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Everything changes when you Go West.

A Publication of The Newnan Times-Herald


Vice President



Creative Directors

The change starts with new life for the old Newnan Hospital building, which is being transformed into UWG’s home in Newnan. Even before the facility opens in 2015, there are lots of ways to Go West right in your own backyard. Complete your undergraduate degree in early childhood education or nursing. Take all your core courses. Start your college career while you’re still in high school with our dual enrollment program. Or earn your master’s in business or education. Go ahead – take the next step and learn more at Go West. It changes everything.

William W. Thomasson Marianne C. Thomasson John Winters Will Blair Sandy Hiser, Sonya Studt

Graphic Designer Maggie Bowers

Production Director

Debby Dye

Contributing Editor

Rebecca Leftwich

Contributing Writers

Megan Almon

Carolyn Barnard

Leverett Butts

Jon Cooper

Lindsay Gladu

Melissa Dickson Jackson

Rebecca Leftwich

Amy Lott

Larisa McMichael

Elizabeth Melville


Brenda Pedraza-Vidamour Mark Fritz

Staci Addison

Aaron Heidman

Jeffrey Leo

Drew MacCallum

Elizabeth Melville

Circulation Director

Sales and Marketing Director

Multimedia Sales Specialists

Naomi Jackson Colleen D. Mitchell Wendy Danford

Mandy Inman

Candy Johnson


Norma Kelley Diana Shellabarger

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: © 2014 by The Newnan Times-Herald, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.

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It’s Holiday Time!

It’s Holiday Time!

november / december 2014

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in this issue

NOVEMBER-decembER 2014




30 | Good Credit and a Name Established in 1869, Arnall Grocery in downtown Newnan is the oldest continuously operating retail business in the area. Owners Pam and Jimmy Beavers discuss the secret to their longevity.

38 | From Turkeys to Success Let’s talk turkey. From roasting to deep-frying

to smoking, there’s more than one way to cook Thanksgiving’s signature bird during the holidays. See how three local cooks tackle their turkeys.

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52 | Getting into the Holiday Spirits Need a drink to unwind? NCM’s Elizabeth Melville did

her homework and provides a rundown of some of the best adult beverages to sample during the holidays. And it goes without saying: Drink responsibly.

58 | Hey, Mr. DJ! Being a disc jockey often requires late nights, flexibility

and a lot of technical and pop-culture know-how. Above all, a good DJ knows how to lift a crowd at just the right moment.

64 | Christmas in Miniature Be it trains, dollhouses or villages, miniature holiday

collections are a way to honor family, to reflect on the past and to create even more memories.

30 80 | Facts & Fiction Through her writing, former Coweta County school teacher Holly

Moulder still finds a way to instruct children. The author of the award-winning “Crystal City Lights,” Moulder does more than spin a good yarn. She provides an educational platform for children.

90 | The Best Present Ever A Barbie doll? A Tonka truck? It’s Christmas season, so NCM once

again provides its annual man-on-the-street poll. This year, we posed this simple question to several Cowetans: What’s been your favorite Christmas gift?


in every issue 14 | From the Editor 15 | Datebook 16 | Roll Call 18 | Style 26 | Hobby Q&A

88 | 94 | 96 | 98 | 98 |

Duel Pages Pen & Ink Blacktop Index of Advertisers What’s Next

80 on the cover The magic of Christmas past can be found in the small villages set up in the home of Linda and Reed Dickerson.

➔ See more on page 64. Photo by Aaron Heidman


november / december 2014

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The Pull of Polaris What do insomnia and astronomy have in common? Me, actually. And maybe you, too, gentle reader. Allow me to explain. For years, I’ve had the worst sleep patterns. If I’m lucky, I can get five or six straight hours, uninterrupted. More often than not, it’s three on, two off, three more on, one off, then another half-hour on. Or something like that. It’s how I’m wired, augmented perhaps by mild sleep apnea and easily being awakened by things that go bump in the night (“Whatwasthat?”) – including a wayfaring lizard who frequently finds his way indoors and makes a lot more noise that you’d expect. Stop drinking coffee? Unrealistic. Melatonin? Weird dreams. Yoga? Planted tree, downward dog … I think not. Tempur-pedic mattress? Got one. It hasn’t been my “ticket to a better night’s sleep,” but boy do I stay awake in bed more comfortably now. Counting sheep? I count tie knots instead. Not much help (though you really should check out the Eldredge sometime). Truthfully, more and more I don’t so much mind being awake in the middle of the night. It allows me to think more clearly, assess the ups and downs of the preceding day, write a Letter to the Reader. Which leads me to the North Star. Often I’ll step outside and take a deep breath of night air, relax and collect my thoughts. A canvas awash in shades of black and blue, littered with twinkling stars and the occasional Delta flight, the western Coweta County

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sky at 3 a.m. can be quite remarkable. Many of us ponder the night sky at some point in our lives, and we often focus on the moon. In fact, this time of year, it’s hard not to think of George Bailey and his promise to lasso the moon for his darling in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” But frankly, the moon is like the proverbial box of chocolates: You never know what you’re going to get. Sure, you can monitor the lunar calendar, but who does that? Sometimes it’s the brightest vision in the night sky. Sometimes it’s only semi-visible, and other times it’s nearly completely hidden from view. The North Star, on the other hand, is a universal constant. It’s always there for us, shining 430 light years away from Earth. Perpetually occupying the same spot in the heavens, it shines down with a gentle admonishment that there are much bigger things at work in the cosmos than our troubles and random sleep patterns. Wherever you stand when it comes to the three wise men and the Greatest Story Ever Told, there’s no denying the North Star – which is actually a triple star system, the primary one weighing approximately six times the mass of our own sun – has for centuries guided sailors, astronomers and travelers across the planet. And, often, reflecting on the enormity of that knowledge is all it takes to lull me into a deep and peaceful slumber. Thanks for reading,

Will Blair, Editor



Harlem Quartet

The Harlem Quartet will be performing at the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts on Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the group “is bringing a new attitude to classical music, one that is fresh, bracing and intelligent.” Also at the Centre, “Christmas with the Annie Moses Band” will be held on Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. For more information, call 770-254-2787.

Candlelight Tour of Homes - NEWNAN

The 27th Candlelight Tour of Homes in Newnan will be held on Dec. 5 from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. and will feature six homes along a one-mile loop. The houses to be featured this year include the Salbide-KestlerPate home at 32 Wesley St., the Salbide-Odom-Lee home at 30 Wesley St., the Cook-Carlson home at 72 College St., the McWhorter home at 27 Temple Ave., the Edmundson-ArnoldPringle-Maag home at 49 Jackson St. and the McRitchieHollis house at 74 Jackson St. For ticket information, call 770-400-2380.

---------------------------------------ph. 404-520-7465 ---------------------------------------Located in Newnan, Georgia


Christmas parade

The city of Newnan’s annual Christmas parade will be held on Dec. 13 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. This year’s theme is “Storybook Christmas.” For more information, call 770-254-2682.

Candlelight Tour of Homes - Senoia

Senoia’s Candlelight Tour of Homes will be held on Dec. 14 from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Tour five historic homes and a historic church. For more information, call 770-378-6627 or 770-599-8182.

VINEWOOD PLANTATION, located in historic Newnan, GA, is the ideal venue for your outdoor wedding ceremony, reception, or special event. Built in 1852, this Georgia Plantation House and its Stables were fully renovated to include all of the contemporary amenities you need without sacrificing any of the Southern tradition and charm that you deserve.

thank you

november-decemBER 2014


Brenda PedrazaVidamour, a former

is a freelance writer and a speaker for Life Training Institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University. Megan enjoys mountain biking, traveling and most things artistic.

Newnan Times-Herald writer, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Georgia State University, where she minored in film. She lives a wonderful life with her true love in an old, run-down house. She rarely waits for Blu-ray release dates. You’ll see her at the movies. Duel Pages, page 88

Facts & Fiction, page 80

Rebecca Leftwich is a former

child who loves holidays, snow days and homemade gingersnaps. A writer and editor, she fantasizes about Dickensian Christmases that include game consoles and central heat.

Christmas in Miniature, page 64


Megan Almon

Leverett Butts, a Newnan native, teaches composition and literature at the Gainesville campus of the University of North Georgia. He is the recipient of several fiction prizes offered by the University of West Georgia and TAG Publishing, and his collection of short fiction, “Emily’s Stitches: The Confessions of Thomas Calloway and Other Stories,” was nominated for the 2013 Georgia Author of the Year Award in Short Fiction.

The Fine Art of Solitaire, page 94

Elizabeth Melville is a

freelance writer, in addition to working at a private school and for a pro-life organization. She, her husband, Jonathan, and their daughter, Nora, reside in downtown Newnan. She often finds herself in the kitchen experimenting with new food recipes or stirring together creative libations.

Get into the Spirits, page 52

Born in Savannah and hopelessly southern,

Larisa McMichael

loves rock and folk music, folk art, old movies, reading and helping others get excited about reading. She spends as much time as she can outdoors appreciating nature. She’s been a school librarian-media teacher for 12 years at Woodward Academy. Teach the Gift of

Reading, page 86

Lindsay Gladu

is a freelance writer living in Newnan with her husband, Bryan. Her work has appeared in the Jackson Hole News & Guide, Images West, the Georgia Bulletin and the Washington Examiner. She loves fly fishing, live music and creme brûlée.

Hey, Mr. DJ!, page 58


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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Jon Cooper has been a freelance writer for nearly two decades, the past 15 in Atlanta. A contributor to, MLB. com, and Ramblinwreck. com, he’s boldly gone where he hadn’t gone before in learning about grilling and preparing a turkey, and he is eagerly awaiting his next frontier. From Turkey to Success, page 38

Melissa Dickson Jackson is a poet,

a mother of four, and an instructor at the University of West Georgia. She’s published two books of poetry, “Cameo” and “Sweet Aegis,” and is currently co-editing a collection of regional poetry. Good Credit and a Name, page 30


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A utility co-op communicator and a former crime reporter for The Newnan Times-Herald, Amy Lott is also a mother of two, a south Georgia girl and a lover of all things Christmas. Except for “Elf on the Shelf” – because enough already. Duel Pages, page 89

Carolyn Barnard is a

graduate of Georgia Tech with a bachelor’s in history and a specialty in what NOT to wear. Drawing on her own experience with an awkward phase that lasted well into her 20s, Barnard loves helping other people find their most beautiful self.

Style, page 18

november / december 2014

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On New Year’s We Wear Black and Gold

When preparing to style for our November/December

edition, I wanted to steer away from the traditional Christmas pictures-with-Santa outfits. New Year’s Eve is exciting, full of promise, hope and determination that next year undoubtedly will be the best year ever. Occasions such as these require one thing: Sparkle. Even the hardest, darkest years can be brightened with a little bit of shimmer.

Written by carolyn barnard | Photographed by aaron heidman Models Clair Krigline, Lilly Barnard and CeeCee Cartledge

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MAINSTREET Events A Magical



Holiday Open House

Start your holiday shopping downtown Newnan! Enjoy refreshments, entertainment and in-store specials! FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 28, FROM 6 - 8 P.M.



Mingle with Kringle

Santa arrives in downtown Newnan! Bring your list and join us on the North Court Square! FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 28, UNTIL 8 P.M.

Plaid Friday

Celebrate local independent businesses by dressing in plaid and shopping downtown! Wear plaid and receive a special gift! SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 29

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Show Me Your Mumu, Blue Moon Boutique, $186 DAPPER FLAPPER

A touch of sparkle adds an even more Roaring Twenties look to the Show Me Your Mumu dress worn by Clair Krigline.

I embarked on a sparkle search, knowing I had promised NCM readers a glimpse of the new-in-store Show Me Your Mumu at Blue Moon Denim Boutique, and the California-based line did not disappoint. This flapper-



style dress screams New Year’s Eve soiree. (“Downton Abbey” fans will appreciate that this nod to the Roaring Twenties coincides perfectly with the Season 5 premiere in January.) One thing I tried to do with this

6 Greenville St. Newnan, GA 30263 20 |

“I try to put on jewelry the same way I do makeup: enough to make it prettier without crossing the line into tacky.” shoot was incorporate more of what I already had at home. Previously, I have gone and pieced together every item, brand new, from our local stores. However, as much as we would all love to go out and buy a new dress, shoes,



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Lilly Barnard, left, and CeeCee Cartledge work the black and gold theme for New Year's with leopard print outfits and accessories from home.

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earrings, a necklace, bracelets, etc., for most of us that is not the reality of our budgets. So this time, using staple pieces that most ladies have in their closets already, I accessorized a new dress with what I had. Because this dress, as seen on Clair Krigline, is so specific in style, it was important to dig up accessories that seamlessly matched the New Year’s theme. The black pearl necklace was perfect in length, but when untied it hung funny, so we put a simple knot in it to keep it weighted. The rhinestone bracelet, worn high on the arm, gives that little bit of glitter every girl needs on New Year’s Eve without taking away from what already is a gorgeous but busy dress. I try to put on jewelry the same way I do makeup: enough to make it prettier without crossing the line into tacky. Coco Chanel recommends taking off one piece of jewelry before

the leaving the house. Not always necessary, but you get the point. As for the shoes, I bought these several seasons ago and have gotten much use out of them. Shopping for shoes that I know I can wear again and again certainly gives me less buyer’s remorse. Classic strappy stilettos in neutral colors or patterns rarely go out of style. Looking closely, you’ll notice that shoes, purse and dress all have an element of almost snakeskin effect to them that allows different metals (silver, gold, bronze) to blend without being too “matchy.”

Coordinated is always better than matchy. The little darlings of our shoot, my own Lilly and CeeCee Cartledge, are working it in their Mud Pie leopard prints from Chloe’s on Main in Senoia. I found these outfits at Chloe’s and

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The outfits worn by CeeCee Cartledge, above, and Lilly Barnard, right, wouldn't be complete without just the right matching jackets to stave off the fall chill.

loved how un-babylike they were. The

and continued the trend of using what

tutu on CeeCee is actually attached

we had. CeeCee brought her own

to the stockings (mom fist pump) and

little boots and Lilly her Uggs. The

Lilly’s dress is a perfect lightweight

motorcycle jacket Lilly borrowed from

cord material. Like the grown-up

her brother’s closet (rolled sleeves

version, I went with black and gold

make the look more feminine; this

Where happily ever after begins 14 N. Court Square, Downtown Newnan 770.253.2720 24 |

goes for grown-ups, too) and the fauxfur coat was purchased three years ago at an end-of-season clearance sale. Because of the voluminous style, it has never looked too small. Shopping when you need things can sometimes be overwhelming because of the time crunch and it often makes things more costly. When you can, try to find good deals on classic pieces to add to your closet that you can count on when you need them. If you have to splurge, do it on a dress or shoes you are confident you can wear again and again. Be sure to dazzle in some sparkle on New Year’s Eve and you’ll be ready to face 2015 in style and with confidence. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and happy shopping. NCM











Visit us on the Square in Newnan 6 EAST COURT SQUARE


november / december 2014

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& ◗


Qa with


In her down time, between working two jobs, Charlotte Patterson loves to make cake pops, little balls of cake on a stick that are dipped in various flavors and colors of candy coating and decorated extravagantly. Patterson decorated a batch and talked with NCM about the process from her home south of Moreland.

