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Helen Keller: Beyond the Water Pump | Our Annual Gift Guide | Setting the Perfect Holiday Table

NOV/DEC 2013 $3.95

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November/December 2013

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“MERRY CHRISTMAS! ENTERTAIN ME!” What do you do with a house-full this holiday season? We have the answers.

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BY LAURA ANDERS LEE AND CLAIRE STEWART

From a Hollywood studio to a diner in Pulaski, TN: movie food stylist and UNA grad Jack White comes home.

BY LAURA ANDERS LEE

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HELEN KELLER: BEYOND THE WATER PUMP The “First Lady of Courage” was an advocate for all people. She just so happened to be deaf and blind.

BY LAURA ANDERS LEE

PHOTOS BY PATRICK HOOD

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WHAT TO WEAR, WHAT TO GIVE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON Our Annual Holiday Buying Guide offers gift suggestions for everyone in your life, in every price range.

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THE HUNTSVILLE BALLET REINVENTS THE NUTCRACKER A holiday tradition gets a Huntsville twist.

PHOTOS BY DANNY MITCHELL AND PATRICK HOOD

BY LAURA ANDERS LEE

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PHOTOS BY PATRICK HOOD

PHOTOS BY PATRICK HOOD

MODERN-DAY MUSKETEERS The Huntsville Fencing Club has been dueling it out for 50 years.

RED RHYTHM RUNWAY In a once-in-a-lifetime event, Shoals fashion and music come together to shine their lights on a great cause.

BY LAURA ANDERS LEE

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PHOTOS BY DANNY MITCHELL AND AMY HITCHCOCK

BY ALLEN TOMLINSON PHOTOS BY PATRICK HOOD

TOO PRETTY TO EAT? Sisters Michelle Novosel and Caitlin Lyon are creating sweet treats that are both sumptuous and scrumptious.

BY CLAIRE STEWART PHOTOS BY PATRICK HOOD

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EAT, DRINK & BE MERRY! From November to January—setting the perfect holiday table. PHOTOS BY DANNY MITCHELL

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CAKE CONTEST WINNERS! Just in time for your holiday table, we crown a new Best Cake in the Valley! PHOTOS BY DANNY MITCHELL


© D. YURMAN 2013

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contents

November/December 2013 Volume 2: Issue 6 ••• C. Allen Tomlinson Editor-In-Chief David Sims Creative Director Contributing Writers Amy Collins, Sarah Gaede, Laura Anders Lee, Claire Stewart, Allen Tomlinson Contributing Photographers Amy Hitchcock, Patrick Hood, Danny Mitchell Marketing Coordinators/Advertising Sales Myra Sawyer, Heidi King Features Manager Claire Stewart Patrick Hood

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Business Manager Roy Hall Graphic Designer Rowan Finnegan •••

N O ’A L A H U N T S V I L L E ADV IS ORY B OAR D

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Calendar Events for November-December 2013

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The Vine Palate-Pleasing Personalities BY AMY COLLINS

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Bless Their Hearts “Wishing You a Messy Christmas” BY CLAIRE STEWART

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Food for Thought “Happy Holidays—For Real!” Baked Eggs and Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins BY SARAH GAEDE

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Back Talk “What Happens When Kids Are Bad Before Christmas?” BY CLAIRE STEWART

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Parting Shot BY PATRICK HOOD

Jennifer Doss Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Leslie Ecklund Burritt on the Mountain Dan Halcomb Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Jeff Johnson Terramé Day Spa & Salon Elizabeth Jones Burritt on the Mountain Ginger Penney Liles Matthew Liles AIDS Action Coalition Patrick Robbins Alabama Pain Center Charles Vaughn Vaughn Lumber Company Anna Baker Warren Anna Baker Warren Interiors

No’Ala Huntsville is published six times annually by No’Ala Press PO Box 2530, Florence, AL 35630 Phone: 800-779-4222 | Fax: 256-766-4106 Web: www.noalapress.com Standard postage paid at Huntsville, AL. A one-year subscription is $19.95 for delivery in the United States. Signed articles reflect only the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors. Advertisers are solely responsible for the content of their advertisements. © 2008-2013 No’Ala Press, All rights reserved. Send all correspondence to Allen Tomlinson, Editor, at the postal address above, or by e-mail to atomlinson@atsa-usa.com. Letters may be edited for space and style. To advertise, contact us at: 256-766-4222, or sales@noalapress.com. The editor will provide writer’s guidelines upon request. Prospective authors should not submit unsolicited manuscripts; please query the editor first.

No’Ala Huntsville is printed with vegetable-based inks on 100% recycled paper.

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editor’s letter « Allen Tomlinson « 7 Thank you for all our many blessings. Where in the world does the time go? It seems like just yesterday when this year started, and here we are looking at the mad rush of the holiday season once again. More surprising than that, No’Ala Huntsville is celebrating its second Holiday issue— where did the last two years go? We’ve grown a lot, here and in the Shoals (where our magazine there is celebrating its fifth anniversary); we’ve some awards, we’ve grown our pages and our circulation, and we’ve gotten a little more well known. We’ve been blessed, and we have our readers to thank—from an idea that North Alabama might be receptive to a new publication to the magazine you’re holding today, you have had a tremendous influence on us. Thank you. This issue includes our annual Holiday Buying Guide, filled with hundreds of pieces of proof that you do not need to go out of town to find everything on your shopping list. Our staff loves picking items to feature in this issue, because we are always surprised at the wonderful things here in the Valley. We’ve even included our staff picks, in case anyone wants to spring for a gift for any of us. (You can leave the keys to mine under the mat—I’ll make room in the garage for it.) It’s not just things that make this such a fascinating place—it’s really all about the people here. So, we’re bringing you two stories about people from here who are doing or have done some amazing things. Jack White, in nearby Pulaski, Tennessee, styles food for the movies, including Catching Fire, the second Hunger Games movie opening in November. And we are all so proud of Alabama’s native daughter, Helen Keller, but did you know there is more to her than just a pump and the word “water?” While you’re learning about these folks, you’ll also learn about ballet and fencing. You’ll also see the results of our cake recipe contest, just in time for your holiday baking and see some highlights from Red Rhythm Runway, an amazing show that combined the high styles and fashion from this region with iconic Muscle Shoals music, all to raise money for a Huntsville-based charity. There’s a lot of variety in this issue—we hope you enjoy it! A dear friend of ours used to say that shopping locally is like watering your garden. You have to water your garden, or it won’t grow and produce the beauty you want. You have to shop locally, if you want local stores to continue to provide you with the things you want. As we travel, we hear over and over again that North Alabama has a reputation for wonderful boutique stores, outstanding food choices, and a wealth of talented entertainers. This holiday, make a pledge to help us water our garden by shopping for your gifts right here at home. You will be amazed at what you’ll find here! Now, take a deep breath. The year has passed quickly, and the holidays will be a blur unless we savor the moments. Spend time with the people you love; take advantage of the activities that always occur in this wonderful place at this wonderful time of year. No matter how you say it or celebrate it—Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays—we hope this is a joyous season for you and yours. And thank you for being one of our many blessings!

We don’t like to brag, but at the annual Southeastern Magazine Publisher’s Association GAMMA Awards, No’Ala won eight gold awards, one silver, and one bronze. Only one other publication, Professional Photographer, won more this year—and thank goodness we don’t compete in their category! Heartfelt thanks to all of the writers, photographers, and fascinating subjects they covered that culminated in this recognition.


calendar

Now-Saturday, November 9 Alabama Clay Artists Exhibit Tues-Fri; 10:00am-5:00pm; Sat 10:00am-2:00pm; Free; Carnegie Arts Center; 207 Church St.; Decatur; (256) 341-0562; www.carnegiearts.org

Rocket City Marathon December 14

Now-January 12 Encounters: Cal Breed Tues-Sat 11:00am-4:00pm and until 8:00pm on Thurs, and Sun1:00pm-4:00pm; $10 admission for adults, $8 for military, students, teachers, and students, and $5 for children 6-11; Huntsville Museum of Art; 300 Church St.; (256) 535-4350; hsvmuseum.org Now-January 14 American Beauty: Selections from the Wiginton Collection Tues-Sat 11:00am-4:00pm and until 8:00pm on Thurs, and Sun1:00pm-4:00pm; $10 admission for adults, $8 for military, students, teachers, and students, and $5 for children 6-11; Huntsville Museum of Art; 300 Church St.; (256) 535-4350; hsvmuseum.org Friday, November 1 Artist Market at Lowe Mill 5:00pm-8:00pm; Free; Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net Concerts on the Dock: Blue Lite Band 6:00pm-9:00pm; Free; Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net Monkey Speak 8:00pm-10:30pm; Admission charged; Flying Monkey at Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net Hasta La Vista Social Club’s El Dia de los Muertos 9:30pm-11:40pm; Admission charged; Flying Monkey at Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net Saturday, November 2 Madison City Farmers Market 8:00am-noon; Free; 1282 Hughes Rd.; (256) 656-7841; madisoncityfarmersmarket.com Hilltop Arts Festival 9:00am; Free; 25483 Railroad St.; Downtown Elkmont; facebook.com/hilltoparts Civil War Symposium 9:00am-4:30pm; $15 general, $10 military, $5 students; Main Huntsville-Madison County Public Library; 915 Monroe St.; hmcpl.org

Artist Market at Lowe Mill Noon-4:00pm; Free; Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net Sci-Quest Parents’ Night Out 6:00pm-9:00pm; $20 for first child; $15 for additional children ages 4-12; 102 D Wynn Dr.; (256) 837-0606; sci-quest.org Planetarium Program: Venus 7:30pm; Admission charged; Monte Sano State Park and Lodge, beside the country grocery story and campground; (256) 539-0316; vbas.org Saturday, November 2 – Saturday, November 30 DaVinci The Genius 9:00am-5:00pm; Admission charged; US Space & Rocket Center; One Tranquity Base; (256) 837-3400; rocketcenter.com

Ladies Association of Madison Academy Presents Its 40th Annual Southern Tradition Holiday Market 9:00am-3:00pm; Free; Madison Academy; 325 Slaughter Rd.; (256) 682-1300; macademy.org

Sunday, November 3 Huntsville Symphony Orchestra’s Casual Classics Series: Mozart Is Served 5:30pm; Randolph School of Fine Arts Building; 4915 Garth Rd.; (256) 539-4818; hso.org

Fall Colors Train Ride 10:00am and 1:00pm; Admission charged; North Alabama Railroad Museum; 694 Chase Rd.; (256) 851-6276; northalabamarailroadmuseum.com

Tuesday, November 5 Dinosaur Train Live “Buddy’s Big Adventure” 6:30pm; Admission charged; Von Braun Center Concert Hall; 700 Monroe St.; (256) 518-6155; broadwaytheatreleague.org

It’s Sweet 2 Read Fundraiser 11:00am; Free; Main Huntsville-Madison County Public Library; 915 Monroe St.; hmcpl.org

Thursday, November 7 Author Chat Book Club: Jamie Dodson (Nick Grant Adventures series)


6:00pm; Free; Pizzelle’s Confections at Lowe Mill, 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 532-2362; hmcpl.org Off the Beaten Path Tour with Justin Moore 7:00pm; From $27.75; Von Braun Center; 700 Monroe St.; (256) 533-1953; ticketmaster.com Friday, November 8 Artist Market at Lowe Mill 5:00pm-8:00pm; Free; Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net Huntsville Chamber Music Guild Presents Ying Quartet 7:30pm; Admission charged; Trinity United Methodist Church; 607 Airport Rd.; (256) 489-7415; hcmg.us Saturday, November 9 Huntsville Half Marathon 8:00am; Admission charged for runners; 300 Kohler Rd.; (256) 882-3706; huntsvilletrackclub.org Artist Market at Lowe Mill Noon-4:00pm; Free; Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net Planetarium Program: Venus 7:30pm; Admission charged; Monte Sano State Park and Lodge, beside the country grocery story and campground; (256) 539-0316; vbas.org Monday, November 11 Veterans Day

Thursday, November 14 Civil War Presentation: The Battle of Mobile Bay 6:30pm; Free; Elks Club; 725 Franklin Rd.; (256) 544-4030 Friday, November 15 Artist Market at Lowe Mill 5:00pm-8:00pm; Free; Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net Sci-Quest Parents’ Night Out 6:00pm-9:00pm; $20 for first child; $15 for additional children ages 4-12; 102 D Wynn Dr.; (256) 837-0606; sci-quest.org Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Presents Classical Series: La Boheme 7:30pm; Admission charged; Von Braun Center Concert Hall; 700 Monroe St.; (256) 539-4818; hso.org Friday, November 15 - Tuesday, December 31 Huntsville Botanical Gardens Presents Galaxy of Lights 5:30pm-9:30pm; $20 per car; 4747 Bob Wallace Ave.; (256) 582-5259; hsvbg.org Friday, November 15 – Sunday, November 17 Theatre Huntsville Presents Arsenic & Old Lace Fri and Sat 7:30pm and Sun 2:00pm; Admission charged; Von Braun Center Playhouse; 700 Monroe St.; yourseatiswaiting.org Friday, November 15 – Tuesday, November 18 Huntsville Botanical Gardens Presents Walking Nights 5:30pm-9:30pm; Admission charged; 4747 Bob Wallace Ave.; (256) 582-5259; hsvbg.org

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Saturday, November 16 Madison City Farmers Market 8:00am-noon; Free; 1282 Hughes Rd.; (256) 656-7841; madisoncityfarmersmarket.com Artist Market at Lowe Mill Noon-4:00pm; Free; Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net Planetarium Program: Meteor Showers 7:30pm; Admission charged; Monte Sano State Park and Lodge Planetarium, beside the Country Grocery Store & Campground; (256) 539-0316 Saturday, November 16 – Saturday, November 30 Huntsville Museum of Art Presents Donato Giancola: from Middle Earth to Outer Space and Beyond Tues-Sat 11:00am-4:00pm; Thurs 11:00am8:00pm; Sun 1:00pm-4:00pm; Admission charged; 300 Church St.; (256) 535-4350; hsvmuseum.org

