are looking forward to some of their foot stomping bluegrass next summer. Lake Burton provides a beautiful setting in the North Georgia mountains where… Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music. George Eliot.

From Goat Bluff looking west during the Banks & Shane Labor Day concert. Photo by Mark Stovin

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Rustic and Natural

Serene living in private home close to Clayton By Deena C. Bouknight


21st century-constructed home between Lake Burton and Clayton exudes natural sensibilities due to tireless attention to details. Built in 2004, the current owners purchased the 2,000-plus-square foot house that sits on 1.77 acres in 2009 and began the process of transforming it from a basic shell to a stellar dwelling. Apropos to the setting is the home’s location: on the side of Glassy Mountain facing the expanse of Doc Coleman Valley. The drive up the quiet two-lane paved, county-maintained road reveals a view of Charlie Mountain and the realization that not only does living there mean uber privacy but also access just a few steps out the back door to the Chattahoochee National Forest. And a short walk along an established trail leads to a creek. In fact, the home is on a small bluff that overlooks pastoral meadows below with long range mountain views in the distance. But a bonus is that a neighbor maintains a waterfall – the sound of which is soothing to anyone in proximity. Also on the exterior are several terraced yards, each meticulously landscaped with flowering azaleas, dogwood trees, and rhododendrons. Plum trees are so lush with fruit each season that jellies have been produced from them. There are lighted, stonelined pebbled paths that meander around the home to lead to a vegetable garden space, a fire pit with handcrafted locust wood benches, and a short forest jaunt to a picnic table and charcoal grill.  Inside the private home are three stories; a bedroom and bathroom exists on each level. Plus, there is a half bath just off of the main living room area. The bottom level, a completely finished basement and living space, offers a built-in sectional sofa, wall scones made of mountain laurel harvested from the property, as well as a rolling coffee table made of barnwood taken from the owners’ circa 1816era family property in the next valley over. On the main floor, a large, stone, wood-burning fireplace completes the entryway great room, where a circular, hanging, rustic candelabra brings both drama and warmth to the impressive space. One whole wall of the dining room, off the great room and beside the open kitchen, features built-in shelving for storage of

dishware and/or collections. A variety of quality materials provide distinction, including tongue and groove wood treatments, quartz countertops and solid wood cabinets in the kitchen, Asian (acacia) walnut flooring throughout the main level, and antiqued, oiled bronze fixtures to establish continuity in the home. Marble was added to the main floor’s half bath, and the master bath with a double sink was outfitted with travertine stone countertops The goal of the homeowners/renovators was to create a space that truly flows, as if the outdoors is penetrating the interior. For example, a hand-painted mural of trees, herbs, and other natureoriented elements dresses one wall in the master bedroom. And, a six-foot window in the master bedroom provides a view of trees and the valley below. Ceilings in several rooms are high – as are windows. Exposed Tudor beams provide a lofty, rustic look in the bedrooms. In order for the furnishings and art to compliment the scale of the spacious spaces, the owner crafted several items. Some unique features are that the master bedroom has a closethidden laundry chute. The laundry room is tucked away on the lowest level and features a utility sink and an easy-to-clean ceramic tile floor. Recessed lighting with a dimmer switch has been installed, and a ground-floor bonus room is currently a weight room but could be converted into a second kitchen so the ground floor becomes an in-law suite due to outdoor access. Current owners made sure the home was updated with the latest stainless steel Whirlpool appliances, central heating and air on the top main floors, and gas heating on the bottom floor. And the kitchen is equipped with a roomy pantry for storing food, pot and pans, and various appliances. Finally, there is plenty of porch space for enjoying the beauty and vistas of the seasonally changing landscape. This home is listed with Poss Realty’s Tina Anzo. For more info contact Tina at 404-964-2368

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Pink Is A Fall Color Too! By Tracy McCoy


put my mammogram off. I was due for one in the spring of 2020 but Covid-19 was just beginning and at the time I didn’t know what to do. Go? Don’t go? Schedule? Cancel? I decided to postpone it for a few months until it all settled down. Well, guess what, it seemed to be trending that way until the Delta Variant reared it’s evil head. I put my second mammogram off last spring.

