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The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

R ive r Re gio n Bo o m . co m

December 2017



Don’t let joint pain interfere with your play.


UAB Medicine Rheumatology Is joint pain interrupting your life? Central Alabama’s newest Rheumatology clinic is the UAB Medicine Multispecialty Clinic at Baptist South. Our specialty-trained UAB doctors and compassionate staff from Baptist South offer the latest treatments, therapies and procedures to alleviate your discomfort from diseases like lupus, gout and rheumatoid arthritis. You don’t have to miss out on life’s little moments. Give us a call today.

Ximena Ruiz, M.D. Now Accepting Patients

Specializing In Rheumatoid arthritis | Osteoarthritis | Psoriatic arthritis Gout | Ankylosing spondylitis | Lupus | Scleroderma Vasculitis | Osteoporosis | Bursitis | Tendinitis

SPECIALISTS Matthew Mullen, M.D.

Knowledge that will change your world

Carlos Gadea, M.D.

334.613.7070 MULTISPECIALTY CLINIC BAPTIST MEDICAL CENTER SOUTH 2119 East South Blvd, east of the Emergency entrance at Baptist South


BOOM!, The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine


December 2017

Volume 8 Issue 4

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

C.S. Lewis

Thought Relationships Taste Inspiration

Humor Advice Health Community

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”

Carl Bard

3 Jackson Hospital’s Health News 8 Publisher’s Letter 11 OLLI at AUM, Diversity of Study at AUM 12 CARING FOR HOUSEPLANTS Barbara Witt 14 Holiday Health Leigh Anne Richards

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34 Ten Great Gift Ideas for GrandKids Departments 20 This and That

Getting You “In the Know”


40 Pursell Farms: Alabama’s Tucked-Away Gem

16 The Gift that Inspires the Value of Investing McDonald Hagen 18 Tallassee’s Mt. Vernon Theater 20 Aaron Neville Quintet at The MPAC

44 {12} Things

Special Events for Boomers

42 Greg Budell



21 The Incredible Museum of the Bible 22 Jeanne Robertson Performing in January 25 Allman Brothers Tribute


26 “NOTHING WORTH FIGHTING OVER” Ask an Elder Law Attorney

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28 BOOM! Cover Profile 33 MANE’s “Raise the Roof” Seafood Celebration 37 ‘Coffin Clubs’

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38 Your Choice of Words Can Impact How Long You Live 39 Eating Smart with Tracy Bhalla: Air Fryers

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46 The Roller-Coaster Life of Connie Francis

BOOM! The River Regions 50+ Lifestage Magazine is published monthly by River Region Publications, 3966 Atlanta Hwy, Box 266, Montgomery, AL 36109. The phone number is 334.324.3472. Copyright 2017 by River Region Publications. No part of this publication can be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Opinions expressed in BOOM! The River Regions 50+ Lifestage Magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the owners, nor do they constitute an endorsement of products and services herein.

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

R ive r Re gio n Bo o m . co m

December 2017



Publisher’s Letter

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

The mission of BOOM! is to serve the folks of the River Region age 50 plus with information and ideas to inspire new experiences, better quality of life and new beginnings.


Jim Watson, 334.324.3472

Contributing Writers Jeff Barganier Austin Barranco Tracy Bhalla Greg Budell Karen Kingston Willie G. Moseley

Leigh Anne Richards Robin Rogers Tobey Grumet Segal Nick Thomas Raley L. Wiggins Barbara Witt

Cover Photography Jeri Hines Total Image Portraits 334.261.2080


Jim Watson, 334.324.3472 Please Recycle This Magazine, Share with a Friend!

I want to take a moment and share my gratitude to the thousands of readers who pick up a copy of BOOM! each month or read it on their digital devices. I am honored that you would take the time to experience what we produce each month. My work is certainly a labor of love, one in which I enjoy as an outlet for the little bit of creativity I play with from time to time. I am also humbled by your comments, they are a special way for me to measure how we're doing in trying to serve your needs as a reader. Please continue to share, I love to listen. Each month, our team of writers spend many hours creating something for you to enjoy reading, they do a fantastic job because you've told me so...and you've told them so too with your comments and feedback. They appreciate the connection each has created with you and so do I. Our advertiser's support is a way of telling you that people over 50 are becoming more and more valuable in the River Region Community. We thank all our advertisers for the opportunity to be their Marketing Partners in serving those of us who are embracing aging with a positive frame of mind and a spirit to continue enhancing our lives. Finally, I want to give a special shout out to each of this year's Cover Profiles. I love to share your stories! You are interesting people with different life experiences who help all of us walk in someone else's shoes, for a few minutes each month. Thanks for the privilege of getting to know you and for sharing your experiences with our readers each month, it is a pleasure. This month is no exception to sharing an outstanding person who has been challenged by life's adversity and has made the best of it. This month's Cover Profile is Robin Rogers, she is an accomplished pottery artist who happens to be legally blind! Sure, it's possible, but how often do we take for granted those things we expect to help us navigate daily life, and rarely think about moving through our day with something as fundamental as our ability to see. Robin has faced it and manages life without it except for the love and dedication of her husband, Steve. He has become a partner in every sense to Robin in her pottery work and they certainly enjoy the process of creativity together. I know you'll find Robin and Steve a pleasure to get to know. There are many other very good reads this month, Jeff Barganier is back, Greg Budell explains shopping at Kohl's, and as usual, there's something for everyone in this issue. So, grab a tasty glass of egg nog, crank up some of your favorite Christmas songs read some BOOM! for the holiday, you'll be glad you did! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Jim 334.324.3472 cell/text

Digital & Interactive

When you read the Digital & Interactive version of BOOM! on your digital device you will be interactive with every website and email link in the magazine. You can click through to a writer’s source, an

advertiser, send comments and suggestions, request more info and share your favorite reads on Facebook and Twitter. The Digital & Interactive version was built for the new you so go ahead and sign up for a free subscription at “BOOM!, the best reading experience for the 50+ community”


December 2017

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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December 2017



C H R I S T M A S AT You are invited to be our guest as we celebrate the birth of our Savior this Christmas season. You’ll find amazing music, exciting children’s programs, and an inspiring message every Sunday. W W W. F R A Z E R . C H U R C H / C H R I S T M A S

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The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Fruitcakes and Kites: Grandmothers and Granddaughters Share an OLLI Course The administrators and faculty for OLLI work hard to provide a variety of old and new courses, even some unusual ones, throughout the year. The summer of 2017 offered a new challenge. When officials with Pike Road asked people in charge of the OLLI program to offer some courses at Pike Road’s Founders’ Station during the summer of 2017, the planning began. The first thought was that many grandparents have responsibilities for their grandchildren in the summer because of parents that work. That led to the idea that maybe we could offer something that would involve the two generations working together. Then the result of that thinking was the creation of a course: Fruitcake and Kites: Grandparents and Grandkids Creating and Sharing Memories. The course was designed to study Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory, the story of the seven-year-old Buddy (a character based on Capote when he was that age) and his eccentric cousin Sook (not named in the story), who is in her 60s in the story. The unusual pair spend days collecting the ingredients for fruitcakes, to make them and then deliver them locally, or ship them around the world. The story captures a memory from Capote’s childhood stays with his cousins in Monroeville in the 1930s.

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

For the four Mondays of June 2017, three grandmothers and four granddaughters met at Founders’ Station to study Capote’s story. The first Monday was spent on the story and the details that Capote used to make the memory come to life. On the second Monday, we watched the Patty Duke film of the story and again discussed how the movie brought the memory to life. These discussions led to the two generations in the class writing their own Christmas memories to be printed in booklets for Christmas gifts. There was a lot of activity on the third Monday. Lisa Smith, professional photographer and daughter of one of the members of the class and mother of another, came and took “Christmas in June” pictures while the class spent the period in writing workshops to develop their Christmas narratives. Zentangle instructors Sharon Wheelahan and Suzie Smith came for the last class meeting to guide the members of the class in making Zentangle Christmas ornaments.

After the end of June, Nancy Grisham Anderson, the instructor of the course, met with the individual family groups to complete their booklets, which were compiled and designed by OLLI staff member Clara Taylor. The success of the course for two generations has led to planning a similar offering for June of 2018. The 2018 course will focus on Louisa M. Alcott’s Little Women, a classic that continues to appeal to readers of various generations. Not only will the class discuss the novel, but they will meet with Sarah Thornton, artistic director of the Cloverdale Playhouse, to learn about her theatrical adaptation of the novel, which premiered at the Playhouse in November of 2017. The members of the class will also have the opportunity to write their own autobiographical narratives for a story or a play. Join us in June at Founders’ Station in Pike Road to learn about the multi-century success of Alcott’s novel. For more information about AUM OLLI or to request a catalog, contact: Brittany at 244-3804.

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December 2017



by Barbara Witt


Choosing the right houseplant means choosing one that will thrive in the conditions in your home. No plant ever evolved to live in a house! Even the name “houseplant” is an oxymoron. They are living organisms that need air, water, food and light, conditions easily found in the great outdoors, to be healthy. Providing a plant-friendly environment in an air-conditioned or heated house that mimics the outside often takes a bit of planning. Where to begin? There are a few basic environmental factors to consider when you are choosing a new plant for your home; light, humidity, and temperature. Let’s take each of these in turn to figure out how to control or modify it to create the best environment for plants. Light is essential as it is the energy source for photosynthesis. Generally light is thought of as the factor that is hardest to control- either you have large windows that let in the sun or you do not. But it is possible to modify light conditions a bit by opening curtains, moving the plant closer to the window, trimming shrubs that block the light, and rotating plants from low light to higher light. Southern exposure is the best followed by western, eastern, and northern exposure. Read the tag in the pot of the plant you are contemplating buying to see what light level the plant needs. Low level light is the light from a north facing window; moderate light is 5-8 feet from a window receiving direct sunlight for part of the day; high

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light is a lot of indirect sun and very high light is 5 hours or more of direct sun daily. Assess the light conditions in your home and buy the plant that is able to survive in those conditions. Humidity is essential as many of the plants used as house plants are tropical and used to 60-90% humidity in nature and a home often has humidity levels far below that percentage. The best solution is to place the plants on a water proof tray that contains small pebbles and pour some water into the tray making sure the plants are above the level of the water. Arranging plants close together in a group increases humidity as does keeping them out of drafts and avoiding high temperatures. Temperature is the third factor to consider. If you are comfortable then your house plant is probably comfortable so that makes temperature an easy to control variable. Avoid placing plants too close to very high light windows especially in the summer and when it gets cold do not place them close to frequently opened doors or drafty windows. Overwatering is the leading cause of premature death in house plants. How do you determine when to water your plant? Most plants need to dry out some between being watered but should not be allowed to get very dry. Your finger is the best instrument for determining if it is time to water. Insert a finger into the soil at least half

an inch and, if it feels dry, water. If it is a small plant pick it up and judge its weight, with a little practice it is easy to tell if your plant needs water. Add water until a small amount runs out the drainage hole. Do not allow a plant to stand in a saucer full of water. Remember that water needs of plants change seasonally requiring more moisture when growth is active and less when the plant is resting or dormant. Note that all plants need to be in pots with drainage holes to prevent root rot. All plants need fertilizer when actively growing but not when they are dormant. The easiest method is to use a water soluble fertilizer preferably one containing, in addition to nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, the micronutrients. Frequency of use of the fertilizer depends on light intensity, temperature, and plant size and type. A very large potted plant will need less watering and fertilizing than one in a small pot with much less soil. THE RULES FOR HOUSEPLANTS: ASSESS YOUR HOME’S ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS, READ THE TAG IN THE POT CAREFULLY AND CHOOSE THE RIGHT PLANT, AND WATER WELL ONLY WHEN DRY. Barbara Witt, a Capitol City Master Gardener since 2010, lives in Montgomery. For more information on becoming a master gardener, visit or email

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine


Holiday Health

You are busy, you’re stressed out, its cold outside- so why not just skip the exercise program until The New Year. You can always come up with excuses not to exercise during the holiday season but missing your workout will only add more pounds and more stress. Even the most dedicated exerciser can get derailed by the holidays. Several great suggestions have been accumulated by fitness experts and I would love to share some of those with you. • Acknowledge the holidays will probably affect your exercise routine to some extent. Once you realize that, you can make adjustments that can help you stay fit during the holidays. A life coach suggested instead of trying to squeeze exercise into your schedule, make adjustments and take other things out. The goal is not to do more but to do less and do it all well. Schedule time into your day for exercise. Let’s face it, we are all going to be eating more so not only keeping to your exercise schedule will help but add an extra workout or two whenever possible to combat some of those extra calories. • Be flexible- If you miss your morning exercise class, take a walk at lunch time or go to the gym later in the day. Even getting up an hour earlier and getting in

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a workout because you know the day is going to be busy helps keep you on track with your fitness • Mix up your routine- you don’t have to go to the gym. Get 10 minutes of an exercise circuit in at home by doing jumping jacks, pushup, abs, squats, etc. The list can be endless. This type of exercise program can be put into your day whenever you can grab 10-15 minutes. Remember it does not have to be for 30 solid minutes. The key is movement!! Take 10 minutes three times during that day (ACSM, AHA) • Plan active family get togethers- Take a walk as a family, play an outside game of touch football, tag with the kids or grandkids.

off, envision yourself looking good on the beach. • Create a holiday wish list for your physical body. This will take a certain amount of sacrifice as well as self discipline • Walking is an exercise that can go anywhere from the woods to the mall. Keep a pair of walking/running shoes with you and you are ready to walk at anytime.

