Monthly Archives: February 2021

A Love Story to Remember


(From left) Abigail Johnson, Abigail Jessee and Georgia Martinez share the bonds of friendship and the appreciation of a good love story. Through their businesses, they held a contest, which was open to all CSRA residents, to highlight the love stories of four local couples. The winners received a complimentary photo shoot from the business owners and the opportunity to tell their stories in Columbia County Magazine.

As the brainchild of Abigail Jessee of Abigail Marie Creative, “A Love Story to Remember” tells the love stories of four local couples. She started her business to share people’s lives, and particularly their love stories, through photography.

“I love a good wedding photo, but I started thinking, ‘Where are all of the other love stories?’” she says.

Enlisting the aid of her friends, Abigail Johnson of Rosilie’s Rentals and Georgia Martinez of Georgia Miller Photography, they launched the project with a contest to showcase the love stories of local residents. The winners received a complimentary photo shoot and the opportunity to share their stories in Columbia County Magazine.

Abigail Jessee and Georgia shared photography duties; Abigail Johnson provided vintage props for the photo shoots.

“The best part about this process was reading all of the submissions,” says Abigail Jessee. “I was so encouraged that every story was unique its own way.”

With her camera, Georgia loves to peek behind the scenes. “Taking part in this project was an enriching, beautiful experience for me. Although I am often photographing what is visible to the eye, I truly believe it is the story behind a photograph that gives it meaning and life,” she says. “Our love stories are timeless, unique, and they connect us all.”

Abigail Johnson is fascinated by every detail of people’s lives. Her interest in their histories grew out of the mementoes and memories that her grandfather saved of her late grandmother, Barbara Roselie, whom she never met.

“I’m so thankful my PaPa kept their love story alive through her things, photos and his memories. It made me realize how captivating history and memories can be,” she says. “It was through my grandparents and their epic love story that my love for all things sentimental, unique and antique really began.”

The contest was open to all CSRA residents. Couples could nominate themselves or be nominated by someone else.

The featured couples include an engaged pair that is getting married in May – pandemic or not, a husband and wife that finally admitted their true feelings for each other and eloped after a 12-year friendship, fun-loving empty nesters who make the most of every moment they spend together and mentor other young couples, and great-grandparents (and great dancers) who have been married for 51 years. Enjoy.

Coming Up Roses


When you know, you know. Suzanne and Pete Adams of Appling will celebrate their 51st wedding anniversary on February 20, and it all started when she spotted him on the dance floor one night in the fall of 1969.

“He was so good looking. He could dance,” says Suzanne. “I love to dance, and he’s still one of the best dancers I’ve ever seen.”

She told her friends she was going to marry that guy. “They just laughed and said, ‘You don’t even know his name,’” recalls Suzanne.

Undeterred, she told a male friend to tell Pete to ask her to dance, and he did. Suzanne invited Pete to go to breakfast with her and a group of friends the next day, but he declined. She later found out he didn’t have the money.

Pete also had just come out of a relationship, so he was reluctant to become involved with someone else so soon.

As fate would have it, though, both of them worked in retail stores in downtown Macon, so they still saw each other daily. Pete finally called Suzanne at work one day and asked her out. They went dancing again at a different place.

“She was just the one for me,” he says. “She was a little more aggressive than I was at first. I’m glad she was because I fell in love with her.”

During their courtship, Pete picked a rose and took it to Suzanne every day. “I shouldn’t have done that because they came from the garden at the town hall,” he says.

Less than six months after they met, the couple got married in Lakeland, Florida by the justice of the peace. The ceremony cost $10, but first they went to an Army-Navy surplus store and bought two rings for $1 apiece.

They got proper wedding rings later. However, Pete says, “That doesn’t make for a lasting marriage.” They agree that commitment and a Christ-centered relationship are the keys to a long-lasting marriage.

“You have to give and take,” Suzanne says. “You have to be committed and love one another. It isn’t always easy roads. You have a lot of rocky roads.”

Suzanne and Pete have six children, 17 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. And every time he looks at her, Pete is reminded of one of the things that made him fall in love with her.

“She had the prettiest blue eyes,” he says. “She still does.”