Thursday, November 21 – Friday, November 22 Christmas Craft Sale Thurs 9:00am-4:00pm and Fri 9:00am-2:00pm; Free; Huntsville Madison County Senior Center, 2200 Drake Ave.; (256) 513-8294 Friday, November 22 Artist Market at Lowe Mill 5:00pm-8:00pm; Free; Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net Huntsville Master Chorale Presents An Evening of Madrigals 7:00pm; Free with donations accepted; St. Mary of the Visitation Church; 222 Jefferson St.; (256) 683-7979; hsvmasterchorale.org

Friday, November 22 – Sunday, November 24 Broadway Theatre League Presents Hello Dolly (starring Sally Struthers) Fri 8:00pm, Sat 2:00pm and 8:00pm, and Sun 2:00pm and 7:30pm; Admission charged; Von Braun Center Concert Hall; 700 Monroe St.; (256) 518-6155; broadwaytheatreleague.org December 31

HSO Presents: New Year’s Eve in Havana

Friday, November 22 – Sunday, January 5, 2014 Skating in the Park Mon-Thurs noon-10:00pm, Fri noonmidnight, Sat 10:00am-midnight, and Sun noon-8:00pm; Admission charged; Outdoor Ice Skating Rink in Spring Park; (256) 535-4350; hsvmuseum.org

Monday, November 18 Huntsville Botanical Gardens Presents Dog Walking Nights 5:30pm-7:30pm; Adults $6; Children $3; 4747 Bob Wallace Ave.; (256) 582-5259; hsvbg.org Monday, November 18 – Saturday, December 28 Harry Potter’s World Exhibit: Renaissance Science, Magic and Medicine Daily library hours; Free; Main HuntsvilleMadison County Public Library; 915 Monroe St.; hmcpl.org Tuesday, November 19 John O’Leary presents “The Power of One” 10:00am; $30; Von Braun Center; 700 Monroe St.; (256) 533-1953; ticketmaster.com Thursday, November 21 Merrimack Theatre Presents Under the Covers with Victoria Shaw 7:30pm; Admission charged; 3320 Triana Blvd.; (256) 534-6455; merrimackhall.com Friday, November 22 – Tuesday, November 26 Huntsville Botanical Gardens Presents Walking Nights 5:30pm-7:30pm; Adults $6; Children $3; 4747 Bob Wallace Ave.; (256) 582-5259; hsvbg.org Thursday, November 21 – Saturday, November 23 Theatre Huntsville Presents Arsenic & Old Lace Thurs-Fri 7:30pm and Sat 2:00pm and 7:30pm; Admission charged; Von Braun Center Playhouse; 700 Monroe St.; (256) 536-0807; yourseatiswaiting.org Thursday, November 21 – Sunday, November 24 Independent Musical Productions Presents Driving Miss Daisy Thurs-Fri 7:30pm; Sat 2:30 and 7:30pm; Sun 2:30pm; Admission charged; Lee High School; 2500 Meridian St.; (256) 415-7469; imphuntsville.org

Saturday, November 23 Madison City Farmers Market 8:00am-noon; Free; 1282 Hughes Rd.; (256) 656-7841; madisoncityfarmersmarket.com CASA Presents the No Place Like Home 5K 8:00am; Admission charged; CASA of Madison County; 890 Explorer Blvd.; (256) 533-7775; casamadisoncty.org Artist Market at Lowe Mill Noon-4:00pm; Free; Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net Sunday, November 24 Huntsville Master Chorale Presents An Evening of Madrigals 3:00pm; Free with donations accepted; Monte Sano United Methodist Church.; (256) 683-7979; hsvmasterchorale.org TobyMac Deep Hits Tour 7:00pm; From $17; Von Braun Center; 700 Monroe St.; (256) 533-1953; ticketmaster.com Monday, November 25 Huntsville Botanical Gardens Presents Dog Walking Nights 5:30pm-7:30pm; Adults $6; Children $3; 4747 Bob Wallace Ave.; (256) 582-5259; hsvbg.org Thursday, November 28 Thanksgiving Day Friday, November 29 Artist Market at Lowe Mill 5:00pm-8:00pm; Free; Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net


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Epic Comedy Hour 8:00pm-10:00pm; Free; Flying Monkey at Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net Nephew Tommy & Friends featuring Jay Lamont, Cocoa Brown & Dave Lawson 8:00pm; From $28.25; Von Braun Center; 700 Monroe St.; (256) 533-1953; ticketmaster.com Friday, November 29 –Monday, December 23 Santa’s Village 5:00pm-9:00pm; $5; Constitutional Village; 109 Gates Ave.; (256) 564-8100; earlyworks.com/santasvillage Saturday, November 30 5K Rocket Run 8:00am; Admission charged for runners; US Space & Rocket Center; One Tranquility Base; (256) 722-5625; rocketcenter.com Artist Market at Lowe Mill Noon-4:00pm; Free; Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net Sunday, December 1 Drop in and Create 1:30pm-2:30pm; Free; Huntsville Museum of Art; 300 Church St.; (256) 535-4350; hsvmuseum.org Sunday, A Tuba Christmas 3:00pm; Free; Huntsville Museum of Art; 300 Church St.; (256) 535-4350; hsvmuseum.org Monday, December 2 Meet the Author: John Pritchard (“Junior Ray” series) 6:3pm; Free; Main Huntsville-Madison County Public Library; 915 Monroe St.; (256) 532-2362; hmcpl.org Monday, December 2 – Tuesday, December 3 Huntsville Botanical Gardens Presents Galaxy of Lights 5K Run Admission charged; Huntsville Botanical Garden; 4747 Bob Wallace Ave.; (256) 582-5259; hsvbg.org Monday, December 2 – Thursday, December 5 Supper with Santa 4:30pm and 6:00pm; $12; Early Works Children’s Museum Grand Hall; 404 Madison St.; earlyworks.com Tuesday, December 3 Madison Community Band Annual Christmas Concert 7:00pm; Free; Grace United Methodist Church; 2113 Old Monrovia Rd.; (256) 461-0028; m-c-b.org Wednesday, December 4 – Sunday, December 8 Disney on Ice Presents Princesses & Heroes From $15; Von Braun Center; 700 Monroe St.; (256) 533-1953; ticketmaster.com Thursday, December 5 Rene Stubblefield and Helli Luck Art Show 5:00pm-8:00pm; Free; Accents of the South, 501 C. Church Street; (256) 539-1038; accentsofthesouth.com Thursday, December 5 – Friday, December 6 Merrimack Hall Presents Snow Day: Starring Dance Your Dreams! and Project Up 7:00pm; Admission charged; 3320 Triana Blvd.; (256) 534-6455; merrimackhall.com


Friday, December 6 Artist Market at Lowe Mill 5:00pm-8:00pm; Free; Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net Huntsville Community Chorus Presents A Celtic Christmas 7:30pm; Admission charged; First Baptist Church; 600 Governors Dr.; (256) 533-6606; thechorus.org Monkey Speak 8:00pm-10:30pm; Admission charged; Flying Monkey at Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net Friday, December 6 – Saturday, December 7 Kris Kringle’s Candlelight Christmas 5:00pm; Admission charged; 3101 Burritt Dr.; (256) 536-2882; burrittonthemountain.com Friday, December 6 – Sunday, December 8 Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater presents A Christmas Carol Fri 7:00pm, Sat and Sun 2:00pm and 7:00; From $14; Von Braun Center Playhouse; 400 Monroe St.; (256) 539-6829; letthemagicbegin.org NEACA Christmas Craft Show Fri-Sat 9:00am-7:00pm, Sun noon-5:00pm; Free; Von Braun Center South Hall; 700 Monroe St.; (256) 859-0511; neaca.org Friday, December 6 – Monday, December 9 Alabama Youth Ballet Theatre Presents The Nutcracker: A Yuletide Ballet Fri and Sat 7:30pm; Sat and Sun 2:30pm; Admission charged; Lee High School; 2500 Meridian St.; (256) 881-5930; alabamayouthballet.org Saturday, December 7 Artist Market at Lowe Mill Noon-4:00pm; Free; Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net Santa Train Hourly from 10:00-3:00pm and a break at noon; Admission charged; North Alabama Railroad Museum; 694 Chase Rd.; (256) 851-6276; northalabamarailroadmuseum.com WAAY-TV Christmas Parade Noon; Free; Downtown Huntsville from Clinton Post Office to Adams and Lowe streets; (256) 533-3131; waaytv.com Sci-Quest Parents’ Night Out 6:00pm-9:00pm; $20 for first child; $15 for additional children ages 4-12; 102 D Wynn Dr.; (256) 837-0606; sci-quest.org U.S. Army Materiel Command Four-Star Jazz Orchestra and The Rocket City Jazz Orchestra 7:00pm-9:00pm; Free; Main Huntsville-Madison County Public Library; 915 Monroe St.; (256) 532-5975; hmcpl.org Lee Baines and the Gloryfires 8:00pm; Admission charged; Flying Monkey at Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net Sunday, December 8 Santa Train Hourly at 1:00pm, 2:00pm, and 3:00pm; Admission charged; North Alabama Railroad Museum; 694 Chase Rd.; (256) 851-6276; northalabamarailroadmuseum.com

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2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net Wednesday, December 18 Mannheim Steamroller Christmas 7:30pm; $69.50; Von Braun Center; 700 Monroe St.; (256) 533-1953; ticketmaster.com

Thursday, December 12 Concert: The Robert McDuffie Center for Strings Orchestra 5:00pm; Admission charged; Trinity United Methodist Church; 607 Airport Rd.; (256) 489-7415; hcmg.org

Wednesday, December 18 – Monday, December 22 Burritt on the Mountain Presents the Sanders Family Christmas Wed-Fri 7:00pm, Sat 2:30pm and 7:00pm; Sun 2:30pm; Admission charged; 3101 Burritt Dr.; (256) 536-2882; burrittonthemountain.com

Merrimack Hall Presents Three on a String 7:30pm; Admission charged; 3320 Triana Blvd.; (256) 534-6455; merrimackhall.com Thursday, December 12 – Friday, December 13 Holiday Magic at Burritt on the Mountain 6:30pm; Admission charged; 3101 Burritt Dr.; (256) 534-4361; burrittonthemountain.com

Thursday, December 19 – Sunday, December 22 First Baptist Church Presents the Living Christmas Tree Thurs-Fri 7:30pm, Sat 4:30 and 7:30pm; Sun 3:00pm and 5:30pm; Free; 600 Governors Dr.; (256) 428-9422; fbchsv.org

Thursday, December 12 – Sunday, December 15 Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater presents A Christmas Carol Thurs and Fri 7:00pm, Sat 2:00pm and 7:00pm, Sun 2:00pm; From $14; Von Braun Center Playhouse; 400 Monroe St.; (256) 539-6829; letthemagicbegin.org Friday, December 13 – Sunday, December 15 Huntsville Ballet Presents The Nutcracker Fri 7:30pm, Sat 2:00pm and 7:30pm, Sun 1:00pm; Admission charged; Von Braun Center Concert Hall; 700 Monroe St.; (256) 539-0961; huntsvilleballet.org Friday, December 13 Artist Market at Lowe Mill 5:00pm-8:00pm; Free; Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net

Friday, December 20 Artist Market at Lowe Mill 5:00pm-8:00pm; Free; Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net Sci-Quest Parents’ Night Out 6:00pm-9:00pm; $20 for first child; $15 for additional children ages 4-12; 102 D Wynn Dr.; (256) 837-0606; sci-quest.org

Kris Kringle’s Candlelight Christmas December 6-7

Saturday, December 21 Artist Market at Lowe Mill Noon-4:00pm; Free; Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net Mythbusters: Behind the Myths Tour 7:30pm; From $49; Von Braun Center; 700 Monroe St.; (256) 533-1953; ticketmaster.com

The Decatur Morgan Hospital Foundation Gala 7:00pm cocktails and 8:00pm dinner; $350/couple; Ingalls Harbor Pavilion, Decatur; (256) 341-2187; decaturgeneral.org

Wednesday, December 25 Christmas Day

Saturday, December 14 Rocket City Marathon 8:00am; Admission charged for runners; 401 Williams Ave.; (256) 650-7063; huntsvilletrackclub.org

Thursday, December 26 Muscle Shoals Documentary Screening 7:30pm; Admission charged; Flying Monkey at Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net

Santa Train Hourly at 1:00pm, 2:00pm, and 3:00pm; Admission charged; North Alabama Railroad Museum; 694 Chase Rd.; (256) 851-6276; northalabamarailroadmuseum.com

Friday, December 27 Artist Market at Lowe Mill 5:00pm-8:00pm; Free; Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net

Artist Market at Lowe Mill Noon-4:00pm; Free; Lowe Mill; 211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net

Epic Comedy Hour 11:00pm; Admission charged; Flying Monkey at Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net

Meet the Author: Sena Jeter Naslund (“The Fountain of St. James Court”) 2:00pm; Free; Main Huntsville-Madison County Public Library; 915 Monroe St.; (256) 532-2362; hmcpl.org

Saturday, December 28 Artist Market at Lowe Mill Noon-4:00pm; Free; Lowe Mill; 2211 Seminole Dr.; (256) 533-0399; lowemill.net

Spirit of Christmas Past Homes Tour and Luminaries 5:00pm; Admission charged; Twickenham District, Huntsville; (256) 536-7718; weedenhousemuseum.com

December 31 Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Presents Pops Concert: New Year’s Eve in Havana 7:30pm; Admission charged; Von Braun Center Concert Hall; (256) 539-4818; hso.org

Huntsville Swing Dance Society Holiday Party 7:00pm; Admission charged; Flying Monkey at Lowe Mill;


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scene

Jim and Mary Griffith, Jason and Jamie Mefford

David Goodwin and Alicia Dial

Carole Anne and Conway Ellers

Above: Fresh from the Garden: A Farm to Table Experience

Below: AmbassaQUE

SEPTEMBER 14, 2013  HUNTSVILLE B OTANICAL GARDEN

SEPTEMBER 5, 2013  ROUNDHOUSE MUSEUM, HUNTSVILLE

Huntsville Drumline John Sutherland, Nicole Jones, and Alex Lopez David Cochran, Pammie Jimmar, and Joe Copp

Erica Hammond and John Anderson

Glenni Lorick, Michele Pearce, Tamara Watts, and Kathy Franks

Mike Brazier and Farrell Adkins

* Names for photos are provided by the organization or business featured.

