Pag* 2, Waat Cravan Highlights, August 6,1981
By JONATHAN PHILLIPS
She should’ve been wearing a sign.
Mr. Claude had just gotten the folks at the
Vanceboro United Methodist Church out the
door to beat the noon whistle which blared
its way out through hot, humid air like a
swimming ant caught in beef gravy. But just
after church is a good time for visiting, and
Vanceboro folks aren’t about to let a good
visiting opportunity go by the boards.
Just about everybody knew Magnolia
Blossom was leaving, but most were not sure
when, and most had to ask. Thus, the sign
could have saved her a little breath.
But then again, she probably didn’t want
to save any breath . Likely, M.B. wanted to
savor the moment, for it wouldn’t be long
until she would be leaving the idyllic
flatlands of Craven County for the soot-
covered hills of Pennsylvania coal country.
Not that Magnolia Blossom was that hot
on having her white Ford turn gray under
Yankee air pollution. But some company
offered her enough money to keep someone
like me in tea and biscuits for 22 years, so
what’s a southern belle to do? It just wouldn’t
make good sense to let the Yankees keep all
From whence cometh the barbecue?
But the trip up the interstate is not
without its price.
Magnolia was raised on good Craven
County cooking, and was worried about how
she’d fare in a sea of Polish and Italian
restaurants. Nothing wrong with Polish or
Italian food, mind you, but where could one
find good home cookin’ in country where
they think barbecue comes from a cow?
We’re talking about territory where,
rumor has it, you even have to ask special to
get chili on a hot dog.
"Where am I gonna get barbecue,” she
wailed? “I bet they never even heard of
collard greens. And they’d probably have to
send a truck down to Rocky Mount just to get
any chitlins and pigs feet.”
"Don’t forget fried herring,” I cruelly
reminded her. “You’ve probably had your
last fried herring. You’ll have to make do
with lox, mackerel, and poison Chesapeake
everyone knows is a very special, distinctive
accent somewhat different even from other
Eastern North Carolina accents.
M.B.’s version flows slowly, lyrically,
lazily out. no faster than the waters of Swift
Creek. Unless you know the bends of Swift
Creek, you can stand at any point and not be
sure which way the water is flowing.
Same with Magnolia Blossom’s accent.
Unless you know her, you can never be quite
sure where the conversation is heading.
Anyway, it was this talk, fairly dripping
with mint julep and redeye gravy, that first
earned her, in Virginia, the name Magnolia
She wasn’t sure if the accent would bring
interest or ridicule, or whether her stay in
the Poconos would erode the Southern
"I don’t wanna come back home and have
everybody say I talk like a Yankee,”she said.
But her mind was set at ease when a
Pennsylvanian attending ECU assured her
that the Vanceboro accent would veritably
charm the shoeleather off Pennsylvania
Leaving Isn’t easy
You don’t need me to tell you things ain’t
like they used to be.
Thanks to inflation and four or five
cultural revolutions, no longer do the kids
grow up, marry a high school sweetheart, set
up a trailer across the street and build a
house down the road a few years later.
Oh, it still happens, but less and less all the
For better or worse, we’ve built a mobile
society, where a lot of us have to hotfoot it
around to make it. Simple as that.
Magnolia Blossom is one more caught up
in the traffic.
"I’m not too sure we want to see you go,”
one of the churchyard well-wishers said,
with a smile and a firm hug.
“I’m not too sure about it myself,”
Magnolia Blossom said.
To The Editor:
I want to express my thanks to Mrs. Marie
Whitford and to the Highlights for printing
the photo and article in memory of my
father, J. L. Ashley. Also, our family would
like to acknowledge here how much we
appreciated all the kind words and messages
which were extended to us after his death.
My father loved Vanceboro and was
always interested in what was happening
and in what was being planned for the town.
Not being one to long for the "good old days”,
he was proud of the progress that’s been
made and of the services which are available
now. We often talked about the advantages
of living in a small town, especially for older
people, who must adjust to getting along
with less mobility and vigor, but who still
want to live with a sense of independence.
The truth is, though, that however much
we value self-reliance, there is no one of us
who lives independently; we need the
support and help of others every day. What I
am most grateful for is that he had from his
community the kind of help he needed, and
that it was given with the courtesy that
enabled him to keep his self-respect and
dignity as long as he lived.
We had a hospital bed and some other
sickroom equipment that I had sent to the
Episcopal Church’s storeroom for such
supplies. They may be used by anyone in the
community who has need of them for as long
as they last.
As other former residents have already
said in letters to you, I find the Highlights a
good way of keeping in touch with my home
town - - - - the newspaper is another evidence
of progress - - so good wishes for its future,
The language barrier
The language barrier was also of concern.
Magnolia Blossom has a prototype
example of a Vanceboro accent, which
Just as Magnolia wheels it on up North,
the ‘ol lowlife columnist returns to the pages
of the Highlights, whether you like it or not.
