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Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
P. O. Box 3711
204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
Toll Free: 800-234-6575

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Southern hospitality
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Sunday, March 3, 2013

By HOLLY KOZELSKY - Bulletin Accent Editor

I would like to thank the law enforcement officer who pulled us over. He really showed my brother and his girlfriend a thing or two about this area.

No — seriously. It was great.

My brother Michael and his girlfriend, Sam, were here for a week’s visit this time last year. There are lots of differences between New York, where they live, and Southern Virginia. We have a lot to brag about here, so naturally I spent the week doing it.

Throughout their visit, Michael and Sam commented on how friendly everyone was. They weren’t used to it. Where they live, strangers don’t say “hey” when you they walk past you.

They certainly don’t open doors for you. Sam, who’s from New York City, actually finds that practice disconcerting.

Michael had heard of a chicken biscuit but had no idea what one was.

Never had a chicken biscuit? He and Sam weren’t too familiar with biscuits in general, actually.

In the South, biscuits go with everything. As British comedian John Oliver described his trip to the South, when he ordered a biscuit, it was served on a biscuit.

We took them out to a biscuit place. My brother, a healthy eater, wasn’t entirely won over, but at least the meal answered his question.

They went to last year’s spring plant swap at the Bulletin (this year’s will be at 10 a.m. March 23). It was lovely to introduce them to the Bulletin’s garden-loving readers at the swap. Everyone was friendly and welcoming to the pair.

Then we went to the Kite Festival at Jack Dalton Park, where they frolicked around. A woman I only had met once or twice loaned us her kite.

In the evening, we took our guests to a dance. They let loose flatfooting to rollicking, vibrant bluegrass music. They were out there on the dance floor amidst grandparents, little children and every age in between just throwing down.

Driving near Stuart on the way home, we saw blue lights and heard a siren. My husband pulled over.

An officer approached the truck and asked if we knew why he stopped us. No, we didn’t.

He smiled kindly and said we were well above the speed limit. There are a lot of accidents on that stretch of road. That’s why so many speed limit signs were posted there. We should be aware, and drive slowly.

Then he said he had a “crazy question.” He indicated a small mortar and pestle in the vehicle: “Ya’ll aren’t crushing pills with that, are you?” He had to check to be sure we weren’t druggies.

I told him it was a spice grinder I had just bought that evening at the country store. (Now I think he must have been right about it being a pill crusher. It doesn’t crush spices well at all.)

He again told us to drive carefully, wished us a good evening and sent us on our way.

Sam and Michael were astonished. They said they never could have imagined such a friendly exchange with a law enforcement officer. Where they’re from, they said, the entire thing would have been intimidating. It would have felt like a conflict from the beginning. The officer would have thrown his weight around, showing who was boss. Seeing that pestle and mortar really would have stirred things up.

I had spent all week grabbing at opportunities to show my brother and his girl was a great area this is. The best example came when I least expected it.


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