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The Fighter

Will O. (Trip) Walton, III Walton Law Firm, P.C. 334.321.3000

The values of a fighter are honor, dignity, pride and sportsmanship. Trip embodies all of these, and more. As a Golden Gloves Heavyweight Boxing Champion,Trip learned that hard work, persistence and diligence pay off - in the ring and the courtroom. Our team always fights for the rights of victims who have been harmed by others. Walton Law Firm’s motto has always been

“We don’t start the fight we finish it!”.

2011 Alabama Super Lawyer Traumatic Brain Injury • Wrongful Death • Serious Personal Injury No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. This is for general information only. For legal advice, contact a lawyer. 2

December 2011/January 2012 |

Features 12


Back Home & Down Home


1971 Robert E. Lee high school graduate and Styx lead guitarist Tommy Shaw started his music career in the Capital City. From screaming electric guitar to lilting mandolin, Shaw’s musical influences range from blues to bluegrass to hard rock. By Willie G. Moseley


Versatile & Maligned Seen as a shortcut to gift-giving, the lowly gift certificate offers an amazing array of gift options, and a great way to support local businesses. By Alex Nicholson

Follow Your Feet

So you think you can dance? Or maybe you’d just like to learn. What’s your pleasure? Square, round, Cajun? You don’t have to venture far to find a dance floor that fits your style. By Brenda Robertson Dennis


The Truth About Holiday TV Specials

Before cable and satellite TV, when the Big Three Networks were the only game in town, we marveled at the specials that rolled across our TV screens each December. But were these shows as simple and innocent as we once thought? By Tom Ensey


A Mt. Vernon Christmas Move over Martha Stewart and make room for a Colonial-era Martha with an eye toward holiday entertaining. By Andrea Gross

December/January 2011

18 | December 2011/January 2012



11 social security: Homeless Programs for those without a permanent place to live. By Kylle’ McKinney 15 moneywiSe: Identity THEFT Part #1 Take steps to safeguard your identity. By Alan Wallace

Lifestyles 9 A gracious plenty An appetizer trio just right for the holidays. By Carron Morrow 17 Yard ‘n garden Use nature to help decorate for the holidays, but watch out for the critters! By Ethel Dozier Boykin


21 Off the beaten path

31 around montgomery This monument honors Alabama’s veterans. By Jake Roberts

The venerable BB or pellet gun is an ageless gift to teach responsible shooting and gun safety. By Niko Corley 32 prime diversions

A double dose of recent DVD releases for holiday viewing: Friends with Benefits, Cowboys and Aliens, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Mr. Popper’s Penguins and Dolphin Tale. By Mark Glass

24 no time for holiday exercise? Tips to help you exercise during your busy holiday schedule.


6 NEWs you can use

Cleaning your teeth might lower stroke risk, while depression can increase it. Plus, caffeine, steroids, and when to stop driving. 10 in every life Take advantage of going home for the holidays by surveying the needs of your aging relatives. A few home modifications can greatly improve their lives. By Arlene Morris 4

December 2011/January 2012 |

23 Medicare Tips for managing COPD, and reimbursement for that walker you bought.

26 top 10 warning signs for alzheimer’s Everyone forgets from time to time, but when does routine forgetfulness signal something more serious?


Celebrating Midlife and Beyond


December/January 2011/12,Volume 2, Issue 9 PUBLISHER Bob Corley, EDITOR Sandra Polizos, ART DIRECTOR Callie Corley, WRITERS Brenda Robertson Dennis, Tom Ensey, Andrea Gross, Willie G. Moseley, Alex Nicholson CONTRIBUTORS Ethel Boykin, Tina Calligas, Niko Corley, Mark Glass, Kylle’ McKinney, Arlene Morris, Carron Morrow, Jake Roberts, Alan Wallace PHOTOGRAPHERS Heath Stone, Bob Corley INTERN Meagan Ashner SALES Bob Corley, 334-202-0114, Stephanie Crompton 334-462-1240 Prime Montgomery 7956 Vaughn Road, #144 Montgomery, AL 36116 • 334-202-0114 ISSN 2152-9035 Prime Montgomery is a publication of The Polizos/Corley Group, LLC. Original content is copyright 2011 by The Polizos/Corley Group, LLC., all rights reserved, with replication of any portion prohibited without written permission. Opinions expressed are those of contributing writer(s) and not necessarily those of The Polizos/ Corley Group, LLC. Prime Montgomery is published monthly except for the combined issue of December/January. Information in articles, departments, columns, and other content areas, as well as advertisements, does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by Prime Montgomery magazine. Items relating to health, finances, and legal issues are not offered as substitutes for the advice and consultation of health, financial, and legal professionals. Consult properly degreed and licensed professionals when dealing with financial, medical, emotional, or legal matters. We accept no liability for errors or omissions, and are not responsible for advertiser claims.

Editor’s Note ‘Tis the season, and this issue of Prime Montgomery proves it on almost every page. From our regular columns to the feature stories, our December/January magazine is chock full of special treats. While many of us remember Tommy Shaw from Lee High School days or his later stint with the local group Harvest, the former Kegler’s Kove regular became an international talent after joining Styx in the mid-70s. This month Willie G. Moseley fills in the gaps about Shaw’s life since his rise to rock fame in Back Home and Down Home (page 12). Willie also provides details about a 2011 bluegrass release that, in Shaw’s own words, “might be the best thing I’ve ever done.” Playing with Styx, Shaw returns to his old stompin’ grounds for a Montgomery concert on Dec. 17. Whether it’s live music or your favorite recording, there’s no secret to the fact that music inspires us. This month Brenda Robertson Dennis features Montgomerians who take that inspiration to the dance floor in Follow Your Feet (page 18). From Cajun Zydeco to ballroom to square, Brenda’s story shows that dancing is a great form of entertainment – and exercise– for many in the River Region. Don’t feel like cutting a rug? What about a holiday party with good friends and great food? A Gracious Plenty columnist Carron Morrow gives us a personal and unique gift this month (page 9), just in time for our own holiday festivities. Carron shares three of her catering business’ most popular appetizers – delicious party foods that have kept her customers coming back for 40 years. Prime Yard N’ Garden columnist Ethel Dozier Boykin offers a bounty of home decorating tips inspired by the outdoors but intended to beckon your holiday guests inside (page 17). From magnolias, to holly, to pine, and more, Ethel provides expert advice for creatively – and economically – making your home a seasonal showcase. If you plan on traveling away from home over the holidays, be sure to read Andrea Gross’ story on Mount Vernon at Christmas (page 28). Though Dec. 25 was celebrated differently in the eighteenth century, the tradition of hospitably welcoming guests was every bit as important to George and Martha Washington as it is to us today. And, for pure entertainment, don’t miss writer Tom Ensey’s essay poking fun at the holiday favorites we all watched as kids (page 22). I promise, you’ll never view these yearly specials in quite the same light... Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and our warmest, heartfelt wishes for a safe, happy, and healthy holiday for us all.

Sandra Polizos Editor

If you’re on Facebook, become a fan of PRIME Montgomery!

P.S. Thanks for the wonderful response to last month’s Big BAM feature! We loved the feedback from readers across the area. Most offered a personal memory from their attendance at the legendary concerts. “The Brennans lit a special fire that burned in the souls of the young people in Montgomery in a time of change and struggle,” wrote one reader. “Their actions will NEVER be forgotten.” Other readers had a more lighthearted approach: “I remember my next door neighbor would load up the Nova wagon and take all the kids to the BIG BAM show...No other parent would dare.” We love it. Keep your notes coming! | December 2011/January 2012


news you can use Increased Caffeinated Coffee Consumption Associated With Decreased Risk of Depression in Women The risk of depression appears to decrease for women with increasing consumption of caffeinated coffee, according to a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine. When compared with women who consumed one cup of caffeinated coffee or less per week, those who consumed two to three cups per day had a 15% decrease in relative risk for depression, and those consuming four cups or more per day had a 20% decrease in relative risk. Compared with women in the lowest (less than 100 milligrams [mg] per day) categories of caffeine consumption, those in the highest category (550 mg per day or more) had a 20% decrease in relative

risk of depression. No association was found between intake of decaffeinated coffee and depression risk. Oral Steroids Linked to Severe Vitamin D Deficiency People taking oral steroids are twice as likely as the general population to have severe vitamin D deficiency, according to a study of more than 31,000 children and adults by scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. Their findings, in the online edition of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, suggest that physicians should more diligently monitor vitamin D levels in patients being treated with oral steroids. The severe vitamin D deficiency assessed in this study is known to be associated with softening of the bones and muscle weakness.


