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I can still remember a time when I knew more than my phone.


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here were smiles all over at Downtown Ellijay’s “First Saturday Celebration” in June. With a band playing, visitors enjoyed the atmosphere while they shopped, ate, listened and had fun. A lot of the fun was taking place in our neck of the woods too. We were on the side of Northstar Emporium, near the Ellijay Deli, where we had set up the Pluck a Duck Game for kids to play, and win prizes. Robb had an open mic set up and was singing songs and playing his guitar, with some help from Don Roberts who joined in on a few. At 5 p.m. on the dot I started handing out clue sheets. This hundred dollar hunt was on foot, and the answers were all over downtown, on signs and in windows. The first ones to bring their

clue sheet back filled out were Olivia and her Mom, Denise. They had most of the answers right, but you had to have them right all to win. So I told them the ones that were wrong and they were off again to keep looking. Many others brought their sheets back with some wrong answers and left again to continue the hunt. Olivia came back once again and this time she had all the answers right! She was the first to do so, so Olivia and her family were awarded the hundred dollars! I asked, Now that you've won the Hidden Hundred Hunt, what are you going to do with the money? They answered "We're

going to Dollywood! " Olivia and Denise got seventh place in the April Hidden Hundred Hunt, they won lazar tag at The Alley, which they totally enjoyed. And they have a Shanes Gift Certificate they are still going to spend. This time they won FIRST place! Persistence pays off! After winning the hundred, Olivia Played Pluck a Duck and picked up the Number TEN duck which got her the biggest prize of a beanie bear. Since Olivia was just having a really lucky day, Denise said they were definitely going to buy a lottery ticket! While many teams picked up the clues during the first Saturday, only two actually finished with the correct answers. 1st prize winners Olivia and her Mom Denise won the hundred, and Second prize winners Jordan and Rosie who got a ten dollar gift certificate Johnny's Pizza!

Your call is very important to us. Please enjoy this 40 minute flute solo.Roll 3 up! Roll up for the Magical BBQ Tour! It all started when I, (Robb), wondered if it was possible to find "The Best Of"


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P.O.Box 94 Ellijay, GA 30540 Publisher - "Griz" Senior Editor - Robb Newman Senior Editor's Boss - Thia Newman Distribution - O. Myback. Graphic Design - Cray Ola Contributing Writers - Robb Newman, Thia Newman, Matt Williams, “Nan”, Diana Hays Brian Young, J.R. Starr, Mikayla Jones and Griz Contributing Photographers - Diana Hays, Smiley(Smiley’s Photography), Jim Harmon Director Of Canine Relations - Lexi Human Resorces - Not nearly enough. UnReal News Desk Corespondents Martin Tomelson, Dirk Ventoona, Jason Stoltz, Lydia Habernathy, Barack “Bud” Obama (no relation) Transcriptionist - Eva Cartin

ere we GROW again! From forty pages last issue, we went up to FIFTY-SIX pages for the July issue! No wonder we are so tired! lol I am also happy to announce that our number of issues printed will be 20,000 (last time was 15,000). We will be distributed at over 100 locations in Gilmer, Fannin & Pickens Counties. All this rapid growth is in a big part thanks to the amazing support we are receiving from our advertisers. They are the ones that pay to print all these copies. So if you love this paper, and we hope you do, please tell our advertisers and give them the support they deserve. We've tried something new in this issue, a page of coupons. If you are one who loves to try new things and also likes to save money, this page is for you. One of our Facebook friends, Nancy, kept telling us we should have coupons, so we listened and are giving it a try. We listen to everything you tell us. We have made the type a little bigger so it's easier to read and you won't find much other than black letters, that's because truly the only complaint we heard about our paper was that it was a bit too hard on the eyes. Hopefully we have fixed that with this issue. As always, we so appreciate our readers, you're comments are what make all these long hard hours worth it. So please keep them coming. To our community, we do everything we can to promote and publicize what a wonderful place this is to live and to visit, and we hope it shows. The love you give us back makes this whole project worthwhile. Check out our new Live Music and Events Calendar in this issue. If you are a musician in our area, or playing in our area, please send us your gig information. It is totally free to be included. TheBestofEBRJ@gmail.com We are very excited to welcome some new staff members to this issue. Please see the masthead to see who has joined our TBOEBRJ family. And we have some more writers that are already working on stories for the next issue. You'll see their articles in September. Robb and I are very overtired and overworked as we send this edition to print. But we are also overwhelmingly happy that this little funpaper is growing and becoming a part of our North Georgia Mountain neighborhood. Thank you so much, just doesn't seem like enough to say, but it's all I can think of right now. :) Thia Thank you to those who helped with our third issue: • DSCW for embracing our paper & starring in our last issue! Wrestling is our new favorite sport! • Smiley for the great cover shot. Get well soon! • Pat & Dave for their excellent zip-lining adventure. • All the participants and winners in our Hidden Hundred Hunt! • Cyndi for sharing her hair and her story. • The Beatals for helping us with Erin's Benefit, and for always being in our cheering section.

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the local, semi-world famous Beatles tribute band (duo actually), The Beatals, (pronounced Bee-Talls) if they would host the tour and they said in their best Liverpoolian accents, "Sure mate, for the standard rate!" John said "Me sick of fish & chips anyhow." What a couple of great guys! And so it was settled, we announced "The Beatals Magical BBQ Tour" and prepared to set off on our quest. This is not a compilation of restaurant reviews. We're really not reviewing restaurants, at least, not in-depth. This is the story of the journey, our little “Road Trip” as we made our way from southern Jasper to northern Blue Ridge stopping at every BBQ restaurant we could find. Just to do it, just for the fun of it. nated in Buffalo N.Y. Other areas of the country too have made foods famous. Cheese steaks are from Philadelphia, Chicago has deep-dish pizza, and Boston invented Baked Beans.

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oll up! Roll up for the Magical BBQ Tour! It all started when I, (Robb), wondered if it was possible to find "The Best Of" something like Barbeque. I mean great taste is in the mouth of the beholder, isn't it? If a place serves more BBQ by volume does it mean it's the best? These are the types of perplexing questions that keep me awake at night. Every locale has their favorites, their specialties and even their original local concoctions. No one would argue that Chicken Wings origi-

There is no doubt in my mind that BBQ is a southern thing that is now taking the world by storm. BBQmania is what I'm talking about! I was watching a Food Network program and it showed BBQ as a worldwide phenomenon much like the Beatles became in 1964. See the connection? I started thinking what it would be like to do what the Beatles did with "Magical Mystery Tour" and load up a bunch of people, different people with different tastes and set off in search of "The Ultimate BBQ.” I asked

We were joined by friends and guests, who sampled BBQ and shared the stories we heard along the way. We did what people do while having a great meal, we talked, we learned and we laughed. BBQ is "Fun Food.” It's family food. It's eat with friends food. It's celebration food. It’s pure Americana. In the end, really, it was as much about the people, as it was about the food. It's about how important BBQ is to people around here and it is about the great pride in which it is served up at every place we visited. Barbeque is an art and without any doubt, BBQ is one of the many defining elements of the tri-county area. BBQ is important. It's part of this area's culture and even its history. The Jeep was packed. Me, Thia, Lexi (our dog) The Beatals and "Gene The Eating Machine". The poor Beatals, the car would be packed by Gene alone if you know what I

Pictures by Robb Newman and collected from the terrific owners of the restaurants. Story by Robb Newman, Thia Newman, Lexi Newman, The Beatals, Gene “The Eating Machine”, Madame Solvanya “The Food Psychic”, and all the wonderful people we met along the way…

You don't have to be crazy to work at the Best of Funpaper. We'll train you.

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mean, and they sat in the back with Gene. What a scene! Our first stop was Davis Bar-B-Que, (have you noticed there's about 50 ways to spell the word Barbecue? We are going to try to hit everyone in this story) right off 515 in south Jasper. From the outside, this place looks more like a furniture showroom than a restaurant. That's because that's actually what it was, a showroom for the Davis Round Table company for 30 years. About 17 years ago they changed it over to a restaurant but kept selling tables, for a while. Hey, one door closes another door opens! Now they are famous for great bar-b-que, not tables. Inside the restaurant it is a collector's dream, a museum-quality showcase of antiques and memorabilia. This place is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. The group sampled some pulled pork, ribs, and fries. We were off to a great start. Everything was fantastic. Gene's big complaint was he wanted more. "Sampling" is not in Gene's vocabulary. If you blindfolded Gene and dropped him off in a 24/7/365 Las Vegas Buffet, he would think he had died and gone to heaven. What did The Beatals think? "We love it... Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!� When we got back to the car Lexi enjoyed a rib bone. The car seemed like it was packed even tighter than before. I think the Jeep bottomed out as we left the parking lot. Back out on the 515. One BBQ place down, how many more to go? The Beatals and I were reminiscing about the first time we met at their gig at Jilly's Pub in Ellijay, Lexi and Gene were passing gas and Thia was establishing the exact level of her dislike for Beatles music. (For the record, Thia hates Beatles music, but she wanted me to make it clear that she loves our friends The Beatals) The Beatals were singing a medley of Beatles tunes a cappella over Thia's anti-Beatles rant. Things were heating up in the car, fast. Thank goodness the speed limit on 515 is 65 mph, we got to Bub-Ba-Q within a mercifully short period of time. Now, from the outside Bub-

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ba-Q looks like a barbeque place. No mistaking this for anything butt. (Get it? BUTT, you know smoked pork butts? Oh, I crack myself up) The group had lunch as I looked around and waited to meet Jared, the manager. (Bubba was in the Woodstock restaurant) Awards were everywhere! In the bathroom even! The conversation at the table turned to politics, and the Beatals started singing "God Save The Queen" while chewing rib bones. When Jared came out from the kitchen I leapt at the opportunity to distance myself from the cacophony at the table. I asked Jared what "Championship BBQ" is all about, more specifically about the mouth-watering brisket I sampled...... R: So tell me about your famous brisket. J: [When] I smoke a brisket it takes me 16 hours. R: Sixteen hours! J: Sixteen hours on the smoker from start to finish on a brisket. It's incredible. I’m not trying to boast or anything, but I’ve tried a lot of brisket. I've cooked BBQ in 24 states and tried BBQ in 24 states. I'll be honest and say that our brisket stacks up against the best of them. That's not leaving behind our ribs and chicken, we take pride in all of it. Our chicken is simple. We just take a half chicken and smoke it, and sauce is obviously always on the side here.

Chicken doesn't have to be complicated. Our ribs are bar none, very good. I guess it would take more of a BBQ guru to appreciate a rack of ribs next to a BBQ sandwich. Anybody can appreciate a BBQ sandwich, but somebody that knows what goes into cooking ribs, they appreciate it. R: Like a fine wine. J: That's exactly right. R: A lot has to do with the sauce and how it's cooked, doesn’t it? J: We've developed a dry rub that appeals to the masses. R: So it starts with the rub? I didn't know about a rub. I just figured you cooked the ribs then put the sauce on it. J: I believe there's fifteen different spices and a few other ingredients in our rub. R: So you got Colonel Sanders beat? He only had eleven. You've got four more spices than the Colonel, huh? (laughs) J: Oh yeah, he ain't got nothing on us. (laughs) It starts with the rub, that's your base flavor. That's where most of your meat gets it's flavor. We've developed our sauces to compliment our rub. You get the entire package when you can try a piece of meat just out of the cooker with just rub on it and smoke. Then you add that sauce and it just completes it. BBQ sauce is meant to be a condiment. R: You gotta taste the meat. J: Well it's a complete package. That's why all of our sauce is on the side. R: I've never seen so many awards in my life. Do you enter every contest there is? J: Competition BBQ's, is growing at an extremely alarming rate, alarming in a good sense. We've been on Food Network's "BBQ Shootout", TLC's "Pitmasters", and we won CBS Sports "Ultimate BBQ Throwdown". We've had a lot of success and that can be attributed to nothing else but Bubba. Bubba's the one who developed all the recipes and techniques. R: So his name is really Bubba? J: His name is William Bubba Latimer. Everybody knows him as Bubba. I've been really fortunate to be able to kind of get under his wing and learn as much as possible from one of the best BBQ cooks in the world. Right now we're doing about 45 to 50 contests a year. We’ve cooked all over. We made the trip out to Vegas to the World Food Championship. We just won the Georgia State BBQ championship for the third year running. Jared was so pumped for pork it was

amazing! Like I said earlier, BBQ is a thing of pride for people. The best isn't good enough. They want to be the best of the best. As we were loading up to head to our third stop, I was thinking I’d made a horrible mistake. We all realized this was an ill-conceived plan, no one was hungry, we were all stuffed and there was no way we'd get to all the places in a day. We couldn’t even go to three BBQ places in one day. We were too full! We planned to meet the next day, nice and hungry. Feeling for The Beatals we had convinced "Gene The Eating Machine" to have his mother meet us and drive him to our next destination. As we loaded up the jeep on day two, Gene’s mom was waiting for him in her Volkswagen Beetle. After he squeezed in, Gene's mother forced his door closed with one of those butt-pushes, gave us a thumbs up and said "See 'ya there!" "There" was Bigun’s Barbeque in Talking Rock, nestled between Jasper and Ellijay. Seemingly in the middle of nowhere on the side of 515, this place draws crowds from everywhere. Evidently people are driving there from Ellijay & Jasper. I've been to Biguns many times and it seems even if there's nobody there when I arrive, within 10 minutes there's a line out the door. I started to wonder if a large group of hungry people follows me around. If you arrive and find a line to order, it’s worth a little wait, and the service is excellent so the line moves very quickly and the food arrives fast. Our caravan rolled into the parking lot. The "Magical BBQ Tour arrived at Biguns. What can I say? The food at Biguns is great ergo the lines out the door, it's really as simple as that. The owners Kelly and Lisa take great pride in what they do and it shows. They have taken a gas station/convenience store with a little restaurant and turned it into a hugely successful, big restaurant that just happens to have a gas station and convenience store on the side and, trust me, there is a huge difference. Or as I like to say, There’s a huge difference between a gas station that sells food, and a restaurant that sells gas. When have you ever seen a line out the door at a huge restaurant packed to capacity at a gas station? You won’t. Biguns is a restaurant that happens to sell gas We sampled a bit of everything, pork sandwich, brisket, ribs, sides like corn on the cob and a baked "tater" that was so big it had to be the result of genetic tinkering. It was delicious. The forks were flying. Gene's mother was cutting up his food for him, telling him

As I watched the dog chasing his tail, I thought "Dogs are easily amused." Then I realized I was watching the dog chase his tail.

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to eat slowly. Good luck! The Beatals were singing take-offs on Beatles songs like All you need is BBQ, Sgt. Barbecue’s Empty Stomachs Club Band, The Continuing Story of Bar-B-Que Bill, which, as you can imagine, was entertaining Thia to no end. It was at this point, after filling up on all this delicious food, that we realized that we couldn't possibly do more than one BBQ stop a day. My envisioned romantic "On The Road" version of the tour was scrapped due to full stomachs and the fact that spending a whole day with this group was giving me the heebie jeebies. But the tour went on, on another day. Can you guess what our first stop in Ellijay was? If you said Shane’s Rib Shack... BINGO! You're right! "B 4" you go anywhere else for dinner on Monday night you gotta think about going to where the BBQ is fabulous, the people are friendly, the atmosphere is fun and you can actually WIN prizes playing BINGO. The Magical BBQ Tour assembled ready to eat. Thia doesn't think Bingo would be my sort of thing. "Now Robb, I don't think your A.D.D. would allow you to pay attention long enough to win a game. You’d be too busy trying to figure out the ingredients in Shane's barbeque sauce, and what crazy story you could do on aliens visiting Shane’s to bring back BBQ to their home planet or something."

tender and tasty. I love em!" Solvanya had the sampler platter, which has a bit of everything. "You see, I predicted I was going to enjoy this before I even ate it!" The Beatals’ had BBQ Chicken and Baked Beans, which was described by them as right nice! George told us that in England they have baked beans for breakfast. Robb: Steve, How did Shane’s BBQ came about? Steve: The recipes were passed down to Shane from his grand dad, "Big Dad" for whom our signature BBQ sandwich is named. Shane spent summers with Big Dad cooking out when he was a kid and after working in the corporate world for years he decided to take Big Dad's recipes and fulfill his dream of opening his own BBQ Shack. That is where Shane's Rib Shack began in McDonough, GA and still exists today. Robb: Well we have Big Dads and Bingo, when will we have Ballroom Dancing and BBQ at Shane's? Steve: I can seat about 130, but I don't know about the dancing. Thia: I finally got Robb to try the BBQ ribs, he loves the chicken fingers here so much that he always orders them. Robb: I think I could eat your chicken fingers everyday. Steve: There is a guy who eats here every single day, and he has it planned out. One day he gets tenders, one day salad, one day a cheeseburger and one day a BBQ plate, Robb: Smart guy. He spaces it out. We have been eating a LOT of BBQ lately, but I gotta say these ribs are great.

