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CONTENTS » in this issue




A common staple in most kitchens, the simple cast iron skillet remains popular in a world of molecular gastronomy. Local chefs and home cooks tell us why. Valerie Dumas has a keen eye for style and detail, and a knack for making the right business decision. Her shop, Gillyweed, continues to draw both attention and shoppers to downtown Newnan.

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36 | The Words in Red(neck)

Little did cartoonist Jeff Todd know his tendency to doodle at a young age would one day lead to “A Redneck’s Guide,“ a series of illustrated books focused on explaining the Bible and Christianity.

40 | Star Cars

Jerry Patrick doesn’t settle on his Mystery Machine and Batmobile replicas merely looking the part. He takes the time and effort needed to make his celebrity rides nearly as authentic as the originals.



in every issue 14 | Letter from the Editor 16 | Roll Call 17 | Calendar 26 | Duel Pages 62 | Pen & Ink 65 | Blacktop 66 | Index of Advertisers 66 | What’s Next

28 46 | Labor of Love

nlike Christmas or Easter, where a jolly fat man or a bunny U helps with the deliveries, those roses on Valentine’s Day are delivered by hard-working Cowetans who often begin planning for Feb. 14 well before the new year.

on the cover

52 | By the Numbers

To most sports fans, numbers are there to tell us who the player is on the field. But to the athlete, there’s sometimes a bigger reason why they wear the digits on their backs.


By the Numbers Star Cars

64 | Best New Year’s Resolutions

We all make them. We often forget them. NCM’s Sarah Fay Campbell went off the beaten path to locate the best kept New Year’s resolutions made by current and former Cowetans.


Mystery Machine, Batmobile Roll in Coweta



Valerie Dumas poses in her shop, Gillyweed, named after a plant in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, pg. 28

Photo by Chris Helton

— Newnan Shop Generates Fan Base Downtown

january/february 2014

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William W. Thomasson Marianne C. Thomasson John Winters Will Blair Sandy Hiser, Sonya Studt Maggie Bowers Debby Dye Megan Almon

Sarah Fay Campbell

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FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION call 770.253.1576 or e-mail Newnan-Coweta Magazine is published bi-monthly by The Newnan Times-Herald, Inc., 16 Jefferson Street, Newnan, GA 30263. Subscriptions: Newnan-Coweta Magazine is distributed in home-delivery copies of The Newnan Times-Herald and at businesses and offices throughout Coweta County. Individual mailed subscriptions are also available for $23.75 in Coweta County, $30.00 outside Coweta County. To subscribe, call 770.304.3373. On the Web:

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A Letter to the Month of January Dear January,


t’s not me, it’s you.

You’re cold and bitter. Frigid. No one likes you. “Slow as molasses ...” they say. It never fails that after the compressed holiday high of the fall season and early winter, you come around to ruin things. We go from the frivolity of Halloween, the fellowship of Thanksgiving, the joy of Christmas, the excitement at the promise of change and new beginnings on the eve of your arrival, only to emerge on the other side of the calendar lonely and detached. Spent. Depressed. Pockets empty and dehydrated.  Your brisk, icy acquaintanceship (I could never love you) ... I tolerate year after year, but the offer of faux renewal always ends by day two. You merely judge me, silently inferring that it’s time to eat less, to get in shape, to stop smoking, to stop drinking, etc.     Who are you to judge? You just want to see me as unhappy, blue as your eternally gray landscape.     Sure you tempt me with football and new HBO programming, National Bubble Bath Day (you’re also a tease) and National Nothing Day (so that’s why you make me burn my Christmas tree, nihilist), but then you remind me tax season is approaching and send me packing.  Why can’t you be more like ... April? Warm and inviting. “Come outside, Will, enjoy all I have to offer. The golden sun on your face. The green grass underfoot.” April asks me to spend time with her, to venture forth. To reconnect. You, on the other hand, cold January, just want me to stay indoors and watch said TV programming. She offers Easter and rebirth. You provide the flu season. So I’m going to tell all my friends about you, oh nihilistic, dark, impenetrable January. I’m lobbying that we change the calendar and celebrate the new year — a time that should be about hope and attainable change — with April. April 1 is now New Year’s Day for me. So ignore me when you see me, January — Ms. January. You’re nothing to me now. Ignore me and I’ll forget about you. I’m changing my number and the locks on my doors. I’m gonna wear white when I want and drive with the windows down. But ... I also know you won’t go away so easily, that you’ll remind me I don’t actually HAVE to lose weight or see a doctor. That you’re also “Change your profile picture to a Muppet” month on Facebook.  Curses.   And since you refuse to leave just yet, I reckon I’ll have to do like so many others caught in your embrace — anchor in on my couch and catch up on my reading. Today, I like to think several more are doing the same. With this edition of Newnan-Coweta Magazine, hopefully we can ease their January pain.

Thanks for reading,

Will Blair, Editor

14 |

Let Us Hear From You!

Feel free to send thoughts, ideas and suggestions for upcoming issues of Newnan-Coweta Magazine to





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thank you


Chris Goltermann

Megan Almon

is a freelance writer and a presenter for the Life Training Institute. She and her husband, Tripp, live in Newnan with their two children. Though Valentine’s Day is not necessarily her favorite holiday, she’s never been one to turn down roses, especially from her husband.

was born on 7/7/73, yet has never attempted a trip to Las Vegas despite wearing No. 7 throughout his sports career. The Newnan TimesHerald sports editor watched daughter Mary Ellen wear the digit during her first softball season this fall, while son Conor had a ton of success wearing his mom’s No. 13 for the first time on the baseball diamond. ➔ By the Numbers, page 52 Melissa Dickson Jackson

is a poet and mother of four. Nominated for the Pushcart Award by both Shenandoah and Cumberland River Review, she confesses her writing would not be possible without daily walks through downtown Newnan and a weekly visit to her favorite boutique, Gillyweed.

JANUARY-february 2014

➔ Labor of Love, page 46 Sarah Fay Campbell is a

longtime reporter for The Newnan TimesHerald. She quit smoking cigarettes in 2008 thanks to a New Year’s resolution, and her best kept resolutions story in this issue has inspired her to make more resolutions — including one to make sure to have a pen on her at all times (or a pencil, or a crayon …).

➔ Best New Year’s Resolutions, page 64

Jon Cooper has been

➔ Growing Gillyweed, page 28 Meredith Leigh Knight is an award-winning writer, columnist, editor and mother of three who’d like to know why the words “Hey, Mom!“ are never followed by anything good. Read more of her humorous musings on everyday life on her blog, “Life as Leigh sees it.” ➔ Duel Pages, page 26

a freelance sportswriter for nearly two decades, the last 13 years in Atlanta. He regularly contributes to,, NBA. com, and various Atlanta Braves, Hawks and Georgia Tech publications. In the past, he’s covered the Thrashers and NASCAR. His NCM column marks his first foray into the world of culinary writing.

After majoring in journalism at Georgia State University, Clay Neely spent the next nine years living across the country, working as an audio engineer and touring the globe as the drummer for Black Pyramid. He has recently returned to his senses — writing for The Newnan Times-Herald — and enjoys raising his family in downtown Newnan.

➔ Duel Pages, page 27

➔ Star Cars, page 40


Lindsay Wood is a freelance writer

a freelance writer and graduate student in health and medical journalism in Athens, Ga. While studying journalism at the University of Georgia, Crist interned at The Newnan Times-Herald.

living in Newnan. When she’s not writing, she’s most likely standing in the front row of a live music show or fishing on the family pond in Senoia. Following a brief stint in Jackson Hole, Wyo., a town notorious for being home to both the wealthy and granola types, she returned to Newnan in order to get back to her southern roots.

➔ From Flea Market to Table, page 18

➔ The Words in Red (Neck), page 36

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Martin Luther King Jr. parade The 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. parade will be held at noon on Jan. 11 in downtown Newnan, hosted by Chapter 483 Order of the Eastern Star. A memorial program will be held at 7 p.m. on Jan. 10 at Zion Hill Baptist Church. For more information, call 770-253-1559.

Citizen of the Year Gala Reception The 2014 Citizen of the Year Gala Reception is planned for Feb. 6 at the Coweta County Fairgrounds at 275 Pine Road. Tickets are $25 and will include dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m., with an opportunity to greet all the nominees preceding the announcement. To purchase a table for eight guests ($200), call 770-2537147. Table seating may be purchased until Jan. 24. Individual tickets may be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce office, at SouthTowne Motors on Bullsboro Drive, and from any Coweta County Kiwanis Club. Individual tickets may be purchased through Jan. 31. NCM

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Written by CAROLYN CRIST | Photography by AARON HEIDMAN

From Flea Market to Table Cast iron skillets find a home in many Coweta kitchens

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Used as early as 200 BC by the Han Dynasty in China for salt evaporation, cast iron pans have a knack for staying in vogue. Serving as major players in the kitchen before the stove stole the spotlight in the 1950s, cast iron skillets

“An iron skillet is one of the best things you can have in the kitchen, and you can cook just about anything with them.” – Shirley Strickland

evoke images of good old home cooking — and the hearths and fireplaces that held them. As teflon-coated aluminum and nonstick pans became the go-to cookware in the 1960s and 1970s, skillets remained in the background, never completely falling out of favor. Now they’re reappearing as favorites in the kitchen, often disguised as this year’s popular panini presses, waffle irons, crepe makers and griddles. Prized in the pantries of professional chefs and home cooks, skillets stand out as the special tool

Shirley Strickland of Shirley’s Country Kitchen keeps six cast iron skillets of various sizes in her kitchen. The medium-sized pan is reserved for her famous cornbread.

for unique dishes and authentic flavor. For Newnan chefs and homeowners alike, one staple comes to mind when thinking about cast iron skillets — cornbread. Skillet bread, hoecake, corn pone: Call it what you will and fry it how you like, but there’s nothing quite like a big slice of dense, moist cornbread with the crust done just right. “I have a niece who comes by and always asks me to fix her cornbread in the skillet,” said Shirley Strickland, owner of Shirley’s Country Kitchen on Bullsboro

Drive. “So that’s what I do. I cook it up with a good crust on it.” In addition to cornbread, Strickland uses skillets in the restaurant to fry up corn, pies, and pineapple upside-down cake. “It’s all from old tradition, from back home, and it tastes so good,” she said. “A lot of my customers know I cook my fried pies in skillets, and they like that.” Strickland stocks six skillets of various sizes in her kitchen. She uses a large pan to fry corn and a medium pan to cook cornbread. january/february 2014

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Kathy Laster, an exhibitor at Franklin Road Flea Market and a home cook, says cast iron skillets are good for your health, leaching significant amounts of dietary iron into food.

the late 1800s or early 1900s. Griswold and Wagner Ware were among the big names until the late 1950s, when most brands were acquired by General Housewares, now known as Columbian Home Products, and the American Culinary Corporation. Many companies now import cast iron cookware from Asian manufacturers. Lodge Manufacturing, founded in 1896, is the only major manufacturer of cast iron cookware in the U.S. today. Still owned and managed by Lodge family members, Early beginnings the company produces and sells cast iron ware from its foundry in South Most of the major U.S. manufacturers of Fayettfile Ad Nov 2013.pdf 1 11/27/13 4:31 PM cast iron cookware started production in Pittsburg, Tenn. “An iron skillet is one of the best things you can have in the kitchen, and you can cook just about anything with them,” she said. “It holds the heat well, not like many of the modern pans. Once you get it hot, it’ll hold the heat and you can fry up whatever you need.” Strickland has owned most of her skillets for years, but she tells first-time cooks to pick one up at any retail location around town. “Mine were passed down in the family,” she said. “It’s tradition.”