(334) 517-2015 520 South Hull Street Montgomery, AL 36104


Alzheimer’s: Is It Time to Stop Driving? Following are tips from the Alzheimer’s Association that it may be time to stop driving: Forgetting how to locate familiar places Failing to observe traffic signs Making slow or poor decisions in traffic Driving at an inappropriate speed

Becoming angry or confused while driving Hitting curbs Using poor lane control

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December 2011/January 2012 |

Making errors at intersections Confusing the brake and gas pedals Returning from a routine drive later than usual Forgetting the destination you are driving to during the trip For more information on dementia and driving, visit (See pages 26-27 for more information about Alzheimer’s Disease.) Low Vitamin B12 Levels May Lead to Brain Shrinkage Older people with low blood levels of vitamin B12 markers may be more likely to have lower brain volumes and have problems with their thinking skills, according to researchers at Rush University Medical Center. Foods that come from animals, including fish, meat, especially liver, milk, eggs and poultry are usual sources of vitamin B12. (Neurology) 8 Easy Tips to Avoid Supplement and Medication Mishaps Navigating the supplement and medication maze can get confusing, especially when you have multiple prescriptions. It is important to organize yourself with

your medications and supplements to prevent unnecessary mishaps. Dr. Lorraine J. Gudas and Dr. Mark S. Lachs offered these key tips on how to steer clear of unsafe drug interactions at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center’s 29th Annual Women’s Health Symposium: 1. Keep a list of your medications with you at all times. 2. Make sure to include brand AND generic names as well as dosages and frequency. 3. Include all vitamins and supplements on the list. 4. Share the list with every health care provider you come in contact with, whether or not he or she suggests new medicines or medicine changes. 5. Never mix medications in the same bottle even if traveling; taping an actual

pill to your medication list can help you identify which medicine is which. 6. When you hear about a new drug or a health tip, ask yourself: Is this based on a clinical trial, an observational study, or only personal endorsements? 7. Don’t make health decisions on the basis of observational studies. They are interesting to think about, but they

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news you can use don’t prove anything. 8. If you are thinking of buying a supplement or drug, ask your doctor. Don’t take them on the basis of personal testimony. Many Obese Patients Fail to

Link Weight to Their Health Many overweight and obese patients in hospital emergency departments don’t believe weight poses health risks, and many say doctors never told them otherwise, according to a University of Florida study. Researchers asked random patients in a Florida hospital emergency department two questions: Do you believe your present weight is unhealthy, and has a doctor ever said you are overweight? Of those reporting that their weight was unhealthy, only 19% said they’d discussed it with a doctor. Only 30% of those who reported being told by their doctor that their weight was unhealthy agreed with that opinion. Researchers also measured body mass index and waist circumference, indicators of body fat. About 47% of obese and overweight men said they believed their weight was problematic; 53% didn’t. Depression Associated with Increased Risk of Stroke and Stroke-Related Death An analysis of nearly 30 studies including more than 300,000 patients finds depression is associated with a significantly increased risk of developing stroke and dying from stroke, according 8

to an article in JAMA. According to the article the lifetime incidence of depression has been estimated at more than 16% in the general population. Whether depression increases the risk of stroke has been unclear. An Pan, Ph.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies to describe the association between depression and risk of total and subtypes of stroke. The researchers found that when the data from the studies were pooled, analysis indicated that depression was associated with a 45% increased risk for total stroke; a 55% increased risk for fatal stroke; and a 25% increased risk for ischemic stroke. Depression was not associated with an increased of hemorrhagic stroke. Professional Dental Cleanings May Reduce Stroke, Heart Attack Risk Professional tooth scaling was associated with fewer heart attacks and strokes in a study (Abstract 17704) from Taiwan presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2011.The study found that • Patients who had professional tooth scraping and cleaning had reduced risks of heart attack and stroke. • More frequent scraping/ cleaning was associated with more reduced risk compared to occasional or never tooth scraping/cleaning • In a separate study from Sweden, the type of periodontal dis-

December 2011/January 2012 |

ease predicted degree of risks for heart attack, stroke and heart failure. Scientists considered tooth scaling frequent if it occurred at least twice or more in two years; occasional tooth scaling was once or less in two years. The study included more than 51,000 adults who had received at least one full or partial tooth scaling and a similar number of people matched with gender and health conditions who had no tooth scaling. None of the participants had a history of heart attack or stroke at the beginning of the study. The study didn’t adjust for heart attack and stroke risk factors — such as weight, smoking and race — that weren’t included in the Taiwan National Health insurance data base, the source of the information used in the analysis.

a gracious plenty

A Tr i o of Holiday Tr e a t s


he holidays are here, and “What are we going to eat?” seems the favorite seasonal question, and one reason we hit the gym in January! Asparagus Wrap n spread the mixture on thin, one-byWe’ve been warmly n blanch or steam fresh asparagus three inch slices of Danish ham received by Prime spears in water sprinkled with garlic salt n roll the asparagus in the coated ham readers and are n mix four ounces of cream cheese With large asparagus use a single thrilled by your reand the juice of green olives to make a stem; with baby asparagus several Caron Marrow sponse to our articles spreadable mixture stems can be wrapped. and recipes. So, in the spirit of holiday giving, we’re ‘gifting’ you a trio of recipes we’ve Jalapeno Tomato used during our 40 years in business, but Originally used as a side dish with a grilled rib eye and baked potato, it’s delihave never had the opportunity to share. cious enough to stand on its own. This trio can be served as appetizers or as n slice a Roma tomato in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds side dishes with a main course. n fill this tomato “boat” with seasoned croutons Enjoy these treats from our kitchen to n mix sour cream, sliced jalapenos to desired heat, and chopped green onions yours. Bon Appétit! Have a safe and wonin a bowl derfully delicious holiday. n place a spoon of this mixture over the croutons and bake uncovered at 350 degrees, until the sour cream begins to firm n remove from the oven, sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese, and pop back in until the cheese melts This not only looks pretty on the plate, but goes great with beef, chicken or a vegetarian dish.

Bite-sized Twice-baked Potato This is a “two-bite” appetizer using small, red potatoes, but the topping is also delicious on a large baked potato. n wash the potatoes, select nice round ones, and boil with the skin on until a fork can be easily inserted n slice the potato in half (hot or cold) and scrape ridges into the flat surface with a fork n brush with melted butter, add chopped onions (green, red or yellow), crisp, chopped bacon, and top with parmesan cheese n bake at 350 degrees until hot Leave off the bacon for a vegetarian treat.

Carron Morrow owns Personal Touch Events, a 35-yearold Montgomery-based company specializing in corporate and personal catering and event planning. Contact Carron at 334-279-6279 or by e-mail at, or visit | December 2011/January 2012


in every life

Home for the Holidays H

olidays are often times when we return to visit extended family, perhaps to familiar locations from our past. Older friends and family may have remained in the same house, or may have moved to other housing options. Holiday visits Arlene Morris provide an opportunity to reconnect with special people, and a chance to carefully observe them and their surroundings for needs that may have arisen, such as home repair or modifications. Assess their living environment by observing how their home matches their abilities, and identify areas that need to be modified so they can function more easily or remain in their home longer. If they’re a bit more short of breath or more easily fatigued, a grab bar or chair can be placed in a hallway. Remove rugs and extension cords to decrease the risk of a fall, and consider installing handrails and wide, stable steps or ramps to make it easier to enter and leave the home. Grab bars are important in the shower, along with a shower seat. An elevated toilet seat and/ or grab bars near the toilet are helpful if knees are weak or painful, leg muscles are not as strong, or they have dizziness upon standing. Safety considerations for toileting at night include adequate lighting from the bed to the toilet, or a bedside commode. Diminished feeling in hands or feet can precipitate burns if water temperature is above 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Observe their ability to remove trash from the home to help determine if assistance is needed. Observe how much, what type, and the age of the food in the pantry and refrigerator. A problem in this area may indicate the need for assistance with grocery shopping, label-


