In my call for questions, I received three. I said I'd answer them today, and I am a man of my word. So, with no more ado, here they are...
Jackie asks: What is your favorite childhood memory?
This is actually a pretty tough question. It isn't that I didn't have a happy childhood with plenty of fond memories. It could be that as an adult, I've just become so jaded and cynical that it's hard to look back and pick something out of the fog. Then again, maybe I'm just getting old and those memories are just fading. Something that does stick out is a trip to Lakeside Amusement Park. It wasn't anything huge, but it was local and it was exciting. And to a kid my age, it seemed to stretch on forever, with endless entertaining possibilities. Thanks to a flood in 1985, Lakeside was shut down before I turned six, so I never got to experience any of the grown-up rides like the Shooting Star roller coaster. But I remember watching the flashing lights and the way those rides moved around so fast. And I realize that a place like that paled in comparison to places like Busch Gardens or Kings Dominion, but again, the perspective of a five-year-old made it a very exciting place.
Lacey asks: If you were going to start your own business, what would it be?
There was a time, back in Bluefield, when I wanted to run a movie theater. Not one of the new theaters with multple screens and digital projectors. There was this old theater downtown, on the West Virginia side, called the Colonial. It was run down, and the guy that owned it used the building to store a lot of junk. It was just sitting there, rotting away. Somewhere along the way I found out that the guy was selling it, and his asking price was only $35,000. Sounds like a steal, right? Well, I called him up, asked him about it, and he invited me to come and take a look at it. So I took the tour. Yeah, it was falling apart, but the place was beautiful. At the time, I was looking at it through incredibly optimistic eyes. So I looked past the owner's junk and trash. I looked past the crumbling ceilings and cracked walls. But the reality of the situation was that the old place would have needed to have about $500,000 worth of work done to it in order to even be safe for people to come to watch a movie. But my idea was to take the lobby and convert it into a coffeeshop and show classic movies in the theater. The work that needed to be done was enough to blow that particular dream out of the water. I knew I could have come up with a way to buy the property itself, but I just couldn't see how I could possibly come up with half a million dollars to make the needed repairs. Even if I could have had the place declared an historic landmark, and I'm pretty sure it qualified, the odds just seemed insurmountable. Also, it was in a part of town that not too many folks would have wanted to visit after sundown. That probably would have cut into my chances of turning a profit at any given point. But I still think that kind of thing would be a lot of fun to do.
Rowena asks: What is your favorite memory of Mrs. Hall's class at Springdale? I'll take either year since we had her for both 4th and 5th grade.
Springdale? What's Springdale? 'Cause I'm pretty sure we were at Raleigh Court for Mrs. Hall's class. Most of what I remember about 4th grade is thinking that Mrs. Hall just didn't like me. I remember having a crush on Sarah. And I have a vague memory of trying to come up with a story for a 4th Back to the Future with you and Justin Walker. Good times. As I've gotten older, I've come to realize that as awesome as Back to the Future is, it works just fine as a trilogy.