Creamy Lobster Bisque

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 lobster tails
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced and divided
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Extra dash salt, pepper and cayenne, to taste

For the lobster stock, fill a large pot with 5 cups of water. Stir in 1 teaspoon sea salt and bring to a boil. Add lobster tails, cover with lid and boil 5 minutes or until bright red. Remove lobster tails, reserving liquid stock. Once lobsters have cooled enough to handle, remove meat from shells; set aside. Return lobster shells to pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes. While stock is simmering, chop meat into bite-size pieces and refrigerate.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, thyme and tarragon and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add bouillon, salt, pepper and cayenne. Stir in 4 cloves of the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Mix in tomato paste and cook about a minute to coat vegetables. Sprinkle with flour and cook another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in wine, simmer and let reduce to half. Stir in 4 cups of the lobster stock, reduce heat and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid has thickened, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool about 10 minutes. Place in a blender or purée with an immersion blender until smooth. Return to medium low heat and stir in heavy cream.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté remaining minced garlic for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add chopped lobster meat and season with an extra dash salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Lightly sauté for 1 minute, stirring occasionally, until lobster meat is just warmed through. Mix lobster meat into bisque and serve. Makes 4 servings.



Near Misses


Augusta residents Brynn Allen and Nick Woo don’t plan to let covid-19 or anything else stop them from getting married on May 8, especially after a lifetime of near misses.

Both of them attended elementary school at St. Mary on the Hill Catholic School. Even though each grade had only two classes, they never were in the same one. Growing up, they knew lots of the same people, but not each other. “When we got older, we continued to just barely miss each other,” says Brynn. “Nick and I had so many mutual friends and were at so many of the same events together, it is almost laughable how we just kept missing each other.”

Those circumstances finally changed after a day at Clarks Hill Lake with friends the summer before their senior year in high school — Nick at Greenbrier High School and Brynn at Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School. “I think we might have been the only two that didn’t know each other,” Brynn says.

For their first date—which ended up being spread over two days—they sat on the dock at Savannah Rapids Pavilion and talked for hours. They had planned to get takeout food from Toki, but it didn’t work out. When they went back to the dock the next day to “finish” their date, they had Toki to-go boxes in hand.

Once they finally started dating, they also had to overcome the challenges of a long-distance relationship. Brynn went to Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, while Nick recently graduated from Augusta University. The separation wasn’t easy, they agree, but it allowed them space to grow as individuals.

Nick and Brynn have been together six years, but after a few months, she knew he was the man she wanted to marry. He proposed to her in July by recreating their first date with another Toki picnic on the Savannah Rapids dock. “To pop the question, there couldn’t have been better spot to do it,” he says.

They call communication the foundation of their relationship.

“You need to be vulnerable with that person you care about, open up and have the hard conversations,” Nick says.

“She pushes me to be the best I can be, and she supports me  in any endeavor.”

In addition, they simply have fun together and enjoy each other’s company.

“Every single year we have been together has been like a new year and a new adventure,” Brynn says.

Ahead in the Count


The first date for Evans residents Andria and Dave Duff was a favor for friends. His roommate wanted to ask out her friend, but he didn’t have a car. Luckily Dave had a car, so the two of them tagged along.

The guys and girls first met one night in Jackson, Mississippi. Andria, an accountant for a CPA firm, and her friends were out celebrating the end of tax season. Dave was playing minor league baseball for the Jackson Mets, but his game had been rained out.

Both from Virginia, Andria and Dave discovered they had mutual friends.

“He had a lot of character. He was thoughtful and serious about his future,” Andria says. “He had all of the qualities that I knew were going to be important in a long-term relationship. He also was super cute. He looked really good in his uniform.”

Dave proposed after nine months of dating, but he knew after six months that he wanted to marry Andria.

“She was cute and sweet and smart and funny,” he says. “She has a great sense of humor, and she always wants to have fun. She’s a great person with priorities and values.”

The Duffs have three grown sons, and they led a middle school Bible study when their boys were growing up. Now, they mentor some of those same children as young married couples at Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church.

“We feel like people have passed on good skills to us,” Andria says, “and we want to make a difference for other young couples.”

Dave agrees. “We feel a real calling to help young people with marriage,” he says. “The institution of marriage is so important to our society.”

The empty nesters also value their time together.

“I love that I get a part of Dave that nobody else ever sees,” says Andria. “I love that he’s so loyal and trustworthy – and that’s with everybody, not just me.”

They love to travel, and dinner is their favorite time of day.

“We’ve always had a date night no matter how busy we were raising kids or building careers,” Dave says. “Our relationship has always been the priority. It’s the most important one. We always try to put something on the calendar to look forward to.”

As for the Duffs’ friends from that first double date, their relationship lasted about two weeks.

Thirty-seven years later, though, the “tagalong” couple is still in extra innings.