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County Road 11: Best of 2020

Published: Dec. 31, 2020 at 3:24 PM CST
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - We love finding old time general stores that are just about a thing of the past. One of those is the Needham Store in this tiny community in West Alabama. It’s been around for decades and you can find anything from knifes, oils and groceries to fun supplies and fishing tackle. If you go on Friday, you better get there early to get a seat at the lunch counter for fried fish.

We also ventured to Chesney’s Store in Little Rock. It’s part convenience store. Part general store. Part bait and tackle shop, gas station and restaurant. Brothers Ricky and Jay Chesney are the long time owners, but it was their Mom, Nelda, who made it famous among locals.

We also met some unforgettable characters along our way like Earl Davis of Union. Folks come from miles around every Friday night as Earl grills up some of the best steaks at the Piggly Wiggly, where he’s worked for over 30 years and become beloved in the community.

Then there’s Billy Lyons of Meridian, who parlayed his love for tattoos and motorcycles into a spot in a rising reality show that’s gained worldwide popularity on YouTube. The show is called “Tattoos and Turnpikes” and one episode was shot in Meridian.

We caught up with former WTOK sport anchor Nick Adam, who is now a catholic priest who travels the state of Mississippi looking for young men who feel the call to priesthood. He came up with a novel approach to get his message out called the Tour de Priest as he biked the Natchez Trace last summer, 270 miles from Tupelo to Natchez, in the blistering heat.

Talk about a character. How about DJ Lollydude. The long time radio personality actually was in the wrestling business back in the 80′s, serving both as a wrestler and a referee. My County Road 11 story ended in a ‘scuffle’ with Lollydude--with a threat and rematch still pending.

From the ridiculous to the sublime. One of our favorites is the ageless Dr. Carless Evans. We were with him back in August as he celebrated his 92nd birthday. Dr. Evans has been preaching the gospel for over 70 years now and is also a former aviation instructor, he’s written a book and he’s the founder of Ebenezer Ministries--and still going strong.

It was a night 50 years in the making. Teammates, cheerleaders, band members and friends reuniting to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of the Forest High School football team that posted a perfect season and won a conference championships--all done the first year the school was integrated.

We also took you to one of the hidden gems in our area, Lake Tiak-O’Khata in Louisville. The resort has been in the same family for four generations but COVID threatened it’s existence in 2020. However, owner Carmen White said because people stayed closer to home and didn’t travel as much this year, they saw a lot of new faces at Lake Tiak-O’Khata and actually had a great year.

We also looked into the mystery of the Angels of Lockhart. Seven siblings, all died before the age of two, buried in this cemetery plot in the northern part of Lauderdale County. The last child died 110 years ago and we still don’t know why.

County Road 11 is also partial to music. You heard the inspiration I Stand with this Country by Jacky Jack White and Carl Ray

Singer/Songwriter Emily White of Meridian signed a new record deal with a Nashville label in 2020 and just a couple of months ago, released her debut CD, Child of Mississippi

Danica Hart from Poplarville won the Mississippi Songwriter of the Year for her original song “Made for Me” sung with the vocal group called “The Chapel Hart Band”.

And Meridian’s Steve Forbert celebrating five decades in the music business. Jack Rabbit slim. An original. A troubadour. Standing the test of time.

And Marty Stuart of Philadelphia, achieving the ultimate honor in his profession by being named among the 2020 inductees for the Country Music Hall of Fame. 2020 hasn’t been the greatest of years, but you’d never have known it here on County Road 11.

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