With a small business loan and some savings, Panola started a small chain of grocery stores through rural Maryland and in urban areas where there was a food desert. Panola has a heart for community and always gave back as she fought her way into the middle class with her husband, Joseph. She is a lifelong friend of Haven’s and they have both become pillars of the community. Panola was responsible for the opening of Conroy Community College by raising the seed money. She is fiercely protective of her family, especially her son Clyde who doesn’t always make the wisest choices. Panola is the friend that most people want and the enemy that no one wants. She’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, but she can explode like Mt. Vesuvius if you do harm to her family.
He has been with Panola since they attended college in Pennsylvania. He grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs and had a privileged upbringing, but he chose to live a rural life when he married Panola. He was a tough prosecutor in Baltimore, but retired after he was shot in retribution for putting away a dangerous street gang member. Now he chronicles his life in Conroy Valley with a cooking show “Rural Lifestyles” and helps take care of his grandchildren. Joseph is the voice of calm for his sons and the dependable presence that Panola needs in difficult times. Joseph’s mother was never pleased with the fact that he moved to a rural town and chose not to marry into the upper levels of Philadelphia society, so he has to keep her in check whenever she visits.
There is probably no one in Conroy Valley with a more complicated life than Clyde. When he was 17 he married the wayward Paula Hayes. Panola warned him against it, but Clyde was blinded by what he thought was love. Almost immediately Paula after the marriage Paula became pregnant with their daughter and while she was pregnant she engaged in crime with a gang in Baltimore where she was originally from. At first Clyde didn’t realize what she was doing, but when he found out he begged her to stop to which she refused. Clyde’s life was a nightmare as he constantly worried about Paula and the baby. Once the baby was born Panola pushed Clyde to take sole custody and divorce Paula, but Clyde wanted to give her a chance. When she didn’t change he decided to follow his mother’s advice. Paula didn’t take the news well and shot Clyde in the chest, then kidnapped their daughter. Eventually the police caught up to her, but she led them on a high speed chase that resulted in a crash that killed her baby. She was tried and went to prison. Years later, Clyde is still struggling to put his life back together but has found some happiness with Paula’s half-sister, Olivia. With Paula recently back in town (unbeknownst to Clyde) after completing her prison sentence, Clyde is probably in for more trouble.
Unlike his older brother Clyde, Curtis hasn’t been on the receiving end of trouble, but has created it. His business practices are more aggressive than Panola would like, but he is quite useful as her right hand man. He is known as a small town corporate shark and some times does business in a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops which makes him seem non-threatening to some adversaries. Who would believe that a guy dressed like that knows anything about business? Those who underestimate him only realize how he really is once it’s too late. The love of his life is Terri James who he has known since high school. Their relationship has been on and off, mostly due to his day and night commitment to work. But his attention to Terri might change when another man comes into her life.