December 2011/January 2012 |

ing and storage. Visual problems can be addressed with colored or shaped stickers indicating the days that food is stored. Placement of food items can be modified for ease of reach, and according to a rotation system (e.g., place newer food at the back).Use bright nail polish to mark temperature setting on the oven and stove. List emergency phone numbers in large print and place near the phone. Large print is also helpful for medicine bottles or pill boxes, and to record special instructions such as TAKE WITH FOOD. A notebook with colored dividers can be used to record questions, concerns, or special instructions from different healthcare providers. If family, friends or neighbors are no longer present, adaptations may also be needed to prevent social isolation or if they have difficulty getting out of the home. Phone buddies or transportation arrangements may be needed. Collaborate with your family member or older friend to determine what is difficult and what is desired, so they can remain in their home or apartment as long as possible. Arlene H. Morris, RN, Ed.D. is a Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor in the Auburn Montgomery School of Nursing. She teaches gerontology and professional nursing courses. E-mail her at

social security

Social Security Helps the Homeless


ore than half a million Americans experience homelessness on any given night. Nearly 20 percent of them are “chronically homeless,” meaning they are on the streets regularly. Social Security has several programs that pay benefits to qualified individuals, including those who are homeless. These programs Kylle’ McKinney include retirement, disability, and survivors benefits, as well as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is a needs-based program for people who are blind, disabled, or age 65 or older. If you know someone who is homeless, and you want to learn more about how Social Security might help, a good place to get information is at That page includes a link to the Spotlight on Homelessness — a website designed to help the homeless apply for SSI. It’s available at www. The homelessness page also includes links to information on health care for the homeless, institu-

tionalization, advocacy groups, reports on homeless outreach, and even links to other websites like the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and HUD. You’ll find other information helpful to the homeless on For example, there is a link to the Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool, or BEST. Based on answers to various questions, this tool helps determine the benefits someone might be eligible for and gives information about how to qualify and apply. Go directly to www. Tell anyone you know who is homeless or threatened with homelessness to use the Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool and to check out the different types of benefits and assistance they may be eligible to receive. Spread the word about the help available to the homeless. Visit or call Social Security’s toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to learn more. Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached in Montgomery at 866-593-0914 ext. 26265, or

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520 South Hull Street Montgomery, AL 36104 | December 2011/January 2012



Back Home, and Down Home

Tommy Shaw Photo: Myriam Santos

By Willie G. Moseley


hile he is primarily known for playing loud electric guitar, Styx guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw’s upbringing in Montgomery, Alabama meant that he had a number of diverse influences when he was a child, including genres associated with the Deep South. “We listened to all kinds of music,” he recently said of his family. “I am only now realizing just how openminded my parents were, because we watched all sorts of music programs on television, and the radio would get turned up in the car when one of us heard a song we liked, whether it was bluegrass, country, pop, movie themes, show tunes, or crooners. It was the Beatles who suddenly threw a wrench into that; I latched onto them, but my parents didn’t.” The youngest of the four children of Mildred and Dalton Shaw, Tommy had already been playing guitar for 12

December 2011/January 2012 |

some time when the Beatles abruptly changed the popular music scene in the mid-1960s for thousands of teenagers across the globe, and the phenomenon motivated Shaw, even at a young age, to set his sights on becoming a professional musician. His father was an employee of Alabama Gas Company, and Dalton and Mildred encouraged the musical aspirations of their youngest child. One of Shaw’s first live performances was playing Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman” on Bob Harmon’s television show on Montgomery’s WCOV-TV. At the age of 14 he began playing guitar with a group of older teenagers in an aggregation called the Vagabonds. Other members of the band included bassist Mac Barnes, who would become a Montgomery oncologist, and drummer George Wheeler, who is now the owner of a large greenhouse operation just south of

the Capital City. chops in legendary area bands such as Jabbo Stokes The diminutive guitarist quickly and the Jive Rockets, and Rod Henley demonstrated that he could hold and the In Crowd. Determined to his own as a player, and numerbecome a pro guitarist, he migrated ous Montgomery musicians— to Nashville, and hooked up with a amateurs and pros—began to band called M.S. Funk. That aggreganote that Shaw just might have tion relocated to Chicago, where the talent to make the proveranother Windy City combo, Styx, bial “big time.” was beginning to establish itself. At a The Vagabonds would also club gig, members of Styx took note provide Shaw with his first reof M.S. Funk’s young guitarist. cording experience, as the band When M.S. Funk broke up, Shaw rushed to North Carolina over returned to Montgomery, settling what was then known as “AEA into a band called Harvest, which weekend” (students were out performed regularly at Kegler’s Kove, of school only on Thursday and located in a bowling alley on the Friday instead of the entire Atlanta Highway. week) to cut a cover version Shaw received a phone call in the Shaw as a Robert E. Lee Hi gh School mid-70s that permanently changed of the Coasters’ “Poison Ivy” b/w sophomore in 1969. “My Baby’s Comin’ Home.” his life, as Styx invited him to audiBefore he graduated from Lee High School in tion to replace guitarist John 1971 (where one of his classmates was future disCurelewski, who left the band following the recording trict judge Lynn Clardy Bright), Shaw would hone his of the Equinox album.

Photo: Myriam Santos | December 2011/January 2012


“Tommy walked in for his audition,” recalled Styx’s other recently released Regeneration,Volume I & II, a two-CD collection of modern-day recordings of Styx’s best-known songs guitarist, James “J.Y.” Young, (plus some bonus surprises). “and we put the needle Styx still tours extensively, down on Side Two of and in late 2010 and early Equinox, onto my song 2011, proffered their classic ‘Midnight Ride,’ which triple-platinum albums The was more on the tesGrand Illusion and Pieces of Eight, tosterone, rockin’ guitar performed in their entirety, side of the band, rather back-to-back at one show (with than the melodic side. a twenty-minute break between He was blown away, each album performance). A ‘cause he’d had no idea DVD/CD of those performancwe could do that.” es is due late this year. Tommy was chosen, Styx performed at Montand moved back to Chigomery’s Jubilee Weekend in cago…and the rest is 2002, when Mayor Bobby Bright history. He’s been heard presented Shaw with the key to on numerous triplethe city. In 2008, after performplatinum albums, has ing at the Montgomery Perwritten or co-written forming Arts Center (MPAC), hits such as “Renegade,” the hometown guitarist ex“Blue Collar Man,” and pressed his admiration for the “Too Much Time On My sonic design and layout of the Hands,” and has toured venue, pronouncing it to be a around the world for type of template for all perdecades. forming arts centers. Young also recounted Shaw and Styx are back in Shaw, with Montgomery band Harvest, opening for KISS at Garrett how Shaw’s arrival enMontgomery Dec. 17, for an 8 hanced the band’s concert Coliseum in 1975. Photo: Edward Dunbar Moseley p.m. concert at the MPAC. appearances. “Stage-wise, Tommy was a dynamo; it was like ‘Hi, everybody—I’m here, and we’re gonna kick ass, and have fun Reader’s Choice Award whether you like it or not!’ We sort of developed a friendly “best eye care center” “best optical store” rivalry and a wonderful friendship at the same time.” In the ensuing years Styx would break up, and Shaw would work in a supergroup called Damn Yankees. An offshoot of that effort was Shaw-Blades, a partnership with bassist/vocalist Jack Blades. All roads led back to Styx, however, and Shaw has been firmly ensconced in the legendary band since 1995. But he’s also maintained the musical relationship with Jack Blades. In February 2009, Shaw was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. Over his career Shaw has recorded several solo albums, his most recent being a major departure from previous work, a 2011 bluegrass release titled The Great Divide. As a youngster, Shaw had listened closely to bluegrass legends like Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys, and gospel icons the Happy Goodmans. “I liked those guys with the guitars strapped up high, singing high,” recalled Shaw. “The high voices and the super-low voices always appealed to me.” Roy T. Hager, M.D., F.A.C.S. | Charles N. Robbins, M.D. The Great Divide garnered an enthusiastic reception, and James D. Izer, M.D. | Richard M. Murphy, O.D. charted at #2 on Billboard’s Bluegrass chart. Montgomery “I’m proud of this,” the guitarist said of The Great Divide. 4255 Carmichael Court North “It might be the best thing I’ve done, top to bottom. I’m at a Montgomery, AL | 334-277-9111 point in my life where if you don’t like me by now, it’s likely Wetumpka we’re never gonna be friends. If we are friends, then you know 8007 U. S. Highway 231 me, and you can trust that this is coming from the best part Wetumpka, AL | 334-567-9111 of me.” Shaw’s primary focus is still Styx, however, and the band has



December 2011/January 2012 |


Stealing Your “SELF” D

o you recall the TV game show which featured four celebrity panelists trying to identify which of three guests was the person whose affidavit had been read on the show? The two imposters lied up a storm to convince the panel that they were the principal character. Unfortunately, plenty of unscrupulous people today try to impersonate othAlan Wallace ers to access their bank and investment accounts or their good credit ratings. These criminals stop at nothing to tap into your confidential information so that they can rip you off. This is the first of three columns on the subject of identity theft and how to protect yourself from it. Following these suggestions will not make you any money, but doing so could save you some and prevent many days of hassle and frustration. To defend yourself, you must keep your confidential information out of the hands of those who would abuse it. The most natural starting place is with paper documents that show account numbers and balances or provide other private information (like a passport, birth certificate, or drivers license). Many of these documents traditionally arrive in the U.S. mail and are vulnerable while sitting in a typical mailbox in front

