Western Tidewater Living Winter 2021

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Winter 2021 • vol. 12, no. 4

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contents winter 2021

Photo by Nagid House Entertainment

ON THE COVER: L. Terrel Majette, who grew up in Franklin, is a singer, songwriter and actor who has created success for himself and his family in the entertainment industry.



PARTY PIX Area residents, movers and shakers, enjoy getting together in person

Betty J. Ramsey Publisher Titus Mohler Staff Writer Clyde Parker Bill Billings Contributing Writers Troy Cooper Designer Loretta Lomax Designer Mitzi Lusk Advertising Director Michelle Gray Office Manager Western Tidewater Living is published four times a year by Tidewater Publications, LLC P.O. Box 497, Franklin, VA 23851 757-562-3187 Advertising rates and information available upon request to ads@thetidewaternews.com. Subscriptions are $20 annually in-state, $24 annually out of state and $30 annually overseas.

MAJETTE Leading the way to opportunity


THE DOCTOR Dr. Reid Harrison, health care provider and science teacher

EPIC TRIP Paddlers enjoy 15 miles of quiet water and stunning scenery


10 22

CHURCH Franklin Baptist Church organized in 1871


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publisher's notebook WONDERFUL WINTER With the onset of much cooler days, many of us find ourselves indoors seeking warmth and if we are lucky some relaxation time. One of the many benefits winters brings with it is time to catch up on some reading. Whether you are snuggled up by a warm fire, on a break at work, or simply taking a minute out of your day to read we have some great stories for you to pursue. On the cover this month is L. Terrel Majette, independent recording artist, singer songwriter, actor and business owner who got his start in music at the age of two — singing with his grandmother at New Mount Zion Baptist Church on Stonewall Street in Franklin. Turn to Page 10 for more of this intriguing story written by Titus Mohler. Did you know that an area practicing physician is teaching Franklin High School students ecology, anatomy and physiology? What a great opportunity for students to learn! Turn to Page 16 to meet, and learn more, about Dr. Reid Harrison who is making a difference in our community on multiple fronts. Dreaming for warmer weather and outdoor activities? You’ll want to turn to Page 22 and take an early morning, epic trip

down the Blackwater and Nottoway rivers with area paddlers from the Tuesday group of the Tidewater Appalachian Trail Club. A special thank you to Bill Billings for sharing the story and photos. At Western Tidewater Living we are blessed and grateful to be a part of this community and are thankful that there are so many great stories to share. There are many more stories within these pages, and we hope you will enjoy them. As this is a magazine about and for you, we welcome your ideas and invite you to share with us what you would like to hear more about by sending us a note at P.O. Box 497, Franklin, VA, 23851, giving us a call at 757-562-3187 or sending us an email at Magazine@ TheTidewaterNews.com. We publish Western Tidewater Living each season — summer, fall, winter and spring. We invite you to pick up a copy of the latest issue as there is sure to be someone you know inside — a neighbor, a family member, a friend or perhaps even you! If you want Western Tidewater Living delivered to your home or office, we offer subscriptions and gift subscriptions for $20 per year (in state,) just enough to cover the postage. To subscribe call us at 757-562-3187. Betty J. Ramsey is publisher of Western Tidewater Living.

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The Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce held its 67th annual meeting Oct. 27 at The Hubs Vine after the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the organization’s usual activities for more than a year, forcing it to adapt in a variety of ways. At the meeting, the 2019 Business of the Year was recognized and the first-ever Sol W. Rawls Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award was handed out. PHOTOS BY TITUS MOHLER

Karl Heck, Patsy Marks and Bob Marks

Mark Turner, Kelly Turner, Cynthia Turner and Harrell Turner

Kimberly Pope, Renatta Meyers-Gatling, Shannon Wilson and Tammy Lowe

Westbrook Parker, Kim Marks and Frank M. Rabil

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Main Street in downtown Franklin and some of the areas branching off from it were dominated by a collection of 220 impressive classic and modern vehicles Oct. 16 as the city hosted the 2021 Franklin Cruise-In Finale. It was the conclusion of a season of cruise-ins that began April 24 and continued through the spring, summer and fall months on Wednesdays. Three participants received $1,000 prizes at the finale. PHOTOS BY TITUS MOHLER

Jason Land, left, and his grandfather, Ray Holland, stand for a photo next to a car they enjoyed checking out while touring the 2021 Franklin Cruise-In Finale.

J.C. Coburn and Debbie Coburn smile for a photo on the morning of Oct. 16 at the Franklin Cruise-In Finale.

Wayne Lowe holds for a photo with his 1993 Mazda Miata that he has had for 10 years. He also is promoting Operation Christmas Child, a division of Samaritan’s Purse that sends packaged gift items to outreach events in more than 120 countries, giving children parts of the New Testament in their own language, helping to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ all over the world.

Presenting a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air two-door hardtop is Richard Jernigan and Shirley Jernigan. Richard said he has had the car for 24 years, and he had another one just like it when he was a teenager.

Billy Mitchell, left, and his grandson, Kaiden Williams, pause briefly for a picture while enjoying the finale.

Dale Pool stands with the 1965 Cobra replica that he bought, as is, in 2016. Sharing the story behind the car, he said his wife had become sick with cancer, and six weeks before she passed away, she said she wanted him to go buy one of these Cobra cars, which he had talked about building for around 20 years but would never have expended all the money on to put together. Sometime after she passed, he was at a car show and saw the replica that embodied the car he had spoken about building. “It was just like she put this car there,” he said.

