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2017-11-22

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Skip the Mall! Shop Local and Support Small Businesses on Saturday

The first Thanksgiving Feast was celebrated in the Plymouth Colony. When the “Pilgrims” arrived, they spent the first winter aboard the Mayflower.  It had been a rough first year for that group. Nearly half of the group never made it to that first spring. As you can imagine, all of those people living aboard a ship moored in the Massachusetts Bay with not a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, both exposure and scurvy were pretty major threats. Infectious diseases were also rampant in such an overcrowded space.

When spring finally came and the survivors of the winter started the process of building the colony, they were met by a Native Abenaki who actually greeted them in English. He returned with another Native, Squanto, a Pawtuxet tribesman who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to the metropolis of London and making his way back to his own continent.

Thankfully for the new arrivals, Squanto harbored no ill will to the English. He could have easily seen the Mayflower Colonists as an enemy and wiped them all out. Instead, he taught them to grow their own food and introduced the colonists to the Wampanoag Tribe that was the beginning of an alliance that would last for more than 5 decades.

The crops that Squanto taught the fledgling colony to grow brought in a bountiful harvest. The harvest feast that, along with many other feasts, grew into our modern Thanksgiving was called by the Governor of the Plymouth Colony, William Bradford. That feast lasted three days and included Lobsters and Swans. The Wampanoag brought at least 5 deer that were roasted. Turkey was also plentiful and a major source of food for both Natives and colonists. The corn that was already a staple of the Natives was served in a dish that is closer to polenta than the modern Corn pudding. Local produce, most likely, played a major role in that first feast. The first pumpkin pie was probably a bit different than what we do today. Without wheat and sugar, pumpkin flavored custard in short-crust would not have been possible, even if there were an oven in the colony. Food historians believe that the first “pumpkin pie” was a mixture of milk and honey poured into a hollowed out pumpkin and roasted in the coals. Other sweets were also close at hand – the plentiful fruits that were native to the area.

I will admit that I am a bit biased when it comes to when the first Thanksgiving was, as Governor William Bradford was my first ancestor on this great continent. No matter what anybody believes about the origins of this uniquely American holiday, that first feast was completely local. The Turkeys, Seals, Mussels, Lobster, Onions, Turnips, Blueberries and the Pumpkins were all readily available and plentiful. Those early colonists couldn’t just jump in the family car and head into Colonial Heights to buy their groceries. They ate what was close. They ate what they could catch within walking distance of their colony.

We could take a page from Governor Bradford’s playbook when it comes to buying gifts for Christmas (which was actually illegal in Puritan New England for quite a while).

You could, of course, hop in the family car and drive to any one of the major shopping centers in the region, raising your blood pressure in the process, or you could spend all day Thursday and as much time as you want to (or are forced to) on Friday with your family and friends.

As the example of that first Harvest Feast teaches us, local is best, and we have a bountiful selection of quality retailers right here in Emporia-Greensville.

Surely you have will have some leftover country ham from Spivey’s, so make it the centerpiece of a hearty Saturday breakfast. Spivey’s does have the best meat department in town, so you could also get some quality bacon and sausage. Whip up some simple homemade biscuits (or not), fry up some home fries and scramble some eggs. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast with your spouse and children (and possibly your in-laws, cousins, aunts or uncles that are still visiting).

After breakfast get out the walking shoes and take advantage of the many local businesses that are truly the lifeblood of our local economy:

Carolyn's Creations, 1363 Brink Road (pictured above), has an amazing selection of unique gifts and Christmas Decorations.  This weekend, Carolyn is running a sale on ornaments and stems to decorate your home for the holidays.  Carolyn also offers you a perfect opportunity to find truly thoughtful gifts like Jim Shore ornaments, Tervis Tumblers, Jewelry, and a ton of other one of a kind things for the home. 

CJ's Furniture and Pawn Shop, 308 South Main Street.  Pawn Shops are great sources for gifts for the entire family, electronics, tools, jewelry, firearms, and even furniture.  CJs has a truly unique selection of merchandise – from inkwells and antique lighters and ink pens, they even have a really sweet Milk Glass cookie jar among their varied and interesting, well, stuff. Compact Discs for the music lover, DVDs for the movie lover, games and consoles, and did I mention that they have jewelry? This month Computers and Mattresses are on sale.

Just like pawn shops, consignment shops have a pretty good selection of unique gifts. Check out Halifax Street for Twice Told Tales & Treasures and True Patriot Antiques at 327 and 323, respectively

At Twice Told Treasures, Leandra has a whole shelves of scrap booking and paper craft items and a table full of fun salt and pepper shakers. She also has a wall full of used books that need an new home.

A recent trip to True Patriot Antiques found a new home for a ceramic bread box, but there is also a table full of glassware (including Fostoria American) and some other pretty neat stuff, like a set of canisters – white with blue writing and a fun shape.

