Fall Newsletter 2018

Hello friends,

Just when we were about to gather the animals two by two, we got a break in the wet weather!  I was able to mow grass today in some low spots that hadn’t been mowed in 4 weeks.  I’m ready for some cool nights and the smell of fresh harvested corn in the air.  Ah, country life.

This has been a year filled with happiness and sorrow here at The Onley Place.  Just before Christmas, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer.  After a few radiation treatments, he decided not to continue.  He steadily got weaker, and passed away on March 29th, surrounded by mom and us kids.  We will miss him dearly.  While this was going on, Gene’s dad began having health problems.  He also continued to weaken, and eventually found that he also had cancer.  He passed away June 4th, Gene’s birthday, also surrounded by his wife Marie and kids.  Our moms are doing ok, but the healing continues.  The barn will miss both Pete and Melvin.

On June 30th this year, Gene and I had a party here at The Onley Place for a few family and friends.  For those of you who have known us for a while, I think we have come to be known as “Gene and Steve”.

In fact, Gene and I have been together for 25 years, and at the party, we told everyone that we were married on June 30th, 2017 in Asheville, NC.  We had only told our family and very close friends, as Gene had another year before he retired; We just didn’t want to take the chance of stirring up anything.  Our friends Bubba, Biz, Mike and Aaron were here from Charlottesville to provide music, and our families cooked pig and the “fixins” for us all. Thanks for all you folks who supported us in the hard times this Spring, and thank you to all friends who have given us nothing but wonderful support since we announced our marriage.  AND….Gene is retired!!

Now, for the animals…… The old horse “Lizzie” is still munching grass.  She eats sweet feed twice a day and grazes in the pasture all she wants.  But she is nothing but skin and bone.  At 30 years old, she’s a very old horse.  I think I’ll soon get a couple of ponies, as my nephews and nieces are at an age to enjoy riding ponies.  Keep tuned on that.  The bantam rooster “Bill Johnson” has been busy too.  This past spring we started off with one rooster and two hens.  Hen #1 hatched 3 chicks…..hen #2 hatched out 3 chicks, and then hen #1 again hatched out 9 chicks. Need any bantam chickens?  All the eggs laid since, I have gathered and eaten.

Our dog “Highball” is still the king of the farm.  He is in the center of all action outside, even during weddings.  If we have an outside wedding here, I have to shut him up, which he detests.  He’s just a loveable beagle.   I caught one swarm of bees in the spring, but I must have accidently killed the Queen while catching them, as they soon died out.  And my buddy Kenny Hobbs split one of his hives, making two hives, and gave me one.  They were fine for about a week, then took off somewhere unknown…. So, no bees for now.   I’m sure we’ll try again next spring.

We have been having weddings like crazy here this year.  We’ve already had 8 and still have 9 more before the end of the year.  Even have two at Christmas!  Gene will soon be decking the halls.  We did have a month break in July, so we gave the kitchen a complete overhaul.  We took out the refrigerators, water heater, and anything that would move.  We painted everything, including the cabinets, and built a new walk-in closet in the corner.  We had new flooring put in, and then got everything back in place.  It was a lot of work, but looks great!

We also bought a new mixer board for the sound system, as the old one had a few channels not working.  New steps on the front and side porches, and lots of other little things.  Don’t think we’ll ever be done with working on the barn.

I usually try and get out early in the morning and work until about lunch time.  Then it’s shower time, nap time, and then work on my history projects.  I’ve worked on so many families and the lands they owned since the late 1600’s, and I have decided to put it all together in a book.  Over the years, I was able to put the land grants of my neighborhood, Nicanor, together on construction board like a jig-saw puzzle.   I have copies of hundreds of deeds from the 1690’s to present.   I have followed the grants and how they were divided; most up to present day.  Those old deeds actually tell a lot of the genealogy that cannot be found anywhere else.  I love doing this kind of work and stay busy with it.

Gene and I have been saving our money for almost two years now, and we are taking a vacation the last of September.  We are flying to Lima, Peru, then to Cusco, and then on to Machu Picchu, the Inca ruins.  Afterwards, we are heading to the Galapagos Islands.  We’ll meet up with friends Ralph and Steve for a few days while there, as they are heading there also.  If we two country boys can do just fine in Europe, I think we’ll do ok in Peru.  So, wish us a safe trip, we’ll tell you all about it later.

We have all our shows lined up for the 2018-19 season.  On October 13th, we’ll have our “Carolina Moon” show.  Our friend and neighbor Lacey Jean Winslow will be doing the show with family and friends.  Lacey’s dad (who’ll be playing in the band) played steel guitar in Nashville for many years.  Her mom entertained in the Tidewater area as “Barbara Jean and the Band of Gold” for many years, before moving to Nashville.  Lacy grew up tagging along with her dad in Nashville, singing at all the country spots there.  Eventually, they found their way back to Belvidere, where Lacy married a great local guy, Austin, and now they have two little girls.  Lacey’s mom and dad will be in the show, along with other local musicians and singers.  And…..The Onley Place regulars will be here also.

Our Christmas show this year will be only two nights, December 7th and 8th.   Our old “Moon Rat” friends from Charlottesville will be here, along with Jo White, Connie Riddick and the regulars.  And of course, the barn will be decked out for Christmas.  Be sure to make your reservations early, sure it will sell out.

Our Valentines show will be February 15th and 16th with our friends “Out-N-The Cold”.  As you know, these guys give new meaning to the term “entertainers”.  They are great!  By the way, singer Dickie Sanders just had surgery on his shoulder, stemming from a fall he took out the back door here at the barn, and no, he wasn’t drinking Craney Island wine!!  LOL We all are thinking about you Dickie.

And, on April 13th, our friends “Eyes of Emeline” will be back.  These three sisters, and their brother Josh, have done a couple of shows here before, and as you know, they are wonderful.  Adam Nixon and friends will be providing the music, and The Onley Place regulars will be here also.

That’s about it for now.  The tomato sandwiches are about over and done with, as are fried squash, fresh butter beans, cucumbers, BBQ chicken on the grill.  Soon it will be about time for collards and beef vegetable soup.  I can hardly wait.  Oh, and the wood heater here in the den is ready to go!  Life is great.