Kenny Anderson, Rebecca Newman, Lisa Bath, Nicole Jones, and Kevin Fernandez

Pat Schwerman and Sharon Heinz


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256.774.7228

Holiday Magic

H U N T S V I L L E

The Huntsville Ballet Company’s annual production of The Nutcracker at the Von Braun Center

Experience Rocket City holiday magic at: Santa’s Village Galaxy of Lights Tinsel Trail Ice Skating in the Park and much more! 800.843.0468

@Go2HuntsvilleAL

huntsville.org

facebook.com/huntsvilleCVB

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TEXT BY L AURA ANDERS LEE » PHOTOS BY PATRICK HOOD

JENNIFER LAWRENCE SHOOTS AN APPLE INSIDE THE MOUTH OF A ROASTED PIG in The Hunger Games; Will Ferrell eats cake at the table in Step Brothers; Brad Pitt munches on another snack in Oceans 13; John Hamm sips a cocktail at a Mad Men Christmas party. Food plays a big role on the silver screen, and Jack White serves it up on a silver platter. The Pulaski, Tennessee native and UNA graduate has been in show business for more than 20 years. While he’s acted in several major productions such as Guiding Light and Iron Man 2, his biggest role has been as a food stylist for some 100 films and 25 television shows including Arrested Development, Two and a Half Men, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Star Trek, The Hangover, Spiderman, Charlie’s Angels, and Cat in the Hat. Today, he shares his time between Venice Beach, California and downtown Pulaski, where he lives above his new restaurant, Savory Jacks, which doubles as a prep area for films such as The Hunger Games. No’Ala meets Jack at his restaurant, just off the courtyard square, on a sunny fall day at lunch. Wearing sneakers, jeans, and a black t-shirt, Jack greets us with a friendly smile, unaffected by Hollywood pretentions. We sit at a café table and talk, and as customers come and go, he apologetically interrupts the interview to greet them by name. Some get handshakes, others get hugs. “Jack, you’re back!” One customer is especially thrilled. “Have you tried Jack’s carrot cake?” another asks. “It is to die for.” Jack hasn’t lived in Pulaski in three decades. After high school, he left for UNA, where he graduated with a degree in broadcasting. Then he headed to Nashville, where he “had the fabulous job of being a tour guide at the Grand Ole Opry,” he jokes. But lucky for Jack, his friend from UNA, Pam Long, called him one day and said, “I’m moving to New York—come with me.” In New York, Jack held various jobs, such as a sales position at the Hyatt at Grand Central Station and as a singing waiter on a train from New York to LA. But when his friend Pam landed a job as head writer on Guiding Light, Jack got a recurring role. Then, at the age of 31, he moved to LA with his eyes on Hollywood. “I was pursuing an acting career and was cooking to pay the bills,” says Jack. “I didn’t know what a food stylist was.”

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Jack White in his Pulaski, Tennessee restaurant, Savory Jacks

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But through a mutual connection at his catering job, he was introduced to the industry. “My very first food styling job was Doing Time on Maple Drive,” he recalls. “The main character was dysfunctional and neurotic, you know, really anal, and everything had to be meticulously perfect. In the scene, her son comes home for Thanksgiving. I really had to think about how the food reflects the character. When the actor came out, she was really pleased with what we had created for her. She even thanked us for helping her be convincing in her role. At that moment, I realized I was a food stylist, and that what everyone does behind the scenes adds to the storyline. I could have artistic input. We could give depth to the film. I didn’t miss acting after that.” Jack developed a strong relationship with the prop masters in town, where he served their team as a food stylist in productions. “The prop master is responsible for anything the actors touch,” Jack explains. “And I’m kind of the department head for the food.” In some films, food and beverages just play a minor role, and Jack’s job is fairly simple; in others, food is an integral part of the scene, and Jack works closely with the director as well as the talent. “On the new Hunger Games, we had to create and style 185 feet of buffet table,” he says of Catching Fire, set to release this month. “When they get back to President Snow’s house on the victory tour, it’s the most opulent, over-the-top food that anyone has ever seen before. We worked for two weeks on that, with six to seven people on my crew, helping cook and style. On a movie like that, I get to work with some of the greatest designers and prop masters in the business. As an actor, I never got to that level.” For the movie, which was filmed in Atlanta, Jack brought in three UNA culinary students to assist him. The buffet table features gigantic cow ribs weaved together, resembling something off the Flintstones, roasted pigs with candied eyes, and trays of elaborate candies and cookies. “Some food must be edible for the actors, and other food is called set dressing,” he says. “That’s what I call bullet-proof food; it has to sit out 12 hours a day under hot lights and the whole nine yards.” Jack and his crew must be extremely detail-oriented. If one bite is taken, if one piece of ice melts, it must be replaced perfectly when the scene is cut and begins again so the scene appears flawless in final editing. “Once you’ve carved into a Thanksgiving turkey, you can’t use it again,” he says. In some cases, there are hundreds of back-up items to replace the food that was touched in the scene.

For this iconic scene from The Hunger Games, Peeta throws a burnt loaf of bread to a starving Katniss. White made dozens of burnt loaves (above) for multiple takes. The rolls with the District 11 brand were also painstakingly made by White and his crew for the film, yet the scene was ultimately cut.

Everything must also pass the director’s eye. The crew had to pull an all-nighter to change the icing on a plate of cookies to make the scene just right. While there is no food in Mockingjay, the last of The Hunger Games trilogy, Jack’s crew member and UNA student James Perini has already been hired as production assistant for the prop department. Jack recently finished another film, August: Osage County, which comes out in January with Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Juliette Lewis, and other A-list actors. “There is a 25-page scene where all 10 actors are sitting around the table,” he says. “It’s quite a crazy scene. We changed out the plates every hour. There’s a lot of continuity. Whenever they say cut, we have to get it just right.” © Lionsgate N OVEMBER /D ECEMBER 2013 | NOALAPRESS . COM | 21


After four days of shooting the scene, the director announced that, thanks to the work of the food-styling crew, they would finish a day early. The entire cast applauded Jack in a proud moment in his career. “Working with an actress like Meryl Streep is life changing,” Jack says. “She’s a method actor, so when she talks to you, she talks to you in character. That was great fun. And Julia, I love her. They were all great to work with. Meryl is just Meryl Streep, what can you say? One of my first movies was with Katharine Hepburn (Love Affair), and I thought I couldn’t top that.” Another challenging part of the job is that despite all the painstaking, tedious work, scenes often get cut in final production. For The Hunger Games, Jack and his crew baked dozens of District 11 rolls for a scene with Jennifer Lawrence. Using a branding iron, the crew spent hours making the roll look just right. “Jennifer ate like eight rolls that day, and then they cut the scene.” While Jack thinks Catching Fire and August: Osage County probably fulfilled his bucket list as a food stylist, the most fun he’s ever had on set was on Anchorman. “I’ve done five Will Ferrell films; my first was Old School,” he says. “Anchorman was one of my favorite movies. I had to run off the set because it was so funny, and I didn’t want to be that guy who laughed out loud while they were shooting. Remember the cat poop salad? I worked on that.” Jack cracks up again, just thinking about it. In two decades of working in Hollywood, Jack has expectedly been forced to work with his share of divas and their fastidious and unreasonable requests. But all-in-all, he has loved working with the talent. “I absolutely loved working with Holly Hunter,” he says. “I did all three seasons of Saving Grace. I tell everyone, working with her is like being in a master’s class. It wasn’t like being at work. It was all about making it the best you could. All of us in life do what we can to get by, but the great ones really push.” Many of the ideas for the food White makes for film are created in his commercial kitchen in Pulaski.

Jack began spending more time in his hometown of Pulaski about four years ago when his brother was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer. His brother, who owned a restaurant for 25 years, passed away, and Jack was called to open a café in town. “I’ve been gone for almost 30 years,” says Jack. “But there’s a lot to be said about reconnecting with old roots. LA is a different city than it used to be. The majority of the film work has left LA. The last two films I did were in Atlanta and Oklahoma.” From the looks of things around the restaurant, Jack feels right at home again, and he is enjoying his work more than ever. Jack, who owns three buildings on First Street, is fully invested in downtown Pulaski. He’s bringing in singer/songwriters for Dinner and a Show at Savory Jacks. He’s hosting a cooking series for public access television in Pulaski and Huntsville. And, he continues to look for ways to get students involved, whether he’s speaking to a class at UNA or booking musicians from nearby Martin Methodist College. He’s doing all this at home, while managing his crew in LA, who is working on their latest project, Jersey Boys, directed by Clint Eastwood. “In New York, I met a mentor at one of the first jobs I had,” he says. “He told me, ‘if you enjoy the industry, stay in the industry. As long as you enjoy being in that industry, do it the best way you can.’” Whether it’s the culinary industry, show business, or a marriage of the two, Jack is savoring the sweet taste of success.

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(256) 464-0010 450 Production Avenue, Madison, AL 35758

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WHAT TO GIVE, WHAT TO WEAR, THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

PHOTOS BY DANNY MITCHELL AND PATRICK HOOD » PRODUCED BY CLAIRE STEWART

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GIFTS UNDER $25

Burlap Stockings (Ranging from $11.99 and $14.99) Design World (256) 722-0086

Outdoor Decorative Stone ($16.99) Brooks and Collier (256) 534-2781

STOCKING STUFFERS & HOSTESS GIFTS

Secret Boxes and Mini Game Boxes (Ranging from $16.25 to $20.50) Harrison Brothers Hardware (256) 536-3631

Wooden Plant Garden Stakes ($16.99) Josie’s at Burritt on the Mountain (256) 536-2882 Cross Bracelets (Ranging from $10.95 to $23) Golden Griffin (256) 535-0882

Weed Vases ($12) The Willowbrook Shoppe (256) 270-7181

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Chalkboard Cookie Jar ($19.99) Chalkboard Decanter ($19.99) Josie’s at Burritt on the Mountain (256) 536-2882


HOLIDAY FASHIONS

Jacket ($425) Jeans ($179) Button-Up ($125) Billy Reid Loafers ($399) Belt ($75) Status

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GIFTS $25-$50

Mo’s Bows ($32) Finery (256) 429-3429

HEIDI’S

PICK

Stephanie Schamban Photos on Wood ($37.80 each) Harrison Brothers Hardware (256) 536-3631

Capri Blue Candles ($30) Terramé (256) 319-3003

Decorative Owls ($28, $34) In Bloom (256) 533-3050

But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria! by Julia Reed ($25.99) Porch Living by James T. Farmer III ($30) In Bloom (256) 533-3050

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HOLIDAY FASHIONS

Lucy Paris Leather Edged Cocktail Dress ($64) Velour Clutch ($39) Gold Bracelets (ranging from $15-$25 each) Gold Ring ($25) Cotton Cottage Pierre Dumas Black Pumps ($34.95) Austin’s Shoes

Gold Peplum Top ($32.95) Black Leggings ($18) Style Bar Cobb Hill Black Allison Boots ($194.95) Austin’s Shoes

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Elm Leaf Platter ($74.95) Portobello (256) 489-9286

GIFTS $50-$100

Textured Picture Frames ($65, $70) Hunt Home Couture (256) 489-4868

Andy Winn Art ($100) Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment (256) 882-2375

ROY’S

PICK Succulent Terrarium ($59) Miranda Alexander Interiors (256) 355-6941

Gold Shell ($72.50) Kathleen’s Fine Art and Interiors (256) 355-7616

Decorative Boxes ($58, $69) Miranda Alexander Interiors (256) 355-6941

Fieldstone Food Slabs ($50, $65) Little Green Store (256) 539-9699

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HOLIDAY FASHIONS

Lilly Pulitzer Lace Dress ($398) Lilly Pulitzer Gold Purse ($148) Lilly Pulitzer Gold Earrings ($30) Gold Link Bracelet ($30) Pink Pelican

Red Leather Skirt ($29) Taupe and Black Lace Blouse ($45) Shoefly

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GIFTS $100-$250

Assorted Throw Pillows ($118, $155) Brooks and Collier (256) 534-2781

L’Objet Frame ($165) Hunt Home Couture (256) 489-4868

Clarisonic Mia Skin Cleanser ($119) Terramé (256) 319-3003

Yardbirds Fluffy Kitten ($110) Harrison Brothers Hardware (256) 536-3631

Hand Hammered Iron Drink Table ($149) Miranda Alexander Interiors (256) 355-6941

CLAIRE’S

PICK

Joyce Lowery Paintings ($200 each) Kathleen’s Fine Art and Interiors (256) 355-7616

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Rustic Wall Piece ($110) Golden Griffin (256)- 535-0882

Metallic Lamp ($159.99) Design World (256) 722-0086


HOLIDAY FASHIONS

Arc’teryx Jacket ($149) Patagonia Shirt ($65) Prana Jeans ($80) Olukai Boots ($150) Patagonia Belt ($25) Alabama Outdoors

Patagonia Rain Jacket ($299) Prana Blue Shirt ($55) Prana Jeans ($75) Hunter Boots ($140) Kavu Purse ($45) Alabama Outdoors

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GIFTS $250 AND UP

Antique Habersham Table ($1,200) Willowbrook Shoppe (256) 270-7181 David Yurman 3 Row Multichain ($950) with 14x12 .75ct Labyrinth Pace Enhancer ($2,100) Loring and Co. (256) 880-1909

David Yurman 1ct Single Loop Labyrinth Bracelet ($2,750) David Yurman 1.10ct Triple Loop Labyrinth Ring ($2,950) Loring and Co. (256) 880-1909

Saundra Messinger Ring ($460) Little Green Store (256) 539-9699

FOR SOMEONE VERY SPECIAL

DAVID’S

Verdigris Bone Mirror ($492.95) Portobello (256) 489-9286

PICK

Rebecca Earrings ($250), Bracelet ($300) Grogan Jewelers (256) 764-4013

Men’s Industrial Watch ($300) Little Green Store (256) 539-9699

ALLEN’S

PICK

Porsche Panamera (Starting at $78,000) Century Automotive (256) 536-3800

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Yellow Gold 6ct Diamond Bracelet ($7,500) Silver and 18kt Pearl Set (Bracelet $375, Ring $900) Jamie Hood Jewelers (256) 686-2852


HOLIDAY FASHIONS

Button Up ($98) Jeans($145) Belt ($75) Pelican Joes Sperry Jamestown Shoe ($59.95) Austin’s Shoes

Poncho ($39.95) Black Skinnies ($25.95) Pink Pewter Headband ($39.95) Madeline Boots ($79.95) Market House

Tribal Brand Sweater ($89) Brown Tank ($29.90) iT Jeans ($78) Airplane Gold Necklace ($19 for set) Boots ($40.60) J. Whitener

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“All for one, and one for all; united we stand divided we fall.”

