Blog marchWe’ve had about 10 days of beautiful weather – just enough to convince us that Spring is finally here to stay. But those of us who’ve seen a few seasons know that here in the North Carolina Piedmont – there’s bound to be another bout of chilly weather! I’ve been looking forward to having a sister fix and praying that it wouldn’t be so cold that she’d be miserable. We’ve got that thin Florida blood you know! So we both have been thrilled with these warmer temperatures! So fun riding around showing her the first blossoms!

The warm weather has the daffodils up and blooming along with the Lenten roses which are always a favorite at this time of year. Of course this puts me in the mood to get my hands in the dirt! And since we had an empty bed along the fence – off we went down to a nursery out in the country. Jeff, the owner, is the son of a wonderful couple – Betty and Harold Stowe who used to own and run one of the best fish camps around. Betty’s dad had run the “dope” wagon years before in some of the mills in Belmont. Don’t faint all you young folks – a dope wagon was a little cart that sold Cokes, sandwiches and candy to the workers. Harold was a professional baseball player – the hometown hero who made good in the big league. And even though there was another popular fish camp close by, “Linebergers”, we all loved Stowe’s best. They made the children feel so welcome and they cooked the best fresh fried shrimp! Back in the 1940s there were at least a score of the old timey fish camps. The cotton mills were running full blast keeping the guys serving in WWII clothed in khaki. The rivers were full of catfish and since mill workers were making good money, these camps sprang up all around Gaston County serving “the working people’s food”. I love this definition of a fish camp – “A family-oriented restaurant where they fry everything they see,” humorist Bill Melton wrote in a Guide for Yankees in the Gaston Gazette. Ever had fried pickles? They are mighty fine!  There aren’t as many of these fish camps left in our county. When the threat of clogged arteries caused by “fried foods” filled the news, I’m sure some people cut back on indulging their weekly fix of fried fish, french fries and sweet tea. But thankfully we have several camps now run by children and grandchildren of the original families. They are using the same tried and true recipes! If you’d like to read more about fish camps – here’s a great article:

I digress as usual! Anyway, their son Jeff has a nursery out on beautiful rolling land near their old fish camp. For years, I’ve wanted a tulip magnolia. When I was growing up in central Florida, we had a beautiful one that I could see from my window. My sister has one right outside their guest house in Daytona Beach which our mother planted when she landscaped their new home. The purple blossoms come first and they have a faint but sweet scent. Now we have TWO!  It’s been such fun driving around the area spotting those beautiful blossoms that are fairly shouting – spring is on the way!

As I sit here writing this blog – our local PBS station is showcasing the Carpenters. This brother and sister duo wrote and sang some of the best songs ever. We were just beginning our married life when Karen and Richard Carpenter became popular. Several years later, our 18 month old could sing along to “The Top of the World” so it’s a special song for us. Another favorite is “Close to You”, and I used it on one of my very favorite pages when our youngest grandson was born. I just realized that I still know almost every single word of their songs. Her life was way too short  – just thirty two years old when she died. I can only imagine the beautiful songs they would have given us.  I love them still and my dream is to have a jukebox filled with their songs so I can teach my grandchildren their beautiful harmonies.

Why do birds suddenly appear, ev’ry time you are near?
Just like me, they long to be close to you.
Why do stars fall down from the sky, ev’ry time you walk by?
Just like me, they long to be close to you.

On the day that you were born the angels got together.
And decided to create a dream come true.
So, they sprinkled moon dust in your hair of gold,
And star-light in your eyes of blue.
That is why all the girls in town follow you all around.
Just like me, they long to be close to you…

Happy memory making and come on Spring!



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3 Responses to Blog: Almost Spring

  1. Helen Coutant says:

    Love the Page layout.

  2. Jan says:

    Oh, how I miss fish camps and good catfish!! And spring blooms….as pretty as Texas bluebonnets are, they don’t come close to the dogwoods, azaleas, forsythias, rhododendrons, pear trees, and I could go on and on…. but I miss them all! See you and spring SOON!

  3. Beverly Goodrich says:

    Ah. Good sister times indeed!

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