Friday, November 23, 2007

11/24/07 Thanksgiving, Deck the Halls at The Peart's, Abundance Swap



I’m sending many thanks to everyone who made the 2007 Holiday Parade such a joy to watch. Thanks to the Girl Scouts, the Boy Scouts, the Indian Princesses, the cheerleaders, the firefighters, the Patrick Henry Marching Band, the horses, the shiny cars, the speedy Shriners, the antique cars, and the beauty queens. Thank you to everyone who found the time in their busy weekend to walk in the parade or cheer from the sidewalk. Last, but not least, thank you to the Ashland street cleaner who cleaned the streets before and after the parade. We waved to him, too.

Come by Pine Grove Farm on Sunday, December 2nd, from noon to 4:00 p.m. for “Deck the Halls”- an afternoon of Christmas wreath-making in the red barn at Carolyn & Jerry Peart’s home (12438 Elmont Road). Abundant fresh-cut cedar, pine, and boxwood await you to bring home and decorate your house for the holidays. Music provided by Susan Greenbaum. Reservations are requested ($25 per person, $35 per family) by calling (804) 355-2825. All proceeds will be donated to Hilliard House- a program that helps homeless women and children in the Richmond area find ways to reach the lives they desire.

Do you need an alternative to the shopping frenzy the weekend after Thanksgiving? Come to the Abundance Swap at the Hanover Arts & Activities Center (500 S. Center St.) on Sunday, November 25th from 2 to 4:00 p.m. Bring an item or two that you don’t need or want anymore (no clothing or paperback books) and swap it with someone else. Last year, we found a set of attachments for my mixer that had never been used. Kids come early to help decorate the center for Christmas. Call 798-2728 for more information.

The “First Ever, Most Unofficial Ashland Turkey Trot” will be held Thanksgiving morning at 9:00 a.m. beginning at Carter Park. You’ll be guilt free for the rest of the day if you come out and run with Tom Grant. There’ll be a 10K, 5K, kid’s 1 mile, and kid’s ½ mile. The winner will have the race named after him or her next year. Email tom.grant@comcast.com for more information.

Stop by Town Hall and get your 2008 Ashland calendar on sale now for $10 each. Proceeds to benefit the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

All my best wishes are with you this weekend- no accidents, no stress, no arguments- only good food and time spent remembering all the things we have to be thankful for. Call me at (804) 310-5320 or email ashlandnews@gmail.com with you news about town. Happy Thanksgiving!

11/16/07 Hats Off to Town Police, St. James the Less Art Show, Holiday Parade





What a weekend we had here in town recently! The Ashland Police department could hold seminars on “Crowd Control in Small Town Festivals”. Between the Hampton-Sydney tour buses and the minivans full of Train Day kids, our men in blue did an excellent job keeping the traffic moving and the pedestrians safely crossing the streets. The Dedication of the Plaza was wonderful- please stop by and see it soon. It is a real credit to our town planners to create such a lovely space in our “downtown”. And oh, my heart broke for the Randolph-Macon boys. What an incredible season they have had, and a won over Hampton-Sydney would have been the cherry on top. But there is always next year, and basketball will begin soon!

Get all your Christmas shopping done this weekend at the Heavenly Creations Art/Craft/Gourmet Food Show this weekend at St. James the Less Episcopal Church on Beverly Road in Ashland. The show begins on Friday (today) from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Saturday hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4”00 p.m., and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Forty exceptional craftsmen, craftswomen, and artists will display their wares while donating a portion of their sales to St. James. Visit the website: http://www.stjamestheless.com/ for more information.

Many get well wishes to little Ethan Lynn. I hear that he is recovering and will soon be that bundle of energy that his family loves so much.

The Ashland Farmer’s Market only has a few weekends left before it disappears until spring. You know that you’ll miss it over the winter, so be sure and stop by one or two more times.

The place to be this Sunday will be along Thompson St. at 2:30 p.m. for the Ashland Old Time Holiday Parade. I have found that nothing relieves the stresses of modern life like a parade. Let me spend an afternoon cheering for the beauty queens, squealing as the Shriners zoom past in their little cars, and clapping for the Girl Scout troops. My eyes will well up as the Patrick Henry marching band goes past- restoring my faith in the human race and securing the spirit of Christmas in my heart.

