Aromas, good and bad, tell a tale

Published 2:02pm Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A couple of months ago I wrote a column about unique aromas that we grew up with here in Atmore such as coffee being made at Atmore Coffee Company, freshly dug potatoes at local grading sheds, sharp brine from the cucumber vats, peach blossom blooms from State Farm peach orchards and green logs processed into lumber at Swift Lumber Company.

Well, this week I received an email from a former resident who told me that I had left out some aromas which were definitely identifiable with Atmore.

He said you omitted several aromas. One in particular was the Atmore Stockyard. I readily agreed with this reader as I do remember that weekly sale of livestock and that “smelly” scent that was created by all those animals. Another aroma, quite in contrast, was that of cooking and preparing of food at City Café and The Sweet Shop, two South Main Street restaurants set across from each other. The e-mailer told me how he often visited Wheeler Crook’s City Café and Mrs. Sharpness’s Sweet Shop and how much he enjoyed the “smell of good food cooking.” I had to agree with him on that, too. Tommy Gerlach also continued that Sweet Shop “smell” during his tenure at this landmark restaurant. I especially liked his New Orleans flavored dishes. The writer related how he also enjoyed the smell of food cooking at Mrs. Biggs’s Boarding House.

He ended his e-mail with a really “smelly” location. And that was the sewage separation plant just west of town off Highway 31. I really do not have an answer for my not mentioning this site. Perhaps it was best left alone.

But, thanks anyway to this man for pointing out my column omissions to these pleasant and not so pleasant smells.

I must make a comment about Eylene Pack, the amicable and talented Walnut Hill author who pinned her new novel, “The Haunted Banks of the River Rue.” Having read a few pages from her book I found this title most unique, her writing intriguing, her sentence phrasing captivating and the command of the English language extraordinary. Blake did an excellent job with his fine story on her in his recent Advance article. Hallmark’s Larry Levinson should be introduced to this unique author.

Before I take a look at some news from those yesterdays I want to comment on my friend George Talbot’s informative piece on regarding President Obama’s take on Airbus. Not trying to degrade the President but many thought he was “hogging” in wanting some credit for helping bring Airbus to Mobile when he commented on it in a speech he made last week. But, everyone knows, and as Talbot pointed out, Obama had nothing to do with the French plane maker’s decision to manufacture giant airplanes in Mobile. In fact the President seemed to be in Boeing’s court two years ago when the Chicago-led delegation “stole” our tanker contract after we won the right to it. So, I say great job George Talbot for letting us all know again that it was our Alabama leaders and legislators who landed Airbus in Mobile (metaphors seem to do me in).

Back in 1970 Taylor’s Store in Lottie was destroyed in a fire. This landmark business was initiated by Mr. Dallas Taylor, who with the help of Marjorie and other family members, maintained the operation for many years. Hunters and fishermen often stopped at this store for supplies, cold drinks and fish bait on their way to the rivers, lakes and hunting grounds. Local residents also found this an ideal location for gatherings to discuss the day’s news. That same year Bay Minette’s Faulkner State Junior College assumed its new name after having been known as Yancey State Junior College since its inception.

Our hospital was the recipient of timely monetary gifts for the additions of a coronary unit. Each week church and civic groups, businesses and individuals brought in their gifts. Greater Mt. Triumph Church was recognized for its noted donation.

Were you aware that Dauphin Island is known as “The Sunset Capitol of Alabama?” I learned about this two weeks ago when I ran into an old college friend while Ouida and I were dining out. My friend and his wife told us they spent a weekend on the island mainly to watch the sunsets. We asked why go there and they said colorful and unique landscapes and the most westward view from the island tip offered breathtaking and marveling views of the “big orange-reddish sun as it descends below the horizon.” Now, they inform us the national media has picked up on it and folks from near and far are coming down to see these events.

I am trying to resolve the void of Jettie Everett’s great piano rolls and her unique piano styling since she and Gordon moved to south Baldwin County. I bet folks at their new church have already been introduced to her talented efforts. I am telling my sister Diane Weaver to introduce Jettie’s talents at her church in that area.

Our Pink Lady this week is Sarah Hall. From a personal standpoint I know Sarah well.

In fact we taught school together at Century High School in the 1960s. Her late husband, Arthur, was one of our regular coffee-drinking pals at Busters and her son Jim was a local banking officer here for a few years before moving through a promotion to a Pensacola bank. A member of Atmore Church of Christ, she is affiliated with the Atmore Historical Society and the Canoe Study Club. She is now retired now from teaching. Sadly, her talented daughter Lynn, who was an Art teacher and graduate of George Peabody College, passed away in 1999. Sarah also worked as a professional at Walter Reid Medical Center in early years. Her daughter, Susan, has college degrees from University of West Florida, University of South Alabama and David Lipscomb University and previously worked professionally for the State of Florida.

I will have more news of Atmore’s people, places and events next week.
Lowell McGill

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