Rocky Wade - American Folk Artist

A few weeks ago we stopped in Buena Vista, Ga., located about 40 minutes southwest of Columbus. Personally, I love little towns like these because you can just feel the history in their town squares with buildings dating back to the 1800's.

"Rocky Wade Woodcarvings and Antiques" hung in front of an American flag, with the sign "Possum Crossing" hanging over the door. Three men with thick southern accents sat just inside next to the wide open door letting in the breeze .  It was the woodcarvings in the window that drew us in, as well as the fact that I'm crazy about any antique store I come across!

The party dissipated as we came in and Rocky Wade sorted himself out of the group to greet us. I couldn't help but jump into questions about his woodcarvings.

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How did you get into doing your woodcarvings?

"Well, one day I saw these men whittling little figures out of wood and thought to myself, 'That can't be too hard!' And so I tried it and have been doing it ever since!" he laughed. "I've won awards and ribbons, and do custom pieces when someone asks me to," he said as he showed me some of his works that won in local fairs.

Being curious, I asked him about his history there in Buena Vista.

"Well, I've been here since 1947.  Was born in Columbus and moved here when I was 5... I remember back when I was little and looked out across, where the gas station is now, and seeing a buggy and cotton gin. The seeds would spit up out of the gin with little pieces of cotton still attached. It was a sight, it looked like it was snowin'!"

 

To see more of his work visit his online shop here.

If interested in a custom piece contact him at 229.314.0551.

 

*Hearts of South in association with local platform, Electric City Life.

 

 

"We Were a Brotherhood"

George Meeker, one of the founders of the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation and soldier in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive in 1968.

George Meeker, one of the founders of the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation and soldier in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive in 1968.

For me it is a great privilege to hear the stories and perspectives of soldiers who have risked their lives over the years in their service. We live in a world with so many ideologies coming at us in all directions, and people get caught in the cross fires. Whether or not you agree with the military, or past wars, I hope we can see and understand that its not just a idea that stood in front of a bullet for us, it was a human being. And for that alone, we can have understanding and I hope, a desire to listen to these people who did so.

 

“The whole idea of Vietnam, when you got over there with people who you didn’t know, they were strangers. But when you got back, you were brothers. Because, we were there not for the American flag, not there for Johnson, not there for mom and pop, we were there to protect each other. You took care of the guy next to you, because you never knew when you would need him to help you. We were a brotherhood, helping each other out. Black, white, indian… it didn’t make any difference.” - George Meeker

As an active member of the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation, Mr. Meeker also participates in airshows around the nation. Meet him in our own Thunder in the Valley airshow happening April 8-9 at the Columbus Airport! 

A big thanks to the National Infantry Museum for permission to interview the wonderful individuals that come through their doors.

Located on the edge of Ft. Benning Ga. the National Infantry Museum, voted Best Free Museum by USA today, has interactive galleries and immersive attractions that bring history to life for people of all generations. 


Hearts of the South is created in collaboration with Electric City Life, visit here to read more of their wonderful articles.

Mojo Goolsby

Bridget, his owner, laughs“He has his own instagram. He’s really popular downtown...He’s very photogenic. My boyfriend bought him a tuxedo for new years eve. He’s apparently becoming pretty popular in Charlotte as well!"

Favorite memory of Mojo?

"He’ll be seven in February. We’ve had a lot of good memories together. Actually, I’m with the Sheriffs office and Sheriff Darr actually started supporting my training with him (Mojo). He actually paid to get started to get training to be a therapy dog. He is still in training. He has his final test in May. He’s passed everything so far."

Her boyfriend, Max, pulls out Mojos Instagram.

“Thats him in his tuxedo. That’s him in his winter coat when we went hiking last week. He is a stylish little guy. There he is with Santa Claus. This is the girls with him at the Posh Peach.”

Bridgett looks at Mojo and laughs.

“Mojo, you are so freaking popular, its not even funny!”

The Elephant in Iron Bank

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Walking into Chancellors Men's Store in Uptown Columbus, you definitely get a strong sense of history: from the wood floors to the old newspaper clippings, to the authentic vintage shoe shine chairs there since the beginning of the shop.

So much history, so many stories hidden away in minds or settled under dusty papers.

Roger Stenson, owner of the shop, is full to the brim of stories from the original owners past. And can you believe it, one story hardly known is one about Patton, owner A.C. Chancellor, Iron Bank and an elephant!

 

"There some other interesting WWII history" begins Roger, "his son, Chancellor Sr., he liked to drink. And he met this flamboyant personality guy at Ft. Benning and rose quickly though the ranks. He was a no nonsense guy in the military but outside he liked to party. And he’d come in there two three afternoons a week and go to a vault room."

He brings us back to what now is a storage closest near the back of the store.

"And come back here and take shots of whiskey and play practical jokes on business men. You can see this is an old vault. Mr. Chancellor kept his whiskey on this shelf right here, this same shelf. And get just smashed. His name was George Smith Patton! In the late 30’s, early 40’s they would come in here. And they became great friends. You know the old iron bank. It was actually a bank at one time and the circus was in town. And they thought it would be funny to bring in a baby elephant and walk it into the lobby as a joke. So they walked it up in the street and up the steps into the bank lobby and they had their laugh. But the joke was on them, because he wouldn’t go back down the steps and spent the night in the lobby! Made a horrible mess! General Patton and Chancellor had to pay to have the mess cleaned up and the circus came in the next morning and got the baby elephant out."

Though not a drinker myself, I found this story hilarious and revealing of crazy antics we'd never expect from these characters or era!


Hearts of the South is created in collaboration with Electric City Life, visit here to read more of their wonderful articles.

Kilwins - "Sweet in every Sense"

ChristinaPazPhotography_HeartsoftheSouth_Kilwins_2017

The store was packed and kids were adding up along the window outside to watch Matthew Moore create a masterpiece before their eyes, freshly made Oreo fudge!

This shop definitely lives up to his slogan “Sweet in every Sense since 1947”. Stepping into Kilwins is like stepping into an old fashioned candy shop: black and white tiled floors, clean white spaces with marble and wood. A place where memories will be made for both children and parents for sure.

"How did you get into the dessert business?" I asked.

"My wife wanted to do it and I didn’t want to go back to my corporate job. Thought this was the right time to do it." said Matthew Moore, owner of Kilwins in Uptown Columbus.

Tired from folding a large slab of fudge before it began to cool, he took a breather and laughed.

"Its hard work, man!"


Hearts of the South is created in collaboration with Electric City Life, visit here to read more of their wonderful articles.

Hearts of the south

"Each week we hope to bring you a little closer to what makes this city important, the people."
ChristinaPazPhotography_HeartsoftheSouth_WarmSprings_2016

And so it begins!

I am SO excited to announce the beginning of my new project in collaboration with Columbus, Ga.'s Electric City Life, "Hearts of the South".


Columbus Ga. has been home to me for more than 20 years of my life. Call me partial but I love this city and the areas surrounding it. My desire with "Hearts of the South" is to bring to you stories of the wonderful people that inhabit our little town.
Each week we hope to bring you a little closer to what makes this area important, the people : who we are surrounded with and what those around us have to say, if only we'd listen.


*Header image of Chris Jackson from Jenny Jack Farms in Pine Mountain, Ga.