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Have a McDuffie County Christmas

For those who are already weary of being stuck in traffic, searching for a parking space, squeezing through crowded stores and standing in long lines to buy that perfect gift for that person who already has everything, the solution may be just around the corner. The McDuffie Mirror searched our archives to find gifts available in McDuffie County that can be found no where else.

Ornament of Hope

Each year, a local historical landmark is featured on a 24-karat gold over brass ornament. Proceeds from the sale of this ornament help Easter Seals of East Georgia offer job placement services to the disabled in Thomson and 33 surrounding counties. The 2006 Ornament of Hope features the Bowden-Johnson House on Pylant Crossing Road.

The limited edition ornaments cost $15, and can be purchased at local Century 21 offices, Curves for Women on Railroad Street, First Bank on Hill Street, First Citizens Bank, Queensborough National Bank and Trust Company, The Frame Gallery, Hickory Hill Gift Shop, McDuffie Animal Hospital, all Thomson locations of Regions Bank and SunTrust Bank, the Thomson-McDuffie Chamber of Commerce, Weathervane Antique Shoppe and White Columns Inn.

Previous years' ornaments may be purchased from the Easter Seals East Georgia office at 1500 Wrightsboro Road, Augusta, or by calling 706-667-9695.

Previous ornaments include: The Rock House (2005), 1810 Country Inn & Winery (2004), The Usry House (2003), Hickory Hill (2002), The First Baptist Church (2001), Thomas E. Watson House (2000), Thomson High School (Old) (1999), Wrightsboro Church (1998), Bowdre-Rees-Knox House (1997), The Brickyard (1996), The Courthouse (1995), Laura Jones School (1994), The Depot (1993).

Commemorative plates

The sixth plate in the Chamber of Commerce's series of historical plates features the Wrightsboro Church.

The plates are designed especially for Thomson, and feature a local historical site surrounded by a border of camellias. According to Importer John Roth, the Staffordshire wares are made using the same cutting copper engraving techniques used in the 1830's.

The plates are available in blue-on-white and pink-on-white, and are made by Wood and Sons, LTD.

Previous plates in the series feature the Thomas E. Watson House, the Depot, the McDuffie County Courthouse, Hickory Hill and the Rock House. Mr. Roth said Thomson is one of the few communities in America that has made so many plates.

The Chamber still has each of the previous plates in stock for persons who would like the entire collection. However, Chamber Director Carolyn Gilbert said no more will be ordered, and the Wrightsboro Church is the final plate in the series.

"The ones we have in inventory will be all that we have," she said.

The plates cost $35, and can be purchased from the Chamber of Commerce at the Depot. Call 706-597-1000 for more information.

Local wine

Visit 1810 Country Inn and Winery to find hand-crafted wines made from 100 percent Georgia-grown grapes in a low production volume that's barrel aged in new American oak.

Whether it's Chardonnay, Merlot, Viognier, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon or Rose, there's a wine to please every palate. There's even a wine created for Thomson - Camellia Red. Winery Overseer Thomas DeRosset describes Camellia Red as a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot.

"Camellia Red embodies Thomson," he said in a previous interview. "It provides the romance to where we are, the Camellia City of the South."

Mr. DeRosset said there are many options for making each gift truly unique, including customized gift baskets, gift certificates for lodging at the Bed and Breakfast Inn, or a bottle featuring a personalized label printed with anything imaginable.

Customers can escape the hectic holiday rush and take a short tour of the winery while shopping. 1810 is a member of the Winegrowers Association of Georgia, and is located at 254 N. Seymour Drive just off of Washington Road in Thomson at the I-20 interchange. The winery is opened from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday, and from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 706-595-8311.

Holiday music

Thomson resident Jim McGaw said he just put the finishing touches on his newest Christmas recording, "Hammer Jammer Christmas."

"It's all me playing the hammer dulcimer, with individual dulcimer cuts as well as those that are backgrounded by symphonic arrangements," Mr. McGaw said. "I'm real pleased with the outcome."

In 2004, two of Mr. McGaw's songs won first place in the Billboard Magazine Song World Contest in the country music category, and he retired this past spring from 22 years of teaching music at Dearing Elementary School.

