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Celebrating Life

December 2016/January 2017

Alabama’s Christmas Holiday: the untold story Plus • (Bad) holiday foods we love • Eggnog recipe from the 1940s • Alabama distillery wins big

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December 2016 | January 2017

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December 2016 | January 2017



Dec. 2016/Jan 2017 • Volume 7 • Issue 9

PUBLISHER Bob Corley, EDITOR Sandra Polizos, ART DIRECTOR Callie Corley, WRITERS Niko Corley, M.J. Ellington, Andrea Gross, Sara Schwartz PHOTOGRAPHERS Bob Corley, Niko Corley, Irv Green CONTRIBUTORS Niko Corley, Gary M. Kaye, Kylle’ McKinney, Arlene Morris, Tom Ringenberg, Cecelia Deep Ryals, Nick Thomas, Alan Wallace SALES Bob Corley • 334-202-0114 Suzanne Roquemore • 334-546-0010 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 2016/2017 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.


December 2016 | January 2017



mbarking on a new endeavor is exciting. It can also lead to inaction, putting you in a constant planning mode that stifles forward motion.The problem with being a perpetual planner is robbing yourself of potentially valuable new experiences, which, at any age, keep us engaged with the world and those around us. It’s what our son aptly calls “Ready, aim, aim, aim...” In other words, trying to make it perfect by working through every detail to minimize the risks and increase the chances of success, yet never following through. For the better part of a year my husband did just that in his search for the Sandra Polizos perfect sailboat. We’d had one on Lake Martin before the children came along and enjoyed it thoroughly. Now, he felt, was the time for another. We drove over half of Georgia, southern Alabama and most of the Florida panhandle in this quest. While visiting some delightful places, none of the boats were “perfect.” I told him it wasn’t porridge, and it would be a miracle if he found the perfect boat. Our daughter said, “Go, Dad, go!” Our son said, “Ready, aim, aim, aim...” We traveled hundreds of miles in our search, but the perfect boat never materialized. The right boat, however, did. It wasn’t perfect, but it perfectly suited our situation. Through the months of searching he had realized that, as they say, “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” Waiting for everything to be “just right” can lead to missed opportunity. My own case in point comes to mind. During my senior year of college in 1975, my best friend came to visit me in Atlanta. Wouldn’t it be fun, she said, to take an overseas adventure after graduation, before we got too entrenched in the rest of our lives? I was thrilled, and petrified, at the idea. Leave the U.S. for several months to go someplace entirely unknown? At least a year of saving money would be required for the trip, plus hours of planning. Who knew what could happen in 12 months? I happily, with trepidation, agreed. After finding my first post-graduate job I started saving $200 from each paycheck, putting it into a special travel account. As the money grew, so did the knot in my stomach. “You won’t chicken out, will you?” my girlfriend asked me. “Of course not,” I answered, for both our benefits. We spent long evenings after work planning where we’d go, how long we’d stay, where we’d pick up our mail. During all the planning, all the “aiming”, the trip remained at a safe distance. One year after college graduation I resigned my job to embark on our open-ended adventure to survey Europe and learn about the world. I kissed my family and boyfriend (eventually husband) goodbye at Dannelly Field, and trudged up the pull-away stairs leading to the plane, all the while a voice in my head questioning my decision. “Is this the right time to leave?” it said. “Where are you going? Who will you meet? What if you fail?” Luckily, another voice spoke up. “But what if you fly?” it said quietly. That voice won out. Following that other voice resulted in a 3½ month sojourn that broadened my vistas, enlarged my world view, and after four decades, still nourishes my life. In fact, transcribing the journal I kept during that trip is at the top of my need-to-do list. As we all consider some new endeavor — a different job, retirement, taking an academic, art or music class — it helps to remember that every beginning brings anxiety and anticipation. Failing is not the worst thing that can happen to us. Not trying, on the other hand, is.

December 2016 Table of Contents Editor’s Note 4 Quick Reads 6

Best weather for good mental health

Yard ‘n Garden 9

What bees bring to your garden

Money Wi$e 10

Have the right mindset for sound financial choices

Gracious Plenty 12

Eggnog with a family history

9 (Bad) Holiday Foods We Love 13 Green bean casserole to mincemeat pie

Bourbon Trail 14

Tours and tastings in Kentucky

Opelika Spirits 16

Family distillery produces award-winners

Alabama’s Christmas Legend 18 The holiday that wasn’t

Prime’s 2016 Awards 21 Writing, design, photography

Tinseltown Talks 22

Dark Shadows:TV’s early vampire

Social Security 24 Survivor benefits

In Every Life 25

Caregiving’s changing face The book that started it all.

Save Your Life (Story...) 26

Organize, record, & protect your images

Crossword & Sudoku Puzzles 29 Answers on page 31

Calendar 30 History Mysteries Solved! 32 Meet the ‘mystery’ people

Off the Beaten Path 34 The Old Drake

From the 1960s to 2016, siblings then & now.

December 2016 | January 2017


Quick Reads Sunshine and mental health If you soak up enough sun, your level of emotional distress should remain stable. Take away sun time, and your distress can spike. In other words, sunshine matters. A lot. The idea isn’t new, but according to a recent Brigham Young University study, when it comes to your mental and emotional health, the amount of time between sunrise and sunset is the weather variable that matters most. Your day might be filled with irritatingly hot temperatures, thick air pollution, and even rainclouds, but that won’t necessarily get you down. But without adequate sun time your distress can spike. This applies to the clinical population at large, not just those diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder. The BYU study analyzed several meteorological variables including wind chill and speed, rainfall, solar irradiance, and temperature. (Brigham Young University, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders) High-protein diet, heart failure in older women Women over the age of 50 who follow a highprotein diet could be at higher risk for heart failure, especially if much of their protein comes from meat, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016. Researchers evaluated the self-reported daily diets of 103,878 women between the ages of 50 and 79 years, from 1993 to 1998. The rate of heart failure for women with higher total dietary protein intake was significantly higher compared to the women who ate less protein daily or got more of their protein from vegetables. The findings were true regardless of age, race or ethnicity, level of education, or the presence of one or more conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and coronary artery disease. “Our findings should be interpreted with caution,” said study author Mohamad Firas Barbour, M.D., “but it appears that following a high-protein diet may increase heart failure risk.” (American Heart Association)


December 2016 | January 2017

Sugary beverages and pre-diabetes Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with increased risk of pre-diabetes and increased insulin resistance, an epidemiological analysis of data from1,685 adult Americans finds. Drinking on average one can of soda per day brings a 46% higher risk of developing pre-diabetes compared to those who consume no, or low quantities, of sugary beverages. No associations was found between diet soda consumption and risk of pre-diabetes or increased insulin resistance. However, the research team notes previous studies on associations between diet soda and risk of type 2 diabetes have produced mixed results, and further studies are needed to reveal the long-term health impact of artificially sweetened drinks. (Tufts University)

Still at risk even if you exercise Studies show spending excessive amounts of time sitting or watching TV is linked with chronic health issues such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, even if you get the American Heart Association recommended 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise. There appears to be independent health effects associated with excessive sitting, even for those meeting the 150-minutes-a-week guideline. Studies that explore the association between exercise and sedentary behavior consistently show that replacing sitting time with even light activity (moderate-to-vigorous activity is preferred) can have a positive effect on health in the long term. (American Physiological Society)

And you thought 2015 was hot! It’s very likely 2016 will be the hottest year on record, with global temperatures higher than the recordbreaking 2015 temperatures. Preliminary data shows 2016’s global temperatures are approximately 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.1 degrees Fahrenheit), above pre-industrial levels, according to an assessment by the World Meteorological Organization. Long-term climate change indicators are also record breaking, including an increase is major greenhouse gases, low levels of arctic sea ice, and significant and very early melting of the Greenland ice sheet. Ocean heat was also boosted by the El Niño event. The deadliest event so far in 2016 has been Hurricane Matthew, Haiti’s worst humanitarian emergency since the 2010 earthquake. Throughout the year, extreme weather led to considerable socio-economic losses in all regions of the world. (World Meteorological Organization)

Sleep and sugary drinks People who sleep five or fewer hours a night are likely to also drink significantly more sugary caffeinated sodas and energy drinks, according to a new study of more than 18,000 adults. Study authors emphasize it’s not yet clear whether drinking sugar-sweetened beverages causes people to sleep less, or if sleep deprivation makes people seek out more sugar and caffeine to stay awake. Previous research suggests both could be true. A growing body of research has linked sugary beverage consumption to a cluster of conditions including high blood sugar and excess body fat, which can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes. Lack of sleep is also associated with a higher risk for these conditions. Previous research has strongly indicated sleep deprivation increases hunger, particularly hunger for sugary and fatty foods. (University of California, San Francisco)

December 2016 | January 2017





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December 2016 | January 2017


Be Bee-Friendly in Your Garden


By Tom Ringenberg at different times of year. That way, there will always be readily available source of pollen and nectar available during all periods of the growing season. You might consider putting out some mason bee boxes. When most people think of insect pollinators the honeybee immediately comes to mind. And while honeybees are important pollinators, they are not the bees that are native to North America. They were introduced from Europe. Mason bees are native and much better adapted to pollinate our native plants more efficiently. While honeybees are social bees living in colonies of thousands of bees, mason bees are solitary bees.

