Locally Speaking

I would like to begin by saying thank you to some readers who have reached out to me or stopped me in passing to discuss this column. If you are from White Sulphur Springs, certainly you will know of Dick Brockway, a stalwart member of the White Sulphur Springs Lions Club. Dick will be the first one to light up in song at meetings and he has a great voice. Dick also usually has a smile on his face. Dick was a long-time United States Forest Service ranger here beginning his service in Pocahontas County. Dick called me about a month ago to talk about the apple cider piece. He said he really enjoyed reading about how cider is made and explained that he attempted to make cider years ago in Pocahontas County. I truly appreciated our conversation. I was amazed at how Dick remembered all of the Giggenbach children (6) and even knew the graduation years! I am not sure how that is possible. His son Richie was in my brother’s class.

Michelle “Mikki” Dixon was my third grade teacher. I saw her when I was at the cemetery putting flowers on my parents’ graves. She was previously known as Mrs. Rose. I will always remember her having a hand lotion bottle on her school desk that had the word “Rose” on it. Michelle mentioned to me that she also liked reading the column and especially the true crime stories. If you recall, she is the person who remembered my family bringing in a goat and flying squirrel to class.

She may not remember this, but I used to ride my bike to school and probably was not the best then at washing my hands regularly. That is much different now, especially due to COVID! One day I rode my bike to school with dirty hands and as soon as she saw me come into class, she pulled me out into the hallway. She said “How can you have such dirty hands and come to school?” Frankly, I did not even realize I had not washed my hands. We went to the bathroom and she waited outside while I washed my hands clean, inspecting them afterwards for approval.

Mikki can usually be found volunteering at United Methodist Church on behalf of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church. She is usually in the kitchen helping out, also in a merry way. She was a great teacher, but I cannot help to still call her Mrs. Rose.

I received an e-mail from Teresa Lewis recently. Teresa said that that the column was one of the best parts of the West Virginia Daily News. I am not sure about all of that but I appreciate her contacting me and I thanked her. She likes the true-crime stories so I will throw a few more in there soon for her.

You just never know who you will run into at the watering hole. By watering hole, I mean a real watering hole, not a bar. Before you leave this world, do yourself a favor and take Anthony Road either from Route 219 at Frankford, or off of Route 92 outside of White Sulphur Springs. Go until you hit what used to be Camp Wood (a series of white wooden buildings formerly used by WVU geologists and likely built by the Civilian Conservation Corps). Near there are two white PVC pipes coming out of the side of the mountain with pure, semi-sweet and clear water pouring out. I hear it has 14 minerals in it.

One pipe has black tape on it, the other one does not. If I see out-of-state plates, I tell the people that the one on the left is hot water and the one on the right is cold. I also tell them it is $1 a gallon and wait for their concerned looks to fade to a smile. Across the creek is where The Greenbrier obtains their water, which is pumped to town and held in a huge holding tank.

As I do frequently, I recently stopped to get some drinking water (I fill five gallon jugs every couple of weeks for the house and office and I fill up my portable water bottles as need be). Well, lo and behold, there was Bob McClintic filling up a large water tank in the back of his truck. He was a teacher as well and once again, I could not help but to say “Hello Mr. McClintic.” Old habits die hard.

Bob lives nearby and he was obtaining water to “top off” his swimming pool. Bob told me he reads this column and that he wrote an autobiography. Apparently he had a successful book signing at The Greenbrier and Bob has promised to send me a copy of his book. Bob was a teacher, worked at Anthony Correctional Center and is an ordained minister. I am sure he did much more in his life, I suppose I will have to read his book to find out. Bob looks the same now as he did 35 years ago. Must be the water.

Finally, another thank you to everyone else who has come up to me or stopped me to discuss the column. It is very much appreciated and I will continue to attempt to write interesting pieces. Just remember, none of this would not be possible without the Refslands saving the paper and their willingness to have a columnist.

Also, everyone who works at the West Virginia Daily News (and all of their other publications) strives hard to put out a good product worth buying and reading. Tell your friends and family to obtain a subscription and let’s help keep this paper going.


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