Last Thursday was a special day for me. It was Adele Mercier’s 95th birthday. The party at the Apple House ran from 11 until 2. Sometimes we don’t realize how important some of our friends are. I arrived early and was able to chat with Adele before the crowd got there. We were reminiscing about when she was new to the area and I was just a child. It’s fun talking to her. Her mind is like a steel trap; she remembers everything and she isn’t afraid to share. Our conversation was interrupted when old friends from South Georgia approached. I was in awe watching her talk to all of the people who came to share the day with her. She was as comfortable talking to a senator as she was with the young boy who grew up in the area and went to school with her son. It’s ironic to think that at one time Bill and Adele Mercier were considered “outsiders” here in Fannin County. Now, years later, people come from all parts of the United States to see the little lady that started Mercier’s Apple Orchards. While doing my book signings I have on many occasions been asked not about my books or the apples, but rather where the little lady is that runs the place. It’s obvious to me that she is still the heart of the operation and I am so proud to tell them to go to the back next to the restored Ford tractor and not only will she talk to them, but she will provide them with a tasty slice of apple. It goes without saying that Adele will be in my next book. See you next week.
Raland J. Patterson earned his MBA with an emphasis in finance from National University. For the past 18 years he worked as a financial planner.
The last six were spent as Regional Vice-President in Europe, responsible for 20 different offices located in seven countries. He served in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot from 1970-1971 with the First Cavalry Division.
When he retired from the Army as a Lt. Colonel, he had logged 22 years of active duty. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bronze Star with One Oak Leaf Cluster, and 14 air medals, among other awards.
After travelling extensively, he now lives in his hometown of Blue Ridge, Georgia. He brings an insiders knowledge of detailed military protocol and experience along with small town American values.