ing, and avoid using neonicotinoids. very Neonicotinoids, or neonic as they are gardener sometimes called, are a group of chemiknows cal pesticides closely related to nicotine. how imThese chemicals attack the nervous portant system of the insect. Recent research bees and suggests they are at least partially other insect responsible for what has come to be pollinators known as honeybee colony collapse disare to your order. This family of chemicals includes garden, whethacetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, er you grow vegetables, nitenpyram, nithazine, thiacloprid, and ornamentals, or fruit trees. thiamethoxam. While these chemicals Unfortunately, in recent are sold under several different trade years, you may have noticed names, you need only to look at the fewer honeybees than you label for the active ingredients. These used to, not to mention all the chemicals can be applied using several media reports citing a shortage of different methods inhoneybees. I’ve Capital City Master Gardener Association cluding soaking seeds enjoyed beekeeping FREE Lunch & Learn , 12:00-1:00 pm before planting. They off and on since I are absorbed into the was a teenager in 4H. n Dec. 7 — Natural Holiday Decor plant tissue making While keeping bees (Anna Owen, Ginger Gammon) the nectar and pollen, is a great way to help n Jan. 4 — What is a Master Gardener? as well as other parts with the pollination (Mallory Kelley, Regional Ext. Agent) of the plant, toxic to process, not everyone n Feb. 1 — Making My Garden Organic, insects — including is able to keep hon(Amanda & Lee Borden, Adanced Master Gardeners) pollinators. Fortueybees. Fortunately, Armory Learning Arts Center, nately, many retailers there is still plenty we 1018 Madison Ave. are not waiting for can all do to help, not Bring sack lunch. Drinks provided. For information call (334) 270-4133. the government to only honeybees, but act and have agreed native pollinators as to quit selling products containing Honeybees are easy to agitate and will well. readily sting, requiring the use of protec- these chemicals or plants that have been First, leave the dandelions alone. Yes, treated with them. But it is still wise to tive clothing. Male mason bees, on the I am talking about those yellow flowcheck the labels or ask to be sure. other hand, have no stinger, and while ers that pop up in everyone’s yard each Finally, if you are interested in keeping the queens do have stingers, they rarely spring. Some people spend loads of honeybees, you can find more informamoney on herbicides to eliminate dande- use them. Honeybees must also be kept tion by contacting a local beekeeper lions. But these flowers are often the first in specially made hives with removin your area, your county cooperative able frames of wax foundation, where food source available to bees and other extension office, or even join a local beethey store honey, pollen, and raise their pollinating insects. If you still insist on keeping club. You can also go to www. young. In contrast, a mason bee house having that “perfect” green lawn then, the website for the Alabama is very easy to construct using a scraped perhaps you might at least delay your Cooperative Extension Service, or any piece of untreated wood. Simply use a efforts till later in the spring when other number of other websites to get the 5/16” drill bit and drill several holes bepollen and nectar producing plants information you need to get started in tween three to five inches deep without become available. beekeeping. drilling through to the other side. Then Plant a wide variety of different types place the wood on the south side of a of plants that are also different colors. Tom Ringenberg, an intern in the 2016 building, fence or tree. Different pollinators prefer different Master Gardener Class, lives in Prattville. If you must use pesticides, use them colors of flowers, so it stands to reason For more information on becoming a as sparingly as possible. Organic pestithat planting a wide variety of colored cides are best. Apply them in the evening master gardener, visit www.capcitymga. flowers will attract a variety of different org or email pollinators. Also, plant plants that bloom when most pollinators are not

December 2016 | January 2017



The Right Mindset O

ver my 36-year career in financial services, I have learned that one’s mindset affects the quality of one’s decisions. Having observed at close range hundreds of folks dealing with financial choices, I have concluded that a realistic approach blended with a splash of hope is the best approach to take. Here are six other mindsets I have encountered that Alan Wallace negatively affect people. The Eternal Optimist believes, regardless of evidence, that things will turn out great. Therefore, this overconfident person assumes imprudent risks. Even after things turn out badly on repeated occasions, the Eternal Optimist does not adjust. He keeps taking chances on long-shots that do not pan out. The Perpetual Pessimist is convinced that things generally will turn out badly, no matter what choices she makes. The result of a permanently negative mindset can be a failure to plan or think things through because, after all, what is the point if everything is going to turn out badly anyway? The Myopic Extrapolator believes that current trends will continue indefinitely. An example is the contractor who told me in the early 1980s that the prime interest rate would never be below 10% as long as either of us was alive. Clearly, he was wrong. Economic and market factors pass through cycles. Current realities may persist for quite a while, but they can and often do change in time, sometimes quite quickly and unexpectedly. Making decisions based on the unexamined belief that existing conditions will persist forever can lead to unpleasant surprises. Do you recall the dot-com bust of the late 1990s? The Gullible Innovator believes that every new idea, product, or technology she hears about will revolutionize her life and the world around her. Therefore, the Gullible Innovator embraces new ideas quickly and with little examination, perhaps out of the fear of “falling behind.” This approach leads to a lack of stability and a failure to reap the benefits of genuinely beneficial ideas from the past. Not every new thing is a better thing than the old thing it hopes to replace. The Impulsive Generalizer likes rules of thumb and easy answers. He saves time and effort by basing decisions on a single piece of data. Years ago I suggested to a friend the possibility of using mutual funds as a wealth accumulation vehicle. He asked someone nearby what he knew about mutual funds. This person responded that he once had owned some but sold them after their value dropped. My friend then confidently announced that he would never


December 2016 | January 2017

buy mutual funds because, based on the other man’s single experience, they clearly did not work. The Impulsive Generalizer is known for drawing the wrong conclusions from limited data and an unwillingness to inquire more deeply into cause and effect relationships. The Indecisive Self-Doubter has difficulty making and sticking to a decision. She is slow to decide and starts doubting her choice shortly after making it. A series of course reversals may follow. This person has special difficulty coping with ever-changing investment prices and is easily swayed by daily reports in the financial and popular press about the direction of the economy and markets. The Hopeful Realist, on the other hand, makes decisions based on a careful examination of facts. Typically his/her choices: n Are well informed—based on sufficient, pertinent data, not assumptions or hearsay; n Are more rational than emotional; n Weigh the magnitude and probability of the risks and rewards of various options; n Are timely, neither hurried nor delayed; n Consider both the short and long-range implications of the choice. If you are not already, I hope that you will henceforth purpose to be a Hopeful Realist. PS — After almost seven years and more than seventy columns, I have decided to lay aside my pen as a monthly columnist for Prime. I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing ideas and insights with Prime’s readers and especially appreciate the encouraging feedback. I extend my warm thanks to the Publisher and Editor for the privilege of our long collaboration. Alan Wallace, CFA, ChFC, CLU, is a Senior Private Wealth Advisor for Ronald Blue & Co.’s Montgomery office, www. He can be reached at 334-270-5960, or by e-mail at | 4962622-09-16

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December 2016 | January 2017



Mama’s Old Fashioned Eggnog By Cecelia Deep Ryals


t can be difficult for a 70-year-old recipe to hold-up in the modern world; ingredients may not be available, or cooking methods practiced at the time may no longer be in vogue. Such is not the case with this month’s recipe for eggnog, comprised of classic ingredients and common preparation methods. Provided by Cecelia Deep Ryals, her mothers eggnog recipe dates from the 1940s. “I remember pulling a step stool into the kitchen when I was five or six years old,” said Ryals recently. “I’d help mother separate the eggs.” There’s a long history of cooking in the family. Ryals is the daughter of the late Toofie Deep, who was a co-owner of The Sahara Restaurant, one of Montgomery’s renowned family-owned dining spots dating from the early 1950s. “We’d go to midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and get home about 2 a.m.,” Ryals remembers, at which time her mother would start preparing the eggnog. “She’d make two gallons, one with

alcohol and one without.” With all the youngsters around her house during the holidays, Ryals keeps her eggnog plain, making a gallon each year. Except last year. “I’m already being told that I WILL be

making it this year,” she chuckles. “My family is demanding it.” If there’s any left over after the holiday festivities, Ryals gives it good stir and places it in the freezer, eventually yielding eggnog ice cream.

Old Fashioned Eggnog n n n n n

1 dozen large eggs, separated 1 box confectioners sugar, sifted 1 qt whipping cream 1/4 to 1/2 c bourbon (or to taste, as desired) Nutmeg (to taste, as desired)

Prior to beginning eggnog, have all mixing bowls chilled in refrigerator. Separate eggs and set aside (yolks in smaller bowl). Sift sugar and set aside. Beat egg whites to soft peak, then gradually add 1/2 box sugar and beat to a stiff peak. Set aside. Rinse and dry beaters. Beat whipping cream to a soft peak, then add remaining sugar until a stiff peak. Do not whip too long or it will turn to butter. Rinse beaters again, then beat egg yolks and add bourbon slowly. Fold whipping cream and egg white with egg yolks alternately. Do not fold too hard. Serve in cups and top with nutmeg. Do not make too many hours in advance as eggnog will separate. 12

December 2016 | January 2017

Jean Griffith Deep (L) passed her eggnog recipe to daughter Cecelia Deep Ryals (R). Father Toofie (C) was a well-known restaurateur.


9 Worst Christmas Foods We Can’t Help Craving


ggnog? Mincemeat pie? We say, bring ‘em on! It’s not Christmas without these iconic holiday foods. Eggnog The most common way we see eggnog is served out of a sad dairy carton, sickly sweet, too thin to taste rich, yet heavy as sin. But at its best, eggnog is a beverage of beauty: a mixture of sweetened milk or cream and beaten eggs that’s spiked with brown liquor, whipped to a festive froth, and topped with a dusting of nutmeg. And that’s what we hold in our hearts—the creamy taste of Christmas we can’t live without. Port Wine Cheese Is there really wine in this processed cheese spread? Actually, there likely is! Port wine cheese is a magical, impossibly orange-colored blend of Cheddar cheese, cream cheese or neufchâtel, port wine, and seasonings. Often sold molded into a ball or log and covered with chopped nuts, port wine cheese is not considered to be a gourmet foodstuff. But slathered on buttery crackers it’s a holiday party essential. Gingerbread Men Decorated gingerbread has been a popular treat since the 16th Century (in the late 1500s, Queen Elizabeth I presented esteemed guests with their portrait in gingerbread)—and many of the versions we encounter taste like they came from the original batch! When freshly baked, these cookie men are a delight, spicy and sweet, but for the most part, they are dry and bland with hard, nubby icing. Nonetheless, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without them.

