By Lavoy Caldwell
“Sometimes you have to let go of the picture of what you thought life would be like and learn to find joy in the story you are actually living.” Rachel Martin
The Caldwell’s use the phrase “I understand” a lot in conversation with each other. So much so it has become a joke and now many times we expand on the “I understand” with what we think the other person really means. It can be very condescending: I understand but I think you are crazy, I understand but I am not listening to you, I understand but I do not care. We understand this is a problem.
In all seriousness, we want you to know, we understand how our local small business owners are struggling and frightened... So are we. None of us have experienced anything like this, in which the government has shut down our churches, businesses, schools and events due to a health crisis. And our additional stressors include the chaos of applying for and hoping
to receive assistance offered by the government. Then we add the fear of the virus itself in which most of us know of someone personally who has contracted the virus, has been hospitalized, and possibly died. It is so surreal.
Do you know what else I understand in these troubling times? How fortunate we are to live in Wedowee, Alabama. Not all small towns have what we have, a community with a vibrant downtown, a beautiful lake and strong people committed to working through this setback. I know our future is secure, we may need to let go of the picture we previously painted for ourselves but we still have joy… lots of joy and some of the most beautiful sunsets in the south.
I Love Lake Wedowee!
by: Charley Norton
Maybe there is a place for those that didn’t fight for their country or be a part of something that changed the world. Maybe there is a place for those that tried but timing, good or bad luck (depending on how you look at it), or even the winds of fate intervened to separate a few that would remain, just to tell the story of those that did.
I’d like to think so and I’d like to think I may be one of those people. Maybe that is why over the years, I’ve logged back into my limited memory some exceptional people. People that one day I could tell their story, or at least parts of it. A story that also includes, through their recollection, the stories of those that are no longer here to tell them themselves.
This is for me, the most important thing I have ever done. And with that said, I’d like to tell you about another person of distinction we should all know and appreciate. What he did for love of country and the love of flight is an inspiration to anyone that loves their country and loves to fly.
I have often said that I should never be thanked for my service because the Air Force made me who I am today. This man is one who would agree with me from his own experience, as he sees it. Respectfully, he would be wrong.
His name is Page Enloe. No beans about it, this man served his country.
He was in harm's way many times (I was not). But he was doing something he loved and was with others that felt the same.
There are literally volumes of content that I am going to compress to only a few words which will not be enough but it will have to be enough for now. Basically, a parenthesis of content within the whole story, if you will. But, there will be more writings that I will make about this man and the memories he has of others that structured the making of Randolph County, as well as, the perils of war. It is a story that should be told and this is one of the last men, if not the last man, that can tell it. I am only a conduit, and proud to be one. Page’s literary co-pilot, if I’m worthy.
I am actually going to skip to the middle of his story, where Page left school (Clemson) to be in the new Army Air Corp. He took a test to be approved to go to flight school. A test he admittedly guessed through, but to his amazement, he aced only to find no more applicants were to be accepted.
This was 1941, before we got into the war, before our government was looking so hard for new pilots. But, with the help of an Army Sergeant, he was offered the chance to fly, if he made it to the recruiting station in the basement of the Ashville, N.C. Post Office by 5 pm that day. He hitched rides and made it just in time. Then his training began.
In his day, there was no basic training. Basic, to those that have not served, is one of physical aptitude and survival. Everyone, I thought, back then had to complete some kind of physical training. But pilots, Page told me, were held to a different standard (at least in the Army Air Corps). One much different than today, but for good reason. They needed pilots. The Army needed to get them trained and off to battle where they can fight. So the Army Pilots of WWII had no physical training, at all. Learn it, fly it, know it, and don’t get killed doing it was pretty much the Army’s stand on it.
Page obviously loved the air and was fiercely competitive, even when he was competing with himself. To be honest, I don’t think he has changed much even at 90+ years old.
Man has he shared some stories. Some I can tell that there is no room for, for now, and others I have been asked not to tell at all. But I do have one I can share and there are several folks that probably would love a little clarification. In other words… the rest of the story.
As the weather begins to change, weekends begin filling with football, fall festivals, art and craft shows, and yard sales. As a yard sale enthusiast, I recently attended the 127 Yard Sale commonly referred to as “The World’s Longest Yard Sale.” This yard sale covers over 680 miles and travels through six states from Alabama toMichigan. It passes through beautiful country sides, rural communities, and small quaint towns like Mentone, Alabama and Signal Mountain, Tennessee. The 127 Yard Sale is held annually the first Thursday - Sunday inAugust and it’s an annual event for my family. My family includes several generations ranging from my aunt, who is in her 80’s, to my great nephew, who is eight.We caravanned to Cumberland Mountain State Park, which is located in Crossville, Tennessee. This was our home for the next week. We all gathered around the campfire, talked about our plan for the week, and what we were looking to buy this year. These are some essential tips for a successful trip! Below are more tips to make your yard sale adventure fun and successful:
After setting up camp, we ventured out for our first look of the year! The official day was Thursday, but many vendors sat up and start selling early! As you travel along the road, look for yard sale signs pointing the way to homes, fields, pastures, parking lots and churches. Get off the beaten path to not only to get great deals, but have a little fun along the way. As I said earlier, my parents traveled with their great grandson, which built special memories for them all and taught him history lessons along the way. For example, he learned about a telephone with no rotary dial and an Anchor Brand Folding Bench Wringer from the early 1910’s. He saw metal school lunch boxes from the 1960’s and metal pedal cars from the 1950’s. It was fun to watch my 78 year old mom describe a typewriter to her great grandson. His reaction was priceless. He saved money all year long for this trip and made a few purchases for him and his little brother.