Today we were joined at Shane’s by "Madame Solvanya, The Food Psychic" (More on her at Charlie's restaurant on page 26) "Darling, so good to see you again! And these are the singing bugs? Nice to meet you Beetles. "And meeting you is just the bee's knees. I'm over the top!” John replied. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to put Madame Solvanya’s psychic powers to the test once again. As the game started I asked her to tell me the next number to be called. "Q 85" she said. I asked "Do you see a Q in Bingo? "Darling, I have never seen bingo in a barbeque restaurant before, so you never know." The next set called was B 32. "You see, Darling?" "You see what? You said Q85!" "No I didn't, you must have mashed potatoes in your ears, I said B 32." "That's ridiculous! No you didn't!" "Yes I did, darling!" John chimed in "Hey mate, you're talking with Lucy In The Sky With Delusions if ya know what I mean. The Madame is daft!"

Shane's is, first and foremost, a BBQ restaurant not a Bingo parlor and even if you don't win at Bingo you can't lose eating at Shane's.

The food arrived. I had the "Big Dad", a massive pulled-pork sandwich on Texas Toast. It was fantastic. Thia had the ribs, “These are mouthwatering

We've eaten at Wolf Creek many times but it was a first for the Beatals. "It's truly awful!" Gene exclaimed as BBQ dripped from his mouth, and we all broke out laughing be-

The "Magical BBQ Tour Bus" (aka our black Jeep but play along with me here, imagine a bus in your mind.) The bus pulled up in front of Wolf Creek Canyon Bar-B-Que on the eve of their Grand Opening. Actually a grand RE-opening as they've been serving up some great BBQ for several years. Unfortunately due to various circumstances beyond their control they've had to change locations a couple of times. They gained local fame at their original location in downtown Ellijay, had to move and then moved yet again to their current and hopefully final home in the plaza on Maddox with the East Towne Cinema, in the space that used to be "Southern Twist". The front parking lot was full, but after driving around for a bit, we discovered there is plenty of parking in the rear! Wolf Creek was packed, but we all squeezed in. I was happy to see and hear "Daisy Chain" playing at the event. This fantastic girl duo comprised of Monica who sings and Michelle who sings, plays a powerful acoustic guitar and a kick bass drum like Ginger Baker! Bravo! Sorry Beatals, like Ringo of course!

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cause we all knew he was joking. George barked "What a sarcastic twit. This is some of the best BBQ I've ever had! Sweet! Thia was happy she finally got to meet what she calls “The funniest guys on Facebook”, Randy Bell and Jerry Southern. Thia wanted a joke from Randy that she could print in our family paper. I don’t think they could come up with one. And she wanted to hire Jerry to write a column for us. I don’t know that she’s talked him into it yet. But we all had fun at the bar, talking to the bartenders, Patti & Christina, and had some delicious food too! “I’ll eat this smoked brisket any day, Thia said, “Although I have to admit that Wolf’s prime rib sandwich is my usual favorite.” There is a lot of history in our barbeque restaurants. One local barbeque place in particular has a history of famous visitors, and an equally famous owner. Yes, I’m talking about Colonel Poole's Real Pit BBQ. The most interesting thing about Poole's, is its founder "The Colonel" or

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"Colonel Poole" as he's known. The amount of media coverage this marketing maven has generated with his "Pig Hill Of Fame" over the years is incredible. The list of TV appearances, magazine stories, newspaper articles, etc seems endless! In fact, the restaurant's tables and walls are covered with memorabilia that spans decades. Colonel Poole: Well, thank you Robb, I'm very honored that you have chosen to do this interview. They call me the Colonel Sanders of Bar-b-que. And then I became the Colonel, I became Colonel Poole of Bar-B-Que. Robb: The honor is all mine sir. So are you actually a Colonel? CP: Honorary Colonel of Kentucky. Bestowed by the Governor of Kentucky, there are many of us. It's a fraternity. I'm the same (type of) Colonel as Colonel Sanders. R: I love the outfit. You have to tell me the origin of the pigs on the hill. CP: The pigs on the

hill, I was putting pigs around here, actually making fun of ourselves, my wife and I were afraid to make a pig of anybody else because I was afraid they would get mad. Well it caught on. A man who was the PR man for Lockheed International in Atlanta, Dick...Dick Clark.. named this "the pig hill of fame!" And it caught. We decided to go with that. Colonel Poole continues: I will tell this about the Mayor of our little town here of East Ellijay. By the way, we are in East Ellijay, not Ellijay As long as I tell that, he likes me (laughs) He calls me his Chamber of Commerce. He came around one day, looking around the hill, making notes and I asked “what are you doing?” He said, “I’m counting the violations.” Violations? What are you talking about? And he said, “You have 37 pigs on the hill scattered around.

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What about the local sign ordinance?” But that changed. One day the Mayor was in London, England and here come a man with a Poole’s t-shirt with pigs on the hill, and East Ellijay, Ga. on it and the little boy in him came out and he yells at him and says “I’m Mayor of that town!" Since then it’s been a nonissue and he is my number one supporter. He says we’re grandfathered in and says you better not touch a pig on that hill. That’s a true story R: You’ve been in the media a lot. I know I saw you years ago on the Food Network. CP: Well, I’ve been in so many magazines now; Southern Living. US News and World Report, National Geographic. I have threatened to have a magazine called G-‘HOG’graphic. R: (Laughs) Let’s go all the way back. Before Poole’s Bar-B-Que. What was here? CP: I had an entire career as a Methodist preacher. My wife reminds me I said "Someday, I’d like to own my own little bar-b-que." So I came back to Georgia and I saw this. R: What year was this? CP: Oh about 25-26 years ago. I saw this 8’x12’ rig, (Trailer) which I still have. And I bought it. After, for about a year and a half I wished I’d never seen it. And then all of a sudden, things broke for us. I saw them down here digging out this hill. I asked the Mayor if I could put my rig here. A oneroom shack and some outside tables under some trees. We started in ’89, yeah we started here. R: When did the building come about? CP: Built the building in'96 I did it personally. I laid these logs here. I wasn’t old then. (laughs) We built the main building, then added this room called the ‘H’ room. The shed room at the other

end, that’s called the Hog Rock Café, and the main building is called the Taj Mahog R: Taj Mahog. Very nice. So you literally built this business from the ground up? CP: From the very first pig. I think our first day's sales were $208. Half of that was profit. We had not much overhead and that’s been the secret. Keep the overhead down. And we were in debt $35,000 when we started so it’s quite a story. R: So now, every square inch of this place is covered with pigs, with people’s names. Are people are still adding on to it? How do you get your name on here? CP: You have to qualify. Oh yes. You have to qualify 3 ways. You have to have an honest face, good intentions and $5.00. If all the pigs were alive, there would be 1314,000 pigs, but there are 8 or 9,000 of them there now. They are everywhere, and there’d be more, but we’ve lost some. It’s been 24 years. R: It’s an amazing entrepreneurial success story. CP: Edna, my wife, and I worked 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. That’s 84 hours a week each. That’s the work of 4 people, if not more and we couldn’t afford to hire anybody. So, it was a mom and pop store. R: Where did the original recipe for the bar-b-que come from? CP: The recipe was discovered by mistake. (laughs) I have 2 sauces of our own recipe, and the recipe we use is secret. Nobody knows. I can’t tell you the secret, kinda like Coke Cola’s secret, we stumbled onto it. R: And the cooking process? CP: Everything's all wood cooked. It’s gas fired but only to keep the temperature even. We cook 12-13 hours all the pork, it’s done the slow, old-fashioned way. We are very fussy about the quality. Well, you have heard me brag about our food a lot. I brag a lot and the customers brag about it. Thank the Lord that the reviews have been good. We try to keep everything in good shape. Good quality. R: What’s your personal favorite thing to eat here? Is it actually the pork sandwich? CP: Yeah. The pork sandwich, with our original sauce on it. We have two sauces, original and sweet. We used to say we were the world’s best, but I thought that was cocky, so I say “we’re not the world’s best, we’re just in the top ten” (laughs) R: No one can argue with that. (Thia: I’ve just got to mention that I met the delightful, Mrs. Edna Poole, and she said we could call her the General!) Another day, another BBQ place. Back in the car. The Magical BBQ Tour presses on, on our way to Walker's Fried Pies & BBQ outside of Ellijay on Rt. 52. We are looking forward to some great food and music! We decide to leave the Beatals at home for this one, because we hear Walkers will have it’s own musical talent performing. That's right! It's Friday night and every Friday at 6:30pm, the Walker Brothers, twins actually, pull together a group of musicians for a hand-clapping, foot-stomping good time. "Duck" Walker used to own and run Walker's BBQ but recently Shon and his wife Tracy have taken it over. I had a delicious generous pulled pork sandwich, while I enjoyed blue grass music and the enthusiastic crowd around me. I felt so welcome. Walker’s is a clean, homey, friendly place, with quick service, great food and company. Make sure you try their famous fried pies! I had one for dessert. I tried the peach and it was so good, I bought a couple pies to take home with me. If you want a meal that reminds you of the barbeque your grandpa used to make, along with a warm juicy pie for dessert, walk on over to Walkers. We drove to Cherry Log to meet two of our new staff members (Mikayla & Eva) for lunch and to interview the

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owner of The Pink Pig. Samantha (Sam) grew up in her Grandpa’s Restaurant. She waited on her first table there when she was eight years old. Famous for it’s garlic salad and it’s BBQ, The Pink Pig is now run by Sam and her husband, and they do catering too. We talked to Samantha about Pink Pig’s history and it’s association with President Jimmy Carter. Robb: Tell me about how The Pink Pig started. Sam: My grandfather bought a roadside stand, a little BBQ just on the side of the road; not much of anything. It was a grist mill in the back and a little shed in the front, called Claude’s BBQ. So he bought it in ’67 and ran it as the Holloway House and started running catering trucks from here to Goldkist in Ellijay. (Goldkist was the chicken plant before Pilgrim’s) That was where about 75% of people probably worked at that time. Then the

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economy got bad and we closed. Grandpa worked as a truck driver. After a couple years, the family missed the restaurant business. Grandpa decided to come back to the restaurant full force, and they named it The Pink Pig Thia: When did you become the manager? S: I came back here to work in October 2008 and my grandpa realized he was sick. Long story short, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and he passed away 26 days later. R: Oh. We are so sorry to hear that. Any idea where your grandpa got the idea to do BBQ S: He got a lot of the recipes from the gentleman he bought it from, Claude Underwood. He did not get his sauce recipe though, so my grandpa started working on his own sauce and he said it took him 20 years to perfect it. Our garlic salad, which we’re really well known for, is a recipe from Lakeside restaurant in Blue Ridge.

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The man that gave it to my grandpa said “now, after I pass away you can use this at your restaurant, but not until then.” So he held onto it all those years until after that gentleman passed. I always wanted to do a sweet BBQ sauce, he never would let me, he’d always say. “People like vinegar” and I’m like “well, not everybody likes that, I think we should try sweet sauce” “No, no, we don’t have time for that” and so that was one of the first changes we made is we started making a sweet sauce and it’s went over really well. Now we’re working on a spicy sauce. R: Spicy is my favorite. Wasn’t your grandpa a friend of Jimmy Carter’s? S: Yes. Jimmy Carter came up here in the late ‘70’s; wanted to build a cabin. My grandpa was really well known for being good with dynamite. So someone called him up and said, we’re building this cabin, and


we need you to blast out the side of this mountain. It was for Jimmy Carter. Big surprise. He had no idea. R: So Jimmy Carter was an Ex-president? S: Yes. It had to be around ’78ish. My grandpa worked at his uncle’s saw mill, and Jimmy decided he wanted to come down and help them saw the lumber for the cabin. So he ended up being really hands on and they just hit it off and became friends and they stayed friends up until my grandpa passed away. He called here the day he passed and apologized for not coming to the funeral and said “Bud was a dear friend to me and I just want you to know that he’s going to be missed” T: Isn’t that wonderful? S: It was amazing. The last time Jimmy Carter came up was in the summer 2008. He came with Rosalyn, and just our immediate family was here. It was a day we were closed and we cooked for them. The Secret Service came in first

and did a sweep; checked every bathroom, every closet. There was four cars of them and one stood outside the whole time. But Jimmy was able to sit down and enjoy a dinner with us. He said the blessing. He’s just a wonderful, wonderful man. T: Sounds like your Grandpa was too. This is a really warm place, with a friendly staff. And I love the decorations. Robb, can you get me that chicken painting when Sam isn’t looking? S: (Laughs) This is a family restaurant. My Grandpa instilled a lot of good values in me, and all the employees. We have employees that have been here for 10, 15 years. R: The food is terrific too. My ribs

were very, very good. The French fries were really excellent home made, the kind I like. T: Eva had sweet potato fries R: You had the beef brisket T: Yeah and it tastes sort of like smoky prime rib. It is really good R: Mikayla skipped the BBQ and had a fried chicken sandwich. Thanks for your help on this story about BBQ Mikayla! (laughter) R: The onion rings, like huge onion rings. I mean, they are like hula hoops; real poofy, crispy batter, served with Ranch, and Thousand Island dressing. It’s almost like a meal itself. I can’t even imagine seeing an onion

It's a humbling moment when you realize your dog has actually trained you to do something. 13


this big. It’s got to be like 6” around, bigger then your fist. T: You can wear it as a bangle R: Yeah, you can actually. Let me take a picture of that. T: I knew you would. It seems like "It was twenty years ago today... " that we started this journey. Finally, we crossed the border into Fannin County and pulled into Joe’s BBQ. This time we were going to literally "Meet The Beatles", well the Beatals anyway. I needed to shoot a picture for the cover and asked the Beatals to bring their instruments and stage clothes. It was like "A Hard Day's Night" come alive, these guys were camping it up just like the originals. We got some really great shots I wish we had more room in the paper to show you them all. The people enjoying dinner were also enjoying the show, which suddenly turned into an impromptu concert! Before long they had a sing-a-long going! “If I fell in Love with you” (I’d eat some barbeque…) rocked the rafters. Dinner and a show at Joe's? Not a bad idea! Of course, we had a delicious dinner before breaking out in song. Thia especially loved the homemade potato salad. "The Beatals" both chose the pulled pork sandwich. I ordered the sampler, which has a bit of everything. Think of the sandwiches as singles and the sampler platter as an album. Joe's slogan is "Small place, Big taste" and that really perfectly sums it all up. Joe's is a comfy cabin, the crew is friendly, it feels like a meal at a friend’s house. The food definitely does have a big taste. John said his was "Top of the charts!" George added "It's the top of the top!" All I can say is, "Eat At Joes"! This is Thia writing now, Robb is pooped and sick of typing. Next stop, Blue Ridge Mountain BBQ. We pulled into the parking lot and the Jeep was like a rolling insane asylum! The Beatals were loudly discussing English football, Gene was whining about what he wanted to eat next. Lexi was sniffing the wonderful smell of smoked meat and barking her head off. Robb was yelling at Lexi to BE

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Don't worry. Your secret is safe with me. Everyone I told swore they wouldn't tell anyone else.


