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Posts Tagged ‘Small Town America’

pumpkin pie

Pumpkin Pie No Longer for Christmas?

It was Thanksgiving and of course there were lots of pumpkin pies available for the big feast’s dessert.

I love pumpkin pie and it doesn’t even have to be homemade.  Ready made and store bought can be just as good.

But Thanksgiving came and went and suddenly it was Christmas.

I planned to cook a ham dinner for Bill and me and friends.

And Bill asked, “What shall we have for dessert?””

“Pumpkin pie!”, was my immediate answer. I know I can make one from scratch, but just to save a little more time and effort, I felt lazy enough to add,

“We can just pick up a pumpkin pie

at the local grocery store.”

  • And there was the rub!
  • Alas!
  • There were no pumpkin pies available.

No such thing at our favorite grocery store or any other store a week before Christmas or even days before Christmas.

I cannot even blame it on small-town country living since we have three major grocery stores close by.  Maybe our small-town population is always hungry and bought up all the pumpkin pies.

At any rate, we wound up

having Key Lime Pie for dessert.

Not exactly Christmas Fare in my mind.

Perhaps we are trend setters?

The Key Lime Pie was good and went well with ham.

But here is my question:

Is this a new trend whereby pumpkin pie is now only acceptable at Thanksgiving?

And my second question is:

Why?

Christmas Ham

Christmas Ham Dinner Minus Pumpkin Pie

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Chicha 002This is Chicha Bonita, a very cute old lady pup who loves people.

She was the Welcome Receptionist as we celebrated Thanksgiving with friends in Lexington, Virginia.

Bill and I met a whole passel of new and interesting people there.

And by the time the turkey got to the table, we loved it all – the people, the food and the party that was getting louder and louder.

We missed our family and friends who live “out west”.

We missed our grandgirls.

And it felt strange not to be hosting the great event.

But even though we were a little shy at first, I suddenly turned around to see Bill slouched on the couch watching football with the guys.  And next time I looked he was laughing and talking and making everybody else laugh too.

I was still feeling a little shy though,

at least until a SOS Thanksgiving trauma

when I managed to lock myself in the bathroom!

The door would not open, period!

Really?  How mortifying!  How long would I have to stay in there?

I pounded but no one heard.  They were all either in animated conversation or cheering.

Well, they would surely miss me at dinner

and notice the empty seat at the table wouldn’t they?

I was contemplating climbing out the window into the cold night.   Nah.  Too dark. Too cold.

I kept pounding and wrestling with the doorknob.

Finally there was a calm comforting voice on the other side of the door.  “Don’t worry,” said the voice, and “Does anyone have a credit card?”

Was he planning on buying his way in or what?

“There is a tiny little latch to the side of the doorknob,” said the voice.  “Lift it.”

With some concentrated effort I lifted the latch.  And the door magically opened to one of the family’s handsome sons.

“My hero!” I said.  “Thank you for setting me free.”

And though I was tempted to swoon, I started laughing out loud instead.

How unglamorous to be locked in a bathroom during Thanksgiving festivities!

But with that, I was suddenly relaxed, happy, and ready to party!

Not counting that red-faced predicament, it was a traditional Thanksgiving –  a delightful, everything-you-would-expect Thanksgiving to be and more.

It was a wonderful group of giving loving happy people full of laughter, stories and the joy of sharing.  And by the way, the food was fabulous too.

A  special thank you to our lovely friends for taking in two more “strays” (Bill and me) to join in that celebration and Thank you Chicha Bonita for presiding.

 

 

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Brochure Arts CntrThere are things happening in the small town of Clifton Forge, Virginia.  I didn’t realize how many things.

My friend and I stopped there because it’s only 45 minutes from “home” and we heard the little town was morphing into something special.

We stopped right in the center of town to begin our visit at the Alleghany Highlands Arts and Crafts Center.  Taking in the regular storefront facade.  I was thinking, “Ah well.  Just another ho-hum artsy craftsy place. But let’s take a look.”

