Lexington Life Magazine - April 2023

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lexingtonlife.com April/May 2023 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 3 Life Renewed Renewed. LexMed.com/HVC
4 | LEXINGTON LIFE | April/May 2023 lexingtonlife.com Thompson Funeral Homes are honored to be a part of our community. We are here not only to serve the Midlands with compassion and respect, but as a neighbor to all. Our doors and our hearts are open everyday — as well as in your time of need. We invite you to call or stop by to pick up your own free personal planning guide and meet our licensed funeral directors and cremation specialists. 845 Leesburg Road Coluambia, SC 29209 803.776.1092 www.thompsonsfuneral.com 4720 Augusta Road Lexington, SC 29073 803.996.1023 Everything we do revolves around relationships.
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April is the month that “hope springs eternal.” April showers are famous for bringing May flowers and April is also the beginning of the major league baseball season. Yes, the weather is warmer and the end of the school season is now in plain in sight for thousands of Lexington area youngsters dreaming of their summer vacations. Parents are making summer plans to keep their kids busy and of course Easter gets the month started.

Personally, I find it fascinating to watch the spring shrubbery blossom to life. The azalea bushes are especially beautiful this time of year and Augusta National golf course, site of the Masters’ Golf tournament, brings plenty of attention to blooming azaleas. One doesn’t have to venture far from downtown Lexington to see beautiful flowering azaleas. Northwoods Drive which runs behind MUV Fitness has many older houses with gorgeous, mature azalea bushes blooming with white, pink, purple, and red petals adorning the bushes.

Most of the year azaleas are just plain green bushes, nothing too exciting about them. However, in April, they come out of their herbivorous state of hibernation and “spring” to life earlier than other shrubs. I enjoy keeping an eye on the azalea bushes as they newly flower. I also keep an eye on my favorite baseball team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, as they attempt to compete with other teams that have three times the payroll of the Pirates. Every April, the Pirates, Yankees and Dodgers have the same record. It usually doesn’t stay that way very long, so I savor each day that they are still competitive. April brings hope, maybe that’s why some parents choose April as a name for a child.

Thanks for reading Lexington Life and enjoy your April!


10 Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?

16 The Lower Saluda River Greenway

22 103 Years and CountingMrs. Amy Nathalee Williams Jones

29 Composting 35 Bark in the Park


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contents PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Todd Shevchik toddshevchik@gmail.com DIRECTOR OF SALES Donna Shevchik shev26@aol.com 803-518-8853 EDITOR Kristi Antley lexlifeeditor@gmail.com ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Tracy Tuten tracy.tuten@outlook.com 803-603-8187 GRAPHIC DESIGNER Kim Curlee EDITOR EMERITUS Allison C. Miller GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jane Carter WEBSITE DESIGNER Paul Tomlinson CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mary Ann Hutcheson, Renee Love, Robert Mills, Linnette Rochelle, Marilyn Thomas, Kim Becknell Williams STAFF PHOTOS BY Clark Berry Photography CONTACT US: 112 HAYGOOD AVE., LEXINGTON, SC 29072 • 803.356.6500 • info@lexingtonlifemagazine.com 10 16
COLUMNS 8 Faith Matters 47 David Clark DEPARTMENTS
the Publisher 9 Lexington Leader 43 Events 45 Spice

I was about 14 years old when I experienced my first miracle. Now, some people might not call it a miracle, but I know I would not be here today if God had not intervened.

Let me tell you the story. Well . . . I had a couple of fishing buddies and what do you do on a hot summer day in SC well you find the closest fishing hole and try your luck. We rode our bicycles down to where Congaree Swamp where the creek runs under a railroad trestle and started fishing. Nice, deep dark water a great place for some big cats (catfish) Nothing! Not even one bite.

So, what do you do when the fish aren’t biting. Sure, you go swimming. I jumped in thinking I would swim over to my fishing buddy standing on the trestle. It was an upstream swim, and I was not a strong swimmer. In a moment, I was being swept downstream and couldn’t fight the current. I went under. I don’t remember offering up some big prayer of faith. But I do remember crying out in my heart, “OH God, help me”. Amazingly He did!

The water was too deep to touch bottom but as I came up, I was able to grab some tall grass and secure my feet on a small pile of sand about the size of a football. I balanced myself, rested and was able to make my way back to shore. That moment is still so real to me today. I know if it was not for the mercies of the Lord, I would have surely been a statistic in the local state paper.

Perhaps you also have a story of a miracle where your life was spared. At times over the years, when I am wondering; why am I here or what am I going to do, I remember that God spared my life for a purpose. And yes, your life as a purpose today. Your still here, right! So, if we are still here God must have a purpose for me being . . . Still Here! I’m sure He has a plan for you today. Let’s thank God for the miracles in our lives today! He does have a plan for you! n

We’d love to have you join us at Harvest Church!

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Beth Carrigg

One of Beth Carrigg’s strongest attributes is the ability to connect people, especially with differing points of view. On January 10 of this year, Lexington County Council unanimously elected Carrigg, of Council District Seven, to serve as Chairwoman. As only the second female to lead in the history of Lexington County Council, she loves serving the public and being a problem-solver. In fact, she says she thrives on it. The foundation of her work is, in her words, “Communication, communication, communication.”

Growing up in Columbia, Carrigg was the youngest of seven children. As her older siblings moved on with their own families, her role became that of an only child in the home. Her father’s lengthy and varied military service assured that she was given high expectations, firm discipline, and plenty of love. Twelve years of dance, participation in color guard, marching band, and model ing were just a few of her parent-organized activities.

At age twenty-nine Carrigg enrolled at the University of South Carolina to pursue a degree in law. While working with a firm she met her husband John, an attorney, and they became a blended family with three children. They unanimously decided that one lawyer in the family was enough. “John Carrigg has been the most influential person in my life, outside of Jesus Christ,” Carrigg explains. “At twenty-three years we are still striving, and he is my best friend. He shaped me as a leader.”

During the past 5 years Carrigg has held the roles/offices of Parliamentarian, Vice Chair of County Council, Chair of Economic Development, and Chair of the Justice Commit tee. She feels the best preparation for her current role was serving as Clerk of Court for twelve years. She believes that when you are elected and set out to accomplish your goals, everything is based on communication. She says, “I was very fortunate to be in the role of Clerk of Court because it was a bridge to so many important people that I now work with closely on council.” Perhaps the most significant skill Beth Carrigg brings to the table is her commitment to promote collaboration between opposing parties on differ ent platforms to achieve a common goal, thereby creating trust and unity. n

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Which Came First, Egg or the CHICKEN the ?