Now, what to do about the eating side of things- During this time of year when calories lurk around every corner, most Americans put on a pound or two by New Year’s Day. It is possible to enjoy holiday goodies without putting on a single pound. Portion control is the key. According to Susan Finn, PhD, RD. you can eat your indulgences- but it just the amount you eat. The WebMD compiled the following tips to help you avoid over eating. Richards

Fitness over Fifty by Leigh Anne

• A New York based exercise physiologist and personal trainer advises clients to book a long weekend get away at a warm destination for January or February. This will motivate you to keep exercise as a priority. When you are tempted to slack

• Never arrive hungry- Planning ahead can help you maintain discipline in the face of temptation. Don’t go to a party starving. Try to eat a nutritious snack beforehand. Drinking water also helps if you are hungry and will help fill you up before you fill your plate. Make healthy choices. Don’t deny yourself-but don’t gorge either.

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• Stay hydrated- Drinking water is one way you can stay healthy during the holidays. Seniors, especially need to drink plenty of fluids. Keep water on hand at all times. • Divert your attention- Many people forget there is more to a holiday party than just food. Don’t look at the party as just food but a time to enjoy your friends’ company. Take your mind off food and focus on conversation. • Pace yourself with eating and drinking. When you are eating, put your fork down between every bite and chew more slowly. Calories through alcohol can really add it and we tend to forget about those liquid calories. Drink water or spritzer between each alcoholic beverage. Drinking too much can impair functions and can interfere with come medications. • Step away from the food table- People tend to congregate around the food table and will talk and graze mindlessly never thinking about how much you are eating. Make a conscious effort to go in a separate room to socialize • Outsmart the buffet- Use the smallest plate available and don’t stack your food: limit your helpings to one serving. Fruits and vegetables are great choices but watch the sauces and dips. Remember to adhere to any dietary restrictions during this festive, full of rich food season. Veering too much from those dietary restrictions can cause you to feel bad and end up with distress.

• Take breaks- Between shopping and parties, carve out time to rest before proceeding to your next scheduled activity. Even if out shopping, take time to slip into a coffee shop- and have a cup of coffee or tea and relax. • Home accessibility- If you are out of your familiar surrounding for the holidays, especially overnight, be mindful of any hazards. Make sure a light is on at night, so you can see your way to the bathroom. Request your host be mindful of hazards they might not even be aware

of like area rugs or children’s toys in the floor. Enjoy your holidays and the wonderful joy of this time of year. Just remember everything in moderation, be safe, take time out for you, and add that exercise component in as much as possible. Happy Holidays! Leigh Anne Richards, MEd, Certified Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor, General ManagerMetroFitness. For any questions or comments, contact Leigh Anne at

Not only do we need to think about exercise and eating and drinking to keep us healthy during the holidays, but we also need to remember practical ways to keep us less stressed and anxious. • Shake up the traditions- Hosting a holiday meal can be stressful with house cleaning, cooking, table setting and cleanup. Think about turning this task over to the younger generation. If not, insist on help on cooking and cleaning up afterwards • Decrease gifts- For many Seniors, this season is a financial stress due to having to purchase gifts for so many people. Consider having a family grab bag, where everyone contributes one gift. • Rest after traveling- Take time to rest after a day of travel or even shopping so you will feel like participating in the holiday family festivities The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

R ive r Re gio n Bo o m . co m

December 2017



The Gift that Inspires the Value of Investing

Brandt McDonald introduces his guest columnist, Austin Barranco… From time to time, I will be introducing several of our advisors through this column. They will share personalized insights into financial markets, financial planning, and overall wealth management concepts. At McDonald & Hagen, we have a deep bench of talent that is eager to serve our firm’s clients and our local community. This month’s column is written by Austin Barranco. Austin entered the financial industry in 2014 after earning a degree in Finance from The University of Alabama, with a specialization in Insurance and Risk Management, he has also earned the distinction of a FINRA General Securities Principal held with LPL. Austin and his wife Maghen live in East Montgomery with their dog Chip. In his free time Austin enjoys college football, golf, and traveling the world.

It’s beginning to get cold outside, and the trees have started to change colors. Christmas is almost here, and that means some of our favorite holiday festivities are right around the corner. Decorating Christmas trees, caroling door-to-door, and enjoying a seasonal cocktail party with friends and family are all fun things we look forward to this time of year. Giving and receiving gifts is also an integral part of the holiday season. When I was younger, my brothers and I would pull our money together, and try to find the perfect gift to give my parents for Christmas. My parents never really needed anything, so we always tried to find a gift that was meaningful rather than expensive. Such as a tool my dad could use to finish a building project, or a new lens for my mom’s camera that she loves so much. We preferred to pick items they could use, rather than a bottle of alcohol, or a new tie, or a gift card. The goal was to find a gift that would enhance their lifestyle without breaking the bank. As I’ve grown older, the challenge of finding a gift to meet these criteria has become more difficult, but the industry that I work in has opened my eyes to a new form of gifting. Gifting shares of stock. This sounds like a complicated and time-consuming task, but it’s simple. Throughout the year, some of the stocks in your portfolio may have increased in value significantly. If this is the case, and you plan on selling those stocks, then you may be required to pay taxes. Short term capital gains tax can be anywhere from 10%-39% of the total gains on each share of stock (IRS website as of September 21, 2017), depending on your level of annual income. However, if you were to gift

Financial Thoughts

with Austin Barranco

these stocks to a friend or family, then you could avoid the tax liability, and provide them with a nice gift, as long as the total value of the gifted stock is less than $14,000. (IRS website as of September 21, 2017) Now, some may consider this type of gift to be equivalent to a gift card or cash, but I challenge you to look at this type of gift through a different lens. When I was a college student, I remember my dad gifting me 10 shares of Facebook. This was the first time I had ever owned an investment grade security. It immediately peaked my interest, and I was thrilled to brag to my friends that I owned some Facebook, even if it was only 10 shares. I would track that stock on my phone daily to see how it was performing, and a few months later I changed my college major to Finance. Fast forward to 2017, and now I manage investment portfolios for a living. I viewed that gift as an invitation into the world of investing, and I haven’t looked back since. Now, I realize that not everyone is going to receive a gift of stock, and then turn around and become a Financial Advisor, but I guarantee that whoever receives stock as a gift this Christmas will not only be grateful, but will also be required to learn the basics about investing. The small amount of knowledge they will gain from learning about investments is truly a gift.

Instead of working for their money, you have now inspired them to make their money work for them. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, and if you have any questions about how to start the process of gifting stock, please do not hesitate to give me a call. Austin Barranco, Financial Advisor Brandt McDonald, Managing Partner McDonald & Hagen Wealth Management LPL Branch Manager Direct comments and questions to or 334.387.0094 Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by Wealth Management Systems Inc. or its sources, neither Wealth Management Systems Inc. nor its sources guarantees the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such information. In no event shall Wealth Management Systems Inc. be liable for any indirect, special or consequential damages in connection with subscriber's or others' use of the content. LPL Tracking # 1-670808 The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principle. This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized legal or tax advice. We suggest you discuss your specific legal or tax issues with a qualified legal or tax advisor.

Securities offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA & SIPC. Investment advice offered through McDonald & Hagen Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor, and separate entity from LPL Financial.

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The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

R ive r Re gio n Bo o m . co m

December 2017



Tallassee’s Mt. Vernon Theater By Willie G. Moseley

to re-open after 50 years

the nation, the advent of television adversely affected attendance in local cinema venues. The eastside theater in Tallassee was the first to close (and was later demolished). The westside Mt. Vernon Theatre was built on Tallassee’s main downtown thoroughfare, Barnett Boulevard, in 1935, but shut its doors in 1968.

Several small towns in the River Region were originally built around a single industry, and such was the case with Tallassee, an erstwhile “mill town” on the eastern edge of Elmore County. The entire town’s existence was centered on Mt. Vernon Mills’ Tallassee facility, which was located on the Tallapoosa River. Mill employees enjoyed numerous benefits, including housing. After a decades-long decline due to imports, the Tallassee mill closed in 2005. However, other local facilities that manufacture water meters, aircraft parts, and more recently, automobile parts to supply to the nearby Hyundai and Kia factories have ensured that Tallassee has maintained its position as the industrial hub of the county. But one iconic reminder of the “mill town days” will soon be re-opening after closing a half-century ago.

This advertisement from a late February 1957 issue of The Tallassee Tribune shows a listing that exemplifies the variety of movies that played at the Mt. Vernon Theatre.

Mt. Vernon Mills had built and operated two movie theaters, one on each side of the river. As was the case throughout

Many longtime residents of Tallassee have wistful memories about the movies and live shows that were presented at the westside theater. The almost-anythinggoes, constantly-rotating mixture of double features included Westerns, science-fiction movies, Jungle Jim flicks, and even foreign films with subtitles, such as an Italian movie about gladiators. For one Tallassean, the recollection of such films evoked “…great memories of times when we knew what was right and good.” Major films that were popular in Tallassee included, perhaps not surprisingly, The Ten Commandments and Gone With The

The Side by Side Singers are dedicated to sharing music to keep our minds strong. Music can improve our mood and boost cognitive skills. We invite those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia and their care-partners to join us for 8-week sessions each Tuesday, 1:00-2:00 pm at First United Methodist Church in Montgomery. The music we sing ranges from Sinatra to Elvis. photo by Mickey Welsh/Montgomery Advertiser

SIDEbySIDE singers singers

Please contact Jack Horner at or Laura Selby at 834-8990 for more information. 18 BOOM!