QUIET! Solvanya was predicting how the food was going to be, “You will all think it’s wonderful!” I was actually trying to think of a way to get away from the noise! I jumped out of the jeep and hit the auto lock button on the car, and trapped them all inside. Don’t worry, the air conditioning was on. It was nice and quiet inside the restaurant with some country music playing through the speakers. I had some delicious smoked chicken salad on crackers for my appetizer. While you wait for your food there is free chicken salad and crackers to nibble on. I got my order of a bunch of BBQ tacos to go for everyone in the (locked hee hee) car. When climbed back in the Jeep and handed them out, the noise quickly stopped and was replaced with sighs of delight and chewing. Ahh, peace and quiet… Thia here again… Mike's Trackside BBQ was our final stop on the tour and we were starving! We were happy to find a great parking place right around the corner. We could smell the smoky fire when we got out of the car. Gene’s mouth was watering, all of ours were, but he was the only one drooling, well besides Lexi. Lexi was always drooling. It was a busy day in Blue Ridge, overcast, but pleasant. We all walked down the hill and around the train station because Mike’s is obviously right there, near the tracks. Ahh, my first look, some nice outdoor seating, I turned to the ordering window… Remember that scene in the movie “Vacation”? Where the dad, (Chevy Chase) takes this long mishap filled trip with his family (the Griswolds) to get to Walley World? And when they get there, he finds a nice parking spot, then goes to the gate and there is a sign that says, “Closed For Repairs.” Well that’s how we felt when we arrived hungry and tired, and found that Mike’s Trackside was CLOSED! A sad end to a long journey. And I’ve certainly had enough barbecue for a while. So we all went to Papa’s Pizza for the buffet. Robb: Should we do a pizza tour next? Thia: NO!

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omething is always up in Ellijay, Blue Ridge and Jasper and I aim to get to the bottom of it. You and I both know that the way things seem on the surface ain't necessarily so. There's always a "backstory" or even more to the point, an "understory".... the true story.... one that you have to dig down deep to get. That's what I do, I have a shovel and I'm not afraid to use it. Of course, that's not to say I didn't file this report, and every report, with a bit of trepidation. Poke in the wrong hole and you could get bit and it might be fatal. If I should suddenly disappear you'll know that this bloodhound was onto something big, maybe too big. Let that tell you that where I said there was smoke you can now be sure there's fire, but the public has a right to know! And so, it is with honor and duty... I press on.

S

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t was horrible, all through May and even well into June, almost every weekend, a washout, gray skies, downpours, hailstorms. People wanting so badly to have some outdoor fun after a long dreary winter, business owners hoping to have nice weather that would finally boost business after the the long winter down time. So many planned outdoor events in all three counties largely unattended or cancelled. One, the Ellijay "First Saturday" Downtown Celebration rescheduled and then cancelled again when it rained even worse, on the rain date! It further harmed an already sluggish local economy and was, simply, depressing. What the heck was going on around here?! What was it

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with all the rain? One man says he knows exactly what was going on and he claims the government knows too. And was even trying to prevent it. But with, perhaps deleterious after effects. What I have prepared for you here is my very condensed summary along with interview excerpts of the almost six hour mind-numbing, head-exploding presentation I sat through full of scientific terms, jargon, crunched statistics, equations, test results, charts, graphs, diagrams, notes, sub-notes, foot notes and foot notes for the footnotes. Had we not been in a one story building I may have run up to the roof and jumped off before it was all over. Dr. Sanjay Garaputa is one of those people that, at first glance, seems to be obsessive compulsive, anal retentive, traveling down the road fueled by amphetamines and with one foot in “The Crackpot Zone� but as you learn the facts you learn that he is another in that very honorable yet sparsely populated profession of "whistle blower". He is a man on a mission. His actual profession or field of expertise is Ichthygastroenterology, or in layman's language Garaputa specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders of the entire digestive tract of fish. Garaputa is his name, fish guts is his game. This seemingly endless inundation has happened before, you just probably don't remember it. You see, it happens every 17 years and you can count on it like clockwork. It coincides with the emergence of billions of 17-year periodical cicadas, with their distinctive black bodies, buggy red eyes, and orange-

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veined wings, along a roughly 900-mile stretch from northern Georgia to upstate New York. Billions of these insects left the dirt and the tree roots where they have spent the last 17 years and emerged to mate. But for millions that mission went unaccomplished as they, for one reason or another, died and washed into the waterways to be subsequently eaten by the fish or simply crash landed on the surface of a body of water and met that same fate. The problem, reports Dr. Garaputa, is that while fish find cicadas tastier than many of us find a McDonald's Big Mac and fries, they can't digest this species of ugly bugs very well. And, believe it or not, this is the root cause of all that rain we had this very special, very rainy spring..... "Fish flatulence..." says the Dr. "not to be crass but for clarity I must offer the colloquial term "Fish Farts" so we all fully understand the problem, this is what we are discussing here. The direct result of a sudden over abundance of an incompatible, yet extremely desirable food source. This is not unlike the problems experienced by one who is overly fond of bean burritos for instance." As many who keep aquariums will know, fish are what we call "opportunity eaters" meaning if there's food there, they will eat it, and eat it, and eat it.They eat whatever they can find because in

nature they don't know when they're going to be able to eat again. In this case, imagine Big Macs and pizzas (or bean burritos) falling from the sky and "I'm full" is something unknown to you. Suddenly more food than you can ever imagine is available and you eat until you're sick. We are all aware of the many theories for "Global Warming", one being that bovine flatulence adds up to be a major destroyer of this planet's ecol-


ogy. Cows produce large amounts of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) particulates, nitrous oxide and methane. They produce so much that they surpass coal mining, manure management, waste water treatment; mobile combustion and iron and steel production. The EPA has even created a State by State cow "Fart Chart" (See: http://milk.procon.org/view.re source.php?resourceID=001154 ) But what about fish? Sure they are smaller, but there's lots and lots more of them. Is this possible?! Could Dr. Garaputa be correct? Could an untolled number of tiny fish farts really add up to an unimaginably big problem? Dr.Garaputa claims that the cause of all the rain was moisture-infused gases, "Basically the problem is this, when fish... emmm... "poot"... they do so underwater. As those gases rise up to and beyond the water's surface each and every bubble takes with it a certain amount of moisture." Dr. Garaputa proposes many billions of cubic centimeters of moisture-infused methane gas (and other gases) rose into the atmosphere. It was this anomalous volume of moisture beyond that which is normally caused by evaporation of the waterways and lakes in our area being carried up that created the uncommon amounts of precipitation. But the problem doesn't end there according to Garaputa, it gets far worse, and as usual, enter the government! In its determined effort to protect us, whether we like it or not, from absolutely everything, "Big Mommy", in the form of various federal and state agencies, has been quietly making attempts to control the weather. Various methods like seeding clouds, shooting laser beams into hurricanes and floating billions of ping pong balls with a reflective metal coating into the ocean currents in an effort to cool the

planet, have been attempted. But in this specific case, according to Dr. Garaputa’s report, they have been taking steps to mitigate the impact of the "17 Year Free Buffet" as they like to call it in house. Their plan, which Dr. Garaputa condemns and labels as "ill-advised", was to enter into the water system at key locations upstream a mixture of "anti-gas" components. These include: Simethicone - an antifoaming agent used to reduce bloating, discomfort or pain caused by excessive gas in the stomach or intestines. Simethicone is a mixture of polydimethylsiloxane and hydrated silica gel found in such popular brands as "Gas-Ex®"and Alpha galactosidase - an enzyme which is derived from the fungus Aspergillus niger. This enzyme works in the digestive tract to break down the complex or branching sugars (polysaccharides and oligosaccharides). This enzyme is the main ingredient in a product marketed under the brand "Beano®" We are all very aware by now that we are absorbing hormones, fertilizer and other chemicals into our systems every time we eat corporate-produced meat, drink milk or even eat vegetables, we absorb mercury when we eat fish, Dr. Garaputa sternly warns "Does anybody really know the long term effects of having the active ingredients of Beano® and Gas-Ex® present in our food supply? In our water supply?! I should say not! What they have unleashed could be far more destructive than what they were trying to contain!" I Googled "Beano Overdose" and got 1,210,000 results in 0.19 seconds! Evidently you can! And most of it ain't pretty! Dr. Garaputa says "If you live in or are visiting Gilmer, Fannin or Pickens counties, consume large quantities of native fish this summer and suffer from headache, fatigue, depression, coughing, watery eyes, stiffness or aching of the joints, and notice experiencing a refreshing yet unfamiliar absence of flatulence you may have been exposed." And so, as if incessant rain was not enough to endure, it seems, according to Dr. Garaputa, that once again unknowing citizens have become laboratory guinea pigs, the victims of the government’s tinkering with the natural order of things. Gone was the freedom (and ability) of many a grandpa to play “Pull My Finger” with their grandchildren, a pastime as American as apple pie!. And at what cost? I urge you to write your congressman! And how about we all give “Big Mommy” a loud raspberry! But, then again, considering all those lousy, depressing weekends...if it worked... it might have been worth it...’ya know?

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W

e were at Charlie's Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria because Madame Solvanya's publicist contacted us and asked if we would be interested in doing a story on her. This was a preliminary meeting, to see if a story was warranted. Casual, unscientific testing was good enough for me at this point. Frankly, her claims were ridiculous as far as I was concerned, but for the sake of honest journalism, I tried to keep an open mind. I asked to be seated in Charlie's new "inside/outside" dining area just off the full liquor bar. It's very nice, there's a fireplace, a piano and a big screen TV if you like to watch. It's also away from the main dining room, which was pretty full so that meant we could have more privacy and could speak more freely. Madame Solvanya calls herself "The Food Psychic.” She claims to be able to read people's minds, oddly enough, especially when they are thinking about food. She doesn't know why this is, it just is, according to her. You know how people say "If these walls could talk,” well Madame Solvanya, says they do, to her. She claims many things "talk" to her. She claims she can hold a knife and fork in her hand and know what the last person to use them thought about their meal. In her accent reminiscent of Eva Gabor on Green Acres, Solvanya says, "Tables talk to me, darling.” According to her, so do chairs, plates and bowls, glassware, even salt and pepper shakers speak to her. And she speaks their language. She tells me she can read our minds, that is, any of us in her proximity enjoying a meal. She knows whether we like it or not....... whether we like it or not. She claims she has the keys to my mind and to yours, and she says, there's no locking her out. Robb: Madame Solvanya, it's

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very nice to meet you. Madame Solvanya: I've been told this many times before, darling, and so, it must be. Our waitress is Candace. She is wonderful and even helped out with my test at one point. Candace told us her personal favorite at Charlie’s is Chicken Marsala, but the best seller is the Chicken Parmesan, which is my favorite. Being the creature of habit that I am and in the mood for a great meal I chose to stick with that. I took the liberty of ordering for all of us the Appetizer Sampler Platter. We could have Bruschetta, fried mozzarella and either fried zucchini or calamari but since I don't eat anything that even remotely looks like an octopus, I opted for the zucchini. Candace had her hands full with Madame Solvanya who, for being a psychic, couldn't read Candice's mind when it cam to pronouncing gnocchi, "How do you say this darling? Go-nockcheese? "No, it's pronounced like donkey without the D, add an N to the beginning" Candace explained. Solvanya didn’t get it. “Donkey cheese? Nonkey cheese? Isn't it really just little potato balls? I'll have the g-n-o-c-c-h-i please, darling." I must admit, even after we had lessons from both Candace and Collette, one of the owners, I’m still not sure how to say gnocchi. Robb: When did you first notice you had psychic abilities? Solvanya: When I was a child, we'd play hide and go seek and I would always find the kids where they were hiding. Robb: And? So? Didn't the other children ever find you hiding? Solvanya: Yes, I don't see your point, darling. Robb: Well, why doesn't that make them....., never mind. Solvanya: When I was a little bit older, the telephone rang, I thought, that is my father calling! and guess what, it was my father! Robb: Oh come on! That's happened to me lots of times! Lot's of people have that happen to them! Solvanya: Yes? I don't see your point, darling. Candace brings our bread and salads, then our appetizer sampler platter.

Thia: Solvanya, Try the bruschetta. It is fresh Italian Salsa on top of warm toasty garlic bread. It is delicious! Solvanya: I knew you were going to say that! Thia: Robb eat your salad, you don’t get enough vegetables. Robb: Okay, it looks good, but I'm not eating the skunk cabbage. (spinach) Thia: I’ll eat the spinach. You eat the rest of the salad. One sign of a good restaurant is serving warm bread. This is so good! Solvanya: I knew you were going to say that! Robb: These flat mozzarella sticks gotta be homemade. They are perfect to pick up the sauce. Thia: The sauce needs a mention all to itself. It is fantastic. I could just eat the sauce by itself. The perfect blend, a little sweetness, a little bite, and tastes like fresh tomatoes. And yes, Solvanya, I knew, you knew I was going to say that! Solvanya: You are right Darling. Thia: Robb, that little three year old girl at the next table just asked her mother for a piece of her squid. Robb: She doesn’t know any better. Solvanya, Have you ever had a premonition? SLAP! Robb: OUCH! What the heck was that for? A premonition! Seeing the future!!!! Solvanya: Oh, so sorry, I thought you said a bad word. English is my second language. No, I don't see the future. Robb: Are you a medium? Solvanya: I could be but I retain a lot of water, darling. Robb: No! Do you speak to dead people? Spirits? Solvanya: They are not big eaters, darling, I'm The Food Psychic, I don't work with the dead. I work with those dying to eat. Food Arrives!

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Thia: I have had gnocchi in at least twenty Italian restaurants in three different states, and often when you eat them they sit like lead bullets in your stomach afterward. Solvanya: These are delicious donkeys. You think so too Thia, I can feel it. Thia: Yes. I am 100% sure these are the best I have ever tasted. They are so delicate and light, with delicious flavors of fresh basil and tomato mixed together. I love Charlie’s. It’s the best of everything, a high-end restaurant, but the prices are more than fair. Our gnocchi meal is around $13. Plus you can dress up for Charlie’s, but you can also come in shorts and feel comfortable too. I prefer my shorts. Solvanya: Look Robb, I can bend thee fork with my mental powers! Robb: You put that under the table and bent it. You are such a faker. Thia: Collette is going to be mad at us for ruining her silverware! Robb: Stop Solvanya. Great! Now we have to replace silverware. Solvanya: Robb, Let me touch your nose. Robb: My nose? Solvanya: Yes, the nose is the most sensitive part of your body.... Robb:Really? I was under the impression that… Solvanya: ..... unlike all of your other senses, your olfactory nerves bypass the thalamus and go directly to the brain. Thia: I thought English was your second language? Robb: Oh, so when you touch my nose, it's sort of like Mr. Spock's "Mind Meld"? Solvanya: Darling, I'm talking science and you are talking grilled cheese sandwiches? Robb: Never mind, so what have you gotten from my nose? Solvanya: You think the food is great. Robb: That's it? That's all my mind is saying? How about that I think the sauce is fantastic? That the chicken is so tender I can cut it with my fork? That the delicate breading is still crisp, not soggy? Did a sense of that wonderful flavor explosion come through my nose? Perhaps when I went "Mmmm" as if I was biting into a small chunk of heaven it was a clue for you that I thought the food was great?