Iwas at the post office this week when the postal clerk brought out a large box with huge, cautionary labels: “Fragile”, “Contains Live Animals”, “Perishable”, and “Open Immediately.” The worker handed the box to a girl and her mother; both were excited about what was clearly a much anticipated delivery. Even before I heard the unmistakable chirping sounds coming from inside the package, I knew what was inside: chicks!

Several years ago I decided to try something I had been considering: backyard chickens. I had no prior experience with raising poultry, but several of my relatives had backyard chickens. My plans started out with exploratory conversations and progressed to researching online and eventually joining informative social media groups about chickens and hobby farms. For those of you who are interested in backyard chickens, I’ll share what I have learned about how to start your own backyard flock. It’s probably easier than you think.

The cost of eggs?

Many of you have noticed the high price of eggs lately. In a report for Forbes written by Anthony Tellez (January 12, 2023), “according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, by December 2022 the price of eggs had increased by 59%. . . . the main reason egg prices remain high is the spread of an avian influenza virus which started in early 2022. Because of this virus, more than 57 million birds had to be culled across 47 states.”

In January 2022 a dozen eggs were $1.93 (as reported in The State). At the

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higher for organic, cage free and free range eggs. It remains unclear when the price of eggs will return to normal, but it will take months for the poultry industry to “grow” more laying hens, which, in turn, can produce more eggs. It takes about six months for a chicken to reach maturity and to start laying eggs.

If you’re thinking about backyard chickens. . . .

I recommend researching the topic thoroughly to learn more about the hobby and, perhaps even more important, research whether your neighborhood/community allows backyard chickens. Some areas have restrictions, zoning maps or ordinances that clearly state what is allowed and what is prohibited: i.e. how many birds of each gender you can keep on how much land, how close the coops can be to roads and buildings, whether or not you need a permit, whether or not you need to register the coop, have it inspected, or apply for planning permissions, etc. In general, an agricultural zoning designation is ideal for the chicken keeper; areas labelled residential or commercial will be subject to more restrictions for raising urban chickens.

Having chickens is similar to having other kinds of pets; you will have to invest significant time and money caring for the animals, cleaning up after them, feeding and watering them and buying food and other supplies. You must plan head, have a set budget and be prepared. When you go on vacation you will need someone to care for your flock – just as you would with any animal that you own.

If you like what you learn online (or in this article) about backyard chickens, start visiting local farm stores to get familiar with the kinds of supplies that chickens need, as well as the cost. Some of the supplies include housing, food, food and water containers, a specialized warming light for poultry, and wood shavings for the chicken coop. Purchasing the actual chicks is one of the least expensive parts of the project while the housing for the chickens is likely the most expensive resource you will need for your flock. Food is an automatic, recurring expense--like dog food or cat food. You will also need to ensure that your flock is safe from predators, which means secure housing, possibly fencing and, in some situations, a livestock guardian dog. Many creatures crave chicken: raccoons, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, feral dogs, cats, hawks

and owls, weasels, bears, snakes, people, and the list goes on and on!

I enjoy “working with” my chickens, but they require care not only on the pretty spring days but also on days when their water is frozen or when it’s hot and muggy outside. They also require care 365 days of the year; my cousin and I joke about how having chickens is like an “anchor” that ties to you to home. I say this not to complain about my poultry “friends,” but so that you can anticipate the responsibilities involved. If you have managed other pets you know these efforts are well worth the time and expense because we love our animals. When I go out of town I make arrangements for someone to take care of my dog and cats-as well as my chickens.

You will invest months and months of caring for the chicks, cleaning up after them, replenishing food and water, and so on, before you will ever see your first egg. It takes around six months for a chick to be mature enough to produce an egg. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to get your first egg, and it’s true that fresh eggs are better than store-bought eggs. They are more yellow and, somehow, just all-around more beautiful. Having the chickens and having

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our own eggs make me feel more connected to my grand-parents and great-grandparents who were farmers – and more connected to nature. When I am taking care of the chickens, it is a mindfulness practice for me. I can be completely “in the moment” with the birds and nature.

What comes first. . . the chicken, the egg, or the supplies?

In the case of backyard chickens, what comes first are the supplies. My first step was the purchase of a beginner poultry kit which includes a light (called a brooder lamp), food and water containers. I also purchased chick starter food and wood chips/shavings. Most of these items can easily be found at your local livestock store or online.

I re-purposed a large, plastic storage container in my garage as temporary housing for my baby chicks. Any color bin except black will suffice because a black box will get too hot with the brooder lamp. I put the wood shavings inside the box along with the food and water. It helps to elevate the water container on something like a brick or flowerpot; this will help reduce the amount of debris that gets into the water--baby chicks are surprisingly messy (and ducklings even messier!). You will need to take out the dirty bedding (wood shavings) daily and replace them. Keeping the animals’ environment, and their food and water clean helps protect the birds from disease.

I attached the brooder light to a wooden chair, positioning the light over the box, but being careful to avoid creating a fire hazard. The light is not an ordinary light bulb; it is specialized for keeping the chicks warm and the light has a metal guard on it for safety. There are also brooder heating plates that one can purchase. Baby chicks have to be kept warm even if they are in the garage (which is where I kept my chicks initially). After I had the “housing” ready and all my supplies for the chicks (food, water, light), I purchased the minimum number of chicks (four) from a local farm supply store.

During the spring farm stores will have a variety of chicks, ducklings, turkeys, and other young poultry in stock. If you want laying hens, you need to purchase chicks that are guaranteed to be female. If you purchase chicks from containers called “Straight Run,” this means the store has no idea if you are purchasing male or female chicks. The female chicks will cost a

dollar or two more than the “Strait Run” chicks, but the cost is worth the security in knowing you have not purchased a future rooster. I once purchased five chicks from a friend, and three of the five chicks turned out to be roosters!

Of course, I don’t want to give roosters a bad name, but if you want eggs, you don’t need any roosters. If you have a rooster, you can hatch your own chicks in the future but, again, you won’t know if those chicks are male or female. Once I had my initial chicks, my children and I delighted in watching them grow and for the first few weeks they stayed in the large bin, under the brooder light, in my garage. Living in the garage was only temporary while the chicks were tiny, and while I was determining their more permanent home.

The chicken coop and chicken run . . .