By Sara Schwartz

Jell-O Salad Though not a salad in the healthy, lettuce-based sense, this 1960s side dish does contain fruits and vegetables, and it’s sweet, jiggly appeal can’t be denied. An admittedly weird mix, Jell-O salad is typically made from flavored gelatin, sometimes Cool Whip, and various cut-up ingredients, from carrots to mandarin oranges or canned ham. We tend to prefer the fruit-based versions, but we’ll even take a cabbage-cucumber variety over nothing. Mincemeat Pie Counter to what its name suggests, mincemeat pie usually doesn’t contain meat anymore, though traditional recipes still call for hard beef fat (a.k.a. suet), along with fruitmince, a mix of dried fruit, spices, nuts, and brandy or rum. When mince pies first came into fashion about 800 years ago, they were a way to preserve fresh meat, using spices newly acquired from the East. Now they’re a celebrated Christmas musthave, though a bit of an acquired taste. Cheap Chocolates Shaped Like Santa We get the feeling the mini chocolate Santa manufacturers aren’t sticklers for cocoa content or expiration dates. Those little guys are generally on the tasteless side! But Santa chocolates are all about the shiny foil wrappers and the big guy’s jolly smile, so we can forgive the modest quality and hope to see them at every Christmas party we attend.

Green Bean Casserole Traditionally made with limp canned green beans, canned mushroom soup, and French’s fried onions, the green bean casserole doesn’t have a ton going for it in a culinary sense. But no matter what, the GBC is a must-have side dish on the Christmas dinner buffet. It’s deliciously salty and vaguely a vegetable — and goes with glazed ham in a serious way. Panettone Ok, sure, this Italian Christmas bread is often dry… very dry. And the multicolored fruit bits a little too reminiscent of fruitcake than is comfortable. But panettone looks festive, and comes in a pretty box with a handle, and we’re not going to stop giving and receiving it come the holiday season. Popcorn Balls Most popcorn balls we meet around Christmas are, how can we say... gracefully aged and way too hard to eat. But we’re still gonna try! Made from popcorn held together with corn-syrup caramel, these crunchy treats look great on a tree and even better in our hands. Courtesy:, a lifestyle site that celebrates the grandparent community by providing trusted information about family & relationships, health & well-being, travel & retirement, and more. Follow the site on Twitter (@grandparentscom) and on Facebook ( grandparentscom).

December 2016 | January 2017



Kentucky produces 95% of the world’s bourbon.

Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail Story by Andrea Gross Photos by Irv Green


t’s 8:00 in the morning, and my husband and I have already devoured a huge stack of bourbon-infused flapjacks topped with Jim Beam Black Caramel sauce. This is not my normal style. I’m more of a spinach egg-whites-only omelet type of gal. But today I’m in Bardstown, Kentucky, the Bourbon Capital of the World. Here, bourbon is as omnipresent as milk on an Iowa farm. Nearly a half million visitors a year travel Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail, a meandering route that leads them to tours and tastings at a host of distilleries — most of which are within an hour’s drive of Bardstown. After visiting the Museum of Whisky History, where among other alcohol-related artifacts we see a replica of George Washington’s still, we set off to educate our minds and refine our palates. Our first stop is Heaven Hill Distilleries, the largest independent family owned and operated producer of distilled spirits in the U.S. There we taste-test some of their products and receive a

Each barrel at Barton 1972 Distillery holds 53 gallons of aging spirits. 14

December 2016 | January 2017

brief course in Bourbon Basics. In short order, we learn the following: n All whiskey is made from grains and water, but to be considered bourbon, the mash must contain at least 51% corn. This is no problem for Kentucky distillers; the state produces more than 100 million bushels of corn a year. n Much of Kentucky sits atop a bed of limestone, and the resulting water, be it from a natural spring or lake, is free of iron, a mineral that gives bourbon a black color and unappealing taste. This natural iron-filter is another boon for Kentucky distillers. n Bourbon must be aged for at least two years in barrels that are made from white oak. Yet another win for lucky Kentucky, where the climate is hospitable to white oak trees. n Finally, Kentucky has always been rich in human knowhow. During the late eighteenth century the state received an influx of Irish, Scottish and German immigrants. These folks brought their knowledge of distilling with them and this,

coupled with the state’s fortunate natural elements, provided the roots for Kentucky’s booming $3 billion a year bourbon industry. Over the course of three days we visit a variety of distilleries — from big to boutique as well as traditional to inventive — and one factory that makes barrels. After learning that there are more used bourbon barrels in Kentucky than horses and people combined, and that none of these barrels can be recycled for bourbon since bourbon must be aged in spanking new barrels, I vow to become a bourbon barrel maker in my next life. At each distillery, we learn more — and taste — more. Barton 1792 Distillery is the oldest fully-operating distillery in Bardstown. Named to honor the year Kentucky became a state, it sits on a 196-acre estate that is rife with natural springs that supply iron-free water and fields that supply the necessary corn. But what we notice first is rows of multi-story buildings lined with narrow, vertical windows. These, we’re told, are rickhouses, which are specially designed warehouses where bourbon is stored during the aging process. As the rickhouses are neither heated nor air-conditioned, the seasonal temperature variations produce a more richly flavored product than they would if the temperature were constant. Barton has 28 of the historic rickhouses, each holding 19,600 barrels, each barrel filled with 53 gallons of aging spirits. While Barton brings to mind the science of making bourbon, Maker’s Mark Distillery embodies the art, both in its methodology and its surroundings. Its bourbon is made with tender loving care in small batches of fewer than 19 barrels. Each bottle has a “maker’s mark” on the bottom, reminiscent of the signature marks that are often placed on the bottom of fine crafts. In addition, each bottle is sealed with the company’s distinctive red wax. As for the surroundings, the buildings are deep gray shuttered in bright red and surrounded by a green lawn and winding stream. A 36-foot by 6-foot canopy by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly crowns one of the halls in an aging warehouse and adds a modern touch. I’m artistically enchanted with Maker’s Mark, but it’s at Limestone Branch Distillery, a family-owned business that produces small, hand-made one-barrel batches, that I get into the true spirit of spirits. Here drinks are made according to old Appalachian moonshine recipes. During a six-shot tasting, I sample Apple Cinnamon, Jalapeno and Cherry Pie Sugar Shine. As I’m deciding what to order next, the bartender tosses a few scoops of chocolate ice cream into a blender, adds milk, chocolate syrup and

Top: George Washington’s still on display at Bardstown’s Whiskey Museum. Bottom: Water derived from natural springs enhances the flavor of Kentucky bourbon.

two shots of potent Chocolate MoonPie Moonshine. Then he pours the concoction into a marshmallow-rimmed Mason jar, sprinkles on graham cracker crumbs and tops it with whipped cream and a cherry. Goodbye to vegetarian omelets. I’ve finally found my style. For more about Kentucky travel, visit




Life, Liberty, & T H E L E X U S the Pursuit of Perfection D E C E M B E R E V E N T

Angelo Mellos • 334-270-0605 Reinhardt Lexus • 911 E. Blvd. • Montgomery

December 2016 | January 2017



A Family Affair

Opelika’s Award-Winning Distillery


Story and photos by Niko Corley

amily (noun) – “a group of people who are related to each other … including people who lived in the

past.” Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary likely didn’t have Opelika, Alabama’s John Emerald Distillery (JED) in mind when crafting its definition of “family.” But the description fits the distillery as closely as the staves of the hand-fitted barrels holding JED’s aging spirits. Everything at the distillery is a family affair, and family has driven some of their most critical business decisions. Founded by father and son John and Jimmy Sharp, JED offers five distinct distilled spirits, each named for a family member. Their flagship product, “John’s Alabama Single Malt Whiskey,” is the first legally produced Alabama whiskey in 100 years. It’s crafted like a Scotch, yet aged like a bourbon, distilled entirely from malted barley and smoked using Alabamaindigenous peach and pecan woods. That unusual combination is coupled with a unique accelerated-aging process. Unlike many large distilleries, JED’s liquid-filled, charred American white oak barrels are exposed to dramatic tem-

John Sharp (left) and Jimmy Sharp behind the bar at JED with a sampling of their products.

perature swings semi-monthly instead of just a few times a year. Such swings impart much of the flavor to aged spirits. This accelerated-aging process creates a

unique flavor profile that carefully melds the maltiness and sweetness of the two distinctly different whiskeys into an ultrasmooth “sipper.” The end results are small batches named for distillery namesake John Emerald Sharp, the co-owners’ grandfather and father. It’s part-Scotch, part bourbon, and all-Alabama. Spirits aficionados the world over have taken quickly to JED’s craft distilling. Both John’s Alabama Single Malt Whiskey and the company’s “Hugh Wesley’s Gin,” which with strong juniper and floral notes makes the perfect summertime G&T, each won Bronze medals at the prestigious New York International Spirits Awards in New York City. The reviews of John’s Alabama Single Malt Whiskey alone, which beat out other barrel-aged Left: JED line-up. Spurgeon’s Barrel Aged Rum (far left) recently won a Silver Medal at the New York International Spirits Competition.


December 2016 | January 2017

Above: John Emerald employee tends distilling equipment as their award-winning rum is being produced. Below: The rick room where Single Malt Scotch and Spurgeon’s Barrel Aged Rum “sit.”

spirits more than ten-times older at the Spirits Awards, has garnered the distillery international acclaim. But the Sharp family isn’t content not pushing the envelope in their craft, and the company’s offerings aren't limited to an award-winning whiskey and gin. Whenever possible, whether in their whiskey or their other products, the Sharps utilize Alabama-grown edibles.

Hugh Wesley’s Gin is crafted using local juniper berries. Spurgeon’s Barrel Aged Rum, made like a rum but aged in their own used single malt whiskey barrels, produces multiple complex layers of flavor. Gene's Spiced Rum is crafted using Alabama sugarcane syrup and local pecans, and will leave you pining for the islands and the rhythms of a steel drum band. Elizabeth’s Vodka is corn-based,


When gift-giving, remember their eyes.

F A C T S Toys that shoot anything, even foam balls or darts, can damage the eye, as can water guns, fishing poles and plastic swords.

