Welcome to Tarboro Stories

You can make a difference… no cost… no gimmicks… just a willingness to signup and spread the word.

We want to let the world know about Tarboro, North Carolina – a unique and beautiful community with a great heritage and fascinating personality… a place where people make a difference.

Tarboro was incorporated in 1760, the ninth oldest town in North Carolina, sixteen years before the signing of our Declaration of Independence. At its center is a 15 acre park set aside by the founding fathers as common ground. A place where you can graze your cattle or walk your dog or just lay out out under the 200+ year old oak trees. Surrounding this “Town Common” are 45 blocks – the largest designated Historic District in North Carolina – of beautiful and architecturally distinctive homes and businesses.

Tarboro is like a woman who has come into her twilight years. Her grace and beauty are less in her figure and more in her personality. Even though she sags a little, she can still make young boys and men weak in their knees. Tarboro is not likely to bring a big corporation to town, but she still has a unique charm and personality that can draw people from the outside into her open arms. The quality of life in Tarboro is second to none.

This is our goal – to spread the word about Tarboro, North Carolina. We need your help in letting us tell you about our community, our people, our heritage.. through a weekly edition of Tarboro Stories. We invite you to sign up to receive the emails for these free weekly tales and hopefully you’ll find them humorous, charming and otherwise entertaining… so much so that you would be willing to forward them to your friends and relatives. We believe that every single person who hears about or learns a little about Tarboro will help make a difference in saving our community.

Enjoy.

Issue 16 – December 8, 2013

Welcome to Tarboro Stories
Issue 16 – December 8, 2013

Home of Tarboro Stories, your update on things related to Tarboro; her people, places and goings on.

Please help us spread the word about Tarboro! Forward this edition to your friends, family members and colleagues. Free subscriptions are available at via the form to the right
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Santa’s very special Blessing … the true story by Russell B. Holderness

Many years ago, before America was a nation and there were not very many people living there, Santa Clause was flying his sleigh from New York, down the eastern seaboard when a dense fog came in off the Atlantic Ocean.

As he crossed over what is now the southern Virginia border, Santa could barely see and decided that he should stop before he had an accident. As the reindeer-driven sleigh descended in the heavy fog, Santa could see a dim light far below. As he flew closer to the light, he thought that it must be a very large fire in an open field.

However, when he landed, he discovered that it was not a fire but a large tree that was full of the brightest of bright lights. Sitting on a log next to this glowing tree of light was a very small person, not three feet tall. He was dressed in tiny, doll-like clothes, home spun from cotton with little wooden shoes carved from old tree trunks that were pointed on the ends.

As Santa approached this little man and asked, “Who are you and how did you make this large tree light up this way?” The little fellow replied, “Hello Santa, I am an elf and I have magical powers. I saw that you were you in the sky and knew that you were in trouble, so I created this tree of light to help you land your sleigh safely in this dense fog.”

Santa was flabbergasted. “How do you know my name and how did you know that I was in trouble?” The elf seemed baffled and he repeated, “I am an elf and I have many special powers that are unique to only elves. Elves do not grow old. We can become as small as a mouse or as large as a house. We can be in many places at the same time and we can see danger in the future. These are only a few of the many magical powers that elves have.”

Santa took a step backwards and stared at this tiny little fellow and bellowed with laughter. “Why, I can hardly believe what you are saying, but it must be true. You saved me from sure disaster. I cannot thank you enough.”

“But I still have a very difficult situation on my hands. Unless I can find a way to see through this dense fog, I will not be able to deliver my presents to the rest of the children in the world.”

The elf cocked his head and thought for a moment. “I think that I might be able to help you”, he said. As he spoke, he began to skip around Santa’s sleigh with its team of reindeer and suddenly the little elf hopped up on the smallest reindeer’s head and asked Santa, “This one here, this reindeer with the bright red nose, what is his name?”

“Rudolph”, Santa replied. “The other reindeer often make fun of him because of his funny nose.” With that, the elf tapped Rudolph on his head and BANG! all of a sudden, his nose became so bright that it lit up the whole sky.

