~ Small Town America ~

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Comments on the new (1) ‘Byways’ page#5, the town of (2) Exmore and promised additions to the (3) Cape Charles section.

(1) No long byways comments this time. Some crops are in, some will be soon and some winter ones are just being planted now. I did include a close-up of soybeans for those of you who wouldn’t know a soybean if it bit you. Other than that, just enjoy the pictures.

(2) Exmore is struggling for survival. Lot of areas are torn up for renovation. It was not the best time to take pictures. However, this way one can see that the town is indeed making an effort. It does not appear to be the best planned effort, but an effort none the less. It was at one time one of the largest towns on the Shore, but has faded considerably. Now Exmore seems to be making a bid for the antique/collectable capital of the Shore and that must surely help their bottom line, if it works out for them.

In the row of pictures - ‘Old buildings, new businesses’, the first is the Duer building. The stoop is signed and dated, 1928. The second building was build shortly after the turn of the century and was a Western Union center.

Under ‘Businesses, tried and true’, we have put two concerns that have been there forever. Even when the going got rough. I have used Western Auto twice; both times they had exactly what I wanted and were friendly while they were getting it for me. What more can you ask for? Also serves as the Western Union office. They did that perfectly for me, too. BUT, to a lot of Shore people, the mention of Exmore conjures up thoughts of the Exmore diner and their mouths
water. They have a reputation the length of the Shore. It is the only eatery in town, but they haven’t slacked off because of that. They also have been there forever. Good food (home cookin’ and local veggies when possible), terrific sized meals and good service. If you want fancy - go somewhere else. We won’t mind a bit! If you want to try them out, go during off-hours or be prepared to wait a spell. These guys are packed and nobody hurries. If you are the type who stares at people to hurry them along - don’t even bother here. The regulars are liable to let you know just what they think of that tactic, in spades!

The Exmore Mall was doing great. Nice little shops with a good following. It even looked very nice; windows with curtains and plants everywhere and a good paint job. An outside real estate agent with big time money backing came in, bought it out, and pitched everyone out. This so more people would shop at kmart which she had just sold space to in HER new shopping center on the highway. Lloyds Drugstore - same road. Only it was his choice. He saw the writing on the wall, pulled out of town and joined kmart as pharmacist. I don’t have enough space to call over all the ordinary business people who have served their communities for years, even generations, that kmart drove out of business. Oh yes, kmart? No longer here. Didn’t make enough money to suit them. They’re gone. I know - a hundred towns, same story. It’s a real shame when a company’s greed completely replaces its social conscience.

I think the veggie person’s name is Jack Sturgis. Born here, left to pursue a career and returned to retire. Well, obviously, retire is not the best way to put it. I met him one day over a cantaloupe and we traded thoughts about the future of the Shore. A wise man, Jack Sturgis is. And really good at picking melons.

PS: Needless to say, it was raining again for my long-suffering camera and me.

(3) I have fallen in love with a house. It’s the first one on this new page. Now tell me you don’t love it!

I returned to take the several pictures I had missed on the first camera trip. One of them I didn’t get so that’s how it goes.

I did get the one that I most wanted, the Dixon House. Thomas Dixon, Jr., the Baptist minister, lived here for a couple of years in the late 1800s. His claim to fame, as it were, is that he wrote The Clansman. That’s the book that he and D. W. Griffith turned into the movie, Birth of a Nation. I understand that a very nice couple lives there now. Good, I’m sure that house sorely needed a positive change of vibes and spirits. We thank them and wish them well.


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