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2416 W. Cloverdale Park Montgomery, AL 36106 334.834.8990

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Wind. The Mt. Vernon Theatre also hosted live shows and concerts. Musical performers included—again, no surprise— Hank Williams. Legendary “short person” actor Billy Barty once presented a show at the theater (but “short person” didn’t exist as a term back then). At more than one Halloween show, live “monsters” roamed the audience. The restoration and re-opening of the theater had been a dream for many residents for decades, and an arduous effort got underway in 2009 when an organization called the Mt. Vernon Theatre , Inc. was granted 501 (c) (3) non-profit status. Numerous fundraising initiatives commenced, and the modernization of the facility proceeded in a methodical manner. Obviously, extensive interior renovations were necessary to bring the theater up to contemporary safety codes. Basic new upgrades included drywall, electrical wiring, plumbing fixtures, heating, air conditioning, carpet, tile, and the installation of a sprinkler system. A modern-day projection and sound system was installed, as was replacement seating. The lobby of the theater was enlarged, and a dressing room and additional rest rooms were added, as was an alternate stairway to the balcony. An outdoor courtyard was also renovated. Tallasseans consider their town to be a patriotic community, and any nostalgia surrounding the re-opening of the Mt. Vernon Theatre will be enhanced by its initial presentation in mid-January. Dear Mama: Letters and Music from World War II is an original play consisting of music and vignettes recalling the conflicts and the home front lifestyles of the early ‘40s. Three performances are scheduled for Jan. 19-21, 2018, with a reception for veterans slated to follow the final performance. After years of hard work, the grand re-opening of Tallassee’s local theater is on the horizon. It’s been a labor of love for local volunteers, and such an initiative epitomizes the oldfashioned values of small-town America. A press release describes the new version of the Mt. Vernon Theatre as a “multi-purpose cultural arts facility.” However, the “time warp vibe” of the Tallassee landmark is still valid, and its restored and modernized marquee now beckons new generations of patrons. For more info and tickets, call 334.991.2086 or visit The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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December 2017




This & tHAT

Aaron Neville Quintet at The MPAC

Until now, it's been easy to separat his career into two separate but equal strains: the funky stuff he's favored when working with his esteemed band of brothers, and the angelic balladry you associate with him when he's punching his own time card as a solo artist. Casual fans might admit they don't know much -- to borrow a phrase -- about Neville's musical center, but they've perceived a certain split in his career. An education is about to be provided, then, in the form of Apache , a solo album that makes the case for Aaron Neville as the most holistic of soul men. Its hard R&B side matches anything the Neville Brothers ever recorded for true grit, while still allowing plenty of space for a singer who's arguably the most distinctive vocal stylist on the planet to tell it like it is. The Aaron Neville Quintet will be appearing in concert Sunday, February 11, at 7:30 pm. For ticket info and more visit and

Capri Classics: It’s A Wonderful Life and Sockball Fight The Capri Theatre is getting into the spirit of giving. We've partnered with the Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless (MACH) to host the Capri's second annual Sockball fight - I.e., a snowball fight, but with socks. To participate, the rules are simple: Bring clean, unused socks to It's a Wonderful Life on December 8 at 7:30. After the pre-show talk is finished, participants will ball up the socks and try to protect their drinks as best they can. We'll do a countdown, and then everybody goes to town. It might be the closest thing to a snowball fight we get all year! After a couple minutes, volunteers will come by to collect the sockballs. All socks will be donated to MACH. One of the more uplifting stories about suicide that the Capri shows, James Stewart's George Bailey is about to throw himself off a bridge when an angel trying to earn his wings decides to show George what would have happened to George's hometown if George had never existed. George is shocked to find that as the man who saved his brother's life and helped everyone in his town stay out of debt, that the people he cares about might have been impacted by his no longer existing. Upon finding out that life really can get worse than he thought, George decides to live after all. For more info call 334.262.4858 or visit

Christmas Clearinghouse

The Christmas Clearinghouse keeps families from being overlooked and makes sure that all donated resources are used wisely. You can ADOPT A FAMILY...MAKE A DONATION...BUILD A CARE BASKET. Visit to learn how you can help or call 334.264.3335

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MACOA Honors Remarkable Seniors The Montgomery Area Council on Aging (MACOA) recently hosted its 30th Annual Seniors of Achievement Awards Luncheon at the Montgomery Country Club. During this memorable occasion, MACOA recognized 12 special seniors for their professional, civic, and personal contributions and achievements. The afternoon featured a host of community leaders, family, friends, and other supporters who helped celebrate the honorees. These deserving seniors joined the ranks of over 400 that have been recognized over the years throughout Autauga, Coosa, Elmore, Montgomery, and Tallapoosa counties. MACOA is proud to announce the 2017 Seniors of Achievement Honorees: Willis J. Bradford, Stephen M. Brickley, Wayne Nicholson, Linda V. Goswick, Patricia Harden, Jacqueline Winborn Lacey, Walter Greer Nanney, Charles “Mac” Porter, M.D., Wayne Scott, Joyce Sweatt, and Matilda Woodyard-Hamilton along with The Special Friend of MACOA David Rose!

The Incredible Museum of the Bible, Now Open in Washington, D.C. The 430,000 square foot Museum of the Bible, officially opened to the public this past month. The word is it’s absolutely incredible with a lot people simply saying “wow.” Visitors are welcomed to the eight-floor museum by 40-foot-tall bronze doors depicting the Latin text of Genesis 1, from an early edition of a Gutenberg Bible. Once you’re inside, God’s Word is everywhere. And there’s no admission charge, though contributions are accepted. (Free timed tickets are necessary for museum entry.) The museum has a number of interactive stations and displays, and many short instructional videos, in various languages, featuring those wearing authentic clothing of particular Bible lands and times. The combination of high tech features and ancient manuscripts and artifacts is striking. On their site, they say it would take 9 days, at 8 hours per day, to read every placard, see every artifact, and experience every activity in the museum. There’s that much to see and do. The museum is close to the National Mall and within walking distance to the Smithsonian museums and the U.S. Capitol, so tourists will naturally take it in. The displays let the Bible speak for itself. Many people will probably ponder the contents of the Bible for the very first time. Check out the Museum of the Bible’s YouTube channel for lots more great videos on the Bible and its history. You could spend hours enjoying these even if you never make it to the Museum.

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December 2017



This & tHAT



Jeanne Robertson Performing in January Jeanne Robertson specializes in hilarious humor based on her life experiences. Speaking to thousands of people annually, she utilizes her positively funny style to illustrate that a sense of humor is much more than a laughing matter. Other speakers might be as witty as Jeanne. Some might even be as tall. (Bare-footed with her hair "mashed" down, she's 6'2" in her size 11 stocking feet.) But nowhere will you find a speaker so adept at turning personal experiences into humorous presentations that do more than elicit laughter. This Miss Congeniality winner in the Miss America Pageant uses her down-home Southern drawl to leave her audiences laughing ... and thinking about her message. Jeanne's longevity as a humorous speaker has not gone unnoticed by her peers. She has been awarded every top honor in her profession. You may have seen this successful speaker interviewed by CBS correspondent Morley Safer on "60 Minutes" ... or seen one of her presentations on public television ... or read one of her books about humor. But only if you've heard Jeanne in person at one of the thousands of speeches she has presented over the past 40 years can you really appreciate why she stands at the top of her profession. Jeanne Robertson is funny. Oh my, yes. She also knows that her job is far more than "being funny." Her message is that a sense of humor is an attitude, an approach toward working with people. She believes that this humor attitude can be developed and improved, and she outlines how to do so while she captivates her audiences with funny, original stories. Jeanne Robertson will be performing on Friday, Januarty 12 at 8 pm. For more info visit or

Capital City Master Gardener Association Presents Lunch & Learn 2017

Capital City Master Gardener Association presents Lunch & Learn 2017 the 1st Wednesday of Every Month from 12-1 pm. We meet at the Armory Learning Arts Center, 1018 Madison Avenue, Downtown Montgomery. Mark your calendars December 6th, Houseplants, Barbara Witt, Master Gardner. For information, please contact the Montgomery County Extension Office 334.270.4133. Also visit

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Swingin' Fore Kids Golf Tournament

L to R: Jannah Bailey, Executive Director of Child Protect, Mark Bunting, General Manager at WSFA, and Willie Durham, State Farm Agent

Child Protect, Children’s Advocacy Center’s 7th Annual Swingin’ Fore Kids Golf Tournament fundraiser was held on Friday, November 10, 2017 to benefit child abuse victims and their families in the Montgomery area. Over 150 golfers from across the state of Alabama spent a beautiful day out on the greens of Capitol Hill along the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in support of this worthy cause. This golf tournament has become the largest fundraiser of the year for Child Protect, with the proceeds going directly into their programs of forensic interviewing of child abuse victims, and the crucial follow-up counseling of child abuse victims that allows children to heal and later become productive members of society. For more information on how you can support the mission of Child Protect please visit their website,, or follow their social media channels. On Facebook, Child Protect, Children’s Advocacy Center, and Instagram @childprotectcac.

(Mark and Willie are members of Child Protect’s Board of Directors)

Cottage Hill Candlelight Christmas Tour Cottage Hill Foundation invites you to tour our historic neighborhood and homes built in the late 1800's, enjoy light refreshments, entertainment or art in each of the homes and businesses, and listen for the Contagious Carolers and Madrigal Voices caroling around the neighborhood. Sunday, December 10, 2-6 pm. Ticket sales and tour maps start at St. Andrews Church at 433 Clayton Street. For a historic guided tour, ride the bus with Mary Ann Neely and Dr. Richard Bailey which will launch from the Jubilee Community Center (Sanctuary) located at 432 S. Goldthwaite Street, at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. and includes the cost of the Tour of Homes ticket. Admission $8-14. Starting Point & Ticket Sales: St. Andrews Church, 433 Clayton Street. For more information, please email More Information on Website: www.facebook. com/events/1353461544726035/

Get Your Affairs in Order, FREE Estate Planning and Asset Protection Workshop Wednesday, JANUARY 24: Hosted by Red Oak Legal, PC: 1:30 - 3:30 pm at the Archibald Senior Center (MACOA) in Montgomery. This educational workshop presented by local attorney Raley L. Wiggins covers wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advance directives, living wills, probate administration, protecting assets from creditors, bankruptcy, divorce and remarriage, nursing homes, long-term care and Medicaid qualification. Registration is required. Call 334.625.6774 today to reserve your seat or register online at

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HOME FREE in Concert Home Free is bringing new music, new production, more country and holiday favorites as they come to town in “A Country Christmas Tour”! The 5-man band has become known for their show-stopping performances that mix their signature no-instrument, all-vocal music with their quickwitted humor. Home Free continues A Country Christmas in 2017, bringing the slam-dunk smashing success of a show to new cities, on the back of the success of the first tour in 2016. The show brings music from the Billboard No. 2 Full Of (Even More) Cheer, released in November 2016. Home Free has become a household name for peppering Nashville country standards with country-dipped pop hits (and having a great time doing so). A Country Christmas Tour brings new music from an upcoming Christmas re-release, plus new country hits like Maren Morris’ “My Church”, pop slams like Shakira’s “Try Everything”, and fan favorite classics like the calypso-infused arrangement of Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire.” Thursday, December 21 at 7:30 pm. For more information, call MPAC 334.481.5100, visit or

The U.S. Postal Service Offers the Alzheimer’s Semipostal Fundraising Stamp Available nationwide Nov. 30, the Alzheimer’s Semipostal stamp will be sold for 60 cents. The price includes the first-class single-piece postage rate in effect at the time of purchase plus an amount to fund Alzheimer’s research. By law, revenue from sales of the Alzheimer’s Semipostal stamp — minus the postage paid and the reimbursement of reasonable costs incurred by the Postal Service — will be distributed to the National Institutes of Health, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. You can purchase at your local Post Office or online at

Kress on Dexter Holiday Pop-up Market The Kress Building is opening its doors for the inaugural Holiday Pop-up Market! This is a free event that will showcase regional makers and artisans. They will be set up December 8 & 9, Friday night (6-8) and Saturday to showcase products that are unique and local. Things will kick off Friday night with shopping and cocktails on the first floor of Kress. On Saturday morning, there will be a biscuit bar and mimosas. Santa Claus will arrive Saturday afternoon for pictures on Dexter Avenue. We are accepting vendors for the market. Interested? Email us at This event is free and kid-friendly! More Information on Website: events/496914214018636

Caring for the Caregiver, Alzheimer/Dementia Support Group Meeting the 2nd Wednesday of each month, 1-3 pm at ChristChurch, 8800 Vaughn Rd. Montgomery, AL. A place for RESPITE: a pause or rest, EXCHANGING: practical information on caregiving problems, possible solutions, and resources in our community, SHARING: needs and concerns, TALKING: through challenges and discovering new ways to cope. Often, we hear caregivers say they are looking for support from people who “really understand because we have been there too.” This group offers just that-a safe place for caregivers, family and friends of persons with dementia to meet and develop a mutual support system. We welcome caregivers. For more info call 334.462.2613.

