Sperryville column for Jan. 13

James D. Russell, who died Jan. 5, was a pillar of the community who was loved by all who knew him. We extend our condolences to his family.

From J.D. Hartman comes a heartwarming story about Mr. Russell. In 1992, J.D. opened a barbecue place beside Mountainside Market in a building owned by Mr. Russell. They became fast friends. Mr. Russell would ride his tractor up to visit with J.D. almost every day, telling stories, talking history and keeping busy because, as Mr. Russell told J.D., “my father told me never to be idle.”
A year later, on Aug. 25, 1993, Katherine Alicia Hartman was born. J.D. and his wife turned the unused salad bar into her crib so they could watch over her at work. Mr. Russell would come by almost every day to see Katie. When she was 3 years old, she got a toy pink Cadillac that she would drive around the field near the restaurant and he would watch her play. Over the years, there might be months if not a year between visits. Mr. Russell always would say, “Katie Hartman, August 15, 1993, I still have your pink Cadillac.” The Hartmans would visit him whenever his books would come out.
Then this past December, J.D. and Katie were shopping in Culpeper and Katie said she would like to get Mr. Russell something. They got a cake from Knakal’s Bakery and took it to him just before Christmas. As sick as he was, he looked first at J.D. and said “J. D. Hartman!” then he looked out of the corner of his eye and said “August 25, 1993, the Cadillac is still in my garage.”
Many thanks to all of you who posted stories and photos of Mr. Russell on RappNet the last few days.

St. Patrick’s Day fun

It’s not too soon to be thinking about St. Patrick’s Day festivities, which this year will be Saturday, March 12. There will be a parade at 11:30 a.m. followed by a lunch and entertainment at the Link. The parade is a “people’s parade” and everyone is encouraged to wear their best green outfits and join in. Tickets to the lunch and music and entertainment program to follow will cost $15 per person and will be available from Lions Club members after Feb. 1. Tickets may be purchased in advance by sending a check made out to Rappahannock Lions Club and mailed to Jim Gannon at Box 595, Flint Hill, VA 22627. Seating is limited to 200 persons and the event always sells out so an advance ticket purchase is advised.

And there’s more

The Link is a busy place these days.

On Saturday (Jan. 15), bring your kids and have some fun listening to Rocknoceros perform at 5 p.m. Tickets are only $5 for adults and children age 1 and over. Rudy’s Pizza can be purchased by the slice.

Then from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 25, representatives from farms, orchards, vineyards can join Sperryville farmer Cliff Miller, the staff of Holistic Management International, and Kenner Love, county extension agent, to learn about an exciting one-year pilot program to assist farmers in improving the health of their land while improving farm profits. The workshop moderators will explain holistic management practices and how the pilot program will work. Instructors will visit during the year to assist the farmers to reach the goals for their farms. At the end of the yearlong pilot, HMI and the farms will offer another community-wide meeting to share the progress they have using these principles. The seminar is free and lunch is included. Call the county extension office at 540-675-3619 with any questions and to indicate you’re coming so HMI can have an idea of how many lunches to order.

Coming up at the Link on Jan. 29 is the annual Benevolent Fund Celebrity Waiter Dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. For tickets or additional information, call Beverly Atkins at 540-675-3843 or Delma Bagley at 540-987-8604. Join your favorite Rappahannock celebrity and make a donation so they will show off their favorite song or dance.

A ham for all seasons

High on the Hog, hoping to keep us happy year ’round, will be doing smoked turkeys and hams to order all year. Call J.D. or Jamie at 540-987-8113 (with at least three to four days notice please!); J.D. said to expect smoked trout to be available again soon, and he promised to let us know when we could plan on it.