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What’s Love Got to Do With It? There are two basic motivating forces: Fear and Love. – John Lennon Love is the most powerful Force in the Universe! – Merlin/Sword in the Stone Love is the greatest healer of them all! – Willie Nelson Love is the most important factor in a child’s academic success. – Eric Jensen Being loved and feeling wanted is a basic need. – Eric Jensen

Love is positive energy. Fear is the most crippling power in the Universe! All anger and hatred is fear driven. – Eric Jensen Fear is the enemy of Love. – www.dailyinspirations.com Fear puts people in bondage. – John Lennen Fear is negative energy. It causes us to produce toxic chemicals in our brain and body. – Eric Jensen

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Being filmed on the set of the reality TV show “Survivalist” in Utah are, from left, Tre Majette, Trinity Dodson, L. Terrel Majette and Rachel Majette.



inger, songwriter and actor are three of the most prominent titles that belong to L. Terrel Majette, who has carved out his own place in the music and entertainment world in Atlanta, Georgia,

together with his wife and two children. Majette, 32, is an independent recording artist who distributes his songs by way of social media. He has had more than 500,000 worldwide digital streams,

he has songs that have been in rotation on both local and international radio stations, he has music that can be heard on TV, in movies, in commercials and at his live performances. See MAJETTE, page 11



together with his wife and two children. inger, songwriter and actor are three Majette, 32, is an independent recordof the most prominent titles that belong to L. Terrel Majette, who has carved ing artist who distributes his songs by way of social media. He has had more out his own place in the music and L. Terrel Majette is filmed on the reality TV show than 500,000 worldwide digital streams, entertainment world in Atlanta, Georgia, competition “Survivalist.” The show was filmed in Moab, Utah, at the end of 2020 and aired in May 2021 on the BYUTV app.

he has songs that have been in rotation on both local and international radio stations, he has music that can be heard on TV, in movies, in commercials and at his live performances. See MAJETTE, page 11

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MAJETTE, from page 10

He has also established himself as an actor, recently making his professional debut in the feature film “Family Thanksgiving,” which is streaming on Amazon Prime, VUDU and hoopla. In 2020, he and his family founded their own entertainment company called Nagid House Entertainment that has helped them navigate the industry, leading to more opportunities. “It’s never a 100% guarantee that I’m going to get an opportunity, but I just feel like if you don’t try, you’ll never know,” he said. That quote could serve as a motto for Majette’s life thus far, as he and his family have put forth the necessary effort — including sacrifices and risks — to pursue their dreams. And those dreams are becoming reality. Majette said it is his mission now to give hope and guidance to the next generation of aspiring artists who may hail from a small city like he did, because he knows his story started the same way many others’ can — in Franklin, Virginia. “I actually started singing in church when I was 2 years old,” he said. “I would sing in the church with my grandmother, and when I got older, maybe about 9 years old, I started writing my first song.” The church was New Mount Zion Baptist Church on Stonewall Street in Franklin. “I started performing with different quartet groups, different gospel groups and choirs and things like that until about the year of 2018 when I decided to go full-time R&B,” he said. Already an aspiring singer/songwriter at 9, Majette’s first major foray into acting and script-writing came a few years later. “By the time I was 12 or 13, I was writing full stage plays,” he said. “And of course, I was a teenager, so I couldn’t really do anything with them, so what


SUBMITTED | HUBBERT’S CREATIVE VISIONS L. Terrel Majette delivers his lively, upbeat sound while performing live at an event.

I would do is, I would get my cousins and family members and the neighborhood kids to learn the lines, and we would put on productions right out of my mom’s living room.” Majette said he was self-starter, bolstered by his family that was always his biggest support system as he grew up. “But being from Franklin, it was hard to see past Franklin, if that makes sense,” he said. “So they didn’t really know any avenues that I could take or possibly explore to see if it could go any further. It was more so like, ‘OK, music and singing, that’s just a hobby.’ “Nobody ever really took it serious, but my goal was to one day come back home and just be like some megastar or something like that,” he added. “So I always was looking for ways to put myself out there, even as a child. When ‘Showtime at the Apollo’ was going on and they would take the videotape auditions and things like that, I would actually prepare those things, but I didn’t really have an adult that could really help push me further. So I had to wait until I became an adult.” He did have a major encourager and inspiration, though, and that was his

grandmother, Ilean Graham. “She lived with us most of my entire life until she died when I was 13 years old,” he said. “So when I was 9 years old, she would be the person that I would write my songs for, and I would take them to her and say, ‘Hey, Grandma, what do you think about this?’ or ‘What do you think about that?’ And she would say, ‘Oh, baby, that’s great. Keep on going, you’re going to be great one day, you’re going to be huge one day.’ So that inspired me to keep going.” In 2015, L. Terrel got married, and his wife, Rachel “Rae” Majette, has also proven to be a pivotal inspiration in his life. A turning point in his life and that of his family came in 2018 when they made the big move from Franklin to Atlanta, Georgia, and the move was spearheaded by Rachel. “From day one, she saw my ability and she knew my talent, and she just used to encourage me and say, ‘Hey, you should really try to do something with this, you should really try to step out there and make something happen,’” he said. Deflecting credit back to her husSee MAJETTE, page 12