What surprises were inside!

Quilt at Art Cntr

Handmade Honeysuckle Basket Centerpiece

Handmade Honeysuckle Centerpiece Really Made of Honeysuckle!

Art Cntr Display

Look! Look! Look!

After talking to the friendly volunteers in the Arts Center and marvelling at all the locally made treasures, we realized there was not enough time.  Clifton Forge is becoming a true art center.

First there is exciting rennovation going on at the Masonic Theatre (just down the street from the artsy craftsy place).  Work is in progress to create the most modern facility for theater, music, and community events.  There was mention of a sophisticated Art School too which is already populated with students from around the world..

And we noticed enticing shops – like a grand looking antique store and a hardware store that is supposed to be fabulous.  Now I know “fabulous” is a strange word for a hardware store but we were told not to miss it.  This particular place is so unique it even has a section devoted exclusively to WOMEN!

And of course, Clifton Forge was once a booming railroad town for over 100 years until the 1960’s.   I have to return there to visit the Railroad Museum where visitors can go through a 1940’s vintage train!

There are several restaurants, including Michel’s of authentic French cuisine, and the Club Car (where we had lunch) featuring the freshest of fresh everything.  I have to go back just to try the restaurants!

The sad thing is we simply did not have enough time to cover the charming town of Clifton Forge.

And as I put together this blog post, I realize there is not enough time to tell you all about it either because if we had just two more hours we would still be in the Alleghany Highlands Arts and Crafts Center browsing buying.PinWheel Quilt Art Cntr

Horse Eye View

 

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A Shiny Old ChevyThere is always a sense of the past as you walk down Main Street in Lexington, Virginia.  Parts of the sidewalks are still paved with the original carved bricks and wherever you look there are restored old buildings and signs of times long ago.

Then why is it always so surprising when I come across an old car parked right there on Main?

And why do I feel I am in a time machine?

Isn’t this the most gorgeous shiny Chevy?  I am not sure of the year but I know it was “before my time.”

It is being used to advertise a local Bed and Breakfast (502 Main Street)) and if the B&B is as beautiful as the Chevrolet, I would highly recommend it.

Advertising a B&B

 

 

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WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge:  From Every Angle

This week, photograph a stationary subject from three different angles.

I love this charming old fence dressed for a special occasion, calling out for admiration, “Look at me.  I’m not through yet!”

Flowers on a Fence 2

Flowers on a Fence 3

Flowers on a Fence

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Bert and Friend

Bert and Friend

Good Old Days -Dor, Litle Brother and Cousins

Good Old Days -Dor, Little Brother Steve and Cousins Charlotte and Bert

This is a Random ONE Friday since there was only one momentous event this week.

Bert and his beautiful wife, Rita, came for a visit!

Bert is my “long lost cousin.”

How did so much time go by?

I haven’t seen Bert in about 40 years.

But time stopped this week, and there they were!

And it was as if we were still children, talking, talking, laughing, laughing, and eagerly reliving visits to each others’ homes, silly summers, beaches, feeding the pigeons, and rehashing old family stories.

We didn’t forget Bill of course, but Bill is a wonderful listener.

And we didn’t forget Rita either.  Rita is a wonderful talker.

Buffalo Creek View 1

Buffalo Creek

We went on tour of our rural Virginia neighborhood with a stop to visit a lonesome horse.

And onward we meandered down a country road along the Buffalo Creek.

It was a one lane road with the creek on one side and steep cliff walls on the other.

Rita and a Lonesome Horse

Rita and a Lonesome Horse

And then it was off to downtown Lexington, Virginia to the old Robert E. Lee Hotel.

The old girl is now upscale and POSH (not me – the hotel).   It was a rundown place before but has recently been restored to modern day glamour.

There are New York style revolving doors at the entrance and the only thing missing is a doorman! And in the lobby are original recessed telephone booths to retain the historical flavor of the place.

