Northwest Georgia Living Summer 2019

Page 1

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Complimentary Sumer 2019 Volume 10, Issue 4

Inspiring, Informing, Enriching

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The Nostalgic Allure of NC’s Brunswick Islands Bloom and Grow- A Beginner’s Guide to Floral Arranging

For the Love of Food: a Foodie Hits the Road





24 20





A Beginner’s Guide to Floral Arranging 12 For the Love of Food: A Foodie Hits the Road 16 To Barbecue or Barbeque? 20 The Nostaligic Allure of NC’s Brunswick Islands 24 Taste of the Tropics 32 2

DEPARTMENTS Letter from the Editor Calendar for Living Dog Eared Fish Out of Water On Blackberry Hill Robert’s World

4 6 8 10 36 38

36 On the Cover: “Willow Tree Grill,” Summerville, Ga by Patricia Montgomery

It's All In Our Name...

nissan • gmc • buick • honda • • 706.291.2277

Letter From the Editor


Summer 2019   Volume 10   Issue 4

My Book Bag is Packed


emember when we went back to school in the fall and we’d get an assignment to write about what we had done over the summer break? Well, this sexagenarian (that’s kind of sexy sounding) is getting ready to go back to school, and I hope to have a good story to tell when and if I graduate. I’ve decided that I need a new challenge. I have jumped out of a plane sky diving, swam with whale sharks in the Georgia Aquarium, slithered around in dank, dark caves and watched, with absolute terror, as my man ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Now I am enrolled in a seventy-five-hour real estate pre-license class with a post cram class for two full days afterward. Sounds like a blast, huh? At first, I thought this would be great, learning about a new industry, getting my real estate license and dabbling at listing and selling houses. Then I started to hear the horror stories. One agent told me to be prepared to live and breathe nothing but that class and that it was about as exciting as taking a course on law. Several agents have told me that they did not pass the state exam the first go around. One lady admitted she had taken it five times and still has not passed. So let’s sum it up: difficult, tedious, and extremely hard to pass the exam. Is it too late for a refund? If you only knew how low my scores were on my SAT a zillion years ago, you would know that I’m not the best at test taking. In my defense, in the old days, we didn’t prep for SAT exams. I had had a late night out after the Homecoming game in high school. Then I arrived frazzled, after getting lost, to take the test the following Saturday morning. Let’s hope I have a little more sense this time around. The mind is a powerful thing, and my mind is allowing worry to consume my thoughts, mainly because I hear the class involves a fair amount of math. I’ll admit that I’m pretty good at counting on my fingers, but without a calculator, I am doomed. Thankfully, packed in my little book bag will be my handy dandy calculator, notebook and No. 2 pencils. Having not been in school for many, many years, I question what does one wear to a class like this? I’m not going to drag myself out of bed, put on a ball cap, and throw on some sweats like the college kids of today do. You can see that I have magnified silly things to worry about unnecessarily. It’s my nature. I’m sure I’ll pull it all together on the first day of school. You might ask me how I spent my summer in a couple of months. If I whip out my real estate card with a grin as big as a Cheshire cat, you will know. Been there, done that, and have the badge to prove it!

Publisher and Founder Editor-In-Chief Laura Wood Creative Director Andi Counts Designers Andi Counts Mackenzie Kuhn Photography Patricia Montgomery Senior Editor Calendar for Living Editor Ciara N. Mealer Editor Gene Murphy Sales Laura Wood Contributing Writers Jennifer Almand Tammy Barron Wannetta Beck Ciara N. Mealer Kathy Patrick Betty Schaaf Robert Smyth Rachel Turner Laura Wood

Contact us at: (706) 346-9858 NW Georgia Living P.O. Box 72546 Marietta, Ga 30007 NW Georgia Living is published bi-monthly by L. Wood LLC © 2019. No portion of this issue may be copied, scanned, or reproduced in any manner without prior written consent from the publisher.



The birth of your baby is one of life’s most important moments. It’s a time filled with hope and promise. At The Family Birth Center at Floyd, we understand. After all, we’ve been welcoming life’s first breath for almost 80 years. Today, our expert and caring team continues our commitment to provide the best experience possible, from family education to childbirth to newborn care and beyond. And, it’s all delivered in a safe, family-centered, state-of-the-art environment. Plus, you can take comfort in knowing the area’s only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit stands ready right here, 24/7. The Family Birth Center at Floyd, where mothers and babies always come first. • Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit • Expert medical team • Education and support classes • Lactation consultation

Arts & Events


July Etowah Games Day

July 6, 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Learn about games that early Native Americans played and how they have influenced modern games and sports. Try your luck at many of the earliest favorites. Etowah Indian Mounds. Cartersville. etowahindianmounds

Cave Spring Motorcycle Rally

July 26 This annual rally includes food, vendors, a poker run, motorcycle competition, and evening concert. Cave Spring.

August Soulfest of Rome with Maze featuring Frankie Beverly

Bartow County Championship Rodeo

August 3, 10:00 a.m. Also performing: Infinity Show Band and Something for the Soul. Ridge Ferry Park. Rome.

Two thrilling nights of bareback bronco riding, barrels, bull riding, calf roping, and more. Bartow County Saddle Club. Cartersville. bartowcountychampionshiprodeo

The Odd Couple

July 12–13, 7:30 p.m.–10:00 p.m.

Summer Showcase

July 18, 2:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Celebrate local food, entertainment, services, health, recreation, and more. Several businesses will win the Rome City Favorite award, voted on by the community. Mount Berry Mall. Rome.

Music by the Tracks

Babes Bayou on July 20, 7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. Kharisma Jazzmatic Funk on August 17, 7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. Enjoy these free concerts in historic downtown Cartersville. In addition to the wonderful shops and restaurants downtown, there will be food trucks, beer, and wine available for purchase. Friendship Plaza. Cartersville.


August 16–17, 23–24 This all female version of the comedy classic is produced with permission from Samuel French. This dinner theater performance is perfect for date night. 1902 Stock Exchange & Public Square Opera House. Adairsville.

Warhol and The West

August 25–December 31 Warhol and The West is the first museum exhibition to fully explore Andy Warhol’s love of the west represented in his art, movies, attire, relationships, and collecting. This major traveling exhibition includes more than 100 objects and works of art. Booth Western Art Museum. Cartersville.

Pioneer Days

August 30–September 2 Four days of arts and crafts, Peachtree rides, games, Labor Day fireworks on Monday, and more. Hosted by Acworth Charities. Sam Smith Park. Cartersville.

