Welcome to Back Rhodes

Most of you probably reading this know me from my Ramblin’ Rhodes weekly music column which, God willing, will have its 39th anniversary on Oct. 31.

When The Augusta Chronicle’s Features Editor Tharon Giddens approached me about writing a regular blog, I wanted to do something a bit different than the music column.

I immediately thought it would be a good opportunity to utilize my extensive knowledge of useless facts in another area:  local history.

For several years growing up in the ‘50s, my family lived in Evans in two different houses on Belair Road and one concrete block house north of Evans on Washington Road.

Evans was a far different place then, with Belair Road just two lanes, and Wheeler and Hereford Farm roads still dirt.  My family attended Marvin United Methodist Church at Bel Air and Wheeler roads where a pew still bears a metal plate noting that it was donated by my parents, Ella and Ollen Rhodes.

Terri Gibbs, long before she became famous with her 1981 hit single "Somebody’s Knockin’," attended Marvin church along with her large extended family that included her uncles who sang in the Master Workers Quartet often on WJBF television.  They were local stars to us.

Augusta was like another world, where we would venture to a few times during the year, especially at Christmas, when all the major department stores were on Broad.

Our world pretty much revolved around our schools, our church and, of course, Garrett’s and Roper’s grocery stores, located on different corners of Bel Air and Columbia roads.  The Garretts (Fred and Mary) went to our church, and my mother was best friends with Mary.  We often were over at their house on Belair Road near Marvin church.

The Stricklands, Tankersleys, Nichols and other long-time Columbia County families were all a part of our weekly lives.

Just like today when people ask me if I’m related to Austin Rhodes (we’re not but have known each other for several decades), people back then asked me if I was related to my classmate Foster Rhodes.  I wasn’t, but I did get to spend some nights on his family’s farm on Stevens Creek Road which became Rhodes Hill subdivision.

It’s strange, but after more than half a century I still talk often with David Roper, now a Columbia County superior court judge, and Beverly Courson (Fred and Mary’s daughter).

When David ran for judge, it tickled and delighted me that among his attributes he cited “family values gleaned from a childhood in his parents' family grocery in Columbia County.”

After the ninth grade at Evans High, my family moved away.  And yet fate would being me back to the area in the late ‘60s when the U.S. Army sent me to Signal Corps school at Fort Gordon and finally back again in late 1971 when I moved up from Savannah to begin working as a reporter for the afternoon Augusta Herald.

It’s been said many times that nobody appreciates an area like an outsider.  I don’t really agree with that.  I know a lot of families whose ancestors go back generations in this area, and they have the same deep love and appreciation for its history just like I do.

Anyway with this blog I want to focus on the weirder and less publicized historical tidbits of this area that you may or may not know about.

I’ve always seen my journalistic role as an entertainer, educator and overall conduit of interesting and accurate information. 

So, let’s see what happens.

    • Syndicate content
Comments (9) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
CorporalGripweed
0
Points
CorporalGripweed 09/04/09 - 02:27 pm
0
0
Hiya Don,   Look forward to

Hiya Don,

  Look forward to your posts. Keep the historical tidbits coming. You are correct, this area has a lot of "unknown" history, or should I say lesser-known histories and I look forward to hearing about some of them.

 Also, congratulations on your upcoming anniversary.Here's wishing you many more.

 See ya round....

Don Rhodes
4
Points
Don Rhodes 09/10/09 - 07:55 am
0
0
Thank you, CorporalGripweed,

Thank you, CorporalGripweed, for the very first comment on my very first blog.  Hope I can live up to your expectations with future postings.  Thanks also to my radio "cousin," Austin Rhodes, for saying some nice things in telling his listeners about this new blog.  

Little Lamb
48966
Points
Little Lamb 09/10/09 - 08:02 am
0
0
How about combining some

How about combining some local history and some music?  I remember attending a concert at Julian Smith Casino in the 1980s featuring artist Skeeter Davis.  A Ramblin' Rhodes column published to make the community aware of the concert mentioned something about Davis' failed marriage to music critic Ralph Emery.  At the concert, Ms. Davis called out to the audience to see if Don Rhodes was in attendance so she could give him a piece of her mind.  It was a hoot.