TEXT BY LAURA ANDERS LEE » PHOTOS BY DANNY MITCHELL & AMY HITCHCOCK

YOU PROBABLY KNOW THIS LINE BY HEART from Alexandre Dumas’ beloved tale Three Musketeers. It’s a story of competition and camaraderie, much like the story of the Huntsville Fencing Club, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. What started as a couple of NASA scientists competing after hours at the arsenal is now a thriving club of 70 members and 50 students, representing men and women, black and white, old and young—and, it’s developing unlikely friendships. In 1963, NASA scientist John Jordan put an ad in the Marshall Star, trying to get together a fencing club after his wife introduced him to the sport several years earlier. “My boss answered it; he had fenced at Vanderbilt, and a fellow who learned to fence in Germany answered it,” he recalls. The trio soon discovered that a runner-up in the Greek nationals, Elias Katsaros, was living in Huntsville, and he joined the club, too. “John used to pick me up and take me to the arsenal to fence with the other guys,” Elias recalls. “I grew up fencing in Greece. In Europe, you didn’t have so much money, so you chose one sport and you stuck with it. If you were not good—out! You had to practice.”

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© ARHitchcock

Above: Members of the Huntsville Fencing Club compete on the strip.

“Fencing works for me because I am small; I’m a small target,” he adds with a laugh. So as John worked on space programs by day, he and his buddies fenced at night at Redstone Arsenal to relieve stress. “Fencing—mentally and physically—is tough enough that for someone working at NASA, it was the healthiest thing going for me,” he says. John, who is now 83, gave up the sport only a few years ago after breaking his ankle. Elias has recently given up the sport, too. However, the two remain close friends: a Southern, NASA scientist and a Turkish-born, Byzantine artist, not likely to have crossed paths had it not been for fencing. Today, former Navy SEAL, author, and historian Benerson Little is the club’s coach, training students and members in basic and advanced skills, many of whom go on to win championships around the Southeast and even on the national level. Ben also teaches clinics on historical swordplay. It’s been said that Ben could take on a musketeer today—and win. Ben studied under two fencing greats: Francis Zold and Eugene Hamori, who both fenced in the Olympic Games and defected to the United States after the Hungarian Revolution. “Zold studied under Italo Santelli, the Italian, who is arguably one of the greatest fencers and fencing masters,” says Ben. “He was around when people were still fighting duels.”

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The earliest depiction of swordplay is from ancient Egypt, and Western fencing gets its roots from the 12th century as Germanic tribes dueled to settle their differences. Entire armies used fencing in battle, and the skill became a symbol of chivalry. “In the Medieval era, swords tended to be heavier,” says Ben. “During the Renaissance, lighter rapiers became common, echoing the lighter fashions. And then firearms really put a damper on armor in the 14th century.” Except for on horseback and aboard ship, soldiers used swords as secondary weapons, and fencing moved from a primary form of military training to a sport.

Below: Benerson Little (far left) and Elias Katsaros (center) chat with members during a practice.

“Fencing always had a split personality between soldiers and sailors for the battle field and people who did it for the sport,” says Ben. “As soon as you start counting points, it’s sport.” Both Italy and France claim to have founded modern fencing. Germany had its own technique, as did Spain, and the Hungarians combined Italian and French techniques. In the 17th and 18th centuries, more guidelines were written to narrow the target area to the torso, and a wire-mesh mask was used to ensure the safety of competitors. “By the 19th century, the foil was used in the sport of swordplay, but it was inadequate in fighting a duel,” Ben explains. “So they reinvented the technique for dueling in the

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form of an epee. Modern fencing is derived from those late 19th century practices.” In epee fencing, the whole body is a target. In foil, just the torso is the target, and in saber, which is a dueling sword derived from a cavalry weapon, everything from the waist up is a target. “Some people say that was because they were on horseback, but they wanted to protect their manhood,” says Ben. Fencing was introduced at the Olympics in 1896 in Athens, and the women’s competition was included at the Paris games in 1924. The sport has continued to evolve, although modern epee fencing remains similar to what it was a century ago. In modern fencing, two opponents stand on the strip. The goal is to advance and touch the opponent with the epee, while avoiding getting touched. In preliminary bouts, the opponents have three minutes or five touches, whichever comes first. The competitor with the most touches in three minutes or the competitor who gets five touches first, wins the bout. In the direct elimination round, the competitors get a maximum of 15 touches in nine minutes. In tournament play, the winners continue to advance to the next level. There are often as many brackets as in an NCAA basketball game, but competitions are completed in one day. “It’s exhausting both physically and mentally,” says Ben. For the past 75 years, an electronic system has made keeping score in epee competitions more accurate. Each competitor is connected to a cable, which is hooked up to a machine that counts each touch.

Left: Founder John Jordan (left) and Elias Katsaros.

FENCING 101* EPEE A thrusting sword descended from the dueling sword, similar in length to a foil but heavier, with a larger guard and a much stiffer blade.

FOIL A thrusting sword with a flexible rectangular blade and a smaller guard than the epee.

GRIP The handle of a sword; also called the hilt.

GUARD The part of a sword between the blade and handle that protects the dueling hand.

POINT The end of the blade, which must touch the opponent’s target area to score a point.

RAPIER A thrusting sword with an elaborate hilt and a long, slender, pointed blade, developed in the 16th century and the precursor to the epee.

“Epee is most like the swordplay and conditions of a duel,” Ben says. “Ideally, you want to hit and not get hit.”

SABRE

Today, many people are flocking to the sport, both for its historical appeal as well as for physical and mental exercise.

The modern version of the slashing cavalry sword, similar in length and weight to the foil but able to cut with the blade as well as hit with the point.

“It actively engages mind and body simultaneously,” Ben says. “It combines Eastern and Western arts. You get a good physical benefit and mental benefit as well. Dr. Zold taught until he was 93 years old, and John Jordan in his 70s could hold his own to competitors in their 20s. You can do this for a long time. Age is not much of a factor when you’re competing.” Kirstin Anderson, a UAH student, has been fencing with the Huntsville Fencing Club for nine years, since she was a freshman in high school. “I had always been into swordplay and the Medieval era since I was a little girl, and I found out they had a fencing club here,” she says. “There is so much to learn. This really is a lifelong sport. Out in the world, we are all different, but out on the strip, we are all equals.”

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STRIP The field of play where a fencing bout occurs; also called a piste.

LADE The hitting part of a sword from the guard to the point. *From the International Olympic Committee


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Thanksgiving

PHOTOS BY DANNY MITCHELL » PRODUCED BY CLAIRE STEWART STYLING BY DAVID SIMS

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Wooden Bowl ($45 for 3 bowl set) Wooden Salad Plate ($18) Wooden Dinner Plate ($20) Drinking Glass ($4) Tea Cup and Saucer ($9) Cowhide ($400) Chambray Tassel Napkin ($4) You’re Home Candle Holder ($7.50) Brooks and Collier Vintage Silverware ($30.95 for 5pc set) Portobello


Hanukkah Juliska Goblet ($64) Juliska Tumbler ($48) Votives ($5.95) Portobello Napkin ($5) You’re Home Match Dishware ($98.50, $185) Match Silverware ($246 for 6pc set) Hunt Home Couture Vase ($20) Brooks and Collier

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Christmas Eve Juliska Plates ($39, $68) Vintage Silverware ($29.95 for 5pc set) Turkish T Towel ($19) Juliska Mug ($28) Portobello Wooden Chopping Block ($178) You’re Home

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Christmas Morning Green Pitcher ($137) Vase ($17.50) Bowl ($8.50) Medium Plates ($17.50) Large Plate ($24.95) Silverware ($25) Brooks and Collier Blue Placemat ($6.50) Lawren’s

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New Year’s Eve Juliska Pewter Dishware ($29, $38, $72) Purple Glass ($29) Silverware ($60) Lawren’s Purple Napkin ($5) You’re Home

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Welcome the New Year Havana Style!

The Huntsville Symphony Orchestra presents New Year’s Eve in Havana, featuring the passionate, upbeat sounds of Tiempo Libre. Add two dance floors and salsa dancers, and this three-time Grammy-nominated Cuban band will present a fiery and festive celebration of the close of one year and the beginning of another.

New Year’s Eve in Havana

Tuesday, December 31, 2013, at 7:30 p.m. Mark C. Smith Concert Hall, VBC For tickets, visit www.hso.org or call 256-539-4818 presented without orchestra


“Merry Christmas! Entertain me!” Tips for taming restless holiday guests TEXT BY L AURA ANDERS LEE AND CLAIRE STEWART

The most wonderful time of the year can also be the most trying time of year, with all the holiday errands, shopping, cooking… not to mention dealing with having the kids out of school and preparing for out-of-town company. To make the most of your time together, here are some activities sure to put everyone in the holiday spirit.

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For the Little Ones “O tannenbaum…” There’s just nothing quite like cutting down your own Christmas tree. Valley Christmas Tree Plantation on St. Clair Lane in Huntsville has been growing trees for 30 years. The farm has a great selection of Virginia Pine, White Pine, Leyland Cypress, and Arizona Cypress trees you can cut down yourself. Your kids will have a blast running around the great outdoors while you sip some hot apple cider.

Have you noticed your college student may have gained the dreaded Freshman Fifteen? Invite them to run with you in the Rocket City Marathon on December 14 through downtown Huntsville. •••

“Oh what fun it is to ride…” Saturdays in December, visit the North Alabama Railroad Museum for Santa Train. Enjoy a ride aboard a festive train car, and then get your children’s picture made with Santa. Bridge Street Town Centre also has a train for youngsters, perfect for a little fun while you squeeze in some last-minute shopping.

“Frolic and play the Eskimo way…” It’s not very often kids in Alabama get the chance to ice skate or play in snow. Back by popular demand, the Huntsville Museum of Art is sponsoring an outdoor ice skating rink at Big Spring Park. The rink will be open seven nights a week, with concessions and public restrooms available. Santa’s Village is also open nightly at Downtown Huntsville’s Constitutional Village. Don’t miss your chance to meet Santa, hear a story from Mrs. Claus, decorate cookies, visit with elves, see live reindeer, and even experience a snowfall. There really can be a white Christmas in North Alabama! “With candy canes and silver lanes aglow…” The Huntsville Botanical Gardens comes alive during the holiday season with Galaxy of Lights. Throw your kids in the car with their pjs, pick up a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and sing carols as you drive through larger-than-life animated displays including everything from Santa to favorite nursery rhyme characters in a sparkling winter wonderland.

“Yes, we need a little Christmas…” One of the best ways to get into the spirit is to escape for a few hours with a great Christmas story. There are several special productions in the Huntsville area perfect for the family. Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater presents its annual Christmas Carol, a musical retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic novel, while the Huntsville Ballet presents The Nutcracker, featuring new characters and new costumes, all set in Huntsville. And at Burritt on the Mountain, you can all sing by the fire at Kris Kringle’s Candlelight Christmas.

For Your College-Aged Kids “Santa Claus is coming to town…” On their first weekend back home for the holidays, take your college-aged kids to Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment. While strolling the artists’ market, the whole family can find something that interests them. It may be buying a new piece of art for your home or a handmade piece of jewelry for a friend. You can eat together as a family at Happy Tummy, and then everyone can scatter to see a show at Flying Monkey, watch a live painting or metalworking demonstration, or sample chocolate at Pizzelle’s Confections. Though they may have been uninterested in the local arts scene before they left for school, you may find they’re back, a little worldlier and curious about the cool things happening in the area—those things that you have been telling them about for years! “I don’t know if there’ll be snow, but have a cup of cheer…” If it is your undergrad’s first trip back home after turning 21, take them to see a movie at Privé at Monaco Pictures. Grab a glass of wine at their tasting bar and order an appetizer to share from Scene Restaurant before seeing the newest holiday flick. Or, grab a cocktail at Amendment 21 in Downtown Huntsville. Teach your new legal adult how to drink the right way and prove to them you know where the happening places are in town, too.

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“Don we now our gay apparel…” After a semester in college, your young adult has seen the latest styles that “everyone else on campus is wearing.” Instead of putting a gift card in their stocking, make a shopping day out of it! Head over to Downtown Decatur’s Second Avenue for some great local shopping. Or, stop at Bridge Street Town Centre where you can pick out an outfit and then grab a coffee at Café 153. They might not admit it, but deep down, they know you still have style.

It’s not very often kids in Alabama get the chance to ice skate or play in snow. Back by popular demand, the Huntsville Museum of Art is sponsoring an outdoor ice skating rink at Big Spring Park. •••

“Deck the halls…” If your coed is more artsy, schedule a lesson with Bottle and Brush on Whitesburg Drive. No matter your skill level or experience, Rhonda Mitchell can walk you step-by-step through creating a handmade masterpiece you can hang in your home, or they can hang in their dorm rooms. Split a bottle of wine from downstairs at the Wine Cellar and begin painting your first real work of art.

“Run, run Rudolph…” Have you noticed your college student may have gained the dreaded Freshman Fifteen? Invite them to run with you in the Rocket City Marathon on December 14 through downtown Huntsville. This race has been going on for more than 35 years and is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.

Out-of-Town Guests “Have a holly jolly Christmas…” Downtown Huntsville is the perfect place to get away from the traffic and enjoy a stroll. First, pop into the Huntsville Museum of Art for their latest exhibit, then take a stroll in Big Spring Park. Head back up to the square and do a little shopping at Harrison Brothers Hardware, before grabbing an early dinner at Cotton Row or Commerce Kitchen. “I’ll be home for Christmas…”

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Several historic homes in the Huntsville area are worth visiting while your friends and relatives are in town. On December 14, check out the Spirit of Christmas Past Homes Tour and Luminaries in the Twickenham District. Downtown Athens and Downtown Decatur are also worth an afternoon trip to admire the old, Southern homes. On the way back, stop in Mooresville, a picturesque village on 565’s Exit 2 complete with federal and antebellum-style homes.