12 western tidewater living MAJETTE, from page 11

band, Rachel shared a quote by L. Terrel that she loves: “I can't be nobody but me!” “A short quote but powerful just the same,” she said. “Oftentimes people never reach their full potential because they never tap into who they really are. If I’m portraying myself to be someone else, then the experience is rather meaningless. L’s words remind me everyday that I am me, and no one can take that away from me, whether I'm their cup of tea or not.” In reference to her husband and the encouragement she gave him, she said, “Yes, I saw the star in him and told him that it would be a disservice to himself to allow his childhood dreams to just go by the wayside without giving it his full attention at least once in his life and seeing where that leads him.” L. Terrel said that for him, the hard part of the move was separating himself from his extended family in Virginia, because all of his roots are in Franklin and Southampton County. But at the age of 29, he made that sacrifice along with his wife and two sons, as they left everything they knew. This included their church at the time, Faith Works Fellowship Cathedral in Franklin, and corporate jobs for both L. Terrel and Rachel that were helping them bring in a decent amount of money. “I just knew that I could do more for my family if I stepped out and went out there and tried to make it happen in Atlanta,” L. Terrel said. When he and his family arrived in Atlanta, they did not have the benefit of any connections in the music or entertainment industries. “We didn’t know anybody, so we really just started networking and meeting people, and I would go to different auditions and things like that,” L. Terrel said. “And what would happen was, when I would go to one audition, I would meet people who may have ties to other proj-

Shawn Williams films Rachel Majette and L. Terrel Majette, who are co-founders of Nagid House Entertainment. Rachel encouraged L. Terrel to make the move to Atlanta to pursue his dreams of being a singer, songwriter and actor.

ects and other things, and everywhere I went, I always try to go with positive energy and I always try and put my best foot forward, so because of that, it always opened up more doors and more opportunities, because meeting one person and that one person tells another person, and before you know it, you kind of make a whole bunch of different connections based off maybe just one connection.” But there were some major pitfalls along the way. In his first year in Atlanta, L. Terrel said he experienced a lot of failure and was scammed a lot by people who took advantage of his inexperience and lack of roots in the industry. “People really prey off of your dreams and your aspirations, so I was really learning the business on the fly, because I didn’t have anyone who could say, ‘Hey, this doesn’t look right,’ or ‘That doesn’t look right,’ so a lot of things I was learning as I went, and that was the hard part,” he said. But he added that this learning was also the best part, because he started analyzing his process of going to audi-

tions and meetings and began considering how he might be able to cut dishonest middlemen out of the equation. “So that’s why we started an entertainment company, because we said, ‘Hey, we can manage ourselves,’” he said. “‘We can keep our money in house, we can really maximize our profit by keeping everything in house.’” L. Terrel and Rachel are co-founders of Nagid House Entertainment. “The word ‘nagid’ in the Hebrew translation means ‘leader,’ which is why I chose that name for our company because we’re a house of leaders,” L. Terrel said. “We’re a family oriented, family based entertainment company.” And the entire Majette family is involved. Seven-year-old Prince Majette is a child hip-hop artist who goes by the name “Prince Jett” and performs songs written especially for him by his father. Thirteen-year-old Tre Majette is an actor who has already performed in a few commercials alongside his dad. As L. Terrel has established himself as a recording artist, his primary genre is R&B, though he writes rap, rock, gospel See MAJETTE, page 13

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MAJETTE, from page 12

and inspirational music as well, with his church roots continuing to show. “Even though I grew up in the church, I had a lot of musical influences from the older R&B generation,” he said. “As a kid, I was a huge Motown fan, so everyone else could be listening to the newer age music, but I was listening to Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Gladys Knight and things like that, so it allowed me to have an old soul, I guess you would say. And I really appreciate that because I like to write music for everybody, because I feel like, ‘Hey, if this song is not a song that you like or particularly care for, I may have something else in my catalog that may be your favorite song.’” When writing music, L. Terrel draws upon his life experiences as well as those he is close to. He said his cousin once asked how he is able to write so many songs. “It’s one of those things (where) I’ve been doing it for so long now that if I don’t write it down, I have an overload of ideas and thoughts and things of that nature, so it’s like I almost have to write it,” L. Terrel said. As an independent artist, L. Terrel produces, mixes and masters his own music. “The hardest part out of the whole process, I would say, is just learning how to trust myself, especially when it comes to

the mixing and mastering part, because, of course, there is such a thing as ‘industry standard,’ and you want to make sure that whatever you create, before it goes out to the stores and Apple Music and Spotify and all of those different things, you want to make sure that you have the best sound,” he said. “So a lot of times, I spend the most work just going over the mix of the song, and I’ll run back and forth to the car stereo and different speakers, and I’ll hook my phone up, and I’ll play it on all the different speakers just to check my levels, and then I’ll play other songs that may sound similar to that song and make sure that my song is lining up with theirs,” he added. “So I would say that’s the hardest part. “The actual writing and recording part, that’s pretty easy for me because that’s something I’ve been doing all my life, but the mixing, that’s new, but I get better all the time, I would say.” Among the other career opportunities he has created for himself and his family in the entertainment industry, L. Terrel learned about the reality TV show “Survivalist” on a platform that he uses to find acting gigs. He noted that “Survivalist,” available on the BYUTV app, looks for families that want to compete against each other for


a cash prize of $10,000 by doing what he described as a challenging hike through the woods, working their way up a mountain that climbed to around 11,000 feet in the air across a journey of approximately 16 miles. “‘Survivalist’ was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” L. Terrel said, “and this is coming from a person who is an eightyear vet in the military as well. … We totally underestimated what Moab, Utah’s mountains were like. So it didn’t take us long to realize that we had overstepped our boundaries a little bit.” The show, which aired in May, was filmed at the end of 2020 and allowed opportunities for Majette family members to bond and persevere amid difficult circumstances. They got used to gathering firewood, eating out of bags and sleeping in 10-degree weather with wind that made it feel like it was below zero. But the experience added to the Majettes’ exposure and helped them raise the profile of Nagid House Entertainment, which they represented with their apparel. L. Terrel also has had the opportunity to be a jingle and theme song writer. “I work for a company called Odin Industries, and they’re out of Miramar, Florida,” he said. “They work with small businesses and things like that, and I’m See MAJETTE, page 14

