Remembering George, Fred and Dora

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, October 27, 2016

Tryon storefronts recently restored by the Lanes

Tryon storefronts recently restored by the Lanes

George Price sat at the end of our oval table in a corner at McDonald’s for many years, so we called him the Chairman. He was usually the first to arrive in the mornings, usually well before the sun came up. When it did, he carefully lowered all the blinds to shield our tender eyes from its rays.

I got there before he did about twice over the years, and both times only recently. We began to miss him on some cold mornings last winter. Then came the oxygen, with the bottle resting on an adjacent chair. But he still sat in his chosen chair and actively participated in our discussions, either supplying information, confirming information, or just giving us that smile that brightened the table.

George was a true Southern gentleman, honest as the day is long, a practicing deacon (by that I mean not in name only, but the real deal) in his church, a role model for anyone with any desire to be a good citizen. We have all missed George of late, and are saddened to realize it is now permanent.

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Terri at TJ’s told us that Dr. Fred Whiskin has passed away. He played jazz piano in several local venues over the years. He called me to tune his piano many years ago, and I had to pitch-raise it because it had not been tuned for so long. When I told him that it was still going flat as I worked, and I would have to come back and fine tune it when it had settled down, he said that it sounded “better than it ever had” and that would not be necessary. So that was that.

Dora Arledge was usually in the hallway at White Oak and I always stopped to chat with her. I suppose the three or four family members with her in her room last time were paying their last respects . . . but I did not know that, so I just told her I’d see her next week. She and Marvin are now back together with our Lord.

I noticed the pink water fountains at Veterans Memorial Plaza in Columbus this month. Most of us know someone who is dealing (or has dealt) with breast cancer, so we are always aware. But it is good to increase awareness, because early detection often leads to good outcomes.

I am sorry that we were out of town visiting “friends of long standing” (I don’t say “old friends” any more) when the new businesses opened in the store fronts so beautifully and lovingly restored by the Lanes. The Missildine’s space looks more like the former Blue Ridge Weavers gift shop there, as Ashley Menetre has opened her Nest Artisan Market.

Adam Marcello has opened his celebrated Black Coffee business where Elizabeth Rhodes had her Exclusive Ladies Shoppe when I was a boy. My grandfather, T. A. Rippy, had his Cash and Carry grocery in that building before I was born. Adam and I hope that his place will become the gathering place that Missildine’s was when I was growing up here. I am going to give him a large copy of my earlier column that described a typical day at Missildine’s.

Julia Calhoun has returned to Tryon and opened her Carolina Confections chocolates counter in the middle of the big Jackson’s space that housed several groceries in my early days, notably Noah Wilson’s Foodland supermarket. She is also reviving the Mosseller Rug studio that used to be in the former Pacolet Baptist Church building in Lynn, where I sat in the Amen Corner with my granddad. She will sponsor classes in hooked rug making as practiced by Lillian Mills Mosseller and continued by her son Ron. I understand that there will also be a Tryon Toymakers presence.

Perhaps Tryon will soon be teeming with shoppers as it was in the 40s—“a consummation devoutly to be wished”—right, TDDA?