Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rainbow in Sanford

Rainbow in Sanford
Originally uploaded by Joe Jon!
I saw this rainbow after the storm on Monday and took a picture outside of my hotel. It's the first one I have seen in a good while.

Hopefully there will some promise in my time and future in Sanford!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

An Offer Has Been Made!

Well, we narrowed it down to one house and made an offer on it today. I imagine it being Saturday and all we won't hear back until sometime on Monday. The home we are looking at has 2900 square feet, 4 bedrooms and 3 baths, and sits on about 7/10 of an acre. It's a bit of a fixer-upper, but in a nice neighborhood. I met some of the neighbors Tuesday night and found them all very nice. Middle class merriment, indeed.

I was stopped Thursday night by one of Sanford's finest. It really took me by surprise as I knew for sure I wasn't speeding, and I was just going up the block from the hotel for a Subway sub and chips. Well, turns out that the car I have been borrowing from a friend - for gas purposes as my Ford F-150 is killing me - had a headlamp out. The officer put that bright side-mounted spot light right on my rear view mirror and walked up to my car. He took my license and called it and the tag in, let me know about my light, and let me go on my way. He was professional about it all, but acted much like I did when I was a cop in the 90's. I am guessing he was looking for bigger fish to fry than my headlight, like a drunk driver or a dope dealer, and wanted to get me on up the road.

Hopefully we'll get that house and I'll be back in my truck in the next week or so. That should save me a little of the trouble of that headlamp, and keep the SPD on more important things!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Another Local Blog!

Lee County Sheriff Tracy Carter has a weblog. Thumbing through it today I found it had a lot of good information. I particularly enjoy the times where he toots the horn of his department in some great busts of various types and where he discusses his department's involvement in the community. What a great tool to keep the community "in the know" about what is happening with local law enforcement. Sheriff Carter updates the blog pretty regularly, too. It looks like some great stuff is going on with the LCSO! I'll be checking back often!

On another note, I discovered the LCSO has another blog on deadbeat parents. Whoa!

Friday, July 20, 2007

More at the Function

Thursday's "Function at the Junction" brought out three things: good music, a decent sized crowd, and a great deal of heat!
Roger Hester & The High Country Men picked and grinned (more like 'grin and bear it' with the 95 degree temps) for a couple of hundred bluegrass fans at The Depot. I think a few more would have come out, but it was pretty hot out there in the sun. Winston-Salem has a number of events centered around music. I'm glad Sanford, though very small in population numbers, makes an effort to have an event where people can come together. I have met no less than a dozen people and had good conversations with them just in the last two weeks. It was a great deal of fun to see some of them back this week.
These guys were pretty good! It's great to know there is a little bluegrass - my personal favorite - to be found in Sanford.
The crowd pushed back into the shade for the most part. When the sun set behind the downtown buildings things cooled off quickly. That cool breeze felt great at 8:40, when the band was winding down. I wish they played another hour or two, but they were kind enough to go beyond their 8:30 stop time.
It didn't cool quickly enough for Caden, who threw off his shirt and hit the fountain with his brothers and several other kids seeking some cool relief. I can see this fountain is a great
attraction in the summer afternoons. My three sons loved it and are already begging to go back.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What To Do, What To Do

We looked at homes in Carolina Trace, Cameron, and northern Sanford today. The relocation effort is stalling a bit, but we remain hopeful that we will choose a home soon. Amazing how nothing seems to come together in our search for a new home. We really like three of the houses we visited tonight but there was something wrong with each one.

Home 1 has the best house but the worst lot.

Home 2 has the best lot but the worst house.

Home 3 finished in second place in the house and lot categories.

Note that by "worst" I mean least acceptable.

The best house was very large, but required a bit of work on the inside. Oh, and that 421 bypass is only about 150 feet behind the house. Eep. But we loved the size and set-up of the home itself. Loved it. But who wants big rigs buzzing through the back yard (thus the worst lot)?

The other home had a m-o-n-s-t-e-r back yard with privacy fence and play set, but it was the smallest house of the three. We need another bedroom (or bonus room). It was very nice, and we could make do, but the space is a critical part of living with three little boys.

