Summer 2017 in the Shoals

Reader Contribution by Mary Carton
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My country wireless internet has been sporadic the last few months, making it impossible to post anything. 

The corn is shoulder high and tasseled out. It’s going to be a good crop this year. Each stalk has several ears as a result of the good rain we’ve had. With the topical storm coming in, farmers were hurrying to get wheat combined. Soybeans and cotton have been planted and are up. I kept my tiller on the tractor up to the end of May trying to dig my garden up. First it was too wet, then too dry, then too wet, then just plain too late. My tomatoes, squash, and peppers are among the flowers in the side yard. It took over a week to get my 3.5 acres mowed for the first time. The squash bugs found my plants while I worked late and was not able to check on them. They aren’t looking well. Irises and lilies have bloomed and daylilies have started opening.

Memorial Day has passed and summertime festivals are about to begin. American Legion Colbert County Memorial Post No. 31 in Tuscumbia had their annual program at the courthouse. The balloons at the Spirit of America Balloon Festival didn’t make it off of the ground this year due the the winds. The next weekend, the Northwest Alabama Regional Airport in Muscle Shoals had a vintage warbird fly in. A World War II TBM Navy torpedo bomber was one of the planes coming in. While on the ground, the public was allowed to walk around them and talk to the pilots. While walking around, I spied a gentleman with a World War II cap and asked to take his picture. I chose the bomber for him to stand by. After he got home, he found out that the plane was stationed on his ship 70 years ago.

The Helen Keller Festival started the end of the June at her birthplace in Tuscumbia. A parade led by the American Legion kicked off the festival. The W.C. Handy Music Festival was here the past 10 days in all cities of the Muscle Shoals area. Ten days of all types of music, just bring your lawn chair.  Mom likes to tell everyone she and the Hooligans are Handy orphans during this time. The festival ended with a tribute to Percy Sledge by his family.   

Somehow, between work and the events, I managed to get in a lot of concerts and the Spring Valley VFD rodeo. I also managed to get my nature fix for a little bit between events on one Saturday. 

Hummingbirds have been plentiful this year. I have nine feeders up right now. Last year during the peak migration south, I had 10 feeders up. A friend has a leucistic hummingbird at her feeders. It’s not an albino, as it has normal colored eyes and feet. I spent a couple of hours sitting in her backyard just before dark and got a few shots before I had to go photograph a concert. I plan to go back on a nice day to see if I can get some more pictures of it.

After almost 42 years working at my hospital, I decided to turn in my retirement. I’ll still stay on PRN. Hopefully I’ll be able to find my flowers under the honeysuckle, trumpet vine, and privet. I plan to spend more time writing and being behind the camera.   

My retirement party will be a little different from most. I’m celebrating with a fundraiser for the restoration fund at the Belle Mont Mansion south of Tuscumbia. The Jeffersonian style house was built in the early 1800s and was in ruins before being rescued by the Alabama Historical Commission in the 1980s. I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I have what I need — just enough. 

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