Q: How did you get started making cake pops? A: A friend of mine came to me one day and said, “I really want to make cake pops.” What she wanted to do was make little twotiered wedding cake cake pops for her wedding shower. So we took this mixture, smushed it out and took a little cookie cutter that had scalloped edges. Q: How did that first attempt go? A: We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into – it was an all-day event. At first, we didn’t have any clue what to do. We had seen these pictures, and we were like – why is it falling off? But it turned out great. I went on, where I learned how to make them. That’s where I still get a lot of inspiration to try different techniques and designs. It’s probably been about five years since I first started.

Q: Why did she come to you? Had you done a lot of baking? A: No. It’s just crazy how it happened. She knew that I was into crafts and art. I made extra for the shower, and everybody loved them. When I posted pictures on Facebook, the hobby kind of grew. Q: How do you make a cake pop? A: The cake is baked, crumbled up, and mixed with a can of icing. It works better if you mix them together when the cake is still warm. Q: What kind of cake do you use? A: Typically, it is chocolate or vanilla. Or, if someone wants, strawberry or red velvet. Really, it’s whatever is in the box. I’m not opposed to baking from scratch. I did vegan cake pops once. You can’t make those really pretty, because you can only use dark chocolate. Q: What do you like about making cake pops? A: It’s really therapeutic. I sit here in the kitchen and get to be creative. I put on music and get crafty. I just love the creative part of it. I used to paint a lot, and I just don’t really have the time to do that. Making Photographed by aaron heidman

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conservation framing • art gallery art classes • commissioned portraits shadow boxes • art restoration ready mades • gift certificates Downtown Newnan COMING UP ROSES

Charlotte Patterson uses a cookie cutter to make tiny leaves for her rose cake pops.

10 East Broad Street • Newnan, Georgia 30263 770-683-3463 Hours: Monday-Friday 10-5 • Saturday 11-4

the cake pops kind of forces me to make the time. Even though it’s for clients and friends, I feel like it is for me, too. I get to be creative and make something and make someone else happy, too.

Q: What have you learned as you’ve gained experience? A: I have definitely learned it is not something you can do at the last minute. It is a process. The more you mess with the balls of cake, the softer they get. The longer they sit in the refrigerator, the softer they get. When we did the wedding cake ones, they were falling off the stick. We didn’t know. We thought we could bust them out in a couple of hours. You have to put them in the fridge to set up, but you can’t leave them in too long. I made these amazing Hello Kitty pops once. As I was putting the final details on them, they started cracking. I had left them in the refrigerator for too long. It was too cold and it was seizing. It was heartbreaking. In the winter, it is easier to make cake pops because your house isn’t as hot. Q: How do you come up with your ideas? A: Typically, I don’t. I don’t wake up and say, “Today I’ll try to make this.” It’s usually people asking me if I can make

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hobby Patterson uses a squirt bottle – one of her favorite tools – to pipe melted chocolate onto one of her cake pops.

Olaf or if I can make a minion. They ask me if I can do it and then I Google Olaf cake pop or princess cake pops and I’ll send them pictures of stuff that I feel confident I can do.

Q: What are some of the different cake pops you have done? A: I’ve done Super Man and Spider Man and Batman and all the comic book designs. I’ve made turkeys, fish and some bobbers, lady bugs, roses, monograms, “Jake and the Neverland Pirates,” Monster High, Tiffany boxes. The guy who ordered the Hello Kitty ones, his other daughter was having a birthday party in October and she wanted brains. So I took that idea and thought – how cool would it be if the brain bled? It sounds so gross, but it allowed me to get creative. I went everywhere, looking for that really tart slime candy. I finally found it and froze it, and put the stick in it, then dipped that in chocolate and put the cake stuff around that.


Patterson has crafted a variety of cake pops in the last five years.

Q: Do you have any tips for someone who wants to make cake pops? A: I tell them it’s a process. I remind them that it is not going to happen in an hour. It’s not really hard, but you have to have the patience, and make sure you have everything you need ahead of time, before you get started. Once you start melting the chocolate, you need to be able to work and brush it on and have the styrofoam ready to put them in, or have the sprinkles ready. Because it will set up before you know it. Then you’ll just be really frustrated. I’ve had a lot of casualties from not being

prepared for the next step.

Q: Do you have a "go to" design? A: Monograms. I can do them masculine or I can do them feminine. It’s just really sweet and special and it’s fairly easy to do. Q: Do you have one set of cake pops you thought was the best or coolest you’ve ever done? A: My “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” ones were so cute. And I had no idea what they were. I’d never seen the show. Some of them had eye patches and some had mustaches. I got to be creative. They were really cute. Q: Would you like to make cake pops full time? A: I think I would. Some people warn me. They tell me I like doing it now but I probably wouldn’t like it as a full-time job. It’s kind of my release, my quiet time. I think I would like to do more of it. I wouldn’t mind having some at a shop. I’ve thought about trying to get something together where I can go to Main Street Newnan’s Market Day. Q: Is there something else you would like to branch out into? A: I would like to get into creating things out of gum paste – like sugar flowers – that would go on the cake pops. I can make them myself. I don’t have to buy them. I would love to get into that. I don’t know how. That is something I have thought about trying to research, and seeing what I would need to get into it. NCM


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770-683-6833 • 2280 North Highway 29 | Newnan, GA 30265 A nonprofit organization affiliated with the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church and Emory Healthcare, Wesley Woods has been serving the needs of Georgia’s Seniors since 1954. Wesley Woods Senior Living is accredited by the EAGLE (Educational Assessment Guidelines Leading toward Excellence) Commission, the only faith-based accrediting body in the world.

november / december 2014

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Consider the landscape of Newnan only 50 years ago – horse pastures a block from the courthouse, chickens in every yard, children cutting through vegetable gardens in search of neighborly adventure. Church bells chimed in charmed competition, while train whistles startled the steeples at regular intervals. A hundred years ago, farm fields spread across acreage now densely populated with homes; downtown businesses thrived on unpaved streets. And 145 years ago, Henry Arnall established a business that rested firmly on the core needs of his

community – a wholesale enterprise that carried feed and seed and the essential goods for the regular maintenance of farms, gardens and livestock. It was four years after the Civil War, two years before the end of Reconstruction. Grant was president. Bullock was governor. The population of Georgia was virtually split among black and white citizens. Upheaval, uncertainty and enduring change percolated nationwide. Despite this climate of economic and cultural bedlam, Arnall found a trade that remains viable nearly a century-and-a-half later.


Occupying several locations during its existence, at 145 years old, Arnall Grocery is Newnan's oldest continuously operating retail business.

Written by melissa dickson jackson | Photographed by MARK FRITZ

november / december 2014

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A packed house celebrates the grocery's 60th anniversary in 1929.

“Letting people get their own stuff off the shelf was still a new idea. Mr. Arnall started a chain that could have rivaled big grocery stores today.”

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In fact, Arnall Grocery is Newnan’s oldest continuously operated retail storefront. Present day owners Pam and Jimmy Beavers say Saturday afternoons are slow, but it doesn’t look like it as they scuttle between customers and an office thick with paperwork amid walls covered in grandchildren’s drawings. Shane Prophett, the store manager, greets guests hospitably and fields questions about merchandise. Behind doors marked Employees Only, one young man hoists a 50-pound bag of seed onto his shoulders while another stacks a dolly with cases of dog food. Today’s orders closely mirror those placed more than a hundred years ago. It’s true Arnall Grocery used to sell a lot more chicken, pig and cattle feed, while the bulk of contemporary feed customers are horse owners. It’s a sign of both prosperity and reliance on packaged food from large grocery chains. “My generation kind of dropped the ball,” Beavers says. “It’s the 20- and 30- year-olds that buy chicken feed and

seedlings. They have a little acreage and want to get back to growing their own food.”

A Family Affair

Jimmy Beavers grew up at Arnall Grocery. So did his brother Hugh. They stocked shelves, assisted customers, delivered orders, and listened closely to the lessons of their father, Dorsey. Though Dorsey advised his sons not to go into the business, the trio became corporate partners in 1972. The senior Beavers had been a primary shareholder since 1961. For a period of 25 years, the father and two brothers shared the responsibilities and the opportunities. Dorsey Beavers died in 1999 at the age of 78. His son Hugh followed in 2005. Jimmy Beavers is quick to confess he misses his father and his brother, saying, “I’d love to have them back,” but he doesn’t regret ignoring his dad’s advice and taking the reins of the business his family has so long nurtured. Dorsey Beavers was 17 in September 1937 when he took his first job as a

sack boy for the Arnalls. Soon after, the Arnalls opened a self-serve retail grocery store called Krazy Kat, a specialty venture that had yet to catch on fully in America. Though Piggly Wiggly had opened its first store in 1916, few selfservice groceries operated nationwide. “In those days,” Beavers says, “you went into a store and told a clerk what you needed, and he went and got it for you. Letting people get their own stuff off the shelf was still a new idea. Mr. Arnall started a chain that could have rivaled big grocery stores today, but after the war broke out, he got cold feet and closed them all except the Krazy Kat in Newnan.” Dorsey Beavers packaged and delivered orders under the supervision of Joe Arnall, the brother of former governor Ellis Arnall and the grandson of founder Henry Arnall. When the United States engaged in World War II, Dorsey was drafted and spent four-and-a-half grueling years in the European theater. His regiment was one of many to experience the decimation at the Battle of the Bulge: Dorsey was one of two survivors. He returned to Newnan a changed man, unsure of the future in a world that seemed familiar but altered. Soon after returning from Europe, Dorsey escorted his mother to the Krazy Kat for her weekly shopping. Maybe it was too early to revisit the life from which he felt so distant – whatever the reason – but Dorsey waited in the car while his mother completed her trade. Joe Arnall didn’t let the opportunity pass. Leaning into the car window, he offered the young man his old job back, but Dorsey didn’t see himself sacking groceries again. He was in his mid-20s and already a tested veteran. That sack boy had been left behind, buried in years of war. So Arnall offered him a promotion; he could be a wholesale distribution salesman. Dorsey said he’d think about it and soon took the position. By 1961, Dorsey Beavers was an owner of the Arnall Grocery Company. “People still call me Mr. Arnall,” Beavers says, “and they called daddy Mr. Arnall all day long.” Dorsey was reluctant to correct his customers and advised his sons to take care,


Manager Shane Prophett, at top, is a familiar face for customers at Arnall Grocery. Store owner Jimmy Beavers, pictured above, bought the present day facility in 1976.

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too. “The Arnalls have good credit,” he said, “you don’t want to mess up a good thing.” Thinking of his father, Jimmy Beavers says, “My daddy was raised behind a mule. He loved farming.” The senior Beavers always counseled his sons to leave work behind at the end of the day. “Daddy was really good at that,” he adds. “When he went home at night he didn’t think one bit about Arnall Grocery. He turned it off and worked his land and livestock.”

A New Start

As citizens of a country founded only two-anda-third centuries ago, Americans tend to esteem

the buildings and businesses that have weathered the decades and survived the economic tumult of

capitalism’s long bubbles and sudden bursts. From a

global perspective, it’s a fact that what new-world types call historic is no more than adolescent compared to the centuries-old structures of Europe and Africa. In

the United Kingdom, public houses trace their histories through millennia while bartenders pull another pint for starry-eyed Western tourists without a second

thought for the past and its enchantments. It’s rare

for independent American businesses to linger. More than half of American small businesses shutter their

doors within four years. Few make it to 10, and those

that survive 20 are considered old indeed. So it is that we take pause to celebrate Newnan’s oldest retail

storefront – Arnall Grocery, 32 East Washington St. – as it turns 145 this year.


Employees of Jimmy and Pam Beavers (seated) are, from left, Charles Hunter, Henry Vaughn, Austin Binion and Kale Abercrombie.

34 |

In 1976, the Beavers bought the present day facility conveniently located on the railroad line that delivered so much of their merchandise. The original Perry Street location was used as a warehouse facility until it burned down. The Arnall family donated the property to the city of Newnan. Today, the Ellis Arnall Parking lot sits on that land. The building that houses the current incarnation of Arnall Grocery Company has its own storied history. Formerly the home of another prosperous wholesale grocery enterprise, H.V. Kell, the two-story brick building was erected in 1932 and housed a state-of-the-art, walk-in cooler that may have been the largest in the state of Georgia at that time. The wooden Otis elevator still functions, powered by its original 1932 motor. In Georgia, the only one older operates at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, built in 1929. Few renovations diminish the sense of history at Arnall Grocery, as Beavers points out original beams and the salvaged remains of a steel-girded conveyor system that once ferried bulk orders to and from the railroad dock. Beavers says he doesn’t even notice the train whistle anymore, nor does he use the railway. “Orders out of Macon would take two weeks by rail, but a day by truck,” he says. Integral shifts like this have kept the business alive. As clients’ needs have changed, Arnall Grocery has changed. “We’ve been blessed,” Beavers says as he tells the story of his one job, spanning tasks from dock labor for 75 cents an hour to those of sole owner and operator. “We’ve had loyal employees,” Beavers adds as he shares stories about Henry Vaughn and Charlie Hunter, who have been with the company for decades. Pam Beavers recalls an early morning Henry ran all the way from Newnan Hospital on Jackson Street despite a policeman’s request that he stay at the scene of an accident. “Charlie’s been in a wreck, Ms. Pam,” he reported, “but I told the officer that you were opening the store soon and I couldn’t let you do that alone.” “We’re like family,” Pam says. “We’ve been through a lot together.” Customer loyalty is just as palpable. “We lost a customer the other day,” Jimmy Beavers says with a shake of his head. Most businesses lose customers to the competition, but at Arnall Grocery the loss tends to be more personal and irreparable. “He was 96. Traded with us all his life.” NCM

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Want a

emade homwreath?

Senoia resident Sherry Bailey was flipping through a copy of Southern Living magazine when she came across an article on making wreaths. It was an “aha!” moment.