The home in second place had a very nice house but smallish yard. The house wasn't as big as the one in first place in that category, but it would need very, very little done to it to move in, and it had that much needed bonus room (we homeschool, so the bonus room makes for a good classroom).

Oh, the agony of trying to decide. Weighing the factors, including homeowner association/recreation fees and what to do with our two Labrador Retrievers, is tough. Hopefully we can have a sense of peace and get into a house very soon.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Farmer's Market

Farmer's Market
Originally uploaded by Joe Jon!
This past Wednesday I dropped in on the local Farmer's Market. There were actually three vehicles involved, though this photo shows just two. One gentleman packed up his baskets and other goods as a storm loomed ominously overhead.

Sue Buie is shown in the foreground. She sells at markets seven days a week, and was doing a pretty decent business on this day.

Originally uploaded by Joe Jon!
Her prices were comparable to many supermarket prices, but you can't get the freshness there. She picked these items from her garden that morning. These veggies didn't sit on a truck from California all week. Her field peas ran out in the first few minutes. The watermelons and okra looked terrific.

Sue Buie
Originally uploaded by Joe Jon!
In the 15 minutes I was with her this was a part of about 30 seconds she had no one to sell to. Buie farms several acres each year, which is enough to keep her moving those seven days a week. I enjoyed talking to her. Just another of the friendly folks in this region.

Sue Mashburn
Originally uploaded by Joe Jon!

The other Sue at the market sits with her freshly picked goods. Sue Mashburn said she didn't have enough in her garden to go to the larger markets. This farmer's market suited her just fine. She had a few peppers and some green beans among her freshly picked items.

Between Buie and Mashburn there was enough to get your fresh vegetables and put something fresh in the pot for a few nights. They'll be back every Wednesday and Saturday, so come ready to get farm fresh goodness right from our local farmers.

Get more info on the Sanford Farmer's Market.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fairview Dairy Bar

Fairview Dairy Bar
Originally uploaded by Joe Jon!
The Fairview Dairy Bar is a nice place to get a home cooked meal. I have eaten there thrice now - twice alone and once with the wife and kids - and have discovered that the food is tasty and the atmosphere is pleasant.

Oh, I could argue over the portion size a bit, I suppose. My kids eat like they know there is a widespread famine just around the corner. So, they were understandably disappointed to get served a plate where only about 1/3 of it was actually covered with food. But it held them over until the ice cream came, which seemed plentiful enough. I liked the liver and onions with the fried okra cooked just like my mom used to make it. And my wife enjoyed a nice vegetable plate and a little sundae.

They say you always see someone you know there, so being a new guy in town I was skeptical. But, alas, a co-worker walked over as she was leaving and said hello and met the family.

The wait staff was very pleasant in that "welcome to our country diner" kind of way. I love it when they call you "honey" and "sugar" and "sweetie" and what not. Can it get any more cozy than that?

The customers seem friendly here, too. When our 19-month old screamed out once like he had just been attacked by toddler-snatching zombies under the table the little old ladies next to us just gave us a pleasant smile and made several ,"Aw, isn't he a cutie," type comments. Go figure!

I discovered that the lunch crowd packs the place out between 11:30 and 1:00, so I have stuck to evening meals, thus far. But I hope to go by one night around 10:00 PM (they're open 'til 11:00!) and get a little treat before bed time.

In the immortal words of Terminator I: "I'll be back!"

Monday, July 9, 2007

When I started telling folks I was headed to Sanford with the family the one response I seemed to get the most was, "It sure is hot down there."

It sure is.

Current conditions in:

West Jefferson, NC: 82 degrees on the river at our mountain getaway.
Winston-Salem, NC: 89 degrees at our current residence.
Sanford, NC: 94 degrees in our future home.

It's very hot here today. It's a good thing my dear wife's favorite season is summer!

*On another note, I added links to some local blogs to the left side of the web page. Be sure to check them out! If you are reading this and have a local blog, please be sure to drop me an email and let me know!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Local Blog Off To A Great Start

I discovered that The Sanford Herald has a blog linked from its front page online that is written by the editor, Billy Liggett. This got me pretty excited as I have my own personal blog, and I also started the one you are reading now.

