Ten (Really Eleven) Notes from Roanoke

A few thoughts on a terribly rainy day. I am sitting at Valley View Mall in Roanoke, where I grew up. I’m awaiting the arrival of my friend at the Roanoke airport. It still partially bears the name of Woodrum Field, which I recall being the complete name as a kid.

1) Mannheim Steamroller is at the Roanoke Civic Center this afternoon. Darn, I wish I could see them! They have great Christmans music. I learned about it ask I drove by the Civic Center in the pooring rain this morning.

2) The Mill Mountain Star is 60 years old this week. That means it was a real newbie as I was growing up in Roanoke in the 1950s and 1960s. It llights up at night. When I was a kid, there was a rather gruesome practice of turning the star blood red at night when there was a traffic fatality in the state. I don’t know if they still do that.

3) Sarah Palin was in town to sign her new book “Going Rogue” at the Barnes and Noble around the corner. Love her or not, she is quite a phenomenon. A bunch of people camped out all night to get in line to get their copy of her book signed. Of course, the country was raving about Mr. O and dissing her about a year ago.  Virginia went for a Democrat for the first time since 1964. Fickle, fickle!

4) I was heading to the Verizon store to discuss wireless internet service and mournfully eyed the empty shell of the old Circuit City store here.  I used to like that establishment. It’s too bad they went under.  Hhgregg (sounds like someone clearing their throat) of Indiana is looking about moving in there.  They sell electronics, AND mattresses. I guess you can listen to a potential Ipod and take a nap at the same time. This store reminds me of a place I worked at in the early 1980s. The store sold medical equipment and party aids. On top of that the place was called Aids. This was before the onset of the disease.

5) The Virginia Tech football team played its last home game of the season in Blacksburg on a beautiful Saturday.  I dropped my childhood buddy and his wife off at the Huckleberry Trail (or something like that) after they parked at my place. They walked on to Lane Stadium for the game. I sat at Starbucks, outside, and enjoyed the day.

6) The Roanoke Times has an invitation to comment on Interstate 81 in today’s edition. The road apparently scares people to death. It does me. I chose to live in Blackbsurg partly because I didn’t want to risk my life with the trucks every day. I drove over here in the pouring rain this morning, praying all the way.

7) Speaking of Blacksburg, even this little city can have its share of controversy. The local government can’t decide what to do with the empty Old Blacksburg Middle School, which is right in sight of my front porch. (Too bad the new one is miles away. My youngest daughter could just walk to school.) The school seems to be a political football.

8) While thinking about football, I have passed by Salem Stadium a couple times recently. It is home to the Salem Spartan High School football team, a local powerhouse. (One fellow told me that if they basically have to win the state championship or it is considered a lost season.) It is also home to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, the NCAA DivisionII national championship. I don’t recall ever going to Salem as a kid. I knew it existed, that’s about it. I don’t think I will have fond memories of my recent visits because I go there to see the orthopedic surgeon about my broken ankle.

Salem Stadium from a program in 1985. They played William Fleming of Roanoke, where my brother went to school. Of course, we were long gone at the time of this game.

9) The other scandal in Blacksburg is a so-called elite mall that was built a few years ago. First and Main was an upgrade to the area, but it is 25% empty and there is a lawsuit between one of the major tenants and the developer in play. I don’t really care so much, even though it is only a mile from my house. There is nothing there that appeals to me. If I want to go the mall, I go over to Christiansburg.

10) Finally, on a lighter note, Canasta for Beginners is being offered at the Radford Senior Center. I sent my mother the announcement and told her she could teach the class. I remember the adults playing a lot of that game as a kid in Roanoke.



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2 responses to “Ten (Really Eleven) Notes from Roanoke

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