“I just thought, ‘I can do that,’” Bailey said. Her husband, Charles, was planning to retire from his ornamental tree farming business but still had acres of trees left on the plot behind their home. So she decided to pluck a few branches from some of the trees to see if she could fashion her own evergreen wreath. She’s since started her own business, The Holly and The Ivy Wreaths. Her favorite materials to work with are camellia and magnolia, but she also works with evergreens and, of course, holly and ivy. “We have a variety of evergreens that are different in color and texture than your average Fraser fir,” she said. Her outlook on nature has changed since she started her business. All leaves and berries are subject to experimentation. “God’s given us all this beauty around us,” Bailey said. “I love to use natural decor in my home and it’s readily available.” It’s been a productive autumn, according to Bailey, who spends most of her week working on wreaths and promoting The Holly and The Ivy Wreaths. Retired from a career in insurance, Bailey happily busies herself arranging adornments

Photographed by drew maccallum 36 |

for the threshold of people’s homes – “the first sign of hospitality,” as she puts it. Each wreath is hand-crafted and made to order, with the exception of those she plans to sell at holiday markets. Special preservatives keep the greenery looking fresh for weeks. Bailey makes wreaths of various sizes, and embellishments such as fruit, ribbons, berries, sweet gum balls, seed pods, cinnamon sticks, pinecones and acorns can be added for a more personal touch. Finding the right arrangement takes an artful eye … and heavy duty gloves, according to Bailey. “That holly is pretty prickly. I’m constantly saying ‘ouch, ouch, ouch.’” She’s been gardening since her childhood, toddling around with her mother in the flower garden. As an adult, Bailey joined a floral arrangement club as a hobby and she tends a vegetable garden each summer. All that has led to the start of The Holly and The Ivy Wreaths, which derives its name from an old hymn Bailey decided was perfect for a Christmas-themed business. “The holly bears a blossom as white as lily flower, and Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ to be our sweet savior.” And according to Bailey, that’s what Christmas is all about. NCM

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Amy Lane is ready to stick a fork in it after roasting her bird in cheesecloth.

From Turkeys to Success

There is more than one way to prepare a turkey

The turkey gets a bad rap

when you put it up against birds like the chicken, the duck or even the Cornish hen. That’s too bad, because the turkey has a lot going for it. For example, in bowling, throwing a turkey (not literally, of course, although that may be a topic for another day) is a good thing, as it means you’ve bowled three strikes

in a row. The only other bird reference in sports is the “lame duck” pass in football, hardly a good thing. According to popular legend, the turkey had the endorsement of founding father Benjamin Franklin as the national bird over the bald eagle – although how much he actually lobbied for that has been debated.  It’s even healthy. A turkey breast is lower in calories and fat than a chicken breast and it’s high in protein (although it’s also high in sodium).

Written by JON COOPER | Photographed by JEFFREY LEO 38 |

So if any fowl has the right to cry “foul!” over how much

But to its lovers, it’s a labor of love and well worth the

– or how little – it’s used outside of Thanksgiving, that is, it’s

risk. To them, the turkey holds a special place in their

the turkey.

hearts, as well as their stomachs, year-round. The risks

Cooking the turkey can be rather laborious and risky,

can be avoided with proper preparation and a little bit of

as an under-seasoned or dried-out turkey is a nightmare,

commitment. We found three dedicated turkey preparers

especially with a houseful of people on Thanksgiving

who were more than eager to share their recipe for success.

who suddenly are left with nothing more than to share

Each had a different method – roasting (the most popular

embarrassing family stories and watch the Detroit Lions.

and time-honored), smoking and deep-frying. november / december 2014

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Amy's Roasted Turkey

(Makes enough brine for one 18- to 20-pound turkey) Ingredients for Brine

7 quarts (28 cups) water 1 1/2 cups coarse salt 3 tablespoons Bell's poultry seasoning

6 bay leaves

2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns 1 tablespoon fennel seeds 1 teaspoon mustard seeds 1 fresh whole turkey patted dry, neck and giblets reserved for stock

1 bottle dry Riesling (reserve half-cup for roasting) 2 medium onions, thinly sliced 6 garlic cloves, crushed 1 bunch fresh thyme Tools and Materials 5-gallon brining container (tub, stockpot or bucket) Refrigerator (or a cooler with ice) Brine for a minimum of four hours or overnight. to Roast: ✓ Remove the turkey from the brine one hour before roasting. ✓ Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. ✓ Dry bird with paper towels. ✓ Lightly season the turkey, inside and out, with salt and pepper. ✓ Spoon the stuffing loosely into the chest cavity and the smaller neck cavity. Cover the stuffed neck area with the skin flap. Truss the bird with twine by tying the legs together, then bring the string around to the neck and tie it, securing the wings to the body. ✓ Place the turkey, breast side up, on a greased rack in a

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shallow roasting pan just large enough to hold it. ✓ Melt one stick of unsalted butter. ✓ Add ½ cup of the dry Riesling and 2 teaspoons of Bell's Poultry seasoning and your herb of choice. ✓ Dampen and wring out a 14-by-24-inch piece of cheesecloth. Soak it in the butter/herb/wine mixture until the cloth is evenly coated and all the liquid has been absorbed. Double the cheesecloth and drape it over the bird. ✓ Put the turkey in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 325 degrees. ✓ Roast the bird for about 20 minutes per pound for a stuffed bird and 16 minutes per pound for an unstuffed one. ✓ Using a large bulb baster, baste the turkey through the cheesecloth with the pan drippings every 30-45 minutes. ✓ About 45 minutes before the turkey is finished, remove the cheesecloth. Continue to roast, basting every 15 minutes, until the bird is browned, the juices in the inner thigh run clear when pricked and an instant-read thermometer thrust into the thickest part of the thigh (without touching the bone) registers between 160 degrees and 175 degrees. ✓ Transfer the turkey to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for at least 15 minutes.

“Doing a double-layer of cheesecloth keeps that bird moist and keeps you from having to baste it every 10 minutes.” — Amy Lane

Susan Prescott, NP

Dr. Thelma Lucas

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Roasting is by far the most popular method to cook a turkey, even though the process can take several hours (suggested cooking time is approximately 15 minutes per pound of the bird) and requires regular attention (the turkey is done when reaching the 160 to 165 degree range). Think back to your childhood. You probably remember your mom or dad basically being held prisoner in the kitchen for hours at a time, a process which may have inspired Harry S. Truman (or maybe his mom or dad) to utter the line: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” Amy Lane, a renowned, oftpublished food critic, prefers less to quote Truman than his predecessor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who inspired America by saying, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  Lane isn’t going to be thrown by a 20-something-pound Butterball and says you shouldn’t either. “Don’t be afraid of it,” said Lane, who has lived in Newnan for 12 years, where she resides with her two teenage daughters. “Have fun. Just

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Roasting: Watch the Birdie, Now Say Cheese(cloth)

keep an eye on the bird.” Lane trained her eye growing up by spending Thanksgiving days in the kitchen with her grandmothers, one she described as “very classic, French, dash-of-that kind of cook,” the other “a total ‘foodie’ that goes to the mark when it comes to recipes.” She noted that they alternated, as the one time they tried having both in the kitchen at the same time illustrated the lesson that “too many cooks spoil the broth.”  Not spoiling the bird starts with preparation of the brine, with which she saturates the bird prior to cooking then bastes as it cooks. Lane takes the best of both grandmothers, crafting a brine recipe that includes herbs, Bell’s Poultry seasoning and “a whole lot of wine.” She brines the turkey overnight, then, during cooking, adds her secret to keeping the bird moist – cheesecloth. “When you’re roasting it in the oven I use a double-layer of cheesecloth that I soak in wine and butter and a little bit of that poultry seasoning,” she said. “I’m actually a big believer in stuffing the bird, too. It forces it to cook at a slower pace, which keeps it from drying out as well.  “Doing a double-layer of cheesecloth keeps that bird moist and keeps you from having to baste it every 10 minutes,” she continued. “I still do a baste on it, but more every half-hour versus every 10 minutes.”

Dr. Howard Seeman

Providing Complete Gastrointestinal Care Newnan 770-251-5559 Reflux and Heartburn

Hopefully, our conversation on each method can help your turkey preparation, be it on Thanksgiving or on any random Thursday.

Dr. John Arledge

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All procedures done locally at Piedmont Newnan Hospital Dr. Seeman is a graduate of Columbia University and Boston University School of Medicine. He completed his residency at St. Mary’s Hospital/ Yale University School of Medicine and a fellowship at Griffin Hospital/ Yale University School of Medicine Affiliated Hospital Program. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. Dr. Seeman has been in private practice in Carrollton since 1991. He specializes in esophageal reflux and colon cancer screenings. Dr. Lucas is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana and University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago. She completed her residency and fellowship at University of Illinois Hospitals and Clinics. Prior to joining West Georgia Gastroenterology Associates in 2007, Dr. Lucas served as Medical Director of Liver Transplantation at University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine and at Rush University Medical Center. She is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. She specializes in diseases of the liver. Dr. Arledge is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a B.S. degree in Biology. He completed medical school at the Medical College of Virginia. He completed his residency at the Medical College of Virginia and his fellowship in Gastroenterology at the University of South Florida. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. He is also a Flight Surgeon rank of Major in the Georgia Air National Guard Savannah. Dr. Arledge joined West Georgia Gastroenterology Associates in September 2008. Susan R. Prescott, FNP-C is a graduate of the Medical College of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing with Family Nurse Practitioner from Georgia State University. She is certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Prior to joining West Georgia Gastroenterology, she was a Nurse Practitioner at Piedmont Physicians in Newnan, Georgia. november / december 2014

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Cutline goes here. Cutline goes here. Cutline goes here. Cutline goes here. Cutline goes here. Cutline goes here. Cutline goes here. Cutline goes here. Cutline goes here.

“Slow is definitely the word. When it comes to smoking you want to take your time.” — Dana Patterson


As co-owner of Fat Boys Bar & Grill, Dana Patterson has built a reputation for smoking his turkeys to perfection.

november / december 2014

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To get the golden brown color on the skin, Lane suggests removing the cheesecloth about 20 minutes prior to taking the turkey out of the oven. While staying true to timing, Lane is more flexible when it comes to the brining.  “Sometimes I’ll throw in a different glaze,” she said. “I’ve actually done a curry-inspired turkey. I do like to do a different flavor profile. This year, I think I’m going with tarragon. It’s been my favorite herb this year. So I’ll add some tarragon into the mix in terms of into the stuffing and on top of the bird, maybe into the wine and butter mixture that I put on top of the cheesecloth. “I also want to really stress how important the bird itself is,” she added. “I always get a fresh turkey. It’s worth every penny not to have it be laden with hormones and shot up with salt and that kind of stuff. It’s worth the extra money.”

Smoking: Where There’s Smoke, There’s a Smoker

It's a



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If you’re not ready to admit that grilling season is over or simply don’t want to heat up the whole house, firing up the grill or smoker allows for an alternative method for preparing a turkey. Dana Patterson, co-owner of Fat Boys Bar & Grill in Newnan (which he describes as “a five-star dive bar” and where he smokes all varieties of meat, from ham to pork to turkey), is an advocate of smoking the turkey.  This year will be his third smoking turkeys at Fat Boys and he’s learned some valuable lessons over that time. As with roasting, one of the most important comes in the preparation stage, where spicing makes all the difference. Here, quantity is almost equivalent to quality and Patterson says from experience that it’s better to overdo than underwhelm.

“The first time, I was light on the seasoning. It was moist, but the flavor was kind of so-so,” he said. “I learned then to be a little more liberal with the seasoning and also with the basting. Last Thanksgiving, they could not eat enough of it. “I rinse the turkey off real good, I set it in the pan and then it’s a series of seasonings,” he continued. “I’ll start off with a certain rub that I have and then I put the coating of that on, and then I’ll grab some seasoning salt, put a light coat of the seasoning salt on there, then I’ll go through with the garlic salt with the parsley in it.” What cheesecloth is to Lane’s roasting, the aluminum pan is to Patterson’s smoking. “The reason I put the turkey on the tin is because after about two-anda-half to three hours of smoking it, I’ll mix up water, melted butter and the same seasonings that I put on the turkey and I’ll put that in,” he said. “It makes a basting solution for me.”  He’ll repeat the process every half hour until the final hour of cooking, at which time he covers the bird with aluminum foil. “That way, it steams all that flavor in the meat,” he said. “It also helps draw that moisture up.”  Patterson keeps his bird for smoking in the 12-to-13-pound range and especially is cognizant of the temperature of his smoker. “You don’t want the temperature to be too high,” he said. “Slow is definitely the word. When it comes to smoking, you want to take your time. I personally keep it at about 250 to 275 degrees.”  A turkey done in a smoker could be called unorthodox by some generations, but Patterson insists the people for whom he smokes turkey call it delicious. He estimates the number of requests he will get for smoked turkeys this Thanksgiving will

november / december 2014

| 45


Dana’s Smoked Turkey

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour per pound Ingredients: 13 lb.–14 lb. turkey Dry Rub Liberal coating of Bad Byron’s Butt Rub Liberal coating of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt Liberal coating of Montreal Chicken Seasoning Liberal coating of Lawry’s Garlic Salt with Parsley

“Temperature is the most important factor, even more important than time.”


1 cup water 1 cup pineapple juice ½ cup dry rub ingredients

How to Smoke Use rub, seasoned salt, chicken seasoning and garlic salt on turkey and place in roasting pan. Put in smoker at 250-275 degrees for six hours. Baste turkey hourly. After six hours, remove from smoker and wrap in aluminum foil with baste. Put turkey back in smoker until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees (approximately 6 hours). Baste turkey hourly. Continue to baste turkey while serving to keep moist.

46 |

— Dr. Mike Rayburn

double the 14 he did last year.

Fry? Because We Like You … Time isn’t necessarily a concern when roasting or smoking a turkey. It’s understood. Frying speeds up the process, and while there is a difference in the flavor, it doesn’t skimp on taste.  Frying requires a much smaller bird, but takes less time and allows for versatility.  Dr. Mike Rayburn is a dentist by trade, but he has made something of a second career out of cooking. He is a turkey lover and lives for hosting Thanksgiving, something at which he and his wife, Suzanne, have become quite proficient in the 23 years they’ve lived in Newnan.  While he’s comfortable roasting

he’ll also try his hand at frying and has become an expert at it. Because the size of the bird is limited when frying, Rayburn will use a 10-to-11-pound bird – about the smallest you’re going to find. “When you’re doing a fryer, 10 to 12 [pounds] is about as big as will fit in your fryer, unless you have one that’s a lot bigger than mine,” he said.  Preparation is as important for Rayburn as it is for Lane and Patterson, and it starts with the brine.  “If I were going to fry one I would prepare it the same way as roasting,” he said. “I think the best way to get flavor and moisture is to brine them, and so I would brine it and then pull it out of the brine and pat it dry. You don’t want to put a wet one in oil.

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november / december 2014

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â—— taste

THE DEEP-FRYER Dentist and home chef Mike Rayburn says deep-frying is the quickest way to get the bird cooked and on the table for Thanksgiving.