Santa could not believe what he saw. Rudolph’s nose shone so brightly, he knew that he would be able to drive through the dense fog with no difficulty. Santa was so pleased that he began to cry. “You are a very, very special elf indeed. Are there other elves like you?”  “Yes”, replied the elf. “We are all over the world, hidden from most humans.”

Santa asked, “Would you consider joining me and helping me prepare and deliver Christmas presents for boys and girls all over the world? Maybe, you could even help recruit other elves to help too. There seems to be many more children on Earth every year and I can hardly manage to keep up with all the work.”

The elf thought only a moment before he nodded his head in delight, “I would like that very much”, he replied. So Santa climbed back into his sleigh grabbing the elf by his little hand and pulling him on board. “What is your name?”, Santa asked.

The elf replied, “I do not have a name. Everyone has always just called me Elf.”

Santa thought for a second and said, “You are very special and if you had not chosen to help me tonight, I would not have been able to deliver Christmas. You are a very special blessing to me. Would you mind if I called you BLESSING?”

And with that, as the sleigh began to rise in the sky, little Blessing began to glow.

… Dedicated to my brother Jim Holderness, the best storyteller ever.

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Thanks for subscribing. We want you to know us just like you used to know Mayberry RFP. And please tell your friends.

Until next time,
Rusty

P.S. If you have a story about Tarboro or Edgecombe County that you would like to share, please visit http://HistoricTarboro.com/share

We’d love to hear from you!

P.P.S. Like us on Facebook! http://facebook.com/HistoricTarboro


 

Issue 15 – February 6, 2013

Welcome to Tarboro Stories
Issue 15 – February 6, 2013

Home of Tarboro Stories, your update on things related to Tarboro; her people, places and goings on.

Please help us spread the word about Tarboro! Forward this edition to your friends, family members and colleagues. Free subscriptions are available at http://HistoricTarboro.com

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Roxy Boone – An Inspiration To One And All

Stories of any kind have always played a part in the life of a Holderness. In the summer Aunt Mary would keep children enthralled for days with imaginary tales of love, adventure, and mystery. Books were devoured and passed around from person to person so that they could be discussed later over dinner.

Parents took turns revealing exploits of their siblings to their children, tales of misdeeds, life lessons, or those who had died that helped to bond them closer together. Stories that would be constantly repeated over the years to future generations, and even if the details sometimes got confused or forgotten, the core truth remained. These stories are the fabric of the Holderness legacy each one an individual thread used to create a path from the past to the future.

The story of Roxy Boone is one that has become legend in the Holderness family, for it is a tale of how a gifted story teller can impact lives for years to come.

Haywood Holderness was in Seminary when Roxy Boone died. Roxy had been Haywood’s nanny and substitute mother since he was born. A short black woman who was almost as wide as she was tall, Roxy was a powerful force in the eyes of the Holderness boys Jim and Haywood.

Sitting in the church listening to her funeral service Haywood reminisced about Roxy, the memory that stood out the most was one that even now made him smile. Every night before bed Roxy would gather Haywood and his younger brother Jim and read to them. She had an old, worn, black, leather-bound King James Bible that looked like it was about to fall apart.

With a boy on either side she would open the bible and say, “Now let me tell you about Elijah.” Haywood could still hear her voice reciting the various stories of the bible. From Psalms, the story of Ruth, to Moses and the parting of the Red Sea, Roxy made the stories of the bible come alive for the two young boys. It was why Haywood and Jim both had decided to become ministers. Jim had found his calling to the ministry through Roxy’s telling of Samuel who heard the voice of God three times. For Haywood it had been the story of Elijah. After the service ended Haywood sought out her son James to pay his respects.

“James.” Haywood said, shaking the man’s hand. “I can’t tell you how much I loved your mother.”

James Boone smiled, “I know she loved you and Jim too, sir. She was very proud of you both when you went to Seminary.”

“Well, she was the reason.” Haywood replied. “Every night she would pull out this old black leather-bound King James Bible and read to us.” Haywood’s voice got soft with fondness. “She was the one that introduced Jim and I to the bible, she made those stories and passages come alive, she made them real and every day I thank God he brought her into my life. She was an amazing lady.” Haywood finished.

James Boone had tears running down his face as he listened to Haywood. “Mr. Haywood she was more amazing than you know.” James wiped the tears from his face. “My mother never learned how to read.”