Robert E Lee Hotel

Photo of Robert E. Lee Hotel by http://www.expedia.com

There is also a jewelry store in town (Hess & Co.) in a rennovated building that was once a bank.  I often take folks there to see the old thick vaults from the good old days.  Above the vaults at ceiling level, are little inside windows.  Bank guards used to sit behind those windows with rifles pointed and ready to shoot at potential robbers!

Can you see the ceiling-high windows in the back?  I love it that Hess is not only a wonderful jewelry store in the middle of Lexington, Virginia, it is also a historical fixture.

Hess n Co

Anyway, there just wasn’t enough time to see all there is to see and do in my part of the world, but the visit was fast (maybe too fast) and so much fun.

And that’s my Random One.  And it was all about my long lost cousin!

Notes: 

The Robert E. Lee Hotel is a six-story luxury hotelbuilt in 1926 in Lexington, Va. The recently restored classic hotel has thirty-nine guest rooms,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Painting Steeple

Painter on Scaffold

Yesterday I was happy to see they are once again painting the beautiful restored steeple of the Lexington Presbyterian Church.  I remember this was the same church that was on fire in 2002 and how horrified we were watching the steeple actually fall down.

The Virginia State Police  ruled the fire was accidental in nature,

the result of the heating of wood while workers were scraping paint.

 

The church is a downtown landmark on the National Historic Register and was attended by Thomas Johnathan “Stonewall” Jackson who was known to fall asleep during sermons.

From en.wikipedia.org :

Lexington Presbyterian Church is a historic Presbyterian church building at Main and Nelson Streets in Lexington, Virginia. It was designed by noted architect Thomas U. Walter in 1843, and completed in 1845. A rear addition was built in 1859; stucco added in the 1880s; the building was renovated and enlarged in 1899; and the Sunday School wing was added in 1906. It is a monumental “T”-shaped, temple form stuccoed brick building in the Greek Revival style. The front facade features a Greek Doric pedimented peristyle portico consisting of six wooden columns and a full entablature. The building is topped by a tower with louvered belfry and spire.

Starting in 1851, Stonewall Jackson was a member of the church and taught Sunday school.  In 1863 he was buried in the church’s cemetery.

 

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A Drizzly July 3rd Entering Town

Bill and I rode to town this morning for errands.  It is a drizzly day today and supposed to be the same tomorrow.  But, I almost forgot tomorrow is Independence Day until we crossed the bridge that leads into and out of our nearby downtown.

The U.S. flags were flying gallantly patriotic and stood out, even in the drizzle and even through our never-too-clean, rain spotted windshield.

And then we saw it.  A magical hot air balloon!  I have always admired them from afar but have never really been close to one.

Saw it from a distance

What a thrill!

Bill parked the car and we were within steps of a mighty colorful hot air balloon!  Somehow I caught the fever and excitement.  A little crowd of families, young and old were waiting to take a tethered ride. Balloon Rides Here

And although flying balloons of this size were never a part of my July 4th holidays growing up, this one colorful beauty practically screamed, “CELEBRATE!  IT’S THE FOURTH OF JULY!”

Surely the enormity, power and grace of a floating giant must symbolize our American concept of freedom as it defies earth’s gravity and soars majestically into the skies.

We didn’t take a balloon ride this time but it’s on my bucket list for an un-tethered experience.  For now, it is enough just to have been close.

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!

Happy Fourth of July

 

 

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Jobie - Man of Many Numbers

They say it is simply charming to live “where everybody knows your name.”

My nearby little town of Lexington, Virginia is like that, with one big difference.  There is a place in town where names don’t count – only numbers – membership numbers.  It’s the Rockbridge Farmers’ Co-op!

Farmers Coop SignWe have been gassing up the car at our local Farmer’s Cooperative for years and I actually forgot how to do-it- myself since the Co-Op insists on full service.  Now (being  spoiled  and pampered) I simply pull up to a pump and well –  wait.  Who could ask for anything more?

