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A cup of Joe

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A look inside

Two interior decorators show off their own homes

Catching up with ... Natalie Newman

Fall 2010 • vol. 1, no. 3


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6 western tidewater living

letter from the publisher

I

f ever I anticipated an autumn as eagerly as this one, I don’t recall it. This Western Tidewater transplant endured many a brutal summer in the Deep South as a kid and young adult, but the summer of 2010 in southeast Virginia surely was my hottest and driest

yet. Good riddance. Ask me in late August which season in my favorite, and I will tell you fall. Ask me in February, and I will tell you spring. A bonus of living in Tidewater Virginia is being just far enough south and just far enough north to experience all four. Fall is a favorite because of football on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons, cool but not cold nights, the crisp morning air, warm but not hot days, and harvest celebrations, even in years when the yields aren’t as plentiful. We hope you enjoy the stories and photographs on the pages that follow as much we enjoyed writing and taking them. As always, we welcome your ideas for making our magazine better.

Sincerely, Steve Stewart

letter to the editor

I

Dear editor, t has been said many times that a visit from afar to the City of Franklin would be incomplete without experiencing Fred’s restaurant (“…where everybody knows your name…”). On this occasion, Anna Kulyk, center in photo, a former foreign exchange student in Franklin, was visiting with my wife, Linda, and me, to her left and right, accompanied by Zeke Soucek, bottom, age 96 and my dad, and David “Big D” Rabil, top, owner of Fred’s and friend to all. Anna, from Kiev in the Ukraine, was a student in Linda’s senior English class at Franklin High School during the 2002-03 school year. Now Anna uses English along with five other languages in her customer service and logistics career with a mining company near Kiev. Impressed with the great variety of selection available in our stores and by the freedom we have in the United States to speak out in our newspapers about an injustice or about a shortcoming of our own government, Anna also left Franklin warmed by the sense that she had been welcomed as a friend and not just a visitor. Indeed, this is in Franklin’s nature.

Howie Soucek Franklin


contents | fall 2010

p feofclubJoe n Aprocun cof traditio g Ca e mornin longtim

cor Cover photograph Home de ... g up with Catchin by Merle Monahan asasa

Natalie

Newman

.2 l. 1, no 10 • vo Fa ll 20

ON THE COVER: Capron’s Samantha Jervey is making her way to the big time. She is a multitalented teen. See story on page 22.

Inside this edition Steve Stewart Publisher Betty Ramsey General manager Gwen Albers Managing editor Nicholas Langhorne Staff writer Charlie Passut Staff writer

8

party pix From high school reunions to steak feasts, check out what folks in Western Tidewater did this summer.

It’s Happening Take a look at some of the fun things to do now that the temperatures have cooled down.

Merle Monahan Contributing writer Troy Cooper Designer Ryan Outlaw Designer Loretta Lomax Editorial assistant Mitzi Lusk Account executive Sara Johnson Account executive Michelle Stainback Office manager

16 western tidewater living

catching up with ...

Natalie Newman

story by Merle Monahan Submitted photography

W

estern Tidewater residents taking in a musical in New York City may see a familiar face. Franklin native Natalie Newman, an actress, singer and dancer, for five years has worked in the Big Apple, appearing in numerous regional musical productions and with New York Theatre’s National Tour. In “POPart” and “Lift,” she was the lead actress. Newman has worked with well-known actors, including Frankie Avalon in “Grease” and Larry Gatlin in “Annie Get Your Gun.” Shows have taken her across the United States, Canada and Hawaii. Newman is doing what she has always wanted to do. The 28-year-old the daughter of Pat and Sybil Newman knew she wanted to be in musical theater when she was 5, her mother said. “Her entire teenage years were wrapped around this concept,” Sybil Newman said. “Her dad and I have never heard her say that she wanted to do anything else.” “When she was growing up, she took dance lessons, sang in the church choir and performed in every community musical she could find in the area in which we lived,” her mother continued. “Because of her dad’s work with the YMCA, we moved frequently, but Natalie didn’t seem to mind. If there was community theater anywhere close, she’d find it.” After graduation from New Bern High School in in North Carolina in 2000, Natalie enrolled at Elon University in North Carolina, where she studied musical theater and dance. “The administrator of Elon told us that no student had ever majored there in these two subjects at the same time before,” Sybil Newman said. “But Natalie chose the university because of its excellent musical theater program and graduated with a bachelor’s in fine arts and a bachelor of arts in dance.” Natalie Newman started auditioning in New York shortly after graduation from Elon. In 2005, she moved there. By 2007, she was acting for the American Girl Theatre in New York City. “We performed a short musical, tying together some of the historically based stories

and lessons the doll characters encounter in their accompanying book series,” Natalie said. “We would do up to five shows a day.” After leaving American Girl, Natalie was fortunate to find enough work in acting that she only needed one “survival job” — what actors refer to as jobs that pay the bills. “Mine was as a receptionist in a doctor’s office about three blocks from Ground Zero, and it was much worse than acting,” she said. “It was so cold in the office that I called my mom to send me a pair of cheap fleece gloves, which I cut the finger tips off so I could type and answer the phone.” The actress performed in a number of theaters in the eastern United States. During 2008, she acted in “Annie Get Your Gun” and “Peter Pan” at the North Carolina Theatre in Raleigh. At Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke, Natalie performed in “Spitfire Grill” and “Into the Woods.” While at Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, she performed in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Natalie also has acted in “Oliver,” “Chicago,” “Footloose,” “Jekyll and Hyde,” and “Nine,” which was held at Westchester

Broadway Theatre in Elmsford, N.Y. She said the cast had to commute to the theater via van, which she drove from Queens, through midtown Manhattan and up the west side of the island. “Now I can drive anything, anywhere, anytime, but this van was somewhat problem-laden, and it was not unusual for us to be parked for an hour on the side of the highway in torrential rains at curtain time,” Natalie said. Nevertheless, as with everything, acting has its little mishaps, and “we take it in stride,” she said. At the time of this interview, Natalie was between jobs, auditioning and waiting for the next show. Next up will be “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” at Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Conn. “I’ll be in the ensemble and understudying a lead character, Hedy LaRue, a girl I played in Summer Stock back in college,” she said. If any one is interested in the show, the opera house’s website is www.goodspeed. org. ←

20 identify the signs

Tell us where our photographer captured photos of these signs around Franklin and get a chance to win a gift certificate.

Good friends Good Coffee See what’s going on every morning at Everette Crocker’s auto repair shop in Capron.

where am I?