I think that many providers are figuring out how to keep patients as safe as possible and so some of the tests my family needed have been done, but not all. Two vaccines later, I am still wearing a mask in public and certainly when walking into medical offices. I don’t want to catch Covid, but I sure don’t want to spread it. So, what’s going on in my mammary glands? I am praying they haven’t changed since the last exam. I will follow up and make an appointment before the end of the year. Since 1985 October has become known as Breast Cancer Awareness month and this label makes many women think pink instead of orange. Pink reminds us to think about the importance of screening for breast cancer. ToGetHer is a fundraising initiative started by the National Breast Cancer Foundation. “By uniting as a community that recognizes the value of all women, we can work ToGetHer to make sure every woman has access to education, screening, treatment, support and hope, regardless of her circumstances.” This statement is found on their website (, a wonderful resource for information by the way. Donations to ToGetHer can be made through the website with donors able to choose where their money goes: screening, education or support. So I wanted to see where could a woman who needs a free mammogram go to have that done. Well let me say I was saddened to know that the National Breast Cancer Foundation doesn’t partner with any facilities in the state of Georgia. So I “Googled it”. Free mammograms near me. It appears that MRI & Imaging of Habersham offers free breast cancer screenings to “underinsured women” in Georgia. In Rabun, the Rabun County Health Department’s website says “The Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention Program provides breast and cervical cancer screening to low income or uninsured women.” I talked with Dulene Brown R.N. at the Rabun County Health Department about the BCCP program and she said, “This is a wonderful plan that can provide physical exams including breast exam and mammogram referrals to women on a sliding scale fee based on their income.” Screening mammograms begin at age 40 and are recommended every two years. After age 50 yearly mammograms are recommended. Dulene went on to say, “If we see a woman from age 16–49 for their annual exam, a breast exam would be part of that appointment. If the annual breast exam shows an issue we have other resources that we can work through to get the patient seen for further testing” Should the routine breast exam be abnormal the patient would be sent for a diagnostic mammogram. If that test proves to be abnormal, the patient would be sent for further testing like ultrasound or biopsies through the Longstreet Clinic. The North Georgia Health District office offers a Client Navigator who will follow the patient through the process of getting their appointments scheduled, ensuring that they get to their appointments and follow up through the entire process. Thankfully my health insurance covers my screening as preventative. I have gone to the Longstreet Clinic for years for my mammograms and they do an excellent job. If something doesn’t suit them, they’ll call you back in for a “more in-depth” test. This has happened to

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me and pancake is the word! I am thankful that they are thorough and make sure I get the best screening possible. “Hold your breath” the technician says as she darts into the booth while I grit my teeth. “Breathe? Who can breathe in this position?” I ask. Half joking, of course. This test saves lives. Early detection is key to survival. On, the website of the American Cancer Society, good information about types of breast cancers are available. There were more than I realized. They provide detailed info on the most common to the rarest of types. There is information about risk and prevention, early detection and diagnosis, treatments and living as a survivor. The words Metastatic Breast Cancer are the scariest. This means that the breast cancer has moved to tissue outside of the breast. When cancer spreads to surrounding organs it becomes much harder or even impossible to treat. For most of us, we have lived with or lost someone to cancer. It is hard for me to imagine a world without cancer, but I pray one day that will be a reality. Again on the website there are ways to donate to help find a cure. I would never discourage anyone from donating to any good cause but the same as I like to shop local, I like to give to local charities. I want to know that the funds get to those who need them, women and men who are in my community who are struggling and need a hand. Sid Weber Memorial Cancer Fund is one such place that I feel good about donating to. They have helped members of my own family who were battling not just breast cancer but ovarian and colon cancers. The help they offer is non-medical in nature. The SWMCF helps with the day to day bills that provide food, shelter and cover travel expenses. These expenses must be paid and having to sit and worry about a power bill when you are battling for your life just shouldn’t be. Like all charities, they need donations and they need volunteers and people who will help keep the ball in the air. If you’d like to donate time or efforts, please visit their website ( I wish I could provide the funds for every woman to have breast cancer screening. Of course I can’t do that, I know some fellas who could but they invested in rocket rides instead. Disappointing when there are so many things that should be addressed here on solid ground, like cancer and homelessness. I ask myself, “how can I make a difference”, a question I’ll be pondering. I challenge you to ask yourself the same. Perhaps this Christmas, I will gift a mammogram to a woman I love. Meanwhile, if you are a woman, you will chuckle at “How To Prepare For A Mammogram” below. I found this years ago and found it hilarious. Maybe you will too. I send love to all of you who made it to the end of this article. I am no health professional but hope to write from time to time to encourage you to take good care of yourself because you are so special to so many! HOW TO PREPARE FOR A MAMMOGRAM (do not try this at home!) Many women are afraid of their first mammogram, and even if they have had them before, there is fear. But there is no need to worry. By taking a few minutes each day for a week preceding the exam and doing the following practice exercises, you will be totally prepared for the test, and best of all, you can do these simple practice exercises right in your home. EXERCISE 1: Open your refrigerator door, and insert one breast between the door and the main box. Have one of your strongest friends slam the door shut as hard as possible and lean on the door for good measure Hold that position for five seconds. Repeat in case the first time wasn’t effective. EXERCISE 2: Visit your garage at 3 AM when the temperature of the cement floor is just perfect. Take off all your clothes and lie comfortably on the floor sideways with one breast wedged under the rear tire of the car. Ask a friend to slowly back the car up until your breast is sufficiently flattened and chilled. Switch sides, and repeat for the other breast. EXERCISE 3: Freeze two metal bookends overnight. Strip to the waist. Invite a stranger into the room. Have the stranger press the bookends against either side of one of your breasts and smash the bookends together as hard as he/she can. Set an appointment with the stranger to meet next year to do it again. You are now properly prepared!