Solvanya: But you did, after all, say the food was great, correct darling? Robb: Yes, but.... ok, ok, let's try again. See those people? That couple right there. What do they think about the food they just tasted? Solvanya: She thinks it's wonderful. He thinks it's excellent! Robb: Oh for goodness sake! Could you be a bit more specific? Solvanya: OK. Let me concentrate. She thinks it's wonderful and tastes great. He thinks it was excellent, and he's stuffed! Robb: Excuse me, Candace, could you do me a favor? See that couple over there? Candace: Yes. That couple is Chris Murphy and Papa Joe, the magistrate judge. They eat here all the time. Robb: Could you please ask them what they thought of their

dinners? Candace returns and says "She said the food is wonderful and tastes great. He thinks it was excellent and he's stuffed" Solvanya: There you go darling! Robb: Oh come on. Of course the fact that he was patting his stomach while blowing out his cheeks with puckered lips and you probably read his lips had nothing to do with it! Has it ever occurred to you that if you go to a great restaurant like Charlie's and "read people's minds" chances are really, really good that they are going to "think" very positive things? The chances are great that you can guess what they're going to think, especially when you're good at reading lips! Solvanya: You are a very sore loser darling, not very becoming. Robb: I've had enough, of you Solvanya! Enough of my dinner too. I'm stuffed but I am still eating because it tastes so good! Thia: So should we have desert? Robb: I can't fit desert. Thia: Let’s get a dessert for all of us to share. Robb: The secret to eating at Charlie's, is to eat slowly. Three minutes ago I couldn't have eaten dessert, but now that everything has compacted, I'm attempting the Tiramisu. (which means "Pick Me Up" in Italian) Flavors are coffee, whipped cream, chocolate, lady fingers. So light and fluffy, creamy and delicious. Thia: Everything we’ve eaten here is delicious. Solvanya: I knew you were going to say that… Robb: Give me a break! Charlie’s Restaurant & Pizzeria (706) 635-2205 15 West Cross Street (off of 515) , East Ellijay

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I

t all started when Rob Kaser asked me... “Do you like Country Rock?” Well... to be honest, I thought it was.... ok. But then I heard McKenzies Mill, and that changed everything! I got to meet them too... Robb: I know you have to go play in a few minutes, so I'll make it short. Tell me all about you. Justin: We are McKenzies Mill from Nashville Tenn, originally from Westend, North Carolina. We met Rob Kaser out in Vegas when we were playing at the MGM. We've been talking to him for a few months and he set all this up, so we are very happy to be here. Robb: Do you play Vegas a lot? Justin: No, not a lot. We were fortunate enough to win a big nationwide competition that took us out to the MGM Grand in Vegas this past December. Robb: What was the competition? Justin: It was "Toby Keith's Bar & Grill Country Jam", which is a big country festival. Roper Apparel, Crown Royal, there were a lot of corporate sponsors...It's a nation-wide competition, we had to go through three rounds of voting. Robb: So you are sort of like the country version of an American Idol? Justin: No... no.... PLEASE don't say that. (They all crack up) Robb: What?... Is that bad? Hey... I'm an old fart. I’m not cool....What do I know? Justin: We played against other live bands like us that had been playing music for a long time. Maybe that is different from American Idol. We did our thing, played a thirty minute set against dozens of other bands. The panel of judges voted and we were lucky enough to win. Robb: I can't wait to hear you! Justin: I hope we don't let you down. Robb:: I doubt it! Not with all the judges voting for you like that, I mean, they must know better than me! Did you win a recording

contract? Justin: No. We won the opportunity to play for 10 nights at the MGM Grand and play both country jam festivals this summer, one in Colorado, one in Wisconsin, we won some cash and a pretty healthy Roper Apparel shopping spree. Not to mention all the things we've been able to spin that into, it was a really successful trip. Robb: Do you play originals? Justin: We do covers and crowd pleasers, but our bread and butter is our originals. We are looking forward to playing them for everyone in Blue Ridge. Robb: Tell me about your band. Justin: McKenzies Mill is actually a Southern Rock Duo, it’s me and my brother Ryan Harris, but we are fortunate enough to have a kick ass band behind us, standing with us here right now. We are probably one of the few southern rock bands with a couple of "Maine-ers" as our guitar players. Nick Gooddell and Paul Newton are a couple of southern boys at heart. We met these boys in Nashville and Paul has been playing with us for five years now, Nick has been with us for a couple. Robb: Interesting mix, Nick has the baseball hat on backwards, just so I remember, kind of "yuppieish" for a southern rock band, no? Like a programmer at Apple or something. And Paul...you look like..... a..... well... kind of like country Mafia enforcer! (All crack up laughing) It’s the suit jackets! It’s the suit jackets guys! Justin: LOL.... don't mess with him man! We've got security! We have bets on where your heart's at musically. What do you

listen to? We are interviewing you now! Robb: I'm more of a James Taylor, Simon & Garfunkel kind of guy. Band: We were wondering how many Grateful Dead Concerts you've been to. (All crack up!) Robb: I know, I know! Uh huh! There you go... I knew it... (I’m told I look like Jerry Garcia quite often) The funny thing is I play out solo occasionally, but I don't play one Grateful Dead song! Can you believe it? Band: (All crack up) Justin: I lost that bet bad! Nick: You could be in a Jerry Garcia tribute band. Justin: That could be your Halloween costume, man! Robb: Right... maybe I should learn the songs and cash in on the look? Rob (Kaser) How did you hook up with these guys? Rob Kaser: We've been working for a year now to put together these shows, bringing in national artists. We want Blue Ridge to become a destination for music. We are trying to raise the bar a little higher for the music that we bring. I went out to Vegas to see my


Dad and I met these guys (McKenzies Mill). They won a battle of the bands. They were playing for ten nights on the MGM Grand Stage. I said, man, Justin, I would love to have you guys come to play in Blue Ridge. Justin gave me their number and said we'll see what we can do. In January we put this thing together. So I've been living McKenzies Mill weekend for six months now. This is the fruition of that. What you are about to be introduced to is another kind of Southern Fried Rock and Roll. Justin: Rob Kaser and I have been speaking a lot over the phone and through email the last few months and he's been working his butt off to put this event together. So I want to say thank you to Rob Kaser. Robb: I want to thank you all. The minute McKenzies Mill started playing.... BAM!... they grabbed the crowd and didn't let go. At first the crowd sat rapt listening to the amazing music and voices, but then, after the first couple songs that pleasant stun wore off and people began to tap, clap, dance and sing along. These guys were great! Not "very good", not "really, really good"... GREAT! They played one favorite hit song after another. And when you thought it couldn't possibly get any better, they

played their originals. Future hits I'd say. As just one example, go to YouTube and check out "My Heaven Is A Small Town", try to tell me that's not a smash hit waiting to happen. In the entertainment business they talka lot about having “it”. These guys are full of “it”! Oh gee! That came out wrong! What I mean is.....these guys are star stuff. Thia and I arrived early and had a great pizza at La Pizzaria, one of Cusina Rustica’s casual dining rooms. If you’ve never been there, the set up is very interesting, it’s like three different restaurants, but..... together. You really have to experience it for yourself, I can’t do it justice here. Cucina Rustica's outdoor stage was the perfect setting for this event. Watching a beautiful sun go down behind them as they played was like pleasure overload. (Luckily it didn't rain) Better yet, this was a charitable event and it was for a wonderful cause. A few days after the event, I spoke to Robby Muschamp from the Blue Ridge Humane Society. She told me how wonderful John and Isabella from Cusina Rustica were. They donated the proceeds from the food and drink sales that

evening. Ms. Muschamp was also very appreciative of Rob Kaser of Rob Kaser Productions who donated a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales. This concert raised about $2500 for the animals. What a beautiful thing. I liked McKenzies Mill so much I went to see them play again the next night. Rob Kaser booked the band at The Whistle Stop Grill and again, I was not disappointed. Boy were all those judges right! There’s another upcoming event that i think you should know about. Once again, Cucina Rustica is hosting a benefit concert. This time for “The Open Arms Foundation” Friday, August 2nd. Topper: Voices of Rock will be playing. I heard the “Topper: Voices of Rock Duo” (just 2 members of the group, keyboard, lead guitar and lead vocals) at L&L Beanery in Blue Ridge and they too were extraordinarily talented. I can’t imagine how good all four of them would sound. Don’t miss this event, I’m planning on being there, come on over and say hello.

Photos by Robb Newman & Bryan Elliott Xcellent Photography Story by Thia & Robb Newman


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s I start writing this story, I checked the price of gold and it is around $1400.00 per OUNCE! Meaning a pound of gold is worth over twentytwo thousand dollars! The only metal worth more is Platinum and as far as I know, you won't find Platinum in your back yard. But you might find gold... “There’s gold in them thar hills”, Mark Twain said, and he was right as far as the hills of Georgia are concerned. We’ve all heard about the 1849 gold rush of California, but did you know the same thing happened here in Georgia? Georgia was the first state to have a stampede of gold miners arrive. The gold runs in a line down through the North Georgia Mountains called The Georgia Gold Belt. In 1928, the first gold rush began here in Georgia, around where Dahlonega now sits. Robb and I jumped in the car on a beautiful sunny Wednesday morning to begin our own gold adventure. In less than an hour we were at our first stop, Consolidated Gold Mines where we meet the boss, Dathan, better known as just “D”. “D” taught us how to pan for gold, educated us on gold and its history and gave us a guided tour of the place, the aboveground part that is. Panning for gold uses the material found in the rivers and streams and is called Placer Mining. As in “Place.” The gold was “placed” by Mother Nature for us to find. We had a chance to try that for ourselves. Consolidated has pans filled with dirt from local streams and as you wash down the dirt and shake it, you rinse away the lighter soil. As you continue to pan you finally get down to the bottom (it takes about fifteen minutes), where there is only a little of the heavier stuff left. It’s black sand and gold! By the time I finished with my pan, there was several little flecks of gold left! “D” took my gold and put it in a vial filled with water. He says depending on the price of gold, those flecks are worth about fifty cents each. So I ended up with a good four dollars worth for my labor! When we were done with our panning we met up with Miss Clancy Bourgeois and her third grade students from North Georgia Christian School from Flowery Branch, Ga. They were having a blast doing gem mining! Gem mining is where you run a bucket's contents of sand and rocks through a sluice and find the gems inside. The kids were finding everything from quartz to garnets and were loving every minute of it. “D” tells me a lot of 3rd, 5th & 8th grade students visit Consolidated Gold Mines for field trips to learn about Georgia history, rocks and minerals & geology. I wondered if chunks of gold were ever found around here. Dathan told us that it was very rare, maybe 3% of gold is in nuggets, but they did have some. Then “D” took us into the gem studio, where they cut the stones and make them into jewelry. He showed us a chunk of gold that was found in Georgia. It weighs about five ounces and is worth about ten thousand dollars! (More than the price per ounce because of it’s rarity) You can see it compared to a quarter. It's a lot heavier than it looks. When Consolidated Gold Mines was originally built, the kind of mining they did was called Hard Rock Mining. That is where they find a vein of quartz with gold in it and dig it out by blasting it with dynamite. Than they crush the quartz to get the gold out. 97% of that kind of gold comes in flecks, “D” compared its appearance and size to cooking flour. I asked “D” how the gold got in there in the first place? “Tectonic plates shift and pushed the mountains upward, there were cracks left. All the molten quartz shot up and filled in the cracks. The gold came with it. When they are liquid they are similar density.” He replied. Ahh, now I get it, sort of. When the workers blasted out the quartz veins, they ended up with underground tunnels. Those tunnels became what people called “The Mines”.

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Story by Thia Newman Photos by Thia Newman, Robb Newman & Courtesy of Consolidated Gold Mines

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ext up was our tour of the actual mines, lead by local legend, Miner Mike. Mike sure looked the part of a miner and had all the knowledge to go along with it. His first statement to us after we were introduced was, “We are going underground, probably most of you will make it back.” Mike made us laugh, and taught us everything you ever wanted to know about mining. We even got a glimpse into his personal history. Miner Mike has had several careers along the way including in the hotel and restaurant business. He tells us he tried robbing banks, but that didn’t work out to well for him. So for the last thirty years, Mike has been a gold miner. “I've tried to make a living

off of gold mining for a while now”, Mike says, “and if you like to eat beans and rice, it's a good living.” Mike has been mining all over, including Canada, but he hasn’t yet fulfilled his dream of gold mining in Alaska. “They have an open spot for me. My friend brought back 30 ounces last time he went, that was his share.” (about $42,000 dollars worth!) As Miner Mike walks us through the wet underground tunnels, he explains what life was like for those that worked the mines. “It’s a hard way to make a living. You could work topside and make 30 cents a day. If you worked below you could make a dollar a day. There was a guy

I wondered, If I did find gold, what would I do with it? Do people in Ellijay really find gold and make money doing it? I thought a good place to get a few questions answered would be from Bill at North Georgia Diamond. How often do people come in with gold they got from panning? Maybe once or twice a month How do you get it cleaned to weigh it properly? It is usually brought in already cleaned and in a vial. We weigh the actual gold in pennyweights and assume that it is at least 22 karat pure What is the most anyone ever brought in from panning? I want to say around a tenth of an ounce or so. Do you buy it? Yes we do...bring it in. Well Bill I certainly plan on bringing mine to you.. When I find it! But I'll leave that story for the next issue.

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called the safetyman he got paid every day, cash, everyone else got paid once a month. Dynamite was unstable and he had to go back and take out the ones that didn't explode and put it in a bucket of mud and water. Then scrape the walls for nitroglycerine.”

gold still in the mine. But, alas, no work for gold miners. The explosions and drilling isn’t allowed in the city of Dahlonega. Mike joked, “I don't think they would let us set off dynamite underneath Walmart.” Some of the mining tunnels do go under Walmart, although these days they are filled with water

Not a job I’d want for sure. As a matter of fact, there was not one job in that mine I’d want to do. Back in the day working in a mine paid well, because of the dangers involved. And even today there is plenty of

We really enjoyed our trip underground with Mike. Being a real gold miner, he knew what it felt like to work the land for gold. Seems like you can get addicted to just looking for a little yellow piece of

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metal. Looking for gold “is like the first ever slot machine”, Mike says. So true. It sure made me want to go home and look for gold in the creek in my backyard. Before we parted ways I asked Mike a couple more questions. What is your largest gold haul? “Around a penny weight, a hundred dollars worth.” Mike answered. And what does your wife think of your love of looking for gold? “She doesn’t mind it ” he says with a laugh, “She’s a gold digger herself.”

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ext stop, The Dahlonega Gold Museum. Just five minutes away on the downtown square we find the oldest standing courthouse in Georgia, built in 1936, and inside it, the Gold Museum. The whole place is built of bricks made with mud from a local creek, and in those bricks, you can see flecks of gold. You can find a lot of gold in the museum. One set of gold coins displayed was minted in Dahlonega between 18381861 and is valued at $680,000! There is a total of over a million dollars worth of gold in the glass-fronted safe containing these coins, but we can’t show you a picture. You are not allowed to take pictures of it. I’m guessing for security reasons. Bob, one of the museum’s docents, let me hold a Krugerrand. It’s a troy ounce of solid gold from

South Africa. It looks like a quarter, but is much heavier. Another Docent showed me a map of where the gold belt stretches across North Georgia, and it sure does come mighty close to the creek that I live on. “We are responsible for a lot of people digging up their backyards!” he says with a laugh. After checking out all the mining displays and reading the information, and talking to the guides downstairs at the museum, we found out here was another whole floor. Upstairs has more on gold, and glass cases filled with civil war weapons and artifacts. There is also a beautiful theater with a big screen that shows an informative movie on the history of gold in North Georgia. We watched the movie and learned a lot. We were also surprised to find that Miner Mike was in the movie! When we got back home from our Gold Adventure, I think I had a touch of gold fever. I spent some time on line researching everything I could find out about gold in our area. The largest gold nugget ever found in Georgia is the size of a baseball and weighed four pounds, 6 ounces. While we don’t

know exactly where it was found (prospectors don’t reveal their best spots) The rumor is that many of Georgia’s biggest nugget finds have been in and around Gilmer County. I just get a feeling that there is a nugget out there waiting for me. And if I do have gold fever, I’m told there is no cure. You can still search and find gold in the Georgia Mountains. But it’s a lot of time and work, and luck to find this precious metal. They told me at the museum that If you gold pan recreationally and you find an ounce a year you are doing great. I did go down to my creek and pan a little bit. I did find shiny silver flakes, shiny copper colored flakes, and a piece of amber even. But so far, no gold. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop looking. I’ve actually found a friend of a friend who is knowledgeable about gold panning around here. So my adventure is going to continue. And I’ll write more about this next time. I’m going to learn how to gold pan, and find me a nugget, because I just know “there is gold in them thar hills!”

