News from the Tennessee Valley Living Today

Wendy N. McDougal

Decaturís Ruth Bakke, seated, turned 90 Nov. 29. With her are her children, from left, Wayne Bakke, Barbara Gustafson and Vern Bakke.
Courtesy Photo
Decaturís Ruth Bakke, seated, turned 90 Nov. 29. With her are her children, from left, Wayne Bakke, Barbara Gustafson and Vern Bakke.

Cookbook to help fund People to People program

I made a conscious decision this year that I was going to enjoy each and every minute of this beautiful Christmas season. Like most, I always seem to rush until the last moment, and then, the magical day just vanishes before my eyes. The gifts are opened. Those perfectly wrapped boxes have been thrown away. It's gone, and we move on to another day.

I have promised myself that this year will be different, and it is working. There is not a mystical potion. I am taking time to look around and to count the blessings. The greatest gifts truly do come in small packages. Don't let those little things get trampled on in the hustle and bustle. Cherish every day, and it is sure to set the stage for a great and blessed new year.

Now let's see what the "chatter" is around town . . .

New cookbook

Do you love to cook, or at least, love cookbooks? Here is one to add to your collection.

"From the River City to the Great Wall" features more than 200 recipes, including a few from Cadie Palmer and Jennifer and David Warth, all formerly of Decatur, now living in China. Also included are Chinese translations for some of the authentic recipes, as well as descriptions of the various regional cuisines.

For just $20, this unique book will be a great addition to any kitchen and make an unforgettable gift. Books will be delivered by Dec. 22, with all proceeds going toward the People to People Student Ambassador Program for Brooke Higdon, as she plans to attend the Gateways to China program next summer as an Alabama delegate.

"From the River City to the Great Wall" is a cookbook produced as a fund-raiser for my trip to China, as an Alabama student ambassador with People to People International in Spokane, Wash.," said Higdon.

People to People was founded in 1955 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He launched his ideas and vision to create a global community based on trust, respect and understanding of other culture, economies, and political systems. He believed the only way to prevent conflicts was to build an international understanding one person at a time.

"Indeed, I believe they want peace so much that the governments will just have to step aside and let them have it," Higdon added. "We will be studying, researching and earning school credit."

The book was edited by Robin Higdon, Jean Hovey, and Cindy Pearsall.

For more information or to purchase your book, contact

90th celebration

Ruth Bakke of Decatur celebrated her 90th birthday with a dinner at Ruby Tuesday on Nov. 28, the day before her birthday.

Among those attending the celebration were her three children, Wayne Bakke of Burnsville, Minn., Barbara Gustafson of Decatur and Vern Bakke of San Antonio, Texas, seven grandchildren, several great-grandchildren and friends.

Decatur Newcomers

The December Decatur Newcomers luncheon will be Wednesday at Burningtree Country Club at 10:30 a.m. Ross Rainey from Etc. by Ross will present the program and create a festive holiday wreath to be given away.

Call Stacie Thompson, 751-4773, or Patsy Grocke, 309-5845, for a reservation or more information.

Women's Chamber

Decatur Women's Chamber will meet Friday at noon at Decatur Country Club. A delicious Christmas meal and live entertainment is sure to add up to a fun and festive time for all.

This is a great opportunity to meet other business women in the community. The meal is $11, with reservations encouraged. For more information, call Cathy Wahl, 350-6983.

Joe Wheeler UDC

The latest meeting of Joe Wheeler Chapter No. 291 United Daughters of the Confederacy was at Decatur Public Library. Judy Blackwell, chapter vice president, introduced guest speaker Robert Parham, author and proprietor of Parhams Civil War Relics. Parham presented a series of short stories related to North Alabama during the "War Between the States."

Kay McCarley called the business portion of the meeting to order and welcomed all guests. Minutes were read from the October meeting by Sarah Gray, secretary. McCarley gave the treasurer's report in the absence of Ginger Reeves. Judy Blackwell presented a Southern Poets program titled "Shiloh," an original poem written by Chapter member Joyce Shumate.

A special memorial service was conducted by chaplain Betty Dupuy in memory of Mrs. John O. (Ethel) Braswell who was an honorary president general. A book titled "I See Muddy's House," written by Virginia Cook, was donated to the library in her memory.

Chapter members donated 625 Christmas cards and 590 items, such as batteries, sun screen, lip balm, shower gel, snacks, candies and socks. These items will be packed and mailed to U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Another 125 items including fleece throws, socks, toboggans and grooming items have been donated for Tutt Fann Veterans nursing home in Huntsville and will be delivered for Christmas. Members also participated in the canned food drive for Morgan County, as well as the Angel Tree project sponsored by the Salvation Army.

Bettye Moore gave a report on the general convention in San Diego in November. She said a new military cross had been approved as an award for soldiers that have served in Iraq.

In support of the plan to build a new Confederate monument in Lawrence County, sponsored by McBride Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp in Moulton, Joe Wheeler Chapter voted to make a monetary contribution to the project.

McCarley recognized five members for representing the chapter on Nov. 11 in the Veteran's Day Parade and celebration. They were Mavis Kimbrell, Moore, Rita Birdsong, Glendora James and Kathy Jones, who joined the long march for the annual parade in Huntsville.

McCarley reminded members of the Alabama Day program in December. This dedication celebration will mark the occasion of the Confederate Monument being listed on the Alabama Historic Places List.

That's all for now. It's been great "chattin' " with ya!

Let me know what is going on in your little corner of the world. If it's special to you and features any of the great people who live in our community, then it will make a great Chatterbox item. Just e-mail me at, or call me at 350-5730. Ilook forward to hearing from you.

Wendy N. McDougal Wendy N. McDougal
DAILY Staff Writer

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