That said, have you planned your Thanksgiving menu yet? It is less than a week away!
Send me your Ashland news if you have a minute. My email is ashlandnews@gmail.com, and my cell phone is 804-310-5320. Cheers!

11/09/07 Train Day, Plaza Dedication, The Game, Ashland Theater Stories


Scheduling will be tight this weekend. As I’ve been preparing to write this column, I see that it will be very hard to fit in all the events that are happening, but we can do it if we try. Having a good wristwatch and some comfortable shoes may help as well.

Beginning bright and early Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m., there is the Plaza Dedication Ceremony for our wonderful new green space in front of the Ashland Library. The statue of Nina is already in place and you can see the compassion and love that she must have felt for the children of Hanover in her quiet smile. I wish that I had known her.

The Ashland Farmer’s Market will be open this Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to noon, and although the vendors are dwindling, there are still wonderful herbs, vegetables, and fruits to be found there. Buying local produce supports our farmers and shows that the value of our land is not measured in real estate figures alone.

The 5th Annual Train Day in Ashland is this Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with exhibits on both sides of the track. Meander along the tracks and find displays of railroad artifacts, memorabilia, and models at the Henry Clay Inn, the Ashland Train Station/Visitors Center, the Ashland Library, and the Hanover Arts and Activities Center. There should be a trolley running through town to carry you over to the RF&P Train Club at the Ashland-Hanover Shopping Center where you’ll see some of the more detailed displays of model trains ever.

However, you really must get over to the football field at Randolph-Macon before 1:00 p.m. The Yellow Jacket football team is having an incredible season- the most exciting in many years, and this Saturday they’ll face Hampden-Sydney in the 113th annual match between these two schools. Put on your black and gold and come cheer for our hometown school. The campus is almost electrified with excitement, and they deserve a win more than anything. There is a general admission charge of $5.

Next week, come to the Ashland Library on Thursday, November 17th at 7:00 p.m. for a presentation on organic gardening by Cindy Conner. The Friends of the Ashland Library sponsor this event, as well as the Teen Movie & Pizza night Friday, November 9th at 5:30 p.m. What nice friends to have!

I wish that I had good news to report on the efforts of the Ashland Community Theater group, but I don’t. I do have a fun story to tell, though. When little Sandra Jones was growing up in Ashland, the movie theater was an essential part of life here. When the theater opened she was in second grade at Henry Clay, and the entire school closed early so that everyone could pack the aisles and watch Lucille Ball in “The Long, Long Trailer”. Later on, Sandra and her friends would find themselves there on Saturday afternoons where a quarter could not only buy a ticket, but also a Coke and some popcorn. She was watching a movie there when her little brother Scott was born, and the owner- Mr. Covington, came down from his office and found her among the seats to bring her to the phone to speak to her mother. Was she excited about the baby? Of course, but it wasn’t a surprise- she knew the baby was coming. As only a ten-year-old can think, she wondered: why did he have to come in the middle of my Saturday matinee? No one would build a theater like that today. All of us- the town, A.D. Whitaker, the Ashland Community Theater Foundation, you and I – need to find a solution to bring that place back to life.

Do you have any stories to share about our Ashland Theater? I think I remember hearing that Beth and Ted Schubert had their first date there. My email address is ashlandnews@gmail.com, and my phone number is 804-310-5320. Have a wonderful week! Go Yellow Jackets!

11/02/07 Ashland Community Theater Foundation, RMC vs. HSC




A sizable crowd gathered this past Saturday night in a comfortable barn outside of town to watch a movie together. While everyone there was happy to view the classic film - “Arsenic and Old Lace”, the event was much more than a party. It was a chance for the emerging non-profit, The Ashland Community Theater Foundation, to bring its vision to the public. The ACT Board of Directors knows the void that we have endured since the screen went dark at our Ashland Theater. Being able to see a movie there, whether it was a second run or a classic film, gave us that sense of being in a special place. We all felt like children again in those seats- our laps full of popcorn and Hershey bars, our necks always turning around to see if any more of our friends had arrived yet, and the traditional round of applause at the end of the show. Sitting in that theater, it was easy for me to image that I was living in an Ashland of fifty years ago. Please cross your fingers and employ any good-luck charms that you have, and hope that the ACT is able to lease the theater and light up the marquee once again. Call 798-9721 for more information.

