Tag Archives: small town USA

Pat Haley: ‘We smiled as we left Staunton, Virginia’

Pat Haley 2By Patrick Haley
Guest Post

Thomas Wolfe said, “You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood, back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame, back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.”

We did, in a sense, go home again, at least for seven days. Staunton, Virginia, is not our hometown, but was home to Brenda and me for twelve of the happiest years of our lives. We spent the whole week in Staunton. We saw old friends and journeyed to the Gypsy Hill Park, Staunton Braves Stadium, and Wright’s Dairy-Rite where car hops still come out and take your order. Little has changed from the day it opened in 1952.

As we walked the winding hills in town, up past Trinity Church, and up the street to Mary Baldwin College, wonderful things began to happen. We remembered our motor scooter rides around town, and how Doc Haley, our poodle, used to sit under our large maple tree and listen to the Robert E. Lee High School band practice. The memory made us smile and nod.

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Memorial Day 2009 … small town honors America’s fallen heroes as Food Lion pauses for moment of silence

Dan Pritchett

News Leader photo

By Lynn R. Mitchell

[Editor’s note: I originally wrote this in 2009 after I was in Mr. Pritchett’s grocery store at the national moment of silence and heard him on the store intercom with the message of silence. As he finishes out his last week at Staunton’s Coalter Street Food Lion before retiring, this is a special remembrance of a special man who made a difference in our community.]

Manager Dan Pritchett’s voice came over the intercom at Staunton’s Food Lion grocery store located on Coalter Street as he addressed employees and customers:

“Ladies and gentlemen, it is Memorial Day and the store will shut down for the next 60 seconds as we observe a moment of silence in honor of America’s fallen heroes.”


Perhaps this is one of the things I love most about living in a small town.

It was 3:00 pm on Memorial Day … time for a national moment of silence. The cashiers stopped checking out customers … the Muzak was shut off … customers paused in the aisles … employees ceased working … the store was essentially shut down … and for the next 60 seconds everyone observed a moment of silence for America and our fallen military heroes.

Thank you, Mr. Pritchett.

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