I bought a wooden chicken coop online and my sons put it together much like they would put together a large Lego set. The chicken coop is a small animal house with a ramp inside, so the animals can walk between the lower and upper level of the house. In the upper level, there are two nesting boxes, where the chickens will lay eggs. The lower level is enclosed by wire “fencing” to keep the chickens safe. The food and water inside the coop must be sanitary; it will need to be cleaned or changed daily. I find it’s easiest to have two or three water dispensers on hand so I can change out the water each day, and I also have several food dishes, which makes replenishing the food easier for me. I use wood shavings as the “bedding” in the chicken coop, which can be purchased in large bags at farm stores.

I knew I wanted the chickens to have space to roam and be cage free, so I also ordered a large, walk-in, metal coop (13Lx10Wx6H). This is like a fenced-in yard that houses my small, wooden chicken coop. The larger structure, where the chickens can roam in an enclosed area, is often called a “chicken run.” As my flock grew, I purchased a second wooden chicken house, which also fits inside the large, fenced-in enclosure. Before I had the large, enclosed space, I would let the flock free range in the backyard, but several were lost due to predators. You might be surprised by how distressing it is to realize that the chicks one has raised by hand to adulthood have been taken by a fox. I nearly cried when my favorite black Australorp chicken was lost; I even saved some of her feathers.

A bit of egg tips:

• As long as farm fresh eggs in the shell have not been refrigerated at any point, they will remain fresh as long as they remain room temperature for up to two weeks. These eggs have a naturally protective covering that prevents the transmission of bacteria from the shell to the inside of the egg.

• According to the USDA, whole, raw eggs in the shell may be refrigerated three to five weeks from the day they are placed in the refrigerator. These eggs have been washed and sanitized as soon as they are laid to prevent Salmonella contamination. Even though the “Sell By” date may expire, the eggs will be perfectly safe to use.

• Store bought eggs should be stored in the original carton in the refrigerator at 40 degrees or lower.

• Hard boiled eggs will last for one week in the fridge, while other types of leftover cooked eggs may only last three to four days.

• Rule of Thumb: If the egg is clean, without any cracks, and does not smell when cracked open, it is probably fine to use.

• Use the float test: Fill a bowl with cold tap water and place the eggs in it. If they sink to the bottom or lay flat on one side, they are fresh and safe to eat. A bad egg will float due to the large air cell that forms at the base; throw any floating eggs out immediately.

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Another benefit of the fenced enclosure besides security is the space it affords the birds. The small wooden chicken coop is too small for an animal to spend its life in confinement. The coop makes an ideal nesting box area and a safe, dry place for the birds in case of inclement weather. I enjoy having my own chickens because I know they are well cared for and living a quality life-cage free. I don’t like the idea of the birds (or any living creature) spending its life in a box or cage.

Chicken food. . .

Just like other kinds of pet food, chicken food can be purchased at local supply stores or online. The food is like dry dog food and is called “Layer Pellets.” I use only organic foods for my flock. In addition to the Layer Pellets, the chickens eat food called “Scratch,” which is ground corn, similar to bird food. I also supplement the chickens’ dry food with kitchen scraps, particularly vegetables and fruits. I make sure the chickens have greens every day because they love greens and having access to healthy foods helps the chickens stay healthy, too.

There are several foods that chickens should not eat including citrus fruits, as well as onions and garlic. If in doubt, look online to make sure that the table scraps you want to give your birds are safe for chickens to eat. Foods that are spicy or have strong tastes can also negatively impact the flavor of eggs and should be avoided.

The Eggs. . .

After about six months, (which will feel like a year while you’re waiting), the chicks will be mature chickens and old enough to produce an egg. I have been amazed at how excited I get about the beautiful eggs. Some breeds of chickens lay almost an egg an day. Other varieties lay several eggs a week. In winter when the days are shorter, many chickens do not lay eggs at all for a few months. This winter, for instance, my white hen (White Leghorn) didn’t produce any eggs for about three months, but now she is laying again. On the other hand, my brownish-red hens (Golden Comets) continued laying eggs all winter long. Different breeds of chickens lay different colored eggs, and I plan to add several more birds to my flock so that I can have an assortment of different colored eggs. I currently have chickens that lay white, brown, blue, and olive colored eggs.

Lifelong learning. . . .

Initially, I started my backyard chicken flock with four White Leghorn chicks, but as I gained experience, and the chickens thrived my confidence grew, and I purchased additional chicks--usually about four chicks at a time. The majority of my experiences have been positive, and my greatest disappointments with the chickens have been my own fault--like when I lost several birds because I did not have adequate protection from predators. That was my fault--not the chickens’.

But I am learning. I know so much more now about backyard poultry than I did two years ago when I first started my flock. I have learned by talking with fellow hobby farmers online and by reading. In the beginning I was nervous about trying something new, but remember, you don’t have to learn everything about chickens in a week or in a month. You can learn as you go, you can learn as your birds grow while making new friends who share your poultry passion along the way. n

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Coming Soon to a Nature Trail Near You: The Lower Saluda River


The calming, healing, and unifying properties of the natural world are undeniable, and for decades, a regional partnership of entities that appreciate such ecological benefits has been collaborating to provide easier access to the Midland’s captivating waterways and their surrounding landscapes. In recent years, these efforts have culminated in the Lower Saluda River Greenway project, a proposed trail system that will meander along the river’s scenic shoreline and securely connect popular existing geographical destinations and pathways.

Merriam-Webster defines a greenway as “a corridor of undeveloped land preserved for recreational use or environmental protection.” Although this particular interpretation of the term was likely first introduced in the mid-sixties, these protected pathways have been around for more than 150 years and were created as a direct response to the rise in urban development. Thus, as Columbia’s greater metropolitan area has expanded, an awareness has also increased that the inhabitants of the local communities still need access to natural, safe, and relaxing recreational opportunities. One such project that is currently underway in Lexington County is the Lower Saluda River Greenway.

The website of the Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission (ICRC) states that, once completed, this proposed trail “will consist of a 10.5-mile multi-use, paved pathway” that “will extend along the north side of the Saluda River from the Johnny W. Jeffcoat Walkway at the Lake Murray Dam to the Three Rivers Greenway at the Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden.”

“The history of this project actually goes back forty-plus years to a regional planning effort for the Lower Saluda River Corridor,” says Mark Smyers, the executive director of the ICRC, “and it calls for the Greenway. It calls for a regional park along the bank – ultimately, that has become Saluda Shoals Park, and now we’re trying to finish that dream with the greenway that parallels the river.”

According to Smyers, the Lower Saluda Greenway has been a top priority in two of the ICRC master plans that have been adopted since 2009 because the organization understands that this project has been important to the community. “If we can keep this in the forefront, we need to,” he says, “so the agency has been pursuing it for many years.”