30th Running Water Powwow Cherokee Homecoming and Ripe Corn Festival

August 31–September 1 More than 50 arts and crafts vendors will be setting up tents and selling and demonstrating their crafts over the course of the weekend. Ridge Ferry Park. Rome. event/running-water-powwow-cherokeehomecoming/

4th of July Celebrations Patriotic Party at the Park

July 3, 12:00 p.m.–11:00 p.m. Food vendors will be onsite and there will be a multitude of activities throughout the day. TJ Cochran will perform. Ridge Ferry Park. Rome.

4th of July Celebration

July 4, 9:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m. The Rotary Club of Etowah is hosting this Fourth of July celebration with a parade, music, crafts, car show, food, and activities. There will be a fireworks display at dusk. Dellinger Park. Cartersville.

Cave Spring Independence Day Parade

July 4, 9:00 a.m. Enjoy a day of patriotic festivities in a beautiful, historic town. Rolater Park. Cave Spring.

Star-Spangled 4th of July Celebration & Fireworks

July 4, 5:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m. Fireworks, live music, games for children, great food, and vendors! Cherokee Capital Fairgrounds. Calhoun.

Kindred Hospital Rome: Providing Patient-Centered Care With A Focus on Recovery Kindred Hospital Rome, a Transitional Care Hospital, specializes in the treatment and rehabilitation of patients who are medically complex or post-intensive care. These patients require an extended stay in an acute care hospital setting. Our hospital is unique in its ability to care for these severely ill patients through specialized, aggressive and goal-directed treatment. Through our interdisciplinary team approach, we aim to provide high-quality care, a specialized treatment plan, and a positive patient and family experience. Our clinical expertise covers a range of medical services, such as: Kimberley Nesselroad • Debbie Lassiter • Blake Nelson • Holly Murdock • Sara Bingham • and Elizabeth Theobald

Kindred Hospital Rome’s Physician Team: Dr. Brij Singh, Internal Medicine Chief Medical Officer

• Pulmonary Care (Ventilator Management and Weaning) • Complex Wound Care and Treatments • Acute and Chronic Renal Failure Requiring Peritoneal or Hemodialysis • Infectious Disease Consults and IV Antibiotic Therapy • Post-Surgical and Post-Traumatic Care Requiring Rehab Our goal is to serve our local community and families that live in Rome and Northwest Georgia.

Dr. Raymond McKoy, Osteopathic Medicine Dr. Robert Madden, Internal Medicine Dr. Olujide Bamiro, Internal Medicine

Jennifer Johnstone, CEO KHR

Dr. Amarabalan Rajendran, Internal Medicine

Blake Nelson Area Director of Business Development


Holly Murdock Admissions Coordinator

Respiratory Consultants of Georgia North Georgia Nephrology Associates

Debbie Lassiter Patient Relations & Assessment Coordinator

Rome Gastroenterology Associates Dr. Martin Lynch, Wound Care, General Surgery Dr. Marc Wetherington, Plastic Surgery, General Surgery, Wound Care Dr. Aman Mongia, Infectious Disease

© 2014 Kindred Operating Healthcare, Inc. CSR 177318-02, EOE

Kindred Hospital Rome’s Marketing and Referral Team:

Dr. Singh, Chief Medical Official

Kimberley Nesselroad, Clinical Liaison Cartersville, Gordon, and NW Alabama Markets Sara Bingham, Clinical Liaison Rome/Floyd County Markets Elizabeth Theobald, Clinical Liaison Canton, Carrollton, and Atlanta Markets

To learn more, visit, or call 706.378.6800 • GA TDD/TTY# 800.255.0135 • 304 Turner McCall Boulevard, Rome, GA 30165


By Ciara N. Mealer

Bring the Beach to You


s much as I love my little mountain-top cabin, my soul longs for balmy breezes and sandy shores. I love the drunken feeling I get from the sensory overload: the hot sun, the crashing waves, the briny tang in the air. For me, the beach spells pure bliss. When I can’t literally escape to the sea, I find a trip through the pages of a good book to be just the thing I need to tide me over. If you are longing for the song of the ocean but find yourself landlocked this summer, consider diving into the pages of one of these excellent books set sea-side. No sunscreen necessary.

Chick Lit • The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand • Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan • The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner • Women in Sunlight by Frances Mayes


Southern Summer • The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews • The Bookshop at Water’s End by Patti Callahan Henry • Carousel Beach by Orly Konig • Dreams of Falling by Karen White

Drama • A Drop in the Ocean by Jenni Ogden • To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf • The Summer Book by Tove Jansson • Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken Suspense on the Shore • The Good Widow by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke • Siracusa by Delia Ephron • All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth • I Found You by Lisa Jewell

Humor • Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead • Panama by Thomas McGuane • The Shark Club by Ann Kidd Taylor • Star Island by Carl Hiaasen

Ciara N. Mealer is Senior

Editor at NW Georgia Living Magazine, a writer, and owns Tea is for Tarot where she offers a range of intuitive services. She is an avid naturalist, a voracious reader, an adventurous explorer, and a curious collector who loves quirky, odd, forgotten, and lost things. Contact her at

Win NW Georgia Living’s

Epicurean Prize Package Valued at $400!

To enter, find the hidden black fork silhouettes in three separate ads in this issue. Then, go online to and enter by listing the three correct ads. We’ll randomly draw the winner on Friday, August 9th.

This prize package includes:


Your choice of several Package Deals offered at Findley’s, NW Georgia’s Premier Butcher Shop. Value: $200. Findley’s offers Custom Cut Packages, Homemade Beef Jerky, Fresh and Smoked Sausages. 151 Main Street, Downtown Cartersville A $100 gift certificate to this fantastic Seafood Restaurant offering Daily Fresh Fish, New England Clam Chowder, Lobster Bisque, Oysters, PoBoys, Shrimp & Scallop Grits, Trout, Fish & Chips, as well as Butcher Cut Steaks, Chicken, Hamburgers, and Pasta Dishes. Located at 24 W Main Street, Downtown Cartersville

Cartersville A $50 Gift Certificate to Olive Tree & Vine, featuring Ultra Premium Olive Oils, Aged Balsamic Vinegars, and an extensive Wine and Craft Beer selection. Wine and Beer are also available by the glass. 26 Main Street, Cartersville, Georgia

A $50 Gift Certificate from Okinawa, offering a fresh spin on traditional Japanese Steakhouse, serving sushi and hibachi signature dishes for great prices. Lunch and dinner deals begin at less than $10 a plate! 1010 N. Tennessee Street, Cartersville, Georgia 9


