Thank God it's Friday! Of course, the way the weather's been lately, you may have to hitch a ride to whatever weekend merriment you're plannin' in a big ole boat loaded with two of every kind of animal. But Friday's still Friday, and this is a red letter one because today The Planet has for you some upcomin's, happenin'-nows and mighta-been- wonderin- abouts. Yes! It's time for yet another version of...
Let us open this week's Runaround with the happy message that springtime has almost arrived! Jonquils are blooming along the roads and wildflowers are beginning to peep out from under the leaf cover on woodland trails. Thus, what better way to begin than with the inspirational Ode to Spring written by The Planet's brother, Jack Ford?
"Winter is through;
We're tired of it.
It's time for all
The purply s--t."
Here is a photograph of a downtown expanse abloom with the aforementioned harbinger of spring, a member of the mint family but known commonly as the poet has cited it.
Spring is coming, but meanwhile the weather here is so awful it's made regional news! Thanks to Ginnie Sams for sharing this shot of a North Dade mudslide from an Atlanta news show.
With more rain coming in this weekend, Dade law enforcement and emergency services are standing by with gritted teeth and
crossed fingers. But so far, they say, more damage has come from the wind earlier in the week than from flooding. Trees are down everywhere and power on Sand Mountain was out for over two days, said County Executive Chairman Ted Rumley. Flooding briefly closed Creek Road (right) but it was passable--barely!--on Thursday. The county boss said Sells Lane had also closed and then reopened and that Newsome Gap had washed out, been fixed, then slipped again in a fresh shower. He said a traffic study had determined that an average of 15 cars a day travel Newsome Gap, which is partially dirt as it goes up Lookout from Rising Fawn to New Salem.
Have you noticed that the creepy-looking mannequins that used to sit atop this post outside the little firewood kiosk at Highway 136 and Piney Road are missing? Well, Cris Angsten spotted them on her way down Burkhalter Gap to Piney. She sent the picture below with the helpful geographical information that "they are leaning against a fence post near where all the white cows are." Who needs GPS when you've got that?
The Planet contacted the owner of the kiosk, whose number is listed on the FIREWOOD FOR SALE sign. This turns out to be Mark Cagle, who says he uses the building as an occasional office and sells a little firewood to campers as a sideline. He had noticed the mannequins had gone walkabout but had no notion of where they had ended up. Thus he was grateful for Cris's description of their whereabouts (and The Planet noted that he seemed to know precisely "where all the white cows are"). But he had not been unduly concerned about his missing mannequins. "I think I got them from the dump or somewhere," he reported.
Now let's take care of a little routine biz before skipping to something more fun: Early voting starts next week for the March 19 special Trenton city election. City elections don't usually draw big turnouts--about 200 voters usually make the effort--and this one is a special election for just one office--the police commissioner slot left
vacant by Sandra Gray last year. But Trenton Police Chief Christy Smith (right) made an impassioned plea for city voters to turn out and vote for the best candidate to lead her department. "It's so important that we keep going forward," she said at the last city commission meeting. "We're not the same department that we were two years ago."
There are three candidates, Johnny Taylor, Kirk Forshee and Mike Norris. City voters, please remember to vote not at City Hall but at the Administrative Building (above), Feb. 25-March 15 for early voting, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday. Polls are open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on Election Day, March 19.
What's Shakin' at Bethune's?
Dade lost a beloved seed and feed when Bethune's closed last year. But nature abhors a vacuum and so did the two clever Sand Mountain-raised sisters who run Lilly Lou's Event Rentals and Decor. They have leased the old Bethune's building and are gutting and renovating it for an event venue.
The sisters preferred not to have their names listed as they are keeping a low profile until opening day, but here's a pic from Lilly Lou's Facebook page. (Their names are not Lilly and not Lou. Lilly Lou was their grandmother, they report.) They said they hope to have the place up and running and available for weddings and birthday parties in March but if not then, a bit later in the spring. "It's going to be like nothing you've ever seen before," they said.