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Brunch with Santa

On December 9 and December 16, The Shoppes at EastChase is partnering with our friends at Blackfinn Ameripub for a festive day for you and your family that includes a delicious brunch, kids activities and visits with Santa, all benefiting Child Protect, Children's Advocacy Center. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 3 and up. *If you would like to reserve seating for guests purchasing tickets seperately, please email Makenzie Drew: Our Breakfast with Santa Brunch Buffet is even better than last year, and includes: Pancake station with toppings bar, Scrambled eggs with cheese, Bacon, French Toast, Breakfast potatoes, Yogurt, Breakfast Casserole, Fresh Fruit, Southern Skillet, Mac-n-Cheese. For the kiddos we have: Photo ops with Santa and his elves, Facepainting, Craft activity, Balloon Artist. Santa Photo Opportunity: Capture that perfect photo with Santa and our festive holiday backdrops. Ticket price includes brunch and kids activities, as well as tax and gratuity. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 3 and up. For more information, call 334.517.1760. Saturday, December 9 & 16, 9:30-11:00am. More Information on Website:

Allman Brothers Tribute

It goes without saying that 2017 has been a particularly devastating year for the Allman Brothers Band, their extended family, and fans of all ages. With the tragic loss of founding members Gregg Allman and Butch Trucks, as well as Col. Bruce Hampton, this band's impact on American music has been felt now more than ever. With that being said, and as The Vintage Concert Series at Montgomery's Capri Theatre begins to take form, we feel that this is the perfect time to honor the legacy and timeless catalog of The Allman Brothers Band with our next show. On Thursday, January 11th, Live & Listen is proud to present Eat A Peach: A Tribute To The Allman Brothers Band at the Capri Theatre. Featuring multiple members of Black Jacket Symphony, Eat A Peach brings a high-energy, authentic approach to their tribute, which will undoubtedly make for a night to remember in Old Cloverdale. Tickets to this show will go on sale on Friday, December 1st, and with only 200 total seats at this intimate venue, we strongly suggest purchasing your tickets in advance. For more information call 262.4858. More Information on Website: www.liveandlisten. com/blogs/news/eat-a-peach-will-bring-allman-brothers-tribute-to-montgomery The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

The Cloverdale-Idlewild Art Trail will feature the work of 16 artists this year, including potters, painters, photographers, jewelry makers, doll makers, and glass blowers, as well as an on-site portrait painter. All of the studios are within easy walking distance of each other. Hours are 10 am to 3 pm, Saturday, and 11 am to 2 pm, Sunday. A Facebook page, Cloverdale-Idlewild Art Trail, provides updates and further information. Type or copy the name in the search bar. Studios and Artists, 2017 1. Joyce’s Studio, 3010 Cloverdale Road 334-833-2407 • Joyce Bamman, painter • DaNeal Eberly, painter 2. The tomberlin collective, 3215 Wellington Road 334-414-0190 • Dan, Pat, & Briana Tomberlin Artwork, jewelry & needlecrafts 3. Celeste’s Studio, 3325 LeBron Road 334-300-4277 • Celeste Sabel, pottery, painter • Kathy Haynie, pottery, painter • Christopher Greenman, pottery (Facebook) 4. Sun Dancer Studio, 3316 Montezuma Road 334-202-2208 • Darla Tiesling, pottery, jewelry (sundancer369, Instagram) • Emmi Harrell, cards, painter • Bridget Koehler, knit dolls • Robin Holley Johnson, jewelry 5. Wild Clover Studio, 3334 Montezuma Road 646-483-9374 • Janice Prescott, pottery • Warren Simons, photography • LG Waldo, portraits on site (Facebook) 6. Tea Tent & Raffle HQ, 3340 Montezuma Road 813-420-7672 Coffee, tea, snacks, raffle: canned goods or cash donation for Food Bank • Heather Hepp, blown glass R ive r Re gio n Bo o m . co m

December 2017



Ask an Elder Law Attorney

By: Raley L. Wiggins | Attorney at Law | Red Oak Legal, PC

“NOTHING WORTH FIGHTING OVER” Who is going to get what after you’re gone? I often hear clients tell me they’re not worried about who will get what after they’re dead and gone because, after all, “they haven’t got enough to be worth fighting over.”

mean that your family relationships haven’t been damaged. So, what can be done to prevent it? Here’s my simple two-step recommendation for avoiding these kinds of disputes. First: have a plan. Second: communicate that plan to your loved ones.

wishes in your estate plan to ensure that they are carried out. Not to mention the fact that these kind of oral instructions or agreements are not enforceable after your death.

After you have a formal, written plan in place, now is a good time to The first part is easy. Decide who you communicate with your loved ones would want to manage your financial about why you made the choices you Certainly, the value of your earthly made. Start with possessions can have some impact your executor/ upon whether a lawsuit is filed agent, and then talk regarding your estate. But forget Estate Planning and Asset Protection Workshop with your children about lawsuits for a moment. or other closest Wednesday, January 24: Hosted by Red Oak Legal, PC: 1:30-3:30 Let’s just talk about good ol’ relatives. If there is pm at the Archibald Senior Center (MACOA) in Montgomery. This family feuds. any property that is educational workshop presented by local attorney Raley L. Wiggins divided in a way that covers wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advance directives, living The root of these disputes may might be perceived as wills, probate administration, protecting assets from creditors, not be about the money or the less than equitable, bankruptcy, divorce and remarriage, nursing homes, long-term care property, per se. Instead, it may explain your choices and Medicaid qualification. Registration is required. be a feeling that one sibling to your loved ones took advantage of an ailing and give them the Call 334-625-6774 today to reserve your seat or register online at parent’s generosity (or absentopportunity to ask mindedness) and wound up with questions. When the a vehicle, a piece of furniture, or time comes, they will other heirloom that was “supposed” to affairs if you are no longer able to do so. be less likely to read into each and every go to them. On the other hand, perhaps This person should be your agent under decision you made, because they will it is because the loved one’s last will and your Durable Power of Attorney. This have had the chance to discuss it with testament didn’t treat everyone exactly person is probably also a good choice to you face-to-face. the same, giving further credence to one serve as your Executor to manage your child’s suspicion that their parent always assets after your death, although your There is no way to guarantee that loved their brother or sister just a little executor and your agent do not need to your loved ones won’t fight over your bit more. be the same person. Then, determine worldly possessions once you’ve passed how that person will manage your assets on. However, communication goes a It doesn’t matter what the source of during your life (if the need arises) and long way in avoiding hurt feelings and the perceived slight may be. Once the how they will divide your assets at death. misunderstandings. Now that we’re in damage has been done in the mind of the holiday season, take a moment to the aggrieved family member, there may Next, decide how your assets should discuss your plans with your family while be no going back. The point is that after be divided upon your death. Do you you’re all together and in good spirits. we are dead and gone, we can’t explain want any specific pieces of property to Raley L. Wiggins the choices we made during the estate go to specific people? If yes, then the Attorney at Law, Red Oak Legal, PC planning process. This often results in only way to ensure that they get it is to 334-239-3625 | 312 Catoma Street, Suite 150, Montgomery, AL loved ones “reading the tea leaves” to make a gift of those specific items of 36104, draw their own conclusions about the property via your will or other estate meaning of every estate planning choice planning document. Don’t count on their loved one made while alive. Often, other family members to “take care of they see only what they want to see. it” based upon your conversations with Even if a dispute doesn’t wind up in an them. Over time, memories fade, and expensive and public court battle doesn’t people die—you must formalize your Well I’m here to tell you that there’s no such thing.

Attend Free Workshop

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The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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December 2017




Robin Rogers, Blind & Blessed

This month’s BOOM! Cover Profile is Robin Rogers. She has been legally blind since 1981 after a diagnoses of Stargardt Disease, an early onset of macular degeneration. Since that time, she has developed her love for putting her hands-on clay and making something beautiful out of it. Her husband, Steve has been along for her journey and together they have made a wonderful life out of adversity. Robin is a remarkable pottery artist and her work in the art of Raku and horse hair styles would be a treasure in any home. We recently spent some time with Robin and Steve at their beautiful Lake Jordan home and studio in Slapout, Alabama. We're proud to have Robin as our December Cover Profile, she and Steve were a joy to get to know and we think you'll feel the same way!

BOOM!: Please give us a brief biography, i.e. where you’re from, education, what brought you to the Montgomery area, did you raise your family here, schools, married, family, etc.? Robin: I am a native of Demopolis, AL. I graduated from Auburn University in 1969 with a degree in home economics and went to work for Gulf Power in Ft. Walton, FL as a home service advisor. In 1970, I married my high school sweetheart Steve Rogers, we then spent two years in the Army, active duty in Virginia and Germany where our first son, Matt, was born. We returned to the University of Alabama in 1972 where Steve earned his MBA degree. The next 14 years we lived in Demopolis where Steve worked for Commercial National Bank and I worked for Alabama Power Company. Our son Pearson was born in 1975 and daughter, Dashiell was born in 1979. BOOM!: We understand you are legally blind, can you share your experience with becoming blind…what caused it, what it was like to discover that life

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Robin and husband, Steve at a recent pottery show

would become very different? Robin: In 1976, I was diagnosed with Stargardt Disease, an early age onset of macular degeneration. I was told that I would not be able to read, write or drive in five years. This came true in 1981 when I was placed on long-term disability. I was devastated! BOOM!: You are an accomplished pottery artist and many of our readers would like to know how you discovered this unique and artistic talent? What makes your pottery unique? How can people see and buy your pottery? Robin: As a small child there was a spillway near our property and I can remember making little pinch pots and when I was in preschool at Miss Julia’s Northside Progressive School making baskets for eggs. I remember enjoying working with the clay and my brother also showed talents with clay. After

my Stargardst Syndrome diagnoses I eventually rediscovered some of these early childhood experiences. I had always been interested in sewing, crafts etc. and realized I couldn’t do these things anymore. So, I started looking for ways to fill my time and I thought about getting my hands into clay. This was more “tactile” and required less vision and more “feel.” After finding a teacher in Selma and attending various workshops, I was convinced that this was my new “love!” I audited ceramics classes over a ten-year period at the University of Montevallo, University of Alabama, and Alabama State University. To quench my thirst for learning, I continued to attend workshops at John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina and Appalachian Center for Crafts in Tennessee. My pottery style has evolved over the years. Glazing is the hardest part of pottery making. Early on I mostly used The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

white clay with a clear glaze, producing to live and do my same is true with the unique angels. Then I discovered the work. In 2002, horse hair method “Raku” process where fire and oxygen we bought our of pottery creation. control the colors. In essence Raku is current home in He has a dual role of when pots are taken from the kiln while Slapout on Lake manager and quality they are still glowing red hot, they are Jordan. We built control person and then placed in a material that would be a studio for my helps with the things able to easily catch fire, such as sawdust work, added I can’t see. Steve or newspaper. The reason for this is to plenty of room organizes my home starve the pot of oxygen, which gives the to share my shows each year and glaze a wonderful variety of colors. Raku pottery during when we travel he differs to normal firing where the piece our home show helps me “see” many is removed from kiln after it’s cooled and even built new and interesting down slowly. For potters it’s an incredibly another cabin pottery pieces I use exciting technique, as there’s always an above our home for inspiration in my anticipation of how each piece may turn for extra living work. Steve and I Our oldest son Matt, wife Erin, Rutledge, Gaines, out with so many different variables. space. Since share this creative and Pearson. I’ve also then, our son, process worked with Pearson and more horsehair daughter, Dashiell and families all have and more each year, we firing, moved and settled within 15 minutes have developed a special layering of from us. What a blessing! We now have understanding of each other glazes, and all our 8 grandchildren a short distance and a marriage based on a colored away! unique partnership through slips. The my pottery art. horse hair Of course, one of the challenges living technique on the lake is the critters. So, one day BOOM!: What are you most does as I was heading down the stairs to my passionate about? indeed use studio I stepped on a snake! I screamed, hairs from and Steve had to come down and Robin: Family and creating horses and clear out the supplies under one of my art. basically, workbenches to finally snare him out of the idea is my studio. It’s only happened once but BOOM!: We understand you to burn the that memory will always remind me of live at Lake Jordan in Slapout, Our daughter Dashiell Miller. Husband hairs on the joys of lake living! what made you decide to live Norman, son Campbell, daughter Caroline, the pot's there? Any challenges with and youngest son Ward surface to BOOM!: How do you like to relax and living on the lake? create lines. As hair is laid upon glowing wind down from a hard day’s work at hot pots straight from the kiln, they sear the pottery Robin: My onto the pot's surface and will leave wheel? husband, Steve, very localized carbon markings. The best grew up in way to get connected to my pottery is Robin: Well Elmore County so through my Facebook Page. living on Lake he was familiar Jordan gives with the area. In BOOM!: Your husband is a vital part of me plenty of 1999 Steve and your efforts to communicate your artistic opportunity our son, Matt talents, please share Steve’s role in your to relax and rented a small life, especially his assistance with your wind down. cabin in Slapout pottery work? One of my on Lake Jordan. favorite We fell in love Robin: Being legally blind, my husband, activities with the lake and Our son Pearson and wife Elisha, Clayton, and Cannon Steve, has truly become my partner. is the the entire region. With my blindness he provides another afternoon cocktail cruises with family Also, Matt had recently moved to the pair of hands to fire up the kiln and to and friends on the lake. It’s a great way family farm in Elmore County to begin his handle the fire used in the Raku style to experience the beauty of nature career in banking, so family was nearby. I of pottery making I specialize in. The knew then that this was where I wanted The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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Some of Robin's pottery making, horse hair style, Raku style and a finished piece, all with some dedicated help from Steve

and to refresh my creativity. I also like playing with our dog Luke, a Jack Russell, who appreciates performing for me and receiving the many treats he receives. BOOM!: How do you think of your work as a potter…as a business or more of a creative outlet? What’s your work schedule like? Do you have a design preference?