By Rachel Turner

My Way, Not the Highway


ometimes I think back to the woman I used to be. The woman who sat home on Saturdays praying that her sons wouldn’t want to go anywhere. The woman who thought that families who made their kids get up on the weekend before 10:00 a.m. were evil. The woman that thought everyone in the house had to agree a new and unknown experience was a good idea before we would attempt it, ensuring we never went anywhere or did anything. As a result, weekends became about counting down hours until bedtime, and family adventure was nonexistent. I realized something important about that woman recently. You see, I always thought that the anxiety I felt when planning some new adventure had to do with the fear of physical bodily harm. After all, I have signed a few waivers in my time. I erroneously pegged danger as the culprit for my fear of trying new things. With ziplining and roller derby, the physical threat was the cause of my anxiety. For the most part, though, my fear of trying new things has been about all of the unknowns. The discomfort is in throwing our carefully planned schedule out the window for the morning and walking headlong into 10

something unknown. Experiencing a new adventure where I may not know the lay of the land, how to do the activity, or even worse, the parking situation is hair raising. As a mother, these things are what stresses me out the most. Several adventures along my new path, I uncovered the beauty in dragging everyone off to do something outside of our routine. I realized that, though it may cause some anxiety, it always ends up being okay. Whatever the day turns into, success or failure, it’s all ultimately fine. It has been humbling to hand over the reins and be as clueless as my children about what’s happening. This position, where I’m not the finger-wagging mother telling everyone what’s next on our schedule, has created extraordinary moments with my family, especially my kids,

which I would otherwise have not experienced. I have now become the woman who sees the beauty in capturing the day. I love to get up early, take my idearejecting kids on a new adventure, and feel like we spent our day living instead of just counting down the minutes. I have, at times, even caught them enjoying the experience. I don’t want to waste my kids’ childhood just making grocery lists and complaining about never being able to find socks. I want to throw everyone in the car and head out with our destination unknown. I want to enjoy those candid smiles from my kids, and yes, even the eye rolls. I want to rejoice in the successful adventures and be able to tell a hilarious story after the failed ones. These are the things that make me feel the most fulfilled as a mom. This weekend, my boys and I went off-roading with my brother-inlaw. Now, you may have noticed

that my brother-in-law, Eric, has made more appearances in my articles than any other family member. There is a good reason for this. Eric likes to get out and do things and he’s outdoorsy. He brings the knowledge and skills, and I buy him lunch for it. Being our family Sherpa, I know if Eric is available for an adventure of some kind, he’s game. When I asked if he’d take us off-roading, a favorite pastime of his, he did not hesitate to put us on the calendar. He’d been itching to take my boys off on an adventure like this. Like all things new, I let my kids know what we were doing, and they gave me their typical looks and grunts of skepticism, which is expected. At this point, if they were to look at me and say,

“Really! Woohoo!”, I would immediately check them all into Children’s Healthcare for observation. Having seen many frightening videos of his offroading accomplishments, I very clearly explained to Eric that I wanted easy off-roading or off-roading lite. No barrel rolls or corkscrews or half pikes with a twist (yes, I realize that is probably not a thing in 4x4 culture). He agreed and explained he knew just the place. We were going to Cherry Log. On a beautiful Sunday morning, I woke my kids up early (like one of those evil mothers) and off we went, to become one with nature from the comfort of my brother-in-law’s Toyota 4Runner. It sounded kind of appealing, and we didn’t even need bug spray for that. I learned that off-roading isn’t just about boys driving cars in the dirt. I mean, it is kind of about that, but it’s more of a culture. Men and women invest a lot of time and money into their vehicles and test their driving skills on different kinds of terrain. I was surprised to learn that there is also conscientiousness with the environment, and many people adopt the principal of treading lightly. Some of these guiding principals include staying on the trail, avoiding

soft mud, and driving over obstacles rather than around to prevent widening the path. Erosion and landslides are an ongoing concern, so pathways that have been profoundly affected are often avoided or closed to allow the landscape to recover. I was impressed that man and nature can coexist on that level. We went on a low difficulty drive along an unpaved public road deep into the woods. We crossed over water four times, and my kids loved it. My car, much like Eric’s, has been carefully prepped and molded into the intimidating French fry encrusted, carpool vehicle that it is. It never goes cool places like through the woods to beautiful waterfalls. Even my preteen son, who has become increasingly difficult to impress, unless you are one of his Fortnite teammates with a new skin, was caught smiling as we maneuvered over land and water, creating a rollercoaster effect. The one-way road took us through some beautiful remote waterscapes and even back to an old church property that looked abandoned. We hit a dead end at an old cemetery and got out to explore the headstones and stretch our legs. Then it was back in the car to ride the trail back all over again. Unlike the drive-in, which was a little more uphill, the drive back allowed Eric to speed up a little and hit the dips and curves at a much faster pace, which increased the roller coaster effect. My kids thought this was the best thing ever, and honestly, I did too. Full disclosure, I left a message with my chiropractor and popped ibuprofen the minute I got home. We had a great time on our early morning ride through the woods, and my kids were begging me to do it again soon. They requested a much harder road next time. We’ll have to see about that one. Rachel Turner is a freelance

writer and humor blogger. Her humor ebook, Cut Film Cover to Vent: I’m not Superwoman but I’m Decent Enough is available to purchase on Amazon. Georgia born and raised she lives in Woodstock with her husband and two sons. Drop by her blog, or email her at 11


Bloom and Grow: A Beginner’s Guide To Floral Arranging By Wannetta Beck


y love for flowers has evolved over the years. As a young person, I did not appreciate the power and beauty of flowers and how they can change your mood or change the overall feel of a room accented by natural elements from the outdoors. If I had to pinpoint a time of enlightenment, it would be when I became a home stager in 2007. Greenery and floral arrangements are often used in the staging business to make a home feel alive and inviting. The combination of learning about colors on the Color Wheel, designing window treatments, refinishing furniture, and general decorating has led me to this point. Flowers are nature’s art and can enhance your home just as the works of artists such as Monet or Ambrosius Bosschaert. Floral arranging is my passion. There are many books, classes, and DIY videos available to get you started in learning the basics of floral design. I encourage anyone who loves flowers to take the next step. Watch some videos online; go buy some floral stems from your local florist or grocery store; choose a container that compliments the type and color of flowers you love and begin creating! Need some tips to get you started? Here are just a few. Basic tools of the trade • Floral foam • Floral clippers • Floral knife • Rose stripper • Floral tape in transparent, waterproof, and stem • Floral wire


