Sunday, May 15, 2022

Late April– I Wish it was still a Small Town

April 15-30,2022                                          Most Recent Posts:
STILL in Virginia                 Early April – the Best Thing About Being Stuck
                                        March 2022 – Basketball, Festival and Snow AGAIN

Still in Virginia. 8 months now.  It feels like forever.  But the end is near.

In the middle of April I finally saw my first wildflowers while walking down to the lower field.


Finally, the sweet May Apple appeared along the path.  Coupled with the Whippoorwill, these were signs spring had FINALLY arrived.


The full moon was dramatic over the mountains and  behind the clouds mid month.


I watched it move through the sky for a long time sitting in the rocker on the bedroom porch.




You can see the moon and hear the whippoorwill at this link.
Maybe Gaelyn can tell me why I have the moon beams in the pictures.
They were not really there.



I thought it was spring but the next day Winter sent hail and sleet my way.  That was its last gasp but we’ve still had lows in the 30’s.  Uggggg – in late April.

Still the city market started up and on Saturday the 23rd I walked down for a visit.  Actually there are now two markets.  One is at the old spot on Market Street just off the downtown mall in Charlottesville and the other is several blocks over in IX park.


It’s no longer called a Farmer’s Market but rather the City Market.  That seems to be because there are fewer farmers than bakers, food vendors and crafts people


This artist was selling a really nice Blue Ridge trip tic among other subjects local and not.


Home made candy anyone?


Herbs and flowers.


Funky record album art


Baked goods and tons more that I’m skipping over.


I walked several blocks further south to the IX Park where the second market was also under way.


The only thing I bought was a slice of this home made pizza which didn’t turn out unfortunately to be all that good despite how great it looked.


The baker boxed it up and I had a couple of bites, then decided I could wait to finish it.


There were other yummy baked goods but I passed.



Here’s what I should have bought.


but since I wasn’t going right back to my refrigerator, I didn’t.


20220423_110133Why wasn’t I going right back to my refrigerator?  Well, on my way to the market I had passed by the intersection at McIntire road and found it and Market Street Blocked off.  I asked the police woman behind the barricades what was going on and she obviously thought I was from outer space when she said – The Dogwood Parade.
I’ve been living in is area long enough to be very acquainted with the Dogwood Festival.  I just hadn’t realized it was these two weeks.  For those not in the know,  The Dogwood Festival is a two week long series of events that celebrate the arrival of spring in Charlottesville. The festival began in 1950 as the Apple Harvest Festival, and in 1958 the name was changed in celebration of the state tree and flower.  There is a parade, carnival rides, a queen, fireworks and who knows what else.  I have seen the parade before and nearly always watched the fireworks.  This year they have moved the carnival from McIntire Park to an abandoned KMart parking lot.  I wonder how much attention it will get so far away from its former location.

I found a front row standing spot and watched what still seemed like a small town parade go by.


The area has had the curse of being label a #1 city to live in, to retire to, to everything else in numerous high profile magazines and Polls.  The population of the area has grown exponentially and that of course means development everywhere you look.  Forests gone.  Property taxes sky rocketing.  Traffic out of control.  In my opinion, it isn’t nearly as nice a place to live as it was in 1976 when we first came here.  I’m sorry for all those who moved here thinking to relocate to a small town.

But you’d never know it by the Dogwood Parade.  I know lots of parades have fire engines.  But do they have food trucks?



Or pickups with a cut out of Jake from State Farm?


Middle School Bands, of course.




But Gutter Pros?  Do they pay to advertise in the parade?


Queens and princesses from every county around and THE Dogwood Queen chosen from that group.  Of course.




But wreckers and heavy equipment?


I think there might have been 5 sets of Twirling Schools marching and doing their best.



Last year’s queen of course.  I think she gives up her crown tonight.


I had to wait until this truck passed by with its men in white gloves before I knew who they were.


That’s some title, the most worshipful prince.