Robin: NO. I’m not a teacher, that’s not my gift. My grandchildren are very young, so I don’t really like doing pottery with them too much because they want to use all the tools, using cookie cutters, etc. They want to do more playing then creating but someday I hope they’ll develop their creative talents with my pottery wheel and I’ll be able to help them focus.

for themselves. I consider that to be a blessing…also, I didn’t have to carpool, my housekeeper came in and did my carpooling duties, I didn’t have to cook anymore, and all my utensils went to the pottery studio. Some people would consider not having to do those things a blessing! BOOM!: Give us three words that describe you?

Robin: It’s definitely a BOOM!: What is it about Robin: Determination, Visionary, Desire creative outlet for me. living in the Montgomery/ to Learn Our business model is River Region area that you based on doing home like? BOOM!: Traveling is important to your shows, usually 6-8 per lifestyle and creativity, would you explain year. We also do one Robin: My husband, Steve, some of your trips? show each year here was raised in Elmore County at the studio on Lake and since moving back to Robin: Traveling for me is an adventure Jordan. I don’t like the area has renewed many and Steve provides another set of eyes Robin's Angels the idea of running a old friendships throughout to help me see the many interesting business, so I leave that things we experience for Steve to attend to while I spend most the region…We on each trip. We of my time in the studio expressing my are blessed that all try to go on trips creativity. I usually start working in my three of our children where there are studio around March when the weather and grandchildren opportunities to see warms up. From there I work at least 5 live in the River different styles of days each week, 6-8 hours per day. My Region…so life is pottery. I use these home shows will begin in the Fall and good in the River trips to find new usually by then I have produced enough Region! inspiration for my of my work for the home shows. pottery designs and BOOM!: Was there to stay connected to I prefer to create bowls, but I also like to a blessing in your the pottery world. do pieces that take more than one part, I blindness? We recently took like the engineering aspect, 3-4 different a six-week RV trip pieces to make the artwork, I also use Robin: Yes, in some through the western wood in my work, for mounting the ways there was a states along with our pottery pieces. I think putting everything blessing because we Jack Russell, Luke. I’m A sampling of Robin's beautiful pottery art together is more interesting to me. had some income always eager to see early in our marriage due to my disability new forms and colors in order to improve BOOM!: Do you have the desire to teach, which allowed Steve to focus more on my work. Steve’s role is to help me “see” especially with 8 grandchildren? his career in the banking industry. I many of the unique offerings. We’re never felt sorry for myself, no one wants planning trips now to the Asheville, NC to play with someone who feels sorry

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The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Robin on Route 66, Arizona Robin & Steve in front of the world's largest water falls, between Argentina and Brazil

area and a tour of the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky. Should be fun and interesting for both of us.

BOOM!: What do your grandchildren call you?

and on for 7 years before we married… well we’d been married a few months and Steve was serving in the Army in Virginia and wanted a couple to come over for dinner but the wife just didn’t speak English…so I told Steve I really didn’t want to have them over and Steve said Robin, you’re not very sweet…and I said HELLO, we’ve been together the last seven years and your just now figuring that out? I’m good, I’m kind and can do many other things but sweet I am not. So, when the grandmother names like “Big Mama” or “Granny” started showing up I said just call me “Sweetie!”

Robin: Sweetie, it’s an oxymoron…The story is Steve and I had been dating off

BOOM!: With the challenges of blindness do you have a guiding principle in life?

We recently traveled to Argentina where we experienced the largest waterfalls in the world, The Iguazu Falls. The Iguazu Falls are ten times larger than Niagara Falls and a spectacular wonder of the world. They are located between Argentina and Brazil. We shared the trip with my brother and his wife.

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Robin & Luke on River Walk, San Antonio, TX

Robin: I have discovered that, when one walks in twilight and darkness, they must turn on their own light…and I do! We want to thank Robin and Steve for helping us put together this month’s BOOM! Cover Profile. If you want to learn more about Robin and her pottery work you can email her at or visit her Facebook page. We want to thank the portrait team at Total Image Portraits for their quality work. If you have questions, comments or suggestions about our cover profiles, including nominating someone, please send them to Read all of the BOOM! Cover Profiles at

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The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Wintzell’s Draws a Crowd to

MANE’s “Raise the Roof” Seafood Celebration Hundreds of River Region citizens gathered to show support for the area’s premier therapeutic riding facility known as MANE at the 9th annual “Raise the Roof” Seafood Celebration in October. MANE serves area children and adults, including veterans, who have physical, cognitive, and developmental disabilities, using equineassisted activities. All Elisabeth and Jim Byram connect with friends at MANE’s Raise the Roof labor and fabulous Tony and Andi Graydon get to Seafood Celebration know “Cappuccino”, MANE’s seafood, which was newest equine partner. freshly prepared in MANE’s Poarch Creek Arena, was volunteer Kelsey Thabes, MANE’s Program completely donated by Wintzell’s Oyster Director Tiffany Atkinson, and MANE’s House, courtesy of owners Bob and Buffy Volunteer Coordinator Abby Houchin. Donlon from Mobile. Baptist Health, MAX Party-goers were ushered towards the Credit Union, and Spire (formerly Alagasco) indoor section of the were the event sponsors. complex, which houses offices, classrooms, a The weather was perfect! Ken Furman, break-room, and The William Martin, and Bethany and Kaylie Kiwanis Korral – an Campbell directed the parking. Guests indoor resource room parked along MANE’s sensory integration where parents and trail and were then transported on a caregivers can watch hay-filled flatbed trailer, driven by David riders in the adjacent Barber. covered area. The sensory trail itself spans more than 3 acres and now has 10 carefully designed stations featuring activities that integrate the rider’s sensory input via sight, smell, hearing, and touch. The trail provides opportunities to enhance gravitational security, balance, grasp/release, and proprioceptive input - all while riders are engaged in therapeutic horseback riding. For example, the giant tic-tac-toe game station was designed to challenge MANE riders’ cognitive ability to respond appropriately to sensory input by making a successful, organized response while remaining mounted on their equine partner. The figure eight shaped trail of crushed limestone aggregate encompasses a beautiful memorial garden, the Rotary Club covered arena, and an area filled with colorful flexible noodles suspended in the air. The guests were greeted at the entrance to the facility by MANE Board Members Michelle Parkinson and Lydia Beringer, The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Dancing to the beat of the Whiskey River Band

Katharine Harris, Mike Ward, Sandra Stenger, Jennifer Gremaux and Kelly Wilson. Attending community supporters included Bro and Elaine Krift, Charlene and Lex Holtsford, John Ed Mathison, Ben and Catherine Stakely, Ned and Janet Sheffield, Frank and Stacey Stakely, Joan Forst, Gee Pinkston, Woody and Angie Rush, Carl and Aneta Bartlett, Jim and Anna Buckalew, Steve and Suzanne Davidson, Barry and Rennie Crabb, Judy and Eddie Cobb, Judd and Martha Blount, Clay and Cindy Tolbert, John and Mary Lee Yelverton, Bubba and Bonnie Waters, Dennis Woodling, Tim and Kathy Barrowman, SuSu Millsap, Nancy and Lee Ellis, Paul and Connie After meeting MANE’s Winn, Susan and horses, guests headed Frank Putz enjoys watching the Wintzell’s shuckers Sam Wainwright, almost as much as eating the fresh oysters! to the Poarch Creek Graham and Leigh Arena, where Wintzell’s Oyster House was Esdale, Bill and Josie Eskridge, Slats preparing a fresh feast, which included Slaton, William Haynes, Peggy Givhan, an array of grilled and fried oysters, fish, Ted and Alison Hosp, Spencer Swan, Shon chicken, and shrimp. Wintzell’s Oyster and Tonya Lee, Lewis Benfield, Amy and House also served their famous sides Pickett Reese, Sue Sistrunk, Alex Simmons, such as coleslaw, cheese grits, and other Chloe Anne Brown, Gene Crane, Bill and favorites. At an ice-filled food station, Julia Wallace and Charles Whittingham. Wintzell’s well-trained culinary brigade shucked raw oysters, that came straight For more information about MANE, please from the Gulf that day. visit the website at To Dining tables were dressed with orange or red tablecloths. Centerpieces of exquisite giant flowers made of bright colored tissue paper were designed and implemented by Wynlakes’ multi-talented Joe O’Hara and Beth Jones. Volunteers Kay and Richard Keeshaw assisted with the installation of Joe’s designs. Volunteers Diane Watters, Other MANE board members attending the party were Cheri Jordan, Jim Edwards,

volunteer or register for MANE’s programs, please call 334-213-0909. Donations can be sent to: MANE, 3699 Wallahatchie Road, Pike Road, AL 36064. MANE holds a 501C corporation status and its instructors are certified through PATH Intl., a regulatory agency that assures stringent standards for quality therapeutic horseback riding through instructor certification, site accreditation and program monitoring.

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Holiday 2017

10 Great Gift Ideas for GrandKids by Tobey Grumet Segal

The holidays are upon us again, and that means scoping out the top toys for tots to teens. This year, tech play is at the top of everyone’s list—and we have the scoop on the 12 hottest items of the season. Anki Overdrive Fast & Furious Edition This limited edition of the beloved app-controlled car racing kit brings the crew of the popular Fast & Furious films to your home. The track comes with enough magnetic and elevation pieces, and even guardrails, for up to eight different configurations—with expansion kits available. Once the Anki Fast & Furious app is downloaded, you can choose to race as Dom, Hobbs or one of the other characters from the series, in

one of six game modes. But the real fun comes from the two, included Supercars and the exclusive Power Zone track piece that lets you hack your opponents while you race. It’s not just a race to the finish anymore—this time it’s personal, and you’ll receive rewards and upgrades every time you play. The cars come loaded with IR sensors and batteries are recharged with the included charging plate. Price: $170 on Amazon KD Interactive Aura Drone Fear of flying will not come into play with this simple-to-control drone by KD Interactive. The Aura eschews the mess of buttons and hard-to-manage controls of more complicated quadcopters for a fitted glove which allows you to fly using just hand gestures. Using Gesturebotics technology, formerly just for military applications, the motion-activated glove allows your drone to fly, roll and even climb walls—both outdoors and inside.