Pictured on the set of the feature film “Family Thanksgiving” are, from left, Valerie Burgos, Tracy Mazyck, L. Terrel Majette, Jacob Jenkins, Imani Monae, Roderic Lee, William McKinney and Austin Freeman. Majette made his professional acting debut in this film, which also features four of his songs on its soundtrack.

14 western tidewater living MAJETTE, from page 13

one of their senior music consultants, and I also do a lot of private work. The show ‘Poolside Cooking’ that airs in Virginia Beach, I wrote the theme song for them.” “Poolside Cooking” streams on Sky 4 in Virginia and on Roku. “I wrote them their own personal song, and I recorded it, and I sent it to them, and I was the one song chosen out of 60 other songs,” L. Terrel said. He has now also had multiple movies that have featured his music on their soundtracks. In December 2021, he was working on the first-ever Nagid House Entertainment-produced film. He will serve as writer and director on the project. “This is actually going to be a musical movie but more of an urban musical,” he said. It will offer a chance for people to see the entire Majette family in action, and he expects it to be released in fall 2022. L. Terrel has helped his family definitively establish its own place in the entertainment industry. “I am in awe of how he has maneuvered his way through the industry because we didn't have the industry budget or connections,” Rachel said. “We had a dream to show our children a different lifestyle than we were afforded and also to show them that their dream for themselves is much more important than a dream anyone else can want for them. So while I am in awe of him, I am not surprised at how he has made things happen because there is a true purpose behind it.” L. Terrel has worked hard to be a positive role model for his children as a father, as a professional and also as a student. He noted that as a child, he grew up in a single-parent home, and high school was a rocky time in his life. He dropped out in 11th grade and later went to the Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth Academy in Virginia Beach where he obtained his GED certificate before joining

Pictured on the set of the reality TV show competition “Survivalist” are, from left, L. Terrel Majette, Rachel “Rae” Majette, Trinity Dodson and Tre Majette.

the U.S. Army. “I told my children that the one thing I’ve never been proud of is being a high school dropout,” he said, and he has since made a point to continue his education. In April 2022, he will receive his associate degree. “For my kids, I think it means more to them than it does to me, because they’re like, ‘Man, Dad, you could have just said, ‘Forget it,’ but you kept going,’” he said. “So they’re like, ‘If you can keep going in spite of your story, then there’s nothing that we can’t do.’ So now my sons, they’re looking at Morehouse (College), that’s where they want to go.” L. Terrel is also aiming to be an inspiration to other young people from Franklin, where he returned to recently to perform at the Riverfront Soul Festival and also to visit with family over the Thanksgiving holiday. “It brings me so much joy being a positive role model to so many of the kids that are here still in Franklin that may say, ‘Hey, I want to be an actor one day, but I don’t know how to even get started,’ or ‘I want to be a singer one day, but I don’t know where to go to record music or what do I need to do,’ or ‘I want to write songs, but I don’t know how to

start,’” he said. L. Terrel’s description of reaching the peak of the mountain on “Survivalist” felt like a metaphor of his journey to personal and professional success in life. “When we reached the top — and I think we went 11,000 feet in the air over a 16-mile journey or something like that — all I could do was cry, all I could do was weep, because this whole journey I’ve been trying, trying, trying, and when I realized, ‘Hey, man, you are 11,000 feet in the air in Moab, Utah, and you’re just a little kid from Franklin, Virginia,’ all I could do was cry, man,” he said. “It was just that rewarding for me.” In “Family Thanksgiving,” the film in which L. Terrel made his professional acting debut, the filmmakers chose to use four of his songs on the soundtrack. “So when you just think about my life and how I have wanted to be an actor and be a singer, for me to be acting in movies now with my music playing in the background of that same said movie, it’s like, man, everything that I’ve ever manifested is coming to pass,” he said. L. Terrel can be found on Instagram @ Lterrel_official, on Facebook at https:// www.facebook.com/lterrelmusic and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Iam_terrel.

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The doctor is in... class and the clinic

See HECK, page 18

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erriam-Webster indicates that the word “doctor” comes from the Latin word for “teacher.” Most would find either occupation of doctor or teacher to be daunting by itself, but Dr. Reid Harrison’s love for teaching has led to him embracing both roles at the same time. Starting fall 2021, he became a parttime teacher in the science department at Franklin High School while also practicing medicine part time at the Franklin Community Health Center known as the Southeastern Virginia Health System. “I enjoy it,” he said of the dual role. “It’s just a great opportunity.” Also enjoying the arrangement has been Franklin High School Principal Travis Felts. “Dr. Harrison, as far as I know, is the first medical doctor to teach at Franklin High School,” he said. “He brings a wealth of practical experience and content knowledge to our science department. He has a love for teaching and is determined to make a positive difference in our students' lives. Not only does he teach ecology and anatomy & physiology, but he is also our team doctor for athletics. Dr. Harrison has been a great addition to the FHS team.” With 20 years of experience as a fulltime physician, Harrison’s specialties are internal medicine and pediatrics. “I did a double residency where I did both,” he said. He moved to Franklin in August 2020 with his wife, Cyndi, and the youngest of his six children, Samuel, a 10th-grader, and Benjamin, an eighth-grader. Harrison noted that he came to the city because he was recruited by Bon Secours. He initially worked at Southampton Family Practice, but he said it was not the right position for him. See DOCTOR, page 18

SUBMITTED | STEPHEN H. COWLES Within the woods behind Franklin High School, ecology teacher Reid Harrison points out another vine that is climbing to reach the sunlight at the expense of a tree.

