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Reader questions, comments answered

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This week’s column will address several questions, comments and suggestions that have come across my desk (doesn’t that wording sound official?) from readers over the past few days in connection with previous columns.

In the “sounds that define a lifetime” column from a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that among my most favorite sounds was a rooster crowing.

Shortly after publication, someone told me while he respected my thoughts, he felt differently since when he was growing up on the farm, the rooster crowing meant it was time to get out of bed and begin his chores for the day.

In the recent “growing old gracefully” column, due to space limitations we had to omit a few jokes and comments I had hoped to include that we can offer for you now.

From comedian George Burns, who died in 1996 at age 100 and was known for his one-liners came; “First you forget names, then you forget faces. Next you forget to pull your zipper up and finally, you forget to pull it down.”

Also from George Burns; “I was always taught to respect my elders and now I’ve reached the age when I don’t have anybody left to respect.”

One last aging gracefully joke came from an unknown source.

It seems an elderly widow and a widower had been dating for five years. He finally asked her to marry him and she immediately said yes.

Next morning, the man could not remember what her answer had been, so in a panic he decided to call her.

“This is really embarrassing,” he began, “but when I asked you to marry me yesterday, well, this morning I just couldn’t remember what your answer was.”

“Oh, I’m so glad you called,” she said. “I remembered saying yes to someone, but I couldn’t remember who it was.”

In the recent “dining out, then vs. now” column, I listed several eateries and restaurants operating in Wilson when I was growing up during the 1950s and early 1960s.

I realized it might be difficult to accomplish this without leaving out some places.

While I did list Godwin’s Barbecue, Parker’s Barbecue, Dick’s Hot Dog Stand and The Creamery, I omitted several others including Theater Soda Shop beside the current Edna Boykin Cultural Center on Nash Street, Red Apple Café, on the corner across from where Imagination Station is now and Rainbow Grill on Goldsboro Street, behind the current site of the Wilson Arts Council.

Also, there was the Golden Weed Restaurant on Herring Avenue, Bill Golding’s Plaza Restaurant around the corner from the Wilson County Public Library, Maurice’s Grill on U.S. 117 South and Howard Johnson’s Restaurant on U.S. 301.

Some clarification is needed on a couple of other sites.

Bill’s Drive-In, opening in 1962 and later evolving into Bill Ellis Barbecue before recently closing its doors, should not be confused with Bill’s Grill now operating on Nash Street that branched off from a restaurant by the same name in Black Creek.

Flo’s Kitchen, the Five Points restaurant famous for its “cat head” biscuits, was not in business during the 1950s.

While the current Flo’s building was there, it was then known as Roy’s Curve Service Station and specialized in brake jobs, tune-ups and oil changes many years prior to becoming a restaurant and specializing in breakfast biscuits.

One place I failed to mention was on West Nash Road and was actually occupied by two different restaurants at two different times in the same location, although I’m not sure which one came first or their exact years of operation.

They were known as the Dinner Bell Restaurant and Ship ‘n’ Shore Restaurant and I recall eating at both places with my family. The facility was rather large and I remember attending a scout banquet that a lot of people attended.

After the restaurants closed down, the place eventually became Shingleton Funeral Home, which occupies the building today.

In recent years when attending funerals there, I have sometimes mentioned to others about the place once being a restaurant. Most of the time they don’t believe me and think I’m only joking.

I’ve often thought it was better the place was a restaurant prior to becoming a funeral parlor instead of vice versa. If the sequence were reversed, it might have felt strange or uncomfortable for diners knowing the rack of spare ribs on which they were feasting was located near the spot where Uncle Joe’s body was lying in a casket before being buried.

Please keep the comments coming — I like hearing from you even if it’s to tell me either I’m an idiot or got my facts confused.

Keith Barnes is a reporter for the Johnstonian News. Email him at