Happy Birthday to Renee Maier who turned four on October 31st.

Did you hear that the Elmont Fall Festival and Auction got rained out last weekend? It was postponed until this Saturday, November 3rd from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Make your way to L.A. a wonderful day full of children’s activities, good food, and wonderful items featured in a silent auction. There will be Brunswick stew, hot dogs, barbeque, and a bake sale. See if you’ve got the winning bid for theater tickets, historic home tours, professional and college event tickets- 150 different items. The Elmont PTA has out-done themselves, and this should be a wonderful event. In fact, I think you should go straight there as soon as you’re done at the Farmer’s Market in town. Elmont Elementary School is located at 12007 Cedar Lane in Lower Ashland.

Elizabeth Tinsley Sloppy arrived October 22, 2007, much to the delight of her big sister, Samantha, and her parents, Carl and Cathy. I hope that Elizabeth will have many wonderful memories of growing up here.

Happy birthday also to Maxwell Thompson who turned 6 on October 26th!

Mark you calendars for the November 10th Randolph Macon- Hampton Sydney Football Game. This will be the 113th game played between these old rivals. The game begins at 1:00 p.m. at home. Hampton-Sydney has lost two games- to Johns Hopkins and to Emory and Henry; both teams that Randolph-Macon beat soundly!

If you haven’t had a chance to see the new Plaza at the Library, then you’re missing one of the loveliest spots in town. The statue of Nina Peace has just been installed and the official dedication ceremony will be Saturday, November 10th at 4 p.m., which is just when Train Day concludes. I think you should just plan on being in downtown Ashland for the entire day on the 10th.

One of the best compliments I ever got was when Rebecca Cline thought that I was an Ashland native. Growing up in the Northern Neck, anyone was a “come-here” who had arrived after the Civil War, but I don’t mind wearing that label now if it means that I get to live here. I had a dream the other night that we had to move to Wilson, NC, where I’ve never been before, and in the dream I missed Ashland so much that I couldn’t stop sobbing. I hope I never have to move. Sometimes I worry about where they’ll bury me; should I stay in Ashland or go back to some family graveyard in Westmoreland County? Maybe I’ll just come back as a ghost and haunt the Arts and Activities Center!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween! Let me know any news, outstanding achievements, miraculous recoveries, or insight that you may have discovered about living here in the Center of the Universe. Call me at 310-5320, or email ashlandnews@gmail.com. Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday!

10/26/07 Rain, Board of Supervisor's Debates, Elmont Fall Festival


I was walking out of Henry Clay Elementary this past Friday and was stopped short with surprise- it was raining. Here, in Hanover County, rain was falling from the sky! I was tempted to just stand there and get wet, given the rarity of such an event, but I ran to the car and drove home to close the windows. I don’t think I even own an umbrella anymore. I kept my fingers crossed for a daylong shower, but it stopped after giving our ground just a tantalizing taste of that sweet water. It will have to rain again sooner or later, don’t you think?

Remember, there is a mandatory ban on open burning until further notice in the Town of Ashland and Hanover County. Our girls are missing their back yard campfires and they have to settle for mini-marshmallows on toothpicks toasted over a candle indoors. We are also under a water restriction, which means no outdoor watering on Mondays; odd addresses may water on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday; even addresses may water on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. When you do water, be smart about it and use a soaker hose or a watering can. Conserve as much as you can. Good riddance to Bermuda grass and chickweed! A brown lawn and a dusty car can be a sign of a considerate and thoughtful consumer.

There is a lot going on this weekend in L.A. – “Lower Ashland” that is. Elmont Elementary School is having their famous Fall Festival and Auction from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. this Saturday, October 27. Venture out for a wonderful day full of children’s activities, good food, and wonderful items featured in a silent auction. There will be Brunswick stew, hot dogs, barbeque, and a bake sale. See if you’ve got the winning bid for theater tickets, historic home tours, professional and college event tickets- 150 different items. The Elmont PTA has out-done them selves, and this should be a wonderful event. In fact, I think you should go straight there as soon as you’re done at the Farmer’s Market in town. Elmont Elementary School is located at 12007 Cedar Lane in Ashland.