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SUBMITTED | STEPHEN H. COWLES At far left is Reid Harrison, who teaches ecology at Franklin High School. Here he’s taken one of his classes outside for a lesson. Harrison points with a foot at the presence of mole activity, evidenced by raised ridges in the earth. The ground creature burrows through to find worms and grubs while at the same time aerating the earth. This, said Reid, is an example of commensalism; the mole’s actions benefit it but neither help nor hurt the ground. Wearing a red jacket, freshman Nathanie Storey took many notes during the lesson.

DOCTOR, from page 17

After leaving there, he talked with his wife and said, “You know, I don’t know if I want to go and work full time as a doctor anymore. I wonder if there’s some other opportunities.” He said he has actually done a lot of teaching on a volunteer basis, having taught in the prison system and for an employment agency, and he added that a doctor does a lot of teaching in the course of practicing medicine as well. “So I’ve always loved teaching,” he said. “That has always been in the background of my desires.”

At the time that Harrison was wondering about other opportunities, his son Samuel mentioned that his science teacher was leaving Franklin. Harrison had been assisting with coaching duties for sports at the high school, including wrestling, and through this he had gotten to know Felts. He recalled the key conversation they had that led to his life as a teacher/doctor. “I said, ‘Do you guys need another science teacher?’ And (Felts) goes, ‘Well, yeah, yeah, we’re going to lose our science teacher.’ And I said, ‘Would you be inter-

ested if I came as a part-time teacher?’ And he said, ‘What? But you’re a doctor!’ And I said, ‘Yeah, but I love teaching, and you need a science teacher.’ He goes, ‘Let me look into this!’” Harrison said Felts spoke with Superintendent Dr. Tamara Sterling and then told him to submit an application, noting that the school could fit him into its needs. “As they say, all the ducks were in a row and all the doors opened, and so I started here in the fall,” Harrison said. Meanwhile, on the medical side of See DOCTOR, page 19

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DOCTOR, from page 18

things, he also began working part time at the Southeastern Virginia Health System clinic. At Franklin High School, he is teaching ecology across two classes during the first semester of the 2021-22 school year. “Then next semester I’ll be teaching a dual-enrollment, college-level anatomy/ physiology (class) as well as ecology,” he said, later noting that his class load will remain at two, with the anatomy/physiology class replacing one of his ecology classes, but it will mean 10 preparations per week as opposed to the five he does now. His students are mostly freshmen and sophomores now, but all grades from ninth through 12th are represented.

He said he averages between 20-23 students in each of his classes. Describing his average weekday, Harrison said he goes to school at 7 a.m., teaches his two classes and is done by 11 a.m. He goes home, eats some lunch and then heads to the clinic for a noon-5 p.m. shift, which usually involves seeing 10-12 patients. In the evening, he does lesson planning and grading if he is not able to get to these duties in between patients, and he also sometimes has team doctor responsibilities. As of early December, he said he was at the clinic Monday-Thursday but noted that he will start adding some Friday afternoon shifts as well. When adding in his team doctor duties


for the high school, Harrison mentioned that he spends more time working for the school than the clinic. As a team doctor, he is often on hand for home sporting events in the evenings, including football and wrestling. Of his unorthodox arrangement with the school, he said, “We’re making this up as we go.” When asked what the most challenging thing was about being a teacher/doctor, Harrison’s initial reply reflected the joy he is experiencing in the dual role: “Not enjoying it too much.” “This has just been incredible,” he said. He elaborated by saying that the roles allow him to live totally different lives from the morning to the afternoon. See DOCTOR, page 20

SUBMITTED | MITZI LUSK Dr. Reid Harrison, whose specialties are internal medicine and pediatrics, is seen here at the Southeastern Virginia Health System clinic in Franklin. He sees patients most afternoons during the week and serves as a science teacher at Franklin High School on weekday mornings.

20 western tidewater living DOCTOR, from page 19

He said that in the classroom, he is a teacher talking to 20 teenagers, trying to manage a class, trying to get them to learn something while also helping them feel good about themselves. “I thought medicine was hard, but teaching is 10 times harder,” he said. “And I’m not saying that tongue-incheek.” Then he summed up the teaching experience at the clinic. “As a physician, you’re to teach your patients, but my ‘classroom’ has one patient — usually — in it, and I have total control for that 15, 20, 30 minutes that I have them,” he said. “So it’s a very unique teaching opportunity.” He said he does not have the same status when he walks into the classroom that he has when a patient walks into his room in the clinic. He noted See DOCTOR, page 21

SUBMITTED | STEPHEN H. COWLES Christian Cutchins watches from above as his teacher, Reid Harrison, gives an outdoor lesson in the ecology class. The students learned about relationships in nature that can be beneficial or harmful to another in varying degrees.