“Lean your ear this way…” Huntsville is home to some first-class arts organizations that rival those of bigger cities. December is filled with fantastic concerts, such as the Huntsville Community Chorus’ A Celtic Christmas, Merrimack Hall’s Three on a String, the Huntsville Chamber Music Guild’s Robert McDuffie Strings Orchestra, and even the Madison County Public Library’s free Christmas concert. After catching a performance, head to one of Huntsville’s local restaurants for some outstanding cuisine. “O Star of wonder, star of night…” Of course you can’t have a visitor come to town without a visit to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Spend a chilly afternoon touring the new Da Vinci exhibit, then cozy up in the IMAX theatre for some educational films as well as fun Christmas flicks. “Auld lang syne…” The best way to end 2013 and ring in 2014 is with a concert by the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. This year is especially festive with a pop concert Havana-style. Hot off its third Grammy nomination, the Cuban music group Tiempo Libre will celebrate Cuba’s musical heritage, sure to make you want to get up and dance!


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“Only through freedom, freedom for all, can we hope for a true democracy.” Helen Keller

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HELEN KELLER

BEYOND THE WATER PUMP TEXT BY L AURA ANDERS LEE » PHOTOS BY PATRICK HOOD

We Alabamians think we know the story well. Helen Keller was born on June 27, 1880, to Kate and Capt. Arthur Keller in Tuscumbia, Alabama. At the age of 19 months, an illness left her blind, deaf, and mute. She remained speechless until she was almost seven years of age, when her parents, with the help of Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, brought Anne Sullivan to their Ivy Green home, where Helen spoke the word “water” at the famed pump. But the story doesn’t end there. In fact, that is just the beginning. Like many other American heroes, Helen Keller has become more myth than human. Tens of thousands visit Ivy Green each year from all around the world longing to see the pump for themselves, to stand on that sacred ground where a miracle took place. “There are the urban legends that accrue to famous people in history like George Washington chopping down a cherry tree and Big Abe with his stovetop hat,” says Lee Freeman, public historian with the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library, “but once you start learning about them, you realize how much more complex they are.” Complex indeed was Helen Keller. In her lifetime, she wrote 14 books, 475 speeches, and thousands of articles and letters. Freeman points to a shelf filled with books about Helen Keller and a thick binder of local newspaper clippings. The American Foundation for the Blind employs a full-time archivist—Helen Selsdon—with the sole responsibility of sorting through 80,000 documents housed at the New York office which span Helen Keller’s 87-year life. “My biggest job since I’ve been here, and I’ve been here 11 years, is to make her a real person, not just a mythic figure,” says Selsdon. “She lived her life as much as she could. She was extraordinary, there is no question. But people don’t see how very hard she worked. She was prolific. She wrote letters constantly. She was a clever child and a smart woman, but she worked hard at it.”

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BEYOND THE WATER PUMP

Wayne James

Above: Ivy Green, Tuscumbia, Alabama Facing page: Helen Keller at Randolph College

Another spokeswoman for Helen Keller is her great-grand niece, Keller Johnson Thompson. Thompson lives in Tuscumbia where she serves as an ambassador for the American Foundation for the Blind and vice president of the Helen Keller Foundation, based in Birmingham, which conducts research and implements educational programs. “Unfortunately people tend to focus on the pump story and Annie Sullivan and not what she did later on and not what she fought for,” says Thompson. Here is where Helen Keller’s story continues. After that famed day at the water pump, Helen and Anne worked together closely on her studies. They had a special bond, and Helen Keller later called Anne her guardian angel. “She understood the void in my soul because her childhood had been so empty of joy,” Helen Keller described Anne in her memoir Midstream. In 1896, by the time Helen was 16, she began studying for college entrance exams. Her father, who died that same year, had been a graduate of the University of Virginia, a four-star veteran in the Civil War, editor of the North Alabamian, and believed a good education was very important. Helen first attended the Cambridge School for Young Ladies and then Radcliffe College. Not only was she accepted, but in 1904 she became the first deaf and blind student to ever graduate from college. Helen had a zest for life, and she loved new experiences, whether swimming, sailing, flying, or art. She loved taking in the smells of a new city and feeling the sunlight on her skin. At college, she thrived on the new surroundings and worldly ideas. Anne remained by her side, attending all her classes and transcribing her lessons. In 1902 at the age of 22, Helen Keller’s autobiography The Story of My Life was published in a serialized version and the following year it was published as a whole. Helen was greatly assisted by John Macy, an editor and Harvard professor who had become close to both Helen and Anne. In 1905, John and Anne married, and John moved in with Helen and Anne. The three had a big influence on one another. They were intellectuals, often discussing politics and current events. Helen was passionate about pro-

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“We are marching toward a new freedom,” she said in her first speech. “We are learning that freedom is the only safe condition for all human beings, men and women and children. Only through freedom, freedom for all, can we hope for a true democracy.” In 1912, she sent money to women in New York who were protesting better working conditions. In 1913, she stood up for laborers in the following excerpt from Justice: “the output of a cotton mill or coal mine is considered of greater importance than the production of healthy, happy-hearted, free human beings.” In 1914, she wrote to the Sacramento Star about the brutal treatment of the unemployed. She wrote to President Woodrow Wilson about a trial she believed was unfair. © American Foundation for the Blind

Helen Keller spoke out publicly in favor of birth control, which was highly controversial and not legalized until many years later. “The limiting of families is a matter of the gravest necessity to the workers,” Helen wrote in a 1915 New York Call article. “In spite of our boasts of national prosperity, poverty is steadily increasing. The cost of living mounts higher and higher, and wages do not advance in proportion. If the families of the workers are left to the uncontrolled caprice of nature, we shall have a larger percentage of children that are forced to toil in mills and factories—who are denied their birthright of education and play.”

“John Macy was definitely a huge influence on her and introduced socialism to her,” says Selsdon. “I think some people are innately more emphatic, and Helen was one of those people. She was always for the underdog. She had a very Ghandi-esque quality about her.”

Helen Keller also fought for a woman’s right to vote. In an article entitled Why Men Need Women’s Suffrage, she wrote: “Anyone that reads intelligently knows our ideas are up a tree, and that traditions are scurrying away before the advance of their everlasting enemy, the questioning mind of a new age. It is time to take a good look at human affairs in the light of new conditions and new ideas, and the tradition that man is the natural master of the destiny of the race is one of the first to suffer investigation.”

As a 30-year-old woman, Helen Keller’s beliefs were ahead of her time, and the issues she fought for were at the forefront of national debate, something that is often missed in history books.

Helen Keller was a self-proclaimed socialist and felt capitalism meant big profits for a few elite at the expense of hard-working Americans.

“We don’t learn that in elementary school,” says Carl Brandt of Vero Beach, Florida, a tourist to Ivy Green. “It’s all about overcoming the disability, but when you’re older, you research her and realize there is much more to her. We are given just that basic portrait of her and not the whole picture of her life. Her political life is glossed over, left unmentioned.”

“You have to understand her views and the time in which she held those views,” says Freeman. “Critics pigeon-hole her by calling her a socialist, but you have to put everything in historical context.”

tecting individual rights, whether the rights of those with disabilities or the poor or disenfranchised.

“She was blind and deaf but didn’t just sit there with her hands tied,” says Thompson. “She was working with things close to her heart. She wanted to make the world a better place.” In 1913, Helen Keller gave her first public lecture. People flocked to hear her inspiring story, the miracle of the deaf and blind girl now able to speak, but Helen took it as an opportunity to share her beliefs. At the podium, she often spoke about her faith, world peace, women’s rights, and the plight of the poor.

During this time, there were national debates about women’s suffrage, frequent strikes at factories and mills, and the country was entering World War I. “The future of the world rests in the hands of America,” Helen said in a speech at Carnegie Hall during the war. “The future of America rests on the backs of 80 million working men and women and their children. We are facing a grave crisis in our national life. The few who profit from the labor of the masses want to organize the workers into an army which will protect the interests of the capitalists. You are urged to add to the heavy

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BEYOND THE WATER PUMP burdens you already bear—the burden of a larger army and many additional warships. It is in your power to refuse to carry the artillery and the dreadnoughts and to shake off some of the burdens, too, such as limousines, steam yachts, and country estates. You do not need to make a great noise about it. With the silence and dignity of creators you can end wars and the system of selfishness and exploitation that causes wars.” Helen Keller was also very passionate about the constitutional rights of Americans, believing everyone had the right to their political views. In the 1920s, Attorney General Mitchell Palmer arrested thousands of people he believed were radicals and communists in what became known as the “Palmer Raids.” This angered many citizens, and as a result, the American Civil Liberties Union was founded. Helen Keller was among its first members. Throughout this time, Helen remained close with her family. She often visited her sister Mildred, who lived in Montgomery with her three daughters. Until she died in 1921, Helen’s mother Kate accompanied her and Anne on lecture tours. Helen also had other loyal companions, such as Polly Thomson who managed her tour and had moved in with Helen and Anne in 1914, by which time John and Anne’s marriage had collapsed. “In the modern world, people see it as funny when women lived together or traveled together,” says Selsdon. “But in the Victorian Age, it was common for unmarried women.” “At one time, Helen was engaged to Peter Fagan (who was John Macy’s assistant), but she was 36, and her mother and Anne quieted that down,” says Thompson. “I think they were concerned about his intentions. And while I know she especially enjoyed children since she didn’t have any of her own, I think she felt she had other work to do.” Since her teenage years, Helen Keller had been a devout member of the Swedenborgian Church, a Christian church based on the teachings of Swedish scientist and philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg who influenced other prominent figures such as Henry James and Ralph Waldo Emerson. In her book My Religion, published in 1927, Helen wrote, “Sick or well, blind or seeing, bond or free, we are here for a purpose and however we are situated, we please God better with useful deeds than with many prayers or pious resignation.” Helen Keller wasn’t just a woman who spoke her mind and from her heart, but she was a woman of action. “The piece I like to point people to is Helen’s letter to the Student Body of Germany,” says Selsdon. “It really just sums up what she stood for and who she was as a person.” In the May 9, 1933 letter, Helen wrote: “To the Student Body of Germany: History has taught you nothing if you think you can kill ideas. Tyrants have tried to do that often before, and

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the ideas have risen up in their might and destroyed them. You can burn my books and the books of the best minds in Europe but the ideas in them have seeped through a million channels, and will continue to quicken other minds. I gave all the royalties of my books to the soldiers blinded in the World War with no thought in my heart but love and compassion for the German people. Do not imagine your barbarities to the Jews are unknown here. God sleepeth not, and He will visit His Judgment upon you. Better were it for you to have a mill-stone hung round your neck and sink into the sea than to be hated and despised of all men.” While politics and human rights were extremely important to Helen, she never lost sight of her core mission to help those with vision loss, and she became a life-long spokeswoman. “She was employed by the American Foundation for the Blind from 1924 until she died,” says Selsdon. In 1925, Helen Keller went to the Lions Club International and asked them to be Knights of the Blind. In 1931, Helen, Anne, and Polly participated in the first World Council for the Blind, and they continued to travel abroad as advocates for the American Foundation for the Blind. During World War II, Helen visited blind, deaf, and disabled soldiers in military hospitals around the country. In a letter to President Herbert Hoover in 1933 requesting he attend the American Foundation for the Blind’s new sound studio, Helen wrote: “Always there is a glow of grateful remembrance in my heart of how you received the delegates of the World Conference for the Blind. Your fine spirit and cooperation and Mrs. Hoover’s gracious hospitality are precious memories in my work. I realize how very heavy your burden is, and this letter stirs in me an ache of sympathy, but we are told that if we take His Yoke upon us and learn of Him, we shall find the burden light and the yoke easy. The blind of this country will have another reason to remember you with gratitude if you can grant this request.” The following year, she wrote a letter to President Franklin Roosevelt with this introduction: “It stabs me to the quick to take from you one second of the precious hours of rest and recuperation you are seeking in the South, but my championship of the cause of the blind is the urge that will not let me leave you alone.” Helen Keller also wrote letters to President Calvin Coolidge, President Harry S. Truman, President John F. Kennedy, President Richard Nixon, Samuel L. Clemons, Will Rogers, and Albert Einstein. In 1946, Helen and Polly made their first major overseas tour on behalf of the American Foundation for the Overseas Blind, (Anne had died in 1936), and over the next decade, the two visited three dozen countries on five continents. All the while,


Helen Keller with Anne Sullivan and Polly Thomson

“She was not an angel. When she traveled abroad, she was always incredibly charming and sweet but very determined to speak out. She didn’t hold her opinion back. She was a Trojan Horse. Here was this 70-plus woman with a staggeringly tough schedule who spoke her mind and spoke directly to governments. And because of that, laws were changed around the world.” Helen Selsdon, Archivist for the American Foundation for the Blind

© American Foundation for the Blind

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BEYOND THE WATER PUMP

she continued to write books and articles for her many causes. In September 1964, President Lyndon Johnson presented Helen Keller with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, but she was unable to attend the ceremony due to a stroke. Four years later, Helen passed away, and her ashes were interred alongside Polly Thomson and Anne Sullivan at the National Cathedral. She left her archival collection including letters, speeches, photographs, and memorabilia to the American Foundation for the Blind. On the front page of the paper on June 6, 1968, the Florence Herald published, “Tuscumbia-born Helen Keller whose magnificent courage and determination made her an inspiration to millions throughout the world died Saturday at her estate at Easton, Conn. She was 87. Her long-time companion Mrs. Winifred Corbally, was at her side. Once blind, deaf, and mute, Miss Keller’s phenomenal mastery of this triple handicap was a triumph unequaled in this or any age. She became a symbol of hope and encouragement to the handicap everywhere. Miss Keller rose from this void of soundless blackness to become a world traveler, lecturer, author and humanitarian who devoted her life to helping the afflicted of every land.” At a time when most women were raising their children and tending to household chores, Helen Keller was out fighting for a cause. She fought for people with hearing and vision loss. She stood up for the poor and the afflicted. She protected the rights of women and laborers. She believed in equal rights for all. Hostess Mary Eubanks leads a group of schoolchildren through Ivy Green.

