Coweta’s flourishing music scene Beauty and history in
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September | October 2013
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» in this issue
CONTENTS SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2013
18 | Market to Table Off the beaten trail in downtown Newnan, El Tienda Mexicano offers traditional Mexican food in an untraditional setting.
26 | Coweta County Rocks Musicians Neil Cribbs, the Kris Youmans Band and Lerogie Sims keep plugging in and hitting the high notes in the local music scene.
36 | Gold Mines Historian W. Winston Skinner tells how the
North Georgia gold rush once found its way closer to home.
42 | Tales & Tombstones Filled with folklore, beauty and fascinating
architecture, cemeteries are not just places to mourn and bury our dead.
56 | Welcome to Willow Dell Willow Dell Equestrian Center, a 38-acre
farm on Elders Mill Road, provides plenty of instruction and activities for horse enthusiasts.
64 | Our Bodies Like to Move A Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline widely practiced for health and relaxation, yoga is finding a comfortable niche in Coweta County.
70 | The Chickenator, the Mrs. and the Sauce Marty Webb continues a family tradition as a secret recipe becomes local legacy.
in EVERY ISSUE 14 | Letter from the Editor 16 | Roll Call 76 | Pen & Ink 80 | Blacktop 82 | Index of Advertisers 82 | What’s Next
Cover photo by STATON CARTER
Coweta musician Neil Cribbs, featured in "Coweta County Rocks," pg. 26
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FROM THE EDITOR
Forget the three R's. For me, there’s only two — reading and writing. Arithmetic is for the people on the other side of the tracks. My love of reading and writing was sparked when I was a wee thing and my parents sat me in their laps and generously read children’s books like “Tell Me Some More” and “Little Bear.” Later, my fifthgrade teacher, Ms. Faires, once a day theatrically read chapters from books like “Soup and Me” and “Superfudge” to the class and I was even more hooked (thank you, Ms. Faires). Then it was on to Hemingway and Shakespeare, naturally. To this day, that only 26 letters of the alphabet can be placed in different order by diverse writers to produce such various works amazes me. That William Faulkner and John Irving, and even E.L. James and Mickey Spillane, have this in common ... well, that’s just the sheer beauty of it. A feat of modern language that spans centuries. As a former “slacker” English grad student and now a longtime employee of The Newnan Times-Herald, I’ve had the good fortune of meeting and surrounding myself with like-minded readers and writers who share similar beginnings and passions. I’m a firm believer that to be a successful writer — even if it’s limited to your own diary and letters — you must inherently be an enthusiastic reader. Through new platforms like Roll Call, Coweta Finds and Pen & Ink, our hope at NewnanCoweta Magazine is to showcase many of these talented readers/writers as we tirelessly strive to entertain and discover interesting local stories and people to write about. We have a new format, more variety, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the skilled photographers, creative directors and graphic designers who are equally a part of this process. Their keen eyes and attention to detail are just as artistic as the scribes who bravely immerse themselves in our beautiful alphabet. So without further ado, your September/October issue of Newnan-Coweta Magazine awaits. Thanks for reading,
Will Blair, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Let Us Hear From You! Feel free to send thoughts, ideas and suggestions for upcoming issues of Newnan-Coweta Magazine to email@example.com
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» thank you MEGAN ALMON is a freelance writer and a presenter for the Life Training Institute. She and her husband Tripp, a pastor at Four Corners Church, live in Newnan with their two children. Megan earned her undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Georgia, and a Master of Arts degree in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. JEFF BISHOP is a writer and public historian who lives in Newnan with his wife and five children. The author of “A Cold Coming,” a story of murder and family history, he is currently working on a book about the McIntosh Trail. Melissa Dickson-jackson is the author of two collections of poetry: “Cameo” and “Sweet Aegis, Medusa Poems.” Her poetry has recently appeared in national journals including Shenandoah, North American Review, Southern Humanities Review and Literary Mama. She holds an MFA in Visual Arts from the School of Visual Arts and an MFA in poetry from Converse College. She lives in Newnan with her husband and four children. C.S. Perry started writing in the 1990s and has been variously published since 1999. A local recluse, musician and bar denizen, he currently resides at an undisclosed location in Southeast America.
Sean Stewart is a 30-year-old father of two sons. He is a Georgia native and impromptu poet, and has been living in Newnan for the better part of a decade. He lives, works and breathes in historic downtown Newnan. 16 |
Lindsay Wood is a freelance writer living in Newnan. When not writing, she’s most likely standing in the front row of a live music show or fishing on the family pond in Senoia. Rebecca Leftwich is a writer and editor whose work appears regularly in publications throughout the state. She enjoys convincing people that Kenneth Branagh is the greatest movie Hamlet ever and dreams of becoming a cop or a companion of Doctor Who. A former Newnan resident, she now lives with her husband and three children in Carrollton.
As the president of Patchwork Press, Ltd., Cathy Lee Phillips has penned and published four books of motivation and ministry, selling over 20,000 books since 1999. Cathy was also nominated for Georgia Author of the Year in 2001 for her book “Gutsy Little Flowers.” W. Winston Skinner began writing for Coweta readers as a college intern in 1978. He has been on The Newnan Times-Herald staff since 1982 and lives in an antebellum cottage in the College-Temple neighborhood with his wife, Lynn. Martha A. Woodham’s motto is “Life is better with a horse.” A South Carolina native, she grew up riding horses and competing in equestrian events in the days before Title IX opened the door to sports for girls. A former columnist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Martha now specializes in public relations and is the author of several wedding etiquette books.
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‘WE’RE PROUD OF NEW FACILITY’ — STACK
New Piedmont Newnan opens Tuesday By ALEX MCRAE firstname.lastname@example.org Piedmont Newnan Hospital officially opens Tuesday at its new campus at 745 Poplar Road. But before that can happen the aging facility on Hospital Road must be officially closed. It’s not a process that happens with the flip of a switch or wave of a magic wand. Moving from the old facility to the new is actually a balancing act that requires keeping both facilities open for more than a week as people, equipment and procedures underPhoto by Jeffrey Leo go a transition that allows no for error. room offito There was activity Friday at the new Poplar Road campus of Piedmont Newnan Hospital, set It’s not a process anyone cially open Tuesday. On Friday, outpatient radiology procedures began at the new hospital and the outpatient lab and respiratory center opened. The Poplar Road Command Center, from which the takes lightly. But, so far, the procedure is going smoothly final move will be overseen Tuesday, opened Friday during daytime hours.
NEW CANCER HOSPITAL Blessing event held at facility
and remarks from hospital officials make it clear they are ready to officially celebrate the opening of Georgia’s newest hospital on Tuesday at 745 Poplar Road beside Interstate 85. “We’ve waited a long time to be able to welcome patients to their new community hospital,” said Tim Stack, president and CEO of Piedmont
Hea lt hca re. “ We’re proud of the new facility and the expanded services we offer residents of Coweta County and the surroundRelated ing areas. The open- story, page of ing 5A the new Piedmont Newna n Hospita l is pa ramount to our vision of providing comprehensive, quality health care services across the Piedmont Healthcare system.” The final days of joint operation between the two facilities are scheduled down to the minute to make sure that essentia l ser vices offered at Hospital Road remain in place until those services are
See HOSPITAL, page 2A
Westmoreland hears concerns about energy regulations
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By W. WINSTON SKINNER email@example.com U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland toured CowetaFayette EMC’s north Coweta headquarters on Friday afternoon. His tour followed a meeting with CowetaFayette staff and directors about federal energy
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Tienda El Mexicano offers the best of both worlds off the beaten trail
Written and photographed by REBECCA LEFTWICH
Baskets of fresh produce line the center shelf at Tienda El Mexicano, where Jose Serrano and Maria Morales also operate a restaurant.
september /october 2013
“It's always the little nooks and crannies that are the best.”