Randolph Macon is having a Fall Festival for kids on Sunday, October 28th complete with a Halloween Carnival inside the Brock Center. This fun event is free and open to the public. Bring your little ghosts and goblins for apple bobbing, face painting, and pin the tail on the donkey. All the fun begins at 5 p.m.

On Tuesday, October 30 at 7 p.m., Duncan Memorial Church will host a public forum for the Hanover County Board of Supervisor’s election. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the men and women who want to run this county.

The best party in town on Halloween night can be found (where else?) at the Hanover Arts and Activities Center. Come dressed in your favorite costume for an evening of spooky music from the Hanover Concert Band, enjoy some treats, and enjoy the parade of ghosts, goblins, fairies, and witches. We have such imaginative costumes here in Ashland: Maddie Grant came dressed as an iPod last year! The party begins at 6:00 p.m. on Halloween night- Wednesday, October 31st. Don’t miss it!

Happy Birthday to Parker Marchetti who turns two on Halloween.

Call or email me with your Ashland news. My cell phone is 804-310-5320, and my email address is ashlandnews@gmail.com. Have a great week!

10/19/07 Route One, Baby Rett, RMC Sports, Marion Watkins Hergert's book

I’ve been driving Rt. 1 more often these days, and I’ve been really surprised at the number of people running across the four-lane highway. Some of them are pushing baby carriages, pulling children along with them, or occasionally on a skateboard. It’s really alarming to see so many people trying to cross such a busy road, but I can understand their need to get across it: Rt. 1 divides housing communities from schools and grocery stores. I keep trying to think of a way to fix it, but I don’t have the mind of a town planner. I hope someone else will think of something- and soon.

On to some happy news…
Congratulations to Ross and Kristen Booth on the birth of their son, Michael Durrett Booth “Rett”. Welcome to Ashland, Rett! I’m sure that Grandmother Phyllis is delighted to have you here. Does she hold you all the time? Close to it, I bet.

Randolph Macon is having a Fall Festival for kids on Sunday, October 28th complete with a Halloween Carnival inside the Brock Center. This fun event is free and open to the public. Bring your little ghosts and goblins for lots of fun with the co-eds beginning at 5 p.m.

On Tuesday, October 30 at 7 p.m., Duncan Memorial Church will host a public forum for the Hanover County Board of Supervisor’s election. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the men and women who want to run this county.

Tomorrow, October 20th, the Ashland Harvest Run 10K will begin at Carter Park at 9 a.m. The 5K walk begins at 9:10 and both events follow a flat route through town. If you’re not running, please cheer them on if you’re near-by. This race benefits Hanover Safe Place and Ashland Christian Emergency Services (ACES). Call Becky Pollard with questions: (804) 798-9341

The Randolph-Macon Women’s Field Hockey Team will play Roanoke College this Saturday, October 20th at 3:00pm. These games are played on the fields on the western side of the tracks, behind the tennis courts. I played field hockey in school- it’s a great sport to watch and play.

Happy 10th anniversary to Carl and Cathy Sloppy on October 25th! What better way to celebrate than to have a baby- is Elizabeth Tinsley Sloppy here yet? Rett Booth needs someone to play with.

We were treated to a wonderful lunch this past Friday at the Herald- Progress’ new office across from the Hanover Airport. There were lots of old friends there and it was great to see the new offices. Thank you, Greg Glassner, for the copy of Marion Watkins Hergert’s little book, “The Watkins Years”. She moved to town from Chicago in the early 1930’s when her father bought the Herald-Progress. Mrs. Hergert grew up around the paper and eventually became the editor. I have feverously read it every night and thanks to her wonderfully descriptive words, I now have a detailed picture in my mind of life here some sixty years ago. I’m happy to report that some things have stayed the same. It was a busy place then, with lots of events and parties, and everyone loved to be on stage- as they still do these days with the Ashland Variety Show. We are still a community of attention-loving hams!

Call or email me with your Ashland news. My cell phone is 804-310-5320, and my email address is ashlandnews@gmail.com. Have a great week!