These girls looked like Disney Characters but I really have no idea.  The crowd liked them.


I get the Rescue Squad but Stanley Steamer?


I’ll close with the Monticello High School Band whose drum major and head twirler were great!   Best in show IMO.


If your eyes are glazing over, rest assured, this wasn’t the half of it.  I left out the police, a Putt Putt golf cart with an orange golf ball in a yellow hat, in line skaters,  the local media, they were covering and riding, numerous dance teams and on and on.   Still seemed like a small town parade to me.  And they were all throwing candy to every kid on the route.

I laughed out loud as I started to leave and found the city clean up crew following right behind the parade.


I walked over to what had been Charlottesville’s Lane High School which was in the center of the integration controversy here.  The city sold it to the county and it is now the Albemarle County Office Building.  It’s hard to tell where Albemarle County ends and Charlottesville City begins but they are two different entities and don’t forget it.


A city as old as Charlottesville has a storied past and the 2017 rally that took us all by surprise is just another in a series of happenings here.  I am glad to see the city reckoning with its past and putting up historical markers to tell the whole story.  Click the picture and you might be able to read the story.


Back at Winnona’s former parking spot things are in the full bloom of spring which is exactly why the Dogwood Festival is going on.  The city is absolutely beautiful with flowering trees and bushes everywhere.  Azaleas, dogwoods, clematis, daffodils and much more.







20220430_153200Here are some of the books I read or listened to during the month of April.

This one was one of The Travelling Reader book boxes that had such a hard time getting to me with Fed Ex.  Both were damaged when they arrived so TR has agreed not to send my boxes that way in the future.   I personally will never use Fed Ex again they didn’t have a clue where the boxes were for nearly a month but I wrote about that in the blog when it happened. 

The Winter Sea is historical fiction and takes place in Scotland during the present time and during the time of the first Jacobite rebellion.  I loved eating the snacks, ginger and lemon shortbread and a bar of white and dark chocolate – Yum to both,  while reading the story and wish I could take Winnona to Scotland for the summer.  The postcards of which there were 6 or 7 really enhanced the reading.

Our two person Wednesday Afternoon Book Club read Stephen King’s Time Travel book about the Kennedy Assignation and Native American Author Linda Hogan’s Mean Spirit about the deplorable killings in Oklahoma of Native People in order to take their land.  This book is based on the historical truth and I suspect inspired the later the non fiction book Killers of the Flower Moon which I have also read.

11_22_63 Stephen King 4_26_22Mean Spirit 4_13_22

French Braid is Anne Tyler’s latest novel and of course takes place in Baltimore and gently brings to life the family dynamics of 3 generations.

Dreadful Sorry 4_5_22French Braid 4_24_22

After reading Hogan, all of whose other books I’ve also read, I was looking for other fiction by Native American writers and found Marcie Rendon who now has 3 books out with Cash Blackbear as the main character.  They are easy reads and very true to the life of Native people in Minnesota.

Girl Gone Missing 4_28_22Murder on the Red River 4_17_22

I also listened to several books on tape while I was getting my daily steps if I was just walking and not really hiking.  I also listened at night to try to help me deal with my difficulty sleeping.  They were both fun to listen to and had excellent readers though they weren’t guaranteed to help me go back to sleep when I’d wake up at 1am and be awake for 3 hours.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend audio 4_16_229 women one dress

So that’s April.  On to May. Hoping to be back on the road at its end.  Cross your fingers!

What have you been doing?  Reading?  Do you wake in the middle of the night unable to go back to sleep?  And if so, do you have any suggestions for me?