Be sure your loved ones ALWAYS WEAR SAFETY GLASSES when engaged in activities that could cause eye damage.

clean and crisp. Like JED’s other offerings, it’s easy to drink. Each product JED makes is named for an ancestor, driving home the familial atmosphere permeating everything the Sharps do. “We honor their spirits,” co-owner John Sharp said, “with the spirits we create.” John's Alabama Single Malt Whiskey, and most of the other products, are available at most ABC stores in Alabama. JED also operates a tasting room at the distillery in historic downtown Opelika. There, all of their products can be sampled, whether “neat” for the whiskey, “straight up” for the other liquors, or blended into a variety of creative cocktails. The tasting room is open Wednesday through Saturday, 4 p.m. until midnight, and tours are available Thursday through Saturday, 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. JED is located at 706 N. Railroad Ave.

James D. Izer, M.D. | Roy T. Hager, M.D., F.A.C.S. Richard M. Murphy, O.D. | Ashley H. Ware, O.D. 4255 Carmichael Court N. 8007 U. S. Highway 231 Montgomery • 334-277-9111 Wetumpka • 334-567-9111 For a free copy of ITEC’s Viewpoint newsletter call 334-277-9111. Visit ITEC’s website at

December 2016 | January 2017


Alabama Christmas: FEATURE

The Holiday Legend By M.J. Ellington


December 2016 | January 2017


of Commerce in Montgomery from uestions from people wanting Frank L. Girardin of Virginia and forinformation about one Alabama warded to Archives Director Peter A. “first” are as predictable at the Brannon. Girardin wrote that he had Alabama Department of Archives and obtained “documentary evidence” that History as the early arrival of Christmas Alabama was the first state “to proclaim decorations on store shelves. The quesChristmas Day a legal holiday.” He tions first surfaced in the 1960s, and evwanted to know the day, month and year ery year since then Archives researchers when the Legislature legalized the claim. have fielded queries about how Alabama Brannon wrote back to Girardin that became the first state to make Christmas while Archives had done two searches Day an official holiday. The problem is, hunting the validation in the previous six there’s no documentation to back up that months, the claim could not be verified, claim, no matter how much Alabambut noted that the Electrical Workers ians may love to have a good reason to Journal of December 1960 contained celebrate. an article with the claim. Brannon also Compounding the problem, hundreds wrote the International Brotherhood of of current internet listings and references Electrical Workers which published the in books and other publications dating Electrical Workers Journal asking for the back more than 50 years credit Alabama source of the claim. as the first state to make Christmas Day In a Jan. 31, 1964, response from an official holiday in 1836. IBEW International President Gordon “Every year we get the questions,” W. Freeman, Brannon learned that the said Debbie Pendleton, Archives Assissource was a 1954 book, “The American tant Director, “but in searches through Norwood Kerr holds a mislabeled bottle that Christmas, A Study in National Culture,” four archives directors and numerous boasts the historical claim. His extensive by James H. Bartlett. researchers, there is nothing to support research disproved this off-repeated “first”. Freeman ended his letter to Brannon that.” with a good wishes: “We hope this information will help you Archival Researcher Norwood Kerr began fielding the questions in 1989. In 2014, Kerr did a summary of the research trail to claim the legal Christmas holiday credit for your state.” No matter how courteous the good wishes in the IBEW letter, the at Archives and at the Alabama Legislature where the late Jon book contained no footnotes or references of where the author Morgan, the unofficial Senate historian, worked to computergot the claim that Alabama legalized Christmas first. ize historic legislative records, governor’s proclamations and Fifty years later, as Kerr wrote his summary of the docuthe state Code. “Research from the 1830s is spotty, but the legislative records menting process about the claim, are clear,” Kerr said. “There was no official act in 1836.” The error is so common, however, that even souvenir bottles researchers had a possible of lemonade from former Gov. Bob Riley’s 2003 inauguration explanation, sport a hangtag with the proclamation. One bottle but nothing Kerr saved for the Archives collection to validate the includes his handwritclaim in the ten “Not!” book. following “The only the claim. connection we Among found with the earliest 1836 in state questions on law appears the subject in the 1867 is a January compilation 1964 letter of the Code sent to the of Alabama,” Chamber Left: The label on the bottle above bears Kerr’s handwritten, tongue-incheek disclaimer. Right: The book that likely started it all.

December 2016 | January 2017


Kerr said. In that 1867 document updating state laws of the era was a reference to an 1848 provision that made Dec. 25 a bank holiday for promissory notes which would then be due the day before or the day after, depending on the day of the week for Dec. 25. The promissory note reference was included in Section 1836 of the 1867 Code. In a 2005 interview in The Decatur Daily, Morgan said the closest thing to legislative history that Alabama has for the era is in the daily Journals that recorded activities in the House and Senate. Christmas Day was a time of religious observation for lawmakers who traveled to the Capitol on horseback or by train and stayed until the legislative session was finished. If the time for the legislative session included Dec. 25, they did not go home, he said. While the misinformation continues to crop up, Kerr said at least the state has an explanation of how the misunderstanding may have occurred. A few years

ago, Kerr said Archives acquired a copy of the book, “The American Christmas, A Study in National Culture,” — believed to contain the original error — to add to its collection on the subject. Kerr pointed out the spirit that is part of Alabama during the Christmas season in the final paragraph of his documenting summary: “Alabama’s claim for primacy in legally recognizing Christmas is therefore not substantiated by the historical record. But as before and since 1836, the joy and generosity with which its citizens observe the holiday are rooted in sources other than state law.”

Above: Debbie Pendleton, Assistant Director of Archives, hears the “first official Christmas” question every year. Left: Page from “The American Christmas” book containing the erroneous claim.

M.J. Ellington is a freelance writer in Montgomery whose longtime health and state government reporting and editing career included the Montgomery Advertiser, The Decatur Daily, Florence Times-Daily and The Anniston Star. She can be reached by email at




Classical Season Concert I • October 10 • 7:30pm Concert II • November 21 • 7:30pm Concert III • December 13 • 7:30pm Concert IV • February 20 • 7:30pm Concert V • May 1 • 7:30pm

Kris Kendrick

Fellowship Series


Cello, October 27 • 7:30pm Cello, November 13 • 2:30pm Violin, December 1 • 7:30pm Violin, January 8 • 2:30pm Cello, February 5 • 2:30pm Violin, March 5 • 2:30pm / 240-4004 December 2016 | January 2017 • 240-4004

Prime Wins at Annual Magazine Conference Prime magazine received seven awards at the North American Mature Publishers Association (NAMPA) annual conference in September in Denver, Colorado, including Best Website. NAMPA represents 41 magazines and newspaper across the U.S focusing on the senior market, with Prime competing with publications with circulations up to 25,000.. The combined monthly circulation of NAMPA members is 2.4 million. Awards were judged by the University of Missouri School of Journalism, with judges’ comments below. Alabama’s Top 13 Health Issues: Your Input Sought A draft of the 2015 Alabama Community Health Assessment (CHA) is available on-line for public review and comment. The final document will provide information that can be used for local community health improvement initiatives. The top 13 health issues were derived from a survey involving diverse agencies, organizations, community groups, health care providers and citizens across Alabama. The top 13 issues, in order of importance, were determined to be:

Quick Reads Low Back Pain Relief Strategy If you suffer from back pain, you’re not alone. A lifetime of walking, standing, lifting and twisting causes significant low back pain in 80 percent of all adults. The good news is acute low back pain usually goes away on its own, with little or no intervention. But if you’re looking for ways to ease your pain in the interim, try the following to aid in symptom relief and recovery:

n n n n n

Rest up, but not too much! No longer than a day or two after your injury if pain is severe, as long periods of bed rest can weaken muscles and do more harm than good. Get back on track, but start slowly, returning to regular activity as soon as you’re able in order to get your back conditioned and help prevent a relapse. Take short walks throughout the day, and wear athletic shoes while walking. n Pull your stomach in slightly as you walk to support your back and limit the length of your steps to minimize tension on the back. n Try to walk on asphalt instead of cement, as cement is harder and can stress your back. n Use a heat wrap (safer than a heating pad; available in drugstores) or a heating blanket for temporary relief of muscle spasms and pain. n

n n

Exercise & Diabetes Even without showing cardio benefits, diabetics who exercise can better control blood glucose levels, according to new research by U. of Texas Southwestern Medical Center cardiologists. Researchers found that waist circumference, percentage of body fat, and hemoglobin A1c levels − a test of long-term blood sugar − all improved in diabetic participants who exercised compared to those who did not. These benefits were seen whether the exercise was aerobic, resistance training, or a combination. “What we observed is that exercise improves diabetes control regardless of improvement in exercise capacity,” said study co-author Dr. Jarett Berry, UTSW Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Clinical Sciences. The study proposes that exercise-training programs for people with Type 2 diabetes should measure improvements in glycemic control, waist circumference, and percentage of body fat, rather than cardio-vascular improvements.

Pain relievers such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin® or naproxen Aleve®) can provide short-term relief when taken as directed by your doctor. Limit the use of these drugs to no longer than one or two weeks. Excessive/ long-term use can cause stomach ulcers and bleeding (NSAIDs) or liver damage (acetaminophen), especially in older adults. Don’t use them at all if you’re at risk for these adverse effects.