How does a shiftless professional student
who had sworn off journalism (OK, I realize
I’m stretching a point to call this journalism)
end up pounding a typewriter again after a
mere three-month hiatus?
Banged if I know. But I’ll try to figure it
out by next week and let you know. See ya
R. L. Cannon, Jr.
’ Business Manager'
P. O. Box 404, Main Street, Across from the Post Office
Vanceboro, North Carolina 26586
Phone: (919) 244-0780, (919) 244-0508
PUBLISHED EVERY THURSDAY
Second Class Postage Paid at Vanceboro, N. C.
[Permit entered March 1,1978]
Single Copy 204
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[Includea N. C. Sales Tax]
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out-of-state customers. Deduct 244,164,404 and 564 re
spectively from above.) lUSPS 412-1'1 b)-
Thursday, August 6th:
West Craven High School Band Boosters’ Meeting.
Friday, August 7th:
Vanceboro Softball Action:
7:00 Pugh Distributing vs C & E Distributing
8:15 Garris Logging #2 vs Woodmen of the World
9:30 Fire Department vs Ron’s Paint & Body Shop
Saturday, August 8th
8:30 a.m. - 12 noon Craven County Council on Aging Bake
Sale at 2501 Trent Road, New Bern.
Dawson/Coward Family Reunion at the Vanceboro
Community Center at 12 noon.
Stage Coach shown at the Vanceboro Youth Center at
7:30 p.m. No Admission!
Sunday, August 9th
Vanceboro Christian Church Sunday School Picnic at the
home of Mr. & Mrs. Carroll White. Swimming at 3:00 p.m.,
dinner at 7:00.
Monday, August 10th
Full Band Rehearsal, Monday through Thursday.
Wednesday, August 12th
3:30 Story Hour at the Vanceboro Public Library.
7:00 p.m. Craven County Extension Service program for
young adults on establishing credit.
Vanceboro Softball Action
7:00 Fire Department vs. C & E Distributing
Takes A Kitty
This week my column will be shared with
my new roommate. The cute fellow below is
moving to the big city today after an early
life of troubles.
He has yet to be named, but here is the
saga of my new cat. When first seen he was
hanging around a tobacco barn in the
The tobacco workers didn’t pay him much
mind, even though he was just as friendly as
he could be; however, when he was chased up
a tree by the resident dog the kind hearted
Jeff Cannon came to his rescue.
Jeff felt sorry for the kitty and decided to
take him home for some protection and some
TLC. Mrs. Cannon, Jeff’s mom, is a real cat
lover, but the feline residents of the Cannon
household didn’t quite take to the young
upstart. They were so upset on the kitten’s
first night there that they chose not to eat,
rather than eat with the new-comer.
I first heard of the kitty’s plight through
Mr. Cannon. The presence of the fellow had
so unset the routine of the house that the
Cannon family was going to give up the cute
little thing. Mr. Cannon just happened to
mention in the office that he had a friendly,
male kitten that needed a good home and
some fattening up. Well, I was just tickled to
death to hear about his problem. My
roommate and I have been discussing
acquiring a cat, but we had some strict
requirements and this one filled the bill. He
was all we wanted and then some.
It was love at first sight! My first glimpse
of the kitten came yesterday afternoon, after
I got off work. Until then I had agreed to
take the kitty just from the Cannon family’s
glowing discriptions. I went over to the
Cannon’s house to see what I was getting. We
walked out into the back yard and Rick gave
a little “kitty kitty” and just then a darling
little white and tabby kitten came bounding
out of the garage. I picked him up and he was
quick to give me a kiss and a contented purr.
Well, there was no way that I could turn
him down, so the kitty is moving to
Greenville today, where he is awaited by my
roommate and a box of flea powder (just in
Cong:ressman Walter B. Jones
As many of you are undoubtedly aware,
the big news this week in Washington was
the passage of the President’s tax program
in the House and the Senate. I have
described the various provisions of the
President’s tax package and the Ways and
Means Committee alternative package in
this column in the past few weeks. The tax
plan endorsed by the President was I
approved in the House over the Committee
alternative by a vote of 238 to 195.1 voted in
preference of the Committee alternative.
I would like to thank the many people who
contacted my office to express their views on
the various tax plans. The President himself
called me Tuesday morning to discuss the
tax plan. We had a very amiable
conversation in which I complimented him
on the great job he was doing in providing
leadership for the country. I explained to
him that while I thought both tax bills
provided much needed tax relief, all things
considered, I would have to vote in
preference of the Committee alternative.
The President understood my position and
we both expressed interest in working
together on other projects in the future.
It now appears that the President has been
successful in achieving his full program of
across-the-board tax reduction and drastic
reductions in federal spending. I join with
all other Americans in the hope that this
program will be .successful.