Sperryville column for June 20

Music with a mission

Judy Reidinger of Sperryville is a lieutenant with the Sperryville Volunteer Rescue Squad and is deeply involved with both the rescue squad and the Rappahannock Benevolent Fund, and sings in the choir at Trinity Episcopal Church. She’s a busy lady, but wait — she also sings and plays various instruments including the piano, harp, guitar and, once upon a time, the dulcimer.

Sales of Judy Reidinger’s original CD benefit Sperryville Rescue and the Benevolent Fund.
Sales of Judy Reidinger’s original CD benefit Sperryville Rescue and the Benevolent Fund.

Not satisfied with successfully nurturing a gifted family, and balancing a career and volunteer work, Judy also writes and performs music with a mission. Her most recent CD, “Song for Singing Hearts” with musicians and singers Frances Miller, Nancy Merrill and Penny Bridges, benefits both the rescue squad as well as the Benevolent Fund – all proceeds of sales go to these local organizations.

Judy was always interested in singing and writing lyrics. Since 1973, when she began pursuing the passion in earnest, she has written some 80 songs, in a genre both folksy and spiritual. Her inspiration derives much from personal experiences.

“Come Home,” for example, is a moving piece written as her mom lay dying in her hospital bed, and is so poignant a song, so soulful and filled with words that only a daughter losing her mom can write. In “Sleep and Dream,” written for her baby boy, now a grown man, she sings of “wishing life and love for his whole life through, sleep and dream, little one, your life has just begun.”

Her music, not surprisingly, is inspired by life in Rappahannock, as seen through the eyes of a wordsmith: “Down Jenkins Hollow, where the Hazel River dances under the bridge, Rappahannock County, where life has peace and zest, you can roam the world over, but this is the best.”

Your music is lovely, Judy, your heart perhaps even more so, so thanks for sharing your gifts.

Judy’s CD is $12, and is available in many local establishments and churches. For additional information, contact her directly at rjreidinger@hotmail.com or 540-987-9600.

Catching up with Roy and Janet

Roy’s Orchard in Old Hollow is always a favorite grocery stop for so many in the county, a place where fresh fruits and vegetables — and Janet’s delicious homemade pies — are available every day. Apples from their substantial orchard, of most every variety, abound, and they offer a special for horse lovers, bushels of slightly bruised fruit, sold for a pittance. My horses love Roy and Janet Alther.

A new sign at the driveway on Old Hollow Road greets visitors to Roy's Orchard. Photo by Chris Doxzen.
A new sign at the driveway on Old Hollow Road greets visitors to Roy’s Orchard. Photo by Chris Doxzen.

Fresh meats, chicken and steaks, pork and fish fill the fridges and freezers. The shelves are well-stocked with everything one can need, from herbs and spices to cereal, baking goods, all manner of dried goods, dog and cat food, chocolates and 5-cent candies, cheeses and gluten-free products, flour, sugar and varieties of potatoes are offered, as well as homemade local jellies and jams. Roy and Janet also sell plants and gift items.

The Inn at Little Washington, as we all know (whether we’ve dined there or not), is one of the best restaurants in the world — and yes, Inn staff comes by regularly to purchase Roy’s raw materials. Fruits, especially peaches, and vegetables, including soft and tender asparagus, were on some of the Inn’s recent shopping lists.

Though they refuse to modernize with credit-card machines (instead tallying up the tab by hand, some of it while you’re still roaming the shelves), Roy and Janet have boundless energy. The land they bought years ago had none of the orchards, gardens and myriad buildings there now. They built their home and business from scratch and worked hard, both of them toiling in full-time jobs for many a year with the Aileen Company and then Fauquier Hospital.

Janet Alther mans the store counter. Photo by Chris Doxzen.
Janet Alther mans the store counter. Photo by Chris Doxzen.

Janet likes to point out that Roy’s carries many products from local businesses, including chutney from the Virginia Chutney Company (soon to be based at the former Aileen plant), health drinks from MTO Kombucha in Sperryville and Trickling Spring Dairy products. Milk is sold in the same returnable glass bottles I remember from my childhood.

Roy, always the entrepreneur, has more plans for their continued growth. He says the orchard recently added 150 new fruit trees and planted 400 more tomatoes, heirlooms included, and is adding more livestock to increase offerings of lamb, beef and pork products. A fresh arrival of lamb chops and ground lamb is about to hit the shelves. They are planning a website soon.

Roy and Janet have worked hard, weathered many a storm and built a successful business with a roll-up-your-sleeves mentality. They are also some of the nicest folks on the planet and it’s a pleasure to shop from the store, chat about family and friends, catch up on local news and what’s new in the store. I can’t imagine living in Rappahannock without knowing them, and this writer is honored to be one of their biggest fans and satisfied customers.

Chris Green
About Chris Green 158 Articles
Chris Green (formerly Chris Doxzen) is an an executive recruiter by profession who enjoys exploring and writing about all things Rappahannock. Friends and neighbors with potential stories for her Sperryville column should email her at chrisdoxzen@gmail.com.