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That’s a good way to get splatter. You want to dry it off first. Then, cooking it, whether you roast it or fry it, it’s kind of the same to me.” What will differ is what Rayburn puts in his brine. “The one I usually use is, obviously, salt and sugar, but it’s got some apple cider and a little bit of powdered ginger and cloves, and onions and peppers, Worcestershire, all kinds of little odds and ends,” he said. “I’ve tried different styles of seasoning,” he added. “Sometimes you go with a traditional New England kind of thing, or sometimes I’ve done the Cajun spice thing. My wife and I are from the southwest. We grew up in Southern California, and so we’ve tried Southwestern-flavored things with chili peppers and Mexican-style. I’m still looking. My wife and I both like to cook and so it’s kind of entertainment for us. We like to try out new things all the time.” That also will occasionally lead to new, or at least different, ways of serving turkey. “We cut it up and make kind of gourmet sandwiches out of it,” he said. “We’ll make it during the year because we like it, our kids love it as lunchmeat, and a lot of times we’ll get it and just cut it up, put it in the fridge and the kids will use it as sandwiches during the week rather than buying deli turkey, which doesn’t taste as good as real turkey.”  As for the frying process, heat the oil to at least 350 degrees. A whole turkey should sit in the fryer for approximately three to four minutes per pound for a whole turkey, four to five minutes for turkey parts. The breast should be in the 165 to 170 degree range. The thigh should be in the 175 to 180 degree range. Temperature is the most important factor, even more important than time. Rayburn noted that he recently fried a 17-pound turkey, checking the temperature at 30 minutes and eventually pulling it out of the fryer at 40 minutes, as the temperature of the bird had hit 165 degrees.  Regardless of approach, liking what they're doing unites Lane, Patterson and Rayburn. “I love making people happy with food,” Patterson said. “So it just feels right when I’m seasoning all the stuff. I know what feels right, how it should be done. The thing that I value most is how they talk about how they like it. That means more to me than anything.”  “Thanksgiving is the high holiday for us,” said Lane, who is passing down the tradition of Thanksgivings in the kitchen to her two daughters. “It’s the touch, the feel. It’s just a fun-filled day of food. It’s all about the food.”  “We love having people over to eat, sitting around and cooking food together and talking,” Rayburn said. “It’s just kind of the way we socialize. We’re one of those ‘food is love’ type families.”  So roast it, smoke it or fry it, but just love it and give the turkey its due. NCM

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Mike’s Turkey Prep

(roast or fry) Brine

1 gallon water 1 1/4 cups salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 cups cider (or beer)

1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger

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Getting into the

Holiday Spirits


The holidays are a time to

linger – to linger on the last bite, to linger in the moment with people who matter. Pour yourself another round and settle in for days ripe with possibilities and hope. It’s a time for conversations and drinks to warm a cold night. From hot cocoa and apple cider in childhood to pumpkin-spiced lattes and more refined libations in adulthood, beverages play an important role in your holiday memories. When setting a scene, your drink choice matters. Are you serving eggnog because it’s a family tradition? What about a champagne holiday sparkler for an upbeat, celebratory

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'Tis the season to be merry. And what better time is there to reach for your favorite bottle of alcohol and experiment? From bourbon to scotch, from rum to vodka, there's more to a good holiday drink than traditional eggnog, though it remains the ultimate crowd-pleaser.

Researched, tested and written by Elizabeth melville | Photographed by Elizabeth melville november / december 2014

| 53


The Perfect EggNog 1/2 gallon whole milk 2 eggs 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream 1 can sweetened condensed milk splash of vanilla extract 1 cup of rum (or to taste)

garnish with nutmeg

In a large bowl, mix the milk and eggs together with an electric blender on low. Add the whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract. Add rum to taste. Garnish with nutmeg in a serving glass.

addition? Comfort drink after dinner more your thing? Try a twist on the classic White Russian or a simple concoction of coffee and Kahlua. Is bourbon your Old Faithful, that geyser of southern lifeblood? Sure, wine is timeless and a safe choice, but when you have more time during the holidays, why not experiment with different tasty combinations that can add festive cheer by presentation alone? If you’re a novice home bartender, you should start simple. No mojitos or old-fashioneds – no recipe that calls for you to muddle or steep. Start with drinks that are two ingredients or less. When all else fails, grab some cranberry juice and champagne (or Prosecco) and mix 50/50. Simple. Bubbly. Festive. Delicious. Or add Peppermint Schnapps to some gourmet hot chocolate and mix with a peppermint stick – sample the best parts of both childhood and adulthood colliding on your tastebuds. Once you’ve gained some courage – or sampled liquid courage, at least – you’re ready to tackle a classic like the White Russian. Typically, the drink is a simple concoction of two parts vodka, one part coffee liquor (like Kahlua) and one part heavy (or light) cream. One Atlanta bartender serves patrons 54 |

a reimagined White Russian at the holidays and substitutes RumChata for vodka. RumChata is a cream liquor made with delicious spices like cinnamon and vanilla. No one needs a dessert following a drink this rich. Perhaps the quintessential winter drink is the hot toddy made with bourbon, honey, lemon, hot water and tea. Sip it with friends and talk politics. Sip it in solitude to warm up. Sip it to alleviate a sore throat. Sip it while perusing your leather-bound collection of Shakespeare plays. While a drink with breakfast is generally frowned upon most days of the year, during the holidays you can serve your overnight guests a few select alcoholic beverages with a hearty casserole and call it brunch. The mimosa is always a crowd pleaser. Try it with freshly squeezed orange juice and mid-to-low quality champagne (save the good stuff for dinner time). Mix half and half. The Bloody Mary isn’t for everyone, so investigate before you put in the effort. It contains vodka, tomato juice, and other spices or flavorings such as Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, piri piri sauce, beef consommé or bouillon, horseradish, celery, olives, salt, pepper, cayenne

Hot Toddy 1 1/2 ounces brandy, whiskey or rum 1 tablespoon honey 1/4 lemon 1 cup hot water 1 tea bag (optional) Coat the bottom of your serving glass with honey. Add liquor and the juice from the lemon quarter. Heat water in a tea kettle and add the tea bag to make hot tea. Pour the steaming tea into the glass and stir.

The Classic Bloody Mary 3 cups (24 ounces) tomato juice 1 1/2 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice

(from about 1 medium lemon)

1 1/2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice

(from about 2 medium limes)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 2 teaspoons peeled and finely grated fresh


1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 1 teaspoon hot sauce (like Tabasco) 1 teaspoon celery salt 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper For serving: Ice

2 cups (16 ounces) vodka

Celery stalks (optional) Dill pickle spears (optional) Pickled green tomatoes (optional) For the mix: Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until combined. Cover and refrigerate until the flavors meld and the mix is chilled – at least two hours or overnight (the mix will keep refrigerated in an airtight container up to 24 hours). For serving: When ready to serve, whisk the mix to recombine. Fill eight highball glasses halfway with ice. Pour two ounces of vodka and four ounces of the mix into each glass and stir to combine. Garnish each with a celery stalk or dill pickle spear and a pickled green tomato.

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Simple and conservative, a nice red wine is a sure way to start the evening on the right track. It also makes a great Christmas or hostess gift.

pepper, lemon juice and celery salt. Garnish with celery. Think of it as an afternoon gift to yourself during the holidays. For a large, evening gathering, try a mulled cider or hot buttered rum – something you can throw together ahead of time in your crockpot. Another plus: Your house will smell like a Yankee Candle. For more sophisticated types, try a simple holiday sparkler like a mixture of cranberry juice, vodka, and champagne with cranberries for garnish. Serve it in a sexy martini glass. If you’re feeling brazen, try something more intricate, like a holiday margarita with tequila, pomegranate juice, sour mix, orange liqueur, cranberry juice, and orange zest – all over ice. Finally, the piéce de résistance for any holiday dinner is spiked eggnog. What could be better than ladling out frothy goodness for your loved ones alongside a slice of spice cake? While there are many variations available on the Internet, the recipe we’ve included is crowd-tested, drinkers-approved. So, let’s raise our glasses and toast to a holiday season filled with merriment and high spirits. And, as always, remember to drink responsibly. NCM

56 |

Mulled Cider Meets Hot Buttered Rum 4 quarts apple cider 1 1/4 cup sugar 1 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/4 teaspoon allspice 3/4 teaspoon cloves 3 tablespoons butter 3 cups orange juice 2 ounces dark rum Cinnamon sticks Boil all ingredients together (except for orange juice, butter, cinnamon and rum) for five minutes. Add the orange juice and butter. You can keep it warm in a crock pot or even refrigerate and reheat as needed. Serve with a stick of cinnamon and an ounce or so of rum.

The Reimagined White Russian 2 ounces vodka 1 ounce RumChata 1 ounce heavy cream Add vodka and RumChata to an OldFashioned glass filled with ice. Top with a large splash of heavy cream and stir.

Holiday Sparkler 4 ounces cranberry juice 2 ounces vodka 2 ounces Champagne Cranberries for garnish Mix juice and vodka together in a chilled martini mixer. Pour into a Champagne flute. Top with Champagne and garnish with cranberries.

Holiday Margarita 6 ounces tequila 8 ounces pomegranate juice 2 ounces sour mix 2.5 ounces orange liqueur (or triple sec) 2 ounces cranberry juice Fresh orange zest Green sprinkles for garnish Cranberries for garnish Ice Place ice, juices, orange liqueur, sour mix and tequila in a blender. Blend on low until smooth. Dip glass in water and then in the green sprinkles to coat the rim. Pour the margarita into the glasses.

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Shane Oliver of Under The Table Entertainment works both the crowd and his DJ table during a weeknight show.

58 |

Imagine sitting at a party or a bar. You’re tapping your toes to the beat of “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey and sipping on your water or perhaps a gin and tonic. You know, it’s casual. Then – as suddenly as the flood of relief that comes over you from not having to listen to “Don’t Stop Believin’” again tonight – you hear it: It’s your jam! You’re up. You’re dancing like you’ve never danced in your life. Who knew you had moves like that? The disc jockey knew; you only needed the magical elixir of liquid courage and the right tune. The moment you jump up to groove to the music is the moment a DJ waits for each night. Coweta DJs Gary Freeman, Jasun Madaris and Shane Oliver know that

moment well and what it takes to move a crowd in that direction. “We’re trying to set a mood,” Madaris said. In order to get people dancing, a disc jockey must have a strong command of both popular music and pop culture. Freeman, owner of Free Ride Entertainment and otherwise known as DJ Alan Free, keeps thousands of songs in his computer library, all categorized by decades and genres. The list gets bigger each year since he receives wide-ranging requests on everything from “Surfin’ Bird” by The Trashmen to “Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj. He frequently scours iTunes, Billboard, You Tube, Rolling Stone and the radio for good tunes. “I’ve done a lot of research,” Freeman

said. “My big thing is song selection.” In order to move the crowd, a DJ must know what song to play at the correct time, according to Oliver. A lot of that skill involves improvisation, but also a working knowledge of lyrics. For example, Madaris might play Drake’s song “Fancy” and then cut from the chorus “Oh you fancy, huh?” to Iggy Azalea’s vocals “I’m so fancy.” “You want to provide a roller coaster,” Oliver said. A trained eye on what excites a crowd is the second necessary skill that Freeman, Oliver and Madaris hone each time they play a show. The ability to recognize trends as they emerge in pop culture is also handy.

Written by LINDSAY GLADU | Photographed by MARK FRITZ

november / december 2014

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Shane Oliver, left, and Jasun Madaris may ham it up for the camera, but they're all business when it comes to their work at Under The Table Entertainment.

In the past few years, Under The Table Entertainment owners Madaris and Oliver, who go by DJ Sun and DJ Cancerous (a nod to Oliver’s zodiac sign), have noticed a trend toward the artistry of deejaying. In response, the two are carving out a niche for the company by not only positioning their crew as traditional DJs, but also as musical artists. Some of country music’s biggest acts, including Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean, have added disc jockeys as opening acts to their tours. “We’re trying to do something in country music that’s never been done before,” Madaris said of DJs like himself who are seeking a share of the spotlight by spinning original mixes of hit songs. Currently, Madaris is touring as part of the band Psycho Billy Cadillac. He’s also working with musicians and developing remixes of popular country songs under the record label Average Joe. Oliver, who taught Madaris all his mixing skills, also is signed to the record label as a DJ. 60 |

As a new generation of country music emerges – one that blends country ideals with a twangy pop-rock sound – Oliver and Madaris plan to be a part of the electronic movement within country music’s new era.

Pump up the Volume

While pumping music to crowds every weekend sounds like a breeze of a gig to some, being a DJ isn’t without its drudgery. In fact, it’s a lot like a mullet hairdo – business in the front and party in the back. Their lives are a constant flurry of long days and even longer nights. Freeman, 48, maintains a portfolio of every song he’s played at every gig he’s played to use as a marketing tool when he’s chatting with potential clients. Because he’s a one-man show, he’s also in charge of promoting himself, booking jobs and staying up to date on the latest equipment. He does all this on top of maintaining his full-time job as an insurance broker. At Under The Table Entertainment,

Oliver, 40, and Madaris, 33, are busy connecting clients with DJs, booking shows and promoting their business. Currently, they have four disc jockeys they employ full-time and they retain a list of part-time DJs to send to different gigs throughout Atlanta and the surrounding area. That’s in addition to their own shows. In some respects, being a DJ isn’t so different from being in a rock band, according to both Oliver and Madaris. There are bar fights, booze, loud music, ladies and vampire hours. It’s not unusual for a DJ to be heading home at 3 a.m. on a weekend. “It was like a big party,” Oliver said of his early years as a DJ. “Now I treat it like a business.” Late nights don’t hold the appeal they once did for Oliver. After 20 years as a mix master on the Georgia and Florida music scenes, he’s ready to slow the tempo. He handles most of the weddings and corporate events booked by Under The Table Entertainment. Like Oliver, Freeman often works on

the wedding and party circuit. He’s added trivia and karaoke nights to his lineup as well. Trivia and karaoke gigs are a way to stay active in the industry, but also to have a more mellow evening on a Monday or Tuesday night when he has to sell insurance the following morning. “If you had told me six months ago I’d be doing music trivia, I’d have told you you’re crazy,” Freeman said. “But I love it.” The DJs at Under The Table Entertainment also fill in the weekdays with trivia and karaoke shows. “As a DJ you can get paid Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays,” Madaris said, “but it’s hard to get paid on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.” Although money is what pays the bills, that’s not why these DJs spin records day in and day out. They love the music and providing memories for customers.

“I’ve always loved the idea of playing music for a living,” Madaris said. “There’s a high you get when everyone is paying attention to what you’re doing and you’re rocking a place.” Oliver agreed, but added that going into business with Madaris saved his life from an endless cycle of working a 9-to-5 he didn’t enjoy and partying too much during his DJ gigs at night. For Freeman, there’s nothing better than seeing someone tear it up on the dance floor when they hear their favorite song. Music touches people of all ages – from the high school kids he’s seen dance spastically to “bird, bird, bird, bird is the word” to the meek lady he watched take her “chances on the danger line” with Duran Duran. “I want to make people’s night by playing their song,” Freeman said. And often, it does.


Gary Freeman of Free Ride Entertainment says a big part of deejaying is getting a feel for the pulse of the crowd and then providing the perfect mix of songs.