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Faith and Mental Health By Amanda Howard Pileski, PhD


ultural competence is the ability of psychologists to deliver therapy services that meet the cultural, social, and religious needs of patients and their families. Thus, clinical practice in Northeast Georgia requires some understanding of Appalachian culture and the Christian Faith. As a 5th generation Howard from Rabun County, raised Baptist, I seem to qualify as competent to work with individuals of the Christian Faith if they initiate discussion regarding religion. On the other hand, I also work with a variety of individuals from different Faith backgrounds and individuals who are agnostic or atheist where religion and spirituality are rarely if ever mentioned in therapy. Returning to the land of mostly conservative, traditional Christian churches has been difficult for me as a psychologist and Christian who is accustomed to living in areas where Christianity is much more inclusive. Luckily my practice of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy helps me to lean into my discomfort instead of avoiding Church altogether. I recently sat down with two pastors in Rabun I respect to ask the questions that trouble me most as a psychologist and to discuss the most controversial topics within the Christian Faith today. I will not name the churches nor the pastors I refer to in this article to protect their anonymity, but feel free to contact me if you would like to learn more about church options in Rabun. I selected United Methodist and Baptist pastors because of the dominant presence of these denominations in Rabun and because these are the churches where I have been a member, but I want to highlight there are other, more inclusive congregations (Episcopal). I want to express my most sincere gratitude to the two brave pastor friends willing to speak with me and one another regarding some challenging topics. Below are highlights from our 90 minute conversation. Is prayer alone enough to cope with mental health struggles? Pastor 1 mentioned how there seems to be a dominant theme within Christianity of a transactional relationship with God – “If I just believe and pray, I’ll be okay.” Yet, we do not simply pray when experiencing severe medical illnesses and injuries and get better, so why would psychological issues be different?

Pastor 2 indicated his denomination generally has a good relationship with modern medicine. He said, “We have 200 years of the scientific method providing factual knowledge, and we need more than prayer. Prayer is one of many tools we use to repair our mind, body, and spirit. Churches do provide a network of caregiving and connection that can be helpful, but not sufficient for overcoming everything. The ‘Don’t worry, God is in control’ or ‘everything happens for a reason’ approach is a half-truth because God does not will evil upon you. We have free will and human responsibility to seek healing from medical caregivers as well as spiritual caregivers.” The Christian work ethic: is there scripture to reinforce the importance of rest and care for the self and not just constantly working and doing for others? Pastor 2 – The 4th commandment regarding the Sabbath is a gift to us reinforcing the importance of rest. Jesus also withdrew to private places throughout the gospels even as people pursued him. My wife and I try to model the importance of rest and balance. We have “fun Fridays” where we spend time together as a couple.” Pastor 1: It is important to ask why people feel like they must work all the time? Did they grow up in poverty? What did their parents impose? Was it the “Idle mind is the devil’s workshop” scripture? Particularly with females, a lot of women are “always go go go” because of psychological concerns (abuse histories) they are avoiding. Homosexuality: should individuals who are gay feel their relationships/marriages are sinful? Pastor 2 shared “Our culture is still in the throes of this affirmation and acceptance debate. The church mirrors that duality. There are two sides of the coin – our current teaching on homosexuality is that it is ‘incompatible with Christian teaching’, but they are people of ‘sacred worth’. I don’t go out of my way to condemn people saying it is “sin”. Sins are anything that distances us from God. Many homosexuals believe they have a close connection

Dr. Amanda Howard Pileski is originally from Rabun County and moved back three years ago to raise her three children (ages 9, 6, and 5) and provide affordable psychotherapy to the underserved communities of Northeast Georgia. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia in Psychology, a master’s degree in School Counseling from Georgia State University, and a doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She has worked in various college counseling centers, hospitals, nursing homes, and in private practice. Dr. Pileski is the co-founder of the Mental Health Task Force of Rabun County and the Director of Georgia Mountain Psychological Associates, Inc (GMPA). For an appointment, contact GMPA @ 706.782.1237. You can visit the GMPA website at