Roxy Boone could not read, but she could tell a story. A woman who’s faith was so devout and strong she memorized the stories of the bible. Stories that could then be shared with two young boys, boys that would find their paths in life because of them. It is fitting that the story of Roxy herself has become one that continues to this day to impact everyone who hears it.

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Issue 14 – January 31, 2013

Welcome to Tarboro Stories
Issue 14 – January 31, 2013

Home of Tarboro Stories, your weekly update on things related to Tarboro; her people, places and goings on.

Please help us spread the word about Tarboro! Forward this edition to your friends, family members and colleagues. Free subscriptions are available at http://HistoricTarboro.com

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A Powerful Coach

At our recent Men of the Church supper, our speaker was Jeff Craddock, the young (42 years old) Tarboro High School football coach.

For those of you who don’t know, Tarboro High, with a student population of around 600 students, is a football dynasty. The team has played in the N.C. State Championship for the past five years, winning three and loosing two. Last year (2012), they lost 24 to 20.

After hearing Coach Craddock speak, it is clear to me why they have a successful program.

I had never had the opportunity to hear him talk before and knew only what I heard in the community, which was all very positive. He is a transplanted Ohioan, having lived in Tarboro for the past 18 years, coming up through the ranks of assistant coaching until 2004 when he took over the job as head coach.

His first four years were mediocre at best, winning 24 games and loosing 23. Since then, his teams have won 72 games while only loosing 7, a winning percentage of over 91%, with three State Championships. By any coaching standards … impressive.

But what I discovered by hearing him speak was more impressive than his coaching record. He said that he speaks whenever he is asked to – many times during the year – to Rotary Clubs, church groups, any group that asks him. And what I determined was the reason he does this is not to hear himself talk so much as it is a way for him to get out in the community and listen to what the people are saying.

He is a natural speaker, but what he seems to like best is for the audience to ask him questions which he responds to with honesty, sincerity and enthusiasm. You can almost see him listening to the questions and gleaning from them a supply of information.

You hear him talk about his relationships with his assistant coaches, his players, his community, his wife and family and most importantly, his relationship with GOD. What I picked up on was that he seems to listen to all of them … not just listening, but sincerely and objectively paying attention to what is being said.

I don’t know many people who have that unique quality. My mother was one of the few. When I see it in a person, I am impressed and I can see why Coach Craddock is successful at motivating young men. I came away from that brief encounter, not thinking about how great a coach this guy is, but rather how unique a human he seems to be.

I think the Tarboro community is fortunate to have him as a part of our educational system. I hope he continues to listen and sincerely pay attention to our young children, not because they are winning football games but because he appears to really care about them.

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Thanks for subscribing and get ready to know us just like you used to know Mayberry RFP. And please tell your friends.

Until next week,
Rusty

P.S. If you have a story about Tarboro or Edgecombe County that you would like to share, please visit http://HistoricTarboro.com/share We’d love to hear from you!

P.P.S. Like us on Facebook! http://facebook.com/HistoricTarboro

Issue 13 – December 17, 2012

Welcome to Tarboro Stories
Issue 13 – December 17, 2012

Home of Tarboro Stories, your weekly update on things related to Tarboro; her people, places and goings on.

Please help us spread the word about Tarboro! Forward this edition to your friends, family members and colleagues.

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Don’t Wait Until The End Of The World

According to some, the world is supposed to end this Friday, December 21, 2012. This is the last recorded date on the Mayan calendar.

I’ve been reading in the newspaper what people are saying they plan on doing before the apocalypse. Many are going through their bucket list of things they have determined important before they die. Others prefer the stoic philosophy of “eat, drink and be merry”.

After some serious thought about what I would do if I knew that my time here on earth were to cease at a designated time, i.e., on December the 21st 2012, the question became more important than the answer.

What difference does it make if the world ends this week or if (when) I die in twenty-five years? What is it that I would I like to get done between now and then? In my case, it wasn’t going on a trip to Paris and it wasn’t eating at a five star restaurant with great wine and a Cuban cigar.

What came to my mind was that I would really like the people that I care about in my life – who are many – to know how much they have meant and continue to mean to me.

