Monday, November 06, 2006

Bath Culture

Bath, NC

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Boy do we like this place. If we were not enjoying the life of cruisers, this is exactly our kind of ideal place to retire to. Bath is small, perhaps 500 people. No part of the village is more than 10 minutes walk away.

This morning I went to the marina and paid the man $10 to let us use his showers. Libby was very glad for that. She is less than a slob than I when it comes to showers and changing clothes. My tastes are more akin to those of the mountain men in the 19th century.

The Bath Town Hall is a little building 15x20 feet. It holds a single desk, a chair, and a rack of notebooks with the town records. Behind the hall connected by a gangway is a gazebo by the water. It looks like the town council meetings must be held there. That is the kind of government bureaucracy that I could live with.

We walked to the local grocery store. Along the way we stopped an asked a man in his front yard for directions. He offered to give us a ride. We declined.

The store was a combination gas station and convenience store. However, their selection of goods was odd. There was a mostly empty bin for fresh vegetables, but the only thing left was a couple of tired looking sweet potatoes (sweet potatoes here are called Swedes). Next to the vegetable bin there was an expensive looking wine cellar. There wan an isle for bread and Twinkies and beer, one for canned food, one for dog food. The meet section had pig jowls, hog backs and, knuckles. Then there was an isle with hardware. There were five big bins with several hundred pounds of nails of different sizes. There was a box full of slip joints and another with slip nuts. There was radiator stop leak and rubber cement. Up front near the cash register there was a rack with the biggest collection of snuff (snus) that I've seen since living in Sweden. Also at the front there were three wooden chairs filled with three farmers swapping stories about goober peas. In reality we didn't know what they were saying because we couldn't understand them. They sounded like the fishermen on Tangier Island speaking Eliabethean English.

In rural upstate New York, we used to see a country store that had a sign saying, "Beer, Bait, Ammo." The store in Bath should have a sign saying, "Nails, Snuff, Wine."

Speaking of stores. In Belhaven, Libby found an Ace Hardware store that (in addition to hardware) sold Christmas decorations, used books, videos, used videos, cheese, wine, nautical charts, road atlases, Carhart clothing, long johns, snack food, jewelry, plus much more.

If we really did move here we would probably discover that it is like Vermont. In Vermont, anyone who has been there for less than three generations is a "flatlander" and is not admitted to the inner circles of society.

On the way back from the store, the man we asked directions from came out and asked us if we could tell him how to sell his house. He also said, "When I offered to give you a ride I wasn't going to rob you or anything." We were a little taken aback about selling the house. He said, "Should I put an ad in the Raleigh newspaper?" and we eagerly said, "Yes." I foolishly continued to advise him to advertise the house on the Internet. He gave me a blank stare. Then he said, "We have to get out in the country. We used to be able to hear the music of the halyards on the masts of the sailboats, but no more. Now its so bad that someday I'll even have to stop at a stop sign." As we walked away, I said to Libby, "I really really like North Carolina and its people, don't you?" She answered, "Yes I do but I wonder about inbreeding."

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