It doesn't matter if you don’t speak
a lick of Spanish at Tienda El Mexicano. Food has a language all its own. It begins speaking as you cross the threshold of the combination market and restaurant. It first tempts the child in you with shiny bags of “Ala Diabla” potato 20 |
chips, lime and chili-flavored candy and a rainbow of cold fruit drinks. It invites you to linger over a chest freezer filled with frozen treats, choosing coconut ... no, mango … no, limon! as its breath wicks the July heat from your face. Baskets of fresh and dried peppers,
onions, garlic and gourds line a center shelf, and neat rows of cans – black beans, hominy, sardines – register as familiar along a wall lined with their exotic shelfmates – pickled cactus, eucalyptus leaves, horchata. A new murmur begins around
lunchtime, when Maria Morales dons her red apron for double duty as both store clerk and server while her husband, Jose Sorvana, heads to the back of the building. He maneuvers through a few tables set for eat-in customers and moves past the restaurant area’s sole decoration,
a floor-to-ceiling partition covered with rose vines and topped with a copy of DaVinci’s “Last Supper.” Sorvana makes his way to a small kitchen, where, hidden away from the rest of the store, he begins prep work for a surprisingly expansive menu. Around september /october 2013
Five-year-old Savannah Tristan samples her lunch at Tienda El Mexicano.
1 p.m., regular customer Richard Tristan
tripe soup — when he found Tienda El
“It’s a very friendly atmosphere.” Robert
arrives with extended family from
Polczynski, his visitor from Australia,
Australia. Morales places freshly-made
“It’s like a hidden secret,” said Tristan,
tortilla chips and condiments on the
who staved off his next menudo craving
two pushed-together tables as the group
by ordering a bowl to take home.
ponders its choices. Work brought Tristan — who eats here several times a month — from California, where authentic Mexican food is more readily available. He was in search of menudo — a traditional Mexican beef
In fact, most customers take their
agreed. “It’s always the little nooks and crannies that are the best,” he said. Sorvana and Morales have three small children who help out in the store
orders to go. “It’s like fast food,” Sorvana
during the summer. Christian, the eldest,
says carefully in English.
interprets for the couple when needed
But some linger, savoring both the food and the experience. “I enjoy coming here,” Tristan said.
and helps behind the counter. Alexsandra and Ashley dust display cases holding everything from cowboy boots to CDs.
Some people discover it by pure chance, and others are lucky enough to have a very, very good friend who’s willing to reveal its location.
All three spend time playing and dreaming in the store’s hidey-holes, occasionally emerging to help non-Spanish speakers choose the best candy, snacks and drinks from a bewildering assortment. So you don’t need cowboy boots or CDs, phone cards or scissors, laundry detergent or shampoo. You still may need to speak the language of authentic, freshly-prepared Mexican food every now and then. If you crave the talk of tacos, the hum of huaraches, the buzz of burritos or the music of menudo, you can set off in search of Tienda El Mexicano. Some tricky navigation may be involved, however. You must first find your way to a tiny, outwardly unremarkable Mexican grocery store at 33 East Broad Street, tucked between a barber shop and the railroad tracks on the industrial border of downtown Newnan. It’s like a favorite fishing hole: Some people discover it by pure chance, and others are lucky enough to have a very, very good friend who’s willing to reveal its location.
Jose Serrano and Maria Morales, back, run Tienda El Mexicano's market and restaurant with the help of their children during the summer. From left are Ashley, Alexsandra and Christian Serrano.
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A surprisingly large selection for so small an establishment, Tienda El Mexicano's menu includes standard fare like tacos, quesadillas, burritos, fajitas and tostadas in addition to special offerings like tortas cubans (Cuban sandwiches) and tostadas de camaron (shrimp toast) and a variety of soups and stews. Patrons can choose from available fillings including beef, chicken, sausage, lamb and organ meat. Traditional Mexican salads, roasted peppers, beans and rice, chicken wings and potatoes round out the offerings. Drinks include Pepsi, Coke, water, coffee and
Maria Morales serves a group of customers including Robert Polczynski, visiting from Australia.
milk as well as Boing and Jarritos. The menu is easy to follow for
those unfamiliar with either the Spanish language or Mexican food, with English translations
Tienda El Mexicano
accompanying most items. Prices range from under $2 for items like
33 East Broad St. Newnan, GA 30263
tacos and tostadas to around $7 for items like menudo and shrimp
quesadillas, not including taxes or gratuities.
The outwardly unremarkable Mexican grocery store is tucked between a barber shop and the railroad tracks on the industrial border of downtown Newnan.
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W Writer's Note If I should happen to be the friend who has first introduced you to Tienda El Mexicano, then I highly recommend the tacos. My favorites were the steak and chicken varieties, wrapped in warm corn tortillas and topped with fresh onions, cilantro, green salsa and sour cream. For dessert, especially in hot weather, nothing beats a frozen limon bar. I took my little friend Alexsandra’s advice on this one, and although I sported a bright green tongue for a good 20 minutes after finishing my treat, I found it a perfect ending to my meal.
hether it is in our Assisted Living or Secured Memory Care, Savannah Court exudes hospitality. The community is elegant, yet warm and comfortable, with many common areas for the residents to enjoy. It is truly our pleasure to serve our residents, their family members and guests each day. “Please contact me directly and it would be my pleasure to treat you to lunch and provide you with a personal tour,” says Brenda Mitchell, Executive Director. AMENITIES
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www.SavannahCourtNewnan.com september /october 2013
Coweta musicians discover the journey is as rewarding as the goal
Musician Neil Cribbs’ “karma jar” is just a ceramic black jug, but he carries it with him to all his gigs around Coweta County and the surrounding area. A recent show at Newnan restaurant The Cellar was no different. The Birkenstock-clad, tall, bearded man behind the mic growled the lyrics to songs from his three independently-produced albums and covered crowd favorites like “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” by The Beatles. By the end of the night’s first set, there were a few bills swimming in Cribbs’ tip jar. Such is a musician’s life — hand to mouth — depending on tips, checks from venues and free bar tabs. You’re only as good as your next gig. For original musicians like Cribbs and his band The Rough Gentlemen, booking shows in Coweta County and Atlanta’s perimeter isn’t hard, though. Whether solo or with the band, Cribbs plays four to seven shows a week on average. “I feel like the area down here is eclectic enough that people grab onto anything they like,” Cribbs said. “From a musician’s standpoint, finding those pockets is really important. And that grows within the community when you have a good musician come to a good place, then the business wheels start rolling. Embracing it is a good thing, and I feel like Coweta and Fayette are starting to embrace it.”
Written by LindsAy Wood | Photographed by JEFFREY LEO
september /october 2013
What’s more difficult for independent musicians is getting their own songs heard, keeping a band together and putting their music out to fans. With three albums available — Marionette, Windshield, and To the Left — Cribbs is well-known throughout Coweta County for his own “blues and soul-soaked Americana” music. Like Cribbs, Coweta’s Kris Youmans Band slip in their original Westerninfused songs between Hank Williams and Lefty Frizell covers at shows. As a result, they’ve cultivated a following and some attention from the Georgia Music Awards. Frontwoman Kris Youmans and her main partners, pedal steel player Warren “Barefoot Slim” Hall and guitarist David Puett, were nominated in the Americana category for the 2013 awards show. Youmans’ voice is reminiscent of Loretta Lynn and Bonnie Raitt. Her songwriting style is strongly roots-influenced. The Savannah transplant’s tunes are as traditional as her historic hometown’s Victorian architecture. The Kris Youmans Band’s country and swing fusion has found a niche among country and folk music fans in the area. The group — all residents of Coweta County — is currently working on an album that’s due out this fall.
KRIS YOUMANS BAND UPCOMING
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SatURDAY, SeptEMBER 14 The Kris Youmans Band was nominated in the Americana category for the 2013 Georgia Music Awards. Photo courtesy Kris Youmans Band
With artists like Sims, Cribbs and the Kris Youmans Band, Coweta County is primed for a happening original music scene.
september /october 2013
Photo by KEN LACKNER PHOTOGRAPHY
Such is a musician’s life — hand to mouth — depending on tips, checks from venues and free bar tabs. You’re only as good as your next gig.