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pt ion Whatever the season, whatever the weather, that at the school, he is walking into the students’ environment. DOCTOR, from page 20

So he ultimately described the hardest part of his dual role as managing a classroom at the same time as managing the desire to help these kids succeed in life. “And the schedule, that’s nothing,” he said. “Doing both (jobs), that’s easy. Like I said, I love it because I can teach for a couple hours, three or four hours, then I go into my clinic for a few hours. When I’m done, I get to go home, I get to spend time with my family, I can wrestle with my boys. So the lifestyle, it’s the best it’s ever been in my life.” He then highlighted philosophical differences and similarities between the teacher and doctor occupations. “Part of medicine is you’re helping people handle suffering in a way that you either lessen their suffering by healing them, by giving (them) what they need to be healed or just helping them deal with their suffering in the best way possible,” he said. “Education is a way to prevent people from suffering.” He said he realized this difference after just a few weeks of working both jobs. But then he also acknowledged the ultimate continuity between his two professional lives: “What I teach in school is the same thing I teach my patients — it’s just how to not suffer and giving them the skills and the know-how and the understanding of living life to its fullest.”


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An epic trip on the river

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Paddlers enjoy 15 miles of quiet water and stunning scenery



he longest trip ever completed by the Tuesday group of the Tidewater Appalachian Trail Club was epic. Enjoying 15 miles of quiet water and grand scenery, a dozen members paddled from Barrett’s Landing in Franklin, down the Blackwater River and up the Nottoway River to Dockside. Our group met at Barrett’s Landing at 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 16 , the weather was a chilly 38 degrees. We unloaded all the boats and began the

shuttle to get all the vehicles to Dockside at Battles Beach on the Nottoway River. Fortunately, Vivian Christie and Bobby Turner volunteered to drive the group back to Barrett’s Landing. The flotilla started paddling a little after nine and went upstream into the turning basin to look for remains of the Civil War steamship Stag that was scuttled during the Civil War to stop Yankee gunboats from getting close enough to shell the railroad bridge

across the Blackwater. Next, the group headed downriver, past the International Paper Mill Complex on the East bank of the river. As we paddled by, an 18-wheel truck was lifted up high into the air to dump the wood chips out of the trailer. The sunny weather was perfect for paddling under the bright blue November sky. Soon our group came upon the remains of an old barge that had run aground in the river many See RIVER, page 24

24 western tidewater living

Paddlers enjoyed the beautiful fall colors.

RIVER, from page 23

decades ago. I first saw the old barge in 1971, when I first paddled the Blackwater in a kayak that I had made. At the time I took pictures of the barge using infrared film I was experimenting with. Now 50 years later, there is very little left to see — if you didn’t know about it you would probably not even notice it as you paddled by. The two bridges over the river are interesting landmarks. The first is the beautiful four lane bridge of the Route 58 Bypass south of Franklin. The second bridge, South Quay isn’t a bridge at the present time. The old swing span has been demolished as VDOT is preparing to build a new bridge high enough that it will not have to open and obstruct traffic. We stopped a while and watched the men work on the new bridge. Reaching the area where Highway 189 is only a few feet from the river we stopped for lunch. It felt good to get out and stretch our legs and eat our lunches. The sun felt good and the company was

pleasant but I was a little disappointed with my lunch. When I opened my can of vienna sausages the center sausage was completely missing. Despite that I did have plenty to eat. Sherri McQueen was the true environmentalist and picked up two armloads of trash at our lunch spot. After lunch we paddled on and came to a high clay bank. River Guard, Jeff Turner, had told us to look for claw marks where bears had climbed up out of the river. We were thrilled when we found the claw marks in the bank. The fall colors, Spanish Moss, mistletoe, and majestic trees made this a truly satisfying paddle. The temperature had warmed up to 55 degrees. At Smith Bend where the Blackwater River loops abruptly west we tried to see the Nottoway River which at that point was only 100 yards from the Blackwater River. However, we could not see any sign of the Nottoway River through the trees. Next we paddled to an interesting part

of the trip —the misaligned North Carolina/Virginia State Line. For a half-mile as we paddled south, North Carolina was on our left and on the other side of the river was Virginia. It seems that early surveyors were confused by imprecise landmarks. We paddled onto the joining of the Nottoway and Blackwater rivers and were completely in North Carolina and in the beginning of the Chowan River. The Three Rivers! On the Nottoway River we paddled northwest out of North Carolina back into Virginia and were soon at the Dockside where our vehicles awaited us. We had made the 15 mile trip in perfect weather and no problems. What a great day on the water! No permits, no waiting in lines, no harassment, no fees, and no robo calls about expiring automobile warranties. We arrived about 4:30 p.m. and still had plenty of light to load boats. We drove back to Franklin and celebrated our epic trip with dinner at Serve restaurant.

