Down Memory Lane for Feb. 22

Oct. 13, 1999

Rappahannock County will soon have occasion to quench its collective thirst for mead, an ancient honey wine said to have medicinal if not magical properties. Smokehouse Winery, located at 10 Ashby Road (off Route 231 South of Sperryville) will open its doors on Oct. 23 to welcome guests to its tasting house and its mead, crabapple hard cider on tap, and accompanying good food.

An enterprise of Jen Cable and brewer John Hallberg, Smokehouse Winery’s tasting house is situated in a unique thatched roof cottage that evokes images of Celtic inns, ancient honey wine makers, and purely Rappahannock good times. Smokehouse has a farm winery license, meaning that it produces at least 51 percent of the wine’s ingredients, and that will assure the quality of products offered.

The primary product will be mead, said to be man’s earliest fermented drink and sometimes referred to as the “drink of the gods.” Traditional mead is made from honey and water, and can take up to a year to ferment and properly age.

Smokehouse Winery will offer traditional mead, both dry and sweet, and will also bottle a spiced version (known as metheglin) and a fruit-flavored version (referred to as melomel). Smokehouse’s metheglin will be juniper berry-spiced, and their melomel will be flavored with wineberries, blackberries and elderberries.

The Rappahannock Lions were recently given an opportunity to learn about a new program at Rappahannock County Elementary School that has already proven successful in improving reading skills among primary students who are significantly below grade level in reading skills.

The program is called “Book Buddies” and is designed to provide individualized tutoring for young readers who need personal assistance.

The “Book Buddies” program concept has been implemented with outstanding result in other school systems and was adopted on a trial basis at Rappahannock County Elementary School last year. The results were so encouraging that it was decided to go for an expanded program this year.

At a September meeting of the Lions Club the program consisted of a most enthusiastic and very informative presentation by volunteer coordinator Jan Makela, who obviously generated a favorable response from the membership. The board of directors voted to provide the funding required to support the second year of “Book Buddies” at the school.

Dec. 4, 2003

In 1952, Polly Aylor, then a young high school student, wrote her first Flint Hill social column for the Rappahannock News. She enjoyed writing it so much that she kept on doing it, and doing it and doing it, for more than 50 years.

Finally last month she decided that she had been writing the column long enough. It was time to move on, retire and let someone else have a hand. And so, without fanfare, the baton was passed to her successor, Joanne Welch.

Aylor liked talking with her neighbors and keeping up with their lives. Each week she would call friends and neighbors and ask them what they had been doing of note.

Over the years her columns recorded the changes in the lives of Flint Hill residents and Rappahannock County. It was not unusual for Aylor to write about the arrival of a newborn, and then decades later, to record this person’s graduation, marriage and the birth of another generation.

“The hardest part of the job for me,” she reminisced, “was that people move or pass on. So many young people leave the county.”

When Aylor started the column, she wrote her notes in longhand and carried them to the newspaper office. She particularly enjoyed working with the late Barbara Wayland, who was first a receptionist and then general manager and editor of the paper for many years.

Since 1982, as the owner-mechanic of Riverside Auto Service at 20 Water Street, Sperryville, C.B. Johnson has been keeping his customers’ cars and pickups in tip-top shape. With the recent opening of Riverside Auto Sales LLC at the same location, Johnson can now sell them a late model used vehicle.

Johnson’s auto service work provides oil changes and warranty work, state inspections, and mechanical repairs. As an I-CAR Gold Class certified mechanic, the highest certification available, Johnson is highly qualified for all types of auto body and paint work. The shop also offers wrecker service.

Ken Carter, Johnson’s partner in the auto sales business, has been associated with the automobile industry since 1968. He is also the owner of Trading Post Guns on Route 211 between Sperryville and Washington.

Most of the used cars are former leased vehicles.

“If we don’t see the vehicle you want,” he added, “tell me what you’re looking for. If we don’t have it, we will get it for you.”