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Compiled by meredith leigh knight

In middle school, wanting to ensure everyone had a good time, little Yvonne Monet showed up at her eighth-grade dance with a crate full of records for the media specialist to play. Today, you’ll find the popular DJ doing much the same thing, but her dance floor these days often includes the likes of Bono, Ellen, Mick Jagger and, most recently, Woody Harrelson. As a young cocktail waitress in Cincinnati, Monet hounded the local DJ until he finally relented and allowed her to handle the lights. After hours, she’d practice on the turntables and equipment, mixing tapes and then later performing on her own until she got her first big break in radio in 1992 at 99X in Atlanta. Demand for personal appearances grew quickly, as did the ratings for her show, and she soon began hosting regular air shifts as well as other on-air talk shows. Between 1999 and 2003, she hosted a morning show at Merge Radio and middays at 93.3

62 |

The Bone in Texas before returning to Georgia in 2004 to partner in opening the Alamo in downtown Newnan. Monet moved to Newnan to help launch the bar, but continued to work on air at 92.9 Dave FM until the station switched formats in 2012. Her “Caturday” program, devoted to all things cats, delighted many fans of felines.  Over the years, Monet has worked as the lead DJ at several Atlanta nightclubs, is listed as one of only 100 Billboard DJs in the country that have shaped the national dance charts, and has won various competitions and awards. To this day, she remains a highly sought-after talent as a DJ, an emcee and a voiceover talent. For booking information, visit Here are just a few of her favorite memories:

Working as a celebrity handler at the Grammys in 2001:

“I handled the front row where Madonna, U2 and Val Kilmer all sat. It was time for U2 to go backstage to perform, but they were watching Destiny’s Child. As I walked in front of them with my clipboard, I thought, ‘Yeah, that’s right. U2 is following me.’ Madonna and I had a moment, too. I call it a moment. I was standing there waiting to lead her backstage, and she walked toward me, and we caught each other’s eye, and I mouthed the words, ‘You’re Madonna,’ and she kind cocked her head sideways as if it to say, ‘Yeah, I’m Madonna.’ So that became our thing. Later, during the event, I looked at her and mouthed, ‘You’re still Madonna,’ and she gave me that nod again.”

Getting a call from Ellen to be her DJ:

“Ellen and I had a mutual friend, so we hung out occasionally. I would say I was in her inner circle. We even played charades on my birthday one year at her house in California. I had just left the radio show in Texas when I got a frantic phone call that she had been trying to reach me. I was told she was doing a pilot for a new show and asked if I’d be interested in being the DJ. Of course I was, and I sent in my audition tape, but when I saw DJ Tony’s tape, I said, ‘There’s your guy,’ and he became such a big part of the show.”

Getting Sugarland to play at the Alamo:

“Opening the Alamo is one of my proudest accomplishments. I drive by today and see how successful it is and think, ‘Yeah, I helped start that.’ I knew Jennifer Nettles from back in my club days and was able to get them to come down for our grand opening event. A month later, their album ‘Baby Girl’ came out.”

Meeting Sting:

“When I met Sting for a radio interview, I told him I might throw up on him because I was so

nervous. My co-host said he’d give me $50 if I did it. Sting said he’d give me $50 not to. It wasn’t his celebrity that made me nervous, it was the deep appreciation that I have for his music. Music has gotten me through so much. It’s so personal. A song can immediately transport you to a time, a place, a person, a moment that was special. As Georgia Cates said, ‘Music is what feelings sound like out loud.’”

I played tunes from the ’20s up to the ’70s. I dressed as an Andrews sister, and he danced the night away. I was delighted to have been a part of that – and I bet he would have gone to the Playboy Mansion with me.” NCM

Winning a trip to the Playboy Mansion:

“I entered a contest to see who had the sexiest Marilyn Monroe voice and won. The prize was a trip, along with one guest, to the Playboy Mansion, so I called my grandpa on air and asked him to come with me. He said he was afraid it would give him a heart attack! I told him that would be a great way to go. I went with a friend and had a great time … had cocktails with George Lucas … played pinball with Slash.”

Being the DJ for a feisty centenarian celebration

“One of the highlights of my career was mixing for a man who was celebrating his 100th birthday.


During her long DJ and radio career, Yvonne Monet has rubbed elbows with plenty of celebrities, including one of her favorites, Lenny Kravitz.


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Carrollton | LaGrange | West Point | East Alabama | Florida Panhandle november / december 2014

| 63

‘Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred …’

Christmas in


For all its muchness, Christmas is about the small things, too. The infant Jesus in his manger-bed. Little bursts of seasonal goodwill. Tiny children dreaming of baby dolls and puppies, scaled-down toy kitchens and cars, dollhouses and model trains. A persistent, twinkly tug at a world-weary grownup soul to reach back, catch and hold tight the joy of Christmas, if only for a fleeting moment. Former children often preserve a bit of the magic of Christmases past by weaving snippets of treasured memories throughout holiday displays featuring Lilliputian villages, O gauge trains and elaborately decorated houses where families of dolls busily prepare

for Santa’s arrival. More than a decade ago, a pair of Department 56 pieces marked the beginning of a new Christmas tradition for Reed and Linda Dickerson. The couple’s son and daughter-in-law gave Reed, a pilot and model train enthusiast, a Snow Village train station while Linda, a nurse, received a matching hospital. At first, the pieces were displayed on a bookcase in the den. But Reed, who belongs to a model railroad club, quickly discovered it was a perfect excuse to create a holiday train layout. “Reed read in a model train magazine that this particular village went well with Lionel O gauge trains,

Written by rebecca leftwich | Photographed by aaron heidman


At top, the Polar Express chugs through Reed and Linda Dickerson’s bustling Snow Village each holiday season, delivering mysterious packages that keep everyone guessing. Above, families return to their festively decorated homes from shopping, but not before dropping a few coins into the bell-ringer’s bucket to help those less fortunate enjoy a merry Christmas, too. Binoculars help the villager, opposite page, keep watch for Santa, at left, who is busy decorating the town’s tree with a little help from eager children.

november / december 2014

| 65

The streets are alive with holiday shoppers, children playing, men working and all the activity one would expect from a busy village at Christmastime.

so we started buying pieces,” Linda said. “At first, we bought a new one every year and we used an old train in the layout.” Their first layout was slightly larger than a door. “Then we started going to a train show every fall,” Linda said. The Dickersons continued to expand their Snow Village, and about three years ago, the Lionel Polar Express began chugging its way across an 8x12 layout Reed begins assembling shortly after Thanksgiving each year. Built specifically with their grandchildren in mind, the Dickersons’ Polar Express – complete with headlight, puffing smoke, air whistle and lit passenger cars – winds through a tunnel and into a village complete with all the family’s favorite destinations. Near the Lionel Electric Train store, an ecstatic little boy hugs a box containing his newly purchased model train. A toy store also is bustling, as is the local Starbucks. Krispy Kreme occupies prime real estate just across from the police station (naturally!). A granddaughter who takes dance

lessons sparked the addition of a ballet boutique complete with young ballerina figurine to the Dickerson’s village, and a fire station satisfied the fire truck-obsessed little ones as well. The Hershey shop is a nod to Reed’s love for chocolate. The record store specializes in rockabilly and does business on the same block as the local five-and-dime, ice cream parlor, flower shop and drugstore. And what town would be complete without a post office, church, school, bank, doctor’s office, fire station and rows of houses? The streets are alive with holiday shoppers, children playing, men working and all the activity one would expect from a busy village at Christmastime. “It’s a little whimsical,” Linda said. “But not a lot.”

It Takes a Village Although their collection has much in common with the Dickersons’ – it began with a gift, is issued by Department 56 and features pieces with personal meaning, for instance – Greg and Karen Oothoudt’s village is populated by a necessarily whimsical



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Wouldn’t you like to skate with these jolly elves? Greg and Karen Oothoudt love to imagine smaller versions of themselves walking among the houses of their North Pole Village and meeting the elves, Karen says.

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folk: Elves. Since 1990, the Oothoudts have collected 46 buildings for their North Pole Village, beginning with Santa’s Workshop, the first piece ever made in the series. It was an anniversary gift from Greg to his wife. “He saw it in a store and thought I would like it,” Karen said. “We had no idea at the time what it was going to lead to.” Headquarters of the Jolly One himself, the workshop has been joined by other pieces especially dear to the couple. So dear, in fact, that their three children never were allowed to participate in the unpacking process when they were small. “If anything was going to happen to it, it was going to be our fault, not theirs,” Karen said. Among especially favorite pieces are Mrs. Claus’ Greenhouse, the Reindeer Barn, the Chapel, the Reindeer Flight School and the Coca-Cola Fizz Factory. “Our oldest daughter, Hannah, has always loved Coke – the drink itself and the company,” Karen said. “So, of course, when the Coca-Cola Fizz Factory came along, we had to get

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Whimsy is a given in Greg and Karen Oothoudt’s North Pole Village, above, where hard-working elves are the star attraction.

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it. My husband is a retired air traffic controller, and when the Reindeer Flight School came along, complete with a flight tower, that had to be in our collection as well.” But it’s the elves who are the main attraction. “These are very hard-working miniature ceramic elves and they make the display,” Karen said. “There are elves who are training the reindeer, making ornaments and tinsel, growing poinsettias, chopping wood and baking. But then there are some relaxing – golfing and roasting marshmallows.” Hannah and her siblings, Rachel and Adam, have grown up with “The Village,” as the family calls it. What began as a few pieces arranged on a sofa table has expanded into an eighthour assembly project that stretches across three of their home’s walls and

requires 30 containers and storage space in both attic and basement. Greg hand-built the display for the village in four large sections, Karen said, and someday each child will be given his or her section, leaving one with their parents. “The grand plan is, we are going to bring the village back together once in awhile,” Karen said. But for now, the Oothoudts say, they’ll settle for a little of the village’s Christmas magic. “We love to look at it and pretend that we shrink down to size and walk among the houses and meet the elves,” Karen said. “How cool would that be?”

No Place Like Home Christmas magic hasn’t been any further away from Sandra Blair than her dining room table since last



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So many personal touches dot Sandra Blair’s Victorian dollhouse that she might feel comfortable living there in miniature form. The piano reminds her of her late mother, and Blair’s love of dogs and handmade things is apparent in everything from the tiny pups on every floor to the bed coverings. Real copper pots in the upstairs kitchen are a testament to her lifelong fascination with “smalls” – they were originally quaint souvenir keychains.

December. She found the perfect dollhouse in a Newnan antique shop two years ago, and she has spent the past year decking the halls of the sturdy threestory Victorian dwelling so thoroughly that Jacob Marley’s ghostly face would not be out of place on the front door knocker. Blair, a frequenter of antique stores and estate sales, has been collecting bits and bobs – she refers to them as “smalls” – for decades. “I have always loved miniatures and I cannot explain it,” she said. “I couldn’t wait to get my daughter a dollhouse.” Blair’s now-grown daughter, Beth, still owns the dollhouse her mother originally helped her furnish, though she has added her own touches to the display throughout the years. Later on, Blair gave as gifts to her two young nieces dollhouses containing childfriendly pieces for playing, and in two recent projects Blair created a smaller Victorian home and a tearoom. Her design method has been known to unnerve Blair’s family on occasion. “As I’ve been doing these dollhouses over the years, it would kind of worry my kids because I would just sit there and stare,” she said. “They would ask, ‘Mother, what’s wrong?’ But I would

just be imagining what I was going to do about the decorations.” Husband Billy usually checks in during what Blair calls her “King Kong” moments, likening them to the scene in which the colossal ape gropes around inside a building with his giant, clumsy hand, trying to grab Fay Wray. “I’ll be in here working and I’ll make a frustrated noise, and Billy will ask what’s wrong,” Blair said. “I’ll say, ‘King Kong’ and he’ll know what I mean. I’ll try to reach in to do something, then knock over four little things trying to do this one other thing.” It’s no wonder she has those moments. Blair’s dollhouse is so meticulously detailed that every tiny drawer contains tiny linens; every miniature bookshelf is lined with miniature books; and every wee kitchen canister is filled with rice, tea and other staples. A photo album displayed on one shelf is even filled with real photographs of her family, clipped from a the preview page of a package of drugstore prints developed from film years ago. Her Christmas house contains treasures and sentimental touches as well as historically accurate pieces and components altered to appear authentic. During those planning periods which so alarm her children, Blair is not simply staring into the dollhouse and dreaming of how it will look when completed. She is taking a mental inventory of the contents of the boxes that contain her “smalls” collection. Among the spendier items in the display are furniture, porcelain dolls and tea sets imported from Germany. Blair said she was thrilled to discover that a couple of inexpensive vases she bought at an estate sale were Occupied Japan miniature china pieces, and another was imported from Italy. However, the tiny ceramic snowman and Christmas tree were freebies with the British holiday

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It’s Christmas in every nook and cranny of Sandra Blair’s meticulously decorated Victorian dollhouse. Each room is filled with tiny treasures, including miniature handmade quilts and pillows, porcelain period dolls, antique lace and Occupied Japan vases, not to mention Christmas trees in every room and, of course, cookies and milk waiting for Santa on the elfin mantel.

tea Blair bought one year, and the “houseplants” in terra cotta pots are satin rosettes she clipped from a 1940s-era corsage. The authentic copper pots hanging in the attic kitchen were once quaint souvenir keychains. Windows are covered with antique lace swatches from a collection Blair has amassed over the years, and some of the rugs actually are antique crocheted pot holders. And that elegant sculpture in the house’s foyer? It’s not an expensive reproduction of an Italian masterpiece, or even a scaled-down bust of some famous Victorian-era master. It is a miniature birdbath, turned upside down, with the stopper from a longbroken perfume bottle placed on top. “I don’t know, my mind just goes there,” Blair said. Gifts from friends who know about her fascination with “smalls” are scattered throughout the house: A quilt for the sleigh bed, the Christmas stockings hanging from the mantel and a crocheted pillow, all handmade.

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Writer’s Christmas morning in my childhood household was always early, loud and utterly joyous for my four brothers and me. For weeks before Christmas, we fought over the Sears Wishbook, dogearing the toy section and turning to those pages so often they became smudged beyond all recognition. Santa Claus encouraged my fascination with small things, leaving me tea sets and dolls, a Weebles Treehouse and, one memorable year, a muchcoveted Barbie Fashion Plaza with a real working escalator. When Emory Hensley joined the Leftwich family in 1996, my husband Gary and I began for him a collection of Hallmark Christmas ornaments featuring Lionel trains. This year, a miniature Pennsylvania Torpedo Locomotive will join the other 18 engines in a bookshelf display. Every December, Emory carefully removes each die-cast engine from its box and runs the moving wheels across his palm, reacquainting himself with his old friends before arranging them by year on their designated spot. The series of Hallmark ornaments we collected for our daughter Savannah Rose beginning in 1999 and for our other son Asher Blue beginning in 2001 wrapped up long ago, and since then


they have chosen their own special ornaments each year. Their boxes of decorations are a fascinating jumble of bits and bobs reflecting their interests and personalities throughout the years, and the contents range from offbeat – Asher’s set of plastic Hershey’s Miniatures candy bars, for example – to “embarrassing.” (There never seems to be quite enough room to hang that singing High School Musical locker these days …) To Savannah’s porcelain bear collection, she has added such future treasures as a bespectacled green owl, Tinkerbell and a multitude of dance-related ornaments including a sock monkey ballerina. Asher’s miniature historic plane ornaments share space with a Minecraft enderman, Indiana Jones, a German shepherd puppy, and a wee set of Star Wars characters. We hope these collections will someday occupy a place in our children’s homes at Christmas, miniature vessels holding their treasured childhood memories.

