Thursday, July 9, 2009

Greenboro - Almost Heaven

Road through Greenboro at sunrise.

Back in the day this road through Greenboro was narrow with no lines, a long quiet walk...

Littlejohn - I didn't have time to see if the old fire tower is still back there.

Nice to see a restaurant in the area these days.

This is some kind of tavern that exists near Greenboro now.

Close up of the restaurant.

The memorial near Ode's old homestead.

This old church still stands.

This is looking west, the beginning of Route 15 that goes all the way down to Sandy Pond.

I caught the sunrise here from Sandy Island Beach. Needed coffee bad when this was taken.

Sunrise is absolutely the best time to shoot photos in my book. Lately I have been catching the sunrise at Tydings Park in Havre De Grace where the Susquehanna River meets the Chesapeake Bay - lots of sailboats and yachts to capture there. Seems like Saturday mornings are best for this activity - few people are about before 6am. I love the solitude - helps me recharge...

During my recent visit to Sandy Pond, I awoke at zero-dark-thirty Sunday morning (June 28th) and headed to the small hamlet of Greenboro on the Tug Hill Plateau, about 40 minutes due east from Sandy Pond. If you have never visited Greenboro then perhaps you might consider it - it is a lot more "almost Heaven" than West Virginia (and everybody still has their TEETH there -just kidding!) It's much different now than it was about 40 years ago - - the trees are MUCH bigger now and I noticed there is a tavern and restaurant in the area.

I was first introduced to Greenboro by a bright young girl I used to be sweet on.

Greenboro was so different from Sandy Pond I became fascinated. The people living there seemed to be much closer and neighborly, ready to lend a hand in a heartbeat (well, many of them were related).

I was only 15 and awkward, oddly uncomfortable that there was no waterfront, no swimming, no water skiing. In those days my young psyche associated a sense of security and comfort from being able to watch the sunset over the water, not over a bunch of stupid trees. Strange how my immature mind worked at that age (Iwas pretty much a clueless pup then).

I was impressed at the amount of snowfall there during the winter months - about 3 times as much as we got at the Pond, maybe 200+ inches per season. I took that kind of snowfall for granted many years ago, but today I admit I have trouble wrapping my head around is truly beautiful there after a 2 foot snowfall and the sun peeking back out, casting long shadows after supper.

Snowmobiling in this area was incredible. There was a million trails going everywhere. The snow was so deep it was like gliding on soft thick clouds. I never experienced complete silence before I had a chance to drive the old orange '69 Moto-Ski back deep into those woods and stop and turn off the engine. The deep snow would soak up all the sounds and you only heard the gentle breeze whispering in the tree-tops, with an occasional squeak or groan of branches rubbing against each other. At Sandy Pond you always heard other sleds or music or airplanes...there was only complete silence there a couple hours after the BARS closed and the revelers passed out, just before the sun popped up. (Chuckle)

A couple of friends and classmates- - Chris Ouderkirk (aka "Ode") and Greg Yerdon (aka "Bronson"), lived in Greenboro. Today Chris is the Facilities Boss at SCCS, but I have no idea what Bronson is up to.

I remember Ode's Mom Shirley was a skillful deer hunter - much different than my Mom.

I remember there was a horrible accident right in front of Bronson's house one time - a head-on collision. There was death. Sorrow permeated the neighborhood for months afterward - a very young girl had died. If my memory serves me right her name was Gay Giddings. I still get a chill thinking about that...everybody was trying whatever they could do to save them just after it happened. It is a remote area and it took forever for the ambulance to arrive. Enough about that.

I also remember Bronson's baby brother was attacked and mauled by their family dog, a St. Bernard. His face got chewed up pretty bad. Very bizarre.

I learned some important life lessons in Greenboro:

  • Watching the old "HEE HAW" comedy show with good country folks is better than watching American Idol, CSI, and Andy Griffith simultaneously.

  • If anybody EVER puts you up to shooting a skunk with a deer rifle, make absolutely sure you miss it. If you hit it with a 30 caliber bullet it will explode stinky skunk juice all over the area and gag everybody for days afterward...I still don't know why it was to be shot. I aimed low and shrugged my shoulders while it fled. After that incident I had a reputation in Greenboro of being a poor shot. So what. Not sure how I could be a good shot anyway with a strange gun I had never fired before in a strange place aiming at something I would never eat...

  • I never want to witness a bull becoming a steer again. I was asked to help castrate a young bull being raised for beef, but ended up only watching the grisly procedure. I never went back THERE again - THAT guy deliberately scared the Bejesus out of me for his own reasons...which was uncalled for but funny when you think about it. I was just a young impressionable kid that was probably begging to be scared anyway.

  • NEVER agree to sleep in an unheated room during the winter months if you staying at a friend's house in Greenboro. You WILL freeze your frigging butt off - and you BETTER not complain the following morning, or you will be labeled as a PUPPY from Sandy Pond (which actually was pretty damn accurate in those days.)

I suppose I could ramble on but it would be interesting to only a very few people. I am surprised by the vivid nature of my memories there.

The Littlejohn Wildlife Management Area is in that area too. There was (is?) a tall fire-tower at Littlejohn to use to spot forest fires. Lightning tends to spark fires in the woods once in a while. I and some of my buddies used to go there back in the day and climb that tower for fun - I have old-school 8mm movies of that.

I hunted deer in the Greenboro area a few times with my Springfield 30-06, but all I ever could get in my sights was a disappearing white tail bounding away at an alarming rate. I'll admit I was a novice in these woods and I had a great deal of respect for the guys (and gals) who were successful in their deer hunting there. I prefer hunting ducks at Sandy Pond - - I was truly in my element there. Ducks are small targets traveling 60 mph - a tad bit more plentiful and challenging (and not as gross to gut and dress).
I noticed some kind of memorial stone posted in Greenboro just up the road from the old church. Perhaps that's relatively new. Amazingly, that old church across from Ode's old homestead is still standing. I wonder who takes care of it?

Some things never change and that's a good thing.

The light of the sunrise was incredible when I took the photos. The angles of the shadows enhanced the peacefulness of this place that I'll never... forget. Wish You were there...

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