Metter | Hometown Georgia
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Metter | Hometown Georgia

August 12, 2019


♪♪ ♪♪ Well, everybody knows
everything’s better in Metter. My kids can play anywhere
they want in town. They can ride their bikes
and I am not worried about what’s goin’ on,
what’s gonna happen to ’em. I don’t know, it just– when I drove into
this town, I said, “Oh my God,
this is it. “This is where
I wanna be,” and… here I am. What we’re hearing is that,
potentially, by 2040, we will triple
in population.♪♪I’m the barn owner
here at Kelly Farms
in Metter, Georgia,and we teach English
and Western riding. We also do birthday parties,
Summer campand we compete
in horse shows as well.
Yeah, brother. And, are our feet
in the stirrups,(child)
Yes.
or are they clunkin’ around
on the side of his belly?(indistinct mumbling)(laughing)Inside the stirrups,
very good.(indistinct), huh?Ready? All right,
here we go. Stretch up nice and tall. Okay.Very good, Hampton.Perfect.Keep stretchin’
up nice and tall. Lean back.Awesome.
Is that so much fun?
All right, you ready?Come here, darlin’. Take both feet
outta your stirrups. Woo-hoo.(gasping, laughing)You thought you were
goin’ down, didn’t you?(chuckling)All right. Keep lookin’
straight ahead. Remember,
he’s like a big dog. So, go ahead and walk
your dog right on in. So, he just started, so all of this
is very new to him.♪♪It’s just–
just this connection, with horses and humans. It’s really hard
to explain, but it’s just the bond
that you create with the animal
and, you know, they’ll never
let you down and they can never
break your heart, but you can tell ’em
all your secrets and they can’t tell
anybody else.We were originally
from Colorado,
and we actually just
looked it up online
and just looked for farms
in the state of Georgia,
and we traveled all over
the state of Georgia
tryin’ to find, kind of,
the best of both worlds.
For me to train horses
and to teach kids how to ride,
and for my husband to-to raise
red and black Angus cows.
The weather is ideal.Uh, I mean, it does get
hot here in the summer time,
but we don’t have
snow — too much. There’s-there’s a couple years
where it pretended to snow, but the weather’s
pretty moderate and, um, the grass grows
for quite a long time compared to Colorado,
where we had about three or four months
of actual growing season,so we stumbled across
this little place in Metter,
and absolutely
fell in love with it.
Fell in love with
the location, the people,
the atmosphere,
the weather.
I mean, everything–
We absolutely love everything about this town.
Just the people alone.They’ll stop and
ask you how you’re doin’
and they actually care.They’ll hold the door
open for you, say “please”
and “thank you.” Out in Colorado, it was,
kinda, every man for himself. And so this is the feel– This is how we wanna
raise our kids and, um, and just– it’s just
a better way of living.♪♪I’ve lived in
Monterey, California and Highlands,
North Carolina and, uh, I must say
that the people here are the friendliest.People are amazed at the-
the, uh, beauty of the garden,
uh, the well managed,
uh, care of the garden.
Uh, they are
astounded, really, and we have people
that come from all over. They stop here to eat.
They hear of the garden, and they come and
they spend hours here.About 40 years ago,Michael had been
recording his TV programs
in the studio
and he said, “You know,
“our theme is about
a seed in a garden,
“so why not go outside, “and begin recording
the seeds in the garden?”(bird whistling)(announcer)
Here is the Sower,
Michael Guido
of Metta, Georgia,with a seed for
the garden of your heart.
Every setback
is a step to success. Nothing comes out right
the first time. Ford built his first car
without a reverse gear. He went bankrupt twice
in his first three years. The Coca-Cola company
sold only 400 Cokes during their first year
in business. Well, we were with the, uh–
some satellite systems now that penetrate every nation,
as far as we know, and, uh, probably every country,
in one way or another has access
to the broadcasts.When it’s exam time
at Southern,
we get all these
little prayer requests,
“Help me with
calculus, Lord.”(chuckling)That’s cute.It is. Uh, we-we probably get ten or
twelve prayer requests a day.
Our chapel is
probably 35 years old.
It’s never been locked,
it’s open night and day,
we have people in there,
they leave us little notes
telling us how important
the garden is to them.