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Beth made the needlepoint rug, but that’s not the only family presence in Blair’s dollhouse. “It was important to me to have a piano because my mom played piano and my grandmother was a piano teacher,” Blair said. “I bought a violin in Warm Springs, because my grandfather played violin. It sort of reminded me of them. My mother was a beautiful seamstress, and that’s why I have the sewing machine with all the accessories.” When her son, William, saw the finished dollhouse, one of the first things he spotted was a tiny chess set. “It’s always interesting to see what people notice first,” Blair said. “Billy played chess, and he taught William to play, and they used to love to play chess together.” A porcelain basset hound – one of several dogs populating the house – looks hopefully toward a dessert-laden table. “We had a little basset hound once that loved to eat,” Blair said. “He used to go around the neighborhood begging for food. I love dogs, and I just had to have him there.” The newest addition to the house, a floor vase, is a particularly sentimental piece. “We recently sold off the family farm,” Blair said. “My mother died 25 years ago, and on the wall of her house was a little shelf with little things on it. That vase had been in there all those years, and it just reminds me of her.” Whether it’s Blair’s Victorian dollhouse full of tiny treasures, the Oothoudts’ village with its jolly elf population or the Dickersons’ scaled-down Polar Express winding through a town full of busy residents, tradition and memory – and perhaps a sprinkle of holiday spirit – can bring out the magic of Christmas, captured in miniature. NCM

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christmas in miniature

Nativity Story

Both photos: "Krippe Wolfurt 1" by böhringer friedrich - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Few things are more perfectly “Christmas in miniature” than tiny nativities depicting the scene of Jesus Christ’s birth. Also called manger scenes, or creches, the decorative tableaux have adorned countless homes, places of worship and public byways throughout the years. It’s a tradition with centuries-old origins. In 1223, St. Francis of Assisi organized the first Christmas nativity in the Italian hill town of Greccio. Upon realizing the chapel of his Catholic hermitage would not hold the crowd expected for midnight

mass, Francis obtained the church’s permission to set up an altar in a niche in the rocky hillside near the town’s center. St. Bonaventure described the scene in “The Life of St. Francis of Assisi”: “… he prepared a manger, and brought hay, and an ox and an ass to the place appointed. The brethren were summoned, the people ran together, the forest resounded with their voices, and that venerable night was made glorious by many and brilliant lights and sonorous psalms of praise.” As he preached the mass, Francis

“stood before the manger, full of devotion and piety, bathed in tears and radiant with joy,” Bonaventure wrote. By the mid-1300s, life-sized terra cotta creches were displayed yearround in many Italian churches. Smaller versions began appearing in the homes of wealthy Italian citizens in the 1500s, and artists began to create privately commissioned pieces from wax and wood as well as terra-cotta. Through the centuries, the tradition of displaying creches at Christmas spread throughout countries with a Christian presence,

among both Catholic and Protestant worshipers. Today, the Christmas story is recreated each year through live nativity scenes, plays, readings and artwork as well as through figurine arrangements. Manger scenes are crafted from porcelain, plastic, resin, wood, papier mâché and many other materials and are widely available everywhere from art shows to dollar stores. Collectible, antique, hand-crafted and heirloom versions often are exhibited at holiday events and museums. Online businesses are devoted exclusively to collecting, displaying, caring for and crafting nativities. Toy companies have even gotten into the Christmas spirit, producing child-friendly sets featuring favorites like Legos and Little People as well as Veggie Tales and Peanuts

characters, among others. According to the Old Testament, Joseph and Mary welcomed the birth of Jesus Christ in a stable because there was no room in the inn. Similarly, St. Francis of Assisi shared the story of the birth of Jesus Christ from the first nativity scene because there was no room in the chapel. More than 800 years later, Francis’ impassioned “Babe of Bethlehem” preaching continues to influence modern celebrations not only as its echoes resonate from the pulpit, but also through the legacy of that first creche. The virtually limitless variety of materials, styles, sizes, and price ranges secures for modern “Christmas in miniature” nativity scenes something neither Joseph and Mary nor St. Francis enjoyed: Plenty of room to welcome Jesus Christ and to celebrate his birth. NCM

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artist spotlight


Facts & Fiction Former educator continues to teach through her books

Former Coweta County school teacher Holly Moulder smiled to

herself as she casually signed a copy of her recently published book. Just above her name, she wrote the phrase “Killer diller!” “That isn’t something weird,” she said. “It’s a phrase that was popular back then. It means ‘awesome.’” By “back then,” she means the setting of “Crystal City Lights,” Moulder’s third, award-winning novel of historical fiction for young people. The book’s heroine, 12-year-old Dottie, lives with her German-American family in southern New Jersey in the early ’40s. World War II is under way, and Dottie is learning what's brewing overseas.

Written by Megan Almon | Photographed by Staci addison

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Author Holly Moulder almost spends as much time doing research for her novels as she does the actual writing.

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artist spotlight


Holly Moulder and her husband, Don, are constantly perusing antique stores to find historical items that complement Holly's books. For "Crystal City Lights," World War II-era items are part of the author's frequent presentations in the classroom and on book tours.

When her best friend, Liesel, grows

FBI agents take Dottie’s father,

Dottie’s family following her father to

concerned about a Nazi-sympathizer

a banker, for the kind of routine

the internment camp in Crystal City,

pamphlet she finds at home, she

interrogation that many families of


brings it to school to show Dottie. The

German descent with prominent jobs

pamphlet is haphazardly stashed in

underwent during that time, and it

Dottie’s eyes, with fastidious attention

Dottie’s notebook to avoid discovery by

is the pamphlet – unearthed during

to historical detail from months of

a passing teacher.

a search of their home – that has

careful research – a big part of the fun

82 |

The book tells their story through

for the author and her husband, Don. Moulder is a 20-year veteran of the classroom. Nearly a decade ago, circumstances and tugging heartstrings led to a courageous-but-exciting step out of that setting to pursue her dream – to travel, learn and write. Moulder knew that she could continue teaching through her stories, and that’s precisely what she’s done. In 2007, she published “Eyes of the Calusa,” the story of a young Calusa Indian girl who is kidnapped from her home in southwest Florida by pirates and lands on an indigo plantation – but not before she pays a visit to Blackbeard’s hideout. A year later, she published “A Cord of Three Strands.” Set in 1838, the book interweaves the stories of a Cherokee Indian boy, a runaway slave and a young Abraham Lincoln.

From the Past to the Page The educator in her wanted her work to be accessible to other teachers, so every book comes with a ready-made curriculum complete with integration of the books across other subjects – reading, history, science, etc. Unlike some writers, Moulder tends to pick the time period before she develops her characters. “Crystal City Lights” was born from a desire to write about World War II. “Fifth-graders love it,” she said of the era. As with her other works, Moulder allowed Coweta County students at Ellis Arnall Middle School to participate in the editing process – reading segments and offering feedback. Though she originally thought the story would be set overseas, her

research led her to families stateside – particularly those families that had immigrated to the United States from countries like Germany and Japan. Crystal City stood out for several reasons. It was the only internment camp in the U.S. that allowed families to stay together, mainly because wives and children sold their belongings and followed the husband/father knowing they would be unable to support themselves without his income. Additionally, Crystal City was a blended community that housed families from Germany, Japan and Central America. Moulder gleaned a wealth of details from the personal experience of Arthur (Art) Jacobs, who wrote the book’s forward. Jacobs, like many of the children in the camp, was Americanborn, but his father was arrested when a third party reported that he


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artist spotlight

had a poster of Adolf Hitler hanging in his bedroom. The report was false. At Crystal City, Jacobs learned to speak German at school. His family repatriated to the war-torn country, but Jacobs and his brother were able to return to the U.S., where he became a colonel in the U.S. Air Force. From Jacobs, Moulder learned what the living quarters looked like – unpainted, bare, with exposed framing on the interior – and that the heat was, at times, unbearable. She also learned that relations within the camp, even among habitants and administrators,

were usually cordial. As for day-to-day activities that readers learn about through Dottie, Moulder spent hours poring over the camp commandant’s extensive journals – accessed through the National Archives. She discovered that there was an understandable amount of tension between families, some of whom maintained loyalties to their countries of origin; records describe small parades within the camp to show Nazi support. Moulder’s labor of love unexpectedly intersected with her own history. The

process brought forth her mother’s early memory of men in suits entering their New Jersey home to question Moulder’s grandfather, a cemetery-lot salesman whose last name was Barndt.

Accolades Continue to Grow Since the book’s publication by Blue Marlin Publishers in April, “Crystal City Lights” has received several awards, including the much-coveted Mom’s Choice Award, the 2014 Skipping Stones Honor Award, and an IPPY (Independent Publisher) Gold

Bible Stories Revisited Through Coweta Illustrator Local writer/illustrator Kay Benson has

loved working with moms all over the world for more than a decade. Paired with her background as an educator and a child specialist, it was love that fueled Benson and writing partner Saundria Keck to create “Remember, and Don't Forget: Bible Stories for Mom and Me.” The book came together over the course of several writing retreats, including weekends in Chattanooga – nearer to Keck's Tennessee home – and a memorable week in a Florida condo during which the writers' husbands served gourmet meals on the porch in the evenings, the perfect interludes during days of hard work. Benson and Keck intentionally created “a good foundational piece," choosing words that convey meaning that young, preschoolaged children, or any reader approaching Bible stories for the first time, could grasp. Additionally, Benson – who’d lived in Asia for 84 |

nearly a decade – knew that the book would lend itself to readers from other cultures who may not have a firm grasp of the English language. The book also contains an activity section for children, a thoughtful addition from the former educators who understand that young children are concrete learners. The activities received rave reviews from the pair's test group of young moms in Franklin, Tenn., as well as from dads and grandparents. Benson's illustrations were inspired by her own love of watching children create, as well as by a desire to produce something that visually speaks to people from all over the world. The pages are divided into four squares, “representing the four corners of the world," and each illustration incorporates a bright color palette. Benson recently met Keck in Cape Cod to make headway on their latest project, a second book – slated for a December release – that will focus on character development stories from the Bible for school-aged children. “Remember, and Don't Forget: Bible Stories for Mom and Me” is available on Amazon and iBooks, or on Benson and Keck's blog,, where they pass along sustaining life lessons for upcoming generations of moms.


Medal for excellence in multicultural fiction for young people. Additionally, “Crystal City Lights” was named a “Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People” by the National Council for the Social Studies and the Children’s Book Council. Moulder, who is never too far from her classroom roots, regularly gives presentations on the book. Earlier this year, she was invited to tour U.S. military bases in Germany – Ramstein, Hohenfels and Bamburg – where she fascinated students by bringing Dottie, Liesel, and other characters to life before their eyes. On tour, each character has her or his own suitcase complete with vintage clothing, shoes, and items from the era – treasures that Moulder and her husband have found in antique shops, including an original Slinky. Liesel’s suitcase even contains the 1940s Nancy Ann Storybook doll that the character owns in the book. “Don is even worse than me!” Moulder exclaimed when recounting the couple’s fun “adventuring.” Don called Moulder from an antique store where he found the doll and excitedly told her he knew it was the “real deal” because the doll’s underpants were fastened with a gold safety pin instead of the knock-off’s simple snap. “He must have looked crazy,” she said, laughing at the image of her husband examining the doll's unmentionables. As his wife’s biggest fan, Don continues to cheer on Moulder as she brings to life her latest characters. Her next project is set in Montgomery, Ala., circa 1910. Her protagonist, 13-year-old Macie – named after Moulder’s granddaughter – has discovered that her best friend’s father was murdered by Montgomery’s Night Riders, a militant faction of tobacco farmers during a popular resistance to the monopolistic practices of the American Tobacco Company during that period. As if that weren’t enough suspense, Macie’s dad is working in the wake of a notorious mine explosion. As she sipped coffee and gazed out the window of her Coweta County home, Moulder claimed that, at that moment, her characters were sitting on a dusty roadside deciding whether or not they should run away. “They’re just sitting there, waiting for me to tell them what to do next,” she said with a smile. What will become of them? Only Moulder knows, and the rest is history. NCM

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artist spotlight

Teach the Gift of Reading Books are kind of like people in that it “takes all kinds” for this world, and yet it seems there are a few common threads woven into some of the world’s greatest children’s books. For one, simplicity. The more simple an idea, the broader the audience with which it will connect. Originality also goes a long way. A pigeon who wants to drive a bus? A blue cat who sings about his tennis shoes? It’s so simple, yet original, and that’s why these ideas work. Consequently, the “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” series by Mo Willems and the “Pete the Cat” series by Eric Litwin continue to sell millions and delight young and old readers alike. Ingredients for success and popularity become somewhat more complex with chapter books. Time is short for everyone these days, it seems, and, unfortunately, that’s also true for our children. Chapter books require a more substantial time commitment. Therefore, children are savvy when choosing books and often base their decisions on knowing that time to complete the book will compete with other activities such as sports, video games, TV shows and homework. It helps to have a motivating factor in a child’s decision to make that commitment. That motivation often comes from hearing their peers talk about a particular title, the “lunch table factor” if you will. Children will stay up reading the latest popular sci-fi 86 |

tome until their eyes turn red because it is important to them to be part of the conversations taking place about these books and to experience the same reading journeys as their friends. Readers love to recognize a truth or a common experience when reading. All of us were banished to the bedroom for some childhood offense. Maurice Sendak expertly used that common experience to capture readers and take them on a journey to “Where The Wild Things Are.” Mix a dose of humor with truth and you have a potent elixir. Humor goes a long way with readers. Books written with a witty, light touch affect the reader in a positive way almost instantly. Who doesn’t want or need to laugh? A funny book cleverly written is a great book for any reader. Books are capable of taking us far, far away. They enable us to experience emotions never felt before, and they take us on journeys we never expected. As someone who grew up in rural South Georgia, I heavily relied upon books to take me to other places. When I read “The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweller,” I felt like a kid who lived in New York City. The first 20 or so pages of “Charlotte’s Web” still have the power to electrify me 40 years after I read them for the first time. Encourage your children to explore living in different places and to experience time travel through the

pages of a quality chapter book. Children are at times initially attracted to books that relate to what they’ve seen in the media. If a book is based on a TV show, a movie or a pop star, the quality of the writing probably is not worth your child’s time. With the media constantly pounding at our young, it is up to adults to be another influence steering them toward quality alternatives. With a reluctant reader, start with any book the child may gravitate toward. Yes, even (cringe) “SpongeBob SquarePants Krazy Beach Day.” Once a child is hooked on reading, try increasing his exposure to other (more – ahem – dignified) titles from there. All it takes is sparking the desire to read another book. I’m a firm believer that the right book to inspire a love of reading is out there for every child. Expose a child to a wide variety of books and he’ll find the good one in there somewhere. Have faith. A good book for kids, after all, is the one that they’ll actually read. NCM

Larisa McMichael, born in Savannah and hopelessly southern, loves rock and folk music, folk art, old movies, reading and helping others get excited about reading. She’s been a school librarian/media teacher for 12 years at Woodward Academy. She lives in Newnan with her husband, Stan, and daughter, Dinara.

