Tag Archives: North Carolina

Hamlet

25 Oct

I have just finished reading a book by Bryant Simon, The Hamlet Fire.

The Triangle Shirtwaist fire took place in 1911, but it seems we have not learned much in the ensuing 80 years.  A fire broke out in a chicken processing plant in the little town of Hamlet, NC, on September 3, 1991. The fire itself was caused by the owners’ deliberate disregard for common safety procedures, insisting on repeated makeshift repairs to a cooking vat rather than spending the money to repair the thing properly.  Add to this, the doors were all locked, and the windows boarded up – to prevent theft, according to the owners. Twenty-five people were killed, and an additional fifty-five were injured, some very seriously.

Although North Carolina had passed legislation to provide for safely inspectors, they had not funded the project. There were so few inspectors in the state that, had each one visited four factories a day, each plant would have been inspected once every seventy-five years.  The health inspector did inspect the place more often, and was aware that doors were locked from the outside, there were no marked fire exits, and the place was a dimly lit rabbit warren, but since these things did not affect the food being prepared he didn’t bother to report the conditions.  A really classic case of “it’s not my job.”

The most profoundly damning part of the book, in my opinion, was comes in the epilogue, when Mr. Simon discusses what happens to your chicken between the egg and your dining room table. It’ll ruin your appetite, for sure!

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Out and Back

7 Sep

The Squire and I left last Thursday morning to head off for the wilds of Tennessee and Nawth Caro-lina.  We stopped in Winchester to visit our youngest daughter and her husband, and then set off for Newport.  We stopped on the way down at a little shop and picked up a sub for dinner; not quite sure why a foot long sub costs a dollar less than two six inch sandwiches, but there you are. I grabbed a bag of “Fried Green Tomato” potato chips. They did not bear the slightest resemblance to any FGT I’d ever tasted, and cost considerably more than they were worth, to boot.

We stayed with our friends, Mr. and Mrs. Rector, in Newport. Visiting them is always a real homecoming! Managed to leave The Squire’s trousers hanging on the back of the door, but, bless ’em, they’d mailed the long pants to us, and they were waiting at the post office this morning. We reached Canton, NC mid-afternoon on Friday, and settled in with another of his sisters.

It took me several years to sort out his family, as he not only has siblings, but half-siblings in both directions. AND, his mother was one of eleven children. My mum was an only child, and I had one sister. We can have a family reunion in a phone booth and there’s room for an extra chair. They rent a pavilion in a state park.

Anyway, the Canton High School Class of 1962 fifty-fifth reunion was a grand success. The staff had hired a caterer, since so many of us no longer live in the area, which makes pot-luck tricky,  and had made sure there was something for myself and two other vegetarians to eat.  Portobello mushrooms, stuffed with – crabmeat?  “No, ma’am. That’s grated zucchini and Old Bay.” Niiice.

We had to stop on the way home from the party to find The Squire a pair of slacks so he had something to wear to church, and replaced the ones we left in Newport. Lawsy, but I hate Wal-Mart!

We attended St. Andrew’s-on-the-Hill in Canton – of course, just about everything in Canton is on-the-hill. It is rather reminiscent of Gatlinburg; it’s uphill in every direction. An Escher drawing come to life!  There was a supply priest at St. Andrew’s – “The Rev. Walter Bryan; Have stole, will travel” – who had such a resonant voice it sounded almost as if he was chanting when he was only speaking.  The nice thing about the Episcopal Church is that no matter how far you roam, on Sunday morning, you are always back home.

Monday, we took the widow of The Squire’s best friend high school to lunch, and on Tuesday we went to the public library to do some genealogy research. It is jarring to  Yankee sensibilities to see a sign on the library door saying “No Food, No Drinks, No  Weapons”.  He did find lots of information on his family, so it was a day well spent. We got a suggestion from the librarian for a local restaurant, and had lunch in a converted car dealership, now a craft brewery.  A burger for him, a flatbread pizza for me, and a pint of Slippery Rock Ale to share.

We headed back home yesterday – Wednesday – and got back about 6:30, which was very good time.  We stopped for lunch in Troutville, VA to eat at a delightful restaurant called Angelle’s Diner.  We try to avoid chains as much as possible, so we bypassed the Mickey D’s next door to go where the locals seem to eat.  Great food, onion rings to die for, and nice, nice people.

We hit the driveway here at 6:20. Blazer’s leash was in my car, so I hopped out of one vehicle and into another, and sailed off to rescue the puppy, while The Squire went in search of victuals. Both the cat and dog were glad to see us.  Eddie wouldn’t get more than three feet from us, and then sat outside the bedroom door at 1AM and yelled. I let him in and he jumped on the bed, loved me for a while and then settled down with his back against The Squire and snored most of the night. This is not  common behaviour around here, but letting him sleep with us was easier than arguing about it.

 

 

 

We Have a New Presiding Bishop

30 Jun

On Saturday, June 27, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church elected the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry as our next Presiding Bishop. He has been, to this point, the bishop of North Carolina.

My dad had a friend, a fellow rector of an inner-city parish, by the same name, and it just struck me as an odd coincidence that we had two  clergy named Michael Curry. Fr. Curry was the rector of St. James, Lafayette Square, an historically black – and very high church – parish in downtown Baltimore  (Actually, St. James was “downtown”; Holy Cross was “inner city”.) from 1988 to 2000, when he accepted the call to North Carolina.

He won by a landslide on the first ballot – 800 to 12 in the House of Bishops, and approximately the same in the House of Delegates.

The man is dynamic, a wonderful leader, and possesses both the pastoral and executive skills to make him the perfect person for the job.  He is wise and articulate, and will bring the church back from the brink of the bigotry which has nearly destroyed us, and make us whole again.

Thanks be to God!