Uh,it’s just w–
a very unique place. It’s something that’s
not commercialized. It’s something that’s
just here for people… when they want to be quiet,
when they want to be alone, when they want to meditate,
when they want to read, we’re here for them.Very often, we have people
spend the night here,
who have no place to go,and you can see
from the condition
that they do no damage.A little theme we talk about,
“Everything’s better in Metter,” and we like to be part of
the “Better” in Metter.♪♪♪♪ Our slogan’s true. You go all across
the U.S. and people have heard
of Metter, Georgia, because we’re the best stop
in the middle of Georgia. If you’re comin’ from
Atlanta to Savannah, everybody says
we’re the best stop. And not just for
travelers and for visitors
comin’ to shop here, but it’s a down home
feeling a lot of us, especially people
in my generation, my age have moved here
because of the school system.
We have one of the number one
school systems around.
So, just eight years ago,our graduation rate
was only 56%,
and now it’s 88.2%.We have a major
industrial park
that’s less than a quarter
of a mile off of I-16.
We have an airport
that’s elongated.
They cou– could take
corporate jets here,
and so with the widening
and the deepening
of the Savannah River for the ships coming in,
we’ve gotten three international businesses
to land home here in Metter.The cost of living
is so much lower here
than it is
for a bigger city.
Raisin’ a family here couldn’t
be much safer and much better.♪♪We farm peanuts and cotton,
about 2,000 acres.I went to college
to do somethin’ else
and I was kinda drawn back
to the farm.
My family’s always farmed.Um, my brother
farms with me.
We farm with my–
with my dad and, uh, it’s a pretty–
it’s a pretty simple life.We have some good–
really good farmland.
Um, we have good infrastructure
for agriculture in Metter
and we have
a peanut buying point,
we have a couple
of cotton gins,
we have several fertilizer
and seed dealerships, and so we’re sorta
set up for agriculture. Uh, and it is the largest
industry in our county.All right, these peanuts–
the field we’re in here,
the peanuts have been
turned up, inverted. Uh, they’re-they’re
turned up so the peanuts themselves
can dry. When, uh– when they’re
still in the ground, green and growing, they completely cover
the field like carpet. It’s about a foot deep
of just green stems and vine and you have to invert ’em
and get ’em turned up, shake– it shakes
the dirt out of ’em and gets the peanuts
turned up, so they’ll dry,
and, uh, they have to be dry so you can
separate ’em from the vine. Uh, the peanuts move–
travel into this, into here. Into there, there are hundreds
of spring teeth– fingers, sort of like this… spinning real fast
and it thrashes those
peanut vines into small–
Into small pieces. Thrashes all
the peanuts off.All right, these peanuts
have been harvested
and they will ride
in these trailers
to the buying point,where they’ll be marketed
to candy companies or peanut butter companies. I will tell you that, uh,
Georgia’s peanut rich, because of the soil. It’s a– it’s a different type
of soil and our climate. We have a perfect growing
season for peanuts. We have enough cold weather
in the winter to, uh, have a insect kill,
and a weed kill, and then we have
a long growing season, which peanuts need.Uh, fresh vegetables,
though, are beginning
to become popular in Georgia,
uh, for farmers.
We do have a long growing
season, and it’s-it’s–
it makes growing vegetables
a viable crop option for us.
You don’t realize
how hard it is to–
for that fresh food
to get to a store.
You know, we’re in the South
and we can grow food
nearly year ’round.In parts of Georgia,
we can grow food– fresh produce
almost year ’round, but in the North, you can’t grow food
when it’s cold and the process
of getting fresh vegetables from California
to New York it’s-it’s a task and, you know,
people just don’t understand how big of a task it is.I think if they got a better
idea of what it took to grow
a-a ear of fresh corn
or a-a squash, for example,
and what it cost
to grow a squash, uh, that they would appreciate
where their food comes from. This is the best
place to be. This is much better than
sittin’ behind a desk.I like bein’ on a tractor,
I like bein’ by myself.
You don’t– you don’t
have to hear from anybody when you’re out here. I can leave my phone
in the truck and I really don’t hear
from anybody. Oh, well now,
I like it here.We have to take
special care of it,
farming, you know,
(indistinct) land,
but I like it.Uh, we have forests– pine forest,
oak ridge forests and, uh, it’s real pretty. You could ride around and
we– it’s a pretty place. Well, I love livin’
in Metter. Uh, I like small town, uh–
I know most everybody in town. My wife teaches school at
the local elementary school, and she has taught
so many kids. And we have, uh, classes–
first grade classes, kindergarten classes,
she brings ’em out, and we see what
happens on the farm. And I see those kids when they
graduate from high school, and they remember
who I am, and it just feels good
to know people, and to walk in
the grocery store, or the pharmacy, and know who you see
when you’re in there. I just– I like
the small town. ♪♪(indistinct chatter)I’ve got
15 different vendors, and anything that
comes in this door, if it needs to be worked on, or refurbished,
or tightened up, or the seats put in,
I do. And I’m all over the place,
so just stay with me. But this is
an old rocker. When it came in, it was all
brittle and everything, and didn’t have
a bottom on it.So I took some twine I had,
and I wove the bottom,
then I put polyurethane on it,
and that gives it its support,
and so now, all you have to do
is put a bottom on it,
and it makes it beautiful,
and it’s all original.
