Are You Looking For Santa K?
For many, many years and trips back and forth from the North Pole visiting places where I could have stayed I kept coming back to Lake Wedowee. I always have the best time here with my crew from the far north region and decided to make this our annual stay over, during our off season. Fishing, sunshine, friendly people, hospitality on & on I could go but Lake Wedowee is the place to be.
A typical day for Santa K at Lake Wedowee...First I am awakened by my Elf Alarm. I jump up with glee for a new day on the lake. I normally will have my hot cocoa, (not too hot, shaken not stirred and strong with chocolate.) Today I have some of my elves helping me at the secret reindeer barn. We must replace some of the oatmeal and carrot feeders, which I need wood and nails for. I always stop at Wedowee Building Supply for everything to build with. Of course, I know everyone there from delivering toys when they were children. Most of them were on the nice list but, of course not all of them. HO HO HO Joe and all the boys are so helpful with advise and great prices. They even have a special parking place for my sleigh.
We are so anxious to get to work but, I haven’t had my special coffee and morning delights yet so, we are off to Miss Amber’s Main Street Coffee Shop for that. They are always open early and I know we can have goodies and lots of coffee and be on our way. I always love smiling faces and I know Miss Amber will give me that. Since this is a work day, we are packing our lunches so, we won’t have to stop. I’ve been there many times in the past and I love WM grocery. Santa’s favorite is always the homemade chicken pot pies...mmmm good! We load up with all we need, most importantly the cookies, (of course) and they have plenty to choose from!
When I was out on my boat the last time I almost ran out of gas so, I stopped at Wedowee Marina at 48 bridge to gas up. It was so easy to to get in and out. They have so many beautiful new boats to look at, I almost didn’t leave. Randy and his staff at all locations are easy to work with, they remain on my nice list, (at least for now.) HO HO HO
I want to especially thank Wedowee Life Magazine for all their help in telling me about this wonderful community and all the great people. They have been family for Santa K and the elves since all of them were kids and I delivered toys to them. I am so excited about living and playing at Lake Wedowee during my off season. Remember, if you see me on the water I will always have my Santa K hat on. Wave to me and if i can, I will stop and give you a special card, (just for you!) Well, it’s work time and it’s hot so, let us get hammering.
See you soon Santa K
Clay County Native Johnathan East Tells His Story
From Sunday afternoon jam sessions to producing music videos with one million-plus views, Clay County native Johnathan East tells his story, and shows his roots, through traditional country sound. The singer behind “A Little on the Redneck Side” and “American Farmer” among others, traces his motivation for making music back to when he was 13, listening to country legends on local radio. “There was a little radio station back then called 95 Country. They played a lot of old stuff, as well as the stuff that was popular at the time. I got into Hank (Williams) Jr.”
While East explained that he was not as confident in his songwriting as a teenager, that did not stop him from perfecting his craft through talent shows while making memories with close friends. “We had a little garage band in high school, and we were pretty bad,” says East. “But, it was a lot of fun at the time. We used to go to the Methodist church in Lineville on Sunday afternoons. We would go up there and practice all afternoon.”
Since then, East has broken out of his shell, and has written songs and uploaded music videos that have been viewed thousands of times on YouTube, with the most popular being “A Little on the Redneck Side”, which is on the verge of reaching four million views on the site. He and his band, the “Trailer Park Cowboys”, consisting of Seth Myers on bass, Mel Vance on lead guitar, and Jason Lovett on drums, tour across the south and sing songs that tell the story of everyday life in this part of the country, as well as a love for calling the Yellowhammer State home.
East used his signature style when writing his most recent single, “Too Much ‘Bama in Me”, a song that he says was inspired by an interview with WTDR-FM Radio, Thunder 92.7 in Oxford. “It started out like most interviews start out… “When are you going to move to Nashville?” says East. “I said that “I just love Alabama too much.” That started being my go-to answer.”
In the song, East answers the question by listing reasons for staying in Alabama including having the luxury of catching fish in Lake Guntersville and watching the sunset at Mt. Cheaha at his disposal. The title of the song comes from the ESPN “30 for 30” documentary “Roll Tide, War Eagle”, where Harvey Updyke, the man who poisoned the two oak trees at Toomer’s Corner on Auburn University’s campus in 2010, infamously said “I have too much ‘Bama in me” when answering the question of why he did it. “Too Much ‘Bama in Me” is a great song that describes the advantages to living in the “Heart of Dixie”, but East is not one to just “talk the talk.” While he performs his songs all over, there is one place that he loves playing, and it happens to be a favorite hangout amongst the locals.