Ed Fleming 3175 Taylor Rd. Montgomery, AL 36116 334-277-6333 office 334-652-2121 mobile

of your house. At a minimum, when traveling you should stop your mail or have a trusted friend get it for you daily. However, it takes a criminal only a moment to snatch something from your box.You can protect yourself further by renting a post office box or switching to electronic statements. Another less secure option is to install a lockable mailbox. However, documents exit your home as well as entering it. Do not throw away old documents showing confidential information without first shredding them. Personal shredders are now a virtual necessity in any home unless you can incinerate such documents. The better shredders produce bits that cannot be pieced back together. Part of the problem with identity theft is that you may be unaware that you are a victim for some time after criminals start taking advantage of you. They may get enough information to secure credit cards in your name or to siphon money out of your accounts between monthly statements.Your bank balance could drop significantly without your bank contacting you if you still had a positive balance. For this reason, if you have unlocked paper records at your house, it is importance that you be cautious about strangers in your home, whether they are housekeepers, repair people, painters, or healthcare providers. Do you know and trust them well enough to give them the run of your house without supervision? How do you safeguard your credit card numbers in public? If your card is stolen, you will probably discover it pretty quickly and cancel the card. But if a thief merely gets your number without your knowledge, a big balance can hit your account in short order. While laws may protect you against paying for most unauthorized use of your account, you will still have the hassle of sorting everything out. Swiping your own card when you pay at a store or gas station is an improvement over handing your card to a clerk, but at most restaurants and hotels, it is common to surrender your card at least temporarily. With cell phone cameras, it only takes a second for someone to secure an image of both sides of a card. Of greater concern is the fact that small electronic devices exist that can instantly capture data from many credit cards while they stay in your pocket or purse. For all these reasons you should review account statements each month when they come in, specifically looking for unauthorized use. Next month we will talk about issues related to electronic media and computers. Until then, stay on your guard. Alan Wallace, CFA, ChFC, CLU is a Senior Financial Advisor for Ronald Blue & Co.’s Montgomery office, 334-270-5960, alan. | December 2011/January 2012



Highly Versatile, Often Maligned 8 The Holiday Gift Certificate 8

By Alex Nicholson offer Alabama-made items, from pottery, paintings and photoghere are those who smirk at Gift Certificates, claiming raphy, to jewelry, scarfs and other apparel. To this list add soaps, it’s a lazy way to shop. But a little extra thought in this jams, jellies, relishes, sauces and rubs. Bookstores stock a range regard can yield a big smile at gift-opening time. of volumes by local authors, or books written about our area. These include biography, histoGive Food ry, cooking and travel. And Everyone likes free food. Local don’t forget the sweet side restaurants offer a variety of food of the holidays. There are choices and are a great way to homemade cakes, cupcakes support area businesses. Along with and candy produced in dining, expand your food-related the River Region that rival list to include speciality shops anything with a variety of wines, cheeses you can and unique food items. Plus, there find anyare businesses offering complete where meals-to-order, some with delivelse. Just ery! to stay with the original theme, I’m confident stores Give Skills offering the above items will gladly provide Teach someone a new skill. Or rather, a Gift Certificate. help them learn one. Painting, ceramics, Spend some time thinking about the photography, cooking, dance, aerobics, specific interests of each person on your yoga, tai chi and a hundred other intergift list, match that to the right Gift Certificate, and you’ll have esting skills are easily accessible via Gift a happy recipient when unwrapping time arrives. Certificates. Start someone on the path to mastering a foreign languages or playing the piano, guitar, or other musical instrument. A skill, once learned, brings joy for a lifetime.


Give Knowledge Beyond the skills listed above, for the sheer joy of increasing your store of knowledge, classes are available at local universities on a broad range of subjects, from history, sociology and psychology, to math, economics and computer science.You may have to talk the school into providing a Gift Certificate, but it’s worth a try. Give Services A Gift Certificate in-hand means we’re less likely to put off services we routinely use that are often taken for granted, until we have to pay for them. An oil change and/or tire rotation, while not sexy, is a thoughtful parent gift to a young driver. Don’t forget haircuts, salon stylings, manicures, massages and gym memberships. Gift a thorough house cleaning. Who doesn’t want a clean home without having to do the work? With our pollen problem, a series of car washes will be appreciated and may help keep the recipient’s allergy problems to a minimum. For a birthday, reunion or anniversary, offer the services of one of the many talented photographers in our area. But there’s no need to link it to a specific date. A gift of a family portrait sitting will be remembered for years to come. Give Gifts If you must have solid, tangible gifts to wrap, numerous businesses in our area 16

December 2011/January 2012 |

yard ‘n garden



hen decorating for the holidays, nature provides an abundance of choices. But remember, the lifespan of any natural decoration is short, even if well-watered. Dry limbs present a fire hazard if cascad-

Ethel Boykin ing around the fireplace or near candles, so refresh their water frequently. Misting greenery every other day helps it last longer. Natural decorations can harbor spiders, lizards and other creatures. Avoid leaping lizards on your mantel by washing the limbs outside to flush out the critters. A soapy mixture removes dust, dirt and brightens the colors. Pruning: When cutting greenery prune evenly around the entire plant or you’ll end up with a ‘hole’. Always ask for permission before cutting. What looks like the side of the road may be someone’s property. Prune carefully inside rather than outside the foliage and the cuts will not show as much. Magnolias: Soak overnight in the bathtub and add a light coat of oil to the leaves to hold in the moisture and bring out the color. Magnolia last longer than pine and cedar. Holly:The festive red berries on holly branches are perfect for the holiday season, but they’re also a favorite of birds. If you spot a holly while driving in the country, return quickly to cut the limbs or the berries may be gone. Note: the holly loves to be pruned in cold weather. Cedar:The blue berries of the cedar provide a lacy look and drape beautifully. But cedar dries out quickly, lasting about 10 day, and hurts when you touch it. Wait and cut in mid-December. It’ll last longer if outside on a porch rail or over a door. If you want a cedar Christmas tree, consider placing it outdoors.

Naturally Un-decorating a cedar tree can be painful. Pine: A great addition to any decoration. Add it to two other types of greenery for a great combined look. Winged Elm: These limbs have soft, paper-like bark resembling wings. They add interest to any decoration and are a cause for conversation. Bare branches: Cut and paint gold or silver to add sparkle, or spray with fake snow for a winter wonderland look. Christmas trees: Whether it’s a local tree lot or a big box store, find out where they get their trees. The closer to Alabama the better, as the trees can be cut later in the year than those shipped from a greater distance. North Carolina is one of the major sources of area Christmas trees, but trees are also shipped in from as far away as Michigan and Canada. The longer it’s been cut, the quicker the tree will dry out in your home. Christmas tree lots also sell limbs trimmed from their trees. Always get a fresh cut on the trunk of your Christmas tree. The first few days the tree drinks a lot of water, so be sure and keep the tree stand full. After Christmas you can take your tree to a pond to provide breeding areas for the fish, or to a collection point where it’ll be turned into mulch. May your holidays include your favorite friends, family and foods. NOTE: Thanks go out to a Prime reader who wrote to point out the fact that the subject of last month’s column, the Angel’s Trumpet plant, is poisonous. We apologize for this omission. Many common house and garden plants are poisonous, and all plants should be handled with care. Always research plants with an eye towards the safety of family, guests and pets.