• Floral putty • Floral preservative spray All these items and more can be found at your local craft stores. Choosing your flowers: Beginners should start with simple designs. As you get more comfortable, branch out! Choose a large focal flower, medium size secondary flower, smaller accent flower, and greenery. A good formula (depending on the size of the overall

arrangement) would be 3–5 stems of a larger flower, 5–7 medium size secondary flowers, 5 smaller accent stems of a different texture such as pussy willow branches, and finally a couple of varieties of greenery such as leather leaf fern or seeded eucalyptus. Choosing your colors: This is simpler than you might think. What colors do you like? I like green and white. It is simple and beautiful. Hold several stems in your hand of two to three different

colors and see how they look. Flowers in varying shades of the same color make a great start. Arranging: Now, the fun begins. Use a layering technique to start your arrangement. Surround your base with greenery, letting the stems fall over the container in varying lengths. Then, add your focal flowers, creating the overall height of the arrangement at the same time by cutting different lengths. Fill in with your secondary flowers and then add your accent flowers. Finally, add the textural elements such as twigs. All elements of your arrangement should be at different heights. This creates interest, movement, and depth within the arrangement for the eye to follow. Let the flowers motivate your arrangement. Some seasonal cut flowers for Summer: • Anthurium • Gerber Daisy • Delphinium • Mum • Hydrangea • Statice • Rose • Dahlia • Calla Lily • Gladiolus • Freesia Iris • Orchid • Tulip • Lisianthus • Carnation

Lime Delight Floral Recipe • Small glass container • Large glass container • Clear floral tape • 30 faux lime slices, approximately • 5 stems seeded eucalyptus

• 3 stems white lily • 5 stems dahlia • 7 stems alstroemeria • 2 stems white stock • 1 stem green button mums • 3 stems scabiosa

Flowers that are long-lasting in arrangements (approx. 2 weeks): • Alstroemeria • Mums • Baby’s Breath • Orchids • Waxflower • Statice • Lisianthus • Mini Cala lilies The key to lasting flower arrangements is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Submerge your stems in a tub or sink of cold water before adding to your arrangement for extra hydration. Cutting each stem at a 45 angle and immediately inserting into your arrangement allows the stems to absorb more water. Last, but not least, change the water every two to three days for longer lasting arrangements. While this article is just scraping the surface of flower arranging, I hope it has at least inspired you to think of flowers as a big part of your life. Flowers can change your mood, enhance your environment, or make someone feel very special. Celebrate the life-changing art of floral arranging.

1. W ash glass containers with bleach water. Fill the small container ¾ full of water. Create a grid across the top using clear floral tape. Flowers were provided by Bussey’s Florist & Gifts, located in Rome and Cedartown. Photography by Patricia Montgomery


4. Clip the white lilies to the desired height and varying lengths and place them in the center of the grid to create the focal point of the arrangement. 5. Clip and place your secondary flowers (yellow dahlias and alstroemeria) randomly and at different heights throughout the arrangement.

2. Put the small container inside the large glass container and place approximately 30 faux lime slices in the space between the containers.

6. Finish the arrangement by placing your stock, mum, and scabiosa accent pieces to add texture and interest.

3. Clip greenery to desired lengths and place in outside pockets of your grid to create a “collar� or base around the edge. 14

Wannetta has lived in the Northwest Georgia area since 1982. She has an Associates Degree in Marketing Management from Highlands College; Certified Home Stager; and a Sherwin Williams Color Consultant. Wannetta hosts Flower Arranging Parties bringing women together to learn a new skill and have fun at the same time. This can be a Girls Night Out Party, Bridal Party, an Instructional class for groups such as Garden Clubs, or promotional events.678-232-8294

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Featured Restaurant

The quaint Willow Tree Grill was formerly a local grocery store many years ago.

For the Love of Food: A Foodie Hits the Road By Jennifer Almand


’m convinced I was born with a love for food. My mom always told me stories of when I was a baby, and it was time to eat, I would hastily swallow each spoon full of baby food and have my mouth wide open for the next bite before she could even get the spoon back to the baby food jar. I guess I just was destined to be a self-proclaimed Foodie. Being a military brat with a German mom, we lived all over growing up. The first time we moved to Germany, I was eight months old. For the first 15 years of my life, we moved from Georgia to Germany, then to California, Virginia, and back to Germany. That led to my exposure to a vast variety of cuisines in my formative years, for which I count myself blessed. Having an adventurous spirit and a

You’ll find a full bar at the Willow Tree Grill.


Photography by Patricia Montgomery

love of food, I enjoy finding new restaurants. My favorite person to take with me is my husband because, of course, he loves food as much as I do. We always make sure we order different things so we can sample each other’s meals. We mostly make pigs out of ourselves, but you know what? You only live once. Recently, I have had the pleasure of trying two restaurants that did not disappoint. The first one is tucked away in Summerville, The Willow Tree Grille. This restaurant is a life-long dream for the owner, Kandy Keen and her husband, Chris. Kandy spent 25 years of her life in law-enforcement in Chattooga County, but as soon as she retired, she was ready for the new adventure of owning a restaurant. They opened in 2014, and it’s truly a family operation, even her daughter Meg works there. It is a tiny place but packs a big punch. The outside is quaintly decorated with bright flowers, a pond in the back, and plenty of parking. I noticed that the parking lot was packed on a Friday night, always a good sign! We had called ahead to get on the list and were seated immediately, garnering a few salty looks from others that were waiting

on a table, but I’m crafty like that. The inside was nicely decorated, with a lot of real wood accents, from the table to the beautiful bar. Our server, Kelsey, was cute as a Specialties include 14 oz. Rib Eye Steaks and Heavenly Stuffed Potatoes.

button, and very friendly. She brought our waters immediately along with the menus. The menu had a wide variety of different foods: burgers, steaks, sandwiches, and a “Heavenly Stuffed Potato” that really caught my eye. Since it was Friday night, I had been advised by several people to try the Catfish Platter. I’m not a huge catfish fan, but my husband was all over it. So I ordered fried shrimp and oysters. I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat it all, but since my life revolves around food, I was already planning on having an oyster