NEIL CRIBBS UPCOMING
Downtown Newnan 770-683-6328
SatURDAY, SeptEMBER 7
Opposite page: Neil Cribbs and band performing at Oysterfest in Atlanta. Cribbs has released three studio albums, including Marionette, To the Left and Windshield.
In addition to working full-time jobs, the artists play about three to five gigs a week. One of the difficulties small bands like this one face is trying to make the perfect fit between members who don’t play music full time. Other commitments make it tough for part-time musicians to pledge time for practice and concerts. “We’re all managing jobs, households and yards and all that plus doing this,” Youmans said. “Even though it sounds like it’s part-time, the thing is, it’s a commitment.” To solve the issue, the band keeps a Rolodex of musicians to call in a pinch for bigger gigs that require a fuller sound. “We’re very fortunate to have others who have the skill to play this music,” Hall said about the band’s on-call musicians. To Youmans, Hall and Puett, playing music is about presenting a quality product to people and progressing.
Newnan native and rock guitar player Lerogie Sims is a man who also believes in musical evolution. He taught himself guitar as a youngster listening to R&B on his family’s radio in the ’70s. Then he heard Queen, Led Zeppelin, Foghat, ZZ Top, Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix. “You had this sound,” Sims said. “This sonic boom of a sound that grabbed me. And I was like ’Wow, that’s what I want to do.’ I still loved R&B, but I knew whenever I did anything with a guitar it was going to be rock. And it was going to be that loud, bombastic, sonic boom of a sound that makes your hair peel back.” Sims has been putting out music and playing in bands since he was 13. However, working full time has come in creative spurts and sputters. In 1990, Sims put out a five-song EP titled Bach n’ Roll that was well-received
september /october 2013
Newnan native Lerogie Sims taught himself guitar at a young age while listening to R&B on his family's radio in the 1970s.
LEROGIE SIMS UPCOMING
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FRIDAY, SeptEMBER 20 ’by Atlanta radio stations. He took a break from music, though, eventually joining an Atlanta band called Friction Addiction in 1995. That experience led to solo acoustic shows, with Sims playing grunge covers in the metro-Atlanta area for most of the late 90s. In 2000, he cut another record of originals and sat on it. “I realized I was having a clash,” Sims said of his decision to not release the
Sims' 2011 album, Lerogie.
album. “I really didn’t feel comfortable taking my CD to a cover gig.” After September 11, 2001, amid a changing national sentiment and suffering from his own creative fatigue, Sims strayed from music. “For seven years I barely picked my guitar up.” A family illness brought Sims back to Newnan from the Atlanta music scene in
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2009. Back in his mother’s home, Sims pulled out his instruments and played “like I was a kid again.” The spark renewed, Sims began booking shows in both Atlanta and Coweta County. He’s been playing ever since. Not one to get bogged down in one era or genre, Sims’ repertoire now ranges from classic rock to 1990s alternative to current pop songs by artists like Bruno Mars and
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Lerogie Sims performing at a local venue.
Visit the bands' websites for more information: 34 |
www.neilcribbs.com www.krisyoumansband.com www.facebook.com/lerogie
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Jason Derulo. “People want to hear what they’re familiar with,” he said. “So when I play acoustic or with my band, I typically play covers.” In 2011, he put out eight songs from his unreleased album, simply titled Lerogie. After taking time to find his voice, Sims is ready to record again and release a new album this fall. And this one, he says, will be an album for public ears. With artists like Sims, Cribbs and the Kris Youmans Band, Coweta County is primed for a happening original music scene. “I think if people knew how good the music is out there, they’d get out more,” Youmans said. But these local music makers and songwriters aren’t necessarily looking to be the next Billboard No. 1. They’ve already made it by playing the music they love from week to week in their backyard, whether they can pay all the bills or not. “I had no idea what I was getting into and I still don’t,” Cribbs said. “There are so many different levels of making it. I’ve been full-time for three years and to me that’s making it. I’m happy with where I am. I mean, can I afford to pay for the things I want to pay for? No. Is that really important? Not really. I’m still making music.”
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Cow Bones in the Gold Mine Gold fever strikes Coweta County in the late 19th century
Hettie Hunter, my grandmother’s sister, was a practical woman. I can hear her steady voice as she explained how Wilson Bowers’ cows got sick and died — and how he put their carcasses “in the gold mine.” Aunt Hettie explained this just as if Mr. Wilson had gone out to harrow his field. I think Aunt Hettie thought it was an eminently logical solution — dead cows, big empty hole, problem solved. All I could think was “gold mine.” The luminous quality of gold and its great value have made it desirable since ancient times. From the earliest recorded history of Coweta County, there have been stories about real and potential gold mines.
A theme in economic development today is regionalism. In fact, where gold mining is concerned, it has always been so. “Coweta Chronicles” related an 1831 incident regarding “gold mine prospects in Carroll County.” When a man stopped to have his horse shod in Newnan, he left some paperwork at a hotel revealing plans to prospect for gold in Carroll. Newnan’s blacksmith tried to beat the man to south Georgia to get the deed to the property. The lot was eventually purchased for $25, and there quickly were offers for $200 and then $300. Eventually, the owner sold the land for $500. The purchaser salted the
Written and photographed by W. WINSTON SKINNER
Left: A mine shaft at Consolidated Gold Mine in Dahlonega in 2010. Right: A chunk of gold ore.
september /october 2013
This etching of the north Georgia town of Dahlonega at the height of the gold-mining period in Georgia appeared in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine in 1879.
photos courtesy ED JACKSON
Bottom left: A 1958 wagon train carries gold from the Dahlonega mine to Atlanta for the initial gilding of the Georgia State Capitol dome. In 1979, a second — and much, much larger — wagon train carried new gold (in the same chest as the 1958 wagon train) from Dahlonega to the Capitol building to replace what had flaked off over the years. Bottom right: Gold being applied to the Capitol dome in 1959.
From the earliest recorded history of Coweta County, there have been stories about real and potential gold mines. land with gold and sold half of it for $1,200. A lawsuit followed. There were at least a couple of gold mines in Coweta County. Some 30 years ago, Robert Holbrook took me into the woods off Smokey Road to show the remnants of a mine on the Dennis farm. The mining had taken place in the mid1800s, and by the time I saw it, there were just a few depressions in the ground — the shafts having been filled decades earlier. I suspect the mine on the Bowers' place near Moreland dates to the same era. The big gold mining in this area was in Meriwether County, just south
of Grantville. An early post office in Meriwether — at John G. Carter’s store said to be near the Coweta line — was called Gold Hill. People began finding gold in streams between what is now Grantville, Luthersville and Lone Oak as far back as 1835, and mining continued there for some 70 years. A “Coweta Chronicles” entry for 1871 noted, “A gold mine near — though in Meriwether County — added much to the business of Grantville.” “There were three gold mines actually. They were all in the Yellow Jacket Creek area,” said Rosalind Edmondson, who with
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her cousin Eleanor Willingham wrote the 2006 “History of Lone Oak, Georgia.” The Lone Oak history reported Adam Ragland and men named Hardaway and Reagan made the initial discovery. They panned for gold in area creeks. It was after the Civil War that B.M. Wilkes, John Cross and a Mr. Lawshe ran a mine. “At the time of operation, the Wilkes mine was equipped with two Sturtevant roller mills, two Kincaid mills, concentrating tables and amalgamating tube, settling tank and other machinery,” according to the Edmondson-Willingham history.
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Gold mines in and near Coweta County • On the Dennis farm, Smokey Road near Holbrook Road. • Wilson Bowers’ farm, Bexton Road near Highway 54. • Mine near Whitesburg, known only from oral history. • Several mines near Grantville in Meriwether County. Operated from the 1840s to the 1910s.
Photo courtesy ED JACKSON
Top: This bucolic scene along Gold Mine Road near Grantville today is in sharp contrast to the activity there during the days of the gold mines. Bottom: The first gold found in the Grantville area was in creeks and led to gold panning, like this, before the mining began.
