More Jackson County Opinions...

AUGUST 28, 2002

By:Rochelle Beckstine
The Jackson Herald
August 28, 2002

Time changes all
This time last year, I was settling into full-time motherhood as I had just left my job with MainStreet Newspapers in order to take care of my five-month-old daughter, Piper. I called my grandmother several times to ask for her advice or just to hear the voice of another adult human being. I was thrilled every time I heard goos and dadas and mamas, but I did need something a little more stimulating from time to time. Besides I had to share the latest “cute” thing Piper had done and get her opinion on whether my daughter was the next Marie Curie.
A year older, Piper is running everywhere. She tackled walking with ease in the spring and has progressed to running. She runs from place to place and often into things. Her enthusiasm makes me remember how exciting it is to go somewhere anywhere without the focus being on the destination, but on the journey. She learns new words everyday, her latest being “Help” without the L, “Up” and her own name pronounced Piber. She loves to give her dog ice cubes and for some reason slapping the cat while saying “no.” I’ve taught her to help me wash windows and feed the fish, though her Dad is pushing for me to teach her to do dishes.
Weather wise last year we were all suffering from the drought and watering restrictions. My grass was dying and pollution levels in the Atlanta area were soaring. Not much has changed there though the water ban is just a bit tougher.
My home is richer by one black cat and seven goldfish who reside in a fish pond behind my house. The cat watches the gold fish dart between lilies and hyacinths dipping his paw into the water and pulling it back out shaking water.
The biggest change this year has to do with Eric, my husband. Last year, he dreamed of becoming a chef. This year, with a little prodding from me, he’s trying to make his dream a reality. He works from 9 to 5 as a security technician and then at 6 he’s at the Atlanta Culinary Institute in Buckhead studying culinary arts until 10:30 p.m. It’s a tough schedule, but he’s excited and he won’t let being tired keep him from trying to make his dream come true. It’s elevated me to single motherhood four nights a week. I’m closer to my daughter than I was before and I’m doing more with my evenings. I joined a gym. I never would have said last year that exercising is enjoyable, but I’m saying it now. I have more energy. I feel better about myself. And it’s my time. I don’t begrudge Piper a moment of my time, but it’s good for her to be with other kids and it’s good for me to have an hour of time where it’s just me focusing on me. It’s good for the bod and good for the soul. I highly recommend it.
Rochelle Beckstine is a columnist for MainStreet Newspapers.

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By: Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
August 28, 2002

Doing it for fun and fellowship
The tradition is alive and well. And so long as there’s summertime and election time, it’ll always be barbecue time. Nothing like pit-cooked, chopped, sauced and seasoned Boston butt to add a little spice to a political rally.
The crowd started gathering at Hurricane Shoals at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10. But they wouldn’t have had anything to eat if the crew hadn’t gathered 12 hours earlier — and lost a good night’s sleep.
I call them “the crew” for want of a better name. The head honcho doesn’t even know what to call them.
“Arcade Ambassadors” would be an appropriate title, although only one of them lives there now. But the late Smokey Brookshire used to be a resident. Smokey was police chief and chief of the volunteer fire department, and didn’t need an excuse to fire up the grill.
And one member of the present crew, George Edmondson, was always there to get in on the cooking and story telling.
The Brookshire-Edmondson duo passed on their culinary art and story-telling skill to the younger generation, including Smokey’s son, Norman.
According to Norman, “More lies are told around a barbecue pit than around a fish camp.”
Southern barbecuing has always been a family affair. Randy Edmondson, George’s son, drove up from Thomson for the privilege of being on the team.
And George drafted his son-in-law for the August 10 grilling. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Charles Jordan, along with Tammy and their four children, have been vacationing with George and Ann in Jefferson. They left four days ago for a three-year tour on Okinawa, and George is going to be disappointed if the Southern barbecuing tradition doesn’t catch on over there.
It caught on with Tony Fulghum and Dennis Bullock years ago, and you can count on them, along with Randy and Norman and another regular, Hugh Lee Culpepper, joining old-timer George, the head honcho, the next time he lights the charcoal.
Randy can’t remember when he wasn’t involved in a barbecue. It was almost a necessity when he was growing up.
“Daddy was one of 11 children. I have 52 first cousins. Two of my uncles were farmers. We’d get together at their place and hunt, kill, dress and cook deer, rabbits and squirrels. And we’d catch turtles and make turtle stew.”
Norman, following in his dad’s footsteps, also got an early start.
And he credits Albert Logan for sharpening his cooking skill.
Albert was the agriculture teacher and FFA adviser at Jefferson High School. The FFA members were famous for their chickenques. They barbecued chicken halves, sometimes as many as 1,500, to raise funds for their own organization, and were always available to cook for other community and civic groups.
In the seventh grade, Norman was not eligible for membership, but he tagged along behind the older boys and helped with cooking when they let him. When he entered the eighth grade he became a full-fledged FFA’er, and was one of the leading chefs throughout his high school career.
Norman joined the Navy in 1977 and served 15 years. He was on a destroyer, and with the captain’s blessing, barbecued on the ship’s fantail.
He got out of the Navy in 1992 and didn’t miss a lick. He kept right on cooking.
“I just like to do this,” he said in the wee hours of the morning of August 10, while just about everybody else in Jackson County was fast asleep. “If it’s for a good cause, I chip in.” The good cause on this occasion was Pat Bell’s campaign for re-election to the Georgia House of Representatives.
The “Arcade Ambassadors” never cook for money for themselves. “We are just good friends getting together and enjoying each other’s company,” Norman said. “The fun and fellowship are better than the food.”
He said that is true, even when he’s cooking on the bank of a trout stream in the North Georgia mountains.
The opening of trout season in the spring always finds the Brookshires and Edmondsons camping, fishing and cooking at Boggs Creek north of Cleveland. But they don’t cook just for their own families. The aroma attracts their camping neighbors, many of whom they don’t even know. They have fried fish and grilled burgers for as many as 40 people.
Even when he isn’t cooking for fun and fellowship, Norman is not far from food. He is maintenance supervisor and assistant administrator for Edwards Baking Company (maker of those delicious pies) in Atlanta.
He and George and the “Arcade Ambassadors” took their Boston butt show to the baking company’s parking lot recently. Over a period of 37 hours, they treated all three shifts (approximately 500 people) to barbecued pig, Jackson County style.
Meanwhile, a third generation waits in the wings. Norman and Kathy’s two boys, Barry, 14, and Chris, 11, were at the Shoals, following in their dad’s footsteps, observing old pros George and Hugh Lee and the rest of the crew, stirring the barbecue sauce, anxious to help — preparing to keep a tradition alive.
Virgil Adams is a former owner and editor of The Jackson Herald.
MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.
PO Box 908, 33 Lee Street, Jefferson, Georgia 30549
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