This has been an unusual winter. I should have known that I would offend the snow gods when I bought a bright and beautiful snow sled for my grandchildren to ride down the hill behind my house in September of 2010. It is sort of like a snow board with lively and vivid artwork all over it. It is going to be great for riding down that hill.... that is if we ever see snow again. It has sat in my shed now for well over a year just waiting for an accumulation sufficient for a fast ride down the hill. I spent the first twelve years of my life in Eastern Idaho. It is cold there! I understand the weather has mellowed some with time, but the snow would get high enough to bury stop signs. The street in front of my house was packed so solidly with snow and ice that I remember seeing a "one horse open sleigh," bells and all, jingle through our neighborhood....an amazing and memorable sight! We young boys would take our sleds and run out behind the slow moving cars and throw the ropes used to pull those sleds over the bumpers of the cars and then hang on for dear life. The drivers would often tolerate us and give us a nice smooth ride or some would be angry and try to throw us off. My grandmother lived in a town nearby and there they cordoned off three long blocks from traffic on the street running past her house so the kids could take a fantastic long ride on their sleighs. Can you imagine.... three blocks? It was a great time....in retrospect, almost magical. Now the sleigh I purchased for my grand kids sits in my shed and the hill is nice and green. Besides I like to wear coats and sweaters and scarfs and other winter gear. Bummer!
As I have looked for winter shots for this blog, I have more often than not found pictures that looked like they were taken in spring or fall. So I have to ask you to imagine that these people are in the freezing cold of winter, although the temperature is much more likely to have been in the 50s or 60s than the 30s. Anyway..................... let's go see who we have this time.
You meet the nicest people at Frost's Restaurant, a Culpeper landmark. These folks are long time friends and just decided to have a nice day downtown. Although it is near Christmas time you can see by their clothes that it is pretty warm outside. When I saw the camera on their table I knew I had an instant connection. They were a lot of fun. From left to right they are: Warren Stanley, Barbara Stanley, Debbie Hayes and Jim Hayes. Nice folks!
I was in Cameleer waiting for my wife to complete some shopping and who do I see but Hannah and Mark. I have to admit that I am a sucker for a cute lady in a hat so I went over and had a conversation with them. They are from England.....accent and all..... and are very charming and interesting people. They have been here for fifteen months and Mark runs the soccer program for the county.
Dawn Lamb is enjoying her shopping in one of the stores in the downtown section of Culpeper. She is a dental hygienist and her husband is a teacher. What a great smile!!
Gwen Sadowski is starting a non profit organization to help children in poverty. In addition to that endeavor, she is a mom. Busy lady!
I have to admit that I saw this man from a long way away and just knew I had to get his picture. It is extra fun when you find a person who is unique and Colin Olsen is certainly that. Colin grew up here in the Pepper and then moved to Ashville, North Carolina where he makes his living as a drummer in a rock n roll/soul band. He had come back to Culpeper to see family and friends during the winter holiday. I hope he makes it big.
Here are a couple of hard working guys who toil right on through the winter even though their work is mostly done outside. They are Jack and Daniel of J&K Patios. Jack is the "J" part of J&K. He is truly amazing. I am so impressed with his work. He is part craftsman, engineer, architect and artist. His work is beautiful. He is a guy you just cannot miss with.
One evening I was at one of my favorite spots, Pete's Pizza, waiting for a couple of Philly Cheese Steak subs (the very best, by the way) and this guy walked in with a couple of other, what I call, "working men." I was pretty mad at myself because I did not have my camera and he is the kind of person I dream of getting a picture of for this blog. About a week later my wife and I were picking up some drugs at the Walmart Pharmacy and there he was again. I still did not have my camera with me, but it was in my car. The only problem is that I always park clear up in the parking lot beyond any other cars and I was afraid he would be gone when I got back, but luckily he wasn't. This guy, Brandon Gosney is the genuine article and I suspect a bit of a character. He is also a dying breed. I know there are other cowboys in the area, but I haven't seen any of them that really dress the part of the Old West. He is a bit of an imposing figure. With him is his girlfriend Angella Warner. They train horses and he runs a horse rescue operation. I think that is very cool. I told them that to find a real cowboy and a pretty girl is about as good as it gets in the Pepper.
Have you ever gone to the grocery store to get milk? Just to get milk.....that is all? You think: "Do I need a cart? Naw......" We have all done it and that is exactly what happened to Laura here. Then she remembered that she needed wine and then passed the deli and needed some meat and then some other dairy products. Did you notice by any chance that she has a young daughter who is a doll and obviously very persuasive. Do any of us think for a minute that mom here realized that she needed five different kinds of cereal and some flavored smoothies and I don't know what else? Pretty soon I'll bet you she was longing for that cart (with a broken wheel...after all it is Walmart). Soon she found herself juggling a bunch of stuff and heading for the checkout as fast as she could before one item started to slip and undid the whole delicate balance. Is there anyone reading here who has not done this before.....ten times? I try to be so considerate, but this was such a classic picture that I asked if she would stop and let me shoot it. She did although she wasn't totally sure what I was about. What a sweetheart!!!! She did tell me that she is a Head Start teacher? That tells me a lot about who she is and what kind of person.
January 27th, 2012 apparently the year of no winter. I knew that it was going to be over 60 degrees and so headed out to see how people were dressed in this, the coldest season of the year, in the Pepper. This is Allen Kennedy and his girlfriend Kailey and their son, Dacota. Allen told me that he works at Mary Washington University in the pizza restaurant in the food section of the Student Union Building. They certainly are not dressed for the coldest time of year.
This man, Simon Parsons, just made my day. I have been planning on putting this blog out and calling it "The Winter That Never Was" or something like that. Check the top here and you will see what I decided. I know that we may get blasted in February but so far the winter has been a big disappointment. I was just sure that I would find someone on this day, January 27, who was out running in shorts and tshirt. That would visually tell us everything about the "cold weather." Just as I turned to go home, I spotted Simon and he made this blog complete. What a nice guy!! He is a graduate student at UVA in Education. As I have so often have mentioned here, I spent 42 years in public education and so I am really hoping the best for him.
AND NOW FOR THE BIG FINISH........
The big finish this time concerns my wife, Andrea and me. January 28th is our 45th wedding anniversary!! I have been so lucky to have a wife who is pretty, smart, an outstanding person and who has put up with me. So glad she's mine!