Meriwether mines were later owned by two Grantville men, T.M. Zellars and W.A. Post. Tom Andrews took over one of the mines “after everything else had quit,” according to Bill Lowry, 87, of Grantville. “I’ve been knowing about the gold mines all of my life,” he said. Mr. Bill, who has rambled in that area since his boyhood, tells stories about the Cross, Putnam and Good mines. He said Cross and his wife came from Illinois because of the mining operation. His wife “was a good friend of my grandmother” and gave her a Seth Thomas chiming clock that has been handed down in his family. Mr. Bill’s mother was born in 1886 and could remember seeing the mines in operation. “She’d tell me about seeing the little gold bricks,” he said. Mr. Bill’s uncle, Elmer Nall, worked at the Putnam mine while in his late teens. “It was his job to work at night to keep the pump working. They had to keep the water pumped out,” Mr. Bill said. Elmer Nall tended to complain about his job. One night, there was a cart loaded with ore that got loose and ended up going down the shaft. One mine worker, a black man named Hawkins, was injured, and Nall grabbed the bell rope that kept him from being seriously hurt. When Nall went home and said he had almost been killed, his family at first dismissed his complaint of the day. Hawkins “died about dinnertime the next day,” Mr. Bill said. The gold mines in and around Coweta are now memories. They have been swallowed up in woods and, in several cases, used for farming. As the “Chronicles” noted of the bogus 1831 mine: “Later the place was settled by a good farmer, who made it better than a gold mine.”
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Full of history, charm and beauty, cemeteries not just places to bury the dead
Written by JEFF BISHOP | Photographed by AARON HEIDMAN
This late 19th-century tombstone in Oak Hill features a cherub, which was a common motif for childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s graves.
september /october 2013
“I know I'm not normal,” says Dusty Dye, a teacher and public historian at the Center for Public History at the University of West Georgia, “but my academic research focuses on funereal customs and, as part of that, cemeteries.” Dye studies cemeteries as examples of historical change. “You can quite literally trace the evolution of thoughts and opinions about a wide variety of subjects — from religion to democracy to feelings about family roles — from the artwork and inscriptions on tombstones,” she said. “You can see racial and class segregation in some cemeteries and you can see remnants of older cultures — Scotch Irish, Jewish, Anglican — depending on where you are and how old the burial ground is.” Before Dye became a historian and stumbled across the role of funerals and burials in protesting the British before the Revolution — “too long to get into,” she says — Dye hated cemeteries. “Now I spend hours and hours in them.” Cemeteries reveal what our communities think is important, says Dye. They can also tell us about what, or who, has been entirely forgotten. In 2001, plans to install walking trails on a lonely Farmer Street tract came to a halt when Bobby Olmstead related an oral tradition that the site was an old cemetery. An
1828 map designated the spot as a “negro graveyard,” and archaeologists later found 243 burials, grouped in clusters. By the end of the 19th century, it was all pasture. The tiny headstone of 3-month-old Charlie Burch was the only visible evidence that a cemetery was ever there. On the other side of the trail tracks, but less than a mile away, another cemetery tells quite a different story. Dotted with tall, marble monuments and well-tended lawns, Oak Hill is a local point of pride. Two Georgia governors are buried there. Take the walking tour, follow the slick, color brochure, and you can find two veterans of the Revolutionary War, 269 Confederate soldiers, and any number of lawyers, doctors, storekeepers, professors, and immigrants. “Being a Newnan native, I have been to the Confederate cemetery at Oak Hill countless times,” said local caterer Jennifer Hanna. Hanna first encountered Kate Cumming’s “Journal of a Confederate Nurse” about two decades ago. It was there she learned about the stories behind the hyphens on some of the gravestones. “Much of her time was spent here in Newnan in makeshift hospitals,” said Hanna. “She was specific about several young men she tended here, mentioning
Cemeteries reveal what our communities think is important. They can also tell us about what, or who, has been entirely forgotten.
People can take walking tours of Oak Hill Cemetery, located at 96 Jefferson Street, in order to learn about these types of monuments. Brochures are available at the Male Academy Museum.
september /october 2013
Oak Hill was chosen as the name for the cemetery in a contest by a local newspaper in 1887.
You can quite literally trace the evolution of thoughts and opinions about a wide variety of subjects — from religion to democracy to feelings about family roles — from the artwork and inscriptions on tombstones.” september /october 2013
» explore Cemeteries enshrine the dead, but they are experienced by the living. They are one of the primary places where the past can still pierce into the present, inviting a meditation or evoking an unexpected emotion. The arm of a local sawmill worker from the 19th century, John Keith, is buried in Oak Hill. The rest of his body is buried separately in a nearby grave.
not only their names but where they were from, and other facts about who they were.” “Newnan, like every other town in the confederacy, has her array of martyrs,” Cumming wrote as the war drew to a close. Cumming wrote of a “Mr. S. Martin,” over 60 years old, whose two sons died in the war, while a third lost his arm. “Mr. Thurmond and Mr. Brown have each lost two sons; Major Kendrick, whom I have heard spoken of as being a good citizen and a brave soldier, was killed. It would be useless for me to mention them all, as there is scarcely a family in the whole country but that has to mourn the loss of a loved one.” Hanna said she was moved by passages 48 |
in Cumming’s journal that related personal tales of the horror of war. “I took this info and went back to the cemetery at Oak Hill to seek out the graves of these men that Katie tended to and mentioned in her journal. I found almost all of them.” Even the scraps of information provided by Cumming transformed Hanna’s experience of Oak Hill. “It changed my feelings and emotions as I walked through that graveyard for what had to have been the tenth time in my life,” she said. Cemeteries enshrine the dead, but they are experienced by the living. They are one of the primary places where the past can still pierce into the present, inviting
a meditation or evoking an unexpected emotion. The invitations can be read there in headstone after headstone, hyphen after hyphen. Grantville, Senoia, Moreland — every community has its cemeteries, and recent trends in the funeral industry have ensured that there will be no lack of room in a local cemetery for you. In the 1960s, less than 5 percent of the population opted for cremation. Now, the industry is on fire, with 42 percent choosing cremation over burial in 2011. According to the Cremation Association of North America, cremations in Georgia increased from 11 percent in 1997 to nearly 40 percent in 2010. The group estimates that by 2025 more than 60 percent will choose to be cremated.
Many deceased are grouped in family plots at Oak Hill. Caretaker Jimmy Hemmings says thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s enough capacity to last at least another 200 years.
september /october 2013
The Farmer Street location of Newnan’s African American Heritage Museum sits near a rumored “negro graveyard” where archeologists unearthed 243 unmarked burials.
This marker memorializes the Confederate dead in Oak Hill Cemetery. William Thomas Overby, the “Nathan Hale of the Confederacy,” is buried in this area.
There are hundreds of unmarked burial sites at the Farmer Street Cemetery. Research is still being completed, but most are believed to be the resting places of slaves. 50 |
“My husband and I are both going to be cremated when we die,” said local artist Ginger-Lou Fulton. “We have, in fact, already pre-paid for it with the Cremation Society of Georgia.” Both of her parents were cremated, she said. “I buried them in a beautiful garden in my backyard, just outside my studio garden fence. I have a bench there and copper crosses I made for each. On my mother’s cross, I attached a row of cut crystal tears. I can go there and sit. I plant lots of beautiful flowers there. I prefer this over having them buried in a cemetery somewhere.” There are a number of reasons people are moving, in death, from traditional burial plots to urns. One is the Catholic church’s change in policy (the church outlawed cremation until 1963). Bishops are even allowed in some cases to permit a funeral mass with cremated
remains present. Another reason: As more Americans live farther away from their hometowns and extended families, family burial plots have become far less common. But the main reason for the change is undoubtedly the cost. While the average funeral cost today tops $7,000, a cremation can go for as low as $600. In a tight economy, money matters — even in death. Cost was a definite factor in Fulton’s family’s decisions, since cremation is “far cheaper.” But there are other reasons, too. “I would prefer my loved ones to remember me how I was when I was alive instead of having a mental image branded in their memory of my lying in a satintufted coffin, a lifeless shell of who I used to be,” she said. “I have never thought that embalmed corpses very much resembled the live person who previously occupied the body.”