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Celebrating after an epic paddle at Serve in Franklin, pictured are, from left, Lois Billings, Bill Billings, Bob Adkisson, Kathy O’Loughlin, Richard Tarr, Vivian Christie, Sandra Canepa, Sherri McQueen, Bruce Julian, Ellis Malabad and Marti Malabad. WE ARE COMFORT KEEPERS®

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26 western tidewater living


Tips and tricks for cutting out cookies Baking is a holiday tradition in many households. The aroma of freshly baked cakes, pies and cookies wafts through the air of many homes this time of year, and that makes the holiday season even more special. Cookies are a tradition passed down through the ages. In medieval Europe, small, spiced cookies were exchanged as treats, and people still bake and share gingerbread cookies today. Cut cookies are some of the most popular cookies to make during the holiday season. Some families may have their share of favorite cookie cutter shapes and dough recipes. Certain techniques can make holiday baking sessions easier and ensure consistent results. • Work on a lightly floured, cool surface, such as a cutting board or stone counter top. Never work on a warm surface, which can cause dough to spread and stick. • Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking or parchment paper to a thickness of about 1⁄8 inch, unless noted in the recipe. This prevents the dough from sticking, and parchment enables you to easily transfer rolled-out dough to a refrigerator or elsewhere. • When rolling out dough, portion it out into a few smaller amounts to roll out more easily. This will also help it to chill more readily. • Cookies cut most easily when the dough is chilled. Refrigerate the dough for as long as possible, ideally an hour or more — even overnight. The more chilled, the firmer the dough will be. • Rubber rolling pin rings that slip onto each side of the rolling pin can help ensure that the dough is being rolled out to a uniform thickness. • Dip cookie cutters into flour with each cut. Work from the center and move out to the edges when cutting out your designs. Try to maximize space and avoid scraps and rerolling. • Some expert bakers say that metal cookie cutters cut cleaner than plastic ones. Whichever cutter you use, cut the cookie by pressing straight down; try not

to twist or jiggle the cookie cutter when using it. Doughs with a high butter content can help, as the extra grease helps separate the dough from the cutters. • If cut cookies have gotten warmer, place them in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up again and then cook. This

will guarantee the cookies will not spread or distort while baking. Extra steps may seem like they will take a lot of time. However, the extra effort and attention to detail will help produce cookies that win rave reviews.

western tidewater living



How to create a durable gingerbread house Gingerbread cookies and houses are one of the many symbols of the holiday season, alongside Christmas trees and twinkling lights. In fact, few confections symbolize the holidays more so than gingerbread. Many a child (or a child at heart) has spent hours carefully trying to create decorative gingerbread houses. Although gingerbread recipes span various cultures, gingerbread houses originated in 16th century Germany. The fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel” helped solidify the popularity of gingerbread, which became part of Christmas traditions. Even though gingerbread houses can be fun to make, there’s no denying it can be exacting work — especially for those who strive for perfection. Prepackaged kits attempt to take some of the guesswork out of the equation, but those who are craft-

ing from scratch can employ these tips as they build their gingerbread houses. • Go for form and not flavor. Few gingerbread houses ever get eaten, so focus on finding a dough that will bake up rock hard as opposed to one that tastes good. • Get the right icing texture. Pastry artist Catherine Beddall says royal icing is the preferred “glue” to adhere gingerbread pieces. Beddall says icing should be thick like peanut butter and not runny. • Mind the dough. Do not roll out the gingerbread dough too thin or it may become brittle after being cooked. Always cut out shapes before the gingerbread is baked. Let the baked pieces sit overnight to cool completely before using them to build. • Patience is key. Allow the icing to dry for at least a couple of hours after adhering each piece and before moving and

handling the house, says Beddall. Work in stages so that individual items can be decorated and allowed to dry. Then the walls can be put together, followed by the roof pieces. • Kids likely will need help. Children may not have the patience or steadiness to handle complete gingerbread construction. They can decorate the separate pieces of the house while the components are laying flat, which is easier for kids. Adults can do the main assembly later on. • Utilize a template. Free-handing may not be easy. Cut out templates using cardboard or posterboard for various gingerbread pieces. One of the most important tips is to have fun. Don’t take gingerbread house making too seriously as a novice. Rather, enjoy the experience and the centuriesold tradition.

28 western tidewater living

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looking back



n Sunday, Sept. 19, Franklin Baptist Church marked and celebrated its 150 years of existence. On Sept. 19, 1871, in the village of Franklin, 16 men and women joined together to organize the Franklin Baptist Church — under the able leadership of Alexander W. Norfleet, superintendent of the community Union Sunday School. Charter members of the church were Erastus B. Barrett, Wiley Councill, Joel H. Cutchins, Jordan Edwards, Junius K. Fox, Kenneth R. Griffin, A. W. Norfleet, Mary R. Barrett, Nancy Councill, Susanna Edwards, Josephine J. Goodman, Ella V. Griffin, Virginia Griffin and India J. Norfleet. The first gathering place for the newly established church was in the Masonic Hall, then located on the east side of South Main Street between the river

STORY BY CLYDE PARKER wharf and the railroad depot. The small group of worshippers met there until 1872 when they erected their first real house of worship — at the southeast corner of Main Street and Fourth Avenue — on the spot where, later, the Stonewall Hotel stood. The first pastor of the church was Rev. Paul Repiton who served from 1871 to 1873. In the early 1900s, Franklin Baptist Church was feeling growing pains; therefore, they decided to seek more spacious quarters. Church leaders Robert J. Camp, John R. Knight and Dr. A. P. Cutchin obtained land on the northeastern corner of High Street and Second Avenue. There, in 1903, a new brick facility was built. Perhaps the most beautiful part of the new house of worship was the stained-glass windows, donated to the Church as a memorial to