– UT Southwestern Medical Center via Science Daily,

– Scientific American,

Dementia & Aluminum: No Connection

The discovery of larger-than-expected amounts of aluminum in the brains of some people who died of Alzheimer’s generated a great deal of publicity a number of years ago. Worried that aluminum might somehow promote the disease, many people threw away cans, cookware, cosmetics, antacids, antiperspirants and other items containing the metal. However, studies of people exposed to large quantities of aluminum did not reveal an increased risk of dementia. Most likely, aluminum deposits in brain tissue are a result — not a cause — of the underlying abnormalities associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Incidentally, more aluminum leaches into soft drinks from glass bottles — which contain approximately 1 percent aluminum —than from aluminum cans, which are coated with a thin layer of plastic. – Scientific American,

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Access to Care Mental Health and Substance Abuse Poor Pregnancy Outcomes Nutrition and Physical Activity Cardiovascular Diseases Sexually Transmitted Infections Cancer Child Abuse and Neglect Diabetes Geriatrics Injury and Violence Prevention Oral Health Cigarette Smoking

“We appreciate the assistance and support of our stakeholders in providing useful information,” State Health Officer Dr. Donald Williamson said. “We are hopeful that the information collected in this document will be a helpful resource that will be used in shaping healthier communities.” The public is invited to view the document on-line and submit comments before the CHA is finalized. The draft can be seen at www.adph. org/accreditation. E-mail comments to

Simple Strategy for Weight Loss For those wishing to lose weight and keep it off, here’s a simple strategy that works: step on a scale each day and track the results. A two-year Cornell U. study, recently published in the Journal of Obesity, found that frequent self-weighing and tracking results on a chart were effective for both losing weight and keeping it off, especially for men. Subjects who lost weight the first year in the program were able to maintain that lost weight throughout the second year. This is important because studies show that about 40 percent of weight lost with any dietary treatment is regained in one year, and almost 100 percent of weight loss is regained at the end of five years. “You just need a bathroom scale and an excel spreadsheet or even a piece of graph paper,” said David Levitsky, professor of nutrition and psychology at Cornell and the paper’s senior author. “It seems to work better for men than women, for reasons we cannot figure out yet.” Researchers believe stepping on a scale and tracking one’s weight acts as a reinforcement for behaviors such as eating less, and strengthens others such as going for a walk. The method “forces you to be aware of the connection between your eating and your weight,” said Levitsky. “It used to be taught that you shouldn’t weigh yourself daily, and this is just the reverse.”

Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease: First Step The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease involves a careful accumulation of information to confirm the presence of cognitive impairment and rule out other possible causes, such as depression, hypothyroidism, vitamin B12 deficiency or an undetected stroke. The process begins with a detailed medical history, a short test or interview to probe mental status and a physical and neurologic examination. Interviews with close friends or family members also can provide crucial information. Laboratory tests and, in certain cases, imaging scans of the brain may be performed. If you suspect you or a family member may have Alzheimer’s disease, the best first step is to consult a family doctor whom you know well. Many general practitioners are quite expert in evaluating patients for Alzheimer’s disease. Those who are not, or who feel that symptoms are atypical and should be evaluated by a specialist, can refer you to a neurologist, geriatrician or geriatric psychiatrist. If Alzheimer’s disease is in fact present, patients may benefit from a class of medications known as cholinesterase inhibitors. These drugs may result in slight improvements in memory and reasoning, slow cognitive decline and lessen psychological and behavioral problems. However, they don’t halt progression of the disease. – Scientific American,

– Information from Cornell U. via Science Daily,

1st Place, Briefs/Shorts “Quick Reads offers a depth of content as well as a broad mix of topics from wide-ranging sources for its readers.... Each item includes a web address to the original source. It’s a true reader service.”

Prime P rime Prime FREE FOR YOU

Celebrating Life


Celebrating Midlife and Beyond

Celebrating Midlife and Beyond

Dec. 2015/Jan. 2016


A Pleasant Surprise “Roostertails,” he mumbled, dejected, peering into the tackle box. “Of all the lures. Roostertails.” He’d set the tackle box with the spoons, buck-tail jigs and other assorted saltwater lures by the back door so he’d be sure not to leave it behind. Considering all his tackle boxes looked alike, had the culprit been anyone other than himself, it would have been an easy enough mistake to forgive. Except it wasn’t. The similarity of his tackle boxes was little consolation as he sat on the beach, arms resting on the tops of his bare knees, sun rising over his left shoulder, surveying the wide open Gulf. Two hundred miles away a small plastic box whose contents were worth a mere twenty dollars held, at this moment, a much greater value. Had he been fishing even once this year, sticking the wrong tackle box amid the mountain of luggage, diaper bags and baby toys would not have been as significant. There was a time when not a week went by he didn’t wet a line — fly rod, spinning rod, bait caster, trolling. It didn’t matter the fishing style or type of equipment, so long as the fish were biting. But then life took over. Work demands grew as did familial responsibilities, and suddenly there was no time for fishing. He looked forward to any reason to be away from the office, but this beach trip especially because his oldest child had begun to show an interest in the pursuit he so enjoyed. He’d catch himself daydreaming of pulling bull redfish up on the sand, waves rolling over their glimmering copper bodies, as his daughter stood alongside beaming with pride and giddy with excitement. “Daddy,” she’d say, “you got a big one!” and they’d both smile for the picture he’d later frame and place prominently on his desk, the way it certainly would have gone except for his tackle box error. His wife’s voice brought him back to reality. “I thought you were going fishing?” she asked perplexed, their infant son bouncing on her hip and strangely mirroring the same expression. He explained his plight, how he’d grabbed the wrong lures, and that it would be a wasted effort. He even showed her the box of Roostertails as proof. Undeterred, she pointed to a silver one with a red skirt. “Ooh,” she said encouragingly. “Why don’t you try that one?” She clearly didn’t understand the gravity of the situation, he realized, and further explanation would prove futile. It was simple: fish were smart, fishermen, not so much. It would be pointless, and anyone walking by would go home and talk

about that crazy tourist casting bass lures from the beach. He sighed, stood up and began breaking down his rod and reel. “You know, there’s someone who really wants to fish with her daddy,” his wife said, a bit of force now gracefully present in her tone. He looked at his daughter playing in the sand and half-smiled. “Hey, baby,” you want to go fishing?” he asked. They waded to the second sandbar, his daughter on his shoulders holding the rod, bass lures tucked under his arm. “Catch me a fish Daddy! Catch me a fish!” she said as he cast the red-skirted Roostertail into the trough of dark water straight ahead. He was reeling steadily and holding his breath, hoping that failing the first time wouldn’t diminish her enthusiasm, when his line stopped like it hit a wall. “Seaweed,” he muttered, preparing to jerk the rod and clear the lure of the debris, when the sound of line peeling from his reel stopped him. He pumped and reeled, gaining on the fish, and in a few moments had a small but heavily-muscled Jack Crevalle in his hand. He held the fish up to pry the Roostertail from its mouth, both of them equally surprised to see the other. He looked at his wide-eyed daughter, a smile extending across her face. “Can I touch it?” she asked. She marveled at the fish’s smooth skin and coloring. He told her the fish’s name, tossed the Jack back into the surf, and cast into the trough again. Two turns of the reel’s handle yielded another strike. He drove the hook home and the drag proceeded to sing its beautiful song, one he hadn’t heard in some time. His daughter wanted to touch every fish they caught, eventually working her way up to holding the rod and doing some of the reeling. When the skin between his middle and ring finger began to ache from fighting the little Jacks, they turned back toward shore. “Well, how did you do?” his wife asked as they stepped out of the water. “We lost count,” he said, with a smile as wide as his daughter’s. “She’s hooked. And me, well, I may have a new favorite lure. And a new fishing partner.” Niko Corley is a USCG-licensed charter boat captain and spends his free time on the water or in the woods. To contact him e-mail

Niko Corley

2nd Place, Personal Essay (Niko Corley) “This fishing tale is about a father hooking a daughter on his love of fishing... told with dialogue and scene recreation. The ending wraps up the story (and) subtly makes the bigger point about parenting.”

1st Place, Cover Photo (Bob Corley) “Subtle, elegant typography allows viewers to concentrate on the subject. Excellent low-key lighting highlights his face and body language. The warm colors match his expression.”

September 2015


Lela Foshee’s Recipe for Life

August 2015

One candle lit the world.

Oh, my aching feet!

Merry Christmas

Cooking with Grandkids

(and what to do about them)

plus: Shopping the Outlet Malls

PLUS: Capitol City Artists 7th Annual Showcase

3rd Place, Overall Design (Callie Corley) “Prime seamlessly mixes illustrations and photographs throughout the magazine... good use of white space helps guide readers. Clean covers illustrate feature articles well. Opening feature spreads are particularly strong.” 3rd Place, Profile (Bob Corley) “Perhaps the strongest character that actor Greg Thornton portrays is himself. The writer helps that character come to life, giving us a peek into the personality of a man who makes his living by hiding it.”

1st Place, Best Color Ad

(created for Wesley Gardens)

“A stunning page sure to stop all scanners. It’s a testament to use of white or black space to frame the message. The symmetrical presentation adds to the simplicity and its power.”

