Come to the waters in Alabaster

Published 4:00 pm Monday, December 20, 2010

Warren (Ren) and Burma Hamby met at Emory University near Atlanta in the 1970s. Burma’s dream was to be a children’s librarian, but that goal has been altered by a stroke, hip replacement and two hip revisions.

Ren has tried several careers, including professor of sociology at the University of Montevallo, then student at Jeff State in computer programming. They have lived in West Palm Beach, Fla., Campbellville, Ky., and are now Shelby County residents.

Warren Hamby is the author of the book “Our Camp Sumatanga.” For those of you who are not familiar with Camp Sumatanga, it is a camp recreation site in St. Clair County…rocky, mountainous and peaceful.

For many years, Burma taught in the Birmingham City School system. She loves teaching reading and working with the Title 1 program (her specialty).

Warren Hamby and his wife, Burma, have operated the “Come to the Waters” store in Alabaster since September 2001.

Originally from Evansville, Ind., she got her teaching certificate and masters degree from the University of Montevallo in 1998. Mrs. Hamby is extremely friendly, sincere and “nuts about kids.” She hand chooses most of the products in their business. The store is small so you must really look. There are newborn baby gifts, baptism and christening items, artwork, cards, decorating items, jewelry, Bibles for all people and all needs, christening T-shirts, a large collection of crosses, puzzles, nativity sets and of course books for every occasion. We all know a well-read child does better in school. If you have a particular need, talk to Mrs. Burma. She will possibly be able to order what you need or give some inside reading advice.

The Hambys are members of the Alabaster United Methodist Church where both are involved in KAIROS (a prison ministry). Burma volunteers at Tutwiler Prison for Women while her hubby is involved at Bibb County Correctional Institute.

With both Hambys having a love of literature, history, Christianity, etc. — a book store became a realistic idea. They wanted to work together, so they took a small business class, did some real estate exploration and set their sights on “Come to the Waters.” The store opened Sept. 1, 2001. They serve many gift and educational needs.

Lee, their 25-year-old adopted son, occasionally works at the family business.

With Christmas and Easter being their best retail times, they are ready to help customers with some really nice and unusual items. They are not a chain, but truly mom and pop. If you are not a customer, at least go look. You will be pleasantly surprised at the merchandise offered and pleased with the feeling of good will you take with you.

When asked what goals or adventures they would still like to accomplish, Ren quickly replied that all he ever wanted was a wife and family and to write a book, so his wishes were complete. He said, “I’ve accomplished it all.” Mrs. Burma just grinned.

Community columnist Sandra Thames can be reached by e–mail at