OTMJ 4.18.24

Page 1

Journal photos by Jordan Wald
Historic Homes & Gardens Welcome Visitors
HOLLYWOOD HERITAGE: Seth and Shelley Miles and their children, left, will be opening up their renovated 1928 Tudor home for Hollywood’s Historic Home Tour on April 28. See feature on page 18. RESPECT THE LAND: At right, Louise Agee Wrinkle – a prominent local gardener known for inspiring and encouraging native gardening across the country – is being celebrated during a series of events that include exclusive, rare tours of four local gardens – including Wrinkle’s own. See feature on page 8.

AAdvice to the Class of 2024: Mutt It Up

funny thing happened on the way to writing this column.

With my daughter graduating high school next month, I started writing something practical to graduates on how to navigate their next steps, something about leading with character. Then, the latest addition to our family—our Terrier mutt-of-a-dog named Beaux—started a brawl with our more docile dog Atticus and disrupted my train of thought.

It happens a lot.

In fact, it’s been almost a year since Beaux came to live with us off the streets of Birmingham, and at times (like this morning while writing), he can be a real pill. He constantly plays cat and mouse with my toes, digs up our flowerbeds, plays in dirt after a bath, chews up any stray sock, pillow, candy wrapper, or pop-it left on the floor, and seems virtually indifferent to rewards for improved behavior.

He’ll never complacently sit behind a fence or on a sofa and will never let anyone’s perception dictate how he behaves.

But in spite of these annoyances, I’ve nonetheless found myself admiring some of his more unique qualities. He’s grown increasingly loyal to our family as we’ve earned his trust; he relishes attention but doesn’t live for our approval; he lets us know in clear, barking terms when we’ve let him down (usually by not giving him our burgers at dinner); and—this one is important— he’s pretty darn satisfied with who he is.

give our graduates. So here it is:

Graduates, as you embark on this next stage and attempt to find your place in the world, consider the best part of Beaux… and consider mutting it up a little.

I should probably clarify at this point I’m not suggesting anyone act unnecessarily foolish or agitate neighbors for fun. We aren’t dogs, after all. But good ole Beaux’s mutt mentality does teach a little bit about how to dial down the person the world wants you to be and dial up the person you actually are.

For example…

Make choices because they suit your personal values, goals and ambitions, not because they simply conform to the majority’s choices. Be willing to take risks that mean something to you without concerning yourself too much over how those risks might be perceived. Don’t let an eagerness to please someone tie you into any undeserving relationship or stifle your pursuit of any God-given dreams. Be willing to say (preferably with more kindness than an aggressive bark) what you actually think, not just what others want to hear. Unapologetically pursue interests and hobbies (assuming they don’t involve destroying flowerbeds) that make you feel more alive and then have the courage to follow where they take you. Embrace and elevate the parts of your personality that set you apart from others and find ways to inject them into the world as a gift.

With everything that’s happening “Over the Mountain,” it can be difficult to keep up. That’s why we have launched the OTMJ newsletter.

Published every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday - we’ll give you a quick recap of the latest news, sports and social events as well as a heads up on upcoming events so you won’t miss any of the interesting and fun happenings in the Greater Birmingham metro area. To sign up for our newsletter, visit otmj.com. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, @overthemountainjournal, for daily updates on what’s going on around town, too. otmj.com

I suppose part of his complex character stems from being born of a world different than the more bona-fide dogs. He hasn’t been bred to simply be a companion, a performer, or a “good” dog as the world defines it. He won’t let criticism get him down or detract him from his pursuits. He’ll never complacently sit behind a fence or on a sofa and will never let anyone’s perception dictate how he behaves. Imperfect as he can be at times, he just lives as the good Lord created him.

And he got me thinking about the advice I wanted to

Over the Mountain Views

In other words, avoid creating a life based on mere conformity, going along to get along, or prioritizing perception over what you know to be true or good. Instead, dig into the world before you and mutt it up by being soulfully and authentically you.

Because you, and the world you impact, will be better (and a whole lot more interesting) for it.

Puppy Parade

ADORABLE DOGS ready for adoption were in the spotlight at the Greater Birmingham Humane Society’s Puppy Palooza at Lane Parke on April 13. Live music, a “fido” marketplace and fun doggy activities such as a K9 splash zone set the scene for the family and pet-friendly party at this humane society fundraiser. Food and drinks from local restaurants were available. Right, Abbie and Carrie Mitchell enjoying the scene Saturday.

2 • Thursday, April 18, 2024 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL OPINION/CONTENTS OVER THE MOUNTAIN JO U RNA L April 18, 2024 Vol. 34, No. 13 Over The Mountain Journal is a suburban bi-weekly newspaper delivered to Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia Hills, Hoover and North Shelby County areas. Subscriptions for The Journal are available for $24 yearly. Mail to: Over the Mountain Journal, P.O. Box 660502, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216. Phone: (205) 823-9646. E-mail the editorial department at editorial@otmj.com. E-mail our advertising department at mwald@otmj.com. Find us on the Web at otmj.com. Copyright 2024 Over The Mountain Journal, Inc. All rights reserved. The Journal is not responsible for return of photos, copy and other unsolicited materials submitted. To have materials returned, please specify when submitting and provide a stamped, self-addressed envelope. All materials submitted are subject to editorial review and may be edited or declined without notification. Publisher & Editor: Maury Wald Copy Editor: Virginia Martin Features Writer: Donna Cornelius Staff Writers: June Mathews, Anne Ruisi Photographer: Jordan Wald Sports Editor: Rubin E. Grant Contributors: Evelyn Byrne, Solomon Crenshaw Jr., Madoline Markham Koonce, Susan Swagler Advertising Sales: Julie Trammell Edwards, Gail Kidd ABOUT TOWN 4 LIFE 8 SOCIAL 12 HOME 18 SPORTS 28
Guest Column Inside
ART OF THE HEART Self-taught artist will display her creativity at spring art festival
OPERAS GREATEST HITS Opera Birmingham puts together a concert of Opera’s best
DIAMOND TWINS Christian sisters help spark Hoover softball team
YOUNG HERO Altamont student recognized by Congressional Medal of Honor Society PAGE 10 KRISSIE ALLEN Journal photo by Jordan Wald

■ 41st annual Sponsors

GRANTS Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency

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Spring into Fun!

This year’s Vestavia Hills Dogwood Festival is almost over ... but there are still opportunities to experience incredible things in Vestavia Hills!

Art of the Heart

Self-Taught Artist Will Display Her Creativity at Spring Art Festival

Nature often inspires the work of mixed media artist Sarah Mason.

Known for her quietly colorful Abstract Florals and ethereal Mysterious Forest collections, her art has morphed into a style that’s all her own. Over the years her work has undergone subtle changes in technique and materials, and she’s learned to look to her inner self for creative guidance.

April 18

Dogwood Days

Farmer’s Market: Liberty Park, 4-7pm

April 21

Library in the Forest Concert: Miles College Golden Voices Choir, Vestavia Hills Civic Center, 3pm

April 27

Wing Ding, Vestavia Hills City Hall Lawn, 4-7pm

April 28

Heights Hangout, The Heights Village, 2-7pm

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musician with an emphasis on voice who started teaching herself how to paint about 10 years ago. A doodler as a kid, she was never good at drawing. But back then, she considered art the ability to draw perfect representations, so when it came to choosing music or art, she opted for music.

‘There’s something magical about learning the process on your own that makes you more excited to keep doing it.’

It wasn’t until she was in her 30s that she began teaching herself art and discovered the joy of painting with watercolors.

“I paint out of what I feel,” she said. “I’m most influenced by something I’ve seen or listened to. I might see something in a dream or watch something in a show, and I’ll feel art coming out of it.”

Until recently, most of Mason’s work was done in watercolor. Then she branched out into other media, including ink.

“Ink is similar to watercolor in the way it responds to water, and it’s been fun to experiment with it,” she said.

“I’ve found the ink is a bit more vibrant and more permanent. Watercolor is more forgiving as far as going back and changing things. But ink, once it’s dried, is there.”

She also recently switched from using wood or canvas for her primary surfaces to paper.

“I’ve been doing a stain on paper that gives it a vintage look and a beautiful backdrop,” she said. “I think that with the economy and the way art has changed, a paper piece is more affordable than a big canvas. I used to do a lot of work on repurposed cabinet wood in watercolor, but those pieces were getting more expensive to create.”