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Back On Stage By Bob Corley

reg Thornton is moving ahead by going back. another passion, music. Having relinquished his role as Artistic Director of “I formed a trio called Trinity with friends I’d known in Montgomery’s Cloverdale Playhouse, he’s headhigh school,” he recalls. “We were the house band for a couing back to the stage. This month, ple of clubs in New Jersey. I would Thornton, 66, takes on the lead role have loved to be a singer-songwritof Prospero in the Orlando Shakeer.” speare Theatre’s production of The Thornton would finish a music Tempest. gig at 2 a.m., then drive to an act“Actors don’t stop,” he states flatly, ing gig the same day. After the trio relaxing on a sofa in his cramped, disbanded, acting took over, with soon-to-be-vacated office at the legitimate theatre dominating most Cloverdale Playhouse. “I do it of his career. because I love it. It feeds me in the “Television and movies favor best possible way I can imagine.” the young and attractive,” he says, A working actor for more than “while the theatre is less restrictive four decades, Thornton has perfor older, more mature actors. You formed on stage, in daytime soaps, can develop a career in the theand primetime dramas. Prior to his atre over time, particularly in the stint as the Playhouse’s first Artistic Shakespearean world. You can go Director, he was a resident actor at from Hamlet, to that Scottish guy, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and now - My Gosh! - I’ve been as well as theatres in San Diego, offered Prospero!” Denver, Princeton and others. At But Thornton recognizes time is a time in life when many people a relentless pursuer, causing even contemplate retirement, he’s excited the most accomplished actor to to be stepping back on stage. glance over his shoulder. As Rene’ Gallimard in “Madame Butterfly,” St. Louis “I’m not giving up. There’s no rea- Repertory Theatre, 1996. “Sir Laurence Olivier had this son to. I feel sharp,” says Thornton. terror when he was in his early 60s “For some actors it’s a chance to be someone else,” he says, about never being able to remember his lines. And that’s leaning in, bringing hazel eyes and a chiseled countenance what it is. Terror. The fear as you get older that I’m just gonto bear on the too-frequently asked question of why he’s an na forget things.” actor. It’s a question he admits is difficult to answer. His answer to the terror is to know the script inside and “The things that fascinate out. me are the different ele“Even if we run the show ments of a person’s charfor two months, that script acter, the things that go on is on my dressing table inside of people,” he says, every night. It’s like handrecalling one of the greatest cuffed to me,” he says. “I compliments anyone has spend a lot of time pacing ever given him following a back and forth before the performance. show, walking around, run“They said, ‘God, I hated ning lines in my head.” you but I understood you.’ ” For Thornton, returning While acting has been to the stage, particularly to a lifelong career, it wasn’t a role such as Prospero, is the first, or only, path he exciting, and terrifying. considered. “It makes you nervous, so “I wanted to be a monk,” you work harder. Acting is says Thornton. “That’s kind what I do. If you stop doing of where I was headed early As Horace Giddens in “Little Foxes,” Alabama Shakespeare Festival, it for awhile, if you keep 1992. on.” turning down job offers, He grew up in New Jerthey’ll stop coming,” he sey, 20 miles from New York City. As a high school student says with an air of finality. “I just want to get back to what I at St. Benedict’s in Newark, he participated in theatre from know I do well.” his freshman year, forming friendships that would lead to How well he performs was apparent to Terry Teachout,

December 2016 | January 2017



“Dark Shadows” still looms large By Nick Thomas


ere you one of those kids who dashed home from school in the late 60s to catch the latest developments in the fantasy/horror TV serial “Dark Shadows”? When the show first aired on daytime television on June 27, 1966, Kathryn Leigh Scott was among the original cast of the landmark soap opera. Five years and 1,225 episodes later, Scott had left the series, but Lara Parker was on hand for the final episode. The actresses have been attending conventions and reunions all year to commemorate the show’s 50th anniversary. “This year is special and a huge milestone for the show which is still so fondly remembered,” said Scott from Los Angeles. “We have a reunion every year,” said Parker, also from LA. “Around 1,000 fans showed up at the end of June for a convention in New York and it’s amazing the following that the show still generates.” In their twenties and with only stage experience when hired, “Dark Shadows” was the first time in front of a camera for both actresses. Each went on to play multiple characters in the series which eventually expanded its Gothic romance themes to include time travel and parallel universe plots while incorporating supernatural characters such as witches, ghosts, werewolves, and vampires. Shot at ABC’s East Coast Manhattan studio and set in the fictional town of Collinsport, Maine, the show was initially slow to gain an audience. “That’s when writer Dan Curtis said ‘What the hell, let’s add a vampire’ and the show became a cult hit,” explained

Kathryn Leigh Scott, David Selby and Lara Parker in 2015 at Lyndhurst, location for two Dark Shadows films. (photo provided by Kathryn Leigh Scott)

Scott, who initially played diner waitress Maggie Evans and still recalls the first episode. “I was petrified!” she laughed. While Parker and Scott faced the camera as rookies, one veteran Hollywood actress was present throughout the series. “Joan Bennett was our movie star,” said Parker. “She brought a lot of attention to the show.”

1966 cast photo. Kathryn Leigh Scott (left, in waitress uniform), Joan Bennett (right), vampire Jonathan Frid (center, in cape), Nancy Barrett, Alexandra Isles (center). 22

December 2016 | January 2017

“She was so beautiful, and with four daughters treated us very motherly,” added Scott. “She really understood camera acting and I picked up a lot of technical things from her.” Scott left “Dark Shadows” in 1970, a few months before the show ended, but overlapped for much of the series with Parker who arrived in late 1967. “I remember our first episode together

Lara Parker, left, as Angelique; Kathryn Leigh Scott as Josette with portrait of Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid). (publicity photos)

because we were speaking French,” recalled Scott. “I played Josette, a countess during the flashback sequence to 1795. Lara played my maid, Angélique, who was actually a witch.

“I come to MCA because of the camaraderie, the competence of the staff, and the encouragement they give me to work out.”

Clarence Holloway

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Both characters loved Barnabas Collins, the vampire character played by Jonathan Frid, and that gave rise to much of the series drama.” “I remember being catatonic with fear on my first day on the set,” said Parker. “But I soon settled down as there was a tight schedule to produce a daily show and a lot to remember.” After “Dark Shadows,” Scott and Parker continued in film, television, and theater. Both also became successful authors, writing about the show. Parker’s fourth book, ‘Heiress of Collinwood,’ came out in November (see Scott has written companion guides to the show and published other topics through her publishing house, Pomegranate Press. ‘Dark Shadows: Return to Collinwood,’ written with Jim Pierson, contains behind the scenes stories, photos, and an episode guide (see As the show continues to draw new fans with all episodes now available on DVD, Scott and Parker believe “Dark Shadows” had an enduring influence on later popular culture. “The supernatural element that Dan Curtis introduced was new to daytime TV,” said Scott. “It’s the granddaddy of all the contemporary TV series dealing with the paranormal, vampires, and horror.” “The horror of Gothic romance takes place in the anticipation and imagination of the audience, and we gave ours plenty,” added Parker. “Sure, they were over-the-top theatrical stories, but we played them with total believability and our fans, old and new, still appreciate that.” Nick Thomas teaches at Auburn University at Montgomery, Ala., and has written features, columns, and interviews for more than 600 magazines and newspapers.

December 2016 | January 2017



Understanding Social Security

Survivor’s Insurance “…the value of the survivors benefits you have under Social Security is probably more than the value of your individual life insurance policy…”


he loss of a family wage earner can be emotionally and financially devastating. However, Social Security survivor benefits, one of the lesser known of our benefit programs, can help secure your family’s financial future if you die. Did you know the value of the survivors benefits you have under Social Security is probably more than the value of your individual life insurance policy? In fact, 98 Kylle’ McKinney of every 100 children could get survivor benefits if a working parent dies. Additionally, Social Security pays more benefits to children than any other federal program. By working and paying Social Security taxes, you’re actually earning credits for survivor benefits. Those credits could provide financial assistance to your surviving spouse, surviving divorced spouse, and unmarried children up to age 19, or at any age if your child became disabled before age 22 and remains disabled. We could also pay benefits to your stepchildren, grandchildren, step-grandchildren, adopted children, and dependent parents. The amount that your survivors receive will depend on your average lifetime earnings. By creating a secure online my Social Security account, at, you can access your Social Security Statement to check your earnings and obtain a survivors benefit estimate. Keep in mind, this service is only offered in English. In the unfortunate event of a family member’s death, please notify Social Security as soon as possible. In most cases, the funeral director will report the death to Social Security. You’ll need to furnish the funeral director with the deceased’s Social

Security number so he or she can make the report. If you need to apply for survivor benefits, call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). You can speak to a Social Security representative between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also contact your local Social Security office. You don’t need an appointment to file for survivor benefits, but if you call ahead and schedule one, it may reduce the time you spend waiting to speak to someone. Take some time and create a my Social Security account online to review your Statement. The best thing you can do for your family is to prepare as much as possible. Remember that Social Security will be here to help you and your survivors. For more information and publications about survivor benefits, visit our website at or visit our Spanish language websites at Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by e-mail at

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December 2016 | January 2017


Caregiving: The “New Normal”


t some point in life, most people find themselves needing to provide care or support to a family member. A child, spouse, sibling, parent or grandchild is likely to experience an illness, accident or injury, or to develop a chronic conArlene Morris dition. Recent data revealed than more than half of Americans have at least one chronic disease, mental illness or problem with drugs or alcohol, and increasing numbers are experiencing two or more chronic conditions simultaneously (Walker & Druss, 2016). Individual situations affect a person’s ability to function independently to manage care needs. Fluctuations in health status can require assistance from either paid or volunteer family or community caregivers. Personal characteristics, life situation, location and family dynamics influence who may provide support for various specific need(s). For example, one person may help with self-care while another is more skilled at financial management. Individualized needs can be met by a blend of resources. Collaboration may be needed to determine financial needs

and resources. However, challenges arise as more care is required. Difficult decisions may be necessary to plan ways to balance meeting the needs and respecting autonomy and dignity of the person who needs help with the needs of the person(s) providing care. What at one time was a temporary solution can become a more permanent need as one or more chronic conditions persist. Preparation of two or three meals a week and transportation develops into a need for daily personal assistance and monitoring. Conversations before the situation escalates can be of tremendous benefit for anticipatory planning, even if the person’s health improves. Conversations should include the affected persons as much as possible to determine their desires and priorities. Although the future cannot be accurately predicted, knowing a person’s wishes can guide decisions, without making specific promises. Consideration for the person’s desires must be balanced with reality of other life demands and maintaining health of those who assume caregiving roles. Knowing relevant and available resources is key: n Begin by offering to accompany the family member to healthcare visits, maintaining a written personal health

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record that lists providers, conditions, medications and other treatments. n Engage in discussions with healthcare providers or case managers to gain awareness of various potential trajectories and needs associate with different possibilities. Communicate with other family, supportive people or agencies. n Determine what resources will be helpful as situations change. n Gather information through referrals, word of mouth, websites, or from agencies such as the Alabama Department of Senior Services (www.alabamaageline. gov/) or National Institute of Aging ( Caregivers, realize that you must take care of yourself as well as the person for whom you care, or both of you will become in need of additional care. Caregiving can be highly rewarding, but is often more like a marathon than a sprint. Adaptation is needed each day to achieve an ever-evolving new normal to balance needs of the caregiver and care-recipient. During the holiday season, you may have opportunity to identify a changed situation in need of support or planning for caregiving resources. Be willing to participate in conversations regarding options. Additionally, you may become aware of simple ways you can offer support to a caregiver and care-recipient. Share some time, meal, gift or service to bring joy to their “new normal”. Arlene H. Morris, EdD, RN, CNE is Professor of Nursing, Auburn Montgomery School of Nursing. Reach her at amorris@

December 2016 | January 2017


TECH 50+

Saving Your Life Story By Gary M. Kaye


veryone has a story. And many of us have boxes, bins, and drawers full of photos, videos, and movies that can help illustrate that story. In my case, it's a five-foot-high fireproof jeweler's safe. The problem is that putting it all together in a form that will make sense to our children and their children is a daunting, often overwhelming task. What's worse than not


December 2016 | January 2017

organizing those materials is losing them to a fire, flood, or other disaster. When you hear about people who've lost their homes, the one thing they are often saddest about is the loss of those irreplaceable memories. And let's face it, life is finite. How many of us lost loved ones who left behind boxes of photos with no stories to explain their rich history?