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with God despite the official teachings of the church. Our church openly accepts them as members but not for ordination or for marriage. That could change as our denomination votes on these issues every four years. Our rubric of theological positions comes from a balance of scripture, church tradition, experience, and reason. This is different from more fundamentalist churches that condemn homosexuality outright.” Pastor 1 named several family members who are gay and indicated he also has a very close minister friend who is lesbian. He said, “This really is the greatest inconsistency of the church. We treat the immoral man differently…they can be a deacon, but a celibate man who is gay cannot? There are lots of double standards.” This pastor also told me about a book he is reading: Homosexuality, the Bible, and the Church by Preston Sprinkle. It is the first of its kind to be published by an evangelical Christian publisher. It is a dialogue between four authors who are accomplished scholars in their field of theology or biblical studies, demonstrated through published books and peerreviewed articles (Two are affirming; Two non-affirming). They disagree on significant ethical and theological matters, yet still maintain a respectful and humanizing approach to the discussion. My final thoughts as a psychologist – There is a lot of psychological damage caused by conversion therapy and I would argue there is great psychological damage caused by the Christian “Love the sinner, hate the sin” approach to homosexuality in churches. I believe in the handedness

metaphor of homosexuality. Most people are right-handed, but there is also a large percentage of people who are left-handed and born that way with no choice about it! Of course, someone can be ambidextrous or choose a hand that does not come natural to them, but this is often not the case. Sexual orientation is also not simply handedness. It is an essential part of life – to love and be loved by another. The belief that you can “pray away” mental illness is also very dangerous. People who do not receive adequate mental health treatment can and will likely further decompensate. This is not “spiritual warfare” when an individual begins experiencing hallucinations or delusions. It is a brain-based illness. Untreated severe depression can evolve into psychosis if not adequately treated via medication and psychotherapy. The two most common themes of delusions (psychotic symptoms) I encountered when working in a psychiatric hospital were related to religion and government conspiracies, so you can understand how 2020 with stress, COVID, and politics has been extremely dangerous for individuals predisposed to severe mental illness. If you are concerned about a loved one, refer them for help. If you or your family members are struggling with any of the issues mentioned above, please do not struggle silently. If you would like to talk with me or either of the pastors mentioned, feel free to contact Georgia Mountain Psychological Associates, Inc. at 706782-1237.

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A Discussion on Vaccines By Dr. Brad Speed


ith the current political climate surrounding COVID-19 vaccines in humans, I was a bit hesitant to write an article involving vaccines in pets. I was hesitant, that is, until concepts from the COVID vaccine argument started leaking over into my interactions with clients. It seems more and more these days, I’m seeing a distrust for common vaccine protocols that are so crucial for the health of our pets. I may not have the answers for the current pandemic crisis, but I do when it comes to animals. In the interest of getting some science back into the discussion, let’s talk about vaccines! A quick review of vaccines in general: A vaccine is a substance used to stimulate the body’s immune response to the agent that causes a certain disease. This agent is most commonly a virus, but it can also be a bacteria. Let’s say the immune system is a Bloodhound, who’s looking for a missing person. We will give the bloodhound a piece of clothing that has the person’s scent. The Bloodhound can then use that scent to track down and identify the missing person. That’s vaccinology in a nutshell. You give the immune system a piece of a virus, so it has a way to track that virus down and deal with it. Now whether or not the Bloodhound finds the missing person is a much more complex process, but if you’re lost in the woods, you are probably going to appreciate one looking for you. Any Vet worth their salt will tell you that vaccination protocols are not a “one size fits all” process. We work off the concept of risk versus benefit. This means that when we discuss vaccines for your pet, we are recommending protection for the diseases for which your pet is at the highest risk. There are some diseases that are extremely high risk, and there are some that are more of an aggravation. Let’s discuss a few examples related to dogs: Rabies - Rabies is by far the highest risk virus we vaccinate for. It is also zoonotic, meaning animals can pass it to people. With few exceptions, Rabies is guaranteed to be fatal in animals, and is extremely dangerous to people. As a healthcare professional, I have to take the health of animals and humans into consideration, and I have little patience for people declining to get this vaccine. COVID MAY not kill you, but Rabies WILL. Unless your pet has a specific medical condition deeming otherwise, get the rabies vaccine.