Mason is a classically trained

APR 18 - MAY 2

April 18- 20

Aldridge Gardens Plant Sale

Find the perfect plants for your container or garden spot! Volunteers and gardeners will be on hand to help with selections and to give advice about placement, care and maintenance. Customers can own “a little bit of Aldridge Gardens” when they buy a pass-along plant that lived there! We are going to have many plants with an Aldridge Gardens heritage. In addition, we’ll also have many more from members and friends of the gardens! When: Thurs. & Fri. 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sat. 8:30 a.m. - noon. Where: Aldridge Gardens

“There’s something magical about learning the process on your own that makes you more excited to keep doing it,” she said. “I tend to feel that you can’t teach art exactly; it either comes naturally or it doesn’t. And you certainly can’t teach creativity. You can try to help someone along and give them suggestions, but that’s something you’ve either got or you don’t.”

As for future endeavors, Mason’s work seems to be trending toward true abstracts with “lots of different colors.” She’s also interested in trying oil painting and has already experimented with adding oils to some of her current work to see how it turns out.

“I feel something different coming on,” she said. “But I usually work on new concepts in the down season. Right now, I’m concentrating on the spring show season.”

She’ll start with the Magic City Art Connection, a show she’s been participating in for eight or nine years. MCAC, she said, is a fun event with plenty of activities for kids.

“For some, it’s a family tradition,” said Mason. “I consider Birmingham a very supportive art community, and

April 18-21

Sister Act

After witnessing a murder, disco diva Deloris Van Cartier must hide in a convent disguised as a nun in this feel-good musical comedy. When:

Various times Where: Red Mountain Theatre

Thurs., April 18

Samford Scholarship Celebration

Acclaimed vocal ensemble Cantus will be featured at the Samford Legacy League’s scholarship celebration. The event will include a reception, dinner and the Cantus performance. When: 5:30-9 p.m. Where: Covenant Presbyterian Church.

Sarah Mason is a classically trained musician with an emphasis on voice who started teaching herself how to paint about 10 years ago.

the artists support one another as well. It’s been exciting to me that the arts are so well supported here.”

MCAC’s spring art festival will

take place April 26-28, in tandem with Corks & Chefs: A Taste of Birmingham, at Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark.

Magic City Art Connection Festival and Corks & Chefs Run Together April 26-28

Two events will combine for a weekend of food and art when Magic City Art Connection’s 41st annual spring art festival and the 27th annual Corks & Chefs: A Taste of Birmingham return to Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark on April 26-28.

The weekend signals a convergence of artists and tastemakers of all kinds and is a much-anticipated springtime tradition for art collectors and culinary enthusiasts.

Joining the festival’s featured artist Bryce Speed will be 150 juried fine artists, along with Imagine Festival art workshops for kids, Collectors Classroom art demos, live music and dance, food trucks and other activities.

The art festival will be open from noon until 6 p.m., Friday; from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., Saturday; and from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., Sunday. Day tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the gate. Visit magiccityart.com for more information.

Corks & Chefs will take place Saturday and Sunday from noon until 3 p.m. both days. Three tasting seminars will be presented each day under the Casting Shed to spotlight local tastemakers presenting culinary delights to pair with select wines, craft beer, spirits, cocktails and coffee.

Tickets, which cover entry to the festival all three days, are $55 in advance and $65 at the gate. Visit corksandchefs.com for more information.

Fri., April 19

Denim and Dining

Enjoy the casual atmosphere, a catered barbecue dinner provided by Jim ‘n Nick’s, music by Jenna and Ben Kuykendall, and live and silent auctions at Denim and Dining, a fundraiser for the Hoover City Schools Foundation. Tickets are available at hoovercsf.org/events. When: 6-10 p.m. Where: Aldridge Gardens

April 19-21

Don Quixote

Magic City Performing Arts presents “Don Quixote,” a vibrant and colorful family-friendly ballet based on the classic story of Don Quixote and his faithful friend, Sancho Panza. When:

Various showtimes Where: Lyric Theatre

Sat., April 20

Glenwood 5K Trail Run

Glenwood will hold the 2nd annual 5K Trail Run to support Autism Acceptance Month. It will take place on Glenwood’s 363-acre main campus, with moderate terrain and elevation challenges. When: 10 a.m. Where: Glenwood, off Sicard Hollow Road at 150 Glenwood Lane

Homewood Library Foundation Block Party

Come to support the Homewood Library, stay for all of the fun!

The ninth annual block party is a book-themed carnival for the

OTMJ 1/5pg 04.18.2024.indd 1 3/25/24 4:07 PM
Journal photo by Jordan Wald


Join Leadership Vestavia Hills for a day of fun competition with local chefs to the test. Visitors will enjoy great chicken wings, live music and a children’s area full of games and activities. When: 4-7 p.m. Where: Vestavia Hills City Hall lawn

whole family. Enjoy live music, cold beverages and samples of food and drink from local sponsors, plus fun activities and games for children. Tickets are available at homewoodlibraryfoundation.org/blockparty-1 or at the door. When: 5:307:30 p.m. Where: Homewood Library

Cornhole Classic

Hosted by The Bell Center Junior Board, The Cornhole Classic is a family fun event that raises funds

for The Bell Center to provide early intervention therapy for children with special needs. When: Registration begins at 11 a.m. tournament begins at noon. Where: Good People Brewing

Stop the Violence 5K

The American Legion 21st District will hold the Stop the Violence 5K Run/Walk to raise awareness of gun violence in Birmingham and surrounding areas, negatively

impacting children and the community. When: 11 a.m. Where: Railroad Park

Mutt Strut

Mutt Strut is the grooviest dog-friendly 5K and fun run to benefit Hand in Paw’s animal-assisted therapy. Bring your best friend and join the fun!

When: 7:30 a.m. Where: Homewood Central Park

April 20-21

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Enjoy the film “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” across the big screen in high-definition and experience the music of The Alabama Symphony Orchestra performing Patrick Doyle’s unforgettable score. When: April 20, 7 p.m., April 21, 2:30 p.m. Where: BJCC Concert Hall

Sun., April 21

Miles College Golden Voices Choir

This free concert features Miles College’s Golden Voices Choir, which has performed nationwide and exudes the message of culture, class and civility through many genres of music. When: 3 p.m. Where: Vestavia Hills Civic Center

Mon., April 22

Civil Air Patrol Open House

The Bessemer Civil Air Patrol squadron will host an open house

ABOUT TOWN continued on page 6
Campbell May, Lauren Mason and Livi May at last year’s Wing Ding event. Journal file photo by Jordan Wald

Operas Greatest Hits

Opera Birmingham Puts Together a Concert of Opera’s Best

Most popular musicians who have been around for awhile are known for their greatest hits. You name it, country, rock, R&B. But opera?

Yes, opera has its greatest hits, too, and Opera Birmingham is sponsoring a concert to showcase opera’s most cherished melodies and moments, according to a release from the group.

“Opera Unveiled: A Concert of Greatest Hits” will be presented April 26 and April 28 at the Dorothy Jemison Day Theater at Alabama School of Fine Arts. It will take audiences through selections from iconic composers such as Puccini, Verdi and Mozart.

The concert will showcase some of Alabama’s most beloved artists, including soprano Kathleen Farrar Buccleugh, bass Won Cho, mezzo-soprano Alexis Davis-Hazell (right), tenor Roderick George, tenor Elias Hendricks, tenor Philip McCown, soprano Allison Sanders, baritone Daniel Seigel and mezzo-soprano Gretchen Windt, along with a guest artist, soprano Amber Monroe.

years. Conductor Daniel Cho will lead as the Alabama Symphony Orchestra accompanies the singers.

“We are excited to bring this spectacular concert to the Birmingham community,” said Keith A. Wolfe-Hughes, general director of Opera Birmingham. “Audiences can expect an evening filled with passion, drama, and the unparalleled beauty of opera.”

Tickets for “Opera Unveiled: A Concert of Greatest Hits” start at $25

The artists will perform breathtaking arias and unforgettable ensembles from masterpieces such as “The Barber of Seville,” “Tosca,” “Il Trovatore,” “The Marriage of Figaro” and “Carmen,” among others.

The Opera Birmingham Chorus also will treat audiences to two of operas most famous choruses, including the striking “Anvil Chorus,” which has not been performed on the Opera Birmingham stage in more than 40

for adults, with $10 tickets available for students under 18 and college students age 25 or under with valid full-time student ID.

Order tickets at operabirmingham. org or call 205-322-6737. Groups of 10 or more receive special rates, which are automatically applied when ordering.

The performance is sponsored by Regions, Alabama State Council on the Arts, and National Endowment for the Arts.

Performances on Friday, April 26, begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 28 at 2:30 p.m.

Well known for 42 years, this free community event will celebrate area artists, many award-winning and regionally known, and offer a large variety of high-quality fine art paintings and drawings.