Get Organized Stacey Cahn, who runs a service called "Time In A Bottle Video Productions," is an expert in putting together legacy stories. Her first suggestion is to organize your materials. Just taking that step will make the process less overwhelming. She says organizing materials chronologically is the best way to start, grouping your photos by events such as birthdays, weddings. Alternatively organizing by media type such as photos, movies, and videos is also helpful. If you want to write a script you should start with the assets first. When thinking about which memories to include, think about the context you’re passing along. You and your wife together is nice. but you and your wife together looking at the Grand Canyon tells a story. A picture of the Grand Canyon without people in it is just anyone’s picture postcard unless it’s spectacular.

Scanning Options If your files are from your digital camera or a digital action camera and stored on your computer, start organizing them into file folders by date or event. If you have photos, you’ll need a scanner. Scanning itself has been a slow, often tedious process. But Epson has just introduced a high speed photo scanning device, the Epson FastFoto FF640, that dramatically improves both the speed and ease of scanning, naming, filing, and storing hundreds or thousands of photos in short order. Epson says it’s the world’s fastest photo scanner, about one snapshot a second at 300 dpi. But the scanning mechanics are only a small part of what the FastFoto FF640 can do. The software makes it easy to organize pictures by dates, events, and people and can even be set so that it will restore faded photos, reduce red-eye, and color correct. If you're not sure if you like your original pictures better than the corrected ones, you don't have to decide — the system saves both versions. The scanner also grabs notes on the back of photos in the same pass. If you're looking at photos that predate you, those notes may be very valuable. The FastFoto FF640 scanner is really optimized for snapshots. You take a bunch of photos of the same size, as many as thirty at a clip, and bingo, they are scanned, corrected, annotated, and saved. It does handle larger format pictures and

The Epson FastFoto FF640 scanner works with all types of files.

December 2016 | January 2017


documents, and comes with a plastic sleeve to protect fragile or damaged pictures. But this may not be the solution for all your scanning requirements. I have photos on stiff board dating back to the late 19th century that I wouldn't even think about running through an automated scanner. If you have fragile photos, older photos that should not be bent (part of the FastFoto's operations), or slides, you may need to use a flatbed scanner. We've had a lot of success with the Epson Perfection V600. There are plenty of other flatbeds on the market from Canon, HP, and others. One reason we like the V600 is its software, which allows simultaneous scanning of multiple slides, while putting each slide in a separate file. It will also scan negatives. (Remember those?)

changes in technology, or destruction of media, you can keep a backup of everything in the cloud on a service such as Google Drive or DropBox. So, now you’ve organized all of your memories in a digital form and taken steps to protect them. The final step is putting them all together as a story you can share with your children and future generations. Your legacy. That can involve anything from organizing media with relevant notes all the way to a fully produced multi-media presentation. You might write a script and narrate your story on video. Another idea is for one of your children or a friend to interview you, then illustrate the interview with the appropriate media. But that’s another story for another day.

Mixed Media It’s likely you also have old movies and videos in a variety of formats. Some of these can be digitized at home, othProducts that let you can convert your ers need to be professionally transferred. old VHS tapes at home are available, For old 16mm or 8mm movie film, the like the Vidbox Video Conversion best way to get them into digital form is Suite. It lets you run your VCR output through a transfer service, either somethrough your computer. Scanning or thing you may find locally, or a scanning conversion services are also available. service such as Legacy Box or ScanMyPhotos. If you have VHS tapes you can convert them digitally on your own with a device such as the Vidbox Video Conversion Suite, a small box that takes the output of your VHS player and connects it to your computer. Or you can use a scanning or conversion service, especially if you have an unusual format. Storing Your Stuff

The next step is protecting your legacy assets. We advise using a couple of methods to protect those irreplaceable moments. You can store all your digital files in your computer. But computers crash. Or you can store them on CD or DVD, The SanDisk Extreme but those media deteriorate over time. We like solid state storage devices like flash 900 holds almost 2 drives or solid state drives (SSD’s) like the terabytes of files. SanDisk Extreme SSD series. The Extreme 900 has sizes up to almost 2 terabytes — which should handle anyone’s entire media library. The SanDisk Extreme 510 will hold almost half a terabyte.You can also use an external drive, but those have moving parts that can fail. I suggest taking one of your backups and sticking it in your safe The SanDisk Extreme deposit box and if you have a fireproof 510 holds nearly half lockbox in the house, you might keep a a terabyte of files. copy there as well. For protection against 28

December 2016 | January 2017

Gary Kaye is the creator and chief content officer of Tech50+, (www., the leading website covering technology from the Baby Boomer perspective. Kaye has been covering high tech for more than 30 years with outlets including NBC, ABC, CNN and Fox Business. He is a regular contributor to AARP and other websites on issues regarding the nexus of technology, seniors and baby boomers.

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PRIME DIVERSIONS Across 1 Spell 5 Traitor 10 Letters causing a rush 14 Property measurement 15 Flopped financially 16 Bonkers 17 Response to a drone 18 Quibble about accommodations? 20 Zeus' beginning? 21 Forgives 22 Director Burton 23 Little bit 25 "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late" duettist 27 Marshmallow that's been toasted too long? 33 4x4, e.g. 34 "1984" worker 35 Get used (to) 38 Assembly stage 40 Hit from a tee 42 Start of Operation Overlord 43 Scrutinized, with "over" 45 Abounds 47 Generation 48 Small group of tiny monarchs?

51 Google, say 53 Canyon part 54 "A Bug's Life" extra 55 It might blow up in a crash 59 Shade at the shore 63 Worthless buzzer? 65 [I'm doomed] 66 Goes wrong 67 Bridge expert on some "Sports Illustrated" covers 68 Mozart's "a" 69 Soft-spoken painter Bob 70 Irish hero, briefly 71 Pringles competitor Down 1 Now hyphen-less rapper 2 "Dies __" 3 Spotted aquarium dweller 4 Film estate with a championship golf course 5 "Avian" for whom flight is often futile 6 __ Reader 7 It may be hammered out 8 Help providers 9 Stain 10 European attraction 11 Independent country since 2011

12 When Hamlet says, "The play's the thing ... " 13 Dickinson output 19 "Amen!" 24 Trivia Crack, e.g. 26 Mind 27 Horrified reaction 28 One of the Ringling brothers 29 Drowns in the garden 30 __ Star 31 Circular 32 Chevy's "American Pie" destination 36 Woolen yarn 37 Socket set 39 Review target 41 Newly formed 44 Joe sans jolt 46 Take on moguls 49 The Cat in the Hat's numbered cohorts 50 Visuals 51 Word with tooth or saw 52 A-o starter 56 Repeated word in "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" 57 Do a new mom's job 58 On a cruise 60 Gave notice 61 Radius neighbor 62 Pinnacle 64 '40s spy org. (c)2016 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, INC.

Sudoku and Crossword Puzzle Answers on page 31.

December 2016 | January 2017


Dec/Jan in the River Region Music -- Church of the Ascension Sanctuary, 315 Clanton Ave. Nov. 30, Dec. 7, 14, 21. 12:05 pm. Free concert followed by simple lunch ($5). Music, readings. For info call 334-263-5529. Interfaith Nativity Exhibit Nov. 30-Dec. 3, 1-8 pm. Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, 3460 Carter Hill Rd., Mtgy. Free. Hundreds of international nativity scenes. Concert each evening. Music -- Old Alabama Town OAT Revue Crue. Dec. 1, 7 pm. Church on Columbus St. Old and new songs, seasonal favorites, guests artists. Free. Donations welcome. Revue Crue also performs Dec, 2, 7:30 pm, at KRU on Mt. Meigs Rd. Open House -- Mtgy Museum of Fine Arts Holiday Open House. Dec. 3, 1 pm. Choirs, Santa, art activities for the family. For info call 334-240-4369. Art Walk -- 5 Studio Artists Dec.3 (8a-3p), Dec. 4 (noon-2p). Cloverdale-Idlewild neighborhood. Potters, painters, photographers, jewelry makers. Hubbard St., LeBron Rd., Montezuma Rd. Holiday Decor -- Lunch & Learn Dec. 7, noon-1 pm. Free. Armory Learning Arts Center, 1018 Madison Ave., Mtgy. Free. Bring sack lunch. Drinks provided. Capital City Master Gardener Assn. For info contact Mtgy. Co. Extension Service office, 334-270-4133. Arts/Craft Fair -- Aldersgate UMC Appalachian Craft Fair, Dec. 10, 9 am - 2 pm; Dec. 11, 8 am-noon. Aldersgate UMC Chapel, 6610 Vaughn Rd. Crafters from Appalachia with reed baskets, jewelry, woven mats, dolls, benches, toys, games, ornaments, nativity sets. For info contact Steve Badskey, 334-272-6152,, visit Drama -- Wetumpka Depot Players Dec. 13-18. “Cinnamon GRITS.” Christmas musical inspired by “Girls Raised in the South” writings of Erica McGhee. 300 S. Main St. downtown Wetumpka. For tickets call 334-868-1440, visit Victorian Christmas -- Landmark Park Dec. 11, 1 pm - 4 pm. Dothan. Music, Santa, old fashioned desserts, syrup making, wagon rides, arts/crafts, handmade decorations. Free. Hwy 431, three miles north of Ross Clark Circle. Attendees invited to bring nonperishable food item for Wiregrass United Way Area Food Bank. For info call 334-794-3452, visit Master Gardener Training Program 12 consecutive weeks, Feb. 16-May 4, 2017. Weekly classes 9 am - 2 pm, Montgomery Co. Extension Office, Atlanta Hwy (old Probate office). Applications accepted through Jan. 27. For non-professionals to increase gardening skills and help others. Course fee $150. Includes course material and lunch. Contact Montgomery Co. Extension Office, 334-270-4133 or docs/A/ANR-1155/ANR-1155.pdf. 30

December 2016 | January 2017


2016 Seniors of Achievement Honorees, Montgomery Area Council on Aging (L to R): 1st Row, Richard Forster, Doris Sanders; 2nd Row Center:Viola Jordan, Kay Miller; 3rd Row: Judy Huett, Emery Kyle Kyser, Sr.; 4th Row: Lenore Kirkpatrick, David Woods; 5th Row Center: Loveless Johnson. (Paul Robertson, photographer)

December 2016 | January 2017



Mystery Solved!


