Former Trion resident Mackie Carson has contributed several photographs to this website and the Chattooga County book.  Mackie was born at Trion Riegel Hospital in 1942 and lived in and around Trion for 18 years before entering the Army Paratroopers in 1961.  After a distinguished career in law enforcement in Atlanta and surrounding areas, Mackie and his wife, Carol (Allen), enjoy retirement in Newnan, Georgia with visits from their 3 children and 4 grandchildren.

In honor of Father's Day, Mackie shares some memories and photographs of the good times spent fishing with his dad.

On summer afternoons after Dad finished working the first shift at Riegel Cotton Mill, he’d come home about ten after four, grab his fishing pole, tell Mother he’d be back home in an hour with some fish for supper, and head for the Chattooga River which flowed behind our house.  I’d ask to go with him and he finally gave in and took me along.  

Dad planned many Saturday fishing trips to the Tennessee River near Scottsboro, Alabama and sometimes to Mud Creek.  We would rise from bed about 4 o'clock in the morning with the smell of vanilla flavoring drifting all through the house.  Mother and Dad would already be preparing "dough balls” and Mother would make “strick-of-lean” in homemade buttermilk biscuits to snack on throughout the day. 

Mud Creek was a local fishing area and restaurant located in Jackson County, Alabama where locals would gather on holidays to swim, ride boats, fish, and enjoy country activities such as showing off their prize "coon" dogs.  Mud Creek was not very far from Scottsboro, Alabama and the Tennessee River where Dad was raised. 

On special holidays such as the 4th of July, Mud Creek would have a festival and the biggest event of the day was "Possum on the Log." A log would be sit adrift with possums riding the logs and hound dogs would be turned loose on them.  This was in 1940's and 50's and the Humane Society would not permit this today. 

mud creek

The biggest event of the year would be traveling to Panama City, Florida during the 4th of July week, while Riegel Cotton Mill in Trion was shut down, and go deep sea fishing. The serious fisherman like my dad would go down to the docks in the evening to meet the boats as they returned from a day of fishing.  Dad liked to see which boat had the most fish.  That’s the boat we’d take the next day.  He’d go ahead and buy the tickets that evening. 

fishing boat

The next morning we’d eat a light breakfast and I’d take some Dramamine to help keep it down while going out to sea.  Many people failed to take Dramamine and would have a "long and sick day" at sea.

proud fishermen

My father, E. H. Carson, and me after a day deep sea fishing in Panama City on one of Captain Anderson's fishing boats in 1956.  Dad was always very frugal, but on this vacation he allowed me to buy a sailor's cap and palm tree tee shirt.  I took great pride in them, especially when going deep sea fishing.  We would always visit sea shell souvenir shops in Panama City where these trophies were purchased.

My father, Earlie H. Carson was born and raised in the Section/Macedonia area of Jackson County, Alabama near Scottsboro. He grew up on a farm, married a local girl named Willie Tidmore, and moved to Rome, Georgia in the early 1930s with their young son, Billy Joe Carson.  When Willie came down with consumption, they returned to live with family in Alabama where she died.

Dad married Geneva Aaron from Fort Payne, Alabama, and the couple moved to Trion where he worked as a laborer in the Riegel Textile Weave Room.  My sister, Janice, and I were both born in Trion.

Dad was active in church activities and, after a few years, became a Baptist minister.  He would go on to pastor West Summerville Baptist Church, Berryton Baptist Church, Mountain View Baptist Church, Waterville Baptist Church (near Hall's Valley), and finally Dry Valley Baptist Church.  When Dad felt his usefulness was exhausted at a church, he would move on to another.  He delighted in youth programs to attract young people whom Dad considered the future of the church and the community.

At one time, Dad worked third shift at Riegel, cut hair on Saturdays at Trion Barber Shop, was pastor of a church with services Sunday morning and evening and Wednesday nights, conducted weddings and funerals, and had a large garden during the summer.  He definitely believed idle hands were the work of the DEVIL.  At every opportunity he helped the disadvantaged in the community and, although he was raised on Big Sand Mountain in Alabama, never displayed racism of any kind.

Thanks to Mackie Carson for sharing his photographs and memories of his father and family.  More photographs of his father are on page 67 of the Chattooga County book.

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Copyright 2012 Greg W. McCollum.  All rights reserved.