Obviously, my family, my brothers and sisters and their husbands and wives, their children and grandchildren, my wife and her family, our children and their respective others and our grandchildren. But the list goes on … the old friends that I grew up with, the college friends that I seldom see, the teachers and coaches that influenced my early years, the members of my church who prayed for me during the good and bad times, all the friends that came to family weddings and funerals, the many people who do so many good things in my community, the friends of friends who know friends … I am not able to name them all but there are many, many more.

The point is this … why wait until the end of time. If you have things you want to do … then just do them!!

Merry Christmas to all from Historic Tarboro.

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Thanks for subscribing and get ready to know us just like you used to know Mayberry RFP. And please tell your friends.

Happy Holidays,
Rusty

P.S. If you have a story about Tarboro or Edgecombe County that you would like to share, please visit http://HistoricTarboro.com/share We’d love to hear from you!

P.P.S. Like us on Facebook! http://facebook.com/HistoricTarboro

Issue 12 – December 7, 2012

Welcome to Tarboro Stories
Issue 12 – December 7, 2012

Home of Tarboro Stories, your weekly update on things related to Tarboro; her people, places and goings on.

Please help us spread the word about Tarboro! Forward this edition to your friends, family members and colleagues.

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The Spirit of the Season

Who has read the book, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”, by Barbara Robinson? It was published in 1972, 80 pages and can be read in under an hour. I started reading it to my children around Christmas time when they were in middle school, which was probably a mistake because my daughter Inie took great pleasure in emulating any fictional character that fit her purpose.

The story is about a family of children called the Herdmans, the absolute worst kids in the history of the world – Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie and Gladys. They lied and stole and smoked cigars (even the girls) and talked dirty and hit little kids and cussed their teachers and took the name of the Lord in vain and set fire to Fred Shoemaker’s toolhouse.

It was said that their father left town on a midnight train, never to return and that their mother worked two shifts at the shoe factory because she couldn’t stay at home with all six of them at one time. They were the terror of elementary school, one after another, from the first to the sixth grade.

The narrator’s brother, Charlie, makes the fatal mistake of telling Leroy Herdman that he gets cake and candy every Sunday at Sunday school and this brings all six Herdmans to the Presbyterian church on the following Sunday.

One thing leads to another and before you know it, the Herdmans have taken over the key roles in the Christmas Pageant. Ralph is Joseph, Imogene is Mary, Gladys is the Angle of the Lord and Leroy, Ollie, and Claude are the three wise men. And everybody in the church goes bananas.

The revelation comes at the end of the pageant when everyone was waiting for the Herdmans to do something absolutely unexpected and they did. The Mother of Jesus, Imogene Herdman, was crying. In the candlelight her face was all shiny with tears and she just didn’t bother to wipe them away. She just sat there … awful old Imogene … in her crookedy veil, crying and crying and crying.

You’ll be crying too because the story brings to life the meaning of Christmas. So, download it to your Kindle for under $6.00 and spend an hour with the grandkids getting into the sprit of the season.

Happy Holidays from Historic Tarboro.

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Thanks for subscribing and get ready to know us just like you used to know Mayberry RFP. And please tell your friends.

Happy Holidays,
Rusty

P.S. If you have a story about Tarboro or Edgecombe County that you would like to share, please visit http://HistoricTarboro.com/share We’d love to hear from you!

P.P.S. Like us on Facebook! http://facebook.com/HistoricTarboro

Issue 11 – November 28, 2012

Welcome to Tarboro Stories
Issue 11 – November 28, 2012

Home of Tarboro Stories, your weekly update on things related to Tarboro; her people, places and goings on.

Please help us spread the word about Tarboro! Forward this edition to your friends, family members and colleagues.

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A Pre-Christmas Thought From Historic Tarboro.

Have you ever gotten an old song on your mind to the point where it almost gets annoying? Particularly the oldie, but goldie tunes of the sixties and seventies.

Not long ago, I got stuck on one after coming out of church one Sunday. I was humming to myself … “Every day with you Lord is sweeter than the day before…” without realizing that it wasn’t really “with you Lord” but “with you girl”. The original song, written by Buddy Buie and J. Cobb and recorded by Donnie Yost and the Classics IV band in 1969, is a classic tune.