Mr. McGaw said he recorded a Christmas album several years ago, but isn't satisfied with it because of the poor recording quality.

"But this new album is right up to snuff, and I'm very excited about it," he said.

Songs on the new CD are: Feliz Navidad, What Child is This?, Carol of the Bells, Infant Lowly, Ding Dong Merrily on High, Jolly Old St. Nicholas, Winter Wonderland, Edelweiss, Jingle Bells, Oh Holy Night, Silver Bells, We Three Kings, Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring, Away in a Manger, Music Box Dancer, White Christmas and the Christmas Song.

"It's in excess of 45 minutes worth, so it's kind of a bargain," Mr. McGaw said.

The CD's are $10 each, and can be purchased from Mr. McGaw by visiting his website at, by emailing him at, or by calling him at 706-595-8662.

For those who enjoy the sound of mountain music, Mr. McGaw also has two other recordings, "Solitary Confinement" and "Old Time Gospel Joy."

Toe-tapping music

Thomson's own Crosstie Walkers have just released their fourth full-length recording, "Headed Home." The two-disc set is an assortment of alternative Georgia country, power indi pop and raspy gospel.

According to their website, the CD "was recorded at home and makes you feel at home; a beautifully rendered album cataloging the gratitude of blessings, the frustrations of unrealized dreams and the expectations of moving forward."

The five band members, Charlie Knox, Don Powers, Tommy Powers, Greg Purvis and Scott Roberts, have been compared to the Beatles, the Byrds, Son Volt, Steve Earle, REM and the Vigilantes of Love.

The CD costs $14.99, and can be purchased from the group's website at

Another local band, Tony Cannon and Southbound, has a country-rock CD that was recorded last year in Nashville.

The band consists of Jake Jacobs, Johnnie Brantley, Robbie Ansley and Chris Powers from Thomson, Tony Cannon from Moultrie, Ga., and Ed Gaskill from Harlem, Ga.

The CD, "Up to my Neck in Red," is available at for $12.95.

Books by local authors

There's a smorgasbord of titles for the bookworms on Christmas lists, all written by hometown authors.

  • Love, Loyalty and Dangerous Games by Kawnand S. Crawford features the struggles of a Brooklyn gangster named Spanky who becomes paralyzed. The novel mirrors the life story of Mr. Crawford who was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident.

    The book is available at Stephanie's Stylon on Railroad Street, at Pam's Beauty Salon on Dean Avenue, or at for $12.99.

  • The Taste of Thomson is a collection of recipes released last December by the Thomson Junior Women's Club. The hard-cover, spiral-bound book features 105 pages of recipes, helpful hints and colorful pictures for $12. To purchase a book, call Kittrell Reese at 706-597-3921.

  • When Death Knocks, Let Go, Let God by Shirley Reams is a motivational book for those who've experienced a great tragedy. Dr. Reams currently lives in the Atlanta area, but was born and raised in McDuffie County, and taught at Pine Street and Thomson Elementary schools from 1970-1975.

    The 48-page, self-published paperback features a meditation on each page, and is available for $8.95 at Pam's Beauty Salon on Dean Avenue, or from Dr. Ream's sister, Juanita Wheeler by calling 706-595-5500.

  • There's a Possum in the House by Jan Holt. The former Thomson Bulldog Cheerleader and graduate of the Thomson High class of 1970 compiled into one book the comical but true incidents she encountered as the owner and manager of a trailer park in the Augusta area. The 58-page hardback sells for $12 at Border's, Walden, and Barnes and Noble bookstores, as well as online at or

  • From Cotton Fields to Board Rooms by Dr. Joseph Greene. The story of a local resident's victory over poverty and hardship to his accomplishments such as being the first African American to graduate from a predominantly white college and later join its faculty, the first African American elected to public office in McDuffie County, the first to sit on the boards of at least a dozen organizations, the first to lead the board of regents, and one of the first in his family to survive cancer.

    "I just hope someone will be inspired, especially the young fellows who give up on themselves," said Dr. Greene in a previous interview.