Distemper/Hepatitis/Parvo/Parainfluenza - Commonly referred to as DHPP or DA2PPV, this combination shot covers the bad viral diseases that can once again be fatal to your dog. Think of this as a Measles/Mumps/Rubella shot in people. These are bad viral diseases that can be serious or fatal if caught. By far the most common one we see in this line is Parvo. Real talk: if you don’t get your new puppy vaccinated properly, its going to get Parvo. Please, make sure if you get a new puppy, that you are getting these crucial vaccines starting at 6 weeks of age. Leptospirosis - This guy’s a little different. Leptospirosis is actually a family of bacteria instead of a virus. It typically causes kidney failure in dogs, which can be fatal or life limiting. This is an example of an emerging disease, as I can remember a time in my career when we didn’t regularly vaccinate for it. As science and medicine improved, we’ve diagnosed more and more cases of Lepto. Lepto is transmitted by wildlife, and tends to accumulate in standing water. Ponds, mudholes, and calm spots in the creek are examples. Many people feel their pets are not at risk for Lepto, but as habitat infringement on wildlife is becoming more common, we are seeing the disease more. This is a good example of a risk versus benefit discussion. If Fifi weighs 2 pounds, uses a pee pad, and never leaves your lap, then MAYBE you don’t need Lepto. If Gunner the 50 pound Aussie goes hiking with you on the weekends, then you absolutely need the Lepto vaccine. I personally consider Leptospirosis to be a core vaccine in the Northeast Georgia area. Kennel Cough - This is another bacteria we vaccinate for, also known as Bordetella. This is another good example of a risk based vaccine. Pets that get boarded, groomed, go to shows, or congregate around other dogs are all good candidates for this vaccine. If your dog never leaves the house, maybe you can give this one a miss. Kennel Cough is typically more of a nuisance than a fatal disease, but no one likes to listen to that honking cough all night. As you can see, there is a TON of information to consider when discussing vaccines in pets. This list is by no means comprehensive, but it does give a good illustration of the concept of risk versus benefit. We use this concept every time we work on a pet, and I hope it gives you an idea of the thought process that goes into our recommendations. We do these vaccines in the best interest

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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of your pet’s health, and in some cases the best interests of your health. My earnest plea is this: keep the politics out of your pets vaccine discussion. Realize that veterinary vaccines and recommendations are backed up by not months, but years of scientific evidence, studies, and real world experience. Use the concept of risk versus benefit, and work with your vet to come up with the best health care plan for your pet. We want to protect them just as much as you do. And after the shots are all over, why not stop by Clayton Claws and Paws and get them a doggy ice cream treat? Until next time, friends.

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Stay Healthy & Well “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patients in care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” - Thomas Edison 76 - October 2021

9 JUST THINKING Lovin’ The Journey Always be humble and kind By Mark Holloway


ou don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

There’s a young gunslinger among us who makes a solid first impression. Gunner Stockton is deep into the Rabun County High School football season. His legs and arms are making him famous. He runs and throws the football at an extremely high level. He’s a senior and he is Coach Jaybo Shaw’s field commander on the football turf. Gunner became the starting quarterback as a freshman. His rushing and passing yards have him ranked the fifth best QB in America. Read that again. The decimals separating him from the top slinger are thin. To be honest, I nearly panicked when I realized I was about to allow this amazing young man to leave town before visiting with him in person.

Photos by Von Watts

On the field, the opinion which counts the most is Coach Shaw’s. “It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve been very blessed to share this journey with him.” Coach Shaw remembers watching Rob Stockton coach his son as a youngster on Saturdays on the very field Gunner would one day lead the athletes for the high school. Gunner and his team would win six straight Georgia rec league Superbowls. You might want to read that sentence again too. Rob, Jaybo, Kent Ramey, and a host of other coaches have been the role models who’ve formed this clay into perhaps a future statue. But it wasn’t until I asked him about his mom did his face break into a giant smile. “She’s awesome. She’s always been amazing. She’s always supported me my whole life. When dad and I come home late from football, she always has great food waiting for us in the warming drawer.”

As a Florida graduate, it requires diplomatic finesse for me to announce I’ll be rooting for Gunner come January when he shows up early on campus at the University of Georgia. He’ll trade his Wildcat Red jersey for a Bulldog Red jersey. (I did holler loud for Charlie Woerner when he wandered south to UGA also, btw.) The day we three (Gunner and Jaybo) talked, the best lighting angle had us sitting in the visitors’ bleachers. Gunner often has bright lights shining in his face. He’s not bothered by the media hoopla. That’s good, because there’s lots more to come. The senior impressed me starting from our handshake. He’s humble and confident. His parents Rob and Sherrie have raised a man of character. I’m privileged to know some of his peers. One in particular, Brett Backer says of Gunner, “He’s the real deal. He’s kind and grounded.” The Stockton Family

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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I’d never connected football and a warming drawer. Thanks Gunner for putting those two ideas into a single thought. Football life, I reckon. With his coach sitting really close by I asked Gunner if he ever told Jaybo he could have made a better call? They both started laughing and Gunner says, “I’ve never really been a complainer.” “Be where your feet are planted.” is what Jaybo preaches. “I don’t look ahead. I stay in the moment with Gunner, our coaches, our seniors, our school, and our community. I don’t worry about next year because every year is different. Every team is different. The rest will come later and we’ll tackle that when it comes. Gunner isn’t interested in who his replacement will be as quarterback. “I just keep focused on my job.”