“It’s been a constant effort, but in the background,” he adds. “It really hasn’t been a realistic option up until they completed the trail behind the zoo, so when the River Alliance kicked all of that off, that was a signal to me that our community needed to begin our planning efforts and getting organized because, once that became a reality, then it would not be long, and we would need to have the answers in place to continue it. Now that all these other efforts with the River Alliance have pushed it all the

way up to this point, that has really driven it forward to become an option that could be feasible, and now it’s starting to come together,” he says.

As explained on their website, The River Alliance is a non-profit organization comprised of the five local governments of Columbia, West Columbia, Cayce, Lexington, and Richland County. The primary mission of this organization and its partners is to make the local rivers accessible to the public while preserving the ecology of these invaluable waterways.

that way.” Smyers was appointed to this position by the ICRC in 2017 after acting as park director for Saluda Shoals Park since 2015. Prior to that role, he received a bachelor’s degree in parks and recreation tourism management from Clemson University and a master’s degree in sports administration from the American Public University. He also has past experience as the recreational director of Spartanburg County and as the outdoor recreational director at Fort Jackson in Columbia.

“The [Irmo Chapin Recreation] commission has tasked me to quarterback this effort,” says Smyers, “amongst many other community partners, and help it to advance forward. At the end of the day, the community deserves all the credit. It’s been a wonderful project to be a part of.” Several organizations and other entities that he acknowledges for their contributions and support include Lexington County, the Midlands Business Leadership Group, the Central Midlands Council of Governments (CMCOG), the Economic Development Administration, and the Mungo Foundation.

“With me becoming the executive director, it’s been a priority for us to pursue,” he adds, “and so I’ve been heavily involved in

Executive Director Smyers explains that the construction of the Lower Saluda River Greenway will be divided into three sections, and this plan is based on the results of a feasibility study conducted by the CMCOG. “The first section goes from the [Lake Murray] Dam all the way down to Saluda Shoals Park,” he says. “It goes kind of parallel to Bush River Road and then dips down towards the river after a little while, and then comes out at the upper boat ramp of Saluda Shoals Park. The next section is on the bottom as you’re going down the river on the bottom side of Saluda Shoals, all the way down to the Gardendale boat ramp. The last section, the third section, goes from Gardendale all the way down underneath the I-26 bridge and ties in with what’s been completed behind the zoo.”

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“I think the rivers are going to become that iconic identifier for the Midlands. They’ve been in the backdrop for many years, always there, but the access hasn’t been there.”

Currently, the developers of the project are entering the design and engineering phase, and construction should follow shortly thereafter. “Assuming everything goes as planned,” Smyers estimates that “potentially, in two and a half years, those first two sections could be close to being accomplished.”

The timeline for the construction of the last section, however, is not as clearcut. Because section three, which begins at the Gardendale boat ramp, extends to the conjunction of I-26 and I-20, delays may be encountered with its construction. “Both of those bridges are tied up in the collective Carolina Crossroads project,” says Smyers, “and all along, we’ve been coordinating with DOT [the South Carolina Department of Transportation]. They’re familiar with our project, and they are committed to including us in their design.”

“It’s been really good to coordinate and work with them,” he says, “but they have said, ‘You can’t build until we’re done. We’ve got to wrap up what we are needing to do before it will allow you to come in and start.’ And so, when you think of the timeline of things, that last section is very much married up with the Carolina Crossroads project.”

Although he describes the latter phase as “a big question mark,” Smyers does say that this section has also been adopted into the CMCOG’s Transportation Improvement Plan. “By having that become a CMCOG project, it becomes a transportation project, and our hope is that it becomes a DOT project which then allows, hopefully, rather than a staggered approach, there could be some efficiencies in doing those projects cohesively. I don’t know if that’s going to be an option or not, but this puts it in its best possible position for success, in particular, timeline-wise.”

Perhaps the most promising update is Smyers’ assertion that all of the funding commitments needed to build the Greenway have been received. “However, right now,” he says, “I’m asking for everyone’s patience. I know, like me, I’m ready to see this thing happen tomorrow. It just takes time to do it and do it well.”

“This project has an opportunity to become an identifier for our community,” adds Smyers. “It could be an economic driver. It will be a driver in maintaining a high standard of quality of life, which is very much a priority for our community.”

“Nature has the ability to steal your at-

tention,” he explains, “and in a time where stress is high, and all the devices in the world attached to our bodies that need our every waking moment, nature has the unique ability to strip all that away and allow you to be present, and I feel like that’s more and more needed, and more and more a priority. Once this amenity comes on board, and we’ll put it in everyday life, we have an opportunity to see real lifestyle change in the health of our community and well-being of the generations to come as well as the generations that are here.”

In conclusion, Smyers states: “I think the rivers are going to become that iconic identifier for the Midlands. They’ve been in the backdrop for many years, always there, but the access hasn’t been there. I think with some of these new sections that are coming alive, I think it’s going to become an identifier that unites our communities together – which they’ve acted as separators for many years, but now I think they’ll begin to act as unifying amenities that will join our communities together.”

More information and updates about the Lower Saluda River Greenway, along with the CMCOG Feasibility Study, can be found on the ICRC’s website at www.icrc.net. n

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103 Years and Counting Mrs. Amy Nathalee Williams Jones

On June 21st, 1919 in a tiny house near Edmund, South Carolina, Reverend James Marcel Williams and his wife, Ferrie Martin Williams were blessed with a baby girl--their 6th child. Nathalee Williams was birthed with the help of Mrs. Lizzie Henry, a nearby midwife who had the pleasure of welcoming all 9 of the Williams’ beautiful children into the world.

As you can imagine, it was a very different era in the South during Nathalee’s childhood. Segregation was an accepted and normal part of life and strides in women’s right movements were just

beginning. Fortunately the kids in her neighborhood welcomed everyone regardless of color. Recreational time was limited and creative; after their chores the children would come together to play hopscotch, watch cows or clouds, and swim in the pond. The girls swam first and had to take turns with the boys. When the neighbors’ relatives came to visit, Nathalee and her siblings understood that they had to go home. When Nathalee’s sister heard her mother say these things, it made her wonder; perhaps children do not naturally have biases

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Linnette Rochelle

and prejudices. Perhaps these injustices are learned from the behavior, attitude and stereotypes of influential adults in their immediate environment.

