This is such a great time of year! Now I admit that I am a sucker for good weather and seem to have a short memory when it comes to which season is my favorite. Right now the weather is brisk and it is getting pretty darn cool at night. Last night it was in the 20s. The trees are just past their fall prime, but all the leaves on the ground make it a wonderland. It seems like a pretty great time of year. As I have mentioned before, I grew up in Idaho and there are cold and long winters there. It is a rare November that has not seen at least a couple of good snow storms out there. So here I feel that the good weather that we often experience is just icing on my cake. The last leaves are brilliant for a long time and we get to break out the sweaters and light jackets. Sometimes it is hard to figure out what to wear because one minute it is nice and warm and then next minute you need a coat. All of that being said, it is one of my favorite times of year and today I just might argue that it is my favorite time of the year....and that is true.... at least until my next favorite season rolls around. I went looking for people to photograph on a couple of the really spectacular days.
Look who I ran into first. Her name is Christina and she is working for Chili's making deliveries. She is also a student at Germanna. She told me that the dashboard on the van lit up saying that the tires were low and so she was taking care of business. You just have to look at that smile to tell what kind of charmer she is.
Over and over I have said in this blog that you meet the most interesting people here in the Pepper, but let me say again that you really do meet the most interesting people in this town. This is Dawn Frank and she saw me standing on the corner with my camera and with a big smile commented that it was a nice day for photography. She was right! We chatted for a few minutes and I discovered that she is the head of the Audio Preservation Unit for the Library of Congress at Mount Pony. Pretty cool, I think. She noted that I might be amazed at how big the building is and that it goes waaaayyy back into the mountain. She said there are seemingly endless hallways and that those hallways are lined with vaults for the safe keeping of various documents and other historical treasures. Notice that she is carrying paper bags. She said that she had just bought a "Dinner for Two" from the Farmer's Wife and that would be supper at her home. I think Andrea and I are going to have to try that out.
This is the very hardest kind of picture to get and so I consider it a prize. To approach any size group of men on the street is difficult because often they aren't interested no matter what it is you want. Then they all have to look at each other and see if everybody wants in. If just one guy says no then it is no deal and off they go. These guys went through that process and it was two to one and the third one folded. These gentlemen work for Chrysler of Culpeper and were on their lunch break. They are: Zach, Ron and Donny. In a couple of months their picture will be in the Culpeper Times and they will be famous. Thanks guys!
Next time you pass a group of men anywhere just test yourself and see if you would be willing to approach them about taking their picture. Come on now.....don't be shy.
This is seven week old Baby Benjamin taking his mom and grandparents on a walk downtown. They were the nicest people. I had them moving here and there so I could get a good shot and they never once.....not even for a second....quit smiling. Then again, they have a lot to smile about. Mom is Terry Hoffman and then there are Grandpa and Grandma Hoffman from Connecticut. This was the weekend of the big surprise snow storm in New England when millions of people lost power. Well, G&G Hoffman were among the millions and so they decided to hang with Benjamin just a little longer. I am glad they did.
Last summer when my California grand kids were here, I took the two oldest boys bowling. They are 7 and 9 years old. We started out having a great time but pretty soon the seven year old got discouraged because he was having trouble getting the ball all the way down the lane and his score was a distant third. I issued the challenge to him that I bet he could not beat me. Now, those two boys are nothing if not competitive so his spirit was renewed and he set out to really whip Grandpa. I am not a whiz at bowling any more.....thirty years ago I was decent, but now....pitiful. Even so it was not so easy to throw that game. I had to put eight or so balls in the gutter in order to lose and I did. I quickly saw why he had been so discouraged. However, when the game was over, his big smile and fist pump when the score showed that he had beaten Grandpa, was worth it all and more.
I have intended ever since to feature the Mountain Run Bowling Alley in my blog. They were so good to my grandkids and to me. This is Darien Anderson is a looong time resident of Culpeper and is owner of the establishment.
I spotted Freddie a couple of hundred yards away and whipped my car around to go see what he was up to sitting on the back of his car. I got out of my car and asked, "You waitin on a woman?" He replied, "Yep!" Brad Paisley has a great song with that title. Everywhere I go I see men just hanging around waiting for a woman in their life whether a wife, or girlfriend, or daughter. Freddie works at Martins and is a graduate of CCHS.
YOWELL MEADOW PARK REDUX
One of my favorite places in the Pepper is Yowell Meadow Park. Often when I go for a walk there I take my camera because something or someone is always happening. Of the 29 blogs that I have published, by far the most popular one is the feature I did on this park. People from all over the world have read it and continue to. The last time I went there with my camera was rather unique because I ran into several friendly people who represent more of the international community and flavor of Culpeper.
When I got out of my car I immediately saw a group of men playing a game and doing a lot of laughing. I decided to grab my camera and go over and talk with them. I don't think I have ever run into a friendlier group of people than these guys. These men are all from India and work for Telemark. They were enjoying a game of cricket which I know almost nothing about so they took the time to explain. In the top shot is Bruce who was the batsman at that moment. The bowler (comparable to a baseball pitcher) is Mahi and he is in the middle of his windup. I did not get the name of the last player, but I have emailed them for it and will post it as soon as I get a response.
Next I ran into Sam, Chioma and Pauline who were on their way to play tennis. Sam is originally from Nigeria and Pauline from Liberia. He is a corrections officer and she is in retailing. They are considering moving here. Hope they do!
These two attractive ladies were taking a walk in Yowell which was at its Fall finest. I don't make this stuff up.....Gabriella on the left is from Hungary....that wraps up my international afternoon at Yowell Meadow Park. She is a restaurant manager. Her friend Stephanie is a local lady.
I think possibly the greatest thing about this season is that in certain years we get to exercise our right to vote. Our democratic system is what separates us from the rest of the world but it only works if people vote. Former Deputy Sheriffs, John Grymes and Scott Manual worked for their candidate at the voting station for my neighborhood. Their work paid off because he won.
AND NOW FOR THE BIG FINISH!
This is a picture taken by my son, Matt on Thanksgiving. It is part of the Crowley family enjoying our day together at my brother's lake house at Lake Anna. None of the grandchildren are in this picture which is too bad, but seating was such that it was not possible to get everyone. A couple of things to note: In the center of the table at this end, just beyond the sparkling cider is a massive pile of mashed potatoes. I know I have mentioned we are originally from Idaho and here is the proof. These are the real deal, Idaho potatoes. The other part of the "note" is that when the meal was done....so were those potatoes. There had been more on the stove but there was not even the tiniest scrap of potato left over.
Is this the best time of year? Well at least at times it is. This is one of those times when my family could gather and express our thanks. Hope you had a good season.
Be sure to watch for my weekly contribution to the Culpeper Times newspaper, "Rich Crowley's Snapshots of Culpeper."