Given the history, skillets tend to top must-have lists for antique collectors and dealers. “You never know when you’re going to find one and when you’ll sell it the next day,” said Kathy Laster, an exhibitor at Franklin Road Flea Market. “One time I found some old pans sitting outside and rusting and offered the lady $10 for them.

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Because of its durability, cast iron cookware is also the go-to choice for serious cooking over the campfire.

I brought them home and cleaned

to normal,” Laster said. “I know a lot

them up.”

of people who use skillets, and I have a

They’re good for your health, too, Laster

pantry full myself.”

noted. An American Dietetic Association

Armed with more than 20 skillets,

study shows that cast iron cookware can

Laster enjoys cooking cornbread for any

leach significant amounts of dietary iron

occasion. She uses a small personal pan

into food.

when she wants a few pieces for herself, a

“If you have low iron, all you have to do is cook in a skillet, and it’ll be back

large pan when family members visit, and a shallow pan for her husband, Joel, who

likes thin cornbread. “I like all types of cornbread,” she said with a laugh. “But I’ve got to have a lot of butter.”

FRYING UP SOMETHING NEW Though skillets serve as a home staple for cornbread, professional cooks are experimenting with them as well. At The Cellar in downtown Newnan,

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The Cellar’s executive chef, Wayne Shivers, says cast iron skillets impart “a certain seasoning and flavor” into his garden vegetable dishes.

executive chef Wayne Shivers enjoys creating traditional Southern dishes with bacon, corn, and garden vegetables. “It feels garden-grown, just the way grandma always did it,” he said. “It gives a certain seasoning and flavor that a traditional pan wouldn’t do for you.” For the restaurant’s skillet okra dish, Shivers first fries bacon pieces to season the pan and then cooks okra, onions and tomatoes together, topping it with the crispy bacon at the end. He’s also created a similar corn dish with red and green

22 |

peppers topped with bacon. “We do these side dishes every once in awhile for that nice flavor,” he said. “Just like a wood fire flavor, skillets have that unique taste.” Across the county in Senoia, chefs at Southern Ground Social Club use deep iron skillets to dress up their dishes. “The more you use them, the more they’re seasoned,” said chef Bobby Elder. “That complex flavor is imparted into what you’re cooking.” Southern Ground tends to use skillets for cornbread and fried green tomatoes — mainstays

Don’t go near your dishwasher!

on a Southern-style menu. “Skillets are great for whatever you need to fry, really,” Elder said. The cookware also helps chefs adapt to trends, as workers found at Partners Pizza in Summergrove. As the no-carb diet craze ravished menu items with bread, servers watched customers order pizza and scrape the toppings off to eat. “We had stacks of crust left on the plates,” said owner Taasha Blevins. “If customers only wanted the stuff on top, we thought we could CBK001416_SpecialPerksAd-EALMag.103013.pdf



The seasoning layer on a cast iron skillet protects the cookware from rusting and provides a non-stick surface for cooking. To seal in the flavor, don’t leave your skillet in water, and don’t use soap to clean it. “If you cook cornbread, just wipe it out, put oil in it, and clean it with a paper towel,” said Kathy Laster, a home cook and exhibitor at Franklin Road Flea Market. “If you cook soup, rinse it, put oil in it, and put it in the oven for 20 minutes to get it good and hot.” Some cast iron connoisseurs recommend never cleaning the pans at all. Simply rinse with hot water and scrub with a stiff brush. Others suggest using mild soap and water before re-applying a thin layer of fat or oil. Still others say scrub skillets with coarse salt using a paper towel. “Never run it through a dishwasher. Give it a good wipe and put it away for next time,” said Wayne Shivers, executive chef at The Cellar in downtown Newnan. “That’s what makes it so great. It holds the seasoning.” Shivers also reminds first-time users to season new skillets before use. “Put it in the oven to cook for a while with some salt to permeate the cast iron,” he said. “You have to take your time and do it right, just like breaking in a new car.” 10:40 AM

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create something for that.” By repurposing the skillets they used to cook nachos, Partners Pizza chefs layered cheese, sauce, meats, and vegetables into the pan for a fork-friendly meal. The dish remains popular as customers look for gluten-free options and choose not to go with the gluten-free crust. “It’s great for those who would rather have the toppings, which is something I

would get,” Blevins said. “Now customers even get it to-go. “What started as a special is now a customer favorite. Partners also features skillet nachos and skillet fries on the menu. “It just worked out. We worked with something we had, and we don’t have to worry about transfer to a plate,” Blevins said. “It’ll go into the oven and come right to the table, just like a fajita.”


Mixing innovation and tradition, chefs of all types are keeping skillets in the kitchen. With the unique ability to lock in heat and retain flavor, cast iron cookware bridges the gaps between Southern soul food, trendy chophouses, and family pizza eateries. Harking back to the Han Dynasty, skillets remind us of a common culinary past and suggest palatable possibilities for the future. NCM





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Maple Cornbread 2 1/3 cups yellow cornmeal 1 cup all-purpose flour 4 teaspoons baking powder 1 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 1 1/3 cup buttermilk 4 large eggs 3/4 cup pure maple syrup Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt in a processor; blend for five seconds. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk buttermilk, eggs and maple syrup in a large bowl to blend. Add cornmeal mixture and stir just until evenly moistened (do not over-blend). Pour into a greased, 9-inch cast iron skillet. Bake until golden brown and tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. NCM

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duel pages

In this corner

“After vague direction upon vague direction, it dawned on me that she didn’t have a recipe. My grandmother had been winging it for 50 years.”

Meredith Leigh Knight is an award-winning writer, columnist, editor and mother of three. Read more of her humorous musings on everyday life on her blog, “Life as Leigh sees it.”

Recipes: Winging the Rolls I just made the worst meal of my life, and now I have to write about it. It all started several weeks ago when I got a text from the editor of Newnan-Coweta Magazine. Having not written a column in awhile, I was delighted to be asked if I’d like to write one on either winging it in the kitchen or following a recipe. I immediately said winging it; hence the reason my dog subsequently got a feast and the kids had a lot of dirty pots to wash after they’d eaten their “blackened” sweet potato fries. You see, I’ve never winged a recipe in my life. In fact, my second text to the editor was, “What’s the recipe?” I think his reply may have been, “Uh, you’re winging it.” Oh yeah, I’m winging it, I thought, reality hitting. “Why did you pick that one?” my husband asked. “Yeah, Dad’s the one who wings it,” the kids said, which was in large part why I picked it. I may not be much of a cook — with or without a recipe — but I know what good food tastes like, and I know the best chefs wing it. Take my grandmother, for example. Some may say cooking is chemistry, but what she did was pure magic, especially when it came to her melt-in-your-mouth homemade rolls. I don’t know how many dozens she made during the holidays, but we ate them all. Grandmama never sat down while we ate. Instead, she kept an eye on the rolls and would serve them to us piping hot from the oven. They’d be flaky, warm and irresistible, no matter how full we were. As she grew older and a little slower moving around the stove, I decided I needed to get her recipe. When I asked about how she made them, she simply told me to come early to watch. Roll making is a process — mixing the dough, kneading the dough, allowing it to rise, rolling out the dough, cutting the rolls into circles with an empty tin can and then folding them over, cooking them until they are lightly browned, buttering them with soft butter, and

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serving them with love. Sadly, I never went to watch. I never took the time to learn by doing. I wanted a recipe. Every time I asked, I’d get the same answer, “Come and see.” After she had some mini-strokes, I realized that I really needed the recipe. I insisted on it. She nodded her consent, and I took out my pen and paper and readied myself. “First, you put a pinch of salt, then a pat of butter ...” “What’s a pinch? How much is a pat?” I asked, confused. After vague direction upon vague direction, it dawned on me that she didn’t have a recipe. My grandmother had been winging it for 50 years. Fortunately for our family, my oldest daughter, who was in the eighth grade at the time, took charge. “I’ll come watch you make them, GG,” she said, and as Henny Penny would say, that’s just what she did. Not only did she get the hang of using Grandmama’s rolling pin, she wrote down the recipe to her best estimate while she was there. And she didn’t stop there. She decided to share Grandmama’s rollmaking process as her 4-H project. She stayed up late into the night mixing the dough and leaving it in the refrigerator to rise. “I’m getting up at 5:30 a.m. to roll them out and bake them,” she said. By the time I woke up, the rolls were ready, and the kitchen looked as if we’d had an indoor snow storm. My daughter was proud and covered from head to toe in flour. She took pictures of the process and presented her project, explaining to others what I had yet to learn. At the end, everyone got a taste. She won district but lost at the state level. Ultimately, she was the real winner. She learned at an early age what it means to wing it in the kitchen — and in life. I wish I had not been so focused on the recipe that I missed the lesson. NCM

There are two recipes I know of in this world — the recipe for success and the recipe for disaster. The difference between the two can be as simple as following the recipe in front of you. Some people show disdain for recipes, and I can understand that it might be fun to play world-class chef and just “wing it” in the kitchen. There’s bravado in letting your instincts take over — at least until reality kicks in and those instincts start asking you, “Hmmmm, what’s Plan B? Where are those take-out menus again?” For those most stubborn/proud — in this case, the words are interchangeable — out there, determined to proceed on their own, answer this one question before getting too far:
Ever wonder what the difference is between a famous chef — for our purposes, let’s say Emeril — and yourself? Here’s a completely unbiased answer. Most likely a lot greater than you realize or care to admit. That’s why Emeril is a famous chef and why you just dropped a bundle enjoying one of his “once-in-a-lifetime” creations at his restaurant or spent an hour watching his show on the Cooking Channel. That doesn’t mean you can’t cook like Emeril — or at least cook what he cooks. That’s where the Internet or the Food Network or the Cooking Channel come in, providing the means to that end and even giving off a warm-andfuzzy feeling of being sensible and economical — shopping for the groceries is cheaper than going back to the restaurant. All you need to do is read the writing on the wall — actually on your computer screen set to or on the piece of paper upon which you wrote the recipe. You don’t need Emeril. You don’t need Yoda. You don’t need to use “The Force.” You simply need to use your eyes. You know how to read. You even know how to translate the hieroglyphics that pass for your handwriting. So just follow the recipe.

If it says ¾ cup of milk, pour ¾ of a cup of milk. No more, no less. Three-quarters of a cup of milk shalt thou pour and the amount of milk thou shalt pour shall be ¾ of a cup. A full cup shalt thou NOT pour, nor shall thou pour ½ of a cup unless thou shall then proceed to ¾ of a cup. It’s that simple. Just don’t stray! Remember, Emeril is the one with the book rights, and the only time anything goes “BAM!” in his kitchen is by his hand and by design. Emeril’s done the hard part. He’s done the trial and error. You just have to follow his lead. Trust Emeril. Once you take that first step, it’s easier to trust yourself — and Emeril — with the next one. There will be a time when the “cake” is in the oven and there’s nothing more you can do than just wait. But when that timer goes off, you can say you’ve given it your best and you followed Emeril’s instructions. It’s win-win. It’s either a roaring success or, if it turns out to be THAT bad, you can call for barbecue, knowing you’ve given it your best shot, and did it HIS way. But that’s only if you’ve followed the recipe. A good friend recommended following the recipe the first time, then improvising a little once you feel comfortable. That approach is a good one, but note the first step: You follow the recipe to have a baseline from which to work. I’ll be honest. I love “wingin’ it” as much as anybody — at least in life. So don’t give up that spirit. Go ahead, be adventurous. Go take that different route to work. Unbutton that shirt one button more. Make pancakes for the kids for Monday morning breakfast. Just make sure that when you’re making those pancakes, you’re following the directions on the box! NCM

In this corner

Follow the Recipe, Step by Step

“Emeril’s done the hard part. He’s done the trial and error. You just have to follow his lead.”

