Where In The World Is World Va.?

Response to the article on Bill Hickman and David Barrett was tremendous. Some of the former UNC football players who played with David and under Bill made comments on message boards about David that were touching. Some had lost track of David's whereabouts but others had kept up with him and actually visited him in Marion. It was one of those stories that makes us feel good when so much of what we hear about athletes is negative.

Dave and I went down to Chatham, Va. this week and, as usual, had a terrific day. We were motivated to take the trip for a couple of reasons. First, I have made the acquaintance of a couple in Chatham through the internet that I wanted to meet personally and secondly, I wanted to try and confirm a story I had heard some time back about a community near Chatham by the name of World.

I met the Mitchells after seeing their website and learning of their interest in the same kinds of thing that interest me. They had written about the two diners in Chatham that I wrote about several years ago and they mentioned other things that interested me like communities with strange names such as Red Eye and best of all, Tightsqueeze. Competitor wasn't bad either.

I love small towns. I don't know if I would enjoy living in one, but I sure do like to visit them. Chatham is a small town where one resident told me, "Everybody knows what everybody else is doing." Maybe what makes small towns so attractive to me is that I can visit and hear all about what is going on, but I don't have to experience the downside of this kind of intimacy. I roll out of town in the late afternoon knowing that the townsfolk don't really know much about me so their talk about me has to be limited. I'm just kidding, of course. I don't do much that is exciting so I don't think there would be much interest in talking about me even if I lived among them. It's nice though to experience the Mayberry atmosphere once in a while.

We found World and maybe I should explain that World is not a town, a city, or even a village. It is a community that consists of one old store, and a defunct eating establishment that now serves as an auction house.

I first heard of World several years ago when there was an article in the Richmond newspaper about this small community near the North Carolina state line. I didn't retain the article but I remembered the story the author said local people told about how the community got its name. It goes something like this. During the late 30s and early 40s there was a county base ball league in the area. I don't know what the community that is now called World was called then, but they participated in this league and were very good. One day, someone is supposed to have said somewhat jokingly "We must have the best baseball team in the whole world." The name stuck and World was created. The people I met in the store at World confirmed the story so I feel like it is an accurate description of how this little community got a world class name. I asked if one wanted to send a letter to the people in World, would they address the letter to World, Va? I was told that World does not exist as far as the U.S. Postal Service is concerned. Mail probably goes under a RFD number since there is no post office in World.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the store in World. When I first entered, I didn't see a group of men seated at a table at the back of the store. I asked the lady at the front about the history of the name and she referred me to the back of the store, saying that some of these gentlemen knew more about the origin of the name than she did. She said the store had been at it current location since around 1905 and that ownership had been in one family until her family purchased it several years ago. She showed me a book that contained a segment about World and she said that public television had done a piece on the store several years ago as part of a program on rural country stores. I'm having some difficulty securing a copy of the book and I doubt I will be able to locate a tape of the television program but you can bet I would enjoy watching it. Country stores have been a hobby of mine for over 30 years, but let's don't get off on that right now.

As we were heading back to Chatham, we spotted a small diner on Highway 57. Dave and I stopped and each had a cheeseburger. I believe it was the best cheeseburger I have had in at least 20 years. I don't know enough about food to understand exactly what has taken the taste out of most hamburger meat. My theory is that freezing takes a lot of the taste out of the meat but I'm not at all sure this is the correct explanation. Mrs.. Ramfanatic and I have tried desperately to prepare spaghetti sauce like my mother used to make and we can' do it. The amazing thing is that we were able to do it when she first gave us the recipe, but something has changed since then. Maybe it's the meat itself. With all the concern about fat, hormones, etc., maybe we have just basically changed the nature of the product. If that's true, then how were they able to achieve the old taste in the diner? We talked to everyone in the diner and thoroughly enjoyed our burger. I promised the owner that I would order the meatloaf special on my next trip.

We got back to Richmond later than usual and Dave wanted to call his wife to tell her we would be late. I wish someone could have filmed us trying to make the call. It reminded me of Abbot and Costello, but we finally got through,

----------------------------------------------

It is with mixed feelings that I make you aware of the fact that I plan to discontinue the articles on ramfanatic.com sometime in the next few weeks. I won't be posting anymore during the summer and I haven't decided whether I will resume the articles come the fall. I won't go into all the details but it just seems like it's time to move on to something else. Those of you who have read how the site was established know that it was originally conceived as something of a joke. My nephew set it up without consulting me and informed me one day that I had a web site. Four and a half years later, there have been nearly 170,000 visits and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I won't bother you with the problems that don't show

I will probably write a couple of more articles, I just don't know. My web master says the site will still exist because he uses it in connection with his work. People will be able to access it is they want to explore a certain subject. Almost 50 per cent of the site traffic comes from people who are interested in particular subjects most of which are not associated with UNC.

So it's goodbye, at least for now, and we'll see how things play out. Things might be different when fall football practice begins. I've been following the Heels in all sports for almost 70 years and old habits are hard to break.