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We always want to hear about your favorites! It gives us ideas of new places to go, new things to try out and more things to write about for the paper and for my series on our website, called 100 Reasons Why I Love my Small Town! (Thebestofellijay.com) Andrea Porter Biguns BBQ the best, their sampler platters to die for Diana: Shane's best BBQ, music Creek Don't Rise, breakfast restaurant Waffle House, fast food Checkers, sandwich Ellijay Deli Brian: best sandwich - canteberry restaurant, best beer selection - appalachian beverage, best bar-b-que pooles, best margaritas - mucho kaliente, best gilmer county hiking trail - conasauge river trail (for the summer time swinning holes), most deer per square mile - anywhere in coosawattee river resort, best pizza - charlies, best fast food - taco bell (always), favorite convenience store - Green's Country Store... best outside patio to eat and have a drink - JJs, best wait staff/bartenders - Jilly's, +1 on the best breakfest being at Waffle House.... Susan: Fireworks , wine and cheese, a monster movie, a good book, playing with my cats, making a quilt, going to Jillies Pub , Ellijay auction place, spending time with family.

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Pat: My favorite New Mexican, is pueblo's. $1.49 bud light drafts, all day. The food is excellent. Specials at lunch are great. I promise you will not be disappointed. Rachelle: Mexican- El Burrito, they have the best burritos and homemade corn chips, Fast Food- Taco Bell, Crunchy Taco Supremes, Best Sushi & Stir Fry- Okinawa, Breakfast-Waffle House, everything, but especially bacon and raisin bread toast, Buffet- Papa's Pizza, Ice Cream- Dairy Queen, Ribs- Shanes, Chicken Wings-Jilly's, Bands-Pour House, Pizza-Johnny's Christine: Best sandwich: the deli or canteberrys. best dinner: mikes rest. best ice tea: chili dogs. best buffet: hot and cold Vickie: Biguns BBQ! Potato Salad is awesome. They catered Larry & my wedding vow renewal ceremony. (Talking Rock, but not sure if they r Jasper or Ellijay side. Kristen: our local spring at the park has the best water! penlands has the best apple cider doughnuts! Bestof Ellijay Thank you Kristen Where is the local spring? What Park? I'd like to check it out! Kristen: Next to dairy queen. Jenny: Best Italian ice. (Real fruit) next to papas produce, and across from papas pizza. $2.00 each lemon, pomegranate, cherry, pineapple, pinacolada, & blueberry!

Patti: Wolf Creek Canyon has the best Brisket & Pork & make all there home cooked vegetables fresh! Cassie: Chicken Louise at Cajun Depot Grill is the best pasta dish EVER! Bellanonna Boutique on the square has amazing skin care products! (I'm hooked Samantha How about favorite store on the square? Bellanoona! Hehe! Love the chili dog and jillys pub! Eva: Favorite Chinese is Happy Family hands down! Their crab rangoon is SOOO good Kristen : Mr P's paradise burger ...mmmmm Jerilyn: I love Biguns BBQ, The Talking Rock burger is divine! Joyce: Best grass fed beef, Mountain Valley Farm Ellijay about an hour ago via mobile 路 Like 路 1 Pat Best chocolate pies at Patty Cake Bakery.Best bargains on Ellijay Online Yard Sale on Facebook. Sue: Hansard Produce at Cherokee Market at Buffington Hwy 20 and Union Hill rd Beef and pork also. James: Bitter Creek Meat Market in Blairsville. Best Filet Mignion. Worth the drive. I never buy any other place.

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e didn't know him either. We were running late when we arrived at Gilmer Arts’ Acoustic Blends that Friday night, so we snuck in and took seats way in the back. The guy on the stage was singing and doing a pretty good job of it. As we settled in, all of a sudden he started singing about our paper! We were both stunned and honored as we listened to the words he was singing to the tune of "On the Cover of the Rolling Stone" by Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show........

Well I'm playing and I'm singing I'm smiling and I'm grinning Playing here whenever I can I write my own songs I sing my own songs AndIevengot me acoupleoffans I practice every night and I practice every day But try and try as I may I can't get my picture, no I can't get my picture On the cover of the Best of Ellijay Wannaseemy pictureinthat paper Gonna use it as wallpaper Wanna see my picture today On the cover of the Best of Ellijay We caught up with this singer later in the night and he introduced himself as Jack. Jack told us he had rewritten part of the song the night before, that he loved our paper and didn't know that we were going to be in the audience that night. It was just luck that we were there and lucky enough to hear him sing his version of the song. We asked Jack if he really wanted to be on the cover of our paper, he said “I'd love to be, even if my picture was the size of a postage stamp!.” Since he had gone through so much trouble to rewrite the song and all, we figured we'd repay his kindness. Guess what Jack, you got your picture on the cover of The Best of Ellijay, Blue Ridge & Jasper! (Even if it is the size of a postage stamp!)

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he Truett Lollis Band rolled into the East Ellijay Pourhouse on their first venture into North Georgia to put on a first class, face melting performance. This Marietta, Georgia based band consists of three members who play a style of music blending blues, southern rock, and soul with fresh funky energy. Truett Lollis, vocals and guitar, is a special talent whose playing was not about the number of notes he played, but what the impact of each note played had on the song. His playing displayed a talent found only in elite musicians where he was not so much playing the guitar, rather using it as an instrument to convey his emotion and feeling. The bass clef tattooed on Jonathan Norwood’s left forearm made it perfectly clear that he was right where he wanted to be behind the bass guitar. Norwood’s playing proved he is not a frustrated guitarist picking up a bass for work, but rather a musician dedicated to the mastery of the four string thunder broom. His strong vocals blended perfectly with Lollis to form killer harmonies throughout the night. Jody White’s work on the drums was a perfect fit for this lineup. He effortlessly combined the power of rock drumming with the sophistication and interaction of jazz awareness. White is what I refer to as a listening drummer. This was not a band where each musician stacked their part on top of a run-away drum beat. These were three masters of their instruments interacting and combining their talents on stage to let each song be what it was meant to be that night. These are a special group of young musicians who put on a top notch performance at The East Ellijay Pourhouse. I highly suggest any music fan catch a show by The Truett Lollis Band when you get a chance.

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-J.R. Starr Wasn’t that beautifully executed? I can’t write like that, even when I’m operating at 100 percent, (less often than I’d like) and certainly not about music. It takes someone really “in the know” to write like that. That’s why I asked J.R. Starr to step in and give the Truett Lollis Band a review with some panache, the kind of review a band like this derserves. I’ll wait and formerly introduce J.R. at another time and when we have the room to do it properly. I am good enough, though, to do an interview with the virtuoso himself. And so I did...... Robb: So.... you just started playing recently right? Truett Lollis: Well, actually I've been playing since... No I've been playing since I was 11 and I'm 23 now. R: I was just kidding, but there's a lot of people that, that have been playing since they were 11 and are 23 now that don't play like that. TL: Well thank you. I appreciate that. Thank you. R: Let's get serious. I mean, I mean.... That's like Hendrix level. TL: Ah, thank you my brother. Thank you. R: No, I mean seriously. I mean that's like, you were.... (sucking noise).... you know the thing I dislike the mo....what the hell is that? TL: It's an electronic cigarette.

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R: Oh, electronic cigarette.... TL: It's just nicotine and water vapor. I quit smoking so... R: The thing that.... the biggest problem with the paper is you can't describe to someone how good someone is, they have to listen. So, do you have a website, YouTube videos they can check out? TL: I do. I have a website, it's TruettLollis.com We also have a Facebook page and a Reverbnation page and you'll be able to find us on YouTube. R: You're going to be back here again when? TL: We haven't booked it yet. This is the first time for me in Ellijay at the Pourhouse. We play a lot. We're from Marietta and I grew up there, I was born and raised there. We have weekly shows down there Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and then we're all over the place, Atlanta, Kennesaw, Doraville, Snellville, you know, all over the place. Primarily we're out of Marietta/Kennesaw area. R: So, who are your influences? TL: Well growing up.... R: Stevie Rae Vaughn! TL: Yeah, growing up all I listened to was southern rock and I loved, like, you know, Lynard Skynard and the Allman Brothers and Black Foot and Marshall Tucker Band and then I got Stevie Ray Vaughns’ Texas Flood album when I was like ten and it just moved me in ways that I've never been moved before ya know and I just felt that there was so much soul in his music and that's why I wanted to start playing the Blues and then I started listening to Freddy King and Albert King and Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter, Rory Gallagher, and you know...Otis Rush and stuff like that and so I was primarily Blues and then now my style has kinda moved more into like... well as far as the stuff I write, it’s more like southern soul, ya know? And I've been listening to a lot more soul music and that's kinda the way I've been writing lately. My original stuff. R: You're kinda too young for Hendrix and Clapton I guess? TL: Oh I love Hendrix, love Clapton but my primary influence was Stevie Ray. I did more studying of Hendrix later on after I studied Stevie Ray R: I noticed a little, it seemed like a little bit of Hendrix in there. TL: Oh yeah, absolutely. No, I'll play some Hendrix stuff tonight too. R: I think if anything a little bit of your showmanship is Hendrix. TL: Yeah, Hendrix is definitely a big influence. R: So, how do you move your fingers that fast? How does a human being do that without having superpowers? TL: Oh (laughs) just lots and lots of years of practice and muscle memory and I used to, when I first started playing when I was like 10 years old I'd just sit in my room for 3 hours a day every day just play, play, play, play, play nonstop and now we play so much out that I don't practice as much, but it was for time I

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was 10 till 14 I was just everyday in my room listening to records and playing nonstop. R: Amazing. You know, I finger pick and play more acoustic style. I have trouble remembering and playing “Dueling Banjos”! But, the way you just fly down the neck and you just end up perfectly on everyone of those 450,000 notes amazes me. TL: It's definitely a God given talent for sure. R: You’ve got great guys in your band the drummer what's his name? TL: Yeah, Jody White is the drummer, Jonathan Norwood is the Bass player. R: Fantastic. I mean the three of you together are just like a tight unit. TL: Yeah, we've been playing together now, Jonathan and I have been playing together for three years and then Jody's been in the band about a year and a half, we actually have a, we actually have a Conga player too. R: A conga player? How does that fit in? TL: Oh it fits in great man. It sounds really cool. It really blends. But he, one of his good friends is getting married tonight so he had to go to that. R: So you and Jonathan are the two singers, Jody, the drummer, doesn't sing right? TL: Nuh uh, no. Jonathan harmonizes really well, he actually just recently discovered his talents for singing harmony cause he never sang and now, just the past two years he's been singing harmony. R: Yeah, he was even doing tight harmony on that happy birthday number! TL: (Laughs) Yeah. R: Who did you sing happy birthday to...uh Jaime? TL: Uh, Sandra Jean. R: Yeah! Even THAT was awesome! TL: (laughs) Thank you. R: Surprisingly, for a three-man band, you sound incredibly full. You’ve got a great blues-sy voice. TL: The guitar playing kinda came naturally to me but singing, that I really had to work on. R: That's great. So what else can you tell me about you? You're orginal stuff was really very good. TL: Thank you, I appreciate that. R: You write those yourself? TL: Mm hmm. Jonathan and I wrote a few of them together and a couple of them I wrote, but Jonathan and I write a lot together and he, he's a great writer R: So you said you were in a recording studio. TL: Yeah, we're recording our second EP. R: Yeah? TL: Right now we have one 3 song EP that you can listen to on our website and on our Reverb Nation, it's just a 3 song. And then we're recording a 5 song EP right now in Jody, my drummer's, studio. R: Ok great, so people can buy your music on your website? TL: Uh, not on our website. You have to buy it, you have to buy it from us. We haven't set it up to where we can sell it online and actually, we're totally sold out right now. R: Really? TL: We're completely sold out. R: I’m not surprised.

Remember When & Win!..... Bewitched! Over the last few months I've watched more than 100 episodes of Bewitched, that 1964-1972 comedy series, where adorable housewife, nosetwitching Samantha is a witch married to mortal advertising executive Darrin Stephens. Darrin's mother-in-law Endora causes him many problems, and he's opposed to witch-craft, but it goes on anyway in his house, often right under HIS nose. I watched Bewitched for the first time at my Grandmother's house, when I was very young, and possibly even then, it was reruns that I was seeing. She was the only one in the family that had cable and colored TV! She also was a great cook who made me hamburgers cooked in bacon grease, fried potatoes and corn with lots of butter ( wonder where my high cholesterol comes from) I have so many fond memories of her house and the delicious smells coming from the kitchen, along with the colorful harmless comedy programs I watched at there. When I first watched Bewitched with a child's eyes, it was enchanting and I wished I could make baby elephants appear and whisk myself off to exotic lands with a wriggle of my nose. I also wanted to trade places with the Steven's toddler Tabitha who was born with witching skills and could make any toy she wanted appear to her. Now that I"m an adult, the nose twitching isn't as appealing. There are many other things like health, friendship, and love that are much more important than what could be "Twitched" into my life. However, after re-watching so much Bewitched, I certainly wouldn't turn down the chance to use some of those magic powers to clean my house ! Some Bewitched Trivia questions1.What is Darrin & Samantha's address? Street, City and State!

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vidently Blue Ridge Georgia makes a better Mt. Kisco N.Y. than Mt. Kisco N.Y. does! That's why Hollywood came to our town and turned The Swan Drive-In into the Mt. Kisco Drive-In. And all because someone has a "Need For Speed". Many North Georgia-ites were cast as extras, and our locals with classic cars were featured too! This Need For Speed is based on some popular video games including one by the same name. The movie is about a street racer who joins a cross country race. It is directed by Scott Waugh, and stars Aaron Paul, Imogen Pootsm Dominic Cooper, Kid Cudim Rami Malek and Michael Keaton It will be in theaters Mid-March 2014

2.What are the names of the two kids? 3.When did Samantha tell Darrin she was a witch? If you want to answer the trivia questions and/or fondly remember something from the old days, drop me an email about it. I'll be giving away my dvd episodes of Bewitched to someone that writes me. Any entries may be used for publication with your permission. TBOEBRJContest@gmail.com

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By Matt Youngblood WYYZ AM RADIO

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he 32nd annual Texaco Country Showdown, the oldest country music talent contest in the nation, made its way to Rocco’s Pub on Sunday June 2nd. That Sunday afternoon, Rocco's outdoor stage was filled with talented singers and musicians for five hour long competition. This showcase has served as a launching point for such notable country stars as Martina McBride, Garth Brooks, Montgomery Gentry and Jason Aldean to name a few. In conjunction with local radio WYYZ 1490AM, the event help to showcase the local talent that’s tucked into the nooks and hollers of our North Georgia Mountains. Some of the acts traveled from as far away as Calhoun to be in this year’s competition. This helped add to the overall talent pool and enabled numerous North Georgia counties to be represented at this year’s local competition. This year’s competition was a fierce one with 14 talented competitors pulling out all the stops and pouring themselves into their performances. Each highly talented competitor performed three songs, which varied from familiar covers to their own originals. The

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only task seemingly more difficult than performing on the stage, was that of the judges who held the arduous task of selecting the best of the best. Picking the best proved difficult giving this year’s level of talent. This year’s judges included Robb Newman, editor of the Best of Ellijay, Blue Ridge and Jasper, local country music artist Bobby Mountain, and music aficionado David Johnson, all of who stepped up to the challenge of whittling down this amazingly talented field from fourteen to the top three. While all the competitors brought their A game to

Rocco’s, only three acts would walk away winners . Third place winner was Daisy Chain, a duo from Ellijay. While first and second place were separated by only a few points, the second place award went to Hali Hicks from Calhoun and first place went to Chloe Litton and Brandy Creek coming from Fairmont. Chloe and Brandy will travel from here to compete at the state level competition being held at the Coweta County Fair on September 28 in Newnan Ga. While the local competition is over, the Texaco Country Showdown will return to Rocco’s Pub in association with WYYZ 1490AM in November for the Regional competition. This event will see the top competitors from surrounding states competing to see who will move on to the final level of $100,000 competition. The finals are being held at the historic Ryman Theater in Nashville and hosted by national recording artist Jewel and televised on CMT.