So, I just love old things, and I love bringin’ ’em
back to life. That’s just
a joy for me. And this piece–
I wanna show you this
piece right here. Do you know what it is? Margaret, do you
know what it is? I don’t.It’s a washer.Oh.Mm-hmm.See, what they did, they put
the water at the bottom, they put their clothes in here,
and that’s how the women stayed in good shape,
back in the day.And see,
this right here is what–
how it agitates clothes.
Yeah. Yeah.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then you’ve got
your ringers right here your clothes went through. I lost my arm about… Let’s see… in ’03, so that’s been
about 13 years ago. And when I was
laying on the bed, ’cause I used to be
a machinist, when I was layin’ there,
I asked God, “Please help me find
something “that I can do
to support myself.” So he led me
to Metter, Georgia. And I was here a year, and I walked into
this business, and God has blessed me. He has blessed me
with the people, he’s blessed me
with this town. I can’t tell you how
thrilled I am to be here, and if anybody wants
to visit Metter, Georgia, this is the place to be.Hi, there!
Oh, my goodness!
Can I help you, hon?Oh, we were
just lookin’. Hi, there.
How are you? How are you,
princess? How are you,
princess? I’m not alone, that’s
the way I look at it. Wanna come here? I will, too. Okay!
Here we go! What are we gonna
do now? I do what I love,
and love what I do. So anyway, that’s it. ♪♪ Well, this is one
of those, kind of, off the beaten path
types of places. We’re not too far from
Savannah, and, you know, 16 is a pretty boring road. But we’re a pretty quick
diversion off of 16.And it’s a beautiful place,
that’s kind of one of those
hidden gem
types of places,
that you don’t hear
too much about… but then,
people come here, and they just get all
excited by what they see, and they wanna come back, and they plan their-
their next vacation, or day-cation
out here at the park.This park was founded
in the early ’70s.
It was named after
a speaker of the house,
back in the 1960s.The park itself consists
of over 1,634 acres,
412 acres of which is
the Watson Mill Pond here.One of the biggest attractions
of the park here is–
is the 412-acre lake,because it’s one of
the few areas locally that has this kind of,
uh, cypress tree coverage.♪♪Kayaking out here, we have
ten miles of kayak trails, or any kind of
boating trails. Um, there are ospreys that
nest here in the springtime. There is a rookery way back
on the far end of the lake. In the spring and summer,
you’re likely to seesmall-to-medium-sized
alligators.
There is one out there
that’s about 10-11 feet long.
It’s very calm, still water,
which makes for easy paddling,
a nice lazy day on the lake,
and it is a big, uh– fishing attraction
as well. ♪♪ I was told when I first went
into the newspaper business that, uh, your family
will probably have to hire your pallbearers, because
sometime during your career, you’re gonna make
everybody mad.As far as we know,
we’re the only newspaper
ever owned
by a municipality.
Um, about 1910, um–
people in Metter, they decided
they wanted a county. And what they did was to see
if Metter hired an editor and started a newspaper. They called it
the Metter Advertiser, not to give the
retail merchants a place
to advertise their products, but to advertise Metter
to the county legislature. As the story goes,
governor Candler’s widow said, “I’ll help you get this passed,
if you’ll name your county“after my husband.”
Therefore, it did pass.
That’s why we are
Candler County.