The Rabun County WIldcats on the field

I did get him to dream a little about his college days. “I’m excited about being at UGA. I’ll be ready.” It’s not a long drive to Athens. It’s even a shorter trip by helicopter. That’s how UGA Head Football Coach Kirby Smart traveled to Tiger during Gunner’s freshman year just to watch him play. That would mess with most ninth graders’ heads. But not Gunner Stockton’s. He’s solid and grounded. “You can definitely tell he never wants it to be about himself. And how humble he is and that humility he shows is second to none. I’m very grateful for him and for his family and everything he stands for as a young man and the man he’s becoming. I’m just proud to see from the days when he was little to winning two nationally televised games for Rabun County as part of those teams,” Jaybo told me. What will Gunner take with him to college that Coach Shaw has imparted in him? “Just working hard. Staying at it. And competing,” is the young Gunner’s answer. Gunner and his teammates are no strangers to state championship football. In fact, we Wildcat fans have come to expect this level of play. As for Gunner imagining being on this current stage back when he was a freshman? “All I ever wanted to do since I was little was be the starting quarterback at Rabun County.” I think he can adjust that dream now to fit on a bigger stage. Godspeed, young Gunner. We’ll be watching. See you on the trail.

Gunner Stockton & Coach Shaw

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My People By Liz Alley


y people don’t have many heirlooms. There were no precious stones or vast amounts of land to be handed down in my family but there are a few items I have that I consider sacred. On my dad’s side of the family, it would be the old shotgun I’m in possession of that was my great grandfathers. In my house, which leans to the feminine side, that shotgun is mounted above the window in my living room. I had it professionally done so it would be straight, secure and prominent. It may look a little out of place but it was put there with great thought and care. It reminds me of who I am and hence from where I came. It reminds me that my family needed that gun to hunt for food, or kill a hog for butchering, or perhaps to chase off revenuers from a homemade still in the back woods. It reminds me that my father gave it to me, mostly. He gave it to my Ex and me when we built our lake house and filled it with antiques, he thought it would look nice there. Now though, it also reminds me that I didn’t cave when I was at the most vulnerable point in my life, that I did not allow Ex to take it with him when he left, though he wanted to. It reminds me that in all the ways I had stayed silent, I finally found my voice over this heirloom with a simple but firm “No.” The next heirloom would be the few pieces of blue and white china from my grandmother on the Alley side. This china is not expensive but pretty, with its white background and blue toile pattern. I don’t remember much about

my Big Mama other than she was tall, thin and had good posture. I don’t remember her being particularly affectionate. Her home was practical, not ornamental. However, there must have been something inside her that longed for the delicate and beautiful because she agreed to make three cases of her homemade jelly in exchange for the blue and white china. It seems like I remember, but to be honest this could just be my imagination, hearing that our cousin Lamar, who owned Alleys Grocery on Lake Rabun, brokered the deal to some rich lake people who were hankering for authentic blackberry jelly. Everything about my Big Mama’s house is dark in my limited memories. I like to think of her on the day she got those dishes. I imagine her bringing them out of the box one by one and admiring them and feeling the satisfaction of payment made by her own hands from the picking of the berries to the canning of them. How those dishes must have added a pop of color never known in that house before. I’m moved that she agreed to swap the jelly for the china when she and my Big Daddy most certainly needed the money. It reminds me that sometimes our need for beauty outweighs our need for the basics. On my bookshelves dangling from “The Complete Works of Shakespeare” is my Big Daddy’s pocket watch. I’m looking at it even as I write. It is not gold, grand or ornate, it was never for show, it was simply for the time of day. It lived in Big Daddy’s front overall pocket connected to a worn piece of leather. Now it dangles from a chain of mine, though I wish I had the original leather, as I remember the smell and softness of it. I was the grandchild that would climb in Big Daddy’s lap and fall asleep to the tick, tick, tick of that watch. When he died, everyone, including my grandmother, said his watch, one of his most prized possessions, should go to me. There’s a small crack on the face of the watch, it was there when I received it on the stormy night he died. I remember my parents woke me up from a deep sleep to tell me he’d passed on. The watch was wrapped in one of his handkerchiefs, ivory colored with age as I recall. They put it by my pillow and I cried as I fell asleep to the tick, tick, tick of his watch in my bed, not in his front pocket ever again. I’ve thought before how I should get that crack