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Still, Fulton says, older cemeteries like Oak Hill offer a bit of wistful romance, even if they’re becoming less practical and less affordable. “As far as cemeteries are concerned, I am intrigued. I sometimes walk around cemeteries, particularly very old ones, and read the tombstones, imagining what might have happened during a person’s time here on Earth — how they met their demise, why they died so quickly or lived so long,” she said. “I also like the artistic shape of crosses and tombstones. When we were traveling in the Caribbean a few years ago, some of their cemeteries are made up of little raised houses, above ground, for the graves. Very intriguing and beautiful. I would have loved spending a longer time there exploring.” Of course, it’s possible to have the best of both worlds, and have the “cremains” laid to rest in a cemetery, she points out.
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Newnan was not settled until the 1820s, so there are only a few Revolutionary War dead buried in Oak Hill. This is one of the few.
“Eventually it is my plan to have my parents’ cremains and my husband’s and my cremains buried in a natural cemetery in Conyers at the monastery there,” she said, “which is very peaceful and surrounded by nature.” Jimmy Hemmings, the caretaker and superintendent of the Oak Hill and Eastview cemeteries, says that there’s enough capacity at Oak Hill for at least the next 200 years. Since Oak Hill was established in 1838, that puts it about half-way through its lifespan. “We have 40 acres left to be developed. We’ve got enough to go a long, long way. When we run out of room here, it won’t be during our generation or our kids’ generation,” said Hemmings.
He said Newnan is one of the few municipalities still in the cemetery business. “There just aren’t very many left. You have Griffin, Rome, Macon, Savannah…that’s really about it. The rest of them have gone corporate.” If you’re a resident of the city of Newnan, for just $500 — $700 if you’re a county resident — you can have your name inscribed at Oak Hill alongside the likes of Confederate hero William Thomas Overby, the “Nathan Hale of the South,” and Ellis Arnall, Georgia’s youngest attorney general (and later governor). Even if you never lived here at all, there’s a place for you, but it will cost you $200 extra. If Oak Hill is too pricey for you and
Every time you’re out there, you remember that you’re with someone that somebody loved once.” 52 |
Free Estimates (770) 251-8299
your family, perfectly acceptable lots are also available at Eastview for between $400 and $600 (installment plans are also available). “The only way I can see us running out of room here is if the whole city goes belly up and it has to sell off some of its property,” Hemmings said. Hemmings and his crew take “great pride” in Oak Hill. “Just about my whole family is buried in this cemetery,” he said. Even though he and his family can trace back generations, Hemmings is mostly only interested in those people he personally knew and loved. “To me, you can come out here and look at it, and yes, you’ll see a lot of old names,” he said. “You’ll especially see that in the older part by the hospital and the old Presbyterian part. You don’t even need a brochure. You can just come out here and look.” He said those old names “give historians something to fool with.” But that’s not what resonates with him personally. “But as for my great-great-greats, I didn’t know them and they didn’t know me. I’m not trying to be rude. It just doesn’t interest me,” he said. Hemmings and his crew bury between 200 to 250
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People enjoy well-maintained cemeteries for their beauty and sense of peace. Many Cowetans take walks or simply visit Oak Hill because it’s widely considered among the most scenic in the state.
Tombstone decorations, like this feather, note different periods and help researchers identify the time frame of the deceased when the inscription has worn away or is unavailable.
bodies per year. “This week we have three services lined up and another over the weekend. You never know about burials.” Hemmings considers the work he and his crew do to be a public service. “Every time you’re out there, you remember that you’re with someone that somebody loved once,” said Hemmings. “I love a lot of these people myself. I deal with a lot of people I went to school with, kids I went to school with, kids who die in car wrecks. We deal with a lot of people with a lot of stories.” Digging today’s graves is different from the way graves were dug for far-flung ancestors, he said. “We only hand dig a grave every four to six years. We exhaust just about every option before we hand dig.” But the work is just as hard as ever. “I can’t take credit. My crew gets all the credit. But we have seven, including myself, taking care of about 100 acres. We’ve only had two complaints about the grass this year, and
that’s only because of all the rain we’ve been getting.” Hemmings has worked at the cemetery for 22 years, and said he’s still struck by its beauty. “You should see Duane Allman’s (of Allman Brothers Band fame) grave at Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon,” he said. “Man, oh man. It’s beautiful, just beautiful. Rolling hills. The grass is just plush. You could just pull off your socks and shoes and just walk through there. People come and just look at it.” Cemeteries like that are an inspiration to him. He puts Oak Hill in a similar category. And more and more people are finding it. “Since Find-A-Grave.com, my phone has been blowing up,” said Hemmings. “People pop in and are looking for 10 or 12 names. Their great-grandmother or somebody. We want it to look nice for them. “I love this cemetery. I take great pride in this cemetery.”
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There are typically 15 horses boarded at Willow Dell that make use of the facilityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s arena.
Written by MARTHA A. WOODHAM | Photographed by JEFFREY LEO
Keirsten Sangster, Willow Dell owner Maureen Forman and trainer Jamie Mann share a laugh during a break in training.
New owners bring new life, love of horses to Senoia farm “Okay, now jump it again, without stirrups,” Jamie Mann, instructor at Willow Dell Equestrian Center in Senoia, tells the teenage girl riding the large bay gelding in the indoor arena. The teen, Ellie Whitehurst of Atlanta, sets the horse into a rhythmic canter and heads for a 3-foot fence of colorfully painted poles. “Remember, shoulders up.” Mr. Banks, a 13-year-old thoroughbred gelding, sees the jump and adjusts his stride so that the pair meets the fence at the perfect takeoff point, and they soar over the fence, Ellie maintaining her position in the saddle without the aid of stirrups. No matter what time of day or what day of the week, horsey people september /october 2013
Maureen Forman, above, poses with Mr. Banks, a popular horse at WIllow Dell, before Keirsten Sangster, at right, puts him through his paces in the arena.
of all ages are doing all sorts of horsey things at Willow Dell Equestrian Center near Senoia: children grooming ponies, teens saddling their horses, moms and dads sipping lemonade — there’s always a supply in the tack room refrigerator — as they sit on the barn porch while their children prepare for their riding lessons. The youngsters are responsible for grooming and saddling the horses they will ride. Or they may be prepping for a horse show somewhere in the Southeast, packing tack trunks and giving their horses a last-minute beauty treatment before hitting the road. The center’s competition team competes on several A-rated show circuits in Georgia and across the Southeast. But Willow Dell is not just for kids. The equestrian center teaches adults, too, whether they are beginners fulfilling a long-held dream of horseback riding or are more advanced riders expanding their skills. Wednesday nights are special — that’s when a group of women gather for a group lesson before sharing a potluck supper. And, of course, where there are horses — Willow Dell usually houses 15 — there is always a collection of companionable dogs and cats, some of whom live there and some of whom are just visiting. “We’re very happy here,” says owner Maureen Forman. “There’s no traffic and plenty of nice people.” She discovered Willow Dell Equestrian Center, a 38-acre farm on Elders Mill Road, when she and her husband Peter Whitfield moved his business, Final Mile Logistics, in 2010 to be closer to Atlanta HartsfieldJackson International Airport. About a year ago Forman purchased Willow Dell, named for a settlement in east Coweta, and recruited Mann — a nationally-recognized trainer who september /october 2013
Though the sign “what happens in the barn stays in the barn” near the center may draw smiles from most passers-by, there’s no horsing around when it comes to the well-being of the animals.