“She was not an angel,” Selsdon says. “When she traveled abroad, she was always incredibly charming and sweet but very determined to speak out. She didn’t hold her opinion back. She was a Trojan Horse. Here was this 70-plus woman with a staggeringly tough schedule who spoke her mind and spoke directly to governments. And because of that, laws were changed around the world.” Helen Keller’s legacy lives on in many ways. Her work goes on through scientific research at the Lions Club International and the Helen Keller Foundation. Her letters and speeches are living documents at the American Foundation for the Blind. She represents the state of Alabama on the quarter. Her statue stands

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in the U.S. Capitol as one of 100 American heroes. And the pump remains at Ivy Green as a symbol of hope and perseverance. In all her greatness, Helen Keller cannot be reduced to a symbol, and her tremendous efforts cannot be simplified to a miracle. She was a real person. She was an Alabamian, a daughter, a sister, a college graduate, a woman, an author, a public speaker, an advocate for all persons. And she just so happened to be deaf and blind.

10 Facts You Might Not Know About Helen Keller 30,000 people have visited Ivy Green this year from all 50 states and three dozen countries. LIFE Magazine named Helen Keller one of the 100 most important Americans of the 20th Century. Helen Keller was one of the first members of the ACLU. Helen Keller won an Academy Award for best documentary in 1955 for The Unconquered (renamed Helen Keller in Her Story), a story about her life. William Gibson’s play The Miracle Worker, based on Helen’s early life, debuted on television and on Broadway. She won the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, at age 84. Her remains are buried at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Her statue is at the U.S. Capitol. She is honored on Alabama’s quarter. There are 21 million blind people in the United States today.

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60 »

scene

Tony and JoAnne LaMacchia Cynthia Robinson, Jane Jattuso, and Terry Butler Mya and Suzi Henley Clinic mascot Mr. Snippy Walt Hennessee and Beverly Dezenberg

Jane Jattuso and Howard Sanderford

Jane Jones, Warren Candler, Jean Douglas, and Toni Bridges

Judy Link and Susan Baldaia © Daniels Photography

Above: Open House at North Alabama Spay/Neuter Clinic SEPTEMBER 8, 2013

Below: The HSO Guild Advisor’s Dinner AUGUST 25, 2013  HOME OF TONY AND PAM GANN

Randy Roper, Betsy Lowe, and Ken Rivenbard

AJ Albert, Mark Mantooth, Jay Stutts, Bruce Summerville, Jeff Prozan, Gary Tucker, Eric Milberger, Stacey Gardner, Randy Roper, David Lucas, and Greg Stickland Tony and Pam Gann

Paige and Jeff Prozan

Suzanne O’Connor Stacey Gardner and Donna Rush * Names for photos are provided by the organization or business featured.

Eric and Brenda Milberger, Rhonda and Jay Stutts, Ivy Downs and AJ Albert

Dan Halcomb and Frances Huffman


This year, don’t give things give experiences! Music lovers will be delighted with the gift of an HSO experience. After all, the season is rich and varied, all performed by the oldest continuously-operating symphony orchestra in the State of Alabama. What could you give that’s better than that?

Whether it’s a single seat for a select performance or a prorated season ticket, a gift from the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra is the stocking stuffer they will always remember. Don’t just give

things this year - give a musical experience!

Watch for our online sale this Thanksgiving! Special discounts on special seats are offered from Thanksgiving until the following Sunday, but only online. For more information, visit www.hso.org or call 256-539-4818. N OVEMBER /D ECEMBER 2013 | NOALAPRESS . COM | 61


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REIMAGINED TEXT BY L AURA ANDERS LEE » PHOTOS BY PATRICK HOOD

DECORATING THE TREE , TAKING PICTURES WITH SANTA , WATCHING THE NUTCRACKER—these are all must-dos each year during the holiday season. It just simply would not be Christmas without them. In honor of its 50th anniversary, the Huntsville Ballet Company has reinvented The Nutcracker to reflect life and people in Huntsville back in the 1850s. They’ve been busy collaborating with the Historic Huntsville Foundation for authentic sets, costumes, and characters. The original Nutcracker, which premiered in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1892, was set in the antebellum period, so the company decided to go back to that, but with a twist. “We have to put a spin on it that’s fresh and new and the city feels an ownership in,” says Phillip Otto, artistic director of the Huntsville Ballet. “It’s a three-year process, but we’re starting with new sets and costumes. It will be based on a little girl’s dream in Huntsville on Christmas Eve. Characters will be prominent Huntsville people instead of in Germany.” Lisa Ordway, the wardrobe mistress who has been involved with the ballet on and off since her daughter was a dancer, has been hard at work reimagining and redesigning the costumes. Facing page, back row: Jadyn Dahlberg, Sarah Satterfield, and Catherine Hampton. Front and center: Lucy Maples.

“I adore what I do, especially being part of the new Nutcracker,” says Lisa. “We have some Nutcracker costumes that have been around for 30 years. I live on Pinterest and have been looking and researching online. Once we had an idea of what we’re doing, we just ran with it.” Lisa and her team of seamstresses have created elaborate antebellum dresses for the dinner party scene, complete with hoop skirts. “The stage will be filled with dresses,” Lisa laughs. The design team is basing the set on Oak Place on Maysville Road which belonged to the architect George Steele, responsible for the First National Bank building downtown. “We’re going to have some surprises,” says Lisa. “We’re looking at other Huntsville characters that might be there…we can use this Nutcracker as a way to educate children on the history of Huntsville.” “This is the one time of year where we educate up to 4,000 students that week,” adds Phillip. “The students get on stage during intermission, and I educate them on how

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a production is put together. It costs $30,000 a week to have the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, and the school kids get that experience as well. They really need to see ballet the way it’s meant to be seen, with the best quality dancers Huntsville can offer.” Besides making changes to The Nutcracker, Phillip and his team, including his wife Rachel, have been making other changes to their annual productions to lure a wider, more diverse audience. In the spring, the company presented the classic Swan Lake, then at the end of October, the ballet hosted its “Unplugged” event, featuring everything from Tchaikovsky’s classic Serenade for Strings to modern dance. “‘Unplugged’ is simply ballet out of the box so to speak,” adds Phillip. “We brought in choreographers and experimented with different works. Ballet has been about white girls in tutus, to be blunt. But it’s time to ask ‘Where is ballet going to go? Does it mix with hip-hop? Does it mix with modern?’ Last year we collaborated with the opera, and this year we’re collaborating with the UAH Theatre. We are constantly trying to break down barriers that will prevent diversity from happening. Dance is a bridge that unites us all, no matter what economic background you come from or what religion or nationality.” Phillip and Rachel, who share a love for dance, arrived in Huntsville in 2007 to co-lead the ballet company and school. “We work well together because we have different eyes,” Rachel says. “Phillip can see the whole picture; he can be that visionary. I am definitely that technique, detailed eye. When you get those things together, our students get a well-rounded education.” “I had been dancing since diapers,” Phillip says. “My mom was a dance teacher, and my seven siblings and I danced.”

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Above, from left to right: Catherine Hampton, Morgan Foster, and Jadyn Dahlberg. Facing page: Desmond Nunn and Morgan Foster.


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Phillip trained at the School of American Ballet and the Joffrey School. He has danced with some of the most prestigious companies in the world such as the New York City Ballet, London’s Royal Ballet, the Stuttgart Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, and the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Rachel left home at 16 to pursue a career in dance, training with the Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, and Atlantic Contemporary Ballet. She has traveled the world dancing and teaching in places such as China, Turkey, Australia, and the UK, and she has played nearly every role in The Nutcracker. Phillip and his wife fell in love with Huntsville, and they saw many opportunities to strengthen the organization, especially from a training perspective. Their son, who’s 14, and their daughter, who’s 10, both dance. “Basically my wife and I have been trying to train dancers to a certain quality and level where they’ll be accepted to major companies,” says Phillip. “We’ve had students go to School of American Ballet in New York, the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, the Boston Ballet.” “My goal is to end up in New York,” says Desmond Nunn, who is 22 and starred in “Unplugged.” “I would definitely like to join a company,” says Catherine Hampton, 17, who is home schooled and spends as much time in the studio as possible. Phillip believes he and his wife have created a strong program, but that there is still work to do. “This is my sixth season, and looking back, the arts always struggle,” says Phillip. “I imagine the artistic director back then, the most famous being Lloyd B. Tygett. He was there 30 years. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about the struggles he had. He actually painted sets, choreographed ballets, taught classes…he was a jack of all trades and knew how to bring the artistic community together.” The Huntsville Ballet was founded by Dr. Richard Lester and his wife Katherine along with Betty Soulét, who all remain involved today. The Huntsville Civic Ballet held auditions in February 1964 and debuted in May of 1964 in a cameo appearance with the Huntsville Arts Council.

Above: Phillip Otto, artistic director of the Huntsville Ballet Facing page, left to right: Lucy Maples, Julia Otto, Hannah Box, Morgan Foster, Jadyn Dahlberg, Madison Lynn, Zoe Hakonsson, Sarah Satterfield, Haley Barnhill, and Catherine Hampton.

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“I was born in 1963 when this place was first established,” Phillip says. “It’s a matter of respecting the past but moving forward to the future. As an organization, we wanted to give back something special to the community for the anniversary that they can hold and cherish.” If it’s not already, you will want to make The Nutcracker part of your holiday tradition. As Phillip says, “A Christmas without The Nutcracker is like Thanksgiving without a turkey.” Tickets for The Nutcracker are now on sale, and details can be found on our calendar of events on page 14.


“We have to put a spin on [The Nutcracker] that’s fresh and new and the city feels an ownership in. It’s a three-year process, but we’re starting with new sets and costumes. It will be based on a little girl’s dream in Huntsville on Christmas Eve. Characters will be prominent Huntsville people instead of in Germany.” —PHILLIP OTTO

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Red Rhythm Runway Brings Shoals Music and Fashion Together at Last TEXT BY ALLEN TOMLINSON PHOTOS BY PATRICK HOOD

If you travel much, you’ve probably run in to people who have heard of the Shoals. People know us either as the place where all that great music comes from, or the country’s emerging Fashion Capital (behind New York and Los Angeles, of course). The sounds and styles that got their start here have gone out into the world, made an impression, and have reflected well on our region. On September 28, Porsche of Huntsville and Grogan Jewelers presented Red Rhythm Runway, an evening of entertainment that married the soulful, get-up-and-dance music that made us famous with the sophisticated fashions from three area designers. A fundraiser for the AIDS Action Coalition’s Hames Clinic in Florence, more than 500 people gathered at the Marriott Conference Center to hear world-class musicians and see stunning clothes draped on beautiful local models. There was an exhibit of designs by UNA students in the lobby, pop-up shops featuring local merchants, and an after-party sponsored by Truly Cigars of Florence. It was a special night—it was Muscle Shoals Magic.

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Above, clockwise from left: Show director Keith Sims fine tunes light cues during rehearsal; Shawna P and Jimmy Hall address the audience during the after party concert; Jessie Childers models a Marianna Barksdale creation.


Clockwise from top left: Guests admire the gowns created by the students from the University of North Alabama’s Department of Human Environmental Sciences; Stage manager Sarah Haynes (left) with models during rehearsal; The horn section: Chad Fisher, Ken Watters, and Brad Guin perform during the show.

“Savor the runway show, embrace the music, and immerse yourself in the inspiration that surrounds us here. See and hear the unique magic that unfolds when world-class artists come together in the spirit of creativity and compassion.” —Judy Hood, from her RRR Forward

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Clockwise from top left: Hair stylists Tim May (left) and Wesley Roden prepare the models (like Kaitlyn Wilson), before the show; Makeup artist Kendra Johnson applies lip color to Caroline Bobo; Nicole DeVaney gets a feel for the zig-zag runway during her ďŹ rst rehearsal; models Anna Whitten, Storm Spencer, and Sarah Patterson wait back stage during the morning rehearsal for their cue; one of six looks designed by students from UNA’s Department of Human Environmental Sciences, created entirely out of found and recycled materials.


Clockwise from left: Kate Hunt in Billy Reid; Laney Risner in Marianna Barksdale; Justin Lanfair in Billy Reid, Kaitlyn Wilson in Marianna Barksdale; Courtney Sledge, center, in Billy Reid.

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Clockwise from top left: Chris Klaus models a Billy Reid look from the designer’s Fall 2013 collection; Jessie Childers models an ensemble from Alabama Chanin’s latest line; Anna Whitten in another look from Alabama Chanin; Nicole Hugaboom in Marianna Barksdale; Canaan Marshall, center, opens the show as a young W.C. Handy.


Clockwise from left: Kelvin Holly, Jimmy Hall, Shawna P, and Will McFarlane. Shane Baker, center, entertains guests in the atrium before the show.

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NORTH ALABAMA’S BEST

PHOTOS BY PATRICK HOOD PRODUCED BY CLAIRE STEWART

The recipes are cherished,

passed around to friends and family and prized—and that makes sense, because cakes accompany most of the milestones in our lives. Weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and holidays—you can always be sure a cake will be present. Everyone has that one cake recipe that is raved about at dinner parties and nibbled until the very last crumb is gone. Since everyone has a favorite cake recipe, we decided we wanted to hear (and taste) the best! When we announced this cake contest, we were inundated with submissions from across North Alabama. We sorted through dozens of recipes for bundt cakes, layer cakes, pound cakes, and sheet cakes to find our favorite three. We baked and iced them in the No’Ala test kitchen and found all three to be absolutely delicious. And although any of these cakes can be a perfect addition to your holiday table, our judges picked their favorite: a Lane Cake, submitted posthumously for Irene Morgan by her great-granddaughter. Though this cake is admittedly much more laborious than the other two cakes, our taste-testers agreed it is worth the hard work! Thank you to everyone who submitted, and we hope you will try these in your own home. But try to remember this is the season of giving—you should share a little with the rest of the family, too!

