Archived Story

Hello Pinetops Road

Published 8:12am Tuesday, June 11, 2013

“Just know you’re not alone, cause I’m gonna make this place your home.”

The above verse comes from a song entitled – “Home” – the debut single from Phillip Phillips who won season 11 of American Idol.

This past weekend, Deborah and I were not alone in more ways than one as we changed addresses for the first time in almost 20 years.

After renting multiple properties in Tarboro, Garner, Windsor, Powellsville and Ahoskie for the first 14 years of marriage, we purchased our very first home in June of 1993, setting up house on Jernigan Airport Road just south of Ahoskie. Using the manpower of Buck Leary (Deborah’s nephew), we moved and spent the first night in that house on June 22, 1993 (my 40th birthday).

The house was made of wood, nails and shingles; the home was built on love. We enjoyed so many good times there, especially watching Danielle grow from age 7 and up. We all entertained our family and friends from that home. We made new friends as well with neighbors….especially the families of Kevin and “T” Joyner; Billy and Judy Baker; Calvin and Thelma Harrell; and our immediate next-door neighbors – the Cottle clan (Darren, Stephanie, Alden and Noah). Watching Alden and Noah grow up was nearly as exciting as seeing Danielle progress from a little girl to a beautiful woman.

As you can tell, Deborah and I were not alone as we made our home on the outskirts of Ahoskie. We were content on making that dwelling as our final stop in what had been a lifetime full of address changes. But, alas, there was one more laying in wait.

In April of last year, my sister, Cindy, passed away after a courageous battle vs. cancer. At the time she had two residences – our homeplace in the Pinetops community of Northampton County and Richmond, VA where her daughter (Betsy) lived and where Cindy was undergoing the majority of her cancer treatments.

In the months following her death, my brother (Tommy) and I discussed about what to do with the homeplace. We didn’t want to sell it for sentimental reasons and we really didn’t want to rent it. By the early fall of last year, and after many weeks of thought, Deborah and I decided to make it our home….moving back to the family farm where we could enjoy our remaining years.

Blessed with a brother possessing enormous talents when it comes to construction/electrical/plumbing, the effort was launched in January to remodel the homeplace. The old house had a few surprises, threw us a few curveballs, but Tommy’s talent overcame every obstacle…..Deborah and I were not alone in seeing the homeplace undergo a major transformation.

Now, with the major problems repaired – including overhauling a utility room from the ground up – and a fresh coat of paint throughout, the old homeplace has sprung back to life.

With the strong backs of Kevin Joyner, Brandon Harrell, Tommy and Patrick Bryant (my nephew and next-door neighbor), the household furnishings once inside of a home on Jernigan Airport Road made their way this past weekend to Pinetops Road. We were not alone in our moving efforts.

We’re now back home, and I can say “we” because Deborah feels the same way even though she wasn’t raised in that house. She always loved the warmth of that home….made that way built on the love initially established there by my now late parents – Ray and Blanche Bryant. We’re not alone there because that love still lives through their memory.

And to welcome us back to Pinetops is a yellow ribbon tied to a post on our front porch, courtesy of my cousin and next-door neighbor, Mildred Brown and her husband, Brant. Then there will be welcomed visits from my two great nieces – McKenzie and Laura Bryant – from next door.

We’re looking forward to building new memories on Pinetops Road, including the introduction of how to live Northampton County style to our first grandchild due in late November. Hopefully we’ll be unpacked by then.

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207. 

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