But Willow Willow Dell isDell notisjust not just forequestrian kids. for kids. The The equestrian center teaches adults, center teaches too, whether they are adults, too, whether beginners fulfilling a they are beginners long-held of fulfilling a dream long-held horseback or are dream ofriding horseback more advanced riders riding or are more advanced their ridersskills. expanding expandingnights their are Wednesday skills. Wednesday special — that’s when nights — a groupareofspecial women that’s when a group gather for a group of women gather lesson before sharing for a group lesson a before potlucksharing supper. a potluck supper.
Willow Dell is abuzz with activity during a summer evening training session. Maureen Forman talks to Keirsten Sangster in foreground while, at right, Jamie Mann advises Ellie Whitehurst. Riders often train with different horses at the equestrian center in order to get a more well-rounded experience.
has competed at some of the most prestigious horse shows in North America — as a partner. Today, she and Mann, her former riding coach in California, operate a show hunter/jumper training and boarding business at Willow Dell. Forman received her equestrian foundation in Germany, a country known for its dedication to the classical style of riding called dressage. As a teen, she rode at The Madeira School in McLean, Va., where she was captain of the riding team and “academics took second place to riding.” She returned to Germany to attend college and manage an equestrian program for Heidelberg Youth Services for dependents of U.S. and NATO troops in Germany. When Forman joined the corporate world and went to work in financial services at the University of California-Los Angeles,
she became one of Mann’s students. After finding Willow Dell, she talked Mann into moving east to be her partner. Mann’s impressive show hunter/ jumper pedigree includes representing the U.S. Equestrian Team in World Cup competition and numerous Grand Prix wins. Ranked in the top 10 of “America’s Best Hunter Riders” and as the 1982 “Trainer of the Year,” she has trained and ridden with equestrian legends such as George Morris and Rodney Jenkins. She even was a rider in the Disney movie “The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit” with teen heartthrob Kurt Russell. Like Forman, Mann began riding as a child, and she credits caring professionals with helping her reach the pinnacle of the show jumping world. Today, she is paying that forward by funding the Jamie Mann Riding
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About a year ago, Maureen Forman, at left, and her husband, Peter, purchased Willow Dell and recruited Jamie Mann, a nationallyrecognized trainer, as a partner.
“We’re very happy here…there’s no traffic and plenty of nice people.” 62 |
Have you had your yearly skin check? Scholarship, awarded to a youngster who wants to ride but can’t afford lessons. “I’m at the point in my life where I want to give back, to help kids enjoy what I’ve enjoyed my whole life,” says Mann, recalling her work with Horses in the Hood Los Angeles, a nonprofit organization that introduces low-income children to horses in order to teach them new skills and build confidence. “I’m a single mom, and to have people help you out in your time of need is the biggest thing ever.” Bucolic Willow Dell is a long, long way from Los Angeles, but Mann still uses her unique skills to guide her students to success, spending the time it takes for a student to master a lesson no matter how long it takes. “There, did you feel that?” Mann calls out to the girl on the bay. “Let’s talk about it.” Ellie slows Mr. Banks and gives him a pat on the neck as she trots over for more insights from Mann. Then Mann sends the pair out to jump again, the fences getting progressively more difficult until she is satisfied with their progress. Ellie is satisfied too, smiling as she dismounts at the end of her lesson.
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Our Bodies Like to Move Yoga’s popularity grows as participants reap therapeutic benefits Elizabeth Dorsey’s evening yoga class at
the movements she practices are in yoga’s vast and
the Summit Family YMCA is a picture of diversity as members trickle in. The only thing they have in common is the rolled up yoga mat each carries or picks up from a cart by the door. Regulars greet one another warmly while mats are unrolled. Individuals grab foam blocks, straps and blankets that either enhance or modify certain asanas, or poses.
Dorsey, dressed brightly in a bold blue tank and orange capris, gently opens the class and, stepping to the head of her own mat, appears as grounded as
She leads the class through simple motions, lifting the hands to the sky with a deep inhale, consciously blowing air out as the palms join and lower to the chest. The hectic pace of the day slows, and the class members focus inward — on movement, breath, and — for a few minutes — a world no bigger than the two-by-six foot mat on which they stand. Dorsey transitions into the first Sun Salutation —
Written by Megan Almon | Photographed by JEFFREY LEO
n o i t a R elax session. n i w o n iRselaxation
Though not a religion in itself, it connects mind, body and spirit and “brings the body into balance.” a graceful flow of asanas that begins by opening the chest to the sky and that sets the pace for the remainder of the hourplus routine — and, as participants swan dive their arms to their sides and lower in unison to a forward fold stretch, the draw of an ancient practice that has risen in popularity in recent years is apparent. Yoga is rooted in ancient India, with images of some simple asanas dating back thousands of years. It simply means “unity,” and was largely developed by Hindus in the 15th century as a means of transcending the mind through meditation and physical postures. Since that time the practice has
crossed lines of religion and culture and has gained millions of followers. It grew in popularity in the West during the 20th century, and the focus shifted from spiritual transcendence to benefitting the body itself. Yoga’s poses — many of which have animal names such as “pigeon,” “cobra” and “downward dog” — are used to make the spine more supple, to alleviate various health problems, and to relieve stress. Many capitalize on the positive effects of holding and repeating more difficult poses, especially for weight loss and muscle tone. Though the focus remains largely
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rooted in the physical benefits, those who practice yoga claim the workout they receive is therapeutic all around. Dorsey, who practiced during yoga’s boom in popularity decades ago, rediscovered her love for it as a gentle but challenging form of exercise after a lifetime of viewing fitness as “punishment.” With her husband wrapping up a 20-year career as a United States Marine, the mother of five decided it was past time to take her health seriously. Dorsey received advanced training as an instructor and recognized parallels between the military lifestyle she’d
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Elizabeth Dorsey assists a student in her Yoga class at the Summit Family YMCA. Dorsey plans to open Barefoot Lizard Yoga Studio in September.
known and the therapeutic aspects of yoga — especially breathing techniques and controlling the body’s response to stress. She chose to focus on yoga therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Now, six times each year, she travels to Warm Springs, Georgia to offer yoga therapy for Wounded Warrior Weekends, and finds her most
rewarding moments come at the end of each session when, during “Savasana” (a pose of total relaxation that seals a yoga session), those veterans suffering from PTSD inevitably relax enough to fall asleep. “I sit there until they wake up,” Dorsey said with a smile. After teaching classes out of her Toyota Prius for five years, Dorsey
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plans to open Barefoot Lizard Yoga Studio near Thomas Crossroads in Newnan in September. She will offer free classes to veterans. With the high pace of society, vets aren’t the only ones who experience the physical and mental benefits of yoga practice. Newnan’s Rachel Thompson, who began practicing as a student at
LaGrange College, enjoys the help it gives her as a busy mom. Not only does it make her feel stronger, but the focus on controlled breathing has helped Thompson maintain composure in stressful situations and better deal with discomfort, even during childbirth. Local instructor Bonne BoydBedingfield enjoyed similar benefits
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Can you do this? Boys like yoga, too, but most admit they have to work a little bit harder to keep up with the ladies.
throughout her pregnancies, as well as relief from pain caused by degenerative disc disease in her back. “I was told to do yoga,” she said. Bedingfield enjoys the positive connection she has with her students, many of whom have become dear friends. Her own experiences serve as encouragement for newcomers to her class. Her advice? “Just try it once. Start simply by coming to class and breathing, and just doing a little bit more every time you come in.” Like Bedingfield, Holistic Health Coach Cher McWilliams has seen firsthand the healing benefits of yoga. McWilliams was inspired to work in the health field 20 years ago after her father was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. Still driven by a desire to help others heal, she joins her traditional medicine experience
with certifications in nutrition and yoga instruction for a holistic approach to various health issues. McWilliams, who teaches regularly at A Better Yoga Studio in Newnan, plans needspecific diets and yoga routines for clients, many of whom suffer from diabetes, cancer, food allergies and other ailments. She also helps those simply longing for a healthier lifestyle and more energy. “Certain poses target body systems, and can focus on enhancing their ability to function,” she said. McWilliams attributes yoga’s current popularity in large part to its benefits, which reach beyond the toned muscles it produces. Though not a religion in itself, it connects mind, body and spirit and “brings the body into balance,” she said. These days, yoga classes vary vastly — from gentle and flow yoga to more intense
Along with teaching at A Better Yoga Studio in Newnan, Cher McWilliams coaches clients from her home. With gentle soundscapes music playing in the background, McWilliams helps one of those clients gently stretch and limber up.