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LANE CAKE Irene Morgan

Cake stand and plates from You’re Home

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Cake • 2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pans • 3-1/2 cups cake flour, sifted • 4 teaspoons baking powder • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt • 2 cups sugar • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 1 cup milk • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar • 8 egg whites Filling • 1 cup sugar • 8 egg yolks • 1/2 cup bourbon or brandy • 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed • 1 cup raisins • 1 cup chopped pecans • 1 cup grated coconut • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

CAKE FACTS:

Frosting • 1-1/2 cups sugar • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt • 4 egg whites Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9” cake pans; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat butter, 1-2/3 cups sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk in three batches until just combined. In a separate large bowl, whisk together cream of tartar and egg whites until soft peaks form; slowly add remaining sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form. Add to cake batter mixture and fold until combined. Divide batter between prepared cake pans and smooth tops; bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean—about 40 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes, remove from pans, and cool completely. Using a long, serrated knife, halve both cakes horizontally to create four layers in all and set them aside. For filling, whisk together sugar and yolks in a four quart saucepan. Whisk in bourbon and butter, and heat over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly, and cook until mixture thickens to the consistency of loose pudding (about two minutes). Remove from heat and let cool completely. Stir in raisins, pecans, coconut, and vanilla; set aside. For the frosting, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water so the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Cook, whisking often, until the sugar dissolves and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the egg whites reads 140 degrees. Place the bowl on the stand mixer fitted with a whisk, and whisk the mixture on medium-high until tripled in volume and stiff peaks form. While the frosting whips, place one cake layer on a cake stand and top with 1/3 filling. Repeat with remaining cake layers and filling, leaving top layer uncovered. When frosting is ready, spread it over the top and sides of the cake until the cake is evenly covered. If desired, use cherries and nuts to decorate the top of the cake. Chill before serving.

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The most expensive cake ever reported was $30 million. This wedding cake was made by Buddy Valastro (from TLC’s show, “Cake Boss”) at the request of a New York socialite who wanted the perfect cake for her diamond gala event. On the cake were sapphires, emeralds, rubies, and diamonds.

The Lane Cake is a Southern holiday tradition. This cake, first made popular in the Harper Lee’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD was noted for its high amounts of alcohol— Scout: “Miss Maudie Atkinson baked a Lane cake so loaded with shinny it made me tight.” Filled with pecans, raisins, and coconut, and as much bourbon as you care to fill it with, this cake is sure to leave you in the holiday spirit!


Cake • 3 carrots, peeled and shredded • 6 pineapple rings (about 1 cup, you’ll reserve 1/4 cup of the juice for later) • 1/2 cup brown sugar • 3/4 cup whole milk • 9 eggs, separated • 1/2 cup coconut oil, warmed slightly (or vegetable oil) • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract (or 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste for each tablespoon) • 1 teaspoon cinnamon • 1/4 teaspoon ginger (optional) • 2-1/4 cups coconut flour* • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt (i.e., not Kosher salt) • 1/4 cup coconut rum • 4 tablespoons salted butter Filling • 1 cup granulated sugar • 1 cup sour cream • 1 handful of dried coconut (sweetened or not) Frosting • 1 tub Cool Whip Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place shredded carrots and pineapple in food processor and pulse to a fine consistency. Drain off excess juice and place in a bowl and mix with 1/2 cup brown sugar. Set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk flour, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. You do this in place of sifting. Next add oil, egg yolks, cinnamon, ginger, one tablespoon vanilla, and milk. Whisk thoroughly. Add carrot mixture. With a mixer, whip egg whites with 3/4 cup sugar. Start at a medium speed and increase speed once you’ve reached a soft/medium peak. Whip until you have stiff peaks that look like puffy clouds.

CAKE FACTS: In ancient Rome, bread, not cake, was broken over the bride’s head to symbolize good fortune and fertility to the couple. Over time, with the additions of yeast, flour, eggs, sugar, and spices, and the introduction of baking soda and baking powder, the modern cake eventually made its way into history around the mid-1800s—and we are all thankful for that!

Take three 8” cake pans or two 10” pans and line with parchment circles or grease only the bottom of the pans. Take a small portion of your meringue and “sacrifice” the air cells you just whipped in by whisking it into your other ingredient bowl. Fold one third of the remaining meringue in at a time. Don’t over mix. Each time you fold in meringue, mix it about 80% of the way and add the next portion so you don’t over mix it and work out all the air. Gently pour mixed cake into prepared pans. Bake the cake on the top rack for 30-40 minutes and check it half way through to ensure even-baking. Rotate if necessary. As the cake bakes, toast 1/2 of the dry coconut (about two to five minutes). Next, combine the 1/4 cup pineapple juice, one tablespoon vanilla, 1/4 cup coconut rum, and four tablespoons butter in a small sauce pan. Heat until melted. When the cake comes out of the oven, gently poke it with a fork. Brush syrup over warm cake. Cool completely. To assemble, mix together one cup granulated sugar, one cup sour cream, and frozen coconut. Split each layer of cake and spread generously with sour cream mixture. Flip the syrup sides down onto the sour creamed sides so gravity makes your cake super moist. Reserve a small portion of the sour cream mixture. Mix reserved sour cream mixture with Cool Whip and ice the cake. Mix together the toasted and un-toasted dried coconut and pack around the outside. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. Should keep three to four days in the fridge and freezes well. *Coconut flour can be found at Publix as well as other health food stores. You can also substitute gluten-free flour, garbanzo (chickpea) flour, or regular cake flour, although these flours may slightly change the taste.

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GLUTEN-FREE CARROT COCONUT CAKE Aeriel Michelle

Napkin from You’re Home

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CREAM-FILLED CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE Ruth Hopper

Cake stand, plates, and napkin from You’re Home

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Cake • 2 cups sugar • 1 cup cooking oil • 2 eggs • 3 cups flour • 3/4 cups cocoa • 2 teaspoons baking soda • 2 teaspoons baking powder • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt • 1 cup hot coffee • 1 cup buttermilk • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

CAKE FACTS:

Grease and flour Bundt pan. Mix sugar, oil, and eggs on high speed for one minute. Add remaining batter ingredients besides nuts. Beat mixture on medium speed for three minutes. Add 1/2 cup chopped nuts into the mixture, stirring in by hand. Filling • 1/4 cup sugar • 1 teaspoon vanilla • 1–8 oz package of cream cheese • 1 egg • 1/2 cup flaked coconut • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces (or dark chocolate) Pour 1/2 of batter in bottom of Bundt pan. Spoon filling over batter and top with remaining batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 70-75 minutes. Glaze • 1 cup powdered sugar (sifted) • 3 tablespoons cocoa • 2 tablespoons melted butter • 2 teaspoons vanilla • 4 tablespoons hot water Mix together glaze and pour over cooled cake.

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The Bundt cake is known for its distinctive ring shape. Though it was inspired by a traditional European fruit cake called a Gugelhupf, the bundt cake is not generally associated with any single recipe. The cake was popularized in America in the 50s and 60s after its name was trademarked by the Nordic Ware company. But, the cake was almost lost in history when the company saw the pan selling poorly in the market. If it weren’t for a mention in the 1963 Good Housekeeping Cookbook and thus a spike in the sale of the pan, the company would have discontinued the line. From that time, the Bundt cake became popular with Tunnel of Fudge cakes and Jell-O molded treats.


TEXT BY

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CLAIRE STEWART » PHOTOS BY PATRICK HOOD


HAVE YOU EVER TASTED A PIZZELLE? Maybe it’s the special ingredient, anise, that makes this pastry more complex than a traditional cookie, but this delicate Italian wafer cookie has a lot of depth—especially for only containing five ingredients. Sisters Michelle Novosel and Caitlin Lyon grew up eating these baked sweets, and they seem to have made a lasting impression on the sisters, as it is now the namesake for their chocolate shop at Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment. Interesting flavor profiles, like the pizzelle, are what these sisters now do best—the traditional with a twist, the customary with the daring, and the ordinary with the extraordinary. Michelle and Caitlin have been passionate about food for as long as they can remember. Before Caitlin went back to school to get a technical writing degree, she worked in a local restaurant and learned the ins and outs of food production. At the same time, Michelle was in culinary school. It only made sense to eventually open a business together that combined their knowledge of food. While they bounced around ideas about how to create bakeries, restaurants, or cafés, the two realized there was a common thread throughout all their dreams: chocolate. From savory chocolate, to drinking chocolate, to handmade truffles, their true love for chocolate made it obvious what the next step should be. Planning for the chocolate shop began in 2008. The first step was to choose their tempering chocolate, which is the chocolate used as a base in all of their truffles. Tempered chocolate is very glossy with a firm finish and melts smoothly at body temperature. They rounded up all of their closest friends who (begrudgingly) agreed to help them go through what seemed like hundreds of different chocolates to find the best one, and they decided on Venezuelan El Rey chocolate. Chocolate aficionados in the area may recognize this high-quality, single bean chocolate. Other than this base chocolate, Pizzelle’s Confections uses locally grown and produced ingredients—everything from the Belle Chevre goat cheese in their “I Do Declare” truffle or the Blue Pants Brewery Beer in their “Depth Charge” truffle. “You can be assured the fruits and

Above: Caitlin and Michelle behind the counter of their Lowe Mill shop. Facing page: “South by Southeast” and Nut Job” truffles.

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herbs we use in our products are fresh and local,” said Caitlin. “If someone didn’t bring us the bag of fruit to our store, I was probably up on a ladder picking it somewhere two days ago.” Using local goods is extremely important to these sisters. They have lived in this area for 30 years and sincerely feel like they are filling a niche in the area. “We know the people in this area, and in our time here we have come to understand their palates and habits,” Michelle said. The two sisters were a part of the local arts scene in Huntsville long before it became the thriving entity it is now. “We were regulars at the Flying Monkey theater before it was even in Lowe Mill,” she said. So in 2012, when a retail space in Lowe Mill opened up, the sisters were quick to apply. “We knew our patrons before we even physically opened the shop,” she said.

We don’t want to reach only the food snobs in the area. Our mission is to educate everyone about high-quality chocolate and increasingly widen the palates of those who already know and love our chocolate.” —Michelle Novosel

Above: The “Sitar” is a caramelized white chocolate truffle infused with the flavors of black tea, vanilla, and chai spices. Facing page: The beautifully painted “Earl Grey” truffle is a hit with tea lovers in the Tennessee Valley.

A year later, Pizzelle’s Confections is up and running in Lowe Mill’s Railroad Room 4A as the only local hand-crafted, small batch truffle shop in North Alabama. “It is really amazing the success that we have had in the time that we have been open,” said Michelle. “We were almost unprepared for the community’s enthusiastic response we saw in our first six months of business. Not that that is a bad problem to have!”

The two love getting feedback from their regular customers and are always looking for the next flavor profile to feature. “We get many requests for new products,” said Michelle. “Things like chocolate-covered strawberries, fudge, and turtles don’t exactly fit into our style. We are looking for interesting, never-been-attempted pairings that surprise and excite. When we find something that works, it is the ultimate success and our patrons are very excited to try it.” When the two made their “I Do Declare” truffle this summer, which paired goat cheese, balsamic vinegar, local honey, walnuts, and chocolate, they were worried the flavor might intimidate some of their customers. “The response was the exact opposite!” Michelle said. “People saw the flavor and said ‘Goat cheese? Okay, I have to try that.’ And it has been one of our most popular flavors yet.” That is not to say every flavor profile works when they attempt it. “We tried a chocolate hazelnut truffle and it was just all right. It definitely wasn’t something I would

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want to request if I came into a chocolate shop. We just weren’t passionate about the flavor so we didn’t push it through,” said Michelle. “But our attempt at a lemon truffle was even worse—very Lysol-y.” Though not all attempted flavors work, everyone agrees the pairings the sisters settle on work perfectly. The spice lovers appreciate the truffles infused with cayenne peppers and chipotle. The tea drinkers can find nirvana in chocolate made with jasmine or chai tea. Those looking for an aperitif will prefer the treats that highlight brandy, pistachio liquor, and stout beer. The more adventurous palates may try the truffles with star anise, rosemary, or basil. And for the purists, the salted caramel truffle and candy bars with caramel and almonds fit the bill. A box of Pizzelle’s Confections is the perfect gift for any occasion. It’s not just truffles, either. The rich drinking chocolate can be mixed with Kaffeklatch coffee to make a creamy mocha or blended with ice cream to make a divine float. The sisters also make homemade marshmallows in flavors such as coconut, peppermint, espresso, cinnamon, chocolate, lavender, and honey vanilla. And if you prefer caramels to chocolate, you can find a delicious assortment of candies including bourbon caramel, salted caramel, and orange habañero caramel. In addition to the regular menu items, Pizzelle’s has had a great response from their seasonal truffles, as well. This summer they boasted mojito and fig jam flavored truffles, and this fall they offered pumpkin and maple-flavored treats. During the holidays, look for ginger and mint-infused truffles as well as festive twists on menu favorites. “We don’t want to reach only the food snobs in the area,” says Michelle. “Our mission is to educate everyone about high-quality chocolate and increasingly widen the palates of those who already know and love our chocolate.” So, this holiday, throw out the Whitman’s sampler, and stuff your stockings with a box of local chocolate made by your neighbors right down the road.

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scene

Nancy West, Shawna Broussard, Paige Hanks, Cathy Textar, and Donna Dreisewerd

Terry and Deann Billings, Charlene and Randy Gothart, Jennifer and Jackie Rosser, Linda and Michael Gray Kerry & Scotty Watkins Donna Bell and Landon Millsap Sally Warden, Cynthia Potts, and Cheri Mead

Jan Davis and Dick Richardson

Doug and Kathryn Martinson

Above: 14th Annual Moon Over Three Caves Dance SEPTEMBER 21, 2013  WE RUN HUNTSVILLE

Golnaz and Benrouz Rahmah

Below: Alabama Fashion Alliance’s Fashion Weekend Alabama SEPTEMBER 1921, 2013  HUNTSVILLE M ARRIOTT

© Slate Photography

* Names for photos are provided by the organization or business featured.