Don Rhodes
4
Points
Don Rhodes 09/10/09 - 08:06 am
0
0
Wow!  Thanks, jbsills, for

Wow!  Thanks, jbsills, for reminding me of that.  Guess that really was an honor since the wonderful Skeeter Davis (Don't They Know It's The End of the World) was a true legend who gave a lot of people a piece of her mind.  I love those fiesty entertainers.  I do intend in the future to recall some music history that I personally witnessed. --- Don

Austin Rhodes
2989
Points
Austin Rhodes 09/10/09 - 08:11 am
0
0
Don Rhodes is the MVP of

Don Rhodes is the MVP of Augusta cultural and social history!  What a treasure...!  

 Augusta's reluctance to embrace Cobb's place in sports history, and our role in it is inexcusable! 

Little Lamb
48966
Points
Little Lamb 09/10/09 - 09:05 am
0
0
Here's another tale told

Here's another tale told from the stage at the Skeeter Davis concert:  While she was riding in her bus from Nashville to the concert she asked her road manager what the venue was in Augusta?  When he said "Julian Smith Casino," she chastised him and said, "You know I don't perform where there is gambling or drinking!"

Don Rhodes
4
Points
Don Rhodes 09/10/09 - 10:03 am
0
0
How, hilarious, jbsills! 

How, hilarious, jbsills!  Never heard that one.  I thought it was wrong that the Opry suspended Skeeter just because she criticized the Nashville police for keeping people, as I recall, from distributing religious literature on public streets.

 I'll never forget going to Minnie Pearl's funeral and seeing one rose placed on top of her casket.  I thought it had been her husband, Henry Cannon, who must have placed it from their garden.  Then I learned that someone had approached Skeeter before the funeral and told her how much Minnie had meant to them and asked if she would take the rose to the funeral.

 I'm not sure which was more wonderful:  that an unknown fan of Minnie's wanted to remember her that way or that Skeeter was kind enough to take the fan's rose and place in on Minnie's casket.

 Either way, I'm sure Minnie loved it even in death.

 Don

 

Little Lamb
48966
Points
Little Lamb 11/14/09 - 11:17 am
0
0
Back to those concerts at

Back to those concerts at Julian Smith Casino back in the 1980s:  They were not advertised in the media.  Instead, people called the community on the phones and told about the concerts and then asked for donations for underprivileged and disabled people in the community to attend.  When I got my first call (I can't remember who the concert artist was, but I was interested), I told the caller than I did not wish to donate, but instead wished to purchase tickets for my family.  There was silence on the other end, but eventually I was transferred to someone who arranged to take my money and give me tickets.

 The pattern was repeated for several years.  The concerts were always delivered as promised.  I saw Tommy Cash (brother of Johnny), Narvell Felts, Connie Smith, Freddie Weller and surely some others I can't remember.

The most interesting show to me was one that might as well been called "The Kitty Wells Revue."  Of course, Kitty was the star.  But the show also featured her husband, Johnny Wright (one half of the popular 50s country act Johnny and Jack) and her son, Bobby Wright (a one-hit wonder with a beautiful song, "Pledging My Love").  It was a great show.

Little Lamb
48966
Points
Little Lamb 11/19/10 - 02:56 pm
0
0
Someone with a screen name

Someone with a screen name called "Soldout" left a comment in the CC News-Times under the story about naming the amphitheatre after Lady Antebellum. Soldout said, “I used to be a country music fan until I realized I wasn't old enough to listen to it.”

My problem is the opposite: I used to be a country music fan until I realized I wasn't YOUNG enough to listen to it! Have you noticed how all the country music fans are 14-year-old girls?

Lady A Amphitheatre

Back to Top

Top headlines

Ex-superintendent to write of miraculous recovery

Taking his doctor's advice, former Richmond County school superintendent Frank Roberson has nearly finished writing a 150-page book about his remarkable recovery from brain trauma.
Search Augusta jobs