JON COOPER has been a freelance sportswriter for nearly two decades. This NCM column marks his first foray into the world of culinary writing.

january/february 2014

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great find

Growing Gillyweed Valerie Dumas’ globally inspired shop is generating fans as fast as it is sales Inside the walls of Gillyweed, products from around the globe vie for attention, though the first impression of the shop isn’t so much multicultural as it is pleasant, eclectic and accessible. On a random Tuesday, there’s a life preserver braced against the checkout counter, a hooked rug on the wall, a butterfly terrarium in one corner, and an antique gentleman’s collar in another. The owner, Valerie Dumas, fills a countertop display with freshly delivered caramels as she chats amiably with her customers about art, a taxidermied squirrel named Chelsea, and the new Written by melisSa dickson jackson Photography by CHRIS HELTON

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january/february 2014

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Named after the Gillyweed plant from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Valerie Dumas’ shop is a place where the meditative possibility of breathing underwater seems within reach.

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restaurants in town. “Now I don’t have to open a shop,” said shopper Niki Lay, recalling her reaction when she first browsed Gillyweed’s shelves. “This is everything I would have done. Valerie is constantly rearranging the space with new inventory and creative displays. It’s quirky and fun.” Lay then turned to her mother, visiting from Sharpsburg and already sporting a Bohemian-inspired, moss green sweater. As Lay cut the tags from her mother’s new top, she described Dumas’ Halloween display — a vintage crochet table cover pulled taut across the storefront window. The effect was an updated and romantic version of a spider’s web. Dumas’ windows are closely watched by customers and

by neighboring merchants. She has a gift for re-imagining the ordinary: leaves of old books become feathers; musical scores are cut into snowflakes; twine and satin ribbon become a holiday garland punctuated with artfully suspended pinecones. Wide-eyed new patrons enter and glance around. The internal dialogue is easy to imagine: Will the embroidered tunic fit? How much is the cow painting? Does this scarf match my coat? Or that one? Yes, that one. And then, in a moment of shopper’s distractibility, is that Dudu Soap? Indeed, it is. The Nigerian soap looks like a giant coffee bean and smells like the floral counter of an herb shop. Despite the

january/february 2014

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provocative name, repeat users claim it alleviates dry skin, age spots and eczema. At $4 a bar, the soap is a customer favorite and hard to keep in stock.

Higher-priced items include the richlytoned Kantha quilts made of cast-off Indian Saris, a worthy indulgence at $79. If that’s too rich, there are plenty of items to choose from, whether a patron needs a thoughtful gift, an interior design accent, a party-ready blouse, or a modest treat. While much of the merchandise is domestically made, the ethnic merchandise is hard to resist: African

pasting labels upon, a job for which he earned no more than six shillings a week. Looking for something local? How about a handcrafted barnwood collage by local artisan Philip Welch for $25? Or a jar of Newnan’s Best Hell Fire Pickles? Or one of Dumas’ own brightly colored, encaustic paintings? Her depiction of three vibrant pineapples could be the welcoming accent your foyer is missing. The best merchants perform a kind of magic — transforming bland spaces into charismatic destinations, places customers want to be, places they pay to take a little piece of home. In a retail world dominated by corporate franchises focus-grouped

market baskets, vibrantly embroidered bags from the Hmong Village of Thailand, bone jewelry crafted in Vietnam, leather and cloth Fair Trade purses from Kenya. The 19th Century Blacking Pots, $6-$12, are marked British. Their bold shapes, irregularity, and earthy tones cry out to a collector’s sensibilities. A cluster of seven or eight peppered with wild flowers would make a charming accent, not to mention a great conversation piece. The astute hostess could inform her guests that these are the sort of pots young Charles Dickens was charged with

into tight niche markets (the trendy teen, the career cougar, the curvy, and the casual), there’s nothing like a locally owned and curated boutique. Surely the most enchanting shops are those born of a single vision in which a personality takes hold. The objects inside become more than merchandise. They become talismans, artifacts of an alternate reality — one you recognize but can’t quite name, a diversion placed in your path by an ally you want to get to know, visit on a regular basis, invite over for dinner. Gillyweed is that sort of shop, and


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owner Valerie Dumas is that sort of ally. Compared with the megalithic retail marts of nearby Bullsboro Drive, Gillyweed is diminutive — but inside those collaged, reclaimed wood doors lies an eclectic, globally inspired market guaranteed to charm window shoppers off the street. Some of them are charmed off the street weekly, a trip to Gillyweed as predictable and invigorating as a weekly massage, an hour with a therapist, or tea with a good friend.

BACK TO THE BEGINNING Gillyweed’s visionary merchant arrived in Atlanta in 1995. She and her Frenchspeaking husband, Albert, wagered that an international, multilingual couple could find work with the city hosting the international audience of the 1996 Summer Olympics. It would be almost a decade before Dumas tried her hand at a retail venture. In 2004, she partnered with a local artist to open The Vintage Flea on Greenville Street, a project she enjoyed but grew bored with when the consignment booth aspect of the business began to overwhelm her creative energies. Dumas earned a degree in marketing but she’s not a person who holds hard and fast to a plan she’s outgrown. She spent her early career as a jewelry buyer for a national chain, a corporate travel coordinator, and a mother. Her private travel itinerary included two years in the South of France while Albert completed France’s military obligation. No stranger to foreign lands, Dumas had already spent her childhood in places as distant as the Philippines, Jamaica and Antigua. Though Dumas is drawn to waterfront communities like those of her native Florida and the island communities of her youth, her husband invested in a local business and Newnan became a longterm home for the couple. They purchased a house and eventually a historic commercial property downtown. Once a Social Services Office, the bureaucratic blandness of #8 Jefferson was re-imagined into a sunny storefront with bamboo flooring, vintage flocked wallpaper, and


“Would I wear it or want to take it home? Because if nobody buys it, it’ll be in my closet, hanging from my wall, or on my coffee table.” – Valerie Dumas

display fixtures made from repurposed artifacts. “I saw the little remnant of original brick inside and I knew this was it,” said Dumas as she described the three-month renovation of the long beleaguered space. “They had covered over the front with aluminum siding and mounted a giant wooden awning.” Dumas was quick to see the potential. With the help of a local contractor, she turned the wallflower frontage into one of the most popular shopping destinations downtown. Few can ignore #8 now. Its allure is as apparent as its owner’s. Local shopper Anne Josey said Gillyweed is “just the sort of innovative retail downtown needs.” Repeat customer Allison Herdic applauded the store’s “charm, vivaciousness and vision” when she stopped to buy some seasonal merchandise with her toddler, Ellie. Though unimpressed with the multicultural and eclectic sensibilities of Gillyweed, the 18-month-old did succumb to the charm of a red knit rabbit nestled in a basketful of brightly colored dolls. Another customer was overheard sharing an anecdote about a recent purchase: “Three people asked me where I got my shirt yesterday.” She bought a second in a different pattern. That’s the sort of thing a customer can do at


Dumas’ vision turned what was once wallflower frontage into one of downtown Newnan’s most popular shopping destinations.

Her affinity for the water is apparent throughout the shop: the life preserver by the counter, the seashells in neat displays, the beach-bright costume jewelry, and a casual aesthetic that seems perfect for an island sophisticate.

BUY THE BUILDING Dumas also serves as the promotions chair for Newnan’s MainStreet program. She would welcome an influx of innovative january/february 2014

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retailers — mostly because she doesn’t see it as competition but as a developmental asset for the courthouse square. “More foot traffic benefits all of us,” she said. “I want to see every storefront thriving and attracting the kind of traffic we see in Senoia and Serenbe. There’s no reason Newnan’s retailers can’t benefit from this town’s history and the recent surge in television and movie studio presence.” In fact, Dumas is so eager to support new retail that she invites prospective retailers to stop by for a chat. Like any smart retailer, she won’t share her vendors, but she will share her experience. She credits Newnan’s Business Development Department with supporting her endeavor through a business grant program that supplied 40 percent of Gillyweed’s loan at a rate almost half that of traditional commercial lending. Hasco Craver, business development director for the city of Newnan, says the Dumas loan was partially funded by a program with the cumbersome name of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs’ Downtown Development


8 Jefferson Street, Newnan, GA 30263 770.683.9200 OPEN Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Valerie Dumas on interior decorating:

“I love working with people who aren’t afraid of an unexpected burst of color or an eccentric pattern. If you fall in love with something outside your comfort zone, go for it. Chances are it fits your aesthetics in ways you can’t imagine yet. If you’re addicted to neutrals, introduce a splash of bold color or a funky print. If your color palette is already broad, remember to anchor

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it with something black or stark. I love quirky personality pieces like Marque letters, vintage finds, and unexpected embroidery patterns. Bring me photos if you’re on the fence about a Gillyweed purchase and I’ll let you know if it’s the right fit for your décor. If it isn’t, I’ll know what you’re looking for and keep my eyes open in my market and auction quests.”

Revolving Loan Fund (DDRLF). According to Craver, “The program provides fixed asset financing at below market rates for commercial and/or mixed use projects occurring in historic downtowns. The DDRLF program typically will only participate in 40 percent of a project’s total cost. Essentially, the DDRLF program is a gap financing source utilized to make sometimes more risky downtown projects make sense for traditional lenders.” Dumas points out that commercial rental in Newnan’s historic district is often prohibitive for upstart entrepreneurs. The secret she wants to impart to new retailers is simple: “Buy the building!” While that long-term investment may seem daunting, in Dumas’ case, it resulted in lower monthly overhead and higher long-term gains. With retail leases around the square as high as $3,000 a month, a wellfinanced mortgage can mean the difference between a sustainable business and one that only lasts a year. In the meantime, those chipotle, chocolate and salted caramels on Dumas’ countertop are as sweet as any you’ll find in France, as spicy as a night in Jamaica, and as luscious as a weekend in Antigua. To see Dumas, you’ll have to stop by on a Tuesday. She typically spends the rest of her time looking for new inventory, painting and handcrafting many of the one-of-a-kind items you can only find at Gillyweed. And, of course, she’s still a mother, a wife, and an active member of the community who loves the occasional island getaway.

