January 25, 2022
Thanks for the memories, Castleman D. Chesley
You think it’s easy being an Internet Legend? Sure, there are awesome perks BUT … It’s one critical decision after another. IT NEVER ENDS!
I juggled this Column OR “My Hometown: From A Heaven To A Hell”. Then I remembered It’s My Website. I can do this one today and “… Heaven To Hell” maybe Wed or Thurs or even later today.
This is an updated and edited version of a BLSays column – The End of an Era – from May 2021. Here’s that link.
I’m not going to spend precious words here explaining who Castleman D. (“CD”) Chesley was or why he’s worthy of our “Thanks”. There have been numerous articles about him and his influence over an entire region of America for the past 60+ years. Here’s a typical one.
In the annals of the State of North Carolina, CD Chesley shares a “short list” with: .
Whoever first threw a pig in a fire pit, left it over night … slathered it with vinegar or tomato sauce … added slaw and hushpuppies … and sweet tea … and said “Hey ya’ll, let’s eat!”
Lee Petty, Cale Yarborough, Ned Jarrett, Buddy Baker et al who thought “Let’s race around counter clockwise in our bootleggin’ cars and create a bazillion $$$ sport.”
Some anonymous screenwriter who said “Hey Andy, let’s do a TV show about your home town back in NC. Get that weird little guy from the Steve Allen Show as your sidekick … whattayasay?”
Pretty impressive “short list”, huh?
Alas … NASCAR’s GOBs are gone and its “gone Woke” … Andy, Don, Francis and “Floyd” are all dearly departed … the families that founded all those funky little BBQ joints from Murphy To Manteo back in the 50s are now into their third generation – that doesn’t want to work 20 hours a day 7 days a week.
… and – IMO – “Tobacco Road Basketball” is fast becoming more of a memory than a BFD Phenomenon any more.
NO! NO! NO! … cries some 75 y/o Lower Level son of a friend of “Skippa” Bowles.
NEVER ! … echos one of the 387,000 who claims he was in Reynolds when Skywalker fell from the rafters.
HERESY! … adds an Iron Duke who wanted Tom Butters fired for hiring that young polish guy with the impossible to spell name.
“NOT in MY Lifetime” … claims an octogenarian Deacon who says he has a piece of the seat belt that Bones installed to keep him from charging the refs.
Notice anything about all those who are floating down De Nile … wanting to pick me apart like one of those pigs in a pit or burn me at the stake for my sacrilege.
They ALL remember where they were “when Kennedy was shot” but are havin’ trouble remembering where they put their reading glasses.
They (“we”) are all walking up Life’s 18th Fairway. When we putt out no one is going to say “but he/she was so young!” GULP!
There is a reason that our churches don’t play “those old timey hymns” we actually know the words to. The music director is marketing to a different generation…
A generation that has no clue who Castleman D. Chesley was, or what he did in 1957, and frankly doesn’t much care.
Do YOU care who Kay Kyser was … or Ish Kabibble?
You can “blame” One & Dones —- You can “blame” anonymous black kids with funny haircuts — You can “blame” cookie-cutter coaches you don’t Love or Hate — You can “blame” arenas that don’t have architectural quirks – except that one in West Derm — You can “blame” the demise of “homer” play-by-play guys who hated the refs and rival coaches as much as you did — You can “blame” that the ACC Tournament no longer matters …
OR you can “blame” not being able to “Sail with The Pilot at the wheel on a ship steady from its mast to its keel …”
OR – you can toss all of those Whys in a Bojangles box and begrudgingly admit – “Damn, I hate it when BobLee is right … grrrrrr.”
Like many / most of you … grandchildren (I have 3 with #4 due in August) cause one to realize that – indeed – “Life is like a river”. It is ever changing. Never the same minute-to-minute much less generation-to-generation.
Share your special memories with yours. Where you were in 1957 when Tommy Kearns jumped against Wilt The Stilt ……. Skywalker with his head bandaged up as Reynolds EXPLODED in JOY ……. Jimmy V’s ESPY Speech ……. Goofy Ol’ Bones jousting with Lou Bello ……. Larry Brown and Art Heyman dukin’ it out in Cameron ….. …..
Don’t expect them to fully understand why those memories are so special for you … for us.
Those are “our” memories. They will have their own some day …