This past weekend I visited my hometown, Boykins, Virginia. In the last few years, there have been real efforts to restore the qualities that had made it so special many years ago. Boykins will never again be the way that I remember it, but it does have a promising future.
Being summer, I wanted a chicken salad sandwich for lunch, and that is what prompted my trip. Perhaps too I was somewhat nostalgic for simpler times when my grandmother’s chicken salad could make any problem disappear. (One of her secret was using watermelon rind pickle cut into relish sized pieces.)
I ate at a restaurant called “The Hungry Rooster.” It is in the building that I believe was once the Peeble’s Department Store where you could always find just about everything you would ever possibly want. I still have books that my grandparents bought for me from that great store.
The thing that my heart remembers the most was that I was always someone special wherever I went downtown or anywhere else in Boykins. I was always my grandfather’s grandson. Everyone knew him and everyone knew me, and I wanted to be like him more than anything in the world.
People still treat you like you are special in Boykins, even if someone doesn’t know you, they still treat you in a friendly and respectful way. That was certainly my experience at “The Hungry Rooster.” I honestly can not say enough nice things about the restaurant or the hardworking owners.
When they found out that the day before had been my birthday, they surprised me with a perfectly warmed brownie with ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, one huge cherry, and a lit birthday candle on top. It was a wonderful treat that I absolutely devoured with pure boyish delight.
It was a great ending to a perfect chicken salad sandwich and a mountain of French fries. By the way, when I took the paper off of my straw, I was amazed to see that it was a “bendie” straw, just one more little detail that made the restaurant truly special.
Afterwards, I went to “Storybook Antiques” a few doors down and bought the large and sturdy stoneware bowl that you see pictured here. The raised decoration around the bowl looks like an Art Deco design. It is filled with bay leaves from some limbs that I cut trimmed Sunday morning.
Quick tip: If you are working on an old house, it doesn’t have to be exactly accurate for the period in which it was built. That would be too much like living in a museum. Let your past guide your house projects for the future. Sometimes a single object can express a former time and way of life.
You can visit Boykins, Virginia http://boykinsvirginia.com/ on the Internet, but I’m sure that they would be glad for you to visit in person as well. Readers, I hope that you too feel like your home town is the best home town in the world too.