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The Words in Red(neck) Cartoonist’s book series serves as Bible guide, advice for life Newnan cartoonist Jeff Todd, 44, doodles pictures of rednecks, Jesus, gnomes and zombies five, sometimes six, days a week. As owner of ToonIt Up! Graphics, Todd’s full-time job is animation and illustration. His full-time passion is spreading the New Testament gospel of the Bible through his “A Redneck’s Guide” book series. The commentary series, with titles like “A Redneck’s Guide to Christianity” and “A Redneck’s Guide to Jesus,” is narrated

by a bearded, overall-donning caricature of Todd named Lewis who tells the stories of the Bible in easy-to-understand terms. “I felt like God was calling me to write these books to help explain the New Testament in the Bible,” Todd said, “and share the Bible with others in a simple way.” The release of the 34-book series went viral on Amazon in 2012. In a month, Todd sold 20,000 units. He and his family were astonished, according to Todd. He has spent the last five years studying the Bible in order to bring the series to

life. He was briefly derailed from his calling when the economy and the job that supported Todd, his wife, Frances, and their children tanked. “Our old business, it went downhill fast,” said Todd, a former home contractor. Nowadays, his business as a graphics designer and artist is on a roll. Todd has designed numerous local business websites and recently completed book cover illustrations for Tamala Callaway, Newnan author of the SuperNatural series. Todd spends his time at a drafting

Written by LINDSAY WOOD | Photography by JEFFREY LEO

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“Rednecks are simple people who have simple solutions to everyday problems. We don’t have to go to Harvard to figure out everything. That’s why they invented duct tape.” – Jeff Todd

table in his home drawing new designs for clients or creating characters like the Zombie DedHedz — a series of the “Southern undead,” lovable, but braineating zombies. “The Zombie Dedhedz [collection] shows the funnier side of zombies,” he said of his T-shirts, which feature green, skeletal monsters like Billy Bob and his “body shop.” After he hand-draws his designs or characters in pencil or ink, he scans them into Adobe Photoshop and fills in the designs with color to create a finished product. Primarily self-taught, Todd has been

drawing ghoulish but endearing cartoons since he was 3, when his mother, Linda Noojin, put a pencil in his hand. Noojin, also a cartoonist, encouraged young Todd to doodle. It wasn’t until Todd was in high school that he discovered drawing was a talent. According to Todd, art teachers Ms. Gruenwald and Ms. Sides provided him with the early tools that have helped him succeed as an artist. “Both of those ladies had a big influence in teaching me how to draw,” Todd said. Since beginning his graphics company and the “A Redneck’s Series” books in 2007, Todd has drawn thousands

of characters to develop his skills. His character Lewis, narrator of the “A Redneck’s Guide” books, received his final makeover just two years ago. Todd finally found the right look: big nose, bug eyes, beard, overalls, and four fingers “because they’re funnier than five.” The Christian-based study books are primarily inspired by his faith and six children, four of whom he and Frances foster, and what they think is “groovy.” The short guides bring to mind the humorous Duck Dynasty Robertson family and Jeff Foxworthy, but they are uniquely Todd. The books’ humor is “simple,” Todd january/february 2014

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Jeff and Frances Todd say their faith gave them the strength to move in a new direction in inspirational graphics and design following the collapse of their contracting business.


Need a website, new logo or T-shirt design? Check out Todd’s graphic design company, ToonIt Up! Graphics, at Todd’s books, “A Redneck’s Series“ and “A Work Through Me,“ are available online at, on Amazon, through Kindle and in book stores like Barnes & Noble.

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’A Work Through Me’

said. “God uses you for who you are. He’s going to use your gift whether that’s writing or humor or lifestyle.” As soon as a conversation with Todd turns serious, he surprises with his wit. “I had to come to the reality that I was a redneck.” “A Redneck’s Guide” isn’t intended to be derogatory, however. Being a redneck is about living an unpretentious life — straightforward and humble. “Rednecks are simple people who have simple solutions to everyday problems,” Todd said. “We don’t have to go to Harvard to figure out everything. That’s why they invented duct tape.” The books are just one part of his ministry, though. When he is not attending church functions at Welcome Road Baptist Church with his family or web designing, Todd is making music, writing or mentoring teenagers. His life has turned 360 degrees since losing his family business in home renovation during the recession.  Now he has another family-owned business — this time with an emphasis on family — and found his life’s work. “One of the things I’ve learned through writing these books is that I spent too much time working. Which meant I did not spend as much time with my children as I should have. What I’ve learned now is that kids need us as parents. “I was happy being a contractor, but this fulfilled a purpose I was born with.” NCM

During Todd’s five-year “faith walk with Jesus,“ he learned how to live through an economic meltdown and come out on the other side a more compassionate man. He chronicled his findings in his devotional book, “A Work Through Me.“ Todd spent many days and nights, even carrying his laptop and Bible with him on family vacations, researching and gaining insight to write his “A Redneck’s Guide“ series. Todd discusses who God is, who Jesus is, and what it means to be a Christian in the book. Like his “A Redneck’s Guide“ series, the book is a “simple man’s commentary,“ Todd said. In addition to “A Work Through Me,“ Todd has also penned a two-volume book series on the New Testament, aptly named “New Testament: A Simple Man’s Commentary.“ All three books are available through Todd’s website,, or on Amazon.

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From the Batmobile to the Mystery Machine, Newnan man recreates iconic screen rides CHILDREN OF THE 1980S MIgHT SAY THEY ARE wALKINg ON MAgICAL — EVEN HOLY — gROUND. On five acres of private, wooded land situated just inside Coweta County, it’s easy to feel like a kid again while surrounded by life-sized Hot Wheels cars and famous movie motors. On the right, there’s KITT from “Knight Rider,” Greased Lightning from “Grease,” and the Grand Torino from “Starsky and Hutch.” Just ahead on the left is Herbie the Love Bug, the Trans-Am from “Smokey and the Bandit,” and the unmistakable 1989 Batmobile. And for everyone who has been concerned about the increasing number of zombie sightings in our area, fear not — the Mystery Machine is here. By now, many Coweta residents have probably seen the replica of the Mystery Machine from “Scooby Doo” in the area. Jerry Patrick’s 1968 Chevy van has been on display all over the county — birthday parties, promotional events, the 5th Annual Chassis for Charity Written by CLAY NEELY | Photography by jEFFREY LEO

40 |

Jerry patrick’s batmobile doesn’t pull any punches. unlike many other replicas, his batmobile comes complete with a working machine gun that fires blanks and an exhaust that emits real flames and smoke.

january/february 2014

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Car Show, Cruisin’ with the Oldies Show in Senoia, and the Madeline McTier benefit held at Crossroads Baptist Church. The Mystery Machine is just one of the many “toys” Patrick, owner of AKA Junk, likes to show off. “I remember when ‘Batman’ came out in 1989,” Patrick said. “I walked out of the theater and told my wife right then and there that I would own that car one day.” Twenty years later, Patrick knew the patent had expired, and he also knew where to find the molds. But that information remains “top secret,” according to Patrick. Bruce Wayne wouldn’t approve. 42 |

“We had to create everything underneath the shell. It was like building a car backwards,” Patrick said. “We put everything we possibly could in the car without the need of a bunch of fake stuff. The machine guns work. Flames and smoke shoot out the back. We even put a big ol’ train horn in it. It took three years to make, but we had a lot of fun doing it.”

Switching Gears So how does a car enthusiast suddenly decide to spend his time creating replicas of famous vehicles? Turns out, it was an easy decision for Patrick. And

a financial one. “I’m originally from Texas but moved here in the 1980s since I worked for Delta as a customer service agent. I worked there for 23 years, but you know what I noticed? My paychecks seemed to get less and less,” Patrick said. “One night, my daughter, who is a restaurant manager, came home and I compared her pay stub to mine. Now, we’re talking no college or formal education on her end and she is making 28 percent more than me.” Patrick soon decided he was done with the airline industry. However, the transition from working at

Time to Plant!

“I don’t want to be one of those guys who has all those ‘no touching’ plaques all over the car. I want kids of all sizes to get inside, touch and feel it. That’s where the real fun is.” – Jerry Patrick

Delta to recreating the Batmobile in his backyard wasn’t a quick one. Patrick has been working on cars for more than 30 years, but it wasn’t until recently that he started building “star cars.” “Before that, we were customizing really nice, expensive cars,” Patrick said. “The only problem is, you can only sell those kinds of cars to people who can afford them. “One night, we got done painting a beauty of a car and I turned around and accidentally put a small chunk in the finish. That’s when I said, ‘This is the last nice car we are ever going to do. From now on we only do fun stuff.’ ” “I don’t want to be one of those guys who has all those ‘no touching’ plaques all over the car. I want kids of all sizes to get inside, touch and feel it. That’s where the real fun is.” Patrick takes no shortcuts when building his cars. “If I’m making a car, I want it to be able to support me,” he said, leaping onto the baseboard, powerfully rocking the car. “And if we’re doing the interior, I want new gauges, too. Power steering and power brakes? Absolutely.” Patrick isn’t content with simply making “display” cars. He wants them running like normal cars, along with all the bells and whistles. In short, he wants his toys to work. “It’s annoying, you know? There’s a star car museum in Gatlinburg and the owner claims his Batmobile is screen used, but there is nothing under the shell. The windows are blacked out so you can’t see inside. He has essentially put a shell on display with a canopy

around it and shoved some tires in the wheel wells. Well, I got down on my hands and snuck under the rope to look underneath that carriage and confirmed my suspicions. Nope. No way. That’s just not going to cut it for a guy like me.”

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Making Stars From Scrap During a long, winding walk down Patrick’s driveway and into his backyard, one can see all the star-studded possibilities. Parked in the nearby woods is a dilapidated, early ’80s GMC van. “Future ‘A-Team’ van right there,” Patrick said. “You bet.” His backyard is home to dozens of cars, each with its own unique story. Replica cars from “Grease” and “Starsky and Hutch,” Bumblebee from “Transformers,” KITT from “Knight Rider,” Eleanor from “Gone in 60 Seconds” fill his property — a who’s who of famous Hollywood rides. Some are camera-ready, while others are still in the makeup room. Some of Patrick’s unique creations are

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“it’s crazy. i never would have thought he would be the biggest draw on my facebook page,” said Jerry patrick, owner of aka Junk. “we usually get around 3,000 hits for most of our creations, but we got about 20,000 hits. people really like mater.” you might not think creating a rustbucket like mater from “Cars” would be so involved, but patrick is confident he’s invested more than $10,000 on the project. “that truck started as a 1957 Chevrolet wrecker, but then i bought a one-ton 1984 fire truck that had only 30,000 miles on it,” patrick said. “We took the body off the fire truck and put this down on top of it. now i have power steering, power brakes and a much nicer, newer suspension. “it may look like a total piece of junk, but at the end of the day you’ve got a good, healthy 350 engine, a good drivetrain, and everything under it.” when patrick attempted to set the wrecker body on top of the fire truck bed, it turned out to be 14 inches too wide. “if you want to keep mater accurate, you’ve got to have that narrower look for the truck bed in order for it to look

44 |

right. we had to split the bed right down the middle and bring the whole thing in 14 inches.” but, as patrick will attest, functionality is just as important as aesthetics. “after the bodywork was done, then you have to do the wiring — because if you’re like me, everything has got to work. all the brake lights, headlights and all the goofy little lights on top — they were all old and rotted, which is good because you definitely want that authentic look. so then we had to go in and install brand new light sockets, but we had to be really careful because it’s important we don’t destroy the original housing.” after all, children are his toughest critics, according to patrick. “i don’t want kids calling me out on my work. they’ll say things like ‘why is that headlight out on the wrong side?’ i had to break the chicken light that sits on top of the roof just right so it looked exactly like mater’s. kids have a keen eye for detail ... but i like that.”

byproducts of an almost mad scientist mindset. In one spot is a truck that sits on a dump-truck chassis, with the two beds welded together. Next to that sits a white Trans Am that has been transformed into a monster truck. “I mean, who doesn’t need one of those?” Patrick joked. Pointing toward a rust-covered 1969 Dodge Charger that was salvaged from the woods, Patrick is uncertain what to do with it. Usually, making a General Lee replica from “The Dukes of Hazzard” is the popular choice, but, according to Patrick, it appears someone has already attempted to modify the car into what’s known as a Superbird, with its distinctive, high-mounted rear spoiler. “I ran the VIN numbers on it and it was a stock Charger. But, you know, it might be fun to actually turn it into a Superbird. We’ll see.”