Art in the Village

Local Artists Will Share Their Works in Festival in Crestline Village

Works by more than 55 Mountain Brook Art Association artists will be displayed in Crestline Village on May 4 as Art in the Village returns. Well known for 42 years, this free community event will celebrate area artists, many award-winning and regionally known, and offer a large variety of high-quality fine art paint-

ABOUT TOWN from page 5

for parents and children ages 12-18 to learn what it is like to be part of the Civil Air Patrol, which includes aerospace education and learning leaderships skills, search and rescue techniques and other skills. When: 6:30 p.m. Where: Bessemer Municipal Airport

Thurs., April 25

Taste for the Cure

Join us for a night to remember, filled with gourmet delights, the rhythmic beats of live music, and the thrill of bidding on extraordinary items in both silent and live auctions in this fundraiser for the Parkinson Association of Alabama. When: 5-9 p.m. Where: Grand Bohemian Hotel

Fri., April 26

Prescott House Blue Door Gala

A champagne reception in a garden setting, seated dinner, music and silent and live auctions are featured in this fundraiser for Prescott House, a child advocacy center in Jefferson County. Gala guests are asked to wear blue in recognition of Child Abuse Awareness Month. When: 6-10:45 p.m. Where: Grand Bohemian Hotel

April 26-28

Children’s of Alabama

Indy Grand Prix

Rev up your enthusiasm and sign up for the Indy 5K to benefit Children’s of Alabama. Fan and Kids zones, a car corral and other activities. Visit indyalabama.com/# for more

ings and drawings.

The art will be displayed inside and outside Mountain Brook City Hall from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Floral Art competition also will be going on, featuring floral arrangements by Lisa Bailey Designs.

Also on sale at the show will be paintings by well-known artist and

long-time MBAA member Janet Tillery (1929-2023), who donated them to the association she loved.

Her many works include paintings done on location in Maine, Mexico, Italy, the Caribbean, France, New Mexico, Portugal and in other countries. Her works are included in many private and corporate collections.

Parking is free and there are many restaurants in the immediate area.

For more information, visit mountainbrookartassociation.com.


A full day of events, including a 5K race, fun run, chalk art festival, parade, festival and street dance, are planned as Homewood celebrates the city they love best. Visit homewoodparks.com for details. When: 7:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Where: Most activities will be at Homewood Central Park, the street dance will be in Edgewood.

information and specific event start times. When: Gates and fan activities open at 7:30 a.m., various times for races Where: Barber Motorsports Park

Sat., April 27

Citizen Appreciation Day

Organized by the employees of Mountain Brook to give back to the residents they serve. This year will be bigger than ever. Bring your towels and get ready for the pumper fire truck to spray water every 30 minutes

Will, Harper, Jennifer and Maddie McEwen at last year’s We Love Homewood event Journal

(for about 5 minutes) for the kids to play outside the Fire Department bays. Enjoy free lunch, Kid’s Zone, petting zoo, face painting, TouchA-Truck, Mountain Brook Jazz Band performance and more. When: 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Where: Lawn at City Hall

Hope for Autumn Crawfish Boil

The 17th annual Hope for Autumn Foundation Crawfish Boil includes all-you-can-eat crawfish prepared by Lousiana native John Hein who will be on hand, as well as hamburgers, hot dogs and all the fixings. Enjoy

Photo by Jon Whitaker Courtesy file photo by Jordan Wald

Punch It Up!

GirlSpring Sets First

Cocktail Punch Competition Fundraiser

GirlSpring is hosting a cocktail punch competition April 28 to showcase works of Birmingham’s best bartenders.

The event will be at Juniper from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Guests can sample the punches and vote for their favorites, while snacks will be served from Ladybird Tacos.

The winner of the competition will take the title and a $500 cash prize.

kids’ activities like bounce houses, face painting and a kids’ DJ dance party. Proceeds from the event benefit families battling childhood cancer in Alabama and funds local childhood cancer research. When: 3-9 p.m.

Where: 2101 Grand Ave.

Celebrate Hoover Day

The annual city-wide celebration is a free, family-friendly event that draws thousands of residents for a fun day in the park. A kids’ petting zoo, carnival rides, live entertainment, kids’ zone and ice cream are among the highlights. When: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Where: Veterans Park

Guild Gala

Join the Service Guild of Birmingham for its largest fundraiser, which will benefit the Bell Center for early intervention programs. The black-tie event will include a cocktail hour, seated dinner and silent auction, followed by an after party featuring DJ Michael Warren. When: 6 p.m.

Where: The Club

Earth Day at the Gardens

Join the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens at their annual Earth Day celebration. Learn to cultivate a passion for plants, gardens and the environment. When: Noon-2 p.m., with a family yoga session on the formal lawn from 1-2 p.m. Where: Birmingham Botanical Gardens

AMP Ride

Tanner Foundation fundraiser brings indoor cycling outdoors with this relay style event raising money for individuals living with ALS, MS and Parkinson’s. This five- hour stationary cycling ride features five- forty five minute cycling sessions each led by a local celebrity instructor. When: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Where: Cahaba Brewery

Sun., April 28

Heights Hangout

Join the Cahaba Heights Merchants Association for this beautification fundraiser by the Cahaba Heights Merchants Association. Tickets are $15 each, with free entry for children 10 and under. Enjoy the Kids Zone, food, drinks, Pop Up shops items

Tickets are $35 and include fourounce pours of each punch. Attendees also may buy mystery gift bags filled with treats from local vendors for $20. All ticket sales and gift bag proceeds directly benefit GirlSpring, a local nonprofit dedicated to empowering girls ages 9-18.

“We’re thrilled to host our first Punch Party event,” said Kristen Greenwood, executive director of GirlSpring. “It’s going to be a great afternoon of friendly competition and raising money for a good cause.

The group’s junior board put together the event. The spirits sponsor is Redmont Distilling Co.

For more information and tickets, visit punchparty.swell.gives.

from local vendors. When: 2-7 p.m.

Where: Heights Village

Party on the Lawn

Rock the night away to the music of Pool Hall Special at the second annual Party on the Lawn to benefit PreSchool Partners, the nonprofit preschool program. When: 3-6 p.m.

Where: Back Forty Beer Company

Fri., May 3

Derby Bash Camp Smile A Mile

This Kentucky Derby-themed party is a fundraiser for Camp Smile A Mile. Complimentary beer, wine and heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served. Live music, online silent auction, raffles and games and a photo booth will be featured. When: 6-10:30 p.m. Where: Iron City Birmingham

Sat., May 4

Garden Art Party

Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama is the beneficiary of the Garden Art Party. The event will include live and silent auctions. Every dollar raised will be spent in Alabama to help people living with dementia and their families.

When: 7 p.m. Where: Haven

Sun., May 5

Ammon Yom Hashoah Commemoration

Honor the memory of the 6 million Jews killed during the Holocaust and hear personal stories and experiences of local survivors and liberators. This event also will honor the memory of the Amnon Weinstein, who founded Violins of Hope, a collection of instruments owned by Jews before and during the Holocaust. When: 3:30 p.m. Where: Harrison Theatre at Samford University

Tues., May 7

Hoover Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast

Auburn University head football coach Hugh Freeze will be the guest speaker at the annual prayer breakfast hosted by Hoover Mayor Frank V. Brocato When: 7:30-9 a.m.

Where: Hyatt Regency Ballroom at the Galleria

Thank Them for Their Service

VH Sunrise Rotary Celebrates First Responders

The Vestavia Hills Sunrise Rotary Club will present its 14th Annual First Responders Celebration on May 4 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The event will be held on the grounds of the Vestavia Hills City Hall, at 1032 Montgomery Highway.

This event serves dual purposes. Foremost, it honors the firefighters and police force who serve and protect the citizenry, and it gives them a chance to relax and enjoy time with their families and co-workers in an atmosphere with

food, music, games and gifts.

Secondly, proceeds from sponsors and supporters generate funds to acquire state-of-the-art equipment for the first responders. This year, a portion of proceeds will be used to upgrade to newer and safer helmets and headgear for the SWAT team.

‘This event is the main reason the Vestavia Hills Sunrise Rotary Club exists’

“This event is the main reason the

Vestavia Hills Sunrise Rotary Club exists,” Will Connor, president of the Vestavia Hills Sunrise Rotary, said. “We are proud of the support we have been able to provide to the men and women of the Vestavia Hills Police Department and the Vestavia Hills Fire Department and look forward to doing this for years to come.”

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Spring is in full, glorious bloom, but that’s not the only reason to revel in the outdoors.

Louise Agee Wrinkle – a prominent local gardener known for inspiring and encouraging native gardening across the country – is being celebrated during a series of events that includes the premiere of a documentary film about her garden; a second printing of “Listen to the Land,” her book on the subject; and exclusive, rare tours of four local gardens – including Wrinkle’s own.