PoBoy sandwich for lunch the next day with the leftovers. I always have a plan! The catfish was perfectly cooked, very moist, and flaky. The fries were crunchy and expertly flavored. The hushpuppies tasted like sweet corn, yum! The fried shrimp and oysters were excellent. Halfway through our meal, I saw a woman in an apron bouncing through the restaurant and stopping to chat at every table. I knew it had to be the owner, and that is something a great chef does, personally making sure everyone is happy. Sure enough, she stopped at our table and introduced herself as Kandy. She is such a genuinely kind person, and she truly loves her restaurant. She admits she lives there; but it’s her baby, and she would rather be there than anywhere else. I stopped by the desk to pay and thank her again, told her about my plans for the leftover oysters, and she said, “Wait a minute, you can’t make a PoBoy without ‘zesty sauce’! Let me grab you some to go!” Now that, my friends, is genuine Southern hospitality. The next restaurant I need to brag about is Fire It Up BBQ Grill in Cartersville. I grew up in Cartersville, and I have seen this particular location right next to the interstate on Hwy 20 Spur, evolve into several different restaurants. I had never really paid attention to the fact that it had a new life. In May 2018, “BBQ Artist” Bill Langford partnered with Terry Billings to give their Rolling Kitchen BBQ Food Truck a home base. Bill had been competing in the BBQ Championship Circuit since the 1990s. He was part of a team that won State Championships, and also competed in World Championships in Memphis. He came to Cartersville in 2006 when he was still working in insurance, but upon retirement, he cranked up the heat in his smoker and never looked back. Motorcycles and smoked pigs have been his life since then, what more could a man want? I need to preface this entire review with my opinion that I think a good cut of BBQ shouldn’t need sauce. It should stand

alone, flavorful and juicy, without any cover-ups. Well, Bill certainly lived up to my expectations! It was the best dang BBQ I have had in years (except at home of course). I ordered the brisket because that is the cut of meat that distinguishes the boys from the men. It was phenomenal: tender, juicy, flavorful bark. The baked beans I ordered were equally exquisite, lovely and dark, sweet with chunks of chopped brisket in them. Then I ordered the macaroni and cheese. Holy Moly! It was real, just like Grandmama makes it, with a crust of baked cheddar gently lying on top. I did sample the regular BBQ sauce and the hot sauce. Well, they should have labeled the hot as ‘torch-tongue’ or something. It was wonderfully spicy, but my husband enjoyed it more than I did. The jalapeno cornbread was excellent; the french fries were fresh-cut and perfectly salted. My husband ordered the ribs, and I have to admit, I stole a few. They were perfectly flavored and barely clinging to the bone. Wonderful. I highly recommend you visit this place, and make sure you are starving! If you didn’t believe in my lifelong dedication to food before, I think you do now. If you take anything from my experiences, I hope that you will branch out and try new, fresh eats. There is too much variety in the food world to eat the same thing over and over. I also hope you trust my recommendations and give these hard-working chefs a visit soon. Jennifer Almand is owner of Almand Specialty Painting & Design. She and her husband Rick live with four dogs in scenic Kingston, GA. Jennifer is a decorative painter specializes in kitchen cabinets, painted furniture, murals, custom art, and faux finishes. She also does decorative tile work, organization, and consults on colors, fabrics, finishes, and fixtures. Find her on Facebook or call (706)346-1590.

Great BBQ, delicious sides, and homemade sauces. Yum!

Bill Langford and Terry Billings (above) are the proud owners of Fire It Up.

The atmosphere at Fire It Up is relaxed and casual.


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Foodie Facts

To Barbecue or Barbeque? By Betty Schaaf


e are so blessed to live in the Barbecue Belt which offers us the most tantalizing varieties of wet and dry regional barbeque; a summer staple that brings with it a rich and tasty history of Southern American barbecue. Its very definition, methodology, and even spelling have been argued about for years. Indeed, barbecue has long been popular on a social occasion in the South. It was served at the wedding of Abe Lincoln’s parents. It was rumored that George Washington referred to it numerous times in his diaries. He even hosted a barbecue that was recorded as lasting three days. Barbecue has been celebrated in song, poetry, story, and literature throughout our American history. Even famous inventors have left their mark on American barbecue as Thomas Edison designed and Henry Ford built the first commercial charcoal briquette factory in 1921. The most widely accepted definition of barbecue is based on the cooking method, not a device that you would use to cook the meat. This was a new concept for me coming from California. The grill was a household item that took up space on our small patios, but no home was without one. It never occurred to us that we were “grilling out,” as some folks say in the South. The dictionary will tell you that the noun “barbecue” has at least four meanings: a framework to hold meat over a fire for cooking; any meat broiled or roasted on such a framework; an entertainment, usually outdoors, at which such meat is prepared and eaten. Lastly, the definition includes a restaurant that makes a specialty of such meat. The United States Department of Agriculture says barbecue is any meat “cooked by the direct action of heat resulting from the burning of hardwood or hot coals for a sufficient period to assume the


usual characteristics...” The word “barbecue” actually comes from the Caribbean word “barbacoa,” which referred to the name of a wooden structure that was used by the Taino and Arawak Indian tribes of Haiti and Guiana to smoke their food. Adding to the history of barbecue, our famous Spanish explorer, DeSoto, introduced hogs to Florida and Alabama around 1540. Later, the settlers also brought swine with them to Jamestown in 1607. These delectable creatures thrived in the wilds of the warm South where cattle perished. The very nature of the smoking process fit perfectly for the new world inhabitants, as they did not have refrigeration. By the time of the War Between the States, hogs had become domesticated and became the principal meat of the South. What better excuse to develop and expand upon our barbecue. In the early roots of barbecue, a pit was dug and filled with hardwood. As the wood burned to coals, the whole hog was skewered on poles and hung over the pit. Pitmasters would spend night and day turning the spit. This process gave way to the social affair, commonly called a “Pig Pickin.” Later came the terms wet and dry barbecue; wet utilizes a sauce, and dry uses a rub of spices. There are four main types of American barbecue. These styles come from their region and are all prepared differently. These styles include the Carolinas, Kansas City, Memphis, and Texas. In North and South Carolina the word ‘barbecue’ means roast pork, often the entire pig. In Kansas City, Texas, Louisiana, and other barbecue meccas, the emphasis is usually on the sauce. Texas focuses primarily on beef (brisket) prepared wet and dry, they leave the pork to be smoked by the rest of the South. Texas is known for its use of a simple rub, salt, pepper, garlic, and cayenne pepper, while other

regions use a variety of savory and sweet spices for their rubs. Memphis-style barbecue came about because it was a port city, which has easy access to many ingredients that other areas in the barbecue belt did not have. Molasses, a key component for this region, helps to create the sweet, tangy sauce they are known for, came straight off the boats. There are six principle sauce styles as well ranging from thin tomato-based sauces, molasses based sauce of Kansas City and Memphis style, the vinegary and spicy style of North Carolina, to the sweet, gold mustard based sauce of South Carolina. These regions are as different in the creation of their sauces as they are with the type and cuts of meat they use. Texas focuses on beef ribs and brisket, whereas South Carolina utilizes the whole hog, sausage, and shoulder. North Carolina uses whole hog, shoulder, and ribs. Memphis style also uses the whole hog, pork ribs, and focuses on pulled pork. Kansas City is known for its “burnt ends” and roasts all types of meat. Our lip smackin’ good barbecue has been steeped in rich history, layered through the years with sociological influences from all over the South. Although it appears the Taino Indians were the first recorded people to prepare meats this way, we are eternally indebted to all the folks that helped to discover and create the most amazing barbecue on the planet served right here in our region. The sometimes heated and often debated answer to the question, which barbecue style is the sweetest tasting? Well, that answer will vary according to where you are standing in the American South. What region has the best barbecue or what restaurant serves up the most delectable smoky staple? The answer to those questions will have to come from you.