I

n each edition the magazine staff will provide a challenge of sorts, testing how much of Western Tidewater you really know. We will photograph a scene in the area that is readily visible to motorists or pedestrians. If you know where this photo was taken, you will be entered for a chance to win

Designing Women

Interior decorators and best friends Lydia Crane and Gayle Johnson invited us inside their stylish Franklin apartments.

a $25 gift certificate to any one of our partner advertisers. So, if you know where this is, let us know. If you’re right, you could be a winner. E-mail your answer to magazine@tidewaternews.com. Go out and enjoy Western Tidewater!

34 46

46 western tidewater living

common ground

Western Tidewater Living is published four times a year by Tidewater Publications, LLC P.O. Box 497, Franklin, VA 23851 www.westerntidewaterliving.com 757-562-3187 Advertising rates and information available upon request to magazine@ tidewaternews.com. Subscriptions are $20 annually in-state; $24 annually out of state; and $30 annually overseas.

42

Each quarter our magazine will catch up with a Western Tidewater native who is living and working outside the area. In this issue we share the story of Natalie Newman, who left Franklin for the Big Apple to pursue a career in acting.

30

30 western tidewater living

26

16

Feathered Friend Dwight Hunter shares his enthusiasm for his racing pigeons.

get lost M

y father says after time a mule will naturally follow the same furrow, over and over again. I’m not sure we’re much different. We each travel our certain paths, secure in our routines, relaxed in our rhythms. As the summers pass, so our entrenchment deepens. The predictable. The routine. The comfortable. Day after week after month after year, rehearsing old thought patterns, embracing the habitual. We grow to like the feel of familiar terrain, the smell of our own world, the taste of what we already know. Perhaps the unused synapses of our brains are surrendering. Those caverns of the mind that have yet to be discovered are succumbing, like creosote in chimneys, to slow constriction, eventually closing. Rarely used, they, like muscles, become useless. But I say we were made for better things. The capacity for discovery, for change, for new di-

rection resides in every mortal. Outside the ofttread roads lie yet undiscovered trails, awaiting the footsteps of the courageous. There yet remains vast, uncharted territory, beckoning to those who dare. To our ears alone may the call be heard. Therefore, I say, lose yourself in something. That adventure you’ve only dreamed of? Go for it. The book you’ve been thinking of reading? Read it. That club that sounds interesting, that place you want to see, those classes they are offering, the church you’ve considered visiting, the phone call that scares you, that whatever-it-is that simply seems daunting because it differs from your present

column by Rex Alphin photo by Judson Alphin

course. Risk it. Learn, ponder, invent, compose, create, read, categorize, imagine, conquer, study, see, experience, taste, craft, observe. Those brick walls surrounding our existence are but made of paper. We need only step through. Those limits are penciled, waiting to be erased. So clean out the creosote. Loosen the shackles. Away with the critics. Explore the caverns. This magnificent world is much bigger than you and I. Not only does it call us to enjoy, to experience, to wonder, but we were made for such things. The capacity resides in us all, as a sleeping giant, waiting to be stirred. Will you walk in that same furrow, turn around at the end and walk back, over and over and over? Or will you take one lone, shaky, tentative step onto new land? Into new territory? Will you plant your feet in virgin soil? Don’t take this wrong my friend, but “Get lost, will ya’?” ←

Columnist Rex Alphin says we all travel certain paths. Why not try some new ones?


8 western tidewater living

party pix BRonco Club Shrimp Fest

The Bronco Rod and Gun Club hosted a Shrimp Fest on its club grounds in July. At right, Red Johnson of Gates County, N.C., from left, Wayne Lowther, J.C. Copeland and Joel Copeland, all of Suffolk, and James Boone of Gates County; below, Harriet Cook, Frank Radosevich, Ed Heilig, Rita Graham and Al Buppert, all of Franklin; below right, April Cutchins of Franklin and Brandy Vick of Como, N.C.; bottom left, Grady Williams, Brandy Williams, Aaron Rhys, Kim Rhys, Sara Ash, Roy Darden and Matthew Glennon, all of Franklin, floated the Nottoway River from Dockside Restaurant to the Shrimp Fest; bottom right, Jimmy Smith of Suffolk and Ben Aston of Elizabeth City, N.C.; at far bottom right, Pat Hornok of Courtland.

Photos by Merle Monahan


western tidewater living

9

party pix We be Jammin’

Downtown Franklin Association sponsors free We Be Jammin’ concerts at Barrett’s Landing on Thursday nights through the spring and summer. At far left, Sara and Alex Gray enjoy a visit with Jackie Hodges of Courtland; at left, Joy and Angie Grizzard of Branchville; below left, Mike and Debbie Agate of Franklin; below right, Sandy and Todd Rose of Carrsville.

Submitted Photos

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10 western tidewater living

party pix MEga reunion

The Hayden-Franklin High School Mega Reunion was held in midAugust. About 500 graduates of classes from 1970 to 1980 and their guests attended. At left, Dana Wade Williamson, from left, Mary Carson Jones, Mike Shroyer, Edith Camp and Susan Shroyer Muller; middle left, Blake Blythe, Sharon Johnson Dunkum and David Rabil; middle right, Leah Strickland Pixley, Wendell Pixley, Candy Beamon Moore, Cynthia Johnson Stone and John David Abbitt; bottom left, Cathy Cobb Felts, Patsie Griffin Diamond and Debbie Cutchins; bottom right, Don Lupton, Lucy Minetree Wallace, Chuckie Whitley, Cathy Spivey Mendola and Berry Brooke Payne.

Photos by Merle Monahan and Submitted


western tidewater living

11

party pix

MEga reunion

At left, Steve Moore and Holly Camp; above, Terry Kingery, Nancy Pixley Hopkins and Chip Kingery.

