Mount Airy Autumn Leaves Festival

We’re getting to love these small town festivals! Mount Airy is a town of about 10,000 people, about 45 minutes north of us, in a beautiful setting at the foot of the Blue Ridge mountains. It was the birthplace and childhood home of Andy Griffith, and is the inspiration for the “Mayberry” setting of the Andy Griffith Show. In this part of the world, you can see a rerun of the Andy Griffith Show every day. Personally, that’s way, way, way too much Andy Griffith for me, but I guess it’s kinda cool. The spirit lives on with Mayberry art, old fashion police cars, stores and products, etc.


Main Street, Mt Airy, with the Blue Ridge in the background.


See!? Mayberry stuff.


See!? Andy of Mayberry art.


The traditional long line for a "pork chop sandwich, all the way" at Snappy Lunch!


Remember Ron Howard as Opie?


Gail and April at the festival. Gail is turning into a southern girl, a sunny 75 degrees and wearing her coat!


April, Amanda and Gail with a bloomin' onion. Deep fried, of course!


Some dude preparing a little pork!


Gail was on the prowl for a turkey leg, and she found one!


nom nom nom nom!


Trying my very first deep fried Oreo!


I liked it! I liked it!

It was a great day! I’m grateful for so many things, especially the deep fried Oreos! 🙂

A very good day!

The work schedule has been busy for me lately, so I plan to really enjoy these two days I have off. We started out last night at Hitchcock Under the Stars, on the front lawn of the Reynolda House Museum of American Art. We watched North by Northwest, with Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason. Great movie, and the night was beautiful!

This morning, we started out with a bike ride around Salem Lake, one of our favorite rides.

Later in the afternoon, we went with our friends April and Brent to check out the North Carolina Beer Fest at Tanglewood Park. There was an unbelievable number of people trying to get into the park. It took about an hour, but we finally parked amidst an ocean of cars. Then we found out it cost $30 to get in, for the privilege of sampling as many beers as we wanted. None of us thought that was worth it, so after all that, we left! No big deal, we had fun just being part of the craziness. We ended up having a nice dinner at our favorite Winston restaurant, the Village Tavern.

After that, we all went to catch our first Winston-Salem Dash baseball game, on another glorious evening of fine weather. It’s a great little stadium, brand new this year, and we beat the Myrtle Beach Pelicans! Yay us!

So far, a most excellent weekend! I think I’ll add to this post with whatever tomorrow brings! 🙂

Okay. So today is “tomorrow!” I started the day asleep! I didn’t set an alarm and slept in a bit. It was wonderful! Then I lounged around in my underwear. (Oops. Can I say that on a blog?! — Of course I can! It’s my blog dammit!) Then I ran on the treadmill, and later ran a few errands with Princess Gail. It was a great, mindless kind of day.

We spent the evening with a bunch of new friends. They were all absolutely wonderful! A very welcoming and fun crowd! We had a delicious dinner at a funky restaurant in downtown Winston, Sixth and Vine. The place has a fun schedule of activities, so I think it will become one of our favorite stops.

All in all, an excellent weekend! 🙂

The Best Playhouse

We had dinner at the house of our dear friends, April and Brent, last night. The dinner was worth a blog post all by itself, but instead I’ll focus on this unbelievable playhouse in their backyard. April designed and built this all by herself for her kids when they were small. Look at the porch, door, window, the walls (which match the main house), the roof with working gutters, the landscaping. And you can imagine the inside is just as cool, with a tiny but real bed, cupboards, working electric lights, and a little fake fireplace with a space heater. I’ve never seen anything like it! Way cool!

Florida golfing and birding

We were in Florida for a few days last week for our friend Tom’s annual golfing get together. Gail is a swinger:

There were majestic birds on the courses, like the great blue heron:

There were birds of prey, a red shouldered hawk and an osprey:

A little blue heron and a white ibis were helping find my ball:

And like everywhere I go, I spotted these common birds:

I seem to attract them!

writing exercise for Kanani

I am participating in a writing exercise today, something like a meme. It is directed by my good friend and Easy Writer Kanani Fong. Here are the rules:

A Writing Exercise. The Long Sentence
You’re going to write for a total of ten minutes straight. No breaks. You’ll write one long sentence, not stopping for punctuation. Do not go back to correct grammar or re-organize sentences. Let the words come forth, just get them down even if the sequence doesn’t make sense. This release will help you relax and get you into the groove of writing.
I’m giving you the first five words:
“The last time I saw ……..”

Ready? Set the timer, now breathe and go!
This was one of the first exercises I ever did, and it led to the writing of this poem.

Remember, you are loved and you are blessed! Breathe and write!

And here is my stuff:

“The last time I saw…” the mountains will not be my last. I became even more convinced that this is not only something I desire but something I need. We did not have the greatest weather, and it didn’t make any difference. The peace was still there, and the silence and the big sky. The clouds passed by in slow motion, some above us and some below. I could see the steam of the clouds slowly taking on new shapes. I can stand there watching clouds for minutes on end, as if there aren’t more important things in the world. There is something timeless about the mountains, something healing, something awesome in the truest sense of the word. This last experience was near Asheville, North Carolina, with the Blue Ridge in full view and in fall splendor. The air was chilly but not cold. Overnight rain had left the valley full of dense cloud below us, with only certain peaks that were high enough popping through. The heat of the morning sun quickly dried that up. leaving a green valley with distant houses and specks of cars that were barely visible. I could hear the rustle of the leaves and the caw of an occasional blackbird. I listened for the wild turkeys I have heard in the area, but was disappointed not to hear any on this trip. They’re probably in hiding with Thanksgiving right around the corner! Ha! Car trips up and down the mountains are very much fun for longtime flatlanders. The roads are windy and single lane in the steepest parts of the mountain close to the cabin where we stayed. Rutted gravel makes the car shimmy and shake and adds to the driving suspense. There was a part near the very top that was so steep the car couldn’t make it except in reverse! But we got up safely and thanked the Lord for surviving and for the adventure. Going down is much easier of course, and allows full enjoyment of the view, especially as some of the trees have lost much of their foliage. Down in the valley, little towns like Old Fort and Black Mountain can take up most of our day if we let them, and we do. It is healing and enriching to lose sense of time for a while, and go where the heart desires, aimlessly and joyfully. We like to have a mission on those days, but never mind if we are distracted over and over again and never quite accomplish what we set out to do, knowing full well it was merely and excuse to get going and a starting point. Back at the mountain cabin, like on most vacations, I try to never miss a sunrise or sunset. Why is that so mystical and serene? Why do I feel connected to all people who have ever roamed the earth when I am watching a sunrise or sunset? I don’t know, but what happens to me is an easy reflection at sunrise about what the day might have in store, and at sunset what the day that just passed was like. Promise and hope in the morning, and a sense of accomplishment and gratitude in the evening. What could be better than that?


Thank you, Lee!

I am so grateful for friends like Lee of Tarheel Ramblings, who unselfishly suggested I use his own WP theme when mine became wacky after the upgrade to WP 2.8.  I have always liked the look and feel of his site, but I would have never asked him to use his theme! But he offered, I looked into it, and he’s right, it’s what I was looking for.  It is so customizable I will be tweaking it for a long time, and I’ll make sure I don’t copy all his ideas!

Thanks, bro!

Berryvox Markers

My good eFriend, Kayla, aka Berryvox, has a passion for historical markers. It’s a cool passion! I found this marker at a rest stop along Hwy I-77 in southern Ohio on my way down to NC. This one is about blimps for god’s sake! It’s a crazy world!

(You can clic the pic to enlarge it.)