The sisters formerly leased a space in Hixson, Tenn., but know the Bethune family and have loved this site from girlhood. They are unfazed by the horseshoe-bend location of the site that makes a left turn into it a death-defyin' stunt. "If people can get in and out of Hamilton Place, they can manage our parking lot," said one. Parties tend to let out at 10 p.m. or later, when traffic is not so bad, they added, and anyway they can always hire security to direct traffic if necessary. Good luck, gals!
But we still got feed & seeds...
Party venues are wonderful things, but there is still a need for good-old feed-and-seed stores in an agricultural county like Dade. Happily, we still have a couple, even if we have to drive slightly over the state line to get there. The Planet is happy to report that Cagle's in Bryant (left) is still going strong.
Meanwhile, Crocker's (right) , which doubles as a fruit stand/Amish grocery store, is even closer, just across the state line going up Sand Mountain
on 136 West. Proprietors Leonard and Loretta Crocker say they've had to slow down a bit lately and have sold their greenhouses to a nearby farmer. But customers are unlikely to notice the difference, said Loretta, since Crocker's will still sell flower and vegetable plants from the greenhouses as well as from other suppliers during the upcoming spring season.
The old place is going nowhere, assured Loretta. "We'll probably be here until our toes turn up," she said.
The Once and Future Randy's....
And speaking of couples who are retirement-challenged, when The Planet recently stopped by the new restaurant Howard's, opened by two of the children of Randy and Janice Howard, who ran Randy's Restaurant in Trenton for 35 years, who did The Planet find working the kitchen but--brace yourself, reader--Randy and Janice?
It's a new place and it's got new owners. Located at 12070 Alabama Highway 75 in Ider, the former location of the Cabbage Bowl restaurant, Howard's is run by Chris and Tim Howard. Both the physical location and the menu are smaller than Randy's. But if you're jonesing with nostalgia for the Friday night feeds of yore, Chris and Tim can dish up a strombolli that'll seriously take you back. There are also steaks, pizza, subs and Randy's famous broasted chicken. Hours are 11 a.m.-7 p.m. CST Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday, and you can call at (256) 657-4191 or visit Howard's FB page.
Jefferson's Opens; No lightning bolts yet!
Meanwhile, the old Randy's location on Highway 136 West is now the happenin'-est place in Dade County as patrons frantically try to get into the newly-opened Jefferson's sports-bar-style restaurant. Longtime Dade denizens may have a moment or two of culture shock as bartenders like this one pour drinks from the county's first (legal) full bar, but no heart attacks have been reported yet and the worst problem with the new eatery so far has been getting in.
Jefferson's opened in January and it took The Planet until the third Friday night to penetrate beyond the packed parking lot. Even then there was a 30-minute wait to be seated. But The Planet passed the time happily enough nestled comfortably on a barstool among its neatly-arranged planetary rings, sipping a $2 draft beer.
One concern The Planet has in fact noticed since Jefferson's opened is a marked decrease in attendance at other good and deserving Dade restaurants. Proprietors of same know their business and The Planet does not and would never presume to advise them, but will only repeat here the last three words of the previous paragraph: $2. Draft. Beer.
Free Chainsaw Safety Class
For next week, please don't forget that your local UGA Extension office is offering a free chainsaw safety class on Thursday, Feb. 28. Hours are 10 a.m.-noon at the Dade County Ag Bldg, 114 Pace Dr. (in front of Dade Middle School) Register by calling (706) 657-4116 or online at https://dadechainsaw02282019.eventbrite.com
The office is also hosting an all-day fruit tree seminar the day before, Wednesday the 27th. The $20 materials fee includes lunch and everything you need to enjoy this informative session. Deadline to register is Feb. 25. Online registration link https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fruit-tree-field-day-uga-dade-walker-registration-55077580526.
And that wraps it up for this week. There may in fact be lots more Dade news to report but the day waxes older, the weekend is coming and it would surprise nobody if there were a $2 draft beer in The Planet's near future. So until next time, Gentle Reader, over and out from ...