During the recent Winston-Salem annexation, in which we were swept up, I wrote a piece on a reporter coming to my home to interview me on the annexation. Ken Ottenbourg, the Managing Editor for the Winston-Salem Journal, wrote a bit on his blog about that interaction with the reporter, and the whole idea behind "citizen journalism" in the new media age. It was fun to get a mention in Ken's blog. It was even more fun to learn of the local editor having a blog in Winston-Salem. And now I discover the local Sanford editor has a blog, which is even more, more fun.

So far Liggett has done a couple of product reviews, covered the US Women's Open (golf) and spoken on a couple of local articles/issues. It's a pretty interesting read. I will encourage him to keep the focus on his mission statement from the first day or so of his blogs inception:

"Well, my focus will mostly be this newspaper. This will be my way of answering questions we receive, defending the choices we make and explaining the direction The Sanford Herald is going."

It keeps the discussion local, and might stir some discussion on the local issues first and foremost, state and regional issues second, and national/world issues third. I'll be sure to send him some questions when I get settled in!

I wish Billy the best with his blog. Heck, maybe he will offer me some free lance work sometime!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Happy 100th Lee County

I have been getting to know the Sanford area for just a few weeks now, mostly through the confines of my new job at Central Carolina Hospital. Getting to know my co-workers at CCH has led me to believe that the Sanford area is just plain full of nice people. So, it was good to have an event like the Lee County Centennial Celebration to confirm that this area is loaded with genuinely kind folks.
(Above: The Railroad House at Depot Park)

I approached the celebration with a good sense of small town euphoria, eager to see what this area is all about. The celebration was starting just as I arrived and already several hundred
people had gathered. I was instantly drawn to my favorite music - bluegrass - which was being played by The High Countrymen. These guys played some great tunes and had that older bluegrass style that I enjoy. Not too folksy, not too modern. I think Bill Monroe would have tapped his toes to the high country sounds.

There were lots of old cars on display, which was kind of neat as it added to the historical feel of the event.

Several of the old cars were lined up right by the train tracks by the park.

These old fellows took in a pair of vintage vehicles.

A good number of people dressed the part. Lee County was named for Robert E. Lee, so several came in Civil War attire. I spoke with these kind folks for a few minutes and they shared with me that they just dressed up for fun. Neither of them were affiliated with a reenactment group or historical society, they just enjoyed donning the fancy duds from time to time. I got to speak with at least a dozen folks. From the owners of WLHC 103.1, whose offices were just a block or two away (they invited me to stop by some time, which I will do), to a Lieutenant with the local Sheriff's office, everyone I spoke with was very accommodating and helpful.

There was a Robert E. Lee look alike contest. I bet this guy won it. Robert E. Lee is a historical figure I have always admired, even amidst all of the controversy.

My wife says I can never go anywhere without running in to someone I know. We have seen people we know in Atlanta, Orlando, on a cruise ship in the Caribbean, California, and Mexico. I bumped in to 21st District Superior Court Judge Ron Spivey just before he spoke at the celebration. We knew each other back in my hometown of Winston-Salem, and played on a summer league basketball team together a few years back. He has a pretty good jump shot. Spivey grew up in Sanford and spoke of how proud he was to still be considered part of the Sanford area. I think he has a good reason for that. Sanford strikes me as a neat little town.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Sanford (dash) and (dash) Sons

Welcome! This is the blog of the new guy in town, Joe Jon Bryant. I am in the process of relocating to the area after taking a job right here in sunny Sanford, North Carolina!

I don't know much about the Sanford area, but I aim to find out as much as I can and write about the whole relocation experience (to some extent or another) right here. Along the way I will put some things in here and there about what I have learned and what I like and dislike about the whole Sanford area. And I might tell you a little about me, too.

So peek in and check for updates here and there. I'll try to write at least a couple of times a week, especially once we get settled in!

I named the blog "Sanford and Sons" as I am happily married with three young sons and, well, moving to the Sanford, NC area. I tried to get the address sanfordandsons.blogspot.com, but it was already taken by a man with the last name of "Sanford" and his sons, so I just threw in the dashes. So be careful when typing the address to get here! It's http://sanford-and-sons.blogspot.com/ ! *Thanks to Esbee at Life in Forsyth for recommending the name!

See you real soon!