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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Patel Family Reunites on Lake Wedowee


My Lake Wedowee
 by Shal Patel



I had never heard of Wedowee Alabama before my agent sent me a listing for a business that was for sale. I had looked at over 50 potential businesses all over Georgia a couple years before visiting Lake Wedowee Bait and Tackle on one sunny day in the spring of 2007, my brother and I loaded up our dogs and headed west for Wedowee.

My first memory of Wedowee was when I pulled up to the stop sign and noticed several people waving. At first I was confused about whom they were waving at, but after a few moments I realized they were waving at us. We were not used to that kind of treatment, most people are not as friendly in the cities where I had lived. I looked around and noticed that we were in downtown Wedowee and thought to my self, no signal lights. As I turned right on Highway 48 West, I noticed the small police station with one marked vehicle parked in front of it. I mentioned to my brother it seemed as though we had just entered Mayberry. We both were amused by my comment. We noticed that the people that we encountered at the store were all quite friendly.

I had no prior knowledge of R. L. Harris Reservoir and all of its untouched serene beauty.
I didn’t really have expectations of what the condition of the lake may have been. At the time I lived on Lake Lanier and there was a terrible drought. After driving to 48 boat ramp and Lonnie White boat ramp and looking at the lake, I decided there was nothing else I had ever seen to compare it to.

I contacted my family to fly down and check out the store. At the time they lived in Atlantic City, New Jersey and my elder sister had just moved to the United States from London, England where we are from originally. My parents were both employed at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino. My father worked as a security guard and my mother was a card dealer. I lived north of Atlanta and was attending college and in the final stages of joining the Coast Guard.
I moved to Georgia in 2002 and had not lived with my sister since 1997. But, I thought it would be ideal for my family to reunite and it would be a good opportunity for us to catch up since we had been apart for so long. The family all agreed that the move would be a good investment and great place for our family to retire. My sister, Seema Patel, and I agreed to operate the store while my parents were transitioning.  A year later my parents joined us. My sister and I bought a house in Woodland for us all to live in together.

Soon life began changing for the better for all of us, and often in unexpected ways. My mother no longer needed to take any asthma medicine and she had asthma for over 25 years. My father was healthier and felt comfortable with activities he had never performed before. My sister was exposed to major culture shock and the overall experience has changed her perspective in a wonderful way.

As for myself, I am continuously growing and I am blessed to be living in a place that I love. I am currently finishing up my marketing/management degree at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton and am president of Lake Wedowee Bait and Tackle, Lake Wedowee Construction, Mad Indian Quickie Mart, and Powder King Custom Powder Coating. My family has hosted and contributed to many causes in the community including 4th of July fireworks, fundraisers, bass tournaments for cancer patients, SIFAT, Randolph County Animal Shelter, and many others. I feel as though I am in a position where I am able to help others, and that is what really matters to me. I can take care of my family, get an education, help my friends, and with all my resources be an asset to my community.  I am very fortunate to have forged relationships with special people and without their efforts we could not have made all this possible.

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