Know an EnERgy EfficiEnt HomE wHEn you SEE it. The H E R S Home Energy Rating System Learn how to save money and energy with the Home Energy Rating System. It’s the national standard for measuring energy efficiency. The score of an average existing home is 130, while an EarthCents® New Home scores 77 or less. That difference can add up to hundreds of dollars a year. So look for the HERS index, buy smart and save big. Learn more at

HERS is a registered trademark of Residential Energy Services Network, Inc. Used with permission. ©2014 Georgia Power Company. Trademarks are the property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.

duel pages

In this corner

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is for grownups

“ ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ has everything: drama, comedy, and plenty of romance.”

Brenda Pedraza

Vidamour, a former Newnan Times-Herald writer, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Georgia State University, where she minored in film. She lives a wonderful life with her true love in an old, run-down house.

Comparing “It’s a Wonderful Life” to “A Christmas Story” is like comparing the trials of a grown man to those of a little boy. There is no comparison. I didn’t realize how much I disliked “A Christmas Story,” directed by Bob Clark, until I had to suffer through it again recently. I saw it for the first time in the early ’90s, back when we rented from Blockbuster. One night, I inadvertently chucked my husband’s personal copy in the Blockbuster bin after hours. He tried to retrieve it but couldn’t get it back. We didn’t replace it. We didn’t care, and still don’t. It’s an immature and obnoxious film, unlike “It’s a Wonderful Life,” directed by Frank Capra, which merits an annual holiday viewing because of its content, relevancy and enduring legacy. “A Christmas Story,” bankrupt of all these merits, should stay in the defunct bins of yesteryear. “It’s a Wonderful Life” has everything: drama (unfulfilled aspirations, dying faith, personal crises), comedy (seriously, take another look at angel Clarence’s eyebrows or lanky Jimmy Stewart doing the Charleston or the old principal leaping into the pool), and plenty of romance. Mary Hatch (Donna Reed) is mesmerizing as she pines for George Bailey (Stewart). Who can forget the charged honeymoon scene when she finally gets her man and they begin their lives together in that dilapidated old house? Perhaps the greatest homage to these new lovers and that dilapidated, old house is in “The Notebook.” Director Nick Cassavetes is far from the only one who has paid Capra tribute. Each time Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell) of “Modern Family” misses that same loose step on his way up the stairs, we’re reminded of Stewart pulling off that same loose newel cap on his way up the stairs. While Capra may be accused of promoting an idealized, romanticized view of the world, in “A Christmas Story,” Clark shows too much of its ugly side – mean-spirited, vulgar and selfish – disguised as comedy. Yet fans claim his story is more true to life. They relate to a father who curses up a storm, to a disgusting

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mall Santa, and to tormenting bullies. I wonder what the movie really meant to Clark, of “Porky’s” fame. (“Porky’s.” Remember that gem?) Did he need a BB gun to shoot his eyes out so as not to confront the distastefulness of his life’s work, a sexy woman’s leg in order to be able to garner at least one “major award,” and lots of Lifebuoy soap to make himself feel clean (innocent) again? As one Toronto film critic argued, “the film strikes a chord with people who had (similar) childhoods … but I’m not sure where that leaves the rest of us.” It’s not relatable to the rest of us because we’re not man-children. Yet, I must admit I have my own childish preferences, all those mindless rom-coms that feed my girlish delusions. But who am I kidding? In my day, I was more Violet Bick than Mary Hatch. In truth, no movie is realistic, but if I had to choose a reality, I’d choose Capra’s version. I want to believe each one of us can make a difference, and that our lives do count for something. I’d rather sign up for “Capracorn” and embrace the morality and universal, lifeaffirming lessons he advocated. Most people feel the same, especially during Christmas. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is No. 1 on American Film Institute’s list of 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time. While I dislike Clark’s sensibilities, I do at least admire Jean Shepherd’s narrated descriptions in “A Christmas Story.” But I would have settled for a podcast of his old radio stories. Sure, I would have missed the “many small, but perfect moments” film critic Roger Ebert said of some scenes, but as director Ed Wood said, “Filmmaking is not about the tiny details, it’s about the big picture.” The big picture boils down to legacy. The legacy of “It’s a Wonderful Life” is immutable, and “A Christmas Story” is simply a waste of time. It’s time for all the Ralphies to grow up and become the George Baileys of the world. NCM

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What’s not to like about “A Christmas Story”? and harkens back to a simpler time filled with love, patience and family, but it’s also about humor. Relatability. Realness. This authenticity is why it’s stood the test of time, and why we’ll be seeing Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin and the rest of the Indiana crew on our screens for years to come. “A Christmas Story,” a slice of postDepression, pre-WWII Americana circa the late 1930s/early 1940s, tells the tale of 9-year-old Ralphie and his quest for a Red Ryder BB gun. From sinister elves and a lackluster Santa to overcoming bullies and the infuriating refrain “you’ll shoot your eye out,” it’s quite a ride. It’s familiar and FUN, like the film equivalent of those giant, colorful Christmas light bulbs from childhood, the fire hazards that always made your heart glad and your electric bill high. Which brings me to a film I feel the opposite about: “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I may get strung up in twinkle lights for saying this about a beloved classic, but Frank Capra’s syrupy sentiment-fest is overrated. I know that’s akin to kicking Rudolph, but I’m not buying the wholesome selflessness. Where are the “pink nightmare” bunny costumes? The tongues stuck to icy poles? It’s heartwarming, and Jimmy Stewart does his most earnest drawl with the beautiful Donna Reed at her beatific best … but still. It doesn’t resonate with me. Both movies are set in roughly the same time period in what seem to be snow globe northern American towns. Both are on the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry, but “A Christmas Story” sums up the more “frah-GEE-lay” aspects of the family dynamic. This was confirmed for me when I snuggled up with my 6-year-old son to pass on the tradition last year. He quickly became engrossed and giggled right along with me. At one zany moment, he looked up at me and said with a grin, “That family is crazy like mine.” Yes, indeed. NCM

In this corner

Some movies are like comfort food for the brain. I’m talking fluffy buttermilk biscuits in the cerebellum here – no quinoa and kale cinema will curb the cravings. Only a certain kind of film will do when the world has sharp teeth and the mind seeks solace: The one that slips on like flannel Christmas pajamas over fleecy socks, that balances kitsch with substance, weaves humor with love and offers “the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window” … wait, what? I guess I like my comfort movies a little salty, even the holiday variety. Give me a fishnet stocking-bedecked leg lamp in all its tacky splendor, throw in a dysfunctional family, add a dose of nostalgia and you’ve got it: “A Christmas Story,” the ultimate holiday classic AND comfort film. Let’s face it – isn’t that why we watch these annual sugarplum showcases over and over again? To laugh, to cry … to feel better? To get a serious case of the warm and fuzzies not found in any Instagram filter or pill bottle? And, like a BB to the eye, a 24-hour marathon of “A Christmas Story” might just do that for you. Or it might prompt you to use swear words, which I don’t recommend unless you want a bar of soap in the ol’ pecan pie hole. I have loved “A Christmas Story” unabashedly since it began airing on my floor console TV when I was a big-banged middleschooler with a burgeoning interest in pop culture. The holidays could be dull in a small town – affectionate, peppermint-y and lovely – but dull all the same. A funny movie to pass the time that also warmed the heart? Pure gold. I adored that my mother, who finds most humor “vulgar” and even the mildest of curse words to be “common barnyard talk,” would cluck and say “Amy!” in her accusatory whisper at certain points in the movie, but I’d see a secret smile anyway, a concession that tickled me silly. That’s the thing about “A Christmas Story” – yes, it’s as cozy as a fireside storybook

“I guess I like my comfort movies a little salty, even the holiday variety.”

A former crime reporter for The Newnan TimesHerald, AMY LOTT is also a mother of two, a south Georgia girl and a lover of all things Christmas. Except for “Elf on the Shelf” – because enough already.

november / december 2014

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What’s been your favorite Christmas gift? For many, Christmas is a time for giving and receiving gifts. Children, and even some adults, will spend countless hours anxiously anticipating what Santa is bringing them for the holiday (an antique doll? a new video game? a Dr. Seuss tie?), and most everyone has one present – one they gave or one they received – that stands out. We wanted to find out what those gifts are, so Newnan-Coweta Magazine conducted a man-on-the-street poll to find out.

Compiled by CELIA SHORTT 90 |

When I was in sixth grade, we lived in south Florida. My aunts, uncles and cousins were all coming in for Christmas. I got a lot of presents that year, and three specific ones still stand out. The first was a transistor radio, because I love music. The second was a basketball, because it is my favorite sport. The third was a set of weights, because I was a string bean and wanted to bulk up. All three represent the things I really like to do today. I used the radio until I was a senior in high school. With the basketball, I wore it out and got a new one every year. I also used the weight system a lot and wore it out, too. - Mark Fields, Newnan

My favorite Christmas present was a cash register. I was little and just got it into my head that I wanted one. Santa Claus brought me one, and I was the happiest kid ever. I would ring up orders and make change. I became a little scavenger and would go through the trash to get empty food containers and set up a grocery store. I was so thrilled with that thing. I played with it forever and eventually wore it out. - Carol Moore, Newnan When I was 12, I got a Traxxas remote-controlled truck for Christmas. It was the first time I had asked for the biggest and coolest present that year and got it. It was loud and fast and came from Allison Performance Hobby downtown. My family had just moved to Newnan from Fairburn, and I was excited about that hobby shop. Before then, we had to go to Riverdale to the hobby store. - Jason Kanner, Newnan A Sony bookshelf stereo with speakers I got for Christmas when I was 13 years old. It was just mine, and I didn’t have to share it with my brothers. I could go into my room and listen to it alone. - Nick Howard, Newnan My freshman year in high school, I started marching band at Newnan High School. That year, in pure “A Christmas Story” fashion, all the presents were


Arbor Terrace

HOLIDAY TOUR OF HOMES December 11 • 3-6 p.m. Several Arbor Terrace residents will open up their homes this holiday season for the annual Arbor Terrace Holiday Tour of Homes. Join us for a tour of these beautifully decorated apartments and enjoy refreshments and appetizers in our club room while listening to live music.

201 Crosstown Drive, Peachtree City (770) 632-5823 • november / december 2014

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opened, and my dad told me I had one more under the coffee table. The present was a Bach Stradivarius silver plated trumpet. That trumpet took me everywhere – Governor’s Manor, All State, Red Coat Marching Band. I still use it today. - Thomas Frost, Newnan My family always gets together every Christmas Eve. One year, right after the economy had tanked, we had decided not to do a lot. My brother had to move back in with my mom. He didn’t have a lot of money, but he still wanted to give us something. So he went into his room and gave us all mugs from his coffee cup collection. Mine was a mug from Florida. Every time I see it, I think about that Christmas, when he didn’t have a lot and still gave me that present. It doesn’t cost a lot, but to me it means the world. - Denita Bennett, Newnan When I was 21 years old, my brothers gave me the “Famous Five” books. It was a series I had always loved and read when I was a kid. I was missing three of the books and couldn’t find them anywhere. My brothers scoured all the secondhand shops near where we lived in Australia and found them. I still read those books today. - Michayla Best, Newnan

Mine was actually a favorite present I gave someone. My sister and I love the “Sound of Music.” Last year, I found a gift package with the Blu-ray, DVD, music box, and other novelties. I bought it for my sister, and she loved it. - Amelia Horsley, Sharpsburg When I was 8 or 9 years old, my family and I lived in the Philippines. My dad took us to Hong Kong for Christmas. He gave me and my brother each $100. I spent everything on Hello Kitty stuff – cassette tapes, toys, clothes, etc. I think I bought enough to fill an entire suitcase. - Valerie Dumas, Newnan The last Christmas I spent with my dad was my best Christmas present. It was in 2010, and he had lung cancer. He was completely himself. He was just on oxygen. At Christmas, we would always deep fry turkeys, and I would always wake up my siblings and parents in the morning. I was able to do all that, and my dad cooked the turkeys while we all stayed in at our house. Three months later, in March 2011, he passed away. - Danielle Perez, Senoia A Barbie paradise set. It had a plane, towels, bath set, traveling set and lots of other stuff. It was really special because my mom gave it to me. I was 7 and didn’t really know what I wanted. My mom picked it out for me and set it up all over the sofa and living room to surprise me. - Megan Stegall, Newnan A Barbie laptop computer toy. It had over 50 games on it. During that time, technology wasn’t that big, but it was important to me. I played every game on that toy – except the few games in other languages – until it wore out. - Ausjuan Barnes, Newnan NCM

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Indians, Cougars look to bounce back Friday

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Coweta high schools outscore state on SAT By CELIA SHORTT

tendent Dr. Steve Parker in a CCSS also ranked eighth officials. sion test recognized all over average score was 1445, and “Our performance on the press release. “This is helping the world. It tests students’ the national average was 1497. out of the 23 Georgia school This year’s average puts districts with 500 or more stu- SAT ref lects an intentional our students to be better preknowledge of reading, writing effort from our schools over pared for assessments such Coweta County high school and math, and their ability to CCSS in the top 10 percent dents taking the test in 2014. This achievement shows the past several years to pro- as the SAT. Our staff and stuof school districts in Georgia students continue to outpace apply that knowledge. According to the Coweta and gives them the 17th high- continued improvement for v ide st udents w it h more dents are to be commended Georgia as a whole, as their 2014 average SAT score was 51 County School System, Cowe- est average score of the 179 CCSS and is because of hard advanced learning opportu- for this increase in our SAT points higher than the state’s. ta’s 2014 average score was district averages reported by work by teachers and stu- nities throughout their school SCORES, page 2A dents, according to school career,” said CCSS SuperinThe SAT is a college admis- 1496. The state of Georgia’s College Board.

Verdict on proposed behavioral hospital expected by Dec.




Ray Park was recently renovated with a new pavilion, a playground, a pedestrian crosswalk, and a walking trail. It is also one of four city parks that will receive a new public restroom.

City improving its parks By CELIA SHORTT

The city of Newnan is continually improving what it offers those who live and visit here, and one of its recent improvements is renovating and improving some of its city parks. Earlier this year, Newnan City Council approved a nearly $343,000 bid for renovations to Ray Park on the city's west side. The bid approved was the lowest and does not include playground equipment and landscaping. Those are estimated to be an additional $125,000.