With such a large family the children slept three to a bed and, “you made the bed you slept in.” They relied on kerosene lamps until electricity was made available in their home and depended heavily on nature for most of their livelihood. Meats were cured and kept in a smoke house, and vegetables were planted and grown at home. A truck delivered ice periodically from Lexington to keep the “ice box” full, and she recalled how the children were allowed to casually chip away ice with an ice pick.

Personal responsibility, teamwork and diligence were a necessity for everyone in the household, with chores beginning at a young age. Kids did not have as much unconstructed, free time on their hands as they do in today’s world, and they were practically self-sufficient by adolescence. Clothes were cleaned by hand in a natural spring, boiled in a huge wash pot, and hung on a clothesline to dry. Water was brought into the house several times a day by the children, and “Everyone drank from the same dipper,” Nathalee explains. “We milked the cows, fed the hogs and dogs, chopped and loaded firewood, and took care of the mules.” Days went by quickly in the fields as the children dug holes, planted seeds and counted the “peas” (seeds). If the wrong amount was dropped into the holes or wasted, they were reprimanded.

Nathalee said Rev. and Mrs. Williams were very strict with their children and it resulted in what she called a faith-built home. “Children had to listen,” Nathalee said, “and there was a lot of love and respect.” Church has always been a vital part of Nathalee’s life. She recalled how her father practiced his sermons on the front porch, preaching to the plum orchard; this built the foundation of her faith. She and her siblings walked to Sunday School when they were young. Her father had a “1-seated” Ford for himself because as the minister, “he had to get to church on time.” Later, the children were provided with a “2-seated” car to get to school and church.

Rev. Williams considered education vital for his children. Nathalee was educated in a one-room schoolhouse for grades 1-7 in Edmund with Mrs. Lucretia Hart as the instructor. Nathalee recalls the school closing one year because there were not enough students enrolled to hire a teacher. Her father went to the school board meeting and stated that his children had to go to school. They decided that if Rev. Williams would provide transportation for his children, the school board would pay for gas. One of Nathalee’s older brothers drove them in a 2-seated car to Rosenwald School on Hendrix Street in Lexington. For high school, Nathalee and her younger siblings enrolled in Harbison Agricultural and Industrial Institute (now called Harbison Institute) in Irmo. After graduating high school, she enrolled in Allen University. Nathalee stated that her father insisted that all his children attend Allen, which was considered “the church school.”

While attending high school at Harbison, Nathalee met Roseboro E. Jones, a professor of French, English, and Humanities. Though they had never had a relationship when she was in high school, Professor Jones pursued Nathalee years later. The two married and moved to Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas where Nathalee completed her Bachelor’s degree in Home Economics and Mathematics. As was customary in that time, Nathalee made the arduous journey to her homeplace to give birth to her daughters. On a train bound for South Carolina, a few kind soldiers assisted

her delivery while in route. Two beautiful and talented daughters were born—Barbara and Constance. Barbara was an exceptional athlete and peacefully passed away in 1993. Constance (Nathalee’s primary caretaker) is a retired educator.

In the 1950’s, Professor Jones took a job at Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana, teaching French, English, and Humanities. The Jones’ remained there until August, 1999 when Constance moved them back to South Carolina. “I remember vividly from childhood that mom loved South Carolina,” Constance warmly recalls. “She would make my dad pull over when we crossed the state line, she would get out the car, stomp her feet and scream with ecstasy that she was on South Carolina soil.”

Reflections and Changes

Nathalee reminiscences about the changes she has witnessed during her 103 years of life on earth. The Lake Murray Dam was constructed from 1927-1930; her class would walk from Hendrix Street to the dam to see the work that was being done. She also

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remembers vividly the passenger train that came through Edmund. Nathalee and her siblings would eagerly meet the train whenever their father would return home.

She also reflected on how guns are viewed differently. She said there were always guns in their home, but the Williams children knew not to touch them. Her older brothers and one older sister hunted for the family. “Today,” she said, “children don’t appear to be disciplined about weapons, and guns are used too often to harm human life.”

Nathalee talked about how neighbors shared with one another in the past but today, “a lot of people don’t know their neighbors and don’t seem to want to know them.” She also pointed out that paved roads are an improvement. “South Lake Drive was a hard red clay road.” When reminiscing about the old “ice box,” she said, “Today, I can get ice by putting my glass up to the outside of the refrigerator for ice cubes, crushed ice, or cold water.”

103 and Thriving

Priorities in Nathalee’s life are faith, family, love, education, and serving others. “Her legacy includes many intangible gifts: love, wisdom, faith, respect for others, family values, and closeness,” Constance says. Nathalee believes in always having something to do, and her favorite thing to say to Constance at night is, “So, what’s on your agenda for tomorrow?” Being that Nathalee’s agenda is Constance’s agenda, she replies, “What’s on your agenda for tomorrow?”

Independence is important to Nathalee, and she likes to stay as active as possible. She enjoys watching game shows, crocheting and knitting, and is remarkably still able to complete basic personal and household tasks with minimal help. After fracturing two bones near her ankle in 2016, she is somewhat confined to a wheelchair, but that does not stop her from accomplishing her goals. Arthritis has gradually reduced movement in her fingers over the years; she wears copper-infused gloves and does the best she can, often ripping stitches out of a project and starting over to satisfy her standards of perfection. Her mind is usually sharp and she enjoys reading her Bible and Sunday School book.

After becoming wheelchair bound and with the advent of the COVID pandemic, Nathalee’s desire to do something for others increased. For Easter 2022 she made yellow baskets for each child in New Bethel A.M.E.’s youth department. Constance suggested she change things up a bit this Easter, so they decided she would make one large basket and fill it with crocheted chickens and rabbits that contain a plastic egg with a small monetary gift inside.

Words of Wisdom

We can learn many valuable lessons from the elders in our community. Nathalee believes that it is important for older people to keep busy, learn what they can from the Bible, and keep up with modern technology as much as possible. She advises caregivers to be patient, to take breaks, and to allow the person you are caring for to do what they are able to do, as this gives them a sense that they are contributing. To our children and youth, Nathalee says to walk more. “We walked a lot growing up! Children don’t walk anywhere today!” It could be said that one way to a long and fulfilling life is to eat more veggies. Her favorite snack is a veggie chip made of black beans, rice, and peas called, “Off the Eaten Path.” Nathalee’s vibrant, strong and healthy life force has blessed those who have had the honor and privilege of knowing her. n

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The environment is a big part of human and animal health. From air quality to the food we eat, the environment greatly influences physical and mental well-being. It’s important to take care of planet Earth and preserve it for future generations. Fortunately, there are small steps you can take to do that, and composting is one of them.