Betty Schaaf is grateful to be living out God’s purpose for her life as a freelance writer and professional volunteer, helping the homeless and disabled in her community of Rome, Georgia. She is a stay-at-home-mom; a lover of foods, and a sojourner in becoming the-very-best-version-ofherself possible.

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The Nostalgic Allure of North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

The Oak Island Lighthouse at Caswell Beach is the newest of NC lighthouses and is 153 feet tall.

Holden Beach is an eight-mile-long barrier island with miles of pristine beaches to walk.

Photography courtesy of North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

by Laura Wood


he background on my cell phone is a picture showing the tip of my bright green kayak, slowly meandering through the serene marshes at Sunset Beach. It’s a reminder of a recent trip where I discovered a region that is rich in natural beauty, maritime history, the home of Calabash-Style seafood and has forty-five miles of pristine beaches. Home to one of National Geographic Traveler’s “21 Best Beaches in the World” and Southern Living’s “2018 Best Tiny Town,” this picturesque and up-and-coming beach destination needs to be on your mustsee list. I’ve traveled to many places, but this is a special one. I look forward to visiting again.


The picturesque seaside town of Southport has been home to many movies and TV shows. The beach is calling your name, Holden Beach, to be exact.

A Blue Heron is just one of the hundreds of species of birds found, including many rare ones.

Provisions Restaurant is one of the restaurants on the islands offering the distinct Calabash style seafood.


Along the southernmost coast of North Carolina, the Brunswick Islands consist of ten communities, six beaches, five barrier islands, and numerous nature preserves, all dotted with charming coastal towns. You’ll want to travel around and experience the entire stretch of coastline from Bald Head Island, Calabash, Caswell Beach, Holden Beach, Leland, Oak Island, Ocean Isle Beach, Shallotte, Southport, and Sunset Beach. Here are just a few of the highlights I experienced: History The Oak Hill Lighthouse at Caswell Beach, completed in 1958, is NC’s newest lighthouse and stands over 150 feet tall. The climb to the top is exhilarating. There are no spiral staircases like you find in older lighthouses. Instead, visitors climb a series of ship ladders, straight up, and count all 131 steps to the lantern gallery. The views from the observation deck are spectacular. Another check added to my bucket list! Nature Whether spotting dolphins in the ocean or bird-watching in the marshes, the 26

Brunswick Islands are a nature lover’s dream. With eight sites along the North Carolina Birding Trail, it’s a haven for birds. Over 330 species have been spotted in Brunswick County. Discover a different side of the barrier islands by kayaking or paddle boarding through the Intracoastal Waterway, as I did on a windy but cloudless and gorgeous day. In the region where salt water meets fresh, you’ll find crabs, oysters, fish, shrimp, and dolphins. Learn about the endangered Loggerhead Sea Turtles by visiting the Museum of Coastal Carolina on Ocean Isle Beach. From July through August, you can watch baby sea turtles make their way to the ocean thanks to many volunteers from the Ocean Isle Beach Sea Turtle Protection Organization and the sanctuaries they protect. Romance If you are a fan of author Nicolas Sparks, you probably already know that many of his books, including several that have been adapted into movies, take place in small towns in the Brunswick Islands. You can check out filming locations at Sunset Beach, Southport, and Caswell

Beach from some of his most famous movies including Safe Haven, A Walk to Remember, and The Longest Ride. Our group took a golf cart tour of the charming coastal town of Southport and our charismatic tour guide, Dan Klipp, gave us the scoop about the movies filmed there. Matlock was filmed there as well. Every Breath, Spark’s newest book, is set at the Kindred Spirit mailbox at Sunset Beach. Here, visitors from around the world write down fond memories, reflections, wishes, prayers, and dreams, leaving their thoughts and meditations for anyone to read. I won’t tell you what I wrote. You’ll have to go find out for yourself. Adventure Lounging on the beach is fine, but the Brunswick Islands found a way to make it thrilling. We had a blast zip lining at The Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach. This uniquely designed swamp park features a sustainable zip line course that navigates through a 300-year-old cypress canopy through the swamp. Zip through the sky with over 1.25 miles of cable and ten zip line stations as you

Brunswick Islands Contact Information HOLDEN BEACH VACATIONS


Contact: Bonnie Cox 910- 842-6949 rentals/781w-perfect-landing/373907

Contact: Cari VanWinkle (910) 833-2418

781 Ocean Blvd West, Holden Beach, NC 28462


5550 Watts Road Ocean Isle Beach NC, 28469 (910) 233-1125 OAK ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE

Sunset Beach: End of Park Road


14 Causeway Dr, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469 910-579-9997


1100 Caswell Beach Rd. Caswell Beach, NC 28465

432 Sunset Blvd S, Sunset Beach, NC 28468 (Closest Beach Access Point)



Southport Fun Tours 109 S Davis St. Southport, NC 28461 Contact: Dan Klipp (910) 713-3373 FISHY FISHY CAFÉ

106 Yacht Basin Dr Southport, NC 28461 (919) 923-2527


Facebook: Kindred Spirit Mailbox

21 E 2nd St, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469 (910) 575-0033 PROVISION COMPANY

1343 Cedar Landing Road, Holden Beach, NC 28462

(910) 842-7205 Facebook:

109 Shoreline Dr. West, Sunset Beach NC



(910) 842-6278 calabash-seafood-restaurant/

(910) 363-6585

9945 Nance St, Calabash, NC 28467

1069 Songbird Ln SW, Supply, NC 28462

Contact: (910) 575-0017 calabash-seafood-restaurant/


immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the plants and wild animals including owls, turkeys, wild boar, and beavers that call coastal North Carolina home. And yes, we saw snakes! Fishing With five ocean piers and an abundance of commercial fishing companies, the Brunswick Islands are a fishing hot spot. The newly renovated Oak Island Pier is 250 feet long, and when it’s completed, it will be 880 feet long and 27 feet high. Even if you’re not into fishing, stroll along the pier at sunset and take in the beauty of Oak Island Beach. If you enjoy fresh seafood, visit the Old Ferry Seafood in Supply, NC, where you can get fresh seafood straight off the boat at the docks. The owners will even cook it for you, grilled, steamed, or boiled. A House at the Beach We stayed at a fabulous rental home on

The iconic Kindred Spirits mailbox on Bird Island is where people from all over leave personal messages.