Photos by Merle Monahan and Submitted


12 western tidewater living

party pix

Steak feast

The Boykins Lions Club sponsored its annual Steak Feast on Sept. 1 at Draper’s Pond near Boykins. Far left, Harrell Turner of Branchville cooks steaks; at left, Bobby Turner of Franklin; below left, Nancy Lee and Terry Holloman, both of Franklin; below right, Mary Jim and George Davis of Franklin Photos BY Merle Monahan


western tidewater living

13

party pix

Steak feast

At right, Kenneth Gay, from left, Hursell Fowler and Bobby Turner, all of Franklin; far right, Louise and John Robert Harrup of Courtland; below left, Sandy Painter of Franklin, Boykins Mayor Spier Edwards and Margie Drake of Capron; below right, Dot Grizzard of Chesapeake and Martha Grace Washington of Richmond. Photos by Merle MOnahan


14 western tidewater living

party pix Franklin-Southampton County Fair

At right, enjoying tasty fair fare at the FranklinSouthampton County Fair in August are, from left, Susan Tyler of Chesterfield, Ginger Lacasse of Courtland, Ethel Cook of Franklin and Barbara Joyner of Courtland; below, selling pizza for Capron Baptist Church are, from left, Greg South, Brandon Applewhite, Forrest South, Beth South and Jayden Applewhite. Photos BY Gwen Albers


western tidewater living

15

party pix

Heritage Day

More than 2,200 people attended Heritage Day on Sept. 11 at the Southampton Heritage Village and Agriculture and Forestry Museum in Courtland. At top left, Bubba Padget, from left, Lisa Lance, and Lynn and Betty Edwards, all of Courtland; top right, Anne Bryant; middle left, Sammy Davis of Courtland and Toshika Smith of Wilson, N.C.; above, sisters Helen, 6, and Wesleigh, 11, and mom Michelle Kimlick, all of Franklin. Photos by Merle Monahan


16 western tidewater living

catching up with ...

Natalie Newman

story by Merle Monahan

W

estern Tidewater residents taking in a musical in New York City may see a familiar face. Franklin native Natalie Newman, an actress, singer and dancer, for five years has worked in the Big Apple, appearing in numerous regional musical productions and with New York Theatre’s National Tour. In “POPart” and “Lift,” she was the lead actress. Newman has worked with well-known actors, including Frankie Avalon in “Grease” and Larry Gatlin in “Annie Get Your Gun.” Shows have taken her across the United States, Canada and Hawaii. Newman is doing what she has always wanted to do. The 28-year-old the daughter of Pat and Sybil Newman knew she wanted to be in musical theater when she was 5, her mother said. “Her entire teenage years were wrapped around this concept,” Sybil Newman said. “Her dad and I have never heard her say that she wanted to do anything else.” “When she was growing up, she took dance lessons, sang in the church choir and performed in every community musical she could find in the area in which we lived,” her mother continued. “Because of her dad’s work with the YMCA, we moved frequently, but Natalie didn’t seem to mind. If there was community theater anywhere close, she’d find it.” After graduation from New Bern High School in North Carolina in 2000, Natalie enrolled at Elon University in North Carolina, where she studied musical theater and dance. “The administrator of Elon told us that no student had ever majored there in these two subjects at the same time before,” Sybil Newman said. “But Natalie chose the university because of its excellent musical theater program and graduated with a bachelor’s in fine arts and a bachelor of arts in dance.” Natalie Newman started auditioning in New York shortly after graduation from Elon. In 2005, she moved there. By 2007, she was acting for the American Girl Theatre in New York City. “We performed a short musical, tying together some of the historically based stories

and lessons the doll characters encounter in their accompanying book series,” Natalie said. “We would do up to five shows a day.” After leaving American Girl, Natalie was fortunate to find enough work in acting that she only needed one “survival job” — what actors refer to as jobs that pay the bills. “Mine was as a receptionist in a doctor’s office about three blocks from Ground Zero, and it was much worse than acting,” she said. “It was so cold in the office that I called my mom to send me a pair of cheap fleece gloves, which I cut the finger tips off of so I could type and answer the phone.” The actress performed in a number of theaters in the eastern United States. During 2008, she acted in “Annie Get Your Gun” and “Peter Pan” at the North Carolina Theatre in Raleigh. At Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke, Natalie performed in “Spitfire Grill” and “Into the Woods.” While at Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, she performed in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Natalie also has acted in “Oliver,” “Chicago,” “Footloose,” “Jekyll and Hyde,” and “Nine,” which was held at Westchester

Broadway Theatre in Elmsford, N.Y. She said the cast had to commute to the theater via van, which she drove from Queens, through midtown Manhattan and up the west side of the island. “Now I can drive anything, anywhere, anytime, but this van was somewhat problem-laden, and it was not unusual for us to be parked for an hour on the side of the highway in torrential rains at curtain time,” Natalie said. Nevertheless, as with everything, acting has its little mishaps, and “we take it in stride,” she said. At the time of this interview, Natalie was between jobs, auditioning and waiting for the next show. Next up will be “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” at Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Conn. “I’ll be in the ensemble and understudying a lead character, Hedy LaRue, a girl I played in Summer Stock back in college,” she said. If anyone is interested in the show, the opera house’s website is www.goodspeed. org. ←


western tidewater living

17


18 western tidewater living

Discovering Franklin-Southampton A writer’s perspective story by Susan Taylor Block

E

xcept for a few years of schooling in Chapel Hill, I’ve lived my whole life in the coastal city of Wilmington, N.C. Since 1977, I’ve been fascinated with the study of local history and the general culture of our area, but in 2008 I discovered another place that captivates me in different ways. That January, I tabled my local history work temporarily to take on a whole new project: writing an as-told-to book about the life of Franklin resident Jack Camp. When we began our work, I knew almost nothing about Jack, little about Virginia and zero about Franklin. A year later, I had learned a lot. Jack’s personality, stories and manner of expression are unique in all the earth, but he holds a straightforward approach and directness in common with other folks I met in Southampton County. I find those traits delightful and am always excited to be invited back to Tidewater Virginia — a place where you seldom have to wonder what someone is trying to tell you. Doubtless, Jack’s descriptions colored my views, but the first time I visited Tidewater territory, I thought it was one of the dreamiest places I had seen, and I still do. With every visit, it unfolds before me like a

Franklin resident Jack Camp recently shared the story of his life with North Carolina author Susan Taylor Block, below.

patchwork quilt of woodlands, stitched to pretty farms and picturesque neighborhoods. Southampton’s rivers traverse the picture, adding glitz and movement. I could hardly wait to meet the folks Jack spoke of frequently while we worked on his book, “While You’re Up.” In Franklin, I met wonderful people like Kaye Story and Bobby Worrell of The Elms Foundation; Jack’s lifelong friends, Rae and Phillip Frankfort; Nancy and Joe Stutts, artist and archivist; the late Rev. Ira D. “Tuck” Hudgins; retired Episcopal rector Ben Duffy; Riverkeeper and writer Jeff Turner; master gardener James Riddick; and many others. In their own way, every one of them was engaging, and the old Virginia accents among them tickled my ears. Among my other favorites were Linda Beatty and Lynda Updike. They amaze me with their

leadership qualities and zest for community projects. I think any town would be proud to have such powerhouses. Beatty, a former employee of Union Camp, works today at the Southampton County Courthouse. Though soft-spoken and understated, the Boykins resident is an eloquent woman of steel when it comes to civic improvements and good causes. Beatty has been a Boykins Town Council member for 25 years, several of which she served also as vice mayor. She is a charter member and currently vice president of the Boykins Main Street Initiative, an organization formed to help revitalize the downtown. Beatty also serves as a director of the Genieve Women’s Shelter and raises funds to operate a newly constructed transition house for battered women. She has held many offices in women’s organizations and is a past president of the Virginia Federation of Women’s Clubs, a group composed of 6,800 members. Currently, she is heavily involved in fundraising for Boykins Fire and Rescue, mission work and various activities, including Boykins United See SOUTHAMPTON page 19