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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fixed but have decided that no, I’ll leave it to represent a man of hard work, hard knocks, and hard living. I’ll leave it to represent the cracks we all have, seen or unseen. The only thing I wanted from the house I grew up in was mother’s poetry, articles and writings, and I have them. Before mother got sick in mind and body, she gave me three things. A pin with her name engraved on the front. She got this pin when I was a little girl and she worked with The Head Start program. She took me with her and worked hard with Mrs. Jo Dotson to get the program up and running in Rabun County. She was proud of that work and the education it brought to so many kids. She wrote about it, a poem, that’s in her book. I have her Speidel bracelet with her name engraved on the front and her high school sweetheart’s name engraved on the back, “Hoyt”. There is a tiny gold button, that if pushed releases a hinge to reveal his picture inside, though it’s so old and grainy it’s hard to make out its person now, but I know. I know that she loved him, that she has wondered what her life would have been like had she married him in some impossible way that would still allow us to be her children. I’m not saying she didn’t love dad, she did very much, but who among us hasn’t walked down memory lane from time and time and wondered what it would look like if we’d chosen a different way? I have Mother’s class ring, a prized possession in particularly for people of her generation, when a class ring was expensive and represented a great accomplishment. From my Granny Garland, I have one of her biscuit cutters, a round, metal disk with a worn red handle, worn, from use. Granny put biscuits on every morning before she even had her first cup of coffee. When they were in the oven, she’d sit at her kitchen table and stare out the window while they baked. Now, I wonder what she was thinking about, as in the selfishness of my youth, it never occurred to me to ask. This is the sum total of my precious heirlooms, the representations I have of my people and the kind of life they led. There are no buildings or roads in Rabun County bearing their names. My people have alcoholism that runs as deep as a back holler in the family line but also a revered spiritual side that runs just as deep, if not deeper. I guess we really are like “whiskey in a teacup” as the saying goes or perhaps more accurately “moonshine in a coffee mug.” As far as any heirlooms that I may pass down, I hope it’s integrity in dealing with the challenges that are sure to come in this life. I hope it’s an example of acceptance in loving each other with all our imperfections. I hope it’s as steadfast and solid as the mountains I grew up in and as gentle as the whispering pines that cover those mountains. I hope the heirlooms always remind me that time is fleeting like the tick, tick, tick of an old pocket watch. Let them mark the place of the people who shaped my life. My people.


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By The Way

It’s about time to make time travel affordable again By Emory Jones


s you may or may not know, a play I wrote called It’s About Time just wrapped up its world debut (which I’m told is pronounced “day-bu”) at the Sautee Nacoochee Cultural


That play gave many folks their first up-close view of the USS Fred MacMurray, as my time machine is officially registered with the government organization that officially registers time machines. Even though it’s a small office, I can’t divulge that body’s name for security reasons. In fact, I’ve probably said too much already. Anyway, several of you have asked how I came to own such a magnificent mechanism as The USS Fred MacMurray. Now I can’t take credit for developing the machine. That honor goes to my friend, the late, great radio personality Ludlow Porch, who did practically all the research and development work himself. I think Ludlow’s interest in time travel stemmed from me telling him stories about my cousin Wayne’s lifelong interest in warm air balloons. As a child, Wayne built his first warm air balloon out of innertubes and duct tape, and on that initial flight, soared to a height of nearly nine feet. After recovering from his injuries, Wayne built a second balloon and traveled a distance of 79.3 feet in it. Although he never “technically” left the ground, that “flight” still holds the record for distance traveled by a cold air balloon made out of innertubes. After Wayne finished dead last three times in a row in the famed Lula to Homer balloon race, he gave up ballooning to focus on the safer (and more lucrative) art of time travel. That’s when Ludlow decided to beat Wayne in the time travel race. And by golly, he did. But to be honest, Wayne pretty much lost interest.

Anyway, because of an unpleasant encounter he had with General Sherman during the siege of Atlanta, Ludlow agreed to sell me the USS Fred MacMurray. And because banks are so reluctant to loan money against a time machine, he even agreed to owner-finance, bless his heart. Since then, I’ve logged 843.4 centuries of time travel under both instrument and non-instrument conditions. Just ask George Washington if you don’t believe me. In real life, the USS Fred MacMurray is powered by a goat. However, since SNCA only allows humans on their stage, we had to make do with one of those. It worked out okay, but as anyone who saw the play will tell you, a goat would have been much more efficient. Even without the goat, the USS Fred MacMurray performed brilliantly on stage. In fact, one couple remarked that those flashes of multi-colored lights the time machine makes on take-off reminded them of somebody named Aurora Borealis. I think she was one of those silent film stars from the ‘30s. Anyway, since most of the play’s actors had day jobs, we only took short trips from the stage—Stone Mountain in 1927, Tallulah Gorge in 1970—places like that. Of course, we did make it to the coast of Georgia in 1733 in time to keep Oglethorpe from naming Savannah Scratchy Bottom. (Trust me. That almost happened.) All went well, although the USS Fred MacMurray’s Invisible Electrified Gamma Bubble developed a hairline crack. That never would have happened if they’d let us use a goat.

e Read Zipping Through Georgia on a Goat-Powered Time Machine with Ludlow Porch and a Parrot Named Pete for more information. It’s available at fine Hardware stores everywhere.