Composting is the natural process of using microorganisms and organic matter to break down waste materials into fertile soil amendments. The practice has been around for thousands of years, but it’s experiencing a comeback in today’s environmentally conscious society. More people are placing composting bins in their homes as a way to help the environment and reduce their carbon footprint. Let’s look at some reasons composting benefits the environment.

Composting reduces greenhouse gas emissions

Composting reuses organic waste that otherwise would end up in landfills. Why is this a concern? Landfills are one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Composting limits the amount of methane released into the atmosphere by preventing materials from ending up in landfills. It also means less trash to haul away, thereby reducing your carbon footprint.

Composting saves water

Composting is a natural organic process that uses little or no water. The practice reduces the need for pesticides and fertilizers made from petroleum products. The same goes for irrigation water, which is often used in large quantities to grow food. Compost uses less water than traditional fertilizers. A pound of compost contains more nutrients than a pound of synthetic fertilizer but requires only half as much water to produce. If you’re using synthetic fertilizers, switching to compost will save water.

Composting creates valuable soil amendments

Composting is a natural process that recycles organic waste into valuable soil amendments. Organic matter, including food scraps and yard trimmings, provides nutrients for plants. When you compost food scraps, you reduce your dependence on commercial fertilizers by providing the nutrients your garden needs direct from your kitchen.

Composting offers the nutrients needed by plants naturally, so you need less petroleum-based fertilizer. Composting also reduces the need for pesticides and herbicides because compost helps build strong plants that can better defend against harmful insects or disease-causing pathogens.

Composting preserves moisture in the soil

Compost helps soil retain moisture by improving its structure. When you combine organic materials with air, water, and nutrients in the right proportions, you create a substance that is more

A Boost for the Environment

porous than the original ingredients. This improves drainage and aeration, which means your garden soil can absorb more water (and less will run off).

Organic matter also helps retain moisture because it holds onto water molecules like a sponge. When you add compost to flowerbeds or vegetable gardens, you help them stay hydrated longer during dry spells.

Composting increases awareness

When most people throw something away, they don’t think about where it goes and what will happen to it. Composting is a chance to see your trash in a different light and gain insight into how much “waste” you produce -- and how much of that waste can be recycled into something useful (e.g., fertilizer). As the planet continues to change and grow warmer, everyone must be aware that they play a role. Composting increases that awareness.

Getting Started with Composting

Composting is a natural process that happens all around you every day. It’s the way nature recycles organic waste into a valuable soil amendment and reduces the amount of waste going into landfills. Getting started with composting isn’t difficult or expensive, but it takes some time and effort. Here are some tips to get started:

Start small! If you’re new to composting, start with one bin (or bucket) in your backyard or on your deck, so you can experiment before investing in larger equipment or more space. Start by making a small one in a container or box and see how it goes. If it works for you, go bigger.

Choose a small area where you will have easy access to turn over the materials regularly, because if they don’t get enough air, they may not decompose properly -- especially if there’s too much moisture content from adding water by mistake.

Use only high-quality ingredients such as kitchen scraps that you cut into small pieces, fresh grass clippings, coffee grounds, eggshells -- things that come out of your kitchen.

Composting is a great way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil. Hopefully, you have learned a lot about the importance of composting and why it’s so beneficial to the environment. It’s not hard to get started, and the benefits for the planet are substantial. Imagine if every person did their part and composted?

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Lexington Life Family Doggos!

Lyric Shevchik Daisy Shevchik

Barks, Tails and Paws-Fun for Fido! It’s finally SPRING and time to let our fourlegged friends explore and play! Whether your pooch is a new addition to the family, a former rescue or shelter pet, or has been in the family for years, he will enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of the great outdoors. Don’t let limited green space keep your dog from enjoying fresh air, interacting with other dogs, trotting leisurely down shady paths and running wide open at full speed!

One great way to spend quality time with your best friend outdoors is to visit a local dog park.

These venues are specifically designed for owners and their best friends to safely share time together away from home. A dog park immediately establishes a commonality among those present, encourages outdoor recreation, provides a central meeting place, and creates healthy bonds. Dogs can run leash-free in many contained areas while playing with other four-legged friends. This type of outing provides a secure environment for owners to introduce their pet to a new dynamic, connect with other pet lovers and, in most instances, add some exercise into their day at the same time. Even people without dogs can enjoy the pleasant outdoor environment and unwind while watching the dogs romp and playfully galavant.

Karen Triplett often takes her granddog, Raya, to a dog park. Raya is a large breed

Leonberger. “She loves it,” Triplett said. “She swims in a big pond the whole time.” She said some of the advantages to using a dog park include a fenced area, a shady, wooded spot and a faucet for cleaning after playing. Having designated areas based on size is also helpful, especially for smaller breeds. Triplett mentioned a few minor negatives such as a waiting list and more expensive fees at some parks. While she enjoys taking her granddog, she doesn’t take her own dog Luna, because “she isn’t a huge fan of other dogs,” she said. “Dog parks aren’t for every dog. I strongly feel that dogs that aren’t fans of other dogs need to be introduced to other pups in less stressful situations, like parallel walks, etc.”

Dog parks are not best place to teach a dog how to behave around other dogs. Getting an early start on socializing your pup is a huge benefit; generally, you can start between 3 and 12 weeks of age. Playdates on a small scale are wonderful for introducing dogs to others in a safe space; interacting with a neighbor or friend’s dog is a good initial test. If your dog is usually shy, reactive, or hasn’t been around other dogs you should consider a less distracting environment like doggy daycare or a training class before checking out the dog parks.

Be Mindful and Respectful

Responsible pet owners take the time to browse individual park websites before EACH visit to make their time as pleasur-

able as possible with no unforeseen problems. A few fundamental and obvious requirements across the board are that the owner must remain on-site with his dog, monitor behavior, and property discard waste. You may also encounter requests for proof of vaccination, documentation regarding spaying, neutering or sterilization, fees for pre-registration and other records for eligibility.

Some parks have age and breed restrictions as well as limitations for young children and toys or treats that may be prohibited. While some rules may seem unusual or annoying, they are designed to reduce the likelihood of any unpleasant confrontation, serious injury, unnecessary aggression or intimidating situations. As a rule of thumb, always refer to each individual park’s website or call the administrative office for the most current operating hours, updates, fees, rules and regulations before your visit.

