The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
By MORRIS STEPHENSON -
Things happen sometimes and you'll never know how it all came about. Such was the case last Tuesday morning. I really need to start at the beginning to set the stage.
I'm still keeping the work schedule I followed before leaving the News-Post in February. Thus, I'm getting up early following my schedule, still wearing the same clothes and not the "retirement rags," if you know what I mean. And yes, I still iron everything before it's worn.
So Victor, our miniature Schnauzer is still living the same lifestyle. He wakes up when I hit the kitchen for a hot cup of coffee, and then goes back to sleep in his cage until after I have my shower and get my clothes together. I always get my first coffee and sit in the carport swing and listen to the early morning sounds.
Monday, a week ago, I heard a distant sound in the woods and my first thought was an owl. But the second time I heard it, I knew it wasn't an owl because it was coming from ground level, not the tree tops. It was also louder... and closer.
The third sound was the same and was getting closer to the forest behind the house. That was when it dawned on me it was a bobcat, now an owl, and it wasn't making that screaming sound. It was more like a throaty growl. About that time, Midnight, our 16-year-old cat, came to me for her morning food. And I happened to think she could be the bobcat's food should it make a dash across the backyard to the carport for its breakfast.
The bobcat sound had moved to almost directly behind the carport and near an opening Victor uses often when she catches a squirrel on the ground and gives chase. So wanting to avoid a bobcat encounter, I coughed loud a couple of times. I never heard the sound again, nor any sound in the woods after that.
However, I did hear the hoot of an owl early the following morning a fairly good distance away. It only hooted once, but that was an owl sound and not the same I'd heard the morning before.
I followed my same schedule Tuesday morning. I get all the little stuff done, then I let Victor out of the cage and we go outside (Victor on a leash, of course). He takes care of business and then sniffs the front and backyards to see who has visited his territory during the night. This takes about 15 minutes and it'll probably be shortened with the arrival of winter.
I usually leave the house around 7:45 a.m. and make a stop at DQ on Route 40 West for a gravy biscuit to eat with Cecil Love at a three-chair table. We're usually joined by Buford Harrison, but that varies from time to time, especially when he had his second knee replacement operation.
Then I leave DQ about 8:30 and make a stop at the News-Post if necessary. From there, it's out to North Main Street, where I've been working on my book. I have a corner in the other half of Bill Greer's computer service shop. As I've often told people, I have a desk containing the computer and a lot of materials I've used for the book, such as old newspapers, magazines, etc.
But last Tuesday, the telephone rang as I was starting out the door. I looked at the caller ID and saw American Computer Service. My heart sank. The first thing I thought about was the building had burned to the ground, taking all of Bill's possessions and my book with it. Bill gave me the news straight, saying that the large heavy door glass on "my side" of the building had been shattered. Rocky Mount PD's Sgt. Don Brown, who heads investigations, was on the scene, Bill said.
He needs for you to come down as soon as you can to see if anything of yours has been stolen," he told me.
He went a step further, saying nothing had been stolen from his side of the building. And it fact, there is no real evidence of a break-in. It appeared, Bill said, that the glass just shattered on its own. No large rock or brick had been thrown through the glass.
So I speeded up my exit from the house. However, I got behind every school bus, traveling from Ferrum to Rocky Mount. It seemed the bus driver turned on the red lights at almost every house. I got to the office as quickly as I could.
The thick safety glass in the door was as Bill had described. There was an equal amount of glass at the bottom of both sides of the door. There was a lot of glass that had scattered farther away from the door, I guess from the impact with the concrete sidewalk.
It didn't take me but a couple of seconds to tell the officer everything on my side was intact. Nothing had been touched because, well now, there's nothing worth stealing! I mean who's going to steal my computer to get an advance reading of my book?
Sgt. Brown announced said he felt he had nothing to investigate, that the glass had shattered on its own, for whatever reason. Bill agreed and I added the third vote, so to speak.
Bill called the folks at Franklin Glass and Mirror, not far from the office, and the King Gould was measuring the door in almost minutes. It took less than that to measure the door. Heck, it took Bill and me about an hour to sweep up the glass. Being safety glass, I don't think there was a piece larger than a quarter! We put it all in a big plastic garbage container and couldn't believe how heavy it was filled with the broken glass. Using the sun to assist, we began to get all the tiny pieces out of the parking area. A lot of it, we picked up with our fingers. But who wants a flat tire as the result of a tiny piece of glass.
As we were cleaning up, Sheila Lynch, who lives just up the street, stopped on her morning walk through town to tell Bill both she and her husband had heard a loud sound a little like an explosion or a car "backfiring" around 5:15 a.m.
It wasn't long before King, the glass man, was back. He replaced the glass and was gone before we knew it. I don't think I've ever seen faster service!
No one will ever know what caused the glass in the door to "explode" or shatter, but it sure did a good job of it. And if you're stopping by to see Bill or me, don't worry about getting a piece of glass in your tire. That just ain't gonna happen!
Mountain Spirits Festival - Despite temperatures in the mid-60s and dampness in the air, the second annual Mountain Spirits Festival Saturday in Rocky Mount went very well.
I was under the big tent with a pile of full-fledged authors. I had nothing to sell except a couple of moonshine photos, but I did lighten my load a little. I actually was filling in for the Franklin County Historical Society and Jack Powell, my retired ABC friend turned author. Neither was able to participate due to prior commitments! I think the authors all sold some books with James Nagy perhaps leading the way. He was selling and signing his photo book, featuring Rocky Mount. I think there were people at his table all day long.
Since I couldn't leave my location, I don't know how many vendors showed up at Mary Wray's Crooked Road parking lot, spilling over to Rocky Mount Glass and Window's lot and those across Franklin Street. But it looked like a good turnout when I walked within view of Mary's place.
I remember covering last year's event for the paper, and that was a cold and windy day. Everything that wasn't nailed down would go flying across the parking lot when the wind really picked up.
At least the rain held off Saturday. It started raining about 45 minutes after the event's scheduled ending at 3 p.m. Maybe next year, the weather will cooperate and it will be a sunny, warm fall day.
Oooops! It wasn't the right cover - There was a little mix-up in last week's column. The back cover of my book was included rather than the front cover, which a lot of people have seen. I'm adding it in this week's writings just for the record!
Hummers still around - I didn't see any hummingbirds at my two feeders early Monday morning, but it was cool and raining when I left home. However, I've had two females, including a young and older one, at the feeders every say except last Saturday. I only saw one that day. I know one of the two I have left is a "regular" at my feeders. The little one, I believe, is passing through on her way south.
I don't think I've had a male at the feeders since mid-September. I believe they're like other birds, and the males move into an area in advance trying to attract female mates. But I don't know that for sure. I need to do more research on the internet.
Normally, the hummers are gone by Sept. 15, but this has been a crazy year, as I've written about all summer. I hate to see them go, but I'll be glad to close the book on this season. I wish them bon voyage and hope they find plenty of food on their way to Mexico, or any other place they decide to go.
I hope you all will keep me posted on the last one(s) you've seen.