Holden Beach that we rented through Holden Beach Vacations. This place was decorated like something you’d see in Coastal Living with spacious, airy rooms, large decks overlooking the beach, six bedrooms, five and a half baths, and a pool. It could easily have accommodated an extended family or a great group of friends. There are few hotels, but many lovely rental homes to fit any size group. Food, Glorious Food! Calabash-Style seafood originated in this region; in the small fishing town of Calabash that touts itself as the Seafood Capital of the World. Calabash-Style seafood is lightly breaded in cornmeal and fried to perfection. We ate at a funky and cool little outdoor restaurant called the Waterfront Seafood Shack that serves fresh local, wild-caught seafood, grilled, blackened, or fixed Calabash-Style, of course.

A couple more excellent places I recommend, from casual to more upscale seafood restaurants are Provision Company, Holden Beach; Fishy Fish Cafe, Southport; and Jinks Creek Waterfront Grille, Ocean Isle Beach. Visiting North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands reminded me of happy, nostalgic times when my family camped at Myrtle Beach, went crab gigging, played at the beach all day, and walked the long piers in the evening. It’s precisely how a beach trip should be. The ocean calls you, your soul gets rejuvenated, and you never want to leave. Laura is the founder and editorin-chief of NW Georgia Living. She lives in East Cobb with her husband, Jerry Erickson, his son, Jack, an old dog named Bam, and a fat cat named Bobby Murphy.

Enjoy the sunrise or sunset on the pier at Sunset Beach.

Sunset is the perfect time for reflection at the Kindred Spirits mailbox.


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Get Cookin’

Taste of the Tropics By Kathy Patrick

“Put the lime in the coconut and drink them both down.” — Harry Nilsson


ummer trips to the tropics (or a beach anywhere) are a dream come true. The smell of suntan lotion, the feel of an ocean breeze, warm sand on your toes, a low-slung chair by the water, and the soothing sound of lapping waves make for instant relaxation. I’m there! If a tropical getaway can’t happen this summer, these sultry tastes, along with a lounge chair on the deck or the lawn, can take you vicariously,“Way down in Kokomo!”

TROPICAL MANGO DAIQUIRI Serves 2 1 cup frozen mango chunks ½ cup fresh lime juice (2 juicy limes) 3 oz. coconut rum (2 shots) 1 Tbsp. honey 2 cups club soda (or seltzer)

Blend the frozen mango, lime juice, rum, and honey until smooth. Add the club soda and give it a light stir to combine. Pour into two glasses and garnish with a lime wedge or mango chunk. Serve.


PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED PAPAYA SPEARS Serves 2 as a side dish or 4 as an appetizer 1 papaya, firm but ripe Salt 2 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto ½ lime, sliced into wedges

Using a vegetable peeler, peel away the outer skin of the papaya. Cut the papaya in half. Using a metal spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds. (The seeds are edible; they taste peppery and can be used in salads.) Slice the papaya halves into wedges lengthwise. Arrange on a plate. Sprinkle with a little salt. Wrap the wedges with prosciutto or roll up thin sheets of prosciutto and place between the papaya wedges. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the papaya and prosciutto. To serve as an appetizer, cut the papaya into 1-inch pieces, sprinkle on some salt and lime juice, wrap each piece with some prosciutto, and secure with a toothpick.

CARIBBEAN GRILLED PINEAPPLE SALSA Serves 8 Salsa may be stored in the fridge for up to five days, leaving out the cilantro until just before ready to serve. This is great with tortilla chips or as a topping for fish, chicken, or pork.

1 pineapple, freshly cored, skinned, cut into 4 - 5 large pieces ⅓ red onion, finely diced 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced Juice from 2 limes ½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped 1 tsp. salt 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped Tortilla chips, for serving (optional)

Preheat grill to medium-high. When it’s hot, place the pineapple pieces directly on the rack. Close the lid and cook for about 5 minutes on each side. The pineapple should caramelize and get grill lines, but it should not get mushy or too burnt. When pineapple is done, remove from heat and let cool completely. Dice the pineapple into small pieces then toss with the remaining ingredients. 33

COCONUT CREAMED CORN Serves 4 A tropical twist on an old favorite! 4 ears fresh corn, husked, kernels cut off the cob, about 2 cups 1 cup light coconut milk ¼ tsp. salt 2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped 1 Tbsp. lime juice ¼ tsp. red pepper, optional

Combine corn kernels, coconut milk, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat to maintain an active simmer. Cook, occasionally stirring, until most of the coconut milk has evaporated, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in cilantro, lime juice, and crushed red pepper.

CARIBBEAN MARINADE Makes about 2 cups Use as a marinade, glaze, or serve as a finishing sauce over roasted or grilled pork. It’s great on chicken too! 6 1 6 2 8 2 1 1 1 1 1 ½

oranges, quartered and squeezed medium onion, sliced garlic cloves, minced oz. dark rum cups water cups brown sugar Tbsp. cayenne Tbsp. cinnamon Tbsp. cumin Tbsp. cilantro chopped oz. lime juice cup dried mixed berries, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a large stockpot, stirring to dissolve sugar. Bring to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium heat until reduced to a consistency thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Press ingredients through a strainer to remove solids. Serve sauce warm.


Kathy Patrick owns Meals on Heels, a personal chef service. Kathy makes entertaining in your home fun, easy and delicious! Enjoy hosting dinner parties, holiday occasions, and other special events with Kathy’s expertise. Kathy is happily married to Marty Cipollini. She enjoys herb gardening and exercising. Reach her at



By Tammy Barron

Reverence: Seeking the Grandeur Outside Ourselves


here is nothing that compares to experiencing the night sky in the high deserts of Utah. Hundreds of miles removed from city lights, the dry air affords the crispest view of the Milky Way. Stars are entwined in a webbing of luminescence; the glory of it takes your breath away. Its magnitude is humbling to the human soul. I love traveling to the red rock mountains out west. As a child, my first

There was a sense of belonging that I understood in this place.