But then I began to realize that the song made just as much sense with my words as with the original words. For example -

… They say that all good things must come to an end but Lord, it isn’t true, each day with you Lord, I fall in love again. And when I go to sleep at night time, tomorrow’s what I’m praying for, ‘Cause every day with you Lord is sweeter that the day before. And when I don’t sleep at night time, tomorrow’s what I’m waiting for, ‘Cause every day with you Lord is sweeter than the day before…

Now, without even being aware of it, I’ll start playing it back in my head and the neat thing is that it never gets annoying. On the contrary, it makes me feel good. It makes me happy to know that God’s love and grace is sweeter than the day before.

As we enter into the Christmas season, let’s all try to accept the greatest gift … GOD’s love and grace.

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Thanks for subscribing and get ready to know us just like you used to know Mayberry RFP. And please tell your friends.

Until next week, Happy Holidays!
Rusty

P.S. If you have a story about Tarboro or Edgecombe County that you would like to share, please visit http://HistoricTarboro.com/share We’d love to hear from you!

P.P.S. Like us on Facebook! http://facebook.com/HistoricTarboro

Issue 10 – November 21, 2012

Welcome to Tarboro Stories

Issue 10 – November 21, 2012

http://HistoricTarboro.com – Home of Tarboro Stories, your weekly update on things related to Tarboro; her people, places and goings on.

Please help us spread the word about Tarboro! Forward this edition to your friends, family members and colleagues. Free subscriptions are available at http://HistoricTarboro.com

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Everything Is Relative…

My father’s most often repeated statement was “everything is relative” – basically saying that everything in life can be compared to things that are better or worse – bigger or smaller – more valuable or less valuable – a spectrum of possibilities and options to choose from and compare.

From a demographic perspective, Tarboro and Edgecombe County residents are considered by some standards to be less educated, poor, and rural. On the other hand, people who move here from other parts of the world often discover something entirely different.

They find a community that has an amazing number of talented and artistic individuals whose knowledge and wisdom can’t be found in books and formal education. They find people who have traveled the world, coming back, not to gloat about their good fortune, but to share those experiences as a way of giving back. They find an area that regards its history and heritage as its greatest asset.

Tarboro is a place where the older people, the older homes, the older customs are not destroyed or rejected, but rather treasured as a guide for a better future.

For some, this might sound like a poor excuse for living. For some it might not have the shopping, entertainment and culture of the big city. For some, it’s just rural, less educated and poor.

But for those who live here, it’s all very relative.

As the holiday season approaches, please think about shopping small. Small towns and small stores need your patronage. For them, your choice to make a single purchase can make a big difference.

Remember, everything is relative.

In Tarboro, pleae visit these local businesses either online or in person -

http://RustysGiftShop.com

http://RustysPeanutBrittle.com

http://PeaceBWU.com

http://xReba.com

http://OnTheSquareNC.com

http://AceHardwareTarboro.com

While holiday shopping in Downtown Tarboro, please stop by these & other Main Street Merchants and local businesses -

Addie’s Main Street Cafe

Roberson Dupree Shoes

Rex’s Jewelers

Sand and Sugar

Brewer’s Jewelry

Caroline’s

Above & Beyond Antiques

Simmons Furniture

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Thanks for subscribing and get ready to know us just like you used to know Mayberry RFP. And please tell your friends.

Happy Holidays,

Rusty

P.S. If you have a story about Tarboro or Edgecombe County that you would like to share, please visit http://HistoricTarboro.com/share We’d love to hear from you!

P.P.S. Like us on Facebook! http://facebook.com/HistoricTarboro

Issue 09 – November 14, 2012

Miss Bertha & Peanut Brittle Making

Miss Bertha came into our family in 1938 when my grandfather hired her to take care of my grandmother who was bedridden as a result of an automobile accident. A native of Edgecombe County native, Miss Bertha served as a nurse during World War I in the European theater, returning to her farm with her two spinster sisters on the outskirts of Rocky Mount after the war.

During the time she tended to Mama Zelle, she taught my mother Nancy how to make peanut brittle – and according to the best of our family lore, she invented it.