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To make things even easier, the drone will automatically take off and hover at four feet, awaiting your command, and a protective cage surrounds the Aura for crash landings. A single charge will give you seven minutes of flight time at heights of up to 8.5 feet. Price: $80 on Amazon Nintendo Switch Nintendo is giving a little something to every gamer with its new Switch. A hybrid mash-up of handheld and traditional gaming console, you can use the removable Joy-Con controllers to play games on the included 6.2-inch capacitive touchscreen tablet or dock it to the TV via the Switch Dock charging cradle. A simple, clean OS makes for a quick power up and if you want to play with other folks—it will connect with

up to eight other players in multiplayer mode. Simple to take with you on the go, the Switch offers serious versatility and 32GB of storage, which can be expanded with microSD cards. The games, which include The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey and FIFA 18, come on small cartridges which boot up immediately. Price: $300 on Amazon

vocabulary, and responses through daily interactions with its caregivers. The baby doll, which comes as blond, brunette or dark brown, weighs just over four pounds and uses realistic facial expressions and lifelike movements to create a personality all its own. Kids can feed her, rock her to sleep and love her just a like a human baby, and she will be able to laugh, smile, cry and speak up to 100 words and phrases to communicate

her feelings. Included accessories include an interactive spoon, small, stuffed Lamby toy, bottle and soother. Price: $90 on Target Lego Boost This intense, programmable robotics kit targeted at ages 7-12 pairs with any tablet or smartphone via Bluetooth and comes with 840 pieces to create up to five different robots. Of course, with the Lego name, we know building something is imminent, but Boost also simply teaches kids to code using the Lego Boost app (Android and iOS). In addition to the bricks, you’ll also get a motor, a light/IR sensor and a central processing Move Hub. All the robotics, and step-bystep instructions, happen on your mobile

Spinmaster Luvabella The interactive, animatronic Luvabella by Spinmaster uses AI to learn behaviors,

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

device and the block-based programming language uses no written words—so even the youngest kids can participate. More complicated levels will be unlocked as the easier sections are finished, and each robot comes with several levels to complete. For kids who want to focus more on coding, a Coding Canvas mode allows them to create custom programs and robots—which can also be enhanced with any Lego bricks you might already own. Price: $160 on Amazon furReal Makers Proto Max What better way to teach kids STEM skills than a cute, robotic pet? The FurReal Maker: Proto Max app (Android and

iOS) can be used to code and program this robotic dog to perform a slew of different responses, using 10 activation points—including its nose, ears, tail and back. Once you build it from the nine included pieces, simply customize its sounds, colors and even how it looks at you. Want a happy puppy? Code the tail to wag when you pet its head. Routines and tricks can also be added using the remote-control capabilities, and the app includes games and upgrades for interactive play. Price: $120 on Amazon Fisher-Price Think & Learn Smart Cycle The Fisher-Price Think & Learn Smart Cycle provides a guilt-free and healthy way to allow your kids screen time. This toddler version of an exercise bike connects to either your TV or a tablet with a suite of Smart Cycle gaming apps that get them pedaling and learning at the same time. The apps, which include Tech City, SpongeBob Squarepants and Shimmer and Shine, are based on age-appropriate literacy, math, STEM, science and social studies curriculums,

and allow kids to drive, game or race their way to more skills in the more than 15 different levels. The seat is adjustable, and the handlebars include a joystick and controls for more immersive play. Price: $150 on Amazon DropMix Music Gaming System DJ’ing just got a lot more fun with this electronic-based, genre-bending music game. DropMix uses a light-up hardware board and a starter set of 60 DropMix NFC-embedded cards to mix music from different categories while letting you compete with friends to create new songs. A mash-up of hardware and software connected and controlled by a smartphone or tablet and the DropMix app, the cards use color-coding to blend bass, beat, loop and vocals from artists like Bruno Mars, The Jackson 5, The

Chainsmokers and Afrojack, to name a few. You can play in three modes— Clash Mode, Party Mode and Freestyle Mode—and Playlist and Discover packs of cards are available separately to help create even larger collections of mixes. A party in a box, the combinations are literally limitless. Price: $70 on Amazon Cra-Z-Art BeatMoovz Rather than simply dancing to the music, why not MAKE music while dancing. That’s the idea behind BeatMoovz, a wearable motion-activated band that plays musical sounds and special effects

you control with your movements. Each BeatMoovz pack contains two bands that can be worn on your wrist or ankle. Pair the band with your smartphone via Bluetooth and assign it a sound using the BeatMoovz app. The app comes with 400 sounds built-in or you can add your own. The motion-detector in the bands sense when you move your arm or leg, immediately playing the paired sound through any speaker connected to your phone. Up to seven bands can be paired

with the app for fun with friends. Comes in gray, blue and pink. Price: $50 for two on Amazon Play Impossible Gameball While the Play Impossible Gameball has the look, and feel of a regular ball, it’s also an active gaming system. The Gameball syncs with the Play Impossible! app (free for iOS and Android), then provides voice-enabled instructions for a diverse array of games. Inside the ball, you’ll find a suite of sensors, including an accelerator and barometer, which send data via Bluetooth in real-time to your smartphone—for up to two hours of play. Pretty clever for a ball. Set up one of the interactive games via your app or

spin and tap the ball to get your game on. And if you run low on battery, just use the included Rapid Charger to tag on another hour of play in just 20 seconds. Price: $99 on Amazon Content Source:


Why Life Over 60 Works Better WITHOUT CLUTTER How would you feel if a relative or friend died, leaving a house full of clutter behind them, and it fell to you to sort it all out? Unfortunately, this situation is very common. I often meet people who have toiled for months, or even years, disposing of someone else’s stuff. Therefore, I was very cheered to hear recently that this is much less likely to happen in Sweden, where sorting out your stuff before you die is something that over 65s are expected to take responsibility for and do themselves. They even have a name for it. It’s called dostadning, which literally means “death cleaning.” It’s about letting go of anything you no longer need and putting your affairs in order, so you are ready to make a clean, guilt-free exit, without leaving a burden to anyone else. When to Begin Personally, I think leaving it until you’re 65 to take control of your home and your life is way too late. None of us know when we’re going to die, or how, and if you happen to become terminally ill, sorting through your possessions will probably be the last thing you feel like doing. I believe it’s better to do it whatever age you are, and enjoy the benefits of living clutter-free for your entire life, not just the end stage. It’s never too late to begin, and I’m happy to report that if you’ve reached the age where there is more of your life behind you than there is before you, the process can be easier. This is because you are clutter clearing with a definite purpose in mind. Here are some ways that clutter clearing can impact your life in a positive way. It Gives a Completely New Lease of Life A woman I once worked with, who was in her 80s and in good health, had resolved to put her 3-storey house in order because she couldn’t bear the thought of her children walking into it after her death and seeing all her mess.

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Every room was overflowing with clutter, and she had felt paralyzed for years to deal with any of it. However, she was determined to do it for them, and that kept her going, week after week, until the job was done. The lovely thing was that she lived another 10 years, and regaining control of her home gave her a completely new lease of life. After clearing all her clutter, she felt free to do many things she’d always wanted to do.

because of their reduced ability to clear the clutter since they are no longer as fit as they once were. It is much, much easier to sort through your things and let them go while you’re still fit and well.

Far from being over, she told me that she felt her life had just begun. She painted and travelled, and best of all, she often had her adult children come to stay because now she had guest rooms that were clear of clutter and available for them to use.

Don’t Delay – Start Today Here are four ways you can begin…

The Natural Thing to Do as You Get Older We come into this world with nothing, and we can’t take anything with us when we die. At the beginning of life, there is no attachment to physical items at all. Psychologists have discovered this doesn’t start until a baby is 8-12 months old, and it gradually gathers momentum from then on.

Give away, donate or sell anything you haven’t used in ages and are pretty sure you will never use again. Surround yourself with the things that represent who you are and what you want to do at this time of your life. Make a will. Or if you already have one, make sure it’s up-to-date. If you have any special items you wish to give to others, list them in your will or, if you no longer use them yourself, gift them to the person right now.

The reverse process is supposed to happen in the decades before death, as our engagement with the physical world recedes. Putting our affairs in order brings peace of mind and goes hand in hand with disposing of things we no longer need.

State clearly in your will what you want to have happen with all your digital assets. Appoint a digital executor and set up access to your online accounts and passwords through a secure route such as LastPass Emergency Access.

Throughout life, everything works better if you only keep around you the things you love and use. This is because the stagnant energies that accumulate around clutter always cause a jam of some kind. When you clear out the old, it makes room for the new.

Lighten your load. Death is as natural as birth, and the more prepared for it you are, the more you can enjoy life to the full now.

Living clutter-free is especially important in our senior years. It’s a complete myth that people feel comforted by having all their things around them. A few treasured items are good, but most people feel stifled by having so many things they no longer use. There’s also the frustration that comes

How much clutter do you have in your home? Could it become a burden to someone else when you die? What steps do you want to take now to begin to lighten your load? Karen Kingston is the author of two books with combined sales of over 3 million copies in 26 languages. She is a leading expert on clutter clearing, feng shui and healthy homes, and the world’s leading authority on space clearing. She currently runs online clutter clearing courses that have helped thousands of people from over 50 countries. Follow her blog at www.karenkingston. com/blog or connect via Facebook or Twitter.

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

‘Coffin Clubs’

After attending so many funerals that rarely reflected the vibrant lives of friends and family they were meant to honor, a group of fed-up older people in Rotorua, New Zealand created what they call a Coffin Club. In a short documentary video (with a whimsical musical number, https://youtu. be/KsmWV3vzni4) from Loading Docs, members of the Kiwi Coffin Club gather to construct and decorate their own future coffins. They also have tea and support each other through the process of aging, proving that preparing for death doesn’t have to be grim and dark. “Once you get past 73, funerals come too frequently — so pricey and no personality,” sings the star of the video, Jean McGaffin, a club founder. “What’s the point of living a life that’s colorful and bold, and then you’re told, ‘This is how your exit’s going to be: boring!’” Coffin Clubs Catching On The Kiwi Coffin Club in Rotorua, founded in 2010, now has more than 60 active members rebelling against boring funerals, according to the filmmakers, and many clubs have sprouted up in other cities in New Zealand as well. In the video, Coffin Club members dance and sing about forgetting traditional gold and mahogany for coffins and instead building lovely, affordable and unique coffins with nods to their individual interests and personalities. One coffin is decked out with Elvis imagery; another is covered in painted flowers and a poem called “Wild Daisies.” “We’ve removed the mystique. We’ve got the control. ‘Cause face it, a funeral’s got to have soul,” the group sings. While talking about end-of-life choices is sometimes taboo or avoided, these New Zealanders are boldly and bravely taking decisions into their own hands before someone else does for them. And in their words, “It’s more than a club. It’s a community.”

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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December 2017



How Your Choice of Words Can Impact How Long You Live

Watch your words! According to new research on how language and a positive mindset can improve brain health, our choice of words can impact how well we age, and also how well we recover from illness¹. The power of positive thinking and visualization have been touted as valuable practices for many years, and now, there is even more evidence that using the right words at the right time is yet another way to improve our longevity. How Positive Language Improves Brain Health The adage “you bring about what you talk about” is not new; as in, if you think you’re going to fail, you are more likely to. The power of optimism and positive thinking is well documented, particularly when it comes to pursuing goals. New research indicates positive language, the words we use, can make for a better mindset and outlook that can keep our brains and bodies healthier and promote a more positive aging experience. Until recently, researchers knew little about how to nurture optimism in someone facing a serious challenge, such as a health crisis. Due to a series of six studies conducted at Stanford University,

researchers now better understand the interplay between optimism and physical health, and recognize the importance of words in shaping a patient’s outlook toward the future. “Our work shows that the mindset an individual adopts when tackling a challenge can significantly impact how easily they can imagine recovering, and affect physiological outcomes like physical strength and endurance,” says Jennifer Aaker, a marketing professor at Stanford who co-authored the report “Cultivating Optimism: How to Frame Your Future During a Health Challenge.” The Science Behind Hope & Optimism Prior research has shown the best way to achieve a goal is to focus less on the outcome and more on the process. This new research, which studied more than 1,300 subjects, including flood victims and patients battling cancer, shows that optimism can best be nurtured by understanding how a patient thinks about his or her health challenge, and framing that challenge for the patient in a way that increases their chances of being hopeful about the outcome.