Nearly four decades ago, Louise and John Wrinkle moved into the Beechwood Road house, built by her parents in 1938, where she grew up. The home is on a wooded lot she and her sister once called “the jungle.” When she moved back, it was hardly a jungle, but her goal was to make the 2-plus acres of mixed woodland her own.

“I thought, ‘Well, this is mine now, and I need to do something with it. But I don’t want to impose anything on it. I would rather let it say what it needs to say. I wanted to have it natural,” she said.

This wasn’t just a passing whim.

Wrinkle’s father was a naturalist, and he instilled in her a love of the natural world with its many treasures –from acorns to trees, seashells to rocks. So, she was careful and respectful in how she approached her land.

She worked with landscape architect Norman Kent Johnson to create a network of paths and stone walls to better access all areas of the property with its grade changes, rocks and fresh running water.

Today, there is a verdant moss path alongside a natural creek where Wrinkle and her sister caught salamanders when they were children; tiny ferns grow

stood, of course, that there is just a world of other plants out there. If I restricted myself to natives, I would be missing a lot.”

So, she added Asian plants to her mix. She says she sometimes places a native plant and a corresponding Asian variety near each other so she can see them and compare them. She’s done this with a native fringe tree and a Chinese fringe tree; native Solomon’s seal and Japanese Solomon’s seal.

“It’s interesting to see them in comparison,” she said.

Years later, this mix of natives and Asian counterparts, which includes family collections of hollies, azaleas, ranunculus and much more, has enriched the wooded space in a beautiful, intentional and inspirational way.

Film, Book Detail Wrinkle’s Gardening Philosophy

All this is covered in the Garden Conservancy’s latest documentary film, “A Garden in Conversation: Louise Agee Wrinkle’s Southern Woodland Sanctuary,” which premiers May 5 at 3 p.m. at the Virginia Samford Theatre. The film explores the ideas of preservation and conservation and Wrinkle’s own gardening philosophy of “letting plants develop as they will and tend to them in a way that highlights the subtle beauties of texture, rhythm, pattern, repletion.”

between the stones on stairs; an archway of native crabapple frames a small, sunken parterre of boxwoods and tulips near the house. There are smoke trees, beech trees, Japanese maples, water oaks, evergreen dogwoods, loblolly pines and surprising shapes of fungi fruit in leaf litter. Ferns of all kinds –maidenhair, cinnamon, Japanese painted – cluster in the shade. There are blackeyed Susans, meadow rue, native azaleas, Daphne, camellias, spirea, fairy bells, narcissus and miniature columbine. Sculptural trilliums line walking paths, and hidden benches throughout the property offer places to simply sit and enjoy it all.

Wrinkle relied on Latin learned in high school and college, and she continued her horticultural education through additional college classes at Jefferson State Community College. The more she learned, the more her interests expanded.

“At first, I thought I wanted to stay in natives,” she said. “But then I under-

Garden Conservancy Open Days Offerings

Garden Tours

During the Garden Conservancy Open Days program on May 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors to the four Birminghamarea gardens can experience these special spaces:

Louise Wrinkle’s Southern Woodland Garden: On Wrinkle’s 2 acres, visitors will see a variety of garden areas including a sunken boxwood parterre framed by a Belgian fence of native crabapple, a cutting garden and a natural brook that flows all year. Follow a network of paths and small stone walls and experience a thoughtful horticultural history that began with natives and extends to colorful Asian counterparts.

Rooms With Views: Garden structure and sculpture, scenic views that extends for miles across Shades Valley to the ridge beyond, and all manner of fragrance and blooms await visitors at this 1-acre garden set within a framework of original walls and terraces. You’ll not want to miss the hedged, almost-secret space for bocce; a portion of the garden devoted to fruits; and the many wonderful areas for al fresco entertainment.

After the screening of the documentary, there will be a panel discussion on Southern gardens, native plants and conservation with local and regional garden experts followed by a reception.

Wrinkle’s garden is further detailed in her award-winning book “Listen to the Land: Creating a Southern Woodland Garden.” The book features stunning photographs of plants large and tiny, a handy plant guide with growing information as well as common and Latin names of plants in her garden. She recounts the joys and challenges she’s experienced over the years working her land. The book has been revised and has a new preface by James Brayton Hall, the CEO and president of the Garden Conservancy.

This May 5 film and book event is free, but registration is required. Go to gardenconservancy.org to register.

All this celebration is fitting because Wrinkle has inspired countless gardeners here at home and across the country with her minimalist approach to gardening and her intense appreciation for the

See WRINKLE, page 9

The Butrus Garden: An Italianate garden surrounds a grand house of gray limestone in the middle of a 4-acre mature woodland space. The emphasis is on greenery, stone and water. Look for an antique fountain, many private nooks for entertaining, a greenhouse whose stone base matches the house, an antique copper female figure and a new woodland garden designed by noted Birmingham landscape architect Norman Kent Johnson.

The Dancer: On the down slope of Red Mountain, a 1930s Tudorstyle house is home to a beautiful small garden inspired by water, a ballerina and roses. The space is about 2,100 square feet (35 feet by 60 feet) and features two garden “rooms.” The Fountain Garden is centered on the home’s renovated kitchen’s steel-framed glass doors. Adjacent to the Fountain Garden is The Rose/ Sculpture Garden, centered on the living room. A display terrace for a beautiful 8-foot-tall bronze ballerina sculpture is surrounded by four Winter King Hawthorns with a colorful, fragrant rose garden beyond.

Journal photos by Maury Wald 8 • Thursday, April 18, 2024 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL LIFE 115 OAK STREET | CRESTLINE VILLAGE | 205.870.7542 115 OAK STREET CRESTLINE VILLAGE 870-7542 Oak
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Louise Wrinkle worked with landscape architect Norman Kent Johnson to create a network of paths and stone walls to better access all areas of the property with its grade changes, rocks and fresh running water. Right, a native fringe tree welcomes guests to Wrinkle’s home.

From page 8

natural world.

She said she took what was given and “made the most of it. … But also, you’ve got to sometimes be sort of fierce. I’m big on breathing space. You’ve got to have some breathing spaces.”

‘Leave It Alone Most of the Time.’

Not everyone can create a sanctuary like Wrinkle’s, but we all can learn to better notice and appreciate what’s around us.

“Nature and God,” she said, “know what they’re doing.” Her advice: “Leave it alone most of the time.”

She encourages people to cultivate personal knowledge about what’s growing around them – native species, especially.

“I just wish more people knew more about it so they could appreciate it,” she said. “I mean, they’ve got all this surrounding them, and if they don’t know about it, it’s just sort of a blank wall.”

Wrinkle said she is grateful for the varied beauty in all her garden’s seasons.

“Spring is thrilling, but I love winter, really,” she said. “Everything’s clear. The air is clear, and you can see things; you can see the bones. You can see the lichen on the trees. You’re not distracted. I think a lot of people want nothing but the color and flowers, but I think they’re a distraction to the whole

types, sizes and traditions. Since 1995, Open Days has welcomed more than 1.4 million visitors into thousands of inspired private landscapes – from urban rooftops to organic farms, historic estates to innovative suburban lots –in 41 states.

Wrinkle is a founding member and director emerita of the Garden Conservancy, which is dedicated to preserving, sharing and celebrating America’s gardens and diverse gardening traditions. She also has been a distinguished member of the Garden Club of America for 40 years. She received the Foundation for Landscape Studies Place Maker Award in 2019.

picture. I don’t mean distraction in a bad way. I mean, if that’s what you want, that’s what you see and you don’t see much of anything else.”

That said, her garden will be in beautiful bloom during the weekend festivities.

Open Gardens

Four private, Birmingham-area gardens, including Wrinkle’s woodland sanctuary, will be open for tours during the Garden Conservancy Open Days program on May 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is the first time that has happened here since 2009. Admission is $5 for Garden Conservancy members and $10 for non-members. Tickets are available at gardenconservancy.org/ open-days.

The idea behind the Open Days is to introduce gardeners of all levels of experience to a diverse range of garden

There’s not much in her garden that surprises Wrinkle anymore. Things are constantly changing. Plants bloom early, they bloom late; new plants sprout and spread; trees come down. She takes it all in stride. When one enormous oak fell during a storm last Christmas, Wrinkle fashioned a big bow from ribbon and tied it around the stump much like someone would decorate a mailbox for the holidays.

But there is one specimen on her property that did bring some unexpected delight recently – a handkerchief tree.

“It’s called Davidia. It’s famous for being slow to bloom,” Wrinkle said. “I

had one that was here for 30 years before it bloomed. I don’t know whether it’s going to bloom this year or not.” It certainly was thrilling when it did, she said.

“It has what looks like blooms but they’re really bracts. … It looks like handkerchiefs being thrown in the tree.”

