The Best Cook
Arriving in Warrenton approximately 17 years ago, one of the first things I noticed was how friendly and welcoming the locals, as I called them, were. They not only welcomed me into their organizations, social circles and churches but made me feel like part of the community right away. One question I was regularly asked centered around why I came to Warrenton. My answer, a rather long one, had to be shortened so that I didn't bore everyone.
One particular lady about 20 years my senior became a good friend quickly. I could tell you the story of how we initially hit it off, but that would take a while! What was so amazing about this lady is that she was known locally as one of the best cooks in the county. And, she invited me over one day for homemade yeast rolls. Not really sure what a yeast roll was, I headed over and to my surprise she had even buttered some of them. I ate a few there and she sent me home with a baker's dozen, of which half made it into my mouth, then esophagus, then stomach before I could drive just three blocks back home.
Meals at her house became regular and included 1 to 2 meats, 2 to 3 vegetables, rolls of course, a salad and dessert. A wheel chair would have been the preferred and most efficient way of pushing back from the table and assisting with the resulting full stomach. We became very close, as adopted moms and adopted sons. On on occasion she told me a story of how she cooked for a man but made me promise to never retell the story. She has passed on since then, so I feel like I can share her story now. The story goes like this... one day her husband came home from his job, which was cutting down trees also known as logging, a big industry in the county. He told her that in the area where they were cutting he encountered a man who was elderly, lived by himself and without family. He told her that this man needed their help, and if she would cook two meals a day he would carry the food out to the elderly man each day. Well... this activity went on for over a decade. She cooked for him every day even when her own family didn't eat. This generosity didn't go without a complaint every now and then, but then again it went on without interruption for over 10 years!
If you want to know what Warrenton is like, it's the people, some of the salt of the earth, where neighbor helps out neighbor. It's something not found in larger cities.
Seniors Changing an Outdoor Light bulb
Changing a light bulb can be easy for most folks, sometimes a bit difficult for senior adults, but when seniors in Warrenton decide that they need to change an outdoor bulb things can get a bit crazy. Changing this bulb started about 18 months ago when a 70+ year old man came back through Warrenton to try and track down an old girlfriend. Decades before he had left for the military and hadn't spoken or written to his girlfriend since. Each had led their own separate lives, married, had children and jobs and careers. However, on his investigative visit to Warrenton he found his old girlfriend working in the store where she had worked for over 40 years. Both being now single, they hit it off as if they hadn't missed a beat. A whirlwind romance at 70+ years of age ensued, which involved "cowboy church", dinners in each other's houses, dinners out, another church supper, church again on Sunday. They were spending days and days together. He began to make repairs to her house, doing the repairs her husband wasn't around to do anymore. He brought his own tools, he paid for the materials, he did the work.
To help repay this debt, she helped him change an outdoor light bulb on his farm. He asked her to drive the backhoe while he stood in the bucket and changed the light bulb. She had never driven a backhoe before! She had never positioned its bucket in the air 15 feet off the ground with a 70+ year old in it! But, with resolute determination she did maneuver the gears, she did manage bucket shift, and she did managed to lift him up. It went off without a hitch... thankfully... gratefully... preciously!!
First Day of Softball League
For a city-slicker who moved to Warrenton about three years prior, I didn't realize that softball league would be out of the ordinary. Having experienced leagues in a bigger city, set up and played by groups of people who work together mostly or socialize together, I assumed a new league in Warrenton would be very similar.
Driving out to the ball fields a bit late and arriving in a Japanese-made sedan, I encountered a very organized parking situation. It was made up of pickup trucks, mostly American-made models, all facing the field and in a row. My sedan shrank in comparison as I pulled up on the end of pickup row and faced the field. Jogging onto the field with a brand new glove, (what a mistake!) and ranking as one of the more senior players, I was directed to the outfield. They just didn't know my skill set yet. Plus I was determined to clear out the rust and dust off my fly-ball and new-glove catching skills. As the opposing team took to batting first, I hear nicknames being called out in the infield and outfield... names such as Beebug, Opie, Mullet, Hounddog. I knew most of their given names and sir names but none of their nicknames. As the opposing team's batters hit and as fly balls came my way, fortunately and fatefully the glove and ball came together and nothing was dropped, a modern miracle for a city boy with a brand new glove.
The game progressed, I think I caught a few more fly balls, maybe not, I'm not really sure. I could be dreaming myself as more athletic. But at the end of the game it was apparent that my nickname was going to be assigned and it should be "choir boy", the church choir being the reference point no doubt. I couldn't handle that nickname, I just couldn't do it. I was not going to be labelled with choir boy. The first league game had to become the last league game so that I could go on existing with sir names and given names and some level of dignity.