Ethel Dozier Boykin, a Montgomery native, owns Art in the Garden, a landscape design and consulting company in the Capital City. Contact her at 334-395-5949, or by email at | December 2011/January 2012 17

Follow Your Feet By Brenda Robertson Dennis Photos by Heath Stone, Stone Image Photography; Bob Corley


s the weather gets colder we tend to head indoors, perhaps to a cup of hot chocolate and a warm throw. After all, there’s a new season of “Dancing with the Stars” along with Christmas lists to make. How quickly we forget those sunny days outside just a few short weeks ago that had our bodies moving and our hearts pumping. And each spring, when the last cold wind has settled down, we take a look in the mirror and start planning our next diet. During these cold months we could hit the gym or take a brisk walk in the mornings. Those things can be fun. But it’s more fun to grab a partner and take a turn on the dance floor. Dancing is good physical activity and a great way to forget you’re even exercising, the perfect solution to ward off unwanted winter pounds. The River Region loves to dance, and there are options for people of all ages.You don’t have to be a seasoned pro. Many local groups will teach you what you need to know to get your feet moving. “Dancing added a new dimension to our life, giving us 18

December 2011/January 2012 |

another thing we enjoyed doing together,” says Wanda Love who, with her husband Gerry, attends Cajun Zydeco dances at Key Largo. “Since I have no sense of rhythm, I was never comfortable trying to dance. However, with the jig, your feet do the exact same thing over and over, so you only have to worry about what your hands do while making turns,” she says. The Loves began Zydeco Dancing after a trip to Birmingham for an event sponsored by the Association of Cajun Music Enthusiasts. “Gerry and I were the only two people in the large ballroom who sat most of the night. As soon as the band started, everyone was up dancing. It was so obvious everyone was having a great time.” Soon after, the Loves met Sonny and Helen Barksdale who offered free dance lessons. “We have been on the road for 22 years ‘chasing’ this activity,” says Sonny Barksdale who hosts Bama Backdoor Cajuns. The name is derived from an old saying in Louisiana: “You can

Wayne Nicholson leads a dance lesson at the Montgomery Area Square Dance Association facility. Nicholson teaches square dance, line dance, ballroom, tango, and other styles.

be Cajun by birth, by the ring, or you can come in the back door!” The Barksdale’s host their group each third Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. at Key Largo (see Dance Resources sidebar). “It is definitely exercise,” adds Love. “For an aerobic workout, the Cajun jitterbug is the dance for you.” If Zydeco is a little too frantic, give Square Dance a try. When they were still working, Mary Wolfe and her husband started square dancing as a stress reliever. “Now that we are retired it’s a great way to make friends. And once you learn it you can do it pretty much anywhere you go around the world,” says Wolfe. “It’s the same calls and movements. My daughter lives in Tokyo and I just went there to see the grandbaby and I square danced there.” Wolfe taught herself to play violin after retirement, occasionally plays fiddle for dances, and is a member of the Prattville Promenaders (see Dance Resources sidebar). Long-time square dance caller Wayne Nicholson is also a member (see A Calling sidebar). If you’re looking forward to the next episode of “Dancing with the Stars,” ballroom dance may be to your liking. There are many local options available. One of the more interesting choices is the 301 Club that meets Friday night at the Dexter

A Calling Wayne Nicholson has been a Square Dance Caller for 65 years. “My dad and uncles and brothers played fiddle and banjo,” says Nicholson. “We had the square dances called ‘kitchen junkets’ back then where you would go to someone’s house, move all the furniture out and dance and play live music.” Nicholson started calling when he was 13 years old, participating in what is termed the Big Appalachian Circle Square Dancing. The type most commonly danced today is Modern Western. Over the years he has taught square dance in Korea and Guam. Nicholson is a member of “CALLERLAB,” an international association of square dancer callers, and the Prattville Promenaders. | December 2011/January 2012


Avenue United Methodist Church, 301 Dexter Avenue (see Dance Resources sidebar). Ken Stafford manages the weekly gathering, which is a Christian outreach of the church.You can enjoy dancing in a Christian environment and have fellowship at the same time. It’s open to experienced dancers as well as those who just want to learn. As with zydeco and square dance, ballroom dancing is a great way to mingle with others while getting exercise and relieving stress. Stafford, who enjoys ballroom dancing himself, has been running the music for the club since the early 90‘s. Each Friday there Ken Stafford welcomes dancers of all are about 70-80 peoproficiency levels to the 301 Club. ple, married couples and singles, who come to learn a new dance from instructor Steve Chambers. December’s lesson is American Ballroom Waltz and runs from 6:30-7:30 p.m. After that, you can put into practice the steps you’ve just learned. At $5 a person it’s an affordable date night. “But singles are encouraged to come too,” says Stafford. “You don’t need a partner.” With the dance opportunities available in our area, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. All you have to do is follow your feet.

Helen and Sonny Barksdale at the monthly dance held by the Bama Backdoor Cajuns.

dance Resources Bama Backdoor Cajuns. Third Tuesday, 7 p.m. at Key Largo on Dalraida Road just before the Maxwell-Gunter gate. Lessons are free and there are no membership dues. Contact Sonny Barksdale at or just stop by. Prattville Promenaders. Open house “Introduction to Modern Western Style Square Dancing,” each Thursday in January, 7 p.m. at the Prattville YMCA. No cost. Contact Wayne Nicholson, 2810863 or

w w w. t a o i s t . o r g 20

December 2011/January 2012 |

301 Club. Every Friday, 6:30 p.m., Dexter Avenue United Methodist Church, 301 Dexter Avenue. $5/person. Contact Ken Stafford, 263-0549, or visit www.


Air Guns: All-Age Fun “Y

Niko & Bellla

ou can shoot all the grackles, crows, starlings and squirrels you want,” my grandfather told me, “and all the blue jays, too. But no redbirds, robins or anything that sings a

pretty tune.” A shade tree conservationist, my Papa’s reasoning was simple – the nuisance flocks of grackles and starlings around his home ate the black sunflowers he put out for chickadees, cardinals and the various sparrows he enjoyed watching from the den window. Squirrels were always chewing through the siding to get into the attic or digging up my grandmother’s tulip bulbs, and crows and blue jays were “just plain mean” birds. After getting Papa’s ground rules, I headed out into the wilds of my grandparents’ four acres for an air gun safari, pellets rattling in my pockets and rifle on my shoulder for a morning of hunting. Many of us got our start hunting by first shooting air guns, whether at tin cans in the backyard or at small game like birds and squirrels. Air guns are still the best way to teach a budding hunter prop-

er gun skills and gun safety, as my father and grandfathers taught me. As well, the lessons I learned in my early days of air gunning – patience, spotting and stalking and game identification – have served me well in the woods ever since. Air guns have come a long way since I received my first for Christmas – a Daisy Red Ryder, the BB gun my father says he always wanted as a boy. I took various small game animals with it and it remains one of my favorite “plinking” guns. The majority of the air rifles you will encounter fall into three categories: CO2-powered, single or multi-pumps, and the break-action spring variety. CO2-powered airguns use a precharged canister of air to power BBs or pellets down the barrel of the rifle. They are usually manufactured as semi-automatic, with each pull of the trigger firing a projectile. These are great for plinking and can be used for small game hunting, but be sure to keep a supply of CO2 cartridges close at hand as high-volume shooting will quickly deplete them. Single-pump air rifles, like my Red Ryder, require one pump of the rifle’s forearm or lever per shot to charge the

air cylinder. These are usually on the lower end of the power and price scale but can be used for limited small game hunting. Although not as fast firing as CO2-powered air rifles, single-pumps do not require an outside air canister to fire projectiles. Multipumps, like they sound, require multiple pumps of the rifle’s forearm to fill the gun’s air cylinder. Unlike CO2-powered air rifles, multi-pumps are not semi-automatic and require pumping between each shot to recharge the air cylinder. These are usually more powerful than singlepumps and about on par power- and price-wise with CO2 rifles. Break-action spring air guns require the shooter to grasp the rifle at the barrel’s end and pull downward, thereby cocking and also charging the air cylinder. If an air rifle is going to be used for plinking but also small game hunting, the break-action spring gun is the preferred choice of those covered here. They provide a great deal more power, sometimes double or triple the feet-per-second of a CO2 or pump air rifle. Because they are more powerful and require more muscle to cock them, break-action spring guns may not be the best choice for first-time shooters. Whether it’s for you, a child, or a grandchild, air guns provide inexpensive plinking and hunting enjoyment. Since they lack any significant recoil or muzzle blast, air guns are excellent tools for teaching children proper firearm safety. If embarking on your own backyard safari, you’ll find no better tool than an air gun for teaching youngsters basic hunting skills. They are still guns however, so be sure to follow all safety protocols and check local laws before discharging an air rifle. Niko Corley spends his free time hunting, fishing and enjoying other outdoor activities. He can be contacted at or follow him on Twitter @cootfootoutfitters. | December 2011/January 2012



The Truth About Holiday TV Specials By Tom Ensey


Charlie Brown Christmas When this cartoon classic first came out, we were so young and innocent the jazzy, cocktail-lounge score didn’t make us crave a Manhattan. Now it does, but so do most things. Even after years of knowing the lowdown on Santa and unwrapping all those packages of socks, the iconic moments remain touching and eternal –  the children daydream as the teacher goes “wah-wah-wah,” Charlie Brown chooses the forlorn, little Christmas tree and Linus extemporizes about the true meaning of Christmas before everybody bursts into “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.” Pardon us for living.  It’s sweet. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Stop-action animation at its weirdest and most creepy. The subplot concerning “The Island of Misfit Toys,” would give Sigmund Freud nightmares.  The Misfit Toys spring from a hellish acid-dream consciousness teeming with dark and crippling images. These are Christmas toys the kids hated so much they were banished forever to this godforsaken island: the choo-choo with square wheels, the spotted elephant, the water pistol that shoots jelly, the cowboy who rides an ostrich, Charlie (not Jack) in the Box, and the bird that swims instead of flies. The saddest is Dolly, the cute little rag doll with nothing apparently wrong with her. But the producer, Arthur Rankin Jr., said in an interview that she suffered from deep psychological scarring because her mistress abandoned her, which left Dolly clinically depressed because nobody loved her. Who gave this guy a job producing Christmas specials for children? Rudolph’s story is equally disturbing. All of the other reindeer not only don’t allow him to join