    The paperback is available at Border's, Waldenbooks in Augusta Mall and on for $11.86.

  • Miss Tilly series by Yvonne Thompson. True stories about a dairy cow and her adventurous antics leading the rest of the herd into trouble. The paper back has colorful illustrations for children in kindergarten through third grade. Mrs. Thompson said the stories took place on her family's farm in Warrenton. She said her books are also popular with the elderly in personal care homes.

    "Over in Warner Robbins, they read my books to the residents in the personal care home there all the time, and they get a good laugh out of them," she said.

    There are three books in the series for $10 each. To purchase, call Mrs. Thompson at 706-465-2760 or 1-800-765-4663 ext. 33.

  • Yesterday's Rain by Cindy Dent. A mystery novel in paperback that tells the story of a man who hires protection for his only daughter after she receives threats, which take the form of her nightmares. A few copies remain for $12 at The McDuffie Mirror office, 108 Railroad Street.

    McDuffie-themed treasures

    The McDuffie Museum offers a unique twist to the ordinary with embellishments that are all McDuffie. A fully-lined tote bag featuring embroidered photos depicting local scenes is $29.95. Three separate woven throws featuring scenes depicting McDuffie County, the town of Dearing and the city of Thomson are $49.95, and an antique-style poster featuring an 1871 map of McDuffie County along with a photo of George McDuffie and a brief biography is $10.

    "The people of Georgia Tourism Division were just amazed because they did (a tote) that was a little larger than ours, and it was beautiful; but they put clip art to represent different things. We put actual pictures, so ours is a little more classy looking," Mary Anne Coussons said in a previous interview. Mrs. Coussons is the director of Camellia Partners for Heritage and Economic Development.

    Funds from the sale of all museum items go toward the museum's capital campaign, which is one million dollars needed to open the museum by December 2007. To purchase museum items, contact Mrs. Coussons at the Depot, 706-597-1000.

    City of Thomson-Masonic Lodge coins

    For coin collectors, there is a set of coins dedicated to the A.J. Miller Masonic Lodge and the City of Thomson. The front of the coin bears the lodge emblem in honor of its 150-year anniversary. On the back is a camellia fashioned from a print by local artist Jack Cheatham, along with the inscription, "Camellia City of the South-2006."

    The coins were designed by Sammy Luckey, the treasurer of the Masonic Lodge and an avid coin collector.

    "As far as I know, there's never been a coin struck with the City of Thomson on it," Mr. Luckey said in a previous interview. "It did turn out to be a real nice coin."

    The set features one brushed nickel coin and one brushed bronze coin, and is available at Luckey Printing on E. Hill Street in Thomson. The set costs $15, or a single coin can be purchased for $10.

    Bleeding black and gold

    For that die-hard Thomson Bulldog fan, something they'll be proud to wear can be found at Thomson Sporting Goods and Trophies. Employee Cecile Carpenter said the store sells sweatshirts, T-shirts, and embroidered golf shirts all with the Thomson High Bulldog colors and logos.

    Thomson Sporting Goods is located next door to Amigo's Restaurant at 1480 Washington Road. Call 706-595-4633.

    History lovers paradise

    At historic Hickory Hill, shoppers can find reprints of former Senator Tom Watson's 1912 book of essays, Prose Miscellanies, which Curator Michelle Zupan said are about nature and history, specifically with Hickory Hill in mind. Also, there is Watson's 1911 compilation The Life and Speeches of Thomas E. Watson. Both sell for $6.25.

    A new publication out is Short Talks to Young Men, which Ms. Zupan said is a substantial book on etiquette for men, compiled from an advice column in Watson's newspaper, the Weekly Jeffersonian.

    Hickory Hill also has other unique and natural historical-themed items such as baskets, plants and hand-made toys. The Hickory Hill museum shop is located in Mrs. Lytle's Cottage behind the main Hickory Hill house on Tom Watson Way.

    Ms. Zupan said folks wishing to visit the shop need to check-in at the main house to have the shop opened for them.

    Hours of operation are from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and the first two Saturdays in December from 5-9 p.m.

    Web posted on Thursday, November 30, 2006

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