Ramblin' Rhodes: Longtime paper carrier Nunamaker always delivered smiles

Betty Nunamaker takes a photo with country singer Garth Brooks and her daughter, Linda Allen.

Most of you probably never see your Augusta Chronicle carrier since they usually deliver the newspaper in pre-dawn hours.


But I constantly was running into Betty Nunamaker, my carrier of 15 or more years, almost every week somewhere.

Nunamaker, who died at age 76 on Sept. 11, was a lifelong resident of North Augusta and was well known through her dedicated work as a Chronicle carrier, as manager of the Circle K near the library in North Augusta, her membership at New Hope Gospel Chapel in Aiken County and her love of country music.

Nunamaker popped up all over this area in pursuing her love of music and its performers, no matter whether it was at small house concerts or a large auditorium. And many of the stars came to know and love Nunamaker.

She and her daughter, Linda Allen, decided one summer at the International Country Music Association Fan Fair to see Garth Brooks’ house in the Nashville, Tenn., area. They were parked outside the main gate when, lo and behold, Brooks himself came driving out in a Jeep.

He stopped to talk with them and learned they were fans from North Augusta. They had someone take their photo with Brooks, who couldn’t have been any nicer. That photo was among several of Nunamaker posing with country music stars that were shown in a video at Posey’s Funeral Directors.

For the funeral visitation, Nunamaker had been dressed in an autographed Reba McEntire tour T-shirt. There were buttons of country celebrities pinned inside the casket, and folded country music T-shirts inside, too. Two acoustic guitars on stands nearby were covered with autographs.

Nineteen years ago, Nunamaker was honored for her then-21 years of Chronicle delivery with an advertisement denoting Oct. 11, 1997, as International Newspaper Carrier Day.

Chronicle officials wanted to have a photo taken on her route, and she wanted it to be with my dog, Reba (named for Reba McEntire).

You see, Nunamaker would call me on her phone as she was nearing my house because I had taught the golden retriever mix to run up our driveway to her truck. And she would hand my morning paper to my dog, who would run it back to me! So, we arranged for a photo, and that is what ran with the headline, “Reba sees me and she comes running up the driveway.”

The Rev. Bob Still, the pastor of New Hope Gospel Chapel, told of Nunamaker’s special delivery service during his funeral remarks.

In homage of her years of work with Circle K, amid a spray of yellow roses, was one of those gas station coffee cups with a huge yellow smiley face.

You couldn’t help but smile in seeing it placed on top of a casket.

And that’s the way it was with Nunamaker. You couldn’t help but smile when you were in her presence, because she always made you feel like such a special person.

HOT NEW BAND IN TOWN: There is no doubt that there is a hot, new band in town, as evidenced by the debut of the rockabilly band King Cat and The Elders on Sunday of the Arts in the Heart of Augusta festival.

Lead vocalist Steve Bouye several times told the audience at Augusta Common that they were hearing and seeing the band’s first public appearance. But judging by the positive reaction of the crowd and the enthusiastic playing of the members, it certainly won’t be the last one. Their rendition of Elvis Presley’s Little Sister especially was sizzling hot.

Besides Bouye on vocals and harmonica, the band consists of Roger Davis on rhythm guitar and vocals, Dwight Bradham on lead guitar, Dean Klopotic on bass and Jeff Johnston on drums. You can contact the group through their Facebook page King Cat and The Elders.


ALWAYS … PATSY CLINE BEING RE-STAGED: The Edge­field County Theater is re-staging the musical Always … Patsy Cline at 8 p.m. Oct. 6-7, 14-15 and at 5 p.m. Oct. 9, at Pine Ridge Country Club, Edgefield, S.C.

Tickets are $25. Dinner is available prior to most shows. Some tickets at $50 are left for the Gala Grand Dress Fundraiser on Oct. 5. Call (803) 336-8726 for tickets.

The two-person play is based on letters written between the country music legend and her fan and close friend Louise Seger.

Melissa McElmurray will be portraying the star for the fourth time, and Debbie Fryer is back as Seger. The show is being directed by longtime actor and director Dave Engelman of Aiken.

Several area musicians will make up the band, including Josh Edwards, Kevin Reynolds, Denny Peluso, Caleb Wilkerson, Jason Rushton and for one performance, former Augusta resident Jeannie Butler.


THE DRIFTERS: This Rock and Roll Hall of Fame act will perform at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3, for the Waynesboro-Burke County Concert Series at Burke County High School. Tickets are $20 adults, $5 students; call (706) 437-0070 or buy at iTickets.com and burkeconcert.org.


JAKE OWEN: Country music star Jake Owen returns to Augusta for a 7:30 p.m. concert Friday, Oct. 7, at Imperial Theatre to benefit the TGen Foundation for cancer research and fighting infectious diseases. The event also honors Laurie Parkhurst (read her story at lauriesfund.org). Tickets start at $50 at the box office and imperialtheatre.com.