A NOD TO TEAMWORK While surveying his kingdom of creations, Patrick is quick to cast aside the notion he’s a one-man operation. “Let me tell you what. My wife, Valerie. She allows me to be ... me,” Patrick said. “While I live by the motto ‘I’d rather beg for forgiveness than ask for permission,’ my family and friends are incredibly supportive. My number one employee is Joe Metzger, who is also a Coweta County fireman. He can do everything from fabricating and welding to paint and body. Also, Michael Worth helps me with paint and body, and Jose Cervantes is my interior man. Without these people, AKA Junk could not exist.” What are Patrick’s ultimate goals? “If we could get a 20,000-square-foot building set up down here with really cool displays in the front of the building featuring all the TV and movie cars in their own settings, we could then use the back 80 percent of the building for fun birthday rooms, conference rooms, and a perfect place to show off and store all kinds of street rods and rat rods. It would

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be like a fun museum for adults and kids. “I’m shocked Atlanta doesn’t have a star car museum. That’s why I’m hell-bent on creating one. I hope this is a cool niche thing we can get off the ground here.” Patrick has a good mind for what he does, and doesn’t deviate from his game plan. He doesn’t want gems. He wants junk. “It’s hard to find a DeLorean, especially for cheap. It’s also hard to find a 1959 Cadillac for the Ecto-1 ‘Ghostbusters’ car. I want one of those so bad I can’t even see straight. There’s one in Peachtree City right now. The guy had two of them and then parted with one. That broke my heart.” “He said, ‘Oh, but it was in pretty rough shape.’ ” “I said, ‘I don’t care. I can make stuff come together. You know how I like my junk.’ ” NCM

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Jerry Patrick’s replica of the Mystery Machine is among his most prized star cars, and it’s one of the most requested for local events. Check out his Facebook page at

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Johnny Robinson has delivered flowers for downtown Newnan’s Murphey Florist since 1947.


Labor of

Valentine's Day busiest holiday for floral industry Written by MEGAN ALMON Photography by JEFFREY LEO

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In a culture of tooth fairies and Easter bunnies, most people probably assume the floral bouquets adorning their homes on Feb. 14 arrive in similar fashion. On the contrary, there is no diaperclad cherub who sneaks in during the night to be sure those stunning arrays greet you on Valentine’s Day morn. Long before some wake up to sip the coffee their sweethearts prepare, local florists gather with a small army — many of whom volunteer for the job — to ensure that each and every hand-trimmed stem and perfectly peaking bud is prepped and ready to reach its final destination. Think of it as an art — and a science. Ask any florist when planning and preparation for Valentine’s Day begins, and they’ll answer: “When Christmas ends.” Segments of the workweek are set aside for fixing bows to adorn vases. The sales from previous years are pored over and numbers are projected for not only each flower, but specific colors. Modern technology has opened new worlds for the industry — roses from Ecuador or tulips from Holland can be on your table tomorrow. It’s both a blessing and a curse, as orders are placed around the globe with fingers crossed that growing conditions enable those

plants to be ready for transport, cleaning, arranging, and blooming at just the right time for delivery. With all those factors in play, phone calls between local shops and global distributors are ongoing throughout January. Adjustments are made as needed, and the flowers — thousands of roses leading the pack — arrive within days of Feb. 14. Newnan Florist and Gift Shop’s Sharon

Gutierrez describes the rest as a kind of “organized chaos.” The roses are cut underwater, then cleaned using a rubber gripper that sweeps away leaves and thorns. Finally, each and every rose is wired from stem to bloom. It all comes together at dawn on the big day, when those carefully arranged bouquets are loaded into delivery vans, last deliveries going in first for easier access to earlier drop-offs.

Hutch Murphey, owner of Murphey Florist, is already looking forward to the industry’s busiest holiday of the year. Top left, Newnan Florist and Gift Shop’s Sharon Gutierrez describes the preparation for Valentine’s Day as “organized chaos.” Shop owner Bill Exner, top right, tends to a table of plant cuttings, many of which will be given to customers in the spring. january/february 2014

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Each local florist has its own Valentine’s Day delivery system, dividing Coweta County into “pie slices,” splitting up business and residential deliveries, or assigning areas of the map like puzzle pieces.

ROBINSON DELIVERS YEAR AFTER YEAR Johnny Robinson is no stranger to delivering flowers in Newnan. It was an average Friday in 1947 when Robinson set out to find a job, having heard rumors at a downtown barbershop that Arthur Murphey’s Florist was looking for a delivery boy, and was told by Murphey himself — as the owner made his way out the door en route to a Florida fishing trip — to start work the following Monday. Fishing was a favored hobby of Murphey’s, known to many as “Doodle,” so much so that, for a time, Murphey Florist co-existed with an outboard motor dealership. Robinson chuckled as

he recalled one fishing trip Doodle took with then-Sheriff Lamar Potts — the pair commandeered the delivery van to pull their boat. Robinson, who still had a delivery to make, was told to take Potts’ patrol car. With the car’s radio antenna swinging the whole way, Robinson made quite the spectacle downtown — “I enjoyed it,” he said with a grin. As the years passed, the job held the same draw it had since the beginning — the people. Back then, Robinson recalled, downtown Newnan was bustling and

everybody knew everybody. Before long, he no longer needed directions to make his deliveries, and when regular recipients saw his face, they knew what was coming. In those days, the flower sender wrote his or her own card. Though Robinson never knew what they said, he knew the flowers he carried marked special occasions, both happy and sad. It wasn’t just the thriving customers to whom he delivered arrangements, but also those laid to rest in local cemeteries — “Johnny knew where everyone was buried,” said current owner Hutch Murphey, who


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began riding along for deliveries as a young boy. Robinson doesn’t remember the year he made his first Valentine’s Day delivery, but he does remember the recipient — “She thought somebody had lost their mind sending flowers on Valentine’s Day,” he said.

GROWING TRADITION Sending flowers on Valentine’s Day didn’t become a regular practice until around three decades ago, said Freddie Wallace of Flowers By Freddie. Wallace fell in love with flowers nearly 54 years ago, when she walked into a local florist to pay a bill for her parents and was offered an after-school job. “It kind of grew on me,” she said. She learned to love the flowers — their unique qualities, the way they change almost daily, the nearly endless variety of arrangements that can be made and the

Flowers by Freddie owner Freddie Wallace recalls a time in the early 1980s when Mother’s Day and Easter were the busiest holidays.

biggest,” she said. Her regular staff of two grows to 25 for a day. “I arrive around 6 a.m., and we stay until everybody’s happy,” she said jokingly. For the most part, floral deliveries go smoothly. But not always. Just ask Charlene Putnam, a driver with Newnan Florist and Gift Shop for 20 years, about being trapped on someone’s front porch by an overly protective Rottweiler. Or about the fact that modern Global Positioning

special occasions they represent. And for similar reasons, she learned to love the customers. Wallace and her husband, Jimmy, opened Flowers By Freddie in Newnan in 1981, when the heavyhitting days for florists were Easter and Mother’s Day. She watched as the trend each February shifted from cardboard Valentines to flowers — especially red roses. Now, “Valentine’s Day is always the

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Getting to the (literal) Heart of things with Dr. Bukola Olubi

NCM: Why cardiology? The daughter of a doctor and a nurse, Olubi pointed her compass toward the medical field as a child and never looked back. She kept her options open in medical school, rotating through each of the fields to find the perfect fit. “Out of all fields, cardiology just made sense,” she said. “If you can understand the basic principles of how the heart works, you can put the pieces together. It takes the guesswork out of it.”

NCM: The best thing about the job? Everett Smith loads the Murphey Florist van with roses. As many delivery men can attest, rose deliveries aren’t limited to Feb. 14.

System (GPS) devices don’t know how to translate “up yonder over that hill.”

EYES WIDE OPEN Gutierrez, Putnam’s coworker, recalled one driver returning from a delivery wide-eyed, and sharing that the recipient had met her at the door, taken the arrangement, made payment, and walked away without a care in the world — all the while completely nude! “She said he was good looking,” Gutierrez laughed. For both Putnam and Gutierrez, a whole lot of the little pleasures keep them going. Putnam thrives on the hugs and smiles of gratitude, as recipients express their thanks to senders through her. Gutierrez, who holds dual degrees in horticulture and floral design, is happiest working with the flowers and accessories, bringing what she envisions to life. The two work together seamlessly, which helps when seasonal business blooms. Come Valentine’s Day, one thing’s for certain — a whole lot of love goes into each and every flower arrangement, and not all of it comes from Cupid. NCM 50 |

For Olubi, there’s no question — “The instant gratification of seeing patients live!” The heart is a crucial organ. “If you look at everything in medicine, you can tie it back to the heart,” Olubi said. That being the case, many of the patients Olubi sees are very, very sick. When she diagnoses a problem and begins treatment, the difference it makes in a patient’s well-being is often staggering. “It’s so rewarding to see,” she said. “You can make such a huge difference in a little amount of time.” Olubi also appreciates the connections she gets to make with her patients. “What I’ve noticed as I practice — just as I’m imparting some knowledge to them, they are also teaching me. I get a lot of information on how they do things, what they like. They teach me about their lives. I learn so much from them, it’s amazing!”

Dr. Bukola Olubi is a specialist in clinical cardiology with Piedmont Heart Institute. A graduate of Saba University School of Medicine in the Netherlands Antilles, she completed her residency at Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago where she was chief resident and received the Outstanding Senior Resident Award. Following her residency, Olubi completed a fellowship in cardiology at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., where she was chief fellow. She is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and its subspecialty Board of Cardiovascular Disease. A member of the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association, Olubi has a particular interest in women’s health.

NCM: Why the Newnan area? “Coincidence,” Olubi said. Her husband, Dr. Olu Joshua, a lung care specialist, was interviewing for a job in Newnan. The hospital happened to be looking for a cardiologist as well. As it turns out, the coincidence was a happy one. “When we came, I fell in love,” she said. “I enjoy the openness and warmth of people in the area.” As Olubi settled into her practice, she was surprised by the number of patients who genuinely wanted to know more about her. Now she welcomes those familiar faces. “It’s like one big, happy family,” she said.

NCM: What’s the scoop on your family? Olubi and Joshua have three children, a daughter and two sons. They enjoy traveling together. When they’re not experiencing new places, they’re a family that loves to read. “The children enjoy reading books and discussing them,” Olubi said. “We just finished ‘Charlotte’s Web.’ My little boy was just crying!” “My daughter loves the Harry Potter series,” she added.

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NCM: On Valentine’s Day, I’d like to wake up to... Nothing too extravagant for this sophisticated heart doctor. Olubi would rather keep things simple and cozy. Her answer? “Seeing my kids and my husband, a little ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ card (preferably hand-made), and something special,” she said.

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Prevention is key. Olubi recommends the following: • Know your numbers. Keep tabs on your blood pressure, weight, and cholesterol. Begin regular cholesterol screenings as early as age 20. • If you’re smoking, stop! • Exercise at least 30 minutes daily. A half-hour’s walk can make a huge difference in your overall health. • Stress is the main risk factor of heart disease. Be kind to your heart! Reduce stress as much as possible. NCM




awareness about heart disease, the world’s number one killer. Heart disease encompasses any problem that affects the normal functioning of the heart. Regular screening can help patients know their risk factors — symptoms (including chest discomfort, shortness of breath during normal activity, heart palpitations, or pain between shoulder blades), lifestyle indicators, and family heart/health history.




january/february 2014

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FroM high sChool to Pros, PlayErs CrEatE PErManEnt rElationshiPs with thEir JErsEys Written by chRIs GOLtERMANN Photography by JEFFREY LEO and chRIs hELtON

january/february 2014

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... For what is 99 without Wayne Gretzky, or 23 without Michael Jordan?

Gemmel, an Auburn Tigers fan, has continued to wear No. 2 both in football and in baseball as a tribute to the school’s most recent Heisman Trophy winner.

Whether it’s Babe Ruth, Dale

where players can be found on the field.

Lou Gehrig No. 4 when the team finally

Murphy or Dale Earnhardt, 3

From 00 to 99, each number can come

put numbers on its jerseys in 1929, a few

— like the Schoolhouse Rock

to define a player in an often intensely

years before it became mandatory. Hall

children's song — can be a

personal way.

of Famers Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby and

But 3 isn’t the only remarkable digit when it comes to sports. In athletics, uniform numbers are identifiers beyond

earliest creation, were issued by batting

“magic number.”

