If I am not mistaken, I was delivered by Dr. William Nichols. He was one of basically five doctors that I can remember growing up. In addition to him were Dr. Jack Cauble, Dr. Charles Andrews, Dr. Grady N. Coker and Dr. B.K. Looper. We now have a plethora of doctors and specialists working in our community.
As I was growing up, Cherokee County would be unrecognizable from what it is today. We have come a long way from being the rural community we once were. We are more educated, have more industry, and have many of the leisure pursuits of a big city in our backyards.
But make no mistake; we also lost some things through this progression.
Many of you have had the experience of telling someone you are a lifelong resident of Cherokee County. Think about some of the looks and comments you get when you make that statement.
It almost makes you feel like you should be apologizing. It’s almost like you think you should say, “Yes, I am from here, but I have done well in spite of it.”
On behalf of the lifelong residents of Cherokee County, let me say to all that we are proud of our heritage. We are proud that we come from a rural farming community, for it taught us the value of a hard day’s work. It taught us that a neighbor in need was a neighbor you helped.
A lot of us don’t even know our neighbors anymore, unless we meet them through some sort of dispute.
Our county has so much to offer young people these days that it boggles the mind. There is enough to keep our children busy every day of the year if they so choose. And busy is good as long as it is mixed with emptiness at times so our children can get in touch with their creative side.
I am blessed to have memories of a childhood filled with simplistic fun. I have memories of spending time at Sweetwater Beach. And many times on the way home, we would stop at the Tasty Freeze, better known as Wormy’s, and eat in the car.
I have memories of floating the Etowah River with the Scouts and with a church group on several occasions. We would put in the river somewhere above East Cherokee Drive so we would make sure to experience the rapids at Gober Beach. For you that aren’t from around here, it’s not really a beach, we just called it one.
Sports were also an important part of my childhood. There are many memories of playing baseball at Harmon Field. At that time, there was only one field on that site. And I have many memories of teammates and coaches from that day.
I remember playing many football games at Kenny Askew Park. Unlike today, our schedule consisted of playing games outside of Cherokee County. There weren’t enough players like today to have a league of our own.
There are many memories of playing in tennis tournaments also at Kenny Askew Park. Those were the only courts I knew of at the time besides the ones in the Cotton Mill Village.
There were summers filled with playing golf at Canton Golf Club. And after golf, the rest of the day would be spent at the swimming pool owned by the golf club.
There are too many names to call, but I would bet if you ask any of the folks that spent their summers at the Canton pool that they would tell you those were some of the best memories of their life.
But there were also times I spent alone devising my own games at home. I would hit a golf ball around the yard. I would throw a baseball on top of the house and wait for it to come down so I could catch it. I would see how many free throws I could make in a row on my makeshift basketball goal. I would build trails in the woods for bike riding and motorcycle riding. Most importantly, I didn’t need anyone to watch.
Virtually everyone on my Daddy’s side of the family has passed away with Alzheimer’s.
So if it happens to me, I hope that these columns will remind folks that Cherokee County is a great place to be.
It always has been.
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.