Start Slow and Have Patience

Keep Fido’s first visit to the park short— it can be overwhelming, confusing and scary. Take a few minutes to walk him casually around the perimeter of the park so that he will become acquainted with the area and perhaps sniff a few new friends along the fence line. Be vigilant. During this period, scope out any pets that appear to have a friendly, calm demeanor. If possible, explain to their owner that you are trying

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Biff Shevchik Lucy Antley Piper and Prue Curlee Lola Tuten Leia Tuten
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to socialize your dog and ask if they could spend some time together. He may be willing to have one-on-one time with your dog before introducing him to a large number of friends on the first day.

Be prepared to supervise and interact with your dog at all times while at the park—this is the place to be focused on your dog, not on your cell phone. Be sure your dog has a good recall response to come to you immediately when called, not just at home. Keep his leash in hand at all times and be ready to intercede if necessary. Watch for signs of intimidation or aggression to avoid conflict.

The Town of Lexington Paw Park

999 Hendrix St., Lexington

Hours: Daily 7:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. | 803-359-1027 | Lexsc.com

This is the first feature dedicated to dogs in the Town and covers 3 acres. There is a 3 dog per household maximum, with different rates according to residential location.

Barking Lot Dog Park

5605 Bush River Rd., Columbia (located in Saluda Shoals Park)

Hours: Daily 7:00 a.m.-8:30 p.m. | 803-772-1228 | Icrc.net

*Note: closed Tuesdays from 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. for regular maintenance

Dogs can run off-leash throughout a two-acre fenced area, with pools for cooling off in hot weather, a gazebo for owners to find shade and an agility course for dogs with extra energy. An annual fee of $40 is required for one to two dogs. Parking is $5; an annual parking pass is available for $55 annually.

Bark West

1940 Augusta Rd., West Columbia

Hours: Daily Sunrise to Sunset | 803-939-8627 | Westcolumbiasc.gov

This is a brand new park! Pre-registration and membership are required, forms can be found online. Yearly fees are $25 for one or two dogs and $10 for a third dog. A ratio of three dogs per human is the maximum allowed. Specific areas are

“Blue” the Lexington Traffic Mascot

If you frequent the Lexington area you have probably experienced slow traffic at one time or another. You may have caught a glimpse of a very large dog hanging his head out of a truck window wearing gog gles while you were waiting at a traffic light. “Blue” is a four-year old, full-blooded blue Great Dane and the ninth Great Dane that Emily and Sean Bebbington have owned.

Blue has become sort of a local celeb rity as people have come to recognize him around town and at various parks, pet stores, businesses and venues; sight ings are regularly posted on social media. Weighing in at 175 pounds, he obvious ly gets noticed just for his size but is he is loaded with personality and charisma. “He loves the attention,” Sean remarks, “Many people say they have never seen a dog like that.” He points out that al though Blue is very sociable when out on the town, he’s protective at home, barking at strangers such as delivery people. “He’s such a big presence in our home, he even has his own couch.” n

38 | LEXINGTON LIFE | April/May 2023 lexingtonlife.com Laser vision correction, including LASIK, is an outpatient procedure to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism and get you back to your busy life quickly. See Clearly with Call today to schedule a LASIK consultation at Columbia Eye Clinic and see if we can help you reduce or eliminate your dependence on glasses and contacts. 803.779.3070 ColumbiaEyeClinic.com
40 | LEXINGTON LIFE | April/May 2023 lexingtonlife.com In Memorium of JanelleDrakeB. June 27 1931March 14, 2023 In Memorium of Howard N. Rawl December 27, 1930-March 12, 2023
lexingtonlife.com April/May 2023 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 41 windows • doors • flooring • cabinets • millwork • bathtubs Our Charleston Store Will Be Welcoming You Soon. Lexington’s Best is Opening New Doors!

Mayor Steve MacDougall

The return of Spring means events and concerts at Icehouse Amphitheater are now underway!

The 2023 Spring Concert Series gets underway on Thursday, April 6 at 6:30 p.m. with the band Under the Sun. These free concerts will be on Thursdays through May 25. In addition to live music, each week there will be food trucks and beer and wine available to purchase. The concerts are always a great time that the whole family can enjoy together.

The 12th Annual Wine Walk is set for Saturday, May 13 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance, $40 the week of the event and then $45 if you wait to purchase the day of. There will be live music from the band Going Commando and you can sip on unlimited wine samples in your souvenir glass. There will be food and beer available to purchase.

Then, The Market at Icehouse kicks off on Saturday, May 20 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Come out to hear live music and shop local vendors who have everything from fresh produce and eggs, to pottery, woodwork and more. The Market runs each Saturday through the end of September (with the exception of July 1).

For additional information on all of the events at Icehouse Amphitheater and to purchase tickets, visit IcehouseAmphihteater.com.

Also, a reminder as the weather gets warmer that Virginia Hylton Park remains closed for construction. The park is undergoing a complete renovation and expansion that will completely transform it. Once completed it will feature an all new entrance, splash pad, walking trails, a performance pavilion and more. For a list of other parks to visit in the Town, go to our website at LexSC.com. n

www.lexsc.com • 803-996-3765


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Sunday, April 16th-Saturday, April 22nd

South Carolina State Fair Drive-Thru Fair Food Event

901 George Rogers Blvd., Gate 6, Columbia

Enjoy fair food in the spring from the convenience of your car! Monday through Thursday 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:00 a.m.9:00 p.m., cash and credit cards are accepted, picnic tables may be available. Visit scstatefair.org for map, menu and pricing.

Wednesday, April 19th-Sunday, April 23rd

Columbia Food and Wine Festival

Various Locations and Times, Columbia

Spoil yourself with the sights, sounds, and signature flavors that make Columbia the best kept secret in the South. The Columbia Food and Wine Festival is a one-of-a-kind gastronomical journey through Columbia’s finest plates and pours. For schedule of events, locations and ticket information visit columbiafoodandwinefestival.com.

Saturday, April 22nd

West Columbia Kinetic Derby Day

Meeting and State Streets, West Columbia, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

The fourth annual Kinetic Derby Day begins with a kinetic sculpture parade at 10:00 a.m. followed by soapbox cars taking over the massive hill on Meeting Street. After the traditional side-by-side soapbox race ends at noon, an obstacle course comes to Meeting Street for more intense soapbox racing. There will be many age-appropriate hands-on-activities, demonstrations, food trucks, awards, and a giant slide! This event spurs creative thinking, competition, and family fun as teams come together to build unusual vehicles and awe-inspiring art installations. Visit kineticderbyday.com for details and schedule of events.