Unusual colorful sandstone formations in deserts of Utah are popular destination for hikers.


glimpses of the grandeur of nature were in this arid, other-worldly landscape. Towers of crimson sandstone would often frighten and beckon me. Hundreds of feet tall, they offered an oasis beneath their wind-cut cliffside bowls, where at midday I could find relief from the sun and hot sand. I was drawn toward the pools of cool water that resided in these secret coves. They were liquid

treasure troves of life lingering from the last precious rainfall. I would follow the lizard’s trails and mountain sheep tracks that wandered to and from these pools. There was a sense of belonging that I understood in this place. All the creatures in this land worshiped the same element: water. I was small and vulnerable and so was everything else in relation to those stone fortress cliffs. When I go back home, I try to snag a quick getaway to that red landscape. I am again placed into a state of deep reverence. For in this place, time is tangible, and again it frightens me and beckons me all the same. These shrinking plateaus bear the scars of time. Flowing lines and curved etches in the sandstone wear the eons of wind and water. Millions of years stare at you on the horizon, and time stops as my heart quickens. These ragged cliffs that hosted the dinosaurs, also bear the markings of the first men and women in North America. Pictographs and petroglyphs tell stories of birth and death, wisdom shared for those that came after. Here I stand, thousands of years after these recordings; a blip in this story, a hiccup really, and I once again feel small and vulnerable.

Ancestral Puebloan pictographs, often referred to as “ancient aliens” on the wall of Sego Canyon in Thompson Springs, Utah.

Milky Way Galaxy behind Double Arch sandstone rock formation in Arches, National Park, Utah

It is important to remove ourselves from the centerpiece of the universe, though hard to do when our needs are set and catered to as priority number one. To practice reverence for nature is easy. To practice reverence for people can be a bit more challenging. A perfect example, I find myself getting agitated in the two-lane school pick up line. “Why can’t people just move forward and merge smoothly, at the pavement marking?” Instead, the two-car lane begins to sputter and hesitate further and further down the line and soon it is single file. Now, I realize in the grand scheme of things this is pretty petty, but I find myself white-knuckled and tight-lipped at the inefficiency of it all. So I practice a little reverence. I look in the rear view mirrors and try to see the people in the cars, the human beings, not just the obstacles in my way. They are grandmothers picking up kids, perhaps for the first time. They are new

parents to the school and want to be perceived as mannerly and not push ahead too quickly. Perhaps they are distracted trying to send the last email for the day so they can be present 100% when they get their kids from the bus. When I take myself out of the center of the scene, when I pay attention, it is easy to see that each of these people have their own stuff to deal with. I see them and might say a little blessing to help them on their way. I find my grip on the wheel will loosen and my face relax. Maybe one of them is practicing reverence on me. What is reverence really? Reverence is the recognition of something greater than the self, and perhaps something grander than human control. It is the virtue that glues society together. “… [it] kindles warmth in friendship and family life… without reverence people do not know how to respect each other and themselves. An army cannot tell the difference between what it is and a gang of bandits. Without reverence, we cannot explain why we should treat the natural world with respect. Without reverence a house is not a home, a boss is not a leader, [and] an instructor is not a teacher.” (Woodruff, 2001) It was a month before the end of

soccer season, and my daughter’s coach was out of town. The director of coaching stepped in and met us the morning of a Saturday double header against teams traveling from out of town. He introduced himself and tried his best to commit each girl’s name to immediate memory. The whistle blew and the game began. The girls responded well to his directions and the first game went great. The second game started a little rough without a designated referee. Our new coach stepped in to play the role. Suddenly, there were a great deal more personal fouls being called against our team, most rather trivial. I was filled with enormous respect for our coach, who understood the reverence of the game. The parents of the other team could not possibly have known we only just met the man who filled in as coach so concerns of preferential treatment were inevitable. Watching his professionalism as a representative of our team, our soccer program, and our town was an honor. A loved one recently said, “In all my days I have ahead of me, may I never lose my sense of awe.” She is right, may we all be able to look outside our own narratives and be inspired by the grandeur of life around us. Seek it in nature. Seek it in others. Seek it. Tammy Barron lives in

Rome, GA. She manages a small homestead, Blackberry Hills Farm. As an amateur chauffeur and expert mediator, she loves caring for her family full-time. 37



By Robert Smyth

Southern Summers

of My Youth


here is no real debate that summer in Dixie must be experienced because words never do it justice. You can attempt to describe the heat and humidity to one of our northern brethren. They will look at you like, “It can’t be that bad, you’re just exaggerating.” That’s until they come down here and realize you were not exaggerating. Satan himself won’t set foot in Georgia in July. Northerners usually high-tail it back across the Mason-Dixon looking for the first snow flake. You would think living here most of our lives, we would be used to it; some evolutionary trait should have appeared allowing Southerners to handle oppressive sunshine at 6:30am in August.


I have great memories of summers here in Rome. Memories of playing in the sprinkler in the yard; going out to the old GEAA pool down Horseleg Creek Road; putting the popsicle wrapper on the back of my neck before I opened it; hanging out at the bowling alley where they had the air on high. When it got really hot, my mom would take us down to Cave Spring to let us play in the creek that came out of the cave. It could be 100° or more outside and that creek was so cold it still made your feet turn blue. My siblings and I were together not too long ago reminiscing about some of our summers together. We talked about our grandfather’s car that had plastic seat covers that seared the underside of our legs. We left a small piece of skin every time we rode with him. The car smelled like BBQ teenager. We laughed about my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Ray who lived in Tampa and did not believe in air conditioning. They owned one oscillating fan that we fought over at night. We had to take periodic trips to the bathroom at night to splash cold water on our faces to ward off heat stroke. We woke up five pounds lighter and could ring out the sheets. I have relatives down in Americus, Georgia and I remember one summer we went to visit them. I had just built a really cool model airplane and left it on the dash of the car. In a matter of hours

it melted into a Salvador Dali sculpture. I was most upset and sulked as we rode home, sitting on the shag carpet in the back of the station wagon. When I got out at McDonald’s for lunch, it looked like I had wet my pants which made me forget all about the airplane. As I’ve gotten older, I have come to appreciate a top notch air conditioning system and a recliner near a vent. We have a pool that the kids love. The thought of having to try and get swim trunks on this husky frame, splash around, dry off, and change just wears me out. I am also a big baby when I get sunburned. My wife does everything she can to keep me out of the sun. We try and get to the lake as often as we can but that’s a lot of work. We have to pack the coolers and floats; the kids want to go tubing every five minutes. It’s not very relaxing. When did kids start needing to be entertained constantly? My dad pointed to the water and said, “Go swim. Leave your mother and me alone. Don’t drown!” I know it seems like I’m complaining, but honestly I would never want to live anywhere else. Even with the oppressive heat during the summers (who am I kidding, oppressive heat into late November), there is no better place than Rome. On your own back deck or the lakeside, with a cold beer, ribs and burgers on the grill, watching the kids play in the water. Well maybe in that recliner next to the AC vent, but the deck and ribs thing is good too.




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