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The Online Magazine FOR and ABOUT Southside Virginia







Sept '08 Contents

Sept '08 Cover


Farmers Markets Build Community
Buy Local & Eat Better

Once Upon a Bookworm
By Gert Slabach

Around Downtown South Boston
By Jerry Van Eimeren & Sara Davis



South Winds
(Man plans, God laughs)

On The Funside
("Special deer insurance")
By Amy Hanek

Born and Bred
(Worthy to Discover Southside)
By Michael Ray

Ask Bubba - Advice
Back to Skool Special


Editor's Page
(Here We Grow Again)

Letters to the Editor

V & B Comics (NEW)

Festivals & Events

Past Issues

Past Issues are available from June 2008 through the current issue.
Select the desired issue from the drop-down box below.



"Born and Bred"



   Hey, It's Michael Ray again

   My sister and her husband lived in San Antonio, Texas over twenty years ago. It was a military assignment that sent them there. Both, Joyce, my sister and Mike, my brother-in-law were born and raised right here in Southside Virginia. They have great personalities. Mike even has a great first name. Yes, I am biased in my opinion. Both of us being named Mike doesn't cause much confusion in the family since I'm usually referred to as Michael Ray. Once I thought about asking Mike if he would start calling me number one and I could call him number two. My better judgment stepped in and reminded me that we would end up as "a big potty joke", so I never asked. I'm sure that was the right decision. Now, let's get back to my original thought process.

   Mike and Joyce soon formed a tight circle of friends down there in Texas. I think they even had to share apartments from time to time. From the stories I've heard, Mike and Joyce were the "most country" of the group. They had to explain stuff like; tobacco is pulled not picked; you have the accent, not me; y'all is a word, and my favorite, �There is nothing wrong with having lawn furniture as a living room suit.�

   One day, Mike and Joyce had some friends over at their place. For this story, we'll call them John and Jane ( Doe ). Jane noticed a Halifax County newspaper lying in the floor beside the tri-fold recliner. "Oh, that's great! You guys" She hadn't learned to use y'all yet.

   John sat down beside her on the orange and yellow weaved, aluminum-framed, folding lawn chair. The bag chairs that everybody uses now days hadn't been invented yet. "I love getting our daily, one pound, three hundred page, big city, local news paper." ( or something like that ) "Where's the rest of yours?"

   "The other section is in the bathroom. Mike likes something to read when he's in there." Joyce replied with a big grin.

   "Barbara Joyce, it is not! You better stop teasing me or I'm gonna tell them about your secret mole!" Mike shot back with an even bigger grin.

   I feel that I must now insert a disclaimer about my knowledge of the exact content of the conversation. Further more, I do not now, or have I ever known about a secret mole on my sister's body. And if Mike reads anything in the bathroom, it's probably a lawn and garden magazine. He keeps a great yard. While I'm at it, I may as well apologize now for the up coming part about poking fun at our local newspapers. In all seriousness, we have two of the best, award winning papers in Southside. I hope that now I am sufficiently covered from being sued...or beat up. Let's get back to the story.

   After a minute or two of giggles, the other section of the newspaper was produced, from somewhere other than the bathroom. Jane was slowly scanning the front section while John just sat there with a look of disbelief on his face. He opened and closed his mouth a few times. You could tell he was searching his big city brain for just the right words. He settled on "Well isn't that special. I'm sure they did the best they could back at the little newspaper hut."

   Jane gave her hubby a comforting pat on his back and said "Now John, don't go in to shock. I'm sure our 'country couple' can explain why their daily paper has only eight pages. Remember what a good job Mike did explaining how tobacco is pulled not picked."

   "We don't have a daily paper." Mike began to explain. "One newspaper office prints its paper on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The other bunch prints its paper on Tuesday and Thursday."

   John was over his slight case of shock. Jane must have patted just the right spot. I guess that he went straight to the acceptance stage and now his curiosity was taking over. "Well, let's see what the big news for the day is...FENDER BENDER ON MAIN CAUSES DELAY". He started laughing when he got to the part about traffic being held up for ten whole minutes. He really started laughing when he got to the part about, �The driver lost control while trying to avoid collision with a deer." �You guys have deer running up and down Main Street!" He hadn't learned to use y'all either.

   "Yes, sometimes it's like deers gone wild right in the middle of town", Joyce chimed in, "but what can you do when the town council won't let the hunters hunt in the town limits? My brother, Michael Ray, even promised that he would only hunt in town with bows and arrows. That way there wouldn't be any gun noise or pellet scatter. He told 'em that he would camouflage his deer stand to look like part of the awning that hangs over the ol' drug store building."

   Jane asked, "Is that the same little brother that sent you guys the cute little letter written in crayon? How old is he? Five, six...?"

   "Yes it is and he's twenty." Joyce wasn't sure if she should be embarrassed or just laugh some more. I'm not embarrassed at all. I thought I sent Joyce and Mike some unique stuff while they were in Texas. And that's what Joyce and Jane spent the next ten minutes talking about.

   Meanwhile, John had made himself comfortable on the orange and yellow lawn chair, carefully studying the other seven pages of the newspaper. Mike was busy making sweet ice tea and getting the card table, I mean dining room table, set up to play Chinese Checkers.

   John had made a discovery "Hey! Hey! Hey! Look at this Jane!" John was pointing to my favorite part of the paper, the part that has who visited whom. You can read about the coming and goings of local folk from places like Hitesburg or Red Bank. The articles go something like this,. �Mr. and Mrs. Smith visited Mr. and Mrs. Jones on Saturday. For supper, Mrs. Jones made a pot roast.� I'm not joking. If I were a detective looking for a certain person, I would check this section every week. Sooner or later that person is going to go visiting and I would be able to track 'em down!

   Now, I don't want to get in to the John and Jane conversation. Let's just say that they were very entertained. I'm just going to skip forward to the last part of the conversation and then close this thing.

   "Joyce, Mike can we come over tomorrow?" John asked. "I really enjoyed your paper and I want to read the other one tomorrow."

   "We had a really good time." Jane added "And I hope I can meet your little brother some day. He sounds like fun. Bye y'all."

   Because John and Jane like our local papers, and are learning to use the word y'all



Michael Ray



Michael Ray is a native of Halifax County and doesn't get out much.










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