December 2011/January 2012 |

in their reindeer games, they gleefully ridicule and mock him. He tries to conceal his shameful, glowing red nose, but when the sock he uses to cover it falls off, all the reindeer, including his best buddy, Fireball, are terrified and run away screaming. But wait, there’s more! Rudolph is attacked by the Abominable Snow Monster of the North, who hates Christmas and eats reindeer. By this point, most of us were trembling and chanting “Red-RUM! RedRUM!”  Frosty the Snowman The story contains demonic elements, if you think about it – an unexplainable magic in a hat makes a snowman come to life, he cavorts for a time in manic revelry until the sun comes out and kills him. Take away the snow, throw in some naked people and you’ve got True Blood. Andy Williams Christmas Specials Andy Williams was a Vegas singer dude with a lovely family. Claudine Longet was his beautiful, French wife with a whispery voice. They dressed in ski sweaters, welcomed the Osmond Brothers and the Lennon Sisters to their actual home and sang “Sleigh Ride” in a fake sled while fake snow fell. We watched the kids grow up and Andy and his singing brothers grow grayer as the decade of the 60s wore on. Then came the 70s and Andy and Claudine got divorced. But they all got back together for a Christmas special anyway, which seemed a little inappropriate, but whatever. Later, Claudine entered into a torrid relationship with Spider Sabich, a pro skier who was years her junior. She shot him, he died, a trial ensued, she was found guilty and served about 30 days for accidentally shooting your boyfriend or something, which is evidently not a serious crime in Aspen, Colorado. That was it for the specials.


Marci’s Medicare Answers December 2011 & January 2012

Dear Marci, I was recently diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Are there any plans that can help with my specific needs? — Wind Dear Wind, Yes, there are Medicare Advantage (MA) plans called Special Needs Plans (SNPs). A SNP is a Medicare Advantage plan (private health plan) that exclusively serves at least one of the following groups: n People who live in a nursing home or Intermediate Care Facility for the Mentally Retarded (either specific nursing homes or those in a certain area) and people who live in the community but require an institutional level of care; n People who have both Medicare and Medicaid (dual eligibles); n People who have a specific chronic, severe or disabling condition defined by the plan (such as diabetes or heart disease). SNPs provide Medicare-covered health care and services that are designed to meet the special needs of people in the groups they serve. In your case you would choose a SNP that

is designed for individuals with COPD. Be sure to call the plan and ask about the additional services they will provide to help you manage your condition.You should also compare the costs of the SNP plan to your Original Medicare costs to see what works best for you. SNPs must include drug coverage (Medicare Part D) as part of their benefits packages. Dear Marci, Will Medicare pay to replace my walker? —Trudy Dear Trudy, Generally, Medicare will replace your walker or any other piece of Durable Medicare Equipment (DME) if the item has been in your possession its whole lifetime and your doctor certifies that you still need it. The definition of lifetime varies depending on the type of equipment but is never fewer than five years from the date that you began using the equipment. In addition, the item must be so worn down from being used on a day-to-day basis that it can no longer be fixed. However, if you lose equipment that you rent or own, if it is stolen, or if it suffers irreparable damaged in an accident or a natural disaster, Medicare should cover a new piece of equipment with proof of the damage or theft. “Replacement” refers to the replacement of one item with an identical or nearly identical item (for example, one manual wheelchair for another, not to switch from a manual wheelchair to an electric wheelchair or a motorized scooter). Marci’s Medicare Answers is a service of the Medicare Rights Center (, the nation’s largest independent source of information and assistance for people with Medicare. To speak with a counselor, call (800) 333-4114. To subscribe to “Dear Marci,” the Medicare Rights Center’s free educational e-newsletter, simply e-mail To learn more about the services that Medicare will cover and how to change plans, log on to Medicare Interactive Counselor at the Medicare Rights Center’s website at | December 2011/January 2012



Holiday Exercise, No Gym Required A

dd heart-pumping twists to your holiday to-do list to get exercise throughout the holiday season, say experts at the U. of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. “It’s important to maintain your fitness as much as possible during the holidays, but don’t worry if you’re too busy to go to the gym,” says Karen Basen-Engquist, Ph.D., professor in the Dept. of Behavioral Science at MD Anderson. “Many holiday activities offer ways to get the 30 minutes of daily moderate physical activity that your body needs to help fight off many forms of cancer and other diseases,” she says. “You can break up your 30 minutes of daily exercise into three 10-minute or two 15-minute chunks.” Shopping -- Don’t drive around searching for a parking space near the door. Park far from the entrance. Once inside use stairs to get in extra walking. “For walking to count as exercise, you should be a little out of breath and feel your heart beating a little faster,” BasenEngquist says. “You should be able to talk in short sentences, but not to sing holiday songs.” Partying -- Cleaning the house before and after your guests let’s you sneak in aerobic activity. Basen-Engquist recommends focusing on activities using large muscle groups, like the legs and back. This includes vacuuming, mopping, scrubbing, gardening and

multiple trips upstairs to put away laundry or decorations. “The most important thing is to get your heart rate up at a consistent level,” she says. “You should sustain the activity for at least 10 minutes without stopping.” Traveling -- Speed up your heart rate when on the road: n Airplane, train or bus -- Take a brisk walk around the terminal while waiting, avoid moving sidewalks and make your walk to baggage claim a quick one. n Driving -- Take a brisk walk on the bathroom/gas break. n Hotels, guest rooms -- Use hotel gyms, an exercise DVD, or explore the area with a jog, walk or hike. If you can’t fit exercise into the holidays: n Use your lunch break to jog or take a brisk walk. n Take the stairs at work. n Schedule workouts in advance. n Enlist a friend or partner to walk with you. Buddying provides motivation and a chance to catch up with friends. “Remember, it’s hard to start exercising after you’ve gotten out of the habit,” Basen-Engquist says. “By making physical activity part of your holiday plans, you’ll ensure you have the momentum to keep exercising in the New Year.” Source: University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Copyright 2011. Reprinted with permission from Aging in Stride eNews – subscribe FREE at

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emory loss that disrupts daily life is not a typical part of aging. It may be a symptom of Alzheimer's, a fatal brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. Every individual may experience one or more of these signs in different degrees. If you notice any of them, please see a doctor. 1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life One of the most common signs of Alzheimer's is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aides (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own. What's a typical age-related change?


December 2011/January 2012 |

Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later. 2. Challenges in planning or solving problems Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before. What's a typical age-related change? Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook. 3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure People with Alzheimer's often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a famil-

iar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game. What's a typical age-related change? Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show. 4. Confusion with time or place People with Alzheimer's can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there. What's a typical age-related change? Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later. 5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer's. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not realize they are the person in the mirror. What's a typical age-related change? Vision changes related to cataracts. 6. New problems with words in speaking or writing

People with Alzheimer's may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a "watch" a "hand-clock"). What's a typical age-related change? Sometimes having trouble finding the right word. 7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps A person with Alzheimer's disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time. What's a typical age-related change? Misplacing things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the remote control. 8. Decreased or poor judgment People with Alzheimer's may experience changes in judgment or decisionmaking. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean. What's a typical age-related

change? Making a bad decision once in a while. 9. Withdrawal from work or social activities A person with Alzheimer's may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced. What's a typical age-related change? Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations. 10. Changes in mood and personality The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer's can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone. What's a typical age-related change? Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted. The Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. For more information visit www. or call their 24/7 helpline at 800272-3900.

