COLUMN: Easter Chicks and Family Ties

By  Rebecca JohnstonRebecca Johnston (web)

Live baby chicks were all the rage for Easter when I was growing up in Canton. So much so, that one year several classes at Canton Elementary were given the fluffy yellow peeps to take home along with their assignments.

What parents thought when their youngsters showed up with a baby chicken to feed and house can only be imagined.

Fambro’s, a local five and dime store in downtown Canton, usually had them for sale around Easter. My friends and I always loved going in and seeing the little chicks, dreaming of having one for our own. But probably some folks just went out to their hen houses and found a few.

Cherokee County was the poultry capital of the world back in those days. Signs on roads leading into the county proclaimed we were the “World’s Largest Broiler Producing County.”

Haley Farms was one of the most successful poultry operations in the county. Owned and operated by Fred Haley, who was highly respected as a leader in the community and the state, Haley Farms began with poultry but expanded to include hogs and other commodities.

Fred Haley eggs were highly prized and most families wouldn’t eat anything else. I am sure most children in Cherokee were coloring Fred Haley eggs for their Easter baskets back in those days.

Fred and his wife Louise had four children: Frank, who later worked for the massive farming operation, and three daughters, Margaret Ann, Carolyn Sue and Mary Lynn. Lovely Southern names.

Eventually, the farm went out of operation and some of the land was sold for development.

The three sisters, however, are still right here in Cherokee County where they were born, operating a beloved gift shop in the Hickory Flat community they continue to call home.

Three Sisters, located in the shopping center at the corner of Hickory Flat Highway and East Cherokee Drive, is a popular gift and home décor shop started by the trio several years ago. Customers and browsers often find at least one or two of the sisters there to assist in finding perfect gifts for all occasions or special touches for the home.

Three Sisters is just one of several family owned businesses we feature this month in Cherokee Life.

Tucked in century old buildings in downtowns, or located along the main highways and byways of our county, a plethora of family businesses still welcome the public each day.

Many have been around for decades.

Those businesses are among the many things that make our community unique and should be treasured.

Some might be a little more difficult to reach, but the attention and service, as well as the fun of chatting with long-time owners, makes the shopping so much more rewarding.

Spring is the time when Cherokee takes on a special look. Riding through the countryside, where once so many farms dotted the landscape and some still remain, this time of year shows an unfolding of beauty, pale green grass dotted with daffodils, trees budding out and dogwoods blooming.

Take time to get out and enjoy. Just as those tiny baby chicks speak of rebirth, spring is the time that resurrects our souls after a long winter, and brings us the promise of Easter.

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