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the vine » Amy Collins

Palate-Pleasing Personalities CHRISTMAS IN MY FAMILY HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN EVENT. My mother, a talented shopper, loved to spoil my sisters and me when we were children (presents were piled rather than placed under the tree). Christmas morning began early; we’d open gifts and dump out our stockings, and Dad would make the best eggs benedict on the planet. By late afternoon, the extended family would begin to arrive, grown half brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, a thick mix of strong personalities, and usually a drunken performance or two. It was the company I most looked forward to, the stories that invariably circulated around and between us. The more people, the more personalities. Given the range of variables, it’s a wonder we humans get along as well as we do. Good wine helps. Wines also have different personalities. Certain grape varieties have intrinsic qualities, like color and flavor profiles, which are written into the DNA. A Pinot Noir will always have softer tannins than a Cabernet Sauvignon and some hint of cherry fruit, dictated by DNA. But whether or not the wine is very light, with high acid or dark and oaky, depends on where the grapes were grown and how the wine was raised. Nature versus nurture. And so the possibilities of personality combinations are extensive. When I first got interested in wine and took a few classes, I often heard the phrase, “the more you learn about wine, the more you realize you don’t know.” We could easily substitute “people” for “wine,” and we’d all nod our heads in agreement. For the sake of the holiday season, busy schedules, to-do lists, gift lists, and the swarm of personalities we will inevitably encounter at one party or another, let’s put the deep thinking aside until January, when we need something to distract us from the pain of new exercise regimes and torture of dieting, and simplify the wine matter. I have selected a few personality-driven bottles for a buying guide for parties, dinners, gifts, and family over the next few weeks, which are all available in North Alabama.


Amy’s Gift Suggestions Ricco Bianco, white blend, from the Veneto, Italy $9.99 This is a good Pinot Grigio-based white, with a bit more going on, naturally stylish and easy to talk to. Kumbaya 2011, red blend, from California $9.99 The peacemaker and easy drinker everybody loves, because how can you not love someone with a smile and hug for all he meets? Secco Italian Bubbles 2011, from the Veneto, Italy $13.99 Dry and Prosecco-like, this is the late-night party girl, because when you’re having so much fun, you might as well have a little more. Cuvée Stéphi Ebullience NV sparkling wine, from France $19.99 Elegant and sophisticated, yet surprisingly low maintenance. A blend of four different grapes, it is a delicate and delicious sipper. Marcel Lapierre Raisins Gaulois 2012, from Beaujolais, France $15.99 A leader in the natural wine movement, your new BFF is incredibly knowledgeable on all matters good and healthy. And he makes you laugh. Poggio Anima 2011, Greco from Basilicata, Italy $15.99 Friendly with food, good acidity, and pleasantly refreshing, even in cold weather. Secret life: it’s made by a famous, young, hot Italian winemaker. Brandborg Pinot Noir ‘Bench Lands’ 2009, from Elkton, Oregon $20.99 New kid with all the right stuff to make a beautiful, wellstructured drink. For the curious and small production mindful. Ivy league without the ego. Spellbound Petite Sirah 2011, from California $15.99 Deeply colored with a sturdy backbone, yet agreeable and crowd-pleasing. The quiet mentor of good demeanor. DuMol Chardonnay 2010, from Russian River, California $69.99 Rich, luscious, and hedonistic. A favorite of Robert Parker’s, popular with the in-crowd and hard to palate more than a single glass. Belle Glos Pinot Noir ‘Clark & Telephone’ 2012, from California $65.00 Super rich, concentrated chocolate cherry and a little bit of spice in a red wax-dipped, heavy-bottomed bottle. Jay Gatsby in party attire.

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bless their hearts » Claire Stewart

Earlier this year I learned that in the end, the messy, awkward and comical moments are the ones that matter the most.

Wishing You a Messy Christmas IMAGINE THE UPCOMING HOLIDAY SEASON IN YOUR HOME. Are you spending eight hours making a gourmet meal for Thanksgiving Day, attempting to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list, or sending your ‘Seasons Greetings’ photo postcard to all of your closest (and not-so-close) friends and family? You may be going over the dos and don’ts with your children again—“Be good or you won’t get any gifts,” “Say thank you for every gift you are given with a smile,” “Don’t interrupt when people are talking,” “Keep your elbows off the table…” I am sorry to tell you, but that turducken probably won’t be as delicious and raved-about as you had hoped. The gift you give this year may be completely forgotten and thrown in a closet somewhere in three months. And your photo postcard will most likely enter a recycle bin soon after it arrives. Your children will probably forget their manners this year—they will chew with their mouth open, make a nasty face when Aunt Edna gives them another itchy sweater, and continue to interrupt all adult conversations throughout the holiday season. But that’s okay. Life is usually a mess, instead of the pretty painted picture we have in our mind—and that is what makes it 10 times better. Earlier this year I learned that in the end, the messy, awkward, and comical moments are the ones that matter the most. In April, my father suffered a stroke very unexpectedly at the age of 60. All at once, our entire extended family was in the waiting room at Huntsville Hospital, realizing these would be

the last few hours of his life. My sister flew in from Boston, my brother rushed in from Tampa, and family members and friends came from across the state of Alabama to be with us during this time. During our last visit, my mother, brother, sister, and I spent time at his bedside crying, laughing, and telling stories. And I am sure he would have hated the stories we chose to tell. Though I may be biased, my father was an amazing man. A Methodist minister for 38 years, he transformed and brought to life many of the churches he ministered to. He had the perfect recipe for a great sermon—a title that pulled you in, an anecdote that made you laugh, a tie-in that made you think, and an ending that left you inspired. He also loved traveling the world. He was an outstanding cook with a love of New Orleans cuisine. He was an avid hiker who completed a number of challenging trails throughout North America. And he loved cultivating beautiful gardens which he planted at each and every one of our homes. But those weren’t the things we remembered. My sister Skye apologized for yelling at him when she was in 7th grade. During a remodel of one of our homes (the United Methodist Church is infamous for moving their preachers around a lot), we got a new commode, and Dad put the old one on the side of the road in front of our house. Skye was absolutely mortified thinking everyone she knew would see the toilet. Dad didn’t help by egging her on, telling her he had plans to plant flowers in it or considered reading his newspaper every morning, sitting on that toilet. That day in the hospital, she told him she was sorry for being a pain, and looking back, the joke was actually pretty funny.


My brother Nathan thanked Dad for playing catch with him when he was six. At this point, Nathan had decided he was going to grow up to be a baseball player. My father had very little athletic ability but my brother didn’t seem to notice that when he brought back a Braves jersey for my Dad from a game and begged Dad to play with him. Dad put on the jersey, which was three sizes too small and fit more like a tankini than a welltailored baseball jersey, and played catch with his son in the front yard. As soon as Dad threw the first pitch, Nathan hit a homerun into the neighbor’s yard. Nathan never went on to play in major league baseball, but he said he would never forget that day and how much it meant to him. When it was my turn, I apologized for making Dad take me fishing in 5th grade. After another move, I had decided the only redeeming quality of our new residence was the lake that sat behind our property. I insisted that we go fishing. The next day Dad took me to pick out $100 of fishing supplies, including rods, a tackle box, and an assortment of lures (only the ones I thought were pretty), and we headed out for an early fishing trip the next morning. As we walked to the water’s edge, I suddenly became woozy, realizing I should have had more to eat and drink on this humid day in July. I proceeded to barf into the water—surely scaring off all the fish nearby. Dad just held my hair back and took care of me the rest of the day. After that, I decided my fishing career was over. The tackle box sat in our garage until we sold it in a yard sale many years later. He never made me feel bad for not trying again and never pestered me about the money he spent. And I thanked him for that. In his last hours, I am sure my father would have picked other points in his life for us to recall. But those wouldn’t be genuine stories of the father we cherished—and that wouldn’t be an interesting story. He taught us that when telling a good story, just like the perfect sermon, you need highs and lows, a way to tug on heartstrings as well as bring a few laughs. Good stories can be messy. And a perfect situation never makes an interesting story, just like a perfect life is never as good as the crazy, mixed-up, and comical rides we are put on in our day-to-day lives. So this holiday, give up your preconceived notion that this will be the first year you perfect the art of the chocolate soufflé. Throw out the window your idea that the kids will like their toys beyond Christmas Day. Just sit back, take in your time together, and know that the blunders, embarrassments, and hysterics are the ones that make our stories worth remembering. I mean, do you really think Mary would be happy to know the entire world found out her baby was born beside a pig sty? Probably not—but it makes a much better story, right?

Facing page: The Stewart kids: Skye, Nathan, and Claire, Christmas morning, 1990.

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food for thought » Sarah Gaede ALTHOUGH THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE FULL OF JOY AND CELEBRATION, peace on earth, and good will to all, holidays are the most fraught times of the year. Not only are we expected to be filled with the holiday spirit at all times, even for those who normally get on our very last nerve, we are expected to produce meals for ravening hordes that could grace the cover of Southern Living.

Happy Holidays—for Real! For many years, seduced by the nostalgia that society propagates at holiday time, my husband Henry and I made the effort to join my family for Christmas, often driving up on Christmas Day—until the year I burst into tears at dinner and fled the room. Being the good husband that he is, Henry followed immediately. As I wept, he asked me, “How old are you?” I snuffled, “45.” He continued: “How much longer is it going to take you to figure out that you can’t do Christmas with your family?” It’s been 18 years since that eye-opening event. We still visit, just not at holidays. Since then, we have come to savor our time alone together on Christmas day, although we often invite for dinner a few friends who are also foregoing family drama. At our house, Christmas Eve is a simple supper of homemade soup or stew, made a day or two in advance, to fortify us for the night ahead at church, which is, after all, what Christmas is about. So as not to follow in the footsteps of a certain member of Christ Church, Savannah, who was prone to keel over at the altar rail, we limit ourselves to one modest glass of wine. When we stagger home after the midnight service, we have a nightcap, fill each other’s stockings, and head for bed. Breakfast the next morning is something simple, with perhaps a mimosa to get us into the gift-opening spirit. For the past few years, we have enjoyed caviar with blinis and crème fraiche (via the Internet) for lunch, along with the champagne left over from breakfast. After a nice nap, I start on dinner, which gets simpler with the passing years. I learned my lesson the year I didn’t wake up from my Christmas afternoon nap until 4 pm, only to realize it takes several hours to roast a whole duck. The first course might be a roasted beet and citrus salad, or butternut squash soup, followed by rack of lamb or duck breasts in cherry-port sauce, accompanied by a really good wine. For dessert, a simple chocolate nut torte that can be made ahead is just as good as the elaborate Bûche de Noël with meringue mushrooms I used to feel compelled to make, and a whole lot simpler.


That leads me to my recommendation for a holiday breakfast much more elegant than cold cereal but almost as simple. No matter how many are at your table, it will leave you unstressed, well-nourished, and ready to enjoy the day. You can make the muffins weeks in advance and freeze them. (Or just buy some from the Publix bakery.) The baked eggs could not be easier, and are really yummy. Nuke some already-cooked bacon or put out a spiral-sliced ham if you want. Add some cut-up fruit—Publix again—or freshly-squeezed orange juice, spiked with Prosecco for the grownups, and you’ll be set, with minimal fuss and drama—just the way holidays should be.

Baked Eggs • As many large eggs as you have people who want them • Butter as needed • Cream • Salt and freshly ground pepper Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter one custard cup or small ramekin for each egg. Place about 1/2 teaspoon of butter in each cup, and microwave briefly to melt. Then spread butter around cup with finger. Place 2 teaspoons of cream in the bottom of each cup. Break one egg into each cup, add salt and pepper, and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the eggs are just set and the whites solidified. It’s best to undercook slightly, as the eggs continue cooking a bit when removed from oven.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins • • • • • • • • • • • •

2/3 cup (5 ounces) cream cheese, softened 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened 1 1/2 cups sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 large eggs 2 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (thawed) 1/4 cup finely-chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 12-muffin pans with paper cup liners. Combine cream cheese and butter in mixer bowl. Beat at high speed until well blended. Add sugar; beat until fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs; beat well. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and buttermilk to cream cheese mixer, beginning and ending with flour. Beat only until just combined. Fold in raspberries and nuts. Spoon batter evenly into liners. Place muffin pans side by side on middle oven rack if possible; rotate front to back and side to side after 12 minutes. Bake for a total of 25 minutes, or until golden. Remove from pans; cool on wire rack. Makes 24. These freeze great; just pop them into freezer bags when cool, and thaw in microwave.

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back talk » Claire Stewart

What happens when kids are bad before Christmas? “I would have all my electronics taken away. I have been good. My mom thought I sprayed her bumblebee conditioner on the wall but I didn’t!” —Riley Sowash

“You would get no presents. I have been good all year so I think I will get presents. I have helped people and took them to the nurse when they fell on the playground.”

“That’s an easy question! Santa gives you nothing. I am only bad when I get frustrated with my little brother. He is 3-1/2.” —Nathan Beck

—Emily Creekmore Nathan Riley

Emily

“You will get stinky socks or a stocking full of coal.” —Summer Broadway

“You would only get coal. I have always been good. That is why I got a beanbag chair last year.” —Haley Sanders

Summer

Haley


“Legend says that I would get sticks and rocks. I know I have been good because I got a raise in my allowance from $1 to $2.60. But, I have more chores to do.” —Grayson Brewer

“I will get on the naughty list if I was bad—I have never been on it though.”

“All I would get is coal. I have always been good. So if I got coal I would just make a fire with it— but I would much rather have presents.” —Celt Walsh

Grayson

—Noah Shaw

Noah

“You wouldn’t get any presents. This boy on my baseball team last year should definitely be on the naughty list!” —Gabe Evers

Celt

“You would be in trouble! I was good this year, and I hope I get a racecar.” —Om Patel

Gabe

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back talk » What happens when kids are bad before Christmas?

“You would get coal. I am good and never do bad things. Throwing things would get you on the naughty list.”

“I would not get any Christmas toys. If I didn’t get toys I would be sad. Santa watches you in a magic ball to see if you are good.”

—Emma Skinner

—Joshua Williams

Emma

“Santa won’t come if you are bad. I have been bad before but I still had presents under the tree. So, I must have done something good!” —Issac Hays

Joshua

“You wouldn’t get anything. I am good because I help people, and I am nice and I help them do their work.” —Madison Moore

Madison

Issac

All kids are in the first grade at Randolph School.


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parting shot » Patrick Hood

Shey Thorn and Haley Barnhill—Huntsville Ballet Company


Holiday events at Baron Bluff at Burritt on the Mountain are special. Come look us over and let us show you how we can help you have the event of a lifetime with a fabulous view—at Burritt.

DATES STILL AVAILABLE FOR HOLIDAY events! www.burrittonthemountain.com

256-536-2882

Memorable Events Deserve Memorable Locations

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No'Ala Huntsville November/December 2013