By Sandra Polizos; photos by Bob Corley (except as noted) nce again, Prime’s partnership with Alabama’s Department of Archives and History has identified a significant number of people and events from Archives’ photo collections depicting River Region life during the 1950s and ‘60s. WSFA-TV has also been helpful in this effort. To celebrate the project’s success, Archives held a November reception in honor of the individuals identified this year. Many were eager to share their reactions to the published photos, as well as their surprise at seeing pictures of themselves taken so long ago. The photos are still available on the Archives’ and Prime websites. Please contact Meredith McDonough at 334-3535442 (or email meredith.mcdonough@archives.alabama. gov, or Prime magazine at if you see anyone you know! Thanks for your help in solving these mysteries from Archives’ vast photo collection!

Faye Rhodes Hart was a stylist at La Bella Beauty Salon on Madison Avenue (second from the left in vintage John E. Scott photo) when this late 1960s promotional shot was taken. “I worked for Louise McKinney, who owned the salon…I went back later on and bought this salon. It became Claudia’s, 2200 Madison Ave.” — Faye Hart

Still best friends, Gene Golson Kirchhoff (l) and Ann Murfee Sullivan (r) were both selected as Crimson Clover girls in the early 1950s. Original photo by Horace Perry.

Above: Alzora Jordan was in her early 20s in Jim Peppler's photo taken at Montgomery’s Laicos Club during the 1960s. “Laicos is Social spelled backwards. It was a nightclub…on Holt and Day (Streets)…People started Facebooking me and telling me, ‘I think your picture is in PRIME magazine.’ It’s great to see what I used to look like!” — Alzora Jordan Right: Best friends Gladys Elmore Hatchett (left) and Dorothy R. Jackson at a 1967 Otis Redding concert, Montgomery City Hall. Hatchett (left) and Jackson (second from right). Jim Peppler photo. “We had no idea that pictures were being taken. We cherish this.” — Gladys Hatchett “And what is really so surprising is that we got to be there at all because my daddy was kinda strict and I’m just surprised I’m sitting there…I remember thinking how fortunate I was to have gotten to see Otis Redding before he died.” — Dorothy Jackson 32

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“It was a promotional event done for the Autauga County Crimson Clover… People don’t realize how much the Autauga County Crimson Clover has done for the state of Ala. and for the south by adding nitrogen to the soil.” — Ann Sullivan “Hope’s Dress Shop in Prattville donated these two dresses for us…and they were matching dresses. Mine was yellow and Ann’s was blue. And we really thought we were something in those dresses sitting in that beautiful crimson clover.” — Gene Kirchoff

Rosemary Jager was one of Bill’s Dickinson’s “Bill’s Belles” (fourth from the left in original photo by John E. Scott) during the candidate’s 1964 Congressional bid. “We were campaign workers for Bill Dickinson, who was running for Congress from Montgomery. And we wore the uniforms and stood on street corners and passed out folders about ‘Vote for Bill’…And he won the election.” — Rosemary Jager

Sharon Bender Coker (middle, in original John E. Scott photo) sported the latest fashions in haircuts and hairstyles during a Johnson’s Beauty Supply show at the Whitley Hotel. (photo provided by Sharon Coker) “It was a beauty show… and we got our hair cut and styled and permed and so we were the little models for this show…I remember my mother made the dress…It was a fun day being the star!” — Sharon Coker

Siblings Gloria Wardell Gregory (left, both photos) and Bobby Jerome Smith Sr. (right, both photos) hold a Jim Peppler image of Montgomery’s Clayton Alley in the mid-1960s. “It brings back a lot of heartfelt memories…that we were a part of those days and that time and period.” — Gloria Gregory “When I saw the picture, I was just shocked. I couldn’t believe it. I mean, that’s 50 years ago. I’m 61 now. It shows me where we came from and where we’re at now. So it does a lot, and says a lot, so I’m very proud.” — Bobby Jerome Smith

Becky Acuff Sternenberg (middle, in vintage Horace Perry photo) spent portions of many summers at Camp Grandview in the 1950s. “I had lived in Montgomery as a little girl and I went to Camp Grandview…but I moved away after the third grade…I would come back over from South Georgia to go to Camp Grandview and bring friends with me…Miss Ann McKey, the director of the YWCA at that point, would have someone meet us at the train station.” — Becky Sternenberg

Sara Samson DuBose, a Robert E. Lee flag bearer during her senior year (left, in Horace Perry’s original photo), performed at Cramton Bowl in 1959. “Because of the size of the crowd, I don’t know if it was a LeeLanier game, or it could have been the Blue Gray game…Our band director was the famous Johnny Long and everyone adored him, and we still do.” — Sara DuBose

Trombonist William Langford (far right) played in the King Tut Band for nearly two decades. Original photo by Jim Peppler. “That was at a nightclub down on Lee Street. It was in the first block off of Dexter Ave. behind the Elite Cafe and the Krystal Cafe. And it was upstairs over a bowling alley…we were playing up there every weekend.” — William Langford

December 2016 | January 2017



The Old Drake


he old man sat in the front of the boat, completely still save for the rhythmic movement of his right thumb working up and down the length of a shotgun shell. “I love the way shells feel,” he said. “The smooth brass, the ridges.” He turned around. “Remember how I could twirl them around in my hand? You always liked that." The boy, not a child anymore except to his grandfather, looked up. “Yeah, I know Pap. I remember.” He used to marvel at how the old man never dropped the pair of shells as he rolled them around in his huge paws while steering the boat, and how he himself had practiced it in private for hours until his little palms ached. He remembered one morning in particular. On the way to the blind a pair of woodies darted in front of the jon boat and the old man let go the tiller handle, tossed the two shells he was twirling into the old Parker and stood, fired and dropped both birds. He never missed; but he was younger then. “My fingers don’t work so well anymore," the old man said, looking down. His shriveled, bony hands were covered with faded pink scars and darkened here and there by sunspots. They were gnarled and weathered like exposed roots of an old river tree that had seen many floods and droughts. A scarred knee protruded through one leg of his patched pants, looking like an aged cypress scuffed by many a boat hull, stray pellet and outboard prop. As they motored along, the old man strained to keep hold of the battered Parker.That involuntary shaking that comes with age made it difficult to thumb the action, something he'd done a thousand times before but never with as much difficulty. He never made the switch to steel shot, and the shells he now fumbled into the cobwebbed chambers looked as old as the gun itself. Sunrise came, and with it flocks of mallards, teal and pintails.The boy picked a bird off here and there until 34

December 2016 | January 2017

he had his limit, but the old man remained still, watching the skies, despite a dozen seemingly easy shots. One by one, the other blinds on the swamp emptied, the hunters piling into jon boats and pirogues and heading back to camp. The old man, however, remained still, occasionally shuffling his feet on the sagging plywood floor. He toed a soft spot with his boot and sighed. “This blind’s near ‘bout old as me,” he said, exhaling deeply. The boy started to speak but thought better of it. When these spells set in, he had learned it was better to just ride them out.The old man’s drooping eyes slowly scanned the interior of the blind, sagging lower with each splitting two-by-four and warped piece of plywood. Several minutes went by. “It’s hell getting old, boy,” he said. His few remaining hairs were long, gray and unkempt and hung like Spanish moss. Except for a few scattered children and grandchildren he was alone. One by one, like ducks picked from the flock, each one - wives, friends, even enemies - had disappeared. He missed them all. All morning he sat quietly scanning the skies, a graying retriever whose spirit remained strong but whose aging body had betrayed him. “There,” the old man said, pointing. In the distance, a single greenhead, a cautious high-flyer, was closing in on the now still swamp. He passed by their blind, then circled back overhead and out of range, cruising the timber for a safe place to land.The boy could have taken the duck, but instead stood staring at his grandfather, whose dull eyes suddenly sparkled with life as he strained to follow the mallard. The duck came back around with wings cupped as the old man struggled to stand, shotgun raised.The boy went to brace him but was waved away.The old man pulled the trigger, missing, and the greenhead flared.The old man let loose with the second barrel and dropped the duck into the black water of the swamp. The boy waded out, retrieved the green-head, and placed it in his grandfather’s trembling hands.The scratches on the dull band around its leg told its life's story: this old drake, this lone, cautious high-flyer, had made many trips up and down the flyway. The old man sighed, and a single tear fell onto the duck’s emerald head. “It’s hell getting old, boy." Niko Corley, a USCG-licensed charter boat captain, spends his free time on the water or in the woods. To contact him e-mail

Niko Corley

One candle lit the world.

Merry Christmas

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Prime Magazine Dec 2016  

Lifestyle magazine for central Alabama for Baby Boomers and Seniors.