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Thursday, September 17 I left the mountains of Virgina and headed for Hickory, NC, home of my college friends Sarah Womack Parham and John Parham. As has become my norm, first I made a couple of stops...
First, Mount Airy, North Carolina. Mount Airy was the hometown of Andy Griffith and the model for Mayberry in his TV show. I have never seen a town with such single-minded TaT. Nearly every shop on Main Street (yes, really) was Mayberry themed: Mayberry Gifts, Mayberry Consignment, Opie's Candy Shop, even Floyd's Barber Shop (once again already closed, and once again I needed a trim).
Down the street was model of the courthouse and of Goober's Service Station, shown here with the squad car (you can pay $30 for a driving tour of the town in it).
Here I am in Otis's jail cell. No, it is not John and Sarah's guest room.
Next stop was in Elkin, North Carolina, to see this row of three churches. It is all Mt Pleasant Baptist Church. The congregation would grow to where a larger church was needed, and the old one kept operating until the new one was completed. The older churches weren't demolished, and are used for auxiliary activities.
I arrived in Hickory, North Carolina and spent the evening with John and Sarah Parham, friends from Davidson. We were joined by Sarah's sister Jeanne (left), who also was at Davidson and a basketball teammate of Sarah's and Mike Frankhouser Hutchings (who I saw in New Hampshire).
John was bound and determined to make sure my Hickory visit was blog-worthy. Hickory is the self-proclaimed center of Redneck Country, so he had me pose with his banjo. Ba da da, da, da, da, da da... Ba da da, da, da, da da da...
Also knowing my penchant for "World's Biggest Whatever" on this trip, John had me pose with his "World's Biggest Model of a Piano Key and Damper" (he is a professional piano tuner and uses it in training).
John has an infectious spirit and drive which I cherish, and Sarah is that steady and supportive force in their marriage. I enjoyed seeing their interactions and sharing life philosophies, as I have throughout this journey. They both proved to me once again that happiness comes from following your passion; Sarah finds it in working with mentally disabled (her job), and John in his piano business (which is currently part-time but growing with his reputation) as well as in hobbies like model rocketry.
Friday to Davidson, North Carolina, Davidson College (my alma mater), and my college friend Carol Robinson.