Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pancake Office and more!

OK, OK!  I know that I am a little bit late on this post, however my wife and I went to New England for a few weeks and we loved it!  What a spectacular place.  However, now that I am back I want to get a post out asap.  This week my "Rich Crowley's Snapshot of Culpeper" piece in the Culpeper Times will come out before this blog so you will see one of my pictures in the paper before you see it in this blog.  It is no big deal, but it is a first.


Let's start this edition by talking about the Saturday ritual at my house.  Every Saturday morning my son, granddaughter and I go to IHOP for breakfast.  We call it our "Breakfast Club" but my three year old granddaughter refers to it as the "Pancake Office."  Pretty cute.  Sometimes we are joined by another son and his daughter and once in a while a daughter in law and/or Grammie will attend..... occasionally even our baby grandson.  We are pretty well settled into this routine and have not missed a Saturday at IHOP in over a year.

These two ladies greet us going and coming at IHOP.  Sarah Farina sees that we get the best table in the house (shhhh, don't tell the others) and Jacqueline Karis collects our money...... however she does it so nicely that we really don't mind parting with it.

One thing that is obvious at IHOP is that it is a gathering place.  By that I mean that groups of one kind or another select it for a friendly place to meet.  Last Saturday I observed a couple of extended families having breakfast there and at least one group of friends.  At the table right next to us was the Melton family.  They seemed pretty cool.  They came from several places, for example  the grandparents had come from North Carolina to visit the young couple on the left who it turned out were the only residents of the Pepper from this  family.  So while they were here,  where did they go for breakfast?  You've got it..... the Pancake Office!!

On the way in, I met a group on their way out.  You have to admit that I find the most interesting people.  Now this group of friends, if I understood them correctly, had members from Alexandria to Richmond including Culpeper.  They had decided that Culpeper was a central and convenient place to meet.  I chatted with them long enough to learn that they were sort of an official group.......well....official enough that they had named themselves.  They told me that at first they considered calling  the group "The Cougars" (young men beware), but since they are all married it was decided that the name really did not work for them.  So......hang on for the big finish..... ta dah.....may I present to you, the "Divas!" They include Mary Jo Gaskins, Jean Wilkins, Dyce Lamonds, Renee Beck, Laura Horner, Charlene Thorpe, and Pam Cooley.  Nice folks.


Since moving here just over three years ago, we have discovered that one of the major pluses of the Pepper is the movie theater.  We have four theaters in the complex and since going to the movies is one of our favorite things to do.... we go pretty regularly.  Since we are retired we have the advantage of being able to go to matinees and/or the earliest showing.  We have never had to deal with a crowd.  During the summer they have free morning movies for kids.  I took granddaughters there twice....whew!  It is a great service they provide, but was a most unique experience for me.  If you have not participated yet, plan on doing it next summer.  I would offer just one word of advice.... get a good night's sleep.
These two ladies were working the last time we went to the movies and I put them in front of the popcorn popper for their picture because I have consumed a fair amount of that product.  Jessika Warner is on the left and Sydney Tinge on the right and they were very professional, polite not to mention, fun!


The other afternoon I was driving my car and listening to Kenny Chesney's recent hit, "The Boys of Fall" which is about his experience playing high school football.  It motivate me to run over to all know that I live nearby..... and take a couple of shots of the team practicing while it is still warm, there is lots of daylight and the fall colors are out. is the offense running some plays.  

As I was pulling in I saw a man in a cart trailing some of the kids who were running.  At first I thought he was the cross country coach or something similar, but after I got a chance to talk with him I learned that he is Michael Wills and he is the new Athletic Director.  He was just hanging with the kids to make sure everything was alright.  I could tell right away that he is a true professional educator.  As we talked, I learned that he and his wife have both been principals previously.  He quickly shared with me that he thought the CCHS kids were very special and unique.  I could tell that he was sincere.  I think if we have people like Michael leading and shepherding our kids that we are in good hands here in the Pepper.

Also near the athletic field I saw this man.  His name is Rod Stewart ....... yep it really is and I asked him to sing a little "Maggie May" or "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy" but he graciously declined.  He must get sooooo sick of hearing those questions and variation of them,  but I just could not resist.  Now I am a little sorry that I did it, but not too!  Rod is the assistant JV basketball coach and also coaches little league football.   He played for Culpeper High School in 1983.



There is a new face in town that comes with a new business.  The face belongs to Greg Garr and he has opened the Shenandoah Garden Spot.  It is his second store....the other one is in Elkton.  You simply cannot miss the Garden Spot.  It is right next to the 7-11 on Main Street and has tons of mums and pumpkins in front that create a huge splash of brilliant color. (Hey! I should write ads.... that was darn good!)  It is a fun place, stop by and check it out.

It is never a happy time when you go out to start your car and the battery is DEAD! A call to AAA resulted in a battery truck belonging to DB Towing being sent out.  A mountain of a man climbed out of the truck and said to me with a big smile, "This is going to be a great day."  It reminded me of when I tell my granddaughters that it is a zip a dee do dah day.  Then I sing the song with them.  This guy spared me singing a song, but he was so positive that it was infectious. His name is Keith Hawkins and somehow I don't think he would be offended if I said that he is a good ol boy.  I have a friend who says that there is a reason that we call them good old boys.  Keith is a Culpeper boy, born and raised.  He graduated from Culpeper High in 2003. 

And now for the big finish.  Here is the Club family. John is just recently out of the military and back from his recent tour in Kosovo.  He may be the newest deputy in the Culpeper Sheriff's department.  Jenn is the pretty wife and they are holding their little girl.  Have you ever seen prettier eyes than those of the little one?

That is it for this go around.  Remember if your picture appears here and you would like it, contact me at

If you have comments, corrections or suggestions for future postings be sure to let me know at the above address.