It may be time for me to clean off my desk at work. I shuffled some papers looking for a file I had printed and found Jimmy Hoffa. Finals are over and grades are posted – but not without students wailing and gnashing their teeth. I had some students graduate and nothing is more gratifying when a former student comes up to you, shakes your hand and says “thank you for all you did for me.”
Are you feeling nostalgic for Tallapoosa from about 40 years ago? Go to YouTube and type in Tallapoosa. I am listening a lot to the Merry Mixmas remix of Christmas classics by Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Lou Rawls, Nancy Wilson, Mel Torme, and Dean Martin. Kay Starr is also one of the artists on the CD. She is 90 years old and still performs several dates annually.
The Atlanta Falcons want a new stadium? Seriously? Has the Georgia Dome begun falling apart? I didn’t get the memo. I love the mural on the side of Jackie Roberts’ tax office on Head Avenue. Don’t you? The USMC Reserve Toys for Tots drive is still going on for another week or so. Designing Women and the Bank of North Georgia are two local drop off points for new unwrapped toys.
Fred Harris owns Fred’s Barbecue House on Thorton Road in Lithia Springs and has something called “turkey ribs” and “pig wings” on his menu. He also has the recipe for the Yellow Jacket hot dog from the former rival to the Varsity just off the Georgia Tech campus. I had to have two of them and did it ever bring back memories. Why doesn’t anybody else toast their buns like that? Tasty stuff. Fred grew up in Muscadine and is a 1952 graduate of Heflin High School. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, attended law school and in 1983 got into the restaurant business. He has many fond memories of our area.
We are about half way through the month and reflection has already started in my head about some of the wonderful things that has happened in our area. Something to brag about is the new Mill Town Music Hall in Bremen that has brought a number of great acts within a few minutes of your front door. Mill Town Music Hall is the creation of Randall and Tina Redding and they’ve brought in such acts as the Oak Ridge Boys, Ricky Skaggs, John Berry, American Idol’s Bo Bice, the Atlanta Rhythm Section, plus Mill Town had Mel Tillis, Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry of Alabama, Toby Keith and others grace their stage this year.
I met legendary University of Oklahoma Sooner coach Barry Switzer and Joe Guercio, who was Elvis Presley’s orchestra leader for years, at Mill Town on the night back last August paying tribute to Haralson County’s Harold Shedd, who is one of the most respected music executives ever to walk the streets of Nashville’s Music Row. There have been some great Southern Gospel and Contemporary Christian music artists this past year, like Stephen Curtis Chapman, who have played the most talked-about music venue ever to open in a long time. I also saw on stage this year Tallapoosa’s Harold McWhorter, who’s voice is still strong as it was in the 1960s.
I am told that in 2013 Mill Town Music Hall is bringing in Gene Watson and Rhonda Vincent, Alison Krauss and Union Station, and Steve Martin. Yes THAT Steve Martin. He is a world class banjo picker. I don’t know if he will come on stage being that “wild and crazy guy,” but I’m buying tickets for that show for sure.
Have you thought of those Christmas seasons of a few decades back when your mama would put apples, oranges, tangerines in a big wooden bowl and have pecans, Brazil nuts, and peppermint candy also on the table. Were you a hard or soft peppermint stick candy person? I recall chocolate covered cherries being in abundance this time of year. Did you get Chap-Stick in your Christmas stocking too? How about your folks making you open socks and underwear before you could open your wrapped toys? I’m still wanting to hear from you about your fond memories of a Christmas from years ago. Next week, I hope to pass along to you the most significant Christmas ever for our house.
Jones is a Tallapoosa native and former radio personality. He is currently an instructor at Kennesaw State University. He can be reached at email@example.com.