10/12/07 Corinna Cline, Library Events, Halloween Parties

Rebecca Cline was driving through Ashland the other day on her way to drop off her two daughters at school when she passed by the Hanover Arts and Activities Center. Her daughter, Corinna, looked at the blue-grey clapboards of the old building and said to her mother, “Everything that’s fun begins at HAAC.” I agree Corinna, and aren’t we lucky that Halloween is just a few weeks away? Come dressed in your favorite costume for an evening of spooky music from the Hanover Concert Band, enjoy some treats, and enjoy the parade of ghosts, goblins, fairies, and witches. Maddie Grant came dressed as an iPod last year! The party begins Halloween night- Wednesday, October 31st at 6:00 p.m. Don’t miss it!

Story times have begun again at the Ashland Library! For your 6 to 24 month-olds with an adult, Mother Goose story time is on Mondays at 10:00 a.m. For your two-year olds, Toddler story time is on Monday at 10:45 a.m. and then on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. For your 3 to 5 years olds, Preschool story time is on Monday at 11:15, and then on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. For the teenagers in your house, the Random Acts Comedy Troupe, called "Richmond's fastest and funniest comedy show", will be at the Ashland Library on Thursday October 18 at 6:30 p.m. Celebrate Teen Read Week with your friends and see the library transformed into a cool comedy club. Call the library at 798-4072 for more information.

The Ashland Farmer’s Market is staying open later in the season this year. Make it a part of your Saturday routine to stop by and see what lovely flowers and produce are still available since our growing season has now been extended by another two months.

10/05/07 Front Porch Music, Foot Races, New Town Police Website

Are you sleeping with your windows open these nights? It really is the best weather- although I could enjoy it a lot more if it would just go ahead and rain. I love falling asleep with a soft breeze, the sound of crickets, and occasionally, the music from Andrea Ferment’s front porch. It’s good music- slow and jazzy- the kind to make you feel like dancing with your sweetheart under a big, orange, harvest moon. Even with such incentives, we are all late getting to bed these days. The days are so nice that no one wants to fall asleep, and the kids will stay out until it’s so dark, that they are only shadows playing on the swing set. It’s a beautiful time of year to be living in Ashland. Aren’t we lucky?

There really aren’t many excuses for being out of shape and living in this town. Almost every weekend you can find a foot race, a bike ride, or a walking tour to join. Two upcoming races will begin and end at Carter Park and wind their way through our lovely, flat town.

The annual Ashland CROP walk is tomorrow, Saturday, October 6 beginning at 9am. This is a great 3.5-mile walk through town, which raises money to fight hunger and poverty around the world, including the United States. Come out and join them if you can, or stand on your lawn and cheer them on. Slash Christian Church sponsors this race which stands for “Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty”, and is working to make sure that fewer and fewer people know the hunger pains of poverty.

Then on Saturday, October 20, the Ashcake Women’s Club will hold their 4th Annual Harvest Run to benefit Hanover Safe Place and Ashland Christian Emergency Services (ACES). You can register for this 10 or 5K by going to www.ashlandharvestrun.com or by calling Becky Pollard at 798-9341.

In your free time, take a look at the new Ashland Police Department website- www.ashlandpolice.us. It’s a really useful resource- filled with facts on crime in the area, prevention tips, and forms frequently used by the public. You can tell that a lot of hard work went into this web site.

Randolph-Macon must have had a happy Parent’s Weekend as the Yellow Jacket football team beat Washington and Lee 42 to 17. Do you think- could we dare imagine- that they might beat Hampton Sydney? This is an exciting season, and their next home game will be this Saturday, October 6 at 1pm against Carnegie Mellon. This is also Homecoming weekend, so arrive early to find a parking spot.

Tickets are on sale now for a wonderful evening on Friday, October 12 at the Ashland Coffee and Tea, compliments of St. Ann’s Catholic Church. Come and listen to George Turman, and Jackie Frost & the Company Store. Not only could you win a door prize or a silent auction item, but you’ll also get to spend a little quality time with some of the best Catholics around. Tickets are $20 and benefit St. Ann’s twin parish of Dubisson, Haiti, where the money is used to support the education of local children. Call Judy McKinney for more information at 798-5035 or email jmckinney@hcps.us.

Speaking of Catholics, maybe Father Chris has a saint that we can talk to about getting some rain….

Call me with your news, momentous occasions, or simple about-town rumors. My cell phone if 804-310-5320, and my email is ashlandnews@gmail.com. Have a great weekend!