  1. I don't think I've ever been the first commenter here! Better say something profound :-)) I'm so glad to hear enthusiasm for having Winona ready for travel this month - fingers and toes crossed! The last couple small town parades I've seen included local businesses and suspect they must pay to enter and throw candy. At least they're usually colorful. Hard to beat a good marching band and twirlers though. Looks like the whole town is baking for the markets! I reread all the Tony Hillerman books, as well as his daughter Anne's continuation of the series. Wonderful escapism in the Navajo Nation. And I do read to escape the seriousness of everyday. Our world is now more than enough depressing information for me (and I don't watch any news). Here's to reading your next post from the road!!

    1. I know what you mean about being "first". That was always such a big thing on RV Sue's blog and I remember being thrilled to be first one time on Gaelyn's. Such little things make us smile.
      I'm afraid it will be the very end of May before HOPEFULLY Winnona and I can get back on the road. I so agree with you about not watching the news and today's world being consistently depressing. So glad to have you out there to commiserate with. Maybe we should both read books about being a serf in the Middle Ages. LOL!

  2. "The Winter Sea" sounds similar to the series on television called "The Outlander".

    Virtual hugs,


    1. Good to hear from you Judilyn. I read Outlander before they made it into the famous tv series. Winter Sea was about the previous attempt at rebellion, the first one. Hope you are well. What are you up to and how are you doing?

  3. I love City Market and, by the way, C'ville Candy is AMAZING! His peanut brittle is to die for. I must be an outcast- I don't find parades that thrilling. Did the princesses wave like Queen Elizabeth does? I really enjoy Anne Tyler's books so I will have to go check out French Braids. You read more than anyone I know! Perhaps that's one of the reasons that you are so intelligent and interesting- xxxooo

    1. Thank goodness I didn't see C'ville Candy. This was definitely not a thrilling parade. But it was hilarious! Thank you for the compliments. You are too kind. xxoo back.

  4. Loved this vision of our town. Thank you for sharing. My guilty pleasure right now is the Korean romantic dramedy on Netflix "Crash Landing on You." It's 16 episodes with English subtitles that are sometimes hysterical and add to the enjoyment. How can one go wrong with a romantic comedy set in North Korea?

    1. Love your "guilty pleasure". Don't think you should feel guilty and glad it's giving you pleasure. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Nice to see the parade and all the flowers. Our tree leaves sprouted last week and got larger every day. The snow in the street finally melted last Sunday and our outdoor activity has been raking leaves and sticks in the yard. We fly back to the Sprinter Tuesday night and spend about ten days in Oregon before putting it on a ship for a six-day trip to Anchorage. We have lots of camping reservations in Alaska parks for the short Summer.

    1. You two are very busy. 10 days in Oregon sounds wonderful and a 6 day trip to Anchorage, what a fun way to take your RV to Alaska. Are you going to keep it there?

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks William. It's good to hear from you. I've gotten emails from several regular all regular commenters saying that they could no longer post a comment. Not sure what's going on.

  7. The description of your "small town" parade cracked me up. Sounds exactly like our small town parade here in Grants Pass on Memorial Day. All the advertising in between the bands and the candy throwers.

    Grants Pass is also a dogwood tree city. It starts with the flowering plums, then the cherries, then finally the dogwoods at the same time that the rhodies are in full bloom. I love love love the pinl and white season against the lime green early spring leaves. It lasts at least six week before it settles down to the darker boring greens and before the crepe myrtles open up. We also have a farmers market in downtown on Saturdays. It has much of the same mix you described, but I can still get real food from several of the vendors. Maybe 1/4 of the vendors sell produce, but we also have lots of crafted food items, bakeries, and a tamale lady that has a killer reputation. Too bad I am not a tamale lover. Looking forward to seeing you actually on the road again.

    1. What a great comment Sue. Sounds like our towns are a lot alike. When you got the population population for Charlottesville spell it might have been for the city or the city and the surrounding county I'm not sure. All I know is it's a lot bigger than it was when we left to go on the road with accompanying problems though still a small town parade.

