Proud to show off my hometown

Published 6:42 pm Monday, September 19, 2022

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Recently a friend that I coached with at East Carolina visited Tracey and me for a couple of days. He had never seen Washington and the river up close, so I took him for a tour one morning.  Now, he was from Cincinnati and had coached at many colleges throughout the United States.  I have never been as proud of my hometown as I was that weekend.

We decided to have breakfast out, so we left the river and went to Shep’s.  I told him that Shep’s was a former poolroom named the Mecca and that grown men use to shoot pool and occasionally high school age boys would leave school and shoot pool along with the men. He could not believe me.  After we left Shep’s for a late breakfast I decided to ride him down West Main Street and explained to him where the Horse Lot was and the pecan trees were that Dave and I picked up pecans to sell to Walter Gerard to buy our hot dogs at Bill’s and then to buy pastries at Mr. Ammon’s bakery. He had to see these places.

Bill’s was packed but he had to have a hot dog after I told him how good they were and the line was out the front door. A typical Saturday!  After he tasted one, he agreed that they were the best he had ever eaten and wondered where the bakery was.  He saw the building and wished it were open because the hot dogs were burning his mouth.  We went back in to Bill’s and bought a Pepsi.  He wanted to see the river and just how close it was to Main Street.

We went down Stewart Parkway and the boats were parked in a straight line.  My friend from Cincinnati was so impressed with the beauty of the river and the boats that were docked along the shore line.  He could not believe such a sight and thought that I should be so proud of the beauty of my hometown.  He knew of the stories that I had told him and wanted to visit Kugler Field.  Our next stop was Kugler Field and WANOCA.

Like an old football coach that he was, he could sense the games being played there.  I told him of the band and that it was a meeting place on any given Friday.  Heroes were made there and as small boy we could see Adrian Waters, Ward Marslender, Leon Mason and Ted Day playing their hearts out for Coach Choppy Wagner.  We left there and I thought I would drive him through Washington Park.

We drove through the Park along Riverside Drive and the moss was hanging from the trees like it always was during the summer.  He had to get out of my truck and take pictures and it reminded him of Charleston, S.C. That is when he made the comment that living in Washington had to remind him that time must have stood still.  That was the biggest compliment that he could have given our Washington because everyone waved like they knew him and he asked me if we ever locked our doors.  My reply was, “in 2022 we do but growing up we never did”.

I would like to say thank you to all the people that make our town so “special”. The town is its people and if you ever want to carry a friend through Washington, do not hesitate because it will make you proud!

They were the best of times with the best of friends and in the best of places, Washington, N.C.! The Original Washington!