She’s quiet as she reflects upon the memory of this, the surprise and sheer enchantment of it.

It’s clear that Wrinkle’s sense of reverence for her land is deep. It guides her. It has guided her all along.

“Respect,” she says, “that’s what I have for the land.”

Thursday, April 18, 2024 • 9 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL LIFE
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Wrinkle’s garden is detailed in her award-winning book “Listen to the Land: Creating a Southern Woodland Garden.”

Altamont Student Recognized by Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Ethan Hill was too young to remember much about his first trip to Washington, D.C., but he probably won’t ever forget his recent visit to the nation’s capital.

“It was a really cool experience to go to D.C.,” Hill said. “I got to go to all the monuments and museums.”

Hill’s trip wasn’t all about sightseeing. He was there for a special occasion and a prestigious award.

The 13-year-old, eighth grade Altamont School student is one of only five individuals and one organization to earn the 2024 Citizen Honors Award presented by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

The society – a congressionallychartered organization of the 63 living recipients of the nation’s most prestigious award for valor in combat –hosted the honorees in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, on National Medal of Honor Day, March 25.

Society members selected Hill as a 2024 Youth Service Honoree in recognition of his service to the homeless community in and around Birmingham through his Ethan’s Heart Bags4Blessings organization.

“I know it’s not just me being rec-

ognized – it’s the work I’m doing,” Hill said. “With that recognition comes more support for those who are on the streets who really need it.”

Hill began servicing the homeless when he was just 6 years old. On his ride to school one day, Hill saw a homeless man, whom he later came to know as Mr. Marcus, sitting under the freeway.

“I wanted to know why he was there,” Hill said. “I knew it wasn’t right. It didn’t sit right with me. I spent my $100 Christmas money and bought supplies for him and those like him.”

That inspired Hill to hand out supplies to people in need, calling it “Ethan’s Heart–Bags4Blessings.”

“It started with one person and I thought it would be a one-time thing and it’s turned into a really big thing of doing good,” Hill said. “We recently had a service day and handed out supplies to more than 100 people before we ran out of stuff.”

In seven years, Hill’s organization has grown to the point it takes a trailer and a storage facility just to hold all the donations, such as toiletries, water and sleeping bags. He estimates his organization has distributed 5,000 care packages to those in need and the numbers keep growing.

“It’s really just about helping people and seeing the look on their faces, knowing what we’re doing is going to be beneficial to them in some way,” Hill said.

Sacrifice and Service

Launched in 2007, the Citizen Honors Awards program reflects the mission of Medal of Honor recipients to show that the values associated

with the Medal of Honor are relevant to all Americans.

The tradition also is in keeping with the preference of recipients to shine a light on others rather than themselves, as they believe that the Medals of Honor they were awarded should be seen more broadly as a symbol of the sacrifices and service of others.

This year’s honorees are credited

with saving victims during the fires in Lahaina, Hawaii, disarming a mass shooter in Los Angeles, and performing acts of service benefiting those with autism and veteran communities.

“Ethan brings so much awareness of homelessness in this community,” Altamont Head of School Cecil Stodghill said in the society’s video introduction to Hill’s work. “To see that a teenager can have such an impact really pushes others to say, ‘I can do that, I want to do that, I should do that.’”

Hill has spoken at a virtual United Nations event in Vienna and was recognized as a “10 Under 20 Food Hero.” He also traveled to New York during the summer as part of a conference for global change makers.

Hill plans to go to college and hopes to one day expand his organization into surrounding states.

Ebony Hill, Ethan’s mother, is still processing what her son’s prestigious Citizen Honors Award means.

“I really don’t have the words for it yet,” she said. “It’s something we’re proud of. Ethan never sees what he’s doing as anything big, but what’s necessary and needed. This brings a light to his cause and shows us his work is not going unnoticed.”

The awards event followed a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a dinner that introduced honorees to society members. Hill had the privilege of meeting Medal of Honor Recipient retired Army Capt. Paris D. Davis. Davis

them because they

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Medal of Honor recipient retired Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore A. Giunta presented Ethan Hill with his Medal of Honor. Giunta is the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor in the 21st century.
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Young Hero

was unable to present Hill’s award as scheduled, so Medal of Honor recipient retired Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore A. Giunta took that role. Giunta is the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor in the 21st century.

“Medal of Honor recipients know that there are many Americans who share the values we seek to promote through our outreach, and we think it is important to hold them up as role models for others,” Medal of Honor recipient and society President Britt Slabinski said at the ceremony. “Their self-sacrifice embodies the American spirit and shows that the opportunity to serve others does not require a military uniform.”

For Hill, the award means his service will receive a boost.

“It means we get more donations, more volunteers and we get to help

Hill had the privilege of meeting Medal of Honor Recipient retired Army Capt. Paris D. Davis.

Award can be found on the society’s website, cmohs.org. Click on the Video Library link, then choose the category ‘Citizen Honors’ for the year 2024.

Hill’s organization can be found at ethansheartbham.org.

Other Awardees

In addition to Hill, the 2024 honorees include:

Riley Coon of Wailuku, Hawaii, was selected as a Single Act of Heroism Honoree for his act of heroism on Jan. 21, 2023, when he answered the call from the Coast Guard to use his vessels in saving the lives of people trying to escape the inferno in Lahaina. Riley led his team into harm’s way with 80 mph winds close to shore and intense heat coming from land. They were instrumen-

California, was selected as a Single Act of Heroism Honoree for his act of heroism on Aug. 9, 2023, when he disarmed the Monterey Park, California, mass shooter at the Lai Lai Ballroom & Studio in Alhambra, California, during Lunar New Year celebrations.

Austen Macmillan of Wellington, Florida, was selected as the Young Hero Honoree for his act of heroism on Sept. 4, 2023, when he pulled his behavioral therapist from a swimming pool and performed CPR after he attempted to show the boy how long he could hold his breath underwater.

Danny Combs of Golden, Colorado, was selected as the Service Act Honoree for his work to create better lives for those with autism. Inspired by his son, Dylan, Danny started Teaching the Autism Community Trades to create authentic training that leads to careers. His program has become the most successful training-to-employment program for the autism community in Colorado.

America’s VetDogs, in Smithtown, New York, was selected as the Community Service Honoree for providing enhanced mobility and renewed independence to veterans, active-duty service members and first responders with disabilities, allowing them to live with pride and self-reliance once again. America’s VetDogs uses a meticulous matching program to ensure that each recipient is matched with the dog that best suits

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Fundraiser Includes Artistic Tablescapes, Luncheon and Silent Auction

The King’s Home Shelby Auxiliary on April 11 held its annual Tablescapes for Kings Home fundraiser at Asbury United Methodist Church.

Guests were surrounded by individual tablescape designs during a luncheon and silent auction. Ashley McMakin of Ashley Mac’s restaurants was the guest speaker and shared her story and her commitment to a Christ-centered business.

The event was a benefit for King’s Home of Shelby County, which serves at-risk women, mothers and children. ❖

12 • Thursday, April 18, 2024 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
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Music Scholars

Birmingham Music Club Guild Fetes Young Musicians at Luncheon

The Guild of the Birmingham Music Club honored its scholarship recipients April 5 during the Spring Luncheon at the Country Club of Birmingham.

Honored were scholarship winners Camryn Tyrie Hubbard, who is a freshman at the University of Alabama at Birmingham; Luke Turner, who is a sophomore at the University of Alabama; Sara Reeves, who is a junior at UA; and Shannon Boutwell, who is a sophomore at Samford University.

Hubbard and Turner tied for Walter Sechriest Best Performance Award.

Adreanna Pulliam, a senior at Samford, and Sierra Aaliyah Frazier, a senior at UAB, tied for second place for the Dr. Oscar and Ellen Dahlene Scholarship.

Hanna Lee, a junior at UAB, and Aaron Perez, a freshman at Alabama State University, tied for second place for the Charles C. and Julia W. Anderson Piano Scholarship.

Tyrie Wilson, a sophomore at UA, and Grant Bagley, a junior at Auburn University, tied for The Guild of the Birmingham Music Club Scholarship. ❖

Thursday, April 18, 2024 • 13 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL SOCIAL
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An elegant evening celebrating Acts of Kindness and the limitless potential of Alabama’s children who are deaf, blind and multi-disabled was held April 4 at Red Mountain Theatre. The event raised money for the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind Foundation. Guests were treated to a live auction and a performance of “Sister Act” at the theater ❖

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Backyard Bash

Music, Mexican Nibbles and Kids Activities

Highlight Carrywell Party

Live music by Billy Gant and kid-friendly activities set the stage for the Carrywell Backyard Bash at Lady Bird Taco on April 12.

Lady Bird Taco provided dinner – with tacos, quesadillas, chips and dips on hand – non-alcoholic beverages for everyone and beer, wine and margaritas available for the adults.