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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Dr Brad Speed with Dr. John Woodward

Dr. Brad Speed - Continuing the Tradition at Clayton Veterinarian Hospital by Tracy McCoy


ost little boys want to grow up to be firemen or policemen. Brad Speed’s dreams were a little bit different. Brad always wanted to be a Veterinarian, he has cared for animals as long as he can remember. So with that in mind when he graduated from Rabun County High School in 2002 he went on to the University of Georgia earning an Undergraduate Degree in 2005 before going on to attend UGA’s Veterinarian school which he completed in 2010. Achieving his dream of becoming a Vet, he went to work in South Georgia. He worked there for about a year before moving to Social Circle. He met and married a smart and beautiful blue eyed girl named Jaime Smoot who shared his love of animals. The two, both veterinarians remained in Walton County for five years and began their family. They have two amazing children: a daughter Tori and a son named Spencer. Dreams often evolve and Brad realized that moving home to Rabun County was the next step. He wanted to eventually own his own clinic and reached out to his friend and mentor Dr. John Woodward. They talked and had lunch conversations for years before the Speeds made their move home.

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When Brad and Jaime moved back to Clayton they both went to work at The Rabun Animal Hospital with Dr. Stephen Arbitter. “I can’t adequately express how grateful I am to the doctors and staff at Rabun Animal Hospital for the work experience I’ve gained and the opportunity to practice alongside them. They have truly helped to make me the Vet I am today”, Dr. Speed shared in a recent interview. He and Dr. Jon Woodward had many conversations over the years about what he might do when he decided to slow down. Dr. Woodward opened Clayton Veterinary Hospital four decades ago and has clients he has had from the beginning. His experience is astounding, including large and small animals in the beginning as a young man, today Dr. John takes care of small animals only. When he decided to slow down a bit, Brad Speed was the first one he called. When the timing is right, you just know it and that was the case for both of these men. Brad was ready to move out on his own and realize his dream of owning his own veterinary practice and Dr. John was ready to cut his hours so it worked out perfectly. In late September on a warm fall day, he opened the doors to Clayton Veterinary Hospital as owner. He brought with him two vet assistants, Sam Black, and Liz Griggs, who will join Abel Yepez. Each one with ten years of experience, Dr. Brad feels confident that he is starting with a great team, not to mention Dr. John Woodward will work a couple days a week. “I am looking forward to continuing what Doc Woodward has fostered which is care that is personalized and professional and in a relaxed setting. We plan to take care of our clients and staff and establish an active roll in the community”, he continued.

The clinic will see their four-legged clients Monday – Friday from 8 AM – 5:00 PM and will be open one Saturday a month. Clayton Veterinary Hospital will carry and prescribe medically necessary products and all other pet needs will be referred to Claws & Paws Pet Store. The business was opened in 2020 by Jaime Speed and carries anything and everything your pet could need or desire. Jaime will remain in her position at Rabun Animal Hospital. Dr. Brad went on to say “I have a lot of ideas for the practice. Dr. Woodward is a history buff and has a lot of interesting photos of the area from years ago. I plan to keep those and that flavor of hometown while updating the office. This final step checks all the boxes, now to serve the community as a trusted veterinarian and care for the pets that are entrusted to me is my mission and that of my practice.” We wish Dr. Brad Speed and his team the best and offer sincere congratulations to him. To Dr. John Woodward we wish lazy mornings and grand adventures. We thank you for your 40 years of dedication and love of our furry friends.

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Join Us on November 6th for the Of These Mountains Fall Marketplace By Kendall R. Rumsey


he OF These Mountains Fall MarketPlace is just around the corner! With over 70 vendors from throughout the south-east, the event is set to become a Fall Classic!

The event is being produced by Of These Mountains, Rabun’s locally designed and produced outdoor lifestyle brand. After attending festivals and markets throughout the south-east for several years, Of These Mountains decided to bring one of these events to Rabun County. With vendors from Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, with a special emphasis on local makers, an array of artisans will gather at the Rabun County Pavilions in Downtown Clayton, selling their goods to the public. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held on Saturday, November 6th from 10 AM until 5PM. Just in time for some early Christmas shopping, attendees can stroll through the Pavilions and marvel at the amazing artisans, craftspeople, and makers. A snapshot of the available products includes pottery, paintings, sculptures, handmade candles, soaps, jewelry and more. An assortment of antiques, Farmhouse style décor and awesome food will await all who attend. Additionally, Of These Mountains has invited some of Rabun’s favorite young artists to participate as well as some of the county’s premier charities. Join us on Saturday, November 6th from 10AM until 5PM, at the Rabun County Pavilions for the Of These Mountains Fall MarketPlace, we will have something for every member of the family!

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Profile for The Laurel of Northeast Georgia

The Laurel of Northeast Georgia  

Starting in 2003, the Laurel of Northeast Georgia began promoting the people, places and things that make the mountains of northeast Georgia...

The Laurel of Northeast Georgia  

Starting in 2003, the Laurel of Northeast Georgia began promoting the people, places and things that make the mountains of northeast Georgia...

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