DON’T MISS The Next First Saturday Celebration August 3rd


•••July Monday July 1

Lee's Courtyard Grille, Downtown Blue Ridge 6-10 •T.J. McArthur -Jilly's Pub,Ellijay 7pm

•Open Mic Night with John Gardner - Rocco’s Pub Jasper 7-10pm

Saturday July 13

Thursday July 4 •Matthew Croxton - Cartecay Vinyard - 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm •THE BEATALS: The General Store Coosawhatte - Open To Public 69pm •Breaking Point - The Copperhead Lodge, Blairsville 5 pm to dark Open Mic Night - Mucho Kaliente East Ellijay •Mark Osborne - Christy Lee's Courtyard Grille, Downtown Blue Ridge • 4th Of July Celebrations - Each County

Friday July 5

•Greg Erwin - Cartecay Vinyard 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm •Dwight Sanford - "PICK'IN ON THE PORCH" at The General Store Coosawhatte - Open To Public 79pm •One Night Stand - ROCCO'S PUB - Jasper 7-10pm. •Nattie Loevejoy - The Whistle Stop Grill, Downtown Blue Ridge *Edgel Groves & Company, Tavern at Wolfscratch 7:30-10:30 •Bill Pound at Tavern at Wolfscratch 8pm •St. Judes Racking Horse Show Gilmer County Saddle Club Arena Time TBA

•Danny Rhea - The Copperhead Lodge, Blairsville 7 pm •Aaron Stacy &the wanted ROCCO'S PUB - Jasper 7-10pm •Matt Croxton - Wolf Creek Canyon BBQ East Ellijay 7pm •Nancy Chancy - (Outside) Christy Lee's Courtyard Grille, Downtown Blue Ridge 6-10 •John Charping - (Inside) Christy Lee's Courtyard Grille, Downtown Blue Ridge 6-10 •Paige & Charles - Jilly's Pub, Ellijay 7pm •Acoustic Blends at Gilmer Arts •TLE band - Pourhouse - East Ellijay

•Open Mic Night - Mucho Kaliente East Ellijay •Jeff Bianchi- Sharptop Arts Association 7pm - 68 D.B. Carroll Street Jasper 706-692-0101 •Thomas Fountain Acoustic - Pourhouse - East Ellijay

Saturday July 6

Friday July 19

•Josh Gilbert - Cartecay Vinyard 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm •High Noon: 8pm Copperhead Lodge In Blairsville, GA. •Destination - ROCCO'S PUB Jasper 7-10pm •Gregg Erwin - Wolf Creek Canyon BBQ East Ellijay 7pm •John Charping - (Inside) Christy Lee's Courtyard Grille, Downtown Blue Ridge 6-10 •Paul Constantine - (Outside) Christy Lee's Courtyard Grille, Downtown Blue Ridge 6-10 • Downtown Ellijay “FIRST SATURDAY” Celebration - Live Music •Open Mic Night with John Gardner - Rocco’s Pub Jasper 7-10pm

•Matt Croxton - Jilly's Pub Ellijay 7pm •Crista Lynn - Copperhead Lodge In Blairsville 8 pm •Downtown Roy Band - Wolf Creek Canyon BBQ - East Ellijay •Dashcrackers - ROCCO'S PUB Jasper 7-10pm. •Downtown Roy - Wolf Creek Canyon BBQ East Ellijay 7pm •Nancy Chancy - (Outside) Christy Lee's Courtyard Grille, Downtown Blue Ridge 6-10 •John Charping - (Inside) Christy Lee's Courtyard Grille, Downtown Blue Ridge 6-10 •Adam Kadmon - The Whistle Stop Grill, Downtown Blue Ridge •Ashley Rea - Pourhouse - East Ellijay

Thursday July 11

Saturday July 20

•Open Mic Night - Mucho Kaliente East Ellijay • Daisy Chain - Pourhouse - East Ellijay

•April Cummings - Cartecay Vinyard - 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm •Matt Croxton - The Tavern in Big Canoe •THE BEATALS - Charlie Browns in Haysville, NC. 8pm •Men in Blues - Copperhead Lodge In Blairsville 7 pm •Hank Bird - ROCCO'S PUB Jasper 7-10pm. •Adam Kadmon - The Whistle Stop Grill, Downtown Blue Ridge •DSCW WRESTLING at the Dscw arena in Blue Ridge Ga at 8 pm

Monday July 8

Friday July 12 •Eric Smith Project - Copperhead Lodge In Blairsville, GA. 7 pm Pick Up Line - ROCCO'S PUB Jasper 7-10pm. •Matt Chastain - Wolf Creek Canyon BBQ East Ellijay 7pm •Mike Bean - JJ’s on River Street Ellijay •John Charping - (Inside) Christy

Sunday July 14 •DSCW WRESTLING at Roccos Pub in Jasper Ga at 3 pm

Monday July 15 •Open Mic Night with John Gardner - Rocco’s Pub Jasper 7-10pm

Thursday July 18

Monday July 22

Friday August 2

•Pioneer Chick'n Stand Acoustic The Tavern in Big Canoe •Open Mic Night with John Gardner - Rocco’s Pub Jasper 7-10pm

•BENEFIT CONCERT - TOPPER: The Voices Of Rock - for the Open Arms foundation at Cucina Rustica in Morganton, GA •An Evening of Georgia Music featuring song writers Don Byers & Keren Leppo, Copperhead Lodge In Blairsville 7 pm •Glory Hounds - ROCCO'S PUB Jasper 7-10pm. •Creek Don't Rise - Wolf Creek Canyon BBQ East Ellijay 7pm •TBA - Jilly's Pub, Ellijay 7pm •Acoustic Blends at Gilmer Arts

Thursday July 25 •Open Mic Night - Mucho Kaliente East Ellijay

Friday July 26 •Downtown Roy JJ's 7:30 •Daisy Chain - Jilly's Pub Downtown Ellijay 7pm •John Berry - Copperhead Lodge In Blairsville 8 pm •Modern Vinyle - ROCCO'S PUB Jasper 7-10pm. •Jeremiah Beck - Wolf Creek Canyon BBQ East Ellijay 7pm •John Charping - (Inside) Christy Lee's Courtyard Grille, Downtown Blue Ridge 6-10 •Danny Rhea - The Whistle Stop Grill, Downtown Blue Ridge •Bill Pound Tavern at Wolfscratch 8pm •TBA - Jilly's Pub, Ellijay 7pm • Pourhouse - 4 year anniversary with Jacob Bryant: birthday bash

Saturday July 27 •Danny Rhea - Cartecay Vinyard 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm •The Loose Shoes Duo - Chicago's 7:30pm – 11:30pm - Roswell, GA •12 Gauge Persuaders - Copperhead Lodge In Blairsville 7 pm •Barefoot Boone - "PICK'IN ON THE PORCH" at The General Store Coosawhatte - Open To Public 79pm •John Michael Rose - ROCCO'S PUB - Jasper 7-10pm. •Slickfoot - The Whistle Stop Grill, Downtown Blue Ridge •Joe Gransden, Jazz Trumpet Terraces at Big Canoe 7:30pm •Samantha Sue Tavern at Wolfscratch 8pm •DSCW WRESTLING at the Copper Hill Ymca Gym on to of Copper Hill City Hall at 8 pm •Open Horse Show - Gilmer County Saddle Club Arena @ 5:00pm

Monday August 12

General Store Coosawhatte - Open To Public 7-9pm •John Michael Rose - ROCCO'S PUB - Jasper 7-10pm. •Twice Over Memphis - The Whistle Stop Grill, Downtown Blue Ridge •Fallacy - Pourhouse - East Ellijay •Open Horse Show - Gilmer County Saddle Club Arena Time TBA

•Open Mic Night with John Gardner - Rocco’s Pub Jasper 7-10pm

Monday August 26

Thursday August 15

•Open Mic Night with John Gardner - Rocco’s Pub Jasper 7-10pm

•Open Mic Night - Mucho Kaliente East Ellijay

Thursday August 29

Saturday August 3

Friday August 16

•Open Mic Night - Mucho Kaliente East Ellijay

•Barefoot Boone - Cartecay Vinyard - 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm •Looseshoes Band - Guston’s Woodstock, GA 9:30pm-1:30am •Rockabilly Luau featuring Atomic Boogie Copperhead Lodge In Blairsville 7 pm •Rockasaurus - ROCCO'S PUB Jasper 7-10pm. •One Night Stand - The Whistle Stop Grill, Downtown Blue Ridge •3D Off The Wall Exhibit The Art Center Blue Ridge Thru 8.30 •U-Fish at Mercier's Orchard 10am-2pm • Downtown Ellijay “FIRST SATURDAY” Celebration - Live Music

•Shuffle Junkies - ROCCO'S PUB Jasper 7-10pm. •Crosstown Revival - Wolf Creek Canyon BBQ East Ellijay 7pm •TBA - Jilly's Pub, Ellijay 7pm • JC Bridwell - Pourhouse - East Ellijay •Kiwanis Rodeo Blue Ridge, Ga Aug 16-17

Sunday August 4 Raland Patterson Book signing at Mercier's 10am-2pm

Monday August 5 •Open Mic Night with John Gardner - Rocco’s Pub Jasper 7-10pm

Thursday August 8 •Daisy Chain - The Pourhouse East Ellijay •Open Mic Night - Mucho Kaliente East Ellijay

Friday August 9

•Matt Croxton- The Tavern in Big Canoe •HIGH NOON: 8pm at loafers in Andrews, NC.

•THE BEATALS - Copperhead Lodge 7pm.in Blairsville, Ga. •Loose Shoes Duo - The Roswell Tap 8-11pm Roswell, GA •Gator - ROCCO'S PUB - Jasper 710pm. •Jeremiah Beck - Wolf Creek Canyon BBQ East Ellijay 7pm •TBA - Jilly's Pub, Ellijay 7pm •Angela Reign - Pourhouse - East Ellijay

Monday July 29

Saturday August 10

•Open Mic Night with John Gardner - Rocco’s Pub Jasper 7-10pm

•CONCERT: Confederate Railroad with special guests Waylon Jenning’s’ Band - Waymore Outlaws Advance Tickets $20 or $25 Day Of Show - Kids under 12 FREE - 706697-7777 - 8pm gates open at 5pm •Tim Nielson - Cartecay Vinyard 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm •Loose Shoes Duo - The Vine Downtown Blue Ridge 7 -10pm •One Night Stand Band - Copperhead Lodge in Blairsville 7 pm •Audio Alliance - The Whistle Stop Grill, Downtown Blue Ridge •E.B. Reece - "PICK'IN ON THE PORCH" at The General Store Coo-

Sunday July 28

•••August Gilmer County Fair August 6 - 10 Tues, Wed, Thurs 6-11pm Fri 6-12pm • Sat 6-12pm At The Lions Club Fairgrounds Ellijay, GA See Ad This Issue

Thursday August 1 •Thomas Fountain Band- Pourhouse - East Ellijay

sawhatte - Open To Public 7-9pm •Angela Reign Band - ROCCO'S PUB - Jasper 7-10pm. •DSCW WRESTLING at The Dscw arena in Blue Ridge Ga at 8 pm Tna star from Aces and Eights Doc will be there.

Saturday August 17 •Matthew Croxton - Cartecay Vinyard - 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm •Loose Shoes Band - Little River Sports Bar & Grll, Canton, GA 8pm12am •Destination - ROCCO'S PUB Jasper 7-10pm. •Kharisma - The Whistle Stop Grill, Downtown Blue Ridge •Kurt Thomas Country Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist, Terraces at Big Canoe 7:30pm • JC Bridwell - Pourhouse - East Ellijay •Southeastern Bluegrass Association (SEBA): •DSCW WRESTLING at the Dscw Arena in Blue Ridge Ga at 8 pm Tna star Jimmy Rave will be there.

Friday August 30 •Daisy Chain - Jilly's Pub Downtown Ellijay •The Plowboys - Copperhead Lodge in Blairsville 7 pm •Modern Vinyle - ROCCO'S PUB Jasper 7-10pm. •Adam Kadmon - The Whistle Stop Grill, Downtown Blue Ridge •Wade Sapp - Pourhouse - East Ellijay

Saturday August 31 •Josh Gilbert - Cartecay Vinyard 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm •Local Legends - Copperhead Lodge in Blairsville - 7 pm •Hank Bird - ROCCO'S PUB Jasper 7-10pm. •Gregg Erwin - Wolf Creek Canyon BBQ East Ellijay 7pm •Adam Kadmon - The Whistle Stop Grill, Downtown Blue Ridge •Wade Sapp - Pourhouse - East Ellijay •DSCW WRESTLING Location and time to be announced already signed The Rock n Roll Express.