  8. Another thought: Had to look up your population and saw Charlottesville at 47 K and Grants Pass at 37 K. Pretty darn close. I am reading "To Kill a Mockingbird". It was our book group choice to choose a banned Pulitzer prize winner. Can't believe I never read it or watched the movie. I was busy making babies when it was written and when the movie came out. Never got back to it. Then had to do extensive research about the reason for it being banned, or at least not taught in high schools any more. Lots to dig into there, for sure. Will make for an interesting book club this week I think. About a quarter of the members are what I would consider "partially woke", and another quarter are what I would consider "anti woke". The rest of us fall in the middle somewhere. We don't talk politics...LOL who knows how we will discuss this banned book where political discussion is unavoidable.

    1. Your book club sounds very interesting and I wish I could join it or find one like it. This mine is a 2 person book club. Your discussion should be very interesting and I hope you'll post about it if you can.

  9. I try to always avoid walking in to Farmers Markets because the temptation of all those goodies they sell makes it hard for me to walk out!

    I hope all goes well for you and you do get out and about with Winnona in May. I'm sick over the fuel prices, today where I live it's $5.65/gal for diesel and the Journey has a 100 gallon tank. It's getting to be a full tank of fuel can be worth more than the RV. :cO

    Only marched in a parade twice in my life, once in my grade school band and once in the CG celebrating its 200th year. Despite all the practice, I did a better job marching in grade school while carrying and playing a saxophone.

  10. Wow I thought $4.65 a gallon was high for gasoline. I wonder if that will cut the number of RVers down and we'll see rigs for sale. The only good thing about high gas prices might be more spots in campgrounds. I love thinking of you marching in your grade school band. What instrument did you play? We didn't have a marching grade school band but in middle school and high school I played the clarinet and marched around. Great comment Paul thanks.

    1. It was the alto sax. I also played the piano and accordion, neither one was much good for a marching band. :c)

  11. Charlottesville certainly has grown! Nice to see the market. I'm not a parade lover myself, but it's a definite tradition. Gas is way up here $4.45/gallon - ridiculous! Or maybe good as people will maybe drive less. Nice to see all the books you are reading and the beautiful flowers! Love you!

    1. Thanks for your comment sweetheart. I'm glad it finally worked for you. Others are still having trouble.

  12. I haven't come across The Winter Sea, I must have a look for it. Scotland is lovely, its my spiritual home! I go up to the far north west Highlands regularly. We don't have such a tradition of small town parades as you do in the States. In Somerset though, we do have large illuminated carnivals for Guy Fawkes. The most spectacular one is near where I live. Google Bridgwater Carnival if you would like to see it. Of course, right now the celebrations for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee are gearing up, so there will be street parties and concerts to look forward to and I'm sure there will be some parades too.

  13. Platinum Jubilee is just amazing. Look up The Traveling Reader Subscription Book Blub. Its home is in England and they sent me The Winter Sea. I also just read The House Between Tides also set in Scotland. I would love to return there. I visited long before the Outlander craze and fear going back because of it. Would love to see your Guy Fawkes Day carnival in person. I did google it. It's MUCH bigger with floats and everything than any small town festival like ours. More like something in NYC or LA.

  14. I love the views you get at the farm. Shooting into the light often creates lens flare. A polarizing filter can help. Love Markets like that. Interesting mural in the background. Give me the Greek treats. Fun parade. Too expensive to build floats so advertise instead. The dogwoods are breathtaking. I sure hope Winona is ready to travel as I know you are.

  15. Sorry for the late comments! I love small town parades. On our travels we got to see quite a few. Always cracked me up the vehicles in the parades as well, mostly the local tow trucks etc. I love all the flowers blooming in your area as well as our backyard. For some reason our daffodils haven't flowered this year, weird. Our days are pretty quiet, we socialize with friends once a week or so, or we might drive over to Monterey. Miss traveling, but so much to do and see in the area without the fuel preventing it. Our gas price is around $5.50 at the 'cheap' stations, and $6.50 at the higher ones. Crazy!


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