And along comes JOBIE, efficiently taking care of things while I wait and daydream, and when all is done, he hands me the receipt.  The bill then comes to Bill but to me, the gasoline is always free!

How is that remarkable?

 JOBIE KNOWS MY NUMBER.

IT’S A FIVE DIGIT MEMBERSHIP NUMBER.

AND JOBIE KNOWS IT BY HEART

                                           (ALONG WITH THOUSANDS OF OTHER NUMBERS)!

                                           and 

                                       JOBIE NEVER FORGETS!

 Is there something about my face?  Is that how he does it?

Does he recognize the peculiar dents and scratches on my car? 

Is it the license plate?  Naw.  That’s another set of numbers.

I  asked him how he recalls membership numbers out of the thousands of cars and people who come through.  And he simply shrugs and says, “Don’t know…. Just do.”

I am amazed!  I have been amazed for all these years and always hatching diabolical plans to mess him up.

Like when Bill and I go away on vacation I figure Jobie will forget the number.  “Out of sight, out of mind” doesn’t work though.  We can be away for weeks, maybe years.  He never forgets.

Lately I have been challenging him by saying, “I’ll bet someone else is getting my gas bill!”  And he just smiles.  But the truth is he never makes a mistake!

There is real hidden talent in this country and I have told Jobie he should look around for a television show to feature his rare gift.  He allowed me to take his picture but I don’t know what  t.v. show to send it to.  Perhaps you, in cyberspace, will recognize pure genius and suggest a way to put this talent to good use.

I am proud to introduce you to an impressive young fellow –  Jobie – a Virginia Numbers Man.

 

 

 

 

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lady at computer clip artBill said we needed an oil change (before driving to Jessica’s graduation) and he finally remembered to call our friendly auto repair folks.  They were “closed from Thursday to Monday.”  Time was tight but  he waited and called again.

“We are all booked up today,” they said. “Bring it in and leave it overnight and we’ll work on it tomorrow.”

Ho hum.  Nothing new.  Frustrating.

But, that got me thinking.

I keep forgetting to call my hair dresser too, even though I am beginning to resemble Big Foot. 

And now it is late at night and the salon is closed.

I wish I could book an appointment right now, while I am on the computer writing this post.

Or I wish I could have done it earlier from my mobile phone, when we were out to dinner.

But of course, that’s just dreaming  because after hours around here, everything in town is closed.

Ah – but it turns out, I can book appointments after hours.

I can actually do all that.

Or I could – if my favorite businesses had online appointment options. booknow button

Actually, there is a world of instant online appointment scheduling out there.   Many businesses across the country offer it, and many people like me are enjoying it.

Only I’m not enjoying it yet!

I did find an interesting site/service for business owners though, called ScheduleYa.

I’m not a business owner of course, but I sure would like to share this site with my hairdresser.

It’s a Book Now system offered to local businesses anywhere in the country – for free.

The ScheduleYa website promises it only takes minutes for a business to set up an online Book Now button for easy appointment scheduling.

The thing is, where I live, near the magical town of Lexington, Virginia, most businesses do not have online reservations.

Do you have online booking options in your town?

Have you ever used a Book Now button to make an online appointment?

The whole thing is new to me, but I know I wish we had it.

So, I plan to share ScheduleYa (via this post, FB, and Twitter) with some of the places around here that require appointments:

  • beauty salons,
  • massage therapists
  • reflexologists
  • chiropractors,
  • pool maintenance companies,
  • electricians,
  • plumbers,
  • lawn service contractors,
  • auto repair shops,
  • local realtors,
  • dentists.

Maybe they will check out the free ScheduleYa option and will see the great value in service to their customers, a time-saver addition for their staff, and even a marketing tool for their businesses.

And maybe if only one of my favorites begins, the others will follow and we will all “be in business”.

A working ScheduleYa “Book Now” site:

JBC Tire -ScheduleYaSample

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