Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Slip Sliding Into Spring In Culpeper, Virginia

Spring here we come......
After a seemingly long and brutal (well snowy at least) winter, spring startedcoming pretty quickly.
In Culpeper it was a last big snow and two days later 59 degrees.  Most of us were really ready for that. 
When I saw a neighbor after the last storm clearing his walk with a snow blower, I took a picture and quickly got in touch with the editor of The Culpeper Times to make sure it was published the very next week which it was.  I knew that snow would be gone in a week and so would the memories ..... well sort of.   So as I write this it is March 16 and 73 degrees.  This time I think we really have spring.  So let's slip and slide into it the Culpeper way and visit some residents through my pictures.  

Just up the street from my place  I found Anthony Beltran snow blowing his sidewalk. I parked my car and walked back to him and he stopped for a minute to chat with me.  We had not met before. I learned that Anthony is the vice president in charge of Safety and Risk Management for Comfort Systems USA.  They are located in Upper Marlboro, Maryland which is just above Andrews Air Force Base.  Now, that is a drive!  Anthony told me that he has three kids and a "lovely wife."
Hopefully this is the last storm of the season!!

When all this dirty snow melts, maybe, just maybe it will be spring, but this stuff doesn't melt quickly.  When there is no more of this, we are there......spring.


Girl Scout Cookies for sale!  It is that time again when enterprising girls and their parents find a place where there are people and set up for business selling yummy cookies.  The girl scouts here are Skyler and Laelia.  Skylers' father is Peter Revutin.  He wanted to make sure that I understood that this was not an "official" sales location, but more an entrepreneurial activity on the part of the girls.  My granddaughter was also selling these cookies and I bought six boxes from her so I was not in the market.

Brave new flowers poke their heads above the ground.


A sure sign of spring is young moms walking their kids and wearing short sleeve shirts.  It was just a tad chilly, but these stay-at-home moms did not care because they had their children out in the sunshine and were enjoying the weather themselves.  Heather Stegeman and Anjlai are on the left and Rachel Horn and Emily are on the right.  Rachel also has a child in kindergarten.   They are such pleasant people.

While looking for people who were showing signs of thinking it is spring, I met this charming lady.  She had slipped out for lunch and was enjoying the sunshine.  That is a great smile!  She was on E. Davis right across from the L O V E sculpture.  If  you look closely you will see that the bench is just a couple of feet away from a small drift of snow.  She is Trisha Canedy and she came to us from Cape Cod.  I have never met anyone from there before.  She has two kids and is a hairstylist at New Way Imagine Salon. 

Wow, this is quite a group of kids with their moms at the Memorial Park.  These ladies were just enjoying a nice day at the park with their kids.   When they told the kids to come over for a picture, they amazingly came immediately and even posed themselves.  When kids behave like that, mothers smile like this.  On the left is Shannon Easterlin  with Wes, Izzy and Brooke..... pretty sure that is not the correct order.   On the right is Alana Warshaw with Seamus, Duncan and Kathryn.

Do you know what makes this picture special?  It is the fact that it is a three generation picture.  I have never wandered into one of those before.  Mom and Grandma were just having the best time with little Joshua.  Mom is Brandy Edwards and Grandma is Pamela Taylor.  When I asked where they came from originally, they said all over, because they had been military.

A sure sign of spring is new babies at the farms.  These are Clydesdales.

I am so pleased to have gotten this picture.  Culpeper is surrounded by farms and farmers and yet they are the hardest people for me to get pictures of.  Why?  Because they are always working,  that's why.... AND not working where you readily see them.  These two guys were completing a transaction buying and selling the hay you see on the truck.  Allen Tuel on the left grows that hay and sold it to Milton Nicholson.  They both have been around here a loooong time.  Allen is a "lifer".  He owns one hundred acres of land.  When I commented about how hard farmers work, he looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and said, "Naw, I just get to play.... driving tractors and things."  Allen shared with me that when he was a young man he walked four miles from home to work on this very land that he now owns and four miles back.  He earned $1 a day! He must have loved it because he is still here.  Milton has lived here 45 years.  He originally came from the Skyline Drive area.

What does this have to do with spring?  I think everything!  Spring signals a rebirth or a new start.  Who ever made this romantic sign clearly was starting a new phase of life when it was planted pointing down the driveway to their home.  In addition, there are beautiful spring flowers at the base.


I was saddened when I heard the news that Clarke Hardware was closing in June.  I have only been here about seven years, but I was told about this store when I first was thinking about moving to Culpeper.  I probably didn't buy enough there, but I made a few key purchases.  I was thrilled that they had Radio Flyer toys.  The little red wagons reminded me of a time when I was very young and  when kids played outside and rode wagons.  You would put one knee in the wagon, hold onto the tongue with one hand, hold on to the side with the other hand and propel the wagon by pushing on the ground with the free leg.  I immediately bought a Radio Flyer rocking horse(see below) for my grand kids.  There have been a lot of miles logged on that horse that someone named Kathy.  In business since 1906..... wow!
Well, this little lady, Carrie Breeden,  has been working there for the last 27 years and if Clarke Hardward is iconic, then she is an icon herself.  What a sweet soul!  As I talked with her it was clear that her emotions were pretty near the surface.  I don't think she will mind me telling you that she is 82.  She explained to me that for years before she came to Clarke that she worked at the store that was where Taste is now.  I could not quite get the concept of the store, but I think it was something like the old Montgomery Wards.  
I am sure that everyone joins me in wishing her godspeed.

Kathy will always be a reminder of Clarke Hardware to the Crowleys.

Well that is it for now.  Be sure to visit the "Faces of Culpeper"  Facebook page and "like" us.   Also checkout my weekly feature in the Culpeper Times called, "Rich Crowley's Snapshot of Culpeper."