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“Ashtanga” (or power) yoga and cardio
Then, with lavender oil on her hands,
yoga, from “hot“ yoga (practiced in a
she lifts each individual’s head and
heated room to sweat out impurities) to
gently rolls it side to side, placing it so
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seated yoga for seniors. Some classes
that the spine is aligned.
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even implement exercise balls for
The result — utter relaxation.
emphasis on balance and core strength.
“The lavender oil is my favorite part
“Our bodies like to move,” Dorsey
of class,” laughed triathlete Michelle
said. “I tell people, ’Move every joint in
Grasso, who attends Dorsey’s classes to
your body every day.’ ” Dorsey ends her
treat and protect her back and joints as
classes by covering participants with a
she prepares to run her first marathon
thin blanket as they lie on their backs.
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Dr. John Pemberton in 1886 brewed a drink to alleviate
Secret recipe becomes local legacy Written by Written by CATHY LEE PHILLIPS CATHY LEE PHILLIPS Photographed by Photographed JEFFREY LEO by JEFFREY LEO
headaches and calm nerves. Asa Candler purchased the formula and the Coca-Cola recipe became perhaps the most highly-guarded trade secret in history. In 1930, Harland Sanders blended 11 herbs and spices and created his Kentucky Fried Chicken. The details remain under lock and key.
G.W. Coggin watches over dozens of sizzling chickens coated in his secret-recipe barbecue sauce.
Photo courtesy Marty Webb
In the 1960s, G.W. Coggin of Madras created a mouth-watering, vinegar-based barbeque sauce. The recipe remains completely Coggin — classified and confidential. The Chickenator, the Mrs. and the Sauce... G.W. Coggin worked for the
Georgia Department of Agriculture’s egg division. He created an unforgettable mingling of apple cider vinegar with a kick of tabasco sauce. Using his tasty sauce, he grilled thousands of chicken halves for his coworkers in the Department of Agriculture, for state employees’ annual picnics and, ultimately, for the State of Georgia General Assembly. Upon G.W.’s death, the recipe was passed to his daughter, Connie, and her
husband, Marty Webb. Using the Coggin concoction, Connie and Marty grilled chicken for church and school fundraisers throughout Coweta County. For 10 years, they cooked for the Northgate High School Athletic Booster Club. During these years, Marty was dubbed “The Chickenator.” G.W.’s sauce remains a family secret. The meal remains the same — a juicy chicken half, cole slaw, pickles, chips and white bread. Some procedures have
changed because Connie and Marty constantly evaluated and fine-tuned their grilling process to make it more efficient. For their first fundraiser, they prepared 500 chicken halves at Jones Chapel United Methodist Church in Madras. Tickets were $5 each and the profit was almost $1,000. The food was a hit. Other groups began booking The Chickenator and the Mrs. to grill their fabulous fowl for special events. For 10 years they cooked for the september /october 2013
Barbecue pit being set up at Northgate High School. Blocks were stacked two high and lined with aluminum foil.
Photos courtesy Marty Webb
Group of volunteers taking a break after helping construct the giant barbecue pit.
Athletic Booster Club. Their last year at Northgate they grilled more than 2,400 chicken halves — quite a growth from the 500 halves prepared their first year. Why? The food was delicious, their preparation and delivery was well-organized, and dedicated volunteers made the work fun. "Aggressive ticket sales generate profits,” Marty says. Two thousand tickets typically were printed two months prior to each date. Everyone associated with the event needed to sell at least 10 tickets. Connie and Marty usually sold the majority of tickets themselves. Eventually they provided each salesperson a list of folks to approach — hairdressers, mail carriers, coworkers, and basically anyone who crossed their paths. Who wouldn’t want a delicious, secret-sauce grilled chicken meal for $5? Connie remembers, “Volunteers delivered to businesses and some individuals. Outside sales were a great part of our success.” She developed well-organized delivery routes, so meals were usually still warm when they arrived.
Their last year at Northgate they grilled more than 2,400 chicken halves — quite a growth from the 500 halves prepared their first year.
The cooking process began in the early morning hours following construction of a special barbecue pit.
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Full-length view of the completed barbecue pit at Northgate High School.
Marty Webb, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Chickenator,â&#x20AC;? and his wife, Connie, have used her father's secret recipe to prepare thousands of chicken halves for community events over the years.
Photo courtesy Marty Webb
the chicken in sauce. In later years, a sprayer accomplished this task. If you followed their plan, you would have a meal so good that, according to Marty, “If you put a little on your head your tongue will beat your brains out trying to get at it!” A sassy aroma filled the air. To turn the chicken, an additional grilling rack was placed atop the halves and volunteers turned the entire rack at once. By 3:30 a.m., Connie was preparing the sauce, using as many as 20 gallons of vinegar when ticket sales were high. Delicious chicken wasn’t the only benefit of the day. Friendships were born as people worked, and laughter and conversation punctuated the earlymorning hours. Money was raised to help deserving schools and churches. And a community grew stronger as strangers became friends over a simple piece of chicken flavored with G.W.’s secret sauce.
Ou As rWkA ai bou tL t ist !
Multiple businesses — car dealerships in Union City, banks along Bullsboro, stores on the Court Square, often bought 40-50 plates each to feed Saturday employees. Deliveries also extended along Highways 16 and 29. The Webbs protected their reputation and never allowed shortcuts or inferior products. Deviate from the plan and you would have to answer to Connie… and no one wanted to answer to Connie! The day before cooking, a concrete block pit was built for each event. The size was determined by the number of halves to be cooked. The pit was lined with thick aluminum foil to help with wind control. The Chickenator started his fire around 2 a.m. Saturday, put grilling racks in place and greased them with mops. Fresh chicken from Sutherland Eggs Farms at the Farmers Market was carefully placed on the racks. Left halves and right halves went next to each other so that no space was wasted. Mops were also used to drown
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The Moon on Ishman Ballard
Streets of Home
by Melissa Dickson Jackson
by Sean Stewart
There was always someone trolling the narrow darkness of Ishman Ballard Road, as though that path were a Mobius strip to which he were bound by the soles of his Nikes. Most weekends we passed that way first by daylight, our eyes fixed beyond the half-kept houses and toward a day inside the cypress trees that parceled our family’s homestead from the old county highway. There are things one will need to know: that there were four children, infant to ten, onboard; that we always returned past bedtime, bathed and sleepy; that our Nissan Quest smelled of a leftover country lunch, bubble bath and iced coffee; that Star Wars and Barbie Princess Tales vied for dominance on the children’s DVD player; that we took that route by rote, buckled in and sailing just above the speed limit; and that we always, my husband and I, startled and lurched toward the brakes, his real, mine imaginary, when the man materialized from the unlit night, as he did every time, and never before our headlights caught the shape of his silhouette. So it was that night in May, the man walking toward us, not enough room on the roadway, the left lane clear to swerve around him, and it was then, righting ourselves and exhaling, that we saw past our shadowed trail and into a moon, low and custard colored, so massive it seemed to crush the piney roadside. And then it was gone, obscured by rental houses and hillsides. Not to be outdone by a fugitive moon, we wound back into town along side streets, made the children turn off the flickering glare of their movie, and offered nickels to the first person to spy our quarry. For twenty minutes we lingered, taking the high blocks again and again if a glow brightened their horizon, while the man on Ishman Ballard traced and retraced his steps, that moon like a lantern behind him.