SOUTHAMPTON continued from page 18

western tidewater living

Methodist Church. Updike has distinguished herself as a regional leader in historic preservation. A champion and current president of the Southampton Agricultural Museum, she has augmented her fundraising and acquisition activities with much learning. The Newsoms woman is currently engaged in efforts to bring local history talks and renewed pride to the Franklin area, a place still quaking from the paper mill’s closure. Updike majored in home economics at Mary Washington and received a master’s degree in nutrition from Virginia Tech. Her husband, Glenn, majored in animal science at Virginia Tech and earned his master’s degree from Virginia State. Hard work and that knowledge makes for a thriving multi-crop farm. Their grandchildren are the eighth generation to call her ancestral land “home.” The Updikes are known for their leadership in 4-H activities and the tenderness they show their livestock. Like many farmers, they raise cattle, sheep and goats, but the Updikes don’t just raise them; they spoil them. She has been known to bundle up fretful baby animals and carry them to community meetings, cradling them in her arms while conducting business. At home, the pampering continues. “We have a wood heater in the den,” Updike said. “During the winter, it’s not unusual for us to set up clothes baskets nearby and fill them with baby lambs or goats. We get them warm in our house, then carry them back to the barn to be with their mommies. We’re on hand for most of the deliveries, and if there is an orphan or a triplet that needs to be bottle fed, that’s my job.” So, soon after Jack and I finished work on his book, I met his distant cousin Stafford Vermont Camp III of Courtland — a tall, lanky man who wears lots of Virginia Tech orange. S.V., as he is known, had written his own book several years ago. A mixture of memories and carefully researched Southampton County history, the manuscript needed a bit more work before being sent to a publisher. I visited with S.V. and his dear wife, Gail, on several different occasions, both in Courtland and Nags Head, N.C. It was always a treat and a real experience. S.V. reinforced my thoughts about the directness with which Tidewater residents communicate, but he added his own inimitable personality to the mix, too. Unaffiliated with Union Camp, he became a hard hitter in business early on. One of his first commercial pursuits was a teenage attempt to invent a bubble-gum recipe. Later came genuine success in several fields, including casino ownership; he fueled two adventuresome entrepreneurial attempts on foreign soil. He failed at both, but readers will profit by reading the stories. I still laugh out loud sometimes while rereading them. Most recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Jack’s close cousin and VMI roommate (1936-1940), Sol Rawls. I already admired Rawls because I knew he spearheaded and nurtured “The Timber Tycoons,” a gem of a book by his friend Parke Rouse Jr. Elegant and erudite, it was fun to hear Rawls talk about Franklin, family and his own pursuits. The property on which Sol Rawls lives seems symbolic of the city, with its front on a city street and its rear deep into woods. In fact, there’s much straddling in Tidewater territory. Like others I met there, Rawls possesses a quality education, acute street smarts and farm knowledge, too. It is an interesting mixture of sophistication and earthiness. Top: Jack Camp, right, with daughter Jean Camp Harrell and James Riddick; A few weeks ago, I sat in Fred’s restaurant and listened to the local BOTTOM: S.V. and Gail Camp talk. Naturally, the mill’s demise seemed to be a part of every conversation. The tragedy of that is real and the loss is profound, but it is my humble Tarheel opinion that Southampton County retains its most important resource — its people. ←

19


20 western tidewater living CALENDAR OF EVENTS 10/1-10/2—Franklin Fall Festival Location: Main Street in downtown Franklin. The festival will open with a block party from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, featuring the TFC Band. A fireworks display by Pyrotecnico will begin at 9:15. Food and beverages are available. Bring lawn chairs and blankets, and spend an evening of fun and relaxation. The second day will feature a traditional street scene with arts-and-crafts booths, food vendors, cloggers, local musicians, clowns, children’s games and more. The Mustang Club of Tidewater Annual Festival Car Show will be held at Main Street and Fourth Avenue. Call Downtown Franklin Association office at 562-6900 for more. 10/4—2010 James L. Camp Jr. Family YMCA Golf Classic Location: Cypress Cove Country Club, Franklin Teams will be playing Captain’s Choice with a noon shotgun start. An awards dinner will follow at the country club. Fee is $240 for a team of four. For information, contact Kathy Roberts at the YMCA at 562-3491 or by e-mail at kroberts@ymcashr.org. 10/9—Environmental Fair Location: American Legion Hall Post 73, located at 935 Armory Drive, Franklin Western Tidewater 350 will host the event that teaches people how to save money and help make the home and community a better place. Bring gently used clothes and toys for the clothing and toy swaps. Leftovers will be donated to charity. There will be a shoe drive. Participants can win a prize by recycling your old objects into art for the art show.

Franklin Fall Festival 10/11—14th Annual Bronco Federal Credit Union Golf Tournament Location: Cypress Cove Country Club The benefit for Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters will be from 1 to 6 p.m. Cost is $75 per golfer and $300 for a team. Green fees, carts, prizes, refreshments and buffet dinner are included in donation. Contact Joan Pavlina at 569-3703 for information.

of Commerce will host the networking event from 4 to 7 p.m. The event includes food and entertainment.

10/20—Isle Fest Location: Trinity United Methodist Church, 201 Cedar St., Smithfield. Isle of Wight-Smithfield-Windsor Chamber

11/6—Chili Cook-Off Location: Barrett’s Landing at 300 S. Main St., Franklin. The fifth annual Chili Cook-off is open to non-

10/29—Halloween Downtown Location: Main Street, Franklin Trick-or-treating will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. The side streets will be blocked so children can go to participating businesses to get treats.

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western tidewater living Halloween Downtown

profit organizations, hunt clubs, churches, civic groups, businesses or individuals. Judging will be done on booth decoration, best chili and People’s Choice Award. Prizes will be awarded. Call the Downtown Franklin Association at 562-6900 for further information. 11/06—Casino Night Location: American Legion Post 73, located at 935 Armory Drive, Franklin. Sponsored by Care Advantage, the event runs from 6 to 10 p.m. with proceeds benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association. The evening includes live music by The Winstons, food, prizes and more. Tickets are $30 or $50 for two. Call Care Advantage in Franklin at 563-3065 for tickets. 11/08—Community Business Expo Location: Paul D. Camp Community College Regional Workforce Development Center. Hosted by FranklinSouthampton Area Chamber of Commerce, the event will run from 3 to 7 p.m.

