Odd Couple

When I realized I was going to have to write on subjects other than UNC during the summer months, I thought I would be writing more about the day trips I take with my long time friend and fellow employee. In fact, my traveling companion was, at one time, my boss and I suspect not many persons have the same relationship with their ex-boss that I do. Fortunately, we have the same interests and personalities which have permitted us to take day trips every other Wednesday for close to 6 years. We try to visit places that are "out of the way " but occasionally we go on the train to places like Washington, D.C. and Baltimore Md. Usually we travel on the "heel mobile" and I don't think we will go much further north than Baltimore but we have talked about taking the "bullet train" in D.C., going to New York and immediately returning to Richmond just for the experience. D.C. is the southernmost point visited by the "bullet".

We get a lot of ideas from newspaper and magazine articles but not if it involves a large gathering of people. Both of us have had our share of large crowds so we usually select something away from the masses. We did go to Cape Hatteras last summer when they were moving the Lighthouse. There was a pretty good crowd there during the period the lighthouse was being moved but that is about as large a gathering as we are willing to be a part of.

Several days ago on the evening news, I saw that Tom Cruise had visited one of my favorite hideaways in Ware Neck, Va. just outside Glouchester, Va. This really surprised me because I thought I had discovered this place and it caused me some concern that the outer world, particularly Hollywood had "muscled in" on RamFanatic's territory.

So I decided to go down and talk to my friend in the old country store in Ware Neck and find out what was going on. My friend has operated the country store since the early 50's and would have to know anything that goes on for miles around Ware Neck.

Sure enough, Tom Cruise had been to Ware Neck according to my friend and was " a pretty nice fellow". According to my reporter, Tom jumped up on the drink box on the front porch and signed autographs for the locals for a while. This had to be during the period when TC was making arrangements for his divorce or at least it had to have been on his mind. The daughter of the store owner said the name of the movie being filmed was "Minority Report" but I haven't the slightest idea what it is about. I asked how long TC had been in the area and the consensus was "about a month". This is not for certain because many of the scenes wouldn't necessarily have involved him but I also learned that Steven Spielberg had been in the area for the same " about a month".

I can't wait to see the movie. The film crew moved up and down the road in front of the country store several times and this interests me tremendously since my principal hobby is studying and visiting old country stores. The one in Ware Neck is a beauty. Even has the post office still inside the store but with a significant change from the old days. The old method of providing mail service in country stores was to contract the mail distribution services out to the owners of the store, including the labor. In this particular store, the U.S. Postal Service has a part time employee who man's the post office window. I have one of the old post office windows mounted in my country store in my living room. My store is as near like a turn of the century rural Virginia country store as it could be including a pot bellied stove, seed counter, shelves, old containers, ice box, string holder, double cathedral display case, hand crank telephone, bag holder, etc. Our collection has been featured in 3 books, 2 magazines and one newspaper. It has taken us 30 years to assemble the collection we have and Mrs. RamFanatic, Leroy, the Tar Heel Terror, and I have enjoyed every moment of it. I have another room set up like a turn of the century saloon complete with whisky bottles with paper labels from pre-prohibition days.

So now the world knows about Ware Neck. I guess it won't be long until they start having traffic jams in front of the country store. As long as the increase in traffic doesn't interfere with me sitting at my friend's desk and eating a home made sandwich made by his daughter.

Next time, I will tell you about discovering the location of the first ATM machine in America. Of course, it wasn't called an ATM then, it was called "the money machine". And I'm not putting you on either.