54 |

Some baseball uniforms, in their order, which is why Ruth was issued No. 3 and New York Yankees teammate

Christy Matthewson predate uniform numbers entirely. No one could have foreseen how important uniform numbers would

“None of the girls wanted it because it was ‘boring.’ I thought it was original and daring since no one else had it. So, from then, I’ve been dedicated to giving spice and originality to the number 00.” – Brenna Skalski

eventually become in sports. For what is 99 without Wayne Gretzky, or 23 without Michael Jordan? The stories behind Coweta County athletes’ number selections often can be just as unique as those legendary uniforms (Gretzky chose to double the No. 9 of his idol, Gordie Howe; in high school, Jordan wanted to honor his older brother’s No. 45 with one lesser set of digits). For some, the choice is a tribute to the past. For others, like former Newnan High School baseball standout Derrick Nelson, that number grows right along with a player from his or her first day in a youth uniform through high school, college and beyond. Nelson, a Newnan Times-Herald AllCounty second baseman for the Cougars last year, wore No. 22 from the age of 9 to 18. “The number was a part of me,” he said. It was much the same way for Northgate High senior softball outfielder Brenna Skalski when she first wore No. 00 for her 12-under team. The All-Region standout, who helped lead the Lady Vikings to this year’s state finals as a slick-fielding, speedy leadoff hitter with a knack for executing the perfect bunt, gave it a chance when her teammates didn’t see anything to like about the number despite its rarity in professional sports. (Actually, two NBA players currently wear 00, as does ZZ-Top bearded Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Brian Wilson.) “None of the girls wanted it because it was ‘boring,’ ” Skalski said. “I thought it was original and daring since no one else had it. So, from then, I’ve been dedicated to giving spice and originality to the number 00.” Football numbers have their limitations, though maybe not as much in high school and college than in the pros. Starting in 1973, the NFL established its current system that mandates numbers 1-99 be

distributed based on starting position. Hence a quarterback can wear 1-19 and so on. Famed halfback Red Grange once remarked upon being asked why he chose to wear No. 77: “The guy in front of me in the line got No. 76, and the guy behind me got No. 78.” It was the same for Trinity Christian varsity lineman Caleb Rainey, whose first youth jersey was No. 50. The number has stuck with him ever since. College football programs have been more lenient and allow two players to wear the same number in larger Division I programs because of the size of the roster as long as they are not on the field

simultaneously. However, unlike the NFL, where it’s mandatory, college players are only encouraged to wear certain numbers for each position. In most instances, numbers tend to get assigned similarly by position, but there have been exceptions, most notably this year when University of Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner was asked to wear the No. 89 of former Wolverines Heisman Trophy winner Tom Harmon as part of the school’s Legends Program, an honor he accepted.

A WILL AND A WAY In Newnan High’s football program, departing seniors can choose the next january/february 2014

| 55

what are the Greatest nuMBers? here’s a dozen to choose FroM ... no. no.

10 9 MlB, 8 nBa 1 nFl, 5 nhl =



Warren Moon once

set a record for most career passing yards over 312 games between the CFL and NFL before becoming a first-ballot Hall of Famer.




6 MlB, 2 nBa, 0 nFl, 10 nhl =

Apologies to: Fran Tarkenton, Chipper Jones, Walt Frazier, Phil Rizzuto. We often forget that


7 MlB, 6 nBa, 2 nFl, 5 nhl =

Just this once, we’re going outside the box to the world’s greatest sport and its greatest player: Pelé.


Apologies to: Ozzie Smith, Billy Martin, Pee Wee Reese.

We’ll get right down to it here. Arguably the greatest hitter of all time in Ted Williams or the greatest hockey player of all time in Gordie Howe? Um … um … PASS!

The number’s presence has dominated basketball in the NBA (Magic Johnson, Kevin McHale, Karl Malone), the ABA (Julius Erving) and college (Bill Walton). In football, however, it’s defined 4 MlB, by an athlete who 9 nBa, dominated the game 2 nFl, 1 nhl = and then left it on his own terms — Jim Brown. .com 56 | www.newnancowetamag


32 16

What is the greatest sports number of them all? Well, that’s a debate that may carry on as long as athletes continue to compete. Below we compiled the top 12 retired numbers (by quantity) among all four major sports combined and provide a glance at the best athletes to have worn them, whether current


2 MlB, 4 nBa, 5 nFl, 10 nhl =

Lucky 7 has been made famous by a number of outstanding athletes, but Yankee Mickey Mantle may stand above and beyond as a legendary figure.



4 8 MlB, 6 nBa, 1 nFl, 4 nhl =





16 3 MlB, 3 nBa, 3 nFl, 7 nhl =

If you’re from Boston, No. 4 is near and dear to your heart for Bobby Orr, who revolutionized how defensemen play in the NHL while winning eight consecutive Norris trophies and three straight MVP Awards. Apologies to: Lou Gehrig, Duke Snider, Ralph Kiner. The total will jump in a few years or so when Derek Jeter hangs up his Yankees cleats. But it’s been well-represented.

2 4 MlB, 7 nBa, 0 nFl, 7 nhl =

Apologies to: Pete Maravich, Phil Esposito, Paul Coffey.


Apologies to: Moses Malone, Alex English, Mitch Richmond, Doug Harvey, Eddie Shore, Brian Leetch. It’s ironic that the reason he couldn’t wear this number with the Kansas City Chiefs is because it was already retired. But Joe Montana had already made it his in San Francisco. Apologies to: Len Dawson, Frank Gifford, Whitey Ford, Dizzy Dean, Bob Lanier, Brett Hull.

or long gone. (absent are both Jackie robinson’s No. 42 in baseball and Wayne Gretzky’s No. 99 in hockey, both numbers having been retired in their respective leagues.) Due to the quantity of programs in the NCaa, college numbers are not included (apologies to Herschel Walker and Bo Jackson).


3 6 MlB, 3 nBa, 3 nFl, 8 nhl =



Only one is immortalized in song more than once. Where have


9 MlB, 2 nBa, 1 nFl, 6 nhl =

you gone, “Joltin”

Joe DiMaggio?



14 6 MlB, 6 nBa, 4 nFl, 1 nhl =



12 2 MlB, 4 nBa, 6 nFl, 4 nhl =

Down south, we love the two Dales (Earnhardt and Murphy), but all other 3s may fail in comparison. One of the first to wear the number in history in athletics, the mighty Babe Ruth stands alone.


Apologies to: Brooks Robinson, Johnny Bench, George Brett.

While we definitely take into consideration Pete Rose, one of the Cincinnati Reds’ greatest players, it’s hard not to go with Oscar Robertson, who wore this during his days with the Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings). This number defines one position — quarterback. Joe Namath, Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, Bob Griese and Jim Kelly have had their jerseys retired or taken out of circulation with their respective franchises. We’ll give Terry Bradshaw the nod with four Super Bowl rings, but Brady could be next. Apologies to: John Stockton, Wade Boggs, Roberto Alomar.

suitor for their jersey. The process has evolved in the 30-plus years since head trainer James “Radar” Brantley arrived at the school, hired by legendary head coach Max Bass to also handle the program’s equipment. “When I got here everybody had their numbers and what was left was what the rest got to choose from,” Brantley said. “If it wasn’t what they wanted, too bad. They’d have to wait until that senior graduated.” Seniors have always been granted hierarchy, even when it comes to changing their own numbers in between seasons. This year, defensive end Mark Harris was granted a move from Cougar uniform No. 82 to No. 6. But, in other cases, a departing senior in Newnan’s football program can allow his number to be passed down to an underclassman the following year if he gives his blessing to the player through Brantley. “If a senior thinks enough of an

underclassman to will him his jersey, then that jersey comes down [after he graduates],” Brantley said. The process allowed former Cougar offensive lineman Ray Beno, who recently finished his college career at Georgia Tech, to pass his No. 64 Newnan jersey to Brantley’s son, Mason. Mason then “willed” the number to current Cougar offensive center David Quesinberry. “From that point on, when the sophomores come up in the spring, I get them all together and say this is what’s available,” added Brantley, who, along with wife, Susan, creates locker signs for each football season with each player’s name and uniform number. “I like to have it all done by June because we have to do the nameplates.”

FROM FAMILY TO FICTION, TRIBUTES ABOUND One of the most popular reasons for jersey numbers is the tribute. Family, friends and

former players are often the motivation behind a number selection. Heritage School football player Davis McCondichie chose No. 35 last season for the Hawks because his grandfather wore it in high school. Northgate softball pitcher McKenzie Peace has worn 13 throughout her youth softball career. “I heard it was a lucky number so I tried it out and stuck with it,” she said. But before heading into the summer months with her 18 Gold Georgia Knockouts teammates, Peace made a switch to No. 8. It was done in memory of friend and Heritage School student Tyler Henson, who wore it for the Hawks football team prior to being killed last year in a car accident. East Coweta senior football quarterback Bryce Gemmel had similar thoughts, having played baseball with Henson while growing up but opted instead to mark Henson’s number elsewhere on

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East Coweta football assistant and head soccer coach Todd Beldon has already seen two of his four sons, Beau and Brock, choose to wear his No. 25 in youth football.

his uniform. Gemmel, an Auburn Tigers fan, has continued to wear No. 2 both in football and baseball as a tribute to the school’s most recent Heisman Trophy winner. “I’ve always had that number, but really it’s [for] Cam Newton,” he said. “I went to watch some games at Auburn and that’s my favorite team. I was [No.] 6 my freshman year in baseball, but they let me change. It’s a good-looking number. I like it.” Others like to figuratively take it a step further. Chaz Ferdinand, now playing at Birmingham-Southern University, chose to wear No. 21 at Newnan because “my dad wore 20 in high school and I wanted to be better than him.” East Coweta football assistant and head soccer coach Todd Beldon has already seen two of his four sons, Beau and Brock, choose to wear his No. 25 in youth football. It relates to the elder Beldon’s playing days in college, originally choosing it for a couple of former NFL defensive backs who were influential in his career. “My idol was Scott Case of the Falcons,” Beldon said. “I also got to meet Tim Foley, who played on the [Miami] Dolphins’ undefeated 1972 team, and he played cornerback. He also wore 25.” Fathers have influenced their children in other ways, too. Jared 58 |

Davis, a fan of not only baseball and hockey, but of NHL Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque, gave a nudge to son Reece to wear No. 77 in the NYAA last year since 7 wasn’t available on his first youth team. Bourque famously gave up his Boston Bruins’ No. 7 after the jersey retirement of Phil Esposito, choosing to wear 77 for the remainder of his career. This fall, the younger Davis took the mound as a pitcher in baseball while wearing No. 78. “Ray Bourque plus one,” his dad said, smiling. Moms get their due as well. Gavin Porter wore No. 8 his entire baseball career, including his days in Newnan High’s program, because it was “my mother’s favorite number.” “I always felt it a way to thank her for taking me to practice, being team mom or for any of the many other things she did for me,” he said. The tributes often mark the times, as well. In the late 1970s and early ’80s, while Dale Murphy was roaming center field at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, his No. 3 locally was snatched up quickly by both baseball and pure sports fans alike. “I grew up a baseball player in the ’80s and no one was bigger than Dale Murphy,” said East Coweta teacher and coach Matt East, who is also a baseball assistant at LaGrange College. “I have always been 3 and will always be 3.”

