DEC. 22, 2017
Tifton, Georgia

A Christmas Memory

Tifton Grapevine

All of us have a special Christmas in our past. Oftentimes, that special memory stretches back to our childhood. My special Christmas memory was 50 years ago, Christmas 1967, when we had snow on the ground at my home in Norfolk, Va., and Santa left sleigh tracks on our roof.

Just like this year, Christmas was on a Monday. On that Saturday, Dec. 23, we awoke to snow falling. In Tidewater, Virginia, we used to get snow once or twice each winter and never at Christmastime. But snow began falling that Saturday morning and didn't let up all day.

My grandfather came over at midday, and he and my dad went out to get firewood. By evening, we had several inches of snow, and our neighborhood was truly a winter wonderland.

That night, my grandparents joined us for dinner as the fire blazed in our fireplace. After dinner, my dad put on some records and the adults danced in the dining room. I recall my maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother dancing in step to Christmas music. Who knew they could dance?

The next day, Sunday, was Christmas Eve, a cloudy day. Temperatures were in the 20s, and the snow didn't melt, still covering the world in a frosty white blanket. My mom spent the day in the kitchen doing her holiday baking, filling the house with warm scents of cinnamon and gingerbread.
In our family, the kids always got to open one present on Christmas Eve before we went to bed. Invariably, that present was always pajamas, and so it was this night. I remember wearing my warm, new pajamas and looking out the living room window seeing the colored lights from our Christmas tree reflecting on the nighttime snow.

The next morning was Christmas, and my little brothers woke us all at dawn. My brothers' and my bedroom looked out over our front porch roof, which was covered with snow ... and something else; there were two parallel tracks across the roof as if they had come from a sleigh skidding across the snow.

The tracks weren't there the night before. What could possibly explain their appearance?

It was probably 20 years later when I finally discovered the answer: After we all went to sleep that night, my mom made the tracks in the snow while hanging out an upstairs window as my dad held her tight by the ankles.

This Christmas, a half century later, is my first Christmas without both my parents. Two of my brothers have also passed in recent years. Rather than being sad, I am thankful for the memory of a special Christmas when we all were young, the world was snow-covered, and there was magic in the night.


After nearly  20 years as  executive director of  Maple Court Senior Care  in Tifton, Letha K. Hartley is retiring Dec. 31.
Hartley, left, helps with wrapping.

In addition to her duties at Maple Court, Hartley has also served as executive director of Maple Court's sister facility, Cypress Pond Senior Care in Tifton, since 2005.
She has been a longtime advocate for Alzheimer's research on the local, state and national level.

When asked what she plans to do after she retires, Hartley told the Tifton Grapevine : "I have not the slightest . I just hope I don't have to go back to cooking three meals a day."

Joey Marta from Tifton , who has worked with hospice and home health care in Albany , will become executive director of the two Tifton senior care facilities when Hartley leaves next week .

"This is my heart and soul," Hartley said of her work with local seniors, but added, "this is the right time" for her to move on.

Orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist Dr. Kyle Fleck, right, introduced University of Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart, left, as the keynote speaker at the "In The Game" high school football awards banquet on Dec. 12 in Valdosta.

Dr. Fleck, board-certified in orthopedic surgery, recently joined Georgia Sports Medicine (GSM) in Tifton. Dr. Fleck received his medical degree from Mercer University in Macon and completed a residency in orthopedic surgery at the University of Florida-Jacksonville. He followed with a fellowship in sports medicine at the Mississippi Sports Medicine & Orthopedic Center in Jackson, Miss.

Dr. Fleck is accepting new patients

Please call  229-386-5222 or visit  for more information.

We're Seeking a
Church Pianist

Tifton First United 
Methodist Church

107 W 12th St., Tifton, GA

Tifton First United Methodist Church has an opening for a part-time church pianist.
The pianist is responsible for preparing for and 
practicing with  the chancel choir, orchestra and 
ensemble every Wednesday evening for about 
two hours and for playing at Sunday  traditional services  at  9 a.m. and 11 a.m., as well as at 
special services at Christmas, Easter, etc.  

Interested persons should contact Angie Carr at 
or call   229-382-6100 .

Jeremy & Maghan Campbell's children promote the holiday luminary.


This Saturday, Dec. 23, beginning at 6 p.m.,  the Tift Terrace neighborhood comes together to  light luminaries down every street; families and friends may walk or drive to catch a glimpse of all the glittering lights .

Participating streets span from Emmett Drive to Love Avenue, and 20th Street to 30th Street, including Willingham Way

For information about the Tift Terrace luminary, call Maghan Campbell at 229-894-1374 .


The  South Georgia Council of Boy Scouts of America and the American Legion are   bringing the Venturing outdoor program to Tift County.

Venturing, a senior scouting program, is open to young men and women aged 14-20.

Activities include camping, hiking, canoeing/kayaking, SCUBA, community service, team building and leadership development.

Meetings are 7-8:30 p.m. every other Thursday at the American Legion Fairgrounds off U.S. Highway 82. 

For information, contact Sharon Scott, 229-392-4757 or the South Georgia Council at 229-242-2331.