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A Mount Vernon

Christmas By Andrea Gross


artha Washington tops Martha Stewart on my list of hostesses extraordinaire. In order to prepare for her Christmas guests, the first Martha whipped forty eggs, four pounds of butter, four pounds of sugar and five pounds of flour into a massive cake. Today that cake is on display during Mount Vernon’s holiday celebration, which this year runs from November 25 to January 6. The cake was modeled after those traditionally served on the last of the twelve days of Christmas (January 6), which is also the date of George and Martha’s anniversary. As in the past, Christmas at the home of our first president is very much about welcoming guests. In 1789, George Washington spent his first Christmas as president attending St. Paul’s Church in New York City. Afterwards, he returned to Mt.Vernon where the following week he and Martha relaxed with family and friends. Eighteenth-century Christmases were low key compared to today. Although Washington may have given small gifts to his slaves, for the most part there were no gifts and certainly no Santas or reindeer (neither of which became popular 28

December 2011/January 2012 |

Christmas symbols until the nineteenth century). But in 1787, Washington — who enjoyed playing with exotic animals when he wasn’t off winning wars or fathering a country — rented a camel to entertain his Christmas visitors. (There’s no record that Washington chose a camel because of the Christmas story.) On a normal day, a visitor can easily spend five or six hours touring the mansion and grounds. The mansion, which has been restored to look as it did during the President’s time, still houses some of the Washingtons’ original furniture. The grounds include slave quarters, stables, gardens and a fouracre working farm. During the holiday season there’s even more to see and do.

Left: The table at Mt.Vernon is set to show a holiday dinner. (Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association); Above: A woman demonstrates how chocolate was made during colonial times. (Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association); Title Picture: Themed Christmas trees are on display inside the Mount Vernon Ford Orientation Center (Russ Flint).

The sights: — Greenery on the doorways, poinsettias in the halls and 12 festive Christmas trees, some as tall as 12 feet, decorated ala the 18th century — The mansion’s rooms rearranged to accommodate guests. — The garret chamber where Martha lived the last years of her life. (After George’s death, the former First Lady never returned to their shared room.) During Christmas, a lookalike “Martha” shows visitors these third floor rooms that are normally closed to the public. — Aladdin, the camel, who greets people just like his predecessor did more than 200 years ago. The sounds: — The fiddling music of the Virginia reel and other dances as costumed actors and willing guests enjoy some old fashioned dancing. — Fireside caroling that takes place during weekend candlelight tours, hosted by “Martha Washington.” The smells: — Chocolate as it’s stirred by hand over an open fire, as it was in colonial times — Gingerbread formed into a replica of Mount Vernon. This masterpiece is made by former White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier, who likes to add marzipan figures of George and Martha. — And Martha’s grand cake. For guests who want to try it themselves, the recipe is available. (The cake recipe as well as one for hoecakes, one of Washington’s favorite breakfasts, can also be found online. For more information:

tLearn the World’s Greatest Card Gamet

w Easybridge 2 w

Lessons start January 17 10 Weeks of FUN! Food, Fun, 1:00 p.m. Friendly & 6:30 p.m. People!

Montgomery Montgomery Bridge Bridge Club Club

1711 Mulberry Street To register, call or e-mail: 334-244-5052

Bou Cou

dancewear & a whole lot more!

Jewelry Accessories Gifts Invitations Monogramming

In The Courtyard 2101 Eastern Blvd. (behind Starbucks)

(334) 239-0655 | December 2011/January 2012









Exercise Class, Bible Study, Bingo.Various days, times, locations. Mtgy. Area Council on Aging,, 334-2630532. Zumba. Tues. 5 p.m. Jackson Hospital,, 334293-8978. Jam Sessions. 2nd, 4th Sat. 9 a.m.-noon. Old Alabama Town, 334-240-4500 Art Class. Tues., Wed. 10 a.m. Perry Hill United Methodist Church,, 334-272- 3174 Hearing Loss Support Group. 2nd Thurs., 4 p.m. First United Methodist Church, 334-262-3650. Gluten Intolerance Group. 4th Thurs., 6 p.m. Taylor Rd. Baptist Church. 334-328-5942. Montgomery Bridge Club. Lessons, games, tournaments. Mulberry St., 334-265-2143.


Dec. 1-3. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Wetumpka Depot Players. 7 p.m., 2 p.m. matinee Dec. 4. For info 334-868-1440 or Dec. 16-18. The Nutcracker, Mtgy. Ballet, Davis Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Fri., Sat. 2:30 & 7:30 p.m. Sun. 2:30 p.m. Matinee event for children. For info, 334-409-0522. Jan. 18-28. The Importance of Being Ernest. Troy U. Theatre Dept. 7:30 p.m. Studio Theatre, Malone Hall. For info 334-8086142 or Jan. 19-28. Fiddler on the Roof. Millbrook Theatre. For info, 334-782-7317 or


Dec. 9, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Holiday Market. AUM. Taylor Center. Thru Dec. 28, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The Art of Althea Thomas, Mtgy. artist and poet. Rosa Parks Exhibit Hall. For info, OTHER Dec. 1-4, 1-8 p.m. Mtgy. Interfaith Nativity Exhibit. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Info Dec. 1-13. 5:30-9:30 p.m. Mtgy. Zoo Christmas Lights. Info 334-240-4900, Dec. 1-31, Mon-Sat, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Old Alabama Town. Decorated houses. 334-240-4500, Dec 3, 8:30 a.m.-noon. Jingle Bell (5K) Run/Walk, Arthritis. Huntingdon College, Dec. 4, 4 p.m. Prattville Christmas Parade, www.prattvilleal. gov. Dec. 5, 12, 19. Gov’s Mansion Candlelight Open House, 1142 South Perry St. Tickets at gift shop next to mansion. 1-800-ALABAMA, Dec. 7, 6 p.m. City of Mtgy, Christmas Parade. 334-241-2726. Dec. 8, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Cruising with Santa. Harriott II. Adults & children. $. Dec. 9, 10, 7-11 a.m. Mtgy. Area Square Dance Assn., 2201 Chestnut St., Multi-family indoor yard sale. Dec. 10. Will Power 5K & 1 mile walk/run. Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Dec. 10-12, 6-8 p.m. Old Time Christmas. Pike Road. Late 1800’s cabins in decorations.



Dec. 1, 7 p.m. Sound of Christmas. Band, choir.Vaughn Forest Church, 8660 Vaughn Rd. 334-279-5433. Dec. 10, 24; Jan. 14, 28. Jam session, 9 a.m.-noon. Old Alabama Town. Bring your acoustic instrument. For info 334-2404500, 1-888-240-1850, or on-line, Jan. 5, 6, 7 p.m. 12th Night Celebration, Mtgy Chorale and Friends. Church of the Ascension, 315 Clanton Ave. Includes Mtgy.Youth Chorale, Mtgy. Ballet, AL Dance Theater, Mtgy. Symphony, Mtgy. Museum of Fine Arts, AL Shakespeare Festival, ClefWorks, Cloverdale Playhouse St. Andrew’s Society. For info call 334-265-3737, or on-line www.montgomerychorale. org. $ 30

December 2011/January 2012 |

Physical Therapy • Wellness/Personal Training

around Montgomery

December Mystery


ach week, thousands of people enter and leave the parking lots that lay within a stone’s throw of the granite obelisk topping this monument.Yet who among them has ever stopped to read the inscription, or to offer a silent word of thanks to the Alabama veterans who served, and are serving, their country? This is a combined December/January issue, with the next magazine out in February. Find this location, snap your photo, and send it along with a note about a family member who has served, or is serving, in the Armed Forces. Let’s call it a Valentine to a Veteran. Send the photo by January 5 to be entered in a drawing for a gift certificate to Mr. G’s Ristorante. The winner will have their photo printed in the next issue of Prime Montgomery. E-mail your photo and contact information to


The November Mystery location is the stained glass over the door of the Montgomery Welcome Center, housed in Union Station. Ruth McDade found it and snapped this nighttime photo outside the entrance.Thanks, Ruth! We’ll send along your Mr. G’s gift certificate.

