Signs of the fall season are all around us

Published 9:44 pm Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Whether you call it fall or autumn, the fact is definite that changes are abounding.

If you really want to see it, just take a trip through your favorite retail store and see the colorful Halloween decorations. Or, stroll through the woods and unravel tightly woven spider webs from your hair. Better still, just walk down your driveway or sidewalk and dodge those same webs. And, in those same woods, gaze up at webs that are encasing persimmons soon ready for picking. But, be sure those persimmons are REALLY ready, because one bite and you’ll know if they are not ripe yet.

Yes, there is a world of indications that let you know that fall — or autumn — is here. Take my wife’s menu list posted on the refrigerator: I see all kinds of goodies she has outlined for baking, especially her pecan pies, cookies and colorful cakes. Or, stroll through Facebook and see all those many tempting fall cooking ideas.

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Food just seems to go right along with fall. Sugar cane, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, hot dogs and funnel cakes. Now, how in the world are hot dogs and funnel cakes symbolic of fall? Fall festivals would not be complete without these two goodies. And, speaking of fall festivals, our Williams Station Day is just a few weeks away. I can visualize all those tasty goodies right now.

You think spring is symbolic of vegetables, but fall has its share too. Avocados, beets, cabbage and collards are plentiful. Did I leave out any vegetables? What about nuts and seeds? Chinquapins, sunflower seeds and chestnuts make watching football even more enjoyable. Pomegranates, Japanese persimmons and pears fit right in with our fall sweet tastes.

And, you know when fall arrives the moon is larger and more colorful, especially from having more of an orange tint. I am told that is what is called a harvest moon. One early indication of fall is the days are becoming shorter. You notice this both at daybreak and sunset. In fact, our sunsets down on the gulf are drawing tourists who come down from up north. They come just to watch this big, colorful sun take rest before sinking below the horizon way out, where the gulf seems to swallow up this huge oval, solar, “round ball.”

We must quickly savor all these signs of fall because, in a twinkling of an eye, they disappear into the gray, listless arms of winter. Embrace the horns of plenty, the sugar cane juice, the spooky Halloween tales, and the football victory yells, because they hastily rush right by us, as if they were never intended to be corralled.

Now, let’s take a look at some news from years gone by. In 1966, Kelly Young, service manager at Friendly Ford, was presented an award by Ford for his exceptional ability to diagnose automobile mechanical problems. He was one of just a few who received this national recognition.

North Atmore was hit by a tornado that year, causing damage to mobile homes, barns and the main office of Clarence Manley’s Auto Auction. The damage was so severe that he moved his operation back to his original home in Andalusia. That storm created heavy flooding, especially on Poplar Street, where Fred Hadley’s home received two inches of interior damage. Upper South Presley and Church Street received abnormal flooding, too.

Police chief Houston Wolfe boasted how he and his staff “rooted” some moonshiners from their stills off Jack Spring Road. Wolfe was quoted as saying, “a resident in that area pointed us to the still by telling us to just follow the smell of the sweet mash. And, that’s what we did.” “Boy, did it have a sweet, sweet smell,” Wolfe added.

One of Atmore’s top department stores, Bedsoles, drew big crowds with a big sale on ladies’ dresses and Winn-Dixie advertised in The Advance cube steaks at 10 cents each.

Well-known medical doctor George Salley passed away that year. The 90-year-old physician served Atmore and area residents for more than 30 years.

There were quite a few Monsanto employees living here back then. In fact, Escambia County employees who worked there were recognized for leadership in the Monsanto United Fund Drive. Our folks raised more money than those from Santa Rosa County and Baldwin County. Off the record, I bet the workers who rode that Alfred Brown-Ad Cole bus had a lot to do with it.

Speaking of tornados, in 1974 C. M. Graham’s farm in northwest Florida was grazed by a small twister, causing damage to his farm buildings. A man and his pickup truck were blown into a ditch near McDavid as he was trying to get to his home in Jay. Fortunately, he was not injured, but his new pickup was destroyed.

That same year, Jimmy Brown, a local, well-known high school football coach, left that field to enter local business. A 1967 graduate of Livingston University, he coached at various schools in the Atmore area. His father was the long-time principal at Canoe School.

We bring to an end our recognition of the Atmore Hospital Auxiliary. Today, we recognize Giles Chapman, a male member of that group. A member of this organization for two years, you will find him working in the surgery waiting room. He and Jack Ward, whom we reported on earlier, are familiar faces in the waiting room. The late Sam Graham was the other male member of the group.

Having retired from many years of professional sales, Giles devoted several years of service to Christian Care Ministry. Giles is also a devout worker in his local church.

It has been a pleasure writing about this outstanding group of men and women who serve our hospital with their dedication and heart-felt efforts.
Next week I will have more news from Atmore’s past.

You can email Lowell McGill at