11/20—Christmas Downtown Open House Location: Downtown Franklin This annual event is sponsored by the Downtown Franklin Association. Downtown merchants will have coupons and sales from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be other festivities and carriage rides. 12/3—Elf Parade Location: Parking lot in Christmas Downtown front of Train Depot/ Open House Visitor Center in downtown Franklin The Downtown Franklin Association will host the parade and community tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. Participants will get an elf hat before walking with Santa and Mrs. Claus down Main Street to Barrett’s Landing for refreshments, Christmas carols and the lighting of the tree. 12/11—Rawls Museum Arts Gala Location: Rawls Museum Gallery at 22376 Linden St., Courtland. Event is from 7 to 11 p.m. For information, call Leigh Anne Chambers at 653-0754.

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22 western tidewater living

multitalented teen S

he lives with her parents and her little dog, Muncie, at her family’s home in a secluded, wooded area next to an enormous pond. But the tranquil lifestyle of Capron isn’t enough for 16-year-old Samantha Jervey, who plans to live some day in New York or Nashville. Samantha plans to be a musical entertainer — a dream she has had since she was very young. See TEEN page 23


western tidewater living

23

“It’s a hectic schedule, but I like it so much that I actually look forward to it.” Samantha Jervey TEEN continued from page 22

A third-year musical theater student at the Governor’s School in Norfolk, Samantha acts, sings, dances and writes songs. The daughter of Bill and Diane Jervey began taking dance lessons eight years ago, and her first real role came as a sixth-grader at Southampton Middle School. “The school put on a version of ‘A MidSummer Night’s Dream,’ and I had one of the leads. I loved it,” she said. “I think this was when I really knew what I wanted to do.” Samantha auditioned for musical theater classes at the Governor’s School and was accepted. For the past two years, she has attended Southampton High School half the day and the Governor’s School the other half. “It’s a hectic schedule, but I like it so much that I actually look forward to it,” she said with a smile. “The benefits are great too,” Samantha added. “For instance, I was chosen to be part of a dance team that traveled to Japan last year — sort of like a student exchange program. We were there for two weeks and stayed with different families while we performed in their towns.” Her troop performed 1960s rock and Motown classics in a theater in Kitakyushu. “Another benefit is that you get to meet so many wonderful people. I will always be friends with Yuka Horie, whose family I stayed with in Japan,” Samantha said. “The Governor’s School has helped me so much,” she continued. “I’ve grown as a person, I’m much more mature. It also has given me a feel of what the real world is like and given me the confidence to get out there and do what I want to do.” During the summer, Samantha continues her dance lessons and performs in local shows. She won the talent contest at the Franklin-Southampton County Fair last year. She sang and played guitar on “This Fairytale Dream,” which she wrote. Samantha is working on another song. She refers to “Dreaming All The Way to The Moon” as a work in progress. Samantha has not had any of her music published yet. “I am hopeful this will happen, though,” she said. “I actually like country music and some Christian music, and that’s the reason I would like to live in Nashville. I’m also thinking about going to college there.” Samantha has not given up on New York. “My parents took me there for my 16th birthday in July,” she said. “We saw some shows. I just love the city. I would not object to living there.”←

Samantha Jervey of Capron is studying acting, singing, dancing and songwriting at the Governor’s School in Norfolk.


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26 western tidewater living

good friends, good coffee “We’ve had everyone from illiterates to those with advanced degrees. There’s no difference in friendships.” Charlie Settle — Retired Capron banker


western tidewater living

Building friendships over a cup of Joe is what the Capron Social Club is all about story by Gwen Albers photography by Marco DiFlorio

A

t 7 a.m., seven days a week, 77-yearold Everette Crocker unlocks the doors at Capron Auto Service. Crocker’s first task: putting on the coffee. For somewhere around 20 years now, Crocker’s auto repair shop has been the town’s morning gathering spot. All of the dozen or so who meet are men. Most are retirees. Some are farmers looking for conversation and caffeine before heading for the fields. Every once in a while, a guest comes from as far as Vir-

ginia Beach. The coffee is free, and the conversation varies. They talk about things of national and local interest. A little gossip is thrown in, unless it involves neighbors. “Most of them are here,” Crocker said. “You can’t talk about them.” Farming and the weather are the hottest topics. “Most of us are all connected to farming,” See COFFEE page 28

27


28 western tidewater living COFFEE continued from page 27

said John Fox, a retired Capron crop farmer. “We’re at the mercy of the weather,” added retired Capron banker Charlie Settle. And no topic of discussion is taboo. “We’ve had everyone from illiterates to those with advanced degrees,” Settle said. “There’s no difference in friendships.” According to Crocker, Fridays are set aside for discussing politics. “But it can be any day,” he said. And Thursdays are designated for talking about sex, Fox said. “We used to talk about sex, but we forget about that,” the 81-year-old joked. The guys normally show up around 7:30 and stay as late as 10:30, depending on the conversation. “We don’t have many people on Sunday,” Crocker said. “Most of us go to church.” Crocker’s wife, Peggy, was behind the start of the coffee club. She would take homemade biscuits to the repair shop, which the family has owned for 41 years. The biscuits lured in the neighbors. “She’s a great cook and loves to cook,” Fox said. Over the years, the gathering spot inside the garage grew from few desk chairs to a full-size couch, two recliners and two rocking chairs. “People donated them when they got new furniture for their homes,” Everette Crocker said. Peggy Crocker keeps plenty of coffee, spoons and plastic cups in stock, buying whatever she can on sale. Anyone wishing to add cream or sugar provides their own. Most mornings, the guys go through a 12-cup pot. So it’s fair to say they gather more for the camaraderie than coffee. “I love people and I love to be around somebody,” Everette Crocker said. See COFFEE page 29

Retired banker Charlie Settle has something to say.


western tidewater living

29

John Fox, left, Everette Crocker and Paul Marks gather daily at Capron Auto Service for coffee and gossip. COFFEE continued from pg. 28

Settle, who drives his scooter to coffee, is probably the club’s longest member. While working for a bank in Capron in the mid1960s, he had coffee at Crocker’s shop. That’s when it was an Allis-Chalmers tractor dealer, the 77-year-old recalled. Paul Marks, an 85-year-old retired Capron farmer, makes it to coffee about three days a week.