According to the study, understanding how people view the world can help define the best path to recovery. An “initiator” is a person who focuses on how they will act regardless of the situation and a “responder” is a person who focuses on how they’ll react to situations they encounter. In our culture, we tend to be more optimistic if we approach a crisis as an initiator; in other cultures, that see themselves as more interdependent, people are more optimistic as responders. The goal is to help steer patients toward the mindset that will benefit them most. Family members and health care professionals can influence mindset by helping patients frame and visualize their recovery process. This can also be done with seniors, encouraging them to view the aging process with a positive attitude. By using the right language and tapping the power of imagination (visualization) researchers found that a person’s mental and emotional outlook improved but so did their physiological performance; the optimistic people demonstrated better physical endurance and strength. They also found that optimism seemed to prompt better health decisions; if people have a positive outlook on life, they seem more likely to take care of themselves. They’re likely to watch their diet and exercise more; take their vaccinations and not miss medical checkups. Additionally, if an individual carries a positive outlook on aging it can have a significant impact on their longterm brain health. These studies show that positive thinking, brought about by positive language and positive visualization can be a powerful force in cultivating optimism. This optimism makes for a healthier mental outlook on life, that can translate into better resilience and recovery when faced with illness, and ultimately can extend our lifespan. Attitudinal healing really can lead to real physical healing and a better quality of life. Sources: 1.

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The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Eating Smart with Tracy Bhalla

With Thanksgiving and Christmas now upon us, we all need to try to eat as healthily as possible. The Southern diet, as we know, usually involves a fair amount of fried foods and baked goods in various forms and this season is prolific for both. One solution that allows us to continue to eat these foods while cutting the calories and fat content is by cooking them in a different way – hereby introducing the air fryer. These useful kitchen aids have been around for a few years now, yet they still seem relatively new, or should I say relatively underused. It could be that it is such a different way of cooking that people are just a little scared of committing to something they do not know or understand yet. We just bought ours this summer and I am still coming to terms with it. It IS a completely different way of cooking, using super-hot air and very little, or even no oil to cook (“fry”) food with, but if you’ve ever cooked with a pressure cooker or a slow cooker then you can appreciate that cooking in a different way from your norm takes a little getting used to. The results are quite amazing and well worth the effort, but you will have to go through a period of trial and error to get the exact taste and texture you desire. There are recipes around, mainly online, but a few in actual printed book form that are specific to this style of cooking and I would strongly suggest you print some out or purchase a book to give you the basic guidelines. After doing extensive online research myself I finally bought a Philips air fryer as they consistently get the best reviews across the board and they are super easy to clean up (vital in my kitchen!) We got the Philips Avance XL Digital ($299 at The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Air Fryers Williams Sonoma), XL because it has the larger capacity should you be cooking for guests. You don’t have to spend that much, there are plenty out there for under $100, but if I am buying something for my kitchen I want to know it will last and it will do its job well.

It comes with its own small recipe book. I also bought another small one in Barnes and Noble. So far, I have to admit I have only tried a few things – I really want to get a proper British fish and chips down. The chips are working out great, but I still haven’t quite perfected the timing of getting both fish and chips done at exactly the same time. Aside from frying though, you can do a whole myriad of things in an air fryer, from baking cakes (!) to cooking pizza. Air Frying you can do with frozen foods from the supermarket

or from your own prepared fresh foods. You can Air Grill – think seafood, vegetables, Air Bake – think muffins, cupcakes, brownies and bread, even Air Roast – meats and vegetables. Basically, it is no more complicated than pulling out the basket (looks just like a fryer basket – to allow good air flow) spreading your food out in it. Putting the basket back in place and setting

the time and temperature required for that particular food type. As with all types of ovens you will need to preheat it to get the best results. The biggest advantages over regular frying are – little to no oil involved (I use one tablespoon of olive oil for three large chipped potatoes), easy peasy cleanup, no horrible fried smell in your house for days afterwards and no chance of getting burnt! (You, not the food.) That's about it of course, in addition to the fact that this one machine can cook such a varied assortment of foods. Gordon Ramsey himself (one of my favorite chefs) is actually supporting the air frying trend, and Philips in particular. He has compiled a list of 200 recipes that you can access online at www.usa. Everything from meat loaf to rib-eye, cream puffs to quiche! And if you’ve never tried a Ramsey recipe before, you are in for a treat! I may have to try the Toad in the Hole myself – that would be awesome! (And no, I’m not going to explain, you can Google it. It’s a northern UK dish.) I would say every kitchen should have one. My only warning being, eat it as soon as it’s cooked, do NOT try to keep it warm and eat it later. It does not taste anywhere near as good. (Neither does regular fried food either!) Enjoy! Tracy Bhalla, Independent Consultant with NYR Organics, website: tracybhalla email: You can also visit Tracy’s blog at, Continuing my obsession with all things organic, I have been working with NYR for two years now, using their skincare products myself for over 25 years! Your skin is the body’s largest organ, it deserves to be well looked after. I am here to answer any questions you may have.

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December 2017



By Jeff Barganier

Pursell Farms:

Alabama’s Tucked-Away Gem With a new Inn under construction, Pursell Farms in Sylacauga is about to become an even more inviting and accommodating Alabama resort. Cindy and I stayed in a cabin there last summer and loved it.

when you go to register, you’re met by one of their former favorite pets,

I’m not much of a golfer but I know a beautiful course when I see one; and I love history. I also have an affinity for biking on golf cart trails early in Spa packages available for the most relaxing time of your life the morning before golfers arrive or, better, on days the another long-horn, in the lobby. course is closed and there are no Management wanted to keep him golfers. So, I took my bike along and around; so, they preserved him to worked out by biking the paved trail greet guests. that weaves and rollercoasters over the majestic eighteen holes of Pursell It never ceases to amaze me how one Farm’s FarmLinks Course. This topcan live in this beautiful state and yet rated course has been listed among remain unfamiliar Golfweek’s “best” five years in a with treasures row. Interestingly, you pass several like Pursell Farms! historic markers on the trail, detailing Several years the area’s amazing history—Spanish ago, I surprised explorer Desoto camped just off the Cindy with an trail; and, 274 years later, a member of anniversary trip to Andrew Jackson’s militia scouted the Blackberry Farm area on the way to Horse Shoe Bend way up in Eastern to fight the Red Sticks. Even more Tennessee. This alluring, Pursell Farms is tucked away 38th time around, in the foothills of the Appalachian she surprised me Mountains on 3200 scenic acres. The with a trip to this world-class resort name “FarmLinks” derives from the in Sylacauga, only an hour and a half two-fold nature of Pursell Farms— from the river region. Like Blackberry farm and golf course. As you drive Farm, Pursell Farms offers Southern on to the property, you can’t help hospitality at its best in a serene, but notice the magnificent long-horn pristine environment, albeit much steers grazing in the meadows. And closer to home. Plus, its peak-season

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rates, unlike Blackberry Farm’s, are not up there in the stratosphere. Speaking of which, one of the wonderful memories I have of our stay was enjoying a glass of wine and one of the most tender and delicious steaks I’ve ever had while dining at the FarmLinks Club. We watched lightening streak across the dusky horizon like an atmospheric metaphor for the seam of rare white marble that stretches for miles below Sylacauga. The distant storm entertained us as we dined with new-found friends from, of all places, Tennessee. They were getting fitted for custom shotguns at the Orvis Store to celebrate their recent retirement. The next morning, we returned to the Club for breakfast and savored the most delectable stone-ground cheese grits in the world. As a bonus—depending on your allegiance—the entire Auburn University football coaching staff was at breakfast, too. They were having a little strategy retreat. I had to restrain Cindy from giving them advice—she doesn’t like their “up the middle” play at all. We so enjoyed ourselves that, during our stay, Cindy organized a family reunion and we returned again in the fall with the extended family in tow. It turned out to be a perfect event. Here’s why: Some relatives were able to fly their own plane to Sylacauga and land minutes The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Pursell Farms offers luxury accommodations to Orvis outdoor activities to award winning golf

away at the Sylacauga airport. One cousin from California flew in to Birmingham International only an hour away. The large common area of our cabin accommodated the entire group. It featured a large kitchen with spacious bar, a long dining table with lots of chairs and comfortable lounge seating in front of a fireplace with a large TV for watching football. The common area had its own convenient half bath. Four well-appointed bedrooms and nice bathrooms branched off the four corners of the common area. Each room had its own TV. Along the back of the cabin was a long porch with ceiling fans and additional seating. The porch was steps away from a putting green and clubs and balls were provided. Oh, and every room came with its own golf cart for use on the course or for leisurely sight-seeing. It was fun just riding around in the carts beneath fabulous trees watching the leaves run from the wind.

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Gardens, ponds, and beautiful foliage made for exquisite outings if and when all the togetherness became a bit overwhelming. The high holes out on the course provided scenic views of the surrounding countryside. The resort also has an excellent spa, a skeet shooting range and offers trout fishing in season. As far as I know, once there, no one ventured beyond the entrance gate. But Sylacauga is only minutes away and has some excellent attractions of its own, like the Blue Bell Ice Cream factory where one can buy a generous serving of ice cream for a buck and watch ice cream being made. And the supereducational Sylacauga Marble Quarry is a must see. According to the resort’s Web site, a new three-story Inn will be situated overlooking the scenic foothills and have 40 beautifully appointed rooms, bringing the total rooms available at Pursell Farms to 81. The Inn will have a pool, two new dining facilities

and a fitness center. Arrington’s Restaurant will feature signature farm-to-fork cuisine in casuallyelegant surroundings, while Old Tom’s Pub will be a historic rendition of “Scottish golf-pub-meets sports-bar,” featuring Scottish and American menu favorites, and views of the eighteenth fairway. We observed this Inn under construction and can’t wait to stay there during our next visit. It opens in March 2018. Go! You’re going to love it. For more information see:

Jeff S. Barganier is a freelance writer and business manager of Cindy Barganier Interiors LLC. He travels far and wide upon the slightest excuse for something interesting to write about. Contact Jeff at Follow him on Instagram: #jeffbarganier.

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December 2017



By Greg Budell

The Mayor of BOOMTOWN

KOHL IN MY CHRISTMAS STOCKING! “The most enduring traditions of the seasons are best enjoyed in the warm embrace of kith and kin. Thith tree is a thymbol of the Grithwold family Chrithmas”- Clark Griswold, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

storing. Christmas is such a perfect holiday that they’re just far enough apart

It was a pair of brand new flip-flops I’d purchased a year earlier! I don’t think I’ve become Aunt Bethany yet- where I am packing up household pets to give as gifts- but somehow I’d purchased a pair of Chap’s flip-flops at Kohl’s, probably to give to someone to give back to me as a gift so I get what I want and something I know I’ll use. Instead of making it into my Christmas stocking, they ended up in a box under my bed for the last 11 months, complete with price tags and bar codes.

It’s that time again, friends. Thanksgiving is over and we begin making awkward trips up attic ladders, dive deep into the dark recesses of storage sheds and garages, and in my case- slide those ultra thin storage boxes out from under the bed. I use those to store re-usable Christmas gift bags, wrapping paper, and somewhat used-looking festive Christmas tissue to stuff in the bags with gifts I was too lazy to put in a box and wrap.

This discovery made me quite happy. I needed new flip-flops. I’d been to Kohl’s a few days previous to get some, and failed miserably, largely because while I like Kohl’s, their discount system confuses the beejeebers out of me.

With each passing year, the task becomes more daunting. “What the bleep did I buy 4 extra boxes of LED icicles for? I don’t feel like putting up the ones I already have!” I have long since retired from trying to put everything up in a weekend. This year, I gave myself permission to start on Columbus Day (to conserve energy). When Christmas is over I will set a realistic deadline like the Super Bowl to get everything down and repacked. After all, I won’t be watching the game (yes, I am an NFL boycotter- done, finished, etc) so I’ll need something to do.

to forget some of the stuff you have. As you unpack, there is joy in those little surprises as in “oh, I forgot we had that!”. Aging helps in forgetting just how many warm and fuzzy decorations you’ve accumulated over a lifetime, too.

When I take everything down I throw a generic label on the box so I know approximately what’s in there before

The very first box I slid out from under the bed had a major surprise! It wasn’t an ornament, or table top decoration.