Monday September 2 Monday August 19 •Open Mic Night with John Gardner - Rocco’s Pub Jasper 7-10pm

•Barefoot Boone - Cartecay Vinyard - 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm

Friday September 6 Thursday August 22 •Open Mic Night - Mucho Kaliente East Ellijay •Thomas Fountain - Pourhouse East Ellijay

•Acoustic Blends at Gilmer Arts •Daisy Chain playing from 6-8, CC Morgan Band 9-1. - Rocco’s Pub Jasper

Saturday September 7 Friday August 23 •Paul Constantine - Copperhead Lodge in Blairsville 7 pm •Slickfoot - ROCCO'S PUB - Jasper 7-10pm. •Daisy Chain - Wolf Creek Canyon BBQ East Ellijay 7pm •TBA - Jilly's Pub, Ellijay 7pm

•CONCERT: Doug Stone with special guests Shenandoah - Advance Tickets $20 or $25 Day Of Show Kids under 12 FREE - 706-697-7777 - 8pm gates open at 5pm

EVERY MONDAY • Shane's BBQ - Ellijay, Bingo 6:30 •Open Mic at Rocco’s - Jasper

Saturday August 24 •Man Bites Dog - Cartecay Vinyard - 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm •The Loose Shoes Duo - Chicago's 7:30pm – 11:30pm - Roswell, GA •Rockfest,, Battle of the Bands, and Modern Vinyl - Copperhead Lodge in Blairsville - 11 am - dark •Eagles Mountain Jam (players to be determined, but mostly made up of local talent, including you?) •"PICK'IN ON THE PORCH" at The

EVERY THURSDAY • Trivia - Johnny's Pizza Jasper

EVERY FRIDAY •Live Music at Walkers BBQ- Ellijay starting at 6:30

Have FUN!!!! : ) 39


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How does a simple gourd become a beautiful piece of art? Mary’s answer is on her website. I’ve shortened it here:

By Thia Newman Pictures by Robb Newman & Mary Cinnamon

R

obb and I headed down to the Blue Ridge Arts In The Park, not only to check out the manmade creations, but also to meet my friend, gourd artist, Mary Cinnamon. Ms. Cinnamon has been showcasing her wares at this art festival for three years now and is very happy with how it’s worked out. I had never heard of a gourd artist until I met Mary on Facebook. Once I looked at the pictures of her art, I was hooked. One of the largest and most eyecatching works Mary had displayed in Blue Ridge was “The Storyteller”. I

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asked her how that piece came about. “My husband, Jim and I collect Native American art. One of the artists we have always admired is a Cochiti Pueblo Indian potter named Helen Cordero who was one of the first artists to create the Storyteller in her medium. I didn't see any reason why this concept couldn't also be captured in my gourds. It was just a matter of finding the right sizes and shapes and the rest would fall into place. I'm such an optimist!” And fall into place it did, to become one of the pieces that Mary sold the weekend of the festival. The Storyteller went for $300 and now has a new home. Mary’s art ranges in price from $20 to $350. I’m looking at ordering an orange chicken for myself. (Yes my kitchen is black and orange) I like the idea of having one made just for me. And I’m not the only one, because Mary does a lot of custom work. I wondered how long it takes to get my orange chicken made. “Anywhere from two to four weeks, Mary said, depending on our show schedule and the nature of the piece. We do a lot of special orders. For me, it's more than just selling a piece of artwork; it's making friends who will come back to see us.” Mary does have some help with the lifting and carrying part of the job (like all the packing and unpacking for

the Blue Ridge Arts In The Park Festival), and that would be her husband of twenty-three years, Jim Cinnamon. Mary says “We have eight children between us, six of which I personally bore, ouch!” I also asked about that interesting last name Cinnamon, thinking it had something to do with the spice. But I was wrong. It may have come from France, or Scotland or Ireland. There is so much research and history on that last name, done by Mary & Jim’s relatives that I could do a whole story on that alone! But lets leave it at this, you can read all about it on the Cinnamon Family’s website herehttp://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry. com/~cinnamon/IndexC.html. Mary says “"The reality is...we don't know where the heck we came from!” But we do know where Mary’s love affairs with gourds came from. It started in 1998 when she saw a wagonload of them, purchased a dozen, took them home and turned them into art. Or at least her first attempts at art. And these first gourds became gifts for her family on every occasion. While Mary wasn’t too sure of their artistic value, her supporters thought she should sell her decorated gourds. And before you know it, she and her gourds were winning ribbons and awards all over Kentucky! After living most of her adult life in Kentucky, Mary and her husband, decided it was time for an adventure and they moved to Cherry Log. Mary says, “I love the mountains. Love the sights, sounds, smells of an early morning walk in the mountains. Love the peace, the serenity, the solitude. It is from nature herself that I draw so much inspiration. Love the people here, their warmth, their real-ness. It's ironic that we should find ourselves living here because I've always told my children that when I die they are to scatter my ashes in the mountains and the winds will carry me to where I was always meant to be. “ Looks like Mary got to where she was always meant to be, right here with us, in the North Georgia Mountains, making gourds into art. www.gourdsbygertskid.netfirms.com gertskid@gmail.com PO Box 316, Cherry Log GA 30522 706-635-8791 100

THE CLEANING Forget everything you've ever heard about the life of an artist being romantic. There is nothing romantic about scraping slime off a gourd. Actually, it's pretty disgusting. There's a multitude of tips and tricks about the cleaning process but we rely on the old fashioned "bleach and detergent in a tub of hot water" soak. This is followed by a brisk scrub with a steel wool pad, a hot rinse, a cold rinse, and a pat down with a soft terry towel. THE PREP WORK Much like humans, few gourds boast a perfect complexion. They have unsightly moles and ugly dry patches and wrinkles and blemishes. No problem! This is why God gave us sandpaper, patching paste and wood putty. Perfect symmetry is also a rarity in the gourd but in our opinion, one of the crafter's greatest challenges. Truth be told, sometimes it's better to go with the flow and "use" the imperfections rather than try to conceal. THE INSPIRATION From whence do the ideas flow? What we learned from the gourd is that we don't tell it diddley-squat. It tells us! Should we attempt to craft it into something it's not destined to be, everyone's cranky (gourd included). So when in doubt, we watch and we wonder and we wait. The gourd will eventually make all things clear to us. THE PROCESS Once the second basecoat is applied, the imagination is given a free rein and depending on the amount of caffeine consumed on any given morning, that can sometimes be a very scary ride. But also one filled with a lot of laughs, a few "oh, dang-its," a dozen "ohmigosh-would-youlook-at-thats" and six to eight hours of unfettered joy. Not a bad way to spend the day.

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T

he word “Pinhoti” is Creek Indian for "Turkey Home." It is also the name of one of the best hiking and mountain biking trail systems in North Georgia. For me, I’m a mountain biker first and hiker second. Both satisfy my love of being outdoors but there’s something about the adrenalin rush found by blazing down the backside of a mountain, teeth rattling and trees flying by, that only a mountain bike can deliver. Hiking delivers innerpeace, relaxation - a whole “one with nature” Zen kind of thing. But back to “Pinhoti”. The Pinhoti is a 335 mile trail that runs from the south in Weogufka, AL to its northern terminus where it joins the Benton McKaye trail in North Georgia. In Ellijay, several sections of the trail can be accessed right off Hwy 52 going towards Fort Mountain. While on the Pinhoti over the years, I’ve had encounters with deer, bear, coyotes, rabbits, snakes and even a few hogs but nothing has been more terrifying and traumatic than my a run in with a rafter of turkeys, (No kidding, a group of turkeys is called a “rafter”). Sure, you think turkey and you think Thanksgiving. You think of a tame farm raised bird of disproportionate measures grown to a size so large that a family of 6 could be well fed on left over turkey sandwiches for weeks. Maybe that’s true of the farm raised variety, but wild turkeys, they’re different. They’re vicious, snarling beasts with giant claws. They flap their wings with ferocity and violence stirring everything within miles into a swirling vortex of dirt and debris. They’re smart, calculating monsters and they’re just plain mean. Don’t believe me? So there I was - and, it should be known, all good stories start with the phrase, “So there I was”. So there I was, parked on the side of Gates Chapel Rd, unloading my bike. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Sky a deep shade of blue, sun high above and not a cloud in sight. It was a perfect day, or so I thought. I had no idea that a life-altering event was about to take place. An event so horrifying that I’d never think of a turkey dinner the same way again. The ride started off great. There’s about a 1 ½ mile ride up a forest service road to pick up a short section of Bear Creek Trail before heading up the Pinhoti. It was one of those rides where you feel great - pedaling effortlessly, breathing easily and you, for some reason, you just feel fast. I started the climb up to the top. Now, pedaling up a mountain isn’t for everyone. Those it is for, don’t always consider it to be the “best” part of mountain biking. Me, for some reason, I like to climb. It’s reward based really. You spend 45 minutes pedaling up a mountain just so you can spend 15 minutes blasting down it. Then repeat – that’s basically mountain biking in the mountains. On this day, because I was feeling “fast”, (yea, famous last words), I couldn’t wait to crest the mountain and begin the “blasting” part. Before continuing, please note two things. One, as I rattled off wildlife that would be able

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to appreciate and be witness to my pure awesomeness, I left out “turkey”. Two, as I said before, “Pinhoti” is Creek Indian for “Turkey Home”, so I should’ve factored these beasts into the equation. Finally, I crested. This is what having the perfect day was all about. So, there I was, (and there’s that phrase again), slashing my way down the mountain. I was “fast”…aerodynamic even. Man and bike had morphed into this single instrument of sheer awesomeness. Life was perfect. At that moment, rounding a corner, time stopped. Literally. Everything stopped. In the middle of the trail, just a few feet in front of me, was a rafter of turkeys. Remember, I’m aerodynamic and fast and full of awesomeness and these turkeys, well, they weren’t impressed. I saw their expressions change. Yes, these turkeys had expressions. First it was confusion mixed with a little panic. Then, a stern look covered their faces and they seemed to begin organizing at that point – I guess these beasts can communicate telepathically or something, and formed what I could best describe as an attack formation. It seemed that their eyes turned red and, I can’t confirm this 100%, but I

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feel pretty certain I saw one of the turkeys point at me and say “Let’s get ‘em”. Time moved again. I grabbed my brakes to no avail and skidded into the brunt of their front line defenses. What was probably 7 or 8 turkeys seemed like a 100. They flew right into my face, wings flapping, feathers flying, screeching “gobble gobble gobble” as their battle cry. I swatted, ducked, covered, they were everywhere. I couldn’t see and I felt what I could best describe as pecking. Wings were battering me in all directions, and I’m convinced a big bruiser of a turkey actually pushed me because somewhere along the way, the morphing of man and bike into a single instrument of sheer awesomeness parted ways. I must’ve blacked out. The next thing I remember was an eerie calm. I was on the ground, helmet sideways, one shoe missing, covered in leaves, dirt and turkey feathers. I couldn’t see my bike, but later found it about 20 yards off the trail down the mountain. I’m sure the turkeys put it there. The air was still filled with dust and feathers but I could see, just up the trail, a single turkey peering at me through the settling cloud of debris. It had its wings on his hips, its head cocked sideways, and a smirk on its face. The turkey was looking at me in a “You don’t feel so awesome now, do you?”, kind of way. Then, and I’m not kidding, it seemed to give me the middle feather! It then turned and strutted away, arrogantly wagging its tail feathers as it disappeared up the trail. I lay there for a few moments – quite humble and certainly no longer filled with awesomeness. Behind me, I hear the identifying “click, click” sound of gears shifting on a bike. Two riders were approaching. They saw me sprawled out across the trail, no bike in sight. To say I looked a bit disheveled would be an understatement. “You alright?”, a rider asked. “Not sure yet.”, I answered. A rider says, “We’re from Florida. This is our first time here and we love the trails, but we haven’t seen much wildlife yet. Have you seen anything? We’d really like to get some pictures of North Georgia wildlife. ” “Uh, yea, I’ve seen a few turkeys”, I grumbled. “Turkeys?” he asked, “I read that ‘Pinhoti’ means ‘Turkey Home’. Where are they?” I’m generally a nice person but after having my awesomeness taken away by a rogue gang of angry turkeys, I guess I was bitter when I replied, “Yeah, just over the crest of the mountain. Turkeys are real friendly so I’d recommend just riding right into the middle of them.”

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These cookies use only four ingredients, and mix up in less than five minutes. Seriously awesome. Even better they use no oil or butter. I know, you might be a little skeptical, too. But these are simply the lightest, softest, yummiest cookies ever. This recipe is from a friend who has lost 50 lbs.

Ingredients: 1 box lemon cake mix (any kind) 1 egg, lightly beaten 2 cups Cool Whip, thawed (8 ounce container) 1/2 to 1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, egg, and Cool Whip. The batter will be sticky! Form dough into tablespoons and roll in powdered sugar. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until edges are golden. Allow to cool 1 minute on baking sheet. Invite your friends over and enjoy! Until next edition, Nan

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C

urrently number twelve in the rankings, The Rome Rollergirls have won three of their five games so far this season. These knock ‘em down and score skaters have the spunky spirit and hard work ethic to go all the way to the top in the sport of Roller Derby. Started in April 2010, they are an all-female flat-track roller derby league based in Rome, GA. Because so many of their kids want to be involved in the game, they now also have a junior team. Roller Derby you ask? Are you thinking back to the good ole days of the TV broadcast showing outlandishly dressed women with big hair and tons of makeup on a banked track practically killing each other in a fake blood and guts battle in and outside the rink? That was entertainment! That’s far from the roller derby of today, although it’s still entertaining. Modern Roller Derby is played as a sport, with skilled athletes who have big personalities. But it’s the good wholesome fun that attracts families both to watch and participate. After attending a practice and talking to so many people involved, we found the most important thing about being a part of the Rome Rollergirls isn’t the bouts, or the practices, or scoring, or winning; it’s the sense of team work , family and fun. While we were doing these interviews, and the team was practicing, all their little kids were running around having a blast. Some of the dads were keeping an eye on the kids, while other Dads were working on their Referee skills. It was certainly one big happy family. Robb and I learned a lot about the game from talking to the players and their families, and we’d like to share some of that with our readersRobb: How does one team win over the other? Swetin Bulletz: You get points from people called jammers. They have stars on the sides of their helmets. You have eight blockers, four from each team, and two jammers, one from each team. You have to get your jammer through and stop the other jammer. Every time your jam-

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mer passes the pack she gets one point for each set of hips that she passes. Each Jam lasts two minutes. Robb: Are you offense or defense? Swetin Bulletz: You go back and forth. So we are offensive to get our jammer through. And then we do defense to keep the other team's jammer from getting through. Thia: Now I understand. Thank you for explaining it. I didn’t realize it was so complicated. I always thought it was just girls knocking each other down. Swetin Bulletz: It is sort of an organized group of girls hitting each other. Thia: I get the idea you are one of the bad girls of roller derby, someone who might be considered a troublemaker. Twitch: I get ejected a lot. If we are beating the team pretty bad, I'll try and give the crowd a show. My major penalty last bout was for direction of game play, which means I stopped, turned around and skated toward the opposing team and took them out. Robb: Like you were bowling? Twitch: Yeah, I was the bowling ball; they were the pins. Robb: Have you ever taken direct hits? Twitch: Yeah, that's what I love. I want to go against the biggest girl on the team. The hits are what I enjoy. The bigger you are the harder ya fall. It's such an empowering sport for women. The kids love it and I love the kids. Robb: We heard you are a blocker and just played your first game with the team. Did you get hit a lot?

Her Majesty's Thunder: It's a full contact sport. You take some good hits. The other team’s girls are hitting you from all sides. I got hit a lot and got knocked down a few times. The important thing is that you get back up. Robb: Do you get asked for autographs? Her Majesty's Thunder: At the end of the games, especially the kids, they all want to meet the roller girls. That is one of the most fun parts of it for me. Robb: So you are the Captain of the team. How did you get the name Heidi Gloom? Thia: I love the names you guys have! Heidi Gloom: Our old bench coach was really good at doing plays on words. He helped lots of us pick our names. There is a website where you register your name. (www.twoevils.org/rollergirls/) And when you register it, it becomes yours. No one else can use your name. Robb: Do you have a persona? Heidi Gloom: I like to hit. I get into blocking and knock em out of the way and knock em on the ground. I am a very aggressive blocker. It's really fun. It might sound like we are all crazy wanting to hit on each other, but it's really fun. And we all get together afterward and have pizza and play nice. Robb: How did you guys get involved in all of this? Ref. Machete: (Heidi Gloom’s husband) We got invited to our first bout and after that day, my wife fell in love with the sportß. I was the first one to step up the plate and be a ref. Now we have 4 refs. This is something I do as a hobby with my wife. We travel around with the team. It is like a big family. Ref. Sgt Slaughter: My girlfriend is Her Majesty. I think you will find that 9 out of 10 refs have a girl in the game. I was watching the bouts, and was asked if I skate because they needed refs. I just started reading all the rules and reading them again, 60-65 pages. I worked on my skating skills. It's good exercise. When they are flying around the ring, you have to be able to keep up with them.