When I was growing up, my mother would start making peanut brittle at the beginning of December. I remember seeing her pour the boiling hot sugar onto a marble slab to let it cool, then breaking it up into small chunks to package and deliver to friends and family during the Christmas season. After my mother’s death in 1995, my sister Nancy took over the family peanut brittle tradition and made it for her Richmond clients and friends.

About five years ago, I attended the Richmond School of Peanut Brittle Making under the tutelage and guidance of Nancy and her husband Tom. After three days of extensive training and grueling twenty batches per day exercises, I became an accredited Miss Bertha’s Peanut Brittle Maker.

With the consent and approval of my sister Nancy, I have begun to make and package this unique recipe of peanut brittle under the name Rusty’s Peanut Brittle.

If you are looking for a holiday treat (Thanksgiving or Christmas), please choose Rusty’s Peanut Brittle. It can be purchased in Tarboro at On the Square Restaurant and Rusty’s Gift Shop on Main Street.

If you are from out of the area, you can order online by visiting http://RustysPeanutBrittle.com

We know that you will enjoy the candy and hope that you will feel the joy of its past and those who created it and gave it to people they loved.

Issue 08 – November 7, 2012

A Bit of Fun…

Yesterday being National Election Day and the end of all the political ads and campaigning, it’s time to report something positive.

Edgecombe County community leaders have let it slip that there is a movement afloat to construct (in an undisclosed site in the County) a new ninety-thousand seat sports complex. The state of the art facility will include 100 luxury suites intended for moderate and low income occupants. All suites and seats will have access to a piped-in distribution system of premium beers, wines and other select beverages.

There is some discussion about applying for a gaming license under the auspices of the Native American tribe of the Tar-Tar Indians who still have descendants in the Old Spartacus region of the County. If successful in obtaining this designation, the sale and distribution of lottery tickets will become secondary to the potential income derived from a full-scale casino to be housed in the main lobby area of the new complex.

A legislative liaison, T.A.C.F.G.T.I.E.C. (Tarboro Area Commission for Good Times in Edgecombe County) has been sent to Raleigh and is negotiating with the State legislature to get the project approved.

Contingent on a few minor issues, the projected is scheduled to break ground in the Spring of 2013 and to be completed for the pre-season opener against the Washington Red Shins in late Summer of 2014. The pre-sale of luxury boxes and season tickets is anticipated to surpass all expectations, creating a furor of optimism about further discussions for the construction on the Tarboro Town Common of a bright yellow 600-foot banana as a potential tourist attraction.

For those that did not get to invest in this project, please consider our next proposal, which will be a subway line from the hospital to the River bridge.

Issue 07 – October 25, 2012

Home of Tarboro Stories, your weekly update on things related to Tarboro; her people, places and goings on.

Please help us spread the word about Tarboro! Forward this edition to your friends, family members and colleagues. Free subscriptions are available at http://HistoricTarboro.com

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It Takes A Village

I was talking to a friend the other day about how Tarboro people look out for each other… some might call it meddling.

My children, growing up here, always wondered how we knew exactly what took place on any particular day at school, like we had eyes in the back of our heads or had a hidden camera in their backpacks.

It was no real secret… if anything of note occurred during the day at dance class, at school, at ball practice… someone… a teacher, a coach, a friend, even a busybody, would let either myself or Mary Ann know long before they would arrive back at home.

The point is that even though we sometimes thought we were too informed about our children, it was actually a comfort to know that Tarboro people cared enough to help us raise them.

I think of when we baptize a child in our church and the congregation is asked if they too will agree to support and encourage this child, making me forever grateful for our community of friends and family that contributed to raising our children.

I am still comforted to know that the process will continue in raising our five beautiful but potentially mischievous grandchildren. It does take a village to raise a child and Tarboro is a great community of good and caring people that take their responsibilities seriously.

Easy to find… Hard to leave.

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Earlier editions of Tarboro Stories are archived on http://HistoricTarboro.com

Thanks for subscribing and get ready to know us just like you used to know Mayberry RFP. And please tell your friends.

Until next week,
Rusty

P.S. If you have a story about Tarboro or Edgecombe County that you would like to share, please visit http://HistoricTarboro.com/share We’d love to hear from you!

P.P.S. Like us on Facebook! http://facebook.com/HistoricTarboro

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