Originally created 03/11/01

Southern hospitality glows warmly



A warm, wood-burning stove beckons visitors to come inside Wyman and Rena Mobley's cedar-sided farmhouse.

As a gracious Southern lady should, Mrs. Mobley always has fresh poundcake to offer, which is a treat for three grandchildren who visit often.

"We have five acres now," Mr. Mobley said, "plenty of room to play in."

The Mobleys built their two-story, 4,400-square-foot home in 1981, living in a portion of it before the house was finished. Mr. Mobley installed the plumbing while Mrs. Mobley applied wallpaper.

Their closet was the front porch. Mrs. Mobley said it was like camping.

The five-bedroom home sits squarely in the middle of the lot, which started as four acres, in Goshen Plantation in south Augusta.

Their front porch with twin swings, for him and her, sits about 100 yards from the paved road.

Their driveway, which is accessible only from a dirt road that runs beside the lot, is flanked by hundreds of azaleas and camellias, rooted by Mr. Mobley.

With somewhere between 600 to 700 azaleas surrounding the house, spring explodes at the Mobley home with thousands of blooms. Fresh flowers grace tabletops and counters in the house.

Inside, grandchildren often play in the "rec room," or upstairs bedrooms.

"They come up here and dance," Mrs. Mobley said of her granddaughters, Madeline, 4, and Arden Mobley, 6, who fill the house with squeals and giggles.

Grandson Evan, 8, appreciates the recreation room, with its pingpong and pool tables and all the grandchildren's toys.

Inside the rec room, a second wood-burning stove warms the tile floor and the cypress-lined walls.

Tucked away just behind that room is a canning and laundry room, which keeps large projects, such as making blueberry syrup and jelly, out of Mrs. Mobley's main kitchen.

"This was our first kitchen," Mrs. Mobley said. As they were building, they used the small kitchen until the main kitchen was completed.

Like much of the house, the new kitchen was designed with visitors in mind.

Wooden swinging doors at one end hide the sink and stove from the dining room and foyer. From the other side of the room, an island stands tall enough to hide the cooking area from the kitchen table.

"I don't want them to see what I'm cooking," Mrs. Mobley said.

Attached to the other side of the island is a booth built by Mr. Mobley, with storage inside the benches, where the couple eats.

"We use it almost every day," Mr. Mobley said. "I'm not a carpenter, but I love to build."

And evidence of that hobby is spread through the house. In the great room, a mission-style cedar bench shows off Mr. Mobley's handiwork.

On what used to be a back deck is a room that showcases Mr. Mobley's other passion: clocks. If the house is quiet, you can hear the ticking from the special room even before you enter.

More than 50 clocks fill the room: grandfather clocks, mantel clocks and backward clocks all built by Mr. Mobley.

"I love clocks," he said. "I just got into the hobby, and it got out of control."

"When he started, he had them in the hall," Mrs. Mobley said. That is until Mrs. Mobley bumped into them one night after all the lights were out.

"It was like a domino effect," she said.

Out back, the Mobleys' yard is perfectly laid out to accommodate gatherings of friends and family.

An herb garden, blueberry patch and a rose garden were just beginning to bud on a recent day. And dozens of cardinals hopped around the many birdhouses and feeders.

Behind a four-car carport there is a workshop, a cook house and two storage buildings.

When Mr. Mobley was building his cook house, he intended to put a barbecue pit in it.

"When I finished it, the building was too nice," he said. Instead, three enormous portable grills with trailer hitches stand beside the building. Inside, plenty of counter space and a commercial oven oblige even the largest cooking project.

Mr. Mobley's workshop is divided into two parts. The front has all the wood-working paraphernalia; the back, a workbench for staining and assembling detailed clock parts.

Mrs. Mobley has a room reserved for her interests, too: a small study at the back of the main house. Bookshelves stretch from floor to ceiling, stained in the same natural weathered shade as the Southern pine walls. Mrs. Mobley's sewing machine sits in one corner and a computer desk in the other.

Reach Lisa M. Lohr at (706) 823-3332.