For the kids, face painting, balloon twisting and yard games were on hand.

Carrywell is an organization that serves hundreds of couples desperate to increase their families and supports those suffering with infertility and loss. ❖

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Wald Park in Vestavia Hills was the setting for Spring Fling Family Day on April 12. Families brought blankets and chairs to celebrate the arrival of spring with food trucks, face painting, bounce houses, games and other fun activities. An allages outdoor concert capped the party, which was held in the early evening. ❖

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Treasuring Tricia

Tricia’s Treasures Owner

Celebrates 80th Birthday in Party at Store

Relatives and friends, along with customers old and new, recently helped Tricia Thomas celebrate her 80th birthday at Tricia’s Treasures in Homewood.

The three-hour celebration included food, drink and the music of the Daze Yavoo band.

Continuing a family tradition, granddaughter Anna Grace helped to cook the famous T&R Hamburgers that were served in Thomas’ first endeavor in business, which lasted 15 years. ❖


Boys & Girls: Ages 2017-2006 (U8-U19)

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Boys & Girls: Ages 2012-2006 (U13-U19)

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Boys & Girls: Ages 2017-2013 (U8-U12)

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Boys & Girls: Ages 2017-2013 (U8-U12)

Dates: May 20-22


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Hollywood’s Historic Home Tour Returns

For the first time since the COVID 19 pandemic, you can tour three homes as part of the Historic Hollywood Tour of Homes. See details page 21.

Hollywood HERITAGE

S“I wish I could live in that house one day,” she remembers thinking. Little did she know that one day years later the family for which she babysat would call her and say they thought the cottage’s owner might be looking to sell, and after leaving a business card in the mailbox and waiting six months, she would, in fact, make it her home with her own family.

Now, that 1928 Tudor home is one of three houses on Hollywood’s Historic Home Tour coming up April 28.

When Shelley and her husband, Seth, bought the house in 2016, they became only the third owner in its nearly 90 years of existence and inherited all of its original features – including a button in the dining room that the house’s original owners pressed to call their servants over from the carriage house behind it.

helley Grissom vividly recalls the first time she took note of the house on La Prado Place. At the time, she was a senior in high school, and one day while babysitting she noticed the brick Tudor cottage across the street was for sale.

Originally, the couple’s plan had been to make only minor updates to the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house, but then one night they saw water coming down the walls and before long were gutting the interior to give it new life within its classic bones.

Shelley and Seth did most of the work themselves for the two-year renovation process, working with home designer Brian Jernigan to maintain its historic footprint as they updated plumbing, wiring, windows and walls. During the renovation, the original lath board and plaster walls came down,

Visit a Family’s Updated Tudor on Hollywood’s Historic Home Tour This Month See HOLLYWOOD, page 20

Journal photos by Maury Wald 18 • Thursday, April 18, 2024 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
The only significant change Shelley and Seth Grissom made to their 1928 Tudor home during renovations was removing a wall that had formed a butler’s pantry and enlarging the tiny kitchen into a spacious one open to the living room, above. A pop art portrait of Audrey Hepburn, right, by Ashley Longshore, a Montgomery native, hangs in the breakfast nook.
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From page 18

and the original horsehair insulation around the windows came out. The Grissoms also bricked up a few windows because there was so much light coming into its living spaces and bedrooms.

The only significant change they made during renovations was remov ing a wall that had formed a butler’s pantry and enlarging the tiny kitchen into a spacious one open to the living

room, with a small powder room off of it.

Originally the ceilings of each room varied from 7 to 8 to 9 feet, so the Grissoms made them a uniform 9 feet and opened up the ceiling in the living room to be vaulted, exposing

took it up to the height of the living room’s newly vaulted ceiling.

The carriage house was in such disrepair that they decided the only way forward was to rebuild it.

‘Art is really influential for me. I love it. Anywhere I travel I go to art galleries.’

Determined to stay as true to the original as possible, the Grissoms saved each brick they took down to rebuild the carriage in the original floorplan, only a few feet wider to fit a modern-sized car in its first-floor garage. Today, the only thing missing is its original clawfoot tub, and the second floor is an additional living space with a small kitchen and bathroom that Seth uses as his “man cave” to watch sports.

The Grissoms also saved wood from the original carriage house and had it made into the breakfast table that now sits in their main house.

The Grissoms saved wood from the original carriage house and had it made into the breakfast table, right, that now sits in their main house.

Just as it was back in 1926, the floor of the entryway to the main house is limestone, which is echoed on the floor in front of the fireplace. With the exception of the original front door and knob that remain in place, the original light fixtures and doorknobs came out but were replaced by new pieces designed to look as if they are from a similar time.

Although they didn’t have room for a piano that had been in the house for years before they bought it, the Grissoms found a new home for it in a nearby Hollywood home owned by a work colleague.

Today the house is a blend of traditional design, which Seth favors, with a touch of modern design added by Shelley. All of the house’s hardwoods are in their original dark walnut color beneath original arched

doorways, and its walls are all a classic white, with curtains and furnishings in neutral colors.

“We wanted it to have a homey feel but also be bright and sunny,” Shelley said.

The white walls act as a gallery to showcase pops of color from the bright modern abstract art that Shelley collects, mostly from artists around the Southeast. Her two most prized pieces are a pop art portrait of Audrey Hepburn by Ashley Longshore, a Montgomery native dubbed the “feminist Andy Warhol,” and an abstract face by Sally King Benedict, a contemporary artist originally from Atlanta.

page 23

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Hollywood’s Historic Home Tour Returns April 28

For the first time since the COVID 19 pandemic, you can tour three homes as part of the Historic Hollywood Tour of Homes.

The tour, which includes one Spanish style and two English Tudors, will be held April 28 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets, $40 each, can be purchased online at bit.ly/hollywoodhometour2024 or at the door on the day of the tour.

The event is a fundraiser held by the Hollywood Garden Club to support neighborhood beautification and Shades Cahaba Elementary School.

In addition to the A.V. Smith House on La Prado Place, (See feature on page 18), you can also tour two others. The Adams House is a 1926 two-story Tudor Revival on English Circle that was formerly owned by Mary Adams of the popular Mary Adams Antiques in Homewood; and the Nelson House, a 1925 Spanish Colonial Revival, was the personal home of Hollywood’s developer, Clyde Nelson.

Hollywood’s roots go back to 1924, when the Hollywood Land Company was incorporated and Nelson hired Harvard-trained landscape architect Rubee J. Pearse to design the 750-lot neighborhood. Architect George P. Turner designed most of the original residences that would sell for $15,000 to $35,000. In addition to the original Spanish architecture, Nelson later permitted lot owners to also build Tudor Revivalstyle homes, still with strict design codes that maintained his vision for the community.

Hollywood was incorporated in 1926 and merged with the city of Homewood in 1929, and in the neighborhood’s early years the Hollywood Country Club offered a large pool and fine dining.

In 2002, the Hollywood Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and today remains notable for its historic

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Above, Shelley ordered insect art by Ukrainian artist Misto Kyiv to hang above a green crib in her son’s nursery. During renovations, the Grissoms rebuilt a dilapidated fireplace and took it up to the height of the living room’s newly vaulted ceiling, right.


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“Art is really influential for me. I love it,” Shelley said. “Anywhere I travel I go to art galleries.”

On her dining room (left) and breakfast room walls hang paintings by Alabama’s own Laura Rice and Elisabeth Hays alongside ones by North Carolina’s Windy O’Conner, Nashville’s Craig Greene, and Georgia’s Elaine Burge and Allison James. A painting by Shelley herself hangs in the entryway to the home.

Clearing Out the Yard

While the interior was being trans-

formed, the landscape around the house also underwent significant changes. When the Grissoms purchased the home, the lot had a good number of trees for its size with mondo grass covering much of the ground. Today it has a more manicured feel, and the yard allows for a better view of the house from the street.

The Grissoms also found azaleas scattered throughout the property that

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Antique Market on Linden

Linda and Chip King opened Antique Market on Linden in Homewood April of 2022.


Both Linda and Chip grew up in homes surrounded by beautiful antiques and well curated spaces. They both got an eye for decorating through their families. Chip’s mother Ethel owned Cahaba Heights Antiques for years and Linda’s father was a homebuilder and her mother helped with decorating many of those homes. It was only natural for them to love this business. They have five vendors along with their own space in the 4,000 square foot building on Linden Ave.

“The curated spaces make it easy to be able

to imagine the items in your own home,” said Linda, above. “We hear people saying that antiques are coming back but in our opinion fine antiques at an affordable price have always been in style.”