“I like to see what’s going on and get the gossip around Capron,” Marks said. He claims they don’t gossip but have intellectual discussions. “And we talk about fishing,” Marks said. “It’s been mighty bad (lately). It’s hot and dry, and we haven’t fished this summer.” Over the years, the Capron social club has lost some of its coffee drinkers, including Bob-

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by Marks, Fred Parker, Bobby Parham, Randolph Starke and Junior Gurganus. Their bond is tight. When one needed chemotherapy for cancer, they took turns giving him rides. When a member is sick, they send flowers. When a member dies, they go to the funeral. “It’s practically like a family,” Crocker said.←


30 western tidewater living

identify the signs

where am I?

I

n each edition the magazine staff will provide a challenge of sorts, testing how much of Western Tidewater you really know. We will photograph something in the area that is readily visible to motorists or pedestrians. Tell us where these photos of Franklin signs were taken. Whoever gets the

most correct answers will win a $25 gift certificate to one of our partner advertisers. If there is a tie, there will be a drawing for the winner. So, if you know where these signs are, let us know. E-mail your answers to magazine@tidewaternews.com. Go out and enjoy Western Tidewater.


western tidewater living

31

around town

Powwow

The ninth annual Cheroenhaka Nottoway Powwow was held in July at the Southampton County Fairgrounds. Above, lead male and female dancers Mike and Jeannie Cranford; left, Vice Chief Ellis ‘Soaring Eagle’ Wright during the grand entry.

Photos by Frank A. Davis


what’s cooking

cooking is a family affair story and photography by Merle Monahan

T

racey Stallard’s grandmother started teaching her to cook when she was 6, but Stallard’s most vivid memory of her first day in the kitchen is not the cookies she was learning to bake. It is her brand-new apron. “Nanny made me an apron just like hers, and I was in seventh heaven,” the Ivor woman said. “I don’t think I learned much about cooking that day.” This was just one of many hours Stallard, now 41, spent in the kitchen with her grandmother Evelyn “Nanny” Harrell, now 96. “My mom, Lorene Cook, and my other grandmother, Mattie Wilkerson, both taught me cooking techniques,” Stallard said, “but I learned most of what I know about the art from Nanny Harrell. She was an old-fashioned cook, and she could come up with some of the best meals.” “I remember how as I grew older the whole family would go to church on Sundays, then always come back to her house for lunch. It was a tradition,” she added. “Nanny and I would put our aprons on over our “church clothes” and make lunch.” Stallard’s family lived on a farm near Jarratt across the field from her grandmother, and See FAMILY page 33

At top, Tracey Stallard and her daughter, Kelly, 15, look over recipes. Below, Tracey presents her tasty Mac & Cheese.


western tidewater living

FAMILY continued from pg. 32

Stallard stayed with her grandmother when her mother worked. “I loved having her teach me to cook,” Stallard said. “In fact, I still depend on her, but not quite as much as I used to. When I first got married, I had to call her at least once a week to find out how she cooked different things.” “I did not inherit her talent for sewing, however, despite several aprons she made for me during the years,” she added. Stallard graduated from nursing school and is an orthopedic surgical nurse at Sentara Louise Obici Hospital in Suffolk. She and her husband, Kenneth, a captain in the Suffolk Fire Department, have a daughter, Kelly, 15. They lost their son, Cody, in an automobile accident nearly two years ago when he was 16. Although her heart still aches, the active wife and mother says it helps to keep busy. Kelly has a mild case of Cystic Fibrosis, and Stallard has worked diligently ever since the diagnosis 13 years ago to help raise money for a cure. She is one of three mothers who co-chair the Chesapeake “Great Strides” walk, a fundraiser for CF. Stallard has even combined her love of cooking with one of the fundraisers: She was instrumental in putting together a cookbook with recipes from friends and family. All proceeds go to the CF Foundation. Stallard is involved in several projects at Millfield Baptist, including serving on the hospitality committee. She often brings one of her homemade dishes. She also gets much joy from cooking for the entire family, 16 in all, on Thanksgiving since Nanny can no longer do it. “They all come to our house, where Nanny is the guest of honor,” Stallard said. “My biggest thrill was at the Thanksgiving dinner I cooked several years ago, when my brother asked if I made the dressing, or if Nanny made it. I felt like I had made it as a cook.” Stallard says she prepares dinner for her immediate family almost every night. “If I’m late getting in from work, Kenneth helps me out, especially during the winter when he doesn’t have outside work to do. “I’m very fortunate,” she added with a grin, “to have a husband who not only knows how to cook, but enjoys doing it.” ←

33

Tracey Stallard with her 96-yearold grandmother, Evelyn “Nanny” Harrell, who taught her granddaughter how to cook.

Stallard family recipes NANNY’S SWEET POTATO PUDDING Ingredients: 2 cups grated sweet potatoes 1 cup sugar ½ stick margarine 1½ cups milk 1 tsp vanilla 1 tsp allspice Directions: Peel and grate sweet potatoes and place in large mixing bowl. Cream sugar and softened margarine, then combine with sweet potatoes. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour mixture into greased baking dish and bake for 30 to 45 minutes at 375 degrees. NANNY’S PINEAPPLE CAKE Cake ingredients: 4 eggs 2 cups plain flour 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 1 cup milk 2 cups sugar ¼ stick butter 1 can (14- to 16-oz) crushed pineapple with juice Directions: Beat eggs and sugar in large mixing bowl. Melt butter and add to egg mixture and blend well. Add milk and mix well. After sifting flour, salt and baking powder together, slowly add to egg mixture and mix well. Add pineapple and beat until batter is smooth. Pour batter into three

well greased and floured cake pans and bake at 375 degrees until wooden pick comes out clean. Icing ingredients: ½ cup butter 4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar 6 Tbls drained crushed pineapple 1 to 2 Tbls pineapple juice Directions: Cream butter and gradually add in sugar. Stir in crushed pineapple and add just enough pineapple juice to make icing spreadable. Spread over warm cake layers, then spread balance over warm cake. TRACEY’S MAC & CHEESE Ingredients: 8 oz macaroni 3 Tbls butter 3 Tbls all-purpose flour 1 tsp salt (optional) 2 cups milk 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese ¼ cup Parmesan cheese Directions: Boil macaroni for 8 to 10 minutes until desired tenderness. Drain and set aside. In saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour and salt. Slowly blend in milk. Cook until mixture just begins to boil, stirring constantly. Gradually blend in shredded cheese until melted. Pour cheese mixture over macaroni and fold into greased two-quart casserole dish. Top with Parmesan cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.