While you are on Halifax Street, stop by Three Bears and a Tree at 321. They have a Day Spa, gift shop and are the home of L. P.’s Café Cusine. After you shop a bit, let Linda whip you up a great lunch. I was there one day last week and the Meatloaf Sandwich that was the special that day was great.

I know that hardware stores are not typically hot spots for traditional gift shopping. We all have that one person in our life that is a bit of a nerd about something. Maybe someone has been dropping hints about a new dishwasher or freezer or washing machine (yes, I know, all of these involve work, but if your spouse actually asks for a dishwasher, buy them a dishwasher, just make sure that they are serious so that you don’t end up in the dog house), stop by City Auto Supply and Hardware at 311 and have a look.

If you don’t find that perfect gift that is actually work at City Auto Supply, stop by Farm and Lawn Service, head on over to Farm and Lawn Service, 700 North Main Street, and check out their line of Husqvarna tools.  Beat the spring rush and get Dad that new String Trimmer or Leaf Blower for Christmas (you know that he has been dropping hints all year).

Since you are already so close, stop by Monte’s Flower and Gift Shop, 600 North Main Street.  Flowers are always a good choice, but they have more than flowers and potted plants. Check out their selection of gifts and Christmas Ornaments.

Also in the Emporia Shopping Center isSloan's Boutique, 528 North Main Street.  Sloan's offers unique fashions for men and women.

For over 50 years, White’s Family Shoe Store, 212 East Cloverleaf Drive, has been offering the quality name brands that you would drive to some other place to buy. Save the drive, you can get gifts for everybody right here in Emporia at White’s Family Shoe Store.

Head on over to Jarrat and check out Vintage, 117 Jarratt Avenue. If they still have it, there is a great doll house that would make almost any little girl happy.  They also have antiques and handcrafted furniture and gifts. Many of the offerings, from butcher block cutting boards to candy, including some truly addictive candied pecans, and soy candles are made by local artisans. There really too many items to list, so just head on over and have a look for yourself!

Back to Emporia, where you must swing by Thorpe’s Whole Home Store, 202 Carroll Street (in the old Sash and Door).  Yes, they have flooring and paint (think about updating the bathroom for Mom), but if you head upstairs there is a world more. Melody pointed out the custom embroidery on my last visit, and they have seasonal soaps, some great smelling Woodwick Candles and a corner chock full of fishing tackle, which could make at least one grandparent, uncle brother or sister happy.

On the off chance that you still have not found everything for everyone on your list, there is also Clements Mayes Photographyand Picture Perfect Custom Framing, 401 Halifax Street. Grandmas the world over are always happy to get pictures of their babies! In addition to the great photography, Clements also does wonderful restoration work, so you can get that picture that you knocked off the wall a few years ago restored and reframed.

Dinnertime is near! Arby’s, 109 Market Drive, has some great new menu items. The Pork Belly is back! Swing by, get dinner for the car full of weary shoppers – get dessert, too, the turnovers and cookies are as good as the milk shakes.

Odds are, you have forgotten someone or have gifts going out of town. You might even have someone that would love a taste of home. The Good Earth Peanut Company, 5334 Skippers Rd, Skippers, has you covered. They can even handle the shipping. No, it is not all peanuts, but, honestly, a good tin of peanuts can’t be beat. They have trail mixes, gift assortments, mixed nuts, butter toasted peanuts and pecans, preserves, pickles, apple butter (and pumpkin, peach, and cherry), peanut butter, honey, salad dressings, sauces and Country Ham. If you are just too tuckered out to head down to Skippers, visit http://www.goodearthpeanuts.com/.

Take it easy on Friday and shop local on Saturday. Tell them you read about it on EmporiaNews.com!

Open House At CITE Lab on November 30, 2017

The public is invited to an Open House at the Center for Information Technology Excellence (CITE) Lab located at the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill.  Open House is Thursday November 30, 2017 anytime from 5 to 7 p.m. at 118 East Danville Street. 

Come learn about the program and meet some of our students who are currentlypreparing for exciting careers in the Information Technology world. The lab offers students realistic learning experiences in a simulated data center environment and prepares them to take CompTia credentials (A+, Server+, Network+,Security+), industry standards.

Made possible through a grant from the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission and a partnership with the Town of South Hill, the lab has been built and furnished to provide a state-of-the-art laboratory in which students will learn and hone the skills for jobs in IT.  This field encompassesthe application of computer to store, study, retrieve, transmit, and manipulate data or information, often in the context of a business or other enterprise.

For information, call 434 955 2252.

Francis “Buddy” Harding

Francis “Buddy” Harding, 87, of Jarratt, passed away Sunday, November 19, 2017.  He is survived by his wife, Esther “Tutter” Harding; three daughters, Denice Cifers and husband, Wayne, Karen Wiles and Sheran Rigg and husband, Baker; twelve grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; nephew, Kevin Harding and nieces, Tammy Cabrera, Virginia Anderson and Kathleen Meehan. A memorial service will be held 3 p.m. Saturday, November 25 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd., Jarratt, Virginia where the family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com.

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