Over the last decade the number of choice locally — at least among younger baseball fans — has been that of former Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, who became the ninth player in major league history to have the No. 10 retired by a franchise. Even two years after his retirement, the number remains as popular as ever in youth ages 6 to 18. Newnan High baseball player Cody Cox wears it because he “looks up” to Jones, while Xander Sholar of Centerfield Baseball Academy’s 6-under team in the Newnan Youth Athletic Association chose Chipper’s No. 10 even after the third baseman’s playing days were over. “He was the first player [Xander] recognized by name,” said Xander’s father, Walt, one of Centerfield’s co-owners. “He was my favorite player and Xander thinks he is the best player ever.” The coaches at Centerfield have their longtime jersey numbers emblazoned on a

wall of their training facility in Newnan. They include the No. 17 worn by former East Coweta baseball standout Kieron Pope as a tribute to his dad, and the No. 20 worn by Newnan native and former pro baseball player Jerome Walton. Not that all tributes follow patterns toward former players and family. They also include fiction. Both Centerfield coach Joe Lamb and former East Coweta baseball infielder Tim Manning wore numbers after baseball players from movies — Lamb’s No. 9 after slugger Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) in “The Natural” and Manning’s No. 3 for Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez in “The Sandlot,” which dealt with young boys idolizing Babe Ruth.

PLENTY OF POPULAR NUMBERS While Chipper Jones’ No. 10 and the No. 20 are tied for the most retired numbers among MLB franchises, Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 is the only one that remains untouchable in the majors. Yankees

reliever Mariano Rivera, who retired in October and wore it as a tribute to the first man to break MLB’s color barrier, was the last remaining player allowed to don the number. Robinson was the first athlete in American pro sports to have his number retired by an entire league, though the number is worn every April 15 by all MLB players in celebration of Jackie Robinson Day. Scanning the facility’s baseball teams from 6-under through 14-under age groups, Sholar said he has jersey numbers 2, 7, 10, 13, 16, 22, and 24 on all his teams. Along with Chipper Jones, some of the numbers reflect popular Atlanta Braves players, like catcher Brian McCann (16), Jason Heyward (22) and Evan Gattis (24), though young All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman’s No. 5 hasn’t quite caught on. “We don’t get a lot of 5s,” Sholar said. “Twenty-six and 34 seem to be odd

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We asked several Coweta residents what number they’ve worn while playing sports and why. Here’s what they had to say: Matt East - 3

Tim Manning - 3

Gavin Porter - 8

“Dale Murphy. I grew up a baseball player in the ’80s. No one was bigger than Dale Murphy.”

Babe Ruth? No. Dale Murphy? No. The East Coweta baseball infielder chose 3 because it was worn by Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez from the 1993 movie “The Sandlot.” The movie centers around Rodriguez and a bunch of childhood friends in California who love baseball and have to rescue an autographed Babe Ruth ball from the grasp of a

The former Newnan High baseball

Davis McCondichie - 35

neighborhood dog.

The coach at Centerfield Baseball

It was his grandfather’s number while playing quarterback in high school.

Bryce Gemmel - 2

Chaz Ferdinand - 21 “I wore it because my dad wore 20 in high school and I wanted to be better than him.”

McKenzie Peace - 8 The Northgate senior softball pitcher wore 19 for varsity, but has worn 13 throughout her youth playing days. She recently changed her number with the 18 Gold Georgia Knockouts travel team to No. 8 in memory of Heritage School student and friend Tyler Henson.

The East Coweta senior and Auburn University fan has chosen the number in both football and baseball “for Cam Newton.”

player chose his mother’s favorite number to honor her. “I always felt it a way to thank her for taking me to practice, being team mom or any of the many other things she did for me.”

Joe Lamb - 9 Academy stuck with the number after watching the fictional Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) belt his majestic home run in “The Natural.” His sons now wear the number for their respective youth baseball teams.

Brenna Skalski - 00 Skalski started wearing the number on her 12-under softball team when nobody else wanted it. “I thought it was original and daring.”

Johnny Swenson - 18 The former All-County baseball standout at Newnan High has worn the number “since I was 10,” for Johnny Damon, his favorite player while growing up.

Derrick Nelson - 22 Another All-County infielder last spring for the Cougars on the baseball diamond, Nelson has worn the number “since I was 9. It is a part of me.”

Baseball coaches at Centerfield Baseball Academy in Newnan have their numbers painted on one of the walls of their facility. They include those of, from left, Walt Sholar (50), Kieron Pope (17), Jonathan Sholar (44), Joe Lamb (9) and Brian McCartney (4).

60 |

numbers that are popular.” Keeping a number, especially once it becomes treasured, isn’t always easy. Some local youth leagues try to accommodate athletes by giving them a choice of two or three numbers during the registration process. “I got tired of always having to deal with people wanting my No. 33, which was because Jose Canseco was my favorite player,” Sholar said. “So, with 17, I picked a number that I didn’t see much. When we hired Kieron [Pope], I let him have it.” Ironically, among jersey numbers 1-20 in all four pro sports, No. 17 is the least honored — with only six retirements between the MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL. The largest is No. 10, with 23. As for No. 23, the number that Jordan made famous remains as popular as ever among basketball players, especially at the high school level. Locally, East Coweta, Newnan and Northgate uniforms are only available in digits 0-5, thus limiting the choices to a possible 35 numbers by rule through the Georgia High School Association. The reasons are similar to how basketball jersey numbers were initially created to help officials use one hand to signal the number of the player committing the foul. Typically, they use one side of the hand for the first number and the backside for the second digit, if applicable. While coaches have each taken their own unique channels to distributing jerseys, many equally remind their athletes about what’s most important about wearing the uniform. Jonathan Swenson, an All-County selection at first base for Newnan High last season who had worn No. 18 since age 10 as a tribute to Boston Red Sox hero Johnny Damon, remembers Cougars baseball coach Marc Gilmore making a strong statement about jersey numbers. “Coach Gilmore always told us,” Swenson said, “it’s not what is on the back of your jersey that matters. It’s what’s on the front.” NCM

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Original works by local poets and writers Almost Like Ice Cream by C.s. Perry There was somebody on the third floor and he was pretty busy yelling out the window at various passersby and waving some kind of homemade flag that I imagine was supposed to represent freedom and righteousness. I couldn’t figure out what he was saying. i like to imagine he was delivering some powerful sermon about snakes infesting the land and people being trapped on the interstate in the grip of some incredible disaster … or maybe just a super bad traffic jam. And maybe there would be huge monsters emerging from the sea and devouring all the children as some kind of cosmic punishment for mankind never really taking the bull by the horns. either way, i felt sure he was probably just yelling out random, incoherent gibberish about love gone wrong and how his boss was a jerk. that’s usually what most people who end up yelling out of windows tend to yell about. right? We were just sort of moving down the sidewalk, goofing and grooving and dropping little, tiny atom bombs of pretend wisdom on all the people who made it out that day. We were determined not to let them spoil our good time or stop our never-ending quest for cherry vanilla ice cream and cheap cigarettes. She said, “Good. Good. Double-good.” I just nodded and we talked a minute about leaving the blanket on the porch the night before. We stopped to listen to some kid on the street who was playing guitar and singing about how if Jesus really loved us he’d probably call a lot more often than he had in the last 2,000 years. You know, just to at least check up on things a little bit. We laughed at him and moved on again. that’s when she pulled up the front of her shirt and showed me the pearlhandled pistol she was carrying. I nodded, grinned and said: “Double-good.” it was love about to happen, right there in the street for God and everybody to see. “What ever happened to Raymond?” she asked. it was this thing we had ... where we’d make up little stories about people we knew who had drifted off into mysterious lives of misadventure or maybe had been lost in abandoned coal mines with their little sister. 62 |

(You don’t hear about things like that anymore, and i wonder if it’s because they don’t happen or if it’s just because they do happen and nobody talks about it much.) “Oh,” I said. “Yeah. Raymond got caught with some teenaged girl when he was working the late shift at the drive-in over in tula. Yeah. he was busted for statutory rape and the girl’s dad came down and bailed him out so he could haul raymond off and kill him with a bullet from a gun that he’d bought off an Iranian pawn shop owner. But, now don’t mistake me, he didn’t buy the gun from an iranian pawn shop ... because the pawn shop wasn’t iranian, it was American; the pawn shop was in America, right? But the owner ... well, he was Iranian.” “Yeah,” she said. “now, the dad had this gun and he was gonna go all crazy on Raymond and start pumping him full of hot lead.” “Lead,” she said and smiled. (She loved it when I talked what she called “Hollywood.”) “But it turned out the gun was just as Iranian as the owner and it misfired when he tried to snuff Raymond out. Those Iranians ... they can’t make any good guns.” “But I thought it was American,” she said. “No,” I said. “I told you, he didn’t buy it at the American pawn shop. he bought it from an iranian pawn shop owner, but he bought it from him on the street.” “But the street was American, yeah?” she asked. “Well ... yeah. But that’s only because they were in America.” “Well,” she wanted know, “are there American streets in other countries? You know, like Iran?” “I don’t know, man,” I told her. And I really didn’t. It was one of those things where you start thinking about diplomats and embassies and all kinds of rules for criminal immunity and international politics — maybe trade agreements and peacetime non-aggression pacts. i mean, you can imagine the kind of far-reaching geopolitical implications that a thing like this could have. But I didn’t get to think about it too long because she pulled me into the ice Cream Place and we each ordered a scoop: one vanilla and one cherry. We ate them down in silence with only shared grins, and we licked the melted stuff off the edges of our cones and sucked all the juice out through the bottom, the way you will. then we just sort of shrugged at each other. i had visions of us heading back home to the blanket that was still on the porch and maybe making out a little with the rest of the day almost finished behind us. That’s what I was thinking when we got up to go. We were back on the sidewalk and i was mentally doubletiming it to get back to the porch when she tugged on my hand and asked: “Now, what happened to Raymond?” that’s when i realized that we’d forgotten to get cigarettes. NCM

c.s. pERRY started writing in the 1990s and has been published since 1999. A local recluse, musician and bar denizen, he currently resides at an undisclosed location in Southeast America.

