“We pride ourselves by keeping business as close to how it was when Grandaddy started it all. We box each order ourselves and love visiting with customers when delivering. When you call, you will either talk to me or my father, making the term “family owned & operated” a real motto.”
My grandfather started Dixie News Company way back in 1947. When he moved here from Atlanta, he actually was a resident at Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House, making the Wilkes long time family friends. Grandaddy saw the city change so much in his years of business, and eventually ditched the newspapers and began adding postcards, guidebooks, and maps to his inventory. When my father took over in 1987, he built the small inventory that Grandaddy had into a full souvenir business. Growing up, Georgia History projects were always filled with items from our stock, which impressed my teachers. After years of working under dad, I decided it was time to work beside him, sparking the idea of my own line of giftware. Giftware by Dixie makes me the third generation in our family-owned business, and first female owner. My youthful take on Savannah is seen throughout all artwork, and has really been adored by the public. The forth generation, my son McKay, is already chomping at the bit to get on board. He can be seen during the summer months riding shotgun in the delivery van.
Luke E. McDade, known lovingly as “Mac”, was born in Rock Hill, SC. He moved to Atlanta and later to Savannah. When he spotted my grandmother, there was no going back for him. They married and had two little girls, the youngest being my mother. He had Scotch-Irish roots, yet I never caught him having a drink.
Grandaddy was a hardworking man. He stated that his wife should always drive a Cadillac, and held that true until the day he died. Even now grandma refuses to drive any other car. He was a social man, always attending events with grandma and traveling the world with her. I would attend their monthly get-togethers at the Bamboo Farm, and grandaddy was always dressed to whatever theme was the night’s desire. His usual dress attire was slacks, a button down, and an Irish flat cap. He loved hats and would collect one at every location they traveled. When he passed, the entire garage was filled to the ceiling with hats tacked on the walls. My favorite was always the Husky shaped hat from Alaska. Throughout my whole life, I never caught him in a tee-shirt and jeans. Nor did I ever hug him and not smell cologne.
My earliest childhood memory was of him on his dock fishing. He loved the water and had a boat until his last days. In his later years, he was stubborn and would venture out in his boat. He would stay gone so long that grandma would have to call the Coast Guard, because he was a man of his time and would never own a cell phone.
The man was diabetic, but never let that stop him from sneaking sweet treats behind his wife’s back. When she would catch up and begin to explain in frustration as to why this was bad, he would switch off his hearing aide and continue to munch on his cake! He had a valid drivers license until he was 94 and was too prideful to ask anyone for anything.
Grandaddy passed in 2008, leaving behind a strong family, a business that his son-in-law (my dad) expanded beyond his dreams, and a reputation as hard as stone. He was a man of business, determination, love, and hard work. He was a man who preferred to do everything by hand, and everything himself. He was sharp in mind and in style, and praised the Lord every Sunday, leading a men’s Sunday School. In his years on earth, he built a family unit that men of his time strived for. I owe everything I have and do to him. When my son, McKay, reaches the age of wanting a nickname, his will be Mac, after his great-grandfather.