I DID have my Kohl’s mailer. On it, they show a few items on sale, but the real value of this mailer are the embedded discounts, including a scratch’n sniff (there’s nothing to smell, it’s a reflex-response) circle that decides whether you’ll get, 10, 20 or 30% off. Lucky me! Mine said 30%! So I put the mailer in the car, drove to Kohl’s, found my Chap’s flip-flops and got bad news after the friendly Kohl’s associate scanned them. My

Greg Budell's column is proudly sponsored by McDonald & Hagen Wealth Management

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The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

discount mailer wouldn’t be valid until the following Monday. I was 3 days premature. Normally $30 a pair, they were 50% off. That’s $15. Then take the extra 30% discount with the mailer$4.50- and I was ready to buy $90 worth of flip flops for a little more than $33! So the friendly Kohl’s associate said I should return on Monday when the mailer was valid. Look- it’s not because I can’t afford the flip-flops- even at $90 for 3. I wear them year-round, because a scientific study I just made up says people are more alertcan think faster and more creativelywhen the feet can breathe. You try doing 6 hours of radio every day with your feet mummified in socks and regular shoes! That’s why this column is accompanied by an actual action photo of my feet on the studio furniture, so you can see AND feel the joy of happy, breathing feet. The benefits are so profound I think I’ll deduct them as “work apparel” on my 2017 tax return. Later today, I’ll jump into my Nissan sleigh and hopefully, Kohl’s will still have my Chap’s, and the friendly associate will

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

also explain how the whole “Kohl’s Cash” thing works. My mailer says something about $10 in additional discounts if I spend $50. Question- If I buy 3 pairs of flip-flopsdoes that count as $90 and give me the extra $10? Or, is the $10 applied after the 50% off and 30% off the 50% off kicks in? If so, how many pairs of flip-flops would I have to buy, with accumulated discounts, to get the extra $10? 5 pairs, I think. I’d also be embarrassed to run that many flip-flops at one time. People behind me in line might give me funny looks.


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After I sort all this out, I’ll stop at Costco and buy a package of my favorite reading glasses, usually 3 pairs for $19. I don’t need them right now. My plan is to stick them in one of the storage containers so next year, I’ll accidentally give myself something I can really use! Merry Christmas, BOOMers! Greg Budell lives in Montgomery with his wife, Roz, and dogs Hershey and Briscoe. He’s been in radio since 1970, and is marking 12 years in the River Region in 2017. He hosts the Newstalk 93.1FM Morning Show with Rich Thomas, Jay Scott & Emily Hayes, 6-9AM Monday-Friday. He returns weekday afternoons from 3-6PM for Happy Hour with sidekick Joey Clark. Greg can be reached at

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December 2017



December 2017

{12 Things} for active boomers and beyond


Christmas Lights Festival Montgomery ZOO November 30-December 31st, various times

See the Montgomery Zoo transformed into a Winter Wonderland sparkling with thousands of lights and festive decorations during their annual Christmas Lights Festival, November 30 - December 31st. Take a leisurely stroll, a brisk train ride or see the lights from atop the Zoofari Skylift Ride. Visit Santa, enjoy the live nightly entertainment and no winter's night would be complete without some warming hot chocolate and fresh baked cookies. Regular night time admission: $15 (ages 3 years old and older). Ticket includes entry and one Christmas Lights Festival train ride. Admission is FREE for all Montgomery Zoo members. If you are member and do not have the train pass, train rides will be $3 per person, per ride. The festival runs from 5:30-9:30 pm nightly November 30-December 3, December 7-10, and 14-31. For more information, call 334.240.4900. For more info visit


Little Women Cloverdale Playhouse November 30 - December 10 various times Based on Louisa May Alcott's early life, Little Women follows the adventures of sisters Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy March, detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood and their experience growing up in Civil War America. In a new “trunk show” adaptation, this production brings a fresh take to a familiar and heart-warming story just in time for the holidays. "Little Women [is] wonderful; despite being written almost 150 years ago, it still remains incredibly relevant.” For more info call 334.262.1530 or visit

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA Fall Food Truck Take Over Hampstead

Saturday, December 3, 12-3 pm Join a rotating group of Montgomery Food Trucks for the first Sundays each month of Fall - enjoy delicious street food in Montgomery's best beautiful setting! Food Trucks: A variety of local trucks may include NYC Gyro, Southern Smokeshack BBQ & Catering, On a Roll, Taqueria El Campesino, Fire Meats Wood LLC, Frios Gourmet Pops - River Region, That's My Dog Montgomery, Alabama, Sweet Tea Co. and

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Wharf Casual Seafood Montgomery. Live Music. Park seating with Tents, Tables and Chairs. Great for all ages. Parking located on Long Acre, Mercer Street and in 2 large Hampstead Parking Lots. No rain date. For more information, call 334.270.6730 or visit


MESSIAH SING-A-LONG with The Montgomery Chorale Church of the Ascension Tuesday, December, 12, 7 – 9 pm Join the Montgomery Chorale in this community sing-a-long of Handel's Messiah. Messiah is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, and from the version of the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742 and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the bestknown and most frequently performed choral works in Western music. This free community event will be held at the Church of the Ascension. For more information please call 334.265.3737 or visit


Airmen of Note Glenn Miller Christmas Concert Troy University's Davis Theatre Wednesday, December 13, 7-9 pm Join the Airmen of Note at 35th annual holiday concert in Montgomery, AL! The "Note" will be paying tribute to the band's great legacy, featuring the music of Major Glenn Miller! Plus all your holiday favorites. Free and open to the public but tickets are required. Tickets are available on or after November 28 and may be picked up during normal business hours at: MAX Taylor Rd Branch, 3401 Malcolm Drive, Montgomery, AL MAX Eastdale Branch, 400 Eastdale Circle, Montgomery, AL MAX on Maxwell Air Force Base, 10 East Selfridge Street. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Seats will be released to non-ticket holders 15 minutes prior to downbeat. For more Info visit events/503586683373249/ The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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f re e su bsc r i pt i on s at w w w.rive r re gio n b o o m MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA

Shenandoah’s Good Ole’ Fashioned Christmas Concert Troy University's Davis Theatre Downtown Montgomery Friday, December 15, 7:30 - 10pm McAlpin Entertainment is excited to bring Shenandoah's Good Ole' Fashioned Christmas Concert to Troy University's Davis Theatre on Friday, December 15th! When country music lovers talk about the greatest groups in the genre, Shenandoah is always at the forefront of the discussion. They will be playing a mix of their original hit songs along with all the Christmas classics. Fueled by Raybon's distinctive vocals and the band's skilled musicianship, this Grammy-winning group is famous for hit singles such as "Two Dozen Roses," "The Church on Cumberland Road," and "Sunday in the South." Known for delivering songs that celebrate the importance of family while reveling in the joys of small town life, Shenandoah presents the perfect family show to get you in the Christmas Spirit! For more information, call 229.921.0012 or visit


Capital City Raycom Media Camellia Bowl Christmas Parade Downtown Montgomery Friday, December 15, 6:15-8:30 pm The Capital City Raycom Media Camellia Bowl Christmas Parade, scheduled for December 15 at 6:15 pm in the annual celebration of the holiday season featuring bands, fans and players in town for the 2017 ESPN Raycom Media Camellia Bowl. “Each year, the creativity, innovation and all-out enthusiasm of the floats and marchers brings a little bit of the North Pole down to Dexter Avenue,” Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said. “We encourage everyone to join us this year for a celebration of holiday spirit and the pageantry associated with big-time football!" The parade will begin at the steps of the state capitol and will end at Court Square Fountain.


Baptist Health Live Nativity DeBoer building at 301 Brown Springs Road Sunday, December 17, 5-8 pm Baptist Health and Faith Radio would love to see you at the 2017 live nativity! This event is free and open to the public. This event is held at the DeBoer building at 301 Brown Springs The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Road in Montgomery, Ala. It's located behind Baptist East campus and across from the Winton Blount post office. For questions, please call 334.273.4389 or visit

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA Joyce Caddell Holiday Pops Concert MPAC Tuesday, December 19, 7:30-9:30 pm

Enjoy the annual Joyce Caddell Holiday Pops Concert at the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre (MPAC) when the Orchestra plays everyone's favorites from Silent Night to Sleigh Ride! Bring your entire family for this Symphony Tradition. For more info call 334.240.4004 or visit

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens ASF Through December 24, various times

A heartwarming must-see that will get you into the swing of the holiday season with Scrooge’s search for redemption and a spectacular, magical evening of ghosts, festivity, and goodwill. Under new direction this season, there are sure to be a few extra surprises in store for all who love Alabama’s favorite holiday tradition. “God bless us, every one!” Recommended ages 5+. For tickets visit ASF box office or


Downtown Countdown: New Year’s Eve Celebration Downtown Montgomery Alabama Sunday, December 31, 9-1 am Ring in the New Year with the Downtown Countdown New Year's Eve Street Celebration! The festivities will take place in the Commerce Street Entertainment District featuring live entertainment plus fireworks and confetti once the clock strikes twelve. Don't miss this exciting downtown celebration in Montgomery! For more information, call 334.625.2100 or visit


The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen Saturday/Sunday, January 6-7 11 am, 2 and 4 pm Children will be spellbound as Gerda struggles to free her friend Kai from the clutches of an evil queen with a frozen heart. With the help of her faith and loyalty, Gerda proves that love can always triumph over evil. Recommended ages 4+ with a run time: approximately 70 minutes. Shows are at 11 am, 2:00 and 4:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays only. Tickets may be purchased at ASF. This production is performed in The Octagon. For more information, call ASF 334.271.5353 or visit R ive r Re gio n Bo o m . co m

December 2017



Tinseltown Talks By Nick Thomas

The Roller-Coaster Life of Connie Francis The tragedies that befell singer Connie Francis throughout her life would challenge the most resilient of souls. Nevertheless, she navigated each dark, engulfing personal tunnel with unwavering tenacity, always eventually emerging aided by her sense of humor. “It never failed me and kept me going,” she said from her home in Parkland, Florida. “From the age of 10, I worked on TV with many comedians like Don Rickles and developed a sense of humor.” While her professional breakthrough came in the late 1950s, it was soon tempered in the early 60s when her father thwarted any chance of a lasting relationship with the love of her life, singer Bobby Darin. But the 70s and 80s were especially devastating. Her brother was killed by mob hitmen, she was raped, she lost her voice requiring years to recuperate, and she was diagnosed with manic depression. Along the way, there was also a miscarriage and four failed marriages. “I tried to see humor in everything, even when I was in a mental institution. But I have to say the support of the public has also been incredibly uplifting. They saw me through the best and worst of times and never stopped writing from around the world to encourage me.” The ups and downs of her life are detailed in a new autobiography, “Among my Souvenirs: The Real Story, Volume

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1,” due for release on December 12 – her 80th birthday, see www.conniefrancis. com (some sources give her birth date as 1938 but, she states emphatically, "I was born in 1937"). She says writing the book “was an enormous amount of work – a real rollercoaster ride. One day I’d be laughing hysterically and the next be hysterical with tears.” After making a series of unsuccessful singles in the 50s, she recorded ‘Who’s Sorry Now?’ a song her father had nagged her to record. The song rocketed up the charts and by the end of 1958, Billboard and others named Connie Francis the number one female vocalist in the country. A string of hits

A pop sensation, Hollywood soon came calling to cash in on her fame. MGM placed her in 1960’s “Where the Boys Are,” also singing the hit title song. But Francis never caught the acting bug. “I just didn’t feel comfortable, as though I didn’t belong there,” she admitted. By 1965, her final film, “When the Boys Meet the Girls,” was released. “I was so pleased it was my last one.” Battling back from the tragedies of her life established Connie Francis as a true hero to her fans. But she also has since found time to support many worthwhile causes and campaigned for mental health awareness and for victims of violent crime. And since her 1967 trip to Vietnam entertain the troops has remained especially close to the military veteran she calls “the real heroes.” Happily living now in Florida for some 20 years (her home was spared damage from devastating hurricane Irma), she is now retired from performing. “I no longer do concerts because I just can’t sing as well as I used to,” she says. “I would never want to disappoint the fans who have been so good to me throughout my life.”

followed into the early 1960s including “Everybody's Somebody's Fool,” “Lipstick on Your Collar,” and “Heartaches by the Number.”

Nick Thomas teaches at Auburn University at Montgomery, Ala., and has written features, columns, and interviews for over 600 magazines and newspapers. Nick can be reached at

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

R ive r Re gio n Bo o m . co m

December 2017



BOOM! December 2017  

The River Region's 50+ Lifestage Magazine