Sallie Cutchins Camp, wife of George Camp II and mother of their children: Mary Eliza, Paul D., John S., Joseph E., James E., Benjamin F., William N., Sarah V., Robert J., and James L. In 1913, during the pastorate of Rev. J. L. McCutcheon, membership in the Church reached 400; and, once again, the Franklin Baptists needed more space — this time, for their Sunday School Department; soon, 16 rooms were added to the rear of the church — at a cost of $9,000. One of the most active Bible classes ever assembled in a church must have been the Bruner Men’s Bible Class which was organized in 1908. Over the years, some of Franklin’s most outstanding community leaders were members of this special group. The class was started by Dr. Weston Bruner — one evening See CHURCH, page 30

30 western tidewater living CHURCH, from page 29

after a revival meeting at the church. Although records do not indicate when the first permanent parsonage was bought or erected, it is certain that it was located on the site of a former smaller house at the intersection of High Street and Norfleet Street. The old house was moved to a lot at the northwestern corner of Norfleet and Gay Streets; and, then, a new spacious parsonage was built on the old site. Pastors of the Franklin Baptist Church have been strong capable men able to help the church develop over the years: A. Paul Repiton, 1871-1873; Thomas G. Wood, 1873-1881; O. F. Flippo, 1881; James E. Jones, 1881; C. V. Waugh, 18821883; M. S. Read, 1883-1889; J. L. McCutcheon, 1890-1896; Gilbert Dobbs, 1896-1899; J. L. Lawless, 1899-1906; J. L. McCutcheon, 1906-1918; M. A. McLean, 1919-1922; R. D. Stephenson, 1922-1946; Randolph L. Gregory, 1947-1951; Ira D. Hudgins, 1951-1983; Michael J. Clingenpeel, 1983-1992; Ira Hudgins (interim), 1992; Roy DeBrand, 1992-2002; Donald Dunlap (interim), 2001; Richard Childress, 2003-2009; Chester Brown (interim), 2009-2010; Brent Kimlick, 20102015; Michael Clingenpeel (interim), 2016-2017; and Charles L. Qualls, 2017 to present. For a period of time during the early 1940s, Hal J. Lyons served as organist and choir director. In 1948, during the pastorate of Randolph L. Gregory, the church launched a building program to provide for a recreational hall, new junior and intermediate departments, and a remodeling of the existing Sunday School rooms. This work was dedicated on Sept. 26, 1948, at the time of the 77th anniversary of the church. Rev. Ira D. Hudgins was called to be pastor of the church on Sept. 1, 1951. In 1953, the interior of the church sanctuary was remodeled and refinished. The space back of the pulpit was enlarged and the choir loft was moved from the

left-hand corner of the room to the rear of the pulpit; the baptistry was raised from beneath the floor of the rostrum to a central location above the choir; and air conditioning was installed. Those changes added greatly to the beauty and comfort of the sanctuary. In 1953, Mrs. John D. Riddick was hired as organist / choir director. The present house of worship was completed in December of 1960 and was dedicated in 1961. R. Ashby Rawls was Chairman of the Long-Range Planning Committee — the group that first envisioned this magnificent new building. C. C. Gouldman was the first chairman of the building funds committee which helped raise the $600,000 necessary for the construction of the new facility. Members of the building committee were William M. Camp Sr., Edward T. Rogers, William C. Coker, Robert B. Allport Jr., Mrs. R.E.L. Wheless, Mrs. C. C. Gouldman, Robert C. Ray, and Rocher H. Allen. In 1971, Ronald Cockrill was hired as Director of Music to replace Mrs. Riddick who retired. In 1984 Rev. Sharon James was hired as Minister of Education and Associate

Minister. In 1986, Rev. Dr. Ira Hudgins was elected Pastor Emeritus of Franklin Baptist Church. In 1988, Warren and Maureen Howell were hired as minister of music and organist — respectively. In 1991, renovation of the entire church plant was completed, at a cost of $2,000,000. In 1992, Rev. Michael Clingenpeel resigned — to become editor of the “Religious Herald” in Richmond; and, then, Pastor Emeritus Ira Hudgins served as Interim Minster until Rev. Roy DeBrand was hired later in the year. In 1995, Warren and Maureen Howell both resigned. In 1996, Jim Hyatt was hired as Minister of Music. In 1999, the flood, resulting from Hurricane Floyd, had a huge impact on Franklin Baptist Church. A good part of the complex was inundated with water. Of course, restoration of church facilities took place — at a cost of $859,000. Services were held, temporarily, in several other locations including the James L. Camp Jr. YMCA, Franklin Presbyterian Church and Franklin High School. See CHURCH, page 31

CHURCH, from page 30

In 2001, Rev. Donald Dunlap, retired minister of Freemason Street Baptist Church in Norfolk and former associate pastor of Franklin Baptist Church, served as interim minister while Rev. Roy DeBrand was on a sabbatical. In 2001, Franklin Baptist Church withdrew from the Southern Baptist Convention; and, in 2002, the Church became affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Rev. Jim Hyatt resigned in 2004; subsequently, in 2005, Rev. Steve Gibson was hired as Associate Pastor and Minister of Music. Another flood, in 2006, caused significant damage to Church facilities. Rev. Dr. Charles L. Qualls was hired as the 20th senior minister in 2017. Under his leadership, the Church, in 2018, put forth a vision and strategic plan, “Lighting God’s Path,” and created three teams focused on discipleship, worship and missions. He began “Faith on Draft,” an open forum for religious questions and discussions — at Fred’s Restaurant. The COVID-19 pandemic presented an unusual challenge to the Church. In response, in-person worship was suspended in early 2020 in accordance with state and federal mandates. The Church remained active throughout the suspension. And, now, the Church has resumed regular services.

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