From left, bottom row: Courtney Williams, Hillary Sandlin, Ashley Peek, Kelci Register, Kendale Zimmer. Second row: Emily Easler, Rachel Moore, Tanya Roberson. Third row: Mary Walker, Stephanie Williams, Katie Carter, Ashley Kindoll. Fourth row: Rachel Clemons, Kimberly Thomas, Whitney Adcock, Dan Badger. Fifth row: Latrice Rockmore, Austin Williamson, Desiree Terrell, Brittany Walters, Miranda Wider. Sixth row: Taylor Hodges, Brittany Mixon, Jerica Johnson, Jeremy Reynolds. Top row: Signe Hyatt, Shirley Deya, Heather Benton and Aushika Dawson.


Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) held a pinning ceremony recently for 32 new nurses -- Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) students from the LPN to RN Bridge program and from the Generic ASN program.

The ceremony commemorates the students' successful completion of their nursing coursework and clinical rotations. This class of nursing students also participated in SRTC's formal graduation ceremony and will officially be Registered Nurses (RN) pending the passage of their board exams.

In this pinning ceremony, which symbolizes the rite of passage into the nursing profession, each student receives a pin and lights a small lamp. The pin is used to remind students of their purpose to serve the sick and infirmed. The lighting portion of the ceremony serves as a tribute to Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern-day nursing. 

In the 1800s, Nightingale was known as the "lady with the lamp," tending to the sick while carrying a lamp to light the way. At the ceremony, students also recite the Nightingale Pledge stating their dedication to upholding the standards of being a nurse.

"It is my honor once again to pin an ASN class. Pinning is always a special day for our nursing graduates as it represents their first commitment to the profession. The high standards this group holds for their profession was demonstrated as they recited the Florence Nightingale Pledge during the ceremony," said Tammy Bryant, program director.


The Rotary Club of Tifton is seeking nominations for its Tifton Rotary Ethics in Business Award to recognize a local business that has demonstrated exceptional ethical behavior.
Criteria for the award, which will go to a business physically located in Tifton or Tift County, were  developed by a committee of Tifton Rotary Club members. The nominated business must have consistently demonstrated high ethical standards of honesty and integrity in dealing with employees, customers and contractors while enhancing the economic well-being of the company and providing local jobs, opportunity and profits. 
In addition, the business must have participated in activities beneficial to the community beyond the provision of economic benefits of the business and must adhere to fair and truthful business practice reflected in the  Rotary Four-Way Test
1.     Is it the TRUTH?
2.     Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3.     Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIP?
4.     Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
Nomination applications are available from the Tifton Rotary Club, which meets for lunch each Wednesday at noon at the  Tiftarea Conference Center on  Highway 82, and are on the club's Facebook page, Click Here!
Applications must be submitted and received by  Jan. 12, and may be sent to: Tifton Rotary Club, P.O. Box 1354, Tifton, GA  31793.


Activities Director Tony Sorrells, left, and assistant Latisha Smith, right, accept gifts for residents of the Rehabilitation Center of South Georgia from Bonnie Sayles, president of the GFWC Tifton 20th Century Library Club

The club members collected the gifts at their recent Christmas party.

In photo below: Club members enjoying  lunch  at the Elk's Lodge are, from left, Sandi Newman, Laura Whitfield, Charlotte Bedell, Harriett Herring, Shirene Daniell, Southwest District President Susan Saye and Club President Bonnie Sayles.


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Christmas Eve


Merry Christmas!

In Memoriam

DEC. 14
Gladys L. Dorminy, 97, Fitzgerald
Carole Lee Spells Smith, 84, Adel
Ross Logan, 74, Sylvester
Edna Mae Goins Eubanks Morgan, 89, Albany
James William Gessford III, 79, Sparks

DEC. 15
George "Larry" Allen, 78, Tifton
Inez Dees Posey, 88, Sylvester

DEC. 16
Jeanette Tanner Doles, 88, Tifton
Betty Ruth (Goodman) Junkins, 76, Tifton
Eugene Gravitt, 79, Ashburn
Angela B. Massey, 58, Sylvester
William H. Day Jr., 90, Adel
Johnny J. Moore, 74, Adel
Tim Kelly, 61, Wray
Bryan Lashley, 35, Barney 

DEC. 17
Katherine Lowman Mundy Bateman, 99, Sylvester
Jed Lee Kimbrel, 36, Doles
Marion H. Cox, 87, Bloomingdale

DEC. 18
Cecil Woodard Davis, 81, Brookfield
Mary Frances Harper, 85, Fitzgerald
Maria Gonzalez, 93, Quitman

DEC. 19
Margaret Irene Cauthen Sumner, 86, Tifton
Wymon Clark Flippo, 83,Tifton
Jerry Wayne Easters, 55, Tifton
Celia Lavender Hammock, 60, Ashburn
Sharon Stanfill, 59, Fitzgerald
Elbert Kilcrease, 85, Poulan 

DEC. 20
Earl James "E.J." Fender, 88, Fitzgerald
Hazel Rowe Handley, 93, Waycross
Larry A. Driggers, 68, Enigma

DEC. 21
Roger Earl Martin Nielsen, 55, Adel

Season's Greetings from
Our Family to Yours!



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