"It feels like I'm living my lifetime dream," Jimmy Jimmerson of Cleburne County says about his life since retirement. "When I was really small, my family lived on a farm, and I yearned to go back to the country as I got older."
So when he retired from his career as a vocational educator in Centre, he and wife Sue moved to the Oak Level community where he manages his own forest land and indulges his passion for the great outdoors.
"I'm a big turkey and deer hunter and, getting to hunt and fish on my own property is like living a dream," Jimmy said.
He is pleased, too, that his sons, Kip and Mike, and his three grandchildren share his enthusiasm for the outdoors.
"Sue and I have been married for 43 years, and we love having a place our family enjoys as much as we do," said Jimmy.
In addition to the time Jimmy spends hunting and fishing near his home, he and his family also enjoy canoe trips within the state and beyond.
"I've been canoeing in most of the rivers in Alabama and many in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. Last summer, my sons and grandchildren and I spent three days canoeing the Hiawassee River in Tennessee for our family vacation," Jimmy said, adding that Sue is happy to do the cooking while they're paddling the day away.
"She'll do a little canoeing, but she doesn't go every time. We'll rent a cabin if she goes with me, but I'll camp out in a tent when it's just me," he said.
Their travels are not limited to canoeing trips though. The couple enjoys their involvement with the Farmers Federation as well and travels to Federation meetings whenever they can. Sue serves on the Cleburne County Women's Committee, and Jimmy is a member of the Cleburne County Board of Directors and is county chairman for the forestry and wildlife divisions.
Jimmy also credits his love of the outdoors for teaching him to cook.
"My mother Helen was a good cook, but I never really cooked when I was younger. The more I started hunting though, I got interested in preparing the game and adjusting recipes to get it just the way we liked it," he said.
His recipes for Deer Tenderloin and Grilled Fish with Crabmeat Sauce are two of his favorites for preparing fresh fish and game. He also includes his mother's Pecan Pie and other recipes he says he's picked up over the years.