34 western tidewater living

designing women

A glimpse of Lydia Crane’s living area and a bedroom


Franklin friends Lydia Crane, Gayle Johnson decorate with style story by Jessica Gibbs photography by Marco DiFlorio

W

hoever said work couldn’t be fun hasn’t met Lydia Crane or Gayle Johnson. These Franklin women have been best friends for years and work together as interior designers at Inspired Spaces; they love their jobs and never mind taking their work home. Western Tidewater Living had the pleasure of getting an inside look at the interior designers’ own homes. Crane and Johnson own fabulous apartments right next to each other in the Co-op Apartments on West 4th Avenue in Franklin. Their apartments are filled with history and style. Crane and Johnson, who met during a church social, share tastes in design — and often trade furniture and help each other rearrange. See DECOR page 36


36 western tidewater living

Lydia Crane, left, visits with best friend and co-worker Gayle Johnson on a porch outside Crane’s apartment. DECOR continued from page 35

Their apartments are filled with things they’ve collected, including family art, thrift store finds and a few signature antiques. Crane’s apartment has all the original doors and pine flooring, while Johnson opted to update hers a bit. The apartments range from 1,000 to 1,200 square feet. “We are restoring, not remodeling. There is a difference,” Johnson said. Some of the treasures include a hope chest Crane’s great-grandfather made with 53 types of inlaid wood. She has it in her dining room for now. Both say they are always changing things. It’s hard to tell, as every iota of furniture and knickknack seems perfectly placed, as if it has always been that way and should be that way.

In the kitchen is a collection of framed envelopes Crane’s mother decorated when she was sending letters to her husband during World War II. In the bedroom is an Italian shoe closet. The mixture of Southern living, antiques and a feminine touch make for an astoundingly beautiful design. But don’t consider these gals limited to just that. That’s just their personal styles. “It’s about collecting things you love over the years. And when you put them all in a room together, you can’t go wrong,” Crane said of her family collection. The women love thrift stores in Norfolk. They also frequent TJ Maxx, Carole Fabrics and Walmart for fabrics, furniture, and odds and ends.

Johnson, who grew up in Capron, said she has been decorating since she was a child. Crane, too. Their kitchens are both filled with shades of greens and pinks. Crane laughs at the flowers in her kitchen, “I always try to keep fresh flowers in my windowsill. Normally it’s no problem!” Johnson has lived in her apartment for almost three years. Crane has lived in the building for about the same amount of time, but she moved just over a year ago into the apartment she is in now. From the outside, the buildings blend in with the other downtown Franklin-style homes. Aside from the magnificent gardening — Crane is a Master Gardener — and the chic outdoor furniture, you would never See DECOR page 37


western tidewater living

37

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A chandelier hangs from the ceiling in Lydia Crane’s bathroom. DECOR continued from page 36

know what treasures and beauties are inside. “I walked onto her porch and I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh I love this person!’ The decorations are beautiful!’” Johnson said about her first meeting with Crane. On the porch, colors range from blues and whites with a combination of what Crane and Johnson call shabby-chic. The motif follows through the door and into the den. The buildings that house the 12 Co-op Apartments were construction 106 years ago. From 1894 to 1912, they served as the Franklin Female Seminary. In 1913 the buildings were sold to the City of Franklin for bonded indebtedness. From that time until 1922, the left section with the belfry was Franklin High School. It is understood that the high school portion burned. It is believed that in 1922, Camp Manufacturing Co. bought and moved these buildings from Clay Street (where Clay Court is now) to their current location. The buildings were established as Camp Apartments. From 1948 to 2010, the history is a bit blurry. Bylaws dated Aug. 27, 1948, established the buildings as “Fourth Avenue Corp.” They now operate as Co-op Apartments. The two women, who work together at “Inspired Spaces,” say their favorite thing to do with customers is a “mix-up,” where they take all of the furniture and art and rearrange what they already have to better suit the home.←

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38 western tidewater living

A bygone era at the beach story by Charlie Passut

R

Roy Lassiter poses for a picture in his attendant uniform at the Cavalier Beach Club in 1937. Behind him is the wood dance floor where guests danced the night away to the music of the nation’s top big bands. Inset: Roy and Kitty Lassiter, at their dining room table in their Boykins home, look through old photographs from his days as a waiter and cabana attendant at the Cavalier Beach Club. Roy Lassiter worked summers at the Virginia Beach club from 1937 to 1940.

oy Lassiter has fond memories of the four summers he worked at Cavalier Beach Club in Virginia Beach as a waiter and cabana attendant. It was a time from a bygone era, the summers of 1937 to 1940. Lassiter, who turns 92 on Dec. 25, remembers business magnates hobnobbing with movie starlets and big-city mayors. Guests enjoyed the sandy beaches during the day, danced to the swinging tunes of famous big bands into the night, and paid tips in the form of a nickel or a dime. He remembers that up on the hill, friendly New Englanders managed the nearby resort hotel while German wait staff argued among themselves about whether Hitler was good for their country. He also remembers that it took a couple hours to get from his home in Boykins to the resort in Virginia Beach. Traveling that distance required taking a train, a ferry and a streetcar. But, most important of all, he remembers dating Kitty Bland, dancing with her in the sand to big-band tunes after he got off work. “It was quite an experience for me, and I’ve never forgotten it,” Lassiter said. In July, the Lassiters wrote to the Cavalier Hotel management and made plans to celebrate their 65th anniversary there. The hotel honored them by putting them in the Cavalier Suite. “You’ve never seen such elegance,” Roy Lassiter said. “They rolled out the red carpet and put us in their best suite. Most of the staff knew us by name. We ate lots of seafood and just enjoyed living ‘high on the hog.’ It was truly a happy time for us.” When Roy Lassiter worked there, the nation was still emerging from the Great Depression. “In those lean years, the only ones who could really afford the Cavalier were ‘old money’ people and, generally, very highly educated people,” Lassiter said. “But the last year I worked there, the ‘new money’ was beginning to show a little bit. Some of those people liked to put on the dog and holler ‘boy.’ It was a real education for a country boy like me to work among those people.” Lassiter worked at the cabanas, a row of small bathhouses on the beach, during the day. “The cabanas opened more or less whenever anyone wanted See BEACH page 39


western tidewater living

BEACh continued from page 38

to get into one,” Lassiter said. “Most of the cabanas were rented by local people who were members of the beach club. You could join without being part of the hotel. Virginia Beach and Norfolk-area people owned 65 percent of the cabanas. They had their key, and they could come and go anytime they wanted to.” He added that people coming to the nearby Cavalier Hotel could also rent cabanas. “For the convenience of not having to run back and forth from the hotel to the beach wet, they would just rent a cabana and bring their bathing stuff down there and leave it in the cabana,” Lassiter said. “We furnished towels, and there were two bathrooms in each cabana.” Besides providing towels, the attendants also served food and drinks. “We served drinks and light food; we had a fairly decent lunch there,” Lassiter said. “At the time, you couldn’t buy mixed drinks in Virginia; you had to bring your own bottle. We would serve what were called ‘set-ups,’ which was ice and whatever kind of mix you wanted.” On Saturday nights, Lassiter and his fellow attendants would serve the largest crowds of the week as they danced on