Saturday, April 22nd

3rd Annual REMAX/Purpose Driven Silent Auction for Children’s Miracle Network

955 East Main St., Suite R, Lexington, 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.

A special evening of fellowship, food and fun to raise money in support of the Children’s Miracle Network. Proceeds from this event will benefit Prisma Health Children’s Hospital-Midlands. For ticket information and details call 803-356-0424 or visit Eventbrite.com.

Saturday, April 29th

Kid’s Day of Lexington

Virginia Hylton Park, 111 Maiden Lane, Lexington, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

This free event is is solely intended for the education of families on issues of health, safety and environmental awareness. Come join us (and thousands more) for more learning, laughing, eating, entertainment, togetherness, and a whole bunch of FUN! For volunteer and sponsor information visit lexingtonkidsday.com.

Sunday, April 30th

Irmo International Festival

Irmo Community Park, 7507 Eastview Drive, Irmo, 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Celebrate the rich variety of art, culture, food, and families of Irmo! Enjoy performances and entertainment by instrumental and vocal musicians, artists, dancers, student art and poetry displays. International vendors, food trucks and booths, free art activities and games will be available, and parking is free! For more information visit Irmointernationalfestival.com.

Thursday, May 11th-Saturday, May 13th

South Carolina Poultry Festival

101 Main St., Leesville, various times

This free family 3 day event has something for everyone! Enjoy a parade, live music and entertainment, cooking contents, tractor and car shows as you browse food and craft vendors. For a schedule of events and details visit scpoultryfestival.com or email SCPoultryFestivalInfo@gmail.com.

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Tasty Spring Dishes


1 tbsp. olive oil

1 white onion, sliced

2 Red Delicious apples, cored and cut into bite-size pieces

2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1/8 tsp. sea salt

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

4 c. chopped kale leaves

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; cook and stir onion until tender, about 4 minutes. Add apples, vinegar, salt, and pepper; cover skillet and cook until apples are tender, about 3 minutes. Add kale; cover and cook until kale is tender, 4 to 5 minutes.


2 tsp. olive oil

1 onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, crushed salt and ground black pepper to taste

2 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 lime, juiced, or more to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion, garlic, salt, and pepper in hot oil until onion is soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Stir shrimp into onion mixture; saute until shrimp are bright pink on the outside and the meat is no longer transparent in the center, about 2 minutes per side. Season with salt and pepper. Add cilantro and lime juice; toss to coat.


3 tsp. olive oil

1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch pieces

1 tbsp. chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 -14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes

2 c. fresh broccoli florets

salt and pepper to taste

1 pinch dried oregano

18 oz. dry penne pasta

1/4 c. fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm oil and add chicken; cook until slightly brown. Add onion and garlic to cook for about 5 minutes or until garlic is golden and onions are translucent. Add tomatoes, broccoli, salt, pepper and oregano; stir well and bring to a boil. Cover and

turn down heat to simmer for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender; drain and add back into pot. Pour chicken sauce into pot and mix well. Add basil and toss well; top with Parmesan cheese, serve.


1 shallot, peeled and quartered

4 large garlic cloves

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

kosher salt to taste

1 1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, halved

2 tbsp. coarse Dijon mustard

1 tsp. olive oil

1 lb. kielbasa sausage, cut on the bias into 1/4-inch slices

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/4 c. heavy cream

1 c. white kidney beans, drained and rinsed ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, place shallot and garlic cloves over two layers of aluminum foil. Coat with 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt. Wrap the shallot and garlic with the foil, creating a pouch. Bake in the preheated oven until the garlic is tender, about 30 minutes. Place shallot and garlic in a bowl and mash using a fork. Set aside. Meanwhile, place a steamer insert into a saucepan, and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Cover, and bring the water to a boil. Add the Brussels sprouts, cover, and steam until just tender, 2 to 6 minutes depending on thickness. Set aside. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Lay the kielbasa into the hot skillet and cook, turning occasionally, until evenly browned and crispy, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove the kielbasa from the skillet with a slotted spoon to retain the grease in the skillet; drain the sausage slices on a paper towel-lined plate. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Cook the mashed shallot and garlic in the hot oil for 1 minute. Stir in the mustard and cream. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the Brussels sprouts and beans. Toss to coat and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until heated through. Serve the kielbasa over the Brussels sprouts and beans. n

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The Gallows Pole

Great English writer Dr. Johnson talked in 1777 about a friend scheduled to be hanged. “When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”

My favorite variation occurred in 1941 when Nazi Rudolf Hess stole a German plane and flew to Scotland. He was arrested and scheduled for execution. Prime Minister Churchill arranged for Hess to have supper with him and was widely criticized for “fraternizing with the enemy.” Mr. Churchill responded: “Nonsense! Nothing concentrates a man’s mind quite so wonderfully as the site of a gallows pole.”

It’s not exactly a gallows pole, but I had to have a brain scan.

The intent is to make sure odd stuff I’m feeling at the base of my skull is indeed related to an injury occurring when -- like an idiot -- I stood up on the tractor to see over some tall brush. The only problem was this “new to me” old tractor has a steel roof on it. So -- I stood up normally, and wham!

Both my doc and I believe these odd feelings are related to the shock to my neck when I knocked myself silly.

Doc said: “Yeah, I’m pretty sure it was the tractor.” Then she took a breath and looked over her glasses: “But it could be a brain tumor, so we’ll check.”


I’ve known a half-dozen people who’ve had brain tumors. Five died horrible deaths, and the one who lived more than three months is fairly close to a cabbage.

I decided after a long walk that I had no intention of living as a cabbage.

I’d already been thinking about how time flies.

I decided if the news was bad, I’d thank the Doc, and go visit a short list of people I wanted to see one more time.

And I considered all the time wasted in the past sixty-three years with insincere people. I thought about conversations I didn’t have because I was too busy doing “important stuff,” and laughed ruefully

about how I can’t recall hardly any of the “important stuff.”

I thought of the times I should have kept my mouth shut, and the times I should have spoken.

I have not been “worried” exactly, just sort of staring at a looming cold, cruel pole and gnarly rope reaching for my neck.

Two weeks later I went and “laid very still” for what seemed a long time while the MRI machine whirred and shot Radio Frequency waves into my head.

In seven days, Doc left a message to call.

She said, “Well, your tissues and vessels show signs of normal aging, and other than that, you are clear.”

Well, then.

I turned away from the gallows pole with a wave of my hand. I went to visit my short list of people anyway.

It was a good experience to study on how fragile this whole business is, and how important it is to be aware of what’s overhead before you stand up. n

lexingtonlife.com April/May 2023 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 47
Clark writes and works in Cochran, GA. Connect with him at cw.w4trj@gmail.com.