Another tip for you...focus on finding that one special item. For example, I was looking for a vintage Radio Flyer wagon to use as a photography prop for my great niece, who will be arriving in December. I found one the second day! My brother was looking to purchase youth water skis for his grand children, found them! You can find things like coins from the 1880’s, boat propellors and motors, old cameras, and vintage cans. Just about anything!
If you are ready to start ...here’s a few yard sales to mark on your calendar: the Highway 411 Yard Sale is scheduled for October 2 - 5. This yard sale starts in Leeds, Alabama and travels along Highway 411 to Tennessee. And according to Facebook, the Highway 48 Yard Sale is October 11 and 12 while the Highway 46 Yard Sale is scheduled for September 27 - 29. These both travel to the Georgia Line.So, stop by a Yard Sale! You might not make a purchase, but the memories you make with your family will last a lifetime.
Can you imagine that there are cities and states in this nation that have few, if any, stray dogs and cats? Did you know that rescue shelters from these areas look to Wedowee for a pet supply? Also, do you know that rescued dogs from Randolph County are now living the high life up North and the celebrity life in New York City? One of our Randolph County dogs is even doing his patriotic duty in Afghanistan. All of this information is absolutely true due to our own Randolph County Animal Shelter.
The idea for a Randolph County Animal Shelter began over 11 years ago. RCAS president Chuck Smith and director April Richardson realized that Randolph County had a desperate need to protect and save its many stray dogs and cats. It was determined that $100,000 would be needed to build the shelter and get it going, so they began numerous fund raising projects that included turkey shoots, book sales, and garage sales. In a relatively short time, our county had an open air shelter with healthy animals that has become an example that other shelters follow.
Smith and Richardson are assisted by a staff of twelve individuals and community volunteers. One gentleman has traveled to the LaGrange, Georgia Walmart for about eight years to pick up dog food once a week. Two other volunteers clean the cat room once a week. Local photographer Ellen Sims takes pictures of the animals that are posted on Facebook. Others come when they can to do what is needed. “Without our volunteers, we could not stay open,” stated Smith. It is also important to keep the shelter in the forefront of Randolph Countians’ minds, so workers speak to local clubs and organizations and go into the county schools to educate students. It is always a group effort to provide our county with a successful animal shelter.
RCAS is a No Kill Shelter, which means that only sick or aggressive animals are euthanized. Due to limited space, eighty to one hundred dogs and ten to twenty-five cats can be housed at one time. A $25 donation is requested, but not required, when an animal is surrendered to the shelter. Since space is limited, animals are accepted to the shelter only if there is room for them.
According to Alabama state law, any dog or cat adopted from a public or private animal shelter or humane society must be spayed or neutered. If the pet has not been spayed or neutered at the time of adoption, it is the responsibility of the pet parent to have the procedure performed by a veterinarian and return a signed statement to the animal shelter or humane society within seven days of the sterilization.
RCAS works closely with Alabama Spay Neuter, which performs spay and neuter procedures for the shelter once a month. Animals are picked up from the shelter, taken to Birmingham, and brought back the next day. Anyone can take advantage of the Alabama Spay Neuter service. All he or she has to do is call Robyn Smith, the Transport Director, at 334-863-0101 to find out the day Spay Neuter will be coming to RCAS. The individual must bring their pet to RCAS. The pet will then be taken to Birmingham with the shelter pets for the procedure. The prices for all Spay Neuter services are listed on the chart accompanying this article. Since RCAS does not have a veterinarian on staff, there are no rabies or Parvo vaccinations given at the shelter.
The workers at RCAS want to find homes for the dogs and cats brought to them, and it is very important that the homes receiving the animals are suitable. Prospective pet parents are engaged in a conversation or informal interview to make sure the adoptive parents understand all the implications of acquiring a pet. They are assured that it could take from two days to two months for them to become accustomed to a dog and for the dog to become accustomed to them. They are also given Tips for Bringing Your New Dog Home that will make the change easier for the dog.
Another issue that RCAS deals with is the feral cat problem. Feral cats are often considered a nuisance even though they can fend for themselves. We often do not consider that they kill rats, mice, squirrels, chipmunks, and snakes and should not be exterminated; they should be controlled. Feral cats that are captured and brought to RCAS are spayed or neutered, given a rabies shot, an upper respiratory shot, and are ear tipped for identification purposes. They are then released to the area from which they came to help contain the pest problem.
A lot of good work is going on at the Randolph County Animal Shelter. It is a place that you should visit just to see all the awesome animals and all that goes on there. You might find that you want to volunteer for a while, make a donation, or adopt a pet. RCAS is definitely one of the best things in Randolph County!
EDITOR IN CHIEF