Giving the illusion of glowing embers, of once-were fires, street lamps reflect off the rainsoaked streets. To add to that, smoke fills the air from late summer barbecues as I walk these streets, souls on fire. Still I walk these streets, because these streets are home. I walk the streets, past the old courthouse where my grandparents married, across to the old theater where they first courted; even in this ghoulish fog rising from streets still burning, I am comforted. Still I walk these streets, because these streets are home. I walk past the churches, that stand sentinel over my town through the stern gaze of their steeples. I walk toward the train tracks, where the trains are heard and not seen; just another spectral guardian, watching my home. I walk these streets, in my “City of Homes.”
A collect ion of original works by Coweta poets and writers The Subtle Art of Disappearing by C. S. Perry It was late at night and she was fiddling with a small, AM radio that we'd bought at a yard sale earlier, when the heat of the day made it unbearable to be alive in the brutal South. But there, in the relative cool of the evening, we finally got some sad warbling from tinny-voiced country and western singers who were wailing lamentations for honky-tonk nights, winking beer signs and the lost love of nearly nameless cocktail waitresses. The smoke-scarred voice of the deejay told us just what the weather was like in Topeka, Kansas. We both looked up at the sky then and wondered what kind of miracle in the ionosphere allowed us to hear these musings from a place that seemed light years away from the life we were busy living. There was almost no breeze on the night air, and we milked every one we could get by turning to face into them when they happened by, and they soaked up all the heat we could give them and then moved on, heavier by tiny degrees for the moisture they picked up off our bare skin. The static and crackle drifted out of the hand-held speaker and reminded us that other people were living their own lives and desperate times and we knew that our respite was short enough in the few hours we had found. But we tried to make the best of it anyway.
that I had pecked out no more than 10 words on before the ribbon went limp with the humidity and smudged across the paper in indecipherable glyphs and splatters that we tried, half-heartedly, to decode before the night really came down. We kept a keen eye out for the Night People that tended to drift by whenever we sat out there watching the stars come out, but they were conspicuously absent and the world was quiet, like it was trying to keep a secret too big for its own head. We couldn’t get any kind of good stories going and none of our weird friends showed up unannounced to tell us what we had been missing. The whole place was deserted and she wondered, like she always does, if the zombie apocalypse had finally broken out. “Not tonight,” I told her. We tried hiding under the blanket for a while but the heat drove us out again. I had taken a swipe at her shoulder and come away with the taste of her salt thick on my tongue. After that we didn’t say too much. I reached to put out a cigarette and noticed that our “outside” ashtray was missing. “What happened to the ashtray?” I asked.
“Sure is hot,” she said. I nodded. “Yeah, sure is.” We lost all of the energy we had earlier when we'd wasted too much money on dirty curtains and a portable typewriter
She shrugged, looked out into the night and said, “How should I know? You know how life is…sometimes things just disappear.” “Yeah,” I said. “They do.”
september /october 2013
The Conundrum Parade by Will Blair The village is electric as everyone anticipates the arrival of the conundrum parade. The lonely, the joyous, the bereaved and the brave wait anxiously, all lining the streets of the village in disorder. There, too, are the giving and the greedy, the artists and the charlatan, the misinformed and the luckless. Onlookers collect in numbers, some craning their necks and stepping onto the cobblestone path in order to see and for some, especially the jokers, to be seen. Others, in contrast, act disinterested and turn their backs on the moment, instead marveling at the towers their forefathers had built and chattering about nothing. Respected merchants close the windows of their respectable shops amid the clamor, and step outside to take a deep breath of village air. Rain had fallen moments before, threatening to delay the traveling show. The mindless buzzing of the collected crowd stirs the melancholy crows from their tasks. Annoyed, the melancholy crows beat their black wings and cry out in unison, “It’s just a parade.” But the chatter continues. The boy and girl stand behind a chorus of black-veiled women humming in anticipation. “I cannot see,” the girl says, looking from side to side behind an ample backside. The boy grabs her hand and leads her away in search of a new perch. Observing the boy and girl’s struggle, an ancient man patiently ushers the two before him. He’s dressed in a 100-yearold suit. The boy and girl look up at the ancient man and start to cry. The ancient man is so old.
“Don’t cry, children, it’s merely a parade,” the ancient man says with a smile, drawing a handkerchief from his 100-year-old suit and wiping their faces with it. Just as he returns the tearstained cloth to his pocket, the mongrel’s voice is heard above the rest: “Look! There it is! The conundrum parade!” The blatant beast approaches beneath the shadows of the village towers riding atop a mule-drawn carriage and joined by an entourage of tattered and anonymous peasants, some whispering in the ears of the villagers, others screaming at the crowds as they pass. Their words are sometimes unintelligible, sometimes rhyming with reason. Some begin to sing the comedic opera, soon joined by the chorus of black-veiled women who eagerly take up an out-of-tune harmony. The tattered peasants dance in and out among the villagers, bumping angrily and weaving their way from sidewalk to sidewalk. In the angry confusion, a misfortunate is cast into the streets, whereupon the blatant beast snatches her up and kisses her on her delicate mouth. Soon, she begins to dance and shout gibberish alongside the carriage. In reverie, the gluttonous couple hold hands and point in all directions. Next in the parade, the masked bearer of incompetent truth quickly arrives, riding a grand mare. To the boy and girl‘s innocent eyes, the horse appears to randomly change shades. The late afternoon light shimmers off the horse as it trots through the village. Is it a white horse? Black? Gray? Colorless? Village idiots swarm the masked bearer of incompetent truths, some emptying
their pockets of simple tokens and possessions for the opportunity to gain his attention. The horse shrieks and rears back, sending the idiots back to safety. The rider, dressed in silk, stamps the ground with his beautiful staff, clears his throat and proudly booms, “Continue. Empty hands. Defeat the gloating locusts!” The boy and the girl step toward the rider. After all, his beautiful staff is beautiful. But the ancient man grabs them and shushes their protests. Later, when scribes attempt to catalog the parade, it will be noted that no one actually remembers at precisely which point the corundum chariot had arrived, but when it did, the carnival began. Covering their eyes so as not to be blinded, the madding crowd turns inwards and transforms into a mixed bag of enchantment and revulsion, and all at once, it splinters. Some take to the street corners, barking orders and swatting flies, their translations dripping from the wide corners of their mouths. They growl and hiss, upsetting the crows. Some fall to their knees in humble reverie while others also fall to their knees only to gnaw on the feet of their neighbors. Some calmly attend to the needy, their numbers remarkable. A number of bitter villagers find reason to be more bitter. The joyous more joyful. The boy and girl watch as a small crowd gathers around the water well to argue hurly burly. “Is water wet?” “By its very nature.” “But if you throw water on a wall, the
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wall becomes wet. If I dunk my hand in a fountain, my hand becomes wet. All we know for certain is water’s effect? How do we really know by its very nature water is wet? And even if we could call water wet, is that not like describing the color blue as “blue”? The gathered villagers scratch their heads and reach into the well. Nearby, the beggar runs from ear to ear, whispering with great effort, “I told you, I told you.” Many walk away, some with purpose, others without, to enter their own personal deserts and gardens. Still others stand motionless, forgetting to at least wave at the corundum chariot, which soon disappears from the village along with the rest of the conundrum parade. As soon as the parade disappears, the villagers dust themselves off and go about the rest of their day. The shopkeepers head back indoors and the crooners go to fetch some water for their parched throats. It had been a long afternoon. The boy and girl look at each other then seek the ancient gentleman. They soon spot him exiting politely, his silhouette becoming fainter and fainter among the dispersing townfolk. He had watched the conundrum parade without excess. The boy and girl, saddened by the abrupt exit of a new friend, attempt to cross the street but stop short, uncertain of where to turn. Confused and enchanted, they spin in circles, again and again. They do so until they can do so no longer, and collapse dizzily and mightily to the dirty earth.
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SKIN CANCER STATISTICS 2013 • Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. • One in ﬁve Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
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Bad Gifts and Grandma’s Fruitcake Cowetans share their favorite (and not-so-favorite) holiday memories.
What’s the Meaning of EDC? You can look it up now or, better yet, wait for us to explore the phenomenon in our next issue. November / December 2013
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