Moving Home When That Means to Newnan and You’re 25


by Daniel Conan

eighth grade early afternoon, Body neither awake nor tired

think of this place only as a space with too few bars. Prepare to drive familiar streets, past a museum that seemed never open when you were interested, past houses old enough to mean unburnt in Georgia and every day to see your father’s car. forget and forget counting. Prepare to hear “There’s no shame [in living with your mother]” and learn it’s so. Make excuses (wrong place, wrong time, underemployment statistics, predatory lending, etc.), all subprime, none a reason. Don’t accept excuses. exercise patience while driving: use your horn, gesture, but don’t yell yourself hoarse as someone refuses to turn left on red onto and from a one-way. take your car to its home service station that was a BP before and its fuel affiliation now, forget; know there will be no mechanic anxiety. Prepare to offer people you once knew or knew of a knowing smile and nod in the grocery store: don’t no-look, know you will no-look. learn not to look for implications (boy-man, arrested development, etc.) in “millennial.” Occasionally work in your mother’s yard. Be emotionally available. Be willing to forge new experience. Avoid old digs, old judgments. Avoid the paper’s “Community Forum” or prepare for blood pressure meds. Walk around with headphones in your ears. Pick a piece of sidewalk: remember then and list the differences. in public, speak only to people you’ve never met before. Celebrate the lack of bars and, therefore, the lack of guilt for only ever going to one. Don’t remember high school. Forget the high school’s tennis courts and its tantrums. Forget humiliations suffered; those inflicted, only enough to avoid repetition. Avoid any “reunion,” especially unofficial and at the Court Square’s dive, an old theater with its marquee reading down two stories from the top: the alamo. as in remember: avoid saying too much, avoid drinking too much, avoid saying “forget The Alamo,” say too much, avoid self-judgment. Don’t take advice. Offer advice. Be alone. Enjoy a screened porch and enjoy screen time. Be emotionally unavailable. Sit on a swing. Sit on a glider. People watch. Drink less. Refuse any social function that requires etiquette. Be kind. Forget that you’ve ever lived here before. Remember losing your father’s Boy Scout knife in the ivy four houses down. Know you have lost — forget this list. shoot hoops and play tennis; remember losing to your father: those miracles of wile and poise. ABOUT THIS POEM: Moving home is so emotionally confusing because much of what you encounter in your house, neighborhood, town solicits a complex emotional response stemming from years of attached memory. Willful manipulation of these associations, dismissing or subverting some while promoting, focusing on others, is a way you can achieve or approach emotional clarity. NCM

DANIEL cONAN grew up in downtown Newnan and graduated from Newnan High School. Over the years, close friends — many from his neighborhood — excellent teachers and his family helped foster his appreciation of literature. This appreciation grew at the University of Georgia, where he studied poetry and fiction. His search for inspiration currently has him back in Newnan.

by Leverett Butts

Math class, algebra homework i hadn’t done secretly scribbling answers as given Can’t have another zero across the room, a boy reads a book instead homework forgotten i stare at the cover all black and grays a hint of red in the center the sink of envy as i watch he doesn’t care about zeros he does his own work Gets all the right answers all the time and the book. Kid in the hall runs “she blowed up! they all dead! Ever mother’s son of ’em!” homework forgotten, We tumble to the hall teacher wipes her face, stumbles to assembly i am last out. that was years ago. they say it was o-rings scattered astronauts, teachers, students to the wind today on my bookshelf a book i’ve had since the eighth grade NCM

LEVEREtt Butts

teaches composition and literature at the Gainesville campus of the University of North Georgia. His poetry and fiction have appeared in Eclectic and The Georgia State University Review. He’s written a collection of short fiction, “Emily’s Stitches: The Confessions of Thomas Calloway and Other Stories,” and a novella, “Guns of the Waste Land: Departure.” january/february 2014

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your voice

Best Kept New Year’s Resolutions It's thAt tIME of year again. Most people have made at least one New Year’s resolution, but few make them regularly, and even fewer actually keep them. But for those who do keep them, New Year’s resolutions can often be life changing — whether they are serious … or silly. Health-related resolutions are the most common — and the most commonly broken. But when they are kept, they often can be the most transformative. Several Coweta residents, people who work in Coweta, and former Cowetans shared with us their “best kept” New Year’s resolutions: Jack Gibbs had made New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and get healthy for years. “Probably 10 years,” he said. In 2013, he decided to get serious. He weighed 350 pounds in February. As of late November, he’s lost 98 pounds. He wants to lose 75 more. “I have a 2-year-old son and an awesome wife. And I want to stay around so I can take care of them,” Gibbs said. Finally losing the weight and getting healthy required a “mental switch,” according to Gibbs. Before last year, “I did Weight Watchers, Atkins, all that crap. But it would only last a month or two. This time, I actually did it.” He runs every morning and eats healthily, sticking to natural foods. And he now feels better than he ever has. “It’s the best decision I’ve ever made.” Pam Mayer has always been a bit of a pen/ pencil thief. “Some days, I’ll look in my purse and I’ll have about six pens/pencils in it, and from where I get

them, I don’t know.” So, one year, she made a resolution to be more aware at checkout counters or anywhere else she might borrow a pen, and to remind herself to always return the pen or pencil. “I made it an entire year,” Mayer said. “Years later, I am still quite aware of it each time I check out somewhere or sign something. But I have slipups and still find pens and pencils in my purse from time to time.” Four years ago, Ben Sewell made a resolution to eat right and exercise more. He’d gained around 30 pounds and decided to do something about it. “Finally, I said I’ve got to [lose weight].” He joined a gym and started running. Sewell says it’s the only long-term resolution he’s ever kept. He’d once made a resolution to give up sweets. It lasted until Memorial Day. Carolyn Fjeran never took New Year’s resolutions seriously. “I viewed it more as something entertaining to play with and so I lost interest.” She remembers a few failed resolutions from her past, and she once “resolved not to make a resolution. But that was too easy and a little bit worthless.” Several years ago, she decided she wanted to make one. “I was being a little facetious and asked, ‘What can I make that I could possibly keep?’ It would be something that would be a little frivolous and fun, but it would also be something no one would know about if I didn’t keep it.” Her resolution was to always wear matching underwear. “I thought it would be pretty easy,” Fjeran said. “The interesting thing was, once I decided to make that my resolution, and actually started keeping it, I began to notice some things. I tend to put meaning into things that are really simple,” Fjeran said. She found the simple act of making sure to wear matching underwear was “a symbolic way of starting each day being the best I could be, from the inside out.” Compiled by sARAh FAY cAMpBELL

64 |

“It kind of evolved and became a little bit of a daily reminder about character — being who and what we are when nobody is watching. I’ve kept it every year since. I think it has been six or seven years,” Fjeran said. “So now I have at least one resolution I’ve been able to keep. And let’s not talk about Lent — I haven’t quite worked that one out.” Thom Moncus decided last year, after years of driving in the Atlanta area on delivery routes, to stop trying to beat red lights and race through yellow lights. “Everybody seems to run through all of them,” he said. “I don’t know what made me think I needed to do it. I decided I’m not going through any more yellow lights. I’m going to stop before I get to them. It’s almost like a game with me. I’ve got to get it done.” Over the years, “I’ve seen too many close wrecks with people running yellow lights and red lights.” He’s frequently thought, “Oh, I can beat it … Oh no I’m not.” “It’s kind of like going the speed limit — I don’t have to worry about [getting pulled over now.]” Sometimes he ends up completely stopped at a yellow light, with drivers behind him getting mad. Once, he thought a tractor-trailer was going to run him over. Another time, a car went around him to dangerously speed through the yellow light. Now he keeps an eye out for lights in the distance and tries to adjust his speed. He still gets upset while sitting at red lights, but the resolution “seems to calm me down. The stop lights give me a second or two to realize it’s not that big of a deal.” Ann Lynn Whiteside, a weaver and potter, made a resolution last year to “weave with color and texture.” “And I have kept that, resulting in 50-plus items in the colors and textures that make my heart sing!” NCM


Photo by N ick W


Photo by C

hris H elton


email us your photos of life in and around Coweta County and we may choose yours for a future edition of nCM! Photos must be original, highresolution (300 DPI) digital photos in .jpg format, at least 3”x 5” size. Please include your name so that we can give you credit for your photo in the magazine.

Photo by David B

oyd, Jr.

Email your photos with the subject “Blacktop” to the address below. january/february 2014

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INDEX OF ADVERTISERS AllSpine Laser and Surgery Center ....... 5 Amazon Stone...................................... 12 Arbor Terrace of Peachtree City.......... 13 Avery & Pope Wealth Management.... 17 Bank of North Georgia ........................ 68 BB&T..................................................... 57 BeDazzled Flower Shop ...................... 48 The Bedford School ............................. 35 Binion Tire Pros .................................... 45 CareSouth Home Health ..................... 20 Charter Bank ........................................ 23 The Cosmetic Laser & Skin Care Center ............................. 9

march/april preview



Is consignment the new face of retail? With websites like thredUP, chains like Plato’s Closet, and privately owned consignment shops specializing in curated collections of clothing, furniture, home décor, and even sporting goods, it looks like high-end consignment is here to stay. nCM takes a peek inside the daily operations of some of Coweta’s thriving consignment storefronts and gives you some inspiration for spring cleaning and affordable spring style.

Coweta Medical Center....................... 48 Coweta-Fayette EMC .......................... 67 Emory Healthcare .................................. 6 Farm Bureau Insurance ........................ 45 Georgia Bone & Joint, LLC .................. 15 Gillyweed ............................................. 35 Heritage of Peachtree.......................... 39 The Heritage School .............................61 Hollberg’s Fine Furniture ..................... 51 In Stitches too ...................................... 24 Ison’s Nursery ...................................... 43 Kimble’s Events by Design .................. 51 Lee-King Pharmacy.............................. 59 MainStreet Newnan ............................. 20 Massage Envy ...................................... 24 OutPatient Imaging, LLC ....................... 4 Pain Care ................................................ 7 Piedmont Newnan Hospital .................. 2 Plum Southern ..................................... 49 Savannah Court of Newnan..................61 Skin Cancer Specialists, P.C................. 25 Southern Crescent Equine .................. 57 StoneBridge Early Learning Center .... 39 Surgical & Cosmetic Dermatology ...... 17 Thomas Eye Group .............................. 35

The taboo of tattoos from tribal designs to Celtic crosses, from dragons to hula girls, tattoos have become less taboo and more fashionable with today’s youth. in once Mayberry-esque Coweta County, odds are your restaurant server or your checkout attendant or even your accountant may be sporting an ink design hidden somewhere on their bodies. While many see tattoos as a personal statement and an art form, there are still plenty of critics who challenge the individual’s decision to “desecrate” his or her body. read more in the March/april edition of nCM.


Magazine Advertising Deadline February 7, 2014

Uniglobe McIntosh Travel.................... 21

Next publication Date: March 7, 2014

West Georgia Gastroenterology ........... 3

for more information on advertising opportunities in newnan-Coweta Magazine, please call

West Georgia Health ............................. 8 66 |


WHO KNEW A FRESH LAYER OF INSULATION WOULD HELP ME WEATHER THE ECONOMY? There was money hiding in my attic. Not anymore. I’m saving $240 a year just by adding insulation. What can you do? Find out how the little changes add up by visiting, and clicking on “Energy Saving Tips under the “For My Home”tab.


Invested Invested in in our our Community Community We know you have a choice when it comes to choosing a bank. That’s why we work hard every day to provide those We know you have a choice when it comes to choosing a bank. That’s why we work hard every day to provide those who bank with us the customer service experience they deserve. We are proud to offer the products and services who bank with us the customer service experience they deserve. We are proud to offer the products and services that strenghthen families and help businesses grow. Our team members are your family, friends and neighbors. Our that strenghthen families and help businesses grow. Our team members are your family, friends and neighbors. Our children go to the same schools. Our commitment and dedication to the Newnan and Senoia communities remains children go to the same schools. Our commitment and dedication to the Newnan and Senoia communities remains unchanged. unchanged. Come Comeinintoday todayor orvisit visitus usonline onlineto tosee seewhat what we we can can do do for for you. you. Jefferson JeffersonStreet Street 110 110Jefferson JeffersonStreet Street Newnan, Newnan,GA GA30263 30263 770.253.1340 770.253.1340

Temple TempleAvenue Avenue 192 192Temple TempleAvenue Avenue Newnan, Newnan,GA GA 30263 30263 770.253.9600 770.253.9600

Senoia Senoia 7817 7817Wells WellsStreet Street Senoia, Senoia,GA GA30276 30276 770.599.8400 770.599.8400

Thomas ThomasCrossroads Crossroads 3130 3130East EastHighway Highway 34 34 Newnan, GA Newnan, GA 30265 30265 770.254.7722 770.254.7722 Bank operates under under multiple multiple trade trade BankofofNorth NorthGeorgia Georgiaisisaadivision divisionofofSynovus SynovusBank. Bank.Synovus Synovus Bank, Bank, Member Member FDIC, FDIC, is chartered in the state of Georgia and operates names to deposit deposit customers customers isis that that namesacross acrossthe theSoutheast. Southeast.Divisions DivisionsofofSynovus SynovusBank Bank are are not not separately separately FDIC-insured FDIC-insured banks. The FDIC coverage extended to ofofone oneinsured insuredbank. bank.

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