“We pride ourselves on having beautiful and unique items as well as fabulous music to enjoy the shopping atmosphere. We have many decorators across the south that come to find items for their customers. Come by and take a look at this beautiful and unique antique market,” Linda said.

Antique Market on Linden is located at 2828 Linden Ave in Homewood, 205-490-1162.


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Common projects for home sellers include painting and repairs that help pass inspection. Repairs on sheetrock, decks, rails help get the home up to good condition. Changing out lights more modern fixtures are an easy way to dress up the house.

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From page 23

had been gifts from neighbors to Peggy and Arthur Smith, the original owners. Botanical experts from the Birmingham Botanical Gardens that the Grissoms consulted weren’t sure whether the plants would survive a move, but today the plants are thriving all in one spot in front of the house, attesting to the strong history of the house and family of four who treasures living in it today.

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Left, the Grissoms saved each brick they took down to rebuild the dilapidated carriage house in the original floorplan, only a few feet wider to fit a modern-sized car in its first-floor garage. The landscape around the house also underwent significant changes including the addition of an outdoor fireplace, above.
Journal photos by Maury Wald

Mountain Brook Sweeps Metro Tennis Tournament

Players on the Mountain Brook Junior High Tennis teams swept the Metro Tennis Tournament recently, taking the top six individual awards and doubles championships in the girls and the boys divisions under the direction of coach Bruce Henricks. Boys singles winners were Aarya Palaniappan, No. 1; Andrew Crane, No. 2; Towns Lassiter, No. 3; Doug Mills, No. 4; Cohen Smith, No. 5; and Matthew Kilgore, No. 6. Thomas Moak, Mac Willoughby, Gray Marshall, and Jack Robison all contributed to the doubles championship. The team finished the season 12-0. Girls singles champions were Virginia Puckett, No. 1; Leila Malatesta, No. 2; Kathleen Wilkinson, No. 3; Caldwell Henderson, No. 4; Charlotte Redden, No. 5; Emma Franks, No. 6. Hill Caine, June Record, Cate Woods, A.C. Monk and Emma Pounds contributed to the doubles championship. The girls team ended its season undefeated at 13.0.


From page 28

positions — Hannah is an outfielder and Olivia is a pitcher — they are equally determined to achieve success, which is what they and their Hoover High School softball teammates have done this season.

This year’s Bucs are among the best squads in the state, ranked No. 3 in Class 7A in the April 11 Alabama Sports Writers Association poll. They entered last weekend with a 28-4-1 record.

The Christians, who have signed with the University of Southern Mississippi, aren’t the only twins on the team. There are also the Westhoven sisters – senior Haley, a pitcher, and Lindsey, a catcher – and Isabelle Andre, who has a twin brother, William.

There are two other siblings in the Davis sisters – senior outfielder Ki Davis and sophomore first baseman Avi Davis.

The Christians aren’t the only Bucs who are set to take their game to the next level. Ki Davis is headed to Alabama A&M University and shortstop Bella Foran is going to Florida Atlantic University. Corner infielder


From page 28

“I’ve matured not only with my mind and mental approach, but my body too,” Robicheaux said. “I’ve gained strength and weight. As a sophomore, I was about 170 pounds and now I’m 190.”

One thing that hasn’t changed is Robicheaux’s desire to help the Spartans win. That’s why he enjoys

Mckenzie “Mac” Stribling, who’s been out with an injury, has signed with Wallace State Community College in Hanceville.

Following Mom’s Footsteps

The Christians might be unique in that they are a second generation of Hoover softball players. Their mother Amanda played as a freshman for longtime Hoover coach Jim Brown. She put the twins on the basepath toward softball.

“They always loved to play and they were very active as kids,” Amanda Christian said. “I loved playing softball when I was growing up, so I thought that they would enjoy it.

“Coach Brown had his Hoover High School team putting on a camp at the recreational park. I took the girls out there. They were very nervous to get on the field, but they did and they really loved it.”

Hannah remembers the two of them playing softball at age 5.

“It started out as just a rec league for Hoover,” she said. “That year, we ended up playing on the all-star team and we won a state championship in 6-u (under).”

Olivia said there are six members of that team of tykes who are on the cur-

being a two-way player.

“I definitely see myself as position player, but I consider myself a pitcher, too,” he said. “I just try to help the team succeed.”

As a pitcher, Robicheaux relies on a fastball that has topped out at 91 mph but sits consistently at 87-88 mph.

“Most people can’t hit my fastball, but I’m able to use my off-speed pitches when I have to,” Robicheaux said. “I can also get outs with my

Olivia finished the first week of April with a 14-1 record, 2.00 ERA and 63 strikeouts.

rent Hoover High team.

“We’re really looking to repeat history,” Hannah said.

Hoover coach Trey Matlock said pitching is the Bucs’ strength this season. They have a three-player rotation of right-hander Olivia Christian, lefthander Haley Westhoven and junior Kaitlyn Raines.

“We rotate through our pitchers all season long,” Matlock said. “We share

curveball and cutter, which is more of a slider.”

Robicheaux improved his record to 6-2 and lowered his earned-run average to 1.54 with his dominant performance against Homewood. He also has 61 strikeouts and 23 walks in 41 innings pitched over nine starts.

Hitting third in the Spartans’ batting order, his numbers at the plate are equally good. Going into the games against Homewood, he had a .418 batting average and .567 on-base percentage. He had 23 RBI, 27 runs scored and 11 stolen bases in as many attempts.

“I say I’m a very tough out,” Robicheaux said. “Every time I step in the box, I try to hit the ball hard. I can hit for power, but I think of myself as a versatile hitter.”

Robicheaux is headed to Samford to play in college for Bulldogs head coach Tony David.

“I really liked coach David when I

innings. We’re gonna need all three of them down the stretch. We’re not going to be able to rely on just one or two arms.”

Olivia said her father Chad Christian introduced her to the pitcher’s circle.

“Since I was little, my dad was like, ‘Try this,’” she said. “We stuck with it and kept going out and we kept practicing. One day, I kind of got the hang of it. I just kept trying and I fell in love with it.”

Olivia’s pitching arsenal includes a curveball and a change-up.

“She’s good in the circle,” Matlock said. “A lot of times she’ll get ahead in the count. One of our biggest goals, things that we try to stress is trying to get ahead in the count. She’s always wanting to be in the circle, throwing against the opponents and everything. (Those) sisters are always putting in the extra work, doing what they need to do to get better.”

Olivia finished the first week of April with a 14-1 record, 2.00 ERA and 63 strikeouts. At the plate, she had a .330 batting average with two doubles, two home runs and 28 RBI.

As the leadoff hitter, Hannah Christian sets the table for the rest of the batting order. She was hitting .515 with 10 doubles, six triples, six home

visited,” Robicheaux said. “I also liked the campus. I’m looking forward to playing there. I think I’m a good fit for their program.”

David also believes Robicheaux is a good fit.

“John is an incredible athlete that can really swing it,” David said at the time of Robicheaux’s signing. “He is a really good runner and an outstanding defender in the outfield with a great physical frame that projects well.”

Gann expects Robicheaux to become even better in college.

“I think he has a good future ahead of him,” Gann said. “I don’t know what they want to do with him, whether they want to use him as a dual player or just as a hitter. He’ll do a good job however they use him.”

Right now, Robicheaux and the Spartans are hoping to flip their postseason script. The past two years they have been eliminated in the second

runs, 27 RBI and 44 runs scored.

“She just works a lot harder,” Matlock said. “She’s the one who always takes extra cuts. She works hard as far as getting more reps in. She just goes above and beyond to get to where she needs to be. She studies the game and does it well.”

Inseparable Bond

The Bucs are scheduled to finish the regular season this week. On April 8, they held Senior Night, a milestone event the Christians had long awaited.

“When I was a freshman and the seniors would have their Senior Night, I was like, ‘I can’t believe I’m going to do that one day,’” Olivia reminisced. “I’ve got so much time.”

“Yeah,” Hannah followed, “it definitely seemed like it was just so far away.”

Added Olivia: “Now we’re here and it’s like, Whoa.”

A constant of the lifelong journey is that the sisters have had one another.

“We’ve been best friends our whole life,” said Hannah, who’s more likely to drive their red Jeep. “We definitely couldn’t be here without each other. Going to college, we’re really glad to have each other and to experience it with each other.”

round by the eventual Class 6A champion, Hartselle in 2022 and Oxford in 2023.

In the latest Alabama Sports Writers Association poll, the Spartans (26-4) are ranked No. 3 with Hartselle and Oxford ranked 1-2. The Spartans will open the playoffs Friday at home against Muscle Shoals.

“I think we’re very capable of winning state,” Robicheaux said. “We’re a very balanced team. We’ve got a good 1-2 punch on the mound with me and Caleb (an Alabama commit), and we’ve got a third starter, Sellers Neuendorf, who is very good. We’ve also got one of the best closers in the state, Kenneth Diddell.