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Robb: How did you end up as coach of the team? Coach: My wife, Just a Girl, plays. I was coaching at the Y and I’ve played street hockey growing up. They needed somebody with coaching experience to help them. It was supposed to be temporary. But now I've stuck around. This sport grows on you and becomes a way of life. I wouldn't have it any other way. We do it together and the kids are here too. Robb: What is a nice girl like you doing in a place like this? Drag’ N Tame Her: That's what everybody says. I grew up skating. I skated everywhere. I saw on Face Book that they were having tryouts back in October 2010. I’ve been here three years now and I love it. Robb: Your daughter is getting into this too? Drag’ N Tame Her: Yes she is only thirteen, but she practices with us. I have two other kids who are here. They have a good time and make new friends. Daughter of Drag’ N Tame Her: I love roller derby. Skating is my thing. Thia: So you are a relative also? Lil Bullets: Yes. I am Swetin Bulletz’ daughter. I've been helping mom since the beginning. I played my first game Saturday. It just came natural to me. My dad helps out and my brothers come to watch. Robb:This is definitely a family affair. Practices are at Fun Wheels: 2606 Calhoun Hwy NE, Rome, GA. Email theromerollergirls@gmail.com Website http://www.romerollergirls.com Photos by Robb Newman, Heidi Lambert, Blain Cone, Rebecca Little Story by Robb & Thia Newman

Schedule: July 20 Capitol City Rolling Rebels-- Away Aug 3 River Region Roller Girls-- Home Aug 17 Tragic City-- Away Sept 14 Marietta-- Home Nov 9 Capitol City Rolling Rebels—Home Those Very Cool Derby Names: Justa Girl –President (Elisa) Swetin Bulletz-Vice Pres (Stacy) Heidi Gloom-Captain (Amber) T-Mcpain (Tracy) Gin N Jukes (Jessie) Elizabeth Hurtley (Jennifer) Amber Graves Of Slain (Amber) Drag’ N Tame Her (Lisa) Anita Zombie (Rachael) Twitch (Misty) Pink Freud (Shanna) Her Majesty’s Thunder (Kristen) Ginger Sike-O (Christina) Lil’ Bulletz (Amber) Mayday Faye (Amanda) Pistol Palin (Martha)

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"When a family member was looking to purchase a property in North Georgia, I really wanted to find them a great realtor to work with. As a realtor myself, I set very high standards, and was getting very discouraged after a week of research. After my conversation with Scott, I knew he would be the perfect person to work with them, and I was right!!! He is everything that you hope to find in a realtor; professional, and knowledgeable, but also a wonderful sense of service to his clients, and always going above and beyond. My family and I now consider him a friend, and I have the utmost regard for him professionally and personally." Liz Jones, Broker Keller Williams, Asheville NC

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fter reading the book, Sugar Creek, and really enjoying it, I was excited to be meeting the Author, Raland Patterson, for lunch at Mercier’s. While parking, I noticed a beautiful old truck in the lot. It was the truck that’s on the cover of Sugar Creek! A tall handsome man stepped out of the truck, gave me a big smile and said just call me Pat. Growing up in Blue Ridge surrounded by family and friends Pat absorbed the stories told around the dinner table. “Although Sugar Creek is fiction”, Mr. Patterson says, “much of the background and circumstances come from my life.” If you grew up here, you can relate to some of Pat’s memories, of his grandmother stringing extra beans and hanging them on the porch until they turned into "Leather britches", to pouring used motor oil on the dirt roads to keep the dust down, to taking extra corn to the gristmill. “The gristmill is right down the road”, Pat told me, “My father would bring corn to be ground. He told his older brother that there was a girl there his age and that was the last time my father got to go to the grist mill.” This funny incident is retold by the author through his characters in Sugar Creek. Pat hasn’t been an author his whole life. This is actually his third career. His first started when he was drafted into the army in 1966. He served in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot from 1970-1971 with the First Cavalry Division. Altogether he spent twenty-two years in the service. He retired as a Lt. Colonel, with many medals and awards, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bronze Star with One Oak Leaf Cluster. Several of Pat’s books are written about the war, including “Bearcat”. The author describes this book to me. “It starts when I get on the plane from Fort Dix to go to Saigon and follows me all that year and ends when I get on the Freedom Bird to come home. It’s a soldiers story.” Including Sugar Creek and Bearcat, there are seven books by Raland Patterson that you can find on Amazon, and in Mercier’s. He tries to write one a year. But he doesn’t do it alone. In 1994, when Pat met his future wife, Ann, little did he know he had also met his future editor. Mrs. Patterson’s skill in editing starts with her love of good books. She literally reads hun-

dreds a year. She is a perfectionist and taskmaster when it comes to everything that goes into Pat's work. Ann lets him know if a character isn't likeable enough, or if there needs to be more background on a family, and then she reads and rereads the manuscript in process until it is polished and perfect. Ann thinks Sugar Creek is the best of her husband’s books so far. I think Ann has great taste. This book is all about family in the North Georgia Mountains and I loved it too. Several of Pat’s other books are war stories. “When I came back from ‘Nam”, the author says, “I went to jump school for three weeks. I was such a big guy that I went down so fast it looked like the other guys were going up! I was also flying on the weekends to get my flight time in. One time I took the aircraft up to 18,000 feet. It’s mushy, it’s like there are no controls. That story is in The Ledger. I had everything happen in an aircraft that could.” So if everything that could happen, did, I had to know if Pat ever crashed the helicopter. “Well I didn’t crash, he replied, “but I auto-rotated to the ground three times.” Okay, so he almost crashed. But because of his skill, managed to land with no engine and survive, three times! Here’s part of Pat’s explanation “…When you get four or five feet off the ground, you are gonna live or die. You pull on the pitch and it tries to fly. If you do it right your vertical and horizontal speed is zero and you just ease in.“ I think Pat makes it sound a lot easier than it is. Of course he makes writing books sound easy too. He started writing because of a challenge from his wife. Pat had started his second career as a financial planner and was offered the territory in Germany. “My wife’s requirement for me to take the job in Europe was… She said, If I can buy all the books I want from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, I’m happy. So after we were overseas for a couple years I bought her a computer for her birthday and I said since you read so much, why don’t you write your own book? And she said if you think it’s so easy, you write one. I said I can write one in 4 months. She said show me. I sat down in a hotel room with notes on 3x5 cards to outline the story line and in three months I had Hogback.” After having a career in the military, then a career in finance and traveling all over the

world, visiting thirty-two countries, Raland Patterson is now on his third career, as an author. He moved back to the family land in 2005, to his hometown of Blue Ridge, Georgia. He now spends his time writing books, doing book signings and hosting a TV show on ETC called “Those Who Served”. We had a delicious lunch at Mercier’s. We ate a little and talked a lot. Even the waitress said, “I love his books. They are awesome. I’ve read three or four of them.“ I know what she means, I’ve only read one so far, but I can’t wait to read the rest! The book he is working on now will be calledReturn to Sugar Creek. Looking forward to reading that one…

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Teen Columnist Mikayla Jones will have her first article in our September issue. Here's an introduction... My name is Mikayla. I was born January 29,

1999 in Dalton, Georgia. My mother's name is Eva, and my father is Lewis. I also have three sisters, Destiny, Savannah, and Meghann. I moved around a lot when I was younger, but I have now been in Ellijay for nearly four years. I just finished eighth grade at Clear Creek Middle School. When I go back to school, I will be a freshman at Gilmer High School. Late in my seventh grade year, I started learning American Sign Language. Because I am almost fluent in A.S.L., I have decided to learn German too! Some other things I enjoy are science, chess, singing, dancing, reading and writing, working on cars, comic books, and drawing. A lot of people my age know me for my artwork. I am very excited to be writing for The Best Of Ellijay, Blue Ridge & Jasper Funpaper. My future columns may be focused toward teenagers, but I believe there will be some parts that everyone will enjoy.

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By Matt Williams “What are we doing this weekend Daddy?”

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beautiful day to spend in these gorgeous mountains, but still too cold to get in the water (for the girls who ain’t out working in the heat). So, where’s a good place to play, have a picnic, and experience something exciting that’ll entertain the kids? Now remember, I’ve got four girls and gotta do all this on a budget. The swinging bridge got the vote. Great scenery, a good ride to it, back in the mountains away from the crowds, open spaces to run and be a kid, find cool things, and of course a real swinging bridge. This bridge spans the Toccoa river as part of the Benton McCaye trail. Matter of fact, you walk part of the trail to get to it. It’s a great place to make some family memories and get some really good pictures with them. So be sure to have your camera on full charge when y’all head up there. The drive up there from Ellijay alone is worth the trip. I mean you think you are driving in another state. It’s hard to believe you are so close to where ever you live or might be calling home for a weekend. As you travel through Doublehead Gap be sure to keep a watchful eye on the fields. You don’t want to miss the deer, turkey, hawks, and other wildlife that seem to come out as if they are being cued for a play. Posing for the passer byers not worried about much of anything. It’s pretty cool to stop and watch all these animals in their yards without fences between you and them. When you arrive at the parking area it’s just a short hike down to the bridge. You start to hear the white water of the river and believe it or not the temperature seems to drop a few degrees which makes it a perfect place to spend a hot summer day. Well, you’re getting close now as the trail starts to drop dramatically. As you turn the corner, there it is, right off the bat you have to cross it, the swinging bridge. Ain’t no turning back now as you stare at the distance between you and the other side where the fun begins. It really is an experience to watch the kids start across until it starts swinging. Oh yes there will be some screams and you might have to reassure them daddy’s there, but before the day is over they will be back and forth across the river by themselves and those screams will turn to laughter. The views are amazing when you get halfway across. The water’s crystal clear and you can see the rocks and trout under it. Oh yeah don’t forget the poles, this is a great fishing hole and once you get on the other side there’s plenty of places to try your luck or skill whichever you call it. Once you get there, there’s a small creek that spills into the river. My kids love to get in this one at the small set of falls and I aint really sure what they are looking for but they have a ball doing it. Daddy feels good. Past this there’s a very good spot to take off your shoes and roll up your pant legs and sink your feet in the river. This is when you’ll remember at the first of this article I said it was too cold to get in the water. Your feet are ‘bout all you want in that cold water. Places to take amazing pictures are everywhere. This place has everything for its own album. You and your family will find all kinds of ways to enjoy this place from hide and seek (my kids love this with all the huge hemlock trees), to making boats outta things found in the woods to float down the river, or just walk and take in the place. With the large canopy that the hemlocks provide the forest floor is like carpet in your house it’s a very good place to walk and explore. I hope you will get out and hunt this place down and take your family to this, another hidden treasure in these glorious mountains we call home. Some things you should bring with you are: Plenty of drinks all this walking and running and playing y’all will get thirsty. Be sure to wear some comfortable shoes, it is walking in the woods there are some roots and rocks on the trail and you will need something with traction. A camera or your phone, there aint no service but if it takes good pictures you will want it with you. A towel, you can leave this in your vehicle but if your kids are anything like mine they’re gonna get in that river. Maybe even another pair of shoes or socks, it’s rough on your dogs walking in that cold water on all those slick rocks so you’re gonna want an old pair of shoes to wear in the river, and walking out with wet shoes and socks, well, you don’t want blisters to be what the kids remember from this trip. We always pack a picnic, it’s just a cool place to have one and besides how many times nowadays do we get to sit down and eat together so take advantage of it. I’m sure you will find more things to take and more things to do, but go experience it. You will thank me and be glad you did. Hope to see y’all there. Directions from Ellijay square: Go south to Hwy 52. Take this 5.7 miles to Big Creek Rd. and turn left. Drive 8.5 miles and this will turn into Doublehead Gap Rd. Go 12.5 miles then turn right onto Ga. 60. Take this 1 mile then theres a sharp right(gravel road) onto Forest service rd. 816. Take this 3 miles to the parking area. Then just follow the white diamonds on the trees to the bridge. Good luck and y’all have fun and hope you get the ultimate reward I always look forward to, “Daddy, that was the coolest day ever!” Love that man! 100 100 100 100 100 1000 100 100 100 100 101 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 1000 100 100 100 100 101 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

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Story by Robb Newman - Photos by Robb Newman & courtesy of Chandler Smith Racing

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hen I heard there was going to be a 10 year-old racing prodigy appearing at Rocco’s Pub in Jasper I just had to check it out. What I saw as I entered the parking lot left me jaw-dropped. OMG!!!! “Mike!.... DUDE! You are definitely the ultimate dad! When I was a kid I had to beg for a lousy mini-bike and Chandler has a primary and secondary racecar... TWO racing cars!? And a huge transport rig!? With a huge picture of him on it!? Not to mention, I had to do about twelve hours of chores to earn enough to fill up the one gallon gas tank. And gas was 25¢ a gallon back then! That’s one lucky kid. How can you possibly top THIS at Christmas?!!!. Mike is the father of ten year-old race car driver, Chandler Smith. He told me that Chandler has the talent and in order to bring the talent out, he has to have the best equipment. I wondered how Chandler got started in race car driving. Mike told me, “He came to me when he was four years old and said Dad I want to do what my favorite race-car driver did when he was my age. And I said what was that? Jeff Gordon started out running go-carts. So we bought Chandler a go-cart. And we ran it for about six months. Jeff Gordon was a big time midget racer also, so that’s what Chandler ran next and he won several championships.” Now he races his two “Bandelaro” cars. He currently races in what is called the “Bandits division”. And those cars go fast! Mike says, “He can get up to 50, 55 mph on a ¼ mile track like Atlanta. But we have had it on a 3/8 mile track and have clocked it entering the turns in excess of 90 miles per hour. It has a roll bar, it has all the safety equipment. He has been flipped in this car four times in Atlanta, he got out walked around the car, drove it back in the garage, we fixed it and he went out that night and raced it and won the race. They are safe, but nothing is bullet-proof.” Wow, So this is not a big go-cart. These are real race cars with a Bridgeport Stratton Vanguard Twin with thirty horsepower. It’s just a smaller version of the race cars you’re used to seeing. This is the real deal, one step below NASCAR racing. Chandler is in training to be a NASCAR driver. And then... the ultimate Dad kicks it up a notch! Get this! This season and next he will be driving his current cars. But as soon as he is twelve, he can race full size, late model cars on a track. Which means, he’ll have every sixteen year old’s dream of driving a beautiful car, but he’ll only be twelve!

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I also met Steve Webb from Seriously Southern Entertainment who is developing a reality TV show. And guess who is the star of the show? Chandler of course! Steve says, “Our series centers around young racing phenoms and Chandler is one of those. What we are hoping to capture is the growth of these kids as drivers. But particularly Chandler, because he has got this dream to be the youngest NASCAR rookie driver, and we would love to follow that dream all the way to NASCAR.” Wait a minute! You mean there are other dads like Chandler’s out there?! It sounds like something I would want to watch. I feel like this is the beginning of a real hit show. I interviewed Chandler Smith himself, the 10 year-old racing prodigy...... Robb: You wanted to be a racer as long as you can remember right? Chandler: Yes. I am planning on racing until I die. R: You started out in a go-cart. Did you like it? C: No. My allergies were awful because of the dirt. And the safety wasn’t good. R: So you were a NASCAR racing fan and you knew the go-cart wasn’t as good. C: Yes Sir. R: How do you like your new cars? C: I like ‘em. They are a big step forward. R: You can’t wait to get to the next step? C: I’m going to be driving late models next year. That’s going to be fun. R: So you are a happy kid. C: Yes sir, I am. R: So you are living your dream come true and it looks like you are going to be a racer. C: Looks like wishing on a star worked evidently. R: Are you excited about being on a TV show? C: Yeah. R: Do people ask for your autograph? C: A lot of people do. Last year when I raced the “Thursday Thunder Series” in Atlanta, this kid said he was my biggest fan. He would come up every time I raced and give me a piece of gum and say it was good luck for me. R: So you might have found your lucky “thing”. A lucky piece of gum. C: I found a lucky penny that has been with me a lot. R: Racing is a tough sport, you can use all the luck you can get. And you are one lucky kid! C: Yes sir I am.

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“And In The End... The Love You Take, Is Equal To The Love... You Make.” - The Beatles


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