Ronda Helton, a program manager He is also Newnan’s arborist and landwith Newnan, said the park improve- scape architect. Furbush said a parks and recreation ments include a pavilion, a playground, a pedestrian crosswalk, and a walking master plan was done around 2010, trail, and the project came out of input which included a detailed survey about the city. from two community meetings. “One of the main things to come out Ray Park is currently open. At its Sept. 22 regular meeting, city of the study was bathrooms in our pubcouncil approved a $177,707 contract lic parks,” he said. There will be one restroom facility in with Quality Construction by McLeroy Inc. for public restrooms at Green- each of the four parks. The Greenville Street park will have ville Street Park, First Avenue Park, Ray a single family style restroom, serving Park and Lynch Park. “These are the four parks that get the men and women. First Avenue and Ray most use,” said Mike Furbush, director PARKS, page 2A of Newnan’s beautification department.

The verdict on the Certificate of Need for Newnan’s proposed behavioral hospital should come by the end of this year, according to Newnan Business Development Director Hasco W Craver IV. Craver made the announcement at the Newnan Development Authority meeting on Wednesday. “T hey’re sti ll goi ng through the process,” said Craver. “We should hear around Thanksgiving … maybe the beginning of December.” The behavioral Craver hospital would be at the location of Newnan’s former hospital on Hospital Road. The state initially denied t he Cer t i f ic ate of Need for the facility, and both Newnan and Coweta County joined Vest Newnan, LLC, in appealing its denial. Vest Newnan is the parent com-

Coweta County has hired a consultant to look at the financial feasibility of the county moving toward f ire department-provided emergency medical services. The commissioners voted in May to look into the possibility of moving EMS services in-house. County staff has done a lot of study of the issue already, accordi n g to C o u n t y A d m i n i s t r a to r Michael Fouts. The main focus of consultant Jack Krakeel’s report will be how the county would bill for services – and collect those payments. That’s not something the county is used to doing. “It’s kind of an objective review of whether it is feasible,” Fouts said at Tuesday’s county commission meeting. “There are a lot of different factors.”




Krakeel will be paid $6,500 for his consulting services, and up to $500 in expenses. Fouts said he expects the report to be completed by the end of November. In other meeting business: • The board voted to establish “no parking” and “no standing” (waiting) zones on Morgan Road and Old Hwy. 85. The board also voted to prohibit turns from Old Hwy. 85 onto Morgan Road between 2 and 4 p.m. on school days. The action is necessary because of traffic backups caused by parents waiting to pick up children at Coweta Charter Academy on Hwy. 16 in Senoia. Vehicles are blocking Morgan and Hwy. 85, said Assistant County Administrator Kelly Mickle. The reason is that there is inadequate

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to his friend, Carson Brewer, 6.

Pumpkins offer festive fall fun

By W. WINSTON SKINNER at Halloween, and they often are used in conjunction with Indian corn, leaves and a cornucopia for Thanksgiving decorating. Pumpkins are orangey orbs proPumpkin patches also offer fun claiming the crisp arrival of fall. for families. Two local patches offer A member of the squash fam- pumpkins with proceeds going to ily, the pumpkin gains in popularity this time of year. Families PUMPKINS, page 5A carve them up for jack-o-lanterns TODAY

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State and federal officials have sig ned paper work that officially authorizes expansion of the port of Savannah. Advocates of the project have said the port needs to be deeper to accommodate larger ships that will be com i ng t h roug h t he expanded Panama Canal. Coweta industries get raw materials from the ports and ship f inished goods out from Savannah. Fifteen years of studies, lawsuits and bureaucratic delays preceded the action Wednesday.

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Wyatt Wargofcak, 4, enjoys showing off pumpkins at Wargo’s Pumpkin Patch

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Consultant to study fire department EMS services By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL

pany attempting to invest in the hospital. The appeal hearing was in July. Ta n n e r Me d i c a l C e n ter, Riverwoods Behavioral Health and Southern Crescent Behavioral Health System all f iled requests to intervene in the hearing, and Craver said some of them have taken the issue to superior court. Even if it comes back in Newnan’s favor, these other parties could keep it going in superior court, he added at Wednesday’s meeting. T he N DA a lso saw its newest member, Jim Markle, sworn in on Wednesday. Markle replaced former member Malcolm Jackson, who retired earlier this year. At Wednesday’s meeting, Craver reported to the NDA: • Several developers are looking to see if they can put in a “multi-family residential facility” at the site of the old Papp Clinic near the old hospital. •Gander Mountain and Marriott Towne Suites, both located off Newnan Crossing Bypass, are hoping to open for business in November. He also reported another hotel is looking to locate in front of the Marriott’s location.


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A collection of original works by Coweta poets and writers

The Fine Art of Solitaire

The Lake

by Leverett Butts

by Anna Andreeva

The Lake is my companion. It lays in the morning’s semi-darkness still dreaming of rivers and rainfalls while the birds under the window discuss their daily schedules. The Sun with thousands of mighty wands turning the fog into disappearing mist. The Lake shimmering with love in the warm caress of the Sun. Soon it will be awake and welcoming clouds and skies – early visitors, passing by in their soft shades of dawn attire always en vogue. The Lake is my companion. It accepts with forgiving patience the fish lines of a few fishermen, standing still in their reverie. The Lake is my companion. Letting my lime-green kayak draw watercolors on the surface of its mirror world. My audience – the ducks – burst up with cries when I approach them for an opinion, leaving the horizon all to myself. 94 |

The Lake is my companion. We welcome the five o’clock tea bunch: the meaningful silence of the distinguished bird, perched on a branch of a willow tree while the all-knowing egret paces back and forth, discussing politics as a philosopher in an ancient gymnasium. The Lake is my companion. We bid farewell to the Sun – each trying to prolong the inevitable. A Mardi Gras rapture in purples and shimmering golds. The Lake coils away, wrapped in a scarf of blue-green forests letting the heavy darkness weigh it down. I close my eyes – reassured. Till the next morning ...

Merle Tallison sat in the back of The Caring Lion, playing solitaire. He often played solitaire when he wanted to think. It was a habit he had picked up during the war. As a camp minister, Merle often found that the soldiers – especially the younger boys, the drummer boys, buglers, and teenaged foot-soldiers who had lied about their age to go on a grand adventure – would regularly come to him, especially after their first battles, for comfort and reassurance. Most of the boys were ashamed of their response to battle, to their initiation into organized and sanctioned murder, which was by and large a blend of disgust, fear and blind panic. Some of them, a not inconsiderable number, dropped their weapons or instruments in the heat of battle and ran, at their first opportunity, to the nearest tree line, there to wait until the smoke cleared and then slip back into their regiments unobserved. These boys almost always wanted reassurance that they were not the cowards they had berated themselves for being, and they wanted Merle’s assurance that God would forgive their cowardice and grant them another chance to redeem themselves. “I wouldn’t worry overmuch

about it,” he inevitably assured them. “There is always another chance to prove yourself in battle.” He never told them, however, that God would provide this opportunity, only that the opportunity was always there. Other boys, those who had not run but had stood their ground and witnessed the slaughter came to his tent deeply concerned that, by participating in the wholesale slaughter, they had condemned themselves. When the war was young, and God still spoke to Merle, he invariably explained to these children that there was a difference between state-sanctioned war, however awful and bloody an affair, and the spirit of the sixth commandment. “It is understandable that you would feel this way,” he would soothe them, his hand on their shoulders, squeezing fatherly, “but there is a difference between murdering a man in cold-blooded anger and deciding a moral question on the field of battle. God understands the difference, and forgives you even before you ask.” Is it any wonder, Merle would later ask himself, that God has chosen no longer to speak to me? How could He not abandon me after such lies? Later, during what Merle called God’s Great Silence, he would approach these boys differently. When the boys came in worried for their souls, Merle would now assure them that they had indeed jeopardized their afterlives – “for God has commanded us not to kill and calls us to love one another. You cannot,” he’d continue without the fatherly hand on the shoulder, “take up arms in war, even in defense of your homeland and culture, and not defy both these commandments.” Here, he would inevitably lower his head, looking warningly at his visitor. “You are damned,” he’d say. “But you scarcely could be otherwise. Given the choice of a pure soul shot for treason and a tainted soul

choosing damnation and a longer life, I know of few who’d take purity.” Then he would take the remorseful young killer’s hand and lead him in prayer: “I confess that I have sinned by my own fault in thought, word and deed in things done and left undone, especially in the taking of human life. For these sins, I am truly sorry. I pray God to have mercy on me.” This was a slight alteration of the Confession as written in Merle’s prayer book, which included a claim of remorse for “all other sins which I can’t now remember.” After the Great Silence, Merle omitted this line from his prayer, reasoning that it was disingenuous to ask forgiveness for sins that you could not be bothered to feel remorse sufficient enough to spur your memory. As the war dragged on, more and more boys came to replace the lost boys dead in battle (after Gettysburg, for instance, Merle seemed convinced his entire company had been replaced by children). Merle discovered that as more and more children came to him for counseling, he felt less and less able to comfort them. What could he possibly tell them that would help? He found himself more frequently avoiding the boys when they came to his tent, but they could be an insistent lot. He sometimes knelt, folding his arms in mock prayer on the seat of his stool when he heard the sounds of an approaching penitent. However, the visitor would more than likely kneel beside him on entering the tent, forcing him to transform the faux prayer into an actual prayer. As the camp minister, apparently the young men assumed Merle would not mind their interruptions. If a boy entered Merle’s tent to find minister reading, he would think nothing of interrupting him. It did not matter what he read: if Merle was reading his Bible or prayer book, the visitor would take that as a sign that the reverend was in a spiritual frame

of mind and would welcome the opportunity to commune directly with the Lord; a more secular reading selection meant only that the minister was merely passing time idly until an opportunity to practice his divine calling presented itself. Even the privies proved no sanctuary, and Merle often found his morning ablutions transformed into a reverse confessional as he sat within the outhouse providing absolution to a penitent kneeling outside the door. Oddly, the soldiers drew the line at interrupting a card game. Once, when Reverend Tallison really was simply passing idle time with a game of solitaire, a new recruit fresh from his first skirmish entered the minister’s tent, wiping his eyes with the grey sleeve of his jacket. “Reverend,” the young man declared, “if I don’t talk to someone soon, I’m gonna die.” Merle placed his hand of cards face down on the desk and looked patiently at his intruder. “How may I help you?” However, as soon as the boy saw the face-down cards placed below the tableau of face-up cards on the desk, he began to back out of the tent. “I’m sorry,” he said in an embarrassed stammer. “I didn’t know you was busy.” “Not at all, son,” Merle responded. “What seems to be the problem?” “No, no,” the boy said waving his hands, “you finish your game. I’ll come back later. It’ll keep.” And before Merle could stop him, the young man left the tent. From that day forward, Merle made it a habit to play at least one hand of solitaire a day. It was the only time he had to himself, and it became a kind of meditation for him. After the war, he continued the habit, even learning new variations of the game in order to have a selection of games to play based on the length of time he wished to think. NCM november / december 2014

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92.5 The Bear.....................................................11 AllSpine Laser and Surgery Center......................9 Amazon Stone....................................................67 Arbor Terrace.....................................................91 Atlanta Market Furniture...................................37 BeDazzled Flower Shop.....................................33 The Bedford School...........................................85 Blue Moon Boutique..........................................20 C. S. Toggery......................................................25 CareSouth..........................................................69 Carriage House Country Antiques & Gifts........77 Charter Bank......................................................63 ChemDry of Coweta..........................................81 Collector's Corner and The BoneYard...............75 Cosmetic Laser & Skin Care Center....................3 Coweta-Fayette EMC........................................99 Double Bar H Stables.........................................85 Downtown LaGrange Development Authority........................................................45 Edward Jones.....................................................55 Farm Bureau Insurance......................................49 Fine Lines Art & Framing...................................27 Foot Solutions....................................................91 Georgia Academy of Dance & the Performing Arts...................................71 Georgia Bone and Joint, LLC...............................5 Georgia Power...................................................87 HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Newnan.....................................................35 Healthy Life Chiropractic.....................................7 Heritage of Peachtree..........................................6 The Heritage School..........................................85 Jillian's Top Drawer............................................33 Kemp's Dalton West Flooring............................17 LaGrange Symphony Orchestra........................49 Landmark Christian School................................79 Lee-King Pharmacy............................................23 MainStreet Newnan...........................................19 Massage Envy....................................................17 Meat 'N' Greet...................................................21 Morgan Jewelers................................................24 The Newnan Times-Herald................................93 Newnan-Coweta Board of Realtors...................50 Pain Care..............................................................2 Piedmont Healthcare...........................................4 Plum Southern....................................................47 The Salvation Army............................................83 Savannah Court of Newnan...............................51 Senior Helpers....................................................27 Senoia Health & Wellness..................................44 Simply Unique Finds..........................................27 Skin Cancer Specialists, P.C. .............................57 Somerby.............................................................73 Southern Crescent Equine Services, LLC..........37 Stemberger & Cummins, P.C.............................51 StoneBridge Early Learning Center...................69 Treasures Old & New.........................................68 Uniglobe McIntosh Travel..................................61 University of West Georgia................................10 Vein Specialists of Georgia................................77 Vinewood Plantation..........................................15 VITAS Healthcare.................................................8 Wesley Woods of Newnan.................................29 West Georgia Gastroenterology.......................41 98 |

january/february preview



Avenging Obsession

By day, Cowetan Scott Zachry is a mildmannered history teacher at Northgate High School. By night, he is a super hero of comic book collecting, with his collection numbering into the thousands, including a holy grail for most Marvel fans – every issue of the Avengers. Find out more about his secret identity and his not-so-secret passion in the next issue of NCM.

Launching Pads

From Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, Ga., to the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tenn., listening rooms and open mic nights are the places to hear up-and-coming musicians. Both FreeRock and Newnan Unplugged provide a hub for local musicians to gather, play their own songs and create a loyal fan base. Artists plug into this creative current as a way to support one another and to diversify their own talents. Read more about the well of talent springing up at Newnan Unplugged and FreeRock in the next issue.


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Helping the people of west Georgia and east Alabama is our reward.

Being recognized for medical excellence is a bonus. It’s not really the style of West Georgia Health to stand up front and center to proclaim our achievements. But every once in a while, you just want people to know how good you really are. West Georgia Health is recognized by The Joint Commission as a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures® for achieving excellence in performance on its accountability measures for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, and surgical care.

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According to the 2014 CareChex* report, West Georgia Health is ranked:

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We’ll admit, it’s nice to be recognized. But it’s even better to serve great people every single day. *These rankings are based on independent research conducted by CareChex®, a division of Comparion®. Comparion determines these rankings via its National Quality Rating Database which includes virtually all general, acute, no-federal U.S. hospitals and incorporates the most recent three years of federal fiscal year data. To learn more, visit

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November - December Issue - Newnan-Coweta Magazine