“Offensively, we’ve got guys who get on base and get the job done.

“We play for each other and we refuse to lose. Our motivating cry is the Greek word ‘Arete,’ which means thrive for excellence.”

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From page 28

When Ahlemeyer started playing soccer at the age of 4 in a recreational league in Helena, she often would cry on her way to games.

“I was not super excited about it,” Ahlemeyer said.

That changed rather quickly as she fell in love with the sport.

“After that initial season of not being too excited about it, I think something in my little 4 year-old mind must have switched and I really did start to enjoy playing,” Ahlemeyer said. “So probably very early elementary school age is when I knew I wanted to keep playing soccer.”

By the time she reached middle school, Ahlemeyer was good enough to join Spain Park’s varsity team as a seventh grader.

“She’s a tremendous soccer player,” Starr said. “She puts in the work. Sometimes in the fall, she goes over to Atlanta to play. She puts herself in competitive environments all the time.

“Her teammates appreciate her for being the way she is.”

Winning State

Ahlemeyer is now a senior. As a sophomore, she played a starring role as the Jags captured the 2022 Class 7A state championship, the fifth state title in program history. She was named tournament MVP after scoring two goals and assisting on another as

Spain Park shut out Fairhope 4-0 in the championship game.

Ahlemeyer remembered it as a team effort as the Jags ended an 11-year drought without a title.

“That team was especially close and that’s what made it so special,” Ahlemeyer said. “That was the year the Spain Park program turned the corner on its culture. We had a group of girls who loved each other and played for each other cause we were playing for something greater than ourselves whenever we were on the field.

“Winning the state championship was awesome. We were able to finish with a win and only one team can do that. It was a really cool experience. I’m grateful we pushed through it in more ways that just on the field. It because of the culture we built to fight for every opportunity to do our best.”

Ahlemeyer has scored more than 20 goals in each of the last three seasons, including 23 this spring.

The Jags (18-0) entered this week ranked No. 1 in the AHSAA coaches’ Super Poll and in Class 7A. They clinched the Class 7A, Area 6 championship last week with a 1-0 victory at Oak Mountain. Morgan Anthony scored Spain Park’s only goal on as assist from Addy Soehn.

Showing Compassion

As good a soccer player as she is Starr said Ahlemeyer might be a better person.

“For a young adult, she’s consider ate beyond her years,” Starr said. “She’s always looking to see how she can make every one else feel better. It doesn’t mat ter whether it’s someone at Spain Park or an opponent.

“I’ve never had the pleasure to coach anyone like her day in and day out. I’ve coached some great soccer play ers, but not someone like her who has it all together.”

Starr cited a remarkable show of compassion by Ahlemeyer in the 2022 Class 7A semifinals against Vestavia Hills as an example. With the score tied 1-1 in the final seconds, the Rebels’ goalkeeper misplayed a ball hit into the box and it resulted in the winning goal for Spain Park.

“The goalkeeper was feeling terrible and Tatum runs over to her and picks her up and tells her it wasn’t her fault and she did great,” Starr said. “She beat (the goalkeeper’s) teammates and their coach to her.”

Ahlemeyer remembered it as act of her Christian faith.

“That’s really an awareness of Christ, knowing no matter where I am, I am a child of God and I should display the grace of God on the soccer

By the time she reached middle school, Ahlemeyer was good enough to join Spain Park’s varsity team as a seventh grader.

field or off,” Ahlemeyer said. Her faith is the reason Ahlemeyer is headed to Lipscomb University in Nashville to play soccer in col-

“The college recruitment is an amazing journey with all the universities wanting you,” Ahlemeyer said. “I had a broad list going in. I wanted to go where the Lord was leading me and by his grace that was Lipscomb.

“As soon as I stepped on the campus and then met the team and coaches, I knew it was an environment I wanted to be a part of it. Coach (Kevin) O’Brien said he wanted us to glorify the Lord in what we do and he wanted to help us become the best person we could become.”

Leaving a Legacy

As her high school career winds down — the Jags have three regular season games remaining and then the state playoffs — Ahlemeyer has

begun reflecting on her six years playing for Spain Park.

“It has been an incredible ride,” she said. “I started playing varsity soccer as a little seventh grader with girls way taller and way bigger than me and now I’m one of the experienced players. I have grown so much as a player and a person. It’s just a lot of gratitude because of the way we do things in a family like atmosphere. I also have developed deep relationships for the rest of my life.”

Ahlemeyer is hoping for one last hurrah before she’s done. Spain Park is looking to reclaim the 7A title after bowing out 1-0 to Oak Mountain in the second round in 2023.

“This season is going much better than it possibly could have as far as getting the results we hoped for,” she said. “It’s been a unique experience.

“Every team wants to win state. It’s something we talked about during spring break that in the second half of the season we always want to be prepared and our expectations are to play and win state. We’ve got a group who want to do their best and leave it all out there on the field.”

Even if the Jags fall short in their pursuit, Starr said Ahlemeyer’s legacy is secure.

“I would be hard-pressed to find someone better as a soccer player and a person,” Starr said. “We’ve had her for six years on the varsity and it’s been a privilege to have her on the team. We’re going to miss her when she moves on to Lipscomb.”


Thursday, April 18, 2024 • 27 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL SPORTS
Journal photo by Jordan Wald

Leaving a Legacy

At times in recent years, Spain Park girls soccer coach Robert Starr has heard a pinging sound on the field outside his office during the Jaguars’ offseason.

Starr didn’t have to investigate where it was coming from. He knew exactly what it was: Spain Park midfielder Tatum Ahlemeyer (right) practicing.

“When it’s offseason for us, it’s club season for her,” Starr said. “She’s out there by herself, hitting balls off the bench. She does anything she can to work on her shot. She’s the soccer

Hannah and Olivia Christian are twins, but they’re not identical twins.


Spartans’ Robicheaux Could Be Called ‘Mr. Clutch’ Strong Upper Class Keys Top-ranked Spartans

Mountain Brook senior

John Robicheaux came through in the clutch once again, as he has done throughout his baseball career with the Spartans.

In the first game of Mountain Brook’s series against Homewood last Friday to determine the Class 6A, Area 9 championship, Robicheaux delivered on the mound and at the plate. He pitched five scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and one walk with 11 strikeouts. He also smacked a bases-clearing triple as the Spartans blanked the Patriots 10-0.


expected nothing less from Robicheaux.

‘He’s been a leader in our program. Players gravitate toward him.’



“John has done a lot of great things for us the last three seasons,” Gann said. “He’s such a dynamic player. He can do so many things offensively, defensively and on the mound. He’s a great runner and strong hitter. He’s very good defensively. He plays center field and makes a ton of plays. He does a fantastic job on the mound with first pitch strikes and getting ahead of the hitters.

“He’s been a leader in our program. Players gravitate toward him.”

The Spartans clinched the area title with a 3-1 victory in the second game as 6-foot-5 junior right-hander Caleb Barnett pitched a complete game with 12 strikeouts.

Robicheaux, a 6-foot-2 right-hander, has been a starter since he was a sophomore. He has undergone a mental and physical transformation since then.

Diamond Twins

Christian Sisters Help Spark Hoover Softball Team

Spain Park’s Ahlemeyer Nears End of Brilliant Prep Soccer Career Journal photo by Jordan Wald Journal photo by Jordan Wald

version of a basketball gym rat.”

That wasn’t always the case.

“I’m a lot more clean than her,” Hannah said of her eight minutes older sister. “She’s very messy. She just leaves clothes everywhere. I pick them up and put them in (with) the dirty clothes … when they’re in my space.”

Olivia says she is the sillier sister.

“I’m definitely a lot more goofy than her sometimes,” she said. “She (Hannah) gives off a lot more serious demeanor. I give off a lot more like silly.”

And Hannah tends to be more feisty than her sister. “I’m really laid back and chill,” Olivia said. “The second I show that kind of emotion, OK, this is serious.”

But there’s one space where the twins resemble one another the most – on the softball diamond.

“We’re both really, really competitive,” Hannah said.

While the Christians play different

See TWINS, page 26

Hannah and Olivia Christian, above, who have signed with the University of Southern Mississippi, aren’t the only twins on the team. There are also the Westhoven sisters – senior Haley, a pitcher, and Lindsey, a catcher – and Isabelle Andre, who has a twin brother, William.

Brook coach Lee Gann
Thursday, April 18, 2024 ❖ OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Brook Sweeps Metro Tennis Tournament Page 26
page 26
photo by Jordan Wald
John Robicheaux, a 6-foot-2 righthander, has been a starter since he was a sophomore.
See AHLEMEYER page 27

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