“My favorite place to play, without a doubt, is Lynnie Bo’s. Just because it is two miles away from my house. It’s a really neat place to play and hang out. It’s not far from the lake.” East is currently recording new songs. While he is in the studio writing new material, he continues to play the songs that crowds love, plus some of his favorite covers, including “Midnight Rider” by the Allman Brothers. To catch Johnathan East live, visit his website “johnathaneast.com” and check tour dates, or just listen to your favorite song on YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, or CDBaby.
In August of 2008, Lake Wedowee Life gave cystic fibrosis a local face by introducing our readers to two brothers Gavin and Jake Baker that were diagnosed with the disease in 2002. As part of our 10 YEARS STRONG celebration, Kelly Caldwell sat down with their mom Pam to discuss CF and how far the brothers have come to not only survive cystic fibrosis but to thrive in a variety of ways! We hope you enjoy the re-visit with the Fabulous Baker Boys!
Cystic Fibrosis What is it?
A progressive, genetic disease that effects roughly 30,000 Americans with about 1,000 new cases diagnosed annually. What it does? It causes lung problems and malnutrition due to a build up of a thick sticky mucus. “Years ago, the typical CF person was someone who was very thin, weak looking and got out of breath by going
up a flight of stairs,” Jon Baker, said back in 2008. “Now because of the great strides made, my typical CF person looks a lot more like Gavin and Jake.”
It was true then and even truer today. “When the boys were born, the life expectancy was 32,” Pam, Gavin and Jake’s mom, said. “Thankfully, we’ve watched that number get higher and higher over the years. It is currently about 45 BUT that doesn’t include the results of a super exciting new medication that the boys have been on for the past 2 years called Orkambi.
“This is a drug that, instead of just treating the symptoms of cf, it treats the underlying cause of the disease on the cellular level - a HUGE medical breakthrough! Taking Orkambi twice a day literally slows down the progression of the disease - the boys could actually feel the medication working within the first 2 hours of taking it! The revolutionary drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2015.
“We hosted a giant “First Dose” party with a steel drum band, food, drinks, the whole deal and had about 200 people there to watch as Gavin and Jake took their literal first dose of these magical little pills. Of course, we then played the Rocky theme song to cap off the moment!”
With the advancements and new medications Gavin 19 and Jake 15 are healthier than ever. “They both can run a mile in about five and a half minutes,” Pam said. “But, they still have to do a couple of hours of treatments every day, have to get plenty of exercise, take over 50 pills a day and eat at least 4,000 calories to maintain their weight, but the future looks so much brighter for them!”
Gavin is a senior with hopes of attending College of Charleston in the fall. According to his mom, he still wakeboards but hasn’t competed since he was 13. (But he did manage to snag third place at nationals when he was 9). Now, his main sport is lacrosse and is on the varsity team at Roswell High School.
Jake, does all of the water sports, too, but his favorite is wake skating. He’s
a sophomore at Riverside Military Academy and is on the Varsity tennis team. He’s also an avid reader and pretty amazing artist. Jake dreams of attending MIT and wants to
work in the medical field - maybe even a surgeon (he LOVES science - especially when he gets to dissect stuff!). He’s even attending a camp this summer at Emory University that is all about different careers in the medical field so he can have a better
idea of what he wants to pursue.
Now, for those that read the original article or are paying attention to the pictures, you may have noticed Sabrina, 12 and Duncan, 9.
“Sabrina is my athlete,” Pam said. “She plays highly competitive volleyball pretty much year round. She’s the most outgoing, social butterfly and has 175 best friends. (that’s only a slight exaggeration.)
“But, she can still burp louder than her brothers,” Pam said laughing.
Now as for Duncan.
“We affectionately refer to him as our ‘Bonus Baker’ since he wasn’t exactly in the plan,” Pam said. “I was so afraid he would be born with cf that I had a CVS test done at 9 weeks pregnant to test him in utero. We were actually on our boat at the lake when the doctor called to say that he was only a carrier and wouldn’t have cystic fibrosis. “I pretty much had a complete meltdown right there on the water.”