39

This postcard from the 1930s or 1940s shows people dancing at the Cavalier Beach Club at night.

an outdoor wooden floor to the likes of Tommy Dorsey, Johnny Long, Jack Teagarden and Russ Morgan. “Every big band in the country came and usually played every week,” Lassiter said. “We got to hear the best bands in the country, and it didn’t cost us a penny. There was a named band of some conse-

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40 western tidewater living

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42 western tidewater living

Dwight Hunter’s pigeons roost in their coop at his home in Franklin.


western tidewater living

feathered friends

43

Franklin man finds joy in racing pigeons

I

story by Nicholas Langhorne photography by Marco DiFlorio

t’s a hot, muggy August morning, and Dwight Hunter is up at 5:30 to train for a race. He’s not a marathon runner. He races pigeons. “It’s called poor man’s horse racing,” Hunter said. The Franklin man used to have parakeets, cockatiels and button quails, but these days it’s just pigeons. “I’ve just gotten so I enjoy this most because I can do something with it,” he said. Hunter was up early that day in August to drop off some of his racing pigeons in Emporia so they could fly back to Franklin. By the time Hunter made the 35-mile trip home, the birds had returned to the backyard loft. Hunter found interest in birds when his older brother, now a veterinarian, brought home three chicks from a fair. “He liked pigeons and I liked chickens actually,” Hunter said. “Then when I grew older, I liked pigeons because he had them.” He isn’t alone. The 10,000-member American Racing Pigeon Union is based in Oklahoma City. “We find that those who are attracted to it are — first of all— animal lovers. They enjoy the camaraderie of organized activity like any club, and they enjoy a little friendly competition,” said Deone Roberts, sport development manager for the American Racing Pigeon Union. Celebrities have also been drawn into the hobby of pigeon racing. Former champion boxer Mike Tyson will star in a reality show revolving around pigeon racing. “There are several people like that that are into pigeons,” Hunter said. “People just don’t realize it.” Pigeon racing morphed from the See pIGEONs page 44


44 western tidewater living PIGEONs continued from pg. 43

practical use of pigeons to carry information across long distances. The birds were even used to carry vital messages during World Wars I and II. Racing pigeons are trained in stages, being dropped off miles away from home and then flying back. A computer system tracks the return time of a bird, which has a tag attached to its leg. So how do they know how to get home? “It’s bred into them because they’re not migrating animals,” Hunter said. Despite having a lessthan-stellar reputation among the public, he said, his pigeons are vaccinated and don’t leave strong odors or attract flies. He also pointed out that pigeons are not carriers of the avian flu. Hunter has several different breeds of pigeons

Dwight Hunter gives a close-up view of one of his racing pigeons.

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western tidewater living

45

Pigeon lover Dwight Hunter flies his white birds at weddings and funerals to help cover the cost of their food and medical care.

PIGEONs continued from pg. 44

and even has all-white ones. “I fly these at weddings and funerals and that helps pay for the feed and vaccines and things like that,” he said. His neighbors like the birds, Hunter said, but his family isn’t as enthusiastic about them as he is.

“They tolerate it, but they’re not big fans like me,” he said, smiling. Hunter is a member of the Hampton Roads Pigeon Club, which competes against other area clubs in the Tidewater Concourse. With the computer equipment and lofts, bird racing is more expensive than it used to be. But

there are cash prizes for winning races. There is a local race where he could win a prize of up to $4,000. “There’s one in South Africa where you could win $1 million. It costs $1,000 to enter a bird into that one, but your chances are a lot better than winning the lottery,” Hunter said. ←

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46 western tidewater living

common ground

get lost M

y father says after time a mule will naturally follow the same furrow, over and over again. I’m not sure we’re much different. We each travel our certain paths, secure in our routines, relaxed in our rhythms. As the summers pass, so our entrenchment deepens. The predictable. The routine. The comfortable. Day after week after month after year, rehearsing old thought patterns, embracing the habitual. We grow to like the feel of familiar terrain, the smell of our own world, the taste of what we already know. Perhaps the unused synapses of our brains are surrendering. Those caverns of the mind that have yet to be discovered are succumbing, like creosote in chimneys, to slow constriction, eventually closing. Rarely used, they, like muscles, become useless. But I say we were made for better things. The capacity for discovery, for change, for new di-

rection resides in every mortal. Outside the ofttread roads lie yet undiscovered trails, awaiting the footsteps of the courageous. There yet remains vast, uncharted territory, beckoning to those who dare. To our ears alone may the call be heard. Therefore, I say, lose yourself in something. That adventure you’ve only dreamed of? Go for it. The book you’ve been thinking of reading? Read it. That club that sounds interesting, that place you want to see, those classes they are offering, the church you’ve considered visiting, the phone call that scares you, that whatever-itis that simply seems daunting because it differs from your present course. Risk it. Learn, pon-

column by Rex Alphin photo by Judson Alphin

der, invent, compose, create, read, categorize, imagine, conquer, study, see, experience, taste, craft, observe. Those brick walls surrounding our existence are but made of paper. We need only step through. Those limits are penciled, waiting to be erased. So clean out the creosote. Loosen the shackles. Away with the critics. Explore the caverns. This magnificent world is much bigger than you and I. Not only does it call us to enjoy, to experience, to wonder, but we were made for such things. The capacity resides in us all, as a sleeping giant, waiting to be stirred. Will you walk in that same furrow, turn around at the end and walk back, over and over and over? Or will you take one lone, shaky, tentative step onto new land? Into new territory? Will you plant your feet in virgin soil? Don’t take this wrong, my friend, but “Get lost, will ya’?” ←


Remember the way it used to be? When you felt taken care of by a hometown business? That’s the way it still is at Bronco Federal Credit Union. We are a strong cooperative that offers complete financial services—including auto loans, credit cards and home equity products—and we are always looking out for our members. Find out how it feels.

Contact us today to discuss all of your financial needs. member

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Western Tidewater Living - Fall 2010