♪♪ It’s getting harder, um– the recession was extremely
hard on us. And, uh– and a lot
of small papers. Um, and then, the recession’s
kind of ending, but you got Facebook. Um, I have people all
the time tell me, “Well, I don’t get this paper
anymore, I rely on Facebook.” And I say, “Listen,
that’s not news.” I’m James Marion Jones,
and I– I’ve been here probably 87 years,
except for time in service.Metter was formed around
a central Georgia depot,
and the trains came through,and they decided
to form a town here,
and names were suggested.And a name suggested
was Madow, M-A-D-O-W,
but then Washington, like everything else,
they got messed up, and it came back
Metter, M-E-T-T-E-R.But back in the, uh, ’20s,the main highway from
San Diego to Savannah, Georgia,
was known as the
Dixie Overland Highway, and it came through
Metter, Georgia. And we had a garage here,
Dixie Overland Garage. Had two or three
service stations, and, uh– the main thing they did
back in those years was patch
Model-A Ford tires. And change the oil,
that’s about all they did.But now, we don’t know
our neighbors anymore.
People moved in here
because, uh,
things are so much
better in Metter
than they are
in the big city,
so they come to Metter.Like, our son-in-law,
he lives here,
but works at Gulfstream
in Savannah.
My next door neighbor
lives here, but works at Gulfstream
in Savannah. The man across
the street lives here. He works at
Georgia Ports Authority. So, so many people– it’s only one hour
from here to Savannah. So a lot of our people work
in Statesboro or Savannah.And going through other
towns in North Georgia,
Saturday was a big day,
but here,
it’s just everything’s
over Saturday.
In fact, if we have
a fire on Saturday, we put it out
on Monday morning.Pretty laid-back.It’s a laid-back community,
and we love it. I was thinkin’ about… my first date. When I was in
the fourth grade, the Dixie Theater downtown, it cost $0.10 to go, and so, I invited
Colleen Pitman to go to the
picture show with me, and somebody asked
what was a picture show. It’s the same as
a movie or a theater, but there was no– anyway,
my Daddy gave me a quarter, and that was $0.10. I used to get in, a then a-
a nickel for popcorn. And she wouldn’t eat too much
popcorn, so we separated. When it was over, I went
my way, she went her way. That– that ended
that courtship. ♪♪ This is just some fresh
local produce, that’s–that’s grown in–
here around Metter.
Now we got a network
of growers that grow and sell us their
produce, and we– we put it out for sale
each day here at the
Metter Farmers’ Market. This is some local-grown
tomatoes, comin’ from, uh– a grower right outside of
Collins, Driggers Farms. That’ll some fresh-shelled
zipper peas that we– we picked and shelled–
shelled this morning.We offer those
each day for sale.
Fresh– fresh local
scuppernongs,
from Sturgis’ Vineyard,
right outside of Metter.
♪♪ Well, you’ve
heard the slogan, “Everything’s
better in Metter.” The produce. The produce is definitely
better in Metter. I love to take a bagel,
slice it, toast it, put mayonnaise on it,
good slice of peeled tomato, maybe two slices of peeled
tomato, salt and pepper, and eat that thing. And boy,
I’ll tell you, so good it’ll make you
slap your grandpappy. ♪♪ We feel like we’ve got
an incredible community in which to live. Uh, quality of life
is just great, uh– wonderful schools, um–
have medical care.Anybody that plays golf,we’ve got one of
the finest 18-hole courses
you’ll find anywhere.Our golf pro,
Greg Wolf,
is in the
Georgia Hall of Fame,
and he, uh–
loves to give lessons.Well, the amenities
we don’t have
are within an hour,
to Savannah.
Two hours to, uh,
about an hour and a half
to Augusta, Macon, and less than three hours,
you’re in Atlanta, so we feel like
we’ve got everything
that people would want within easy reach.Well, we have a number of
people that work here,
and drive to Savannah.I remember one couple
from Savannah, number of years back,
moved here, still worked in Savannah, but they lived
on the other side. They said they could drive
from Metter to Savannah just as quickly, and much
less stressful than, uh– living in Savannah, and
have that quality of life that they enjoy here.We just built a new
Pre-K through 8.
I think it was,
like, 30…
over $30 million.It is truly
state-of-the-art. We have kids in there
playing with robots.They have the, uh,
iPad tables, so the–
the schools, yes, will
entice others to come here.
Georgia is growing by leaps
and bounds, population-wise. The, uh– coast, everybody
wants to go to the coast. And so,
when it fills up, it’s gonna
come back this way. ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪they used to call me
rockabilly ♪
all of us ran through ♪when Elvis opened up the door
wah-lop-bah-lop-bam-boom ♪
I didn’t ever
play much rock and roll ♪
’cause I got so much
country in my soul ♪
but I’m a different man
for lovin’ you ♪
you ♪and I’d take a shot
at what you asked me to ♪
and baby I will rock ♪♪♪

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