Anniversary Season

Montgomery Symphony Orchestra

Holiday Pops Monday, December 12 • 7:30pm Montgomery Performing Arts Centre Tickets, 481-5100 • montgomery Ask about BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE tickets! | December 2011/January 2012


prime diversions

December DVD releases For the holidays, enjoy good cheer, good friends and a few good movies! Friends With Benefits (R) Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis display better-than-average chemistry in this relatively clever romantic comedy about an attractive pair who meet through work, develop a friendship, and then face a typical array of ups and downs before the inevitable conclusion. He’s a gifted website designer in L.A.; she’s a corporate headhunter who recruits him for a high-profile job in Manhattan. Both are fresh from their latest romantic failure. They decide to add non-commitment boinking to their enjoyment of each other’s company, swearing to keep it light - just another shared recreational activity between buddies. Well, we all know that ain’t gonna last. They try dating others for a while; they meet each others’ families. The details don’t matter. What’s important is that a half-dozen credited writers delivered a script that’s replete with snappy dialog and a wealth of material for supporting characters. Woody Harrelson and Patricia Clarkson core big in their roles. Richard Jenkins adds his usual level of excellence, as well. Timberlake and Kunis are not only well suited to their characters, but they click as a screen couple more effectively than most recent pairings in the genre. The film’s biggest flaws lie in its excesses. Director Will Gluck needed to trim about 10-15 minutes of running time to keep up the smart pace he established so well in the opening sequence and first hour. There’s also a problem in having the stars mock the conventions of romantic comedies in a way that is true to their characters, before dragging out the proceedings with heavy doses of the things they’d ridiculed. The satiric point unraveled by several instances of that betrayal. (12/2/11) Mr. Popper’s Penguins (PG) Just because Jim Carrey is starring in a family comedy opposite a bunch of adorable, mostly computer-generated animals, doesn’t mean you’re about to sit through another over-the-top Ace Ventura slapstick and schtick fest. That was the young Carrey of bygone days. As in Eddie Murphy’s turns as Dr. Doolittle, the Carrey of the past decade has settled into family-friendly fluff, in which a distant, distracted or damaged dad learns Valuable Lessons about what’s important in life with the unlikely help of his non-human co-stars. Everybody loves penguins, especially when they’re anthro32 December 2011/January 2012 |

Mark Glass pomorphized into such amusingly mischievous characters. Though I still prefer the psychotic threesome from the Madagascar ‘toons, this bunch has undeniable charms, with significant marketing potential. The story sags a bit in the middle, but should satisfy audiences of all ages long before its happy, sentimental ending. The fact that it opens with another episode in the prehistoric misadventures of that manic, acornclutching squirrel, Scrat, adds extra bang to your entertainment buck. (12/6/11)

Cowboys & Aliens (PG-13) Daniel Craig awakens in the New Mexico desert in the late 1800s. He has no memory of who he is, how he landed there, where he got the mysterious device on his left wrist, or why he can’t remove it. We quickly learn he’s got fighting skills his James Bond character would envy. But when he rides into the nearest frontier town, he soon runs afoul of the sheriff (Keith Carradine) and local hardnosed cattle baron (Harrison Ford) who really runs the place. Craig may be a notorious outlaw with a price on his head. Just as he’s about to be sent to a bigger jail, flying spacecraft start blasting away at everyone and everything, while lassoing a herd of humans, including Ford’s bad-boy son (Paul Dano). No one had read sci-fi back then, so these things are labeled as demons, rather than ETs. Regardless, foes must unite against the greater menace to rescue their neighbors and kinfolk. The pursuit leads to tangles with more outlaws and hostile Apaches, heading towards a seemingly hopeless battle against forces and weapons beyond their comprehension. Jon Favreau directs this saga at the relatively leisurely pace of an old-fashioned oater, complete with the laconic dialog we expect from the genre, interspersed with high-tech hardware and monsters for the action sequences.  I don’t recall the name used for the town, but perhaps it was later changed to Roswell. Some conspiracy buffs may believe this to be a fact-based story, thereby setting an earlier origin for Area 51. The rest can just enjoy this anachronistic variation on every alien-invasion flick set in the recent past or near future, and the coping skills of our pre-flight, low-tech ancestors. (12/6/11)  

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (PG-13) Prequels must overcome an inherent hurdle some of the suspense is off the table, since you know from the earlier films that cover later events much of how this new one must end. This revival of the old franchise explains how we lost the planet to those “damned dirty apes”, as Mr. Heston so memorably stated a few decades ago. Whatever the plot lacks in logic, which is substantial, is largely offset by compelling-to-stunning computer-generated effects from the same folks who made Avatar a hit, despite even greater deficiencies in its screenplay. No actual apes were involved in the proceedings. The CG work fleshing out the movements and facial expressions of human actors allows depiction of a surprising range of emotions. The climactic sequence on the Golden Gate Bridge is state-of-the-art for big-scale action. If the tedium of the rest doesn’t wear you down, those assets should be sufficient to land this one in the plus column among your options for escapist flicks. (12/13/11)

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (PG-13) For fans of epic-scale martial arts fare, this saga set in ancient China offers plenty of visual delights. It’s bigger, louder and more fanciful than Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, though short on the romantic side. Depending on which side of that coin you preferred, this will be either a sumptuous feast of stunts and CG effects, or an emotionally lacking exercise in politics and magic. The story was inspired by the history of the Tang Dynasty from about 1500 years ago. China’s first Empress has plenty of foes, including Detective Dee, whom she’d already imprisoned for his opposition to her ascent to the throne. But on the eve of her coronation, a plot is afoot, and only Dee can figure out who’s behind it in time to save the empire from chaos. The story plays out with small amounts of humor, but mainly features fights and battles with plenty of wire work and other fanciful enhancements to the balletic fighting skills of its cast. The action scenes were directed by the rotund, deceptively agile Sammo Hung, whose formative years were spent in Chinese Opera alongside Jackie Chan and others who became worldwide action stars in scads of movies from the East, as well as Hollywood.  The bigger your screen, the more you’ll appreciate the 5,000 colorful, unique costumes and the massive sets - CG or otherwise. (12/13/11)

Dolphin Tale (PG) Need a wholesome drama to entertain the family? This fact-based story is a good bet for all ages. Sawyer is a depressed middle-school kid living on Florida’s Gulf Coast. His dad is gone. The older cousin he idolizes has left for war. Sawyer helps in the rescue of a beached dolphin. That leads to interspecies bonding, and further involvement in the local marine research lab, and connection with the humans who run it. Unfortunately, they have to amputate the tail, which amounts to a virtual death sentence. But thanks to all the creativity and TLC such films can muster, a glimmer of hope emerges. The rest is mostly slow-moving, sentimental character development with periodic bits of comic relief, but it all works pretty well. Winter, the dolphin on whom the film is based, is worth the price of the ticket, apart from the rest of the cast. Be sure to watch through the credits for that additional footage. (12/16/11)

Mark Glass is an officer and director of the St. Louis Film Critics Association. | December 2011/January 2012


ACROSS 1 Extraterrestrial factor in creating much of Earth’s carbon-14 11 ‘90s TV toon therapist 15 “The Defense Never Rests” co-author 16 You may bid on it 17 Circulation aid 18 Five-time Wimbledon winner 19 American Fur Company founder 20 Firenze field 21 “__ to Canaan”: Carole King hit 24 Harris trickster 27 Sin tax, e.g. 29 Take-charge type 30 __ Genevieve: Missouri county or its seat 31 __-ovo-vegetarian 32 Cry of delight 34 Low life? 36 Remote drivers? 40 Attached, as some decals 42 Certain elephant

Sudoku answers on page 23.

games 43 Dander 46 Pro __ 47 Miss Hungary of 1936, familiarly 48 Where Massenet’s “Don Quichotte” premiered 51 Grate 52 Obscured 53 Edge 55 Desert antelope 56 Insolvent bailout beneficiary 61 Michelle Phillips was one in the ‘60s 62 Man in the street 63 Hot times in 48-Across 64 Coconut-flavored cocktail DOWN 1 Ozone-threatening compound 2 Word of support 8 Served in a 3 Half of dodici creamy cheese 4 Black garnets sauce 5 Spoonbill’s cousin 9 Word of support 6 “No way!” 10 Lexicon abbr. 7 Inflexibility 11 Word from the

Turkish for “roasted meat” 12 Subj. of Cold War tests 13 Asphalt trap 14 Fallopian tube traveler 20 Bol’var’s birthplace 21 Coach of Nadia and Mary Lou 22 Physical, e.g. 23 Danish shoe brand 25 Martin’s partner 26 Iran’s Mohammad Shah __ Pahlavi 28 Dried out, with “up” 32 Busybody 33 1962 chart topper whose title subject “doesn’t do what everybody else does” 35 “Never Wave at __”: 1952 film 37 “__ With a ‘Z’”: 1972 TV special 38 Miss 39 Breeze 41 Crew members 43 Arrival announcement 44 Find very funny 45 Catalytic protein 47 Group of signs 49 Gulf state 50 47-Down member 54 Block brand 56 Reheat, in a way 57 Duct opening? 58 Grammy-winning Steely Dan album 59 Doze 60 Mauna __ ©2011 TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

Crossword answers on page 33. 34

December 2011/January 2012 |

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All Ears Hearing Centers

thanks our patients and staff for making 2011 a memorable year. By combining the advanced technology of modern hearing instruments with the medical skills of a board-certified ENT physician, All Ears Hearing Centers

has been privileged to help improve the hearing of patients throughout the River Region. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve our patients, and wish everyone a joyous, peaceful, and sound-filled season.

6912 Winton Blount Blvd. Montgomery, AL 36117 334-281-8400

“The doctor to see is an ENT.�

December2011Prime Montgomery  

General interest magazine for 50+ demographic in Central Alabama.

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