Tuesday, March 31, 2009

3/26/09 I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Ashland!



Oh, I am just so in love with this town and the people who live here! I love it because sitting in Blackwell, watching the Variety Show, at that moment everything was perfect- there was no sadness, no worry, no pain, no heartache. There was only laughter and smiles and a beautiful lightness of spirit. I watched the performers and the audience, and I wished I could have stopped time and kept everyone there- kept them all smiling and happy, all together.

I love how these Ashland kids automatically stand now when “Ashland, Ashland” starts to play. I love that these kids have this song memorized and I imagine them singing it when they are grown up and far away. I can picture a college dorm room somewhere, with at least two of our Ashland kids sitting there with friends as they talk about where they're from and one says, "Hey, our town has its own song." Met with disbelief, someone says, "Well, sing it!” So the two Ashland kids stand up and immediately start "Ashland, Ashland, Center of the Universe...” complete with hand motions and the echoing chorus. Their friends will laugh and ask them to sing it again, and the two Ashland kids, always happy to entertain, will feel really special and know that what they had growing up here was magic.

Many thanks to all the volunteers who worked in the wings and backstage at Duncan Memorial for the Variety Show. The House Managers, Kevin and Tricia Trent, did an excellent job making sure that everything went smoothly in the lobby and helped everyone find their seats. Thank you to Randolph-Macon for giving us Blackwell for that week, and for their employees who were there every night to help. Thank you to Mike and Mary Wiblin who managed to get people lined up and at the stage door on time for every number. If you’ve never seen the chaos at Duncan, then you can’t imagine what a tough job they had.

If you’ll allow me to climb back up on my soap-box, I’d like to remind you that the Hanover Arts and Activities Center is the driving force behind so many wonderful events in this town. Can you imagine a year without a Railroad Run, or a Fourth of July Parade and Celebration? Can you imagine not having a Variety Show, or a Christmas House Tour? The people who make these events happen are the volunteers who sit on the board of the Hanover Arts and Activities Center. The quality of your life will increase exponentially if you become a member of this organization and volunteer at its events. You have my word. http://www.hanoverarts.org/

That said, the 31st Annual Ashland Railroad Run is Saturday, April 4th. Please call Sharon Stiles (the red Dancing Queen) if you're around that morning and can volunteer: 798-6611. Sharon is in charge of the course marshals, who help direct the runners through the streets. It's a fun and easy job, and the runners always compliment us on our friendly volunteers.

There were two birthdays down on Duncan Street recently. Keith Hunter celebrated his birthday on March 18th, and Claire Abbot blew out 8 candles on her cake on March 22nd.

Do you remember that last year there were bear sightings near Claire’s house! We all thought he was looking for a piece of cake.

A cash bingo will be held at the Farrington Fire House on Friday evening, March 27th at 7pm, sponsored by the Rockville Ruritan Club. Admission is $20 for 16 games and half of the total admission collected will be returned in prizes. Doors will open at 6pm for hot dogs, BarBQ, soft drinks and snacks. Proceeds from this event go for the annual scholarships awarded to Patrick Henry seniors. The Farrington Fire house is on Farrington Road at the corner of Route 33. For information please call S. Eisinger at 883-8833.

Remember this- a town that can laugh together, can sing and dance, can be silly together, is a town that can weather any storm. We are so good when we are working together. Send me your Ashland news, your Variety Show moments, and any left-over, sparkly, stick-on jewelry. You can reach me at 310-5320, or ashlandnews@gmail.com. Have a beautiful week!

3/19/09 Please Buckle your Safety Belt and Keep Your Hands Inside the Ride at all Times

This is the week when everyone involved with the Ashland Variety Show takes a deep breath and steps on the roller coaster. Rehearsals are every evening and the show runs Thursday, Friday, and then Saturday nights. Things are at a fever-pitch: costumes are being pieced together around the clock, and everyone is practicing their songs over and over again in their heads.

I’ll take a second here to talk about what a wonderful organization we have in the Hanover Arts and Activities Center. This group of volunteers works throughout the year to bring event after event to our sweet town. Their hours of labor number in the thousands, and they do it all with an easy attitude and a smile. They work for you, for our town, and for the guests that flock here to catch a glimpse of life in Ashland. While the Variety Show enters its final week, they are already planning the Railroad Run, the Fourth of July Celebration, even the Christmas House Tour! If you know a HAAC Board Member, thank them for their work. If you’d like to join them, call Faith Boyle, Executive Director and the glue that holds everyone together, at 798-2728. (Stepping down off my soapbox now.)

Register now for the 31st Annual Ashland Railroad Run 10K and 5K Fun Walk to be held on Saturday, April 4th. A fun addition to this year’s race will be a Green Fair with lots of vendors showing examples of green, or environmentally-friendly ideas and products. You can register online through the Arts & Activities website: http://www.hanoverarts.com. Registration forms can also be found at the Center, 500 S. Center St. Call 798-2728 with any questions.

My condolences are with the family of William Shearer Troxell this week. Mr. Troxell was the father of Shearer Luck, and the grandfather of Ross, Andy, Mary Chris, and Kemp. Mr Troxell was born on 11/11/11- what a great birthdate.

Congratulations to Henry Clay Elementary Principal Terri Keck for winning the 2009 R.E.B. Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership! Henry Clay is such a wonderful school; it not only gives its students the opportunity to succeed, but faculty as well!

Happy Birthday to Porter Rhodes who turned three recently! Porter’s Dad is Mike Rhodes, the men’s basketball coach at Randolph-Macon.

Get your poem in to the Ashland Library by March 28th, to be entered in the 7th Annual Pamunkey Regional Library Poetry Contest.

Happy Birthday to Julia Chambers who turned 14 on March 15th- the Ides of March. Unlucky for Caesar, but lucky for Julia!

Friday, March 28th, will be Movie Night at the Ashland Library (since, ahem, the Ashland Theater is still not open). Come see the adaptation on Nora Zeale Hurston’s book, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” at 7pm. Hurston’s book is this year’s Big Read selection and follows the life of Janie Crawford, a proud and independent African-American woman. Refreshments will be served.

By the time you read this, I hope the weather here in Central Virginia has come to its senses and returned to some sunny March days. I would have sworn that I was living in Washington State from the grey skies that we’ve had recently, and overall, I think February was warmer. My fingers are crossed for dry weather on the nights of the Variety Show so that the performers can stay dry as they cross from Duncan to Blackwell. To Lorie Foley and Sue Watson- you two are pretty incredible and we are all lucky to live in the same town. On with the show!

If you get a chance, send me your Ashland news. I can be reached at 310-5320 or ashlandnews@gmail.com. An online record of these columns can be found at www.ashlandnews@blogger.com. Have a wonderful week.