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Grimes’ Looking Back column: Football and okra?

The last days of August and the first days of September of 2004, ten years ago, started out very calm. The biggest thing to be happening was the campaign and election of both Brewton and East Brewton officials. One of the results was that the incumbent Terry Clark was re-elected as mayor of East Brewton over challenger, Charles Fountain. Ann Marie Sasser became the first female elected to a city position when she became part of the Brewton City Council.
In sports, both T.R. Miller and W.S. Neal were gearing up for a new season of football. The T.R. Miller High School volleyball team was headed for the playoffs for the first time since the team was formed in 2002.
As we all know, sports get a lot of talk (and participation) from residents in our area. School is back in session and football is in the air. I don’t attend the games like I used to do. I guess its old age. When my son was in high school, he played football and I loved going to the games. All the parents sat together and each Friday was another outing for us all. Just today, my co-workers and I were talking about the trips we used to make. At the time I am writing this, W.S. Neal is headed to Jacksonville, Fla. to play while T.R. Miller is going to Andalusia. Hopefully both teams will come back as winners.
In business, the Tomato Cafe had a new owner and before it closed some time later, it was a restaurant with class. Too bad it didn’t stay around.
Escambia County bought the place known as the Caffey- Presto building on the corner of Henderson Street and St. Joseph Avenue. It was to be used by the county commission. This building sets across from the city park.
In one of her editorials, Michele Gerlach told of her visit to the Okra Festival. I remember her telling us about the festival and how much we laughed. I don’t know anybody but Michele who would take the time to attend an okra festival.
With the fall, always come the wonderful performances of the Brewton Council of the Art. In 2004, they brought the Glen Miller sound to Brewton and what a performance. You just can’t beat the old time bands for good music. Does that date me?
I interviewed Angela Gates and featured her artistic abilities, which included her painting. She also was working on getting some of her mother’s written material published. She is very talented and some of her talents were passed along to her grandson, William Whittle. Most of you know of his talents with nuts and bolts. He, too, is very talented.
An era seemed to be winding down with the story of the death of Brewton resident, Richard Hessler, age 85. Hessler was one of those who just happened to be at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. There are very few of those left, if any at all. He had a fabulous story to tell of his experiences. You might want to look it up sometime. It was a time when those in our country dropped their bickering and fighting with each other to devote themselves to fighting for their country. It will make you feel very patriotic.
After everyone took a break for Labor Day, we faced a big threat when Hurricane Ivan headed our way. On Sept. 16, 2004, we were, as the newspaper said, devastated with the worst storm remembered in these parts. If you lived here at the time, you have your own story to tell. If not, be glad you were not here. I remember the newspaper setting up shop in city hall, which was operating off of a generator. There was no power except generator, and no way to get in touch with anyone else when the phones went down. We put out the newspaper from a small corner of city hall and never missed an issue. Our time was spent taking photos and hunting down stories of survival and recovery. Our small community was issued a disaster area and help came form all over from people we didn’t even know. That, too, was enough to make you feel proud. It is a time I will never forget and if you were here at the time, you won’t either.