The Bakers have also felt it necessary to raise funds and awareness for cystic fibrosis since the brothers were diagnosed in 2002. The Baker Boys’ Battalion has continued to fund-raise over the years.
“We still have walk teams around the country and in Canada but we focus most of our efforts on what we’ve coined “passion fundraising” - taking what you love to do and turning it into a way to raise money for cf. We’ve held tennis tournaments, golf tournaments, polo events, Porsche events but our most successful to date is our St. Patrick’s Day event called “ShamRockin’ For A Cure.” Shamrockin’ For a Cure celebrates its 10 year this March and the “party with a purpose” has grown to about 1500 guests and raises close to $500,000 a year. “Like our walks, we’ve expanded our party to other places including Chicago, Vermont and just this year Gainesville, Ga.,” Pam said.
The party with a purpose has raised $2.5 million over the years and the BBB has raised over $4 million since Gavin and Jake were diagnosed in 2002.
“Oh and we’ve been the #1 team in Atlanta since year 1 and have been the #1 family team in the country for the past 8 years....like I said...we’re very competitive!”
To read the original Lake Wedowee Life about the Bakers,
please visit https://issuu.com/newslwl/docs/lwl_augsept.
To learn more about the Baker’s fundraising efforts go to
Charlie's Treasure's digs into Lake Wedowee Life Magazine's tenth anniversary
Yep, 10 years ago Lake Wedowee Life started.
We advertised in the first one because the Caldwells asked us to do it. They had a vision and we saw the need. It was a couple of issues later that Kelly had the idea for Charley’s Treasures. I doubt most people know why my articles are called Charley’s
Treasures. Its’ definitely not because my stories are treasures.
It started when Kelly asked me (or maybe I asked her) to write about houses on the lake that have unique qualities. Stuff like outdoor fireplaces and pits and the repurposing of old materials to make a different look. The “Treasures” were the houses I described. But about every time I sent her an article on a house, I would send her one of my goofy stories just for fun. You should see some of the ones she didn’t print (wise decision). But one day she called me and said she was going with the alternate story. I’m not sure which one it was, maybe Possum Mud, but it is suffice to say that everything changed at that point and I couldn’t be happier about it. I don’t mind that all the other articles are informative and full of useful tips and wisdom, where mine are, well, not. I’m just happy that there’s enough people that like my ramblings enough to give Kelly the incentive and insanity to let me write again.
That is my pay as well as most of the contributors in the magazine and that, to me, is good. We love the magazine and the opportunity to express ourselves. I have always wanted to do something like this but this has been the opportunity I’ve never been afforded and for that, I am eternally grateful to the Caldwell family who have been friends of ours for as long as I can remember. But then again, I can’t remember what or if I ate breakfast this morning.
Over the last ten years, we have all had our challenges, both emotionally, physically and financially. But we have persevered. We, as a business, have become very close to our fellow businesses. We cried on each other’s shoulders and gave each other the strength to keep going, even when the odds were against us and were advised to quit by those that know better. Even our competitors have become friends. These things would not have happened if it weren’t for us all suffering together with the economy and the devastation it caused. I’ve lost good friends and neighbors to it, either by death or financial ruin.
Our business was reeled back about ten years. But we all supported each other and did what had to be done and are here today, stronger than before, because of it. I imagine the survivors of the great depression would have a similar remembrance.
Lake Wedowee Life has been a beacon for a lot of us. It has been a source of normalcy. Everything we saw was doom and gloom. On TV, the radio, the papers and the talk amongst the people. Lake Wedowee Life didn’t participate in that. When you opened the pages, you never saw how bad things were, even when the magazine itself, I’m sure, was struggling. What you saw were recipes and great places to visit or fish on the lake. It was the lighter side when we all needed to see some light.
I am appreciative of them for that as we all should be. I hope that I’ll always be a contributor to the magazine and I hope that all of you will see it as I do and keep all the issues you collect on the coffee table with it open to the Norton's Flooring ad. What? Surely you didn’t think I wouldn’t have at least one plug in here!
Charley Norton is the co-owner of Norton’s Flooring with his
brother Tom. His mom and dad started the company in 1976.
#CharlieNorton #LakeWedoweeLife #LWL2018
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